Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lack of Activity but Excellent Nutrition

No workout last night. Oy. This newly sedentary life is driving me batty. Anyway. Went outside this morning for my morning coffee and it was freaking 32 degrees! My coffee went cold in like 5 minutes! Crazy! Since when is Scottsdale this cold? I was all bundled up in my chair and Joey's dog (Winchester, a 6 month old brindle pit mix) jumped up in my lap to cuddle... my dog, Nakki (a 4 year old brindle boxer who's 70 lbs) was jealous; she can't figure out how to get up into my lap, LOL! She kept head-butting my chair. Funny!

My food's been averaging just right... around 1300/1400 calories each day.(View my daily food on my cooler page: http://billandchelle.com/fitness/todays_cooler.html).  I'm not getting in 6 meals, usually 5, but that's just fine. As long as my body is getting the fuel it needs, when it needs it, everything is good.  I'd really like to try yoga, but I just can't bear the weight on my right leg. Frustrating.

On a high note... it's Christmas Music Time!!! :-)  Yes, I am that person. The one who LOVES Christmas music :-) I've got (as of right now) 921 holiday songs in my iPod... that's 2.2 days worth of non-stop, no repeating Christmas music :-)  What's your favorite album?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving & Food Prep for the Week

How was your turkey day? :-)  Ours was fun. My turkey turned out picture-perfect, the pie was awesome, and the stuffing was incredible. Yay! I've posted the recipes, and also my own recipe for leftover turkey burroladas (super high in protein, and very yummy!). After all the bread I ate this week, I needed the protein boost, lol!

We picked up our Christmas tree yesterday, and the kids & Bill decorated it (and the house). Joey came by for dinner, and it was so nice to have the family all just hang out :-)

Still next to no activity because of the knee. It's degrading fast. You know how you pop the top on a can of paint? Get the screwdriver wedged under the lid and pop? Feels like someone's got an ice pick in my knee trying to pop off my kneecap. All the time. It's inflamed (again), and is sensitive to touch (even just the material of my pants). Gawd, I'm ready to get this fixed. We're scrambling to get our financial ducks in a row, so I can have surgery Dec. 16th. It's hard to justify the out of pocket expense during this season, but if I do it then, I don't have to take off any work. The next New York payment  is due next week for Shiloh's theatre trip, my youngest has a birthday in 2 weeks, then we've got christmas, as well. I'm really struggling with feeling selfish. Hopefully the next few days will give us a clearer picture of the situation, and I can make the final decision.

Anyway... food prep for the week is complete. I made my usual chicken breasts, and sliced up a bunch for sandwich meat for Bill & the kids, browned the beef for taco salad, crockpot'd a beef stew and a batch of beets, then chopped all my veggies for the steamer bags. I cheated on the grains, and bought the Seeds Of Change bags to just nuke as needed. Fruit this week is blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, grapefruit, bananas, strawberries (though I doubt I'll get any of those, the kids gobble 'em up!), and red seedless grapes. Veggies: broccoli, yellow squash, snow peas & tomatoes, asparagus; salad greens: shredded cabbage, spinach, kale, salad bags. Additionals are lots of greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard boiled eggs, plus Newman's Own Organic Pretzel sticks for the family.

A funny thing happened this weekend. I was at a party, and someone mentioned to someone else how I'd lost a bunch of weight and kept it off. The person got all excited and chased me down to ask how I'd done it. I said, "I changed the way I eat and added exercise."  "Oh," she said, clearly disappointed, "I was hoping it was some miracle pill or something." And she walked away.  She walked away. Sad. Then just a few minutes later, I had a conversation with a really neat gal who'd lost 100 pounds! Wow! All through nutrition. Very cool, and fun to chat with someone who understands just how powerful our relationship with food is.

Anyway, Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Preparation

I've got the turkey brining, have to remember tonight to flip it around, then tomorrow it goes in the oven :-) Have you ever brined a turkey? It's pretty cool, and the result is incredibly tasty. Very moist and flavorful (yeah, turkey! flavorful!). The first time I tried it a few years back, I was afraid it would lead to a very salty tasting turkey, high sodium and all that, but it's actually very low... very, very low! Nice! Plus I get the turkey that has no sodium added, so the whole deal is awesomely low-sodium but full of herby flavor :-) Me likey.

I'll be out of the office shortly and heading out for last minute groceries (how'd I forget the rosemary??), then back home to prep for tomorrow. In a surprise turn of events, I will have all my kiddos for the holiday (and won't be driving to Coachella and back). It's nice to have all my kids in one place.

Anyone planning to go see a movie this weekend? I'm hoping (hoping hoping hoping) to go see Burlesque. Woohoo! Can't wait! I just downloaded the soundtrack (which is awesome), but am so excited to see the film! I had so much fun doing last year's burlesque class (and performance!), and look forward to seeing Cher & Christina Aguilera on screen. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Solving the Dilemma of Holiday Eating

Let's talk about Holiday Eating. There are a ton of differing philosophies about holiday food, ranging from eating everything in sight simply because it's that time of year, to obsessing over every morsel in an effort to maintain a "clean" diet. I'm not going to dismiss either perspective, as everyone has the right to make their own decisions regarding food. What I am going to do is share with you my own philosophy.  It's easy. One word.

[No throwing eggs or rotten produce]

Yep, that's it! Very simple. For me, it's about doing what I can to provide healthy whole foods (or at least options), then simply enjoying. If I (and I have) spend major time obsessing about the menu, and cleaning up or replacing traditional items, I miss out on the joy of the holiday itself. I started to fall into it this year, but thankfully caught myself.

Can I clean up the traditional green bean casserole? Sure. Do I really want to experiment with a family favorite on the one day a year we serve it? Probably not. Could I play with the recipe during the year and try to find a way to make a healthy tasty version that I can serve for the next holiday? Yep, and I'll try to do that. Next year. It's not a deal breaker for me.

How about the mashed potatoes? Aren't we (clean eaters) supposed to eat sweet potatoes instead? Whatever. Regular potatoes are a treasure-trove of potassium and other good-for-you things. Nothing wrong with them. Yes, they're higher glycemic than sweet potatoes. Doesn't mean they're bad. Ohhhhh, but they're made with butter! That can't be good! Wrong! :-) Butter is just fine. It's a medium chain fatty acid... a good sat-fat (in moderation). And to me, it's better than the chemical soup called margarine or whatever. So am I going to enjoy, guilt free, mashed potatoes with butter? Yep. IN MODERATION. Could even have a spoonful of the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! <gasp!> [though, I gotta be honest, I really don't care for it myself.]

What's the plan for stuffing? Ahhh, wanna see the recipe I'm making? Look Here. Looks tasty, right?  Just a regular recipe from a regular site. The only questionable ingredient is the corn bread croutons. It's one day, one meal out of one day. It's not going to kill me. [hey! I said no rotten produce throwing!]

Maybe next year, I'll have time to bake my own cornbread and make my own croutons out of it for the stuffing. Maybe. Not holding my breath.

Dessert you ask.... are you sure you want to know? :-) Along with the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, I'm making this little gem. Oh yeah. <drool!>

Again... One day. One meal out of one day. It will not undo my life.

It's all about balance. So let me break it down... my meal will consist of Cider Brined Turkey (ironically, it's totally clean, btw), a small serving of green bean casserole, a serving of mashed potatoes w/butter, stuffing, probably green salad, and dessert (maybe half a piece of pumpkin and half of the apple). Oh, and wine. Copious amounts of red wine.

Does this make me a hypocrite? No. What does it make me? Normal, well, as normal as I can be anyway. It's one day, once a year. Christmas is easier for me to do "clean" as I host it, and with the exception of our traditional breakfast (again, one breakfast like that per year), all the foods are whole and clean. Though again, Christmas, too, is once a year. I eat clean all year long. I'm not going to regain 71 lbs because I enjoy (in moderation) an "unclean" Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas breakfast, or any other holiday treats (again, in moderation).

What about those other holiday treats? Aren't they off-limits? Why? Why would they be? Should you inhale a dozen cupcakes at the office party? Duh. But if you know they'll be there, and you want one, plan accordingly. That's your treat. Would you rather have a glass of wine? Drink that instead of eating the cupcake. It's about making healthy (or healthier) choices. Really, this time of year is no different than any other. Whether it's a holiday party or a neighborhood bbq, we have to make wise decisions about food and exercise.

Which leads me to my next point... keep packing that cooler! Yes, this season generally makes us busier, often catching us ill-prepared food-wise... grab control by keeping your cooler packed with healthy foods & snacks. Hitting the mall? Toss some trail mix, a protein bar (or shake), string cheese, hard boiled eggs, a wrap... whatever, into your cooler and take it with. Planning lunch with the girls? Fine, then eat clean the rest of the day and get your workout in beforehand if you can. See? Easy :-)

The most important part of food during the holidays is simply being mindful. KNOW how much you're eating, and if you can, what's in it. Just be aware, and make good choices when applicable. Don't gobble down several snickerdoodles, eggnog, and whatnot every time you turn around, then act surprised in January when you've put on weight (I've been there, done that). 
Be mindful. Be smart. Plan ahead. Enjoy your treats.

That's it. Do you hate me? I hope not. :-) But I do hope that each of us takes the time this holiday season to remember what's really important and focus on those things.  I've done the holidays in the past, where I've obsessed over every single dish, each ingredient, counted calories and freaked. It wasn't worth it.

This year I'm taking a holiday.

I Love Salad

9am... Went to class last night (full body conditioning). Did a lot of modifying, lol. Turns out that squats (properly executed) are no problem for me, however, add in plie position and it's a quick no-go. I could actually feel the kneecap scraping over the bone. And no, it doesn't feel good. I'm struggling with continuing to maintain/build quad muscle, not lose any other muscle, but not do further damage or exacerbate the damage already there. I had wanted to do yoga this morning, but based on how my knee is feeling, decided that would be unwise. I'm going to try for Thursday's class, though. We'll see.

Food... I'm maintaining between 1200-1400 kcal/day. Obviously my activity burn is nowhere near what I like, but it is what it is. Followed up class with a lean grilled steak, steamed cauliflower & broccoli and huge salad. I'm loving my new easy dressing... 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce mixed with 2 tbsp greek yogurt. Spicy! :-) Salad's are fun for me because they can be enormous without putting a big dent in my calorie intake, and a little dressing can go a VERY long way. My current greens mix is 1 cup shredded green cabbage with 1/2 cup shredded dino kale and 1/2 cup shredded baby spinach. Toss in some cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tbsp of reduced fat feta and my spicy dressing and I'm in heaven :-) I'm using diced chicken breast, but lean steak would be excellent in that mix, too, as would shrimp or crab. Additionally, more veggies can be packed in there... red pepper, green pepper, onion, cucumber, radish, whatever! I love salad :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food Prep and New Recipes

Where'd the morning go?? Yikes! Quick weekend update... knee=blah. Gotta get all this administrative stuff done so I can fix it! (in other words, I'm waiting on insurance/billing/scheduling people.) 

Food... finances took an unexpected turn this last week, resulting in moments of panic and white knuckles. Grocery shopping was done on a severely strict budget this week, and had to include buying my T-day turkey (freakin $36 just for the bird! crazy! the rest of my supplies can wait a few days). I managed to get it done and my food prep was completed. It really helps that this is a short week. Didn't buy the usual lunchmeat at Whole Foods (couldn't justify the cost this week) so I cooked extra chicken breast, then thin-sliced for sandwiches. Produce is relatively inexpensive (seasonal), and filled the bulk of my cart. My grain this week is curried quinoa... an experiment that turned out well (3 1/2 tbsp thai curry seasoning with 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups broth, then add baby corn & black beans after cooking the quinoa). Food this week is simple, but whole & healthy.

There's a possibility I'll be driving to CA and back this Wednesday night (and again on Sunday). If that's the case, Turkey day shopping will be very interesting. May have to send Shiloh, while I'm out of town. Oy. Scary. She's threatening to fill my pantry with Nutella and "normal" peanut butter. Teenagers.

Thanksgiving dinner will be at my place. Low-key this year. Menu is traditional, including Turkey (brined - which btw results in a very low-sodium bird!), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, etc.

Weekend recipes tried... I gave a run at a cookie recipe from the Kitchen Table forum, big mistake. blek. Then I tried a recipe, also from there, for Pumpkin muffins that were INCREDIBLE. I'm thinking (if time allows) that they'll be perfect for T-day breakfast. I'll probably sub some flour for protein powder, just to boost 'em up. The recipe is here
Tonight I've got Tab's Fully Body Conditioning class after work. Can't wait to get in some exercise! :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Knee Info & Breakdown of my Calories per day

Doing research on my upcoming surgery. Note to self: do NOT click images when researching surgery. DON'T DO IT!!!!  Yeesh.

So once I got over the nausea of the online images, I did find this kinda cool diagram of the knee. You can see on the left of the photo, the Lateral retinaculum... that's what I'm getting snipped. It's on the outside of the knee (on my right leg, it's the outside right). Anyway, I just thought that was interesting :-)

diagram of knee - lateral retinaculum, iliotibial band, quad, patella

I wanted to address a question I got yesterday about my daily calories. I'm currently ranging from 1200 to 1400 cal/day, and that's low. The reason it's so low is because my activity level is low. Due to my knee injury, I've had to adjust my caloric intake to balance with my caloric output... hence the low calories. Important note though, I don't want to go below 1200 cal/day. That's just too low (for any woman), and doesn't give my body what it needs to function, build, and repair.

So, to break it down, these are my caloric intake ranges alongside the activity level that work for my body...

Current: Very low activity level = intake is 1200 - 1400 cal/day.
When I'm pushing hard, lifting 3-4 x/week with 3-5 cardio sessions plus 2 yoga, my caloric intake was between 1800-2000/day.
My normal activity is lifting 2-3x/week, 2 yoga, 3 cardio... for this I generally range from 1400-1600 cal/day, sometimes higher, all depends on my exercise intensity and of course, listening to my body.

I realized that my cooler page is missing a key factor - my exercise data. That's now changed, as I see that it's a bit confusing to see my calories fluctuate without having the backstory. I've started matching up or noting my exercise along with my cooler plan for each day, and will continue to do so. Hopefully that will help alleviate any confusion, but as always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or whatever :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Knee Surgery is the Next Step

Knee update. Had my doctor appt yesterday. Long story short, I've exhausted the options and next step is surgery. The left knee is "fine", meaning there is intermittent pain and sensitivity but that's normal for my condition, and cannot be fixed. The right knee has degraded considerably. 

He wants to go in and do:
Knee arthroscopy with chondral debridement patellofemoral joint and lateral retinacular release.
In english, lol, he's going to scope it, scoop it, smooth it, and snip it. There's a band on the right side of the kneecap that is way too tight and has pulled the cap over, up, and off. Snipping it will loosen it so that it "let's go" of the death-grip it has on my kneecap, allowing it to return to center and properly track. It will clean out the crap floating around, and reduce further shearing, hopefully reducing pain and inflammation. It will not stop or reverse the damage done by the arthritis, but it will slow down further damage.  It'll take me 3-5 days to get back "on my feet", then recovery. He said it could take up a full year to regain the activity level I'm currently at. Yeah, that didn't over well. But... without intervention, this will only get worse. Much worse, and quickly.  With this surgery, he can potentially buy me 5-10 years before knee replacement is necessary.

While I still have to complete my due-diligence, I'm looking at doing this over the Christmas break, so I don't miss any further work. [Have I mentioned that I have the world's greatest boss? He's been super understanding and flexible with my schedule, allowing my physical therapy and doctor appts. I deeply appreciate it.]

So. That's the news. And yes, I'm freaking out. Wigging, actually. Half of me is so very afraid... will I truly recover? Will I ever regain my activity level? What if I can't ever "work" my legs again? The other half of me has both feet planted firmly in the Land of Denial. C'mon, really, it's not that bad, right? I can live with the pain.  I can push through the pain. I don't really need surgery.

Yes, there are times I put the "i" in idiot.

Know what my trusty best friend said? "I know it sucks. But this too will be dealt with and you will once again emerge from the ashes as a Phoenix of fitness."  I had to actually write that down so I could keep it close, to remember that someone believes in me, and in my ability, my power, to overcome, to achieve, to evolve and become.  Seriously, how lucky am I?  While I'm wallowing in self-pity, she's ready to do the head-smack and get me focused again. But she also lets me wallow for a bit first :-)  She also said: "it's the scare that makes the challenge worth overcoming."  She always knows just the right buttons to push with me :-)

Not saying I'm done wallowing, because hey, I'm pretty freaking scared, but I am also determined. I needed to be reminded of that. I will overcome. I will plan, and I will stick to the plan. I will not allow this injury to derail me. My nutrition is 100% in my control, and I will exercise that control. My fitness is spotty, still there are things I can and will continue to do. But... I will listen more closely to my body, rather than "push through the pain". I will respect my body and heed its warnings. And I will come out the other side of this. Intact. Whole. Me. This injury does not change who I am. But the process can make me better.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Doctor Appointment Today - Time for Answers About My Knee

Where has the day gone? Utter swampage! I'm dashing to the break-room to heat up lunch, hoping I have time to actually eat it before I get buried again, lol. I did my full body class last night, though for me it was only upper body <sigh>. I'm so ready to get some answers on this knee thing! Appointment is today, so that's part of why I've been so busy this morning, trying to get everything done before I leave. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend was BUSY! Along with everything else, my Sunday Food Prep was completed, and this week's proteins include crockpot-shredded chicken, grilled beef (london broil), and ground beef (lean). Veggies: spaghetti squash, snow peas, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, zucchini & yellow squash. Fruits: watermelon, apples, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (though those disappeared with my middle-child shortly after my arrival home, lol). Grains: A batch of brown rice mixed with tomatoes, black beans and Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle provided last night's carb, along with some fab leftovers. Dinner last night also included steamed zucchini/yellow squash, and terrific oven baked chicken doused in chopped green chilies. Yum! I also got my bread baked, and tried out a recipe for 100 calorie cupcakes. I'll get that posted asap, because the cupcakes were awesome! Frosting was "meh", but the cupcakes were very good.

Food today is all on track, though I'll have to skip my second snack (it'll actually be my dinner). I've got physical therapy followed by Tab's full-body-conditioning class. I've also got my knee doctor appt tomorrow.

I'm wigging out a bit over the lack of activity. I have my class tonight after therapy, but that will probably just be upper body for me :-(   I'd really love to do yoga in the morning, but will see how it goes at therapy. I have to keep fighting myself to NOT drop my calories. I floated dangerously low last week, so this week have to make a concerted effort to stay above 1200, and closer to 1400/day. The answer to inactivity is not to starve myself. Yeesh.  You'd think I wouldn't struggle with that mindset after all this time, but there it is. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Physical Therapy, Dangerous Soy, and FreegalMusic.com

I'm getting annoyed at myself, feel like I'm whining, but here's the update on my knee: Physical therapy yesterday. The left knee is doing great and I'm down to my usual discomfort with that (arthritis, and a worn out patella). The right knee, however, has gotten significantly worse. I can barely tolerate having the kneecap touched. And I didn't even get off the table yesterday (stretching, zapper, weighted leg lifts & side lifts, heel lifts). After the zapper, my therapist re-taped my knee in a different way, then applied 4 electrodes around the knee, turned on the machine and covered it (knee) with ice for 15 minutes. He said it's for pain management, and it sends constant electric pulses. It's different from the zapper in that it's not meant to stimulate muscle contraction, but to "numb" the nerves. If you're curious, that is called TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), while the muscle zapper is NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation).

I'm not supposed to go back to my doctor until the 19th, but Tad (therapist) wants me to move that up. He's calling my doc to update, and he wants an MRI done. Thinks there might be something floating around in there that's causing all this.

Further, I'm grounded. No activity. No yoga. No body conditioning class. This sucks. I'm assuming I can still do upper body, but that has no effect on the ass that is currently heading south for the winter. I go back to see Tad tomorrow morning, and I'll get some clearer directives on exercise then go from there. I have a feeling that some creative lower body routine is going to have to be figured out.

Moving on... I read a fascinating article about soy products in the current (Nov/Dec 2010) issue of OnFitness Magazine. It addresses the difference between the soy we ingest here in North America and the soy consumed in Asia. Here's an excerpt:
"Soybeans are typically run through a hexane 'bath' in the manufacturing process. Hexane is a gasoline refining byproduct that has been linked to nervous system disorders and skin problems. The following name brands, says the Cornucopia Institute, use hexane: Garden Burger, Soy Boy, Boca Burger, Amy's Kitchen, Morningstar Farms, Yves Veggie Cuisine, and many others.
Buyer beware: Products labeled 'organic' aren't allowed to contain any hexane-derived ingredients, but that rule doesn't apply to foods that are labeled 'made with organic ingredients'.
And then there are the nitrosamines, hardcore carcinogens which crop up in high concentrations in virtually every commercial soy protein food. In short, unfermented/processed soy comes with a lot of baggage.
Unless specifically stated as being made from fermented soy, which is extremely rare, soy foods are made from unfermented soy. These include soy milks (Silk, Soy Dream and Nature's Soy), infant formulas like Earth's Best, and even products that are associated with a back-to-nature, ultra-healthy quality, such as Ezekiel breads."
excerpt from pg 37, paragraph 7

How disturbing is that? You can read the full article here, I scanned and PDF'd it since it's not available online. There's also some very thought provoking data about soy and inflammatory bowel disorders, food allergies, and even asthma. If you have the time, it's well worth the read.

Changing gears again, I also discovered a wonderful online gem through my local library. It's called FreegalMusic.com and it's cool! With my library membership, I can download 3 songs each week for free! I picked up two tunes by Joe Satriani, and one by Broken Bells.  :-)  I love free music! The song by Broken Bells (The High Road) makes a great cool-down song, by the way. Check it out and see if your library is part of this service.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Plastic Surgery is Like Auto Repair

Multi-tasking. Need clones. Would settle for minions. Or a computer that doesn't have a wonky USB port that shorts out my monitor, randomly forcing me to hard-boot, thereby losing all my unsaved work. And isn't there always unsaved work? Grrrraaawwwrrr!

Turning my back on the technology currently plaguing me (though you can be sure I'm still watching... and waiting), my knee is good today (knock on wood). So far no unusual pain. Therapy this afternoon. We'll see.

I have added a recipe for Creamy Tarragon Chicken. Quite tasty :-)

So... I had a brainstorm this morning about the plastic surgery I want. You see, [ummm, anyone sensitive to TMI, this is a good time to check out the new recipe] I was done with my shower, had grabbed my towel and was wrapping up my hair, which of course means I was halfway upside down, and I got a good look at my girls. Or should I say quail-eggs in stockings? Yeah, I do believe they've shrunk and misshaped even more (hadn't realized that was possible - live, learn). I actually paused, kinda stunned, and just went "huh". But that wasn't my brainstorm. Here's my brainstorm... it's like auto-repair. Seriously! Check this out...
So you've got a car you love. You take care of it. Regular maintenance, cleaning, fueling. Maybe it's got some wear and tear, but it's a good car, so you do everything you can to keep that baby in tip-top shape. Then you come out one morning and some idiot has sideswiped your car during the night. Your fender is all bent, and your door smashed in, your tailpipe dragging on the ground. What do you do? You take it in for repair work, right? See where I'm going with this?  :-)

Lol, yes, I know surgery isn't the right choice for everyone; but it is for me. I'm hoping 2011 will be my year for some serious auto repair :-)

Okay, TMI time over. At least for now. Mwahahahaha!
lol! :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Step Backward

Tab is at her awards luncheon :-) I can't wait to hear all about it!

My physical therapy yesterday left me in tears. I was "fine" throughout, and had one last exercise, then foam rolling my IT band, then stretching. I finished up on the leg press (doubles and singles)... no pain, no problem. Got off and started over to the other side of the room to foam roll, and whamo! I was hurting so bad! Couldn't believe it! It was fine on the press, but as soon as I began to walk it screamed. With my great depth of scientific know-how, I deduced that something about the leg press aggravated my knee. (I is smart, ha ha).

I did the foam roller (ouch) then moved on to final stretching (ahhhh). I ended up leaving with a gargantuan ice pack saran-wrapped to my knee. :-(  We're pulling the leg press out of my routine, and will see how it goes on Wed.

I drove home to pick up Bethany then on to Tab's full body conditioning class. I removed the ice, strapped on my braces, and did what I could through the class. I got a great workout, and made sure to not cause pain in my knee. Got home and iced some more. For me, class was heavy on upper body, with some stiff-legged dead-lifts, and abs. Dinner was my clean taco salad (see recipe page), both to refuel and to store up for the coming yoga class in the morning.
This morning it was stiff (they both were, normal), and relatively pain free. I did yoga and discovered I couldn't put my kneecap on the ground. Can you say modify? :-/  Though I tried (really, really hard) to go easy and be hyper-aware, by the time class was done, I was limping and inflamed. Damnit. More ice.

I will conquer this. I will (or rather my physical therapy team will, lol) figure out the triggers. I told Bill last night that I don't know whether to curl up in a ball and cry or punch something. I'm leaning toward punching :-) Though torturing Bethany through class last night did make me feel a bit better :-) Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!  [no, I'm really not that mean, but she did get a great workout and is sore today, lol]. 

My son is coming by soon to pick up my car and take it for an oil change (isn't he awesome???). I'm not real good about keeping up with that sort of thing, which is probably why I've got 10,000 miles on it and this will be the first oil change.   :-/  Food prep - that I've got down... basic car maintenance - not so much. Lol!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Eulogy, An Ode, and Fashion Week in Scottsdale

What a weekend! Hope yours was fantastic! Mine was a blast!! Friday, Tab and I hooked up at Fashion Square. We did the girl day, starting with Lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Singed the tastebuds off my tongue on their incredible tomato soup, lol. From there, we hit Godiva (of course), then on to our mission. We had a specific outfit for Tab to search for. And search we did. Limited turned out to be our big hit, finding not only great separates for Tab, but also The Perfect Pair of Pants!

Now, I must pause for a moment, to eulogize an old, devoted friend... The Perfect Pair of Jeans.
We met more than two years ago, on a shopping excursion with Tabitha. We each loaded up with several pair of jeans and encamped in the dressing rooms. Pair after pair we tried and discarded, frustration becoming palpable. And then... dual audible gasps...  "Look!" we cried simultaneously, and we both flew out our dressing room doors. It was love at first fit. The just-right amount of stretch, the complete rear-end support and definition... from form to function, color to style, these were The Ones. Tabitha and I each took a pair home, reveling in our shopping coup.  Over the years, The Perfect Pair of Jeans never let me down. Whether I was up 5 lbs, or down, they fit... perfectly... always. They were a lovely shade of medium blue, and were ideal for any outfit. Together we tromped through grocery stores, perused farmer's markets, stalked malls. We enjoyed backyard bbq's, and neighborhood bars. We did everything together, The Perfect Pair and I. Time has leached their color, leaving them sadly pale. Wear has worn their seams, sapping their strength. Still I wore them. Until Friday. With great depth of grief, I must lay them to rest. The Perfect Pair of Jeans, you had a full life, you gave me great joy (and a great rear-view). I will miss you. You will not be forgotten.

But you have been replaced.

An Ode to the Perfect Pair of Pants... Perfect pants, how I love thee.
Your embrace lifts my derrière,
and conceals my thighs.
Your length does not make me a midget look
Nor prepared
to wade through a crick.
Your cut, your color,
your stretchy pin-stripes,
You are perfection
at a reasonable price.
You are my favorite,
my most comfortable pair.
I adore you, I honor you,
please, never tear!
O Blessed,
O Perfect Pair of Pants.

So yes, as you have read, I did find the perfect pair of pants... though not jeans, they are (finally) an addition to my work wardrobe. Yay! And yes, Tabitha and I both bought a pair... then so did Erin! LOL! Great minds :-) 

So... the next day, we had a minor fashion crisis, and made a mad dash to Paradise Valley Mall, where we almost immediately solved said crisis, but, had to call back over to the Fashion Square store to ensure stock. We jumped in our cars and drove straight there [insert funny cartoon music here], then went directly to the appropriate department, where our item was waiting for us... as if it knew we were coming to take it home. Awwww.  :-) Having finished our task, and now having time on our hands, we decided to check out the goings-on in the mall. Did I mention that this was Fashion Week here? :-) You just wouldn't believe the things we saw! People are odd. I'm tellin ya, people are really, really odd.

As we browsed in one store, Jen Lancaster decided to communicate with me, brain to brain. Her sarcastabitch fashionista pointed out the woman browsing coats... She was nicely put together, had accessorized in a simple yet lovely manner, but... her skirt... it had a back slit, but she had neglected, upon purchase, to snip the tack holding it closed. Argh, Jen Lancaster! Get out of my head, You're MEAN! Suddenly I felt like I should also kick a puppy!

Next we headed out into Fashion Week, where fashion-snark could freely flow. And it did. My inner-Jen had free reign as we diss'd models, outfits, passers-by, and one very memorable woman who I think was channeling her inner-Betsey Johnson. At least I hope so. Because if not, I am simply stumped. And a little awed.

Anyway... flying on sugar (did I mention Tabitha twisted my arm and marched me at gunpoint into the Sweet Factory? Cuz she did. Then she force fed me gummy bears and sour slices. Really!! Why don't you believe me? Geeze!), we sat and watched the fashion show for Michael Stars... I really think one of the models had dreams of murder for whoever put her in that outfit. If not, she should. Tab and I freely critiqued the models' walks, styles, and overall existence... though we refrained from throwing gummy bears. Barely. :-)

At one point Tab leaned over and asked, "Does this mean we're the white-trash-fashion critics?" 
"No," I answered.
"Why not?" 
"Because I gave up that title when I moved out of the single-wide that had a bathtub with a transmission in it in my front yard." [true story. 100% truth.]
"Huh. Good point."
Ah, Fashion Week. Can't wait till next year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Physical Therapy - Blah

Just home from physical therapy. Bah humbug. Had to take a step back and sideways. My knees are irritated and inflamed. Me and the ice-pack are real close these days. Blah. I'm re-taped, iced, and hoping for improvement. We ditched a couple exercises, modified a couple more, and added the foam roller for my IT band. No fun on that one! But if it does the job, I'll tolerate the pain and discomfort. But nobody said I had to enjoy it, lol.

On the WOOHOO side of things, I get some Lucy & Ethel time today! Tab and I are meeting up at the mall this afternoon and I can't wait! :-) 
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Emu Oil, Physical Therapy, and Other Odds & Ends

I just ordered a new bottle of Emu Oil, and found they're running a contest for a $100 shopping spree at Uniquely Emu on Facebook. If you'd like to enter, here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/UniquelyEmu?v=app_48008362724

I fully encourage you to try their emu oil. There's a ton of research on the benefits of emu oil, and it makes for a fascinating read. I've been using it for 10 years and love it. Yes, it's expensive. Absolutely, it is worth every penny. Around our house, we use it in our body scrub, body lotions, first aid lotions & sprays, as well as straight from the bottle on cuts, burns, etc. It accelerates the growth of new skin/tissue; it's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory; it's moisturizing; it's awesome!

I've tried a lot of brands over the years, and the product from Uniquely Emu is by far the best. If it's a product you'd be interested in, I hope you'll check them out.

Ok. I have some incredibly exciting news to share :-) Last night Tab was informed that she has been selected by the co-heads of the Kinesiology Dept at ASU to be one of three kinesiology students (out of the 1500 students in the department) to be guests of the Dean of The College of Nursing and Health Innovation (ASU) attending a special awards luncheon next Tuesday honoring some people who have been influential in the health industry. One of three, out of 1500!!! Guest of the Dean! What an awesome honor for Tab! I'm so excited and proud! :-) How cool is that?? Wooohooo Tabitha!!  (as an aside, last week one of the professors told her that the paper she (Tab) wrote last year on coaching/team dynamics is now being used as a "This is how you do it" tool to show students how they should write & prepare their papers! Go, Tab!).
Congratulations, Tabitha!!!!!!    :-)

Happy Birthday, Bill's Mom!!!!! :-)

Physical therapy went well. They're turning up the intensity on me. By the time my 10 min on the zapper was done, I couldn't feel my right quad, lol. I did the usual pre-work stretching, then straight leg lifts (a bitch on the right knee), side lifts, bent knee lifts, band-walks (see pic to the right), then they added a variation of wall squats, and despite my threats to throw the exercise ball at them, they did not back down. Also did a weird hip/wall thing, which when one side was complete, I turned to switch sides, and discovered that it left me imbalanced. You remember that game as a kid where you spun in circles... spin, spin, spin, then walk? Imagine that, only with one leg. I'm telling you it was weird! Like I had one dead leg! Lol! I just tipped right over like a drunken sailor! After that was one leg balances, then leg press (double and single), then the stretching.

The tape is doing it's job (and as long as I'm taped, I don't wear the braces, YES!). I'm still getting used to the way it holds. I'm afraid to bend because I don't want to pull it off, but it does become more flexible the longer I wear it. It was fine in yoga this morning (no pain!) though stiff.

A funny thing has happened... Before I ended up with this double knee thing, I was hitting the gym hard. 7 sessions in 5 days each week. I was trying so hard to lean out, but just wasn't seeing it happen, then the knees went. Back and forth I've gone, with my activity level, finally just sucking it up and doing what I should, not necessarily what I can (because what I can is what gets me injured). I took time off. I kept my food clean. I eased back into activity, and I'm keeping it light (for me). Mondays are full body conditioning class, Tues/Thurs yoga, Mon/Wed/Fri are my physical therapy sessions. I'm not doing cardio or additional weights. I'm not doing zumba. And I'm certainly not doing twice-a-day's. I have cut my calories, but not drastically... I'm at around 1500/day (because I'm still lightly active, and my body needs the extra calories to facilitate healing). In the back of my mind is this voice telling me I'm not doing enough, it's too light, I'll gain weight. Then that funny thing... I'm leaning out. I have more definition in my abs, my poochy belly is more a deflated balloon, my arms (specifically the back) are thinner and more defined. ????!!!!!

Maybe this is my body's way of telling me to chill. I work at it so hard, but clearly one of the things I need to learn is to work at not working at it so hard. My all-or-nothing mentality keeps landing me on the injured list, so clearly there's a balance I've been missing. Time to find it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dad Was Right - Duct Tape CAN Fix Anything

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!! Wooohoo!

I have to say, I am loving this knee tape business! The only drawback (other than the adhesive) is that I feel hyper-aware of the tape and fear it coming off (sweat, shower, movement/bending); though it appears to be quite strong. It has shifted about 1/2 inch on the right and 1/4 inch on the left, due, I'm sure, to movement pulling it. But overall, I feel stable and pain-free. I've still got the tinglies in the tendon, but this is miracle-sized improvement! Proof Dad was right... Duct tape CAN fix everything! :-)

My food is all good. I'm not hitting my ratios (goal is 33/33/33 split of protein/carb/fat), but everything I'm getting is whole and healthy. Yesterday I hit around 1500 cal, but my carbs were higher than protein. Today so far, I'm waaaay low on fat, but I'll add an avocado to my dinner and be fine (probably going to steam some green beans and toss them & a chicken breast in my cooler, plus the avocado). If I hit all my meals, before dinner I'll be at 1300 cal, so that's right on track. My fiber count is right around 30 g, and I'm getting a minimum of 128g protein/day, so even though my ratios are off, it's all good. It's bowling night, so I'll dash home after phys. therapy and repack my cooler then on to the bowling alley.
You can view my cooler contents & daily nutrition info here: http://billandchelle.com/fitness/todays_cooler.html

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Glory of Sports Tape

Yesterday was my third physical therapy session, followed by a full-body conditioning class (taught by Tab). My quads are screamin' today! Lol. A great thing that happened is one of my therapists tried something new... I'm out of the braces, and one knee is taped... I walked around last night PAIN FREE! I did yoga this morning PAIN FREE! I'm sitting at my desk, PAIN FREE! Wooohoo! The tape is holding my kneecap in place, and seems to be doing so more efficiently than the brace. This is all my right leg, the left is doing great and responding quickly to the therapy. The only downside to this tape thing is that I'm actually allergic to adhesive. I blow up like a balloon, get hive like bumps, then full blown blisters. And that's after only a few minutes of contact. So far, I appear to be fine, one side is starting to look inflamed, but I'm applying emu oil and hoping for the best.

The muscle zapper appears to be doing it's job. Ok, it's actually called an Electronic Muscle Stimulator (EMS), but I prefer to call it the zapper... or tazer. LOL. I can feel improvement in my quad strength. It's a bizarre thing to watch your muscle lift itself off the leg (and not very comfortable). It's crazy, but it is helping.

During my preliminary stretching yesterday, I laid on my back on the table, put one leg straight/flat, wrapped a rope around the other foot and pulled that leg up and straight then across my body and down to stretch my IT band. Now, let me remind you I wasn't on the floor as in the photos here, but up on the table. Can you guess what happened? Yep! That extended leg was pulling me right off and face down onto the floor. The therapist walked in just as I dropped the rope thing and grabbed frantically at the side of the table to stop from rolling off. Have I mentioned that I have a profound lack of coordination and grace? All he could say was "well, that's a first" and laugh. I go back Wed. and Fri. this week, then see where we're at.
 IT Band Stretch - part 1 IT Band Stretch part 2

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Fun and Photos, and Food Prep

Hope you had a fabulous weekend! We had our halloween party on saturday, then trick-or-treaters on sunday, along with my usual food prep, plus yesterday was a special day for Bill and I as it was our 10 year "together" anniversary (more on that shortly). We also tried out a new recipe last night for dinner... I think Bill's mouth is still on fire. Oops.

So... Halloween. My favorite holiday, hands down. Bill was batman, Shiloh was Robin, and I was bobblehead-me, Lol. A couple years ago, some friends found a bobble-head doll at a motorcycle shop that reminded them of me, so they bought it and she painted it up to look more like me, lol, even painting Nakki's name (my boxer) next to the little hog on a leash. It's adorable, and I love it. So I rounded up a leather vest (which Shiloh applied appliqués to making it resemble the one on the doll), and a pair of chaps along with my bike boots (Harley of course), a leather cap and a photo of Nakki on a ribbon leash. Tab had the brilliant idea to add silver cord to my neck to look like the spring on the doll. Lol. Tab and Erin showed up as Wayne and Garth, and they ROCKED it! Ron and Cheri did Kid Rock & Pamela Anderson... it was hysterical, and Ron even won Best Costume at a club later that night! 

I made a bean/layer dip, Ariel made the mummy dogs (just "pigs in a blanket", but we used the good Applegate Farms uncured hot dogs), my cucumber dip and a batch of clean brownies. There was other food there, too, of course, but that's what I brought :-) Also had my handy clean chips - The Naturals variety of Tostitos yellow corn and blue corn chips, and the Naturals Ruffles. The recipes are up, if you'd like them.

The brownies I normally make are here, this time I tried a new recipe. The brownies themselves were great (though my usual are more chocolaty), but the marshmallow topping was both fantastic and yucky... it was really cool to make my own marshmallow creme, but the addition of the almond extract was just nasty. Next time I'll either replace it with vanilla, or skip it altogether. It's just my personal preference, and if you like almond extract, you'd love the original recipe. She's a clever gal, over there at www.TheGraciousPantry.com and deserves serious kudos for her great recipes. The marshmallow topping is a must-try :-)

We had a great time! (click on photos to view larger).

Sunday, Bethany wanted to go trick-or-treating, so I threw on an eye patch and sword, lol. Yes, I am a dork. We also entertained Bill with our dance routine to Baby Got Back.  Fine, I am an uber-dork :-)

My food prep for the week included Grilled Chicken breasts (I LOVE my Foreman Grill!), and a wide variety of veggies. I also browned up 2 lbs of ground bison for Taco Salad, etc during the week. I didn't have time to bake my bread, so I had to revert back to my Alpine Valley bread for the guys (which is great, it's just not mine, lol).    

View my Healthy Recipes here: http://billandchelle.com/fitness/recipes.html
View my daily food here: http://billandchelle.com/fitness/todays_cooler.html

Changing Life

On a serious note, yesterday was a special anniversary for Bill and I. Ten years ago, we both went through a hard-reboot on our lives. For me, it involved losing one of the most significant people in my life - my great-grandmother. She was a truly amazing woman, and in the midst of my grief I discovered some painful things about my family, and my place in my family, that left me reeling. During this time, I was further forced to face the truth of my own life & marriage, and make a very difficult decision. On October 30, 2000, I chose to leave my abusive and deviant husband.

The night I left remains the most terrifying and traumatic night of my life, and to my eternal shame, of my children's lives, as well. Making a very long story short, I escaped, making my way through the night. I remember sitting on a bus watching the sun rise, but I couldn't feel the warmth. I was so cold. So scared. From Bakersfield to Los Angeles, then on to Arizona, my terror battled my hope. On October 31st, within 2-hours of my arrival, I had an apartment, a few kitchen basics & foodstuffs, and a job. I was so very lucky, in so many ways.

Throughout the next three years, Bill stood beside me, unfailing in his support, as I fought through the legal system to regain my children and sever the ties of my ex to my life. Bill was there throughout my quest for family truth, and the subsequent changes that wrought. I began a new life. I found new family, and rediscovered a deep love & respect for the family I'd always known. I also found me again.  I realized my own worth as a person and reclaimed my independence. And I found a love that "even time would lie down and be still for."

Bill and I have managed to create a family out of our his & hers children, and we've forged a bond that can only be ascribed to soul-mates. These ten years have been the happiest of my life. For me, life began at age 30. Now at 40, it's brighter than ever.  I'm not saying life is easy. The world can be a dark, dark place, but where there is darkness, there must also be light. I assure you, it can be found. 

October 31st is my own personal independence day, when I took back what was mine... my life. January 2nd, 2007 is another special day... that's when I reclaimed my health and started down the path to fitness & healthy weight. I celebrate these dates, and what they've brought me.
Whether you're changing your life, or your lifestyle, it can be done and age is not a detriment. Find your strength, and embrace the journey.