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.