Monday, December 29, 2008

Re-evaluating and Re-energized for '09

I had a wonderful Christmas in Virginia with my family. There were lots of homemade breads around, and everyone who knows me, knows I LOVE bread--especially grandma's biscuits and zucchini bread and mom's sweet potato biscuits and now her homemade rolls! Thank goodness I don't indulge in such pleasures on regular basis (and I could if I had no discipline) because I would be right back to my extra-large self.

I am now back in Atlanta, and I am actually glad to be getting back to my normal, healthy lifestyle. I have my eyes on the prize for '09! With just a few days to the start of the New Year, I thought it was time to re-evaluate my routine. If I'm going to get the results I want, I have to kick it up a notch. So here goes:

1. Training: I am going to mix up my training with kettlebells (a great way to strength train; you have to check this out!), running (I start half marathon training Jan. 5th), tennis (I just love this game!) and cycling (my trusty favorite and another great way to combine resistance and cardio).

2. Cooking: I have to get back to cooking on a regular basis and trying new clean eating recipes. I can't get in a food rut and cooking is the sure fire way for me to know I am getting the fuel I need to perform. I am also going to pay better attention to portion sizes.

3. Supplements: I have tried some things, and now I am cutting out and modifying. I am sticking with flaxseed and bee pollen. But, I am going to switch from whey protein to hemp protein (it's way cleaner than whey). I'm also going to cut out the vitamin store fat burners I have been trying for the last couple months and stick with Clean, Fat Burning Superfoods!

4. Sleep: I will definitely get back to getting my consistent 7-8 hours in. I saw my best results when I did. That means no late nights on the Internet!

There you have it. Shay Shay is re-energized and ready to take on the world! 2009 will be an awesome year! I look forward to sharing it with you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Been Awhile: Kettlebells, What NOT to Eat, The Great Oprah Debate and more

I have been all over the place the last couple weeks with work and traveling, and my brain has been going into overdrive with things I want to share. So here goes:

Kettlebells: My sweetie has been using kettlebells for a little while now, and I have watched his physique really lean out and build muscle. Determined to look like a 10 in my own right, but not look like a 10 (him being the 1) when we stand together, I tackled my first kettlebell experience yesterday (to learn about kettlebells go to: The vibe at Gym Condition, The Kettlebell Gym was awesome! The instructors were fantastic! I am really looking forward to incorporating kettlebells into my fitness lifestyle. Stay tuned . . .

Does Anyone Send Fruit?!?: It's the holiday season, and everyone who works in an office environment knows what that means: cookies, candy and other sweets brought in or delivered to the office for about two weeks! Now, I am thankful for all the generosity and spirit of the holidays from fellow co-workers and contractors, BUT REALLY, I don't recall fruit baskets being unavailable during the holidays! I have been determined not to go crazy, saving my sweet indulgences for only the special type of treats that I have never had. But, let's face it--everything someone brought seemed special, new, and a must have! I managed to exercise some discipline, but not enough for the goals I have. I'm not beating myself up about it at all. That homemade Tequila Lime Cheesecake made by the awesome woman who recruited me to Atlanta was oh so tasty (and she said it was low-fat)!!!

What Not to Eat: As I mentioned, the last couple weeks have been quite crazy. For some reason, last week I just gave in to so many indulges. I'm not saying that I am going to live a life without enjoying fine food (because I AM a TRUE Foodie), but I also know that a lot of little indulges here and there can add up to a lot of pounds if I'm not careful. And, I am truly believe that for me, Nothing tastes as good as being and looking fit feels. Below is what I am calling the Anti-food Diary: taking a mental inventory of all I ate at the start of the new week because I'm feeling a bit squishy!

  • lots of feta cheese

  • homemade potato chips

  • half bag white cheddar popcorn

  • way too many Biscoff cookies (I had some on the plane and AT HOME!)

  • sweet potato pie

  • Seafood Crepe with Creme Sauce

  • Apple and Pear Tart with Ice Cream

  • Wine

  • Two trips to Brunch Buffet: grits, fried catfish, potatoes, brioche french toast with bananas foster, and a Bellini

  • Nacho cheese

Needless to say, this was NOT Clean Eating. It was all tasty, but just way too much when you add it up for one week. Trust me, my body felt it too.

The Great Oprah Debate: Like many women (and men) all over, when Oprah announced her new cover for O Magazine showing a fit, lean, and toned 160 lb Oprah from 2005 and then showing the current 200 lb Oprah I wanted to hear what she had to say. Recall, this is my second journey toward health and fitness, so I could relate. So, I went to the local bookstore and picked up a copy of the magazine. When I check out, the twenty-something male cashier says something like, "I don't like the 160 lb Oprah. . . I mean, she is has a big frame, so she is not supposed to be small." So, I say, "do you think that the 200 lb Oprah is the picture of health?" Meanwhile, I'm thinking, what does this guy know!?!?! By this time, my Sweetie is growing a little impatient that I may really engage in a debate with this guy. I started talking about how BMI doesn't necessarily tell the whole story if you strength train and are muscular but that I believe there is a certain unhealthy amount of body fat one could carry. Then, I realized that it was no use debating this guy. It was a beautiful Sunday, and I had plans! Later, I wondered if I had been my former 200 pound self, would this guy had said anything to me? What was his issue? I remembered him saying to me, "I mean, I have a few pounds I could stand to lose (as he grabbed the few inches of love handles around his waist), but I think there is too much pressure on women to be thin." So, was this cashier really concerned about women and the unhealthy pressure that I agree is out there or was he just a tad insecure about his own love handles? Who knows? What I do know is that there is a lot of unhealthy emphasis on being thin and not enough focus on being healthy, fit, and happy. I am focused on the latter and will work to dismantle the former.

Happy Holidays: I am looking forward to some time off with my family. I wish you a wonderful and blessed holiday season!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Band-Aids Don't Really Heal

As I was preparing for my morning work out, I turned on the TV. There was an infomercial for some state-of-the-art body shaper that will help you "lose inches off your waist and back" and "help you lose two sizes". Now, don't get Shay Shay wrong. A woman--fit or not--can often times benefit from a good undergarment. Some clothes just require a little extra support. Nevertheless, I laughed as I listened to the infomercial as I recalled all the things I use to do to avoid dealing with my unhealthy size.

What I have come to terms with now is that all of those things I use to do were just band-aids to cover up the real issue--I was in a an unhealthy state. These temporary solutions may have made me feel a little better (and just a little), but they were just that--temporary! Like band-aids, these short term fixes didn't heal what was ailing my extra-large body. They just covered up the issue and protected me from facing the real trouble with the way I was living. Here are a few of the band-aids that I have now let go (and Shay Shay is keeping it real and honest):

1. Slimming Pants. When I was at my heaviest, I discovered Slimming Pants at the local bulk buying warehouse (yeah, not even at a department or lingerie store). I wore them with everything so that I could squeeze into a size that I thought I would never wear again after my first weight loss journey. I felt like a stuffed sausage; I probably looked like one too! I have now thrown them away!

2. Bra Fittings. Again, at my heaviest, I went for a bra fitting (which I encourage every woman to do). I asked the wonderful lady fitting me: "Can I get a bra with more coverage in the back? For some reason the bras I wear cause my skin to bunch and create lumps in my back." HA! She was so gracious, but I know she wanted to tell me that it was not the bra causing the "lumps" in my back. Rather it was the excess fat caused by not taking care of myself. No bra could fix that. I am proud to say that those old bras are too big, and I had to be re-fitted a few months ago.

3. A-line Shaped Skirts. At one point, I just stopped wearing pants. I refused to buy them because in my mind if I didn't buy that next size up, then I wasn't that size. A-line skirts are just that, shaped like an A. They flare, so I could hide my extra large hips and thighs. These skirts are great and have their place, but how many A-line skirts can one woman wear!

4. Shoe and Purse Sprees. After buying all the A-line skirts I could find, I eventually got to a point where I refused to go shopping for clothes at all. That 16 (which I had never worn before) was staring me in the face. So, I ACCESSORIZED!! I bought some mean shoes (many of them hurt my feet, but they were cute) and purses all in an effort to keep my look updated without facing the real problem--I needed to lose fat!

5. Refusing to Swim. From 2002, until this past summer, I can count the number of times I went swimming on, well, one (1) finger! That's right--ONCE! If I didn't wear a swimsuit, I didn't have to face the music. Only my 10 beautiful sorority linesisters could get me to the beach (to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in our beloved sorority in 2006) and put on a bathing suit. Well, let's just say the pictures are definitely a part of my "before" portfolio. Now, I see a bikini in my future!

I am sure I had developed all sorts of fat loss band-aids, but these are just the few that stick out in my mind. I am glad to be free of them and look forward to this continued journey toward peak performance in health and fitness.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Feeling Much Better and Ready to Conquer!

Today was the first day that I really felt up to working out after fighting this pesky cold. I did some upper body strength training, abs, and hit the treadmill. I got so much more out of my treadmill workout than just some good cardio. Those 20 minutes I spent on the treadmill gave me a mental boost as well. I did some hill intervals and even got up to about 10 min/mile--this may be nothing for all those avid runners out there. But for Shay Shay it was a first! See, I've always "hated the treadmill" and "had bad knees and a bad ankle, so I can't run". Well, being on that treadmill, listening to my still only 25 track I-Pod (I know, I know, I'm going to work on that--I promise), and running it up hill and a little faster each few minutes was such an awesome feeling! But for it getting late ( I had to go out and support my tennis team--currently (and will maintain) 1st place McGhee Super Slammers, who took all 5 points today!), I could have run even longer--I know it! I can't wait to keep testing myself as I work toward that 13.2 mile mark.

This journey truly has become so much more for me than losing weight and looking great in some bikini (which I will do!). It truly has become about fitness and becoming a real athlete. I have played sports since I was 5 years old (life was so much simpler when I just had to hit a ball off a tee), but I was never an athlete in the real sense. In order for me to really perform, I have to make sure that I am giving my body the proper fuel and training. To really perform, I just can't eat any old junk and show up. I have to show up READY.

I am committed to always showing up READY--READY to CONQUER!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shay Shay Knows When to Hold 'Em, Knows When to Fold 'Em. . .

Ah, you know the rest. I was so excited to get on the tennis courts tonight with some of my teammate friends. I haven't gotten out since before Thanksgiving (which seems like forever!), and today was as warm as it will probably get for a while!

Well, this morning, I woke up feeling a little less than well. Shay Shay popped some Airborne after my usual oatmeal and headed to work.

Well, three Airborne doses later (it could be in my head, but it usually works pretty well for me), I still feel like I'm about to get hit with a nasty cold.

I was going to be stubborn and still hit the courts. But thanks to a good and wise friend of mine who always sets me straight, I decided to Walk Away and leave work a little early, eat some soup, and REST although I was ready to Run!

So, the Dealins' Done. I'm resting and appreciating that I listened to my body (and to my friend). Rest today means recovery sooner. Recovery sooner means I can get back to the courts and gym before I know it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stress, The Other Pint of Ice Cream

I'm sure you have heard that Pork is the Other White Meat. Well, for me Stress is the Other Pint of Ice Cream. But you know what: Shay Shay DOESN'T EAT PORK, and I WON'T LET STRESS GET THE BEST OF ME!

I have read numerous articles that unhealthy stress levels can pack on the pounds and/or inches. Hence, it's the Other Pint of Ice Cream. Like everyone, I have a lot going on right now--personally, at work, the holidays are here. Around 4:00 yesterday my shoulders were so tense that I had to pause. When my shoulders get this tense, I know that I am letting stress get the best of me. So, I took a minute to exhale! This helped some, but Shay Shay needed a little more to shake this unhealthy level of stress.

Around 6:00, I took a break from work and headed to the gym. I did some lower body strength training, which I was scheduled to do. But, let's face it--strength training isn't the most relaxing thing in the world. Necessary, but really not all that relaxing when you see your face scrunch up and have to make all kinds of sounds to push out that last rep!

So, Shay Shay danced! As I was finishing up strength training, Latin Impact was about to start. I got in there and just let it go--let go all the pressures I am facing. I didn't even stay for the whole class (Shay Shay got a little hungry), but just those 25 minutes really made a difference for me (and I burned some extra calories-sweet).

With my shoulders relaxed, I was able to go home, have a bowl of Ezekiel Cereal with almond milk and bananas and crank out some more work before I went to bed. I slept well! And, I woke up feeling great and ready to take on the day!

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving is Over; So Now It's On!!!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I sure did. It was awesome to spend time with my family and catch up with my dear friends from childhood at some local spots that we thought would NEVER exist in our little ol' town (shout out to La Hacienda (margaritas and karaoke not too shabby) and the "club" at the Farmhouse Restaurant (it was like a high school reunion-I LOVED IT!).

And, I can't say enough about Grandma's homemade sweet potato biscuits, and Mom made slamming homemade rolls (yep, I'm a bread fan indeed!). The weather was pretty good too, so I actually managed to log in some miles while away (running on the boardwalk by the beach--does it get any better; also got to get cracking on this Half Marathon Training so lounging on the couch really wasn't an option!). By the way, Shay Shay has never been a jogger/runner, but I tested myself and I actually ran! I surprised myself! See what we can do when we just push ourselves!

If you haven't checked out my Updated Goals list, you will see that I fell 4 lbs shy of my 10 lb goal for November. Am I disappointed--NOT AT ALL! I aimed high, knowing that my effort would lead to some good results. With my birthday and Thanksgiving, I am actually proud of Shay Shay's effort. I'm learning that the keys to setting goals are: 1. Aim High--shoot for what you think is impossible and see what great results will occur; 2. Be Specific; 3. Have a timeframe by which to measure success. With these 3 principles, I have revised my goal list. With Christmas less than a month away, and new goals to push toward, I am ready to push it to the limit!

I can't wait to see what I will accomplish.

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Great Birthday Weekend!!

As I type, I am BEAT! Why? Because I had an AWESOME Birthday Weekend! Thank you for all the birthday cards, phone calls, emails, text messages, shout outs, birthday meals and gifts! My family and friends really made me feel special this year. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Friday: My Day
Lunch out with my girls Myra and Kesha! We've been really busy lately, so it was great to hang out with y'all (missed you Tarece!!!).

I stayed at the office late Friday--on my birthday! I was really tired because I got in a 5 AM birthday workout with my buddy Stephanie. Thanks to Stephanie and hubby Chef Joel (and I can't forget my little buddies Koel and Gabe) for the WONDERFUL and relaxing meal in your beautiful and welcoming home (butternut squash soup, my favorite-crab cakes, chocolate fudge cake, OH MY!).

Stephanie and me; tired after a long day, but our tummies are full of joy from Chef Joel's FABULOUS Birthday meal. A nice way to end my birthday evening--great friends, tasty morsels, good wine, and I could wear my sweats!

Saturday: A busy, fun filled day!

I started off the day with great company and a wonderful breakfast with V, a fellow UVa Alum visiting ATL. Then, a great day of tennis--GO McGhee Super Slammers--Taking all 5 points!! I dropped by Myra's for a nice gathering of friends and got a chance to play with my little sweetie pies-her adorable children.

Then, it was PARTY TIME!!! Hanging out with Stacey (my fellow trainee with Murph--we missed you, Man!), Shareka (my soror and buddy from work), and Kesha (continuing to help me celebrate).


Sunday: All great weekends must come to an end.

I closed out my birthday weekend with Kesha and Ain't Misbehavin' at the Fox. Another great time--the cast was awesome (Shout out to cast member, my cousin Patrice Covington-YOU'RE A STAR!).

As you can see, I am truly blessed (and can probably see why I am pooped)! I better rest up the rest of the evening--5 AM with Murph will be here before I know it!

P.S. For those of you wondering: where the heck was your Sweetie that you are always talking about, Shay Shay! No, we're doing JUST FINE! My Sweetie was sick and had to work, and I missed him dearly. He certainly didn't miss out on blessing me for my birthday though. Looking forward to seeing John Legend (one of my FAV artists!), Baby! Thanks and HUGS!!!!!!

Friends of Shay Shay's blog: Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels to those going by road, air, or tracks. Be Blessed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Go Shay Shay, It's Your Birthday!!

Shay Shay is 32 and is more active than I was when I turned 22!! Ironically, I had just turned 22 when I started by first weight loss journey (you know the one where I lost 46 lbs only to gradually gain them all back plus some extra pounds!). Well, not only am I more mature in life, I am also more mature about the way I eat and exercise. I am developing a true lifestyle of health and fitness. I am down 48 lbs (3 lbs away from my 10 lb goal for the month). For that, I AM CELEBRATING!! So, it's about 7:00 AM, and I am already having a great day!

  • I lifted weights and did a little bit of cardio ;
  • Had my hot bowl of tasty Oatmeal a la Shay Shay;
  • Read some wonderful birthday cards and text messages; and
  • Registered for the ING Georgia Half Marathon!!

Nope, Shay Shay has never run a half marathon (although I have registered for one before. LOL!) I am committed to making this a wonderful experience, but a challenging one because Shay Shay DOES NOT run for the most part. I am one mean power walker though!

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of hanging out with friends. I'll take pictures and post them.

Happy Friday and Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

Okay, I thought I lived in Hotlanta!! It's in the 20s!! I'm bummed because it was too cold (for me) to get on the tennis courts last night (sorry Coach, but numb fingers two days in a row is not my idea of fun!). As I sit here, eating my Oatmeal a la Shay Shay, I can't believe I actually got out of the warm covers and hit the gym this morning (kudos also go to my pal, Stephanie who also braved the cold with me)!

It may be mad cold outside, but this is no time for Shay Shay to hibernate. I have definitely let the cold weather serve as an excuse in the past. No more! I mean really, when I think about it, I'm only in the elements about 15 seconds--the time it takes for me to get out of the car and run into the gym (and I mean run fast!)

This winter, I will avoid the sugary hot chocolate (it's all about the green tea, baby!) and the bulky sweaters to hide the effects of winters' past. Keeping focused during winter even when hibernation seems like a much better idea will make my spring and summer much more happy and fun!

Stay warm and have a great Hump Day!

Shay Shay

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Shay Shay Has to Get Sleep!

I have read a lot lately that a 6 AM workout is only effective if you go to bed at 10 PM the night before. I have also read that a lack of sleep (less than 7 hours) could actually add flab to the waistline (WHO WANTS THAT--Not Shay Shay!)

There was a time, when I was in bed by 9:30 pm and at the gym by 5:10 am. Now early morning workouts are not for everyone. I am blessed and cursed as a VERY EARLY morning person. I felt great, was making steady progress toward my fat loss goals, and had lots of energy throughout the day--very productive at work! Lately, I have been staying up WAY TOO LATE in part due to blogging (which I am enjoying) and Facebook (it can be addictive!). I have been getting up still for 5 AM workouts, but I found myself sluggish throughout the day. What's the point of that!

I was scheduled to hit the gym this morning at 5 AM, but I didn't get home from tennis until after 10 PM, which meant I didn't go bed until around 11:00 PM.

So, I decided after much debate that I had to get the proper rest. I skipped the gym this morning to get an extra hour or so of rest. I'll get in some exercise tonight instead. And, wouldn't you know, I have much more energy and feel much more productive today! Rest is an important part to achieving my health and fitness goals. I have to make rest a priority!! In addition to keeping my food diary, I am going to start logging when I go to bed and how I feel in the morning and throughout the day (at least until I get back into the habit of going to bed at a good time). I know this may sound like a lot to add into one's life, but it will only take a few minutes, and I believe it will have a big pay off! Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why Shay Shay is Determined to Keep Her Eyes on The Prize!

It's been quite a while since I have blogged. I have been thinking about blogging, but haven't sat down and actually typed. I have been steady on my mission toward my goals, though. I have been keeping my food diary and hitting the gym more frequently and effectively. With two weeks until the end of the month, I have lost about 5 lbs; 5 more to go to my 10 lb monthly goal! This will NOT be a cake walk! My birthday is this Friday and I go home to Virginia for Thanksgiving the following Tuesday! I am not going to fret! Here are my Top 10 Reasons Why Shay Shay is Determined to Keep Her Eyes on the Prize!

10. I have given away all of the clothes of my former body!

9. I have put this fat loss journey on blast to the world---my reputation is at stake!

8. Who wants to be the chubby woman with the lean, buff man?! NOT Shay Shay! (My Sweetie is really getting lean and building muscle--a real motivator!)

7. I feel great!

6. I have tried this weight loss thing before; Shay Shay is not trying to make this an unhealthy cycle!

5. I like buying pants again (or at least not avoiding buying them because of my thighs!), although I am now becoming more a skirt and dress fan (my legs are shaping up the way I want, but slow down Shay Shay, you're not there yet!).

4. Shay Shay likes hearing her Sweetie say things like "WOW!", "That's What I'm Talking About" and "Man!" (don't get me wrong, he has always told me I'm beautiful, but now he has that "$@*#, you look good!" look when we are about to go out on the town. LOL!).

3. Heck, who doesn't like getting attention and being told they look great! Yeah, call me vain, but guess what Carly Simon, this blog IS about ME! (Shoutout to all the Carly Simon fans)

Need I say more?

1. I want to be 80, still playing tennis and have my doctor tell me, "Wow, I think you have found the fountain of youth!"

Have a great week!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shay Shay Answers Questions, Shares Food Journal, and Learns a Lesson!

Happy Friday!! This post is a little longer than I like, but I have a lot to say today.

First, I want to answer a few questions from one of the blog's faithful followers:

EMS asked:

Tell me more about the mid morning meal. When are your eating that. I am really having trouble planning out the in between meals. Also, do you make your smoothies at home, then bring them to work? Lastly, any tips on how to keep fresh fruit, raspberries and blackberries, from going bad so quickly.

Shay Shay answers:

1. My mid-morning meal: This meal depends on when I have had my first meal of day, which is typically between 6:30-7:00 AM. I try to eat every 2-3 hours, and I usually will eat around 9:30-10:00. Even if I have a meeting, I try to eat something just before or will take an apple and some almonds in with me. Now, you may say that's rude, but I have found that folks don't care, are use to me dragging around food, and/or see my progress and understand exactly what I am doing.

2. I make my smoothies at home and take them with me to work. Sometimes, I need to add a little water because it may get a little thick.

3. Keeping fruit fresh. This was tough for me at first. Who has $$ to throw in the garbage! I buy frozen berries and mangoes for smoothies (Europe's Best is great and found at regular grocery stores). I now only buy one carton of strawberries at a time, and I have figured out how many bananas I need a week to make my oatmeal. Apples and oranges also last A LOT longer than other fruits, so I buy a lot of apples (because I don't like to peel oranges and the juice is just too sticky for the office or on the go).

Hope this helps!

Now here's my food journal for Monday-Thursday:


Morning: lemon water (I just added this to my routine to help cleanse); Oatmeal a la Shay Shay (i.e. my usual), and green tea

Mid-morning: Protein Smoothie with a few left over baked sweet potatoes

Lunch: Salmon over salad greens, mandarin oranges, and a little feta w/ lemon juice (I ate out for lunch)

Late afternoon snack: Apple and about 10 almonds

Dinner: Tofu stir-fry

Pre-Tennis: apple

Exercise: Whole Body Strength training in the morning; 2 hours tennis practice in the evening


See Election Day posting. Oh, and I forgot to add that I had a couple sips of Champagne--it was a CELEBRATION!

Wednesday-- Post Election Day Off to Recover

Morning: Lemon Water, Oatmeal a la Shay Shay, and green tea

Mid morning: I worked out so didn't have a meal.

Lunch Out: two blackbean cakes with slaw and garden salad with sprinkle of bleu cheese (I dipped my salad greens in Asian Ginger dressing brought on the side); one noodle of a very tasty mac n cheese that my lunch partner insisted I have (I may have to go back for it one day as a treat!)

Late Afternoon Snack: Apple and about 10 almonds

Dinner: Egg white omelet with shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, and tomato


Exercise: I was scheduled to train this evening, but forgot I had a work event. This is why I try to work out in the morning as much as possible. I don't have as much control of time after 8:00 AM!

Morning: lemon water, Oatmeal a la Shay Shay, green tea

Mid-morning: Apple, about 10 almonds

Lunch (Hosted United Way lunch for work): Salad with grilled mushrooms (Ordered vegetarian meal; Didn't eat much of it because it had a creamy white dressing I didn't recognize), wheat roll (because Shay Shay was a tad bit hungry); few sips of virgin mimosa; green tea with pear flavor (YUM!)

Late Afternoon snack: apple, about 6 almonds

Dinner (work event): Okay, there is a brief story here. So, as you can see, I didn't eat much today. By this time, I am more than a little hungry (and it was NOT thirst!). I walk in and was delighted to see a reception area with heavy appetizers. I avoid the fried chicken lollipops, shrimp and grits with cheddar and ham, and the prime rib rolls. Instead I opt for the grilled asparagus, tomato salad and wheat crackers. Oh, and I had one fried green tomato with a little cheese because my colleague said it was worth it. It was, and this one of my favorites since moving to Atlanta! Shay Shay is satisfied, for now, because I knew there was a sit down dinner coming. Right? WRONG!

So, the lights flicker signaling us to go to the next room. OH NO, it's set up AUDITORIUM STYLE! No tables with white linen napkins and table settings! When the program is over, I make a mad dash past the plentiful dessert table set up for post-program enjoyment (because sugar wasn't going to do the trick or help my waistline). I leave STILL HUNGRY! It's after 8:30 after I get home, so I need something to eat and quick. Thank goodness for Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Cereal, almond milk, strawberries and bananas! Ah, now all is well.

So, what did Shay Shay learn today: If I'm not sure what is going to be served, pack a better cooler and eat a little something before I leave. Hungry and Weak is not a good look for Shay Shay! Also, I need to add a little more variety to my meals--I don't want to get bored and then go for something unclean just to mix it up.

Have a Great Weekend!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shay Shay Takes on Election Day!

Yesterday I was able to play an active role in the most historic election of my almost 32 years! I was a Poll Watcher at a Fulton County Precinct, and what an exciting day! Here's how it went:
  • 1:00 AM- I finally go to bed.
  • 4:00 AM- I wake up to finish preparing my materials for the day. Only 3 hours sleep! A real no, no! Shay Shay needs her sleep!
  • 5:00 AM- I eat my favorite oatmeal and then head out to make copies of materials.
  • 6:30 AM-I arrive with two boxes of sweet smelling doughnuts and juice. Shay Shay, keep it together; these are not for you! They are for the Poll Workers. I had my cooler filled with clean eats: hummus, raw broccoli, apples, bananas, strawberries, almonds, and multigrain pita chips (those pita chips can be dangerous; so darn yummy!). Yeah, I could have brought clean eats for the Poll Workers too, but I wanted them to let me in the door! They were facing a long day and under a lot of pressure. They wanted SUGAR!! I'm no clean eating prude, but Shay Shay must remain focused!
  • 7:00 AM-The polls open. The line is down the street!
  • 7:00 AM-7:00 PM-I work to protect voters rights. Exercise for the day consists of standing for 8 straight hours before sitting for a moment and getting back up again. Shay Shay keep away from the pizza, potato chips, and Twinkies!
  • 7:15 PM- I arrive at my neighborhood election night party. I'm still energized, but my back is killing me (As you can see, I endure with a smile because this night is HUGE!). Okay, who brought the fried chicken tenders and buttered popcorn!?! Oh, wait, Shay, Shay! There is an Edible Arrangements Fruit Basket. Salvation!! Nope--Mayday,Mayday: CHOCOLATE DIPPED FRUIT EVERYWHERE! Hey, this is a celebration, right? I indulge (except for the chicken tenders), and it was all tasty!
  • 9:00 PM- Shay Shay is about to crash. As you can see: Shannon takes over and stretches out under her wrap and watches the results.
  • No concept of time anymore: Dead tired. Wait, they are projecting a winner: Obama wins! Shay Shay returns and is ready to party!

It really was a SUPER day! Throughout the day, all the voters were patient and expressed so much appreciation for the work of the Poll Workers and my work as the Poll Watcher. It was so awesome to work with a group of Poll Workers that ranged in age from early 20s to 70s. To see the young and young at heart work together and work together so well as one unit warmed my spirit. I am inspired by the history that I am witnessing and am thankful that I could play a small role.

P.S. I am determined to make a little history of my own in the health and fitness world--starting with one day looking fabulous in that green bikini I bought! :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shay Shay is Sharing Food Journals with You!

Did you know that studies have revealed that those who keep food journals lose TWICE as much weight as those who don't. I saw the most progress when I kept a food journal, and then I got lazy! Since I'm going Back to Basics, I have decided to really put myself out there and share my daily food journal with you every few days. I vow to be completely honest!! I took pictures yesterday (in that workout top I discussed in yesterday's blog) and will take another set after a month of keep my food journal. I will share the pictures with you. Stay tuned! Here is how I did this weekend:

Saturday, Nov. 1
  • Morning: Old Fashioned Oatmeal w/flaxseed, wheat germ, bee pollen, strawberries and 1/2 banana; green tea

  • Post work-out: Smoothie with silken tofu, vanilla whey protein, mango and berries

  • Lunch out: Salad w/balsamic vinegar, drizzle olive oil, 2 whole wheat pumpkin seed crackers, vegetable soup, 1 dark chocolate square

  • Dinner: Baked sweet potato fries, veggie burger on Ezekiel bread, lettuce, tomato, dill pickle(my grandmother canned them)

  • Movie Night: 100 calorie pack popcorn

  • Workout: 30 minutes kickboxing; 30 minutes cross training elliptical

Sunday, November 2

  • Morning: Ezekiel cereal, strawberries, 1/2 banana, flaxseed, green tea

  • Mid-morning: Egg white omelet with shrimp, spinach, tomato, portobello mushroom, garlic and 1 slice Ezekiel toast

  • Pre-tennis snack: Multigrain pita chips, whole banana

  • Post-tennis meal: Vegetarian burger on Ezekiel bread, with homemade dill pickles, salsa, lettuce and baked sweet potato fries (You'll see this meal often on the weekends!); green tea

  • Evening: Smoothie, with vanilla whey protein, silken tofu, berries, and mango chunks w/ one small banana

  • Workout: Two hours singles tennis

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shay Shay Needed a Reality Check

I am definitely proud of my weight loss accomplishment to date, but I had to give myself a reality check this morning as I debated whether I would spend my morning on the couch or in the gym. Yeah, I think I'm looking really cute in those little black dresses (see October postings "Origins of Shay Shay" and "Enjoying Life in Beautiful Palm Springs"), but I have some fitness goals to meet (see them on the left of the page). Have I been putting in the whole-hearted effort to meet them? Not really.

Nutrition for me has not been my biggest hurdle. For some reason, I have managed to do well with eating clean (don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect). My issue has been pushing myself in the gym on a consistent basis to take my physique to the next level of fitness.

So, on this gorgeous fall day, I went deep into my dresser drawer; pulled out a very unforgiving workout top and headed to the gym where there are LOTS OF BIG MIRRORS!!! Looking at myself in that form fitting top and seeing my not so loving handles gave me the motivation I needed!

Come on Shay, Shay! Let's do this thing!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Body Weight Exercises are No Joke! and My Treat, No Tricks for Halloween!

Now that I am not traveling for a little while, I was able to have a training session with Murph yesterday. I hadn't totally abandoned my workout during my travels. I did some cardio and lifted some weights. Well, I clearly do not push myself as much as Murph pushes me! After about 15 minutes of body weight exercises (walking lunges, jump squats, high knees, oh my!) my legs were BURNING!! "Come on Shay Shay," Murph says. "Do 15; I'm sorry I meant do 20, Sis." Yeah, he wasn't sorry at all!

Well, I did 15 and then I did 20, and then repeated some more. 45 minutes had passed, and I was feeling it! Then Murph tells me, take six laps around the the indoor track! Are you kidding me? "No, Shay Shay, you can do it." And, he was right. I did it! I'm sore, but it's that good kind of sore. The feeling of accomplishment.

Now, I just need to push myself just as hard in the gym as Murph pushes me. I'm a work in progress, but I know I'll get there.

It is Halloween, but no candy for me this year! In just a few moments, I will be meeting some girlfriends for a nice Indian meal out--a real TREAT for me! I'm making sure NOT to play any TRICKs with my goals and overeat just because I'm socializing and having fun.

Be Safe Out There and Have a Great Weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thank You for Your Support and Encouragement!

I am so glad I decided to create this blog!! Thank you to everyone (from Canada to Florida) who has posted a comment, become a follower, emailed me, or stopped me to say "great job" or that you have enjoyed and been inspired by this blog. Your encouragement motivates me to keep going! Please feel free to post comments, questions, or suggestions anytime! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to the Basics

Now that it looks like I have a break from work travel until December, it's time for me to get BACK TO THE BASICS that helped me get this far on my journey to Losing Fat and Winning in Life. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on my favorites: frozen mango chunks and mixed berries, bananas, granny smith apples, natural almonds, Ezekiel cereal, almond milk, veggie burgers, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and tofu (silken for smoothies; super firm for stir-fries). I have ahi tuna, shrimp, and veggies in the freezer, spinach in the fridge and plenty of black beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas in the cupboard. I AM READY TO START COOKING AGAIN!!!

I will pick up my training sessions again; hit cycling and kickboxing at the gym, and fit in more tennis (although its getting cold in Atlanta!).

I will also start keeping my food diary again and share it on a weekly basis. Importantly, I will go to bed before 10:00 PM!! Between traveling and discovering Facebook and blogging, I have been staying up WAY TOO LATE!!

Getting back to these basics will give me the boost I need as my birthday, the holidays, and cold weather approach. This is the time when extra motivation is needed. I am up for the challenge! Will you join me?

P.S. Thank you to my friends in Birmingham for the great hospitality (and lunch) on my last business trip for a little bit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enjoying Life in Beautiful Palm Springs!

After a busy week of work travel, I journeyed with Ron and his parents to beautiful Palm Springs to celebrate Ron's Uncle Barry's and Aunt Pam's 60th Birthdays! We had a great time with family and friends--and the weather-- SPECTACULAR!!! This trip reminded me why it is important for me to live healthy and live life to the fullest! Although it was a celebration of 60 years, these wonderful folks partied like they were in their 20s! You should have seen them on the dance floor--looking good and feeling good!

So, although this fat loss journey for me has been one part--I want to look good--it's mainly about feeling good for life!! I hope you enjoy some of the pictures from our trip.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If "That One" Can, So Can I

I am in Richmond, Virginia on business. Barack Obama was on the campaign trail in town and stayed in the hotel where I am. He is obviously very busy right now, and I am sure extremely tired. Yet, where was he this morning--working out in the hotel gym. And guess what--I MISSED HIM because I was too tired to get out of bed to fit in a work out!! As you can see, I was able to make the rally, but I missed a closer up opportunity because I just couldn't get out of bed. It is well known that exercise is a part of Barack's and Michelle's lifestyle. So, if Barack Obama can work out as he runs for THE TOP JOB in the world, I can surely get out of bed too! YES I CAN!!!

This is Shay Shay, and I approve this non-partisan message.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On the Road Again

One of my biggest challenges is business travel. My job requires quite a bit, and for some reason September-October has been the busiest travel times for me for the last couple years. What has business travel typically meant for me--getting off track with clean eating and exercise. Here is what a typical travel day has been in the past:

Morning: Too tired to get up and work out because the day before was a long day or the gym is small with little equipment so I just say forget it. I am tempted by the biscuits and fried potatoes on the breakfast menu. I show up to the meeting, and a big plate of muffins just call my name.
Lunch: Boy do those fried house made chips look good! Wait, is that buttery, creamy seafood chowder!
Dinner: Hmmm, the warm bread basket, calamari, and bread pudding with caramel sauce would be the perfect end to my long, stressful day.
Bedtime: I can't sleep; I have more emails to return; I can live on only 5 hours sleep.
Then this typical day turns into a typical few days, with different food temptations, and then BAM I have gained 2 lbs or more!! Then, when I get back home, it's tough to get back on track.

This October I am determined NOT to let this be the norm! Things started off a little shaky, but I am now carrying my fruit, nuts, and Ezekiel cereal with me to my meetings. I am going to the gym, and when the gym is not the best--I get creative and use the hotel stairs or go for a power walk. I am eating sensibly for breakfast (every hotel has oatmeal), lunch and dinner. I will have a treat if I want a taste of something I normally wouldn't have, but I have my eyes on my goals. I keep telling myself that nothing tastes as good as being healthy and fit feels (and it will feel even better when I reach my goal).

May the force be with me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What is Clean Eating Anyway?

I learned about clean eating from The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno ( This book was simple to follow and gave me the tools I needed to jump start my journey toward health and fitness. For me, clean eating simply means following a lifestyle of eating a very limited amount of processed food; limiting the amount of junk that I put in my body. The key here is this is a lifestyle not a diet for me. Oh, in case you're wondering: I LOVE FOOD, so I don't eat anything just for the sake of eating clean. I MUST LIKE IT and ENJOY IT! Here are the essentials to my clean eating lifestyle:

Number of times I eat a day: 5-6 small meals, protein and complex carbohydrate. If I am traveling or in meetings all day, I still try to fit in my meals. I have found that people don't care if you pull out an apple and nuts during a meeting.

Fluids: at least 52 ounces water a day; green tea (at least twice a day); I try not to drink calories, except on very special occasions.

Food staples: I eat a variety of foods, but here are some of my core items: old fashioned or steel cut oatmeal; fresh fruit (especially apples, berries, and bananas); fresh vegetables (spinach and broccoli are my favorites); raw and unsalted almonds and walnuts and almond butter; Ezekiel cereal and bread (yes, Ezekiel as in the book in the Bible; the ingredients are taken from Chapter 4, verse 9 -- no flour, but really yummy!), beans and fish (I have pretty much given up all meat; never pork, no beef--but I'll have the occasional taste of a lamb chop if it is yummy!; rarely any chicken); brown rice.

Supplements: I mainly use these in my oatmeal: Flaxseed--rich in essential fats this is great for your hair, nails, and skin!; bee pollen--great in my oatmeal, it improves energy levels and aids fat loss; wheat germ--a great source of fiber; vanilla whey protein--a great non-meat protein source and gives oatmeal and smoothies a little more flavor. I use Aria for Women, a low glycemic (i.e. low sugar) whey.

Cooler-- When I am not traveling, I carry a cooler with an ice pack to keep my 5-6 small meals. When I'm on the road fruit, nuts, and Ezekiel cereal are great for traveling. I also use Carrington Milled Flax Paks so that I can at least have flaxseed on the road.

This is just a snapshot of how I have incorporated clean eating into my lifestyle. It takes a little getting used to at first, but now its no big deal at all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Origins of Shay Shay and Why I Am Blogging

In 1999, I began a journey toward a 46 lb weight loss. I felt and looked great! By 2006, the year I turned 30, I had pretty much gained back all 46 lbs. For my 30th birthday, I bought myself personal training sessions to help me get back to the healthier me. I was tired of being overweight, not buying pants (yes, I refused to buy pants because I wasn't going to go to THAT size--can you relate?), and not liking the way I looked in pictures (see the extra large me (pink top) in Summer 2005. NOTE: I was not at my heaviest in this picture. By 2007, I couldn't fit those jeans!). I trained and trained, and lost hardly any weight! Why? Because I had not changed my eating habits. In June 2007, I discovered "clean eating" (thanks to my biggest supporter Ron). Clean Eating gave me the boost I needed. Coupled with some serious motivation in the gym, the pounds started to drop. Shortly thereafter, Shay Shay was born (thanks to my trainer Murph, who started working with me in August 2007 and who just couldn't bear to call me Shannon during our sessions). Shannon has always been motivated to succeed, but Shay Shay, as Murph would say, "takes [her] game to another level" when she works out.

So now, its October 2008 and about 45 lbs later (see me (black dress) in September 2008, a work in progress), I am Losing Fat and Winning in Life (Life is great; I feel great!). Yet, Shay Shay sometimes let's Shannon's crazy work/travel life get in the way of her goals and she loses focus. So, I have decided to create this blog to keep me motivated, honest and accountable, and to encourage others to reach their goals for health and fitness. I have not reached my goal of 18-21 % body fat, so I need to keep pressing toward the mark. Shay Shay will be as open and honest as Shannon will allow her to be. (smile) I look forward to sharing this journey with you.