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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Family + google

This past weekend was spent in my home town in Wisconsin.  Every two years my extended family gathers for a family reunion.  Some of these people I've seen and keep in touch with on a semi-regular to regular basis.  Others I haven't seen since the last reunion but love catching up with.  Add lots of family (and a few new babies I hadn't yet met) and good food to the fact that I was excited to show off a little (they'd seen me on The Dr. Oz Show but c'mon, I've lost 180+ pounds and that screams showing off!) and catch up.  A few people me chuckle a little.  One such interaction:
Him:  Who are you?
Me:  I'm Jen
Him:  No you're not!
Me:  Yes I am
Him:  Roger's daughter?
Me:  Yes!
Others were more convinced about who I was and I got some great big bear hugs!  A few family members actually lifted me off the ground (seriously that was awesome and odd all at the same time) as they hugged me but regardless it was amazing to see family again.  Aside from the hugs Saturday was all about the food - between food prep, eating and clean-up there was food all around.  Since it is basically a pot luck event I cut up a mess load of vegetables and made my favorite vegetable dip.  While I'd planned to go out for a run that day it didn't happen but we did go for a walk with some family members and that was fun too.  

It was sad to come home (cause my whole family is all kinds of awesome) but then I started to look at some blog stuff and I know that there are a number of things that have brought people to here.  Some are family, friends, friends of friends or family, etc... some get here by a search on the world wide web.  I thought we'd take a minute to find out how/why people got here.  This is information that I tend to look at but haven't shared, until now.  The search term they used to get here is in italics and my comments are following them.

  1. Color Run Racine - Where ever you are if you can run a color run - DO IT!  It's the race that doesn't feel at all like a race.  Some people walked and some ran so it's open to all fitness levels.
  2. Humorous things that you're thankful for - I'm thankful for things that aren't even funny but I'm glad you're here!
  3. Naked weigh-ins - if you find a center that does these, let me know cause some weeks I know that's the only way I'd lose weight!
  4. Anna Devlantes - I'm not actually her but she was super nice and so am I so I guess we could be twins?
  5. Broiled Mushrooms - These are awesome and if you're making them I do still expect an invite!
So what'd you guys do this weekend?  Spend time with family?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Race Recap: Welcome To Summer Virtual 5K

I haven't run in a week because I really fell in love with going out to ride my bike.  However, there are bigger things on my list of goals so I knew I needed to get back to running.  I figured a nice virtual race was the perfect way to do that.  Luckily, the weather decided to cooperate this morning with a nice 65 degree morning.  So, I laced up my new Brooks Adrenalines and headed out.  My plan was to complete the Week 4 Day 2 training plan that I was on and just make note of the time that I finished 3.1 miles.  The plan was:
Walk:  5 minutes
Run:  10 minutes
Walk:  2 minutes
Run:  30 minutes
Walk:  2 minutes
Run:  10 minutes
Walk:  5 minutes

I'd sort of forgotten about it when I was running but luckily looked at my watch at 3.12 miles and I'd hit exactly the same time as the last 5K - to the second.  Even if I tried to do that I couldn't!!  At least the time was easy enough to remember!!  

The 30 minute interval is only the 2nd time I've run 30 minutes straight.  I actually felt pretty good throughout.  I wished I had laced my shoes slightly differently but other than that I was pretty comfortable so that was good.  Towards the middle/end of the last 10 minute interval I started having trouble breathing - like I was trying to catch my breath but I couldn't.  I slowed a little and continued on.  I was super proud of myself that I didn't stop, no matter how much I wanted to.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Things Thursday: Vegetables, Friends & Bike

Happy Thursday everyone!  These summer weeks really seem to fly by don't they?  Well, it being Thursday means we're one day closer to the weekend and that it's time to put our thankful pants because it's THANKFUL THINGS THURSDAY!!!  If you're not familiar click on that link and it'll get you up to speed.  I don't generally make a long list just a few things that stick out in my mind that I am thankful for.  So, let's get started, shall we?

I've posted about it before and it started last week for this season but it always makes me unbelievably thankful - our CSA box.  CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture for those who are not familiar. Essentially you buy a "share" of a farm and in return they provide you a box full of whatever is ready at that time of the year.  In our box last week:  broccoli, basil, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, lettuce, baby turnips and a squash/zucchini (I don't remember.  I found a great recipe on the Weight Watchers site for how to prepare Swiss Chard Au Gratin and Dan and I both LOVED it so much we were trying to think of other things we could Au Gratin with... I can't wait to make it again.  Our CSA comes from Angelic Organics and I think they still have shares available if you're interested.  They have drop off sites all over the Chicago area.

The next thing I'm thankful for is all the new blogger/social media friends I've made over the past few weeks. I recently learned that I am a new FitFluential Ambassador and that has introduced me to so many new people.  They are wonderfully supportive and funny and I love having the extra support when things get a little rocky.  Thanks new friends!  :)

It may sound cheesy but I'm also really thankful for my new bike.  I've taken her out nearly every day since I've gotten her and I'm in love.  Biking is fun and seems a little cooler than running on those mornings when the heat is stifling.  It's also nice because I have a little water bottle holder on the frame so I can hydrate mid-ride without actually having to carry the bottle (my beef with running - I know this is obviously a first world problem).

Anyway - what are you thankful for today?  Did you get a new bike?  A great new recipe?  Did you sign up for a CSA yet?  If so, what do you think of it?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Wheels

Isn't she pretty?!  There is pink on the grips
so clearly she's a girl!  For those of you who
gasped because I have pink on my bike -
the rest of her is matte black. 
I got some sweet new wheels on Saturday and I am so freakin' excited I can't even tell you!  I mentioned last week that I was checking out a few different models and when I went in on Saturday I test rode 3 bikes.  I'm a pretty firm believer in the "you'll know it when you" mentality and when I got on this bike I was in love.  The seat felt comfortable, the handlebars comfortable and shifting was easy.  Even on the bumps the seat felt comfortable!  I had sort of convinced myself that I would need to buy a new seat because whatever came standard wouldn't be comfortable so I was pleasantly surprised.  We brought my new baby home and made a few adjustments to the seat (it was pretty low) and then I convinced Dan to go out for a few miles.  We logged just under 6 miles and got home just as the rain was coming.  PHEW!!  I'm excited to take her out again soon...

On Tuesday we're heading to a very special dinner so I'm going to miss my regular Weight Watchers meeting so while I was out and about today I stopped at the Weight Watchers center in Crystal Lake for a weigh-in. I'm usually pretty careful on weigh-in days to stop eating/drinking for awhile before my meeting but this was a little spontaneous today so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  Apparently the change in activity and/or really following the program carefully has really worked because I lost another 2.6 pounds!  And a daily point.  Clearly that's craptastic (crap + fantastic = craptastic).  I suppose it's good news though?!

So, what about you?  Any new purchases over the weekend?  Make a really good fruit salad (I did!)? Take an extra long workout?  Thoughts on what I should name my new bike?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thankful Things Thursday: Miles of smiles

Since I was completely wrapped up in my own pity party last week and didn't post a Thankful Things Thursday AND because Mom called me out on it I figured I'd better get a jump start this week so I started making a list of things earlier this week.  So, let's put on our thankful pants (or dress if you're following #dressweek on Twitter!) and get this party started.

The first thing I am thankful for is being able to have high mileage weeks.  Last week I made a new personal high of 26 miles.  In reading other blogs that seems super low but for the last several weeks my miles have really hovered around the 14-16 miles per week so this was big!

One of the reasons that my mileage was so high was due to the fact that I tried biking for the first time in probably 20 years.  I mean actual outside biking not stationary biking in the gym.  I've been thinking about hopping on a bike (though I don't own one yet) for several weeks to give my knees and ankles a little break from running.  With the heat/humidity that we had over the weekend this seemed like the perfect time to start looking to buy a bike.  After we hit up a local BBQ contest on Saturday we stopped by a bike shop and I test drove a nice bike.  However, my knee was bothering me.  A lot.  So much so that I wasn't sure I now wanted to spend a few hundred dollars on a bike if I was just going to end up with a sore knee while riding.  So we left the bike store (without the pretty blue bike) and I continued to think about this purchase.  I woke Dan up early (around 7:30 am) on Sunday and asked if he could prepare his bike (with the "comfortable" seat at the right height) for me to try this out.  I headed out on the paths to see if I liked biking and to map out a new running route.  My knee didn't bother me at all and I went a lot faster than I thought I would.  Apparently my issues from the day before were probably related to the fact that I had already run 5.5 miles, walked another 2 so my knees were already pretty pissy with me.  Anyway... this means that I have a green light to find my very own bike.  YIPPEE!!!

After my big adventure biking I went and did some shopping with my friend Jen which brings me to the other thing I'm thankful for.  I'm thankful for shopping trips with friends who encourage me to try on clothes I wouldn't normally try on.  Jen encouraged me to try on a cute little dress and the minute I put it on I loved it! I can't wait to wear it!  It's not that I'm opposed to dresses I just don't usually have a place to wear them.  This one is pretty casual so I can wear it anywhere and I plan to.  Soon!

I also have to share one more thing ... I've worked in the IT industry for a long time and this week one of my friends was looking for DB2 help and posted her question on Facebook.  Wanting to help her but knowing nothing about DB2 I reposted her question and she immediately got feedback from another friend of mine.  I thought that was awesome so I wanted to thank those who responded.  You guys are all kinds of awesome!

So, what are you thankful for?  A new favorite activity?  New outfit?  Share!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Following the Plan

Last week was a bit of a mental mess for me.  My weigh-in was disappointing and I was pissy about that.  That attitude stayed with me more days than it should have to the point that Mom called me out about not posting a Thankful Things Thursday.  Yeah, it was a bad week.  But, I followed the Weight Watchers plan the way it's prescribed, mostly.  Several months ago my friend, Jen (clearly we were destined to be friends what with having the same name and all) and I had decided that as our daily points target got lower that it would be ok if we went over by 2 points (for the oil).  So, that's what I did last week.  I worked out until I couldn't anymore (62 activity points) and ended up taking yesterday and today a rest days.  My result?  A 4 pound loss.

Ok, so if you just follow the program you lose weight.  (face meet palm)  I realize this is a no brainer but sometimes, apparently, I need reminding!  I'm happy with the loss and will continue being careful with the "free" fruit because that's what I suspect was my downfall.  After all, I did eat an entire water melon (almost entirely by myself) in about a day and a half.  Clearly, that can't be tremendously healthy.  So, that's what I learned this week.

Oh, and I like to bike.  Even though it hurt a little.  More on that later.

And here's a completely unrelated non-scale victory I had today... you know you have a friend who has an absolutely gorgeous ring, be it wedding, engagement, etc... and also teeny tiny fingers?  My friend has an engagement ring that is to die for and during the meeting I asked if I could see it (though I've seen it plenty of times) and I remarked how teeny tiny her finger was and then I slipped it on my finger.  And it fit.  No pushing/pulling to get it on/off, it just fit.  And I felt super proud that apparently I also have teeny tiny little fingers now too instead of great big sausage like fingers that I used to have.

How about you - have you head any non-scale victories this week?  If so, share!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's a struggle

Based on the success that I've had with weight loss I feel like I should always lose weight.  For some reason I also feel like people expect me to lose weight.  Weeks when I have a gain are disappointing and I feel like I let people down.  It should come as no surprise when I say that this weigh-in this week did not go well.  I have a scale at home and it has been up and down over the past week, at one point it said I lost 2 pounds and the next day that I gained 5 pounds.  Basically I have no idea what is going on but I knew it didn't "really" matter until I went to the official weigh-in at the meeting last night.  That scale said I gained 2 pounds.  Naturally I was disappointed but I had kind of expected it.

A few days ago I took my measurements (I take them every 4-5 weeks) and I had lost an inch here and there so I was happy with that.  I also know that in the past two weeks my activity has really increased to the point where I'm earning 40+ activity points per week and usually eating less than half of those.  My "inquisitive" brain (aka anal retentive) wanted to know how I gained?  I've got 3 theories:

  1. I went overboard with the free fruit last week (I did eat almost a whole watermelon by myself)
  2. I gained some muscle when increasing my activity level
  3. I am actually dehydrated due to extra running but thought I was hungry so I ate rather than hydrate
I'm going to really try to keep an eye on these things for the next couple of weeks.  I also know that since I've had such great success that I sort of felt like "I know what I'm doing" and got a little lax with tracking.  I always track but would do so AFTER I ate something and then it's too late.  I need to be better about tracking BEFORE I eat it so I can look at the PP value and really decide if it's worth it.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Broiled Mushrooms

I dare you to eat only 1 serving!
Broiled Mushrooms
Points Plus Value per Serving:  1
Makes:  4

12 mushroom caps (I use big button mushrooms)
1 T.  Balsamic Vinegar
1 oz (28 grams) of feta cheese

Turn oven on Broil
Remove stems from the mushrooms, wipe clean and place top side down on a pan
Pour 1/4 t balsamic vinegar per cap
Evenly sprinkle in feta

Place in oven for about 20 minutes until the balsamic reduces and the feta gets slightly browned.
Yields 3 caps per serving.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A reality check from my new coach!

When we filmed the finale show for Transformation Nation:  Million Dollar You I was elated to find out that I would get the assistance of a coach from Team Challenge (part of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation).  However, I'll admit that I was also slightly terrified.  Up until now my training has been on my terms and while I try to stick to a training plan I know that if I want/need to take a rest day I can because the only person I'm really affecting is me.  Having a coach is someone else to be accountable to.  In all honesty it also made me worry that it would be someone who would judge me and how hard I was training.  Anyway... I confessed my anxiety to Coach Barbara who quickly responded (we've been corresponding via email) that she has no doubts I will be able to do this because I'd already done something major by losing 180+ pounds.  
While I was out for a training run this morning I couldn't stop thinking about what she said.  Why wouldn't I be able to do this?  Why did I think that training to run a half marathon would be any different than deciding to lose weight to live healthy?  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  When I set out to lose weight I never focused on the big goal - I never thought to myself that I needed to lose 200+ pounds.  I always focused (thanks to my fabulous Weight Watchers Leader, Karen) on the small goals.  I'd set a goal to lose 10 pounds and then I'd go do it and I wouldn't feel completely overwhelmed by it.  When thinking about running a half marathon I kept focusing on 13.1 miles.  This, in my twisty brain, is a lot of miles considering I haven't even run a complete 5K yet.  However, it made me realize that I was doing this all wrong and that I shouldn't be focused on the total mileage but rather smaller achievable goals.
It's important to keep the big picture in mind but not so much that it overwhelms and stops us from achieving a goal.  So that's what I'm going to do!  I'm going to break my training into smaller pieces to focus on rather than to continue stressing out about having to run 13.1 miles.  Ironically, during my training run this morning while thinking about all of this I ran farther than I was supposed to and ended up walking PAST my house for my cool down!