Posted in Emotional Eating, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning, Overeating, Self-Reflection, Weight Watchers

I’m eating the damn salad.

wp-1503509607481Before I joined Weight Watchers, I made this week’s menu — breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks–all mapped out. Well, then Tuesday rolled around and suddenly my plan sucks. I was so frustrated.

First of all, Little Elfkin is eating like mad–she must be heading for a growth spurt because I was about to dig into my breakfast when her cherubic voice inquired “Mama? More egg? Please?”

“Yes, Baby, you can have more egg…”

So, I tracked one egg, one tortilla for breakfast–and it was 5 points–not bad! But by the time I got to work, I was hungry again. I stopped at the gas station and picked up what I thought was a healthy alternative–a turkey sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich and a couple of espressos. Well, no 2nd breakfast for this Hobbit! That breakfast sandwich would’ve been 11 points, which would’ve put me at 16 points, then the espressos were another 6, so just in BREAKFAST I would’ve used up 22/40 points (or 55%) of my daily budget on one meal. *fizzle*

I skipped the breakfast sandwich! Go me!

1st break rolls around and I. Am. Starving. I had 2 espressos and a cup of coffee to try to stave off the hangry but noon couldn’t come soon enough! I had a cheese stick (1 point) and that held me over until noon.

YES! I CAN EAT! HALLELUJAH!

I’d packed a yummy yummy Dole Chopped Salad kit in Sunflower Crunch flavor. It has a sweet onion dressing and a little bit of bacon, so it’s yum yum delicious.

And 22 points for the whole bag. T^T It would’ve been 27, but that number was too scary so I only counted 5 cups instead of 6 1/2 which is more likely…

SERIOUSLY, WW?! SERIOUSLY?!

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I portioned out half the bag and contented myself with the 13 points that it would be. I ate slowly. I was mindful of the flavors in each bite. I drank water and tried to stay in tune with my appetite.

There’s no WAY this is going to be enough food.

And then I stopped. I freaked out a little, but I let my food settle. I let my mind stop racing ahead and just… sat here. Honestly, I started typing this entry out and that’s what really gave me time enough to say “you know what? Maybe it IS enough food.”

So, here I am, 1/3 salad on my plate and I’m full.

Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can finally lose weight.

I need to go for a walk. If you made it this far, I appreciate your listening to my rant. So to speak ūüėČ

Posted in Baby Girl, Fitness, Food, Life + Living, Strength Training

No Sweat… wait, actually a lot of sweat

I found my new favorite group exercise class! ¬†It’s called “Accumulator” and it stacks exercises up one after the other so that it just grows and grows.

For example:

Burpees

Burpees + Jump Squats

Burpees + Jump Squats + Clean/Press

Burpees + Jump Squats + Clean/Press + Single Arm Lifts

They kept adding up until we were doing burpees, jump squats, clean/press, single arm lifts, reverse flies, high knees, and bent over rows.  THEN! They had an ab-specific portion where they started with plank and added one after the other until we were doing plank, overhead lift, flutter kicks, crunches, reverse crunches, donkey kicks, and Russian twists.

It was INTENSE and I worked up SUCH a good sweat. ¬†The awesome thing, though, is that there were sufficient modifications that I could complete the class at my own level. ¬†For burpees, I had a riser¬†to add an incline. For the plank step-outs I just held a plank or used the riser. For high-knees, I marched when I got too fatigued. ¬†I did 6″ leg raises instead of flutter kicks…. My shirt was soaked, my face was red, I was completely out of breath and I *LOVED* it.

I’m definitely going to carve time out of my schedule for that class.

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When I’m not working out at class, I’m working out with Little Elfkin. ¬†We go for walks and she leads me on a merry chase. ¬†It’s probably good for my back if I remember to keep good form ūüôā

I’m still working on getting my diet cleaned up. ¬†I have a sugar fiend that keeps sabotaging my efforts. ¬†Slowly but surely I’ll wean off of that. ¬†Caffeine too. ¬†Eventually. ¬†It’s quite difficult to go from so much sugar and monster + daily to nothing–and I’m not great at quitting cold turkey. ¬†Yesterday I had a doughnut for breakfast, today I had cookies for a snack…. The stuff is entirely too accessible either on my commute or at work.

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Little Elfkin had her check up recently and she’s my little chunky monkey. ¬†She’s proportionate, but she’s proportionately *big*. ¬†The pediatrician basically said that genetically she’ll have a double chin and a little belly because she was shaped that way from the start. ¬†She even had a little double chin when she was a hungry baby before we figured out how to breastfeed or use formula. ¬†Still, though, I want her to have a healthy relationship to food and fitness, so we’re still having our meals together ūüôā she eats what I eat when we’re together and I won’t give her junk, so that cuts down on the junk I have! ūüôā It helps that we got rid of so much of the junk from the pantry.

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She loves spinach, eggs, sweet potato, strawberries, cherries, peaches, pears, carrots, peas, beans, etc. ūüôā She’s an adventurous eater and not picky at all. As more veggies come into season, I’m excited to share more of the flavors with her.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning, New Food

3..2..1..Paleo!

We’re getting back into Paleo eating, now that we’re in the new place.  We’ve done pretty well in the last week, but tonight, we’re gearing up for the Squeaky Clean Paleo plan featured in Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Note: this is NOT a sponsored post.

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Pumpkin cranberry muffins, pumpkin pancakes, spaghetti squash bolognese, ribs with green beans, pineapple teriyaki chicken, home made cranberry sauce

Call me crazy, but I feel like eating healthy should taste good.  The recipes that I’ve tried from this book hit that mark. Jeff is excited about cooking again, too, but not about the dishes…because cooking every meal requires lots of dishes.

Tonight I’ve dirtied up a few mixing bowls, some knives, pans, spoons, cutting boards, and towels cooking up some meals for tonight and tomorrow.  I’ve got stuffed cabbage rolls with a cranberry tomato sauce in the oven, along with a “swirly crustless quiche” made with carrots, zucchini, and about a dozen eggs.  I’ll be making mustard glazed chicken thighs shortly, and tomorrow we’ll have a braised beef dinner.

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Our fridge is fully stocked with yummy foods and I’m ready for this adventure.

What is your favorite thing to make in the fall? Share your favorite crafts and recipes, below.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning

My Paleo Plate

I realize that the blog entry that I published last night¬†¬†kind of went off the rails. ¬†There was so much more that I wanted to talk about! ¬†It was late at night, though, and I was probably bouncing back and forth between various web pages an the blog. ¬†Today’s blog post is kind of an extension of that, but it’s much more organized and thought out–I even made an outline for it… ¬†Part of what prompted me to come back and to write about my own experience with going gluten free was a rather harmless post about a trip to costco.

Gluten-be-damned

Who knew there was such a backlash against gluten free?! ¬†I was flabbergasted but this isn’t exactly a friend of mine, and his friends and followers are not my friends and followers, so I decided not to waste any more of my time justifying to them why Gluten Free is a valid lifestyle choice–and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be full blown celiac disease to cause someone to start avoiding gluten and other potentially harmful/hard to digest foods.

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with chronic back pain for about two years now. ¬†As I type this, there’s what feels like a knot under my right shoulder blade and my whole back feels stiff. ¬†It’s my new normal. ¬†This isn’t even enough to complain about. ¬†When most people toss and turn at night, they do so without really realizing it. ¬†For me, I have to sit all the way up and turn over so that I don’t torque my back trying to just jostle into place. ¬†There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night, or in the wee hours of the morning in back pain and I have no choice but to stay up because there’s no going back to sleep at that point. ¬†If it’s really too early to get up, then, my poor husband, gets woken up because I’m in such pain. ¬†He wakes up when it hurts too bad to breathe right, or when my back pain brings me to tears–and he’ll get up, without complaint, and offer me ice packs or back massages to try to ease the pain. ¬†That will work just enough to take the edge off. ¬†I try to let him go back to sleep and then I generally go out to the couch to sleep so that I don’t have to lay on my back.

Two years of that.

I have¬†tried to find out what’s wrong with my back–I went to a physician, who referred me to physical therapy–I did that for a while before I was referred to Chiropractic. ¬†I’ve been going to the chiropractor at least once/week for the past year and a half. ¬†It has helped tremendously in reducing the severity of the pain and I haven’t had many episodes of spasms since starting chiropractic. ¬†The problem is that I’m still having to see a chiropractor weekly if I want to avoid a build up of pain in my system. ¬†Once, while my chiropractor was out of town for a conference, I had to go about a week and a half, maybe two weeks without an adjustment–and my back locked up so tight and spasmed so much that I gave in and called my physician for muscle relaxers. ¬†I took them once. ¬†I slept the entire night through without tossing and turning–but when I woke up the next morning, my back hurt so bad from being in the same position the whole night that it took almost all of the next day to start feeling normal again.

And that–is the key. ¬†My back feels better when I use my standing station at work (provided I have the right shoes on that day). ¬†My back feels better when I move. ¬†I talked to my physician about this during last year’s physical. ¬†It was a feminine exam and so I told her about my fears–how am I supposed to start a family with my back this way? ¬†How can I be reliable and take care of an infant if my back hurts so bad that I can’t even breathe? ¬†And do you know what she told me? ¬†She said “Try paleo.” ¬†I disregarded her at the time because I was stuck on oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and dinner usually involved pasta with mixed veggies and some meat. ¬†I should’ve listened to her back then.

Recently, I came across Nerd Fitness. As I started reading, I started hearing about the benefits of the paleo diet–they’re what you expect from any diet–more energy, better nutrition.. The part that was different, for me, is that it wasn’t specifically designed for weightloss, it was designed for better overall health and well being. ¬†That’s what I need. ¬†I need health and well being. ¬†So, I hopped into the chat rooms in NF. ¬†I talked to a few members there about their experiences with Paleo and I heard about reduced pain, reduced acne, increased energy and stamina. ¬†I decided to give it a try.

Searching online for paleo plans will turn up any number of results. ¬†It quickly became apparent that no one really agrees on what Paleo should really consist of. ¬†Some sites say no eggs, others say no dairy, all of them say no legumes but they don’t all agree on what a legume is. ¬†It’s enough to make your head spin. ¬†Finally, I stumbled upon two very valuable resources. ¬†The first was linked yesterday¬†as the “Beginners guide to the paleo¬†diet” by Steve Kamb. ¬†The other is Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. ¬†There’s a forward by Robb Wolf (not Stark), and the book dives into the science behind the nutrition. ¬†I’m reading about leaky gut right now, which is where there are foods that are harder for your body to break down and they may ‘leak’ through the gut–they’re seen as potential invaders and it triggers an immune response. ¬†In fact–the majority of the book is explaining the science behind the nutrition in terms that I can understand. ¬†I find myself nodding along and saying ‘that makes sense.’

 

Since I’m not finished reading the book, and because change is very difficult, we’re not 100% paleo in our house. ¬†Both Jeff and I still eat dairy in the form of yogurt and cheese, but we’ve swapped our milk out for coconut milk. ¬†The muffins in the picture above were made with coconut flour and they were so delicious. ¬†I may make them again this weekend. ¬†The pumpkin pancakes in the upper left of the collage have no flour whatsoever and taste like pumpkin french toast. ¬†They’re amazing. ¬†Although Paleo has a list of foods to avoid that includes peanuts, it’s hard to find trail mix that doesn’t have peanuts in it, so we still have the occasional peanut. ¬†We eat a lot of almonds, and I like to eat sunflower seeds. ¬†We do a lot of batch cooking on the weekends in order to prep for the week ahead. ¬†Being on Paleo means that you have to make your own food because the biggest overarching message is to get away from all of the highly processed, genetically modified, unnatural foods. ¬†It’s pretty similar to the Whole Foods diet and the like. ¬†Unfortunately, this means that we’re shopping for freggies every weekend, and stocking up on meat when we can. ¬†Our grocery bill (for 2 people) has been averaging to be around $450-500/month. ¬†I think that there’s a better way to do it, and there are ways to save money, ¬†so I have confidence that this figure will come down once we get some consistency.

The first month that we were successfully paleo for the most part, our grocery bill was over $600 for the month. ¬†I freaked out because “we don’t have that kind of money! This plan isn’t sustainable!’ Then Jeff pulled up the rest of YNAB and showed me that the month prior, we had spent $200+ on restaurants and $200+ on lunch and $100+ on “spending money” that included food. ¬†The month we were successfully paleo? ¬†$90 on lunch, $100 on restaurants. ¬†So, we have the money, we’ve just been using it to buy the convenience food items that are so readily available in our culture. ¬† Going Paleo just means a reallocation of the funds to foods that are worthy of being bought.

My next step in this Paleo adventure is to tackle the elimination diet. ¬†I need to figure out what in my diet is causing the chronic inflammation. ¬†Is it gluten? Legumes? FODMAPS? sugar? Something else? ¬†It’s going to be difficult and there will be a ton of prep work involved, but I think that I can ‘suffer’ for about a month if it means improving my quality of life in the immediate future, and potentially prolonging my life in the long run.

What are your thoughts on the gluten-free craze?  Have you ever heard of paleo before?  Tell me about your experiences.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning

Playing with Paleo

It is so good to be BACK! I’ve been thinking a lot today how I’d like to organize this blog and I started trying to think of alliterations that could lend themselves well to my blog content. ¬†Work Out Wednesday is easy, and Menu Monday. ¬†But how do I fit in all of the other things to talk about? ¬†Well–there’s every other blogger in the blogosphere..¬†and then there’s me!

I guess the name of my blog gives me a little bit of a scapegoat away from formatting and structure ūüėČ

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the Paleo plan. ¬†NerdFitness has a fantastic¬†starter’s guide to the paleo diet¬†that I highly suggest you check out.

nerdfitness.com
nerdfitness.com

One of the hardest things about starting a paleo eating plan is ‘wtf do I eat?’ ¬†I mean, think about it! ¬†The average American diet (at least, in the midwest) consists of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner. ¬†I was honestly stumped! What, besides eggs, could I eat for breakfast?

Well–anything. ¬†Who says you can’t have a steak at 9am? ūüėõ Granted, I usually don’t, but that’s the gist of it. ¬†Food is just food. ¬†There aren’t rules around what time of day you can eat the food. ¬†So, I dove in. ¬†I ate a lot of eggs. ¬†I got tired of eggs. ¬†I ate a lot of salads, I got tired of salads. ¬†I ate a lot of bacon, and then I realized I should not eat near as much bacon…

It prompted me to buy a cookbook. ¬†The one that came highest recommended from the Nerds of NerdFitness was Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. ¬†I’ve made a number of recipes from the book including the broiled salmon, pumpkin pancakes, swirly quiche, chorizo meatballs, and pumpkin cranberry muffins. ¬†We’ve used the seasoning mixtures to spice up the meats we generally use, and eating has been a lot more whole-foods focused.

Now! All that being said, I’m not 100% of the way there ūüė¶ ¬†There are still times where I get caught up in the “I don’t feel like it” attitude. ¬†I had nachos tonight, and I’m still eating at the gas station too frequently. ¬†When I did 1 week of about 80% paleo, I dropped 6 pounds. ¬†SIX WHOLE POUNDS!! I also felt more energetic and pretty excited about staying committed.

Then life happened, and stress eating, and convenience.

It’s a lot more effort to plan ahead, cook, and deal with all of the food associated with paleo eating. The dishes in the sink below? ¬†That’s just from cooking breakfast and prepping lunch:

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Now imagine that for 2 people 3x/day, 7 days/week.  Our grocery bill has skyrocketed and our dishwasher never gets a break.  This week (Saturday to next Saturday) my goals are to have 5/7 days 100% paleo (excluding cheese.  I love cheese.  me and cheese have something special going on.)

I’m hoping to drop some weight and feel happier/healthier by the end. ¬†I certainly appreciate you rooting me on! If you know me IRL, kindly refrain from offering me non-paleo food.. if there’s a treat at work, for example, just tell me ‘thanks! you do good work! Have a fantastic day! *high five*”

Cheers to the coming week!

-Megs

Posted in Uncategorized

Healthy eating…$88/week

This week for $87.52 we got:

– 2 jars of fruit (in juice, not syrup)
– 6 pouches of Campbell’s soup to go (from what I could tell, no artificial ingredients)
– 64 oz apple juice
– Frozen cherries
– Frozen strawberries
– Talenti coconut gelato
– 1 lb ham
– his and hers deodorant and body wash
– 2 green bell pepper
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 2 lb red seedless grapes
– 2 English cucumbers
– 1/2 watermelon
– 6 oz vanilla yogurt

This week’s list doesn’t even account for any dinner foods.. We just bought fruits and veggies for breakfasts and snacks, ham and soups for lunches, and some hygiene products.

I think this diet change us going to hit us in the wallet until we got used to it. *gulp*

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Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe, Self-Reflection

Anti Inflammatory Diet??

A lot of why I haven’t been posting here is because there hasn’t been much fitness to speak of. ¬†On June 26th, 2012, I finally sought medical advice for my back. ¬†Here on July 9, 2013, I’m still in pain daily.

Originally, we thought it was a Rhomboid Strain and my Primary Care Physician referred me to a physical therapist. ¬†The physical therapist determined that it was not,¬†in fact, a rhomboid strain, but to do with the alignment of my hips. ¬†I followed the physical therapy for a couple of months, and my hips didn’t click anymore, but my back still hurt. ¬†I sought another option.

When I went to the Chiropractor, we found a series of issues with my back that are actually¬†there–the alignment was off, there’s the start of arthritis due to the misalignment, etc. We’ve been working hard since January to bring everything in line and I really

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Dr. Pennebaker, doing an adjustment with the Gonstead Method [click to learn more]
believe it’s helping. ¬†My back still hurts every morning, though. ¬†We were getting a lot better, making a lot of good progress, and then we experienced a really bad setback.

When Jeff and I got back from the Canadian reception, I had a few really rough mornings. ¬†I thought it was just because the bed wasn’t supportive enough, or maybe the long ride in the car… But no, this felt like I was being squeezed–like my ribs were being pushed out of place. ¬†It hurt to breathe, hurt to move, hurt to laugh–should I care to, hurt to yawn, hurt to sneeze, cough, or hiccup. ¬†When I talked to my dad about it, he said “Oh, that’s just a pulled muscle–you’ll feel better in about a week.”

It’s been¬†over a week and I’m still waking up in pain. ¬†My Chiropractor gave me a sort of “ah-ha” moment when he observed that it was swelling and inflammation causing the pain. The word “inflammation,” hung in my head repeating itself like a fading memory. ¬†Until all of a sudden, the light at the end of a tunnel turned out to be a train. ¬†What if my DIET is causing me all of this stress and drama with my back!?

It makes sense! ¬†I eat a Western diet high in processed carbs and lots of sugars. Last Friday, by happenstance, I didn’t eat much in the way of sugar or refined carbs. ¬†On Saturday, as if by a miracle, I had no back pain. ¬†Yesterday, I had cereal for dinner, chex mix for a snack, a wrap for lunch, and a breakfast sandwich for breakfast. ¬†My back is killing me today.

So now, the problem that I’m faced with is “how do I convert my eating habits to the anti-inflammatory diet?”

I don’t know ūüė¶

The sites I’ve looked at say

Foods to Steer Clear of‚ÄĒHere‚Äôs what you‚Äôll want to wean yourself off of in order to reduce the inflammation in your body: wheat, dairy, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, sugar, citrus fruits (except for lemons and limes), pork, commercial non-organic eggs, shellfish, peanuts and peanut butter, coffee, alcohol, juice, caffeinated teas, soda, anything containing hydrogenated oils, processed foods, and fried foods. –¬†http://primaldocs.com/opinion/how-to-transition-to-an-anti-inflammatory-diet/

I keep seeing conflicting information, though. ¬†One site says pineapple is to be avoided as it’s a tropical fruit. ¬†Another says pineapple will decrease inflammation. ¬†One says nightshades and tomatoes are bad. ¬†Another doesn’t mention them at all.

I’m so terribly lost. ¬†I’ve cast out the line to the Weight Loss Warriors to ask if they have any experience with this sort of conversion. ¬†I read that high quality yogurts and cheeses can be eaten in moderation, so maybe I can use that to my advantage when subbing foods?

Here’s our dinner menu for the week… If anyone has any ideas on how to convert it to an anti-inflammation version, I’d appreciate the help:

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Posted in Fitness, Food, InBody230, Menu Planning, Self-Reflection, Strength Training, Warrior Dash

Wanna Be A Warrior

I have a lot¬†to update on. ¬†When last I wrote I was talking about not having a plan. ¬†It has really hit me in the wallet and in the GI tract to not have a plan this week. ¬†Even Rah-rah noticed it! Tonight on the way home, I asked what he wanted for dinner and he replied “I dunno… We really haven’t had any good food this week..” and he sounded so sad! ¬†I guess that this means I need to keep up on that menu-making ūüėȬ†

After I post this entry, I’m going to make 2 more pages for my blog–a “new foods” page and a “Favorite Links” one. ¬†I think it would be a good way to keep things in order and to share some resources with you.

Spaghetti Squash

Earlier this week, I was gifted with a Spaghetti Squash from one of my co-workers. ¬†I had never tried it before so he brought me one from his very own garden. ¬†His suggestion was to cut it in half (which I almost needed a hatchet to do…) and then microwave it. ¬†Mrs. Roomie ended up doing the rest of the cooking after I cut it up because I simply had too much to do on my list.

She browned some lean ground beef and added a jar of Classico Tomato Basil sauce, then served the meat sauce over the stringed squash instead of over pasta. ¬†The review that I received from Mr. and Mrs. Roomie and Rah-rah said that it was cold and kinda chewy. ¬†When I re-heated it when I got home, I thought it was pretty tasty. ¬†Maybe it just needed to cook longer? ¬†Rah-rah rated it a 6 out of 10, so we’ll probably try it again. ¬†Mr. Roomie said it was pretty tasty with just some olive oil and some garlic powder. ¬†Who knows? The flavor is so mild that the possibilities are practically endless.

The rest of the nights, we pretty much had a gas-station diet–frozen pizza, sandwiches, etc. ¬†It was really expensive and I’m going to have to be careful with my cash over the next week. ¬†I’ve got my dry-erase markers ready, though! The menu shall be made!

Warrior Dash is a mud-crawlng | fire leaping | extreme run from hell | Are you a warrior?

Mr. Trainer has asked me to join the 2012 Warrior Dash

. ¬†Now, on SparkPeople, I joined a great group of girls called the Weight Loss Warriors. ¬†I haven’t been much of a warrior lately. ¬†I have lost touch with a few of the girls and I have been avoiding spark like the plague for various reasons. ¬†Be that as it may, however, the Weight Loss Warriors are some of the best, most supportive, consistent people that I have met. ¬†Most of them have already met their weight loss goals, and if they haven’t, they’re still plugging away and making good choices. ¬†I feel like doing the Warrior Dash will not only “make me a warrior” to them, but it will also provide some validation for myself. ¬†If I can get through that race, hell, I can do anything.

Warrior Dash
Warrior Dash Participant (from Warrior Dash on Facebook)

Since it’s more of an obstacle course than a race, I’ve made a serious commitment to fitness. ¬†On Monday I start Phase I with Mr. Trainer to begin preparations for the event. ¬†It is about 9 months away and so every 4 weeks until July 2012, I have committed to meet with Mr. Trainer so that I can be ready. ¬† Right now, I love sweets and carbs and cuddles–and I have been avoiding the gym. ¬†With something like this on the horizon there will be no choice except to shape up. ¬†It will be either get ready, or get hurt–one of the two. ¬†I’m going to aim for the former, not the latter.