The Perfect Fit!

Saturday I took my best friend Terri out for brunch at The Breakfast Club in Farmington for a little treat before we went for the final fittings on our dresses for her wedding.

It is so nice to spend time with Terri, the two of us just really click together like sisters and it is a great time every time I see her! The Breakfast Club has such good food, it is a favorite spot of mine and Jim’s. I was very excited to take Terri there and introduce her to this place. She loved it also and suggested that sometime Jim and I should meet her and Scott there for breakfast, which of course is a great idea! I will never pass up any opportunity to enjoy the sumptuous food at this place!

Good food and great company!

Good food and great company!

I had made a little book for Terri called “Before the I Do” which was a keepsake of pictures from her bridal shower and her bachelorette party. She really liked it and it made me so happy to do something nice for her and to see that it meant a lot to her.

Once we finished up with brunch, we headed over to David’s Bridal to have our final fitting of our dresses for her wedding. This was one of the challenges I had been worried about. Part of my weight loss plan was that once I took that dress in for the first fitting I would need to switch gears from weight loss, into maintenance mode; so it would still fit me for the wedding. So far it’s been about a month since I had taken it in for alterations and when I went back Saturday it fit me like a glove! 🙂 So now I just have to maintain that for 3 more weeks until the wedding and everything will be perfect.

After that, I will need to a new plan. I haven’t decided yet if I want to stay in maintenance or perhaps lose a few pounds. I am only about 2 and half pounds away from the second goal weight I had set for myself. First goal was 130 lbs. in time for our cruise in March. I met that goal the week before we left for the cruise. Second goal became to lose another ten and get down to 120. I didn’t really put a time frame on that one but was hoping maybe I could do it in time for the wedding. I still might be able to pull that off, being so close now, but I’m trying to hold really steady weight so the fit of that dress doesn’t change.

Ok so here we go with some pictures! If you recall, in one of my earlier posts I used a picture of the day I initially tried on this dress last November as my official “Before” photo. So now it is time to unveil the “After” photos! 🙂

The "After" pic June 2013, down 23 lbs from the initial purchase of this dress in November.

The “After” pic June 2013, down 23 lbs from the initial purchase of this dress in November.


Showing off my "Hot runner's legs" as my bestie calls them!

Showing off my “Hot runner’s legs” as my bestie calls them!

And here is the side by side Before & After:

Before& After Nov. 2012 at 145 lbs., vs. June 2013 at 122 lbs.

Before& After
Nov. 2012 at 145 lbs., vs. June 2013 at 122 lbs.

Doesn't Terri just look SO cute?!

Doesn’t Terri just look SO cute?!

It is really amazing what 8 months of hard work and dedication can do! The funny thing is while I can see a big difference in my face, shoulders and arms, and a bit of slimming down and a lot of toning up in my legs…in these pictures you really can’t even see the difference in my midsection. In actuality my waist is considerably smaller now than it used to be. You can tell in this pic of Terri and I that I finally have a waistline! Yay me!! 🙂

Hard Work + Dedication

More and more, people ask me questions like:

  • What have you been doing to lose all that weight?
  • What diet are you on?
  • How Do You Do It??
  • My answer is simple.

    Hard Work and Dedication

    Hard Work and Dedication go like this:

      It takes a lot of WORK to lose weight, and to keep it off.
      Most of the time, that work is HARD.
      Often it is hard to convince myself to do the work
      Because I usually don’t “feel like” doing it!
      Doing it anyway, is where the DEDICATION comes in.

    should i work out

    Beyond that, if you want to know more specifics I’ll tell you what I do.

    I count my calories and I exercise. It is really just that simple.

    It is a simple formula for success which is foolproof if followed precisely. But it requires a change of lifestyle, a different mindset, and commitment to a different approach to living.

    I am not on a diet. There is no program or weight loss group that I’ve joined.
    Math is the biggest tool that I use. Burn more calories than you take in on a regular basis and you lose weight. Balance the amount of calories you burn with the amount you take in, and you maintain the weight. I think the biggest challenge most people have to making this concept work is that they aren’t really keeping close track of calorie intake and calories burned. If you don’t know the numbers you have no way to know if you’re on track or not. Just because you feel like you cut back on what you ate, and you think you got some exercise does not guarantee the math will come out in your favor.

    A good calorie counting tool is invaluable, I personally like to use www.caloriecount.about.com to log my calories and that is also where I log my activities so I can monitor my daily net calories.

    Learning to live on a “Calorie Budget” is the first key to success.

    Compare this to your personal financial budget. You bring home a certain amount of money, so you can only spend a certain amount or you go into debt. If you keep spending more than you have earned you go further and further in debt and it becomes harder and harder to get out of debt.

    Same thing with calories. Each day you start out with a certain number of calories to use for the day, your “daily budget”. With each meal you make choices on how many calories to spend out of your budget, and what to spend them on. Once you’ve used up your budget, if you continue eating more calories you go into debt, so to speak, but that debt takes the form of fat on your body. And the more of it you accumulate, the harder it is to get rid of.

    If you spend your calorie budget wisely, and “save” some of it each day – that savings is your calorie deficit and that is what creates your weight loss.

    Taking this a step further is giving thought to how you want to spend your calories.
    Compare this to making your money work harder for you:

  • Like clipping coupons to trim your expenses, try clipping your portion sizes to trim calories
  • Similar to spending the time to figure out where to put your money to make it grow and work hard for you, spend time considering what things you’ll spend your calories on that will give you the biggest payoff. This is where nutrition comes into play.
  • Getting the most bang for your buck – make every calorie count by investing it in foods that really fuel and nourish your body and not just satisfy a craving or a whim.
  • If you can accomplish these things even 60-80% of the time you are well on your way to success.
    images

    Getting your body moving and burning calories is the second key to success.

    Technically you can lose weight by cutting calories alone. It will take a lot longer to do, but it can be done. You can greatly accelerate this process by adding physical activity to your lifestyle.

    You do not need a gym membership or a lot of fancy equipment or even a ton of extra time. But you do need to be willing to make an effort, exercise is hard work and it does take effort on your part.

    For every calorie you can burn by exercising, you get to deduct this from your incoming calories and this makes it much easier to create that daily calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Once you’ve lost the weight you want to, continuing the exercise allows you to eat a well-balanced diet and still maintain the weight loss you’ve achieved.

    Don’t let the word exercise scare you. This can take whatever form you most enjoy. You may end up trying several things before you even figure out what sort of activity you can do on a regular basis that you don’t end up dreading. This is important because you have to at least somewhat like or be able to tolerate the exercise or it becomes very difficult to stay dedicated to doing it.

    Burning calories can come from walking, on a treadmill or outdoors, at the mall if the weather isn’t cooperating. You can do calisthenics in your living room, use an exercise DVD, go to a gym, participate in a sport you enjoy, ride a bike, go for a swim, the possibilities are truly endless!

    You just have to pick something, and do it! And do it again the next day. And the day after that. By all means, give your body a rest a few days a week as needed, but you just have to keep finding ways to move your body and exert energy.

    The great thing is that this can really become addictive, the more you work out the more you want to work out. So the process actually gets easier the longer you do it because it becomes less of a chore and more of something you really want to get done.

    So, this is my roadmap in a nutshell folks. Eat less, eat better, exercise more, burn more calories than you take in. Rinse, repeat.

    I WILL BEAT HER…

    I WILL BEAT HER
    I will train harder.
    I will eat cleaner.
    I know her weaknesses.
    I know her strengths.
    I’ve lost to her before,
    But not this time.
    She is going down.
    I have the advantage
    because I know her well.
    She is the Old Me.

    Father knows best

    I wanted to take a minute and write a little post in tribute to my Dad, since today is Father’s Day.
    Now, there is a lot that could be said about my Dad, but for the sake of this post I will try to keep it somewhat relevant to the theme of my blog.

    My Dad!

    My Dad!


    My Dad may not fully realize this, but he has had such a tremendous influence on my life. There are so many things I’ve learned from him! Not just things that he set out specifically to teach me, but things that have come to be part of who I am simply because they are part of who he is.

    Hard work is the best kind

    My Dad is one of the hardest working men that I know. And I don’t just mean that he worked hard at his job to support his family, which he most certainly did. What I mean is he has never been discouraged from attempting to do something because it would require hard work. In fact it would seem just the opposite is true. My dad can build anything, fix anything, and will dream up ways to create work for himself to make everything around him better than the way he found it.

    Dad grew up on a farm and was used to working with his hands and getting dirty was just part of the fun for him. As I was growing up, it seemed every weekend there was a neverending list of chores and projects for which my assistance was deemed necessary. I’m not so sure he really needed my help, if he liked my company, or if he was just trying to keep me so busy that I didn’t have time to get into trouble, maybe all of these were true. But I grew up being ‘daddy’s helper’, and it has made me a better person today. At the time, I would moan and complain and dream up any excuse I could think of to sneak away from the task at hand for any amount of time I could get away with. Yet today, I wouldn’t trade one single moment spent with my Dad on “projects”, I cherish that time spent with him and the lessons learned.

    Our weekend projects would range anywhere from building new rooms in the basement, to heavy landscaping work in the yard (I cannot tell you how many wheelbarrows full of dirt, rocks and heavy items I have filled and emptied throughout my childhood!). Cleaning the garage seemed to be a favorite past-time of Dad’s, as was planting trees, which inevitably required me to carry buckets full of water to rows of trees day after day all summer long.

    I’ll never forget the summer my Dad and I built a pole barn together, he taught me how to lay a foundation of sand, to level it and soak it and level it some more. Dad taught me how to pour cement, how to build walls, he taught me how to swing a hammer and how to use a screwdriver. I remember carrying shingles up the ladder to keep the supply flowing as he and my uncle put on the roof. Of course a few of those trips up the ladder were to keep the supply of cold beer flowing as well. 🙂 Dad knew how to create balance between working hard, and enjoying it.

    Dad wanted me to know how to do things for myself. I didn’t usually appreciate his efforts to teach me the value in that, at the time. But I’m so grateful now that I had that kind of Dad. I even remember the time Dad taught me how to change the brakes on my car, that was a tough job! I’ll never forget the hard time we were having getting those brakes off and my dad saying “if you can’t get it loose, get a bigger hammer”, lol! I seem to recall watching him swing a giant pipe wrench with all his might, I was sure that my Dad was the strongest man alive!

    It seems to me there was nothing in the world my Dad couldn’t do, create, build, fix or improve upon. But I think his secret was that he wasn’t afraid to learn how to do things, if he ever made mistakes I guess I wasn’t aware of it, but I’m sure he did, as we all do. But I’m certain if my Dad ever made a mistake it was well worth it because he’d use the experience to learn how to do things better next time and what things to avoid and what to do differently next time to make the job easier, and to make it turn out better. Dad was not afraid of something being so hard to do that he might fail. If he had those fears, he never let them show and he certainly didn’t let them stop him. Watching these traits in him instilled in me the perfectionism that I now find as blessing, albeit sometimes a curse as well!

    My Dad & I in 2007

    My Dad & I in 2007


    These are things he didn’t go out of his way to teach me about, but that I learned from watching him and getting to know him. Now, as a grown woman, I find myself more excited about new projects the harder they are. I may not exactly be a builder like Dad, but I’m willing to try to figure out how to do just about anything and this has served me well in many areas of life.

    Dad taught me there is a certain amount of pride that comes from doing hard work and breaking a good sweat.

    When my feet are pounding on that treadmill and sweat is rolling down my face and my cheeks are beat red, I know if Dad saw me in that moment he’d be proud of how hard I was working. 🙂

    Eating real food

    I am so fortunate that my Dad raised me in a home with good food! It must have been his background, coming from the farm, but we always had fresh fruits and vegetables in the house.

    As a very young girl I remember we always had dinner together as a family, and it was always a well-balanced meal. Meat, potatoes, other vegetables, salad, bread, dessert, the whole nine yards.

    Our pantry was not stocked with pre-made boxed concoctions of imitation food products. We ate real food. Vegetables, lots of them. Fresh meat. Always fruit in the house to snack on. I remember our refrigerator always containing bags of apples, bowls full of oranges, there were always bananas on the counter for snacking.

    Dad had a love of vegetables, it would be common to find cut up carrots in a bowl of water in the fridge just waiting to be snacked on, or radishes – those were another big favorite in the house. Cucumbers sliced up into “cucumber salad”, it seems like this was always in our fridge all summer long.

    As a child and even as a teenager, I don’t think I can say that I always loved all of these things, but I am so glad for all of the exposure I had to so much fresh food in the house. Thanks to Dad, I’ve eaten just about every kind of fruit and vegetable on the planet, and learned to love most of them.

    This background of growing up with “real food” has given me a real advantage as I have been working on getting healthier and losing weight. After I moved out on my own at a young age and the couple of decades that followed, I turned to “easy” food, things that mostly weren’t even food at all. Processed, imitation, food flavored things. Full of sodium and fat and sugar. When I finally decided to take control of my diet because I could feel from the inside that it was slowly killing me, all I really needed to do was fall back on my roots. Go back to what I remembered eating as a child. I had all the building blocks in me for healthy eating I just needed to start putting them into action in my own life.

    Me & Dad 2008

    Me & Dad 2008

    Christmas 2009

    Christmas 2009

    My handsome Dad & his beautiful wife!

    My handsome Dad & his beautiful wife!

    A thirst for adventure

    My Dad is what I would describe as an adventurous man. He has always been very active and had a lot of interesting hobbies.

    As a child I remember him taking us kids out to play in the snow on his snowmobiles, taking me for rides around the block on his Harley Davidson, spending weekends at the lake on his boat. He taught me to fish and to water ski. My dad loves to be outdoors and always took us camping and canoeing with the family every year.

    Dad even developed a love for flying. He often took me with him as he was taking his flying lessons to get his pilot license. Now don’t get me wrong, as a 8 or 9-year-old girl, it was the most boring thing in the world to sit in the tiny little airport waiting for him while he was out doing his lessons. But, it gave me exposure to him learning to do new things. Dad eventually got his license, and his own plane. Many weekends were spent flying to various small airports around the state for “pancake breakfasts”, airshows and things like that.

    I could go on and on with a list of fun and interesting things that filled Dad’s time and the way those things shaped my young mind, but in the end what he gave me was an appreciation for doing new and exciting things. There seems to never be a dull moment in my Dad’s life and I strive to emulate him as best as I can. Granted, my life is a bit less dramatic in the things I typically do, but I’ve had my share of excitement too. 🙂

    And an uncontrollable sweet tooth!

    Some of the things I got from Dad, may not serve me well but, they are what they are. Dad has a sweet tooth like nobody’s business, and ‘daddy’s girl’ is no different!

    While we usually had a kitchen full of nutritious, natural foods, there was also a fair amount of SWEETS!

    When I was very young, I remember Dad packing up the family in the car and driving us into the city to Mooney’s Ice Cream where we would all get ice cream cones after dinner. I don’t recall if this was something we did often but it seemed like we went there all the time! Mooney’s is where I developed my passion for chocolate chip mint ice cream, which I still love and crave to this day.

    Eating ice cream with Dad was a common occurrence and just the sight of a soft serve dairy bar makes me think of him! And cookies, there were always cookies in the house. Dad seemed to like the creme filled sandwich cookies, which I never cared for too much myself, but I can remember him also buying chocolate chip cookies frequently. I’ll never forget my first attempt at baking, when I was about 12 years old. I really wanted to make peanut butter cookies for my Dad. So while he was at work I set about trying to follow the recipe I had found. The problem was that I wasn’t exactly sure what “shortening” was and I didn’t think we had any in the house. I kind of thought it was “Crisco”, which we did have a bottle of… being so young and not having had anyone really teach me how to bake…I didn’t know there was a difference between using shortening and oil in a cookie recipe. Lets just say the cookies turned out more like “sliders”, LOL! But my Dad, bless his heart, told me I did a great job and he ate them anyway! 🙂

    Dad developed in me a passion for dark chocolate. There was usually a Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar somewhere in the house and it was DAD’s! As in, off-limits to the kids! And I can’t tell you how many bags of Hershey’s miniatures found their way into our kitchen, and Dad would always pick out the special darks first. Eventually I figured out why he was so crazy about the dark chocolate, it is AMAZING!! To this day, dark chocolate is my biggest weakness by far!

    OK, OK, I know this post has gotten ridiculously long, and is probably completely boring to anyone reading it except for me, and hopefully my Dad. Sorry to put you all through this little trip down memory lane, but I just really wanted to share some of my favorite thoughts about my Dad today.

    Dad, I’m sorry that busy lives and many miles have created a distance between us over recent years. But I wanted to put this post out for you so you would know, that even if you don’t get a phone call from me every week or a visit very often, you are NEVER, EVER far from my thoughts. You have invested so much of yourself into my life and I am eternally grateful for all of it. You are an amazing man and I am so proud to have you as my father.

    I love you Dad! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!

    One of the best parts of my wedding, the dance with my Dad!

    One of the best parts of my wedding, the dance with my Dad!

    Sink or Swim

    What better way to start a Saturday morning than a 3.50 mile run before breakfast!?

    I really love the weekends when I can get my run in early in the morning. (I’ve yet to be able to get up early enough to do that during the work week.) It gives me a burst of energy to power through the day, and I like having it done and over with so it’s not looming over my head all day like an unfinished chore.

    Run Summary
    Distance: 3.50 mi
    Time: 46:39
    Avg Pace: 13:20 min/mi
    Elevation Gain: 115 ft
    Calories: 285 C

    Moving Time: 45:26
    Elapsed Time: 46:39
    Avg Pace: 13:20 min/mi
    Avg Moving Pace:12:58 min/mi

    It has become habit for me now on Saturday and Sunday mornings to hit the treadmill around 7 or 8:00 a.m. before I even make breakfast. It’s funny how at later times in the day, I need to time my workout well within a certain range after a meal or else I end up running out of fuel for the workout. Yet, first thing in the morning before eating anything I can power through just about any workout as long as I do it very soon after waking up (usually within 30 minutes of getting out of bed.) If I wait much longer than that, I start to get hungry and don’t have quite the energy-fuel my body needs for a good run.

    My husband has often commented that he doesn’t know how I can work out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. But this weekend he decided he wanted to give it a try, so we laced up around 8:00 a.m. and headed outside for a good run together. Today was my “long run” so I decided to go 3.5 miles, which so far is the longest I’ve ever run. And I actually RAN pretty much the whole way. I did allow myself a 1/4 mile brisk walking break after about 1-3/4 miles while I was heading up a big hill. And on the last mile there were a few uphill stretches that I walked. But for the most part I ran it!!

    When we got home, Jim suggested we head to the pool to cool off. There is a nice pool at our condos, but we don’t typically use it much. Most of the time that I consider using the pool, it is either not open, or is filled with children. This morning we had the whole pool to ourselves and we did 30 minutes of laps.

    The water felt so refreshing after that run! I really liked the idea of adding more workout to my day, while doing what actually felt like a cool-down to the run. It was nice and low-impact on my knees, yet was strenuous and challenging and I ended up burning almost as much calories swimming for 30 minutes as I burned on my 46 minute run!

    To my surprise, within a few hours, I became very sore. I mean, really, really sore. My arm and chest muscles, basically my whole upper body, was screaming at me! I hadn’t fully considered what a strong upper body workout it was to swim laps and apparently the small amounts of strength training I’ve done in the last few weeks has not been enough to prepare me for swimming laps.

    But, I was determined to be in full “beast-mode” today and I still stuck to my 25 minutes of strength training that I had planned for this evening. It was hard, but I felt very accomplished after completing it.

    There is something that just feels so good about doing something physically challenging, especially when you don’t feel like you can do it. Getting it done feels like a big win!

    My eating was a bit off the charts today, but I did use a certain amount of restraint. After all this running and swimming we cleaned up and headed out to see a movie at the theater that we’d been wanting to go see (the new Star Trek movie, was really good – I highly recommend it!) and we were both so hungry we knew we needed to grab lunch somewhere before the movie.

    Opted for Panera Bread since it was on the way and they have fairly healthy options on the menu with several good choices for lower calorie meals. I got the “You Pick Two” deal where you get half of a cafe sandwich and half of a salad. I chose the Turkey Bacon Avocado sandwich (which is my absolute favorite!) and the Strawberry poppy-seed salad with chicken. The salad had so much good stuff in it! Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, roasted chicken and pecans, it was fabulous! Lunch came in at about 425 calories and between all that fruit, the protein from the chicken and turkey, and the healthy fats in the avocado, I felt very good about the nutritional content of my choices. The worst part was the high sodium, even now several hours later my face is still flushed from the elevated sodium! (My weird physical reaction to high sodium meals is something I guess I’ll have to cover some day in another post.)

    The eating went a bit downhill from here. At the theater I indulged a bit because, well…just because part of the “going out to the movies” experience is eating junk food! But I kept it in check for the most part, I got some water instead of soda (I don’t normally drink soda anyway, but it seems more tempting when I’m out somewhere like that), and I got a box of chocolate covered raisins (my favorite movie snack!). Before even opening the box I checked the nutrition facts label and sure enough they claimed there were 2.5 servings in the box! And each serving was 180 calories. So I was careful to only eat what I believe was about 1 serving and left the rest in the box. Said box of chocolate covered raisins is currently sitting on the desk next to me testing my resolve. I expect that box to land in the garbage soon before I am tempted to finish it off.

    On our way home from the movie, we grabbed some sandwiches from Subway to have on hand for dinner. It really is nice every now and then to take an entire day off from cooking! And again I went for their Turkey Bacon Avocado sub on 9 grain whole wheat bread. I really love that combo of flavors, and I realize I could have saved substantial calories by skipping the bacon on both sandwiches but come on, every one loves bacon right!?

    After dinner we were craving dessert, I did indulge but was careful on the portion sizes. I had 1/2 a Vitatop deep chocolate muffin top. (These things are seriously delicious, taste like a chocolate brownie, but they are PACKED with vitamins and nutrition and they are only 100 calories!) And we still had some ice cream left in the freezer that my mother in law had brought over when we celebrated Jim’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. So, I had 2/3 of a serving of the ice cream with it. So just by only having partial servings of each of those I shave off about 100 calories from dessert from the standard serving size. And considering most people typically serve themselves much more than what the product describes as a serving size, I think I did really well.

    I’m only including all this detail about the food today because of my last post where I talked about my struggles with sweet treats. I’ve decided that if I really want it, I’ll let my self have it and I’ll enjoy it. BUT with that comes some responsibility on my part to closely monitor my serving sizes, and to make sure I am burning the necessary calories to balance it out. My normal daily calorie target is 1350 and today I ate 1708. However, I did so much exercise, that I burned over 600 calories. I closed out the day with a -197 calorie deficit, so I do not feel one ounce of guilt over today’s eating.

    Tomorrow I will probably be very sore from that swimming. But I enjoyed it and I am so proud of myself for getting in so much activity today! Luckily I have an 80 minute massage scheduled in the morning, that should help quite a bit. Tomorrow is a 55 minute recuperative walk, I think I’ll try to get that in early so that after my massage I can completely relax for the rest of the day! 🙂

    Cookies: The Frenemy

    Cookies are my Frenemy. They bring me much joy, and cause me much grief.

    Especially these ones! Lofthouse soft baked, frosted Red Velvet cookies!

    Disclaimer  Only one cookie was harmed in the making of this photo.

    Disclaimer Only one cookie was harmed in the making of this photo.

    “Special Occasion” Eating and Treats

    I wanted to talk a bit today about the challenges of managing eating on “special occasions” and/or indulging in “treats”. This is an area where I have become more aware of the challenges and consequences, and yet I still struggle to conquer this situation.

    For example, last Saturday, not only did I run a 5K, but later that night I attended my best friend Terri’s bachelorette party. Part of my job was to bring food. I gave this much thought because I knew I would be eating whatever I brought and I wanted to provide myself with lower calorie, somewhat healthy options. But I also wanted to do it in a way that the other gals at the party would enjoy the selections, with the options being kind to their waistlines.

    This is what I took to the party:

    Fresh Veggie tray (all fresh, local, organic veggies I washed & chopped myself the night before)
    French onion dip – not the healthiest, but quite yummy!
    Tortilla chips
    Salsa
    Special K Popcorn chips (sweet & salty)
    Lofthouse Red Velvet Cookies

    Since I had done the race that morning and burned a good amount of calories, I really didn’t want to spoil my calorie count for the day by splurging too much at this party. I carefully logged on calorie count what I planned to eat, one serving size of everything I brought, plus two drinks of vodka & club soda. This, combined with what I’d already eaten for the day, was going to put me +200 calories over my daily target (even counting the calories burned from my race) – which was an acceptable overage given that it was a ‘special occasion’.

    As usual, everything changed once I actually got to the party. I stuck to my two drinks of vodka and soda, but I also indulged in several servings of gummy bears soaked in vodka and others soaked in rum. And one of the gals brought pudding shots, which I quickly refused when first offered to me. Soon all the ladies were sampling the pudding shots and raving about how good they were, I ended up having two of them. (And yes, they were delicious!)

    I stuck to my plan of only eating one serving size of everything that I brought. But then Terri’s mom (who, by the way, is one of the coolest mom’s I’ve ever met!) also made homemade pita chips and buffalo chicken dip. I resisted it for several hours but finally gave in, and after tasting how delicious that was, I went back for seconds of that. She also made bacon cheese stuffed pastries, which I resisted as long as possible but eventually caved in and ate several of those. (Also, delicious!) Oh, and did I mention the red velvet cookies? You KNOW I couldn’t stop at just one of those!

    All said and done, I’m sure that my day ended somewhere more like +1000 calories over my target instead of the +200 over target I had planned.

    Terri& I at her bachelorette party, June 2013

    Terri& I at her bachelorette party, June 2013

    Now don’t get me wrong, I had a GREAT time at Terri’s party, and I am so happy to be sharing all these special occasions with her leading up to her wedding. I really enjoyed all the food, and drinks, and fun and laughing and all that great stuff.

    What I am getting at is that I am having a hard time exercising discipline with food when I get outside of my normal, structured, planned eating patterns. This has always been an area of particular weakness for me, especially when it comes to sweet treats.

    Exercising discipline feels too much like exercise…

    It is an ongoing, never ending battle. The battle against doughnuts at the office. Birthday cakes. Celebration dinners. Home baked treats. Ice cream on hot days.

    I brought home about a dozen of the red velvet cookies from the party. I have eaten one almost every day since then and only managed to abstain on two days.

    Cookies: 4, Debb: 2 As usual, the cookies are winning

    I find myself spending hours fighting the good fight in my head, trying to talk myself out of eating rich, delicious, sugary treats. It seems like I can resist for so long, but often I give in “eventually” and indulge. And part of me thinks that somehow I did good because of how long I resisted. When the fact is that the calories count whether I gobble them up the moment the urge strikes or if I “exercise discipline” for a torturously long time and then indulge.

    In the end, I am unsure how to overcome this obstacle. I do not suspect my sweet tooth is going away anytime soon, I have had it my whole life. There is nothing I love more than sweet treats. However, I think if I am going to indulge at all I need to start just making the decision to do it, do it, and live with it and move on. Instead of fighting and trying to resist and putting myself through the guilt-trip wringer and then still giving in.

    Unfortunately, that’s the best I have for this problem, at the moment….

    In conclusion, I was just telling my husband I was writing a post that I don’t have a good ending to. Because frankly, I just don’t have a good solution right now. And he said “maybe if you read my post tonight on calorie count it will help”. This is what he wrote:

    “And finally, as a good husband I am doing my part to help the wife get rid of the red velvet cookies that are tormenting her nightly in the kitchen.”

    I ran 5K, and no one was chasing me!

    Saturday I ran the 5K race “Kona Run” in Northville! That’s right, I ran it!!
    My official race time was 38:14 which is, by far, a personal best for me!

    Getting ready to start the Kona Run 5K, June 8, 2013

    Getting ready to start the Kona Run 5K, June 8, 2013

    I am not a runner

    If you’ve followed my monthly fitness stats at all, you’ll know that I am really not a “runner”. I’m more of a walker who sort of wishes she was a runner. But, my short little legs have a hard time building up too much speed (I am only 5’2″!). And I used to be an avid hiker. I have a knee injury from a hiking adventure many years ago which likes to flare up and cause me much grief when I push myself too hard trying to run.

    Taking-in-the-view copy

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    Debb-holding-Molly copy

    Somewhere around 8 or 9 years ago I did a 22 mile hike, in the woods (read: hills!), wearing a 30 lb. pack on my back, and with my dog – who loved the hike but tired out easily and repeatedly wanted to be carried! About 13 miles in, I injured a tendon behind my right knee and it became VERY painful to even walk. Every step was a new experience in pain. Unfortunately, I still had almost 10 miles to go to get out of the woods, there was no choice but to continue. My hiking partner also had a full pack and really wasn’t able to assist with my pack. I hiked in pain and in tears for hours!

    My doctor diagnosed it as tendonitis and the problem with it is that while it heals up, it never really goes away. It is easy to trigger a flare up. About 6 years ago I had dabbled with running and found myself over and over fighting with flare ups in that knee.

    In 2011 I bought a treadmill and started walking. I decided I’d learned my lesson in the past with trying to run, and bringing on the pain, and this time I would just have to settle for being a walker.

    2012 found me signing myself up for a 5K race. Not sure what really possessed me to do that, I knew I couldn’t run it. But my husband and I went, and I walked it as fast as I could, and occasionally jogged a little.

    2012 Shamrock'n'Roll 5K Race

    2012 Shamrock’n’Roll 5K Race

    This was the 2012 Shamrock’n’Roll 5K race in Plymouth, MI. I finished the 5K in 48:22. I wasn’t overly proud of my time, but I was very proud of myself for signing up for it, going and doing it, and finishing it! 🙂 At the time of that race I probably weighed about 138 lbs. and it wasn’t long after that I started putting on more and more weight, leading up to the re-birth of my fitness journey in September.

    I am not a runner…Or am I?

    So now, I’ve been using my treadmill for the last 9 months or so. I started out walking very slowly the first month. After a couple of months I decided to try out just a LITTLE bit of jogging. I worked in three 1-minute jogging intervals in my 45 or 50 minute walks. My ‘jogging’ speed was 4.0 mph. Which, is really a very fast walking pace but for me at the time was more of a jog. Each month I would add 30 seconds to my intervals. By April I was doing three 3-minute intervals of jogging, sometimes 3.5 to 4 minutes, and I had increased the jog speed the tiniest bit to 4.1 mph. My knee seemed to be cooperating with this VERY small and slow addition of jogging to my workout.

    When I got into the month of May, knowing that this race I’d signed up for was in the beginning of June, I decided to up the stakes a bit and see if maybe I could do more running than I thought I could. I started with a week of 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging. The next week I tried 4 minutes walking, 6 minutes of jogging. Then the next week 3/7. Seven minutes of jogging at a time felt like it might kill me, but…my knee seemed to be holding out pretty strong! This gave me hope and determination! Maybe I could be a runner?

    Running 3.1 miles makes me a runner, right?

    June 8, 2013 finds me standing a the starting line of the Kona Run 5K race in Northville, MI. The race starts at Northville Downs, a horse racing track. We start out with a lap around the track then hit the streets from there. I start out jogging out of the starting gate because, really, who wants to be the one who is walking right from the start right? I am thinking to myself, maybe I could jog all the way around the track then walk as we break out onto the street.

    We leave the horse track, out through the parking lot and onto the street. I am still jogging. And I’m feeling pretty strong. With my Garmin Forerunner 10 strapped to my wrist, I am constantly checking time, mileage, pace, etc. I decide, as I’m getting a bit winded, that I will walk for just a few seconds. We’ve gone just under a quarter-mile, my mileage reads 0.20. I decide to walk until I get to 0.25 just to catch my breath, it is only the span of a minute or so. Then I start jogging again.

    We round the first corner and start to make our way uphill. The first 2 miles of this course are mostly uphill. But I keep jogging. My breathing is pretty steady, knee feels good, I keep going. Again approaching half a mile I slow down at 0.45 miles and walk until I get to the half mile. I decide at that point I AM GOING TO RUN THIS WHOLE RACE! The only reprieve I decided to allow myself was at every quarter-mile, just that distance of 0.05 mile to walk and catch my breath.

    Mind you, I am not running fast, in fact while I look like I’m jogging I feel like I’m moving in slow motion, lol! But I am jogging it and it makes me feel so good, so proud of myself! Around the 1.50 mile mark there is a very steep hill. My husband swears it was Mt. Everest but I think it was not quite that steep 🙂 People around me are slowing down as we climb this hill, many are dropping off to a slow walk. I press on and RUN UP THE WHOLE HILL!!! (OK, so I did allow myself a few seconds of walking once I got to the TOP of the hill, lol!)

    As I am closing in on the last mile I have to admit I was really winded, my legs were tired and I wasn’t sure if I could keep running. Luckily the course was downhill the rest of the way and I started picking up speed a bit without as much effort.

    The finish area was in a valley down a steep hill, and you had to follow this narrow sidewalk that was winding its way around this park to (presumably) a finish line…somewhere. The problem was it was winding in a circle and you couldn’t really see how far you were from the finish line. I really, really wanted to “finish strong” because this is a mantra that often rolls through my head as I’m working out – “FINISH STRONG!!” But I couldn’t help but start laughing a bit because it seemed like the finish line would never come into sight and I didn’t know how much more “finish strong” I had left in me, lol!

    Finally, I am sprinting as fast as I can, the finish line is in sight, I hear the announcer call my name as my feet cross over the chip line. I stumble onto the grass at the end of the chute and drop to my knees, breathless and exhausted. I looked at my Garmin and see my time, 38:18 (I didn’t click the stop on the GPS right away so it recorded 3.14 miles, just a few seconds more than the official race time was recorded at.) Tears stung my eyes as I was overcome with joy.

    I ran that! I ran that whole race! 3.1 miles, I did it!!

    I am runner at last!

    Crossing the finish line Kona 5K 2013

    Crossing the finish line Kona 5K 2013

    Then I looked up and saw my husband ahead of me in the crowd, smiling and waving at me. He finished 10 minutes ahead of me and also got a personal best time for him – 28:14! Hooray for us! 🙂

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    During my training, remember I was doing only very short intervals of jogging at 4.0 to 4.1 mph. My pace for this race ended up being an average of 4.9 mph!! It’s amazing sometimes, how much more we are capable of, compared to what we think we can do.