Coz’s Corner: Nature is my Cigarette

Or you might have heard some people refer to it as their church. Either way, it is my addiction. Correction, my healthy addiction. Whether running, walking, biking or just plain sitting, nature is my crack! When I am there, I feel most whole.

Nature

Today I wanted to stress how important it is to FIND your healthy addictions. The root cause of what drives to make a better YOU! Sometimes we focus TOO much on our weaknesses and get so busy trying to curb those addictions that we forget to look at the positive!

This is hard to do, and I’m sure, just as hard as quitting smoking or drinking. Its like backwards-thinking forward-thinking positivity. Are you still with me??

I have another healthy addiction and lifetime goal of completing a 5K in all 50 states. Since starting in 2011, I have successfully finished 4 races. I will cover more of that in the near future.

For now, here are some examples of healthy addictions:

1) Zumba
2) Skydiving
3) Rock Climbing
4) Bikram Yoga
5) Disc Golf
6) Running
7) Fencing
8) Cycling
9) Xbox 360 Kinect
10) Dancing

All the options are there, you just need to REMOVE the fear from your head and go out and do it! Get yourself a motivator! For some people, its Jillian Michaels. For others, its that friend that never lets you miss a gym class for fear of going alone.

The point is not to fear whether you can do rock climbing or sky diving. Its about staying active and the journey to finding what makes you tick!

What is your healthy addiction?

Coz’s Corner: A New Year

The time has come yet again. A New Year and another chance for a New You! Easier said than done that’s for sure.

Coz's Corner

With the new year, I decided to start guest blogging as Coz’s Corner. Over a year of writings from my partner in crime, I thought it was time for all her Reluctant Weight Watcher Foodie fans to read things from my side of the dinner table! You can expect to see fun facts, behind the scenes, and my thoughts on my own weight loss journey.

Just a few weeks before the New Year, I started working out to Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Away the Pounds” DVD. You know, that really old DVD that was made in the 90’s. Believe it or not, it works! The only challenge in my head is getting my butt out of bed to do it! However, naturally I have an advantage most people don’t; I’m an early bird. Studies show that working out before the day begins is the best way but honestly as long as you Get Up and Get Out, you’re doing good! Its a daily battle that must by won in our own heads. No one can make us exercise or diet for that matter.

My own weight loss journey started at the same time Angela’s did. In fact, I was the one that talked to her about joining WW at Work back in 2010. Here we are at 2013 and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned in a bullet point list that I will go into more detail throughout the year.

1) Be realistic. Don’t set your weight loss goals too high.
2) Don’t compare your weight loss journey to other people including family members, co-workers or friends.
3) Challenge yourself (its really all mind over matter!)
4) Be willing to do some self-reflection because without it, the journey wouldn’t even exist.
5) Know your weaknesses and your strengths whether food or work-out related.
6) Accept change, it is the only constant in our lives anyway.
7) Recognize the negativity in your life and develop a plan to overcome or fix it.
8) Let go and realize that our society’s expectation/images of what “healthy” looks like is not practical.
9) Remember to always give yourself credit and treat yourself wisely.
10) Love the journey, not just the result.

These are just a few things my own journey has taught me. I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and wisdom for the next year! Angela and I have some great ideas stored up for the new year including more guest blogs, more delicious healthy recipes, more fan participation (talk about it, its the best way to make yourself accountable) and everyone’s favorite RWWF Love and Gratitude boxes. We hope to partner with even more companies so we can share MORE OF THE LOVE with our fans! We encourage you to share our blog with friends, family or neighbors.

Facebook Savvy? Yeah, we are there too so go check us out!

I’m Bugging Out

Bodybugging that is.  And so far, I’m loving it.

It’s interesting to look back on my life and see how my journey towards health has changed.  From the fifth grade until about age 25, I tried so many different “diets” – Slimfast, diet pills, South Beach, starvation, Jorge Cruise’s 8 Minutes a Day, even some Richard Simmons stuff – and it never worked for very long.  I never felt like they were “livable” after a couple weeks, and obviously (in my experience), they weren’t.

Now that I’ve found something that works for me, I’m trying out a new kind of “supplement” – apps and products that help me to better track my calorie intake and calorie burn.  I’ve tested out all the different websites and for me, www.fatsecret.com has the best Android interface for calorie tracking, but www.myfitnesspal.com comes in a close second.  I actually think myfitnesspal has a lot more options food and exercise on the website, but their android interface doesn’t provide a widget and that’s what I want.

This Bodybugg is a recent purchase.  I found a fantastic “cyber Monday” deal and couldn’t pass it up.  I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser constantly since its now available to watch instantly on Netflix and I always see them wearing their bodybuggs.  I did my research and found the one that works for me, and wouldn’t you know it… I can track it on my phone!  So I have all my information right at my fingertips.  It’s been really fun this weekend testing out my calorie burn.  These are a few of the things I’ve learned:

– Grocery shopping makes you take a lot of steps
– My body burns an average of 1-2 calories per minute in a sedentary state (like sleep)
– I burn a lot more calories than I thought I was based on activity calculators on websites
– It’s a lot easier to burn more calories when you’re in a happy relationship ;)
– Running burns a TON of calories
– Even when just hanging around at home getting things done, I still take around 2500-3000 steps in a day

I love seeing the physical proof of a hard days work. I can track everything and feel good about my progress. And I definitely feel like I have more control over my weight loss because I know exactly what’s going in and what’s getting burned off! I’m the only one to blame for any discrepancies.

Check out the links to see what might work for you. I bought my bodybugg for $100, so don’t spend too much more than that. There’s going to be better deals out there than buying at full price!

PS – I still use fatsecret for food/calorie tracking since the bodybugg program for tracking food it severely limited.  They seriously need to team up with another website to take advantage of their food database!

I Fall Down and Get Back Up Again

I’ve been absent.  VERY absent.

Absent from blogging, absent from tracking, absent from holding myself accountable to my goals.  I’ve spent the last 3 months in a bit of a weight loss lull.  So, I need to make some changes.

I’m putting the Reluctant Losers group on hold.  I need to re-focus my attention and energy to getting myself back on the healthy track.  I’ve been fluctuating between the same six pounds for too long!

I’m also getting ready to start a weight loss game with the book The Game On! Diet.  I think it’ll help to jump start my weight loss again.  I’ve kept up minimal exercise throughout the past few months, but lately, I’ve been upping my game.  More exercise and more pushing myself!  My fiancee and I finished another 5K in Indianapolis this past weekend!  It was her third this year and my second.  It was a beautiful route and a well planned out event and we had a lot of fun.  Two states down, 48 more to go!

I’m also going to write more often than ONCE A MONTH for this blog!  HELLO!!  I started this thing to help keep me accountable and I lost that when I fell off the wagon.  Some entries may be shorter, but I’m writing for me, right?

So, here’s the first short post in a long time… I’m back, baby!  And ready to rock it :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Click here for this “Healthier” Choco PB Cheesecake recipe from Shannon’s Kitchen Creations!

Life has been busy, to say the least.  Therefore, I have not blogged in SEVEN DAYS.  Holy freaking crap.  I feel like a bad blogger.  So, I am apologizing by FINALLY putting up the recipe for the Chocolate PB Mousse Pie that I’ve been talking about for ages.

Although you get the recipe, there still is no definite picture… because the pies disappear too fast.  But it’s pretty self-explanatory.  PB, cool whip, choco syrup, in a mini pie crust.  But before I give you that, I have other things I want to say.

I’ve definitely hit a mini-plateau.  Despite my working out and tracking points, my weight is fluctuating within the same pound.  It’s okay though, I’m keeping up with the working out and people are suggesting that I try eating all my earned Activity Points (which I hadn’t been doing) to let me body keep up with itself.  So I’ll just keep working hard and tracking…. although I’ll admit, I haven’t been tracking so well this past week.  Whenever I work out really hard and track right and don’t have a loss, I start rebelling against the scale (and punishing myself) by not tracking the next week.  It’s stupid, but I do it and I need to stop.  But I have been doing a LOT of activity outside!

We finally finished softball season with a whopping ZERO wins and 100% satisfaction!  We played our best and had a blast doing it.  The great thing about our team was that everyone got to play regardless of skill level.  I played three positions throughout the season – outfield (only once because I suck at catching fly balls), first base and catcher.  I got a lot of outs at first base and even got a few while playing catcher!  I may have dreaded taking the time out of my weekend to play some days, but ultimately, I had fun at each game.  I even got a double and two RBI’s at the last game!  I’ll definitely play again next year.

Click here for this WWF Peanut Butter Cookies recipe from the “Point-Less Meals” blog!

The girlfriend and I did a Women’s Build with Habitat for Humanity last weekend.  We put up the WALLS!  Seriously!  When we got there at 8am, it was just the base of a house.  When we left at 2:30, all the outside walls were up along with most of the inside walls.  Every single volunteer was a woman too!  Only two guys were there and they were in charge of the build – one was the president of the local H4H association and the other was the actual construction guy who told us where to put everything and how to do it.  We totally rocked it.  There were probably about 12 of us all together at the most and gradually, people had to leave.

The weather was perfect; it felt amazing to do a completely different kind of work than I’d ever done before and even more amazing that I could actually DO IT without worrying about my back or not being “fit” enough for intense manual labor.  I tell ya, I have soooo much more respect for construction workers now!  Even with the lower temperatures and cool breeze, I basically sweated and worked out at a moderate level for about 5 1/2 hours.  And the feeling of accomplishment was so wonderful.  Getting to talk to the woman who it getting the house; working with her side-by-side, knowing that my efforts would be benefiting another family… it made it all worth it.  Every drop of sweat was worth it.  And so were the brownies and cookies I had later that day!  Lol.

Click here for this Chocolate Banana Cupcake recipe from The Novice Chef Blog!

I’ve also been going to the gym twice a week in the mornings.  I get there around 7:45am and do about 20-30 minutes of cardio and then 20-25 minutes of weight machines.  It’s been really enjoyable because the gym is relatively empty at that time, so I don’t have to wait for machines or showers and by the time I’m done and showered, I’m into the office before 9:30am, which is usually earlier than my normal arrival time!  When I workout at home, I’m more likely to take my time getting ready and do other things around the house and I don’t get in until 10 or 11.  Of course, that means I have to work much later, so getting in at an earlier time is really helping to keep me sane in the evenings.  And I get to spend more time with the furry babies and the girlfriend in the evenings, which is the biggest benefit of all!

So, yeah.  Lots of exercise, lots of good things, and hopefully I get over this plateau soon.  I’m so close to having lost 30 lbs that it’s frustrating not actually being there.  My journey is slower than most and at this pace it’ll probably take me around 3-4 years to reach my goal.  But I can be patient.  I can keep writing blogs and inspiring others.  Not everyone can be gung-ho about losing 100 lbs in a year or two.  I can’t do it.  I know that I enjoy eating food and taking time to relax.  Losing weight is NOT my life.  “Living healthy” is a lifestyle that I’ve had for almost a year now.  That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment.  Losing weight is just a hobby.  I do what I can and I have mini-goals, but I’m losing it slow so that it STAYS OFF.  And I’m quite alright with that!  Okay, here’s that recipe….

Click here for the Five Ingredient Cookie recipe that I posted a while back!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pies
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (5 PP without the pie crusts and just as good!)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Hershey’s chocolate syrup, 0 PP!
  • 4 tbsp creamy peanut butter (I used a reduced sodium organic one), 10 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip Free, 4 PP
  • 3 Keebler graham ready crust minis, 9 PP

Directions
1. Mix together PB, chocolate syrup and cool whip free until completely blended and creamy.

2. Divide mixture amongst mini graham crusts. Top with a swirl of chocolate syrup or a few chocolate chips (make sure to count those points if you use them). Chill in fridge until needed or eat right away!

Not only is this good in pie form, but it’s just as good without a crust. The first time I made it, I ate it right out of the bowl with a spoon! A friend of mine dipped pretzels and animal crackers in hers and loved it. Slice up some apple and dip that in it for a healthy, delicious snack! And if you want to lower the points value even more, use half the amount of peanut butter. It’ll still be great, just not as thick (but almost as rich and tasty!)

Backpacking Through the Windy City

Our train car into Chicago

There’s something special about big cities.  It’s not just the wide array of shops and restaurants along every block.  It’s not just the monumental skyscrapers, bridges and other architectural wonders.  It’s not just the melting pot of cultural backgrounds that pass by you with each step.  It’s all of those things… plus the fact that I’d rather WALK around the city than be stuck with a mean cabbie or driving through that horrendous traffic!  So, that’s exactly what we did.

Beauty in unexpected places.

The girlfriend and I drove up to her hometown to drop her car off to her dad since he bought it from her.  We decided to go down to sharing one car!  And since we didn’t have a car to drive back down, we decided to take the train and enjoy a day and a half in Chicago.  We didn’t want to drag luggage around the city with us, so we each packed a backpack and off we went!  It was so simple and enjoyable that we’ve decided it’s our new favorite way to travel.

Luckily, we brought umbrellas with us so even though it rained a lot of the time, we were prepared and we just kept walking!  On Saturday, we did at least eight miles and on Sunday we did around five or so.  We had lunch with one of my good friends from college, then started walking with just a map to guide us.  We happened to fall right into the path of the Memorial Day Parade and it was great!  The girlfriend took lots of cool pictures with my nifty phone and a little Vietnamese Lady in the parade even came over and gave me this beautiful fan.  It totally made my day.

Me and my beautiful Vietnamese Fan!

Then we found Michigan Avenue and walked all over since we still had a few hours to kill before hotel check-in.  We hung out around Buckingham Fountain and Lakeshore Drive and talked about life and the future and then we finally headed to the hotel.  Then we quickly showered and headed out for one more store and dinner at The Melting Pot.  LORDY LORD.  SOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!!!!  Needless to say, we didn’t count, but we DID choose the healthiest fondue for the main course and enjoyed every last bite.  It was the girlfriend’s idea and her treat and we had a LOT of fun.  It was almost 2 miles to get to the restaurant, so we had to walk almost 2 miles back.  We worked off at least SOME of that fondue!  And then we passed out the minute we got to the hotel.

Some of the Chicago Memorial Day Parade participants

The next morning we went SWIMMING (at 8am, no less)!  I haven’t been swimming in over a year.  We both discovered that our bathing suits are a little too big, so we’ll need to go shopping for new ones.  That’s a much more pleasant reason to go shopping for a new suit than I’ve had in the past 15 years!  It was nice, although it was the ONLY free amenity in the whole hotel.  FYI – if you ever visit Chicago, don’t stay at the Hilton Chicago on N. Michigan Ave.  It’s overpriced and they’ll make you pay $15 to use their workout equipment.  (Only the pool and walking track are free.  LAME.)  Once we got dressed and packed up, we headed out for some breakfast.

We stopped at Caffé Baci; it was superb!  The girlfriend got a belgian waffle with fruit and lite syrup and I got a yogurt/fruit parfait (amazing) and a bagel with cream cheese.  Then we headed out for a little more shopping and site seeing, but it started thunderstorming.  We ended up stopping at just a couple stores before we walked to Union Station.

RWWF in the Windy City!

Since we brought books and music and stuff, we figured hanging out there would be nice and relaxing.  Little did we know that some movie was filming in the huge foyer and it was a scene with a MARCHING BAND.  Apparently the directors and assistants suck at their job because they kept moving people (including us) from our seats on the wooden benches.  (Seriously, could they have TRIED looking through the camera lens to see what all would be in the shot before moving people further and further down?)  After they asked us to move for the FOURTH time, we said F*CK IT and walked over to a cafe table.  It was loud and annoying and I hope the movie TANKS!

The ballroom of the Hilton Chicago. Beautiful, but not worth the moolah!

The train ride home was half as long as the first, so we got back right on time to catch the bus.  Unfortunately, the bus stopped running at 7, so it’s last stop (where we got off) still left us with a mile walk back home.  But after 13 miles in Chicago, one more mile was no big deal :)  We walked back, I ordered some Thai food and we enjoyed relaxing for the rest of the evening.

It was such a wonderful weekend!  Walking gave us so much time to just talk and enjoy the sights and each others’ company instead of arguing about traffic and directions.  Our stress levels were super low.  It definitely convinced us that at some point in the future we’d like to spend at least a year living in a city.  I know I could certainly get used to being around so much great culture, shopping and food… as long as I have to walk there in order to enjoy it!  Now, I’m on a mission for the perfect traveling backpack.  The girlfriend and I are DEFINITELY doing this again.  We have our annual bus passes for our current town and a couple of other train trips have already been scheduled.  Life is good; a healthy/eco-friendlier life is even better :)

Living my Life like it’s Golden

Oh man! Life has been good lately, and it’s only gonna get better :)

New hairs. I love that I can pull off asymmetry!

I got my hairs cut by my good friend, Chandra, at her new salon, The Studio. So awesome! I can’t give them enough praise. It’s a beautiful open space with fantastic colors, lots of IKEA furniture, and “green” innovations. Even the shampoos and conditioners are organic! They have this hydrotherapy tub that I’m bound and determined to try some day, massage, pedicures, manicures, all the hair cutting and styling you need, and a studio where you can get beautiful photos taken. Prices are reasonable and totally worth it when you realize just how green they are. There’s even a recycling bin for you to deposit your empty bottles and cans!

Chandra did an incredible job (as you can plainly see!) and I’m definitely going back. In fact, I revised my list of rewards a little bit after my wonderful experience there. Instead of buying a treadmill when I lose 70 lbs, I’m getting the “Spa Starter” – manicure, pedicure, hydrotherapy treatment and a massage! SO EXCITED!!

This weekend is going to be busy.  The girlfriend and I are driving to her hometown because her dad is buying her car off her.  So, we’ll be officially down to ONE CAR.  Yay to lower carbon footprints!  And since we won’t have a car to drive home, we’re taking the train to Chicago, staying a night and then taking the train back home.  We’ll be doing a LOT of walking around the city, so we decided NO luggage, just one backpack each!  Can you tell how excited I am about this?  We’ll be staying on the Magnificent Mile in the Hilton.  Oooohhhh yeahhhhh.  Gonna spend some time at Navy Pier, gonna watch the Memorial Day parade that’s on Sunday, gonna go to the Melting Pot for dinner (I think).  It will be grand!  And since we’re going down to one car, we’re getting an annual bus pass for each of us this afternoon!  I have a feeling it’ll be the best 60 bucks I’ll spend this year.

More walking, less money spent on gasoline, lots of train trips, eating organic, simplifying our lives…. This summer is going to be the best one I’ve had in a VERY long time.  And I get to enjoy it with less weight on my bones!  Can’t beat that :)

Why, Could You Please Pass the Gas?

Photo Courtesy of: chriscantwel.tumblr.com

I need to talk to you about a serious topic, people.  And I need to talk about it now.

There’s one specific thing that undoubtedly catapults a relationship between two people to an entirely new level.  It forever changes the relationship, brings a new sense of honesty and openness, and often it means that long-term commitment (if handled correctly) is in the foreseeable future.  What is that thing, you ask?  Farts.

Now, I was tempted to put “gas” as the pivotal word, but no.  People burp in front of each other all the time; it’s no big deal.  Carbonated beverages have minimized the significance of burping, therefore destroying the poignancy of “gas” as a wholly important word (in this discussion).  Burps are small potatoes.  Farts, on the other hand, are equivalent to Thanksgiving dinner.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this journey, so far, it’s that farting comes with the territory.  My relationship with myself has reached a whole new level now that farts are a definite part of my daily life.  With the increased amounts of fiber I consume and the consistent weekly exercise, I find myself farting a LOT more.  And not just in the comfort of my own home.  I go for a nice walk before or after work and ten minutes after I’ve started… pfffffffft.  Attempting to run the day after a delicious leafy green, fiberlicious meal…. pffft.  pfffffft. pfft.  pft.

At first, I was quite mortified.  Who do you blame when you’re the only one coming out of the elevator?  What do you say to the old lady who unknowingly walked into your string of little bombs as you stroll around the park a few times?

As a woman who’s proud of her European mutt roots, farts and I have never been strangers.  In fact, gassing it up after a meal is considered to be a compliment in some countries.  “Pfffffffft… My compliments to the chef.” (At least that’s what Dad always told me!)  But still, I was worried about what people would think.  “GAWD, that fat girl just FARTED and it smells like BUUUUUUUTTTTT!”  I already have to deal with the fears that come from being the biggest girl in the workout class or the sweatiest, most red-faced girl on the elliptical, but do I really have to be the gassy girl on the track too?

Why, yes.  Yes I do.  I eat the right foods now and I exercise like I should have been doing all my life, just like all the other healthy people in the world.  And guess what?  They fart too. You hear them in the bathroom (like in Vegas.  What happens there stays there.)  We all think “gross!!” and raise our eyebrows a little as we sit in our individual stalls, but we never actually say anything to one another because we KNOW we’ve been in that same unfortunate position.  No one in their right mind is going to make fun of the person who ate some bad Chinese food and is paying for it in unholy and uncomfortable ways!  Karma is real, and you know you’ll pay for it if you do.

I’m finally starting to accept my farts for what they really are, and they are a bunch of things.

– tiny little pushes towards my ultimate goal
– bits of inspiration to get my ass moving away from the stank
– mini shouts of gratitude from my digestive tract for feeding it well
– reminders that I’m a normal, imperfect human like everyone else
– non-verbal communication from my body letting me know that my diet is on track (or off track depending on how much it burns my eyes.  TMI?)

But most importantly, my being able to accept my farts as a normal, albeit HILARIOUS, part of my new and improved lifestyle has definitely brought my relationship with my body to a whole new level.  I suspect I’m on the brink of a long-term commitment here, people!

Hello, my name is Angela and I fart.  A lot.  If you can’t handle that, then it’s your problem, not mine.  Pffffffffffffft!

Weekly Menu and a Weigh-In!

One Happy Hot Dog!

Minus 2.6 lbs!  WOOT WOOT.  You know, when I started this journey and saw my numbers at my weekly WW weigh-ins, I NEVER saw numbers like this (well, besides the first water-weight-loss of 7 lbs).  It’s still a pleasant surprise when it happens!

What did I do to help this weight loss along?  Walked/Ran a 5K for starters!  I did eat a lot more this past week, though, so I was dreading stepping on the scale.  I even had a little mini breakdown because we had all this yummy non-WWF food in the house and I just kept eating it.  I put the girlfriend through a bit of a whirlwind, but she loves me, so she stuck by me!  I was just craving carbs….  Probably from all the exercise I was getting in!  I’ve definitely been more active this Spring than I have in the past!  Softball, walks, time just spent outside (on our rockin’ patio!), picnics at the park – it’s just been so lovely!

Trying not to be such a Hot Doggy

This last weekend was just amazing, weather-wise.  We spent an afternoon at the park on Sunday.  The girlfriend was taking photos for a family (because she has an awesome business called “Beautiful Orange Productions“) and she suggested I come over to the park with Maxwell after she was done shooting.  So, I was about to drive over and she called to say she’s picking up Sandwiches from one of our favorite local cafes because we’re going to have a picnic!  I ran back in the house to get our nifty picnic blanket and then drove on over.  I walked Maxwell around the beautiful park while we waited for her to get back with the sandwiches and then we met on a nice sunny patch of grass.  Sandwiches were eaten, sun was bathed in and snuggles were had with Maxwell.  And THEN, we packed everything up, drove one car home, dropped off Maxwell, and walked all the way back to the park (2 miles) to pick up the other car!  It worked out perfectly.  It was a wonderful day.  (And I haven’t even told you about the vanilla amber bath salts, the softball game or the grilled BBQ turkey burgers!  Er… heh.)

Hot Dog: Uncovered.... He's so freaking cute!

But there’s more to this post than cute doggy photos and a recap of a wonderful Sunday.  I actually planned out another menu for the week!  I looked through a cookbook that I’ve had for a while, but haven’t used much.  It’s all about CHICKEN.  I lurve chicken.  I’m also one of those weird people that actually likes working with raw chicken.  I’m a texture nut.  Anyway, before I gross you out with my love of weird textures, here’s the menu!

Monday: Chicken and Bell Pepper Fajitas, Salad
Tuesday: Chicken and Couscous Soup, Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Wednesday: WILDCARD
Thursday: Lightened Green Chicken Curry
Friday: Soyaki Pork Roast, Roasted Vegetables
Saturday: “Fried” Perch and Flounder Fillets, Green Beans
Sunday: Garlicky Chicken Stew

Does this not sound like a tasty week?  I’m quite excited to try out some new recipes, especially the curry!  I’ve made curry so many times, even posted my original curry recipe, but I found some AWESOME Silk Coconut Milk that is insanely delicious!  It’s only 2 PP per cup, and the flavor is exactly what I’d want as a base for a curry.  You can definitely look forward to some tasty recipes in the coming weeks.  HUZZAH!

The End.

My First 5K

Just a few minutes after we passed the Start line!

We did it!  My girlfriend and I finally completed our first 5K!  Wow.  What a rush of emotions.  It was amazing to be two people in a crowd of 4800 participants.  We took our places close to the very end of the crowd since we were in the “walkers” group (although we ran at LEAST a mile of the whole thing!), did a little stretching and let out a squeak when we finally started moving towards the start!  We didn’t actually cross the “Start” line until about 10 minutes after it started, since we were at the end all squished together like an old bag of marshmallows, lol.  But once we got out of our squishy surroundings, we were really able to get into a great routine of walking and running.

But since I’m not the only one who experienced this race, I asked the girlfriend to write a blurb about her experiences for this post. So, without further ado…

Special Notes from The Girlfriend

Our view from the back of the line of participants! We're so far back that you can't even see the START LINE.

The Illinois 5K was simply amazing. Going into it I didn’t think that it would be much of an event, but with 5000 runners/walkers…. it was a sight to see. When Ange and I were getting ready at home, it reminded me of when I used to get ready for track and field in high school. “The Rush”, or as I like to call it – the healthy feeling of competition :) I have always been one for contact sports. Obviously, running in a 5K doesn’t include competitive contact with the ones running next to you, BUT it does require a sense of competition within yourself. The challenge of running the 5K is between you and the ground.

While running in the downtown streets, several community friends were there to cheer us on. “Way to go, Ange and Jess!!” This was the point where my body felt like it could run a marathon. The rush went running through my veins. As we ran into the stadium, thousands of families, friends, and supporters were there to cheer on the race runners, including Angela’s family. It was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I would recommend walking a 5K – odds are you’ll end up running to your goal too!

So we finished our first 5K and we loved it so much that we’re going to do at LEAST one more this year!  And, if you didn’t know, Weight Watchers has started a “Walk-It!” day.  Although I won’t be walking on that specific day (which I believe is May 22nd), they did put out this AWESOME training schedule to get people running a full 5K in 6 weeks!  I’m TOTALLY doing this.  It has officially become my next goal.  I also downloaded an application on my phone called “My Runkeeper“.  The girlfriend and I used it on our walk the other morning.  It timed it, made an announcement at every minute (I set it that way), and it tracked it through GPS, so we could see just how far we went and in how long!  The maps/routes can be saved, you can pick from a variety of activities… it’s just awesome!  Definitely gonna be using this a lot.  In fact, I used it yesterday to track my walk from home to work and figured out that it’s .26 miles to the office and it takes me 6 minutes to get there at a leisurely pace.  So, if I walk to work and back, it’s a half mile and if I also walk home and back for lunch, I’ve walked an extra full mile each day!  Pretty schweet.

Just before we reached the turn to the Finish!

If any of you have smart phones, I would definitely recommend checking these kind of applications out.  There’s a bunch of different ones that track distance, steps, etc.  There’s also ones that are just special stopwatches that would be super helpful in circuit training!  You don’t even have to pay for most of them.  Anything that makes working out easier or more fun should DEFINITELY be incorporated into regular activities!

And the girlfriend and I BOTH encourage you all to sign up for a 5K… or a 10K or some other race or competition that will give you a focus or a reason, or maybe just enjoyment of exercise because when you cross that finish line, you too will see that you’ve really just begun :)