Monday, September 28, 2009

Officially a "Runner."

Jumping across the finish line (5k in 31:30)

Just excited that I'm a runner now.

Now that the race has come and gone and I have a comfortable long sleeve shirt to show off, I've definitely got the bug, just like my sister said I would. I'm signing up for the Monster Dash on Halloween, which is a 5k-9 (run with your dog!) and also the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. These will give me 2 opportunities to stay on track with training until there is just too much snow on the ground to motivate me to have a running goal.

This is something I pledged to do almost 2 years ago, so the fact that it happened, I did it, and was excited about it the entire time means the world to me. My mind is changing along with my body and it's an exciting transformation.

BRING IT ON! Monster Dash will be finished in less than 31:30, I guarantee it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Too Busy Being Successful.

Normally when I am on hiatus from blogging, it's because I'm so busy not being on plan that I decide not to write. This week, however, I'm too busy becoming wildly attached to my new habits and putting things together piece by piece.

I'm still working my way through the Beck Diet Solution and I'm pleased as pie for the tools it has explained in completely understandable ways. Sure, it's annoying to have to practice the most BASIC of common sense rules everyday, but it's finally sinking in. This is a choice I've made. I can't decide that it's unfair that I have to live the way I choose to live. I can whine and say it's unfair that I can't "eat normally," but honestly, I wasn't eating normally to begin with, which is one of the best lessons I've gotten along the way.

Everytime I see a thin co-worker grab a donut from the kitchen, I don't envy them. I'm happy I'm not eating it. I'm happy I'm choosing this direction, and I'm happy these habits are taking over my sabotaging thoughts.

So, my race is tomorrow. TOMORROW! I finished all of my training and each run I've averaged a 10 minute mile. I KNOW I am going to complete my goal of finishing this race in under 35 minutes. I know I am going to reach the finish line and feel invincible. I know that now... I need another goal to work toward.

Yesterday I did a taper run with my dog. My dog is the best running buddy anyone could ask for. He's so grateful and happy to be out there running, which is basically the opposite of how I feel about it at the beginning. It's so easy to forget how fortunate I am to have a body that cooperates with my requests to move; and to move hard and fast. I'm fortunate to have improved my health before any of the serious risks I was in for had a chance to attack.

I'm grateful for what I have, jiggly thighs and all.

Today I'm headed to boot camp and then to meet up with my other racing buddy, Kelly, to pick up our race packets for tomorrow. We're also going to stop for coffee and do a quick check in about the last week and how we did with our respective plans. I'm completely proud of my tracker for the last week, I can't wait to show it off.

Justin and Eli just left for Wisconsin Dells with Justin's parents for the weekend. Jack and I have the whole house to ourselves. I fully intend to clean clean clean. The pure fact that the house will stay that way for at least 24 hours is motivation enough. It's time to tackle the cupboards and get rid of old food to make room for new food. Today I've got old world red beans and rice in the crockpot, cooking all day while I'm out and about.

It's seriously beautiful out, and the weather for tomorrow is supposed to be even more gorgeous. It's a friends birthday tonight and I'm "allowed" to dress up. The combination of having an excuse to fancify and an empty house means that per diem fashion is probably going to be updated in the next 24 hours.

My spirits are so gloriously high. I think my life is actually changing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5k is 5killing me.

The excitement building around Sunday's race is becoming too much to bare. I just want to get it over with.

I've been feeling ill the last could days, I'm blaming Saturday's (over)workout at Flex Appeal. Two back to back ultra-challenging classes left me disabled for the remainder of the day and had me limping through my Sunday lake-walk with Jessica. Monday I woke up in a fever sweat and could not remove myself from the bed. The plus side? I caught up on sleep. The negative side? I got in NO activity on Monday. A true rest day.

I did attempt to go out for a run around noon, but made it 3 blocks and turned around. I literally couldn't do it. It wasn't a mind block, my body was shutting down.

I decided to listen, and took the rest of the day off.

Today, I knew I needed to get back out there. I only had 2 training runs left before the race (leaving 2 rest days between the last run and the actual race) and today HAD to be one of them. I got dressed, procrastinated a bit more and then headed out. I finished the course in 32:29, a great time. I even had to walk the middle leg and I still averaged a 10 minute mile. I'm quite proud of myself. I know that on race day, Kelly and I will be even faster with the adrenaline of the group pushing us forward.

Tomorrow night, my regular weigh in night, is the annual donor dinner for my organization. It's a night of schmoozing and socializing and dressing up and open bars. It's danger city, to be more accurate and it's always a stressful couple of hours for me. I'm not great at talking to strangers, regardless of what everyone seems to think. Just because I am outgoing does not mean I enjoy it. Either way, I am headed to a different location to have a meeting with my leader tonight at 6pm to be sure I still get a Weigh In this week.

I set up the remainder of my Activity Dates with friends (part of my monthly goals). Thursday I'll be headed to Zumba with my friend Meg who has just begun a more healthy lifestyle. I'm excited to bring her to this class and help her see that exercise doesn't have to feel like work.

I remember when I first coming back to exercise after avoiding it for years, going to scheduled fitness classes was one of the only things that kept me motivated. Having a set time and location to be kept me accountable, and additionally the camaraderie of the classes kept me coming back. Zumba, in particular, is just too fun to feel like exercise. The music is great, the instructor is fun and upbeat and she encourages you to modify the moves to suit your level. I haven't been to that class in a few weeks, so I'm more than happy to return.

Just 5 more days until my race and I'm counting every second until I can claim to be a "runner."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Training my Body, Training my Mind.

I finished up a training run for my 5k about an hour ago. I shaved 31 seconds off my last run of the course for Women Run The Cities. The race is in just over a week and I'm feeling confident about both my ability to finish it, and my ability to finish in a time I am proud of.

I'm still chugging along with the Beck Diet Solution also. I've made post-it notes of all of my "To-Do" lists for the program and posted them in my tracking journal. Each day, I have many tasks and little boxes to check off. Mostly I am focusing on sitting while I eat, giving myself credit for healthy behaviors and also monitoring my hunger. That last one is by far the most difficult, but I feel as if I'm truly learning the difference between "hungry" and a desire to eat. When my stomach physically feels empty and is rumbling, I'm hungry. When I feel nothing in my stomach and everything in my mouth, that's a desire to eat. Listening to my body lately has really kept me on track, and I feel excellent about my motivation.

I rearranged my goals for September. I realized I am no longer motivated to walk or bike the many miles I set out to do. There is simply no time. I fretted about whether this was considered cheating, but considering the goals are my own, personally set, I can't cheat because I am the rule maker. I kept my Activity Point goal, Activity Date goal and my New Fitness Classes goal and added my 5k training and the 30 Day Shred.

These personal goals are supposed to be a driving force, not a curse. Changing them has helped me refocus. I've been getting in a lot of activity in the last few weeks compared to my last few months. I'm opening up time in my schedule because Dr. Judith Beck tells me that if I don't, I never will. There's no sense in waiting. There are lots of things that can wait until later - I need to make this journey a top priority again, and I'm well on my way.

This afternoon I'm facilitating a workshop. Normally, I would feel nervous and unprepared, but I went over my to-do list while running this morning and I feel oddly calm and centered. Perhaps I really am a runner at heart?

Keep it up everyone. If I can stay on track, surely you can!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Celebrations and Credit in the Bank.

Last night I pulled off a 1.8lb loss!!! I feel proud, determined, motivated and a huge sense of momentum.

Last night, I also went out to eat with my Mom and my sister. Anyone who knows my family's history can tell this is a very stressful eating situation, which became even more stressful due to conversation. I opted to have a Turkey Burger, knowing full-well that I'd be cooking mostly vegetarian and fish this week, so I wanted to get my "red" (burger) protein in while I was out being "indulgent." I ordered it with a salad instead of their delicious horseradish potato salad.

When my plate came, I ate the salad- slowly. The conversation took it's stressful turn and I barely touched my burger. I had 2 bites, and I was no longer full. Since Justin didn't join us to eat, I packaged it all up and brought it to him. Not that I am attempting to make him unhealthy, he just undoubtedly eats anything I bring home if all he has to do is microwave it or assemble with minimal effort.


I even resisted the delicious homemade chocolate peanut butter squares they bring you with your check. SCORE AGAIN!

I re-earned a 5lb star at my meeting last night, which made me feel great. I'm hoping to get another one, a new one, by the end of November. I am positive I can do it before then, I just don't like setting unrealistic weight loss number goals.

Tonight, I get to cook dinner with Justin and watch the premier of It's Always Sunny In Philidelphia. Sounds fantastic!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confessions and an Awesome NO Point Dessert Find!

Last night, I binged on dessert.
It has been 3 days since the last time I did this, and is far becoming one of my worst habits. I know where I went wrong (reward for working so hard today) and have already forgiven myself and given myself credit for stopping when I did.

I needed to put this up here to hold myself accountable. When I don't tell anyone, I'm far more likely to continue this habit. My strategy for countering this in the future is to continue using my mantra "NO CHOICE," and to set out reminders that I must eat at the dining room table to prevent multiple trips to the freezer.

My new tools have been so incredibly helpful. Sitting while eating is becoming a fast habit. I reached for some carrots in the fridge yesterday, just a handful, but stopped. Yes, I know, they're carrots, but if I'm going to eat - I will have a formal snack. So I measured out my carrots and took them into the dining room where I savored every bite. That doesn't sound like too big of a deal, but it's a huge step forward for me in owning up to what I actually put in my mouth, and it saved me from a large mistake yesterday. Coworkers were gathered around the counter in our staff kitchen, making selections from a giant white bakery box. I had to take a peek, just see what was in there. Maple glazed donuts, pretty much one of my favorite things. By the time I could see though, every seat in the kitchen was taken, so I couldn't sit down to eat it. I stopped, thought about it and realized I didn't actually want this donut, I just wanted to be where everyone else was. So I filled my water bottle and stopped to chat for about 5 minutes. By the time I left the kitchen, I didn't care about that donut - which proves I never wanted it in the first place.

Today's goal is to sit whenever eating, eat slowly and mindfully - noticing every bite, and to give myself credit for healthy behaviors. I also want to repeat my mantra over and over "NO CHOICE" to remind myself that I have a plan, and things that are not on this plan are not a choice. When I begin to give myself choices, that is when I falter and ultimately fall down the wrong path. To lose these last several pounds it's going to take 100% of my effort, and I'm willing to give it.
No Point Dessert: Kemp's Fat Free Frozen Yogurt bars. I highly recommend the Black Raspberry Swirl! Yum!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How I Turned a Lame Situation into a Ton of Sweat!

My favorite class ever is on Tuesdays. Pole Power Fitness at Flex Appeal. Today I waited until 5:15pm to leave the house so that my mind would panic and think I needed to hurry to get there. The bike ride generally takes me about 9 minutes at a comfortable pace, that's including all stop signs, red lights, passing people, etc.

Today I got from my front door to their front door in 5:13!


When I got there, I locked up my bike, headed up to the pole studio and started warming up with some climbs and playing around with holds and doing a few tricks. Class started, we warm up with a little cardio because it is a strength training class. Less than 10 minutes into it, someone shows up late. All the poles were full. That means, because I work for trade there, that I am forced to give up my pole. There is literally no way to do this workout without it, so I left... feeling defeated.

I took a minute at my bike, arguing with myself about whether or not I should just go home and lay on the couch or try to get to the gym. My gym, the YWCA is pretty much a war zone at "rush hour." I opted out. I decided to race home and see what that inspired. I made it home in 5:21! That's a 21 MPH pace both ways!

I felt so fantastic about being a speed demon both ways, that I decided to sprint around the block. Just once. But once turned into twice, turned into 3 times, which ended up in a half mile sprint. My heart rate was THROUGH THE ROOF, but still, I needed more. I'm in for the long haul, kids.

I remembered that Jessica had burned me some decent workout DVDs. Never in the history of my life have I completed a home workout. I always turn it off at some point before the cool down. Today, I shredded the 30 day shred. Level 3. What a bitch.

I tried the 30 day shred almost a year ago when it first came out. I did it once, on level 1 and thought I was too cool for school. Today I was ballsy and tried level 3, which is ultimately a lot harder than level 1. It hurt, and it burned, and I wanted to punch Jillian in the face, but I did it.

... and seriously, that's not all.

I also jump-roped for 10 minutes, and finally I stretched to cool down. 764 calories later, I'm a happy camper who missed her favorite class but took the bull by the horns.

Check this out:

That shirt is normally very light gray. I am a ball of sweat, and I'm so proud of myself. It would have been so easy to just say "Well, I give up. Class was cancelled, at least I tried to work out, I'll go get some ice cream and call it a night."

Day 4 of the Beck Diet Solution focuses on giving yourself credit. Especially in negative situations. Today I am working on giving myself credit where credit is due, and I think this is such an occasion.

Fish Tacos and Major Motivation.

Every Monday morning, I get together with my friend Kelly to talk about all things related to our diets/eating lifestyles. Kelly and I both struggle similarly with emotional eating and lack of motivation. I was so thankful for that meeting yesterday, and so motivated that I worked extremely hard throughout the day adding extra movements to my cleaning shift at the studios and staying for a class. I kicked (literally) so much ass in the class that I burned 603 calories! (I burned 383 cleaning)

Yesterday I continued working on sitting at the table while eating and also timing my meals. I managed to make my dinner last for 14:32, which is the longest I've been able to stretch a smaller portion meal on my own. I do enjoy this exercise though, the more I try to beat my score and focus on taking more time, the more I really am able to focus on whether I truly am still hungry.

Tomorrow I am headed down to Minnehaha to seek out the course for my Women Run The Cities 5k. I want to do my last 4 training runs there, that way it will feel like a breeze come race day. Also exciting, Kelly is going to run with me! She promised it doesn't matter how slow I go, and I know that we'll be able to push each other.
Today I'm feeling confident that I will continue to make good decisions, focus on my advantages and continue to give myself credit for everything I am doing that is helpful toward my goal.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Deciding Against.

I've decided I shouldn't share the whole contents of the Beck Diet Solution with all of you. For one thing, I don't want to get sued. I'm sure Dr. Judith Beck has a wonderful team of lawyers. Secondly, this book is really speaking to me so much that I'd like you to go out and get it. If you are struggling to stay on track, or never really were on track to begin with, if you're just interested in dieting and that's why you read this blog... just order the book. Failing that, check it out from the library.

Even though I am practicing my BDS tools, I'm still struggling, but that was to be expected. Rome wasn't built (or rebuilt) in a day, and I just need to exercise patience with myself and give credit where credit is due.

I through a baby shower for one of my best friends yesterday. I spent most of the week obsessing about the details and running all over the city to make sure everything was perfect. It was, of course, and everyone had a great time, but I neglected to exercise more than 2 times last week. Because I've signed up for that 5k which is two weeks from today, I really need to get back on track with my "training runs" and get my distance and speed where I need them to be for the race.

I realized also, last night, that I had been mindless munching yesterday as I was hostessing. Not much, mind you, just a grab here and a grab there. I was trying so hard to please everyone that I never officially ate lunch or dinner, yet never got hungry. I did accidentally eat about 5 rattle cake pops, which is equivalent to about one cupcake. I didn't track the day, but I did track the dinner and dessert I decided to have right before bed. I felt as if I needed "real" food.

I feel like I'm in a good place this morning. My tracker is sitting right next to me, I'm starting the day out with oatmeal that soaked in yogurt all night and I packed a snack. My training run today is at Hyland Park in Bloomington, which is trail that has some ups and downs. My neighborhood is very flat, so I don't want to "train" there.

Today I am concentrating on: reading my ARC, sitting down before I eat anything, writing it down immediately and completing my 2.5 mile run.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Work it Wednesday

Just a quick personal update totally unrelated to the Beck Diet Solution, which is mostly what's on my mind right now.

At Weigh In last night, I maintained the exact same weight. I'm delighted by this because I had a particularly hard week with a jam packed schedule and NO meal plan to speak of. This week, one is in place, time for eating and activity has been scheduled in, and I'm highly motivated to stay on track. The more I say this to myself, the more it will remain true.

On the exciting news front, I am officially registered for a 5k on September 27th. It's called Women Run the Cities. I have really let running fall to the bottom of my priority list, but it is something that's important to me, so I've made an investment to get it up there. The race is in just a little over 2 weeks, which isn't much time to get ready. Honestly, I could do it tomorrow. There is no doubt that my new body is 100% capable of this race and even of putting in good time. This is a mental game.

It's been over a year since I vowed to complete my first 5k and I still don't have a t-shirt or number to show for it. It's time to stop playing around. No more mental blocks. I can and will do this (on September 27th).

I chose this race not only because I liked the description, but because the 5k portion is a run OR walk, I will not feel foolish if I run intervals, which is how I'm most comfortable now. 7 minutes run, 1.5 minute walk and so on. I made myself a little training schedule to keep up in the mean time. Yesterday I ran 1.6 miles with a 15 second walk at the 8 minute marker. I finished in 14 minutes. That's a 9 minute mile pace!

Today I am headed to the gym to use the stairmaster and jumprope, and tomorrow will be a 2 mile run. From there: Sunday - 2 miles, Monday - 60 minute walk, Tuesday - Strength Training, Wednesday - 2.25 miles, Thursday - Zumba, Friday - 2.25 miles, Saturday - Boot Camp, Sunday - 60 minute walk, Monday - 2.75 miles, Tuesday - Strength Training, Wednesday - 3 miles, Thursday - Zumba, Friday - 60 minute walk, Saturday - Rest, Sunday - Race Day

My goal is to finish the 5k in under 38 minutes, for no other reason than that seems like a reasonable amount of time for a beginner, it's overshooting, and maybe I like the number 8?

I really really want to accomplish this. I want to, so I will.

Beck Diet Solution: Day 1

I literally could not put this book down yesterday.

The Beck Diet Solution is precisely the kind of spin on things I need right now. Aimed at those wanting to lose weight, the program is created on the assumption that inherently, we do not know how to diet. Sure, we can follow rules, even be successful on a plan for a period of time, but eventually, it will all come crashing down if the habits are not practiced often (meaning multiple times daily). People who are prone to gain weight simply think about food in a different way than those who are not. That's the reality, and it's time to accept it.

TBDS is laid out to be followed one day at a time for a period of 6 weeks, though you're allowed to move through it quicker, it is suggested that you read the specified day and focus solely on the tasks at hand before adding more to your plate (so to speak). The act of dieting doesn't even appear until week 3, and that is to really run home the importance of being prepared, which is quite different than being "ready." Dr. Judith Beck does a lot to reiterate that nothing in this program is optional. If you want to succeed, do it the way you're supposed to. That is why I have decided against sharing days 1 through 3 with you, and am focusing only on day 1.

Day 1: Record the Advantages of Losing Weight

There are tons of reasons we want to lose weight. Perhaps they're physical, emotional, personal, etc. They are the contributing factor as to why we make the decision to diet and take the extra weight off. On Day 1 of TBDS, we're asked to create an "Advantages Response Card."

This book thrives on repeating healthy behaviors over and over and over (and over) until they truly become a piece of our lives without thinking. The "Advantages Response Card" (ARC) is a tool to be used multiple times a day. On an index card, write your top reasons for wanting to lose weight, hell, right ALL of the reasons you want to lose weight. When this is complete, make a commitment to read it at least twice per day and at certain times. You are also required to (at the beginning to help form the habit) set up a reminder system.

You might be thinking, "Well, that's stupid, I know the reasons why I want to lose weight."

Sure, you know them now, but what about the handful (or truck-full) of times you've lost sight of them before? The more you practice this habit, the more deeply ingrained these reasons will be, and every time you read them you'll be motivated to stay on track.

My ARC contains these reasons on the front of the card:
  • To know that I can achieve something this significant
  • To belong to, stick around for and play with my family
  • To feel and look strong
  • To act as a role model for those who think they can't do it
  • To have more confidence to tackle other areas of my life

And these reasons on the back of the card:

  • To finally run that 5k
  • To participate in a relay or team triathlon race with my brother and sister
  • To earn the vacation of my dreams - a surf and yoga retreat in Costa Rica

The reasons on the back of the card are goals I've had for quite some time that I've let fall behind. I haven't kept my eye on the prize, and that is a giant motivator for me. Reading these multiple times a day will truly assist with that, and after having done this yesterday, I can say that so far - it really helps.

I have committed to reading my ARC in the morning as I brush my teeth, during my lunch meal and before I choose to have dessert. I will honor this commitment by taping up an ARC in the bathroom cabinet, keeping an ARC in my wallet and taping a giant ARC on the kitchen freezer - where it's needed most.

Having read further than Day 1, I know this book is going to work wonders for me accepting that this is just the way it is. Somewhere along the way, lines were crossed and I did not learn how to eat properly and accepted a dependence on food. That's just the way it is. It doesn't mean I can't change that. As a toddler I didn't eat everything in sight. Eating is not an automatic response like breathing or heartbeats or sneezes, you must reach for the food and therefore have the ultimate choice over what goes in. With some practice, it will get so much easier to choose the right things. Reminding myself that all of the reasons on my ARC are so much more important than 20 minutes of pleasure while eating a burger.

Tomorrow, Day 2.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beck Diet Solution.

I've been busy.

I've also been "bad," meaning I've eaten a whole lot of things I neither planned nor really wanted to eat in the last week and today I face the scale and my inevitable gain at my meeting tonight.

I'm not nervous however, because yesterday I picked up The Beck Diet Solution from the library. I started working through it last night, and I can tell this is exactly the thing I need to be reading right now. It's not a diet, but rather healthy practices in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the mental changes you need to be making in order to create and make new habits stick.

In Chapter 2: What Really Makes You Eat, Dr. Judith Beck goes on to describe 8 characteristics of people who struggle with dieting who would make great candidates to venture through this program with her. Personally, I match 6 out of the 8 listed below and I've marked those with *.

Characteristic 1: You confuse hunger with the desire to eat.*

Characteristic 2: You have a low tolerance for hunger and cravings.

Characteristic 3: You like the feeling of being full.*

Characteristic 4: You fool yourself about how much you eat.*

Characteristic 5: You comfort yourself with food.*

Characteristic 6: You feel helpless when you gain weight.

Characteristic 7: You focus on issues of unfairness.* (Skinny people can eat whatever they want, it's not fair! Sound familiar?)

Characteristic 8: You stop dieting once you lose weight.*

It is because of all of these deeply ingrained habits and though processes that we struggle to diet, even after being successful with it. These coping mechanisms are the reason why 90 to 95% of people who lose weight can't keep it off.

Because I am creeping up on my 2 year anniversary of recommitment to Weight Watchers, I want to prove that I can beat the statistic. I can finish what I've started. I can accomplish something significant.

As I work through The Beck Diet Solution, I'll be blogging about the steps and processes and how it relates to me personally. I hope it will be helpful to some of you who have never heard of or read this book. To those of you who have, please chime in with whether it helped, hurt, or your overall experience with it.

Tomorrow, I'll be back with Days 1 through 3.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thoughts from the desk.

Yesterday I opted out of my Weight Watchers meeting. A gigantic stack of work that grows each day was calling out to me, so I weighed in at home, in my jeans, in the bathroom.

A loss of 1.8lbs!

I feel fantastic about my week. I had my flubs, as usual, because we attended the MN State Fair. Luckily, I made a plan, did some research and only veered off that plan twice. We also biked there, and walked nonstop for nearly 8 hours save for the hour we spent salsa dancing in the International Bazaar.

This morning I started my new 3 month paper journal from WW. I decided that because I WI at night on Wednesday, I needed to change my tracking habits to START on Thursday and go through Wednesday night. I have fallen into that dreaded trap of the "twilight zone" where nothing after weigh in is written down. (Luckily not this week because I was too busy, but in weeks passed.) This causes me to start the week by not really tracking (on a Wednesday) and struggling to get back on around Thursday afternoon. Mentally, if I've been tracking all week, and I know how many points I have left after weigh in, total points - activity and flex points - I will make a better choice as to what my WI treat might be.

Though I don't want to be in the habit of "rewarding" myself with food, it is nice to have a little *naughtier* dinner on a Wednesday night, but I'd like to a) track it b) still eat within my point range.

Because this week has been so busy, there's been limited time for activity. I have scheduled myself to get to Zumba at 6:30pm tonight. Though lately the teacher has been taking it VERY easy on us, so hopefully she'll be pumped for a serious class.

Tomorrow morning, I need to get back on the strength train. It leaves at 7am.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


August went by quickly for me, but I managed to complete ALL of my monthly fitness goals.

Yesterday, when I was searching my mind for new and creative ideas, I decided I needed to be realistic. I know this month is going to be jam packed with meetings, events and obligations, so I've decided not to raise the mileage on any of my static goals like biking and walking. I did, however, take a lesson away from my August goals while I was completing my lake walks - two of which I did with girlfriends. I love walking and talking.

It's obvious to anyone who knows me that I love to talk. I could go on for hours about anything, mostly because I never quite feel I'm getting my point across correctly so I keep shoving words into the air to attempt to pound it in. It's obnoxious and annoying and I appreciate my friends so much more for putting up with me when I am on one of these rants and rambles.

Hence, the "activity date" was born. One of my new monthly goals for September is to make at least 3 activity dates with different friends, centered around moving. It could be a nice crisp walk, it could be a group fitness class, a bike ride, or any number of things that involve centering my energy and strength into an activity rather than a happy hour mug.

The second new goal is to take advantage of the class punch card my sister gifted me for my birthday back in July. The card is to The Firm, and I intend to use at least one of my punches for a boxing class, and hopefully at least 2 of the others on classes I've never tried such as Step or Funk.

Yesterday, I half-heartedly decided that it's nearing my time to quit cleaning at Flex Appeal where I take my pole classes. Because of my busy schedule, in the last 3 months I've only made it to one class per week regularly, and that's Pole Power, the fitness class with strength training elements. Because I take this class, I've allowed my actual strength training routine to fall by the wayside and I can feel my muscles wilting. Additionally, the instructor will be out for the months of October and November, so I won't even be able to take that class. It was a fun phase, but it's time to move on.

I have had a goal to run an official 5k for almost 2 years now and still have not done it. I've dropped out of the Couch to 5k program about 3 times now and I'm feeling stuck. I'm not making it an "official" goal this month, but I intend to make most of my Run/Walk/Hike miles running miles by restarting the Couch to 5k program at whatever week I determine my current stamina of running is. I would love to sign up for a 5k around Halloween.

Speaking of which, Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday ever. I usually start thinking of costume ideas months and months in advance and they're pretty much always awesome and involve a lot of work. Justin and I have been together for a very long time, and we've only once done a couple's costume. We were Ghostbusters when Eli was about 4. (Yes, I made those costumes.)

This year, I want to convince him to be a "Before and After" picture of me. I have a wig that almost identically matches the way I wear my hair currently, and other than the fact that he's much taller than me, it's not too much of a stretch to make him up to look like a chubbier (ok, much larger) version of me. I still have a pair of "fat jeans" to use either for him or for me to hold out to show the inches I've lost. Haven't really sorted out the details, I just wanted to process this because I LOVE HALLOWEEN!