A Major Non Scale Victory

Sweaty after bootcamp, but loving my pretty purple “stay dry” tank.

So, on Tuesday I was all pouty because I gained a pound. Tonight, I realized that I’ve foolishly been looking for reward in only one place – the scale. I’ve been trying to do a couple of group exercise classes every week, because it’s the best way for me to get the full hour of cardio in without sneaking off early like I’m inclined to do if it’s just me and the treadmill.

I sweated my butt off in Bootcamp tonight, and about halfway through I realized something. I was winded, sweaty and tired – but I was keeping up. I didn’t need breaks to catch my breath, and I was doing the intermediate moves. I attacked the 45 squats with gusto and didn’t freak out when we did 100 knee kicks in a row. As I started putting two and two together, I realized “Holy crap! This is working! I’M GETTING IN SHAPE!!!”

I’m always amazed at how long it takes to get in shape and how quickly you can get out of shape. It makes sense that I’d be starting to feel some results now as I’ve been back to my old gym since September and working out more than ever. This was exactly the reminder I needed that helps me remember why I need to stay on track and keep pushing. I may not see the number move on the scale, but tonight, I felt great! I left the class drenched and tired, but my endorphins were rushing, my body felt loose and limber and my skin had that pretty pink glow. It’s times like this that I remember that success in weight loss isn’t just about a number – it’s about how you feel.

Sadly, I’m one of these people. “I skipped the french fries! Did I lose weight yet?”

Are you the type of person that expects instant reward when it comes to weight loss, too? Have you had any “non scale victories” lately?


Foodie Fun: Ojai Olive Farm

Ojai Olive Farm

This weekend, I cashed in a LivingSocial voucher for the Ojai Olive Farm, a quaint ranch nestled in the rolling hills of the Ojai Valley. The small operations room was surrounded by beautiful olive trees that were over 130 years old, with delicate leaves and huge, gnarled trunks. Cacti dot the landscape and huge boulders rest among hills that share space with avocado and tangerine trees.

Unripened olives

Did you know that two things can be done with olives? You can either cure them or make oil out of them. I’m glad I didn’t find out on my own, but our tour guide warned us that a fresh olive is not the most palatable treat. At the Ojai farm, the olives remain on the tree until fall, when they’re a deep, plummy black. They are hand picked and put into crates to be pressed the same day they are picked.

The owner, Ron Asquith, started the Ojai olive farm as a retirement project.

After the olives are washed, giant machines smash the fruit into a paste, and then the paste is whirled around thousands of times until the oil separates from the water and solid matter. The oil is filtered 15 times against thick, cottony sheets, and the fresh oil is immediately bottled or placed into gigantic drums. All of the machinery is stainless steel to protect the taste of the oil, and this machinery was specifically shipped from Italy to ensure authentic and premium olive oil processing.

After seeing the manufacturing process, we were herded into a heavenly room with rows and rows of gleaming olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I grabbed a napkin with some bread cubes and got to tasting. There were about 10 different varieties of olive oil, some flavored like lemon or raspberry, and some traditional styles which were very sharp and tangy. Some described them as “grassy”, but I thought that was harsh!

Don't buy olive oil like this that isn't marked "Extra Virgin".

Did you know when you buy olive oil, you should avoid oils that say “pure” or “light”? What that means is that the waste portion of the olives after they’ve been pressed was used to make the oil. For premium taste and flavor, you should always buy olive oil marked extra virgin. You’ll be able to tell in the taste – and one more way to check is to read the bottle and see where the olives come from. If the bottle says something like “made from olives in Tunisia, Greece, Africa, Spain and Italy”, run for the hills – because basically that means that you’re buying yucky used up olive juice. Your olive oil should come from only one place, and it should be extra virgin. (Also – use your olive oil within 18 months, and store in a dark, dry place away from heat sources.)

I love olive oil!

My LivingSocial voucher included one bottle of olive oil, one bottle of vinegar, and an olive tree! I settled on a garlic flavored olive oil and a delicious pomegranate balsamic vinegar. I thought the vinegar would be awesome on a salad, as it has a slightly fruity, sweet taste that pairs beautifully with the tongue-tingling tang of the vinegar.

I'm extending an olive branch. Har, har.

Here I am with my olive tree. I’m super excited to get it planted in the ground, and it already has one baby olive on it! When the olives are ripe I think I’ll take a stab at curing them, but luckily I’ll have plenty of time for that, as most olive trees produce the most fruit around 5 years old. Did you know in Crete, Greece and Jerusalem there are 3,000 year old olive trees?! Can you imagine?!

Get pickin'!

If you’re ever in the Ojai area, you should definitely visit the Ojai Olive Farm. I had a great time and learned a ton, and my belly left feeling super happy. I also picked up some handmade olive soaps – and you have a chance to win one if you come back on Wednesday when we’ll celebrate reaching 150 Facebook fans! So now Double Chinners, I gotta know – are you a fan of olives? If not for eating, how do you feel about olive oil? Let’s chat… ‘cuz olive olives. (and bad puns).

Post Vacation Weekly Weigh In

This morning after getting my butt kicked in kickboxing, I headed over to the scale. I wasn’t filled with dread, like I usually am, because lately I’ve been feeling… skinny. Maybe it’s because I heard four separate times from relatives on my vacation that I’d lost weight, or maybe it was because I ate Greek Yogurt for breakfast, and in my mind, Greek Yogurt is some magical weight loss elixir. Either way, I stepped on the scale with a kind of cautious optimism, curious about what a week of eating junk food, but only three times a day and in moderate portions, had done to me.

I'm fairly certain my heart stopped for 30 seconds after eating this, but DAMN, it was good.

*Drum roll*

Down. Down half of a pound. Italian beef, hot dogs, pizza, cookies, cheese curds, bratwurst, potato chips, popcorn, vanilla cream Dunkin Donut, twinkies. Down. No kickboxing, no yoga, no treadmill, no tracking. Down.

This has happened to me before. Is it the break from the daily stresses of my life – a busy job, graduate classes, homework? Is it the fact that I’m not eating when I think I “should” and was actually eating when I was hungry? Was it because I was so busy bouncing from Chicago to Minnesota back to Chicago and then all around the state that I wasn’t always eating? I don’t know. But in the future, if vacations could always go this way, I’d be pleased.

All the things I ate last week definitely made me feel like a pig – but the scale showed me this morning… that a pig I am not.

Divine Swine!

Have you ever been surprised by a weight LOSS when on vacation?