Saturday, September 10, 2011

My First 5K

This morning my sister, Christine, and I ran/jogged/walked a 5K in honor of firefighters who lost their lives in the twin towers on September 11, 2001.  Christine is a runner, who just recently ran the San Francisco Marathon, so she ran.  I was the jogger/walker.  I had been contemplating entering a 5K for the past couple of months and when I heard this one advertised on KAT 103.3 last week I decided that this would be the one. 

With the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 approaching I was reminded of the helplessness I felt on that day.  Watching the towers fall on live television there was nothing I could do but cry and pray.  Later that day there was a special Mass at St. Stanislaus Church to attend. On the way home, hoping that there would be survivors in need of blood, I  stopped at the Delta Blood Bank to donate.  There was a long line of people there already and the workers were sending everyone home.  Again, feelings of helplessness and disappointment.

Watching television coverage of the many memorials planned for this weekend reminded me of the helplessness I felt ten years ago.  Being a part of this special event eased that.  Participants in the 5K were given a lanyard with the photo and name of a hero firefighter who died that day.  All along the way there were volunteers pointing us in the right direction and waving our flag.  I finished in just over 43 minutes, which isn't anything to write home about, but it is a start.  I plan to enter more of these events.  I've needed something to challenge me a little more and maybe I've found it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Beginning

Weight 170 pounds
That number looks better. Last week I'd gained another half pound which put me at 174 so I buckled down and got more serious. Also, last week school started and I was much more active. Another side benefit from being back in school is that I don't have access to food as much as I do on vacations.
My summer vacation just flew by this year. They always seem to go fast, but this one especially so. I had to move from one classroom to another on the other side of the building so I spent quite a bit of time at school moving and setting up a new room. Then there was all the time I wasted in front of the boob tube. My intentions for this past summer were to stay active working in my yard and helping with a large garden at my mom's place in Escalon. You know what they say about good intentions (in case you don't, the road to hell is paved with them). I did work in my yard and plant some new jasmine and honeysuckle vines along with some ground cover, but that was about it. I seem to get more done when I don't have as much time to do it in. Maybe it's the discipline of being back in school, but I'm more productive at home during the school year. Go figure.
One thing I'm planning on doing at school is to be more physically active with my class. Having kindergartners, at this time of the year, I need to take activity breaks often during our mornings to let them get their wiggles out. So instead of just supervising the activity, I am joining in with them. Besides the benefit of providing comic relief for my kids, I get in a little extra exercise. I'm also taking them out for P.E. and am more of a participant there as well. This year we have three kindergarten classes at Van Allen and a couple of times a week I will be taking half of them out for P.E. while the other half are playing indoors. Yesterday was the first day we did this and the kids did well considering it was the first P.E. lesson. I'm looking forward to a very active year!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vacation Indiscretions

Monday, August 8, 2011.
Weight 173.5 Gain of 3.5 pounds.
No surprise at the gain. I've been sliding quite a bit lately. Last week I was on vacation for a few days on the coast. Thursday through Sunday I did very well with watching what I ate. To save some money as well as calories, this time I brought an ice chest along and packed it with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, low fat deli meats, pancakes and turkey bacon. So most of my meals I stayed pretty much on my eating plan. However, on Monday I went nuts.
One of my favorite television channels is, of course, the Food Network. A couple of years ago I was watching an episode of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" and a little hole in the wall cafe in San Francisco was one of the diners featured. The name of the place is "Dottie's True Blue Cafe". It's on Jones Street near Union Square. They serve the most wonderful, creative foods - all made there in the kitchen. It's a very small place with a line of people out the door waiting to be seated. Although they are famous for their blueberry cornmeal pancakes I ordered one of the daily specials, chocolate chip, butterscotch chip french toast with chicken apple sausage. Oh yummm!
Then I hopped on a cable car and it was on to Fisherman's Wharf. I walked around looking at all of the tourist trap places and managed to resist the temptation to spend a bunch of money there. The Exploratorium is a place I've never visited and I decided to walk to it from the Wharf. It's over two miles, but it was a nice, cool, overcast day and I enjoyed the walk. I arrived at the Exploratorium only to be told that it's closed to the public on Mondays. As I turned around to walk the two miles back to the wharf I fantasized about what I was going to order at Ghiradelli Square. By the time I got there I had decided against totally blowing my diet by indulging in Ghiradelli chocolate. Score one for me.
That evening the lure of dinner at an Italian restuarant in North Beach, however, was too much to resist. I walked up and down the street trying to decide where to further blow my diet. Finally I chose to eat outside at Volare. An order of spaghetti with meatballs, french bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a glass of white wine anda piece of double chocolate cake later I headed back to the motel for the evening.
I probably could have avoided gaining as much as I did if my "naughty" eating was confined to Monday. However, I continued to make unwise choices until Thursday morning when I went back to the gym to work out. All in all, I didn't do too badly. Going on vacation used to be just one long excuse to eat whatever I wanted. That didn't happen this time and I feel very good about that.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Blessed Life

Weight 170. No gain, no loss this week. Good 'nuff.
I actually weighed myself on Sunday morning instead of my usual Monday morning weigh-in. I'm babysitting my two nieces Madeline and Abby and am away from my scale today. I wasn't surprised that I didn't lose anything this past week. Tuesday evening I hosted a small get together for some friends from church and didn't exactly keep to the eating plan. It could have been worse, but I definitely let loose. The good, no great, thing about it is that I didn't beat myself up about it and went back to watching the calories and exercising the next day.
Yesterday my nephew threw a surprise 30th birthday party for his wife, Jennifer. It was a good time for all. Jennifer is a former student of mine. She was in my first grade and second grade classes when I was teaching at Farmington School. A few years back when they started dating I was thrilled to hear Christopher found a great girl. Now, they have three beautiful children. Ryan, their oldest, will be starting kindergarten at Van Allen this year and, even if he isn't in my class, I will get to see him every day. A little constant reminder of how old I'm getting!
Another sign of age creeping up on me is actually working alongside students I had in class years ago. A young woman I had as a first grader years ago at Farmington has worked as a substitute teacher at Van Allen. I found out Saturday that she will be teaching kindergarten in Stanislaus County this coming fall. She's going to make a wonderful teacher. Her students are very lucky. And I feel lucky and blessed that I'm surrounded by such wonderful people, both family and friends.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Every Small Step

Didn't do so well at the gym this morning. After about 20 minutes at 4.5 mph my body just pooped out and had to slow down to 4.3. It was all downhill after that. By the last ten minjutes I was walking at a slow 3.6 mph. But I was determined to stay on the blasted thing for an hour and am glad I did. Every small step is a victory.
Speaking of victory, one of the reasons it hasn't been too difficult to get to the gym very early in the morning is that one of the nine televisions is tuned to the Fox News Channel which carries the morning show Fox and Friends. I love this show and look forward to watching it every weekday morning. This morning they had a short segment on a bike ride taking place in New York tomorrow. The riders are members of the Wounded Warrior Project. These are men and women who have returned from war with wounds. Some of the wounds are obvious and visible and some aren't. It is inspiring to me to see these people who have sacrificed so much work and learn to overcome their challenges. If you're interested, check out the Wounded Warrior Project website, It will give you reason to be thankful that there are men and women willing to put their lives on the line so we can live in peace and freedom here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Fast the Time Flies!

Post #42 Current weight: 170 pounds. Total pounds lost 89.
Today is the one year anniversary of my first blog entry. I guess it's kind of pathetic that it's only post #42. My last entry was on January 31st. After that, I just gave up on trying to come up with stuff to write about and quit. However, luckily, I did not quit losing weight. Since last July when I weighed 259 pounds, 89 pounds have been shed. My total weight loss is actually 100 pounds. My heaviest weight was 270 pounds. That was a few years ago. It scared me to be so close to 300 pounds and I lost about fifty pounds. Some of that weight had been put back on when I began this latest attempt. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be, but it hasn't been a picnic either.
Counting calories is still a major part of my life and I keep them between 1200 and 1300 a day. Hitting the gym five mornings a week is the norm. At this time I spend an hour on the treadmill at speeds between 4.3 and 4.5 mph. I've worked with weight machines off and on (mostly off) also. This is an area where my discipline needs to develop. I still hate those things.
Thankfully, good health is a blessing I continue to enjoy. My health is so much better than I deserve. God must surely like me, to keep me this healthy when I've spent most of my life trying to ruin it in one way or another. Thank you for your patience, Lord.
So, I'm going to take another stab at this blogging thing. I want to learn a little bit more about how to "fancy" it up a bit. There must be a "Blogging for Dummies" book out there with my name on it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Focusing on the Blessings

Post #41
Weight 195 loss of 2.5 pounds

It's been two weeks since I've last posted my weight. Last week I weighed 197.5 which was the same as the week before. Last week I stepped up my cardio workouts and it has paid off. When I remember that last summer I was walking the treadmill at 3.2mph and now am up to 3.9mph for 45 minutes and elevation of 1.0, it's encouraging. My clothes are becoming looser, too. This weekend I should go shopping for some new ones. We'll see after all the bills get paid.

School keeps me so busy during the week that even the thought of blogging at the end of the day makes me tired. I've managed to be disciplined in every other area of my life, but this one. When I get home at the end of the day I'm on my computer almost immediately, but all I do is check my e-mail, my Facebook page and then a jigsaw puzzle site I love to play on. Thinking of stuff to write is just too much work. Besides, my life is pretty mundane. Not much happens that would be interesting to read about. If I could write about the details of my school day, that would be a different matter, but that is off limits due to confidentiality issues. That's too bad, as the kids almost daily do or say something that is funny, touching or frustrating. They keep my life and job from being boring. There's always something happening at school.

Another thing I do on the computer is check out some favorite homemaking blogs I've put in my favorites column. I love to read these to see how the other half lives. The half that, as a young girl, I just assumed I would be a part of. These are women who are wives and mothers, many of them stay at home moms who homeschool their children. They are very creative. I'm not sure why I am drawn to these blogs as their lives are so different from the one I'm living. For some reason there is a yearning there. Maybe it's grief for a life I've always wanted but just wasn't in the cards for me. As I read these now, I just try to enjoy the creativity there and focus on the many blessings I do enjoy in my own life. I've so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No Pain, No Loss

Entry #40

Weight 197.5 Loss of l pound.

The weight continues to come off and I'm grateful for that. Since my big gain right before Christmas I've been doing well with the eating. That is, until this past Monday. The day started off well but my niece Mallory celebrated her birthday on Monday and I just let loose and ate all kinds of stuff I shouldn't have.

People are starting to notice my weight loss and it's nice and uncomfortable at the same time. When others notice and comment on it, for some reason I feel uncomfortable, almost embarassed. I'm not sure why that is. It's always been a little difficult to receive compliments. I'm working on receiving them graciously.

Tonight will present another challenge. Our school has a fundraiser at a local pizza parlor and I'll be there with some of my family. There's not much on the menu that I would normally eat. My plan is to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch and save a few more calories for dinner. I'll have one slice of pizza and a small salad with lowfat dressing. That should be okay as long as I work out every morning, including Saturday and possibly Sunday. Sometimes it's such a pain to have to figure out how to budget calories and eat well. But, as the saying goes, "no pain, no gain". Or in my case, "no pain, no loss".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Entry #39

Well, I guess it's better late than never. It's been years since I've made any New Year's resolutions. It took too much discipline to stick with them, so they went by the wayside after a few days or weeks. After some thought I've come up with a few things I'd like to accomplish this next year. These are goals to be worked toward more than resolutions.

The first, of course, is to stay on track with diet and exercise. At this time I'm using the weight machines for my upper body only and the elliptical and treadmill for cardio. On the elliptical I spend 15 minutes at level 5. I'm on the treadmill for 45 minutes, incline level 0.5, speed 3.8 mph. At this time I usually bump up the difficulty/speed when I can sustain the current levels with little difficulty. This seems to be working well, so I won't change it for now. I would like to add Saturday and Sunday workouts to my schedule, so this will be a goal.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I usually have one or two books going at a time. History, historical fiction and books set in New England or the South interest me, so those are what I usually read. As I was thinking about these goals it came to me that it would be good to challenge myself and read some books about subjects that don't appeal to me. Here's my list:
1. Books written by people on the other side of the political aisle.
2. Science fiction
3. Books written about an aspect of teaching. I usually avoid these books because it feels like I never leave work when I read them at home in "my" time.
4. Sports

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Entry #38

Weight 198.5 Loss of 2 pounds

This was very good news for my Monday morning. For the first time in probably ten years I'm under 200 pounds. This has inspired me to work even harder to reach my goal.

In an earlier post I said I wanted to be at my goal of 120 pounds by next Christmas. I'm not sure that will be possible, but I'm still going to try my best to do it. I'm very thankful to God for helping me stay strong in my weaker moments and to my family and friends who have been encouraging me, including those of you who post comments once in awhile.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year

Entry #37

December 27 Weight 202.5 Loss of 7.5 pounds
January 3 Weight 200.5 Loss of 2 pounds

I've been so bad about keeping this blog up. I wish I could blame it on being busy, but after having two weeks off from school, that would be somewhat less than honest.

I don't know what's been going on with my weight for the past two weeks. I put on over five pounds in a week because I ate so many of the Christmas goodies I baked. Then in one week's time I lost 7 1/2 pounds. During that week I had the stomach flu and didn't eat much of anything for two days and for the rest of the week I was good with my food and exercise. Still, it's hard to believe I could lose that much weight in one week. However, I did step on the scale holding two five pound weights and my weight was correct, so I guess somehow I did lose all that weight.

My loss this past week is a little more believable. I'm so happy to almost be under 200 pounds for the first time in over ten years! I'm looking forward to doing a little clothes shopping maybe next weekend.

With these past two successes also comes struggling with some old familiar bad habits. For some reason I've been having a hard time staying away from snacking between meals. I don't eat a lot, but it's a habit I had curbed for the most part since last summer. Also, I find myself thinking wistfully about going on just a "little" binge. I remember how good it felt to just let go and eat whatever my heart desired in any amount I wanted. Of course, the feelings changed to guilt, disappointment, and depression almost as soon as I'd finished eating. After that I would struggle with trying to go back on a diet which was not usually successful. Thankfully, remembering the bad side of a binge has kept me in check.

The holidays are over again for another year. Once again I did not decorate for Christmas. It's hard to get too excited about decorating for just myself. But I've often wondered why I don't "get in the Christmas spirit" and decorate. After spending some time this year thinking about it I think I may have hit on the reason.

When I was younger and living at home we always decorated for Christmas with a tree and other festive decorations. Then January first came around and the next day all the decorations came down and were packed away for another year. That was always such a difficult and depressing day for me. I think maybe the reason I don't like to decorate is that I don't want to deal with having to take everything down and pack it away as well as the feelings that go along with that. I need to come up with something to be happy about in January. That will take some thought.

Although I gave up making New Year's resolutions years ago, it would be good to set some goals. But I think I'll spend some time thinking about what I want them to be and put them in another post.