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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's a New Day!

Sunday was the Weight Watchers sponsored 5K Walk-It Challenge.  My bestie, Sheri, asked her friends to join us and even offered goodie bags as incentive.  I met Sheri at her house and we drove to McHenry where we met up with Marianne, Anita and Karen (our walking posse).  We got registered and dropped off our Weight Watchers sponsored goodie bags in the car before heading over to the starting line.  We snapped some photos and then they fired the starting gun and we were off.

The route we took was a little crappy.  We walked on the streets of McHenry which were currently under construction.  The route had loose gravel and was terribly uneven, which caused some muscle aches later.  Anyway, we were rewarded with a beautifully sunny day and a nice breeze exactly at the moments we needed it.

The last quarter mile were spent on the high school track and I found it terribly ironic and a little encouraging that as I rounded the last turn to the finish line my iPOD started playing Jennifer Hudson's song "It's a New Day" that she wrote for the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program.  Seriously?  How appropriate is that?

We followed up the 5K with massages and a BBQ at my bestie Sheri's house.  The food was amazing (thanks Sean) and plentiful!  The massage, including the hot stones, felt amazing after having walked so much in the last week.  All in all the day was amazing and I'm so happy that I did it and that I improved my time by 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  How awesome is that?!

Now, where's the next 5K?

UPDATE:  5/25/2011 8:45 pm.  I got a tweet from Weight Watchers last night because I'd tweeted about the Walk-It Challenge and how I was excited about it.  Apparently the folks at WW were excited that people were excited to take part in the challenge and they selected some of those tweeters to win prizes.  The tweet I received told me to contact the social media director (ok and seriously how cool of a job do you think that has to be?  <insert jealousy here>) so I did and I got a response that I won the following:

a signed copy of Jennifer Hudson's "I Remember Me" CD
a code to redeem a free pair of Skechers Shape-ups on
a Skechers T-shirt (available in M/F sizes S-2XL)
a Skechers water bottle
a Skechers bag

Seriously?  Awesome.  Plus I still think it's funny that Jennifer Hudson's song came on while I was finishing the 5K!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Tuesday Ladies

This post will be short and sweet, mostly because I'm not feeling well this week.  My weigh-in this week was fine but not great, I lost 0.6 pounds.  It was the support that I got from the ladies who regularly attend my Tuesday meeting that really keep me in check and encourage me to keep going.  So, to my Tuesday cheerleaders, I say THANK YOU!!

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
WW PointsPlus per serving: 1
Makes 3 servings

3 Portabello Mushroom caps
1 oz. Weight Watchers Cream Cheese (softened)
14 grams (half a serving) of Kraft Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 slices Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
Penzey's Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub spice mixture

Take out the stump from the mushrooms and scoop out some of the "guts" of the cap to make room for the filling.  Put the "guts" into a bowl, add cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese and spices.  Mix so all ingredients are well mixed in.  Scoop even amounts into each of the mushroom caps.  Grill (or roast) for a few minutes so the cheese can melt and the mushroom is tender.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mixing it up

The past few weekends have been so busy with family plans and travel.  Last week was kind of rough because I felt really tired and was battling a sinus infection. Then this past weekend was crazy busy with the drive up to Wisconsin for the 5K and then spending the weekend with family.  So, I have been really happy to get back to a routine, however, sometimes it's good to mix things up.

Dan sent me an article yesterday morning that had 15 easy ways to be healthy.  The first one, and I'm convinced it was the ONLY reason that Dan sent it to me, was to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.  This seems completely timely because the meeting this week was about breakfast.  We talked about different options for breakfast with varying PointsPlus values.  Some of the things that my fellow meeting goers have for breakfast sounded REALLY good.  I enjoy breakfast but I have been known to eat the exact same breakfast items for weeks at a time.

Based on the inspiration from the conversation yesterday I decided to change things up.  This was my breakfast recipe from this morning:

1/2 c. vidalia onion, diced
1 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c. fresh spinach
1 slice reduced fat singles (though I will likely leave this out going forward)
1 La Tortilla Factory Tortilla (Extra Virgin Olive Oil Multi Grain)
2 slices Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Bacon
1/2 c. egg beaters egg substitute

Saute the onion, mushrooms and turkey bacon until cooked to desired doneness
Add spinach and cook until it's wilted
Add egg beaters and cook until done
Wrap up in the tortilla and enjoy.
Total PointsPlus value:  6 (it'd be 5 if I left the cheese out)

The best part was that I was so satisfied all morning.  Normally I'm looking for a snack sometime around 10 am (I normally eat around 8 or 8:30) but today I didn't even think about a snack until 11 am.  How great is that?!

Do you like to mix up your breakfast or do you go with what you know/is easy to prepare/you pick up on the way to work?

Oh, and by the way, my weigh-in this week was awesome.  I lost 3 pounds.  And I got to show off my 5K medal!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

5K = 3.1 miles (can you walk it?)

As you know I'd been preparing to walk my first 5K and as I told you in a previous post my sister, Brenda, asked me if I wanted to walk a 5K and before I had a chance to think about it I said yes and then quickly registered because let's face it if I've paid money it is way harder to back out on something!  So, Friday night Dan and I headed up to Wisconsin and met Brenda, Mom and Dad.

Brenda and I before the race
Saturday morning came and I was about as excited as when I woke up on Christmas morning as a kid.  This was it!!  I was pumped as I got dressed and made a bowl of oatmeal.  Then, I realized it was raining and I was a little less pumped.  I'd never walked before in the rain.  Ugh, this was going to be awful because not only was it raining but it was WINDY and a little colder than I'd prefer.

Regardless, the five of us piled in the car and drove to Eagle River for the race.  We picked up our race packets and goody bag and then headed back to the car to wait for the start.  We made a quick trip to Walgreen's so Brenda could put on long pants and we could use the bathroom.  On our way out we found some 2/$2 rain ponchos (who can pass up a good deal on such a necessity?!) and then we were ready.

Here we go!!
While waiting for the race to start I met up with my friend Shawn (who was also running the 5K and had a PR, by the way) and her husband Matt and the kids and had a few minutes to chat about how the rain was really just going to encourage our pace!!  Soon, it was time to leave the warmth of the car and go wait at the starting line.  And then, they fired the starting gun.  According to the video Mom shot this was very shocking because she jumped at the sound!!

Originally, the plan was going to be Brenda and I walking together.  As I started training though I started to think that I'd really rather walk alone so I could set the pace I wanted and I told Brenda this.  She said she would probably run the race and then rather than just stopping and waiting she would come and meet me and then walk the rest of the way back with me.  So, when the race started Brenda and Shawn hit the course like the champion race runners they are and I kept toward the back of the pack to avoid being in the way.  But we were off...

I got to the halfway point, grabbed my cup of water and kept pushing forward.  I was less than a mile from the finish when I saw some traffic coming toward us (I was following two other walkers) when I realized there was also a person running towards us.  True to her word, there was my sister coming to meet me and walk the rest of the way back with me.  I don't know why but immediately and every time I think of the sight of her with her red winter hat, blue long sleeve shirt and yellow poncho coming towards me my eyes tear up.  It was great fun to have that time with her and celebrate the accomplishment, just the two of us.

Nearing the finish line and still rocking out!
Anyway, as we neared the finish, she left the course (so she wouldn't cross the finish line again) and let me continue forward.  As I got nearer I could hear my Mom yelling for me and saw Dan taking pictures.  A few steps later I saw Shawn and Matt cheering me on too and then I saw Dad and Brenda there screaming for me.  Seriously, how lucky am I to have these people come and cheer me on?

I finished last place in my age group but I don't care.  I finished my first ever 5K in 57 minutes and 41 seconds.  This was almost 2 minutes faster than any of the times I'd walked it at home (though I blame the dogs and their need to poop and smell stuff for that!)

Oh, and for those who said (or bet) that this would only be the beginning to doing more races, well, you were right.  I'm already looking at signing up for another one, which would make it my third 5K this year!  My 2nd one is coming up on Sunday in McHenry.  I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A new apprecation for latte

Last week I went to the fitness center in our Community Center for the first time in the 4+ years that we've lived here.  I always knew it was there but we have a treadmill at home so between walking outside, walking on the treadmill or doing a fitness DVD (my favorite is the yoga DVD by Bethenny Frankel) I never really had a desire to go to the fitness center.  Apparently I didn't even realize how much fun I would have at the fitness center.  There are nautilus machines (most of which I don't know how to use) and a whole lot of cardio machines that will make your head spin.  I've found that I really enjoy the recumbant elliptical though I'm trying to work up some endurance on the regular elliptical.  I've been trying out the nautilus equipment a little at a time as well.

This weigh in this week was nothing special in fact I gained 0.8 pounds.  I knew that a gain was coming because my history says that usually about every 4-5 weeks I gain weight.  Plus, I knew I'd been eating like crazy last week.  In fact, I even ate half of the activity points I earned last week.  Anyway, I knew it was coming and it was slightly disappointing but expected.  So, moving on...

At the meeting we were talking about places that we liked to go when we decided to dine out.  There were a lot of great restaurants put out there like Panera Bread, Diced (one of my favorites thanks to my friend Judy), Panda Express (they apparently have healthy options).  I said Starbuck's because I love me a nice Skinny Cinnamon Dulce Latte or a Skinny Vanilla Latte.  At which point Karen mentioned that the latte satisfied the good health guidelines for dairy.  Uh... hold the phone... what?  Yes, it's true, it contains about 1 1/2 cups of milk which is more then enough to satisfy the daily requirements.  Oh hells yes!  I will never again think twice about the latte again knowing that it helps me get in one of the good health guidelines that I so often forget about.

What about you?  Have you found out that your favorite indulgence is really good for you?