Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Presents to Myself

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong. Nicki age 2.
Today is my birthday! I love birthdays. I want to thank my parents, and especially my mom for enduring not just my delivery at birth, but also my delivery from many of life’s trauma. Happy birthday to you, mom, and thanks for everything. Today is really a day I celebrate you!

I recently celebrated my sister's 40th birthday. We spent the weekend with her best girlfriends at Château Elan for nice food, wine, and spa fun. While the other ladies were getting their spa treatments, I wrote by a fireplace and enjoyed a rare block of time free of demands. I knew that what I needed more than a massage was time to write. It was a gift I gave myself.

A few years ago, I started a book I called “30 Presents to Myself”. It was a comedy and here is the synopsis: A woman on the eve of her 35 birthday finds the list of things she was supposed to have done before her 30 birthday. She hasn’t completed any of the things on the list, many thankfully so, but now she wants to give herself 30 presents. Each chapter is a funny contrast between what she thought she would need at 30 and what she realizes she really needs to be happy at 35. Even if it is five years too late!
Here’s is my confession. Today is my 35th birthday, and I never finished writing that book. Every once in a while I write a chapter or tweak the plot. I think I'll go back to working on it. As for today I will give myself 10 presents. Hopefully, you can share some of these presents with me, too.
Sweet 16. Same blingy smile, different birthday!

Ten Presents to Myself
10. NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. What a great birthmonth present. Even if you aren’t officially signed up take the time to write. Best present you can give yourself if you are a writer.

9. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. For this day forward, I would like to be able to proudly state my age AND weight for the rest of my life. I’m 35 years old and 160 lbs. I could still stand to lose another 20lb, but remember I’m doing it slowly. When I’m 70, I’m going to want to remember how much I enjoyed being 35 not how much I lamented it. I've also been heavier and lighter and the last thing I want to worry about is my weight. On another planet, I'd only weigh a few pounds!

8. No gifts please. I don’t like birthday presents. Presents make me feel uncomfortable. So do greeting cards. Trees die, papers wasted. But I do like to know how my friends are doing on this day or any day. Tell me something good you’ve done for yourself and that will make my birthday a happy one.

7. I'm going to take a walk. I'm going to renew my energy in eating well and exercising.

6. I treated myself to a DuMore Improv Women’s Retreat workshop last month. I realized that my hesitation has to do with my fear of doing things wrong. I learned that the art of comedy (and creating) has to do with letting go, listening, and reacting positively to what you hear. Creating and comedy and improv are also about reacting in unexpected ways.

5. I sent out 7 query letters. Two agents have kindly declined. Two have requested the full manuscript. I’m waiting on the rest. My next birthday presents to myself will be sending out more queries and the final manuscript.

4. I wrote the last chapter of my book, but I am still writing (and re-writing) and still filled with self-doubt and hope. Self-doubt and hope are enemies, but they also work together to keep you from achieving your dreams.

Nicki at age 34.9 as Uhura. Sexy Geek!3. Thirty days later and my life has calmed down enough to realized the great gift I received with my Maggie Award. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

2. Celebrate every birthday as though it is better than the one before. The American Cancer Society has a cool birthday campaign out right now. Do you know what some people would do for another birthday? Treasure yours. (On a side note, the third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout. Consider quitting smoking or encouraging a loved one to quit. You might help save their life or your own.)

1. Say a pray for someone else. I’m probably here today because of
other people's prayers. Mostly my mom and dad. Maybe family or friends. Maybe even the prayers of strangers. If you are the kind to pray or meditate, could you spare a moment from my dear friend Christina Crook and her husband Mercer Crook today? They need prayers more than I need birthday wishes today.

I hope you have a wonderful day and birthday and writing day! Happy NaNoWriMo. Get writing and enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 Absolutely Ridiculous Reasons Why

Two months ago, I told you 36 reasons why I didn't/shouldn't/couldn't lose weight and only 2 reasons why I would. I've lost 10 lbs since that blog and my perspective has changed quite a bit. I can't really think of any reasons why not to lose weight anymore. (Don't worry. I've still got mental problems like why I'm not putting my novel in the mail. . . )

10 Absolutely Ridiculous Reasons Why I'm Losing Weight

10. Toilet seat is roomier. Coach class seat on airplane doesn't quite feel like first class, but it feels like business class on a crop plane.
9. My waist is getting lower. My pants are getting longer.
8. I can see myself a little more clearly. I'd expound on that, but I'd like to get some sleep tonight.
7. I'm at peace with my belly skin.
6. I'm filling my old "hunger" with things that are important to me.
5. No more "failure" and "setbacks". I have to brush them out of my life daily like I brush my teeth. I don't have time to dwell on them.
4. I eat the things I want, because have more space in my stomach. My stomach used to be filled with food I didn't particularly want.
3. I'm more in tuned to my body. I can hear my needs and signals more clearly.
2. Muscles and definition in my legs make me happy.
1. This ones a tough one. . . Wrinkles. If you lose weight now, it is healthier for you. If you lose weight later, you will seem more wrinkly faster. Think about it. You can and should lose weight at any age, but don't wait to lose a lot of weight when you are older. You'll look wrinkly. Go ahead and lose the weight now!

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Admit your errors. Sometimes my best isn't good enough. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've practiced asking for help. You've told your friends and family thank you for helping you change your life. Sometimes you have to tell them you are sorry, too. Work stress and life stress can impact how you treat the people you love especially if you are over worked, calorie deprived, and exercise exhausted.

Say you are sorry.

Dear what's-his-name, I'm sorry for my mistakes, but I'm thankful that you think I can do so much more. It is so easy for you to believe in me. But it is not always easy for me. You men and your pragmatism! Ugh! It is frustrating. Women are filled with self-doubt and loathing. I'm going to take a lesson from you and grab the bull my the horns and other wonderful man cliches. I can't say any mushy stuff because it isn't my way. But you know and you're welcome.

How do the rest of you feel? Like you just stepped into my living room? Welcome, but watch for Cheerios. We include them as part of our emotional chaos. They are our happy land mines. Give me an update on how you are doing. Tell me why you are losing weight. Tell me what you've done wrong. Until later, happy eating and exercising. Also, happy happiness.

Monday, October 12, 2009

19 lbs Gone Forever

Weigh In: -19lbs! (Weight loss to date since July 12)

Can you believe it? I hit the 19 lb mark this week. I've never lost 19 lbs in my whole life including after birthing my babies. Each time I step on the scale I remind myself that the pounds cannot come back. They have to go away forever. My goal was to be at the 20 lb mark this week, but I'm still proud of my progress.

I like to stress a lot, so this week I'm working on still losing weight while stressing out.

Weird Weight Loss Tips
Imaginary food and exercise journals.
I love my food and exercise journals, but I've been without them for weeks. I've been trying to keep track of what I eat and how I exercise mentally. Let's face it. It isn't as productive as really writing it down, but my imaginary food and exercise journals are helping me continue to reach my weight loss goals.

Figure out what stresses you. Please stand by for a mini-therapy session: I'm stressed when I lose control. Keeping food and exercise journals are good for my personality. Getting on the scale is good for my personality. I like graphs and records and progress notes. Not everyone likes to do this, but I do like the order and control of measuring out my food.

Here's a picture of what my breakfast, snack, and lunch may look like. Order! Control! Organized Happiness! For those who really know me and know what my house looks like, food order is sort of my only hope. The rest of my life is a whirlwind of chaos.

Control in Weight Loss = Life Control
My dirty little secret is that the better I control what I eat and how I exercise, the better I control my entire life. Writing, cleaning, momming, working, you name it.

What stresses you? What works for you? What progress have you made toward your goals? Don't forget to read my October story. Until soon, happy exercising and eating!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Have you missed me? I’ve missed you.

I’ve had a very busy month. As my facebook flair so aptly puts it, “I’m too busy to tell people how busy I am.” Therefore I will spare you the full drama of the last three weeks, and give you a brief summary of what you need to know.

First. News about my diet and exercise progress. I have not written in my food journal in three weeks. I haven’t been regular with my exercise either. This would be a bummer, except I still lost two pounds over the last three weeks. I continued making better food choices and exercising (mainly yoga) when I could. The happiest news of all is that I reached my 10% weight loss goal! I am very happy that I’m still making progress. The only thing that has changed is the speed of the progress, but 10% is awesome. I am supposed to call my H3 friend Robert, but I can’t find his phone number! If you talk to him, let him know I miss him and appreciate his support.

Second. The Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. I had the pleasure of being the conference co-chair for Georgia Romance Writers signature event of the year. Let us just say that the committee worked very hard this year, and we are super tired. It is twelve hours post conference and I’m still having the shakes. 250 wonderful attendees, literary agents and editors, bestselling authors and aspiring writers. Too much fun and not enough sleep. I have to give a special thanks to Michelle Newcome for righting the wrongs and “spreading the bed.” Though we were roommates, “spreading the bed” is actually a dance and not a domestic chore.

Third. The Maggie Award for Excellence. Having been a bit distracted by healthy eating and exercising, life, and then conference planning, I forgot that I was Maggie Award finalist. When I did remember, I knew I was not going to receive the award. I was up against excellent competition, especially my fellow GRW member Tracy Kelly Solheim. There are so many wonderful writers up for this award. While I’m proud to say that I’m the 2009 Maggie Award recipient in the Single Title category, I am less than proud to say I did not have a proper speech prepared. I think I thanked Sherrilyn Kenyon’s husband.

Fourth. If you'd like to read my real writing, please join Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for our First Scavenger Hunt! Go to and look for the clues where you can find my October-themed story “Maize” on my website. Send me your feedback! If you need a hint, look on the right side bar and follow the pumpkins . . .

Weird Weight Loss Tip
I smiled so much this week my face hurts. But my heart is happy. Smiling makes you work more efficiently. It also makes the mean people go away. Therefore smiling must also burn calories!

More to come this week. I may need a day or so to get back on track, but I will be working hard to get to my new 10% goal! Until then happy hunting for my short story “Maize” and happy eating and exercising!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Note to a Stalker

I got an interesting note from stalker this week. I started to respond to this person a dozen times since getting her/his heartfelt note. But s/he is right. Failing is embarrassing. I’ve been failing for the past two weeks. It is my not-so-secret shame. Not only have I not done what I needed to do, I have loads of excuses. Travel, illness, sick kids . . . Ya’ll know I love to have maladies.

I was supposed to have made much better progress than I’d made up until last week. This week, I was supposed to be back on track. Enter two feverish sick kids and one me with a rather serious allergic reaction to something I ate. But I also walked when I could (including a flight of stairs which is not so easy when you can’t breathe) and kept my food journal! Hey, I’m not a failure. I’m a human. If there is one lesson I’ve learned from Star Trek and Terminator it is that the androids (Data) and the cyborgs (Arnold) want to be more human not less. Being human is totally cool.

Anyway, I attract the nicest stalkers. This one always has a smile on her/his face. Now I have some life advice, not diet advice: The only way to be successful is to learn to deal with failure. Those of you who know me know that I’m rarely embarrassed by anything. I once stepped off the bus in front of my high school and fell flat on my face and my book bag spilled open. Knowing the kind of nerd I am, you can only imagine the flurry of papers and books that went flying. But I shoved my stuff into my backpack and walked into the building with my head held high. Why? I have no clue! Panic kept me calm.

I try to focus on these things each day:
  • I like eating healthy. To my stalker, should I leave some apples on your front porch?
  • I like exercising. Walking used to really get on my nerves, but it is my happy time now.
  • I love yoga. Been this way for years. Namaste.
  • I like myself fat or not as fat. Win-win if I lose weight.
  • I only care what these people think: God, my husband, my mom. Unfortunately, the rest of you will have to deal with me as I am. If I fail, I only have to answer to myself, God, my husband and my mom. I do not have to answer to you.
  • I am okay with failure. Falling off the wagon. Setbacks. I will deal with them as they come. I’m training myself for the marathon not the sprint, folks! Remember, didn't I warn you that this was the slowest, nothing ever happens, not quick (but hopefully long lasting) diet you've ever seen?
Weird Weight Loss Tips
Be well. Being sick can mess up your exercise habits and make you crave unwise food choices. Take your vitamins. Get rest. Eat a baked potato and have some soup. Focus on your exercise plan for when you are better. That’s what I'm doing. Still on the road to recovery.

Weird Weight Loss Tips for my Stalker
Don't do what I do. I am a bad example for everything. Stay in the closet. If telling the world you are trying to lose weight doesn’t work for you, keep it in the closet (Thanks, Michael Jackson, but I was really thinking of that that awesome R. Kelly song Trapped in the Closet. Viewing or listening to all or part of this song is an appetite suppressant, oh, yes it was). If you really want to keep your weight loss under wraps, don’t tell your spouse or me. I can’t keep a secret.

Be patient. Really. Think about it. Don't expect results to happen right away. Plan on making a permanent life change. This leads me to my final weird weight loss tip . . .

You are going to have to marry healthy eating and exercising. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes your weight loss in a baby carriage.

Thanks for bearing with and without me this week. Happy eating and exercising until Monday! To my stalker: I love you! I know you can do it. Want to make a walking date with me?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sari, Charlie

This weekend I got wrapped in nine yards of the most beautiful blue and turquoise silk sari you've ever seen. For those of you who don't know a sari (or saree or shari) is a drape that is wrapped around you and turns into a lovely dress. If Cinderella had been really lucky her fairy godmother would have put her in one of these!

Mitra is the groom's aunt. She helped me get into the sari.

Here are some pictures of me getting dressed and enjoying the wedding reception.

I've been trying to stay focused on eating well and exercising, but I got majorly sidetracked this week with a business trip, volunteer event, and wedding all in the space of 7 days. Unfortunately, I haven't written in my food journal all week, but I did make concerted efforts to exercise daily even when I was away from home.

I love this picture of me and Albertine, the lovely bride in red.

Nicki and Mitra ready to party!

I have to give a special thanks to my friend Meredith for letting me borrow her sari. Meredith is the best!

Nicki Does the Right Thing
  • Saturday: Stage Captain at the Decatur Book Festival.
  • Sunday: Took a walk in Pittsburgh.
  • Sunday and Monday: Walked to and from the airport terminals instead of taking the train or moving side walks.
  • Monday: Walked up the broken escalator to baggage claim in Atlanta. That is a tall escalator. We could have taken the working escalators or elevator.
  • Monday: Got off a stop early on MARTA and walked two miles to get home. I complained heartily about this, but fortunately my husband is a great motivator. He encouraged me, and he dragged my suitcase for me.
  • Future: I have big plans to be back on track starting on Tuesday!
Weird Weight Loss Tips

Volunteer. Work a book festival, an art festival, sort cans at a food bank. Most volunteer activities are physically challenging. Do something nice for your community and get some exercise, too.

Indian Food. Aloo Gobi, Palak Paneer, and other yummy treats. Indian food has lots of vegetables. Depending on the region, some dishes have meat and some are vegetarian. Yogurt is another standard item in Indian cuisine. It help digestion and helps with the spiciness if you don't like it hot. Fennel is cooked in some dishes and might be served at the end of the meal. It sweetens your breath, has fiber, and does other magic stuff. I'm not a huge fan of fennel, but when in Rome . . . I am, though, a huge fan of Indian food. Palak Paneer is my favorite.

Spicy food in general. This could be Jamaican, Korean, Mexican, you name it. I ate way too much food this weekend, but since a lot of the food was spicy I really couldn't overindulge the way my American stomach would like. Spicy food slowed down my eating, allowed me more time to concentrate on flavors, and forced me to drink more water.

Hope you had a happy and safe Labor Day. Remind me to eat and exercise well this week. Namaste! Let me know what you are doing to stay on track.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dear Old Pennsylvania

Weird Weight Loss Tips

Google Maps. I wanted to see the campus of the University of Pennsylvania so I mapped it from my hotel in downtown Philadelphia. According to Google my one way trip was 2.5 miles. Then I walked for 20 minutes on campus. Probably another mile. Then made the return trip back to my hotel. Because of Google Maps I knew exactly how far I walked and how long to plan for the walk. Everyone said walking to Penn and back was too far to walk. It wasn't! Thank you, Google Maps, for encouraging me to take a journey I would not have taken last year.

Sight See History
I also printed out some self-guided walking tours of historic Philadelphia. Visiting tourist attractions on foot forces you to get exercise and the historic landmark is like a reward! A self-guided tour is a grand idea. Than you, William Penn. Thank you, Ben Franklin. After all that walking through Philly, I'm totally on first name basis with these dudes.

Head Toward Water
There are always walking, biking, and rollerblading paths near the water. We found them along the Mississippi in St. Paul last month. I saw plenty of exercisers near the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

Happy eating and exercising over Labor Day. Three day weekend! Be good to yourself until Tuesday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eye of the Tiger

I went looking for Rocky at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday. On the way, I found the Star Trek. Ya'll know this made me happy. Apparently if I had been at the science museum at any time other than 7 a.m. I could have gone inside and seen the Enterprise. Star Trek, Rocky, and exercise are a great way to start your day.

Wednesday Exercise Journal
30 minutes of weights in hotel gym
1 hour walk/run to see Rocky. 4 miles at 7 a.m.
2 hour walk from downtown Philly to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. 6 miles at 5 p.m.
Walk from hotel to meeting. 2 miles.

Weird Weight Loss Tips
Skip the Mascara. My walk/run to Rocky took a little longer than expected. I had planned to walk for 30 minutes, but I could see the Art Museum in the distance and made a calculated decision. 1) I could go to museum and take a longer walk or 2) I could take a short walk and have time to put on my mascara. I've never liked mascara even before I started exercising, so this morning seemed like the wrong time to decide that mascara was important.

Like the white rabbit, be late. Have a very important date. My meeting started at 8:30 a.m. and my long walk turned into a long run back to the hotel so I could have time to shower. I ran just so I wouldn't be late for my very important date. I'm pretty sure no one cared that I was lacking mascara.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It is Always Shadowy in Philadelphia

It is sunny in Philadelphia, but it is also shadowy. Shadowy is a little harder to describe in words and pictures don't do it justice. Just understand that in all big cities on sunny days you are often in the shadow of a building. Therefore it is always sunny and shadowy in Philadelphia.

Weird Weight Loss Tip
An apple a day keeps the bad eating habits away. Per Starving Foodie's advice I brought an apple with me for each day I am traveling. Three cute little apples and three granola bars. I ate an apple and a granola bar for breakfast on the plane. Thanks, Foodie, for the good advice. (And your exceptional post about the reasons for your health).

Once I landed and had to "business" eat, things went drastically wrong. So wrong, I will only list the things I did right. I ate half of a chocolate chip cookie at lunch. I did not clean my plate at dinner. I walked to meeting from hotel, and I walked to and from dinner. I brought my running shoes, and I will try to use them tomorrow. The wrong stuff mainly happened at dinner. Appetizers, a mojito, dessert. Yummy, really yummy. But wrong. I am sick to my stomach because I am not used to eating this much any more. Yummy part reduced by half since I now feel sick.

Second weird weight loss tip: Stay home. Or rather, stay in your comfort zone. Minimize times or trips when you will be susceptible to bad habits. It is okay to leave home, just leave home prepared to eat and exercise smart. See apple tip above!

Happy eating and exercising.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lose 30 lbs, Write a Book, and Save the World!

A lesson plan for life. Revisiting New Year’s resolutions nine months later.

My first blog with the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales was called Don’t Wait for January 1. I had big plans for the year, and now I’d like to give you a quick update on what’s happened in the past nine month. And yes, friends, it is the first nine months in forever where I didn’t have a baby!

December 28th resolutions with updates
  • Lose the dreaded final 30 pounds. I’ve lost 23 lbs total since January (Including 15 lbs lost since June). I hope never to find these pounds again.
  • Redefine my image. Nothing doing on this one. I’m wearing a few more dresses, but I'm still avoiding wearing heels. Like Popeye, I am what I am.
  • Keep the clutter out of my house. Doing okay, but not great on this. Three kids are constantly conspiring against me. I lieu of cleaning, I just spray bleach. On everything.
  • Update my personal website. Done. Check out 8 Headed Hydra. I also started my personal diet and fitness blog. It is really an online food and exercise journal to keep me accountable to my fitness goals.
  • Enjoy my participation in Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. Absolutely! Nine months and nine blogs later, I have a very different perspective on what I write and how I write it.
  • Focus on my writing. I’m a Maggie Finalist! I'm writing more (and I think better) than I did last year. I’m also working on a short story for our Petit Fours and Hot Tamales scavenger hunt in October (check back next month). I feel better and stronger about my writing than I ever have before.
  • I also plan to save the world. In progress. One recycled item, one smile, one push-up at a time.
I still don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. If anyone is going to be successful at something they must start it immediately. Change can’t wait for a Monday or the first of the month or the beginning of the year. Neither can you.

Nicki’s Plan to Save the World
  • If you are a writer you have 15 days to register for Moonlight & Magnolias. Back in July, I told you about the importance of writing conference. This conference will change your life and your perspective on writing. To register go to Georgia Romance Writers and click on M&M Conference.
  • If you are a reader, come by the book signing at Moonlight & Magnolias on Saturday, October 3 at 4:00pm. Free and open to the public. Meet #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Sherrilyn Kenyon and 50 other fabulous authors.
  • Look back on your New Year’s resolutions. If you have done even one thing on your resolution list, you are a success. If you didn’t make a list in January, make one in September. Make one October, but don’t wait for January. Do it now.

My biggest revelations this summer was about the ability to change. I went to Hilton Head Health Institute, and one of the instructors asked why we wanted to get fit. To become healthier? To lose weight? To gain confidence? The answer I gave surprised me. I wanted to see a change in myself. I wanted to be able to become a different person. Not weight loss specifically, but my whole life. Better wife, better mom, better at my job, better at my writing. I’m not really sure how to do this, but I’m trying different things each day. Some days it is more time in the park with my kids, another day it is exercising, another day it is writing a short story for our blog.

Can I save the world? No. Can I change it? Maybe not. (Notice I didn’t say no). Can I change myself? Yes! As always, I thank this blog and group of writers for pushing me forward every day. My final words of advice for saving the world:
  • Have the desire to see change in yourself. When you see the change happening it can be scary. We don't really want to be different. But embrace change like a butterfly. It might be dark, lonely and scary at first, but then it will be suddenly beautiful.
  • Surround yourself with people who want to do more and be more. They will encourage you and change your perspective. I've got great writing buddies and fitness buddies. You don’t have to change the world alone. You can do it with friends.
I have two prizes up for grabs. A writing journal and pedometer. Here's how to win. Anyone one who both 1) registers for M&M between September 1-7 and 2) posts a comment on my Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog post between September 1-7 will be eligible to win the journal. Everyone else is eligible to win a pedometer, but you have to post a comment on my Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog post and here my diet blog. See, if you want free stuff, you've got to work for it. And I'm getting you ready for the scavenger hunt in October. The rest of you let me know how your New Year's resolutions are coming along!

See you in October with my not so spooky story. Until then happy reading and writing!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ice Cream is Not the Center of My Universe

by guest blogger Marea from Rhode Island

One of the first things that I did after returning home from H3 was to buy myself a new bicycle. In Adam’s Goal Setting class, we had to write down 3 goals for ourselves for the next month and how we aimed to achieve them. We also wrote down a reward for meeting our stated goals. He suggested that we might buy the reward right away and then have a friend hold on to it for the month. Well, with summer coming to a close here in New England, I didn’t want to waste a month of riding time, so I researched bikes and bought one about a week after returning home. And I didn’t let anyone hold onto for me.

I am really lucky- I live about a half mile from a bike path that winds along the coast. From end to end, it’s about 15 miles long. I live approximately in the middle, so I just have to choose which experience I’m in the mood for; one direction is more fun for people watching while the other is more scenic. Yesterday, I decided to head South- the scenic route. Round-trip it’s a 15- mile ride. Perfect for my exercise needs, as well as my time constraints; I can be back home in a little over an hour.

I brought my cell phone with me yesterday so that I could post a few photos of it. It is really one of the most beautiful places I know. I used to ride or walk it quite often. Then I got really lazy and stopped. Then I gained weight and felt too embarrassed and out of shape to start again. One of my biggest “aha” moments in SC was getting on my rental bike and remembering how much I loved to be on a bike- carefree and strong.

At the end of the path there is an ice cream shop, a place that I hold responsible for the 10 pounds I gained in June after they opened for the season. Yes, I did eat a lot of it. And I didn’t ride my bike there either, another contributor to that 10-lb. gain. Unlike Nicki, I LOVE ice cream. One of my “adjustments’ to my diet is that I no longer go to Daily Scoop. Their ice cream is 25% butterfat. Instead, I buy cones and a lower fat brand at the grocery store. I still get my fix- albeit not as tasty a one- and I can stay within my calorie budget. I don’t have one everyday, but probably two or three per week.

One of the healthiest habits I picked up in SC was eating fresh berries with yogurt every day. I try to eat local foods whenever possible, and it just so happens to be raspberry season here. They are also “U-Pick”, so there’s the added benefit of some exercise just to get them. The other day I picked a whole bunch and made some jam. I will miss them when the season is over. Raspberries mixed with Greek Yogurt honestly is as satisfying as ice cream- creamy, sweet and cold. Well, almost anyway.

Friday, August 28, 2009

All I Wanna Do is Zoom Zoom Zoom Zoom

. . . . and a boom boom. I did Jari Love Ripped 1,000 at 6am and Zumba at 8pm. My hands are shaking from fatique. Another fun class with rump shaking, directions in Spanish, and the command "Sit on it!" When the Fonz said it I think he was mad, but when Jonnie my Zumba instructor says it, I think she means squat lower. I got my zooma zoom zumba on tonight. My coordination and rhythm are not what you would expect, but I enjoy the opportunity to dance around. Wrong way or not. And a boom boom.

Thursday Exercise Journal
1 hour Jari Love Ripped 1,000
1 hour Zumba!

Thursday Food Journal
095 - Kashi Go Lean Crunch
045 - 1/2 cup skim milk
170 - Tandoori Chicken
050 - Brussel Sprouts
300 - Peach cobbler
070 - Peanuts
180 - Turkey burger with ketchup
035 - Laughing cow cheese
100 - reduced fat Pringles
300 - Macaroni and cheese (I'm eating after the kids again! Bad habit. Argh! That is not just anger, but pirate anger)

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Two-a-Days. This is football speak for two practices a day. I figure on the days when I can double up, I will double up. This is not often possible. Sometimes I don't have time or the energy, but I had it today. Zumba and Jari! My two-a-day. Have a great weekend. I'm looking forward to writing, some slothfulness, happy eating and happy exercising!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Enemy Within

I'm watching Star Trek, which means I'm having a lovely evening. In the episode "The Enemy Withing," Captain Kirk has an evil duplicate who wears a tad bit more eyeliner than the regular Kirk. Oh, I'm for a cornucopia of fine 1968 acting.

Obviously the title caught my interest, since much of this diet voyage is about keeping down your doppelganger, your bad twin, the enemy within. I kept mine at bay for another day. There. Diet advice and a poem.

Wednesday Food Journal
150 - Granola
080 - Yogurt
170 - Tandoori chicken
100 - Steamed veggies
300 - Peach cobbler
100 - Grapefruit
270 - Deviled Eggs
000 - Diet Coke

Wednesday Exercise Journal
6 Flights of stairs
1 hour of yoga (Inhale with Steve Ross)

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Diet Coke and Deviled Eggs. I met up with a friend at a pub earlier today. Pub food is not diet friendly. Fish and chips, fried jalapenos, beer. I opted for deviled eggs and a diet coke. Two unusual treats. Still yummy and fun and better choices than the alternatives. Oh wait, I have another tip. Fight your doppelganger as Kirk is about to do. Must be worth double the calories in exercise. Earlier in the episode he was carrying a "uni-dog." Hilarity. There are no words for how much I love Trek. Keep the enemy within at bay. Happy eating and exercising!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some Advice From A Writer

My friend Kym and I went to hear author Jonathan Tropper read last night. He has written This Is Where I Leave You and other books. I realized what curious people writers are. I will now share a few key insights from his talk and reading that have nothing to do with dieting, but I thought you might be smart enough to extrapolate some diet and exercise motivation.
  • Sometimes a review might hurt your feelings, but if the review is fair you can take the good with the bad.
  • Writers might want to hide in their writing caves, but eventually (if they are successful) they'll have to get on stage and be the rock star they always secretly wanted to be.
  • You might write 100 pages before you coming into your writing stride. Then you will need to throw out the first 100 pages you've written.
Tuesday Exercise Journal
20 minute walk

Tuesday Food Journal
080 - Yogurt
150 - Granola
100 - Apple
090 - Steamed veggies
320 - Lean Cuisine Lasagna
140 - Sun Chips
050 - Grapefruit
180 - Pita Chips
500 - ???Burger and Fries from Leon's

Weird Weight Loss Tips
This is a mean one, and I apologize in advance for the meanness. Get rid of the haters (not Mafia style, but Minnesota nice). Diet haters. Life haters. People who do no good in your life, but discourage you. Unfortunately, you no longer have room for them. If you are reading this blog and think I'm perfect and all of this is easy. Please remember that I do have sad moments, moments when I cry, when I am overworked and tired, and days when I've given everything to everyone else but myself. I don't appreciate the "I hate you for losing weight" comments. I've put you on notice so now you know.

On the same note, recognize healthy habits in your friends. When we drive through my neighborhood and pass someone running my husband says "You're all winners." There are a lot of runners in our neighborhood. My husband is only half mocking them. Remember that the next person you see running is sacrificing something (housework, family time, job) to run. They are winners! They are doing something for themselves. You should do the same.

Happy eating and exercising!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peach Cobbler is my Cherry Pie

Think about it. The title actually does make sense. My alternate title was "Peach Cobbler is my Go-Juice." Unfortunately, after bragging about being able to control my ice cream consumption and lamenting about not being able to control my love of peach cobbler, God presented me with an interesting test. On Monday, my work cafeteria was selling freshly made, steaming hot peach cobbler at lunch for a mere $1.39 (US for my Jamaican and British cousins). In pint-sized containers! I bought some, and I ate precisely 3 teaspoons of it. The remainder is now peacefully housed in my fridge for my Thursday or Friday indulgence. The cobbler was yummy.

(Thanks to my husband whose infinite knowledge helped me answer the question, "Isn't there a song about cherry pie?" His response. "80's. Warrant. Hair band." I would never know this kind of stuff without him. He's my Click and I'm his Clack. Speaking of NPR, here's a good segment on interval training.)

Even more sad than my inability to resist the peach cobbler is that I don't really even like the peach part. And I'm a girl from Georgia. I just like cobbler. Skip the peach or blueberries and give me some dough with sugary goo on it. I like pie crust, I like graham cracker crust, and I like cobbler. Once I had this delicious "winter's pie" at Balans in London with strawberries and rhubarb. I can't remember what I ate for my entree, but I can tell you is that the crust of that pie was divine.

My penance for these sins (sloth, gluttony, greed) are listed below. Otherwise known as the diet part.

Monday Food Journal
095 - 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch
025 - 1/2 cup blueberries
045 - 1/2 cup skim milk (my husband and I were discussing just how delicious this combo is for breakfast. I'm a huge fan.)
390 - Lean Cuisine pizza
070 - Brussel sprouts (So yummy and in convenient individual packs! I love more than pie. I love green veggies, too. Brussel sprouts, asparagus, spinach, broccoli. They are also my go-juice.)
010 - Crystal light iced tea
100 - 3 teaspoons of peach cobbler (no clue how many calories really)
140 - Salsa flavored Sun Chips
042 - Peach
I didn't eat dinner b/c workout was rather exhausting. I will try to treat myself to some egg-like substance in the a.m.

Monday Exercise Journal
6 flights of stairs
1 hour Jari Love's Ripped 1,000 (At the 40 minute mark, I flipping h8 her! Then at the end I love her again) You guys should try her workouts, she is awesome and Canadian. And you know how much I adore Canada.

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Have a short term goal. Start with 10% weight loss goal. Did I use this tip already? Someone needs to keep track for me. I get to call my H3 friend Robert when I hit my 10% goal. I'd really like to call him before October, but I'm not rushing the weight loss. This is my marathon. Then once I'm done losing weight, this lifestyle will have to be my new life. I really don't want to rush it, but I do want to call Robert. He is the kind of person you want to have nudging you in the right direction. He will tell you to run the last lap or do one more rep. When you give him a crazy look, he'll do one more lap and one more rep with you. Let's just say that I'm more than half way to my 10% goal, and I hope to call Robert real soon.

Happy eating and exercising!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Party of Five (unreal) Friends

Some friends of mine are discussing five fictional characters they would like dine with. And of course, since many of my friends are writers heaven forbid they'd choose to share a meal with someone real. If you want to see this list done the right way check out Romance Novel TV or my friend Chicki. But today I thought I'd list a few interesting lines from literature that make me think about food and eating.

"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love . . . ." Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

"And now you come to me -- women with hands and feet as soft as a queen's, with more cooking pots than you need, so safe in childbed and so free with your tongues. You come hungry for the story that was lost. You crave words to fill the great silence that swallowed me, and my mothers, and my grandmothers before them." The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

"I thought they were going to skin me alive. But they gave me food. Delicious food. Once I started eating, I couldn’t stop. I thought I would never stop being hungry." Life of Pi by Yann Martel

"I took hold of his collar and said, 'Come on, boy, let's go home and get something to eat.' He seemed to understand that he had found a friend. He came willingly." Where the Red Fern Grows by By Wilson Rawls

"I asked, it is true, for greater treasures than a little food or rest: I required kindness and sympathy; but I did not believe myself utterly unworthy of it. " Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

There you have it. If you missed 10th grade (or grade 10 as some call it) then I've caught you up to speed on a few books you should have read long before now.

Weight in (weight loss July 12 to date): -11 lbs!!! Next week I'm going to check my measurements. I'm very happy today. I've lost almost two pounds a week since July12. My husband has lost 20lbs! He is a very good healthy eating and exercising partner in crime. I'm so glad H3 put things in the right perspective so we can be more successful this time.

Friday Exercise Journal
6 flights of stairs at work
20 minute walk

Friday Food Journal
170 - Egg white omelet
340 - French toast
390 - Lean Cuisine Pizza
200 - Peach cobbler
200 - Kashi, blueberries and milk

Saturday Exercise Journal
30 minutes yoga
20 walk
1.5 hours cutting the grass

Saturday Food Journal
090 - Boiled egg
180 - Biscuit
230 - Kashi, blueberries and milk
200 - Ham sandwich (light oat bread, laughing cow cheese, ham)
400 - Bruster's Key Lime ice cream

Sunday Exercise Journal
30 minutes playground with kids
1 hour yoga

Sunday Food Journal
200 - Egg white omelet with sausage and onion
180 - Biscuit
200 - St. Cruz Organic Mango Lemonade
230 - Kashi, blueberries and milk
??? - Some coconut rum drink and horseradish mashed potatoes at my sister's house
290 - Seared scallops and angel hair pasta (One day I'm, going to go all Starving Foodie and post the recipe, but for now I'm just proud that I cooked something from scratch!)
400 - Double chocolate with peanut butter ice cream from Bruster's.

Someone out there is wondering about me wasting my calories on ice cream, knowing I don't even like ice cream. Let's just say I am experimenting with food. And I'm guestimating 400 calories for 1/2 cup because I can't find calories anywhere. I'm trying to figure out what satisfies me when. What I can eat with control. Ice cream is one of those things I can control, because I don't like cold desserts, so there is no chance of me eating an entire pint. Now if you left me alone with warm bread pudding or peach cobbler I could eat 2 lbs of that stuff. So I'm working on understanding my psyche and allowing myself some treats to boot. Sue me.

Weird Weight Loss Tips
Cook. I made seared scallops and the process of cooking really squashed my appetite. Chopping onions, smelling the food cook . . . . by the time you eat you're over it already.

As mentioned above, Eat something that you don't love, but is still an indulgence. For me this is ice cream.

I've had two weeks of doing better, but I'm really going to try to do my best this week. Got more real writing to do and healthy eating and exercising! You do the same.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The George Clooney Diet

The most boring, slowest, you-have-to-work-really-really-hard-for-it, moves-like-a-turtle, nothing-exciting-happens diet that really works.

I should have done my homework before starting this blog. But now, five weeks into this thing, I’ve researching some keywords associated with “weight loss” and “diet”. Apparently, I’m doing this whole thing wrong. My diet should be quick, fast, and involve a free trial of some not so thinly disguised caffeine pills. I should be using nitric oxide, acai, or eating from the Hardee’s “Trim It” menu. Because after creating the 2/3 lb Monster Thickburger at 1420 calories and 108 grams of fat, what I really need Hardee’s to do is give me diet and healthy eating advice.

I almost forgot the mysterious and plentiful diet pills (also with free trials) and food based diets like cabbage soup, drinking vinegar, the banana diet. Yes, eating bananas will help you lose weight if you only eat three bananas all day. Not rocket science, folks.

Well, I realized that watching me lose weight the old fashioned way might be boring. I might only lose a fraction of a pound in a week. I may never have six pack abs! Why are you all wasting your time on me? I am not a miracle . . . . yet.

This morning, I came up with the George Clooney Diet. Then I googled it and found out George Clooney was already on a diet. Then he was on a reverse diet. Then I remember that when I want anything ruined, I turn to George Clooney. Here’s how it works.

Step one: Eat reasonable portions of healthy food.

Step two: Use up more calories (exercise) than you take in (eat).

Step three: Increase your activity level to 5-7 times a week. Shoot for an hour a day, every day, but be happy with anything more than you used to do.

Step four: One morning (say this particular morning), you walk by your mirror and notice your underpants are ill-fitting and say to yourself, “Look at that soggy bottom, boys” and immediately reflect on George Clooney and how you only really like his acting when he isn’t taking himself too seriously. The soggy bottom isn't your bottom, but your underpants are now too big and your real bottom is getting smaller! Your bottom can get smaller, that's the real selling point of The George Clooney Diet.

Then you’ll go back to step one eating reasonable portions of healthy food and do it all over again, week after week, on the slowest, least exciting diet you ever heard of. It might work, but no one really cares about that. Do they, boys?

Thursday Food Journal

300 - Kashi, milk, blueberries

090 - Pita chips

340 - Lean Cuisine Panini

000 - Coke Zero (I never drink soda, but I've been have a rough week)

083 - Almonds

042 - Peach

080 - Yogurt

140 - 1/2 Baked potato

065 - 1/2 Salad (bunch of lettuce and some light ranch)

100 - 1/2 cup of chili

100 - 1/4 piece of pizza (really 3 bites)

400 - cup of Bruster's key lime pie ice cream and the only thing I've been craving and denying myself since H3. The ice cream has been in my fridge untouched for a few days. This is my infrequent frequency. Thursdays and Fridays are my toughest days of the week. I wouldn't say the treat made it better. Sort of left me feeling flat. Don't get me wrong it was yummy. It just doesn't have the power over me to do that "mind happiness" thing food used to do. I felt like it was big progress to realize that!

Thursday Exercise Journal

None, nada. Second day of kindergarten for my oldest monster. Meetings at work. Decatur Book Festival meetings after work. I'm barely squeaking this blog in by the midnight deadline. Oops. Too many excuses. I'll try to do some stairs at work on the morrow.

Weird Weight Loss Tip

The Cupid Shuffle.

*A note on frequency. I neglected to post a blog last night because I started working on a short story (Fiction of course. What else is there in my life?). As much as I love talking to you about my diet, I must channel some of this writing energy back into my novel. You’re dying to read it, aren’t you? Well, I’ll be posting a story called “Maize” in October with my writing friends on Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. I would love to hear what you think my story might be about from just the title. Love, comedy, or something wicked this way comes? It is a piece from my novel. If you are out there wishing me well, please wish me well on my writing. And also wish me well on my diet. The George Clooney Diet.

Happy eating and exercising. And happy writing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fell Off the Wagon . . . .

. . . . But the Wagon Was Sitting on the Floor

This is a picture I took in a wagon. In a corn maze. Tis the season.

I've been a bad bad girl. I've been careless with my diet and exercise journal. I haven't written in them since Friday. Getting ready for kindergarten, orientation, work projects and other stuff. The unpredictability of the weekend doesn't really translate into the ability to catalog how I exercise and eat. Thank goodness for this blog or else I would have really fallen off the wagon. I will recount what I've done as best as I can from memory.

Tuesday Food Journal
050 - Honeydew
050 - Plain yogurt
200 - Ham sandwich (Light oat bread, laughing cow cheese, tomato, mustard and ham)
150 - Kettle salt and pepper chips
100 - 8 oz Santa Cruz Organic lemonade
200 - Chick-fil-A chargilled chicken salad 1/2 packet of balsamic dressing
050 - Waffle fries
150 - Icedream
025 - 1/2 peach

Tuesday Exercise Journal
1 hour Body Works at LA Fitness. I'm assessing the affordability and viability of joining a gym with my work and writing schedule and three little kids. I'm trying to turn my "why nots" into my "why yes I cans." Anyone wants to donate $3,000 to my exercise fund? Doesn't take care of the writing and kids issue. C'est la vie, no? Until then I'm enjoying my one week free trial.

No Zumba! I'm bummed, but family obligations got in the way. I'll try to go tomorrow.

Monday Confession
Not only did I not journal, but I think I under ate calories on both Monday and Tuesday. This is not good for a host of reasons. The big takeaway is that I thought I had fallen off the wagon, but I've actually trained myself pretty well to be conservative. I've eaten when hungry. I've not watched the clock for times to eat. I'm super tired and stressed, but I'm also super happy today! I did not fall off the wagon and today is my oldest child's first day of kindergarten (5K as we call it locally).
This is what school looks like when you are in 4K.
Weird Weight Loss Tip
Pack your lunch the night before. My daughter eats two things. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter sandwiches. No jelly or jam. It makes packing her lunch rather easy since I'm not going to send her to school with macaroni and cheese. Tonight, I packed her lunch and mine. Tomorrow, I'll be back on track for writing down everything in my paper journal.

Thanks to Mamie for sharing her words of wisdom yesterday. For the rest of you, happy eating and exercising. And to my big girl, happy first day of school.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Like About Myself

by guest blogger Mamie Chen

Last night, as I was getting dressed to go out for dinner, I was feeling a little vain and decided to give my body a little extra help by putting on a Spanx body shaper (a slimming undergarment not unlike the legendary girdles of yesteryear). I had just put my feet through and was pulling it over my legs when I noticed an extremely large cockroach hanging on for dear life near the left leghole. I started screaming and jumping around like mad, fearful that it would hit my leg on the way down, but even more fearful of it running upwards towards my face. This lasted for a full minute before I realized that the roach hadn't moved an inch and that yes, it was dead and just stuck to the garment. Even so, I gingerly removed the Spanx and decided that's what I get for trying to cheat.

One of my regrets from Hilton Head was not being able to attend Beth Leermakers' class on body image. I did see it on the calendar for the week after Nicki and I left, and Beth was nice enough to give me the handouts. My key takeaway (from the notes) is to not get so trapped in a negative body image that it begins to color your self-esteem and your perception of your accomplishments. Even more dangerous than simple "I feel fat" statements are the "Unfair to Compare" statements (I'm not as thin as everyone else around me) or the "Magnifying Glass" statements (Yes, everyone says I have a great smile, but who cares? I still have love handles.)

I know that I have to keep reminding myself of this, especially now that I am back in Hong Kong. According to the standard BMI charts, I am well within the desired range. And while I was in the US, this was acceptable to me. Sure, I have a personal goal to lose some undisclosed weight, but I still felt okay about myself. Now just one day back in Hong Kong, my body image has plummeted back into the negative zone. Here, my admittedly unscientific observations tell me the average woman weighs less than 100 pounds, and I definitely know I am considered fat by the local population.

So this begs the question: should I "cheat" with a pair of Spanx in order to feel a little better about myself? Or should I hunker down, focus on what I like about myself, and achieve my weight loss goal the right way? The desiccated roach answered the question for me this time. I flushed the roach down the toilet, left the Spanx in my laundry basket and enjoyed my evening.

Things I like about myself, unrelated to my appearance:
1. I think I'm a pretty good mom
2. I like my sense of humor - well, I can always make myself laugh, and that's what's important

Things I like about my body:
1. I like my smile
2. I like the way my arms look folded in front of me a la "I Dream of Jeannie". Not that I have much opportunity to stand that way in the normal course of my day, but it is my favorite flexing pose in front of the bathroom mirror.

What my body can do for me:
1. I can dance to "Shout" in 4 inch platform heels without breaking a metaphorical sweat (physically, I was sweating profusely, but that's good)
2. I can sit comfortably, Indian-style in most airplane seats - being this short is always good for that, at least

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Exercise with imagination. I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor, but I can tell you that dead cockroach got me jumping so high and so fast that I'm sure my heart rate was higher than it was during Amber's cardio-boxing class. And when I got caught in the rain a couple weeks ago, I walk/ran those 3.5 miles at a much faster pace than I ever would have set for myself on a treadmill. So the next time you exercise, pretend you are running in the rain or shaking off a cockroach or facing whatever it is that would get you moving with more intensity.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Naughty Number Nine - Day 22

Number nine will put you on the spot.
Number nine will tie you up, oh, in a knot.
When you're tryin',
Multiplyin' by nine...
With naughty, nasty, mean old number nine.

Weigh In
-9lbs July 12 to date. No weight change this week. Well at some point I was at -10lb, but on weigh in day I was stuck at -9lb. I'm not complaining.

First of all, I'd like to tell you that I gained muscle this week, but I heard a good lecture at H3 about how implausible that is.

Second of all, I'd like to tell you (BOYS CLOSE YOUR EYES) that I'm having women's issues and I just wasted five minutes googling euphemisms for menstruation. Most pleased to see that my favorite periodical, The Onion, ranks as second result. News and euphemisms. Being on the rag is a good enough excuse for plateauing. I will use this as an excuse until there is a H3 class on why I can't use this as an excuse.

As you can tell my head hurts and I'm feeling a little cranking. I had a busy weekend doing writing business stuff (aka Georgia Romance Writers) without doing any actually writing. That always puts me in a bad mood. Less my PMS gets the better of this blog I will now report the happy stuff!

Nicki Does the Right Thing
  1. I carried kashi cereal and a peach with me to GRW in lieu of Chick-fil-A biscuit. I ate the veggie meal, skipped the bread, pasta, and dessert. Brought second peach to be my dessert.
  2. Went to an evening museum event with free alcohol. Opted for Diet Coke in lieu of wine. I normally feel like I should eat my weight at the buffet, but instead I ate lots of veggies and a little bit of meat. I'm guessing less than 2 oz of meat. I skipped the baklava, and ya'll know I adore baklava. I did indulge in fig the size of a plum and a yummy chocolate chip cookie.
  3. For Sunday dinner, I stripped the fried chicken and ate the non-fried parts.
Friday Exercise Journal
2 mile walk. Very brisk 2 mile walk. 45 minutes worth. Maybe even more than 2 miles.

Friday Food Journal
250 - Flax Plus with Raisin cereal
380 - Roasted veggie sandwich
140 - Baked Lays
030 - Almonds
100 - Strawberries
300 - Macaroni

Saturday Food Journal
250 - Kashi cereal
042 - Peach
200 - Roasted veggies
042 - Peach
200 - Ham sandwich
500 - Assorted treats at the museum. Asparagus, green salad, fig, Parmesan, lamb/beef kabob, chocolate chip cookie

Saturday Exercise Journal
30 minutes strolling through a museum in heels. I'm counting this as exercise.

Sunday Food Journal
250 - Kashi Cereal
042 - Peach (I'm in a peachy mood this week. They have been delicious!)
500 - Tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwich
200 - Mixed greens with dressing
200 - Chicken
200 - Peach cobbler (My sister made it and I had to try it.)
100 - Remainder of lemonade and apple juice abandoned by my kids. Scavenging again. I'm not really sure how to break this bad habit.

Sunday Exercise Journal
40 minutes stroll.

Weird Weight Loss Tips
What would Sanjay Gupta do? At Christmas, I will have a blog call "My Favorite Things" and remind me to include Gupta among them. He issued a four month to fitness challenge in June. So we are a few months late. Check it out. Always better to be late than the alternative.

Periodically, Gupta is nice to my brother-in-law and interviews him about sports medicine stuff. Check out a video clip of my brother-in-law on CNN. Not a weird weight loss tip, but now you know what my brother-in-law looks like!

Final Weird Weight Loss Tip: And just to be the annoying little sister-in-law that I am, here's a plug for my favorite shoes: Earth Shoes. I did lose some weight when I started wearing them last year, but quite honestly I wear them because they are beneficial for people who do a lot of yoga. They keep my calves and hamstrings stretched out. They are comfy. I don't care what Gupta and my brother-in-law say about them. I love Earth Shoes! I'm going to marry them.

Have a happy week. Good exercising and eating to all.