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July - December 2010

My Fitness and Weight Loss Journal
my rants and ramblings...  

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Friday, 12/31/2010:   11:30 am... It's New Year's Eve! Where did 2010 go? It's been a tough year financially, but personally, I had some high points. I celebrated my 2 year anniversary of goal weight maintenance. I was published in a health/fitness magazine. My best friend and WGT (world's greatest trainer) Tab joined me on the website. Toward the end of the year, I had some challenges. My knee being first and foremost. In September I began battle earnestly, struggling to maintain my active lifestyle, and failing. It soon became clear that surgery was my only recourse. I ended this year with many weeks of limited physical activity, a deep frustration fraught with fear for my future fitness. But along with that low, came the high of coming through surgery with flying colors. I'm healing and mobile way ahead of schedule. My clean eating lifestyle has saved me from weight gain during this time, and when I get my doctor's approval, I am ready to hit the gym again.

Instead of ending the year with a big question mark looming over my fitness goals, I am back up and looking forward to progress and potential. Additionally, my family is whole and healthy and keeps me on my toes. My life is full, challenges and joys. I am ever expanding my interests and education. I am happy, I am healthy. I have a blog that has introduced me to wonderful people like you, who further add to my life. I end this year feeling very blessed. And very thankful.

My goals for 2011 are in line with what I've done in 2010.

  • Continued clean eating - excellent nutrition for myself and my family

  • Continued fitness - living an active lifestyle

  • Continued education - completing educational pursuits and continuing education in the field of nutrition

  • Continued publication - build my by-lines and writing resume within the genre of health & fitness

  • Continued blog/website growth - I want to continue to grow the site, moving it to its new URL ( and offer more cohesive resources and new services to help people reach and maintain their weight/fitness goals, including incorporating video. All the info on this site will be just the same on the new URL, free, as always, with the addition of new resources and services.

Toward these goals, there are many milestones to reach. Rehabbing my knee is top of the list. Each goal has mini-goals. For example, once rehabbed, I have goals to take an aerial fitness class, do indoor rock-climbing, complete a zumba class without injuring myself or anyone else. Another goal is to run again. I guess that one is more of a wish, than a goal, but I'm going after it as if there is no question I can achieve it. Should it become a choice between the health and longevity of my knees and reaching that "wish", I will bow to health, but until that is a reality, I will pursue my desire to run, even if it's just on the treadmill.

A further personal fitness goal is to reduce my body fat. I am at a very healthy weight. I am well nourished. But my body fat continues to plague me. I am fully aware that the loose skin I have will have to be surgically removed, and when money allows, I will do so. However, I think there might be more I can do to reduce the body fat. Thankfully, I have the WGT to keep an eye on me and keep me thinking straight while I pursue that goal. Body dysmorphia is very real, and very insidious. I don't want to be caught in its trap.

Professionally, I am passionate about nutrition and fitness, helping others reach their goals. I was incredibly blessed to have Tab in my journey. She was my coach, my mentor, teacher, cheerleader, accountability, and my ass-kicker. When I had no support, she was there. My professional goal is to pass that on. What she taught me, the encouragement she gave me, those are jewels of indescribable value. My tools for doing so, are this blog, the forums I belong to, my writing, and my daily living.

I do live what I write, and that's important to me. My credibility I value. I'm not a fitness model. I'm not paid to blog, or exercise, or anything else. My daily job (full time) is as an administrative assistant and webmaster for a real estate company. I have a family, and a life. I plan, shop for, and cook my own food. I do my own workouts.  I struggle, I triumph, I fail. I'm real. I'm sure you've heard it before, but truly, if I can do it (lose the weight, get fit, reach goals and maintain them), so can you. I'd like to show you how. That's what this blog and website are really all about.

My journey to lose weight, to free the person inside me, was long and tortuous, with many highs and lows along the way. Every low was worth the accompanying high. I hope that here, you find even just one piece of information that will help you in your journey.

I wish you great success in 2011, and I hope you'll allow me to share the journey with you.

Best Wishes!!

Surgery recovery photos...

December 19 (surgery was on the 16th) - bandages off. Rubbing alcohol finally got the last of the betadyne off, though the ink took a lot longer (and lots of rubbing with emu oil!)

December 20th - 4 days post surgery. Swollen, but not bad.

My trusty ice packs

December 22nd - 6 days post-surgery Just two tiny stitches and some swelling.

December 31st - 14 days post-surgery. In this first photo you can't even see my scars!
Here's the first scar... see that tiny pink spot?
 here's the second scar... it looks a little purple

 My right leg is on the left in this pic... a bit of swelling, but really not bad. Would you guess I'd had surgery on this?

physical therapy at home:

Thursday, 12/30/2010:   12:55pm... it's official! There are snowballs in Hell! It's snowing, in Scottsdale! LOL! How crazy is that? It's actually snowing! I looked out my window and thought, that's funny looking rain, stepped outside and couldn't believe it! We have snow! :-D

12:30 pm... I put together my new "door gym" (pullup bar) last night and tried it out. Awesome! So excited! I've never done regular pullups, just the ones on the assisted pullup machine at the gym. I surprised myself by doing 4! I'm looking forward to being able to start my P90X :-) 

I feel great today. I've gone up and down the stairs (normally!) several times. I'll do my exercises later today. So far I've spent the day alternating between working (my incredible boss has allowed me to work from home while I'm recuperating) and studying. I'm hoping to hit the grocery store in a couple hours, and I'm really hoping to do the driving!

Bad news... the hubby is sick. He got slammed by a cold/flu yesterday, and is laid low today. I love him beyond words, and hate that he feels bad, but if he gets me sick I'm gonna have to take him out. Lol. I've got him dosing on EmergenC, and resting. On my grocery list is lots of fluids for him. And lots more Grapefruit for me! We're having crazy weather here in AZ. Well, we're having weather. Lol. Rain, wind, freezing temps. Almost like it's winter!   Weird! Hopefully we'll not have sickness sweep through the house.

Wednesday, 12/29/2010:   6:30 pm... Physical therapy went really well. My regular therapist was back from vacation. He worked with me before, when we were trying to avoid surgery (and did so, successfully on my left knee), and I was really glad to know that I'd be back as his client post-surgery. He was very pleased with my healing and progress, and said there's no need to move to 3x/week for therapy. Yay!  I am still free of knee pain (double Yay!), and my focus is on rahabing the quad, and preventing the scar tissue on the lateral from becoming "tight and short". I'm using the foam roller daily now, toward that end.

Additionally, I had a woohoo moment tonight! I came down the stairs at home NORMALLY!  No side step. No penguin walk. NORMAL! Yeah! Remember, the fill-in therapist told me it'd be a  month before I could do that! One Month, MY BUTT! HA! It's been 13 days since surgery! And it was  pain free! Hell YEAH! Wooohooo!!!!  :-)

Food... I'm very low on caloric intake, but the vast majority of my food is whole and clean. I did have a slice of my caramel apple pie last night :-) With that, I think my total calories in yesterday were around 1300.  Too low, I know. I'm also struggling with drinking enough water. I will focus over the next few days on upping my intake, both food and water. This weekend I will do my regular food prep, then be back at work on Monday with my trusty cooler in hand. I return to my doctor on the 13th, and hope to be fully cleared for gym time then.

Thankfully, I've gained no weight during this down time. The prep I did before surgery both in making meals and freezing them, and making careful grocery lists, really helped me keep clean healthy foods at hand. A huge help! But I'm ready to return to my routine :-)

Tuesday, 12/28/2010:   5:30 pm... Ack! Full email box! I just realized my email box was full and bouncing. I've fixed it, but if you've emailed me since the 26th, and I haven't responded, please resend! Sorry!!

9:30 am... Physical Therapy went well. I had an issue with the fresh scar tissue on the lateral, and that had to be worked on. Incredibly painful, but it's worth it. My range of motion is good, my mobility is good. I even got on the leg press! Woohoo!  I have zero pain in my knee now, though the quad is making up for that, lol. I never really paid attention to the lateral of my quad before, it was just there. Now I'm VERY aware of it, lol.  The therapist released me from some of the exercises I do at home, and added others (basically trading knee flexion for quad). I feel good and I'm fighting to hit full recovery ahead of schedule.

The house is quiet with all the kids gone. 3 are in CA, and Ariel went snowboarding yesterday, so it was just Bill and I. We got on the Kinect and had a great time! I loved Joy Ride, though figuring out the steering is still an issue for me, lol. Then I about threw out my back on a dodgeball type game (way too fun), and slid and jumped for a rafting game. I didn't last long because of the leg, but it was truly a blast. Bill kept playing and did several rounds of a bob & weave type of deal that was awesome! Love the Kinnect!  Can't wait to try the zumba and dance games!

I'm working on my goals list for 2011. Have you started yours? I'll post mine when it's ready.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, 12/26/2010:   7:30 pm... Hope everyone who celebrated yesterday had a great holiday! We did. Though things were really tight this year, we did manage to do one large gift for the whole family. We got the XBox Kinect system. If you haven't seen this thing in action, go to the microsoft website and check it out. It's awesome! There are no controllers! The system reads your body and YOU are the controller. Bill and the kids had a ball with it, and I loved how active they were :-)  I can't wait until I can play!

Of course, being me, I overdid it from  Thursday through yesterday. Yesterday, I was on my feet from 7am until about 6pm. My whole leg swelled up, toes to hip.
:-(  The kids left this morning at 6 to drive to CA, so while the house is so quiet, I've spent the vast majority of the day with my leg elevated, icing off & on, and doing my  physical therapy exercises.  Bill and I had leftover breakfast burritos for dinner, and I had my single slice of killer cheesecake :-)  For Christmas dinner, I'd made both my cheesecake and the caramel apple pie, but didn't have any myself. The cheesecake was absolutely amazing! I think it was the best one yet :-)  Now I've got to give the rest of it away before it becomes a temptation, lol!

Tomorrow I'm back in physical therapy, and I hope I haven't messed anything up by my over-activity this week. Here's the recap:  Thursday was my post-op with the doctor. He was very happy with my progress and healing. The stitches came out and were replaced with steri-strips. I'm to wear them until they fall off. I have a tiny issue with that, lol, as after a day, they look "dirty" and it gives me the heebies. But they're still on, and I will allow them to come off on their one.

After the appointment, Bill and I headed to Fashion Square to do a bit of quick shopping. I moved ok at first, but quickly hit the wall. Had to get the shopping done, though, so I pushed through. From there we hit WalMart then over to Target. All in all I was on my feet for about 4 1/2 hours. Got home and immediately got everything wrapped and moved under the tree. Then I iced like a fiend, lol. Later that night, I had some serious issues with my quad which I think is from the malfunction of the stim machine on Wednesday. I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. Then as I stood up, I felt 2 explosions under my kneecap. It was very, very painful and came out of nowhere. By today I'd developed a dark bruise in the spot of one of those "explosions". Very odd.

Friday, I began the food prep for Saturday. The quad continued to ache and spasm. We had Christmas Eve dinner with friends, and following that, had our annual family poker tournament. Bill won this year. He thinks the cookie monster hat (which matches Shiloh's) is his good luck charm, lol. While they played Texas Hold 'em, I finished up the cheesecake, and put the apple pie together for baking in the morning. Then I cooked the beef & brown mexican rice for the breakfast burritos. Finally hit bed at 2am.

Christmas morning, I got up, moved the stockings downstairs, baked the pie, started the spiced cider (2 64 oz containers of apple cider in the crockpot with a cheesecloth bundle of cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp whole allspice & 1 tbsp whole clove), cooked the potatoes for the burritos, then we opened our stockings. After, Ariel picked up Grandma Goldie and brought her back while I finished up the burritos and popped 'em in the oven. We all enjoyed breakfast, then opened presents. The Xbox Kinect was the big hit we'd hoped for, and they played for the rest of the day. At 2:30 friends joined us, and food was plentiful.

It was a fun day, and by the end, the kids were all packed up and ready for their road trip. Bill and I snuggled in and watched his new DVD of The A-Team (I loved it!). The kids left at 6 this morning, made good (safe) time to Fresno.  I miss them already. Joey and Shiloh will drive home Wednesday, and Bethy will fly home on Saturday.

And that was our holiday! :-) 

Wednesday, 12/22/2010:   9:30 am... I only managed one session of the PT exercises yesterday. I did them, and did them properly regardless of the discomfort and/or pain, and promptly swelled up to the point one stitch began to bleed. No bueno. Ice, compression and elevation the rest of the day. And pain. I pushed through it, worked on my computer, watched Desperate Housewives (onto season 7 now), and felt sorry for myself. Damnit. Finally gave in at 10pm and took a couple vicodin, slept through the night (mostly) and while I'm hurting this morning, it's nothing near the levels of yesterday. Though, to be honest, I'm still fighting my attitude.

I have physical therapy this morning at 10:45. Shiloh will be driving me, then hopefully, I can get some holiday grocery shopping done in a quick blitz so that all supplies are ready when I am. Tomorrow is my Post-Op doctor appointment. Regardless of my nasty attitude, lol, have I mentioned that my doctor did an amazing job on the surgery? Because he did. While I might be frustrated with my own limitations, I am thrilled with the quality of care I've been given, and with the speed of my recovery, lack of bruising, etc.  It may seem like a little thing, but having had several surgeries, I've woken more than once to discover vicious bruising where I had been handled roughly while "out". None of that here! So Thank You, Dr. Richard Martin of AZ Bone & Joint.

All right. Time to kick my ass. I'm heading to the shower then therapy.

Oh! Forgot to mention! I actually saw the shape of my knee this morning! It's been round and this morning it was less puffy, and I actually saw some definition! Progress!

Tuesday, 12/21/2010:   9:30 am... This morning started rocky. Lots of pain. I'm sure it was from the therapy yesterday, along with the "massage" to break up forming scar tissue. I thought I might have to take a vicodin, but ice did the trick. While I'm stuck on my rear with my leg elevated, I am able to get some work done, though I kind of dread doing my exercises, lol. But... do them, I will. Along with that "massage". I'm able to go up the stairs normally (somewhat, lol), but going down is another story. I still can't quite manage the down-step. 

I've been busy planning our Christmas food. While Christmas Eve (Bill & the kids' annual poker party, lol) is fraught with nasty processed junk, I try very hard to simply turn away and not think about it. Come Christmas morning though, I'm back in charge :-)   We're having Ebelskievers (stuffed pancakes) and breakfast burritos. The ebelskievers are these tiny little pancake balls with goodies inside, then drizzled with frosting. Actually there's a million different ways to make them, but the cinnamon-bun style is my family's favorite. I use whole grain naturally white flour and sucanat to prepare, so while they're still a once-a-year treat, they are clean. The breakfast burritos, I discovered when going over my traditional recipe, are also clean! Huh! Again, these are an item I prepare once a year, but even so, they are clean.  The nice thing about burritos is you can put pretty much anything you want in them!

Here's my Breakfast Burrito recipe:

   12 flour tortillas (either make your own, or purchase the cleanest you can find)
   12-24 pieces of thin sliced bacon (I get it from the Whole Foods butcher counter, it's uncured, so there's no nitrates/sulfates/preservatives/additives. It's clean)
   1 can black beans, drained and mashed
   1 can diced green chilies
   2 large potatoes, diced and cooked (you can microwave, bake, grill, or pan fry in EVOO or coconut oil or even real butter. I use butter)
   1 lb of ground beef (or bison or turkey) browned & seasoned with Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle
   Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
   Plain Greek Yogurt
   Salsa or Taco Sauce and/or Sriracha sauce
   12-18 eggs, scrambled

Scramble the eggs & set aside.
Brown the beef & set aside.
Make the bacon and drain & set aside.
Make the potatoes & set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 pan (I use real butter, which is a MCFA-medium chain fatty acid and actually good for you!). 

In a large bowl, gently mix together the cooked potatoes, green chilies, cooked beef and the scrambled eggs.

Add about a tablespoon of mashed beans to each tortilla and spread it around. Add a scoop of the potato/egg/chili/beef mixture. Add 1-2 slices of cooked bacon. Add 1-2 tbsp of grated cheddar. Roll up and place in pan, seam-side down.  When all tortillas are filled, sprinkle a few more tbsp of cheddar over the top, then bake for about 20-30 minutes.

Serve with the greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, taco sauce etc. I like to mix a bit of Sriracha sauce with greek yogurt and drizzle that over the top.

Want a heartier burrito? Make a batch of spanish-style rice and add a tbsp or two of that to each burrito. You can also serve with guacamole or chopped avocado.

This dish can be prepared the night before & refrigerated until you're ready to pop it in the oven. Just bake until they're hot all the way through.

I'll be serving these alongside a crockpot full of apple cider & cinnamon sticks :-) 

Christmas dinner is somewhat potluck as our friends are all contributing to the meal. The kids will help me prepare a few dishes, and it's going to be an easy-going buffet style with an emphasis on enjoying our time together - good food, great company. This is a true treat day, so two deserts will be served which do not, nor will they ever, fall into the "clean" category, lol.  My apple pie (see the recipe page) with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, and the cheesecake I make (once a year) that my friends and family demand. This thing is a beast. It takes two days to make. It contains a ton of white chocolate, raspberry jam, fudge, cream cheese.... No, it's not by any stretch clean.  A serving is a tiny little sliver, because that's all you can handle. Seriously. It's decadent, and once a year, it's a spectacular treat. 

Why do I keep saying "once a year"? Because I really want to emphasize that there's nothing wrong with enjoying holiday treats. You're in control. You're always in control. You CAN enjoy, guiltlessly, seasonal treats and still stay on track. Eat clean, exercise, and enjoy the season.  You can have a cookie or two. You can have a brownie, or serving of cheesy mashed potatoes, stuffing, whatever. It's one meal, once a year. Send leftovers home with family and friends. Or if you keep some for your family, leave it to them. Enjoy your treats, but don't make them your lifestyle. You've established, or are establishing, a healthy relationship with food. Keep it. You're in control.

Ok, food lecture over. Time for the pain. Lol. I'm off to do my exercises.


Monday, 12/20/2010:   6 pm... Physical therapy went really well. They were really surprised by my range of motion, general mobility, and lack of pain. I was able to do the full set of exercises they gave me (I was there for 2 hours). It felt terrific! Well, ok, it didn't FEEL terrific, lol, but I felt terrific!  I've been given my daily exercises to do on my own, and a massage technique to help break up scar tissue on my lateral to keep my kneecap loose and where it belongs. I have to say, it does give me the heebie-geebies to roll my kneecap around, lol. And the massage is no fun, really hurts, but it's required so I do it.

I did have a no-grace moment this morning when I was walking from the bedroom into the bathroom and somehow got my right foot tangled in Someone's pajama pants that were on the floor instead of in the hamper. I went tumbling into the bathroom counter, but apparently did no damage to my knee. Yes, the klutz is still here. LOL!

The bruising on and around my knee is slightly more pronounced, and I certainly feel more of it, plus I have this funky zing down my shin bone every so often. The therapist said it was probably a tweaked nerve and will go away when the swelling goes down. I'm looking forward to that.

My food... well, the Chicken Enchilasagna is just a fond memory, lol. The family gobbled that up quick :-)  My chicken stew from a few nights ago will be my dinner again tonight, as Shiloh is cooking up a chicken alfredo deal for the rest of the fam. I've been enjoying my greek yogurt with ground flax & fresh berries, my hard boiled eggs and apples, my grapefruits, bananas, and steamed veggies. My caloric intake is definitely low, but I'm ok with that for now. As I get more active, I'll add more calories. Shiloh and I went on a quick Whole Foods run today to get a new supplement, so I picked up a Thai Chicken wrap for lunch. I ate half, plus a bowl of steamed veggies, then later had a banana.

My supplements... I'm back on the Fish Oil/Flax/Borage pills, the calcium, and the Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. My therapist added a new one today, to help fight inflammation and get my swelling down... Hyaluronic Acid.

So, that's my update :-) 

8:30am... I'm astonished at how well this is going (knock on wood). I went all day yesterday without any vicodin, and mostly slept through the night. By bedtime last night I was able to get up from seated without needing a hand, and I was walking with little pain. Today I'm able to bend more, and there's very little pain, more stiff than anything. I have physical therapy at 10am. While I'm not ready to dance on any tables, I am really surprised at how well I feel. So far, Saturday night was the worst of it.

I took off the bandages yesterday and saw very little swelling... I mean, it's swollen, yes, but not nearly what I expected. Just a couple tiny little bruises, two tiny stitches, no bleeding or draining. I'm rubbing emu oil into the whole knee (anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, promotes wound healing - good stuff!).

Anyway, I'll post when I get back from therapy.  :-)

Oh! And the grocery shopping? Shiloh did awesome! Got everything on my list, exactly as I wanted. She couldn't find one or two items, but no big deal. No junk food found it's way into my pantry! :-)  Way to go, Shi!  :-)

Sunday, 12/19/2010:   10am... Well, I finally had to break down and take a vicodin yesterday at 5pm. That took me through until about midnight, when I needed another. Last night was rough. Up every hour on the hour, ice helped a lot but I did have to take more pain meds. Then this morning, I bottomed out. I hate that about vicodin. All of a sudden my blood pressure dropped, I got cold sweats (profuse), and it took about 30 minutes to regain my equilibrium. I'm fine now, icing, no drugs. We'll see how the rest of the day goes. I'm feeling a lot more in my knee, and am looking forward to taking the bandage off in a few hours and seeing what it looks like. Still no more than very minor swelling in the leg, and though I felt quite a bit of heat in it last night, today there doesn't seem to be any inflammation.

I did want to mention, that I had forgotten 2 things in my surgery prep... throat lozenges and kleenex. I had spaced that when I've gone under before, I always have some minor sinus stuffiness for a day or so afterwards, and I had forgotten that my throat is very sore for about 18 hours after surgery (from the breathing tube). Thankfully, I had a pack of Halls Bursts handy, and Shiloh ran to the store for me to pick up kleenex. Once this is all said and done, I'm going to put my surgery prep list up on the site for anyone who might find it helpful.

At the foot of my bed are my resistance tubes and bands.  I think I'll start working with those in a few hours. Once my stomach settles back down.

One kind of funny thing through all this... you might remember I have a big klutzy 70 lb boxer. She's 4, thinks she's human, and is a cuddler. She sleeps in our bed, right between Bill and I when she can get away with it, and is the reason we were so excited to move from a queen size bed to a king. I had been concerned that she might cause me some trouble during my recovery... did I mention she's big, klutzy and a cuddler? On the contrary, Nakki has amazed both Bill and I. She knows something is wrong and she has been so incredibly gentle and slow-moving. She stands guard over me whenever someone is around. It's been astonishing. She's such a sweet dog :-) 

Anyway, there's my wandering thought patterns for the morning, lol! I'm sending Shiloh out soon to do my grocery shopping. Wish me luck!  :-)

Saturday, 12/18/2010:   10am... I'm back. I think I've still got some surgery drugs in my system so if I ramble, I'm blaming that. Lol.  Surgery went well. No complications. Bill and Shiloh took me to the surgery center, and waited for me. The center was well organized and the staff really friendly. I had no issues with the anesthesia, and went out like a light. Woke up numb, and ready to go home. Got the teeth-chatters on the way out, which surprised Bill, but I'd had that before, and it passed shortly. Home and to bed. For some reason I wanted coffee more than anything, and Bill made me a pot.  I sucked down quite a bit of water, too, but the coffee tasted like heaven. Tab came by and hung out with me :-) and she brought Despicable Me with her (Thank you Santa!! Lol!).  Later I had some chicken and a few bites of potatoes. The nurses had told me to regularly move my foot around to keep circulation going, and sometime during the night it was hard to move my foot, and I realized it was starting to swell, so I added a pillow under my foot to get it higher than the knee. Did the trick, the swelling disappeared and hasn't returned.

Friday, I got up, cleaned up, had some coffee & hard boiled eggs and was bored mindless by 8am. I took my 2 aleve, but was still numb from surgery, so didn't take any vicodin. I spent the bulk of the day in bed with my leg propped up. The rest of my nutrition was an apple, greek yogurt w/flax seed & berries, then dinner was the crockpot chicken stew/soup.  As I'd passed the 24 hour mark, and hadn't taken any pain meds I got to enjoy a glass of red wine. That was very nice. I had spent the day catching up on season 6 of Desperate Housewives, then Bill and I watched NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles, and a few episodes of Chuck last night. Crashed around 10pm. Did I mention I was bored out of my mind by 8am? Lol.

The surgery center called about 3 or 4pm to check on me, and they were surprised I wasn't taking my pain pills yet, that I wasn't feeling any pain yet. Hmmm. Kinda feeling like I know the boogey-man is going to jump out and get me, but I don't know when. I hate waiting for the pain to start.

The numbness didn't wear off until 4:30 this morning. I woke up and felt a little pain, just twinges, and thought "here it comes", so I popped 1 vicodin and re-iced then went back to sleep. But the pain hasn't progressed past those twinges, so I've not taken any more pain pills, other than my aleve. From what I understand, the pain (the real pain) is coming, so I'm a bit anxious about waiting for it. Afraid it'll sneak up on me, but I also don't want to take pain pills I don't need.  I'm still icing, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Still keeping it propped up. I have been up and around, moving, getting cleaned up and dressed every morning. I feel like I'm doing good. My caloric intake is low, but it's all solid nutrition.

Today, I've spent a few minutes on the patio enjoying the  sunshine, washed my hair, tried very hard (and unsuccessfully, again) to remove the betadyne from my leg. Anyone knows how to remove that stuff, please let me know!  Ariel, our oldest, said I look like I got a bad spray tan, lol.

Dinner tonight is Chicken Enchilasagna. I pulled it out of the freezer yesterday, so it should be ready to pop in the oven tonight.

Thank you, for all the warm wishes and thoughts & prayers. I deeply appreciate it.

Tomorrow I can remove my bandages, then Monday I begin physical therapy.  At the risk of jinxing it, lol, So far so good!

Wow, I really did kinda wander through this post, lol. I blame Thursday's demerol.

Wednesday, 12/15/2010:   10am... Wow! My hamstrings are screaming, my shoulders are weeping! I got a fantastic workout at cardio-kickboxing last night, even with my lack of grace/coordination and need to modify. Fun class! I can't wait until I can participate fully in the things I love so much!

Dinner last night was a woops-moment for me, lol. I was so tired after class that I walked straight to the crockpot, shredded the beef, dumped in the 2nd bottle of bbq sauce, then realized I'd forgotten to drain the crockpot first. Oy. Funky. Definitely requires draining before adding fresh sauce. Definitely. Lol!

Today is the day before knee surgery. No food or drink after midnight. No moisturizer or lotion in the morning (gasp!!). I've had several surgeries (2 laparoscopies and a hysterectomy), yet I am still nervous. I realize this is all very routine to the doctor and the surgery center, but still... I get butterflies. Additionally, I'm concerned about the no-smoking. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you remember that I had actually quit smoking for 8+ months, then started up again. Bill, my hubby, never quit. Now, we'll both be quitting. Cigarette smoke inhibits wound healing and increases scarring. Quite the silly reason, all in all, to quit, but hey... quitting is quitting. I've got a box of nicotine patches ready for Bill. I'm going to give it a few days before I decide if I need them or not.

Today after work I'll be hitting the grocery store for dog food (sorry Nakki! didn't realize we were that low!), then heading home, then over to the bowling alley to hang with Bill & everyone. I've got my book (yeah, I'm that anal) all ready for the family... it's got all the recipes, grocery lists, directions, etc in it, along with the calendar showing what happens when (including meals). I've got a stack of library books beside my bed, along with a stack of dvd's including season 6 of Desperate Housewives (lol!), Witchblade, Alias (all 5 seasons), and a bunch of movies. I've got a whole basket of yarn and my knitting needles ready. And I've got my yoga mat and red resistance tube nearby for some upper body work whenever I want, and as soon as I find my dumbbells (Shiloh, give 'em back!) I will have those ready, too. My prescription (vicodin) is beside my bed along with my big bottle of Aleve. Water bottles in my fridge, food prepped and ready. Lordy. I don't think I'm missing anything, but I'm sure something got overlooked.

Hopefully Santa will put a couple more movies in my christmas stocking... The Long Kiss Goodnight (Geena Davis) and Despicable Me are at the top of my wish list :-)

I have yet to do my christmas shopping. Other than the kids' big group gift, I have bought nothing  :-(   Hopefully, I'll be on my feet to do that myself, I know mentally I'll be MORE than ready for some mall-time with Tab :-)

Anyway. I think I'm rambling because I'm nervous. Lol. I will be updating my blog, periodically throughout the holidays, so I'll let you know how surgery goes.

I wish you a happy, warm & loving holiday season.

Tuesday, 12/14/2010:   10am... Class last night was great :-) Even with modifying, so as not to aggravate my knee, I get a terrific full body workout, and my butt is sore today! :-) I'm sure other body parts will make themselves known over the next 24 hrs.  LOL! Tab starts teaching a new class tonight at our gym... kickboxing! I'm planning to go. Tab and I talked about it last night and she suggested several modifications I can make. I wish (wish wish wish!!) I could do yoga, but I just can't hold poses with any weight on my right leg. That's at the top of my post-surgery bucket list... yoga!

Anyway, dinner last night after class was Taco Salad... The family enjoyed theirs the "normal" way, lol, on a bed of chips (Tostitos Natural Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips), while mine was on a bed of shredded cabbage and topped with lowfat cottage cheese :-) Yummy!

Food today is much the same as it's been, greek yogurt with ground flax & berries for breakfast, 2 eggs and an apple for snack 1, lean pork, steamed asparagus & brown rice for lunch, and lean pork & steamed snowpeas & tomatoes for snack 2. I've also got a small grapefruit for wherever I need it. Dinner tonight is cooking as I type... crockpot bbq beef. The family will have theirs as sandwiches, while mine will be on that ever-present bed of shredded cabbage :-)

Oooh, mid-back is starting to get sore. Woohoo!!! :-)

Totally unrelated, Despicable Me is released today!!!!
I want minions!  :-)
Despicable Me Minions - Chelle's weight loss, nutrition and weight maintenance blog

Monday, 12/13/2010:   11am... Saturday was my daughter's 15th birthday party... houseful of teenagers, lol! She had a great time.

Sunday Food prep is completed... my last one for I don't know how long. I made a pork roast (drizzled olive oil then sprinkled on Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb), and sliced that up into 4-5 ounce servings. I boiled 24 eggs, shelled and bagged in twos.  I also browned 1lb of lean ground beef for tonight's Taco Salad. I washed & chopped broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, snow peas & cherry tomatoes and filled my Ziploc steamer bags (add 1 tsp coconut oil & a sprinkle of Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb). My grain for the week is brown rice. Breakfasts are Chobani 2% greek yogurt (plain) with ground flax seed & half a cup of fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries). Other fruit in the house: apples, bananas, clementines, grapefruit.

Once that was all done and put away, I prepped the two crockpot soups/stew.  I chopped chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms and placed in a large ziploc, then added the seasoning and contents of one small can of diced green chilies, sealed the bag & tossed it in the freezer.  Took another large ziploc and added my 2 lbs of stew meat, chopped veggies & seasonings, then placed 1/2 cup of pearl barley in a smaller ziploc and added that to the larger bag, zipped and tossed in the freezer.  Now all the hubby has to do is toss the bag contents in the crock pot, add the broth, and turn it on.

Tonight's dinner is the taco salad, as I mentioned, then tomorrow is BBQ Beef sandwiches (my beef will be on a bed of shredded cabbage, no bun), Wednesday is leftovers, Thursday before I head to the surgery center, I'll put the chicken legs and bbq sauce in the crockpot so the family has dinner that night (along with salad). Friday is Crockpot Chicken Soup, Saturday is Chicken Enchilasagna.  That should take care of all the meals and leave lots of tasty leftovers. 

I've done all the laundry, washed the sheets, cleaned up my room, finished the food prep, printed the food instructions, filled my prescription, laid in a supply of books, yarn & knitting needles... I think I'm ready.

Now, as long as I put it out of my mind, I won't feel the nervous butterflies.

Thursday, 12/09/2010:   11am... Again with the identical cooler contents today, lol. Do I get bored eating the same things day in and day out? Nope. Not really. It's just fuel, though it is very tasty. When I do finally get bored, I can easily switch it up... oatmeal w/protein powder instead of greek yogurt, quinoa instead of brown rice, chicken instead of pork, shrimp instead of chicken, etc. Fruits and veggies are all seasonal anyway, so that changes up on its own.

Last night while Bill was bowling, I was cooking & prepping food for post-surgery. The Chicken Enchilasagna is in the freezer, along with 3 loaves of banana bread (they love that stuff!). Sunday I'll be doing the usual prep so I'll have food on-hand throughout the week. I weakened under the begging and purchased a Stouffer's lasagna for them, and it's in the freezer too. I've also printed out directions for cooking all the food, working the dishwasher & washer/dryer, etc. Yes, they all know how to use the dishwasher and clean their clothes, but we ARE talking about a husband and several teenagers. Anything can go wrong.

My crockpots will be seeing much use over the next several weeks. Either I or anyone in the house can load up a crockpot and turn it on. It's easy meal-prep that results in clean & yummy meals for everyone. Here's what's on the menu:

Chicken Enchilasagna (already made & in the freezer, ready for the oven)

BBQ Chicken Legs (one of the kids' favorite meals!) with steamed veggies.

Crockpot Chicken Soup  

Crockpot Beef Stew/Soup 

Crockpot Chili Verde with cornbread (I have a clean recipe at home to try)

That'll get us well through the first week plus we'll have lots of yummy leftovers. Next step is to plan out Christmas day food. There will be between 10 and 17 of us for Christmas dinner, and lots of food! :-) Our family will celebrate in the morning and enjoy our traditional decadence, lol. We'll begin with my breakfast burritos, then move on to filled pancakes (they're little pancake puffs with stuff inside like cinnamon/sugar, caramel, chocolate, fruit, etc). Apple cider will be warming in the crockpot, and we'll enjoy our family time. Then later, our extended family (friends) will join us for much more food & fun. I'm really looking forward to it.  :-)


Wednesday, 12/08/2010:   12pm... Food today is identical to yesterday. Just saves time, and I don't have to worry or think about it... just toss in the same stuff. :-)   My lists and plans are coming along for surgery/post-surgery. I've got lots of errands to run in the next few days, while I try to get it all ready.

I'm also scouring the internet for healthy and low-sodium soups that I can hopefully wrangle Shiloh into making :-) Lol!

Tuesday, 12/07/2010:   2pm... Pre-Operative Doctor Appointment was today... The doctor was fabulous about answering my pre-op questions. I now feel forewarned, forearmed, and ready to plan.

The surgery itself will take about 45 minutes. Sounds like my greatest enemy will be swelling. Because he is cutting the lateral retinaculum (which is actually an extension of the quadriceps muscle) I will experience more swelling than "normal" for a scope. It will also be more painful, for a longer period. BUT... I start physical therapy two days post-surgery, get the stitches out on the 23rd, and as long as I can keep the swelling in check, my mobility and activity is only mildly limited. I will not need crutches, or a special icing sleeve (good old fashioned ice packs or gel packs will do the job), and I should only be on pain meds (prescription) for a couple days.

If all goes well, I will be preparing Christmas dinner, though I might not do the grocery shopping for it. I can live with that.   :-)  I'm feeling greatly relieved to have the info, to be able to plan.

On another note... I made it through full body conditioning last night :-) My lower body work involves mostly very careful squats, lunges and reverse lunges. Anything else hurts. Upper body was intense :-)  and today I am very sore! I love it! I miss being sore! Silly, right? My back (mid), abs, triceps, quads and glutes are all screamin' Tab's name :-) Lol!

Food today is exactly the same as yesterday. I'm on track and sticking right between 1200 and 1400 cal/day. I'm a bit concerned about my calories dipping too low during surgery recovery, so I'll be making sure that my foods are nutritionally dense throughout that time. Lots of greek yogurt, fresh fruit, steamed veggies, and lean protein. I may not take in a lot of calories, but I want the ones I do, to be excellent. The body burns extra calories during recovery (fueling repair), so I need to be on top of making sure I'm giving it what it needs.

Ok... I'm off to make lists :-)

Monday, 12/06/2010:   2pm update... pre-op appt is set. I'm seeing them tomorrow at 9:45am. Surgery is for sure the 16th (barring any major disaster, knock on wood).

12pm. The day is flying by! I'm awaiting a call back for scheduling my pre-op appt, but looks December 16th is solid. I spent the weekend making lists, and lists of lists, lol. Food was being prepped, along with my regular Sunday Food Prep, and I should have lots of clean meals for the family while I'm down. Still trying to work out some kinks, but I'm sort of stuck until I have that pre-op appt and get more info. I need info! :-/

Saturday I had a CPR/AED class, and can you believe it? I bruised my mouth! LOL! Only me, right? I left class, got in the car and went to put on lip-gloss, when I saw these weird purple and red marks under my bottom lip... I looked closer and sure enough, I'd managed to bruise it! I guess I take my CPR very seriously, LOL! The marks are fading, but thank goodness for foundation & coverup! :-)

So, food prep... this week my proteins are: crockpot chicken breast (shredded), roast pork tenderloin, and ground beef. All are cooked and ready for what I need them for. Veggies: Broccoli & Cauliflower, Zucchini, Snow Peas & Tomatoes, and Green Beans.  Fruit: Bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries & blackberries, watermelon, and grapefruit. Grains: Brown Rice & Quinoa.

Activity... I'll be getting in a workout this evening at Tab's Full Body Conditioning class. Other than that, I'm hoping for some light yoga.

This weekend is my baby's birthday... 15! So Friday I'll be doing the grocery shopping for a horde of teens :-) I'm also hoping to hit the mall briefly for some christmas shopping (since I'll be unable to shop after surgery). Then Sunday will be my last food-prep day until I'm back on my feet. Gulp!

Thursday, 12/02/2010:   10am. Major crossed-wires last night. Over the weekend I'd made plans with some friends and my daughters to go see Burlesque this week. I thought it was Wednesday, as the guys would be bowling. Shiloh thought it was Tuesday, but I didn't hear from anyone so I figured I was right. Yesterday morning I got an email from one of the gals saying they'd meet us at 7. So off we went. We got there early and grabbed seats, then I texted my friend, who informed me they'd been there the night before wondering where we were! Turns out her computer had crashed without sending that email the day before, so I got it a day late and there we were. Crazy!

Movie - Burlesque with Cher & Christina AguileraIt was a bummer to miss the group girl night, but Shiloh, Bethany and I LOVED the movie! Absolutely fantastic! I'll definitely buy the DVD! Amazing dancing, and do I really need to talk about the music? Cher & Christina Aguilera... yeah... INCREDIBLE!  Loved it! The girls have informed me they're going to be burlesque dancers. Lol. This of course horrified Bill, lol, but it got me thinking.

Burlesque show, August 2009. Scandalesque and the MYLF class.For years I had major body issues. I called it shy and conservative, but honestly it was severe insecurity and discomfort in my own skin (thin or heavy). I do NOT want that for my girls, and burlesque dancing is certainly something that doesn't allow for it! My own experience with burlesque opened my eyes, expanded my world, and gave me some needed confidence. I also learned that burlesque is an art, it is NOT "stripping", and it's sexy, feminine, fun and beautiful. The burlesque fitness class I took, the show I did, made me feel that way, too. With the exception of the show (lol) I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And it's on my post-surgery-rehab-bucket list. Maybe I'll sign the girls up too :-)  I got notice that Scandalesque is now offering a Burlesque Aerial class... how fun is that?! There's also a different aerial class I've been wanting to take, that the girls would love, too... I think I'll put that on my list! :-)  And there are some fun burlesque fitness DVD's out there... just might have to pick up some!

So... question. What would you do (or have you done) to feel more comfortable in your own skin? Have you (would you) forced yourself outside of your comfort zone? If you did... how did it go? What did you learn?

On another note... my knee. You probably know that I have some pretty deep fear going about my knees. I don't know what the future holds for me in relation to what I had planned. My fitness lifestyle and goals are all on hold while I await surgery and hope that it works, hope that rehab will make me better. I'm struggling with accepting the changes and the possibilities. As I watched the movie, Burlesque, last night, I heard the words to a song Cher did alone. And I was inspired. I may be down, but I'm not out. 

"You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me"
Cher (Burlesque Movie Soundtrack) - Listen on iTunes

Feeling broken
Barely holding on
But there's just something so strong
Somewhere inside me
And I am down but I'll get up again
Don't count me out just yet

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven't seen the last of me
You haven't seen the last of me

They can say that
I won't stay around
But I'm gonna stand my ground
You're not gonna stop me
You don't know me
You don't know who I am
Don't count me out so fast

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven't seen the last of me

There will be no fade out
This is not the end
I'm down now
But I'll be standing tall again
Times are hard but
I was built tough
I'm gonna show you all what I'm made of

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
I am far from over
You haven't seen the last of me

No no
I'm not going nowhere
I'm staying right here
Oh no
You won't see me begging
I'm not taking my bow
Can't stop me
It's not the end
You haven't seen the last of me
Oh no
You haven't seen the last of me
You haven't seen the last of me


Wednesday, 12/01/2010:   10am. Is it just me or did November go by awfully quick? Wow. Welcome to December! Not quite so cold this morning... my coffee took 10 minutes to go cold, lol.

I'm STILL waiting to get the details for my surgery. The doctor's office gave me his price (upfront, gulp!), and referred me to the surgery center to get theirs, but the surgery center referred me back because they don't have my paperwork. So very frustrating. I've got another call into the gal at my doctor's office, and hopefully this will be settled quickly so I can know for sure I'm having surgery on the 16th (purely an upfront money deal).

If I am, I need to prep the house and family... cook and freeze extra food, etc. If I don't, left on their own, my family will live on pizza while I'm down, and there's no way I'm going through recovery with the scent of pepperoni pizza in the house. I plan on making a batch of the Chicken Enchilasagna and freezing that, maybe a batch of my Leftover Turkey Burrochiladas, too. I'll have the recipes and supplies for Shiloh (who wants to cook some of the meals) for Tomato Soup, Taco Salad, Crockpot Chicken... that kind of thing. Easy stuff they can forage for without me having to put it together for them. I think my diet will be heavy on the greek yogurt & soup style stuff. I don't do well with solid food after general anesthesia, so I'll make sure I'm stocked up on that. I'm really not sure how long I'll be down. The kneecap is generally 3-5 days before I'm up and around, but with the lateral release, the recovery could be greatly extended. I'll find out more when I have my pre-op appt (week before surgery).  [fyi, all the recipes I mentioned are on the recipe page]

I'm a planner. Ok, I'm a ridiculously anal retentive planner. Everything from food to housekeeping to where I'll be sleeping during recovery is up in the air while I'm waiting to get all the insurance/out of pocket info. Part of feeling like I have some semblance of control is tied up in my planning. If I can't plan, I feel out of control. I'm feeling very out of control.

**Random info :-)  Current favorite holiday song... Gettin' In The Mood (For Christmas) by The Brian Setzer Orchestra.   Way too fun! :-D

Tuesday, 11/30/2010:   10am. No workout last night. Oy. This newly sedentary life is driving me batty. Anyway. Went outside this morning for my morning coffee and it was freaking 32 degrees! My coffee went cold in like 5 minutes! Crazy! Since when is Scottsdale this cold? I was all bundled up in my chair and Joey's dog (Winchester, a 6 month old brindle pit mix) jumped up in my lap to cuddle... my dog, Nakki (a 4 year old brindle boxer who's 70 lbs) was jealous; she can't figure out how to get up into my lap, LOL! She kept head-butting my chair. Funny!

My food's been averaging just right... around 1300/1400 calories each day. I'm not getting in 6 meals, usually 5, but that's just fine. As long as my body is getting the fuel it needs, when it needs it, everything is good.  I'd really like to try yoga, but I just can't bear the weight on my right leg. Frustrating.

On a high note... it's Christmas Music Time!!! :-)  Yes, I am that person. The one who LOVES Christmas music :-) I've got (as of right now) 921 holiday songs in my iPod... that's 2.2 days worth of non-stop, no repeating Christmas music :-)  What's your favorite album?

Monday, 11/29/2010:   11am. How was your turkey day? :-)  Ours was fun. My turkey turned out picture-perfect, the pie was awesome, and the stuffing was incredible. Yay! I've posted the recipes, and also my own recipe for leftover turkey burroladas (super high in protein, and very yummy!). After all the bread I ate this week, I needed the protein boost, lol!

We picked up our Christmas tree yesterday, and the kids & Bill decorated it (and the house). Joey came by for dinner, and it was so nice to have the family all just hang out :-)

Still next to no activity because of the knee. It's degrading fast. You know how you pop the top on a can of paint? Get the screwdriver wedged under the lid and pop? Feels like someone's got an ice pick in my knee trying to pop off my kneecap. All the time. It's inflamed (again), and is sensitive to touch (even just the material of my pants). Gawd, I'm ready to get this fixed. We're scrambling to get our financial ducks in a row, so I can have surgery Dec. 16th. It's hard to justify the out of pocket expense during this season, but if I do it then, I don't have to take off any work. The next New York payment  is due next week for Shiloh's theatre trip, my youngest has a birthday in 2 weeks, then we've got christmas, as well. I'm really struggling with feeling selfish. Hopefully the next few days will give us a clearer picture of the situation, and I can make the final decision.

Anyway... food prep for the week is complete. I made my usual chicken breasts, and sliced up a bunch for sandwich meat for Bill & the kids, browned the beef for taco salad, crockpot'd a beef stew and a batch of beets, then chopped all my veggies for the steamer bags. I cheated on the grains, and bought the Seeds Of Change bags to just nuke as needed. Fruit this week is blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, grapefruit, bananas, strawberries (though I doubt I'll get any of those, the kids gobble 'em up!), and red seedless grapes. Veggies: broccoli, yellow squash, snow peas & tomatoes, asparagus; salad greens: shredded cabbage, spinach, kale, salad bags. Additionals are lots of greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard boiled eggs, plus Newman's Own Organic Pretzel sticks for the family.

A funny thing happened this weekend. I was at a party, and someone mentioned to someone else how I'd lost a bunch of weight and kept it off. The person got all excited and chased me down to ask how I'd done it. I said, "I changed the way I eat and added exercise."  "Oh," she said, clearly disappointed, "I was hoping it was some miracle pill or something." And she walked away.  She walked away. Sad. Then just a few minutes later, I had a conversation with a really neat gal who'd lost 100 pounds! Wow! All through nutrition. Very cool, and fun to chat with someone who understands just how powerful our relationship with food is.

Anyway, Happy Monday!

Wednesday, 11/24/2010:   10am. I've got the turkey brining, have to remember tonight to flip it around, then tomorrow it goes in the oven :-) Have you ever brined a turkey? It's pretty cool, and the result is incredibly tasty. Very moist and flavorful (yeah, turkey! flavorful!). The first time I tried it a few years back, I was afraid it would lead to a very salty tasting turkey, high sodium and all that, but it's actually very low... very, very low! Nice! Plus I get the turkey that has no sodium added, so the whole deal is awesomely low-sodium but full of herby flavor :-) Me likey.

I'll be out of the office shortly and heading out for last minute groceries (how'd I forget the rosemary??), then back home to prep for tomorrow. In a surprise turn of events, I will have all my kiddos for the holiday (and won't be driving to Coachella and back). It's nice to have all my kids in one place.

Anyone planning to go see a movie this weekend? I'm hoping (hoping hoping hoping) to go see Burlesque. Woohoo! Can't wait! I just downloaded the soundtrack (which is awesome), but am so excited to see the film! I had so much fun doing last year's burlesque class (and performance!), and look forward to seeing Cher & Christina Aguilera on screen.

Tuesday, 11/23/2010:   2pm. Let's talk about Holiday Eating. There are a ton of differing philosophies about holiday food, ranging from eating everything in sight simply because it's that time of year, to obsessing over every morsel in an effort to maintain a "clean" diet. I'm not going to dismiss either perspective, as everyone has the right to make their own decisions regarding food. What I am going to do is share with you my own philosophy.  It's easy. One word.

[No throwing eggs or rotten produce]

Yep, that's it! Very simple. For me, it's about doing what I can to provide healthy whole foods (or at least options), then simply enjoying. If I (and I have) spend major time obsessing about the menu, and cleaning up or replacing traditional items, I miss out on the joy of the holiday itself. I started to fall into it this year, but thankfully caught myself.

Can I clean up the traditional green bean casserole? Sure. Do I really want to experiment with a family favorite on the one day a year we serve it? Probably not. Could I play with the recipe during the year and try to find a way to make a healthy tasty version that I can serve for the next holiday? Yep, and I'll try to do that. Next year. It's not a deal breaker for me.

How about the mashed potatoes? Aren't we (clean eaters) supposed to eat sweet potatoes instead? Whatever. Regular potatoes are a treasure-trove of potassium and other good-for-you things. Nothing wrong with them. Yes, they're higher glycemic than sweet potatoes. Doesn't mean they're bad. Ohhhhh, but they're made with butter! That can't be good! Wrong! :-) Butter is just fine. It's a medium chain fatty acid... a good sat-fat (in moderation). And to me, it's better than the chemical soup called margarine or whatever. So am I going to enjoy, guilt free, mashed potatoes with butter? Yep. IN MODERATION. Could even have a spoonful of the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! <gasp!> [though, I gotta be honest, I really don't care for it myself.]

What's the plan for stuffing? Ahhh, wanna see the recipe I'm making? Look Here. Looks tasty, right?  Just a regular recipe from a regular site. The only questionable ingredient is the corn bread croutons. It's one day, one meal out of one day. It's not going to kill me. [hey! I said no rotten produce throwing!]

Maybe next year, I'll have time to bake my own cornbread and make my own croutons out of it for the stuffing. Maybe. Not holding my breath.

Dessert you ask.... are you sure you want to know? :-) Along with the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, I'm making this little gem. Oh yeah. <drool!>

Again... One day. One meal out of one day. It will not undo my life.

It's all about balance. So let me break it down... my meal will consist of Cider Brined Turkey (ironically, it's totally clean, btw), a small serving of green bean casserole, a serving of mashed potatoes w/butter, stuffing, probably green salad, and dessert (maybe half a piece of pumpkin and half of the apple). Oh, and wine. Copious amounts of red wine.

Does this make me a hypocrite? No. What does it make me? Normal, well, as normal as I can be anyway. It's one day, once a year. Christmas is easier for me to do "clean" as I host it, and with the exception of our traditional breakfast (again, one breakfast like that per year), all the foods are whole and clean. Though again, Christmas, too, is once a year. I eat clean all year long. I'm not going to regain 71 lbs because I enjoy (in moderation) an "unclean" Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas breakfast, or any other holiday treats (again, in moderation).

What about those other holiday treats? Aren't they off-limits? Why? Why would they be? Should you inhale a dozen cupcakes at the office party? Duh. But if you know they'll be there, and you want one, plan accordingly. That's your treat. Would you rather have a glass of wine? Drink that instead of eating the cupcake. It's about making healthy (or healthier) choices. Really, this time of year is no different than any other. Whether it's a holiday party or a neighborhood bbq, we have to make wise decisions about food and exercise.

Which leads me to my next point... keep packing that cooler! Yes, this season generally makes us busier, often catching us ill-prepared food-wise... grab control by keeping your cooler packed with healthy foods & snacks. Hitting the mall? Toss some trail mix, a protein bar (or shake), string cheese, hard boiled eggs, a wrap... whatever, into your cooler and take it with. Planning lunch with the girls? Fine, then eat clean the rest of the day and get your workout in beforehand if you can. See? Easy :-)

The most important part of food during the holidays is simply being mindful. KNOW how much you're eating, and if you can, what's in it. Just be aware, and make good choices when applicable. Don't gobble down several snickerdoodles, eggnog, and whatnot every time you turn around, then act surprised in January when you've put on weight (I've been there, done that). 

Be mindful. Be smart. Plan ahead. Enjoy your treats.

That's it. Do you hate me? I hope not. :-) But I do hope that each of us takes the time this holiday season to remember what's really important and focus on those things.  I've done the holidays in the past, where I've obsessed over every single dish, each ingredient, counted calories and freaked. It wasn't worth it.

This year I'm taking a holiday.


9am... Went to class last night (full body conditioning). Did a lot of modifying, lol. Turns out that squats (properly executed) are no problem for me, however, add in plie position and it's a quick no-go. I could actually feel the kneecap scraping over the bone. And no, it doesn't feel good. I'm struggling with continuing to maintain/build quad muscle, not lose any other muscle, but not do further damage or exacerbate the damage already there. I had wanted to do yoga this morning, but based on how my knee is feeling, decided that would be unwise. I'm going to try for Thursday's class, though. We'll see.

Food... I'm maintaining between 1200-1400 kcal/day. Obviously my activity burn is nowhere near what I like, but it is what it is. Followed up class with a lean grilled steak, steamed cauliflower & broccoli and huge salad. I'm loving my new easy dressing... 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce mixed with 2 tbsp greek yogurt. Spicy! :-) Salad's are fun for me because they can be enormous without putting a big dent in my calorie intake, and a little dressing can go a VERY long way. My current greens mix is 1 cup shredded green cabbage with 1/2 cup shredded dino kale and 1/2 cup shredded baby spinach. Toss in some cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tbsp of reduced fat feta and my spicy dressing and I'm in heaven :-) I'm using diced chicken breast, but lean steak would be excellent in that mix, too, as would shrimp or crab. Additionally, more veggies can be packed in there... red pepper, green pepper, onion, cucumber, radish, whatever! I love salad :-)

Monday, 11/22/2010:   1pm... Where'd the morning go?? Yikes! Quick weekend update... knee=blah. Gotta get all this administrative stuff done so I can fix it! (in other words, I'm waiting on insurance/billing/scheduling people.) Food... finances took an unexpected turn this last week, resulting in moments of panic and white knuckles. Grocery shopping was done on a severely strict budget this week, and had to include buying my T-day turkey (freakin $36 just for the bird! crazy! the rest of my supplies can wait a few days). I managed to get it done and my food prep was completed. It really helps that this is a short week. Didn't buy the usual lunchmeat at Whole Foods (couldn't justify the cost this week) so I cooked extra chicken breast, then thin-sliced for sandwiches. Produce is relatively inexpensive (seasonal), and filled the bulk of my cart. My grain this week is curried quinoa... an experiment that turned out well (3 1/2 tbsp thai curry seasoning with 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups broth, then add baby corn & black beans after cooking the quinoa). Food this week is simple, but whole & healthy.

There's a possibility I'll be driving to CA and back this Wednesday night (and again on Sunday). If that's the case, Turkey day shopping will be very interesting. May have to send Shiloh, while I'm out of town. Oy. Scary. She's threatening to fill my pantry with Nutella and "normal" peanut butter. Teenagers.

Thanksgiving dinner will be at my place. Low-key this year. Menu is traditional, including Turkey (brined - which btw results in a very low-sodium bird!), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, etc.

Weekend recipes tried... I gave a run at a cookie recipe from the Kitchen Table forum, big mistake. blek. Then I tried a recipe, also from there, for Pumpkin muffins that were INCREDIBLE. I'm thinking (if time allows) that they'll be perfect for T-day breakfast. I'll probably sub some flour for protein powder, just to boost 'em up. The recipe is here

Tonight I've got Tab's Fully Body Conditioning class after work. Can't wait to get in some exercise! :-)

Thursday, 11/18/2010:   4pm... doing research on my upcoming surgery. Note to self: do NOT click images when researching surgery. DON'T DO IT!!!!  Yeesh.

So once I got over the nausea of the online images, I did find this kinda cool diagram of the knee. You can see on the left of the photo, the Lateral retinaculum... that's what I'm getting snipped. It's on the outside of the knee (on my right leg, it's the outside right). Anyway, I just thought that was interesting :-)

diagram of knee - lateral retinaculum, iliotibial band, quad, patella

10:00am. I wanted to address a question I got yesterday about my daily calories. I'm currently ranging from 1200 to 1400 cal/day, and that's low. The reason it's so low is because my activity level is low. Due to my knee injury, I've had to adjust my caloric intake to balance with my caloric output... hence the low calories. Important note though, I don't want to go below 1200 cal/day. That's just too low (for any woman), and doesn't give my body what it needs to function, build, and repair.

So, to break it down, these are my caloric intake ranges alongside the activity level that work for my body...

Current: Very low activity level = intake is 1200 - 1400 cal/day.

When I'm pushing hard, lifting 3-4 x/week with 3-5 cardio sessions plus 2 yoga, my caloric intake was between 1800-2000/day.

My normal activity is lifting 2-3x/week, 2 yoga, 3 cardio... for this I generally range from 1400-1600 cal/day, sometimes higher, all depends on my exercise intensity and of course, listening to my body.

I realized that my cooler page is missing a key factor - my exercise data. That's now changed, as I see that it's a bit confusing to see my calories fluctuate without having the backstory. I've started matching up or noting my exercise along with my cooler plan for each day, and will continue to do so. Hopefully that will help alleviate any confusion, but as always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or whatever :-)

Wednesday, 11/17/2010:   10:00am. Knee update. Had my doctor appt yesterday. Long story short, I've exhausted the options and next step is surgery. The left knee is "fine", meaning there is intermittent pain and sensitivity but that's normal for my condition, and cannot be fixed. The right knee has degraded considerably. He wants to go in and do:

Knee arthroscopy with chondral debridement patellofemoral joint and lateral retinacular release.

In english, lol, he's going to scope it, scoop it, smooth it, and snip it. There's a band on the right side of the kneecap that is way too tight and has pulled the cap over, up, and off. Snipping it will loosen it so that it "let's go" of the death-grip it has on my kneecap, allowing it to return to center and properly track. It will clean out the crap floating around, and reduce further shearing, hopefully reducing pain and inflammation. It will not stop or reverse the damage done by the arthritis, but it will slow down further damage.  It'll take me 3-5 days to get back "on my feet", then recovery. He said it could take up a full year to regain the activity level I'm currently at. Yeah, that didn't go over well. But... without intervention, this will only get worse. Much worse, and quickly.  With this surgery, he can potentially buy me 5-10 years before knee replacement is necessary.

While I still have to complete my due-diligence, I'm looking at doing this over the Christmas break, so I don't miss any further work. [Have I mentioned that I have the world's greatest boss? He's been super understanding and flexible with my schedule, allowing my physical therapy and doctor appts. I deeply appreciate it.]

So. That's the news. And yes, I'm freaking out. Wigging, actually. Half of me is so very afraid... will I truly recover? Will I ever regain my activity level? What if I can't ever "work" my legs again? The other half of me has both feet planted firmly in the Land of Denial. C'mon, really, it's not that bad, right? I can live with the pain.  I can push through the pain. I don't really need surgery.

Yes, there are times I put the "i" in idiot.

Know what my trusty best friend said? "I know it sucks. But this too will be dealt with and you will once again emerge from the ashes as a Phoenix of fitness."  I had to actually write that down so I could keep it close, to remember that someone believes in me, and in my ability, my power, to overcome, to achieve, to evolve and become.  Seriously, how lucky am I?  While I'm wallowing in self-pity, she's ready to do the head-smack and get me focused again. But she also lets me wallow for a bit first :-)  She also said: "it's the scare that makes the challenge worth overcoming."  She always knows just the right buttons to push with me :-)

Not saying I'm done wallowing, because hey, I'm pretty freaking scared, but I am also determined. I needed to be reminded of that. I will overcome. I will plan, and I will stick to the plan. I will not allow this injury to derail me. My nutrition is 100% in my control, and I will exercise that control. My fitness is spotty, still there are things I can and will continue to do. But... I will listen more closely to my body, rather than "push through the pain". I will respect my body and heed its warnings. And I will come out the other side of this. Intact. Whole. Me. This injury does not change who I am. But the process can make me better.

Tuesday, 11/16/2010:   1:00pm. Where has the day gone? Utter swampage! I'm dashing to the break-room to heat up lunch, hoping I have time to actually eat it before I get buried again, lol. I did my full body class last night, though for me it was only upper body <sigh>. I'm so ready to get some answers on this knee thing! Appointment is today, so that's part of why I've been so busy this morning, trying to get everything done before I leave. Wish me luck!

Monday, 11/15/2010:   11:30am. Weekend was BUSY! Along with everything else, my Sunday Food Prep was completed, and this week's proteins include crockpot-shredded chicken, grilled beef (london broil), and ground beef (lean). Veggies: spaghetti squash, snow peas, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, zucchini & yellow squash. Fruits: watermelon, apples, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (though those disappeared with my middle-child shortly after my arrival home, lol). A batch of brown rice mixed with tomatoes, black beans and Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle provided last night's carb, along with some fab leftovers. Dinner last night also included steamed zucchini/yellow squash, and terrific oven baked chicken doused in chopped green chilies. Yum! I also got my bread baked, and tried out a recipe for 100 calorie cupcakes. I'll get that posted asap, because the cupcakes were awesome! Frosting was "meh", but the cupcakes were very good.

Food today is all on track, though I'll have to skip my second snack (it'll actually be my dinner). I've got physical therapy followed by Tab's full-body-conditioning class. I've also got my knee doctor appt tomorrow.

I'm wigging out a bit over the lack of activity. I have my class tonight after therapy, but that will probably just be upper body for me :-(   I'd really love to do yoga in the morning, but will see how it goes at therapy. I have to keep fighting myself to NOT drop my calories. I floated dangerously low last week, so this week have to make a concerted effort to stay above 1200, and closer to 1400/day. The answer to inactivity is not to starve myself. Yeesh.  You'd think I wouldn't struggle with that mindset after all this time, but there it is.


Thursday, 11/11/2010:   9:30am. I'm getting annoyed at myself, feel like I'm whining, but here's the update on my knee: Physical therapy yesterday. The left knee is doing great and I'm down to my usual discomfort with that (arthritis, and a worn out patella). The right knee, however, has gotten significantly worse. I can barely tolerate having the kneecap touched. And I didn't even get off the table yesterday (stretching, zapper, weighted leg lifts & side lifts, heel lifts). After the zapper, my therapist re-taped my knee in a different way, then applied 4 electrodes around the knee, turned on the machine and covered it (knee) with ice for 15 minutes. He said it's for pain management, and it sends constant electric pulses. It's different from the zapper in that it's not meant to stimulate muscle contraction, but to "numb" the nerves. If you're curious, that is called TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), while the muscle zapper is NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation).

I'm not supposed to go back to my doctor until the 19th, but Tad (therapist) wants me to move that up. He's calling my doc to update, and he wants an MRI done. Thinks there might be something floating around in there that's causing all this.

Further, I'm grounded. No activity. No yoga. No body conditioning class. This sucks. I'm assuming I can still do upper body, but that has no effect on the ass that is currently heading south for the winter. I go back to see Tad tomorrow morning, and I'll get some clearer directives on exercise then go from there. I have a feeling that some creative lower body routine is going to have to be figured out.

Moving on... I read a fascinating article about soy products in the current (Nov/Dec 2010) issue of OnFitness Magazine. It addresses the difference between the soy we ingest here in North America and the soy consumed in Asia. Here's an excerpt:

"Soybeans are typically run through a hexane 'bath' in the manufacturing process. Hexane is a gasoline refining byproduct that has been linked to nervous system disorders and skin problems. The following name brands, says the Cornucopia Institute, use hexane: Garden Burger, Soy Boy, Boca Burger, Amy's Kitchen, Morningstar Farms, Yves Veggie Cuisine, and many others.

Buyer beware: Products labeled 'organic' aren't allowed to contain any hexane-derived ingredients, but that rule doesn't apply to foods that are labeled 'made with organic ingredients'.

And then there are the nitrosamines, hardcore carcinogens which crop up in high concentrations in virtually every commercial soy protein food. In short, unfermented/processed soy comes with a lot of baggage.

Unless specifically stated as being made from fermented soy, which is extremely rare, soy foods are made from unfermented soy. These include soy milks (Silk, Soy Dream and Nature's Soy), infant formulas like Earth's Best, and even products that are associated with a back-to-nature, ultra-healthy quality, such as Ezekiel breads."

excerpt from pg 37, paragraph 7

How disturbing is that? You can read the full article here, I scanned and PDF'd it since it's not available online. There's also some very thought provoking data about soy and inflammatory bowel disorders, food allergies, and even asthma. If you have the time, it's well worth the read.

Changing gears again, I also discovered a wonderful online gem through my local library. It's called and it's cool! With my library membership, I can download 3 songs each week for free! I picked up two tunes by Joe Satriani, and one by Broken Bells.  :-)  I love free music! The song by Broken Bells (The High Road) makes a great cool-down song, by the way. Check it out and see if your library is part of this service.

Wednesday, 11/10/2010:   11:30am... Multi-tasking. Need clones. Would settle for minions. Or a computer that doesn't have a wonky USB port that shorts out my monitor, randomly forcing me to hard-boot, thereby losing all my unsaved work. And isn't there always unsaved work? Grrrraaawwwrrr!

Turning my back on the technology currently plaguing me (though you can be sure I'm still watching... and waiting), my knee is good today (knock on wood). So far no unusual pain. Therapy this afternoon. We'll see.

I have added a recipe for Creamy Tarragon Chicken. Quite tasty :-)

So... I had a brainstorm this morning about the plastic surgery I want. You see, [ummm, anyone sensitive to TMI, this is a good time to check out the new recipe] I was done with my shower, had grabbed my towel and was wrapping up my hair, which of course means I was halfway upside down, and I got a good look at my girls. Or should I say quail-eggs in stockings? Yeah, I do believe they've shrunk and misshaped even more (hadn't realized that was possible - live, learn). I actually paused, kinda stunned, and just went "huh". But that wasn't my brainstorm. Here's my brainstorm... it's like auto-repair. Seriously! Check this out...

So you've got a car you love. You take care of it. Regular maintenance, cleaning, fueling. Maybe it's got some wear and tear, but it's a good car, so you do everything you can to keep that baby in tip-top shape. Then you come out one morning and some idiot has sideswiped your car during the night. Your fender is all bent, and your door smashed in, your tailpipe dragging on the ground. What do you do? You take it in for repair work, right? See where I'm going with this?  :-)

Lol, yes, I know surgery isn't the right choice for everyone; but it is for me. I'm hoping 2011 will be my year for some serious auto repair :-)

Okay, TMI time over. At least for now. Mwahahahaha!

lol! :-)

Tuesday, 11/9/2010:   11:30am... Tab is at her awards luncheon :-) I can't wait to hear all about it!

My physical therapy yesterday left me in tears. I was "fine" throughout, and had one last exercise, then foam rolling my IT band, then stretching. I finished up on the leg press (doubles and singles)... no pain, no problem. Got off and started over to the other side of the room to foam roll, and whamo! I was hurting so bad! Couldn't believe it! It was fine on the press, but as soon as I began to walk it screamed. With my great depth of scientific know-how, I deduced that something about the leg press aggravated my knee. (I is smart, ha ha).

I did the foam roller (ouch) then moved on to final stretching (ahhhh). I ended up leaving with a gargantuan ice pack saran-wrapped to my knee. :-(  We're pulling the leg press out of my routine, and will see how it goes on Wed.

I drove home to pick up Bethany then on to Tab's full body conditioning class. I removed the ice, strapped on my braces, and did what I could through the class. I got a great workout, and made sure to not cause pain in my knee. Got home and iced some more. For me, class was heavy on upper body, with some stiff-legged dead-lifts, and abs. Dinner was my clean taco salad (see recipe page), both to refuel and to store up for the coming yoga class in the morning.

This morning it was stiff (they both were, normal), and relatively pain free. I did yoga and discovered I couldn't put my kneecap on the ground. Can you say modify? :-/  Though I tried (really, really hard) to go easy and be hyper-aware, by the time class was done, I was limping and inflamed. Damnit. More ice.

I will conquer this. I will (or rather my physical therapy team will, lol) figure out the triggers. I told Bill last night that I don't know whether to curl up in a ball and cry or punch something. I'm leaning toward punching :-) Though torturing Bethany through class last night did make me feel a bit better :-) Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!  [no, I'm really not that mean, but she did get a great workout and is sore today, lol]. 

My son is coming by soon to pick up my car and take it for an oil change (isn't he awesome???). I'm not real good about keeping up with that sort of thing, which is probably why I've got 10,000 miles on it and this will be the first oil change.   :-/  Food prep - that I've got down... basic car maintenance - not so much. Lol!

Monday, 11/8/2010:   2:30pm... What a weekend! Hope yours was fantastic! Mine was a blast!! Friday, Tab and I hooked up at Fashion Square. We did the girl day, starting with Lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Singed the tastebuds off my tongue on their incredible tomato soup, lol. From there, we hit Godiva (of course), then on to our mission. We had a specific outfit for Tab to search for. And search we did. Limited turned out to be our big hit, finding not only great separates for Tab, but also The Perfect Pair of Pants!

Now, I must pause for a moment, to eulogize an old, devoted friend... The Perfect Pair of Jeans.

We met more than two years ago, on a shopping excursion with Tabitha. We each loaded up with several pair of jeans and encamped in the dressing rooms. Pair after pair we tried and discarded, frustration becoming palpable. And then... dual audible gasps...  "Look!" we cried simultaneously, and we both flew out our dressing room doors. It was love at first fit. The just-right amount of stretch, the complete rear-end support and definition... from form to function, color to style, these were The Ones. Tabitha and I each took a pair home, reveling in our shopping coup.  Over the years, The Perfect Pair of Jeans never let me down. Whether I was up 5 lbs, or down, they fit... perfectly... always. They were a lovely shade of medium blue, and were ideal for any outfit. Together we tromped through grocery stores, perused farmer's markets, stalked malls. We enjoyed backyard bbq's, and neighborhood bars. We did everything together, The Perfect Pair and I. Time has leached their color, leaving them sadly pale. Wear has worn their seams, sapping their strength. Still I wore them. Until Friday. With great depth of grief, I must lay them to rest. The Perfect Pair of Jeans, you had a full life, you gave me great joy (and a great rear-view). I will miss you. You will not be forgotten.

But you have been replaced.

An Ode to the Perfect Pair of Pants...
Perfect pants, how I love thee.
Your embrace lifts my derriere,
and conceals my thighs.
Your length does not make me a midget look
Nor prepared
to wade through a crick.
Your cut, your color,
your stretchy pin-stripes,
You are perfection
at a reasonable price.
You are my favorite,
my most comfortable pair.
I adore you, I honor you,
please, never tear!
O Blessed,
O Perfect Pair of Pants.


So yes, as you have read, I did find the perfect pair of pants... though not jeans, they are (finally) an addition to my work wardrobe. Yay! And yes, Tabitha and I both bought a pair... then so did Erin! LOL! Great minds :-) 

So... the next day, we had a minor fashion crisis, and made a mad dash to Paradise Valley Mall, where we almost immediately solved said crisis, but, had to call back over to the Fashion Square store to ensure stock. We jumped in our cars and drove straight there [insert funny cartoon music here], then went directly to the appropriate department, where our item was waiting for us... as if it knew we were coming to take it home. Awwww.  :-) Having finished our task, and now having time on our hands, we decided to check out the goings-on in the mall. Did I mention that this was Fashion Week here? :-) You just wouldn't believe the things we saw! People are odd. I'm tellin ya, people are really, really odd.

As we browsed in one store, Jen Lancaster decided to communicate with me, brain to brain. Her sarcastabitch fashionista pointed out the woman browsing coats... She was nicely put together, had accessorized in a simple yet lovely manner, but... her skirt... it had a back slit, but she had neglected, upon purchase, to snip the tack holding it closed. Argh, Jen Lancaster! Get out of my head, You're MEAN! Suddenly I felt like I should also kick a puppy!

Next we headed out into Fashion Week, where fashion-snark could freely flow. And it did. My inner-Jen had free reign as we diss'd models, outfits, passers-by, and one very memorable woman who I think was channeling her inner-Betsey Johnson. At least I hope so. Because if not, I am simply stumped. And a little awed.

Anyway... flying on sugar (did I mention Tabitha twisted my arm and marched me at gunpoint into the Sweet Factory? Cuz she did. Then she force fed me gummy bears and sour slices. Really!! Why don't you believe me? Geeze!), we sat and watched the fashion show for Michael Stars... I really think one of the models had dreams of murder for whoever put her in that outfit. If not, she should. Tab and I freely critiqued the models' walks, styles, and overall existence... though we refrained from throwing gummy bears. Barely. :-)

At one point Tab leaned over and asked, "Does this mean we're the white-trash-fashion critics?" 

"No," I answered.

"Why not?" 

"Because I gave up that title when I moved out of the single-wide that had a bathtub with a transmission in it in my front yard." [true story. 100% truth.]

"Huh. Good point."

Ah, Fashion Week. Can't wait till next year!


Friday, 11/5/2010:   10:45am... Just home from physical therapy. Bah humbug. Had to take a step back and sideways. My knees are irritated and inflamed. Me and the ice-pack are real close these days. Blah. I'm re-taped, iced, and hoping for improvement. We ditched a couple exercises, modified a couple more, and added the foam roller for my IT band. No fun on that one! But if it does the job, I'll tolerate the pain and discomfort. But nobody said I had to enjoy it, lol.

On the WOOHOO side of things, I get some Lucy & Ethel time today! Tab and I are meeting up at the mall this afternoon and I can't wait! :-) 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 11/4/2010:   2:15pm... I just ordered a new bottle of Emu Oil, and found they're running a contest for a $100 shopping spree at Uniquely Emu on Facebook. If you'd like to enter, here's the link:

I fully encourage you to try their emu oil. There's a ton of research on the benefits of emu oil, and it makes for a fascinating read. I've been using it for 10 years and love it. Yes, it's expensive. Absolutely, it is worth every penny. Around our house, we use it in our body scrub, body lotions, first aid lotions & sprays, as well as straight from the bottle on cuts, burns, etc. It accelerates the growth of new skin/tissue; it's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory; it's moisturizing; it's awesome!

I've tried a lot of brands over the years, and the product from Uniquely Emu is by far the best. If it's a product you'd be interested in, I hope you'll check them out.

10:45 am - Ok. I have some incredibly exciting news to share :-) Last night Tab was informed that she has been selected by the co-heads of the Kinesiology Dept at ASU to be one of three kinesiology students (out of the 1500 students in the department) to be guests of the Dean of The College of Nursing and Health Innovation (ASU) attending a special awards luncheon next Tuesday honoring some people who have been influential in the health industry. One of three, out of 1500!!! Guest of the Dean! What an awesome honor for Tab! I'm so excited and proud! :-) How cool is that?? Wooohooo Tabitha!!  (as an aside, last week one of the professors told her that the paper she (Tab) wrote last year on coaching/team dynamics is now being used as a "This is how you do it" tool to show students how they should write & prepare their papers! Go, Tab!).
Congratulations, Tabitha!!!!!!    :-)

9am... Happy Birthday, Bill's Mom!!!!! :-)

Physical therapy went well. They're turning up the intensity on me. By the time my 10 min on the zapper was done, I couldn't feel my right quad, lol. I did the usual pre-work stretching, then straight leg lifts (a bitch on the right knee), side lifts, bent knee lifts, band-walks (see pic to the right), then they added a variation of wall squats, and despite my threats to throw the exercise ball at them, they did not back down. Also did a weird hip/wall thing, which when one side was complete, I turned to switch sides, and discovered that it left me imbalanced. You remember that game as a kid where you spun in circles... spin, spin, spin, then walk? Imagine that, only with one leg. I'm telling you it was weird! Like I had one dead leg! Lol! I just tipped right over like a drunken sailor! After that was one leg balances, then leg press (double and single), then the stretching.

The tape is doing it's job (and as long as I'm taped, I don't wear the braces, YES!). I'm still getting used to the way it holds. I'm afraid to bend because I don't want to pull it off, but it does become more flexible the longer I wear it. It was fine in yoga this morning (no pain!) though stiff.

A funny thing has happened... Before I ended up with this double knee thing, I was hitting the gym hard. 7 sessions in 5 days each week. I was trying so hard to lean out, but just wasn't seeing it happen, then the knees went. Back and forth I've gone, with my activity level, finally just sucking it up and doing what I should, not necessarily what I can (because what I can is what gets me injured). I took time off. I kept my food clean. I eased back into activity, and I'm keeping it light (for me). Mondays are full body conditioning class, Tues/Thurs yoga, Mon/Wed/Fri are my physical therapy sessions. I'm not doing cardio or additional weights. I'm not doing zumba. And I'm certainly not doing twice-a-day's. I have cut my calories, but not drastically... I'm at around 1500/day (because I'm still lightly active, and my body needs the extra calories to facilitate healing). In the back of my mind is this voice telling me I'm not doing enough, it's too light, I'll gain weight. Then that funny thing... I'm leaning out. I have more definition in my abs, my poochy belly is more a deflated balloon, my arms (specifically the back) are thinner and more defined. ????!!!!!

Maybe this is my body's way of telling me to chill. I work at it so hard, but clearly one of the things I need to learn is to work at not working at it so hard. My all-or-nothing mentality keeps landing me on the injured list, so clearly there's a balance I've been missing. Time to find it.

Wednesday, 11/3/2010:   9am... Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!! Wooohoo!

I have to say, I am loving this knee tape business! The only drawback (other than the adhesive) is that I feel hyper-aware of the tape and fear it coming off (sweat, shower, movement/bending); though it appears to be quite strong. It has shifted about 1/2 inch on the right and 1/4 inch on the left, due, I'm sure, to movement pulling it. But overall, I feel stable and pain-free. I've still got the tinglies in the tendon, but this is miracle-sized improvement! Proof Dad was right... Duct tape CAN fix everything! :-)

My food is all good. I'm not hitting my ratios (goal is 33/33/33 split of protein/carb/fat), but everything I'm getting is whole and healthy. Yesterday I hit around 1500 cal, but my carbs were higher than protein. Today so far, I'm waaaay low on fat, but I'll add an avocado to my dinner and be fine (probably going to steam some green beans and toss them & a chicken breast in my cooler, plus the avocado). If I hit all my meals, before dinner I'll be at 1300 cal, so that's right on track. My fiber count is right around 30 g, and I'm getting a minimum of 128g protein/day, so even though my ratios are off, it's all good. It's bowling night, so I'll dash home after phys. therapy and repack my cooler then on to the bowling alley.


Tuesday, 11/2/2010:   10am... Yesterday was my third physical therapy session, followed by a full-body conditioning class (taught by Tab). My quads are screamin' today! Lol. A great thing that happened is one of my therapists tried something new... I'm out of the braces, and one knee is taped... I walked around last night PAIN FREE! I did yoga this morning PAIN FREE! I'm sitting at my desk, PAIN FREE! Wooohoo! The tape is holding my kneecap in place, and seems to be doing so more efficiently than the brace. This is all my right leg, the left is doing great and responding quickly to the therapy. The only downside to this tape thing is that I'm actually allergic to adhesive. I blow up like a balloon, get hive like bumps, then full blown blisters. And that's after only a few minutes of contact. So far, I appear to be fine, one side is starting to look inflamed, but I'm applying emu oil and hoping for the best.

The muscle zapper appears to be doing it's job. Ok, it's actually called an Electronic Muscle Stimulator (EMS), but I prefer to call it the zapper... or tazer. LOL. I can feel improvement in my quad strength. It's a bizarre thing to watch your muscle lift itself off the leg (and not very comfortable). It's crazy, but it is helping.

During my preliminary stretching yesterday, I laid on my back on the table, put one leg straight/flat, wrapped a rope around the other foot and pulled that leg up and straight then across my body and down to stretch my IT band. Now, let me remind you I wasn't on the floor as in the photos here, but up on the table. Can you guess what happened? Yep! That extended leg was pulling me right off and face down onto the floor. The therapist walked in just as I dropped the rope thing and grabbed frantically at the side of the table to stop from rolling off. Have I mentioned that I have a profound lack of coordination and grace? All he could say was "well, that's a first" and laugh. I go back Wed. and Fri. this week, then see where we're at.

 IT Band Stretch - part 1 IT Band Stretch part 2

Monday, 11/1/2010:   11am... Hope you had a fabulous weekend! We had our halloween party on saturday, then trick-or-treaters on sunday, along with my usual food prep, plus yesterday was a special day for Bill and I as it was our 10 year "together" anniversary (more on that shortly). We also tried out a new recipe last night for dinner... I think Bill's mouth is still on fire. Oops.

So... Halloween. My favorite holiday, hands down. Bill was batman, Shiloh was Robin, and I was bobblehead-me, Lol. A couple years ago, some friends found a bobble-head doll at a motorcycle shop that reminded them of me, so they bought it and she painted it up to look more like me, lol, even painting Nakki's name (my boxer) next to the little hog on a leash. It's adorable, and I love it. So I rounded up a leather vest (which Shiloh applied appliqués to making it resemble the one on the doll), and a pair of chaps along with my bike boots (Harley of course), a leather cap and a photo of Nakki on a ribbon leash. Tab had the brilliant idea to add silver cord to my neck to look like the spring on the doll. Lol. Tab and Erin showed up as Wayne and Garth, and they ROCKED it! Ron and Cheri did Kid Rock & Pamela Anderson... it was hysterical, and Ron even won Best Costume at a club later that night! 

I made a bean/layer dip, Ariel made the mummy dogs (just "pigs in a blanket", but we used the good Applegate Farms uncured hot dogs), my cucumber dip and a batch of clean brownies. There was other food there, too, of course, but that's what I brought :-) Also had my handy clean chips - The Naturals variety of Tostitos yellow corn and blue corn chips, and the Naturals Ruffles. The recipes are up, if you'd like them.

The brownies I normally make are here, this time I tried a new recipe. The brownies themselves were great (though my usual are more chocolaty), but the marshmallow topping was both fantastic and yucky... it was really cool to make my own marshmallow creme, but the addition of the almond extract was just nasty. Next time I'll either replace it with vanilla, or skip it altogether. It's just my personal preference, and if you like almond extract, you'd love the original recipe. She's a clever gal, over there at and deserves serious kudos for her great recipes. The marshmallow topping is a must-try :-)

We had a great time! (click on photos to view larger).

Sunday, Bethany wanted to go trick-or-treating, so I threw on an eye patch and sword, lol. Yes, I am a dork. We also entertained Bill with our dance routine to Baby Got Back.  Fine, I am an uber-dork :-)

My food prep for the week included Grilled Chicken breasts (I LOVE my Foreman Grill!), and a wide variety of veggies. I also browned up 2 lbs of ground bison for Taco Salad, etc during the week. I didn't have time to bake my bread, so I had to revert back to my Alpine Valley bread for the guys (which is great, it's just not mine, lol).

Changing Life...  On a serious note, yesterday was a special anniversary for Bill and I. Ten years ago, we both went through a hard-reboot on our lives. For me, it involved losing one of the most significant people in my life - my great-grandmother. She was a truly amazing woman, and in the midst of my grief I discovered some painful things about my family, and my place in my family, that left me reeling. During this time, I was further forced to face the truth of my own life & marriage, and make a very difficult decision. On October 30, 2000, I chose to leave my abusive and deviant husband.

The night I left remains the most terrifying and traumatic night of my life, and to my eternal shame, of my children's lives, as well. Making a very long story short, I escaped, making my way through the night. I remember sitting on a bus watching the sun rise, but I couldn't feel the warmth. I was so cold. So scared. From Bakersfield to Los Angeles, then on to Arizona, my terror battled my hope. On October 31st, within 2-hours of my arrival, I had an apartment, a few kitchen basics & foodstuffs, and a job. I was so very lucky, in so many ways.

Throughout the next three years, Bill stood beside me, unfailing in his support, as I fought through the legal system to regain my children and sever the ties of my ex to my life. Bill was there throughout my quest for family truth, and the subsequent changes that wrought. I began a new life. I found new family, and rediscovered a deep love & respect for the family I'd always known. I also found me again.  I realized my own worth as a person and reclaimed my independence. And I found a love that "even time would lie down and be still for."

Bill and I have managed to create a family out of our his & hers children, and we've forged a bond that can only be ascribed to soul-mates. These ten years have been the happiest of my life. For me, life began at age 30. Now at 40, it's brighter than ever.  I'm not saying life is easy. The world can be a dark, dark place, but where there is darkness, there must also be light. I assure you, it can be found. 

October 31st is my own personal independence day, when I took back what was mine... my life. January 2nd, 2007 is another special day... that's when I reclaimed my health and started down the path to fitness & healthy weight. I celebrate these dates, and what they've brought me.

Whether you're changing your life, or your lifestyle, it can be done and age is not a detriment. Find your strength, and embrace the journey.

Friday, 10/29/2010:   10am... Dinner last night was fun. I went with the Apricot Chicken and it was tasty :-)  Everyone had a great time. Photos are up here.  

Also, I finally got my 2-year pic... Had Bill take it.

Chelle Stafford - After photo, 2 years of goal weight maintenance.

Thursday, 10/28/2010:   9am... Happy Birthday Shiloh! :-) 17! Wooohoo!

We'll be heading to Olive Garden tonight. I've narrowed down my choices to either the Grilled Salmon (calories 510; total fat 26g, with 6g sat fat; 5 carbs and 760 mg sodium) or the Parmesan Tilapia (calories 590; total fat 25g with 10g sat fat; carbs 42g; sodium 910 mg), or the Apricot Chicken (sodium is 1420! Yikes! Calories: 380; Total fat: 4, sat fat 1.5; Carbs 32g; Fiber 8g). While the sodium is highest in the Chicken dish (and these are the lowest sodium dinners on the menu!), the fat is lowest, fiber highest (out of my choices). The carbs would be inline with the protein, so despite the sodium (my whole day's worth!), it's probably my best choice, nutritionally. I can combat the sodium by drinking extra water and having a banana when we get home.

While the published nutritional information is not always accurate, it's better than going in blind. Had I not looked up the info already, my "blind" pick would have probably been the Seafood Brodetto... looks good, not a cream based dish, at 35 g carbs it balances with the protein content, and has 7g of fiber... it also has 2250 mg of sodium!

When eating out, if you can research the menu ahead of time, you're ahead of the game. I know the compromises I'm willing to make, and the ones I'm not. I'll take the extra sodium in the Apricot Chicken, but not the 110g of carbs in the Shrimp Primavera. I'll take the 8g of fiber in the chicken dish instead of the 27g of fiber in the Chicken Parmigiana because I don't want the 1090 calories, 49g of fat (18 sat fat) and 3380 mg of sodium that go with it.

Making good choices involves looking at all the data... on the surface, the lowest sodium dinner item is the Herb-Grilled Salmon, but that low sodium comes with 26 g of fat and only 2 g of fiber. You've got to know going in what you're willing to compromise on, and how far you'll compromise. You also need to know that you have the right to special request, and insist on, a meal made your way... You can order the salmon cooked dry (no olive oil or butter), or lightly oiled, and not salted, you can order the veggies without salt or butter... you control it, to a certain extent. Don't be afraid to order off-menu. I've gone into restaurants and requested a single chicken breast cooked in 1 tbsp olive oil with dry & unsalted steamed veggies. I've gotten what I've wanted. It's not a big deal. You're paying them to cook your food, don't be afraid to be picky.

Now.... that said.... It's also ok to have a celebratory meal, a treat. Even if it's full of fat, sodium and whatnot. A treat (by definition: rare) will not undo your work or your lifestyle. A treat will not derail you, and might even help shake up your metabolism by making it deal with things it doesn't normally have to. Rock the status-quo!  This dinner tonight is for my daughter's birthday, and I am totally comfortable going in there and having "whatever I want" knowing that it's a treat. However, frankly, the Apricot Chicken looks the best to me :-) Plus, I had ice-cream cake last weekend. Lol.

I don't need the saucy pastas or breadsticks. I do need to have a relaxing dinner with my family celebrating the life of my beloved daughter at her favorite restaurant.

Eating the way I eat isn't difficult, it's not a burden - not on me or anyone around me. Who cares why I choose the Apricot Chicken? It's not a matter of "I can't eat this or that", it's simply my choice. I could choose to eat something else, fully understanding the consequences. But, since I can't go jump on the treadmill tomorrow (not that doing so would entirely erase a treat meal) because of my current knee situation, I'll choose something that I don't have to work off. I'm thinking it'll probably be pretty tasty, too. :-)

Some of you who read this blog often might be wondering, Hey, wait a minute... don't you do date-night once a week? Isn't that a treat meal? That's not rare, it's weekly! What's up with that!?

Allow me to explain...  :-)   As I've progressed in my clean eating lifestyle over the last several years, the choices I make for treat meals (including date nights) have improved. I can eyeball a menu fairly accurately, deciding what I'm willing to splurge on and what I'm not. Because our favorite food is Mexican, I'm fairly safe choosing black beans and a soft corn tortilla taco over a breaded & fried relleno... but on occasion (there's that "rare" thing I was talking about) I'll get the relleno because I love them and sometimes I'm ok with splurging on the fat. I don't do the relleno every friday. Also, my activity level allows me a certain leeway to enjoy more treats, than when I was actively losing the weight. It's a benefit to maintaining my weight loss and active lifestyle. It's also an area I have to adjust as situations arise... like my knees and new reduced activity. No relleno's for me for a while. And that's ok, too, because I like the tacos :-)

What's your attitude towards dining out? How do you make your choices, and why?

Wednesday, 10/27/2010:   11am... First day of physical therapy. Didn't know what to expect going in, but it certainly didn't include being there from 7:45 to 10:10! When I dashed back home to pack my cooler and run to work, I was rushed and missed a protein source. Crap. My bad.

Therapy went well. I was told that they rarely see such excellent form on squats (kudos to the WGT, Tabitha! [worlds' greatest trainer]). I go back Friday, then I'll schedule for the following week. On the OUCH side of things, it's $100/session. Mega OUCH! I'm supposed to do this 3x/week for 4 weeks! I guess we'll see. Both patellar tendons are tingling and stinging right now. The heavy focus is on my quads, as it's the quad that controls the tracking of the patella. Also discovered that my patellas (kneecaps) are tilted, which accounts for some of my discomfort/pain. One thing they did was hook up this little contraption that zaps my quads, literally. It's bizarre and feels like a whole bunch of tiny needles hitting you at once. It forces the quad to contract, and when it does, you squeeze that contraction harder, essentially re-training the quad to work the way it's supposed to. Interesting, for sure.

I felt really strong afterwards, but as I get farther from the session, my knees are feeling more wobbly. I suppose that corresponds with the "relaxing" of the quads post-exercise. Good news is I can do "anything" in the gym (with good form) that doesn't hurt. I like that directive :-) I like it very much. What I don't like is that right now, almost everything hurts. <sigh>. Oh well. It's temporary.

Ran around like crazy people last night working on finishing up costumes. Crazy. I ended up having to rent some of mine. I can't tell you yet what it is, but I'll post pics afterwards. :-)  Tab has an awesome costume she and a buddy are doing and I can't wait to see it! Bill and Shi (my 17 year old) are doing a duo costume, which will be hysterical, and Bethy is a witch (and adorable!). I have no idea what Ariel is doing, and Joey is heading to CA to visit friends. Our party is Saturday.

Shiloh, my middle baby, is turning 17 tomorrow. We'll be heading to her favorite restaurant, The Olive Garden... I need to go online and examine their menu to find myself some choices.  Joey just turned 19, and Bethy will be 15 in December. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, 10/26/2010:   4pm... What a wild ride today has been! I had a class for work in Chandler, so that meant I didn't have time to do yoga today (booooo!), grabbed Red House (steamed chicken, veggies & brown rice - all clean) on my way back to office at 1pm, then had to run out and take pics of a listing, then back to scramble and get everything done. It's been crazy! I'm just now sitting down to eat the other half of my lunch. Tonight I plan to do some yoga at home and study. Bill is out of state (booohooo!) but will be back tomorrow night, late.

Last night I went to Tab's full body conditioning class. Wow, my butt got kicked :-) Great workout, and today I am sore! From my shoulder blades down to my hamstrings! Plus my abs, oh my aching abs! Wooohooo! And, there was no undue stress on my knees.  I love her classes, the way everything just flows and is fun. It was fantastic, and I'm looking forward to next Monday!

I wanted to show you her birthday present to me. I was crackin' up when I opened it! How awesome is this? You know, I'm sure, that the trifecta of bff time for us is our mall days when we hit up Nordstrom Cafe for lunch, then shop hitting the Holy Mecca of Sephora, then Chocolate... at Godiva.    Here's my present:

Step 1: The box...

Wishes 1 & 2....

And the kicker... Wish 3!

Does Best Friend World get better than this?  :-)  It's a Girl-Day in a Box! Wooohoo!


Monday, 10/25/2010:   9am... Woohoo!!! This weekend saw two major events for me... my 40th birthday and my two-year anniversary of maintaining my goal weight!  My birthday was fun, had a surprise party and ice cream cake :-) And much, too much rum. My recovery the next day included tending to some bruises, as when I consume too much rum I believe I am a UFC fighter and rumble. LOL. For the record, I AM NOT A UFC FIGHTER. Lol! And I should really stay away from the rum! Prior to my ill-advised rum-scapades, I had a fun time shopping at my favorite consignment shop, My Sister's Closet. I even found a pair of palazzo pants! I've been looking for those ever since I hit goal weight and had to give away my old pair! Yay! These pants are fabulous since they completely hide my twin-beasts (knee braces). Now if I could just figure out how to make them stop creaking when I walk. Lol!

I'll have Bill take a photo asap, to get that up on my home page. I am thrilled to have maintained my weight for 2 years, and look forward to maintaining it for the rest of my life. I love this lifestyle!

These beautiful roses were from my folks in Sacramento  :-)Aren't they gorgeous? And they smell as good as they look!

Food is good, I am planning to reduce my calories though, to compensate for any activity loss over the next four weeks. I'm going to track this week, and see what my calorie needs will be, then implement that next week. Today I have Tab's Full Body Conditioning class after work, Tues/Thurs is yoga, and I begin physical therapy Wednesday (and will do that 3x/week). Once I know about where my exercise burn will be, I can adjust the calories in my food.

My main goal right now is to get through the next 4 weeks with my knees still attached to my legs, lol. Once I'm rehabbed and on the other side, I'll set more goals to keep me going until I celebrate 3 years of maintenance :-) 

Happy Monday!

Fun for the morning... My son decided to give us a surprise when we opened the fridge....

Friday, 10/22/2010:   2pm... Is it the weekend yet? Please?

So... had my Dr appt this morning. Remember The Beast? Now there are two.

Not only have I not gotten better, but both knees are worse. :-(   And, he added to my diagnosis: Patellofemoral Syndrome. Are we having fun yet? Oh, and I have to wear both braces pretty much all the time. AND, I have to do physical therapy 3x/week for the next 4 weeks. AND I'm on almost total rest. Bleh. New buzz-word for me... Modification!

Food today is all clean, though I missed snack 1 while sitting in the Dr's office. I'm back on track now, eating my lunch of grilled chicken breast, steamed portabello, crockpot beets (see recipe page), and 1/2 cup of quinoa & rice. Dinner tonight will be Chicken Enchilasagna.  I made the shredded chicken & lean ground beef on Sunday, so it'll be a simple matter to toss it all together and into the oven. I plan on having a very large glass of red wine with my dinner.

Off to work & scheduling physical therapy.

Thursday, 10/21/2010:   2pm... I am so ready for the weekend. I had to skip yoga this morning (booooo) to try and catch up on some other things. I don't know if I'll make it to the gym this evening, though I hope to. My food is all on track, clean & whole. I'm still buried at work, which is carrying over into home. I have my follow up knee doc appt tomorrow, then will form my gameplan from there.

Gotta run.

Wednesday, 10/20/2010:   3pm... I want to share this link with you. The story by CNN is about a friend of ours. We met John, his wife, and daughter nearly 10 years ago, and they're wonderful... the kind of folks about whom you say "good people".  Over the last many years, John has been fighting cancer, and his journey is an awesome thing; both inspiring and terrifying.  John is one of the most amazing men I know, and I'm honored by his friendship, humbled by his greatness.

9am...Craziness continues. Briefly... no workout this morning, used the time to catch up on studies. Food is noted on the Cooler page, I've still got to figure out dinner (bowling night), but figure I'll do a veggie wrap w/feta, as I'm low on carbs & fat. Dinner last night was super yummy stuffed peppers. Been craving them! Green peppers stuffed and baked with (lean & drained & rinsed) ground beef & chopped mushrooms, orange & red peppers, onion, zucchini & yellow squash. I've got one in my cooler today for snack :-)

I'm still trying to work my head around the adjustments I need to make to my fitness lifestyle due to the conditions in my knees. Part of me says, Hey! No adjustments necessary! Look at all you've managed to do with torn tendons, rapidly degenerating kneecaps & arthritis! Keep going!  This part of me is then whapped in the back of my head with a 2x4 when the more sane and logical part says, Hello! That's why you've got torn tendons, rapidly degenerating kneecaps & arthritis! So my dilemma is in deciding how much I can reasonably do, daily & weekly, while taking steps to prevent further damage and increase repair & regeneration. Every time I get in the gym, I want to Go Big or Go Home (hence the repetitive contact between aforementioned timber product and my posterior cranium).

I did cardio on Monday... a chill 35 min session on the elliptical. Somehow I managed to give myself a shin-splint! Really?? Maybe that's an indication that it wasn't such a chill session (and seriously, how do you get a shin-splint on the elliptical?). Yeesh. Yoga yesterday was wonderful, I felt strong and today my muscles are sore. Go Yoga. I need to get in more cardio this week, plus weights and one more yoga session. Maybe somewhere in there I'll find my "chill" methodology and actually proactively prevent further decline.

On that note, a great book I just read is helping me a lot. If anyone out there is dealing with arthritis, check out Dr. Bob Arnot's "Wear & Tear"

Ok, nose back to the grindstone... I'll check in later.   :-)

PS.... I updated the workout music page with my current playlist.

Tuesday, 10/19/2010:   Still utterly buried. I will get a decent post in asap. Quick update... Cardio done yesterday morning, yoga this morning. Yoga went better than last time, I think because I was focused on doing what I could do (while wearing the knee brace) as opposed to fussing over what I couldn't do. I'm awaiting some lab results from my doc, and I also see the knee doc this friday, but I'm not real hopeful. Both knees have really been hurting. I am focusing on moving to a more purposeful anti-inflammatory diet to aid in dealing with my arthritis. My food is already clean, but there are things I can limit or eliminate. Wheat being at the top of the list.

In the meantime, my oldest, Joey, turned 19 on friday (wow!), and the kids are all every-which-way. Everyone is super busy. My birthday is sunday (40) [which also marks my 2-year weight maintenance anniversary!], Shiloh will be 17 on the 28th, then my mom has a birthday Nov 3, Bill's mom's is Nov 4.... a seriously happenin' time of year for us, lol! Somewhere along the way, I've got to plan a Halloween party (my very favorite holiday, woohoo!!!!), too.  My experiments in cloning myself are not going well, their heads keep exploding. <sigh>. 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 10/18/2010:   Back in the office today and WOW am I swamped! I gotta dig myself out here, but when I do, I will be back to post and update! 

Wednesday, 10/13/2010:   I'm Back!! Wow! What a great getaway! The trip was fantastic, and while I chose to not workout, I got plenty of exercise :-) Everyone had a fantastic time. I've got pics but haven't had time yet to resize them. I'll post them asap. Sun, Sand & Sea - the triumphant trifecta of stress relief!

We got home and were unpacking when I got a call from Tab:

Tab "Hey! Why didn't you tell me??"

Chelle "Tell you what?"

Tab "That you got published!"

Chelle (thinking hard, well I've been published several times but that was years ago, in my previous life, and while my goal is to be published again, it hasn't happened  yet, so....) "Huh?"

Tab "Yeah! You're published!" She then proceeds to read me the title, byline, and magazine & issue....

Chelle  "WHAT????!!! Are you serious????!!! OMG!!!!!!"

Awhile back I'd submitted my yoga story (about my first class) to a local fitness & health magazine, but I'd never heard anything from them so assumed it wasn't a fit. I have a subscription to the magazine, but hadn't yet received my copy when I was in the prosthetics lab a couple weeks ago getting fitted for my brace. They gave me the copy of the magazine to take with me, as I was reading an article on make-up (never underestimate the power of a good coverup!). I took that magazine, in my purse, to the mall where I met Tab. I opened the magazine in Sephora to check for recommended brands, then put the issue back in purse. I never flipped through the whole thing. Then I got home, had gotten my copy (which comes in a large envelope) and had put it in a stack of stuff to read "later".

Later turned out to be this afternoon, when Tab informed me my story was in it! LOL! How me! I walked around for several hours with that magazine and had no idea I had a byline!

Needless to say, I'm completely over the moon! The perfect cap to a great vacation/getaway! Woohoo! - October 2010 issue, pg. 32.


Saturday, 10/9/2010:   9am... Who's goin' to Mexico? I'M goin' to Mexico!! Woot Woot!! :-)  I'm so ready!! Finishing up the last minute packing, etc. Bill's dad will be staying at our place and keeping Nakki company. Really wish we could take her with us again, but rules are rules. Bummer. The kids are flyin', we're flyin'... the excitement is palpable!

I was in the gym twice yesterday for lifting - yeah, I know, but I did try to take it easy the second time. Legs in the a.m. with Tab (killer workout, btw... awesome job, Tab!), then in the afternoon I was back for some whole-body stuff, with a focus on abs & upper body. Tried to give the knees a break. I had planned to do cardio this morning, but the knees said no. I hope to get some in while we're down in Mexico, but I'll play it by... knee. ha ha. 

I really want to thank you guys who have emailed me tips on dealing with arthritis. It's helping, so keep 'em coming :-)  I've always been an ibuprofin girl, but was steered toward Aleve, and darned if it's not helping! A lot!

Got a killer playlist for the trip down, and of course a long-play for while we're there. Oh, I can't wait! Shiloh is taking her SAT's, and once she's home we are on the road!

I will be back online Wed/Thurs. Have a great weekend!! Hasta!

Thursday, 10/7/2010:   5 pm... runnin' out the door again. I have Zumba tonight with Tab & Erin. We'll see if I get any better at shakin' my booty... or if I'm still just a'rattlin' my teeth :-) Tomorrow is Leg Day... Tab's got a workout for me that'll allow me to continue to strength train without doing further damage (have I mentioned how grateful I am for Tab? 'Cuz I am!).  Tomorrow is also a whirlwind of last minute errands and packing. We leave Saturday as soon as Shiloh is back from her SAT's.  Woohoo! I can't wait!! MEXICO!!!!!!   We are duly registered with the Dept. of State for our trip, reservations are confirmed, and we are so very ready to go! It's our first trip away from home in more than 2 1/2 years.

Because we're taking so much food with us, most of my meals will be clean and on track, allowing me to really enjoy the treats :-)  Ah, tacos and Pina Coladas! Woohoo! There is a gym... I am undecided on working out. Originally, the plan was to work out every day, but with my knee situation.... I'm packing my stuff in case I decide to, but rest may be the better choice. We'll see.

10:30am - I'm back with my new brace. This is certainly a lesson in finding, and honoring, my limitations. My "Go hard or go home" mentality will not serve me well, and I have to adjust. I do not like to adjust. I do not like to back off. But if I don't, I will not heal. My concern is about that healing... let's say the tears in the tendon heal, the wearing & pitting in the kneecap is not something that will heal, nor is the arthritis... where will that leave me? The last three years have been a constant battle for fitness, for strength. Will I be physically capable of continuing the battle, or is the battle destroying me? At what point do I cross the line from strengthening into breaking down? How do I recognize it?

While I try to stay light and bright, laugh when I can, I am haunted by what's to come. I don't know how to adjust.  Now that I am being honest with myself, I recognize that the pain I live with is not normal. It's not the pain of becoming a better athlete. I wake in the mornings, and ignore that it hurts almost unbearably to walk. I ignore when my ankle throbs, and my shoulder bites. I rub creams on my hand when it aches so badly I can't use it to type, and then I ignore it. I've told myself to suck it up, push through, keep moving. And I've made it worse. Why have I done this? How have I not seen that this is not normal?

Now I'm taking steps, I'm seeing doctors, wearing a brace, following (mostly) instructions... but what damage have I done by allowing this to go untreated for so long? I guess I'll be finding out. And, exploring another life-lesson from yoga... modification. I need to accept and understand that modifying does not make me weak.

I am very afraid of being weak.

9am.  Quick post before I run out the door. Evidently I am a brute. My indestructible brace, The Beast, I have destroyed. :-(  Yep, I broke it. I'm heading over to the prosthetics lab to see if they can fix or replace it. Dagnabbit!

On another note, I did learn there are 2 more yoga poses I am not able to do (or should not attempt to do, lol)... Pigeon and yogi squat. Oops - my bad.

Yogi Squat Pigeon Pose, upright

Wednesday, 10/6/2010:   9am... Very interesting article today on nutrition/weight. A nutrition professor is challenging his student's view on weight loss and health. It's a fascinating read, and while I wouldn't personally choose to do the same, I understand and agree with his basic premise. Weight loss is simply a matter of mathematics. More energy out than in will create loss. This is why so many of us count calories... it's a proven tool to aid in weight loss & maintenance. This professor's perspective is that weight loss can be achieved through any "diet" as long as there are fewer calories in than out, and he illustrates this by consuming a diet full of junk food for 30 days. The results were illuminating. Though he does not encourage others to do the same, he hopes to challenge folks to re-evaluate their relationships with food. If you have time, give it a read:

Logged my cardio this morning... 50 minutes on the elliptical. Have I mentioned how much I dislike steady-state cardio? Oy. However, especially with The Beast, I am sticking with the elliptical for at least a couple weeks, until I can work my way back up to the treadmill (and hopefully, the stair-master). Knowing what's wrong with my knees, I'm pulling back a bit as opposed to my usual "Push Through, You Pussy!!".  Pushing through this pain will not net me my desired goal, but rather, will cause more damage. This fluctuating line of when to ease back and when to push is more than a little frustrating and confusing, but I will figure it out.

Tuesday, 10/5/2010:   1:30pm... Ha! Hey AZ, we've got rain! You know that line from the movie Twister, where she's sitting in the back of the truck on the verge of a tornado and say's "I gotta go. We got cows!" Well this rain is just about that unusual! Thunder, lightning, heavy downpour! We Got Rain!  Wooohooo!!!

12pm... Worked out with Tab last night. It was awesome! :-) Came home and had a tiny baked potato covered with taco meat (from sunday's food prep) topped with cottage cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of steamed green beans. This morning was yoga, bright and early. The Beast was a bitch and made several poses either impossible or distinctly uncomfortable. I've got a lot of adjusting to do. I've also got an appt the friday after we return from Mexico to have the rest of my body checked for arthritis.

On the topic of adjusting, it's time to tweak the diet. I'm now moving back toward my 33/33/33 split of protein/carb/fat, and aiming for 1600-1800 cal/day. Because I'm working out first thing in the a.m. before eating, I'm adding in a starchy carb with my dinner (to fuel my early morning workouts). I had a potato last night (small), since I'm out of sweet potatoes. I'll have to stock up on those. 

5 days until Mexico! Here's my book as promised...

Monday, 10/4/2010:   2pm... I'm heading out for a green tea. Need to clear my head; I've got html and RGB color codes whirling like dervishes in my head. Lol. FYI, I forgot to mention, I have a theme song for my current situation... Linkin Park, Somewhere I Belong. :-) Yep, I have songs for everything, lol!

9am.... I made it through the weekend. Did lots of research, trying to find options, or at the very least, more information. The outcome, for now, is that I'll wear the brace and follow instructions (most of them), then attend my appt on the 22nd. BUT... I'm also seeking a good sports medicine doc who will focus on keeping me moving and maintaining my lifestyle. I want a doctor who will put ME first, not his own philosophy of what women of certain ages should be doing. I refuse to allow either my condition or my doctor to stop me from reaching my potential.

Saturday was my baking day... I made 2 loaves of banana bread for the family (froze one for next week's vacation), 4 loaves of the maple-seeded bread, and a batch of coconut chocolate chip cookiesHealthy Eats! Grilled Mahi Mahi, Asparagus, and Whole Grain Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce.We also had a yummy dinner... taught me to make a reduction sauce out of a roasted red pepper & tomato soup, and it was excellent! I put it on chicken for the family, and mahi-mahi for me, served with asparagus and whole grain pasta. It was a hit! Basically, you just put 2 cups of the soup in a pan and simmer until it's reduced down to 1 cup, then spoon it over your meat & pasta. So very good! Per Elana's recipe, I used Pacific Natural Foods brand.

Sunday was my usual food prep day, and the Counter of Chaos continues to reign.  :-)  I grilled chicken, browned beef, chopped veggies, etc. I also have been picking off items from the Vacation list, and storing them separately from my other groceries. We're on the 6 day countdown!!! I can hardly wait! We're planning to do the majority of our meals in our condo, to help cut costs, so I've been squirreling away food :-)  I have half a batch of bison chili in the freezer, several loaves of bread and banana bread, hamburger buns, pre-mixed & shaped bison bacon burgers, various veggie fare (for our resident vegetarian), plus the cereals, granola, munchies, etc.

And those of you who know me really well... YES, I do have a book. LOL :-)  I will take a pic of it and post it tomorrow. Everything from our reservation confirmation to the itinerary, to the emergency contacts, menu, etc... it's all in there. Mexico here we come!!!! Breg knee brace

Having rested both saturday & sunday (I was a good girl and wore the brace to do my grocery shopping), I woke up stiff this morning and ready for the gym. I did 45 minutes of steady-state cardio on the elliptical, wearing The Beast. I've been icing my knees off and on since, and I took a dose of ibuprofin with my breakfast. I plan to return to the gym this evening for weights, though I'm not sure yet what I'll focus on.  By the way, there's a photo of The Beast to the right...


Friday, 10/2/2010:   First of all... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STACEY! I LOVE YOU, SIS!!!!   :-)

12pm... Ok, so I've spent the last day in a pity party. It's time to stand up and move on. Here's the situation.

I saw the doctor yesterday, got film, got examined (oops, flinch-kicked the doc, my bad), and got the news. The patellar tendon tear from 3 years ago is still an issue and I've got patellar tendonitis. The degenerative condition in my kneecaps, causing the underside to wear away at an accelerated rate is continuing to progress, but now instead of just wear, I also have pocks in the cap. And the final kick in the teeth... the situation I've been experiencing, particularly in my right knee, is "significant arthritis".

Immediate treatment: I have to take anti-inflammatories, which I will bolster with an increase in dietary anti-inflammatories. I have to ice my knee regularly. And I have a brace I've named The Beast - I feel positively bionic in this thing. It's huge, bulky, not comfortable and greatly reduces my mobility (more on that in a moment). Finally, my gym activities have been greatly curtailed. No lunges, squats, leg extensions or any movement that places my knee at a 90 degree angle. I was not banned from the stair-master or treadmill, though I also did not inform the doc that I use those machines. Lol. I go back on the 22nd to plot a plan of action.

Short term treatment - I can allow the doc to go in surgically and remove tissue and smooth down the underside of the patella (kneecap), though this is truly short term, as the condition will continue to deteriorate the cap, and the surgery will significantly limit my mobility. Not an option.  The doctor also strongly recommended I reduce my activity and exercise to nearly nothing. Also, not an option.

Short to Long term - full knee replacement. Eventually I will need this in both knees, though the one progressing the fastest (or deteriorating the fastest) is my right knee, and the growth of the arthritis' severity, according to the doctor, "doesn't look good". There's no indication as of right now, of how long I have until this will be necessary.

Immediate ramifications - I will not reach my goal by my 40th birthday. While I will have successfully reached my 2 year anniversary of maintaining my weight, I will not be where I wanted to be. And yes, being the uber-mature, calm and easy-going person that I am, I spent most of last night either crying or on the verge of tears and feeling very angry, fearful and sorry for myself. Happy effing 40th to me.

Enough of that.

Tab is already at work creating a leg-workout for me that will not further damage my knee, but allow me to continue training and moving forward. Have I mentioned lately how very much I appreciate Tab? I didn't ask her to do that. It hadn't even occurred to me yet, as I was still wallowing in my "I can't do this, I can't do that" mindset. Seriously, there was nothing anyone could say to make me feel better that could compete with her text: "No worries. I have a plan.  :-) "

Back in '07 when I blew out my  knee, after seeing the doc and getting his diagnosis, I drove straight to the gym and sought out Tab, who was my trainer at the time. I sobbed, sure that my journey, which I had just begun, was over. She hugged me and said, "No worries. I have a plan."  And a plan she did indeed come up with. She found creative ways to keep me moving forward while not using my leg. She was amazing. So, Tab, if you're reading this.... I am so grateful for you, and to you and  your "plans"!  :-)

Yes, I still want to cry. Yes, I'm still afraid. No, I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm going to move forward. I'm already learning lots of new stuff, and have plans (though still in their infancy) to combat the arthritis and the degenerative condition. Another thing I've learned is about my new brace. You see, I mentioned that it reduces mobility. It's actually supposed to help prevent me from bending to that 90 degree angle, though that didn't completely register when the tech was fitting me with it. Want to know how I figured out that little gem of knowledge? Well, after the doctor, I went to get fitted for The Beast, then met Tab at Fashion Square. I had to wear The Beast to begin breaking it in, so me and my newly bionic leg were tromping around throughout the mall. Tab and I came across an amazing shoe sale at Dillard's... I got two pairs of sketchers for $8 each (I love a good shoe sale!), then we headed over to the purse department.

Let me explain that one of my favorite purse designers (though I don't own any, lol) is Kathy Van Zeeland. So we're wandering around checking out the sale tables, when what do I behold but a lovely black, sparkly, darling Kathy on the bottom shelf! I must look! I must touch! I bend, squatting down quickly to grab up this little beauty,  and wobble... and wobble... and grab for the shelf... wobble again, and THUNK! I hit the ground. While I had bent to reach for the bag, my right leg wouldn't complete the bend, and I teetered to the left, struggled to balance, trying not to drop my bag with the 2 boxes of Sketchers, and my purse, then finally gave up and just hit the floor. I sat there and all I could do was laugh while the poor saleswoman asked frantically, "Is she ok?"   Tab, also laughing, assures her that I am indeed ok, while she quickly moves to my side... "Really," she says quietly, "are you ok?".  Assured that the greatest injury was to my pride, we both continue in our mirth while I (so much less than gracefully) finally regain my feet.

Thus I learned the inescapable truth that The Beast limits my mobility.

So today, I am resting. Icing off and on. I will do my baking, as soon as my daughter returns with my car so I can go get more flour (can't believe I didn't realize I was almost out!). And I will relax. What I will not do is feel sorry for myself anymore. Though when it comes time to knead the dough, I might feel sorry for the dough :-)

Thursday, 9/29/2010:   2pm... Hit up Whole Foods for more Kombucha :-) This time I tried the HONEST brand, maqui berry grapefruit. Seriously yummy :-) Whole Foods has some great online coupons (including ones for some of my favorite brands: Siggi's skyr (icelandic yogurt); Muir Glen; Bare Naked Granola, TLC (Kashi) cereal bars (the kids love 'em); Imagine boxed soups/broths, and lots more! Now if they would just give me some coupons for Kombucha! :-)

10am... Bowling went well, food ended up being very light yesterday, but it was all whole and clean. I did find a new Kombucha (yay!). Since my  beloved GT kombucha has yet to return to the shelves, I'm finally trying new brands. High Country brand was in my Whole Foods, so I picked up the Wild Root bottle. Very tasty. Definitely kombucha, it's got that vinegar scent, but the very light flavor of root beer was terrific! I can't wait to try more!

Today, began... confuzzled. I woke up in plenty of time to enjoy my coffee before yoga, I got there on time, stretched and readied for the class, but I was "off". I really struggled through this morning's class. Though I did repeat my baby arm balance (see yesterday's post), I bobbled Dancer, which I've gotten very confident in. It wasn't until the end of class that I realized what was wrong. You see, I'd brought with me a couple of companions: anger and fear. Neither of which belong in yoga class, and I'm afraid that my frustration in my practice today was tangible and communicated itself to the others. I truly hope not.

This situation with my knee is bothering me more than I've even admitted to myself. I am angry to be injured. I am afraid I will not reach goal. I am afraid I will never get past this. (It's the same knee I blew out in '07.) While I know that I conquered then, and I reached my goals, it doesn't stop me from being afraid (and angry, very very angry) that I'm battling it again. What If's are insidiously weaving themselves through all my thoughts. Making it worse, I am fully aware of the mind-body connection, and I know that my anger & fear are only endangering my success. Not only is my body fighting me, but now I'm fighting myself, too. I don't know whether to cry or go punch something.

Hopefully tomorrow's dr appt will help settle my mind. And if it doesn't, the Lucy & Ethel time Tab and I have scheduled for afterwards will certainly do the trick.  J

On another note, I will be doing much baking this weekend. The seeded-bread was a big hit, and that's what I'll be using from now on. I will run the numbers for both price and nutrition and get those posted as soon as I can.


Wednesday, 9/29/2010:   11am... Yesterday only got crazier, though I did forget to mention I did an arm balance in yoga yesterday morning! Woohoo! Ok, it was a baby arm balance, but I got my feet off the ground! I didn't look as graceful as she does (to the right), but it happened! :-)

This morning I hit the gym and got my upper body workout done, then 20 minutes on the stairs (steady-state). This week I've had to revert back to my knee sleeve, instead of my IT band. $%^#@&!! I have an appt on Friday morning with the knee-Doc. And you guessed it, I am not a happy camper about it. #$%@&!! Tab has advised me to see the Doc (Read: slapping me upside the head until I get it), because while I feel no pain in the knee, there is an odd floaty sensation, along with tingles and numbness... oh, and did I mention that the kneecap is actually shifting? My (hard-headed, dumb-ass, all-or-nothing) perspective was that if there's no pain, then I can keep pushing forward. Tab's (oddly contrary to mine) is that if it doesn't feel "right" there is something wrong, and if there is no pain, accompanied by numbness and tinglies, there is a strong chance of nerve damage/pinch. Hence the appt friday. Oy. I am just not even going to think about it, as even the hint that this might derail me from my goal makes me want to throw a tantrum. So... moving on.

Food today, while clean & whole, is short some fat & calories. I'm heading to Whole Foods soon to pick up more lunch meat for the boys, and while I'm there I'll look for something to boost my intake, as well as maybe something portable for dinner tonight at the bowling alley. I'm currently only at 1377 calories (without dinner), and though I've already hit my fiber intake (38 g), my other levels are 44% protein (152 g), 36% carb (127 g), and only 20% fat (30.6 g). I need to tip that balance back in favor of fat, and bump up to at least 1800 calories. I'm thinking of picking up some cheese at WF for Snack 2, and an avocado & cherry tomatoes for a salad with dinner... we'll see what they've got that looks good. I also don't want to just dump a ton of fat into one meal, healthy or not, I need to spread it out.

Tuesday, 9/28/2010:   10am... Crazy day ahead! Shi has a dr appt, so I'm heading off to that shortly, then rushing her back to school, stopping to let the puppy out for a bit, then back to my no-longer-air-conditioned hotbox office for the day. Oy. Hopefully our air will be back online today. I haven't taken pics of my cooler yet, but will do so when I return.

Dinner last night was the Chicken Enchilasagna. So yummy! :-) I used the last of the fresh-baked seeded bread for the guys' lunches (Bill, his dad, and Joey). So I'm planning to make more :-) Maybe I'll make a ton of it and freeze :-) If you enjoy making bread from scratch, this is the one to try! Seriously fabulous bread!

Ok, I'm off runnin!

Monday, 9/27/2010:   11am... I'm back! :-) I spent the weekend offline... so much catching up to do, and yes, that includes Zumba!

Homecoming... the girls looked lovely (of course, lol).  Click to view the photos.


Friday and Saturday I went on a baking spree. I stocked up on great whole grain flours and supplies and turned out 2 loaves of banana bread, 2 loaves of honey-wheat bread, 2 loaves of seeded-wheat bread (abso-amazing!), and a batch of the most incredible soft pretzels. Everything was chock full of fabulous whole & clean ingredients, and incredibly tasty. While I only had nibbles, I can attest, that it was incredible. This morning there's only a nub of banana bread left, a ton of pretzels (the recipe made a ton to begin with, but they're best fresh from the oven), 1 loaf of honey-wheat, and a little less than a loaf of the seeded bread (which I used for the guys' sandwiches and my toast).

I had forgotten how much I enjoy making bread from scratch until I'd recently begun making cinnamon rolls for the kids (yep, those are "clean", too, though definitely on the treat side of the scale). I had the greatest time mixing dough, kneading, and baking. The house smelled like heaven all weekend. :-)  The family all laughed at me that I was baking up a storm, but not eating it.  I had lots of fun  J

Remember when I said I was NOT going to weigh this weekend? Remember when I insisted I was NOT going to weigh this weekend? Yeah, I weighed. I was sure I'd be up a few lbs, having increased water, fiber, caloric intake and exercise. I've felt so bloated this whole week! Ugh. Imagine my shock and awe when I weighed in 1.5 lbs lighter and down 3% body fat. !!!!????!!!! Now, I know it's probably water weight (water flushes water), but still.... and 3%? That's huge? It's gotta be a fluke, but it sure made me feel better! This week I'm hitting it again, here I come week 2!

We've had a full house all weekend, between homecoming preparations & followup, and Joey staying with us (along with Winchester the puppy). Lots of fun :-)  Joey's been working for FlexGround on a few jobs, which require uber-early starts with Bill, so Joey and Winchester have been staying over (which I love). However this morning when I left for work, being the last in the house, I was in charge of crating Winchester. I'm telling you, I felt like the world's meanest person putting that sweet puppy in that crate. I still feel guilty! I think I'll run home in a bit and let him run around.

So Zumba. I bet you're wondering how the klutz (that would be me) did in the class. Well, pull up a chair, my friend, I'm about to share the story...

6:25pm... The three of us arrive, nervous but ready for a new adventure (well the other two were ready for a new adventure, I tried to run away but Tab caught me and hauled my ass back). The doors open and attendees enter the room, we stake out our territory - yes, the back of the class. Folks are chatting, stretching, and then the instructor begins to outline a few of the moves we'll be using in the first song (a woman of great perception, she recognized that we were new and might need a few tips)... this is when I make my second run for the door. Damn! Foiled again. That Tab, she's quick!

Music begins. Feet tap. Arms sway. Hips.... bounce??? Really?! How do they do that?! We three are laughing as we try desperately to catch on and keep up. Tab and Erin are doing great; I figure as long as I'm moving that's half the battle, and move I do! Holy cow! Then, it sped up! Lightning fast, transitioning from a 3-step to a slide to some kind of hip gyration... at one point I'm just focusing on facing the right direction, rather than the actual step. Tab leans over and whispers, "It'll be easier if you just pick one... either do the arm movement or the steps." Yep, she was right! My stress level went down significantly (lol), and while my coordination didn't improve, at least it wasn't as bad.

We were the only newbies in the class, but (unfortunately for the woman to my left) not the only ones in the back row. I'm having so much fun and choose to ignore her panic whenever my bouncing-bumbling steps lead me her way. (And really, she was a regular and would have seen at a glance I was new - she could have chosen a different row. I feel no pity.) Swaying, Swooshing, Tapping, and Gyrating, the class moved through various songs.  We laughed, we danced (ok, they danced, I bounced), we lost our breath and begged for water (ok, that was just me, too). It was a blast!

While it might be a little intimidating (FINE! a LOT intimidating), it truly was fun, and more so being with friends. I'm very much looking forward to the next class. 

Thursday, 9/23/2010:   4pm... May the gods have mercy on me (and anyone unlucky enough to be near me!). I have been shanghaied into taking a Zumba class tonight. Yes, Chelle of the uncoordinated limbs will be trying out Zumba. Run for the hills, people! There are three of us on this adventure, none of us has done Zumba before, but Tab says there's safety in numbers. We'll see.

Wish us luck! :-)

9 am... Food ended up right on track yesterday. I ended the day with an intake of 1866 cal; 38% protein, 34% fat, 28% carb... 180 g protein, 138 g carb, and 71 g fat. Not too shabby for my goal of 40% protein, 25% carb, 35% fat. Feeling more relaxed now about it... really helps to have that ratio to target. I had told myself I could have that Godiva truffle after bowling, but by the time I got home, I was so tired it just didn't sound good. Something must be wrong... two days in a row I'm not in the mood for Godiva. LOL! :-) Oh well, when I'm ready for it I know I'll really savor it. Good chocolate is an event. Lol! :-)

My day started with 6:30 am yoga, then my breakfast, packing up my cooler and so on. Today's food is looking on track (as long as I get into the gym after work). If all goes according to plan, I'll end the day with 1831 calories, 42% protein, 24% carb, and 34% fat. Sweet. Though I am only getting 26 g fiber.

I forgot my lemon slices for my water, so I'll have to run out at lunchtime and grab one (really helps me drink all the water I need).

The last few days, between all the extra water, the extra food, extra fiber, etc... I'm feeling very bloated. And yes, I've got fat-girl panic goin' on all over the place. It's hard to jump my calories this high, it seems counter-intuitive. Add to that how bloated I feel and, well... it's difficult.

Yesterday, I kept telling myself, "Trust the process". Problem is, a big part of me doesn't trust the process, never has (remember the fat-girl in my head? yeah that part is her), but... I trust the person who taught me the process (World's Greatest Trainer, aka Tabitha). Back in my journey, Tab trusted the process, I trusted her, and I found success. This new experiment pretty much piggy-backs on that. Intellectually, I know that I should trust the process, I know how it works, I know why it works... but emotionally... that's a different story. It's hard to not scramble back to my comfort zone. However, I do know the process works. I will stick with this. And I will not weigh myself this weekend. I will not. I will not. I will not.


Wednesday, 9/22/2010:   11:40am... total geek moment. Look what I found on one of my favorite blogs... I so very much want one! :-)

9:00 am. Last night I did make it to the gym again. 50 minutes of cardio - 15 on the elliptical, 15 treadmill, 20 stairs. I seriously was unmotivated to go, so I bribed myself (and mentally beat myself) with a piece of Godiva if I actually went... so I did, then after dinner, I was completely not in the mood for chocolate. How sucky is that? So not only did I bust my butt for 50 minutes (plus yoga earlier!), but then there really was no reward :-( Maybe that means I can have it tonight? lol.  Knowing I'd be doing weights this morning (before food), I added a small (tiny) baked potato to my dinner. This morning I did upper body & abs, then came home and had a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast & a banana.

I have to say, the 33/33/33 food ratios I generally have dialed in. This tweaking? Not so much! I'm annoyed. My total calorie count yesterday 1968 calories. 37% protein, 32% carb, and only 31% fat. 184.5 g of protein, 161.3 g of carbs, and 67.2 g of fat. Not what I was aiming for, though I did manage to get in 36.7 g of fiber.


Dagnabbit. I hate panicking. I just saw those calories yesterday hit nearly 2,000 and I freaked. The fat chick is still in my head! WTH? That was dumb. Let me pause and take a look at the simple science here... my RMR (resting metabolic rate) is around 1350 calories. That's what my body burns just to function, at rest. Yesterday, I did yoga (not the sit and breathe kind, lol, the kick your ass kind), then later I also did 50 minutes of cardio. Just a guesstimate, I probably burned around 700 calories (250 yoga, 450 cardio). So add 1350 plus 700 = 2050. In addition, I have post-activity increased burn (when you exercise, your body continues to burn calories at an accelerated level for up to several hours after) X 2 exercise sessions, plus movement during the day, digestive activity (more caloric burn).... now it's clear. I'm still at a deficit (lower intake than output). Geeze. I really hate when the fat chick panics. She's in the back of my head screaming "keep it to 1200 calories!"  Now, the rest of me knows better. I drop to 1200 and I'm gonna screw up my metabolism... that will hurt me, not help me.

Ok, so I'm still getting a tic in my eye when I see my intake yesterday, but I'm sucking it up and moving on. (tic, tic, tic). I'm going to focus on those ratios and keep my calories high(er).

On that note, now that I am calm again, I just found a handy online tool...

I plug in where I want my daily calories (shut up, fat-girl-in-my-head!), choose the type of diet (I picked low-carb because my experiment is to have lower carbs and higher fat), choose the # of meals per day (5 for me) and looky-there! It magically pops out my ratios, right down to the gram count! Oh yeah, frustration be gone, I have a new gadget!  :-) 

I'm off to play with ratios....    :-)

Tuesday, 9/21/2010:   3:00 pm. Catching up on the water intake. I've gone through nearly a whole lemon today (will have done by the end of the day), adding it to my water bottle. Chatted with Tab a bit on my goals over the next 5 weeks. She suggested I drop my cardio intervals and stick with steady state (because the type of energy available for burning isn't going to be the the readily accessed carb-based type which is conducive to interval exercise). I'm still trying to figure out exactly what my ratios should be... it's so individualized that I'm having a hard time determining a target. <sigh>. 

9:00 am:     6:30 am yoga. Done. Breakfast. Done. Water intake... gotta catch up. Oy. I could definitely tell I had upped my water yesterday, since I was up several times in the night! Lol!

Dinner was taco salad. While the family enjoyed (clean) tortilla chips with theirs, mine was simply the beans & beef over a bed of cabbage with a bit of cottage cheese on top. Tasty! I allowed myself a little treat before bed... a piece of Godiva. Have you tried the new Chocolate Molten Lava Cake Truffle? Let me tell you, it's a thing of beauty :-)   Without the chocolate, I ended the day at 1539 calories, 43% protein, 21% carb, and 36% fat.   That works out to 164 g of protein (yay! reached & surpassed my goal of 130 g), 82 g carbohydrate, and 60.5 g fat.  Fiber was only 14.3.  Grrr. Gotta boost that fiber.

Today, if I get in all my food and before I count dinner, I'll be at 1547 calories, 37% protein, 29% carb, and 34% fat. 145 g protein, 116 g carb, 58 g fat, and 28 g fiber.  Dinner is bison bacon burgers, so I'll do mine sans-bun, with a side of some steamed veggies. I'll allow myself a few sweet potato fries, but nowhere near a serving. I am hoping to make it to the gym tonight for weights or cardio (maybe both). We'll see how it goes.

FYI, I am NOT weighing on Sunday (my usual day). With the diet changes I'm making, it's going to take a week or two to adjust and stabilize, and if I weigh and don't like the number, I'll freak. Lol. Better to just avoid that drama.

Monday, 9/20/2010:   Drat! Ran off and left my water bottle on the kitchen counter! Must be something in the air today, as Bill left his & his dad's lunches, too. I did get my cardio done... 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical, followed by 10 min of steady state.

Yesterday was my usual Sunday Food Prep & The Counter of Chaos. :-) Proteins prepped for the week are hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken breast, grilled mahi mahi, grilled london broil (beef), browned beef (for taco salad), and browned bison (for the chili). Veggies are kale, spinach, cabbage, portabello's, snow peas & cherry tomatoes, orange cauliflower, beets, broccoli, zucchini & yellow squash, and spaghetti squash. I also prepped sweet potato fries. Fruit: peaches, gala apples, strawberries, pineapple, and raspberries. Additional snacky stuff for Bill & the kids: Newman's Own Organic pretzel sticks, POP's BBQ & Salt 'n Vinegar, Dr Kracker flatbreads, and a variety of granola and cereal bars.

Dinners will be:

Sun. - Chili
Mon. - Taco Salad
Tues. - Bacon Burgers w/Sweet Potato Fries
Wed. - Pizzas
Thurs. - Enchilasagna
Fri. - Shrimp (scampi style with quinoa pasta). I will be skipping the pasta.
A variety of veggies will accompany each meal.

I'm embarking on a new experiment... I'm changing up my food ratios. I've maintained my 33/33/33 split for quite some time now. Over the last year, my weight has crept up to 130 (from 123-125); my muscle mass has increased, and my body fat has stayed the same, so I wasn't concerned about the weight. However... I've decided to kick some serious body-fat a$$, and reduce. My goal is to cut 10 lbs in 5 weeks. To do this, I am increasing and focusing on intervals for all my cardio, increasing my weight routine, and keeping yoga. As far as food goes, here's where the experiment comes in... I'm reducing carbs and increasing fat. My goal is to have 130 g protein per day, and I'm not decided yet on my carb & fat... still researching. I have started a fat supplement (remember previously I have not been supplementing, and this one contains a series of great healthy fats). I'm also going to increase my water intake. I hope to have my fine-tuning and overall plan complete in the next 2 days. The biggest factor I have to settle is what carbohydrates I will eat, and when.

My purpose is to force my body to use fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrates. Yes, it can be done. No, it is not easy. Bill has been warned. LOL! And, it's a temporary state. Once I reach goal, I will return to my 33/33/33.   You can see by my fitday profile today that pre-dinner, I'm at 25% carb, 41% protein, and 35% fat. It's a start. J

Friday, 9/17/2010:   Doing anything special this weekend? We've got the usual chaos of kids going several different directions, though I do have one who's sick (better not be strep!). I've got a new farmer's market to try out Saturday morning. I hope it's a good one, as it's less than a mile from my house! Woohoo! I've missed going to the big one in Old Town Scottsdale.  And tonight is date night... maybe we'll go back to Bario... the Jalapeño Bacon Wrapped Shrimp I had last time was absolutely amazing. I have a few certificates for that restaurant that I got a screaming deal on through I paid $2 for a $25 gift certificate, and the only requirement is that the total bill must be $35 or more. So for a total of $12, we get a fantastic meal :-) I like that 'cuz I'm cheap. LOL. Happy Friday!

Thursday, 9/16/2010:   The week is nearly over, as is September! Can you believe it? Homecoming is next weekend! Yikes! 3 girls... homecoming. Oy Vey!

So, today I have two things to share with you J

First..... I am so very excited to announce the new page is up! It's called "Healthy Heroes - Living Balance".  I have been blessed to have come into contact with some very incredible people who are truly heroes. These folks have impacted my life, and made me a better person. My greatest hero, you already have met... Tabitha Citro, and there are just no words to express how much she has come to mean to me. Who would have thought, that first day when I walked into the gym, that my life was about to change so drastically, and that I would not only get The World's Greatest Trainer, but a cherished best friend, too! Through the Heroes page, I will be sharing more wonderful men & women with you. 

My first Hero interview was with my yoga instructor, Abbie Chapman, and is ready for you. In addition to sharing herself with us, she also offered a fabulous favorite healthy recipe :-) You can view the interview and recipe here:

What, Lil' ol' me?   The second thing to share is a funny-what? moment I had yesterday.

Now, ya'll know me... I'm just me.  This website grew out of my own journey to lose weight and subsequently maintain that loss. I don't sell anything, I don't host ads, it's just you, me, and the fence post. :-)  Well, I belong to several internet forums and boards in the health world, and post often. I love to share, and if someone is, for instance, looking for a recipe and I have one that fits the bill, I'll gladly send them a link to it.

If I can help, I will, whether it's a cardio playlist, or recipe, or my sunday food prep.  Over the last couple weeks, I've noticed an odd thing on one of the sites I visit... my posts were disappearing! Odd. Then yesterday, I posted in reply to someone's inquiry about banana "ice-cream", and linked to the recipes (for the "ice-cream" and the peanut butter coconut oil fudge that I like to melt over the frozen treat). Just moments later, I received a notification that I had a response (to my response)... a moderator had edited my post and deleted my link! What? Then my "inbox" dinged and there was a message telling me I'd been flagged and was violating the terms of use for the site. !!? Me??

I got in touch with the moderator, who was a very gracious and patient person willing to answer my questions. Turns out, they had gone through the site and either removed my posts altogether, or removed links to my website because.... ready for this? I'm a competing website. They offered to sell me advertising space.

Ok, now if you don't grasp the full hilarity of this... let me reiterate... I do not sell anything. I do not promote anything. I am just lil' ol' me with a personal website and a desire to share what I've learned (and am learning). So, this Website has been watching me, editing me, deleting me because I represented competition. Me! Competition!

Are you curious as to who this Website is? Before I tell you, let me just share how confused, a little irritated, and supremely flattered I was by all this! How confused, irritated, and flattered? BOUNDLESSLY! Ok, ready for it? Ready?....





Yeah.  Haha!  Lil' ol' me.



Wednesday, 9/15/2010:   My fitday numbers are updated for yesterday. Ended up with 1659 calories, and 37% protein, 29% carb, 34% fat. Today, if all goes well, my numbers are closer, at 1682 cal before dinner (which will be post-workout) with 33% protein, 35% carb, and 32% fat. In my cooler today, I've added lemon juice... I've gotten out of the habit of putting lemon in my water, and my water intake has suffered. I really need to boost my intake, hence the juice (plus it's got all those great liver-cleansing properties!).

The plan for gym-time this evening is 15 min warmup/intervals on the stairmaster, followed by a full-body routine, then stretching. Then tomorrow is back to yoga, friday will be cardio, and I need another lifting or yoga session sometime during the weekend.

The boys (my son Joey and his friend Robbie) came by for dinner last night. Lasagna was on the menu, so I had chicken, rice and a slice of cheese instead. :-) They all love lasagna, I'm not much for it anyway, so my chicken and rice was just fine for me.

I'm working on that new page for the site... I'm so excited about it, and hope it'll be done today. I can't wait to share it with you!

Tuesday, 9/14/2010:   Dinner last night was weak, but I got in all the rest of my food. I only had a couple hard boiled egg whites, but frankly, that's all I wanted. Today's food is up and figured using fitday, I'm on track right now for just under 1800 calories. Dinner may bump me up, but I'm ok with that.  **Correction, I skipped my first snack, so my current calories, without dinner are at 1324 - 35% protein, 31% carbs, and 34% fat.**

Yoga this morning was a substitute instructor. She was very good, and I got a great workout (though I really missed Abbie).  :-)    Tomorrow is my off-night for bowling (rotation), so I'll be hitting the gym after work. I may have a workout buddy, so depending on what she wants to focus on, I may also go in the morning to either do cardio or legs, then hit upper body or whatnot with her. I'll see how it goes. Yoga - Tree Pose

Going back to my Ease in the Pose post. I was thinking today during class as we were doing Tree Pose... this was a very difficult pose for me to learn. My balance was never a strength, lol. While I have in no way mastered it, I have become stronger and my ease in that particular pose comes when I fully activate all my muscles. My standing leg tensed, my bent leg pushing the foot into my thigh, my standing thigh pushing back, my core tight, arms reaching, shoulders back... all fully active in maintaining the balance. The more muscles I activate, the more balanced I am. The more balanced I am, the more my mind is calm and my breath is easy.  To activate the muscles, I have to consciously think and focus on them. I think there's a life-lesson in there, I'm just not sure what it is yet.

Monday, 9/13/2010:   DID YOU KNOW? Food fact for today about antioxidants. This mornings newsletter from Rodale offered a terrific article about 7 affordable sources of antioxidants. Read it here.  A couple of my favorite things made the list... black rice and coffee :-)

This morning started well... hit the gym and got in a good run. I was thrilled that I was able to run for 20 minutes straight without knee or shin pain! Woohoo! Granted, my speed was not high (5.5) but for someone (me) who normally cannot run for more than 5 minutes at a stretch, this was awesome! J Once back home I ate a bit of last night's quiche for a quick protein boost, then packed my cooler.

I wanted to do make something for the FlexGround boys as a thanks for my spa day, so I pored through the pages of Devin Alexander's various books and found her recipe for a lighter version of Cinnabon's cinnamon rolls. I think they turned out pretty good, I'll find out what they thought later. I know my kids liked 'em :-)

I did update the workout playlist page to include my new tunes. My daughter Shiloh turned me on to more of Manafest's songs :-) Plus I've got a fun Linkin Park/Britney Spears mashup, and Egypt Central, Deepfield, and Tyrese, along with an awesome cover by Metallica of Turn the Page.  I tried it out today during my cardio session and I loved it! :-) Yeah... I am eclectic!

Food prep for the week included another shortcut... rather than making my quinoa or other rice, I picked up some convenience grains. Annie Chun's Black Pearl Rice and a couple others. I roasted a pork loin with Coconut oil and Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle, grilled a few chicken breasts and a piece of salmon, plus I've got my usual ground bison, hard boiled eggs, and healthy lunch meats for the guys & kids. Veggies are snow peas & cherry tomatoes, zucchini & yellow squash, broccoli and orange cauliflower. Fruits are gala apples, white peaches, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Friday, 9/10/2010:   Food went very wonky yesterday afternoon. After lunch my stomach would not settle, so I skipped snack2. I've updated fitday on the cooler page for yesterday's meals. Today, though light, is all clean. I had to hang out at home this morning waiting for the UPS man to deliver a package (requiring signature) then rush to the office. Whole day feels disjointed. Weird.

Anyone have special plans for the weekend? I do! :-) Bill and I are planning to go see the new Resident Evil movie (not the 3D version). I love those films, so we're doing a quasi-marathon. We watched the first movie last night, tonight will be one or two others, then we'll be ready either Saturday or Sunday to see the new one. PLUS tomorrow is my spa day! :-) Woooohooo! I'm so ready for this! :-)

Thursday, 9/9/2010:   DID YOU KNOW?  Food Fact for today about Fat Burners... many supplements on the market boast that their product stimulates higher fat burning... they also tell you that you should combine their product with a healthy diet and an exercise program. Here's why... those products (the ones that work) stimulate fat mobilization, or the rapid release of fatty acids into the system to be used as energy (bringing the fat out of storage)... good, right? ONLY if there is increased exercise to burn that fat. Although the fat is available for burning, if there's no increased muscle activity to do the burning, the body simply recycles the fat back into fat storage.  Huh. Smart body.

Yesterday got a bit wonky, food-wise. Skipped my last snack, so I had that for dinner instead, after getting home from bowling. Calories were on the low-end of my range (1391), and my ratios were a bit off (Protein 29%, Carb 36%, Fat 35%... should be around 33/33/33). Today, I'm much more solid, as long as I stay on track. My total intake will be 1762 cal, with 36% protein, 36% carb, and 28% fat. I need to balance that out further, but it's not too far off my goal.  I've got a couple extra hard-boiled eggs in my cooler, I may eat the two yolks only to boost up that fat (and get some amazing aminos, too!). If I do, it'll bump my numbers to 1871 cal; 35% protein, 35% carb, and 30% fat. Still not perfect, but closer. For those who are curious, that would take me to 166.6 g of protein, 168.4 g of carbohydrates, and 63.7 g of healthy fats, with 27.5 g of fiber.

My day began with 6:30 am yoga. :-) Yay! Today I will finish my playlists, get those posted, and try to get ahead of my work load. As I do all this, I am still mulling over Finding The Ease in the Pose.  It's difficult for me to appreciate fully where I'm at, when it's not where I want to be. How do I pause and recognize the value of Now? I'm nearly to two-years of maintenance... but my body isn't "done". I don't know how to be satisfied with where I'm at. I'm goal-oriented, I'm driven and competitive, so it's hard for me to find that balance. If anyone has any insight into this, I'm all ears!  :-)

Wednesday, 9/8/2010:   DID YOU KNOW?  Food Fact for today :-) Studies suggest that foods high in sodium, beverages high in sugar, and processed foods with a high calorie density and low nutrient density don't trigger our appetite sensors to signal fullness or satiety. Kinda scary, right? It's so important to have a diet rich in clean, whole foods that send the right signals at the right time.

I did some quick calculations and realized my nutrition intake was slipping a bit, so I'm back to using to keep an eye on my numbers. You'll see today's ratios so far (sans-dinner, as I haven't had it yet) on my cooler page. No gym today, used the time instead to get in some needed study/research. On that note, I've got some fun stuff heading this way soon. I'm really excited about it, and can't wait to share with you :-)

Today I'm working on (in addition to my actual work, lol) a new playlist or two for September. I'll be posting that/those shortly. 

I read a quote today in regard to the 80% theory. You may be familiar with the concept of 80/10/10... that nutrition is 80% responsible for what your body looks like, 10% is exercise, and 10% is genetics. While this concept is not unique to Tosca's Eat Clean Diet (indeed, it's been around since the beginning of body-building!), it is becoming more well-known. The statement I read today addresses this: 

"Indeed, although you'll hear people estimating that body composition results are 80% diet [and the rest made up of exercise and genetics], I don't like such estimations. Both are so important independently that I'd suggest the following.  Exercise is 100% necessary just as nutrition is also 100% necessary.  Without both, reaching the upper limits of performance and body change is nearly impossible."

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 9/7/2010:   Hope ya'll had a great weekend! My day started with yoga at 6:30am. Have I mentioned how much I'm loving yoga? :-)  I also took a yoga class from a new instructor on Saturday... holy cow. Remember my first yoga class? Much like that! The heat! The sweat! The slipping! The cute, sweet-faced, gentle-voiced DRILL SERGEANT! I got my butt handed to me on a plate. I think it's safe to say I do not currently prefer (nor tolerate well) heated yoga. Oy! LOL!

Yesterday included my usual Sunday Food Prep and the Counter of Chaos (did it Monday because of the holiday weekend)    :-) I did a big batch of quinoa for my grains, crockpot chicken which I then shredded for use throughout the week, browned up 2 lbs of ground bison with Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning for wraps and tacos, and grilled 5 ounces of salmon for today's lunch. My veggies are snow peas & cherry tomatoes, red beets (crockpot'ed), white & yellow squash, broccoli & orange cauliflower, and large Portobello caps, in addition to my usual shredded cabbage, various lettuces, spinach, etc. Fruit is peaches, gala apples, bananas, Clementine's, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. I also picked up some (cheap!) New York steaks for an old fashioned meat & potatoes dinner this week.

As I was leaving yoga this morning, I was going over the class in my head... evaluating how far I've come, how much I have to learn, and the constant seeking of balance between the difficulty and the ease. This last is a lesson my fav instructor Abbie encourages us to focus on each class... to maintain the discipline of the pose, while breathing easily through it. "Find the ease in the pose." Sometimes I think to myself, "ha, ease! let me tell you how much ease I'm feeling!" LOL. However, I do get what she's saying, and I constantly seek that. I find that as I increase my muscle involvement during the pose, my balance improves; as my breathing deepens and calms while holding my muscles taut, my ability to focus on the muscle involvement improves, thus creating a cycle wherein I am ever evolving, progressing, and "easing". As I was thinking about all this, I recognized the correlation between finding the ease in the pose with yoga, and finding the ease in myself, my body image, my acceptance and quest for continued evolution.

For me, since I began my journey, it's been a battle. I've waged war on my old body, my old lifestyle, and I've sworn to never go back. As it became a lifestyle and I entered maintenance, I've continued the battle... eat right, be active, stay focused. I've rarely, during this time, experienced the ease. Always at the back of my mind is the thought that I must do this (exercise, eat clean) to not be fat. There's no ease in that mindset.

One thing I remember Tab saying to me during my journey, and often after it, is to appreciate the moment. She encouraged me to pause and enjoy where I was because she knew I was always singularly focused on where I was going, and she tried to give me those pauses. I am realizing that I'm still looking to where I'm going, what I want to be, look like, feel like. I am doing this to the near exclusion of appreciating what I have, what I look like now, how I feel now, and where I am.

It's time for me to begin finding the ease in the pose, in my life, rather than just in the studio.

Thursday, 9/2/2010:   DID YOU KNOW?  Fun Fiber fact for today :-) If you're planning a treat meal, be sure to include a high fiber content. Fiber passes through the digestive system, cleaning as it goes. Fat is the last of the macronutrients to be absorbed into the body. When high fiber accompanies a "fatty" meal, fiber molecules will bond with the fat, carrying some of it right on out of the body, not allowing it to be stored for future use. Go Fiber! :-)

2pm...  The boys' booth looks great! :-) Yay! On the way back I stopped at Red House (woohoo!) and am now enjoying my very tasty steamed chicken, veggies & brown rice.


10am... Yoga at 6:30am. Ahhhh. Perfect way to start my day :-) My cooler today is light again... I'll be heading over to the conference at 1pm to see the guys' booth so I'll pick up lunch on my way back... probably my fav Red House (steamed chicken & veggies & brown rice).

Last night, Bethany went to the gym with me... 30 minutes on the treadmill, then she wanted to do abs (she might possibly be regretting that decision today, mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!). Then dinner was a bit of whole wheat pasta and some beef. Tonight I'm planning some mini pizzas on whole wheat sandwich thins. :-)  Tomorrow, I plan to start my day with the morning yoga class, then I have a bunch of errands as  Joey (my almost 19yr old) and his friend Robbie are coming over for a bbq to celebrate Robbie's 18th birthday :-)   Also tomorrow, Bethany flies to CA for her labor-day visit to her father, she'll be flying home on Monday.

What are your labor day plans? 

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 9/1/2010:   4pm... Have I mentioned my upcoming spa day? How did I forget that?? Check this out... I do all the web-work, hosting, email, print design/graphics, etc for my hubby's company. It's true free-lance because it's, well, ha ha -  free. Lol.  With the new partnership and company reorganization, new products, etc... it's been a lot of work, and a lot of time, and will continue to be demanding over the next week or so as we roll out new print marketing and update the websites. Well, the guys got together and got me a gift certificate to a local day spa! I get a massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure! Yes, I cried. :-) It's something I've always wanted to do, but would/could never justify spending that kind of money on something so frivolously luxurious... I can't wait! I just booked my appointment for next Saturday and have blocked out a 3 hour period of my day for this, per the nice lady on the phone. How amazing is this??? Seriously! I'm going to a swanky Old Town Scottsdale Spa! Ha!  :-)  Wooohoo!  Thank you, FlexGround boys! :-)

2pm... lunch! Ran over to Whole Foods for the salad bar ($5.99/lb on Wednesdays!). One word to describe me at the Salad Bar... GREEDY! :-) Little of this, little of that, little of that, too... serious yummage! I've layered kale, spinach, cabbage, beets, green onion, tomato, cucumber, black beans, peppers, quinoa, broccoli, cottage cheese and chicken. Most tasty! :-)

11:30am. Crazy morning! I've been a bit pisky-mazed all morning. My cooler is light (no lunch), but my snacks are all good and breakfast was excellent, though outside the box, lol. Last night's dinner (crustless quiche) was amazing! I've posted the recipe if anyone wants to try it. No gym this morning, but I'll be heading there after work :-) Hopefully my brain will re-engage shortly.

Tuesday, 8/31/2010:   3:30pm. I am involved, in a most peripheral way, with an amazing organization called Sentinels of Freedom. Our Arizona chapter is run by the broker of the real estate company I work for. The work they do is both humbling and heartwarming and if supporting our troops (regardless of political leanings) is of interest to you, I encourage you to learn more about the Sentinels Scholarship program.

What I wanted to share with you is that they're launching a new program to get some cool technology into the hands of our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. Can I just say that above and beyond POWER.GUY Solar Charger for Electronic Devices. Support Our Troops! Donate a solar charger to a soldier today!believing absolutely in this not-for-profit organization and the work they do, this tech is SOOOO COOOOOL!  :-) It's a solar charger for iPods, iPhones, phones, blackberry's, cameras, and so much more! It will allow a soldier to recharge his/her phone (for example) on the go, without ever needing electricity... increasing his/her ability to stay in touch with loved ones back home! How cool is that? And they're only $49.95.  Seriously!

If you'd like to know more about The Sentinels of Freedom, please visit their website at

If you'd like info about donating a solar charger to a soldier (and/or buying one for yourself), please visit:


9am... New book/music/movie day! Great reason to like tuesdays! :-) Christine Feehan has a new "dark" book out today, Maggie Shayne has 2 new ones I need to pick up (Killing Me Softly & Kill Me Again), plus the third in the trilogy next month. We rented The Backup Plan and watched that last night. Cute. Last week we rented Date Night. That was funny :-)

Yoga at 6:30 this morning. Yay! Loving it! Bethany is definitely sick, no gym time for her. She's all stuffy, so we're doing saline nasal spray & benadryl, and she's loving the "need" to eat honey, lol. She'll be flying to CA this friday, so I want to get her sinus's cleared before that... it's miserable flying stuffy. We did a "fend for yourself" dinner last night, which isn't as bad as it sounds, lol. There's tons of great food, it's just a matter of everyone putting it together the way they want. I had a whole grain wrap, sliced open a roasted hatch chili from Whole Foods and laid it open, topped with browned ground bison mixed with black beans & green chili, added a scoop of lowfat cottage cheese and some shredded cabbage.... UBER YUM! Really hit the spot! :-) Love those hatch chilies!!  Tonight I'll be experimenting with a recipe for a crust-less spinach quiche.

Did I mention they're tearing up my gym? Major renovations. The downside is the absolute mess, the smell of fresh paint, the constantly moving equipment (now where's that back extension today??), and the dust. Upside is the new stuff coming in. We're getting a Boxing Ring! Woohoo! And a TRX system!!! I don't cycle or spin so the new bikes of varying types mean nothing to me, but I'm sure they're very nice. We'll soon be temporarily ousted from the yoga studio and into the fitness room while they refinish our floors (great, better to slip on, lol). I'm anxious to see all the new stuff! :-)

Monday, 8/30/2010:   9am... Weekend was good :-) I lifted (upper body) Saturday morning, and was quite sore throughout the weekend :-) Woohoo! The Luau was fun and the food was fantastic! Awesome filet & scallop kabobs, I've been promised the recipe :-) My fruit salad was yummy. I just threw strawberries, cantaloupe, blackberries, kiwi, raspberries & sliced peaches in a bowl, then chopped up angel food cake into "croutons", and grated a bar of dark chocolate to sprinkle over it. Super yummy! :-) And yes, in case you were wondering, the family/group dynamic was indeed interesting. Lol.

Sunday, I got my food prep done, and indulged a craving... ahi tuna sandwich :-)  I did bison burgers for the family, and seared a few filets of ahi. Joey's roommate, Robbie also loves ahi, so we both had that with the incredible wasabi mayo (clean). Bill laughed at us because he could see exactly when we got a bite with a bit more wasabi, lol.

My proteins this week include the usual Chicken, plus tilapia, cod, bison and beef. My veggies are zucchini, yellow squash, white squash, broccoli, cauliflower, plus my usual cabbage, tomatoes, spring peas, etc. Lots of veggies get eaten in my house :-)  Fruit... peaches were on sale for 59 cents/lb, plus apples, strawberries and blueberries. My grains... I cheated again and got 'ready to eat' varieties to save me some time in the kitchen. Thankfully, there's lots of convenience foods coming onto the market that are clean, yay!

This morning I did my cardio. Sprint intervals on the treadmill. Bethany wants to get back in the gym and workout with me, so we may be going this evening. She's also coming down with a cold, so I'll see how she feels.

DID YOU KNOW?  Cooking tomatoes makes them healthier! :-) Yep, it's true! It increases the lycopene! Drastically! (Lycopene is an awesome antioxidant) One of my favorite ways to cook tomatoes is to drop them in a Ziploc steamer bag, add a handful of snow peas and a tsp of coconut oil, sprinkle with Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb, then microwave for 1.5 minutes. Yum!  (by the way, cooked carrots are higher in beta carotene, than raw ones! check out the story here:


Saturday, 8/28/2010:   11am. Got it all done yesterday AND made it to the mall for Tab-Time! Woohoo! We had lots of fun, and entertained many salespeople in the process, lol. Imagine Lucy & Ethel in the mall. Yep, that's us. :-)  And of course, we hit up Godiva for some excellent chocolate. They have a new truffle, Dark Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.... There are no words. Truly. It is an experience. Incredible Awesome Yumminess. We're walking through the mall eating this little piece of chocolate heaven and Tab says, "I think I just became a diabetic." I responded, "I think I just got 4 cavities."  LOL!

Afterward, Bill and I got our date-night dinner. Blue Adobe. I had the shredded beef taco and the tenderloin relleno. Yum! :-) Excellent treat meal.

Today, I'm heading off to the gym. My a$$ is soooo sore, so I'll be doing some light cardio and upper body work. Then hitting the grocery store to mix up a fruit salad for the Luau tonight.

Hope ya'll are having an awesome weekend! :-)

Friday, 8/27/2010:   12pm. Home computer is crap. Drove very fast to Whole Foods for lunch then to office where I am now trying to input new listings at super-speed, so I can get together with Tab later. Crossing my fingers!!!!

10am. Cardio - check (sprint intervals on treadmill, 20min. Did have to use the inhaler twice, but I hit all my sprints - woohoo!).  Yoga - check (60 min).  Clean power breakfast - check (oatmeal with protein powder, cinnamon, ground flax & fresh berries). Relaxed and enjoyed a cup of coffee, and now I have work to do. Hoping to finish early and maybe catch some mall time with Tab, before date-night this evening. Heading over to one of our favorites, Blue Adobe - New Mexico grille. Yum :-)  Tomorrow I have yoga, errands, then we've got a Luau-party in the evening. Considering the 2-month old marital-separation of two of the attendees, the family & group dynamics should be just fascinating. Yes, that is sarcasm.

I'm off to grab a tall glass of mineral water mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and get to work. Happy Friday!

Thursday, 8/26/2010:   9am. The best laid plans... overslept this morning and missed yoga. :-( Seriously not happy, especially since I can't get into the gym tonight because we have back to back parent meetings at the high school (senior info nights). DAGNABBIT!

Dinner last night was a couple protein cookies, followed a couple hours later with crockpot bbq chicken legs when we got home. More healthy than it sounds, lol.

I got my answer back from Tab on yoga vs weights... check out her page for the info :-)

On a snacky note, ya'll know that my family LOVE the Pops chips. Turns out, we're not alone :-) They're actually sponsoring Jillian Michaels cruise coming up in October. If you haven't tried them yet, I encourage you to. They're excellent for those family/neighborhood bbq's and events where normally you'd be hiding from the snack table... now you can indulge! Read up, then taste... wow!  BBQ is our favorite flavor, but I see they also have a salt & vinegar... can't wait to try it!!!

Wednesday, 8/25/2010:   9am. Long day yesterday. Got home and poured myself a half glass of red wine. Drank most of it, then realized how stiff I was and thought, "hey, I've got On Demand! I can pull up a yoga session on Exercise TV and stretch out a bit!"  And so I did. That's when I realized that even a measly half glass of red wine before cobra and down dog is not a brilliant idea. I paused and drank a bunch of water, then got back to it. I did the set - 30 min of intermediate to advanced work... it was awesome, I was sweating up a storm, but my stomach was not a happy camper, lol. After, I headed to the kitchen to serve up my buffalo taco salad. Nutritional needs met, I spent the next couple hours catching up on Warehouse 13, season 2. Yep, I am a SciFi geek :-) 

This morning, I hit the gym at 6:30 for cardio... 20 minutes of intervals on the stair-master, then 10 min of intervals on the treadmill. Back home, I mixed up my bowl of oatmeal/protein powder, had another cup of coffee then got ready for the day. Tonight is bowling, so I'm really glad I got some gym-time in this morning. It'll be my first night with the new ball (and revised throw). We'll see.

One thing I've been pondering... doing yoga during the week, I'm quite sore. It's definitely full body, and the class I attend is anything but slow-paced. It's quite the workout. Now, normally, I do upper body 2x/week, and lower body 2x/week, plus my cardio sessions. With being so sore, I'm afraid to do lifting, because of the whole "rest" thing. Hmmm. Maybe I should head over to Tabitha's page and ask the expert :-) I'll see what The World's Greatest Trainer says!

Tuesday, 8/24/2010:   4pm. I've just completed some much-needed maintenance on this page... I've actually broken it apart into multiple pages. So, if you're looking for something that used to be on this page, be sure to check the "older" pages. This page is now July-current, the page before is June back through April, then a third page is March back through Jan. 1.  This page was taking too long to load, so I'm just trying to clean it up a bit and make it easier for you guys. If I've messed something up (what, who? me?), please be sure to let me know so I can fix it! :-)

9am... Well, my plans for Taco Salad night were dashed when I arrived home to discover my wayward daughter had tossed a lasagna in the oven for dinner. Lol. While they munched on lasagna (it might not be strictly clean, and certainly not carb/protein balanced, it is made with whole ingredients and no preservatives), I enjoyed a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies for my dinner.

Today was yoga (yay!). Seriously loving it! I'm starting (barely) to recognize some of the terms, and I did Wild Thing without hurting myself! :-)

I made up a batch of cookies last night out of the Sept issue of Oxygen. Did you see the Fat Burning Cookies on pg 80? Have you made them? Here are my thoughts... 1) They look NOTHING like the photo. The photo in the magazine looks like they didn't even include the oats! Mine rose and got "cakey", certainly nothing like the cookie-gems in the magazine. 2) Serving Size... it says the recipe makes 38 servings of 2 cookies. Those cookies must be the size of my thumbnail! My batch made 38 regular normal size cookies, so the nutritional info for my cookies is the same as for 2 of theirs.  3) Texture... very dense cakey-dry. Not at all like a cookie. But, knowing this, they do still make an excellent pre-workout fuel-up and since the nutritional profile is good, I'm content.  They taste pretty good, as long as you're not expecting a cookie. Lol. I think these ones are safe from the kids.

Monday, 8/23/2010:   Hope ya'll had a great weekend! :-) My 30 minutes of cardio is done for the day... I even managed to run (ok, jog) for 10 minutes on one stretch, and another 5 a few minutes later! I have a new knee band... it's an ProBand KneedIT and it's incredible! Truly! This is the 2nd cardio session I've used it and the difference is just night and day. I'm going to pick up a 2nd one for my left knee, too. The patellar straps I've been using just aren't cutting it.

We got a new bed! Some friends were moving and getting rid of an extra king size (we have a full size), and they graciously gave it to us. One of these days we'll get a headboard, but it's soooo nice to have room to stretch! Woohoo! Saturday, we had the boys over for bbq buffalo burgers. I tossed in some of the hatch green chilies and they were great! One horrifying thing happened on Saturday... my beloved foreman grill gave up the ghost. :-(  Considering how much use it's seen, it's no surprise, but still. Then, the boys (Joey & Robbie) offered me theirs (which has been used exactly once). They bbq frequently, but prefer their propane grill, and wonder of wonders, I now have a fabulously working grill! This one is the 360 model, with a larger cooking surface (nice!), and I used it for the first time yesterday during my food prep.

I wanted to cut short my kitchen time yesterday, so I took a couple shortcuts. The first was buying ready to eat hardboiled eggs. Safeway carries bags of 12, and while they're twice the price of an 18 pack, it was worth it to me (this week) to not mess with the trauma of shelling those buggers. My 2nd shortcut was to purchase pre-made rice. I picked up 2 containers of Annie Chun's Rice Express (one black pearl, one multi-grain). Each container is 2 servings. I also bought a bag of Seeds of Change Uyuni Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice (view). This, will also be broken into multiple servings.

My proteins prepped were a london broil and chicken breasts grilled. The steak I marinated in Mr. Yoshida's Sweet Teriyaki sauce. While not strictly "clean", there are no preservatives, and the flavors are intense so a little goes a long way. The chicken breasts I marinated in olive oil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar. Additionally, I grilled up some Tilapia (I love to eat it cold!). My veggies this week include orange & white cauliflower, broccoli, yellow squash & zucchini, along with my usual shredded cabbage, kale, etc.

Dinner last night was a tweaked 13x9 of Devin Alexander's Chicken Enchilasagna. First I doubled the recipe, then instead of making the chicken, I used the shredded crockpot chicken from last Sunday's food prep and also added about a cup and a half of leftover bison taco meat (high protein dinner!), used Mrs Dash Extra Spicy & Southwest Chipotle seasonings instead of the burrito/taco seasoning called for, chose a "clean" (no added junk) enchilada sauce brand, Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas instead of regular corn tortillas... added all that to the recipe and WOW it was good! :-) Loved it! That's one of the kids' favorite meals. Cleaning it up makes it easy to enjoy it. Bill and his dad are having leftovers for their lunch today :-)

Here are some pics from the weekend:

Additionally, we finished up season 4 of Dexter last night so we're ready for season 5 on Sept 26! Can't wait! Love that show! :-)

Friday, 8/20/2010:   Happy Friday!  Had the fun experience of taking my oldest (Joey) and his buddy to Whole Foods today. They were shocked by how big it was, how many never before seen foods, and of course... all the food stations. Joey enjoyed a burger from the bistro, Robbie had sushi from the Asian bar, I had a Hatch Green Chili Philly (sans cheese)... Yum! For dinner, I grilled chicken breasts with Raspberry Chipotle sauce and put one of my hatch chilies on top... super awesome!

Thursday, 8/19/2010:   1:30... just got back from Whole Foods and am enjoying my lunch. A friend let me know that my local Whole Foods had grilled Hatch Chilies :-) I couldn't resist! I love spicy foods and Hatch are like a little piece of spicy heaven! I'd seen on Sunday that they had the fresh chilies, but didn't notice the packets of pre-grilled (ready to use!). I couldn't wait to run over and pick some up! Then I noticed they had my Varlhona cocoa powder, so I had to grab some of that (it's soooo dark and rich!) and while I was gleefully putting it in my cart I noticed the Varlhona dark chocolate pearls!   [Yes, it is on the other side of the store from the chilies... shut up.] Of course those had to go home with me! I just ran out of my Godiva pearls, so hey, good timing! And then.... I saw the confectionary display. Now, this is a corner of the store I avoid. Too tempting. Unless I'm picking up a specialty birthday cake for a kid or something special for Christmas... I don't even look. But I saw the glistening dark chocolate out of the corner of my eye and heard the sibilant whisper, "Chelle... you WANT me, you NEED me!"  Damn!

Actually, lol, I figure it's like my occasional Godiva treat, and since the confectioner was kind enough to show me the nutritional information on each item I was interested in, I picked up 3 different Vegan dark chocolates (butterscotch caramel, chocolate caramel, and plain caramel) and one dark chocolate fleur de sel caramel (yeah, I can't resist that combo). Aren't they pretty? Of course, I have to share with Bill.  If they make it home :-)  Mwah ha ha ha ha.


9am... Did end up having to go for the bowling league meeting last night, but snuck out of the boring stuff (lol) to hide in the lounge and study. Bill had fixed the air (yay!) so sleeping was much more comfortable last night and I woke ready for yoga. Good thing, because class was TOUGH this morning! Yowsa! I did manage to get myself tangled up once as we went from Wild Thing to Side Plank. Oy. Thankfully, no one was injured. Lol.
Yoga Positions - Wild Thing Side Plank - Yoga Positions

I've mentioned before how much I'm loving the extended range of motion I'm getting in my shoulders, and the all around workout, but I am also seeing new stability in my neck. For those of you who don't know, I have a reverse curvature of the neck - the result of an auto accident years ago. For years, my neck would seize up about 3x/month. It was horrible. Once I began working out, I noticed big gains in this area and was thrilled to not have my neck go out every time I moved too quick. Now, with yoga, the curve is actually starting to reverse back to normal! The downside to this, is that I'm feeling some fresh twinges and stiffness as everything is trying to re-align. But hey, I'll take it!

Food today is simple but on track. Tomorrow will be yoga again, and then I've got to get in a leg day and more cardio somewhere. Friday is going to be crazy, with moving furniture around (we've been given a frame & mattress set! Awesome!), running errands and applying for my passport (woohoo!). Can't wait for us all to have our passports and head back down to Rocky Point! Woohoo!

Wednesday, 8/18/2010:   9am... Had company for dinner last night, so no gym. Then the air went out ... AGAIN. As I slept, I dreamt the  fires of hell were licking at my toes. Yeah, it was hot. Hit the gym this morning... did cardio on the elliptical & stair-master plus did upper body (elliptical first, then lifting, then stair-master). New playlist is up, by the way.  Still not sure if I have to attend the bowling league meeting tonight, so it's unclear if I'll be back in the gym this evening or not. Tomorrow at 6:30am is yoga, though :-)

Struggling with the Clean Eating Lifestyle. 
I wanted to address something that's come up several times in the last couple days. Many wonderful folks are struggling with the fact that they struggle with this new lifestyle.

Can I break it down a bit for you? I've said often that this is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. That means it is subject to the variances of our lives... when we get stressed, it becomes more difficult (just like the rest of our life, when we're stressed becomes more difficult); when we're dealing with traumas or troubles, it becomes more difficult (just like the rest of our life, when we're dealing with traumas or troubles, it becomes more difficult). It's just another facet of your life. Please don't beat yourself up when you struggle.

Life happens, and sometimes we just have to hold on until the ride is over... ya know?  Yes, it sucks to struggle, but struggling is part of the great experience of living. It's not unique to your food-lifestyle... we struggle in relationships, in jobs, in parenting (or being parented), in finances, in school, etc.   Tab and I often say to each other, "It is what it is... now what are you going to do about it?" Here's a few thoughts...

1. Preparation is key. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you are to stay on track. That said, sometimes preparation just doesn't happen. Don't fret, just move on. There are options to keep eating clean even on the run.

2. Exercise is a stress-release. Apart from the endorphins and all that, working out is a release of the pressure that's been building up. It's your time, you alone. Put in your ear-buds and tune out the world. That said, sometimes exercise just doesn't happen. Don't fret, just move on. Get back to it when you can.

3. This too shall pass. You will not always struggle. There will even come a time when you will not struggle very often. Like so many things in our lives, the more you do them, the more natural they become. You'll learn to make time for food prep to save you time throughout the week; you'll learn to squeeze in workouts when necessary, and how to get more out of a 20 or 30 minute session when you have to make it quick (remember my motto - harder not longer); you'll learn all kinds of shortcuts that will help you get what you need to do done. There is no final exam for the clean eating lifestyle, so take your time in learning. Enjoy the process.

Tuesday, 8/17/2010:   9am... Yoga this morning! Yay! Shiloh and Olivia (her bff) joined me :-)  I was so glad to be back in yoga class! It's so different from lifting, and I'm learning to find the "ease" in the poses, while maintaining muscle tension.

Dinner last night was bison tacos, and tonight we're having bison chili (hmmm, am I craving red meat?). Lunch, ha ha, is a grilled london broil wrap. Must be low in iron. Tomorrow is tilapia and chicken for my lean proteins. We may be having company for dinner, and if so, I'll head home from work; if not, I'm hitting the gym to lift.

Monday, 8/16/2010:   9am... Headache is gone! Well, not gone, but it's just a dull and manageable roar. Yay! Food prep was completed yesterday and I was in the gym doing cardio this morning. Feels good to be back :-)

Senior & Family portraits went well, I'll post a few soon. Friday was Freshman Friday (ironically, on the Friday the 13th!). Having 2 seniors for sisters can either be a good thing or a scary thing, lol. All the proofs from the photo shoot are on their own page.


I wanted to share this excerpt from today's Jillian Michaels Newsletter. It struck me as something I can say to myself. I know she's talking about her workouts & dvd's and whatnot, but as you read it, imagine you're saying it to yourself:

"Change can be painful and often involves some struggling, but remember, it's so worth it. Every time you push yourself physically, you'll grow even stronger and more confident in your abilities. No, my workouts are not easy, but you might as well face it now: I'm never going to let them be easy. I'm always going to be pushing you to the next level, whatever it might be. And you know what? You're only going to be stronger, healthier, and happier for it."


Thursday, 8/12/2010:   1pm... Grabbed a salad at Whole Foods. Same as yesterday (baby spinach, kale, shredded cabbage, slivered almonds, shredded chicken, shredded beets, red quinoa and olive oil. While in the store, the current issue (Sept/Oct) of Well Being Journal caught my eye with this headline, "Coconut Oil Benefits Cholesterol". I picked up the journal and headed back to my office, excited to read the story. I was disappointed to discover it was written by Bruce Fife (author of the majority of coconut oil books on the market). Don't get me wrong. I like his books, found them interesting and informative, and my own coconut oil experiment was successful. But... There's so little "real" research available! I was hoping for a new study released, or at least a new voice. <sigh>.

9am... Ok, the wrap for dinner last night? Sucked! Ew! Not getting that kind again! Blek. Moving on... I'm heading out again today at lunchtime, so I'll pick up either another Whole Foods salad bar deal or hit up Red House for Steamed Chicken, Veggies and brown rice. I may or may not have time for Snack 2, as I have to leave the office early to make it to the studio for Senior portraits and Family portrait.

No yoga this morning (much to Shiloh's dismay, she really wanted to go with me), as the headache is still raging, though as the morning moves on, it's becoming less intense. I checked the barometric pressure and sure enough, it's "steady" as of about an hour ago (coincidentally, the time when I noticed the pain easing off). Surely there's a way to combat this! Oy! Hell or high water (please God, neither!) I plan to do yoga tomorrow morning. I've got to get back in the gym. This is driving me nuts. I want my cardio, lifting and yoga back! Ok, I'm done whining.

Wednesday, 8/11/2010:   1:30pm. LUNCH! :-) Ran to Whole Foods and grabbed a wrap for tonight (love the bbq chicken slaw one, but they were out so I got a different kind), and a salad for lunch. I layered baby spinach, kale, quinoa, shredded cabbage, chicken, slivered almonds, sesame seeds and olive oil. Yum!

9am...Oy. Still with the headache. Did a little research, and I think I've nailed some of it down... in the last week we've had barometric pressure and temp increases. Grrrr. I used to get migraines all the time, but since cleaning up my diet and getting fit, they're rare. I feel like I should have seen it coming, but... well, didn't. Typically, when we have these pressure fluctuations, my kids get bloody noses (have since they were little), but so far I'm the only one affected this time. Weird.

My normal gym-time in the a.m. has been replaced this week by study time, which is great because I'm getting extra time in with the books, but bad because I'm not exercising and really miss it. The constant headache is also impacting my nutrition... nausea doesn't make for fun meal-times, lol. So, I've focused on easily digestible foods... greek yogurt, quinoa, hard boiled eggs (mostly whites), fruit... that sort of thing. Just stuff I can get the fuel I need from, but not spend a lot of energy processing. I'll run out to Whole Foods at lunch today and grab some wraps for dinner tonight at the bowling alley, and maybe a salad or something for lunch.

Anyone else get barometric pressure headaches/migraines? How do you treat them?

Tuesday, 8/10/2010:   No gym as yet this week. Haven't been feeling well. :-(  I've had a weird headache for a few days, so Bill went out and got a carbon monoxide detector just in case. Food's been right on track though. If you've been following my cooler page, you have noticed a lack of fitday images... I go in spurts of counting my calories & ratios, and just rolling with it (not just random... my food is still within my ratios & calories), and I haven't been updating fitday. I will again, just not right now. I hope to be back in the gym this afternoon. I'm going to focus today on hydrating and (don't laugh) deep breathing, then with luck, my headache will leave me alone long enough to work out, or at least get in some cardio. That's the plan.

Here's more pics (Thank you Chrissie!) from the weekend party (click to view larger):


Chelle and Bill Stafford - August 2010Monday, 8/9/2010:   Busy weekend! Thursday my sister-in-law arrived :-) Friday morning she joined me for yoga, then she was off to spend the day with her bro & pop, while I headed to meet Tab with Shi & her best bud. Friday evening was Bill's Dad's 70th birthday party (woohoo!) and yes, I did dress up like a girl :-) I totally forgot to take photos, but a few others, including Sandi took pics and then the weirdest thing happened... someone took the SD card right out of Sandi's camera! Left the camera, took the memory card! Really??? Crazy! And, it happened at the house, not at the restaurant!  Such a disappointment! Anyway, moving forward, Saturday we got together again to see SALT (which I LOVED, though everyone else thought it was just OK, lol), and Sunday Sandi flew back home :-(  I did my food prep and final ready-for-school stuff, and today the kids are all back in class! 

My folks are at Sturgis and I'm so jealous! :-) For my birthday a couple years ago, they took Bill and I to the Love Ride in CA. Here's a pic of all four of us (and my Dad's amazing chopper he built!).

This week is going to be crazy. We're still working out the kinks with schedules and rides. We've got family and Senior portraits on Thursday, and that will be fun. I look at our last family portrait, and it's amazing how much the kids have grown!

Thursday, 8/5/2010:   11am... Freshman registration is complete! All my kids are now ready for school Monday! Yay!! :-)  With the crazy schedules, these are the days I'd be sunk if it weren't for my Sunday Food Prep! It was so easy to throw what I needed in the cooler and run out the door after registration this morning! While it's been too chaotic to remember to take pics, or take the time to upload to fitday, my food is all clean and on track. Breakfast this morning was a bit light (Siggi's yogurt & berries), but my first snack of the day (hard boiled eggs & apple) left me comfortably full & fueled. The rest of my food is listed in Today's Cooler, and dinner is in the crockpot at home.

Went to Yoga at 6:30 this morning. Substitute instructor... she was great. Similar enough to the instructor I like to make me feel comfortable, but different enough to make it... well, different. Lol. I'll be at tomorrow's 8am class, then I've got a million (slight exaggeration) errands and appointments. Then tomorrow evening I get to socialize with Sandi (sister-in-law), yay! :-) And because we're going out, I even get to dress up a bit, like a real girl! Woohoo! :-)  LOL!

Those of you who have kids in school... how are you handling school lunches and snacks? Are you packing food? Paying for cafeteria fare? How firm are you being (or plan to be) about clean & healthy food & drink?  I have one senior with half-day schedule, so no lunch issues there, but another senior and a freshman who are full-day... we've been discussing our game-plan, and I just wondered what other folks were doing. :-)  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 8/4/2010:   10am... Total insanity this morning. Our main (work) domain expired, and no one knew since it was registered wonky and no one got notice, so everything was down and everyone panicked.  Once I got hold of a real person at NetSol, I discovered that the contact information reads: 
       Contact First Name:  ContactFirstName
       Contact Last Name: ContactLastName.
Really?? REALLY???   Might I just note, self absorbed as I am, that this is the domain I was never given control over; that when I suggested we move it to GoDaddy with our others (our 48 other domains), I was told to leave it where it was? Yes, that domain. After much trauma and drama, we are back up, and pending some major changes (yeah, I'm moving the domain). And peace reigns once more throughout the land. Lol.

6:30 this morning found me once again in the gym. I did upper body, then 20 min on the stair-master (nasty-biting-bitch!). I'm sore and very glad that it's done, lol. Having done both lifting and cardio, I'm clear for the day and can spend some solid study time tonight, plus hang out at the bowling alley.

Dinner last night went well. Good thing I stopped and picked up an extra pound of bison, as instead of the 6 people I expected to feed, it was 10. The burgers were a hit. :-) Then the girls wanted to make yogurt/fruit/granola cups for desert. Oddly, my kitchen was not destroyed by this endeavor! :-)

While at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck), I discovered a new (to me) brand of coconut water (yes, I was searching for Kombucha... drat!) and since it was on-sale, I picked up a couple bottles. Wow! New favorite!  I love plain coconut water, and often mix it in my water bottle for a tough workout, but this tastes like a treat! TasteNirvana is the brand, and it's just coconut water, but it tastes so much different from the other waters! This is seriously good stuff! I'll be heading back to WF today to get more! Even Bill liked it! And I mean LIKED it! I don't know if he'd give up his beloved Monsters for it, but I can hope, right? :-)

Tuesday, 8/3/2010:   9am... Yoga at 6:30 this morning. I really like the instructor of that class. It's faster paced, and very challenging; some moves are still way past my ability, lol, but others are coming in line. :-) I gotta say... I'm really sore! Wooohoo!

Tonight's dinner is bacon-buffalo burgers & sweet potato fries (see recipes page). We're having Bill's Dad and Grandma over for dinner. It's funny how people look shocked when I say I'm making burgers or tacos or whatever. "But you can't! That's not healthy!" When Bill told his dad what we're having for dinner, his response was , "No, really... what's for dinner?".  LOL! I like being able to prepare something "mainstream" but keep it really healthy. :-) I'm anxious to see what they think of it. 

Monday, 8/2/2010:   9am... Much catching up to do! First, Tab's back!!!! Woooohooo!!!!! I can't wait to catch up with her!

Next, today was Senior registration day, and while there are some class schedule snafu's, it otherwise went fairly smoothly. Freshman registration is Thursday, which is also the day my sister-in-law arrives (Yay, Sandi!).

Last week I didn't lift weights, but I was in the gym 5x's.  I did 4 yoga classes, and 2 cardio sessions. And I am sore! :-)  This week is beginning well... I have already completed my cardio for the day, and will lift this evening after work. Tomorrow and Thursday mornings are yoga class, plus I'll have other cardio & weights sessions in the evenings. While I didn't lift last week, and had limited cardio, I don't feel I lost any ground. Instead, I feel strong. I'm really liking yoga! Shiloh and her bff Olivia went to class with me on Saturday, and afterwards said they'd be interested in "occasionally" going again. Lol. Yoga is a fun, challenging and different activity, and it will definitely be staying in my routine.

Saw a couple movies... on DVD we watched Clash of the Titans; then Bill and I hit the theatre to see Despicable Me. And yes, we were indeed the only adults without small children attending. LOL! It was awesome! I so very much want minions! :-)

Now my big news of the weekend... I have a hater! ROFLMAO!!!! I got my first hate-mail from a viewer of this site. I feel so official now! LOL! Evidently I am "self-absorbed and vacuous". Too funny!  Tab asked if it was possibly from the Person-Whom-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but I don't think said person could use "vacuous" in a sentence.  :-)

Seriously though, I do not understand why some folks just can't play nice. I'm not referring to my web-hater, because I get that he must entertain himself somehow; it's the real-life people who mystify me. It's a big world, why narrow in on one person and make it your life's work to attempt to make them miserable? It's fine to disagree. It's ok to see the world from differing perspectives. It's not ok to be malicious, nor to involve others in plots and drama. <sigh> Anyway... Happy Monday!

Thursday, 7/29/2010:   2pm... updated the recipe page with the tomato & cucumber salad. It's high calorie (147), but it's important to note that the vast majority of those calories are from the olive & coconut oil (only a scant -very scant- 1/2 tbsp of each); and healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet. Anyway, it was really yummy, and just a simple "toss-it-in-a-baggie" side-dish.

11am... Bethany (my 14 yr-old) joined me today for 6:30am yoga. I don't think she was impressed. LOL! I, however, enjoyed it. This was my second class with this particular instructor, and while her music choices still strike me as odd, I do like her teaching style. Today's class was much (MUCH) faster paced... wow! Lots of fun! She'll be subbing for the Saturday morning class, so I'm planning to attend that one instead of Sunday's class.

Starting tomorrow, we are entering the Preparation for School Shopping Vortex. I plan to wear my heart rate monitor, just for giggles. :-)  This year, I've instituted what I hope is a brilliant plan. I went to my bank and got gift cards (visa)  for each of the girls with their share of the school shopping money. While I maintain veto power, and of course, all clothing items must meet dress-code approval, these handy little visa's will save me some sanity, and some cash. No more, "Mom, I know I'm at my limit, but it looks sooooo cute on me!" [with batting eyelashes and puppy dog smiles]. When the card runs out, so do they. Plus, if I really don't want to drive to timbuktoo, I don't have to because they don't need me and my card! :-)  Yay!

Somebody slipped up and I got my hands on the memo below... explains a lot about my drive in to work this morning. Hmmm.

Date: JULY 29, 2010

Today is officially "Brake For No Reason Day". Please feel free to brake at will. Further, we encourage you to randomly change speed, slowing to around 10 mph on 50 mph roads. Do this often. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to travel 3-cars wide on a 3-lane road, all traveling at the same speed, please do so.

Special note... Do not, under any circumstances, forward this memo to Chelle Stafford. A secondary purpose to "Brake For No Reason Day" is to cause great annoyance to her during what would normally be a very simple commute.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 7/28/2010:   9am... Cardio this morning... I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, including 15 of intervals, then stretched, went home and cooked breakfast then packed my cooler. Those breakfast sandwiches are so easy and quick! Loving them! My food yesterday was a bit off in the ratios, so today I'll be keeping a closer eye on things to make sure I line up to my 33%/33%/33%.

Dinner turned out to be neither burgers nor chicken parm... forgot that the chicken for the parm has to marinate overnight. So that's marinating now, for tonight, lol. Last night I made another recipe out of Devin Alexander's book I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening... and it got Bill's approval. Super easy. It's just browned chicken breasts topped with a couple tablespoons fire-roasted tomatoes and a tablespoon of reduced-fat feta each then cooked until done. Add a salad and you've got dinner. Awesome! I love easy! :-)

In other news... we have a new "grand" baby. Jeron (hubby's stepson) and his girlfriend just had their 2nd child, a little girl named Kylie.

Sean and baby Kylie baby Kylie

Tuesday, 7/27/2010:   3pm... Wow I'm sore! Yowza! Holy Wookies in Walkers! Anyone who says yoga isn't a workout needs to try it!

Food... man, for the 2nd day in a row, I am famished! I'm eating my last snack right now (which normally I wait until 4pm), and I'm thinking I might have to have something else before the gym tonight. I believe this is my body telling me to crank up the caloric intake, lol. I will bump them up a bit tomorrow and see if that helps. Still unsure of what dinner will be tonight... maybe bacon burgers (though may save that for thursday), or may be cleaned up chicken parmesan.

Oh lordy, I'm sore!

9am... This morning I went to the 6:30am yoga class. This is my third class with as many teachers... and they're all different! Crazy! But... I managed to do that thing where you reach behind and grab your opposite ankle (remember before?)! Woohoo!  The music choice was a bit on the.... odd side, but whatever. By the end of class, I felt like Gumby, lol.  It was good, and I plan on returning Thursday morning.

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I'm packing daily coolers for both my hubby and his dad now. His dad enjoyed his first one yesterday, and called to tell me how great it was. He knew I'd pack healthy food, so it was with great trepidation that he opened his cooler (fully expecting bean sprouts & tofu). He loved what he found in there, and couldn't believe that "healthy" could taste so great! LOL! Another thing he said that really struck me was that no one had ever packed him a lunch with what HE wanted in mind, rather than what someone else wanted him to eat, and he really appreciated it.

My father-in-law has a similar mindset to my husband... "I don't care if it's healthy or not, it only matters if it tastes good."  Know anyone like that? LOL. It's been a long evolving process, but I'm starting to get it... and win. My husband (and kids) love my cooking. Bill is always surprised when he enjoys something and says, "this isn't healthy", and I say, "Oh yes it is!". Cases in point... Bacon Cheeseburgers! last night's Bacon Wrapped Tilapia! Or my Taco Salad! Chili! Stacked Sandwiches... the list goes on. The point is, it does have to taste good in order to have my family on board. And while one who will go un-named continually harangues my family members about my crappy health food, my family is actually enjoying it. And defending it. And recommending it. So there! :-) [yes, I'm about as mature sometimes as a 12 year old]

Monday, 7/26/2010:   9am... I remained sore throughout the entire weekend! My legs, particularly inner thigh, screamed! Woohoo! New muscle! Saturday I did my food prep, and Sunday we drove out to CA to pick up the girls, I'm so glad they're home! :-) This morning I hit the gym and did cardio. Treadmill! Yay! So far, so good! My back is feeling fine, and the new shoes & inserts really helped my knees. Love my new shoes! I'm trying out a new morning routine... I was at the gym by 6:45, home and eating breakfast by 7:30, then off to ready for the day. Usually, I sit on the back patio and read, chill, whatever until it's time to prep for the day.

Why the new routine? Distraction. Yep, I'm quitting smoking all over again. This time, I've decided to approach it the same way I did my lifestyle change; with more of a gradual, baby steps style.  I'm hoping to have the same kind of lasting success that I had with food. Week 1: I can smoke in the mornings with Bill (our coffee, chill & wake up time), I can smoke in the evenings with Bill (our end of the day routine), and I can have ONE cigarette during the day. ONE. At the end of this week, I will revise for the second week.  The best part is that Bill is doing this with me! Yay!

Food today is a little light considering my activity level, so I may have to boost it up a bit as the day rolls on. I plan to head back to the gym tonight for legs/lower body.


Friday, 7/23/2010:   9pm... I am sooooo sore! Thursday night Tab and I did legs. The motivation to hit the gym I had in the morning had  evaporated by 5pm, but I went anyway. I did the workout, but my joy just wasn't there. I kept kicking myself for not "giving it my all", but all I could do was just get it done. Imagine my surprise when upon waking this morning I was so sore I could barely move! And I had a workout (upper body) scheduled for 7:45am with Tab! We were both sore, lol, but had a kick-ass workout plus cardio. I came home and chowed down on an egg & spinach breakfast sandwich (ezekiel english muffin) with some fresh grapefruit juice for vit.C. Once I managed to drag my butt up the stairs (let me tell you how much the glutes protest to stairs 24 hrs after a killer leg workout!) I got ready for the day then headed out for my errands.

I replaced my old gym shoes and got some new inserts which hopefully will relieve some of the stress on my knees, then joined Tab at the nail salon for a much needed and very much enjoyed pedicure followed by a bite of sushi. Ahhhhh, Girl Time! Nothin' Like It! 

Tonight, Bill is at a friendly (ha ha) poker tournament, while I am home alone (all alone, ahhhhhh!). I am at this moment enjoying a glass of red wine (no detectable sulfites - Frey label) and plan to enjoy a piece of Godiva dark chocolate shortly. I'm catching up on Losing it with Jillian without any distractions, and I'm LOVING it! :-)

Oh... New showerhead is WONDERFUL!!! Woohoo!

Hope your day and evening are wonderful too!  (Did I mention I'm sore? Oh, and I forgot to say, I'M SORE!!!!! ROFL!)

Thursday, 7/22/2010:   9am... Hit the wall (and a few other things). No gym last night. Decided not to fight it, so instead I put on a cute top, freshened my lipstick (well, I would have if I wore any), and tagged along to the bowling alley. Had fun just hanging out and doing a bit of reading, then came home and had some low-fat cottage cheese (I didn't have anything but a couple mini pretzels & water at the bowling alley), then went to bed. Today is a fresh new day, and I'm excited about hitting the gym.

That comment I made about hitting the wall and a few other things? If this isn't classic Chelle, I don't know what is. Let me begin where all good stories do... at the beginning.

Two days ago, I am taking a shower. Bill has already left for the office, the dog has claimed my space on the bed, and I'm looking forward to some much needed exfoliation. I'm scrubbing up (I LOVE my sugar scrub) then reach up to grab the sprayer to rinse off... SNAP! The handheld shower head breaks clean off and I stand stunned as water hurtles (who knew we had such great water pressure!?) over the shower and onto my clothing laid out for the day (and the window, and the curtain, and...). I frantically grab for the wriggling hose, spraying myself full in the face. I now have water, sugar and coconut oil in my eyes as I continue to fight for control over this living water-monster in my shower. Finally, all is under control, I've managed to rinse off, shut down the water, and towel myself dry. I calmly send a text message to my husband that we need a new shower head. We agree I will pick one up on Friday, as surely we can manage until then, right? Of course. NOT. 

Today. I am taking a shower (I like to do this occasionally, as it makes me a better smelling person, with whom people do not object to being in the same room with, lol). I think I am managing quite well with the hose (despite truly awesome water pressure) and I lean over to spray [read: hose down] my back. As I come back up, I (who never do things by halves) slam the back of my head into the bottom of the shower door handle. Slam, people. Tweeting birds and circling stars. Oh, and blood. Next thing, I am sitting on the floor of the shower, vaguely wondering how I got there and who is pointing a fire hose in my face.

My (clearly not as thick as I thought) skull and I will be going to Home Depot on my lunch break.

Wednesday, 7/21/2010:   4pm... Ugh... hit a major slump. Sleepy! Time to break into the stash... KOMBUCHA!!!  I have two bottles from before stupid-celebrity-induced-panic pulled the glorious tea from the shelves. Cosmic Cranberry is about to revivify me! Yes, I just used revivify in a sentence. I'm a geek, what can I say? :-)  The bad news, is that I'm now down to just one bottle in my secret hiding space in the office fridge. Bummer.

4:05pm.. ok seriously people! Get the Kombucha back in the stores! This is good stuff!

New cardio playlist that I'll be trying out tonight is posted here.

12pm: You know those days where you have to drag your butt kicking and screaming into the gym and through the whole workout? That was yesterday. It ended up just being me and the evil-me kept saying, c'mon... take the day off. While the good-me said, get your a$$ in there!!!  She was louder, so I went. Lol. I did chest & biceps, then 20 min intervals on stair-master. Then dinner was taco salad. I used bison, and it was super yummy! The family layer tortilla chips (see below), shredded lettuce (or bag salad), browned bison simmered in crushed tomatos w/green chilies, and Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle, Rosarita refried black beans, shredded 2% cheddar, sour cream (light) and taco sauce. Mine however, is on a bed of shredded cabbage, then the bison mix, a bit of beans, then a big scoop (1/4 to 1/3 cup) lowfat cottage cheese, a sprinkle of reduced fat feta, and taco sauce. Sometimes I eat a few chips, most-times not. Super easy dinner! On the table in 12 minutes flat! Wooh!

Today I'll either do legs & cardio, or just cardio. Haven't decided yet. But I'm building a new cardio playlist so maybe that'll help me get motivated today :-)

Tuesday, 7/20/2010:   10am: No gym yesterday. I got home to discover that our air conditioner was out, the Cox cable people were trying to fix our cable, and our landlord was in and out attempting to fix the AC. It was a bit chaotic, as well as being 100 degrees INSIDE my house. Oy. Landlord finally got it running again at about 9:15 last night, and the cable people are back at my house this morning to check the wiring in the attic (glad I'm not up there!).

While my fitness plan went awry, my dinner plan was successful. We tried a new recipe out of Devin Alexander's I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!  And WOW! Awesome! The Bacon Burgers on pg 48 are great, and I only had to tweak a couple things to make them clean for me. I found a wonderful brand of bacon bits that are clean (Wellshire), and the bbq sauce (Robbie's) was phenomenal! I used an Earthgrains thin bun, while Bill had his Potato Bun (someday I will win that battle, but at least this is one without HFC). He also had some Pops bbq chips with his burger. Oh, and I used Bison instead of Beef.

Tonight, Tab & I are hitting the gym together (I love having a workout buddy!). Then dinner tonight will be Taco Salad.

Now... I must say... You guys overwhelm me. Thank you for your understanding, compassion, and virtual smacks on the head regarding my horrid confession. Truly. You humble and inspire me. I will keep on keeping on, and I WILL win this battle.

Monday, 7/19/2010:   10am: I've got some catching up to do! I'll start with Friday.... GIRL DAY!!! Wooohoo! Tab and I did legs at 8am, then cleaned up, ate, and hit the mall(s)! Shop till you drop was the name of the game! It was awesome! And of course, we hit up Godiva for a delightful chocolate treat! :-) We found everything on the list, plus I picked up a pair of Nike workout pants (capris) for $20 (YES!), a new bra (go Bombshell Strapless! A godsend for the boob-challenged. Woo!), a new perfume (what is it about me that only picks new perfumes when they're about to be done away with! Yeesh!). Above all, it was wonderful just to have some girl-time.

Wow, the day is flying by! Ok, back to my update. Saturday was chill... a variety of chores then hung out by the pool with the hubby (we were the only ones home, wooohoo!), splashed around with the dog, and tried to watch a movie, but the HDTV was messed up. Sunday was grocery shopping and food prep... grilled chicken, quinoa, hard boiled eggs, crockpot beets... the usual. I did find a new "cooler" for Bill, as he's evidently unhappy with his "un-manly" cooler, lol. Below are some quick pics from my Counter of Chaos :-) along with a photo of my dinner - Ahi Steak sandwich (YUMMMM!!!). I'll post the recipe soon. Even Bill liked it (he hates fish, lol).

Confession...    Ok. I give.  Confession may be good for the soul, but it "effing" sucks! Here goes. I have a Total Epic Fail, with no one to blame but myself. I'm smoking again. #@!%*!  How is it that I can take control of my food & fitness, I can achieve a huge weight loss and maintain it, I can stop smoking for 9 months... and then... what? Why?  How did I fail? It's time to do some serious soul-searching. I don't even like smoking! I don't like the stale-smoke odor, or ash everywhere, or restricted lung capacity, or sitting in 115 degree heat to suck down a cigarette.

So what do I like? The companionship... weird, right? Bill never did quit smoking, and since smoking isn't allowed in the house, if he went out for a smoke, that was time I missed out on. Stupid. I know, but that's how it started, and it just gathered momentum from there.

It's amazing the lies I tell myself...
     ○  If I don't actually buy the cigarettes, then I'm not really "smoking again".  (Really???)
     ○  If I can hide it from the kids, then I'm not really "smoking again".  (uhhh, busted)  
     ○  If I don't smoke around other smokers, then I'm not really "smoking again". (Seriously?)
     ○  My asthma is better (which it is, but is the cancer risk worth the natural bronchiodilation aspect of the tobacco? I don't think so).
     ○  I'll quit tomorrow.
     ○  I'll quit after ____ (fill in whatever stressful event is coming up).
     ○  It's not affecting my health/fitness (whatever!!)

I know these are lies. I know how disappointed my kids are. I know how disappointed I am. So why don't I stop? What is it that's keeping me lighting up? I honestly don't know, but you can be damned sure I'm going to figure it out, and this time make it stick.  I have to discover what the hook in me is before I can successfully quit -- and geeze! There's another one! what is wrong with me? Just quit already! Sure it's important to figure it out, to get off the sick cycle, but that's not a reason to put off quitting.  I think I have another ginormous ugly blanket to knit.

Bottom line, folks... I'm real. I'm fallible. I fail. Epically. Miserably. But...I will beat this. I will.

Thursday, 7/15/2010:   4pm: Holy Spandex Tights on Cows, Batman! It's hot out there! 115 degrees! I've spent the day fighting with computer code (currently the code is winning, but I will emerge the victor!), so I needed to get out and clear my head. I locked up my office and stepped outside and WOW, THAT'S HOT! You know when you open the oven door and that initial blast of hot air singes your eyelashes and melts your mascara into a clump? Yeah, it's that hot. Yikes!

Soon to be on my way to the gym... can't wait!

Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!

9am: Great workout last night. Chest & Triceps, then stair-master. After, I had a bit of spicy shrimp pasta I picked up from my local grocery, then went over to the bowling alley. I'm still poppin' ibuprofen, my muscles are sore, but I love that; the knees are a bit wobbly. Climbing up the stairs at home they sound crunchy, lol. Regardless, I'm feeling good. My back is doing just fine (yay!), and I've been in the gym 3x this week, burning a total of 1477 calories so far. Today is another leg day, plus stairs. I'm hoping next week I can try the treadmill. Friday is shopping! Tab and I are hitting up the mall (Victoria Secret just came out with a strapless/convertible Bombshell bra!) and it's been forever since we've had a mall day. Can't wait! Look out Fashion Square, here comes Lucy & Ethel! :-)

Wednesday, 7/14/2010:   9am: Workout went well. Here's what I did: 3x - Leg Press, Stiff legged deadlifts with 20# bar, Squat Press with 20# bar. 2x - Swiss ball hamstring rolls, walking lunges with 12# bar on shoulders, wall-crunches with 10# ball. Then 20 min intervals on the stair-master. Burned 474 calories in an hour. I was super careful of my back - keeping excellent form and using low weights, as this was the first time doing these exercises since my injury. Afterwards, I drove home (too hot to walk, now, it was 113 at 7:00pm), had my Vitamin C (grapefruit juice), and finished the other half of my lunch wrap & a couple hard boiled egg whites. Popped a couple ibuprofen, just in case. After about an hour, I took stock... back felt fine... strong, even (and Tab gave me the thumbs up on my workout, yay!). Knees... Oy.

It's difficult for me to accept limitations (quit laughing - yes, it's an understatement, lol). When I tore the cartilage & patellar tendon in my knee, the World's Greatest Trainer (aka, Tab) was incredible at rehabbing it and getting me back on track. I know now, how to strengthen the supporting muscles, how to build up for stability & power, but the challenge is the degenerative condition that was discovered when I was injured. The undersides of my kneecaps are wearing away at an accelerated rate (both the patella and the cartilage). The eventuality is that I will need to have both kneecaps replaced someday. To extend the life of my patellas, it's important to build strong quads, as these control the "tracking" of the patella and can reduce wear on the underlying cartilage. Because of my back injury, I had let my legs go... now I'm back, and boy am I feeling it.

All last night, my knees felt like glass (still do). I was sure that if I knelt down, they'd shatter. I hate that feeling. I don't like to feel weak, in any way. In fighting it, I push too hard, I injure myself. Then I berate myself for stubbornly pushing too hard and causing injury. Ugh. There is a balance, and I'm actively seeking it. It's a difficult thing sometimes to differentiate between basic muscle soreness and injurious pain. It's also difficult to enforce rest on someone who sees it as weakness. I am working on this.

Food For Life (Ezekiel) 7-Sprouted Grains English MuffinsAnyway... Today's workout for me is chest & triceps, along with the stair-master. Food today is on track. I picked up some Sprouted 7-grain english muffins for my breakfast sandwich, along with some no-salt added turkey breast (Golden Farms). Snacks are simple, yet complete (hard boiled eggs & apple, Siggi's yogurt & string cheese). Lunch is a sandwich... Earthgrains thin bun with 4 ounces Golden Farms Turkey Breast, tomato, lettuce, cheddar and 1 tbsp dijon mustard, plus a banana.  Tonight is bowling for Bill, so after my workout, I'll have to clean up then go pick him up. Can't believe it's already Wednesday!

Tuesday, 7/13/2010:   9am: I feel good after yesterday's workout, my back isn't hurting and I am hopeful! My muscle soreness doesn't usually set in until right at 24 hrs or later, so we'll see how I feel later. I'm looking forward to my workout this evening (lower body). With the kids gone, I don't have any time constraints and can enjoy my time in the gym without worrying about rushing home or organizing schedules. Though, I have to say, it's too quiet! I miss them! :-)

I've updated the recipes page with the nutrition data for the breakfast sandwich, and also added a variation that is egg-only (which was my breakfast today as I'd run out of turkey, lol). 

Monday, 7/12/2010:   9pm. Awesome workout! It's so much more fun when you have a workout buddy :-)  Though, Tab and I are about to start a betting pool on how long until the trainers there confront us, lol! I've already had run-ins when they thought that I was training my girls. They didn't believe me that I wasn't a trainer, and those were just my kids (ha! I'll take it as a compliment!). Today they were watching us like hawks (again!)!  LOL!  After the gym, I had my post-workout kiwi (vitamin c helps reduce Cortisol levels - cortisol leads to belly fat), then I made a breakfast sandwich (click for recipe). These are soooo good! They're based on a recipe in a Devin Alexander book, but I cleaned it up :-) I'll figure out the nutritional data for them tomorrow and get it posted.

Let's see if I can remember everything from the workout...

5 minute treadmill walking warm-up
Round 1 (x3):  One arm squat cable pulls; Wide grip lat pull downs.
Round 2 (x2):  Low Rows; Assisted pull ups (have I mentioned I HATE this machine? LOL)
Round 3 (x2):  Standing on bosu - bicep curls into shoulder presses; bent over reverse flye with shoulder rotation.
Cardio: 20 minutes intervals on stair-master

Calories burned: 578 calories

4pm:  Woohoo! I had already planned to hit the gym after work today, then it turns out Tab is available at the same time! We're doing upper body (back, biceps, shoulders), then the stair monster! Yay!

On another note... picked up the current On Fitness Magazine today. There was an interesting little tidbit on pg 14 in an article about feeding hurting muscles...

"Coconut Oil. The fats in coconut oil are absorbed directly into the blood stream and can be used quickly for energy and recovery, where other fats have to be routed through the lymphatic system. These fats can greatly increase the energy requirement for muscle recovery quickly and effectively." Dr. Jade Teta [Holistic physician and certified strength and conditioning specialist in NC]

I'm a strong proponent of using Coconut Oil regularly, so it was nice to see a fitness publication also recognize the value. Most experts will warn us against ingesting fats (even healthy ones) just before or after a workout. Protein & carbs, yes; fat, no. Coconut oil is the exception to this rule. And in my experience, eating coconut oil before a workout helped increase my stamina and recovery time. Coconut water (pure coconut water, not mixed with other juices) had a similar effect.

9am:  I had the most incredible weekend! Sorry I wasn't online, but my friend and her family were here and I hadn't seen her in 22 years! She's a runner (Boston Marathon, etc) and looked amazing! We had the best time just hanging out by the pool and talking. It was awesome!

Then Sunday, we drove the girls to CA to meet up with their dad for another 2 week visit. Didn't get home until after 7 (stopped for dinner), so no Sunday Food Prep. Food is good today, though, and I'm running out to my favorite "clean" restaurant to pick up lunch (steamed chicken, veggies & brown rice). So my cooler is light but I'm still on track.

Fitness.... ok. here's the thing. I'm still battling my back. :-( It's better, then it's not. Then it's better. Oy. But... I have a plan. First, visiting with Ang really brought back the fire for my back-burner-goal to actually run a 5k (not just walk it). I mean seriously, how can you be around someone who does the Boston and NOT be inspired! Not possible!  :-)  Anyway, that means treadmill time, which I cannot do until my back is healed (Tab has me banned until I have no pain). So, I've given myself 2 weeks (yes, another 2 weeks) to try to allow this to heal on its own while I work with the stair-master and Tab's modified lower-body routine. If I'm not truly better in 2 weeks, then I will admit defeat and see the doctor. If I am better, I will go to step 2... back on the treadmill (obviously only with Tab's blessing)! Then I plan to build up to 5k running.

Because we were on the road Sunday, I also didn't get to do Yoga, but I plan to keep that in my routine. Once I'm back on my feet, I'm also on the lookout for unusual fitness classes, so if you hear of anything be sure to shoot it my way! I want to try some new things :-) as long as there's no pole involved, lol! :-)

Thursday, 7/8/2010:   9am... ok, so a cookie artist I am not. Lol! I finally gave up on Darth Vader, didn't even bother with Boba Fet,  but Yoda and the storm troopers didn't turn out too horribly.

The Going-Away Party was a success. The kids had a blast. Did have a bit of a run-in with the behind-us-neighbor. Oy. This woman. Let me start at the beginning.

About 3 months ago, Shiloh (my 16-yr old) was home sick. Mid-day, she took the dog out back. This neighbor was in her back yard doing something to the trees which of course got Nakki stirred up. This person then proceeded to scream at my daughter for letting the dog bark. Excuse me, but if you have a problem with my dog, you talk to an adult in the house, not berate a kid. Anyway. I never saw this woman, so I just let it go. Our dog isn't a barker, only when there's a reason to bark. She sleeps in our room (in our bed, lol), and is inside all night long. She has a doggie door so she can go outside when she needs to during the day, but in no way is she a "noisy" dog.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside my bedroom (upstairs patio) reading as the sun was going down (ah, Arizona sunsets). Nakki was prowling the backyard, just sniffing at stuff like dogs do. Suddenly I heard this weird "Ch Ch Ch" sound and looked up. This strange woman was leaning over our back wall, snapping her fingers and making her "Ch" sound at my dog! WTH? So I watched her for a moment, trying to figure out what the heck she was doing... She then began waving her arms around and making louder "Ch" sounds... Nakki, of course, was going nuts, barking and lunging at the wall. This annoyed me.

I spoke up, "She's only barking because you're antagonizing her. If you stop, she will too." The shock on this woman's face when she looked up and saw me sitting there! Mucho funny!  She then began to upbraid me for having a barking dog. It seems that my duty was to be certain my dog is silent at all times (sorry lady, the yappy dogs are 2 doors down from you and belong to the HOA president). I explained again that the dog will stop barking and lunging if she will stop snapping, waving her arms over the fence and making "Ch" noises. She tells me my dog is outside barking all day and all night and she just can't handle it anymore (try Lithium, lady... the voices in your head are the ones barking).  She threatens to go the HOA (remember who the yappy dogs belong to). I say "OK". She threatens to call the police. I say "OK". Finally she storms off to make her call. The police never did come to the door, so I don't know if she actually called or not, but seriously, this woman is a fruit-loop!

This brings me to last night. Now, I'm not an bad person (really, I'm not!) and I am a good neighbor. We're throwing this teen-party, so my rules are simple. 6pm to 9pm. Keep the music at a reasonable level. Everyone out of the pool, outdoor music off and kids inside by full-dark (about 8:30pm). And finally, keep to our property. It's a weeknight, but it's also summer, so I feel the "everyone inside, music off by 8:30pm" is both reasonable and responsible.

The party begins, kids show up and by 6:30 (full daylight, folks) they're all in the pool, splashing and having a ball. I'm sitting out back keeping an eye on them, when guess who pops her head over the wall and starts yelling at the kids to shut up and turn off the music. Really? Oh yeah. I sigh, and wave her attention to me. She complains that the kids are too loud, the music is too loud, and the dog is barking again. I point out that it's full daylight, it's summer, it's a party, and I'm chaperoning and will be certain that she is not inconvenienced any more than necessary (you ol' bat). She continues complaining, then says she's calling the police. Whatever.

I go inside to check on the Star Wars cookies, and when I return she has turned on her stereo and is (I am so not kidding, you can't make this stuff up) blasting at top volume POLKA music, in the original language. The kids are laughing hysterically, so am I. The party goes on, and by 8:30 the kids have consumed 3 pizzas, an inordinate number of snacks, have cleaned up the backyard (what?! Who are these kids and can I make them mine?) and moved inside where they work on several "memory" boards for Amber (who is moving to Florida).

Bill comes home from bowling, and by 9pm the last of the guests have gone home. We head out back to sit and relax a bit (pulling a stray gummy bear out of the seat cushion). We chill a moment then he says, "Shiloh, please turn the stereo down, and... what the heck are you listening to?"  Shi and I bust out laughing, he gets a bit annoyed and reaches for the stereo. Which is off. Then it hits him. HA! He looks toward the back wall, turns back to me and says, "Really?". "Oh yeah."  "How long has this been going on?"  "Since 6:30 when she complained about the kids, dog and music." "Well, how mature."  ROFL!

She continued to blast her music until exactly 10pm. I'm tellin' ya, folks... this year's graduation party (I have 2 seniors) is gonna be an experience!

Wednesday, 7/7/2010:   2pm... Find the icing, I did. Strong is the force in me. :-) 

9am: It's up! Tab's Training Tips is launched! :-) Wooohoo!! Please check it out, and if you have any fitness questions, send them her way :-) I'm so excited to be able to share her with you! We've got a lot of fun things in store for the future, and she's already answered 3 questions!

Tonight, I am hosting a houseful of teenagers. My youngest daughter's best friend is moving to Florida on friday, so tonight is the going away party. Between that and various errands I will be unable to hit the gym, which normally means I'd have done it this morning, but like all best-laid-plans that too, went awry... I overslept. Oy. So, no gym today, but my food is clean and on track.

The boys (my son Joey & his buddy Robbie) came over last night so I cooked up Devin Alexander's Chicken Enchilasagna. Very tasty, it's a family favorite. I made it with Ezekiel's sprouted corn tortillas (and doubled the chicken of the original recipe to make it higher in protein). I sent the leftovers home with the boys :-)

On another note, my back is giving me trouble again. Dagnabbit! Have I mentioned how much I detest injury? I do. Deeply. Today I'm back in my flats and moving slowly.
Not. A. Happy. Camper.

On a completely different note :-) Look what arrived!!!! One of my errands today is to hunt down an icing set (Find the icing, I will) so the kids can make cookies tonight for the party :-)  (Yes, my geekdom knows no bounds!)

Need a laugh? Have you read the Twilight books? Then you simply must read Jen Lancaster's June 30th blog... I'm still rolling!    Then read this:   

Tuesday, 7/6/2010:   4pm... Well, I'm working on Tab's new page (woohoo!), and building up some things and discovered that it's time to put a disclaimer up on the site (you know all that legalese stating that "my advice is not a substitute for your physician's and if you break a leg it's not my fault" stuff). It's almost sad for me... this site grew out of my passion for the things I've learned (and continue to learn). It's very personal for me and so to have to put a "professional" disclaimer up, feels a little like growing up and leaving behind a lovely childhood. Silly, I know, but there it is. My little website is growing up. :-)

9am: Had a great weekend, got my food prep done yesterday and am ready for the week. There are some terrific things happening this week, including a long overdue visit with a friend I haven't seen in 22 years! Woohoo!

I'm also thrilled to announce that Tab (aka, The World's Greatest Trainer) will be joining me on this website! She'll be available to answer questions about fitness and training, and I'm so excited! If you'd like to see your question answered on the site, please email me, and I'll send it to Tab, then get it posted as I get her pages built.

Sunday, 7/4/2010:   Ahhh Yoga. The peace, the Zen, the unfortunate injuries to innocent class-goers.  Lol!  Here's what happened...

Tab couldn't attend this week, so at 7:45am I make my way down the hill to the gym. This time I am better prepared (I brought a towel) and confidently take my place in the back of the room. I set up my mats, lay my towel down, remove my shoes (flip flops this time, no fighting with tennies!), and settle in to stretch and prepare. As the other attendees enter, they glance at me then quickly move toward the front of the room (I see the memo went out).

The instructor enters (a substitute), adjusts the heater, and begins to chat with folks as she sets up. The lights dim, soft soothing music drifts through the room, and our Yogi asks if anyone is new to yoga. I raise my hand (and silently apologize in advance). She smiles graciously, pretending not to notice that there is no one within a 12 foot radius of my mat.

We begin, lightly stretching and bending as the room gently warms (only 106 this time!). As class flows onward, I am gaining confidence in my ability to learn these new skills. Latecomers have now entered the room, and with the only free-space being on either side of me, they've reluctantly taken their places (don't think I didn't notice their dismay). But, this is a new day! I am serene. I am loose. My towel is absorbing my sweat, brilliantly preventing slip-injury.  I am smugly congratulating myself on my newfound success when it happens. I should have known, though really, I cannot blame myself. I blame maintenance. Who waxes a wood floor before yoga class? Really? Yep. From Cobra to Downward Dog... my mat flew (perhaps the resident yoga gremlin yanked it) back and to the left, while I was thrown forward and to the right.

After recovering my mat, and resuming my pose, I realize that I have a long way to go before yoga is in any way natural to me. I will persevere. I will conquer. Though, sadly, I can be certain that next week, the empty space surrounding my mat will remain empty, no matter how many late folk show up. (Really people, I said I was sorry!)

Saturday, 7/3/2010:   Happy Birthday, Dad!!!  :-)

I'll be back to post more. Hope everyone has a happy 4th!

Friday, 7/2/2010:   Date night! Tonight we headed over to a restaurant called Barrio. It's a little Mexican cantina style that has amazing food and the most incredible homemade tortilla chips! I ordered the Seafood Experience which has 2 Jalapeño bacon wrapped shrimp with a sweet chili tamarind sauce and a halibut taco, with black beans. Now, I have to admit, this is my treat meal and when my plate arrived and I saw one tiny taco and 2 shrimp I kinda felt... annoyed. LOL! But wow! It really was the perfect amount of food, and the flavors were so incredible that you had to slow down and savor them. We'll definitely be going back there!

Barrio Cantina and Grill, Phoenix AZ

I am a member of Groupon, which is a company that offers amazing discount "coupons" to groups. Here's how it works... they offer a deal, and if enough people buy it, it's on! I get a daily email with my "groupon" offering, and I either delete it or buy it :-) It's a screaming deal! We got a $40 certificate to Bario for only $20. I've also purchased groupons for indoor rock climbing ($10 for an all day pass!!), for a local frozen yogurt store ($2 for a $10 certificate!), and then indoor rock climbing again for the whole family. If you're into deals, check out their site and see if they have your city.


Thursday, 7/01/2010:  

New cookbook review!!
Devin Alexander's I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!  Devin Alexander Healthy Cookbooks
Wow! I love it! In the first 10 pages of recipes, I dog-eared 8! I never find that many recipes in one book that I can incorporate into my lifestyle! Did I say "Wow!" yet? 'Cuz, WOW! I'm finally all the way through the book and I found so many great recipes to try that I'm amazed! My only complaint is that she doesn't count sugars in her nutritional analysis of the recipes, but it'd be pretty simple to figure out if I just take the time to do it. Most cookbooks call for ingredients I don't/won't use, so it's always a matter of "is it worth the time to clean this up?"... but in this book (unlike her "Most Decadent Diet Ever") she addresses this question, and really, most recipes I can make just as they're written! What?? Wow!

Devin Alexander - Healthy Cookbook - Most Decadent Diet EverNow I have to say, I really like the Most Decadent Diet Ever, there are some great recipes, some of which have been featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers (where she has a regular column), but the majority of them I have to tweak to make them fit my lifestyle. And yeah, it's worth it. The Chicken Enchilasagna on page 134 alone was worth the price of the book, lol!  (DO NOT FEAR THE CHEESE! In moderation, cheese is a great source of healthy fats and GREAT flavor!).  Devin does go very low-fat, so if you try her recipes and you see one that is super low-fat, don't be afraid to add in some healthy olive oil or coconut oil, avocado, nuts or whatever works with the meal.

But getting back to I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! I give it 5 stars! Awesome resource! I just counted and I've dog-eared 30 recipes! That's just from my first pass through the book! (here's a word you didn't see coming...) WOW!!!!! 

9am... Definitely no gym yesterday. I relaxed and watched Everafter (only the greatest Cinderella movie EVER!) and then fell asleep during When Harry Met Sally. I don't think I moved all night, lol. Today I feel great, energized, and ready to go. I'm looking forward to my workout tonight! :-)

A friend just posted this link on a forum I belong to... very useful info (and not-a-little scary!). I encourage you to check it out (Thanks, Lynn!)





Chelle's 2011 Goals...
view journal entry 12/31/10


Photos, knee post surgery (not gross, I promise)...
view journal entry 12/31/10


Chelle's Breakfast Burritos...
view journal entry 12/21/10


view journal entry 12/02/10


Holiday Eating...
view journal entry 11/23/10


Knee update...
view journal entry 11/17/10


Dangerous Soy products...
view journal entry 11/11/10


Eulogy to The Perfect Pair of Jeans...
view journal entry 11/08/10


Changing Life
view journal entry 11/01/10


Dining Out tips
view journal entry 10/28/10


1st day of physical therapy for the knees...
view journal entry 10/27/10


2-Years of Weight Maintenance!
view journal entry 10/25/10


My Hero, John Cossman on CNN
view journal entry 10/20/10


view journal entry 10/13/10


Pain & Denial
view journal entry 10/7/10


My first Zumba class
view journal entry 9/27/10


Changing it up
view journal entry 9/20/10


Healthy Heroes
view journal entry 9/16/10


What?? Lil' Ol' Me?
view journal entry 9/16/10


Finding The Ease in the Pose
view journal entry 9/7/10


Sentinels of Freedom - Tech drive for Soldiers
view journal entry 8/31/10


Struggling with the Clean Eating Lifestyle
view journal entry 8/17/10


School Lunches?
view journal entry 8/5/10


I Have a Hater! LOL!!
view journal entry 8/2/10


Epic Fail - Confession
view journal entry 7/19/10


Dealing with limitations
view journal entry 7/14/10


Part II: The Great Yoga Debacle...
view journal entry 7/4/10


Book Review! Cookbook...
view journal entry 7/1/10




Older topics

Click to View June back through April 2010.


Topics listed below:


The Great Yoga Debacle...


Book Review! Jackie Warner...


Dealing with Rejection...


Vote! Are you interested in...


Is Rihanna Right About Body Image?


What are you afraid of?


Calorie counting... good or bad?


How do your rivals describe you? 




Older topics

Click to View March back through January 2010.


Topics listed below:



Updated total weight lost! I've lost a total of 71 lbs!! 


Coconut Oil Challenge - The Beginning...  


Lipo-Dissolve... there ARE NO SHORTCUTS...


About starting over...


New Food Plan Info and Cooler Photos!




Topics from 2009 Journal Entries...
Click here to read


Fun with the Bosu!


Why I  should ALWAYS have a goal...


More Women's Health Mag. News!!!


Birthday & New photos

What I've learned this year.


Day one as a non-smoker


What I learned from my burlesque show 


Show Time 




Failure and Compromise 


Facing my fears 


Coming Clean Emotionally.


Get out of your comfort zone.


New Book for Men.


Switching up the routine.


Don't let injury derail you.

Easter Treats and holiday survival


New books & tools


Newsworthy Newsletters

The Biggest Loser - Food as a game.


Podcast Interview

I had the opportunity to be part of Arlene Pellicane's podcast for her website Losing Weight After Baby!  View journal entry



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