Sunday, December 18, 2011

Muir Woods, Final Challenge Updates and Happy Winter!

Greetings to all of you, friendly Bloggers! I am back from a great, but intense trip to San Francisco! We were guests for the first day with our son, Sean, and his new wife, Anne: aren’t they the sweetest??
Anne is in her last year of school at the University of California, San Francisco. She will graduate as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in psychology and counseling next spring. Anne is from Marin County, which was great because the first thing we did was go to Muir Woods.
Muir Woods: If you read Ewa's blog you know of her many treks through these woods. The woods are as magnificent as Ewa described and as I had dreamed. A woods teaming with biodiversity took this botanist’s heart. The California redwoods are standouts. See for yourself:

We crossed over this bridge (recognize it anyone??) to get back to San Francisco from Marin County.
Cooking: Anne is quite a cook. She made us the most delicious polenta. Polenta (this is new to me) is an Italian food made with cornmeal.  She used it to make a deep dish type pizza.  She also had this cookbook which I took an immediate liking to it. I aspire to make bread.
Word on the street is that Santa will be bringing me one!! I am betting you will hear more about that book in the near future.

Tough love: We spent four days with my brother and his wife in Mountain View. We went to celebrate his birthday, which we did, and that was just fine. The real business of our trip was the conversations that we had with them. That is why the trip was intense and tough at times. It is hard, very hard, to support and straight talk people you love deeply who are losing their way because of addiction.  We worked hard at talking with them. Very hard. They need help, professional help. Enough said for now. 

On Friday, the Star Tribune published a great article about biking in Minneapolis. Probably no surprise to you that biking increased by 22 (!!)% in Minneapolis this past year. “The numbers are still low compared to car usage. But, experts say, they are big enough now to make an impact on health, air pollution and traffic congestion.” Although I am not winter biking just yet that is where an increase has occurred with many folks donning spiked tires to help retain traction. "Altogether, it means that there are now nearly 7.5 million miles of transportation in and around Minneapolis that are not taken by car, said Tony Hull of Bike Walk Twin Cities." How do you like those apples?

Last Challenge update:
Track my food intake daily:
Well, for the first time, not so good on this one because of traveling: 4/7 days only.  Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: Yes, but only 4/7 days. Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week:  I walked 14 miles this past week which accounted for about 6 hours of exercise.  Weigh in: I am about the same: 173. Plan for eating for the big holidays: Well, I did plan, but given the circumstances of travel, I cut myself some slack here.  Continue to learn about what works best for me in this journey to better health, specifically losing and maintaining weight loss as we age and our metabolism slows down: Yes. Support and encourage other weight loss bloggers: Yes indeed!

This will be my last post for both of the holiday challenges, albeit a little early for Give Yourself the Best Gift. Overall I feel like I gave myself the best gift ever just like I set out to do

I plan to give myself a gift this holiday season. It is the gift of commitment to continue to move forward toward good health and renewed fitness by eating less and moving more. At the end of the season, my gift will be not only quantifiable in terms of pounds lost and miles cycled or walked, but will be the feeling of satisfaction and pride in my continued efforts to regain my health, even during the holiday season. I lost seven pounds during this challenge, starting at 180 pounds. I am a slow loser, obviously, but I am HAPPY with my overall loss! My total weight loss today is forty pounds, which for me is fantastic! I also biked 575 miles, walked 92 miles and stair stepped up 4099 stairs over the course of this challenge (September 15). I easily met my goals for exercise. Thank-you to Thrice-Blessed for hosting this challenge. I believe my results support the high level of motivation I had throughout.
You already know that I met my Christmas Dress Challenge by wearing that dress in early December. I will post a picture very soon! Thank-you to Thursday's Child for hosting this challenge, too. 

Thank-you: I would like to express my gratitude to so many of you, my fellow bloggers and challenge friends, for all of your support during these past three months. I have said this before, and I will say it again: the support and encouragement that you leave with your comments helps me to feel that I share in this journey with you. And I do. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you.

I will be checking in with all of you, my blogger friends, in the next few days, however, after I complete my check in, I will take a blogging break  until January 3, 2012. Looking forward to reading and catching up with all of you.

For those of you who celebrate: Merry Christmas to you and your family!  Happy Chanukah to those who celebrate. For all the rest: Happy winter! Enjoy the season whatever that means for you and continue to be mindful of what you eat and your exercise (you know: eat less, move more!). 

TTFN and stay strong, Michele 


  1. That forest ... wow! Your new daughter in law seems lovely, and it's not a shame that she's a good cook either! :)

    Enjoy your holidays!

  2. Ditto to Marin! That forest looks like a place I could lose myself in. Wow!

    I hope the conversation with your brother met with some success. Those are tough, but necessary. Hopefully, he will someday understand and appreciate the fact that someone cares enough to intervene.

    Can't believe your sabbatical is almost over. Will miss your posts through the holidays, but looking forward to seeing you back on the 3rd. Merry Christmas!

  3. Merry Christmas to you as well. Beautiful scenery. You have done so well. It's good that you don't beat yourself up if things are perfect. That is huge.

  4. I LOVE those pics!! That is gorgeous!!!
    Congratulations on the weight loss!!! You did wonderfully!!!
    Merry Christmas!

  5. I wondered where you were, Michele. San Francisco is such a beautiful city, and the Muir Woods are a must for tourists.

    I am glad the time went well with your brother. You have done all you can. They must help themselves at some point to get help. I understand.

    You have done great in your challenges. You are such an inspiration to me for patience. Some want to lose the weight and get healthy overnight, but we choose patience and stamina, don't we. Perseverence, and all that.

    I hope you and your family have a great Christmas/Chanukah/Winter.

  6. What a great year you've had Michele! I have a feeling that 2012 will be great for you as well because you are doing it right!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  7. At the rate you're going, Michele, you'll just continue your positive, inspiring journey into the new year and well beyond. Merry Christmas or happy holidays to you and your family and I look forward to hearing from you soon in 2012!

  8. Merry Christmas, Michele! What a wonderful trip. I'm loving having our kids in the house, but your stage looks appealing as well. Very cute couple, those two! And I love the redwoods, though I haven't been in sixteen years (we went on our honeymoon).

  9. Thank you for sharing your trip and I hope that your family gets the help they need to get to where they need to be.
    You take your break and when you're ready I'll be there to bug you and follow you and keep learning from you.
    Take care Michele and have a blessed week. Merry Christmas my friend!!

  10. Congrats on making your Christmas Dress Challenge successfully! It was great to get to know you through the challenge.
    Merry Christmas and I hope 2012 is a great year for you!

  11. Happy Holidays! I've never cycled in snow, I take my hat off to those dedicated spiked wheelers!

  12. LOVE the woods - on my bucket list for sure.

  13. Congratulations on your challenge success, I look forward to the pictures! Thank you for taking part.

  14. The pictures are beautiful. I love the woods. That is a very nice looking couple and I know you ae so proud of them. Your challenge was a success and I am happy for you. See you after the 3nd of Jan 2012

  15. Loved the photos, Michele. I've only been to Muir Woods once, but I would certainly like to return someday. It is one of those very unique places in the world!

    I'm so happy about your weight loss. You have had such a good year of determination on the road to good health. You mentioned travel and the challenges of staying on plan. We traveled last year and have three more trips planned for this year. I have discovered that I need to go into portion control mode when I travel. I try to keep within my appropriate food groups, but weighing and measure is difficult, but portion control is doable. I lost about 1 1/2 pounds doing that on our trip to France and London last fall. Figuring out what works for us is part of this process, and we are all different.

    As I read your posts, it is obvious that you have learned what works for you, and you do it consistently. I have learned much from you this year. Thank you so much for your support. There have been times that I have desperately needed it (tough year), and you were always there! Blessings to you and your family during this holiday season.

  16. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Nice pictures!

  17. Great job on reaching your goals and being so diligent! You are amazing!

    Enjoy the rest of the year and take care! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

    Keep focused

  18. You did great on the challenge, Merry Christmas! I am sorry to hear you are dropping out 1 week early though. I will check, but I don't think you used your grace week, so I think you still qualify for the drawing.

  19. Just stopping by to wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love and hugs...

  20. You have been such an encouragement with your perseverance. That's why I came over, just to tell you how much I did appreciate that. I hope to read from you also in 2012. I will be part of the Eve to Easter challenge. It is a very strict one, but that's what I need.
    Blessings to you for 2012.

  21. Realized that I missed your posts...and well, doing a little catching up. Hope that your Christmas was grand and wishing you the best in 2012!!!! I am going to put Muir Woods on my list of things to do in the new year, have not done it since I was little. (and I am sure I can get Mer to come along). Here is to your continued success and much more wonderful biking, too!!!!

    Staying MOtivated MO

  22. Hi Michele. FINALLY catching up on my blog reading. Hope you and your family had a merry christmas, and wish you nothing but health, happiness and fun in 2012.

  23. Hey I got a bike for my birthday!!! A cruiser!
    Happy New Year!