Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time...don't run out on me!

In the 1.5 weeks that I have been home, my biggest adjustment has been time management.  I have always had a bit of an issue with procrastination... I can't help it.  It is hereditary, and I have it coming from both sides.  This goes beyond that!  I can't seem to find time to update my blog, finish my laundry, get in the amount of time I need to at the gym, etc, etc, etc.  My shining accomplishments have been: I finally got my laundry basket and suitcase emptied and put away, I am eating pretty well the majority of the time, and I am continuing to lose weight.  I guess those kind of count - right?  I have also been hit by a cold or allergies - not sure which culprit to blame for the fact that I can't breathe, go through a box of kleenex a day, and can't stop hacking?  I tend to be a bit of a baby/whiner when I am sick, and this is no exception. 

I had to give myself a pep talk this morning on my way to work (the people in the cars near me were probably wondering who this insane person was talking to herself in an animated fashion!) about prioritizing my time.  I am going to have to become more comfortable with the word no.  I can't commit to every outing, every get-together, every everything - because I need to make getting my butt to the gym, buying and preparing healthy meals, and proper rest, a priority.  This first week and a half has been non-stop running.  Don't get me wrong - I missed everyone while I was gone - and it is FANTASTIC to catch up (I am lucky anyone missed me while I was gone, and want to see me when I got back!), but I have done all of this at the expense of my own priorities/needs.  I need to be somewhat selfish for a bit, until I get myself into the swing of things - and I had to convince myself that that is OK.  I can still hang out with my friends - it will just be at the gym.  I can still catch up, it will just be while on a treadmill or some device of torture in the weight section.  I may be misleading everyone with the remarks above - I have become used to only doing what I want.  It is really all about me, after all. (shout out to narcissism)  I have just had a bit of a backslide since returning home because I genuinely want to see everyone!  I was used to having much more free time on my hands because Applebee's, Chili's, McDonald's (you name it - they cooked for me) was in charge of my food prep - and I certainly didn't need time for the gym!   I just need to take some time to figure out what is going to work for me, for what I need to do for myself, and then fit everything else in around it.  I would also appreciate it if this phlegm situation would take a hike. Love, Natalie.

All of that being said - we had birthday dinner for my sister Mackenzie (who turned 24 on March 14th - while I was away at Fat Camp) and my Mom (who turned... she might not appreciate me putting that out there... let's just leave it at: she's young at heart - and gained another digit on March 30th) on Monday at Wendy and Ken's.  I finally got to see my grandparents (shout out to Ed & Kay) which was great!  I also appreciate that we got to grill out, and have somewhat healthy items.  I marinated chicken in the DFC marinade (see below for the recipe) and we also had steaks, baked potatoes, grilled asparagus w/ lemon (YUM!) and cake.  I proved once again that I can eat much less than I used to think I needed, and be completely satisfied.  I am still sure I will have days where it is harder to eat well, than others - but for the most part, this still seems extremely doable.  I had chicken, a quarter of a baked potato (they were HUGE), asparagus, and a 1/2 piece of cake (shout out to Ed for splitting with me). 

I know my family is trying to make healthier decisions when we all eat together - and I am sure being supportive of me is a major reason for that.  I really do appreciate it - but want to put something out there for all of my friends and family.  All of you do not need to change the way you prepare, consume, or plan your food intake to accommodate me.  This is something that I have to deal with, and decisions that I have to make.  I don't ever want any of you thinking you can't have favorite things on hand, because I am going to be there - and it will be a temptation.  This world is one gigantic temptation.  Every day, everywhere (I almost had to buy chocolate and chips at CVS yesterday because I was thinking they would cure my cold for sure!).  I want everyone to live their lives how they normally would - and I will make adjustments on my end to take care of me.  I love all of you - and don't want me being around to put a strain on how you want to live your life.  I am a big girl (literally and figuratively) and I (unfortunately) have to be responsible for myself.

Here is the chicken marinade recipe from the DFC.  I tripled it the other day - and used way more chicken.  Enjoy!

 Servings: 4, Serving Size 2 ounces cooked Chicken
2 chicken breasts, halved and trimmed (about 10 ounces total)
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Herbs de Provence

Whisk all ingredients (except chicken) together.  Mix with chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes (but not more than 24 hours - or the dijon starts to cook the chicken - gross).  Place chicken on a sprayed sheet pan and bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes; discard extra marinade. 

Nutrition Analysis per serving:
Calories: 100
Carbohydrate: 0 g
Protein: 14 g
Fat: ~3 g

I hope everyone is having a great week!  I'll hopefully be better about updating in the weeks to come!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My First Weekend Back

My first weekend back in Minnesota was a busy one!!  I got to spend it surrounded by friends and family - it was fantastic!  It was amazing to get to spend time catching up with so many people.  That being said - I am EXHAUSTED!!  I also have the feeling I am getting sick, so I need to get this entry done fast, so I can get to bed! 

Friday night I got together with some friends.  We cooked one of my favorite dishes from the DFC - Bourbon Chicken.  The fun value was up there (it requires lighting it on fire to burn off the alcohol!!) but it doesn't taste as good when it isn't completely cooked for you!  It still tasted fine - just not as good as I remembered.  My friends gave me a bunch of completely unnecessary - but SO LOVED and appreciated - gifts!  The light America's Test Kitchen cookbook, a gift certificate for knitting stuff and a pedicure, my new fave salad dressing and art supplies!  I seriously have the greatest people in my life!  I am not exactly sure what I have done to deserve this treatment - but I am grateful for it!  It is so great to be back!

I got to head to Owatonna (my hometown) on Saturday for a fun-filled day of hair maintenance (eyebrow, mustache, sideburns waxed - hair trim.  I even got some longish bangs going on!) and cabinet stripping at a friend's house.  The cabinet stripping left me with leaden arms, and sore hands - but was fun to hang with my friend.  On Saturday I went to one of my favorite restaurants (shout out to La Plaza Morena) for lunch.  It was my first meal I hadn't made for myself since coming home.  I love, love, love, love their chicken quesadilla.  I had the lunch size portion, no sour cream, and drastically limited my "unlimited"chips and salsa.  I think it was a pretty successful restaurant trip!  I got to have what I wanted, made a couple of modifications, and it was delicious!  I then had a very light dinner, so I don't think I did too bad.  Plus - I had to have burned some calories with my manual labor - right?  Then I got to hang with my parents and my nieces Saturday night.  I have missed all of them a lot - so it was great to have a tame night in! 

I am feeling a cold coming on, and fighting it with everything I have!  I slept for 10ish hours last night, and am hoping to get close to that again tonight!  I have been a gym slacker, but active, this weekend.  I am looking forward to getting to the gym in the morning, so I can watch the Psych finale on my iPod! 

Did you have a new "success" this weekend?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reality Check

Exercise Fairy: Natalie??.... are you there??... Natalie??

Natalie: yep - right here!

Exercise Fairy: Just because you are feeling much better than you were a month ago, doesn't mean you are suddenly in shape. Get some perspective, and take it easy. It took you years to get this out of shape - you aren't going to correct it in 4 weeks.

Natalie: yeah - that was made glaringly obvious tonight. Thanks for stopping by.

Today I was trying to be a hero (and by hero I mean: an out of shape person attempting to exercise twice in one day. See also: person who bit off more than they could chew). I met a friend this morning for some weight lifting (I am REALLY hoping I am able to lift my arms tomorrow) and then had a walking date with another friend this afternoon. I have been walking on the treadmill for 40-45 minutes at a time, recently adding a very moderate incline. I somehow believe that prepared me for a 3+ mile walk, with HILLS, outside. Needless to say, it did not. It did not prepare me for 1/2 of that walk! I was huffing and puffing like a freight train, and I made us turn around after about 6 minutes. It took us longer to drive to the trail, than I was able to spend walking. It was ridiculous, and embarrassing, and sad. Looking for the silver lining, I found the following:
  •  I tried to do something, rather than come home and sit on my couch
  • my friend was a total good sport, even though I completely wasted her time
  • I have a goal.  Walking around that lake.  And hopefully that will help me keep going to the gym.
  • on my way home, I didn't stop for fast food - which is something I normally would have done.  The thought process would have gone something like this: I can't walk anyway because I am fat and out of shape - what possible damage is a Big Mac going to cause?
Even with this set-back/emotional kick in the shorts, I feel good - and am still very optimistic about how much better my life is going to be.  I just have some additional work to do.  I will be able to walk around that lake, and when I can there will be a celebration.  You will all be invited!

Have a great evening, everyone! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Segment of the Journey.... New Blog Layout!

It’s been shown that people who write down what they eat and drink have greater success losing weight than those who don’t.

That being said – I have decided this Sunday (because that is the first day listed in my journal) will be the day I start my journal entries for food/exercise.  I was given a monitoring journal by the DFC, and figured I should try to be the best fat camper I can be, and actually complete it.  I think the part I am looking forward to the most is the measuring portion (like with a tape measure).  I love any opportunity to see how many feet there are around my trunk, limbs, etc.  I get to re-measure weekly, too – so that will definitely be something to look forward to.  I just hope my knitting measuring tape is long enough to get around all of this babe!  I don’t think I need to complicate this already unpleasant experience with math!!

While reading through my new journal, I found a new bit of info.  Green beans are also a starchy veggie.  Really?  No Corn or peas – and now green beans?!?!!  I should have put it together when they didn’t have beans on the salad bar at the DFC – but I just over-looked most of it so often it didn’t even occur to me!  They really want me to live on broccoli and cauliflower for the remainder of my days!  Or cucumbers, which are almost all water – and therefore super-good for you!

At the beginning of my manual, they also have some helpful hints on how to cut down your portion sizes.  1 ounce of meat is the size of a matchbook (that seems a bit tiny – doesn’t it?) and 1 cup of potatoes, rice or pasta (which would be 2 starch servings) will look like a tennis ball.  Anyone who given any diet program a go has been told to ask for a to-go box when your food arrives, and pack up ½ right away.  My new helpful hits had this helpful nugget at the bottom: make whatever is left on your plate unavailable or unappetizing.  Cover it with a napkin (oh no!  I can’t eat that – it is under that heavy, immovable napkin!) or sprinkle it with salt (don’t they know that fat people LOVE salt!??!!  That makes it better, not a deterrent to eating it!!)

The real high of my return home?  I put on a pair of jeans that haven’t fit in…. let’s just say - quite a while, and they went right on!  I didn’t have to go through the typical fat girl/tight jeans dance that I have had to in the past (this typically involves: some jumping while trying to simultaneously yank the jeans up, laying down on the bed in order to get them zipped, fighting to a sitting position to then “test the seams” with some forward and side lunging – just to see how much the seams can take before they give way).  They went right on – and I wore them all day, without losing the blood flow to half of my body.  What a victory!!

What was your latest victory?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caught you!!

My old phone was rebelling last weekend, so I was unable to get these pictures uploaded before now.  Here are a couple of nice shots from our night out in Durham last Friday. 

This will come as a shock - but this is one of the people who could not stop staring.  He is also the one that ordered his own pitcher, even though he looked plenty full.

Wendy snapped this pic while telling him "Caught you being weird!".  Priceless.

When we went to the 2nd bar, Wendy found a boyfriend.  He looked harmless, with his fishing hat and oldness - but this dirty bird was anything but.  I cannot write the things he was saying - it makes me blush.  You'll have to ask Wendy if you want to know. 

He was told by Mackenzie "you do realize this will never happen, right?"

Just another night out with those sisters.....

There's No Place Like Home?

Let me attempt to explain this (hopefully in terms that don't make me sound absolutely ridiculous) - I am SO glad to be home.  I enjoyed my time at the DFC, and made friends that will hopefully last a long time - but I was ready to come home.  I am ready to be here - I missed my friends and family.  That being said - doing your own shopping, prepping and cooking are extremely overrated!  Seriously - I could come up with so many better ways to spend that time!  I have gotten spoiled by the cocoon that is the DFC!  I have jokingly referred to this extreme amount of time spent on food prep/cooking as my part-time job (let's face it - any overweight person who has tried any of the "diets" out there knows exactly what I am talking about.  Prepping fruits and veggies, so they are ready to eat - so you are more apt to eat them.  It is exhausting, but necessary).  I now have a new, permanent, part-time job.  It won't make me rich, but it will make me happy. 

Monday was exhausting... I came home armed with a list of specific things that I should be trying to eat.  Arnold's sandwich thins instead of a bun, delicious Galeo's dressing, fixings for spinach manicotti, the makings of chocolate tofu parfaits (taste tested by Mackenzie - and they were given rave reviews), more veggies and fruits than we have had in this place in a long time.  It was hours of shopping and cutting.  I lost it - I dropped the jar of marinara into my pan of manicotti - because I was so exhausted!  That is ridiculous!  It is amazing how hard that can seem when you have done so little for yourself for a month straight.  Times...they are changing.  Sunday is going to have to be food prep day - so if anyone wants to come visit, I can put you to work!  It will be really good bonding time!  Maybe I could trade healthy cooking tips for food prep?  I think I might really be on to something....

Today was my first day back at work.  It got off to a great start by me forgetting 1/2 of my lunch at home in the freezer.  I went and got a veggie sub from Subway.  That was a first - but it was kind of delicious!  I had veggie overload with my salad as a side.  The girls in the office were going to Chipotle, but I was feeling strong enough to resist today (yea for me!).  It was so nice to see everyone!  My office was very organized - everything in it's piles.  I cannot thank my coworkers enough!  They totally took care of everything, so I could go for a whole month, worry only about myself, and come back to organization.  They are fantastic!!  I got to work the bulk of the day on getting my new phone set up (I love returning to work, and getting a new gadget), catching up with everyone, and trying to fit in a little work.  It was great having this time off, but it is equally great getting back to work.  I am hoping my mush-brain subsides soon, now that it has some thinking to do!

I have to go for now, but will be back tomorrow with new reports.  Have a great night, everyone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good Support - and no, I don't mean "Spanx"

The DFC has drafted a letter for clients to send to their friends and family before they return home.  It has some helpful hints for the people in your life who want to help, but may not have the best idea of how to do that.  I feel like I am surrounded by the most amazingly supportive group of people - so I don't know that I think this letter is necessary for my supporters.  I did want to post it, in case some of you that read this blog have people in your life who may benefit from this information, so they can help you be the best person you can be - at whatever size and weight that ends up being.

Dear Supporter,

I am ready to rejoin you in our community after having spent time at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. I have experienced a period of regulated meals, programmed exercise, and learning to make wise choices. This has been supported by many courses that have educated me in a new way of life.

When I return to the mainstream, I will need support from you and all of my friends. We have been taught that “support” may be broadly defined as “the respectful demonstration of caring and concern about a person.” Support can take a variety of forms depending on the needs of the individual. What is supportive for one individual may not necessarily be so for another. For example, some individuals find praise, approval, and recognition for their accomplishments to be extremely helpful, whereas others prefer their weight management efforts not be a focus of attention.

It is difficult for family and friends to fully understand what is needed to support me upon my return. Many of the things that people do, while meant well, can prove to be unsupportive in my effort to adopt a new lifestyle.

Here are some examples of what is not helpful:

• Lecturing about weight loss or freely offering “constructive criticism” can be detrimental to my self-esteem, and receiving unsolicited advice can be confusing. I know what to do to be successful and it will be difficult to maintain my focus in the face of unwanted advice from others.

• Despite your concern about me, my success does not depend on you “policing” my behavior. I, like most people, tend to rebel against attempts to be controlled. I am afraid that these tactics will backfire and lead to more eating and less exercise.

• Please don’t equate my regimen with deprivation. I will be making my own educated choices. I do not need to be on a deprivation diet in order to succeed. In fact, I have learned that many successful people plan to eat their favorite high-calorie foods as part of their overall meal plan. Furthermore, deprivation approaches can actually create or strengthen eating disorders.

• You can see I’ve already made significant changes in my lifestyle, which have resulted in weight loss and increased physical activity levels. Please don’t demonstrate any skepticism about the likelihood of my long-term success or my ability to recover from setbacks. Your negative support could cause me to lose my focus.

• Weight loss is a complicated process and is usually slow and irregular. The scale is not the only measure of progress and I may prefer to not report the details of my weight loss because of the normal weight fluctuations and plateaus that I expect to experience. You may feel that your questions about my weight are supportive, but they may be perceived as pressure or criticism and result in my feeling frustrated in not being able to report consistently better numbers every time you ask.

I hope that you will try to do the best you can to help me and I appreciate your efforts. I’d be happy to talk to you about ways that you can help encourage me. I know I can make a success of my program with your help! Let’s both work to keep the lines of communication open.

Yours in health,

Days 26-28: Bon Voyage FC

I have run myself into a fairly serious time-management issue over the last few days, which has led to a lack of posts.  Well... that, and the fact that we drove 20 hours to get me back home.  It is as hard to get your blog updated when you are trying to spend time with new friends before you leave as it is to update while attempting to drive while holding your eyes open so you don't die in a firey crash.  The good news is, my travels are over, and I am home - safe and sound.  Here is a little bit of what has been going on over the last few days:

Friday: I get into the DFC for breakfast, my final medical appointment (all of the stuff that was supposed to go down, did, and the good cholesterol went up a little bit - so everything was great.  I was even referred to as having "rapid weight loss" by my doc - so that was new.  WAY better than "rapid weight gainer" - which is the title I have been running with long as I can remember), and I got in a walk on the treadmill before I went to pick up my sisters at the airport.  I got my "sack lunch" from the cafeteria, and headed for my car.  I checked my phone before leaving, and noticed I had a missed call from Wendy.  Uh oh - they missed their flight.  Listened to my messages....yep - they missed their connecting flight (sad for them, but very entertaining for all of the ladies sitting near me for lunch when I told them the story).  I don't mean to throw them under the bus, but I will tell you there were bloody mary's involved.  I am certain Wendy will elaborate on the story on her blog, later.  They arrived a couple of hours later - and it was fantastic to see them.  I was also glad to see that the mayhem that occurs whenever Wendy & I try to do anything together, has also carried over to Wendy & Mackenzie.  Wendy brings it - she is the common thread!  I took them on a tour of the DFC where they met some of the other residents, and then we went to get ready for our evening.  Here are some of the highlights:
  • We went to a seafood restaurant that is owned by one of the guys I met at the DFC.  "Fishmongers" is delicious (I can personally vouch for the pulled BBQ chicken, and the grilled zucchini is AMAZING - and everyone else liked their fish/crab legs - even if it was a lot of work to eat it) and shocked Wendy that I would consent to eat at a seafood restaurant.  I haven't grown enough to actually eat the seafood, but I will now go to restaurants where that is their primary food type.  I am a changed individual!  
  • We then went for a couple of beers at the bar next door.  The place was lousy with starers (they had apparently never seen such beauty as my sisters possess).  There was one guy who was hammered with a capital H, who proceeded to order, and drink, a pitcher of beer by himself.  He had a bit of an issue with spitting while talking, and he also have a LOT of love for Ms. Mackenzie!  Lucky for us, his friend bought us all drinks, so it made up for it.  It was a very entertaining time, until the bouncer and a guy (who had his underage girlfriend with him) got in a fight.  The decision was then made to go to a different bar.  
  • With Manny (a friend from DFC) in tow, we hung out at Charlie's for a few hours.  It was Wendy's turn to attract her usual - a much older gentleman who wanted to love her.  He was wearing a fishing cap, which gave the illusion of being a sweet old man who just needed friends.  Not so.  He had eyed his prey, and was stuck like glue for the evening - even when told "you do realize there is no chance of this happening, right" by Mackenzie.  He was a harmless perv, but he was relentless!!  Maybe his old age caused him to be completely unobservant?  We finally had to succumb to our fatigue at about 1:30, and head back to the hotel. 
Saturday: I got up and went to the DFC for water volleyball and water aerobics.  Those sisters needed to sleep - they had a really long day on Friday.  I had lunch, said my goodbye's (sadly - there a lot of people I am REALLY going to miss!!) and went on my way.  We pulled out of the hotel at 12:59pm CST.  We made the decision to try and drive straight through - to just get home.  Wendy had her laptop, so at least the person in the back could watch movies.  The drive was pretty uneventful, with the exception of getting pulled over in Indiana because my license plate light is out (oops - forgot about that).  Mackenzie only had to hold her breath once while driving through a mountain in Virginia.  I also had to stop and get a diet coke and an egg and cheese biscuit from Hardee's (I figured eggs and cheese were better than eggs, cheese, sausage, ham and bacon - - right?) and it was delicious.  Diet coke is fantastic - I may have to re-think cutting it out of my life.  That biscuit may have been the most delicous thing I have ever had - everything in moderation, right?  It was a long, exhusting drive - but I am home.  I love my bed.  Mackenzie spit-polished the entire house - everything looks so nice!  She also bought window markers, and put some quotes on our mirrored closet doors - and made me a big sign on the fridge with a quote from my blog on it.  It was a great surprise - I LOVE IT!  I have some really fantastic sisters. 

My biggest obstacle right now is that I am exhausted, but I need to eat.  I am thinking the salad bar at Kowalski's is calling me.  Or maybe a fruit smoothie made in my magic bullet (I will finally really start using all of these kitchen gadgets I have!!!)?  I don't have it in me to do an entire shopping trip today - that is on the schedule for tomorrow.  Real life is kicking my butt already.  Don't worry - I won't let it win.  I'm focused on doing this, and will be successful at getting my life back.  It is time to do this thing on my own -- well.... on my own with a lot of supportive friends and family!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 25: Endorphins are no joke!

“Exercise gives you endorphins--endorphins make people happy and happy people just don't shoot their husbands... they just don't.” - Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)


I want to let you all in on a secret.  I always had the belief that all of this endorphin talk was a load of crap.  I know you feel better when you exercise, but as far as this instant rush from working out - I don't think I have had it.  That all changed today.  I went in early to attend a class on fast food (which also did a lot to cover the major chains:Applebee's, Chili's, etc - and how to make good choices) and then I wanted to go to my final Zumba class at 10am.  The problem I was experiencing?  My body felt like lead.  Everything felt heavy & lethargic.  Contrary to what I usually do (go lay down and take a nap) I went to the class anyway.  Once the music started - it was instantly bearable.  When the class was done, I felt like a million bucks.  Not even more worn down, like I would have figured.  I felt great - and it helped me keep moving for the remainder of the day.  Endorphins are the bomb!  The other positive is that I have proven to myself that I can still go work out, even when every fiber of my being wants to be lazy - and I'll even end up feeling better!!  


Today I also had a class that talked about how to change your recipes, so everything is lower in calories, and better for you - while hopefully not giving up a lot on taste.  We went through a a few recipes, and what changes we could make - and then we also got a chart that lists options for replacements.  Did you know that beating flax seed (make sure you grid these up, or they are useless - your body can't absorb it) with water will give you the equivalent of an egg in baking recipes?  How do people even think to try these things, so they know they work?  Amazing.


Beyond that, I didn't do much.  I did some walking in the pool, and spent some time in the hot tub.  I am going to miss those things the most!  Luckily, my aunt Karlene has offered up her pool for use - - so maybe we can have water aerobics classes this summer, and then soak in some sun?  I think that sounds perfect!  Despite my limited schedule, I still keep running out of hours in the day!  It is amazing.


Tomorrow my sisters arrive.  I am going to take them to the DFC for a work-out, and a belly dancing lesson.  Then we are going out with some friends tomorrow night.  Saturday I will play my final game of water volleyball before I hang up my mad skillz, and go to the water aerobics class.  Then we are planning to head out.  I am so excited to see them!  It is amazing how long 4 weeks can seem!  


I hope you all have a great night.  I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed in 4 days! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 23: TGITuesday

Today was my sign that my real life is coming back to me....soon!  My alarm went off at 6:30am, as it always does.  I felt like I could use some extra sleep, so was going to reset my alarm for 7:30am.  I thought that was what I did - but while doing that I shut my alarm off.  I woke up, extremely rested, at 9am.  What?!?!?!  That is entirely too late to be sleeping!  But I guess i needed it, since I had 3 people in 5 minutes tell me I looked really tired yesterday.  Today - no one told me I looked tired!  Yippee!!  That is progress!!

I did some walking on the treadmill, and some walking in the pool today.  I am going to miss having a pool at my disposal, whenever I want to use it.  The pool at my gym is only 3 feet deep, and is always packed!  At least it is hopefully going to be warmish, soon...... so the outdoor pools will be open.  I am definitely going to try and take advantage of those this summer!  It will be some added incentive to get my rear to the gym, if I can go veg by the pool after!

I have my meal plan made for the first couple of weeks, when I get home.  Now I just need to make myself a shopping list, and I will be set for my new life!  I have realized it is a really good thing that I took Monday off from work.  Not only will I have a lot of laundry to do (I miss my washer and dryer the most!) but it is going to take me FOREVER to get this first grocery shopping trip out of the way!  Honestly - - so long!  Hopefully I'll get in the swing of things quickly, and be able to shave some time off - but for now, I am planning on hours....  I can think of a lot of other things I would rather be doing for multiple hours! (that sounds dirty)  It is time to put all of this (well - hopefully there is enough to call it "all") knowledge to good use!!  I have also had requests from a few people to share my new helpful tidbits.  I am MORE than happy to share anything I have learned - so I'll try and get myself somewhat organized over the next few days, and then I am willing to share with anyone that is interested!

I am currently in the midst of my final "fast" to have my blood retested tomorrow.  I am hoping for some pretty serious improvements in my "lipid" counts.  I had decent levels (I have only my gene pool - which is apparently fantastic - to thank!  Lord knows I wasn't doing anything to help!) when I arrived - but I still have plenty of opportunity for improvement.  Tomorrow I also have a 2 hour class about "taking the DFC" home.  Hopefully they will have some useful tidbits for me to use as well.

For now, I am going to sign off.  I have Biggest Loser to watch!  I am so glad no one tried to make me cry and talk about my feelings while also making me run on a treadmill!!  Duke is way better than the Biggest Loser Ranch!  Granted - I would still like Bob or Jillian to volunteer to be my trainer!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 22: The Final Countdown

It was my last Monday at the DFC.  I am still not sure how I feel about it.  I am thoroughly enjoying the time I have had to concentrate on myself, with no distractions - it has been such a gift!  But I am also very aware of how important my friends and family are to me.  I cannot wait to get back home!  I am certain that this feeling is fueled by the fact that everyone has been so supportive, and I know I can count on people at home to meet me for numerous (see: never-ending) gym dates!  LifeTime Fitness in Eagan may go into shock when they see how often I will be there!!  So long "fat tax" (what I have referred to my monthly gym membership fee as, when I never went to the gym)!!  They will be earning their money now! 

Today I had one classroom class on the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.  Duh.  I get by now that it is good!  The class only lasted 30 minutes, so they must realize that as of week 4, most people here understand how beneficial it is - they don't have to jam it down our throats.  I walked on the treadmill while listening to ESPN (I LOVE basketball tournament time!), went to chair aerobics and yoga (wait until you hear what I can now do), and did my "strength training" (the 9# bar felt like it weighed about 342# today.  I did not love that). 

But onto the exciting news (please keep in mind that this news is exciting to me.  Non-fat people will not understand - and it is completely relative, as so many of my accomplishments are so prepare yourself for possible underwhelming)!!  During chair yoga we had to cross our ankle over our knee for a stretch - something I have not been anywhere near able to do in a LONG time..... and I could do it!!  I had to yank on my pants a little bit to get myself settled - but I could do it!  Amazing!!  It was right up there with the elation I expect to feel when I can finally see my wrist bone...or clavicles.... or any of the many, many, many, many (you get the idea) other body parts that have been buried under my "insulation" for as long as I can remember. 

Other than that, things were pretty uneventful today.  Tomorrow I believe I get to share my prowess in the field of technology with a couple of the ladies at the DFC.  We will be having iPod/iTunes 101 after lunch.  It is nice to feel knowledgeable. 

Have a great night, everyone! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 20: Saturday III

Kari, one of the ladies who does pilates instruction, as well some individual pool coaching (not sure what it is - but I have seen her work one-on-one with some people in the pool) was in charge of water aerobics today.  She, apparently, didn't get the memo that Saturday's are an easy day at the DFC.  A bunch of us played water volleyball, and then went right into water aerobics.  Bad move.  I had no idea I would need every ounce of energy that I had, and then some, to survive the "Killing by Kari".  Honestly.  I always feel like I have done something, sometimes get breathing heavy, during other water classes - but nothing like this.  We never stopped!  Never.  There were a lot of people in the pool, going every direction - I think I drank more water from the pool (disgusting) than I had to drink the rest of the day!  It was ridiculous!  The reason for this beating?  Maryland lost yesterday!  Damn college basketball!! =)  I had to spend the next hour just floating in the pool to recover!  After it was over, and my need to swear at her and hold her under the water subsided, I could appreciate it - I would never push myself that hard!  She is good!

Other than that, not much went on today.  The weekends are pretty low-key.  I am planning to head back to my room shortly for some movie time and sleep.  It is wonderful. 

I am certain tomorrow will be even slower - and it is also the day I have to say goodbye to 2 of my favorites here at the DFC.  It will be a sad day, with little to report.  I will check back in with all of you on Monday.  Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 19: It's finally Friday!

It is amazing how exhausting it can be to have no responsibility other than working out!  So ridiculous, I know - what am I whining about?  But I am tired!!  Not so much physically (like I was the first week - I felt like I could drop) but my brain is tired.  Must be all of the inactivity?  Luckily I am planning to take advantage of my last weekend here to enjoy some R & R.... well, in the afternoons, at least.  I have to go play water volleyball in the mornings, to continue to school these folks on what some D Squad training can do for you!!  Between my previous 7th grade experience, and my "pretty good" coordination, I am next to unstoppable!!  I have had a few suggestions via the "comments" section of this blog to try and introduce this beach ball variation of the game to our family at Kath Family Fun.  I am guessing it still won't take!  It is necessary to be super-competitive at all times!!  Maybe we can work it in after Steve runs his skills clinic with the whiffle balls and bats?  I'll think on it....

I had no classroom classes today - so I just did some exercising.  Walked on the treadmill (tried to kick it up a couple of notches, and between that and the new humidity in the building - I was one sweaty mess!), did my strength training, attempted a small amount of belly dancing (I don't really know anything that has utilized my grace and fluidity of movement quite like this!!  I was a MESS!) and then cardio circuit in the pool (we used steps in the pool!  Pretty cool).  It is amazing how much more I can do in only 3 weeks!  It is amazing what eating well, and moving your rear will do for you!  Yesterday I have a couple of ladies commenting on how fast I can go on the eliptical machine - which is hysterical, because come on!  We have all seen me move.  Fast is not an adjective to describe it.  I guess when you are so young, and pretty coordinated - you can do amazing things!!  Did I tell you that one lady guessed I was 22?!!??!?!  Hysterical.  I love it.  Bless her heart - I think her eyesight needs to be checked. 

I have discovered two great things (I am certain there are more, but for now I am going to just list 2 that really stand out) about doing this blog. 
  1. It has gotten people who rarely used their computers to use them almost daily!  I have gotten so many comments from people who read regularly, and I didn't even know they checked their emails!  They may have needed a small tutorial (shout out to my sister Wendy) to get started - but now they are on a roll!!  Everyone is becoming so much more technologically advanced... it is fantastic!!  Not to mention, I LOVE reading the comments!  I feel like it is keeping me in touch with home, even though I have been away a long time.
  2. I have gotten emails, and comments, from people I have never met.  Friends have forwarded the blog to friends, and so on - and I love that!!  I always knew I wasn't alone in the battle of the bulge - but it is really nice hearing from other people who are finding some sort of motivation, understanding or just entertainment - reading about my experiences.  I love that!  I never would have thought that was possible when I started this thing.  It is sort of amazing.
Tonight for dinner we had BBQ chicken (it was shredded) and it was so delicious!!  I felt like I was eating "real food" (I am REALLY going to have to stop calling it that.  It needs to just be "food" to me going forward!) and I enjoyed every minute of it!  Definitely one of the meals I am putting on the good list.

I also have a tip for people who love to eat salads, but haven't found a dressing they like that isn't a zillion calories.  We use "Galeo's" Ceasar dressing down here.  It tastes nothing like ceasar, but it is scrumptious!  I have been told they sell it at Whole Foods - or you can order it online.  It is low in sodium, and only 30 calories for 2 tablespoons.  It is Miso based (whatever that means!) which is apparently some sort of delicious magic?

Well - that is all for now.  Have a fantastic weekend everyone!  I will be enjoying my last weekend here (I can't believe it is my last weekend already!) by laying low, and watching movies.  First up?  Love Actually (LOVE IT!!!)

Suggestions on how to better spend my time?  I will entertain other options.... =)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 18: The Cooking Demonstration

Today I got to have the best classroom class, EVER!  It was a cooking demonstration done by one of the Chef's at the DFC.  Derek showed us how to make our own marinade for Chicken (it is so delicious by the way - and has NO salt), roasted veggies with Feta cheese (OMG - I love Feta Cheese!!!), carmelized onions (gross) and the chocolate tofu parfait (I now feel fully equipped to make it!!).  Of course everything looks super easy when you are watching a trained professional cook - but none of these dishes look like they are out of my capability range (amazing - because I am not a whiz in the kitchen).  He even told us to use the left over veggie stuff to make our own vegetable stock.  This could be the awakening of a culinary genius within me.  Wait.... no it isn't - but it is a nice thought.  I would still pay good money (or rather, I wish I could afford to pay good money) to have a cook on staff!!

I was also told a couple of days ago that Dom Deluise (see picture on the left - I hope no kids read this?  If they do, sorry for the inappropriate picture.  It made me giggle when I saw it, and I had to use it) attended the DFC when it was at it's old location (and he was still alive - RIP DD).  Not only did he attend the DFC, but he was kicked out of the DFC.  I wasn't sure you could get kicked out, but apparently you can.  If you are trapped at Fat Camp, and really want to free yourself I suggest using the following - proven - tidbits to assure yourself a quick exit:
  • Bring booze to the DFC, and drink it openly.  That is correct - bring alcohol to a weight-loss place, where overall health is the focus, and drink it.  It may also help speed things along if you offer it to your fellow residents.
  • When staying in the housing units across the street from the DFC, repeatedly order pizza for delivery.  Do not make any attempt to hide it by ordering after hours.  Order it during the day, while you should probably be at the DFC doing something (classroom classes, working out, etc) and for good measure - order more than one pizza.  Pizza is something better enjoyed in multiples, right?  Right.
Today was Zumba day.  I tried it... again.  It is really fun - except for the extreme amount of sweating that is done by this girl (me/Natalie).   Seriously - disgusting.  I love the music, and knowing the electric slide has FINALLY paid off!!  I didn't realize you could get to the age of 30+ without knowing that dance, but you can.  I also have to be hateful for one second - I apologize in advance.  I am not claiming to be the girl with the best rhythm, but the woman in front of me today makes me look like a competitor on "So You Think You Can Dance" (the best dance show - Shout out to Jill Kurzawa).  It was so distracting!!  She was all over the place, and it was never the right place.  She was doing regular aerobics moves (marching, grapevines, etc) with NO change made for the music/dance style.  She was a bit of a flailapuss (shout out to my sister Wendy who I believe coined the phrase?).  OK - I am done being mean now.  I just needed to get that out.  

There wasn't a lot of excitement today....  more exercising... it is sad that even more people I now call friends are doing their exit appointments.  Next week is going to be really weird.  I also just did my last menu (thank goodness - that is so much work!!) which was a little odd.  It is proof that my departure is rapidly approaching......  

What am I missing in Minnesota?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 17: "Weight" a minute!

Today is Wednesday.  Now class - does anyone remember what Wednesday is?  That is right - Wednesday is scale day.  I wouldn't exactly describe my feeling as "anxious" - but I was definitely not sure what the results would be.  At breakfast this morning there was a bit of an .... umm.... let's say "irritated" theme.  People who had already weighed in, and it hadn't gone well.  One gained a pound, another was only down .5 pounds - needless to say, it made me somewhat concerned that the scale God's were messing with everyone at the DFC.  I have been making a conscious effort to make sure I am doing my normal activities when I don't weigh in until later in the day - - making sure I eat, exercise and drink water like I normally would - so I don't get completely fabricated and inaccurate loss (hopefully loss, anyway).  I ate my breakfast (1/2 of a monte cristo sandwich - HAM? Really?), fruit, yogurt and then went and walked for a while (Damages and Psych episodes are seriously saving me!  This "you can't watch your show unless you are on the treadmill" rule is really working!!).  I then chugged some water, and went to my medical appointment, and drumroll, please......... it went down by a decent amount, AGAIN!  YIPPEE!!  After dinner out this weekend (even though I felt like I held it together pretty well) I wasn't sure how much that would mess with it?  It isn't the greatest thing that you still can't tell I have lost anything by looking at me - but I feel so much better!!

Today I had the "volumetrics" class.  It is based on eating larger amounts/weights of foods that are less caloricly dense than other options.  The theory is that getting to eat more will help you feel more full.  Very interesting.  Nothing too shocking - - still tells you to eat more veggies and less pizza - but there were some parts I thought were noteworthy.  There was one part about "apple crisps" (basically like apple chips - which are apparently FRIED like an actual chip - EWW) that said you could eat 3 ounces of apple crisps, or you could eat (and I am not kidding about this) 4 whole apples + 4 pretzel rods - for the same amount of calories.  Ouch.  You could have 1/2 of a bagel (from a bagel shop - without cream cheese.  Just the plain 1/2 bagel) OR 2 whole wheat waffles w/ 2 tablespoons of light syrup and 1/4 cup of berries.  You are getting the point with this - - it makes total sense, but it is amazing how this obvious information doesn't dawn on me when choosing my foods.  I may be less mentally capable than I thought!

I totally had another topic, but can't remember what it was.  I am having a serious problem with mush brain!  I think not having anything to worry about, stress about, read about, etc for 2.5 weeks has rendered my brain inoperable!!  Either that, or it is the lack of salt or lack of diet coke (no caffeine since I started here - SERIOUSLY!!) making me a little more slow than usual.  Yikes.  I might want to think about picking up a book when I get back to my room!

My sisters have their tickets booked to fly down and drive back with me!  I am so excited!!  I am used to seeing each of them multiple times per week.  It is strange how long 3 weeks feels!  I am certain we will have a ton to talk about, and that should definitely help make the drive more fun!  Notice to fellow travelers: we will be on the road February 20th & 21st.  Beware!

I want to send a Shout Out to Roger Krause - who is finally feeling better, and recovering from Pneumonia.

I also want to send a shout out to my friend Jason, who got engaged to his lady Pam in Italy!  Congrats!

Man...I really love shout outs!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 16: Freedom!

Today I had no classroom classes.  It was lovely.  No time restraints, no rushing from place to place.  I only had to exercise.  I loved it.  It is rare to have this kind of free time!  I slept in, did water aerobics, played a little bit of water volleyball, and actually had time to sit in the hot tub for a bit.  I then did some walking on the treadmill and met with my nutritionist.  I started working on my meal plan for the first few weeks I am home. 

I am trying to prepare myself for my new life requirements - planning, planning, planning!  It is going to be quite an adjustment!  I know there are a lot of people who operate this way - always planning things out, always having their list for the grocery store and sticking to it, mostly being healthy.  I have some opportunities for improvements in these areas (to say the least).  Luckily, Leslie (my nutritionist) is working with me on some decent options - and I am now armed with some delicious & healthy options.  She is also bumping up my daily calorie allowance, so that will help make sure I have some wiggle room.  And the food is only half of it!  I still need to get my butt to the gym!!!  I'll get it all figured out - it just seems a bit overwhelming when looking at it from the safe cocoon of the DFC.

I apologize for the lame entry today.  I don't know that anything noteworthy happened today!  I have kind of been dragging all day, and now my brain is following suit!  I will attempt to brainstorm, and come up with something interesting to share by the end of my day tomorrow.  Have a great evening, all!  Behave.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 15: Week 3 Begins

Week 3 is off to an odd start.  So many people left this weekend.  There were a few that I didn't even realize were done, and they are now gone.  It is odd.  There is a totally different setting now.  Lots of new/returns starting today - so lots of new people to meet.  Today seemed really busy - so maybe I'll get to know some of them later this week.

Today I had a class about "eating trigger foods mindfully".  One aspect of the class was eating either one potato chip, or one Hershey's kiss - in 4 bites.  You read correctly - - FOUR BITES for one chip.  Not 4 chips in one bite.  I am not going to lie to you - I was pretty excited to have a potato chip.  Now, I know this won't be every day - there will come a day where the Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles (seriously - there is no better snack in this world) call my name - but here were my reactions to the Light Salt Kettle Chip I had today:
  • Smell: Grease (what is this?  I have NEVER had this as my first reaction before!)
  • Feel: bumpy, and I can feel the grains of salt
  • Look: delicious
  • Taste 1: Grease (huh?  I haven't had real food in what seems like 100 years, and when I have a chance to have a chip, I taste grease?!??!  Maybe this is my brain trying to protect me from making an ass of myself in class by eating the whole chip in one moaning/groaning bite?)
  • Taste 2: Grease (well this can't be right.....)
  • Taste 3: Burnt grease (get serious!  One slightly darker spot is going to taste burnt now?  And still with grease?!??!  Give me a BREAK!)
  • Taste 4: Slightly less grease (well... that was shocking....)
I am just going to ride this until I go crazy one day, and have to try them again.  I am just hoping I have some control, and don't hoover an entire bag!

I also felt I should point out some things observed by my group of friends this weekend:
  1. Matching track suits are really all the rage here in North Carolina.  Whether they are velour, satin, polyester or knit.  As long as they match, they are a necessity here!  No lie - 20% if all women wear them - including some new local ladies who my friends met at an Irish bar on Friday.
  2. Not only does Marilyn own Tennis shoes, but she wore them out for the day!  She claims to own more than one pair.  Here is photographic evidence of at least one pair (see right).
  3. The weather here is awesome. (really didn't need to be stated again - but I felt it was necessary.  It is 60+ in MARCH!!)
  4. The brakes on my car are beyond trashed (it is hard to notice they are loud when it is winter, and you have to keep your windows up, heat on high, and the radio on.  Maybe if I'd turn down the "damn radio so I could hear something"   I would have noticed earlier).  I am really looking forward to trying to find someone to fix them while I am here.  Goodbye money I wasn't planning on spending.....
  5. The Deluxe Pedicure at Allure salon is divine.  (slightly less divine when you put your shoes on too early, and screw up your nail) This procedure also causes Darcy to almost wet herself because she is ticklish.  Fortunately, she was able to keep it together.
  6. Some people in NC don't realize that "bag chairs" have been invented.  They opt, instead, for strapping entire lawn chairs to their backs, and going to the park.
I have a light day of classroom classes tomorrow, so I am looking forward to working in some extra exercise.  I probably better go shower and get ready for bed, so I am rested enough to want to do it!  Have a great night, everyone!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Days 13 & 14: Weekend Dos (Two)

This was a weird weekend.  I had friends in town to visit (which was so fantastic), but I also said goodbye to some really great people.  Jessica, Hillary & Katie.... Stan and his wife.... Cas & Howard.... everyone is gone.  It is still shocking to me how quickly bonds are formed here!  I did get told by Cas (who has numerous things in comment with my dad - see the next paragraph) "I love hugging you".  So nice.  (Shout out to Bridgett - - I am trying to be a hugger, now!)

Cas (Casimir - the Super Bowl guy) reminded me of my pops on a few different occasions.  I believe I told you about my "technical" help that I provided for him.  What I haven't mentioned was what happened to his glasses.  Before I get to that - I need to share a story about Steve (my dad).  On their flight to Hawaii (I believe) he kept his glasses in the pocket on his jacket.  When they were getting ready to land, he took out his specs and put them on.  The flight attendant had to comment that those were the clearest lenses she had ever seen - while simultaneously poking her fingers through the frames.  The lenses were missing.  He didn't notice.  Bless his heart.  A couple of days before he was ready to leave, Cas lost his right lense.  He didn't notice until he got to the DFC, after walking over a mile.  Seriously.  To make it even better, he has the glasses that automatically tint in the sunlight.  Very entertaining on a sunny morning, when he looked like a pirate.  The good news was, he retained use of the left lense, which is the one he really needed. =)  Howard, who went on a $700+ shopping spree for clothes for his family at Dicks Sporting Goods (I couldn't make this up) is also a little technically-challenged.  He has a Mercedes SomethingFancy (not sure on the actual model) and was telling me he doesn't understand how to operate the majority of things in his car, because they are too technically advanced.  I offered to trade him, even up, for JaLisa (who has NO technical components).  Shockingly, he turned me down.  JaLisa remains in my possession.

This weekend I played water volleyball both days, and did water aerobics on Saturday.  My shoulder must have adapted to this new activity - - I still have full range of motion.  One nice surprise today was getting to play with Reverend Alden's twin (Rev Alden is from Little House on the Prairie).  RA's real name is Bob.  He went to Duke before I was born (his words) and had seats under the basket for the Duke/UNC game on Saturday (a huge rivalry down here - and the schools are only about 15 miles apart.  Very odd.  I can't imagine how much $$ he has donated to Duke in order to get those seats!?!?)  He asked if I wanted to sit with them for lunch, and did have to tell me a secret before I left lunch to meet my friends..... I am a very beautiful woman, and have a great personality.  He said he noticed it when we were playing volleyball - and also noted that I have "pretty good" coordination.  Reverand Alden - Thank you.  That means a lot.

I wonder if everyone gets the quantity of helpful hints/suggestions/comments that I get - or if I just really look like someone who is dying for their input?  It is a mystery to me.  An entertaining mystery.

The ladies and I had a pretty tame, but fun, time.  Pedicures and dinner (I tried to stay mostly within reason on my meal) on Saturday.  We went to the Duke campus and drove around a bit today, and then went to the Duke Gardens.  I am sure it is beautiful when everything starts blooming.  For now, we had to settle for the sunshine, 60+ degrees and smell of spring.  It was delightful.  We then went back to the DFC patio and played Farkle (or "dice" as it is called in the Cerini family).  Marilyn was victorious - of course!  I have the greatest friends.  So supportive, and so willing to put up with my ridiculous schedule, so I can make sure to get all of my stuff in.  Thank you to all of you for indulging me this weekend!  I appreciate you all!!

It is unreal to me that week 3 already starts tomorrow.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for me now.  Oh yeah - and it is supposed to be 60-70 degrees every day this week.  That will probably be pretty tough.....

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 12: It's Finally Friday!

It is unbelievable that I have already been here almost 2 weeks!  When I left home, I assumed I would have lots of free (boring) time during the days, evenings and weekends - and I thought 4 weeks seemed like forever!  I don't think I could have been more incorrect!  You know what happens when you assume....  I feel like I have next to no free time during the day (which isn't exactly accurate - I have time to check emails, do LOTS of visiting) that isn't scheduled out with classes, exercise or meetings.  Last weekend I felt like I had a lot going on - even though there was very little on the schedule.  I have barely had an opportunity to get into Marilyn's DVDs she sent along for me!  I am certain that things will just continue to fly by, and it will be time to go home in no time! 

Tomorrow is our last day with a number of people - some I have mentioned before - but we are also losing Jessica, Hillary, Renee (who has looked out for me, like she was my mom) and Richard.  They are a mom, dad and 2 daughters.  Jessica, Renee & Richard came in July for 4 weeks.  They loved it, and learned a lot.  They then went home for 6 months, and now came back (and brought Hillary with them) for a 2 week refresher.  They are all so kind, interesting and open about their experiences!  I am really going to miss them!  And did I mention they have all been successful!?!?!  It is so nice to see people who live real lives, have real jobs, and still make it work.  Having people like Jessica to talk to, and hear about how she has made it work, is so helpful!  It makes you feel like everything is going to be OK when you go home.  It helps stave off the panic that tends to creep in when I think of going home.  Am I going to be able to do this?  Granted - this isn't like any"Diet" I've ever been on.  It is about moderation.  Picking things that work for your life, and making them also work for losing weight.  I will miss each of them.

My dietician Leslie has an interesting theory about food, and how we eat.  It is the 80/20 method.  If you eat well 80% of the time, your body won't even notice when you maybe don't eat so great 20% of the time.  Now who can't stick to that??!!!?  I can "fall off the wagon" 20% of the time (not my goal per se - but sometimes it just happens) and now I have the tools to get myself back on track.  To make a better decision on the next meal.  To learn that going overboard on one meal, doesn't need to turn into going overboard for 6 months.  I love these people. 

Today's ridiculous highlight: I tried belly dancing!!  A lady named Leslie, who is a resident, knows how to do it, so she added a class.  There were only about 5 of us - but it was really fun.  I am thinking that will have to be something I try when I get in better shape.  It will be a really good toner for the core area! 

We also finally had the chocolate tofu parfait for dinner tonight.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It was SO GOOD!!!  I don't think I have ever made anything last so long in my life!!  It took me about 15 minutes to finish it.  Howard even gave me his raspberries to add to it.  When i get home, I will make it for anyone willing to try it.  It is beyond delicious.  (That could be true, or a lie perpetrated by my deadened taste buds - but I think it is true.  I had heard a lot about it prior to tonight.  It is definitely a fave here!)

I spoke to my visiting friends (who are on their own today/tonight and we are meeting up tomorrow).  Not shockingly, they were out making a ton of new friends.  Who can resist lovely ladies from MN?  I am so looking forward to tomorrow, I can't even tell you!  The only dark cloud today?  I just saw that Chester Taylor signed with Chicago.  Boo.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  I will try and update this weekend - but it may have to wait until Sunday.  Behave everyone!

What is your best idea for how we (Marilyn, Darcy, Stephanie and myself) should spend our Saturday night (that does not include fried food, a bar, or booze)?

Day 11: better late than never?

So sorry for slacking away, and not getting a post put up last night.  The day was a bit of a marathon, and it just got away from me. I will do my best to make up for it today - I promise.

Thursday brought something new to my life.  Zumba.  It is a latin dance inspired aerobics class.  As those of you that know me well can attest to - I have some REALLY sweet dance moves.  I was just happy to finally have a venue where I could showcase them in front of a large group of people.  (I am hoping all of you are picking up on the sarcastic nature of the previous statements)  I am not a skilled dancer.  I believe I have some rhythm - but have kept dancing to a minimum lately because it is a lot of working moving all of this bod (except for the occasional victory dance during beer pong - - shout out to my poor friends who had to witness that).  I was still not sure how this class was going to go - - I suspected it would be fairly fast-paced (which is not ideal when you are on the non-super-tiny end of the spectrum) and probably out of my cardio capability range.  I was partially right.  It was fast paced.  I left the arms out of most of it, but I was shocked to find I could mostly keep up!  I was sweating like a .......  well - I am not sure what I was sweating like - but I was drenched in sweat!  It was fun.  Keeps you moving and entertained - except for the end when we had to "freestyle".  Seriously.  Everyone takes a turn going into the middle of the circle, and you have to copy what they do.  You can bet your bottom dollar I did some shimmying.  That is my signature move, after-all.  They didn't throw me out - so I guess that is something.  The bonus?  I can still move this morning!!  I was slightly fearful yesterday that that would not be the case. 

I also joined the group for karoake on Thursday night (I only stayed out until 10 - and that seemed late).  It was entertaining to say the least.  It was also nice to dry and curl my hair, and put on jeans!  Who would have thought I would miss real clothes?  Lots of people here can sing - it is a beautiful thing.  One guy even sang "Family Tradition"  - - so that was fantastic.  I am a bit sad I was unable to get a picture of Kenny Rogers' twin, who came in about 20 minutes before I left.  He looked more like Kenny (pre-surgery) than real post-surgery Kenny does now.  The greatest part is that he got up to sing as I was leaving.  What was he singing you ask?  Lady by Kenny Rogers!!!!!  I think it may have been his twin.... for real!

I am so looking forward to this weekend.  Marilyn, Darcy & Stephanie have landed - and I am REALLY looking forward to having some people I know, around.  I am hoping they picked JaLisa, (my sweet car - with the missing passenger side mirror) or else she was stolen!  They are being beyond great - coming to join me for a water aerobics class, lunch and a behavior/lifestyle class tomorrow.  Then I think we will do something outside on Sunday because it is supposed to be 60+ degrees!!!  I think we will maybe take a break from our usual activity (eating and drinking) - and I appreciate them for that!

I have learned, through some of the meetings here, that I have the greatest friends and relatives in the world!  Everyone who has sent me comments, emails, cards, etc have been so supportive!  I have even gotten emails from people I don't know, who have read this blog and can relate (thank you to the people who have shared this blog with others!!) - and I get nothing but kindness and support!  I have been a part of some discussion groups here, and have realized just how rare that is.  There is one girl who had not one, but two, ladies come up and tell her "you aren't as fat as your grandma said you were".  I am not making this up!  What was that grandmother saying about her, and then what is going on with these ladies to think that is something that is OK to say?  One guy told people he was coming here, and they said something along the lines of "well you should have gone 3 years ago".  Nice.  People are awesome.  Others have had the "well you have tried so many other things, and it hasn't worked - why do you think this will" comments.  I have had NONE of that.  I know I definitely could have had those statements directed at me - but that just shows how truly lucky and blessed I am.  I have said it before, but I want to make sure I keep saying it.  You (everyone who is rooting for me) are all so beyond phenomenal, and I am grateful every day to have each of you in my life.  [This just made me think - granted, I haven't heard from June Hanson (who squeezed my then pregnant sister's arm, and asked if she was OK because she was so puffy.  As our cousin Justin would say - "her's a bitch") so there is still a chance someone will blow it! - shout out to everyone who has been offended by June - I know the list is long!]  There are so many people who have only destructive people like that in their life - and somehow I got all of you.  Life is good.

Ever had someone make a funny, but inappropriate comment to you?  Please share.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 10: Wednesday - the day of the scale

As anyone who has had an issue with weight can probably tell you - the scale is a horrible thing.  It is an instrument of terror that should be avoided at all costs.  It could be used as a torture device.  Anticipation of having to get on it causes fear.  Knee-buckling fear.  Here at the DFC - Wednesday is weigh in day.  For this first week, it has been 8 days since we last weighed in.  Everyone (who stays on program) certainly feels better - but will that show on the scale?  I am on a low sodium diet, so I should lose plenty of water weight, at a minimum - but will I?  What if I came down here, and spent time and money - and don't lose anything?  What if.... what if.... what if.......  Well - the good news is, it was good news.  It was worth it!  Not that I broke any records, I am sure - but it was moving the right direction!  I am not deluded enough to think this volume of loss with continue each week.  The first week is always the biggest.  But I am very happy with the loss.  I don't look any different, but I feel different.  That counts for something - right? =) 

There is one guy here (who tends to be a bit of whiner anyway) who lost 11 pounds.  Eleven pounds in a week - and he wasn't happy with that.  This is also the guy that wants the staff here to guarantee large amounts of weight loss.  He seems to miss the point that his success is his ability to change.  His ability to eat well, and move his rear.  Needless to say, he has moments of working my last nerve with his never-ending complaining.  Dude - you are here.  Shut up (sorry Dad) and take advantage of it.  Geesh.

Today I had my first disappointing meal.  It was all my fault.  I apparently took leave of my senses last week when doing my menu.  I picked some falafel something or other (chickpea patties) - they were disgusting, and I didn't eat them.  Good for me - less calories.  Bad for me - I am going to be starving tomorrow!  Oh well - I will survive.  Hopefully I made better choices for tomorrow.

The request was made for pictures of the people here at FC.  I took this with my phone today at breakfast without him knowing.  This is Howard.  Unfortunately, you can't tell exactly how blue his hair is.  All of that lighter gray hair is in fact light blue.  It worked well for me that he likes to hear himself talk enough that he didn't know I was snapping pictures. 

I will work on more pics as time goes on.....

I also attempted to play Bingo tonight (they have Bingo every Wednesday at the DFC at 6:15pm).  I don't know what made me think I would like it.  Bingo drives me crazy.  I tried it.  I left before the last game.  I have learned that it isn't just Bingo at Coopers that drivers me crazy.  It is Bingo in general. 

Tomorrow night is karoake night.  I can't wait to see what a mess this results in!  Who goes and sings karoake when they are sober?!?!?!  This is unheard of!  I will not be singing, but I can spectate with the rest of them!  What is your favorite Karoake memory?  I know you all have one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 9: Not Much New Going On

It is amazing the things that become "hot commodities" when you are eating a low cal/low sodium diet.  Last night I treated myself to a 3oz potato (1/2 of a baked potato, about the size of a computer mouse).  When I got back to the table (because we eat cafeteria style, with trays and whole bit), a lady named Wendy from Sydney, Austrailia, was beyond jealous.  "You got a potato?!??!?!"  I asked her if she wanted part of it (I had a double-serving of bourbon chicken staring me in the face, and wasn't starving).  She said she didn't want to take part of my potato.  I asked her if it would make her day to have part of my potato.  The answer?  Yes.  I made her day.  1/2 of my baked potato went to Wendy.  It just made me chuckle.  When, in my former life, would 1.5oz of baked potato ever have been such a treat?  There was a new girl named Lauren on the other side of me.  When she left the other ladies said I should have offered it to her - I would have had an in with the new girl.  I informed them that she "didn't know the value of a baked potato" because it was only her first day.  Everyone agreed, and it started a fairly entertaining conversation about our favorite FC foods.  My personal fave so far?  The Spinach Manicotti.  It was SO GOOD!!  They have also found the most delicious Caesar dressing (which tastes nothing like regular Caesar dressing) but is delicious.  They have been out for 2 days.  I am expecting a full-blown revolt if they don't get it in by lunch tomorrow.  You don't mess with people and their food at this place!

Today wasn't too exciting.  More exercise, more classes.  My classes today were kind of touchy feely behavior classes.  We are working on goals, red flags that those goals aren't going as planned, and a back-up system to get back on track.  Nothing too interesting to share with the masses.  It was a pretty tame day overall at FC... nothing too noteworthy to report.  I have, however, discovered a new problem.  Trying to figure out when to color my hair, when I won't be in the pool the next day - and turn my hair green.  I know, I know.  If that is my biggest problem, I shouldn't complain - but it REALLY needs to be colored! 

I realized today that 3/4 of my entertaining co-residents are leaving this weekend!  Manny, Cas, Howard, Katie, Colin, Zack..... all of them will be gone next week.  I know it sounds crazy that I am going to miss them - I have only known they existed for a week and a half - but you bond quickly at FC.  I think everyone is just so happy to have other people who understand their struggles, fears, embarrassments, accomplishments -that you become close faster than in the "real world".  I am going to miss things about all of them.  I just hope we are able to solve the mystery of Howard's blue hair before he leaves.  It is mystifying.  I know a request has been made for pictures - but I am not sure how to make that happen.  I will work on it.  Maybe they'll think it's cool that the "technician" wants to put them on her blog?  Maybe.

As of today, I have not seen Rex Ryan.  That appears to be a myth.  Who knows - maybe he'll show up some day.  Again - not much new going on.  I am going through a bit of a spell where you have some growing pains with the people you spend the bulk of your days with.  The same core group is in every class together.  I have heard the same comments, stories, etc WAY too many times.  The teachers rotate, but the participants really don't.  I have had to dig deep, into my storehouse of patience.  They are all so nice - so it is nothing personal.  I am just going through a phase where I am really looking forward to some normal/familiar this weekend (Stephanie, Darcy and Marilyn are coming to visit and I am so excited!!!!)  The positive?  I am REALLY enjoying my workout time.  My headphones are on, and I don't have to listen to anyone.  It is magical. 

As I sit at the bar, typing this blog, some skinny woman just got onion rings.  Boy - do they look gross.  I sure am glad I don't have to eat that stuff at FC.

Goodnight all!  Tomorrow is my first weigh in since I got here (I am feeling different, but I don't look any different).  Wish me luck!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 8: No Longer a Newbie

It is weird to think that I am no longer new!  I have an entire week under my belt!!  I am a seasoned veteran!!  There are all sorts of new people coming in, so now I am trying to be one of the helpful/experienced residents.  I am not nearly as good at it as my FC friend Norine (who one guy thought was my mom - and who oddly enough, shares a birthday with my real mom) who has a total gift of gab!  She speaks to everyone, and is nice and outgoing as I am closed off and crabby.  We are a good match. =) 

I did forget a couple of things from my weekend entry, because I was so focused on finishing so I could watch the USA/Canada hockey game (do you even believe that game?!?!!??!!?  So high, to so low, in like 15 minutes!!)  Here are some updates:
1.  How absurd is it that someone's shoulder hurts from water volleyball?  Mine did.  It felt like I had just wrapped up my first day of softball practice.  It was insane!!  I also need to share some details that will help paint a picture of how skilled these players are.  I have been nicknamed "Super Star" and "golden server".  Seriously.  For those of you that remember my mad skills from the D Squad (yes - I said D squad - like they took the best players for the A team, the next best for the B, the next best for the C and then what is left?  Oh yeah - us on the D squad baby!) team in Jr High - you will understand how insane this is.  These games are NOT competitive, but it keeps me moving, gets me out of bed, and is still very entertaining.  Especially now that my wounded shoulder has started to feel better!  At least I didn't tear anything (shout out to Stephanie and her calf muscle!)
2.  I have used one of my reward suggestions.  I downloaded Damages from last week (the GREATEST show!!) and was not allowed to watch it until I got my butt on the treadmill! (shout out to Jason O.)  I am trying to think of other shows I can do this with.  Now that real TV can resume because the stupid Olympics are over, I should be able to come up with some new ones.  I am thinking Psych (shout out Christopher James Fing Hastings) is the other show at the top of the list.....

My goal for this week is to fit in more exercise, since I won't be so bombarded with classroom classes.  I think I got off to a pretty good start today, partial thanks to Damages! =)  We had a virtual grocery store class today.  I am somewhat fearful that my next few trips to the grocery store will take me about 3 hours (shout out to Bridgett) because I am going to have to start reading labels!!  I know this won't last for long.... I'll figure out what I need to buy, and it will be just fine... but for now - I am going to be going through some ch ch changes.  Anyone want to act as my complimentary personal shopper?  Here are the DFC, we are eating a really low sodium diet.  Now that I realize how great you can feel eating low sodium (around 1500mg of sodium a day - - recommended is 2400mg a day) I want to try and continue that, as much as possible.

My parents, especially my dad, will also be happy to hear that I have been given a couple of "tests" (helpful things my sisters and I are asked to do when we are visiting my parents.  Mine are usually related to electronic things) down here, too.  Cas & Howard went out and got themselves some podometers (or "odometers" as Howard calls it) which measure steps and calories.  Cas took care of putting  the batteries in, but the setting up process seemed like more than they were willing or able to deal with.  I asked if they would like me to do it, and don't remember the last time I saw such relief wash over anyone's face.  I had them both done in 15 minutes (shout out to my "young mind" as Howard deemed it), and am now referred to as the "Technician" by Cas.  These guys crack me up.

Here's hoping you have a great week!  Good night!