Sunday, December 30, 2012


I signed up for a boot camp class at the YMCA back in October.   The 30 Day Shred success has had me aching for another program or challenge to look forward to.    Besides, my daughter raves about boot camp workouts so I thought I would like to try.

(Yes, I know that she is 23 years younger than me, but I like to imagine that when she returns from the Air Force next Spring that I'll be able to keep up with her.)

Here in Oklahoma City the cost to members is for the first time is $75.00. Subsequent sessions are   $50.00.  The class is Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30 AM (yikes) and Saturday at 7:00 AM.

I was told the class would be outside so I wore a long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve shirt thinking that if I got hot I would tie it around my waist.  When I saw the other ladies with jackets and gloves I thought I had made a mistake.  Fortunately,  Eric, our instructor, told us we would be inside the first day since we had assessments to do.

I was happy to see that most of the class was comprised of returning members.  I was 1 of 2 new ladies to join the group.   There are also 2 men in the group.

For the first half hour we performed timed assessments including push ups, double crunches, tricep dips, jumping jacks, etc.  Having successfully completed my 30DS I was happy with my performance.  I only wanted to vomit twice!

I was absolutely exhausted when I finished in a muscle fatigue kind of way.  It was the same feeling as a 30 mile bike ride without much water or shot blocks.   My morning shower was a great relief.  So was the Advil.

Over the next few weeks I had a major set back.  I caught a virus that resulted in a sinus infection. It slowed me down, but I didn't stop attending.  When the session came to an end, I signed up for the next session.

To my delight, my husband signed up, too!  He saw how much I enjoyed it and decided to give it a try.  Half way into this session, he says he is going to stay with it.

Eric (trainer) left, Alan (husband) right.
If you have an opportunity to join a boot camp, I strongly encourage it.  Our group has members of all ages and health conditions.  There are modifications for injuries and limitations.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your boot camp experience:

1. Don't go without taking in some calories. You don't want to run out of steam.  This site has some great suggestions for early workouts.

2. Take a water bottle.  You will work hard for the entire hour with very little time to get to the fountain.

3.Set an intention. It's easy to make excuses.  It's also easy to make the workout all about you and your journey if you set your mind to it.

4. Don't allow setbacks to get in your way.  You learned to ride a bike even though you probably fell over a couple of times.  You didn't give up on that did you?

My Roller Coaster Ride of Health and Weight

In 1996, I made a health transformation that took me from 160 lbs to 125 lbs over the course of two years.  I began exercising and changed to a low carb diet.  The transformation was quite amazing.  I was 32 and became strong and fit.  I looked good, and I felt great about how I looked and this appeared to be an easy way to manage my weight and health.

Like a lot of people the change didn't stick because my life was not balanced.  I had an unhappy marriage which fueled my exercise and diet regimen.  Then in 2000 I became pregnant.  I continued to exercise and gained a very healthy 30 lbs.  My 9lb, 4oz daughter was born in 2001 and my weight dropped to 140 over the next few months.

My life was changing dramatically and I subsequently became divorced and remarried all while launching a successful career as an IT consultant.  By my wedding day in 2003, I weighed 135 lbs.

I continued to exercise, but my health took a back seat to my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and stepmother.  We had a new 4000 sq. ft. house with a blended family of eight.  My job was thrilling but also demanding.

I didn't really think about my health until 2006 when the stress of everything caused me to have heart palpitations.  You can imagine that this was a wake up call to reduce the stress in my life.

I became the president of our company (which seems like more stress, not less) and I began purchasing phentermine to control my weight since I didn't think I had time to control my weight naturally.  Phentermine was effective, yet in the back of my mind I couldn't shake the idea of doing damage to my heart and overall health so I stopped.

By early 2007 I weighed 170 lbs.  I had gained 35 pounds in 4 years.

At this time my husband was training for marathons and competing in half-triathlon events.  He spent a great deal of time training and I didn't see him as much on the weekends.  I decided to take  up cycling so that I could go out with him when he was running.  It's no secret to anyone that I have always despised running.

At the Redman Triathlon in September of 2008, I weighed 163.  I felt like a fat girl on a skinny bicycle.  It was worse when the cyclists raced past me during the event shouting, "way to go".  I only heard, "good for you fat woman."  Even so, I finished the 56 miles in 3 hours and 47 minutes.

With all of the training and exercising, I had only lost 7 lbs because I did not change my diet.  By 2011 I was up to 173lbs.

Our gym ran a twelve week contest for weight loss and training around a pilates reformer program.  I enjoyed the support and found myself selecting a low carb diet (to the chagrin of our nutritionist).  My weight dropped to 157.  The 12 weeks came to an end, we put our house on the market, and I began eating carbs again.  In early 2012, I was back up to 173.

I don't know when it happened, but I think I was influenced by the sudden loss of my father in law to take a look at my life.  I was immeasurably happy with my relationships.  I was satisfied with my career success.

But I was unhappy with what I saw in the mirror.  I knew it was entirely within my control.  (I am not a person to make excuses for myself for very long).

While watching Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition I had an inspiration.  The trainer on the program sets up a plan for each person to lose a dramatic amount of weight over the course of 1 year.

One whole year to make the changes.  Thinking back to my experience in my 30s (which happened over the course of a couple of years), I knew that a long term program had been successful.  I had to find my way back to that place, but this time it would be a permanent change.

I mapped out 1 year of changes with quarterly REALISTIC goals. Just like the tv show, I selected rewards for myself if my goals were met.

At the end of the first quarter, I had lost 7 lbs but I wasn't losing anymore.  It was so slow going that I decided to join so I could be more diligent about recording my food.

Two more months went by and only 1 lb lost.  I returned to a low carb diet and lost another 5 lbs in just two weeks.  I'm ending the second quarter of my program.  I'm down to 160 and having such an amazing spiritual journey through this process.

I have less than 6 months to go, and I'll be turning 49 before the year long program ends.  I haven't met my quarterly goals, but I have lost 13 lbs and the momentum is building.  I am convinced that I will meet my next quarter's goal by sticking with my low carb menu.

Exercise alone isn't enough.  Counting calories isn't enough.  For me, it's low carb from now on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Review

This time I did it.  I know that the 30 Day Shred (30DS) has been around for awhile and I've tried it at least 3 times in the past.

This time, I completed it successfully and am so happy I did it.  I am so much stronger than I used to be.  While I can't do push ups like a man (who wants to?) I am proud of how many I can do unmodified.  I feel so strong and can't wait for my workouts because I stuck to the program.

Here's what you should know:

1. In the past I was nursing a shoulder injury that would become inflamed with any attempt to stay with the program.  This time, my shoulder is not like it was when I was 18, but it is much better than a few years ago.  I take joint juice pretty regularly and NEVER EVER mistreat my shoulder by typing at a keyboard too high or (worse) reaching into the back seat for my purse.  If you have a really bad shoulder you're just going to have a tough time with 30DS, period.

2.  You should follow a 10 day plan.  I decided to complete the program as 10 days of level one, 10 days of level two, and 10 days of level three.  I've never done it that way.  I would always get bored or be so sore that I wanted a change.  This time I told myself, "look, you can do ANYTHING 10 times in a row"  That seemed to work.  And then it just built from there.  Once I finished level one I was excited to start level two (yea, the end of the 10 days).  Once I finished level two I was twenty days into my thirty.  I had come to far without skipping to mess up my success now.

3. You don't have to keep the sound on.  On low motivation days I turned on the radio to listen to the afternoon DJ banter and turned Jillian down.  You can only stand so much of her music and "motivation speak"  The afternoon DJs are idiots but they distracted me enough that I could complete a circuit without realizing how long I had been doing it.

4. Remind yourself that it is only 25 minutes.  From start to finish it's 25 minutes.  If you can't give yourself 25 minutes in a day to focus on your health then something is VERY WRONG.  This concentrated workout format is perfect for a busy mom.  It's so short that my inner voice didn't let me say that I was too busy to workout.  I didn't need to go anywhere, just to my room for privacy because I don't like doing that in front of my family.

If you have any tips that you want to add to the list, let me know.  Happy shredding.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dance Sneakers for Zumba: Easier on My Knees

For my weekly reward (see my previous post about motivation), I ordered the Sansha high step dance sneaker.

I used to be a dancer and am used to wearing dance shoes. I couldn't get comfortable in Zumba class with ordinary tennis shoes, particularly because of twisting moves that were hard on my knees.   A dance sneaker allows you to perform dance steps without sticking to the floor.

After a little research I purchased these shoes below from Amazon. The other reviews went into detail about sizing. I wear a woman's 7 1/2 so I ordered a 9 as suggested.

I love the way this shoe fits.  It is perfect for Zumba.  

Be sure to look at my YouTube playlists for some great FREE Zumba workouts.  There is no excuse not to shake your fanny.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My August Playlist

My August Playlist - Ode to the 80s

I thought it would be fun to add a theme to my playlists so I'm choosing some of my favorite songs from the 1980s.  I was 16 years old in 1980 and like most people at 16, I am sure I didn't imagine how quickly time would pass.  32 years later these songs seem like they were playing a decade ago, not 3.

Whether I'm cycling or weight lifting, these 25 songs
represent either great memories, lyrics, or driving beats 
that keep me motivated.

1. Walk this Way - Aerosmith
2. Shot Through the Heart - Bon Jovi
3. Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
4. Don't Stop Believing - Journey
5. Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
6. Against All Odds - Phil Collins
7. Feels Like the First Time - Foreigner
8. Can't Fight this Feeling - REO Speedwagon
9. Beat It - Michael Jackson10. Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
11. The Best of Times - Styx
12. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar
13. When Doves Cry - Prince
14. The Glamorous Life - Sheila E
15. Shout - Tears for Fears
16. Separate Ways - Journey
17. Venus - Bananarama
18. Time for Me to Fly - REO Speedwagon
19. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
20. Take it on the Run - REO Speedwagon
21. The Grand Illusion - Styx
22. Cold as Ice - Foreigner
23. So In to You - Atlanta Rhythm Section
24. Keep Forgettin' - Michael McDonald
25. Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins

Friday, July 20, 2012

Motivation and Reward

So the question that plagues me is:  As a food lover, how can I stay within my calorie requirement while entering into my 50s and working the crazy schedule that I do?  I'm not going to be on a diet my whole life. 

 Because of these past few weeks on MFP I've become keenly aware of the importance of logging exercise and food.  It has been well documented and published that people who log their food lose more weight than people who don't.  But, like I said before, this entire effort can become dull if we feel like we're just living to be on a diet or fitness routine.
Last week I watched Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition and was inspired by  Chris's phase definition and goal setting with the client.  I though, hey, that could really work for me.
Seriously, it took a decade of self neglect to become out of shape and 50 lbs overweight.  My BMI went from 21 to 30 in that decade so how do I expect to set things right in only a year?
So, I thought if I broke the year apart into phases that I may be able to make all of the changes necessary to remain a healthy, busy woman who loves to cook healthy and tasty food accompanied by a great glass of wine. 
Phase One is the most challenging with a goal of 2 lbs per week for 12 weeks.  For my schedule that means trying to get 868 calories burned per  day on average.  Some days I might not be able to do it, but I hope that my weekends will allow me to catch up since I like riding my bike by the river for a couple of hours.
Twelve weeks is a long time at this pace so I'm going to need daily and weekly encouragement.  My daily rewards may be to scrapbook for an hour or walk down to a Redhawks game.  My weekly rewards for achieving my goals will include buying a new audiobook to listen to on the stationary bike.
October 4th is the end of the phase.  I'm going to reward myself with a shopping trip to Chicago or Dallas (whichever my schedule will allow) when it comes time. That means I have to lose 24 lbs to get the trip. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is it OK to say I'm being selfish?

I am really impressed with (MFP) because it motivates me to be better.  Seeing the success of others motivates me to be better myself.  One of the advantage of the tool is the support community you build with your MFP friends.  I've just decided that I can't have a big support group because I'm not used to having a lot  of women friends.  I grew up with brothers and to this day I don't have a lot of women friends because the word friend is a commitment in my mind.

I don't want to offend anyone but I'm not going to have dozens of MFP friends because I can't be a friends in the real definition with that many people.  I mean a friend takes the time to support and communicate with more than a WTG!

 In the end, I am doing this for me.  I am coming to grips with my age, facing my mortality, facing the loss of parents and grandparents, and making a choice about how I want to maintain my health, my life.  I want to be like my great grandmother who lived to her upper 80s.  I'll never forget her sparkling eyes, her rosy cheeks, her delicate smile.I want to do that for my great grandchildren.  Smile at them.  Hand them a slice of watermelon.
Honestly, I think I'm making it easy to stay isolated because there aren't too many people who want to friend someone who drinks beer while on a diet!

 But that's the point.  I don't want to be on a diet.  I want to find a way of eating that matches my metabolism as I move from the end of my 40s into my 50s.   I know restrictive diets won't work for me.  There has to be balance.  This is my journey to find it and I'm being selfish because it is the very definition of focusing on myself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Fitness Pal is the Best Weight Loss Website and Community

I've done a stint at Jillian Michaels and then also at Daily Plate, but probably for the same reasons as a lot of people, I've switched to My Fitness Pal (

Here's why:

1. The website tools are just better - Finding foods and adding to your diary are so much easier than the other two sites.
2. The apps are better.  To be fair, the only app I can compare to is Daily Plate, but it was horrible.  I find the Android version of MFP better than the iOS, but I have both.
3. The support is better.  Due to a hectic work schedule I hadn't logged in for 3 days and one of my MFP friends emailed me to check up on me.  Anywhere else no one would have noticed.
4. It's FREE.  Yes, just as much support and it's free.

Of course you get as much out as you put into it, but for my money (and there isn't any involved here) MFP is the best.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My July Play Lists

A good playlist makes the difference between a good workout and a great one for me.  Let's be honest, the first 15 minutes of cycling as you try to get your heart rate up just sucks without the right inspiration.

I haven't always been a huge Stevie Wonder fan, I've just rediscovered his music.  A little funky now and then, a little Gaga, a tongue and cheek anthem.  Ahhhh....

Hope you like...

For cycling
I Wish - Stevie Wonder
Paparazzi - Lady Gaga
We Run The Night (Edited) - Havana Brown
Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO
Barracuda - Heart
Under Pressure - Queen
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Drive By - Train
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Michael McDonald

For weight lifting
Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
Alejandro - Lady Gaga
Rumour Has It - Adele
Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chin Up by December 31st 2012

(reposted from my MFP blog)
Ever since I saw Linda Hamilton in Terminator, I've wanted to be a little more cut.  Not big, just really cut and really strong.  I can't think of a better way to fight aging.
 First of all, a strong frame is good in the battle against osteoporosis.  Secondly, the lean muscle mass keeps your metabolism humming like a well oiled machine.
I'm not saying these things to convince anyone or even myself.  I know them to be true.  So why can't I remember the importance of my fitness program when other tasks compete for the time?  That's why I joined  I was using DailyPlate and DailyMile, but the tools weren't not as comprehensive.  Also the MyFitnessPal app is much, much better.  I like logging my workout before I ever leave the gym.
 So, why don't I have Linda Hamilton arms?  Because it is too big of a goal for a woman who has so much on her plate.  Instead, I've decided to start out simply and see if the success of a singular, not so small goal might be the catalyst to an amazing body by the time I'm 50.
 Last Christmas we were having dinner with the kids and walking outside in the temperate 60 degree weather we frequently enjoy in Oklahoma at Christmas time.  We came across a new city park and began laughing and playing on the equipment.  I watched my son and my husband perform one or two pullups on the bars and wished that I could do it.


Since we all had shared our resolutions during lunch, I took the opportunity to commit right there in front of the whole group.  That's it.  That's my resolution...a chinup by the end of the year.

After messing around with my weight and workouts all year, I finally got more focused around the first of June.  After some research and finding a plan for getting to my first chinup (a little like couch to 5K type of program) I am excited and believe I can do this.
I'm copying the information over here so I can see it from my account, but the information is found on another site:
 Phase 1: Modify the standard lat pull-down exercise by standing instead of sitting. Stand facing the weight stack, and grab the handle with your hands about shoulder-width apart or a little wider. Standing in a very slight squat, pull the handle or bar down to your chest. Slowly return the bar to the start position. Aim for two to three sets of eight to 10 reps, two or three times a week. Once you can comfortably handle about 50 to 60 percent of your body weight, try Phase 2: assisted pull-ups. 
This week I'm up to  45% of my weight.  I'm hoping to lower my body weight and increase the weight stack before moving on to phase 2.  I'd like to see 85 lbs on the weight stack and 160 or less on the scale before moving on

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yummy Low Carb Foccacia Style Bread

I found this recipe on   It's a low carb, gluten free bread.  My family loved it so much that I barely got any of it.  It's very easy to make, as breads go.  I've been on amazon buying up packages of flax seed meal so I can keep this bread in the pantry all of the time.

I've copied the recipe below.

"From Laura Dolson,Your Guide to Low Carb Diets on "I call this "focaccia" because it is baked in that style - flat on a sheet pan, and then cut up into whatever sized pieces you want. It works for toast, sandwiches, and other bready uses. It is "rough" in texture like heavy whole grain breads. Since it isn't made with wheat, it doesn't have the same kind of grain as wheat breads, but the carb in flax is almost all fiber. Flax is very useful on a low carb diet, as well as being amazingly good for you.""


    • 2 cups flax seed meal
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 -2 tablespoon artificial sweetener
    • 5 beaten eggs
    • ½ cup water
    • 13; cup oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
  2. Prepare pan (a 10X15 pan with sides works best) with oiled parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  3. Mix dry ingredients well - a whisk works well.
  4. Add wet to dry, and combine well. Make sure there aren't obvious strings of egg white hanging out in the batter.
  5. Let batter set for 2-3 minutes to thicken up some (leave it too long and it gets past the point where it's easy to spread.).
  6. Pour batter onto pan. Because it's going to tend to mound in the middle, you'll get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center somewhat, in roughly a rectangle an inch or two from the sides of the pan (you can go all the way to the edge, but it will be thinner).
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back when you touch the top and/or is visibly browning even more than flax already is.
  8. Cool and cut into whatever size slices you want. You don't need a sharp knife - I usually just cut it with a spatula.
  9. At 12 servings, each piece of bread has less than one gram of carbohydrate - .8 to be exact - plus 5 grams of fiber.

    I also found a link on this site for making large batches:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great at 48

So far this year I'm making small strides towards my optimal health.

Yoga - We're 1 week into Rodney Yee's 8 week program.   I'll review the full program when we complete it, but so far I love it.  Taking time to practice yoga was on my list for 2012.  I've tried to get there for 5 years, and now I feel like it will become part of my life.

Xbox Kinect - I miss my dance classes but with the dance program I have for the Kinect, I'm getting every bit as much enjoyment without having to drive to class and practice for recital.  I would like to tap dance again someday, but for now I couldn't be happier.

Paul McKenna
Putting down the fork and knife - Several years ago I watched Paul McKenna on a television special.  He presented sound logical arguments for slowing down while eating.  I eat too fast.  I always have.  The most important thing he said that stuck with me is that Americans think about food more than any other country except for one time, while they are eating it.  I agree.  When I sit down to eat a meal, at first it's like a job that needs to be done, but by the time I'm finishing my meal, my taste buds have been triggered. I'm finally starting to enjoy the taste of something, but there are only 2 bites left.  That's when I overeat.  I want more because I want the experience.

I like the way eating according to the Atkins plan makes me feel because the foods I eat feel like food in my body, not empty calories. However, until I change my habit of eating, I'm convinced I'm going to struggle with my weight.

So here's my plan.  No grand complicated scheme.  Let's just slow it down and taste it all from the very first bite.  Let's stop when I think I might be full.

There are 16 weeks until my birthday.  I wonder what I can accomplish by then.

Here's a link to a summary of Paul McKenna's appearance on Dr. Oz.