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 . . .