State of the Weight Wednesday {On Thursday}

So another week has passed and blogging has been sparse.  And that’s fine.  Busy is good.  I love the hustle and bustle of this stage of life.

This week turned out much better than I was expecting!  I successfully navigated a long holiday weekend with TWO big restaurant meals and didn’t lose any ground.  I met my exercise goal of four workouts this week, although I probably could and should have pushed myself a little harder.  But we didn’t have tennis practice or a match this week, so I guess I considered it a “rest” week.

I would have been happy to just maintain due to the huge meals at Studio Movie Grill and Cracker Barrel, but I ended up being down another three pounds when I weighed in this morning!  That puts me at 4 pounds for this weight loss challenge and 15 pounds total since the beginning of April.  I think what helped the most this week was tracking alllllllllll of my food, which was the weekly challenge for my WLC.  Not only did it help me figure out how much I needed to exercise, but I also thought really hard about what I decided to eat and whether or not it would be worth it.  It has also made me realize that I am addicted to sweet tea.  I have no problem going without soda, but I just can’t seem to shake my love for a big glass of iced sweet tea.  I’m going to try to work on that.

This WLC is also incorporating a core challenge for the month of July.  The exercises are progressive in both time and difficulty, so I will be doing my best to stick with them each day and make it through to the end of the month.  The weekly challenge for this week is to prepare every meal at home.  No restaurants, no fast food, no running downstairs for a quick sandwich.  Considering I do that last one once or twice a week, this is going to be difficult.  I just need to adjust my dinner proportions to allow for leftovers the next day.  This challenge will be great for both my waistline AND my wallet.

I’m actually really proud of myself for hitting the 15 pounds lost mark.  That seems like one of those “wow” amounts to me.  I can fluctuate five pounds in water weight in any given week.  Ten pounds is a bit more impressive.  But fifteen pounds?  That is actual fat being burned off my body.  My jeans are falling off of me today.  My belt is tightened another notch and it’s making my pants bunch up in the back.  My tops are a little looser.  My wedding rings slide on and off with minimal effort, which is a huge improvement of not even being able to wear them three months ago {granted, I did size them up a half size, but even after that it took soap and water to get them off at night}.  Fifteen pounds is so close to twenty.  And while I still wish that I could somehow get the weight to come off a little faster, at least it has been steady and I haven’t gone up and down any.  That averages out to about a pound a week, which is totally sustainable for me.  If I can maintain that pace, I could possibly be down another 25 pounds by the end of the year.  Which would be AMAZING.

My goals for this week are to continue doing my core challenge and ab challenge exercises, get in at least four good workouts, and to prepare every meal at home.  I think I can do it.  I know I can.  And hopefully I’ll see another pound gone next week.

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One Thing Leads To Another

Hopefully you are now all singing this song.

Moving on.

It is always fun to see how one thing can set a series of events into motion.  Like how having a dog can lead to needing a new piece of furniture.  Now I know it’s not that unusual to think that a dog might necessitate a new piece of furniture.  They chew on things, wallow on things, and generally destroy everything.  But in my case, having two dogs is making me see the need for a bench at the end of our bed.  And the chain of events goes a little something like this.

Two large dogs live in our house.  Those two large dogs spend the day outside while we are at work.  We have a large fenced back yard, and they are much happier out there than when they were cooped up in the house all day.  But sometimes it rains during the day while we are gone.  There is enough roof overhang to keep them dry.  But my two knuckleheads LOVE getting out in the rain.  They love running around in it, rolling in the wet grass, and stomping through the lovely red Georgia clay.  So when they come in after we get home and it’s been raining, they are a disaster.  Those nights, they stay in the kitchen.  {Thank God for baby gates, right?}  But sometimes if it’s just been sprinkling, we’ll let them sleep in their normal spots in our bedroom.  And while they don’t mind being wet and gross while they are outside, it seems as if they cannot stand to be even slightly damp once they set paw in the house.  So as soon as they get up to our room, they try to rub their gross sweaty wet dog bodies dry on whatever they can find.  The carpet, their dog beds, the pile of dirty towels that are about to be washed, and the end of our bed.

That last one, as you might imagine, drives me INSANE.  It’s bad enough that I’m a sucker and let them sleep in our room with us smelling like sweaty dog, but for them to rub their dogginess all over our comforter is insult to injury.  But they do it, as much as I try to stop it.  Well, I got a new comforter for our bedroom.  It’s so lovely and colorful.

I need to get matching pillow shams.  And clean off my nightstand.  Oy.  But isn’t it pretty?  You can see why I would not like dirty dogs rubbing their hairy butts all over the bottom of it.  So I needed to come up with a solution besides not allowing the dogs in the bedroom.  They’ve been in the kitchen at night for the past week because of all the rain we’ve had, and I kind of miss their big cold noses nudging me awake in the mornings.  Plus my kitchen smells like wet dog and it’s hard to walk in there with those giant dog beds on the floor.

I’ve been talking about getting a bench or ottoman for the end of our bed for awhile.  I like the way it looks and the boys would enjoy sitting on it to watch a show or movie when we have movie nights.  The problem I am running into is that the benches I like that are affordable are not wide enough for our bed, and the ones that are wide enough are really expensive.  I need it to be almost as wide as the king-size bed to prevent the dogs from rubbing their sides on my new comforter.  Those are a nice chunk of cheddar.

So what does any blogger worth her salt in this age do?  Why, she scours Pinterest for a DIY bench!  So that’s exactly what I am doing lately, and I’ve found several attractive options.  Most of them involve modifying a piece of furniture that is intended for something else.  Specifically, bookcases.  More specifically, the Expedit bookcase from IKEA.

{This was uploaded straight to Pinterest from a snapshot someone took at IKEA.  If it’s yours or you know who this photo belongs to originally, please let me know and I will give proper credit!}

The Expedit bookcase looks to be the perfect width for our king-size bed.  Our bed is a little higher than that, so I will probably add some legs or casters for a couple more inches in height, and I’ll add an upholstered cushion to the top to make it comfortable for little bums.  The storage option is an added bonus.  I can add bins and put my yarn or shoes inside, or use it for smaller items of clothing or overflow during seasonal wardrobe switchovers.

Another option I like is the Besta TV unit.  Again, it is the perfect width, has some storage space, and already has legs for added height.

I don’t know what’s up with that random extra leg.  Hm.  But it looks like a good option for my purposes.  I would make a cushion for the top with a plywood base and drill it into the surface for comfort, or perhaps just use brackets to connect the base onto the back of the bench to keep it from slipping around.  I’ve seen a few other options on the interwebs, but these two are the frontrunners.  And fortunately for me, there is an IKEA about a mile from my office.

So there you have it.  That’s how living with two dogs leads to new furniture construction.  Have you ever “hacked” a piece of furniture to make it serve another purpose than intended?  Zac has repurposed several items for use in his garage shop area, but this will be our first time doing this for a piece of furniture that is supposed to look nice and like it belongs there.  I’m nervous, so wish me luck!

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State of the Weight Wednesday

These Wednesdays keep coming faster and faster.

Nothing much to report.  It appears as if I am down a pound, which I can probably attribute to a grueling three hour, three set tennis match on Sunday.  It was a tough one.  If I could play tennis every day, I would be the happiest girl in school.

My weight loss challenge started last Thursday, and my beginning measurements were the same as my ending measurements for the last challenge, so yay for maintaining?  The first week’s challenge is always to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  For me, that is a looooooot of water.  But I have faithfully chugged my daily challenge intake, and I think I’m getting used to drinking so much.  There is not very much room left for sodas or tea or coffee after downing so much water.  I figure if I can clear 60 ounces by lunch time, I am able to coast the rest of the day with leisurely water intake.  It has worked pretty well, but I haven’t peed this much since third trimester.

I also started mt 30 day ab challenge on Monday.  My abs hurt so much today that I can’t even suck in my gut.  You never know how much you use your core muscles for until every move brings you pain and suffering.  But I’m hoping that after a few days it will start to hurt less.  It is only 15 minutes out of my day, so I will persevere.  Last night I ran two miles before doing the ab work.  I don’t know if that helped or hurt, but at least I got my cardio in for the day.

Even though I’m not seeing the number on the scale move as fast as I would like, I can definitely see a change in my body.  My clothes are fitting differently and starting to get a little looser.  The jeans I’m wearing today were bordering on tight at the beginning of the last weight loss challenge.  Today I can pull aside over an inch of denim without stretching it.  Maybe it’s time for some new jeans!


I need to continue to follow the challenge goals to the letter.  I’m proud of myself for making it through a week of drowning in water, and hopefully that will continue indefinitely.  My goal for this week is to not go crazy with my eating over the long holiday weekend.  I need to get back to cleaner eating and packing a healthy lunch and snacks.  Today I caved and went to the restaurant downstairs for lunch.  I got a chicken sandwich and fries {which I have found I don’t really enjoy anymore unless they are of the waffle variety}.  The sandwich was so poorly constructed that I couldn’t even eat it.  The bun was soggy by the time I got back to my office, so I ate maybe a third of it and put the rest away.  I can use the chicken in tonight’s dinner.  But I have found that I will no longer force myself to eat high calorie “treat” foods if I am not absolutely 100% enjoying them.  And that means that the soggy chicken sandwich from downstairs gets the axe.  I’m still mad that I spent $7 on a meal that brought me no satisfaction whatsoever.  I would rather eat a healthy meal and splurge on a few bites of a tasty dessert that I know I’ll enjoy.  So next week I am going back to preparing my own lunches.

I also plan on exercising four days a week for the month of July.  Hopefully that will become a habit and just something I do.  People tend to make time for things that are important to them.  If I want exercise to become one of those important things for me, I am going to have to make time for it.

I hope everyone has a safe and healthy Independence Day!

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Do You Do Tattoo?

Much to the embarrassment of my parents, I have a few tattoos.  I have always liked tattoos even when they were not as prevalent as they are now.  Back in high school one of my friends turned 18 in December, and one of the first things she did was get a small ladybug tattoo.  I think she was one of the first people my age that had gotten a tattoo.  I thought it was awesome.  That same friend has several tattoos now, and we even went to get one together, 10 years after graduating high school.  Funny how things work out!

Being a mostly obedient and eager to please daughter, I waited until I was a full-grown married woman before getting my first tattoo.  They had to have seen it coming, though, seeing as how my husband has several tattoos himself.  My brother, the rebel, got a giant arm tattoo whilst still living at home at age 18.  Sometimes I wish I had his chutzpah.  Anyway, I got my first tattoo on our honeymoon in Mexico.  It is a Mayan symbol for transition, and since we were on our honeymoon {making the transition into married life} in the Riviera Maya, we thought it was fitting.  I got it in the tramp stamp location, and it’s about the size of a small Post-It note.  Zac has the same tattoo on his left shoulder, but it’s about the size of an index card.  I have never been able to find a picture of the symbol itself, but it looks like the center of the Hunab Ku, enclosed in a rectangle.

Perhaps I’m too trusting of what tattoo artists in Mexico tell me.  But whatever.

I got my second tattoo on our one-year anniversary trip to Gatlinburg.  It is a very cliche angel wings between my shoulder blades.  I would love to get this one covered up, but haven’t figured out what I want to do there yet.  My third tattoo {mentioned above} is an Olde English B on my hip.  In college, there were four different Rachels in my sorority, so if you wanted to get a particular Rachel’s attention, you couldn’t just say “hey Rachel!”  So we all had some sort of extra name to differentiate us.  I started out as Rachel B. but quickly became just plain B.  People from college still call me either Rachel B. or B to this day.  I got the tattoo on a whim so it was the only thing I could think of at the time that had any sort of significance and would take less than an hour.  I’m sometimes impulsive like that.

Five years passed.

I got my most recent tattoo in April whilst in Austin, TX with 46 of the best friends I’d never met before.  Three of us decided to head into Austin proper for some new ink.  I researched and found a place that got great reviews with a couple of artists that specialized in the type of work I wanted.  So we made our appointments and drove into the city one afternoon.   I had been talking about getting a traditional nautical sparrow/swallow tattoo in memory of my grandfather, who was in the Navy as a young man {and, ironically, did not have any tattoos}.  My artist drew me up a sample, talked me into going a bit bigger than I had originally planned, and went to work.  I think it turned out nicely.

In addition to being a small reminder of my wonderful grandfather, this tattoo is a symbol of one of my favorite hymns, His Eye is On the Sparrow.  The hymn is based on Matthew 10:29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

{NIV Translation}

This hymn has always been special to me.  It helps me feel that no matter where I am, however far away from family and friends I may be, someone who loves me is watching over me.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Now, as to whether it is a sparrow or a swallow, I don’t really care.  I’ve always thought they were sparrows, but when I started reading more about traditional nautical tattoos I learned that they were actually swallows.  So whatever.  When I want it to be a tribute to my PawPaw, it can be a swallow.  And when I want it to remind me of my favorite hymn, it can be a sparrow.  I’m breezy like that.  It’s not like I’m trying to call a turtle a dog or anything.  And if people can get the Tazmanian Devil tattooed on their body in earnest, then I can have a sparrallow.

There, I just made up a new word.  You’re welcome.

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State of the Weight Wednesday

I have nothing new to report.  I am still holding steady at officially 11 pounds lost, so while I’m thankful that I haven’t gained, I’m blah about not losing anything.

It’s my own fault, though.  I have been slacking on exercise and telling myself that I’ll just make it up tomorrow.  That doesn’t work for me.  I have to exercise every day.  And not just exercise.  I have to work up a really good sweat for a long time for it to be effective.  I just don’t lose weight easily.  It’s not something I can just set my mind to do and watch the weight fall off.  I’ve always been this way, and I guess I’ll be this way for the rest of my life.

The good news is that my next group weight loss challenge starts tomorrow.  I did pretty well in the last one, but I am hoping to really kick it up this time.  I seem to have gotten a better handle on my eating and figuring out ways to snack healthy and make better choices in restaurants.  I credit that for maintaining over the past week when I haven’t been exercising as I should.  I’m also doing a 30-day ab challenge starting on July 1.  I did the first part of the first circuit Tuesday evening just to see if I could still do it {leg lifts}, and my ab muscles are still sore.  So we’ll see how I fare on that.

All in all, I just have to keep plugging away.  My goals for the near future are to really pay attention and follow this WLC as closely as I can, and to make it through the 30-day ab challenge.  I have to be more disciplined if I ever want to succeed at this.

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