Elena's Quest

Balancing family, fitness, faith, career and fun!

Weigh in and first day January 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elena @ 6:49 am

Well Saturday was the orientation at Farrell’s!  We got weighed, measured and did some baseline testing.  I weighed in at 143.  Although I am smart enough to know that scale weight isn’t everything I know that I feel best around 130-132.  The baseline sit  up and push up tests were not too bad but my arms  were definitely a little lot fatigued  after a minute of pushups!  And don’t even get me started on the run……I mean I am kind of a runner and the mile was HARD (she actually said it is a little over a mile).  Not sure what the deal was but we will see at then end of 10 weeks if my time improved (hopefully).  Starting stats:

Weight – 143

Body Fat – 25.2 (EEK!!!!)

Sit ups – 17

Push ups – 27

Sit and Reach – 22 1/2

Mile(ish) run – 9:43

I think at week 5 there is a mini evaluation and the final is week 10 which will coincide EXACTLY with us leaving for Texas to see Tony’s sisters and our nieces, etc.  Good goal 🙂

Anyhow, today was the first REAL day and I LOVED it!  It was kickboxing and I’ve always enjoyed that.  The 4:45 alarm was a little bit of a rude awakening but once I was there it was fine.  I am so looking forward to the journey!

I prepped my food for today yesterday so should be spot on today.  Also picked up some groceries from Costco to help get me through the week healthfully.  Prep is at least 1/2 the battle when it comes to eating healthy I think.  I’ll post my food for the day later!

Anyhow, off to get ready for work.  Last week was relatively successful so I have two new employees starting this week and 2 more next week -just have to keep the momentum up!  Happy Monday!


The Before Picture January 5, 2012

Filed under: General — Elena @ 10:35 pm

Well we have been having some internet problems here so no posts for the last couple of days.  I pretty much work in a fishbowl (aka cube land) so it is hard to try and do it at work – even over lunch hour.

Anyhow, the last couple of days have been busy.  We had senior management in our offices yesterday as one of my partners was celebrating 15 years with our company!  They had a nice cocktail reception for her where everyone said lots of nice stuff.  When senior managers come we wear suits – ick!

Today at work was also hectic.  As I mentioned I am a recruiter and we had a large job fair to attend.  The facility was downtown where our offices are so we walked over.  Believe it or not it was SIXTY DEGREES which is CRAZY in Iowa in January.  It was really nice to get out and meet some new candidates.  I had to wear a suit again.  I really don’t remember the last time I wore a suit twice in one week.  Good thing tomorrow is jeans day since I don’t actually own any more suits!

OK – onto the fun stuff.  As I’ve mentioned I am starting Farrell’s.  Today we had to go get our BEFORE pictures taken.  They basically had advised us to wear as little as possible as anything lose, baggy or long won’t really show what you look like – thus the BEFORE and AFTER will be harder to compare.  I wore tight yoga shorts and a sports bra.  I just couldn’t do a bikini but I figure it was pretty close!  I don’t have the picture but think I will take one myself tomorrow or Saturday (when the program officially starts) so I can post it.  Nothing like putting yourself out there, literally, for accountability!

The lady at Farrell’s said on Saturday we will run a mile, do a sit and reach, see how many sit ups and push ups we can do in a minute and get our starting weight and measurements.  I’ll post all that to make tracking easier.  I think they do a halfway check at 5 weeks (although maybe not the run) and then again at 10 weeks for the AFTER.  Should be interesting and fun.  I am actually really looking forward to getting started!

I think I posted previously that I am most worried about the nutrition piece.  I have been trying to make better choices this week to “get in the groove”.  I’ve made some overnight oats which I found I actually like.  The past two weeks I had pretty much had regular oatmeal every work morning for breakfast.  I was starting to get a little tired of it so decided to switch it up.  I had heard about overnight oats on some other blogs so decided to dig up a recipe.  There are some good ones at Kath Eats Real Food.  I have been doing variations of these and they are YUMMY!

Now to get really honest I am slightly really dreading the no alcohol thing.  I think I mentioned that I LIKE MY WINE!  It is my favorite way to relax at the end of the day – you know wind (wine?) down…… As I understand, there is one “cheat/treat” day allowed per week when a bit of indulgence is OK.  BUT  I am torn about whether or not I am going to take advantage of that.  If I was the kind of person who just wanted one glass of vino and could have it with a cracker and a carrot it would easy.  Unfortunately I am NOT that person and instead want a few glasses of wine and the cheese, crackers and dark chocolate that pair so wonderfully with it!  My guess is this could hinder progress on the diet/exercise front………At this point my plan is to get through week one and see what I think about the “treat” day.  Maybe if I really want it I will go for it – if it seems not that important I will skip it.  Saturdays will be my indulgent days so I guess I just take it one Saturday at a time!



I’m scared…… January 2, 2012

Filed under: General — Elena @ 9:56 pm

As I have been reflecting on what I want for this year I realize I am afraid.  Nervous. Scared. Stressed out.  Why?  I am afraid of failing.  I have always been relatively high strung although I have managed to mellow out quite a bit over the past 10 years or so.  Maybe age and kids help with that!  Anyhow,  I can be a perfectionist and afraid of showing the less than stellar side of me to others.  Today I realized I am afraid of failing at Farrell’s 10 week challenge.  I know I can do the workouts but I am worried about the nutrition side of it.  What if I don’t stick to it?  I am afraid of getting on a road bike again.  Falling hurts and broken bones suck.  Does that make me a big baby? What if I don’t lose this weight I have put on?  I also am planning on doing a marathon this year – what if I can’t do it?  WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?  Is that what worries me the most?  Or is it really having this extra 10-15 pounds on me that worries me?  Or a combination of both?

On the family front.  I have two daughters – 12 and 14 .  Am I setting a good example?  Am I teaching them the right things?  ARE THEY LISTENING????  What if they are NOT?  What if I fail at THAT?  Scary thought there……..

Career.  I work in a very competitive, high stress job.  Which is 100 % commission.  What if I fail at that?  Um – obvious answer there -no paycheck!  Another scary thought…….

Wow do I know how to find things to worry about!

Of course everyone has stresses, fears, challenges, worries, etc.  Some of us worry more than others and we all handle these feelings differently depending on our coping mechanisms and perspective.

For the last few years I’ve been managing my stress pretty well and I think know that my workouts have been a huge part of that.  Since “the break”  I’ve been more anxious and crabby.  Obviously the lack of activity made it more difficult for me to deal with the stresses of everyday life.  Logically I knew that when I could be active again I would be happier but for some reason that was not a big consolation when I was feeling so down!  Now is the time to get back at it!  Just the last two weeks of  regular activity has helped some and, when some of this weight starts to fall off, I know I will feel more positive and confident which in turn will enable me to deal with things better.

Here’s to stress relief!


First day of 2012! January 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elena @ 8:56 pm

Happy New Year!  I REALLY can’t believe it’s 2012.  This year will be 20 years that Tony and I have been together – wow!  That makes me feel OLD but also very HAPPY.  I am so pleased when I look around at the family we have created and the life we have built.  Many days I still don’t feel “grown up” though.  It’s weird but I have heard similar things from my friends too so I know I’m not alone!

Anyhow, we had a fantastic NYE!  Both of the daughters had plans with their friends and did sleep overs.  Tony, my BFF and I hung out at home, ate, drank and watched “Bad Teacher” then played some poker (very badly).  The meal consisted of filet mignon, crab legs, salad, potatoes and apple tartlets for dessert.  YUM!  Tony was our mixologist and poured some verrrrry yummy martinis and we finished with champagne at midnight.

I did get outside for a run yesterday morning.  This is the first outdoor run since the triathlon back in June and it felt GREAT!  I did my 3+  mile route and took two walk breaks.  Even with those I managed a 5.7 pace – nothing record breaking but not bad for just getting back in to it.  I used the GPS application on my iPhone which is amazing and comes in handy when I have not charged my Garmin.

After the run I had just enough time to shower and get ready before BFF got here.  She also brought her two dogs with her.  It was so cute to watch all 4 dogs run around chasing each other and playing!  We all went to the barn (hubby, kiddos and BFF) to show off our new horse, Trader, and then out for a light lunch as we knew we wanted to have room for our fantastic dinner!  After that we went home, got the girls all dropped off at their locations and then settled in to cook.  Also watched Bad Teacher which was so raunchy and inappropriate yet hilarious at the same time!  We know how to rock out NYE here in Iowa 🙂

Me and BFF

Me and Trader (excuse the evil camera phone horse eyes)

Once my friend left my kids and I went to the barn and took Trader some home made horse treats we had cooked up.  I think he was very appreciative!

Exercise today consisted of 40 minutes on the spin bike.  I am excited that I am establishing some consistency around activity and am so ready to get started with Farrells!  In addition, I am really working toward making better food choices.  While I know the Farrells eating plan will be pretty regimented I am trying to get on track with more whole food and portion control now, even before the program starts.  I will be posting my starting stats and pictures and at this point am guessing I’d like to lose somewhere between 10-15 pounds over the course of the 10 week program. Mostly, I have certain things that need to fit again so will use those as a measure of progress.

Dinner was homemade butternut squash soup and homemade french bread – yum!  I know the bread will have to go soon – at least during the “losing” phase but it was fantastic today – straight from the oven at dinner time!

Of course since it is New Years day I have been thinking about goals.  I will post more about this tomorrow as I am pondering other changes or desires for 2012 outside of fitness.  This blog is all about trying to balance everything and of course fitness / healthy eating is just PART of that.  I really need to nail down my goals around family time, career and faith.  Luckily I have tomorrow off work and nothing on the agenda so I should be able to devote some time and brain power to that!

How about you – what are your non-fitness goals for 2012?  How about the fitness ones?


Happy New Year’s Eve December 31, 2011

Filed under: General — Elena @ 9:54 am

Yesterday I got a nice surprise – my BFF from Kansas City is coming up today to spend NYE with us – Yippee!  We grew up together in Michigan, were in each other’s weddings and took turns being pregnant (1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999).  This was great for swapping maternity clothes!  Anyhow, two years before I moved to Des Moines she moved to KC.  Now we are less than 3 hours apart so it makes for a fun weekend trip.  Here is a pic of us this summer when she came to visit (during broken leg time – note crutches).  Excuse the devil eyes – phone picture!

In honor of a fun NYE in hubby (Tony) and I went shopping last night for filet and crab.  We also got asparagus and stuff for a salad along with cheese, vodka and champagne.  Should be a good time – I even bought a new Victoria Secret sweat suit with some BLING on it for the occasion!

I didn’t workout yesterday so am dressed and ready to head out for a run now.  It is gorgeous for December 31st – completely sunny and looking at a high of 54 today!  Happy NYE Day:)


I ran today! December 29, 2011

Filed under: General — Elena @ 8:38 pm

Well after a relatively quiet day at work today I went to the gym and RAN!  I have only ran once or twice since “the break”.  I don’t really have pain which is good but I can still feel something a little weird in my leg.  My doctor said there will be a “scar” thing for awhile.  Apparently if they x-ray a year later they can still see where the break was.  Good news is that I can resume my normal activities!  So today that meant 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill:)  After about 1/2 mile of warm up walking I did 5 minutes run / 1 minute walk and did that for 30 minutes.  After that I did a 5 minute cool down and some stretching.  It felt GREAT and now I have 6 days in a row of exercise.  How long is it to establish a habit?  I think it is 21 days so I am about 30% there.

After working out I felt like cooking a healthy meal!  I treated the husband to baked salmon, steamed veggies and couscous.

and we drizzled this AH-MAZING vinegar on everything

While shopping with my older daughter a couple days ago we came across All Spice in the East Village of Des Moines.  It was such a cool little place – fantastic selection of flavorful vinegars and tons of oils and spices as well.  If you are in the area definitely stop in and do some tasting.  You can also find them online (click my link).

My kiddos have been keeping VERY busy this break – I am so happy for them.  In addition, the weather has been incredible!  Today was sunny and 50+ degrees.  This is quite unusual (and appreciated)  for late December in central Iowa!

Since they are busy I am driving a lot more.  I must go pick up daughter #1 and her friends now!


Happy Wednesday! December 28, 2011

Filed under: General — Elena @ 9:40 pm

Happy Wednesday!  Well, I did NOT get in the early morning sweat session today.  When the alarm went off I didn’t even realize what was happening and then quickly set it for 30 minutes later said to myself “oh, I’ll workout after work”.   See why I need the accountability factor to re-establish my early morning routine?  LOL!

While at work today I browsed STUFTmama’s blog and got inspired to try Chia seeds.  I decided to venture out to a health food store over lunch to find some.  My quest (since Whole Foods isn’t open yet) led me to Campbell’s Nutrition in Des Moines.  What a fun experience!  Although I was a little rushed due to time I did buy some sunflower seeds, red lentils, dried apple slices and a Raw Rev 100 mini bar – YUM!  Um, completely forgot the Chia seeds though….looks like another trip is in order!

Anyway, after a CRAZY busy day at work I did come home and do a quick 20 minutes on the bike.  It would have been longer but Hubby wanted to go out for sushi and I had to drop Daughter #1 off at a friend’s house so time was at a premium.  This is why it is SO essential for me to get my workouts done in the mornings – otherwise life gets in the way!  I must say, though, that although I wish I would have gotten up and hit it first thing, overall I am pleased to be semi back on track with 5 DAYS IN A ROW of exercise!  While I may not be losing yet I know I am making healthy steps in the right direction.

Speaking of progress – today I was pretty sensible with my food choices.  Again, although I have not started my program yet I am trying to be more conscious about food and exercise choices.  The day was pretty good with only a couple stray dips in to the cracker box!  Dinner at Aparre  was YUMMY – we got a couple rolls and wine (of course).  Hubby is off all week and so are the kiddos so we are  kind of still in “Holiday Break” mode.  This was NOT a normal Wednesday night dinner!

Tomorrow is another day at work and then maybe some grocery shopping for the weekend.  We will likely stay in for NYE so the hubby and I are trying to decide what to make.  I am thinking seafood but he seems to think if we have SURF we must also have TURF!  The deciding factor may be how hungry we are when we go shopping!