Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat?

Guess what I won... no it's no joke....

What the hell am I going to do with that? I guess I should play the lottery.

The back story is that I've always entered the giveaway, more so to help the school. I think UVM is a great school, and their breeding program is amazing.. but never in a million years did I think I would win!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Doctor's Report and End of Year Goals: Finish Strong!

On Thursday morning, I had my annual physical. All told, things are progressing well. No major concerns on the part of the doctor. Still morbidly obese, but I am making progress. My doctor was elated that I had made some progress. She kept trying to reassure me that even 18 pounds in a year is progress.

Image Source
My knee pain is gone, my energy levels are up, I am eating better and I feel better. I need to focus on the good, positive changes that have occurred in the past year.

My doctor and I also talked about my upcoming life changes, my engagement and planning a wedding. And obviously children. She recommended to continue to lose weight and encouraged the healthy lifestyle changes. It can only improve mine and my babies chances of a healthy pregnancy. Obviously, I want to look good for the wedding day, but also H2B and I want to start a family, and I want to be able to do while being healthy. There is so much negative information out there about obese women and fertility and pregnancy, that one could get overwhelmed pretty quickly.

Other than being overweight, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health, pending lab values. Last year, my cholesterol was slightly elevated, enough to note it, but no action was necessary. My doctor knows that I am making changes and encouraged me to continue on my path.

I was hoping to be significantly lighter this year from last year. Although I am not, I have lost 18 pounds (according my doctor's scale) and I need to be proud of that accomplishment. The scale is moving in the right direction over the long term. Sometimes it's hard to lose sight of that when I am so focused on the day to day stuff.

Bringing me into my next topic, Kerri from Kat Does Diets recently talked about her End of Year goals and what she'd like to accomplish. Well, believe it or not, she has inspired me (she does quite often), and with the recently failure of my monthly goals (switching up to weekly goals). I thought to myself, it's a great time to identify a couple of things that I'd like to see by the end of 2010. So without further adu, my End of Year Goals:
  • Achieve my 10% - this has been dogging me for 8 months. I've voiced/blogged several times that I want to achieve this but it hasn't happened. I need to create an action plan and stick to it!
  • Accomplish at least 3 other items on my 101 things in a 1001 days list
  • Live through another year of Toy Bank
  • Start working on finding a sponsor for FitBloggin' 11
  • Study to take my HAM operator's test in early 2011
I feel like this is a great mix of work/personal/blog/healthy goals for me. And totally achievable. I will be printing off this list to post in my bedroom, to remind me of my goals and help me to accomplish them.

What would you like to complete/achieve before the end of 2010?

Shout Out!

To a "In Real Life" friend, who also blogs, Tricia! Yesterday was her birthday (yes she is older than me!) We've been great friends for years! Despite the injuries I had to incure (inside joke)

Check out her blog about her life and her family, Family Thyngs!

And here is a family portrait from our Christmas Tree Hunt.. Which I have a feeling will be a annual Thyng/Leavitt tradition.... LOL

Ugh, sorry it's so dark, it was raining so we put away the nice camera and we were left with my iPhone camera.

October Monthly Goals Recap

Well, here it is the end of another month. I will be recapping my October goals, but I am switching to weekly goals, as for right now, I think the short term focus is what I need. So no more monthly goals, but now weekly goals, which will be included in my regular weigh in posts.

October Goals:
  • Get my Gruve green at least 4 times a week
  • Secure a wedding venue and date
  • Track food for at least one week straight
  • Achieve my 10% (finally)
  • Study for my HAM operator's license
Wow... I have to honestly say, this is the first month that I've failed at all the goals I set up. My heart wasn't in it and I got distracted. Even though I've made significant progress on securing a wedding venue and a date, it's not final yet (though we are close, probably with in the next week or two). We know the venue, it's just a matter of the catering.

My weight has fluxuated this month. Largly due to my back pain/injury and not being able to fully commit to working out and a weight program.
Let's just move on and focus on the weekly goals.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Product Review: L'Bri all natural skin care line

I was given the opportunity recently to review a product called L'BRI. This opportunity was provided because of Business2Blogger. I received product to sample in exchange for my honest opinion about the product.

In the Sample Pack I received was:
  • Rejuvenating Facial Peel
  • Deep Pore Cleanser
  • Freshener (Toner)
  • Lotion (Moisturizer)
  • Facial Masque
  • Exfoliating Face & Body Scrub
  • Smooth n/ Firm Eye Repair Gel
  • As well as a wealth of product/company information

    New England winters can be harsh and terrible on skin. I am notorious for not using moisturizer consistently. My normal routine was using the same cleanser I had been using since high school and some toner. I'd called it good. So I was interesting in changing up my routine and trying something new.

    As I said, there was a lot of informative material included with the samples for me to try. One of particular note was that, "You will notice some change just by using these samples for a few days, but it will requires a minimum of 30 days usage to experience superior results."

    I was a little nervous at first to try the stuff out, as I wanted to give a clear and honest review, but I didn't know if I was going to be able to tell! I am happy to report that I am noticing small changes in my skin. Normally, I am very prone to breakouts, especially when stressed.

    I followed the very clear directions, first applying the cleanser, then the Rejuvenating Facial Peel, then the Freshener, the Smooth n' Firm Eye Repair Gel and lastly the Moisturizer.

    I really enjoyed the Smooth n' Firm Eye Repair Gel. I could really tell a difference. Working in my line of work, I am up all hours of the night, and my under eye area is prone to puffiness and dark circles. I really liked the tip of leaving the gel in the refrigerator to help reduce the puffiness faster.

    There is something different about my face/skin. When I went to get my eyebrows waxed recently, my stylist noted that my skin looked more toned and wasn't dry at all. She asked me what was I using, I was more than happy to tell her! 

    There is a whole product line that L'Bri offers, including the products above, and much more, Shampoo and Conditioner as well as makeup. I am really impressed with the fact that it's made in the USA and they do not test on animals, or use any human or animal by-products in their skin care products. The first ingredient is Aloe, not water as commonly found with other products. This is a high quality natural skin care line without the high dollar price tag.

    As a generous offer from L'Bri, they have provided me with a full sized version of their sample packet to try for a longer period of time. You don't have to use a whole lot of the product to get the desired effect/results. Their sample packet which is said to be about a week's supply, lasted me nearly 2 weeks, and I didn't feel like I was skimping at all. If you would like to try their sample packet visit (be aware, that they charge $6.75 for shipping and handling, but that's way worth it to try a new product without committing to a full sized version).

    Back Pain Update

    I mentioned in my last post about going to the doctor's this morning, although my back is better it's not 100%. I do feel like this is partly the reason as to why I haven't been able to do any weight lifting (or floor work), it still just hurts too much.

    The past 2 weeks I've been walking on a trail system near my apartment with my friends and their awesome dogs from Patch Wood Farms, it's been great getting outside and enjoying the fall, the trails are wonderful and for the most part easy to walk on. On Tuesday we went for a walk, like we've done many times. However, I stumbled, I tripped over a rock. I caught myself and didn't fall down. But the jarring pain of tripping and catching myself sent a sharp wave of pain over my back, I may have said a curse word. It was a sharp reminder that I am still not 100%. But, walking did help alleviate the pain. I am thrilled that I can walk, but right now running, floor work and weights are not in the cards. And I just wonder for how long.

    I think that I am treating this back pain reasonably. I love my chiropractor, she's amazing. I've been icing my back and on the really bad days, I am taking some Tylenol/pain relief. I know that it takes time for the body to heal, but just like with my weight loss, I am impatient. I've got to keep reminding myself, that if I do too much, I am only hurting myself and further delaying my progress. I need to be patient. Which is sometimes very hard for me to do. I have made progress, I can go days without pain, but it's the one day of pain that brings me right back.

    Still not sure how I did this to myself. I have an old work injury (from EMT training and lifting a patient) that I could have aggravated. It's in about the same area. I could have done something while dancing at my friend's wedding, or partying in Atlantic City... I guess we'll never know, but I am hoping that I can recover from this and get back on track.

    Weigh In

    There has been so much going on. I am not terribly focused at the moment on Weight Watchers and my healthy living goals. I really enjoyed this week's meeting topic (Trick or Treat) and talking about all the little ways we trick ourselves into thinking it's a real treat.

    Last Week's Weight: 296.4
    This Week's Weight: 297.4
    Gain: 1
    Total Loss: -16.4

    My next mini goal is to get back to a total of 20 pounds lost, I've been going back and forth. To accomplish this goal, for the next week, I will have a loss, I will have progress.

    - Gruve to green at least 4 days this week
    - Water, get my water intake in (64 ounces).

    Today, I am going for my yearly physical with my doctor. I know I won't be as light than I wanted to be, but I am lighter than I was last year, and I need to focus on the long term goal of healthy living. I am making positive changes in my life. I hope that my doctor is at least a little pleased with my progress.

    In wedding news, we had a cake date, and we love the baker! She's really wonderful and creative. We came up with a design that will be very fall and very New Hampshire. My stepmother is allergic to alcohol (tough break, but I always have a DD) so we had to get a cake that didn't use alcohol. We tried a chocolate torte cake, which was delicious... I can't stand chocolate cake (store or box), but her chocolate cake is homemade and is so amazing. I can't believe I went with a chocolate cake for my wedding cake. The sample tasted so good, I really loved it. So sad I'll have to wait nearly a year before I can have it again!

    The weather in NH has been really wonky lately (typical, I guess), there is an old saying, If you don't like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes. And it's been true the last couple of days. On Sunday H2B and I got together with Tricia and her Thyng Family to tag our respective Christmas trees. It took us about an hour and a half of wandering around to find one. Both were at the very back of the tree property. It was a fun outing, but when the rain started to fall, both Tricia and I were kind of done.

    The red fire hat is to help us identify it when we come back in December to chop it down.

    Then yesterday and today, it's looking like we are in the high 60's and low 70's. Wow, that's warm for late October! Soon enough snow will start to fly and we will all be looking forward to summer.

    Take Care!

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Weigh In

    My back is feeling much better, instead of going to the chiropractor every day, I am going 3 times a week now. I still am not 100%, there are times where I still get a twinge of pain, but I've been cleared to do some minimal weight training and lifting. Just like weight loss, I'd love my back pain recovery to be quick and instant. It's not going to happen. Slow and steady, just like weight loss.

    Last Week's Weight: 297
    This Week's Weight: 296.4
    Loss: -0.6
    Total Loss: -17.4

    I am still working off the weight I gained during my injury, but I am ok with it. Because I am making progress and the scale is moving in the right direction.

    I am thinking about changing from monthly goals to weekly goals. I haven't been focused on getting my Gruve green, and I think that if I had a couple of weekly goals each week, that the shorter term would help keep me focused, and I could be more reasonable with my goals, given what's going on in my week. I'll probably start in November when my October monthly goals will be over.

    I hope everyone is having a great week!

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Weekly Weigh In

    Even with my back still hurting, I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. Mostly we talked about what WW tools we like to use. For me, my iPhone app is huge, even though I don't use it as much as I should, I know it's there and can track my food with it.

    Last Week's Weight: 299.4
    This Week's Weight: 297.0
    Loss: -2.4
    Total Loss: -16.8

    I tweeted on Monday night that I wasn't looking forward to weighing in, that I was hoping to stay the same, or lose. So I was delighted to see a loss when I went to weigh in. Even though my activity level has been greatly diminished, I was able to slightly recover from the big nasty gain of last week.

    I checked back in my tracker, I started my Weight Watchers journey on 10/6/09 at 313.8. I am happy to report that since I dropped below the 300's I haven't been back since. So even though I've been loose with the plan and gaining and loosing the same weight for 4 months, I am still under the 300 mark. (Small victories)

    I received the all clear to walk, but I am still unable to do much else, activity wise. It's frustrating, since I'd like to do more. I received my Buff Brides workout DVD in the mail and wanted to get started with that. I just think it's going to take awhile for the body to heal properly.

    In other news, I am back to my regular work schedule, which is wonderful, and I am hopeful that I can resume my normal schedule. Now I've just got to work on getting my back fixed.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Review: 10 Minute Solution Workout for Nintendo Wii

    I was recently given the opportunity to review the 10 Minute Solution for the Nintendo Wii. Since H2B is the more technical individual in our relationship. I asked for his take on the product. Oh yeah, FTC? We received the product in exchange for our honest opinion about it.

    Before you can do any training game you must complete the training for it, if you haven't previously completed the training. This is a good requirement considering all of the health and safety notes listed in the instruction booklet.  

    There are three different games to choose from and they are all single player only:
    •    Instant workout offers 16, 5 minute, workout games.
    •    Custom workout.
    •    My Fitness Plan: This option allows you to create your own workout program. You can create up to a 7 day workout schedule with customized routines.

    Game options: 

    This game comes with your usual array of options for an interactive sports game. You can change the difficulty between normal and advanced. You also have the opportunity to specify if you are left or right handed. The trainer can be customized for gender and voice.

    Starting the game for the first time: 

    This game has several different control options. I find this to be an excellent option, so you are not necessarily forced to purchase additional equipment, you can choose to use the Wiimote and Nunchuk, two Wiimotes, and/or the Wii Balance Board. 

    If you jump right in with the Instant Workout option there are no options to change the exercises you'll be doing, but you do get to choose from several virtual locations. The training segment seems to be mostly dialog driven with your trainer telling you what to do and then following up with a short breakout for you to try each action to make sure you understand the directions. The directions are fairly easy to follow, but the game appears to have it's own internal timer on how long the moves should take and the in game visual queues are not the most intuitive. I'm hoping that this gets better once I start the exercise and can follow the rhythm of the music to aid the progress.

    The first exercise that I was tasked with completing was basic step aerobics. The response for the game with the Balance Board was excellent. The transition from move to move is a little frustrating at first though I think most users would adapt quickly that you have to shift your focus from the onscreen trainer to the move name bar at the bottom of the screen to get a better idea of when your moves are going to be changing. The feedback system is very understated. If you are doing the move perfectly you will see glowing light bursts start appearing changing from silver to gold and getting larger the more perfect repetitions you have and you will also get the occasional "Good Job" from your trainer.

    The second exercise that I was presented was Boxing. I was looking forward to this since I have several other Wii games that employ boxing as an activity. The speed of the exercise seemed a little slow. If you follow the rhythm of the music track, which is supposed to work as a secondary guide to the visual queues, you will probably find yourself expecting your jabs and crosses to come a little more frequently. A huge failing with the game has to be noted here. There are three basic moves that you are presented with for the boxing segment, jab, cross, and bob.  If you aren't familiar with these moves they are just fancy ways of saying punch with your left fist, punch with your right fist, duck/squat down. The game appears to track the punching action with adequate speed and accuracy.  The ducking worked twice for me during the entire 5 minute exercise. Keep in mind that I'm over 6 feet tall so when I duck down the controllers are dropping at least 18 inches. Needless to say I was not impressed.

    If you go to the custom workout you will find three categories of exercises to choose from:
    •    Cardio Boxing
    •    Mixed Games
    •    Step Aerobics

    You will also see an option at the bottom of the screen that says Workout Video. There were no on screen clues at to what the video would cover, but since I had all of my exercise choices available on this screen, it made sense to me that maybe there was a stock catalog of exercise videos and corresponding clips would be shown based on what I selected. My assumption was not the case, the video that started playing and was for Ab exercises. The video is good quality and looks like any exercise at home video you would pick up in a store. The video is very fast paced and if you aren't familiar with the moves then you will find yourself wishing that there was a pause or rewind feature. Since that is missing you can either wait for the entire video to finish after 10 minutes or hit the A button to leave the video and go back to the previous screen. Bear in mind that if you do exit the video there is no resume feature, so you will be forced to start from the beginning every time.


    ◦    I think that the graphics and the variety of activities in this workout game are very good.
    ◦    The ability to use multiple controller combinations to interact is an excellent feature. 
    ◦    The structure for the exercises is also well done, so you will feel that you have really completed a good workout if you do 10 to 30 minutes.

    ◦    This game is really designed for an older audience 14+
    ◦    It is slow to start, until all of the pre-exercise training is complete.
    ◦    The seemingly random controller response is very frustrating and this could lead you to start skipping some exercises. Perhaps the developers will make an update for the game that will resolve this issue.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    200th Blog Post!

    So according my blogger dashboard, this is my 200th post! Wow. When I started this blog years ago, I never knew where it was going, I moved over from livejournal to blogger. I don't know where from here I'll be going, but I am enjoying this ride. I am happy for the friendships I've made. I'm excited to see where I will go (in bloggie land).

    About a year ago, I started on my journey towards healthy living and loosing weight. In the last year I've lost only about 20 pounds. Which I basically lost in the first 3 months, the last 9 months I've been up and down. I need to recommit to my journey. I'm happy with the progress that I've lost 20 pounds and I've been able to keep it off.

    I've got big things coming in the next year. Hopefully one year from today I will be getting married to H2B! The colors are so vibrant on the trees right now and the weather was fantastic this weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can have a similar weekend next year!

    It's also 10-10-10 and a lot of couples got married today, to their "perfect 10" aww... how cute! What a great anniversary to have. I have to admit I was tempted to go for the 11-11-11 next year, but Nov is really late for a wedding, especially where we both want to have the ceremony outside.

    On Saturday, we went to Fryeburg Fair. Fairs for me signify all that is fall. I love fairs. Due to my work schedule last year, I wasn't able to go to any of them. So I wanted to be sure that I got to go this year. With the back injury and the week from hell, I wasn't too sure I'd make it. But I really wanted to spend time with H2B and his mom, it was a wonderful day! the weather was great and it was worth the wait!

    I did well food wise, I typically get WAY out of hand with fair food... I mean, it's just SO good. So for lunch I had a cup of homemade corn chowder, and it was delicious! Later on I split some hand cut fries with H2B, for dinner we were able to have a sit down meal, I had ziti and meatballs. I turned down fried dough and cotton candy! I did buy some kettle corn to take home, all in all, I think I did really well. It was a great day and I walked around a lot. By the end of the night, I was really feeling it. My back was hurting. I was thankful to get home and go to bed.

    How was everyone else's weekend?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Debbie Downer

    Sorry for another downer post, but this week has been hell. I've basically been stuck in a room all week. My normal work week is 48 hours; and in a 7 day period I will have worked 102 hours when it's all said and done. I haven't been able to make any "me time", I've been pacing in my little room to try and get my Gruve green, but I've only gotten as far as one blue (3/4 way) day and 2 yellows (half way). Currently, I am working with a yellow status. On top of everything, my back still hurts, I can't bend over very well, and it takes me a little effort to get out of a chair.

    I can't help but think that if I was lighter that I wouldn't have back pain to the degree that I do. That my body would be able to rest and heal better, if I wasn't carrying around an extra 70-100 pounds. One of the reasons why I started weight watchers was that I was having some knee pain, and I knew it was because of the extra weight I had put on and was carrying around on my body, stressing it out. After dropping 5% of my weight, the knee pain was gone, and hasn't come back since!

    I typically weigh myself every morning, and unfortunately with being at work, I've been unable to weigh myself. Usually, this works for most people, but not me, for some reason, I need to know what I weigh. I don't know if it's a sabotage effort on my part or some other sort of copping mechanism. Perhaps I am too focused on numbers. That is something that I do enjoy about weight watchers is that they do use numbers, however, also focus and celebrate those NSV (non-scale victories).

    I am looking forward to Saturday, H2B and I are going to Fryeburg Fair in Maine. We both love fall, and we both love fairs, with our hectic schedule we haven't been able to go to any fairs this season. I am hoping that my back is feeling better enough to tolerate the day (and all the driving).

    Monday, I have a meeting with a potential caterer for the wedding, I am really trying hard to get a venue and a date secure by the end of October. Ideally, this coming weekend (Columbus Day Weekend) would be the weekend we'd be tying the knot, so I am going to pay attention to the amount of color in the leaves and the amount of daylight. I can't believe that I am planning a wedding and that it's a year away, I feel like I have so much to do, but that's because I've only just started.

    Hopefully my back will be feeling better and I can resume a higher level of activity then what I've been doing lately (not much).

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Weigh In Report

    Well I knew it was going to be evident from my post yesterday, it was a bad weekend and I'm dealing with some significant back pain. I am hoping that this is only a temporary set back.

    Last week's weight: 293.2
    This week's weight: 299.4
    Gain: 6.2
    Total loss: -14.4

    Ouch, that's a lot. Accept and move on, not much I can do about it now. just focus on the long term goal. I am thankful that I didn't creep back up to the 300's, but it's too close for comfort. I was unable to stay for the meeting this week, due to my crazy work schedule this week.

    Update on my back, my chiropractor introduced me to a product called BioFreeze, and she spoke highly about the product, so I am giving it a try, so far, so good. I like the ease of use with the product. I still need to ice my back, and it's tough to get anything accomplished when you are trying to take it easy and ice your back.

    I am able to sit without being in much pain, I feel like the inflammation is going down. I still get a twinge of pain if I over do anything or if it's getting time to take more Excedrin, so I am stretching more and getting a bit more use out of it, but still babying my back just a bit.

    I am a bit discouraged with the gain this week, but I know that there is nothing good that can come from sulking in my misery, best thing I can do is control the here and now. The past is in the past and it cannot be undone.


    Brittney from Life in a Holding Pattern has won my first giveaway!

    Thank you to everyone who entered!

    Monday, October 4, 2010


    I have to admit, I am a little nervous going to Weight Watchers tomorrow and weighing in. This past weekend I was in the car a lot, we had two weddings to attend this weekend. One Friday night in New Jersey and on Sunday morning in Maine.

    Being in the car for 7 hours to go to New Jersey is tough for me. I have nothing else to do but eat, its a comfort thing. I did ok considering what I would have eaten in the past. However I know I could have done better. I could have planned and had snacks on hand. It's tough, I was working right up until the morning that we were leaving.

    Sunday morning, prior to wedding #2, I jumped on the scale at the house and I was up at least 4 pounds. I have to admit I wasn't surprised given what I had been doing. Little to no activity and eating crap. Makes sense. This morning I weighed in, and I was actually down from Sunday morning, but still up like 3 pounds and change overall.

    On top of it, I woke up Sunday morning with some intense back pain. I toughed it out and went to the wedding on Sunday. Today (Monday) I went to the chiropractor and he determined that I have a bulging disc in my low back. It's quite uncomfortable, I have low back pain and shooting pain down my legs (mostly my right leg). So I am on the injured list. Which is upsetting, this week at work is crazy, but even in my downtime / time off, I can't go work out, I can barely walk at times. Which means I can't really work on my activity level.

    As frustrating as that is, I know I need to give my back time to heal or else it will never get better. I am hoping that by taking it as easy as I can, that it will quicken my recovery.

    I am going to focus on my food this week (or however long it takes to recover) and not get too depressed about my lack of activity. I will do what I can, but not try to push it.

    I was going to avoid weighing in this week, given the wedding / travel weekend and now compounded with the injury, but after reading Julia's post, I am going to go and weigh in, regardless of the results, accept them and move on.

    My challenge this week will be to survive all the work. Focus on my food and accept that my activity level is going to be diminished due to injury. And work on my recovery from my injury.

    This is a new week, with a new challenge and I will resolve to remain focused on my long term goals.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    October Goals

    Lots going on around here at Life by Cassie! But then again, it's my life, so it's always crazy and hectic. One of the many reasons why I started blogging, to help keep track of my thoughts and feelings through life.

    After failing at some of the September Goals, I've brought a few back. I was really good the last few weeks of September with getting my Gruve green at least 4 times a week so that will be back. The purpose of this goal is to make me more aware of the tools that I already have but aren't using to their fullest potential. I spend so much money on stuff, but unless I put the effort into actually doing the work, my situation isn't going to change.

    October Goals:
    • Get my Gruve green at least 4 times a week
    • Secure a wedding venue and date
    • Track food for at least one week straight
    • Achieve my 10% (finally)
    • Study for my HAM operator's license

    I am trying to refocus and recommit to healthy living. One thing that H2B has taught me, is that you need make time for yourself. That you have you put you first.

    I want this, I can do this.


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