Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Excuses Excuses


Last night I ran in to a friend I hadn't seen in awhile.  "Are you still blogging?" she asked.  My immediate inclination was to say "YES!" because in my head I blog all the time (a phenomenon that only those who write will understand) and if you could come behind the scenes here at "Finding Amy...Again" you'd see that I've written plenty of posts (they all just happen to still be in Draft form).  

The actuality, of course, is that I've not posted anything here for over a month so the honest (and embarrassing) answer I had to give was "No, not really."  I followed it up, however, by an equally honest (and equally embarrassing) response of "But I'm going to get back into it soon... I'm revamping it so that it looks better and reaches more people...blah blah blah."

This is sounds vaguely famiiar doesn't it? I've said it here before and I've definitely said it in relation to my weight loss/health/journey. And while I feel bad about it, this is how life goes sometimes.  Parts of your life sometimes give way to other parts of your life. While the truth is that  my plans really have been to change and improve the blog, I haven't had much time to dedicate to it or my health lately.  And, the blog revamp, like the health journey, takes time and dedication to be successful.  But...now that I am unemployed (by choice, more on that later....) I will have lots of time to do it and I can't wait to really make all aspects of this work.

In the meantime I will be right here working on editing all those Draft Posts  (and deleting a few) as the stories of my summer weight gain will be easily overshadowed by the emotional eating I succumbed to over the holidays.  So stay tuned for the roll out of our new look which I hope to roll out upon my 39th birthday -  have seriously big plans for positive change in my 40th year! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friendship

Last night I went out to dinner with a bunch of girlfriends last night to celebrate the birthday of my friend Marijean.  Since some of us hadn't met before we decided to go around the table to tell how we knew the Birthday Girl.  When it was my turn it occurred to me that though it wasn't unusal that we had met via a social media seminar - she is, after all, Social Media Queen of Charlottesville (as well as the "First Lady of Pie") - it was surprising that of the women I knew at the table I had met every single one on-line!

Considering my line of work it's not unusual for me to meet people through social media.  What I was surprised by, however, was that these women - whom I may never have met if not for Twitter - are now truly some of my greatest friends!  And, by the way, these are some really amazing, inspiring women


This was actually the third in a series of events that transpired this week that had me thinking about the importance of friendships in our lives, as well as how lucky I am to have these relationships.  


The first came earlier in the week in the form of a message from my childhood best friend in Minnesota (yep, that's me rockin' the perm in high school!).  Jen and I became friends during the first weeks of junior high when I unknowingly started "going with" her former boyfriend.  She had words of wisdom for me about him that I took to heart and I have been listening to her ever since.


Her message wasn't anything deep - just a "hey, how are you? Haven't talked to you in awhile" - kind of thing.  But it reminded me of a pact she and I made several years back at a time when both of our lives seem to be moving faster than the speed of light.  We vowed  we'd never apologize - or expect an apology from the other - if what seemed like too much time had passed since we'd last heard from the other.  We realized that this happens not because we don't care, but rather because sometimes life just gets in the way.  You can do this with a true friend and the best part is - when you do get back in touch it feels like no time has passed at all.


The third came on Saturday while hanging out some girlfriends. One of these friends is battling cancer. While she is an extremely strong woman, the cancer is putting up a good fight. Every day I wonder what big thing I could be doing for her. It occurred to me through our laughter that night that even little things can be pretty big if you take time to stop and enjoy them.  


It's easy to get caught up in your own world and let things like friendships fall off.  But without these friendships (and the many that I haven't mentioned here) my life wouldn't be complete.  I cherish every moment I have with these women -  not just because cancer has forced me to recognize that we don't always how many more there will be -  but because I know I am truly blessed to have them.










Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Basic Green Smoothie


BASIC GREEN SMOOTHIE

1 cup blueberries or strawberries or combination
1 cup kale or spinach
1 banana
1/2 cup ice*
4-8 ounces coconut water**
1 ounce whey protein


*if using frozen berries ice isn't necessary **adjust liquid to your preference***makes 2 large smoothies


This is obviously a really easy recipe that is fairly sweet from the berries and banana.  You can go much greener (and less sweet) by omitting the banana and adding in things like celery and other greens.  I've tried green apples, mache, arugula, cucumber and watercress with success (though I am personally not a fan of cilantro, avocado, parsley or dandelion greens).  Other good options for adding nutrients are things like dates, figs, and various seeds (pumpkin, sunflowers, sesame, etc).  I've found that tossing in a tablespoon or two of flax seed is a great addition from a nutrient standpoint without changing the texture or taste.  And, if you've thought about adding some omega-3 to your diet but gag at the thought of swallowing those huge fish-oil pills I recommend trying Barleans Omega Swirl. It comes in yummy flavors like berry, orange and lemon that are great additions to a smoothie. But don't tell my kids -   they'd die if they knew I was adding fish oil to their breakfast!



Monday, November 14, 2011

Eat! Part 2: The Green Smoothie Challenge


Since it's taken me so long to get to posting this I will give you the condensed version of the story (which, as you know, is NOT easy for me to do!).

A Quick Recap
When we last met I confessed that I had really let things go over the summer and was feeling pretty yucky, especially considering that my 20 year High School Reunion was coming up.  I went to Tracey Webber of EAT! to help me get back on track.

The Challenge
Tracey really got to me about how important getting back on track was not just for my physical health, but my mental health, as well. To do this she suggested making "Green Smoothies" every morning for breakfast.  I had tried a few of Tracey's green smoothies during the Cleanse I did with her last spring and was pretty sure I could handle it for a little while, as long as she didn't make me drink the one called the "Blood Transfusion" (recipe here).  To help motivate me Tracey vowed to do what we eventually entitled "The Smoothie Challenge" along with me. (Note: the photo above is not actually one of my smoothies but a stock photo.  I will post mine once I remember to take photos before drinking!)

Making a smoothie every morning really isn't that hard to do, especially for someone like Tracey who truly lives the life she teaches.  Unless, of course, you are heading to the caribbean for a week on vacation with you family, as Tracey was.  Did that stop her?  Of course not!  She literally packed her Blend Tech into her suitcase so that she could make smoothies along with me every day.  And she did it!  Every day Tracey and I e-mailed what we put in our smoothie that day, how it tasted and how we were feeling.  Now that is a dedicated support system!

At the beginning of the week I'd hit Whole Foods and Cville Market for fruit, veggies and box of frozen wheatgrass cubes (expensive but so easy in this form). A basic smoothie would consist of handful or two of some type of green - usually spinach, kale, watercress or mache; some type of frozen berries - usually blueberries, raspberries or strawberries (I'd use fresh if they were in season but out of season froze are cheaper and taste great), coconut water, whey protein powder and some ice.  Some of the recipes called for other ingredients like avocado (which I love to eat but found I hated in smoothies), celery, and nuts which I'd add if called for.  I also threw plain greek yogurt in quite often because I like the texture (though during the cleanse this isn't allowed). By the end of the week it usually turned into a "Whatever-I-have-Left Smoothies" which, surprisingly, often turned out to be my favorites.   

When my reunion  (in Minnesota) came around I attempted to maintain the Smoothie Challenge by making  one every morning at my parents house.  My veggie-loving mom was quick to jump on the bandwagon, but my dad was a little skeptical (surprise, surprise!).  We did convince him to try a few of my concoctions, but he drew the line at the ones that "looked like bird poop".  I can't blame him, some of them do look pretty disgusting.

Tomorrow I will post a basic recipe for an easy-to-drink-but-still-packed-with-vitamins-green-smoothie, as well as the "Blood Transfusion" smoothie of Tracey's that is so packed with nutrition you will feel like a new person after drinking it (if you can swallow it).  I will post a few of my favorite recipes I come up with new favorite combinations as time goes on. Yes, I'm planning on maintaining the smoothie thing into the future, as it's really easy, tastes great and starting your day off with all those nutritients feels really, really awesome (and did I mention it's a great hangover cure???).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EAT! Part I


A few months ago I started working with Tracey from EAT!  Even though I was working out fairly consistently (which we now know fell apart completely over the summer) I knew that if I really wanted to conquer my weight issues I was going to have to make some serious changes to my diet. Not go on "a diet" but change what I eat - forever.

You may recall my first foray with Tracey back in the spring when I did her Cleanse and Reboot program. Not only did I lose 8 pounds in three weeks I learned some really valuable lessons about how what I eat makes me feel.  It's not rocket science, of course - if you eat better, healthier foods you feel better. But I honestly had no idea how all the processed foods I was eating - presumably to keep me going - were sapping my energy, screwing with my insides, messing up my sleep patterns and sabotaging my weight loss.

Shortly after the Cleanse, after going back to my old ways, I hit a plateau.  Exercise wasn't taking the pounds off like it had and I was getting frustrated real quickly.  Before things got too out of hand I decided to hire Tracey on for a full year to help get me on track and keep me that way.  I knew from experience that actually practicing good habits would much more difficult than it seemed and, quite frankly, I needed some forced accountability.  I had learned so much from Tracey during the cleanse that I knew working with her would be a major help in my success.

So we met and chatted about all of my food and weight issues (yes, it was a long meeting).  Tracey is really good at what she does and I feel like she really gets me so I walked out of that meeting feeling completely motivated, energized and ready to conquer the world.  Until a week later when life got in the way again - as it always does - and I went crashing down into a bowl of ice cream.

Summer came and things never got quite to that place of calm that I had planned for in May.  It seemed there was never enough time to get the basic things done - let alone the "extra" stuff - you know, like taking care of myself.    Vacations put both of us out of town on different weeks so we weren't able to meet consistently and before I knew it my eating was spinning out of control and my alcohol intake was back to where it was BC (Before Clay).  Suddenly July was almost over and I hadn't change a darn thing (well, except for the worse).  Which brings us to August....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Summer That Wasn't


Remember me?  I don't blame you if you don't.  The last post I had on here was in July, which even I can barely believe.  But I'm back in full force and plan on inundating you with the ups and downs of my search (no, I still don't think I've truly found Amy yet!) and before you know you will once again be thinking "Wow, that girl has too much to say!"

The bad news is, it was a tough summer.  The good news is, I'm back on track.  

I started the summer with great intentions.  I hired a nanny three days a week that would free me from the 60+ minutes of driving the girls across town to swim team once (and sometimes twice) a day.  This (in theory) would, in turn, give me more time to work, exercise and get our lives organized while still allowing me some fun summer time with the girls.  And while the nanny was, indeed, fabulous, I apparently needed a lot more than 3 days a week to get my shit together because it's September and, quite frankly, I'm no further along than I was in June.

As my work demands increased so did Courtney's and even though good things were happening for both of us (check me out with Sherry Taylor on Z95.1 on Thursday & Friday mornings!) I started to fall apart.

When August hit I found myself in a pretty deep state of depression.  I'd allowed myself to gain back 1/3 of the weight I'd lost, was eating my way through my stress and had been to class so infrequently that I was almost afraid to go back again.  The prescription to my anitidepressants had expired and I had neglected to schedule the necessary appointment with my doctor so I was now unmedicated, as well.  It wasn't pretty.

Between then and now I've had a lot of moments that lead me to getting back on track. The e-mails from Hyam - meetings with Tracey - my doctor's warnings  - and yes, even the arrival of my 20th High School Reunion. But the one that was bigger than all of the above was internal.  I felt so good in so many ways when I was taking care of myself and I wasn't ready to give that up.  I needed it back.

Fortunately our bodies are resilient and our muscles have memory because though it's been a tough few weeks back at the studio I can already feel it coming back together.  I plan to take this blog in a slightly different direction over the next few months - still focusing on all the ups and downs of my journey - but also as a way to keep myself accountable.  I will be telling you probably more than you want to know about what I'm eating, how much (or little!) I'm exercising and where I end up as a result of that because I've found that it's easy to lie to myself about why I'm eating that fourth chocolate chip cookie ("It's the weekend - you deserve it!) but it's impossible for me to lie to all of you!

Stay tuned....

Oh, and the flamingo at the top of the page? It's a long story - and one my sister would be happy to tell you IF she could control her laughter.  The short of it is that it's a symbol to me that I can conquer my fears and insecurities if I try - sometimes I just need to be reminded. And yes, that does mean I once had a fear of flamingoes.  



Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Good" For You



I was so excited this week because I found this new (or at least new-to-me) instant oatmeal that was hearty, delicious and - I thought - nutritious.  I grew up on the Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets and though I love them they're not all that reminiscent of true, whole oats.  I've read over and over again how good oatmeal is for me and how it will actually stay with me longer than cereal will -  I love it with strawberries, blueberries and all the great fruit that's in season right now so I thought this a perfect time to add oatmeal back in.  Recall, however, that I am a lazy cook.  So this Oat Revolution product looked perfect.  It was even "eco-friendly" because you could measure out the water in the bag the oatmeal came in.

I made this is morning and was so pleased with myself. Not only did I get up early enough to take Scout on a 2-mile walk before cycling class on a Saturday morning I ate hearty, healthy oatmeal for breakfast after class.  Or so I thought...

While I was happily chomping my oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries I glanced at the back of the package (to see just how healthy I was being).  This is what I saw:

Total fat 2.5g...Cholesterol 0g...Fiber 3g...Protein 4...Sugars 13...


Hold on a minute, Did that say 13 grams of sugar?  That's more than the Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch I caved and bought Maggie at the store yesterday (Cap'n Crunch claims 9).  And guess what? My "not reminiscent of real oats" Quaker Oat packets has the same amount of fat, fiber and protein with only 9 grams of sugar too.  What the hell?


Full disclosure - I did buy "Maple and Brown Sugar" oatmeal so I probably should've realized the sugar would be high, but I never thought that high.  It's a good lesson for me though, to realize that though this option is definitely better for me than some I might have chosen in the past, processed, packaged food is just that - processed and packaged - not a nutritional powerhouse.


Lesson learned.  But what am I going to have for breakfast tomorrow???

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hunger



Today was a good example of why starving yourself while you're dieting isn't a good idea. By "starving" I, of course, don't mean purposefully not allowing oneself to eat (been there, done that) but rather trying to fit so many things into your day that you don't have time to stop for something as trivial as a meal.  

Weekdays are often like this for me.  I leave the house as soon as the girls hop on the bus at 7:15 and run around between the radio station, the the tv station, client meetings, Women's Health Virginia and attempt to fit in some home and work errands until I arrive home 3:00 - completely ravenous.  This obviously doesn't set me up for making good choices when I do get a chance to eat.  Rather, I tend to  grab the first thing I can get my hands on.  

Today the first thing I grabbed after staring hungrily into the refrigerator for a few l-o--n-g minutes was a low-fat cheese stick. Protein and calcium are good for me, right?  It didn't, however, satisfy me so I kept on looking,  There were lots of fruits and vegetables in the fridge, of course, but all of them required washing, peeling or chopping (or, even worse - all three!!) so they were out. I was starving, remember? I needed something immediately.  So, I decided to stop wasting electricity and headed to the "snack drawer". 


Our "snack drawer"  probably isn't like most families with 2 young kids.  You won't find cookies, fruit roll-ups or potato chips here.  What you will find is what we'd like to think are "healthy snacks".  However, the more I learn about nutrition the more I realize what we really have is a lot of "hidden sugar".  We have a lot of  thing you wouldn't necessarily think of as sugar laden, but probably are.  Like the so-called "healthy granola bars" that I let the girls eat because they at least get some fiber from them - the "yogurt" covered raisins that might as well be chocolate covered they're so high in sugar and calories - and the organic blue corn chips that are really no healthier that the original (though I do truly prefer their taste).  Along side these so-called healthy snacks are, of course, a few truly healthy options like sunflower seeds, almonds and dates but when you're as hungry as I am those things don't necessarily catch your eye. So what do I grab?  The granola bar (I could always use a little extra fiber, right?).

My search through the kitchen continued for awhile longer in a similar fashion - finding nothing of substances but definitely full of calories.  At the end of the afternoon I found myself feeling overly full - yet not satisfied - after consuming what was probably enough calories to cover me for two meals, let alone one.


Note to Self: Things aren't going to get any less busy, so it's imperative that I get a handle on this.  Preparation is key.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spanx

=


I've never been shy about admitting my love for Spanx. I've grown so fond of them that when I don't have them on I feel kind of naked.  So when they came out with swimwear last year I was thrilled.  Could I really find a swimsuit I loved as much as my Spanx?  It seemed too good to be true.  And it was.


This isn't a new phenomena.  Swimsuits made to hide things just aren't cute. Let's face it, for us truly overweight girls the Miraclesuit wasn't much of a miracle. Though they've definitely improved over the years, most of them shout "I'm fat and I'm trying desperately to hide it."  And how many of those models even had one pound to "conceal" let alone 10 or more? NONE. 

So back to Spanx....

I am, admittedly, on their mailing list because I'm a bit of a fanatic and if they offer a coupon I am certainly going to jump on it (Higher Power = no muffin top!).  So when I received the e-mail touting their new swimsuits this year I was skeptical, yet curious.  I didn't want to, but I just had to click on the link.  The picture actually looked quite cute- could it be true?   

Well, it was true.  Several of the new Spanx swimsuits are really cute.  Only problem?  They were $200!!!  For something made of a yard or two of spandex?  I'm sure this is some type of fat discrimination, though after buying the $40 tights, $50 underwear, etc (again, I admit I love the stuff!) I don't have the extra cash to hire an attorney to fight it.  $200 for a not-ugly-but-not-super-cute swimsuit? Sorry, Sara Blakely, as much as I adore you, I just can't go there.  


And since we're on the subject - Spanx for men? Really? Hmmm...maybe the Spicy Chicken needs to hear about this!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Break

This was me on spring break last year




This was me on spring break this year


WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Confidence



I often hear comments from people who knew me as a teenager who read this blog like "I had no idea you struggled with your weight so much" or "I never knew you had such an issue with your self-esteem."  Though my performance as "Airport Announcer #1" in the White Bear Lake Area Central Junior High School production of "Central Follies 1987" would give you the impression otherwise, I am apparently, quite a good actress.

It's well known that someone who appears overly confident is often quite insecure on the inside.  Bullies, for example, are often the most insecure people around.  While I was definitely never a bully (nor am I now), I learned when I was young to mask my insecurities by expressing outward confidence. Somehow my successes didn't convince me, however, that I had reasons to be confident and I never quite felt good enough.  I struggle with this still today, but I've definitely learned just how fortunate I am.

Every time I look in my daughters' eyes I realize how blessed I am and it inspires me to keep this journey moving along.  Not because of a desire to be skinny (though let's be real, of course I want to look good!) but because I want to be strong and healthy (inside and out) and be a good role model for them.  I want that confidence that I exude to be as real as the innocence on their faces and the love I feel for them in my heart.  And I'm getting there, one step at a time.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Cleansing


Life hasn't allowed much time for blogging lately but I don't want you to think that means I haven't been moving forward.  On the contrary, I've made really big steps over the past few weeks that I've been dying to write about here.

I will start with the craziest part.  For the past 12 days I have been doing the "14-Day Total Body Re-Boot and Cleanse" developed by Tracey Webber at Eat! (which is located within the Clay Fitness + Nutrition studio).  Tracey opened EAT! about a month ago and I'm so excited about all the amazing things she is doing that I've been helping her promote them on SuzySaid.  A few weeks ago Tracey approached me and asked if I'd like to take part in her Re-boot and Cleanse program as a thank you.  Ironically a few days earlier I had mentioned to Hyam that I knew that if I was going to get off the plateau I've been on for the past few months what I had to do was really commit to a better, healthier eating plan.  Though I've never even contemplated doing something like a cleanse Tracey's offer intrigued me so I said yes.

So here I am 12 days later, down 8 pounds and feeling fabulous!  The purpose of the cleanse was not necessarily to lose weight, but it is a fortunate side effect of ridding your diet of all processed foods, sugar, dairy and animal protein.  Sounds restrictive, and I guess it kind of is, but it's only two weeks and you do get to eat as much as you want of "approved" foods.  I've definitely had my fair share of greens lately!

Though I still have a few days left before I start adding things back into my diet (Phase 3 of the Cleanse) I think it's safe to say that this experiment has been a success.  I've tried more new foods in the past 12 days than I had in the past 12 months and it's taught me a lot about how was I eating.  I don't miss processed foods from a dietary standpoint at all - though I do miss the convenience of them a little.  And the sugar...remember how much I craved sugar?  That is gone!  People kept telling me it would happen once I gave it up but I didn't really believe them.  I don't even miss it.  Well...maybe a little.

Orthotics

Yesterday I met with Dr. Chang at Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle to make the casts for my custom orthotics.  I was honest with him about the pain I felt toward the end of the two weeks, which had not yet completely subsided.  After re-assessing my gait he decided that the structure of my calves may be part of the problem.  I inherited my dad's large calf muscles, which are great for strength but not so good for skinny jeans, knee high boots or - apparently - shin splints.  It's kind of complicated but essentially my girth of my man-calves may be causing pulling on the tendon and bone equating to some of the pain.  Thanks, Dad.

That said, I had success with the taping for most of the time (and there's really nothing we can do about the size of  my calves) so we think that the orthotics are going to be a big help.  The process is like getting a cast on a broken bone, only much faster.  Dr. Chang casted both of my feet in a straight prone position.  I just sat in the chair while he worked his magic.  About ten minutes later they were done and ready to be sent to the lab.  Here they are.  Pretty, huh?






It takes a few weeks for the lab to create the orthotics so I will be wearing temporary inserts in the meantime.  I ran with them this morning and though they felt really weird when I first put my shoes on, I felt great after the run.  They definitely provide support that I need and kept my foot in the proper position.  

Now, what to do about those man-calves???

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


So I've been taping my feet for a little over two weeks now.  I have to admit it was a total pain in the ass at first. It looked so easy when they did it at the clinic, but I struggled.  I worked in the Training Room in college for a few quarters so I figured it'd be a piece of cake, but taping your own feet is really different than taping someone else's. Go figure. After the first few days I got the hang of it though, and it no longer took me an additional 20 minutes to get ready to exercise (thank goodness, because you know I'm always running late anyway!).

Everything was going great until yesterday. I ran 3 miles each on Friday and Saturday relatively pain-free.  I took Sunday off as my "rest day" knowing Monday would be a tough one at Clay. When Monday arrived I was feeling strong. I made it through the first 40 minutes on the bike with no pain.  This isn't that surprising as the pressure on your shins is minimal when cycling, but I had had pain on the bike in the past when I was running consistently so I wasn't sure what to expect.  When we got to the gym, however,  it didn't take long for the shin splints to rear their ugly heads.  I modified some of the exercises (no jumping or jarring) to minimize the amount of pressure I was putting on them, but it was already too late, I was in a lot of pain.

Unfortunately I couldn't do the whole R.I.C.E routine when I got home because I had to go to work, but I popped a few ibuprofen and went on with my day as I usually do.  I'm a little bummed out, but hopeful that after I tape myself up this afternoon Scout and I will be on our pain-free way this afternoon.  Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On The Road (to recovery) Again


One of the cool things about being so wide open (like I am here) is that you occasionally connect with people that you may not have otherwise.  I had this experience this week, and I feel very fortunate.

Dr.'s Change and Murray of Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle, are two orthpaedic doctors in Charlottesville.  In addition to being extremely good at the medical side of what they do they have also embraced social media as part of their marketing plan.  They've been doing lots of fun things on-line in an effort to not only get their message out, but truly connect with the community.  If you have questions about sports injuries - any type of injury related to feet and ankles you can find information on their website at www.brfootandankle.com .  
Recently the doctors decided that blogging about the experience of helping someone through their exercise injuries and/or ailments would be a great story. Ironically, about this same time I wrote a blog post about my shin splint issues  and how they have thrwarted my efforts to do a longer race (either mentally or physically) in the past.  We were a perfect match!
  
I met with Dr.'s Chang and Murray for the first time on Wednesday, March 2.  I have to admit I was super excited about this because though I've known I needed professional help I'd never gotten around to making the appointment (typical mom-thing). As I considered this appointment "work" it was something I wouldn't put off - and I knew having these two doctors on my side was going to help me get to where I wanted to be.


You can read Dr. Chang's assessment of our first appointment at the Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Blog. Essentially I presented with a classic case of shin splints with pain that appears after I've been exercising about 30 minutes, disappears when I rest, and reappears the following day. I also have a cavus foot (who knew?) that doesn't absorb shock well making me a prime candidate for shin splints.  They prescribed R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation), stretching, ibuprofen for immediate pain relief and then taught me out to tape my feet for exercise,  I admit I didn't totally understand how taping my feet was going to help, but figured these are two doctors who really know what they're doing so I went with it.  The recommendation was to tape not only for my run days, but also when I am at Clay.  


The taping is a temporary thing to assess if orthotics would be helpful for me. I'm scheduled to go back in two weeks for a gait assessment and possibly orthotic fitting. The doctors think we will be able to conquer this with proper treatment and orthotics.  I'm very hopeful, too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That Lovin' Feeling

As I posted earlier this week, Wednesday's class Clay it wasn't exactly my best workout.  This wasn't surprising as between illnesses (both of my kids and my husband contracted influenza, strep and some type of stomach virus in February), a mini-vacation to NYC and a mega-vacation to Panama I'd had close to three weeks off.  I struggled, to say the least.

Here's the cool part though - that class was so amazing that I've felt like a kid at Christmas waiting for Monday to come so I can jump back in again.  And no, it wasn't just the camera that pumped me up (Clay was featured on CBS 19's Make Dan Sweat last week)  - it was that amazing energized feeling that I had when I walked out the door that I love.  That is why I return to Clay week after week.  

Really, I love it!




Thursday, March 3, 2011

Back from Vacation

This quote from Hyam pretty much sums up my first day back at Clay:


"I see a lot of huffin' and puffin' 
but not much moving, over there Amy!" 


And you'll see proof of it on tonight's Make Dan Sweat


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Progress Report Part II

A few weeks I posted a "Progress Report" that gave the low down on where I'm at in my journey from a physical standpoint, so now I thought I'd give a little info on the emotional side of things.

My two main struggles have been eating healthy (if there is such a thing as a sugar addiction, I have it) and making working out a priority when life gets crazy (and beyond crazy, as it has been lately).  While I definitely wasn't "swimsuit ready" by the time we departed for Panama, I'm in such a better place both physically and mentally than I was 9 months ago that I can truly say I feel I've been successful in this journey so far.

I emphasize "so far" because I assume that I will be on this journey for the rest of my life.  Don't worry, I won't blog about it forever - hopefully once I reach that "magic number" or somewhere near it I'll feel I've reached the end of this story and be able to move on to another one.  But that won't be the end of my journey to be (and stay) fit and happy.  Life fluctuates on a daily or weekly (or sometimes hourly!) basis, and I'm not naive enough to believe that being thin will change any of that.  That's why I keep calling this a "journey".  It's not a diet or a phase or a fad - it's my life.  And I see life as a journey in itself.  The changing nature of it is what makes it so fun - and challenging - for all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vacation


As you know, we took a trip to Panama this month.  It was amazing, of course.  I thought I'd have a hard time with the lack of access to technology (as I spend more than half of every day on my computer and phone) but it was actually quite nice to not have to think about all of it.

Vacationing with the Wolf's (our BFFs) is not like the typical vacation that the Spicy Chicken and I might take.  They are "doers" so we did not spend a lot of time sitting on our butts.  We spend every Labor Day Weekend with them at their lake house on Smith Mountain Lake, so we knew this and were really looking forward to what Todd had in store for us.  He did not disappoint.  We toured all of Panama City, went hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, zip-lining, ropes coursing, and of course spent a little time enjoying how truly beautiful it all was. 

Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took:






We had a personal chef most of the nights on the island so we ate like kings and queens -  fresh fish, veggies and rice - it was fabulous. We did a little drinking too...







Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progress Report

When I started working out at Clay Fitness 9 months I couldn't do a push-up.  Nor could I do a real sit-up. Nor could I run around the block without feeling like I wanted to die.  Seriously.  I was that out of shape.

Today I ride 15-20 miles in a 30-minute session on a bike every Monday and follow that up by 30 more minutes of intense strength training that consists of uncountable repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, dips, lunges, squats, flys, presses, kick-backs, and a ton of other things I don't have names for.

Wednesdays we do our cardio in the big studio by lunging, squatting, jumping, hopping, running and jiving on the , the TRX (my latest love-hate relationship!, playing with sandbags, ropes, steps and other various toys and weapons.  


Friday's I'm not even scheduled to go to class but sometimes I show up just for fun.  Yes, I said, fun.  And did I mention that I run 3 miles on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday now, too? FUN.

For you numbers people here are the stats: I'm currently down 23 pounds, 2 pants sizes, one shirt size, one bra cup size and quite a few inches in most of the right places.


When I started 9 months ago I couldn't do a push-up.  Now I'm rockin' the "Athletic Conditioning" class like a true athlete.  Yes, I'm proud of myself.  I can't help it.  I've come a long way! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Serendipity

I'm not going to lie.  I haven't been on here much lately because there's not been a lot of good to report.   

While I've had a few decent runs over the past few weeks I've had to miss class much more than I'd like to and my eating...let's skip that part. Somehow I've managed not to gain any weight, but I seriously think that is just the "Diet Gods" feeling sorry for me because our lives have been such a crazy mess lately.

We returned from our trip to NYC last night.  The trip, to put it mildly, did not go as planned.  Both girls were extremely sick - running temperatures of up to 104 degrees at some point - the entire trip.  Each left New York with an interesting story about where they threw up (KK on 5th Avenue, M in Eately and at 4am) but very few memories of what I was hoping to depart with (i.e. Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Bloomie's, etc.).  M literally slept through our entire meal at Serendipity, and KK was so sick she couldn't even bring herself to try the Frozen Hot Chocolate.  More for me, I guess!

Both kids have now been diagnosed with influenza (M is lucky enough to also have strep!).  Courtney was diagnosed with it this afternoon and though I am currently asymptomatic I happily swallowed a Tamiflu a few hours ago in the hopes that I will not end up in bed next to any of them.  KK  is a few days ahead of everyone else so she's actually back at school, but the rest of the crew...it's pretty ugly.

So here's the serendipitous part.  We spent a lot more time in the hotel room than we had planned, of course.  But you know what?  I actually loved it.  The girls are getting older so we don't get as much of that one-on-one - "holding your baby time" as we used to.  This week I got hours of it - and I realized how much I missed it.  Sometimes I end up spending so much time telling them what to do and how to do it.  "Clean up your room!"  "Do your homework!"  "Pick up your shoes!" "Brush your teeth!" that I feel like I don't get to just enjoy them.  For 3 whole days I didn't say any of these things (well, except maybe the brush your teeth one).  And it was SO nice.


Sure, we missed out on discovering New York City, but we did get a chance to rediscover something really important -  how lucky we are to have one another. Now that's serendipity for ya.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Greet Each Day Like a Dog

"My goal for the rest of the week is to greet each day with 
as much enthusiasm as my dog does."  

This was my first Tweet today and this is why:

The alarm went off at 5:30 this morning. Per usual, I groaned, hit the snooze button and rolled over, hoping to catch 10 more minutes of sleep. Scout, on the other hand, jumped up the second the wretched beeping started.  His floppy ears perked up.  His tail began to wag. And he sat there staring - no, I actually think he was smiling - at me.

"I'm so excited for another wonderful day!" he seemed to be saying.

I, on the other hand, was more like "You've got to be kidding me, another day already?"

Let me first say that this is not a rant about my life.  It's not like I woke up this morning wishing I didn't have to face another day - I just wasn't ready to wake up - nor am I ever really ready to wake up unless, of course, there is something really exciting going on that day. It struck me this morning, however, that Scout is like this every single morning of his life.  Every single morning.  And, ironically, every single morning of his life is all but exactly the same.  And yet he's so darn happy about it.

After the alarm goes off the again Scout waits patiently for me to roll out of bed to let him outside. There he circles and paces until he finds the "perfect spot". He then patrols the borders of his invisible fence, making sure no varmints penetrated his well-marked barriers over night. If he's lucky he may get the scent of of a deer, which he will bark incessantly at to ensure it dare not "threaten" his family. Eventually I stumble out before he wakes the neighbors. And yet he's so darn happy about it.

After morning yard duty Scout excitedly chomps down his favorite treat - the same thing he has had every morning since we got him.  Once finished he happily trots up the stairs to wake the girls.  Every morning he hops up on M's bed, licks her face until she finally opens her eyes and grumbles "Good Morning, Scout." Once she speaks he's off to peek out her window, just in case any more wicked deer have appeared. The same thing occurs in KK's room 5 minutes later. The exact same thing.  And yet he's is so darn happy about it!

The rest of his day is a combination of napping, tennis balls, and waiting for a run. While different days offer varied time periods of activities, each day is essentially a carbon copy of the last.  And yet he's so darn happy about it!

I was so tired when the alarm went off this morning I considered not getting out of bed.  When I rolled over, however, there was Scout, smiling at me. Another great day was awaiting us, I could see it in his eyes. And yes,  I was really happy about it!




February Already?



Wow - has it really been two weeks since I last posted?  Time flies when you're having fun! Not surprisingly life has been pretty hectic lately.  With two busy kids, my own company and the Spicy Chicken traveling every week I somehow feel like the week is over before it even starts!  

That said, I've really been trying to make time for my workouts while squeezing in a little time with friends, which leaves little left for blogging.  I have a ton of posts in my head or on scratch paper, but none of them seem to make it here lately.  

So, here's a quick update.  

I started running again and am almost back to the point where I enjoy it. The weather has been pretty good (we've been SO lucky this year, knock on wood) so I haven't had that as an excuse. My shins started bothering me when I got back to 3 miles but via a fortunate twist of fate I foresee relief in the near future. I've been asked by two local foot and ankle specialists to be the subject of their blog while training for the Charlottesville Half Marathon. (Yes, I have crazily but officially committed to that!). They are hoping to show people how doable running is (and really it is) and how these nagging injuries can be combated with appropriate care.  I'm really excited with working with these people and know that it will totally help me reach my goals!


My kids have been struck by illness after illness (and few broken bones) so I've missed more of Hyam's classes than I'd like to. I feel it in many different ways on a week when my class attendance has been low. My stress levels are definitely higher (I cannot say enough how much of a stress reliever exercise is for me), my energy levels are lower, and I definitely feel yuckier on the inside (yes, yuckier is a technical term). It never ceases to amaze me how much better my food choices are when I'm exercising consistently, too.  Go figure.


I've lost a few pounds over the past few weeks but they seem to creep back up every time I even think about overeating.  This has been a tough plateau and I'm hoping that increasing my mileage (and getting everyone healthy again!) will help me get over it.


We're heading to NYC for a few days this weekend and then the Spicy Chicken and I are off to Panama a few days after that. Though I don't think I will be sporting a bikini quite yet (who am kidding, I'll never sport a bikini again!) I will be a little less self-conscious on the beach this year and I'm really looking forward to that!