Thursday, May 26, 2011
This week’s main challenge was to help each person in planning their summer vacations, since we all know it's hard to stay on track during a vacation!
Our challenge this week was to pick a city that you are going to this summer, or somewhere you want to travel to, and blog about 2 healthy restaurants or types of food and one healthy activity available in that city.
We travel to our cottage in Michigan near South Haven every summer and there is an amazing restaurant called Clementine's. They actually have huge towers of french fried onion rings with sides of ranch that COME with them - you don't have to ask, sort of in a whisper, if you can have ranch with that - it already comes with it. They also have to die for Bloody Marys. Cheeseburgers. Melts. You name it, they have it.
But, last time I was there I found something healthy on the menu. A warm spinach salad with fresh chicken (not fried) and just a decent amount of blue cheese crumbles. A hard boiled egg and some raspberry vinagrette dressing. Now this is my go to choice when we visit this restaurant.
Another restaurant in the area is the Phoenix Stret Cafe. At this place it's pretty darn difficult to pick something that ISN'T healthy. They have about ten salads to choose from, a "mini breakfast" with smaller portions, and even a tofu scramble. Yep, this is the place to go to. And the food is good!
A healthy activity in this city is to run/walk the Kal-Haven trail. It's beautiful in the summertime, I recently went for a walk there in the winter/fall. I can't wait to run, bike, and walk on the trail this summer.
Other things that have helped me survive trips to Michigan are:
- Bring my workout bag with my running shoes, Garmin and any gear I need.
- Bringa Leslie Sansone DVD to do in the morning or at night, and get my dad and sister to do it, too.
- Bring resistance bands.
- Pack healthy cereal to eat at breakfast, bringing healthy snacks like grapes, carrots, unsalted sunflower seeds and granola.
- Bring my own cute water bottle to ensure I'll refill it with drinking water. This keeps me away from the wine and soft drinks. And feeling full.
- I only allow myself ONE, sometimes two...glasses of wine per day.
- I do not eat any crackers, chips, or cheese. One just leads to another.
- I bring my vitamins.
- NO fast food. Period. If I am forced to go through a drive-through I will order a salad with healthy dressing or a grilled chicken sandwich. But I am making my dinner tonight so that I can eat while driving and not stop through a drive-through.
- Accountability. I sometimes do food blogs of the food I eat while there, and the day after I return I also post a blog report on how I did, AND weigh myself Monday morning as an added kick-in the butt.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today I had a difficult run. Summer-like weather has finally hit Chicago and I wanted to go running first thing in the morning. But I had a late night last night watching scary movies and didn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. SO my run had to wait until after planting flowers and then lunch, when the girls took their nap (or attempted to take their nap, I should say).
It was hot. I planned ahead, and wore shorts, only one sports bra and a tank top. I pulled my hair back and I was off. From the start I had an inkling that it was gonig to be a hard run. Once I warmed up it didn't get easler, the whole time it felt like I was running through mud. (I love this expression, but yet I have never really for real ran through the mud, but I imagine this is what it would feel like: running in place almost, the wind against you, the sun beating down and you're not going anywhere. oh, and it hurts, LOL).
The route I take is hilly and at one point as I was barely making it up a hill, an older dude - at least 20 yrs. older than me and who looked out of shape - passed me.
Then as I turned the corner some random woman yelled something out of her car at me, I could only make out the word "run".
That was it.
That was the point where I wanted to throw in the towel.
I just was so tired, I had run 2.5 miles, I intended on 3, but 2.5 is good, right? But that wasn't my plan. I started to walk and a song came on my iPod, "Move Along" by The All American Rejects, the same song that have inspired so many here on Spark, and also pushed me through the hill at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k last month.
I could DO this.
So I began again. I ran, at my pace, and finished the run I had planned on doing.
And you know what? It felt great, not giving up on myself mid-run, and knowing that I could do it. I felt gratitude at the end, for the body God has given me, and for the strength He has also given me. And I want to honor that, and today...well today I know that I did.
And maybe, just maybe that woman was screaming out her car window for me to continue to run, or "You can do it",something encouraging like that.
And if I can do it, believe me, YOU can do it too.
I did a Google search for images that I could post onto this blog and came upon something that could be called fate, serendipity, coincidence, or God. I have a very good friend, Blaize, (DANCINGEARTHMOM) who has been more than a friend, a support, a partner, but more like a sister, a fellow mother, and a good friend, the kind you would love to just talk to over a glass of wine on the porch some night.
Well the first thing that I found in my Google search was a letter from the Universe, which Blaize posts often in her blogs. I found it so uncanny to find this, and it's message so pertinent to ME, TODAY, even though it was initially posted a year ago. I had to include it, it is below.
Blaize, this is for you, too baby, because maybe you needed to read this just as much as I did today. I know you are starting over too, in so many ways, and I know that you will also never give up on your family, or yourself. Love you!
And maybe YOU, Spark reader, could use it, too.
The Universe - You can do it!
Wake up! Remember what excites you. Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours. Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It's all so near. Speak as if you're ready. Paste new pictures in your scrapbook, on your vision board, and around your home and office. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You've done this before. You know it works. You're due for an encore. It's time to amaze. That's why you're there.
And it's why I'm here,
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Growing up I was not an outside kid. I was always more cerebral and loved reading books. Being obese since the 2nd grade also added to my dislike of the outdoors.
When I was a pre-teen and MTV came out, that sealed the deal. I was indoors, all summer long, with a bowl of Cheetos on my lap and the remote in hand, pillow behind my back. My mom tried to get me to go outside…pleaded with me even. But I wasn’t budging. And my Mom, God bless her and I love her, she is also not an outdoors person and had gained weight after having her kids. So I kind of learned by example…and thus that is why it is one of my main goals to be a healthy mom and to instill exercise in my kids at an early age.
But, I digress.
What I want to show you is what I am going to do THIS summer.
Summer music festivals. I used to hide from them and let my husband go alone. Not this year! I already have my Pitchfork ticket and plan on bringing the girls, too!
Training for 10 and 15k.
Running my first 10K along Montrose Harbor
Playing on the beach in Michigan with my daughters and my new bathing suit on.
Getting silly at the cottage.
Going on long walks and runs and noticing the beauty that surrounds me. I went for a walk last night to the library and never, ever, noticed before the beautiful trees in front of the building.
Hiking at Starved Rock.
Flying a kite.
Going to the Taste of Westmont and riding the rides with my girls.
Smelling fresh cut grass. Running through that grass with bare feet.
Campfires and marshmallows and that smell of smoke in your clothes.
The birth of my twin nieces and having the energy to help my sister with them...and to hold them.
Trying my hand at gardening for the first time.
Running lakeside in Michigan with the sun shining down.
Relaxing in the back yard.
Planning mini vacations in my own city, where I can get lots of walking in and spend time with the family.
Playing with my nephews.
Working out in Millennium Park for free – yoga, zumba, FUN!
Eating sushi outside.
Going to the Splash Park and then swimming in our backyard baby pool with Lucy and Marlo.
Going to the Zoo.
Sailing aboard the Tall Ship Windy again from Navy Pier, a yearly family destination.
Watching the sun go down.
Seeing a Cubs game on a roof top.
Renting a bike and riding on the lakefront.
Reading and writing outside.
Walking to the coffee shop next door at lunch and getting a workout in.
The birth of another baby girl niece will finish off my summer!
Thursday, May 05, 2011
This week our challenge is to blog about why you decided to change your habits to become a healthy, fit person.
I have never really felt comfortable in my own skin. I think thats my initial answer to the why, why did I decide to change my habits. But then thinking further about it, I realized that wasnt really it. It was part of it, sort of like an itch when you get a mosquito bite. The itch is the reaction to the bite. In my case, what was my bite? Quite literally, that I was eating too much. I was TOO FULL. I got big, and bigger, and then was at my biggest ever. But that, too, was just a reaction to what I was putting in my body. That had nothing to do with my soul. No, the reason I changed my habits was because I didnt know who I was anymore. I had just become this person who didnt recognize herself in the mirror and a person who, instead of feeling her emotions, or anything really, just stuffed them down her mouth. This person I did not love. I didnt even LIKE this person I had become.
So, there was a problem inside of myself, and I was protecting myself from the outside in... or so I thought...filling myself so full of food that it left little room for anything else in my life. I was cushioned all right. But I had no life. I had no joy. I had..THINGS, I had PEOPLE in my life. I had been blessed with a wonderful husband and looking back I dont quite know how that happened except when I met him I was ME, and he fell in love with that person and as that person gained 120 lbs. before his very eyes he still loved that person inside, the soul. There arent many people in this world that can look past 120 lbs. and I thank the Lord every day that my husband is one of them.
I had a great family, a good husband, a job, a home. From the outside things looked great. I kept up appearances. I even had fun every once in a while. But when I got home from work, from that party, from putting on the show, I was sad. I didnt like being alone with myself because I didnt like myself. I turned to TV, food and alcohol to numb it all. To be honest with you I thought a life full of sleeping 24 hrs. a day would be a dream come true. And I wanted to change. Boy, did I want to change, but I wanted the fast magic quick as lightning pill that would reverse time and make it all go AWAY. Well guess what honey, that doesnt exist. Just another excuse for me not to get healthy. It was impossible , right?
I tried every twist, turn, diet, pill, fad, trend. I tried it all. I wanted to be healthy and fit, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. It was always on my to do list to go to church. To exercise. To start that new diet.
But when I realized that I had failed at it all, when I reached that brick wall and just surrendered and reached out to God, a God I hadnt spoken to for at least 15 years because I felt He had betrayed me through a deep loss earlier in my life (and most likely the reason I started to overeat and fill myself up) it was only when I came to that point that my life started to change. I prayed and reached out to a God that did not know me and I didnt know Him. But, I had one small thing. Faith.
It was that little speck of faith that changed my life.
I began to pray more, and to ask God for help overcoming my overeating, and my urge to binge and purge my food, like I had in H.S. when I was a size 6. I began to pray for the strength to eat, but only to eat enough, as I had been anorexic previously as well. My family has some serious addiction issues, my uncle drank himself to death and thats not all, I knew I needed prayer to get through this thing.
And I think God had a bigger plan to have me go through the pain I went through earlier in my life, and the despair. I had always had church on my list, as I said, but now I have something even better...through the broken road I went down I discovered a deep faith in God that I can rely on, and use for my strength, and now church is something I want to do, just like working out, eating right, etc. Maybe I had to go through that to get to where I am now.
So through my faith I began to do it all one step at a time. Youve all probably heard my story.. couldnt walk even a half mile at first, now Im running up to 6 miles at a time. I always wanted a family, and now I have 2 beautiful daughters. I have a healthier marriage and stronger friendships.
And now I feel like ME again. Thats the most important part to me. Not the size jeans I can fit into, not that Ive dropped 10 sizes or almost 90 lbs. But that I love myself again. That I can SEE myself again. I look in the mirror and I recognize that person looking back at me. Instead of wanting to be numb I want to feel it ALL. I love running mainly because it forces me to connect with myself. To push from within and to hear the sound of my breath in my ears and my feet on the pavement. I love yoga because I can feel every curve, every muscle and every stretch and I just know its great for my body, like a cool drink of water to thirsty lungs. I love walking, biking, dancing. I love being me again. But Im also discovering new things about myself every day, and becoming even more of the person I was always meant to be. I was hiding from life and now Im living it and making the most of each day.
After being lost for so many years I thought I had lost her. That girl who loved to roll down hills and run through the woods and explore. I wasnt sure how, or if, I could get her back. I didnt know what that would look like.
But now I know.
It looks like me, only better. I am a healthy mom, wife, sister and friend. I am pursuing my dreams to run a 10k and a 15k and eventually a half marathon. I also plan on honoring my writing and get back to it, and find myself there again.
I am worth it. I can say with certainty that we ALL are.
So, my final answer to the why? Why did I start this journey? Because I had to. Because I didn't know who I was anymore and I needed to find out. Because, deep deep down...underneath it all...I wanted to LIVE.
I feel it all, I feel it all.
The wings are wide, the wings are wide
I know more than I knew before.
Lyrics from Feist, I Feel It All
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
I think about the years I spent just passing through
Id like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
Youve been there you understand
Its all part of a grander plan that is coming true
Lyrics from Selah Bless the Broken Road:
Monday, May 02, 2011
Start weight: 213
End weight: 209.5
Weight lost: 3.5 lbs.
Total weight lost this year: 16 lbs.
Goal weight progress: 31.5 more lbs. to go to goal weight!
Onederland progress: 10 more lbs. to reach ONEderland!
Total weight lost: 88.5 lbs.
Total fitness minutes: 1.045
My goal this month was to lose 4lbs, bringing me to 209. I nearly reached that by losing 3.5 lbs. And I gained 3.5 lbs. this month, so my highest this month was 215.5, not 213. I am very happy with my progress this month.
I ran my first 8k – the Shamrock Shuffle!!! 1:01 PR for me!
I signed up for my first 10k! (and I wanted to)
I ran in the rain for the first time!
Reached over 1,000 fitness minutes for the month.
I am feeling like a "thin" person.
When the hot weather arrived unexpectedly I embraced it and didn't try to cover myself up like I used to do in the summers. I actually welcomed it.
I worked out with my tankini bottoms on and a sports bra and nothing else so as to not wake my family gathering clothes in the morning and I felt slim! I looked down at my legs and they looked trim!
I ordered 2 swimsuits from Old Navy and was sure that the "Regular size" I would have to send back, but it fits! I actually look good in it! I am so excited for the summer! A complete NSV for me.
My wedding ring literally fell off of my finger while I was in the store.
I went to my yearly dr. checkup and the dr. couldn’t stop saying how proud she was of me and how much I’ve changed in the last year and agreed on my goal weight and that I could reach that by next year.
I gave some of my tops that are too big for me now to my sister who is 8 mo. pregnant w/ twins – this weekend she wore a shirt I purchased for my wedding anniversary last year, after I had lost 40 lbs already – and it fit her perfectly. Shows me how far I have come.
I inspired my cousin Kim to purchase a treadmill and start training for a 5k, and her husband John to join Spark!
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
It’s ok to ask for help.
There’s always a time to change things up.
The only competition is myself.
That turtles do win the race….eventually…
That weight loss ISN’T a race, but a journey.
Enjoy it :)
I usually use my paper Spark calendar, but this month proved to be very busy, so I used the Spark Summary calendar feature. Below is my snapshot.
A comparison photo - left me at the beginning of this journey, right at my current state of the journey.
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