Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm prone to being obnoxious when I feel good. So, pardon the exclamation point in the title. Oh, don't confuse me with the eternally perky girl who appears to be on happy pills 24/7. It's not that disgusting. 

The month of March is nearly over. How fast it flies by when you're having fun. Ha ha. 

The weather forecast is calling for warmer temperatures this weekend. WOO! We're talking hitting the 70s in early April. Easter might prove to be absolutely fantastic egg hunting weather.  Mancub and I skipped decorating eggs last year.  The same will probably occur this year.  He's never really been into the activity.  His favorite egg hunting treasures were the plastic eggs filled with treats. It's always about the candy with that boy.

What's really thrilling about the coming week (following Easter) is that I'm taking time off from work. Not just a day or two, but an entire week -- with exception to Thursday, ugh.  Long story.  While spending time with Mancub is always a thrill, some of that time will be shared with a close friend whom I've not breathed in the same space with for two decades. This should be quite interesting.  We've been catching up thanks to cyberspace. The simple thought of talking face to face while sipping coffee is surreal beyond compare. 

Yesterday (Sunday) Mancub and I indulged in seeing How To Train Your Dragon in 3D.  What a fun movie. I highly recommend it regardless of the cinema format you choose to view it.  On the way home we discussed how long it had been since we'd gone to the theater together. Neither of us could recall what movie it was when we'd ventured out to the movies.  We only remember that it was raining and a mad dash was made to the car.  I guess it wasn't that great of a flick. 

Today, as the boy was leaving for school, I reminded him that he'd have to make his own dinner or walk to the store and grab some fried chicken to eat with a salad at home.  He turned and reminded me that we had plenty of food at home and he'd be fine.  What a kid, huh?

I wish you all a great week. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eighty-eight days until the reveal

Today is day two of my body transformation.

OK, before going on I have to say something to you, my reader. Please do not to turn away if you've come here hoping I'd be blathering about my personal life (this is my personal life for now). That day will come again when striving to achieve a healthier body is more knee jerk than something I have to maintain focus upon.  This is my way of keeping accountable. YOU are part of my process. Thanks so much for your participation.

Day 1 of Power 90 forced me to dig really deep to find the drive and determination to try each sculpting movement with the suggested minimum number of reps.  Without the help of Mancub I might not have made it through.  He's my in-house coach.  Normally on Saturday he sleeps in. It's a stroke of miracle to see him before the clock strikes 11:00 AM. Yesterday he was up before I'd begun my first workout with Tony Horton. Enlisting his help in tracking reps, I grabbed water and a towel.  Mancub's humorous approach to making me knock out one more rep when I felt I didn't have it in me was just what was needed.  He's so cool. When it was over he told me how great I did and that he was proud to help me get in shape.  Later in the day he asked what time he'd like him to be up on Sunday so he could help again.  Wow! A teenager volunteering to get up early on the weekend to be of assistance. Totally selfless and righteous.  However, since today was about cardio and abs, I'd manage fine alone.  With the second day complete, I now wish he'd been there to cheer me on.  It's a lot more fun when he's there to let me know if my poses or movements match that of Tony and his crew.

This program is truly phenomenal.  Minimal amount of time with maximum results are promised. Money back guarantee! Yes, I sound like an informercial.  The best way to prove that it works is to show you. I'm a real, overweight woman in her mid 40s. My metabolism isn't that of a 20 something. You will see my before and after photos on the 90th day no matter what.  Additionally, I will post my measurements and weight from the starting point and the finish.  The before photos taken yesterday caused a great emotional reaction.  My blinders were bigger than I thought. Wow! Painfully realistic.  That didn't get me down, mind you. Those photos provided motivation to keep up the momentum.

That being said, I have a confession.  After seeing that I'd hit the 10 pounds lost mark, I stepped off Michi's Ladder.  There's a tin of Dutch butter cookies sitting on top of my microwave. They've been there for three weeks or so.  I bought them before the 3-day Shakeology cleanse, but didn't bother with them. The intention was to bring them to work.  Maybe my failure to do so was my subconscious way of proving that I could resist temptation. Yesterday, the bad food thinking Marissa opened that tin and grabbed a cookie. Knowing Mancub might question me, I did it quietly.  Quickly, I popped it in my mouth and walked toward the living room stopping half way because my son had gotten up and walked toward me. Embarrassed, I turned around, spit out the unchewed nugget of empty calories in my hand and deposited it in the trash receptacle in the kitchen.  He was on his way to the fridge for grapes.  He offered me a bunch and I accepted. He has no idea that he intervened and unwittingly reminded me what my goals are.

Many believe that a little reward won't kill a healthful lifestyle. I, however, know myself too well.  It's like giving a heroin addict just a little bit while they are on the road to being sober.  Junk food is my addiction. Just say no! Honestly, the resistance of trigger foods hasn't been that difficult.  Giving up diet sodas and fried foods has not been a sacrifice.  The sense of deprivation hasn't hit me. I firmly believe it never will.

Eighty-eight days really isn't that far away. This will be the summer I put on a swimsuit and sport it publicly. This will be the year I don't sit in the shade dressed like Maude at the water park.  This will be the year.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday gives way for celebrating

WOW! Today is amazing. Not only is the sun shining, but there's a light emitting from my very core.

I lost two pounds! What's kooky is that when I needed to get dressed I grabbed a pair of jeans that have been very snug and wearing them proved to be less than comfortable. Previously, there was no room for anything between me and my Faded Glorys. No room to breathe easily when sitting down, either. I'm certain the restricted blood flow wasn't conducive to leg circulation. Today those suckers fit loosely. Bending over didn't make me gasp for a breath. When I sat down the button didn't impale my navel nor was a kidney displaced when I had to squat down to pick something up off the floor. This is no doubt proof that treating my body like a treasured work of art is working.  This is such a major reward for my efforts to date. It makes me look forward to the next weeks and months ... the rest of my life.

Another bit of fantastic news is in regards to Mancub. Today was parent-teacher conference day.  He's excelling and carving out quite a terrific beginning toward success in high school.  He's adored by his teachers and attaining a comfortable level of socialization appropriate for his age.  This pleases me beyond comprehension of words.  His instructors shared that he's conscientious of his grades and performance. His proactive approach to handling issues including grades, inappropriate comments from peers, and diligence in finding a balance is apparent and appreciated.  Woo! My fears as an often times overprotective mother are being put to rest and he weaves patterns that will last a lifetime.

Tomorrow I begin a new regimen toward achieving greater health.  I received Beachbody Power 90> on Wednesday.  Last night I took the time to read the program guide and food plan. It was the most awesome thing to read Tony Horton's answers to frequently asked questions about the program --  90 days of progressive workouts. One particular question: "Why am I not losing weight right away?"  Tony's response validated everything I've suspected and experienced since starting with the Shakeology 3-day Cleanse. He says initial increase in activity and shift in diet causes the body to go into survival mode. Once the body gets through the freak-out phase it will start to respond accordingly. From my personal experience, due to being impatient and wanting results NOW! (screaming like Veruca Salt), I would give up and say to hell with clean living if it's not going to make me skinny at the speed of light.  Idiot thinking.  Now I am starting to understand, believe and embrace the philosophy. The scariest part of the 90 challenge is posting before photos of myself for all of you to see. I'm extremely self-conscious and vain. Letting you see what lies beneath the sweaters and protective cover of thick jeans is an enormous step.  I'm putting it all out there.
Mancub has agreed to be my accomplice.  He'll take the photographs of his jiggly butt mother as recommended in the Power 90> guide. Various angles will be shot.  Measurements will be taken. EEK! Barf bags will be provided.

Am I up to the challenge? No questions asked. I AM GOING TO OWN THIS!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just a regular gal

You'll notice that some things have erupted on my page. Those things are ads. Those ads are placed there based on what I'm writing about. For me, it's a no brainer. Hopefully those ads will drive a little chunk of change toward my wallet. Yes, I'm monetizing my blog. The first ads that popped up are for a Beachbody product called P90X. It's a kick-ass, get your body ripped program. Did you know you can purchase it (and many other fabulous fitness programs and supplements) through me as your personal Beachbody Coach. The link in the banner of this blog will take you there! I'm very excited about this new venture. is one of my favorite sites. I often post on Facebook what values I find there particularly in regards to music. You'll get the best of both worlds: My blog and shopping on Amazon simultaneously! It's a multi-tasker's dream come true. Haha.

I do believe I'm getting the hang of this dramatic lifestyle change. Since I first embarked on the Shakeology 3-Day cleanse, I have worked out every day except one. When I did give my body a break, I was overcome with a great sense of dread. I shared that sentiment with my friend Claudia  who, in turn, said it's often when the body is given a break that change is more noticeable -- or something along that vein.  I'm not dropping weight even though my eating habits have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum. Hmmm  Several Diet Cokes a day have been replaced with water (and plenty of it). Various vegetables have stepped in where french fries or mashed potatoes once filled my plate. The purchase of a steamer has made that switch much easier.  Likewise, George Foreman's grill has made a frying pan nearly useless.

With all those changes you'd think I'd be down 10 pounds.  I must remind myself that this turn around only started two weeks ago. Since I am not melting away the pounds, there needs to be focus on the positivity that has occurred since setting sail on this healthful adventure.
  • Restful sleep
  • Improved posture
  • Leaner tone in my arms
  • My tushy seems 'higher'
  • Increased energy to do things like clean house (even the unused spare bedroom)
  • My son is eating healthier <--- huge bonus
  • I'm saving money by not eating out at lunch every other day
  • Influencing those around me to be conscientious of their health
  • Reduced aches in my joints

Those are just a few perks that popped in my head as I write this. My measurements have been logged and at the 30 day mark I will take them again. Another dear and knowledgeable friend assured me that my healthful changes will pay off in the long run and to keep on keepin' on. After all, the purpose of doing this is to change for a lifetime and not just a quick fix to lose weight (to only put it all back on and then some). I've never submitted that I'm a patient person. Writing about it and letting all the world see is cathartic. Nothing happens over night. There is no miracle cure other than hard work and determination. With that being said, I have a confession to make. The other day while at Wal-Mart, I found myself perusing the aisle of such magic claim pills. The price tags, first of all, were alarming. But a big booming voice in my head told me to put down the box in my hand and walk away. "Work it and own it! You'll be more proud if you do."

My body may never be a walking work of art. But who knows, right? August 11 is approaching quickly.  My age will then be 45. When I was 16 I thought my path was determined after my mother died at 51. Oh, I said out loud, "not me! I'm taking care of myself."  But I lied. Deep down I didn't believe it. My mom was the youngest child in her family; so was I. Her mother died when she was young; so had mine. Pre-determined can kiss my ass.

I own the wrinkles on my face and the gray hairs that erupt from my scalp. That doesn't imply that my body has to act like an old lady.  Forty-five is NOT elderly. Cripes.

My sagging body parts may not completely defy gravity even with strengthening and toning the muscles, but there will be less to fall prey to the pull.  Speaking of which, a new over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder arrived in my mailbox the other day.  The purchase of such an item required plunking down some major cash, but it's close to being perfect.  Louise is resisting containment a little more than Thelma. She's a scant bigger. With weight loss there's no doubt she'll soon be tucked in nicely and it won't look like a kitten trying to escape the entrapment of a blanket when I walk. No choir of angels have sung, but they hummed a little tune.

So, feel free to peruse my coach page and the ads you see on the page.  Your contributions will help keep Thelma and Louise under wraps, as well as, help send Mancub to college!  You feel better about it already, don't you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A wiser and healthier girl

It never fails that when I have the opportunity to sleep in it's physically impossible to do so. There were birds wildly chirping outside my bedroom window. They were doing so probably in protest to the dramatic dip in temperature. Very windy. It's a day where it's 34°F but feels like 22°F thanks to our winter friend the wind chill factor. Quite frankly, that wind chill can kiss my left butt cheek. I'm so over winter. Unfortunately, it chooses to be a stalker who can't adhere to an order of protection.

Lucky for me, today is a day of non-workery. My hazelnut coffee was set to brew at 6:15 AM. It's my one vice that I have elected not to give up. That magical beverage is no longer accompanied by creamer or artificial sweeteners.  Egads, you say! What? Yep. Black coffee with a touch of sugar or agave nectar*. After watching an episode of The Dr. Oz Show where he discusses the use of artificial sweeteners and how the brain reads them in your system, I decided it's best to go with the real thing. I've become a voracious food label reader. Sure, grocery shopping takes a bit longer, but well worth it in the end.  There's so much hidden sugar in our foods that it's alarming! Pick up a random loaf of 'whole grain bread' and it's likely you'll find some form of high fructose in the first five ingredients.  Thousands of articles exist on the 'net about hidden forms of one of the common ingredients in processed foods. Even those breads touting the claim of no high fructose corn syrup can secretly contain it in the form of honey because it's not raw honey. Raw honey is a good guy when used in moderation. However, it's often processed honey cut with corn syrup -- to make it more cost effective -- that is used in these mass produced recipes.  EEK! I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am becoming more aware of what I put in my body and my son's growing body.  As consumers we need to demand better, high quality choices at a reasonable cost.

So, off my soap box and on to other things ... I've been obsessed lately.  There should be some apology made to those of you who click on the link for my blog hoping to find some Rissisms thrown out for humorous consumption.  I'm not one of those zealous health converts that is out to save the world from itself.  What I am is excited that this newfound belief system is literally in my brain and not just me blathering about it in hopes of making you all think I've turned over a new leaf toward getting healthy.  In turn, hoping to make a believer out of myself.  I believe in it like a 3 year old believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny.

Oh shit. I did it again. I guess my soapbox wasn't put away after all.  Oh wait, that was just a step box left over from the early '90s aerobics class.  Put away the head band and Spandex, Ms. Newton-John.

What else has been going on in my life?  The place where I earn an income has become a busier place. That's truly remarkably good news.  More moolah in my pocket! Hopefully that is a reflection of the economy taking baby steps toward recovery. I don't discuss politics on this blog. So please, if you comment, refrain from bringing that into the mix. It just gets ugly.

Mancub continues to achieve academic successes that I never saw in high school. It's apparent when new concepts are introduced because his grades drop, but those dips are minimal and he manages to bring them back up. Next year he'll be in driver's education. Talk about a freakin' wake up call. Crazy! It's a good thing for my sanity that there's a waiting period before a license can be obtained. He's already talking about the kind of car he'd like to have. I hated to break the news to him that one car is all I can afford. Sorry, kiddo. In addition to the learning to drive deal, he'll be old enough to get a job.  The news of that reality hit him harder than being without his own wheels.  We'll see what can be worked out through the school and their work-study program. My first job was working as a file clerk after school in my sister's office. It wasn't long before I was hired at Monical's Pizza as a hostess. Man, I loved that job. Good times and tasty pizza. What else could a high school kid ask for?  His own car.

OK, I've blathered enough for a Sunday morning. My cup of coffee is empty. I need to hydrate and head to WOWY Super Gym to work out with Chalene Johnson and her crew on Turbo Jam.

*Agave nectar claims a lower glycemic index than sugar. Yet, I read an article that reveals most agave nectar available commercially is made in Mexico and cut with corn syrup to keep prices relatively low. Sneaky. It just proves that you have to be a wise shopper.
Image borrowed from

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pump it up!

This week I have had to really push myself.  What's funny about that is knowing I can dig a little deeper and push harder.  The weight isn't melting off as I had hoped it would, but I suspect my body is in shock with all the goodness it's receiving.  In response, it's going into salvation mode. However, it will adjust to all the vegetables, fresh fruit and cardio. I have faith that it will. Tracking my food (protein, fat, carbs & calories), water intake, exercise etc... will get me where I want to be. I've totally given up diet sodas! That's such a huge win for me.  Even if I did only lose 1 pound this week, the fact that I didn't drink soda fills me with a great sense of accomplishment.

Rather than leaving it up to the programs on the Wii, it's become apparent that I need to rev up my workouts by varying my routines with Beachbody's Turbo Jam, Hip Hop Abs and power walking (the weather has been perfect). I recognize that the soreness I feel is from waking up muscles that've been inactive. So, I do not let that ground me for a day.  The muscles in my thighs have been awakened! Taking the advice of friends, I remind myself how incredible I feel after a workout.  Thinking about how awesome it will be to not have my jeans wear out between the thighs once I lose weight motivates me.  Truly.

That being said, I'm putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  As a matter of fact, if you look at my blog title banner you'll see an addition.  That is a link to my Team Beachbody Coach page.  My commitment to being healthy won't be limited to my blog posts, eating healthier and exercising.  My initial reaction when it was suggested by my coach, John Hays, that I become a coach was, "But I'm not fit ... I'm chubby and so far from my goal."  His reassurance that my attitude and belief system in succeeding was all it took.  You've all read how much I love Shakeology. If it wasn't awesome I wouldn't talk about it.  My son even requests a 'chocolate smoothie' for breakfast or as a delicious snack.  Because of Shakeology, he no longer desires McDonald's chocolate shakes. And I feel like a much better mom knowing he's getting something truly good for him.

I must tell you that Beachbody doesn't just offer products to help you attain goals through fitness programs or supplements. The website has vast perks to being a Team Beachbody member while you make strides toward being a better you.  Visit me there. Sign up and build a profile. Peruse all the features available (you can even win $$$$$). What's not to love about that? Don't be shy about clicking the link and checking out all the goodies it has to offer.

I look forward to having you with me on my journey.

A sample of Beachbody's Turbo Jam: Cardio Party 1:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Inaugural Snarktacular! Idol Style

online bingo Free chat

Make up a chat name and let's go! Put on your snarking caps and let's unleash everything we hate (and love to hate) about American Idol.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's time to change

Yep. Spring forward. Blech. I always get so messed up when we have time changes. I can't understand how people who travel to and from different time zones don't lose their minds. Typically turning the clocks ahead one hour doesn't bother me unless I work that Sunday. Which, tomorrow, I do. Blech. I said that already. At least I'm working with someone who makes me laugh my tushy off even when we're stressed and pissy.

The clocks and time aren't the only things on the horizon that are changing.  I am.My thoughts about my health are so different then they were two weeks ago. I don't understand it, but there's no question that I'm embracing it. When I awoke today, I didn't sit down at the computer and lolly-gag until I needed to shower and get ready for work.  Instead, I worked out on the Wii.

More proof that old habits are fading as new ones replace them. Pizza from Papa John's was purchased for the employees.  I love, LOVE that pizza and the oily garlic dip. I thought ahead and packed a salad comprised of dark greens and flat spinach, cherry tomatoes and some of the left over grilled veggies from last night's dinner.  Just in case I was pressed for time, I made a chocolate flavored Shakeology shake.  My arsenal of healthy eating was at my disposal.  As lunch time neared, the cheesy, crusty temptation was delivered. The smell of the pizza, I thought for certain, would lure me and I'd surely blow all that I had done this week. Surprisingly, not even the suggestion crossed my mind that just a nibble wouldn't hurt.  More profoundly, it didn't appeal to me. 

In the late afternoon one of the managers made rounds in the lab offering my favorite candy: Jelly fruit slices from Fannie May.  I declined. No desire or craving came over me even when those brightly colored treats were waved under my nose.

Curious.  What's going on?

Diet soda is a thing of the past. Water is my beverage with the exception of black coffee (1 cup) in the morning.  That's the limit of my caffeine intake.  What do you know about that!?  Artificial sweeteners have no place for me now. Eventually the coffee will be nor more. At least the caffeinated variety will be no more.

Big changes are occurring.  I feel energetic. My body doesn't ache. When I crouch down my knees don't buckle or cause me to groan. I'm able to stand from a squat position without the aid of a counter top, chair or some other stationary object.  My face is less bloated and my stomach appears flatter. I'm sleeping more soundly and waking with an increased sense of alertness. Refreshed. In a million years you never could have convinced me that physical changes like this were possible in only a couple weeks. Keep in mind I didn't delve into it with diligence before Monday, March 8.  Today is Saturday, March 13. That's FIVE days!!

Today I am not delivering lip service.  These aren't words of falseness.  In the past I would say I was determined to lose weight and get healthy, but never got over the hurdles to attain success. With complete certainty it was because I didn't believe it.  I could say it; preach it. But believing in myself was a foreign concept.  Today I say with the depths of my soul that I believe in myself and what I'm accomplishing minute by minute; day to day; week to week, etc... Thank you for being willing to take this journey with me.

"You must be the change you want to see in the world" -- Mahatma Gandhi


The weather forecast on Friday called for rain in the afternoon.  There was a glint of sunshine peeking through the clouds.  Since it was my day off, I took advantage of the vast amount of time at my disposal. Rather than lay out on the couch watching reruns or movies, out I went into the cool temps.  With my iPod in place, shoes laced and bras doubled up, I headed to the walking track.

Quickly the pace of the music pushed me and it felt good to be outside filling my lungs with air. Gone are the 25°F temperatures. Spring is in the air and in my steps. The particular playlist of music pulsating from my ears to my toes is designed for walking workouts for women. The beginning warms me up on my short walk to the track nearby. By the time my first foot touches the track, my cadence is set for the more intense rhythm.  Around the track I go. Heart rate increasing.  The song changes. Its title is 'Angels Fly.' As I near the back side of the track (furthest from the road and out of plain view of passers-by), the increased tempo of the chorus hit me and I began to run.  I'm clumsy in form, but without a doubt running. About a 1/4 way of the track, I slow to a quick walk.  I'm still able to talk to myself -- yes, I audibly tell myself I can keep going.  The picnic table to the left as I ended the run was tempting, but stopping wasn't an option.

The music brings me closer to the same place where my feet felt inspired to run.  My starting off point was earlier and I ran again.  Pushing myself just a bit further than the first time.  Walk, walk, intense walk.  That running point and I meet again.  As I get closer I'm bargaining with myself. "You ran twice. That's good. Just keep up the fast pace walking."  But then, through my earbuds comes another voice.  No, not one of my other personalities.  On the song it's spoken, "whether you believe you can or can't, you're right." Run. I believe I can run. And I did.  When the picnic table was in sight, I sprinted for about 10 seconds before slowing back to a quick walk.

Around again to the spot of inspiration.  The music was perfect.  My mind was set to push to a 4th running interval.  Then it came at me.  Approaching as if from nowhere.  Dressed in camouflage he drove a pink Mustang. Not far behind she was in pink driving a green tractor.  My run was halted by what I thought to be a game of chicken with the pink, motorized, child's Mustang.  The driver veered to the left and stopped to tell me something. I slowed to listen as he declared, "This isn't my pink car. It's my sister's. She took my tractor."  I chuckled , "OK," but kept walking.  Not far behind were two men walking with a toddler girl on a tricycle.  Chuckling ensued as I kept my momentum walking through the end of the playlist and to my front door.

Friday, March 12, 2010 I ran. I pushed myself and saw the future.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No shakin' weigh!

Yes, weigh! After three days on the Shakeology cleanse, my weight lost total is SIX AND A HALF POUNDS.

I'm feeling quite well and energetic today. Most of the cleansing plans I've read about advise participants not to do anything strenuous. Also, they caution not to be too far away from a bathroom. One actually suggested wearing dark pants and carry a change of clothes in case of an accident (eww).That is not the case of Shakeology. In fact, it's not a gastrointestinal attack or cleanse of that nature. It's a whole body cleansing of toxins built up from all the funky crap I was putting in my body only days ago.

Because I don't work until later today, there was plenty of time to do some much needed housework.  A week ago I might have returned to bed or passed out on the couch while watching some nutty, craptacular programming on the telly.  But something strange had over come me -- energy.  I wanted to move and do stuff that didn't involve stuffing food in my face (green berry shake for breakfast). So, I changed the bag in the vacuum cleaner and went to town on my downstairs. Prior to that I cleaned the front hall and stairway.  After completing those tasks consideration was given to enjoying one of the three Netflix movies sitting on the table.  Instead, I strapped the EA SPORTS Active strap on my thigh and worked out. Yesterday was a rest day and two in a row is unnecessary. But something amazing happened. I ran in place while my virtual character ran the track like FloJo.  For over two minutes this body ran at an acceptable pace that never warranted a warning that my cadence was too slow.  That's a HUGE win to accompany my weight loss in celebration.

I don't want to break this momentum. Nor do I want to undo the good that I did.  Therefore, I am not going to.  I'm a believer. Shakeology helped spark the change of mind and body.  To further help me get to healthy living, my coach, John Hays, shared a food ladder.  It's simple to follow and that list will accompany me on future grocery shopping trips.  It's called Michi's Ladder.  After perusing the five tiers it is clear why my body is in this shape.  I was only eating from the fourth and fifth levels -- the bottom. The HELL of food consumption.  After the amazing dinner I prepared last night, I know that eating from the tiers one and two are possible without feeling cheated of the good stuff.

Excited can hardly describe how I feel right now.  NutriSystem made me uncomfortable, bloated and gassy. Shakeology doesn't.  With NS, I wasn't learning how to feed myself unless it was conveniently pre-assembled in a box or plastic, unappealing container. AND it was so expensive.  With the Team Beachbody plan I'm able to feed my son nutritious, delicious meals where he won't feel deprived.  Last night's dinner was a prime example.  When he smelled then saw what I had created for my own dining pleasure, he wanted some. And no potatoes or macaroni & cheese was involved.

Last Night's Dinner:

1 - Small Free range chicken breast (skinless/boneless) diced
1/4 - white onion sliced and halved
1/2 - green pepper sliced
4 - mushrooms sliced
1/4 tsp - minced garlic
Handful of organic baby spinach
5 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Various seasonings: Cumin, black pepper, nutmeg (no, really), crushed red pepper, basil and parsley

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Toss in chicken with various seasoning and brown. Then, add green peppers, onions until both soften a bit. Add mushrooms. Stir it all together and cook a bit longer to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. About a minute before you remove it from the heat, throw in the baby spinach and cherry tomatoes until it the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat and bon appetite!

Seriously, it was killer good and I'm proud of it. 

**happy dancing**

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three down

It's nearing the end of my Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse.  It's been quite a trip.  I caved and had a small cup of black coffee.  My head was pounding and even with the 800 mg of Ibuprofen I've been taking, it wasn't going away. Once the coffee was in my system the headache went away along with my crankiness.  The good news is that this has proven that weening off the Joe won't be too difficult. My enjoyment of that hot beverage each morning is something to be missed. Therefore, decaf will be purchased for future consumption.

As of the start of day three, I had lost FIVE pounds. Drinking water has replaced the Diet Cokes. Bloating is reduced, as well. While this might fall under the TMI category, I'm going to tell you anyway.  It's PMS time and where I'd normally feel aggravated and ill tempered, I'm feeling more controlled and happy.  My stress level is way down on the chart.  So, I got that goin' for me -- which is nice.

I'll tell you something that's truly important about this endeavor and it's not the weight loss.  It's the fact that I know I can manage without filling my gullet until I'm about to burst. By the same token, food is something to be enjoyed, no doubt, but its primary function is to help the body function.  This isn't ground breaking news. That same sentiment has been expressed throughout the centuries. Jack Lalane said it to my mother's generation and yet we are still an obese population.  Food is still something I enjoy and making it delicious doesn't have to be fat and calorie filled.  It's amazing how creatively one can utilize veggies in cooking. DUH! Yeah, go on and thump me on the forehead.

I'd be a big FAT liar to say I'll never eat fried chicken, enchiladas or BBQ pork sandwiches again. But due to the minimalist eating I've done these last few days, I know that moderation is possible. Gone are the concerns I'll keel over from starvation, migraines or any of the other symptoms I thought would render me useless if I didn't get plenty of food and FAST! 

I love this Shakeology meal replacement.  Today at lunch I sat down with my green berry drink, a bottled water and apple slices (it was too busy for me to have the apple as a snack mid-morning.).  Even with the aroma of french fries and whatever else someone had for lunch before I went in the break room, I didn't feel deprived. Those things are what got me in this fat-ass state of body.

So, there it is. Tomorrow I'll step up on the scale and will report to you the final tally on weight loss in the three days.  Here's to a healthier attitude towards food and myself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I thought this was going to be hell

As I write this it's only 6:30 AM of day two of my Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse. But I've already worked out and had a green berry Shakeology drink as a post workout recovery supplement. Prior to working out I had two glasses of water. Additionally, I ate a banana. That's one of two snacks I'll have today.  I may regret not saving it for later. However, at the time I was feeling a tad squonky. Without any caffeine yesterday, I thought for certain I'd feel like hell by night fall and cheating (myself) by getting a Diet Coke.  Wrong. To my amazement and delight, I had no headache at all nor did I feel drained of energy or cheated in any way, shape or form.

What the hell!?

Back in 1993 when I found out that I was pregnant, I had been a pot o' coffee a day girl. A three cans of diet soda in addition to the coffee kind of girl.  I went cold turkey from caffeine and thought for certain I was going to die due to the withdrawl from addiction.  The migraines were unbearable and had me frightened that my inability to keep food down was hurting my baby.  The memory of that suffering has since kept me from ditching the habit.  I was assured by my Team Beachbody coach (John Hays) that the Shakeology would step up to the plate and give me the energy the caffeine gave me. I had to have faith.  I'd decided if I was going to do this I was going all the way without cheating.  Because in cheating the only one who pays is me. It's a vicious cycle that has repeated itself numerous times with me.  If I give in just a little, I slip all the way and end up back where I started.  Quickly there's a sense of defeat and failure. 

Three days. I can do it.

So, I felt really good and confident all day.  That is until coming home from work and settling into my normal habit -- I didn't succumb to it, but the thought of grabbing something to eat crossed my mind. When I work the later shift I tend to eat an early dinner. Then, arriving home after 9:00 PM, I'm rather hungry.  Water, water and more water. That's why I wanted the banana when I awoke this morning.  My body needed something other than water.

I want to mention that the organic mix of greens that I picked up yesterday are so yummy.  There's a touch of cilantro in it to give it a little bite. Far from ordinary salad, for sure. It's a great complement to the balsamic vinegar dressing and chicken.  Delicious and satisfying.

While I wrote this I drank my shake. Now, I'm ready for a shower. 

Jump starting my day might work for me. You'll be the first to know if it does.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ready for the shakedown

A week or so ago I ordered a wonderful product called Shakeology.  This product is a meal replacement unlike anything else you'll buy at the store. First of all, it tastes good and doesn't give me the burps like so many of those other ones on the market. There's also no artificial sweeteners, caffeine free and gluten free. Right on the bag it says "optimal health in a glass."  My son even loves the chocolate flavor and it's a perfect start for his morning. Instead of making it with water, though, it's mixed with 1% or fat free milk. He's a complete chocoholic and often has no appetite before school. So, he opts for chocolate milk. Well, now he gets the best of both worlds. And I feel better knowing he's getting better nutrition.  This time around Green Berry was also purchased. It's rather tasty, too.

When I mentioned on Facebook having finally received my shipment just in the nick of time for my tooth to act up, an online friend and Beachbody Coach suggested I take the opportunity to do the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse.  It sounds a bit alarming, but it's not like the drastic cleansing diets you've seen on Oprah.  I agreed wholeheartedly that now is the best time and it will give me a jump start that I long for and seem to always require.

Here's how my next three days will look per my darling coach:
  • 3 shakes per day made with water and ice (no milk or juice)
  • 2 apples as snacks -- he said bananas would be fine since I need softer food, but apples are optimal
  • Salad (mixed greens) with balsamic vinegarette and 4 oz. chicken breast no skin for dinner
  • Make water the only beverage. Plenty of it, too.
  • No caffeine, sodas, etc.
While on my way home from the dentist, I stopped by the store and bought organic veggies and chicken. I figure if I'm going to cleanse this beaten up temple I call my body, I may as well really treat it spectacularly.

Hopping up on the scale I most certainly do not like what it had to say. Hopefully I won't be losing your attention by giving updates on my progress.  Stick with me for I need your support.  It'll be nice when the EA Sports Active thigh strap isn't screaming out in agony due to the pressure it is under. The girthiness of my thighs will soon diminish.  Aren't you totally excited for me?

What's kind of cool is that my friend and coach is also doing the 3-day cleanse. He's just an email away and that alone gives me a little edge of confidence that I often do not have.  Idle hands makes for imagined hunger. With that being said, I need to make busy-like to avoid the munchies. The weather is brisk, but certainly not disagreeable for a walk.  My son went with me on a 50 minute walk Saturday. Not a cloud was to be seen. The sun was bright as the temperature tried to get up to 50°F.  After months of it barely reaching 25°F, it felt like a heat wave.

By the way, my dentist is just going to keep a close eye on the tooth that's bothersome. After taking x-rays, he did a little tweaking on the bite of the crown and advised me to take 800 mg Ibuprofen for a couple days. I was so relieved that it's not abscessed. Those doggone jelly beans really gave my jaw a run for it's money and now I have swelling. A root canal is inevitable, but not immediate.

There you have it. Welcome to day one of my three day cleanse.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Today, I bit my tongue

Quite literally today, I gritted my teeth so hard that I'm experiencing pain in my jaw.  I should mention that a dull, throbbing pain was already being experienced thanks to overindulgence of Jelly Belly jelly beans.  Chili mango flavor, if you must know. Hopefully the dentist will see me first thing Monday morning. However, I do think filtering myself increased the discomfort.

OK, back to me biting my tongue and gritting my teeth.  As part of a new training process at work, we had to face some truly biting constructive criticism. By 'we' I mean my lab partners and me.  Without going into detail, it required hearing things never brought to our attention in such an open forum. Also, I took it to heart. "This stings! It's what I do for a living and take pride in; however, I appreciate your honesty."  A tough pill to swallow, for sure. Prior to this training I might have spouted off and went below the line of keeping it professional.  Yeah, imagine me not spewing my personal beliefs and expecting someone to just sit there and take it.

While my lab partners and I discussed how to look at this criticism positively and not as a negative but as a learning experience; opportunity to improve, our regional director listened in. No lying, this hit us where the sun don't shine.  We had to take personal accountability without being defensive. I took notes and was later called upon to be the spokesperson for our group.  Now, as open, flamboyant and silly as I might be, I find it painfully difficult to speak in front of peers and do so in a concise manner. Add to it that I can't read my own handwriting.  I type all the time! Each group had their turn and then it came to awarding recognition.  As a demonstration of how it should be done, our regional manager called upon myself and another tech.  She praised us for our contribution and diligence on owning the criticism and seeking solutions.  It's been a very long time since I've been proud of where I work and what I do, but today reignited the passion and positivity that I once had.  Later I approached three coworkers not in my direct discipline and awarded them cards of appreciation.  All of them seemed astonished and pleased that something they felt had gone unnoticed hadn't.  I spied with my little eye ... "you just gave me chill-bumps. Thank you, Marissa."  Man, oh man. How good it feels to no longer view positivity as a vulnerability.  While it's constantly a work in progress, these first steps launched a whole new viewpoint that was once old.  I can dig it.

Tonight when I arrived home and after starting dinner, I checked my Yahoo.  On the homepage sits my horriblescope.  As we all know, that thing is typically way off base, but provides a good chuckle.  Here's what it had to tell me about today:

"There's usually at least a two-second delay between thought and words -- for most signs, anyway. In your case, it's about a second, on slow days. At the moment, however, there will be no delay, which makes you pretty darned dangerous. Basically, if you were regulated by the FCC, they'd have your license by now. Keep that in mind before you go off on anyone who's not as well armed in the verbal department as you happen to be"

In your face, Yahoo Horoscopes! I beat that rap without having read you first. Hell yeah, I'm in control of my destiny and actions. Suck it, Trebek! (Hey, I can't always censor myself.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cookie, cookie. Who stole the cookie?

I didn't steal any cookies. I bought them as I whisked through the grocery store.  My intention was to buy milk, mixed greens and frozen veggies. What I walked out with was that and so much more.

My mistake: Entering a grocery store when hungry and tired.

Without thinking twice I grabbed home-style peanut butter cookies. At the check out counter I should have asked the clerk to pull them aside and not put them in my cart. But again, I wasn't thinking clearly for various reasons.

This morning, in light of recognizing my error, I divided the cookies, put them in zip closure bags and tossed them in the freezer.  Throwing them out is not an option. Diet and exercise gurus might say otherwise, but I beg to differ. Now, by the time the cookie defrosts, my craving for them might pass.  If I still yearn to nosh on the treats, then I'll enjoy each and every nibble without guilt.

This morning marked 1000 calories burned on EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge.  A virtual trophy was awarded in honor of the occasion.  Woohoo! My performance is improving as I get acclimated with how the Wii remote and nunchuk work.  Both are relatively sensitive. Quite frankly, I'm getting irritated that a minor shift in movement causes my trainer to tell me follow her and a message pops up telling me to hold still; complete the rep. BITE ME! Additionally,  she tells me if I'm experiencing trouble, I should review how to perform the exercise. Even though her tone isn't snotty, that's how I am beginning to perceive it. And out loud, I tell her to shut the hell up. 

Another issue I'm having is that the connector cord between the Wii remote and the nunchuk is too short or gets caught when I'm moving. In one section, there is inline skating. I have to squat low to gain speed and jump ramps. Judgment is based on executing a trick while jumping off the ramp. I have yet to master this without yanking out the nunchuk (which, at this point, is tucked into a strap wrapped around my upper thigh). Talk about failure maximus! Think about it. What do you do when you're trying to gain momentum while jumping upward? You push your arms up, too! At least I do. A cordless Wii nunchuk would suit me well.

One of these days I'll master it and nail each trick. Until then, my neighbor will hear me shouting expletives through the wall.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cougar = icky in the book of Riss

While perusing my Facebook profile for new comments, I took note of the numerous aggravating ads that take residence on the right side margin. An X is provided to dismiss the advertisement, but not before answering why you don't like it. As soon as you give them reason, another ad pops up in its place and often more misleading or offensive.  One such ad had a header "Classy Cougars." Uh, whoa. Stop right there. Did that ad just call me a skanky, old broad with a little bit of cash, fake tits and the desire to uber hump 25 year old men only for the thrill of the kill?

If you haven't guessed it already, I despise the term COUGAR. Loathe it. Regard it with great contempt.

Since it is a made up, social term, I turned to Urban Dictionary to find the common definition of cougar.  Not anywhere on the first page does it describe the woman I am.  Far from it and proudly so. For the record, at the time of posting this there are 100 definitions of the older woman on the prowl for youthful, male flesh. After flipping through the pages, some of the descriptions detail a lower-key woman, but still on a quest for younger men who'll satisfy her hunger for sex. 

I realize television shows like ABC's "Cougartown" or TVLand's "The Cougar" try to make the term an acceptable term of endearment about women in their prime (40s and 50s) who have a penchant for younger men. Women who seek love and compassion from the younger set. To me, they depict women who, though financially independent and seemingly put together, are pathetic, needy and use their quest for sex as a filler for acceptance. But I realize that my perspective is partially due to my view of it being an insult. This brand of sexual revolution is not how I want to be categorized or labeled. In fact, why must I be labeled at all? At least let me deserve the name you call me before sticking me with some idiotic term.  What rubs me the wrong way about cougar is due to the usual preconceived assumption that unmarried women in their mid-life fall into the category. Am I single and in my mid 40s? Yes. Have I dated men younger than myself? Yes. Though I did not seek them out intentionally. Additionally, I do not troll the bars hunting young meat to slam against the wall and do to them whatever my loins urge me to do.  I'm not a slave to my vagina. Just sayin'.

For the record, I am not calling all women skeevy just because they like to refer to themselves as cougars. It's probably safe to assume those women are not aware of the negative connotations attached to it. Or hell, maybe they are and rejoice in it. All I'm asking is not to be called one nor assumed to be one because of my age and marital status.

And now that I've vented, I feel better ... probably pissing a few people off along the way.

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