Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gee, that's reassuring...not

The Mr sent me a link yesterday to this study.  To break it down, participants read about women who were all the same weight but one of the women in the stories lost 70 lbs to get to that weight.  It showed that even though the woman lost and maintained her weight, participants were still biased against the weight loss success story after having known her weight history and therefore perceived her as "less attractive."  In even simpler terms, you can lose the weight but people will always see you as fat if they know you were fat before.  The researchers say that one of the reason's society may feel this way is because the media and weight loss shows make it look like weight loss is very easy and controllable and thus increases the obesity stigma and blame toward obese people.

Here's why I think there is some truth to that study not so much with strangers but more with people you've known for a long time.  I have a friend who when she saw old pics of us after we lost our first 100 lbs said even though she saw us at our heaviest, she never saw us as that big so seeing the pictures was shocking to her. Several people have said that...almost like a reverse effect of "I knew you were big but not THAT big."  Then to go along more with the study I have a friend who had weight loss surgery 9 years ago and it has literally taken me this long to not gasp at her gaunt face when I see her.  I don't see her often face to face but see plenty of pics and still it would take me aback to see her from the waist up when she'd come over.  So I know that picture of being or seeing someone overweight stays in the brain for a long time.

I have to say it got me thinking.  There will (hopefully) come a time where we're no longer overweight and when meeting new people I often wonder how will they react if they're at our home and see pictures from our wedding on the wall or the picture I plan to put in a frame that says "never forget" of our before and maintenance.  Would that change their opinions of us?  There's this part of me that is afraid to see into the mind of the 'average' person because if they're completely uncensored because they don't know our history and say something about a heavy person, I'm not keeping quiet.  I will not tolerate someone saying something about an obese person in jest because I never want to forget what it was to walk in those shoes and I don't want to be around people who would treat another person that way.  This study along with the fat hate we experienced back in coach on the trip really makes me wonder if this transition is going to be harder than I anticipated.  I know, I'm getting a well.  I like things that make me think and/or prepare myself for other things I might not have thought of.

Do you agree with the study?  Do you think women who have always been thin are usually more attractive than those the same weight but have lost a significant amount of weight?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Comfortably exercising while obese

I got an email from a reader who asking for any tips for exercising comfortably while obese, specifically how to keep the stomach from flopping around.  The Mr and I both wear compression undergarment when we exercise.  I wear something similar to this (affiliate link) and the Mr wears compression shorts by Under Armour.  (affiliate link) We have several pairs of both and wear them every time we exercise to keep the ol' guts wrangled.

Not only do we wear them so we can comfortably exercise but to help prevent hernias.  The pulling and tugging that goes on when you're doing jumping jacks or running can eventually make you prone to them and I have no desire to go through that.  There was a time I thought I was getting one, I had a burning, searing pain in my lower stomach that would happen after exercise and when I mentioned it, several people said that was exactly how their hernias began.  So after some research I saw that wearing compression underwear/shorts was the best way to help lessen the chance of that happening.

As far as any other tips, it's the same as it would be for anyone.  Keep hydrated, don't subscribe to 'no pain, no gain' (Discomfort, sure.  Pain?  No.) and keep variety in your routine.  If you need some recommendations to keep variety in the mix, check out our workouts that in are rotation.  As the Mr pointed out in his comment, make sure as you lose weight that you go down in size on the compression garments as well so you get optimum compression and your schtuff is all neatly wrangled.  ;-)

Do you wear compression products while you exercise?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spicy Egg Salad Sandwich

The Mr was in a lunch rut but wanted to keep some protein in his lunch.  So I decided to surprise him with this little lovely...

But we know that egg salad sandwiches can taste a little dull.  Not mine baby.  I gave mine a little kick and the Mr loved it.  I hope you will too.  Here's what I used for mine:

2 large eggs, soft boiled
1 tbsp Miracle Whip Light
1/2 serving Habanero cheese
Fresh herbs
Preferred salt free spices (I used white pepper)
2 slices Trader Joe's Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

Soft boil 2 eggs (or hard boil if that's your preference.  The Mr likes soft boiled) and put them in a bowl.

Break up the eggs into small chunks.

Choose some fresh herbs to use.  I used fresh chives and oregano and chopped them up.

Add your herbs, habanero cheese and mayo.

Mix it all together.

Put it on your bread.  I toasted his for some texture.  Yum!

Obviously this isn't something you want to eat every day but to bust yourself out of a food rut, pair this with a fruit salad and enjoy a little taste of summer!

Nutritional information:  Calories 432  Total Fat 16g  Sat Fat 6g  Poly Fat 2g  Mono Fat 4g  Cholesterol 387mg  Sodium 677mg  Potassium 228mg  Total Carbs 48g  Fiber 14g  Sugar 6g  Protein 24g  Vitamin A  21%  Vitamin C  7%  Calcium 12%  Iron 20%

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend highlights

Well they're highlights to me, probably pretty boring to others.  This is the beginning of Hell season for us.  We HATE the heat.  H. A. T. E.  This weekend was the preview to what is coming up this summer and I think it's going to be another summer of being inside in the A/C or seeing if he can get transferred to Antarctica for the season.  Saturday was our 'active' day before the weather turned from miserable to impending heatstroke so we got to this one farmers market (our first of the season) when it opened hoping it wouldn't be as grotesquely crowded as it usually is.  Nope.  The quickest way to irritate us is to go to this particular farmers market.  It's in the snooty part of town and everyone likes to break every market rule according to me.  My rules are as follows:

1) If you are there to socialize, get your butt off to the side so people who are looking for actual products can get what they need and get out.  I do not have time nor patience to stand by while you whip out your phone to show people pics of your kids that they don't want to see.

2) If you're walking at a moderate pace, do not suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk thereby disrupting traffic flow.  I understand that latte needs to be sipped but if you can't sip and walk at the same time, you need to stay home.

3)  If you've just purchased something at a vendor, please do not just turn around and start walking assuming in a market with about 500 people none of them are around you.  It makes me apologize for you walking into me because you're a careless asshat and there is something wrong with me apologizing to you for your asshattedness.

That about did it for the Mr and I could tell he just wanted to get the hell outta there.  So off we went to our future neighborhood market up the street and it was a little better.  We got some lettuce, strawberries (that sadly already look like crap), local organic chipotle cheese and that was about it.  Hardly worth the gas to drive over there but the other place that had mad asparagus yo also had a bunch of clueless idiots making checkout unbearable arguing whether or not the bag he was buying was mustard or turnip greens and he was arguing with the vendor.  After I pointed out the Mr that the lettuce mix he had looked a little wilty, he put it back and they lost the sale.  We just didn't have the patience to be out in the heat with crowds.  But we did stop at a wholesale place we'd passed a billion times in the past and finally decided to stop.  We got a few things but weren't over the moon about the place.  We might stop in from time to time.  Then to the grocery for some pineapple so I could make some smoothies for later.

Lunch was going to be good old fashioned cookout food all measured out and portioned.  I made 2 ounce sliders and topped them with spinach and onion.  They were so tall I had to use those frilly toothpicks to hold the Hawaiian sweet rolls in place.  Spicy BBQ chips and dip and a serving of baked beans.

Oh.  Did I mention I stuffed the sliders with that chipotle cheese I bought at the farmers market?

After the mini meat fest, I made some papaya pineapple smoothies with half a banana and some cantaloupe in mine and some strawberries in his to help aid digestion and calm any inflammation from the sodium.  This will be a new thing for us on the weekend.  Somehow this Magic Boo-lay version doesn't quite resemble the last time I had a smoothie in a margarita glass poolside with papayas cut from the grounds by our houseboy.  {sniff}

While we were out I wanted to go to Avenue.  I had NO intention of buying anything because their prices are out of control!  They are doubling their prices and are forcing me to basically only shop there when there is a clearance going on.  Sad really because I hear people complaining about their prices every time I go there, you'd think someone somewhere would get the hint.  Anyhoo.  As soon as we walk in, I see $5.96 for sweaters.  Um, yes please.  So I bought 4 sweaters for me, a knit long sleeved shirt and a cardigan for my mom for Christmas all for a total of $40.04 with tax and if I'd paid what was on the tags, it would've been $200 with tax!  So yeah, mama snagged a bitchin' deal.  I also bought them all in a size smaller (14/16) and I plan to be in it by Fall.  (Yes, I know there's a lot of black with a red one thrown in there but I hated the other color choices that were left)

For dinner, we had the same sides but a 50% less fat 3 cheese chicken brat.  I also made lemon shake ups and I put the Mr's in his special Bubba Gump light up glass.  This caught one of the 4 colors it flashes like a cop car light bar and it gets a little dizzying but I wanted him to feel like he was back on the water at Bubba's...before the screaming child showed up.

Sunday was just spent trying not to get heatstroke.  The Mr pulled all of the weeds out back and put down ant and bug killer around the perimeter of the house since well, tis the season and we want to stop 'em before they start looking for a place to come in from the heat.  I think I finally realized that there aren't ants crawling all over the kitchen like they do in Hawaii which is nice.  When you get used to ants on your kitchen  counters, gecko poop anywhere and B52 roaches dive bombing you, you know you're a local or an honorary one and you forget how nice it is not to worry about that stuff when you're back on the mainland.  But honestly, I'd put up will all of that stuff to be back in Kona with some tradewinds going because this summer is gonna be GROSS!

Actually that's how I thought the weekend was going to go until the Mr got rather active after I posted this.  We were going to stain the patio stones, noticed how uneven and gappy the stones were looking and the plastic edging that keeps the stones in place were all out of whack.  The house has been shifting quite a bit and it's showing.  Well, it didn't make sense to go to the trouble of staining if the rest of it was going to look like crap.  The poor man exhausted himself and took 3 showers yesterday.  He's back at it already this morning.  I'm cutting him off at noon for a workout and no working again until 6pm when the heat has died down.

How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend?  What is your cut off comfortable temperature in the summer?

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Post Vacation Weigh In

When we come back from vacation, we have been on the plane for about 12 hours, void of water and having survived on stuff that isn't the best for us.  This is in addition to pretty much 'free reign' in the food department on 15 days of vacation and the first thing we do when we get home is run downstairs to weigh in under "worst case scenario" circumstances.  My worst case scenario from this trip?  I was up 14 pounds from what I was before I left for the airport.  I knew that number wasn't right because my skin was so tight I was about to pop so I don't take it to heart.  The Mr showed he was up 22.  I knew that wasn't right because the man bloats like a woman.

I weighed in under the Mr's corruption on Monday afternoon (I wasn't going to weigh in until today but he did and was down 10 lbs so I had to see if I was on the same track) and saw I was already down 8 lbs in basically 2 1/2 days of good eating and one strength training session under my belt so I was encouraged.

That brings this week's weight loss to 3 pounds (same for the Mr) meaning that only 3 pounds of vacation weight stuck around for me!

That I can totally handle especially given how much we emotionally fed ourselves the first week after the let downs and then because our friend had this awesome restaurant literally 2 minutes from the house, we got used to what we called "second breakfasts."  The roosters start crowing at 4:45am there.  To the point I wanted chicken for lunch if you get my drift.  We were always up by 6am.  So we'd eating eating cereal and sweetbread toast with pineapple jam or toast with pineapple.  By the time we'd get on the road at 8-9am for our day we would have that painful "pit hunger" and head down to Sam's for 'second breakfast.'  I know, not the smartest habit to get into.  But I thought that would really eff us up this trip and thank God no more stuck around than what usually does, so I'm pleased with my results.  I'm also very happy I get to retain my 200 lbs lost title.  Whew!

Today is a controlled splurge day but not "high cal."  We're staying within our limits but still having cookout food so we don't feel deprived.  Before we were on this adventure, this would be the weekend we'd blow the weight gain from vacation even further off the charts and have a 3 day oink fest.  We haven't done that in 4 years and still get in all of our favorites.  So it's lean sliders with BBQ chips and baked beans for lunch and chicken brat with the same side for dinner.  The sodium is going to be a little out there but I need to chug my water that I've been doing so good at for the past week.

Now on to shed the next 3 lbs and get back to business!

What are you doing this holiday weekend?

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Journal Friday 5/20-25

Food Journal Fridays are back!  It's been too long and trust me, you don't want to see the stuff I ate the previous two weeks on vacation.  HA!  

Let's eat!

Sunday's dinner was to make up for 2 crappy steaks I had on Maui.  I was so looking forward to this one restaurant's teriyaki sirloin with pineapple onion salsa but they killed it so bad after butterflying it that I sent it back.  Ugh.  So I got a filet mignon at Trader Joe's and grilled it a bit then finished it off in the oven with onions and pineapple and steamed some brussels sprouts.  Calories:  577

Monday was a twist on our naan bbq pizza and they were done in whole wheat pockets instead.  A couple ounces of chicken, bbq sauce, marble cheese and 2 tbsp of edamame hummus then toasted with steamed brussels sprouts.  Calories:  541

Tuesday was mahi mahi fish tacos.  Since I forgot to grab broccoli slaw at TJ's, I used some onion and spinach for roughage.  Side dish was 2 tbsp of edamame hummus and a pita pocket cut and baked into chips.  Calories:  531

Wednesday was sauteed then baked swordfish with roasted asparagus.  Calories:  310

Thursday I needed an all veggie side break and we had crab stuffed flounder on a bed of spinach and carrot polenta.  Calories:  610

Tonight was a bbq chicken breast quesadilla on a high fiber tortilla with onion, chipotle hummus and marble cheese and a side of roasted asparagus.  Calories:  401

So I'd say the first week back from vacation was successful.  Calories averaged 2195 for the week and I burned 4650 calories in formal exercise.  My water has been on point at about a gallon a day which is way better than I was doing in the months before we left.  I need to keep that up fo' sho'.

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Lest you think I'm a downer

I know it seems like I've been focusing on all of the things we couldn't do on vacation but it is very important to me that I be completely honest with you about how hard this weight loss thing can be not just in execution but mentally.  Most of us on a weight loss adventure know that it is 90% mental and when you've been at it for 4 years and are nowhere near goal yet, the victories get very hollow.  I don't expect many people to be able to understand that...I'm glad many people don't understand that because it's a crappy place to be.  I'm workin' this out kids but instead of internalizing it all, I'm getting it all out there in hopes that one person can identify that someone out there gets the frustration too.  So to prove that I do recognize the strides we've made, I needed to post this to break up some other brain swirls that'll come your way next week.

Victory #1:  No airplane extender necessary

I could buckle the seatbelt without using the extender for the first time in probably 8 or 9 years.  Now I'm not ready to burn my extender by any means since as you can see, I'm using all of the belt but I was relieved to see they fit.  (Even if one of them inbound and outbound were by the skin of my teeth.  I mean it was like "suck it in 1/2" for the click!")  I told myself if it was uncomfortable I would get out my extender but it wasn't, it was just tight.  I was also able to narrowly use the tray table and that wee little drink tray that slides out from the console.  I mean it touched the top of my thigh but still, I'll take it given I couldn't use it last year.  I will especially take it given the bloat and weight gain and I was still able to click it all the way back home on each flight.  I was sure that wasn't going to be possible so...yay!

Victory #2:  Moderately strenuous hike

See the top of that mountain?  That's where we hiked down from and of course had to hike back up.  We kind of hiked this area before several years ago when we were starting to get out of control but we never went almost to the shoreline.  The only time we ever considered not going was because we didn't think we could find the blowhole from where we were parked not because we didn't think we could do it.  I love boulder hopping, always have.  I'd do the hike again too.

Victory #3:  Incorporating healthy foods to transition back to real life

There's this great Farmers Market in Kona on the corner of Ali'i and Hualalai that we've always loved going to.  The produce has greatly improved over the years and the prices were amazing 3 mangoes for $2!?  I mean I would LOVE to be able to pay that.  I'm lucky to get one for $3 here.  When we're on vacation, we eat what we want.  I know some people don't agree with that and well, not to be a snot but good for you.  HA!  We eat what we want and we're active then hop right back to it the second we get home.  I was inspired by the papayas our caretaker left cut straight from the trees on the grounds to get my market picks of pineapple, lychees, mango, orange and banana.  I made some killer smoothies with them and I couldn't believe the difference in how it debloated me overnight.  I would wake up with baggy eyes in the morning but the 3 days we had these smoothies, I didn't and I think it was a good way to prepare the body for healthy eating on the horizon.  We're going to make a smoothie mix in the island from now on and have at least one a day since the prices are so good there to hopefully help with the bloat we encounter from the bombardment of salt that local food is famous for.

Victory #4:  Overcoming social inadequacy

I've blurred faces because I didn't know I was going to use this for the blog and therefore didn't ask permission so I'm respecting our table mates privacy.

When we were having breakfast with our chef friend, he invited us to a business dinner since we both have other businesses we're involved in that have to do with Hawaii.  When he asked and we accepted, I immediately went into internal panic mode.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  He hangs with some high profile people and I didn't know would "big business" people that we had absolutely nothing in common with be there?  How would we sound interesting at face value?  I mean you don't want to necessarily introduce yourself as "nice to meet you.  What's the most interesting thing about me?  I've lost 200 lbs so far."  I mean I can't lean on the weight loss crutch forever so it really kind of forces you into yourself to say "who am I?  What do I have to offer?  How can I go beyond small talk and not end up sounding stupid?"  It's one thing when I'm in a casual setting but a networking type situation?  Never been in it and I wasn't looking forward to it even if it meant spending some extra time with our friend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What was supposed to be here

"You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."  -Matt Damon in We Bought a Zoo  (affiliate link)

I had to keep repeating that to myself when I booked the Mr's anniversary present in Hawaii, an outrigger canoe ride.  I contacted an outdoor sports company, told them our story and asked what we could do at our weights.  He said stand up paddle or outrigger canoe.  Well the Mr has done SUP but I hadn't and my first time was NOT going to be on the ocean regardless of how "calm" it was.  I almost drown in California as a teen and I need to work my way up to being more comfortable in the ocean.  So I chose the outrigger canoe, something I've always wanted to do and I know the Mr did too.  Then I saw a picture of it:

Um yeah, the skinny girls barely have a few inches hip wise, I can't imagine MY big butt!  So I emailed the guy and asked how wide the seat was and he said 19".  Can you guess the next thing I did?  Yep, I measured my ass.  I sat on the carpet in the office and marked the widest part of my hips in a pair of capris.  22"  Great.  Then I went down to the cold, cement basement floor and put on a pair of "sucker pants" (compression shorts that were seriously tight) and remeasured.  19"  So I was determined to keep it secret and then I confirmed the reservation with the guy and he said we would get out of the canoe and snorkel.  I froze in terror.  Scuzi?  My immediate thought was getting my lard ass back onto the canoe without tipping it.  I said "uh I don't see me being able to lift myself up into the canoe from the middle of the water!"  He said they could bring a ladder to help with that.  "Um okay but I'm still going to tip this f**ker" is what I wanted to say.  Of course he called the second the Mr got home so I had to have him go outside while I talked to him.  When I got off the phone I motioned him back in and sat on the couch.  My eyes filled with tears and I just lost it.  I began crying uncontrollably.  He became concerned and was trying to guess what could have me so filled with terror and he was getting nervous.  He finally guessed to some degree but I think he thought the boat I was talking about was bigger and was like no biggie.  He said "unless it's a canoe or something."  I lost it and shook my head yes.  He said that was awesome, loved it and was now a little nervous about it.  So there we sat, him somewhat excited and nervous and me bawling like someone just told me I had a terminal disease.  I figured worst case scenario is I wouldn't get out of the boat to snorkel.  I spent the next 4 weeks in complete and utter terror but I was doing it for the Mr because I knew he'd love it.  He gave me a billion outs and said he would understand.  I couldn't do that to him especially now that he knew.  I was just going to have to gonad up and do it.

That's what I had written before we left for our vacation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tri-Color Potato Salad

The holiday weekend is approaching y'all.  There's a staple in every picnic or family get together when grilling season begins and that's potato salad.  There are many ways to dress up a potato salad but what if you like a good old fashioned, traditional taste but still want to jazz it up?

Use a bag of tri-colored potatoes!  You can usually find a bag of "sunrise medley" potatoes on an end at your local big box grocery store.  Here's what you'll need for this lighter version of a traditional potato salad:

1 bag Sunrise Medley tri-colored potatoes
3/4 cup Miracle Whip Light (yes, you can use Light Mayo or Vegenaise)
1 tbsp mild yellow mustard
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
Salt free spices (I used rosemary, basil, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper)
1/2 cup scallions (1/4 to mix in and 1/4 to garnish)

Here are those loverly tri-colored potatoes.

Cut each potato in half.  They're small enough that each potato is bite sized.  How cute and festive is that purple potato?!

All cut up and ready to roll...

Well ready to go into a pot of water at a rolling boil.  Cook them for about 13-15 minutes.

I let Mr. Tiki corn cob holder tell me when they're "fork tender" so that a fork doesn't break apart my test piece.

When they're ready, put the potatoes in an ice bath to stop the cooking process so the potatoes don't get mushy.

In a small bowl, add the Miracle Whip and mustard and mix together.

It should look a loverly pale yellow when it's well combined.

In a larger bowl, add the potatoes, mayo/mustard combo, celery, red peppers and onion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Knocked down a peg

I have sat here for like 20 minutes writing and erasing this post.  Basically when people ask how your vacation went, they want you to say it was the perfect relaxing vacation because we all want to buy into that grand illusion that grass is greener elsewhere away from our 'normal' lives.  You should know by now I don't sugar coat a's still a turd.  It wasn't the worst trip we ever took but it wasn't far from it.  We left our airport and that flight was pretty cool.  I didn't need the extender for once, I could even cross my legs!  I was remembering the time when my hips were so jammed into another airlines seat that my hips were bruised the entire trip.  We said how nice it was to not have to worry about that.  We land at a stopover and when your 2nd flight going to San Fran is getting ready to pull away from the gate and you're then told 'sorry, FAA has closed the airport for incoming flights due to low clouds and we'll be delayed 2 hours' that doesn't give you the warm fuzzies.  We were going to miss our flight to Maui.  We had to be rerouted to LA and would arrive well after sunset so no beautiful coastline view on our way in.  Not only that but the first class we paid for was not available on one of the flights.  This sent me into a panic because I haven't flown coach in years.   The lady was nice enough to put us in an exit row for the legroom since we're both tall but that means no armrest going up.  Even though we were in coach, we still got premier access which meant we could board first so I got to breathe for a few minutes.  I realized the shortened armrest against the wall of the plane was digging into my hip and switching seats with the Mr wasn't an option because at least I could kind of lop out in the half that didn't have the full armrest.  But if I'd been where the Mr was, in the middle, I would've relived that moment I was reminiscing about on the first flight and that really sent me into a mental spiral.

If I thought that was bad, it was about to get worse.  I was glad to see I again didn't need an extender so I crossed my legs and waited as the parade of people passed by.  We thought we were actually getting off with no one beside us because it was down to the few stragglers so we kept our fingers crossed.  Of course we couldn't luck out.  This jerk throws his bag down on his seat and was trying to muscle the Mr for the armrest.  Um, dude.  If someone's tray table comes out of that armrest, it is THAT person's armrest, hence it was the Mr's and he wasn't budging.  Thankfully it was just over a 2 hour flight but damn it felt like four.  We land and since we have a bit of a layover we said we didn't need to rush off the plane.  Then we realized the lady we thought was dead behind us (don't ask) has that rickety luggage cart to put together and we didn't want to get stuck behind her so we decide to go ahead and get off the plane.  There were people who were letting other people go...thin people...but they gave us dirty looks and shoved past us like were were scum of the Earth.  (We weren't even the heaviest people on the flight either.)  Finally the Mr just made his way out at that point where I know he's about to break and told me to go ahead of him as he got a huff from the person behind him but he didn't care anymore.  As we went to the next gate, we sat there in silence stunned by how real fat hate is even 200 lbs later but that's not what the rest of the world sees.  They don't know our stories and how far we've come.  They just see two fat people and to most people, it gives them license to let them know they don't like you in their airspace.  To say that screws with your head is the understatement of the year.

By the time we got in to the condo, it was 11:30pm...6 hours after we were scheduled to check in...just like last year.  This is not a habit I would like to get in to.  The next day was our anniversary and our day was to start in a mere 4 hours by the time we got settled.  Somehow we got up, got on with our day and by the time we got back at 4pm, we were exhausted from the lack of sleep and wanted to take an hour nap for our anniversary dinner at 6:30pm.  We slept for 12 hours.  Yep, slept right through our anniversary.

It gets better but you'll have to come back later this week for that.

Has your self esteem ever been affected by others treatment of you in an airline situation?

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm baaack!

Well, back to reality.  Thanks so much to everyone who continued to comment on my posts while I was gone.  I did read them all even if I couldn't respond to them.  (I truly believe vacations are for relaxing, I don't let the Mr bring his work so I don't bring mine)  I'd like to thank all of my guest posters, Jeff from A Schorr Thing, Cammy from Tippy Toe Diet, Julie from Savvy Eats and Jen from Jen's Fit Journey for keeping things lively for me while we were in the islands.  Click on their names if you missed their posts and leave 'em some love in the comments.  If you emailed while I was gone, I've responded.  I know you don't begrudge me some recharge time.  ;)

This trip was interesting to say the least.  I don't think numerology was on our side with our 13th trip to the islands and the 10th anniversary of a trip that didn't go so hot with a friend.  We were able to somehow get through it and there were some serious weight related things that came to the surface that I'll elaborate on in the coming weeks.  I swear I could write 2 weeks of posts just based on some of the crap that went on.  It wasn't without its triumphs as well but isn't that what this little weight loss adventure is all about?  The highs and lows and everything in between?

Stay tuned for your chance to share a little aloha.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post: Jen from Jen's Journey

Jen of Jen's Journey is one of my dearest friends.  She has lost over 100 lbs and is quite the athlete!  Her wake up call came after looking through vacation pictures that brought her to tears from one of her many jet setting excursions.  She vowed to turn her life around and she did and serves as an inspiration to many.  She gets the opportunity to live in exciting locales and travel the world with her husband and beautiful little girl while continuing to better her overall health and fitness.
A Texas Runner Trying to Make it in Norway

The city of Stavanger and Sandnes, Norway are at sea level. There are no high elevation issues with running in an area similar to Denver where you are far above sea level. The challenge here is that once you head out from the city and water front, you are greeted with rolling hills, mountains and a landscape perfect for that long weekend run. The running and biking paths here are far better than I have seen anywhere in the world. There are dedicated paths both along the side of the roads and throughout the lakes and mountains where you can run and bike. It is obvious that outdoor activities are a huge part of life here. It is common to see someone riding to and from work and there are locals here who do not even have a drivers license!

Running here has changed me. It has made me tougher without a doubt. City streets are easy to run but getting out on the trails, pushing up a hill......well, that is a whole different style of running. My body has changed. My thighs and glutes are without a doubt stronger and leaner. My calves are rock solid and even my core has seen major changes. When you run on a flat surface, your stride is completely different than when running uphill, especially off trail. You use your core and lower back far more and it has taken my body some time to get used to this type of running.

There is one part of hill running that I have not gotten used to yet and that is going down hill. It affects my knees greatly. I sometimes feel as if I am learning how to run all over again, learning how to train my legs in which my quads are stronger and will help my knee when training. It may take some time but I am willing to give it a try.

If you asked me a few months ago if I would love running hills, I know for a fact I would say NO! Now, I have to say, I enjoy the challenge. If you can get over the fact that your times will be slower and your body will take more time to recover after each run, it can be a fantastic way to add a tremendous challenge to your running program!

Now, with change comes learning. For me, this came in the form of an injury. As I was loving the new environment around me I failed to remember the basics of running and working out...stretching! Let this be a lesson to us all. New programs of any kind are fantastic but to our body, they may me adding extra stress and strain that was not normally there and we need to adjust accordingly. While I was happy adding hill training I did not take the time to stretch and learn how to train my body to run under these new conditions and I have now developed a calf injury. I am choosing to see this as a positive! It can only make me strong and when I am healed, I can come back hitting those hills harder than ever and this time, I will know how to stretch and allow my body to recover properly which can only enhance my training and future fitness goals. Norway has been good to me so far. I cannot wait to see what the next 3 years or so hold. I imagine I have many lessons to learn, races to run, trails to explore and to me, that is a life worth living!!

Make sure you leave Jen some love in the comments and make sure you stop be her blog, Jen's Journey!

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Traveling while overweight

Man, just saying the phrase "travel day" when it's like 15 hours door to door with layovers and such is enough to turn my stomach.  It's like by the time we're on the west coast and ready to be where we want to go, we've still got a 5-6 hours of flying over the great void of the Pacific to go.  Travel days take on a whole different meaning when you're hundreds of pounds overweight.  For us, travel was never not an option as long as first class was an option.  From 2002 on, we've flown first class.  From 2002-2004 it was by choice, from 2005-2010, it was by necessity.  Thankfully it's leaning back toward by choice again.  I'm tall in addition to heavy which seems to be some kind of anomaly so in addition to worrying about seat width, I also get to lament over legroom or lack thereof.  For seats you pay double or triple for, I shouldn't still have some dude with his head in my lap when they recline...2 seconds after taxi.  A good coughing fit can take care of that.  *wink*

Here are some things have I've found invaluable traveling as an overweight/obese person.  Hopefully it will help someone else out there not dread travel days as much.  I love this site because as soon as I begin looking up flights, I also look up the type of aircraft. (Airbus, 767-300, 777 widebody, etc)  I look to see what legs of trips have the most roomy planes.  It comes in handy before booking so you can get the most room.  Not only can you look up the seat width but their color coding system will also tell you if certain seats will impede legroom due to electrical boxes under the seat in front of you or if they're close to a stinky bathroom for the flight, etc.

Universal Airplane Seat Belt Extender  ((affiliate link)  This particular model does not fit Southwest which isn't an issue for us because on principle we don't fly them.  But if you do, you can order the Southwest Airline Seat Belt Extender)  (affiliate link)  This has been a God send for a loooong time for us.  Because both of us have needed them for a long time (not the case for the Mr anymore...woot!) we couldn't rely on the airlines to have 2 available for us to use.  I'm not one to put my fate, safety and dignity in someone else's hands so this was the perfect solution for us.  We discreetly tuck them into our carry on, grab them as we're getting situated and pop 'em on.  We actually have a whole routine down when as the Mr is putting our carry on's up, I'm adding the extenders to our seat belts so when he sits down, anyone who has passed us in the aisle is none the wiser that we even needed them.  I think I'm *just shy* of not needing them this trip but I believe that the Mr's extender days may be behind him though we'll still take it as a "just in case."  If you're overweight or obese, this will be the best travel investment you'll ever make!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


A few weeks ago, I decided measuring this year would probably be a good idea.  I used to measure pretty faithfully every month but when the weight loss would stagnant, so would the inches and frankly I just couldn't stand looking at the numbers spitting in my face.  After I wrote down my measurements for April, I came across our first measurements back from 2008. I always know how far I've come but sometimes you need to see these numbers to appreciate it again so I thought I'd share them.

First measurement April 2008 / second measurement April 2012

Neck  20 / 15.75    
Bust  63 / 47

"Upper Tire"  60 / 46.5

Waist  71 / 54.5

Upper Arm  23 / 18

Forearm  16 / 13

Upper Thigh  39 / 29.75

Lower Thigh  34.5 / 25.75

Calf    28.5 / 22.75

Ankle  17 / 13.25

Total inches lost at measure points- 85 3/4"

Do you measure?  What points do you measure?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tropical Push Pop

Last year on a whim, I bought a box of 10 Push Pop Containers (affiliate link) with the plan that I would do big things with them.  They sat in the basement unopened.  They could've put a million dollars in that box and I wouldn't have known until now.  While I'm not rich and still waiting for the days of independent wealth for the Mr and I, I am rich in frozen treats baby!  I'm on a tropical kick (wonder why) and wanted to share one of my new favorite evening snack...tropical push pops.

First off is there anything more lovely than tropical fruit?  It puts regular fruit to shame, I mean look at this papaya:

Time to make the push pops.

Here's what you'll need:

3 ripe bananas, frozen
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 papaya, seeded
1/2 mango, flesh scooped out
1 tbsp ginger root, grated
Carambola (Starfruit) for garnish

Break up the frozen bananas and add all of the fruit and ginger to the food processor.

Blend until smooth.  (Or slightly chunky if you prefer more texture)  Spoon the mixture into push pops, top with a slice of star fruit on top (you may need to cut to size) and freeze them.  Then you're magically transported to the beach cooling yourself off with a tropical push pop whilst you await your mai tai.

Nutritional Information per pop/ 3.4 oz serving:  Calories 91  Total Fat 1g  Sodium 2mg  Potassium 371mg  Total Carbs 23g  Fiber 3g  Sugars 14g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A 11%  Vitamin C 56%  Calcium 2% Iron 2%

(If you choose to make a smoothie or sorbet, the serving size is 3.4 oz)

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Post: Julie from Savvy Eats

I don't remember how I stumbled upon Julie's blog, Savvy Eats but boy am I glad I did!  Julie likes to cook with fresh, local foods as much as possible and has some wonderful recipes that are geared toward a healthy lifestyle.  It's the perfect site to peruse when I'm in a food rut.  From pantry staples to gardening to tutorials to recipes, she shares some great food inspiration that I think you guys will love as well!  Here's Julie with some tips on gardening for beginners.  (Raising hand!)

If you are starting out with gardening, I would start with things that are "pick and come again"-- you'll get a lot more out of them and they are typically easier to grow. Things like carrots and onions take a long time to mature and you only get to pick them once. I go through too many carrots and onions to make it worth giving up precious garden space.

In my experience, some of the easiest things to grow are salad greens and herbs. You'll get a lot of "bang for your buck" and they don't take up much space -- they are even well-suited for container gardening. It isn't too late to plant some lettuce, arugula or spinach from seeds, especially if you plan to pick the leaves off when they are still small and tender. While these greens can take a few months to mature fully, the baby leaves are ready in weeks, and grow back quickly.

For most herbs, which can be a little finicky in the early days, I'd recommend that beginning gardeners skip the hassle and plant seedlings instead of planting from seed. The herbs I've had the most luck with are basil, dill, cilantro and mint. These, too, will grow back when you pick them.

My all-time favorite thing to grow is cherry tomatoes, especially the sweet yellow-orange Sungold variety. While I adore full-sized heirloom tomatoes, it takes awhile for them to grow and ripen. I'm just too impatient and eat too many tomatoes to wait that long! Instead, I plant a bunch of cherry tomatoes (I'm going to have 4 different varieties this summer). Even if you only have 2 or 3 plants, if you give them plenty of space and sunlight, you'll likely end up with more bite-sized tomatoes than you know what to do with.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, I've also had varying levels of success with beans, zucchini and peas. There are two things I've had zero luck with, and I think I'm giving up on them this year: bell peppers and melons. Living in the northern part of the country, with a shorter and cooler summer, has made it difficult to successfully grow either of these. Guess I'll just have to plant more cherry tomatoes in their place!

For more on deciding what to grow, check out my garden planning post from 2011.

Is anyone else jealous of Julie's garden?  I know I am!  I can't wait to plant my herb garden when I get back.  Thanks so much Julie!  Show her some love in the comments and don't forget to swing by Savvy Eats and take a look around!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Post: Cammy from Tippy Toe Diet

Cammy of Tippy Toe Diet is a sweet Memphis lady who has lost 100 lbs.  She has maintained that loss for a few years and continues to strive for healthy maintenance while taking her readers along for the ride.  I love that she shares the challenges and triumphs of everyday life because I think reading maintenance blogs is one of the best ways to prepare for that phase of the weight loss adventure.  She also has another blog called Serentipity where she shares useful tips that she finds and thinks her readers could benefit from.  I know I've used several of the ones she passed along!  She has been very supportive since we found each other in blog world and I think you guys will love her style!

First things first, I'd like to thank my gracious hostess for kindly inviting me over for a visit. I'm feeling quite honored and am trying really hard not to read anything into the fact that she and the Mr. left town before I got here!

As you might imagine, I'm frequently asked how I've been able to maintain my "fitness focus" these past five years of healthier living. How did/do I avoid veering too wildly off-plan? How did/do I find the time to exercise so much? Why was/am I so darned happy and energetic all the time? I'll admit, for the first 4-5 months, I didn't really understand it myself. For some inexplicable reason, this time seemed to just..."work." One day, as I was struggling to explain that to a friend, a single, somewhat silly, phrase popped into mind: Mo-Mo, short for Motivation and Momentum. Okay, so now I had a phrase. I still got the thousand-yard stare when I used it. What did Mo-Mo mean? Motivation is easy to explain. Why do we want to lose weight?

The answers are different for each of us, but writing them down, fully understanding them, and then reviewing them frequently (multiple times a day, if necessary) keeps us focused on our "Reasons Why". The power of momentum proved more difficult to explain until I came across this quote:

“The moment you fall in love with the sound of progress is the moment you stop hearing everything else.” Richard Murphy Confessions of a Contractor

Bingo! The amazing feeling of accomplishment--sticking to the eating plan, exercising when you'd rather not, getting right back to the game after a detour--creates an energy that drowns out the negative internal chatter and creates the necessary strength to keep the focus on moving forward. As Sarah Bernheardt once said, "Energy creates energy." Once you get started, there is no stopping. (Disclaimer: There may occasionally be brief pauses. These are okay.)

And that's Mo-Mo in a nutshell: Know and embrace your reasons why, and then listen for the sounds of your progress. Everything else will fade to the background.

What sounds of progress have you heard lately?

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amy Dixon's Breathless Body

When you've been exercising as long as we have, you can get bored or more to the point the things that once burned a lot of calories for you no longer do.  I usually ask for recommendations or peruse Amazon for some high rated workouts to try.  A couple of months ago we discovered Amy Dixon.  I did a review on her Super Fit Bod DVD and while we like it and burns a lot of calories for us, we're not always in the mood to do step aerobics.  Enter this little gem...


We are really into HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and tabata and a friend said they had this DVD on their list.  I decided to give it a shot.  Holy Crap!! Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn (affiliate link) is a real butt kicker!  This tabata inspired workout is not for beginners!  This is something you need to work up to after quite a bit of serious cardio training as it is designed to work you out until you drop.

The moves are relatively simple.  Moves like skaters, fast feet, mountain climbers, squats/burpees, high/low punching, jumping jacks, etc are the norm.  The sets are 20 seconds on and about 8-10 seconds off for 8 rounds a piece.  Once you get to set 4, you're much more tired than you thought you would be and by set seven you're calling her bad names.  As the workout moves on, you really have to dig deep on the last 2 to 3 circuits because it's that challenging.

The good thing is there are 3 levels of intensity you can choose.  You can do the girl on the left who does a modified version of the exercise that's not necessarily low impact but is geared toward a beginner to the workout.  Amy does a "medium" intensity version (trust me, medium is relative) and then the chick on the right, Sarah does these extreme versions of the exercise that make you laugh and say "you're cute Sarah.  Exhaust yourself while I do the human version over here."

If videos like Tae Bo, Powerstrike, Power 90, Turbo Fire, Supreme 90 and the like are already in your workout repertoire, then Breathless Body (affiliate link) might be the perfect workout to shake things up for you.  I know it did for us.  It helps work on your stamina and endurance and torches a helluva lot a calories in the process!  Depending on my efforts, I can burn 850-1000 calories on this workout!

What are some of your favorite new to you workouts?

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