Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meditation on a Fire Extinguisher

I checked out the fitness room at my new place today and reacquainted myself with the elliptical machine.  Yawn.  What a boring device (no offense to those who use them because they are not able to run).  My feet go numb because they are stationary.  I gave it thirty minutes of my time and then switched over to the treadmill.  I put my speed on 5 mph and concentrated on what was outside the window, namely a red fire extinguisher.  I like it when my mind empties and can have singular focus on one thing.  I was in the zone and I could have stayed in the zone for another twenty minutes, but I can't exercise all day long so I limited myself to 45 minutes today.

The benefit of the treadmill is to be able to fixate on one thing while running.  My mind tends to wander a bit and creates "roadblocks" when I'm running out on the asphalt or trail.  The red fire extinguisher allowed me to focus all my attention to it and not pay attention to the time or distance on the treadmill.

The negative aspect of the treadmill is that the surface is not super comfortable.  Sure, I run on trails that have pointy pebbles on them and that's not always comfy, but it's different.  Earth gives under your feet.  Plastic does not.

I guess I'll have to weigh the pros and cons tomorrow when my body tells me whether or not it liked running on the treadmill.  Time will tell.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

Is it just me or we sensing a theme here?  I write and run, I disappear, and then I come back.  I'm back, at least, for this blog entry.  Whew!  Where do I begin?

It's been almost a month since my last entry and that's mainly due to the fact that we had to move.  Long story short, banks suck, not making enough money sucks, yadda yadda yadda.  We moved to a community in Ventura County called Moorpark. For those of you who don't live in Southern California, it's about 30 miles west and a little north from where we were in Northridge.  We found a great 3-bedroom apartment that is not lacking for anything; in short, we have tons of amenities in our unit and at the complex as a whole.  The city is less expensive to live in, the schools are excellent, and people are quite nice and friendly here.  All in all, we are doing well.  The kids are adjusting beautifully and like their new schools.  There's not a whole lot I can complain about.  In fact, there's nothing that comes to mind.

Anyhow, one of the coolest things about living here is that our building has a river behind it.  Now, for those of you who think of rivers as being rough and rugged places, um, you've not experienced a Southern Californian river.  We like to contain them in concrete.  Yeah, it's classy.  I will say, however, nature is taking its course in taking back some of its territory.  Gabriel and I took a walk back there today as both sides of the river are flanked by dirt paths that stretch for miles.  We saw cranes, ducks, wooly caterpillars, crawfish shells, and lizards.  Gabriel found rocks for collecting and enjoyed throwing rocks into the water.  It was quiet and the sun was shining.

I walked with my Vibrams and I can now say I will be starting out easy running on the paths.  There are tons of little rocks and pebbles and even with the protection of the Vibrams, those rocks are sharp!  My feet are going to have to get used to them before I start running on that surface, but it's going to be so much better than concrete or asphalt.

I'll post pics of the trail and detail how my inaugural walks/runs go soon.  Until then, happy running, people!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Change... 1200 Calories at a Time

What I *should* be doing is studying for my impending German test tomorrow, but I have too much in my brain to study right now.  The one thing that I can at least get off my mind by blogging about it is the recent change to my diet that I made two days ago: eating only 1200 calories a day.  I make a solemn vow now that I will keep this up until Thanksgiving.  I'm really done with faltering on the eating front.  I really do want to lose 30 pounds, so no more excuses.  With the help and support of my "dieting expert" (ooooo, I really don't like that word "dieting" but don't know what else to call it) partner and husband, Dana, I am going to get it done.  A lot of you have seen Dana, so it's a pretty safe bet to call him an expert at this point.

What does 1200 calories look like?  It's rather shocking and kind of sad really.  Unless you are a rabbit, 1200 calories doesn't look like a lot.  For me, it's making better choices that satisfy longer.  This means lean protein.  My favorite go-to food is low-fat cottage cheese.  Damn, that stuff is tasty.  Luckily, I've always loved it plain, so I don't even need a delivery system to go with it.  With that being said, and I digress here, the best delivery system of cottage cheese in my book is potato chips.  Don't knock it until you try it!!!  It's soooooooooo good.  Needless to say, I am NOT eating potato chips right now.  I want to make my calories count!  Other than that, my diet consists of: lettuce (all types), vegetables (mostly non-starchy ones), fruit, lean meats, beans, very few grains (even whole ones are being limited for the next few weeks), a teensy-weensy bit of nuts, and the occasional whole-grain Ak-Mak cracker (blessed be the mighty Ak-Mak!).  I'm hungry a lot of the time, but I'm eating more consistently to keep my metabolism going.  Here's the breakdown:

250 calories for breakfast
300 calories for lunch
75 calories for afternoon snack
500 calories for dinner
75 calories for after-dinner snack

Sometimes I have spare calories from lunch so I add it to my snack in the evening.  I write my calories down, I weigh my food, and consult a calorie counter religiously.

So far, so good, although I have been a bit cranky about being hungry the past couple of days.  This is mainly due to the fact that (close your eyes men out there who don't want to read it) my monthly visitor is here.  Generally, I want to devour lots of things I shouldn't this time of month, and I'm not, so my mood isn't the best, but I'll live.

If anyone has some great tips of how to curb hunger and/or stay satisfied longer with fewer calories I would love to hear about them.  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook.

Until next post...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nothin' but a Running VFF Woman

I just returned from what was supposed to be a walk, but it turned into a run.  I guess you could say that I'm really a runner now.  However, I made the error of strapping on my old Nike running shoes to walk in since while walking our heels usually make contact with the ground first - I wanted the extra padding.

Big mistake.

First off, my feet felt like they were suffocating.  My toes don't like to be crammed all together unless they're in some super hot three to four inch pointy-toed or peep-toed heels; yes, yes I'm a walking (or running?) contradiction.  Second, I couldn't feel the ground.  I walked for a while, but then I decided to run because I was sick of walking.  I got up to my regular gait and realized how different it felt.  My feet were not really feeling the ground.  Barefoot purists would say that even with VFF I'm not *really* feeling the ground, either, but I felt it a lot more than in these stupid Nikes.  I don't like the way my feet feel when I can't touch the ground and am being blocked by padded soles.  And, finally, I actually felt weighted down.  This may be completely psychological, but I felt like it took more effort to run with these shoes on.

Needless to say, I took them off as soon as I got on my porch.  I walked into my bedroom and said to my husband (who is sick with some stomach bug, poor guy), "I'm never wearing these again.  I'm a Vibram woman all the way.  I hike and run in them, so I'm going to walk in them, too."  He then made a crude comment about not taking them off for other activities and I'll let you guess what that comment was - ha!

Yep.  I'm a total minimalist footwear convert AND a real runner to boot.  Who woulda thunk it?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unsolicited Advice from Strangers

Sigh.  The strangest thing happened to me today as I was just one block into my run this morning.  A lady in her Toyota Corolla stopped me and told me that I really should be walking rather than running because of damage to my joints.  Wha????????  I have never seen this person before, she's not a neighbor, and even so, WTF?  Who gives advice to people running down the street? And stops them in mid-run?  So bizarre.  When she stopped me, I had to take my ear bud out and keep my feet moving.  At first I thought she was lost since she had passed me earlier.  I'm friendly and my father-in-law calls me a homing pigeon since you could basically drop me anywhere and I'd find my way home.  So expecting a "hey, could you tell me where such and such place is," I stopped.  But noooooooooo.... it was "don't you think you'd get the same health benefit by walking at the same speed because, you know, the damage to your joints from running?!"  Instead of politely saying, "Thanks for your concern, but I don't see how this is any of your business," I stood there dumbfounded explaining my minimalist footwear and how I no longer have joint pain and that I'd been running this way for six months.  I'm still shaking my head at myself.  It was single-handedly the strangest exchange I've had with another human being in a long time.

What it ended up doing for most of my run was that it made me mad.  I was just getting started and usually my first 1/2 mile or so I'm getting in my groove.  It took me most of my route to get in a groove today.  Thanks, Ms. Probably-Never-Have-Run-In-My-LIfe-Driving-Around-In-My-Car-Giving-Random-Runners-Unsolicited-Advice-About-Their-Joints, for being a total groove killer.  Whatevs.

The positive things going on today, however, are 1) eating better and lighter - time to be a weight shedding machine and 2) I went a full 2.5 miles, running about 1.75 miles of it.  I'm sore as all get out because of weight training on Saturday, but at least I know I did something. And like I said before, running is good for what ails ya and today it helped make my muscles a little less sore.

And as a salute to more healthful eating, I'm posting a quick recipe for a Greek-yogurt based dressing on The Domestic Goddess.  Check it out and enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blazing Trails

Okay, so maybe I don't really "blaze" trails, but I do enjoy a good hike.  Today the family and I went out to Solstice Canyon in Malibu to see the Tropical Terrace, where a mid-century home once stood, but is now a ruin as a result of a fire in 1982.  Besides the ruins, there is the oldest stone house in Malibu, a single room cabin constructed in 1902.  The latest fire in 2007 claimed anything that was wooden on that structure.  Besides ruined buildings, we enjoyed a trickling creek, a small waterfall and admired the rebound that nature made from that fire three short years ago.


It was an amazingly beautiful day for late August: 73 degrees and sunny at the coast (even inland it was only 78 degrees).  The park was moderately busy, but it wasn't overcrowded.  I decided to leave my hiking boots at home and hike in my Vibrams as I've done before.  My big toes felt some fatigue at first as they aren't as strong as they were two months ago, but it wasn't a big deal.  We had some gentle elevation ascents and descents on the way there, but really experienced some elevation gain after we left the ruins.  Unfortunately for Dana and Gabriel, they had fallen at the site of the waterfall.  Dana was carrying Gabriel and lost his footing.  As I was following them, all I could do was watch in horror as they tumbled down some pretty gnarly rocks and yell, "Oh god, oh god, oh god!"  Luckily (and thank goodness), all that was experienced by Dana was a few abrasions on his face and knees, and Gabriel only has a couple of abrasions on his back and small bump on his head.  It could have been so much worse.  Also, a park ranger named James was right there and he washed out their wounds.

We persevered and followed a different path out of the canyon, and this one was an actual trail with dirt and rocks.  And what a climb!  The views were spectacular from the summit and it was amazing to see how far we actually ascended.

That ribbon way down there is the trail we hiked in on.
At the summit - no worse for wear...


The best part of the hike happened on our descent - Ian and I started to run. It was footloose and fancy free and we scared a guy with his dog as he had no idea what was closing in on him from up above - he thought we were mountain lions.  Ha!  The freedom to run like that is amazing - I had a huge smile on my face at the bottom.  After Ian and I got more water from the drinking fountains, we raced to the car.  Needless to say, Ian is fast and weighs much less than me, thus he won, but it was exhilarating.  I don't remember the last time I ran like that.  It reminds me of my niece's blog on the same subject, Lessons Learned from an Almost 3-Year-Old. My little great-niece is no dummy, it's all about having fun.  I think most of us adults need to remember that about life.  Yes, we must work hard and life is not always easy, but we all need to have fun as much as possible.  If we can have fun while running, then it's no chore.  Today's hike definitely reminded me of that.

Now I'm tired, but in a really good way.  It's time to wash the trail off my body, namely my feet...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall Seven Times. Stand Up Eight.

The title of this blog post is a Japanese proverb.  I think it works well as I have taken a long hiatus from running these past four weeks (yikes) and feel somewhat after this first run like I'm standing up for the eighth time.  I guess this means no more falling off the proverbial wagon, either.

I made the decision over the weekend that I was going to pick up where I left off before I left for my Minnesota vacation today.  As circumstance would have it, NPR posted a story on Facebook about muscle memory this morning, No More Gym? Don't Worry, Your Muscles Remember.  Perfect timing. This study concludes that when you exercise, especially strength train, it doesn't take long for your muscles to get back into shape because they remember what it's like to be in shape.  Well, hallelujah and amen to that!

It was 100 degrees today, so I opted for the after sunset run.  Mind you, it was still pretty hot outside (at 90 degrees) and radiating heat was hitting me from the asphalt, but psychologically when the sun is not beating down on me, I feel more invincible.  As soon as my minimally adorned feet hit the ground, I felt it.  Oh, the electricity!  My feet went into auto-pilot.  I shot off pretty quickly and it felt so good.  Then the burn in my lungs set in...and the side stitch.  But I powered through.  I didn't go as far as I usually do and I walked about 1/4 of the route, but, hey, I got up the eighth time.  And that's all that matters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Please Consider Following My New Food Blog

Hey Miniskirt followers!  I wanted to let you know that I am now also blogging at The Domestic Goddess here on Blogger.  I had the blog originally on, but it was getting crazy with all the spam there, so I moved it to Blogger where you're reading this now.  Anyway, it's getting quite a list of recipes for you to try, so mosey on over there and check it out.  You won't be sorry! Thanks!

P.S. I'll be back running soon - it's been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Knee Pain Nonsense

Today my sister sent me a link to her friend, Carla's, blog MizFit Online.  In this blog she writes about finally running 1/4 mile in her Vibram Five Fingers.  First of all, I say yay for her! I never thought myself a runner until I bought these shoes, now I'm a total convert preaching the good news of *almost* barefoot (aka minimalist) running every chance I get.  Anyway, I read through the comments and am always amazed by the misconceptions of barefoot or minimalist running.  Now if done improperly, sure, one can have injuries, but that's with anything.  However, we are really meant to run without thick, padded, spongy shoes, people!  They ruin your body.  I am living proof that the transformation from thick running shoes to thin running shoes is beneficial.  I used to have pain in my left knee and in my lower back because of running in thick padded shoes and I don't have that pain anymore.

So, running isn't the problem, it's the shoes and the technique.  This has been said before, but if you're so skeptical, run down the block/street barefooted and tell me how your foot lands... go on... do it... done yet?  That's right!  You don't strike with your heel first.  It's the last thing that makes contact with the ground.  So why is it that shoe companies - I'm looking at you Nike - make these ridiculous "high heeled" running shoes?  It has something to do with some doctor in the late 1970s in particular who thought the way people were running naturally wasn't natural, thus the padded heel was introduced, thus more injuries from running were introduced.

Like anything, running barefoot, or almost barefoot, takes practice.  I read in Born to Run that running is no different from any other sport where you have to learn how to do it properly.  Most people don't just pick up a tennis racquet or a baseball bat knowing exactly what to do with them, you learn by practicing.  The same goes for proper technique in running with minimalist footwear.  I know I have tons more to learn about how to do it properly, but I think I'm well on my way already.  The descriptions I've read to the videos I've seen seem to be how I'm moving, but I won't know for sure until I go to a clinic of some sort.  I'm waiting for Barefoot Ken Bob to get back from his nationwide clinic tour.  I'm looking forward to running on the beach with him and really learning how to run completely barefoot.

Anyway, I thought I'd never say these words, but I LOVE RUNNING! I think it's time for me to stop blogging and get out there to take advantage of the cool, cloudy morning we are having in late July.  See ya!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ahhhhh, Los Angeles Asphalt Welcome Home

Tonight was the first time I've had a chance to go out for a run since being home on Wednesday evening.  And I decided to do it after a night of drinking, dancing and general merriment.  Translation: hungover.  But as I've discovered, running is good for what ails me.

It's beautiful out there tonight, warm with a full moon on the rise.  The best part? No bugs, no humidity, and no allergies!  As much fun as I had in Minnesota, running there with those conditions kind of sucked.  And imagine running in the winter - egads!  No thank you!  I'm pretty partial to California, I think I'll stay.  Being home feels good.  Vacations are great, but they do have to end.  Luckily, I get to live in a state that has perpetual vacation weather, perfect for being outdoors and hitting those trails, asphalt or otherwise.

I finished Born to Run and although I really liked the book as a whole, I found the end to be kind of anticlimactic.  I've learned so much about the natural state of running through that book and through many websites.  I preached the gospel of *almost* barefoot running to anyone who would listen, including my dad who was intrigued by my froggish footwear.  I'll never be an ultramarathoner, hell, I'll probably never be a marathoner, but I totally dig feeling that ground under my feet even if it's only for 2-3 miles at a time.  I marvel at my shapely calves every chance I get and relish the feeling of strength in my feet and ankles.

I'm rambling a bit tonight, feeling kind of aimless.  A good night's sleep will fix that.  So with that sentiment, I must hit the shower and crawl into bed with a book.  Goodnight!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Romanticizing the Run

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm reading Born to Run, which is a fascinating true story of a race organized by a man named Micah True, otherwise known as Caballo Blanco, in the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico.  This is the home to the running people called the Tarahumara.  These are people who run, just for fun, hundreds of miles.  Not only are the Tarahumara involved in this race, but a whole cast of characters of ultramarathoners from the United States that, in my honest opinion, have a screw loose somewhere in their heads (but that's not necessarily a bad thing).  With that being said, I am totally in love with these people.  They are fascinating to me.  I know I could never run a course as treacherous as the Leadville Trail 100 in the Colorado Rockies or the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley... in July, but I am completely enamored by those who do and actually complete them.  

I think why I find the ultramarathoners and Tarahumara so fascinating is the fact that they are so connected to their bodies, but more than that, their mental capacity to keep pushing themselves to the absolute limits is amazing to me.  I feel so wimpy barely running 2.5 miles and whining about the humidity and allergies in Minnesota.  I know a lot of my "stuff" is mental and I'm trying to get beyond that.  I have had great runs where I feel like I could run forever, but lately, something is blocking me.  Excuses: the sun, the humidity, my lung capacity, blah blah blah... they torment me.  I want to be present and in a meditative state when I run and I'm not finding it these days.  Don't get me wrong, I still like being out there, feet to the ground, breath in my lungs, I just wish it would be a bit more magical.  That's where the romance of ultrarunning comes in.  The capacity to even be that present, to have that determination is something I would like to have to even do 5k.

So, runners out there, what are your tricks to get into (and out of) your head when you run?  How do you attain your running nirvana?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Running, It's Good for What Ails Ya

I took a brief hiatus from running as it's seemed that I've developed an allergy to something since coming to Minnesota.  I thought I'd never miss the smoggy skies of Los Angeles, but I do since I'm not allergic to anything there.  Anyhow... I stopped running because said allergic reaction has been in my throat and lungs, making it difficult to breathe.  I decided enough was enough and went out for a 2.6 mile walk/run yesterday - I ran half the distance, I walked the rest.  I did cough several times during the run, but overall, it was great.  I honestly forgot how getting my blood coursing through my veins actually makes me feel good - duh!

My question is this: if you have allergies and they are not controlled completely by medication, how do you deal with your symptoms to be able to run or do any other kind of exercise?  I'm very happy that I will get to go home and not have this reaction any longer, but I could have lived without any allergies whatsoever.  We can add allergies to the list of things that are not endearing me to Minnesota when it comes to running.

I'll be back, L.A. asphalt...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mugginess and Bugs

Greetings from the humid state of Minnesota, or today I should say, greetings from the wet state of Minnesota as it appears that it rained last night.  I went for a run yesterday, but didn't get out there until 11:30 a.m.  Wow.  It was a sauna.  My father-in-law kept saying that it was the most humid day they'd had yet.  Great.  What is it with weather and me?  Last year it was record temperatures in Portland, this year is humidity in June.  Oh well.

Anyway, you know how people in the desert states will say, "Oh, it's 110, but it's a dry heat"?  Turns out that dry heat is superior to humid heat any day of the week.  True story.  Although it was not 110 degrees and humid yesterday, it was 85 and humid when I went for a run.  I'm already a sensitive soul when it comes to running in the sun (and it appears that the circle my in-laws live in is not as shaded as I remembered), so add the moisture on top of the sun plus myriad bugs, that was my run yesterday.  I thought I knew what it was like to sweat.  Nope.  I was totally wrong about sweating until yesterday.  My niece left a comment on my FB page saying it was good to sweat.  Turns out Minnesotans are masochists.  Also true story.

Okay, this is so rambling and it isn't going anywhere other than being kind of snarky about the weather.  That is my other moniker, the Weather Bitch.  Today this "Weather Bitch" is staying inside and doing some resistance training.  Resisting the carbs, resisting the sugar...hahaha!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Time I Checked, 1 + 1 Does not Equal 3 and...

...1.75 miles is not 2.5 miles.  Okay.  I have no idea what happened, but after signing up with Endomondo, I took my iPhone with me running to track my speed and distance.  My regular route, the one I thought was 2.5 miles was only 1.75 miles.  Huh?  I thought I drove my route to check it, but I guess I was either thinking of my old walking route or something...

So, all this time I've been running less than 2 miles...grrrrrrr!  I added that .75 miles to my route today.  Now I know what 2.5 miles feels like.  It's a bit harder, but I will get used to it.  And I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow.  Luckily, I made the run before the sun burned off all the clouds, so I didn't get too tired because of the sun beating down on me.  I'm just a bit bummed because I wanted to add 1/2 mile to my run to get to 3 miles, but that will have to wait a little longer.

Next week, it's running in Minnesota.  From what I hear, it's been raining a whole lot.  I'm not into that.  It better be nice while I'm there or else...  Running in the humidity should be very interesting and I'll be sure to report back how it actually is for me.  The positive side of where I'm staying is that it is heavily shaded, so I won't have to contend with the sun wearing me out before I'm ready to be done.

Oh, and I'm reading "Born to Run" - I'm only three chapters in and I'm loving it.  It makes me want to run even more.  I've added a link to the fan site, but here it is as a well: Born to Run

Next post I most likely will be reporting from Minnesota, don'tcha know?  Until then...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Day, a New Blog!

Check it out, my followers!  I started a second blog called The Domestic Goddess.  I'm constantly stating - okay, bragging (modesty and I mix as well as oil and water) - about what I'm cooking and baking on Facebook, and have had many requests for recipes, so I decided that since summer's here and I need a project, let's start a blog about food!

I will be the first to admit that not all the recipes are healthful living friendly, but everything in moderation.  I refuse to use anything but real butter in baking, unless it is a recipe that actually tastes good with a substitution like unsweetened applesauce.  Generally when you use substitutions, they don't really taste like the real thing, in my honest opinion.  My advice?  Eat that one cookie made with real butter!  You just need to use your willpower to not eat the whole batch.  Luckily, I have a team of hungry guys here who will eat the rest of the cookies so I don't!  And it's still better than the processed junk in the supermarket that barely passes off as "food."  I know what ingredients are in my baked goods.

Anyway, check the blog often for great recipes.  I most likely will get started next week after my final grades are turned in.  Until then...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tracking My Running

I just got back from a fantastic run.  It was my ordinary route, but it felt so good to be out there tonight.  When I got back I remembered that a friend of mine tracks his running with software and publishes it to Facebook on occasion.  I left him a question on his page, but then I went to another friend's page and found exactly the information I was looking for.  Here's the link for Endomondo.

Is there anyone else out there who wants to join Endomondo and kick my ass on occasion by challenging me?  Come on!  This is a free invitation to actually compete with me!  Warning, though, I am extremely competitive, but I see this as a good thing.  It will get me out of my rut and keep me going.  Join and find me.  Let's do this together!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Bought A Skirt Today

Today I went out with my family to the mall.  I had a goal of buying a pair of shorts and some capri pants.  Now capri pants are nothing major, but for those of you who really know me, buying shorts is nothing less than a miracle.  Even considering buying shorts is a pretty big deal.  Anyway, we ventured out and within five minutes, I found shorts for the boys that they wanted to get, and they really, really needed new shorts.  That left me with the task of finding appropriate summer-wear for myself.  Sigh.  Okay, so off to the women's section of Old Navy - hey, I'm not buying expensive clothes until I hit my goal weight - and I venture into the jeans section.  I could not find one pair of jean capris in my size anywhere.  Alright, let's try the back of the store.  I found racks and racks of cotton capri pants, but there were very few I liked and very few in my size.  What the hell?  Seriously, it's like there was a run on my size today (and, no, I'm not telling you what it is).  Anyhow, I chose one pair of capri pants, two pairs of shorts and.... a SKIRT to try on.  The capris were a no-go, one pair of shorts, um, yeah, not happening, and the skirt?  Amazing.  I still contend that I have the shortest legs that a 5'5" person can have, but my legs looked halfway decent in this skirt and the other pair of shorts were not half bad.  Yes, yes, "halfway decent" and "not half bad" are all you're going to get out of me right now - they are fairly common Minnesotan-isms for sure, dont'cha know?  I am actually looking forward to wearing my new skirt, but, of course, I'm going to need some new shoes as well.  At least buying shoes is a delightful task.  The shoe always fits...

I'll post a pic of me in my new skirt when I find said new shoes to go with.  I'm practicing my Minnesotan here, so you're going to have to cut me some slack.  Ah, good old "go with"...

Oh, and $4.95 shirts at H&M?  Yeah, I was all over that today, too.

Yay summer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

National Running Day and...

...I missed it!  How did I not know this?  Grrrrrr...  I can run tomorrow because every other day is running day for me.  Oh, well!  Upwards and onwards...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day = Beach

Today we ventured out to the beach.  Great idea, Em!  How novel!  The beach on Memorial Day!  It won't be busy at all!  Hahaha!  Yeah... I wasn't laughing.  I've never seen Malibu so busy in all my years living in Southern California.  It was more than nuts.  Just as I was ready to throw in the beach towel, we found a sliver of sand (albeit at the bottom of some steep rocks) right off the Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County.  We made our way down the treacherous non-path and once we were there with blanket spread and chairs in the sand, I relaxed.  I played frisbee with the kids.  I helped bury Ian in the sand.  I watched Gabriel not be so afraid of the Pacific Ocean.  It was heavenly.

But what's even better is that I found a bathing suit I liked that fits my body well as it is right now on clearance.  And I wore it today at the beach.  It was liberating.  My body is looking better than it has in a long time and I wasn't self-conscious about my legs today at all.  I was conscious of them in the way that I thought they actually looked good for once.  I even told Dana that I might buy a pair of shorts this week when I'm shopping for the kids.  The miniskirt will come in a little bit, but the fact remains is that I'm getting there.  Little by little, workout by workout, mile ran by mile ran, I'm getting into shape and getting healthy.

Summer has arrived with the passing of Memorial Day.  Let it be a glorious one!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Starting Again...Again

Okay.  Let's try this again.  Again.  Sigh.  I'm 35 years and 10 days old.  I promised myself to get back to it this week.  It's Friday.  I'm getting back to it.  I danced my booty off last Friday, hiked on Saturday, did yoga on Sunday, aerobics on Tuesday, and ran, lifted weights and worked on my core today (Friday).  Now it's not like I haven't done anything, but I see this as not enough.  Monday, Wednesday and Thursday did not see one iota of exercise.  I need to get 15 pounds off by June 20th.  Period.  It is my goal and I have to stick to it.  And now that is one month from yesterday.  This is going to test my willpower for sure.  I'm outlining a schedule of exercise to keep to.  Even if I don't want to do it, I have to.  The bright spot is that I'm almost done with work, so my MWF will be open in the mornings when it is cool to get my exercise done.

I also will need funding for new clothes.  The clothes I have now are already loose.  Not that I will mind shopping, I just wish I had more money to do it.  I take PayPal, personal checks and cash ;-)

I need cheerleading and support more than ever.  Where be my cheerleaders?  Give me a shout out!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hiking and Rock Climbing with the Vibram Five-Fingers

Today I tried out my shoes while hiking at Vasquez Rocks.  The company wasn't kidding when they said these are true rock climbing shoes.  I felt like Spiderman!  I clung to the rocks as I made my way up and down the steep rock formations that my boys just had to climb.  Also, after a night dancing in four inch wedge heels, it was soothing to let my feet connect to the ground again with just a thin layer of rubber separating me from the dirt.  I did have to pay a little more attention to where I stepped so that I wouldn't get a sharp rock or worse yet, glass, poking my feet, but that was alright.  My feet were happy.

I am looking forward to hiking many more trails in my shoes.  It's such great, and really different, exercise for my legs.  After seeing a woman with my body type wearing an awesome pair of short shorts at the club I went to last night, I know I can do this.  Her legs looked phenomenal and so shall mine.  They are already changing, but I have to keep at it.  Happy trails to me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day After the 35th Birthday...

So, it's official.  I am 35 years old.  I'm celebrating a week of my birthday that started last Friday with many mojitos and will end in the wee hours of Saturday in West Hollywood.

The day of my birthday went very well, even though Gabriel had to endure his 5-year-old checkup complete with three vaccinations, a TB test, and a blood draw.  He was a very brave little boy and is now completely ready for school.

I navigated the waters of eating at Denny's for breakfast (I'm not going to be snobbish and pass up a free birthday meal), eating carbs that should not have gone in my mouth, but I used the excuse it was my birthday.  I was informed by Dana that I was going to have my flying lesson on Thursday at 12 noon - I am beyond thrilled to do this!  I had a manicure and pedicure and later we went out to a local Mexican restaurant where, again, my entire meal was free.  I even had free birthday flan - olĂ©!  Then it was off to German class where I brought mini cupcakes for the class and my friend made lemon cupcakes.  I had one mini and one regular sized cupcakes.  Can you say "sugar overload?"  I just don't eat much refined sugar anymore, so I was feeling pretty weird after that.  Thank goodness for water.

The good thing is that I don't really want any sugar.  I'm perfectly happy not eating anything with sugar in it, especially after yesterday.  With that being said, sugar is not my "food drug of choice," so it's pretty easy for me to avoid things with sugar in them.

I've indulged.  And I'm not going to feel guilty about it.  I'm exercising and feeling good.  Next week is not my birthday week and I will be more faithful to my plan.  After all, bathing suit shopping will be here before I know it.

It feels fantastic to be 35!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Case of the Body Snatchers?

Wow, I'm feeling quite witty at 6:25 a.m.  Your eyes don't deceive you, yours truly, Emily Haraldson, is awake, fed, running clothes on, and is getting ready to run.  Oh, and I'm typing this blog.  What has gotten into me?  Good question.

As you know from my last blog post, I'm rededicating my efforts to eat right and exercise.  My goal now is to lose 10-15 pounds more before June 21st - that's approximately six weeks from now, so a steady 1-2 pounds a week is perfect.  That's the day I head to Minnesota with my family for a month long vacation.  I will be buying a new bathing suit on June 19th, with, most likely, new pants/shorts since if I lose even five more pounds, I'm going to need new pants.

Okay, time's a wasting, better do what I got up to do: RUN!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting Back into the Saddle

Okay.  I fell off the proverbial wagon.  I ate super yummy delicious food that I know I should not be eating right now if I'm ever going to lose more weight.  What can I say?  The past few weeks have been stressful and something had to give.

Ahhhhh, there it is.  The one thing I didn't think I did: stress eating.  But apparently I do.  Why choose an apple when I can have a cinnamon roll?  (BTW, you don't have to answer that question, I know the correct answer)  Why choose a salad when you can have pasta - well, okay, I had salad AND pasta AND a slice of pizza last night.  I should have known that I do this stress eating when one night I was having a tiff with a friend and stood at the counter shoving mounds of cottage cheese and Trader Joe's veggie chips into my mouth (yes, I know, I could have been eating worse things, but my goal is to not eat at night, especially 10:30 p.m.).

Life is stressful and most of the time, eating healthfully doesn't seem like the thing to counter the stress. Why do we turn to "comfort foods?"  It must be the hormones that are triggered, the feelings of happiness and euphoria when certain foods are eaten... I'm looking at you, carbs...

I can't always exercise the stress away, especially after a long exhausting day when I get home after 9 p.m.  Running really isn't an option at night for me.  One, it's not safe and two, I get all energized and can't sleep.  Yoga is always an option, but for me, it takes a bit of mental acuity to do it and at 9 p.m., I just don't have it.

So, I think I'm going to start down the path of guided meditation.  Put down the piece of bread and move into Lotus position on the floor.  Deep breaths.  Let your mind go. Soften your eyes. And all that stuff.  I'm ready.

Part two of my great adventure of being able to wear a miniskirt starts now.  My 35th birthday is one week away.  It's time to get back into the saddle.

Oh, and according to Dick's Sporting Goods, Happy National Runner's Month!  Now come buy some shoes and sports bras!  Ha!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

When Exercise Feels Like Punishment

Today was one of those days.  I'm tired.  I went to bed too late and got up too early.  I had sixteen left papers to grade.  Gabriel's room needed to be cleaned.  German homework has to be done.  So, I ate breakfast, graded eight papers, goofed around on Facebook, cleaned Gabriel's room, vacuumed the house, made lunch for Gabriel, ate yogurt, and THEN went out for my run.  No wonder it felt like punishment.  I'm exhausted.  And I had to run in the wind.  Today is not the best day to be erect.  I was so tired and 2 1/2 miles kicked my ass...

I still have eight papers to grade and German homework to do.  Then I need to eat, shower and go to German class tonight.  Ugh.  Someone's going to bed early tonight...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get It? Got It? Good!

Willpower, that is.  I've had so little in my lifetime when it's come to food.  I love food.  I'm a self-described foodie.  I love to cook and bake.  It is something I'm very good at and get complimented on all the time.  Personally, I find it extremely meditative and calming.  Even though I'm still cooking (and baking to some extent), it's different.  It feels different.  And I'm not sure if it's different good, different neutral or different bad...

I definitely don't eat like I used to and am embracing the hunger as I type.  And it's hard.  It's damn hard.  It's a real testament to the willpower that I have so little of, or should I say, that I used to have so little of.  I'm glad I found the strength to find it, hold onto it and use it.

I'm learning that willpower is not the same as deprivation.  It's about making better choices and staying away from things that are counterproductive to the path I've chosen to be on (reminder, dear readers, this is not a diet).  With that being said, I still have an occasional cup of coffee.  I ate some kettle corn this weekend.  However, I'm not overindulging because I've learned the hard way that that just leads me down the path of indigestion and unhappiness - I'm looking at you, Astroburger!

Even the middle way for me is too much, so I'm choosing the path less traveled and that's okay.  I'm getting smaller, but in a good way.  12 pounds off at last count.  I'll step on the scale at the end of this week - I expect to see a couple more pounds gone by then.

In the meantime, I will resist temptation!  I've done very well so far (*ahem* except for the Astroburger, but never again!).

On that note, it's time for rest, another very important component of a healthful lifestyle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Deliriously Sweaty

I probably shouldn't be writing a blog post after working out as hard as I just did.  I'm really high! I don't think I've even sweat this much before in my life.  Seriously.  Ever.  What did I do to sweat?  P90X.  It's like working out but X-treme - that's what the "X" is for, dont'cha know?  I did CardioX and it was like taking all of the other workouts in the series and putting them into one. Anyhow, I was jumping and kicking and punching and rolling around on the floor - whew! I'm drenched and my muscles are involuntarily twitching - ha!

I decided to work out inside today because it's "cold" outside - shut it, readers, who aren't in Los Angeles!  You probably have better weather than us right now!  I also wanted to mix it up.  I know if I don't do that, I will get bored and boredom leads to not doing anything, so I tried something new.  It was fun.

What do you guys do when you need a change of pace in your workout routine? Leave me a comment!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm Back I'm Back I'm Back!!

I ran my entire 2.5 mile route today with no pain - FINALLY!  I also stepped on the scale and since I started early March, I've lost 10 pounds!  Woot! Woot!

I'm feeling amazing.  I'm sticking to my plan, eating very little carbs, and exercising as much as I can.  I'm so happy, no I'm beyond happy about it.  I can't wait until the scale starts showing the next set of numbers smaller.

I have to get ready for a fabulous private reception at my friend's gallery tonight.  I'm bartending - ha!  I'm always the drink person and I will toast (with sparkling water) to my weight loss, my painless ankles and general overall good disposition!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running Mojo Is Back! ankles are back online.  YES!  I went out intending to walk my regular route in my Vibrams, but I thought, "hey, let's just see what it feels like to run" so I did.  And although I felt a little tiny bit of strain, it was not pain and certainly not the feeling I had before where every step was painful.  Although, I did not run my entire route, I ran most of it and that makes me feel very accomplished.

I'm starting to notice the composition of my legs change from fleshy and loose to muscular and tight(er).  I have more work to do, obviously, but seeing some results is great.  What I'm really noticing is that my skin is so clear and smooth.  It must be all the sweat pouring out (I know, gross!) and all the water I've been drinking.  The biggest and best thing, though, is how this process is making me feel physically and mentally.  Although I don't expect that I will never have anxiety ever again, working out consistently and making healthier choices in food is really helping keep the anxiety at bay.

Tonight, Dana and I are going out to dinner at a pub which means that the healthiest food will not be served, but I've eaten well today, so even if a cheeseburger gets into my hands, it will be okay.  I won't have any drinks and I'll have water.  It's all about finding balance and little by little I am finding it.

Yoga...with Weights!

I've just discovered something that is really awesome.  Yoga with weights.  Now that might seem antithesis to the idea of yoga, but it's not.  Yoga is not just about the breathing, it's about the balance and strength you get while contorting your body into poses.  Why not add a little weight to shake things up?  It was only five pound dumbbells, but wow!  I will feel that tomorrow.

In related news, my ankles are on the mend for real.  I am going to strap on the Vibrams again tomorrow and walk.  As soon as my ankels feel fatigued, I'm heading home and will lift weights and work on my core.  I really need to get back to running, so I hope it isn't too far off now.

And I'm back to embracing hunger.  I gotta stick to it.  And I'm going to stop saying it's hard.  So done with that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Learning to Listen

I think I'm finally approaching "out of the woods" status with my ankles.  I have been taking it easy this past week regarding running.  I've been strength training and doing yoga primarily.  Today, I went out for a fast walk in my old walking shoes.  I stayed on the asphalt and I felt good.  My the outsides of my ankles started getting fatigued before I wanted to be done, but instead of pushing through, I listened and shortened my walk.  If I want to continue this process, I have to listen to what my body can and can't (or won't) do.  Pushing myself too hard is going to keep me from accomplishing what I want and that's just self-defeating.

I have the week off from work - spring break woo-hoo!  I am going to be able to spend the time strengthening my ankles, little by little this time.  I will listen and heed my body's call when it says, "enough."

I'm determined more now than ever.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

This week has been interesting to say the least. I've been battling cravings (see my last post) and I've been trying to take it easy, meaning no running, to get my ankles to stop hurting. I am getting impatient on the second one since I really need a good run. Anyway, Wednesday night was Getty College Night which means free entrance, great art, and free food. The food is always good. A friend of mine who I have been going to advice about running told me that he eats "regularly" once a week when he's out with friends. I decided to apply this principle at the Getty. The good thing is that I chose the sweet potato fries instead of the regular fries, I ate grilled veggies, but I also had a spicy Italian sausage. I didn't even see where they had dessert, so I managed to stay away from that.  

I have had coffee twice this week as I just have been dragging: doing taxes, grading exams, working, going to class, dealing with the everyday of household stuff, and getting the kids where they need to go - whew! Exhausting. However, I don't drink coffee every morning like I used to, oh, and most importantly, I avoided the delicious looking banana chocolate chip coffee cake calling my name at Starbucks. It's all about balance people! Today is Gabriel's birthday party. I will be having a piece of chocolate cake and a little ice cream, but after today, I will be staying away from it.

Hopefully, I will get back in the groove of running very soon as I think it helps in keeping the cravings down. Upwards and onwards...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Now It's Hard

Ugh.  Cravings galore.  Hunger.  Must... persevere!!  This is not the fun part.  I am still motivated, but I really, really, really want food I'm not supposed to be eating.  Those potatoes I made for Easter?  Yep, they're calling my name.  I didn't eat many of them on Easter and I did have a small portion today.  It's a gateway drug and I must resist.  Embracing the hunger....resisting the cheesy, creamy potatoes...  I think I'll go have a glass of water...


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Patience Is Not My Virtue

This is not entirely true because when it comes to small children, I have patience like a saint.  But when it comes to myself and what I want for myself, like losing weight, I want it and like yesterday.

Where did this animosity come from?  The fitting rooms at H&M, that's where.  After checking out the iPad at the mall, I sent the kids to the indoor play space and went up to H&M, my favorite store.  They had more $13 dresses that I simply had to try on and a buy one get one free offer on select blouses.  Who's going to pass that up?  Not this girl.  Anyway, fast forward to the fitting room... I had success with what I chose, but looking in the mirror gave me a sobering glance at what still needs to happen to make me look my absolute best.  It was disheartening, to say the least.  I mean, my self-confidence is still intact, but I just want to look the way I want to look now. Screw the phrase, "good things come to those who wait."  I want it now.

I guess what I need to do is to have more determination and faith that it will happen, that I have to be patient.  I need to learn to have patience with myself and the process.  I've done this before and it works, but for some reason it seems harder now.  Faulty memory?  Perhaps, and I can only live in the present and not dwell on how it was in the past or how it might be in the future.  How zen of me - ha!

Keeping the faith... and going out for a walk!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Don't Miss Bread

Shocking, I know.  I was talking to my sister (have you checked out her blog yet?  Lynn's Weigh - it's listed with the blogs in the bottom right corner) yesterday and I told her that bread just makes me feel heavy.  I've had some since I started this new nutritional eating plan and it just sits in my stomach like a rock.  Fact is, we don't digest things like bread very well.  Huh.  I guess I just had to figure that out for myself.  I cannot express how happy I am about this revelation since I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to stay away from it, thus sabotaging my plan.

Now this is not to say that I don't eat any carbs because I do, but things like brown rice, beans and the natural sugar in fruit.  Speaking of which, I stayed entirely away from Gabriel's birthday cake.  I didn't even lick my fingers after getting frosting on them.  The reason?  The cake simply did not look appetizing.  I had fresh pineapple with dinner and I thought I was going to go into sugar shock it was so sweet.  I was satiated and definitely didn't need or want the white sugar in that store-bought cake.

What it boils down to is listening to what your body really needs.  Your body does not desire white sugar, white flour, dairy, or processed food.  Our culture tells us we want it, but we really don't.  We were not built to digest this kind of stuff.  Now, I'm no expert and I'm definitely not telling anyone what to do, but try nutritional eating for a week and see how you feel.  No bread, no processed food, nothing with white (processed) sugar in it, and no dairy (organic yogurt being the exception) allowed.  Try eating lots of leafy greens (salads), lean protein (fish, white meat chicken, egg whites, and lean beef like flank steak), beans, brown rice and fruit.  And learn how to embrace that true hungry feeling.  I'm telling you, I am a convert.  It took a while for me to get here, but again, the proof is in the putting.  I feel really good and wish everyone could feel the same.

Here's to your health!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Running Surfaces Are Not Created Equal

Ouch!  Well, just a little.  I've learned the hard way that running on concrete sidewalks is really hard on my Achilles tendon.  I was told this by my friend, Nye, but I guess I just had to test it out for myself.  Lesson learned!  I'm hitting the streets today and going to run on the asphalt.  Luckily, where I run there's little to no traffic.

On another and related note, I did not get my run in yesterday...bummer.  But, I have a clean house and some spontaneous living room dancing broke out with Gabriel during the process.  I can't complain!

And....I'm down 7 1/2 pounds - woot woot! Gotta love results...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taking a Break and Embracing Hunger

Today was a glorious Southern California day no matter where one decided to go.  I took my boys (plus Ian's new/old girlfriend - ah, the complications of young love) to the beach, more specifically, Leo Carrillo State Beach.  There are only a handful of days like today on the coast: warm (upper 70s), no clouds, and little wind.  I decided that since I had worked out for a solid eight days in a row, I could take a break today.  I did take that break, but I have to say, I kind of missed working out.  Call me crazy, but I now really like working out, especially after having such a great running day yesterday (and, yes, Cassie, I will keep going next time).  I'm already really looking forward to tomorrow evening's run.

The second part of my blog post tonight is about embracing hunger.  In the past, I would constantly sabotage myself when I'd feel hungry and eat something I knew I shouldn't be eating.  I'm really proud of myself because I have not sabotaged myself this week, at all.  Period.  And there was bread around tonight!  I am learning that being hungry is part of the process of losing weight and getting my appetite under control.  I'm learning that being hungry means faster results.  Don't get me wrong, I am not starving myself.  I had three wonderfully well-balanced meals today, but they consisted of things that I wouldn't have eaten for those meals in the past, or at least not consistently.  I'm not following a six meal plan because I simply don't operate that way.  I don't really like to eat when I'm not hungry anyway (or at least what I used to think was hungry) and Dr. Joel's plan is a three meal kind of plan.  He wants me to "stuff myself healthy" at meals, to be completely satiated.  It's pretty amazing how little it takes to actually satiate my appetite now - clearly my stomach is shrinking.

Anyhow, I also think writing about this process is helping me stay on the straight and narrow, so to speak.  I'm really glad I have a few followers because you all are helping me on this journey, just by being here, so thanks for that.  Now, it's time for bed as I am extremely "beach tired."

Finding success every day...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting a Groove On...

I just came back from the most amazing run I've had yet in my new shoes.  I started out kind of herky-jerky, but on the last 1/2 mile, I got into such a groove, I didn't want to stop.  My breathing was regulated and easy and my rhythm even.  I so so so needed to feel this way today - it's been a rough week of anxiety, lack of sleep and emotional ups and downs.

Share your stories of effortless running - or any kind of exercise.  I'd love to hear how they make you feel.'s a day at the beach and my day of rest.  I cannot wait!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Day, Another Pound

Any time I re-start an exercise/eating/well-being program, I try not to become obsessed with the scale.  However, I digress.  I stepped on the scale yesterday to see it was not so evil after all: I had dropped three pounds.  I decided, "what the hell?!" and stepped on it again today: another pound gone.

Now, I know weight can easily fluctuate from morning to evening, thus I really try hard not to weigh myself more than once a week, but I'm excited and already can see some changes even after the few short weeks I've been exercising.  For example, my clavicles (collarbones) are coming back.  Not that they were impossible to find, but when I weigh less my clavicles protrude more.  I have been told by many people that I have a very graceful neck and shoulder area, so this is important to me that they look their best.

My body loses weight in a top down sort of fashion.  The first areas I notice weight loss is in my face and upper chest, then it slowly moves down my body to areas I'd rather not lose weight in (ladies and gentlemen, I'll let you figure out which body parts I'm referring to), then finally my body budges and lets go of the weight I've carried around my mid-section and beyond.  Let me tell you, I cannot wait until I see my mid-section shrink down to what I want it to be.  Six-pack abs?  Not likely, women should be a little fleshy anyway, in my opinion, and I will still have the curves, but none of the bulge.  And, legs, mmm-hmm!  All this running and strength training is already making my legs firmer.  I actually am looking forward to buying a new bathing suit this year.

Anyway, enough blogging for now.  It's time to do the strength training I've been looking forward to doing all day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Promise I Won't Constantly Write about Food, but...

So I made my first Dr. Joel recipe today, black bean lettuce wraps.  Verdict?  Tasty!  I made some black beans last night and I was happy to see this recipe in the book.  Since I only made it for myself right now, I omitted the avocado, since I would have only needed an eighth of it.  And we all know what happens to avocados after you cut them open...oxidization, yuck.

Anyway, the two books in this collection are a kinder, gentler form of Dr. Joel's Eat to Live.  He lets you eat chicken, and even red meat, but in total moderation.  The first book reads a lot like Eat to Live and I've already read that, I know what I have to do.  It's just nice to have more options, and tastier ones at that.

Even though I can make boiled water taste good, this is still a daunting task.  Retraining my taste buds is most definitely the hardest part of this process.  The proof will be in the putting and if I can shed three pounds without Eat for Health, just think how much I will lose with it.

My eyes are on the prize...

I Made It until 6:30 a.m.

Today I got just over six hours of sleep, waking up to the Colette alarm - doesn't she realize it's still dark outside?  Ugh.  It didn't make sense for me to go back to sleep since I have to drive Ian to school, so I'm checking email, Facebook and writing a short blog.

I'm feeling a bit anxious this morning, but nothing as compared with yesterday.  I don't have to work today, so I think I will take my theory on the road after breakfast and get right out for a nice walk and lift weights today.

It feels like a yogurt with fruit kind of morning.  I will have to learn how to embrace the hunger.  Dr. Joel said so. This should be interesting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eat for Health books are here!

My books have arrived so that means tomorrow is day one to healthy, nutritious eating.  So far, the recipes look markedly better than in "Eat to Live" - thank goodness!  

The plan he has set up is the only thing I'm concerned about because there are too many calories for me to possibly to shed any pounds.  I will have to modify portions or go for alternatives.  The best part is that he is allowing some dairy, mainly yogurt, and a few more whole grain products, including some pasta.  I can definitely live with that.

This is going to be the most challenging aspect of this process.  I'm a foodie.  I love all kinds of food that is not healthy, mainly butter, cheese, red meat and chewy, crusty white flour bread.  This is where I'm going to need the most cheering on. 

I can do this, right?

Sweet, Sweet Seratonin

Ahhhhhh!  My body knows what it needs and I'm glad I listened to it.  I was still feeling pretty crummy after work and I had to pick up my son for his cello lesson.  I decided to put my workout clothes and running shoes on so that when I got home around 5:30, I could eat dinner and get that run in.  I was planning on napping in the car while Ian had his lesson.

I quickly changed my mind once Ian was out of the car.  There is a nice park near his teacher's house near the mountains, so I decided to run.  I am so incredibly glad I did.  It's a gorgeous day in Los Angeles. I'm sure those of you reading out-of-state are saying, "when is it not a gorgeous day in L.A?" Mid-70s, sunny - a stereotypical day.  Anyway, this park is great because it is not flat, there are lots of changes in elevation.  I practiced my Pose Method of running especially on the decline to get used to my positioning.  I alternated running with walking, but I could run a lot further today than I have before with my new shoes!  Yay!  It means my body is adjusting to this new way of running.

I got in about three miles in 25 minutes, so I'm very happy.  My anxious feelings are completely gone.  Seratonin is a miracle worker.  And according to Gabriel, I smell like plants - grin!

Anxiety Is a Bitch

Going to bed at 12:30 a.m. and waking up before 6 a.m. is not a pathway good health.  I went to bed with my son's lunch made thinking that I get to sleep in until 7:45 - I can do seven hours, but I cannot survive on five...and for the second night in a row.

As is every morning I woke up to what I call the cat alarm.  I have a 17-year-old cat who I completely love, but she's cranky.  She wants what she wants when she wants it.  Colette waits for no one.  Anyway, she woke me up and felt panicked when I woke up, the beginnings of an anxiety attack.  Obviously, I would not be falling back to sleep for those last two hours.

It's stress and having a lot of things on my mind that create this anxiety.  I don't take medication, I ride them out.  This is due to the fact I don't have a doctor or insurance, but I have tried Xanax once and it is a miracle drug. They are exhausting emotionally and physically.

The good news is that I've stamped them down in other very stressful times in my life by eating right and, more importantly, by exercise. Even though I am extremely tired surviving on ten hours of sleep over two days, I will go for that run after dinner tonight.  I need it, mind, body and soul.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety?  I'm always curious and receptive to how others deal with a very common issue in our modern lives.  Please leave your comments.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In a Van down by the River

I'm reminded of the hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch with the late, great Chris Farley who played Matt Foley, a motivational speaker. He came to people's homes to deliver a speech to disaffected teenagers.  So so funny (see link below).

Today, I had the opportunity to be a motivational speaker for Project GRAD, a fantastic non-profit that helps kids from elementary through high school achieve the goal of going to college.  My very good friend, Ozzie, asked if I would be interested in coming to speak for their Career Week and I jumped at the opportunity to do so.  I actually think the more we offer of ourselves, the bigger impact we have upon others.  If I reached even just one of the 50 or so kids I saw today, I made a difference.

So what does this have to do with this blog?  Well, you, of course.  I am writing this for the support, for the cheerleading, for the motivation you all give me on a day to day basis.  I'm writing to keep me on the path of better health and fitness, but I certainly cannot do it alone. Thanks to anyone reading and being my Matt Foley!

Forgive the choppy tribute, but because of copyright issues, it's hard to find the entire original sketch.
Matt Foley, motivational speaker

Monday, March 22, 2010

Farewell, Sweet Sweet Bread

Here's the thing.  There is no eating of bread on the Joel Fuhrman plan.  He's not a whole grains kind of guy even.  Leafy greens, dense vegetables, fruit, soy and beans are his idea of a balanced diet.  I can wrap my mind around losing the dairy as I will also be giving up coffee (no need for half and half now) and will "live" without cheese.  But bread, oh, that's a tough one.  I can give up sugar, no problem, diet soda, sure!  Oh, but I will miss bread.

However, eyes on the prize, right?  So as I sit in my windowless office at work - you do know that professors really don't do anything important during office hours, right? - I will savor one of my last pieces of bread with real butter (another thing I must give up - double sigh).

I will prevail.

Blogging...It's a Thing We "Do" in My Family

So, I just added a blog list to my page.  There are three.  I don't really follow anyone except my own awesome family members.  I read the occasional blog here and there, but I don't follow any of them except for my sister's and my nieces' blogs.  They are overall amazing people who I am proud to call my family.

My sister's blog is about the journey of keeping weight off.  In case you didn't know, my sister is a minor celebrity.  She has appeared on Oprah, CNN, The Today Show, twice, (recently as a member of the Joy Fit Club, although I don't know how she could stand Kathie Lee and Hoda - blech [sorry sis!]), and in print in People Magazine's yearly edition of people who have lost a whole person or more.  As of now, she has a book proposal being shopped around by her literary agent.  She is an inspiration for thousands of people, including yours truly.  And she's MY sister - woot!

My nieces started a blog called "Sisters from Different Misters" not only because that title is hilarious, but also because it's true.  Basically, their blog is a random musing of living life in their 20s, but from very different perspectives.  Carly, the eldest, is completing her M.A. degree in history and dating (from what I hear) a nice guy, while Cassie, the youngest, is married, has two adorable children, and is a nurse.  They are fantastic young women.

My oldest brother and sister wrote and self-published books already, so I figured I better jump into this writing party.  We all have a way with words.  This blog my be uneven at times, but I'll find my footing and my voice as I move forward.

For now, read some of my family's blogs.  I have to go preach the good word of the High Renaissance today.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome to My World...

It is 11:15 on Sunday night and my brainchild of this morning is coming to fruition.  I have no idea who is even going to read my thoughts, but this blog is written for me to keep me honest and on track.  I'm somebody's "guru" now, so I better start living up to it!

I started back on the exercise train two weeks ago after a nasty cold.  I felt inspired, FINALLY, to really take back control of my body.  It hasn't been laziness, just life, that's kept me from doing what needs to be done.  After being inspired by less-than-lovely legs last night at an art gallery opening, I decided that I can do this.  I can be 35 (in May - gifts are graciously accepted) and have fantastic looking legs AND wear a miniskirt.  Will I have my 18-year-old body back? After birthing two over 9-pound children, probably not, but, hey, that's life and I can accept that.

What this blog won't be is what so many others write about: the struggle for weight-loss.  The fact is, I love myself.  I mean, I really love myself!  I have good self-esteem and am not known for being modest or humble.  Character flaws?  To some, perhaps, however, I am gracious and can take a compliment as well as constructive criticism.  I hope that whomever reads what I have to write will keep that old adage in mind, "If you don't have something nice (or constructive) to say, then don't say anything at all."  Let's be civil, shall we?

Let the games begin (again)!

*Shoes courtesy of Vibram Fivefingers, nutritious eating courtesy of Dr. Joel Fuhrman and my mad cooking skills, and running technique courtesy of the Pose Method.  I'll be posting all about the aforementioned things this week, so stay tuned.  Until then, see the links below!