Monday, December 30, 2013

4 Random Reasons I Want to Stay Fit

Another day home with the kiddies. It's been so nice to have a string of days home with them. Today we lounged in the morning and later had a midday playdate at the park. We climbed, ran and slid and I noted to myself how good it feels to be physical with the kids. [Playing with the kids, Reason #1]. In maintenance it's so important to reinforce why I wanted this in the first place.

After the park we ran some errands, including Trader Joe's grocery store. Marek grabbed a bag of mini chocolate peanut butter cups because last time we were there I purchased some that we shared - of course I had more than the kids did. So today he tried to toss them in the cart, "we're not getting those this time." He protested mildly but put them back without much guff.

The importance of modeling healthy behaviors was smack in front of me. [Modeling, Reason #2]. I suspect if I hadn't purchased them last time he wouldn't have tried to put them in the cart, they might not have even registered on his radar. It's a good thing what I choose for us most of the time are healthy foods. I can chock that one up to the holidays, even though I know that wasn't it.

In the late afternoon my mom came over so I could get to the gym. I had that 4pm tired feeling - I felt more than a little grumpy too - and I didn't want to go to the gym. I pulled my inner mom-card on myself, "You're going, end of discussion." I've learned enough to know that once I go, I'll be better for it and my grumpy/tired feeling will disappear.

And that's just what happened. I started with 25 minutes on the upright bike and opted to give level 9 a try, the level I'd been doing pre-pneumonia. Ha! It kicked my quads (and glutes). I wasn't able to keep the rpm's I usually keep but I know it's only a matter of time. I think I muttered a curse word under my breath at some point. After the bike I did chest/triceps/PT exercises. I'm already noticing the pushups are getting slightly easier. The planks too were not as difficult as they've been lately. Progress. But still, the workout kicked my ass. As soon as I'm done writing I'm taking a hot bath.
After the gym I hustled home to make dinner. I'd promised the kids a visit to the "Christmas house" after dinner and the post-gym buzz powered me through that just fine. [Energy for everyday life, Reason #3]. Exercise, a magic cure for what ails you. Oh, and my grumpy feeling was gone too, bring on the smile! [Less stress, Reason #4]. I forgot to include this selfie from after yesterday's run so I'm adding it here to pretty up this post. Yep, I just said that.

Last thing - I'm tapering off coffee. I had 8oz yesterday, 7oz today. If I cut my cup by an ounce per day I'll be at 0 come the 1/6/14 start date of the Healthy Challenge. I'm not sure I'll stay off the coffee for the challenge, I plan to try it out and see how it goes. I love my morning coffee and I may not be willing to give it up. Alcohol, no problem. Coffee? We'll see. Not sure tea will do the trick. Another focus is on getting sleep, the challenge calls for us to be in bed by 10pm. Great idea! We'll see how good I am at making it happen. On that note, I'm off to bed to read, 'night.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


147. That's the number from the scale this morning.

So, I'm now over my goal weight. I'd say "it had to happen eventually" but I don't really believe it did. I have plenty of explanations excuses, and none of them really justify what's happened. The only real explanation is that I remain, as before, a food junkie.

I was mitigating that reality with enough exercise and good food choices to keep my weight under 145, my goal weight, for the past year. And then I got sick, again. And I've had some life happens stuff going on. And, and, and.

The only question now is...what to do. I could allow this reality to take me down. Plenty of successful losers have done just that. They slip, fall, and don't get up. I've slipped, no doubt. And in many ways, I am still down. But in the most important way that matters, I'm up.

I have a plan, I have faith, I have a strong internal desire to never give up. This weight loss thing was my dream that I dared to dream (to steal a phrase), and then even bigger, I realized. I will not allow my current struggle to take me down. I know what my 233.8 pound former self would say, she'd tell me to 1. Not take this too seriously and 2. Take this seriously. It's that balance thing again, a little of this, a bit of that. She'd tell me to keep my chin up, focus on the positive. Feels like a list is in order.

What's going right in my eating/fitness world
1. I am exercising and still have a good level of personal fitness
2. I am still within the "normal" BMI
3. I am still blogging
4. I care and I want this
5. I have gained the skills, habits and knowledge to navigate this
6. I am about to start a New Year challenge that will help me gain focus. In other words, I have a plan.

What's not going right in my eating/fitness world
1. 147
2. I am eating a bunch of crap
3. My thoughts. The crap I'm thinking can be as bad as the crap I'm eating

I'd say "I still look good" because that's what most people say when I tell them I'm struggling. But the truth is, my appearance is just not what this is about. Yes, I enjoy looking good, but if I don't feel good, what's the point? I want the inside and the outside to match. If they don't match, it won't be long before they do because the outside will eventually reflect the inside. In other words, if I don't feel good it won't be long before I don't look good either. At least that's my reality, YMMV.

And I can't help but notice that the first list is longer than the second. Of course in diet:think the 147 number eliminates all that's right, but I don't think like that anymore, at least I try not to. That's the kind of thinking that leads to the dark side. As do Hershey's kisses, they lead directly to the dark side. And the good news is, they are gone (because I ate them all).

I'm sure I'll be posting about this more as I work to get myself back into my happy place - mind and body. But for now, let's table it. Because I have better news. I ran today, and more than just a few miles. It was not glorious, nor terrible. It had a moment or two of glory, and some moments of discomfort, but mostly it was just about putting one foot in front of the other and running.

I did a kid-watch swap with my buddy Catherine. She ran first while I watched the kids at her house. I decided to run her route, a 6 mile lollipop route that sounded doable. When she returned she gave me directions and away I went while she watched the kids. The directions included turning right to run a 2-mile loop around "Deer Valley Island". What she failed to mention was that this 2-mile loop was on a trail. With hills. Key pieces of information there Catherine.

But did I falter? No. Did I turn back? No. Did I just keep running? Yes, ma'am I did. My pace was what it was, my legs were sore, my breathing at times labored, but I ran. Oh, turns out the "6-mile" route was 6.5 miles. Hmph.

I was slower than in the past but super happy to come in under 11-minute mile average. The weather was pristine, my body still works.

Full Garmin stats here.
 I know those hills don't look like much but when you've been off the wagon for a bit like I have, they were a challenge. "I like hills, they add interest and challenge to a run, a flat run with no hills at all is boring." Yep, I invoked a bit of hill mantra to keep me happy.

That's it from me. I'm home with the kidlets tomorrow because pre-school is still closed but I have a plan to get to the gym. I still got this. I'm 147 pounds and I still got this.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge 2014

Christmas is over. Whew! Santa's arrival sure takes a lot of preparation on the part of the parents. Still, it was all worth it, the kids shaking with anticipation, the squeals of excitement, the joy of a dream realized. Even if that dream only involves Star Wars Legos. So, a job well done. But a job that left me a bit on the grouchy side. I hadn't exercised for five days.

Christmas made things difficult I didn't prioritize exercise - I hadn't been to the gym since last Friday - and when I tried, it just didn't fall into place. But now? I. feel. good. Isn't it amazing how exercise can turn a frown upside down?

The streak was broken last night when I got myself to the gym despite feeling tired and not in the mood to exercise. I started with a 3 mile run on the treadmill, in 29:29, and then did legs/shoulders/PT exercises. I could feel my body working, and it wasn't easy. I reviewed my workout log and saw I hadn't done legs/shoulders in 10 days (the last time I tried to jump-start my exercise routine before getting sidetracked by Christmas).

I knew that meant I'd be sore today (and tomorrow) for sure. I could avoid being sore by cutting back, scaling things down so as not to tax my muscles but I don't feel like doing that, I'm fine with being sore. It's a good kind of sore anyway, right?

I made it to the gym again today and the trip was powered by my two legs. I rode my bike, starting with a 50 minute loop around town that ended at the gym, followed by back/biceps/PT exercises, and then the 15 minute bike trip back home. It felt so good to be doing what I love. On the way to the gym I opted to ride up this super steep hill, one I avoided for years. As I was riding up I wondered how many people could get up that hill on a bike. Not many I bet, and more importantly, not me for most of my life. It was a good reminder that despite being off my best mark, I'm still way ahead of the fitness game.

But yes, I'm off my mark. And I have an uncharacteristic plan as to how to deal with it. I'm enrolling in a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, a 28-day challenge through my gym. I know, I'm generally against this sort of thing but I've decided to give it a try for a variety of reasons.

First, I feel like I could use some serious focus in the eating department. This challenge involves journaling my food and exercise daily for 28 days. That's attention, alright. Second, I've been curious about the whole gluten-free thing. I don't think my body has a problem with gluten but I'm constantly hearing how much better people feel when they don't eat it so yeah, I'm curious. Third, I'm carrying a good 5 pounds of pure fat that I gained over these past few months and I wouldn't mind a jump-start to help them mosey along and off my body.

So, clean up the food intake, check out the gluten free things and lose a bit of extra fat. What's not to love? Well, I have an answer for that too. What's not to love is it may be a way of eating that I can't maintain for the long-term. And normally I am against any eating plan that is not sustainable. But I'm going into this with the knowledge that I may not keep this up past 28 days, but I have no doubt that I'll pick up some new, healthy knowledge, re-build some of my healthy habits that have weakened over the past few months and I'm planning to segue the motivation and positive energy I'll feel by having completed this into my ongoing normal maintenance routine.

Ok, so I mentioned gluten-free and you might be wondering what else this challenge involves. It's based on the Paleo Diet but it's not a strict observance of that. I know the challenge includes no alcohol and no caffeine. Wait, what? No caffeine? I can give up alcohol, but coffee? The jury is still out on that one. Yep, I'm planning to make this challenge fit my reality. And why not? It's my challenge, for me, not for anyone else, so I will tweak it as I see fit knowing my results may be impacted as a result. The biggest problem I have is I think I'll have to drink my coffee black. Ouch!

Ok, here's the rest of the deal:
  • Weigh in prior to January 5th (Can be emailed or a weigh in can be scheduled).
  • Keep a food and exercise log daily. This log will be part of a shared Google Doc and should include all food and drink with approximate amounts as well as workouts completed. Keeping a detailed journal keeps you accountable and will assist you in understanding your body’s needs.
  • Each participant will agree to do at least 3 workouts per week (either with a coach or on your own).
  • Final weigh-in must be documented by February 8th
So, want to join me? Since it's all done online you don't have to be a member at my gym or live locally to enroll. I'll be posting every day in January (I started that last January and really liked it) and I'm sure I'll post plenty of what I'm eating pictures. Since I have to log my food anyway I'll probably post that here too. If you want to join the challenge with me you can call the gym at (415) 883-9353 to register.

By the way, I don't have an investment in you doing this, it's not like I get a cut of your enrollment fee, but I thought there might be someone out there that would want to do this with me. You can share your progress/struggles/etc here or on my FB page and we can support and encourage one another. And, most importantly, make transitioning after the program a big part of the discussion. I won't be coaching you or running the program, I'll be a participant just like you.

Mark - Before/After, 65 pounds lost
Who will be running the program? None other than Mark, the owner of my gym. Yep, the same guy who featured me in one of his ads. I told you about his being inspired, at least in part, by me, to lose the weight (and who even blogged about it) and did it - he's lost 65 pounds and is keeping it off! Obviously I'm a fan.

Ok, that's all I have on this for now. Feel free to email me if you have any thoughts, questions, etc. I'm happy to kick the idea around with you if you like,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry, Merry One & All!

From our family to wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a bright and festive new year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rolling Toward 2014

Happy Winter Holidays!! I am very excited for my children to experience the wonders of the holidays like no one else but children can.

I am continuing to do what I can, baby steps here and there. The scale has reflected this by inching back under 145 to 144.8 pounds as of this morning. To give you an idea of how I've been eating lately - I had macadamia nuts for dinner last night. Yep, 100% macadamia nuts. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Exercise was rolling, and kind of slowed with the big day drawing near. I admit, I've drifted off to January in my exercise/eating well mind. Not my normal style but this is not my normal life so I'll just roll with it for now. Maybe I'll get a run in after work today. Or maybe I won't.

In any case, I'll be preparing for Santa's big arrival, likely staying up until the wee hours making sure his cookies don't get stale and his milk stays cold.

Enjoy the day, and remember, when it comes to celebrating, it's really only 1 day, maybe 2 depending on how your family celebrates, but it's not two weeks, that I know for sure. Indulge, enjoy, stay present, and then get back to your routine. That's my plan. Kind of.

I'll close with a bit of the good: On Friday I got to the gym MUCH later than planned. I almost skipped it and went shopping instead. But then I realized, how much shopping can I get done in an hour? Hardly any. But in an hour I can run 2 miles and then shower and get ready for the party (that I was going to that evening). Yep, good stuff.

And the not-so-good: Yes, that's a picture of no less than SEVEN empty Lindt mint chocolate truffles, eaten yesterday while driving around from client to client. And yes, I am responsible, solely responsible, for all seven of them. I promptly gave the rest of the bag away to the very next person I encountered. He was happy to receive them and I was happy to unload them. Win-win. Well, more like Lose-Win-Win. But a win in the end so it's not all bad.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect

Ask Yoda
It's Thursday Friday already?! How is this happening? Does time go into hyper-speed in December? Is this happening to anyone else? I feel like the days are zooming by. Of course, of course it's happening to everyone, I can hear it in their frenzied, distracted voices on the phone. And in my own. This isn't the peaceful, mindful lifestyle I'd like to be living but I'm also striving for acceptance of what is so I'll not judge, just accept. Zooming it is. For now.

So Wednesday was a day home with the kids. Those days are numbered, by the way. I am very sad to report that come January I will no longer be working a 4-day workweek. My lovely employer has decided it is best to have everyone working 5-days a week. What century is this? But I'm not in a position to fight this fight right now so I just have to accept it. There it is again, acceptance. I'm doing so by putting my head in the sand and pretending it's not happening. Losing my day with the kids is breaking my heart right now. But uh, well... excuse me while I re-insert my head back into the sand.

Yesterday I went to the gym after work. Glen's spin class was underway so I quickly changed and joined in. When all was said and done I got about 30 minutes of the class, which was perfect. I was short on time so I skipped the post-spin stretching and went to do weights. Arrive late and leave early, what a student.

Weights were chest/triceps/core. Tough stuff there. The pushups are feeling a bit more manageable but the core and tricep work was a challenge. Of course I muscled through (tee hee) and then ran to pick up the kids.

My eating is off-again, I haven't been tracking either. I did so for about 1.5 days and then, blip, I was off. Not sure what to say about that. Nothing to say at this point really. Except that I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, and never give up.

Because of my personal life issues there's been a tape of negative self-talk playing in my head for weeks on end. And it's quite harsh. There is no harsher critic than ourselves and the judgments have been heavy and ever-present. I know it's not helping with the food stuff. And don't get me started on my confidence, suffice to say, it's low. But each workout is like a moment of salvation, a ray of light shining through a hole in the clouds. It's a break from the melancholy that says, "In this moment you are strong and healthy and all is right in the world."

I got on the scale this morning. 145.8 pounds. I am now officially above my goal weight. My pants are a bit snug - nothing you'd notice but I can feel it. And I'm avoiding the pants that were quite fitted a few months ago. But you know what? All is right in the world. In this moment, too, things are good. So much to be grateful for. I will continue to strive, continue to put one foot in front of the other. If, during this time, I take a few steps back, I can accept that as long as I continue to move forward over time. I am imperfect and in that imperfection, I am exactly as I should be.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fast is the Old Slow

Blog makeover!! What do you think? My Facebook people have given it a big, meh, mostly because they preferred the picture that used to be up. But I was ready for a change so here we are. I have to admit, I kind of miss the picture too though so we'll see. I'm going to sit with it for a while and see how I feel.

Anyway...Tuesday already? Day two of the workweek brings two days of exercise. Yesterday (Monday) I went to the gym after work and started with the treadmill. I ran 3 miles (for the first time since my return) at 6.0 and 6.5 mph intervals. I made the mistake of looking up my prior interval pace, 6.5 and 7.5mph. That means my current "fast" pace is my previous slow pace. Ah well, that's how it goes when you fall off the wagon for a bit.

After the treadmill I did legs/shoulders/core. Surprisingly I did my whole normal workout without too much pain. It's a good thing I managed the occasional workout during my sick/slump episode, I'm sure it saved some of the muscle in my legs. Wrapped up with some stretching and then met a friend for dinner. I had a glass of wine and pasta with ricotta for dinner. Plus a little bread in olive oil. The food choices were not the best but I was good about portion control.

Oh, before I forget! I got on the scale yesterday morning and...dun, dun, duunnn...144.8 pounds. Yes, folks, I am a mere .2 pounds from my red-light weight of 145. Eek! So I decided to start tracking, just to raise my awareness a bit on the food intake. So far it's been helpful, though the wheels fell off tonight at my work holiday gathering. We met at a Mexican restaurant and I made the mistake of arriving hungry. Chips, cheese enchiladas and a whole lotta refried beans later and my points took a major hit. Track it and move on, right? Even tracked the sugar cookies, dinner roll and M&M's I ate at home. Yeah, not a stellar second half of the day. But tomorrow is a new day.

There's good news too, so let me close with that. A bit of balance was achieved with a solid workout. I started with 25 minutes on the upright bike, level 8 - I was doing level 9 pre-sick/slump - it was a challenge but I got through it by way of self-cheerleading during the last few minutes. Then I did back/biceps/core for strength training. I was pressed for time so I had to hustle but I managed to do most of it. I skipped the assisted pullups, again. I think I'm going to just drop them altogether for a while. Lord knows I hate doing them so why not, right?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Goal Partially Met

A Sunday evening blog post often finds me describing a weekend filled with activity. And I suppose this one was pretty active, though not with exercise. The weekend started with the end of my non-workday on Friday. I took the day off after waking up with a terrible headache and a stuffed up nose, oh and cramps. Enough already, I needed a break. After resting for most of the day I started making a dish to take to the kids' Holiday Sing-along at their preschool. Homemade mac-n-cheese. Started with a roux - butter, flour - and closed with whole milk, pasta, two kinds of cheese, can you go wrong? The food at the sing-along was mostly calorie-dense and that was our dinner.

I hadn't exercised during the day being sick-ish and all. I ran into a friend who is going to refer me to her practically magically healing alternative doc. Normally I'm too skeptical but she convinced me to give him a try. I'm tired of having what appears to be no immune system at all. Anyway, the sing-along was too cute!

Saturday brought more holiday fun, my buddy Michelle and I took the kids to a neighborhood gathering complete with a magician and an appearance by the jolly old man himself. Fortunately there was no food at this event but we went to FroYo after to make up for that. Saturday evening I went out for a grown up dinner, which included a couple drinks. I made decent (not stellar/not terrible) choices and skipped dessert. Alcohol or dessert, I really shouldn't be doing both unless it's a special occasion. And while eating out- with no dishes to clean or kids spilling food onto my lap - might feel like an occasion, it really isn't.

Sunday morning was supposed to be a run but, well, it didn't quite happen. And I'm ok with that, for now. I'd hoped to come up with a plan to run in the afternoon and the weather was brilliant for it, but that didn't happen either. But midday Sunday I took the kids to a friends birthday, which was held at a local outdoor shopping/dining area that has a weekly "food truck crush" in which various food trucks show up. The choices are varied and delicious and there's live music and plenty of space for the kiddies to roam and climb. The weather was lovely and we managed to kick around for several hours before the kids started to tire out.

Food-wise I had a fried chicken thigh and vietnamese garlic noodles - odd combo I know but that's food truck eatin' for ya - a few bites of the kids' ice cream and some Ghiradelli chocolate. Yes, I brought the chocolate to share (and unload). I got the chicken from Arki's.

And the noodles came from somewhere down that way...

Did I mention the music? They had this folk band in one area and a cello guy who sang in another.

The Farm Band
I managed to get the kids to dance with me between stints of hide-and-seek. It was a super fun afternoon. We came home and I did housework for a few hours and then made good on a promise to bake cookies with the kids. I'd planned to bake chocolate chip but they wanted to decorate them so we made sugar cookies. Still yummy. I ate a few of those. Or more.

Well, it's about bedtime now. I've got my gym bag packed for tomorrow. I'm thrilled with getting to the gym 4 times last week. A weekend workout would have been nice but it wasn't in the cards. I've always said a goal partially met is better than no goal at all. Next weekend I will run for sure. There are less than 6 weeks until the Kaiser half-marathon (a registration flyer came in the mail today, felt like the universe giving me a nudge but I know it's more like marketing nudgery). I need to do an assessment run. I plan to hit the road. If I can run 6 or more non-torturous miles I'll seriously consider Kaiser. If less, I'll shoot for the Emerald Nut Run in March, which is only a 12k.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The One-ness

We talk sometimes about the mind and the body as if they are separate things. I suppose we need to differentiate between the two for purposes of discussion but I don't think it's so much a connection as it is being one and the same, all one being, so to speak. I'm getting a little new-agey here, even for this San Francisco native. But I remember being bowled over as a young adult watching Bill Moyers' series, Healing and the Mind. I was 22 when this series came out, in under-grad working on my psychology degree and minoring in medical anthropology with a focus on healing and medicine in other cultures. This concept of one mind/body being was so powerful to me then. A description of the series...
Ancient Medical Science told us our minds and bodies are one. So did philosophers of old. Now modern science and new research are helping us to understand these connections. In Healing and the Mind, Bill Moyers talks with physicians, scientists, therapists, and patients – people who are taking a new look at the meaning of sickness and health.
I started thinking about this last night. I'd been feeling fairly weak recently, psychologically weak. I know I've referenced challenges in my personal life of late and those had left me feeling incapable, broken, a bit lost and definitely not on solid ground. Over the past 7 years I'd moved into such a place of strength and confidence that to be feeling these things again led me to begin doubting myself. I've been heavy on the self-loathing, beating myself up, not being a good friend to myself. In short, I've been my own worst enemy. It's not good for me or for those around me, chief among them being my children.

If you follow my blog no doubt the weakness has come through in posts. My normal mojo seemed to have left the building. But last night, within the four walls of the gym, amongst the dumbbells and medicine balls, I found a bit of strength. It was physical strength - lifting, raising, holding - but it ignited a spark of mental strength. My mind kicked into gear, inspired by my body. Yes, I can move, yes, I am capable, yes, I am here and I am strong and I can exert force over things.

Can we think of the mind and body as two things, like an engine in a car? I'm not sure those are analogous. Our body is sharing fluid with our mind, sharing matter, the brain both sends and receives information from the mind, they are intricately connected, not just connected, but one. Is there a difference between psychological strength and physical strength?

I don't know what my point is here, except to say that I felt the one-ness of the mind and body in the gym last night. As I strengthened my body, so went my mind. And I believe as my mind gets stronger, it will re-cycle that into the body, a shared system, an ever-engaged body/mind.

It doesn't much matter where you start, as long as you start. The mind, the body - I know, now I'm talking again like they're two separate things, but I think for purposes of discussion we're stuck with the differentiation. Or maybe not? I believe in change the mind and the body will follow, will change the body and the mind will follow also work? I've heard many a story about people who change their body and through that, find their inner mental strength - heck, now that I think about it, that's what happened to me along this journey. And even last night at the gym.

Anyway, a quick post on today. I went to the gym after work and a spin class had just started up. I ran to the locker room and changed and managed to get 45 minutes of the class. The energy I felt on the bike was amazing! I was bopping to the music and smiling like a kid in a candy store. After that I did chest/triceps/core for strength training. I asked one of the regulars to count pushups for me, to push me to do all 20 for my first set - it worked! I did almost my full normal routine, dropping one set of dips when my body was feeling too taxed. So, we'll see how I feel tomorrow. Quite sore I'm guessing. But I'm happy to be in the swing.

Tonight I went to dinner with my mom and ate about 5,000 calories. That's the not so good news. She took me on a date and I had a lovely meal with all the fixings. And dessert. But I'm not worried, I know I'm back on my path and I know where this path goes. As long I stay the course, I know where I'll end up. Back to my happy place - strong, confident, and on a roll. An object back in motion.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bounce, Bounce, Bouncing Back!

Today was my third day back to the gym and I can already say, Bam! I'm feeling the love again. I'll back up a tad to say I spent the day with the kids and my mom. Breakfast was some uneaten bagels the kids had left on the counter, I had a banana and a string cheese for a snack. Lunch turned out to be In-n-Out Burger where I had a cheeseburger, fries AND a chocolate shake. Did I need the chocolate shake? Noooo. Was it a good idea? Noooo. Will I ever be perfect? Noooooooo. Does that mean I shouldn't strive for better choices? Still no. But it's ok, I can live with it. I'm making incremental changes all the time and I know these bad little habits that have wriggled their way back into my life will be gone soon enough.

Focus on the positive - I had a healthy snack. And dinner - a slice (plus a few bites off the kids' plates) of homemade turkey meatloaf, a half-cup of packaged chicken flavored rice and steamed cauliflower - wasn't bad. I made banana bread today and had just a couple bites of that after dinner. And I drank more water than I've been drinking lately, which isn't saying much but still, it's an improvement. Oh, one final positive - there's still that bag of Ghiradelli chocolate in the garage. Haven't touched 'em. I think I'll take them to the office tomorrow, share the chocolate love.

The kids were going nuts for the banana bread, the thought of two teenagers kind of scares me. I'd bet a teenage boy could eat a whole loaf of banana bread himself based on what my 4.5 year old is eating these days. I do my best to limit the junk - banana bread being somewhere between healthy (at least it's homemade and it does have bananas, plus I sub half the flour with whole wheat flour) and pure crap - but they indulge enough that I doubt they'll feel an urge to hide candy in their rooms (like I did as a kid).

Anyway, so when Miguel relieved me of mommy duty I got my butt to the gym. It was late and I felt a tinge of avoidance energy, but I chose to ignore that knowing I need to build up some momentum here. The kids didn't want me to leave, "Don't go mommy, stay home", which is always a  heartbreaker (don't get me started on that topic), but that wasn't an option in any case and I hit the road to the gym. My gym, by the way, is only 5 minutes from my house. I highly recommend finding a gym either close to home or close to work, ideally both. Not having a drive as an added deterrent is good. Ok, I just made a note to write a "how to choose a gym" post soon so I'll stop here on that one (that post will be for you too Shawna!).

Ok, back to my workout. I got on the bike and decided to do the full 25 minutes I normally do but drop the level down to 7 (I was doing 9). It went great! And about 5 minutes into it I started chatting with a fellow gym regular, he's a former Army Ranger and a triathlete and all-around fitness nut so I learn a lot whenever I talk to him. Made the bike ride go by quick.

After the bike I decided I wanted to dive back in and do one of my normal weight training routines. I randomly decided to start with back/biceps/core. I did everything in my routine except the assisted pullups. Truth be told I hate those friggin' things so it was an easy decision. I figured it was best not to push my body too hard right out of the gate. Plus my lower back has been achy.

I can't tell you how good it felt to be doing my thing! And having all the time in the world was so nice. I'm normally flying around in a post-work/pre-kid-pickup time crunch but not tonight. I lingered, I chatted, I breathed in the gym air. What I normally do in an hour took an hour and 15 minutes. Man have I missed that place. I love my gym. I don't know why I've stayed away so long. Wait, I know why, I was sick. And in a bit of a slump. But I'm coming out of it! Sing it with me...

Ok, you don't have to sing but how can you not? And check out her body?! It's amazing. This was in 1983, when I was 12 years old. A fine year for me, actually. Love that energy! Speaking of bodies, I was checking mine out post workout, it's not bad. I've been feeling mushy, fat and just big lately - mostly psychological I know, but I tell ya, I still look pretty good. Got a bit more in the midsection than I did at the beginning of the year but that's ok, I know what to do about that. And I'm doin' it. 

I sure hope this uptick in energy, optimism, motivation and self love sticks. I'm due for a nice long bout of feel good! A quick thank you for all the support in the form of comments here, on my FB page, in person, email, etc - all of you commiserating, reminding me that it'll get better/not all is lost, cheering me on or being down in the dumps with me - thank you!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Habit Forming

It's been two days since my last post and guess how many times I've gone to the gym? Yep, twice. Yay me! Yesterday I went after work and unfortunately didn't have a lot of time. So I ran for 2 miles on the treadmill and then managed to get 3 sets of 10 pushups in before I had to leave. I hadn't been in my gym in forever and a few of the regulars wanted to know where I'd disappeared to so that took a bit of time, "pneumonia this, cold that, blah blah blah...".

I think I mentioned that when I worked out this past Friday I felt very weak and yesterday was no different. The pushups felt so hard and I was doing fewer than in the past. After some time off it's so hard to accept that you can't just jump back in where you were.

So today I ran on the treadmill, again for two miles. But this time I'd managed to procrastinate at work to the point of not having time for strength training at all. Makes my measly 30 pushups from the day before look better. While I was running on the treadmill I started thinking about how slow I am now as compared to before. And how difficult weight training is now, how few reps/sets I'll probably be able to do and how I'll have to lower the weights I lift.

I eventually caught myself and tried to get perspective. I can run for two miles, I'm sure more if I wanted to. How fast is not as important as the fact that I can. Besides, in general I'm more concerned with endurance vs speed anyway. How far, how long are both more important to me than how fast. But don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to getting some speed back eventually. As well as being able to lift heavier weights again.

But for now, while running on the treadmill, I realized I just want to focus on re-building the habit of exercise. I have completely fallen out of the habit and establishing that again is goal enough for now. So, I'm taking a bit of my own advice and setting the bar low. My goal for this week is to get to the gym four times and then do one thing outside on the weekend (probably a long run as I'm technically already in the training window for the Kaiser half).

As far as what I'll do at the gym? Doesn't matter. This is about forming the habit and nothing else. I just need to get my butt to the gym. What I do from there is icing on the cake. So I think I'll focus on this for the rest of this week and next week too. Then, with two weeks under my belt I can re-assess what feels right at the time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snark Infested Waters

I really should mix up my blog post writing time. Evening posts probably sound more worn out and tired than morning posts, when I'm still on a full tank of energy. At least most of the time anyway. Post coffee of course. At the moment my back hurts, I've been cleaning house for most of the day, and my kids are pushing the frustration level up to near mama-starts-shouting level. Not there yet fortunately, but close. The good news is, they're both in bed. I can hear them chattering away but at least they are tucked in for the night.

Yes, my back started hurting again a couple days ago after quite a spell without any back pain. It's that same lower back ache. My exercise and eating remain, hmmm, let's call it off. As in off routine, off plan - "plan" being redundant to routine because really there's no official plan, though maybe I should institute one soon. Heck, maybe I'll have to institute one if my weight keeps climbing. And why shouldn't it? I'm eating too much, moving too little. There's no funny science that can make that equal maintenance.

As if they're on to me I got an email from Weight Watchers about a new aspect to their program called Simple Start. It's not a new program, as I understand it (and that's important because I just skimmed the info) it's a new 2-week plan within the plan where they give you all your meals, etc (you can "skip" a meal and ask for an alternate) for two weeks as a way to get started or if you need a fresh start. I would be in the latter category. I need something to help me re-align in some department so I'm considering following it for two weeks. You know, just for kicks. Or, really, for a kick in the rump.

Ok, so enough about my slump. How about a few words on things that are going right? I got some exercise this weekend. I went on a nice long bike ride on Thursday. It was a bit chilly but I was riding along the coast and the beautiful views of the Pacific made up for my cold hands. Halfway through might have involved a stop for tea at a Ritz, which also helped balance the chill. I didn't take a single picture during the ride so I lifted a couple from the Ritz Carlton website to give you an idea of the surrounds. Most of the ride wasn't amidst landscaped lawns but the coast was just as beautiful the entire time.

 And here's the room where I had tea.

Lovely yes? I was in a big, leather easy chair by a fire. That was halfway through an out-and-back ride. It wasn't easy returning out to the then even chillier sunset air to ride back but no way in hell I was going to bag the ride and catch a cab back to my car. It was a leisurely ride but I don't want to discount the calories I surely burned. And the mental reinforcement of activity.

On Friday I actually stepped foot in a gym. I ran for two miles on the treadmill, which just about killed me, and then I did a random mix of weight training - some pushups, squats, planks, bicep curls, you get the idea - to say "hellooooo in there!" to my muscles. They let me know today how unpleased they are with the lack of attention they've been getting. In other words, I'm sore. But not so bad that I can't exercise tomorrow, which is on the agenda. My cold is almost completely gone and the deal-with-the-devil to ward off pneumonia seems to have gone through, so far no signs of that.

The other good thing I did was dump out the remainder of a 15-pound bag of M&Ms. Yes, I'm exaggerating on the size but it might as well have been 15 pounds and I was pretty much the only one eating them since Wednesday when my mother so kindly brought them over. I asked her why she got them, "it's your birthday." Oh right, thanks. But I shouldn't won't blame her, I'm the only one that chooses what goes into my mouth. And tonight I chose no more M&Ms. Now, the package of Ghiradelli chocolates is another story. Yep, it's all fun-house eating over here. Except, really it's not fun. Which I know. Sort of. No, I know. I do. But I'm in an amnesic state where I don't know what I do know. Or I'm pretending not to. Good Lord this is insane. But writing about all the mental gymnastics helps.

Anyway, the M&Ms went down the drain and I felt better for it. I was eating so many of them the sugar taste was sort of burning my throat but that didn't seem to be stopping me. I blame stress. And lack of exercise. And a sickness induced slump. And anything else I can blame because assigning blame removes the consequences of my behavior, right? Oh wait, no it doesn't.

Despite my snark-filled post I'm actually feeling somewhat hopeful. The exercise was good and while my muscles are super-weak, that's only in comparison to how strong they were. In comparison to before Michelle I've still got it. Ohhh, the kids are quiet. Ahhh, I think I'm going to light a candle and take a bath. My back could use it and so could my mind. And I'll feel ten times better after a bath and a good book than I would more chocolate.

One last note - I haven't been posting my weekly weights because of the Blogger snafu and how much of a pain it is. But I think I'll start a new Maintenance: Year 2 weight log as I've heard starting a new list fixes the snafu. Of course I'll leave the old one up for posterity. Or maybe I'll move it to it's own page so I don't end up with years of weight maintenance logs on my page. I'll always leave weight losing years of logs up - I know how much new readers get from seeing how my weight came off. I have been weighing myself, albeit not weekly like I should. And I haven't been getting to a WW meeting every week like I'd like to. Last time I checked my weight was 142 point something. Getting closer to 145 all the time. 145 = sound the alarm. As if it's not already blaring. But, lots of things I can do to get the fire started over here. And continuing to write here is one of them. So is self care, which means I'm off to draw a bath.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Change of Plans

You might not be surprised to hear this but, I'm sick. I got a sore throat on Thanksgiving and that developed into a cold with...wait for it, waiiiiit for it...a cough. Yep. And guess what that means? No surgery. The doctor was worried that given my pneumonia issues this year, I'd be at too much risk of  developing it again post-surgery. So it's off. Possibly to be re-scheduled for next week or possibly next year (as in Jan/Feb). Whatever. I'm over it. I'm over everything.

When to have the surgery leaves things in flux. I do not like flux. I like predictability and routine. I am human, after all. And not a young, spontaneous, come-what-may variety human but an older, more staid variety. I have memories of spontaneity, memories I can't quite remember but wouldn't mind returning to in the future. Or at least that's how I feel today, while quietly engaging in a bit of a tantrum over said change of plans.

I don't have much more to say at the moment. This may go down as my shortest blog post of 2013. Speaking of 2013, it's nearing the end, which birthday is also near. Soon, yours truly will mark having been alive 43 years, entering my 44th. Birthdays are an interesting marker of time, an asterisk on the calendar that causes you to take stock of things. Which I do not wish to do. I do not like flux, and I do not like taking stock. Even the idea of birthday cake is not fun. Oh boy am I wallowing. And in the midst of the holidays. Wallowing and Christmas just don't go well together.

I'd better wrap this up before I say things that will reveal just how imperfect and moody I am. Oh wait, too late for that.

I'll close with a few happy pictures to ward off urges of hara-kiri.

The kidlets with the Christmas tree.
We were at my friend Michelle's house for dinner. The kids had made homemade pizzas and were eating at the table together. I thought the scene was cute and wanted to snap a picture. There were four kids sitting at the table and this is what happened when I got out my camera.

Kidlets hiding under the table.
 Of course they quickly got back into place and insisted I "take another picture, mommy!" I think we've created a crew of diva starlets.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Balancing My Inner Motivators

Maybe it's time for some major introspection. Maybe all this, "My eating is not good", said in a passing manner, is not doing the problem justice. This journey is always about finding balance. In this case it's balance between the hardline approach and the gentle approach.

Both have their benefits, something to offer, but for me, the gentle approach offers more in the end. It's positive, hopeful and understanding. Understanding with regard to my imperfection. And central to following the gentle approach is knowing, knowing that motivation will return. It will return and when it does, that's when I can "Get it together!" and "Crack down!" - but the difference will be, I will do it out of an internal desire, without the cognitive dissonance (sorry for the psych terminology there) I'd experience if I tried to take that approach now.

Let's follow that path for a moment, the hardline path. So I try get "tough" with myself, tell myself DO THIS, DO THAT, STOP MAKING MISTAKES! And yet, because my motivation is a bit off (a bit, Michelle, really?), because my attention is diverted to other things right now, because my heart's not in it, there will be that push-back, that inner rebel who doesn't want to be forced into anything. And then I'll falter, I'll fight harder than I need to for lesser results. And in the end, I could end up in a deeper hole than I'm in now.

But if I take the gentle path, approach each decision as an opportunity to do the best I can in that moment, then I have a chance of maintaining a core strength, one not weakened by battle, and that strength will be there for me when the spark comes. Does that make sense? Am I over-thinking this? Well, of course I am, I over-think everything but that's just what works for me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Turkey Roll

No, I'm not talking about a re-imagined recipe from the 50's involving rolled up turkey meat and cream cheese. I'm talking about a bike ride, on Thanksgiving! Last year I did the turkey trot, this year, the turkey roll.

The weather was gorgeous. I mean perfect, sunny, windless, gorgousity. San Francisco Bay perfection is what it was. Early that morning I'd packed my car with layer upon layer of warm clothes only to need hardly any of them. It was still a bit chilly when we started so I wore a thin base layer, a slightly thicker top and a windbreaker type jacket. I had on bike shorts with capri pants over them.

We started out at Blackie's Pasture in Tiburon, probably my favorite launch site for all things bike and run related. If there were a place to swim in the bay there it'd be perfection. Wait...maybe you can swim from there. Richardson Bay is right there...I'll have to check that out. Anyway, back to The Turkey Roll.

We rode from Blackie's Pasture toward Mill Valley without a clear plan on where to go. Down the Mill Valley/Sausalito path into Sausalito. Well heck, if we've gone this far, why not head toward SF? The views of the bay were phenomenal. So a bit of climbing from Sausalito up to the base of the GG Bridge. By then the plan was to ride over the bridge but Conzelman Road was calling to me.

Conzelman was the final hill on my list of hills. Marshall Wall (check), Big Rock/Lucas Valley Road (check, and check) and Conzelman Road. I don't know why this hill scared me so much. Oh wait, yes I do, because it looks scary as hell! It just winds up, and up and up. And there's the car factor. It's a two lane road on a cliffside with tourists winding up. Eek!

But yesterday seemed like ideal conditions. Ideal. Perfect weather (by then I'd ditched my top layer and converted my jacket into a vest) and almost no cars (remember, it was Thanksgiving morning, most sane people were home cooking). I had to do it. So I took a deep breath and started pedaling. I remembered all my hill skills - go as slow as you need to, pick a spot in the near distance and ride to that, remember - hills always look worse than they are, steady even strokes, take your time the hill will wait.

This hill was nice in that there was a little bit of a break about 1/3 of the way up. Here, check out the elevation profile (full Garmin stats here). You can hold your applause.

Conzelman Road & Marin Headlands elevation profile

After a brief photo opp we discussed ways to get back down. We could ride back the way we came or ride partially back that way and then turn left to go the tunnel route. Being adventurous and apparently able to conquer any hills we might encounter, I went with the mysterious tunnel route. But first, photos.

Satellite view of the ride.

Alive and well!
As I was riding up the hill I was thinking, "Yep, this is why this matters to me, why I want to stay in shape, why my eating habits matter." If only that were translating into healthier choices but more on that in a bit.

So a bit of WHEEEEEE! down the hill back into Sausalito. My legs started to hurt a tad in the last few miles but nothing that rose to the level of pain. Just a reminder that I've not been moving them enough lately. After the ride we went for a snack before I headed home. I had a quick shower, packed up the kids and Miguel and I headed to my mom's house. Thank goodness for moms who host Thanksgiving! I brought some cranberry/permission sauce and the tequila. Yep, margaritas were apparently on the menu.

I skipped the margaritas but most everything else made it into my mouth. Here's my Thanksgiving plate.

Thanksgiving Dinner
And if that's all I'd eaten all would have been right with the world. But no, I ate that plus olives, nuts, several (albeit tiny) slices of pie, chocolates...the list goes on I'm sure. I've been eating like that lately, like food is never going to come around again. No, more like I'm constantly looking for some form of distraction or comfort or anythingotherthanthemoment.

My weight is stable (142.2) but my body fat is creeping up. I was at 30% the other morning! It's exactly like I described in my Fool Me Once post - if you rely on your weight as the only measure of how you're doing, when you first start to fall off the wagon the scale fools you into thinking you're ok - when you're not. Your body fat is creeping up, your muscle is wasting away and soon, all hell is going to break loose. And I'm at soon right now.

What happens if you see a train coming down the tracks, directly at you? Get the hell out of the way, right? Do you see me moving? Not really. But I want this, I know I do, and I know I'll find my way back to what works for me before too long. If I don't, I might have a posse of people ready to do an intervention on me and send me off to fat camp somewhere for some re-conditioning.

Meanwhile, I'm about to undergo a bit of surgery. I'm not really in a position to share what that's all about right now but don't worry, no life threatening involved. It's just a bit personal and I'm not up for getting into too many details on that right now. One day I will, just not now. I know, a lot of mystery on my blog lately right? Sorry 'bout that.

So the surgery is this coming Tuesday and I'll be seriously recovering for a good 7 - 10 days. Doc says NO exercise for at least two weeks. If my timing is right I might be limping into the gym with all the resolutioners come January 1st. That I should be so lucky. So I have two goal races to get me back on track post-surgery. If my body responds well and I bounce back quick-like, I'll shoot for the Kaiser half in February. But more like is the Emerald Nut Run in March, which is only a 12k - more time to train and a shorter run, MUCH more likely to happen.

Ok, so the personal life is chaotic, work is busy, I'm in some sort of slump thing and I'm heading into surgery. Lovely. I guess we'll just have to see how this goes. You know I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all the support - I'm really going to need it in the coming weeks/months.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Pneumonia Chronicles

I came home from Hollywood and crashed. It was a busy two-and-a-half days and unfortunately I had to work on Friday. Exercise was in the way back of my mind. Friday ran late but luckily I had dinner/playdate plans at a friend's house so at least I didn't have to figure out what I and the munchkins were going to eat.

A quick background on the pneumonia saga. I was diagnosed about three weeks ago. After a one-week round of antibiotics I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment. Bad news, I wasn't as far along on the road to recovery as the doc had hoped. She said I could 1. Wait it out and hope for the best or 2. Do a second round of antibiotics and knock it out for sure. With the Hollywood trip on the horizon (and with being tired of being sick) I chose #2. I started round two of the antibiotics but unfortunately I forgot to take them on the 2nd day. And then on the 4th day I realized I was supposed to take them twice a day, not once a day like I had been. So I stopped taking them altogether. I figured she'd given me option 1 and I'll just switch to that, especially since I was feeling better.

Jump to Friday evening. While in Hollywood I'd had a bit of fever at night. Plus I felt tired. In the airport waiting to come home I felt almost drugged. I knew the trip was exhausting but not that exhausting. My friend Catherine is a nurse so I asked her to give my lungs a listen. Not good. She could hear crackles and let me know there's infection there. Dammit. So I started back on the antibiotics, taking them twice a day and not forgetting a dose. And I have a new follow-up appointment for Wednesday to see how my lungs sound.

Thanks for the support FB peeps!
In response to this Facebook post Melissa asked why I keep getting it. I wish I knew. This isn't really me getting it again though, it's more like it never went away. This is only the second time I've had it. If I get it again the doc's going to send me to a pulmonologist. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

And oh yeah, the Oreos. Ugh. My eating has been all wonky. Super wonky. Scary wonky. It's the exercise/tired/off schedule thing. I think. I hope. No, I know. I know that's it. I know I am not returning to the old me. And if my prior lifestyle is trying to launch a comeback during this weak time, well it's not going to happen. If nothing else I have this blog to set me straight, right?

So bad food choices aside, I think I'm doing ok, considering. On Saturday I did a leisurely 8-mile bike ride on a relatively flat paved trail. Sunday brought another bike ride, this time a tiny bit more work riding along The Great Highway in San Francisco. I rode from Sloat Blvd up past the Cliff House and back, also about 8 miles but including a few good hills. It's hard to ride very far in SF without encountering a hill or two. I felt good. My legs were hurting a bit but it felt good to be doing something.

Today it was back to the workweek. I felt a bit feverish this evening but on the whole I think I'm getting better. Oh, what the hell do I know. I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a wet sheet under me from all the sweat. Gross, I know. And on that happy note, I'll wrap this up.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Day #2, It's a Wrap!

Big Day #2 is coming to a close. And while this was a big day just like yesterday, they were very different. Yesterday was more about fun, confidence, and celebrating who I am today. Today felt more about sharing the message of hope for successful weight loss and maintenance, and involved a ton of nerves!

Fortunately we had a late call this morning. Roni checked with me about breakfast and after sleeping in (me, not her, she did a CrossFit workout this morning) I was ready to do something. So I packed up my clothes and met her at the hotel restaurant. Our hosts gave us dining money and neither of us were even close on spending it so we went crazy with breakfast, trying a bit of everything. Really it was more like brunch, which maybe will make this sound better.

I ordered oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins, a veggie/avocado/cheese scramble with hash browns and we shared a side of jalapeno bacon (bacon marinated in jalapenos - now there's an idea!). She had a scramble, hash browns and a side of fruit. The food was all delicious. The scrambles had more choices of cheese than I've ever seen on a menu. I love gruyere cheese so I went with that, yum!

The waiter even commented on our order, "that's a lot of food." Yep, but we got it covered. Kind of. I ate most of my oatmeal, most of my scramble, skimmed the yummy/crunchy part off the hash browns and left the rest, and had a slice of bacon. I'd meant to take pics of my food when it arrived but didn't remember until I was almost done. Oh well, better late than never.

Julie, one of our hosts, arrived and I was able to share our bacon and my avocado with her. I joked with her that in the past that bacon would've been gone before she arrived. There's always going to be more food. It's not that I had a past fear of not having enough food, but I think subconsciously I viewed eating as an opportunity that I shouldn't pass up. Now I know, food is everywhere, very rarely is food a special opportunity. And when it is, I indulge, so I'm not missing out on a thing.

Anyway, back to my day. After breakfast our driver took us to the studio. More hair and makeup and more feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the changes that have taken place in my life over the past 6.5 years. There's the obvious change, the weight loss, but there's also becoming a mother to my two little loves, discovering the me I am today, and being willing wanting to boldly follow my path, where ever it leads and whatever fears I encounter along the way.

Ok, Michelle, pull it in, focus.

On the lot, heading into the stage area
Here I am getting makeup done by Jan Ping, a cancer survivor, Emmy award winning makeup artist. And an absolutely gorgeous woman!! Jan made me super glamorous and I'll admit, I felt a bit funny with all that eye makeup on but everyone assured me it will look good on TV.

Then it was on to hair, where Mimi Love - yes, that's her real name - made me look like a pro.

The final product!
Next up were microphones.

Me getting mic'd.

Roni and Erika's turn.
And then it was heading to the stage. My nerves are starting to climb!

I watched them prepping on the stage monitors and almost burst into tears. I felt like I was about to get a major award, like this was my Oscars or something. It's obviously not that big of an event but for me, on this journey, it felt that big. You know this isn't my normal life. All this attention, the recognition of my journey, it was a bit overwhelming.

Final pep talk from the stage manager and then 3, 2, 1...Go!

I wish I could tell you more but the rest will have to wait for a while. I will tell you I got to spend more time with two amazing fellow bloggers, Erika and Roni, and with our gracious, giving, kind, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive hosts. Can I say more nice things about these women? They treated us like the big-timers we obviously are (ha!) and reinforced our stories and our blogs as important, inspiring and motivating.

Here's a pic of me with Julie and Susan. Can't you tell just from the picture how awesome they are?!

Susan, Moi and Julie.
And even more photo love.

Erika, Julie, Me and Roni.
I'm at the airport waiting for my delayed flight to take me home. For dinner I had a McDonald's hamburger, a small bag of corn nuts and a McDonald's cone. And I have a bag of peanut M&Ms for the flight. I know, I know. It's all the nervous energy I think. To make matters worse I was hoping to get home in time to see my babies but with the flight delay they will be sleeping before I get there. I miss those little buggers. See you soon little loves!

I may never have another experience like this one again. But the memories - the people, the pictures, the feelings and the lessons - those will stay with me. And with that, Big Day #2 is a wrap!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Day #1

Whew, I'm exhausted. That is EXHAUSTED! Life has been crazier than ever. I can't possibly catch up since my last post so I'll mostly be sharing pictures. A highlight was this past Sunday when I went wine tasting with some friends. We stopped for a bit of shopping and though I didn't actually buy it, I loved this look.

Actually, the boots are mine. I loved the outfit but had to pass on the jeans and top for budgetary reasons.

Don't ask me about Monday, it's no fun. Let's move on to yesterday.

After work I flew to Hollywood, CA. I arrived at my hotel and promptly took in the scene. Cool, hip, fun.

I went down for dinner with one of the folks running this whole operation. Dinner was super yummy, we shared a couple appetizers and for my entree I had yet another appetizer, grilled octopus. It was just the right size and I enjoyed eating something I certainly wouldn't make at home. After dinner I met up with a co-secret-operation chick and went for an evening stroll.

Up bright and early this morning for Big Day #1. First to film some B roll (whatever the heck that is). Here I am with one of the producers and an intern.

Say Hi to Rob Bender and Hannah Henrickson
 At one point Hannah was holding my coffee while I was being interviewed and I had this, "whoa, I'm almost like a superstar" moment. Yeah, I know...almost is an understatement, but a girl can still daydream, right?

As I mentioned, I'm not alone in this whole thing, I have co-secret-operation chicks. Oh heck, I hope it's ok to mention the fellow bloggers with whom I'm having all this fun, Roni Noone from Roni's Weigh and Erika Kendall from A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss.

Roni waiting for her time to shoot
After the B roll business it was off to the studio for lots of picture taking, video capturing, interview having fun. The number of people that go into pulling off these types of operations is amazing, and they all work hard to make folks look good and feel good so they can have a great experience, be it personal or professional. I was so impressed by all of them - and since I can't go on and on about what this deal is all about - I want to use this post to share their pics and say a BIG thank you!!

First up is Erika, who did my makeup, working her magic on my face.

Thanks Erika!

Then off to hair, where Kristen continued with the prettying up.

And finally, clothes! Robyn helped us find the right duds for the "look" and Cee kept the clothes looking sharp for us.

How cute is Robyn?!

And there's Cee, prepping shoes while our hair and makeup gurus hang out.

So we're all set, ready to take some pictures!!

That's our super cool photographer Cheyenne Ellis getting things ready for us. Her energy was right up my alley, relaxed but serious. Did I mention she's gorgeous?!

Thank you Cheyenne!
Oh, and then there's Justin. He spent most of the day tracking as part of the whole operation. Which, quite frankly, was painless based only in part on his being so damn cute! The other part was that he was friendly and fun. A couple times during the day he saved us with music when our energy lagged.

Thanks Justin!
Let's see...who else was involved in all of this? There are others, but I think I have to save them for whenever it is I can talk about what this all was. I know, I know, I wish I could tell you all about it but the powers that be want us to keep mum until...until early next year. Then you know I'll go nuts posting pictures and video and the whole story.

But for now, I'll just share what I can...more pictures! Forgive me in advance for all the selfies. But hey, this is a blog, it goes along with the deal right?

Hi Erika!!

Lunch! You know I had cookies.
A photo-bombing photographer.

So I roped him for a selfie.
A total Glamour selfie with Roni. OMG, we are too much! I love it!!
And finally, a somewhat random picture that says so much...I had to have my blouse "pinned" because it was too big. What life is this I'm living? This is so surreal, so exciting and energizing! I can't wait to tell you more, and I can't wait to hopefully inspire someone, any one, just that one person, to get off the couch and start living!!

Tomorrow is Big Day #2. And I'm sure I'll write another equally secretive post to tell you as much as I can. And then it's back to my normal life. Unfortunately I didn't land a co-hosting gig on the Today show and I'm not on Amazing Race so this is a one-shot deal...really a two-in-one shot deal, well, actually, turns out it's a three-in-one but who's counting? Point is, tomorrow evening I'm heading back to my life.

Oh, last thing...after this whole big exciting day I mustered up the energy to exercise. I put on my running clothes and hit the streets of LA, running over the Hollywood Walk of Fame...which reminds me of a picture I forgot to share (gasp!)...I took this while out on that stroll last night with Roni...

I love Bette Midler!
Anyway, back to tonight...I went out for a quick run. I have no idea how far, for how long, or how fast I ran...all I know is I ran, and that's all that matters on a day like today. Then I hit the hotel gym for a quick weight training session. And then the treadmill for a mile (I'll admit the mystery distance bugged me and running the mile on the treadmill somehow made me feel better. I just needed a number! I'm crazy.) After the workout it was a quick trip back to the room to ready for dinner.

Dinner was super yummy, with great company, and included a round of desserts. Now I'm back in the room sharing all the fun here. My next post will probably be this weekend when I hope to tell you I've been exercising consistently and eating, well, let's just focus on the exercise for now. I hope you enjoyed all the pics, night all! And Lindsey, I'll see YOU tomorrow!!