Monthly Archives: February 2012

Week 11 Weigh In

Weight loss this week: .2 lbs
Total weight loss: 19.6 lbs


Motivation and energy were low, low, low this week. I blame the cold, but honestly, they were low before that too. My motivation is cyclical. I simply can’t stay up and focused forever.

The cool thing, though, is that because of the challenge, I may not be losing weight, but I’m also not sabotaging myself. I can’t just blow it off and binge on yummy processed carbs because that would void the challenge. I’m too mercenary for that!

Speaking of mercenary, I have a huge project coming up at work. It will likely run from April/May through October. Now, I’m a contract worker, and so they generally limit my hours, BUT they also don’t want to hire a bunch of new people. If they want this project done, they’re either going to have to work me to death or staff it, because the scope is simply too large for anything else. To be honest, I hope they choose the former, because I’d like to fund the remodel of the basement. 🙂

I’m also looking forward to the challenge of the project, no matter which solution they choose. I adore the big, nasty, scary projects, and I beg for them when they come up. I think they’re fun (even though I have moments where I hate them).

So I’m not sure what will happen with my motivation over the next week. I learned long ago that there’s a switch in my brain. When it’s on, ANYTHING is easy. When it’s off….

The issue, of course, is that I don’t know how to flip the switch. If I could figure that out, not only would I be thin, fit, and a prolific novelist with well-trained dogs, but I would be a billionaire, because I’d sell the secret to the world. EVERYONE would be the best they could be if we knew how to keep that motivation switch flipped on.

I’d like to get to the point where it doesn’t matter if the switch is on — where I would do all the right things habitually. But I’m a long way from that. If the switch isn’t flipped, I do what I have to do and no more.

The good news is that I know it’s cyclical. I may not be on right now, but it will come back around, and I’ll be re-energized.

Posted in Challenge | Tagged | 2 Comments

Update on Blue

Last summer I officially rehomed my gelding, Blue, with his 13-year-old soul mate, Heidi. She had leased him for a couple of years under the tutelage of his trainer (and amazing clicker trainer), Leslie Peeples. They’ve made great progress together. He’s a fun horse with a great sense of humor, and Heidi gets that. She is patient with him and willing to explain things to him in a language he understands. It’s a fantastic match.

Heidi sent me this update the other day:

Hi Melissa!

Blue and I have made some new developments lately and I thought you might want to hear about them. In order to get the whole story, I’m going to have to explain.

Well last month, I started working on lots of reining stuff, fencing, spins, stops, etc. He actually did his first sliding stop (all of 8 inches) which he has yet to do again. Anyway I got to thinking, and I was like, you know what? I miss gaming — maybe I should start doing it with him. I’m sure he would enjoy the challenge. Well right as I decided maybe I would do this, a big snow storm hit and it was like 16 inches of first snow, then ice.

So during the 10 days I had sitting at home doing nothing in the snow I read every barrel racing tip and training plan my favorite barrel riders/trainers had ever written. So when the snow went away I was properly armed with all the info I needed to start my training schedule. I spent 3 days walking him around the barrels (stopping at the “rate” point, where he is eventually supposed to slow and shorten his stride, and clicking him when he stopped on his own and did nice turns).

It was all going perfectly until I got bronchitis and an ear infection. 12 days of lying on the couch watching daytime TV (I might add daytime TV is not especially interesting or educational in any way) and thinking about how I was going to incorporate clicker training into gaming with Blue.

So today I was FINALLY able to ride him again and was pleasantly surprised. I walked the barrel pattern about 3 times then decided he felt ready to try trotting to the barrels and slowing to a walk at the rate point and walking around the barrel. As I started doing it with this sequence, I was extremely surprised — after about 2 times doing it, he would trot up to the barrel and before I even got the chance to sit and cue him to walk, he would walk right at the exact point I will eventually want him to rate (shorten his stride and slow a little). According to what the pros were saying, he shouldn’t be self rating for at least another few weeks. I thought about it, and I was like, gosh am I lucky to have such a smart clicker horse.

Anyway, Blue and I have been enjoying the adventures of training a clicker gaming horse. So far I have only patterned him on barrels and figure 8 stake race. Eventually I will pattern him on all the events. He’s not going to be one of those crazy free runners — he’s going to run more of a ratey push style pattern (at least I hope).

Anyway, I’m working on reining and sometimes western pleasure as well as gaming right now. He, being the smartest horse I know, is taking it all in stride (pun intended). Sorry about practically writing a novel in your email. This was probably totally pointless and boring to read BUT being the one who picked him out and brought him into my life, you deserve all the updates on his life no matter how boring :).

And then she delighted me with a picture and another update the next day:

More good news today! I started out practicing figure 8 today and he was totally acing trotting the pattern, so I decided despite being 4 days ahead of schedule, I would take the next step and start loping in between the barrels/poles and trotting around the barrels/poles.

The first two times I did it like this on figure 8, he was pretty shaky and confused so I walked the pattern once and did something else before I came back to trying the loping again. Third time’s a charm ’cause he was PERFECT. He self rated, got all the leads right, and stayed under control.

After giving a hefty amount of treats for this, I went to try it on the barrel pattern. At first he was pretty confused and got a little out of sorts and frustrated, so I took a deep breath, petted him to reassure him, walked the course twice, and practiced other things for about 10 minutes. When I went to try it again, he did it PERFECTLY. It just clicked in his brain all the sudden and he got it right.

So after that he got lots of reward and we quit for the day. Anyway I’m so impressed with how he is improving by leaps and bounds already.

BTW the picture I have attached is of him in his gaming stuff (minus the barrel saddle cause the fit hasn’t been approved by Leslie yet).

Isn’t he adorable? Isn’t she an amazing trainer? I’m encouraging her to start a blog to document her training. I think it would be great for her to document her plans and what works and what doesn’t. Pictures and video would be fun too!

I think Blue is incredibly blessed to have her and Leslie in his life. He’s one happy pony!!! And I’m happy to get to watch them learn and grow together.

Posted in Menagerie | Tagged , , | 5 Comments


At lunch yesterday, I took a few minutes to meditate, and while I was meditating I asked for help with a project. In return I received a single word: Intention.

I thought about it during the afternoon. I think I was being asked to define my intention. It wasn’t enough to simply ask for something. I needed to express my intention. I don’t think it was as simple as my reason for asking for what I asked for. I think it was a greater scale than that.

I thought about what I asked for and why. I thought about how I would use that skill — and why. I thought about how it could change my life and how I could use it to change the lives of others. It took me some time to craft a statement that expressed it all fully. I’m not going to share the entire thing, but here is part of it as an example:

“My intention is to develop the very best writing skills I am capable of, and I will use them to create a business that will support my desired lifestyle, satisfy my heart and soul, and change the lives of people I touch.”

After I wrote my statement, I meditated again, and I read the statement out loud until I could say it convincingly from memory. Until I owned it. It *is* my intention. And now if I get pulled in a different direction, I can revisit my Intention statement and say, “No. That isn’t going to help me get where I want to be.”

A friend wrote a wonderful blog on SparkPeople this morning about the power of what we say, of what we give voice to. That reminded me of the concept of intention. My overall intention is important, but so is my intention for the day or even for a task. By giving voice to that I take ownership of it and of my behavior — and I ask the Universe to help me achieve it.

What is your intention?

Posted in General News | Tagged | Leave a comment

February Challenge

Although I’m doing okay with my December-to-December challenge, I feel like I’ve been in a rut the past few weeks, which means my results haven’t been what I’ve wanted. So I’ve decided to kick things up a notch during the rest of February. I’m going to eschew my cheat days from now until March 3, and I’m going to tighten up my eating and working out.

The rules:

  • 4 meals per day (per standard challenge requirements — no grains, no sugar, no dairy, no fruit, no potatoes), no snacking
  • Goal: less than 20 net carbs per day
  • At least 16 cups (4 liters) of water per day
  • Crossfit, heavy weights, and Pilates 1x per week each, as schedule allows
  • Treadmill workout, 45 minutes per day, 5x per week
  • 10-minute kettlebell workout from 4-Hour Body, 3x per week (kettlebell swing, glute raises, chest pull, flying dogs)
  • 10-minute push-up/core workout, 3x per week (push ups, plank, side plank)
  • 20-minute ice on back of neck / trapezius area, per 4-Hour Body, 7x per week

Here’s an example of the treadmill workout I’m doing. The speed isn’t mentioned, because it varies. I use a heart rate montitor, and I go whatever speed pegs my heart rate at 132 (per Phil Maffetone method).

0-5 min Warm up
5-10 min 6% incline
10-12 min 3% incline
12-18 min 4 sets of 30 sec interval + 1 min recovery @ 3%
18-23 min 6% incline
23-31 min 9% incline
31-36 min 6% incline
36-38 min stairs
38-40 min 6% incline
40-45 min cool down

I’m doing that particular workout every day this week. Next week I’ll change it up — add another minute of stairs, increase the interval length, etc.

I’m going to miss my cheat days this month, but hopefully I can kick my body into ketosis and burn some fat!

Posted in Challenge | Tagged | 3 Comments

Week 9 Weigh In

Weight loss this week: 1.4 lbs
Total weight loss: 19.4 lbs


LOL — I may never get to that elusive 20lb loss. I’m not stressing about it this week, because I fully expected a weight gain. Not only was I REALLY relaxed on my cardio all week, but this was The Week of Soup.

On Sunday my husband made an absolutely DIVINE Thai Red Curry Soup. No, beyond divine. Devastatingly delicious and addictive. He made a double recipe, and I couldn’t stop eating it. When it was cold, I was still using the spatula and eating it out of the pot. He made a SECOND double recipe on MONDAY — the very next day. And we were ready for more on Wednesday (but I told him to wait until this weekend).

It’s ridiculously good. Beyond good. And it’s Paleo alllll the way. He’s making two different versions of it this week — one with chicken and one with lamb. I may never eat anything else.

Anyway, this was a relaxed week, and I was okay with that — and would have been okay with even a weight gain. Losing a pound is a bonus. Next week, though, things are changing! I’m going to eschew cheat days for the rest of February, and I’m going to go hard core on both eating and working out. I’d like to see if I can get my body to ramp up the weight loss.

Oh, by the way, one of my trainers has one of those handheld bio-electrical impedence thingies used to measure body fat. He weighs me, uses that body fat tester, and does measurements at our first session each month. If he’s right, I’ve been gaining a pound of muscle mass each week. That’s a huge amount for a woman, even lifting as heavy as I do.

I love muscle. I love being strong. But I am one of those rare females who is capable of bulking up, and I don’t want to do that. I’m going to continue as I have been for a couple more months, and then have my body fat tested using the hydrostatic (underwater) method I use a few times a year. If it’s showing a high amount of muscle gain, I might have to change my strength goals for the year.

Posted in Challenge | Tagged | 4 Comments