Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Confession and August Goals

July was a fun month! I spent a lot of time with family and friends. I even completed most of my goals for July.

July Goals 
  • Break out of the 230's - didn't happen, yet.
  • Try two new recipes - done!
  • Start running again - done!
 
I have been struggling with breaking out of the 230's for well over a year. I have said before that I based a lot of my weight plateau on my happiness at my current weight. I lost 35 pounds and I have been happy with those results. I am so much more comfortable with myself than I was before, and thus it is hard to be fully motivated to continue on. The thing that I need to remember, to keep myself motivated, is that being comfortable isn't what this weight loss journey is all about; it's for better health. The more weight I lose, the more healthier I will be. I am still morbidly obese and even though it is much easier to stay at my current weight, I must continue on.
 
This weight plateau has been challenging. Another challenge that I have been reluctant to admit lately is that I have been experiencing a minor relapse with my multiple sclerosis. Dizzy spells are back, and they are controlling a huge part of my life at the moment. I can't be sure, but I am guessing this relapse is stress induced and my poor eating choices aren't helping. When I first started feeling the effects of my multiple sclerosis in 2011, I would eat for what little comfort it could bring me. It was a stressful time and I ate my way up to nearly 270 lbs. I have been holding strong in the lower 230's this year and refuse to let myself fall back in to old habits.
 
Maintaining my weight this year has been my biggest success. I do eat well and exercise as planned for a majority of my time, but it's the "slip ups", the excessive treats and the lack of follow through that have been holding me back. I also struggle with binge eating, which has flared up with the onset of my multiple sclerosis symptoms. I am admitting all of this because I hope that it will help me to move forward; to be rid of this plateau once and for all.
 
Losing weight while in remission was hard, so trying to do so during a relapse will be even more so. I can't use it as an excuse though, not now; not when I need so badly to pick myself up and carry on. Determination and honesty has brought me here, and it's what will get me to where I'm going.
 
image from google images

In the words of Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." If that is true, I am telling you now that I have been insane for the past year. I have tried to just skate through this weight loss journey, eating well when it worked for me and treating myself at any time that I felt like it. That may have worked for the first 35 pounds, but it's time to enter "stage two". If I want to start losing serious weight again, I need to get serious. I need to hold myself accountable; I need to fully commit myself.
 
I truly believe that I can get through this weight loss journey without too much sacrifice, however; there has to be some sacrifice in my journey. Too much sacrifice would make this journey miserable, but not enough will get me nowhere. I cannot say yes to every treat offered. I cannot pursue a craving anytime I feel the urge; I must stick within my calorie range. I cannot eat well all week just to throw it away by going out drinking with my friends on the weekends. There has to be some balance here. Balance between over-indulgence and deprivation. Neither work in this journey.
 
Now that I have identified the issue, a plan of attack is in order.
 
August's Goals
 
  • Break out of the 230's
  • Track calories for 6/7 days a week
  • Exercise for 4/7 days a week
  • Drink 64 ounces of water daily
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep a day
  •  
    My goals for August are a little more in depth than my July goals, because I am going to be more committed to myself this month. I need to do this for me, for my journey and for my health.

     

    Monday, July 29, 2013

    Craisens and Avocados

    Monday is here and I'm ready for it! How about you? We went grocery shopping last night so that it would be easier for us to choose healthy options for meals and snacks!



    We had an eventful weekend! I went on a date with my husband on Friday and ended up going to a local car show after dinner. It was really exciting because our friends had their rat rod truck at the show, and it was their very first show! My husband has been wanting to fix up a car for a long time, so he had fun watching and helping his friends fix up theirs.


    The car show actually sparked my interested in the project idea my husband had, mostly because I could really see how much my husband loved being there! So, a day later we became owners of a 1934 International Harvester truck. I can't wait to see how my husband fixes it up, and it makes me very happy to see him so happy to have project truck of his own. We figured we may as well make these spontaneous purchases while we can (before we decide to have a family) and we had the cash in hand, so it worked out very well for us.

    Back to talking about food.

    I am trying two new things this week to make healthy eating more exciting! I am trying craisens on my salads and avocado on my turkey sandwiches.


    I have never bought or cut an avocado before, so this morning was interesting and a little messy.




    It all worked out in the end, and I'm looking forward to trying both the avocado and the salad during lunch today.

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Fish Fail and McDonalds

    I love summer nights.


    Tonight, I went to my moms house and ended up having McDonalds for dinner with my little brother. I know it was a bad choice, but it was made after trying and failing to make fish for dinner. Since tonight's dinner was not healthy, I'll show you last night's healthy dinner instead:


    My husband was at his friend's house tonight, so I decided to take a few pictures to pass the time. I started at our own pond and then went for a sunset drive with our dogs.



    I was down a pound this morning when I checked, which brings me to 233 lbs. Only a few pounds  and a few days away from breaking out of the 230's in July! McDonalds for dinner didn't help, but I plan on running in the morning to help keep the balance!

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Stick with It

    Last night, my husband and I made “homemade” calzones for dinner.
      


    The calzones are a little higher in calories than I should have used at dinner, but a lot less calories than if we were eating/ordering out for dinner.

    I am still hanging around 234 lbs. so far this week, and I am starting to doubt that I will reach my July goal of getting out of the 230’s. Throughout my weight loss journey, I have yet to break out of the 230’s. When the day comes, and I know it will, I am going to be one happy lady!

    Although I have my doubts about reaching my weight-loss goal for July, I’m not giving up. Here's why:

    1. I am sticking within my calorie ranges each day
    2. I am exercising at least 3 times a week
    3. I am drinking all of the water I should be drinking


    In order to stick with it, I am really going to have to be good on Friday. I have been asked to go on a dinner date (by my husband, of course) and I said yes. Before he wrote this note, he asked me about my favorite and easiest place for me to track calories while eating out for dinner. The first thing that popped in to my mind was Texas Roadhouse because they have an awesome salad and all of their nutrition information is in Sparkpeople's online database. Minutes later, he gave me the note above.

    I am truly blessed with a thoughtful, supportive, caring, helpful, unconditional loving, amazing husband.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Morning Run

    This morning, I woke up early to run. If you’re like me, that idea probably doesn’t appeal to you.


    I have been thinking about working out in the mornings before work ever since I bought my treadmill earlier this spring. It has taken many months before I actually ran before work, and this morning was my first time.

    I use to make excuses for not working out in the mornings. I was afraid that I would be even more tired after my workout than I already was, but in fact; I felt better. I’m not going to go as far as to say that I had more energy after one morning of exercise, but I did feel more alert. It also felt really good to know that I already had my workout taken care of for the day.

    This is my second week getting back in to running after taking two months off. This week I am running for a half mile, walking a quarter mile and running the final quarter mile to complete a full mile three times this week. I am working my own plan to ease me back in to running, and so far it has been going well. My legs wanted to stop running at a quarter mile this morning, but I continued on. I ran at a slower pace, which did help me keep up with the distance of a half mile. Last week I was running a quarter mile every other lap to complete a mile. I feel like this is a good progression.

    Next week I am thinking about continuing this current routine, and will try to run for a complete mile without stopping at least once. My next 5K is on August 17th in Buffalo, New York. I am really excited because this will be my first Color Run! I am really nervous because this will be my third 5K and I think I am going to do a worse time than my first one; reason being, I starting training late. I am actually going in to this 5K with the idea of it being a “Fun Run”. I’m not sure if the Color Run is even a timed run, so I need to get that idea out of my head. It’s hard for me to not worry about time because that’s what motivates me to keep running. I enjoy beating my own time. It will be interesting to see how I do when I’m not running for time.

    Color Runners: is the race timed?

    Runners: what motivates you to run?

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Tractors and a Half Marathon

    You just can't beat summer weekends.

    Once or twice a year, my husband and his dad go to a tractor show. This weekend, we got to attend the Pioneer Steam and Tractor Show. We also got to bring a special guest with us; my little 3-year old brother, Evan! He is really in to tractors this year, so he had a super great time.

    
    Evan and I during the car ride to see the tractors!
    
    
    John Deer is his favorite!
    
    My husband and Evan.

    Before we went to the tractor show, I ran/walked a mile on the treadmill. At the tractor show, we probably walked another mile. It was an active day, and a beautiful one at that!

    This morning was quite beautiful, too. My husband and I woke up extra early this morning to go support our friend, Mindy, at her first 1/2 marathon. We stayed up late last night making fun signs for the event. We got a lot of thumbs up, smiles and even a few shouts of joy!

    
    My silly husband.
     It was truly inspiring to watch the runners finish. It was even more inspiring to watch one of my best friends finish the race! She did an awesome job, finishing way faster than she ever expected. I'm one proud friend!


    Me, with my friend, Mindy!

    After the race, we went to Bob Evans for breakfast. I got as healthy of a meal as I could have got there, thanks to their low-calorie portion of the menu, it wasn't too hard to find a healthier choice! I got the veggie omelet with a side of fruit and whole wheat toast. It came out to just under 430 calories for the meal. Paired with a tall glass of water, I'd say I did pretty well!

    As for the rest of the day, I may have another mile in me this evening. I am going to try to switch it up this week and run 2 laps, walk a lap then run the final lap to complete my mile. I am easing in to running again this month. I am doing as much as possible to avoid any injury before our Color Run in Buffalo next month! Taking two months off of running was a bad idea, but it happens! The important thing here is to never give up!

    Friday, July 19, 2013

    The Sprinkler Workout

    A special thanks to those of you who commented on yesterday's post. I loved reading about the ways you get water in each day!

    Water is so important, especially during the hot days of summer.
    
    Our dog, Topher, ready for his water!
    One way my little brother got his water in this week was by running through the sprinkler at my house. ;)



    How many of my readers use to (or still) run through a sprinkler on a warm summer day?


    My mom still runs through the sprinklers! That's her and my little brother running in the picture above.


    My step dad even got into some sprinkler action. It was a hot week for us (as I'm sure it was for most) and the sprinkler was just one way we kept cool this week!

    I must say that when it's hot out, it's hard to workout. Running through a sprinkler is a hidden workout that keeps you cool! Here is my fun list of workouts that can still be done when the summer sun is beating down!

    1. The Sprinkler Workout - run, hop, skip through the sprinkler (just be careful you don't slip!)
    2. The Pool Workout - have access to a pool? Get your suit on and go for a swim! Kick your feet, do laps or try to run in the water. You're heart rate will be up before you know it!
    3. Indoor Workouts - if you've got access to a gym with air conditioning, now is the time to really take advantage of it!
    4. Lower Impact Workouts - Taking it easy isn't giving up! Do a little less on the hot days and make up for it on the cooler ones!
    5. Moonlight Workouts - wait until the sun goes down or get out there before the sun comes up!

    If you still decide to brave the summer sun during your workouts, just be sure to take care of yourself out there! My husband and I have been running on the track when the sun goes down at night. It's still very hot, but not as bad.

    Getting back in to running, combined with eating healthy meals this week, has got me down 4 pounds on the scale already! I know the initial gain was most likely water weight, just like this 4 pound loss, but I'm just glad it's gone! Here's a couple of the meals we've been having lately:

    
    Grilled chicken salad with asparagus on the side.
    
    
    Baked ranch powdered chicken with green beans and corn on the cob.
    
    
    Steak on a bed of lettuce with grilled pineapple and side of corn on the cob.
    
    
    Grilled chicken is one of my favorites!
    
    
    Lots of fresh fruit this week, too!
     Only 12 more days to reach my goal of getting out of the 230's during the month of July. I'm back down to 234 lbs. right now, so I'm hoping that I'll still be able to reach this goal! Eating healthy, fitting in time for exercise and drinking lots of water will definitely help me get there!

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Heat Rant

    This has been one HOT week!

    With temperatures nearing the 90's, I am thankful for our air conditioning. I have early on-set of multiple sclerosis, which means that the heat and humidity has a huge effect on how I feel! It's easy for me to get cranky in the heat because I can literally feel the inflammation in my body. While I'm thankful this hasn't caused any great deal of pain lately, it is very annoying. Extreme fatigue is another side effect, which I have been feeling each and every morning this week. Being so tired can actually make it quite dangerous to drive. I have heard tired driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Scary stuff.

    Well, now that I'm done with my little heat rant, I am going to say that I am still very thankful for the sun and summer and all of the great things that come with it! Sometimes when you're feeling a little salty about something, the best thing to do is to look for the positive in the situation.

    So, when I say that there are great things about this heat, I mean that I really enjoy my early mornings on my porch with our dogs. I love to spend a few quiet moments outside each morning. I always look like I just rolled out of bed because that's what I literally do. Roll out of bed, take the dogs outside, sit on the wicker couch, listen to the birds chirp, sit still to feel the warm breeze and stay there a few moments to let myself wake up! My dogs enjoy this routine, too. They use it as their opportunity to wake up, as well.



    I love summer and the sun also for the beautiful flowers that pop up around my yard.



    Finally, I love summer because of how often I get to see and spend time with my friends! It's just so much easier to get together and go for a walk in the summer; which is exactly what I did with my friend Caitlin this week. I also get to go out to the beach tonight to what my friends, Steve and Mindy, play beach volleyball. Summer is really great! Looking at the positive side of things isn't really that hard.

    Despite the heat, we are trying to be active. We have run on the track a couple times this week, hoping to do another round tomorrow night. My husband and I started back in to running by running a 1/4 mile, walking 1/4 mile, running a 1/4 mile, then walking the final lap. This has been a nice transition. Next week, I am hoping to build up to running 1/2 mile, walking a 1/4 mile then running the last 1/4 mile. It's good to have goals!

    As for beating the heat, one way I am doing that is by drinking a lot of water. When trying to lose weight, and even if you're not, it's always important to get in the right amount of water. In the summer, though, it's even more important!


    Do you have any tips/tricks for getting the right amount of water in each day?
    - I drink water with each meal, I keep a bottle next to me during work and I drink a glass (or two) as soon as I wake up in the morning!

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    The Spark Solution - Metabolic Makeover

    Today I want to share with you some portions of the third chapter from The Spark Solution. I have already given you a brief description of the Introduction and the first chapter, which can be found by clicking the links, below:


    The third chapter of The Spark Solution begins with a story about a woman named Tina, who wanted to feel better about herself. She wanted her clothes to fit better and she wanted more energy. Tina worked hard and never gave up. She met her weight-loss goal and shared that her drive to succeed was no longer about willpower but about resiliency. She knew that even if she slipped up (and she did -- everyone does, to varying degrees), she knew she had multiple chances and strategies to make healthy decisions.

    The Spark Solution gives you a solution to reach your weight-loss goals. They preface in this chapter that each day you'll eat three meals and two snacks for a total of about 1,500 calories give or take 50 calories. The daily meal plan would be divided as follows:

    Breakfast: 325 calories
    Lunch: 375 calories
    Dinner: 400 calories
    Two Snacks: 100 calories each

    The Spark Solution believes that you should be having two servings of dairy per day as part of a meal or as a snack, 100 additional calories each. This provides you with a total of 1,500 calories for each day.

    The thinking goes that if you cut calories and lose weight, you can cut even more calories and lose even more weight faster. The reality is different. Cut your calories too much and weight loss sputters and soon grinds to a halt, because you've exhausted your body, putting the brakes on your metabolism and your ability to perform daily activities with vim and vigor. That's why the Spark Solution plan centers on eating 1,500 calories a day. Your total calories should be low enough for weight loss yet high enough to nourish and satiate you. Their plan is designed to create healthy, steady weight loss while giving you the energy to work out and get through your busy day. 

    According to the results published in the journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, those who follow a structured eating plan - with predetermined meals and snacks, plus a grocery list -- are more likely to lose weight than those who wing it. The Spark Solution wants you to be as prepared as possible, so they provide some meal plans for the first two weeks.

    A new fact that I learned from this chapter is about fiber-filled whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. The Spark Solution says that those foods require the body to "burn hotter" as it digests these foods and converts them into energy, a process called themogenesis. Research published in 2011 in the journal of Food and Nutrition Research found that whole, unprocessed foods actually increase the calories you burn and can boost your metabolism. This means that if you eat unprocessed foods, you'll burn twice as many calories. Apparently, it is well-evidenced that eating fruits and vegetables can protect against a number of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, diverticular disease and cataract formation. So what are you waiting for? Grab an apple, already!

    As for protein, The Spark Solution says that protein is a triple threat when it comes to weight loss. Not only does it help maintain your muscle mass as you lose body fat, but as you incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, protein will help you build more muscle tissue and recover from your workouts. Plus, protein is your insurance policy against a growling belly and hunger-induced cravings, as reported in the 2004 Journal of Nutrition. That's because, compared with carbs or fat, protein makes you feel fuller longer.

    The Spark Solution also says that if you eat too often, your body never learns to deal with reasonable hunger levels. If you go too long between meals, your energy level and blood sugar drop, which leaves your metabolism to suffer. Skipping meals can cause you to overate and burn fewer calories throughout the day.  One of the most common "diet" downfalls is skipping a morning meal, either because you're not hungry (usually in my case) or you want to bank calories for later in the day. Spark Solution says that's a bad idea! Having breakfast within the first two hours after you wake up provides your body and brain with the energy needed to function. Breakfast does just that: it breaks the fast your body endured while you were sleeping and it kick starts your metabolism.

    Also, despite decades of diets telling us otherwise, carbs are not the enemy. You need them! They are brain food, afterall. Smart carbs are sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, and even fruits and veggies, plus whole-grain breads, pasta and tortillas. These smart carbs are ideal fuel for your body and brain, and they provide the key nutrients and fiber to protect against disease and promote a healthy body weight. That's why quinoa or brown rice, for example, are better choices than white rice or a slice of white bread.

    There's another kind of carb that helps keep hunger at bar: resistant starch. While commonly classified as fiber, resistant starch is a carb that doesn't digest in the small intestines the way other carbs do. Instead, it moves to the large intestines, where it ferments and is used as fuel for probiotics, the healthy bacteria in your gut that benefit your body. Resistant starch comes in four forms, three of which are naturally derived from foods like legumes, under-ripe bananas, raw potatoes, cooked and cooled potatoes and gain products. Fiber is a dieters best friend. It can't be digested, so it just passes right through you. It adds no calories to your day and it helps prevent constipation, which can be common when losing weight.

    As for the sweets, The Spark Solutions knows that if they banned all desserts from the program, most people would throw their book down and quit before they even started. No food is inherently "bad" in their program, so they believes that as long as you're eating sweet treats in the right portions and staying within your calorie range, you can eat dessert daily.

    Another quick tip that I learned is that calcium and vitamin D help fight the battle of the bulge. Something that I already knew is that skimping on sleep can seriously impact your weight loss and overall health. The Spark Solution also says that when you're just starting out, less is more. Too much exercise too soon can lead to exhaustion, over-training and even injury!

    Finally, they provide some awesome side effects of regular exercise:
    • Your metabolism speeds up, thanks to added muscle
    • Your body adjusts to the stress of exercise and you feel rejuvenated
    • Your immune system improves, helping prevent illness
    • Your strength and endurance improve, making exercise and daily tasks easier
    • Your mood and energy levels stabilize
    • You sleep better at night
    • You look and feel better
    • Your motivation to keep going increases
    So, if you're ready to experience any of those benefits, get moving right now. I know that I'm going to be moving today!

    More overviews to come as I dig deeper into The Spark Solution!

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Wild Rice and Motivation Meter

    First and foremost, look at how cute my puppies were this weekend when my sister and I had just gotten home from my business trip.


    My sister, Max and Topher.
    Now that you're done saying "awww", let's talk about food for a second. Healthy, filling and delicious food. I am pretty sure that nothing in the world would have tasted better than the meal we had for dinner last night. It was Monday night and after a successful day of staying on track, I was ready for a healthy meal for dinner. (Motivated!) I also wanted it to be filling and delicious, of course. Grilled perch with grilled asparagus and wild rice definitely hit the spot!


    Speaking of wild rice, last night was the first time I had ever tried it, and I'm a fan!

    After dinner, I did the dishes, relaxed with my husband, then mustered up the energy to get off the couch and brave to humidity outside. My husband and I started running the track even though we felt like we were swimming in mid air. I kind of felt like I was trying to breath underwater. Humidity is not my friend. We are definitely in a fight.


    Seeing how I am just getting back in to running after a two-month break, I am taking it easy. I ran a lap, walked a lap, ran a lap then walked a lap. That's my plan for the next few runs until I get my old legs back! As of right now, my motivation meter is reading "extreme"! I'm looking forward to what I get accomplished today!

    How was your Monday? What's you're motivation meter reading at today?
    - I'm just as motivated as yesterday, maybe even more so because I've got Monday under my belt!

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    The Spark Solution - The Magic of Two Weeks

    In case you missed it, I have started reading "The Spark Solution", a complete two-week diet program to fast-track weight loss and total body health.

    The description  of this book actually seems to be a little misleading because the it appears as if the people at www.sparkpeople.com encourage you to get away from the word "diet" and to rather live a healthier lifestyle; which is what I'm all about! Another misleading part of their book description seems to be the term "fast-track weight loss", because they don't seem to be all about losing weight fast, but rather in a healthy, sustainable manner. So, if you believe in both of those ideals, then I believe you will enjoy this book! I have been enjoying it so far, myself!

    I did a brief overview of the introduction in a previous post which can be found, here:

    The Spark Solution - Introduction

    The next chapter of The Spark Solution is called "The Magic of Two Weeks". In this chapter, The Spark Solution says that quite simply, dieting and weight loss come down to calories in versus calories out. But as with most things in life, it's not that simple. A calorie is the unit used to measure the energy value of food, and 3,500 of them equal a pound of body fat. Burn 3,500 calories and you'll lose a pound. Consume 3,500 more than you expend and you'll gain a pound.

    I believe that The Spark Solution realizes that a sedentary state is not good for your health or losing weight. The Spark Solution says that getting yourself moving is the hard part. Keeping yourself moving is slightly easier. First comes motivation, then comes momentum. The Spark Solution, with their two week plan, promises that over the next two weeks, you'll develop both. Why two weeks? Well, The Spark Solution believes that two weeks is the proven amount of time necessary to begin a life change. Two weeks is long enough to feel results but not so long as to feel intimated.

    The Spark Solution also believes that changing your body begins with changing your mind and that even small steps make a big difference. They also provide their opinion of 8 Healthy Habits:

    1. Stay motivated, no matter what.
    2. Write it down.
    3. Eat what you want, but in right-size portions.
    4. No forbidden fruit, so to speak.
    5. Balance your calorie account.
    6. Don't burn out.
    7. It's about healthy eating and exercise, not healthy eating or exercise.
    8. You can't go it alone.

    The Spark Solution wants you to "have your cake and eat it too". That's why they believe in either-or, rather than all-or-nothing. Balance is critical.

    Finally, this chapter states that unrealistic weight-loss goals can have a negative impact on the success of your weight loss and weight maintenance.

    I have definitely had my share of unrealistic weight-loss goals having a negative impact on my success in weight-loss. While I do believe that "shooting for the moon" can have it's pros, it depends on your mind frame and I believe it's important to identify if the weight loss goals we are setting for ourselves are building us up or tearing us down.

    What kind of a weight-loss goal to do you have for yourself right now? Aggressive, moderate or laid-back?
    - I have a moderate goal of trying to get out of the 230's by the end of the month. This seemed very aggressive to me last week while away from home on a business trip, but now that I am back in my element, the goal is looking for realistic to me.

    Sunday, July 14, 2013

    Gaining 7 Pounds in a Week

    I'm back from my business trip and oh so happy to be home!

    My sister joined me on this business trip and while we had some fun during my "off time" while away, it's so good to be back home. My first full day back home was actually a busy one! I had a bridal shower to attend for one of my friends from high school. It was a beautiful shower and I had a lot of fun! After the shower, we went out to celebrate her bachelorette party, which turned out to be a late and fun night! Today is actually my first normal day back home since Tuesday. I am so grateful for today! I am looking forward to making meal and exercise plans for the week and to just get back to my normal!

    Before I move forward I have to admit that I am way up on the scale this week. I am up about 7 pounds from last week weighing in at about 238 lbs. 7 POUNDS gained in a week; wow! This kind of thing isn't typical but as a woman with PCOS, it isn't a huge surprise. I was out on business this week which meant that I had a lot of fast food meals and not much exercise in the mix. I also went out drinking last night, which seems to make my body hold on to weight. Sometimes this happens, and I think that when it happens it's good to address the gain so you can accept it, move on and do something about it! I'm not perfect and my weight loss journey isn't perfect. My weight loss journey is real and in all reality everything has it's ups and downs.


    I found the photo above on Facebook this morning and I can relate tremendously. This week is going to be all about getting back on track for me. As I've said many times before, I will never give up!

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Tons of Ice Cream for Me

    I love summer. We eat a lot of fresh fruit during the summer. Grilled pineapple and fresh watermelon are two of my favorites this week!


    I love summer even more when I get out of work early. I got out of work early yesterday because I will be working plenty of hours on my business trip this week. I have to flex my time and I wasn't complaining! In fact, I was sun bathing by the pond for most of the afternoon. I have a little sunburn this morning to prove it!

    We rode about 4 miles on our bikes last night with a couple of friends. Actually, my friend Mindy ran while her husband, my husband and I rode bikes behind her. Mindy is training for a half marathon and I can't wait to cheer her on at the finish line!

    After our bike ride, we went to an ice cream shop for dinner and... ice cream. Turns out, they weren't cooking food tonight so we just got ice cream. We went over to our friends house for dinner where we had hot dogs, beans and chips with salsa. A bike ride, ice cream, and a cookout with friends; that's what I call a perfect summer night! I wish every Monday was so good!

    What are your favorite foods to eat during summer?
    - Fresh fruit... anything on the grill and tons of ice cream, for me!

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    Summer Running

    Welcome to Monday!

    What does your week look like? Mine looks like a challenge, but I am ready for it! I will be out of town on a business trip from Wednesday through Friday. Eating out while away from home is always a challenge. I plan on packing water for the hotel and some snacks to keep me content between meals. My sister will be joining me on this business trip, so it should be a fun time!

    As you may remember, I made it a goal to start running again in July. I started running again last night. It was a hot sweaty 17 minutes, but I got it done!

    Post workout = sweat (even if it doesn't show very well in this picture)


    I ran on Nordi (my treadmill) at 4 mph for one lap (.25 miles) walked at 3 mph for one lap, ran at 4 mph for one lap and finished at 3 mph to complete a mile. I'm not going to lie, running in the summer is not my favorite thing to do; it was very hot! However, I did complete another item on my July Challenge list so I'm happy!

    Do you have any tips for staying cool during summer runs? 

    When is your favorite time to run: spring, summer, fall or winter?
    - I enjoy spring and fall the best.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Fact About Wendy's

    Fact: If you haven't tried Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad, you're missing out on something amazing!


    This salad was my payment for watching my little 3 1/2 year old brother last weekend.

    My mom asked me if I wanted paid for watching Evan and I said, "no thanks, just bring me home a Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad". This was a very wise choice.

    My little brother and I had loads of fun while I watched him! I just love that he is to the age where he wants to do arts and crafts with me! I love even more that I caught this action photo of him, below. It makes me laugh out loud every time I see it!


    I believe Evan is super smart for his age, and just as stubborn. Even though I told him that I would have to help him with the glitter glue, he insisted on doing it himself. This went on for a very long time until he finally agreed to let me help him squeeze the bottle.



    I could look and laugh at photos of Evan all day long.


    What is your favorite "fast food salad" and where do you get it from?
    Obviously, Wendy's is my new favorite choice!

    Saturday, July 6, 2013

    Easy and Delicious Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

    How does Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce sound to you? If you answered "good" "great" "refreshing" and/or "fantastic", then I've got something GREAT to share with you!


    If you were paying close attention to my June Challenge Results, then you would have seen that I made three new recipes in the month of June but only blogged about two of them. This, my friends, is the fabulous third recipe we tried last month!

    Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce


    I found the original recipe from this link: http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/13338

    I made a few tweaks and it turned out great!

    Ingredients:

    8 ounces spaghetti
    6 oz. plain greek yogurt
    1/4 cup grated parmesan and romano
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 medium zucchini, sliced
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    fresh grated salt and pepper to taste




    Directions:

    Cook pasta as directed.

    In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, parmesan and romano, lemon zest, salt and pepper.


    In a large skillet, heat the olive oil with medium heat. Add zucchini cooking them until they are wilted but not too soft, flipping them occasionally. Add garlic, cook for an additional couple of minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cover skillet and cook until tomatoes are somewhat soft.


    Combine all in a large pan, serve and enjoy!