Archives For Stuff I Love.

Life for me has been going at 100 miles per hour…or at least that’s what it feels like.  So many changes and so many new aspects of life to deal with…again, that’s what it feels like.  I’m not at all complaining.  Quite the contrary, I believe that’s where life is the most exciting.  A clip from the movie Parenthood sums it up best of all:

Reflections Of Paradise

My trip to Hawaii for my birthday was incredibly wonderful…and way too short…LOL.  I could have laid in the sun and swam in the ocean everyday for hours.  My good friend Dana and I stayed at The Modern Honolulu.  It was a beautiful hotel where luxury and guest satisfaction are a huge priority.  I would highly recommend a stay there.  Here is a short video of the gorgeous property:

I have to say that I felt really great on this trip.  Not only was I feeling in top health (knock wood), I was really enjoying how I was looking in my body.  It seems nowhere else does your hard work pay off than in a swim suit at the pool or beach!  I ate pretty much Paleo the entire time I was on vacation…with a few exceptions…I had an alcoholic beverage now and then AND I enjoyed a few wonderful desserts…after all, it was my birthday.  In spite of my indulgences, I kept everything in moderation.  I woke up each morning around 5:30am and worked out in the hotel gym for about 90 minutes.  It was a great way to start my day.

Most of our time was spent driving around the island and either doing a bit of sight-seeing or discovering cool beaches to plant our towels for an hour or two.  The rest of the time we we either at our beach near our hotel or poolside.  I may have turned 47, but I did notice that I was getting a few looks from some of the other hotel guest when I was sunning myself…that felt good.  I would laugh to myself and say, “Yep, daddy still GOT IT!.”  Below are a few pictures from the trip:

One of the two pools at hour hotel, the Sunset Pool at The Modern Honolulu...

The Sunset Pool at The Modern Honolulu…

No stress here...

No stress here…

A beautiful sunset dinner on Waikiki Beach...

A beautiful sunset dinner on Waikiki Beach…

I worked out every morning at 5:30am for about 90 minutes!  It was a great way to start my day!

I worked out every morning at 5:30am for about 90 minutes! It was a great way to start my day!

Dana surprised me with First Class tickets from SFO to Honolulu...Yes, that is champagne that we are drinking!

Dana surprised me with First Class tickets from SFO to Honolulu…Yes, that is champagne that we are drinking!

Feeling GOOD and trim in my board shorts / swim suit!

Feeling GOOD and trim in my board shorts / swim suit!

At a great luau called "Chief 's Luau."  Great food, great show and lots of fun activities...Yes, we made our headbands!

At a great luau called “Chief ‘s Luau.” Great food, great show and lots of fun activities…Yes, we made our headbands!

At the Moana Surfrider Hotel for breakfast.

At the Moana Surfrider Hotel for breakfast.

A panoramic of North Shore...

CLICK to see the full size! A panoramic of North Shore…

We rented a convertible to drive around the island.  We got upgraded, FOR FREE, to this nice red Camaro!

We rented a convertible to drive around the island. We got upgraded, FOR FREE, to this nice red Camaro!

Measuring Up…

September 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Two things you should know about me:  First, I can cook.  Second, I rarely, if ever, measure.  This has proven to be difficult when someone asks me to share one of my recipes.  I usually say, “…okay, I’ll have to write it down and send it to you…” And then I go through the process of telling myself I need to make that dish again and actually measure the amounts I use in my assembly.  Most of the time (99.9% of the time) I never get around to making the dish again and taking note of measurements.  The truth is, I often change up my dishes a little bit each time.  I also really never make the same in dish in the same, well, dish.

I make several versions of my tasty brussels sprouts recipe.  I’ll share my baked brussels sprouts with roasted tomatoes and garlic.  It’s a very delicious side dish that is filled with flavor and nutrition.  I’m going to walk you through it via pictures and descriptions.

BAKED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND GARLIC

ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

Brussels sprouts, whole
Homemade chicken broth
Chicken stock drippings (the fat retrieved from making stock)
Whole, roasted garlic
Button mushrooms, sliced
Fire roasted, diced tomatoes
Onion powder
Sea salt
Freshly 
ground black pepper

1. Start by place whole brussels sprouts in a baking pan or dish.  Do not cut the brussels sprouts or stack them on top of each other.  They should be placed side-by-side in a single layer.  Add enough homemade chicken stock to cover half of each brussels sprout as pictured below (i.e., to the middle of each sprout):
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2. Next, place a healthy amount of roasted garlic (about 16-25 cloves) around and on top of the sprouts.  You can buy garlic already roasted at Whole Foods or you can roast it for yourself ahead of time:
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3. Add six to ten teaspoons of chicken stock drippings.  Don’t leave this step out.  It adds an important depth of flavor and needed fat.  You could use organic ghee if you prefer.  I think it tastes better with the chicken dippings.  Add your salt, pepper and onion power at this point:
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4. Add a healthy layer of sliced button mushrooms.  For convenience sake, I buy the pre-sliced mushrooms.  One package is usually just perfect for a pan this size:
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5. Lastly, add your drained, roasted tomatoes.  Spread them out evenly over the entire mixture.  For a pan this size I usually use two cans of organic, diced, fire roasted tomatoes:
IMG_35206. Bake the mixture between 35 and 50 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, mix the ingredients up in the pan.  Do this at least two or three times during its baking time.  The brussels sprouts are done when you can slice through them with a knife somewhat easily.  You don’t want them so soft that they smoosh when you try to cut them:
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ENJOY!  This is very delicious and good for you.  Even non-brussels sprouts eaters love this dish.  Great with any protein or just by itself.  It’s delicious eaten cold as well!

I had that special moment today…the moment when time stands still and you realize that your life has changed…and it’s changed for the spectacular.

Let me back up a bit…

I Spin three times a week.  On a rare occasion (and I mean rare) I will Spin on Thursday nights during our 4:30pm class.  Yesterday I decided that I was going to drive in JUST for Spin.  So at 3:30pm, I left my house in Petaluma and drove to Novato.  I got to my office just before 4pm.  I set up my bike and waited for my instructor (Glen), and the other students, to arrive.  I remember looking at the clock…it read 4:20pm…students are here, but no Glen.  No Glen?!  This is odd.  Glen has never missed a since he started teaching this class over two years ago.  I feared that something happened…my fear was heightened given that Glen recently purchased a motorcycle.  My mind went a little crazy and I hoped and prayed that nothing serious had happened.  I asked Sue, one of my Staff Managers at the club, if he had called.  She said, “No.”  Even more odd.  Glen would have called if there was a problem.  The clock now reads 4:27pm…

I think to myself, “I’m going to have to teach this class…”

I duck into our orientation & therapy room and compose myself.  Forget that I’m about to teach my first Spin class TOTALLY unprepared…but I was completely worried that something bad had happened to Glen.  But now, there was no time for conjecture or panic.  I had a room full of students who were ready to Spin.  The clock on the wall reads 4:29pm…

As a health club manager, I just move into operations mode and handle the problem.  I’m not focused any longer on the fact that THIS will be my first class, I just have to make it happen and make it good.  I tell the class, “I’m not sure where Glen is, but let’s get started.  I have not prepared a program, obviously, for this class…but I will give it my all and I promise you a great, fun class…” Oh my God, why did I just say that?!  The clock reads 4:30pm…  Time to start…here I go now…

From the moment I opened my mouth on the bike…from the moment I spoke the first instruction…I was calm and focused.  All that matted was that I delivered a superior class.  My worries and fears did not exist and I refused to give power to something that is created out of thin air.  Before I knew it, the clock read 4:50pm…  Had twenty minutes passed already???

My energy was high on all levels.  As soon as I started I mapped out a program in my head.  I need to follow the program, keep my energy up, and watch my students for correct form and posture…all the while being aware if my form AND balancing my breathes so I could talk over the headset microphone.

I used some traditional moves and used some of my own.  I mixed it up and gave them something new.  I didn’t want to rest on what was easy.  I wanted then to love this class.  I didn’t want any of them to feel disappointed because Glen wasn’t there.  But I caught myself…I have no control over their reaction.  I only have control over my delivery and attitude.  I stayed focused and kept giving it my all.  The clock now read 5:15pm…and that’s when it happened…the moment it all clicked for me…

In the midst of my coaching, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror…a glimpse of me on the Spin bike, coaching, instructing…thriving in the moment…  Who is that guy?…that thin guy?…that guy with defined, strong legs and that smallish butt?  Oh my God…it’s really me!  This is surreal…  The clock reads 5:23pm…  The class has seven minutes left…

My students…let me say that again…my students…were working their butts off…I could see how tired they were…the loads of sweat pouring off their bodies…  On the other hand, I was on fire.  My energy level was so high I thought I was going to jettison right out of my seat.  I smiled and realized I was going to finish hard and strong…and I was going to lead my class to do the same.  The clock now reads 5:25pm…the last song is coming on…

I tell everyone to take a deep breath…that we are going to ride this one out with fury and fun…we’re gonna give it our all…I tell them to, “…Focus on the beat of the music.  Ignore any tiredness.  Know that you are strong and will finish strong.  Know that you can achieve it if they focus on what they want…”  It’s now 5:28pm on the clock…only two minutes left…everyone is giving it their all…

Right now, I’m just a ball of energy and inspiration.  All I care about is the group finishing strong…praising them for their work, their commitment…I’m trying not to yell into the mic, but I can’t hold down my excitement…only a few seconds left…almost there.  The clock reads 5:30pm…it’s over…it done…my first Spin class as the sole instructor…My students sweaty, tired…and smiling…

I’m on cloud 9….no, more like cloud 27…

I completed the class with a few traditional stretches and some new ones.  My students all liked the new moves.  They came up to me and let me know they really liked the class.  They told me that i worked them hard and they like it.  I was beaming…

It turns out that the stars aligned for me to get the validation I didn’t even know I needed.  Here’s what happened:  Glen missed a class.  I happened to be there.  I taught the class.  I had not prepared.  I gave it my all.  I was good.  The class was happy…

If it had happened any other way, I would not have had the experience of how really prepared I was to teach a Spin class on my own.  I knew deep down I could do it…but I did have nerves…I had nerves because it mattered so deeply to me.  Being thrown into the fire without ANY preparation taught  me how strong I was.  It taught me that I have been ready for some time…more than ready…

I could not have done what I did if i hadn’t committed to transforming my body from the inside out.  My clean living and eating provided me with a body that could “do the work” and do it well.  Although far from perfect, I now have a body that acts like a well oiled machine.  It gives me the energy I need when I need it and can sustain coaching a 50 minute, intense cardio class…while talking no less!

What a great evening!  I’m still on a high.  I was smiling all the way home.  I was smiling in the shower and doing little happy dances.  It was like I was in love…that feeling when your falling in love and everything is new and fresh and you are smiling all day long just at the thought of the other person…that’s how I feel right now…right at this moment…

The clock reads 12:11am…  I am in Spin in less than six hours…Time for sleep…

Yes, I am in love…with my life…and all the possibilities…

I can’t believe that it’s been almost two weeks since I posted last.  I just don’t know where the time goes.  I’ve been really busy with both my work at the health club and my graphics consulting.  I’ve been doing some film work in my design business which has moved me from my desk into the filed.  The good thing is that I end up burning a great deal of calories even though I don’t get a chance to complete any official exercise when I’m playing film director…and playing almost every other role there is to do in the filming process.  On location last week, I was bummed that I wasn’t going to get a chance to work out since I had a full of filming on location.  Turns out the next day when I weighed myself, I was down almost two pounds!  In retrospect, I had a FULL day of exercising.  I was setting up and tearing down film and sound rigs all day.  I literally was bending, twisting, squatting and climbing for eight hours…natural fitness in the best way.

Breaking Two Hundred

I officially broke the two hundred on the 18th.  After my weigh in, I held my breath because I knew my body could choose to do one of its little adjusting trick and pull me back into the two hundreds in a pinch…which it did…the following morning.  However, I was back under two hundred the very next day and started to slowly descend into the 190s.  I haven’t had the number “1” in front of my weight for almost 10 years.  When I was working out with Michael on a regular basis I had a little more muscle packed on than I do know and The lowest number I achieved was about 215…and I looked and felt good.  My body fat percentage then was about 23% (maybe a little lower).  I was eating well, but I was definitely NOT eating Paleo AND I remember always being hungry.  Right now, I’m 26.6% body fat.  I looking to get down to 15% body fat.  Now THAT will take some work, but I’m ready to take it on.

Seeing The Big Picture

I have to be okay will the weight coming off a bit slower now.  I may only lose a pound a week, or less,and I have to remind myself of the big picture and my longterm goal; to live a life of health, vitality and joy.  The game I playing is creating a healthy existence and not how fast can I drop the weight.  I need to remind myself to be present and acknowledge where I am now, which is a damn good place!  I look and feel good.

I have found myself recently looking in the mirror and becoming fixated at the little flaws…focusing on my “love handles” and thinking, “Oh, I want you gone!”  Then it becomes a slippery slope…I move on to dissect other parts of my body…I see how my inner thigh is not at tight as years gone by…I see how, in general, my skin is much looser…and I begin to feel unhappy and displeased.  Then I remember my own advice…in times like this, call on the person you used to be…imagine that person who was you four months ago at almost 260 pounds…imagine him standing in front of you…what would he say about you ranting and raving about your body…what would his two cents be?  It is then I can hear my heavier self chime in with extreme attitude…“Are you nuts!  Seriously, what is wrong with you?  Maybe you suffered hypoxia when you were Spinning or something because with that attitude I think you have some brain damage.  You look great and feel great.  Why don’t you focus on all that you have done right and stop focussing on the ridiculous fact that you have an ‘inch to pinch’ on your side.  I would give anything to look like you now.  So, go eat a carrot or something and shut up!”…Well, he told me, didn’t he?

The Same Thing In Reverse

In my experience, many people enjoy biking which leads them to maybe try a Spin class.  I did the same thing but in reverse.  I starting Spinning in October of 2011 and just this weekend bought a bike.

I remember my first day in Spin.  I thought I was gonna die.  The only thing more bruised than my ego was my butt.  How could anyone find this fun?  I kept up with it and it began to grow on me.  The advantage of owning the health club in which you attend classes is that you can make the class anything you want…so I worked with Glen (my very dynamic and fun Spinning instructor) to make the class great.  Almost two years late,r the Joy of Spinning at Healthworks is the most popular class at the club.  I am now a certified Spinning / Indoor Cycling instructor and will soon be teaching an advanced Spinning class in October.  I’ve come a long way baby…but I digress…

Did you hear about the Spin instructor that didn’t own a bike?  Yep, sounds like the opening of a great joke, but it’s true.  I didn’t own a bike.  I had one and I ended up giving it away years ago because it was gathering dust in the garage.  The last time I really rode was in 1998 when I bought a mountain bike so that I could ride in a race with my friend Nadine (Michael’s wife) in a race called, Bike Around The Buttes held in Butte County.  We did a 50 mile trek in both sunny weather and rain.  It was really fun because I was with Nadine but I wasn’t really into biking…I just liked adventure.  After the race the bike went into the garage and I never used it again. Several years later I gave it away to someone who needed a bike.  Flash forward to this past Saturday when I purchased a new bike at Mike’s Bikes in Petaluma.  Once a year they have an annual sale with 20-30% off all bikes and merchandise.  I promised myself in May that when (not, if) I dropped beneath two hundred pounds, I would buy myself a decent, but not expensive, bike.  The other part of that promise started long ago when I said I could allow myself to buy a bike once I passed a year attending Spin classes.  Well, I greatly surpassed that original goal!  Now I found myself under two hundred and it was time to honor the promise I made to myself.  I researched online and found that what I needed was a hybrid bike–one that could be used on pavement and light off-roading.  A hybrid is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike.

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…hot and sweaty after my first bike ride with my new Specialized Crosstrail!

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The new best friend!

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“Why, yes…I am a very serious cyclist…”

So I attended the sale on Saturday and bought a 2014 Specialized Crosstrail…and I’m in love!  In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever been so excited about a bike…ever…even if I go back to my childhood…I think I’m more excited now than then.  You see, I grew up on a dairy ranch.  There were no flat, paved roads…only dirty, dusty, bumpy roads that didn’t go very far and didn’t lead anywhere…at least anywhere I was allowed to go…not so much fun for me.  This was a time way before mountain bikes were popular or as technologically advanced as they are now.  We had dirt bikes, but you felt every bump in the road…again, not so much fun for me.

So, I got my bike home from the store and I was ready to take it for a literal spin around the block when I realized that the sales person forgot to put my new helmet in the bag…Argh!  Now being the safety boy that I am, I got back into my Jeep and headed back to the store to retrieve my helmet…safety among all else I say!

So now I have my helmet and I’m off for my new bike’s maiden voyage.  Wow, how fun is this!  I decided to just try it out since it was getting late and I wanted to go for a real ride in the morning….which I did at 6am on a Sunday!  Now that’s dedication (or pure excitement) for you.

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My Garmin Fit app helps to track my progress and makes the journey just that more fun!

Today I went for my second ride and went farther than the first time.  Going farther each time is a goal of mine as I stay committed to riding at least twice a week.  Today I went just over ten miles.  That might not be far for most people, but it’s farther than I have ever traveled on my own without someone to enjoy the experience with.  I used my iPhone and a Garmin Fit app to track my time and distance.  I really enjoyed going out and biking by myself.  I took several moments to acknowledge the journey I have traveled in a relative short period of time.  On my ride this morning I felt young and invigorated.  Am I really going to be 47 in just over a month? I can’t believe it…I don’t feel my age…that’s a good thing.  I look forward to pairing or grouping up with others for future weekend rides.  The idea of that is really exciting.

Oh, So Crunchy

My new favorite snack is Alive & Radiant’s organic and raw, Veggie Krunch.  It is very crunchy and very yummy.  If you are like me and have a tendency to be pulled toward the savory, crunchy and salty foods, you’ll love this product.  Sweets were never my downfall, but a bag of potato chips ALWAYS was my kryptonite.  Like many others, I could never have just a few.  Once a bag of chips was open, it didn’t survive the night.  It quickly ended up an empty, crumbled bag in the trash.  I don’t miss chips per se, but I do miss that salty-crunch factor.  Enter in my new discovery of Veggie Krunch.  The product is raw and dehydrated.  No oil is used and the product is not heated in any way.  It’s completely raw and healthy for you.  They have many flavors, but my favorite is the Cabbage Arugula.  Delicious!  It’s kind of expensive for what you get, but it’s high quality and you don’t need much to satisfy your craving.  It’s available at Whole Foods and other major health food chains.

I need to get payroll for the club going, so I’m going to end this post here.  I promise to be more frequent than once every two weeks.  My goal is at least twice a week, even if its short.  I welcome any feedback you have regarding what you would like me to write about or share.  I’m up for anything!  Okay, here I go now…Case-Veggie-Krunch_Arugula-2

On Vacation…

July 27, 2013 — Leave a comment
A great place to have a run in the morning.

A great place to have a run in the morning.

So another crazy, busy week…especially since I had to finish up a great deal of work so I could take a short vacation.  I’m sticking to my Paleo diet, but I did decide to allow myself to have a glass of wine or two while on vacation.  I have two caveats to the inclusion of wine during this extended weekend.  I can only drink wine if, (1) I have less than two glasses per day, (2) the drinking of alcohol does not increase my appetite to the extent that I’m hungry when I shouldn’t be, and (3) I feel no adverse physical effects from consuming alcohol the following day.  If ANY of these issues crop up, I’m done and back to water and herbal tea only.  Last night I had a couple of glasses of wine and no problems.  In fact i woke up this morning EARLY and went for a long walk, sprint, hike from 7:50am to 9:10am.  Okay, it was more of a hike than it was a run.  I’m not conditioned…yet…to run or sprint up hills like these…Lord have mercy that was tough!

I’m here in Bodega Bay with my longtime grammar and high school friends.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary of our first annual camping trip back in 1993.  Well, this year we are not so much camping as we are renting a wonderful house in overlooking the ocean. It’s absolutely a blessing to have people in your life who you have known since you were kids.  They are extraordinary people who make my life journey so full and exciting.

Back to the diet.  Last night my stomach was a little upset.  Although I am sticking to Paleo choices, certain food items are creeping in that have proven to be problematic to my body.  It may be simple as there are too many non-organic variables in the food choices this weekend.  I’m better this morning.  No issues.  We’ll see how the weekend progresses if I level out or if my stomach continues to bother me.

It feels very odd not to be weighing myself each morning.  I’ve been weighing myself every morning for almost three months.  Today is Saturday.  My next weigh-in will be on Monday morning.  I would be happy to stay the same, but given that I’m sticking to Paleo and choosing to exercise each day, I would hope to have lost something over this 4-day vacation.  I’ll post more later.  We are all getting ready for a day at the beach.  Gotta go sunscreen up!  Here I go now…

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time.  I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation...because we were high up!

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time. I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation…because we were high up!

This past Sunday I went on my first hike in about two years with my friend Kevin.  I’ve always liked hiking, but really haven’t taken the opportunity to get out there and do it.  We hiked up from Indian Valley in Novato to the top of the mountain where the city cell and radio towers are located.  About two-thirds the way up the trial the difficult is minimal…but THEN you go off the main trail to a secondary “no man’s land” trail, as I call it, straight UP to the top of the mountain.  It’s a steep climb for most of the way.  It took us two hours to hike up the mountain and about two hours to hike down.  They say that the uphill climb is the hardest part, but the downhill venture was a battle in itself.  Sometime the path was so steep and rocky that you could barely keep your footing.  There was at least twice I had to run ahead of a potential fall.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  As you go trekking down a steep mountain and you begin to feel yourself slipping forward, you need to engage in a jog or run in hopes of regaining your balance.  I would have to say that going down the hill was a little harder than going up.  It really put a strain on my knees, but I was fine by the time the hike was over.  The next day I didn’t have any aches or pains.  The following day after that, my legs ached a little bit, but my knees were golden.  I have to say that my knees would have really hurt if I hadn’t been eating so well.  The cutting out of foods that cause inflammation in the body has been a godsend.

At the top of the mountain!  What a view!

At the top of the mountain! What a view! CLICK to enlarge!

I have to say that Kevin’s support during the hike was extraordinary.  He told me that we were there to enjoy ourselves and that we would only go as far as I felt comfortable.  He was committed to me having a great experience and not hating my first time returning to hiking.  His support was free ego and the pressing of his own agenda.  He held no expectations and was clearly present in the moment of what mattered: walking with his friend Mark in the beautiful outdoors…nothing more.

It’s so important to have supportive people in your life when climbing towards a goal.  Good support is unconditional without strings.  The supporter simply desires to offer encouragement and validation.  The key to good support is that the supporter has no investment in the outcome or result.  So many times our support may become tainted because we desire a certain outcome to occur for a friend or loved one.  We get so focused on them achieving the goal that we forget that it is their journey and not ours.  I’ve had friends in the past become “disappointed” or “sad” when a certain goal I was striving for was not achieved.  Their reactions varied from actual verbal criticism, to a silence and avoidance of the subject.  When such situations happened, I felt crappy. I felt as though I not only let myself down, but I let others down, even though my goals had nothing to do with anyone else.  A good friend supports you no matter what the final destination.  They are simply a cheerleader on the road with you during your journey…and no matter where you end up, they are there to bear witness to your effort and determination.

Now, when I’m talking about support I’m not talking about offering honest and truthful feedback.  That is very important in any relationship…to offer up the “things” that people don’t often have the courage to tell one another.  Just realize that what you might deem as reality is only your perception of the matter and not what actual is.

Down 40 pounds!

Down 40 pounds!

On another note, I have made it past the 40 pound mark!  Yahoo!  It feels real good to be down 40 pounds.  I’ve gone from a 40 inch waist to a 36…or have I?  Actually, I have made it into 34 inch shorts!  I was looking for my stack of 36 inch waist shorts the other day when I stumbled on a stack of 34s.  I thought I would try them on and see if I could tell how long it might take me to actually fit back into them…and they fit!  They fit perfectly.  On further examination I realized that my 36s were getting really loose.  It was like a free shopping day.  There was even a pair of European cut shorts (cut tighter in the hips) that I was never able to get on and they fit superbly!

I have just over 13 pounds to break under the 200 pound mark.  I’m anxious to get to that point but I will let my body do it’s thing and get let it get there when it wants to.  I mean, I’m not going to push it by cutting needed calories or go crazy with exercise.  I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working.  As soon as a get into the 100s, I’m moving to weighing in once a week.  If I had to guess, I would think that I should hit that mark sometime in mid to late August.  I’ve enjoyed and needed to weigh myself in daily to learn how my body is reaction to my food and exercise regime.  I think I have a good handle on it right now.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A final note on my hike with Kevin.  When we got to the top of the mountain, I took a moment to take in my accomplishment.  I realized that it took something to get up that mountain; to push through any pain, discomfort and exhaustion and get to the top.  I didn’t make any demands of my body other than to have it push on.  I didn’t have any time expectations on how long it should take me, I was just going to finish.  At the top I looked at the beautifiul valley floor and gave thanks for my ability to make the trek to the top.  I gave thanks to all the people who hike the trail and take the time to make sure that it is clean and safe.  I took a moment to be grateful to all those people min my life that inspire me on a daily basis…and just before I headed down the mountain, I took a rock from the ground and scratched the word “inspire” on an old rusty sign post.  Here’s hoping that it will motivate others when they get to the top.  There are many things we can do for others in our lives; many gifts we can share.  One of the greatest is to be a light for greatness towards the betterment of life.  Simply put, we are meant to…we need to…inspire

Hit And Surpassed…

June 29, 2013 — 2 Comments
Last week my Fitbit Aria scale emailed me that I had made it to a 30 pound loss! I didn't even realize!

Last week my Fitbit Aria scale emailed me that I had made it to a 30 pound loss! I didn’t even realize!

What a week.  I can’t believe that Friday is here and OVER already.  Work at the club has been dominating my time.  It has almost completely eclipsed any of my design work.  I had just one design client deadline this week.  It was somewhat trying to get that completed with so much happening at Healthworks.  The good news?…well, there’s much good news…but I’ll start with the big one…I HIT and surpassed my 30 pounds lost mark!  Yippy!  Cue the trumpets!  It’s so amazing.  It feels as though I just started this journey a few weeks ago.  In actuality, I’m heading towards the end of my second month.  I continue to eat 100% Paleo and I’m still loving it and not feeling hungry at all.  Occasionally I get a mini-craving for something sweet, but it’s not like before when I would feel actual hunger mixed with that sensation of “craving.”  The wanting of something is very mild and I know it’s tied to the bombardment of food images through various media sources.  I don’t watch that much television, but WOW does TV make you hungry!  I mean, we all know how television, through its incessant commercials, makes us feels like we are always lacking in some compactly.  Its messages are always conflicting.  On the one hand TV tells us that we are not skinny enough.  Then in the next 30 seconds it tells us to supersize our lunch order by getting two burgers for the price of one and a soft drink large enough to cure droughts in Ethiopia.  Let’s be honest here, our television viewing habits are contributing to fattening of America.

ON another note…this morning, in addition to passing the 30 pound mark, I also achieved my personal goal for this second 30-day challenge.  I lost an additional 10 pounds!  I love getting my messages from my Fitbit Aria scale.  A scale has never been my friend until now.  It’s like a little friend rooting me on towards success yet having the courage to always tell me the truth.

Today, at some point, I need to get a couple of pair of shorts that are a smaller size.  When I say need, I do mean need.  I’m starting to look like those kids that wear there pants in the middle of their butt.  I have to keep pulling up my shorts because they shimmy on down my backside.  I’d get a belt, but I can’t stand wearing belts.  Wearing a belt makes me feel like I’m being strangled.  They always seem to cut into me.  Just don’t like them.

It’s going to be a hot one here in the north bay.  In the 90’s and possibly above.  Lord have mercy, I’m glad I have central air conditioning on those rare days when I need it!  Alright, here I go now…

A stack of my white bath towels.  A little bit of heaven!

A stack of my white bath towels. A little bit of heaven!

The question I pose today is, do you take the time everyday to create a bit of luxury in your life?  Back in 1995, I happen to be watching the Oprah show.  Well, I didn’t happen to watch it.  I regularly watched Oprah.  There, I said it and I’m proud of it.  Anyway, Oprah’s topic for the day was how to bring everyday luxury to your life on a minuscule budget.  I was all eyes and ears!  I’m always up living better on a budget.

Oprah had several special guests on who were famous in the field of catering to the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  They offered many tips on how one could bring a little bit of lavishness to everyday life.  Oprah then shared something that has stuck with me to this day.  Oprah said that when she was a young reporter trying to make it in the news business, she would sometimes buy fresh flowers to cheer up her mediocre apartment.  However, buying fresh flowers weekly was rather expensive.  Oprah’s resolve was to fill a pretty bowl with fresh fruit and display it in her apartment.  Fruit was cheaper and it gave the same feeling of freshness and beauty.  She said that on really hard days when she was feeling discouraged or “less than” in a world that seemed to beat her down, just looking at a fresh bowl of fruit reminded her that she deserved to have something beautiful and rewarding in her life.  It was a simple luxury that made her feel human.

That concept really hit a chord with me.  You see, I had just moved back to the Bay Area to help my mother care for my father who had suffered a massive stroke.  The stoke left him unable to speak and paralyzed on the right side of his body.  Before his death a year later, there were so many stressful and sad moment for us.  There were days when I didn’t know how I was going to get us all through this ordeal.  There were days when I felt “less than” and not part of the real world.  Money was extremely tight and it was a constant struggle to stay afloat.

That moment when Oprah said that simple everyday luxuries make us feel human…the moment she remind me that we deserve something special and beautiful in our lives…it was that moment I decided to create a simple luxury for myself.  Something that would be my private escape form a sometimes crazy world.  I though back to times in my life where something so simple made me feel special–something that didn’t, in actuality cost much money, but made me feel like a million bucks.  And then it hit me…showering at a hotel.

Now growing up we never stayed at a hotel.  We could only afford a motel or inn.  Nonetheless, I remember being fascinated with the stacks of white towels.  Motel towels always seems to be in abundance.  They were folded nicely and always smell crisp and fresh.  It seemed like magic when I would leave my dirty towels on the floor and, sometime while we were out sightseeing, all fresh towels, neatly stacked and folded, were in put in their place.  I remember distinctly always taking a fresh towel for a shower.  A very different experience than what I was used to at home.  First, our towels weren’t white.  They were various colors and various stages of age.  Some towels were fraying at the edge.  My mom would cut the stray threads off so they didn’t look so bad, but they still kinda looked bad.  We did have one set of nice towels, but those were for company.  God forbid we should use those!

So it was easy for me to come to create my everyday luxury.  I would buy all white towels, in abundance, display them in an orderly, organized manner, and use a fresh towel for every shower.  To this day, this is my ritual, my personal daily luxury regime.  I can’t tell you how many times a fresh white towel after a hot shower has been the simple cure for all.  Yes, maybe I have to do more laundry than normal, but it’s a small price to pay for that moment when I grab that crisp, clean white towel and I feel all anew.

My stack of white towels has come to mean more than just personal daily luxury.  It’s come to represent taking care of myself; taking the time to step back and be thankful for all the blessings in my life.  It’s so very easy to get caught up in the rat race.  It’s easy to forget that we need to celebrate the now and be proactive in creating moments in our lives where we treat ourselves well.  Treating ourselves well and creating personal luxury is never about spending money.  It’s about…and I’ve said this before…validation.

So I pose the question again.  Do you take the time everyday to create a bit of luxury in your life?  If the answer is no, I suggest you take the time to discover that special thing that causes you to connect to your humanity and make you feel a little bit special everyday.  By the way, there’s a wonderful side effect to reminding yourself of your specialness…you tend to remind other’s of their own specialness…and it’s that one of the best things about being human after all.

Coach Christine Law - Leader / Creator of the 30-Day Challenge.

Coach Christine Law – Leader / Creator of the 30-Day Challenge.

I have little more than a week to go on my 30-day nutritional challenge AND I’m loving every minute of it.  My good friend and business consultant, Kevin Waldron, is completely responsible for enrolling me in participating in this challenge with him and his wife (and many others).  Thank you Kevin!

This program is very similar to the ones my friend and business partner, Michael Finn conducts every now and then.  However, he’s been so busy coaching and training at our club, that he hasn’t had the time to do a group nutritional seminar in a long time.  This is where the magic of Christine came in!

The leader of the pack for this challenge is personal trainer and health practitioner, Christine Law.  Christine has put together a program that is simple to follow and become engaged.  The program can lead to dramatic results!  I’m living proof!  I’ve lost over 17 pounds to date, I’ve been sleeping soundly, any minor aches are completely gone, and I have more energy than ever.  I might dare say I’m even thinking clearer.  Here’s some of the possible benefits of the program:

  • Detoxification – Toxic and polluted food, air, water, and environment makes cleaning the colon, liver and other organs more important than ever. The burden of over-pollution may be responsible for deleterious effects on the immune system making us highly susceptible to chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Improved Digestion – The National Digestive Diseases Information Center reports that over 4 million Americans experience constipation frequently accounting for 2.5 million physician visits a year.
  • Reduce Inflammation – Increased inflammation causes an immune response, whereby the body tries to fight the inflammation by increasing cortisol (cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone). However, when the body is focused on producing cortisol, it lowers the levels of testosterone and progesterone. Managing inflammation is so essential for optimal hormonal balance, as it allows the effective production of lean muscle mass and burning belly fat.
  • Boost immune system –The modern world promotes a fast paced and very hectic lifestyle that puts incredible strain on our minds and bodies.  A weak immune system opens us up to many dangers, ranging from bacterial or viral infections, to diseases of the immune system.
  • Lose Weight – Ingesting foods that have better nutritional value will allow your body to use food as energy and you will find you won’t need as much food to feel satisfied.

Read all about Christine, her coaching and personal training philosophies.  Click on new name above or download an informative PDF in my downloads section in the lower right-hand side of this blog.

Day Twelve: DinnerOkay, so my yummy dinner is not in the future.  It’s in the past.  I made seared brussels sprouts with bacon and caramelized onions.  My protein was two slices of baked chicken and two slices of grilled turkey burger.   I topped the turkey and chicken with a chunky purée of avocado, fresh basil and basalmic vinegar.  I topped the purée with a chiffonade of red cabbage and carrot dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  VERY tasty!

So where does the future come in?  Well, after dinner (I actually made this for me and my friend Selina) I went to see the new Star Trek move, Star Trek: Into Darkness.  The movie was great.  Star Trek fan or not, J.J. Abrams made a great film.  Good story and actions packed.  However I did happen to notice one thing that was odd…there are fat people in the future.  What?!  This makes no sense.  So, three hundred years from now we can travel the stars, beam ourselves from one location to the next, and conjure up a meal at our whim by just asking a computer to do so…but we haven’t cured obesity?! It just goes to show you that there will never be a quick and easy way to get the pounds off other than diet and exercise.  I was hoping that in the future we could just beam the fat out of our bodies…lol.