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a thoughtful gift & fitness update


I planned this week to get started on some of the pieces on my to-do list, but I have been knocked out with a bad cold/flu sort of thing.  It had me bed-bound for a couple of days and has left me dragging through the week.  I’m up and about now, but I just haven’t had it in me to start painting or stripping a piece of furniture and forget trying to organize the attic and guest room.  That’ll have to wait until I’m back to 100%…well, maybe 80% will do…realistically.  It’s tough for me to just sit, but I’ve been focusing on computer work and Jane Austen movies & BBC miniseries have kept me entertained.  (Is anyone else totally bummed that they didn’t make a third season of London Hospital?)

So, I was hoping to have lots of fun stuff to share, but I’ve had to slow down a bit, so I’m just going to share a few random things and an update on my weight loss/fitness journey.

First, I wanted to show off this wonderful gift…

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I was busy at the Chapel Market, signing books and taking pictures and a woman was behind me, holding this two-tiered stamp holder in her arms.  The piece caught my eye and I thought, “What a cool find!  How did I miss that before the market opened?”  I turned my attention back to the book signing.  A few minutes later, the woman, who’s name is Paula, was in front of me, still holding the two-tiered stand.  She smiled and handed it to me.

“I brought this for you.  I thought it would be a perfect way for you to display wood knobs painted in all of your milk paint colors or something like that.”  I told her how much I had admired it in her arms and was so surprised that it was for me!  I tell you what…my readers are good peeps.

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It was such a thoughtful and kind gift and I can’t wait to find the perfect spot for it.  Thank you so much, Paula.


Now for an update on my fitness/weight loss journey.  You can read about my journey in these posts…

Living with Limits – I had gained 30lbs and had to have my gallbladder removed, so something had to change.

4 steps to minimizing Miss Mustard Seed – My “get fit plan”

My P90x results – 12.5lbs lighter and a lot stronger

So, where am I now?  I’ve lost over 20 lbs since starting my fitness journey and have dropped 4 pant sizes.  Woohoo!

After P90x, I started Insanity and did that for a few weeks.  I liked it, but I kept hurting my back…like, hardly able to straighten my back, keeping heat on it all day, not able to lift anything kind of hurt.    I finally had it x-rayed to make sure it wasn’t injured.  It turns out I have some arthritis going on in my lower back…goodness, at 35…and I have a sway back.  The exercise is helping strengthen my back, but Insanity goes at such a fast pace (and I’m not one to be left behind) that I wasn’t focusing on proper form.  I was just focusing on doing things quickly to keep my heart rate high.  So, I switched back to P90x and introduced P90x2 workouts into the mix.

Well, then I traveled a lot and we went on vacation (I actually lost weight on vacation) and then I jumped back into work when the kids were back in school.  I’ve been doing P90x2, which I really like, but haven’t been consistent about it.  When I started P90x, I viewed it as a head-on challenge to do it for 90 days…no excuses.  No, I’ve gotten lazy.  I’m still eating vegetarian, I still don’t eat overly processed foods or things with MSG, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc, but I’ve stopped tracking my calories and I haven’t made exercise a must in my day. I have been going on regular hikes, though, and find that I love being outside and pushing myself (even in the rain)…

Even though I’m not tracking calories, my new eating habits are so established that I haven’t gained any weight back, thankfully, but I do need to get back to losing again.  I think I’m having trouble getting motivated, mainly because I’m feeling good about where I’m at…

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…but, at the same time, I still want to get in better shape, to be stronger and more toned and to lose a bit more of the pudge.  So, it is time to buckle down again, workout hard every day, track my calories, monitor my activity with the Up Band and mix things up even more with my diet (I’m planning to remove wheat and sugar for a week to see what happens.)  For my workouts, I’ll do a hybrid of P90x and P90x2…three days of strength, two days of cardio and one day of a  hike/walk/bike ride/family activity.

If you’re working on a fitness plan, I could use some cheerleaders and accountability buddies, so just leave a comment and we’ll push each other along!

Oh!  And I had a personal shopper/stylist get in touch with me a few months ago when I expressed how lost I feel when I got clothes shopping.  I’ve been putting off meeting with her until I’m “where I want to be weight-wise”, but then I decided that was silly.  The point of working with a stylist is learning how to dress in a way that flatters my figure no matter what size I am, so she’s coming out to take a look at my wardrobe, such as it is, on Friday.  I’m a bit nervous about it, I must admit, but excited, too.


Today, I did manage a photo shoot for a special project coming up and here is a sneak peek…

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…and I got a new lens in the mail, so I put it on my camera, turned it around and snapped a selfie.  The lens is zoomed all the way out at 24mm, so I could shoot at arms length.  Since I’m pretty close to the camera, there is a bit of distortion, but I like how nice the focus is.

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(Go Skins.)

I had three fixed FX lenses (meaning they don’t zoom in or out) – a 50mm, 60mm and 24mm and I found I needed something that can zoom for when I travel, attend events and for more casual shoots, so I bought a refurbished 24-85mm, which covers some of the range I was missing with my fixed lenses.  I am still eyeing the 35mm to add to my collection, but that is a pricey piece of glass, so I’m going to hold off on it for a while.

So, there you go.  A little bit of this and that.


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links.

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  1. Hi Marian…so jealous of your weight loss! I think that you are looking too thin though. So be careful…sometimes you can go overboard when you don’t have to.

    I have a wonderful husband…who cooks everything – so I don’t have to. This is a recent thing (because he’s retired now – and I am still working). So, I love to come home to cooked meals and he makes me breakfast every morning. Trouble is – he can eat anything. He. Is just naturally thin. I have gained weight since he retired – because he’s the chef! I have now learned to eat 1/3 of what he prepares for me. His metabolism can handle so much more than my can. A lot of women I know are jealous if what I have – but the weight gain that has accompanied it…I would rather be back cooking all the meals. Mine were healthier versions!

    I have to find a way to tell him I need to prepare more of the meals – if only to save my waistline! Or, I have to get him a healthier cookbook! We do go on long walks about 4 times a week…but he is the one who stays steady…not me!

    Glad for your continued weight loss and healthy lifestyle. Will you stay a vegetarian? I was a vegetarian for about 15 years. I was a lot thinner during that time!


  2. Sheila Moore says:

    Hi Marian…I too am on a weight loss journey of my own…it’s a tough road but we need to keep on keepin’ on…good job on your part. Also I knew I liked you for more than your MMSMP…you’re a Redskin fan….HTTR…how did that come about may I ask?

  3. Carol says:

    I to have been on a weight loss journey to with you and have lost so much that I can not even wear my skinny clothes that I saved. I hate shopping so just wear things hanging on me with a belt. Wish someone would come and help me, you will love that let me know what she says! I know what you mean about keep on keeping on, I am right there. I have no more weight to loose just tone up to. I have joined a gym and only do the classes and they are really good so I am toning up and meeting new people they are all older women. But now it is rainy and cold and I just want to stay home in the house but this morning you have motivated me so out the door I go! Now get up and pop in that tape you can do anything for 30 minutes and who knows once you get started you may even keep on for an hour. We don’t want to have to worry about thanksgiving and Christmas treats and if we are working out we won’t and I know I don’t want to go back to fat clothes in the spring! So get up!!!! If you just change the sugar and wheat you will probably start loosing again and that will be motivation to keep going. Don’t stop til you get where you want to be, even if people say oh you are to thin, you feel good about you. You live in that skin and have to look at it every day not them!!! You go girl! We will help each other over this hump!

  4. Ginni says:

    Hi Marian! I think you are doing so well! I purchased the Up Bands for our wedding anniversary after seeing your post on it earlier this year. (After 11 years, what else can you buy? 😉 We still use them. You mentioned kicking out wheat. I kicked it out of my foods along with dairy and gluten – and lost 15 pounds really fast. Wheat and dairy are in EVERYTHING. And therefore one ingests a very vegetable-fruit-protein-centered diet. I am excited to read your rededication today because that motivates me to step it up again. You look marvelous. Keep strong and carry on.

  5. Rhonda says:

    Isn’t it funny how the weight creeps up over the years? I find that I need to lose about 30 pounds; last year it was just 20! What happened??? haha! I admire your determination and dedication to your health goals! Omitting sugar and wheat will definitely impact your results. I actually think you look wonderful right now! I know what you mean about toning the pudge, so perhaps that should be your focus, rather than losing too much more weight. We want you to remain healthy, because we love you so much! Maybe I will get on the rebounder this morning, in honor of you. But it’s too late to undo the sugary cereal I had for breakfast! :)

  6. I used a stamp holder to hold taper candles;worked great when lighted

  7. Marlene says:

    Take time and rest – your body lets you know — And, you look great – so pretty and kind!!! I am trying to get motivated to loose 25 lbs. I just need a good start and some cheering too – So, feel better and keep pushing forward – You do look great!

  8. Teresa McKee says:

    Marian, congratulations on your weight loss, and congratulations on having discovered that truly successful weight loss lies in having developed a lifelong changed eating pattern. I have lost 41 pounds and am working toward another 30 pounds, but more than that I am working toward being as healthy as I can possibly be. Having been a breast cancer survivor as well as having dealt with a myriad of frightening health issues, I made the decision that if I wanted to live as long as possible and enjoy a wonderful quality of life, I would have to make some changes. I began by totally eliminating all soft drinks, diet or otherwise, and greatly reducing processed foods. I actually haven’t been counting calories but have relied on eating healthy (organic whenever possible) foods, not eating between meals, enjoying reasonable portions, and not eating after 6:00 p.m. I’ve had neck surgery & have 3 bulging lumbar discs (resulting from arthritis that began in my 20s) so exercise is limited to walking, but that’s doing the trick! Life is a blessing not to be taken for granted, as I know you’ve discovered! Keep up the good work in all you do and God bless!

  9. Wow! You Rock! What an accomplishment you’ve made – and with the healthy changes you’ve made you are doing all the right things.
    Love hearing your update!

  10. Elizabeth L says:

    Well done on your journey! You look fabulous! I’m jumping back into my own journey, too. I need to get back into my exercise routine, its so hard when you have taken as much time as I have off! Hang in there! Give yourself some grace in the process 😉

  11. Susan says:

    Rock on Girlfriend!!!!! I was told some 7 years ago how great Pilates is for my back problems of 15 years . Unfortunately, I did not look into it. I had back fusion 6 years ago. The surgery was a success & I am so glad I did it. I did try Pilates finally, a couple weeks ago & I love it. As a woman in my mid 40’s , I can see this strengthening of my core is especially important as I age & continue to bend over to paint furniture & do various crafts. I can see that these exercises with the reformer can serve me for many years & it is something I am capable of doing. Keep up the good work !

  12. You’re such an inspiration! This summer I had the dawning realization that next year I’ll be turning 40. After 4 kids (the last 3.5 years ago, oldest being nearly 17), I knew it was time to get back to taking care of me again. I want to feel strong & healthy again. It’s been so many years since I’ve had the kind of go all day energy I yearn for again. I started to come up with a plan to tackle my goal. While I know I need to lose a considerable amount of weight probably at least 50 lbs… I don’t have a specific number in mind to see on the scale…I just want to feel strong & good about how I look again. So that’s my goal to feel leaner, strong & feel good again.

    Wouldn’t you know it though, fate intervened & on the heels of one of the craziest busy summers I’ve ever had, found out we were expecting #5. Thought we were so DONE adding to our family’s headcount. So while some of my goals have been sidelined or at least slowed way down. I realized I could still work on a gradual return to health. What better an excuse to eat much healthier could I have? I had already told myself meat & dairy needed to go on a long hiatus. Of course that was helped along with unusual (for me) food aversions…nice prego side effect, lol. I’m gradually returning to a fitness routine, walking, hiking & stretching to start. My blood pressure has been gradually returning to it’s previously lower normal.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us on your blog. I know your story & journey will help keep me inspired for many months to come. When I’m finally ready to tackle my own journey with more concentrated effort. I’m one of those earthy, creative types who wants to always honor what’s best for my new baby first, family second, mother nature third & myself last when it comes to time & energy. This time around I’ve given myself permission to move myself up the list considerably. Afterall, if mom doesn’t have enough energy, then everyone loses out in the long run. Keep up the great work, your body & family will thank you time & time again.

  13. Nice job, well done! I have started P90X so many times but never finished it. I have tried Insanity too, but kept getting injured.

    Right now I am doing Shaun T.’s T25. I love it! But I also need extra motivation everyday. In fact, I still have to do my workout for today :/

    I went vegan for 6 weeks and lost 12 pounds. Too bad I couldn’t keep at it and keep it off.

    Keep up the great work! I love hearing your progress.

  14. Well, congrats for this, really great! But keep in mind now that you should keep in the good shape… This should be your next objective. Best regards from Melbourne PT studio.

  15. Tami B. says:

    Marian, you have motivated me to get back on track with my workouts. For the last two years, I have been unable to exercise because I was in a terrible car accident and I’d just started nursing school. I found that I was either too exhausted or studying my butt off for an exam to workout. Now that I’ve graduated school, I am ready to get back into shape. Thank you, once again, for your transparency. You are a breath of fresh air and I love reading your blog. Off I go to order my P90X DVD! I can’t wait to start my new routine!

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