Monday, April 27, 2009

Weigh-in Monday

The official verdict is:
no change over vacation

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 204
% lost overall: 5.39%

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Colorado Corgi Mountain Dreams

Sully is generally a good traveler, he generally lays down and sleeps. But when the roads get rough (or construction forces you off into those rumble strips) and you are in the car for hours on end, he starts to quiver and shake and pant. The same behavior happens when there is a big thunderstorm. And for both instances, we give Sully his drops.

What are these drops? Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, made from flower and plant essences. A total hippie-dippie non-science that I would certainly never have believed would work at ALL. Which is why I can believe it. I never expected anything out of it, I expected to throw it away but each time I see it calm and sedate Sully during a troubling time, I'm glad I didn't. (I didn't buy it the first time, my mom gave it to me with a collection of other calming aids for dogs to try and see if anything could help him during storms. She said the Bach remedy had not worked for her dog, another reason I didn't expect it to help Sully.) If we're expecting a storm, I put the drops in his water bowl. But during acute attacks I drop around 4 or 5 drops straight onto his tongue and then give him a treat to mask the alcohol taste. No more shakes in the car, much less panting and less whining during storms.

So after picking up some drops at the Natural Grocers store, Sully had a pretty good time. He loves hotel beds and all the attention he gets where ever he goes!

This weekend, Sully and I will be taking a MUCH shorter trip to a nearby tracking seminar. It is two days but it's close enough that we will be driving home to sleep. I hope we learn a lot about getting started in tracking, it seems like such a good time for dogs! Anyone track with their dog?

Fitness + vacation = ?

Did you know that (for the past week, anyway) I am in first place of the Fitness Challenge?! My goodness, I had no idea until I got home and read my message from Shawnee on my Sparkpage! Thanks for the heads-up, girl!

So, how did my fitness progress while on vacation? (and will I stay on top?) I tried very hard to stick with the plan. I started out by packing my own road snacks-reduced fat crackers packaged in plastic baggies each containing a single serving. (So I wouldn't eat the entire box while sitting there in the car) I also packed gummy fruit snacks and applesauce cups for sweet treats. My dear Vitatops had to stay home in the freezer, the only bad thing about them is they don't travel well since they get dry. At most meal stops while on the road, I had a veggie sub at Subway/Blimpie/Mr. Goodcents/etc. At our destinations, though, I had to have some splurges! First up was California Pizza Kitchen in Kansas City where I ate more slices than I should have of the Pear and Gorgonzola pizza.

When we got to Denver, we knew exactly where we were going to eat, Chef's Noodle House. I had the most tasty Spicy Sesame tofu with steamed rice and ate....way too much. (Are we seeing a pattern? Too much food!) It was actually so spicy, I burned the skin on the sides of my lips and I still have little scabs.

I had been saying all week that it was vacation and I was going to have a piece of cake just because! So I got my slice of oreo cream cake at Albertsons. (not at a restaurant because I think the portions are out of control at restaurants) You'll be surprised that I did not overdo it at the candy factory tour! I didn't even buy any chocolates by the pound! I bought a small bag of assorted hard candies, a Mitchell Sweet and a single chocolate caramel.

So, how did I do keeping up with exercise while riding in the car for hours each day? Both hotels we stayed at had fitness rooms (sweet touchscreen tv treadmills!) so on Tuesday and Thursday I walked over 2 miles and on Thursday I also had a treadmill breakthrough-I jogged! The gym was empty so I got out of my comfort zone of walking and jogged it up at 4.5 mph! And I liked it! Of course, the day of factory tours was also great exercise and great for my daily step count! I feel like I didn't gain any weight but I didn't loose any this week either. Which would be fine with me, it is vacation afterall and I took full advantage without going overboard!

Ahhhh, relaxing

We are back from vacationing in Colorado. It was so nice to just put work in the back of my mind and think only about what exciting thing we were doing next! (I did check my work email while we were away but did not obsess so I'm quite proud of myself!) The only thought that plagued me a few times throughout the trip was that before we left, about a third of my tulips had popped open. I thought sure they would be long gone when we got back since they were all planted at the same time. To my surprise when we returned, all my tulips were open and showing their wonderful colors and shining at me as if to welcome me home!

This was my very first trip to see the Rockies. They were lovely and quite grand! We walked in Colorado Springs state park and learned about the geology of the area.

We went on a tour of Hammond's candy factory and learned all about how their hard candies are made. It seems like a really physically demanding job to mix and shape and lift the huge blobs of candy!

Sully was with us, of course! But we made a slight boo-boo by leaving his drops behind so he had a bit of a rough start in the car, making a frowny face at each bump and turn. (I'll write more about his drops later but they are Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, something I surely wouldn't ever try if I hadn't seen how they help him with my own eyes.) When we got to out hotel, we looked up the closest natural foods store and got a new bottle of drops and he was right as rain.

We also toured the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. WOW! You can sample every SINGLE tea (around 100 I think) they make there in the tasting center. I tried so many, hot and iced! Acai Mango Zinger, Madarin Orange Spice, Cranberry Pomegranate, Tropical Grapefruit, Chocolate Raspberry Bliss, Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos, so many teas! And I found the tea of my dreams, a hard-to-find dessert tea flavor called Almond Sunset.
Those familiar with this brand of tea with recognize this as one of the pieces of artwork they have commissioned for each box. They have TONS of the artwork on display.

It was a fun trip with lots to do and see. And it's great to be back in blustery IL after a trip through the blustery Plains states.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weigh-in Week Three!

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 204
% lost overall: 5.39%

So this week, I am so happy to be on VACATION!!! We are leaving for Colorado tomorrow and will be gone all week. I started my vacation on Saturday with a trip to the used bookstore to get some new reads for the week. I picked up The Lemon Jelly Cake, Anne of Green Gables, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Christy and the first in the Trixie Belden mysteries (The Secret of the Mansion).

I hope to do at least some of this reading on the treadmill at our hotel, of course! We'll also be packing in lots of walking in nature parks, factory tours (Hammond Candy and Celestial Seasonings Tea!) and shopping.

This week my secret weapon against cake and cookie cravings have been Vitatops. Yes, Hungry Girl's incessant propoganda for them got to me and I ordered a sampler of 20 and so far, they have all been delicious! This picture shows them in my frezer bin, as the secret to keeping them moist is to keep them frozen until you want to eat one, then microwave it in the wrapper to keep it nice and moist and tasty!

Those of you who are doing the Spring Fitness Challenge, I j saw another way you could win money for loosing weight! The 50 Million Pound Challenge sponsored by State Farm. $10,000 prizes!

And now, for pictures of food!
This is a nutrisystem meal (Pasta Primavera with Tofu) that Mike happened to pick up at BigLots. It was ok, but I don't think I'd eat it again. I added green beans, tropical fruit cup and, YES, a piece of coconut cream pie left over from Easter. And still made it under the day's calorie budget!
This is one of two Hungry Girl recipes I tried this week. This is her quesadilla recipe slightly modified as I didn't have any Laughing Cow cheese wedges so I just mixed all the other ingredients together (soy crumbles, cheddar cheese, sour cream (I used yogurt instead), taco seasoning and scallions) nuked it and then spread it on the tortilla. Pretty good. I had green beans, yogurt for dipping and fresh pineapple
This is the other recipe, these are her Lord of the Onion Rings made with FiberOne cereal coating. They were awesome! And gave me terrible onion breath. After eating this meal (yes, that is ONE SERVING of onion rings!) I was stuffed to the gills. I had them with a veggie burger (with sprouts, tomato and pickles), a dipping sauce made of light mayo, ketchup and season salt and margarita-flavored jello with pears in it. Yum! And too much food for sure. But not too many calories!
To start off our vacation, we had a quorn-fest! Quorn is a vegetarian meat alternative made from fungus grown in huge vats. We had Chik'n Patties in Friday night and then we made sloppy joes using Quorn grounds. Delicious! We ate them with peas and shake and bake potatoes! And I had a diet root beer, it is vacation after all!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Week Two Weigh-In

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 208
% lost: 3.37%

Easter pie! Ack! We had a nice, small family gathering at my sister's house and I tried to eat sensibly (and did pretty well). But I had to try the caramel-banana cream pie and then I had to have a taste of coconut cream pie too. And, well, since I didn't try it while I was there, she sent me home with a sample of chocolate pie. :)

No pretty pictures of food this week, I've been busy at lunches and have been eating not so photogenic microwave meals. But you can check on my daily calorie stats here at my Sparkpage.

Sully and I had a Rally trial this weekend. We got two QQs toward our ARCH title but just weren't in the ribbons. It was my fault, I have probably practiced rally with him a total of maybe 6 times since January. We've been working on our new obedience exercises like the dumbbell and go-outs and the broad jump. The exciting news is that there was a photographer at the trial so I will have some great new pictures of us competing!

4-H dog classes start tonight with orientation. Wish me luck, I have been experiencing mild anxiety about our move the dog training club's awesome indoor facility for the first time this year. My anxiety comes from the fact that some board members are happy we are there and some are less than enthusiastic. I don't like to step on anyone's toes or make people unhappy but it seems like there is always someone who will grumble and complain.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weigh-in day!

start weight: 215
current weight: 210
% lost: 2.38%

Visit my SparkPage. There you can see my food diary and fitness record (link on the right hand side).

My only big flub was picking Ruby Tuesday as our date night on Friday. I knew the veggie burger would be a lot of calories so I ate sparingly for breakfast and lunch. I still stayed within range (1700-2000 calories) but my calorie total was a bit higher than the rest of my days from last week. And after that little foray into dining out, I found what I had been searching for! Healthy Dining Finder not only tells you restaurants in your area with healthy choices, it tells you what your choices are AND any special requests needed to make it healthier (hold the cheese, have an apple instead of a roll, etc.). Awesome! Many thanks to my friend Jay who turned me on to the Hungry Girl website because that's where I found this.

And now, for the food pics!
Lean Cuisine Gourmet Mushroom pizza (excellent! I would definitely buy again on sale with a coupon!), multigrain tortilla chips, salsa, celery with 2 Tbsp peanut butter, fresh pineapple
"Tater skins" a split baked potao scooped to make a canoe shape, salsa, cheddar cheese, yogurt (my everyday stand-in for sour cream) and chives, baby carrots, a pink orange and my dessert/snack is a piece of flax-oat bread with mom's rhubarb jam
"Brinner"=Breakfast for dinner! FiberOne pancakes, cinnamon applesauce and a box of raisins (I like to spread the applesauce on instead of syrup and them sprinkle with raisins.) My snack for later was a serving of pretzel sticks.
vegetarian Qorn nuggets, ketchup, bean and yellow carrot mix, and whole wheat Ritz crackers (which aren't that good for you I found out after I bought them but they do taste good!).
A lunch splurge (money-wise, not calorie-wise) from the health food store: Vegan pad thai, purple and green salad with tofu, whole wheat pita chips and fresh pineapple.
My small lunch for Friday since my dinner would be extra-heavy. Green and yellow string beans, a piece of flax-oat bread with 1 Tbsp peanut butter and green grapes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Sully wanted to be sure I highlighted his progress too! After working on retrieve for a little over 6 weeks, Sully has gone from bumping the dumbbell with his nose for a treat to a complex chain of behaviors: picking it up from the floor about 1 foot away, bringing it to me, sitting in front of me and giving it to me. We had two minor setbacks, mainly my fault. I tried to skate by a step, touching the dumbbell while it's in his mouth but not taking it from him (step 18). We had to go back because it would instantly drop it the minute I moved my arms which is not good, a dropped dumbbell is a big no-no. Then we had a little extinction burst of dropping-dropping-dropping and Sully getting frustrated because it wasn't working and he couldn't figure out I wanted him to do! Now he will reliably hold it until I take it but he needs a larger bell size. When he picks it up off the ground, it's crooked in his mouth about half the time so we'll be ordering a new one.

Spring Fitness Challenge 2009

For the next couple of months, I will be tracking my participation in two fitness programs!

A Feathered Nest's Spring Fitness Challenge
March 30 to June 1
My goals are to add more whole grains, reduce overall calories, attend a class at the gym at least twice a week and track both my exercise and food choices using SparkPeople.

Here are my stats to start:
weight-215 lbs
% body fat-36.7

Our local community's Moon Walk 2009
April 3 to June 12
I am our team's captain (mostly people from work) and my goals are to completely refrain from using our elevator at work (I am on the 5th floor) and get at least 8000 steps each and every day.

I will be featuring pictures of some of my healthy meals to give you ideas and also remind myself just how beautiful and appetizing healthy food can look.

Pumpkin Black Bean soup (from the soup swap, it's been in my freezer!), a sandwich made with flax oat bread with 2 slices of vegetarian bacon, whole grain pita chips, baby carrots with a little salsa and yogurt and half a Chunky chocolate bar.

Spinach penne bake made with low fat cottage cheese and 2% mozzarella (I admit the pasta is not whole wheat because I still don't think they've gotten the high fiber pasta to a science yet, I'm not really a fan.), mixed veggies on top, a few baby carrots and a fruit cup

Pine nut couscous, whole wheat pita chips and hummus, mixed veggies, green seedless grapes and a glass of 1% milk. (I usually drink water with my meals but I just can't leave a section of these divided trays empty! So I added the milk, which was Mike's idea since I was lacking dairy in this meal.)

Bean and cheese enchilada (fat free refried beans and lots of veggies sneaked in. My trick for this one is that I made ONLY 4 so that I didn't overeat, I had one this meal and one for later. And two for Mike so we're even.) spanish rice made with brown rice, baby carrots and a kiwi cut up.

My tip for today is to make your own 100 calorie packs of treats you just can't do without! These are baggies of M&Ms, tied with pretty ribbon so it's a treat to get one! It's like a party favor. These aren't for everyday, but for when you want a treat, they are handy and hopefully more easy to reach than stopping at the store for ice cream or a doughnut!