MBC Week 2 Personal Challenge

Do you remember week two of Monica’s Birthday Challenge where I asked everyone to create their own fitness challenge? Initially I had set out to do a rowing challenge as mine but then as the week progressed I decided to do something different.

Something that was mentally challenging and still very physical. Something I hadn’t done in 14 years. Something I was afraid of doing.

Something that Paul had taken me to do when we lived in Washington and I absolutely refused to try as I was completely paralyzed with fear.


It had been 14 years since I put on a pair of skates but last week I just felt like I was ready to give it another shot.

You see, back in 1998 I fell while rollerblading and did a number on my back. I broke my pelvic bone. It was awful. That accident not only kept me off any type of skates for almost a decade and a half it also left me with an overwhelming fear of injuring myself again and was how I stopped doing most physical activities.

It was there that my road to obesity all started.

But I don’t want to dwell on that story. That is my past. My future is now completely different because of this new road I decided to travel down.

And this road lead me to roller skating.

It was time to get back on that horse.

I was super excited to be able to push through my fears and get back out there. I asked Paul to record me skating around so I could share it with you and also as a reminder of how far I’ve come. He kindly obliged and took four videos. On the way home I stole his phone so I could check out the videos- I was thrilled to see how they turned out.

The first one- one second.

The second one- two seconds.

The third one- five seconds.

The fourth one- 1 minute and 25 seconds.

Yes! One minute and twenty-five seconds. I was so excited to watch since clearly he had some issues with the first three.

Sadly it was one and a half minutes of him filming the ground. WTF Paul! Really? No video! Blerg!

Well, at least I have this picture.


We had so much fun that night. It took me some time to move away from the wall and get comfortable enough to skate. I never really got the hang of turning so I kind of skated in a rectangle. Straight line- stop at wall- turn- straight line- stop at wall- turn- you get the idea. I definitely was rusty to say the least but damn did I have fun.

I kept telling Paul that it might not look like it (because of my tense, serious facial expressions) but I was having a really good time. Surprisingly, he did too.

We skated for about an hour and a half and it wasn’t too crowded either which was nice. I felt like a giddy school girl watching Paul skate around during the boy’s only fast skate. Yeah, we were the only adults there not with kids but we didn’t care. It was awesome.

Afterwards we headed to Blue Star for some beers and sweet potato fries- it was the perfect date night.

And since I had so much fun and was super excited to go back again I decided to organize a girl’s night out this upcoming Tuesday. I’m not sure how many people are going to show but I guarantee it will be a blast!

I would love to know what your perfect date night or girl’s night out would be. Have you been roller or ice skating recently?

Also, do you have any fears keeping your from trying something?

Thanks for reading!


March 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Health, Life, Weight Loss. 4 comments.

Catching Up

Things have been rough since I came back from vacation. I have been battling something that is either vertigo, vitamin d deficiency, thyroid problem (possible diagnoses from my doctor) or my first outbreak of migraines (diagnosis from the ER) and it has been a really crappy week. I had issues with dizziness, headaches and fatigue and so I went to the doctor. She sent me for blood work and that was that. Three days later I was on the verge of a breakdown because the headaches were overwhelming and the dizziness hit me every time I moved. It was awful. So, I went to the ER. The docs there ran a whole slew of tests; CT scan, blood work, urinalysis, and a battery of test to check my gait, vision, reflexes. Not sure why my primary care doc didn’t do any of the walking or vision checks as her first guess was vertigo yet she didn’t even check me to see if I exhibited any signs of it. The ER doctors thought I was having my first encounter with migraines. They gave me a mix of IV and pill-form meds and were able to get rid of the headaches. Yay! Finally! It felt so good to finally not have that pain.

I’m almost back to normal. I haven’t felt strong enough to start back at the gym but hope to be back by the weekend. Right now my focus is on getting back into my normal routine, making sure I am getting enough sleep (which I didn’t last night), eating good foods, taking my vitamins and staying hydrated. Good habits foster good health and hopefully I will be back to my old self in no time.

With all that being said, I do realize that I never posted week eight’s info for the New You challenge. Week 8 is all about fine tuning. Finding healthy swaps, focus on eat less move more, make small changes to your plan to help keep you going in the right direction. I know for me this week is about starting over. Ok, maybe starting over isn’t the right way to say it. I guess I really mean this week is about getting back on track. Each day is a new chance to make better choices and so today I pledge to make the most of what opportunities to be healthier lie in front of me.

Later this week I will be posting details about a new challenge. This one is going to be very different from the last challenge. This is a competition (based off of pounds or inches if you would prefer to go that route) and after 8 weeks the winner gets a fabulous prize. There will be weekly report ins so I can track percentage to goal (you will be ranked by % to goal- no starting/ending weight will be seen by anyone but me) and there will be weekly mini-challenges as well. I am going to participate along with you just for fun. Well, maybe not for fun. More like I am doing this because I need this to help get my butt back into gear. Almost two months into 2012 and I am in the same place I was on January first. Not really what I expected from myself. It’s time to get moving and loosing again.

The challenge, which I am calling Monica’s Birthday Challenge (I will explain the name later), will begin on Saturday. You will need to weigh-in or measure yourself and send me your starting info by Sunday. I will create a post that goes into all the details and put that up tomorrow so you know more about how this will work. Saturdays will be our official report in day so I hope that works for you. Once I have a list of all the participants I will be sure to email you a reminder every Friday and Saturday so you know to report in. I even created a new email address just for this challenge. You can contact me directly at thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com or you can tweet at me @dacialee33. Either will work.

Well, that’s about it for now. I just wanted to catch you up on everything that’s been going on. I’m excited for this new challenge. Are you?

Thanks for reading!

February 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health, Weight Loss. 6 comments.

Finding What Works: A Guest Post from Skinny Shae

I write a blog about diet, fitness and beauty, and how much it all sucks.


Depressing, right?


Luckily, I changed my attitude, and I believe my attitude change is so enlightening that I am going to tell you about it.


I gained 10 pounds after I got married in 2010. I lost those 10 pounds in 2011.


Here’s how…


Sweat. Tears. Sweat. Tears. More sweat. A lot more tears…


I am a competitive person, especially when I challenge myself. Failing is not an option. When I chose to challenge myself to lose the evil 10 pounds I put on after I got married, I thought: “Heck yes! I’m going to murder some fat!”


I thought I was going to win. After all, it worked in high school… when I had a functioning metabolism.


But again and again I did not win, and it depressed me so much that I would give up in the middle of my workout and cry. (I did not cry at the gym. I have some dignity.)


I tried several workouts: I bought and completed Insanity by Beachbody… twice. I attempted to create my own workouts by combining workouts from friends and Women’s Health Magazine.


I also tried dieting: I counted calories. I dove in to cooking at home, and I’m no cook. I even considered Nutrisystem, which is ridiculous because I cannot eat microwaved food for that long.


Nothing seemed to work. I got depressed and gave up. Time and time again.


Then, one day, I asked a former track athlete to help me with my workouts and my attitude. I worked with her at Wichita State University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. We taught Public Speaking and shared an office. She became my workout buddy. (According to the experts, it’s good to have one of those.)


I enjoyed working out with her. I enjoyed running with her. I gave up counting calories and Insanity because neither of those options worked for me.


We joined a community exercise program, Shocker Fitness, and went to the track three days a week at 6:45 a.m., which highlighted another turning point for me. I am not a morning person.


Unlike Insanity, and the other workout programs I tried, I fell in love with running on the track in the morning dark.


Before Shocker Fitness, I thought I had tried everything. I thought I was hopeless. I thought I would never enjoy exercise.


I was wrong.


I had not tried everything. I was not hopeless. I do enjoy exercise. I just had to find the right program.


I lost the 10 pounds I had gained after I got married, but I gained a positive attitude toward fitness and health. I also gained self-esteem, which I had lost at some point in 2010.


Fitness isn’t fast. I expected it to be. I learned how to accept the process, and I learned how to love the body I was given – metabolism malfunctions, stretch marks, cellulite and all.

Thank you to Skinny Shae for this amazing and inspirational post. You can check out her blog at skinnyshae.wordpress.com  

Thanks for reading!

February 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Health, Weight Loss. 1 comment.

Finding My Balance

I’m trying to find balance in my life. Searching for that happy median where I am dedicated fully to my WLJ and getting healthy but not to where it controls me. Does that make sense? Maybe I should explain.

Until last December I was fully engulfed in my routine and the activities and diet that kept me losing weight. This routine was evening workouts during the week coupled with a few hours during the day on the weekends. I chose to not eat out or eat anything not on my planned meals before weigh ins. I skipped/avoided making plans with Paul and friends that didn’t fit around my schedule. My life, day in and day out, was ruled by my quest to lose weight.

Then December rolled around and I had to completely rearrange my schedule to fit with working long hours, taking the Nia White Belt Intensive, and having family in town for the holidays. I switched from evening workouts to morning workouts and because I wanted to have more free time I switched from a couple hours of activity at a moderate level to an hour a day at a higher intensity. December, although it was chaotic, was a great month. I was able to spend more time with Paul, friends and family and started to feel like a normal human being again. It was great.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have an easy time in January when I tried to transition back into my routine from November. I had grown so accustomed to spending time with Paul and being able to do stuff in the evening s that it was really difficult to give that up in order to go back to evening workouts. Getting the flu didn’t help me stick to my routine either and then last week, once I finally had my head back in the game, I decided I really needed to go back to morning workouts.

So, that’s the new plan; morning workouts with the exception of Mondays when I go to boxing classes in the evening. Meal plans that include fast and healthy dinners so I am eating at a reasonable time, at least a few hours before I go to bed. To help keep me honest- and by honest I mean keeping me from spending the evenings zonked out in front of the TV- I will spend an hour or so after dinner helping with dishes, making lunches, cooking future meals, whatever needs to be done for the next day. These are tasks that Paul has been pretty much doing on his own for the past 11 months. After the kitchen stuff is finished I will do my evening ab/core workout and then, when all of that is done, I will watch some TV or read a book (something relaxing) before bed.

I’m excited for this new schedule because it will allow me to be at home more, spend time with Paul, help out around the house, get in my workouts, plan and eat healthy meals, and still manage some relaxation time. I think it will bring me the focus I need and the balance I crave. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading!

February 2, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Health, Life, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

This Week

One week from tomorrow I am heading home to attend my cousin’s wedding. I will be seeing my entire family on my Mom’s side as well as my best friend James. Aside from my parents who saw me at Christmas and James who saw me in August no one else I will be seeing has seen me since I started my weight loss journey. Last week I talked about how nervous this made me, that I would disappoint them by still being fat. Thankfully I have the best friends ever and they left the nicest comments and basically told me I was being an idiot for thinking that. I needed to hear that. It totally squashed the anxiety I was feeling. Now I am nothing but excited to go home and see everybody.

I’ve mentioned in a recent post that January was a rough month for me (expect to see a post very soon about finding balance in my life) so with this vacation coming up I want to spend this next week dedicated to a routine that I am hoping will become the norm once I am back from vacation. This includes switching my weekday workouts back to the mornings.

To help keep me accountable I thought I would share with you my workout routine for the next week as well as my meal plans through Friday, which is as far as my meal plan goes right now. I am counting on you guys to hold me to this plan 🙂


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Leftover Asian Quinoa Salad and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Pasta Bake with Tofu Cheese (Whole Foods recipe), Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, veggies with hummus

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


AM Workout: Stationary bike 40 minutes, Stairmaster 20 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Veggie Wraps and Black Beans, Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM Workout: Rower 30 minutes, Stairmaster 30 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Cabbage and Lentil Stew and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Veggie Wraps and Refried Beans, Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


AM Workout: Stationary bike 40 minutes, Rower 20 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Greens and Beans Ragout served over Ezekiel Pasta (Whole Foods recipe) Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM workout: 5K with the people from my boxing gym

Breakfast: Overnight Oats with fruit

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM workout: full body workout with weights

Breakfast: Overnight Oats with fruit

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts

PM Workout: Combo (half boxing/half boot camp) class and kickboxing class


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Red Beans and Rice Stew and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts

PM Workout: Spin class and AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)

So that is what’s in store for the next week. The abs routine at home is just going to be a set of exercises Paul puts together for me. Sometimes I’ll use a balance ball, sometimes I won’t. It will change from day to day. Tonight is the first night for this so I will have to let you know how it goes.

What do you have going on this week? Do you schedule your workouts and meals in advance or do you take it one day at a time?

Thanks for reading!

January 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Fitness, Health. 3 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week 3

Welcome to week three of the New You Challenge. This week we will be building on the foundation we began to set last week with mindful eating. How did last week go? I know I struggled with my journaling and although most days I still practiced mindful eating and paid close attention to my hunger scale there was one day, my anniversary, where I ate too much. By too much I mean I kept eating even after I was full. It wasn’t too bad, it was probably only 4 or 5 bites past full. Yes, that is a big improvement from how I used to eat a year ago but knowing I am full and still continuing to eat is a sign that I must continue to work on how I am eating. I’m a work in progress and I am okay with that.

Last week I had said we would start to practice mindful eating with the foods we would typically eat. I didn’t want for us to start changing up our diet without first finding out which foods were good for us and which weren’t. Everyone is different so I expect that this past week we all had different experiences with our food. For week three I want for us to start tweaking out meal plans. Let’s start incorporating more of the foods our body loved and less of the ones it didn’t. Let’s start planning meals that help us accomplish other goals we set for ourselves. Planning to workout at night? Plan a dinner based around foods that will give you the energy you need to get you moving and sustain you throughout instead of a heavy meal that will make you feel sluggish and lethargic. The foods that didn’t work for you last week should be limited or removed entirely from this week’s meal

Don’t forget that we are still drinking half our weight (or 64, whichever is more) in ounces of water daily as well as continuing to practice mindful eating. Remember to try to journal your responses to last week’s questions: who, what, where, when, why and how, the hunger scale, portions/moderation, and mindfulness every time you eat. Take note of the foods that not only taste good but are good for you, too. Those are the ones we should be eating almost all of the time.

I hope you are doing well in the challenge and that you are learning more about yourself and your body as we progress. I know we are only two weeks in but have you noticed and changes or learned anything new since you’ve started? Any surprises in foods you found to be bad for your body or any patterns in your eating habits you hadn’t realized? I would love to hear feedback if you don’t mind sharing!

Good luck this week and thanks for reading!

January 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Health, New You Challenge. 2 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week Two

Before I get into Week 2’s challenge I want to quickly discuss how week one went for me. As you know, the challenge was to drink half your body weight in ounces (or 64 ounces, whichever is greater) of water and then journal daily about how you felt. I mentioned in my previous post that weekends were always the hardest for me because I am just so busy (opposed to sitting at a desk for nine hours chugging water) and sometimes I forget to drink anything at all for hours at a time.  New Year’s weekend was the exception. Because of this challenge and journaling, I made sure to get in my ounces daily and it really helped especially when January 3rd rolled around and I got my period. I, like most women, hate my period. I get awful cramps and bloat like crazy but I noticed that this time my symptoms were slightly better. I wondered if the water helped reduce the bloating. Maybe it helped flush out any excess sodium making the symptoms worse, who knows. I’m not a doctor so I can only go off of how my body felt. Also, a thought occurred to me yesterday- should I be counting the water I drink at and immediately after the gym? Does rehydration water count? I have always counted it but I am not sure whether or not I should be. Any ideas?

Ok, so that was week 1. I hope you are all having a positive experience so far. Remember, these challenges are cumulative so keep it up with the water this week. It’s a habit I hope you adopt permanently. Please feel free to share any feedback in the comments or with me directly. I would love to hear how week one went for you! J

Now onto week 2’s challenge. I am so excited for this week. This is an introduction into what I find to be the key to healthy eating habits and that is what I like to call mindful eating. This is a big change, or at least it was for me, so we are doing this in two phases. This week we will learn about mindful eating (without changing our diet) and next week we will start making small changes based off of what we learned this week. Let me explain.

The Basic Six

Who: you obviously but is anyone else eating with you; family, friends, co-workers. These people, or lack thereof, play a big role in our eating habits.

What: full meals, snacks, junk food, treats, splurges, whatever you call it what you are eating is a big part of mindful eating. We eat for nutrients, fuel (energy, sustenance, we eat to live. What we eat will determine our health, our immunity, our energy, and our overall feeling of wellbeing but do we recognize that? I know I didn’t.

Where: at your desk, the dining room table, in front of the TV, in your car. Where we eat can easily take us from mindful eating to mindless eating.  Set yourself up for success and recognize the impact where has on your eating habits.

When: I eat ever 2-3 hours. I eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily, sometimes more if I need it. That’s me. We are all different so listen to your body to determine when you need to eat. Follow the hunger scale as guidance (more on that in a bit) and let that dictate when you eat.

Why: did you eat because you were hungry or did you eat out of boredom? Did you eat because your body wanted food or did you eat because you had scheduled this time to eat? Basically, why are you eating?

How: when I think about how I eat I think about speed. Did I eat slowly and think about how my body was feeling or did I eat like a ravenous, food crazed maniac? That was me just the other night, it happens.

For learning purposes it will be easier if we journal our answers after each time we eat but I understand that might not be possible. What if you didn’t bring your journal with you? What if you are under time constraints? It will be an adjustment for all of us, including me. Here are some tips. Text, email, or store your notes on your phone as an alternative method for journaling. Write it on a post-it. Take a picture of your food to help trigger memories later. If you can’t do any of them make sure you at least take 1-2 minutes to think of these answers. Your body will remember if you make a conscious effort.

So, those are the six base questions but there is a little more to my method of mindful eating.

The Hunger Scale

I learned this concept from my friend Simply Sidney. It is from Bob Greene (the Oprah guy) and it just makes sense.

Imagine a scale from one to five—one being full, and five being ravenous. If you’re hitting a three—your stomach’s grumbling, you’re physically dragging—it’s time to eat. Any lower than that, and you’re eating to fill an emotional need, not a physical one.

An unfortunately all too common statement in this house- ‘I’m at a five; I should have had a snack’. This usually happens when I am preparing a meal that takes much longer than anticipated and next thing you know I am sitting down to dinner hours later, ravenous and I gorge myself. I eat too much, too quickly, and I feel it. Gauging your hunger is the foundation of mindful eating and this tool is very helpful when battling food issues.

For me, my obesity stemmed from leading a sedentary lifestyle and overeating.  I wasn’t as much of an emotional eater as I was an all- around eater. I was a grazer. I ate out of boredom. I ate in celebration. I ate because the food tasted so good and I had no control. I ate when I was sad; I ate when I was happy. I had a very dysfunctional relationship with food. Now, I try to stick to eating when my body needs it (at stage three) and do my best to avoid eating at stage 1, 2, 4, and 5. But again, I must reiterate, I am a human and I slip up. But now I have the knowledge to do my best to survive through the ravenous feelings and the emotional eating because  I better understand food and its relationship with my body. Bottom line: my body needs food, not my mind.

Portion Control and Moderation

I say these are the basis of Weight Watchers but these should be the base of any program, diet, health plan. This would be the ‘how much’ question we need to know in order to practice mindful eating. Example: I just finished eating dinner, I feel stuffed. I feel I ate past full and am uncomfortable. I am feeling lethargic, my stomach hurts, and I am going into full on food coma mode. I need to ask myself what (of course) and how much did I just eat. I ate French fries but was that one serving of fries or was it four. Is my body reacting this way to one serving (maybe I should dramatically decrease my French fry consumption) or is it reacting this way to four servings (maybe next time I should eat a smaller portion and see how my body reacts). Do you see the difference? We need to know portion size to really learn how our body is reacting to food and then make changes as necessary.

Moderation is pretty much the same thing although I think moderation also includes emotional eating (eating when we are not hungry) or ravenous eating where we lose control of our ability to recognize fullness because we eat too quickly. With moderation I say start with one serving, eat slowly, enjoy your food and then wait. Don’t jump right up for seconds. Wait and see if you are still hungry. Maybe go grab your journal and write about your meal or snack. Think about how you feel after what you ate; how is your body reacting. Then, if you are still hungry (which is ok-EAT if you are hungry) go for seconds. Make sure you are portioning your food so you know.


Mindfulness is the act of recognizing the affects food has on your body. For me, my biggest problem with eating was that I ate purely for taste without recognizing any negative consequences food was having on my body. Example: I loved cheeseburgers. I would eat them pretty frequently. The after effects of cheeseburgers was indigestion, constipation, laziness (meaning I had no energy to do anything) and fatigue. But yet I still ate cheeseburgers. Why? Because they tasted so damn good. Don’t get me wrong- taste is important. To this day I will not eat foods that I don’t love how they taste. It’s just now I also factor in how food makes me feel. Recognizing the negative effects of cheeseburgers on my body made it so when it came time to decide on what to eat I would think about how that food made me feel and then decide whether or not that was ok. Cheeseburgers went from a multiple times a week for to a once in a blue moon food.

I want more from my food; my body deserves it. Taste is important but it is not the only thing. I want food that tastes good AND is good for me. I want to feel energetic after I eat, not lethargic. I want to have a strong immune system (built through nutrient dense foods) and not be sick all the time. I also want to have a healthy digestion and not feel so sluggish all the time. These are not unrealistic things; when it comes to food you can have it all. You just have to eat mindfully in order to find what foods work for your body.

The Challenge

For this week’s challenge I want you to eat what you normally eat. Do not change up your foods just yet. This week we learn mindful eating and then next week we will incorporate some small changes into our weekly meal planning.

This week will be a huge change as far as the amount of journaling required but I know you can do it. Just give it your best, that’s all I ask. It will get easier as we progress.

The Questions

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. You can use one word answers for most of these. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate.

Hunger Scale: Stage 1 through 5

Portions/Moderation: how many servings and at what point did you stop eating

Mindfulness: how did you feel after? Lazy, energetic, crappy, blah, whatever words you feel just jot them down. Feel free to add on too at a later time in case you have some after effects from the food.

Let’s get started on our journey to mindful eating and hopefully in a week from now you don’t hate me 😉 As always, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns; axid200@gmail.com or @dacialee33

Good luck and thanks for reading!

January 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health, New You Challenge. 2 comments.