Wednesday, November 19, 2008


No we just fell of the face of the earth for a bit. We are still eating good, but have been very busy as you can see in our other blogs.

I have lost 14 lbs in the last 17 weeks. I know this for a fact because:

It isn't fair. I worked my tail off and didn't loose a pound. Now I eat and sit and have now lost 14. Well we will just keep doing what we are doing and hope that it continues.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is It Okay If I Just Cry Real Soft?

So, I was getting ready to do my push ups on Wednesday evening all resolved to do the lower intensity level as I start week 2 of the push up challenge. And wouldn't you know it? The plan specifically DOES NOT LET YOU! I was so flabbergasted! It says specifically to "not cut corners" which I felt left me no choice.

So I started week 2 of torture. And you know what? Mentally, it's like I made it over the hurdle. Forcing myself to keep going and using the mental discipline to stick to the plan suddenly made it easier. No, the exercise itself didn't get any easier, but it became easier to force my body to keep going, having the mental stamina to keep going on.

I think it had to do with a class that Stacie and I are taking right now to learn about home finances. In the class recently there has been a lot of talk about the idea of personal integrity as a financial skill - integrity to stick to your budget, integrity to talk to your spouse of money and be truthful with you feelings, integrity to keep savings goals, integrity to not splurge.

So, I ask you faithful readers - appears to be only two at this point ;) - do you feel you have the personal integrity to keep your fitness promises to yourself?

Or are you just a liar?

Harsh. Yep. Every time you wimp out, you are a liar. Did that wake you up? Are you angry now? Good. Hold on to that for just a second.

That is the thought that went through my head when I found myself trying to decide if I kept moving forward on the push up plan. You see, I made a promise to myself about getting fit. I made it to Stacie. I made it to the world when I posted it on this blog. I committed myself to reaching certain goals in a certain amount of time using certain plans. And there I was, re-reading the rules and realizing that if I backed down, I was nothing more than a liar. I didn't even have enough integrity to keep a promise to myself.

Now, that's not to say we should try to keep goals that are impossible or that potentially could hurt us. But see, each of the plans I was following - one for running and one for push ups - have ways of adjusting the plan to meet my needs. The running plan says to "jog" - it doesn't specify how fast a jog should be, but leaves it up to me to scale to my abilities. The push up plan says do a certain number of push ups per set, but it lets me vary how much rest time comes between the sets. These variances allow me to adapt these plans to make them possible/achievable for me at this time. However, at the same time they force me to be honest about the weaknesses that I have.

And that is the mental hurdle I cleared, the obstacle that was in my path. So what if I can't do the push ups perfectly or don't run the 5K I'm planning in under 22 minutes? The goal was to run the 5K and finish and do 100 consecutive push ups. So long as I do my best to accomplish those, I have won. I have kept my honor. I have learned to workout with integrity.

So, again, without beating up on yourselves, I ask you - do you have the personal integrity to keep those fitness promises? And if not, what do you need to do to change that?

I realize now that I have not had the personal integrity I need to keep getting fit, especially not in the food department as Stacie will mightily testify to my midnight snacking weakness. Where then does that leave me?

Remember that email about Alma the Younger and repenting and not getting converted all in one go? Take some time to repent and fix things, then move on. Because that's all I or you can do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Poll! I'm On A Roll

And so should you be. On a roll. With me. Together both of us will be on a roll. Which is better than a biscuit (unless you're British and a biscuit is a cookie).

And another new feature which some of you may have seen already, we've added a "Followers" gadget, cause I'm curious to see who all is watching this blog. So, if you're a regular reader, hit up the "Follow this blog" link in the side column.

Loving Running - HATING Push ups!

Okay, I finally know now why push ups are punishment in the armed forces. These things are horrible! I jest, but only a little. And what makes it worse is that it's not even the parts of my body that I thought would be getting the workout - instead, it's my abs. I guess I should have expected it. Push ups are a measure of fitness and I know I'm not fit. Push ups are also a core exercise and boy has my core been getting it. Honestly, I don't know why I'm surprised.

So, for this next weeks worth, I'm going to be bumping down a level from the high intensity column of the work out, to the medium because I know my form is not perfect and to give myself just a bit more motivation. Again, I shouldn't be surprised because I think if were to go back and do the initial test again, I would be a lot more deliberate about how deep I go on them. I'm really hoping that dropping the intensity a bit will help motivate me to keep going. I want a workout but not to be so beat up that I feel horrible and want to give up.

On the other hand, the exercise that I thought I would hate I have really enjoyed, and it all has to do with those dang shoes! Three nights of running and one volleyball night and I am absolutely, totally and complete hooked on these Vibram FiveFingers. They are so comfortable and they make running something I look forward to doing. It was so enjoyable that I started pushing myself harder last night. Instead of jogging I started running and on the last one, sprinted to really stretch myself. It felt SO GOOD! I'm still slapping a little hard and I'm going to start researching and applying some good "barefoot" technique because I'm not sure my brain is getting it.

WARNING!: If you try these Vibrams out, be prepared to start hating all your other shoes. This is the only drawback I have found to these. Yesterday, I wore my very comfy [till NOW! :>(] Saloman trail-style cross trainers pretty much all day and I noticed as we were getting geared up to head to the church that my toes and arches hurt. Not a lot, but a definite ache. And the longer the evening went, the worse it got. It was particularly noticable when I was sitting, not moving my feet. Everything suddenly felt tight and I could feel my toes encroaching on each other.

At first, I wondered if it was just a tightness from not having run since Friday and there may have been some of that. But as soon as I pulled the shoes off, the aching went away. I think my feet are not happy being cooped up in shoes. Popped on the Vibrams for my Tuesday night run and voila - totally and completely happy feet.

And it's not just the Salomans. My other favorite pair of shoes are a pair Sperry Topsiders loafers. My feet have been bugging me all morning and now I sit at my desk during lunch with my shoes off because it just hurts enough to be a major distraction. I told Stacie last night that if I could I would wear the Vibram's for everything I would, even church on Sundays!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Therapy or Torture?

Today I finally started getting the looks and the questions. Of course today was also the first day I really took the FiveFingers into public. Yes, I know, running around the neighborhood is public, but it's not like grocery store public or ward activity public (both of which I did today). And I was amazed at how self-conscious I was in the store, till I realized that nobody just looks at your feet. I'm sure there were a few double-takes but nobody really said anything.

The ward activity was a different matter. We were having YMCA night (no, not that kind of YMCA night).
Just sports night down at the local YMCA. I got involved with the volleyball game and kept getting comments about being a distraction on the court. However, afterwards, there was some more serious conversation as two of the ladies are avid tri-athletes and I was able to tell them about my experiences with them. Some of the conversation got me thinking though - I had been wearing these things all day and I'll admit that after an hour and a half's pounding on a hardwood floor did leave my feet a little sore. Surprisingly not as sore as they use to get when I worked retail in my Florshiem wing-tips, but still sore from all the running and standing. I started wondering if I really wanted to keeping putting my feet through that kind of work out all the time. And this time, because they had been on for so long, I could feel my pinky toes on both feet getting pulled out away from my foot, getting a little bit stretched. Not uncomfortable, just different. A quick jont to Wal-Mart after and we were home.

I pulled off my FiveFingers and noticed something strangely normal about my right foot. Yes, read that again - strangely normal. See, I have this one weird toe on that foot - I guess it'd be like the ring toe, the next to last one. It's always had this curl in it - it curls under and my pinky toe slides over almost on top of it. Been that way for as long as I could remember. And because it knuckles under like that, it looks like it's shorter than my pinky toe, till I force it straight with a finger. Well, when I took of my shoe, I saw that, low and behold, it was straighter. Not perfect, but it didn't look weird. I guess the toe box for that toe helped to force it straight and having my pinky toe pulled out of the helped it stay that way. So, sorry if I gross anyone out, but this is what I saw.

First, how my foot normally looks. I actually had to force my toe back into this position.

How it looks now.

So, in the end, I'm going to go with therapy. I really think this shoes help.

Running Day 2 and Push Ups Day 3 - Still Good?

Yep, still good. I actually figured out that I swapped some things the first day of the running (it was supposed to be jog for 60sec walk for 90sec then repeat and I did it backwards) so switching it back for the second day worked great. I figured out that I still have some work to do on my posture - still not up on my toes as much as I need to be.

Did day 3 of the push ups this morning. More ouch, mostly in the abs as those are what are giving out rather than my arms or chest. So a rest day tomorrow will be very nice for my poor abs which are dying. But, moving forward. We'll see how long I can keep this up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Title: OneHundredPushUps - Day 1; Subtitle: OUCH!

Well, I will not be so confident in my push up abilities any longer. Stacie will certainly confirm that I got pretty beat up last night trying to do the first night's work out for the OneHundredPushUps challenge. And I am definitely feeling it today. Over all a good first work out - humbling maybe, but good.

Now, I admit that I am one of those people for whom reaching individual goals is much easier than maintaining something I already do. If I set a goal to do 100 hundred push ups, then I'll do it. But after I've reached that goal, if I don't have something set up and ready to go for the next round I'll just revert back to my old, wicked, flabby ways. I'm just really horrible at maintaining. Remember how I said I thought I could continue using diet to keep loosing weight? Fat chance of that (no pun intended). For some reason, the pain of last night's efforts really focused my mind an helped me admit that I'm just human sometimes.

So, new goal - I will weight at or less than 200lbs by the time this six month period is over. There. Hah. Now I've gone and done it. I've committed myself.

Oh boy...what have I done.? This is probably going to hurt. More.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Starting to Run and Feeling Fine!

So, right on schedule, my new shoes arrived (more on that in a moment) and I was able to start my new running program from Cool Running. So far, no soreness, just a little stiffness in my back, but that probably comes as much from the cooler weather as with anything else. I'll have to stretch that out a little bit more today before moving on with my push ups. I think yesterday was more about getting started rather than really pushing. We had a class to go to in the evening and for some reason I thought it went later than it did. So I really rushed to get myself out the door because I didn't think I would have time later on (turned out I was wrong, but I guess that's okay).

The other bit was that it was raining outside. Just a light rain...with 40mph winds...and suddenly a lot colder than the day before. Well, I guess maybe a picture says it better:

Yes, those are the remnants of hurricane Gustav, about an hour and a half before I started my run. I was at the red spot. So, you can imagine how it might have changed after that time (i.e. it just got closer). So, yesterday's jog-then-walk-then-repeat exercise that constitutes the first day's work out of the program was much more about discipline, about getting it in despite what's going on outside or inside. Because all-in-all, I feel really pretty good. No shin splints, aching legs, or ragged throat from panting to death. However, there's one other thing that may have contributed to at least some of that - my new shoes.

The way I introduced these to my mother yesterday (she was watching Sam for us while we were at the class) was by saying, "I don't know how you feel about toes, but these may freak you out a little." I'll give you the same introduction in case you haven't seen these before.

These are Vibram's FiveFinger shoes,made originally for watersports gurus. But there's a whole contingent of runners who've been spouting off for years about the benefits of learning to run barefoot and these shoes finally gave them the best of both worlds - the same ergonomics as running barefoot (better posture, springier step, stronger ankles, etc), but a hard sole to protect from glass, sharp sticks, doggie doo, and the like. And as I was at a point where I was going to start running again, there were two things I was hoping to avoid - bad shin splints and expensive shoes. The shin splints could have been taken care of with some really cushy shoes, because I didn't used to get them when I had my very nice, new running shoes. But I just wasn't willing to spend $130 on a pair that I'd wear out by spring of next year.

So, after a lot of reading up, I went ahead and got the FiveFinger KSO's (or Keep Stuff Out - look at the other versions and you'll see why they're called that). No padding, no cusion, no arch support, no orthotics - on other hand - no laces, no sweaty heat, no socks, no weight. Just a sole and something to help keep it straped to your foot. Figured I could help break in my feet and my body at the same time since these first few runs are very low intensity. Everything I had read about these shoes written by runners was that they force you to run with better posture which helps prevent shin splints. And that you feel like a kid running around barefoot. Wait...what? Yeah, like a kid, right. Sure pal.

It's SO TRUE! Here I am, running around in the rain and wind, stepping in puddles and mud, grass literally getting stuck between my toes, and I didn't even care! Brand new shoes! When's the last time you wore a brand new pair of shoes and didn't care about getting 'em all mucked up the first day out? Probably when you were a kid. I mean, I had cleats I had to kinda scuff up before I really took them to practice so I didn't feel so bad about getting 'em dirty. And let's not even talk about the break-in period just to get the darns things to stop blistering your feet to death. Again. Just like the last pair.

These shoes, on the other hand, required no break-in, at all. The don't fit perfectly, but the fit is so close around the foot and they are so flexible that your feet don't shift in them at all. And that first run totally took me back to the summer rain storms from my kidhood with my sisters and cousins - playing in the ditch, squelching in the mud, and generally getting so drenched that my whole body was pruny afterwards. I've always loved those memories and now here I am, a responsible adult for all intents and purposes, and I'm actually having fun running. I hate running! I mean, if I'm only running for running's sake, I hate it. I only like it when I'm in a race. It was both weird and cool.

Oh, and there's no way I paid $80 for mine either. Found 'em on sale with free shipping for $63. And there's no breakdown that could really happen except the sole pulling free. So unlike running shoes where the padding wears out and you've got perfectly good soles and upper but no way to use them as running shoes anymore, these just keep on going.

Day 1 down. Day 2 on Friday. Yeehaw! I wonder if it'll be raining again. *GRINS*

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well in the last week I have had 4 different ladies approach me about walking. I guess that is a sign I better get off my keaster. So I will probably walk at least 4 days a week switching off partners...Heck maybe I will start a neighborhood walking group. But I am taking that as a sign I need to add a set workout regimen and be accountable to meet others so I do it. So starting tomorrow or maybe later tonight I am going to start a walking routine.

Hope you have been being way better than I have. I am pretty much starting back at point one. However, I am still going to do a turbo jam in there every once and I while. I love them just feel I need to get Sam outdoors while it is cooling down and before it gets to stinking cold.

One Hundred Pushup - Initial Test


I started the challenge for the OneHundredPushups program. The first step is doing the initial test which helps to determine which intensity level of the program you need to use to get your body ready for the challenge. Basically, you do as many good-form pushups as you can then from there you move into the actual weekly program.

I was able to do 15, though I'm really only counting 13 as good form - I started to arch my back too much at the end. That puts me at the high end of a Rank 2 or the low end of a Rank 3, but that doesn't matter much for the actual program as either way I'll be using column three. So now a day of rest and then I start the first week, going from Thursday to Thursday.

Anyone else crazy enough to take this challenge? Post in the comments if so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Talk about a Break!

Well, it was summer and I guess I got so busy doing work that I forgot to have some fun to. (Wait, does that seem backwards to anyone else? Oh well...)

So, I'm getting back into the swing of things with two new challenges for myself. Anyone is welcome to come along. Back in February, my goal was about loosing weight and I reached my goal, though barely. My goal was to lose enough weight to fit back into some pants we had bought for me to go to work in. I fit into them, but snuggly. So I still have little bit more to lose. However, I also told Stacie that the first 6 months for me were only about loosing weight, to learn how to control what I ate.

I freely admit that in the last 4 weeks, I've been horrible. Yet, even with that horrible eating, I only gained back 5 pounds and I put the kabosh on that this week. So, I've changed enough of my lifestyle the things are working and apparently made it enough of a habit that binging still only results in a few pounds upswing.

Now, the next six months are about getting fit and I've chosen two standard measures of fitness that many of you will recognize from your gym years in middle school:
  1. Running - I want to run in races again. Not to win, just to run. That's the only part I like about running - races with other people. And the Tulsa area was always a good place for races. The training regime has been provided courtesy of Cool Running's Couch-to-5K Running plan (Found here - My goal is to complete a 5K race in the next 6-8 weeks and I'll be starting as soon as my new shoes arrive which should hopefully be tomorrow. That means I have two potential runs I could try for - the annual Tulsa Run on Oct. 25 and the Run for Life~Walk For Adoption on Nov. 9. I am really shooting for the Tulsa Run just because it's the Tulsa Run which is awesome!
  2. Pushups - Yep, that old nasty pushup is back and I've chosen a doozy of a challenge: 100 consecutive pushups! The challenge and training routine come from OneHundredPushups ( who claim they can have you doing 100 pushups in 6 weeks. I'll be starting that today to make sure I don't overlap on running days.
Now, I know that looks a little overboard, but I'm really giving myself 6 months not 6 weeks to get these both done. Yeah, I'd really like to run the Tulsa Run, but if it doesn't work out, I'll be ready for next year's 15K instead. And for the 100 pushups, once I reach that goal I'll be moving on to other stuff. But who am I to complain if I do get them done that soon? If so I'll have to post some new goals. I like that both of these will be working different areas of the body and give me a good foundation from which to build other goals. In all honesty, I will be doing rows and back exercises to help balance the workout I will be getting from the pushups so I don't get too lopsided so that may pull a bit of stamina away while trying to do the pushups.

So, thosre are my new goals. Come along for the madness if you dare.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Life Back In Order

Man how long it takes to get things back to running smoothly again after getting back. But I have recommitted and am now back on track. I started yesterday and got my workout in. Yeah....Today Sam and I are going to go swimming with the Young Women and if I don't get much of a workout then...I am going to come home and make Grant do one of his twice a week goals.

How is everyone else doing?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Goals

So....I didn't quite make it to the finish but I was really close I missed 3 days of the workout goal...

Now I am back it is time to start another goal. I hope that this challenge will get others committed too...Please let me know. I seem to do better when I am competing with someone. I have decided I am going to work out 30 min 6 times a week for 12 weeks. Who is going to join me? Ann? Andrea? Grant? Tricia? Mom A? Mom G? Dad A? Leroy? Linds? Tam? All of you? Thanks for committing!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I don't think so....I have 15 minutes left in my workout this morning and a knock at the door comes so I look out the window....It is Grandma Gardner (Great to Sammie) and so I said come on in and make your self at home but I have to finish my workout I am almost done. Ha ha.....probably a state she never wanted to see me in....I hope that didn't scare her off and that she will come back anytime.

She sat with Sammie and played on the computer while I finished. Thanks Gram!!! We love you

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back on Track

All caught up. I didn't get it done yesterday so I got up early this morning and got one in before Sam got up and now have just finished my other one. Wow 85 min in 4 hours is way more than I am used too....My legs are shakin and feelin great!!! Let hope they don't give out in the shower. ha ha

Monday, June 23, 2008


Even though the scale shows little from shoulders to knees I have lost 11 inches since we started. YEAH MUSCLES!!


Well we went Motorcycle shopping on Sat and so I didn't get a chance to fit a workout in. So today I am doing double duty. Here we go. I have one 40 min down and am going to try and do another 40, but if not I will do 20 and another 20 sometime this week. But I am going to shoot to get it all taken care of today.

Hope you girls are still on track too. I am sure feeling better although the change on the scale is still slow moving.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I am so excited....first I haven't missed a day even with all the pain my tooth has been given me and now the weight is slowly and I mean really slowly but .2 loss a day is something. Also, I got my tooth fixed so no more pain and so hopefully no more emotional eating. I have always turned to food in every emotion and am trying to learn to control it or find better foods to eat in the time of need.

I was so excited when I came home from the early morning dentist appointment today and there was no pain...Hallelujah to God for inventing the root canal!!!! Has saved me many times. Now I can enjoy Phantom and there won't be any pain on the plane in a couple of weeks.

Oh my new favorite snack is PB and an apple or celery. Love the PB and out here in OK they have a white chocolate and chocolate PB so delicious!!! Sometimes I just eat that as a snack it helps the sweet craving.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still on Track

I am not going to be the one to miss a workout. Even though my legs shake from the beginning of the workout. I feel great...even though the tooth pain is worse after working out. Hopefully that will be fixed soon. It is so worth it and I feel better. I am not down much in weight but someone asked how much I had lost on Sunday after only one strong week of workout. I guess toning and inches show faster than weight for me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Feeling it

Man I feel it everywhere but mostly in my Gut and Thighs. Yahoo!!!! I guess that is what happens when you work out good. But it is good to feel results. I haven't felt this good in a long time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One more down

This is a big thanks to Sammie for being so cooperative so I can get my workouts in. Also, a big thanks to A2 (supposed to be A squared for my two competitors) who motivated me in my competition and asked me to commit to working out!! A be thank you to Grant for getting me this workout that I love doing! So THANKS!!!! to all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My Great Grandfather used to say Women don't sweat they perspire...However, sorry Grandpa but I am sweating like a Pig. I have never worked out and enjoyed it so much and at the end I am dripping with sweat. Even when I was running I don't think I sweat this much.

Today was weights and I was just as dripping as I was yesterday when I did cardio. I don't know if it has something to do with the humidity here or what. But I like it cause it makes it feel even more like I am toning and making adjustments to my body and muscles.

So Two days down and motivated more than ever!

Monday, June 9, 2008

You're On!!

Well I have two who are participating in the competition! We are exercising 6 days a week 40+ minutes a day. Each of us own Turbo Jam so we are doing that, unless an alteration needs to take place. MWF I will be doing cardio and TTHS I will do Weights. This has definitely motivated me. I also spent last week really watching what I ate and have now got a good handle on that and am continuing to move forward with that this week. I will add a ticker for each week so I can keep track. I will also track weight and eating. More to come. You can still join in as we just started today. ANYONE?????

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What in the world

So I decided I was going to do this (post below) Mon. Since then the news, Ellen, Oprah, Rachel Ray, are the ones I have seen clips on about loosing weight. If I hadn't already decided this I think I might have been depressed by it, but I was only motivated!!! But could there be any more hints or sings for me that I am supposed to kick it into gear?

So hear I go! Join me on the journey? I would love you too

Goal and Competition

I have decided that when I meet my family in NM in July that I will have lost 10+ lbs by that time. I have been struggling lately with exercise b/c I have had a cold and major teeth pain. However, even though those are still around no more excuses. I have committed to exercising 4-5 times a week. Chalene and I are going to become the best of friends!

So I would like to make this a competition so that I have someone I am competing against. So I am looking for volunteers!!! More than one????? Set your goal and in 6 weeks we will all report. I need to know who my competition is so email me or leave a comment. This will help me control the cravings too.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well, I (Stacie) have now exercised 5 out of 7 days this week with my TURBO JAM!!!! I love it more each time I do it. On Wed. I did it twice because it was raining here and so our service project was canceled and we decided it wouldn't hurt our mutual girls to get some exercise so we did it for Young Womens and had a blast.

On Sat we had an early morning and then went out walking around at Mayfest, so I didn't get in a big workout. However, I did sweat because you can't walk outside in OK when it is above 70 with 35 % humidity (which is low) without sweating. But I have noticed a huge difference when I get a good Turbo Jam workout in. Sometimes I will be doing it and not even realize how much I am sweating because I am having a great time doing it. The music is pumping and I am jumping well kind of but each day I increase my workout to be more intense so soon I will be jumping.

I just want to say THANK YOU TURBO JAM!!! I schedule my day around my workout time and even though the scale may not be showing much I feel better every day and so I know it is doing something.

Get off the couch and move, it makes all the difference in the world.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quaker Rice Cakes [SnackAttack]

I know - this is not so much a snack attack as it is a snack "slide along side and politely ask". Rice cakes are the old stand by of just about every diet that exists. These things are mostly air, but after the weekend we had, I can barely afford the calorie content of air.

So, in an effort to do due diligence to the full range of snacks we give you:

Quaker Rice Cakes - Carmel flavor
Serving Size:
1 cake

This is one of the snacks I remember from my youth. For some reason, we always had these in the house - probably because my mother always was trying to keep us a little healthier - and these made a sweet snack. I find I've been using these in the same way as gum. Sweet treat with a couple of glasses of water and you feel full while taking care of the snack craving as these are not very filling on their own.

The one real advantage of these is the small calorie count - they're crunchy and sweet and cost practically nothing on the calorie count, which for me will be a real lifesaver this week. I guess when you combine mother's day, a birthday, and a sleepover with lots of left-over goodies, it can really impact the waistline.

Toodle-loo, happy Monday and happy healthy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back again

I was going to say back in black, but as I start going down on the scale I really am not in black as it is exciting. When I went back to Utah I wasn't very disciplined and I quickly learned how fast you can be right back at the beginning. So now I have realized how much it has to be a lifestyle change.

We came up with a great recipe we want to share with everyone. A little background, growing up I hated Spaghetti and come to find out it was because it always made me sick because at 23 I learned that I was allergic to onions and garlic.....wonder why I was getting sick. Well I met Grant and one of his favorite foods was his moms spaghetti. I said I would try it and since she makes her sauce from scratch he left out the onion and garlic and tada I wasn't sick. So now I crave this delicious Spaghetti, but even more Grant and I love the garlic bread we eat with it (minus the garlic for me {French Bread and Butter}). So we decided on this diet we would eat less noodles so we can eat more bread and we had some asparagus in the fridge and so for our meal we had sauce bread a few noodles and asparagus. Well my asparagus got in the sauce and I loved it, so the next time we made it I just made it into a casserole and it was fabulous. So here is the recipe:

Spaghetti Sauce
(most of this is just an estimate as we really don't measure, just do it to what tastes good to you)
1 12 oz can Hunts Tomato Sauce
1/2 can water (to get any extra sauce left in the can)
2 Tbps Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Mushrooms (fresh are best but can work too and as much or little as you want or heck even leave them out if you want)
1/4 C Brown Sugar (more if you like it sweeter, less if you don't want it as sweet)
Cook for 15 to 20 min (the longer it cooks the better tasting it is)

Then in a separate pan I cook the asparagus and last night we used elbow macaroni. I liked this better made it more of a casserole. I cut the asparagus about as long as the elbow macaroni. Once the macaroni and asparagus are done I put them in a pan and put the sauce on top. Last night I had to make more sauce to cover the noodles and asparagus. Then we top with Mozzarella grated cheese and let melt in the oven for around 20 min on 375. Add a side of Garlic Bread and you have a very good, quick meal.

Here is a picture:

This is of course with Spaghetti noodles. And a little too much cheese.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its [SnackAttack]

Here we go with this week's SnackAttack - sorry it's a little late but we got busy cleaning the house and I forgot to do it.

Cheez-Its Crackers - Cheddar Jack flavor
Serving Size: 35 g
Calories: 180

Cheez-Its have become a really fun snack for us of late. Another great go-to when you've got a salty craving going on. My personal favorite flavor is the new Cheddar Jack - regular flavor doesn't quick have enough kick to it, though we do eat it. This one makes a nice balance to the sweet that I've been getting with my Malt-o-Meal cereal that I mentioned last week.

The only weakness in this snack is the calorie count. They aren't tremendously filling - 35 grams doesn't seem like a whole lot compared to something like the Cheerios mix. And for that small amount of crackers, you sure get a lot of calories. But, if you've got the remainder of the calories to spend, these are a fun snack to eat.

Happy Tuesday and Happy Healthy

PS - The Menu Shout-out for this week will also be delayed a day so tune in again tomorrow for the weekly shout-out.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Serving Size Sweetness

Another simple trick to help you make sure you're only eating a serving size at a time is to measure out, up front, the entire box/package/sack/container into smaller, serving-sized ones. We found that it's much easier to count calories if you keep thing directly related to the serving size listed on the packaging.

Most of our snacks run about 120-140 calories per serving - round those up to an even 150 and the math gets pretty easy (and you build in that little fudge factor that helps make up for stumbles during the day).

When we buy a new box of Cheezits or trail mix, we pull out the digital food scale, a handful of ziplocks and go to work measuring the listed serving size in grams, then plopping that into the ziplock baggie. The nice thing is that since most all of our snacks are dry, it's easy to shake out and reuse the baggies for the next snack mix we buy.

I would guess that a standard sized box of Cheezits takes about 8 minutes to measure out the entire box into the baggies. Then, we load the baggies back into the box (as best we can) and have a simple way to reference what the calories are and a way to store them. A little more work up front, but makes it so much easier to grab-and-go when you need to snack on the run.

Whew! Two tips for the price of one today...course, I'm not charging you so who's counting?

Happy healthy and good night!

Food Budgeting

No, no - not that kind of budgeting. I may be starting to get my finances organized, but I don't expect that everyone likes that kind of torture. Instead, what I'm taking about is how to budget your calories. In addition to the planning of meals and trying to balance calories in and calories out, there's a simple thing that I have found helps me maintain my diet. I decided to call it food budgeting, but food planning works just as well.

Each morning, I or Stacie put together my food for the day while I'm at work. Grab a breakfast, lunch, and snacks, throw them in a plastic grocery bag, quick kiss, and out the door. This means I've already set aside my calories for the work day - I can't eat anything more than what's been packed, unless I go buy something from the cafeteria or the vending machine. Now, as I've made it a habit to carry very little cash (and that's only an emergency reserve) I'm not tempted to eat from either of these sources. So, while I'm at work, I would have to go out of my way to overeat.

The result? I never do.

It works so well for me that we're thinking we might do it for Stacie as well.

So, if you want to food budget, set aside everything that will be eaten during the day and when you find yourself getting peckish, reach for a snack from that bag and not the pantry. Do this and you'll find it a lot easier to know how much you've eaten during the day. Just one other way you might try to attack the cravings that come during the day.

Cheerio, happy healthy and happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Introducing the weekly Menu Shout-out [Menu Shout-out]

Well, it seems I get these ideas for stuff I want to do on the blog all on Monday. I guess it's the stress of coming back to work combined with the rest I got over the weekend. I decided though that Monday was getting a little full with the new weekly SnackAttack and the poll question. So, I decided that I would do this new idea on Tuesdays to help spread things out over the week.

It's called the Menu Shout-out. Stacie has been wanting to start putting up recipe ideas for a while now about things we're eating and I thought this would be a good way to help kick-start that idea. Each week, we'll be asking one of our regular readers to submit a recipe idea along with preparation steps and calorie count to help give some ideas when you're not sure what to make. Or maybe to add a little bit of new variety in the diet to make sure you're eating healthy. Best of all, this give you more ideas than just ours because maybe we eat what you don't like or you want to eat a certain way. No problem! We don't mind, so long as the calories are right and balance is healthy.

So, on to the first Menu Shout-out. This one comes courtesy of my very own sister who lives up in Wisconsin with her future-surgeon husband and two boys.

Heck yeah!
ok here it is.

Chicken and Wild Rice Dinner

frozen chicken (seasoned with olive oil, thyme, sage)
Lundberg's wild rice
frozen sweet white corn
olive oil
chicken bullion cube

Time to Prepare:
50 minutes (but that's just because the rice has to cook forever. The work involved is very minimal, you just need to cook it a little ahead of time)

Calories per Serving:
1 Chicken breast
1/2 c. rice
4 asparagus spears
1/2 c. corn


Preparation Steps:

Cook the rice first because it will take the longest. However much you want according to the package. Throw a bullion cube in with it while it cooks.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 frozen chicken breasts
1/2 c. water

In pan, cook for 4-5 minutes on one side then add thyme, sage, salt and pepper(I just give a few good dashes on each). Add water if needed. These can sit until the rice is done, it makes them more moist.
Cut the ends off the asparagus and get a pot of water boiling. Use a large pot so you don't have to cut them in half, then they are easier to count and prettier too.

Measure out how much corn you want and cook for 1 min 30 sec in the microwave.

This is one of my favorite meals because it is so easy and so low calorie! A nice blend of protein/fat/carbs. It's a good one to make if you have a baby in one arm.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Man, I'm getting good...

0 comments this weekly poll thing! ;)

New poll for the week. Feel like your all alone struggling with that craving you have during the day? No longer do you need to feel that you're on your own. People, let us know when you've got the munchies during the day and send a shout-out and word of encouragement by way of the comments.

Expect a few more posts this week as now that I've got Stacie back from Utah, we'll be working hard on moving forward. Should have some good posts to detail our efforts.

Malt-o-Meal Hot Cereal [SnackAttack]

And now for a brief message from our sponsors...

Just kidding, but I really should be getting paid by these groups for plugging their products. I might have to go mention all the free advertising they're getting here. ;)

For this week's SnackAttack we look to a product that's considered a meal, but then you look at how many calories it has per serving and realize you might have found the most filling snack imaginable.

Malt-o-Meal Hot Cereal - Chocolate flavor
Serving Size: 35 g (unprepared)
Calories: 130-160 (depending on how much sugar you add)

** I should definitely add a caveat - even though this is chocolate flavor, you do have to add a bit of sugar to get the sweetness just right. I usually add about 1.5 teaspoons to mine which adds an additional 25 calories to this dish. Worse, if you absolutely have to add milk to this cereal, the calories push it much more into the meal range.**

With that little warning out of the way, let me just say that I LOVE this stuff. I've eaten this every day for the last week as a snack during the day at work. I can definitely tell you that it gets me dirty looks after cooking it because it just smells good. And by far the best part is that once you've cooked it, it fills an entire bowl! It's huge!

It's warm, filling, tastes good, fills one more "grains" requirement from the food pyramid, and can be customized in just about any way imaginable. My latest is to turn it more into a meal by adding a half serving of peanut butter; gives a a nice shot of protein and fun flavor. Want an evening dessert that won't wipe out your good workout? Drop a few chocolate chips in and it makes a killer before-bed sweet, though look for a definite calorie pinch if you do.

If you can learn to eat it plain (which is really not that hard to do) it is definitely more of a snack. A great way to feel like you're eating something naughty and not having the guilt that goes with it. They have a maple brown sugar version too. I wonder if it's as good? Stay tuned and I may review it as well.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Moving Forward

I've become a real fan of the montra "Two steps forward, one step back" because it seems to be a real factor in the way I live my life. The last two weeks have been very up and down in terms of weight loss, but I finally moved past my next milestone - breaking into the 230's. That means, to date, I've officially lost 15 lbs!

Stacie has really gotten into the TurboJam trend and hasn't missed a day in her workout schedule. She's still in Utah right now, so no updates on how much she's lost, but she has definitely gotten the new habit of exercising wrapped up. I'm really looking forward to she and Sammie returning home this weekend so that she can help motivate me to do my exercising.

Supporting Each Other

Just wanted to take a minute to introduce our new sister site...literally! My sister, Andrea, has started her own weight loss blog to detail her efforts and get support and it gave me an idea.

Any of you out there that are starting a new fitness routine or starting to loose weight, if you want to blog about it, send me an email or post a comment and I add you to a new set of links here where you can go and check out other people's progress, get/give support, and find new ideas for getting in shape.

I'm hoping that with time, this will grow to become a great network for getting support as we work on our goals for gaining control of our bodies.

Andrea's Weight Loss Blog

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Poll and a Question

Added a new poll today - this one lets you select multiple answers, so let us know what meals you plan ahead of time.

Now, for my question to you all: After last week's polls about living healthy promoting happiness, I wonder - why is so difficult to maintain a healthy life style when we know it makes us happy?

This is one that I think has many possible answers, so I want to hear from you all.

Post your answers in the comments.

Sam's Choice Trail Mix [SnackAttack]


Hey all!

Here's this weeks SnackAttack:

Sam's Choice Trail Mix - Indulgent Variety
Calories: 170
Serving Size: 35 g

I almost consider this more of a dessert than a snack at times because of how much chocolate is in it - it's got semi-sweets and white chocolate chips as well peanut butter chips. It just tastes too sweet some times. It has almonds, cashews, golden raisins, and dried cranberries as well. Very tasty, but if you find yourself gravitating a lot towards "sweet" snacks, you should probably pass this one by for a while till you got good control over those sweet cravings. You could easily eat way more than a single serving if you're not careful.

Overall, a tasty snack that doesn't skimp on the more expensive nuts. And those nuts give you a good shot of protein. Sweet and easily addicting, be very judicious measuring out a serving size - I'd err on the small side.

Bad Habits


Starting last Tuesday, Stacie and Sammie headed back to Utah to visit family. I followed on Thursday. While staying with them, I was intrigued and horrified to find out that as soon as I was back in a familiar environment (one where I used to overeat) I reverted back to old habits. Sugar, candy, high carb, high calories, and just generally not following my old eating style. Add to that the many "celebration" meals from various nation-wide chain restaurants and the whole thing was threating to get completely out of control.

Well last night I made it back home and the habits came with me. Those Girl Scout cookies in the freezer? Yep, nailed 'em! And I didn't really even want them, but I ate them out of habit. I was so disappointed with myself that I purposely packed a smaller lunch to compensate for all the damage I probably did over the weekend.

Now I've been thinking a little bit more and I think I've found another reason why it was so easy to get started on a good diet. The answer: everything was new. We owned a new house, I had a new job, we lived in a new state with a new child. No habits to break because everything was suddenly new. And so it became very easy to create our new eating habits.

I guess what all of this is leading up to is to give some more encouragement to everyone who is out there trying to live a healthier life. There are habits that have to be broken and new habits that have to be set. And that takes time, especially when the only thing that is changing is you. So, if you keep finding that your fitness and weight loss goals are tough to keep, don't quit. Just keep pressing forward and eventually you'll gain the self-control you need.

Remember that new skills are only found through practice.

Happy Monday - if such a thing exists ;) - and happy healthy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Introducing the SnackAttack


Hey all,

Just wanted to introduce a new category of blog posts here at Healthy Happiness. To help give you ideas about what to snack on, I'll be adding a weekly post detailing a snack we really like that's not going to break the calorie bank. If you find yourself craving a snack, you can pop in and see what we've been eating. Just click on the label SnackAttack for a list of all the posts.

Today's SnackAttack: Cheerios Snack Mix, original flavor.
Serving size: 35 grams
Calories: 130

Trust me, 35 grams of this is huge - way more filling than you'd imagine and more than that, it has great season taste. Regular and multi-grain Cheerios cereal, pretzel twists, bread sticks, and Chex cereal with a zesty seasoning that really hits the "salty" spot on my tongue. This is my current favorite snack. I will reach for this even over the indulgent trail mix with white chocolate chips, but that's a subject for another SnackAttack.

Snacks? ATTACK!

Planning to Sin


From my previous post about listening to Conference, you have probably realized that I'm starting to really equate eating poorly with breaking commandments, so please, don't get offended if that's not how you view eating a chocolate and strawberry sundae with toffee chips, walnuts, whip cream, and a cherry on top. ;) It just I have this writer's craze to have dramatic titles. So, read on - I promise it's not THAT kind of sinning you're planning for.

(First, right up front, some review - your body has a certain amount of calories it needs to maintain weight, called the basal metabolic rate {BMR}. Eat slightly below this amount and you loose weight; slightly above and you gain. Too much below turns on a starvation reflex which slows metabolism and stores everything as fat and is very unhealthy. So, you want to keep the amount you eat about 500 calories less than your body needs to just maintain weight - this results in safe, healthy weight loss and it's a lot slower than you think; only about 2-3 lbs per week, max. If you want more info read over at a Calorie Counter's nutritional articles. Now, on to the post.)

I've lost track of the number of times in the past that I sat down and very seriously and devoutly proclaimed that "I will loose weight and get in shape." And at the time, I was completely committed to that ideal. So what happened between then and now? Usually only about 2 weeks worth of really good exercise followed by gaining more weight. Why? What happened? Where suddenly was all the resolve I had just a few days before?

Usually, it was a case of life. That's it, just life. It got in the way; it got busy; it got interesting; it got tiring; it got (fill-in as you see fit). Life just got in the way, some way or another, and the next thing I knew, I was back to or further back than where I'd started. If you look back through the articles written thus far, you'll see a
number of them are confessions that we hadn't been doing well or had
slipped or had an emotional breakdown and ate everything in sight. Yet, we've continued to loose weight, or at the very least maintain weight - not gain weight. So what's changed? How come now, almost 6 weeks later I have the same resolve and (more importantly) am seeing the results that I want? In a sense we found a way to plan our sins.

The thing I have liked most about learning to count calories as a means of weight loss is that I can eat what ever I want, so long as I maintain balance. So, if I want to eat a load of chocolate, how do I balance that? By eating other very low calorie things. This is where a plan can really come in handy. Stacie and I have taken to planning out our meals for the week. Right now, it's only the evening meal, but eventually I think we'd like to have a plan for each day, all three meals and all three snacks. This helps us know what to shop for, but it also helps us know when we can take a few well-earned "breaks." So, here's an example week's menu:
  • Monday - Baked potato bar w/ broccoli
  • Tuesday - Baked chicken and mushroom w/ leftover baked potatoes
  • Wednesday - Salads
  • Thursday - Spaghetti, side salads with left over salad, and garlic bread
  • Friday - Tacos
  • Saturday - Steak and fries
  • Sunday - Crockpot roast
Now that's a tasty looking menu. Just reading through the list, is there any day that stands out? Any day that you could look at and say, "You know, I think I just might need to have that craving for Cadbury chocolate eggs on that day"? If you said Wednesday, you'd be right. Depending on what you had for lunch and breakfast, there's a good chance that Wednesday would already be rather calorically deficient because there just aren't a lot of calories in salads, even with dressing and cheese. And if you nix those items (or keep them small) you're eating like 100 calories for the whole meal. Since it's not safe to be more than 500 calories below for the day, you'll probably need to eat something else (and pretty substantial at that) to make up the calories so that you aren't starving yourself.

So, what should you eat? WHATEVER YOU WANT! Take a minute to figure out the calories of course, but go have fun! Ice cream, candy bars, chocolate cake, fudge brownies, caramel corn - anything you might happen to want.

This is how you plan for a weekend date night - make sure you eat a lot of rabbit food during the day so that you've got calories to spare by the time you get to dinner. This is how you deal with emotional-breakdown splurges, only you apply it after (cause I know you can't plan to have a bad day) - just do the healthy eating the day after to compensate for what you ate the day before. This is how you go to your cousin's wife's sister's daughter's birthday party and not look like a daft idiot. **"Grant, so nice you could come - please have some cake." "I'm sorry I can't I'm dieting." "Well, then please stop drooling all over my carpet."** Maybe a bit overboard, but I think you get the point.

This all depends on having a working knowledge of what you plan to eat and how much it'll cost you in calories. Thus all the more reason to get that digital food scale and start figuring out how many calories are in that piece of bread - believe me, it'll change the way you view food. For me, it just made me like it all the more because I have no guilt when I eat.

Take some time and start making a plan of what you are going to eat. If you really want to have fun, plan in the desserts too, so you can spend the whole day/week reminding yourself that you're "saving" for that giant banana split you've got planned on Saturday night.

Ciao, happy Monday and happy healthy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Latest Exciting Ring at our Doorbell


If it would have woken Sam I wouldn't have even cared because my package that I have been anxiously waiting on has shown up!!! This is our new best friend Chalene. I saw this on an infomercial and new I would do it as much as I used to do Cindy Crawford's video, if not more. So here we go on adding more exercise into the routine to help us shed the pounds. We started last night with the Learn & Burn. It pretty much kicked my butt and made me realize how out of shape I am and that I need to say " Get thee hence Satan" way more often!

Post Coming from Stacie Later Today


Not that I'm trying to put any pressure on my sweet wife, but she received a small something in the mail yesterday that she has been anticipating greatly. I won't steal her thunder by telling you what it was, but it will definitely help us both in our desire to become more physically fit.

Also, to those faithful readers who have been waiting for us to start posting with regularity again - thanks for using the polls so quickly! I love seeing how you all feel too. But don't stay strangers - post in the comments as well so I know who the faithful are. ;)

No, you don't get a "happy" wish yet - not till later.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Polls!

We've got two polls for you all this week. I'm hoping a quick rash of posts will me moving again with my accountability.

Take a quick moment to answer the polls and let others know your feelings too.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Post-Conference Musings

You know you've managed to make good on your lifestyle change if you find yourself thinking about it at the oddest times. As many of our readers will know, this past weekend was the April General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which we are members. And during the conference, listing to different leaders and speakers, I actually found a way to help motivate myself to be better about how I eat.

For some reason, I was really picking up on the many references to overcoming temptation and forgiving yourself of past, corrected mistakes and found myself thinking, "Yeah, I can totally relate to that - it's just like walking past the freezer knowing those Girl Scout cookies are in there and not eating them."

There were so many references to Christ's experience after fasting for 40 days and being tempted. Now, there never entered my mind the connection of "fasting" and weight loss. What did occur to me was when it was stated that Christ overcame these temptations not because he was the Son of God, but because he was being perfectly obedient. The really interesting part came when I realized that I could receive more blessings and a greater abundance of the Spirit by being obedient to my diet - because getting my body in better shape shows that I am treating it as a temple and the Lord will bless me for it.

So, there's another motivator to add to your list. Have trials? Feeling down? Need extra help? Be obedient to the Word of Wisdom and the Lord will bless you. Man, now I'll never be able too look at those Girl Scout cookies again. Just think - I'll be at Sam's Club next year with the Girl Scouts you think that Sam's Club would revoke my membership if I told a little girl "Get thee behind me Satan"?

Maybe it would be better if I told them that "man does not live by Girl Scout cookies alone".

Cheers, happy Thursday, and happy healthy!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Loosing Weight vs. Getting In Shape

I've found over the last few days as I've been talking with some people at work about my new fitness goals that there is a large misunderstanding in the world about how to loose weight. Every time the conversation would come up with someone new, one of the first things they would ask would be something related to exercise - what gym did I join? was I running? did I buy a workout video? When I tell them I'm not doing any of that, they just look as me like I'm some sort of weirdo. I can almost here their thoughts: What is he doing? Doesn't he know you can't loose weight unless you exercise?

Well folks, it's time to confess - I'm not exercising. At least not planned exercise - I'll go walk at work from one shop to another and I'll play with Sammie, but not a scheduled exercise plan. So, how have I lost weight? Go down to my first posts - it's all about balancing the amount of energy that comes in with the energy that comes out and the energy that is stored. That's it.

So, what are the benefits to loosing weight this way?
  • No exercise which means I don't have to fail at one more thing and beat myself up about it.
  • I don't have to add one more thing to my schedule.
  • I'm not sore.
  • Weight seems to magically disappear - every day I'm lighter.
  • No need to spend money on equipment
  • I learn better control over how to eat and deal with cravings.
  • It works every time.
What's the disadvantage?
  • One simple statement - I'm NOT in shape!
So, I'm still just as likely to have heart difficulties cause I'm not doing anything to strengthen my heart. If I'm not careful, the body will try to burn muscle instead of fat because it's easier to process and I'll become even less fit. If I stop eating right, the weight will start reappearing just as magically. I'm not fit, I'm just getting lighter in weight.

These two ideas are completely separate. If weight was a sign of fitness, then NFL linebackers wouldn't be able to play the game for more than a few minutes and people like super skinny models would run marathons. Get a clue - neither of those occur because weight is not an indication of fitness. It may indicate other things, but does not tell you anything about a person's fitness least not directly.

Being in shape is about being able to perform certain physical tasks - running a mile in under 12 minutes, doing a certain number of push-ups/pull-ups, being able to lift objects of a certain weight, etc. These are the marks of fitness. These are things that NFL players can do, even thought they weight 280 lbs or more.

Right now, my goals are strictly about loosing weight. Why? Because when I start to exercise again, I don't want to tear my joints apart. I want to get fit by running and lifting weights - high impact kinds of things that really can hurt your body if you're not careful. If I only weight 190 lbs when I start to run again, it will be much less stressful on my heart and my knees. That's the only reason why I'm doing things this way.

If you do the research, you'll find that weight loss goals are more easily met and kept when you have a fitness routine as well, but IT IS NOT REQUIRED to loose weight. The extra muscle you get from working out makes you less susceptible to sudden weight gains because it needs more energy to work, so it gobbles up extra calories much more easily.

Learning how to loose weight by counting calories is essential in my opinion because it's the only way you can be guaranteed to loose weight. To loose weight you have to learn that balance - if you never learn how to do that, you'll never loose weight. You might be able to do a lot of fit things, but you'll weight a lot more than you should. Just because NFL players can run a lot when they weigh so much doesn't mean they should. That's why almost all profession sports players are retiring in their early to mid 30s - they've worn their bodies out by moving a large body at high speed and impact, whereas career marathon runners can run into their mid 60s or better.

So, hopefully that helps clear up a little misunderstanding. My fitness goals are for the next six months - right now, during these first six months, all I want to do is loose weight.

Happy Friday and Happy Healthy!

EDIT: Ha! See, I'm not the only one who says it. Check out this article on Yahoo! from Debbie Rocker, Keep it Simple.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

After One Month

Well, it's official - we've been living this new lifestyle for exactly one month! We started officially weighing in on February 27th, and so I thought I would take the opportunity to update you all on the milestones we've achieved already.

Milestone 1 - Ways to Weigh
The first milestone was more a financial decision than a weight loss one, but it gave us the tools we needed to start living right. We bought two scales - one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. The kitchen scale is a digital food scale used to measure out how much food we're eating. Using these weights, you can go online to a Calorie Counter to find out how many calories were in what you ate. The bathroom scale was necessary as that's how we track how well we're doing from day to day. Once we had those in place it became much easier to find out how big a serving size of whatever really is and to understand how a splurge of chocolate at the end of the day can really kill your weight loss goals.

Milestone 2 - Control

During this first month, we've learned how to control our cravings. Sure, we still falter now and again, but overall, we succumb to the cravings in a much more manageable way - we plan our cravings. Like yesterday at work - I walked right past a birthday cake someone had brought and was only slightly tempted. I knew that I wanted to have a big dinner that night and wasn't about to spoil it with cake during the day. We have our menu, and we've started to plan what nights we want dessert. Then it's easier to snack less during the day because you know that your getting ice cream that night. (This will probably be a whole article on its own - finding a way to plan "unhealthy" behavior allows you to have it without it throwing you off course.) By way of another example, if you plan to eat out on Friday night for a date, you spend all day Thursday eating really healthy so that the good and bad cancel each other out. That leads me to our next milestone.

Milestone 3 - Balance

"Everything in moderation." It's a phrase we all know and in general, it provides a pretty good guideline to eating better for weight loss. One of the things I love most about counting calories is that I'm allowed to eat anything I want (with moderation) so long as my total calories at the end of the day are in the right range. So, if I want Hershey's Kisses as a snack, I have to balance that by only eating one portion of spaghetti at dinner. The two must balance. And we've really been getting good at it so that we can have pudding and popcorn and hot chocolate and candy at least a couple of times during the week. You don't feel like you're giving up anything when you can balance things this way.

Milestone 4 - Veggie Delight

As we've learned better how to eat, one of the easiest changes was adding vegetables to every lunch and dinner - it's a great way to not feel like you're starving and to add better quality food to your diet. Since we started this, I have eaten a great amount and greater diversity of vegetables than during any other month-long period in my life. Stacie's still a lot better at eating veggies than I, but things that I could barely stomach before have turned into side dishes that I actually like. The old adage, "You eat what you like and you like what you eat" is proving more and more true for us every day. Salads-as-a-meal are a weekly occurrence and salads-as-a-side-dish are even more common. Celery, broccoli, tomatoes (technically a fruit, but who's counting?), peas, corn, carrots, mushrooms (fungus, I know - just work with me here), bell peppers, green leaf lettuce, and asparagus all are regulars on my list. And with summer coming up, I'll be expanding my diet even more with various types of summer squashes.

Milestone 5 - Weight Loss

The real measuring stick for all of this was whether or not we were loosing weight and trimming down. We're both active enough and eating enough protein that the weight we'd be loosing would be fat. So how are we doing? Both down in weight at the this point. As of today I am down a total of exactly 13 lbs. Now if that seems amazing, it is, but please don't credit me with all of it. During my week with the flu I lost 6 lbs! Not a healthy way to loose weight and my starvation reflex definitely kicked in after that, but I've gotten my metabolism started back up and am once again loosing it in a much more controlled fashion. So, I'm only going to claim 7 lbs. right now and if at the end of the next month, I'm still on a good pace, then I'll be happy. Stacie's also done well loosing a total of 4.4 lbs at this date. It's much easier for her to snack at home so she's been working a lot more on getting good control, but I say 4 lbs is still 4 lbs! Congrats to her cause she's definitely got a little more stress working during her day (named Sammie) than I.

How have you all done during the last month? Check out the new poll and add your answer!

Also let us know in your comments how your new lifestyle changes are holding. And if they're not as good as you'd like, what you can change to help them do better - others will appreciate your suggestions.

Happy Thursday and Happy Healthy to You!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Guiltless Goodies

Well, after the flu, getting yourself back into the swing of eating can be a little hard to do, especially when you've spent the entire week eating less than 500 calories each day! ;)

This is a topic I've wanted to add for a while, but didn't really feel that I had enough good suggestions to make it worth the time - how to snack without paying for it. Amazingly, there are lots of really tasty, easy, and calorically cheap ways to snack. Some of them have more of a "health" feel, like celery and carrots, while others almost scream junk food. So, here's our little list of snacks that you don't have to feel bad about eating.

First, the healthy type ones. These are the ones that have something more than just a way to fill your tummy.
  • Celery and peanut butter - so long as you keep the PB limited to the serving size, this can be an very filling snack. The celery gives a great amount of fiber and a portion of protein from the peanut butter. This was one of the favorites of my youth.
  • Carrots - Take a small bag of baby carrots and chomp away. Carrots have a great crunch and are basically free when it comes to the calories. The only bad thing is getting a carrot that's bitter - not much worse to eat in my opinion. But usually, you only get two or three bad carrots in the whole bag.
  • Deli-sliced chicken and turkey - these were the most surprising snacks we've come across. Oscar Meyer Fresh Select Shaved Turkey and Chicken Breast are AWESOME! Only 45-50 cal per serving and one serving is enough to make a sandwich! We were so shocked the first time we actually weighed the serving size and realized just how much meat it was.
    • Related is making a deli meat and cheese sandwich - take a serving size of shaved deli meat and wrap it around a single slice of swiss or cheddar cheese. The meat is only 50 cal and the cheese is 90 cal - that's the same total amount as a small granola bar and way more filling.
  • Fresh fruit - this can be almost anything: apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, kiwi, blackberries, grapes, etc. Anything you can get fresh from the produce section of your local grocery store. And when you find good fruit, you can't help eating it. The only problem is that some of it is really pretty sweet and as such lots of fruit sugar calories. But it's better than eating a Snickers.
Now most of those healthy ones are things you probably already know you should snack on. But what about the less obvious calorie cheap snacks? If you need to feed a sweet craving or just don't have time to grab a healthier snack, these can really help you make it through the day so you don't feel like you're missing out on the good things in life.
  • Popcorn - Air popped, with a tablespoon or less of butter and a dash of salt. Five cups of air popped popcorn are only 200 calories! Do you realize how much 5 cups is? I didn't but it's a ton - more than you would normally eat (unless you happen to be Stacie or I - we LOVE popcorn!)
  • Gum - as I've mentioned previously, this is a great way to beat the sweet bug with 5-10 calories. Pop a slice of gum, drink a decent amount of water and voila!
  • Pudding - made with 1% or 2% milk and kept to a serving size, vanilla pudding was a nice sweet treat last night. It was also a good way for us to use up our nearly expired milk.
  • 100 Calories Snack Packs - I was really skeptical of these snack packs you can buy in the store. Chex Mix, Oreo Crisps, Gold Fish, crackers, and even FritoLay brand chips come pre-packaged in snack packs of only 100 calories. But I thought they would just keep feeding the sugar addiction but they really haven't been bad at all.
Well, if you've got some snack suggestion, please leave them in the comments section!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Emotional Eating

Well you heard about our crazy week. Thank heavens for Chocolate or I may have killed someone. ha ha......but it also made me realize how much of an emotional shopper and eater I am. So now I am recommitting and getting back on track. I have realized that this has to be a life change and that I can't just splurge when life gets rough or there is a holiday, etc. I need to gain this power to be able to say yes I can have a girl scout cookie, but I don't need the whole freakin box.

However, we are back on the path to loosing and we want to hear from you if you have decided to join us on this journey.

I heard on the news today a tip that made my mind go well duh. The lady said you can eat 2 cups of grapes for 1/3 a cup of Raisins, which are you going to pick. Well duh the grapes cause your mind sees that as eating more. They will also fill you up more because of the liquid and the fiber they have. Not that raisins don't have fiber, but they don't contain all the water the grapes do and will feel less full. So remember you can eat what you want, just count your calories and fill up on those that are less caloric before you eat what you want. So for example you may want Spaghetti, but the noodles are very caloric so you will have a salad, some broccoli, and maybe some veggie soup and then eat the spaghetti.

Watch those calories and you will watch those pounds shed away! Doesn't that sound like an infomercial?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making a Case for Weighing Everyday

A lot of times during my life, I have been told not to weigh myself everyday. Arguments for this are things like:
  • Water can change your body weight by up to 5 lbs.
  • Muscle weighs more than fat, so when you're working out, you can't tell the difference.
  • It makes you obsessive.
  • It's discouraging.
Well, I must say all of those can be true. Water does weigh quite a bit and can throw off your weight. Muscle does indeed weigh much more than fat. It does get just a bit obsessive. But over the last few days, it's not be discouraging in least - and I say that with having actually gained 2 lbs. over those last few days.

You do have to do something to eliminate the variability that these things can cause. To deal with variation due to water, make sure you're always hydrated and weigh yourself at the same time every day. (I do it first thing in the morning after a trip to the bathroom. I've sweated/breathed/eliminated all the water I can at that point.) To deal with muscle, you can have a second alternative measurement, like measuring waist girth.

But it hasn't been discouraging, because as I saw myself starting to gain back weight that I had lost, it helped to clue me in to some changes that I needed to make in the way I was accounting for my calories. By having something that I check everyday, I was able to stop a trend back upwards because I caught it early.

And the results? I'm back down to where I was and continuing downward.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Back on Track

Well after a not so good weekend, not bad just not good, we are recommitted to getting back on track. We started measuring everything, when you don't it is too easy to estimate your amount of calories which only gets you in trouble until you are disciplined enough to control the portion sizes.

It was beautiful out here in OK, 65+, so we were able to fit a walk in between feeding, pumping, and naps. It was so fun to be outside and Sam loved that the wind blew through her feet. That made it easy for me to continue to want to be outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be even better weather, so break out the sunblock we are heading outdoors for our exercise these few days before it gets to hot and humid that we don't want to be out there.

It has been way before getting pregnant that I really worked out hard and so I started walking and after 9 minutes I was ready to be done, but kept pushing through (I have found that if I get past 15 minutes I usually can go a good 40+) past my first 15 minutes and ended up getting about a 30 minute work out. Which for me was good, going from unloading boxes to straight workout for 30 minutes was a big change and I will probably feel it tomorrow, but even more reason for me to get my butt back outside.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

When the "Busies" Strike

Life has gotten rather hectic for me the last few days and I must say, it is impacting my ability to diet and exercise, though it's a bad way you might not immediately see. During the last two days I have been eating anything I can get my hands on in order to not eat too little! I've been so busy that I don't have the time to get a proper snack down and I'm literally running at times across base, getting a much higher amount of exercise than I usually do.

The result: I'm loosing weight a little too quickly. Yes, that's right TOO QUICKLY. It's really only healthy to loose at about 1-2 pounds per week, but the last two days has me on a pace to loose 5-6 pounds. And that's not good for two reasons.
  1. I may under-eat to such a point that the body's starvation reflex will kick in and slow my metabolism down, which would not be a good thing.
  2. I may become habituated to eating everything within my grasp, even after my life slows back down, which would mean I would start to shoot up in weight again.
The biggest thing I've found to be helpful is to try and get a good portion of my calories taken care of in the morning - eating breakfast before I even get into the shower. That helps to jump-start my metabolism first thing and I don't have to worry that I'll be starving by lunch time because I was too busy at work to actually eat my breakfast.

So, if you don't see too many updates in the next few days, don't worry. It's just the "busies" and I'm probably off eating. ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

One Week Mark

Can't believe we hit the one week mark today. I jumped on the scale and was so happy to see that in one week I was down 4.4 lbs. I already feel that it is becoming a routine to check calories and that this is definitely a lifestyle I can live forever. Last night we had one of our favorite meals, fish sticks and fries with a mix of sweet white corn and petite peas. It was great to remind myself that I can still eat what I like just smaller amounts which gives me enough to curb the craving.

It is fun to put on the pre-pregnancy pants and they fit better than before I was pregnant. The next step is to implement exercise. I am still unpacking and playing with Sam so that counts, but it is time to knock up the level a little. With it getting warmer outside we are going to start walking. Sam loves being outside, we learned that this weekend at the zoo.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goals Update

Well, Stacie already told you where her goals were for getting in shape, and what she gets if she does it. I guess today's a good day to do mine so that I can also mention what this week's goals are.

My goal is to loose 6-8 inches off my waist and be running 5k's again within 6 months. I haven't set how many I want to run, and think I need to, but a decent number at least. My reward will be the Canon Digital Rebel XTi DSLR camera and one lens.

For this week, since I'm already seeing what the problems are, my goals are to have some kind of exercise during the day (walking the shop floor, desk push-ups, whatever), getting plenty of water (at least 2 of my Styrofoam cups worth for every snack and meal), and avoid the midnight munchies.

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Stumbling Blocks - How to Trip without Falling

I have found that when I walk, I don't fall a lot. I might catch my toe going up a set a stairs or on an uneven piece of concrete on the side way, but 99 times out of 100, I only stumble - I don't fall. It's sort of become a game for me to see how long I can go without actually sprawling on the ground. Rolling an ankle doesn't matter either. It seems that I have enough agility to stumble without actually falling down.

Metaphorically speaking, how do I take that same agility and apply it to loosing weight as well?

You see, the last two nights, I have had the munchies like crazy. I want to eat something so badly, and I'm groggy enough that I don't think to use my sure-fire method (see post below). It's an old habit that comes up every now and again and it has sure hit hard recently. And I have been stumbling. Not falling - I haven't gained any weight back, but I haven't lost any either. I am maintaining weight, which is not my goal right now.

So, after some thinking, I believe I've found some things that I can do to catch myself when I start to fall and it's by using the same approaches as I do when I walk.
  • Head-up / Eyes-front: This was a trick I learned from my Dad while driving. Look down the road and watch for upcoming problems well before you have to deal with them. And do it continuously, not just now and again. You see the road better, you can drive a straight line easier, and you can avoid a problem before you get to it. While walking, I do the same thing - you'd be surprised how many people trip over the same piece of sidewalk one right after another because they're not watching the person in front of them.
    • Applied to eating, I know when I'm going to be munchy at night because I've been munchy during the day. If I use a head-up/eyes-front kind of thinking, that should clue me in that there may be problems later on in the evening. Rather than having to react last minute while I'm groggy, I can have a plan already in place.
  • Use a support: When I catch my toe walking up or down stairs, I usually don't fall because I have a habit of holding on to the hand rail while I do so. Again something simple but it prevents me from busting up my body falling down a flight of stairs.
    • What is your support when you're getting in shape? Those around you - in my case, Stacie. I've already asked her to remind me to drink plenty of water before bed to get that full stomach feeling. Yes, that might mean I'm up at 2:00am in the bathroom, but that's better than gaining a few tenths of a pound during the night.
  • Make Agility a Habit: As I said earlier, I've made it a game to try and never actually fall when I walk. It's become so habitual that I don't think about it when I roll off the edge of the side walk or when my foot lands in a hole. Part of the habit was gained going out and running around on uneven ground in the back yard. Part of it comes from knowing that I have the agility to catch myself.
    • This comes down to just doing it. Realizing that if you stumble or even outright fall down, you can get up and go on. Finding exercises to get stronger. Just posting a blog about how to overcome stumbling is helping to give me resolve to not let it happen again, to build up a better habit.
Those are my ways, but I'm sure there are hundreds of other things that can be done. What means have you all come up with for overcoming the stumbling blocks? Let us know how you do it - post a comment with your stumbling block beaters.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

New Life

I was surprised how early I felt the effects of eating right. My energy level has jumped. What I like best is it doesn't feel like a diet because it isn't. This is the rest of my life. I don't have to worry about eating only veggies or no fat or no carbs or no sweets, I can eat anything it is just the portions that change. And it may be a little bit of a pain to count calories but in reality over time it will become first nature and I can keep track in my mind as I continue to learn amount sizes and servings vs. calorie intake and will know what better decisions to make in the future.

For example on Friday, Grant and I had decided we were still going out for our date night so I had Instant Oatmeal packets which was 260 calories, then I had an Orange around 60 c., banana 75 c., sandwich meat (oscar meyer 6 slices for 45 c.) and cheese so 105 c., 2 pieces of gum 10 c., celery sticks and a table spoon of peanut butter 127 c., this allowed me to have a petite burger and fries. My favorite meal from Red Robin. ***I always estimate calories high so at least I am covering it for sure.

I have learned what you can't do is let your water slack. Drink, Drink, Drink. Now we can say Eat, Drink, and be happy (not merry)!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beat the Craving - Tips and Tricks

Find yourself staving during those first few days of eating smaller portions? Got a sugar craving and are dying to eat some? Munchies hit hard and now you've got a craving of major proportions?

Don't worry, I've been there too these last few days and I've found a sure-fire method (at least for me) to beat those cravings with only 5-10 calories. The solution? Gum and water.

I pop a slice of gum in my mouth, usually Orbit's Sweet Mint (<5 calories a slice), and down at least 8 oz. of water after. I drink as much as I can before I start to get that "sloshy" feeling, usually over about 10 minutes.

The gum satisfies my sweet or munchie craving and the water in my stomach takes care of the starving, empty feeling.

NOTE: Do NOT ever use this method to replace a meal - this is an in-between meal/snack trick to get you over the hump. And after a few days, those starving feelings should subside. If not, you may not be eating enough and sending your body into the starvation reflex which is the opposite of what we're wanting to do, causing your metabolism to slow down and store everything.

Friday, February 29, 2008

My Side of the Story

Well, I guess I should add my two cents to this blog. For me it was stepping on the scale and seeing how bad it really was. Grant is so motivating because he comes home so excited about how well he has done and it becomes addicting trying to compete. (We are NOT a competitive couple or anything!!)

For me the biggest motivation is realizing that I am winded after doing little things with Sam and I realized I need to change my life so we as a family can enjoy life. I want to be alive when she turns 20 or even maybe has kids of her own. But for now I just don't want to be tired when we go out to play. So I decided it was time for me to take control.

The first thing I did was let Grant do all the research and make the money (because it is a little more expensive to eat healthy {imagine that good foods cost extra money}, but worth it for health reasons), I scape goat out of the hard stuff, and then we together implemented it. I have a little note pad by our food scale and so it is easy to write down everything I eat. Then we tally it at night, but I always have an idea of where I am throughout the day so I know if I can have a fruit over a veggie snack since they seem to have more calories, duh they are sweet and anything sweet means more to the waistline.

It was motivating to me that the first day I lost 2 lbs, now I know that some of that is water weight and some is just the toxins that were in my body, but I continue to loose everyday and that is what is important and motivating. (even if it is by 0.2 lbs)

Well I am sure this is long enough for now, but hope that we can motivate others to join us. Thanks to those who made it seem possible by starting first (Allie, Jarom, Linds, Leroy, etc!) and being the examples.

For now we are setting goals for six months and if we reach those then we get our prizes. Mine is dropping 4 pant sizes and if I do (and if it is before six months) I get to get the Vinyl Cutter Machine to start my own business. Grant can share his goals and prizes with you.

If you want to compete with us let us know.


"So, what started it?"

That's the question I got from a co-worker yesterday while we were on our way to another employee's retirement party. (Yes, cake and punch were served and yes I did have some, but more on that later.) As we chatted, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to give a quick account of how we got started and how you probably can too.

Truth be told, this is something I have been thinking about for years, ever since I had stopped really running after getting married. I had been in pretty good shape at a couple of points in my life and now that I wasn't I lamented letting that slip away. Note, I say lamented, not regretted - I found that beating myself up for getting through school, working, becoming a dad, and generally being busy wasn't a good thing. ;) And it never is. So remember that.

The catalyst that finally got me moving was an article that I read on a website last week called A Calorie Counter. It had one piece of information that finally broke down my resistance to starting. It explained a very simple concept that I as an engineer instinctively understand. As an engineer with a background in thermodynamics, I would call it an energy balance. Every health professional and trainer calls it counting calories.

Basically, what comes in has to balance with what goes out and what gets stored. So, 3000 calories comes in and 2500 get used, where does the other 500 go? It gets stored, and in our bodies' case, that storage is called affectionately love handles, spare tires, baby fat, chubbiness, or honey-do-these-pants-make-me-look-fat depending on who you are or who you ask.

It gets stored as fat. Period. That's it. And the reverse is also true. If I only eat 2000 and burn 2500 through exercise, sitting, laughing, playing with my daughter, etc. where did that extra 500 come from? From storage. It has to! It's a physical law called the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. There's not other way around it. Plain, simple, easy. No plans, no books, no gym membership, no personal trainers required. You balance what you take in and you can control weight to have to go up, come down or stay the same.

As soon as I read and understood that, it all made sense! I could do this. It was just about book keeping, and I had gotten good doing that with personal finances over the previous months.

And I'd recommend starting in the same place. Start with A Calorie Counter's Nutrition Articles, particularly The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide. Start there, then keep going.

Now, I mentioned cake. Yes, I did have some at the party - one slice, a little smaller than what I normally eat, and I can tell you, by the time I was done, I was sick to my stomach. Sick physically and sick just knowing how many calories were in that not-very tasty piece of mass-produced cake. It was even worse that night when I got home to my favorite meal and had to worry the whole meal if I was going to eat too much and push myself over my calorie limit. Turns out I was okay because of my decisions not to snack earlier, but it really showed me how not desirable sweets were.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008


I've started weight loss plans a couple of times before and while I usually did okay with them starting out, something would always come up to get in the way of my progress. I know lots of people who have had that same problem. In fact, for many, the physical requirements of eating better and getting exercise are not that hard - the mental aspect is the real progress killer in many instances.

When we started on all this business of loosing weight earlier in the week, we noticed that we were already doing a number of things that were taking us in the right direction toward fulfilling our goals. For me, that was a huge motivator to take the next step and move forward towards making real, meaningful gains. Here's just a few that really helped me to realize I could do more and the way they motivated me.
  • Eating healthy foods - We were buying and eating healthy things: whole grain breads and pastas, fruits, veggies, salad makings, low fat milk and cheese, super lean beef products, chicken, fish.
    • Motivator - We didn't have to change our diet, just the amounts we were eating.
  • Active lifestyle - When you have a baby, you can't help but be just a bit more active. You get up earlier, you move around more, you're constantly standing/holding/bouncing/rocking/singing/lifting with an extra 13 lbs in your arms and still have to move something else like groceries.
    • Motivator - It meant that getting more exercise in was easier than I thought; that you can count those calories burned towards you goal.
  • Mutual support - I didn't have to join a gym, get a personal trainer, or spend money on professional help. I had the support I needed right in my own home with a wife that I know loves me and will be honest with me.
    • Motivator - My wife doesn't sugar coat the obvious - I'm fat and out of shape. Yet, when she says it, I don't take offense because I'm secure, knowing she love me for who I am regardless. She just wants me to be better and always pushing towards a larger goal. It was never a judgment; it was a shot in the arm to keep going.
So, if you find that you need a little motivation, look to discover what you may already be doing to help get you going on the right path. And remind yourself that every little thing counts. Playing with a child counts as exercise just like jogging - though they may not be of the same quality, give yourself credit for what already do.

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