Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Shortest Month's Challenge

Here in NC, you'll find yourself wearing flip flops with snow still in the yard (thanks, Rhiannon, for that hilarious post). Fitness in Feb.= Fuh fuh fuh fuh, ffffffft. These all sound like flat tire noises to me. I bet a lot of resolution setters are fffffting now. Will it be 12 degrees and snowing or 62 degrees and sunny?

We're in a new neighborhood with ample outdoor walking/running/biking trails and sidewalks nearby. People, I really have NO excuse. I mean, none. No move, no holidays, no surgical recoveries--nothing. Since I crave a new routine, exercise and healthy foods will help energize me and set me on the right path. I just have to stay away from the path that leads to Cook Out's milkshakes and Bojangle's biscuits...Mmmmmmm I mean nasty! This new neighborhood also has a junior olympic pool, and since I've got small kids, I have a feeling I'll be living at the pool this summer. Um, bathing suit? What? I can't wear my fuzzy jammy pants and Old Navy fleece from 2001? Eeeeeeps!

Starting tomorrow, I'm participating in a 4-week challenge organized by Puanani from Home To Home Fitness. The rules are:
  • Post stats on the weekends. Stats needed: shoulders, chest (at nip line), biceps (biggest part of your arms), stomach (at belly button level), butt (across the widest part of your butt), and thighs (where your longest finger tip hits).
  • Leave your finished times/amounts for:
    • Total burpees in one minute (clarify between regular and modified)
    • Total amount of pushups in one minute (clarify between regular and modified)
    • Length of jumping jacks without a break
    • Length of wall squat (keeping your squat parallel). 
  • We're encouraged to take pictures from all angles each week.  
LET'S DO THIS! See ya on myfitnesspal at lupehughes!  You should choose something to try out for this short month! What will it be?

This weather!!! Whaaaaat?!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Goats and Grapes

Why, hello! It has been months since I wrote a post for Lucy is Losing It, but since I've definitely lost it (and not the pounds, mind you), I'll tell you what I've been doing. Now, various post ideas have resided in my head, but we all know what happens to intentions, hell, roads, and whatnot. I crafted drafts involving the harvest season, wishbones, and fruitcakes as extended metaphors, but alas. If you are anticipating an obligatory "Let's get motivated with our resolutions!" early January post, you will need to look on Pinterest or elsewhere!

We put our house on the market in October. Deep cleaning a home with two small children while working full time and forgetting to eat three meals a day got me down to 19.6 pounds! Woohoo! Lots of exercise goes into scrubbing, hauling, dumping, lifting, reaching, scraping, and other various gerunds. Since I let my gym membership run out, the "-ings" kept me the sveltest I've been post-children.

Then The Crazy hit this house.

Everyone got sick. Work got nuttier than a port-o-potty at a peanut festival. Some evening showings kept us away from home at dinner. While we did sell our house in five weeks, I had gained back some pounds. I wanted to be sad that I was so close to a 20-lb. weight loss, but I just didn't have the energy to care!

Why is this post called "Goats and Grapes?" I'm writing while enjoying a glass of wine and eating goat cheese with a knife straight out of the 4-oz. package. I am doing so with gleeful relish and no shame.

To all you people out there on the New Year's resolution bandwagon ready to run yourselves to death, eat clean, and really change your life around, that's great! I support you. To all you people out there checking out Fitspiration boards on Pinterest but chastising yourself for not actually doing anything about it, hey, join me on the couch right now. There's a small bit of goat cheese left, so you had better act fast. I do have plans to blog about meal planning with Aldi purchases on a budget and whatnot, but for now, I'll just try to avoid slicing my tongue while I eat goat cheese off this knife. I'm sure I will be back with really sincere motivational posts, but that time is not now.

In a mere two weeks, the Crazy will begin again as we prepare and move our whole household. Perhaps I could at least make the resolution to explore my new neighborhood on foot, but I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself until I settle into the new house!

This is all I have to say about resolutions at this point:

Post your resolutions below, especially if you've already broken them! Tee hee!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

They Are Losing It: Lacey Horner

Today I feature Lacey Horner, my former roommate, classmate, and very close friend. She's the sister of Megan Horner and great friend of Kat Bukowy (click on their names to read their stories). Lacey's living in Korea and has traveled to all sorts of countries. She shares how she's managed to lose weight and be healthy while traveling and living in very new situations. 

Let's make one thing clear...I have by no means reached my destination. I'm still on the journey, but I'm halfway there at this point. I'm struggling right now, just maintaining at this stage. I'm hoping to break this plateau soon! 
Weight loss and body image have been a problem for me since I was young. I was small as a toddler and young child, but by 2nd grade, I "exploded" while my dad was away on deployment.  I have a rough relationship with food...I'm an emotional eater. My mantra was, "If some is good, more must be better!" Being introduced to athletics by my family helped me a ton when I was teenager, but an early knee injury set the tone for things later on. I would go through cycles of activity and "better" eating, only to get sidelined by the knee throughout various points in my young life. That would just start the cycle over...being 13 years old and not being able to do anything was a blow to the already poor body image that I had. This went on from the time I was 13 until I was 22 years old.  So I would basically be able to participate and not have to worry as much about what I was eating, and then I'd fall off the wagon when I was injured. 

I've had many down moments, but I think one of the things that spurred my weight loss is the fact that I love to travel. However, it would take such a physical toll on me that it became harder to enjoy. Standing and walking for hours a day on student trips just beat me up to the point where I'd have to stay in the hotel at night to rest. I also hate the fact that I was just turning 30 (at the time) and felt like there was so much, physically speaking, that I didn't think I could do anymore. It made me sad and ashamed. 
I started out on the HCG program; it's hardcore, but I did it with my doctor's
Can you guess her costume?? (I love this pic)
supervision. I'm an all-or-nothing person. I've never moderated well before, so I knew it would take drastic action to truly make a difference. The first weekend was hell, as I was basically detoxing my body from all sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, and even good fats. I felt horrible but knew if I stuck with the program, it would be worth it later. Besides, I was paying money to do the program!
My family has always been supportive, but at the beginning, my then-roommate was incredibly encouraging. Sue's actually in her 60's and I find her so inspiring. The way that she's so devoted to her health, activity, and zest for life keeps me accountable. I want to be as fit and active as she is when I'm her age, but that only happens with diligence and discipline. 

Since then, it's been my sister and one of my closest friends.
Lacey and Megan before they lost it (the weight, harhar)
My sister, Megan, had lapband surgery last year and has since lost around 75 lbs. She was a career athlete and is finding her way back to health. We're super competitive, so her success is a challenge to keep me on track. Kat has fought her way back through diet and exercise. If people think I'm disciplined, then they've never met Kat. Her consistency, willpower, and determination far surpass my own! She's visiting me in Korea right now!
Living in Korea has been quite the challenge, looking for the foods that first aided my weight loss. The language barrier makes it difficult for me to find my preferred foods, but I'm finally discovering ways of procuring things that I need. I love quinoa for the protein, Greek yogurt, and stevia. I'm not a big fruit person, so I can skip some of those sugars, but veggies are great and I love to make stir-fries at home. Low-fat/low-sodium broths help keep meats moist if you want to skip oil, and I even resort to just adding extra water as I cook while adding more spices. 

In the States, I used to love going to the gym for Zumba, cycling, or yoga classes. The Korean lifestyle helps immensely, as I walk almost everywhere I need to go save for trips downtown when I take a bus or taxi. This is what separates Americans from other people; the sheer size of our country makes it difficult. I'm getting back into yoga here with the help of some great local instructors. I can't play the sports that I used to play, so I've had to adjust my expectations for now. It's more important to find something, ANYTHING, that you enjoy and can sustain over time. Anything is better than nothing!

I love working out with music. I used to listen to anything that would keep me going on the elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill: club music, Euro trash, hard rock, you name it! My old workout list named "Pump Up the Volume" if that tells you anything : D
Keeping track of your food consumption is important, because that's where so many of us falter. You can work out all day long, but it doesn't matter if you're not honest about what you're putting into your mouth every day. It's not working for me right now, but only because I don't always know what I'm getting in the restaurants. Yes, the language barrier excuse is a lame one, but it's legit! There are times when I only able to order by looking at pictures. 
My time is limited by my crazy work hours, but one of the things that I have realized in this country is that it's not always about what you eat, but rather HOW MUCH you eat. Koreans are so communal about food; it's almost always a shared experience for them. You won't find them eating alone, nor do you find them having separate meals. Koreans normally share meals since so many places serve food in a family-style setting. You can get away with not depriving yourself of your favorite things if you're splitting a single serving with others! That is one thing that helps me here because I don't always eat the best these days. They also recently started putting calories counts on the menus of bigger chain restaurant, arming you with knowledge before making choices. The US needs to get with the program.
I previously bought a one-month pass to a local yoga studio, and plan to do the same now that I'm recovered following a recent surgery. They have classes every day of the week, but my schedule only allows for certain days. It's really just about committing myself to those days and not planning anything else on those evenings. I do my best to get my bag ready the night before or get up early the morning to do so. If I have a bag packed, I'm more likely to go. When I cook at home, I try to make enough to take leftovers to work so I'm not tempted to go out to the local fast food places or convenience store. (That is one of the unfortunate effects of globalization; Koreans have their own versions too).
At home, was so helpful when I was tracking my food intake. You can find nearly everything you can imagine on there, and it also allows you to edit things so you can participate in the process. I also signed up for emails from "Eat this, not that!" It's a helpful guide, suggesting healthier alternatives. is another great website with tips, inspirational stories, etc. to keep you going. 

I don't have any particular quotes that I come back to, but one that pops into my head right now is an old saying in Spanish, "Vale la pena." It translates to, "It's worth the pain." And I know it will be in the end!
Comparing old and recent pics to see where I've lost weight in my face helps me stay motivated. I'm not one of those lucky creatures who has a thin face. If I gain weight, you can see it there immediately, so I look like a vain little tart checking myself out in the mirror all the time. 
Kat and Lacey in the Pacific Northwest, Summer 2010

Lacey and Kat in Korea, July 2013
Mentally being able to say to myself that I can always eat certain foods later helps, if that makes sense. As a kid, it was always, "If I like it, I should eat more of it, and NOW," was my modus operandi. Knowing that I don't have to succumb to instant gratification is a big step for me! 
If you fail today, tomorrow is always your second chance. Beating yourself up constantly will get you nowhere. Intentions are not enough though; lack of action is what got most of us here in the first place.  

Would you like to be featured on my They Are Losing It series? Email me at for more information!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Full of Tastes No Tongue Can Know

My attempt at a green smoothie tonight was a concoction of spinach, banana, kale, baby carrots, coconut almond chia milk, and the mistake:  

Grateful Dead glass here is singing, "Full of tastes no tongue can know..." Right on, Robert Hunter.

Let's pretend that one never happened

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First and TEN!

I didn't think I could do it. I have never stuck with a weight loss goal other than that one time I was in Weight Watchers in college where I lost 11 pounds and of course gained it all back eventually.

But I did! I DID.

I went in today to my FNP for my official weight check and to get my plastic surgeon referral. I had a ballpark figure of what I had lost, but of course, the doctor's scale is always heavier than MY scale...

I lost 10 pounds from June 7-July 10! I reduced my BMI by 2! 

Yes, I have a lot more to go, but this is so exciting. It's more than just a poundage amount-this proves to myself that I can stick with something and see results. For me, dreaming up huge projects is more appealing than actually carrying out those projects, so losing weight was always one of those "giant projects" in my head that would never get carried out in real life.

My friend is coming over tomorrow to take official measurements since I don't have any from June 9 when I started this blog. She doesn't know it yet, but she's going to get to take progress pictures. Hooray for good friends, right? The last pictures I have are from February.

I cut out gluten, started exercising and drinking a ton of water, and eating "clean." I didn't count any calories. I focused on getting a lot of good fats like coconut oil, which I put in just about everything. I definitely had more than five fruits/veggies a day.

To be honest, I don't care if it might just be water weight. I don't care! 10 pounds is 10 pounds is 10 pounds. Envisioning 10-pound dumbbells or a bowling ball is encouraging-that is not on my body any longer. Documenting inches will now be my focus now that I've lost the first 10 pounds. I'm so glad this is becoming a lifestyle rather than just sucking down Diet Cokes and SlimFasts. I now want to hide the scale since I want to focus on getting fit and looking lean rather than just some number on a scale. Inches it is!

I celebrated right after the doctor's appointment by hitting up the Whole Foods hot bar, still avoiding gluten, and checking out the plastic surgeon referrals I got from the office while chewing my delicious bacon veeeeerrryyyy sloooowwwwllly. I read reviews online (one office had terrible reviews!) and chose an office. I dialed. Someone answered...

In less than a minute, I scheduled a consultation! This is really happening!!

What can I do next month?! We have a family beach trip scheduled at the beginning of August, so now I should figure out a goal.

Anyone know of a realistic goal for inches lost in a certain amount of time? Google, here I come!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lead Legs

"Queen of Excuses" should be my official title.

I was feeling sorry for myself today, wallowing in self-pity. After another trifecta of night terrors, a nasty cough in the toddler that won't seem to go away, and being so jacked up on coffee that I felt sick, I told myself I just could not go to the Y to work out at a class that is similar to CrossFit called Functional Fitness. I even had it on my calendar with a reminder set.

I reached out to some internet friends, and they gave me the What For.

Granted, the child care room wouldn't have taken toddler girl anyway. However, shile I was whining in my head about it, I got on my shoes and socks. Multitasking, right? I then added more to the ensemble until I was, um, contained and ready to do something, anything.

I pinned a CrossFit style video to my Get Fit board, and I have watched it twice. Time to try it out!!

I threw a lunch together for the kids, strapped them in their seats, turned on God awful Thomas and Friends sing along show, and got to movin.'

AND I DID IT! I made it all the way through this workout. I did modify mountain climbers and the lunges, but I hung in there and did it!!

My girls laughed and laughed, especially when I would grunt. The toddler yelled out, "I'm so pwoud of you, Mommy!" I would have cried if I could have feel any sentimental emotion. Each noise brought another round of uncontrollable laughter. "Look at Mommy! She's soooo siwwy!!"

The sweet things insisted I let them down to stretch with me. See? A good time was had by all, except I can't walk now with my lead legs.

No excuses!!

The video workout that will whoop your butt:

What are your go-to excuses? Who or what motivates you to suck it up, Buttercup?

Monday, July 8, 2013

How Are You Hungry Yet Again?

What to eat, what to eat?

Lots of people love to cook for their family. They see it as a way to be creative, try new ingredients, perfect certain dishes, experiment with new techniques, and nourish their families with nutrition and love.

To be honest, I dread it.

Sure, there are some great meals where I present a beautiful, rustic meal that nourishes both bodies and souls.

I know my husband is guffawing right now.

For some reason, I am totally baffled that four people need to eat at least three times every day. My two little girls can put away what seems like more food than a high school football team, and that's just for snack. You mean you people need to eat again already?? Can't you just graze off the floor with the smorgasbord of tasty morsels that rival a Las Vegas Buffet?

I can get adventurous in the kitchen, and I would say I do know cooking basics. Mind you, I'm not applying for Master Chef and definitely have less than edible outcomes, but I can keep my family fed. My husband is not picky at all and kindly suggests changes and tweaks to recipes. God love him; he's a great sport to put up with me when it comes to meal planning and cooking. The girls aren't even that picky. The problem I have is twofold: 1. I see it as just another task I have to do where I don't feel I can devote concentrated time to it, where dinner prep always seems like a circus to me, and 2. I never know WHAT to cook despite all these Pinterest boards I have, menus I've found or have access to of healthy foods, cookbooks, etc. I am always cooking something totally different and rarely repeat recipes. If I'm trying to keep everyone fed on time, lose weight, and stick to a budget, those things seem to totally overwhelm me. I just want someone to swoop in and feed my family healthy food without me having to do anything except eat the leftovers.

I've already thought of strategies, some I've implemented and others not yet, to eliminate the fear and anxiety of cooking food. My husband and I would like to take cooking lessons together. I could get the kids involved in food prep, even if it takes 1209320 hours longer. Setting aside some time over the weekend to prepare ingredients would save tons of time. Rock out with the crock pot. Husband grills and I cook quick sides. Extreme coupon for staples like beans, brown rice, etc. Only shop specials each week. I can even just pick a 2-week meal plan from countless of resources I have, like the 2-week gluten-free menu, complete with a shopping list, from this book I perpetually have checked out from the library called Once A Month Cooking: Family Favorites, anything from 100 Days of Real Food, anything from back issues of my Clean Eating magazines, and of course, my ridiculous Mostly Healthy Food Pinterest Board.

But I always freak out! Someone throw me a packet of ketchup for the waaaaaaaaaaamburger!!

Knowing that I'm trying to lose weight and that I can't just feed my family on horseradish mustard and dry barley, I decided to see what exactly was left in the cabinets, freezer, and fridge. I built meals around that and went through some recipes to get a game plan for this week.

I spent $85 this week on food items, but I had those pantry/fridge ingredients. Here's what is on the menu for this week (and beyond, honestly) with mostly vegetarian recipes to try to fit in the budget. I linked recipes for what I could find online, and the rest are scribbled on pieces of paper I found while cleaning out an end table this weekend.

Main Meals:

Food I have available to me not already designated for a recipe: Greek yogurt, blueberries, celery, hummus, cucumber, tuna, string cheese, baby carrots, green peppers, almonds, tuna, green grapes, spinach, bananas, kale, walnuts, cashews, raisins, Applegate Farms organic turkey, half a bag of frozen cauliflower, almond/chia/coconut milk. 

Instead of counting calories, right now I'm just doing a clean eating, gluten-free thing. I feel like I'm just getting used to no gluten; I still have temptations and cravings, but the effects most likely would be disastrous! 

NO excuses for take out, last-minute questions of what to eat and is it healthy and affordable, freaking out about having to cook it, and hopefully not feeling overwhelmed. 

What are your go-to meals that do not involve processed foods? No condensed soups, anything with high fructose corn syrups, artificial flavors, etc. please :-) How do you view cooking foods for yourself or your family-do you like it or loathe it? Do you have a meal plan down pat, or do you just go willy nilly down the aisles like Supermarket Sweep? I'd love to hear from you!