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As you guys know, I’ve been loving the ToneItUp‘s workouts since mid-January.  I’ve done them 5 days a week, every week since I began, only missing while I was on vacation in Hawaii.  (If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend you do.  It’s completely free, and they have a fun community, full of supportive, motivating people who cheer on every workout you post about).

They’re about to launch their new #bikiniseries this coming Monday, which will run for 8 weeks, until the official start of summer.  Karena and Katrina put so much into the daily workouts they design, and the best part is, the whole thing is free.  All you need to do is sign up for the #bikiniseries and you’ll get reminder emails, weekly workouts, fun giveaways, yummy recipes, contests, etc.

I like the approach that Tone It Up takes toward living a healthy lifestyle.  Not only do they include workouts and nutrition, but they also concentrate on mindset.  Take yesterday’s challenge, for example:

The challenge asked participants to create their own summer must-do list.  Beyond workouts and eating right, what were things that we wanted to make sure to fit in this summer? I loved this! Any time I can make a list and get creative with my summer plans, I’m all for it!  As a teacher, lots of people ask me, what do you do all summer long?  My answer is always the same – anything I want to!  :)  This summer, I really want to concentrate on enjoying each and every day.  I didn’t include all of my plans on my list, but I did include most of the things I’m hoping to do:

 

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The photo I used is one that was taken for me by a Danish tourist while I was riding my bike at Kailua Beach on Oahu.  She worried that I would be upset that so much of it was in the shadows, but I assured her that I actually liked the way it turned out.  It was the perfect photo to use for this assignment because it has an artsy feel right off the bat.  I like the way I’m in silhouette with the bike, but the ocean and the beach are in the bright sun in the background.

I thought I’d elaborate a bit on each of these summer plans…

Mid-morning swims: One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to swim at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex.  More often than not, if I get there by 10:30 or 11, I have the entire place to myself, and I’m free to swim laps to my heart’s content.  Sometimes my dad and I meet there and swim together, and it’s a nice way for us to connect with each other as we update each other on the latest family happenings while we’re drying off in the sun.  It’s also a great time for me to be alone with my thoughts and just let go of all worries and stress.  Swimming really soothes me, and I can’t wait to start my almost-daily swims.

Daily doses of laughter: Whether it’s retelling a funny story, joking with my nieces, or watching Sofi do something goofy, I want to appreciate all the little moments of laughter that are part of my daily life this summer.  Laughter is good for the soul and the spirit, and I want to make sure I’m enjoying it all the time.

Hawaii-themed party: Since I had such a fun time in Hawaii, I figured it would be fun to have a party with a Hawaiian theme.  I’m still deciding if I’ll combine it with a Silpada party that I’m planning to have, or if it will be more of a traditional party.  Either way, I have plenty of fun outfits to choose from.

Coffee chats: I live really close to Starbucks (doesn’t everyone?!), so close in fact, that I can walk there with ease.  It’s become a habit with three or four of my friends that we meet up there and catch up about all that’s going on in our lives.  It’s the perfect place to get together because I can get a calorie-free passion iced tea, or a caffeine kick with an iced cinnamon dolce misto.  As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the perfect drink any time of day, so it fits well with a more carefree summer schedule.

SF (and SJ) Giants games: I love supporting my Giants, and plan to go to as many games as I can afford to this summer.  One that I know I’ll go to is the Italian Night at the Giants, where a really large group of family and friends all get together.  It’s so much fun!  The tickets at AT&T Park are expensive, so lately my friends and I have been opting to go to the SJ Giants games.  Not only are they ridiculously inexpensive (less than $10 per game), but they’re a lot of fun.  Very family-friendly, with lots of activities for the kids to participate in between innings.  My friend Di and I are even signing up to do the Giant 5K, which gets us into the game the evening of the race.  I’m actually going to an SJ Giants game this Friday with my sister and nieces, which will be tons of fun.  Bring on the baseball!!

Going on dates!: I’m actually really looking forward to this one.  Assuming of  course there are men to go on dates with.  I was only on Match.com for about 2 months back in November/December, and I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed.  I got lots of winks, emails, and nudges, but when it came time for the guys to just make the move and ask for my number so we could move it to the next level of texting/talking on the phone and then hopefully soon afterward meeting up, they never pulled the trigger.  Even when I directly said, “here’s my number, I’d love to figure out a time for us to meet up for coffee or something.”  They disappeared quick.  I’m not one to go into a long and drawn out relationship online via email, or text, for that matter.  If you’re interested, you think I’m cute, you want to get to know me better, then let’s do that – let’s meet up and see if we hit it off.  Because we can have all the chemistry in the world online, we won’t know if we’re really going to be attracted to each other until we meet up.  I’m hoping that this time of year will be easier to connect than it was around the holidays.  One of the major takeaways I had from my trip to Hawaii was that I’m really ready to be in a relationship, even a more casual one.  Hopefully I have a bit of romance in store this summer.

Leash-free beach trips: Last summer I had a blast taking Sofi to a lesser-known beach where she could run off leash.  We have the best time when we go – she loves running along the shore, but is afraid to get too close to the water, so I don’t have to worry much about the waves taking her.  We both get in a great walk, we get some sunshine, and I get to read and relax.  What could be better?  Besides just that particular dog-friendly beach, I also hope to hit the other local beaches often this summer.

Long walks w/ Sofi: I take Sofi on walks almost every single day, but in the summer it’s so nice to be able to wake up and take a nice, long walk before the temperature heats up too much.  I love exploring all the different streets around my neighborhood with Sofi.  She loves when I find new places for our walks, so that’s definitely on my to-do summer list.

Reading: I’m not off to the best start so far this year in terms of my reading goal on Goodreads, but I did get quite a bit of reading time in when I was on vacation in Hawaii.  My goal for the summer is to fit in at least an hour a day of reading time.  I enjoy reading so much, and I want to make it a priority during the time of year when I have so few responsibilities pulling my focus from the things I enjoy.

Riding roller coasters: This is a huge one for me! It will definitely be its own blog post when it happens because it will be a major NSV.  I love going on roller coasters – the wilder and faster the better.  I haven’t been on one in I can’t even remember how long because of the time that I got on one and almost had to get off because the safety bar wasn’t going to close.  I pleaded with the kid running the ride to let me stay on it, and he did.  After that I only got bigger and knew that roller coaster were way out of reach.  I didn’t ever want to risk the embarrassment of being asked to get off before I was able to ride the ride.  So, this summer I plan on going to Great America and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to ride as many roller coasters as I can.  Can’t wait!!

Family BBQs: I love grilling any day of the week, but getting together with my family and friends and sharing a meal as easy as BBQing is something really look forward to.  Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing my meat over to their house for an impromptu BBQ; other times it’s a more planned affair, like for Father’s Day or 4th of July.  Either way, I can’t wait to fire up the grill and get cooking!

Cocktails: Summertime is a great time to relax and let go a bit.  While I usually only drink on special occasions because the alcohol has empty calories, there is something to be said for enjoying a nice glass of white wine or a Swirl (local peeps will know what time talking about) with friends. Any afternoon or evening becomes more of a celebration when you add a cocktail.

Bike rides: I love riding my cruiser around, and now that more of my friends have bikes, too, I hope to get out and go on rides all summer long.  Half Moon Bay, Morgan Hill, and everywhere in between.  I love the freedom I feel when I’m riding my bike, the sun shining on my face, the wind in my hair.  There’s nothing in the world like it.

Backyard lounging: I have this great Adirondack chair that I bought a few years ago that’s nicely weathered now.  I adore sitting in it and enjoying the peace and serenity of my backyard.  Looking at the garden and seeing the flowers and trees.  Watching Sofi cavorting in the grass.  Reading, listening to music, or just trying to keep cool on a warm night.  Sounds perfect to me.

There are a lot more things I could add to my list, but I’ll save those up until I have enough to create an entirely new one.  This was such a fun exercise, and I’m really glad the Tone It Up girls gave this assignment.  It put me in a great mood and gave me some inspiration to get through these last weeks of my school year.

Now that you’ve read my list of how I’m going to create my summer, I’d like to challenge you to write your own list.  Either in the comments or by joining the TIU challenge.  Post a pic on Instagram with your list.  Tweet about it.  Write your own blog post.  It was a fun activity that really put me in the mindset to enjoy myself this summer, and I can’t wait to read about your plans.

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Today marks eleven months since my VSG surgery, and it’s also Easter Sunday, so the eggs seemed fitting.  Today was all about celebrating with my family, and it was a really fantastic day from start to finish.  I woke up and saw a 5-pound loss on the scale, 2-pounds of which was getting rid of water weight from my vacation. I had a lovely brunch with my family at my parents’ house.  Then my niece and I finally watched Frozen together (she’s already watched it several times, mind you). And then it was time to sweat with the Tone It Up Easter Bunny Workout and an evening walk with Sofi. All in all, a really awesome day!

Measurements

3/20/14

 4/20/14

Change

Neck

13

12.75

-0.25 inch

Arms

11.5

 11.75

+0.25 inch

Wrist

6.5

 6.25

-0.25 inch

Bust

33.5

 33

-0.5 inch

Waist

33

 32.5

-0.5 inch

Hips

43.5

 44

+0.5 inch

Thighs

26

 25.5 -0.5 inch

Calf

15.5

 15.5

same

Ankle

8.75

 8.5

-0.25 inch

This month I didn’t see as many changes in terms of measurements, and in fact, I was surprised that I was actually up a half-inch or so in some categories.  One thing I should point out is that I took today’s measurements tonight at 9pm, after a whole day of eating and drinking.  I last month’s measurements were taken in the early part of the day.  So, I do need to be mindful of the time of day I’m taking these measurements from here on out.  In the last month I’ve lost 6 pounds, which is the same rate as last month.

Photos

I’m wearing the exact same clothes in the photos I took last month and then again today.

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left: 3/20/14; right: 4/20/14

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left: 3/20/14; right: 4/20/14

left: 3/20/14; right: 4/20/14

I notice slight changes in my body, especially in my waist and in my back.  I’m wearing basically the same sizes I was last month, but things are getting much looser.

I’m proud of my progress in this past month, and I can’t wait to see what I can do in the month ahead.

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Spring has (almost) sprung! Which means that the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, and fitting in outdoor activities is a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of renewal, and in the spring of 2014  I’m living my life in full bloom! Now that I’m in the home stretch of my weight loss journey, all the pounds I lose this spring are just like extra petals on a flower, making my life just a bit more beautiful. I want to enjoy each day of this season, soaking in the sunshine, blue skies, and happiness. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. My Sunday progress updates will be called Super Spring Weigh-Ins.

Week 47 was back to reality – back to work after spring break.  I’m proud of how well this week went.  I planned and prepared all my meals, got in cardio workouts every day, and fit in two Tone It Up toning workouts (although I was hoping to get in a few more). Overall, it was a great week!

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 180.0, which is a loss of 5 pounds this week (!!!), and a loss of 97 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 135 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 30 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds.  Those two pounds I gained over my vacation flew off in the first two days of the week, and then the rest of the pounds came off a little at a time the rest of the week.  I haven’t had a loss this big in months!  Forgetting about the water weight of those two pounds, a 3-pound loss is a really strong loss for me, especially in a week where I didn’t get my period (I drop a lot of weight whenever that happens).

So what was different this week?  A couple of things:

  • Greens! I had green smoothies for breakfast several times this week.  I think adding the greens and the chia seeds to my morning meal helped start my day with lots of fiber (not to mention all those vitamins).  I also made sure to have a salad for lunch and/or sauteed greens for dinner.  I’m at the point in my post-op life where my system can handle more greens, which thrills me.  I love having plenty of greens in my diet, and it obviously works well with weight loss.
  • Water! I made sure to get in at least 8-10 glasses of water each day.  Even on days like Wednesday when my water intake was low by the afternoon, I made sure to make up for it in the evening with lots of herb tea. The rest of the week, the water went down fast. Yesterday I had 14 glasses!  Not only does water help with the metabolism, but it definitely fills the gap in between meals. Plus, I’m noticing that my skin always looks a lot better when I get plenty of water in throughout the day.

This week, I’m obviously going to continue more of the same on both these counts because they make me feel better and I love the results I’m getting.

In terms of my workouts, the plan for this week is to make sure I fit in Tone It Up workouts, along with cardio:
Sunday: walk with Sofi + bike ride / TIU: Easter Bunny Workout
Monday: Lateral X elliptical + walk with Sofi / TIU: Bikini Arms (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Tuesday: bike ride + walk with Sofi / TIU: Honeymoon Ready Routine
Wednesday: run/walk intervals + walk with Sofi / TIU: Sunset Yoga
Thursday: Body Combat (5:30pm) / TIU: Summer Sizzle + Short & Sweet Shoulders
Friday: Lateral X elliptical + walk with Sofi / TIU: Love Your Body w/ HIIT
Saturday: spinning + walk with Sofi

I have great meals planned this week, too:

  • breakfasts: protein shakes or green smoothies
  • lunches: salads w/ rotisserie chicken and veggies
  • snacks: Greek yogurt, Boom Chicka Pop, hard boiled eggs, mini brie and rosemary raisin crackers, cashew/pistachio nut mix
  • dinners: sauteed spinach/kale mixed with protein – mahi mahi burgers, ginger-marinated cod, chicken marinated with white wine & lemon

I’m going to try to include more hobbies (besides working out and watching TV) into my weekly routine.  This week, I want to:

  • read at least 30 minutes a day
  • blog at least three times
  • put together a photo book of my Hawaii pictures on Shutterfly (didn’t get to this last week)

One last note for today, because it is Easter Sunday.  I wrote this on MFP this morning, and I wanted to make sure to share it here, too:

On this day, where we celebrate belief and faith, I’m reminded to continue to believe in myself and have faith that I will achieve every goal I dream of. Enjoy the day!! “

Believing in myself and having faith that I can accomplish everything thing I dream has gotten me so far in this weight loss journey, and in life.  I hope that everyone reading this is able to find that same faith in themselves, because it is powerful.  If you celebrate Easter,  hope  you have a wonderful day filled with family and friends.  For those who don’t, I hope you have a terrific, relaxing Sunday doing something that makes you smile!

 

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 Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

FMM: Favorite Things

Happy Monday! Today has actually been a pretty easy transition back to the “real world” after having the week off for spring break.  As much as I hate standardized testing, it’s come in handy that we started it this week in my English classes – it makes for a smoother entry into the work week.   Because I wasn’t ready to leave Hawaii behind just quite yet, I decided to go Aloha style for my OOTD (you might’ve seen this already on Instagram, if you follow me):
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For the months of March and April, FMM is moving locations.  Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Losing Weight and Having Fun so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Favorite things

1. Favorite color? (be specific… what shade of blue/green/red etc)

hot pink  As much as I’m drawn to dark colors, my absolute favorite color is hot pink.  I’d love to get my Beetle convertible painted this color someday.

2. Favorite piece of clothing you own? I’ve been loving skirts and dresses lately, because I can wear them a lot longer than I can pants as I lose weight.  I guess I’d say my Michael Kors skirt is my favorite, because it’s so versatile. I can wear it with sweaters, tshirts, or tanks and it can change the look completely.

michael kors

3. Favorite smartphone app? I’d have to say MyFitnessPal, because I love how easy it makes logging all my food, water, and exercise.  Plus, I get so much inspiration and support from all my friends on there – I go to it multiple times a day.  If you’re on MFP, too, send me a note and add me, if you’d like.

4. Favorite city? I’d have to say San Francisco.  There’s something for everyone there – the beach, art, shopping, amazing food, nightlife, and outdoors activities.  Plus, the city itself is just so beautiful.

san-franc

The Changing Light  by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (one of my favorite poets, one of the original Beat Poets, poet laureate of SF, and owner of City Lights Bookstore):

The changing light

            at San Francisco

    is none of your East Coast light

           none of your

                   pearly light of Paris

The light of San Francisco

             is a sea light

                       an island light

And the light of fog

        blanketing the hills

    drifting in at night

           through the Golden Gate

                      to lie on the city at dawn

And then the halcyon late mornings

    after the fog burns off

      and the sun paints white houses 

                     with the sea light of Greece

      with sharp clean shadows

       making the town look like

                             it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o’clock

                                    sweeping the hills


And then the veil of light of early evening


And then another scrim

           when the new night fog

                            floats in

And in that vale of light

                   the city drifts

                           anchorless upon the ocean

5. Favorite strength training exercise? I’ve mentioned it before, but since mid January I’ve been doing the Tone It Up exercises, and I absolutely love them.  They use your own body weight, along with small dumbbells or kettlebells to tone.  The difference I see in my body is noticeable.  Plus, the routines are so fun, and the community is really supportive.

6. Favorite vegetable?  This is like asking me my favorite book – I love so many that it’s difficult to choose just one.  Maybe zucchini because there’s so much you can do with them – make “zoodles,” stuff them, bake them, sauté  them, make zucchini fries, steam them, or have them raw with a crudité.

7. Favorite hair product? (shampoo, styling, conditioner etc) I’ve been using Pureology, and I love the way that it keeps my color fresh, but I’ve been noticing that my hair is drier since I’ve started using it.  I’ve been using Redken’s Smooth Lock, too, so I’m not sure if it’s the shampoo/conditioner or the styling product that is drying it out.  Either way, I think I need to make a change and see if it helps. On a recent trip to Dry  Bar to get my hair blown out, I was amazed at how shiny my hair looked.  I love how their products smell, so I’m thinking about trying their shampoo, conditioner, and styling products for a bit to see if they work better for me.

8. Favorite animal? Is there any question that I’m going to say dogs?

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9. Favorite superhero?  

bilbl_super Super Bellina 

Oh, did you mean a comic book superhero?   Then I’d have to say Wonder Woman, I guess.  :)

10. Favorite recipe? (share the details with us)

A recipe I make again and again, in summer and winter is my version of Hungry Girl’s 10-Alarm Crockpot Turkey Chili.  It’s hearty, satisfying, delicious, easy to prepare, and has great nutritional stats.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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Spring has (almost) sprung! Which means that the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, and fitting in outdoor activities is a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of renewal, and in the spring of 2014  I’m living my life in full bloom! Now that I’m in the home stretch of my weight loss journey, all the pounds I lose this spring are just like extra petals on a flower, making my life just a bit more beautiful. I want to enjoy each day of this season, soaking in the sunshine, blue skies, and happiness. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. My Sunday progress updates will be called Super Spring Weigh-Ins.

Week 46 was amazing – I was in Hawaii enjoying the sun, sand, and sights.  I’ve been writing separate posts about all of my adventures, from snorkeling in Hanauama Bay, hiking the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, and hiking Diamond Head. The house in Kaneohe had gorgeous views, and I loved watching the sunrise every morning. I have a few more blog posts to write about my trip, which I plan on doing today.  The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be, and was definitely a reward for all my hard work this past year with my weight loss.  I loved my time in Hawaii, and the only thing I’d change next time would be having more people to hang out with…maybe even a romantic travel partner.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 185.0, which is a gain of 2 pounds this week, but a loss of 92 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 130 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 35 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. (So much for thinking I’d lost 3 pounds when I weighed myself on the scale in Hawaii the other day. It just goes to show how varied scales can be). While I never like seeing a gain, I’m not upset by this one.  Not only did I get my period this week, but I was traveling, and the plane ride alone is enough to add some water weight gain.  I know these pounds will drop off quickly this week once I settle back into my normal routines.

So, my plan for the week is to do just that, get back to what I’ve been doing because it works.  A huge part of feeling on track for me is being organized, so I spent the day yesterday unpacking, grocery shopping, and sprucing up the house.

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I bought these placemats last year, and I love that they bring a bit of Hawaii into my dining area. Plus, they’re bright and springy. The mums add a pop of white that is crisp and happy.

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These roses are from my garden in the backyard, and I absolutely love the color. They’re a bright pink/coral color, and I think they’re stunning.

Part of the groceries I bought yesterday were the makings for green smoothies.  I haven’t had a green smoothie since my surgery.  At first the greens would have been too harsh for my newly-sleeved stomach.  Then I just got into the routine of having my protein shake in the morning, and you know how it goes when you get into a routine.  But after seeing Bobbi‘s food diaries on MFP, I remembered how much I love green smoothies. I added 1 cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk, 1 1/2 scoops of Isopure zero carb vanilla protein powder, about 2 cups of this great organic baby kale & chou frise mix I got on sale at Safeway, and 1/2 a cup of mango chunks, along with a packet of Truvia.  The result? An amazing green smoothie, the color of which just reminds me of spring.  It was fresh, delicious, and really filling.  Plus, I love that I can get an additional serving or two of greens at the beginning of my day. Because I have to pull out the blender and making the green smoothie involves a bit more time, I don’t think I’ll make a green smoothie every day this week, but I do plan to have them at least a few times, and I think it’s going to be a regular weekend selection.

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Nutrition for this smoothie: 278 calories, 42g protein, 18g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g fat.

In terms of my workouts, the plan for this week is to make sure I fit in 5 Tone It Up workouts, along with cardio:
Sunday: long walk with Sofi at the LG Creek Trail
Monday: Lateral X elliptical + walk with Sofi / TIU: Santorini Bikini
Tuesday: flow yoga + walk with Sofi / TIU: Sunkissed Abs
Wednesday: early morning (4:45am!) hybrid elliptical / TIU: Bikini Booty Workout
Thursday: run/walk intervals + walk with Sofi / TIU: Set the Bar Routine (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Friday: bike ride + walk with Sofi / TIU: Pura Vida Arms
Saturday: spinning + walk with Sofi

I have great meals planned this week, too:

  • breakfasts:protein shakes or green smoothies
  • lunches: salads w/ rotisserie chicken and veggies
  • snacks: Greek yogurt, Boom Chicka Pop, hard boiled eggs, mini brie and rosemary raisin crackers, cashew/almond/mango trail mix
  • dinners: sauteed spinach/kale mix with protein – mahi mahi burgers, ginger-marinated cod, chicken marinated with white wine & lemon

Plus, this week is going to be a fairly light one at work, which is nice after a week off.

I’m going to try to include more hobbies (besides working out and watching TV) into my weekly routine.  This week, I want to:

  • read at least 30 minutes a day
  • blog at least three times
  • put together a photo book of my Hawwaii pictures on Shutterfly

I had an amazing time on my vacation, but I’m really glad to be back home with so much to look forward to in the week ahead. It’s going to be a great one!

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

One of my main goals for my Hawaiian vacation was to fill my time alone with as many fitness adventures as I could.  Since Oahu offers so many different options,  decided to do a bit of research and discovered that a 30-minute drive would bring me to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail.

There’s something very intriguing to me about lighthouses.  They’re literally guides for sailors at night, and maybe because of all the novels I’ve studied, there’s something so romantic to me about them.  I never realized how drawn to lighthouses I am until this trip, but I am going to make it a point to go to the local lighthouses we have in the San Francisco area when I get back home.

When I looked up info about the trail itself on my Trail Advisor app, it said that it was a paved trail that offered a steady incline to the top, easy to navigate for people of all fitness levels.  I knew I could make the trek, and the promise of the views along the way were all I needed to decide that this was my Tuesday morning outing.

Getting to the trail by car was an easy, beautiful drive, and because I got there early, around 8:30am, parking was a breeze.  (I’ve been on California time throughout my trip, meaning I’m waking up at 3am local time).

10006917_10151952043440426_6763370043924131053_n The hills surrounding the trail were lush and green, and the path itself was very easy to navigate.  I put on some music, and started my assent.  I was a steady incline, enough to keep my heart rate going the entire way.

1534472_10151952042795426_132579950536500944_n Before too long, I saw the ocean peeking out among the brush, and if these were the views at the start of my journey, I was anxious to see what awaited me at the top. Between my music and these views, I think I was smiling from ear to ear the whole way up.

1601506_10151952043315426_8525203781774062793_n10259743_10151952043615426_6302813055275166739_n11893_10151952043700426_7882390771869107988_n10258807_10151952043655426_5132203295441575976_n1794676_10151952044000426_1692567953378443486_n It was right around this point when the breezy morning turned super windy, and the hat I’d been wearing to protect my face from the sun flew off my head!  Luckily, I was able to snatch it from the ground before it flew away.

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I walked for a while holding the hat with one hand and my iPhone in the other. Every time I stopped to take a photo, the hat flew off – about 4 times total. Until I remembered that I could tighten it in the back.

The water below me was so blue, the sky so clear – as I walked the trail I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was to be living this life.  I’d decided that this vacation was my reward for all my hard work over the past year in accomplishing so many of my weight loss goals.  This hike wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable 132 pounds ago.  I would’ve been severely out of breath, concerned about whether or not I would make it all the way to the top, and not living in the moment and enjoying all of this natural beauty all around me.  Instead, I soaked it all in and truly felt blessed to be at this point in my life.

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Before too much longer, I was at the top of the trail, looking down at these stunning views of the surrounding area.

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10150652_10151952045015426_6540676470749329357_n It was so windy at the top that I nearly lost my iPhone capturing this shot, but it was worth it, even if it is a bit blurry, I think it helps capture the wind whipping all around.

And finally, the view I’d been waiting for all day – the lighthouse!

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It was smaller than I thought, but a true jewel on that hilltop.  I love this picture so much that I’ve made it my wallpaper on the phone.

1466037_10151952045100426_452066782254352158_n I hiked to the top of this hill, which is amazing to me!

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To offer some perspective, the parking lot is in the middle of the photo. I took this about halfway back down the trail.

There’s really no other word for this hike than glorious.  It offered everything I love – views of the ocean, a great workout, and the chance to remind myself how far I’ve come and how lucky I am.

After the hike, I noticed a spot around the corner from the parking lot that was a bit of a hidden beach, filled with black volcanic rocks where I could perch and watch the white-tipped waves crashing. It reminded me a of a place near Half Moon Bay that’s really special to me. Somehow being here all alone with no other souls in sight made it all the more special, like it was a secret spot just for me.

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I shot this quick video soon after I’d sat down on the rocks. I don’t know what I was doing with the camera angles, but I’m glad I got a bit of  video:

 I don’t know for sure that these rocks are the remnants of a volcano, but given that I’m in Hawaii, that’s the story I’m going with. I sat on the rocks for about 30 minutes, just taking in the majesty and power of the ocean. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, there’s something very spiritual about it for me.

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If you look carefully about halfway up the hill in the distance, you can spy the little lighthouse.

If you look carefully about halfway up the hill in the distance, you can spy the little lighthouse.

1546144_10151952046655426_3891003743253631992_nEven though the lighting is bad and you can hardly see my face, I wanted to make sure that I captured the fact that I was there on what was a magical morning.

 

 

bilbl_scale.jpgI usually weigh myself every single morning.  I get up, use the restroom, take off my pjs, and jump on the scale.  I use it as a check-in for how I did the day before and what I may need to do that day.  I don’t let the number define my day either way, although when I see a drop I do get a smile on my face.  I only record my weight once a week, on Sundays, because I know how much the scale can fluctuate.

This daily weighing may seem obsessive to some.  And for some people, it can be unhealthy.  But for me, I have used daily weigh-ins as a tool throughout my weight loss journey.  Longtime readers will recall that I used to avoid the scale (and recording the numbers on this blog) at all costs.  I’d go weeks without weighing in, mostly because I wanted to live in denial.  I knew how badly I’d been eating, or how much I’d overindulged, or that I’d stopped at the drive-thru one too many times, and I didn’t want to face those effects in the digital number that would show up on the scale.  At one point I moved to monthly weigh-ins, but that didn’t help my progress at all, in fact, it had the opposite effect.  When I moved to daily weigh-ins, I started to notice the trends in my body and the weight loss.  That I always gain weight right before my period, and then drop a ton the day I get it.  That eating sweets doesn’t affect my body as much as eating salty foods does; too bad I crave salty a lot more than sweet. That getting in a good workout helps me shed pounds, but overdoing it can actually make me “gain” water weight.  All of this info has helped me understand my body and the way things affect it.  Daily weigh-ins have been priceless for me.

The scale offers me motivation on the days when the numbers move slightly up and inspiration on the days when I see the numbers drop down into new weight loss territory.  The digital display offers me an accountability partner like no other. The numbers, whether positive or negative, offer me a bit of daily encouragement.

So you can imagine how out of sorts I’m feeling after being on vacation for 3 days and not weighing myself.  It’s part of my morning ritual like taking a shower or having a cup of coffee.  Without it I can survive, but things just aren’t as in sync.  I missed my usual Sunday weigh-in because I was here.  Which is totally fine. I know I’ve been eating well, have been getting in exercise, and have been staying on track.  I can feel that my clothes are fitting fine, and in some cases, a few garments feel a bit looser.  So there’s no reason to worry, and even if I come back from Hawaii up a couple of pounds, I know I  can get those off quickly.

But this morning I awoke and just had to get on the scale in the second bathroom here at the house I’m staying on vacation.  I’d just gotten my period and I knew I would see a loss.  But how accurate was this non-digital scale?  Scales can vary wildly, and who knew how this one was calibrated.  Still, it lured me.

So I got on and saw a 3-lb loss!  I did a little Hawaiian happy dance right there in the bathroom, and I’m sure Harvey the cat thought I’d lost my mind.  I didn’t record the weightloss on MFP because as I said, I have no idea how accurate this scale is, but it did give me a little pick me up and a sense of normalcy. I’m such a creature of habit, and I really like my routines. While I’m having an amazing time here in Hawaii, one thing I’m really looking forward to about going home is resuming my daily weigh-ins.

What’s the lesson here?  The scale is still a really important tool for me since I’m still in weight loss mode.  More than anything, I like the reassurance I get from it.  It’s like a trusted friend that I like checking in with everyday.

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