Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's Next???

I finished The Couch to 5K program and I ran my first what's next? Not only have I been asked that question many times in the last week but I've asked it of myself. Where do I go from here?

I'm the type of girl who likes a plan and LOVES to plan. I get an honest to goodness thrill planning events. I probably should have been an professional event planner. I remember planning a school wide picnic my last semester in college. I was on the Student Government council and somehow became in charge of the Spring Picnic. At first I was a little nervous because not only students attended this event, professors as well. Mind you, this was a small college, everyone knew everyone. But as soon as I got to work my nervousness faded and excitement took over. I loved every minute of planning the menu, coming up with activities including a dunking booth for a select few professors, making deposits and purchasing the items needed...I loved being in charge! Everything went off without a hitch and I received multiple compliments from students and professors alike.

I love event planning so much that I have to be very careful around my daughter's birthday. I tend to want to plan a party like I'm Richy Rich when I'm more like Poor Patty! :) If it were up to me and money was no option, she'd have awesome, outrageous, talk of the town birthday parties every year but I still manage to pull off quality birthday parties on a budget and I love every minute of it.

But what does this have to do with what comes next for me on my journey? Well, as I sat here thinking about the end result of this journey, I felt a little "lost at sea," like a boat that lost its way and is just sitting out in the middle of the ocean being tossed around by the waves knowing that it needs to get to shore but it just doesn't know how.


In a previous post about goals, I talked about how important it was to set them, short term ones to help you reach long term ones. I've sort of reached my short term goals now and until I set more short term goals I'm going to continue to flounder around.

When people have asked me the question, "What's next?" I've had the same answer. I'm going to continue running, I want to increase my speed and shorten my 5K time, I want to get back into the gym and work on strength training and take spinning classes, and I'm still working toward my first weight loss goal of 30 pounds down by September. All of these things are true but for the past few days I've been a little ho-hum about the whole thing. My desires haven't changed but I feel like I've lost a bit of my mojo.

What's the problem?

You know how at Christmas, there is this huge anticipation, a big build up to Christmas day? We spend weeks, even months getting ready for it. We decorate, agonize over our Christmas lists, shop, bake, cook, wrap, carol, party, etc. And then on December 25 in a matter of minutes (OK, maybe a couple of hours) the presents are unwrapped, the food has been eaten, and everyone is sitting around looking at each other like, "what's next?"  That's how I've felt since I ran the race and have come back home. I know there is more to be done but I can't help but feel a little let down. There was all this planning and gearing up for the big race day. There was weeks of training, registration, travel planning, time spent with family, and finally the race. But when I got home I had to ask myself, "Where do I go from here?"

So, it's time for re-evaluating, goal setting, and strategic planning. I only have 12 pounds to lose to meet my goal of 30 pounds down by September. My eating has been a little lax since I've been back. And to be honest, I wanted junk food so bad yesterday that I was beyond thankful there was none in the house. I don't know if I would have had the self-control I needed to resist the temptation. I feel guilty about not eating as good as I normally do. I haven't been horrible in my eating just not as good as I could be. And I enjoy eating healthy. I actually love it. I definitely need to hit up the grocery store and restock. That's part of the problem.

So here are my new short term goals to get me over this hump and onward on my journey:

1. Continue to run at least 3 days a week, concentrating on pace and time.
2. Get back into a gym routine focusing on strength training.
3. Take the beginners spin class at the gym.
4. Be more mindful of my eating focusing not only on calories but fat and sugar as well.
5. Continue to increase my water intake

What are your goals? Without goals and a plan to reach're going nowhere fast! It's one thing to set goals and it's another to do something about them. It's what separates those who are successful from those who are still "lost at sea."

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Support of a Family

This post won't be long. I just wanted to introduce you to my amazing family and support system.

They have supported me in my journey to lose weight and be healthier and they were at the 5K to cheer me on.

I couldn't ask for a better family.

Thank you all for the support! Love you!

My First 5K: The Critter Run

I awoke Saturday morning feeling excited and nervous. Saturday was race day! That evening I would be running my very first 5K. I had trained hard and well but I still couldn't shake the slight jitters I felt.

Lucky for me, I was surrounded by my amazing family. We did a little shopping in Graceville, ate lunch, laughed, talked, and just enjoyed being together. Finally, it was time to change into my running attire and get ready to head to Dothan, Alabama for the 26th annual Critter Run.

Like I said before my mom and my Uncle Rudy were running with me. So the three of us posed for some before pictures before we left.

The rest of the family left a little later since we needed to be there early to get our numbers and such. My stomach was a little tense as I drove us to Dothan.

I felt proud as we got our numbers. I mean, how many people out there can't say that they've ever run a 5K. I used to hear about races and think to myself that I wished I was the type of person who could do that. Now, I was. There was no wishing. I had trained hard for 9 weeks. I was still a bit apprehensive since I hadn't actually run 3 miles yet. The farthest was probably around 2.5 miles. But I was smiling as my mom pinned my number to my shirt.

Our "entourage" finally arrived just before the race started. Did I mention that the course was described as "rolling?" Meaning that it had a LOT of hills. I have NEVER run hills. It's pretty flat where I run in Slidell. So we got behind the starting line and waited to hear the whistle. And off we went. The plan had been for us to stay together but our paces were so different that we just decided to do it at our own paces. As soon as I started running I felt tears prick the corners of my eyes. I couldn't believe I was doing it and I was so thankful for the support of not only my mom and uncle but my whole family as well.

I didn't see my mom much again after this photo. I stayed not too far behind her for the first mile but after that I didn't see her again until near the finish line. I lost sight of my uncle from the get go! :) I ran the first mile in 11:14. Not to bad, huh? Making it to the second mile was tough because that's where those nasty hills came up. There was one time that my legs literally felt on fire and I REALLY wanted to stop. But I kept telling myself that my one goal was finishing without stopping. It didn't matter how long it took me. I also didn't want to finish last!

Just as I came to the second mile marker a lady was walking beside me and started up a conversation. Normally I wouldn't want to talk while I was running but this was just what I needed. She encouraged me and made me forget how bad my legs wanted me to stop. She eventually started back running and I didn't see her again. There was another lady that made me want to laugh. I guess I was her measuring stick on how well she was doing because she would run and walk. She was either behind me or in front of me most of the way. Near the end of the race she tried to stay in front of me. When she was walking, she'd let me get right up to her but before I could pass her, she started running again. In the end, I passed her and stayed in front of her the rest of the way. But I guess the Lord knew I needed a laugh while I was running.

After all of this I realized that I had to be near the end. But the end also meant a pretty long incline. My legs were burning and I was taking deliberate breaths and pushing out hard through my mouth. That's when I saw mom and uncle. I can barely type this without tears. They came back to cheer me on the rest of the way. As soon as I saw them I started crying. I had to ignore it so I could finish but with my uncle beside me and my mom behind me, they cheered me on up that final, awful hill to the finish. I ran the race and I finished well...under an hour and definitely not the last person! My time was 41:45 (the seconds may be off but I know it was under 50 seconds. The race results should be posted online in a couple of days so I should know my exact time soon.) It took me a minute after it was over to feel "normal" again. I felt a bit shaky and I had to catch my breath after I ran hard up that final hill.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!

Later the group went out for Mexican food. I wasn't all that hungry but I made myself eat a little to get some of my energy back. I felt so proud of all three of us. I felt like I had truly accomplished something. And I'm looking forward to my next race. Not sure when it will be but I at least hope to run the Jazz 5K in New Orleans in October. Maybe one day I'll be ready for a half marathon! Who knows?!

Here I am in the t-shirt from the Critter Run. The animal for this year was the Orangutan...interesting!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Life in Pictures: Abigail's First Haircut

Yes, I said her FIRST haircut. Yes, she's almost four years old. Yes, I know most children get a haircut around their first birthday.

Abigail didn't have a bunch of hair at her first birthday so we skipped that milestone. Later as her beautiful, curly, red hair grew there was no need to cut it.

Now, at nearly four years old and hair that comes halfway down her back, it was time for a TRIM. Not an actual cut! My husband would have killed me if I had gotten her hair cut short. I value my life so we went for a trim.

My aunt is an amazing cosmetologist and we wanted Abigail's first haircut to be even more special. So, while my aunt was in Graceville for the weekend we let her trim Abigail's hair. Abigail was super excited. My aunt evened it up and cut a long layer into it which actually made the ends curlier. My beautiful, red headed girl still has a head full of long curls but she sure was proud of that haircut.

I should have taken a picture of the back of her hair after it was done but I forgot.

Race Day blog and pictures are coming next. Stay tuned...


You've Got a Friend in Me

Well, you know her by name and you may have read her blog but until Friday I had not met Clara.

I called her my cyber friend...

We finally had a face-to-face meeting so I can now officially say, "my friend" Clara!

At a time where I was sort of stuck in limbo with my eating healthy and weight loss, Clara became my inspiration and my encouragement. We were virtual strangers with mutual friends, one of which was my mom. Her story challenged me, brought me to tears, and gave me the push that I needed to continue on in my journey and become more focused on it. Through Facebook and email she gave me advice, answered my questions, cheered me on, and yes, became my friend.

It's always a strange feeling to feel like you've known someone you're whole life but have never met them. That feeling was confirmed Friday night when we sat down on my parent's crowded living room floor and picked up a conversation like we'd been friends forever. It was a great moment. We talked for a long time...both about our journey's and other random things that friends talk about.

I had hoped to get to run with her on Saturday but her plans changed but she was there with me in spirit and was one of the first people I texted after the race was over to let her know that I had met my goal of finishing without stopping!

Thank you Clara for everything. Hopefully next time we can get a run in together!

If you've never read her blog you should click on her name at the beginning of this post and spend some time getting to know her. If you are struggling with your weight or you just need some encouragement for the journey you're already on, trust me, her blog is just what you need.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Where the Living is Easy...

What an exciting last few days!

It was a whirlwind of traveling, activities, and time well spent with family. And a bit of car trouble at the end!

There is so much to blog about! I know everyone is waiting on the post about the race and to see the pictures but you'll have to wait just a bit longer.

I'm just going to start from the beginning...

Abigail and I set out early Thursday morning for our drive to Graceville. After a quick stop at McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin and some apple slices, we hit the road.

I asked my dad later after we had arrived if there was an idiot convention somewhere that weekend. He looked at me a little funny and I said that there sure were a lot of them on the road so they must all be going somewhere! I STRONGLY DISLIKE ignorant and poor drivers. I really don't know how half the people out there ever got a driver's license! It's ridiculous! But Abigail and I made it safely! Thank you, Lord!

We had lunch at the Circle Grill with Mrs. Stephanie and then headed out to Walmart for some grocery shopping. When we were in the produce section, Abigail was getting really excited about all the fruit and vegetables mom and dad were buying. The lady next to us was amazed at how well she talked and how excited she was. So proud of my baby girl! We talk about "super foods" all the time so she likes to make sure she's eating a lot of them and constantly asks if something she's eating is a "super food." "Train up a child in the way he should go..."

Later that evening after some yummy tacos at my parent's house, my brother decided he would run with me. I didn't get up early enough to get my run in before we left and I wanted to be sure I didn't miss it. My brother hasn't run in over six years so he was a trooper for even going with me in the first place. We started off with a warm up walk and then eased into our almost two mile run. There were times when the run was a bit comical.

We hadn't been running long when he looked over me and said, "Dang! You ain't even sweatin!" I looked over at him and the sweat was POURING off his face. But to his defense, he's always been a sweater. I remember as kids riding the bus home in the afternoons from school, his whole head would be wet with sweat before we made it home. Later on I could tell his footfall was getting heavier. But he told me he didn't want to slow down. I felt bad. If it had been me running without any training, I would have been passed out on the side of the road along way back. :) He later told me that he wasn't in as good of shape as he thought he was and he wants to continue running. I think he really wished he could have run the 5K with us. I'm looking forward to my brother and his family coming into town this weekend for a week long stay. Hopefully he'll run with me while they are here.

The rest of the family was set to arrive sometime after lunch on Friday. So on Friday morning my mom's boss let us use his swimming pool. Hannah and Marlee came swimming with us. The girls had so much fun...the adults too. After a while of swimming and relaxing pool side we let the girls help Papa pick pears from Dr. Richard's pear tree. My dad has a dehydrator and has been dehydrating fruits and such. So they picked a bucket full for Papa to make some fruit snacks with.

Mom and Dad's house got crowded quickly once the rest of the family arrived. There were 14 of us there in all. We had a great time together as we always do. It's not a family gathering unless we are picking on each other and making each other laugh. There was A LOT of laughter this past weekend.

Friday was a special day for me for another reason but you'll have to read the next post to find out why!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cooking My Way: A Savory Snack

Chips, Little Debbie's, cookies, and movie-style popcorn would have topped my list of favorite snacks last year. This year, popcorn still makes the list but I like the natural kind or the kind you pop yourself. Chips still make the list occasionally but it's usually a few tortilla chips with salsa.

These days my snack list includes: raw almonds, string cheese, fruit, veggies, Greek yogurt, and smoothies. I do confess that I love to dip my veggies. I'm not as bad as I used to be. I only dip a little now. Mostly it's ranch dressing. Sometimes it's guacamole if I have some left over when we make burgers. But my new favorite thing to dip them in is hummus. I've bought a couple different kinds from the grocery store but my favorite so far has been the homemade kind dad and I made for the fourth of July.

This recipe comes from Jillian Michaels The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook. If you are looking for a source of good information and yummy recipes, this is your book. Unlike a lot of other "healthy" cookbooks out there, this one is filled with things you would normally eat, only made healthier. There are a few things that you may not of heard of but for the most part it's simple ingredients and straightforward recipes.

Hummus (Jillian Michaels The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook Page 232)

1 (15-ounce) can no-sodium chickpeas
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
3 tablespoons tahini (this is sesame seed paste - I know you can find it at Publix and Whole Foods)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
1/8 teaspoon sumac or sweet, hot, or smoked paprika, for garnish (I use smoked paprika)

Place a strainer over a bowl and drain the chickpeas; reserve 1/4 cup of the captured liquid.

In the work bowl of a food processor, place the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt. Process until combined. Add the drained chickpeas and the reserved liquid. Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl once or twice or as needed. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. (The hummus can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

For a single snack, place 2 tablespoons of the hummus in a small bowl. Drizzle with 1/8 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of paprika over it. Serve with three pita chips.

To serve a crowd, transfer the hummus to a small serving bowl. If desired, use the back of a spoon to make a shallow well in the surface of the hummus; pour in the olive oil. Sprinkle the top with sumac (or paprika). Serve with pita chips.

Above is a picture of the dips and things we made for the 4th. The hummus of course is in the small bowl in the middle of the carrots and celery. she uses pita chips to dip in her hummus. While I am sure that is super tasty and I'll probably get around to trying it soon, I love to dip my vegetables in it. My favorites are carrots and celery.

So there you have it. Two recipes on Recipe Wednesday. One a sweet treat and the other a savory snack! Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Cooking My Way: A Sweet Treat

It's Recipe Wednesday again and I realize that I missed last weeks post. get two this week to make up for it.

I've been posting recipes that are more for main meals but what I haven't discussed is sweets and snacks. I tend to stay away from the sweets because for one, they are usually loaded down with fat, calories, and sugar and two, most of the ones that are supposedly healthy use artificial sweeteners that are harmful to you. My strategy for curbing my sweet tooth is a trick that I borrowed from Clara. I keep a bag of dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses in the freezer and most nights I take out three (nine are a serving) and eat those before bed. But every once in a while you just want a dessert after a meal or something sweet as a snack. I usually do smoothies or Greek yogurt for a sweet snack but today my little girl asked for a milkshake.


You've got it...a milkshake! Lucky for me, my dad had left a half carton of Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla No Sugar Added ice cream in our freezer. While it still has calories, fat, and sugar it's no where near the amount in regular ice cream and is still in my calorie range as long as I haven't splurged at any other time during the day. I hadn't really planned on drinking this milkshake today. I had only planned on tasting it and making a smoothie for me. But after it was all said and done, the little stinker didn't want it.

Well what kind of milkshake was this? Just vanilla? Chocolate? Nope. It was strawberry and I made it with fresh strawberries and some vanilla almond milk. It turned out great. Definitely not as sweet as something you'd get at an ice cream shop or Sonic but still tasty and better for you.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of it but I hadn't really planned on doing a dessert for one of my recipes. It's very simple.

Strawberry Milkshake

Fresh cut strawberries
Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla No Sugar Added Ice cream
Vanilla almond milk

Here's the deal. When I make things in the blender like this milkshake or smoothies, I don't really measure. I put a good bit of strawberries in the bottom, topped it with a couple scoops of ice cream, and then poured the almond milk on top and blended until strawberries were finely chopped. I also use one of those individual serving blenders so you can't put a ton of stuff in there anyway. If I had of been making this for myself to begin with, I probably would have measured out the ice cream so I knew exactly how many calories were in there. But all in all, it was a very refreshing sweet treat!


Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Monday, July 18, 2011


Well, today I had planned to WOW you with these amazing before and after pictures from over the last nine weeks of doing The Couch to 5K program. I mean, I've lost 18 pounds over the last nine weeks! Oops! I forgot to inform you that I actually lost five pounds last week and not four like I posted on Saturday! Can I get a, "Woot Woot?!" :)

So, what I was trying to say was that there should be a noticeable difference in the picture I took during week one of the C25K and the one I took during the last week, right? I don't know. Maybe it's just me or my husband's picture taking skills but I don't see the difference I thought I would see in the pictures, 18 pounds difference and all.

I'll let you decide for yourself but here I am during week one:

Here I am again during week nine:

OK. Well, maybe there is a difference. I do want to mention that I am not wearing the same shorts in the pictures. They are the same kind but not the same size. When I started out I bought the XL shorts. Later I bought a large pair. The XL's are so big now that they are uncomfortable to run in. So in the second picture I'm wearing the large shorts. I also notice a difference in my leg muscles and in my face.

Yesterday was my first run on my own without the C25K lady in my ear. It felt great. I listened to my own music, ran a slightly different route, had a great pace, and ran for a few minutes longer. It was wonderfully cool outside from all the rain we've had. It has been raining non-stop here all morning and most of  yesterday and the day before that. I sure hope it stops before I have to get on the road this weekend. I HATE driving in the rain. On the other hand, the temperatures are supposed to be crazy high and only climbing higher and higher all week. This makes me a little nervous about the 5K on Saturday. I'm praying that it's not any hotter than it has been being.

A friend gave me some advice and I'm going to take it. I still plan on running on Tuesday and Thursday but I plan on doing some shorter, easier runs so as to not tire my legs out too much before the race on Saturday.

I can't wait to see all my family and meet my cyber friend Clara!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting Closer...

My official weigh-in day isn't until Monday morning but since I didn't lose any weight last week, I was a little eager to see how I did this week even with the madness of VBS. So first thing this morning, I stepped on the scale and I'm down four pounds!!! I started not to share this since I'm a little scared the scale will show something different on Monday. Crossing my fingers that it doesn't unless it's a lower number! ;) If this number holds true then I will have lost 17 lbs since the middle of May and that makes me only 13 lbs away from my goal of 30 lbs down by September. I can't stop smiling about that! :)))))))

I sort of have this dilemma now. It's a good one though. My clothes don't fit. My jeans are baggy, my shorts are falling off, my shirts are bigger on me. Before I started losing weight, my large t-shirts were too tight and I really should have been wearing XL's. Now, they are very loose and I fit great into the one medium t-shirt that I saved. I felt like a slouch during VBS because no matter what I put on, I felt uncomfortable and sloppy because everything was too big. One night, I had to wear Ryan's belt to keep my shorts up. The last night of VBS, I walked around pulling my jeans up all night because they kept sliding down. That's a good thing, even a great thing but I think it's time to invest in a few articles of clothing that fit well for the size I am now. I hope to hit up some consignment stores in the near future for some clothing because well, I like consignment shopping plus I don't want to spend a ton of money on clothes I won't get to wear for long anyway! Whenever I do hit my 30 lbs down mark, I'll definitely have to buy some clothes because I won't have anything left to wear! :)

Today I spent some time looking on Craigslist for an exercise bike. I really want some sort of exercise equipment for our house. I love going to the gym and out for a run or walk but I really want something to use at home when I'm mindlessly watching TV. I think a recumbent bike would be great. My problem is that I want something that is quality but things in my price range are usually falling apart or really old. Maybe I'll luck up and find someone who wants to give one away! Unless I come across a great deal I'll probably have to put it on my Christmas list. (This is a hint Mom!) :) I can't believe Christmas is only five months away. Where did the time go?

I'm supposed to be cleaning and doing laundry right now. This rainy weather is making me lazy though! So I sit here typing out this post, The Breakfast Club playing on the TV. I love Emilio Estevez!

Oh well, the sun just came out. Maybe that's my cue to get up and get moving! I still have to go grocery shopping later so I've got a lot to do. Hope everyone is having a blessed weekend!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Friday, July 15, 2011

C25K: Week 9

Cue The Hallelujah Chorus

Holy cow! I did it! I FINISHED The Couch to 5K running program!!!

I went back a few days ago and re-read some old posts. One of the one's that I re-read was C25K:Week One. Here I was starting out week nine, running non-stop for 30 minutes. It seemed unreal that only eight short weeks ago, I could barely run for 60 seconds at a time. The program didn't lie. It really could take a non-runner and make them into a runner in only nine weeks. And I'm living proof! Wow!

In the last several weeks I've had several people tell me that I inspired them to run or to get change their lives. REALLY?! ME?! It just seems a little far fetched. For the last eight years I've been fat and unhealthy, battling and struggling against depression, panic attacks, fatigue, and weight gain. It's only been this year that I've gotten my act together. I don't talk about being depressed that often because of the stigma that goes along with it and many people don't understand how you can be a Christian and be depressed. But it happens. It started after Abigail was born...postpartum depression but I never got it taken care of, never really dealt with it. So about a year later it reared it's head again. I had lost my job, had a falling out of sorts with a close friend, and I had been trying to lose weight...unsuccessfully. I had gone to the doctor for the results of a blood test and he told me that my sugar was slightly elevated and that if I didn't lose some weight, I could eventually become diabetic. I completely broke down in the patient room, sobbing, my pain and disgust bubbling out all over the place. He let me cry and basically told me that I was depressed. He put me on some medication for the depression and something else to help me lose weight. It wasn't long before I began noticing a difference in my mood and in my weight. I didn't stay on either medication very long. I kept the weight off for over a year before it began creeping back up. I'm not saying that I don't have days when I don't feel down every now and then but I haven't really been depressed since then either. I haven't had a panic attack in years.

The fatigue and constant weight gain still plagued me. But as I've said in earlier posts, I'm an emotional eater and a food addict. Food was my companion and friend. Food relieved my stress and made me feel happy when I was upset or angry. I was tired all the time. I had no energy to do anything but eat and watch T.V.

That all changed this year when I took a close look at my life. Something I had intentionally been avoiding. I didn't like what I saw and I knew that my obsession with food had become a stronghold, a sin in my life. I didn't want to recognize it as what it was before but I had no choice but to do it now. The path I was on was going to lead me to an early grave if I didn't change my ways. The difference this time, from all the other times that I tried to lose weight, was baby steps. Someone asked me my secret the other day and that was my steps. I started out slow, making small changes here and there. The only real goal was to drop weight, it didn't matter how much as long as the scale was going in the opposite direction...and it did.

In the middle of May, I decided to take things up a notch. I came across my now friend, Clara's blog and it encouraged me and inspired me. I also decided to give the C25K plan a try again. I set some goals and made a plan. There have been a few bumps and bruises a long the way but I'm still headed in the same direction that I started out in. I haven't made a u-turn and I don't plan on making one either. I have energy like I've never had before. I'm at peace and I'm happy. A huge part of it also has been finally getting settled into a church here in Louisiana. We love our church and our Sunday school class. It feels nice to be making friends after a year of living here.

I didn't intend for this post to become a look back at how I got here but it did. It's a scary thing to share your struggles and frustrations but if it truly inspires, helps, or encourages someone else, then so be it. I thank you all who have been on this journey with me from the beginning. Your kind words as I've completed each week of the C25K have been such an encouragement to me. And it was you who kept me running some weeks when my legs felt like they might fall off and I wanted to quit. So again...THANK YOU!

Here is how my final week went down:

I got up early last Sunday morning like usual. It's always hard on Sunday's because I know that as soon as I get back, I have to get ready for Sunday school which starts at 8:30...I don't think I'll ever get used to that! It's so EARLY! :) Day one, my first 30 minute run, went off without a hitch. It was great! And my pace was a little faster than it had been being. I was excited.

On Tuesday, I woke up a bit late, but I was determined to get my run in. It was very HARD. My breathing felt off and I was tired. VBS will take it out of you! I finished but I was a little bummed because my pace had been so great on Sunday and it wasn't near as good on Tuesday.

I was supposed to get up and do my final day on Thursday but as you know from my last post, it didn't happen. So today, I was going to do it even if it killed me. Today was my Friday off so I went out a bit later than normal to run. I was thankful for the overcast weather since it was cooler out than I thought it would be. My pace was excellent at the beginning but I eventually had to slow down some. At some point during the run, my stomach started to hurt and I developed a headache. I pushed through with nothing but shear determination. When my run was over I was almost sick to my stomach. I'm not sure if it was from the run, my lack of sleep the last few nights, or if I'm really trying to come down with something. One of the kids at VBS threw up all in the classroom last night so it could also be my hypochondria setting in! LOL!

So there you have it....nine weeks down! *insert happy dance here*

My first 5K is next Saturday evening in Dothan, AL. My parents live near there so we're going for a visit. I have family from GA coming to cheer me on. I'm so excited. My mom and my uncle are running with me as well! I have but one goal for the 5K. It has nothing to do with time but everything to do with finishing. I just want to finish without having to stop and walk. After that, I plan on continuing to run and working on increasing my speed and time. I hope to get back on a good gym schedule so I can continue strength training and I want to take a spinning class.

I never thought I'd see the day where being healthy and exercising was fun and exciting! But here I am!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not the Post I had Planned...

I won't lie. I'm a little bummed today.

Today was supposed to be my LAST C25K post. I was supposed to get up this morning and run my third and final run for week nine.

Alas, sleep beckoned me. My bed whispered my name. My sheets wrapped me in a warm and comforting hug. My alarm was like the loud, crude, and socially awkward acquaintance that makes you cringe and take an involuntary step backward as they approach. Thankfully, alarms have snooze and off buttons. :) I knew I should get up but my body refused to cooperate.

I was mildly irritated when I realized that I hadn't gotten up and it was now too late to get in my final run this week. But after a glance at the clock, I realized my time was better spent catching a few more minutes of sleep before I really had to get up to babysit. I didn't wake up again until I heard the knock on my door. Shoot! Now, I was stumbling down the stairs unable to hold my eyes open. I was still struggling to keep my eyes open when I opened the door to receive the baby I sit for. I tried to make polite conversation with the dad but I have no idea if my words were even decipherable this morning. I was that tired!

Why so tired? (said in my best Joker know..."why so serious?). Well, I haven't fully gotten back on my normal bedtime schedule and routine from a few weeks ago when Ryan had surgery and we had company at the house. And then came Vacation Bible School and a room full of three year old's. However, tiring it may be, Abigail and I were having a blast...until Tuesday night. After we got back home from VBS (or PBS as Abigail says) she had watery eyes, a runny nose, and an ever increasing fever. I only got about 4 hours of sleep on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She not only had a high fever but I swear she was hallucinating and talking out of her head. I was pretty worried. I got her in to see the doctor on Wednesday before lunch. She slept all day and we skipped VBS Wednesday night for her to recuperate. I still didn't get to bed and fully asleep until somewhere near midnight on Wednesday because after sleeping all day she didn't want to go to sleep that night and then as soon as I would doze off the neighbors would get loud and then my wonderful hubby came home making enough noise to wake the you honey! :)

So, when the alarm went off this morning, I was in no shape to run. While I'm a little bummed that this post isn't titled, C25K: Week 9, I can't be disappointed in myself. I'll run in the morning instead and then I'll do a post on my last official week of C25K. And don't think that this will be the end of my running, it won't. I didn't do all this hard work only to quit once I completed the program.

We're headed back to VBS tonight and our wonderful class of three year olds. Abigail is over the moon excited! I'm loving getting to know our church family better and developing relationships with them. I found out that several female members of my Sunday school class are Gilmore Girls fans as well...I see a girls night and GG marathon in my future!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"The Climb"

I don't claim to have a sophisticated taste in music. I'm not one of those people who prides myself on finding and listening to obscure bands like my lovely cousin, the self-proclaimed "Indie Dave" (love you David!). I probably have my dad to thank for my taste in music because I grew up listening what he listened to which ranged from George Jones to Aerosmith from Conway Twitty to The Beach Boys. We listened to a lot music that was popular when he was growing up. I have him to thank for my love of what I call Oldies music. Ha. I can never listen to enough Beach Boys. On my iPod you'll find Tommy James and the Shondells, The Ohio Players, Randy Travis, Rhianna, The 69 Boyz, and Miley Cyrus (and many more). Yes, I said it...Miley Cyrus. Don't hate.

Before she started down the path that she's on now, I enjoyed watching Hannah Montana. I know what you're thinking...I'm to old too be watching kids shows. Oh well. I'm 28 and still don't feel like a grown up! I wonder when that happens? :) When I was a kid I LOVED "Achy Breaky Heart"! I even had an airbrushed t-shirt from Tybee Island, GA that had a broken heart on it with the words "Achy Breaky Heart"! I was a bit obsessed with the song! :) You can stop laughing now! I don't know what has possessed me to share my dark secrets today! Ha! So Billy Ray and Miley appealed to me in the beginning. I'm not saying I was a die hard fan of HM but I watched it occasionally and when the two of them came out with the song, "Ready, Set, Don't Go," I downloaded it to my iPod. But that isn't the only song of hers that's on there. The other is her song "The Climb." I don't care how dorky you think I am, I love this song and I think it has a great message.

I had my iPod on shuffle while walking on the treadmill at the gym on Saturday morning and this song came on and I near about teared up. Why? The words just seemed so dead on for the journey I'm on right now. Losing weight and being healthy is something I've struggled with for the last eight years. I won't go into my "story" again because most of you already know it or you can read it in older posts. But lets suffice it to say that it has been a battle, and struggle, and definitely a climb. Most of the time I was at the bottom of the hill, barely off level ground before I lost my footing and slid back down. Now, I'm climbing higher than I ever have before. Some day's I'm huffing and puffing and struggling to find the next foothold, other times I'm climbing at a steady pace and covering a lot of ground but like the song says, it's not really about what's on the other side, it's the climb. The climbing shows what your made of, your dedication, and your self-control. Getting to the other side one day will be great and I'll have something to show for all the hard work, for the climb, but the real story will be how I got there. And I pray that my climb will help other's on their journey, whatever it may be.

The Climb

I can almost see it
That dream I'm dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying,
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moment's that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

Here's the cheesy video of her actually singing the song, if you care to take a listen:

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...

Monday's are my weigh-in day. Nobody makes me do it. But I like to see the progress that I'm making so I do it once a week.

While I'm always fearful, for the last nine weeks the scale has been my friend not my enemy...until today. I am glad to report that I DID NOT gain any weight last week. However, I DID NOT lose any weight either.

To be honest, I'm not surprised. While, I wouldn't say I had a bad week last week...I didn't have a great week either. Until my routine was interrupted, I didn't realize how much I've come to rely on it to keep me motivated and on track. But for the last two weeks, my life and schedule have been turned upside down and I still have one more week of craziness to go with this week being VBS at church.

As you all know, Ryan had surgery almost two weeks ago and then a couple of days later my parent's came into town. My routine wasn't too badly messed up and I stuck to exercising and eating healthy while they were there. My parent's, who don't need to lose any weight, have also committed to a healthier lifestyle so it wasn't hard when they were around.

Ryan's parent's surprised us on the night of the 4th of July. I ate out twice while they were here. I made good choices but probably still had more calories than I would have if I had eaten at home. They left last Thursday morning and I went to a baby shower that evening for a girl in my Sunday school class. I ate one small cookie and that was it. It was at a frozen yogurt place but I decided to be good and not eat any. I hadn't had supper though so by the time I got home I was starving but too lazy to fix myself something nutritious to eat...mistake! I ended up eating way too many Cheez-It's even though they were the whole grain kind.

The rest of the weekend was so-so. At some meals I ate great at other's not so great. I indulged at snack-time on Saturday with a bit too many chips and homemade salsa...sigh. Why do I love "Mexican" food so much?! And on Sunday we had Buffalo's for lunch since my husband didn't want to go home and eat a sandwich like I had planned. I seriously wanted something unhealthy. Maybe it was because I had already made not so great choices earlier in the week but I settled on the Buffalito's which is sort of like a taco but with grilled chicken and buffalo sauce. While I'm sure it was better than the fried wings and french fries I'm also sure it was chock full of unnecessary calories.

Last night was the first night of VBS and Abigail and I ended up heading out before having supper. So we were starving by the end of the night. We swung by Wendy's. I try to stay away from fast food but it was convenient last night. I did get the grilled chicken sandwich but ate a few fries off Ryan's meal. Normally, I wouldn't feel guilty about a few fries because it's my policy not to make food's off-limit because as soon as I do, it calls to me, beckons me in the same way I'm sure a drink calls to an alcoholic. But I'd already allowed myself a few too many indulgences last week so I felt guilty once I ate them.

But here's the thing about the new me...I'm not using my not so great last couple of weeks as an excuse to fall back into my old habits. I started out fresh this morning. No more missing meals and over-indulging this week. Part of my problem was that I skipped breakfast several times last week. So I had my cereal this morning and started my day off right. This week will be challenging with all the snack foods around during VBS but just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it. I may find myself shoving my sweater in my mouth like I did when we took Abigail too see Car's Sunday before last. Movie popcorn is terrible for you but I wanted it...BAD! Being half funny and half serious, I looked over at my dad who was sharing the popcorn with Abigail and shoved my sweater that I brought along into my mouth! In essence, saying, "my mouth's full of sweater so I can't eat any popcorn." He of course thought it was hilarious! :) But hey, whatever works!

Even though I didn't lose this week, I am beyond thankful that I didn't gain either! I am so glad that I stuck to my exercise routine!

I'm not perfect and I definitely don't have this new healthy lifestyle all figured out. I'm sure there will be more bumps and bruises along the way before I achieve my final goal, whatever that may be, but you can rest assured, I'll brush myself off when I fall down and I'll keep plugging along.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Friday, July 8, 2011

Cooking My Way: Macaroni and Cheese

For years, when asked the question, "What's your favorite food?" I had one answer...macaroni and cheese.

To be honest, some mac and cheese's are superior to others but it didn't really matter what kind it was, I would eat it. My favorite was my grandma Womble's homemade kind. It was a staple in my family. She made it for Sunday lunches, church dinners, and ALL the holiday's. She would have had a riot on her hands if she hadn't made it. But be it homemade or out of a box, I loved it. I was excited when they started making and selling "Easy Mac" because then I could have my favorite food almost instantly. But as we all know, that while it may be tasty, macaroni and cheese is definitely not good for you.

I passed along my love for the cheesy goodness to my daughter. If you've read my blog, you know that she is one of the main reasons that I decided to get healthy and lose weight. I truly did not want her following in my footsteps when it came to nutrition and exercise. She pretty much lived off of Easy Mac and chicken nuggets for a while. Since we've been eating healthier we have not had macaroni and cheese in a really long time and a couple of weeks ago she started asking for it. So, being the new and improved me, I took to the Internet in search of a "healthy" mac and cheese, if there was even such a thing...

...and there was! I again found this wonderful recipe courtesy of Fitness Magazine. You should really check out their website and browse the recipe section. There are so many yummy but healthy things to choose from. So without further ado, here is the recipe for healthy macaroni and cheese (sorry, no pictures this time)...

Macaroni and Cheese (courtesy of Fitness Magazine)

Onion-Garlic Puree
1 large Vidalia onion (I used a yellow onion)
9 cloves of garlic (sounds like a lot but trust me, it's good)
1/2 cup of water
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion and smash garlic to get the skin off. Place in a microwave safe bowl along with water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Pour mixture into blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Makes one cup of sauce and will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 72 hours.

Nonstick cooking spray
4 oz whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup of onion-garlic puree
1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup of shredded reduced fat cheddar (I use cheddar made with 2% milk)
1/3 cup non fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.

In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over top. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.

Serves four. Enjoy!

Ryan, Abigail, and I both found this mac and cheese to be very tasty and satisfying. And it's a good alternative to an otherwise fatty dish! :)

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,

Cooking My Way: Mediterranean Chicken Wraps and Grilled Avocado with Tomato Salsa

I apologize for missing "Recipe Wednesday" for the past two weeks. As you know from previous posts, Ryan had surgery and we had family in town so that is my excuse! :)

I'm going to do two separate posts to make up for it. Here goes the first one...

Mediterranean Chicken Wraps (recipe courtesy of Hannah Hendrix)

4 tbs evoo
4 tbs lime juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
basil to taste
oregano to taste
3-4 chicken breast

Whisk above ingredients (except chicken :)) together. Place chicken breast in a large zip lock bag or shallow baking dish. Pour mixture over chicken and place in refrigerator. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Low carb, whole wheat wraps
Spinach or Romaine mix
Spinach and artichoke hummus

Grill chicken and slice into bite size pieces. Spread hummus over wrap. Place chicken on wrap and top with spinach or lettuce. Wrap it up and enjoy!

*I used three chicken breast when I made this and it made a total of 6-7 wraps. It all depends on how much chicken you put in your wrap.

Grilled Avocado with Tomato Salsa (recipe courtesy of Fitness Magazine)

2 Avocados
1 large tomato, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp finely copped and seeded jalapeno
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbs finely chopped scallion
1 tsp evoo plus additional for grilling
1/8 tsp salt plus additional to taste

Halve avocado lengthwise; pit and peel. Slice a thin layer from rounded bottom of each half so that it sits flat.

In a small bowl, combine tomato, cilantro, scallion, jalapeno, lime juice, evoo, and salt. Add additional salt to taste if necessary.

Heat the grill to high. Brush avocado halves lightly with oil; grill one minute on each side until lightly charred.

Place avocado halves on a platter and spoon tomato salsa into wells. Serve immediately.

*Our avocados were a little too ripe so we didn't get the great grill marks that we wanted. However, they tasted amazing and since Abigail didn't want one, we had two left over which made phenomenal guacamole! Plus, there was plenty of the salsa left and we ate it on tortilla chips and I mixed some in with our scrambled eggs one day. YUM!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, July 7, 2011

C25K: Week 8

Just in case you missed the title...I said WEEK 8!!!!!!!!!!!

Only one more week to go. WOOHOO!!!

I finally got back on schedule so day one started on Sunday morning. My mom and dad were still with us so mom and I were up bright and early. To be honest, 28 minutes didn't feel much different from running 25 minutes last week. I honestly didn't notice the extra time too much. However, I have one complaint...the music. Let me apologize to any of you who have used my suggestion for the podcasts. While the music that is on there isn't my "cup of tea" it was better than listening to that horrible droning of the techo music. However, about week five, I noticed that some of the music was just vulgar and tasteless. So if you've been listening to the same podcasts that I've been using and you were offended by the music like I was, I'm sorry. This week, it wasn't so much the first few songs as it was the song during my last five minutes. I guess I shouldn't say song but music. I happen to like the Rocky movies but I HATED running that last five minutes to the Rocky music. I assume it was put on there to be inspiring but to me it was just irritating. It was as if it was taunting me! I don't know...maybe I'm just weird but I'm glad week eight is over and I don't have to listen to that anymore! I just hope the music for the last week is tolerable! I am so looking forward to creating my own running playlist and adding the music that I like and that inspires me! :)

I completed day two on Tuesday morning. I'm not sure why but day two was a little harder than day one. I actually felt a little sick at the beginning of the run but it passed thank goodness. I still hold to my belief that running is just as mental as it is physical. There are times during my runs that I feel like my legs are about to fall off but I ignore it and push through or think about something else and the next thing I know, my run is almost done. It's such a great feeling knowing that you didn't give up when you could have. My old self would have quit a LONG time ago. I'm so happy not to be that person anymore!

Day three was harder this morning for a couple of reasons. One, I went to bed really late last night and I got up later this morning than I had been when my mom was here. Two, my mom wasn't here. I deal with homesickness a lot after my parent's leave so I was a little down and even though my mom can run faster and farther than me, I was sad not seeing her running up a head of me. Three, near the end of my run my left calf felt like it was trying to cramp up or something. I know I didn't drink enough water yesterday so I'm sure that was part of the reason! But I finished with a smile on my face! :)

It was so great having my parent's here. We had so much fun together. My mom was such an encouragement to me while she was here. Ryan tells me how good I look all the time but it was nice hearing it from someone else who hadn't seen me in a while. It made me feel good that she could notice all the hard work that I've put in. Normally when they are here we eat a lot of junk food and ice cream and we don't exercise but we cooked delicious, healthy meals and exercised every day. Now, that is what I call support! I LOVE my parent's!

I am looking forward to writing my LAST C25K post next week! Stay tuned!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

C25K: Week 7

Well, hello July!

I know I'm a little behind on my posting. Ryan had surgery a week ago and then my parent's came into town later in the week so I've been super busy taking care of my "patient" and spending time with Nana and Papa. I finally found a minute to start trying to catch up. So, let's talk about week seven of the Couch to 5K.

I had finally gotten back on my running schedule and started out week seven last Sunday morning...a 25 minute walking intervals! I did it and it wasn't as hard as I imagined it would be. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing! I have come so far. I have gone from someone who hated running and figured I'd never be a runner to someone who actually enjoys it and I don't feel like I'm going to die while doing it! Now, that is a good feeling! :)

Since I was back on schedule, I should have run my second day of week seven on Tuesday but my husband was scheduled for surgery. We had been told that we may not need to be at the hospital until 9 a.m. so I thought I'd be able to get my run in as usual but in the end we had to be there by 7 a.m. and I wasn't able to. Ryan had a hard time getting around after surgery so I couldn't leave him to go run that evening so that meant no run for me. Things didn't work out for me to run on Wednesday either. :(

By Thursday, I'd had enough of not exercising or running. I got up early like I normally do and got my run in. I felt so much better on Thursday. My parents came in to town on Thursday evening. I wanted to get back to my running schedule...AGAIN, so my mom and I decided to get up early the next morning and get in my last run for week seven.

I was a little worried about running two days in a row but we got up at 5:30 on Friday morning. I told you my mom can get me up early! Ha! It was interesting running with someone else. My mom has been running off and on for a while. I kept up with her pretty good but she has a faster pace and can run longer than I can right now so I let her go on ahead so I wouldn't get too winded or injure myself. :) Completing week seven felt amazing! Sometimes, I still can't believe that I'm actually doing this and have kept it up for so long. But then I look at how much I've changed in the last seven months and even in the last seven weeks and I can tell you this...I'm not going back!

Today, I'm more educated about nutrition and exercise. Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. I'm more conscious of what I put in my mouth. I won't lie. Sometimes, it's frustrating. The more I learn, the more accountable I become and the more responsibility I take on for my own health and the health of my family. A couple of weeks ago, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown on the cereal isle. I had been eating a certain cereal for a few weeks but then I learned that I probably had too much sugar in my diet and how much I realistically should have. My cereal had way too much so I was trying to find some that would taste good but wouldn't have so much sugar. I'll admit I was aggravated and discouraged but I knew that in the end, making a hard choice was the best choice and would be better for me and the pay off would be great! I still haven't found the perfect cereal for me but I make a better choice every time. It's all about learning and growing...not gaining! LOL!

Be on the lookout for more new posts coming soon.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,