Monday, March 21, 2011

Week Five and Feelin' Alive

According to my husband, though calendars show yesterday to be the "first day of spring", the actual passing of the seasonal baton happened mid-day, making TODAY Spring's first full day. In honor of this, and in honor of the idea of personal rebirth and the "blossoms" of improvement (!), I share this photo from my walk with Harry a couple of days ago:

Well, friends, here we are at Week 5 of Macy's Excellent Experiment. I cannot help but think of this quote: "In a year from now, you will wish you would have started today." It feels great to be four full weeks into my new healthful way of living, knowing that I've done the work, paid the price, said the prayers, planned the days and have 13 less pounds and a few less inches to show for it. I'm so glad I got my rear in gear and started last month! According to my calculations, I am one-sixth of the way there (feel free to do the math, if you can count that high). I had a big first couple of weeks, have evened out, and I will feel like I'm on-track if I can losing two pounds per week. As I said before, Christmas is my goal date to be at a healthy weight for my age and body-type. I literally CANNOT WAIT.

Life is much more wonderful without those pounds, let me tell you. Yesterday I pulled out a nice, dark pair of jeans from my closet, which I had bought two years ago "a little too small", hoping that they'd soon fit. Well, pretty soon they were "a lot too small", and got frustratingly stacked on the very top shelf. Ladies, do you KNOW how thrilling it was to pull down that pair of jeans (why are JEANS always our gage for weight loss?!), slip into them and zip them up and have them look pretty darn okay? A "moment" for sure.

Last night I spent about an hour on my beautiful little Chinese stool (more about this soon!) spiritually creating my next four weeks. Having been 99.9999% successful in abstaining from refined sugar for four weeks, and having seen some good progress in my other goals, it was time to chart the course for the next month. While with my ward in the temple on Saturday night, this was heavy on my mind: "Where do I go from here?" I felt prompted to keep my eating guidelines exactly the same, paying closer attention to portion size and not eating after dinner. (I had eaten a meal late on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and I know this isn't good for me.) The changes that I needed to make now were with "The Big E" ... yep, exercise ... I can't use the whole "mono thing" as an excuse any more.

My husband and I are signed up for the second summer in a row to run the Ragnar Relay with a group of friends. It is in July, which means it's four months out, so definitely time to get cracking on some training for that. (Before you're too impressed, please know that I am in a group of 12 people and I "run" THE EASIEST legs of anyone ... basically three 5Ks over a 24-hour period ... it is hugely challenging for me, but not nearly as amazing as what everyone else is running.)

Here are the details of my exercise changes:

**Instead of just "get out and walk 5 days a week", I am moving into a Macy's Training Program: MONDAY (easy run -- and right now, VERY easy), WEDNESDAY (faster run -- a little!), FRIDAY (another easy run), and SATURDAY (longer run). The distances on this kind of a program are totally up to the individual, but the idea is just getting out four times a week, and pushing ourselves two of those days to get a little faster and stronger. This is how my husband trained successfully for the Seattle Rock 'n Roll Marathon two summers ago. Each week I'll increase my mileage a bit and then start adding some hills.

**On Tuesday and Thursday, I'm going to follow the example of my oldest daughter and break out my new purple mat and Rodney Yee DVD and try, for the very first time, YOGA!! I have wanted to do this for years, literally, but have never been brave enough. I figure it's pretty safe to learn the positions in my family room with the curtains pulled closed. Perhaps Harry can demonstrate "downward dog"...?

**Today I hit the road and did my first Easy Monday Run. I found myself repeating my personal mantra from last summer's Ragnar: "I CAN DO HARD THINGS!" I'm not gonna lie, it was tough, but I quickly remembered that the first portion is always the worst. Sure enough, on my way back home, I hit my (slow) stride and it was, well, a little enjoyable! A guy even passed me on the other side of the street and gave me the cool two-fingered runners' "hey" sign and I was breathing regularly enough to muster the energy and presence of mind to do it back! I felt legit! Part of the club!!

**I have collected a list of work-out songs, with some help from another list printed in Runner's World magazine, which my wonderful husband is going to download onto my new little ipod (Christmas present) for me. And, he tells me that my designer-like sunglasses just really ruin "the look", so I'm going to invest in a pair of sporty ones. I don't want to embarrass him any more than necessary! Other than that, I've got everything I need to move forward with faith!

Now, food! Tomorrow I'm going to post two of my favorite "go-to" recipes of late: my mom's terrific Cobb Salad (slightly adapted) with homemade vinaigrette dressing, and Zucchini Ribbons (a terrific substitute for pasta) with easy, homemade Marinara sauce.

Here are a few of our dinner menus from last week:

Julie's Buckwheat Yakisoba with vegetables (broccoli, carrot, onion, asparagus) and homemade teriyaki sauce
Winter Fruit Salad

Taco Soup with home-mixed seasonings and extra beans
Fresh pineapple

Debbie's Polynesian Chicken and Brown Rice (with fresh pineapple tidbits, red pepper, and green onion)
Fresh broccoli with lemon

I am really on a kick to make as many things "homemade" as possible: salad dressings, sauces, seasonings, etc. I am becoming a crazy label-reader, and I don't like what I see in so many processed foods. I have a theory that they, combined with my huge sugar consumption, were major contributors to my arthritis. So far, be it coincidence or a true connection, I am almost pain-free in my joints!

Finally, let's end with a quote from Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, from his recent talk "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character":

"When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual's life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness. But true faith, faith unto salvation, is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord's anointed, faith in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life. Truly, faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power."

I was going to bold a few parts for emphasis, but then realized that I'd be "bolding" the entire paragraph. I hope this moves you forward like it has me this week.

Now, guess what? Before I go to my daughter's soccer game this afternoon, I'm going to swing by Starbuck's and buy one small Cake Pop, Birthday Cake flavor. I have been dying to try one of these (supposedly they're "the new cupcake"), and I'm going to indulge today!


  1. I am very proud of you!! You are an inspiration. I love to hear what others do to be healthy. I like trying new things, so thank you. And keep up the excellent work!

  2. This is amazing! I love everything that you have posted. You truly are a gifted writer. I have my fingers crossed for you! Congrats on being so dedicated to your decisions!
    Alyssa D.

  3. Mama, mama, you're an inspiration! I am thoroughly impressed with all the leaps you're taking. I love the self-taken photo of spring blossoms! I've been doing a few runner-specific yoga poses after my runs lately and they help me to cool down and loosen up so I don't wake up stiff the next morning. I'll post the link to your facebook!
    Also, I'm looking forward to the recipes you'll be posting. Every time you post a week menu, I wish I could have the recipes too! I'm especially interested in that buckwheat yakisoba...Just a thought :)

  4. Love, love Yoga! Rodney Yee is my favorite yoga friend, much to my children's chagrin and laughter! (A Rodney Yee yoga night for FHE in years past, prompts this laughter). Seriously though, yoga is an amazing experience in centering your 'whole' self, especially for those of us that multi-task and approach our days with a long list of things to do. Hope you love it!

  5. Macy, the beginner Rodney Yee dvd is a good one. The AM/PM dvd is more basic than the beginner one. It provides a good stretch before exercise and adds a calmness to the day. I have taken some yoga classes through our fitness club as well. It has been so good for me to learn to focus on the moment and be in tune with myself physically, emotionally and spiritually as a whole. I have never loved exercising, and it has always been a struggle to get my exercise shoes on and get on it. I always feel great afterwords but have yet to experience the endorphins kicking in where you feel like you could run for miles. It is an ongoing challenge and goal for me. Hope your workout plan is going great and so glad you are seeing such great results!