Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ruminations on a year....

I am still here after a year…


I am still here. To me that is already a huge accomplishment. A year of moving forward, albeit slowly, to better health and fitness, including of course weight loss and chronologging that journey here in bloggyland. The fact that I am still here after one year, moving forward, including regularly blogging is evidence for me that this trek to become fit and healthy is here to stay, no matter how long it takes. Ruminations are in order. Don't you think?


When I started last year on June 26, I thought I would need a year to get healthy. Boy, was I wrong. I am definitely healthier, but, now I know that I will need at least another year to get to my goal or target weight and to become fitter. I think after all the years of being in denial about my weight and obesity, I was initially still convinced that I could lose a couple of pounds a week and be done with all the “weight loss” stuff. Wrong. I now know that what I am doing now is for life.


Which brings me to where I am today: I acknowledge that I am a slow weight loss loser. I probably always have been; I just did not know that until this past year. After one year I have lost just about 30 pounds, which means I have lost .57 pounds a week. I admit that I do get frustrated at times because my weight loss is so darn slow, but, that is how my body seems to work. The way I see it now is it took me over 25 years to get to the weight that I was when I started. I am guessing it will take me a full 2.5 years (or 10 percent of 25 years) to be at a normal weight for my body size. As much as a “quick fix” seduces me, at times, I know there is no quick anything in my case.


I believe most everyone reading this blog knows that I am taking extraordinarily simple measures to get healthy and fit by following the advice and mantra of nutritionist Marion Nestle. I adopted her adage: eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and veggies and go easy on the junk food. The first 20 pounds or so were honestly easy to lose. But every since that first 20 pounds came off, it has been harder and harder for me to lose. I started to track my food and water every day about 6 weeks ago. I learned that for me to lose weight I need to eat about 1200 calories a day or 1500 if my exercise is heavy.


I am moving more. Much more. You all know that I have become a cyclist over the past year. I started out slowly with maybe a 1-3 mile ride and slowly increased my stamina. By the end of last summer I was doing 8-10 mile rides. Now I can ride 20 or more miles at a time, and often do 15 or 16 a day. I find, too, that I rarely use my car in the city. I can easily go to the store or do most errands on one of my bikes. I have made it a habit to bike downtown when we take in a concert or a sporting event. Cycling is away for me to challenge myself in the space that I enjoy the most: the outdoors.


I definitely eat more fruits and veggies: It is a habit now for me to cut up apples or take grapes with me, everywhere using a lunch box with a cold cube. I have learned to love carrots (raw, too!), eat salad, and enjoy other veggies more often like cauliflower and broccoli.


Junk food: I eat little junk food now. I do allow my self sometimes those 100 calories Keebler snacks. Sometimes it is hard to stop at one package, so I do not do this often. I do allow myself treats, or things that I think are treats, but I budget them in, most of the time. Like an In and Out burger or a DQ ice cream cone.


Like many of us as this first year progressed, I learned more about myself and why I eat, or overate. I did over eat and regularly, my new tracking habit was hard evidence that I overate for a long, long while. I have learned portion size and that having a bite or two of something can be enough. In short, over this past year I slowly cultivated some good habits and made changes that are moving me forward to my goals of being healthier and fitter.


I know the changes are for good, too. Here is why: Like many of you, I had two significant events this past year. My father become ill and died last August. He was not by anyone’s definition a good or great father, but he was mine. His passing brought out front and center many difficult conversations with my siblings. The passing of a parent is never easy especially with one so provocative as my father. Second, on March 22, just three short months ago, we lost our long time hobby farmhouse to fire. It has been a process of grieving, acceptance and now , I think, making plans for "what's next." During both of these events, I ate more calories than I needed to lose weight, but did not gain any weight. I maintained what I had lost. I now know that I can weather big life events and not eat my weight though them.


I traveled quite a bit this year, too. Most of you know that I am on sabbatical, which made it possible for me to have the time to travel. Again, I ate more than I needed too to lose weight, but maintained what I have lost on each and every trip. I never brought a scale with me, but did weigh before and after I returned from a trip. I practiced my better eating habits most of the time when I traveled and found ways to exercise by walking, taking stairs or even biking.


I do not share often my frustrations with my slow weight lose on this blog. But, you can bet I am frustrated and discouraged at times, just like we all can be. Yep, I too, just want to be done with “this” sometimes. But, more and more, I know that is wish full thinking. I know that if I do not continue to become more fit my health will suffer in ways that I do not even know, and so will my family because of my ill health. That is unacceptable to me. Most days I accept the fact that my body if very finicky about shedding pounds. I wish it wasn’t, but that is who I am. I am in this for life, my life. I want this one life to be as healthy as possible.


So after one year, I am here to stay: on this journey and documenting it through blogger. Blogging can be time intensive, but it is a tool with many benefits. For one, I never feel alone. Never. Because of all of you. Because you are the folks that really get this weight loss thing and what it takes to DO it. We are in this together and together we can kick our tushies, butts, buns
caboose, taillights, derriere, what ever you want to call our collective rear ends
, toward better health.


Thanks for reading. Thanks for stopping by and spending some of your day with me. Thanks for your support. Thanks for taking care of yourself and being an example for me. Thanks for making a difference by blogging about your journey to better health. Thanks for your camaraderie. Thanks for your humor. Thanks for your tips and recipes. Thanks for your friendships. Let’s stay together for the long haul, no matter how long it is. Okay??

TTFN, Michele

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Challenge Update 3!

Happy Friday!
As I write this update post I can see the sunlight just beginning to come into our yard. We have a rain gauge in our yard that measured close to 4 inches of rain!! Southern and Central Minnesota are soggy and some rivers are again on the verge of flooding. Not a great week for outdoor activities. But hey the sun is out now!

Overall, I continue to do well on my three summer challenges.
My goals are:
1. Exercise every day at least one hour, with twice a day for 3/7 days in a week. Due to the rain, I skipped one day of exercise all together. So, 6/7 days. I actually watched the weather forecast to find the window of non rain for biking. Several times this week we had a dry spell late in the afternoon so I just hopped right on my bike and off I went. Biking of course can be done in the rain, I just prefer to stay dry if possible. My total bike mileage is at 38. Even with two more rides today and Saturday, I will come in under 85 miles. So, I will not quite make my mileage goal. Two days this week I did additional exercise (walking up and down hills) and one more ride. With all the beautiful sunshine this morning I plan another double dip for exercise today and tomorrow.

2. Start stair climbing: Work on increasing my walking to include hills. I did hills twice, but no stairs. Maybe that will be my double dip activity for today and tomorrow.


My target for week 2 for Small Change Challenge was (June 19-June 25): Prepare my lunch every day. I am happy to report that I did this every single day!

Next week, save more calories for the end of the day. I will explain more in a minute.

Goals:
Weight loss: I have not weighed myself yet (this will be on Monday), so can not report any loss or gain for that matter.

Moving more: As I wrote above, I am at 37 miles biking so far. I will easily pass 60 miles, but think I will come in short of 85. I did climb hills twice, just not any stairs.

Tracking food: I plan to aim for 1250 calories a day or 9,000 a week, except when I am biking long rides where I am increasing my calories to 1400-1500. I did great tracking both water and food every day. Every day!

Next week, I am going to try to tweak my calorie budget so that I have more calories at the end of the day. I tend to eat too many calories in the morning, so I am going to try to not snack in the morning so I can have more calories late in the afternoon and for dinner. I tend to do my long bike rides late in the day, so this will also bank some extra calories to keep my going strong.

Blogger love:
It has been great checking in on other challengers. Most of you are doing really great! Honestly, I think it is just easier to try to move more and eat less in the summer. Some of you are renewing your efforts, too, to overcome a tentative start. Good, for you, too. I will continue to do my best to support all of you, too! We are in this together and it is for life!!

Weekend plans:
Two of my adult children will be attending weddings, so I will be watching 5 grandbabies!! With the beautiful weather you can bet we will be on our bikes to the beach at one of the area lakes. What are your plans for the weekend?? Have a great weekend and stay strong! TTFN, Michele

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend and a study of interest

Hello Bloggers!

I will admit that this past weekend was not my best. 1800 calories on Saturday and 2000 on Sunday. I can only lose weight when I consistently stay around 1400, IF my exercise is really on target. Yes, lots of reasons for eating over my budget, but the fact that I still tracked is a small win in my book. What matters now is that I move forward.


Obesity on the rise: I do not know if you heard last week about the study that reports that close to 2 BILLION of the world’s population is overweight. This is a 25% increase from the last set of data in 2002. “The trend is strongly correlated to rising income and to an increase in preventable health problems, writes Richard H. Weil in the latest Vital Signs Online release from the World watch Institute.”


In fact this study points out that about 75 percent of adults in the 10 richest countries are overweight, while in the 10 poorest, only 18 percent are. So there is a significant correlation between being overweight and rising income. In addition, the extra weight is showing up in issues to health in the same countries with rising income. Sobering information for all of us.


The figures above are for the “overweight” category, not the category where I land: obese. I will not even be in the overweight category until I lose another 25 pounds. One of the reasons I continue to move forward is I am well aware that I am at significant risk for health issues if I do not. Despite a weekend over budget: I will move forward and on because I want to avoid those health risks. Eat less, move more. Simple words that form my mantra.


How are you doing on eating less and moving more??


Stay strong!

TTFN, Michele

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Challenge Update 2!

That number above might not mean much to all of you who are reading this post, but it represents my FIRST loss of 1.5 pounds in a long while! I am now only 1.5 pounds away from a total weight loss of 30 pounds. Finally... Yes, it has taken me a while, but, then this is for life and this is for keeps.

It has been a great week for exercise and good eating.
Updates on my three summer challenges. Let's start with:My goals are:
1. Exercise every day at least one hour, with twice a day for 3/7 days in a week. I exercised every single day!!!! You can see by my daily mile tracker that I was up to 51 miles bike riding this morning. Like last week, two days this week I did additional exercise (walking) and one more ride. Plus, Alan are you ready??, I climbed stairs twice this week. Not many, but 120 each time.

2. Start stair climbing: You know from above that I did some stair climbs. For next week, I hope to add 50 more stairs into my "training" each time.


My target for week 2 for Small Change Challenge was (June 12-18): Document miles walked and time, number of stairs or hills climbed and water intake.
I did document miles walked (total of 6 so far this week). I am walking about a 15 minute mile. I documented my water intake (way over 4 liters a day). I also added another small change goal last week to eat my meals at the table: Done! I did great. Set the table for every meal, too!

Small change challenge for next week: Prepare my lunch every day because I will be teaching where there will be catered food that I should not eat. So, plan ahead for my lunch and snacks while at work.
Goals:
Weight loss:
You already know that I lost 1.5 pounds. My goal is to lose 10, so 8.5 to go!!

Moving more:
As I wrote above, I am at 51 miles biking so far.I took Thursday off from biking a long distance, so I am sure on Friday I will get in another 20 and on Saturday another 20, too. So, I should be over the 85 miles at the start of week 3.

Tracking food:
This week I experimented with increasing my calories to about 1400-1500 a day vs 1250 because of my dizziness. My average has been 1500. My "spells" were better. I took the advice of Dr. Fit and brought along some nuts on my rides and ate more protein each day. This seemed to help. I also bought some of those Cliff energy bars. There are 10 grams of protein. On my long rides I have one. Again, seems to be doing the trick.

Blogger love:
Love, love, love all my new followers who have come on board as a result of these challenges. Thank-you for your support, encouragement and tips. I have visited at least once every Slimmer and June Boom challenger. Next week, I hope to make it around to all the Small Changers, too. I can see that these challenges are really giving us all a great boost.

Weekend plans:
No big plans. Today, 5 of the grandbabies and I will head to a local park with a pool and a picnic. Father's Day is Sunday, so I am sure we will gather as a family. Have a great weekend and stay strong!
TTFN, Michele

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Carrots

Carrots. Carrots. Carrots. Carrots. Carrots.
A Carrot Post

Ever really look at a carrot? They have their own beauty. Beautiful, deep orange, root vegetable. I love the vibrant color of them. Orange is sort of our family’s color (its is the national color of the Netherlands after all!). I like the fact that they crunch when you bite into them. You already know that carrots are good for you. But do you know why? Well, carrots are loaded with beta carotene, which is why they appear orange according to David H. Ver Eecke at LiveStrong.Com. “Carrots are also a good source of thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.” Carrots contain antioxidents and fiber, which make them great at controlling inflammation. A great deal of power packed in a small and cheap package. There are only about 50 calories in a full cup of cut up carrots (Web MD).

With all that nutrition you might be surprised to find out that until recently, I despised raw carrots. Detested them. Loathed them. But, no more. First, I discovered that organic carrots have a wonderful taste. I am talking about real carrots, not the little baby carrots which I still think are tasteless chunks of cardboard.
Plus, I discovered Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper
Hummus (RPH). Have you ever had this hummus?
Mighty tasty. One tablespoon has 40 calories, so not too bad, but guess what? They make for a great, great light dip for carrots and of course other veggies. So, now I am a raw carrot eater. I like them quite a lot actually.

I clean and cut them up a bag at a time.
I have found that they store really well in the fridge, especially in a Tupperware type containers. That is a good thing, because carrots have become my salvation on THOSE days when I am hungry and feel like I could (and would!!) eat anything that is not nailed down. I can go to the fridge, get a few carrots and a little of my “dippy” and chomp away. They fill me up. As a matter of fact I have an image of a carrot dangling over me most days. That image entices me to eat more carrots, because I know the more I eat of carrots the less I eat of other things that I shouldn't and the closer I come to my goal of becoming fit and healthy.

How about you: what carrot do you dangle to keep yourself from not eating things you shouldn't during your journey?

Have a great day and stay strong my blogger friends and please pass the carrots!
Michele

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Not Really A Blue Moon Award Fest!

Okay, so I lead you a little last Friday. There is no blue moon on the horizon, nor for anytime in 2011, however, this is my once in a blue moon award post. Meaning, once in a while, I will accept and honor the awards that are sent my way via this blog.

Truth be told: I have mixed feelings about the awards. I acknowledge that they are a recognition of something that resonates with the award-er to my blog as the award-ee. That part is wonderful, cool, humbling, and gratifying. Perhaps I just over think the blog awards in general. I am enamored with the bloggy community and especially to the many, many of you who “follow me” and the many of you who comment on my blog, especially you regulars (you know who you are!!!). I also enjoy keeping tabs on you, too and supporting you in your efforts to get healthier. This blog is about my journey to be fit and healthy and to overcome my obesity. The comments that you share with me with your humor, support, enthusiasm, wise cracks and questions all make this journey easier. I thank-you for that. Truly, I do.

But back to the awards: It is the chain letter similarity of blog awards that makes me wary of extending the love (or passing the award on) to other blogs. I follow a lot of blogs and share my two cents with you. However, if I acknowledge your blog via an award, the rules are that the blogger (some of you) will, upon acceptance, pass the award to others. I don’t like that part. I feel like I am saying: here is an acknowledgment, an award, that I find your blog compelling in some way, but, well, there is a caveat: you have to pass it on to a bunch of other blogs. That is the chain letter part that bothers me. However, I see myself as a good steward of the bloggy ethical code of conduct (is there one?!?!?) so I will play along and pass the awards on. So, now you have been warned~~ you may be an awardee and guess what: pass it on!

Recently my blog received two awards. I received the Stylish Blogger Award from Joy and Beyond Willpower. Joy has been a great virtual friend almost since I started this journey. Beyond Willpower has been a terrific supporter, too. So, to both of you: Thanks for awarding my blog the Stylish blogger award!!!
Rules for the Stylish Blogger Award are:
Thank- the person who nominated your blog (Done).
Share 7 things about yourself (Coming up)
Pass on to 15 friends


The second award I received from two other favorite bloggers: Karen at Wasting Time and right behind her Debbie at Mallwalker. Karen's blog is probably well known to all of you. She blogs not because of being obese or unfit (she is actually NOT either of these) but to ruminate (I know she loves this word) about her obsession with food and her long history of yo-yo dieting. She does that ruminating with aplomb. Mallwalker also praised my blog with this award. Her blog is first rate too, deeply ruminative (is that a word?) about her current journey to be healthy and fit. She has had great success!
I am not sure what they found so adorable about me or my blog, but thanks, ladies!!

The rules for this award are:
*Thank the person who gave you this award, and link back to them in your post (done).
*Tell us 10 things about yourself (you have been waiting for this!!).
*Nominate your bloggers (Last chance to move on to another blog!).
*Contact these bloggers, and let them know they received this award (will do).

Seven plus ten (I am a MATH geek!) things about me = seventeen bits and pieces:
1. Just to mix it up a little I will start with a word cloud of me:
2. Without my glasses, I would not be able to see much. I am horribly near sighted. The funny part is that I did not know that my vision was poor, until I was 13. I will never forget that first time with glasses. I was walking home from the eye doctor with the glasses. I kept lifting the glasses up and down because I simply could not believe that is what I should have seen all along. So much detail, so much precision, so much beauty in this world. It was one of the most significant “aha” moments of my life.

3. I got my first bike at 4 years old for Christmas. It was a dark blue adult- sized used bike. I was always small (height, not girth) so imagine this little pipsqueak trying to learn to ride on an adult sized bike. I did. I have always been one of THOSE people who does more than people think are possible. I had it in me already at 4. Born with it I suppose.

4. I love to do laundry. Especially hanging the clothes out to try. We recently bought an umbrella like clothesline which makes it a snap and easy to reach from our deck.

5. I am not fond of household cleaning-lucky for me my hubby is Dutch and a clean house is a must.

6. Speaking of Dutch: I am privileged and fortunate that hubby hails from the Netherlands. I believe our varied cultures, albeit Western, contributed to our worldview toward acceptance and inclusion of all that is such a part of our family.

7. Meet the grandbabies. There are six. They are the light of my life (besides my hubby). I spend as much time with them as I can and never get tired of their antics.
Aiden, 4, is all boy and a comedian!
Owen, 6, can ride a bike now over 10 miles.
He has ridden with me on some long rides!
Nani, 8, a super sports fan (wonder where that comes from?)
Ellery, 6, a self portrait (she loves my iPhone).
Hann, 4, and Noah, 22 months: the only way I can contain their energy!

8. I adore rice pudding and nutella. I do not keep either in the house. Enough said.

9. I have learned to like carrots: I take mine raw and with hummus dip and do plan a whole post on carrots soon.

10. I bought a new swimsuit for this summer! It is purple and I feel great wearing it!

11. I have a green thumb. I love to grow things from seed as a fun challenge. Lately, I have been cultivating native prairie plants. Speaking of native plants:

12. Got milkweed in your garden?? Did you know that milkweed is the host plant of not only the beautiful monarch, but also the queen butterfly and any other of the milkweed butterflies.

13. I take more pictures now with my iPhone than I do with my nice 35 mm digital camera because my iPhone is always with me. I bet you take a lot of pictures with your phone, too. 99% of the pictures on this blog were taken with my iPhone (even the Yosemite ones).

14. I adore off beat movies. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is my new favorite showing at your local independent theaters.

15. I wish there was a solution to municipality's stadium complexes that did not involve tax dollars. I am a huge fan of the Vikings, but DO NO want to see our tax dollars, including proposed road construction to and from the stadium, used to support this endeavor. I am an educator: there are simply too many needs for our tax dollars that are currently not being met.

16. I have learned to drink water (up to 4 liters a day)~but I still like my diet-pepsi.

17. I am not a barefoot kind of gal, except at the beach or in the boat. Love, love, love my Merrell Chili Stitch loafers and wear them all around the house!

Passing the awards on: Gosh, there are truly many weight loss and getting fit blogs that I find fascinating and informative. First, I pass on the Adorable blog award to these fine blogs and bloggers:

Julie: Julie writes an honest and heart felt blog about her journey to be fit. She is moving mountains on her journey.

R. Reed: She is just getting started at blogging and already demonstrates a great deal of commitment to her journey.

Starting at 500 pounds: Tackling obesity as a personal Mt. Everest quest.

Ewa: Journey to great and extreme fitness after 90 some off pound loss.

I pass on the Stylish Blogger award to the following fine blogs. All the blogs below are not necessarily new, but, they are blogs with substance and inspiring to all of us, wherever we are on our getting fit journey. They are all worth a look by bloggers who are reading this post. If they have received this award before, now they know that I find their blog "Stylish," too!!!:

Charlene: A weight loss blogger only since May. Some of you may know her through the Simmer This Summer challenge.

Debbi: Many of you know that Debbi is heading up the Slimmer this Summer Challenge. A great and styling blog.

Dawn: Great attitude~great success.

JoBee: A young blogger trying to make healthy changes NOW!

Konnie: A blogger that is not new, but can use our support.

Lizzie: Just new to weight loss blogging.

Marilee: About half way through her weight loss/getting fit journey. Newer to blogging.

Mer and Mo: Two BFFs. Great spirit in their posts about their journey.

Ruby: Relatively new blogger and about 8 weeks into her journey and doing great.

Water Lily: A relatively new blogger that some of you have met through the Slimmer This Summer challenge.

Have a great start to your week. TTFN, Michele

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Challenge Updates

Happy Friday!
Today I will update you all on how I am doing on my three summer challenges. Ready??
Let's start with:My goals are:
1. Exercise every day at least one hour, with twice a day for 3/7 days in a week. I did great on this part of the challenge. Since my return from travel abroad, I have biked every single day. Right now, I am at 70 miles biked in 5 days. Two days this week I did additional exercise (walking) and one more ride. I plan another double dip for exercise today (Friday).

2. Start stair climbing: I will work on increasing my walking to include hills. I admit I did not climb any stairs, however, I did hike a couple of our hills here in Minneapolis, twice. So, at least some uphill work. On one of my rides this week I discovered a staircase that goes down from Riverside Parkway where I ride to the Mississippi River. Next week I plan to carry a lock with me to lock up my bike and give those stairs a whirl. So, next week: Stairs and hills!!


My target for week 1 for Small Change Challenge was (June 1-June 7): Document miles walked and time, number of stairs or hills climbed and water intake. I did document miles walked (total of 8 so far this week). I documented my water intake (way over 4 liters a day). I did not time my walks for this week. Second week of challenge: I will time my walks and stair climbs, too.

For next week, I also want to set a small change goal to eat only at the table.

Goals:
Weight loss: I have not weighed myself yet (this will be on Monday), so can not report here any loss or gain for that matter.

Moving more: As I wrote above, I am at 70 miles biking so far. I will pass 85 miles this week easily (my target). I did climb hills twice, just not any stairs.

Tracking food: I plan to aim for 1250 calories a day or 9,000 a week. I did great tracking both water and food every day.

Readjustment: I also would like to report that I tried to stay at 1250 or so calories a day. However, I found that this is just not enough for me at the level of exercise I am at. I have been getting dizzy and light headed after my long rides and I am guessing this is because I am not taking in enough calories. (Don't worry: If this dizziness continues I will get it checked out). On my 20 mile bike ride yesterday, I calculated 1158 calories burned. I do not always ride that long, but my general calorie burn on my rides is 500-800 calories. So I am allowing myself a slight increase in calories from 1250 to 1450-1500 on the days that I ride hard. This week that will be a caloric intake of about 10,500 calories. So, a little more than Debbi would like to see, but more akin to what I feel I need in terms of calories burned.

Blogger love: It has been fun reading the goals of other challengers and getting acquainted with them through their blogs. I uploaded links to all the Slimmer challengers in my side bar. Feel free to hop over and get to know a few. A big thank-you to the many new followers I acquired this week in part due to the Slimmer Challenge. I will do my best to support you, too! We are in this together and it is for life!!

Speaking of bloggy love: on Monday I will post my once in a blue moon awards post. Bet your excited, now aren't ya??

Weekend plans: We will be heading to hear Carmina Burana and the Minnesota Orchestra tonight. Can't wait. Hope for dry weather for biking, too, this weekend. Millie and I are getting well acquainted. I averaged 16 MPH today!! What are your plans for the weekend?? Have a great weekend and stay strong! TTFN, Michele

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New wheels

Greetings on a Fine Summer Day!
I am excited to share with you my big NEWS!!
I have a new bike!!!
Meet Mildred, which means gentle strength:
I will call her Millie.

After a lot of thought and comparison-shopping, I finally purchased my first road bike (!!). It is a 2011 Trek SLX. Truth be told, it is a little more bike than I think I need right now, but, I am an aspiring cyclist and wanted to invest in something that I would not outgrow too soon. She is a dandy!! Incredibly light compared to the bike I had been riding. She weighs in at about 8 kilos or less than 18 pounds.

This bike is designed for a women’s body from the ground up. The Trek website describes some of the features of this bike like this: It boasts Trek's light, nimble and efficient Alpha Black Series aluminum frame so you sail over climbs and carve the corners with confidence. Complementing the dreamy ride is a vibration-damping Bontrager carbon fork for pinpoint steering precision and a fine set of Bontrager SSR aero wheels. And, this thoroughbred sports choice components including a Shimano 30-speed drivetrain for easy climbing and Shimano dual-pivot brakes for total control on the way back down. (http://trekdg.com/product/11-trek-lexa-slx-triple-73113-1.htm). She was not cheap, but then again, neither is my health or better health. I see her as an investment in me and my healthy future.

I am taking my time getting to know her and feel her gentle strength. Here I am on my first solo ride (notice, Karen, my biking shorts!). See how small she is-a great fit for a shorter person like me!
We even went out to the Minnehaha Falls for a spin!
I have never been on a bike like this before. Thus for the first couple of weeks I plan to just get acquainted with how she runs. The position of my body on this bike of course is way different than my other bike. My arms are sore, but not bad. My back is fine. She responds so quickly that I have to be careful not to over correct. I have so far been out on her three times for a total of 41 miles. I am impressed by how fast she goes. I am averaging about 14 miles an hour, without much effort, vs my hybrid where I did 10 MPH. I have not taken her up or down any hills yet because I want to have complete confidence in my ability to control her. Here is a picture of my other bike (Myrtle).
I will keep Myrtle. She is a great bike for hooking up the Burley trailer to transport some grand babies. Besides she paved the way for me to become enamored with cycling. I think I mentioned in another post that I joined the Twin Cities Bike Club (TCBC). Once I get more confident on riding her I will go out with this group on a few rides. I also am going to take their basic bicycle mechanics course. I admit, I am not sure I could even change a bike tire-and I know a flat is in my future!

What about you? Have you been eyeing a pie of fitness equipment or gear now that you are on your own way to being healthier and fit?

Before I leave you, I wanted to share some oriental poppies that are blooming in Southern Minnesota. Have a great day. Stay strong in your journey and TTFN, Michele

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back home!

Yes, I am back from a great trip to the Netherlands and one other place in Europe. Can you guess where we went on this train???
How about this little icon? Any ideas where we went??
Yep, we went on a short little excursion to Paris! My sister, who lives in the Netherlands, surprised Ellery and I by booking us a trip on the speed train the Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris in three hours and fifteen minutes. We walked along the River Seine (below).
Walked along many small and narrow streets like this one.
We saw some beautiful churches.
The one below is Notre Dame Cathedral, located on the Seine River.
We used public transportation or our feet to get around town,
meaning we walked up many, many staircases like this one.
The picture below is taken not too far from Notre Dame Cathedral on
one of the bridges crossing the river. On this bridge couples from
all over the world place a lock with their names engraved, a symbol of their enduring love.

A grand slam event!! It was just a coincidence that our annual trip to the Netherlands coincided with the French Open, at the magnificent Rolland Garros of Paris. My sister, an avid tennis fan, submitted a bid to get tickets through the lottery like system. She was able to get tickets for Day 9 (round four) on Monday, May 30. Because Ellery was only 6, she was admitted free. All of us followed these tennis rackets from the Metro Station (subway) to the grounds.
A view from our seats in the beautiful Court Philippe-Chatrier.
We were able to see two matches with our tickets! The best was the last match of the day between Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Maria is Russian and is on a comeback in Grand Slam events after surgery to repair her shoulder. "Maria overcame a rusty to start to see off Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6(4), 7-5 in a topsy-turvy match that saw her advance to the French Open quarter-finals for the fifth time in her career. " You can read more here.
Maria was eventually defeated in the quarter finals. It was a thrill to see her come from behind to win that match (picture above from here). After years of being a fair weather fan of tennis, I will say that this year, I will be dialed in to the other Grand Slam events, including Wimbledon and the US Open, to see how our "girl" does. I am guessing from her keen attention at the matches that Ellery will also want to watch more tennis, too.

You may already know that "China’s Li Na held firm in the face of a ferocious comeback on the part of defending champion Francesca Schiavone to win 6-4, 7-6 (0) and claimed the first-ever Grand Slam title for a player from Asia."

So, as you read in the title post, I am back home in Minneapolis. No further travels until late July when we go out to Washington State for our son’s wedding. I did pretty well with exercise, at least 7/12 days biking over 5 miles a day. We walked a total of 12 miles through Paris over our 4 days, too. Eating was good for the first 7 days, but the last five, including 4 days in Paris, let’s just say I was over my calories budget. So, Slimmer This Summer, Alan’s June Boom, and Tami's Small Change Challenge, here I come!

As I close, I would like to welcome the many new followers, including Marilee, Miss April, Jacqui, Big Clyde, Simple, Sassy Sarah, Casey's 279, Cinner, Alliehbc, Tread Lightly and ec_212, that came on board with me in the last couple of weeks. Together, we can move forward and get fit and healthy. Thank-you all for reading. Have a great start to your week everyone and TTFN, Michele

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Renewed goals and challenges

Greetings on the First Day of June!
I begin this fresh new month with renewed commitment to moving forward in my journey to be fit and healthy. I am committing myself to three different challenges to keep me motivated and focused.

Deb’s Slimmer This Summer challenge will run June 6th through August 28th.

Goals:
Weight loss: I am going to target a 10 pound loss for the 12 week challenge, with a mini-goal of being under 180 pounds by July 15. I know I can lose about a pound a week with careful eating and tracking and logging my food. I also want to be realistic. Thus, I believe ten pounds in 12 weeks is doable for me.

Moving more: I would like to continue my biking so that I am logging at least 85 miles a week. Second, I would like to increase my stamina and speed in walking, including stair climbing at least twice a week.

Tracking food: This is key for me. I plan to aim for 1250 calories a day or 9,000 a week.

June Boom:

This is Alan’s (Pounds off Playoff) challenge: My goals for this challenge are:
1. Exercise every day at least one hour, with twice a day for 3/7 days in a week.

2. Start stair climbing: This is something I have put off for a long time. I will work on increasing my walking to include hills. I can do about 6 flights now, would like to double this. I hope to walk up and down the Grand Canyon in the fall.

Small Change Challenge:
This challenge is from Tami. In this challenge I will target smaller weekly goals for the month of June to help me meet the larger overall goals that I aspire to in both the Slimmer This Summer and June Boom challenge.

My first small change target for week 1 (June 1-June 7): Document miles walked and time, number of stairs or hills climbed and water intake.

Overlapping challenge goal: Spreading the love. I know how important it is to encourage each other in our progress to get healthier and fit. I would like to commit to supporting and finding new bloggers (at least one a week) and of course others who are taking part in the challenges above. This goal also extends to me: I want to continue to find ways to take better care of myself, including more reading about getting and staying healthy.

Finally, I will reserve the right to adjust these goals to reflect success (!!) and or unexpected life events.

What about you? What goals or targets are you setting for yourself for this summer?
TTFN and stay strong,
Michele