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::Stats::

I had my first follow-up evaluation last week and I want to share the good and bad from it.
The bad was already pretty clear. I did well from December to February, and even managed to drop almost 15 pounds during the holidays. However, in March I went through a very large transition at work and the prep beforehand combined with the adjustment afterwards wiped 3 months off the calendar for me. (You’ll notice there was a large gap of my not blogging, or logging, or working out, or pretty much anything besides work, scarf fast food for lunch, come home too exhausted to cook or clean, eat out for dinner WAY too much.) Weight loss and fitness goals were not the only thing to suffer. My marriage, my parenting, and my laundry pile all took a big hit as well.

Starting in June, though, I feel more control and relaxed at work, and have recommitted to my fitness goals big time. I’ve been pretty consistently hitting the gym 3-4 times a week for two months now, and although my weight is still not back down, there are some improvements. Here are the numbers:

Flexibility: From “needs work” to “fit”

Pushups: went from doing 6 in a row to 14 in a row!

Biceps Strength: From b/t “needs work” and “fair” all the way to EXCELLENT! (Or by their measure, from being able to lift 39 pounds to 55 pounds.)

Inches lost: 5.75 total. 2″ from each thigh, an inch from my waist, and a tiny tiny bit from my hips. (LOL, they will be last to go, I’m sure.)

Body fat %: lost 2 percentage points to be at 34.3%. I am definitely hoping to reach a goal of 22-25% in the next year. I know I can do it.
The bad: my weight stayed virtually the same, BMI is still a 38 which is obese, and my BP and resting heart rate were actually a little higher than in December. My aerobic fitness barely budged and is still in the “needs work” category although the trainer and I had a talk about that and she felt I did make some great improvements (my recovery was much quicker than last year). She feels that it’s closer to the fair category and said that it’s likely the fact that the type of cardio they measure is the bike, and since most of my cardio is through walking/swimming, I may have a bigger jump on the bike than in the mediums I normally use.

All in all, a great jumping off point, and I’m very excited to share that I made an appointment for a 1-hour training session. She’s awesome and knows I can’t afford to do a whole series, but I shared that I really feel the lifting is moving me in the right direction. I try to do as many free weights as I can with arms, but need help knowing where to begin with squats, lunges, deadlifts, abs, and benches because I don’t feel confident enough to do them in front of others at the gym. So I should have a much better lifting routine worked out soon, and I can stop using those girly weight lifting machines!

Hopefully I will build on this progress and truly make this lifestyle thing stick.

 

25 Things You Probably Don’t Care to Know

I haven’t done or even seen a meme in quite some time. I think they are way underrated. Here is mine.

1. I just scheduled my first session with a personal trainer so I can do more free lifting. I’m excited/nervous.

2. I have always been very flexible and could still do a split at 220 pounds. I will reach that goal again.

3. Cooking and cleaning the kitchen is cathartic for me, as long as I can be alone when I do it.

4. I’m one of those terrible people that thinks of my dog as a family member my daughter.

5. I always wanted boys instead of girls. I was terrified I would have two girls. I’m not scared to admit that I certainly had a gender preference during my first pregnancy.

6. I am an unaffiliated voter but for the most part align myself with Libertarian principles.

7. One important exception is smoking bans: I think it should be illegal to smoke in the car with children, in public parks, or at public events. Or at least that there should be designated areas for smokers to hole up and pollute only the air they have to breathe.

8. I took a huge cut in pay to work in a career that is more geared towards a work/life balance. I have never regretted it.

9. If I wanted to work every weekend, I would absolutey be a wedding planner/florist. I would have a blast and I’m pretty great at it.

10. My favorite healthy food is tomatoes, and specifically caprese (tomatoe, basil, buffalo mozzarella). I generally love vegetables, and I let the prep time keep me from making them far too often.

11. My unhealthy faves list is way too much to list: pizza, burgers and good craft beer, mac and cheese, and far too much wine.

12. I could eat Mexican 3-5 times a week and not get tired of it. Ever. Fajitas, quesadilla, black beans, pico, and a crapton of guacamole.

13. My birthday is 7/7/sometime in the 70′s. A lot of times people don’t believe me.

14. Growing up, my birthday was so close to Independence day that I thought the fireworks were just for me.

15. I am way too verbose and have a knack for using too many commas and apostrophes. I like punctuation a little too much. (The Oxford comma saves lives, yo.)

16. I cannot abide by textspeak. I rarely text or use Twitter and when I do my friends tease me because I use proper grammar, capitalisation, and punctuation. I cannot be friends with or respect someone who uses “u” in an email to replace “you”.

17. If you sing “O Canada” in pirate speak, it’s really, really funny.

18. I play fantasy football and fantasy hockey. I get really, really into it.

19. I’m very well-rounded. I like most sports, but I also like theatre, music, and books.

20. My all time favorite musical talent is David Gray. I could also listen to Mumford&Sons or the local bluegrass group Chatham County Line multiple times a day and not get tired of it.

21. I love comedy. Jon Reep is likely my favorite comedian, although I highly reccomend checking out anything by Rhett&Link.

22. My taste in men varies greatly. I’d like to think this means I’m not shallow and that I’m attracted more to personality than looks, but given the fact that I routinely google image search Tim Tebow, this is probably not the case.

23.  The number one quality I value in people is a sense of humour.

24. Although I’m loathe to admit it, I love a good 80′s hair rock anthem/ballad. I also love music by Prince, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Queen.

25. I think the internet is amazing. I am master Google stalker and I could literally spend 10 hours a day online just goofing off if I let myself.

I’ve Never Had A Goal to ‘Read Less’

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The way lore goes from my parents, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on by the time I could say the alphabet. And I mean everything. Newspapers, novels, biographies, cereal boxes, gossip magazines, CD cases (who else do you know that opens them and reads the acknowledgements?), shampoo bottles, and with the advent of message boards and Facebook all kinds of different blogs and newsmagazines. My preferences run wild from Middle Eastern memoir-lit (Khaled Housseini novels and Reading Lolita in Tehran are favorites), to local authors like Charles Frazier and Thomas Wolff, through classics like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ayn Rand, with the occasional Patricia Cornwell Thriller or sappy Nora Roberts  trash romance thrown in for variety.

Growing up in a boating family, I have had vacations where I packed two decently long books yet still had to make a stop by the Beach Book Mart or Dollar Store to grab another one to get me through the entire 8 days. My time at the beach was spent equally between swimming, skiing and wave-jumping, alternated with sitting on the boat or lying on a beach towel with a book in my hands. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received was a waterproof book of remarkable short stories written by authors around the world. It lasted me two glorious summers.

Enter my mid-thrities, complete with a husband, dog, and toddler. For the last few summers the routine has been like this: get up early, have a huge Southern breakfast, read while toddler naps, go out on the boat for a few hours, shower, eat dinner, read after the toddler goes to bed. Finally this year my husband said that our vacations were really boring to him and he felt like we didn’t spend any time together because all I did was read. I have to admit, I should have seen this coming. He’s been dragged along for several summers now with my entire family and begrudgingly let our group of stubborn, loud, obnoxious boaters have our way with the activity choice.

Luckily, this year was the perfect time to cut back on my reading. (It gives me the heebie jeebies to even type that out.) Because my number one obsession this summer is probably Ryan Lochte  the Olympics. I love, love, love the Olympics. I could take 2 weeks of vacation and literally watch every second of gymnastics, swimming, diving, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and a good portion of track and field, beach volleyball, and rowing. With the advent of DVR, this is almost a possibility. So last week became Olympics central during rainy days, naptimes, and late nights. Hubs and I sat around with the family discussing the races and bigger philosophical questions such as should we pity Chinese and Russian athletes for coming from the “all or nothing”, cradle-robbing society that forces them into competition at the ripe age of 6.

We also took bike rides, romantic moonlit walks on the beach, and played a few heated rounds of Scrabble (wins came out me-2, rest of family-1). It was actually pretty nice. I read one book the entire time I was there, mostly during the 2 hours of alone time I got while the boys were occupied. For the most part, I spent time with my family. I didn’t even take a book out on the boat with me AT ALL, and while it may have found its way into my beach bag during one of our trips to the ocean, it never saw the light of day as I was too focused on marveling at my previously water-phobic two year old ask multiple times to “go in the wabes” up to our necks.

So while most people probably have a goal to read more in the summer, reading less is actually growth for me. I’m coming out of my self-imposed turtle shell and becoming more confident in my own social personality. I’m craving time with others again, instead of craving time alone. I look forward to weekends not because I get a “break” but because I get to spend time with the people I like spending time with. I feel incredibly blessed to be noticing those around me again.

“Like-Minded” People

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Ah, I’ve heard this term a lot lately. Mostly from my little sister, which has annoyed me to no end.

My little sister who grew up wanting to live on a farm and raise babies and animals in the country, but moved to a big city for four years and now has come home with the apparent idea that everyone in North Carolina has turned into a backwoods redneck during her absence.

I get that people who were born and raised elsewhere have the impression that anyone who says “Y’all” is uneducated and probably exists on a diet of fried foods and pork fat, just like lots of people down here have a hard time shaking the suspicion that everyone from Jersey is Italian White Trash. But to grow up here, with a mother who took us to the Art Museum at least once a month in the summer to help culture us, who served as the Cultural Arts Advisor for our elementary school, and who was a champion for contributing to our well-rounded education, it just feels narrow-minded to turn your back on the people we are as if we’ve never heard of farm-to-table or clean eating.

I used to laugh at the new-age Hippie/Yuppies that have flooded our State Farmers Market over the past 5 years, with their snobby attitude and their high class reusable bags. They sauntered around the largest open air market in the Southeast as if they had invented the Farmers Market, and it was their job to educate us canned-vegetable-cream-of-mushroom Southerners about being locavores.

Um, hello? Down here we did that way before it was trendy. It was just called summertime. You go to the market, or to a pick-your-own farm, or out back to Mema’s garden, and then once a week you got to have a veggies-for-dinner night. Sure we eat our fried chicken or cube steak with gravy, but we eat them with a side of fresh dug new potatoes and butterbeans that were picked and shelled in the last 3 days (and always a plate of sliced tomato). I have many memories of sitting in my grandmother’s hot living room (because it had to be nearing 100 degrees for the window unit to get turned on) shelling some type of beans until the quick of my thumbnail was bleeding. Now, you can’t find unshelled beans or peas anywhere.

I’m not sure where I want to go with this ramble, but in the past month it’s weighed heavily on my mind that someone who claims to be freedom-loving and open-minded could actually turn out to be highly presumptive about the lives that are lived in the South. I, of course, took the opposite path to appreciation of where I was raised. In high school, I wanted nothing more than to get OUT. Go away to the bright lights of the big cities of the world, where the glamorous, interesting people lived. Little did I know that the most interesting people I can think of live or lived right here in this beautiful state that has just enough of everything a person could want. Eustace Conway, Thomas Wolfe, James Taylor, Ava Gardner, Levi Coffin, Zach Galifinakis, Andie Macdowell, John Coltrane, Tori Amos, Andy Griffith, David Sedaris, Jon Reep…so many remarkable people were born here or chose to spend part of their lives in North Carolina.

It’s a beautiful place to grow up, a beautiful place to visit, and I can’t imagine a better place to raise my family. So I’ll raise my glass to being proud of my heritage, both the feats and faults of it, and the next time my sister tells me she wants to be around like-minded people, I’ll sarcastically reply in my best hick voice, “well, shoot, buddy, I jus’ don’t know if you gone be findin’ anybody down in these parts as high-falutin’ and smart as you.”

So, 6 Months Later and I’m on Drugs

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Get your attention?

I know only a few good friends read this blog, but I am feeling the need to start writing it again after a way-too-long hiatus due to professional demands. And oh, also that after losing about 13 pounds I went nuts and gained it all back and now I’m back to about 244, or a total net loss of 4 pounds.

That’s how I’m doing in a nutshell.

Except that it’s not.

In March my company was bought by a larger one, so all of February was spent getting ready for this transition, and all of March and April was spent learning an entirely new way to do pretty much everything in my job description. This left little time for meal planning, going to the gym, blogging, or really most anything else constructive I could have been doing to continue making myself better.

However, I did accomplish one key thing. Back in February I visited my lady doctor and we had an open, frank discussion about the fact that I’m pretty sure I’ve suffered from PMDD since I hit puberty. I got my official diagnosis of depression early last summer, but it’s a little deeper than that, and after trying to cure myself through a little therapy and a lot of positive thought, I finally gave in and filled a prescription for the one drug I’ve always claimed has been responsible for ruining America’s female teenage population: Prozac. I don’t take it every day, but once I popped my first pill the transformation in my level of stress and self-doubt was immediate and ah-maz-ing.

I spent a lot of this spring just focused on being better at my job, being a better wife, being a better parent to my son, and most importantly, soaking in the liberation of those moments of contentedness that seem to come so much more often now. My husband says it takes a lot more to anger me, and a lot less to get me to calm down after an argument. I clean my kitchen most nights after dinner. I’ve taken up actually doing yard work instead of adopting the “I’ll do it later” attitude. We play outside at least 3 times a week now. I just feel LUCKY.

It’s not a fix-it-all pill. My sex-drive, which was pretty low to begin with, is now at the place where it takes a lot of convincing for me to be in the mood, pretty much ever. And my appetite changed…I went back to craving empty food if I craved anything at all, like pizza, sweets, and whatever was easiest. But overall the changes I feel are positive, and I’m now ready to get back to making my body as healthy as my mind is.

I began again in earnest about two weeks ago. I’ve been swimming regularly, and added some weight lifting to my exercise routine about twice a week. We’ve been hitting the Farmer’s Market every other week so that we have lots of fresh veggies at home. We began eating breakfast at home on the week days instead of giving our son a cereal bar or pop-tart in the car and then hitting fast food on the way to work. I haven’t had Bojangles in at least a month.

So, let’s hope that I can give updates at least once a week. I’d love to make this change happen for real, and forever!

New Recipe! Crockpot Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This recipe was inspired by someone I know on a mommy message board who posted that she “threw some chicken in the crockpot with a can of cream of mushroom soup” before work and was wondering how to make it a meal when she got home. I thought it sounded pretty good, could it really be that simple?

Turns out yes, it really can! One day my husband and I will get around to making our own cream of mushroom from scratch, but until then I’m still a Southerner who swears by the Campbell’s can.

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 tenders), frozen

1 can of cream of mushroom soup (I used the full sodium and did not add extra salt)

3-4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

1 package of mushrooms (use whatever you have…I think we had creminis)

2 cloves of garlic, rough minced

Literally, that’s it. I put the cream of mushroom in first, defrosted the chicken enough to get it out of the styrofoam package easily, arranged it in there and then spooned the cream of mushroom around and on top of it. Then I added the celery, garlic, and mushrooms.

I was home yesterday so I cooked it on high for about 3.5 hours, stirred occasionally after the first 2 hours, and switched it to low until we were ready to eat. If I were working, I’d just put it on low and let it go.

To serve, we cooked up some jasmine rice and put the chicken and some of the sauce/veggies right on top to soak into the rice. We served it with frozen steam-in-bag veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts. Which my two-year actually tried because we told him it was the dog’s favorite vegetable. (Really, all people food is her favorite…so it wasn’t an outright lie.)

Hope you enjoy…this will definitely become on of our “healthy and easy” weeknight meals from now on. It feels like comfort food on a cold, rainy day, but if you serve the right portion it’s surprisingly healthy.

New Year, New Me, and All That Jazz.

So, part of this blog is the journey to finding a better me. Not just a healthier, prettier, smaller version of myself, but a BETTER all around version of myself.

I’m happy to report that although yes, my Christmas tree is still up and yes, there are still presents to sort, find room for, and put away, and yes there is still an upstairs hallway full of rumpled cleanish laundry in a pile in front of the washer, I have made progress. Progress in the de-cluttering of my life.

My husband and I both have the sentimental gene. We could probably be hoarders if we didn’t absolutely work at MAKING ourselves throw stuff away sometimes. The funny thing is, we can’t stand clutter, but we’re also lazy. So clutter exists and threatens to take over. So far, since Christmas we’ve sent away two full trash bins and two full recycling bins. I’ve also sorted through my son’s stuff and found clothes to donate to my nephews, clothes to store in case we have another boy baby one day, and one box of toys that I am storing for a future child.

In addition, I have a good size stack of stuff for the upcoming consignment sale, so maybe we can even make a few bucks. I’ve reorganized his drawers and closet and have a plan for how to get his toys in our living space downstairs put away and in place. And let me tell you, it’s tough. Putting/giving away toys he doesn’t play with anymore reminds me that he’s not a baby and never will be (boo-hoo). Although it was nice to get rid of one particularly annoying book that we would honestly like to never see again.

Next step is going through my old clothes and putting up some lots on Craigslist to get them OUT. I have held on to a ton of my clothes in every size from 12-20, with the ideal that when I lose weight I’ll wear them again. But I’m forcing myself to be honest and get rid of ANYthing I don’t honestly wish I could wear. Most of it is just exessive. You don’t work in retail clothing management for 7 years and not have enough clothing to fill 3 dressers. But I don’t work in that industry any more, and a lot of the clothes are too casual for my career now, so I’d rather purge, make a few extra bucks to put towards new clothes when I do lose weight, and have an empty bonus room where I could actually feel comfortable putting an overnight guest.

So, I guess I started my spring cleaning way early, which is good, because if you saw my house, you would understand why I need to purge so much! What are you purging from your life this year?

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