Monday, February 29, 2016

Week Eight: Combat Challenge #3

It's my final week of Combat!  Woohoo!

It's been so much fun, really.  And Combat has gotten me into great shape....but I'm ready to be done.  One more week - and not even a full one - until we leave for the cruise!

Monday: Sh'Bam #18 + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove + walk

Considering how tired yesterday's workout made me, I decided to take it easy today.  I did my normal Monday Sh'Bam but then a lighter dance workout by Ilyse.  My plantar fasciitis was really bad this weekend so I'm hoping less impact will make a difference today.  This Sh'Bam was a lot of fun.  Anything that has me doing the Carlton before 6am is great!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  Awesome!

Tuesday: Amy's Complete Strength and Conditioning 

I was looking forward to weights this morning and a lighter pace in general.  Amy's workout definitely makes me work.  All in all, you do 50 push-ups total in this video.  Whew!  And I love the standing ab work; I always feel it later in the day.  A great workout!

Wednesday: Grit #7 + Michelle's HIIT - Breathless and Energized

Oh, boy.  Grit day.  I was dreading it, as usual.  I stayed upright a bit more than those in the video - I just can't do hopping push-ups - but did most of the rest.  And it was tough!  But good!  And that was my last Grit of this Challenge.  YAY!!  Michelle's HIIT was good and I felt super happy after this morning's workout.  There's nothing like working that hard to make you feel a sense of accomplishment!

Thursday: BodyCombat #64 + Michelle's Heart-Pumping Total Sculpting + walk

So I forgot just how difficult this Combat is.  Dang.  It's fun, though - especially the Irish track.  Ha!  Michelle's sculpting worked me super hard, since I used my new 12lbs weight.  Ouch!  I sweated more with that than with the Combat!  At lunch, I went for a 20 minute walk outside. 

Friday: Combat 60 Live - Ultimate Warrior's Workout

To close out this Combat Challenge, I went back to Combat 60 Live, which is always fun.  It's amazing how much I can sweat just from punching.  Ha!  My shoulders were achy this morning from weights yesterday but I made it through!

And that's it!   I'm done with Combat.  I leave on a jet plane Friday afternoon.  

Calorie Counts:

I did good this week until Thursday.  I'm ready to eat now.  I am in the middle of my acceptable five pound weight range so I am completely satisfied.  All in all, I've lost 7.7 pounds since Christmas!!  I think that is 80% due to diet - I've been really strict - but Combat helped, as well.  I worked really hard and it's good to see results.

Most important, I know that I can get near my ideal weight, even though the endocrinologist was skeptical.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mini Applesauce Muffins

We had a birthday breakfast at work which meant I had an excuse to bake!  Yay!  I wanted and needed something easy and when I saw these Mini Applesauce Muffins, I was immediately interested.  They looked yummy, moist, and perfect for a group.

I followed the recipe exactly, though I used egg substitute instead of eggs.  When it comes time to bake, I would err on the side of too long rather than not long enough - mine were barely brown on the bottom after being in the oven for the highest allotted time.  Thankfully, I didn't use all the "dipping" butter, which helped with calories.

And they turned out great!  I loved them; Mr. Higgins devoured two; and several people at work wanted the recipe.  So, success!  And, when made as I did, these are 58 calories each - not bad!!

This is definitely a keeper!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week Seven: Combat Challenge #3

Only two more weeks to go!  Unbelievable!

I'm feeling really good and I'm almost content with what the scale is telling me - especially if I can lose another pound or two.  It's amazing how, once I get into my "normal" 5lbs range, I feel so much better.  

Monday: Sh'Bam #19 + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals

I did this Sh'Bam seven weeks ago but I didn't remember much - except the music, which is really fun.  It was a nice way to ease into the dreaded Monday morning.  I noticed today that there are longer versions (45 minutes) of some of the Sh'Bam workouts now.  Cool!  After that fun dance ended, I tuned into Scott's HIIT, which is always effective.  

Tuesday: Amy's Kickin' Cardio and Conditioning + walk

This morning, I did weights, knowing I'd be able to walk at lunch.  I really like Amy's weighted workouts and this one is great.  My heart rate stays up and I sweat - always good to know you're working hard, even when you're not jumping around.  There are three rounds of 45-seconds of push-ups in this one - after the first round, I only last about 30 seconds on the last two.  Whew!  I walked the track at lunch today and then did sit-ups.

Wednesday: Grit #6 + Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast

These Grit workouts come around way too often.  Ha!  I didn't do a lot of the push-ups today because I was sore from yesterday's weights....and because I wanted steps.  But I got a crazy workout, all the same.  After that 30 minutes, I did Michelle's fun cardio.  I wish she'd post more of these short workouts!

Thursday: BodyCombat #58 + Amy's Total Body Sculpting + walk

This Combat didn't seem at all familiar, which was good.  And challenging!   My arms were achy by the end!  And so I did weights - ha!   I wanted to add in more weights this week and today was the day - about 15 minutes with Amy and ouch!  Using the new 12lbs weights really works me hard.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  And I was proud of myself for getting over there!

Friday:  BodyFlow #64 + Ilyse's Groovy Barre

Yay, Friday!  Rest day!  Almost.  I started off with ten minutes of Ilyse's barre to get warm and awake.  Then, thirty minutes of yoga with Flow #64.  It felt so good to stretch in different ways than my norm.  And I'm trying to get better with the flow of it - meaning having more muscle control.  That's what makes yoga tough, after all!  And this was my last Flow of the Challenge - so sad.  At lunch, we walked to a cafe - so 20 minutes of exercise, sort of!  

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn on Glo + Michelle's Body Fit 360

So an amazing thing happened today.  Even though I'm not killing myself with high intensity workouts in this Combat Challenge (Grit is the only tough workout during the work week), I'm getting into really great shape.  How do I know?  This CIB was nothing.  I was doing tough moves, that usually kill me, without thinking about it.  It felt great!  After an hour of that, I did Body FIt 360 - all 60 minutes - because I've really been wanting to do it and haven't had the time.  The first 35 minutes is serious cardio so I had sweat dripping off me throughout.  What a great morning!

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength 2 on Glo + Amy's Power Cardio Drills + Dozois' Tight and Toned Core

Okay, so I think I used up all my energy yesterday because today almost killed me.  This CS 2 is so tough - it gets me every time.  And I didn't skimp today, even though it was hard.  Somehow I then managed to get through Amy's workout - weights and low-impact cardio for 20 minutes.  Then, Michelle's ab workout - because I'll be in a bikini a week from today.  After stretching, I was tired.  But also, super proud of myself!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1187
Tuesday - 1189
Wednesday - 1638
Thursday - 1156
Friday - 1445
Saturday - 1223
Sunday - 1294

I got on the scale after my workout on Sunday and was amazed - down two pounds from the start of the week.  Granted, I was super dehydrated at the time, but just seeing that number, in the middle of my "normal" range, was such a relief.  Knowing that if I starve for two months and work my butt off, I can get back down to my "normal" - despite what the doctor says - is a great feeling.  Hallelujah!  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Funny

I love dogs...but cats crack me up!  And if the dogs saw the maniacs on the road, they'd be scared too!  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sea Salt

I have a FO (finished object) to report!  And it's the best one yet!  

My first adult sweater is done!!!  Yes, done!!!  Finally!

This Sea Salt took me over a year to make.  I started it with my knitting buddy, CS, who was able to help me with the more difficult spots.  It's a very innovative design: you start on a sleeve and knit all the way across the top and on to the next sleeve.  Then, you knit the neckline and, finally, the body.  

My only real adjustment to the pattern was that I made it longer than suggested.   I have a long torso and I like longer sweaters.  My only complaint is that there are some weird spots under the arms and a weird line of stitches at the top.  But that's my inexperience showing - and no one will notice but me.  

I'm so excited! 

Pattern: Sea Salt by Laura Aylor
Yarn: madelinetosh DK Twist
Needle: US 7 
Made for: me!
Time to completion: over a year

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week Six: Combat Challenge #3

Only three weeks until I have to get into a bikini.  Eek!  

Since I splurged last week for the Super Bowl, it's time to get back on track in a major way.  I need to hit it hard. 

Monday: Sh'Bam #14 + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

After tweaking my knee on Sunday, I needed to take it easy today.  Thankfully, the knee doesn't hurt unless twisted.  So, these workouts were fine today.  Sh'Bam was super fun; I vaguely remembered this one from my last round of Combat.  Then, I did Ilyse's lighter dance workout.  This one is so much fun.  I forced myself to not walk at lunch, needing a breather after so much weekend cardio.

Tuesday:  BodyCombat #59 + walk

I wanted to get back to Combat today to test my knee.  It felt fine while warming up and when it came time to do kicks, I took the roundhouse very slowly and carefully.  No pain.  Yay!  And no pain throughout the rest of this fun Combat!  I added on my own cardio for 10 minutes to get in a full 45 minute workout.  At lunch, I did the 1.25 mile loop around campus.  It was a gorgeous day out!

Wednesday:  Grit #5 + Dozois' HIIT - Breathless and Energized + walk

The best thing about Wednesday morning workouts is that they get over and done with 6:30am.  LOL!  This Grit was a challenge.  You repeat one challenge set at the beginning and end and it's a doozy.  Next up was Michelle's fun HIIT.  I skipped the lunge jumps since I'd already done about 100 in Grit.  At lunch, I walked the track at the rec center.

Thursday: Amy's Head to Toe Body Sculpt

Time for weights and I was looking forward to it today!  This is the workout that, a few weeks ago, almost killed my hamstrings.  I was sure to be more careful today and then I really stretched those muscles afterward.  Let's hope I don't have a repeat.  At lunch, I went to a cafe that's a 10-minute walk away so I got some steps!

Friday: Dozois' Barre Blast - Shape and Tone + Flow #65

I was so looking forward to a light day today!  I started out with about 10 minutes of Michelle's Barre workout, just to warm up....literally in the cool house.  Then, Flow.  It was lovely!  I really like how they focus on hamstrings.  Thankfully, Amy didn't break mine yesterday, but it still felt great to stretch them out!

Saturday:  Combat #63 and #64 + Amy's Sculpt and Define Your Legs and Glutes

I decided to skip Combat 60 again in favor of two online Combats.  These are not easy!  Whew!  Sweat was flying!  Ha!  But it was a really good workout!  Afterward, I decided to get some leg work in with Amy's workout.  I used my new 12lb weights on some of the moves and 8s on others.  That was followed by a stretch and sit-ups. 

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + Amy's Push Past Fatigue and Feel It

My bum was definitely feeling the effects of Amy's workout yesterday.  Ouch.  But I was really looking forward to this CIB today and it was so much fun!  Difficult, for sure, but still fun!  After that 60 minutes, I did weights with Amy - upper body today.  Using the new 12lb weights for the heavy set was a real challenge - I had to alternate arms at times to get through the sets.  My stretch after all this was much appreciated!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1193
Tuesday - 1173
Wednesday - 1335
Thursday - 1238
Friday - 1673
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1171

Even though I didn't eat as well I would have liked this week, the scale didn't seem to mind.  I was down to my lowest weight so far - and barely within my "normal" five-pound range.  Yes!!  

The endocrinologist had bad news for me on Tuesday - I have to lower my meds again and she doesn't think my weight will go down much more.  Let me tell you, that's not what I wanted to hear.  All I can do, though, is keep at it.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Fortune Hunter

At Christmas, during an annual trek to Books-A-Million in Nashville, I picked up The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin.  I read it these past few weeks and it was enjoyable!

My Goodreads review (albeit concise):

I had no idea what to expect from this book as it just caught my eye in a bookstore one day. But the writing was very good and the story kept me entertained. 

Charlotte Baird is an heiress who falls for a lady's man/fortune hunter. The story is predictable but the route to the ending is unexpected and well thought out. I also really appreciate that it is based on historical fact.

I hope Daisy Goodwin continues to write as she's very competent at historical fiction!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week Five: Combat Challenge #3

After seeing the number on the scale finally reach manageable levels last week, I had to have a splurge day for my mom's birthday on Saturday.  I'm hoping that didn't set me back.  

And so I'm motivated, as usual, to keep at it.  And there are only four weeks until our cruise!!  Eek!

Monday: Sh'Bam #15 + Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast

After only about 3 hours of solid sleep last night, I was dragging this morning.  So it's a good thing Sh'Bam was first on my list to do.  That was fun - though not my favorite since there was a twerking song (in which I did not twerk).  After that ended, I did Michelle's fun Cardio Blast.  For lunch, I met a co-worker and we walked down to a cafe - so about 20 minutes of walking to get to our healthy meal! 

Tuesday: Amy's Complete Strength and Conditioning + walk

I'm attempting weights on Tuesday again this week.  It's fun to mix up these workouts that Amy does - a bit of cardio and compound weight exercises.  It keeps my hear rate up - and my sweat rate up - throughout the 45 minutes.  At lunch, I walked at the rec to get some steps.  

Wednesday: Grit #3 + Amy's Intervals + walk

Another dreaded Wednesday.  At least I slept better beforehand!  This Grit isn't the toughest ever but it still pushes my limits.  Afterward, I did Amy's HIIT - substituting some of my own moves during the intervals.  I like mixing it up that way!  And talk about an effective morning!  At lunch, I went back to the rec and walked the track.  Ugh.  No more of that this week!

Thursday:  BodyCombat #60

My first thought upon waking up this morning: it's really only Thursday?!  Sigh.  I got up and did Combat - ever a slave to my routine.  This was a fun one with some seriously tough portions (lunge jumps!).  It also lasted about 35 minutes, which was nice.  I then did my own cardio for 10 minutes.  A good workout!

Friday:  Dozois' Barre Fusion + Flow #66

To start off my "light" morning, I did about 15 minutes of Michelle's Barre workout to warm up.  I really like this one.  I took it down a notch, leaving out the jumps.  Then, about 20 minutes of Flow.  Very nice!  I wanted some abs so I did my own sit-ups and stretches to finish off - about 5-10 minutes.  

Saturday: Peak 10 More Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves

No more Cathe for me on weekends (yay!) - it's back to some Peak 10 for me!  I can't say I look forward to this CS -  it is TOUGH.  But I was looking forward to sweating it out.  This one goes to the floor a lot and I was fine until the last circuit.  Whew!  After that 50 minute workout, I tuned into Ilyse's fun dance workout, just to move for 25 minutes.  So much fun!  A bit of arm work with the new weights and then a  nice stretch!

Sunday:  Combat #61 and #62 + Amy's Body Weight Training

The Combat 60 DVDs have gotten a bit stale and, frankly, they're not as difficult as the latest Combats on Les Mills On Demand.  So today, I did two online and dang!  It was tough!  I also twisted my knee on roundhouse kicks, which is a first.  Let's hope it gets better soon.  It didn't bother me much, so I did 20 minutes of Amy's workout.  So, an hour and 20 minutes of cardio.  Cool!  Then, a stretch and ab work.

Calorie Counts:

I was really good this week, except for Saturday and Sunday.  The diet was blown out of the water on Sunday, in fact.  But the scale gave me hope on Saturday morning - I got within, barely, my acceptable five pound range.  Let's hope I can get there again, after Sunday's splurge.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love Your Body

As many of you know, Michelle Dozois is my favorite fitness instructor. If I don't do a few of her workouts every week, I have symptoms of withdrawal and get seriously depressed and unmotivated.  LOL!  

Early this week - on February 1 - Michelle posted to her Facebook Page a 14-day Love Your Body Challenge.  Every day she posts yoga/stretching moves that help to show your body some love.  Instead of focusing outwardly these next two weeks, she proposes we turn inward to ourselves.  Let's show our bodies some love!

If you're at all interested, check her Facebook page every afternoon to see what the move of the day is.  They've been easy and soothing so far!  I like to do these in the evening when my body is tired and worn out; when it needs some TLC.  

Leave it to Michelle to continually inspire me!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Skinny Greek Lemon Bars

One of my frequented food blogs, Sally's Baking Addiction, continues to impress me.  While her "skinny" recipes are few and far between, they're usually pretty good.  These Skinny Cheesecake Squares are one of my all time favorite low-calorie desserts.

When I checked the blog last week there was a new, interesting "skinny" recipe: Skinny Lemon Bars.  Oh, my!  I bought the ingredients last weekend and whipped these squares up on Sunday.  

And they did not disappoint.  I made no substitutions but I did cut them into 16 squares, making them 95 calories each.  And they're delicious!  Light, fresh, and lemon-y!!  

Mr. Higgins would prefer to eat them all in one sitting, but I refuse to let him.  I want to enjoy them for a few more days!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week Four: Combat Challenge #3

After a great weekend of workouts, I'm feeling good.  I'll feel even better when I see results on the scale!

So, here we go - almost halfway through this Challenge!

Monday: Sh'Bam #16 + Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101

Time for some dance today!  This Sh'Bam wasn't my favorite but it was still fun. And I really tried to not jump too, too much.  Then, I ruined it by jumping in Ilyse's workout.  Oh, well.  It was a fun morning!  I took a 15 minute walk at lunch, just to clear my head.

Tuesday: Amy's Head to Toe Body Sculpt + walk

Amy's workout was new to me - and it was really good!  There was enough cardio and compound exercises to keep my heart pounding throughout!  I didn't love the cardio but at least it was different!  As were some of the weighted exercises.  So, a good workout!  At lunch, I walked at the rec, very briskly.  And stretched a bit.  

Wednesday: Grit #7 + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals

I used to like Wednesdays....until it became my hardest weekday workout day.  Ha!  This Grit was a challenge - lots of up and down.  Somehow I made it through.  After that minor miracle, I did Scott's HIIT, which is always fun.  At lunch, I walked down to a cafe to meet a friend.  So, about 20 minutes of walking.  

Thursday:  BodyCombat #61 + walk

I'm not sure I like doing weights on Tuesday and Combat on Thursday.  It's good in theory but by Thursday, I'm worn out.  This Combat was tough and considering how tired I was, I had to really work just to get through it.  It's also a longer one - lasting about 35 minutes.  So I did my own cardio afterward to get to 45-50 minutes.  I went for a walk once home - it was such a glorious day outside!  I think the vitamin D did me good!

Friday:  Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior

Even though cardio always calls to me, I knew I needed to take a serious break today.  Bob Harper's yoga video - which I still haven't reviewed - looked inviting.  And it's really good - and a challenge.  He did so many forward folds and my hamstrings were in heaven!  It was just what I needed.  It was a great workout this morning!

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + Amy's All Around Energy

It's been over a month since my last Peak 10 workout and I couldn't stand it any longer.  There is no better way for me to get a workout and have fun at the same time.  So I took a break from Combat 60 to do this.  Afterward, I did 20 minutes of Amy's strength and cardio.  Wow!  I really like this workout but frequently forget about it!  Fifteen minutes of a stretch and abs and then I was done!  Whew!

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

I can't say I was looking forward to Cardio Strength as much as yesterday's CIB….but I was still energized to do it.  And…..then it started.  Holy crap!  I forget that this one is super tough!!  You go to the floor in every circuit but the last.  I used my eight-pound weights throughout so I can build strength to eventually use my new twelve pounders and dang!  It challenged me.  That lasted for 50 minutes and then I did 20 minutes of McLean's fun dance routine.  Love that one!  Arms for a bit and then a nice stretch!

Calorie Counts:

Monday -1175
Tuesday - 1184
Wednesday - 1267
Thursday - 1175
Friday - 1251
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1261

I weighed this week and the number is going down - but very slowly.  I had fun celebrating my mom's birthday on Saturday.  That was my cheat day, for sure!