Saturday, June 30, 2012

The First and the Last

The First
This week was the first time I did CrossFit 3 times in one week. My only question is - Will burpees ever get easier? They are absolute torture to me. I've done tons of them, but they don't seem to be getting any easier and they completely wipe me out - completely!! {Here's a video on how to do burpees - go to 40 seconds into the video clip and imagine doing it in double time}

Imagine my horror when today's WOD was 5 rounds of 15 dead lifts, 15 burpees, 15 push-ups, 15 leg raises (while hanging from the bar) - each with 5 jump squats in between. They were all fine, but the burpees really killed me. I feel like I should practice them so that I can improve my stamina and my form, but in all honestly, I don't really want to do burpees unless I have to ... but I probably should practice {sob, but I don't want to!} - hmmm who is going to win this battle? We'll see!

The Last
I drove to my parents house for the last time today.

We closed up the house and turned in our keys. It hit me more than I thought I would as I walked from room to room - all empty, reminding me of the way it looked when we first came to the apartment 22 years ago. Although I haven't spent all of the past 22 years at home, it has always been home for me - a place where I could always go to and feel safe. Today, we closed those doors. It marked the end of an era ... and hopefully the start of many new beginnings.

Mom in the hallway, heading into the elevator and me waiting to lock up for the last time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Dress and The Shoes

A few posts ago I mentioned that one of my best friends is getting married in October. What I didn't mention is that I already have a dress for it. I actually bought the dress a few months ago in London. I loved it as soon as I saw it - I looked at the dress, found my size, and tried it on. Hmmmm it didn't quite fit, but I did a big fashion no-no and bought it anyway with the hope that one day I'll fit into it right.

The dress is made of silk, and if you know silk, you know that there is absolutely no give to the material and it shows everything. So even though technically the dress is in my size (I actually have a few dresses a size smaller than this one), it doesn't fit me the way I'd like it to - y'know, the way that doesn't require you to stay standing with your gut completely sucked in for the entire night. 

This dress is my goal dress for the October wedding. I tried it on this morning to serve as a reminder of how much further I have to go. It's a good thing I did. It's the motivation that I needed to really get my focus back. 

Due to some paperwork error, my parents did not leave Kuwait today. However, all their stuff has already been shipped off and they have to give up their apartment {such drama, I can't even explain the stress we're all under right now} - anyway, this means that my parents will be staying with us for the next 5-7 days. It all depends on when they get their final paperwork and nobody really knows when that's going to happen! So, this throws another spanner in the works. I was hoping to be back into my regular routine by Saturday, but now I'll have to make some more adjustments. I now need to plan a menu and cook for 4 people instead of just me and D. I'm really stressing out about it. My parents will also be car-less, so that means that either I'll be running them around or they'll be stuck at home. I want them to feel comfortable and I want to give them attention too, but I also need to get to the gym. I have several, several workout hours to catch up on. I'm trying to stay positive and not let the derailment stress me out too much ... as a person who craves/needs routine, this is not exactly easy, but I'm going to make it work. 

I've spent the past hour planning our menu for the week. I've decided to stick to foods that I would normally cook. I am, however, worried about portion sizes. D & I have been very good and we've gotten used to smaller portions. I don't want my parents to think I'm starving them. At the same time, I don't want to cook too much and have extra food around the house.

I also don't want them to cook. My dad (a diabetic who doesn't take care of his diet at all - aarrrgghh!) loves to cook - but he also likes to use lots of oil, salt, cheese, etc. I'm terrified that he'll want to cook to take the pressure off of me.

I'm trying to handle this in 2 ways - 1st, I've written the menu for the week on the whiteboard in my kitchen. This way they can see that I've planned out the week's food. I've also printed out my own personal menu so that they realize that I don't want a sandwich with some chips for lunch but that I'd rather take the time to make a salad. My 2nd strategy is to limit the types of food in the house. We'll be well stocked with veggies and protein but I'll avoid most things unhealthy and fatty so the temptation won't be there. At the same time, I do want to have a few treats for my parents so that they can relax and enjoy themselves. I'm thinking of maybe having a fruit platter in the fridge for them to graze on during the day. We'll see.

Having to deal with the move has been great motivation to de-clutter the apartment and this week I started with my shoes. I'm a shoe addict (as I've mentioned before) and I really, really love my shoes. It breaks my heart to think of getting rid of any of them ... and that's why I've started with them first. If I can get rid of some of my shoes, then getting rid of other stuff should be much easier. 

Yesterday I selected 30 pairs of shoes to give away ... 

Today I added another 10!
I will probably take another look at my shoe closets and see if there are anymore that I'm willing to part with. Until then, I'm quite pleased with this start.

Mexican Bean Salad

I love this salad - the mixture of beans make it feel like comfort food and the bell peppers give it a yummy crunch. The salad dressing is also nice and tangy. The prep does take some time, but it makes a big portion (that keeps for about 4 days) so I think it's worth it.

1 can black beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup cilantro
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1 green bell pepper (diced)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Splenda/sugar/sugar substitute
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic minced

1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk well.
2. Let it sit for 15 minutes before mixing into the salad

1. Drain liquid from the cans of beans and lightly rinse before putting them all in a bowl
2. Add the corn kernels and cilantro
3. Dice the bell peppers and add to the mixture
4. Add the dressing - toss well and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. It should be served cold. {The dish actually tastes better the following day after the beans/peppers have absorbed more of the dressing.}

Nutritional info: (calories per serving/recipe serves 8)
300 calories
11 g. protein
38 g. carbohydrates (9 g. fiber)
14 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat)

For more recipes, click here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Today's post is all about my CrossFit workout because OMG it was intense!
I totally had Jenn in mind as I completed this workout!


150 jump rope (I got to 125 before I got tangled; my longest stretch so far; 150 was a breeze)
3 rounds of 10 burpees/10 deep squats

Already breathless!

21 overhead squats; 21 pull ups
15 overhead squats; 15 pull ups
9 overhead squats; 9 pull ups

I used a 20 kg bar (45 lbs) for the overhead squats and I attempted the pull ups. I'm getting better but still have a LONG way to go. I finished in 6 min 25 sec.

It may not sound like much, but that 20 kg bar sure did start to feel heavy within just the first round.

Our 'Cool Down' - BARBARA (we didn't do the pull ups)
I've read about different versions of Barbara - ours was:

3 rounds of
30 hand release push ups
40 crunches
50 squats

--- Did you see that it's 3 rounds?!

My legs feel like jelly, but my mind is totally satisfied :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Blur

If I think back to today, I can barely remember what I did. How does that happen?

I just feel like, once again, I'm on auto-pilot - just moving forward and trying to get things done. I was hoping that this year was going to be more about feeling and really living my life not just being carried along ... but once again, that's the position I find myself in. Will it ever be different or will I always be living task to task? It's frustrating.

Even today's CrossFit session is a blur to me (I must be exhausted). It was a good session. I wanted to be there, but I guess I just felt mentally exhausted, which definitely had an impact on my physical performance.

Our strength skill today was a front squat. Getting my hands in the proper position was the first challenge. I just couldn't get comfortable having my elbows so far up. We did several sets, and my max (new PR) was 50 kg (110 lbs). It's going to take some practice to get used to the position.

I feel like I'm a week behind on this challenge because today I did a new exercise - tire flips! OMG that tire is heavy but damn you feel powerful when you lift that thing up and drop it over! :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Winding Down and SSSD Update

Tonight the movers are coming to put the boxes into the shipping container. I know it'll be a big relief to my parents to see all the stuff go. I can't even begin to describe how difficult the past week has been. We've been working endless hours and have reached the point of total exhaustion. Needless to say, sitting down at my computer to write a proper blog post (or comment on other blogs) just hasn't been possible. I do hope, however, that as things are winding down, I'll be able to get back into the swing of things.

I can't believe we're so close to the end of June. I had visions of relaxation and easy days for my summer vacation. All I can say right now is, what summer vacation? Still, I'm glad I've had the time (and strength/energy) to help my parents. Moving is a monumental task!

I feel like I'm in an emotionally/mentally fragile state at the moment. The days have been punctuated with tears as the reality of their move is setting in ... the thing is, once they leave Kuwait, because of visa issues, they can't come back. That's what worries me the most - even though they've lived in Kuwait for 40 years, if I get sick or if something happens, they can't just fly over ... it's complicated. It's just something that's been weighing me down. Anyway. I'm trying to stay positive. I'm so thankful for email/FaceTime. Now making a phone call or even hopping on a plane to make a 6-hour flight to visit them in Bangladesh is not a big deal. It's the emotional distance that feels far.

Packing up my room in my parents house was also emotional. Even though I haven't stayed there since 2004, I always knew it was there. I've never lived in Kuwait without my parents being here. They are what made this country home for me. Without them here, it's just another country. I'm just another expatriate living and working here. It's not really that special anymore.

Ok. This is getting depressing!!

The good thing about this whole experience - I'm totally motivated to get rid of my clutter!! When I eventually leave this country, I do not want to go through what my parents just went through. I need to get rid of stuff now. I'm definitely making it a priority this summer. Yesterday morning I went to my closet and picked out 56 items of clothing and just put them in the charity bin. It felt so good -- what's the point in holding on to these things that I never wear? I hope that I can get rid of more stuff. Bit by bit, I'm going to tackle this!

I haven't had a proper workout since Thursday's CrossFit session. However, I've have definitely worked my ass off running from room to room, packing, cleaning, lifting and pushing boxes! I didn't weigh myself on Sunday (I've totally lost track of time) nor did I precisely track my food for the past 4 days. Still, I've been conscious of my decisions and have been trying to do the best I can.

The task for this week's challenge was to try a new exercise -- aside from all the physical activity involved in the move (definitely new for me!!) my schedule was normal, so nothing new to share with that. I had ambitious goals for exercise for week 3 - I only hit half of them. Until my parents leave, I'm not going to stress out about it. This is an important time in my life. I'd normally get really anxious if anything interfered with my workout schedule. This week, however, they take priority. I'm not stressed about it. I know I'll get back into my normal routine once they've gone.

At least I managed to get into the gym today and walk 5 km. Not much, but it was something.

So, a lot of emotional stuff going on here and not a lot of focused physical movement -- time will tell how it all turns out for me!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cauliflower Soup

A few days ago I made cauliflower soup for the first time (from scratch). It was delicious!!

The recipe is incredibly simple. What I love most is that it doesn't have cream or cheese in it (which is the problem with a lot of hearty, thick soups).

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 L (4 cups) vegetable stock {I used homemade vegetable stock to reduce the sodium}
1 large head cauliflower
salt & pepper to taste

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the tablespoon of oil.
2. Add the stock and bring to boil.
3. Add the cauliflower and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Allow the soup to cool and then blend in small batches.

The original recipe called for Parmesan cheese, but I omitted it. I also used just a bit less than 4 cups of vegetable stock as I wanted the cauliflower puree to be a bit thicker.

Before serving I added 2 tablespoons of peas to add a bit of color and break up the texture a bit.

It's a very simple recipe. I mainly did it to use up my cauliflower and I did not have very high hopes for the recipe. However, it tasted so good ... I'm sure I'll be making it again soon!

Nutritional Info (calories per serving/serves 4)
125 calories
8.7 g. protein
18 g. carbohydrates (6 g. fiber)
5.75 g. fat (2.5 g. saturated fat)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keep on Going

My challenge update and general blog posts will still have to wait. I can't even explain the number of tasks that need to be accomplished before Friday. It's been very stressful -- as well as physically, emotionally, and mentally draining.

I just have to remember ...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Worn Out

I barely have energy to blog today so I'm going to keep it short.
There's a lot that needs to be done before you can leave Kuwait. I guess that's the same in every country. I remember having to check with all the different companies - insurance, cable, electricity etc. - in the States that my balance was paid etc. before leaving the country. That's what I've been trying to help my parents do for the last few days. It has been exhausting and frustrating. I have no energy to get into the details. Let's just say that the task of disconnecting our home phone line, which should realistically take an hour (maximum coz' we have to go to 2 buildings on opposite sides of the country), has so far taken up 7 hours over two days ... and the task is still not done. Today I almost cried.

When I got home after this ordeal all I wanted to do was grab that bag of chips on the kitchen counter and munch away while watching Grey's Anatomy.

I didn't. I had one more serving of my Pinto-Sized Shrimp Salad left from Tuesday - I've been trying out these new ZipLock salad containers to see if they really can keep salad fresh for up to 4 days, day 3 and so far so good! So I sat down with my salad and ate that while I zoned out in front of the TV.

I'm normally a very slow eater, but I think the stress that I was feeling from earlier in the day was manifesting itself through the speed that I was chewing. I was barely done chewing and swallowing before putting another mouthful in. I had to tell myself - slow down. Chew. Chew slowly. Rest between bites. Drink water.

I realized that if I rushed through my meal all that would happen is that I'd be done in 20 minutes and still be hungry (think that I was hungry) and then look for more to eat. Slowing down was the key.

It was an important discovery.

I watched 2 episodes and was finally starting to relax. I just wanted to stay on the couch, but there was CrossFit this afternoon. I almost skipped it, but I knew that I'd feel guilty + disappointed in myself if I didn't go ... so I went.

Since my shoulder was still a bit iffy I skipped the pull ups and cleans today and did alternate exercises. I realized during yesterday's pull ups that my shoulder wasn't ready to handle such strain.

The WOD was a killer.

2 minute sessions for a total of 20 minutes of:
ball to wall throws
box jumps
push ups
rope work

We were EXHAUSTED by the end of it -- didn't want to get off the floor!!

I'm so glad I went. It gave me that extra bit of adrenaline that I needed to push on back to my parents house and help with some packing.

I'll be at my parents house for the next two days continuing to help them get ready for the movers. No gym. They're going to need my time and energy - so if I'm MIA from the blog, that's where I'll be at!

What a Day

I woke up at 5 am with my mind racing about all the things I had to get done today in terms of helping mom pack. I rushed around preparing some last minute boxes at home, packed up my car, was ready to go and then ... my engine wouldn't start.

Are you serious?

Didn't I just have my car serviced? I was furious.

Didn't have time to deal with it at the moment as I had to get going - luckily D was ready to go too so we were there on time.

I was on my feet, packing, lifting 20 kg boxes, running from room to room, climbing up and down stairs for 10 hours straight - straight! All my strength training was really put to the test today and I'm glad that I had no problems with my stamina or strength ... but of course once I sat down, the fatigue totally began to hit me.

In the middle of all the packing one of my dad's friends stopped by to visit with his son. When I say that the house was in chaos, I'm not kidding. We're packing 40 years of stuff here - there's a lot of shit in the house and only 48 hours to get it all done. You'd think that any visitors would kinda stop by, see we were busy, and then bugger off.

Nope. Not these guys. They lingered. I was packing up my dad's LP's and he started going through the box and talking about the albums and asking dad questions - what're you going to do with these LP's? When did you buy them? Are you going to keep them all? etc. etc. My dad loves to talk and share stories ... plus he can't tell people to get out of the house coz' we're busy, so he'd answer and that would get the guy talking even more.

They stayed for OVER AN HOUR!!!! I was like what the fuck dude. Get the fuck out of our house. I was covered in dust from head to toe - lugging boxes around, working frantically and this guy is chit chatting about how we have so many books that we could open up our own library.

Yes. We do. Either grab a box and help us pack or shut the fuck up and go home.

Can you tell I was irritated?

About an hour and a half later they left and I was able to relax a little and get work done.

Finally. I was so frustrated.

Am home now - and the curry has just arrived. Can't wait to sit down and enjoy my dinner plus Criminal Minds :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back at CrossFit

The highlight of my day today was being back at the CrossFit Box. Being out of it for a while, I was a bit nervous about having the strength and stamina of getting back into it, but somehow I survived! It felt good to be back in the box :)

The weight lifting part isn't bad - it's all the jumping that gets to me - burpees, box jumps, jump squats. Ya, jumping is a pain when you've got all this weight to lift off the ground.

Something about what Kris wrote yesterday about food being linked to performance came to mind. For the most part, I've been on track since I've come back from holiday. However, the weekend (when there were several social events) threw me off course, and although I got right back into it, I felt like my bad choices haunted me during my workout.

It could be that ... or it could just be an excuse as to why the WOD was so tough -- it's probably a combination of both.

Oh well.

Short post today as I'm utterly exhausted. The next four days will be close to torture as the focus moves on taking care of a lot of Ministry work and helping parents pack and move boxes ... it's a workout in itself!

I've been terrible at commenting lately - will get to it when I get some time to myself!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On the Move

I didn't get to sleep until late last night (again). What is wrong with me? Is it still jet-lag? Vacation mode? Too lazy to go to bed (does that even make sense?). Or perhaps it's just because all I really want to do is park myself on the sofa and watch continuous episodes of Grey's Anatomy - after all, that is what I was doing until almost 2 a.m.

It wouldn't be so bad, but I was up by 6. So much for trying to reach my goal of 6 hours of sleep/night!

It was a busy, busy day mainly filled with errands to run for my parents. Their move is stressing me out in more ways than one, but I know that they are mega-stressed too, so anything I can do to help them out, I'll do it!

I did take an hour break to have coffee with some friends. I would have stayed longer but I started to get antsy about the errands I had to do. Plus I still hadn't made it to the gym so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get a workout in.

I was waiting for a few deliveries at home this afternoon so I thought I would get a head start preparing dinner. I recently bought The Big Book of Food and Nutrition (Men's Health) and they've got lots of great recipes in a section called '100 of the healthiest meals on the planet.' I want to try them all out!

Today I made Pinto-Sized Shrimp Salad.
This is what it looked like -

Not bad, huh? (It bugs me that the purple leaf on the plate is not centered on top. I'm trying to let it go ... I tried to rotate the photo, but that didn't work. I've already eaten the salad otherwise I would have taken the photo again -- ok. Breathe. Let it go.)

It took some time to prepare - chopping up the bell peppers and marinating the shrimp, but it was worth it. My favorite part was the jalapeno-lime dressing that goes with it. Yum! I'll be sure to post the recipe soon.

So did I make it to the gym? Yes :)

I did Day 3 of Week 2 in the C25K program. I was quite achy and sore from yesterday and I wasn't sure it was a good idea to do the program two days in a row ... but then I thought, why not? It's only 33 minutes of cardio.

I'm glad I did it. The session was much better than yesterday's. You can read about it here.

After that I rushed to Zumba class to get a bit of ass shaking in before dragging my tired/sore ass home to put the finishing touches on the salad.


Busy but satisfying day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Small Steps (and High Heels)

It's taking me longer than I thought to adjust to being back - both in terms of jet lag and in terms of coping with my new schedule, or more accurately, lack of a schedule. It feels weird not having to do anything. I mean, I've got tons to do, but I don't have to do anything. I can spend the whole day sleeping if I want. I'm definitely not used to that kind of 'freedom.'

I think this week is going to be a continuation of easing into my routine. I don't think I'll be in any set routine until after my parents leave for Bangladesh at the end of this month because there are so many errands I need to help them with plus all the packing to do. I'll have to get my exercise in when I can.

Today was a cardio focus day - I did Week 2 Day 2 of C25K. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get through it, mainly because I am so sore after yesterday's workouts. Still, I pushed through and I didn't do too horribly. I'm just working on getting through each set program before worrying about speed. I'm also trying not to think too far ahead. I know that  longer run will be coming up next week. What I don't know is why I'm trying to psych myself out of it when I haven't even hit that task yet ... talk about worrying too much! [Details about my entire C25K journey are here.]

I'm just taking it one step at a time ... and when I'm not at the gym (by the way, today I tried out the new pair of running shoes that I bought in Mexico - they're awesome!) I'm out and about in the lovely shoes that I've been lucky to have received/bought over the past two months. These pictures are especially for Nanette! They're how I rewarded myself (and was rewarded) for my PhD and Mexico conference success :)

United Nude has become one of my Top 5 Favorite shoe brands, mainly because of their funky designs. The heel designs are awesome and they're super comfortable!

I wore these blue ones for the first time tonight - so comfortable!! Great for summer :)

Another weakness of mine is Steve Madden - loved these polka dots!

I love the color combination in this pair of Jessica Simpson heels!

Some of my friends bought me this pair as a PhD present - they know how to make me smile!! :)

 I found out the city I was in for the conference was the shoe capital of Mexico! :)

I tell you - just when I think I may have enough shoes, I see another pair and I can't help but smile.
My name is PlumPetals, and I'm a Shoe-A-Holic!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting To It and SSSD Update

I started back at the gym today. It felt good to be back though I could have used a few more hours of sleep before doing my workouts. Still, I wanted to do the Body Pump and Zumba classes which meant getting to the gym by 8:30 a.m.

I used slightly lighter weights for Body Pump today - I haven't done the class in just over two weeks plus my right arm/shoulder is still feeling a bit sore so I didn't want to push it. The class was mainly help me warm my muscles up since it's been a while! I don't want my body to go into complete shock once I get back to CrossFit!

I then went to Zumba, which I also haven't done in about two weeks. I have missed that class!! I forgot how much fun I have dancing. At first I was a bit stiff plus there were a number of new songs that I didn't know ... still, once I warmed up, I was good to go! Shakin' my ass like it was nobody's business ;)

I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. I just vegged in front of the TV watching Season 7 of Grey's Anatomy (yes, I'm really behind!). The best part about having the hubby home on a day like this is that when the DVD was over, I just had to text him to come and change the disc for me. Yes, I was that lazy today! :) [He's such a sweetheart for indulging me like this - as long as I don't make a habit of it!]

So, on to the SSSD update:

I haven't even been back a full week so I've only been doing the challenge for 6 days. Plus I gave myself the week off from exercise, so as you can imagine, getting in 6 hours of activity was not easy. Still, this is what I did accomplish:

I have no set goal of weight loss on a weekly basis. I do know that I want to lose 7 kg (15 lbs) by July 22) so I'm just going to keep working towards that.

This week: Lost 2 lbs (which is not bad considering it hasn't even been a full week!) 

Tracking Calories
Tuesday-Friday I tracked everything I ate. Laziness got the best of me yesterday and today.
Although tracking was the challenge for week 1, it is something that I want to continue as best as possible for the rest of the challenge. It really does come in handy.

Reflections on Food
Damn those carbs! Yesterday and today I ate too many carbs and too much salt. These are the two things that really affect me badly. I need to totally cut them down this upcoming week.
Water intake is good but I'm not back up to my normal intake yet. I think this will change once my exercise routine is back in play.

The challenge for week 2 was to get 6 hours of exercise. I did 2 hours at the gym today and I'd say another 2 hours of other types of 'more than normal' activity - the running around/packing/moving with my parents. So I think I can safely say that I did 4 hours this week. I'm not obsessing over the number because it was my week off ... I'm sure I'll hit 6 hours this upcoming week. It'll be another goal that I'll try to maintain throughout the challenge.

My plan for the upcoming week - get in at least

  • 1 swim 
  • 1 boxing lesson
  • 2 CrossFit sessions
  • 2 C25K sessions
  • 1 free weights session
  • 1 body balance/yoga/pilates class

Ambitious, isn't it? Fingers crossed I can get them all done!

Challenge for this week: Try a new exercise/gym equipment
Hmmmm I'm not sure what I'll try this week. There aren't too many things that I haven't tried at the gym. I'll hunt around and see what I find and let you know in next week's update!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Farewell

The only thing on my mind today was the farewell luncheon/tea that I was having for my parents at my place. Although I was having most of it catered, there were still a lot of things to do in the house - cleaning up, getting all the serving dishes ready, preparing the salads - plus the dreaded grocery shopping trip.

For some reason I only managed to sleep for 2 1/2 hours last night (is my insomnia coming back or is it jet lag??). Not getting enough sleep worries me. I've suffered from insomnia my whole life and feel lucky when I managed to get 5 solid hours, ecstatic when I get 6 (shocked when I get more - very, very rare). So struggling to sleep makes me feel anxious, which I know also contributes to the insomnia. It's a terrible cycle! Anyway.

The advantage of not sleeping is that I was able to go to the supermarket early. I'm always amazed at how long it takes to get my grocery shopping done. I was there for 1 1/2 hours! Oh well, at least my fridge is fully packed with yummy veggies to last the upcoming week.

My contribution to the luncheon was two of my parents' favorite salads: My 'Welcome Back' Salad and a Three Bean Salad (will post the recipe later). Just those two things took ages to prep - but they enjoyed them both so it was worth it :)

The farewell itself was nice. It was just a small gathering of my friends that have known my parents for several years plus KD (Body Pump instructor) and her husband as they're recent close additions to my life. It was a simple afternoon/evening -- the reality of them didn't really hit me until people started saying good-bye. Then it started to feel strange. I know for my friends who are foreigners here, it has been nice having my parents as a 'permanent' fixture in Kuwait. It's like they're all part of the family - need help in an emergency? Need advice? Need a home cooked meal? They don't need to wait for their parents to come visit them - my parents are here. Even if they didn't meet up regularly, my parents were here ... and in two weeks, they'll be gone. It was a strange feeling.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Grazing in Un-calculated Territory

I had another relatively relaxing day today though I did spend some time doing a bit of work. I treated myself to a massage this afternoon (bliss) and then was out for a friend's birthday - which turned out to also include a surprise celebration for me passing my PhD as well. They bought me a lovely handbag plus a gorgeous pair of shoes (I'm a total shoe addict so I was thrilled!). All in all, a lovely night that included watching the England vs Sweden game with a bonus of Tweeting with Rebecca @ Weight Wars and Tim @ Fat.Boy.Thin :)

I've been tracking my calorie intake over the past few days and I've been amazed at how quickly the calories add up. I've been good at controlling what I'm eating at home ... but it's when I go out to social events that I have to really be careful. Even if I stick to healthy choices, it's not like I pull out my measuring cup at the restaurant and see whether I'm eating 1/4 cup of hummus or 1/3 ... it can get a bit frightening. It can also drive you to paranoia.

I've already been down the paranoid path. It's really unpleasant and it often leads to bad choices one way or another - eating too little out of fear or eating too much out of frustration.

This time around I'm just trying to be more sensible. Yesterday I knew that I was going to eat out at night. I knew there would be healthy options but I that doesn't mean that I'd succeed at portion control. The same thing goes for this evening -- so the best I could do is try to control what I ate during the day.

I wrote down everything I ate and estimated the calories using different online calorie counters to get an estimate -- not a pretty site in the end.

My eating plan is going to take quite a bit of fine-tuning. I've seen in the past that watching what I eat and taking the time to track my calories does pay off. I know I'm not alone in saying that tracking is a pain, but I'm also not alone in recognizing the huge advantages to putting in this effort.

I think I'm going to need to take a bit more care when eating out and approaching those un-caluclatable territories!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Signs of Summer

I had a mega-relaxing day today!

Pampered at the salon with a mani/pedi reflecting my support for Italy's football team :)

Poolside for 2 hours with some friends - caught a mega tan (not that I needed one!)

Relaxed at home in front of the TV for a few hours (dozed off a bit too)

Headed to my BFF's house with our hubbies to watch the football matches of the night - gutted Italy didn't win, but at least it was a draw!

I think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole relaxing thing :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Taking Stock

Today has been a strange day --

My big task of the day was to take my car in for servicing. It's been crying for one for quite a while but as usual I've been procrastinating. Dropping off my car was relatively painless, but the guy handling the paperwork really irritated me. He wouldn't give me straight answers about what the servicing would include or how much it would cost or when my car would be ready ... it was very frustrating.

Of course the car wasn't ready even when he said it would be and when he called me to tell me about the delay he listed several other things that he thought I should fix - so the original service which was going to cost $250 would end up costing $2,650! When I asked him if they were absolutely necessary (for safety issues) he said no. I had to bite my tongue to refrain from telling him what was really going on in my mind. He really, really pissed me off. I didn't want to go and see him again so I took my hubby along with me in the evening. Sometimes I think these guys at the garages don't take women seriously. At least I told him off a bit when I got to the garage but still not to the extent that I wanted to.


Since I was car-less for the day, I attempted my first day at vegging in front of the TV. I have to say, I'm not that good at just relaxing. I kept wanting to get up and do something but there really wasn't anything that absolutely had to be done. I literally forced myself to sit down for 3 hours and just watch TV. I know I needed the rest (the jet lag feels like torture) ... but I don't know how successful I will be at just lounging around. I think it's partly because I'm not stressed about my writing anymore so I don't feel like I need a break. I guess the good thing is that I'm on summer vacation now, so over the next few months if there is a day that I don't want to do anything - I have the luxury of relaxing. Anyway. I'm sure my attitude towards just sitting on the couch will change once I pop in Grey's Anatomy! I still have seasons 7 & 8 to watch!

My food was also a bit strange to do in that I didn't eat breakfast this morning (which is a meal I hardly ever skip) coz' I thought I'd just eat after returning from the garage. I didn't get back until around 10 a.m. and by that time I was starving. I decided to have an early lunch (leftovers from yesterday) but that had me full until around 4 p.m. I just had a breakfast bar and then waited for dinner. So my eating was a bit upside down, but well within my calorie limit for the day.

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday organizing my menu for the week and my general eating plan for the next few weeks. I've set my calorie targets at 1400 on a regular day and1800 on the days I workout. I even took the time to break down how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, fats, etc. I should be consuming on a daily basis. I've got my chart printed out, and I'm determined to keep track of all the foods I eat.

I also spent 3 hours in the kitchen taking stock of all the things I had and getting rid of all the food that has expired! I haven't sorted out my kitchen shelves in almost two years. It's clean but cluttered. Now my goal is to get rid of all the excess stuff and focus on arranging my menu around the things I already have in the kitchen. I'm a lot better stocked than I realized!

I really want to try to cut down buying unnecessary ingredients. There are some things that I buy in bulk because we can never be sure when the next shipment of imported goods will come. However, I've decided to be careful even with those things. I just want to focus on buying fresh produce and protein and use up the rest of the things that I have. Hopefully this will save me some cash as well!

I managed to come up with an exercise plan that will take me until July. It's not 100% fixed as yet because  I still need to double check the schedule for classes at the gym. There are so many different workouts that I want to tackle -- C25K, CrossFit, Boxing. I also want to get in a swim or two per week, Zumba, some sort of yoga/Body Balance class ... ya, there's a lot I want to do and I haven't figured out a sensible way to get it all in.

Although my intention was to rest until Sunday I actually got in an unintentional workout yesterday. It wasn't a workout per se, but I was helping out my parents with some things related to their move, and it involved a lot of walking (2 1/2 hours) plus quite a bit of lifting and moving boxes (1 1/2 hours). I know it's not a structured workout, but I tell you, by the time I got home I was completely wiped out!

Chick Pea Curry

I've always liked to experiment with cooking on my own. This recipe, however is one that my mom gave to me -- and it's one of my all-time favorite dishes to cook (and eat). It's not the 'freshest' recipe, but it really is tasty - very filling and low in fat. 

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon of each of the following spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can chick peas
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup peas
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and then add the diced onion. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly brown.
2. Add the spices. Mix well. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to loosen the spices and help them cook. Stir and let cook for 3 minutes
3. Add the tomato sauce, chick peas, water, and tomato paste. Mix well and let it cook for 35 minutes on low heat. Stir once or twice every 10 minutes.
4. Add the peas (can be from frozen) and the garlic powder. Stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. 

Nutritional Info (calories per serving/recipe serves 3)
235 calories
8 g. protein
41.5 g. carbohydrates (11.5 g. fiber)
7 g. fat (1 g. saturated fat)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Next 40 Days & SSSD Challenge

I have exactly 40 days until my next trip. It's a good amount of to plan and implement some solid lifestyle changes that will help me reach my goals. For these next 40 days I have the luxury of time since I am on summer vacation. I wish I could say that I have no work to do during this time, but that is not the case. I have quite a few tasks that need to be completed in terms of my research and writing along with a humongous list of things to do that needs to be tackled (is it just me or does the list of things 'to do' always seem to grow?).

I've also joined the Summer Sizzle Slim Down Challenge (SSSD). I know I'm more than a week behind all the other participants, but better late than never I guess!

I really benefitted from the Ready for Summer Challenge that was hosted by Maren. Not only did the weekly challenges provide some sort of structure for me to follow, but the support from fellow bloggers served as a huge source of motivation. I'm hoping the SSSD will help me do the same.

The SSSD Challenge started on June 3 and will end on Sep 2 -- it's perfect timing as it covers my entire summer vacation. Within this time period I have two more trips planned - a 2 1/2 week trip (July/August) and then a 5-day trip in August. Actually, the rest of this year is filled with several other trips as well - particularly my best friend's wedding. So, I'm basically going to be setting weight targets with my travel dates as guidelines.

I'm merging my personal goals with my SSSD targets - here's the plan.

1. SSSD -- before/after pictures; measurements; weight

Pictures. Pictures. Pictures. Ugh!!! I've been resisting posting these details up until this point. My hesitation is a combination of embarrassment and shyness since I have friends that I see on a regular basis who read this blog. There's also the issue of privacy of course. Once it's up on the Internet, anybody can see what you're posting ...

Despite these hesitations, I've decided to post a bit more about my journey.

The main reason for this is because I have found this blog to be incredibly helpful to me -- very cathartic. I am also quite proud of the progress that I have made so far (something I never would have even been able to say before). I still have a long way to go, but I've worked hard to get to where I am now ... and I intend to share the rest of my journey as well. Finally, and probably most importantly, I have drawn such strength and motivation from other bloggers who have faced their fear and have posted all the details about their weight/measurements/photos etc. Some of the transformations have been phenomenal. These blogs have shown me that it is possible ... I can do it ... I hope that through my blog I can impart even a fraction of the inspiration that I have received from others.

I'm still apprehensive so all I'm going to do is start with a few pictures. I've posted these on a new page that will be at the top of my blog. These will count as my 'before' pictures ... we'll see how I look on September 2nd!

I weighed myself this morning and was dismayed to see a 1 kg gain over the past week. Still, I'm confident that once I get into a regular routine (including sleep - I've been up since 1:45 a.m. - damn jet lag!!) things will fall into place (and fat will fall off my body!!). I also took my measurements. Most of my measurements have stayed the same, though I was happy to see 1/2 inch lost around my abdomen and another 1/2 inch from my thighs and calves -- not sure how that loss translates into the number on the scale. Oh well.

I'll be weighing myself every Sunday and measuring myself on the 1st Sunday of every month.

My Long-Term Weight Loss Targets
July 23 - lose 7 kg (15 lbs) and maintain until after my August trip
September 2 - lose a total of 10 kg (22 lbs) [end of SSSD Challenge]
October 6 - my best friend's wedding (ceremony 1) - lose a total of 14 kg (30 lbs)
December 18 - my best friend's wedding (ceremony 2) - lose a total of 18 kg (40 lbs)

Those are some big targets. I hope I can reach them.

2. SSSD -- Week 1 challenge: Track your food; Week 2 challenge: 6 hours of exercise
I'm combining these two challenges together since I missed Week 1.

Tracking my food is going to be a priority over the next few months (maybe forever??). I've become careless with my portion sizes and I've been slipping more and more into the whole 'a little bit won't hurt' mentality. I don't think that a little bit will hurt ... but do that on a daily basis and it's not a little bit anymore! So, starting from today I'm tracking my food. I'm not using any websites to do this because I don't think I'll be able to keep it up. Instead I've got a little chart that has space for me to fill in all the nutritional breakdowns etc. of everything that I eat. I'm going to fill it in myself.

I've been hearing a lot about the Paleo eating plan as well as the Dukan diet. I'm not going to follow a particular type of diet -- however I have downloaded the books and plan on trying out some of the recipes. I'm still figuring out the exact details about my daily calorie intake and amount of protein etc. I'm guessing I'm looking at a daily calorie intake of around 1400-1750 depending on my workouts for the day.

I've also got to come up with a workout plan. There's tons that I want to do - CrossFit, Zumba, Boxing, Body Balance, Weights - but I haven't figured out what my schedule is. I have to get the gym's summer schedule. I also have to confirm what days there will be CrossFit training. So my intentions are there, but the plan has yet to be organized.

I've told myself that I'll take the next few days to rest, get organized, and catch up on sleep ... it's always a bit counterintuitive to me to just sit down and do nothing ... but I really do think I need the rest. It's been a very hectic past 5 months (not to mention 4 1/2 years)! In any case, taking this week off to recuperate kind of negates Week 2's challenge of 6 hours of exercise ... terrible start to the challenge, isn't it? I'll do what I can, but after writing all this stuff down I feel like it won't really be until the upcoming Sunday that things really start to fall into place.

I've got more to write in terms of my summer plans, but I think I'll end this post here for now and continue tomorrow. In the meantime, this summarizes my basic summer plan quite well:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Updating while Unpacking

I'm back! What a journey - I'm so glad it went smoothly. I'm trying to stay awake for another 2 hours so that the adjustment back to Kuwait's time zone isn't too bad.

I thought I'd give a quick update of my trips.

It started off with a short trip to Abu Dhabi to see Madonna.

The concert was excellent though she did take a long time to come out on stage. Still, I couldn't have asked for a better spot in the stadium - just 3-4 people away from her. Most of her songs were from the new MDNA collection though she did play some classic favorites like Papa Don't Preach, Like a Prayer, Vogue ... I was absolutely thrilled. (Couldn't get the lighting right with the pix - plus I was too excited jumping up and down/signing to really take pix!)

That day overall was exhausting ... D & I worked out in the hotel gym (almost 2 hours) - some weights and I did Week 2 Day 1 of C25K. Compared to Day 3 of Week 1, I struggled quite a bit, but still, I got through it.

We stood for 6 hours at the concert and then walked back to the hotel which was 2 km away. We were utterly exhausted by the end of the night! Still, it was absolutely worth it :)

On to Mexico!! A lot of my time was spent at the conference, but I had the evenings free plus an hour or two in the afternoon to explore. Everybody was so incredibly friendly - I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to go back and visit more cities.

I stayed at one of the most charming hotels I've ever been to - it's called El Meson de Los Poetas. It was a very simple hotel, but full of character. Each room was named and designed after a famous poet. I was thrilled to be in Pablo Neruda's room because he's one of my favorite poets :)

The hotel had several nooks and crannies as well as lots and lots of stairs!

That's me at the top of the main staircase ...

This one was taken in the breakfast area ... aren't the colors so warm and inviting? 

I mentioned the (steep) hills in a number of my posts. Here's an example of what I was talking about. These are the steps that lead up to the University of Guanajuato ... however, this staircase represents only half of the distance that I had to go ... double the distance and then you've got an idea of how far I had to go. Yup - lots of stairs! 

In the background of the photo below you can see the different colored houses. You can also see that they're built on a hill, so everywhere you look you are surrounded by these small colorful houses.

I really found the sights, smells, and sounds of Guanajuato enchanting. The people were so friendly. I've never studied Spanish, but I knew enough to get by, and I always found the reaction of the locals to be even warmer when they heard me attempting to speak their language (although many of them were first surprised when I told them I wasn't Mexican).

It was a short but fabulous trip!

I definitely foresee another visit in the future.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On My Way

I'm heading back to Kuwait today.

I've basically got 36 hours of travel ahead of me.

 I've had a great time in Mexico and will definitely come back some time in the future. I am, however, eager to get home and back to a regular routine. I'm planning on using the long flight from DC to Kuwait to plan my menu and organize my workout schedule for the next six weeks. I've got a lot of tasks set out for my summer vacation but I also plan on doing some much needed relaxing. Hopefully I'll start to feel more normal!

I'm also looking forward to really getting into the SSSD challenge. I feel bad that I hasn't been participating fully (yet). So there's a lot waiting for me back home ... Just hope all the flights go by smoothly.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Kind of Exercise

For today the organizers of the conference arranged for me to go into Leon which is known as the Shoe Capital of Mexico. Did you know that?! I didn't, but boy was I thrilled!! I am a total shoe addict. We must have gone to around 100 stores. I showed a lot of restraint though. I only bought 3 pairs ... and one was a pair of sneakers so they don't really count! :) Anyway, the day was filled with lots of walking and shopping - definitely a fun way to burn off calories! :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Adjustments and Realizations

Today was the last day of the conference. I have to say, it was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. The quality and variety of presentations was terrific. I feel truly honored that they invited me to be a part of such an event. Being at events like these - as well as being away from my regular routine - often gives me a chance to reflect on a lot of things.

I feel like traveling, whether it is purely for fun, for work, or for a bit of both, can test us in many ways. In terms of health and fitness, I think it challenges our discipline. The tendency is to indulge a little and eat things you don't normally eat and not exercise in the way you normally exercise (or not exercise at all). For the past year I've definitely tried to be more conscious of my habits. I'm glad to say I don't feel the need to indulge the way I used to, but that is not to say I don't indulge at all. I do, but it's not in the way or extent that I used to before.

I also try to set myself guidelines for what I eat. I haven't done too well on this trip. It's the cheese that's got me. I don't want the cheese, but it seems to be in everything. It has been tough. I'm trying instead to focus on portion sizes so when the order of enchiladas comes and there are 4 on the plate, I only eat half. It's the best I can do.

On the exercise front it has also been tough. I didn't pack my gym clothes for the trip because I knew I'd be busy with the conference and there isn't a gym at the hotel. The one thing that has helped me out to some extent is that it is HILLY here. Not rolling hills -- steep hills!! It's not a lot of exercise, but I know that walking up and down hills and stairs has helped me get in a bit of activity. If I see the same weight as when I left Kuwait, I'll be happy. I know I haven't been gone long, but factors such as travel, jet lag, and general stress as well as all the other changes do have an impact. We'll see.

Something else that I've been thinking about is my general weight loss goals and reminding myself of why they're important to me. It is so easy to get frustrated because it is a long, difficult process ... and results take a long time to show. Still, there are so many factors that remind me of how badly I want to lose weight. Of course I am very eager to live a healthy lifestyle but looking good and feeling good about my body image are very important too!

As a teacher who has to stand in front of a group of students and command respect, get people to listen to you - and learn - display confidence, etc. on a daily basis, you need to be confident in yourself. It's definitely not easy to do that when you don't feel confident in yourself. Some days I just push through, other days I feel ok, and on the worst days I absolutely dread it and feel uncomfortable. I'm glad those days rarely occur, but it is something that I fear. I have the same kind of apprehension when I give presentations at conferences. Actually it's even more intimidating because you're standing in front of experts in your field and you have to show that you belong. You have to be ready to answer questions about your research. It's tough to do when you're feeling self-conscious.

It's these feelings that I hold on to in order to remind myself of why I'm doing this. I love teaching and presenting (despite the nerves). I owe it to myself to be the best possible version of me when I'm up there in front of an audience. The last thing I want to feel up on that stage is self-doubt. I want to know that I did everything possible up to that point in time to deserve to feel confident. It's not easy, but I keep trying. It's always important to keep trying.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fight or Flight

Yesterday I found out that the conference organizers wanted me to be part of a round table discussion. I didn't need to prepare anything but just show up and participate in an hour long Q&A session. Of course, I was nervous. As I walked up the massive steep hill to the university all I could think of was - OMG I'm not prepared. I'm going to suck. I just want to run away.

The discussion went really well. All that worry for nothing.

Then of course there was my keynote speech this afternoon. As the time approached for my presentation, my heart was pounding louder and louder. I just wanted to throw up. Once again as I climbed the hill I just wanted to run. What if I forget my presentation? Suppose I suck? This feels like way too much pressure.

By the end of it, I felt so relieved. I think I spoke a bit too quickly but other than that, it went well. I handled all the questions well, and I received many compliments both about my presentation content and style. Relief. So why is it that I freak myself out so much?

My gut instinct seems to always be flight. Run. Escape. You can't do this. You've bitten off more than you can chew. Loser. Doesn't that sound awful?

If you've been following my blog, you can probably notice this pattern even in the way I approach weight loss. New exercises intimidate me. Fear of failure haunts me. Feelings of self-doubt and incompetence overwhelm me. It's exhausting.

I'm happy (and even a little proud) that even though flight is my gut instinct, I always fight. Always. You'd think after all these years I would ignore the flight aspect and just focus on the fight, but it's not that easy.

I hope that one day FIGHT becomes my gut instinct and I develop the confidence and self-appreciation to allow myself to enjoy my experiences instead of keep looking at them with fear.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quick Catch Up

Got to Guanajuato after 19 hours of flying time (but a total of 32 hours of travel time) ... Needless to say I was utterly exhausted! The best part of the trip was taking advantage of the 8 hour layover in Houston, TX and popping out to grab some lunch with some friends who recently moved there. Nothing too much to report at the moment.

Guanajuato is adorable - and VERY hilly! I didn't bring any workout clothes with me here but I have no doubt that the hills and stairs will help me get in a bit of physical activity. I do, however, have to watch what I eat and that's not easy especially being surrounded by yummy enchiladas :)

I apologize in advance for not posting any challenge updates or commenting as much as usual. It's just temporary. Trying to blog and comment on my iPad isn't as easy as I'd like it to be but I'll do the best I can. My keynote presentation is tomorrow so I've got to focus on that ... after that's done, I'll be much more relaxed!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's About Discipline

I was talking to a friend about nutrition yesterday. This woman had done an amazing job losing over 120 lbs. and maintaining that loss for over a year -- truly inspirational. She leads an active, healthy lifestyle.

After all this time, she still makes a conscientious effort in watching what she eats. She enjoys a bit of everything - meat, dairy, sweets, etc. - but she is sensible about what she eats and she is aware that there are always consequences. Being at goal weight doesn't mean she can eat whatever she wants in any quantity. She still has to be careful. In general, she's cut out all sugary, refined, fatty foods from her diet. Does she still indulge in a burger or a cupcake? Yes. Perhaps two or three times a year. While she doesn't have cravings for junk food - which is something that I also realized for myself yesterday - she did say that she is still very aware of making sure she follows a balanced diet. It doesn't come easily to her. While she doesn't measure everything, she still measures some things (e.g. olive oil when she cooks, dressing for her salads). She still has trouble working fruit into her daily diet (something I can totally relate to). Anyway. All in all it just reminded me of the effort it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I know several people who do not need to watch what they eat - they can eat whatever they want in whatever quantity and they'll always stay slim ...

If you want it, you've got to work for it. If you want to keep it, you've got to commit to continuing to work hard. It really does boil down to discipline.

We've heard it all before. I'm really not saying anything new.

The concept is so simple, yet why is it so difficult to implement? Is it because we want to see results immediately? Is it because we don't want it to be so difficult?

In the end, there's no other way than to do the work. I think in the beginning it's about doing something, anything. Do ten jumping jacks a day. Walk for 20 minutes every other day. Cut down on salt intake. As I said, something, anything.

I think starting small is good. It feels manageable. The little changes do make a difference. The next step is about being consistent ... and then following that up with more changes. Workout a bit more. Increase your intensity. Increase your duration. Make more changes to your diet.

Again, it doesn't have to be everything, but it should be something. It's not going to happen by wishing - you've got to work for it.

It truly does take patience. I've already got those pink boxing gloves ... now I just have to keep working really (really, really) hard until I get that body!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ready for Summer Challenge Summary

I loved this challenge! The best part for sure was 'meeting' so many new bloggers and having the opportunity to share their journey with them. It's been amazing. Like I wrote in an earlier post, I never thought having a blog about health and fitness would be so rewarding!

So, it's the end of the challenge - how did I do?

I have to say that I didn't hit all my goals. That is definitely very frustrating because it makes me think, if I had 10 weeks to sit down and focus on reaching my goals and I couldn't do it - will I ever be able to?

I think a bit of self-criticism is good. I'm very glad that the voices of self-hate are slowly being silenced and I'm not longer saying to myself 'You're such a failure/loser. You tried to lose x amount of weight in this period of time and you couldn't do it!' No. No more of that. However, I do realize that I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.

Anyway. I ended the challenge 12 lbs lighter than when I started - that's 3 lbs shy of my goal. I think I've done an excellent job with my exercise. My main focus now has to be nutrition. I need to be more watchful of what and how much I eat. That's going to be my main focus for the next challenge. I'm updating this on my phone so I'm going to save proper Summer Sizzle post later. I'm absolutely exhausted.

Got back from Abu Dhabi this evening and I'm back at the airport less than 6 hours later for my flight to Mexico! I apologize for the sporadic posts over the next few days while I'm traveling. Oh just one more thing, I did workout while in Abu Dhabi - weights & C25K week 2 day 1 :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Get up Again Over and Over

Tonight is the Madonna concert. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. I've been waiting for this concert ever since the 80's :)

For today's post, I've decided to share one of her songs. I know it's an old one, but it's one of my favorites - and it's a great theme for this blog.

Over and Over - Madonna

Hurry up, I just can't wait
I gotta do it now, I can't be late
I know I'm not afraid, I gotta get out the door
If I don't do it now, I won't get anymore

You try to criticize my drive
If I lose, I don't feel paralyzed
It's not the game, it's how you play
And if I fall, I get up again now. 

I get up again, over and over
I get up again, over and over
I get up again, over and over
I get up again, over and over

Got past my first mistake
I'll only give as much as I can take
You're never gonna see me standin' still
I'm never gonna stop 'till I get my fill

It doesn't matter who you are
It's what you do that takes you far
And if at first you don't succeed
Here's some advice that you should heed

You get up again, over and over

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Travel Time

I've got 2 weeks of travel ahead of me. I've decided not to freak out. I know what I need to do in order to help me stay on track.

My first trip is just 2 days to Abu Dhabi for the Madonna concert. I wonder if I've been too ambitious by packing gym gear for a 2 day trip?! It's all fit into my carryon so I'm taking it anyway. I saw pictures of the hotel gym and it looks fab. I really don't have anything to do during the day except relax, so why not try to squeeze in at least one workout (if not two).

The second trip will be a little more tricky. First of all, just getting to Mexico involves 19 hours of flying time (not including layover time) [and then there's return trip of course]. Plus the hotel where I'm staying at doesn't have a gym ... and of course I'll be busy at the conference for 3 out of the 5 days. So we'll see what I manage while being away.

So my plan for the trip is to exercise when I can and try to eat as sensibly as possible. I usually try to eliminate two things from my food when traveling - cheese and fried foods. For some reason I have a feeling that following this may be a bit more difficult in Mexico, but I'll try! The other thing I try to do is avoid heavy carbs at night. So I don't eliminate pasta, rice, potato etc. from my diet, but I just make sure I eat them earlier in the day so that I have time to work them off. I'll try to keep my dinners light.

I'm really looking forward to my trips, but I'm also eager to get back and fall into my summer routine. Does that sound weird? Probably.

With the end of the Ready for Summer Challenge, I've been thinking about my next goal(s). I still have such a long way to go on this weight loss journey that it feels overwhelming at times. Still, I know the key is to set smaller achievable goals. I'm eager to set my next group of goals and start working towards them, which is why I guess I'm looking forward to coming back.

I'll have exactly 6 weeks after returning before my next trip. That's 6 whole weeks to concentrate properly my eating habits and exercise. I'll be vacationing with a few women who look fabulous and fit -- I don't want to feel self-conscious!! I know I'll have to work hard!


I've got a few blog posts scheduled to keep my blog somewhat active while I'm away. I will, of course, try to check in whenever possible and keep reading/commenting on your blogs.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Finishing Up the Week

I've done really well this week in terms of hitting my exercise goals. The only thing I had left was my C25K workout - week 1 day 3.

This morning I completed the session. I have to say, I felt great! I didn't feel that mental dread that I felt during the previous two sessions. Instead, I felt well rested and eager to complete the week. It was great to feel the short running intervals were already getting easier! More details about my C25K progress here.

I skipped Body Combat to do the C25K program and after that I headed down to the Body Pump studio. I lessened my weights for the chest and triceps track by 1 kg just because my right arm/shoulder is still a bit sore. My instructor reckons my rotator cuff is inflamed. It's a good thing I'm going on holiday now because my body sure could use the rest!

I headed to Zumba right after Body Pump but unfortunately not enough people showed up for the class for them to hold the session. Too bad :( I had really been looking forward to the class since I haven't had time to attend lately, especially because of the CrossFit sessions. Oh well. Hopefully I can rejoin after I return from my holiday.

The rest of the day was spent packing and being pampered at the salon. It felt great to relax after a hectic week ... and tomorrow I'm off to Abu Dhabi! I can't wait :)