Project Tank Top

I am in Project Tank Top mode.

During the last five years, my shirt sleeves have gotten longer and my shorts even longer. Last year, I spent a majority of the dog days of summer wearing 3/4 length sleeves. Not really a great option when it’s 90 degrees out. Enough is enough!

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What seems like a bazillion years ago. Me and my hubs pre baby, pre cancer, pre squishy arms.

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My friend and I at her rehearsal dinner. I am pushing for a well defined arm these days…that arm isn’t gonna cut it.

I used to live and die by the tank top. It was a wardrobe staple. Dog park? Tank top. Football game? Tank top. Concert in the park? Tank top. Ok…you get it. I had an Old Navy long length tank in every color and I wore the shit out of them.

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I love this picture of myself. Seriously. That was a great summer. I was going through a huge Jessica Simpson phase too. Ah… Newlyweds, loved that show.

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Not a great showing from nine years ago (GASP!). I’m highly sensitive to the arm pit fat here. But, we went to Hawaii last summer and I’m not sure my arms saw the light of day.

It’s probably been about two years though that I wouldn’t dare be caught in a sleeveless shirt without some sort of sweater. A little has to do with the slight case of lymphedema I’ve developed from my 2008 breast cancer surgery but A LOT has to do with the general squishiness that my arms have become. Years ago, I would sometimes get a glimpse of cellulite on my arms in certain lighting. I’ve come to realize it’s not really the lighting.

I’ve been working out with a trainer at the gym for a couple of weeks now. I laughed uncomfortably as I told her one of my short term goals is to get into a tank top before June 1st. We talked specifically about workout wear but if I can wear a tank to the gym, I’m damn sure wearing one to the grocery store!

You should see most of the women at my gym. I mean, totally adorable Lululemon exercise tanks. I die. I want to wear one so badly. A friend I workout with often says I should just suck it up and wear one if I want to. I’m tempted because…it’s the GYM! But, I just can’t. Cheesy arms, arm pit fat, and those flabby wing things. Yeah, not happening. Yet.

So, I’ve set the goal. Tank top by June 1st. I got a little birthday gift card saved as incentive to splurge on a brand new workout tank from Lucy. I am love this Yoga Flow Tank (I  have the same pants pictured!) and this Heart Center Cami (which will probably never happen for a busty girl like myself, but…)

I can’t help but browse my old stand by – Old Navy. I love, love, love this striped racerback with white pants. A perfect So Cal summer outfit. Or this Gap burnout tank with shorts. Adore.

Wish me luck. I’m hoping to show off my hard work come June. Now, off to do some bicep curls to get myself some tank top arms.

This is a non-sponsored post. I am simply a shopper of Lucy, Lululemon, Gap, and Old Navy and that’s the extent of our relationship,

Favorite At-Home DVD Workouts

As the ball dropped on the east coast, my family of three toasted with apple cider and declared our resolutions with kisses and clinks. I resolved to lose 25 pounds and quickly retracted that with a WHOAMIKIDDING?! let’s make it 15 instead.

Ok, so how am I going to get there? Well, the gym. I took a handful of group classes at my gym throughout the Fall, and though I grouched through most of them, I did like a few. I find going to the gym a little bit of a chore, though. For me, I have to go while my daughter is in school because she loathes the childcare unless she knows someone else there. And while I wish I could spend each school day becoming a gym rat, it’s just not going to happen because…life and other responsibilities.

The fix? At home exercise DVDs. I have quite a collection and small area in the garage that doubles as exercise space. Here is a great list of titles that are not only my favorites but suggestions from a bunch of my fellow at-home jazzercise friends. (these are NOT affiliate links)

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My two favorites DVD workouts are Jillian Michaels’ Shred It with Weights and Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Jam. The Shred It DVD is a kettle bell workout that is consistently challenging. Turbo Jam is upbeat and full of cardio but is a little dated in terms of set and music. Looking for the hardest arm workout known to woman? Try The Tracy Anderson Method (you can see it here).

Other suggestions include:

The Bar Method

Cathe Friedrich

Insanity

Shaun T’s Focus T25

Chalene Extreme

P90X

Body Pump by Les Mills

Fluidity

Thanks to Erica, Tracy, Kate, Betsy, Lisa, April, Courtney, Laura, Stephanie, Kathy, and Rebecca for sharing their favorite workouts!

If I could just get the garage cleaned up, I might get one of these workouts in before summer! Do you have a favorite not listed here?

How I Survived My First Week of the Uprising

Remember last week when I asked you what happens with you Do Nothing?

Well, I’m off and running with the July Uprising through Revolt. Two words: holy hell.

Each Uprising begins with a detox diet. Heavy on the protein and easy on the carbs. In fact, not a single carbohydrate with the exception of those that occur naturally in fruit and vegetables.

The workouts are quick and dirty. I told my friend Jessica at Chaos and Love that the workouts are deceptively hard. Something about Nichole’s method really confuses your body and 25 minutes later you’re feeling like you’ve got jello legs. Don’t even ask me about how I felt the day after!

So, I wasn’t perfect. The first week of July had a holiday and though it was deemed as a “free day” – I don’t think chips, salsa, margaritas, s’mores, cookies, and burgers were the best choice. And I didn’t get all six workouts in either. But, I’m following my friend Betsy’s advice not to beat myself up for one day and that the next one is a brand new opportunity to try again.

One tip I’ve learned so far is prepping meals for the week. Though the one afternoon I did it all was kind of a pain, the easy grab and heat up when hungry  was a life saver!

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2 bags pre-washed baby spinach from Trader Joe’s
1 bag shredded carrots from Trader Joe’s
1 container organic cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe’s
salt & pepper

Divide ingredients evenly among your containers. Drizzle balsamic vinegar when ready to eat. I found a random honey mustard spray vinaigrette at my local grocery store that has 10 calories per spray and it was delicious. That honey mustard flavor pairs nicely with the spinach!

Have any of you had success pre-prepping food when dieting?

Jabs, Praise, and Shingles

The women participating in the #iwillrockthis weight-loss challenge are some serious contenders.  We’ve completed two full weeks and I am so impressed by how freaking fantastic everyone is doing.  I’m almost jealous at some of the tremendous losses.  Not almost.  I am definitely jealous.  It’s not like I haven’t been trying. More on that in a second.

It’s very likely I won’t be wearing this bikini bottom this summer.  Sigh.  I AM NOT GIVING UP.  I got an earful of shit last week after my junk food binge.  Yes, sometimes getting jabbed and told I can’t do it makes me want to prove you wrong.  But, really…don’t we all work better with some praise?

Last week I felt WAY off.  I was dizzy and light headed and I thought it was from consuming so much crappy food that one day or  eliminating sugar and caffeine. Then I broke out in a gnarly rash the size of a deck of cards on my back.  My first thought was that it was a staph infection.  My dog had been recently diagnosed with MRSA – the flesh eating bacteria – staph in her ear and of course I thought I had it too.  I noticed that the rash was spreading in a linear manner across my back around front to my rib cage.  And because I tell everyone everything about what’s wrong with me, I told a friend who said, “I wonder if it’s shingles” (and her point of reference was an old episode of “Nip/Tuck” – for real).  Well, hot damn, she was right!  After about four days of cortisone cream, I went to the doctor who confirmed it was indeed shingles.  Holy crap!  I’m 37 years old.  I thought shingles was an older persons illness.  Oh wait…that’s what I thought about breast cancer too.  Wrong again.  Anyway, shingles is a virus and it causes those flu-like symptoms.  Needless to say, I didn’t do a whole lot in terms of exercise last week because I was beyond wiped out.

It’s been about seven days now and I’ve probably got another seven before it’s totally gone.  I think the worst has passed so I can’t use it as an excuse anymore.  I’m really shooting for a 2-3 pound loss by next week’s weigh-in.  I’ve been near the bottom of the standings – and while I technically took myself out of the competition as being an actual winner of the prizes – I still want to been seen as a competitor.

So are you ready to see some BEFORE photos?  I’m hoping some of the others will allow me to post some before photos of them but this time it’s just me.  Me in my horribly messy bathroom and wearing some super unflattering lounge-around-the-house clothes.

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I’m really hoping by July 1st you’ll see difference.  Fingers crossed.

Jabs or praise?  What do you got for me?


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Tips from the Trainer

I had my first meeting with a trainer at my gym this weekend. Holy hell, I’m still sore – three days later. That workout was no joke. But before we even got to the actual exercise part of our meeting we talked at length about my goals, my history, and what I’m doing now. Then she hit me with HER expectations.

1. I must be drinking 90 ounces of water per day. 90 ounces? We’ve all heard we should consume eight 8-ounce (64 ounces total) a day, right? I maybe drink two or three glasses a day. And some of those aren’t even full glasses. Somedays I’ll sip on a liter bottle of Evian (yes, I’m fancy like that) but it takes me ALL day! 90 ounces would equal almost three of those bottles – PER DAY! Clearly, I am not drinking enough water.

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2. Keep a food journal. Ugh! I’m currently using My Fitness Pal to track my calories. I really, really like the ease of it but I’m not sure of its accuracy. Especially, when using the database for restaurants. Regardless, she wants to see the food journal when we meet again. Every almond, brussels sprout, and donut.

3. Stop running and walk more. This was a welcomed suggestion! She says that walking longer will burn more fat. I’m not yet fully understanding this concept. All I know is that I’m supposed to walk anywhere between 3.5 and 4.0 MPH for at a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes.

4. Start researching the Paleo way of eating. I really need to look more into this. One part of me likes absolutes and the other part of me likes options (otherwise known as “having your cake and eating it too”). I’ve never been a good dieter and while I realize Paleo is being touted at a “lifestyle change” but hasn’t the same been said about eating clean, low-carb/no-carb, South Beach, dairy free, GF, and so on? Sigh.

Oh, this is why I’m totally incapable of getting up and down of the couch!  My quads are jello.  Jello.

Forward-Lung-Exercises

So tell me friends, do you think my trainer’s tip are spot on?  What do you know about Paleo?  And hit me some ideas on how to get down 90 ounces of water!

 

Time to Get this Party Started | #iwillrockthis

It’s Tuesday, May 1st and I’m thrilled to officially kick off the #iwillrockthis weight-loss challenge!  For the next 8 weeks, along with 30 other women, I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to get into that bikini bottom.  This body hasn’t seen a bikini since I was nineteen years old – and for good reason.  First it was the hips, then the booty, inner thighs, the muffin top, and then I caught a glimpse of cellulite on my arms. *shudder*  Throw being pregnant in there somewhere coupled with surgically induced menopause and some crazy meds I have to take in hopes of staying cancer-free.  *double shudder* I’ve totally lost control.  And I feel like crap.  This is not the body I want and I’m ready to change it.

So, what’s my plan?  Well, it’s pretty much broken down into less calories and a lot more exercise.  Simple, right?  *gulp*

I’ve got an ace in my back pocket though and it comes in the form of thirty super, kick-ass, amazing women who declared “I’M IN!” when I threw a line out in the water waiting to see who’d bite.  Thirty!  And though we’re all competing against each other, we’re all strangely supportive of one another. I’m hoping that doesn’t change mid-challenge. *fingers crossed*

Where’s the challenge part of this, you’re wondering, right?  Isn’t diet and exercise enough of a challenge!  Sure, but there had to be a prize.  Something to fight for.  And there are some rad prizes (I’ll be posting more about the fabulous people who generously donated to the winnings over the next few weeks).  There is also cash.  Cold, hard cash. Like $500 cash.  That definitely something to fight for!

Many of the 30 women are bloggers and I’m loving that they’ve embraced the idea of writing about their journey over the next 8 weeks.  Today, I’m adding a linky at the bottom of this post so my  fellow participants can link up their kick-off posts.  Go give them some love and see what their respective plans are to win the 500 bucks!  One gal consulted with a family friend who also coaches basketball and he drew up some very specific instructions on what she needs to do to win.  Someone else hired a trainer *ahem, me, ahem* and another is currently training for a 1/2 marathon.  There are some serious contenders in this group!

Me?  Beyond the trainer?  Well, no more fancy Starbucks coffees, no more soda of any kind, no processed foods, no fast food, no pizza delivery, no booze, and no late night desserts after everyone’s gone to bed.  More fruit, more veggies, more fish.  More juicing, more smoothies with chia seeds, more greens and more water.  And definitely more sweat.  A lot more sweat.

I encourage you to follow along over the next 8 weeks.  I’ll be posting before, mid, and after photos of me and some of the other brave souls who have agreed to my hard sell.  Bless their hearts.

Before you go, you must tell me what your favorite go-to exercise is.  The one that gets you the most results.  Is it Jillian’s 30-Day Shred, countless hours logged on a treadmill, spin class, Zumba, what?


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SwimSuit Season | Join the Competition

Guess what I’m seeing popping up all over Pinterest and at my local mall? I can’t even escape them at Target. Bathing suits! I might be having a panic attack. We’ve finally passed Easter and I know that swimsuit season is rapidly approaching. If you are a regular reader here you probably know my aversion to getting into a bathing suit. I hate them. Well, no that’s not totally true. It’s more like I hate the body that’s in the bathing suit.

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Why must the unattainable taunt me at every turn?

So every summer we take an family and friend trip out to the desert. It’s like 115 degrees out there during that time of year and the options are to get in the pool or sit in the air conditioned hotel room. Guess where I like to spend my days. But it’s just not possible to hide out all day. That trip is in two months. Also on the calendar this year is a trip of a lifetime. My husband and I will be vacationing in Bali in September. There will be some sight-seeing but I bet most days we’ll be beaching it. I just cannot fathom taking a trip like that and being miserable the entire time because my fat ass is…well, just that.

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I may not exactly look like this but certainly feel like it.

Those trips should be incentive enough, right? But weirdly they are not. Those miserable feelings don’t always motivate me. I’ve been thinking that I need a carrot. Something that makes me want to get into the gym five days a week. I need The Biggest Loser – SAHM edition.  That’s it!! I need a competitor and some healthy competition.

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Holy hell, Helen Mirren is 66! Kate birthed 8 (yes, I know she had a tummy tuck). And Kate Winslet is smokin'! Looking like any of these women would be a very happy medium.

You’ve heard of people at the office who have these kinds of competitions for money, yes? And someone ends up losing a ton of weight because they are now riding a bike 20 miles to and from work. Or they are using their lunch hour to work out. Well, I’m thinking that a competition like that can happen right here. On this little blog. With you all who are interested in participating. For cash money. It could work, couldn’t it?  I may even have another awesome incentive too!

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Whose with me?  Who wants to put their money where their mouth is, drop some pounds, have some fun, and walk away a winner — and looking good while you do it?  Comment below to tell me you’re IN and we’ll kick this competition into high gear!

The Final Push | Reverb 11

Consider this my final push to finish #Reverb11. I officially stink at posting daily but at least you get the short and sweet version of my Reverb 11. Thanks to the Modchik for introducing and inspiring me to complete this. I’m actually looking forward to Reverb12 where I’ll vow to write daily!

If you didn’t catch my first three editions you can find them here, here, and here.

21. What would you change?

A little bit of everything. As much I usually resist change, I do like it. I’m hoping 2012 is full of change.

22. What was your favorite new song?

This is a hard question. I like a lot of music. But, hands down “Wasting Light” by Foo Fighters was this year’s best album in my opinion (and apparently the Grammy people thought the same as it was nominated for best album). Every song from top to bottom is good, if not great. So my favorite new song comes from this album: track 5, “Arlandria.”

23. How do you relax?

I’m queen vegetable. Mrs. Couch Potato. I have no problem relaxing. All I have to do is turn the telly onto some cheesy reality TV, Lifetime movie, or a repeats of Beverly Hills, 90210 and I’m jelly. Jelly in front of the telly.

24. Did you take any risk this year?

Hmm. Yes, a couple of small little risks. I went to BlogHer – a blogging convention in San Diego – which was so out of my comfort zone. Introducing myself to new people, talking to random people, companies, and PR firms about what I blog about and trying to not feel embarrassed about it. We tried buying a new home this year in this risky, unstable economy and failed. It turned out to be OK though because we ended up doing work to our current house that we love so we’ll stay put for a while. These aren’t major, I know. I’m hoping that changes in 2012.

25. Do you consider yourself in good health?

No. Cancer aside, I could be doing so much more for my mind, body, and soul. The cancer stuff is always lurking. Just one stupid cancerous cell could be floating around my blood stream looking for a new organ to occupy. But, October marked three years of being cancer free and that feels good. Staying cancer free requires far more effort than I’ve been doing and that is going to change too next year.

26. What steps are you taking to be healthier in 2012?

One of my resolutions is to treat my body better. I want to focus on eating mostly a plant based diet and occasionally eating only organic and hormone-free meat products. No more cow’s milk. Use spices that have shown to reduce a cancer risk. Eliminate sugars, artificial sugars, and other chemicals. Use products free of parabens. Eat breakfast daily. Start a supplement regimen. Stop taking anti-depressants (I take one to control hot flashes caused by menopause and the other to treat my mild case of depression). Continue with my visits to the chiropractor and start seeing my acupuncturist again (to help manage the hot flashes and joint pain I have from the other estrogen blocking meds I have to take). I want to manage my free time better and be certain to carve time out for exercise. Weight training and cardio. Swimming. Pilates, yoga, dance, barre classes, Wii Fit, hiking, biking, chasing my kid on her scooter, jumping rope – I’m determined to find something that I love to do.

27. What food did you try this year?

I can’t think of anything significantly out of the ordinary I tried this year. I’m a creature of habit – especially when it comes to food. I’ve got nothing. Sorry I’m so boring!

28. What places would you like to visit in 2012?

My husband and I have been talking about going back to Kauai for at least two years now and our travel agent (me) really sucks at making the arrangements. So, I hope to visit the sands of Poipu beach sometime in May. I’d also like to visit New York for the 2012 BlogHer convention. I’ve never been to NYC because the big city scares this suburban girl. A trip to wine country with my husband would be fab for our eleventh wedding anniversary. Another trip to wine country with girlfriends would be equally fab.

29. What’s on your vision board for 2012?

I’m currently making a vision board on pinterest but haven’t made one that I can hang and see every morning, noon, and night. I’m going to tear through some magazines in the coming days because I definitely need the constant reminder. As for the pinterest board, currently I have pinned photos of The Today Show logo, nice tight abs, and an ad for the 2012 3-day walk in San Francisco.

30. How will you mark the end of 2011?

Quietly.

31. Where do you want to be in 2013?

Happy.

Happy New Year!

Forgettable Fat Mom

I’m in beat up mode so bear with me.

Nearly six months ago I wrote a post about being a fat mom. And last week, on our annual friends and family vacation in Palm Desert, I again was the fat mom I dread so much. When I couldn’t find an excuse not to hang out at the resort pool, I sat in my usual place at the edge of the pool and watched my husband and daughter play in the water. When I did get into the pool, I made damn certain my towel was close by for my exit and went into complete panic mode when someone else swiped it for their own.

The first day out, I sat next to my husband at the kiddie pool and said “you should be ashamed” referring to how fat I was compared to the other bikini-clad moms we were with. He scoffed and said “have you looked around?” He was right. I certainly wasn’t the biggest but I definitely wasn’t the smallest. I was somewhere in the middle and maybe that’s even worse. Forgettable.

Today, I was chatting with a friend who recently spent a weekend away with girlfriends – all which are skinny or really fit – and she was talking about how she was the only one there in a tankini. We laughed about it and I told her she was silly but I felt her pain. I hate wearing a tankini. I hate wearing stupid swim shorts because of the way they cling to my every dimple when wet. I hate that I search endlessly online for a suit instead of confidently cruising into Target for a cute two-piece. I hate that my bathing suit bottoms are the size of granny panties and that ever since I had my daughter — and breast cancer — I can’t find a bathing suit top that doesn’t have underwire and support for days. Pre-baby, my boobs were my saving grace in a bathing suit. Not so much anymore.

For six months I could have been doing something about being a fat mom. I could be eating better instead of binging at night on sticky sweet treats. I could be using that fancy gym membership I pay dearly for each month. But instead, I bitch and moan about how I look and feel. I secretly criticize friends and other women wearing adorable bikinis or even one-pieces and jealously wonder how the hell they manage all the things in their lives and still take care of themselves. I wonder thoughts like “I’ve only had one baby and she’s had three. Why does she have a flat belly and I don’t?” For six months, I’ve done all this and not a damn thing else.

The other thing I get hung up on is that I don’t want my friends and family to look at me and think “wow, Wendy really doesn’t take care of herself.” So, I suck my tummy in or wear Spanx to smooth out my dimples but know inside that I am not fooling anyone. I am not taking care of myself. And it’s showing – badly.

I need a plan. I need a jumpstart. I don’t want to be in this place next summer or the summer after that.

Do you ever feel the same way? Are you successful in managing everything else in your life including yourself?