Monday, May 25, 2015

Eat to Live, My 6 week recap and the OFFICIAL RESULTS

My 6 week Eat to Live trial run is complete. It should have been complete last Monday, but since I basically took the week of Maddie's birthday off, I added a week to the complete the full six week challenge.

And here are the official results.

I lost 10.5 pounds 

(based on today's weigh-in... which is 1.5 pounds up from Wednesday.. Wednesdays are my light days.. so really, we could say that I lost 12 pounds.)

But the eye-popping changes are:

  • Waist -4 inches
  • Hips -3 inches
  • Chest - 2 inches
  • Right Thigh -6.25 inches
  • Left Thigh -6 inches
  • Right Bicep -1.25 inches
  • Left Bicep -1.25 inches
  • Shoulder -.75 inch
  • Right Calf -1.5 inches
  • Left Calf -2 inches

That's a total of 28 inches GoNe since April 6th.


Did you read that? 


Even better, I feel great and am committed to this lifestyle! 

Want to learn more about Eat to Live? Check out Dr. Furhman's website.

My 3 year Run-iversary!

On May 5, 2012 I decided to take control of my life. I was overweight, out of shape and tired.

These pictures are all the proof we need. (Sadly, I had to go steal them off a friend's facebook page as during this time, I didn't take pictures willingly... Thanks Hailey!)

I remember being excited about deciding to do something for me. As a teenager I loved running. I never ran on a team, but I ran for myself and really enjoyed it.  I knew at this point in my life, I had to do something for myself that would benefit my health.

So I bought new clothes and shoes for exercise and went out and jogged 1.7 miles at a 15:44 pace. My running skirt I thought was so cute on the rack was so tight that every time I stopped to walk I had to pull the shorts part down. At the end of the jog, the inside of my thighs was severely chafed. 

I went out a couple of more times in May and jogged, but I didn't change my eating habits. I was overwhelmed with how badly I had let myself go and just couldn't imagine that I could change
my world right at the end of the school year.

So I decided that Memorial Day would be THE DAY!

And it was.

On May 28,2012 I joined Weight Watchers.

On May 29th I ran/jogged 1.9 miles at a 14:15 pace. 

I continued to eat fairly healthy and stayed within my Weight Watchers points each week. The activity points were incredibly motivating to me and I worked hard.

By mid-June I had lost ten pounds and was exercising consistently. I even worked out while at my scrapbook retreat and jogged 2 miles at a 13:48 pace. 

And that was just the start.

By December 2012 I was down 35 pounds and I was feeling great!

At that point, I stopped worrying about the food so much and just enjoyed running.

Memorial Day 2013: I ran 4.69 miles at 11:09 pace

Here I am with Doug the first week of June 2013.

Memorial Day 2014: I ran 4.33 miles at a 10:46 pace

Here I am with Doug celebrating my 40th birthday.

Memorial Day 2015: I ran 4.57 miles at a 9:50 pace.

And here I am on day 26 of my 30 day handstand challenge. Wearing the workout skirt from 2012.. yes, that same skirt that was so tight that my skin was rubbed raw. Now I only wear it when I need a reminder of how far I have come as it is so loose that I have to pull it up every few minutes! LOVE!

I can't wait to see where I will be in 2016. With my new focus on Eat to Live, I predict another minute off my pace! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Finding My Palette

I have very much enjoyed learning about palette knife oil painting from my lessons with Leonid Afremov.  His style is all bright colors and very loud, and it totally works for him.  It doesn't work for me that well. I have found myself struggling with the brash reds and overwhelming colors.  I just couldn't get the color palette to work for me the way I wanted.

So, last week, I did what I ask my students to do.. I took a step back and looked at the pieces that I like the most. I mentally broke down the process and decided that my issue was all of the red in my paintings.  While red is one of my favorite colors to wear, it isn't working in my paintings!

Here is an example. 

I painted this bridge piece per Afremov's instructions.  It was a successful piece, if the goal was to do what I was told. And as a student, that is the goal. I learned the process.  But the piece just hung in my studio and in my mind it was blah.

So finally, yesterday, I changed it. And I made it mine.
I love that the reds and purples are just barely there, providing depth in the colors, but not overwhelming anymore.

I have to say, the colors speak to me.

And carrying it further, here is a brand new painting done completely without red. I LOVE it.

Should you like it as well, you can find prints of it and my other works at Fine Art America.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A break between semesters

The school year is winding down. This means all kinds of crazy, but one thing it means is that I'm not buried in deadlines for competitions and I'm finished with my grad classes for the semester.

I am rather proud of my 4.0 for the semester. 12 hours of graduate classwork on top of our life meant for some stressful times, but I didn't want to make a B. So at least for this semester, all is good. :)

One of the things I am most proud of this semester is that not only did I earn A's in all four courses, but I feel like I really LEARNED useful stuff too.

And since last night I didn't have classwork to occupy my time and as I've mentioned before, I don't watch much television, I painted another painting.

I'm really focusing now on developing my own style. I love palette knife paintings, but using the entire color spectrum has bothered me. My painting mentor pushes us to use all of the colors, but I'm finding myself really enjoying a limited palette painting.  The painting below has no red in it.

I think for a 20x24 inch painting completed in an hour and a half, it's a nice piece.

More than that, it was fun.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The start of a new painting series

I painted this today. I've had this big canvas sitting around for months and decided to use it.

I really like how it turned out.

Now I'm thinking about doing a series of girl athlete paintings in this style.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a girl hurdling, a girl playing soccer, a cheerleader, and so on..

Guess I better get to work! :)

A little painting

I got to paint this weekend.


A little paint does wonders for the soul.

I've even sketched out my next painting! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's the little things that are the big things

My children are my daily mirror. If I want to know about life, my attitude and my habits, all I have to do is look at them, see what they are doing and what they are interested in to know what I have been busy focusing on.

So this week, I am trying to look in the mirror of their eyes more. 

But first, I have to share this.. 

I can't believe that my baby is about to complete kindergarten. 

I love her drawing of herself!

And because I know that I will blink and she will be ready to graduate from high school, I am trying to document some of her little girl moments!

I love that she loves writing stories and reading.

Moving on..

People ask why I do challenges, I do them because:

  • it keeps me accountable to complete the task
  • it makes me try new things
  • it makes me try HARD things

And teaching my girls to complete hard things is one of my jobs as a mom.

So with this handstand challenge and healthy eating, there are days when I don't want to continue the journey. Some days I want to sit on the couch and eat potato chips. But you know what, my girls are great at reminding me to get up and get going. 

Lexi is eating salads with me and is my official handstand photographer. Kylie is working hard on handstands too. 

So even though the other night I had tons of chest congestion and a bad headache, legitimate reasons to take a day off the handstand, you know what? I did that stupid handstand. And Kylie sat there and watched me, and afterward, I felt like I had accomplished something!

Cause look at my girls.  

They will follow my lead, whichever path I take them on.

And this is last night. 

I'm getting stronger.

And relishing in a few moments with my baby girl who likes to draw butterflies on her face. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What? These pants are tooo big!!

When I started this journey, I knew that I wanted to feel better, but I really wasn't expecting to LOOK different, or to lose enough weight and inches that my clothes would be too big.

But here I am..

Here is my week 5 midweek report.

I am 4 pounds from weighing what I weighed when I went to the doctor for my first OB visit with Maddie, SIXTEEN YEARS AGO! 


And, my size 6 pants are HUGE on me. 

I never imagined that I would need a smaller size than 6, so over the last year I have restocked my wardrobe a few pieces at a time.  All of my pants are too big now.  Time to buy size 4. 


That is CRAZY talk.

Anyone want to go shopping? :)

I'm not even dreading swimsuit season this year!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eating REAL food

I've had a lot of people in the last few weeks ask me about what I am eating...the easy answer is that I am eating REAL food! 

Nothing processed.

Lots and lots of fresh food.

(okay... a little processed as I look at the picture below and see the non-dairy creamer in my coffee... )

So here is what I had this morning for breakfast after a 4 mile incredibly humid/sticky run!

I had a bowl of steel cut oats, some fresh fruit, a glass of water and a cup of coffee.

Side note: I use the Hungry Girl  oatmeal philosophy.. My huge bowl of oatmeal is 1/3 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup water and 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You cook it just like normal, just longer. Instead of a small bowl, you end up with a huge bowl! And yes, that is a little butter (less than a pat.. but it is the real thing) and a teaspoon of brown sugar.

When I cut up fruit for breakfast, I go ahead and cut up some for lunch.

Lunch is a salad. It's a big salad, but fits in the take along (quart size?) tub.

I have 1/2 and 1/2 spinach and mixed greens first. Then a handful of coleslaw mixture (no sauce on it!) some edamame, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, carrots and avocado. 

I have a small container of balsamic vinaigrette to put on the salad, if I feel like it. I don't use dressing very often, but sometimes I do.

I will also eat my cup of beans with lunch. I often put the beans in the salad.

And that's lunch. 

What I really like is that for whatever reason, eating this crunchy salad takes time and work.  You have to CHEW the food and since it's work it takes my entire lunch time.  When I ate processed junk for lunch, it would only take a few minutes and then I snacked and often ate more than I intended cause I didn't have anything else to do!

Another thing is that I am NOT counting calories, nor am I worried about the fat in the avocado! Since I'm doing my best to eat a pound of raw veggies, a pound of cooked veggies, a cup of beans and three fruits everyday, there just really isn't any need to worry about calories or fat. I like avocado and I like nuts, so I'm eating them and enjoying them!

In addition to the "approved" Eat to Live foods, I also have my serving or so of non-dairy creamer. I have the equivalent of about a cup and a half of coffee every day and then at night I have a glass of white wine. 

For dinner, I eat my cooked vegetables and often more beans and sometimes some fish or a little chicken. Eat to Live allows for 12 ounces of lean meat/fish a week, and really that is more than enough for me.  

Another question I am asking myself, and others have asked..

Will I be able to continue this lifestyle past the 6 weeks that I committed to? I'm planning on it. I may let up on the very limited meat part, but I don't know, I'm not really missing the meats.  I'll probably add back a little dairy, but I've never been a big milk fan. I do however like cheese dip!

All in all,  I feel better than I have in years and in case I haven't said it lately.. I am SLEEPING better than I have ever slept!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

No Spanx here baby!

My Eat to Live Update.. Week 4

Mother's Day 2015

That's all me. No Spanx, no girdle, no nothing extra to keep me tucked in.

This past week I've not eaten my best.. we had birthday cake and teacher appreciation lunches, I've coughed and coughed so I haven't been able to work out like I wanted.. but even in the midst of all that, I've worked hard to eat my raw veggies, my cooked veggies, my beans and my fruit.

And I've lost at least another pound.

I feel better than I have in like forever.  

I was going to call this week a do-over week. Till I put that dress on! 

Yeah, I'm excited.

Whew, there is something about that first full week of May

There is just something about the first full week of May each year. It's like the turn of the calendar makes everything go into warp speed.

I am trying to slow down my brain and enjoy the moments as I can.

The week started out with Maddie celebrating her 15th birthday. Like every mother, I just shook my head and wondered where these years have gone!
I continued my daily handstand challenge, and even mastered the handstand in the yard without a wall to lean on! I was so pumped.

Also this week Maddie had colorguard tryouts for next year's guard. It wasn't nerve wrecking this time as we knew what to expect, and we knew that as long as she didn't just do horribly, she would make the team.
She did, along with her best friend! 

Friday night found Doug and I out to eat with just Kylie. We haven't had many meals out with just the little one, but I have a feeling that this is a glimpse of our future.

I found it nostalgic.. Kylie loved having all of our attention.

And we finished the week with Mother's Day today. Here we are at church. 

And then we came home and Kylie did handstands with me!
 Life is busy, but oh so good.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Handstand and a Memory

I had to share today's handstand! 

(I don't know what day it is.. I don't keep count like's just another day, another handstand!)

The back story is that I feel like crud. I'm exhausted and worn out and have low morale.

But in the midst of work yuck, my students have my heart.

This afternoon after class (while running a fever no less) I went across to the dance studio so that I could do my handstand in a new place.

My advanced art students who I dearly love are also top dancers. They know about my Eat to Live quest and my handstand challenge. 

I asked one of the girls if she would take a cool picture of me.. she said sure, but then she and a couple of other girls discussed doing handstands with me!

I said let's do it. Then they pretty much backed out.

So Allison helped me into my handstand (don't want to foot plant the mirror!) and then stood back and watched as I said come on!

So she ran over (as seen in picture 2) and Shelby (another of my babies) helped her and we took a picture.

What was so funny about the process is that all the while we were laughing and playing around.. and I was upside down, the dance teacher, was watching. The other dancers tried to get her to join our handstand party by chanting her name.

She said no. She said that I had been working out! 

I have to say, my heart needed that. The dance teacher is fit and young.. and she didn't want to do a handstand.. but I was STILL doing one. :)

Yeah, in reality it was probably less than 20 seconds AND my feet were balanced on the wall, but I felt like a rock star!

So this is me. Being real with my students. Oh how these kids have my heart.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My 30 day Handstand Challenge!

As part of my challenge to get stronger, I've decided to focus on 30 days of handstands. I am going to document my efforts.  (you are welcome.)

Day 1. At home at the end of a long day. But I did it.

Day 2. In my classroom, for my high school students!

Day 3: Saturday morning, after a 6 mile run. I don't know if you can see, but I am straight up here. NOT leaning on the wall. I held it like this for at least a second or two! :)  Progress. Slow. and. Steady.

I can't wait to see what I can do after 30 days. My goal is that I will be able to stand for a minute.