Monday, May 21, 2012

Great Week

This has been a really great week in so many ways.  It hasn't been a great week for my house as it looks like a disaster but I've accomplished a lot.  We've decided to relocate to a town close by but with great schools.  This means I no longer will homeschool and since I'll finally have my degree I can get a job!  It's amazing all the changes that will happen this year. I love staying home with my kids and I wouldn't give this last year of homeschooling my son up for anything, but I've been out of the workforce now for 3.5 years and I'm ready to get back in it.

I think that this surgery has given me confidence that I can do what I want to do.  I can do it in exercise and weight loss but I can also take that confidence to other parts of my life.  

I started the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training this week. I looked for a  FREE training schedule that had different levels since I was starting so slow.  I read his program and felt it was doable. This week I ran over 13 miles!  On Sunday I did my "long" run of 4 miles and maintained my 15 min. pace over that 4 miles.  I ran/jogged over 3.25 miles of the 4 mile run.  I was really very proud of myself.  My breathing was good and my heart rate stayed manageable.  My breathing and heart rate is what really slowed me down in the 5k a couple weeks ago so I believe my cardiovascular endurance is improving.  Now, if I could just get my glutes and thighs to quit tightening up I think I'll be ok.  I've decided to incorporate Yoga into my weekly routine to try and help me become more flexible and escape injury.  I don't love it, my brain moves too fast and I get bored but I think overall it's best for my health so I'll keep doing it.

And now what you've all been waiting for (or at least that's what I tell myself), the weigh in:

Surgery Weight     Last Week     This Week               Total Lost Since Surgery (3/19/2012)
234.4                    201.0             197.6                       36.8 (in 9 weeks)

I'm pretty pleased with that.  I will write later this week about how I am struggling getting my nutrition correct with my exercise schedule.  I think it's going to take a while to get this right and I hope I don't do any lasting damage while I mess with it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Success and a Recipe

I finally made it under 200!

I'm so happy about this I could cry!  I believe the last time I was under 200 was early 2004.  BTW it takes some sort of coordinating to get this pic.  I couldn't do it while on the scale so I had to put camera down, get weighed, hop off quickly and snap pic before the number went away.  I hope you enjoy my hard work. ;)

On another note I made an AWESOME dinner last night.  I don't have any pics and really it wouldn't look like much anyway but I thought I'd share.


Serving size is 1/8 of Frittata
Calories 184 kcal
Carbs 4.2g
Fat 11.8g (these are healthy fats from the eggs and olive oil)
Protein 14g


8 eggs
.25 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1.5 cups shredded 2% cheese (of your choice I used Mexican because it's what I had)
.25 cup nonfat milk
1tbsp Olive Oil
1 sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
1 heirloom tomato

1) Dice onion, and add to med/high heat 12" pan while dicing the other 2.
2) Add bell pepper and tomato and turn heat to med.
3) Crack 8 eggs into large mixing bowl and add milk.  Whisk vigorously until a little bit frothy.
4) Add shredded cheese to egg mixture.
5) In the pan spread the onion mixture around pan to make a pretty solid base, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on it.
6) Add egg mixture to top of onions.  Wait 1-2 minutes until the bottom is set pretty well then turn heat down to low and cover.
7) Now from here it's sorta a guessing game,  you need to stay close to it as you don't want the bottom to burn (but you've put the onion mixture on the bottom which should give you some nice carmelization without burning the egg).  Sometimes I have to lift and move the egg a bit to get it to heat evenly or move the pan around.  It sorta depends on you, your pan and your stove.  So play with this a bit.

Another way is to take it from the stove and put it in the oven at 375 for about 10 min.  This works wonderful but my pan that can go in both broke so I'm stuck with stove only.

Once set cut into 8 pieces and ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Parmesan Crisps

Over on the Obesity Help VSG Forum there is a lot of talk about the Parmesan crisps.  Basically it's when you turn Parmesan cheese into a cracker like food delivering item.  I want to reiterate that I DID NOT come up with this idea.  I'm just putting it into a blog with steps to help those who haven't tried it yet.

Ingredients Needed:
Parmesan Cheese

Wow that's a short list!

Let's talk a little about what kind of Parmesan you need.  Do not buy the stuff off the shelf in the green can.  It won't work.  Now, because I'm lazy I don't buy the block and shred it myself.  I go to Wegmans (the best grocery store EVER) and buy their pre-shredded Parmigiano Reggiano.  The nutrition facts are (for 1tbsp - or one crisp) 20 calories, 0 carbs, and 2g protein.

Here's the process in pics (aren't you proud!):

1)  Add 1 Tbsp of Parmesan to a cookie sheet.  I use parchment paper with a bit of PAM sprayed on to help with any sticking issues.  PLEASE don't use wax paper, wax paper should never be heated because it's made with WAX!  Wax melts.  Wax paper is for things like, wrapping meat before putting it in the freezer.

2) Place in oven.  I heated the oven to 375 and put them in there for 5 min.  That wasn't quite enough time.  8-10 min is more like it.  This pic shows them coming out at 5 min. and you can see they aren't quite done.  I didn't get another pic when they came out done because you need to move pretty fast before they set and harden (like faster than I thought fast).

3) Ok, you have choices once they are out of the oven.  You can let them sit and harden and be more cracker like or you can shape them.  I don't like the easy way I decided to shape mine in a mini-muffin pan (the greatest thing ever for those of us with tiny tummies).  The first one was still a bit too hot and pulled a bit, but by the time I got to the last it had started to cool too much and I didn't get a good cup.  A second pair of hands here might be helpful.

4) Let them cool.  It doesn't take long, maybe 10 min. until they are hard and hold their shape.

5) Fill with whatever protein goodness you'd like.  I filled mine with lump crap salad (Old Bay seasoning and Miracle Whip Lite).  Please note the more wet your filling is the less time you should let it sit because it will turn your Parmesan crisp into a Parmesan limp and wilty.  (**I'd like to note that aesthetically this plate is much to white for me, but it's what I had.  I really feel like the filling should have color so I'm going to have to work on that**)

There ya have it.  Super easy and the skies the limit with what you might like to fill it with.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Arbitrary Goal Not Met

Remember a few weeks ago I said I wasn't going to get all caught up in the number on the scale?  I said what mattered is that I was doing the right things, exercising, eating properly, etc. . . Remember that?  Do you also remember that last week I said I wanted to be at 199 this week?  Well I didn't make it.  I'm at 201.0.

Part of me is upset that I didn't make it to 199 by the 8 week mark and the the rational part of me says, you ran a freakin' 5k this week, you've eaten right every single day, other than that I have absolutely NO control over what happens on that scale.

That rational part of me is right.  I can only do what I do and whatever actually controls the scale does the rest.  It also helped me look at my waist measurements.  When I started towards surgery in September my waist was at over 53" now it's hovering around 45".  That's no small feat.

So while this week feels like a loss, it's not.  I have to remember that I've lost 33 lbs in 8 weeks!  That my friends is nothing to scoff at.

***Note when I do hit 199 expect much rejoicing and pictures of scales, it's been around 8 years and I'm really ready to be out of the 200's.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Race Review - Preakness 5k

I finished my first 5k!  It was far from pretty but I did it.  I'd like to remind you before I show you pictures of me dying as I cross the finish line that I only had surgery 8 weeks ago (as of tomorrow).  So keep your expectations low.

Let's start with location.  This race is set at Pimlico Race-grounds in Baltimore, MD.  For those of you not into horse racing this is where the Preakness (the second leg of the Triple Crown) is held.  The grounds are located in a very not nice neighborhood.  You can tell by the look of the row houses that gentry used to live in the area, probably when the Preakness started to be held there in 1875, but now most houses need to be torn down and many are boarded up.  It's a shame because some of the houses used to be gorgeous.  The Pimlico grounds themselves were very nice and the staff was all wonderful.

I was not running this 5k alone.  A long time friend of mine, Mary, had already signed up for this race and when I mentioned I wanted to do one she recommended it.  She offered to run it with me, even though she's in good shape and can run it much quicker than I could.  So Mary, my family and I all met up at the grounds at around 9:45am for a 10:30am start.  One of the cool little extras at this race is your race bib.  It is colored to look like a jockey's shirt and you get a horse name.

That's me Proud Bear. I think it's sort of fitting as I'm shaped like a bear and I'm definitely proud that I finished this race!

After picking up our bibs, which went off without a hitch and pretty much no wait at all we headed to the obligatory porta potty line.  There was only 8 porta potties!  I will say though the line was long we had more than enough time to get through it.

Yet another awesome thing about this race is the start line is the actual horse gates.  Since we had plenty of time before the race was to begin we took our obligatory pics in the gates.  In case you had any doubt that's me on the left and my friend Mary on the right.

Doug O'Neil, the trainer of the Kentucky Derby winner, I'll Have Another, gave a little speech before the starting gun and his team actually ran the race.  I was really impressed that we got someone like that to start the race off.
And they're off!
It took Mary and I around a minute and a half to make it through the gate, but that's fine as it gave plenty of time for people to spread out.  This course is relatively flat.  Actually it's almost completely flat except for where you go through the tunnel back onto the infield of the track.  The hard part about this track is that almost half of it is run on the actual racetrack.  This is really neat because you are running where just a week later the horses will be running the Preakness, but it's not so cool because it's sand.  They did a pretty good job packing the sand for the humans but man my butt was screaming towards the end of the lap.  Another plus is there are furlong markers on the track.  Since I am not up to running the entire thing these were very helpful with my walk and run times.

After you run the track you pass through the horse staging area then out onto the street.  This is not a well publicized race so there's no screaming hoard of fans.  Mary and I did get the cops stopping traffic to yell for us though.  It's the little things.  You run back around the ground and come in through the front gate, and this is what you see:

Just gives you a little boost to head to the back and the TUNNEL OF DOOM. . . I only call it that because it's pretty steep going in AND coming out so you end up looking like this (the tunnel is behind us but so steep you can't really see it):

Notice how Mary has not broken a sweat yet?  I decided it was okay to hate her in that moment.  You come in on the far side of the track and have to run around the infield to the other side.  As we rounded the last corner I told Mary to do her thing and she took off (you can sorta see Mary taking off and me doing my version of running behind her).

  This is her crossing the finish line:

Is she grimacing?  Nope, looks like a damned gazelle to me, but that's okay I'm not a hater.  On the other hand this is what I look like:

Death is probably a good description.  I would like to say that I felt like my legs were moving at the speed of lightning, you can tell from the first picture that is NOT the case, but I thought I was booking it.  Now I'd like to point out that though the timer says over 45 minutes it took us a while to cross the start line so my actual time is less than that (more on official results later).

After finishing we headed to get our water and snacks.  I didn't get any snacks because they were all carb laden and I don't eat carbs!  But I sure appreciated the water.  By this time though there was a good breeze and it was rather warm.  Honestly, we couldn't have asked for better weather.  Off to get our Premium we went.  LOVED the premium, a beer stein with the race logo on it:

By this point I'm starting to feel alive again.  A beer is also included with the cross of the finish line and my husband (the great photographer for the day) was oh so kind enough to drink my beer for me.  He said it was great.

I've read about a lot of races that take forever to send out results.  Well they gave out awards at 11:30am and by 11:45 I had an email saying the following:

"Congratulations Heather  on finishing the Preakness 5K on May 12, 2012.  For your records, the weather that day was Sunny, 77 degrees with a 3 mph WNW Wind, and your given horse name is Proud Bear
Your overall finish place was 504 (out of 600), your age group finish place was 54 and your gender finish place was 302.  Your time of 44:55.01 gave you a 14:29 min/mile pace."

All in all I'm pretty happy with that.  I beat my goal of a 15 min. mile by more than 30 sec. and I was far from last.  It's only my first race of many to come and I know I'll only improve.  

On a completely different note, my lovely husband got me these flower for mothers day.
I LOVE them!
Happy Mom's Day to all you moms out there!

Friday, May 11, 2012

All Race Eve

On the eve of my first race (the 5k Preakness run) I thought I'd share a few things I've learned whilst running:

1) If you think, gosh I feel great; you are probably running way slower than you thought.  I forgot to charge my phone so couldn't keep track of my pace and thought I was doing fabulously, then realized when I got home I averaged a 17 min. mile for 3.5 miles.

2) It is nearly impossible (ok it's impossible) to listen to Staying Alive while running without doing the finger pointing thing.  To the people who passed me while I was doing said finger pointing I was not giving you the finger I promise.

3) Indestructible is the BEST song to listen to while you run!  I mean it's got a great beat and it talks about being indestructible.  Oh my you just want to kick the streets ass while you're running.

4) As slow as you may be, you are out there doing it.  I pass a fair few running while running on base and every single one has always said hi, and given that knowing "your part of the group" smile.  Even as a drag my ass around at an extremely slow pace.  I'm doing it and most people aren't that makes me proud of myself.

I'm sure I'll impart some more knowledge after my race.  Like the fact that scheduling your first race less than 8 weeks post surgery is not the smartest idea, but hey I think of it as an early Mom's Day gift to myself.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Exercise Physiologist

So as part of my surgeon's plan I need to see an exercise physiologist.  I met with Travis all the way back in October and then again today.  Today we did a two-fold visit.  First we did an hour and 20 min. workout.  20min. of cardio and an hour of weight/cross training.  My arms are dead and I imagine I will not be able to reach them over my head tomorrow.  After that we headed back to his office and did a full body composition test, again.  So now I get to share with you the before and after.

  10/3/2011 5/8/2012   Difference
Weight 254.6 205.5 49.1
Lean Muscle 119.8 106.8 13
BodyFat in lbs 134.8 98.7 36.1
BMI 42.4 34.2 8.2
Body Fat % 52.9 48 4.9

Now, of course we'd like to see the lean muscle mass never go down but that's almost impossible.  He's very happy with the number, especially the amount of fat lost.  According to his calculations my ideal weight is somewhere in the 135-140 range if I maintain this lean body mass.  I'm trying VERY hard to keep my muscles, I'm definitely going to ramp up the weights and kettlebells to two times a week for both and also continue on my cardio at 5x a week.  All in all I'm pretty happy with those numbers.  Of course I'd like to see the muscles up a bit higher but I'll deal with that the best I can.

As for my weigh-in yesterday that I missed; I weighed in at 203.2.  I'm pretty happy with that.  Now I just need to lose 3.3 lbs this week to ensure I make my completely arbitrary goal of 199 at 8 weeks out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Late Weigh-In and PICS!

Can you believe it's been 6 weeks since I had surgery?  Oh my goodness has time flown by.  It sure didn't feel like that the first two weeks but for at least the last 2 weeks I've felt "normal".  Well whatever this new normal is.  I weighed in yesterday at 206.2!  I'm pretty happy with that.  My original goal was to be at 199 by 1 June but now I think I can make it there by week 8.  6.3 lbs in 2 weeks.  I can do it!

I did a fair bit of exercise last week and tomorrow I plan to start Crossfit.  I'm a little bit scared (ok a lot scared) but I know this type of exercise (similar to a P90X style) I love and it'll make me sweat!  I'm really excited about what the coming weeks are going to bring.  It's already starting to get easier to exercise with the weight I've lost so far and I can feel that I have more energy.  On 600 calories a day that's no small thing.

Without further ado here are some side by side pics of the first 6 weeks of weight loss.  You can really see it in my face:

Hope you enjoy.  Have a fantastic day!