Sunday, September 30, 2012

Progress report

I am just three weeks out from my marathon, which also means I'm three weeks IN to my challenges. I had created two six-week challenges for myself: 1) Give up peanut butter, and 2) Try the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. Since today marks the halfway point, I figured I'd write a little progress report.

Some might say I have a small obsession
First, the peanut butter. This is probably the longest I've ever gone without peanut butter! I knew I was hooked on it, but I didn't realize just how many calories I was getting each day from peanut butter until I stopped eating it. I thought giving it up would be awful (seriously, I thought I would die), but it hasn't been too bad.

I've learned that peanut butter is my biggest binge trigger there is. More-so than ice cream or cookies or candy. Every time that I binge, the foods I choose contain peanut butter in some form. I am excited to say that I have been 100% binge-free for three weeks now. It's been a long time since I've gone that amount of time without a binge.

Before this challenge, my snacks would almost always be:
Toast with peanut butter
Carrots with peanut butter
A spoonful (or two or eight) of peanut butter
Nutella with peanut butter (yes, you read that right)
A granola bar spread with peanut butter
Peanut butter + honey + dry oats (kind of like a cookie dough)
Frozen yogurt or ice cream topped with peanut butter
A brownie with peanut butter

For the past three weeks, my snacks have been:
Fruit (mostly grapes)
Broccoli with ranch dip
Fiber One bar
Almonds
Popcorn

I certainly don't think there is anything "wrong" with peanut butter, but I was obviously eating a lot of junk WITH the peanut butter before. So my snacks have been much healthier. I do miss peanut butter sometimes, but it's usually in a binge-y kind of way, which is no good. Giving it up has really helped me with my second challenge...

Following the Weight Watchers' PointsPlus program for six weeks.

It's been three weeks, and I have logged my food and counted my PointsPlus (PP) every single day. I decided from the very beginning to give the program a fair chance, and not think about my past experiences with WW.

I had the materials at home to follow the program without actually joining, but to give it a 100% fair chance, I figured I should at least join the online program--which is what I did. I forget the exact cost, but I think it was about $60 for 3 months. ($20/month is a LOT to me--it was hard to fork over that money).

Ironically, it's the money that has made me stick to the plan! I honestly would have quit on Day 1 if I hadn't paid the money. Every time I had a thought of my usual, "Oh, I'll just start over tomorrow", I reminded myself that I just paid them a lot of money, and I better get my money's worth out of it in the long run.

I've had a few obstacles, but I took Pete's advice and made a plan ahead of time for how to handle them. First, was dinner at my mom's house; there was Jerry's 90-Day dinner for work; going out to lunch with Renee and Jessica; and a couple of date nights with Jerry. I stayed on plan for all of those, which is a big achievement.

I'm really surprised that this time around on WW, I actually like the plan. The free fruit thing has me sold ;)  Whenever I am feeling ultra snacky, and feel like I'm going to lose control, I'll usually have fruit (almost always grapes). I haven't been "abusing" the free fruit, either--I typically will have 3-4 servings per day. Grapes have really been my savior over the last three weeks!

Since my desserts almost always include peanut butter in some form, I haven't really been eating sweets. At night, for my daily "treat", I've been having a glass of wine and a single Dove Promise (dark chocolate).

Typically, my food intake is breakfast, then lunch, then snack, then dinner, and then a bedtime treat/snack. I'm allotted 26 PointsPlus per day, as well as 49 "weekly PP", and "activity PP" (for exercising, I can earn extra PP to use on food). I've been eating all of my daily's, all of my weeklies, and almost all of my activity PP for each of the last three weeks. Here is what a typical day might look like:


I log my weight on Sundays, and today's weight was 146. My technical starting weight was actually 156 (!!)--BUT, I don't consider that accurate, because I had binged the day before, which always makes me gain 4-5 pounds of water weight. So my actual starting weight was probably more like 152 (yes, that's way above my panic weight). That would be a total loss of six pounds, or an average of two pounds a week. I'm very happy with that!

The best part is just that I feel like I'm in control again. All summer long, I felt like I was just one binge away from gaining back 100+ pounds. I was stress-bingeing too often, and it scared me. But like I've said before, the summertime is very stressful for me, and I always do best at weight loss/maintenance in the fall and winter months.

My jeans were extremely tight, and a lot of them were unwearable--and now, after just three weeks on plan, my jeans are getting comfortable again (and some of the unwearables are now wearable).

So as of today, I'm very happy with the way things are going. I am going to continue with my challenges until the marathon (and possibly beyond?? I would be thrilled to get back down to my comfortable weight of 133). As far as counting calories vs. counting PointsPlus, I think either one is fine and both work. I got sick of counting calories, and decided to give WW another try. I like that it's easier to tally up PP in my head, and I love the free fruit. I'll write more about what I think about the plan after the six-week mark, but for now, I like it enough to keep going :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

News article

Yesterday, Jessica sent me a text saying, "Why didn't you tell me that you're on the front page of the newspaper?" I had no idea when the article was going to be printed, and I really had no idea it would be on the front page. I come from a very small town, so I guess even the smallest news makes the front page of the daily paper ;)

I was really dreading seeing it, because of the issue with the photographs. Jerry bought the paper on his way home, and I almost didn't want to look. But I'm glad I did, because the photo wasn't nearly as bad as I pictured it to be!

I skimmed the article quickly, hoping that it was accurate--then I went back and re-read the whole thing slowly. I'm impressed that the facts are (mostly) accurate, and I'm very glad that the story focuses more on my team than on me. Despite what people may think, because of my very public blog, I hate having attention drawn to me. I'm shy, and private, and having this story on the front page of the newspaper really terrified me. (I think the title of the story is very ironic).

This newspaper actually wrote a story on my appearance on The Dr. Oz Show last year, and that was also ginormous on the front page. So I was especially nervous about being in the paper again; that people would think that I'm just after attention. 

My Ragnar team seemed to really like the article, which was the most important part to me. And as a bonus, I will think twice before buying lots of junk food, because of the possibility of someone recognizing me as "the girl who lost weight and was in the paper". I will be conscious of that everywhere I go now ;)

The article isn't online, so I took a photo of it. It will be hard to read unless you enlarge it (just click the picture to enlarge).


Over the past couple of days, I've been trying to come up with a stress-less plan for next year. This year, I did too much, and it caused me to stress out a lot (I ran a LOT of races, including two full-marathons! And every time I traveled somewhere, it was for a race).

Next year, I want to do the opposite. (Well, after Key West, of course!) I'm only going to choose 2-3 races that are important to me, train for them properly (without extra races thrown in "just because"), and even take a trip without running a race. I've decided not to run my beloved Indy Mini-Marathon in 2013. If I do a spring race, it will be local. I may pick a half-marathon in the fall to do somewhere on location (maybe the Monster Dash in MN with my brother).

I have also been wanting to go visit my best friend Sarah in Arizona. She just had a baby recently, and I would love to go spend time with her (without also doing a race). So next year will be very low-key as far as racing. I'm going to cut my weekly mileage quite a bit after the marathon next month, and go back to the mileage that is comfortable for me--about 12-15 miles a week.

All the stress from this year has been getting to me, and I feel like it's all coming to a head. After my marathon, I will feel so much relief. I've done all the training, so not running the race isn't an option; but I will be relieved when it's over, and my longest run from there on out will be 13.1 miles!

Friday, September 28, 2012

My last 20-miler!

The last thing I wanted to do today was run 20 miles, but I kept reminding myself that after today, I would be tapering for the marathon. And after the marathon, I don't ever have to run more than 13.1 miles again :)

It was 48 degrees outside, so I chose to wear a long-sleeved shirt. It was very breathable fabric, and a looser fit, so I figured I could just push up the sleeves if it was too hot. But my upper arms have been chafing badly on my long runs when I wear a t-shirt. They don't chafe with a tank top, or a long-sleeved shirt, but they chafe badly with a t-shirt.

I packed my GU and Gatorade, uploaded a couple new podcasts for my iPod, and, after much procrastinating, left the house. I parked at a high school to pick up the bike path that I love to run on. I picked a bad time to park there, because there were a billion teenagers pulling into the lot for school.

My plan was to do two out-and-back routes from my car. The first was a little under 12 miles, and the second was a little over 8 miles. The first few miles went by pretty quickly, and I didn't even look at my Garmin until mile five or so. I ate my first GU at mile eight, and was still feeling good.

At mile 10, the half-way point, I stopped for a second to stretch and send a text to Lealah. Lealah is a runner on my Ragnar team, and she was running her scheduled 20-miler at the same time I was. Since she lives in Oklahoma, we agreed to run together "in spirit"--via text message ;) I also snapped a quick picture since my phone was handy, and the scenery was pretty. As a bonus, there was nobody around to think about how vain I was, taking photos of myself.
Mile 10
At that point, I was running a 10:17/mi average pace--which is too fast for a 20-miler. Typically, my long runs during this training have been about 10:30/mi. This is where the whole run went downhill--not literally, because that would have made it easier! But the way I was feeling went downhill.

There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, so the sun was full-force. It was only 60ish degrees, but it felt hot with the sun and my long sleeves. I wished I'd worn a tank top. I pushed up the sleeves, and kept moving. When I reached my car, I refilled my water bottle with more Gatorade, stretched for a second, and then kept going. The last 8 miles was mostly through the Metropark, which is my favorite part of the run.

I was drinking a LOT of Gatorade through the run, but was still feeling thirsty. At 14.5 miles, I stopped for a bathroom break and to top off my Gatorade with water from the fountain. I ate my second GU. It was at this point that I started questioning whether I could actually do 20 miles. My body felt exhausted! My pace slowed drastically, and I took a short walk break.

At 16.6, I just felt like I was done. I had nothing left in me. My heart rate was up really high, and I was feeling short of breath. This only happened to me a couple of times before, the most memorable was when I hit the wall when running with Jessica. I sent Lealah another text:
I stopped for a minute, considering my options. I called Renee, to tell her that I might not be able to meet her for lunch, because I didn't know how long was going to take me to finish. I almost called Rik to whine about the run, but decided to take a true break instead. I decided to sit on the grass for 5-10 minutes, hoping that the break would give me fresh legs to finish it out.
Okay, I laid in the grass
I talked myself into finishing, because I had less than 3.5 miles left, and this was my last chance to get in 20 miles before the marathon. I started running again, at a pretty slow pace to keep my heart rate down. When my legs felt like lead, I stopped to stretch for a second. I took a few walk breaks the last 3 miles.

Those last miles took forever. Once I left the Metropark, I had just a half mile to go until I got to my car. I gave it everything I had, which wasn't much at all. I was so relieved when I heard the beep from my Garmin signaling the 20-mile mark!
The time and pace don't reflect the times I stopped moving. My walk breaks are figured in, but not my stretch breaks (or lying in the grass!).

I had just enough time to get home and shower before heading out to meet Renee and Jessica at Panera. We had to cancel plans to go to La Pita (it's far away and Jessica had a dentist appointment), but hopefully we'll be able to go there next week. I had a delicious lunch--tomato and mozzarella panini and chicken noodle soup with bread, for 17 PointsPlus.

The newspaper story about my Ragnar team was in today's paper (on the front page). But I will save that for tomorrow! This post is long enough.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's booked!

I had the worst night's sleep ever last night. Jerry had to work, but only an eight-hour shift (he usually does 12-hour shifts), so he would be home a little after 2:00 a.m. My mind was racing a mile a minute about the whole stolen photo thing from yesterday, and I couldn't fall asleep until sometime after 12:30. Then Jerry got home at 2:15, and I couldn't fall back asleep for anything!

The last time I remember looking at the clock, it was 4:55. I had to get up at 7:00 to get the kids ready for school. So I maybe had about 3-4 hours of sleep total. Not enough! Right now, I am wearing my so-very-cozy Vera Wang pajamas I bought yesterday. Seriously the most comfy pj's I've ever worn! I tried to get a picture, but it wasn't very easy, so this was the best I could do:

I did get an e-mail back from the ad agency that I contacted about my photo. They apologized profusely and said that it would be removed. I kept checking all day today, but it was still up there. I e-mailed again, and was told it could take up to 24 hours for it to be gone from all the spots that the ad appeared. I know when I edit a photo on my blog, it can take 24 hours for the editing to show up, so that was believable.

The person who was really in the wrong was the blogger who stole my photo. The ad agency probably didn't ask where he got it, and he obviously didn't tell them that he didn't have permission to use it. But anyway, I feel like I resolved that, so hopefully I can rest better tonight ;)

If any of you happen to see my photos on an ad, or just posted on a blog that I didn't write a guest post for, I would be very grateful if you'd let me know by sending me an e-mail with the link... because I can assure you, I did NOT give anyone permission to use my photos. (Posting a link to my blog is always fine, however).


We got our team shirts! The back is a collage of
before and after photos of everyone on the team.
I spent the whole afternoon trying to figure out our travel plans for Florida in January for the Ragnar Relay. I wasn't sure if Jerry should go down with me, or go down a couple of days later, after the race. Since I'll be flying into Miami, and running down to Key West, I also had to figure out if I should fly home from Key West or go back up to Miami.

I looked at all the different flight possibilities, and was shocked to see that a round trip ticket was actually $50 cheaper than a one-way ticket! That makes no sense at all. So I knew I'd have to fly in and out of the same airport (Miami). And so would Jerry (the original plan was for him to fly into Key West). Yes, this is all very confusing.

So the whole point of this mess is that I booked our flights today!! Jerry and I will both be flying into Miami on Jan. 3rd. The following morning is when the race starts, so I'll go with my team for the race, and Jerry will make his way down to Key West with the spouses of my teammates. We'll meet up again at the finish line in Key West, and then Jerry and I are spending three glorious nights in a beautiful hotel on the beach!

Then we'll hopefully hitch a ride back up to Miami on Tuesday, and spend Tuesday night in Miami, before flying home on Wednesday. I am SO EXCITED. Jerry and I have never taken a "real" vacation before, and we've been together for 13 years! My kids will be staying with my parents, and they're really excited about that.

We're actually going to be gone for Eli's birthday, and I was feeling really guilty--but Eli got super excited when I told him he could spend his birthday at my parents' house ;) And I promised to buy him an extra special souvenir. He requested a fishing lure to catch squid. Hahaha! Eli is absolutely obsessed with fishing, and he loves lures.
By the way, do I happen to have any readers in Key West or Miami? Or is anyone running the Ragnar down there as well? Just curious :)



I'm going to be early tonight. I can't afford to miss any more sleep--tomorrow I'm running 20 miles! After tomorrow's run, I will officially be tapering for my marathon :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Violated

Sometimes when I wake up early, and don't have to get out of bed just yet, I'll use my iPhone to check my e-mail. Which is what I was doing this morning when I read an e-mail from a reader who said that someone had stolen photos from my blog and was using them in an advertisement.

She had taken screen shots (brilliant) and sent them to me with links to where the ad was. I was SO UPSET. It was my before and after photo, as an ad on someone's site. Following the links, there were actually three separate parties that were profiting from my photos.

My immediate knee-jerk reaction was "Ohmygod, I need to delete my blog!" Of course, that was overreacting, but I just felt very violated. I showed Jerry, and I started crying. He told me he'd get the kids ready for school, so I could start working on the problem. There was no way I was just going to let it go! And I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything until I'd done what I could about the problem.

I sent e-mails to all three parties. The source of the problem was actually a Blogger blog. Some guy took my photo, removed the watermarks, and posted it on his site as "amazing transformations" or something. Then he sold it to an ad agency, who made an ad linking to his site. The ad was also on their website, stating "You won't believe how her body looks now!" to get people to click. And that ad was in their network, meaning it could show up on all kinds of blogs and websites.

The original Blogger blog owner removed it within about five hours after I sent the e-mail. The ad agency still has it up, however, and I'm pissed. I'm not going to link to them, because they earn money every time someone views their site, so the last thing I want to do is give them traffic. Same thing with the Blogger blog owner--he had TONS of ads on his site, so every time someone views it, he's earning money.

Anyway, I'm working on filing a formal complaint about the ad agency. In the meantime, I'm feeling upset that this happened. I know that it happens all the time, but it still sucks when it happens to you.



This afternoon, I decided to go to Kohl's to spend a gift card and Kohl's cash. I really needed a new bra, and while I was there, I looked at all the clearanced pajamas. They had a whole bunch of the Vera Wang collection on clearance for less than $10 each--which is super cheap! I normally only get those when my mom buys them for me for my birthday or Christmas ;) 

This isn't from the fly attack today, but I have
no pictures of it to share, unfortunately
When I got home, I saw Estelle chasing a fly in the house--nothing unusual. I watched her for a minute, and then noticed something very unusual. There were flies everywhere! Looking at the window, I counted 14 flies. I called Jerry in, and he couldn't believe it either. I went to the back sliding glass door, and counted another 10-15 flies there.

This was SO STRANGE. The windows in the house were all closed, and there weren't any flies around before I left for Kohl's. They all just came out of nowhere. I grabbed the flyswatter from under the sink, and started swatting. The flies were dropping like... well, flies. I started counting, and lost count at 30. Every time I thought I'd gotten them all, there was another buzzing around.

Jerry and I searched the house, wondering where in the hell the flies came from, but we were clueless. Our house isn't dirty or gross, so I have no idea where these things came from. We'd never seen anything like this before! Jerry and I were killing all the flies (well, I was killing, he was following with a paper towel to pick up the dead ones), and he said, "I feel like I'm on an episode of Hoarders!" Hahaha, that's exactly how I felt too.

We killed (most of) the flies, but Jerry went and got some fly paper from the store just in case. That stuff is messy. And we haven't gotten a single fly with it. It's bugging us both (pun totally intended) about where the stupid flies came from in the first place!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Free panties!

I was in a really good mood today when I woke up. I had time to shower and get dressed before waking the kids up for school. Jerry asked me if I would go to Best Buy today to spend his gift card on a movie that he wanted. I guess The Avengers came out, and he was excited to get the Blu-Ray with his birthday gift card.

At first, I really didn't want to drive all the way to Best Buy, but then I remembered that it's in the mall with Victoria's Secret, and I had another coupon for a free pair of panties :)  I have no idea how I got on their mailing list, but I get coupons for free panties about once a month or every other month. I love it!!

Those people at Victoria's Secret are very sneaky--because I can't seem to just go in, get my panties, and leave. I end up browsing, and buying things I wasn't planning on! ;) I've mentioned how I'm very cheap when it comes to clothes, and I buy everything used. Well, I make an exception when it comes to lingerie! When I was overweight, I always wished I could wear cute little lingerie and feel good in it. Then I lost the weight, but my stomach was very saggy, so I didn't feel very cute. But now that I've had my skin removal surgery, my guilty pleasure is definitely lingerie ;)

Of course, the free panty table is always in the back of the store, so you have to walk past all the super cute things to get to them. Then walk through the store again to get to the cashier. Today, a very cute purple nightie caught my eye, and I tried it on. It looked good, so I bought it.

Somehow, I don't think Jerry will mind ;)

This afternoon, my legs were really bothering me. The only way I can describe it is "growing pains" because that's what my mom used to call it anytime I complained about my legs hurting as a kid. Today, I knew they were feeling that way because it had been over three days since I ran. Whenever I go more than two days without running, my legs ache.

I was feeling very antsy, and so I decided I might as well run today instead of tomorrow morning. Then it would give me two full days off before my 20-miler on Friday. I threw on some running clothes and went outside for a six-miler.

It ended up being a terrible run--not because of my knees or anything, but because I was terrified THREE TIMES by dogs charging at me. Unleashed, unfenced dogs. I've written before about how much I can't stand that people let their dogs roam without a leash. I was never scared of dogs until a couple of years ago, when I was bitten three separate times while running during the summer.

Today, two of the dogs ran at me barking (not at the same time, they were at separate parts of my run), but I could tell that they weren't out to hurt me. I just froze and tried to concentrate on breathing while they sniffed me. But the third dog was MEAN. It was growling and baring it's teeth, and snapping at me. I froze, hoping it would turn and go away, but it just started barking viciously and jumping toward me. I didn't want to turn around, for fear of it attacking me, so I started stepping backwards slowly. It stayed a few feet away from me, growling and barking the whole time, while I continued to walk backward. After I'd passed about four houses this way, the dog finally stopped and I ran back the way I came.

Not a single person came out to claim their dog. I could feel really hot, angry tears in my eyes while I ran, and I was debating whether to continue my run or go home and call animal control. I decided to finish my run.

On the bright side, I had no issues with my knee, so I'm hoping that an extra day and half of rest was what I needed. Now I have two more days off until my 20-miler. I'm actually looking forward to it, so that I can get it done and over with!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lava lamp

There is something magical about a lava lamp. It has this way of lifting my mood, and making me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My sister bought one for me for Christmas years ago--I think I was about 12. It has a black base and yellow lava. When I was a teenager, and always taking on the phone, I used to lie in the dark on my bed with just the glow of the lava lamp while I chatted with my friends.

When I got upset for some reason or another, I used to lie on my bed and just stare at the lava until I fell asleep. When my boys were just babies, I used the glow of the lava lamp in order to see while I fed them in the middle of the night.

There is something so hypnotizing about watching the lava move around in the lamp. A few years ago, I had put the lava lamp away and somehow forgotten about it. Yesterday, I spotted the lamp and immediately plugged it in. I asked Jerry if he wanted to lie on the bed and watch with me, and we ended up having the best afternoon together!

We just sat and talked for a couple of hours about all kinds of stuff, mostly about when we were dating. I have to say, I am loving his tattoo. I've never been a big tattoo-person, but I think he looks hot with it ;)

Unfortunately, my lava lamp does not like to be photographed--you can't see the lava at all in the picture! Just imagine it as the color of an egg yolk.

This morning, when I was cleaning up the kitchen, I looked at Jerry's food log from yesterday. It's such a joke! I thought it was hilarious and anyone looking at it would totally think he's a bachelor:
Brats, beans, beer, pretzels, beer, and a protein bar. Really?!

What's worse is that he's lost 10 pounds over the last 2 weeks!! (For the record, his food log doesn't always look like that--I just found yesterday's log to be very humorous). Here's my log, from the same day:
And I will tell you right now, I did not lose 10 pounds over the last two weeks ;)


I was scheduled for a six-mile run today, but after Friday's long run, I decided to take an extra day off this week because of my knee. It hasn't been hurting very badly, but I'm hoping to avoid it getting to that point; so I don't mind skipping a shorter run here and there if it means my knee will be better. I have a six-mile run on Wednesday, and then a 20-miler on Friday.

It will be my last 20-miler (hopefully in my life). After that, I will start the three-week taper until my marathon! Renee has a 20-miler scheduled as well. I think we're going to go to lunch at La Pita afterward. I am going to plan out my points before I go, so I don't go too crazy with the garlic sauce (which is known to happen at La Pita!)  ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reader Questions and Answers #25

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. Since you look so beautiful now (the reader's words, not mine, haha), do you ever find yourself wanting to overspend money on clothes or jewelry or makeup because you feel "you deserve it?" I lost over 70 pounds and I find myself wanting to spend a lot on clothes and stuff that I could never wear before because I was so big. It's taking a toll on my budget and my marriage.

A fashionista, I am not.
A. First off, congrats on your weight loss! I can completely understand wanting to treat yourself to new things. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I have always been very thrifty, and a bit of a tightwad when it comes to money. Even in high school, I bought my clothes at thrift stores, and losing the weight didn't really change that. When I first got to my "goal size" (I knew I didn't want to get smaller than a size 4, so when I was able to comfortably wear size 4, I felt I was at my goal size), I did go buy quite a bit of new clothes. 

However, I did my shopping at thrift stores and garage sales. I just can't imagine myself spending $50 on a pair of jeans that I could buy for a $1 at a garage sale! It takes some hunting--sometimes I find all kinds of great deals and sometimes none at all. But, with all of that said, I am not a big fashionista. I really couldn't care less if I wear trendy clothes or not.

I think if you really enjoy clothes and accessories, and you are excited to show off your new body, then go for it! But you said it's taking a toll on your budget and marriage, so you definitely need to be careful. I would talk with your husband, let him know how much it means to you, and maybe you both can work some new clothes into your budget.


Q. When you were overweight, did you ever worry that your kids would grow up to be too? Do you still worry about that now? My long time boyfriend and I have always been overweight, and I feel like our chance of raising non-overweight children are so small!

A. This was a huge fear of mine, even long before I had kids. I was teased really badly in elementary school, and because of that, I had zero self-confidence all the way into adulthood. I knew I didn't want my future kids to feel that way, but I also didn't want them to grow up with disordered eating habits (namely binge eating, like me). 

The last thing I wanted to do was make my kids worry about their weight, so I don't talk about dieting or calories or anything like that with them. I generally let my kids make their own decisions about what they eat; but I hold a lot of control in that I don't buy lots of junk. We never have soda in our house, or even juice (water and milk are their options); we don't buy chips or cookies or anything like that unless it's for a specific purpose (I might buy a bag of chips if we're cooking hamburgers on the grill, for example); we don't eat at restaurants very often (maybe once a month, and it's never fast food); and I only let them buy the school lunch once a week.
My boys run for cookies too ;)
 My kids certainly get their share of junk, however--when they spend the night at my parents' house, they drink soda, and my parents sometimes take them to Wendy's for lunch after church. My dad has a jar of candy and he lets them have a piece or two when they come over. When I go grocery shopping, I usually buy them a treat (a single serving). On the occasion that we do go out to eat, I let them order what they want.

My system certainly isn't perfect, but it works for my family; and my kids aren't overweight. I'm not sure yet how I would handle it if they become overweight in the future, but hopefully that won't be a problem. The best I can do is set a good example for them, which I strive to do every day!


Q. You've mentioned listening to podcasts when you run.  What kind of podcasts do you listen to?  Are they fitness related? 

A. On my shorter runs, I don't bring my iPod, but on really long runs, I do take it to listen to podcasts. My favorite podcast is The Jillian Michaels Podcast, which is funny because I really disliked Jillian the whole time she was on The Biggest Loser. Since I've started listening to her show, however, I've totally changed my mind about her. She's entertaining to listen to, and I've gotten some great info from her.

Another podcast that I recently discovered is called Half Size Me. It's by a woman named Heather, who has lost 170 pounds. She talks about her maintenance, and she is a self-proclaimed success story junkie (so am I)--so she interviews a lot of people who have lost a large amount of weight. That's actually how I first heard about the podcast--she invited me to take part in an interview! We've already recorded it, and she said it will probably go up on the podcast in November. (I was terrified to do a talk-interview! I'm much better at writing than I am talking).

I've also recently discovered Vinnie Tortorich (Angriest Trainer); he's a personal trainer who talks about different fitness topics. I find the stories he tells very amusing, and I like that he's so honest about his thoughts. (Just FYI, he uses explicit language).

I like listening to fitness/weight loss podcasts because those topics interest me in everyday life. But there are podcasts for just about every topic you can imagine, so I would just search for a topic that interests you.


And now a question for all of you...
How did you spend the first day of fall (yesterday)?  It was cold and raining all day, so I truly enjoyed wearing sweats and curling up under a blanket in front of a Lifetime movie :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tattoo

Jerry's and my date last night was completely uneventful--no tattoo, no "going out" or anything fun like that. Jerry went to the tattoo place yesterday and paid a deposit so the guy could start drawing what Jerry wanted. The guy kept sending Jerry text messages yesterday with pictures of the drawing, and then Jerry would tell him more details to get it "just right". By the time the drawing was done, it was too late to get the tattoo, so he made an appointment to go in today at noon.

He wanted a tree of life tattoo with a balloon and a kite "stuck" in it with the boys' names and birth dates. I teased him, asking, "Well, what about your wife?!" and he said it's bad luck. I told him it would be bad luck NOT to include his wife ;)  So he decided to have a heart with my initials (from my maiden name) on the trunk of the tree:
(I told you it was huge). When I saw the picture of it after it was done, I wasn't crazy about it. But once he got home and I saw it in person, I liked it much better. He's been wanting a tattoo with the boys' names for years, and he's been talking about this specific one for a couple of years now. So I'm happy for him that he finally just did it!

While he was at the tattoo shop for 4 hours (!!) today, I went with my parents and the boys to a quarry that was doing a family day-type thing. They had lunch for everyone, a raffle, tours of the quarry, bulldozers and other equipment that the kids could play on, and they blasted out a piece of the quarry with explosives so everyone could watch. Definitely a boy-thing ;) 

As we drove there, it started sprinkling. It was really cold outside, and the rain just made it even colder. We had just arrived and were looking around when they announced they were going to do the explosion earlier than planned, because of the rain. See all the orange flags against the far wall? That's where the explosion was to happen.
Before the blast
About 2 seconds later
We waited in line for a while for lunch--I ate before I left, but I got the kids their food. Then we got in line for the bus tour, and while we were standing there, I changed my mind about going on the bus. I'm kind of claustrophobic and with the rain and slippery roads in the quarry, I just was too nervous about it. But my kids wanted to go, so they went on the bus with my parents. (Yes, I was too nervous, but I allowed my kids to go... what can I say?)

I listened for our raffle ticket numbers to be called, but we didn't win anything. Then I sat on a rock and tried to get a picture of myself with the quarry in the background. It didn't turn out so good--you can't even really see the quarry:

I was trying to do it without people noticing that I was trying to take a picture of myself. By this time, I was absolutely frozen to the bone. The kids still wanted to stay and play on the bulldozer, so we stayed for about a half hour longer, and then we head out. All I could think of was a hot shower, cozy over-sized sweatshirt, and a blanket. It was nice to have a lazy afternoon.

Today marks two weeks on Weight Watchers and two weeks without peanut butter. Both have been hard to stick to, but I've done it. Yesterday, I was excited to have a yummy dessert after my long run--but when I started thinking about what I wanted, I realized that it all involved peanut butter! I ended up getting some cookie dough ice cream, which was good, but not as good as the pb ;) I think next week, I'll do a progress report for the half-way mark of my challenge.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Newspaper photos

So today is Friday--my long run day. I had to meet the photographer from the newspaper at 8:00; and since my favorite running path is 25 minutes from the newspaper office, I decided to plan my run closer to the office so as not to inconvenience them. Unfortunately, that meant running the same route I did last week for my 20-miler.

I really don't like that route--the sidewalks are very uneven, and about half of it is concrete (which isn't great for my knees). I planned out the same six-mile lollipop route from last week, and decided to just do it twice. Straight out for two miles, around the park, which is two miles, and then the two miles back to the car.

After getting used to 16-, 18-, and 20-mile runs, a 12 mile run sounded like a relief today! I didn't even have to bring Gatorade or GU for it. I just filled my water bottle with water and chose to leave it in the car to drink at my six-mile turn-around.

Yesterday, when I set up the appointment with the photographer, I was told that they were going to get a picture of me running; so I just dressed how I normally would, threw my (still curly from yesterday) hair in a ponytail, and didn't bother with make-up.

Once I parked, and talked with the photographer, she said she wanted to get a few portrait shots before I started running.

Really?

It's a good thing nobody is going to see these pictures. Oh, wait--they're for the newspaper! Now I'm just hoping the picture will be really small, or maybe even no picture at all. Anyway, once she did some portrait shots, she said that she would drive ahead and take some photos while I was running; so all I had to do was run like I normally do.

I was feeling the adrenaline from nerves and anxiety over the pictures, and I ended up running too fast. Sometime just after the first mile, I saw the photographer ahead of me, with the camera aimed at me. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to look at the camera or not; smile or, just pretend I don't see it? I ended up just pretending I didn't see the camera, and running like normal.

When I got to the photographer, I stopped and chatted for a second, and she said she got what she needed, so I continued my run. Looking back on it, now I wish I had smiled for the running photos. Oh well! We'll see what they look like when they show up in the paper, whenever that will be.

Again, I ran too fast for the second mile, too. I made an effort to slow down so I didn't burn out. Running through the park was much nicer today than it was last week in the rain. It's much nicer to run in the quiet of the park than it is to run along the busy road.

When I arrived back at the car six miles in, I stopped for some water and to grab my iPod, then I turned around and headed back out on the same route. A mile and a half later, I saw a familiar face running toward me--Renee! We stopped for a minute to chat. She was 10 miles into her 16-mile run today, and she said she was having a rough run; I was too, and I so badly wanted to turn around early and call it quits. But I kept going.

After I circled the park again and started heading back, I saw yet another familiar face--Courtney! She looked completely adorable in a matching running outfit, but I didn't stop to chat, because she looked like she was on a mission. We greeted each other as we ran past, and I was so happy to hear my Garmin beep at the 10-mile mark; only two more to go.

I had to stop and stretch a few times the last few miles, because of my knee. As soon as it started to hurt again, I would stop and stretch for 20 seconds or so, and then it felt fine for a little while longer. I decided I'm for sure going to skip Monday's run, so I will have four days off to baby my knee.

Once I got back to my car, I gulped down my water and then went to Dunham's to pick up some GU (I noticed last week that I was completely out). Next Friday is a 20-mile run, and then I start tapering for the marathon!! I'm obviously very excited about that. ;)

Today is my dad's birthday. Since I made my mom's birthday gift last month, I decided to make something for my dad as well. I made him candied walnuts with cayenne. My dad is always teasing me about the "health food" that I eat, and every time I bring a dish to a potluck or something he says, "Eww, I can't eat that, that's DIET food!" (kidding with me, of course). Or when he offers me a cookie or something, he says, "Want a cookie? These are sugar-free, salt-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, organic cookies." LOL. So the candied walnuts I made him are anything BUT healthy, and I even wrote that on the label.

I ate one, and it was SO good. Good thing they will not be at my house long, because I might eat them all. My parents took the kids out for dinner (I chose not to go, because I've been doing so good with WW), and then the kids are going to spend the night.

Jerry is off work today, and as we were deciding what to do for the evening, I kept thinking about eating out--I earned a lot of points on my run, and I still had quite a few activity points left this week (tomorrow is the last day I can use them, before my week starts over). I was looking through my points book, calculating how much I could get for my points.

I even thought of getting an old junk food favorite, a CrunchWrap Supreme from Taco Bell; and I would still have enough points left for a cookie slice from Mrs. Fields! But the more I thought about, the more I realized that I really don't want to "justify" a binge like that. I want to work on eating well every day... a splurge now and then is fine, but I don't need to do it all in one day! So we ultimately decided on Subway for dinner, and then a yummy dessert later (not sure what it will be yet).

Jerry is getting a tattoo--a big one. So I told him we could go do that tonight (hahaha, what a date!). He only has one very small tattoo from when he was 18, and he's been wanting a big one on his upper arm for a few years now, so he's finally going to do it. I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Curls

I am so glad I didn't chicken out on posting that journal entry yesterday. I loved reading all of your kind comments, and I thank you for sharing your own stories about your struggles with binge eating. If nothing else, we've learned that we aren't alone!

This morning, I did Pete's ABC circuits again. I really wanted to just have a lazy morning, but I knew I had to get it done. I made plans to meet up with Renee and Jessica for coffee/tea mid-morning. I've really been struggling with what to eat for breakfast lately, which is very odd for me--usually breakfast is a no-brainer, because I have thousands of ideas in my head. But since starting Weight Watchers, I've had to re-think my food choices. A typical bowl of my oatmeal and toppings would be over 10 points!

Sadly, my almond butter is 6 points per serving, which bums me out. That's actually one of the reasons I quit doing Weight Watchers a couple of years ago; I missed my nut butter. I have a container of Justin's chocolate hazelnut spread that I've been wanting to eat, but haven't been willing to spend 5 points on. I still haven't caved in to the peanut butter, however. Only four weeks and three days to go ;)

For any of you who may be doing Weight Watchers, what are some of your favorite breakfast foods? I'm open to suggestions (but I despise yogurt, any and all of it). I usually eat eggs for lunch. I never have a problem coming up with something for dinner, either. It's the perfect time of year for Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal for breakfast, but it's 10 points!

After I showered this morning, I was about throw my hair in my usual go-to braid, but I didn't want to meet up with Renee and Jessica always looking like a slob. So I figured I would take the time to do my hair (which involves blowing it dry and then straightening it, a very long process because my hair is long and thick). I have no idea what made me think of it, but I thought it would be funny to wear my hair curly.

I have naturally curly hair, but I never, EVER wear it like that. I either throw it in a braid, a messy bun, a ponytail, or, when I'm going out and have to look decent, I straighten it. I felt like such a nerd while I messed with my hair this morning--putting gel in it (do people even use gel anymore?), "scrunching" it, and then flipping my head upside down to blow it dry. I'm sure there are better ways to style curly hair these days, but I have no clue! The last time I wore my hair curly was probably in high school.

Jerry was getting out of the shower when he saw it, and he kind of flipped out a little: "What the heck? How did you make your hair that curly?" I told him my hair has always been this curly, don't you remember? He didn't. Hahaha. But he loved it, and I was surprised, because I told him I was only doing it that way to be funny. It was certainly easier to do than straightening my hair, that's for sure... but I think it looks better straight.
So I went to meet with Jessica and Renee--I thought they would laugh when they saw me, but they said they liked it too! Oh well, I guess I have options now ;)

Tomorrow is my long run, and it's a step-back week (mileage is cut)--I "only" have to run 12 miles! And I'm going to have some company for a portion of it. The local newspaper is writing a story about my Ragnar team, and they want to come get photos of me running.

I sent them the pictures that Stephanie took, because let's be honest, I have make-up on and my hair done in those ones ;)  But the reporter didn't want to use them (not sure why), so a photographer is going to come take pictures tomorrow. And I will NOT have my hair done, or make-up on or be dressed to impress... I have to actually run 12 miles, so I'll be practical. It's supposed to rain, too--but after running 20 miles in the rain last Friday, 12 should be a piece of cake.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Binge eating

I woke up this morning feeling a little better about my choices last night at the restaurant. I still wish I had stuck with my plan, but I am glad that I at least accounted for the extra food I ate and calculated the points in it. And it wasn't a binge!

I had 60 minutes on the schedule today with tempo intervals:
15 minutes easy (6.0 mph)
5x (5 minutes hard 7.0 mph, 2 minutes easy 6.0)
10 minutes easy (6.0)

My knee hasn't given me any problems, but again, I decided to stop if it started hurting at all. As soon as I started the first tempo interval, I was tempted to take the speed down to 6.5; but I knew I was just being a baby, and that 7.0 was was a good tempo pace for me. So I sucked it up and did all of the intervals at 7.0.

I started to feel a little twinge in my knee after my last interval, so I called it quits instead of doing the 10 minutes at an easy pace. I haven't gotten to the point of actual pain--it's just a weird tight feeling that I can tell it will be painful if I keep running on it. So I'm going to take it easy (like I have been) and hopefully it won't get to the point of injury like it did last time when I ran through the pain.

When I uploaded the run from my Garmin, I saw that I almost hit a big running milestone today:
Look how close I am to 2,000 miles total! I'm pretty excited that I'll hit 1,000 miles this year, too. Running a thousand miles in a year is an (unofficial) goal of mine.


Dr. Oz had a show about binge eating today, and it was really hard for me to watch. I could relate to the guests so much. My binge eating isn't nearly as severe as the guests on the show (anymore), but when I was obese, my binges were very similar. Dr. Oz showed some images of a person before and after a binge, and the huge mass you see on the "after" photo is actually the person's stomach:

As if that wasn't bad enough, I was completely SHOCKED when I saw the autopsy photo that Dr. Oz showed. He said it was a person who had binged just before dying--and the stomach was SO BIG that the tissue actually died. I even took a picture of the TV screen, because I just couldn't believe it:
That huge purple/blue thing is the person's stomach! I had no idea that a stomach could get so big. He said the intestines were basically suffocated from being crushed by the size of the stomach. The person actually died from a binge episode. That is VERY scary.

I'm absolutely terrified of posting what I'm about to post, but I think it may give some hope to people who have binge eating disorder. I am going to share an embarrassing journal entry from April 14, 2008--I wrote a tell-all, no-secrets entry about my binge eating. It's one of the most honest things I've ever written, and it makes me feel so ashamed when I read it.

I was in a very bad place when I wrote it, feeling like I had hit rock bottom. I was very ashamed to write it all down, and it's hard to read now that I've changed my lifestyle. Anyway, here is the post:

April 14, 2008
Every single night that I go to bed feeling full, I make promises to myself that I'm going to "do good" on the diet tomorrow and lose weight. I plan in my head how I'm going to do it--counting points or calories, or eating only when I'm hungry, or just eating healthy.  I go to bed disgusted with myself for being such a pig.

Lately I've noticed just how bad my food addiction has gotten. And it truly is an addiction. It has interfered with my life in ways that are totally embarrassing. I probably think about food 99% of the day. I even dream about it. When I wake up, I think about what I'm going to eat first. When I'm eating, I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat next.

Smiling, but completely unhappy with myself
And the worst part is (this is the embarrassing part that I've never told anyone) that this affects the type of mom I am. I honestly LOOK FORWARD to my kids going to bed (naptime and bedtime) so that I can binge. I even rush them into napping and the second they lie down, I rush to the kitchen to grab food to binge on in front of the TV. I even find myself getting mad at my kids if they don't fall asleep right away or if they wake up early, because it ends my binge.

I've also been hiding food lately. I know that I can "safely" binge in front of my husband, but I'm embarrassed about it now. If I think I hear him wake up while I'm eating (he works nights, so he sleeps during the day), then I'll hurry up and hide the food I'm eating.  I'll hide wrappers in the bottom of the trash so that he doesn't see it. 


I've been using my kids as an excuse to binge, too. I'll tell my husband that the kids want pizza for dinner or something, which is a big binge food for me. Or fast food. Or I'll make cookies "to spend time with the kids" and then eat the whole batch.


I wish I could be satisfied with just a small amount of something, but I get this urge to fill my mouth, chew really fast and swallow over and over again. And as much as my stomach hurts afterwards, I crave that full feeling in my stomach. When I even think about restricting food, I get very anxious.
Another thing I do is plan out binges in my head. I'll think about what I'm going to eat and then I just have to wait for the appropriate time (usually when the kids are asleep).  Once I've decided when I'm going to binge and on what, I get anxious--wanting to just do it now. It's like I can't do it fast enough.
During the binge itself, I just keep thinking, "Okay, what else can I eat?" and I eat until I'm so full I can't stand it. Afterwards, I get pissed at myself for doing it, and make promises to myself not to do it again. Then later, I think "Well, I already binged once today, I might as well do it again". I know what I'm doing could have serious consequences for me and my family, and I want to fix this. I just don't know how.
Revealing those secrets was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Reading that just makes me feel awful; but I am also very proud of myself for overcoming it. I saw what it was doing to me as a mother, and doing to my family, and I changed it. The main reason I changed my lifestyle was because I wanted to be a better mom to my boys.

Getting over the binge eating wasn't easy by any means. I had to learn other ways to relax and relieve anxiety.  And even now, sometimes my methods don't work, and I'll binge--but even the binges are different post-weight loss. I'm not secretive about it anymore, I don't buy the crappy binge food I used to, and I don't do it nearly as often as I used to. I am constantly thinking about what's best for my kids, and how I can be a good role model for them.

Anyway, posting this is extremely hard for me, so please be kind ;) I just want others who may be binge eaters to see that it IS possible to get better. It takes a lot of determination, but it's worth it! I am actually proud of the example I set for my kids now.
After completing my first marathon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

90-Day Dinner

I guess I spoke too soon yesterday when I said that I've always felt very safe in our neighborhood. Last night, my friend Andrea called me to tell me that there was an attempted child abduction near my neighborhood (in the same neighborhood that we found Eli's bike). There was a man in a white pick-up truck pulling a camper with Ohio plates who apparently tried to get a boy to get in the truck to give him a ride. An adult saw what was happening and stepped in, and the man sped off. I don't know any of this for sure, but these are the details that I was told.

So I talked to my kids last night about it, and told them what to do if they see the truck. I told them (once again) that they always need to stay together outside. I didn't want to scare them, but Noah was worried about it when he went to bed. Kids shouldn't have to worry about that stuff! The whole situation makes me sick to even think about.

With my knee pain yesterday, I decided that I really need to continue doing strength training. I haven't done much since I completed the Wii Active Challenge. Pete's boot camp class really kicked my ass last week, so I decided to do it on my own with the circuit workouts in his book (essentially the same thing we did at his class).

I went through the whole 60-minute circuit, and it was very tough! I was doing the beginner/week one circuit, and it actually gets progressively harder through the weeks. I'm going to do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the weekdays that I don't run; and then I'll still have Saturday and Sunday for rest days. I wasn't sure how many WW points that would let me earn, but when I put the info in, I got 10 points. I was happy with that!

After my workout, I went to Andrea's house for tea and chit-chat. I don't think we really talked all summer, so it was nice to catch up with her. 


Jerry has been filling in as a supervisor at work a lot through the summer, and he will continue to do so for at least the next few months. Because of that, we were invited to a 90-day dinner--once employees reach the 90-day mark after they are hired, they get to go out to dinner, and the company pays for it. There are also some supervisors that go, which is why Jerry was invited. And everyone can bring a date. The last one we went to was Jerry's 90-day dinner back in 2002!

I was excited to go, because I knew it would be a lot of fun, but I was nervous about staying on track with my eating. It's so hard not to pig out when someone else is paying for it ;)  I looked up the menu online of the place we are going, and it looked like a seafood/steakhouse type restaurant, combined with a bar. Steak and tons of fried foods, beer, and desserts. The company let us order off the menu, rather than getting a catered meal for the group, which was good.

I decided that I would get cajun style salmon, with the vegetable of the day (green beans), salad with vinegar, and one piece of bread from the basket... plus 10 oz. of wine to drink. That would total 18 points. As hard as it was, I decided not to get dessert. I made the decision before I even left home, and I was determined to stick to it. I probably could have gotten dessert instead of wine, but it's hard to control myself when I eat dessert, so I think it would have been all over.

Well, I wasn't so good at sticking to my plan. When we got there, I ordered a glass of wine (which I believe was 5 oz). Then another. And I ordered a third by the time it was time to go sit at the tables (we had been at the bar). I ordered my salmon, like I had planned, but I wasn't counting on the appetizers being right in front of my face the entire time that we waited for our food! When Jerry wasn't looking (I told him to watch out of for me acting like a pig), I kept taking nachos off of the plate. I probably at about 10 nachos while we waited for our food.

Those were the appetizers sitting in front of us for about 20 minutes!

Once our food came, I ate a few bites, and then gave the rest of my salmon to Jerry, because I was just too full. But when they came around and asked about dessert, I ordered carrot cake (I swear, it was the wine talking!). I ate about 3/4 of the carrot cake, even though I was pretty full. So I ended up eating 52 of 26 points today (using 26 of my weekly points). But I guess that is what they are there for, so hopefully I didn't screw up too bad!

I should have stuck with my plan, but I was still controlled enough to not act like a complete pig. I left a few bites of carrot cake, and I only ate a few bites of my salmon. It could be worse... right? RIGHT?!

On our way home, we saw a couple of police cars that had pulled over the creeper in the truck! So hopefully, he will be gone and we won't have to worry about him.

It was a great evening, but I'm kind of mad at myself for not sticking to my plan. However, I'm not giving up! I had enough points to cover the crappy food I ate, so I'm just going to count it and move on.


I almost forgot! The winner of the Muesli Fusion giveaway is:
Wendy, please e-mail me at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with your shipping address so I can pass it along to the people at Muesli Fusion. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Stolen

We had a bit of a dramatic evening yesterday. My kids were taking their showers and getting ready for bed when my parents stopped over on their bikes and asked if the boys wanted to go for a bike ride with them. I told the kids they could after they got their pajamas on. Eli said he couldn't find his bike all day.

Eli is ALWAYS losing things, so I didn't think anything of it. I walked into the backyard, and saw a bike--but it wasn't Eli's. Noah said it belonged to the boy that lives behind us, so I returned it and asked if they knew where Eli's bike was... they didn't know. I went back home and circled the house, thinking he just left it in the yard somewhere, but it was nowhere to be seen.

My dad and Noah rode their bikes to a couple of the kids' friends houses, to see if it wound up there, but no luck. We finally realized someone had actually stolen Eli's bike. He just got this bike in July, when we went to my sister's house. Remember how the other kids had bikes to ride, and Eli didn't, so my sister took him to Wal-Mart to buy a bike? It wasn't a super fancy bike or anything, but it was brand new, so I was bummed.

I put the kids in the Jeep and we drove around the neighborhood, looking in all the yards to see if we could find it. We didn't. Whenever I saw kids outside playing, I stopped and asked them if they'd seen the bike, and said that we would give a $5 reward to them if they brought it back. ;)

Eli was feeling really bad, and when it was time for bed, he said, "Mama, I feel weird. My stomach feels weird, like I did something wrong." (Basically, he was feeling guilty). Of course, I told him that it wasn't his fault that his bike was stolen. I had a hard time falling asleep because I was just pissed that someone would do that. Our neighborhood is very safe and we've never had problems like this before. At midnight, Eli came into my room and said that his stomach was hurting because he feels bad that someone stole his bike, so I let him sleep in my bed.

This morning before school, Jerry said he would take Eli out for a drive again to look for the bike. About 15 minutes later, Eli came in, boasting, "We found it!" It was in the neighborhood next to ours, in somebody's yard. The seat had been jacked up as high as it would go, so it was probably a teenager that took it. I was so relieved!

Eli asked if he could wear a tie to school today... doesn't he look adorable?!



After the boys got on the bus, I did my run. On the schedule was 60 minutes easy running with 8 pick-ups (30 seconds fast). I don't know if I mentioned this on Friday, but my left knee started hurting during my 20-miler. My "bad" knee is my right one, and it finally seems to be fine--but it was my right knee that started hurting on Friday :(  I took it easy all weekend, and it felt okay.

I didn't want to run outside today, since the treadmill really does seem to help with knee pain; so I planned to do my run on the treadmill. I decided that the very second my knee started hurting, I was going to stop--I wasn't going to run through the pain, like I did in the spring (and wound up with a bad injury). I started out at 6.0 mph, which is actually starting to feel a little too easy now--I think I need to change it to 6.1 or 6.2 for my "easy" pace. But today, I really wanted to take it easy, so that was good.

I even did my pick-ups at an easier pace of 7.0 (I "should" be doing more like 10.0 for the sprints). I felt totally fine until mile four, when I felt a small twinge of pain in my knee. Just like I'd promised myself, I called it quits. My next run is on Wednesday, and I'll do the same thing if I have to. Thankfully, as soon as I stopped running, my knee felt totally fine and it hasn't bothered me the rest of the day. Hopefully I can avoid injury this way. I used the foam roller when I was done.


Some of you were asking about muesli, and if it tastes like granola. It doesn't taste like granola because it's not sweetened. Granola has a ton of sugar in it, which is what makes it crunchy. It's kind of like "candied" oatmeal. Muesli is just unsweetened raw oats with dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. It has a chewy texture, rather than crunchy like granola. But as far as health food, muesli trumps granola.

If you like oatmeal, and dried fruits and nuts, then I'm sure you will like the muesli. If the muesli isn't sweet enough for you, then you could try adding some maple syrup or honey to the liquid that you soak or cook it in. Muesli is really easy on my stomach, so if I eat before a run, muesli is a good choice (that's what I had before my 20-miler on Friday). I also have it for dinner sometimes when I don't feel like cooking. The only drawback is the tiny portion size! It stays with you for a while though--I don't get hungry for at least a few hours after eating it.


I am SO ready for my favorite fall TV shows to start! Hopefully next week? Parenthood started last week, but that's the only one (that I watch) that has been on so far.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Muesli Fusion Review & Giveaway

It's been a fun week, because I have another giveaway for you!

If you've never tried muesli before, let me fill you in: it's basically a combination of all of my favorite healthy foods! Oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Does it get any better? (Well, maybe if you add peanut butter...)

I was recently contacted by a company called Muesli Fusion to try out a few of their different varieties, so naturally, I jumped on board right away. I think I actually squealed with delight when I opened the box.
Here are the individual labels:
Classic Swiss

Athlete Fuel

An-Ox (Anti-Oxidant)
See how simple the ingredients are? "No junk. Just food."

I decided to try out the Athlete Fuel first. It was the cashews that hooked me ;)  When you look at the serving size, 1/3 of a cup seems so tiny for 160 calories. But compared to my regular oatmeal, it's only a smidge higher. And it does bulk up (just like oatmeal) when you soak it or cook it. You can eat muesli cold or hot. I like to eat it cold, soaked in milk.
Right out of the bag

Equal parts milk and muesli

After 2 hours in the refrigerator
If my bananas weren't black and mushy, I bet they would have tasted great sliced on top of the muesli! But as it was, I really loved this combo. Because of all the nuts and seeds, it had some good crunch; and the dried fruit gives it a nice sweetness. I didn't add any sweetener, but I bet maple syrup would be great in it as well.

The next day, I tried the An-Ox muesli, prepared the same way. Unfortunately, I found it kind of bland. It was the first time I'd tried goji berries, and I didn't think they had much flavor. I definitely liked the Athlete Fuel better.

On the back of the Classic Swiss muesli, there is a recipe for Hearty Muesli Bars. I actually had all the ingredients on hand, so I made the bars. The directions said to allow to cool completely before cutting, but I was too impatient to wait, so my bar fell apart a little. Thankfully, I love messy food ;)
I was surprised that they were kind of salty--but I loved them! The flavor reminded me of those almond cookies you get at Chinese restaurants, and the texture was just how you would imagine it to be--chewy oats with crunchy nuts and sweet bits of dried fruit. There were only two tablespoons of honey in the recipe, and I didn't think they would taste very good because of the lack of sweetness, but I didn't feel that way at all when I ate the bar. I actually had to urge Jerry to take the rest to work, so I wouldn't keep picking at them all day.

There are many ways to eat muesli, so I'm going to keep experimenting. You can soak it in juice instead of milk, top it with fresh fruit, stir it into yogurt (I won't be trying that, since you know I hate yogurt!), cook it like you would oatmeal for a hot cereal, bake it into cookies or bars, like above... the possibilities are endless, really.

Muesli Fusion has very generously offered to give three bags of muesli to one lucky Runs for Cookies reader! To enter the random drawing, just leave a comment on this post telling me how you like to eat muesli, or, if you've never tried it, which variety sounds the best to you (you can see all the varieties here). I will choose a winner on Tuesday, 9/18 at 8:00 a.m. (winner will be announced that evening), and the winner will have 24 hours to e-mail me with their info. Good luck!  (DRAWING HAS NOW ENDED)

(In full disclosure, I was given three bags of Muesli Fusion to sample for free, but all opinions are my own).

You can check out Muesli Fusion on their website, Facebook, or Twitter.