Posts Tagged ‘happy’

reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 21: Strange Encounters
Encounters | What thing did you keep encountering this year over and over again?  Was it something you learned from or just a strange coincidence?

This prompt wasn’t an easy one for me to answer.  Nothing jumps out at me as coming up over and over again throughout the year.  I mean, I could of course talk about weight loss or fitness, but I’ve already done that so much in the other prompts, that it seems a bit repetitive.

I guess I’ll say this… As I’ve lost weight and posted progress photos on Facebook, this blog, etc, or when people have seen me in real life, they keep saying the same thing.  That I’m glowing, that I look so happy.  And while I think I’ve always been a positive, happy person, even at my highest weight, my true happiness might have been overshadowed by my frustration with my weight.  Now that I’ve shed so much of that frustration along with all the weight, I do feel that my outward appearance finally fits with the person I’ve always known I am on the inside.

So I guess I keep encountering a happier me, and it definitely is no coincidence.



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Yesterday was a really fantastic day, even though it marked the official end of my summer vacation.  I was back at school helping with registration, which isn’t something I love doing, but yesterday it was actually a really pleasant experience.

You see, I saw tons of my students who were in my honors English 3 class last year, and when they saw me, the ran up to me, hugged me, told me how much they’d missed me, and told me how great I was looking.  Talk about an ego boost!  These are seniors in high school, mind you.  If you’ve spent any time around 17-18-year-olds, you know that compliments aren’t easily given, which makes them all the more valued.  I just can’t explain the feeling I had knowing that these kids were so happy to see me, and to see me doing so well.  I was on cloud nine.

Then this morning I weighed myself (as I do most mornings), and I saw that four things had happened:

  1. I’ve broken my mini stall.
  2. I’ve officially lost 75 pounds from my highest weight!
  3. I’ve lost as much post-op as I had pre-op.
  4. I’m now in the 230s, which is down to a level that I briefly saw on the scale back in 2008, but my time there was so fleeting that it lasted less than 3 months.

The best thing about this number is that I know I will never see it again.  Like, no doubt about it, know it in my heart for sure.  That certainty is something I have never experienced before.  Hoped, yes, but known with certitude, never.  And this new fact of my life is fantastic.

All of these positives overflow into all other areas of my life.  After I’d posted on FB that I’d had a great day with the students yesterday, someone commented that I have this glow about me now.  And I think she’s right, I do.  I’ve always tried to be a positive person, but I’m exuding it now.  Because finally, after so many years of perseverance and strength of conviction, I am seeing the results I always knew I had in me.  I am reaching the goals I was striving for.  I’m surpassing abilities I even knew I had.  My outside is starting to match the me I always had inside.

As this new version of me emerges, I know my life is only going to become better, richer, more fulfilling, and happier.  I’m excited to start this part of the journey, because this is where the magic happens!!!

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As I walked around my neighborhood with Sofi on our morning walk, I saw most of the houses proudly flying the American flag. It filled me with pride, and reminded me how lucky I am to live in such an amazing neighborhood, but more importantly, in this country. Happy 4th, everyone!


Since today is Thursday, in addition to being the 4th of July, I figured it was a great time for my first official Throwback Thursday photo.  Celebrations abound today, so why not a little one for me?


On the left, taken 5/17/13 (3 days before surgery). On the right, taken 6/29/13, ~6 weeks post op. I’m down 22 lbs since surgery, 60 lbs overall (since Dec. 2012).

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bilbl_shoppingWhat a spectacular day it’s been, and it’s only about half over! I think every weekend I’m going to start writing a post called either #SaturdayScenes or #SundayScenes, depending on which day is filled with more fun. Who knows, some weekends it might be both. As I was posting photos on Instagram today, I made up the hashtag, and I think it will be fun to keep it as a regular feature on the blog.

So, for those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram (bellablogger), you’ve seen these photos, but I thought it would be nice to be able to write a bit more about each of them, as well.

422367_10151164129475426_268559075_nI started out this morning with my first Zumba class in months, and it felt so great to get back to it. I was so eager to give my Blochs a whirl, and so thankful that my heel is feeling better and the PF is giving me a lot less pain. I adore the energy of the class: the music, the movement, the smiles! I brought my friend Ani with me to the class, and it wiped her out! She said she really enjoyed it, but that she wasn’t sure how much more she would be able to do the rest of the day. I’m feeling sore already, but that great kind of sore where you know you used muscles that you haven’t used in forever. Zumba @ 10am on Saturdays is permanently in my iCal (except when I’m proctoring the SAT).

Today when I met Ani at the gym, she told me that she could definitely tell that I’d lost weight since she’d last seen me (NYE), and that made me feel so good!  This week has been fantastic with food & exercise, so I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s scale check-in.

580689_10151164411020426_1570796410_n Just look at that blue sky! Yes, it was 50 degrees and really chilly out, but the sun was shining and it was so clear that I just couldn’t resist putting the top down on the Beetle. (It’s funny that here in the Bay Area we’re bracing ourselves for the extreme cold (it’s been dipping below freezing at night), and my friend in Pennsylvania was saying that it was 50 there and she was out enjoying her garden. It’s all about perspective!). I felt so invigorated (and so hot) after the Zumba class, that I wanted to feel the breeze as I made my way to Sprouts to pick up my produce for the week for the week.

20130112-162159.jpg My haul from Sprouts. I got veggies, snacks (more on that in a minute), pb, tea, and almond milk for the week for $52. Not bad, at all. My Lean Cuisines/soups/Healthy Choice dinners add another $14, so my total grocery bill is $66 for the week – a far cry from $165/week that I was paying when I was on JC, right? I’m happy to say that my own version of it is working just a well, too. (More on that tomorrow for my weigh-in).

20130112-163344.jpg This is the snack find that made me smile today.  Wasabi Ginger Kettle Corn?  C’mon!  The stats are great, too.  I love the way it tastes, although I wish it was a bit “zingy-er” aka had a bit more heat from the wasabi.  Then again, I love things spicy!  I looked it up for you guys, and it looks like this is sold at Whole Foods and Cost Plus World market, too.  If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

20130112-162210.jpg So that was the first half of my Saturday.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is an action shot (no doubt illegal) driving home with the top down.

1091185-football_49ers_extended_large And now, I’m going to watch my 49ers kick some Packer ass!

How did you spend your Saturday?

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I first wrote this back in 2007, but since today is my 40th birthday, I thought I’d share it with you.

Growing up, I loved having my birthday in the summer because it meant I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday. Sure, I missed out on cupcakes with the class, but I got fireworks. I think in that trade-off, I got the better deal, don’t you? A summer birthday meant that most people were more relaxed and ready to have fun.

My parents always made birthdays a big deal. Bigger than Christmas, because it was YOUR special day. My sister and I would get lots of presents, sure, but the best part about our birthdays was that the whole day felt like a huge celebration. The birthday girl got to decide what we had for dinner that night — whether it was a favorite recipe that Mom made or a restaurant you wanted to try out. Since my birthday fell in the summer, we usually took some kind of day trip for my birthday. We could go anywhere I wanted to — San Francisco, Santa Cruz, a movie at the mall, whatever. Birthdays are usually celebrations, but in my family, they were like our own special holiday.

When I got old enough to work, I always took my birthday off, because it was my special day. As a teenager, I’d usually do the family thing in the morning and earlier part of the day and then hang out with friends later. Or, we’d all go out to dinner, my parents’ treat.

In my late teens and early 20s boyfriends didn’t always understand why birthdays were such a big deal. (Probably because they didn’t grow up with my mom who got so excited when one of our birthdays was coming up). I’d try to explain, and they finally got the hint that if they were going to stick around for awhile they’d better get on the birthday bandwagon. Suddenly elaborate surprise dates were planned. It didn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but it did have to show care and concern.

One of the side benefits of being a teacher was that I was guaranteed to have my birthday off. I could do whatever I wanted to for the day. Plan a trip, go on a shopping spree, or simply stay home and relax. Whatever I had planned, it always involved family and friends and having fun.


I’m so thankful that I stopped working in the summer a few years ago and I have 2 months of days off.  Today’s plan is to lounge around until I feel like getting myself in gear and then go on a bike ride with LC.  I’m definitely going to make some time for relaxing and reading. And I think LC and I are going to do our own version of a beauty day – she’s going to paint my toes and in exchange I’m going to straighten her hair.  Then late this afternoon, we’re heading to my favorite wine bar to meet up with several of my friends to ring in this new decade of my life while to vino flows vigorously.  Tomorrow my parents and I are going out to dinner at one of my favorite seafood restaurantsCupcakes may or may not be eaten, as well.

It’s funny, 20 years ago when I imagined what my life would be like at this stage, I pictured a husband, kids, a house – the American Dream.  Other than teaching and wanting to hit my goal weight, I have nothing in common with the desires of my 20-year-old self.   My life is nothing like I pictured it back then, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so thankful for the life I lead – the family, the friends, Sofi, my work, my attitude, my health, my home – I’m overwhelmed by my good fortune.  I’m happy that things have turned out as they have: I’m living the life I was meant to, of that I’m sure.

I’m actually really excited to move into this new chapter of my life, because it means that I’m entering into my healthiest decade yet.  I’ll finally be free of this weight during my 40’s!!  And it sure doesn’t hurt that I look about 10 years younger than I am (if I do say so myself), so I can take advantage of my young-at-heart attitude.  I can’t wait for all the adventures (and people?!!) my 40’s hold for me!

Do Life @ 40:  Fierce, Fit, and Free!!!!

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Today I started Day 1, Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, and I am loving it.  I know that some people find Phase 1 too restrictive (no fruit, no grains), but compared to Medifast it is a joy.  Actually, it’s a joy no matter what you compare it to.  The thing I really like about it is that you’re eating plenty of food and the focus is on eating until satisfied, not on calorie counting.  Although because I’m still working on knowing what “satisfied” feels like, I am counting calories.  I’d like to keep them somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300, give or take a 100.  1200-1400 is what Kaiser outlined for me, and it seems to work well. I’m going to be tracking my food using LoseIt, so please add me, if you’d like to follow my progress and see my meal plans on there.

What wasn’t working well was going rogue on my diet.  For the past month I’ve half-heartedly attempted to stay on Medifast, gone through 3 “loading” days of HCG, done 2 500-calorie days of HCG, and then just ate what I wanted for over a week.  The result?  Weight gain.  No big surprise.  I’m still down from my February all-time high, but once again I am feeling disappointed in letting myself give in to out of control eating.  Which is exactly why the Lap Band surgery is going to be a great tool for me.

Now I have almost exactly 30 lbs to go to reach the 266 goal, and about 35-40 to be in the “safe scale zone” where it doesn’t matter what I wear on the scale at Kaiser.  Sisyphus comes to mind.  Sigh.

I want to focus on the positive, though.  I’m feeling good, looking good, and I know SBD is going to be a great plan to follow this summer and beyond.  Now that I’m eating enough to sustain vigorous workouts, I know I’m going to be much healthier as I lose the weight.  No only will the lbs drop, but the muscle and tone of my body will improve, making me look better (and feel better).

I went to the grocery store yesterday and got LOTS of SBD-friendly food. As with any new food plan, the first grocery bill is always a shocker.  I bought spices, extracts, dressings, not to mention meats and fish and veggies, all of which add up. But it’s worth it. Shoot, I was spending $300/month on Medifast food alone (not counting dinner), and I didn’t even like the taste.


Happiness = a well-stocked fridge, filled with healthy choices.

It feels good to face the music, take a realistic look around, and move on.

BTW – be ready for lots of posts now that summer is here.  At the moment, there is a lot going on, and I want to share it.  And remember, Sofi’s got her own blog, if you want to read more about our adventures.

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This morning LC and I headed to a Zumba class bright and early (ok, at 10am, but since it’s Saturday, that’s fairly bright and early to leave the house, right?).  It was the first time LC and I went to the gym together, and what a great time we had.  For so long LC would say that she preferred to workout outside riding her bike or taking a walk, and really hated the gym, but lately she’s been more pro-gym, which is great news for me.  But more about that in a while.

Back to Zumba.  You’ll recall that when I first tried Zumba, I loved it, and left the class sweaty, invigorated, and just plain happy despite the fact that I felt like I was taking a different class from everyone else.  Well, the same held true today.  I got many of the moves down, but there were still many others that I had no idea how to do.  Or let me rephrase that to say that I can’t get my feet/body to go that fast or in those positions at my current weight. But it didn’t matter one bit.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, found myself laughing and smiling throughout the class, and realized that only a few other students were really doing all the right moves; the rest of the class was pretty much doing a similar approximation of moves that I was.  And really, the fact that I burned over 1000 calories in 60 minutes was amazing. I kept looking over to LC and she was having as much fun as I was, and I told her I’d like to try to make the class part of our normal Saturday morning routine.

Which leads me to the best news of the day!  LC joined my gym!!  24HourFitness was having a special that I could add her on to my account for no initiation fee and only $24 a month.  The best part is, she pays for it herself and she can cancel whenever she wants and it won’t affect my account at all.  So she gets the benefit of my long membership by getting a great deal and I get to go to the gym with my sis!  Win win!!  The offer a Kids Club for $4/child for 2 hours, which is a great price, but it’s not something LC could afford more than once a week or so.  So, her main plan is to use the gym during the day on her lunch hour (she spotted a 10:30am pilates class at the location in the city in which she works) on weekdays and then go with me on the weekends at least once.  And on the weekends when she doesn’t have the kids, I think she’ll go both Saturday and Sunday.  She said that once in a while she could see us going to an evening weekday class, but since it would involve her getting a babysitter to feed the kids and put them to bed, she doesn’t think that will happen too often.

But either way, just knowing that LC has the gym membership too will hopefully inspire me to use mine more often. I mean if she can use it and she’s a busy single mother, surely I can use it, since I don’t have too many restrictions on my schedule.  Actually, as I thought about all the coordinating it would take just for LC to be able to use the gym, and yet she was willing to make it happen, it really inspired me.  I mean, I really don’t have to worry about much except whether or not I’ve left a light on for Lulu.  I use feeling tired after work as an excuse too often, and I’m going to stop doing that.  I have nothing to complain about, especially when I compare my life to my sister’s.

On that note, you guys know that my parents and I have been watching my nieces after school until LC gets home at 5:45 or so.  And it has been quite an adjustment period, let me tell you.  Not that my nieces aren’t good girls, because they are, but they’re also 8 and 3 1/2, strong-willed, going through a huge life adjustment, which adds up to a lot of time and attention.  It was getting a bit overwhelming until my parents and I finally came up with a “coverage” plan that works really well.  I will babysit every Tuesday from 4pm-5:45/when LC gets home and every other Friday from 3:30-when LC gets home.  It’s a great deal.  Most afternoons if I’m home in time, we all (mom, dad, nieces, two dogs, & me) go on a long walk to let everyone burn off some extra energy/stress/enjoy the afternoon.

So on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays  there is absolutely no reason why I can’t go to a class at the gym.  And today I was inspired to make it happen starting today and throughout the foreseeable future.  Because when we left the gym (with the top down on my Beetle, of course), I felt so good.  So happy.  So fresh.  So inspired.  So healthy.  And just so alive.  And I loved that feeling.  And that’s the feeling I always have as I leave the gym.  We felt so good that we took the dogs on a 45-minute walk.  I came home feeling so energetic, rather than worn out.

And after I finish writing this blog post I’m going to burn some more calories by cleaning the house.  And I plan to go to the belly dancing class tomorrow.  And also to try out the Wii Zumba, so that I can write a comparison review (comparing it to a real Zumba class), since it’s all fresh in my mind.  Which goes to show that a little activity leads to more activity which leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Also known as – Bella Does Life.

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 19 – Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

This question is a bit “new agey” for me, but yet I can relate to it.  Interesting how that works, right?  Moving out of that terrible living situation that I was in has  completely transformed me – I’m happier, healthier, and feel so much safer.  I’m one step closer to living the life I was meant to have.  Living in this great place makes me feel so positive, so vibrant, and alive.  I finally feel content.  I can’t wait to have lots of people over to this house because I want to show it off.  I’m actually looking for excuses to have small gatherings (which, if you have any fun themed ideas for parties, let me know).

In 2011, I’m hoping to heal my body by losing a significant amount of weight.  First on my own and then via lap band surgery.  As I sit here today I know I won’t be able to imagine all the ways that my life will be improved by this, but I am so excited to find out.

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I have been dying to write this post all day, but I’ve been stuck at work doing a million things at once, but I’ve finally got some time to sit down and write this. 

As you guys know, last Monday I started following Kaiser’s Lap Band pre-op 1200-calorie/day meal plan.  I have been using LoseIt to track my calories, and while I’ve been over 1200 each day, most days I’ve been between 1300-1400, which is still relatively low.  I’ve been focusing my meals around protein, and eating much less starch than I normally do.  Most of my carbs are coming from fruits/veggies, and while I do still eat rice, pasta, or other grains, I’m limiting them to 2-3 servings a day. 

I should also mention that this first week on the new meal plan has been my first week of quitting smoking.  Trying to quit and eating reduced calories has proved a bit challenging, but I actually surprised myself by doing so well this week (on both fronts). 

Possible TMI: One of the negative things that comes along with quitting smoking (besides an increase in appetite) is constipation.  I haven’t had too much of a problem with that this week, although this morning I did experience a bit.  To combat this, I’m going to start taking a fiber supplement, because the last thing I want to be is “backed up.”

I didn’t limit my social interactions this week, since it was my last full week before school starts back up and my time is more scarce.  Which means that I ate socially, I drank socially, and I enjoyed myself in moderation.  I was a bit worried about what these different eating/drinking events would do to the results on the scale, but as you’ll see, moderation is key.

Now, let’s get to that scale shot:

 Which means I lost 3.3 pounds this week!  An excellent start to the first week on a new program, I’d say.  Especially with everything else that’s been going on this past week.  I was so thrilled that my weight loss held steady from when I peeked at it earlier this week.  It shows me that following a lower calorie diet and eating/drinking socially in moderation really works.  I didn’t eat a lot of high-calorie foods, but I didn’t totally limit myself from them, either.  It makes me feel even more convinced that the Lap Band is going to work for me, because that’s the ultimate tool to practice moderation, since it limits the amount of food/drink you can consume. 

Overall, I’m hugely impressed with my attitude, my focus, and my determination.  I want to keep riding this wave, because I’ve been feeling so great about myself and my progress, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve been so happy about everything. 

Some goals for this coming week:

  1. Water.  I got in at least 48oz every day this past week, but I should be taking in at least 64oz, so I have to fit in a few more glasses to reach my minimum goal.  I know I can do it, I just have to put it into practice.
  2. Exercise.  As I mentioned yesterday, I did a bit of extra movement this week, but only a few days.  I would like to get back to working out 4-5 days of the week, at least. 
  3. Continue tracking in LoseIt.
  4. Stay to 1200 calories more closely than I did this week.


Housing Update: I heard back from my future landlord yesterday, and he said that barring any unforeseen things on the background check, the duplex is mine!  This is fantastic news, and I am beyond thrilled.  I’m going to meet with him on Saturday to iron out the details of the deposit, etc., but by early next week, I should know FOR SURE that the place is mine.  Stay tuned. 

Smoke Free, Day 8 and I’m going strong. 

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Today I checked the comments on my blog and found that Kat had named me as one of the bloggers who make her happy.  How sweet is that?  Knowing that the words and ideas that I express on this blog make her happy in some small way really touched my heart and brought a smile to my face.  She also awarded me this badge:

There were also some instructions to pay the happiness forward:
1. Copy the image and display it on your blog.
2. List 10 things that make you happy.
3. Try to do at least one of them today.
4. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

To me, happiness is:

  1. My family and friends. They are there for me through thick and thin, celebrating my victories and consoling me in times of loss.
  2. Seeing a loss on the scale. It helps keep me motivated and shows me that my efforts are turning into actions.
  3. Blogging. I absolutely love pouring out my thoughts and feelings into words.  I’ve mentioned before that someday I hope to write a book.  On what, I’m not exactly certain, but it is a goal of mine that I will someday reach.
  4. Moving my body. As I get more and more active and push myself through new routines and exercises, I love how I feel.  I love seeing how much I’m capable of, and then going even further.
  5. Cooking. Trying new recipes and cooking for myself has shown me what good cook I am.  Cooking relaxes me and makes me feel like I’m treating my body well.  I also love cooking for other people, too.
  6. Reading a good book on a rainy day. Enough said.
  7. Listening to a new CD and getting caught up in the emotions the singer is trying to convey.
  8. Coffee! I’m addicted, but we all need some vices, right?
  9. A long bath after a hard day. Nothing makes me feel calmer than luxuriating in a bubble bath, surrounded by candles, letting my worries wash down the drain along with the water.
  10. Long phone calls catching up with friends who live across the country. CTLB and I have these sorts of calls at least once a month, and I relish them every time.  I love talking to friends who live close, too.  😉

Of course, another thing that makes me incredibly happy is the Weight Loss Blogging Community.  I get endless support, encouragement, inspiration, and ideas from all the blogs I read (see my blogroll——>), but these people especially make me happy on a daily basis:

  1. Scale Warfare
  2. Lisa
  3. Cammy
  4. Amy
  5. Merry
  6. Heather
  7. Scale Junkie
  8. The Sisterhood
  9. Bitch Cakes
  10. Tina

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