Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ruminations at the end of 2011!

Greetings blogger friends on this the last day of 2011! My family and I enjoyed a remarkable Christmas. First of all we had SNOW in NW WI (!!) and cold enough temperatures to freeze the lake into ice unlike most other geographic locations in the upper Midwest. Here are a few pictures of Christmas at the cabin:








That is Hann
(4.5 years) putting the star on the top
Table ready for 18 family members!








How about some ice fishing?
Hubby making our first ever ice skating rink by hand of course!


Animal prints
Wind swept snow (below).
Well, it was not all a perfect Christmas. Our well pump sprung a leek (see that hole in the pipe right center) at 11:30 (!!) pm on December 23. We are so grateful that Dave,  our well guy,  made it a priority to be at our house on Christmas Eve morning at 10:30 am. He drove 55 miles to get here, too. Thank-you, Dave!
We have a new pump now that should last for MANY Christmases to come!


Now: A few words of rumination on this the last day of 2011. My goals and themes for 2011: balance, downsizing (not just physically) and organization. These ruminations will be about downsizing that refers to physical health. On January 1, 2011 I laid out several goals:

First goal: Be at 170 by the middle of April 2011.
If you have been following my blog, you know I did not make this goal. On Christmas Eve I was still at 173. Being at 170 by April was just not realistic for me and where I am in my life metabolism wise. I lost 18 pounds this year for a total (you all know this already) of 40 pounds off. As I make my 2012 goals, I will keep in mind that I basically lose about . 5 pounds a week.

Second goal: Keep up my fitness level and increase the rigor of my regime. Yes. Resounding YES. I have added distance and speed to my cycling regime, I jogged up thousands of stairs across the year and increased my time and distance for walking. I have never felt so physically fit as I am now, even though I know I have a ways to go.

Third goal:
Track miles walked and biked for the year.
Yes. I walked at least 442 miles this year. I did not always carry my pedometer, that is why it is “at least.” (So, Julie, I made our walking challenge! My biking total stands at 1583 miles. I do not know how many stairs I climbed, but it is about 5, 000.

Fourth goal: I would also like to start the Couch to 5km by February 19. No, I did not even start. I decided that I would like to be down around 160 before I start to actually run. It is just too hard on my body.

I feel very good about the progress I made on getting healthy and where I am heading on this last day of 2011. It was SO good to be “downsized” for the holidays. Next post will be about my healthy and fit themes and goals for 2012.


To all of you: Happy New Year! May this new year see you exceed your own goals for health and fitness. TTFN and thanks for stopping by, Michele

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 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quick update from San Francisco!


Hello Blogger Friends,
Just a quick update for my two challenges:
Challenge updates
Track my food intake daily: Yes. Done 6/7 days. Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: Well, I did this for 6/7 days. It was Dutch Sinterklaas this week; I went over by 500 calories on Monday, but the rest of the week was great. Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week: I exercised 5/7 days for a total of 5 hours with 12 miles. Now that biking is on hold, I will need to pick this up a little more.   Weigh in: No weigh in this week. December  17 will be the next one. Plan for eating for the big holidays: Yes, good for the most part. but no biggie. 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!
We are off on a quick trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and his wife for his birthday. We will also get to see our son and new daughter-in-law! They have their proofs from their recent wedding: can't wait to see all the pictures!  We will get to do some hiking today in Muir Woods (Ewa, I will think of you!) and of course eat plenty of good and healthy (mostly) food. Have a great weekend! TTFN, Michele

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leaving fall for winter, cooking and challenge updates

I snapped that picture above just five short days ago
while on an early morning10 mile ride around the lakes here in Minneapolis.
The light was just beautiful, don't you think?
I was able to get in 30 miles last week, even a 10 miler on December 1, 
but, that may be the last riding for me for a while because this is what it looks like now:
My two daughters and I set a side one day last week to bake and cook together. 
We tried loads of new recipes, including one for Bruschetta:
Another for Margherita pizza (only 250 a slice):
and whole wheat bread.
My Cuisenaire really had a work out last week. I am more confident using it and believe me it is a TON of fun. That Bruschetta is about as easy as can be and healthy, too. Tomatoes, basil, garlic and a little olive oil are the main and simple ingredients. I did not take a picture but I also made my first homemade hummus. Both the hummus and the Bruschetta were served at a holiday party this weekend. It is a fun challenge for me now to try to find good and healthy things to make for special occasions and even to tweak some of our family's holiday favorites. We made some holiday goodies including some muffins, pumpkin bread, cookies, and caramels almost all healthier versions using applesauce or whole wheat flour. I am very proud of the fact that throughout our baking I had no licks, bites or chews! Everything is safely frozen for Christmas.

Challenge updates
Track my food intake daily: Yes. Done all 7 days. Stick to under 1500 calories on average a day: Well, I did this for 6/7 days. Last night at the holiday party I did go over, but only by three hundred calories. So, no big deal in my book.  Exercise, rigorously, at least 8 hours per week: I exercised 5/7 days for a total of 7 hours. My biking mileage came in at 30, which is low, but it is probably the end of the season for me;  stair steps were 800 again, plus I walked 14 miles.  Weigh in: I did weigh in and am the same: 173. Plan for eating for the big holidays: Yes, although like I wrote, I did eat more at that party, but no biggie. 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!

 Now for the dress:


No, that is not me (!!), but I DID wear that beautiful dress to the holiday party. My hubby says I was a knockout (!), regardless of what he said though, it felt GREAT to finally wear it and fit in it, too. It really was a great marker as to how far I have come. I will wear it again and next time will have someone take a picture of me in it.

Looking forward to reading and catching up with all of you.  Have a great start to your week! TTFN and stay strong, Michele