Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life Just keeps getting Better.....

Yes it does. Okay, so I lost another 2.2 pounds this week…..just doing what I do. It’s really not a struggle any more. I marvel every day how I can move around so much easier, climb up and down the ladder to water the screened in garden (where, btw, I have gloated over SLUGS each morning, worming their way over the screens, unable to get in..hehehe..maybe I was being too mean to the lizards, but we’ll see), carry buckets full of water, go to the gym, eat in my target calorie and WW range. None of it is hard. In fact, it’s easy.

It’s so nice to be feeling so great…I feel like I could lift those two bags of rice I’ve been carrying around. But, not quite yet… least I couldn’t press them a couple of sets. But, I can press these babies, and do lunges and pectoral whatever they’re called, and bicep curls. I am so excited..can you tell???

My 52K plan is going okay. I’m still doing the walk 2/jog 1, but it isn’t getting any easier and my heart just hates it! Okay, that might be too strong, but I just want my heart rate to stay where it’s supposed to. I’ll keep on with it, and appreciate that an hour of cardio is de rigeur these days, not a hard thing.

I’m off to Oregon pick berries!!!! I was planning on going to Hilo to see my friend Karla and see a very cool planetarium show with Pink Floyd music, but the plane tickets didn’t work out. I was kind of disappointed, so, my daughter told me the flights were open to Portland, so off I go again. I feel so so lucky to be able to do all this cool stuff. I’ll post pics. And eat lots of berries. Promise.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In the Jack Johnson Garden with the Lizards

I spent three hours this morning playing farmer. I have very little flat land around my house, so a few weeks ago I reclaimed a strip next to the carport side of my house. I cleared it of most of the weeds/bushes, and poisoned the rest. Then I set up a small brick enclosure to beef up some of the very clay soil by composting it. I figured, one step at a time while I was waiting for some of the more tenacious weeds to die, so I could do the same to more of that area.

There were a few challenges in this endeavor. One, there is no hose hookup on that side of the house. The hose from the other side of the carport reaches across the carport, but, did I mention this? The area I'm talking about is..hmmm...about 10-12 feet down, so I have to go down a ladder to work on things there. Lucky I am getting so strong again these days, because not only is that no problem, I actually kind of like it. Anyways, I had the brick enclosure done, but needed some more nourishing material to add. So, I had some mulch on another side of the house that I shoveled into buckets, brought the buckets up the stairs, and then down the ladder to the new compost pile.

Luckily the groundskeeper at my favorite beach has been saving the grass clippings for me, so I had bags and bags of that already. I dumped one or two huge bags of that in with the mulch, and mixed it together well. My brother says the grass clippings are great for adding nitrogen, so I think this is a good thing. Since then I've been adding all my fruit and vegetable cuttings, peelings, seeds, etc. And watering it. How, you asked? By using my dish water. Something I was shown in Green, Green Oregon. As soon as I figured out any fish or meat products need to be discarded first it has gone just fine. No smell.

Oh! And I think I forgot to mention that I picked up a half dozen buckets WITH Handles! On the side of the road on my way back from the beach a few weeks back. Empty laundry soap and kitty litter buckets from Costco, all nicely stacked up, with all the lids included. I so love this stuff! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! It's one of the reasons I fell in love with my last boyfriend..he always thought up the coolest ways to reuse things or rejuvenate them...but I digress....

Lately we have begun to get the most amazing cantaloupes here. Now, for those of you have never lived in or visited Hawaii, let me tell you that while the papayas, bananas, and mangoes, etc. are as delicious as you might imagine, the mainland fruit lacks flavor. Bigtime. Anyway, someone is now growing cantaloupes on the Ewa plain, and they are so so sweet, just like real cantaloupes! Needless to say I've been devouring them, and throwing the seeds into the compost.

Wellllll....some of the cantaloupe seeds began sprouting. I was very very excited, thinking Oh Boy! I'm gonna have my very own cantaloupes pretty soon. Well! Let me tell you, it's not so easy. Lately every time I get some new vegetable plant going pretty good, a few inches or so, I go down to my garden and one day....Bam! The stalk is bitten off. I've been trying to figure out who is doing it...slugs? birds? lizards? geckos? Well, it wasn't more than a few days than all the little cantaloupe plants were disappearing. I mean, they weren't even getting a few inches high. I was pissed!

So.......yesterday when I went down to water, I noticed what I thought was a dead lizard floating in the water bucket. I know, gross. But, it's not as bad as you think. Because, as soon as I tried to flick it out, it jumped out on its own. The little sucker was just cruising, using the bucket as a swimming pool. You know how I know this? Because a bunch of his buddies were having a party in the cantaloupe field! Well field is a grander name than it deserves, but it's my garden, so I'll call it that, okay?

Well, that answered that question. Now, what to do about it? For some reason my property seems to have more than its share of lizards, geckos, chameleons, etc. I've lived in Hawaii for 30 years, so I know what I'm talking about. There’re hundreds of them! Some of them are very pretty, a bright green with red spots. But the Party Boys weren't pretty - they were brown anoles (I think). And, just in case you're wondering, lizards can be carnivores, like geckos; herbivores; or even omnivores. Whoever they are, they loooooove their fruits and veggies. Good for them healthwise, not so good for me garden-wise.

Now, what to do about it? I remembered some old screen windows I had in one of the closets in the carport. Perfect! I laid them over the enclosure, and voila! Lizard Proof! I was so excited
about it, and kind of liked showing those Party Boys who’s Boss of This Garden, especially since they’d been making me think I was a really lousy gardener for the past month or so.

And, since I wanted to expand the garden space down there, I got the bright idea yesterday to go visit my screen man. I went both before and after my strengthtraining class, and had to wait a while, but it was worth it. He gave me three big screen windows he’d just replaced. So, this morning I built another enclosure, this one out of bamboo on the long sides, and brick on the ends. Needed to beef up the soil there, too. Still had plenty of grass, Thank You Groundskeeper, Lady! I’m gonna have to bring her a cantaloupe or two. But, I was pretty much out of mulch, so luckily the greenwaste dump is just a few miles from my house. So, I lined up my new buckets in the back of my truck and went there for free mulch.

Three hours later, and no idea how many trips up and down the ladder, not to mention a little shoveling and watering, and 1032 calories burned, I now have two new garden enclosures, screened on top.

Let’s review the reused/recycled items used, not dumped in a landfill;
6 buckets
25 bricks or so
4 Window screens
Bamboo poles

And natural resources reclaimed for another go around;
6 buckets of mulch (not much, but I just wasn’t up for shoveling a truckful today)
Probably 50 pounds of grass clippings
Gallons and gallons of water
Cantaloupe seeds and other veggie/fruit debris

After all of that I treated myself to a fun Goldilocks hour at Kalama’s – waves 2-4 and coming up. Woo Hoo! Life is Grand!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

10% Down, 20% To Go

Just a quick entry to mark my progress. I’m under 180 pounds!!!! I’ve lost that first 10%. This is just surprising the heck out of me. Getting fit and healthy hasn’t been painful, it’s been fun. Just like I wanted it to be. Well, truthfully there have been some sore muscles occasionally, and just a few times when I felt hungry. But those times are rare and well worth the way I’m feeling these days. Full of energy, happy!

I’ve been to three weightlifting classes so far and one of the instructors, Amber, helped me with my form on the lunges yesterday. I also wore some old workout pants I used to wear when I was thin a few years back. With a big T-shirt over them I looked pretty okay. Better than when I wear my old baggy work out capris, which is what I wear most days to the gym. Pretty soon I’ll post some more pics.

Looks like I have a chance of making my next mini goal of being 175 pounds by my birthday, my old top weight and where I was prior to quitting smoking. Anyways, I’m just gonna keep on doing what I’ve been doing because it’s working. I’m hoping the weightlifting class will help build more muscle so maybe I’ll burn more calories per day and also start looking leaner. I still feel fat, but have just under 5 pounds to go to being just overweight and not in the obese category.
Getting there…step by step.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stepping It Up

No cool pictures to share right now. But, I wanted to update my fitness program efforts. I’ve been focusing on increasing my pace on the treadmill and adding some strength training. I finally reached 3.0 walking/4.0 jogging with my heart rate happy about it. So, yesterday I moved up to Week Three of my 5K training plan. Who knows if I’ll ever actually run a 5K, but it gives me some guideline to follow in how to improve my fitness level. Week Three is walking for two minutes, jogging for one for 24-30 minutes.

Yesterday I did that and more. After my bike experience on the hills of Kauai last weekend I realized my heart needs to get more used to inclines. I mean, I do random hill stationary bike riding, but it obviously needs more. So, after the 30 minutes of Week Three, I did 15 minutes of increasing the incline every three minutes, from 0-2.5. I think I may try doing all of my treadwork on at least a level 1 incline. See what happens.

I ventured into the World of Machines again this week, too. But, I feel so stupid trying to figure out how to adjust the machines and then how to use them properly. I tried one for pectorals, since I am a woman of a certain age whose girls have recently, and only recently, decided to start creeping south. Well, I followed the instructions, adjusted the seat and the weight, and then tried to release the arm things with the foot lever, as it said to do, then put my feet where they were supposed to go, and then couldn’t figure out which way I was supposed to grip the hand thingies and which way I was supposed to move them. I tried a few different approaches, and then gave up. Next time I’ll try a machine with fewer moving parts. And I might even remember to bring the notes I made when Beth, the nice trainer, showed me how to use some of them.

It IS intimidating, though, walking between all the different machines with obviously experienced users, peering at the instructions, trying to see what they’re for and how to use them. I spend some time on the bike watching other people use them, but more than a few times people have looked at me, like, “What are you staring at?” I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

So, since I really, really do want to add strength training to my program, I took two, not one, but two, strength training classes this week. One was pretty much strictly weight training, the other, this morning was kind of a combined weightlifting/cardio class, with emphasis on weights. Kicked my butt! Lots of lunges and squats and Step moves. My knees and thighs are soooooo sore. Besides the obvious benefit of these classes, people were really nice and welcoming. Someone in each class offered me equipment I needed. Many levels of fitness in each class. That’s something that has really surprised me going to the gym. As the treadmiller next to me replied after I told him I want to be just like him when I grow up, running more than walking, “At least you’re here. That’s the main thing, right?” And for now, it is.

Had some fun yesterday with my daughter Pua and her boyfriend. They were going to hike the Waimano Ridge Trail, but it was too rainy. I was considering going with them, but it’s 14 miles roundtrip and I’m not sure I could keep up yet. Soon, but maybe not yet.

Instead, we went to Kalama’s and played around in the waves. There was a big wind swell, just like the one when I broke my ribs, so I didn’t take my board in, but had fun diving under, and jumping and swimming over the waves. Pua and Ale both caught a few waves that looked really fast and really fun. I also made my favorite turkey/LCLW/veggie/kim chee sandwiches for them for lunch, and then boca burgers for a snack before they headed out. Nice that they’re eating healthy these days too. So far a fun weekend. Not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, but I think I probably should go to Costco and replenish supplies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

All I Have to Say Is... sure is fun at times. Another absolutely wonderful weekend. What is this??? Two amazing weekends in a row???!!! Yeppers.

So, life on Kauai is more laid back than on Oahu. But no less exciting. Maybe even more so. I got to meet my good good friend John’s new girlfriend. Well, actually they’ve been dating for a year and she moved in about two months ago. John’s been kind of hibernating lately. Now I know what he was up to. I fell in love with her too. Meet Sue and John.
I can’t tell you how happy I am for John…and Sue of course. We had a blast together and they’ve restored my faith in love is possible after a certain age. Sue turned me on to a good book, “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships”, by John Welwood, which I started and have to order online. It’s about something similar in subject and combines the psychological with the spiritual. Right up my alley.

Okay, back to the exciting. Not that John and Sue’s love isn’t. Because it is. Very. On Saturday I got to meet not only Sue, but also one of my Sparkbuddies, Carol. We went to Mahalapu, a beach and fishing spot. We had a great lunch, sandwiches Sue made and lots of portioned out veggies and fruit that Carol had packed. Yummy! Thanks, Carol!!!! She also turned me on to some low calorie and fat chips that are available here. Carol always has great suggestions, recipes, and tips. I haven’t shown her the pics yet, so I’m not going to post any of her until she gives the okay. I don’t like the one pic I got of her and I so I am definitely not going to post that! But…we had a great hike along the cliffs and she showed us some cool stuff, like the “Marilyn Monroe” vent that shoots up air from the ocean’s power about 20 feet below, and the “dancing sands” vents…hard to describe, but very cool.

All in all we had a great time, ending with a swim in the ocean to cool off. Here’s a pic of John and Sue on the beach. I love Sue. I guess she forgot her suit, so she stripped down to her undies and tank top and announced that she was wearing her “new white look like undies but not” swimsuit….lol..gotta love her. John made some delish poke stir fry after Sue and I went to the store….where tomatoes were almost $5.00 a pound!!!!! Yikes! Good thing Sue is growing tomatoes, lettuce and basil at their house.

Okay, on to the most exciting part of the weekend. John and I went on a bike ride to a waterfall Sunday morning while Sue was with her parents. It was 8.3 miles roundtrip, and there were hills. Lots of them!!!! I remember thinking a few times, “What goes down must come up.” Okay, I tried to add the route with elevations but MapMyRide is being ornery. If I ever get it to save anything I will post it. But, it showed the elevations were over 300 ft. Maybe more. Now, this is the first bike ride I’ve been on outside of the gym since I last visited John almost two years ago. That time we had fun, but had to turn around when I looked (and felt) like I was going to have a heart attack trying to go up a really steep hill. This time, which was a different ride, I made it all the way, even though I had to get off and walk my bike a few times.

I felt so good this time, and almost like a real bicyclist, wearing a helmet and riding Sue’s bike. I didn’t listen to myself and bring my camera, or you’d see how real I looked. That won’t happen again, I promise. But, John took me back today to take pics. Here are a few pics of the road and of the path to the pond where people were jumping off the rocks above and swinging off the tire swing.

On the way back I was pushing myself too hard I guess, because when I stopped and John looked really concerned, I took my pulse and it was over 200. Not good. But, it went down quickly and I went on. Did I mention that John is a really really good friend? Stopping or slowing down next to me when I needed to, even though he was often practicing his wheelies behind my back?

Anyways, after the bike ride and walk to the falls, we showered, had a quick lunch, and then went to Nawiliwili Harbor where John volunteers as a sail instructor on Sundays. We all went out on Lasers. It was okay, but kind of cramped and not very fast. I think my sailing days are done. I spent quite a few years when I was younger sailing Hobie cats, which are really fun and fast, and then our 36 foot yawl, but it’s lost its allure.

Then we went out for margaritas and dinner for John’s birthday. That was fun and I let myself eat much more than I have for the past few months. Mostly salad bar, but that included potato and Caesar salad and cole slaw. Waaaay too much fat and mayo, but I figured I’d already burned it all off earlier. Then for dessert we had an apple crisp Sue had made, and that we’d sampled the night before. Absolutely delicious!!!! My one concession there was nonfat vanilla yogurt instead of ice cream.

So, that wraps it up. I think I’m okay on the weight this week. We’ll see on Wednesday. Back to the gym tomorrow. I need to do some treadmill to keep my pace for the C25K progress. And definitely some more bike. Gotta be ready for my next trip to Kauai and those hills.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dancing My Butt Off

My trip to Portland was everything I hoped it would be and more. Remember last week when I described what my perfect day there would be like? Well, I had more than one of those. One day I took a walk around the neighborhood where I was staying with my host’s 8 year old son. Nice paths bordering a holly farm and blackberry bushes everywhere! I really want to go pick blackberries later this summer. Maybe back to Oregon, maybe in California. Another day we took a walk at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. Mostly paved, but with some unpaved loop offshoots. I got to be amidst tall, tall, very green trees...with moss. I love moss so much from when I used to spend hours and hours out in the woods that I gave my oldest son that as a middle name. Silly, yeah?

After mornings out enjoying the natural beauty of the Portland area, and there really is a lot of that, we went to the Waterfront Blues Fest. Nothing brings an all day smile to my face like being at a music fest. So much good music – too many artists to name. But Eric Lindell and Paul Thorn were great for sure. The highlights for me were the ones I thought they would be. Rosie Ledet, billed as The Zydeco Sweetheart. And that she is. She played twice on Saturday. The band was hot, full of good time energy, and there was a dance floor where more than half the people were dancing zydeco style. There’s a Cascade Zydeco dance club in Portland that teaches zydeco. Wish we had one of them here. I so want to learn how to zydeco dance. It looks so fun. Anyways, there was plenty of room for everyone to dance, zydeco or not.

And dance I did, for hours. It makes me so happy that I can do that again. After just a few months of this getting healthy focus and I have so much more energy. It’s the best! On Sunday, the highlight for me was James Hunter, the British soul musician. I admit to having a little crush on him. His voice is just so silky, and his band is smoooooth. Two saxes, which always gets me. They did some moves that cracked me up. I highly recommend catching their show if you get a chance. Did I mention my crush?

One of the things that is always an issue for me when I go to these music fests is what to wear for shoes, since for many years I only wore slippers (flip flops) or heeled sandals for going out. Recently I added Crocs to my repertoire, and wonder of wonders! Sneaks for the gym. I like to look cutish, but comfort is a big factor since 8-10 hours of walking between stages and hard core boogieing with only occasional sit-downs can take a toll. I found some pretty comfortable and okay looking shoes before I went, so I was good until late Saturday night, after dancing on a slope for about two hours. I all of a sudden had a blister. Blisters are not good. I had also smartened up by Saturday and taped the toe that has been giving me trouble lately on the tread, because of jamming it last year. Anyway, long story short, by Sunday my feet were toast. Most of the day I went barefoot. Eewww!!!! And wore my crocs when I had to. They did shine up pretty nice with ArmorAll though. But you know what? By then I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was hear more music and dance.

I was kind of nervous about keeping to my plan in terms of eating and exercise. I think we’ve covered the exercise part fine, now on to the food. I brought a little notebook with me to write down everything I ate, since I wasn’t going to be able to log my food online. That worked out so well, kept me conscious of what I was eating. I had some fruit and a fat free yogurt each morning. Then we brought food with us – more fruit, one day steak, the other chicken, and brown rice mixed with yellow split peas and seeds, and salad. And drinks. Lots of water, and a little happy hour beverages. Each day I bought one plate of a different food to share with my friend, so I could sample some of the good looking food there. That worked out really well, too. A few bites and I was satisfied.

So, the end result of my first vacation of this Getting Healthy journey? Lots and lots of fun, and a 1.8 pound loss! My goal was just to hold steady, so I am a very happy girl. This weekend I’m off to Kauai for my friend John’s birthday and hopefully will get to spend some fun outdoor time with a SparkPeople friend, KauaiCarolanne. John teaches sailing on Sunday afternoons, so I’ll get to play bumper boats on a Laser. This oughta be good…..lucky I can swim.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back to the Numbers

Okay, so after last week’s weigh-in, I was whining about the numbers not adding up. Today I’m singing a completely different tune. Based on the scientific formula of What I eat – What it takes to keep my body alive – How frickin’ hard I’m working out = What the Scale Should Say, I should have lost 2.95 pounds. Again, it wasn’t exact, but I lost another 2.4 pounds!!!

I’m totally happy with that, because it means that I’ve lost 15 pounds and I’m ¼ of the way to my goal weight! Really, once I got serious, and smarter, about it, it hasn’t taken long. Thanks for all the tips, Michelle, you trigirl, you! And for the very useful info and trackers, SparkPeople! Also, I was trying to hit 185 by the time I went to Portland, so since it has 185 in it, I’ll take it.

I also measured myself today, because I decided I’d do that on my first weigh-in of each month. And, you won’t believe this, because I couldn’t, and I’m living in this body, I trimmed 11.5 inches off my body! In one month!!!!! And that includes a .5 gain in my thigh measurement. I’m not sure what that’s about, but can only guess it is pure muscle underneath that outer fat layer, and when I measured before I was more squishy, so maybe the tape kind of sunk in a little? But, 11.5 Inches!!!! Which brings me to a little dilemma.

Clothes. That fit. I’ve been noticing that my pants are all loose. In fact, most of them I can take off without unzipping them. Yep, they slide right off my hips. But, most of my next size skinnier clothes are still too tight. Except my favorite shorts. Those fit again!!!! I don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of new clothes I’ll only wear for a month or so, but I wanted to look good in Portland. So, after much mind debate I decided to buy one new pair of shorts, a few tops, and just let the rest hang where they may.

So, one more really cool thing this week. I’ve really been eyeing the weight machines while I pedal away on the bikes at the gym, trying to see how people adjust things. When I’m on the treadmill I can’t think of anything except what I’m doing. Oh! Another cool thing! I’m up to a Walk 3.0/Jog 3.9 pace on the tread, so hopefully I’ll be able to move on to Week 3 of my 5K running plan soon.

Anyway, back to the strength training. After my cardio the other day, I saw there was a weight training class in session so I was watching that, and turned to an employee that was nearby and asked him about the class. I told him I was wanting to add some strength training to my program, but didn’t know how to use the machines. He turned out to be the Fitness Manager of the club, and asked hadn’t I been given a complimentary orientation when I joined. I told him I had, but was told we didn’t have time to try any machines during it. Remember the TFH??? I didn’t offer it, but he asked, so I did tell him her name. Anyways…..he scheduled another orientation for me for next week. Yeah!!!! I’m going to be doing some strength training!!! I’m so excited. I thought it was better to wait till after my trip in case I get really sore. That, plus I think I’m going to try that weight training class soon. This how they described it; "24LIFT™:
One of our most popular classes, this highly efficient, full-body 24 Hour Fitness signature workout utilizes barbells and hand weights to strengthen and sculpt all muscle groups. " Sounds good to me.

Over and out. Time to make my smoothie, make banana bread to take with me, pack, and get to the gym. And then tomorrow I'm off to boogie with that cutie, James Hunter, and that hot cajun mama, Rosie Ledet. Woo Hoo! Update: A little change in plans due to puter not liking BlogSpot all of a sudden. Already made the banana bread, and I'm going to the beach instead. Looks like there might be some waves.