A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Friday Favorites: Happy Black Friday!

Anybody out shopping this morning? I am – it’s a family tradition. It’s more about the people watching and enjoying all of the holiday decorations than any real shopping, especially I’m largely done with my shopping.

Making good progress!

Making good progress!

The vibe is so much different now that so many stores are opening on Thanksgiving day (which I refuse to participate in), but it’s still a part of kicking off the Christmas season for me. Plus, all the walking and hauling packages will count as cross training today.

Even though I’m not running today, this Friday Favorites definitely has a running theme. First up, a couple of race recaps that had me literally holding me breath for the runners. Christine had such a gutsy run at her marathon this month, recapped here, that me rooting for her as I was reading the race recap, even though I knew the run was already finished and behind her. The mother-daughter-runner bond she has with her mom is just so lovely and heartwarming. I love that we get to follow along with their adventures over at We Run Disney. I also really liked that she had a second recap of the thoughts and emotions she had following the race here. I know what she means about looking forward to the race but not really being “up” for it – I felt that way about Des Moines too.

I also loved reading about Jen’s redemption race here. After a disappointing experience in New York thanks to crummy weather, she had a wonderful race experience in her home town. As a mom of a little guy, I was particularly teary reading about her son crossing the finish line with her (and literally got a chill right now typing that, remembering the sweet pic of her and her little guy). I was so excited to read her story and you should read it too if you need a lift!

The other article I recently read that gave me a lift was this post on Competitor from Meb about Why We Run. What struck me the most that his reasons to run, as an elite runner and role model, are remarkably similar to all of ours further back in the pack. We run because we can and because we want to get the best out of ourselves. My “best” is definitely something different from his, but I love that we all share such similar motivations.

I really appreciated yesterday’s slightly warmer weather for my one woman turkey trot, because we’ve already had some seriously cold weather. The arrival of winter means more treadmill time, especially when it is icy outside. I don’t want to risk injury because a) it hurts and b) the Rebel Challenge will be here before I know it. O also gets anxious about me running when it’s snowy outside, so I’ve promised him I’ll hit the treadmill when surfaces are unstable. This article does a nice job covering the advantages and disadvantages of running on the treadmill, as well as some tips for optimizing your experience.

As a lot of us are coming out fall racing season, I thought this essay about finding new ways to measure your “weight” was a good reminder that the number on the scale isn’t the only or best way to measure your success. It can be frustrating to have run so much all fall, only to see the scale creep up. If we aren’t careful, carrying that frustration into the holiday “eating” season can lead to a cycle of bad feelings and bad choices. Be sure to keep all of your fitness gains in mind! There are many measures of success in life.

That’s a lot of running on my mind this week, isn’t it? It’s probably because I feel slightly guilty about how lax I’ve been in following my little Rebel Challenge training plan! That race will be here in just 6 short weeks. I definitely need to get my running mojo back on track. (Okay, speaking of mojo, one more link – check out this post over at The Proverbial Plot thickens about going back to basics with training and learning how to run. Such a great idea! I’ve definitely been toying with that idea myself, as a running goal for 2015.)

My one regret of Thanksgiving is that I didn't give into the urge to buy this butter shaped like a turkey. When else do we have the excuse to have something so delightfully ridiculous?

My one regret of Thanksgiving is that I didn’t give into the urge to buy this butter shaped like a turkey. When else do we have the excuse to have something so delightfully ridiculous?

Here’s hoping you guys are all having a great Friday, whether you’re fighting the crowds at the mall or shopping online or blissfully ignoring it all to watch football like my husband. πŸ™‚ Have a safe and joyful weekend!


Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

This is of course an especially important day to express thanks for the many blessings in my life. I truly hope that I can carry these things and this awareness of gratitude with me every day, not just today.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I wasn't part of this glorious little family of mine.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t part of this glorious little family of mine.

– Today and every day, I am so grateful that I get to be wife and mother to these two wonderful guys. They challenge me to be my best self in the best ways and make my heart swell with a kind of love that I never imagined. Knowing that Darrell is always, always on my team empowers me to do so much I could have never imagined and knowing that Oliver “loves [me] more than Batman” carries me through the toughest moments. I am not sure there are thanks enough in the world for the gratitude I feel for having been blessed with these two.

– I am grateful for my work, which challenges me intellectually, provides for my family financially and lets me make the world a better a place, which is all anyone can ask for, isn’t it?

– I am grateful for my home, which keeps us safe and warm. So many people, no less deserving than I, don’t have a place to call their own. I hope I never get so comfortable in my life that I forget how fortunate I am in these things.

– I am grateful for this space, that allows me to talk to myself and connect with so many lovely people all at once. Thank you all for your support, your ideas and your virtual friendship!

– I am so grateful for my health, especially after my brush with the hospital this month. I am glad that I finally took steps to improve what parts of my health I can control, in terms of diet and exercise, a little over two years ago. It’s amazing to think how much my life has changed in such a short time, in terms of decreasing my diabetes risk and getting rid of high blood pressure medication.

I'd really like to avoid this patient thing again for a good long while!

I’d really like to avoid this patient thing again for a good long while!

I hope you all are having a day full of peace today. Happy Thanksgiving!


Weight Loss Wednesday: Thanksgiving Goals

First up, my weigh in because it definitely shaped my goals for the holiday weekend:

So nice to see things going steadily back down!

So nice to see things going steadily back down!

I stepped on the scale this morning, telling myself that I’d had a lot of salty food in the last couple of days so it was okay if I had a little gain. Does anyone talk to themselves before they get on the scale to get in the right frame of mind? I was very pleased to see that number and know that I’ll be back in the 160s before I know it. Getting back on track with normal tracking with Weight Watchers is definitely helping. Not only is my weight going down, I feel “lighter” – definitely less bloated and my clothes feel a lot better. Even better, I feel perfectly satisfied with what I’m eating and with tracking again. I’ve tracked everything I’ve eaten, even in the hospital, except for the night we went to a local fundraising gala. That night, I had wine and all of my dinner and my dessert (and some of Darrell’s too) but never felt out of control. It’s so nice to know that I can have an evening “off” like that and get right back on track the next day without beating myself up about it.

I’m plan on taking a similar approach to the holiday weekend. I’m going to track as much as I can, eat like a sane person for parties and Thanksgiving lunch and get back to normal when the holiday is over. I still have in my mind how physically sick I felt after going off the rails the weekend of the Des Moines half marathon, so that’ll help me keep things in check.

I’m also bring healthy options with us for the meals we’ll be having with other people, including a fruit salad O is really excited to help me make and a veggie tray with some rosemary roasted walnuts. We’re also bring decadent macaroni and cheese and pumpkin pecan bars to keep things in balance, although I won’t be having those myself. I thought about the questions I asked last week about prepping for Thanksgiving and the food I most look forward to at Thanksgiving is the turkey, absolutely. I love roasted turkey. We even had a little mini Thanksgiving here at home this weekend because we all had turkey on the brain. πŸ™‚ Roasted turkey breast is one of my favorite foods, so I’ll be sure I give it plenty of room on my plate at Thanksgiving rather than filling up on things like casseroles that I don’t love as much.

I even made homemade cranberry sauce, also a favorite, when we roasted our own little turkey breast this weekend.

I even made homemade cranberry sauce, also a favorite, when we roasted our own little turkey breast this weekend.

I also thought about how I’m going to get movement in through the holiday weekend to balance the extra foods I’ll be eating at Thanksgiving and football parties and shopping and everywhere else. There isn’t a convenient turkey trot for me to do this year, so I’ll be waking up Thursday morning to do my little solo turkey trot before we head off for food. Any day I start with exercise tends to be a day I make better food choices because it starts on the right note, so I definitely want to be sure I get a little sweat on early. I’m not planning a big back to back run this week because we’ve got so many events this weekend and it would be hard to get them in, but I am planning on getting in a few miles Thursday and Saturday. Friday’s workout will be lots of walking and hauling shopping bags. πŸ™‚

I'll be sure to walk enough Friday when I'm shopping to earn a skinny peppermint mocha, one of my favorite treats of the holiday season. :)

I’ll be sure to walk enough Friday when I’m shopping to earn a skinny peppermint mocha, one of my favorite treats of the holiday season. πŸ™‚

Most importantly, Monday morning, the holiday weekend is over. That means back to the training plan, with 5 miles/10 miles planned next week, and back to tracking normally. I’m okay with next week’s weigh in being the same or a little up so long as I get back on plan again Monday morning.

To help you with your holiday planning, I’ve got links below to a bunch of old posts that may help with all of the travel and food pushers and Thanksgiving treats you may encounter. The most important thing is to be safe and be kind to yourself and those around you. πŸ™‚ Everything else is small stuff. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels for those of you on the road or in the air this weekend!

Healthy road trip

Workouts when you’re traveling

Eating healthy when you’re traveling

Dealing with food pushers

Thanksgiving tips #1 and #2


Healthy holiday gift ideas

To follow up on yesterday’s holiday gifts for runners and get ready for a weekend of holiday shopping, here are some healthy gift ideas for the non-runners on your list.

Activity monitors: It’s no secret I love my FitBit (and sort of hate that I “waste” all of the steps I take before I put it on in the morning!), so I think one of the many activity monitors on the market now would make a great gift for the fitness minded person on your list. There are so many new items on the market now, including the Apple Watch coming in 2015 that I know many people are really looking forward to. Check out reviews of the many options available here, here and here. My husband has the new Microsoft band on his Christmas list, but he’ll have to be a very good boy in order for Santa to find a way around its current backorder waiting list!

Still totally in love with FitBit and it's happy little flower!

Still totally in love with FitBit and it’s happy little flower!

Cookbooks: I have a serious love of cookbooks and always have 2-3 new ones on my Christmas list each year. Two I’d definitely recommend as gifts for anyone interested in healthy cooking would be the Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival guide (review here) and the Runner’s World Cookbook, which is great for non-runners too (review here). They’re both full of delicious, healthy, approachable recipes that don’t feel diet-y.

Both full of gorgeous pics as well!

Both full of gorgeous pics as well!

Healthy kitchen gadgets: Speaking of cooking, there are a few kitchen gadgets that might be fun for the healthy foodie on your list. I have the ActiFry from T-fal on my list, because I’m intrigued by the idea of getting that fried texture without the oil. I promise to let you guys know if it works if I end up getting one! If you have a smoothie lover on your list, one of those little bullet blenders with the travel cup would be fun. Last year, I got a zucchini noodle maker which is also a neat little gadget to make all kinds of fun shapes with veggies to sneak more of them into my diet.

Flavor infuser water bottle: Speaking of sneaking more things into my diet, I know I’m not the only one constantly struggling to drink more water. This year I have a flavor infusing water bottle on my list, with a chamber where you can place fruit and herbs to go down into the water bottle and flavor it to spice things up a bit. Every little bit helps (especially since the water at work tastes kind of yuck).

Experiences: Maybe it’s a pass for a local yoga studio or a session of stand up paddleboarding (hubby doesn’t know this, but we’re totally doing this in the spring!) or a cooking class or a massage – look around your recipient’s town to see what options are out there. You never what you’ll love until you try it, but many times we’re reluctant to branch out too much when we’re looking at our budgets. A gift certificate can be the perfect opportunity to try something new!

Check out last year’s list of healthy stocking stuffers for other gift ideas. What are your favorite healthy holiday gift ideas?







My Runner’s Holiday Gift List

Despite the fact that my husband and I agreed that my Christmas gift was going to California for the Rebel Challenge at Disneyland, I know he’s still going to buy me gifts because that’s the kind of guy he is (I’m a lucky girl). To help him out (and anyone else out there looking for gifts for the runner in their life), here are a few of the things on my wish list this year. Note to Darrell: All of these things are linked on my Amazon wish list to make life easier for you. πŸ™‚

Running-themed books: On my wish list this year are My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) and Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer. From everything I’ve heard and samples I’ve seen, as well as interviews with Bart Yasso and Kathrine Switzer, these offer quick doses of humor and inspiration to keep the runner in your life motivated and entertained. Other books I’d suggest would be Running Like a Girl,Β Runner’s Guide to Yoga and Train Like a Mother, all of which I got as Christmas gifts last year and lovedΒ  (check out my reviews here and here).

Cold weather running gear: If I want to keep running in Nebraska through the winter, I really can’t have too much cold weather gear, right? On my list this year is a buff, this neck warmer/ear warmer/anything you’d like it to cover accessory, which I heard about on the Mickey Miles podcast’s holiday gift idea show (check it out here for more ideas). I could also use more long sleeved shirts and tights and personally like the Cold Gear from Under Armour. The tights I have from them keep me warm without feeling too suffocating and I love that their shirts are long enough to cover my lower back, since my height is really all in my long torso. I’ve also heard great things about the Icebreaker line, which is made from Merino wool, so I’ve got one of their tops on my wish list to try out.

Rebel Challenge tools: A few weeks after Christmas, I’ll be heading to California for the Rebel Challenge, with a 10K on Saturday followed by a half marathon on Sunday. Thinking about that weekend and the things I’ll need to optimize my recovery between races, as well gear I’ll need to get through two races, I added a) an extra pair of compression socks and b) the Stick – in the small, portable size – to my wish list. I have one pair of compression socks, but I’d like a second pair so that I can wear one pair after the 10K Saturday to help my legs recover in time for Sunday’s race and then a second pair after the race on Sunday, since I’ll be flying back home to Nebraska that night. My legs will definitely appreciate the added support on that plane ride home. The Stick will also hopefully help with recovery between and after the races and will fit in my luggage much better than my current foam roller. πŸ™‚ I’ve also put a foldable yoga mat on my wish list, so I don’t slip and slide on the hotel room carpet.

My little "recovery corner"

I can’t bring my “recovery corner” with me on the plane, so portable options are my wish list!

Fun runner samples: In last year’s “Stocking stuffers for Runners” post, I talked about including fuel and electrolyte options in your runner’s stocking, which I still think is a great idea. Those are definitely things the runner in your life can’t have enough of (ditto for extra socks, always great, and extra gloves, especially in cold weather!). If you don’t like the idea of assembling your own goodie kit (understandably – runners can be finicky, so you don’t want to pick the wrong thing) there are now lots of sample-box subscription services, which would be a fun gift. After all, you never know what you’ll like until you try it and these boxes can help introduce the runner in your life to new snack and accessory options. Here are a couple of nice reviews of the various subscription services out there (Just Me and My Shoes review and Runiverse review). I particularly like the Stridebox idea, with accessories and snacks to try, but they all look fun (and who doesn’t love getting mail?).Β  I actually got to do this, in a small way, for a co-worker last month. She was getting ready to run her first half marathon and had reached the point where she was needing to experiment with fueling. I brought her samples of all kinds of things I had at my house because I’d tried a lot of different things over the last year of plus of running while I was trying to find what worked for me. Giving her the chance to experiment with several different types of fuel without having to stand at the overwhelming fuel wall at the running store trying to choose what to buy was fun (and hopefully helpful for her!).

I love having a variety of goodies in the running snack box. :)

I love having a variety of goodies in the running snack box. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I’ll have some other healthy, non-running gift ideas to share. What’s on your gift list this holiday season?


Weekly Wrap-Up: A good enough week

I definitely didn’t hit all of my workout goals for the week, but I got enough done that I feel okay about it all. I think the week between the hospital and Thanksgiving is a good time to lower your standards a bit right? I keep reminding myself that my primary goal in my training plan for the Rebel Challenge is to get in the back to back runs and I’ve done that every week so far, so that’s a good start.


Monday: Cross training on the schedule and I actually did strength training. I know, gasp! right? I am so lax about strength training that the fact that I actually did some this week is a big part of what makes me feel like it was a “good enough” week. πŸ™‚ I did goblet squats with a kettle bell, dead lifts, bridges, side leg lifts, clamshells, planks and push ups so I feel like pretty much everything got covered. I finished up with a nice yoga series to stretch things out again. I was sore all day before the strength training session, I suspect because I did the previous day’s 7 mile run on the treadmill (OMG boring) and I always feel like my form is a little different with long runs on the treadmill. The yoga helped stretch things back out, not that I noticed much since I spent the next two days super sore from the strength training. My muscles were in shock, I think. πŸ™‚

Tuesday: I was supposed to run 4 miles, but my legs were so sore from the strength training that I did nothing but a 20 minute walk. Still, that was better than nothing and I hit my 7000 step goal for the day.

Wednesday: I was supposed to speed work, but between a busy schedule and sore legs, I did nothing but my planks and push ups for the day.

Thursday: Rest or cross training on the schedule and since I’d skipped two runs this week, I definitely didn’t feel like I’d earned a rest day. I went for a 25 minute walk around campus at lunch.

Friday: 4 miles, for the first part of my back-to-back run simulation. It was a grey and dreary evening for a run, but I slogged through it and finished about 12:30 pace, which appears to be where I’m living these days. The one thing that perks up these evening runs is seeing everyone’s Christmas lights. My beloved husband is very opposed to Christmas decor before Thanksgiving and while I agree in principle because Thanksgiving shouldn’t be overlooked, I admit I do love seeing Christmas lights even if they are “early.”


Saturday: I was really dragging my feet about getting out to run because it was foggy and grey. Happily, the workout gods rewarded my procrastination by giving us a bright and warm afternoon, so I headed out around 3:30 for my 8 mile run. I made sure to bring some fuel, thinking about the things I’d studied this week about training for back to back races. I felt aches in my quads in the last couple of miles, but otherwise felt good with the back to back run. I think the fact that I’m keeping the pace easy is helping a lot. Because I walked a fair amount in miles 4-5 while I answered a phone call from mom (who gets very worried any time I tell her I’m out on a run), my overall pace was 13:00 minute miles but looking at the times in my other miles, I was around 12:15 pace. I’m glad to see that I don’t slow down much in the second run, even if I’m not pushing myself at all pace-wise in either of these back-to-back runs. I also made sure to have a snack as soon as I got in from the run to help recover, although I admit I didn’t do that at all after Friday’s 4 miler. As my mileage in these back-to-back runs creeps up, I need to work on doing that so I can optimize my glycogen stores.

It ended up as a gorgeous afternoon for a run!

It ended up as a gorgeous afternoon for a run!

Sunday: Rest day, with only a little aching in my quads today. I’m pleasantly surprised by how good my legs feel after these back-to-back runs! Today, we’re having a lazy family day with lots of baking to get ready for Thanksgiving. We’re making some Weight Watchers friendly meringues (a favorite from last holiday season) and some very WW-unfriendly peanut butter & chocolate bars (recipe here) so Oliver has a cinnamon-free dessert option.

Isn't my little chef assistant the cutest?

Isn’t my little chef assistant the cutest?

The peanut butter bars called for sweetened condensed milk, which is something I’m definitely wary of bringing into the house. This stuff has been part of many-a-binge in the past and I’ve eaten multiple cans in a single sitting before, so these days I only buy it literally right before I’m going to use it for a recipe so it doesn’t sit around the house.

We bought it an hour before we baked the bars and filled the can with water to get rid of the remnants as soon as I was done with it. This stuff is dangerous!

We bought it an hour before we baked the bars and filled the can with water to get rid of the remnants as soon as I was done with it. This stuff is dangerous!

I hope you guys are all having a great weekend! The only thing left on today’s to do list is a nap and that’s a lovely thing. πŸ™‚

Are there any foods you’re afraid to bring into the house?

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Training for back to back races

This week, I’m doing 4 miles and 8 miles for my back to back runs to prepare for the Rebel Challenge. I looked at the training plan and realized I only have 4 more back to back, big mileage runs between me and the race! (I’ll take a step back week for Thanksgiving and another in December because I’m on call, before I hit taper time) My current plan is to work my way up to 6 miles Friday/11 miles Saturday to simulate the back to back race experience. With only 4 more long runs to go, it’s past time to start seriously thinking about what needs to be different about training for a back to back to race, rather than straightforward half marathon training. I definitely need to think about a) how to pace them both so I’m comfortably able to finish them both and b) how to optimally recover after both races so that I’m actually able to stand up and walk off the plane when I land back in Omaha Sunday night (yes, I’m flying from California back to Omaha in the evening after running the half in the morning Sunday – I may regret that decision).

I’ve heard lots of discussion of training and racing tips with the Disney challenges on the Mickey Miles podcast and have read lots of blog posts about the 10K/half marathon experiences, so I had a pretty good idea of the things to consider but I turned to the wise and mighty Google just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. There are links to a couple of the articles I found helpful down at the bottom of this post!

Choose your challenge distances wisely: Most articles I read suggested that you only take on a back to back challenge if you’ve had experience in both distances, so your mind already knows you can handle the race. It would be intimidating to have my very first half marathon be part of a challenge where I ran a 10K the day before, although I know lots of people have done it. I’ve done two 10Ks and two half-marathons, so I’m definitely physically and mentally comfortable with the distances I’ll be doing in January. If you’ve never done the longer distance in your challenge before, you might look into a local race that’s the same distance or near to it (like a 10 miler) so that you could test yourself before the challenge.

Simulate your actual race experience in training: If your races are back to back and at the same time both days, train that way. If your races are back to back with one in the morning and the other in the evening, be sure you practice it that way at least once. I’m trying to time mine so that they’re approximately 24 hours apart, as much as possible, to replicate the RunDisney schedule.

Keep your pace in check: Most experts don’t recommend setting your goal as a PR for either race. The achievement, especially the first time you tackle something like this, is in finishing the challenge, not a specific time. The microtrauma from the first race is likely to leave you a little sore for your second, more so if you really push it in the first race. I don’t have a time goal for either of these races. I just plan to have fun, take lots of pictures and finish with a smile and a bunch of medals.

Don’t stop moving immediately: It’s tempting to immediately get off your feet to rest for the next race, but that’s likely to leave you stiff and achy. Instead, be sure to walk/jog to cool down after the first race and keep your legs loose. Stretching, yoga or foam rolling afterwards can also help speed recovery. My running wish list, coming up Monday, features some things to help me with just that in California. πŸ™‚ As it will be first trip to Disneyland, I doubt I’ll have any trouble keeping active through the day – my bigger concern will be overdoing it in a desire to see it all at the park!

Refuel and rehydrate quickly: It’s going to be even more important than usual to rehydrate and to replenish your glycogen stores. After all, you’ll be calling on those glycogen stores again in just 24 hours! After the first race, try to get in some quickly digestible carbohydrates in the first 20-30 minutes after you finish plus additional carbohydrates and protein in the 2 hours. This will help replenish your glycogen stores and rebuild some of the muscle that may have gotten overworked in the first race. You may also consider starting your fueling earlier and fueling more often DURING the second race, as your glycogen stores may be a little less than usual despite your best refueling efforts. This is something you’d definitely want to practice so you’re sure your stomach will be happy with it. Also save any big celebratory foods until you’ve gotten through the SECOND race – you don’t want to upset your stomach celebrating the first race so much that you can’t finish the whole Challenge! In an ideal world, we’d do this after any long run but I confess I’m bad about the refueling part. I tend to drink some water with Nuun and call it good because I’m not particularly hungry immediately post-run. This is definitely something I need to work in the next few training runs.


Rest: Not only does this mean I shouldn’t walk every step of Disneyland Saturday after the 10K, it also means I need to take a nap and/or go to bed early Saturday night so I’m rested for Sunday. This is going to be more tiring than the average race experience and I need to respect that with some added rest for my body, both on race weekend and during training for the next 6 weeks.
Be sure you have back ups of everything: In addition to bringing two pairs of compression socks (one for post-10K to help recover for the half; one for post-half to help my legs get through the plane ride post-race), I’ll also need to bring two pairs of shoes in case it’s rainy or muddy or I just don’t want to wear the same shoes for back to back runs. Giving your shoes a day to recover between runs is always a nice idea, but again something I’m not great about. I need to start practicing in different shoes on different days.
Dole whip - Totally worth it!

Dole whip – Totally worth it!

So, I’ll totally be indulging in celebratory foods Sunday after I finish the half marathon – I’ll have definitely earned it! What are the can’t miss treats at Disneyland? Anybody survived the back-to-back races before? What advice can you share?


Runner’s World: Are you a two timer?

Runner’s World: How to fuel for back to back races


Friday Favorites: Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Happy Friday everyone! I am feeling amazingly back to normal this Friday, in comparison with last week. πŸ™‚ It’s particularly exciting celebrating a Friday with a) absolutely nothing on my weekend schedule other than an 8 mile run and b) knowing that when I come back to work Monday, it’ll be for a short week thanks to holiday. Even better, it’s going to warm up a smidge here in Nebraska this weekend and be in the 40s. That will be much better running weather.
Lots of my reading this week has been focused on getting ready for Thanksgiving, naturally. Check out this link to the Weight Watchers Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet, complete with Points values, suggested swaps and portion size guides to get you through the day. I also like the Weight Watchers Ultimate Thanksgiving Planning Guide, which has links toΒ lots of recipes but also ideas for staying fit on the road, dealing with family pressure, etc.
Dani over at Weight Off My Shoulders has a great guide to Thanksgiving as well, including possibly my favorite Thanksgiving quote ever: “Did they really bring over mashed potatoes on the Mayflower? No? Then you can probably have those next week.” Love it!! Also check out the fabulous Suzi Storm (oh so appropriately labeled as “overall badass” in her blog header) for a reminder to keep things in perspective – it’s one day. So long as you keep your Thanksgiving indulgences to the one day, you’ll be fine. Really, so long as you eventually get back on the wagon in some way, it’ll be fine, no matter how long it takes. (I particularly hated the “plate planning” Weight Watchers meeting too.)
Finally, a reminder to keep it all in perspective from Racing to Zen. In this crazy and chaotic holiday season, it’s so easy to get caught up in our own issues with weight loss or training goals or holiday shopping or money woes or any of a thousand other things. Take a moment to be kind, to put goodness out into the world. It will do you and the world a world of good. Her post about serving as a good samaritan to a stranded motorist really struck home as I’ve been on the receiving end of lots of assistance on the side of the road in my time. I know she made a huge difference in the stress of that day for that mother.

Today is the last day to sign up to be an Elf 4 Health with Lindsay and Elle so be sure to head here if you’d like to participate. This year, there is the option to participate alone if you don’t want to be paired up with another “elf” to cheer each other on. I really enjoyed this last year, with a month of small, easily achievable tasks each day to help me keep my healthy goals in mind during the holiday season. I’m definitely on board again this year! Elf4HealthBadge2013Have a great weekend everyone!

PS Did you guys see this article about how we’re running out of chocolate?! Terrifying to think that we’re consuming more chocolate than we produce! I love my dark chocolate, so maybe I should start hoarding some just in case? πŸ™‚

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Thankful Thursday #3

I can’t believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving! This month has literally FLOWN by with all that’s happened. Given how fast things are going, I’m especially grateful for this little gratitude goal for the month because it makes me stop and take a much needed pause in the week to look around at the bounty in my life.

This week, I’m grateful:

– That I’m finished with the steroids I was prescribed for my lymph node swelling. I’m also incredibly grateful that I don’t take those medications all the time, like I know many people do. I felt like my eyeballs were vibrating I was so jittery on the steroids. I’m so thankful for my health, that it allows me to avoid the side effects that come with many medications.

image– That I had a lovely dinner date with Oliver this week. Speaking of time flying, he’s growing up so fast and I know I’ll blink and he’ll be in college. I want to absorb every second of these days when going out for a dinner date with your mom is the height of cool. πŸ™‚

Sharing edamame at the sushi place

Sharing edamame at the sushi place

– That peppermint mochas made with soy milk are still very yummy. I’d hate to miss out on one of my favorite holiday treats just because of lactose issues!

image– That I’ve got plenty of winter running gear and layers to keep me warm so I can head out in the cold to run. Of course, while I have the gear I don’t always have gumption to force myself out in the cold, but at least the gear is a nice start. πŸ™‚

We’ve been working on talking about the things we’re thankful for at dinner, to attempt to model the idea of gratitude for Oliver. It’s a surprisingly difficult concept to explain! He seems to be getting the hang of it, but so far he’s mostly grateful for cookies. It’s a start, right?

I hope you have lots to be thankful for this week!


Weight Loss Wednesday: Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Believe it or not, it’s only a week until Thanksgiving. Time is just flying! That means it is time to consider a plan for the holiday, in terms of your food and activity choices.

Do you want to continue to lose or maintain your weight or are you okay with a little gain? For some people, it’s worth it to have a little gain to be able to eat whatever you want all day without worrying about calories or nutrition. For me, I worry about my ability to rein it back in if I go completely unrestrained, so I plan to maintain as best I can. Whatever you choose, having decided ahead of time will help you feel more control of the experience. If you choose to maintain or gain, then you’ll hopefully be less likely to feel like you’ve cheated or failed and end up in a negative mind space.

What part of the menu will you control? It may be the whole thing if you’re hosting or it may be a single dish. That’s definitely part of the pre-planning for me. We’re eating with family and I won’t control the menu, but I can bring a veggie tray to snack on through the day and a big fruit salad to contribute to dessert. I’ll be bringing a really fantastic gooey macaroni and cheese too, so it won’t be all healthy stuff I contribute. πŸ™‚ If you’re hosting, think of ways to lighten up a couple of your traditional dishes (probably not very realistic to do them all, right?).

What’s the “must have” food on your list? This holiday is wrapped up in emotion and food and tradition, so of course there are foods you’re already drooling and dreaming over. Decide which foods are really the “must haves” so you can be sure you prioritize those indulgences rather than wasting calories (and guilt) on things that just aren’t worth it.

What will you eat for breakfast? Not something we normally think about in terms of Thanksgiving, right? It’s definitely something to consider though. You don’t want to skip breakfast in the hopes that you’re saving calories for later in the day because that’s very likely to backfire when you end up too hungry to make controlled choices about your food. Planning a healthy breakfast will help you start the day on a strong note and prime you to make good choices later in the day.

How are you going to move? Not only does any added exercise for the day help offset some of the indulgences that are sure to come along, but it also helps keep your mind on your healthy lifestyle goals. I can remember reading in one of the many “surviving the holidays” articles I’ve read in the last few weeks a tip where someone recommended just 10 extra minutes of movement a day to help balance the extra calories you’re going to take in. I’m not sure that 10 minutes is enough to undo the calorie bombs that show up on our particular Thanksgiving table but every little bit helps, right?

How are you going to get back on track? Remember that it is just one day, so make a plan to help you get back to your healthy lifestyle plans on Friday (or Saturday or whenever you decide the holiday is “over”). Is it going to be tough workout or a particularly powerful, healthy meal that always makes you feel like a rock star? Think about what things make you feel healthiest and strongest and find a way to use those things to help you get back to your goals after the holiday.

Now that I’m settling back into my routine after my illness, I need to start outlining my own plan for the holiday and my goals for the weekend. I had big goals this month in terms of getting my food and fitness on track for the holiday season and was planning on setting my own lose/maintain/gain goal for Thanksgiving based on how I’d done through the month. I couldn’t have anticipated how the month would go. πŸ™‚ I’ll spend this weekend planning for the holiday, in terms of answering these questions for myself, setting my goals and tailoring my packing list to optimize my chances of success.

My weigh in this week is a good one, with the 12 pounds I’d gained in the hospital now thankfully gone. My weigh in yesterday was 171.2, which is definitely moving in the right direction. Even more exciting for me was putting these pants on yesterday:


Yes, I was so excited by how these fit again that I took a picture of this otherwise supremely boring outfit!

Yes, I was so excited by how these fit again that I took a picture of this otherwise supremely boring outfit!

These had gotten uncomfortably tight over the last couple of months and now they fit much better! Not tight or uncomfortable at all when I put them on in the morning and they’d stretched out so much through the day that they were positively baggy by bedtime. That’s definitely more like they were fitting back in the spring. It’s nice to notice changes in my clothes even if the scale has only tipped down a few pounds. πŸ™‚ It’s an empowering moment to take with me into the holiday season.

What is your “must have” Thanksgiving food? Definitely turkey for this girl!

First Peppermint Mocha of the season means it's definitely holiday time!

First Peppermint Mocha of the season means it’s definitely holiday time!

PS Check out more Thanksgiving survival tips here.