Sunday, September 9, 2012

199, NOT 200!

The concept of prices ending in .99 is a marketing strategy.  For years, .99 at the end of a price was a sign of a sale or good deal.  There is also a psychological effect involved - it's a little magical phenomenon when a person associates $19.99 as $19 as opposed to $20.00.   

Don't believe me?  Is there any chance you recall how much you paid, per gallon, the last time you filled up your gas tank?  Of course, it depends on where you're living (what grade of gas you buy and where you buy it), but let's keep it simple and say the regular unleaded gas, at your local gas station, was $3.97.

Ahhhhh... not so fast!  You (likely) forgot the 9/10ths of a cent next to the price.  Yes, my friends - you didn't really pay $3.97.  You paid $3.97 and 9/10ths of a cent, which is practically $3.98.  However, all we see is the $3.97. 

But I'm not here to talk about prices or gas.  I'm here to share with you all that I've finally reached that wonderful moment when the scale went from the 200's to the 100's.  I'm not happy I weigh 199(.4) - I'm ECSTATIC!

I've worked my way from 276 pounds on February 4, 2012 to 199.4 pounds as of September 8, 2012.  That is 76.6 pounds I'm saying goodbye to forever, God willing!  Those pounds aren't technically "lost" because I truly have no intention on finding them, EVER again! 

How did I do it?  I know everyone secretly wants to hear, "I took this magical little pill, ate like an animal, never exercised a minute and just lost weight."  Sorry folks - there is no easy way out when it comes to weight loss.  My answer will continue to be - HARD WORK and RESOLVE (in the form of a balanced, portion controlled diet and exercise). 

I'm not done with my weight loss journey... however, I'm relishing this moment and am truly proud of how far I have come.  When I started I couldn't recognize my own self and now I've rediscovered some of my lost happiness.  I couldn't even run to the end of the block without feeling like I would keel over and die and now I can run 9+ miles!   

The last two days I've seen a few friends I haven't seen in months to as much as a year...  they were all so amazed and proud of me.  It brings me to tears as I think about it right now - because what all my friends saw was more than just the physical weight loss - they saw the pure joy in my face and my spirit.  I am not the same person physically or mentally! 

Losing weight is more than the numbers on the scale - it really does have an impact on your health and wellness!  However, with that said - I am going to celebrate my numerical accomplishment.  The number 9 is my new best friend!  When you're over 200 pounds - hitting 199 is a breath of fresh air (just as 299 is to someone over 300 pounds).  Even if you don't have a significant amount of weight to lose, the number 9 is still magical!  Going from 160 to 159 or 130 to 129 -- it's a wonderful feeling and sense of accomplishment to be in a whole new weight bracket.   

CHEERS to 199!!! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Weigh In (Long Overdue) - 08/11

I'm not entirely sure where to begin.  As you can tell, I've been a bit of slacker with my weekly weigh-in posts for a month!  NO; I did not fall off the wagon!  I've been just as committed to this journey as I was when I first started back on February 4th of this year.  However, life happens and I haven't had the opportunity to blog about it.

The last week couple weeks have been a bit of a hot mess!  Ramadan (the month Muslims fast from dawn to sunset) started a few weeks ago... I love Ramadan, don't get me wrong - but my comfortable schedule gets turned upside down.  I get very little sleep, anywhere from 3-5 hours... I don't do well with less than 6 hours of sleep - so I'm in a perpetual state of crankiness. 

Truthfully, I was concerned with how Ramadan would affect my weight loss efforts.  Since I am unable to eat/drink during the day - I couldn't continue with my daytime workout routine.  I refused to stop exercising; primarily because I LOVE exercising and I wanted to keep up my endurance.  I shifted my workouts from the day to very late at night, after breaking my fast and allowing the food to settle.  I also reevaluated my 5 day a week exercise commitment...  I conceded, at least during Ramadan, it was probably best if I adopted an every other day approach instead - which, I only adhered to for the first week... I quickly went back to my 5+ days a week routine instead.

My plans were further altered when I realized hubby would be home in the evenings during my runs on the treadmill.  I love my hubby but I just feel weird about running in front of him.  I also felt weird about running outside so late at night - but given a choice between the two - I'll run outside. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 07/07

Ok, yes, it is technically Sunday - but better late than never! 

I struggled this week... I didn't eat nearly enough most days and it wasn't without consequences.  Thankfully making good food choices isn't a problem - however I have difficulty finding the right balance of how much to eat while I increase my exercise.  My weight loss inevitably stalls when I don't eat enough - yet I've become accustomed and comfortable with how much I've been eating.  It is hard for me to eat more when I truly don't feel hungry.  I tried increasing my portions a little (for instance 1/2 cup of cottage cheese instead of 1/4 cup, 1 oz. of "veggie" chips instead of 1/2 oz., or 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit instead of 1 cup) - but it still isn't enough.  It's definitely something I need to work on this week. 

Exercise was great this week although I had switch my workout on Thursday to Friday (my usual day off) because the kids were really sick and hubby was fasting so my entire schedule was off that day.  Here's the wrap-up for my exercise week:

Saturday - DAY OFF
Sunday - Zumba (75 minutes)
Monday - 8 mile run (personal best both distance and time!)
Tuesday - 2.5 mile run / 2.5 mile walk
Wednesday - 12.23 mile bike ride (which turned out to be a bad idea)
Thursday - DAY OFF
Friday - 3 mile run / 2.25 mile walk

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 06/30

The days may be at their longest right now - but it certainly doesn't feel that way on the weekend!  It's 7pm and I'm finally getting the opportunity to write my weekly weigh in post...

Another great week - plenty of exercise and delicious food!  I didn't get any strength training in this week - I truly just wasn't feelin' it.

Here's what my exercise week looked like:

Saturday - DAY OFF!
Sunday - Zumba Blast (2 hours)
Monday - 7 mile run
Tuesday - 3 mile run/2 mile walk
Wednesday - 3 mile run/2.22 mile walk
Thursday - Zumba
Friday - DAY OFF!

Total of 6 hours, 7 minutes and 6,518 calories burned! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 06/23

I've been looking forward to writing this post all week because I knew I was going to reach a BIG milestone today!

I usually write a weekly recap before getting to my results - but I'm just too excited to wait!

Here's my weekly progress...

Current weight: 224
Last week's weight: 227.2

Difference: -3.2 lbs
Total lost: -52 lbs

52 POUNDS!  There's a party going on in my head right now!

A couple weeks ago my mom suggested I take a picture wearing the same clothes I wore in my before picture... I never even thought about it, but I really liked the idea - so I decided I would do that when I reached a 50 pound loss.  Prepare yourselves to be amazed... 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 06/16

Today's post is late.  Chalk it up to PMS!  

For years, I have rarely become moody around that "special" time of the month.  If I did, it was usually in the form of being extra sensitive or taking things too personal.  Lately, however, I truly don't know what's going on with my hormones... the last few months I've been having some major issues with PMS (major anger/rage/irritability)!  I'm seriously contemplating going to the doctor to see if maybe the weight loss is {negatively} affecting my hormones somehow...  I'm always battling anger/rage/irritability issues because of my Bipolar - but what I'm dealing with goes above and beyond my "usual" feelings.  Anyone out there have a similar experience?

Oh, well... on to my week.  Things on the exercise front were phenomenal this week.  Here's a breakdown of my workout week...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 06/09

I know I've been fairly quiet on my blog, aside from my weekly weigh in posts... I've just been busy the last few weeks (which seems odd because I'm home 85% of the time).  Thankfully, now that the kids are technically finished with school and out for the summer - things are finally starting to settle down.  I'm still going to continue homeschooling them over the summer though because they're driving me crazy otherwise!

I've had another great week!  Sunday I did an hour and a half Zumba - the class was pretty packed and I was at the very back; it was hard to see what the instructor was doing - since it was a new instructor I wasn't familiar with her "moves."  I wasn't the only one in the back trying to "fake it till you make it."  Still lots of fun and a great workout nonetheless.

Monday I ran 6 miles on the dreadmill.  I don't typically do my long runs on the treadmill because it's fairly boring (even with the iPad) - but I wanted to do a longer run and I knew I wouldn't have enough time to get it in after hubby came home from work.  I still cannot believe that I'm able to run 6 miles!

Tuesday I was supposed to walk on the treadmill because of the longer run the day before - but I really wanted to run.  Yes, I'm weird - I know!  However, I did "intervals" to break it up a little... I ran a total of 2.5 miles and walked 2.5 miles followed by 25 minutes of strength training. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 06/02

I'm excited for today's post because I feel like I've come so far and accomplished so much since I started 4 months ago!

This week was a bit hectic.  As I mentioned last Saturday - I started having terrible burning pains in my lower left side... turns out I had a UTI (culture came back positive a couple days later) but for some reason it didn't show up on the dipstick test; since I never have typical UTI symptoms it's next to impossible to diagnose otherwise.  Thankfully the doctor had given me a single round of super duper antibiotics before I left that day - so I was starting to feel better by late Monday... otherwise I would have gotten worse over the holiday weekend (although I felt even more miserable on Sunday - I almost went to the ER because I was convinced I was dying that's how much pain I was in).

I ate very little on Saturday and even less on Sunday.  I just had no appetite whatsoever.  However, come Monday I forced myself to eat and exercise.  After my workout on Monday I felt weird; I felt amazing from the exercise but I was still in pain so it was a very odd sensation/feeling.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 05/26

Technically, it's Sunday right now - but my Saturday Weigh In post is late for several reasons...

1) I initially hoped we would go on a mini family vacation this weekend - so I weighed in but decided I would just have to write my post another day.

2) We didn't end up going anywhere and I was a bit mad about it - so I went to run errands instead (I had to take my iPhone to get replaced due to a battery issue and our van's tires needed to be balanced).

3) By the time I got home from the errands I was tired, grumpy, and my head was hurting so I decided to take a nap.  An hour later I woke up from very uncomfortable low abdominal pain (felt like my pelvic area/abdomen was on fire)... I called and booked an urgent care appointment - soonest available was 8pm.  I remained in bed until then!

4) I didn't get home from the doctor until nearly 9:30p.  Although I was very tempted to go to the ER because I was still feeling terrible after my appointment... Urgent care wasn't able to perform an abdominal ultrasound to figure out what's going on down there.  In order to get me through the night/weekend the urgent care doctor gave me a couple shots - pain medication and antibiotics (I have a fever but they're not sure what's causing it without further testing). 

photo source
5) I got into bed just before 11pm with my laptop, determined to get my post up before midnight... when I noticed a small animal dart out from under my dresser!  I screamed and yelled for my hubster to come - I don't think he took me very seriously because he took forever to come and I had to yell twice that there was an animal in my room!  30+ minutes later we (okay, he) managed to get a baby possum out of my room (he ran from the dresser to under my bed - where it was next to impossible to get him out because I have so many secrets boxes under my bed).

It's now well past midnight as I'm finally able to get my post up!  My abdomen still feels very uncomfortable but I'm wide awake given the fact I spent 6+ hours in bed and being startled by having a possum in my room!  GROSS!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

GIVEAWAY: $100 Amazon Giftcard!

Welcome to the Extreme Amazon Giveaway! I've teamed up with other awesome blogs to give away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader! 

You can choose to do as many entries as you'd like; the more you complete the better your chances of winning!  

Giveaway ends June 3rd at 11:59 PM EST.  Best wishes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Weigh in - 05/19

My post today is late.  I decided to stay up until nearly 3am so I could finish reading a book I was engrossed in - resulted in me not waking up until 9am which set the ball in motion for my perpetual lateness today!

My twin nephew's last baseball game was today and I planned to take the kids to the game and awards ceremony... we were supposed to be there at 11am and didn't make it until after noon.  Sadly, however, the awards ceremony was missed by our entire family because my brother failed to read the team email indicating the ceremony was being held at a different location from the game (to his credit, however, the awards ceremony has always been held at the field so he didn't expect this year would be any different).  Fortunately the game wasn't scheduled until 1pm so we were early for that!

It was a truly wonderful and inspiring experience I hope to write about another time (my nephews play on the Miracle League of San Diego for special needs kids).

I'm just now sitting down to relax and get this post up...

Friday, May 18, 2012

GIVEAWAY: $75 PayPal or Amazon GC (Winner's Choice)

Last week I announced the voting has started for the Zuuzs Grand Spring Recipe Challenge in which two of my recipes have been entered.   

As incentive to get my readers to vote I'm creating a giveaway for $75 CASH (via PayPal - unless you'd prefer an Amazon gift card... winner's choice)!

But WAIT - there's MORE!

Yes, more!  After you vote you are given the option to share it on Facebook and Twitter.  For every share and tweet you post directly from after you vote - you are entered to win one of 5 $20 Cash (via PayPal) prizes from!  They're giving out prizes for the voters!!! 

Double down by pulling up your tweets and FB shares - copy the URL's and submit them in the daily entry options on this Rafflecopter form as well (you can do this in lieu of leaving a comment on the recipe at in order to confirm your vote).   

You could potentially win $95 ($75 from Surviving Madness and $20 from Zuuzs just for voting!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Extracurricular Activities Need to Take a Backseat

My old high school, Mar Vista High, has an awesome alumni website thanks to the effort of a single alum, Henry Vargas Ascasio.

Occasionally, we receive a bulk email with a request from a current student who needs financial assistance for a unique {academic} opportunity. This morning I received the following forwarded message from the webmaster:

Hello Henry Vargas my name is Keith B***** you might know some of my uncles. Well I wanted to ask you of you could maybe help me put the word out there for me because I have been selected to be part of the Bands of America Honor Band with will be marching in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade. I am in mar vista high schools band an ROTC an cheer team. I need to raise 2,500$ for this once in a life time chance. So if you could please help me get to word out to all the mariners to see of any of them could maybe help out a younger mariners to get a one in a life time chance I am one of two kids from California an we represent the whole state. After high school I plane to join the marines an be a marine musician I love playing my tuba I am a tuba player an I have two more years left at MVHS. I am a mariner for life an thank you for your time to read this an please can you get the words. Out to all the mariners also I am attaching  my letter of being selected to this wonderful Band an one in a life time chance

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Welcome to the May Extreme Cash Giveaway! I've teamed up with over 80 awesome blogs to bring you the chance to win $400 cash

Complete as many entries as you'd like - the more you complete the greater your chances of winning... This giveaway runs for a whole month - so take your time.  Don't forget there are daily entries too!
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends June 10th at 11:59 PM EST. Best wishes!


I've read many times how important goal setting is when it comes to weight loss; some fitness experts even say writing down your goals is usually more effective? or motivating? than not writing them down...

I took the advice and wrote down my goals 2+ years ago; goals I thought were reasonable.  When I didn't reach my first goal I was slightly crushed.  I had to rewrite my goals because not reaching the first goal when I thought I would set back all my subsequent goals.  Ultimately, after a terrible reaction to a medication which left me dangerously close to suicide I completely fell off the {weight loss} wagon.  Yes, I hopped on the wagon a couple times since then but only for a very brief ride.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 05/12

This was a rough week.  Thankfully, I didn't cheat or "fall off the wagon."  Of course I know why things were rough...

My hubby is usually away every other weekend.  When the cat's away the mice will play...  I typically stay up later than usual when he's gone and usually wake up later (depending on how cooperative the kids are).  This throws my entire routine off.  I end up eating breakfast later than usual, or occasionally I skip it because of the many things I need to accomplish on the weekend (namely grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning, etc...).  I don't feel well rested and not as energetic as I usually am (which makes getting things done all the more difficult).

This past weekend I went far outside my routine... I skipped the laundry on Saturday (against my better judgment) and decided to go visit a friend - I was in the mood to get out of the house.  It was a pleasant break - unfortunately, however, it put me way behind.  I ended up missing lunch because I had a late breakfast and I didn't want to eat at my friend's house (some call me determined - but honestly, I've grown to be quite picky about what I want to eat).  By dinner I felt hungry, which I rarely ever feel.  I had planned to make black bean burgers but I knew it would take too long and I wasn't in the mood to cook.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cast Your Vote!!!

A couple weeks ago I posted a couple recipes I entered in a recipe contest sponsored by Zuuzs...  Well, the voting for the first part of the contest is now open.  I would GREATLY appreciate it if you could vote for my recipes; I have the potential of winning up to $500 worth of kitchen stuff (not exactly sure how that works, but hey, I love cooking and I love new kitchen stuff - mama could really use some new pots/pans!)  

First up is my Chicken and Artichoke Rice recipe!

Second up is my Moroccan Beet Salad recipe!

Now, here's the downside... You do have to register for in order to vote.  Yes, I know - I really hate signing up for various sites too.  Sign-up is quick and painless, I promise!  You could feel good knowing you're helping me win...

Oh, wait, there's more!  Yes, more!  After you vote you are given the option to share it on Facebook and Twitter... for every share and tweet you post you are entered to win one of 5 $20 Cash (via PayPal) prizes!  There you go, in addition to feeling good about helping me - you get the chance to win $20 just for voting!

AND, if I do happen to win, I promise to do an extra special giveaway for my friends and followers to share the love!

Deal?  Ok then, let's start voting!

PS. You can vote every day!  Increase my chances and yours!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Much Needed Laugh

This morning has been rough!  First, I was still annoyed with something my neighbor did yesterday and it was slowly eating away at me while I was preparing breakfast (I will talk about it more in another post tomorrow).  Then, Aaliyah insisted on making a breakfast smoothie and ended up putting too much in the blender resulting in lots of milk pooling on, under and around the counter and counter top items.  Completely oblivious to the mess she made, yours truly was left cleaning it up...

Then my Little Man managed to spill his entire cup of strawberry smoothie all over the carpet.  The kids just stood there staring at it as if the smoothie was going to magically reverse itself back into the cup.  As the cleanup was in progress, Little Man then spilled his sister's entire cup of smoothie all over the carpet as well.  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?!?!?!  ARGH!!!   

Cue quite a bit of yelling, anger, and mini mental breakdown!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bipolar Doesn't Have to be a Weakness

At the end of last year I had gone to urgent care for severe back pain.  During my exam the doctor had viewed my medical record and asked what a few of my listed prescribed medications were for.  I sheepishly admitted I had been diagnosed with Bipolar but I wasn't currently taking my medication.  She asked why not and I was too upset to answer her.  Instead, I cried and told her it was complicated.  As the doctor handed me some tissue she told me, "You know Bipolar doesn't have to be a weakness.  In fact, it can be a strength."

Honestly, I thought the doctor was just trying to be nice and supportive but didn't really know what she was talking about.  For more than a decade I've struggled with depression/anxiety/Bipolar - and never once have I thought any of these things were strengths!

Yesterday, I was visiting with my dear friend April (who I've known for 20+ years)... we were catching up with each other and we got around to talking about how I was doing mentally.  I admitted I haven't been on medication in quite some time, but for the most part I was fully functional and doing okay (not perhaps my greatest, but again, okay and functional).  I mentioned how focusing on my diet and exercise has really helped.  April said, "It's really great you're able to channel..."

I'm not really sure what she said after that because the proverbial light bulb went off inside my head.  "You know Bipolar doesn't have to be a weakness.  In fact, it can be a strength." 

The thought reverberated inside my head and I finally understood what the doctor meant!  She wasn't just trying to be nice - and she did know what she was talking about!

I {unintentionally} ultimately learned how to channel my Bipolar into a strength (focusing my attention on getting healthy - diet and exercise).  It was an awesome, eye-opening moment for me.  I no longer have to feel handicapped or limited by my illness - I'm actually empowered because of it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Weigh in - 05/05

The cold virus has been playing a never ending game of tag in my house; Usually starting with my hubby, then the kids, one by one, then me - only to start right back with hubby a week or two later.  Thankfully, my immune system is fairly strong so I only get mild nasal congestion and a scratchy throat for a couple days.

Most people opt to skip exercise when they're sick - but as long as you don't have a fever and you're not taking decongestants you can safely do so.  In fact, I always feel drastically better after a workout and I think it helps me recover quickly too!

Last Friday I splurged on a new GPS heart rate monitor.  I was obsessing researching for nearly a week and ultimately decided on the Garmin Forerunner 610.  It was a wee bit more than I initially budgeted for a new one, but it had all the features I needed/wanted and more.  I knew the speed and distance on my treadmill was inaccurate because I typically run 4+ mph outside but if I set the treadmill to 4 mph I feel like I'm going to die after a few minutes!

Friday, May 4, 2012


In the last few days I've become increasingly annoyed with the plethora of blog posts, Facebook posts and websites promoting products, fad diets, and food programs for weight loss.

Admittedly, I've had my fair share of {expensive} misadventures in weight loss since I was 18 (I'm 33 now) - such as Metabolife 365, Phentermine, the Atkins diet, etc... I desperately wanted to believe in something that would speed up the weight loss process.

The stark reality is there are no supplements, pills, shots, shakes, or fad diets that work.  Deep down I knew this, and I'd venture to say we all know this.  Yes, there will always be someone who swears that this or that helped them in their weight loss.  Ultimately, however, weight loss comes down to the simple and straightforward FACT of less calories in and more calories out (eat less, move more)!

Restricting or eliminating food groups is not the answer! 
Vitamin and/or hormone shots in our rump are not the answer!
Horse-pill sized supplements are not the answer!
Body wraps are not the answer! 
Meal replacement/protein shakes are not the answer!

Proper nutrition (aka a well-balanced diet) and exercise IS the answer!

The money wasted on all this crap could be spent towards buying fresh, healthy food, cooking classes (for those who need a little help in the cooking department), exercise equipment/gym memberships, a well fitted pair of exercise shoes, etc...

In all this frustration I had the following thought:  If you wouldn't allow a child follow this diet or take this supplement/product - then you shouldn't either!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 04/28

In Arabic there is an expression, "Tie your camel and then trust to Allah (God)."  Essentially one shouldn't be neglectful of common sense, expecting God will do all the work.  We don't drive around without a seat belt praying that, in the event of an accident, we won't go flying out of the vehicle.  We wouldn't leave our keys in the car ignition and expect the car not to be stolen.  Likewise, we cannot sit around, eat whatever we want and expect to lose weight.   

I've tied my camel (healthy diet with appropriate portions and exercise) - but I have yet to thank God (Allah) for making this journey (thus far) easy for me.  In the past I was tormented by urges to binge eat/drink (soda and coffee drinks).  I would hoard my calories for the day so I could splurge in the evenings or on a special craving (usually sushi).  I'd also get terribly discouraged when the numbers on the scale didn't budge even though I worked hard and ate good.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Recipe: Moroccan Beet Salad

I just submitted another recipe for the Zuuzs Grand Spring Recipe Challenge.

I have amazing memories of my time in Morocco; I can't wait to go back!  Moroccan food is incredibly flavorful, colorful and very healthy!  This side dish goes great with roasted beef or lamb and also makes a delightful snack!   

Warning: It's a little time consuming - mostly because you're waiting for the beets to cook and then cool down.  Nevertheless, it's worth the time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gadget Obsessing!

When my dad does something, anything, no matter what it was, he does it 150% percent. Scuba diving? He bought the most expensive scuba gear and equipment! Metal detecting? Yep, he had a fancy schmancy metal detector. Muscle cars? He owned a 1969 Hemi Super Bee - commonly referred to as his "retirement."  His never ending "hobbies" inspired me to create a hilarious stand-up routine that lasted more than 10 minutes.

Alas, I am very much my father's daughter! My mom and I have a long standing joke: "Mirror, Mirror On-the-Wall... I am my father after all!”

Despite being my dad's twin, there is one thing I've learned from him that has always proven beneficial; RESEARCH BEFORE you buy!

As discussed here the other day, my old heart rate monitor stopped working properly.  Since this past Sunday I've spent countless hours every day researching my heart rate monitor/fitness watch options.  After pouring over the many options out there I thought I had found the perfect one (the Polar RCX3).  However, since it's a new release it would not be available for another 2 months.

Should I wait?  Should I try and find something else?  The frustration and my obsession was maddening!  I continued to do my research and ultimately discovered a major limitation with the Polar RCX3 - it lacks the ability to program intervals.  *HUGE SIGH*

I've been wanting to implement interval training into my workout routine for several few weeks.  The one time I tried intervals it was very frustrating constantly checking my watch to know when it was time to switch between running insanely fast (high intensity) and walking (low intensity).  I needed an option to alert me when it was time to switch so I could focus my attention on the workout and not checking the time!

It was a disappointing discovery, however, I'd much rather be disappointed before a big purchase than afterward!  Back to the proverbial drawing board I went and a couple more nights past my bedtime...  I believe, this time, I found THE ONE: Garmin Forerunner 610!

In fact, the Garmin Forerunner 610 is BETTER because it has built-in GPS (the Polar option requires a separate device for GPS capabilities), several programming options, customizable display, a Virtual Partner/Racer feature (you can essentially race against your previous times - which I would absolutely LOVE), as well as Training Effect (which measures fitness and also provides customizable training options for smart training).  Last, but certainly not least, is the touch screen capability!  In a word?  AWESOME!

I initially passed over this option because there were a handful of reviews indicating charging issues with the device and to be honest, it's well outside of my price range!  Since falling in love with the Garmin Forerunner 610 I've spent another few hours trying to find the best possible deal - hoping I could somehow manage to afford it... so far, I'm coming up short! 

Any of my followers happen to work for Garmin?  I'd love the opportunity to team up with Garmin to successfully increase my fitness goals and become a rock-star runner!  In the meantime I'm going to keep trying to find a way and try to stop eye-humping it!  HAHA!    

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity: May Extreme Cash Giveaway

Bloggers, come see why the Extreme Cash Giveaway is one of the most popular monthly giveaways and watch your numbers go up! The cost to sponsor is only $3 for first link and $2 for each additional link.

Sign up for the Extreme Cash Giveaway here and be sure to say that Surviving Madness referred you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Polar Opposite: In Every Failure there is Potential for Success

I've been familiar with Polar products since I was a kid; my dad regularly trained for triathlons and wore Polar heart rate monitors and other gizmos for his bicycles.

Two years ago I started exercising in an effort to lose weight and get fit. I immediately purchased a Polar heart rate monitor because I wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting my time by not working out in my target zone(s). I settled on an entry-level monitor, the F7 model as it was affordable and fit my needs at the time.

Unfortunately, due to unexpected health problems, I ultimately quit exercising. Sadly, I sat idly by as my weight sky-rocketed from medications and compulsive eating. Eventually, after 2 failed attempts at getting back on track - I succumbed to the false believe that I would be obese for the rest of my life.

 Several months passed before a little spark inside me was ignited. On February 4, 2012 I made a commitment to myself to lose weight and get fit (regardless of how long it was going to take). I refused to accept or believe I would forever be incarcerated in a fat body. That little spark has now grown into an inferno (I've now lost 31.4 pounds in 11 weeks and I've exercised more than 3,000 minutes so far)!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Extreme Amazon Giveaway $100!

Welcome to the Extreme Amazon Giveaway! We will be giving away a $100 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter and remember the more entries you complete the better your chances of winning.

Giveaway ends May 6th at 11:59 PM EST. Best wishes!

Clearing the Hurdle

Although I'm a wonderful cook, "eating out" has always been one of my many guilty pleasures.  Thankfully, due to {religious} dietary restrictions my options for eating out are quite limited...  and of course my three kids complicate matters further by making it a little less enjoyable and more expensive.  Therefore, eating out has become a rare treat for them (I still made an effort to go alone or with a friend).

However, since I started my journey 11 weeks ago I haven't had the desire to go out.  The temptations have presented themselves unsuccessfully; friends inviting me to go out, the kids nagging me to take them out to eat... The answer remained, "No."  I just haven't had any enthusiasm to go (which is a good thing)... 

Yesterday, my daughters were longing for a "Mama and me day."  I told them MONTHS ago that we could have a special day - just us girls (without little brother).  Apparently my oldest daughter claims I promised to take them to Souplantation.  I almost never make promises unless I know for certain I can keep them... I seriously doubt I promised to take them to Souplantation - but I'm sure I did mention going.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 04/21

As I stepped on the scale this morning for my weekly weigh in I was anticipating another good week; I put in the hard work after all... 5 days of jogging/walking and 2 days of strength training              .  I have continued to eat delicious, healthy food while maintaining portion control and my daily food journal.

There were a couple hiccups the last couple days.  Thursday night I was a couple minutes from finishing my jog/walk when my treadmill suddenly turned itself off.  The jolt took me by surprise, immediately followed by panic!  OH NO - please don't let there be another problem with the treadmill! 

I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with my treadmill.  I'm currently in a "love phase" - so the realization that I might not be able to exercise on the treadmill anymore was defeating.  This isn't the first time I've had issues with the treadmill - a couple years ago I was tempted to buy a new treadmill because the repair costs were so high but couldn't find another treadmill with the same features in my price range.  I had the walking belt and a damaged roller replaced to the tune of $400+ - ummm, yeah - I wasn't happy about the expense and how long it took to get repaired either!  A month after the treadmill was "fixed" and I attempted to use it it ran noisily for a couple minutes and ultimately stopped altogether.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recipe: Chicken & Artichoke Rice

I just submitted my recipe for the Zuuzs Grand Spring Recipe Challenge. This dish is one of my most favorite meals - fairly quick & easy, very healthy and super delicious (in my biased opinion, of course)!

I'll be sure to keep you posted if I make it to the voting stage - I hope I can count on you all to help me out and vote! *wink*wink*

Chicken & Artichoke Rice

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Here is a chance to win $20 cash! All you have to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to be entered! Only entries on that form are valid, all other entries will be void! Giveaway closes 4/18 at 11:59pm EST!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Little Girls and Curls...

I LOVE hair! Since I was a little girl I have {almost} always had incredibly long, thick hair. I'd like to believe my girls have inherited their beautiful hair from me - however, the ladies on my hubby's side of the family all have amazing hair too.

With that said - my oldest daughter most definitely has my hair. The color and thickness/texture are identical to mine (although my hair has darkened over the years so it's not quite as honey colored anymore).

My youngest daughter has fine, but incredibly long hair! She refuses to let me cut it... she says, "I don't want to look like a boy." She's tender-headed and insists the hairbrush GIVES her tangles and this is why she doesn't like her hair brushed (I have yet to convince her the tangles are NOT from the hairbrush).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

GIVEAWAY: April Extreme Cash Giveaway!

It’s time for the April Extreme Cash Giveaway! This month’s prize is $500 CASH (via PayPal).

There are many entry options on the Rafflecopter form below as well as daily entries - be sure to bookmark this page and come back every day to increase your chances of winning!

Giveaway ends 5/13 and is open worldwide. Best wishes!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 04/14

I had one of “those weeks.” I don’t usually get PMS symptoms, for the exception of cramps, however this week I was on a never ending emotional roller coaster! Extreme irritability, anger/rage, frustration, hopelessness, depressed, resentment, sensitive, I believe you get the idea...

We finally made it to Spring Break! I cherish breaks from school. As a homeschooling mama break-time means I get a bit more free time to read, visit with friends, and/or catch up with projects. Unfortunately it was probably one of the worst weeks I’ve had this year (given my aforementioned mood swings coupled with the kids refusal to listen to me and their incessant fighting).

On the positive side - I didn’t budge when it came to my eating this week. I’ve always been an emotional eater. However, I managed to keep it together this week without burying my face in a bag of chips, a half-gallon of ice cream, 3-4 rolls of sushi and gulping down 3 cans of Coke, one after another! The fact I didn’t even have the desire to - is a HUGE accomplishment, in and of itself!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NO Excuses!

Today was a bad day. From the moment I woke up I wasn't feeling myself {PMS = cramps and irritability}. Additionally, the kids failure to listen to me repeatedly resulted in another broken mirrored closet door... it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

Honestly, I probably screamed for 10 minutes straight. I then put myself in a mental time out for a couple hours - I just couldn't look at my kids without being so incredibly upset and wanting to cry. Again, today was a bad day.

I felt physically and emotionally drained all day. I REALLY didn't want to exercise today - I didn't have any energy or motivation. I thought I would try to work out in the afternoon but didn't. I took a nap instead.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Binges and Cravings

I used to have intense cravings for Coke, Starbucks, chips, cookies, cinnamon buns, cake, sushi, etc... I always had intense urges to eat - just for the sake of eating, not because I was hungry. I rarely bought "junk food" because I didn't want my kids eating it - but I also knew if it was in the house then I would devour it. However, my cravings were always so intense I would make random trips outside to end the misery of my obsession - a package of cookies, 3-4 rolls of sushi, a venti Carmel Frappuccino, an x-large Coke from McDonalds for $1 (or a 24 pack of Coke which I would hide in the garage so I could secretly drink 3 cans without anyone knowing).

I've been eating "clean" for 9+ weeks now. I quit drinking soda {cold turkey}. I also decided I wasn't going to drink diet soda or {generic} Crystal Light because I know artificial sweeteners are not healthy. I used to abhor drinking water - so much so that I would go DAYS without drinking any water (I'd drink coffee, tea, soda, "flavored water"- anything but plain water).

Want Free Stuff and/or Money?

Becky from Oh My Gosh Beck has compiled a ton of resources about entering blog giveaways, Blog Giveaways 101....

Whether you're new to entering blog giveaways or a veteran - there are a lot of great resources for you to help in your quest to win!

You can't win if you don't enter!

Monday, April 9, 2012

GIVEAWAY: 4 Kindle Fires!

Here we go everybody! Are you ready for this? Freebie Shark, American Familyy, Coupon Pro, and Mark Your Savings have teamed up with Acadiana's Thrifty Mom and a group of AWESOME bloggers to bring you 1, no 2, no 3, NO 4 Kindle Fires! You read it right, there are 4, yes 4, Kindle Fires up for grabs in this colossal giveaway! We have taken all the work out of the Rafflecopter entry form (below) and made this as easy as possible! Enter today! Best wishes!

Note: This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest in any way. You must be 18 years of age to enter to win. This giveaway will be open worldwide. Freebie Shark, American Family, Coupon Pro, and Mark Your Savings with E are responsible for the distribution of the prizes. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of your prize.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 04/07

Today marks 9 weeks on my journey... In a word? WOW!

Since I've been doing remarkably well I've been taking peeks on the scale quite regularly just to "see" how I'm doing. Ordinarily I would strongly advise against this because weight does vary from day to day (some days you just weigh a bit heavier than you really are). It can be a major discouragement to see no loss (or worse a gain) when you've been eating very healthy and exercising religiously! In fact in my previous weight-loss attempts in the last 3 years I had given up because I wasn't losing according to the scale and I was working sooooo hard (probably too hard if I'm being completely honest).

This week I noticed my weight wasn't budging from day to day; I immediately knew the problem. I was working out just a little harder than in previous weeks but wasn't compensating by increasing my nutrition just a little. My calorie deficits were too high so my body did the compensating for me. I made it a point to eat just a bit more on a couple days {all healthy calories - such as an apple with almond butter - my new favorite snack)!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Muslim Monday: Straw vs Log

As humans we tend to be very judgmental of one another. From the way we dress, the cars we drive, the foods we eat (or don't eat), our education (or lack thereof) - it never ends.

We all make assumptions and pass judgment based on our perceptions - which are oftentimes wrong (we have no way to account for another person's inner thoughts/struggles). More importantly, however, is our inability to spot our own shortcomings.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "A person sees a straw in the eye of his brother, but neglects to see a log in his own eye." {Ibn Hibban}

Once a friend whom I hadn't seen in a long time asked me, "What happened to you? You got big!" (Using hand gestures to indicate I have expanded width-wise... and no, I'm not exaggerating - this actually happened)

I gave a partial explanation for my significant weight gain (medication). I also respectfully explained her comment was inappropriate. Amusingly, this person has weight issues of their own - a classic case of straw vs log!

We easily notice and sometimes comment on {myself included} the faults of others - but what about our own faults? The next time we find ourselves being judgmental let us take a moment to reflect on our own imperfections!


I've wanted a Canon DSLR for a couple years now. I remember being on the verge of buying one but decided against it because...

1) they're a LOT of money (well, the one I wanted anyway - was about $1500+)

2) I knew I wouldn't use it as much as I intended! However, I haven't given up hope on owning one - I'm hoping to win one. I'm not holding my breath - but I certainly have nothing to lose. You can't win if you don't enter, right?

Why not join me in entering this amazing giveaway for a Canon 5D Mark III from Pictureline? Who knows you may very well be the winner!

Best wishes!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

GIVEAWAY: April iPad Mania (and a Fire Kindle too!)

Welcome to the April iPad Mania Giveaway!

I've teamed up with Bay Area Mommy and other awesome bloggers to bring you this amazing chance to win one of the two hottest tablets!

Grand Prize: The New iPad (or $550 cash)
Second Prize: Kindle Fire (or $200 cash)

Entries will be accepted from April 1 at 12:01am EST until April 21 at 11:59pm EST. There are no mandatory entries but plenty of options to increase your chances of winning!

FOR SALE: Parachute - Only used once, never opened, small stain

I had to write a funny title - I needed a small laugh. Today is just one of those days. I don't know what happened - it was as though the proverbial switch was flipped and I went from being content to feeling crummy.

There are people in the world right now battling terminal illnesses or severe hunger; people who are in extreme pain or in a dangerous situation... Unfortunately, however, those thoughts aren't doing to help me snap out of my miserable mood.

It's been so long I cannot remember the last time I felt depressed. Actually, now that I really think about when the bad mood started I pinpointed the trigger. I texted my sister last night about an immediate teaching position available (she's been trying to find a full time teaching position for years). I texted her again this morning to find out if she was interested and she informed me she's looking for positions in Vegas.

Admittedly, I was upset. I think she sensed it because she called and we talked about it. I completely understand and agree with all her {and her husband's} reasons for wanting to move out of state - but I don't like it.

Nothing has happened so far. I feel a bit ridiculous for having such a strong reaction. I know my sister and I don't talk all too often or hang out nearly as much as I would like to - but the thought of her moving away really bothered me. God (Allah) help me if the day comes and she actually does move - I'm going to be a wreck!

Today is supposed to be my rest day from exercise but I think I might just have to go out for a jog/walk or a bike ride to get my endorphins pumping and hopefully brighten my mood!

Saturday Weigh In - 03/31

I was bad this week! I didn't cheat or have any desire to - but I didn't eat as much as I should have. Monday night I completely lost my appetite; I forced myself to eat an English muffin with a little honey and sunflower seed butter (my new favorite snack/treat - super yummy) and cottage cheese.

The rest of the week I fared better but Thursday I missed lunch because the kids requested me to make something entirely different for lunch (a Moroccan pea soup called Bisarra and homemade bread) and I just wasn't in the mood to eat it. I figured I would eat something else after I exercised but the time kept getting away from me... I didn't start exercising until after 4pm and finished an hour later - so my lunch turned into an early dinner.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: 1992

I've missed a few weeks of Flashback Friday but I'm happy to be back this week with a gem of a photo!

Yours truly, in my teenage 90's glory, sucking on a baby bottle {for Halloween} in NJROTC class (Naval Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps). I couldn't help but laugh at myself when I saw my over-sized windbreaker jacket with the bright colors and my long pig-tails/bangs! What's even funnier is I distinctly remember seeing that jacket in my parents front closet several months ago when I was looking for something.

I also couldn't help but feel a sense of longing - if only I could go back to those days when I thought I was "fat." I was a bit overweight back then but definitely not fat and I was still fairly athletic back then too - I was on the girls armed drill team, the physical fitness team and I played basketball my sophomore year (oh, and I could run 3+ miles back then too). I thought I was so ugly - but looking back I was relatively cute (in my biased opinion of course)!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FLASH GIVEAWAY: $30 Amazon Gift Card

Welcome to the Weekend Amazon Flash Giveaway! One lucky shopaholic will win a $30 Amazon gift card to add to their Amazon fund.

Lots of chances to win -- just use the Rafflecopter form below and complete as many entries as you’d like. Giveaway ends on 4/1 and is open worldwide.

Good luck!

DEAL ALERT! Refurbished Kindle Fire for $139

I recently signed up to be an Amazon Associate {aka affiliate} because I truly LOVE shopping on Amazon! In fact I search for pretty much everything on Amazon first because I can usually save money but more importantly time! I abhor having to take the kids with me shopping - it always results in a headache, lots of frustration and constantly repeating, "NO, I'm NOT buying that!" Sometimes I have to mentally say it to myself because I'm tempted to buy something I don't really need...

What better way to introduce you all to my love for Amazon than sharing today's great Gold Box deal! Today (March 29th) you can score a Certified Refurbished Kindle Fire for only $139!

They are certified to look and work like new AND come with the same one-year warranty (and other perks like the Amazon Prime Members Lending Library)!

I have 2 iPads but I definitely took advantage of this deal because I've been wanting a dedicated e-reader. I've been holding off on the hope I would win a giveaway but so far it hasn't happened! I love to read and there's so many free books available for Prime members with a Kindle. I also don't want to kill the battery on my iPad from all my reading!

If you have a Kindle Fire or you end up taking advantage of today's deal let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April iPad Mania Giveaway - Twitter Follows

This is the second Twitter Follows page for the April iPad Mania Giveaway. Following all the pages below will give you 25 entries to the giveaway. Not following even just 1 page below will make the 25 entries invalid so please make sure you follow ALL the pages then go back to the Rafflecopter form and click "Enter".

It may take a couple of seconds for the Twitter icons to load depending on the speed of your PC/MAC and internet connection.