Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving, new kitchen gadget and challenge updates

I hope those of you who celebrate had a great Thanksgiving! It was a wonderful Thanksgiving break for my family and I. We have much to be grateful for and are. The food was terrific and plentiful. I ate 500 calories extra for a total of 1500 extra calories over three days, which is what I had planned. I enjoyed two pieces of pumpkin pie and ate them slowly. I made an old fashioned recipe this year with whipping cream instead of condensed milk. I figure if you are going to indulge, make it worthwhile. I did and they were. Every last bite. Yum. 

I know I have made enormous strides in my eating habits and healthy living over these past 18 months and it showed over Thanksgiving. I exercised hard (on T-day alone I rode 17 miles), plus I planned well eating HUGE green salads on Th, Fri. and Sat before our big family meals. I still have an enormous sweet tooth and doubt this will ever be totally gone, but, I can tell you that some of my once favorite foods were TOO sweet: like apple and pecan pie. No, thanks, at least not the ones I tried. 

My daughters, DIL and I make downtown Minneapolis our destination on Black Friday and this year was no exception. We started it a number of years ago to avoid the craziness at the local malls and big box stores, plus it is a great way to support our local businesses. One of our very first stops was the Kitchen Window a locally owned cooking and kitchen outfitters. I tapped into my thriftiness (and coupons!) to purchase this little dandy:

It is a Cuisenaire food processor!  I have never owned one nor even used one, but now that I am finding my inner cook, I was intrigued by all the options and flexibility that this dandy little machine will bring to my kitchen. Yes, you read that right: I am discovering my inner cook! As my journey has progressed I have slowly become interested in cooking healthy and delicious foods. Over the past two weeks I made split pea and butternut squash soups, omelets, and low fat muffins, just to name a few. Like Sharon, I feel so relaxed while I am cooking, and I do not even mind cleaning up afterwards. That Cuisenaire will make it a snap to chop and shred a variety of ingredients for cooking and salads. Can’t wait to use it more!

Challenge updates:


 
Track my food intake daily: Yes. Done all 7 days. Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: Well, like I wrote above,  I went over 1500 calories on three days, but I am not worried at all. That was my "allowance" if you will. No worries for me being on track again. 

Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week: I exercised 5/7 days for a total hours of 9. My biking mileage came in at  39 (which is astounding for late November in MN!) stair steps altogether were 800, plus I walked about 11 miles. The stairs I normally climb (right photo) are now closed for the winter, so I am now climbing the set of 25 steps on the left. They are wider and will be cleaned of ice and snow throughout the winter making them a good choice for this part of my work out.

  
Weigh in: Will be on December 3. 

Plan for eating for the big holidays: Yes, done. Quite happy with how I did.

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. I am reading and learning more things about my body as I age.

Support and encourage other weight loss bloggers: Yes. I continue to do this.

All of the above helps me to meet my target for the Christmas Dress Challenge. I remain focused and moving forward.Only two more weeks to the holiday party where I will wear this dress!

Overall: I am very happy with where I am in these two challenges. Looking forward to reading and catching up with all of my bloggy friends. Have a great start to your week! 
TTFN and stay strong,
Michele

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snow and challenge Updates

Greetings on a beautiful snowy morning!
Winter has made its first appearance in Minnesota.


Probably not going to make it out on my bike today, but this snow will be gone in a couple of days. Weather over Thanksgiving is predicted to be 50 (!!), so you can bet I will be on my bike in a couple of days!

Time for challenge updates:

Give Yourself Your Best Gift and Christmas Dress

Challenge updates:

Track my food intake daily: Yes. Done all 7 days. Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: My average was 1525, so great here. I actually came in under 1200 on four days that made it possible for me to have a higher calorie day, 2000, yesterday. 

Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week: I exercised 5/7 days for a total hours of 8.5. My biking mileage is at 36, and I once again climbed those stairs 6 times or 588 stair steps altogether, plus I walked about 8 miles.  I continue to include these core exercise from WB MD, too (twice),  that are helping me to strengthen other parts of my body. Five full days of exercise!

Weigh in this week was on Thursday. Most of you know that I hit another "low" at 173. I have lost 7 pounds since starting these challenges in September with 40 pounds total lost since June 26, 2010.

Plan for eating for the big holidays: Well here comes the big holiday and one of my favorites: Thanksgiving. I plan to allow myself 2000 calories on T-day, so YES!, I will have a piece of pumpkin pie (a piece). Our dinner is always late, 6 pm, so on T-Day, I will eat lightly with generous helpings of salad and other veggies for lunch. We will have a tray of veggies, too, for appetizers that I will enjoy. I plan to bring some fruit (we still have plenty of Honeycrisp apples) for me to munch on as I play games with the GBS while the turkey is a-roasting. Plus it will be a warm Thanksgiving for us, so a-biking I will go later this week.

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. I am reading and learning more things about my body as I age.

Support and encourage other weight loss bloggers: Yes. I continue to do this.

All of the above helps me to meet my target for the Christmas Dress Challenge. I remain focused and moving forward.Only two more weeks to the holiday party where I will wear this dress!

Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, for sharing with me in my journey to get fit and healthy. Have a great week. TTFN, Michele

Thursday, November 17, 2011

By the Numbers!

June 26, 2010

November 17, 2011

Temperature in Minneapolis this morning

Better dress warm for outside biking!

Miles biked:

TTFN, Michele

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give Yourself a gift for Today!!

Blue Shield/Blue Cross of Minnesota's current ad campaign is called Today is the Day We Stop Making Excuses. The TV ad follows a group of overweight/obese people adding more food to their plates at a buffet line or laying on the couch holding a remote with empty food dishes scattered around them. Each of the actors are singing revised lyrics of Tomorrow (think Annie, the musical) about how their weight loss and getting fit efforts will wait until Tomorrow. It is a clever musical ploy to get people thinking about their health. I love their approach and I am guessing similar ads may be found in other geographic markets across the country.

It is no secret to any of you reading this blog, that obesity is a significant health issue in the US. Twenty three percent of us are obese with 39 per cent of us overweight. The prevalence of heavy drinkers, smokers and those living in poverty are only 6%, 19% and 14% respectively. It is easy to put off taking care of ourselves because the effects of being overweight/obese do not really surface for 10-30 years. I think many of you know the risk factors for obesity and being overweight so I will not go into more details here.

Instead, how about we renew our commitment to make tomorrow today for our health?? We all know that the holidays are here. If you are like me, in years past you have put off to the holidays are over to take care of yourself. Many of you may be even tempted now to put a hold on your emerging healthy habits, especially if you have waffled in your efforts. This year: let’s make tomorrow today. Let’s give ourselves our best gift (Thrice Blessed) by caring for ourselves in sensible and responsible ways. Let’s not let another holiday season go by without caring for our health and fitness. Sure it is not easy at times and there is no magic just: eat less, move more. Plus, there will be all those wonderful holidays foods. But, you can do it. You can find a way to plan to eat some foods you like AND continue on your health and fitness journey. If I can, you can!!

Challenge updates: Give Yourself Your Best Gift and Christmas Dress Challenges

I tracked food again 7/7 days, coming in about 1500 calories every day. I exercised 6/7 days for a over 7 hours this week; with a cycling total of 53 miles, walking 6.5 miles and went up and down the stairs twice (588 steps). All of those efforts paid off, because I am down TWO pounds to a new low of 174.5! I checked in with all challenge bloggers spreading some love. I am reading more about out changing metabolism as we age and weight loss. In sum, I am giving myself the best gift every day: caring for myself. All my efforts will get me into that pretty little red dress and soon!

Remember: make tomorrow TODAY! Have a great start to your week. TTFN,
Michele

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sticking with it!

Greetings Fellow Bloggers and Readers!
Another fabulous fall week behind us and another great one just getting started! With temperatures in the 40s and 50s nearly everyday, cycling is still an option for me even as we move into the second full week of November. Dressing in layers really helps guard against the cold. It is the wind that I am trying to tame. Not just the wind that is blowing around, but the wind that I create as I cycle. I have not found just the right outer layer to keep me free of the effects of wind, but am searching. Kind of a fun challenge for me.

Give Yourself Your Best Gift and Christmas Dress Challenge updates:
Track my food intake daily: Yes. Done all 7 days. Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: My average was a little over 1500. I am happy with that total and here is why. Those of you who have been following for a while know that I include all calories in my daily totals. It is about accountability for one. But, it is also about the idea of building in some of the foods that I enjoy into my getting healthy journey. Halloween was Monday. I did not have any candy until that day. I indulged in 4 “fun size” candies (Butterfingers if you are wondering) for a total calories of 332. On top of that I had two small pumpkin muffins at 150 each. My grand total for eating Halloweeny foods was: 632 calories. I planned to enjoy a few foods on Halloween and I did just that. I did not binge and I did not overeat. As a matter of fact I think those few items are remarkably normal for someone like me. And that is what I am trying to do. Enjoy a few foods that are not my usually fare once in a while. Done. No regrets.

Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week: I exercised everyday this past week. My biking mileage is at 58, and I once again climbed those stairs 12 times or 1,176 stair steps altogether. While I am happy with what I did, I found through WB MD a “how to” on seven other exercises that will help me strengthen my core and other parts of my body.

No weigh in this week.

Plan for eating for the big holidays: see above. Check.

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. I am reading. I am learning, too. Aging and the inevitable process of menopause, too, definitely change our metabolisms. Many of you may know Dr. Christiane Northrop from Oprah’s show. I am reading her book, the Wisdom of Menopause. Definitely an illuminating read for both women and men.

Support and encourage other weight loss bloggers: Yes. I continue to do this.

All of the above helps me to meet my target for the Christmas Dress Challenge. I remain focused and moving forward.

Finally, a couple of pictures from this week. The first, Lake Harriett in Minneapolis on a foggy cycling morning. The last, my walking companion, Giovanni.



Thank-you all for sharing part of your day with me, especially my new followers. It takes a village to do what we are doing. Have a great week. TTFN, Michele