Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's that time of the month

NO!!.... not that time of month....

But, it is time for #amerryworkoutpledge! This was started a few months ago from Mary from A Merry Life and her need for a kick in the pants, well turns out that other bloggers joined in and became a pledge of sorts. That every month we pledge to do a sizeable workout at the end of the month.

Well I'm offering my blog up to host this month's installment of #amerryworkoutpledge as I can really use the motivation to get my behind to the gym. This will be my third month of participating (I missed the inaugural #amerryworkoutpledge).

What I need you lovely readers to do, is comment here on this post. 30 seconds will be added for every comment between now (8am) and 3pm EST. I will then post on twitter the total amount of time that was "pledged" Anyone that wants to participate and pledge can, let me know here! Also include your twitter handle, as we usually tweet while working out. You can do whatever you'd like, so long as you are moving! If the time is too much to do at once, then you can break it up into smaller sections. The biggest point is that you are moving.

After you complete the pledge, if you do a post pledge blog post, let me know, I'll link it on mine!

So there you go, I am opening up the floodgates, comment away! I dare ya!

**UPDATE** we are going through till tomorrow morning; 8am EST - I need to do more than a minute of cardio.... 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Krazy Katie

This has nothing to do with weight loss or anything, but the title of my blog is "Life by Cassie" and well, my dog is part of my life. 

So Kerri posted about what her funny cat does with food. It got me thinking about a video I took of Katie (my parent's dog) and how she eats. As long as we've had Katie (12 years) she's always done this... she's actually rubbed her nose to the point of bleeding, which is now why her food resides where it does now.

Although she didn't eat in this picture, when she does eat, she only eats a few bits of kibble at a time... and always takes it out of the dog dish, hence why there is a random bit of kibble in her water dish. 


Friday, June 25, 2010

Self Defense

When I was in college, one thing that everyone told me was to be aware of my surroundings. As a young woman, I was marked as a "easy target" of predators.

The UNH Police department gave us all sorts of tips when it came to protecting ourselves, travel in groups/buddy, walk on well lit/marked paths, don't be distracted by cell phones, we even had a whistle they gave out! (we called it our rape whistle). UNH does a really great job of protection, they even offer a escort service (sounds so dirty) but it's a number you can call and someone will come out and meet you and either give you a ride or walk with you back to your dorm. I thought it was really a neat idea.

Well on my floor of my dorm, freshman year, we once did a floor social on the topic of self defense and how to protect yourself should you be attacked. I thought it was really neat and the lessons/moves I learned still stick with me to this day.

I think that if I lived in a city, where walking is the primary mode of transportation, I would consider taking another class or consider the DVD on self defense to "brush up" on some skills. I am sure that not much has changed, but a new and fresh perspective on the subject could be refreshing.

This is a sponsored post. The views and opinions expressed in this post are mine. To view my disclosure policy, click here.

Do I stay or should I go?

Well I'm now at a crossroads, my friend informed me that she (as well as my other friend) dropped Weight Watchers. Now I'm all alone! The last time this happened we both dropped Weight Watchers at the same time and the weight just came right back on with me. She said that she would like to continue talking about weight loss, and kind of keeping tabs on one another. She wants to e-mail me her weight each week, like a weight in of sorts.

I'm obviously going to support her decision, but now I've got one to make of my own. Do I continue with Weight Watchers or do I leave the program to continue on my own? I enjoy the meetings, but lets be honest, I don't track my food as I should. I could save some money and use SparkPeople or another food tracking program if I wanted to. I like the tips and tricks, recipes... but I can get them from blogs or other outlets.

I did just purchase the Gruve, I'm excited to see if that helps me move more and burn more calories. I am hoping to do a review here once I get a few uses in with it.

Basically what I'm doing here people, is asking for help..... or an opinion or input.... HELP!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Work in Progress

Tony from The Anti-Jared posed a question today that got me thinking about my journey. He simply asked, what do you do for a living?

I simply answered: I'm a fire/EMS emergency dispatcher.

But then it got me thinking about my job and my weight struggle. So let me give you all a little back story.

My dad was a firefighter. I grew up in the town that he worked in, my dad was (and still is) my hero. He helped many people. He was an ultimate example for my brother and I growing up. Everyone in town respected him. I also couldn't get away with ANYTHING without him knowing. But my brother can attest to that better than I.

The fire service was in my blood. I enjoyed helping people. I went to college and got a degree in business administration, I went to work in the hotel industry in human resources. I loved helping people, but the hotel/hospitality industry wasn't for me. I then went to work in healthcare, working as a front line employee for HCA, which is a large business with locations all over the country. I figured it was a step in the right direction and I was still helping people with something very important to them; their health.

I then got the call from the fire chief, a position had opened up to serve as a Fire Alarm Operator (fancy job title, basically Fire/EMS emergency dispatcher) I had tested previously and was at the top of the list now. I thought about it, was it what I wanted? Could I be happy with my career there? I wasn't going to make fistfuls of money, but the potential to make a difference was great. My dad, having retired from the force only a few years before, was thrilled to hear about the opportunity, I didn't want to let him down, but it had to be my decision.

I obviously, accepted the position, and in September it will be 4 years that I've been with the department. I love my job, I love helping people, especially in their most dire time of need. I've been introduced into a world I never would have imagined I would have been in, but I'm enjoying my time here. My dad is thrilled that I work for the same department/town that he did. I work with several guys who worked with my dad, they all remember me as a little girl.

I still work for HCA, per diem, they were so good to me, and in this economy, the extra money helps.

So that is a little ditty about my employment history. My weight problems grew out of control my first two years of being employed at the fire department. I gained 50 pounds in the first two years. I was so embarrassed that I let it get so out of control. I went from a doctor's office setting where I was running around looking for charts and talking to patients/doctors; to sitting at a desk and answering a phone and talking on a radio. The long shifts didn't help either it took me about two years to get used to the schedule of shift work (days and nights).

Last year at my yearly physical my doctor and I had a heart to heart, and she didn't sugar coat it at all, 50 pounds in 2 years is a lot of weight to gain and puts a lot of stress on your body that was already taxed from being obese my whole life. Thankfully, I was young(er) and if I could work hard and take the weight off, my body should recover.

I joined Weight Watchers with some friends in October and although I am still trying to loose that 50+ pounds, I am more aware of what I am doing and the changes I need to make in my job environment.

I work some long shifts, up to 38 hours straight, which can be quite a strain on your body alone, but complicate that with trying to plan for food and exercise, is tough. When I'm working a long stretch, I tend to focus more on the food aspect rather than the exercise. I can't really work out, since I am in a uniform and I still have to be able to do my job. But I can walk laps around the apparatus bay, it's better than just sitting on my ass all day. Instead of bringing water bottles to work, I can walk up the stairs to the kitchen and refill my water bottle throughout the day.

Food wise I try to plan as best as I can. However working in a field were emergencies are a way of life, it's hard to plan accordingly (ummm, can you have your house fire at 3:00pm so I can have my snack before hand?) it just doesn't work like that. I've always been told, eat and pee when you can, you don't know when you'll get the chance to do it again. So you're eating not when your hungry, but out of a time constraint. Thankfully in my office we have a small dorm fridge and a microwave, so I do have the ability to store and heat food up here. And I do have some stashes in my locker for the occasions that I get stuck at work.

Pre-planning really helps out and a lot of what I do now, I learned from trial and error, learning from my successes and failures.

I'm pretty thrilled with the changes I've made so far, I knew that my work environment was going to be one of the hardest to change in my quest for a healthy lifestyle, I spend a large majority of my time/life there. But it's a work in progress, just like me.

What environment are you most concerned about when it comes to your weight loss journey?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The weigh in that wasn't and looking ahead

Well I didn't weigh in "officially" yesterday, a friend of mine had a childcare issue and asked me to help out. Since I was off from work, I didn't mind helping out. But I wasn't able to weigh in like usual. But it's ok, I still have plans to formally weigh in this week.

However, I did weigh in at my home scale today 287.2. Given my slip up back into the 290's last week, this is movement in a positive direction. I feel like I have a better handle on the situation and I am more aware and present in my situation and my goals in this journey.

Today is also my birthday. I am 28 years old today. I also wanted to weigh in today, because I wanted to have a starting point for my goals for the next year.

I will not be 287 next year... nor will I be greater than. I want to get better and faster at running and better my times. I want to make more time for me.

I still have the goal when I turn 30 to go sky diving. I need to be under 250 if that goal is going to be attainable.

Will I indulge today, yes, it's a special occasion, and food is involved. I plan on having some Chinese food (my fav) and maybe a slice of ice cream cake. But I have NO intentions of eating to the point of puking like I have in the past. Today, is about practicing what I've learned and using it in a real world scenario. No more birthday celebrations that last all week, its about one day. Tomorrow life can resume to normal. In fact I am actually at work today, and there is a distinct possibility that I may get ordered in to stay tonight as well!

Every year I've always treated myself to something nice or bought a gift for my birthday, this year, I am giving myself the gift of health and the continued drive to be better and be the person I see on the inside.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Practicing Safe Sun! (Review)

I was graciously given the opportunity to review Neutrogena's UltraSheer® Liquid Daily Sunblock. Being fair skinned and blond, I can develop a burn just looking at the sun; so I am constantly on the search for new products that protect me against the sun. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to try something new.

I've used Neutrogena in the past, I love how their product doesn't clog pores. I find that it works great on my skin as I am prone to break out when I use greasy products. I am happy to report that Neurtogena's latest product (UltraSheer® Liquid Daily Sunblock) follows the trend.

I received SPF 70 with helioplex broad spectrum uva-uvb protection. Which helps protect skin from the harmful and skin-aging rays from the sun.

What I love about this product is that it's a liquid and really light and when you apply it to your skin it barely feels like it's there.

I love that it's waterproof and sweatproof, which is ideal for me, since when I am working at the barn, I tend to sweat.

As far as protection, well, I didn't get burned after being out in the sun for a couple of hours. I would recommend that if you are looking for a facial or sensitive skin sun block, that you check out Neutrogena's UltraSheer® Liquid Daily Sunblock. Especially if you are prone to acne breakouts and you don't want something that's heavy and tough to work in. 


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weigh-In Suckage

Wow... I knew the weigh-in was going to suck, but I didn't think it would suck that much....

I gained 4.2 pounds. Holy Moly... that was WAY too much of a weekend indulgence and not tracking. Now, in the last week of the friendly competition with DBF, I've got to bust my hump and loose at least 6 pounds to even come close to beating him, and that will take a small miracle.

I'm really upset with myself that I am letting myself down and fell off the wagon. I am the queen of excuses about why I gained weight (that time of the month, weighing in on a different day and time, etc.) but at the end of the day, it's about the choices I make. And obviously I didn't make any smart choices recently. I haven't been in control of my life and I haven't been focused on my healthy lifestyle changes.

At least I can now accept my choices that I did make, and move on, the past is in the past, I can only learn from my mistakes and move forward and learn to make better choices. I don't want to go back to the 313 I was before, I was miserable then. And I won't go back. Because I am in control of my destiny and I am not destined to be fat!

On that note, I cleaned the apartment today, and busted my hump, I was working up a sweat! I wanted to get to the gym, but it wasn't going to happen between all the cleaning and making it in time for weigh-in, so I made sure I got a good workout by cleaning. I was so happy to see that all my sweat and energy paid off in a nice and clean apartment.

Tomorrow, I am playing in my first ever golf tournament. Dad convinced me to join him to complete his foursome with a few of his retired friends. Should be fun. I've never played an actual game of golf in my life....should be interesting, at least funny!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time to pack up the home scale?

So I have 8 days left in the mini competition with my DBF (highest percentage lost over a 2 month period), and he's being very sneaky about his weigh in's and I don't remember what he started at....So it's really going to be interesting. For me, I started at 291 and I haven't done much since.

That is really irritating me. Not only am I paying money for Weight Watchers every month, but also a gym and zumba classes. My head is not in the game. And I need it to be. I still have a long way to go on my journey and I am not ready to detour off the path.

I've had some accomplishments like NSV (non scale victories) and my first 5k, but I still am struggling with the scale.

I weigh myself almost every day and I think that is part of my problem. If I see that I am having a "good" day, then I take it easy, it's when I have bad days that I either throw up my hands and say forget it, or I focus on the day. So 2 out of the 3 scenarios are bad (for me).

I am beginning to think that I am not going to weigh in every day. And use Weight Watchers as my scale day. It would be my hope that with not knowing how I am doing everyday, that I will be more consistent in how I manage my day to day. I guess I am willing to try it for a month or so and see how it goes. However, I would appreciate any input on the subject. (please some smack me and wake me up!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Soda Free Summer Challenge!

The Boston Public Health Commission came out with a new initiative that really struck a cord with me. A pledge for a Soda-Free Summer! The challenge begins on June 21st and ends on September 6th.

For me personally, when I started my healthy lifestyle change back in October, I cut out most soda and allowed myself to have it on occasions, but I think that it would be a great idea to focus on cutting it out for an entire summer! I typically would only drink soda while dining out or using it to mix in my adult beverages. I guess I'll be looking for some new summer beverages to enjoy!

There are so many health benefits to not drinking soda; they are really a waste of calories anyways. And who knows, if I can go a whole summer without drinking soda, then perhaps I can kick the habit all together.

Won't you take the challenge with me?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Non-Scale Victory!

I just had to share with you all. I had a great NSV today.

My new car... my 2009 Jeep Patriot that should NOT be having any problems, had problems. The roof leaks, through my map light. Long story, shorten, I had to bring it in for service to my local Jeep dealership. Now with the economic downturn of last year, the dealership I bought it from was no longer in the Jeep business, so I had to go to a different one.

So while I am checking my car in with the service department, I asked the kind individual how long it would take, he said that it would be a few hours. Seesh! I didn't want to waste it just sitting there in the waiting room reading the book I brought. So I said to myself, self, the gym is a little over a half a mile walk from the dealership, why not go get a workout in?

And that is exactly what I did. I walked the 0.7 miles to the gym, had a good hour and 20 minute workout, did a mix of cardio and some weight training (cuz weights are for girls!). I didn't even really look at the time when the dealership called and said my car was ready. So then it was a quick walk back to the dealership and I was on my way. All in all it was that errand was less than 2 hours. And in that 2 hours, I feel like I got so much accomplished since I didn't sit on my duff and read, instead I went to the gym and got a fantastic workout in.

I was super proud of myself for this non-scale victory. I can see that these changes are not temporary, but they are lifetime changes.

I am hopefully going to be weighing in tomorrow, not sure how it's going to go, it's tough to get a rough estimate when I am working the night shift the night before a weigh in. But DBF is taking me to Rhode Island this weekend and I really just don't have the time at any other point this week. I will already be two days late due to my crazy work schedule. Oh well, I hope to be back to a somewhat normal schedule for next week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First 5K in the books!

Wow. Long time no post! I hope my awesome readers haven't left me! Sorry. June in general is very busy for me, not only is it the start of the summer season (I work for a fire department at a summer tourist town), but I also have 3 birthdays in my immediate family (stepmom, dad and myself!). In general it's also busy because it's the first full month of nice weather and everyone wants to do cook-outs and get togethers. So in general, it's busy.

I also forgot on purpose to post about my weigh in from last week. Needless to say it wasn't good and I was up 2 pounds. I've been in the 280's for about 2 months now. It's really time to break through. I didn't meet my 10% goal by the end of May, which totally sucks and my mood was really miserable. Until this past Sunday that is... and my first 5k!

I was hoping for good weather on Sunday. I am the type of person who could justify anything so it raining on the day of my 5k would be enough for me to say "eff it" and go back to bed. I begged on twitter for any suggestions about running in bad weather... you could hear crickets, it was so quiet. I woke up Sunday morning to the sounds of rain. It was pouring and from the looks of the radar it wasn't going to let up. So I was killing time and checking up on my facebook and twitter; anything that would distract me from the rain and running. Finally it was 8:30am and it was time to make a decision. I got in the car and went. It was raining harder the closer I got to the town of the race. It was about a 40 minute drive. By the time I found a spot to park (in Newmarket) the rain had for the most part, stopped. So I went to check in and get my number thing, t-shirt and the monitoring band for the time. Since I was already dressed and I had some time to kill, I walked back to my car to ditch the t-shirt and my windbreaker. The skies had cleared up and I was going to run without the windbreaker.

I then emptied my bladder, since I didn't know what to expect and the lines were fairly short at the moment, I still had about 20 minutes to go. After peeing, I stretched for a bit (everyone else was doing it, seemed like the cool thing to do) other people were jumping in place or even running around, crazy folks! I swear! I did see someone running barefoot, it made me think of Jess from Half Of Jess.

With about 5 minutes to go, they asked us to "line up". It wasn't so much of a line, but more of a blob or a mob. They said over the loud speaker that the fastest people should be up front and the slower people and walkers should be in the back, so I made my way to the rear. I had NO clue what to expect. I met some very nice people who were running/walking it as well as some walking it as part of the Weight Watchers Walk-It day challenge. I thought that was really cool given the fact that I was participating in that challenge as well.

With about 3 minutes to go, my friend texted me, he didn't know if he was going to make it in time, but he did! Unfortunately, we weren't able to meet up until after I finished, but he hung around and waited for me, that was SO cool. What a great friend he is. And he's single too ladies... if any of you are in NH hit me up, he's great.

So as I was finishing a text to my friend, the race started, took about 30 seconds for me to start moving, the blob was that dense. But I started off at a run, nothing killer or anything but a nice jog. People were passing me left and right. I could see why the race people wanted to limit the number of entries, the roads were pretty small in Newmarket. We started off right up a hill then it leveled out and then up another hill. That was probably the worst part. I ran up the first part, walked the level part than ran up and then down the next hill. Then I walked a good portion. I felt what I think was shin splints, the front of my lower legs were painful, all along the long bone. The way the course was laid out, there were several instances were it doubled back on itself, so many times I got to see the front runners running their race.

I had my iPhone/iPod set to random and I just ran/walked my race. One thing I noticed quickly is everyone had someone else participating with them. There was one foursome of married couples and the wives were faster than the husbands, so they took off to the front and the husbands were back with me. So even though they didn't run together, they still ran together (if that makes any sense). I did see two people that were familiar to me, one I went to college with and the other I went through my EMT Basic class with.

2 miles in, they had a hydration station of water. It was welcomed. The weather right after a rain storm is usually muggy, so the air was a little bit denser than I was used to. Also I realized that my town, where I've been training is a lot flatter compared to other towns (like Newmarket were the race was).

I told myself that no matter what, I was running past the finish line. My only goal of the day was to finish not in last place. So as I approached the top of the hill and I saw the Mile 3 sign, I started to run, I ran past a few individuals who were shuffling along and other who were walking. I saw the finish with the time, and that motivated me more. As I got closer, I could hear people clapping for me, all around me... even the people I had just passed running were clapping... and I crossed the finish line. My single and available friend was there to greet me and gave me a bottle of water. I couldn't believe what I had accomplished.

If you would have asked me in October when I started this journey that in June I'd pay money to run/walk in a race, I would have laughed at you... I can't believe how far I've come.

Since it was the Smuttynose 5k there was obviously beer to be had after wards, so my friend and I walked back over to the registration area, I did notice that someone threw up after the finish line. I was glad I wasn't hurting like that. Over at the registration area, there was a long line at the beer tent, and to be honest, it was noon and I didn't feel like drinking beer or eating pizza. So I just sipped my water and caught up on life with my friend.

It was really an awesome experience. And, I didn't come in last place, I was told there was about 1100 people participating and I came in 902! And I've established my benchmark and something to improve upon. I finished in 48:15.2. My pace was 15:34 which considering I was running/walking isn't all too bad. I've done a 13 minute mile on the elliptical but running outside on pavement was completely different. As far as times, I didn't have any goals or expectations, but honestly I was happy.

(click on image for full view)

Stark contrast to the guy who finished first, with a time of 15:07! That was crazy! He ran the whole thing in less than my pace! Obviously, he's been doing this a lot longer than I.

While I was waiting for the times to be posted a woman came up to me, it was one of the people on the sidelines while I was crossing the finish line, she didn't introduce herself, she asked me if was my first race and I said yes couldn't you tell by my time and the red face, and she said that I was an inspiration to her, and that she wanted to thank me for being brave enough to participate. I was really taken aback by what she said, I mean I've just been doing my thing for me, but to impact someone else to the point of mentioning it, wow.. I was moved.

Now yes, I was probably the heaviest person there, but I did it. Anyone can do it.

I was really happy with the whole experience. I got a great workout. I tried something new. I had some time to myself to think. I kept talking to myself and pumping myself up to run to the next telephone pole or to pass the next person, it was great. I thought about how straight my back should be and how my feet were impacting the ground, I thought about if I would feel anything tomorrow. It's true what they say, running is a mental sport.

The next day, I was back to work, and walking around, I noticed that my hips hurt, both front and back. and both hips. Today, it's just a dull pain in the ass... and that pain is all the years I've wasted by carrying around this extra weight and not living my life to the fullest.

And as promised here is my after race pic.


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