Monday, August 30, 2010

Kettlebell and Weight Update

I had a fantastic kettlebell class today. From the beginning I was a little skeptical about how much my body would develop lean muscle from swinging the kettlebell. It was hard for me to let go of the amount of weight training I like and that I am comfortable doing. I think I've been off/on weight training since I was 16 years old.

Today, Paul put me through a wonderful kettlebell workout that kept my body moving from cleans to presses, to swings, to squats. It was a tough workout. I have periodic thoughts lately of exchanging my weight training for kettlebell, even after the competition in October.

He and I were both commenting on how much more defined my arms are. I know that they are that way, because of kettlebell. Weight training has taken a backseat, even though I still work out twice a week with dumbbells.

Bathing Suits:
Both bathing suits arrived today. I tried both of them on. I like the purple one a little better than the green one. I'll try to take a picture this weekend and post it. My body is not quite at the place I want, but at least I don't look ridiculous in them.

114.5 lbs. now. I have 4 1/2 pounds to go to reach my goal. Then I will reevealuate from there.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Schooling and Fitness Update

Well, I've taken the plunge. I have my paperwork and will turn it in to the district so that I may home school my children. I am excited and nervous. They will be going to Kettlebell class Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with Paul Daniels. Paul (from is so cool about allowing the kids to be with me and of course the kids like him so much.

I also reached the 115 lb. mark. I'm thrilled that I was able to accomplish what I didn't think I could do. It's been a long time since I was 115 lbs. My next goal is 110 lbs. We'll see if that works on this body.

Tomorrow, I think UPS is going to make a delivery of some face tanning stuff & the two bathing suits. I'll let you know how they fit. Maybe a picture too? (even though I'm not quite at the fitness level I want to be).

Keep on trekking if you are trying to lose that body fat too.
Don't give up!!!!!! It's not worth it....But you are!
Patience, Time, Commitment, and Flexibility.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Unexpected Changes

It's a wonderful feeling when things are going well. The nutrition and exercise and goals are being met. Then suddenly something happens in life that feels like everything has been turned upside down. In the past, being thrown for a loop could throw me off track with my nutrition and exercise. This time I was shaken up quite a bit, but not thrown off track. My commitment is strong and the rewards seem to outweigh the potential losses I would incur.

Now I'll tell you what has been going on for the past 10 days. My 7 year old daughter is on a gymnastics team. This summer the gymnastics workouts take up quite a bit of time, but we haven't had school, and we've had a pretty low key summer otherwise.

School is starting September 13th and the gymnastics facility wants to increase the hours another 2.5 per week. She gets out of school at 2:35pm and is supposed to start gymnastics at 3pm. She wouldn't finish until 6:30pm. Just the thought of her coming home around 6:45pm only to have dinner, do homework, shower, read, and then fall asleep all by 8:30pm 3 days during the week was a nightmare thinking about how impossible this routine would be.

As a parent, I want to support my daughter's desire to compete,  but down deep I knew this type of schedule would not work for anyone in the house. The other thought going through my mind was that for the past year I have been looking forward to school starting, because both children would be at the same school and I would have a glorious 3 hours to myself to do whatever I wanted. Finally a break I deserved and wanted.

To make a long story short, I knew some moms who home schooled their children and at one time I thought about it. Now I have revisited this thought, did my homework, interviewed the home school program, visited the home school facility, and have been thinking and thinking and thinking.

I am now 90%+ sure that I will home school both children. I never really thought I would do something like this, but for whatever it's worth I think it's the best decision. first and foremost it is vital that my older child has some time to think, relax, and not feel so busy all the time, and the new schedule was truly not going to give this child "time" that she needed to just "be." The kicker is that she wants to be home schooled!

I thought I was going to have a peaceful two months to just focus on kettlebell, cardio, and weight training, and everything was going to be about it looks like I will probably do kettlebell while the girls are doing homework in the same room.

Needless to say, life is certainly not boring!
Just when we think things are going as planned and expected, there is always something that comes up to shake and rattle the status quo. But don't let it take you off course! It won't help things anyway.

One can never say "life is boring."
(...and yes I'm scared and nervous, but that's okay)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Slow Process

Losing fat and gaining lean muscle just to the way I want to be 9 weeks from now is a slow process. I haven't had any cheat days since I started focusing on my goal. I haven't missed a workout. Everything has been right on track, but still I have so much to firm up on the lower half of my body. There's no doubt that my body has changed, become tighter, and smaller. However, when I have to think about going on stage, under bright lights, in a bikini, the body still needs time to make changes.

9 weeks doesn't seem like a long time now. It will go by fast. So everyday is absolutely crucial that I work my best in every area. I'm still losing weight on the scale, but it seems much slower now. It's good and bad. It's good, because it means my body probably doesn't have as much fat to lose now and the ratio of muscle growth is probably more than the ratio of fat that is lost.

I ordered two competition swimsuits. It may be a few more weeks before I get them. I don't know if they will fit or look good since I ordered them online, but I'll just have to see when they get here.

I realized tonight that I still have a long way to go mentally. It's been wonderful to be thoroughly committed and consistent, but I'm not fooled into believing that it's just second nature to me. I think I still need at least another year to maintain similar consistent behavior. Patterns take a while to develop and change. It's a process of practicing the behaviors until I rely on the new patterns more than the old patterns. So, regardless of the contest, the change must be more than a single moment in time.

I always welcome comments or questions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Food Logging

Over and over I read in my favorite magazine that logging what I eat is important. It's so laborious writing down everything I eat. I'll just eat well and rely on my judgment. Unfortunately, not writing down what I eat can be problematic. How many times does a little bit of this food or that food sneak into the daily caloric intake? Or how large was that portion in comparison to what it should have been, even if the food was nutritious and balanced? It's easy to do and easy to ignore those little yummies or increasing the portion size.

Here and there I've heard women say "I've tried everything and I can't lose weight", "I exercise and eat well and I still can't lose weight." I'm not convinced that these statements reflect the entire truth. If there is a medical condition then it may be true. If one is gaining muscle faster than losing fat then that also may be true. I think if all of us were to log EXACTLY what we ate for one month and not "cheat" on the diet log I think it would accurately reflect why the fat is or is not coming off. There is no way around it. Losing fat will require hard work.

The other day a woman said she eats 1200 calories most of the time and no more than 1500 calories, runs, and still can't lose the fat. She's been doing this program all summer, but can't seem to lose the weight. I said " mean you never have just a little bit or little something here and there that is not on your program?" Then she said, "well...I may have a few bites of this or that, and when we go out to eat I probably eat a little more than I should."  I think this example reflects what I have done in the past too. Not exactly telling the whole truth makes one feel better and less depressed about working hard most of the week while having those weak moments.

It's not that easy being accountable to oneself. When I work hard all week exercising and keep the diet in check, but then have a few off-meals during that week, why in the world should I expect my body to drop fat when I am not consistent? It's a hard reality to face up to what one is or is not doing.

In order for my body to drop the fat I must stay consistent and deal with the fact that EVERY DAY must be a good day of eating well, eating the right amounts, and exercising properly.

Action may not
always bring happiness,
but there is no happiness
without action.
-Benjamin Disraeli. English Statesman and Writer.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Bored with the same meals

It doesn't look good, but it was very tasty
Sometimes it get's boring eating the same foods over and over again. Tonight my husband made dinner. That was special and rare! He made a delicious and interesting salsa for the fish. The salsa was made with tomatoes, corn from the cob, black beans, cilantro, parsely, chipolte peppers in adobe sauce, and a few other ingredients. It was so good. I always keep homemade salsa fresca in the refrigerator, but I really loved the new change. Tomorrow I will have the new salsa with some chicken for lunch.

The key is to change things up before everything else in the refrigerator I don't want to eat starts to look more appetizing. I love flavor, so I try to incorporate Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, or Italian flavors into my core meals. I think that's why I love browsing through cookbooks and online recipes. I'm always looking for new flavors and recipes to incorporate into what would otherwise be boring meals. Earlier today when I had a few minutes I was browsing through Thai recipes and I came across some soup recipes that I wanted to make. They are very low fat. Some ingredients were foreign to me, but I could click on the ingredients and read more about what they were and see pictures. Then there was a store locator link that told me where I could buy these exotic ingredients.

I have a few ugly pictures of my meals, but they were delicious. One meal is chicken breast with steamed broccoli, but I put 1 TBS of Soyaki on the broccoli for more flavor. It was very tasty. The other meal I cut Bok Choy and steamed it in 1/4 tsp of toasted sesame oil, and at the very end put in 1 TBS of the Soyaki. The Fillet of Sole was cooked in lemon pepper. Yum.

By the way, I love my new food scale. I used it tonight to weight the cooked cod. Knowing how many ounces I was consuming was much easier and better than guessing.

Tomorrow, I may talk about an issue I think most of us face -The truth about what we are eating on a daily basis.

Never give in!
Never give in!
Never, never, never, never-
in nothing great or small,
large or petty -never give in
except to convictions of honor and good sense
-Winston Churchill. British Statesman and Prime Minister


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting Started

My daughter was taking a picture of me at thecomputer.
Sometimes getting started after weeks or months can be hard. I know that even a few weeks off from exercising can be incredibly difficult to start up again. Gaining weight just makes the body feel sluggish, uncomfortable, and exhausted when the process of working out begins yet another time. Beginning the routine again is difficult and is made worse by the fact that the diet hasn't been exactly perfect either. So now there are two battles to tackle.

July 2009 I began by simply omitting some foods in my diet and committing to an exercise program of 30 minutes 3 days a week. Back then, my goal was to establish some type of realistic program that I could practice and maintain to develop consistent behavior patterns. It was always easy to start a program, but maintaining it was always difficult. This time, I didn't want to become overwhelmed by doing too much when I had numerous family obligations and responsibilities to attend to daily.

I remember going downstairs in the evening to workout and saying to myself that "it's only 30 minutes...and then I'll be done." It worked. Sometimes I fought it, cursing initially, and making up lots of excuses, but I did it anyway. Afterwards I always felt accomplished and proud and reminded myself that "it's only 30 minutes."

I eliminated cheese, white bread, and reduced portion sizes and sweets. Those few changes along with the 30 minutes 3 days per week made a huge difference. After a month I eliminated other foods, added healthier fats and other foods and increased the number of days I worked out. I was set on not changing how long I worked out. 30 minutes was all I was willing to workout, unless I went to Paul's Body Warehouse classes.

I told myself what I needed most was to maintain new and consistent behavior patterns before I made any other changes. July of 2010 I decided I would make more changes to my nutrition and exercise programs.

Even though I am working now towards entering a competition, I couldn't have come this far without establishing some consistency this past year. The practice of "doing it" has made a world of difference in being more mentally tough and sticking to it on days when it feels unbearable to continue moving forward.

Just the few changes that I made initially with my diet and exercise and consistent behavior allowed me to drop a few pant sizes. That felt good, especially since I didn't need to burn myself out with crazy unrealistic goals of working out an hour at a time or cutting calories drastically. In fact, I never counted calories until recently (working towards a competition is a much different scenario). A good rule of thumb I used was stop eating when I'd had enough, not wait until I was full.

A few changes goes a long way.

FYI: I was going to post pictures of my face dolled up with make up this week, but I never got around to it. I'll try to post one next week. I ordered some dark competition foundation, so that way I could practice applying make-up over it. I'll let you know when it comes in.

"To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action."  -Michael Hansen, American Mathematician


Friday, August 20, 2010


I looked up the word patience for a more exact definition. Sometimes the way it's defined in the dictionary is much more in depth than the way my brain understands it.

By Wikipedia's definition, patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance or anger in a negative way.

Honestly, that just says it all. I can think of so many reasons why it is so easy to give in or give up, because patience at any age is just plain difficult. I can think of all the moments in a given day (prior to my contest training) that I would just give up, because I'm tired, because I just don't feel like it, because I had a bad day, because I don't want to do anything else today that requires work, and so on. The reality is that all these excuses are legitimate. No one could ever say that s/he doesn't understand or hasn't been there.

But here's the kicker. The result is that I've practiced giving in or giving up so many more times than I've practiced enduring (also called sufferance). I have spent so much time perfecting "giving in" that I really don't know what it's like to make this particular goal come to fruition.

I could say "well, I've tried." But what does that really mean? Does it mean I gave it my all until I realized one day that my body could not or would not become contest ready? Does it mean that I'm giving up, because it's too much of a commitment to learn new ways of eating and exercising and I'm just not willing to sacrifice "fleeting pleasures" over hard work?

If not now, then when?

This is funny! Here I am almost 2 months into this program to get contest ready, just two months! We're not talking about 9 months or even a year. That realization just shows me how much I have yet to learn and how much more practice I need. Even if I was ready right now to compete, my time hasn't come.

My piano teacher/friend and I would often talk about how much time she had spent so far to get her book published and into the public. We would talk about the long hours and commitment. I would say to her "It's not time yet...Even if you were handed a million dollar contract for this or that you are still in the learning phase. You have so much more to learn, so that when your time comes, you will be fully prepared to take on the responsibility that would be handed to you."

Tonight I typed in "how many calories should I eat at 110 lbs." I should have done this long ago. It's so easy. Just type in the information (height, weight, age, goal, etc.) and a good site will just give you the information. Since I already know how many calories I eat, now I can figure out how many carbs, protein, and fat I need to be balanced. I figure that if I want to make sure I reach my goal, I ought to get more information to help me, as opposed to just "guessing." The pros don't guess.

I don't want to fall into that abyss and later have to say "I tried"

Then I'll have to start that line of questioning (above) to myself all over again.

Feel free to email me or make comments. Feedback is always welcome.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Body Profile Update

I'm amazed at how fast this month is going by. The month is almost over, and I am hoping to be ready for the contest on October 30th. I still need to make some significant improvements in my body composition, mostly around the buttocks and hamstring area. That area is definitely the weakest.

Today is another difficult day emotionally. I am still eating and working out as usual, but I won't kid you, it's hard. I love the fact that I have been able to stay focused and keep my diet clean, but at times it's just so frustrating. I'd just like to have a bag of popcorn at the movies or a Golden Spoon Frozen yogurt.

Oh well.

Keeping the goal in the front of my mind helps tremendously. My temptations are lessened and my will power strengthens both from focusing on what I want and doing what I "need" to do and not giving too much power to what I "want."

As of yesterday, since that is the last time I weighted myself, I am now 116 lbs. I got over the hurdle of the plateau I had at 118 lbs. I felt like I was there forever. Now at 116 lbs. My next goal is 110 lbs. I realize that muscle weighs more than fat, so my goal may be unrealistic. Paul talked about measuring my thighs instead. I just may do that.

Hang in there too if you are in the same boat.

Kettlebell Clean & Press

Picking up a kettlebell and just swinging it will not work my muscles the way I want it to. It's not like getting on a treadmill or taking an aerobics class to burn calories. It's so much more. The more and more I practice kettlebell with Paul, I am convinced how important it is to have a good instructor. I get a great workout, but more importantly I get reminders to breath, squeeze, push, pull, and tighten at all the right times. It has made all the difference especially when I am doing a clean and press. I can go through the motions, do the movement, but sometimes I don't always feel the muscles being exhausted where I should. When he reminds me to do this or that I really feel the muscles.

Kettlebell is such an interesting workout. Even in the short period of time I have seen my back and arms improve dramatically.

On a side note: I found a really great recipe for fat burning chocolate chip cookies in my absolute favorite magazine.

The magazine is Oxygen, by Robert Kennedy, September 2010 issue: page 80.
1 1/2 scoops whole wheat flour
2 cups whey protein powder. (I used 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder & 1 1/2 cups chocolate protein powder).
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups low fat small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg (I used egg white substitute)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • preheat oven 350 degrees
  • combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl and mix with fork
  • in a separate bowl combine next 5 ingredients & whisk together
  • add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. add oats chocolate chips and walnuts. and mix.
  • drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Keeping on Track with or without your partner

Sorry I didn't blog last night. I went to a movie, and I was too tired to blog last night.

I was thinking about how some people find it difficult to keep on track with nutrition and exercise when the spouse does not show the same level of interest and motivation as oneself.

I have a different situation in my house, but I am wondering if the frustration day to day is similar. Right now, my husband is in a relaxed state, where he eats many foods that I will not eat, because I am trying to cut fat and build lean muscle. He can eat little treats once in a while, while I do not. He eats cheese, I do not.

For the past few months while he was trying to cut fat and gain muscle at the same time I had (and have) been, the regimented  and strict behaviors we both have had can be emotionally exhausting.

Likewise, some days I would be working out and he would not, and other days I would not and he would be, depending on who had which days off for rest and who did their workout at a different time of day.

So, I'm not entirely convinced that it is always easier when both spouses are on the same page. I like when we are on the same page, but ultimately I am still left with whatever emotional struggles I may have to maintain the consistency and discipline. Unfortunately I am the only one who can take responsibility for my behavior.

In addition, because I am the cook in the family, I make all the meals. While we all eat basically the same food in the house, the meals throughout the day vary from person to person. It's tough having to focus on my goal and also having to prepare everything in just the right way, depending on whether or not my husband is in competition mode or not. There always has to be a supply of the right types of food on hand in the refrigerator or it's easy to get off track.

Feel free to share your thoughts. Comments are always of interest.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hectic Weekends

When I'm on a roll with my nutrition and exercise, there's nothing worse than being thrown off track by schedule changes.

Saturday my husband competed in a bodybuilding contest, so most of my thoughts and actions were consumed by getting the children ready, food prepared, making arrangements for this and that, putting tanning lotion on my husband before the pre-show, and trying to figure out when I would work out and how I would rearrange my eating schedule to accommodate the changes.

Saturdays I always work out at 830pm. At 10:15am I put tanning lotion on my husband, watched his pre-show, then drove back to the house with him after he presented. I ate in the car, then worked out when I got home. The timing was something like this: I worked out at 1pm. I ate my 3rd meal at 12pm, worked out at 1pm, then ate my 4th meal at 2:30pm. We went back to the show at 5pm for the final show and awards ceremony.

Sunday we had dinner with our relatives. Dinner was rescheduled for 6:30pm, an hour after I normally eat dinner. So, I fixed some dinner at home, ate in the car on the way to their house. I had two cups of tea while family ate. I didn't know how that would turn out, but it didn't seem to bother anybody. We were chatting and having fun, and the rest of my immediate family ate.

As time goes on and I get used to eating and working out more consistently without being disrupted by the changes in life that happen. I become less rigid, and more accepting and accommodating to change.
Here is a picture of my husband at his previous competition. Pictures from the recent competition aren't available yet.


Tomorrow I'll talk the relationship with my husband and keeping focused on my goal.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cheat Meals and Cheat Days

Last year I was at (not in!) a bodybuilding competition in Culver City, California. During the pre-show I was sitting near the stage, with a couple sitting in front of me. I did not know them. One of the competitors came by to say hi to them. They hugged and chatted some. As the man was chatting with the competitor, the man wanted to know and asked him "how often do you cheat?" The competitor said, "I don't plan on cheat meals. I don't work hard all week to look forward to a cheat meal. If I planned on them I wouldn't focus on what I need to do". The conversation went something like that.

For me to hear the competitor speak so differently than what I usually hear people say in other public places was wonderful. I really thought about and never forgot his words. I liked them so much. I like the fact that the competitor didn't give much value to cheating.

I hear myself repeating and thinking about his words once in a while as I am on this 3 month journey (Now 2 1/2 months!). I have to say that I find myself thinking about what foods I will eat, what meals I want to make that are tasty and clean, and finding alternative coping skills to rely on if I feel week or emotional that day.

Here are some of my coping skills:
  1. Search through my cookbooks or the Internet or my favorite workout magazine for wonderful recipes. Some may have to be modified to fit my "clean" program.
  2. drink tea.
  3. read.
  4. play the piano.
  5. lay out in the sun while the kids play in the pool.
  6. be quiet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting Fit is a Risk

Our Home Gym
I think getting fit is a risk. The definition I'm using is when risk means the possibility of loss.

A little background information:
After having children most of my focus has been on taking them places, exposing them to a variety of activities, many times with parents who had children of the same age. My focus was not on staying fit or eating clean. It should have been, because I've always valued and tried staying fit and healthy.

My new lifestyle became providing snacks for a group of kids wherever we would meet that week or being provided for on other weeks, going out to eat for mommies nights out, going to in-home parties (such as Mary-Kay, Clothing by Cabi, Tupperware) where there were lots of munchies, birthday parties for adults and children with more occasions for munching, and on and on. While socializing with food is just a natural part of life, it seemed that this lifestyle was just over the top for my needs and comfort.

While there was always a part of me that was mindful about what I fed the children and what I ate, my body was not as fit or as disciplined as I wanted it to be. My lifestyle reflected what I was, not what I really wanted.

The risk that change brought:
A few years back I decided to change my behavior and actions. I chose not to go to as many in-home parties, opted out of mommies nights out when it was going to be at another restaurant, and opted out of play dates where more communal food was abundant. I didn't want to meet at places like Farrell's for an end of the year preschool party for 5 year old children, or participate in providing more junk food for parties at my other daughter's school, and on and on.

With that said, I sensed that many mommies were put off by my lack of involvement in one way or another. I remember a few evenings where I felt like I didn't have any friends. I thought to myself that maybe I didn't come across as "nice" enough or maybe I offend people. However, I also knew that change in my behavior would change the way things were. Isn't that what I was seeking? So here I was feeling lonely, while certain that this new lifestyle was better for me and my family. Yes, life was lonely for some time, but then things changed for the better.

As time went on, I met new friends, stayed in touch with some old friends, and found somewhere between it all a place where I was comfortable being fit and healthy and focused on the way I wanted to live.

Change was hard, change is hard, but with change my growth started.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vacation and Fitness

The most important part about trying to maintain this momentum on vacation was definitely making sure that I was eating correctly.

However, I know myself. Once I take a few days off from working out, then all of a sudden two days becomes 5 days, then 7, then two weeks! After a few weeks off, I'm scratching my head thinking how fast time went by, and how frustrated I am for wasting all the previous hard work I did. To top it off, it just becomes so hard to get back into the groove again.

This time, I decided that this vacation of having fun and getting away did not have to mean I should take leave of all my responsibilities. It didn't mean that I didn't have to be accountable to maintaining my healthy habits.

The day I left for vacation was Monday. I could have left early that morning, so that the girls and I could have had more time on the lazy river and the pool at the hotel. I decided that the girls should go to their gymnastic classes and I would take a Kettlebell class from Paul while they were in class. By 1:30pm all of us had worked out, and by 2:30 we were on the road to Indio. Now I only had to workout Tuesday evening for 35 minutes on the treadmill.

By the time we arrived at the hotel, had dinner, and settled in, the rest of the evening was spent in the pool. I think it worked out better, because the sun wasn't as hot, the pool was warm, and the girls didn't need any sunscreen.

Tuesday, we played all day. By the time I wanted to workout, the girls were tired, my roommate was back in the room to look after the girls, and I left for 35 minutes to the hotel gym at 830pm. In hindsight, I realize there is always a way to keep up the clean eating and workout schedule without compromising that feeling of being on "vacation."

It may seem complicated, but the fact is that as other vacations come up in the future, I can see that practicing these habits will eventually become routine and get easier.

Starting next Monday I'm going to start posting some pictures of me in make-up for the competition. You can check out which make overs you like better and let me know. While I am realistic and know that getting on stage may not be a possibility, I have to do everything that I can now to prepare for that day. Make-up, bathing suit, posing positions, facial expressions, and all the other things I need to do to make a good presentation. In time, I will blog all these different things.

Tomorrow, I will talk about taking risks. If there is a particular question or comment you have please feel free to ask.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eating Clean on Vacation

I hadn't blogged for the past few days, because I was on vacation. I left Monday afternoon and came back today, Wednesday. I took the girls to Indio ( near Palm Springs) with 4 other mommies and their children. Most of us doubled up in each suite. Prior to our trip there was some talk about buying and sharing food, but I opted out of sharing. It would be too difficult to stay focused on what I had and wanted to eat and what I wanted my children to eat, too. Even though they are not on as regimented meal plan as I am, I make sure that they eat quality protein (like fish), fats (like nuts and flax), and carbohydrates (like mango, broccoli, and whole wheat).

 I put a lot of planning into what I would bring, and then wrote a list of the items I needed from the grocery store. I was not only packing food for all of us, but I was packing food according to eating 5-6 meals per day for me and approximately the same for the kids. The great thing about eating clean is that it's pretty simple foods like carrots, broccoli, fish, extra lean ground turkey, bananas, mangos, protein powder. Some things I prepared ahead of time, such as the whole grain, apple, carrot, and raisin muffins I made for the kids, and 1/3 cup round turkey patties I had made a few nights before, and measured out how much protein powder I would need for the days I was gone.

The hours I eat are typically 8am, 1030am, 1pm, 3pm, 530pm and sometimes a 1/2 scoop protein at 930pm on workout days. Therefore, when I was driving I had to make sure that I had my meals prepared and ready to eat on the road as needed. When we arrived at our destination at 4pm, pretty much after checking in and getting situated I had to make dinner. We all had Steal Head Trout with lemon pepper and broccoli, but the girls also had refried black beans with jalepenos (from Trader Joe's).These black beans have an excellent nutritional profile. Then, we were off to the pool and lazy river at the hotel.

While you may feel overwhelmed by my packing and food needs and rituals, the end result was so rewarding. Not only was I able to stay on track with eating clean, but the girls and I had so much more time to focus on playing in the pool and goofing around for hours. I didn't have to worry about all the "rituals" associated with going to a restaurant or coordinating with my girlfriends who would make what or what time we would eat, since everybody showed up at the hotel at different times.

This vacation was awesome, because I had all the food we needed. I didn't have to fuss about who was going to eat what and when, and the initial hassle was really worth it.

Tomorrow, I'll give you an update on the vacation as it relates to finding time to exercise.

Let me know if there are any details you would like me to clarify or expand upon. There is really so much information I could share just on packing, preparing, and eating clean while on vacation.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Difficult Days

Today has been probably one of the most difficult days emotionally and biologically. Most of it is a woman thing. I've been reserved and quiet and frustrated most of today. It's been a day of talking about my thoughts and negative feelings about myself and having a few cups of hot tea.

In all honesty, I know I've made progress and I've been content most days, but it doesn't make the thoughts and feelings go away. It's just something I have to live with for at least today.

I knew that at some point this type of day would probably arrive. I prepared for it a while back by thinking about what I would do if I had cravings or lacked motivation to work out or eat clean. Most of the day I was able to just allow myself to feel whatever I felt or think whatever I needed to think, but continued about the things I needed to do or wanted to do. However, I was completely committed to eating well and working out tonight. It was a hard workout, because part of me didn't want to work out, and wanted to end it early. I did not. I did my full workout, which of course made me feel better. I logged my food intake. My calories were up to about 1,525 today, so I still managed to hang in there while eating clean.

I just remind myself...."It too will pass"


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kettlebell Core Strength

Tonight was a day off from kettlebell. I ran and did some weight training. I noticed that while I was pulling the weight with my hamstrings, I was focused so much more on the muscles I am using than I normally had in the past.

It is vital to focus on my core when I am using the kettlebell, because I don't want to get injured and I want to really work the muscles. Staying focused and strong while swinging or lifting the kettlebell is teaching me to be more focused on my core when I am doing weight training. I really liked the results from the focus and intensity I put into my workout this evening.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Dealing with Obstacles

Some days are difficult mentally and physically. Today was one of them. I had two cups of the Good Earth tea, which definitely calmed me. Earlier I read in one of Deepak Chopra's books to Deepen my Chokras! Then I went to the pool with the kids and swam when it was a safety break for children under 18. It was nice being in the pool all by myself. laying on my back floating. I heard absolutely nothing under the water.

Sometimes I just need peace and quiet, a little nature, a little nap, and a big cup of tea.
Whatever I needed seemed to be healed by the end of day.

Another day successfully completed.
One day closer to my goal.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Days Off

Today is a day off. I take one day off every week from working out. Sometimes the week flies by, and then a Thursday pops up, and it's a nice surprise when I realize that it's my day off.

The day off is really a day I try to focus on relaxing and breathing and just being. Drinking tea has become a big part of helping me to sit and relax. Sometimes I drink 2-3 cups a day, usually after 3pm. I love the Good Earth Tea I bought from Costco. It's intense and calming at the same time. Another good tea is white pomegranate from Trader Joe's.

Today was also a nice day for a day off, because my calves and abdominal muscles are particularly sore from my kettlebell workout on Wednesday. Tomorrow I have my last kettlebell training for this week. Saturday and Sunday I'll run and do some dumbbell and machine weights.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Awesome Kettlebell Workout Today

I had an awesome kettlebell workout!

I thought I'd share with you what exercises I did today with the kettlebell, since some people may not know what one can do with this piece of equipment.

Today I did alternating standing lunges, dead lifts, cleans to presses, overhead tricep extensions, single arm alternating bent over rows, bicep curls, oblique abdominals, alternating one arm swings progressively adding more with each set, and two arm swings. During all these movements my core is kept tightened, and so many other ancillary muscles are being worked as well.

I basically worked the entire body and completed several sets of each of these exercises. I was fully exhausted by the end my training, and I felt really good.

I can't believe it's already August. I continue to feel positive and motivated towards my goal. It helped, however, seeing more subtle results in the past two weeks. Clothes feel looser, body feels tighter, and my blood sugar seems stable.

However, I am equally aware that always knowing what I will eat during the day at every meal, keeping a record of my diet and exercise, and staying focused during those tough times contributes heavily to me being able to stay on track.

Feel free to contact me or post a comment on my blog.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Progress Report

I have approximately 3 months left to change this bod' into a shape that is pleasing to look at on stage. I am still headed in the right direction with my diet, kettlebell routine, and ancillary work on other cardio and weight bearing exercises. I am aiming for approximately 105-110lbs., but that will depend on how much muscle I gain. Ultimately I don't care about how much I weigh as long as my naked self continues to improve.

Here are my stats:
42 years old,
117.5 lbs.

Some of the progress I have made includes continuing to lose fat, gaining some noticeable changes in the arms, abs, and the legs look trimmer. I am still far from reaching my goal. It's a wonderful feeling to see even the slightest amount muscle starting to show, because it gives me hope and pushes me to do more. I have found that focusing on the incremental changes is far more important than waiting for the final outcome.

Some of the changes I have seen include being able to see just a little muscle or definition in my arms, being able to do a few pull-ups (which I hadn't been able to since I was a teenager), and to see some good abs in progress.

Tomorrow I'm off to see Paul Daniels for an intense kettlebell workout.

Where are you in your progress? what would you like to change or improve?
Feel free to contact me or ask questions.


Kettlebell Tools

Yesterday I exercised with the Kettlebell. As I am learning and refining my skills I am seeing how effective this piece of equipment is for reshaping the body.  In weight training I do supersets and giant sets to push my muscles further and increase my endurance. In my favorite magazine, Oxygen, there is quite a bit written on incorporating giant sets, supersets, or compound moves to get the most out of your workout. With the kettlebell, supersets or compound movements are naturally apart of the process of swinging the kettlebell. You can add as many sets as you want before stopping for rest. I know for a fact that I am burning more calories in a short period of time than other cardio workouts.

Tonight, I will try to post a few pictures of my progress and give you some details on where I am in comparison to where I am going.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Brick Walls

I bought a book from one of my favorite local thrift shops. The name of the book is The last Lecture. I'm sure many people have heard about it. I was so excited because I paid $2.00 for a book that costs $21.95 in a retail bookstore, and I purchased the book from a store that helps fund a woman's shelter.

Back to the book: The author has cancer and is going to give his last lecture at the University where he teaches. The author's cancer metastasizes, and of course to make things worse, he will leave behind 2 young children and a wife. In chapter 16, he talks about the formidable brick wall we all face at one time or another. He states "...the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people." At the end of the chapter he states, "brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something."

Of course I've been thinking about how this relates to my competition goal. While it's wonderful to have a goal, I know it won't be fulfilled if I don't eat & exercise properly. I can't be absolutely certain that I will reach the goal I have set in 3 months. However, if I don't try, then I am certain not to reach it. Plus, if I do what I think I'm supposed to do then at least I'll either be that much closer to it. or I will have achieved it. Either way I will have developed something inside myself that I had never done before. Knocking down my own brick wall is very exciting!

Just to give you an update. Tonight at 830pm I worked chest & shoulders & 1 set of abs. No cardio tonight, because tomorrow I have Kettlebell, which always kicks my butt'.

Let me know if you try the kettlebell class ( or some other studio. I know you'll understand what I meant when I said it works your whole body.

Lowering the wall one brick at a time,