Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunny Sunday!

It's another beautiful day in Portland! Even though I am a bit sore from weights at the gym yesterday, Michael and I are going to head out for a short bike ride.

This morning I was served breakfast in bed! It was quite the pleasant surprise. :) Unfortunately the picture didn't turn out, but I did get one of my kitty.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs with a little cheese sprinkled on top, 2 strips of bacon and an English Muffin. Very good! It was around 400 calories for breakfast.

We biked River Road in Milwaukie. About 60 minutes burned 400 calories for me. I was able to do some good sized hills and get my heart rate up. One hill almost killed me! It was sooo steep, but I made it up without stopping or walking (and took a picture resting at the top). River Road was nice because the bike lanes were very wide and there wasn't too much traffic.

It is impossible to look cute or sexy in biking clothes. :( It will make even the skinniest person look like a sausage. Oh well. It's still fun--and much easier on the knees than running!

We're now making Nathan's hot dogs for lunch. :) I'm having a serving of the Terra Sweet Potato chips (they are actually growing on me) and a diet 7-Up.


We made fajitas for dinner Saturday night. It's one of our favorites! Since I'm not much of a chef, I leave the complicated stuff to Michael. I'm more like his sous chef. I chop things, prepare stuff for him to cook. It works well. :)

Fajitas are fairly low in calories and they are packed with good stuff (protein, fiber, etc). However, the guacamole is very high calorie. But avocados are packed with GOOD fat for your heart. So it's ok to splurge once in awhile on the high fat treat.

For the guacamole:
We used 2 medium sized organic avocados. I mashed them up, mixed in a spoonful of light sour cream, minced garlic, ground pepper, and lime juice. Mmm tasty!

For the fajitas:
I chopped orange peppers and a small yellow onion into strips. Michael sauteed them. We used skirt steak for the fajitas. He cut them into long strips of meat and sauteed them as well with some seasoning (Worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper and cumin).

It's really tasty!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday's Food

We can always find excuses for NOT EXERCISING. The most common excuse is "I don't have time." The trick is to FIND the time. I woke up this morning at 8am to go to the gym. We had plans with friends today at 11am and I wanted to make sure I got my workout. Did I want to get up at 8am? No. Was I tired and feeling like I'd rather go back to sleep? Yes. I still dragged my butt to the gym. Glad I did too!

Before heading out the door, I had a quick "breakfast". The Atkin's Shakes are really tasty, low calorie AND low sugar! A lot of the shakes out there are super high in sugar and carbs--basically defeating the whole "diet" shake concept. I highly recommend Atkins.
I spent about 40 minutes or so on the stair-master. It's my new favorite machine at the gym. Then I went upstairs and did about 30 minutes of weights and ab work. I burned 630 calories. Woo hoo! For the rest of my breakfast, I ate a toasted English muffin and a handful of granola.

We met up with some friends at the Portland Japanese Gardens. Today was "Free Admission" day and I'd never been. Luckily the weather was decent and we walked around the 5 acres of gardens and enjoyed the day. Afterward, we had a leisurely lunch at Produce Row Cafe (I had a turkey sandwich--even though I really wanted the nachos!).

Tonight, Michael and I are making fajitas (one of his specialties). I will still come out pretty good for today's calories!

Favorite moment of today: Michael noting that he thought I'd lost weight lately!! Awww! :D (And that's why I bought him flowers! The orange carnations.)

Tomorrow's plan: bike ride. Crossing fingers for no rain!

Making Good Choices

We went to the Kennedy School with friends last night. I think I made pretty good food choices! I went swimming beforehand and I was starving! But I split the chicken/pesto/spinach/cheese calzone with a friend so I don't feel too bad about what I ordered. I'd been craving calzones for weeks now and finally got to have one--without ruining my week of hard work.

I recently posted that I stopped drinking alcohol for a little while. It's been about a month. Didn't miss it either. Last night was the first time I felt like having a drink. I had two Ruby Ales (McMenemin's specialty) and felt pretty good. All in all, it was a good night!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mindful Eating and Book Review #2

I started reading a wonderful book called “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food” by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. It’s a Shambala book, which comes from a background of Zen Buddhism. The book teaches us how to tune into our bodies and learn WHAT to eat, WHEN and HOW MUCH.

Through my journey I’ve discovered that I do not have a good relationship with food. I don’t know that I ever did. I’ve always viewed food as The Enemy, instead of Fuel. You would think after several years of relearning how to eat, I’d know this by now. Some habits are really, really hard to break.

If you have food issues of any kind, I highly recommend this book. Order it from and read the book. It’s short and there’s so much wisdom in it! Don’t worry if you’re not Buddhist. It has helpful ideas that everyone can benefit from.

“Have you watched healthy young children eat? They run in from a morning of playing hard, sit down at the table, and with obvious appetite they eat just enough. Then off they run to play again.[pg 15]” How did we lose that ability as adults? We inhale food while multi-tasking, in front of a TV, in the car, etc, without tasting, enjoying, or experiencing our food.

Each chapter has an exercise to do. Here are just a few exercises and tips:

1. Try making a mindful meal once a week for yourself as if you were a guest. [pg 24] 2. Be aware of the sensations in the “stomach” during the day. How does the “stomach” signal to you that it is “hungry”? [pg 37]
3. When you feel hungry, delay eating for awhile. Simply be aware of the sensation you call “hunger”. [pg 37] MY NOTE: Often times we are bored or dehydrated. If you wait to eat, sometimes you realize this.
4. After you’ve eaten half your food, stop eating and take a few seconds to assess stomach hunger again. [pg 38] MY NOTE: Many times when I want to get seconds, my boyfriend wisely says “Wait 15 minutes and then see if you want that second slice of pizza” and he’s right—I usually don’t want it!

Run Like Hell 5k

Here are a few pictures from my first run, back in October. The Portland's Run Like Hell 5k. You can sort of see my head in the middle of the crowd. I have on a light blue sweatband. My stats:

Division Rank: 47/122

Gender Rank: 168/518

Overall Rank: 292/746

My first ever race was the Run Like Hell 5k. I had no idea what to expect, or if I could even do it! I tried to research how to train, what to eat before the race, and what to expect afterwards. But really, nothing could prepare me for it like just doing it!

I trained for a few months by simply running. I wanted to build up my confidence and stamina. I started running on the Portland Esplanade at the Waterfront during lunches. The Portland Esplanade is about 3 miles total. I was able to do the 3 miles in about 45 minutes the first time I tried it. I didn’t get discouraged, however, because it was a building process.

The first time I was able to run the entire 3 mile loop without stopping or walking was an exciting day! I kept scanning my body as I ran, thinking: “Do I really need to walk? Or can I keep going?” and “Is my breathing ok?” I told myself that I’d just run a little further; I’d run to that next light post; and then all of a sudden I realized I was almost done! That gave me the extra burst of energy to keep going. And I did it. I felt so proud to run the whole 3 miles without stopping. And I knew that I would be ok for the upcoming 5k.

Then I go the flu. Months of training and working hard on building my stamina was immediately put on hold. I was bed-ridden for a week with the nastiest flu I’ve ever had. It could have been H1N1 but I didn’t go to the doctor to get tested. Either way, I was not exercising. I could barely get myself to the bathroom.

Day 4 of the flu was my 5th day of not exercising. I saw all my training going down the drain. The stress probably didn’t help me heal any faster, either. I tried to ignore the stress of not running because honestly, I had no energy anyways. I wondered how it would effect my run time. I wondered if I would even be able to finish the race!

My boyfriend Michael said the sweetest words anyone has ever said to me….When I was sweating in bed with a fever and headache, he said if I was still sick on Race Day, he would run my race for me! That was the sweetest thing he’s ever said to me! He is NOT a runner, so it was a huge sacrifice for him to offer.

I rested up and started to feel a little better. On October 25, I woke up at 6am to prepare for Race Day! I ate a bowl of cereal and we headed downtown. It was a particularly cold day in Portland, and I was not feeling 100% yet. Once the gun went off and the race started, I focused on running.

This was my first competitive run ever. I had no idea what to expect, honestly. I found myself running too fast and too hard when I first began the race. I read later that this is a common occurrence with newbies. I probably burned out too fast. But I kept going. I had a goal: finish the race! It was distracting seeing so many people pass me. Older people, a woman with both knees wrapped, passed me! The shame! I tried to run faster. What I really should have done was ignore everyone else and just focus on my own body. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and the people around you.

Half way through the 5k, I walked a few seconds while I drank the water they offered runners. I started to jog slowly to get back to the run. The last stretch of the 5k, I was suffering. I just wanted it to be over with. “How much longer?” and “Good lord, this run is killing me!” and “Damn flu!” Then I saw the crowd gathered at the finish line and I raced to the end.

I saw Michael at the finish line, taking my picture. I ran across the finish line and hugged him. I felt shaky and exhausted. I finished the 5k in 31 minutes! We walked down to Pioneer Courthouse Square where the after party was happening. I got some snacks they had for the runners: half a wheat bagel and half a banana. I was sweaty and felt tired and hurt and just wanted to leave. We didn’t stay for the party. When I got home, I showered, laid down on the couch and immediately fell asleep for 2 hours!

The following three days, I was so sore I could barely walk! Of course, days after the fact I read that marathon runners take an ice bath after their runs. Next time I definitely will do that.

Book Review #1 & Weight Loss

"Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days--and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!" by Dean Karnazes.

I loved the book! It was really inspiring and made me want to get right out there and run a marathon. What Dean did is amazing, and crazy, to me. The book had a lot of really good tips for running, motivation, recovery and injuries. I think both seasoned runners and newbies could benefit from the book. I lent the book to a co-worker who has run Hood To Coast for 8 years and she loved it too.

Each chapter is a different marathon in each of the states. Here is an excerpt from one chapter:
"Follow the Losers: According to research data, these are the top three habits of men and women who lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off permanently:
1. Daily Exercise
2. Portion Control
3. Behavior Modification"

That quote just reiterates what I previously said about there not being a magic pill. Those three things are the key to success. I particular like the "Behavior Modification" theory. I know a few people who had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. Even at 250+ pounds, I never considered surgery an option. I'm not trying to criticize people who have had such surgeries...but seeing two friends of mine go through it, I think I can give a pretty informed opinion.

The surgery helped them lose weight, yes. Both friends lost about 50 pounds and then stopped losing weight (and also gained a lot of weight back). Why? Because they did not change their behavior. They still ate the high fat, fried foods they enjoyed before the surgery. So why even have the surgery? Anyone can lose weight--it's the keeping it off that's really hard. It's easy to slip back into old habits and get lazy with eating. I've been there. And I gained 15 pounds.

How many calories should we eat each day? It really depends on your sex, age, current weight, height, and how active you are. Everyone is different, but here's a general guide:
Men, age 31-50 should eat 2200-3000 calories a day.
Women, age 31-50 should eat 1800-2000 calories a day.

In order to lose weight, you should try to eat 500 less calories a day.

Slip Ups & PMS Cravings & Other Random Stuff

Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner. They made really yummy bean soup! I now want to try making my own soups. The sad news: I slipped up and ate way too much bread with dinner.

Bread is definitely one of my weakness. I had three pieces of french bread -- with butter. And boy, it was good! I didn't need three slices. I should have stopped with 2. But I can't beat myself up for "slipping"; and starving myself to make up for those calories isn't the solution either. Today is a new day and I'll make better choices--and listen to my body when it says it's full.

Michael (the best boyfriend in the world!!) bought Girl Scout cookies last night! *Squeal!* We opened the box of Samoas and I ate a serving size. A serving is 2 cookies for about 150 calories. Not bad! The Thin Mints are 4 cookies for 160 calories (I think--or maybe it was 150). That's not too bad, calorie wise. The secret is to only eat a serving size! Hopefully I will have the willpower to refrain from eating the entire box. :)

Which brings me to PMS and cravings! How do you get through PMS and cravings when you're trying to eat healthy? I usually crave salt during that time. To make better choices with my snacks, I pick salty food like pretzels (a serving is like 30 pretzels!), pickles (salty and crunchy and only 5 calories!) or my favorite: Trader Joe's Sea Salt Pita Chips. Mmm... When I crave chocolate instead...I eat Snackwell's cookies (I like the Devil's Food cookies), dark chocolate squares (dark chocolate is so rich you only need a few pieces), or the single serving ice cream (no risk of eating the entire carton!)

On a side note, I ordered a Foam Roller. I can't wait to get it. Runner's injuries can be many: shin splits, runner's knee, pulled muscles, etc. The one that scares me even more than Runner's Knee is tearing to the IT Band (the outside of the thighs). I've noticed my thighs are usually stiffest after a hard run so I'm really hoping this foam roller will help prevent an injury. I will post an update after I try it out.

UPDATE: The Sweet Potato chips were just ok. Nothing too special. :( Disappointing!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whole Foods Adventure

My adventure to Whole Foods today was short lived. Once I walked there, I was so hungry and all I smelled was food! They had a taco bar, soup bar, sushi bar and other assorted foods available. I picked up a few things and decided to just get lunch.

I did sample some brown rice pudding. And all I can say is that it is not for me. I didn't enjoy the texture at all!

I go through phases where I get burned out on the frozen meals for lunch. So for lunch I am having a cup of tomato eggplant soup. I got a small roll to go with it (because I can't pass up bread!). It's delicious! I estimate lunch today at about 400 calories. I might not eat all the soup because it's pretty filling.

I'm really looking forward to trying the Terra Sweet Potato with Sea Salt chips! Mmmm. :)

UPDATE: Lunch was so filling (soup usually is) that I'm skipping my snack and having some Crystal Light instead.

Thursday's Food Update

Dinner last night was quick and easy. I swam after work and when I got home I was starving!! I made a quick dinner of Annie's Organic Mac & Cheese with steamed green beans. Calories: about 500. I burned 350 swimming.

Breakfast this morning was oatmeal. I added a spoonful of Benefiber, a spoonful of Aria Protein powder, and 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar. The Aria gave the oatmeal a nice vanilla flavor and I can always use more protein! Calories for breakfast: 230. What I love most about oatmeal is that it sticks to your ribs. When I have it for breakfast I am full for most of the morning. TIP: Don't add extra fiber to your diet too fast. Your stomach with thank you. :)

Today's snacks are pictured above. This morning I'm having an orange. I like to slice my fruit because it takes longer to eat it. This afternoon I'm having baby carrots and Trader Joe's Tzatziki dip. Total calories for my snacks: 175.

During lunch I'm going to walk to Whole Foods and peruse their products! (And hopefully pick up some kale so I can try making "green monster shakes"!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Training for the Shamrock Run

Sunday, March 14th is the Shamrock Run in Portland. It will be my first time participating and my first “long” run! The last race I did was Run Like Hell (5K). Shamrock is an 8k. I’m confident that I can do it and that my time will be decent.

My 5k time was pretty good – and I’d had the flu! And I didn’t know what to expect. I do now, and I think I’m prepared for the 8k. The biggest problem I am facing is the weather. I’m a fair weather runner and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Who wants to run in pouring rain? Icky. I have a running rain jacket I’ve yet to use. I will definitely be bringing that! I recently bought a visor and a running hat.

There’s about 3 weeks until the run. (GASP…I thought I had more time!) So I need to get on the stick with my training! It looks like I have about 17th days to go!

In preparation, I was reading websites, running books and training guides. My favorite quote: “What pace should you run? Go slow. There is no advantage to going fast during your long runs, even for experienced runners.” PHEW! Big sigh of relief. My goal for the Shamrock Run is to complete it with a decent time. I’m not racing anyone. I’m training to be able to compete in Hood to Coast.

My training is going well so far. I’ve been able to complete 2 long runs with minimal soreness. And those two long runs were done in my VERY hilly neighborhood. I believe that has helped me. My goal is to be able to do a few more long runs before the Shamrock. Rain or shine!

QUESTION: How do you train for events? Email me at

Weight Loss and Happiness

What Makes YOU Happy?

When I was 250+ pounds, I was very depressed. I thought "if only I weighed 150...I'd be happy like everyone else." It took a lot of hard work but I reached 150. 143 was the lowest my weight got, and I didn't stay there very long.

I've previously mentioned that I put on about 15 pounds this year. In a few weeks I'm going to go back to weighing myself once a month again. While I was losing weight, I weighed myself twice a week. It was a good thing to keep me in check and when I lost weight it made me happy! Seeing a 2, 3, 8 pounds loss made me ELATED! On the flip-side, seeing no loss --or worse--a gain, I'd be depressed and beat myself up for what I ate. I didn't take into account that I was a woman and certain times of the month we can gain around 5 pounds due to PMS, bloat and water retention.

The reason behind weighing myself only once a month is because I don't want to get obsessed with the scale. I went through a phase where was I was. It's an easy trap to fall into but it's not healthy.

The hard part is learning to love your body no matter what weight you are at. Find joy in losing 5 pounds, being able to walk a flight of stairs without panting, running a mile. I struggle with this every single day. I have good days and bad days. I'm not worried about being "heavy". I'm athletic and will never be "skinny."

If you're having a bad day about how you feel about your body, take a few minutes to look up pictures of professional athletes. They are NOT skinny (well, maybe the marathon runners). My favorites are Michael Phelps and Serena Williams. Serena Williams is a massive woman. Have you ever seen her THIGHS? Dang! But you know what, she's healthy!

It's a hard thing to accept sometimes. Athletes aren't skinny. You need food as fuel. Simple, right? Then why am I so hungry all the time?!

Food for Tuesday

Yesterday was OK for food.
BREAKFAST: Breakfast sandwich 340 calories
SNACK: Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, 80 calories
LUNCH: Smart Ones ziti and Rice Krispie Treat, 410 calories
SNACK: banana, 105 calories
DINNER: Baked Salmon with steamed cauliflower, 635 calories

Salmon is one of my favorite foods and it's sooo healthy! Salmon has omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for your heart and reduces inflammation in your body (excellent for athletes). Don't be scared of the F word--FAT! Salmon has the GOOD FAT our body needs.

Salmon is also really easy to make. In the above left picture, it shows the raw salmon. I put it in foil, sprinkle pepper and Lemon Pepper seasoning and a little butter on top. Close up the foil loosely and baked at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (depending on how thick the cut is). It's moist and tasty! I served it with steamed cauliflower and Goddess Dressing (my favorite). I drank 2 glasses of ice water and a lemon slice (trying to drink more water every day). It was yummy and filling. And I had room for dessert! (Dark chocolate squares!)

Yoga & Runners

During my last massage, the masseuse asked me if I was a runner. "Why?" She said that my leg muscles were tight like a runner, and she said she could have spent the entire session on just my lower body.

Not good!! I have a confession to make: I am horrible at stretching. I stretch after running but not nearly enough. The recent soreness of my knee reminded me that I need to take care of my body. The possibility of being sidelined for weeks or --SHUDDER-- months, scared me! Time to make a change!

Running causes a tightening and shortening of muscles and if not fixed with stretching, it can cause serious injury. A lot of times, I feel tight and stiff after a run. I assumed that with my swimming I was OK--that stretched out my long muscles enough and relieved the tightness. Which is true. But not enough!

Last night, feeling down about my sore knee and stressing about when I could run again, I did yoga after work. I set up in the living room (picture above right) and spent about 25 minutes doing yoga poses and stretching. I used an iphone app for yoga to help remind me of poses. And yes my kitty helped me with the yoga! :)

I felt so much better afterward! And waking up this morning, my knee pain was gone! I am going to try and do yoga at least once a week. I might incorporate it into my routine on Rest Days. I'm also going to look into local drop-in classes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rest Day

My calories for yesterday were really good. For dinner, I had a Boca Burger (70 calories) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower with Goddess Dressing. It doesn't look pretty but it tastes great! It's a very filling, healthy dinner. After the bun and all the "burger" fixings, dinner was just under 600 calories.

This morning's breakfast is created by Michael. :) A breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, sliced turkey sausage, scrambled egg, a teeny bit of Colby Jack cheese. The whole breakfast is about 300 calories. I also had some iced tea (no sweeteners of any kind). It's a really yummy breakfast. If you want to cut the calories even further, substitute the scrambled eggs with either egg whites or Egg Beaters.

Today is a rest day for me. I woke up today with my knee hurting. I think I banged it on my bike during Saturday's ride. Of course I'm worried that I will develop Runner's Knee, too. So I might take tomorrow off from swimming, depending on how my knee feels.

I'm currently icing my knee as I sit in my cubicle at work. I hope it helps! I'm going to start working to strengthen my hips to prevent Runner's Knee.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today's Run and Rest Days

My new Nike Air shoes are fantastic!! It was the closest thing to running on clouds I've experienced.

My lunchtime run was really great. I ran the entire loop without stopping or walking. The blasted bridge was up again, so I took a detour instead of waiting. I ran up the stairs to the Steel Bridge overpass to get to the East-side and continue my run. The weather was perfect and I took off my jacket half way through.

I used the Mapmyrun App on my iphone today. I wanted an accurate measurement of how many miles the Waterfront loop is. Turns out my lunchtime run is 3.33 miles! Calories burned: 430.

Something I want talk about today: Rest Days. They are so important! And I learned the hard way (as many beginning athletes do). When I was close to my goal weight, I hit a plateau that I just could NOT get over. It took months. It was very discouraging! My solution? EXERCISE MORE! Hell ya! Um...totally not that way to do it. I worked out (HARD) for 28 days straight. The scale would not budge no matter what I did. By working out too much, I was taxing my body, putting unnecessary strain on my muscles and joints, and setting myself up for injury. Luckily, that didn't happen. I was burned out, sick of exercising, and frustrated with the scale. What helped get over the plateau? I kept doing my normal 5 day a week routine, continued counting calories, and tried to stop obsessing. It was then the scale finally moved.

I now try to take 2 days off a week from intense exercise. On my "off days" I sometimes walk briskly but try to take it easy.

Rest days are crucial. Recovery days are when your body replenish energy and heal damaged tissues in your muscles. Here is an interesting article at Runner's World about rest days:,7120,s6-238-267--13104-0,00.html

"Less Is More
Rest days and easy days reward runners with different benefits
How It Helps:
Prevents overuse injuries
Restores glycogen stores
Prevents mental burnout
How Often: Once a week
How Easy: Off completely or 20 to 30 minutes (or 2 to 4 easy miles) below 60% of max heart rate

How It Helps:
Builds base
Improves endurance
Increases blood volume
How Often: 80 to 85% of total weekly mileage
How Easy: 70 to 75% of max heart rate or conversational pace at comfortable to moderate effort"

Junk Food and Monday's Run

Something I wanted to address was "junk food." I'm not necessarily speaking of Cheetohs or Oreos, more like a cheeseburger. Yesterday, Michael and I went to Five Guy's for burgers for dinner. I don't feel guilty because I was way under my calories for the day and could "afford" it.

I think it's a good thing to have a "cheat day". I work out REALLY hard all week in order to splurge once in awhile. The secret of "cheating", however, is to still make good decisions with what you're eating. The Five Guy's "Little Bacon Cheeseburger" I ate was 630 calories. I did not get fries and I had a diet soda. Michael got the regular Bacon Cheeseburger at 1,000 calories. My burger tasted just as great as his, and less calories. I'd had a fantastic week calorie-wise! I rewarded myself with a cheeseburger. :)

The problem with a "cheat day" is that it implies you're on a diet and not allowing yourself to eat real food. That's not healthy and as soon as you're "denying" yourself things you'll want them more! What you have to do is eat food you want to eat in moderation. Michael loves pizza and could seriously eat pizza every day. He explained to me that he goes to places where he can get 1 slice. That's the way to "cheat"--having something you love but not over-eating.

The secret to "Cheat Day" is to not undo EVERYTHING you accomplished the rest of the week!

I read a lot of other food blogs and noticed that they are more concerned with eating healthy and organic food. That's excellent. But for me, since the beginning, my concern is eating what I like to eat IN MODERATION. It's all about portion control. I don't have time to cook elaborate food with all organic items. I pay attention to calories and portions. It works for me.

Yesterday we also went to the Nike outlet and I got some new running shoes! I can't wait to try them out. I really hope these are better than the Addidas. :( I got the Nike Air Insight IV Running shoes.

Today I'm a little sore from Saturday's bike ride, but it's bike muscles that are sore. I hope that means today's run won't be excruciating! Today is going to be the only nice day in Portland, followed by 10 days of rain, I have to take advantage of it!

Question: What is your "splurge food" on Cheat Day? And can you eat it in moderation?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Yesterday's bike ride was a great experience. Today, however, I woke up with a whole mess of angry body parts! I wasn't used to sitting on a bike seat for so long (like 4 hours yesterday) and the biking position has made my shoulders and neck a big mess of soreness. :(

Last night's Girl's Game Night was a success. The fondue party was great! I didn't care at all that fondue was high calories after that bike ride! I cut up anjou pears, granny smith apples, hard salami, wheat french bread, filone bread, broccoli, and yellow peppers. It was a lot of fun!

For breakfast this morning, I had an English muffin with Trader Joe's peanut butter and Trader Joe's apple cranberry butter as well as the last anjou pear. Calories for breakfast: 345. But I am off to the pool in a bit and will burn 350. And of course, sit in the hot tub forever soaking these tired muscles.

UPDATE: Swimming was fantastic. The second I got into the pool, my sore everything felt so much better. The hot tub was great too. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Training for Reach the Beach

Today was the perfect Portland day! The sun is out and it's absolutely beautiful. We went for a bike ride on the Springwater corridor. We did about 27 miles or so, and I burned 1,388 calories! It felt great. It was the first real bike ride on my new bike. I feel confident with more training, I can compete in Reach the Beach.

The Springwater corridor is nice because I'm not as comfortable on city streets yet and it's a pretty nice ride. I saw people walking horses too! We had to turn around prematurely because part of the trail was gravel! Boo!

After the strenuous 3 hour bike ride, we rode down to Sellwood to get lunch. Papa Haydn's was our first choice but alas, no bike rack free so off to Pizzacato! YUM!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Every woman's fear

So this post is pretty personal for me, but I think it's important to share in case it can help another woman. Almost two years ago, I felt a lump in my breast. Of course, I panicked. Long story short, it was not cancer or a tumor. It was a fibroadenoma.

"A fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous benign lump that is found in breast tissue. When felt under the skin, the lump may feel rubbery and easily moveable within the breast tissue. Fibroadenomas are commonly found in young women during their reproductive years."

The reason I'm posting this is because it can happen to any woman. I asked my surgeon if I had had the fibroadenoma for a long time, because it was fairly large (it FELT like the size of a golf ball). He said I had probably had it for awhile. He was aware of my medical history and that I had lost a lot of weight. I asked him if I was only just now feeling the lump because I had lost 110 pounds. Of course he couldn't say for sure, but he said it was possible.

I was so heavy that my chest was very large. Losing weight, I also went down many, many bra sizes. The reason is that breasts are made of fat tissue.

Luckily it wasn't cancer. But what if it was? I never would have felt the lump if I hadn't lost the weight. The above photo was taken 2 months after I had my surgery. I have had no problems since then.

How to Stay Motivated

Vegas before....and after! The picture on the right was taken last summer in Vegas. I was the skinniest I'd ever been. I gained about 15 pounds this last year. I hate it. I felt like a failure after losing 110 pounds! Part of it is muscle because I really changed my work out routine this year (added a weight program and started running). The main part of that is medication I took for a year. It was nasty stuff. I'm off it now and hope the weight starts to come back off. I want to get back to that Vegas weight.

I think most people start exercise/diet programs with the best intentions but it's difficult to stay motivated. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way:
*Listen to music while at the gym. Or talk radio. I recorded a few radio shows I liked but couldn't hear at work and it helped me stay on that elliptical machine longer.
*A few gyms now have mini television screens attached to the machines. I've been known to get sucked into an HGTV program and all of a sudden I've been on the treadmill for an hour!
*Choose an exercise that you enjoy.
*Get a buddy! Having someone to work out with keeps you motivated because it's fun and you're accountable to each other.
....And the most important for ME:
*Have achievable goals!

Achievable goals are less overwhelming. Want to run a marathon? How about making your goal to run a half marathon instead? It's less stressful and overwhelming. Sometimes when I run, I start to feel overwhelmed, tired, or bored and want to stop. I tell myself, "I'll just run to that next light post" and once I get there, I usually keep going. :)

While I was losing weight, it helped immensely to have goals and specific dates to reach my weight loss. Here is an example:
1. I wanted to lose 50 pounds by my brother's wedding.
2. I wanted to train for my first 5k run.
3. And currently, I am training for Reach the Beach and Hood to Coast.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Running at Lunch

Today is absolutely gorgeous in Portland! After months of dark, gray, rainy skies there's actually some sun. It's pretty cold out still, but damn, it's sunny!

Running the Waterfront loop is a great exercise for me because it's about 3 miles the whole way. When the weather is nice, it's a beautiful and scenic run. My goal is to be able to run the loop three times a week before May of this year.

One of benefits about running the waterfront is that I spend less money shopping during lunchtime. :) The danger of working downtown! Seriously, the best benefit is that I have my evenings free again. I used to work out 5 days a week, immediately following work. It was a pain to schedule fun things (like Happy Hour or movies with friends) when I had to work out first. This works out much better!

Today I did the run in about 38 minutes. That's not my best time, but the bridge went up! That's a hazard living in the city of bridges. I burned about 360 calories, came back to the office to shower, and ate my Trader Joe's Indian food for lunch.

On a side note, a blog I really enjoy posted my weight loss story. You can read it here: