Saturday, April 28, 2012

Restaurant review: Applebee's new Weight Watchers menu items & maintenance week 2 weight in

Last week, I was thrilled to find out that I had won an Applebee's $25 gift card on a giveaway on the blog Weight Watchers Wannabe. The point of the giveaway was to introduce Applebee's 3 new Weight Watchers Points Plus entree choices. So, when my son volunteered to run the lights, sound and video for his school prom tonight it seemed like a perfect time to make use of that gift card and enjoy a date night with my husband while our child was occupied for the evening. I chose the Grilled Jalapeno-Lime Shrimp (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 8). The Applebee's website describes it as: "a hearty portion of grilled chipotle lime shrimp and black bean corn salsa tossed with lime juice and chopped cilantro, served on a mix of grilled zucchini, marinated tomatoes, onions & red peppers with steamed white rice."
The shrimp was very good, especially the veggies, beans and corn salsa which was very flavorful. My only disagreement with the description is the phrase "a hearty portion"- I understand that portion control is a vital part of Weight Watchers, but there really wasn't a whole lot of food in this meal. I enjoyed the meal very much, but the fact is that I could have easily eaten two servings before I felt like I'd had a full meal. However, for 8 points it's a good deal in both price and points cost. My husband got the Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 12). This is a Applebee’s 7 oz. grilled House Sirloin with sautéed Portobello mushrooms & onions in a Napa Valley Cabernet sauce with steamed herbed potatoes and garlic broccoli.
Same story here- the food itself was excellent, but my husband was still hungry once he'd eaten everything on his plate. As he said, that portion size was not intended for a full grown man such as himself. We ate at a little after 5 and by 6:30 we were both ready to eat again. In summary, the new Applebee's menu choices are very good, but be aware that they are not the most filling meals. I came home and enjoyed a yogurt/banana smoothie and some fresh fruit afterwards and I'm good. (My husband is planning a full additional meal, however- he's still quite hungry! Then again, he's also 6 foot 1 and 280 lbs so he can really consume some food!) :) The update on week 2 of maintenance at WW is that I'm up 1.2 pounds, for a total gain of 2.6 pounds since I started maintenance. However, this particular gain was earned- there were dietary transgressions this past week. Gloriously chocolaty transgressions at that, so I'm ok with the gain. For the week coming up I've lowered my daily points allowance back to my pre-goal range of 26 until I can get back to my goal weight. Then, I'll bump it back up 2 or 3 points to make a more focussed attempt at maintenance. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Iron Girl Clearwater 5K race recap

We had a very busy, but very wonderful weekend. We saw Rick Springfield in concert Saturday night at a park in Clearwater. We were worried about the weather, since the forecast called for thunderstorms, hail and flooding but we had a perfect window of calm weather to see Rick, then the rain started again literally moments after got in our car to head home after the show. As usual, Rick ventured out in the audience and shook as many hands as he could while singing. My friend of over 25 years, Dianne, got to (in her words) "assess the muscle tone of Rick's kidney area" when he paused in front of her and my husband got a handshake from Rick. I didn't have any "Rick contact" this time, but I've had it in the past (his obliques! I touched his obliques when he was in the crowd at a previous concert and I've also touched his shoulder with the beautiful Celtic cross tattoo....we Rick fans are a funny lot)so it was ok. Rick closed with my favorite song of his "Christina" so I was hyped! It was funny, there were two of my co-workers there and I think I shocked them a little with my frenzied singing, dancing and yelling at Rick. Heck, they saw me climbing over rows of rickety folding chairs to get to Rick- I bet they didn't expect that of their normally mild mannered school librarian! :) The morning after the Rick show, we got up at 5AM to head back to Clearwater for the Iron Girl 5K. The race started at 7:30, but to get a parking space we had to arrive quite early. It was very nicely organized, even with nearly 4,000 women running (between the 5K and the half marathon)things went quite smoothly. The race that I ran had 2,534 women running in it and it was REALLY packed tight for the first 3/4 of a mile, but then it opened up pretty well. It was so crowded that I couldn't get my pace any better than a 12 minute mile until the crowd stretched out a bit. Once I finished the first mile (at just under 12 minutes)I was able to speed up a bit, but at that point I knew that my goal was just to finish and not worry about a new personal best with the slow start that I had. As it turns out, I finished only 23 seconds short of a PR- if it hadn't been for that slow start I'd have totally made it! I wish I'd looked at my Nike+GPS more often during the race, I'd have picked up the pace if I'd known it was looking like a new PR. Even so, the experience of the race was so much fun that just finishing really was good enough. My time was 33:41, with an average pace of 10:52 per mile. The race featured a huge, steep bridge that was definitely challenging, but I had preview run it with my friend Amy several days earlier so I knew what to expect. I ended up finishing a few seconds before Amy, then she hung out with my husband and I for a while afterwards so that was nice. There were lots of people lining the course with signs, my favorite ones were bright purple and said "Ladies, you kick asphalt!" At the end, we got wonderful finisher medals- mine is already hanging in a place on honor in my home. I got the official results from the race today, here are my stats: Time: 33:41 Pace: 10:52/mile Division place: 77/316 (so, I placed 77th among the 316 women from 40-44 years old in the race) Overall place: 564/2534 (I placed 564th among the 2534 women who completed the 5K- I'm math impaired, but I believe that's in the top 20%- I am *thrilled* with that result.) Now I'm thinking about trying a half marathon in December....I found one that says that it "welcomes walkers", so I'd have the option of doing run/walk intervals if my gas tank runs dry on running. We'll see. Either way, I will be doing the Iron Girl again next year, it was a wonderful experience.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weight Watchers maintenance: Crazy Train Edition

This was my first week of maintenance on Weight Watchers after reaching my goal weight last week. WW suggests that you raise your points allowance on maintenance by up to 6 daily points and decrease that as needed until you are maintaining- that is, neither gaining or losing. I increased mine by what I thought was a conservative 3 points per day and when I weighed in I had gained 1.4 pounds. Grrrr. The awesome receptionist reminded me that maintenance is a "balancing act" and advised me to drop down to 2 points added to my previous pre-goal points allowance and see what happens this coming week. I say this "balancing act" is more like a wacky see saw with a roulette wheel and the conductor of the crazy train on the other end. While it probably won't help that I've already used 28 of my weekly points, we'll see where this crazy train ends up on next Thursday. I'm WAY tempted to go right the heck back to my pre-goal points allowance and just stay there. I'm stressing a little over maintenance so I'll feel better once I hit lifetime and only have to weigh in once a month. The blurry picture here (thanks, iPhone camera!) is my "inspiration board" featuring things that help keep me on track on WW. The "certificate of accomplishment" is my 100 pounds lost award from WW, thrilled to finally have that! I also have postcards from my WW leader, quotes, Twitter messages, and a nice message that my husband printed out and put on there while I was gone one day, "I'm proud of you!". :) Below the inspiration board is a holder for my race numbers, with my personal best race bib on top. We have a busy weekend planned, this morning I went to the gym and did the BodyVive and BodyAttack classes. This evening we are going to see Rick Springfield (my inner 13 year old girl always squeals a little when I say his name) at an outdoor concert in Clearwater. This is probably the 7th or 8th time I've seen him in concert, he puts on a great show. He often comes into the audience for several songs, and as a result I can say that I have touched Rick Springfield several times as he's roared by. (I think you have to be a woman of a certain age, raised in the 80s, to appreciate the blessing of touching a sweaty Rick Springfield) :) I'm going with Dianne; one of my great friends since high school, and my husband John is going as our personal security. I think he secretly enjoys Ricks music a little too, but he always claims to be going to protect us from the overzealous Rick fans. One concern is that the show is outside and tonight we are expected to have 2-3 inches of rain, hail, thunderstorms and flooding. For Rick, we will risk it! Hopefully the rain will clear up by Sunday AM because I have the Iron Girl 5K run at 7:30 AM. We will run from Coachman Park in Clearwater (the same place where we are seeing the concert tonight) to the pier at Clearwater Beach. I did a practice run over the big scary bridge over to Clearwater Beach with one of my pals from the gym on Tuesday night and it was no problem- I can say to that bridge "you don't scare me bridge!". Now if the thunderstorms and hail will just stay away! I'll be back on Sunday with a race recap, John is coming along and will take pics IF the weather isn't too bad- don't want to lose a camera in the downpour!

Friday, April 13, 2012

GGGOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL! (Read in the booming voice of a Mexican Univision TV soccer announcer, duh!)

As you might gather from the ridiculously overwrought ALL CAPS title of this blog entry, I *finally* reached my goal weight at Weight Watchers last night. I needed to lose 6/10ths of a pound to reach goal, but when I stepped on that scale I had actually lost 1.6 pounds so I was a full pound UNDER my goal weight, with a total loss of 101 pounds! My group of friends who've attended WW with me for most of the 2 1/2 years ( the "No Pudge Posse", made up of myself, my BFF of 35+ years Lisa, our other friend Lisa and my husband John) it took to get there came with me to the scale to celebrate. My original goal weight was 143, but since I weighed in at 142 I set that as my official goal weight to start my 6 weeks of maintenance. I'm still freaking out that 142 is too high, but since I've worn size 8 pants to work every day this week and I can *just* get into size 6 capris, I think that I'm still seeing the "old" me that weighed 101 pounds more when I think about my weight, I might actually BE at a healthy weight. My best friend Lisa took the picture that is on this post, neither my husband or I were organized enough to *bring a camera* so Lisa did the honors with her cell phone camera. I got my 100 pounds lost charm, my goal weight charm and my maintenance book and instructions at the meeting, then the leader called me to the front of the room. I told how much I'd lost, then the leader
sat down and told me to talk. I said "I thought that's what I just did!"...I'm SO not comfortable talking in front of people. So, I talked about my 9 5K runs, how long it took to lose the weight, etc. Then she asked if anyone had questions for me as I frantically tried to retreat back to my seat, lol. A man asked "so what are you going to eat now that you've reached goal?", I answered that on WW I can eat whatever I want as long as I plan for it- I really think he thought I was going to freak out and eat gallons of ice cream now that I'd hit goal, I'm hoping that's not his plan once he gets there! :) Then a woman said "with an over 100 pound loss there has to be some issue with...loose skin, right?" I fear that I overshared, because I vaguely recall telling the 30+ people at WW that my stomach was "not pretty, and just plain gross". Ug. Thank goodness they didn't ask me anything more embarrassing than that, because I was sort of in a haze of anxiety from being in front of all of those folks, who KNOWS what I might have said! :) I have 6 weeks of maintenance, I increased my WW points range by 3 points and I'll weigh in next week and see how that works. If I maintain, I'll stay in that range- if I lose, then the points are increased again, if I gain then the points are reduced. It's all a balancing act to keep the weight stable now. After 6 weeks, if I'm still within 2 pounds up or down from my goal weight of 142 (so, between 140 and 144 pounds)then I will become a free lifetime member two days after my 43rd birthday. That is especially sweet since I remember how upset I was to realize that on my 30th birthday I weighed over 200 pounds and by my 40th birthday I was over 240- I love (hopefully) making WW lifetime member so close to my birthday for that reason!
Tomorrow is my big day at the gym, I usually take 2 or 3 classes in the morning. The great instructor for my favorite class, Body Attack, says that they will be celebrating my weight loss goal at the class with some workouts of his choosing...I'll apologize in advance to the others in the class as I fear he will be inflicting some pain on us, lol. Then a week from this Sunday is the IronGirl 5K, I am very excited about enjoying that event with so many other women- and the awesome race bling at the end isn't bad either! Now that I've rambled on, I'm off to go catch up on everybody's blogs. I love reading your comments here, if you've suffered this long through the blog please drop me a comment. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Race Recap: Upgrade 2 Success 5K

These are the running shoes that a coworker of mine at school helped me pick out, between these and the awesome pink wicking toe socks that my Dad found on Amazon, I can now run without toe pain- what a relief! Today was the Upgrade 2 Success 5K run. It was a fundraiser to get technology for four schools, including the one that my BFF of 30+ years, Lisa, works at. The day started rather rough, when my garage door would only open about 6 inches high for some reason. As you might imagine, my Mustang can't quite squeeze out an opening that small! It had worked just fine a half hour earlier when my husband left to cater a wedding, but I was stuck in the garage. Luckily, my house was on the way for my two friends (both named Lisa, oddly enough) who were also doing this race so fortunately they picked me up. It wasn't hot at all, in fact it was a little chilly- perfect 5K weather! I felt good, and finished the first mile and second miles in just under 10 minutes each. My time for the full 5K was 33:19, an improvement over my previous personal best by a minute and 46 seconds and a new personal record! I also set a new PR for pace at an average of 10:30 per mile and my fastest mile, at 9:46. The course wasn't well marked, usually there are volunteers along the course to tell you where to go, but there were times that I was concerned that I'd gotten off track. My Nike GPS+ says that I actually ran 3.17 miles, so I may in fact have made a wrong turn at some point. If that's the case, the GPS+ says that my time for an actual 5K of 3.10 miles was 32:30- but I'll go with my start line to finish line time of 33:19 because I'm quite happy with that! After I finished, I turned back onto the course to meet up with Lisa and Lisa and finish with them, they were walking the 5K. It was Lisa's first (in her words) "real 5K", I was so proud of her that she stuck with it and finished. She was the last person to finish, she joked with the race organizers that she should get a medal for "finishing without medical assistance" and they actually gave her one of the left over 1st place age group medals, she was thrilled! :) My next race is the Iron Girl 5K in two weeks, unless I add one next Sunday just for fun. The WW week has been going well so far, after missing my goal weight by 6/10ths of a pound on Thursday PM I've been at or under my goal weight at my morning weigh in on both Friday and Saturday mornings, just have to maintain that until NEXT Thursday! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday weigh in...same story, copy and paste :)

Today was my yet another weigh in at Weight Watchers where my goal weight was tantalyizingly close but still not achieved. I needed to lose 8/10ths of a pound to reach my goal weight and a 100 pound loss. My actual loss for this week: 2/10ths of a pound. So- the goal remains 6/10ths of a pound away. I'm okay with that, any forward (or is it backward, in weight loss terms?) motion is good progress. Even at tenths of a pound a week, eventually I'll get there. It was especially ok not to make it this week because neither my regular leader or my very favorite receptionist were there, and it would have been anticlimactic to finally reach that goal without any of those familiar faces there. It appears to me that I did everything right last week- I stayed well within my points, only using 18 of my weekly points and earning an a personal high of 71 activity points from last Thursday to yesterday. I don't think I'll reach that much in activity points this week, since last week was spring break I had two days at the gym that I would normally be at work. This week my goal is to stay within my points, track 100%, use less than 25 of my weekly points and to earn at least 35 activity points. No worries, I've *got* this. :)
I'm trying to branch out in my activity, so I signed up for a race that sort of (ok, not sort of, but REALLY) scares the mess out of me. I've signed up for the Iron Girl 5K in Clearwater on April 22nd. It will feature thousands of runners, but the scary part is that it goes over the Clearwater Pass bridge- a very steep, long, high bridge that I've never had the guts to drive a car over, let alone run over. In fact, on the rare occasion that I'm a passenger in a car going over that bridge (usually, I'll convince my husband to take an alternate route to the beach to avoid it) I clamp my eyes shut and keep asking "are we over the bridge yet?" the whole time. But, now I will be running over that bridge.
As my BFF Lisa says, "personal growth is a good thing". I'm going with that, my fervent hope is that I'm surrounded by so many people that I won't freak out about the wicked long scary bridge I'm struggling to haul myself over. Maybe I'll just chant "personal growth! personal growth!" the whole way...that'll surely clear some space around me as runners avoid the crazy person. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pictures from my son's mission trip

My 15 year old son recently returned from a 10 day(it was supposed to be 9 days, but was extended due to a missed plane) mission trip to Billings, Montana with his school. While he was there, he did "Habitat for Humanity" kind of work for a local church there, lots of landscaping and working on a house, etc. This first picture is him high above Billings on a hike.
He helped break up and remove tree stumps at a house in a Billings housing project. See the green hoodie that the girl is wearing in this picture? My son did all the graphic design of the hoodies and t-shirts that the mission team wore, he was really proud of them.
More digging to remove the stump, progress is being made! A moment of triumph, the stump has been vanquished!
Last one, here is a picture of him preparing to lead a dogsled team. This picture is remarkable because the night before this picture was taken he had a 103 degree fever and was generally miserable but he was able to get some good meds and pull it together to get to experience dogsledding. This mission trip was a great experience for him, I'm sure that he'll remember it forever.