Friday, October 31, 2014

Challenge Wrap Up...Bring on the Next One

Last day of October means time to wrap up the Stay Away from Trick and Treats Challenge. 

1.  No candy! I DID IT!!!! Not one single bite of candy.  We always have candy at work for workshops.  My husband brought home a couple bags (small) of M&Ms.  At the beginning of the challenge I expressed concern about banning something completely.  I feel like I am still processing, but I have two thoughts on this.  I noticed how frequently I ate candy (or at least considered eating candy).  There was no mindless swiping of a few M&Ms from my husband.  And don't even get me started on not sampling the chocolate chip while baking for the bridal shower - my challenge group assured me they count as candy :(  There is a freedom in are not constantly debating whether or not you really want some, deserve some, just know the answer is "no!"  On the other hand, I found there were numerous times I think having a small piece of candy would have prevented me from making a potentially bigger mistake. If my sweet tooth was raging I found myself grazing various foods (fruit, carbs, etc.) and not being able to soothe it.  A couple times in desperation, I would give in to cookies or cake or something that was considerably more calories than the original candy I wanted.  It is a fine line between healthy limits and limits that set you up for failure.  Overall, I am very proud that I resisted candy for an entire month.  And I am looking forward to a piece very soon.  Remember these?  One will soon be mine!
I am making my way back to you.

2.  Weekly weigh-in only - I pretty much gave up on this during week 2.  I am an obsessive weigher.  The trick is to make it work for you not against you. I get bummed out if the scale isn't moving the way I think it should.  I don't like the control a scale has, but I am not ready to break up with it completely. 
3.  Walk 60 miles - Just by the skin of my teeth...60.3 miles.  With being sick and the bridal shower it was a challenge to get my road time.  This past week I had to really push to finish.  And it reminded me that if you really want to make something happen you will find the time.
4.  Track on MyFitnessPal every day - I started out every day planning to track all day, but seemed to fail time after time.  I just didn't want to be "good" all the time. With my husband in maintenance there have been more temptations for me.  He can "afford" pizza more often than I can.  We are finding our way to what works for both of us now that we are at different stages in the journey.
5.  Millie training sessions - 3 times per week (20 minutes each) Well, we still have a rotten teenager on our hands.  We have been better about taking her for walks and runs, but not structured training.  We have been working with her more on her chewing issue...seriously, I don't think we can support her pillow/blanket eating habit.
6.  Menu planning - I was a little better about this, but never quite had 5 potential meals on hand.  Believe me it is MUCH harder to dissuade your husband from bringing home pizza if you don't have dinner on the stove.
7. 15 Minute Daily House Dash -  This one didn't work out quite like I wanted. I kept up on the house okay, but I was hoping to get ahead a little and include my husband more in the process. 
8.  Meet up with my blogging "neighbor" One Crazy Penguin - TOMORROW!!!  Excited she is coming to watch my husband and I race in a 10K.  We narrowly missed October, but it is close enough for me :)

Even though my results are a mixed bag, I feel like a winner!
  • I lost 4.6 pounds in October (in September I lost 1.2 pounds - so that is a definite improvement).
  • I didn't give up on the whole "journey" - September was a rough month and I was concerned that my determination was waning.
  • I found an incredible accountability group - the perfect mix of humor, encouragement, tough love and maybe a few "scare tactics." 
If this post doesn't get your challenge inspiration on...check out these wrap up posts from other group members.

Saturday, five months after my first 10K, I am walking my second 10K.  I am both nervous and excited.  I feel like I will earn a new PR, but maybe not by as much as I would like. I had hoped to be running by now.  I had a weight in mind I wanted to be under before I tried running.  I am there, but just can't seem to push past a mental block. Within in a few weeks of trying to start running back in 2008 I had the first onset of my MS symptoms.  My head knows that the two are not related, but emotionally I am a bit stuck.

Details tomorrow on the November challenge - there will be some new things in my fitness plan.  So excited to keep it going. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Changing Seasons

Dear Neighborhood:

This was the last morning I will be out to enjoy your Halloween decorations.  You made my early morning walks a little more entertaining (and creepy ins some cases). The next time I walk (Sunday or Monday) please be sure you have complied with my unofficial mandate to put them away pronto.   

Since I love, love, love Christmas lights, I am requesting that you put then up immediately.  Please don't feel like you have to wait until Thanksgiving!  And if you want to leave them up all winter, I am totally okay with that.

Your Walker Stalker

When I left the house for my walk this morning it was 34 degrees!  Brr!  It am actually glad it was that cold because it is forecasted to be cold on Saturday - 10K race day.  I got a chance to test my race outfit...I think it is going to work. We are planning to do some winter races this year so I need to keep building my cold tolerance :)  

Time to say good bye to the garden.  They are calling for a hard freeze this weekend.  This was the first year that I planted a fall crop. I planted radishes, lettuce and cilantro in late August.  It got pretty chilly in September so their growth was a little slower than I hoped, but it is fun to have some fresh goodies in October. I plan to pick everything today.  Green tomatoes, anyone? 

As it gets colder I am thinking more about my winter workout plans.  I really do like the walking and as long as I can I want to keep doing that. I would like to find some other options as well.  How do you handle winter workouts?

It should be an eventful weekend. Saturday we have our 10K race in the morning.  Then in the evening we are going to watch my nephew's playoff football game. Sunday I imagine will mostly be spent trying to thaw out from all the outside activity on Saturday.

Don't forget this weekend is the end of Daylight Savings.  It will make the mornings easier, but I will miss the light after work too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dress Shopping and Weigh In Wednesday

Just a few days left on the Stay Away from Tricks and Treats challenge.  Instead of doing my weekly challenge update today I am going to save it for Friday and do a complete wrap up. Then it is on to the next phase. We are putting together a new challenge...planks and push ups will be new in my world.

Weekly weigh-in was good.  I lost 1.2 pounds.  It feels like slow going, but at least I am going the right direction.  My grand total lost so far is 34.6 pounds.  That makes 40.4 pounds of my puppy yet to lose.

Yesterday, on my lunch break, I bought a dress for my niece's wedding. The dress is a size 16.  I really liked the dress, but wasn't sure "suck-it-in" undergarments would be enough to make me completely confident. They didn't have the next size - so they checked availability in other stores.  Apparently, they don't make it in size 18, but they did have it in their women's department.  We found one in a size 16W.  Maybe just a little more wiggle room.  So after work tonight I ran to that other store (about 1/2 hour away from home.)  The dress does have more wiggle room, but it doesn't seem to fit as well - bigger through shoulders, longer, just doesn't seem right.  I went ahead and bought it so I could compare the fit of both with the "suck-it-in" undergarments. When I tried both on at home with the proper undergarments I liked the 16 better than the 16W :)

When the clerk rang up the 16W I got an unpleasant surprise...$5 extra for that "W".  Seriously, I had to pay extra because it was "women's". UGH! Way to rub salt in the wound after having to drive to another town to get a bigger size.  There is  part of me that understands that bigger sizes use more fabric. Obviously, a 4 and 24W have vastly different amounts of fabric and therefore I could see a price differential.  But the difference between 16 and 16W???  I suppose they have to make the cutoff somewhere.  

The great dress search may be continued.  I also bought this dress from a different store.  It is a  sweater dress and has a little cling in the midsection. Again, the undergarments made a great difference.  Sorry you had to see the before pics :)   I might be leaning toward this dress because I think it is more versatile. I don't wear dresses that much so I want the ones I have to work for multiple occasions.  I could dress this one up or down - scarf, jewellery, boots, heels, etc. There are a couple other stores I still plan to check out.  I feel like I have worked pretty hard the last six months and I want to feel good in whatever dress I get. 

While out on my dress mission I decided I needed to make an opportunity for myself.  I am closing in on my goal of walking 60 miles for the challenge, but I am a little behind so I am looking for opportunities to squeeze in a little more here and there.  I figured that after I picked up the dress I could walk at a park just a few blocks from the store.

This park has many memories for me.  Ten to fifteen years ago I spent a lot of time in that town with a group of friends.  As I walked around the park I reminisced about miles of walking and talking I did with one particular friend.  We spent hours walking, deep in conversation about everything from boys, crises of faith, and lots of silliness.  As I passed another area of the park, I thought about my one shot at taking wedding pictures for another friend.  The pictures were not their official wedding pictures, but they wanted some pictures in the park after their ceremony and they asked me to take them.  It was so much fun and I think I got some good pictures.  Every now and then around their anniversary I see the pictures in their updated Facebook profiles.  Such good memories.

I have always liked this Cape Cod style house that faces the park.

I ended up walking 1.39 miles - one loop around the park.  I felt very good about making an opportunity to squeeze in this walk.  I knew that if I drove home first there was a very good chance I wouldn't get back out for a walk once I got home - laziness, distraction, etc. Instead, I got some exercise and enjoyed a trip down memory lane. And I even resisted the urge to take that little side street that I remember leads to an ice-cream shop.  I have to remember I am not a squirrel that needs to fatten up for winter - they were very busy in the park!

Happy Wednesday.  Linking up today with...

The Hump Day Blog HopWeigh In Wednesday

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quality Time

Saturday my niece and I cooked a feast for my in-laws.  My niece loves to cook and I love sharing that with her.  It was breakfast for dinner kind of night.  We might have (definitely) went a little overboard - citrus scones, waffles w/ homemade banana syrup, sweet potato hash browns with green onion vinaigrette, garlic/cilantro home fries, scrambled eggs and sausage links.  Definitely not your everyday dinner.  It took us about 2 1/2 hours to make the meal and less than 30 minutes to devour it. 

Sunday was a perfect morning walk.  I reminded me of when I first started walking in the morning back in May. When I started it was still a little dark (not great for picture taking), but the sun came up and it was completely light by the time I was finished.
The other day I posted a picture of this house in the pitch dark.  Here you can see they have quite a bit more decoration than I originally thought.  Yep, there is a creepy graveyard.  I think I liked it better when I couldn't see that :)

My husband brought Millie along for her run.  She was a happy pup.  I love this bright jacket on my husband so I can see him heading toward me sooner. And hopefully any cars will see him too :)

Sunday afternoon we spent a little time out at my in-laws farm working on some centerpieces for my oldest niece's upcoming wedding - in 2 weeks!!  I still can't believe she is getting married.  I couldn't resist stepping away from our project to snap a couple of pictures. 
This pumpkin is one my mother-in-law grew. Just a couple more days to finish getting orange.  I wonder if it will make it.  She gave me one that is much greener so our jack-o-lantern might be a little non-traditional :)

My father-in-law has an unbelievable wood shop.  It is bigger than my house!  This is only one of the three rooms.
This would be me pretending I know that I am doing with a drill press.  I am not going to lie - it was tougher than it looked.  You have to put some pressure on the lever to keep the drill going.  Given my complete lack of arm strength I tired pretty quickly. It was slow going and that tested my patience.  It is possible woodworking is not for me...or maybe I just need more practice. Either way it was a good time with my sister :)
After we finished our woodworking we took a quick walk out to the timber. This is the view from the "treehouse" at the top of the hill. My younger niece is down there somewhere...can you spot her?

Can't believe October is almost over. I love fall and I want it to last so much longer. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ants on a Log

I have bought more celery in the past couple weeks than I have bought in the previous three years of our marriage.  My husband has rediscovered his love of Ants on a Log.

I can't imagine I have gotten this far in life without having them, but can't honestly remember eating them. (I am not much of a celery fan. I believe it is the combination of cooked celery and tomatoes that ruin most vegetable soups for me. )

I was home early from work Friday and waiting for a call from the mechanic about my car. So the perfect storm - change of routine and waiting for potentially expensive news.  I needed a snack...salty, sweet, both?  I decided to give Ants on a Log a try today.

Did I overdo the raisins a bit?  Well, it was a lot of ants.  But in my defense raisins are yummy :)

Did I feel a little virtuous because I was eating celery?  Well, yes I did.  However, I do realize that if you put peanut butter and raisins on it, it does change celery's near calorie free goodness.  The portion I had was 192 calories (12 for the celery, 90 for the raisins and 90 for the peanut butter).   My husband uses the PB2 instead of peanut butter which saves him calories, but he loads them up with even more raisins than I did. 

The verdict?  Worth a try, but I don't believe this is the snack for me.  They tasted okay - I liked the sweet and salty.  The crunch factor was very good.  Overall, it is not the lowest calorie snack and frankly, I still want more - hold the celery.

I believe sometimes you need to just have something you are craving.  Would I have done just as well to have a couple little mini Snickers (sweet and salty) for half the calories?  Or for the same calories I would have preferred slicing an apple and dipping it in peanut butter.

Part of this whole journey is finding what works for you.  There are so many ideas out there.  Experiment.  I suspect our success will come after plenty of trial and error.

This morning I found myself home alone again.  I was not motivated to clean house (even though my in-laws are coming over tonight) so I decided to go for a walk instead.  I ended up walking 5 miles.  Since next weekend we are doing a 10K, I wanted to do closer to that distance than my normal 3 mile walks.  Overall, it went pretty well. I would have liked to have walked faster than I did, but I have a tough time pushing myself hard when I am on my own...need to work on that.

I started by doing my triple loop route that would be about 4 miles.  I ended up taking a side trip off of one of the loops.  That lead me to the interestate overpass about 2 miles from my house.  It is a weird feeling to be standing over interstate traffic.  

This area makes me a little said.  It used to be a nice little neighborhood, until it was bought out and demolished for the interstate right of way.

I see a lonely little fire hydrant out there in the grass.

Headed back over the overpass and on home.

I am trying not to covet my neighbor's tree.  I am reminding myself that I can enjoy its beauty and not have to rake all those beautiful leaves when they fall.  While I was walking a couple of older ladies were standing by a pile of leaves.  One was leaning on a rake.  She asked if I wanted a rake, but then said I looked too tired already :(  Another lady who was raking her leaves called out to me "girl, you are killing it" the second time I passed.  That made me feel good :) 
I hope you are all out doing something fun today and enjoying those bodies you are working so hard to improve :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

On a Roll!

Two days in row!  I "hopped" out of bed for an early morning walk again this morning.  I don't have to leave for work until 8 a.m., but in order to walk at the same time as my husband runs I have to get up with him.  For the record getting up at 4:30 a.m. is ridiculous!!  I am currently lobbying for 4:45 a.m.  So much better :)  This morning these little guys greeted me...not sure but they might be laughing at me being up so early.

Saw this sign in someone's yard.  I can't remember the last time I bought Avon, but I am certain it was too early to knock on the door or call.  My sister gets sometimes orders cute little chapsticks and lotions from Avon.  They make good stocking stuffers.  Her youngest is 12 years old so that kind of thing is always a hit. I remember at that age I loved the peppermint stick chapstick...I think it made me lick my lips even more :)  Am I showing my age too much if I say my pre-teen perfume of choice was Avon's Sweet Honesty?  

As much as I am getting into the morning walking again I do miss seeing the world in the light of day.  Yesterday when I got home I decided to take a pre-dinner walk.  Two walks in one day! This picture was taken almost a mile into the walk. 

I am no one to judge someone for not raking leaves (I don't do it), but someone is going to have quite a weekend project. We usually run the mower over our leaves because we never have this many.  It made me want to scoop them all up into a pile and pretend to be a kid again!  That might have been awkward when the people got home from work :(

Fall flowers now surround Birdhouse City. I love the dark pink/purple. I think those and rust colored mums are my favorite. Take a look back at Birdhouse City's August flowers.

I thought this decoration was super clever. I resisted the urge to go home and immediately paint my doors orange!  I love that they offset the face instead of trying to make the whole face fit on the door.  Is it wrong to "pin" my own blog so I don't forget how cute this is??

I had a near crisis yesterday.  I had stopped at Aldi for groceries.  As I was loading the groceries I heard a noise.  I looked down and my engagement ring had slipped off my finger.  Panic!  Thankfully, I found it just underneath the back of my car.  I am SO glad I heard it hit the pavement or it may have been gone forever.  It is safe at home until I can figure out how to wear it safely.  I waited a long, long time for an engagement ring and I want to wear it forever.

I am currently obsessed with these red grapes. Aldi has been selling 2 pound bags for less than $2.  I love Aldi for its produce - good prices and good quality.  I photographed them by this glass just for a gratuitous shot of Grimace - enjoy :) 

It took everything I had not to stop at McDonald's on my way home last night.  My husband was working late and I just wanted something "bad'.  Thankfully, I have a good accountability group with my Stay Away from Tricks and Treats Challenge group. I actually enjoyed my McDonald's alternative - pre-dinner walk and Eating Well's Easy Chicken Cassoulet.  It is really good comfort food (400ish calories) and the recipe only serves two so I can't have seconds.

Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back in Action

Finally, my feet felt the road this morning.  After being sick for about a week, I had had enough and dragged myself out for an early morning walk.  Even though I only did 2 miles, I was super happy to be out there.  I didn't even mind that it was dark...maybe I can get used to it and get back in a morning walk routine.  I have definitely learned that if I don't get my walk in first thing, it is a struggle to work it in. Sometimes the struggle is due to a legitimate lack of time, but most often it is just laziness. I usually end up feeling stressed and guilty all day about when or how I will work it in.  Knowing that it is already done for the day makes me happy :) 

No, these are NOT Christmas lights.  If you look closely to the right of the house you can see a couple of pumpkins. I love Christmas lights, but not sure I am on board with Halloween lights.

Another area I need to work on is not letting being sick derail me.  Keep tracking the food and not turn to the comfort treats. I am amazed at some of the things people do when they are sick.  Check out One Crazy Penguin's half marathon while sick.  If I had felt like she did I would have been tucked in bed waiting for "get well" flowers.

Somebody is a Daddy's girl. I spent quite a bit of time on the couch this week.  Sometimes Millie would lie on the floor near me to keep my company, but when my husband would come in to sit with me she couldn't take her eyes off him..I know how she feels :)

We are currently undergoing some room rearrangement at our house. This room was originally my "office" (pre-husband.)  Then when we got married we needed to have space for two computers, so this became my craft room and we put both computers in a bigger room.  Then, we tried to combine the computers and crafting in the bigger room and made this room more of a guest room.  Because the room is so small a twin bed took up most of the space and the rest of the room became a catch-all. When we got Millie we had to take down one of our computers in the big room to accommodate her crate.  I liked having only one computer for the extra space, but eventually we began to stress over sharing the computer.  I started blogging and needed more computer time.  So the rearranging continues. 

My father-in-law is building us a custom desk to accommodate both our computers.  At the moment, only my husband's computer is set up on this skinny old table.  I will definitely post pictures when we complete the transition.  I am excited to see how it turns out - this has always been my favorite room.  My husband is already calling it the Command Center...honey, don't forget you have a co-pilot :)  

Now that I am up and moving again, I am hoping to finish October strong. We have a 10K race scheduled for November 1 and I would like to feel much more prepared than I do at the moment. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Cat's Guide to Flattering Photographs

Duke is a stray cat that has found his way to the good life on my in-laws' farm.  He loves to be with people..don't try to go without him.  Today he would like to share his advice for being photographed...I think we can all relate.

ALWAYS stand by someone/something bigger than yourself.
ALWAYS be sure you are positioned at the perfect angle no matter how awkward it feels
ALWAYS accentuate your best feature - a pretty face and gorgeous eyes.
NEVER let them photograph you sitting down :(

Thank you, Duke for some excellent advice...cats are so smart.

'Tis the season.  It is so pretty, but I always manage to get sick. My husband is a school bus driver and I think he brought home some cooties from his "big yellow germ factory."  I am hoping that I am finally on the mend, but it has made for a tough week. 

Stay Away from Tricks and Treats October Challenge Report - Week Three

1.  No candy!  I really didn't expect this to be quite as difficult as it is. It is not that I crave candy constantly. It is more that I eat it without thinking. There have been several times that I have reached for a piece and stopped at the last moment remembering the challenge. Do I miss the candy later?  Not really. 
2.  Weekly weigh-in only - Maybe I am not cut out to be a weekly weigher.  I have definitely weighed less frequently, but I just can't stand not knowing. I don't think I trust myself and I need the constant reminder of where I am.
3.  Walk 60 miles - Having lost almost a week being sick this one is going to be tough to finish. But I definitely have not given up. Current total - 32.88 miles. 
4.  Track on MyFitnessPal every day - Not good. I haven't been eating crazy, just not tracking. I am sure it is because if I know I am over I don't want to track that I am over.  I am going to give this a better try this week.
5.  Millie training sessions - One of three.
6.  Menu planning - I forgot to write the meals on the fridge, but I always had something on hand to make a good meal.
7. 15 Minute Daily House Dash - Again I have definitely done the work, but haven't used the timer.
8.  Meet up with my blogging "neighbor" One Crazy Penguin - Planning a Nov. 1 meet up at our 10K race.

This week's loss - .4 pounds.  Considering how crummy I have felt this week I am grateful to have lost anything.  My total loss is  now 33.4 pounds.

Earlier in the week we got to spend a little time at my in-laws farm.  It is so pretty this time of year. 



Fall is such a beautiful time of year in my corner of the world. Please take the time to enjoy a little of the beauty around you.  We have all worked so hard on our weight loss and get fit journeys so that we can better enjoy our lives.

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