Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Got my own domain

Just signed up for my own domain as I continue to learn about the blogging world. I was told my old address will be redirected but my new address will be . Now to figure out what I'm doing :-)

Summer is coming to an end

So I got to bed a little earlier because I knew i had a run planned for this morning. Still hit the snooze a couple minutes but finally dragged my butt out of bed.

My trusty trio to get going were waiting for me

During the summer its so much easier to get a longer run in before work as its much lighter out . The last couple weeks it has started to get lighter later but because the kids werent in school yet I could take a little longer. I would walk out to my door to this

This week I am now walking out the door to this

So for now I am shortening the mileage a little and going a little later still being able to squeeze most of my mileage in during the am.  As it gets darker I will have to double up or eventually just do all the mileage on the dreadmill I mean treadmill. Today I did one of my favorite loops down by the Merrimack river. The air was nice and crisp and I got to see a nice sunrise

If you track my routes I post on facebook you will see that I tend to do this loop or incorporate this part of Lowell into a lot of my loops. I find especially in the morning the city is still peaceful, the water is still and it definitely has a calming effect on me.

Nice view of the falls too

The one part of this 6 mile loop I don't love however is the end. For those local to the area this is the hill on Burnside Ave. This picture doesnt do it justice of how the road goes from relatively flat to heartbreak hill pretty quickly. I like it because its a great butt workout, I dont like it because I feel like I'm going to collapse by the time I reach the top :-)

Today Tim had his Kindergarten testing. He has the same teacher that Grace had last year which is awesome. Ms Maroney rocks and you can totally tell that this is what she was meant to do as a profession. I will post official first day of school pics next week but Tim wanted everyone to see his cubby. He's so excited :-)

Well time for me to try to get someone to buy something. So the question for today, Does the change in seasons mean a change in your workout routine? Please share whats working for you. Hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to school day and adjusting

Good Tuesday Morning everyone, that's what day it is right? Yesterday seems like it was a blur. We had doctors appointments (thanks for the help mom), Jake's cancelled and then rescheduled open house and preparation for Grace's first day this morning.

I am happy to report that both went smoothly. Jake is starting a new school and living situation living with his dad up in NH during the week and with us on weekends. Was very impressed so far with his teacher and he is sitting close to his friend that lives next door Josh so hopefully he will have a smooth transition.

Today was also my daughter Grace's first day of first grade. All she would talk about was this day for the last three weeks. She was so excited to wear her new fancy dress and liked how when she shaked around the skirt would wiggle on it.

Back to school means a couple things to me. 1) Back to using my lunch hour as a pick the kids up and drop them at my mom's before returning to finish the day. 2) Adjusting my workout schedule.

This morning was a prime example. I had planned on getting to the gym for 5am. With all that went on yesterday I needed a couple hits of the snooze button and got up around 5:20 getting to the gym after my coffee, vitamin, nutragrain bar routine about 5:45. I had planned on doing the vindicator routine on the expresso bike which is a 12.18 course and then getting in two miles on the treadmill to stay on track with both goals. However with my extra little bit of sleep the treadmill didnt happen so I will incorporate that after dinner while i watch some tv in the back living room, or tack it on to other runs later in the week.

The first week back to school is always a family adjustment not just to fitness schedules, but dealing with extra traffic, homework, lunches etc. Luckily we tend to adjust pretty quickly as life with 4 kids even during summer vacation is at best organized chaos.

I guess to summarize today's post what I wanted to get across is that if something in life derails you from your plan, some small modifications may help you to get and stay back on track towards your goal while getting to enjoy the ride on the way.

I can tell you that Grace was very happy that both Mommy and Daddy were at her first day.

I was happy to be part of her first day too <3

Hope everyone has a great day. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Music Monday

Well we didn't sustain too much damage from Irene. In fact this morning was a beautiful run day. I must admit I wasn't springing out of bed for my planned run this morning. Not sure if it was the howling winds or whatever but Connor was all sorts of restless so i got very scattered sleep. But knowing this is the start of back to school week and that I set myself a mileage goal I made a pot of coffee, had my pre-run vitamin and nutragrain bar and headed out.

I decided to run my longer river route backwards today to see what if any damage happened from the storm. I didn't really run into much except a few down tree limbs. I had planned to do my 6 mile loop but it was so cool and bright that I added a bridge and ended up with a total of 7.16 miles.

My extra motivation came from knowing I had this waiting for me at home as a reward too

Today was a planned day off from work however with the storm some things got rearranged so I am working on a few quotes this morning. Then my mom is going to bring Grace and Tim for their doctor appointments and I am going to be heading up to check out Jakes new school and meet his teacher.

Thought I would use music as my fitness topic for today. I know its probably not the safest idea to run with music outside but I still do on a low level so I can still hear my breathing and approaching cars. I get bored easily so I am always looking to mix up my playlist.

My current one for my 5-6 mile runs is below. I will be adding to this as my half approaches in a couple months but this is more a kitchen sink of sorts that has been working for me .

1) I Cant hold back- Survivor

2) Alternative Girlfriend- Barenaked Ladies

3) Long Hot Summer- Keith Urban

4)Pumped Up Kicks- Foster the People

5)Rock N Roll- Eric Hutchinson

6)Comeback Kid- Brett Dennen

7)Hey Mama- Mat Kearney

8)Give me something- Scars on 45

9)Moves Like Jagger- Maroon 5

10)Getting Over You- David Guetta

11)Party Rock Anthem- LMFAO

12)Where them Girls At- David Guetta

13) I wanna go- Britney Spears

So readers what is your preference exercise with or without music? If you use music what songs are working for you right now?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The importance of goals

Good Sunday morning to everyone. Figured I would blog while we still have power as Irene is starting to arrive here in MA. I wanted to talk about setting goals. Lately my goals have been focused on running because of my upcoming half marathon, but as I started on my weight loss journey I tried to set both fitness and nutrition goals and continue to focus on both.

When my husband and I started out we would try to schedule time to walk at the mall a couple times a week after dinner. At the time I didnt keep a chart or log it anywhere but still tried to make it a priority. As I started to move from walking to running i started to track my mileage using a site called map my run.

This site let me track how far I was going in mileage and at the end of the week I could see my totals for the week and gradually I would base my goals on adding maybe an extra mile a week or some small increment so that I was continuing to increase my activity. This site can track walking and biking too and has a lot of cool features in the free portion of their site.

Eventually I started to sign up for races. I found this worked for me because the mileage I was putting in was working towards a bigger goal, and I wanted to make sure that my body was able to perform to its best ability on race day. My first few were 5ks. Gradually I worked to bigger races like a 5 miler, then a 10k and last October my sister and I ran The Baystate Half Marathon.

A lot of mini goals were set to acheive this. I gradually went from running about 15 miles a week up to about 30 miles, and distances from 3-5 miles up to distances of 10-13. Having  had this race to work towards kept me motivated to run on the days i just wasn't feeling it and gave me a great sense of acomplishment when I fnished. My goal for race day was to not walk and to beat the full marathon finisher and I did both finishing in 2:06:36.

I would like to tackle a full marathon some day but I think that is still a couple years off as I dont think my husband would appreciate the time away from the kids it would take to properly train for that. So I am still keeping this in mind as a long term goal.

For 2011 my goals included running 12 races and finishing my second half marathon in under 2 hrs. So far YTD I have run 7 races which are listed on the side and I have been adding tempo runs to my half training so we will see how that pans out in October.

Even if you are not into running like I am try setting a fitness goal for the week and track it somehow whether its logging it on a site like facebook, or noting it on a calendar. As your fitness level improves gradually try adding a little more each week and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Today was a biking day at the gym

Luckily I got this finished before the gym lost power. So my goal now is to veg a little on the couch and ride out the storm. If you are in Irene's path please stay safe. And let me know how you are setting and tracking your goals.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

When are the calories worth it

                                                         ( Oreos are worth the calories to Connor)

So as I sit here eating my turkey sandwich instead of finishing the kids dino chicken nuggets I thought I would cover the topic on how I have been balancing the good and not so good calories that I take in on a daily basis.

Now when I was a teenager I had tried going on various diets, counting calories, slimfast stuff etc. I lost a little weight but once I stopped it and returned to my old behaviors I was right back where I started.  It also didn't help that my parents always had good treats in the house and I often used food as an emotional comfort quite often.

Now that I have a family of my own I am still faced with temptations in a variety of ways. I generally feed my kids a pretty healthy diet despite the photo above, but its tempting when I'm making them chicken nuggets or mac n cheese to make that for myself too. Office and offsite meetings are also another big area for calorie consumption.

So what do I do? Not partake in the festivities? Tried that and all it got me was feeling left out and angry that all these seemingly skinny girls were drinking beers and eating a lot of food. So what was their secret? It all comes down to balancing the good and bad and of course portion control a phrase that my husband is very aware of since we started this lifestyle change.

This week is a prime example. I had to travel Tuesday and Wednesday for work and the options for eating were buffet style at the hotel for lunch and a big dinner with appetizers and drinks at dinner. Knowing that dinner would probably be the biggest intake of calories during these days I started light in the morning with some cereal. At lunch I had greens and some protein but passed on the provided dessert and made sure to keep hydrated so that my body wasn't mistaking hunger for thirst. When it came time for dinner I did partake in the appetizers and cocktails and knew that I was going to be consuming more than I normally would but to me in that scenario the calories were worth it. I didn't feel like I was missing out and the next day I added a little more exercise to my normal routine to help burn off the extra calories.

Special meetings and events aside how do I deal with temptations on a daily basis especially in a house full of kids you ask? I kind of follow the same principal.  With regards to sweets we don't typically have a ton of junk in the house. I will make a batch of cookies at beginning of the week and they typically will last most of the week with us having one or two as dessert after dinner.  If I know we are going to have pizza night or go out to dinner I will keep it lighter for breakfast and lunch.

By eating good 80% of the time and saving the other 20% for these type of scenarios I have found that I don't feel deprived and have been able to maintain my weight loss.

So what calories are worth it to you? For me pizza and cookies and definitely worth it, oh and wine as sometimes this mom of 4 needs a helper ;-)

Speaking of which the kids sound like they need to get outside and play before they kill each other so I will talk to you all tomorrow. And for my Northeast readers stay safe with the impending storm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mixing it up to improve your results

                                       ( this is how my 5 year old son Tim is mixing it up these days)

So when I first started out on this journey I chose walking as my form of exercise. I would start out with small walks at the mall, as the weather got nicer I took my walks outside and often had my husband or my friend with me. Now this combined with the healthier eating was giving me some good results on the scale but I still had a way to go and knew I had to kick it up a notch.

Being up late one night I saw an informerical for one of those beach body series Turbo Jam.

I really liked the instructor and decided to order the series. When my dvd's arrived I started doing those on the days I didnt walk and even somedays I would walk a little in the morning and maybe put one of these in at night.

As I added this new form of exercise to my walking routine I saw that the scale started to move more. I also started toning up areas on my body that I was not seeing improvement in through walking alone like my arms which I always tried to cover because they looked bigger and out of shape.

It was then that the light bulb sort of went on for me that when I was just walking I was neglecting other parts of my body. So even though I was losing poundage I wasnt seeing the results I wanted in overall appearance.

As my body got used to walking and the TurboJam dvd's I knew that I had to start incorporating other things in to continue to challenge my body. From a cardio perspective I actually started to run some at first on my own although it was more like a walk/run combo and then as I got a little faster I started going for runs with my sister.From a strength perspective I started looking at other dvd's I could incorporate and tried some of the Biggest Loser series and some from Jari Love.I found by training different parts of my body during the week, it allowed the parts I worked the day prior to recooperate and it also helped me to improve my overall fitness level.

To this day I still am trying different things to always keep my body guessing. I am focused on running currently because I have a couple longer races coming up over the next two months, but on the days that I don't run I have started to incorporate other forms of cardio when I'm at the gym such as biking and rowing.

From a strength perspective I do some freeweights at the gym, but because I like I make my morning workout more cardio focused and am sometimes pressed for time I tend to do my strength at home.
For those with an ondemand option on cable I have found a lot of good 20-30 minute workouts that really make you work and dont require a ton of equipment just a set of handweights. A few I currently have in my rotation are:

The Butt Bible:
This series incorporates both lower strength as well as upper body options too.

and there are a couple done by this trainer Marco Reed that are pretty good too. I especially like his 10 minute ab routine and his rock hard arm 20 minute session.

As my body adjusts to these I will still be investigating other ways to mix it up. So as you start or continue on your fitness journey keep in mind that by trying new things, this may just help you to stick with it, as you won't get bored, you will see better results , and will be working at increasing your overall fitness level.

So readers what have you been doing to mix things up?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Motivation and Accountability

To continue on the exercise topic from yesterday, I wanted to talk about motivation and accountability.

A lot of people ask me how I stay motivated to exercise. As of late I turn to exercise as a healthy form of stress relief. Being in sales, juggling the schedules of 4 kids, upcoming soccer coaching and whatever else life brings really can make things seem overwhelming. Exercise is the one thing that I know I have control of, and will help me to be able to tackle the rest of my day.

I recently took a sales training on being more productive. The instructor said that people fall into two categories either a starter or a finisher. I can tell you without hesitation that I'm definintely a starter and I have gotten into the habit of starting the day with a clear head by getting those exercise endorphins first thing. I even go to sleep most nights in my gym clothes for the next day so that Im not trying to find stuff in the morning and procrastinate. I also will make sure things are ready for the next day like the coffee set up , lunches made, and most of the time clothes laid out for the kids. This helps me to make sure that I am not cutting into my exercise time and that i get a good workout.

I especially love the days that I run. When the air is still cool and there are not a ton of people awake and moving about. The peace is something that really has helped me. Of course now that its not getting light until darker I am forced to head back to the gym more frequemtly. While I dont get the fresh air there are definitely benefits here too. Being comptetitve in nature when i see other people working out hard it definitely helps me to push myself a little bit more than if i was working out alone.

Not everyone is a starter of course, if you ask my husband I think he would definitely consider himself a finisher. He goes to the gym after the kids are in bed, is up late and generally is a lot more productive in the evening hours than I . Guess the point I'm trying to make is that you need to see what works best for you and get into a routine.

So once you have this routine how do you stick with it? For those who are facebook friends with me you will see me post most mornings with what I have done. A lot of my friends joke saying im crazy for running 8 miles before 8 am on a Saturday or signing up for all these races. Most of the feedback I received however has been positive. I have had quite a few people say I have inspired them to start exercising again. I am very happy to hear that as I always feel that I might be bordering on obnoxious. Posting on a site like facebook does a couple things for me. First it helps me to feel a sense of accomplishment as typically someone will give me a thumbs up or way to go and while small those little motivators make a huge difference. Secondly it holds me accountable as a lot of my friends are runners and are training for a race like I am. By logging our activity its almost like checking a box saying mission accomplished. Again different things motivate different people but this is what I found has worked for me.

So if there are people other than my family reading this while I start out here, what have you found to help you stay motivated and accountable?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I wasn't going to make a change with diet alone

Blogging during my team meeting last night just didnt happen so I wanted to continue my post from the other night. When I started food journaling on the my food diary site I noticed one thing, without exercise I basically would need to eat like a bird to be able to lose the weight that I wanted to. My calorie range I beleive was around 1500 calories. Now being almost 200 lbs at the time I would consume that sometimes before lunch so i knew I had to buy myself some more wiggle room if I was going to be able to stick with this.

In one of the forums on the site they were talking about using a heart rate monitor that tracked your calories. There are many different types the one I used was made by polar. This allowed me to see how many calories that I was burning with my exercise. Using a device like this i found to be more accurate because it was basing it off your heart rate versus just your age and weight like a lot of the cardio machines use.

At first my husband and I would just walk at the mall after dinner. Then as the weather got nicer we started walking outside. After a while I would walk faster and longer distances and eventuallly started to run with my younger sister. From there running just stuck.

Once I started running consistently, I started to sign up for races to stay motivated and have a goal to work towards. So far this year I have signed up for a local race each month to help me stay consistent with my running. I find that when i have something to train for I'm a lot less likely to blow off a workout then when i am just running recreationally. Below is a picture of my race bibs. I have these posted on the wall in my kitchen for two reasons

1) Seeing all the races that I've run shows me how far I've come and reminds me to stick with it.

2) Having these in the kitchen reminds me to make healthy food choices so that I can properly fuel my body for my next run.

My most recent race was the Cinga Elliott corporate challenge 5k in Manchester NH. My next race is a 10 miler on Labor day weekend and then my half marathon in Oct.  Here is a pic of everyone that ran and walked from my work during the challenge.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I've been doing

Ok so this is one of my better "before" pics. This was my husband Bob and I on our wedding day. My wedding gown was a size 14. Its funny to look at this picture now and I often think I should try on my dress to see how it fits now. Maybe someday soon I will.

This is a more recent after pic of me. The quality of the pic isnt the greatest as it was taken on my phone. So how did I get here.
My weight loss journey really started as a result of my husband having a heart scare a few years back. At that point I was probably closer to a 12.  I remember sitting in the hosptial listening to my husband's cardiologist who basically seemed like he was blaming me for my husband being there. I see now that he was trying to motivate me to start adding healthier choices but at the time I found him a little annoying.

So we met with the nutritionist and learned more on the balance of how many carb choices he should have, calorie intake, etc. Having to track everything seemed complicated to me so I looked around to see if there was a site that could help us .

I came across . This site not only helped track food intake but also helped us to track our daily exercise, water, etc. There were a lot of good forums on this board too. This site let us put in our weight and height and it calculated what a healthy weight would be and how many calories that we would need to eat to be able to lose a pound or two a week until we reached our goal. 

I will continue this post tomorrow. I need to get to bed as I have an early run planned then a drive to CT for a team meeting. Thanks for checking out my blog. Im hoping as time permits to get this looking a lot more professional.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So I decided to take a crack at this blog stuff

Hi there thanks for checking out my blog. I decided to start this because I have had a lot of people ask how I have lost over 50 lbs and been able to maintain it while working full time and taking care of four kids. I am glad to share what worked/ is working for me. I also want to use this area to keep myself accountable while training for my second half marathon.