Archive for September, 2012

I consider myself a person with a gratitude attitude. Most evenings before going to bed, I write at least five things I am grateful for in my life. I have a dear friend who hires me twice a year (or more if work is available) for freelance work. I make a point of taking her to lunch once or twice during the year to express my gratitude. I’m pretty good at writing thank you notes for gifts I receive from family, friends, and students. And, if my family and I receive excellent service at a restaurant, we make a point to show our gratitude with a great tip and a compliment to the manager about the service. I believe these actions can make an impact…maybe small, maybe big.

Recently, while waiting for my car to be fixed, I thought about extending my gratitude to people who help me in other capacities. Our society tends to focus on complaining more than complimenting. When I taught 2nd grade, I use to tell my students to try to receive compliments rather than complaints. Every time my students received a compliment from me or from another adult, I would write a letter on the board until it spelled out COMPLIMENT. Once the word was complete, my students voted on their reward. It could be an extra 15-minute recess or switching places with another student to sit by a friend for the day.  Even as a teacher, I received more complaints than compliments. The compliments I did receive whether in person or in writing, I cherished because they were rare. In fact, I use to keep happy notes from parents or administration in my desk, so on bad days when things were not going well, I would stop and reread those notes. They provided comfort. I try to write happy notes to my son’s teachers to pay it forward for the ones I received over the years.

Granted, people are paid to provide a service or do a job; however, people like to be acknowledged when they do something well or go above and beyond their normal duties. So, I have decided to express my gratitude to those people who sincerely make an effort to make my life more enjoyable and more manageable.

First, I have to thank YOU, my reader. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I appreciate you allowing me to enter your inbox periodically to share whatever I have to say about my life. You are NOT taken for granted. I consider you a member of my tribe, and I am grateful to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read what I have written. One day, I will figure out another way to express the gratitude I feel towards YOU, my reader. For NOW…Thank You

Next, I will mail out three thank you cards tomorrow morning. One will go to Rae, the service advisor at Toyota. One will go to James, the service tech at Toyota. Both of these gentlemen helped get my car back on the road. I love my little car. It is important to me, as well as my family. It is necessary for me to have it running properly. The last card will go to the owners of an athletic shoe store where I buy running shoes. I have been a customer since I was in high school. The store is about an hour away from where I live, but well worth the drive. The last time I went to the store, they did not have the shoes I needed in my size. First time this ever happened. Henry agreed to order the shoes and mail them to me at no charge. Happiness! 

So, the next time someone does something to make your life a little easier or even a little happier, demonstrate a gratitude attitude. I bet it will bring some positive energy into your life.

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” ~ Randy Pausch

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My hubby and I worked concessions with Andrew and some of his fellow troop (Boy Scouts) members last night at the SLU football game. It was fun, but busy. My duties consisted of filling nacho trays, wrapping hamburgers and hotdogs, pouring soft drinks, and waiting on customers. I even had to squeeze the cheese bag to get the last bit of cheese out of it. Come to think of it, I also had to squeeze the chili bag, too.

Today will be another fun and busy day with my family. My hubby is cutting the grass, I’m blogging, and Andrew is about to hurl my little dog out the door. Comet aka Tooty just wants to go outside and get in Barry’s way, so he is whining and whistling, and well…being a tad bit obnoxious. This is aggravating Andrew because he cannot hear whatever he is listening to on the computer. After lunch, we have tickets to attend the play “The Nerd” at the Playmakers Theater. One of my acting friends is part of the cast. It is suppose to be hilarious. Who doesn’t need a good laugh? I’m excited because my hubby agreed to go with us. He is not big on plays, so this is a big deal. 

My weight loss journey continues. I lost another three pounds this week bringing my total weight loss to 18 pounds. I now weigh 135 pounds. Just ten more pounds to go until I reach my goal weight. Then it is all about toning and maintenance. I’m repeating my run/walk schedule this week, which is to Walk 10 minutes, run 8 minutes. Walk 2 minutes, run 8 minutes (repeat twice). I feel like I can increase my run time; however, I don’t want to risk injury. I’m also riding my bike more during the week. My hubby bought me a light for my bike. I’ll get to test it out on Tuesday morning.

Now that my blogging is done, I must take care of the laundry and clean a toilet or two before eating lunch. Wishing all my readers a terrific day…do something to create some positive energy. Happiness!

Check out Leo Babauta’s blog zen habits. He wrote a wonderful post about 20 Simple Strategies for Getting Healthy.

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”  ~ Roald Dahl

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Finally, my weight is in the 130’s. Woot! Woot! I lost three pounds this week for a weight loss total of 15 pounds. I’m officially 138 pounds, and more than half way to my weight loss goal. I have more marbles in my “pounds lost” container than my “pounds to go” container. YES!

I completed my ninth week of eating clean and exercising on a regular basis. I have been using a food journal from a book by Kathy Smith that I’ve had for years. After the tenth week (starting tomorrow), I will have to make more copies. I am thinking about copying another ten weeks. During the next ten weeks or 11 weeks if you count this upcoming week, I will start creating menus. I have not been able to plan my meals in advance, so I want to work on that as a mini goal for the remainder of my weight loss journey. I also continue to struggle with drinking enough water. I want to be more consistent with my water intake. So, this will be another mini goal.

I feel like I am doing really well with my eating in social and restaurant/take-out situations. Once a month from January through November, I play Pokeno with ten other women. Each month one person hosts dinner and dessert. The hostess for the month is also asked to provide plain and peanut M & M’s. Thursday night was Pokeno. Our hostess for the month prepared Chicken Parmesan, Caesar salad, and bread for dinner. She brought a chocolate bundt cake and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Even though my treat meals are generally on the weekend, I decided there is no reason I cannot have my treat meal on Thursday night in lieu of having one on Saturday night. I ate both dinner and dessert in moderation. I will confess I ate too many peanut M & M’s because I adore them. The portion I ate would be equivelant to a small bag you can buy at a checkout counter at a supermarket. I don’t regret it. The last time I ate peanut M & M’s was at last month’s Pokeno. The way I look at it, I get to indulge once a month.

My hubby and I ordered Chinese take-out on Friday night. Again, I made the decision to eat a treat meal on Friday instead of Sunday. I ordered as sensibly as you can when it comes to Chinese food. I had Shrimp with Lobster Sauce (5 medium/large shrimp & 1/2 cup of sauce), 3/4 cup of white rice, one eggroll, and a fortune cookie. In the past, I would have ordered a pint of shrimp lo mein, crabmeat delight, an eggroll, and a fortune cookie. It’s all about making choices and eating in moderation.

Yesterday, I went to visit my parents. I called my mother ahead of time to let her know that I would be bringing my lunch, so we would not have to order out. As far as I was concerned, I already had my treat meals for the week. And, I’ve eaten clean all weekend with the exception of one peanut butter/chocolate chip cookie I enjoyed at my little guy’s Scout Court of Honor ceremony. My hubby baked them for the reception afterwards. It is unrealistic for me to think I can eat clean 100% of the time. However, it is realistic for me to think I can eat clean 93-95% of the time. Food is a big deal with socializing. I’ve learned these last nine weeks to make better food choices when socializing and eating out at restaurants.

As for fitness, I’m right on track with what I want to accomplish and have been getting the right amount of cardio and strength training per week. Although…I did skip my workout Tuesday morning because I was on the phone Monday night until 11:30PM with my oldest son who is stationed in Alaska. I didn’t get to sleep until about midnight, so I had a hard time getting out of bed at 4AM. I’m not going to apologize for taking a rest day, especially since I had the opportunity to talk to my son the night before. However, I will admit I felt kind of off all day. I really look forward to my morning workouts.

My schedule for this week is to run/walk on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday (bonus day). Walk 10 minutes, run 8 minutes. Walk 2 minutes, run 8 minutes (repeat twice). I’ll walk/bike and strength train on the other days. In the next few weeks I will start researching races. I would like to run a 5K soon. It has been almost a year since I ran my last 5K. It would be nice to have a fitness goal.

Looks like rain and cooler temperatures this week. Hope everyone has a wonderful week full of happiness and endless possibilities.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” ~ Oscar Wilde

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What a pleasant surprise I received when I walked out my door this morning! Cool weather. Sixty-two degree weather. Goosebumps on your arms and legs weather. I walked, ran, AND rode my bike this morning. Happiness!

Good News: lost another pound. I’m now 141 pounds. Last week was a little more challenging because I worked as a substitute all week. I subbed for a 3rd grade class on Tuesday and for the librarian Wednesday through Friday. I had to make sure I worked out, showered, dressed, ate breakfast, packed lunch/snacks, and took care of pets before walking out the door at 7AM. To stick to my exercise plan for the week, I got up each morning at 4AM. It is not easy, especially after having my routine disrupted by Mother Nature the week before. Thankfully, I do not have to get up so early on the weekends; however, I still try to get on the road by 6AM.

I’ll follow my same routine as last week for strength training. The only thing I may change is biking on a couple of the days that I do not run/walk. I’ve also decided to repeat my run/walk schedule from last week. Walk 10 minutes, run 7 minutes. Walk 3 minutes, run 7 minutes (repeat twice). I felt a little soreness in the inner part of my shins this morning. I’m trying extremely hard not to get injured.  

This morning I made chocolate chip pancakes. I used Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix. I sprinkled in 1 tsp of Nestle semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels for every three pancakes. After cooking, I spread a minimal amount of yogurt margarine on the pancakes and topped them with 1 tbsp of pancake syrup. YUM! This was definitely a treat meal, but with less fat and calories.

I also discovered Whole Wheat tortillas at the grocery store. I’m using two brands: Mission 100% Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas (medium size) – (1 tortilla contains 3g fat; 130 calories; 2g sugar) and LaTortilla Factory Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas (large size) – ( 1 tortilla contains 3g fat; 80 calories; 1g sugar). I will use both, but I prefer the Mission brand. 

I will be substituting for the librarian again this week. It is the annual Book Fair at the school. For an entire week the school gym is transformed into a mini bookstore. Andrew and I are looking forward to attending Family Night tomorrow evening. Lots of excitement! Besides being in charge of the library, I get to teach an advanced English class to eight 8th graders. We are working on writing a resume this week, as well as discussing the novel Nothing But the Truth by Avi. Good stuff!

“Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” ~ Plato

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The day is absolutely gorgeous. The sun is shining brightly. There is a slight breeze. Hummingbirds are right outside my window, darting here and there, chasing each other away from the hummingbird feeder. Grocery shopping, a trip to the bookstore, and laundry are some of the things on today’s agenda. For my household, we are getting back to normal.

I woke up early to go for a run/walk. Afterwards, I stretched my lower body and did a 15-minute upper arm power circuit. Then stretched my upper body. I love starting my day off with a workout. My schedule for this week is to run/walk on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday (bonus day). Walk 10 minutes, run 7 minutes. Walk 3 minutes, run 7 minutes (repeat twice). I’ll walk and strength train on the other days.

I’m trying something new this week with the power circuits/strength training. I’m trying to find the right balance for me, as well as trying to get my exercise in before work. I find it difficult to workout twice in one day, and this is without me working a job outside my home. Too many things come up in the afternoons. Also, if it rains in the morning on one of the days I run/walk, I’ll need to rely on the afternoon/evening to get my workout completed for the day. Therefore, I’m thinking about splitting up the power circuits to maximize my time. This is what my week would look like:

  • Monday:   Run/Walk. 15-minute Upper Body Power Circuit
  • Tuesday:   Walk (about 20 minutes). 15-minute Lower Body Power Circuit & 15-minute Ab Power Circuit
  • Wednesday:   Run/Walk. 15-minute Upper Body Power Circuit    
  • Thursday:   Walk (about 20 minutes). 15-minute Lower Body Power Circuit & 15-minute Ab Power Circuit 
  • Friday:   Run/Walk.
  • Saturday:   Total Body Power Circuit (or another Jackie Warner DVD)
  • Sunday:   Run/Walk. 15-minute Ab Power Circuit.

Just a quick recap of last week: Hurricane Isaac threw a monkey wrench in my week, as well as everybody else who happened to be in its path. However, I did NOT use it as an excuse to eat poorly. I ate clean all week. My hubby, Andrew, and I did venture out to a Mexican restaurant for lunch on Saturday. Yesterday, I wanted dessert. I was dreaming about Baked Apple Dumplin’ from Cracker Barrel. Luckily, the ice cream truck passed through our neighborhood, and I indulged my taste buds with a Big Dipper instead. Baked Apple Dumplin’ will have to wait for another time.  

I did get to run/walk on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday of last week. Of course, I took a rest day on Wednesday when we were being pounded by Isaac. I walked on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. I did NO power circuit workouts OR strength training all week. Honestly, my body thanked me because I needed the break. My weight is still 142 pounds. This means I didn’t lose/gain any weight this week.

I have to keep reminding myself that getting fit is a process or journey. Each person has to find what works best for him/her to get fit and healthy. My goal or destination is really to live a healthy lifestyle. The journey to get to that destination is exercising and eating clean. Losing weight, looking great, feeling energized, and gaining more self-confidence is definitely a plus. However, being PRESENT and enjoying the journey is what is important. Enjoy the ride! 

“That’s why it is important to enjoy the journey not just the destination. In this world, we will never arrive at a place where everything is perfect and we have no more challenges. As admirable as setting goals and reaching them may be, you can’t get so focused on accomplishing your goals that you make the mistake of not enjoying where you are right now.” ~ Joel Osteen 

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Note: This post was written on Thursday, August 30th. Internet service went down before this post was published.

It’s Thursday mid-morning here in inky black Louisiana, and it appears that Hurricane Isaac is over. My subdivision is still without electricity; however, compared to many people we are very lucky. I’m not complaining. I still have my home, clean running water, working toilets, a generator, phone/internet service, and plenty of food. Our roof lost two shingles, and there is tree debris in the front and back yards. Nothing at all significant. This is not the case for many in surrounding areas. Unfortunately, for many people, Hurricane Isaac is not over. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are less fortunate. 

I went for a walk/run this morning to stretch my legs and get some much-needed fresh air. It felt wonderful. I am still eating clean despite the circumstances. We have plenty of fruits/veggies, and we are eating what we have in the freezer. This is not an excuse to eat poorly or indulge in junk food.

I’m hoping things will get back to normal this weekend. Also, I’m hoping my friends and family caught up in this storm are safe. Again, thoughts and prayers with those who are being severely impacted by this storm.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

~ Emily Dickinson

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