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!