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Archive for July, 2007

“Be an After, Stay an After.” Weight Watchers uses this as one of their main advertising slogans, and I love it! It’s all about making the commitment to losing weight and keeping it off — something that up to this point, has been elusive to me.

Last night when I got home from work, I saw that a package had come in the mail. It was the “Before” t-shirt from Southern Fried Fatty’s Challenge. Check it out. Sign up!! Basically, the way the challenge works is that you send in $18, along with the size t-shirt you want. Then, when you get it, you take a picture of yourself wearing it. You email the picture and your weight loss goal to Southern Fried Fatty and she keeps it on file. Then, when you reach your goal, you take another picture of yourself wearing the “Before” shirt tell her your new shirt size. Then, she sends you an “After” t-shirt. How cool is that? I love it!

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To see the pictures in all their full-sized glory, just click on them. Thank God these are the “before”pics. Talk about motivation. I will take some progress shots as I lose weight — stay tuned.

This idea of Before and After leads me to a really exciting discovery that I made last night. After BFF and I finished walking around the track last night, she asked me, “so, have you figured out how many pounds you need to lose each month to reach your goal of losing 100 pounds by CTLB’s wedding next August?” I told her I hadn’t. To be honest with you, part of me didn’t want to figure it out and find out that it would be an impossible goal.

But I bit the bullet and did the math. 100 (pounds) divided by 12 (months) = 8.33 lbs.

8.33!!! 8.33 lbs each month and I’ll have lost 100 lbs by next August. That’s do-able! That’s realistic!! I could easily do that!!! I actually got tears in my eyes when I realized that this goal that I’ve had for so long was something I could achieve. Not only that, I WILL achieve it! No doubt. I can’t even picture what life will be like after losing 100lbs, but I know I’m going to like finding out.

I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take commitment. Hard work. Staying On Program with Weight Watchers. Tracking my points. Exercising — cardio, elliptical machine, walking/jogging on the track, getting in my 10,000 steps, weight training, using my balance ball to do “core” workouts, and maybe even some yoga, just for good measure. A kick in the ass every now and then from my friends and family, who are so supportive of me. It’s going to require willpower, but I am a strong-willed person, and when I set my mind to something, I achieve it. Especially when it’s something that will change my life forever.

I know that in the past I’ve gotten so excited about working out and losing weight and stuck to it for 2 weeks or a month or 4 months and then something happens and I stop. I fail. Then I start again with renewed hope. This time is different, though. I can feel it in my heart that I have truly committed to changing my lifestyle this time.

This time I’m going to be an AFTER and STAY AN AFTER!

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…with how much I’ve been enjoying exercising.

Last night BFF and I went to the track at the high school in our neighborhood and walked again.  Even though I was feeling sort of crummy before I left the house and didn’t really want to go, knowing that she was waiting for me made me know I couldn’t flake out.

Once I got on the track and started walking, I felt so good.  There’s something about walking outside in the cool air of dusk that makes you feel so alive.  Even though I had my iPod on, I felt like my mind was quiet.  My thoughts were calmer than they are during the hustle-bustle of the day.  It was a time for me to concentrate on the good thing I was doing for my body and my health and let everything else go.  Sure, towards the end my calves started to cramp up, but knowing I was almost finished, I pushed through.  What a sense of accomplishment when I was done.  I think I’m ready to increase my times around the track to 6 — 1 1/2 miles.  We’ll see.  It will be a fun new challenge.

This morning I picked BFF up for a weight training class we were going to try at the gym.  The class was probably a bit too much for me, and there were a few times when I had to stop before everyone else had completed their reps.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, I did it.  I was sweating and out of breath, but I was pushing myself in a way I haven’t in so long.  And it felt good.

After the class we did 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine.  Well, 33 minutes to be exact, counting the cool down.  I burned 352 calories and walked over 3400 steps.  I went 2.09 miles.  Awesome!

By 11am I had done strength training and cardio, and was feeling so good about myself.  I want to keep this up, because I know that I’m on the right track.  The weight is going to come off, slowly at times, but I’m confident it will  come off.

This week I lost 1.2 lbs, bringing my two week total to 5.6.  My mini-goal is to lose the 20lbs the doctor said it would take to bring my blood pressure back to normal levels.  Just 14.4 lbs to go to reach that goal!  I’m hoping I can do it before August 27 when school starts.  We’ll see.

Today my 10,000 Steps pedometer came, and I can’t wait to program it and put it on to see how many steps I take today.

I’m so happy right now because it feels like everything is falling into place.  I still struggle at times, but I feel more confident and in control of losing this weight than I have in so long.   I’m really proud of myself.  These new surprises that keep popping up are a great thing!  I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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The Bridge

I just finished watching one of the most disturbing movies I have seen in a long time.

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It’s called The Bridge, and it’s about people who commit suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge. The film was inspired by a story that appeared in the New Yorker called, “Jumpers,” by Tad Friend. The film’s executive producer/director had read the article and was so moved by what he read, he moved to SF and got a film crew together to take footage of the Golden Gate Bridge for one year and chronicle the events.

I think the thing that makes it more personal for me is that I dated one of the guys who was on the camera crew. He and met when I lived in SF, and we dated for about 6 or 7 months. We’ve remained friends even after we realized that we were looking for different things out of a romantic relationship, and even tried rekindling the romance a couple of times. At the time he was working on the film, we were about to go on a short road trip from Santa Cruz to Redding, following Hwy 1 as far as it would take us, and beyond. I remember being on the phone with him while he was filming and him needing to get off the phone quickly, because something was going on. It was always surreal to think that as I was talking with him, someone had jumped to their death.

The film was disturbing not just because of its subject matter, but because of the way the family members of the deceased speak about them. Almost every person interviewed after the death of their close loved one (sister, daughter, brother, etc.) seemed so calm and so unfeeling. I know that if it had been a friend or family member of mine that we were discussing, I couldn’t have remained so distant and matter of fact.

I’m not sure what the point of making the film was. It didn’t try to answer any questions like, “what is the appeal of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge?” “Why do people travel across the country, or even across the world to commit suicide off the bridge?” One common theme was that the people suffered from mental illness, but that’s probably a given, isn’t it? It was weird that several of the people they profiled had bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

The film said that over the course of the year (in 2004) 24 people jumped to their deaths from the bridge. More people have committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else on Earth.

It’s late, after midnight, but I don’t want to go to sleep, because the images of seeing bodies flying to their deaths will haunt my nightmares, I’m sure. All I can say is that I hope each of the people who died are now at peace.

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Yesterday BFF told me about a cool program she found through the Kaiser Permanente site. Say what you will about Kaiser, but I’ve always had a great experience with it. I like the ease of the HMO and I have had really nice doctors, for the most part. If there is a doctor that I don’t like that much, I just ask to change to a different one. I’ve never had any problems.

So one of the programs that Kaiser is partnered with is called 10,ooo Steps. For $23 Kaiser members get a pedometer and an 8 month membership to the program. They give you daily tips on how to get your 10,000 steps in. It sounds really difficult, but actually, I think it’s probably easier than one would think.

BFF put on her pedometer yesterday, and by the time we had finished walking around the track, she had logged 13,000+ steps for the day. Granted, she was pretty active yesterday — walking around at work, taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood, mowing the lawn, and then beginning the Couch to 5K program. But still, she said that she feels like she could easily get in 10,000 steps in a day.

So last night when I got home, I signed up for the program. My pedometer should be here in 10-14 days. I’m really excited to wear it and see how many steps I can log. It’s almost like a little game that I can play with myself — seeing if I can beat yesterday’s record.

This is all part of the “master plan” of leading a healthy, fit lifestyle. Baby steps. 10,000+ of them, hopefully.

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…than a plump, ripe, just-picked-off-the-vine tomato?

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I took this picture with my cell phone, so the quality isn’t the best, but you get the idea.

My dad just brought these tomatoes over this morning, straight from his garden. I can’t wait to make a salad tonight and taste them.

Tomatoes remind me of my childhood. I remember being 3 or 4 and picking ripe, red tomatoes from the vine in our backyard garden and biting into them like they were apples. So good!

My Nana used to make her sugo (sauce) from fresh tomatoes; there was nothing else like it. My mom often slices them and adds a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil — that’s the salad — just the juicy tomatoes. Yum! I’m famous in some circles for making my Caprese salad. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. A bit of salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, if you like. I’ve made many variations on the Caprese salad. One that’s great for picnics is to put cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls on skewers, kabob style. You weave the basil in between each tomato and mozzarella ball, and it’s just delicious.

Eating garden-fresh tomatoes that have had the chance to ripen on the vine is like tasting summertime.

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Last night I was pretty proud of myself. As I mentioned before, I had tried walking at a local track a few months ago, but couldn’t even make it a quarter mile because the pain in my shins and calves was excruciating. I chalked it up to being way out of shape, but a few of my friends thought it might be time for new running shoes. That’s when I bought the Asics I mentioned in a previous blog entry.

So last night BFF and I decided to give it a try again on a track at a neighborhood high school. She’s doing the Couch to 5K program that I had told her about and wanted to walk/jog on a nice, cushy track. I hadn’t used my new shoes for walking yet. (Other than to and from the gym for the elliptical machine, which doesn’t really count).

Armed with my workout playlist on my iPod, I headed onto the track after stretching a bit first, and began walking. I walked the first half mile without any problems, and was really happy. I even tried jogging for a bit, but soon realized that I’m not ready for that yet. Soon, hopefully, because I’m really interested in beginning the Couch to 5K program. In fact, I’m hoping to be in good enough shape by next summer to do the Wharf to Wharf run in Santa Cruz. It’s a 10K, so it would be a major accomplishment.

Anyway, I completed my mile on the track and really didn’t feel too badly when I was finished. My calves ached a bit, but in a “I’ve just moved my body and pushed it more than normal” kind of way. It felt so good. I know 1 mile isn’t that far, but still, it’s a start, and I’m so proud of myself for doing it.

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Yesterday BFF and I went to our first Dream Dinners session, and I had a great time! 

Dream Dinners is a service where you choose entrees from a menu and then go to a store location and put them all together.  They do all of the hard work for you — planning the menu, getting the recipe, buying the food, chopping the veggies, collecting the spices, etc.  When you get there, you just put the meal together and take it home and freeze it or cook it.  Easy!!

I was so excited to try the Dream Dinners, because although I love to cook, I find that I have almost no time during the school year to prepare healthy, satisfying meals for myself.  I’m running from here to there and back again, and by the time I get home, I just want to eat something (anything!) now.  I never have the time to go through my recipe books, make a grocery list, shop for the food, and prepare it.  I wish I did, because I love doing this when I have the time.  

Plus, in trying to create a new, healthy lifestyle for myself, I want to make things as simple as possible when it comes to meal planning.  I’m great with breakfast and lunch, but dinner always throws me off and I end up eating too much (portions) or things that aren’t the best for me (unhealthy, quick food).  

So, when I saw that there was  service that helped you eat good, healthy, fresh food, I thought, “why not give it a shot?”  I went on the Dream Dinners site and selected all the meals I was interested in.  I looked at the nutritional info for every meal to be sure that they were Weight Watchers friendly. 

The meals work out to be about $4 each.  This is mostly for the entree only, although some of the meals come with the side dishes (rice, tortillas, etc.)  I think this is a great deal, because for me, the thing that stops me from cooking at home is not having all of the ingredients to cook the entree.  Not having cumin or onions, or whatever.  Dream Dinners has all of that included, and it’s pretty easy to make a quick salad or rice, if that’s what you want to go along with it.  The convenience alone makes it worth the money.  Plus, all of their ingredients are fresh from local sources. 

Anyway, yesterday was my first Dream Dinners session, and I loved it.  The store was incredibly organized and clean.  The owner was so accommodating and friendly that I felt right at home.  They have different stations set up with each type of meal and all the ingredients that go into making it all set up.  Even the ziploc bags you’ll need to put all of the spices/sauces/condiments.  You move from location to location making your different meals.  They give you a shelf in the cooler to put each meal as you finish it.  Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention the stickers — they have pre-printed stickers that list the meal name, date you made it, and the directions for cooking it.  I love it when things are so easy and well organized!  I felt like I was on a Food Network set, just like BeachGirl told me I would.  

The whole thing only took about an hour and a half, yet in that time I had put together 24 meals!  Look at what I got:

Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken
Chicken Yakitori over Rice
Honey & Herb Grilled Chicken
Tex Mex BBQ Pork Wraps
Southwest Grilled Chicken
Mexican Salsa Burgers
Dill Marinated Shrimp
Steak Salsa Verde

Don’t these sound great?  I can’t wait to try them.  It’s kind of fun to think that each evening I can go into my freezer and take out a meal that sounds like it’s from a restaurant.  I know I’ll be able to keep on track because this is practically fool-proof.

I cooked the dill shrimp skewers last night, and it was delicious.  Just the right amount.  The meals come with enough food for 3 portions, so I used the Food Saver I bought and vacuum-packed the leftovers.  It was like making my own frozen dinners, without the sodium or preservatives– pretty cool. 

Now I have a freezer stocked with food that is not only good for me, it’s easy to prepare, and tastes delicious.  This is a busy person’s dream!!  Corny, I know, but I guess that’s why they call it Dream Dinners, right? 

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