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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My motivation

Originally, I wasn't going to post because I just posted it on Sunday.  In case you missed the "news", I walked my first 9K!!  But I was asked a question last night in the meeting that I thought was important and it made me want to blog again.  So, here we go...

During the celebrations portion of the meeting Karen celebrated my 9K and asked me how it felt.  Amazing, and exhausting and fabulous (of course).  Karen asked if I'd share my weight loss total (there were a few new joiners in the room) so I said I joined in July of 2010 and I've lost 131 pounds (which is apparently wrong after I calculated it last night) and one of the members asked me how do I stay motivated?

Now THAT is a really good question that I answered during the meeting but then thought about it some more... and wanted to kind of answer it again.  Before I started Weight Watchers I would read food blogs - people taking pictures of all kinds of rich and glorious food?  Yes, please!  I'd also been reading a blog called Carrots 'n Cake (CnC) which has quite a lot of food pictures and recipes but it is also filled with information about fitness (the author is a marathoner and regularly writes about running and strength training).  I really started leaning towards reading CnC rather than the other food blogs because Tina's recipes were healthier and generally after posting a recipe or picture of food she talked about working out which always reminds me that you can have good food (and drink) as long as you also get in the activity.  I've mostly done away with the other blogs that only sported the high calorie/no activity posts in favor of something healthier.

The ultimate reason to stay motivated, and one that I mentioned in the meeting last night, is that I don't want to be defined by my weight anymore.  I've spent my entire life being overweight and being limited to what I can do, what I can wear or where I can shop and frankly I'm tired of it.  I want to be able to do things without having to think, I can't do that cause I'm not in shape for that.  For example, next year I'll be married to the most awesome man for five years and we're going back to Alaska (we were there on our honeymoon) and one of the things I want to do is hike a glacier.  We kind of did it last time but had to stop and rest about a hundred times on the way up and we never made it to the edge of the glacier.  These are the kinds of things I want to be able to do.

Oh, and maybe do the Hustle up the Hancock.  I'm still thinking about that one.

One more thing to note... this year has been a whirlwind and I'm going to end it with a bang!  I'm doing a 5K on December 3 which will support the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center in Oshkosh, WI.  I set a fundraising goal of $500 but would love to raise even more than that.  Please consider donating through my fundraising page to help raise money for this great charity.  Your contribution is tax deductible because this is a 501(c)3 charity.

Here is the full link, if you want to spread the word to help me raise more money:

Here is some information about the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center:
Launched in 1984, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. (CADASI), is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit agency serving individuals and families in Winnebago and Green Lake Counties who are struggling with the devastating effects of domestic abuse. The agency also educates the community on the dynamics of abuse and how it can help in the fight against domestic violence. It is the only agency providing comprehensive domestic violence programs and services to communities in both counties.
Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services is committed to ending the cycle of violence by providing safety, support and advocacy to all abuse victims, as well as cultivating community awareness through collaborative education and prevention programs.
Our agency's vision is to reduce the incidents and the effects of domestic abuse in the communities we serve and create a long term and lasting difference in the lives of families affected by abuse.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I DID IT!!! (The 9K version)

Crossing the finish line
I walked my first 9K today and I will definitely do it again. There were some things I wish I'd done differently, like not getting sick last week and missing out on some crucial training days, which really would have just put my mind at ease before and during the race.  The view from the course was amazing as we walked past Lake Michigan and through North Avenue beach and finished in Lincoln Park.  

It's easy to be inspired by the other people in the area and there was no shortage of runners, walkers and bikers along the course.  When I see them I want to go faster which was kind of a struggle from time to time because it takes me off my game which frustrates me.  I know that the more I do this (more training and more races) that I will get comfortable being at my pace and this desire to constantly go faster or keep up with others will pass, or at least subside.

About a mile away from the finish line my fabulously supportive and funny sister-in-law, Laura (who ran the race today), came and met me and gave me the push to get through the end.  I don't know why but it was reassuring to see her along the course and being able to talk to her took my mind off the fact that my side hurt and my legs were getting tired.  It was exactly what I needed at the moment that I needed it.  (THANKS LAURA!)

My unofficial time (based on the app on my iPhone which I forgot to stop when I crossed the finish line) was 1:25:49 which was 5 minutes faster than when I walked the 9K in training.  I was happy although I think the app hit a couple of glitches while I was walking so I'm really waiting to see what my chip time was before I get excited.

After the race we headed to Revolution Brewing for some lunch and drinks.  It was certainly a high PointsPlus day but one that I thought I earned considering all the activity.  I suppose I'll know for sure when I get on the scale on Tuesday.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intestinal Issues and Weight Loss?

For those that don't know ... here's a little history lesson.  About six years ago I was having some horrible abdominal pain, fevers, and diarrhea and after a few doctor's visits, a ruptured appendix, more barium "cocktail" than you should be allowed to drink in your lifetime and a few hospitalizations I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.  Crohn's disease is a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, fevers, vomiting and some other really sexy symptoms.  My disease is in remission thanks to some great doctors, potent medication and surgery to remove a blockage.

Anyway, a few weeks ago a member in my Weight Watchers meeting made a comment about having some GI issues that stopped her from being able to succeed on the plan because she could no longer tolerate the (mostly free) fresh fruits and vegetables which, let's face it, really make the plan awesome.  I remembered something my favorite GI (I've had a few) told me shortly after I was diagnosed.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are harder for your body to digest.  He told me why but my brain was a little bit on overload at the time and I don't remember. He told me that if my symptoms started to flare up (that's what they call it when the disease is active) to switch to cooked, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.  They are easier for your body to digest and to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that we need from them.

I just wanted to put that out there for anyone else who struggles with GI issues because it is possible to work this plan even when your tummy doesn't really cooperate with you.

If you have other questions about Crohn's or GI issues in general and how I deal with 'em, hit me up in the comments section and I'll try my best to answer.  Clearly I'm no doctor (but I've watched a lot of medical dramas!) so I can't give you actual medical advice but I will tell you what worked for me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coconut Topped Sweet Potatoes

Coconut Topped Sweet Potatoes
WW PointsPlus per serving:  3
Makes 4 servings

2 sweet potatoes (or about 1 pound)
2 T. Brummel and Brown buttery spread made with Yogurt
1 t. cinnamon
2 Splenda packets
1/8 c. coconut (flaked and sweetened)

Slice the sweet potatoes in half
Cook them (the original recipe said to cook them in the microwave but I baked them for about 45-55 minutes in a 455 degree oven)
In a small bowl mix the buttery spread, cinnamon and splenda until blended well.
Top the potatoes with the buttery mix and then with the coconut


I originally saw this in a Weight Watchers magazine and adapted it slightly (the original recipe called for cinnamon sugar and 1/4 c. flaked, sweetened coconut).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's the Point?

I've been sick since last Tuesday with a nasty bug... it resulted in two days off work and cancelled weekend plans.  Most depressing was that I hadn't been able to take my morning walk in over a week.  This was depressing because I have a 9K coming up on Sunday and I really had my training plan mapped out.  Plus, my scale at home was not showing any weight changes.

I went to weigh in and my leader (having seen me last week at the start of the bug) asked me how I was feeling.  I answered that I was feeling a little better, then I stepped on the scale and while I didn't know what my weight was from last week I knew that I'd lost weight. How much?  3.8 pounds.  3.8 POUNDS!!!  Karen, my leader, is always so excited about loss (only one of the reasons I love her) and even gave me 3 exclamation points on my name tag (another reason I love her).

During the meeting we talked about small changes.  This is all possible and it works because of small changes. Today after lunch when I normally have dessert I had a pear and oh my goodness it was so sweet that I didn't have any desire to have anything else.  How great is that?  That this little change could make such a big difference over time.

One of the ladies in my meeting, Melany (I hope I spelled her name right but apologize if not), said that her change was to only drink water.  She used to drink Diet Coke and had a drink of one over the weekend and immediately switched back to water.  She's fabulous and I congratulate her for making that choice.  We also celebrated that she lost 10% which is awesome and should be celebrated!

When I got home I was telling Dan about my loss... I said I've lost 131 point something.  He said, what's the point?  I said I dunno.  He said the point is to lose weight.  Oh, he's HIGH-larious, did I mention that?

So... wish me luck with my 9K this weekend.  I'm doing the Title 9K on Sunday.  If you're in the Lincoln Park area and want to come cheer me on... feel free!  We're heading over to Revolution Brewing to celebrate afterwards.  :)

What small changes have you made or what small changes can you make?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vegetable Pizza

Vegetable Pizza
WW PointsPlus per serving: 4
Makes 8 servings

1 whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's

4 servings Trader Joe's Lite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 t. olive oil spray or cooking spray
2 servings Trader Giotti's Fat Free Pizza Sauce
1 c. onion, chopped

1 c. red pepper, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
About 1/4 - 1/2 c. white flour

If you want a crisp(ier) crust DO NOT follow the instructions on the package for the pizza dough.  You will take the dough out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you need to start kneading it.  

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spray the pan with olive oil (I use one of those misters so it's like aerosol but it's really just olive oil) or you can use non-stick spray
Flour your work surface
After the 20 minutes has passed, begin to roll out the pizza dough.  You want to roll it for a little bit then let it rest, then roll a little more, etc... so that the dough has a chance to rest otherwise (Mom says) it gets tough
Once it's rolled out, place it on the pan and put it in the oven to bake for about 12-15 minutes.  Basically you want it to start to get a little crusty and firm.  Then you'll take it out and flip it.  This might require two people (or place a second pan on the dough and flip it if you don't have two people) to get it to flip over without breaking but trust me this step is totally worth it.
Load on the sauce, vegetables and cheese
I also sprinkle on some Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, rosemary and fennel seed)
Put it back in the oven to bake for about 15-18 more minutes.  The crust should be nice and crispy and the cheese nicely melted.

If you want to chop up one AmyLu Italian Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Onions as an extra topping it will increase the Points+ value by 1 Point+.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Trick or Treat?

Image courtesy of
Being on Weight Watchers makes me nervous around Halloween.  Not because I don't enjoy the constant door bell ringing followed by the dogs barking like they've never seen another living soul but because I can't buy the appropriate amount of candy.  In years past I would buy bags of candy, sometimes even in the beginning of October (in the name of research cause you don't want to give out the duds!) and then of course I'd have to restock by the end of the month in time for the little wee ones to arrive (and be scared to death of the barking dogs).

This year after reading a magazine article that suggested this I've decided to go candy-less, or at least candy minimal.  Dan suggested I should buy one bag, though I haven't decided if I'll listen to him this time.  So, should you be wondering what I'll be handing out when the ghouls and goblins come a calling I've prepared a nice list... some of these I'm getting, some I'm considering but all of them are festive.  Not to mention I'll be a hit with all the neighborhood Moms.  That was sarcasm which makes more sense if you knew that metal kazoos were on the original list I read.  You can get 'em at for $2 but I'm cheap and refuse to spend that much money on kids I don't know.  Interestingly, I went to that website (again, in the name of research) and was surprised to find how many different kids of kazoos there are.  Anyway, still not spending that much on kids I don't know.

(Caution:  Some of these are apparently not suitable for children under 3 years old - or so I read)
 * Temporary Tattoos or Friendly Frights Kids Tattoos
 * Plastic Spider Rings
 * Halloween Activity Pads
 * Halloween Pencils (cause you can't have an activity pad without a pencil!)
 * Halloween Erasers (see above reason)
 * Halloween Silly Bandz
 * The mega assortment of lots of the above
 * The girl themed mega assortment

What are your plans for Halloween?  Are you stocking up on bags and bags of candy?  Do you buy candy that you don't like to eat so you won't be tempted?  What are your tricks and treats to deal with this sugar laced holiday?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Upcoming Races

Yesterday when I talked about my GLORIOUS NUMBERS I mentioned that I was doing a few races in the next couple of months.  Here's my schedule so far:

October 23 - Chicago, IL - Title 9K

November 13 - Crystal Lake, IL - Panting for Paws

December 13 - Oshkosh, IL - Race for the Light

That's what I know so far... show some love in the comments section if you're doing any one (or all) of these events.  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glorious Numbers

Tracking what I eat and how much activity I get (I still am not sure that what I do can be considered working out?) means that I have a lot of data from the past year to look at.  So, I thought I'd give you some numbers today.

The first number is TWO  (For those who just inserted The Count  from Sesame Street saying ah ah ah, ONE bonus point for you) which is the number of 5Ks I've participated in, so far.  The first 5K in Eagle River, WI I finished in 57 minutes and 41 seconds and the second in McHenry, IL I finished in 55 minutes and 3 seconds.  I have three more races coming up this fall so if anyone wants to join me, post a comment and I'll send you more info.  I'm doing one in Chicago, one in Crystal Lake. IL and one in Oshkosh, WI.

ONE.  The number of dogs I will take walking with me at any one time.  I took both of them once and they literally had their leashes wrapped around me and I fell down.  A bunch of other bad stuff happened on that walk (some of which is funny now) so I like to think I've learned my lesson.

I've lost ELEVEN points since we started the Points Plus program.  As you lose weight you lose points so this is a good thing but sometimes I'm dumbstruck by how far I've come..

EIGHT is the number of huge bags full of clothes that have gone off to Goodwill so that I can't slide back into bad habits and bigger sizes.  I've kept one pair of pants so I can take an 'after' photo but that's it.  I even broke down and donated some dresses (yes, actual dresses!) that had sentimental value.

For my next race I will walk 5.5 miles.  On October 23 I am walking in the Title 9K.  I'm excited and nervous about it all at the same time.  The follow-up stat to that is likely 1 (number of beers I will drink at Revolution Brewing after the race) and about 52 (number of glasses of water or iced tea I will also consume).

Since I started "training" and tracking activity in May I've walked 182 miles.  According to the software that I use this amounts to more than 25,000 calories burned.  Yeah, it's gonna take me awhile to get used to that number all the while it will be climbing as I tackle more activities.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Milestone Photos - 125 Pounds!

July 2010 about 2 weeks after joining Weight Watchers

I don't mean to overload you with posts today (apparently I have a lot to say!)  Here's the link in case you didn't read my earlier post about my new goals and a contest I entered.  I can't believe that it's been over a year since I started this little trek.  Realizing I've lost 125+ pounds is pretty awesome.  My bestie Sheri said that I lost a person... my response was that it could be two if it were an Olsen twin!  Anyway, since I hit a new milestone it was time for a new picture but I sometimes forget where I started so it's nice to take a step back and revisit the old photos.  I also updated the About Me page so that you can see all the photos.  What do you guys think?  I changed the way the comments work so it should be easier to leave feedback for me here.  :)

October 2011 - Down 125 pounds

New Goals and a Contest

A few weeks ago when I went to my meeting my leader discreetly gave me a piece of paper.  I didn't even realize what it was until I started reading it.  Weight Watchers holds a contest to find it's most inspiring members and gives out prizes.  This year it's a trip to New York City, $5K cash, and a styling session with Tim Gunn.  Seriously, the cash would be fun, a trip would be awesome but a styling session scares the crap out of me.  Anyway... to enter this contest you had to provide some information, including before/now photos, an essay and your weight record including your goal weight.

Uh... what?

Yep, when I joined WW I never set my ultimate goal.  I kind of knew in my head that if I stuck with it that I wanted to be in my weight range based on my height because then you get to be a Lifetime member and don't have to pay for meetings anymore.  I never really thought about it anymore than that though because I knew it was a pretty long ways off.  Except, now that I wanted to enter this contest I had to decide.  So, Karen and I looked at the weight ranges for my height (and yes I've gotten shorter since I was in high school.  Blech) and I decided to shoot for something in the middle... so my goal... to weigh 148 pounds.  I realize that sounds like a funny number but it's well within the range so that even if I gain/lose a little bit I'm within my healthy weight range.

I'm not putting any other conditions on it.  Not I'll weigh 148 pounds by X date.  Nope.  I don't care when I do it, I just want to hit my goal.  That and I want to do more races (more about that later).  There, now I've blogged it so it has to come/be true, right?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Extra Encouragement

This week I had the great honor of taking a very special guest to my meeting with me.  My Mom and Dad were traveling through and spending the night here so Mom agreed to go with me to the meeting.  I asked Dad if he wanted to come but warned him it is generally a group of women.  He said all women?  Yep.  He said, no, I think I'll stay home.

So Mom went to the meeting and she got to meet some of my favorite people in the world and was surprised when there was only one celebration last night.  Mine.  For losing 128.2 pounds.  (It's really the .2 that makes it impressive, right?!)  I kinda thought I would hit the 125 mark but I didn't realize that I'd do it quite so spectacularly   My total loss this week was 4.4 pounds.  I honestly don't know how.

What a better way to hit a milestone like that but to have the extra encouragement from Mom and the fabulous Tuesday ladies.  I was especially touched (in case you hadn't noticed or you don't know my Mom, she's a hugger) that everyone rushed to give her hugs and welcome her to the room.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to have Mom and Dad here to celebrate with me and Dan.  Oh and to have home made pizza!  That's like a mega bonanza in my book.

PS 1 - The Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough is really pretty good.  Thanks for that tip Pat!
PS 2 - I'll update the pictures as soon as I get a new "I've lost 125 pounds!" picture taken... hopefully later today or this week.  :)