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Archive for the ‘preparation’ Category

I have quite a few updates to cover, so let’s dig right in, shall we?

Dating

I’m actually glad I waited to update this, because I was confused for about a week or so, and then as it usually happens, things clarified themselves pretty quickly.

Let’s start with TR.  Technically, we’re not dating, since we were getting together for dinner “as friends.”  Still, it had been a few months since we’d seen each other, and I was a bit nervous about how it would go. It was nice that TR had asked me to bring Sofi, because the dogs automatically eased whatever awkwardness there would have been.  Both dogs love playing together, something that TR commented on a few times that evening.  He’d prepared a really special dinner for me: grilled Italian sausage, risotto made from scratch, grilled onions & bell peppers, and a beautiful salad with artichoke hearts, chopped olives, tomatoes, and a yummy vinaigrette. We also had some really great red wine.  The fact that he put in so much effort to make such a lovely dinner really made me feel special.  We enjoyed the food, took a long walk after dinner with the dogs, and then came back and watched a bit of TV.  Things definitely stayed at the friend level, but being around him reminded me of how much I enjoyed hanging out with him.  We have so many things in common – our Italian heritage, our love of local sports teams, cooking/eating great food, and our dogs.  He’s classy, fun, and there’s just something there.  On my part.  And maybe on his too, because he mentioned that he never got my recipe for pesto when I cooked for him in the summer, to which I replied, “so are you saying you’d like a live demonstration?” He said he did.  So we have plans for him and his pup to come over soon so I can make pesto for him and he can copy down the recipe.  (Or maybe it’s just an excuse for us to hang out again?). One of my friends asked me why I’m still hanging out with him, because if I had my way, we’d still be dating, and he says that he doesn’t want to since I don’t want to have kids and he does.  She thinks I’m setting myself up for disappointment, and that it must be so difficult.  I told her that I really do like spending time with him, and that if I’m honest, I am hoping that somehow he changes his mind and decides that he’d like to start dating again at some point.  And besides, it’s not like I’m not dating other people and pinning all my romantic hopes on him. But I do see her point, and maybe I’ll eventually feel like the situation is too frustrating.

Moving on to the sheriff…he came over two weeks ago and we hung out watching Sunday Night Football and getting a little more physical (I’ll spare the details, nothing too serious happened). One good thing is that my worries about the way my body looks weren’t an issue that night at all.  I’ve come to realize that if I’m with the right person, someone who makes me feel like he adores me, the issues I have with my body won’t really come into play.  The evening left me very confused because I just wasn’t physically attracted to sheriff, and I’m not talking about anything that happened when we were making out, but more in just how he looks in general.  I know that sounds pretty shallow, but attraction is important.  So I began the week not knowing what I was going to do, if I wanted to continue seeing him, or if I should cut it off.  We were texting everyday, but I was moving more toward letting him go.  And then this past Tuesday, when the Ferguson verdict came out, he texted me some photos that were in very poor taste, bordering on racist.  We hadn’t even said hello or good morning, and he was sending me photos about the looting and rioting that were really disgusting.  Not that I condone looting and rioting, but I know he was doing it to see if he could get me going. I didn’t reply to the first photo, because he’d sent it in a group text, but after the second photo came through to just me, I had to respond:

Me: not funny

Sheriff: I think it’s hilarious

Me: that’s the crux of the problem

Sheriff: (I won’t repeat his response, but he went into this whole diatribe about how the liberal media was making it about race, when it clearly wasn’t about race)

WTF? Is he serious right now?  This was just too much for me.

Me: Listen, I don’t want to debate this with you. Those pictures you sent me were in poor taste and showed a side of yourself that I don’t want to get to know better.

And that was that.  Problem solved.  Confusion over.  No response, and we’re done.  And to be honest with you, I haven’t given him a second thought since.  I knew that dating someone who holds such different ideologies from me wouldn’t work.  At first I thought his views were more moderate, but those photos and his subsequent response showed that he and I hold much different views on race, justice, etc.  So it’s time to move on.  And before you think I’ve made these decisions because of TR, I didn’t.  The confusion with the sheriff started before I went over to TR’s for dinner, although after the dinner I did feel like the connection I feel with TR was lacking with the sheriff.

At the moment there are no other people on eHarmony that I’m interested in, but I get new matches daily, so who knows.  Plus, I’m actually hoping to just meet someone when I’m out and about.  There’s no rush, and I don’t feel any pressure to “get a boyfriend,” so I’m just going to stay open and see who comes my way.

Health

These past couple of months my weight has been at a standstill.  Mostly because I haven’t been putting as much effort into working out and eating as I should have been.  I haven’t been going wild with food, and I have been getting in workouts a few times a week, but I’ve basically been in maintenance mode. Which actually makes me happy to know that I can successfully maintain my weight…when the time comes.  But that time isn’t here yet.  I have 20 pounds or so to lose, and I’m determined to get back on the losing track.

I know lots of people would look at the calendar, see the holiday season coming, and say, just get back to it in January.  But that’s not me.  Why let a whole month go by without working towards my goals?  After all, I’m not that into sweets, so holiday treats don’t tempt me, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are just two days, two meals, really.  So there’s no reason not to start back tomorrow, December 1st.

As luck would have it, I was on Instagram the other day when I saw that Fit Girls Worldwide posted about a Winter Wonderland 28-Day Challenge that was beginning December 1st.  So I decided to buy their guide and join in on it.

The meal plan is fairly simple, full of well-balanced meals that are pretty easy to make.  The guide comes with a shopping list for the week, which makes it very convenient.  Because the meal plan is all about eating clean, healthy food, it does require meal prep.  Luckily I don’t mind cooking, and I love that the guide gives tips on how when to prep which meals, which makes it very organized.  I am going to have to modify the portions, but other than that, the meal plan looks good.  At first I was put off a bit that there are only two different dinner ideas for the week, because I am all about variety. Then I realized that the meal guide is perfectly planned so that it uses up all the food on the shopping list for the week, and I know that I normally throw out extra food that I can’t eat when I cook too many different dinners. So sacrificing a bit of  variety for less food waste is something I’m willing to try.  The plan doesn’t include as much protein at each meal as I’m used to having, but I’m willing to give it a shot for 28 days to see how it works.

Making December Spectacular

My goal for this week is to be active each day, include 5 TIU workouts, stick to this new food plan, and check in a lot on Instagram.  I’m looking forward to starting the last month of the year tomorrow with a renewed energy and a great plan.  I’m motivated and excited!

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 64 was quite a whirlwind, evidenced by the fact that I skipped reporting on Week 63 last week (I actually didn’t have a loss during Week 63), and missed my usual weigh-in report this Wednesday.  Nevertheless, this week was an amazing one for so many reasons.  I started a new job, was getting used to an entirely new schedule, enjoyed a great Trombone Shorty concert on Wednesday, and spent time with friends at the Italian Festa yesterday.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 175.2, which is a loss of 2.2 pounds this week, and a loss of 101.8 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 139.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 25.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really excited with my weight loss progress this week, because my schedule was such a drastic change from what I’ve been used to.  Not only are my lazy days of summer gone, but this new position has me running around to 5 different campuses, scheduling multiple meetings a day, and working longer hours in the office than I would as a teacher.  I tried my best to wake up at 5am to get workouts in before work, but wasn’t able to any of the days.  Still, I packed my gym bag and went after work a few times, even though I was dog-tired.  I also took the time on Monday night to prep meals for the week, making sure I stayed on track.  I’m really proud of my commitment to my health in the face of all these extra responsibilities.

To set myself up for success this week, I’m going to meal prep tonight.  Breakfasts are easy – my protein shakes are simple to make and help me keep my protein intake high.  Lunches that I’ve been loving are salads made of spinach paired with all sorts of protein – tuna, chicken, and shrimp.  Dinners this week will be a nice combo of protein,  veggies, and complex carbs: lentils with turkey meatballs and spinach, mahi mahi burgers and zoodles, and chicken with summer squash.

I’m still going to give it my best to get up and workout before I head into work, but I am also ok with my backup plan of hitting the gym after work.  The gym is on my way home, so it makes it convenient to stop in before I get too relaxed.  Plus, working out after work is a great way to switch gears from work mode to relaxation mode.  I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to workout in the mornings these first few weeks, until I get used to my new schedule.  As long as I get my workouts in, that’s all that really matters.

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

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(I used the Rhonna Designs app on my iPhone to make this pic. I used this picture I took from my recent visit to Santa Cruz Boardwalk).

1.  This is my last Friday of summer vacation. 😦  This time next Friday I’ll be at a “Welcome Back” meeting for the start of the new school year for our first teacher workday.  My plan for the day is to spend it the way I’ve spent the entire summer – a combo of fitness and fun.  Fitness: a session on my home elliptical, walking the dogs with my dad, and swimming some laps. Fun: a bit of shopping (just took advantage of Victoria Secret’s most recent email offer), reading poolside, and a possible date later tonight.

2. This week has been a very social one, getting together with lots of friends that I’ve known since high school, which I’ve loved.  That’s one of the huge distinctions between my life now and my life before I lost all the weight.  I was always a social, extroverted person, but I often felt a bit depressed about the way I looked. Not to mention the clothing issue – I always tried to look my best, but nothing ever fit the way it should’ve.  I can’t count the number of times I turned down an invitation or made some excuse just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all of that.  Now, I have tons of clothes in the closet that look great and make me feel fantastic.  Now, I am happy and excited when someone suggests going out.  I’m actually getting teary-eyed thinking about what a huge switch this is.  Just one more thing to be so grateful for about this new life.

3. I’ve been getting into Instagram a lot this summer, as you can tell by my feed on the right.  I post daily check-ins for my workouts and lots of pics of other things that just strike my fancy.  While I’ve been off, it’s been easy and really fun. This month I’m participating in three different photo-a-day contests, and I’m hoping I can keep up with them once school starts. If you haven’t joined a photo-a-day contest, I righly recommend them…maybe not just three in one month.  Still, the contests are a great way for me to stay focused on fitness, get motivated, and inspire myself and others with all the photos.

2014-08-02 08.50.30One is for the TIU community,

2014-08-01 12.17.59 one is hosted by @MoxieFitchick,

photoand the third is the Active Living Challenge with Fit Approach and Lorna Jane Active.

4. In anticipation of the school year starting in about a week, I spent a good portion of the day yesterday mapping out my school year workout plans in my iCal.  Since I have a morning prep period on my B days (which means I can get to school a bit later than normal) I’m going to fit in early morning fitness classes at the gym several times a week.  The live Insanity class that I tried a few weeks ago is now offered Tuesday mornings at 5:45am, and I’ll be there whenever Tuesday is a B day.  I’m also going to spinning at least once a week at 5:45am.  I’m still undecided about what I’ll do on my A days, when I need to leave my house by 7am.  Towards the end of last year I was waking up at 4:30am to do a morning workout, but that is just SO early.  Although it’s not ideal, I think I may go back to afternoon workouts on A days, because I really did enjoy them and they’re a great way to relieve the stress of the day.

5. 2014-08-07 12.40.49 Kandis, one of the TIUgirls, mentioned a week or two ago that she had started reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles.  Who doesn’t want “subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness” right? The reviews and general internet buzz about the book was so positive that I thought I’d give it a try.  Have you read it?  What are your thoughts?  What book are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

That’s my Friday Five – I’m off to enjoy some pool time.

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Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of fun and exciting adventures.

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 62 was another great one. I got in good, solid workouts all week…that is until I went to a SJ Giants game on Saturday night and got hit in the ankle with a stray ball.  Ouch!  It immediately bruised and swelled up, prompting two unplanned rest days on Sunday and Monday.  Thankfully, yesterday I was able to get in a good sweat session on the stationary bike, and I even took Sofi for a quick walk around the neighborhood last night, so I’m on the mend.  The highlight of the week – the highlight of the summer – was riding roller coasters at Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The week was also filled with fun with friends & family – lunches, a shopping splurge, a picnic at a free summer concert, and a movie with my dad.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 177.4, which is a loss of 1 pound this week, and a loss of 99.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 137.6 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 27.4 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m actually really happy with my loss this week because my ankle is still pretty swollen, which may mean I’m retaining a bit of water.  Either way, it’s a loss during a week where I enjoyed lots of great food and didn’t get to work out as hard as I would’ve hoped the past few days. Still, I’m really glad that I’m seeing numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen since my early 20’s.  My body is looking fit, lean, and strong.  Even my thighs, which are my major problem zone, are showing improvement. I’m at such a great place in this journey, and even though the progress is slow, I’m proud that I am still making progress.

One week from today I’ll be at a professional development day for the new school year, followed by another on Thursday, and then the first required teacher workday at my school.  Which means I have one week left of summer vacation!  This summer has really flown by.  I’ve had a great, relaxing, rejuvenating summer.  There wasn’t a “wow” trip, but it was filled lots of other little moments that I’ll relish.  Almost-daily morning workouts with Tinkerbell to begin the day in a fantastic way, dates that gave me butterflies, tending to my beautiful flowers in my garden, loud laughter over drinks with the girls, fun bike rides all around the neighborhood, quiet talks with best friends, picnics at our weekly music concerts in the neighborhood, fun with my nieces (including a Zia and me day), shopping trips splurging on new items, tons of time with Sofi, and lots of time spent driving the Beetle with the top down, and lots of meals shared with the people I care about most.  I did every single thing on my #createyoursummer list (except that Hawaiian-themed party), which makes me immensely happy. I really lived life, got out and got social, and made each moment count. So many fun memories that will carry me through those crazy days of the coming school year.  One of the things I’m planning to do over the next week is to print out a bunch of the hundreds of pictures I snapped this summer to put them up in my classroom.  The kids love seeing the photos, and I do, too.  It’s a way to carry the magic of the summer throughout the rest of the year.

My goal for this week is to make the most of it.  To enjoy every minute and create more memories to add to my summer collection.  2014-06-21 07.44.31

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

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 61 was awesome!  Not only did I enjoy my increased calorie intake, but I got in 6 days of solid workouts (which helped me exceed my goal of #150bysummer!), and I finally made it to the beach for the first time this summer.  With only two weeks left before I start my teacher meetings, I’m determined to make each day count.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 178.4, which is a loss of 2.4 pounds this week, and a loss of 98.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 136.6 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 28.4 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really excited to see a significant loss like this on the scale, because it’s been awhile!  Increasing my daily calories to around 1000 net calories per day is working well; it keeps me really satisfied throughout the day and it also curbs any cravings I may have. This morning’s weigh in marks my lowest weight on the scale in the last 20+ years, and I can’t wait to keep hitting new “lows” as these weeks continue.

One NSV that I’d like to share happened yesterday, on #TransformationTuesday, appropriately enough.  When I was originally asked to be a SweatPink Ambasador, one of the cool things the Fit Approach crew does is send out pink shoelaces and a SweatPink tank.  The shoelaces were no problem. The tank, though, didn’t fit, not by a LONG shot.  I ordered the largest size available, and there was no way on earth that it was going to fit me.  So I put it away for all this time.  Over two years it sat on a shelf, just waiting for the day when I could put it on.  For some reason, I decided to give it a try yesterday.  And you know what, it not only fit, but I was really happy with how I looked in it.

Here’s my post to the FB group:

SPAFB

I’m floored that 145 people “liked” my post!

Better than that was that when I posted about it on the SweatPink Ambassadors’ Facebook page, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Lately I’ve been seeing myself as a fit person, which is amazing to me.  For so many years I  was the “pretty plus-sized girl,” but now I’m proud of the body that I have.  I’m not hiding it behind loose clothes and layers, I’m wearing form-fitting outfits that show off my strong legs, shapely waist, curvy booty, and arms that are beginning to show some definition.  I love the way I’ve transformed, and I’m really enjoying dressing this new physique.  I like showing it off a bit, which is such a switch from the years of camouflaging my flaws.   Yes, I still have things I want to work on, but I’m happy to let the real me SHINE.

choosetoshine

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

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 60 was quite a mix.  I started off the week pretty strong – eating well and working out.  Then on Thursday, I got some really disappointing news and took a bit of a downward turn on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday I’d sort of pulled it together, and I’ve been going really strong since Monday.  Whew! Did you follow all that?

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 180.8. Technically, this is a gain from last week (2 lbs), but I went up over the weekend (<4 lbs), so this is a 2.8 lb loss since I weighed in on Monday.  I’ve lost 96.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 134.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 30.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds.

I’m not thrilled with myself that I let my emotions get the better of me on Friday and Saturday and spent much of the time sitting on the couch snacking.  I did get out with friends on Friday night, but that led to quite a few cocktails, which also had an adverse affect on my weight.  Could I have handled things differently?  Of course.  Was it a human response that I got under control after two days of wallowing?  Yes.  So I’m actually pretty proud of my ability to bounce back and move on from heartbreak.

The thing I’m actually excited to talk about today is the way I’ve tweaked my eating plan since Monday.  One of my pals on MyFitnessPal messaged me on Monday, asking about the idea of upping calories.  She’s about 6 months out from VSG surgery, and had an appointment with her doctor and nutritionist where they told her they wanted her to start eating more calories. Specifically, that they wanted her to get 1000 net calories per day.  She’s been following my food diaries from the beginning, and has modeled the way she eats after me – trying to eat a balanced diet of protein, veggies, and carbs.  Mostly whole foods, with the occasional treat thrown in.  She said she was hesitant to raise her calories, but tried it for one week, and after stalling on the scale two weeks in a row, she lost 5 pounds the week she upped her calories!

As you guys know, I’ve been basically the same weight for the past several months.  Even though I’ve been eating well, working out, getting lots of water, etc., my weight loss has basically become very stagnant.  I know it’s because I have so few pounds to lose to get to goal (compared to how many I had to lose to begin with)When I went to my 1-year follow up appointment, the nutritionist recommended that I increase my calories to 1200 per day, but I really didn’t think much of that advice, and just continued my normal eating.  Which meant eating between 850-950 calories a day, about 500-650 net calories.  Which is very low, when I think about it in those terms.  Now that I’m post-VSG I will never consume the amount of calories that someone with a normal stomach can, but I have been wanting to change something with my eating to see if I could shake up my body and amp up my weight loss. It makes sense that at this point post-op my body is getting too used to so few calories, and might even be in a bit of “starvation mode.” Although it’s much different for me with only 20% of a normal stomach, I do think upping my calories and eating more frequently will jumpstart my metabolism and lead to weight loss.

Actually, I don’t “think,” I know. I lost 2.8 pounds since Monday following the 1000 net calorie plan.  What I’ve come up with is adding in more snacks throughout the day, as well as incorporating some higher calorie, but very good for me, foods. For example, yesterday:

breakfast

A yummy green smoothie

Morning Snack

Morning Snack

A really great salad

A really great salad

Afternoon snack

Afternoon snack

Caprese salad and a tiny bit of pasta

Caprese salad and a tiny bit of pasta

Evening snack/dessert

Evening snack/dessert

Daily Total: 1437 calories, 102g protein, 138g carbs, 35g fiber, 68g fat! Net calories: 979.

The thing I like about increasing my calories this way is that I am eating foods that I’ve shied away from because they had more calories, but that I love. I’ve noticed that I haven’t had any cravings, either, because I know that I’ll be enjoying something I like soon enough.  I’m going to give it until next Wednesday and see if the results continue.  If not, I can always go back to what I was doing before. But I have a strong feeling this is going to work well.

Workouts are going great, and I love being able to workout first thing in the morning.  The realization hit me today that I only have 2 1/2 weeks before I start my teacher meetings and school starts, and I’m very grateful that I will have a morning prep so I can continue the beginning of the day workouts without having to get up at 4am!

My goal for these next 2 1/2 weeks is to enjoy every bit of summer vacation that I can.  Which means going to the beach, riding roller coasters at the Boardwalk, hitting the road for a girls’ trip to Long Beach, and simply enjoying the quiet moments in my backyard with Sofi.

This week is all about being open to changes. I’m grateful that I’m someone who embraces change – it’s needed and necessary.

2014-04-06 19.15.38

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

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 59 was great!  I spent 1 1/2 of the days at the beginning of the week in Sacramento at a teaching conference.  The weekend was full of activity, and the past few days were just fun.  It was a busy week, with lots of eating out, yet I’m proud of how well I stuck to my plan and fit in all the exercise.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 178.8, which is a loss of 1 pound this week, and a loss of 98.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 136.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 28.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. This is a solid loss for a week that was completely outside my normal routine.  Not only that, but this week’s weigh-in takes me to my lowest weight as an adult, which is exciting!  I’m also really happy to see a loss after a few weeks of maintenance spurred on by indulgences.  Not to mention the fact that weight loss is so much more difficult at this stage of the journey.

Now that I have less than 30 pounds to go to get to my ultimate goal weight, weight loss has really slowed down.  I know it doesn’t help that I’ve been going out a lot, drinking more alcohol than normal, and enjoying the summer to the fullest.  Not that a healthy eating plan can’t include meals out or cocktails, but let’s be honest, there are a lot more calories when you eat that way.  So, it’s a balancing act – I want to continue my active social life, but I have to keep my focus strong so that I can continue to see losses on the scale.

My workouts are the things that haven’t suffered one iota in all of this merriment, and for that I’m eternally grateful.  I absolutely love working out – the way I can move my body, the ways I can push myself to new levels, and of  course the proud feeling I get after a kickass workout. I’ve really discovered how much better morning workouts make me feel, and I am looking forward to continuing those during the school year.  This week I’ve got a couple new workouts planned, which should be fun to try.  Working out has really become my major hobby; it’s not just something that I get through, but something that I enjoy.

At this stage in my journey, I am content.  I still have pounds to lose to get to my goal weight, but I’m very pleased with the way that I look and feel right now.  I’m not ready to call this my goal weight or to say that I’m in maintenance, but I am also very happy with the person I am right now in this very moment.  That’s something I’ve never experienced before.  I like the woman who is reflected back at me in the mirror.  I enjoy shopping for clothes at this size, and the admiring looks I get from men as I walk down the street/in the mall/at the grocery store. Not to mention the fact that I can run up a flight or two of stairs without getting the least bit winded.  I’m still striving towards my goal, but I’m loving the NOW, too.

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

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bilbl_superI had so much fun challenging myself to the Tone It Up #150bysummer goal (I exceeded it by 5 miles and logged 155 miles) that I didn’t want to see it end right when summer is just starting.

For me, summer is the time that I get in lots of daily workouts, because:

  • it’s something I can do by myself or with friends
  • it gets me outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather
  • it’s very inexpensive
  • it fills my time off in a very productive way
  • I love the way I feel while/after I’m working out

This morning on FB, Kandis TIU, who is a huge supporter of the entire TIU Community, made an adorable chart for tracking our cardio miles. She purposely made it blank at the top so that we could edit it and use it for our own purposes.  So, I thought I’d put out a summer challenge that we can all do together.

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Bella’s Summer Challenge: #150byBacktoSchool

The way the TIU miles work is simple.  If you can count miles, like when you’re walking or running, do that. If you’re biking, you’re supposed to divide your mileage by 3 (so if you biked for 12 miles, you’d only count 4 miles into your totals). If you’re doing a class or some other form of cardio, 1 mile = 10 minutes of intense cardio.

Since I was able to do 155 miles in the 8 weeks of the Bikini Series (and that was with me taking about a week and a half off), I figured we should all be able to log 150 miles in the 8 weeks between now and the time I go back to school, August 15th (my first teacher workday). I’ll be using Instagram/Twitter to keep myself accountable, using the hashtags: #150byBacktoSchool and #BellasSummerChallenge. Be sure to tag me @bellablogger on Instagram or Twitter so that I can see how well you’re doing.  And because I love incentives, I’ll be doing a small giveaway for the people who log the most miles/check in often.

Use the chart above and mark off your miles each day, along with a pic of you doing the activity, and a cool quote, if you’d like.  My favorite apps to jazz up photos are Rhonna Designs, A Beautiful Mess, and InstaPic Frames. I’ll post my favorites each week on this blog, along with my totals so far so that we can encourage each other.

Are you in?

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 55  has been wonderful! Even though it’s summer vacation, and I haven’t had to go into work, I have been really busy each day.  I’m hoping that things will slow down a little bit, so that I have more time to spend relaxing.  Still, staying busy and active is a great way to stay on track, so I’m not complaining.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 179.6, which is a loss of 0.4 pounds this week***,and a loss of 97.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 135.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 29.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m in the 170s!!!  Just barely, but hey, I’ll take it! Especially after having a stall in my weight loss that lasted 6 weeks.  ***I have the stars by this week’s weight loss because I actually lost 6.2 pounds from June 8 to June 15 because I’d gained 5 pounds of water weight during the last two weeks of school when things got crazy and I stopped working out for a week and wasn’t making the best food choices.  I knew the weight would come off quickly, and it did.  And it got me down to the 170s.  But since my last reported weight on this blog was 180, I’m going to keep it simple and say that I’ve lost 0.4 this week.  (I have it all documented on MFP for accuracy).  Another reason I have the stars by my weight this morning is that I’ve been fairly constipated this week even though I’ve been drinking plenty of water.  I know it’s because I got out of my habit of taking the fiber supplement, and I need to get back to it, ASAP, because I don’t like this feeling.  So I’m guessing that I’ve actually lost more weight than the scale showed this morning, but I want to go with what the actual numbers were, so that’s what I’m reporting.

I’m really happy with the way I’ve been eating.  It’s nice to have so many more choices of fruits and veggies during the summer, and of course, I love being able to grill my proteins every night.  Eating in the summer is just so much easier – I just naturally make lighter, healthier choices, even when going out.  For example, I joined Tinkerbell and her hubby for happy hour at The Fish Market on Monday evening, and enjoyed some delicious oysters on the half shell.  I know raw oysters aren’t everyone’s thing, but to me they are the essence of summertime – fresh, light, and salty.  Yum!  I also enjoyed a couple of pieces of sushi along with most of a small fish taco along with some wine.  Light bites that were highly enjoyable yet totally within my food budget.  I love being able to go out socially, but not overindulge. The same thing happened with our Father’s Day BBQ – we planned a menu that worked well for the way I like to eat, and it was really delicious.  What are your favorite, healthy summer meals?

Exercising has been fantastic.  Most mornings I’ve been meeting Tinkerbell to workout at 7 or 7:30, which is a great way to start the day.  It’s early enough to give me the rest of the day to do whatever I need to, but not crack-of-dawn early like I was doing during the school year. I also met up with a co-worker, and she and I have plans to do a stair workout on Friday. While I enjoy working out alone, it’s definitely fun to meet up with friends and catch up while getting the workout in. I’ve been keeping the variety in my workouts by doing spinning, elliptical, C25K, walks with Sofi, and of course, the ToneItUp toning workouts. This coming week I want to take a few more fitness classes, like Body Combat, and work in some yoga sessions, too.

I have two NSVs to share, both of which are really exciting!  A while ago I was talking with Scale Warfare, who had VSG surgery about two years before I did.  I was telling her about how the jiggliness of my thighs was making it really difficult to buy comfy yoga pants.  Sure, I could fit into smaller sizes, but a lot of the thinner, summer-friendly yoga pants weren’t working with all the extra wiggle I had going on now that I’d lost so much weight and had the excess skin in my thighs.  She suggested that I try Victoria’s Secret yoga pants, because while they were thin and light, they were also fairly good at ‘sucking it all in.’ So a couple of weeks ago I when they were having a sale, I went on the site and ordered VS Most-Loved Yoga Crops in a size Large! I wasn’t sure A.) if they would fit and B.) how they would look if I could get them on.  They came in the mail yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more pleased! They fit great, really hold things in, and are still really light and comfy.  If loose skin/jiggly thighs are at all an issue for you, I’d highly recommend them.

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The 2nd NSV is something I’m super proud of.  This morning I tackled C25K, Week 5, Day 2, which includes a 5 min. walking warmup, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of brisk walking, 8 minutes of running, and a 5 minute cool down.  And I did it!! I’ve started C25K two other times – once when I was way too heavy to run and then more recently after my surgery.  The first time, I was repeating the weeks two times, and I couldn’t make it to running more than 90 seconds at a time, because my poor body just couldn’t do it.  The second time, I stopped at Week 5; I just couldn’t run for 5 minutes in a row.  I could do 3 or even 4, but not 5.  So today when I was running for 8 whole minutes without stopping, and feeling really strong in my run, I amazed myself!  The key, besides being at my lightest weight in the past 20-something years, is that I’m taking the runs very slowly.  I’m at a 4.3mph run, which is just fine by me if it means that I can run for that duration and feel good.  I did move it up to 4.5mph with two minutes to go and felt good, and then “sprinted” up to 5.omph the last 30 seconds, just to see if I could.  And I did!  5.0mph isn’t a pace I can sustain right now, but it is kind cool that I can keep up with it for a very short duration.  This is all so exciting! I will say I’m a bit nervous about Friday’s run: 20 minutes of straight jogging!! But I know I can do it if I just keep my mind positive and my breathing steady. Plus, it’s right on track with my goal of running the entire MOOnlight 5K on July 12th.

Today’s quote is perfect.  It speaks to this person I’ve become – the woman who is unafraid of challenges in every aspect of her life, which finally also includes weight loss and fitness.  I have created a wonderful, vibrant life for myself, and it’s so exciting to be living it to the fullest.

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

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bilbl_shoppingsofi I’ve been so excited to write this post, and couldn’t wait to find a few spare moments to do it.  The week before last, the POPSugar MustHave Box for June arrived on my doorstep.  As a POPSugar Select Blogger, I love getting perks like this!

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One of the best things about subscribing to the POPSugar MustHave Boxes is that excitement of not knowing exactly what you’re going to get, but knowing that the box is going to be filled with things you’re going to love.  This box for June completely exceeded any expectations I had.

2014-06-02 16.15.47 My eyes popped as soon as I opened the paper and revealed Emily Giffin’s newest novel, The One and Only! This has been on my To Read list on Goodreads for months, and to have it as the first thing I saw in the June box was a great way to begin the unveiling!  Giffin’s writing is engaging and easy, perfect for a summer beach book.

2014-06-02 16.15.59Next up were these sassy, lemon-scented wet wipes from You Smell soap.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I think they’re going to be a really refreshing way to clean up on the go.  I have them in my “on the go” bag in the trunk of my Beetle convertible, so they’ll be ready when I need them.

2014-06-02 16.16.29 This next item is my favorite of the whole box. I’d never heard of SachaJuan before, but after using this body lotion, I have found my go to scent for summer.  (I wish they made a body spritz or perfume!).  This Shiny Citrus scent is so clean and light, and has notes of jasmine and grapefruit.  The lotion itself is a thin consistency so that it sinks into  the skin quickly, and doesn’t leave you feeling “gloppy.”  I love it!  So much so that the shower gel is on my birthday wishlist.  This product is a great example of why I like the POPSugar MustHave boxes – I discovered something that I absolutely adore, and would’ve never found on my own.

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The Turkish Towel was the next item I unwrapped from the box, and I actually used it last Friday when I went to the movies.  This towel is great because you can use it double-duty.  It’s a good size for lying at the beach, on a picnic, etc, but it’s so pretty that it works well as a wrap on a breezy summer night.  Which is exactly how I used it on Friday.  The weight is perfect to throw over your shoulders, and the color is so pretty, and goes well with lots of outfits.  This is another item I popped into my “on the go” bag so that I’m ready for whatever adventures this summer brings.

2014-06-02 16.17.47 Since I’m still on a weight loss journey and don’t really indulge in potato chips, I shared this bag with my nieces, who absolutely loved them.  My sister liked that they were all natural.
2014-06-02 16.17.57 When I saw these lollies hair ties in the MustHave box, it was like POPSugar had read my mind.  I really needed some new pretty ones, now that my hair is finally long enough to pull back in a ponytail.  These are so perfect for workouts, bike rides, or anytime I want to get my hair out of my face.  I already have one in my makeup bag and one in the “one the go” bag.
2014-06-02 16.18.25 Last but not least, there was a $15 voucher from Native Union, which sells “geeky gadgetry.”

This POPSugar MustHave box was filled with so many goodies, and definitely well worth the price of a subscription.  If you’d like to get it for yourself, I can offer readers  my special POPSugar Select Blogger coupon code to get $10 off of a 3-month subscription. Here are the coupon details:

Code: JUNESELECT10

Type: Save $10 on a 3-month subscription

End Date: 6/30/14
Let me know in the comments which item you’re most looking forward to!

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Disclaimer: POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

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