Thursday, 24 February 2011

My Bestest Friend

I promised you all a post about my bestie a few weeks ago and got swamped.  Check me out!  Three blogs in as many days!  WHOOP!

This is ButterBean.  Or Bean-a-Roo.  Or Doobie.  Or Goober-Lou.  We're bad with nicknames over here, but it's better than "hey you dog."  And, she always seems to know when we're talking to her.  Anyway, Bean is a "Chiweenie," which is to say that she is half dachshund (weener dog), half chihuahua.  Aside from the ears, we think she's much more dachshund than chihuahua.

We got Bean when she was 4 months old.  We were her 4th home in as many months.  She was born into a home that didn't care to spay or neuter their animals, and she was the runt in her mothers 3rd litter in 2 years. :-(  My aunt brought Bean and her sister, Coco, home with her as soon as they were weened, and then my cousin took Bean to her house.  My cousin has a soft heart and wasn't thinking clearly until about a month later when she realized that she really wasn't able to be home enough to take the time to properly care for a puppy.   She spent WAY too much time locked up...

I had been looking for a puppy for about 6 months at that point.  We always had dogs in my home growing up, and after a few years in our apartment without one, I really was missing the companionship.  I refuse to "pay" for a puppy.  I know a lot of people do, and I won't hate on it here too much, but I believe that there are SO many animals that need homes, and so many puppy mills making money off over bred animals.  I just think it's wrong too support that.  Plus, I don't think you can ever really "own" a creature.  You'll never hear me say "my dog" or "my animal."  She is a dog, but she does not "belong" to me.  She is her own being and I respect her for it.  The most we do to interfere with nature is keep her safe and healthy by keeping her on a leash in public and clothing her when it's cold.  I'm thankful she chooses to be my devoted friend and am readily willing to feed and shelter her for as long as she decides she is happy here. 

So, when my cousin called asking if I'd like to see if Bean might like to come home with me, I was SO ready!  I jumped in the car and drove the 3 hours to find out.  When I got there, Bean would have nothing to do with me.  She cowered in her crate and refused to come out.  She'd done this moving thing before, twice before and it always meant new people who couldn't take care of her, and a new home, and ... just too much change for her taste.  My cousin told me that if I didn't take her, she was going to have to drop her off at the humain society.  I know what happens there, and I wasn't willing to give her up so easily.  I brought her home without having ever touched or held her.  I placed her crate on the floor and opened the door trying to coax her out.  It took her 2 days to come out...

After that, we became fast friends.  She followed me around afraid of her own shadow.  It was pitiful.  She would have nothing to do with Hubby for more than a week.  I believe that men (or a man) were unkind to her in the worst way.  She still does not care for unfamiliar men in the least.  With so much change going on for her, no one had taken the time to teach her about being house broken, and so I enrolled her in "Puppy Class" at the local PetSmart.  She took to classes instantly and loved to show all the other puppies who was boss, even though she was usually smaller than they were.  Full grown now, she weighs all of 12lbs. 

Bean excelled in courses and completed all the courses offered at PetSmart.  She is a very smart dog.  I won't say she is "trained," she is not a robot who will do my bidding just because I told her too, but we communicate very well and have a good understanding of each other.  Because of that, I'm able to bring her with me pretty much anywhere I go.  Don't get me wrong, she is not what most people call a "friendly" dog.  She does not readily invite people to come too near her and pet her and play with her.  She does give warning when she feels threatened or nervous.  But, she knows how to be still.  She knows how to stay focused.  She knows how to behave appropriately in public.  And for that, she is usually invited back wherever we go, like to work with the kids...

Because of this, I am able to take her with me to exercise anywhere.  Bean LOVES a good brisk walk.  She loves to ride in the basket of my  bicycle.  This summer, I hope to introduce her to boats.  I think she will really enjoy it.  She loves being outside and she LOVES to RUN.  And being so long and sleek, MAN-OH-MAN is she FAST!!  Her very favorite thing to hear is, "You ready to GO?!"  ...The answer is always an emphatic "YESSSSS!!!"

I'm so lucky to have such a devoted friend in her.  I wouldn't be me without her.:)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Nonscale Victory and My Partner in Crime

This is my husband.  He is an apprenticed chef who currently works as a cook in a corporate turn-and-burn restaurant because the fine dining restaurants here are privately owned and do not offer insurance and benefits.  He hates it, but he does it for us.  Because it's scary to not have insurance these days.  For the past 12 years, he's lived his life doing whatever is best for us.  For me. 

We met my very first class on my very first day of high school in '99.  I was a freshman obviously, and he was a senior.  Funny enough, it was a parenting class.  I walked into the classroom (late and lost) and he was sitting in the back.  We locked eyes and everything else in the world melted away.  We've been inseparable ever since.  He says the moment he saw me, this little voice in the back of his head said "That's her!  That's her!!"  He knew that I was the one he wanted for the rest of his life and he has done everything in his power to make that happen ever since. 
2002- Our First Apartment
There are pros and cons to meeting your soul mate so early in life (I was 13, he was 17).  Most people find the story romantic, and it is.  But the reality is that we've been through hard times together from a fairly young age.  His parents divorced after he graduated and he moved in with me and my family when I was 16.  We moved into our first apartment when I was in my last year of high school at 17.  I graduated high school with a 3.4 GPA while working a full time job.  He supported us working two jobs while I went to college.  We moved out of state (away from his mom) when I was 20.  And then finally in 2007, when I was 22, we were married.
2007 Our Wedding
Doing all these things on our own was tough, to say the very least.  So, naturally, we often tried to take the easy way in the things that we could.  This meant fast food, 10 cent boxed of mac & cheese for DAYZ, poptarts, chips and icecream.  For Hubby, this was not a problem.  He is a bean pole at 6 feet 2 inches.  He has never weighed more than 154lbs.  He would be thrilled if I would let him eat frozen pizza and McDonald's cheeseburgers for the rest of his life.  I often have to remind him that just because he looks healthy on the outside, does not mean that his arteries aren't clogged with cholesterol and fatty plaque.  His eating has improved as mine has this past year.  He now also tracks his food to try and maintain a more balanced diet.  He has always been pretty active.  He rides his bike to and from work, he jogs occasionally with our best K9 friend, Bean.  He has always been able to do things that I couldn't do physically.  At 29 years old, he still loves to climb trees. 
2008- Up a Tree
But, I tell you all this to tell you about a nonscale victory I achieved yesterday.  When hubby got home yesterday (he had a terrible day at work) he decided he wanted to do a living room workout.  I asked if I could do it with him and he said of course.  We did some high stepping, some power hopping, jumping jacks, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, planks, leg lifts, pelvic thrusts, up-downs, etc.  The coolest thing was that I OUTLASTED him!!  He was winded, red faced, and exhausted.  He threw in the towel and I kept going!!  He sat down on the couch catching his breath and just watched me with a huge smile on his face.  He told me, "COUPONS! (that's what he calls me, don't ask...)  You're in better shape than I am!"

2011- Now I can climb too!
It was the best feeling I've had in a LONG time!  He's always been proud of me, but I don't think I've every surprised him with my physical ability before!  And it is AMAZING that my stamina and endurance is better than his right now.  I've inspired him and he's already cooking up a "couples workout" for us this weekend.  I'll take pictures! :-D
2011- Up the same tree together!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Two Posts in One

I know...I've been a terrible blogger.  I'm around every day reading your blogs!  I swear!!  But I just haven't felt like I've had much to say lately.  Right now I have a cold.  I'm sick at home and missing "my" kids.  I've had it up to HERE (I'm turning into my mother) with medical transcription.  I have until March 15 to finish the program and I already HATE the field.  Grrr...

I did want to share with you what I woke up to yesterday morning though:
That's right folks!  There's a '1' in the front!!!  My weight hasn't begun with a "1" since middle school- oh, 13 years ago!!  Now, I really only track my weight using the scale at my weekly WW meeting (since my scale is always off by about 3lbs.)  But, seeing this certainly gives me the motivation to work a little harder, track a little more, and eat a little smarter this week to make sure it shows at my WW weigh-in on Saturday.  I'm VERY excited and proud of myself.  I even woke up hubby to come and see! LOL

And now on a more serious note, In accordance with the title, I'm going to give you all a two-for-one blog post deal! 

I want to talk to a few of you (you know who you are) who seem to be struggling.  I've been reading weight-loss blogs for about 2 years now.  Trying to convince myself that if you all could do it, then I could too!  And, for the most part, that has been true.  There have been SO many great inspirations out there that have really kept me going!  And, I DO NOT claim to be any kind of expert on weight loss.  But, I HAVEcontinued to lose steadily for more than a year.  I HAVE lost 114lbs.  I HAVE changed my entire life to make sure that my healthy lifestyle is sustainable for many years to come.  I HAVE done the work.

So I want to talk to a few of you bloggers that don't seem to get it.  You get stuck in what I call the "whiney why-me's??"  You eat well for breakfast and then tell us that you HAD to eat the donut that was calling your name in the office breakroom, then you forgot to plan your lunch last night so you HAD to go out and eat fast food and wouldn't you know it?  You were over your caloric limit before the dinner you had planned out with your friends.  You say, "Can you believe that so-and-so restaurant's "healthy" salad is actually a MILLION calories or points?!  SHOCK!  What sabotage!!"  You exercise Monday and then tell us how you've been much too exhausted from this event, this sick child, this work deadline, to even consider getting up off the couch.  Week after week you moan and groan about how the scale is your enemy. And its not listening to you.

I've been there, I won't even try to lie!  But you know what it got me?  It got me to THREE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN pounds of MORBID obesity.  It got my knees aching.  It got my heart pounding just walking to the mailbox.  It got me to a size 30 pants and a 4XL in shirts.  Basically, it got death knocking on my door.

Friends, this journey is up to YOU!  You will NOT lose weight wishing and hoping for a change.  If pounds were wishes, we'd all look like Paris Hilton or Mila Kunis!!  The reason you are unhappy with your weight is because YOU put the wrong fuel into your body.  YOU do not burn more calories than you consume.  YOU are NOT trying.  You may say, "But, C!  I ate a salad at that restaurant!  How was I supposed to know it was a million calories!"  I CALL BULLSHIT!!  YOU did not educate yourself before you ate.  YOU did not ask to see the nutritional profile before you ordered it.  YOU did not google it for yourself.  YOU did not preplan enough so that you didn't have to eat out in the first placeENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! 

Why blog if all you ever have is bad news?  Please don't get me wrong- I've used this network for support MANY times when I was feeling hopeless.  And, I hope now that none of you feel like you can't come to me when you're struggling.  You most certainly can come to me and I will most certainly do my VERY best to help you see where you may have gone wrong and try to get you back on your feet.  But, what I will NOT do is sugar coat your failure for you. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  The most important thing I've learned during this journey is that weight loss is simple science.  If you continuously consume less calories than you burn on a daily basis, the scale WILL go down.  No matter what time of the month it is, no matter what stage the moon is in, no matter what holiday landed the day before your weigh-in. 

If you want what it takes to get it!  I have faith in you, have some faith in your self!  Show some RESTRAINTDO THE WORK!  And YES!!  That means PREPLANNING!  That means TRACKING your intake!  That means making HEALTHY CHOICES at every meal!  That means EXERCISING with the intent to get your heart racing, your body sweating, you breath huffing a bit!

I hope I haven't hurt any ones feelings.  But, to be honest, I'm more frustrated with your lack of motivation and results than you seem to be.  You all know who you are.  Now get out there and MAKE SOME CHANGES!  So I can be there to celebrate your successes! :)

Ready team?! 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Sketchers Shape-Ups Review

I'm not being paid or compensated in any way for this review.  This is just me telling you 'bout something I found that I liked.

Have you seen the Sketcher's Shape-Ups?  I've seen them around everywhere and heard several reviews for them (both positive and negative.)   To be honest, I thought they were a gimmick.  And, I certainly couldn't afford to spend $60 just to find out if I was right.  But, last weekend my mom and I stopped into the shoe store around here since they were having a sale.  My mom found 3 pairs of shoes that she wanted, but the sale was BOGO, so she told me to pick out a pair, too.  I looked around for about 15 minutes looking at flats and boots, but couldn't find anything I really wanted that was also available in my size, until I came across the Shape-Ups.  Making sure that they were included in the sale, I picked out a black pair. 

Just like these.
The first thing I noticed was that when I opened the box, there was reading material; two pamphelts & a DVD.  The first booklet was explaining the new technology behind these shoes, and the second was a guide to healthy eating- with legitamate info!  I was impressed.  The DVD has a quick 5 minute instructional video, a 15 minute workout, and a 30 minute workout.  I LOVE that!!  That's like giving me 3 new fitness activites in 1 box!!

I'm REDICULOUSLY bored of the gym, and at 69 degees on Wednesday, it was WAY too beautiful to stay inside.  So, I asked my very favorite being in the world to keep me company on my first Shape-Ups foray.  Have you met Butter Bean yet?  I haven't had much opportunity to tell you about her yet.  That will be another post.
Anyway, she agreed that a brisk 40 minute walk sounded like a great way to spend some extra time outside.  So I laced up my Shape-Ups, grabbed my running bag and out we went!

It took me about 5 minutes of getting used to the strange "walking in sand" feeling.  I will say that I happen to have weak ankles, and next time I will be wearing my brace for a bit more stability and peace of mind.   But, after that, the pace was set.  I could definately feel the muscles in my legs working.   And now, two days later, I am sore.  That's all it takes in my book.

I'm looking forward to going through the DVD workouts this week too, since the forecast is for rain.
I like these shoes, I do believe that they can add another level fitness to your regular walk.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Oh Fudge...

It started right after Christmas.  The craving for chocolate came.  I then began to realize that it had probably been months since I'd eaten chocolate.  Vanilla stuff (cake, pudding, cookies, etc.) yes, but not chocolate.  I thought well, if I'm craving it, then I'll just enjoy some in moderation.  The next time I went to the grocery store, I bought a container of Emerald Cocoa Almonds.  I would put 4 into the tiny "treat" compartment of my planet box.  And then...maybe a few in my trail mix...or maybe one while I was standing in front of the pantry.  I counted them all, points wise!  I did track them! 

But the craving didn't stop, and two weeks ago, I bought a box of 100 Calorie packages of Oreo Caksters.  I put ONE cookie (1/3 of a package) the size of my thumbprint into the tiny treat compartment of my planet box.  I've been doing good.  I have not eaten an entire 100 calorie pack in one day.  I recognize that they are not as nutritionally sound as the almonds, they are fake, processed, food- but they fit so cute in my little spot and well, a little.  ANYWAY...I thought I was doing good- enjoying chocolate in moderation until...

A knock on my door from our WONDERFUL neighbors- bringing us what? ENTIRE. EFFIN. CHOCOLATE. GLORY. CAKE. iced in fudge frosting.  Before you all groan...

I didn't do that poorly.  I had hubby cut me 4 mini portions and put them in the freezer for later enjoyment.  Hubby ate most of the rest...but I did have a few bites...several...okay 10.  I know you might not think that is so disastrous, after all, I did track them in my food planner.  But what surprised me was the draw.  I could NOT STOP eating this cake. 

...Just one bite...
...okay...just 2 bites...I'm gonna track it anyway...
...walk away...
2 hours later
...nom nom nom...I really have to stop eating this...

I did this for three days before hubby managed to polish off the last of it.  Again, it's not the calories consumed that bothered me- it's that I felt out of control.  I knew I didn't REALLY want to eat it- but my mouth just had to have it. 

It didn't help that Hubby has a bad habit of leaving a fork on the cake plate making it WAY too easy to eat before thinking. LOL  I talked to him about it today and he has agreed not to do that anymore.  He thought that by leaving the cake-fork for his later use, he was saving me from washing forks because I nit-pick about saving water by reusing the same glass during the day.  What?  It's green and economical?  So anyway, he promises to not leave any form of eating utensil on the cake plates from now on. :)

The real issue though, is not that Hubby made it easy for me to eat more cake than I meant too, but that I wasn't able to have complete control of my eating when the cake was here.  It really makes me realize that chocolate (especially in cake form) must be a strong trigger food for me.  I know a lot of people have said that, but I didn't realize that I too seem to have a problem sticking to my daily diet when chocolate is around.

I'm going to test it for a month.  I want to see if I can master myself in the presence of chocolate.  If this is a life-long healthy weight journey, there will be times that I will be around quantities of chocolate, God forbid the kid's want cupcakes for a birthday or something.  I need to be able to deliver.  That doesn't me that I should temp myself in anyway.  I will finish the almonds and the oreos that are in my pantry (barring a complete loss of control in the form of a binge which I have not done since I started WW) in moderation.  I will continue to put them in my lunch.  But, at the end of the month I will assess the amount of stress these foods caused me.  If it is too great, then I will be saying good riddance to chocolate. :)