Fear and loathing in Mississippi…

Yesterday ended week one of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred challenge. I lost one pound, but most importantly I lost my fear of doing hard-core exercises. Let me explain.

Like a lot of individuals, I do the same exercise nearly everyday. Good for the heart, but not for weight loss (at least, not in my case). My three-mile daily walk wasn’t moving the scale or changing my measurements.

The 30 Day Shred incorporates endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. It only took one workout for me to realize doing only cardio was not enough. Last week I could barely touch my toes, complete 20 seconds of jumping jacks, or do five pushups with perfect form. Day one meant dusting off a pair of three-pound weights and struggling to complete a minute of static lunges with a bicep curls.

On Day 7, I could do a minute of jumping jacks and jump rope, and I traded the three-pound bells for five pounders.

In three days I advance to Level 2 of the challenge and I’m ready ‘cause Level 1 is getting easy. Whoa, did I just write that? Yep, I did. Sure, the next level will be tough, but I’m not afraid. Are you?

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Here kitty kitty…

When I opened my door last night, Cat sprinted in, sniffed around, and then sat down. I cooed “here kitty kitty” until I was blue and she wouldn’t move. I had to resort to leading her out with a piece of chicken that she quickly gobbled down. She sat on my porch for nearly two hours meowing for more.

It’s 2 p.m. and I’m trying to sneak out of my house for a daily walk. The problem? Cat is waiting to run inside. She’s really fast for such a fat feline. Yes, go ahead and laugh ‘cause the situation is truly funny.

I want to go for a walk, not a run. I definitely don’t want to chase a cat. Plus, I don’t run fast, not as fast as Cat. But guess what? I can do 20 pushups. No, not 20 in a row, and yes, it’s the girly pushups, but yeah me! It’s day four of Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred,” and I can also do 20 jumping jacks and two sets of leg squats while holding three-pound dumbbells. Like I said, yeah me!

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I plan to stick with Michaels’ workout for 30 days. Maybe then I can outrun Cat. Geez.

The Year of Me!

Phew, 2013 is behind me. It was a year peppered with more highs than lows, yet, I seem to remember the lows more visually and more painfully. Are those memories accurate? Probably not, but last year’s lows are pushing me to make 2014 better. Those lows are why I’m dedicated to becoming the person I want to be. It’s a scary journey, but I’m determined to make 2014 the Year of Me.

“The Year of Me.” It has a nice ring, don’t you think? A year dedicated to me should be easy. It’s not. It’s day two, and I’ve failed me already. That 7 a.m. elliptical workout did not happen. No worries. Instead of berating myself over past mistakes, I’m moving forward. That’s why the 7 a.m. cardio became 3 p.m. yoga. Better than nothing at all, plus I feel great.

The Year of Me is not just about my health. It’s about discovering who I am and whose I am. It’s a professional and spiritual journey. Today, I plotted and outlined my second novel. This novel won’t yellow away in a drawer. This is “The Year of Me.” Why don’t you consider making 2014 the year of YOU too?

Everybody get up…

If you haven’t tried kickboxing, you should. I did and it kicked my butt. My quads and inner thighs are a bit sore and my biceps burn when I lift up my arms. I mentioned this to my younger brother who said, “Just stop lifting your arms.” Well, that was…unhelpful.

I knew I was in trouble when the 20-something-year-old former cheerleader (sorry, I meant instructor) skipped and hopped her way into the dance studio. I groaned, but managed to kick, hop, and uppercut my way through the 30-minute workout.

The music was full-blast. I moved my body and bobbed my head the entire time. Don’t judge me: “Blurred Lines” is a catchy, if somewhat rape-y sounding song.

It was a great workout. I flailed around the studio like Elaine Benes or T.I., but I’ll definitely try this class again.

Kickboxing is not the only new exercise I’ve tried this summer and it’s certainly not the only one where I’ve looked silly.

So far I’ve embarrassed myself in rock hard abs fitness, Zumba and Piloxing. On top of that, I’ve om(-ed) unbecomingly and loudly during Pilates and yoga classes.

What’s next? Maybe I’ll help Robin Thicke figure out what rhymes with hug me.  

Whipped cream can’t keep you warm, but…

I eat way too much sugar. I binge on ice cream when I’m bored. I gorge on Oreos when I’m stressed. Last night I drank a 20 oz. soda ‘cause I had a headache. Sadly, it worked.

Definitely time to do a sugar detox. Sigh. But isn’t “detox” just another word for diet? I am so freakin’ tired of dieting.

A few years ago, I joined a Christian-based diet group ‘cause a friend’s husband lost 50 pounds. I didn’t lose a pound, but I did gain a few new friends. I’ve tried Slimfast too. It worked, but it kept me running. Yes, that was a potty joke.

Weight Watchers was okay, but I hate tracking points and I’m pretty sure I hate Jennifer Hudson. Seriously, have you seen those commercials?

Just recently I decided to go forgo dieting and go cold turkey. I stood in front of my refrigerator and proclaimed, “No more sugar. No more cream. No more candy. I will be lean.” By day three, I was sitting on my kitchen floor having a romance with a can of Reddi-Wip.

My sister, Dani, wants me to join her on Ian Smith’s 6-week “Shred Revolutionary Diet.” I’m cautious. Is this another diet disaster waiting to happen? I’ll tell you more later, or I’ll let you know where Reddi-Wip and I are registered.

Pina coladas, daiquiris and bootylicious-ness…

Vacations are wonderful. It’s that time of the year when you can sleep as much as you want, swim as much as you are able and eat as much as you desire. Oh, yeah, and drink as much as possible.  

Yes, Montego Bay was great and the rum was even better. Rum is not bad, per se. One jigger (seriously) of rum has only 97 calories. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a shot of rum without “extras.” It’s those extras that hurt my waistline.

Let’s start with a vacation favorite—the daiquiri. Did you know that a strawberry, pineapple or Mandarin daiquiri contains 112 calories or more per cocktail? Too bad I would have all three—in one day. When not sipping daiquiris, I would gulp a pina colada or two or four. Those icy concoctions have more than 500 calories per six ounce. What’s more, a six-ounce hurricane contains 250 calories. If you think a mojito would have been better, then you would be so wrong. Each mojito added 200 calories to my booty, which is not looking so bootylicious.

Good thing my Jamaican vacation is over, ‘cause I’m not ready for this jelly.  

Is strong the new skinny?

Have you seen the latest Old Navy commercial in which Boys II Men serenade a group of girls wearing white jeans? I would love to be that skinny.

What? Wait. Shouldn’t I want those jeans? Damnit, I’ve been brainwashed, again.  At least those jerks from Abercrombie & Fitch are honest about only wanting young anorexic looking girls to wear its brand.

It’s not hard to wonder why women starve themselves to be skinny. Sophieologie (visit her site) suggests women should aim to be skinny strong. I like the strong part of that.

A strong woman does not starve herself. No, she tries to eat well—most days. If she falls short and binges on, say, Doritos; she forgives herself. And, she doesn’t restrict her calories to make up for the binge. No, she cooks a healthy meal the next day and takes a five-mile walk.

Ladies, let’s stop striving to be skinny and instead focus on being strong, i.e. healthy. A few weeks ago, I completed the 10-Day Ab challenge. My new challenge is to strength train three days a week. My goal is to be strong, plus have a waistline and biceps that would make Michelle Obama envious.

 

Hanging in Elvis’ land with cheese covered fingers

My brother, Jerry, and his wife, Tina, decided to celebrate 20 years of marriage with a trip to Montego Bay. The adorable couple will renew their vows in front of more than 30 friends and family members this weekend.  Yeah, just go ahead and say “awww.”

Their son, Jeremy, and I will be flying to Jamaica in a few days. We couldn’t go immediately because school hasn’t dismissed for the summer. So, like any good auntie, I’m hanging in Memphis with the kid until the last day of school. This is good and bad. It’s good because Jeremy is a great kid. It’s bad because this kid can eat!

Yesterday we ate pizza. Today it was Wendy’s. And, yes, I joined him at both fat-laden meals. I know I’m on vacation, but does that mean I should eat like a 15-year-old boy. Jeremy can get away with stuffing his stomach with junk food because he is 15! For goodness sakes, I ate Doritos for lunch! Yes, you read right.

So, day one of my vacation was a bust. Tomorrow will be better; I went out and purchased healthy foods that won’t leave my fingers covered in orange goo.

 

Happy belated Mother’s Day…

My mom, Earlean, is not the flowers and candy type. For Mother’s Day she wanted new tires for her SUV. As the mother of six (four boys and two girls), mom tends to get what she wants. It’s only fair.

She also requested chicken fried rice and ice cream for her day. So not kidding. I was happy to buy mom’s favorites. Mother’s Day, like any holiday, is a perfect excuse for me to overindulge.  Besides, a few days of junk food wouldn’t hurt me, right?

WRONG! You see, two days of sugary treats and over processed carbs quickly became four days. Again, so not kidding. 

A month or so ago, a nutritionist said I should go cold-turkey on sweets and processed foods. I ignored her. As a hypoglycemic, my body constantly craves foods for energy. Foods high in sugar are energy. The problem is my body burns these foods quickly, so I have to consume more food—soon. If I don’t, I crash. I guess I shouldn’t have ignored her.  

So the question isn’t if I should go cold-turkey, but how to do it and stay somewhat sane. Then again, sanity is overrated, while good health isn’t, right?

Brokeback Mountain is gone with the wind…

I’m beginning to dislike my food journal. A 3-week perusal shows that 1) I love sweet coffee cream, 2) I eat all day, and 3) I eat when not hungry.

The last discovery is the scariest because it means I’ve successfully stuffed my hunger cues into submission.

Now what? Honestly, I don’t know, but I just happen to work at the state’s flagship university, which means I have access to some of best dietitians and nutritionists in the nation.

In less than 5 minutes, I’m chatting with an intense woman, who explained that I have, in fact, subdued my hunger cues. She noted that as a hypoglycemic, I should eat every 3 to 4 hours. The new schedule is simple: breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m., mid-afternoon meal at 3 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and a 100-calorie snack before bedtime, if needed.

“Sugar is really, really bad for hypoglycemics. You should go cold turkey to stave off diabetes,” she added.

Me (yelling to no one in particular): Sugar, I wish I knew how to quit you.

You: (dramatic eye roll)

Me: Great Brokeback Mountain reference, huh?

You: (long, uncomfortable pause)

Okay. So, I’ll just worry about quitting coffee cream—tomorrow.

 

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