Thursday, July 31, 2014

Changing Directions

Things have been a bit wacky in my world this week. I didn't go walking for the past two days. This morning I got back on the trail, but decided I needed a little something different. Every day I walk the same direction on our loop. I decided to turn the opposite way today. I am amazed how many times I've passed things and never noticed them.

One of the first things I noticed is the change in the hills. There is one "hilly" section of the loop. They are very small hills but when you are trying to walk fast they can wear you out. This one doesn't look steep but it is longer than the one going the other way.  I think it is good to change things up a little to keep the body guessing and working hard.

I had never noticed this fancy light post.  I wonder if they realize water and electricity are not a good mix.  I do love old pumps, but I find this use too confusing.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of some markings on the road. I had hope the marking that looked like a dollar sign indicated I would be receiving lots of cash soon.  Turns out someone will be receiving some
cash soon - looks expensive!


By the way I only recently learned the diagonal stripes on these signs point in the direction you are supposed to drive - drive on the side the lines point down toward the road. Once I learned that I can't stop noticing the stripes on signs everywhere. It took everything I had not to stop and adjust these!!

And I really wouldn't want this situation in my front yard. Speaking of expensive, it looks like they are digging up a water line - UGH!

I have noticed this mailbox before but the lamp post/pump made me think to stop and take a picture of it too.

I was waiting for my husband to meet and walk back to our house together. I couldn't help but try to take silly shadow pictures. It was a bit challenging to pose and take the picture too. I wanted them to be a little crazier. Does this shadow make my butt look big??? :)

I made peach ice cream today - sorry forgot to take pictures. I got an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer (aka SuperMixer) last Christmas. I've only made ice cream once. Then with us trying to watch our eating I haven't made any this summer. Peach season made it too hard to resist. I have one more batch to freeze then I will have about three quarts. We have a game night every first Friday of the month at my sister's house. I thought it would be a good treat to take (everyone brings snacks). That way I can enjoy ice cream without having a whole tempting batch in my freezer.

My niece came over to help with the ice cream.  She is not a peach fan and wanted chocolate ice cream - so we took her to Dairy Queen.  I know it is crazy that we were making ice cream and then went out for ice cream. She got a blizzard and I had a few bites of it (tracked them).  Oh, that ice cream was so good...been awhile since I'd had chocolate ice cream.  I think SuperMixer's next ice cream will be chocolate.

We had a bigger lunch than usual (Mexican - we split arroz con pollo) so we decided on Subway for dinner to stay within our calories. Should I be concerned about what the girl wrote on my husband's sandwich wrapper??  I guess it is better than her phone number :)

We have made our final destination plans for a little trip with my niece and nephew in August. We are going to Nashville TN.  We plan to kayak and probably some hiking.  And there will be some city sightseeing and eating.   Any suggestions for things to see/do? Or things to avoid?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weigh In Wednesday

Seems like we have been doing this forever. But it has only been 10 weeks. I am proud of how we have been able to make a legitimate go of it "this time."  I know we have all been there before not really feeling like we really can or will do it. I shared a bit of that feeling in one of my first blog posts.

I happy to say I have lasted much longer than a week to 10 days :) 

As far as weight lost goes, I am satisfied with my progress. With this week's loss of 2 pounds I have now lost a total of 23.2 pounds.  I feel like I am getting to the point where I noticing a difference for myself, even though no one has commented (outside people who know I am working on it). When I get to that point I think I will be more confident that I am really succeeding.

My husband is nearing his goal and is starting to think about maintenance plans and building muscle. He has done a phenomenal job :)

For lunch today I had KFC - a chicken little and potato wedges.  Even though it was only 600 calories - bigger than a normal lunch, but not a crazy big lunch - it seemed to hit my like a brick. Since lunch I have had a bit of a stomach ache. I think the food preparation (read fried) is not what I am currently used to and my stomach is reacting.

To be honest, I don't have a plan to never eat fast food again, but I imagine over time it will be something I just don't really want so much anymore. Perhaps days like this when I have it and later don't feel as good physically will have a positive affect on my food choices.

Picture of me and my sweetie from this weekend.  Look forward to comparing to my changing self in a couple of months :)   Have a good week, everyone!

Finally figured out how to get the Weigh-in Wednesday link up on my page.  Thank you Finding the Skinny Geek Within for being great tech support :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Puppy Reunion

Yesterday we had quite the adventure. We drove a little over two hours to meet with a couple of the other families who adopted puppies from Millie's litter. It is the first time any of the pups had been together since they were adopted. 

There are seven pups, but three live a considerable distance away...Chicago, Minneapolis and Lincoln they were not able to make it. We ended up having three of the puppies together. I couldn't believe all the similarities and all the differences. 

Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon. Millie was one tired pup when we got home.  The black dog with the orange harness is Batman (brother) and the dog with the most brown is Zena (sister).  And of course, the third one is Millie :)

We made dog tags for each of the pups with their name, date and "happy 1st birthday."  We mailed them to the pups who couldn't make it. 

It was a busy weekend, but I did manage to stay on track with exercise and calories. The biggest challenge - I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  It is the first baking I have done since we have been on track. They are so tempting. I did have a few, tracked them and wanted more. I made them to take to the puppy reunion and I was happy to send the leftovers home with one of the other families.  Mmm...cookies...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday!!

Millie turns one year old today. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. We got her last October from a humane society about 2.5 hours away.  For more see Millie's Story. She has become the inspiration for this blog. I would like to lose as much weight as she weighs (75 pounds when I started).  We will see how much more she grows and how much more I want to lose :)

This morning we took Millie for a run. She loves to go with us in the morning.  My husband usually takes her for a couple of miles then I take her with me to walk.

When we got home from her run we had a birthday photo shoot. It helped immensely that she was a bit worn out from her run :)  Also, a little peanut butter bribe never hurts.

I baked two different kinds of dog cookies. One is peanut butter based and the other is apple/cheese.  Yes, I tasted the dough...and no I didn't track it :)  I haven't tried the cookies since they have been baked.

Batch One

Batch 2

I couldn't find my bone shaped cookie cutter.  Good to have a talented husband :)


Quality Control Department


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is This a Bake Sale?

What a difference a day makes.  This morning was almost 20 degrees cooler than yesterday morning. So much better for walking. I actually was a bit cold the first mile...had to walk faster to warm up :)

Saw this scary viper on the street.  Upon further inspection I was able to identify it as the relatively harmless Midwestern Rubber Snake.

I hope these skid marks were not absolutely necessary.  People drive a bit nutty through residential areas and hopefully someone's child was not a risk.  My limited knowledge of skid marks makes me think someone pealed out of the turn and squealed their tires. Just a theory.

My husband has signed up for a triathlon in August. So, I think we will be changing up our workout routine a little. Just for fun I am going to "train" with him. I will probably ride my bike for 2-3 miles and then do a 2 mile walk. I would like to do the triathlon too, but I want to do well. In the past, I have considered doing it thinking I would just be happy to finish. Having put some serious effort into my fitness, I don't think I would be satisfied with just finishing.  At this time, I would have to walk the whole run part (4 miles) and I am not sure my buns can handle 12 miles on the bike. Don't even get me started on my swimming :)  I am going to enjoy the "training" process and cheer my husband on at the race. And maybe next year...

Today turned out to be an eating out day for me. We have a new person in our office and we all decided to go out to lunch with her. It was fun. I ended up getting the salad special - Fire Roasted Corn with peppers and onions on lettuce, topped with feta and bacon. It came with a creamy balsamic dressing, but I decided not to use it because the corn salad created a sort of dressing. I ate about half and did my best to estimate calories - I think I was pretty fair.

After work I met my sister at a local evening farmer's market. For the record farmer's markets are starting to look more and more like bake sales.  I tried not to make direct eye contact with all the goodies. But I do love to bake and was very curious about what people were selling. Cookies, quick breads, all looked good but I resisted.

There were plenty of veggies, but I didn't end up buying any of them either. I am having a bit of a veggie situation at home already ;)  In fact, I had my sister come by the house on her way home to take some tomatoes and cucumbers.

Then for dinner my husband and I went to our favorite Mexican place. He LOVES their Arroz con Pollo. I had actually figured up the calories the last time we went and entered it into MyFitnessPal.  We split an order and got some extra veggies on the side.

I have thought quite a bit about eating out. Since there isn't always a reliable way to calculate the calories of a restaurant dish I need to find another solution. I still want to go out to eat. Sometimes, a girl just doesn't want to cook :)  If my husband and I split a dish that we would have normally eaten ourselves, I am satisfied that I have made a significant improvement.

How do you handle eating out?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Steamy Morning

Ugh!  This morning was the most uncomfortable morning yet. I stepped out the door and felt like I walked straight into a sauna. I have been spoiled with some cool mornings.  The whole time I was walking I was thinking about how much farther I had to go and if I wanted to turn for home. Every step was a potential crossroad.

I did manage to make it through the whole distance, but my time was in no way impressive. At a certain point I just decided to let the pace be what it was and be happy to get in three miles. Getting overheated could trigger my health issues - I'd rather not have to deal with that potential derailment.  I have been extremely grateful for the cool(ish) summer we are having, so I can really focus on my exercise without fear. Heading into August that could change. I want to be outside as much as possible, but at least we have a gym option too.

I made a slight detour this morning and walked on a couple of different streets. So, now I know where a sheriff's deputy lives. Hope I don't need that information...and 911 is probably more effective than running (or walking, in my case) through the neighborhood to a deputy's house.

Still working on my walking selfie.  Please share any tips you have.  I still can't seem to get it quite right.

Oh, speaking of needing help.  I have done a couple of the blog hops recently. I always try to add the link/button to my blog post, but I can't get it to work. I am obviously missing something. I don't want to be known as the blogger that never links back to the host. If someone could explain how to do I would be extremely grateful. 

This evening after dinner we spent a little time in the garden. I picked and my husband watered. This is the first year I have grown broccoli. I bought 4 plants in late spring. Knowing they were a cool weather crop, I didn't have high expectations. I  saw some for sale at the farmers' market and talked with the vendor. Since it hadn't produced yet she thought it was going to happen. Here it is today - before I picked broccoli for the third time. Every time I cut it, it grows back even more.  We do love our broccoli.

Millie insists that she is helping me hunt for cucumbers. I can't believe how easily cucumbers hide in the vines.  I have had a couple get away from me this year and end up the size of large zucchini before I found them.  

Turns out Millie was just looking for an opportunity to steal green beans...goofy pup!

Today was a much better day than the last few.  I seemed to have weathered another storm and feel like I am in a good place to keep going with this journey.  Thank you all for your kind words of support and advice.

Two Months In and a Weign In

Another weigh-in has arrived and I have lost 1.4 pounds this week. I honestly thought it would be a little more because when I weighed myself on Saturday I was already down 1.8 pounds.  Not sure what happened there, but as we all know these crazy bodies fluctuate for reasons we don't always understand.

This week's loss brings me to a total of 21.8 pounds lost. Some of the smaller losses can be disappointing - I am an impatient one.  However, when I look at the big picture I am happy :)  And 6 months from now I will be even happier!

We have now been on this new adventure for two months. As the newness of the adventure starts to wear off, how am I feeling, what I have learned and where do I go from here?

First, I am thankful for my husband's support. Doing this together has been key to our success. We have had fun trying new things. We have been able to talk each other off the ledge more than once. I have talked to other people that don't have the same support from their spouse. I don't mean to say that their spouses oppose their efforts. It is just that they don't necessarily do things they could do to make it easier. And a little praise and encouragement goes a long way when you are in this battle.

As far as my feelings go, I told my husband last night that I am feeling a bit trapped. I don't necessarily want to give up some of my favorite things. I don't want to think about what I am going to eat and how many calories every single day.  However, if I don't do these things I am a bit terrified that I will fall off the wagon completely.  For example, I have been craving nachos for weeks. My problem is that I don't want to make them at home because I don't want to buy all those ingredients for one meal - I don't want leftover chips, sour cream, cheese, etc. I know I can have all those things in moderation, but there is something very peaceful about a home without all the temptations to be debated everyday. Of course, I could "healthify" the nachos to a degree.  But being completely honest, that is not what I am craving.  And my concern is that it will just leave me dissatisfied and still craving.  Now if I go somewhere to get nachos, we all know it will end up being a huge portion and not just a reasonable serving. I can try to figure out all the calories, but ultimately I am guessing - maybe somewhat educated but still guessing. I am afraid to open Pandora's box. What if that one splurge leads to another? 

So, regarding nachos here is what I decided. Today for lunch I ordered a half order of nachos from a local BBQ place.  I did my best to calculate the calories and put them in my tracker. I got my order to go and was happily surprised that they had packaged all the components separately - made it much easier to figure how much of everything. It came out to almost 700 calories. I think I can still make it through the day within calories...and I am going to try to do just that.

What have I learned?  I can walk fast - even when I am not being chased :)  Seriously, I have learned that this is a process that take time and dedication. There are going to be ups and downs, but I can persevere. Oh, and some days this is very hard!

Where do I go from here? Just keep doing a whole lot more of the same things I have been doing for the past two months. Work on believing I can do this and stop letting fear of failure take up residence in the back of my mind. Focus on what I am gaining not what I am losing.

In somewhat unrelated news...Millie got her first bag of big girl food today. She will be one year old on Saturday, so it is time to make the switch. When my husband carried the dog food in from the car he realized that heavy bag weighed as much as he has lost :)  It is hard to imagine that he carried that much extra weight - no wonder he was tired all the time.

Official Dash and Splash 5K results (7-19-14):
           Husband - 24:41
           Nephew - 30:07
           Nephew's friend - 41:34
           Sister - 41:56
           Me - 43:29
I didn't beat anyone in my group, but I did beat 10 random strangers :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dash and Splash 5K

Okay, this was a total do-again race.  We had a great time at the Dash and Splash 5k on Saturday.  The race started at 6 p.m. and then was followed by an after party at the water park (including dinner and a DJ).
We got to the race early so the guys decided they would run next door and take a quick spin on the go-karts.  Probably a good idea to keep distracted. I was a little nervous - I always am when it comes to doing new things :)  My poor husband's go-kart ran out of gas. They brought a new one out on the course for him but by the time he was back in action he had no hope of catching up with our nephew (in the green car).

After go-karting we returned to the race start area, stretched and took our pre-race pictures. This race was a foam run. I'd never seen that before. The foam maker was at the beginning of the race and then we came through again at the end. Some people went around, but I figured I might as well get the whole experience.

Our group - my nephew's friend, my nephew, my husband and my sister. Does anyone else notice that our 15 year old nephew is taller than my husband?  Our nephew is a wrestler and my husband is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do, so as you can imagine there are plenty of impromptu wrestling events in our living rooms.

Time to line up. There were probably about a hundred people running this race. The atmosphere was pretty laid back.  My race plan was to just walk as fast as I could the whole race. I've been walking 3+ miles a day so I wanted to challenge myself with speed. My husband's plan was pretty similar except for the walking part.

And off we go.  Once again I am racing as a walker and it takes no time to be at the back of the pack of runners :)  It really didn't bother me as long as I wasn't the very last person.

The foam part was kind of weird. I couldn't help but slow down to go through it. There is something quite disconcerting about walking through something and not being able to see your feet.

We had all decided that we would run or walk our own race. That worked well for everyone because no one felt obliged to stay with someone and not get their best time. I was the "slow" one in our group I occupied myself by targeting random strangers and trying to pass them. There were lots of people who ran/walked the race. I would try to catch them when they took a walking break. I noticed that people would run for a bit, but their recovery walk looked slower than they might normally walk.

I knew I was giving maximum effort. And maybe more than I'd ever felt before was the total exertion of racing. I was breathing hard and even got a stitch in my side and shoulder that thankfully didn't last too long. I didn't know if I could keep up the pace the whole race.

My goal going into the race was to finish under a 14:30 pace.  I figured the excitement of the race and the competition would help me do better than a 15 minute pace (which I'd been struggling with in my morning walks).  My "unofficial" race results according to my Garmin watch.

Avg Pace

I was shocked to see an UNDER 14 minute mile!!  The course made a loop and then there was a part that you went out on and came back the same way. That made me happy because then I saw my husband running towards me. I have to say when I glanced at my watch I couldn't believe it.  Judging from the distance, he appeared to be on pace to finish in about 25 minutes.  His goal had been to finish under 30 minutes. His final time was about 24:30 (still waiting for them to post official results).  His fastest mile was 7:25 - that is crazy fast!

Obviously we were both incredibly happy with our races..and maybe a bit relieved that it was over :)

My sister ran a great race too even though she was fighting a sore foot.  I know she finished before me, but she had a bit of a timing malfunction so we are waiting for the official results to be posted to know her time. 

With the dash behind us it was time for the splash part of the evening. After the race they had a private party at the water park for the racers and their guests. I am not sure how many people there ended up being - maybe a couple hundred at most. There was a buffet catered by one of our favorite restaurants. The food they served was actually food we had never tried at the restaurant - fried chicken, mostaccioli, salad, bread and green beans. It was all very tasty. They also had a DJ playing fun music. 

The guys went straight to the Flow Rider. It was a crazy boogie board ride. My husband loved it. It was great because with so few people in the park they got to ride it over and over without having to wait in a long line. Towards the end of the evening my nephew and his friend were the only ones riding it. Did I ride it?? Yes, much to my surprise I did.  I confess I was a bit terrified, but it was fun. Are there pictures of me on it?  No, there are not :)

We also had a ton of fun riding the slides over and over. That meant lots of trips up these stairs -quite a feat for tired legs. Again, I was surprised how good I felt. I was exhausted yet energized. 

I asked the lifeguard at the top of the slides if she would get a picture of me on the slide. So here I am in all my swimsuit-in-public glory. See the circles in the pool below. They are like lily pads that you have to walk across using the rope to assist you. That rope proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have ZERO upper body strength.  I fell off the very first lily pad.  My husband was the only one in our group to make it all they way across. He just won't give up!

This was about as far as my husband made it up the climbing wall. I knew this was not a challenge for me so I just enjoyed the warm pool's effect on my tired muscles. 

Probably the biggest potential hurdle of the evening ended up being a bit anti-climatic for me. I have NEVER been okay with being in a swimsuit in public. Obviously to enjoy the water park that had to happen.  I knew there would be time when we were eating or relaxing that I would want a little something more on than my suit. I was happy to find this cover-up. I actually felt cute in it - husband's compliments really helped :)  The rest of the time I just found the place in me that said "I am doing my best to be healthy and I am going to have fun." And in time I will look even better in a swimsuit.

It was a super fun evening. The race was tough but we all felt very accomplished. I think that feeling carried over into the after party. We all were ready to celebrate and just have fun.  We have already started making plans for some more races. We might even make some "team" t-shirts. 

They had to close the park to get us out of there. I think we were one of the first to arrive for the race and one of the last to leave the after party.