Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010, it was good to know ya

Over at the Sisterhood, Lissa wrote an amazing post on her reflections over the past year and has encouraged us to do the same.

My biggest thrill of 2010 had to be my entrance into the world of stand-up comedy, all in thanks to this man, comedian and now a dear friend, Al Ernst.

 It's a long story, but essentially, thanks to Al, I have performed about four shows so far and loved every minute of the whole ride. Below is a shot after a show of mine, when my husband, and an aunt and cousin joined me on stage for a fun picture. I haven't done comedy since August but am eager to get back out there and test the waters at some new area clubs in 2011, especially now that the holidays are over. And I MUST revise my goals listed in my previous post to include my intention of getting out to do stand-up again!

In terms of fitness and health and weight loss, I'm in a good place.  I am doing better with increasing my running intervals, and in adding strength training. In 2010 is when I really started getting active w/ the Sisterhood challenges and when I met online the fantastic women of Shrinkvivor on Tribe Green who are now my dear friends. What's more, my recommitment to exercise and WW and getting healthy has inspired several friends to start moving too.

I also completed a bunch of 5ks and earned a certificate by doing 4 Women's Distance Festival races.

I took my first ever ride on a motorcycle, this bad boy. LOVED it!

Got to meet and interview Kathryn Stockett (below) author of "The Help" - one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?

And lastly but the most miraculous of all, I met a biological aunt I never knew I had, learned I have three more cousins out in the world (whom I CANNOT wait to meet in 2011) and learned for the first time about these people, my grandparents.
(this is a post for another time, an amazing story you would only see on TV)

It's also been a tough year - job wise and with some other issues going on, but I have come a LONG way in not eating everything in sight when I am going through those tough hurdles.

Dear 2011 - Please be gentle. If I work with you, you'll work with me, right? RIGHT!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Power of 1 Challenge - New challenge for a New Year

Over at The Sisterhood a new challenge has begun! I am very excited about this because the premise is to focus on ourselves.

Power of One Challenge

More often than not, focusing on myself is a foreign concept. So I am eager to see what lies ahead as I go about the CONTINUOUS process of being good to myself and remembering to take time out for me.

Our first part of this challenge is to state our resolutions Healthy Living Goals for the year ahead. I will do the following (notice the active voice! Take that "should" and "might!"

1. Sign up for the Biggest Winner competition at my gym. This is a contest like the Biggest Loser. It is not cheap to enter but with some sacrifices and with the idea that this is investing in my healthy AND my sanity, I am going to do it. Putting it in writing just now has moved it off the "been thinking about it" stage to the "going to register" stage. Participants are selected on a first come, first served basis. I will be at the door waiting for the gym to open Monday when the sign ups begin. (Anyone else reading this who goes to my gym, please pretend you don't see this strategy!). I'll post an update as to whether I get selected. Wish me luck!

2. Participate in one 5k per month. That's 12 for 12. I have had this goal for a few years now and have not met it. In 2010 I did 6 or 7, in 2009 I did 8. This year will be 12 for 12. I already have races lined up for the next few months.

3. Keep working toward running an entire 5k, however slowly that may be.

4. Complete my Couch to 5k training (I am kinda frozen at week 5, day 2!)

5. No skipping WW meetings.

6. Reach my 10 percent by the end of January.

7. Lose 25 more lbs by June 8. This will mean I'll have lost 44 lbs by my 44th bday.

8. With DH do some type of volunteer work at least once a month (helps my mind to help others).

Phew, that is a hefty list! But I am not afraid of it ONE BIT!

Power of 1 starting weight: 195.8

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

O, Fitness Tree! My first "before" and "after"

Well folks, remember I shared with you all how I was counting down the days till Christmas through exercise on my handy dandy spiffy print-out-for-free-from-the-computer Christmas count down calendar? My plan was to give myself an 'ornament" (made from peel and stick gift tags from the dollar store) for every day that I exercised.

This is what it looked like after the first six days.

This is what it looked like as of Christmas Day!

25 Days of Christmas= 25 stickers= 25 Days of Exercise!
I really became focused on making sure I got in at least SOME exercise every day because I wanted to see that little tree fill up. Even at my brother's house on Christmas Eve, I excused myself after dinner to get on his treadmill so I could earn my ornament. Christmas Day DH and I took a 40 min walk around the neighborhood where I grew up which was some great together time amidst the chaos of a full-family visit.

This worked for me! I was down about 4 lbs in December. Who woulda thunk it?!

Monthly Project wrap up- Season of Giving (or shredding!)

For the month of December over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans we were asked to remember that the holidays are a season of giving.
I'm all for that!

Looking back, there was much more I wanted to do, should have done, could have done -- you know that drill. But I have to say every little bit helps, right? I bought two gifts for the Angel Tree at church. And a toy for Toys for Tots.

My more unusual way of helping out  was something else and it has kind of snowballed. Where I work, I always see HUGE bags of shredded paper going into our recycle Dumpsters back by the loading docks. I kept thinking "someone must be able to use this" and I called around. It turns out that while some animal shelters DO use this shredded paper for pet bedding or as stuffing for DIY dog beds, none of the shelters in my area were among them. However, my local shelter welcomes shredded paper, along with any other recyclable paper, to go into the recycle bin they have in their parking lot, called Paper Retriever. The shelter receives a donation per pound for all the recycled paper collected in that one Dumpster. So, one day after work, I hauled 3 large bags over there.

 And when they told me they could also use newspapers in this Dumpster (capitalizing that word is the journalist in me since I know Dumpster is a trademarked name lol), I told them they were in luck. I work AT a newspaper! Each week I am surrounded by tons of papers that we toss into the recycling. So now i have all my co-workers dropping their recycllng off to me outside my office, instead of them throwing it into their own recycle bins. I collect up their old newspapers (we are flooded with them, like I said) and their computer print out papers AND I have our maintenace guy drop off the bags of shredded stuff to me as well. These people won't know what hit them when I keep filing up their dumpster with old newspapers! At least once a week, I will stuff the entire car with all of these boxes of papers and head to the animal shelter. Oh, and then there are the gazillion old magazines I have around the house...

I also baked cookies for a holiday cookie exchange (seen below in take-out containers from the Chinese restaurant and decorated with disc of scrapbook paper) and I served on my company's decorating committe for our holiday luncheon, which believe me when I say was the LAST thing I ever wanted to do). But I was asked and I thought about our  monthly project of giving and so I said yes. And ya know what, it wasn't all THAT bad! lol

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Hoe Down Low Down - Challenge Wrap up

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

Hard to believe it, but another challenge at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans has come to an end.
So, how did I do? Let's take a look, shall we?
Let's revisit my goals, stated in a post at the start of the challenge (PS.. it REALLY does help when you write them down!)

Hit ONEderland ( DONE!)
Get to a spin class (no, but I DID try yoga for the first time)
Continue my C25K 
(yes, although I am behind the "schedule" - I'm up to W5D2 completed but I have no plans of quitting!)
No gains (DONE!)
Continue tracking workouts on my iCal and dailymile (DONE!)
Lose 9 lbs. (last challenge I lost 8.4) (turns out that was a bit lofty, but I am VERY happy with my total loss for this challenge)
No skipping WW meetings
(DONE! AND I even switched to a meeting bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings!)
Be an active and supportive member of my fabulous team!
(DONE! At least I think they'd say that!)

And now, onto the numbers
Starting Challenge Weight: 201.8
Last week: 198.2
This week: 197.2
Loss: -1
Total Challenge Loss: 4.6

I continue to be amazed by my fabulous teammates who originated on Tribe Green, plus we've added one husband who is a great addition! We all rocked the fitness minutes challenges!

I CAN'T WAIT to show you all my O, Fitness Tree soon -- that is looking more and more beautiful with each passing day!

Here's to the next challenge! If you are interested, check it out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week 4 Wrap Up, and O, Fitness Tree continues

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

It's that time folks. Weigh in time over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans
Challenge starting weight 201.8
Last week: 199.2
This week: 198.2
Minus 1
Total loss for challenge to date: 3.6

I'm managing to squeeze some exercise in every single day, mostly due to my passion   obsession with my O, Fitness Tree (see post below). I am hell-bent on seeing that entire tree decorated by Christmas, and so far so good! It is working at motivating me to keep me moving.

One of the challenges this week was for us to try something new. For me, it was a few different workouts on ExerciseTV, including pilates, which I had never tried before. What a tough workout! It felt great to feel some soreness the next day, especially in my abs.

The string of holiday parties has started and i am doing my best to keep my head in the game. My main focus is knowing that I have just 4.9 lbs to go before I reach my 10% at WW. I have set a goal of making that happen before New Year's Day. As you have probably heard WW has a whole new plan now. I got all the materials two weeks ago this Sat. Have I read any of it? Nope. That's not good! I WILL read it this weekend come hell or high water!

My teammates on the Lean Green Losing Machine continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I am so grateful for them! We have won the Fitness Minutes Challenge for THREE consecutive weeks! I couldn't be more proud of my teammates!

Oh and there is still that Race Report from my Turkey Trot on my to-do list...... December= crazy busy! But if  when I make it through the month without a gain, I will be singing the Hallelujiah chorus!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 3 Weigh in + O, Fitness Tree

Where or where have I been you may ask? Been a while since I posted. Too much stress going on in one particular area of life had kinda left me feeling flat and deflated in the writing/socializing department. But fear not. I'm still here and still kickin'.

I've been noticing major changes, one in particular: I no longer head straight for the junk food when I am feeling all stressed out. No, I have not been perfect in my eating, I know I have not been doing the kind of damage that I USED to do when the stress was piling up. In fact, I am turning more toward exercise than anything else! It has been keeping me sane and motivated!

Want to know a secret? This time of year is also a hard one for me (if you go to my earliest post, you may understand why). But I created something new for ME this year to help me feel those positive endorphins that come from exercise:

O' Fitness Tree

 I Googled "printable Christmas count down calendar," found one, printed that sucker out and stuck it on a nail in my breakfast nook. Beginning with Dec. 1, my goal is to count down the days till Christmas through EXERCISE! For every day I exercise, I add an "ornament" to my tree. (Pssst.. they are really just images cut up from peel and stick gift tags from the dollar store.) My goal is to see my tree completely decorated. Here is how it looked as of yesterday (today there is already another stick on Day. No. 7 from my walk this morning).

Folks, this little tree has kept me moving. When things are hard and for those days I have to really struggle just hold it together sometimes, getting a sticker on this tree has kept me on my feet, energized, feeling strong and feeling proud. I can't wait to see this thing all decorated!

Ok, now on to the Week 3 Weigh in for the Holiday Hoedown Challenge over at the Sisterhood. Once again, I have stayed EXACTLY the same! Even with the friggin. 2! I am still at 199.2 for two weeks in a row now. Not sure what is up with that?  I have been exercising and am even continuing with my Couch to 5K training. I'm on Week 5 Day 1 completed. A bit behind from the rest of the group but still committed to it! AND I did a Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving. I will just keep up all the good things and I know eventually the scale will move again in the southern direction!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 2 Weigh in

Well we just wrapped up Week Two over at the Holiday Hoe Down. Did I mention last week that my fab team The Lean Green Losing Machine, was the top winner of the fitness challenge?! We LOVE getting those minutes in!

This week my weight stayed the same. I'm at 199.2. But I am OK with that because a) there was no gain despite not one but two Thanksgiving dinners (one of which we are still making our way through all the leftovers!) and b) I have really kept up with the exercise!

I logged in 476 minutes for the week, have continued with my C25K training, did a Turkey Trot 5K and haven't skipped a WW meeting -- all of which were goals of mine. So I'm feeling great about where my head is at in this journey!

I have a calendar I keep on my Mac, in which I enter my exercise for the day. I am proud to say that out of 30 days of November,  there were only 4 days where I did not exercise. VERY proud about that!

I have a new way I'll be keeping track for December. I'll save that for another post!