Posts Tagged ‘stay active plan’

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

After reading Carina’s post recently, I’ve decided that it’s about time to review my progress on my 2011 goals that I set way back in January.  Scale Junkie also mentioned that we’re entering the last quarter of the year – only 4 months left in 2011 – so I think it’s about time to check in and see if what I’ve accomplished.

As a refresher, theses are the goals I wrote back in January:

  1. Write at least one comment per day on one of the blogs in my blogroll (and hopefully many more than that).  I get so busy sometimes that I lose sight of the best part about being a weight loss/health blogger – the community.  And that community is a give and take.  I can’t expect to get support unless I give it.  And the fact of the matter is I get SO MUCH from reading these blogs.  I owe it to myself to take some time to do it everyday.  Great progress on this goal.  I write at least one blog comment every single day. 
  2. Complete the TheDailyChallenge from MeYouHealth.(I hope you’ll join me in this one).  Join other challenges to keep myself motivated, remembering that I’m one busy lady and I don’t want to get overwhelmed.  Mediocre progress on this goal.  I was doing great through June and then all summer long I kind of took a break.  Now that I’m back to school I’ve been doing them  again. 
  3. Keep my closets organized and snap a monthly check-in photo to post on this blog for accountability.  Mediocre progress on this goal. Overall, my closet is still really organized, and all of the clothes are in good shape. My shoes are thrown willy-nilly all over the floor of the closet, which is something I need to work on.  I’ve also failed to make any check-in posts. 
  4. Walk in a 5K by the end of summer. No progress on this goal.  It’s no longer a priority at the moment.
  5. Make my 40th birthday a time to remember!  Great progress on this goalI had a great time with friends and family throughout my birthday week. 
  6. Revisit C25K once I feel strong/light enough.  No progress on this goal. I haven’t felt light enough yet, and  most likely won’t until after wls.
  7. Travel more.  Visit at least one friend whom I have to get on a plane to see.  No progress on this goal.  It’s no longer a priority at the moment. I do have some fun plans for next summer, but for now, it’s not going to happen. 

  8. Be more social.  Have more people over.  Go out more.  Live a little. Good progress on this  goal.  I’ve made it a point to reach out to friends and to accept their invitations. 
  9. Curb unnecessary spending without sacrificing my lifestyle.  Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Good progress on this  goal. I’ve cut way back on many things and I’m making it work.  For example, I started waxing my own eyebrows, and I’m saving at least $30-45 a month. 
  10. See more movies.  I absolutely love movies, yet I never seem to find/make the time to go out and see them.  Even if it means I’m just watching Netflix, I want to make sure I see more movies in 2011. Mediocre progress on this goal. I saw some movies this summer, but not nearly as many as I wanted to.  I also stopped my subscription to Netflix after their price hike, but I do have Comcast, so I have plenty of movies available to me.  Still a priority.
  11. Above all, I want to lose weight. Plain and simple.  That’s what this entire blog has been about for years, and I want it to FINALLY happen in 2011. Most of the other goals on this list revolve around this one.
    • Lose the 36 lbs needed to qualify for the next step in the lap band process. Poor progress to date.
    • Keep my calories within 1400 per day most days (rare, truly special occasions allowed, because this is real life). Great progress – I changed this to 1200-1300 to be more in line with the nutritionist’s recommendations. 
    • Log my calories with LoseIt daily – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Great progress – with very few exceptions, I have logged my food intake every single day this year.
    • Email my food journals to daily to ScaleWarfare. Great progress – with very few exceptions, I have emailed  every single day this year.
    • Drink more water. Mediocre progress.  I’m  doing better, but still don’t drink as much water as I should. 
    • Move my body daily. This includes walking the dog, playing the Wii, doing a workout DVD, going to the gym for resistance training, riding my bike, swimming, taking a class (yoga, belly dance, zumba, spin, etc). Great progress on this.  I’ve been really good about meeting this goal, with very few exceptions. 
    • Weigh myself often (daily) to notice trends, stay on track, and keep motivation high. Record my “official” weight weekly. Great progress on this.  I started logging often in LoseIt and have changed my “official” reporting to monthly, to be more in line with the way that I report to Kaiser. 
    • Film bi-weekly YouTube videos about my journey so that I can have a visual record of myself and my progress. Good progress.  I’ve made videos monthly, but definitely more regularly than in the past. 

Moving into the last quarter of 2011, these are the goals I want to focus on:

  1. Follow my BtS Weight Loss Plan.
  2. Drink more water!!!
  3. Continue therapy. I had a huge breakthrough/realization on my way home from my 2nd session yesterday, and I can’t wait to explore it and get to the bottom of things (more on this in a later post).
  4. Visit blogs daily and comment on at least one per day.
  5. Stay social.  Don’t fall into the school-time trap of becoming too much of a homebody. Get together with friends and family, especially on the weekends, that’s what they’re there for.

5 straightforward goals for September-December.  I’ll check in monthly with these.  Please keep me accountable if you notice that I miss a post.


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Welcome to another edition of Adventures in Fitness, where I battle the bulge and burn calories while keeping it fun and varied by trying all sorts of new activities.

Today’s post is a warning to those of you who may be variety junkies like me.  It’s great to try lots of new classes and activities that are offered at the gym, but remember, you don’t have to try them all at once.  LOL.  Oh, don’t make me laugh too hard, my poor muscles.  🙂

This cautionary tale is about what happened on Tuesday.  You see, I woke up feeling much better after a couple of days of a mild flu.  I was determined to try new classes this week, since I had the entire week off of work, and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

All lessons seem to have a story to them, and this one is no different.

Begin with an interval class.
Early Tuesday morning I went to Muscle Blast which was a fun interval training class that combined step with strength training.  I kept up really well, and I think I impressed some of the regular members, since quite a few of them came up to me at the end and said how well I did for my first time.  I’m sure that my size might have given them the illusion that it might’ve been tough for me, and I’m not going to lie, the lunges are still too hard for me to do, but I could do the rest of the movements without trouble. I was definitely tired after the class, but invigorated, too.

Help your family, since you’re off work.
I got home and helped my dad clear out LC’s garage.  She spent hours on Monday going through all her old boxes, donating most of it and throwing out the rest.  Once everything was gone, she’d be able to park in her garage, so I wanted to help my dad with it.  There was a lot of stuff: enough to fill his entire truck bed.  The boxes weren’t heavy as much as there were a lot of them.  My dad was headed to the Salvation Army and then he would come back to retrieve the ladder that LC borrowed from him.  I only mention this because it comes into play later in the my story.

Take the pooches for a nice, long (ill-fated) walk.
I’d just loaded my iPhone up with lots of new music (Mumford & Sons, Adele, and Anberlin), and I decided that it was the perfect day to take the dogs on a long walk.  I thought we’d take a totally new route, to a street that I have always loved, but that was a bit of a trek.  We started out fine, and then came to the end of my street where they were doing some sort of sewer work and had crosswalk/corner where the stoplight is all dug up.  We had to cross into the median of a very busy street, but I thought we were ok.  The cars were whizzing past us on both sides, but I just took a stronger hand with the two-dog leash, and thought that we’d be fine as soon as the light changed.  The thing was, I couldn’t see the lights from where I was in the median, so I turned to the traffic cop who was there and asked him if it was OK for me to go.  He said it was. Here’s where I should’ve taken out my headphones, but I trusted him.

We started to cross the street when something made me look to my right only to see a huge truck barreling towards us. I literally picked both dogs up by the leash and ran back to the median, adrenaline pumping.  I was in shock, I think, because when the truck driver stopped, inches from us, and started yelling at me, I just stood there.  Normally, I would’ve told him a thing or two of the !*%4-letter-word&@^# variety, but it was like I was just stuck.  The cop ended up yelling something at the truck driver, and all the while I had the music playing.  Mumford & Sons is strangely calming in a near-death situation; I highly recommend it.

Undeterred (sort of), we made our way across the street and then headed to Campbell Ave.  Campbell Ave is a wide, wide street full of beautiful houses and few cars. It’s also a very long street.  We headed down the street and just kept walking, and walking, and walking.  Finally I realized that my shoes (Vans) weren’t the best for such a long walk, but decided to power through. And then we turned the corner and were halfway to the next street that would take us back to my house when I realized that it was too windy and had no sidewalks.

We turned around, and while I wasn’t sure how I was going to cross that busy street again to get back to my house, I figured we had to go back to that direction, so we might as well start walking.  And walking.  And walking.  The poor dogs had their tongues hanging out, my feet were really starting to hurt, and we were all sort of tired.  I think I was finally recovering from the shock of the situation, and I just wanted to get home NOW.  So I called my dad.

Luckily he was on his way back to LC’s to pick up his ladder after donating her items and could swing by and pick us up.  When he saw us, he said we were quite the site.  He estimates that we walked at least 2 1/2 – 3 miles in that hour.  No wonder we were all so tired.

I know that walk doesn’t sound like that much, but I think the harrowing, almost-getting-run-over experience at the outset sort of put a damper on the whole walk. I do think I’d take the dogs that way again, but only when the traffic lights are working properly, and only with plenty of water for the puppies and myself.

While you’re at it, throw in a high-intensity dance class.
Now, it had already been a very active day, what with the Muscle Blast and the Walk from Hell, but since I’d been wanting to try the Afro Belly Boogie class, I figured I might as well go for it. Plus, LC was supposed to meet me there and I didn’t want to disappoint her.  As it turned out, she was running too late after a work emergency (she’s a social worker) and decided that since she couldn’t make it to this 6:30 class, she’d head to a 7:30 Gentle Yoga class at the yoga studio I introduced her to.  I went by myself and I had a great time in the class, but I was feeling it.  I got home and was just so spent.

LC came over when she returned home from yoga, took one look at me, and immediately brought over some Advil.  She said she knew I was going to need it.  And was she right!

The Moral of the Story: Moderation!
Yesterday I was sore. I had planned on going to Step Jam at 9AM, but stayed home and rested up.  I did take the dogs for a walk with my dad, but that was the extent of it.  I had been planning on going to an Aqua Aerobics class in the evening, but the weather was cold, and I just didn’t feel like getting in a pool.  Bikram with LC was an option, but I finally decided that taking a rest day was fine.

Today I’m still feeling really sore, especially in the thighs.  I do want to go to Bikram with LC tonight, and since it will be our last chance to go together before the kids return on Sunday evening, I know we’ll keep that appointment.  Plus, the heat should soothe my muscles and the movements are slow enough that I should be ok.  I’ll definitely take it easy and only do what I can do.

I know it was silly of me to attempt to do all of that in one day.  I liked trying both of those new classes, but I need to learn to pace myself.  They’ll be there again.  And though the Muscle Blast isn’t something I can regularly go to because I work when the class is offered, there are similar classes offered in the evenings on different days.  Moderation was the lesson of the day.


There are still a few more classes that I want to try before this week is over, so here’s the new and improved plan:

Thursday: Bikram yoga
Friday: Aqua Aerobics
Saturday: Zumba
Sunday: Turbo Kick (kickboxing!!)

Now that this momentum of trying new classes has set in, I don’t want to lose it.  I will use more restraint in how many classes I attempt in one day, but I want to keep taking a variety of classes because it makes working out and burning calories more fun.

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Welcome to another edition of Adventures in Fitness, where I battle the bulge and burn calories while keeping it fun and varied by trying all sorts of new activities.

You heard it hear first.  Afro Belly Boogie is going to be as big as Zumba.  It may take time to get to your area, but mark my words – it’s coming.  And you’re not going to want to miss out on it when it does.

This workout combines high-energy conditioning and rhythmic movements of African dance with the sensuous muscle isolations of Belly Dance to create a low impact, spirit boosting, high cardio workout. The workout features rhythms and sounds from Africa, Caribbean, Middle East and even current club beats. You’ll have fun while you burn calories, tone your core and strengthen your upper and lower body all while dancing to the beat.

That class description was enough to hook me; I had no idea that Afro Belly Boogie, created by Angel Thacker, was born here in the Bay Area. But knowing that the class originated here makes me love it all the more. I’m so thankful that 24 Hour Fitness offers the class!

You guys know that I took a belly dancing class a few months back, and while that class was relaxing, soothing, and empowering and more similar to a hip-shaking yoga class with it’s isolated movements.  Afro Belly Boogie, on the other hand, was nothing like that.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the class.  As I said, the description drew me in, but beyond that, I had no idea what I was in for.  A few of the ladies had hip scarves on, making me wish I would’ve brought mine, too.  Next time.  We were told that the regular instructor was on vacation and the girl who would be leading class would be here for two weeks.  She seemed friendly enough, and she was encouraging the class to let loose and get into it. She also warned,

This is a tough class.  We have fun, listen to great music, shake our hips, but this isn’t a gentle belly dancing class.  This one will make you MOVE.  This one will make you sore tomorrow.  But don’t get frustrated if you can’t do everything at first.  Keep at it.  Move with the music.  And have fun.”

My first thought was “Uh-oh, am I going to be able to hand this?”  I was the biggest one in the room (yet again), and the only other plus-sized woman in the class didn’t last past the first 10 minutes.  I have to admit, I had moments of wondering whether I should give up and leave, but then I told myself that even if I couldn’t do exactly what they were doing, I was still getting a great workout.  I loved the music, liked the moves, and hoped that I would be able to be more precise with the moves at some point in the future.  Plus, I  can shake my hips and follow a beat, so I knew I wouldn’t look too far off base, as long as I kept moving.  I stayed for the whole class, and I’m glad I did.

The class itself is so hard to describe.  It uses the movement of belly dance, but at a much quicker pace than the SharQui class did.  The music is a combo of a bit of African beats, with lots of Middle Eastern rhythms, and then paired with club favorites like “Like a G6.”  The music was awesome.

The moves on the other hand were difficult because they were so fast.  But just like with Zumba, I have a feeling that once I take the class for a few months I’ll be able to do them better and better each time.  And just like with Zumba, the instructor can make all the difference.  This instructor was sweet and friendly, but she didn’t spend enough time demonstrating the moves, especially since there were 5-6 new people in the class that evening.  She did inspire me to keep going, though, and by the end of the class, I felt proud of myself for sticking to it.  I loved the moves, and I can’t wait until I can do more of them successfully.

(Surprisingly enough, it was the club dance moves that I was the best at.  I’ve always been a good dancer, but since it’s been years since I’ve set foot in a club, this surprised me.  Guess the old girl still has it!).

Here’s a short video that gives you a small taste of some of the moves in the class.  It begins sort of slow, but once the women start moving, you’ll get a better idea.  Most of the class is much more intense that what’s being depicted in this video, but it does give you a little flavor of what the class is like.

In doing a bit of research about the origins of Afro Belly Boogie, I discovered that Angel Thacker was once over 300 pounds.  She developed this dance program to help herself lose weight and enjoy herself while doing it.  That REALLY inspired me.  So while I may not be able to  do all of the moves right now, I’m very confident that if I keep going, I’ll shaking my hips and moving my bootie with the best of them soon.

If you’re able to find an Afro Belly Boogie class near you GO.  You’ll have fun and you’ll burn a ton of calories.  Oh, and you’ll remember how much fun you had again the next day, when you feel your sore muscles.

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It’s been a while since I’ve written an Adventures in Fitness (AIF) post, so it’s about time, don’t you think?

The weather outside is pouring rain and fairly chilly at around 50 degrees (I know that’s downright balmy to lots of you, but give me a break, I live in CA), which makes me somewhat unmotivated to do much more than snuggle on the couch and read a good book or watch some trashy t.v.

So, to counteract those instincts, I’m heading to the gym today after school.  In about 30 minutes, actually.  I packed my gym bag and I’m ready to go as soon as the parking lot clears out.

I’ve decided that today I’m going with the tried and true workout – a little elliptical time, followed by some ab work and then a small amount of weight training (arms).  As much as I love all the group exercise classes that I take at the gym (see the list below), sometimes nothing is better to get the blood flowing and the sweatyface going than a good, old-fashioned session on the elliptical.

I have next week off of work for Presidents’ Week, and as ScaleWarfare pointed out, I’m quite lucky, because most people only get Monday off.  Knowing that I’m going to have lots of free time on my hands with very little planned during the day (because most of my friends/family will be working), I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try out a bunch of group exercise classes at the gym that I haven’t ever taken/haven’t been to in a while.

My goal for next week is to get into the gym each day, M-F.  I know some days I’ll be exercising twice, because LC and I have a few evening yoga classes planned.  I’m going to make the most of this time off and treat it as a mini boot camp/preview of summer.  Plus, staying active in the gym means that I’m not going to spend my entire week shopping, so my wallet can stay “healthy” as well.

Here’s what I’m thinking:
Saturday: Zumba (natch!)
Sunday: off from the gym.  Maybe some Wii, if I’m feeling like it.
Monday: Bikram yoga in the evening with LC
Tuesday: Muscle Blast @ 9AM – Feel the burn in this class! Hand weights, barbells and your own body weight will be used to help you develop muscular strength for the upper and lower body.
Afro-Belly Boogie @ 6:30PMThis workout combines high-energy conditioning and rhythmic movements of African dance with the sensuous muscle isolations of Belly Dance to create a low impact, spirit boosting, high cardio workout. The workout features rhythms and sounds from Africa, Caribbean, Middle East and even current club beats. You’ll have fun while you burn calories, tone your core and strengthen your upper and lower body all while dancing to the beat.
Wednesday: Step Jam24* @ 9AMTime to get ‘step crazy’! Step Jam24 is totally original and fun! New to step? Don’t worry. In this workout patterns are user-friendly. Suitable for all fitness levels.
Thursday: my first-ever spin class @ 9AM!
Friday: old-fashioned cardio + weight training & abs

Tuesday I’m doing double-days, with workouts in the morning and the evening, but I think I’ll be alright.  The morning workout is strength training and the afternoon is cardio.

*I know that my last attempt at a step class didn’t go well, but since this one says it’s perfect for beginners, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep up with it a bit better.  If not, I’ll just hit one of the cardio machines instead.

That’s my workout plan, what’s yours?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Let’s do a “quick,” bullet point catch-up:

  • I’ve decided to start Medifast in order to lose the required 38ish lbs I need to in order to get on the waiting list for lap band surgery.  I’ve carefully weighed the pros and cons and I truly feel that it’s the right thing to do; it’s a means to an end.
  • I’ve kept up well with my goals for the  January Being True to You Challenge. As a reminder, I set out to attend group exercise classes regularly and see which ones I like and which ones aren’t my cup of tea. My goal is to attend 9 group exercise classes by Jan. 31st and if I do, I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure. So as of yesterday, I’d made it to 6 (Zumba, belly dancing, Pilates, intermediate step, Zumba, and Aqua aerobics)  plus 1 physical therapy session (more on that in a minute).  During this time I also walked Lulu for at least 30-45 minutes each day, even on the days I didn’t go and take a class, and I did the Wii a couple of times.  So I got activity in each and every day, and tried out a bunch of new classes.  In my book (which is the one that’s paying for the pedi), I’ve done more than enough to earn that pedicure!! I have an appointment booked on Saturday, and my poor tootsies cannot wait to get pampered.
  • Speaking of which, here’s this week’s workout plan:
    • Monday: walk Lulu, Aqua aerobics
    • Tuesday:Afro-Belly Boogie (new class) – From 24 Hour Fitness: “This workout combines high-energy conditioning and rhythmic movements of African dance with the sensuous muscle isolations of Belly Dance to create a low impact, spirit boosting, high cardio workout. The workout features rhythms and sounds from Africa, Caribbean, Middle East and even current club beats. You’ll have fun while you burn calories, tone your core and strengthen your upper and lower body all while dancing to the beat.”
    • Wednesday – walk Lulu, Aqua aerobics
    • Thursday – walk Lulu, FitTV or Wii
    • Friday: walk Lulu, UJam Fitness (new class) – From 24 Hour Fitness: “This class unites world beats with urban flavor and takes you around the world from hip-hop to Bollywood with an intense cardiovascular workout! Easy to learn dance steps choreographed to high energy music that makes you sweat, tone your body and leaves you craving for more!”
    • Saturday: walk Lulu, Wii Zumba (pedi!!!!)
    • Sunday: belly dancing
  • I’ve been doing the MeYouHealth Challenge for a month now, and I’m loving it. Each daily challenge is something that’s easy to do, but makes a significant impact on my well-being. Plus it’s #2 on my 2011 Goals. This past week I’ve:
    • Started one meal with a colorful salad
    • Practiced a full-body stretch
    • Named a sport or exercise I wanted to learn or take up again
    • Checked my reading light
    • Found a book (or an audio book, podcast or e-book) to carry with me
    • Drew a “pie chart” of my life
    • Listed 3 locations where I can take the stairs next time
  • I went to the physical therapist last Thursday, and she gave me a few tiny exercises to do and an appointment to check in with her in two weeks.  I have to admit that I haven’t been as diligent with the exercises as I could be, but I think they’re helping a bit.  I’m going to start doing them each night before bed (to get myself on a regular routine) and hopefully they’ll start having a serious impact.  Otherwise, I guess we’ll see what else the physical therapist has in mind.  Fingers crossed that I won’t even need to “go there.”

And now on to the decorating portion of the post.  You guys know how much I love fixing up my place and turning the house into a home.  Ever since LC moved in next door and bought a few new things for herself and the kids, I’ve been feeling as if my bathrooms sort of paled in comparison.  Most specifically, the bathroom rugs.  For years I’ve had these white shag-like rugs in the bathroom that were funky in the other house because of the retro tile, but in this place they were just looking tired. It may seem so insignificant, but something like a bathroom rug can really change the sense of warmth in the room.

My bathroom posed a real challenge because of the late 70s-era salmon-colored countertops.  It’s not quite pink, not quite peach, and just sort of yuck.  White had been a decent option, but definitely required a lot of maintenance and just made the room feel stark.  So I thought gray would be a nice alternative.  All of my fixtures are stainless steel, so I thought the gray would tie in nicely:

The gray is actually a lot lighter in person than it’s coming up in the photos, but I think you get the idea.

The guest bathroom has neutral colors, so I could’ve gone a lot of different ways.  I’d already made it feel spa-like with a few accessories:

But the main focal point of the bathroom was this fun painting I’d purchased at Z Gallerie years ago.  I call her my fat lady painting, also known as “the before.”

I’d randomly found that green box of Kleenex, and once I saw how perfectly it matched the painting, I knew that sage green was the color I wanted to bring out.  It’s very serene and tranquil, and I think it adds to the overall atmosphere I was trying to create in the room.  Here’s what I found:

Again, they may look more grass green than sage in the photos, but believe me, they are the EXACT color of the painting.  I’m really pleased.

A small investment that makes a really big difference in the look of the bathrooms.  Plus, the new rugs are so luxurious and soft that they are more than just esthetically pleasing.

And just because it’s been about a week (or maybe even two), it’s time to give a gratuitous Lulu shot:

Lulu, waiting while we do a mini bathroom makeover.

What room in your house are you dying to redecorate?  Is there a way to give it a mini makeover to make a difference?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It’s time to update my progress on a few of the challenges I’ve been doing.

First up, I joined the January Being True to You Challenge. For this one, HealthyLoserGal has set up a different purpose for each week, but we’ll concentrate on the last two:

  • Weeks 3 & 4: “Between Saturday, January 16th and end of day, Monday, January 31st you have 12 days that you should be moving or working toward your specific goal. That gives you four days off that you can “slip” during those 16 days.”

Here’s my plan for the Being True to You Challenge:

  • Weeks 3 & 4 – At this point I should be attending classes regularly and seeing which ones I like and which ones aren’t my cup of tea. My goal is to attend 9 group exercise classes by Jan. 31st and if I do, I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure. It’s a win, win if you ask me!

So, how did I do? Well, I got a late start because of the back pain/arm numbness; I wasn’t sure what was causing it, so I didn’t do more than walk for the last week. But then on Saturday, I turned it up a notch and attended Zumba with LC. And on Sunday I really hit my stride and unlocked something within myself while I did the belly dancing class. Last night I tried Pilates, and while it wasn’t a success, I did burn some calories and I was proud of myself for giving it a shot and trying something new. I’m on track to get to 8 classes by the 31st, and considering I had a week off, I think that pedicure is going to feel amazing in the near future.

I’ve been doing the MeYouHealth Challenge for a few weeks now, and I’m loving it. Each daily challenge is something that’s easy to do, but makes a significant impact on my well-being. Plus it’s #2 on my 2011 Goals. This past week I’ve:

  • Created a personal mantra (more on this in a minute)
  • Found out I need 1000-1200mg of calcium everyday
  • Had a face-to-face conversation instead of e-mailing a colleague or friend
  • Gave myself a 1-minute hand massage
  • Shared 3 ways to burn calories while at home
  • Banished dust bunnies by wiping down bookshelves, picture frames, and any knick-knacks in one room
  • Checked the first ingredient in a loaf of store-bought bread
  • Learned how to take my resting heart rate

Once again, if you haven’t joined yet, please try it; I guarantee you’re going to be glad you did.

This week I’ve embodied the mantra I made for myself – I did life! I’m really proud of everything I’ve done, and I can feel my mentality changing. And I’ve followed that with actions. And I’ve asked you to help keep my accountable. I’ve kept up with positive routines and tried new things. I’ve been DOING life!

On that note, last night I was a bit down in the dumps after the Pilates class, but then I opened a package I received in the mail yesterday. It was the perfect reminder to celebrate my accomplishments, because they WILL lead to my ultimate, and overall, success:

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Ever since my sister and I went to the gym on Saturday, I’ve had a fire within me that is amazing. I’m feeling inspired, renewed, and invigorated. And better yet, I’m ACTING on it. I’m not just “making plans,” but I’m completing them.

And I’m proud to tell you that yesterday I went to the belly dancing class on my own, by myself; not because my sis was joining in, because she wasn’t able to come along.  I enjoyed myself and I can feel that great muscle soreness today, which is no doubt a combination of the Zumba on Saturday, the belly dancing on Sunday, and the two long walks each day.

A quick picture of me before belly dancing.  The hip scarf really helped me get in the mood.  It’s actually purple, not blue, and I think it’s beautiful. I figure that if the people behind me have to look at an “ample” butt (to put it mildly), at least it can be nicely decorated, right? 😉  I definitely felt more “official” by wearing it.  The class was fun and I was confident throughout it.  I may not have had all the movements down exactly right, but I felt as if I was able to keep up well even though I was the largest person in the room.

I love it when I can actually feel myself changing mentally. I turned a corner this weekend, and I have unlocked something within myself that means I’m going to move out of the “planning” stage into the DOING. (Bella Does Life!)

With that said, I’ve asked ScaleWarfare to keep me accountable from here on out. I sent her my workout plan and I’ve asked her to call me out if she doesn’t see that activity on my daily log. And then I thought that I should really make it public so that you guys could help out with the accountability checks. If you’d like, follow me on Twitter so that you can tweet me a kick in the pants this week.

Workout Plan, Jan. 23 – Jan. 28:

Sunday – dog walk*, SharQui Belly Dance (done!)
Monday – dog walk, Pilates**
Tuesday – dog walk, Wii Zumba
Wednesday – dog walk, Intermediate Step or Aqua***
Thursday – dog walk, Physical Therapy
Friday – dog walk
Saturday – Zumba, dog walk

*The dog walks have been about 30-45 minutes and a fairly good clip. I usually burn about 180 calories, which is decent.

**Tonight’s Pilates class will be my first one ever! I’m nervous about it, but I’ve been curious to try it and the only way to find out if I’ll like it is to go to it. Any suggestions you can offer before I take the class would be much appreciated.

***Which one should I do? I’ve never tried that particular step aerobics class, but I love doing step aerobics. (Fun fact: I had to take PE in college, and one of the classes I took was step aerobics). I also love the Aqua class. Decisions, decisions… help me figure this out and vote in the comments.

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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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I’ve had four fantastic days off and I feel so rejuvenated!  It’s weekends like I just had that make life good.  And I really needed a wonderful weekend, because there’s been quite a bit of stress in my life lately (some big, some small, but all annoying), and it was nice to just leave that all behind and enjoy myself.

Friday – Semester  Break
I am so thankful that I did what I needed to in order to finish my grading (and record my final grades) before I left school on Thursday.  I was there a lot later than I expected to be, but I actually put together a really cool mini lesson for the first week of our new semester.  I left on Thursday afternoon feeling really organized and “free.”

On Friday I really didn’t do a whole lot of anything.  I was online for a while, I read for a while, I watched some t.v..  Later in the afternoon when my parents brought my nieces home we all went on a long walk and enjoyed the sunny, cool day.  The girls stayed at my house catching up on their favorite Nickelodeon shows until my sister arrived around 5:30.  They  ended up staying for dinner – my sister heated up leftovers for her and the kids and I had one of my Lean Cuisine meals.  It was nice to be able to share an impromptu meal together without having to put in too much effort on either part.  I’m sure we’ll do that more often.

As Friday nights go, this one was pretty tame, but that’s ok.  I just needed to take the day and relax.  Plus, I’m not 20 anymore, so it’s ok not to have major plans on a Friday night.  Eventually I would love to have some dates to go on or other social engagements, but while I’m in “forced hibernation mode” I’m perfectly content to keep things quiet.

I had a busy morning planned on Saturday.  We began with a “whole crew” (my sis, nieces, Lulu & Minnie) walk at 9am.  My older niece led the way on her bike, the younger one was on her big wheel, and my sister and I pulled up the rear with our dogs in tow.  It was sort of chaotic (at least for me) and we had a few near misses with dogs’ leashes and big wheels, but it all turned out fine.  I’m sure that once we get the hang of the bigger group it will go more smoothly.  I do think that Lulu and I need to start taking our normal solo walks again, too, because I like our head clearing/bonding time.

Then it was time for me to take both dogs to the groomers, and boy did they need it, especially Minnie.  They came out later that evening looking like (almost) new dogs, and I swear that Minnie is strutting around with a new sense of purpose now that she looks cute again.  🙂  While I was out doing some errands, I brought a big garbage bag full of old clothes, and 2 boxes of books to a local charity, thanks to the Daily Challenge.  I’d had the stuff waiting in my garage for a couple of weeks, but the Daily Challenge made me put the stuff into the car and donate it to one of my favorite charitable organizations, and it really didn’t take any effort at all.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to get that stuff out of my house and on to someone else who it can be of more use to.  If you haven’t gone through your closet or bookshelves recently, I highly recommend I CHALLENGE you to do it; you’ll get rid of some clutter and do a good deed all rolled into one.

The main thing I was excited about on Saturday was that my high school alumnae food & wine group was going to be  going to a Passport Saturday.  Passport days are amazing!  You buy a passport for $40 and it entitles you to one free tasting at any of the participating wineries within the Santa Cruz Mountain Winemakers Association, and there are 51 wineries that participate!  The passport never expires, and they have passport days every quarter – in January, April, July, and November.

Originally there was a good group of alums who were planning on going to the event, but it ended up that just my friend Ms. AD and I went.  And really, it worked out perfectly.  This way she and I could really catch up with each other without having to worry that we were excluding others from our conversation (because there’s nothing I hate more than people who leave others out of the conversation with a lot of inside jokes, talking about people others don’t know, etc.).  Ms. AD and I headed off in my convertible (the weather was unseasonably and gloriously warm at 70 degrees) and hit three very local wineries.  The original plan was to go into the mountains a bit more, but I didn’t want to challenge the windy roads of those mountain wineries.

Our first stop was a winery that I used to be a member of, Flemming Jenkins.  Yes, as in Peggy Flemming.  What started out as a landscaping project at one of their mountain estates turned into a really profitable wine business. Their wines are very good, albeit quite pricey, but it was nice to begin at a winery that I knew I liked.

From there we headed about a mile down the road (actually, up a hill) and came to Testarossa Winery, which is one that I’d never been to but had heard amazing things about.  Testarossa was a 19th century novitiate (training center for Catholic priests) before it was a winery, and the grounds are truly beautiful.

This last photo is from their website, but I’m using it because it shows the dramatic tasting room with it’s gorgeous, old-world ceiling and walls.  When you’re in the room you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time and are in an underground crypt somewhere in Europe, rather than just a mile off the main road of a bustling town.  It was so nice that I know I’ll have a party here at some point in the future – maybe even my rehearsal dinner (a girl can dream). Oh, and the wine, the wine was delicious and very affordable.  I’m going to make sure I always have some of this on hand to share with good friends.

Our last stop was a winery that I had heard such good things about, but which was the least favorite of the afternoon.  Maybe it was because I had enjoyed our time at Testarossa so much that in comparison Cinnabar couldn’t quite make the grade.  Or perhaps it was because no one told us anything about the wine they were pouring.  It was fairly busy in the tasting room, but it seemed as if the people working that day couldn’t be bothered to explain anything to potential customers.  Which is a shame.  And with that, I think I’ve already spent too many words talking about this place.

The rest of my Saturday was spent doing a few errands, but it ended nicely enough with a good dinner that I made for myself.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the doggies look like after their grooming appointment, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos to share with you:

(My mom bought them matching sweaters for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist having them match in the last photo).

The day began as all Sundays do – with the Sunday paper and a nice, hot pot of coffee.  But I was also expecting a visit from Comcast.  Luckily the tech arrived at 8:30am (the window was from 8-2).  I’ve been having nothing but problems with my OnDemand service every since I moved, and I finally wanted to get to the bottom of it.  I’ve had 2 other technicians out here, and placed countless phone calls (I think I average 1 every other week), but it wasn’t until today that the cableguy (who was here an hour and a half) realized the problem was that they gave me an old, obsolete receiver box when I moved in.  Not only that, but I’ve been paying for a more expensive receiver this whole time.  I’m relieved that I finally have the proper equipment, but you’d better believe I’m going to be on the phone on Monday demanding my money back plus compensation for my trouble. It goes to show that it attention to detail and not stopping until the job is done really does pay off. Let’s just hope that Comcast cares about their customer enough to do the right thing.

The rest of Sunday was fairly lazy. Some reading, some time online, some t.v. time, a walk with Lulu, some light housework and laundry.  Nothing especially exciting, but nice just the same.

Sunday evening my friend Ms. AD (whom I spent the day before with wine tasting), was having a Just Dance 2 party, and I couldn’t wait.  What a great idea for a party, right?  It’s like those old-fashioned dance parties in the 50s.  Only this time we all brought our Wii remotes and tried to match moves with the computerized choreographer.  I have Just Dance, so I was used to it, although I will say I like the graphics a lot better on Just Dance 2.  Plus, it so much more fun to “play” with other people, instead of just dancing around my living room by myself.  I did so much better than I thought I would, and I was consistently the top or 2nd highest scoring player.  And it sure didn’t hurt that Ms. AD made some killer sangria and we each brought some “tapas” with us.  It was a fun time, made even more so because Ms. AD made sure we came in our comfy clothes and knew that we could be as silly as we wanted to because there were “no boys allowed.”  Although after about 5 dances/songs, lots of the girls sort of pooped out and we moved from dancing to chatting, which was good too.  I’m definitely going to take Ms. AD’s lead and have one of my own Just Dance 2 parties.

(Speaking of which, this house has such a great layout for entertaining that I want to make sure to have some parties.  I’m going to have Lulu’s 1st bday party in early February, and I also want to have an Oscar party, but beyond February, what are some ideas for themed get-togethers that I can have? I’d love any and all ideas).

Today is going to be all about enjoying this day off. The weather started out really foggy again, but once it clears (around noon yesterday), I’m going to take Lulu out on another walk.  This time the goal is go explore a new street in our neighborhood and walk for at least an hour.  Other than that, I’m going to be doing laundry, organizing my food for the week, and watching t.v. and doing some workout DVDs.  I feel like staying close to home today, but I am going to go to a group exercise class at the gym – either Zumba (@ 5:50pm)  or aqua aerobics (@6:45pm); I’ll decide which one depending on what the rest of the day shapes up to be.


It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend, free of stress and filled with fun and friends.  I need to try to have at least 1 weekend a month exactly like this one, because it’s good for the soul.

What did you do this weekend?

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Yesterday I went to the doctor, and I walked out with more than I’d bargained for.

The initial reason for my visit was because I’d been having fairly severe lower back pain as well as numbness in my right arm, from my shoulder to my fingertips.  After examining me, the doctor said that she wasn’t at all concerned with my back (the pain had significantly subsided in the last couple of days) and she thought that the problem was a muscular strain.  She said that I could ice it and take Advil if the pain returned. That unless I got numbness in my lower extremities,  it was really nothing to worry about. I agreed.  The arm numbness, however, was a concern to her (and to me).  She said that it could be caused by several things – carpal tunnel or an issue with my neck or chest.  She had me move my shoulder and arm several times and saw that I didn’t have any sort of strain or pain in that area.  She ordered x-rays of my neck and chest, and said that she’d also like me to start wearing a wrist/hand brace day and night to see if that offered any relief.   If it does, then my problem is most likely carpal tunnel. If not, or if the x-rays show something, the problem is more likely a disc or pinched nerve or something.

I tend to think that this is  being caused by some sort of disc or pinched nerve because the numbness has been occurring much more frequently and often comes on when I’m sitting.  It happens in the car when I’m driving to and from work.  It happens when I’m sitting at my desk or at the kitchen table for too long.  And it happened yesterday while I was sitting on the examining table.

The x-rays themselves were very awkward.  I had to wear the “old-fashioned” type of gown (two of them – one facing front, one facing back) to make sure I was covered.  I cannot wait until I’m “normal sized” and don’t have to worry  or be embarrassed by my hugeness. I didn’t like being without a bra in an x-ray room with just the x-ray tech.  He was a very nice person, and he was completely professional, but it was so strange having him move me into these various contortions so that he could do the imaging.  I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious, which is never a great feeling.  But, if the x-rays show something, it will be worth it.  I should know more in the next couple of days, and I’ll definitely keep you updated.

Since I was there, I asked my doctor if she’d order a TDAP for me, because my surgeon requested that I get it before the weight loss surgery.  A TDAP is a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping couch) and mine had expired long ago.  Since we’ve been experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough in my area (especially with those who deal with little children), I figured that was a good vaccine to get anyway.  I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row so that once these 30+ lbs are gone, I will have nothing standing in my way to get on the list for surgery.

The last bit of health news wasn’t good.  My blood pressure is high again, although part of it might have been caused because the first blood pressure machine I went to wasn’t working, so the assistant ushered me down the hall to the next one.  We didn’t walk really quickly, but maybe quickly enough to get my blood pressure up?  Honestly, though, I’ve been going through quite a bit of stress at work lately and things at home have been so out of the norm that I’m sure that’s throwing me off, too.  My doctor seemed extremely concerned about the blood pressure and told me that I really had to calm down and not get so stressed out.  So I am taking that to heart.  I really need to remind myself that the parts of my job that frustrate me are small things that don’t matter in the scheme of life.  Sure, this has been a challenging year with two of my classes, but so what?  I can’t take it all so seriously.  Plus, I have taken steps to alleviate some of the burden, so that should improve.  And in terms of things at home, I’m sure once we all get used to this new routine of watching my nieces and helping my sister I will feel calmer and more relaxed.

On my drive home last night I did get a bit depressed about the situation.  I wasn’t thrilled with the number I saw on the scale, especially when I compared it with the last number I saw several months ago when I was there.  But I did remind myself that in those 5 months I’d given up a terrible habit – smoking – and it was the holidays, so some weight gain should be expected, if not accepted.  And that’s just it.  I don’t accept it.  I want it gone, and I need to make sure that I’m taking the steps so that it is.

It’s so obvious that working out will help me in all areas – not only will I be able to burn calories, but I’ll also be able to relieve some stress.  Now that the doctor cleared me to workout, nothing is stopping me.  Last night instead of wallowing in self-deprecation, I did steps on the Wii for the first 45 minutes of BL.  (Thank you to HealthyLoserGal for tweeting that you were going to do this, because you inspired me).  And even if I wasn’t burning that many calories, I definitely burned more than I would’ve just sitting on the couch.

Doing the Wii steps was something that was so, so easy to do, and I felt really proud of myself for doing it.  I didn’t even track the exercise, because I did it more for the act of moving than for worrying about the calorie burn (last night, at least).  So from now on I’m going to do the Wii step for at least 30 minutes each night while I watch t.v. (this is in addition to whatever else I do for activity during the day).  I always watch t.v. for a little while at night, so doing the Wii step while viewing will be a really good way to make sure I’m doing something active each and every day.

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