Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 32 - The Dress

Something that I haven't mentioned yet that is key to the wedding is... The Dress.

Now, The Dress has been a fairly big concern of mine for the past, say, 9 months. A week after Tyler proposed, I was already looking at dresses, as my best friend was in town and I wanted to share that experience with her.

It was a nightmare; a complete disaster. I think I had this glorified idea of what shopping for The Dress would be like. I had dreams of lace and tulle, satin and champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and my body magically transforming into a size 2.

It wasn't really like that... the first place I went was putting me in dresses that were literally plus sizes. I may be chubby, but I am NOT a plus size. Once the dress was on (and falling off), they would take these massive metal clothes pins and literally tie me into it.

The dresses had yards and yards of material ruched around the middle, and it was not a pretty site. I grew more and more discouraged after each one, until finally I gave up, defeated and feeling pretty bad about myself.

That night, I asked Tyler if he wanted to elope. I was hoping that eloping might help me to avoid the whole dress issue.

He didn't.

So the search continued, although I waited another several months before even venturing into another shop. I received some great advice from my wise geisha friend Jennie, who told me that I should look for dresses that were similar to those that I had in my closet - styles that I know already looked good on me. That helped me to narrow my field of choices down a little further, and finally, while in California, I went shopping for a 4th time, but this time with my mom. And I found The Dress. Actually finding The Dress was a great feeling - it almost made the whole process worthwhile.

However... when I found The Dress, I was at the peak of my chubbiness, being on the tail end of a long vacation filled with eating, eating, and not exercising. I was about 10 pounds heavier than I am now, and I knew that I would lose some of the weight before the wedding.

So I was concerned when I was advised to order a dress that was 4 sizes larger than the one that I was trying on, which was only a little teeny bit too small. The kind ladies at The Dress shop informed me that The Dress that I was wearing was very stretched out, and that I should definitely go 4 sizes larger.

I went 3 sizes larger, and had a feeling I would regret it. I also knew that The Dress would be way too long, and so I inquired about having it made shorter - which was an added charge of $50. I was advised to not do that until I knew what shoes I was wearing, which of course I didn't know or have with me.

So I obliged and ordered The Dress as it was, figuring that I would get it altered later if I needed to.

The Dress arrived a few weeks ago, and I tried it on once for about 5 minutes, during which I became very hot and sweaty, and had a severe amount of back fat hanging out. Yet it was also sort of too big in other spots. 'How can this be', I thought. 'It's too big yet too small at the same time!'

I put The Dress away and decided to take it to some professionals to get their opinion.

So yesterday I took The Dress to a bridal shop, which I knew would cost more than a general alterations shop, but I also thought that they might do a better job. (Plus, I really like those big mirrors and the platforms that you get to stand on and twirl around.) And the seamstress was a miracle worker! She fixed the back fat problem (it was only a matter of how we were putting it on, and I can't say more for giving away details of The Dress!), and gave me (gulp) quotes for hemming and the other minor alterations that I needed. It was a lot, (a LOT. About a third of the price of the dress.) but I felt confident in her and decided to go for it. I also knew that I didn't have a whole lot more time to play around with, with the wedding being in 3 weeks. I left my dress and a deposit in her capable hands, with an appointment in another two weeks to 'visit' The Dress and see how it fits.

I guess The Dress is sort of like a puppy that you're adopting. You can go and visit it and even play with it (ie, try it on and twirl around), but you can't take it home until it's had all it's shots (ie stiches).

I've learned much through this process, and I feel that now I have some wisdom to share to any future brides out there. Buy your shoes first, don't buy your dress out of town, and don't buy your dress after you've been stuffing your face for 2 weeks. Ask in advance how much alterations will cost, and factor that into your budget. Or, better yet, try on dresses to find a style that you like, then search for a used on online! Tada, you just knocked off at least half the price of The Dress.

They do say that wisdom comes in retrospect..... I just never knew it would have such a hefty price tag.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Days 29 -31 - sugar, sugar

Right now Tyler and I are putting together our list of songs for our wedding, one of them being 'Sugar Sugar' (cake cutting song - even though we're having cupcakes. How do you cut a cupcake, you ask? We will show you. Prepare to be amazed.)

The song "Sugar, Sugar" reminds me of all the sugar that I ate this weekend. It started off on Thanksgiving, with the candied yams (yum, yum!) and carrot cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting that I topped off my meal with. It continued with brownies and ice cream at the flower girl/princess party that I had for my 7 (yes, 7) flower girls on Black Friday. Then there came the pumpkin crunch that I made last night for a dinner Tyler and I went to.

On a bright note, I did work out yesterday, and not just by lifting my fork from the plate to my mouth. I had a lovely visit with my friend Lauralyn while walking briskly around the lake. Plus, I wore my 2 lb wrist weights! Go, me!

You'd think that being this close to the wedding (22 days!), my motivation would be stronger than ever. But I notice that my commitment to fitness and working out everyday has really been taking a backseat to the many other tasks at hand, between work, the holidays, and wedding prep. Once again, the theme of balance arises - and I think I have the solution! Let's add 5 more hours to each day.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Days 26-28 - oh, sheet

First things first. I've been a slacker in writing my blog. I'm so sorry, please bear with me! It's been a slam packed few days and I haven't had a minute to catch my breath. So let me take one now.


You know what I have done, though? I've thoroughly enjoyed my new sheets, given to me at my bridal shower.

They're made from a material called 'modal', that I fell in love with a few years back when I accidentally stumbled upon a shirt made of this dream fabric while in line at Banana Republic at 3am on Black Friday in Carlsbad, CA. I was making my way through the mile-long line (who wouldn't stand in line for an hour to get 40% off outlet store prices?!? Remember how I like clothes?), when I saw this shirt tossed to the side. I touched it and snatched it up after feeling it's luxurious fabric. I still have this shirt, and wear it all the time.

So last year, when I was in California again for my best friend's wedding, I was shopping for her wedding gift at Bed Bath & Beyond and saw these sheets. The thread count is low, and they're fairly pricey, but once I felt them, I knew I had to have them. They were the very first thing I put on my registry page, and was SO excited when I received them from a very generous group of women at my bridal shower earlier this month.

I washed them this past weekend and put them on my bed - and I thought I was in heaven. Actually, I blame not working out all weekend on the sheets. Remember in my last post how I was talking about reading for a few hours and relaxing? Yeah, that was in my bed, snuggled with my new sheets.

And I'm not exaggerating when I say that the sheets have helped me to sleep more soundly. I truly think that they've made a difference, and I've needed that difference with the crazy week I've had!

Speaking of that, I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to have readers and friends like each of you, encouraging me on in my quest for fitness. I won't be posting tomorrow, but I'll give you a full report on Friday on how well or badly I did with eating! Gobble, gobble!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 25 - the mysterious pound

Somehow, without working out this weekend at all, and failing to count calories, I managed to lose a pound.

I'm not really sure how that happened, as I sort of did the opposite of what I've been doing. Granted, I was pretty busy, and I ate fairly well (except for the two reeses cups and glass of wine that I consumed today, among other more healthy items), but I spent a good two hours on Saturday reading and relaxing with Tyler, and another hour or so just lounging around today. I went to a classical music concert (which was awesome), helped to facilitate a food drive with some great kids, and started to print off wedding table numbers. I spray painted leaves and looked over the long list of guests that still have not rsvp-ed. (If this is you, please do so!)

I did not go to the gym, walk around the lake, dance dance dance, do a single sit-up, or even a bit of yoga.

So how did I lose a pound? Does anyone know? If so, please tell me! Inquiring minds want to know. I could make millions! I can see the title of the book now: "Do nothing, and shed pounds! The lazy man's diet and exercise plan".

Yes. It's an instant New York Times Bestseller. So please, people - shed some light!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 24 - the delicate balance

It has been 24 days since I've started this blog.

Which means in exactly 30 days, it will be our wedding day!

And I still have only shed 3 lbs. Granted, I've been a busy busy bee, running around at work getting ready for Thanksgiving, packing weekends in with wedding planning activities, going here, going there, going which way everywhere! My life is a Dr. Seuss book. And you are turning the pages. Are there any illustrators out there?

But I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I may not lose the 25 lbs that I had once dreamed I would in a mere 54 days. However, I am happy that I've kept the weight that I've lost off, and even though my scale does not reflect a change, I do see slight changes in my physique. Slight. Very slight. But I'm having to wear a belt with my jeans now, which must be a good sign.

Sometimes I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day for everything that I need to do. My little apartment is a wreck, but it's not more important then spending time with people that I care about (like Tyler! and my flower girls! And my girlfriends!), and it can't come before my many looming deadlines at work. The gym is important, but so is eating dinner. I think the trick is finding balance and variety, so that my life isn't just a dvd on fast forward or a perpetual routine of lather, rinse, repeat.

All of our lives are busy. How do you find balance?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Days 22 and 23 - dreams are made of salted caramel

Where do the days go? Apparently I am two days behind on my blogging, I'm so sorry! I was busy drinking delicious salted caramel coffee.

I'm not kidding. I love the stuff. It's what dreams are made of.

You know what I'm talking about, right? If you haven't had Starbucks salted caramel hot cocoa, please stop reading, get up, get in your car (or better yet, walk!) to the closest Starbucks and order yourself a tall salted caramel hot cocoa. With whipped cream. And maybe nonfat milk to compensate.

I say order yourself a tall, because just a tall has 230 calories and 7 grams of fat. Don't believe me? See here for yourself. But it's worth it, and no, I'm not being paid by Starbucks to say any of this.

I discovered salted caramel hot cocoa last year while I was on Kauai with Tyler and his family. I stopped in a Starbucks and ordered one up, and life as I know it has not been the same since. There's something about that creamy cocoa that pairs perfectly with warm, creamy caramel and thick grains of salt just resting on top of a pile of whipped cream. It makes all my days happy.

Though it is truly a dieter's nightmare. So I've tried different things to get my little salted caramel fix, without killing a fourth of my daily calorie intake in one drink.

I've realized that it's not so much the cocoa that I love, but what's on top of the cocoa - so let's go ahead and take the unnecessary cocoa out of the equation. I do enjoy coffee, so let's add that in. Light cool whip can be substituted for whipped cream, and we can use that low fat caramel apple dip that they sell in the produce section for the caramel sauce. And the salt? Shoot, I have that at home!

The end result? Not too bad! Also not quite the same. But all in all, a good substitute for when I'm trying to save on cash as well as on calories.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 21 - early turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite times of year, and it's not only because I love turkey. It brings back memories of sitting around the dining room table with my family, eating fancy fruit salad appetizers, sharing stories of thanks, and of course, biting into that big roasted bird. Mmmm.

Tyler and I were at Safeway doing a bit of grocery shopping a week or so ago, and we noticed that the holiday displays were up and that many of our favorite items were on sale.

Including turkeys.

In fact, we were able to purchase a 14 lb turkey for $3.49.

No joke. That is not a typo.

So we bought a turkey for under $4, despite it being a full 3 weeks before Thanksgiving AND neither of us knowing how to cook one. 'We'll figure it out,' we said together... after all, how hard can it be?

We were going to a potluck dinner this past Saturday, so we decided to give the roasting a try that day. Tyler bravely stepped up to the oven and took the lead on creating the masterpiece that is the turkey, as I had important wedding shopping plans for the better part of the day with Sharon. Before I left, we dug out the neck (gross) and searched high and low (literally) for the giblet bag. We were convinced that they had 'forgotten' to include it, and almost put the turkey in the oven with it still in. Finally, we found it (sort of like finding the prize in the cereal box as a little kid!), and into the oven the turkey went.

By the time I arrived home from my expedition, I had a delicious carved turkey waiting for me! We brought it to our potluck and it was met with raving reviews. I enjoyed that same turkey for days after, and last night my dinner of leftovers looked like this!

And roast turkey is pretty low in calories.... too bad those crescent rolls aren't!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Days 19 and 20 - the confessional

I have a confession to make.

I haven't 'officially' worked out in 5 days.

Oh, I've moved around and been active - I've played with little kids, been a human clean machine at home, folded at least 12 tons of laundry, hauled things up and down the stairs, and did several hours of active wedding-supply shopping with my friend and bridesmaid Sharon.

But have I gone to the gym? Nope. Have I gone for a walk around the lake? Not in 5 days, I haven't! If I was an alcoholic, you would say that I've relapsed - only instead of hitting the bottle, I've hit the couch.

However, I've still done fairly well with eating, although I did take the weekend off from counting calories. I'm back on that wagon today, though, and as I write this, I'm headed to the gym to work out! Wish me luck, people, I'm gonna need it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 18 - sickness narrowly escaped

Remember a few days ago when I told you about a cold that I was getting?

I didn't get it! I defied the laws, I conquered the sickness! It's amazing! It's a miracle!

This isn't the first time I've narrowly avoided the hallows of a cold or a sickness. What's my secret, you ask? How did I do it?

I'll tell you! I noticed that I was starting to get sick while I was at work on Wednesday, so I immediately took a generous amount of vitamin C gummies (yummy! They taste like candy!), and stopped at the health food store on my way home for some preventative care natural medicine. I've used something called Umcka before, which was a little tube of yummy homeopathic medicine berry powder that you're supposed to take to shorten a cold or prevent one. I loved this powder - it not only tastes delicious (might have something to do with the sugar in it), but I found that it worked quite well. So I looked for this product again, but could only find it in the liquid form, which I'll admit I was very hesitant about. When I was a little girl, I hated, hated, hated liquid medicine. Except this one bubble gum pink kind - I can't remember what it was for, but I liked the color and it tasted like a lollipop. I liked it so much that I would try to sneak into the kitchen and take a taste even when I didn't need it.

So back to my point. After some heeing and hawing, I decided to go with the liquid medication (but not the sugar free kind, I wanted the good stuff!), went home immediately, drank some (mmmm! good! cherry! tasty! fruity!), and stayed in bed for the next hour. I was sure to get lots of sleep that night and by the next morning, I was feeling great. I continued to take the candy-syrup and I think that I'm out of the woods.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 17 - a letter to bread

Dear bread,

I have missed you so much. Warm toast in the morning with melted butter and a touch of cinnamon-sugar, whole grain English muffins with homemade jam, soft toasty bagels with layer upon later of cream cheese, steaming garlic basil bread with spaghetti and meatballs, freshly baked sourdough, and my beloved croissant sandwich- I long for each of you. My stomach rumbles at the thought of your crunchy exterior and warm center. I've been trying to pretend that everything is ok with you, and that you aren't the problem. But you are. It isn't working out, and this has been a long time coming. You are just too high in calories for me, and empty calories at that.

I hate to say it, but I think our relationship has come to an end.

Don't worry, we can still be friends. I'll wave at you from storefronts, and on special occasions, I might even have a bite or two - but it will never be the way it was, with us spending so much time together and enjoying every meal as a pair. It just can't.

And bread, it's not me - it's you. I just can't do it anymore.

I'll miss you.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 16 - my scale, the liar

Either my scale is a liar, or I have gained 2 lbs in a day.

I suppose it's possible that I've gained 2 lbs in one day, but I don't think it's very likely. Now, while I was on vacation this summer, I guarantee you that there were days that I gained 2 lbs, eating fried po' boy sandwiches and crabcake eggs benedict (with the hollandaise, thank you very much) and ice cream for dessert. But yesterday? I didn't even exceed my self-imposed 1285 calorie limit. No, I didn't exercise yesterday... but really? 2 lbs?

So this leads me to believe that my scale is a liar. It is toying with me, playing games to mess with my mind. Both days I weighed myself after a shower, with the same thing on, in the morning. So what's the deal?

This makes me sad, because I think it means that I haven't really lost 3 and 1/2 lbs after all. Have you ever had your scale lie to you? Should I get a new one?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 15 - the cold is coming

Some people say that Hawaii doesn't really have seasons. I briefly lived in Melbourne, Australia, which was known for having '4 seasons in one day', and many say that Hawaii is the polar opposite - it's warm and sunny all the time.

Au contraire, I say. Hawaii certainly has seasons, they're just not quite as well defined as, say, Michigan. But there's a definite change from July to November - the weather gets about 10 degrees cooler (particularly at night, which is a welcome change) and it starts raining much more frequently - usually every day - and sometimes all day.

And this is usually the time of year that I get a cold! I started to feel the sniffles come on today and groaned, wondering how I could nip it in the bud before it 'blossoms' into a full blown sickness.

So right now, I'm not working out (rest day, I say!), and am taking a little rest in bed typing on my laptop, drinking lots of water and eating vitamin c gummies like they're candy. Yummy! Fruity! Gummy! Mmmm!

On a bright note, I have now lost a total of 3 and a half pounds and I actually do see a slight difference in my face. It makes me feel happy! Shall we celebrate with a burger?

Just kidding... here's to losing weight and hopefully getting rid of the sniffles soon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Days 13 +14 - taming the closet monster

I am a clotheshorse. I mean, I really, really like clothes. I'm not a designer clothing kinda girl, more of a Ross/Nordstrom Rack/Factory outlet kind of shopper. I love getting deals and I also love comfort. And I'm a sucker for soft materials.

So I have a lot of clothes. I always have, it's funny. I'm not really sure how i end up with some many clothes, because I do a major closet cleaning each time I move, and I've moved several times in the past few years. It's like they multiply.

This isn't a bad thing - but I happen to live in a very small apartment and will soon be married... which means, I will need to start sharing a closet and dresser. What's the problem, you ask? Well, my closet and dresser are both overflowing. With clothes. I have tank tops galore, an endless supply of t-shirts splattered with paint or an event's slogan, a drawer full of shorts, and enough dresses to outfit a small village of women. Yet I tend to wear the same items over and over again. Can anyone relate?

Now, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that not all of these clothes fit me, ah, perfectly. But I've been holding onto them anyway, holding onto the thought that I would, one day, fit into them again. After all, some of them are very nice (and comfortable when they fit!), and now that I am (i) losing weight, I'm glad that I've saved some of these lovely items, for I feel that they will soon fit me once again.

However, there is just way too much in my closet. Something's gotta go.

So last weekend, I decided to take the bull by the horns and I started to clean out my closet and dresser. This was a 2 day process, and I'm still actually not done. I was ruthless. I only allowed myself a small box of "skinnier me" clothing that I could hold onto, and there is an expiration date on that box. If I don't fit into them in 6 months, they're outta here.

I wonder if as I lose weight, I'll get rid of my 'fat' clothes. Is this a bad idea? On one hand, I don't want to have them around anymore - especially if they don't fit! And I don't want an excuse to start eating whatever I want. If I start to gain weight, I would like to not have any clothes that fit so that it forces me to stop shoveling food into my mouth. On the other hand, isn't it smart to have a few varieties of sizes from which to choose from? What if I have a baby or something someday and need some maternity clothes? Some of my normal jeans right now are on their way to becoming those super-comfy-jeans-that-are-just-a-little-too-big-but-perfect-for-lounging in a few weeks - do I really want to get rid of those?

And you may have noticed that I am combining two days worth of blogs into one. It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I feel that the days are getting shorter and shorter, busier and busier. I'm still managing to make time to work out and track my calories each day, and I'm committed to continuing this. Are you still with me?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 12 - a day's worth of calories in bubble gum

Did you know that one piece of bubble yum or similar 'big' type bubble gum has 25 calories in it? And you don't even get to really eat it, you just chew all the sugar out.

Yesterday was my bridal shower (technically my second one, I'm a lucky girl!), and the lovely ladies that threw it for me did a fantastic job. There was delicious and healthy food, lots of ladies there including some of my all-time favorite little girls, generous gifts, kind words, and some very creative games.

Let me tell you about one of them.

This game was called "What would Tyler say?"

The premise, as you may have guessed, was for me to guess what Tyler said when he was 'interviewed' by one of the shower hosts earlier this week. It's a popular shower game, but this one had a slight spin.

Julie, the hostess of the game, asked some of the younger girls to sit in front of me. She passed out questions that she had asked Tyler (complete with answers) to various ladies in the crowd to ask me one at a time. Then she handed the little girls several packs of that big, sugary, kid-kind bubble yum. You know, the kind you used to eat and then swallow when you were younger because it's SO GOOD. Then your mom would yell at you and tell you it would stay in your stomach for 8 years.

So for every question that I was asked and then got wrong, the girls would feed me a piece of bubble gum.

And I couldn't spit it out.

Uh oh.

'I do know Tyler well', I thought to myself....'but just how well?' For my future fate rested in this answer.

The game began, and I was off to a great start. The first two questions were answered confidently and easily. 'No problem', I thought to myself.

Then came the question asking what Tyler's favorite ice cream was.


In goes the first piece of gum, and the crowd shrieks with delight.

And then I get another question wrong.

And another.

Pretty soon, I can't even talk because I have 150 calories worth of massive bubble gum in my mouth. That's right. 6 pieces. I literally started to drool.

I finally get another question right, and then one more - although my answers were barely intelligible due to the gum jammed inside both of my cheeks. Whew!

Needless to say, that was my dessert.

Luckily, I do love bubble gum, and yesterday more than made up for my mom not allowing me to chew it often as a child. I think I have had my fill of bubble yum, and then some!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 11 - Surprise, you've lost weight!

I've been working pretty hard at this losing weight and getting in shape thing.

Have you ever noticed that it is so easy to gain weight, and so difficult to lose it?

What took me about 2 weeks to gain on vacation this summer has taken me about 3 months to lose. 3 months, people! For 2 weeks of fun! It's sort of like shopping on credit when you don't have the money to pay it off right away. 'Oh, it's such a great deal, and it's on sale! I'll just put it on my card'. 6 months later, you're still paying for that 'great deal', and after a 16% interest rate, it wasn't that great of a deal, after all.

I need to remember this when Tyler and I are on my honeymoon next month (wow, next month!). I must think, 'I will not stuff my face every day full of waffles and butter and mashed potatoes!' Because I'm sure it will be mighty tempting. And don't get me wrong - I'm all for enjoying dinners, etc- but I am now determined after working so hard to be smart about it.

I stepped on the scale yesterday, and it shows that I have lost another pound and a half! Wow! I feel like seeing that is a much better reward than my tissue paper wrapped exercise clothes that I used to use as gifts to bribe myself to keep working out a year or so ago. This is Actual Weight Loss! And it feels great.

I must say, eating the small meals that both my mom and my future mom-in-law have recommended has really, really helped. It's made a huge difference in my habits and I since I've been tracking my calories, it's easy to see what days I am hungrier and how that correlates to what I ate for breakfast, carbohydrates, etc.

And now I must confess that I did not work out yesterday. I intended to completely - but other plans were in store for me.

Tyler lives in about 2 miles away from me, and so we carpool into work from time to time, which is a nice opportunity to catch up and spend time together. Yesterday morning we were planning to carpool, and he walked into my (soon to be our) home in the early am to pick me up and found me sitting on the futon, and I guess I clearly looked completely overwhelmed, sad, and exhausted. We chatted for a bit, and then drove into work together with out workout clothes in tow, planning to meet up after work to go to a weight lifting/cardio blend class.

Just before our workdays closed, Tyler told me that he had a surprise for me, which I assumed was lettuce (which they grow and sell at school - I'm always asking him to buy some and bring it home for dinner because freshly grown lettuce is SO-O-O tasty!).

I was wrong!

He picked me up and wouldn't tell me where we were going, but did tell me that only I was going there, which at first confused me and then excited me, as I knew it had to be something girly and fun. He took me to a spa and left me there to get a (pre-arranged and paid for by him) massage, and said that he knew I needed a little time to relax and be pampered.

How great is he?!?

The massage was awesome, one of the best I've had, and all thoughts of exercising immediately floated out of my mind the second we walked in and he told me what we were doing. I felt a billion times better afterwards.

So I essentially took two days off from exercising this week. (I'm counting the kid-dancing-and-yoga-day as exercise). Back at it today! Close the computer, Kate, and get to the gym!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 10 - to dance as a child

I really enjoy being around kids. This is probably at least partly due to the fact that I am slightly immature, and I can relate to them and their goofiness. Seriously, I really appreciate the honesty of a child. Once a child asked me why I had so many red spots on my face (pimples), and another time a kid asked me why I was 'big'. You don't get that kind of smack-you-in-your-face, unfiltered honesty anywhere else - and you can rest assured that when kids say things like that, they almost always are not saying it to make you feel bad or to point out a flaw to be cruel - they're just genuinely curious. And when kids say things like 'You're pretty', or 'I want to be just like you when I grow up', you know that they also say those nice words with sincerity.

So because I enjoy being around kids so much, I sometimes moonlight as a babysitter. In my single days, I would babysit often - sometimes 4 or 5 nights a week - for extra money and just for fun. Nowadays though, with planning a wedding and all of the activities going on surrounding that, I babysit much less, and only for one family, which suits me quite well.

The other night I was babysitting for my two sweet girls that I watch - a 6 year old and a 3 year old. They're adorable girls and love to play dress up, cooking show (I'm the 'host'! It's like Food Network in your kitchen making macaroni and cheese!), 'travel adventure', nail salon (with real nail polish!), board games, school (they're the teachers, I'm the student!), etc. Thursday night, however, I introduced a new game to the mix - 'dance party'.

The girls are planning to attend my wedding with their parents and are very excited about it. They frequently ask me questions about what I'll be wearing, what they should wear, if they'll be dancing, and if they should bring their tiaras. So while we were cleaning up from dinner, I put on some Beatles music and we danced all around the kitchen for a good half hour. The girls loved it - they were climbing all over me and each other, we were swinging each other around, and we even formed a little 'loco-motion' style dancing train around the house. It felt like a wedding.

Right about now, you might be wondering what this has to do with anything, and if I'm going to try to pass off having a dance party with a 6 and 3 year old as a workout for the day. And you are half right. I was sweaty, man! I felt my heart pounding! However, I did manage (this is a true miracle) to arise earlier than usual on Thursday morning and I started my day with 15 minutes of yoga.

That counts, right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 9 - Beef - it's what's for dinner

Eating out in restaurants is like looking into mysterious black hole. You don't really know what's in there, unless you happen to be patronizing a restaurant that publishes their nutrition statistics online or on the menu (This is actually required of most restaurants in NYC, which makes me want to move there! But not really.) and have planned out ahead what meal you'll eat, and how much. Most restaurants on Oahu do not have stats for their menu options readily available, and so this makes for some interesting internal debate when one who is watching their figure chooses to dine outside of their home.

Let's talk about last night. Tyler and I had an appointment with our wedding dj after work, and I had a meeting later that evening, which left us with not quite enough time (or energy on my part) to go to my house and eat a homemade dinner, but just enough time to patronize a lovely little local restaurant that we're fond of and had a gift certificate for. We arrived just in time for the last 10 minutes of happy hour (yesss!) and so I promptly ordered wine and we chose one of their happy hour tapas options to share (gnocchi with pumpkin and mushrooms, which sounded not too bad for you, but when it came out it was swimming, I mean drowning, in oil. Yikes.) Then began the debate in my mind about what to order for dinner.

'Do I order a salad?' I thought, 'but, you know, sometimes restaurant salads are really calorie laden when they appear to be healthy! And there's not a lot of protein in these options...'

'Or do I go for the crabcakes? I'm from Maryland, so I lovvveee crabcakes, although few people make them well. And sometimes to compensate for not being able to make them well, restaurants shovel in the butter and fry them in olive oil, kind of like they did with the gnocchi here....'

Then I remembered that old ad from the 90's - the one with the voice over saying "Beef - it's what's for dinner", and I starting thinking...

'What about the kobe burger with a salad? I could forgo the mayo, which is disgusting anyway, (who eats mayo? EW. Except when it's in deviled eggs, then it's YUMMY! I'm not a hypocrite at ALL.) and only eat half...'

So beef was what was for dinner for me last night. Was it a good decision? I don't know! It's a mystery! My calorie counter told me that it wasn't actually that bad for me (450 calories, a lot for one meal, but not so bad at a restaurant), and I even lied to it and said I ate a whole burger just in case the stats were off. I can't say I was sure of my decision, but it sure did taste good!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 8 - time to rest

Whew! I have just completed 8 straight days of workouts, and I am tired. Yesterday I paid another visit to my local gym, where I proceeded to blast music and sweat it out on the moon-walker machine (sort of like an elliptical trainer and a stair-master in one, not sure what it's actually called but it feels like moon-walking! Because I know what walking on the moon feels like), and then worked out my arms for a full 15 minutes with weight machines. My back was hurting yesterday from kickboxing - it's a good hurt though - so I tried to focus on my shoulders and arms.

And today I woke up very, very sore. So I declare today to be rest day. But rest does not mean 'eat-whatever-you-want' day, and I will continue to follow my meal plan and track my calories. It's been going really well so far, and I definitely feel my body adjusting (although sometimes it is begrudgingly) to my new, active, and healthy way of life. I like eating many small meals each day, which should be no surprise since I love to eat. I've also noticed that I've had more energy this past week, and over the past few days, I've definitely felt a little happier. I've read before that exercising releases endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters (oohh, big word!) in your brain that fights pain and decreases stress naturally. Yes, I had to look that up. But there is something to it!

I'm off to work and my long-g-g day of work and appointments-that-don't-include-the-gym. What about you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 7 - the chubby kickboxing ninja

I am a member at a local gym, where they have a variety of group exercise classes available to all members at no additional charge. I've only taken advantage of a few of these classes - the weight lifting class that I talked about last week (remember, the one I have a love/hate relationship with...), a yoga class (that I hate actually going to but once it's over I love it because I feel so fabulous!), and a rare pilates class. I've heard about these great kickboxing classes, but every time I try to go to one (I've only tried once or twice), they've been so completely packed I turned right around and ran out the door.

Yesterday I decided to try again.

I arrived at the gym a full 45 minutes before the class started, thinking that surely that would be enough time to reserve my spot. It was - but let me tell you, the class was jam packed 15 whole minutes before the class began - so I was very glad that I thought ahead and arrived early.

The class hadn't even begun, but already I could feel the positive energy and excitement oozing out of each individual there. People were stretching out, laughing, talking loudly, fast music was already blasting. The teacher of the class was straight out of the movie 'Flashdance' (and all time favorite of mine, if you haven't seen it you should close this blog right now and watch it! I liked her even more because she played a song from Flashdance as part of our workout and referenced it! ), and my expectations were high.

The anticipation is building and my palms are already starting to sweat. The class starts, though half the class isn't paying a lick of attention (I felt like I was back in high school) and is talking away, though the teacher doesn't seem to mind this one bit (not like high school). In fact, she embraces it, jokes around, talks louder, jams up the music, and away we go! Jab, jab, block, kick, turn, side, pivot, jab, repeat.... I'm already lost and it's only the warm up!

See, I guess how turbo kickboxing works, at least at my gym, is that they don't actually teach you the moves - not like in an exercise video where at first there's a little 70's tune and a tutorial about how to jab, block, etc. I think it's more of a 'sink or swim' mentality in this class, and I was quickly sinking. I decided to watch the girl in front of me, and to just try to keep moving for the duration of the class so at least I'd get in a good cardio workout.

The class moved out of 'warm up' mode and morphed into a triple time competition style workout complete with wolf whistles and cat calls, screaming and slapping hands onto the floor. Everyone was having a great time, myself included! So what if I can't keep up? So what if I'm totally faking it? So what if everyone else in the class looks like a ninja armed for battle ready to take on the enemy and I am the, ahem, curvy blonde girl in the middle sweating up a storm? I am the chubby ninja! I will be proud!

And then something amazing happened.

I'm in sync with the class! Doing the ninja moves! Clapping, jumping, jabbing, repeat! It feels amazing! I'm on cloud nine! I'm part of something bigger! I'm..... now out of sync again, as they've moved on to a new move.

It may have only been for 30 seconds, but those 30 seconds will bring me back to that class again. And again. The people in the class were all so encouraging (one nice girl gave me a high five halfway through, I think maybe she could tell I was new... I wonder how!), and I've never before been in an environment where the energy was so positive and uplifting. I see how people can get addicted.

I'm off to do today's workout, more tomorrow! Have you ever done kickboxing? Was your experience similar to mine?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 6 - the downfall of my food pyramid

Yesterday started off great.

I went grocery shopping, wrote my blog, made a plan, and was eating healthy. I had several small meals throughout the day, and was tracking everything.

And I was starving.

I think I must have an abnormally hearty appetite, because Tyler ate pretty much exactly what I did, and every time I asked him if he was hungry (which was about every 5 minutes), he said he was fine.

I, on the other hand, was ravenous. My stomach was talking up a storm, and it was not saying nice things.

I kept trying to eat healthy snacks, like low fat string cheese and low fat chicken soup. I had an apple with some light-caramel dip. I had half a banana. I was still hungry.

I drowned my pain with drinking many glasses of water, put some frozen chicken breasts and salsa in the slow-cooker for dinner, and went for a walk with Tyler on the beach (my 'workout').

One the way home, I started to crash. I convinced Tyler to stop at the store for some peanut butter cups to satisfy my Halloween cravings, and immediately ate one.

I instantly felt better. Ah, sweet relief. Literally.

Then we (read 'I') came up with the bright idea to forgo the chicken salsa that had been simmering for dinner and get subway sandwiches instead to eat while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters at Tyler's house. 'Subway's healthy', I thought... and it was! I said 'no' to the cheese (but 'yes' to the bacon, oops) and chose a whole grain bread as the base of my sandwich.

We arrived at Tyler's house to find a little driveway party going on with some friends that were also planning to pass out candy to costume-wearing kids. They were enjoying some divine looking cheese pizza with thick, delicious crust, and seemed saddened at our subway bags, as they had generously planned for us and bought extra pizza so that we, too, could delight in the cheesy goodness. I started to feel guilty and tempted. The pizza was calling me. It smelled so good, and everyone looked so happy eating it. 'Maybe just one...', I thought....

So I indulged and had a small piece. And half my sub. And then another small piece of pizza. It was so good. So, so, so very yummy. I also had another peanut butter cup. 'Enough', I finally thought. 'That's it'. I knew that the moment I arrived home, I would enter everything I had eaten into my calorie-tracker.

And this, and only this, is what helped prevent me from continuing to stuff my face.

I finally made my way to my apartment after several hours of rewarding costumed-kids with candy (the ones without costumes got candy, too, but it was the candy no one else wanted like 'Hot Tamales', which I like but everyone else thought was lame-o), emptied my now-overcooked salsa chicken and rice into several containers for lunch this week, and proceeded to enter in everything I had eaten into 'big brother'.

I grimaced and avoided looking at the final calorie total. Curiosity finally won out and I nervously opened one eye to see what the damage was.

Actually, it wasn't all that bad - about 1800 calories were consumed throughout the day, with my original goal being about 1250. If you take into account an hour of walking on the beach, that's not too shabby. So the downfall of my food pyramid wasn't all that dramatic, after all.

And today is a new day, people. I have a rough sketch of what I'm going to be eating this week, and I've scheduled in my workouts with reminders.

I'm going to do it.

I have to - there's only 49 days to go!