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Wednesday, May 20

...but my dress is tight. So something will have to be done to get me back in shape. Not that I'm out of shape. I'm a good size for my height. I look healthy. I wear a normal pant-size. The number on the scale is reasonable.

Once upon a time, I looked way too skinny--like in the picture to the right. I'm not aspiring to be that small again, but I definitely want to tone up. And I want my to have a flat tummy again.

The way I see it, there are 3 majors things contributing to the weight I've put on:

1. Not having a regular routine when it comes to eating meals; namely, I don't eat breakfast every morning.

2. Not exercising regularly; my lifestyle is no longer active enough to offset this.

3. Enjoying my beer and wine entirely too much.

So what am I doing to overcome these stumbling blocks?

To begin with, I'm going back on a "diet." This really more of an eating plan which is called The Abs Diet for Women by David Zinczenko, the editor-in-chief of Men's Health Magazine. This is a "diet" that I've been following loosely for the last 2 years anyway, but now I'm taking it more seriously.

The premise is that rather than denying myself specific foods or types of foods (Atkins Diet, anyone?), I can eat what I want. In fact, I'm supposed to eat six small meals a day. The key is to try to include at least 2 power foods in every meal. These power food are the foods that really keep my metabolism burning strong.

And it's surprising how many powers foods I was eating anyway. These are the Power Foods:
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Beans and legumes
  • Spinach and green veggies
  • Low-fat dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Lean meats (turkey, chicken, leaner cuts of beef)
  • Peanut butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas
  • Whey protein powder
  • Raspberries and other berries
The only item that wasn't a part of my diet before was the whey protein powder. Integrating the rest of the foods more heavily into my meals wasn't difficult. I replaced ground beef with ground turkey. Brown rice for white rice. Sliced almonds for croutons on salads.

As a personal choice, I also try to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup (soda!) or trans fats. I try to limit foods with high sugar or sodium. In order to do this, I try to prepare as many foods from scratch as we can. I like to know what goes into my food and what doesn't (dyes and chemicals).

And my Mister has agreed to go along with all these changes in our eating habits. So there's no preparing a seperate meal for me.

Since my dress came in last week, I've been placing a renewed focus on making sure the power foods are the building blocks of my menu; especially by having them around at work, not just my kitchen.

Second, I'm making breakfast a huge priority! One of the great things about the Abs Diet is that I have great smoothies recipes, so I've been making one each morning rather than drinking coffee. I'm not giving coffee up, but when I drink it first thing in the morning, I don't usually eat. Now I'm having coffee about mid-morning and a smoothie for breakfast.

Third, I'm also trying to establish the exercise habit. I am a member of gym, so I'm trying to make use of that, but I have contingency workout options to do at home when my schedule just won't permit me going to the gym. And when all motivation fails me, we still have 2 dogs that need to be walked at least twice a day.

Ultimately, I'd like to be strength training 2-3 days a week and doing cardio 3-4 days a week. I'd also really like to begin practicing yoga or pilates.

As for the enjoyment of the beer and wine....I'm not giving up my beverages (yet), but I am trying limit them to just the weekends and when we play trivia at the Flying Saucer.
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Tuesday, May 19

I said yesterday that I was going to write about my diet and exercise plan for getting into my dress, but I don't feel like writing about that, so I'm not going to. The beauty of it being a blog is that no one can make me stay on topic. I'd rather write about where we're going to have our wedding.

We initially thought that we were going to get married here in Columbia at our church, St. Andrew's Lutheran. Then have a dinner or reception at a local restaurant afterward. We've been tossing around a few restaurant ideas: Motor Supply Co. Bistro, New Orleans Riverfront Restaurant, Dianne's on Devine or Hennessy's Restaurant.

Not that we've ruled Columbia out, but I'm hung up on the idea of getting married in Charleston, too. Not on the beach, I still want to get married in a church. But somewhere on the coast.

We're thinking of a the little church we attend when we've vacationed at Isle of Palms, St. Marks Lutheran. The chapel is small, but so is our guest list.

So where would we have dinner afterward? My first choice is Station 22 on Sullivan's Island. This is another regular spot for us when on vacation. We always eat there at least once. The food is fantastic (especially the she-crab soup and the shrimp and grits), and the atmosphere is very laid back.

So really, the only thing as far as Charleston goes, is whether our pastor can/will come down to marry us. This is kind of a deal-breaker. If he isn't able to marry us, we'll probably stay in Columbia.

The final location option is really more of a joke than a possibility: Las Vegas. We'll tell our parents and siblings. "Fly out and join us. We'll get married and then spend the weekend having a great time." My parents think this is a grand idea. We'd just have a huge cookout/party when we get back so we can include our friends and extended family.

This is our fallback option if things start getting too complicated and stressful. We're going to Vegas, and Elvis is NOT invited.

So that's the big 3 for now:

  • Columbia
  • Charleston
  • Las Vegas

Any thoughts?

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Monday, May 18

As noted in the previous post, I knew we would be getting engaged since I helped design the ring. While it's debatable whether that takes the surprise out of the story, it definitely helped us with beginning the planning. The door was open to discuss what/where/when we want our wedding to be. And it meant, that I could begin doing the browsing for a very key element: the dress.

I have a confession to make. (Stage whisper:) I was engaged in college. So I had a pretty good idea as to what I want for my dress. In fact, I knew exactly what I wanted for my dress. It's a David's Bridal gown; since I tried the gown on before, they have updated the design to include color accents. The price has gone up accordingly. I want mine in all white and saw no reason to pay the new inflated price when I basically wanted the old design. With this in mind, I had already been trolling Ebay to see if I could catch it for a deal.

Mine looks similar, but is white-on-white.

Luck was on my side. Not only was the exact dress I wanted available brand new with tags in my size (provided I get my butt into the gym and work 2-3 inches off my waistline/belly), but the price was smoking hot and the shipping was free.

My Mister told me he would be very upset if I bought it before he popped the question. And I even thought that was too presumptuous; so, I put it on my watched items and began waiting....until the auction expired. Drats.

Luckily, the item was relisted for another 28 days. Surely, we'd be engaged within that time....

Despite what my Mister thought, I decided to exercise patience and not buy the dress right away. We got engaged on Saturday; I was going to wait on at least one more paycheck before I got it. Until I was on the phone Monday with my best friend and she asked me to email her the link so she could see it. The seller had put the dress on clearance and dropped the price significantly.

Hmmm. I could be hasty and buy the dress about 2 days after I got engaged...or I could wait, possibly miss this deal and spend more than $450 dollars more at the retail store if I can't find it again. It was a no brainer. Using the Buy It Now feature and Paypal. I secured my gown. One and a half weeks later, a large box was on my doorstep when I got home.

I've tried it on and feel like a princess! But it is very tight through the waist. And the motivation is on for the diet/workout because I really, really want to be able to breathe on my wedding day. Tomorrow, I discuss the route I've taken for whittling those few inches off.

Sure, I know I could probably have the gown let out, but I'd rather go the health route, lose the weight, look great in my dress and even better in my bikini when we go on our honeymoon!
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Friday, May 15

So I'm just guessing here, but if the primary focus (at least for now) of this blog is to be our wedding planning, I suppose we should start at the beginning. How did we get engaged?

That's a good question. We had been dating for just short of 4 years lived together for 3. So us getting engaged was not unexpected.

We started shopping for rings together back in February. When we mentioned this to my step-mother, she was gracious and generous enough to give us several small diamonds from some of her old jewelry to use in my wedding set.

My Mister and I began working with Moseley's Diamonds, a local family-owned jewelry store, to take the vision in my head and turn it into a real piece of jewelry. We also purchased a beautiful white sapphire from Ebay to use a center stone. Seriously, buying your gems loose is much more cost-effective than buying them retail; just be sure you do your homework!

Due to some unexpected events, the having the ring custom-made took a little longer than we expected, but we knew it would be unique to my tastes and very worth the effort. Slowly, a ring was born.

Once, I approved the final design and wax form, I stepped out of the process. Now it was up to my Mister to surprise me. Being the pushy Yankee-transplant that I am, I had "suggested" (okay, pushed) that he propose on our 4-year anniversary. Thankfully, he decided not to do that.

About 2 weeks ago, I decided on a whim to drive up to Greenville and visit a friend from high school and stay Friday night. While I was gone, my Mister picked up the rings. He took me out to one of our favorite restaurants, Mai Thai. This is a wonderful, intimate restaurant in West Columbia.

Usually, we sit next to each at our table instead of across from each other. Not having a clue as to what he had in his pocket, I reach over and set my hand on his leg. He jumped as though I had pinched him and then ran off to the bathroom. When he came back, he and I were discussing my visit and other usual chitchat.

Finally after much fidgeting, my Mister must have decided he was ready. He stretched his hands out to me, cupped together as though he had a creepy crawly he was going to throw at me. When he opened them, there was my ring on his little finger blinking and shining at me.
At first, he started to just put the ring on my finger, but I told him had to actually ASK me to marry him. Of course the answer was "Yes!"

I was stunned and excited and promptly lost my appetite. We had our food boxed to go and quickly left to share the news with family and friends.
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I'm doing this blog at the request of my sweetie. We've recently gotten engaged, and he thinks that I should blog the process of planning. So we'll some wedding planning and photos.

But since I'd like to continue to blog after the wedding, I'm sure other themes will come along as we go.

We're getting married in a little less than a year, so this is the start of the rollercoasting. Thanks for riding along!
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