Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! The BEST Day of Giving!

Merry Christmas! Today, first and foremost I honor the birth of Christ. For my life, He is THE greatest gift of all.

On this most special Day 25 I gave myself quality time with my family. Any time I get to spend with my family is a blessing, but a few weeks ago I was not sure if I would make it to Virginia. So today is truly a gift. Not even this nagging cold and sinus issue can dampen my mood!

I have learned a bit about myself and my goals for health and fitness over these last 25 days. With the holiday season coming to a close, I am looking forward to getting back on a more disciplined routine and seeing what my body can do!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Days of Giving: Days 19-24

Happy Christmas Eve! Time has surely flown, but I have known this all year! So what has Shay Shay been giving myself this last week!

Day 19: Kale! The gift that just keeps on giving! I could say so much more about this lovely leafy green, but I will just say that I am so glad I tried it after years of "not liking it". I have to thank my god friend and sister in iron and one time trainer Anna Mae for introducing me to kale. Today I scrambled in my whites for breakfast and had kale chips for two of my snacks. Kale gives me a great way to get in more veggies.

Day 20: Boomerang. Just like my sorority pledge sister known as Boomerang, I had to become one with my eating today! I enjoyed a belated birthday and Christmas gift exchange lunch with three of my dearest friends. I will admit that I really indulged, especially in lots of the table side guacamole. Instead of doing what I have done many times in the past with much regret like a boomerang I returned to what I know: I added a cardio session before my pre-Cavalia dinner and ate a healthy meal out of salmon, veggies and butternut squash. An overall good food day!

Day 21: Research and planning. I plan to take my health and fitness level to even greater heights in 2012. Today with my January 2012 Oxygen and Clean Eating Magazine Comfort Food Special Edition in tow, I started putting together my plan for taking my physique to the next level. the process itself is motivating, and I am excited about what I know I will work to achieve in 2012! Stay tuned.

Day 22: Dusting off something new: I have had the Biggest Loser Wii game for a really long time, but have never used it. Well during this holiday season I decided to mix up the workout a little--especially because I don't have access to the gym. I did one of the challenges for the "advanced athletes" as that is Shay Shay, right? What a workout! I totally underestimated it! I will not let that game get dusty again!

Day 23: Active wellness: I guess all of my ripping and running caught up to me! I got a bad sore throat and cold. I have been known to suffer through but I can't afford to be down and out--especially during the holidays. So I got out my old fashioned remedys coupled with a little over the counter and pumped the fluids.Amazing how a little active personal TLC works! Feeling so much better!

Day 24: Happy Christmas Eve! A day full of gifts!: Today I gave myself some active rest--did not leave the house--along with some good clean meals throughout the day, with a little weightlifting and Zumba without compromising my wellness progress. I also treated myself to just a sliver of my Grandma's zucchini bread--enough to know how delicious it is without compromising all of my good clean eats today. Excellent I must say myself!

One more day . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Days 13-18: Commitment

I can't believe that we are one week away from Christmas Day! I am so excited about spending some quality time with my family! We're a small crew, but we are tight and always have such a great time!

The last week has been another busy week of traveling on top of preparation for the holidays. Busy times like these can really get in the way. While I may miss a workout or two during this busy time, I refuse to get off my clean eating plan. These 25 Days of Giving to My Health and Fitness is helping me stay on track and not gain the usual holiday fat.

Day 13: (Re)Commitment. This journey is nothing without commitment. On Day 13 I heard a couple of ladies discuss their journey. One lady tried to be very encouraging and offer tips for success only to be met with excuses--I mean--reason after reason for why none of what I thought were sensible and practical tips would work. Then I watched the Biggest Loser where they previewed the next season--No Excuses! The gym conversation and the next season of BL got me to thinking about my own commitment level and how I at times can find excuses not to do what I know I should do for my health. Today I (Re)COMMIT fully to this journey. Mentally and Physically. I am going to Keep the Promises I Made to Myself and Honor my Commitment by following through.

Day 14. Preparation. Day 14 started at 4 Am to prepare to get on a plane for a business meeting. Traveling is always a challenge for my eating plan, but this time I PREPARED! I made Pumpkin Oatmeal Protein Pancakes the night before and heated them in the toaster oven and wrapped it up tightly before I headed to the airport. Once I got to the gate, I had a nice healthy meal to start my day. This was much better than the very luke warm--almost cold--oatmeal I had the week before. The water at Starbucks just wasn't hot enough to make the oatmeal I had made the night before warm enough to enjoy (because I always enjoy my morning oatmeal).

Oh, and I can't forget how having my Quest Protein Bars with me got me through the 11 hour day. Just because I'm stuck in a conference room, doesn't mean my metabolism must suffer!

Day 15. Sensible Social Outing. Today was my good friend Reesey Cups pre-birthday outing at our favorite Thursday night wing spot. We have made Thursdays at this spot also known as Thirsty Thursdays, a frequent experience. And an experience it is. We always enjoy the DJ and get our dance on in addition to just enjoying each other. This outing can, however, be contrary to my fat loss plan. $0.35 wings and $5.00 drinks = Recipe for Diet Disaster. Well not today! I focused on the socializing and not the food deals ordering a grilled chicken salad and putting two wings on my plate and giving the other 8 to my buddies to share. I just wanted a taste and honestly I enjoyed the salad better than the wings! SCORE for next time!

Day 16. Roller Skating. Today my Sweet Sport Fitness Challenge pals and I hit the skating rink. It was really good to get with the girls, but guess what: I CAN'T SKATE! The last time I even tried to skate, I was in the 7th grade and had a certain fella on my mind more than getting in the rink! I was really apprehensive, especially because my 35 year old body will not heal as fast as my 12 year old body would have! Besides, I have some serious tennis to play! Who needs an injury! Nevertheless, I got out there! I was SLOW, but I was skating! I'm actually looking forward to trying it again. My Sweetie use to skate all the time as a kid. So, maybe he'll help me learn! Skating is supposed to be quite the calorie burner!

Day 17. A Treat! Today Sweetie and I went to my FAVORITE restaurant in ATL-- The Pecan! their crabcakes--THE BEST! Not only was the meal a treat, dining out with my Sweetie is always a treat!

Day 18. Rest. This has been one busy week! After church today--we had our Christmas Around the World. I coordinated the November Birth Month's Christmas in Ireland display. It was great! The November members came through with some great display and food items. I hope to post pictures later. After a long day at church, cooking was not going to happen. I gave myself a break from the chicken and went out for a nice meal out--I made healthier choices of course! After dinner, I came home and I have been chilling since. I needed this break from all the ripping and running. It feels great to just sit on the couch and blog. (smile). It's going to be even greater getting to bed at a decent time for the first time in several days!

Just 7 days of giving to myself left. I wonder what's in store for me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What Gives Shay Shay! Days 6-12 of Giving!

Days 6-12 have been pretty sweet! I'm really digging this 25 Days of Giving series!

Day 6--25 minutes of speed intervals on the Step Mill. I really want to shape up these glutes of mine. Other than climbing real stairs, the Step Mill is a great machine to help shape up the rear! I have often either been intimidated by the Step Mill or have declared that it is just "too boring." But, I knew I had to get past this if I want to get the shape I want. With my U2 and Sting tunes in my ear, I climb the Step Mill, and I conquered it. I felt great afterwards and will enhance my use of the Step Mill in my workout plan.

Day 7--Will Power--Travel days are always difficult, but on Day 7 I gave myself the GIFT of WILL POWER! My business trip ended with a very late flight back home, so that meant dinner in the airport---gasp! Airport dining is always tricky because vendors try to make sure they have quick options. This typically means lots of fast food options and unhealthy sandwiches. This makes things very tough. Thankfully I had a little time to spare, so I was able to really study the menu at the restaurant of choice. While the french fries and fried seafood were really tempting, I opted for the broiled crabcakes and two servings of plain steamed green beans. The meal was actually very good, even out of a plastic carry-out container, and I felt really great about the Will Power I exerted to avoid all the more convenient and tasty, but bad for my body options.

Day 8--Extra Veggies--Veggies are essential to Building Muscle and Losing Fat. I have been looking at various eating plans of fitness professionals, and I am finding that my veggie intake is not optimal. Today I had veggies with four meals, instead of my usual two meals (this is out of the 5-6 meals I eat in a day). I need to plan my meals better so that I can get at least 5 servings of veggies a day. This will probably mean scrambling my egg whites with spinach in the mornings instead of put the whites in my oatmeal. This, I know I can do. Then, I'll have to make sure I cook enough veggies and protein to incorporate into my mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals. Morning, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner = 5 servings of meals. Hmmm, not as hard as I tried to make it!

Day 9--Holiday Cheer--This year I did not put up as many decorations as I have in previous years. To most people, I probably still am way above average. I know they are right. Today, I was delighted to share my festive home with my USTA Mixed Doubles Team for our end of the season celebration. I love my Mixed Team. They are an awesome bunch on and off the court. I really wanted them to feel warm and welcomed in my home. So, I dressed up the buffet table in holiday accessories (I really should have taken a picture, it was pretty) and added some additional holiday touches--just for them. As guests arrived, I had on some of my favorite holiday tunes, and the mood was set. It was a great evening of fellowship and full of CHEER indeed!

Day 10--Dance--If you know me really well, you know I LOVE TO DANCE! This evening I attend my sorority local chapter Holiday Party. There was a 65 year old gentleman there who shared my love to dance, and dance he could! He had more energy than men half his age. I had so much for this gentleman and was inspired by his love for dancing and clearly his zest for life! While many stood on the side just looking, we were on the floor whether there were others on the floor or not. It was a really fun evening. It helps that dancing is also a pretty good calorie burner--especially with this feisty 65 year old gentleman!

Day 11--Tennis!!--From reading this blog, you know tennis is a regular part of my life. So, why was today a gift? Today my tennis center--McGhee Tennis Center--held its Toys for Tots Round Robin. It was a chance to do something great to some deserving kids, but also a chance for our tennis community to get on the courts in a fun and non-competitive match atmosphere. Four hours of tennis playing and fellowshipping with my tennis pals. It was awesome!

Day 12--HIIT!--I will admit that when I rose this morning, I was not really all that motivated to get in a workout. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, I decided I need to get motivated and push myself! Nothing pushes you like High Intensity Interval Training! I love my Turbo Fire HIIT workout dvds, and today did not disappoint. I got in 20 minutes of straight HIITs. Twenty minutes may not sound like a lot, but 20 minutes of HIITs is like 50 minutes on any cardio machine. Trust me! I'm glad I got it in!

Looking forward to the second half of my 25 days of giving.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5 of Giving! WAHOO PRIDE!

WAHOOWA!!!! UVA is going to the Chick-Fil-La Bowl!!!!

Oh Day 5 is quite sweet!

Today I gave myself some PRIDE!

I'm PROUD of my Virginia Cavaliers for having an awesome season and landing a stellar bowl the Chick Fa La Bowl right in my adopted home ATL!!

I gave myself a BOWL TICKET because there is NO WAY I'm going to miss this experience!

The last time UVA was this ATL Bowl was 1998, when it was still called the Peach Bowl. I was there then. I had a blast but this time I have some additional PRIDE!

In 1998, I was wearing size 14 jeans to the Peach Bowl. This year, I'll be wearing my size 6s with much PRIDE!

I really am proud of the work I have put in to get to this point in my health and fitness.

I'm looking forward to seeing what else I can accomplish.

I'm also looking forward to following and supporting my Cavs and seeing what big things are ahead for the team!

Go Shay Shay!

Go 'Hoos!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Days 2-4 of Giving

Oh how I love this season! For me it is a time of reflection, sharing and fellowship, and of course giving. In addition to some of the charitable projects, I am excited about giving myself better health and fitness!

Day 2-- I gave myself some HEALTHY SNACKS from Trader Joe's. I LOVE Trader Joe's and discovered Roasted Plantain Chips and Savory Mini Edamame Crackers. Oh how yummy! I get the crunch that I sometimes crave without the guilt punch!

Day 3--I have myself a BIG FIGHT! I have been struggling on the tennis court lately and lost a tough semi-final match with my Mixed Doubles team on Day 2. Day 3 I had my first USTA 3.5 Women's match of the Winter Season and I was playing LINE 1!!! I actually knew one of the opponents, so I knew this would be a tough one! This was the first time my partner and I played together and we came out like gangbusters (she too having lost a tough match with our Mixed Doubles team the night before).

The first set we won 6-1. So, the second set should have been a breeze right? NEVER! We let down our intensity and low and behold we lost the second set 2-6! What the . . . .! Partner and I re-grouped or so we thought. We found ourselves down 1-4. Oh no! It will NOT go down like this!

Partner and I had a brief chat and determined that all we were missing was aggressiveness! So we picked it up and FIGHT WE DID! We got up 5-4, but I lost my serve and then we found ourselves at 5-6! So, we had to KEEP FIGHTING! We fought our way to the tie break 6-6 and then BAM! We won the tie break 7-1 and the MATCH!

This was the match I needed to get myself back in tennis mental shape! I love a good FIGHT! This is the gift that keeps on giving on the courts!

Day 4: After work travel, two days of tough tennis, and just being plain ol' busy, I was tired. I had plans for Sunday after church, but they got postponed. I was walking around the house looking for something to do and decided--hmmm, why not REST! The gift of Rest of just what I needed. REST another gift that keeps on giving!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 Days of Giving!

Wow, I can't believe that it's December already! 2011 is/has flown by big time!

With my birthday being just before Thanksgiving, the time between my birthday and New Year's always seems to go by faster than the rest of the year!

And of course this is also the time of year when when many of us on the journey toward better health and fitness--including me--let our guards down.

Well not this holiday season Shay Shay!

I have been seeing lots of celebrity personalities having 12 or 25 days of Christmas giveaways. I have decided to jump on the bandwagon (and NOT FALL OFF the wagon) with 25 days of Health and Fitness for Shay Shay!

Starting today until Christmas Day I am going to give myself something extra that will promote my goal of achieving optimal health and fitness.

Day 1: Today I gave myself a new wardrobe. Well not really. I didn't go shopping, but I did do some reorganizing of my closet and dresser drawers. So how does this promote better health and fitness?

For me, when things are organized my mind is clearer. My stress level is lowered. And my morning routine is more efficient. Without good mental health and better time management, my physical health will not improve.

This was not a major reorganization (that will be for another day when I have real time!). But it was just enough to give me a "feel good" feeling. When I look at my slightly reorganized closet and drawers, I really do get a feeling like I have a new wardrobe. Clothes just look better when they are better organized.

This little re-org project was not planned. I mean, after a day of work, who wants to organize closets and drawers. But, I am glad I took the time to do it. I have much more work to do, but for now I feel good about my quick little reorganization project.

I am actually looking forward to tackling the major reorganization one weekend soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So I'm 35. Now What! A New Goal Perhaps?

I turned 35 a little over a week ago. I had my own little personal pep rally regarding my health and fitness successes so far. I am proud of what I've accomplished. Very proud. But, I am not done yet!

I've been maintaining a steady weight and shape for a few months now. Again, I am thrilled to be solidly in a size 6, but my physique is still not where I want. I'll admit that I have not been putting in the work to achieve the physique I want. No excuses. I just haven't.


I am setting sights on being a TIGHT, LEAN, and MUSCULAR 135 at 35!

Really, Shay Shay--135?

There is a funny thing about not knowing what you don't know. When I began this Journey to Lose Fat and Win, I set a goal of 143-145, Size 8. Low and behold I'm here, and I'm still not satisfied!


Back in 2007, I didn't know that with clean eating and hard work in the gym, I could wear a size 6. In 1999 when I achieved about 145 through a low-fat, portion control diet, size 8 was it. Size 6 was not in the cards at that time.

That was before I knew about clean eating and the real benefits of pumping iron.

One of the things that inspired me at Fitness America 2011 Weekend in Las Vegas was that almost all of the women who graced the stage were over 30--over 35 actually!

So at 35, I am more motivated to work toward a fitness level that I didn't achieve at 23-25!

What nerve, Shay Shay!

I'm putting my eating and workout plan together. This is "Day 2" (I'm chuckling a little; only my Sweetie will get this inside joke).

After 10 days of vacation and holiday, 2 days or strict clean eating and working out really make me feel good.

I'm giving myself 45 days to reach my goal.

Will this be a little harder with this being the holidays? YEP!

But, I know I can and WILL do it!

Let's go Shay Shay, Let's go!

In 45 days, I'll be chanting Way to go, Shay Shay! Way to go!

I no longer think that I don't have the genes or the discipline to reach the highest levels of health and fitness.

I know I can do it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Thankful! Third Time is a Charm!


While today is designated as a day of thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for that one day could not capture it all.

I am grateful for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon me. For His love and mercy, I am thankful everyday.

I am thankful for my family--immediate and extended, dear friends, gainful employment at a thriving company doing something I enjoy.

I am thankful for joy and health and fitness. I have been given a vessel to carry my spirit that is capable of doing amazing things.

For years, I took this for granted, but no more!

I am determined to live the healthiest life I can live, to be the fittest I can be, to push myself beyond what I even can conceive.

What a way to start this day of Thanksgiving by being outside on a beautiful day that only the Lord could make and pushing myself on the pavement to finish another Half Marathon--#3 to be exact.

Third time is definitely a Charm. This race I had my #1 supporter in this journey to Lose Fat and Win. My Sweet Charm--My Sweetie!

For him, I am thankful!

[If I had a picture of him from the race, I would have inserted it here. You'll have to trust me--he was there; he ran; he did great!]

Time to get ready to enjoy the rest of this beautiful day and have some tasty morsels. I've earned my meal today!

Monday, November 21, 2011

35--BRING IT!!!

Happy 35th Birthday Shay Shay!

Yes, I turned 35 years old today! I am so grateful for all the blessings and prosperity bestowed upon me these 35 years. I know that for some, turning 35 (or other milestone ages) does not necessarily bring feelings of joy and celebration. But for Shay Shay, I am thrilled to be entering 35! Not only am I in a good place personally and professionally (and looking forward to being better and better), I am in THE BEST shape of MY LIFE!

The 35 year old Shay Shay could beat down the 15 or 25 year old Shannon in ANY fitness-related challenge. Shannon didn't run half-marathons. Shoot, Shannon didn't run half of anything! Now I have two under my belt with a third one on the way Thanksgiving Day (YES, THANKSGIVING--3 weeks after the Savannah Rock n Roll)!

Shannon was pretty good in softball, but Shay Shay puts in the time and effort to win championship matches in tennis!

Shannon would have rather spent a Sunday on the couch watching movies--even if it was a bad one or one seen many times before. Shay Shay will spend a Sunday hanging out at a Rock Climbing facility. Check out me last Sunday hanging with some of my buddies who are working toward better health and fitness.

Shannon spent her 30th birthday week in Las Vegas overweight and wearing a size 14/16. Shay Shay spent her 35th birthday in Las Vegas getting inspired and motivated to get Fitter and Finer at Fitness America Weekend 2011 and wearing a size 6 jeans!

Shannon didn't work out in Vegas; Shay Shay got in some strength training and a 5.5 mile run--runing from the resort all the way to the vintage Welcome to Las Vegas sign and back. When I visited Vegas in my 20s, my girls and I took a cab to catch a photo op at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. LOL!

Cheers to 35! I am ready to take 35 by storm!

I am ready to work harder and smarter at achieving the best level of fitness I can achieve and truly Lose Fat--FOR GOOD and Keep on Winning in Life!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Savannah Rock n Roll/Race & Relax: My Recap-FINALLY!

Last week this time, I was returning home from one of the most incredible experiences I have had on this Journey to Lose Fat and Win! When I did the ING Georgia Half Marathon in 2009, I said that I had checked that off the list and I was done! Well, when Race & Relax/Savannah Rock & Roll popped on the scence, I couldn't resist. I had so much fun at my first Race & Relax in Atlanta, that I had to get on board with Race & Relax on the Road--EVEN IF IT WAS A HALF MARATHON and not a 5K event this time!

With an experience like I had in Savannah, I couldn't help but get hooked on this running experience! For me, running is one part fitness enhancing, one part social. I love the benefits of both--both pieces are extremely rewarding. Here is my pictorial recap.


I sure did!

No road trip is complete without my healthy, clean snacks!

Wow, this race is popular! So many people-to RUN!

Just over this bridge is the race expo and my number!

Savannah really welcomed we Rock n Rollers with style. Thank you Savannah!

We Race & Relaxers enjoyed a wonderful pre-race meal at the Charter House and got a wonderful surprise--John "the Penguin" Bingham ( He was a great pre-race motivator! As The Penguin says "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." I agree!


My day started at 3:30 AM to get ready and out to the starting line.

Thank goodness for VIP--It was cold out there! Thank you American Cancer Society!

Finally Daylight--Let the Race Begin!!

I RAN my 13.1 . . .

and I was still FLYING on my RUNNER'S HIGH!

Now, it was time to RELAX--in VIP with Race & Relax Organizer, running diva, and my tennis teammate Lorraine ( !!!!

And more Relaxing--What a Gorgeous Table at The Pirate House! I had the catfish and grits! I can't wait to get into all my SWAG!

Shay Shay and my 2nd Race & Relax Trophy!

Ah, almost time to had back to the ATL but not before a delicious seafood meal on Tybee Island

These gators sure know how to RELAX!

Ah, the Tybee Island Beach--a nice scene after a long 13.1!

Back home--Look at ALL MY SWAG!! This makes 13.1 even MORE rewarding!

Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors who helped make this Race & Relax, Savannah Rock n Roll such a FABULOUS experience for me!

T from Racing With Babes who gave us race plans!

Hmmm, I guess after a two years of fighting it, I guess Shay Shay's a RUNNER now!

Thanksgiving Half Marathon here I come (with my Sweetie!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

13.1 and DONE. . .For Now! So Much to Recap!

This is NOT my official recap of what was the most wonderful weekend of Fitness and Support that I have experienced to date (and I know more are coming for Shay Shay!): The Savannah Rock n Roll Half Marathon & Marathon and Race & Relax!

I'm still on such a high that it is hard for me to really sit down and type out how awesome of a weekend I had! Not even going back to the busy time of the office and other commitments have deflated me!

In short--I beat my last half marathon time with a 2:31:35 minute finish.

Now, I am back in ATL (with slightly sore legs) and back at my clean eating and training routine. I have more challenges ahead--as in the next three weeks ahead!

I'm committing to recapping Savannah BEFORE these next challenges though.

I just need to settle down and stop flying!

Friday, November 4, 2011

No Turning Back!

The clothes are at the tailors. The waists are being taken in, and there is no room for my waist to grow!

Is this stressful? HECK NO!


I am excited to know that I will keep pushing and keep working toward my health and fitness goals.

I am VISUALIZING my tighter, leaner, and more muscular body! I really can see it!

There is NO TURNING BACK! I refuse to buy clothes again because perfectly wonderful clothes in my clothes are too tight because I just spiraled out of food control.

With the holiday season, this is my motivation!

No more gaining 15 lbs and then beating up myself January 2nd!

I have power over my physique's future!
I am Shay Shay, and I am NOT TURNING BACK!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Keeping My Eyes on the Prize!

Whew, today I got in 11 miles. I should have gotten them in last Saturday, but . . . [insert pitiful excuse here].

I am very proud that I got it in, and I am looking forward to the Race & Relax/Savannah Rock n Roll next Saturday! 13.1, here I come!

While I'm feeling great about my running progress, I know I am not doing all I can do to push past my limits as I move toward my 21 % body fat goal. I could give all sorts of reasons why I am given less than stellar effort. But, this is useless and doesn't help push me forward.

So, in a nutshell here is what I need to do: Keep My Eyes on the Prize!

If I stay focus and remind myself what I want to achieve to I can push past my limits and indeed ACHIEVE!

Come on Shay Shay! Get it together!

P.S.--Yes, I KNOW that I have done great. Yes, I know that I look and feel great. But, I know I can and will be GREATER!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


YES! I said it: I DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY AND STRONG! With the start of the week (Sunday was Taste of Atlanta--I won't say more), I got back into my routine, and I feel great!

It is amazing what just a few days of clean eating and good workouts can do for Shay Shay!

This morning I shared with the Sweet Spot Fitness Challenge crew 3 Reasons why I deserve a healthy and strong body. This exercise was not as easy as I thought, but I am glad I took time to think about it. I will remind myself of these reasons (especially when I have to rise before dawn to train) as I continue my journey to lose fat and win:

1. I am blessed with strong ability to push myself past my limits;

2. I work hard everyday, so I may as well feel and look good while doing it; and

3. I try to do what I can, no matter how small the gesture, to be a positive and better force in the world, but I cannot do this without being better to myself!

I am Shay Shay, and I DESERVE to be FIT!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adventures in Travel: Confession Time

A week ago Thursday, I traveled to Virginia for work, which included the bonus of seeing my family and some friends. I just got back Thursday evening--two days ago. Man, that's a long time to be away from your own home and routine.

I packed plenty of workout clothes and got in some good workouts actually.

I also did well with packing up my flaxseed, bee pollen and wheat germ so that I can have hearty oatmeal every morning and packed up some almonds. I bought lemons and apple cider vinegar for my morning drink/cleanse routine. I also bought some eggs, whites, sweet potatoes, hummus, bananas and a cucumber so that I could have some clean snacks. Mom had apples from an orchid in the mountains of Virginia too.

So food wise, if I made good choices in restaurants I was all set. Well, I did GREAT until (HERE COMES THE CONFESSION) I left my parents home and headed to Richmond! There I discovered two great restaurants that were not there when I lived there: Mama J's and Conch Republic.

Conch Republic was on the river (a beautiful scene from the patio where we dined). It had good fish and veggie choices, but they also plantains (yum! hadn't had these in a while!) and Swamp Fingers (alligator meat fried up nicely--YUM! NEVER had these and they were awesome!). I indulged in both dishes. One day of indulgence would have been fine. BUT, then I was introduced to Mama J's!

Everything is made from scratch and just oh so good! My cousin and sorority sister-friend and I basically had a buffet on our table. I opted for the better choice crab cakes, and only sampled the yams and mac n cheese while eating plenty of collards and cabbage--both cooked in a healthy way but oh so good. If I had stopped there--Shay Shay would have patted myself on the back. BUT NOOOOO!!

There they were--the wall of homemade cakes! Oh, I wish I had taken a picture. We split the Buttercream cake with Buttercream icing. We shared the cake--which is good--but it was a huge slice and not on my plan! Then on top of that, my cousin ordered the peach cobbler for us to share. I'm so glad I passed on the conference lunch desserts--they clearly were massed produced!

On top of the food, Mama J's was just a really nice social experience. The venue is just adorable and the people of Richmond, especially my peeps (including my sorority pledge sister who is a manager in the evenings) just topped off the atmosphere. It was like a mini-Thanksgiving! I enjoyed myself, but I know that this type of eating CANNOT happen for a long time if I want to achieve my goal of getting Stripped!

I'm back home and ready to get back at it. I'll be cooking my meals for the week and planning my workouts. I did a little damage with my progress with all the food indulgence, but nothing that can't be undone (I've already undone some of the damage) once I'm back on routine and up the ante--which was the plan anyway.

I'm going to get back to it next week and will report back with the results my effort to undo and move ahead toward my goals.

Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting Stripped and Finding My Sweet Spot!

I say this all the time, but I can't believe it's mid-October already! Just 11 days ago I shared that I'm ready to get Stripped! The Stripped plan by my Tosca Reno is an excellent program and has really gotten me to really focus on my clean eating without compromise. The main thing is that it is forcing me to cook! Check out these clean dishes! I really have been enjoying them!

Okra sautéed dash coconut oil

Roasted Butternut Squash Curry and Balsamic Chicken Breasts

My Leek Adventure. I've never cooked leeks. I didn't really know what they were!

But now, I have made Leek Soup!

My schedule has still been a little hectic with trying to incorporate 3 tennis leagues, half-marathon training, and then my regular strength and cardio training. I'm seeing progress with physique changes, down to 22.7% Body Fat, and losing inches, but I am not satisfied with my gym effort when I'm not training with G. I MUST STEP IT UP!

There's nothing like a support network and challenge to give the extra push toward your goals. On Monday, a group of my women's tennis teammates started The Sweet Spot Fitness Challenge: Tennis Sisters Finding Our Health and Fitness Sweet Spots.

In tennis, the "sweet spot" of the racket is the ideal place to hit the ball, thus producing a nice solid shot. This is the mission of the 90 day challenge. Each participant set their own fitness goals, and not everyone has a goal to lose weight necessarily. The main objective is to develop a healthy lifestyle so that we can improve our well-being and our tennis games! Goal setting and journaling (with food diary) are essential parts of this challenge.

I am excited about working on finding my Fitness Sweet Spot. I want the ideal balance of diet, exercise, and rest. I know the proper balance will help me reach my goals! Here are my goals for the challenge:

  • 20% Body Fat

  • Increase muscle mass

I will reach my goals by:

  • Eating 100% clean, 6 1/2 days/week

  • Strength training 3 days/week

  • Performing intense cardio (non-tennis) 5 days/week

  • Sleeping 6 1/2-7 hours sleep 5 nights/week

I know with discipline and consistency, I will reach my goals and will get Stripped--Sweet!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ready to Get Stripped!

In March, weighing in at 168 lbs, I decided to take back control of my health and fitness and push toward my goal of finally getting to approximately 143 lbs (the weight a physician told me was ideal for me when I started a weight loss journey in 1999 while in law school; I got to about 150 back then, but of course gained all the weight back, plus some).

I was super motivated in March because in a year since the Fitter and Finer Challenge of 2010, I had gained about 15 lbs. Ridiculous! I fine tuned my clean eating habits and cranked up my strength and cardio training routine. I was disciplined and consistent. AND IT WORKED!

I am now maintaining around 143 (even with summer vacations when I would typically gain 7lbs!). I'm in a legit size 6---I THOUGHT THIS WAS IMPOSSIBLE!! I didn't wear a 6 in middle school, and frankly it was not the goal! I was very pleased with a fit size 8, but my body had other thoughts. Now, I am the leanest I have EVERY been.

All this sounds fantastic, right? Right! I am proud of Shay Shay. But, I know I have not reached my FAT LOSS potential. This is what this blog is about--LOSING FAT! So while my weight is in a pretty good place, I am still not pleased with my body fat percentage--now about 23% (in 2007 I think I was closer to 40%! YIKES--being really honest with you here!). Even with all the progress I've made, I still won't wear a bikini. Friends say, "of course you can," but I have pretty high bikini standards!

Anyhoo, I still have a goal of getting to 18-21% body fat. However, the last couple of months I have been physically and mentally in maintenance, not fat loss mode.

So now it is time--TIME TO GET STRIPPED!

I picked up another Tosca Reno book--The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped. While I am a HUGE Tosca Reno fan--her books, magazines, and websites have been my primary resources on this Fat Loss journey--I was not completely convinced that I need another resource, especially a Eat-Clean Diet book (I have this eating clean thing down!) to kick me in gear.

Well, I was wrong. I picked up Stripped and was delighted to find fresh fat loss tips, meal plans, and recipes to help me shed the fat I want. And once again, the recipes look DELICIOUS! No deprivation--just tasty, clean meals with lots of variety (something I've been missing because I've been a little lazy in the kitchen!).

Tomorrow I start the 28-day Stripped plan. I've been in planning mode the last few days. Planning and organization is key to success on this journey.

So, here's goes my pre-Stripped weekend:

Yesterday I started my day by running 7 miles on the Chattahooche River in preparation for the Savannah Rock 'n Roll/Race & Relax Half Marathon in November. Thanks Reesey Cup for introducing me to this wonder trail!

Then I detoured to the Atlanta Greek Festival--yummy, non-diet busting foods there--roasted chicken breast, green beans and tomato, small spanakopita triangle--no bread, no rice. Thank goodness the pastry line was too long for me to even think about trying. smiles. I did share some of those yummy Greek fried potatoes with my festival mate Reesey Cup. As My Sweetie knows, I love potatoes! So, I had to try a few (although I thought they were roasted when I ordered them. Hey, I tried!

Hooray for some will power because I really could have eaten them all, but sharing was the smart thing to do, and I felt good about indulging, but in a sensible way. I love food, and I no longer want to make such poor decisions that I am overcome with guilt later. What's the fun in that!

Then I made the trek with Reesey Cup and Queen Bee to Your Dekalb International Farmers Market. I absolutely love this place! I picked up Buffalo, tilapia, leeks (a first for me), asparagus, apples, pears, lemons, bananas, all sorts of spices, greek yogurt, almond butter, wheat germ, oats, red potatoes (yes--potatoes are on the Stripped plan!). Forgot to get quinoa though--arrggh! All these yummy things were added to the apple cider vinegar, eggs, egg whites, tomatoes, green peppers, and low-fat cottage cheese I had picked up earlier in preparation for my Stripped meals.

Once I got home, I cleaned and organized my refrigerator and pantry. An organized refrigerator and pantry is also essential to meal planning. It also saves money so that I don't buy duplicates or things I don't need.

Today, I have tennis and then back home to finish up meal and workout planning.

I am excited to see what the next 28 days of Stripped will bring!

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Officially Fall, and I will Keep Standing!

This morning around 5 AM Fall officially started. I could moan and groan about how I really can't stand that time doesn't fall-back until November so it's pitch black dark at 7 AM, which messes up my training runs! But I won't!

I LOVE Fall! I love the leaves changing colors, I love the clothes and the boots. I love the daytime temperatures (in ATL at least); great tennis weather!

In the past, Fall has not been the best fitness time of year for me. Fall is when all the yummy seasonal dishes surface (ah, those darn Pumpkin Muffins! So glad I can make my own clean variety!). Fall is when snuggling up with a blanket and a book as you ease into winter seems like a much better idea than get up and exercising. And----Let's not forget Fall means the start of the holiday EAT-son---Harvest Festival and Halloween Candy, Thanksgiving, Holiday Parties, Christmas and New Year's Eve and those cute little kids selling all the cookie and brownie dough they can!

Not this Fall! I have the Savannah Rock n Roll in November; I turn 35 in November; I no longer have any sizes above 8 in my closet---no, no, no I will not blow off Fall and revert back to bad unfit habits!

This year I will STAND against the urge to skip workouts and eat poorly. I will STAND up for the fit lifestyle I have developed. I deserve this. I've worked hard for this. There will be no post-Fall and Holiday regrets!

I WILL KEEP STANDING! Fall will be my season of PROGRESS toward my goals!

I am Shay Shay! I WILL DO IT!

Monday, September 19, 2011

SPIBelt, Pumpkin Muffins, and Running . . .

It's been almost a month since I've taken time to post. The good thing is this time the lag is NOT because I've fallen off the eat-clean wagon. I've been sticking to it and doing great! I am seeing the fruit of my dedication (wearing size 6 pants--I couldn't wear a 6 when I was in the 6th grade!), and I am truly in lifestyle mode.

My work travel took a break for September, so I've been able to go to the Dekalb Farmer's Market more (LOVE THAT PLACE) so that I can have clean, fresh, ingredients for cooking.

Being home has also really helped me focus on getting in my training runs. The Savannah Rock n' Roll is coming up in a little over 6 weeks. I am so looking forward to hanging with Wifey ( and the Race & Relax Ladies. This running thing is still not my favorite (but I get energized by the challenge of it), but knowing there is a group of ladies working toward the same goal with a fun gathering ahead makes the running a great thing for me!

I just made some clean pumpkin muffins with ingredients from the Farmer's Market (I'm vowing to stay away from the Dunkin Donuts pumpkin muffins that contributed to a downward spiral toward pounds, pounds, pounds) and getting ready to go out for my 3 mi training run.

One of the biggest peeves of mine when I run is that my darn crack--ah, I mean blackberry is so big and just not easy to take with me. I want it with me for safety--not to check emails as I am usually caught doing, but it has not been practical.

WELL NOW IT IS! Thanks to Race & Relax and SPIBelt (Small Personal Item (, I can have my blackberry and run too! It's actually in there and doesn't feel heavy or bulky! Sweet! Hmmm, I wonder if I could play tennis in it! Could use the lip balm on the courts in the winter!

Ooooh, the muffins just got out of the oven and couldn't help but share! I couldn't even wait for them to cool. YUMMY! Very Moist! Amazing what putting water in the oven does for the muffin's moisture. Hmmmm, mmm.

Okay, off I go to hit the pavement !

Have a great week!

Monday, August 22, 2011


It's been two weeks since I have posted, but I have been busy!

Yes, work continues to be busy, but I've also been really busy on the courts too.

As I mentioned in my last post, my USTA Mixed Doubles team and I traveled to Augusta August 11th weekend for the Georgia State Championships. Back in March I committed to getting in better shape to be fit to endure and win in Augusta. It was HOT HOT HOT! I played 5 matches in 3 days, and my endurance was great! I never got winded or too hot on the court and stay energized the entire time. I brought meals with me so that I could properly fuel, and I got up in the mornings to get in a little strength training or warm-up cardio before matches.


My effort paid off--my team won our division in the Round Robin (my partner and I won all of our round robin matches--enduring a few three setters in high heat!). While we did not take the prize, we showed up and played well. We'll continue to build our team, and I know we'll be back next summer!


Coming back from Augusta to lots going on in the office to hosting my family this weekend, I did not get in as much gym time as I liked. Thank goodness lean bodies are made in the kitchen! Even with my family in town , lots of eating out and entertaining friends this weekend, I exercised discipline with my eating and did not blow my progress (because progress can be blown in one weekend! Trust I know!).


Last but not least--I AM SO PROUD OF MY WOMEN'S USTA 3.5 MCGHEE SUPER SLAMMERS! This team is the epitome of tough! We started the season 0-3. This could have derailed us, but we are Champions (literally Champions-recall we won the State Championship at 3.0)!

After an awesome 4 match winning streak at the end of the season, we earned a play-off spot as a 16th seed. We beat the #1 seed in the first round and Kept the Momentum going all the way to yesterday winning the Semi-final Round! It was a tough day, but my team was tougher!

My partner and I--Captain and Co-captain (no pressure there) played the 5th line of the match. We found ourselves at 2-2 with advancing to The City ON THE LINE! One could imagine the slight anxiety as we prepared to take the courts (again-Captain and C0-Captain--need I say more). I had to get mentally focused. I wouldn't watch the end of the matches before us because no matter what happened my partner and I HAD TO PLAY!

I told my partner--we have been here before. We are Champions! Let's play smart and aggressive tennis and take this thang! Well, the first set didn't go as planned (smile). We weren't playing aggressively and found ourselves 4-6 at the end of the first set. But, we had been in this position before. We are Champions!

We changed strategy; switched sides (with me on my more comfortable backhand side) and GOT THE JOB DONE--4-6, 6-1, 6-1!


Next Saturday is The City Finals! This week means PREPARATION! I KNOW WE CAN DO IT!

This week also means official 11th week preparation for the Race & Relax/Rock & Roll Half Marathon Savannah! This is going to take some real commitment from me. I don't particularly care for running, but I like the challenge of it nonetheless. I will do this again and run well!

Let the Winning Continue!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Getting Tennis Back in My World and Being Fit to Win!

With my busy travel schedule, tennis has become a less frequent activity for me. I have really missed being the courts! I LOVE THIS SPORT! People often think that tennis has helped me get fitter. It's actually the reverse for me. I train hard so that I can be fitter for tennis!

It makes a difference! One of the motivators for me getting my act together starting back in March was that I have the USTA Georgia State Mixed Doubles Championships this week! This is tennis in HEAT, and I could likely play two matches a day!

There is no way I was going to show up in Augusta without being as fit as I can be!

Although I am still a frequent work traveler, I did manage to get in 3 1/2 hours on the court this week, and got in some play last week.

As this week is State week, I plan to get on the courts every day up until I leave Thursday evening! I'll be keeping up with my regular training as well--started this morning with a quick 2 mi-run. I plan to get in a cycling class too before practice this evening.

This may sound like a lot, but it takes A LOT to perform and perform well on the court!

Many have the will to win, but few have the desire to prepare. ---Joe Paterno

I have the desire to prepare.

I am Shay Shay. I am Preparing!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Week Off Doesn't Mean a Week Off for Shay Shay!

My trainer G is hopefully getting nice relaxation and fun time with his family this week. His week off didn't mean I also got time off from training and eating clean. This week was a travel week--no surprise there!

While the little hotel gym was modest, it had all I needed to get in some strength, circuit, and cardio training. It really feels good to stick to my plan. I know I have room to grow to a point where I push myself as hard as G pushes me, but I really did get in some intense sessions.

My colleagues and I had a great dinner at Art and Soul in DC, but I didn't go crazy. No wine, no bread, fish and veggies and just a few bites of dessert. I was back in the gym early the next morning.

Now, I'm back at home and feeling good that the scale needle stayed put. I put in over 3 1/2 hours of tennis drills/playing today. It was HOT, but I felt great and fit!

Tomorrow, I'll need to get in a training run for Race & Relax. We have a great group of ladies running and awesome sponsorship. So far the following business/organizations are sponsoring us:

American Cancer Society DetermiNation Program

The Wine Sisterhood!/winesisterhood

Attune Foods!/attunefoods

TGIF! I'm looking forward to a fun and fit weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life is Golden PLUS+++++

I started this journey toward Losing Fat and Winning in Life in June 2007 when I learned about and implemented clean eating into my lifestyle. While I have had some detours and bumps along the way, I have seen incredible results over the last four years.

Consistent clean eating and strength training and cardio has gotten me to a TOTAL FAT LOSS of 60 lbs! Yep, 60 lbs! I set this 60 lb goal back in 2007. I reached Golden 50 lb mark a couple years ago, but then I got complacent. And some of the pounds returned--over 10 pounds actually.

Now I am here, GOLDEN PLUS++++, but I AM NOT DONE YET! The scale is no longer the true indicator of health and fitness for me as it was back in 2007. My body fat percentage, muscle composition, and endurance in the gym, on the courts, and during any other fitness activity are factors by which I now judge my fitness level.

Hmmm, on the body fat percentage. I explained to G, my trainer that I wanted to get to 18-21% body fat. He believes that it will take about 5 months for me to achieve this in a SUSTAINABLE way--which is the goal. Achieve and Maintain! Five months puts me right before Christmas.

I know I can do this! I know I will do this.

While I'm posting, I may as well share that after my training session this morning, I hit the pavement for the first time in a very long time. It is a must now that I have registered for the Rock & Roll/Race & Relax Half Marathon in Savannah this November.

I must admit that running now is much easier on my body. I was 20 lbs heavier when I ran in March 2010. I wasn't working out as intensely as I am now. What a difference. With my new play lists on my new Ipod (leaving my old one in Vegas forced me to step up the Ipod game! Sweetie will be pleased), I actually enjoyed my morning run. I feel great.

I say I enjoyed it, but let me be real with Shay Shay. Today was a short 35 minute; 2.8 mile run. I am under no illusion that training for this Half Marathon will be easy while trying to lean out and build muscle at the same time. Let's not forget improving my tennis game too!

This sounds like quite a bit, but I am truly excited by it all.

For Shay Shay, Life IS Golden Plus+++++!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Half Marathon Again? Really, Shay Shay!

I am happy to say that I am sustaining my enhanced clean eating lifestyle and not hating the heavier weight lifting. LOL (which as Curb Your Enthusiasm-one of my FAVORITE shows pointed is not acceptable to use verbally!). I am seeing the results, but trying to remain patient with the progress.

Along with eating cleaner and lifting heavier weights, I am now going to start training for the Savannah Rock & Roll Half Marathon scheduled November 5th.

Yep--you read right--HALF MARATHON AGAIN! When I did the the ING Georgia in March 2010, I said I would NEVER run that distance again! But, here I go again.

A few things contributed to my losing my mind (just kindling-sort of) and registering for another Half Marathon:

RACE & RELAX--a running series that one of my tennis teammates Lorraine aka RunWifeyRun ( aka LoLo puts on in conjunction with already established races. Last yer I participated in the Race & Relax 5K and really enjoyed the experience with the ladies that ran, and LoLo and the sponsors really did it big with our Swag Bag. I said I would definitely do another Race & Relax event again BUT that was before LoLo got into all this long distance running!

THEN on top of it all, G, my trainer challenged me to do the race. I don't back down from challenges--no sir!

AND I have also never visited Savannah other than a quick day at work where I didn't leave the hotel except to get in the car and drive home. I had said several times--I want to go to Savannah. It's so close, and I hear it is so great. I need to make time.

Well, the time is now. I'll be going to Savannah. I'll be running the Half. I'm actually excited about it (more about the results than the run--LOL (see note above).

I am looking forward to incorporating the half marathon training into my overall fitness regime. This time I will have the help of G. I know he'll help get me in shape that I want for the race and my long term physique goals.

Training starts tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Breaking Through the Cycle and Taking it to the Next Level!

Over the last month, I have spent more time away than I have at home. My work travel is still heavy, but I have squeezed in some fun too: Boat Ride with the Paterson, NJ Men of Omega in NYC, John Legend and Sade, Hall & Oates, July 4th week in Vegas, VA/DC/MD weekend with my sorority linesisters. I have had one busy summer: working hard and playing hard!

Here are some shots from the first half of summer fun (Omega Boat Ride; Bellagio Botanical Gardens; Getting Ready for Sade and John Legend):

With all the work and fun travel comes LOTS OF FOOD TEMPTATIONS and EXCUSES NOT TO WORK OUT! I am happy to say that I did NOT fall prey to the evils of sugar and sedentariness.

I've been working out in the hotel gyms, doing my Turbo Fire DVDs, and finding gyms where I can (see me at LA Fitness near my Sweetie's Hometown). I even tried Birkam Yoga and LOVED IT!

I also managed NOT TO GAIN WEIGHT! I ordered sensibly and as clean as I could while in the various hotels and restaurants. Sweetie introduced me to Muscle Maker Grill in his Hometown--great, clean food--just delicious!

With these victories, I know I have broken through the cycle of getting close to my fitness goals and having a major setback. Every year I lose and gain the same 10+ pounds. I was sick of this horrible cycle and was determiend to do something to break it.

I had to make an attitude adjustment more than anything. I realized that I can socialize and not eat horribly. I realize that I can travel and get in quality workouts. This discipline has yielded some good results.

I have been shedding fat and can even wear some size 6s! I have NEVER worn a 6-not even in middle school! I can see the changes in my body, and I am loving it! I have taken my body beyond where it has ever gone on this journey to Lose Fat and Win!

I am ready to not just Keep the Momentum Going but Push Pass my Momentum and really reach my 18% Body Fat Goal by September 30th. This is not going be easy, but I know I can do it!


I am Shay Shay, and I am Fit and will be Fitter!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh, It Felt So Good; so Keep the Momentum Going!

With all my traveling and rain on days when I'm not, I had not been on the court in about a month! To say that I missed it is definitely an understatement. I didn't realize how much until last night's practice.

I dashed off the plane; picked up a salad with grilled chicken at Cafe del Sol, picked up my car, and headed to McGhee!

Reesey Cup met me there. After my salad, we ran some laps around the courts, did some jumping jackes, high knees and then got started with our serves. As I ran around the court, I kept thinking "Wow, it feels so awesome to be outside and NOT in a conference room or on a plane!" I ran around the court with a runner's pace and with such ease. I literally felt lighter!

Perhaps it is because I AM lighter!

Not only are the pounds coming off--almost 60 lbs lost now since 2007, but I am really leaning out. I can see the muscles building. I have hit 50 lbs before, but almost 60-WOW!

I explained to my trainer G this morning that this has been the point in my journey where I start to get too comfortable. I lose focus and sight of my true fitness goals. Then BAM, I'm trying to back peddle and lose the 10-15 lbs I've gained so that I can peddle forward to my true goal AGAIN!

As hard as my workout was today (3 hours on the courts-WHEW!), I declared that I am breaking the cycle! No more of the back peddling!

I am really going to Keep the Momentum Going! I have a new mindset this time. I am much more strategic about my eating and my workouts.

There is room for improvement--ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. I WILL keep pressing toward the mark.

I WILL get in that bikini one day and soon! I WILL get to 18-20% body fat.

With the holiday coming up, I needed this little personal pep rally!

I am Shay Shay, and I am going to Keep the Momentum Going!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Friend Sandra Holliday; Gone Too Soon

It is with a heavy spirit that I write about my friend and neighbor Sandra Holliday who is now at eternal rest after losing a battle with cancer last Thursday.

I will miss Sandra dearly. With my family living in Virginia, Sandra and other dear neighbors have become my family. We look out for each other. We have had some great times together fellowshipping in each other's homes and working together in our neighborhood homeowners' association.

Having no children of her own, Sandra called me her daughter. She always encouraged me as I try to advance personally and professionally. Sandra was a great cheerleader of mine. It has been hard for me to accept that I will no longer see Sandra and her beloved canine companion Buddy walking in the mornings. I will no longer get to chat with her and laugh about all the "drama" that we some times experience as we try to make our neighborhood the best place to live for us and our families. Oh, and I can never forget the whirlwind airport adventure she and I had last Thanksgiving.

I will, however, always remember to strive to live the best life I can and make the most positive impact to my family, friends, neighbors, and my community. I use to always tell Sandra how I admired how active she was in retirement. She enjoyed the company of good people-she knew how to have a good time. She traveled. She served her community. She was and forever will be a role model for me.

I am truly grateful for the 6 years I had to get to know Sandra. She taught me more than I know she probably ever knew.

While I feel like Sandra at almost 65 left this earth way to soon, her contributions will forever have a lasting impact--especially on me.

Rest well Sandra. You have earned your eternal reward.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm Proving I Can Keep Up the Heat!

The last time I posted, I said I was Turning Up the Heat, and I AM! I'm really excited and proud of myself for sticking with my eating and workout plan! I even prevailed over Mom's pound cake, blueberry waffles, blueberry muffins, brownies, banana pudding, and fried potatoes (yeah, that's how the Pierce household rolls!) while I was home for Surry County High School's Commencement (I was the speaker, btw). See It really wasn't all that hard to resist. I took a pinch of cake and a spoon of banana pudding and was done. It was all I needed to experience a little taste of home. One key for keeping on plan was my mother graciously stocking the fridge with egg whites, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes and Grandma's homegrown squash, zucchini, romaine, and cucumber. Mom also had plenty of fish for me as well. I also came prepared with my almonds, prunes, and Atkins bars.

So many of my family and friends complimented me on my physique, but they often used the term "skinny". As I mentioned previously, my goal is not to be skinny. I WANT MUSCLE! I was really encouraged by one family member who said, "wow, your body is so athletic!" Bam! This is what I want. I want to look like a well-trained athlete. Now, I am not where I want to be yet, but I am on my way. I can SEE IT!

So, I will keep at it. I will continue to up the ante and push myself more and more. I know I will reach my goal!

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's June-Time to Turn Up the Heat!

Ah, where the heck did January through May go?! With my super busy schedule these days, the time is just flying!

Despite all the ripping and running I've been doing, I have been focused on shedding fat, and shedding fat I am!

Since March 1st, I have lost almost 20lbs! Now, let's be clear--some of this was some back-track loss from a few months of a less than consistent and focused clean eating and workout lifestyle. BUT, here is a key difference-my body fat composition has really changed! Although I weigh only about 5 lbs less than I did a year ago, I am visibly leaner--all over--than I was a year ago! This excites me and is motivating me to TURN UP THE HEAT!

I am not nearly close to my body composition goal. I refuse to be skinny fat. I WANT MUSCLE!

Let me reflect on what I did to get to where I am and what got me to this point, and then I'm going to think hard and discuss with my trainer regarding how I need to Turn Up the Heat and take this body to the next level.

What I have been doing:

1. Keeping it real with myself! I knew I had not being doing what I needed to do to make sure I am in the best shape I can be. I just admitted it and re-focused.

2. Research! Thanks to Sweetie, I picked up a few articles and a book that really opened my eyes as to why my diet, while generally clean, still not yield the fat loss I desired.

3. I implemented what I learn into my clean eating lifestyle. I cut down on the carbs, limited my sugar intake, and focused on the quality and timing of my protein intake more. I have been really diligent about "indulgences" and have learned that I can say no or just take a bite and be okay. I am a very social person, but I realized that I can socialize and still make really good choices for my meals while I am out. I know I knew this, but I just wasn't truly mentally ready to get beyond what I know are my fitness sabotage triggers (these are self triggers--no one to blame but ME!).

4. I made sure I worked out consistently, even while on the road. I'm an early riser no matter what. I really have no excuse not to get up and workout. By the time my busy schedule for work starts, the exercise is done!

5. I am keeping a food and workout log.

6. Significantly, I am focusing less on the scale and more on m body fat composition.

So, here's what I need to do to take it to the next level:

1. Increase the intensity of my exercise when I am on my own.

2. PUMP MORE IRON and do more BODY WEIGHT STRENGTH TRAINING! This is where my trainer will come in; I know I need help in this area. I know I need to TURN UP THE HEAT here if I am going to continue to lean out and build more muscle.

3. Stay consistent; not get content with the scale or the size of clothes I can wear--FOCUS ON THE FAT LOSS!

I will continue to strive for the best body I can achieve. If I do this, I know I can win. I just have to TURN UP THE HEAT and watch the FAT BURN!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Unconquered Warrior!

What an adventure! Today I conquered the Warrior Dash! Camille and I traveled to the beautiful North Georgia Mountains and soaked in a little scenery on a very nice patio in Jasper, Ga (still not sure where I was but it was a nice little area) before we crashed and waited for our fellow warrior Miriam to arrive.

The next day we rose early and headed to the Dash for our 8:30 AM heat--or so we thought. We had a little snafu with the location of our hotel and the location of the Dash. Apparently Camp Blue Ridge where the Dash was is not the same thing as the Blue Ridge, Ga on the hotel website that said it was only 34 miles away. Gasp! The Dash site was actually over 90 mi away from our hotel. There was no way we were going to make our heat.

Did our trio fret? Did we get heated? NOT AT ALL! We were calm, cool, and collected. We got to the Dash shuttle bus site about an hour and half past our heat time; we were able to register and fall in with no problem. We were actually thankful for the delay; it was COLD at 8:30 AM. The Dash and the water and mud obstacles would not have been as much fun at the 8:30 temperatures.

11:00 suited us just fine!

Our first obstacle was the port-a-potties--yuck--The ING Half Marathon prepared me for this! Then off we went----through over 4 feet muddy water, through mud, over scrap metal cars, over walls, and under barbed wire, climbing walls, climbing ropes, under dark tarp covered tunnels, down a water slide, through more water and MUD, and over FIRE to the finish! There were about 12 obstacles (including the port-a-potty) over a 5K course. I can't wait to see the official photos. I hope there are some with me going through the obstacles!

I definitely appreciate being more fit than I have ever been. While we weren't able to run as much because of people congestion on the course, the obstacles could have been a real issue had I been my former less fit self. There were some that struggled, but they pushed ahead. Warrior Spirits were shining through!

Big shout outs to my tennis teammates from Women's and Mixed: Yvette, Lorraine (RunWifeyRun) and Napolean who also became Warriors today!

It was an awesome experience and not just the Dash. My Warrior companions Camille (aka Anna Mae from previous posts) and Miriam are some dynamic ladies. I really enjoyed hanging with these Fine Ladies of Fitness! Looking forward to the NEXT ADVENTURE!

Here are some shots from the weekend (pre-race day on the patio; nice and clean; on our way; and WARRIORS!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I am Keeping the Momentum Going! I'm Being Consistent with Eating Clean and Exercise! I'm Losing Fat and Winning! Now, I want to Live Life Unconquered!

While traveling for work, I was able to meet Sweetie at the Florida State University Stadium to climb the bleachers. I have done this once before, but this time I approached it with a whole new perspective! I had done some serious leg work the previous day, so tackling these stairs was NOT EASY! But, if this journey toward Losing Fat and Winning was easy, I wouldn't need to blog about it, right?

Anyhoo, I lunged up those stairs 8 times! That's 80 bleachers up to the top and back down. It was tough, but it felt great! It felt so great that I decided to do a few sprints up and down the field too! I read an article recently that said that doing bleachers is the most perfect exercise one can do! Strength and Cardio and talking about Endurance testing! How about that!

(What a climb, but I made it to the top! 8x! Look closely; that really is me up there!)

In front of FSU's stadium is an awesome statue of a Seminole Warrior-Unconquered. It captures the spirit of the Seminoles and the winning spirit of FSU! I love this statue. After my bleacher workout I felt just like the Seminoles-UNCONQUERED!

Next up--WARRIOR DASH this Sunday! I'm excited and nervous about it all at the same time. But, I know I will FINISH and Finish STRONG!

I am Shay Shay. I am UNCONQUERED!