Halloween…It’s a GO!!!

So I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about hiding out from the neighborhood children on one of the biggest days on a kid’s calendar. My guilt went into overdrive when one of my favorite neighborhood ‘enanos’ asked me what I was going to dress as for Halloween. This is a little one who asks important, probing questions like “What do your dogs eat for breakfast, cereal?”

So I headed out to Ralph’s hoping to buy some lo-cal, lo-fat treats. As I walked into the store I wondered if perhaps they might have some non-candy goodies to give to the kids…maybe some little toys? The woman I asked thought there might be some plastic rings over on the ‘seasonal’ aisle. But then added that they had little bags of carrot sticks in the produce section.

I paused a moment, not wanting to offend her, but then blurted out, “don’t you think that’s kind of mean?” One of her co-workers nodded in agreement. But she protested “I like carrot sticks.”

I headed to the seasonal asile, bypassing the crowds in front of the bags of candy. I found, to my delight and relief…stickers, tattoos, picture games. Genius! Not only would I please the true Halloween set, but I would discourage those ‘way too old to be TrTing’ set. And I wouldn’t be tempted to partake of the sweets…although I have swiped a box of stickers for myself.

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Get Up and Move!!

Star Wars Yoga

I have had a slow start on this challenge to weight loss. I had a real shocker when I stepped on that scale last Monday. I knew I had gained some weight recently. At a Dr. visit a few weeks ago I was shocked when the nurse weighed me and thought “I must do something about this!” But I didn’t. So I was really excited when I heard about the challenge (I am a bit competitive!). Then, I went for my weigh-in on Monday; I was 3lbs heavier than at the Dr. a few weeks ago! Oh no!

My main goal for this challenge is to get back in the habit of exercising regularly. I find that exercising helps my metabolism (although now that I am older, maybe this theory doesn’t hold anymore?). For the last year I have been pretty sedentary. I sit at work all day, then I come home and sit and do homework for my classes. I used to be an athlete, so I have this vision of myself as strong, coordinated, flexible, etc. So when I get weak from long periods of not being active (which has happened several times in my life), it’s really hard for me to start exercising again because I have to face myself as a weakling.

But I have had a good start this week. I went to the gym with Scott Wednesday night.  I got in some aerobics on the bikes, tried (and failed at) the elliptical, lifted some weights and stretched out. I did not like the atmosphere at the Magic Johnson 24 hr Fitness at all. Not at all. And that got me motivated to look into classes at a new dance studio that opened up in Culver City – I much prefer dance and fluid movement types of exercise (gymnastics, dance, yoga, pilates, martial arts).  I went to a yoga class last night and am so SORE!!! After 4-5 chatturangas, my arms were shaking, and my elbows buckling – it was awful, but I came face to face with just how weak I have become. And now I am totally motivated to get back into shape and get my mojo back!

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I was afraid this would happen

I work best with lots of momentum behind me, and one blip to halt that can send me reeling.

I didn’t work out on Thursday. I got home at a reasonable enough time to have fit in some weight lifting while I finished off the latest Vampire Diaries dvd from Netflix, but I forgot. Then yesterday, despite being home almost all day, I did nothing for exercise. I’m hoping to get back on the wagon today, but two fail! days are making me, well, less than happy with myself. It’s important to remember, though, that two days is not seven weeks. Just because I didn’t exercise for two days doesn’t mean I give up (even though it can feel like that). I still have 40ish days left to practice being better about exercise.

On the bright side, my food intake has been stellar. I was totally good Thursday night, drinking only diet soda and water and eating nothing ’til I got home, so that momentum, at least, is still going strong. And as of this morning, I’m five pounds down from last week. (First week is always the wow!est–I don’t expect every week to be this dramatic.)

I hope everyone else on the team is doing well! Go ToP MoJo SMAcKs!

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Weekend Willies

I’ve got a mild case of the Weekend Willies. During the week I find it somewhat easy to stick to my eating and exercise plan. There’s a certain rhythm to it that fits well with the work day. But come the weekend, it’s the wild west and what makes it worse, Sunday is Halloween. Boo!!

So my plan is to keep myself busy. Since today was an off-Friday I had the chance to try out my approach. Slept in this morning before heading to spin around 10. After that, I got my hair done. Nothing like a cut and color to eat up a couple of hours. From there, ran some errands and then got a mani/pedi…hard to eat when your nails aren’t yet dry! And now I’m relaxing after a lo cal dinner with a vodka gimlet (thanks Paula!!).

Tomorrow I’ll start the morning with yoga and spin. Depending on the weather I may drive down to HB to catch my nephew’s football game. And of course, what Saturday would complete without a stop at Home Depot.

Sunday is the dreaded day. And not because of all the ghosts and goblins. So my plan is to forgo the celebration. Sorry kids, but I won’t be handing out candy. Instead I’ll head to the movies and will be smuggling in my own snacks (don’t tell).

Will let you know Monday morning how it went!

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First true challenge tonight

Late Harvest Chardonnay and ShirazI’m meeting some friends for drinks tonight after work. Eek! I can’t drink alcohol, and there’ll be no appetizers on the table that will fit with my current, very restrictive diet. It’s a fun social occasion, so I don’t want to miss it, but I wonder if I have the willpower to stick with my diet Coke with lemon, and nothing else. I can already hear the shot of Jack Daniels calling my name, but I know from experience that even one sip of alcohol is enough to ruin my resolve for the rest of the night. Today is the first day I could eat fruits and veggies again. If I slip up tonight, I’ll have to go back to just protein tomorrow, and that thought should be unbearable enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. I hope.

ION, I fear I will not get my daily exercise in today. I have too much to do this afternoon to take my usual 30 minute walk, and there’s no telling what time I’ll get home tonight. Might be a good night for lifting some hand weights.

On the plus side, I am down three pounds from this time last week–woo! Go team me!

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So far, still on track, and still tracking.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase in this first week of the contest. I haven’t been tempted to eat something I shouldn’t (despite the mini-muffins in the office kitchen this morning), and I’ve walked down and up the hill (approx. 1.5 miles RT) every afternoon for the past three days. Walking the hill is still my favorite part of the day, with the added benefit of defusing a lot of the stress I’ve been building up, trying to finish my current project.

I log all my food and activity in my online Weight Watcher‘s account, but I pay a monthly fee for the service. If you’re looking for something similar to help you out, two of the most popular online options out there are SparkPeople.com and FitDay.com. Both offer tools to help you track your food, exercise, and weight-loss progress, as well as community boards, articles and blogs to help motivate and inspire you. And, both are free.

If you’re using something online that I haven’t mentioned, let me know! I’m always looking for new tricks to keep myself interested in the process. And if you’re not currently tracking, give it a try, either online or in your own private journal with good old-fashioned paper and pen. It can be difficult to recognize what you need to change until you see it all in writing.

I hope everyone is happy with their progress so far! Remember, this is a team effort, so if you need some help, don’t be afraid to ask! 🙂

ETA: And speaking of inspiration, SparkPeople is featuring this amazing blog post today: 50 things I’ve learned in 50 pounds. Lots of good advice, totally true platitudes, and great tips. I, for one, am now off to Google “chia seeds.”

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Snickers and Tootsies and Kit Kats, Oh My

Mara here.  I’m one of the Ms in Team ToP MoJo SMAcKs.  The other M belongs to our fellow teammate and my buddy, Maureen.  We started at the Getty one week apart seven years ago and for the longest time – until they hired some more Ms in our dept, we were M&M. I love M&Ms.  And no, I’m not talking about me and Maureen anymore – that was just fodder for my segueway.

Halloween CandyWhat I’m talking about are the little balls of candy-coated chocolaty goodness that supposedly melts in your mouth, not in your hands (which is actually a lie – they do melt).  I’ve never been one to buy a bag of them at the checkout counter, but come every Halloween when they’re available in the little mini bags and you can just have a handful at time, I go insane.  I’ve somehow convinced myself over the years that a regular size bag of M&Ms that can be bought at the checkout stand at Ralphs is utterly fattening, but there’s virtually little to no fat or calories in miniature chocolates that come from your kids’ Halloween buckets.  Well here I am nearly five years after my first child was born still trying to lose the last 10-12 pounds of baby weight that I haven’t been able to shed since my other daughter was born two years ago.

Oh sure, I can easily blame not having enough time to exercise on why I haven’t gotten back in to my pre-pregnancy jeans, but that’s about as true as M&Ms not melting in your hands.  The truth is, I’m a snacker.  I nosh on anything that’s in a basket and pretty much within reach.  I go crazy at parties with chips and appetizers and most of all, if someone brings something into work and leaves it in the pantry for us vultures to eliminate it, I find myself creating excuses to go into the pantry just to pick away at the prey.  At home, I have the same problem, but it just manifests itself differently.  I snack on my kids’ food.  While I do strive to buy my kids healthy snacks, they’re still snacks and they’re a hell of lot better and saltier than mine.

Ironically about two weeks ago I set a personal goal for myself not to eat my kids food anymore.  This meant no picking at their animal crackers, no dipping in the Pirate Bootie (or Pirate Poopie as my 2-year old calls it), no finishing any uneaten chicken nuggets and no licking the spoon after serving them mac n’ cheese on the occasional “whatever you like for dinner” nights.  To date, I have been successful.  I have been able to tell myself and listen to myself that my kids food is not mine and to back off.  I’m barely craving it now.  And when the fitness challenge started, I kicked up my exercise schedule.

But what’s scaring me now this Halloween season is the hoards of candy I know will be waiting for all of us come Monday, November 1st when everyone brings in their leftover candy that either they didn’t give out to trick or treaters or took from their kids so that they didn’t have in the house for fear of eating too much of it.  But I figure if I can go two weeks without eating my kids food, I can do this – I can not eat even one piece of candy this year.  I know most of you are thinking that one won’t hurt.  But in my case it will.  One leads to two, two leads to three, three leads to excuses to go into the pantry and so on.

So this year I am committed to staying out of my kids buckets and out of the pantry for the next couple of weeks.  I know in my heart I can do this.  I also know that if I need to grab anything off the color printer in there, Maureen may need to go get it for me.

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Day 2 Drama

So I’m one of the M’s in Team ToP MoJo SMAcKs. When I heard there was going to be a Fitness Challenge I figured having a team to answer to might just do me some good. You know, keep me focused when hitting those inevitable diet/exercise speed bumps. Little did I know I’d hit one on day 2.

Day 1 started off good enough. I had gone to my favorite grocery store the night before to stock up on groceries…a mix of fresh fruits and veggies, along with some pop-in-the-micro dishes for easy lunches, and healthy snacks. Monday morning I hit a Spin class before work and then dutifully got weighed and measured at the gym. So far so good.

Day 2 I woke up to…silence. No alarm. Nothing. Not even a bird chirping. I looked at the clock…7:30. Not good. My Spin class is at 6:15 and if I’m running late I hit the 7:15 class. How clever of me to sleep through both! Normally when these things happen (and they happen more than I care to admit) I just blow it off and promise myself to make up the class on the weekend, which I usually don’t. But what kind of a ToP MoJo SMAcKer would I be if I did that? So I dutifully packed some gym clothes and headed off to work vowing to find time in the day to go for a treadmill run. I managed to get in 2.3 miles at the end of the work day.

So what are my goals during this challenge, aside from dominating against the other teams?

Lose 15 pounds. Michael the Trainer says it’s doable but it is an aggressive goal, so I’ve been duly warned.

Spin 5 days a week

Yoga 2 days a week with an eye to getting back into crane pose and one-leg plank

1500 calories a day

Oh yeah, and no ‘frosty beverages’ on school nights

Easy enough, right?

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Protein, it does a body good

Bacon-wrapped turkey!Eating nothing but protein isn’t always that easy. It seems easy on the first day, but midway through the second day, you just want a sandwich. By the third day, you’re ready for that switch to all salads, all the time, and damned thankful for it, too, except you can’t do that until day four. Ugh.

Why am I putting myself through this torture? Well, it’s a diet called Lindora, which I believe is only located in SoCal, but you can get the book anywhere. I’m using the book, which gave me great success about four years ago, when I lost 40 pounds in about ten weeks while using their plan. It’s high protein, low fat, low carb, and yes, it requires three days of nothing but protein to get your body into that scary place called ‘ketosis.’

To be honest, while I did have a very good experience with the Lindora plan that one summer, I didn’t know when to quit, and I ended up becoming a little phobic about carbs for about a year, to the point where one day I noticed I was only taking in about 500-600 calories a day. It took me awhile to get myself out of that mindset, so trust me, I know better than anyone that Lindora is not a plan to be entered into lightly. I’m not even planning on sticking with it for this whole seven week competition, but I’m hoping that a couple of weeks on it will jump start my metabolism from its oh-so-long hibernation.

Right now I’m most of the way through day two of just protein, and omigod would I kill for a tomato! Thursday–I just have to hold out until Thursday. Until then, time for another piece of chicken.

How’s everyone else doing? Has anyone else made any drastic changes to their dietary intake since the big weigh-in, or are y’all focusing more on exercise?

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Today is day three, and so far I’m doing pretty good on exercise. Saturday I spent 40 minutes using my Wii Fit Plus, particularly the Basic and Advanced Step, and the Basic and Advanced Rhythm Boxing. I only wish the Step ‘classes’ were longer, instead of having to play them over and over just to get twenty minutes in.

Yesterday I was slacker girl, but still fit in 20 minutes of lifting weights while I watched Prince Caspian on dvd. Smart Girls Do Dumbbells is a great guide, giving specific instructions on how to do each exercise, and “recipes” for varying combinations to work on each day. I wanted to do more, but was afraid of overdoing it and straining something so early in the game.

DeerToday I walked the hill at work (despite the scary “do not walk! pesticides present!” sign). I love the hill because it’s relaxing on the way down, not beyond my capabilities on the up, has a great view of Los Angeles, and I almost always see deer, with the added bonus of getting me away from my desk for 30 minutes during my current stressful project. Unfortunately it’s also a little hard on my bad knee, so I may not be able to do it every work day.

Relatedly, I was doing some googling this weekend, looking for motivational articles to help me on my way. I like Simple changes to sneak in more exercise ’cause most of the suggestions are pretty easy to incorporate into day to day life (like parking at the far end of the parking lot/garage).

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