Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The last day of May

June promises summer. Sure feels like summer already! It's been sweltering hot - 95 degrees yesterday and 96 today and that's without adding in the heat index which made it feel over 100 degrees. Only thing you can do outside on days like that is to go to the swimming pool! And that is just what we did.

My little guy loves the pool. My older one still can find some fun and my husband has been swimming laps 3-4 times a week, so he swims some laps during the adult swim and plays with the kids (rotating between them) at other times. It's such great family fun. I did 300 yards swimming laps yesterday too - about 2/3s freestyle and 1/3 breaststroke. Somehow (not sure how), the freestyle is now easier to do than breaststroke. Maybe I'm getting better conditioned or something. My husband has been reading a book and watching videos on how to improve swim strokes and I've been listening and tried to incorporate that into my swim yesterday, so maybe that's part of it too.

Since I didn't get much swimming yesterday and it was too hot even in the evening to walk, I jumped around in the basement last night. I chose "Kathy Smith's March to Fitness" and it was too easy. During her 'interval training' section, my heart rate got up to 127, but otherwise, even with exaggerating the movements the most I could do safely, my heart rate was between 117-122 the entire time. Just means I need to retire most of my beginner aerobics tapes and stick to the intermediate ones. (low intermediate). That gets harder because I really want to keep things low impact and many of the intermediates and all of the advanced tapes/DVDs I have are high impact and I just don't want to go there.

Well, time to get my little one ready for school. Three more weeks!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 208.4 (a bit more than 47 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 174
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 454.5/1000 miles

Monday, May 30, 2011

Had our first swim of the season and potatoes!

My six year old was one happy boy! He warmed up to the water pretty quickly and of course, didn't want to get out like ever. We finally talked him out of the pool, walked back home and fed the hungry child while I prepared dinner for the rest of us.

After dinner and putting the little guy to bed (he was so sleepy that he was crying from being so tired), my husband and I took a walk. Now, we left at 8:50 pm. There was just a hint of light in the sky. I guess his idea was to take a leisurely walk around the lake, but I didn't know that and started walking briskly. Being a good sport and also wanting to get more fit, he just walked with me. Most of the trail was visible (sky was bright as the moon is getter fuller, but in the tree covered areas, it was pretty dark. It was fun though. And after that walk, it was time to check my blood sugar levels after eating potatoes with dinner. Potatoes are another food that has no spiking effect on my blood sugar. It was 80 two hours after eating. Pasta (fresh cheese filled tortellini is what I tired it with) is the only food so far that has had a spiking effect on me. Still in the 'safe' zone, but much higher than other foods - 128. So, what that means is so far, Quinoa and potatoes seem to be OK. Pasta, not so much and i won't try bread or rice as I know those will spike me and I just don't feel the need to eat those foods.

So glad today is a holiday. Sleeping is a good thing!

Stats for 5/30/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 208  (about 47 and a half pounds lost)
Exercise total hours for 2011: 173
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 452/1000

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enjoying Memorial Day weekend!

Can't believe I haven't posted yet! But, here I am - 8:45 pm. About 13 hours late! Wow!

So, Friday I cleaned the house and got it party ready and made the bread to go with the little sausages. Saturday, I made the little sausages and got the lawn chairs and tables all ready for the party. Party started at 2 pm and went until a bit past 8 pm. It was so wonderful to just relax with friends and enjoy the gorgeous day, good company and good food.

Yesterday was my first planned indulgent day. I had two helpings of the most wonderful strawberry trifle (thank you Mary Ellen!) and a small piece of fresh blueberry crumb pie. So yummy! Along with the Croatian sausages, some baked beans and fresh fruits of pineapple and cherries. Thoroughly enjoyable!

We had one guest stay overnight as she was driving from far away and we all drove into Virginia today for the platform address at the Northern Virginia Ethical Society meeting. The speaker had been a guest at our house the night before, so it was more familiar feeling than it is with other outside speakers.

We did our usual Whole Foods run to get yummy veggies and meats and then came back home. The guest left and then we held to our promise to the little guy of going swimming. My goodness... how happy a kid is in water. We had to talk him into coming home, but once we got home, it was obvious how sleepy he was. After filling his stomach he perked up a bit while I made dinner for the rest of us, mahi mahi grilled fish, swiss chard and garlicky red potatoes. (I just burped up garlic smell/taste now as I was typing - much better going down the first time!)

That's how we got to almost 9 pm tonight. We've been busy and enjoying our holiday weekend and I'm thrilled we have one more day to relax. Though, we have lots of laundry to do too - that and dishwashing never stops.

Feeling very good. I didn't lose any weight from one day to the next, but I didn't gain any either which is a small victory.

Stats for 5/29/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.0
Exercise total hours for 2011: 169.5 hours
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 450/1000

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Back down to my low, now let's have a party!

Everything is all ready for the party today and it should be fun. Our total number is now at 33 which is a pretty good number! Since this is a fundraiser, that means we raised quite a bit of moola so that makes me happy.

Last night I made the flat bread to go with the little ground meat sausages. I do think I need to get more meat though. With adding more people, I might run out of food and you never want that to happen as a host family!

I was happy to see that the scale finally dropped back down to match my all time low. That means I'm 3.4 pounds from losing 50 pounds and a bit over nine pounds until I'm out of the 200s. Yay!

It's a beautiful morning and I hope it stays that way all day long! Sleepy, but ready for the day!

Stats for 5/28/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.0 (46 and a half pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 169
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 446/1000

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting ready for a party!

We are hosting a Memorial Day Potluck Picnic. We are providing the meat dish and drinks. So today will be readying for that so I don't have a mad rush tomorrow. I need to go buy everything (except the ice). So drinks and the meat dishes. We have enough disposable dishes left from previous parties. I'll just need to check on the cups and fork situation. Mostly today, I just need to tidy up - run the vacuum around, clean the bathrooms and dust. I have a couple things to replant outside and water everything. It's been so hot, the new plants aren't able to tolerate it.

Ovulation is definitely over and I've started to see the downward trend, but like last month, that water weight is coming off slowly. I'm still 1.2 pounds over my all time low, but down .4 from yesterday. Slowly, slowly, slowly. Doesn't my body know I want to remove another slice of that pizza pie over there on the sidebar?

Yesterday was an exhausting day and I'm not quite sure why. I was doing a lot of running around for the guys working on the gutters - they were here for 13 hours tearing off the old fascia and soffits and putting up new. In the morning I tore up all the ivy in the patches of perennial ground cover around the trees and tore out the honeysuckle from the burning bushes around the deck. Then I went in to start some bread. I ran to Home Depot and got a few plants for the side yard, came home and turned on the AC and closed up the house as it was getting HOT. I putzed around in the yard, getting the guys what they needed. Then I went to Lowe's and exchanged the propane tank for our potluck picnic and got a tree for the side yard. Putzed around at home some more. Got my little one from school and then we played in the back yard with water for a little bit. Went in, finished the bread, made dinner, got some stuff for the guys again and then watered everything new in the yard for an hour. Cleaned up after dinner, got the guys what they needed and then helped them clean up the obvious stuff in the yard as it was already 9 pm. I was truly exhausted after that. Partly because it's so hot which is draining, but I was on my feet for about 12 hours yesterday. So, I cannot even imagine how exhausted those two guys were! Wowzers!

No formal exercise today either as I'll be cleaning/tidying for hours which is exercise on it's own. We'll have to turn the AC back on too.

Stats for 5/27/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 210.2 (a bit more than 45 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 165
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 440.5/1000

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gearing up!

I believe ovulation has passed! Woohoo! Down .4 on the scale this morning and I hope that is a preview of good things to come. I looked at my chart yesterday and every 28-29 days there is a blip up for ovulation weight gain. I counted back and it had been 28 days since the last one and it had been 14 days for this cycle. Being like clockwork, ovulation came right on time. Now... I'm gearing up for some serious loss for the next 14 days (I hope). You never know how it will go, but I sure hope!

I'm also gearing up for Memorial Day weekend. My little guy is so excited about the swimming pool opening up. What kid isn't? But we are also having a Memorial Day Potluck Picnic. We're expecting about 27-29 people (including my 5) and we're providing the meat, drinks and utensils. My house is one big dust bunny and there's still some more work to be done outside. Our biggest timing issue is that we're still getting our gutters, fascia, and soffits redone. I'll have to talk with the guys doing it about a day off on Saturday or at least a short day. I sure hope the storms stay away! Though we have indoor back up plans if things get wet.

Not much else. Just plugging along day by day doing the best I can, which surprisingly, isn't that hard to do and something I think I could do for the rest of my life.

Oh, yes! There is something else. I went to REI yesterday to drop off the bike rack and gave instructions putting that and the fenders for the bike. I also picked up the little trailer thingee. So very soon I'll have my bike!

Stats for 5/26/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 210.6
Exercise total hours for 2011: 164
Walking/Biking total miles for 2011: 438/1000

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This stuff is for the birds!

Or maybe not. Birds don't ovulate. I saw another jump in the scale this morning. Back up to where I was about 10 days ago. That darn ovulation weight gain couldn't be skipped I guess. I think the heat (no AC yet) is getting to my body too. I'm not overly frustrated, but it seems so counter intuitive on paper.

Other than the dreaded weight gain, yesterday was a good day. I built the yard swing set. It took me three hours! and I took a couple loops around the lake in the evening. The problem with no AC is that I'm HOT after a fast paced walk and then I come home to a hot family room. A nice cool shower helped and then I slept wonderfully.

Last night I watched the finale of Dancing with the Stars. I don't watch much TV - one or two shows a week. I watched from begining to end, Dancing with the Stars this season (Monday's only - and would read about the results from Tuesday night shows). I wanted to see Kirstie Alley. Kirstie is a bit of a whacko and out there personality-wise, but I love her gumption. I love how she handles herself publicly  with this battle with weight. I think she, like I, feel the open battle keeps us more honest, but it also shows we are human. That we do have battles within ourselves and that these secrets only hurt us.

Anyway, I didn't think Kirstie deserved to win (or even come in 2nd place), but I am so glad she made it to the finals. I was so happy to watch her transform, but even at the beginning, when she was heavy, she moved with confidence and poise.

She is 60 years old and doing lifts and cartwheels and dancing her heart out. SIXTY!! That is so wonderful and  when I watch her, I feel inspired. Like Carrie Ann said during the first part of the finale, something like this, "You embody what 60 should be". And Carrie Ann is right. There is no reason why most 60 year olds in today's American lifestyle where we aren't worn down from years of hard labor that most of us couldn't do what Kirstie was doing. OK, maybe not with the same dancing talent, but with the same power and gusto. That is what I'm aiming for - activity and healthy into my 60s and beyond. So thank you Kirstie Alley for being such an inspiration! Even my mother in law who always watches DWTS became a Kirstie loving convert. How could you not root her on?

Stats for 5/25/11

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 211.0 (blah!)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 163
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 434/1000

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yawn! Today will be a tough one.

My little guy I think is fighting some bug. He was awake at 3 am for water and was talking to me through his door on and off since 5:30 am. I'm not sure he ever fell back asleep which happens to him sometimes. He just had to tell me he was hearing the mourning dove. There was a whole chorus of birds making a racket this morning, but I love having my windows open.

I need to finish mowing our yard today. I only got the front yard done and then it started to rain. I also need to dig a ridge to stick a fence down in the ground around our turtle nest.

That was my big surprise yesterday. I was carrying groceries when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked and it was a big turtle and she was digging a hole with her back legs! What? She was laying her eggs in my front yard. I guess that spot felt just right. I did some researching online and it's best to leave them alone (and with dwindling turtle populations, in some states it's illegal to move or destroy their nests) and if possible protect it from predators. Since this nest is in my front yard, there is also a big risk of us stepping on it. It's less than 2 feet from the sidewalk leading to our front door. Here she is digging (click on it to view it better):

So, I went to Home Depot and bought some fencing. I shaped it to make it and place it out there last night, but now I need to bury it a bit to keep critters from digging under it and to anchor it. It will be a pretty little eyesore in my yard because it takes 45-90 days for turtles to hatch and I learned if it's a cool and less moist summer, they baby turtles can overwinter in their eggs! How odd is that? But most likely, since she buried them in a sunny spot, they will hatch in August - anywhere from 3-20 baby turtles (most likely 3-9).

Not sure what my exercise will be today besides mowing. Probably walking around the lake a couple times. That was my plan yesterday. That walk is so invigorating and gets the heart pumping. I love a good walk, especially now that my shins don't bug me! Yay! Success!

Scale is still up, but pizza for supper (high sodium) and it's hot in the house, so I'm holding water. I'm just thankful it didn't go up even higher!

Stats for 5/24/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 210.4 (a bit more than 45 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours for 2011: 1652.25 hours
Biking/Walking totals for 2011: 431.5/1000

Monday, May 23, 2011

And here comes the fluid weight gain!

I know I'm not up 1.4 pounds because of over eating or lack of movement (though it was a light day yesterday sandwiched between two heavy gardening days), but STILL! Not a nice surprise this morning to be all the way back up to 210.4. Oh well, my body does what it needs to do I guess. I'm just glad I'm still ovulating and not going through menopause yet. As much as I find it all a big hassle and annoyance, it's better for my bones and body if my ovaries continue working. So, these monthly weight gains are just part of my life.

Yesterday I spent an hour cleaning the deck. It was covered in leaves (our northern plain tree drops a few new leaves in the spring and then grows them back), pollen and tree leaf fuzz. I swept and then used the hose on a harder spray to get all the gunk off. Of course, within an hour, I had about 20 more leaves on the deck as the trees hang over the deck.

I checked a bit around my flower bed in the side yard and it looks a lot better. Still no sign of the bulbs I planted, but there are bulbs sprouting in the back yard by the rock garden. We'll see how it all develops. It would be a bummer if I have to go replant the areas where the perennial bulbs didn't come up.

I was also looking at my tomatoes. They are growing fine and have about 30-40 tomatoes on them already and I don't see stink bugs all over them yet, which has me a bit hopeful. I will need to get some mesh fencing to go over the parsley to keep the critters out of it. Seems they don't like the rest of the herbs. 

Today I'm putting together the garden swing and I was planning on planting the rhubarb and digging up on the side of the house, but the guys doing our gutters filled the side yard with debris and their ladders. So, I guess it will have to wait, but I can plan for it!

I'll probably do some walking today and maybe some upper body strength training. We'll see. I also want to get our mud room cleared out and hopefully our garage too as it's now filled with lawn/gardening stuff. I created a mess with those plastic containers. Stacked neatly, but there are a ton of them. We also need to rearrange the garage so that we can get the bicycles and cars to have space and easy access which means we will have to move things around in there to have it make sense. More work, as always!

Stats for 5/23/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6   Now: 210.4
Exercise total hours in 2011: 161.25
Total miles Walked/Biked in 2011: 429/1000

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spent the day gardening - great for me and this diet thing

Gardening is like the best exercise ever. Why? Well, it has a purpose. It's not jumping around just because you need to move in some way during the day. I really don't like walking in place or feeling I'm 'exercising'. But with gardening, I feel I'm improving my yard. I'm making my neighbors happy by having our house look more presentable and it just plain feels good to be out in the open air.

Second, 4-5 hours of gardening is a great way to burn a ton of calories so easily. You don't even realize that you are really working because, again, it has a purpose, you're outside, it varies in intensity from being tough (hauling mulch and stooping over distributing it) to easy, standing and adding soil to a planter.

Third, and this is a biggee - it's an appetite suppressant. If you are working all the time, happy to be outside, creating something, or fixing something, you don't think about food. When you are ready to eat, you are tired, hot and light food sounds the best. Every time I garden, I end up eating less than on days I am sitting around home.

So here I am, having only eaten 900 calories today and I'm not hungry, my body feels great, my yard is looking great and I burned 2000 calories (at least). Why didn't I get into gardening earlier?

That's also why I think getting the bike and using it for grocery store runs will be good for me - exercising with a purpose. If I just move more in my day to day life, I will stay fitter and slimmer.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.0 (no change from yesterday down 46 and a half pounds)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 160.5 hours
Walking/Biking total miles in 2011: 428/1000

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ordered my bike on Ride your Bike to Work Day!

I about hyperventilated while ordering it. I have no problem spending money on the house or the kids or even 'small' things for me (like replacing shoes, new clothes for worn out or outgrown clothes), but to buy something that is a 'want' versus a need is hard for me. Plus, with this fitness stuff, we've been spending more recently on stuff that I feel greedy, but I have to get over it. It is a need. Fitness is a need and I need a bike for me.

My plan is to ride for a purpose - riding to the grocery store. Riding to the library. Riding to farmer's market and riding to the mall. All of those things are 2 miles or closer from the house and all of them can be gotten to without getting on a major highway. That is so awesome!

So, this is the bike I got: Raleigh i8 Calispel

To it I'm adding a rack and fenders and a basket. So, it will be more functional and cute when all finished. I'm happy with the choice. It's a step through bike. It has internal gears and a a chain guard. I haven't been able to test drive it yet, but I'm hopeful.

Then, to make it a functional piece for me. I got this. THIS was the splurge, but I want to ride for a purpose, so I need hauling capability: Burley Travoy

Isn't that cool? It detaches from the bike with a twist. It folds down flat and I can take it into the grocery store with me to fill it up as I go. AND I can fill pannier bags to hang from the side of the bike too. I'm stoked! I haven't decided on what bags to get with it yet. It comes with the black one shown, but you can buy all sorts of accessories - at a price, of course.

OK, off to go work in the yard today. Mulch city on that last flower bed - woo hoo!

And the scale continues to be my friend - so odd for this stage of my cycle, but it's making me happy!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.0 (lost 46 and a half pounds)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pictures, doctor news, bikes and blood sugar - Oh my!

Ok, first the doctor visit... Let's try to do things in order of how things played out yesterday.

I went into the doctor's office, signed in and waited my turn. The doctor's assistant called me in, weighed me and took my blood pressure. With clothes, I weighed 211.8. Last time I was there the second week of January, with clothes, I weighed 257.4. She noted that and said, "Wow, you've lost a lot of weight - congratulations!" My blood pressure was textbook perfect - 180/120. Then, I sat and waited. This appointment was just about those lab results, so the doctor came in with his laptop in hand and started going over the bloodwork - urine tests fine, glucose tests fine, thyroid is normal (and he was going through them about as fast as you can read the text), cholesterol is much improved - the breakdown is still a little high on the bad cholesterol and low on the good cholesterol, but it's getting much better, and then these A1Cs. He said that the improvement was dramatic. He said, "Look, you were here - 8.7. That's uncontrolled diabetes. Now you are here - right on the cusp of absolutely perfect blood sugar control. You don't usually see such dramatic differences. What did you do?" I told him that I stopped eating simple carbs and that I was exercising nearly every day. He smiled and looked at me and said, "Look how much diet affects our health. Good job and keep it up. Let's do another lab in 3-4 months to keep you honest." So, I have an appointment at the end of the kid's summer break to go over the next set of labs.

That felt pretty darn good. I felt good too. That morning while getting dressed, I decided to try on a pair of black linen pants that I haven't been able to wear in 13 years. The only long pants I have are black jeans (which are dirty) and light jeans, but I didn't feel like jeans. I wanted something a bit less casual. I was totallllllllly shocked when I found they fit perfectly. I must have lost the majority of last month's weight in my hips and gut because they were nowhere near ready to be worn 2 months ago when I tried them.

I got to talking with some gals on a weight loss forum and we were commenting how people can be of similar heights, but have completely different measurements and weights and yet are still able to wear the same size. They were a little surprised I could wear a 14 in misses already, but I think it's my body build. So, I took photos to share with them in my size 14 pants. It also shows how different size 14 can be. The first pair, here, are the black linen pants. It's hard to see the fit, but you can see there's already some bagginess in the butt. Please excuse the big flabby arms. My arms (and gut) are my weak points. I have always had big arms and a tummy. They are getting smaller, but still there. So, here are the 14 Laura Ashley linen pants:

Then, I pulled out the size 14 Lands End Skort I bought at Goodwill. it's like new, dryer fresh, but seems to fit fine now:

And lastly, I tried on the Lily Pulitzer jeans/slacks I got at Goodwill too. They are a 14 too, but are pulling a little tight in the butt and thighs. I don't like tight clothes, so they will wait another 7-10 pounds:

What I can see though is that I've lost a LOT of tummy - a LOT. And knowing that and seeing that makes it sink in a little more that 46 pounds does make a huge, HUGE difference.

OK, back to my day. I had to take my mother in law to the doctor yesterday which is near Kohl's. These same gals had said that they had good sales and items for swimwear. I have one swimsuit, but I want something I can wear out in the yard that doesn't make me feel so self conscious when I'm playing with my kids with the squirt guns or sprinkler. I found something very similar to this (just in a plan black and blue top - no stripes). The shorts are so cute and flattering (you can click select them to see them better): tankini action back top and shorts. While I was at Kohls I tried on various things and yes, I am in a tight 14. Wow... really and truly, no more plus size clothes for me. That is amazing!!!

So, my day continues on. I made dinner and decided on quinoa. While I was at the doctor's office, I asked for a blood sugar monitor so I could find out what my trigger foods are. Yes, I'm controlling everything fine, but I might have eliminated foods I don't need to or maybe I've kept some foods I shouldn't have. For now he gave me a monitor and 10 strips. I'll be calling today to get more through insurance. I don't plan to take them all the time, but it would be nice to have more knowledge - like do potatoes give me spikes? Or how about watermelon? I just need to see. So, the quinoa. I tested 2 hours after eating it. My blood sugar was 80. Wow! OK, that is LOW. It definitely didn't spike my blood sugars. I'll test at some point after one hour, but that was encouraging.

I ended my day with a walk around the lake a couple times. I wanted to go around 3 times, but the storms rolled in. I made it home with about 5 minutes to spare before the sky poured buckets of rain.

At the very end of the day, while in bed with the iPad, I waited for midnight to roll around to see what the sales would be on bikes at REI. Now I'm torn... I can get one of two bikes for about the same price. One I have to order and get unseen (though I can always return it and get the other if I don't like it) and the other I can try. One is a step through women's bike. The other is unisex... I like the unisex one better in style and features except that it's unisex and has that higher bar. Very, very torn... I'll go test drive and look again and decide. But I was so excited about it, I didn't sleep well! Doy!!! LOL

Today's plan is mulching that last flower bed - finally. The rains have kept me out of the garden!

It's a good day to buy a bike. It's bike to work day!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.4 (a bit more then 46 pounds lost)
Total exercise hours/minutes in 2011: 154.5
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 423/1000

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have a doctor's appointment today!

Those of you who read regularly know that I had blood work done about 6 weeks ago. The doctor's office called about 5 weeks ago to say that he wanted to see me in 4-6 weeks to go over the lab results. They didn't say if the results were good or bad - just make an appointment for mid-May. I was pretty miffed and demanded that I be sent the lab results. In the meantime, I went to Quest labs online and set up delivery of my lab results to my Iphone (they only send through phone). And that would take 3-5 days to get those results. Argh! Well, in 3 days from Quest over my phone and the results were pretty close to perfect. And... I'm still waiting for the lab results from the doctor's office - they were never sent. After this appointment, I'm changing doctors. This is like the third thing with this doctor that has been negligent or poor patient service.

But, I am interested in seeing these lab results and what the doctor has to say for ongoing treatment. Also, since last at the doctor's office, I've lost 45 pounds (up a pound today on the scale because for dinner last night I ate something with soy sauce). After this appointment - switcheroo to another doctor in the same office. (my husband's doctor seems fine).

Other than that, I didn't get into the garden yesterday as the storms/rain didn't let up during the day. Instead, in the evening I planned to go take a long walk, but my 6 year old son didn't want me to go. Which meant no walk and I would need to jump around in the basement. I was getting so tired by the time I put the little guy to bed and I almost didn't do it, but I realized I've been slacking off on non-gardening days and I shouldn't be doing that! So, down I went. I decided on Kathy Smith's Instant Workout. That tape has 3 20 minute workouts. I decided I would do one and if I felt up for it two. I did two for a total of 45 minutes including a warm up and cool down. I was pretty proud of that effort. Gained weight this morning, but that only means the workout was a good idea. I probably would have gained more without the workout. Darn fluid weight! Soy sauce is not friends with the scale.

Beginning weight 255.6  Now: 210.2 (a bit over 45 pounds lost)
Total hours/minutes exercised in 2011: 153:45 hours
Total Miles Walked/Biked in 2011: 419/1000 miles

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just when you have your body figurered out

Things change. I saw a big drop on the scale yesterday and added a bit more to it today. So it was not a fluke. I'll take it and be very happy about it because I was not expecting it! Inching closer and closer to onederland and inching even closer to the the 50 pounds lost mark.

I'm a bit tired this morning, but if it dries up a bit, I will mulch. I just went out now to take the plants to the rail planters on the deck and the ground is so squishy. We've gotten over 3 inches of rain in the last two days and the ground, especially near the down spouts are just drenched, which of course, is where I need to walk to get to the back yard and side yard.

Of course, I'm also beginning to battle the pests. My parsley is all munched on - despite spraying it with a bitter (safe for food) spray. It rained, the spray washed off and voila - no parsley. Seems they don't like basil, oregano, cilantro and rosemary. My tomatoes so far are doing OK, too. I have about 30 green tomatoes growing away. Let's hope we get to enjoy them!

Sun is out which is making me happy. It's time to get dirty! And today, probably muddy which is somewhat of a problem for me these days because I only have a few shorts and t-shirts that fit, so it also means more frequent laundry.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.4 (A bit more than 46 pounds lost)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I see a glimpse of things to come and getting my bike soon!

Yesterday I did exactly what I said I wanted to do with the yard. I mulched around the front flower bed, the tree in front of the house, the rock garden, at the back of the house where the vegetables and herbs are and I mulched the fig trees and tomatoes in pots. And yes, I did have to go buy more mulch for the side yard. While at the garden center, I got more soil and some shade loving annuals for the deck rail flower planters. Gotta love 88 cents for a six pack of flowers! Maybe if the rain isn't too bad today, I'll fill those planters, but we'll see. I will probably need to fold some laundry instead.

The other exciting thing is that REI is having another big sale - including their bicycles, so this weekend my older son and I will get/order our new bikes. And the sandals I want are also on sale, so double bonus. I really hope I'll find bike riding as fun and useful as I plan it to be. I really do have visions of riding to the grocery store and farmer's market. And if I do it regularly and enjoy it, I'll get things to make it easier for me to haul stuff. Stuff like this: http://www.burley.com/home/bur/page_416/travoy.html

Got to get running this morning. Our shower fell off it's track, so we had a mini panic attack this morning. Those shower doors (as they are not standard size) cost a fortune in our remodel last year. Phew... we got it back on, but it took precious minutes away from our usual morning routine.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 209.8 (love seeing those single digits! Just about 46 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 153 hours
Walking/Biking/Running totals in 2011: 416.5/1000

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just call me Yo-yo!

I was hoping maybe I was wrong about my prediction about the stall out. I was hoping my body didn't get the message that I'm in a new cycle, but nope, it's the same old story. Down a bit one day, up a bit the next day. I think my 'goal' for this next 1.5 weeks is to lose one pound. I would like to see the single digits. Not 211. Not 210.x, but 209.something. Yesterday it was 210.6. Today it's 211.0 Day before it was 211.2 and so on - the pre-ovulation stall out.

Seriously, WHAT would happen if I didn't ovulate? I used to think, "Well, if you weren't ovulating, you wouldn't have the second half of the month with the tremendous weight loss, but it's not that simple. It's my body gearing up for ovulation that messing me up and makes me hold fluid. My guess now is that I would lose weight at a more steady pace if ovulation didn't interfere. Maybe slower overall as perhaps those hormones aid weight loss. I don't know... I'm just an oddity because I've never met anyone who has such an extreme cyclical nature to weight loss. Maybe scientists should study me? Tee-hee!

Yesterday I went into Virginia for Ethical Society and a lot more people commented on my weight loss. I guess it's pretty obvious now, but 45 pounds is pretty obvious to see. 35 more to go (or around there).

I got lucky with the weather yesterday. It was supposed to be a yucky day, but it turned out to be a nice one until evening. So, I got home around 2 pm. Putzed around indoors for a little bit and then went out to garden. I got the center flower bed mulched and then weeded and got the edging done in the front of the house flower bed. Today, if weather cooperates, I'll mulch the front flower bed, the tree flower bed and the rock flower bed and take pictures! We'll see if I have enough mulch to do the big side flower bed which I'm sure i won't so I'll be heading to the garden center for more mulch. I wonder - will I need this much mulch every year? I sure hope not!

That's about it for today. It's Monday which I'm always a bit happy about and sad about. Happy to get a bit of freedom from kids. Sad because of the scheduled living again. I'm getting ready for summer break too!

Stats for 5/15/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 211.0
Exercise total hours: 151 hours
Walking/Biking/Running total miles: 412.5/1000

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not much to say today!

I got a decent night's sleep again last night which has left me groggy/slow to start this morning. I couldn't force myself to jump around in the basement last night. I was still so tired, grumpy and the appeal of anything like aerobics was zero. I'll have to pick it up a couple notches today to make up for it.

I'm going into Virginia today for the Northern Virginia Ethical Society Platform and will do some grocery shopping afterwards and maybe something else. I need a 'house' reprieve, but since I have no idea of what I can do, I probably will just come home. Exciting, huh? Yup, that's my life!

Scale went back down to it's all time low.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 210.6

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A couple big motivating numbers coming up!

Now that I am in what is most likely a two week stall out or a slow loss, if I'm lucky, I got to thinking about what's coming up to motivate me to keep pushing even with this stall. And I realized two things. One, in a bit over 5 pounds, I'll have lost 50 pounds. That in itself is a nice, round number, but also, that is how much weight I lost the last time I tried to lose weight. Exactly 50 pounds.  Way back then, that meant getting to 185. This time it will mean getting to 205, but still amount of weight lost shows amount of effort put in. I'm 13 years older this time, but the weight is coming off faster and I think for a couple reasons. First, my thyroid is mostly fixed and second, I'm eating better (no splurges and cravings of carbs since I'm mostly eliminated them).

The other big motivating number is the 200 mark. Every month (or better put for me, every monthly menstrual cycle) I have been losing 8-15 pounds. This last month it was 10 pounds. If I were to do that again THIS month, that would put me right at the 200 mark. I wouldn't mind facing my next stall out around the 199-200 mark! Getting out of the 200s will feel HUGE. I remember crying when I went over 200 pounnds and I know I will cry when I get under it.

But, if I don't get to what is affectionately called onederland the end of this cycle, I won't beat myself up about it or be upset, because then I know it will happen in the next cycle.

I can't believe I'm so close to both those magical numbers. That is purely unbelievable that I'm doing this. That I feel great and that I don't feel deprived (heck, yesterday I ate a McDonald's bacon angus cheeseburger because I was craving it. I worked it into my daily allowance and enjoyed it tremendously without overeating for the day). I'm really thinking that this will be easy for me maintain for life. I just never had the concept of what goes in, needs to go out in calories for the day. I can have the special moments and treats. I just can't add them without thinking of how to subtract them!

Another great thing I've discovered in the last few days is that I'm dropping a clothing size again. Way back in February or early March I bought two Lands End skorts in a size 14 and a pair of summer weight slacks in a size 14 at Goodwill. I remember 'hoping' I would get to that size sometime during the summer and probably not until late summer as at the time I was just solidly starting to wear a comfortable 18. Here it is the middle of May and those shorts and slacks FIT! The shorts almost perfectly, but would fit a bit more comfortably in about 5 pounds and the slacks in about 8-10 pounds, but I can get them on, zip them up and button them without needing to lie down on the bed. I can do it comfortably while standing up. That means I'm reallllllly close to being able to wear them. And since I have no casual t-shirts that fit or match these skorts, I went to Target yesterday to buy something and realized while there that I no longer needed to go to the plus sized area. Wow! XXL and XXXL and 1X and 2X are all too big now. Like way too big. I need an XL in regular sizes. That there made me realize too how close I am to those magical numbers. As my mother in law said about a month ago, "I'm beginning to look normal sized." And I am getting closer. I can feel bones. I can see muscles as the fat is melting away. It shouldn't feel strange to feel my obliques or my collar bone, but these are new things for me and it's making me realize I've come a long ways!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 211.2

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger had issues - My day yesterday!

So weird to be writing this at 8 pm instead of before 8 am like I usually do, but blogger was out of commission for about 24 hours, so there was nothing I could do about it.

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog. Sleep has been really hard to come by and it's been killing me. It kept from getting to mulching yesterday as I just didn't have it in me. I repotted a couple things, planted a few more (a neighbor game me a plant holder and of course, I had to fill it with four new plants!) and spent about 3 hours in the yard yesterday, but not on mulching. I bought more mulch, but that's about as far as I went.

Well, I was really hoping that the sleep thing would happen as I hadn't exhausted myself as much in the yard, but... I got woken with restless legs again. It's such a vicious cycle. I get restless legs when I'm exhausted. It doesn't happen much now, but when I was pregnant and during bouts of insomnia, it strikes. So, I get exhausted, get restless legs and then I get less sleep, so that means I remain exhausted and the restless legs come back night after night.

I mentioned my restless legs on a forum and a gal there said that her yoga instructor said that this pose was great for restless legs. I didn't have a bolster, so my legs weren't straight and my butt wasn't up against the wall, but it was close and it worked! (which that was a picture of me doing that pose and that I looked that good!)

While looking for this pose this morning, I saw this link about yoga poses for insomnia. All of them deal with the legs/core, so I might try all of these. Here's the link: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/6-yoga-poses-for-insomnia/.

After doing this pose for about 5 minutes, I was able to go back to sleep and slept 7 hours straight. I hadn't had a full night's sleep for several days, so this morning I felt GREAT!

Yet, the scale is beginning to do it's yo-yoing. I was up 9 ounces today. Go figure!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 211.4 (a bit more than 43 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 150 hours
Walking/biking/running totals in 2011: 410/1000

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Almost done with the yard!

Well, done as I can do with the budget, time and energy level. I can't revamp the yard, starting all over. I have to work with what I have and what I had was a lot of empty space and now I have filled 'some' of that empty space. Tomorrow I am mulching, finishing putting up the fencing and weeding/deheading. I have planted some bulbs which aren't up yet, so some naked spots and of course, as everything is in the baby stage of their size, lots of empty space, but a lot less empty space than there used to be.

Last night while watering, I did a count of everything I've put in. In the rock garden flower bed I've put in 14 perennials, 7 annual bulbs, a tree, 8 annuals in the ground, and 4 pots of annuals. In the side of the yard flower bed I've put in 34 perennial bulbs, 28 new perennials, 2 bushes, transplanted two perennials and have added 8 pots of annuals. In the yard by the bird bath there are 2 pots with annuals and 6 perennials. On the deck there is a hanging basket holder with four baskets of annuals. Behind the house I potted 6 pots with tomatoes, 3 pots with figs, 4 long containers with herbs and nearby I planted a tree in the ground. In the flower bed in front of the house I planted 36 begonias of two varieties, one new bush, one transplanted bush, and added 5 pots of annuals. In the front yard island flower bed I have planted 8 perennials, 42 annuals in the ground, one bush and 4 pots of annuals. And finally around the front tree I added 9 annuals in the ground. If you add that up quickly, I've planted 241 things and that's not very accurate because most of the pots of annuals have 3-5 plants in them.

Before planting, I weeded the side flower bed, the back of the house flower bed and the front of the house flower bed. I built/created the island flower bed, the rock flower bed and the mini flower bed around the front tree. I've added edging to two of the flower beds and now I'm just waiting on the rhubarb to arrive and in the meantime I need to mulch, mulch and more mulch. Good thing I got the mowing done yesterday! ALL of that in a bit over a week (or is it closer to two weeks now with some breaks in there with weather and events/happenings in my life).

It's feeling very good to not have the worst yard in the neighborhood. Of course, now I have to keep it up so that it doesn't all go to pot. And I really want to get a yard swing. My youngest little guy LOVES to swing/rock and since we moved here when he was already 4 and a half and he's our last, investing in a swing set/playground didn't seem worth it, but a yard swing would be nice! If I can get my husband to go for it. He's pretty 'eh' on this whole yard project. He and his mom are real city slickers.

I'm having problems sleeping as of late which makes me wonder what's up. I think it's mainly I can't keep my head from thinking too much. So much I want to do and not enough means to do them in either time or money. With this whole gardening thing, I've found some great sales, bought small plants and of course, had two gift cards too. For a couple hundred dollars out of our pocket, I've done quite a bit! Of course, my labor is free!

Well, sleep last night was pretty much non-existent. Going to make working hard today very difficult. Grrr!!! Only good news is that I dropped some of that water weight and oh yes, I'm now in the first half of my monthly cycle. Let's see when the stall happens this time!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 210.6 (lost 45 pounds)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 147 hours
Walking/Biking/Running totals in 2011: 405/1000

Nearing the end of my 2 weeks of fun!

And that's in two ways. First, I have three more days to get that garden in the ground before the rain hits. Everything needing to be repotted is repotted. The side flower bed is in the ground, just needs mulch. The front flower beds are done (there are three), just needs mulch. I have yet to start the rock flower garden and I need to mow too. Pressure is on to get it done!

Also, I'm nearing the end of weight loss two weeks too. Or, better put, the last of  the downward movement I'll see on the scale for awhile. I think I'm already holding fluids in anticipation of my period and then usually I see a loss right after my period and then stall. Ugh...

According to my fitness app, I have burned over 5000 calories the last two days working in the garden, yet I've only see 9 ounces drop on the scale. I had major sock indents last night, so I'm holding fluid. Let's see if it comes off before the stall or not. I would love it if I could get out of the 210s before the stall, but that's really pushing it. I don't know if that's possible or not. I know I'm burning fat, sometimes it just takes a bit for the scale to catch up - silly body!

Plan for today is to take my mother in law to the doctor, get in the garden and dig up things around the rocks in the back yard. And then, I'll mow.

My 6 year old really wanted to help plant in the flower bed yesterday, so my goal was to get it all ready for planting before he got home from school and I managed to accomplish that. He had a fun time digging around in the dirt. Not the most helpful or skilled, but he had fun and he did help a bit. What he really likes is walking around with me in the yard and watering all the flowers. For some reason the hose is great fun - so is getting all wet! He's so cute!

Talking about cute, my bird bath is grand central station. Yesterday afternoon, after washing it again, I saw a crow, a blue jay, a couple of robins, a catbird, a sparrow and a chickadee all take baths within about 30 minutes of each other. Makes sense really as there hasn't been rain for about a week and so there are no shallow pools of water anywhere for them to bathe. When I was cleaning the bath yesterday, I found pieces of peanut (nuts still in the shell) and lots of dirty sand like debris. Those birds are dirty! Watching a big crow taking a bath in the smallish bird bath is kind of funny too. I really love birds and watching them is a lot of fun.

Itching to get back out there today! (Wish I would feel this way about other chores I need to do!)

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 211.6 (44 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 143 hours
Biking/Walking/Running totals in 2011: 400/1000 miles

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More digging yesterday and today

I spent six and a half hours in the yard yesterday. One hour planting anemone's (30 bulbs) and two evening primrose plants in pots. Then, I got the hose, watered that area and then dragged it to the front yard to mark out the flower bed. I cut into the ground the shape I wanted, removed all the pots from the oval, and started digging. I then spent the next 5 hours tearing out the grass in the front yard. Yes, a sod cutter would have done the job in a few minutes, but it's one small flower bed (about 5 feet by 15 feet). Not worth the cost of renting and hauling the thing home for what I needed to do and I need the exercise, right? Interestingly, I'm not very sore this morning. I felt it a bit in my abs last night and my arms, but I don't feel it any more now than then. Must mean I'm getting stronger!

More planting planned for today. I need to plant the front yard flowers in the newly created flower bed. Starting with adding the border, amending the soil and then planting and then mulching. I hope I get to adding soil around the tree in the front yard (not touching the trunk) and planting there too. That's about as far as I'll get today I figure as I also need to mow. And nope, still won't be done. I have one more flower bed to go and then mulching that huge flower bed, the front flower bed, the backyard flower bed and finishing the edging around the front of the house. I need about 2-3 more days (at least).

Despite drinking a ton last night, I barely had to pee this morning which means I'm holding fluid. I burned about 3000 calories yesterday, consumed about 1300 calories and the scale stayed the same. Oh well, it will happen soon enough. My muscles might be holding water to repair themselves from all that heavy work yesterday.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 212.2
Exercise total hours in 2011: 138 hours
Walking/Biking/Running totals in 2011: 394/1000

Monday, May 9, 2011

Halfway mark updated photos!

Well, as I said, I would show photos of each 20 pounds, but by the time I get to them, it's always a bit more. So, along the side we have the current photo, of 42 pounds lost, the 23 pounds lost photo and then the beginning photo. And here are a few photos my husband took last night. Click on them to get the full size.

 Me Mother's day - 42.6 pounds down                                      

Me - full body now - Mother's Day (I had given a presentation earlier in the day which is the reason for the dress. This dress was my $250 dress I got for $25. And it fit me perfectly which means it probably fit most people imperfectly. I'm high-waisted and it hit me at my waist which means it probably was too high waisted for most people.)
                                                          Me before - around 255 pounds.

And a couple more of me now:

OK, I am being very brave to show my arms in that last picture. They are still so big. Well, all of me is still so big and I can see how much further I need to go, but, my husband pulled up the before pictures last night and said, "Melissa, look. You've made huge progress in a little over 4 months and he's right, but I see big Melissa. Smaller, yes, but still very big.

Good news is that Mother's day was a good one for me. As usual, no special treatment, but we had a fantastic dinner last night. We went to Whole Foods earlier in the day and picked up some whole fish - European Sea Bass - Branzino. So, I grilled it up and it was divine. Calories, with wine, with a wee bit of dessert were just at 1250 for the day. Yay me! And as a reward, I'm down another .8 on the scale this morning.

Stats for 5/9/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 212.2 (lost a bit more than 43 pounds)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Just a quick post today as I have to rush off to get ready for the presentation I'm giving to the Nothern Virginia Ethical Society about supermoms.

Sleep was still spotty (nerves maybe?), but I feel rested enough. Yesterday I spent several hours planting again -planted 36 begonias in the front flower beds, transplanted the tomatoes into the six containers, planted the 9 herbs into their containers and then made some bread and dinner and had to go run out to get MORE potting soil and containers to plant the figs. It felt great as it was a gorgeous day. THe little helped a little bit. His favorite part is walking around with the hose and watering everything, of course.

Life is just good! Have a great day everyone! Oh, and 12 ounces lost today.

Stats for 5/8/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 213.0 (42 and a half pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 133 hours
Walking/Biking/Running Total miles in 2011: 387/1000

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And the Whoosh! Continues! and naughty little nibbles

This week was a really busy week. Add in that I got this idea in my head to redo my whole yard to prettify it. Yesterday was one of the busiest days. It was International Day at school, so in the morning my Croatian husband and I went to the school and gave two 30 minute presentations on Croatia. He went to work and then I made 100 mini cupcakes for the international fair at school that night. I had extra batter, so I made 18 larger cupcakes for home. The cake itself, like most Croatian cakes, is meringue based - ground almonds, egg whites and sugar - that's it. The filling is the egg yolks, sugar, chocolate, a splash of coffee cooked until thickened and then when cool, whipped butter is added. I cannot describe to you how divine that filling is to eat. I ate about 6 tablespoons of it I figure and then to be sure it did turn out, I ate one tiny mini muffin. Usually this cake is a torte and it's one of our favorites, but for the fair, mini sized is great for people to get just a taste of it. I got several people requesting recipes and one boy who has lived all over the world came back 3 times to see if he could have more because he loved it so much. As a torte, it would look like this:

So, I just couldn't resist those nibbles of filling/frosting, but other than that for the day I did well and kept the rest of the day's carb intake really low.

I had another night of rough sleep. I don't get that at ALL, but in the end I got some good sleep this morning and was shocked to see another pound and 3 ounces whooshed away.

I just wish I could understand my body. Why, why does it stall out before ovulation and then hold so much fluid? When I follow my weight loss curve, I'm now following the curve that I left off before my last period, then for 2.5 weeks (because during my period and a day or so after ovulation) I just hold steady with a spike up at ovulation. Then day after day of whoosh as I release that water I hold from my period to just past ovulation. I know I'm not losing all fat these days, but all that stinking water I was holding with a bit of fat. I guess, I just need to accept it as how my body works, but after two weeks of stalling, I start to wonder, "are my portions out of whack?" "Is my exercise too light/not strong enough?" And then BAM! the weight loss part of the month hits.

So, as a result, in the last week I've lost 5.4 pounds! Craziness!

My plan for today? Well, to spend it in the yard of course! Lots of planting and digging to do today. And to finish polishing up my presentation for tomorrow. I was working on it last night and there's one section I'm not quite happy with, but couldn't sort through it last night as I was getting tired, so with fresh eyes I'll take a look at it today.

Stats for 5/7/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 213.8 (Lost just shy of 42 pounds)

Friday, May 6, 2011

I dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in my yard the whole day through (and past halfway!)

Yep, that was me yesterday - digging and digging and digging and digging. I started with the hardest thing to do and finished with the easier things to do. I went out at 10 am, came in for a 20 minute break at noon. Then took an hour break from 2:30 to 3:30 (getting another tool and one more Hosta from Home Depot and picking my son up from school). Then he and I together planted the annuals in the pots - all 20 of them and then finally, we picked up all the empty pots and thoroughly watered everything. Did you ever realize that kids love to play with water?

I planted first the River birch. I have this patch in my yard that is all ground cover with a big ole tree stump in the middle of it. I 'thought' that tree had been cut down awhile ago and I was 'hoping' I could dig up a big enough hole near the base of the stump (but not too close as to hinder that tree's growth). And, I got lucky. I hit a decent sized patch that was not riddled with big roots and when I did hit some roots while widening it up, they were a bit spongy and easy enough to hack away. However, I spent about an hour on getting that tree planted.

Then I moved onto the big flower bed. This flower bed is huge. It runs along the side of the property - hits three other lots and is an irregular shaped trapezoid. Top is 30 feet, sides are 20 feet on one end and 12 feet on the other and the front section is 46 feet long. So it's big. In the back section, there's an old, huge, rhododendron, some common bush and then 4-5 medium sized azaleas. There's NOTHING in the entire mid to front section of the flower bed, just empty, barely there mulch and big pieces of timber marking it off. So, I put in  33 plants yesterday. In there I started with the bigger pots (meaning needing to make bigger holes) and moved on down in size. I still need to plant the 30 small bulbs and two other plants I decided last evening to move to there instead of the front yard. I planted hostas around the tree in the back yard- again, got lucky with roots. and then, as I said, we planted in the pots. The pots I'm scattering around the yard for bursts of color among the perennials. Some in the rock flower garden in back. Some by the new tree on the stump. A bunch in that huge flower bed, and a few in that front yard flower bed.

Kid love playing in the dirt too. My six year old had  Cars work gloves, Cars hand spade and Cars hand rake. He kept filling the pots, I would place the annuals, and together we would fill in around. That took about 1.5 hours for about 20 pots. And then the watering - took time too as it's a lot of new plants. Oh, and I transplanted an out of place azalea from the back yard to the front yard and added a new small azalea in the front yard too.

But, I'm not done. I was out there for 7 hours yesterday and burned about 3300 calories (then came in and made dinner - man was I exhausted). I still need to put all the tomatoes and herbs in their big containers and build the two islands in the yard, plant there, and then mulch everything. I figure I need two more full days at least. But, I love it while the weather is this perfect - 65-75, light breeze and no humidity? Lovely. I will finally have a yard I can be proud of - now if only I can keep it up when the heat and humidity sets in!

And with all that hard work, I did surpass the halfway point for this weight loss journey. At least I 'think' it's my halfway mark. That end weight is pretty flexible. I weighed 179 at the end of high school. I'll see when I get closer to that goal if I want to go more or stop. It's all about how easy it is to maintain that weight. If' it means I have to exercise 3 hours a day and eat 1000 calories to be 175, then, I won't stay that low. Conversely, if I hit 175 and the weight is still coming off with moderate effort, then I'll see where to takes me to a comfortable weight to maintain. But, for now, I'm just a hair over halfway done and it feels great and the weight is still coming off with what I'm doing.

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 215.0 (lost 40 and a half pounds)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 130 hours
Walk/Biking/Running total miles in 2011: 383/1000

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eaten half the pizza!

I'm not sure if it will stick beyond today, but as of today, I have lost 40 pounds and 3 ounces. I'm 1.5 ounce (will have to be .2 on the scale), from reaching my halfway to goal too. It was a really nice surprise on the scale this morning! Wow!!!

I really am beginning to feel the tremendous weight loss now. I am still fat. And still can see I have a long way to go, but I have a shape. I can see muscle definition (with a flabby under side usually). My hip bones are right under my skin now, not under layers of fat (though there is fat just below and above that point which means my hips are truly huge). I can wear nonplus sized clothing now. The 16s I bought a month ago, now fit absolutely perfectly - not too snug, not too loose. and even in shirts, a size XL is the best fit, even with still being very chesty.

I can just imagine what another 40 pounds off this frame will look like! I did this 40 pounds in just 4 months and 1 week. I imagine the second 40 pounds will take me much longer, but that's to be expected and I'm not in a race. Slow and steady and not painfully.

But wow...it sure does feel great to say I've lost 40 pounds. So, 'maybe' tomorrow I'll be at the halfway point and then what will be the next milestone? Well, I guess 50 pounds. That will take me to 205.6. And five pounds later, what a forum I belong to calls, onederland. Getting below 200 pounds will feel like the biggest accomplishment of all. There is just something very, very psychologically powerful about going over 200 pounds when you gain weight and going under 200 pounds when you lose weight. It's kind of this imaginary line that separates "normal sized people" and "fat people". Wrong as it is as very few people should weigh close to 200 pounds, but normal sized people weigh 1xx something. Not 2xx something! But, that is still a fairly long ways away. For now I'm very happy to be celebrating the 40 pounds gone mark!

My plans for today? Digging, planting, and hauling soil and mulch. I'm very excited for working in the yard today. You can't even imagine! And that SHOULD help me keep the weight off unless I hold a lot of water from sore muscles, but that will only be temporary.

Smiling and Happy Cinco de Mayo to me!

Stats for 5/5/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 215.4 (40 pounds and 3 ounces lost)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Inching closer - swollen ankles again after a nearly perfect day!

Yesterday was near perfection. I dropped the little guy off to school and waited the 30 minutes there for the bus to take us all to the Howard County Conservancy. A short bus ride later, we were there. We were divided into 6 groups of 6-7 kids and the chaperones and were led around the farm area - seeing tadpoles and frogs and snakes, chickens and goats, a presentation about an owl (with a barred owl in the show), then looking around at bird's nests of different types, turtles, fox pelts and animal skulls. Then it was at the picnic tables for lunch. We got back on the bus and came back by 1 pm. It was a breezy, sunny and about 76 degrees while at the Conservancy - so absolutely perfect.

After the field trip, I went to Home Depot to get more soil (the car can only hold so much) and then home to putz in the garden. I put together the wheel barrow and my older son and I filled 7 containers of sticks that we had already picked up from the yard earlier in the spring, but were still covering part of the flower bed I need to plant in. That took awhile, but surprisingly said older son and I chatted and had a good time as it was so gorgeous outside. Then I moved the plants around, decided which flowers/greenery would go in what pots, watered everything and started to lay out a plan of where to put flowers in the front yard. Finally came in at 6:15 pm.

Ordered pizza for dinner, so no cooking for me. I had one slice of cheese pizza and then two small hamburger patties from the night before. Went upstairs to hang out with the little one a little bit more and then when he was going to bed, I did the much needed grocery store run. Waiting for that chore until the sun was down so as not to lose a single moment of the day.

My ankles last night were quite swollen again (on my feet all day except for the 45 minutes on the bus, the 30 minutes in the car, and 45 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for dinner - so around 11 and a half hours on my feet.

I propped up my feet while we watched our favorite TV show, Castle. A near perfect day ended with a nice soothing shower.

The downside, is I slept horribly. I had some caffeine late in the day AND I think my room was too hot. But, I feel rested enough this morning, got the donations ready for the Vietnam Veterans of America pick up this morning and now I'm about ready to get the little guy ready for school.

Today is going to be cold and rainy, so no garden time today, but that's OK, I have to finish some indoor projects too.

The scale cooperated a little bit. Down 3 ounces for the day.

Stats for 5/4/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 216.4 (a bit more than 39 lbs lost)
Exercise total hours/minutes in 2011: 123 hours
Total walk/bike/run miles in 2011: 377/1000

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I knew the weigh in today was going to be a good one. Yesterday afternoon I had to stop every hour to go pee and then I would pee a lot! In the evening, I weighed myself fully dressed and I weighed the same as I did in the morning while naked. Made me pretty confident I would see a nice loss on the scale today. My ankles are getting less and less puffy (still have a bit puffiness to them though). Wow! I really know how to hold water!

I got the tools and border materials and regular garden soil yesterday from the garden center yesterday. Couldn't do anything in the garden beyond figuring out how much edging material I needed and getting things organized. Later, I had to take my younger son to his occupational therapy session smack in the middle of the day and then it was time for homework, dinner, etc. So, I bounced around in the basement for exercise.

The routine I decided on was Kathy Smith's Fat Burning Workout. It's from way back, 1988. I was 18 years old when that was filmed and Kathy was a young 36 years old. (She is still going strong with videos at 59 years old and looks fabulous). I had never done that video before. Someone had given it to me or I had exchanged it with someone on videofitness.com 13 years ago. It's been languishing in a box for all those years. Since I tend to like Kathy Smith's style and pacing, I gave it a whirl and was glad I did. She gives an 8 minute warm-up, 38 minute aerobic section (and it's not just straight out aerobics, she incorporates strength training with it, so it's a double whammy workout), and then a 10 minute cool down and stretch. That's just shy of a full hour and at just the right intensity for me. Definitely a keeper.

Wow! I'm 1 pound and 3 ounces from being at my halfway point for weight loss (the fitness part doesn't have an end goal, but is a forever goal). When I started out with this, I hoped to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year... well, really, to get to 200 pounds which is 55.6 pounds, but even then I wondered if that was too ambitious, but here I am after 4 months, not 12 months, already at almost 40 pounds lost! I'm pretty darn proud of that effort. While there are times I get frustrated, I haven't felt this has been a difficulty journey. I did a lot of the mind work of weight loss over the last decade, which has me really hoping that this weight loss will be a permanent one. I don't feel deprived. I don't feel worn out. I feel strong and healthy and I'm well on my way to making myself strong and healthy too!

Stats for 5/3/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now 216.6 (39 pounds lost!)
Exercise total hours/minutes in 2011:  121 hours
Total Walking/Biking/Running  total miles in 2011: 373/1000

Monday, May 2, 2011

A current gardening maniac and mother nature messed with me!

I had plans yesterday of spending the day in the yard, much like the day before yesterday. I had a plan in place, but... mother nature decided to take an unfriendly turn. First, when it was supposed to be partly cloudy in the morning, it was heavily clouded. I went to the garden center anyway. Then, while there, it started to rain lightly. I kept looking around and got my annuals and the potting soil, brought it home and hoped it would stop raining. It did for a short while, but looked grim. My husband came out and dug up the old azalea bush that had died in front of our house and while he was working on that, it started to lightly rain again. He went off to buy some mulch and I set to work, in the light rain to at least get everything ready for planting the next day. I went to under our deck where we had put all my glazed clay pots. I have about 30 of them, so it took many trips (two pots at  a time) to get them all up to the front of the house.

This fall we had a handyman take down a dilapidated fence at the side of our yard and to remove all the junk from under the deck which included sections of that same dilapidated fencing plus other crap. While I was under the deck, I see we we still had a couple things under there - a broken wooden chair and a stone cast bird bath in two pieces. The bowl wasn't broken. How about the base? It was partially buried in the dirt, so it was hard to see, but I pulled it up and sure enough, fine condition. Looks very similar to this one which costs $400 for a vintage bird bath!!! Quite a find!

I carried the heavy thing out and set it up. Voila free stone cast bird bath! Neat! But it started to rain harder so all thoughts of doing more outside came to a halt.

I came in, started dinner and then had an epiphany about our yard. You see, we have a couple problem areas. One is this:

These are mowing pains in the butt. First, the lamp post. Then, and worse, is this small,  about 2 feet in diameter, flower bed. I first thought, "Well, I'll just get rid of that silly flower bed stuck in the middle of the yard", but, once you lift up the upside down clay pot, you realize why that flower bed and clay pot are there. There's a sewer line pipe smack in the middle of the yard. If you don't put something around it, you'll trip over it as it's only 4" above the ground. Grrrr...

So, I've been unhappy with it since I discovered I can't just remove it. But last night I realized I should make a flower garden island the incorporates both obstacles and make it big enough to make it easier to mow around. All of a sudden I felt so much happier. I hate eye sores and in our front yard? We have a lot of people walk by our front yard since our cul de sac leads to one of the entrances to the path around the lake.

Then there's the back yard. I like it for the most part. It's shaded near the house, and more open in the back. It gently slopes downwards and is very mature. But we have this (photo borrowed from Maggie Duncan):

Don't get me wrong, I love the rocks, but like in the front yard, they are just stuck out there with no thought as to why they are in the middle of the yard. And, our backyard gets even more notice as it has the path going right by it (you can see it in the background of the picture). Every one of my neighbors have a spectacular back yard, except us. So, while I'm in a manic state about getting our yard in order, before the heat sets in and I'll want to retreat indoors, I realized I should make this into an island flower/rock garden! I still want it kid friendly enough for people to sit on the rocks (my 6 year old loves sitting on them), but instead of them looking like they were just left there after building the house, now, hopefully, they'll look like they are there for design purposes.

All of this, of course, is very good exercise. Digging, scraping, lifting, hauling and so on. So, on the days I'm spending hours in the garden, I don't need to workout. Unfortunately, I didn't get hours in the garden yesterday. I did some weight lifting - putting 12 30 pound bags on a flat bed, putting them in my car and then taking them out of my car, helping my husband take 40 pound bags out of his car, and carrying 30 various sized pots from under the deck to the front yard and that bird bath, but nothing aerobic. So, I had to go to my basement and jump around. I only did a 25 minute workout (out of a 40 minute workout). I just couldn't stand the tape I chose. Way too dancy and too much twisting. It's one thing on a wood floor, but I'm on a new carpet with plush foam underneath in the basement. I try to avoid twisting movements to protect my knee. I got enough done to get a workout in to supplement what else I had done during the day, but blah... that tape will go to the donate pile.

The weight is still creeping downwards ever so slowly. I got spoiled from my great losses in March (which was probably mostly my thyroid getting in line). Slow and steady, Melissa, slow and steady. Oh, and I forgot to do measurements yesterday! So, there they are below. Again, slow and steady!

Stats for 5/2/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6   Now: 218.6 (exactly 37 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 120 hours
Total miles walked/biked/ran in 2011: 369.5/1000


Beginning chest: 47"  Now: 45" (change since last month: up .5"? LOL)
Beginning Waist: 43" Now: 37" (change since last month: down 1.5")
Beginning Hips: 50" Now: 46" (change since last month: down 1.5")
Beginning Upper Arm: 17.75" Now: 16" (change since last month: down .25")
Beginning Thigh: 30"  Now: 27" (change since last month: down .25")

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On a gardening mission

I woke up at 7:30 am, putzed around a bit until 10 am and then the work started. First, I went to the Garden Center to get containers for the tomato plants and also tomato cages. I also wanted to get herbs and also got a couple long planters for the herbs. While there I picked up more hostas, a couple bleeding hearts, a thornless rose bush, and a cute little flower with silvery grasslike leaves (can never remember the name of it), and then the herbs - basil, lemon basil, two types of cilantro, oregano and Italian parsley. I'm so excited to get all these things in the ground!

First though, I needed to weed, weed and weed some more. I've weeded the front of the house and the side of the house last fall, but of course, the weeds are back. I have never weeded the area around the back of our house near the AC, so it was a real mess. I did that for about 3 hours? Maybe 2.5 hours. It was easy enough, just a lot to do as each of those areas are quite big and bare (no mulch).

I came in, had lunch (an apple with peanut butter), and then went back out. Now, I watered all the plants I had picked up and then started carrying them to the area I'm planning on planting them. Some I knew exactly where they would go... others I had no clue, so I moved them around a bit until I felt fairly satisfied.

In the meantime, I was also making a loaf of bread. In the morning before going out I started the sponge. After lunch I kneaded it all up and let it rise. Partway through the arranging everything through, I punched it down, shaped it and let it rise for it's final rise. That last rise is only 35-45 minutes, so during that time I was blowing bubbles with my little guy. I popped it in the oven and started dinner. I first marinated the chicken (we have a really cool and great Marivac machine), I cleaned up the asparagus, heated up the grill, started the potatoes and the cooked everything. The dinner was done the exact same time I pulled the bread out of the oven.

I ate really fast, getting up from dinner before the others were finished and started mowing. It was already 6:15 pm, so I needed to hurry to get it done before the grass started getting damp. I cam in at 8 pm, totally exhausted. I had been working in some way all day since 10 am. WIth an hour break for eating and blowing bubbles.

After relaxing a bit, I took a hot bath and came back to life. The bath was successful at washing a tick off my body (it takes them more than 24 hours to adhere usually), so it had a double bonus. Then, I climbed into bed with my iPad and was asleep shortly after 11 pm.

I tallied up how many calories I burned yesterday, and it's somewhere around 2500 calories (and that's a conservative estimate). I consumed about 1150 calories yesterday. Gardening is a great way to exercise! AND I have another full day of it today! I need to buy potting soil and mulch as well as some annuals. And then, planting, planting, planting and then mulching, mulching, mulching. My neighbor is going to let me use her wheel barrow, so I'll have to make some goodie too - either bread or some sweet thing. But that I can make tomorrow.

I'm on a mission to pretty up my yard - FINALLY! Like in our last house  - first the inside, and then the outside.

Oh, and the scale is still cooperating, though slower than I would like! Which means I lost 7 and a half pounds in April - which is right on target! Woohoo!

Stats for 5/1/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 218.8 (just shy of 37 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours/minutes in 2011: 118 hours
Total walking/biking/running miles in 2011: 367/1000