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This is a continuation of my post from the other day. I had many comments, messages, & emails and a lot of you had some questions which I will answer here. I had thought of adding in the “food” part of my weight loss journey to the previous post but it already had topped out at 1,ooo+ words. So here’s what you asked for.

To lose 30 lbs since Dec. 1st did I do any exercise or any diet other than Zumba?

-The short answer is “not really.” I have been doing Zumba since Sept. I went from 2-3 classes a week to 2-3 days doing it at home when it was not offered at the gym. I don’t enjoy lifting weights but they are beneficial and I target my arms in particular by doing 3 specific arm exercises with weights starting with 5lb dumbbells in each hand and I now lift approx 17.5lbs@. It takes less than 10-minutes and that’s fine with me. I hate any exercise that involves the floor and Zumba helps your hips/waist and core but I wanted more so I added 100 crunches a day- done on a weight bench so I don’t have to get on the floor. I am up to 180 crunches a day as of this morning. You can work your abdominals every day so I do them 6 days a week and the weights are every other and that’s it for additional exercise. I was walking in the evenings when it was nice but due to the foot pain and rain that has been curtailed.

I was given a calorie/heart-rate watch for Christmas –  as the key for me BESIDE taking measurements was to know just how many calories I was burning. Of course its not as many as you think when you finish laundry or vacuuming – you do burn but it’s in the 1-200 range. I burn on average 1,000 calories and HOUR in a Zumba class. Once I had a concrete number it was a lot easier to manage my food intake. I am not on a diet, no packaged foods, shakes, meal replacements, bars, etc. I simply cut back. One motivation was the cruise we leave on on Saturday, I wanted to see how much I could lose before we left. My goal was 30 and I hit it.  Now, we all have been eating more salads and I have yogurt for breakfast as I LOVE dinner and would rather save my calories for then but we are not denied anything. Saturday, as a pre-Mother’s day treat we went for seafood. I had lobster, fried calamari, and a piece of decadent chocolate cake, I left most of my fries as the cake was more important – no one told me too  – it was a cheat day and my choice and dinner was a chef salad and no one felt deprived. I will say that I am one that has to have some kind of carb with lunches like salads and sandwiches. Special K’s Cracker crisps have been a lifesaver for me! you can have 27!! for 110 calories. Most chips or tortilla chips are 130-140 calories for roughly 8-13 chips. Can YOU stop at 8 chips? I can’t – I love counting out my 27 chips and seeing them on the table – psychologically it’s about the quantity and physically they taste good and coupled with a salad its a 400 calorie lunch! I am not a STRICT calorie counter but once I knew what I was burning I wanted to see what I was actually consuming and thought how many Zumba classes is it going to take to get rid of that?! Some foods were very surprising both good and bad in the calorie per serving and it helps just to be aware and we make decisions – if you want to eat ALL that then you have to step up the exercise the next day or it’ll be on your hips. It’s a choice and a balance and we are all eating healthier and more mindful and we actually spilt a piece of Ouzo poundcake for dessert the other night and I still lost a pound the next day.

I also suffer from sciatica which since about 3 months into the Zumba has lessened quite a bit. With the weight-loss I can go a week without throwing a knot in my back whereas before, I was in pain every single night. I had pain patches and was constantly having the knots “ground” out by the Mr. I also have suffered from knee pain since High School. It is almost non-existent as well. My joints are looser due to the exercise even with all that salsa and merengue and there is less weight for them to carry around.

Zumba has a Zumba Gold program for anyone with ailments of back and knee and for the older generation – it’s less impact and just as fun! So if you don’t think you can handle a regular, try a Gold or an Aqua Zumba in the pool. Zumba also builds into its routines and instructs us to do so as well several levels. So when we make a routine we start off slow, the next time we add a jump, the third time we add a kick. You can do all or just stay at the 1st level the choice is yours!!

Aside from my foot pain (which is tweaking my back a bit) I feel MUCH better than I have in years, the chronic pain that was my constant companion is gone and I have a lot more stamina and I now don’t have an aversion to sweating – it means my heart-rates up and the pounds are going down!

This is something with no end. This is not a diet that took out my carbs and fruit and sugar and adds them back in a week or  a month, this is not packaged food. I cook every night for us and I needed to do this this way, as we are Italian, we LOVE to eat, I like to make BIG Sunday dinners  I just needed to be mindful of what and how much and to literally get my ass in motion.

I think that answers everyone’s questions and concerns and I wish you all the best on your healthy journeys whatever they may be and I thank you for all your support and positive comments! I feel great and I am going to enjoy this cruise in clothes in a size that have been absent for years & I no longer dread the airline seat!

If you have any further comments or questions don’t hesitate to comment or message me!

Now, I am off to Zumba!

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“Come on over and join me on Facebook! “Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

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As regular followers know, I am a writer, poet, speaker, etc. What you may not know is I am now a certified Zumba Instructor! In the past I have written of my disdain for exercise and how my Personal Trainer husband could care less how much I weigh or whether I accompany him to the gym. He took it in stride when I scoffed at his “no carbs after 4pm” rule. No Carbs?? hellooooo “My name is Melissa and I am a Carbohydrate addict!” Really, LOVE my potatoes and Bertucci’s rolls, Olive Garden’s Breadsticks..ok I need to stop. Anyway, I have tried different exercises over the years and all the fad diets as well and nothing stuck as 99% of exercise, I HATE, and when you put forth a mammoth effort and you don’t see results yet go a weekend with no exercise and high calorie food and it shows up immediately…well that just ain’t right or fair.

My husband is now a General Manager of a gym and I went through one of his 8-week boot camp classes- hated every minute, heckled him throughout, refused to put down my kettlebell between reps for the simple reason I didn’t want to bend over and pick it up again.(Anyway it’s about the same weight as a really heavy purse only not as attractive.) I found I did have more stamina at the end of the 8 weeks and I went from doing “girl” push-ups to 45 “guy” push-ups. I was very proud of that, but the scale NEVER. MOVED. Can you say frustrated??!!

So I had been watching exercise infomercials from the couch like everyone else and saw one for Zumba, I love to dance, always have and this looked like fun, BUT I am not one to order  off the T.V. so I just watched my 30 mins and got on with my life. Then in September of 2011 he was finally given permission to start offering Zumba classes at his club. I took one class and my friends, the rest is history! I had a fantastic instructor, that was pregnant by the way, and Zumba’d with us right up until TWO days before giving birth. I went to her class twice a week and got so good that I actually had people ask if I had dance training, have I been doing Zumba for a long time?..etc…I also had several members either tell me or my husband that they would stand behind me  so they could watch my feet in case the room was so crowded they couldn’t see the instructor. I was very flattered. Eventually everyone asked if I was going to be an instructor. I just laughed. How could the overweight, anti-gym girl become an EXERCISE instructor?? 1. It’s WAY out of my comfort zone and 2. I hated to exercise remember? 3. Only size 4 barbie-look-a-likes were group exercise instructors…right?

I let the idea sit for a long time..One certification class went by and I was unable to attend anyway and by the time the next one popped up I was warming to the idea. It was now April, and I was now doing Zumba at home on the days I was not at the gym and I added a 3rd class at the gym with a different firecracker of an instructor and as I have a very good memory, I memorized all their routines and was now able to Zumba 6 days a week and I LOVED it. I added a very minimal specific weight training routine to my schedule along with good old fashion crunches (done on a bench) and since December 1st I have lost 30-pounds!

Now, since September 1st I have lost 16 inches overall! Most noticeably 5 1/2 just from my hips. I now only have one chin and a jaw line I haven’t seen in decades! I will stress the importance of measuring yourself as there were times that scale crossed its arms, shook its head, and simply refused to budge but the measurements were going down, the clothes were fitting better, and then voila after about 16 weeks of regular exercise the scale began its descent!

With that encouragement and motivation I took that instructor training and became certified on March 4, 2012! ironically as I was preparing a class routine/song list I began to have severe foot pain. So the anti-gym girl 1. finds an exercise she LOVES 2.gets in better shape 3. Becomes certified to teach others and then gets an injury in the two most important body parts in Zumba, her feet! Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?!

Now the old me would have thrown up her hands and thrown away her sports bra and said “see, exercise is bad for you.” However, I have been pushing though the pain and I keep shaking it at home and in class to the tune of 1,000-1,100 calories burned an HOUR. They still hurt but I ice them, massage them, and have shoe inserts and I just crank my iPod and keep going. I know they will get better and I am on a journey I won’t be derailed from!

As such, I have finally gotten my self and my confidence to the point where I will be teaching a song or two this coming week and going for my 1st audition for a Zumba teaching position as well.

It may sound cliché’ but when you find an exercise you like you WILL stick with it! I am living proof! The girl who loves her potatoes and hates the gym is  30-pounds lighter physically and mentally in the best place I have been in years. I am happy to teach others how to shake it- “give me an hour and I’ll change your life! “I’m not saying Zumba is the answer to your health/exercise prayers but it was mine – so keep trying new things until something clicks and more importantly stick with it long enough for results to show up (more than 7 days!!) and take your measurements I can’t stress that enough!

Yes, I am still writing up a storm that is my full-time vocation/love. Zumba is my 2nd! Hopefully I will be in a place soon where you can all come and dance with me!

A few before and after photos, as isn’t that always the best part of those infomercials??! 🙂

My Birthday October 2011

 

 

 

Christmas 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Things were definitely tightening up but the scale remained the same

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 5, 2012 we have a waist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zumba instructor shirt

-30lbs and 16 inches overall!

I welcome your questions and comments..please feel free to post below!

 

 

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“Come on over and join me on Facebook! “Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

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It is March 1st and we finally have the first major storm here in New Hampshire since Halloween! It’s close to a foot in some areas and it’s days like this I am glad I am fortunate enough to work from home.

As I mentioned yesterday I am running a writing-type contest over on my Facebook page. Hop over and “like” the page and send in an entry, you have until Friday at 10am!

“Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

 

Also, as I mentioned yesterday there is a Photo-a-day challenge for March as well. I will not be participating in this one but February was a lot of fun so if you missed it why not try out the one for March? I am always looking for new “challenges” I love tight deadlines, short word counts, interesting angles. Script Frenzy is coming up again in April, anyone have any suggestion for other challenges. Leave me a comment if you know of something fun I should try!

Now, even though they aren’t from the challenge I’m going to leave you with a couple of pictures from the storm, just because!

 

 

 

 

 

The BIG picture window I look out every day into the backyard has the appearance of fringy bangs or monster fangs! What do you think?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my turkey friends foraging for snacks just as the snow began to fall in earnest Wed. afternoon.

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March’s Challenge list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

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So it is Leap Day, which means an entire extra day to do whatever you wish. Will you do the usual or will you try to squeeze in something fun or just catch up on a project you’ve put off? How about entering a contest?! I am running a short contest in honor of Leap Day over on my Facebook page.

“Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

You must visit the page and “like” it in order to enter the contest. It’s short and fun and there will be a prize for the best entry!

Good luck!

Now for the last day of the February Photo challenge.

Day 29 subject – “something you are listening to”

Since we get an extra day today I’m going to give you an extra photo as well!

This is a new CD I got that I just love. I play it sometimes while cooking our Big Sunday Dinner and I may have “snuck” “Volare” onto my husbands new iPod when he asked me to charge it the other day! heehee Nothing like getting ready to crank out a 400lb deadlift and switching from Deep Purple to Dean Martin! Hey, it’s his fault for leaving it on shuffle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for your bonus photo!

There is a photo-a-day challenge for MARCH! So, if you missed this one or want to try your own here is the list put out by the same person. I am undecided as to whether I’ll participate but you just never know. I do love a challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

 

 

 

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Day 28 subject “money”

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis of the Seas” One of the newest and biggest ships in their fleet! It has a zip line, wave rider, skating rink..yes, it’s enormous and we’ll be sailing on it in a couple of months so every penny found in a parking lot is going straight into the fund!

 

Contest alert! OK over on my Facebook page I will be announcing a contest tomorrow in honor of Leap Day! details will be posted on my facebook page only and you must “like” the page in order to participate. The prize will depend on the proximity of the winner to me! Get your creative juices flowing and come visit me on Facebook and I’ll “see” you tomorrow!

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“Come on over and join me on Facebook! “Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

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Day 27 Subject – something you ate!

Ok this photo is going to make some of you say, “ewwwww.” However, this is a tradition started with my Dad when I was little. Tradition is a very important part of my life and now that my Dad is gone I have been trying to pass these things on to my nephew as he would have done. I learned also that my husband has a few traditions from his family but not nearly as many as I do and one of the things he loves about me is my holiday traditions and my ability to make an ordinary meal special. He appreciates my going the “extra mile” by adding festive paper goods or a decoration or something to commemorate a special day. Just last week we celebrated Mardi gras. It was a really a regular old Tuesday for us but I added some beads he’d “caught “for me at a parade, some paper goods and a Mardi gras mask wearing rubber duck. It took less than 3 minutes to decorate and Voila a regular Tuesday became “Fat Tuesday.” These little touches don’t take a lot of time or a lot of money, just a bit of creativity. Don’t you owe it to yourself to enjoy a weeknight dinner just as much as a special occasion?! Your family will appreciate it! You might even be able to make a new tradition out of it!

Back to “what I ate.” We are Italian and the North End in Boston, Mass. is one of my favorite places in the World, not just for the food but for the sights, sounds, experiences, and the memories it brings back. This “memory” is a tradition from our annual week before Christmas pilgrimage. My Dad would always get a raw clam on the half-shell and I always participated! My husband LOVES them and my nephew tolerated it! But I secretly think even though it wasn’t the best tasting thing he ate that day that he loved the idea and tradition behind it and THAT is what it’s all about!

These can be eaten, 1. plain 2. with a squeeze of lemon 3. with a dash of tabasco (&lemon.) Me, I eat them plain and VERY QUICKLY before my brain can register what I just put in my mouth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Come on over and join me on Facebook! “Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

 

 

 

 

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Day 25 subject – “green”

My entry for this is a picture of our brand new basil plant. I had been nursing 2 smaller plants leftover from the summer and they finally gave up on me. It’s too far from planting/growing season to go without our homemade pesto and bruschetta so we had to bring a new “Basil” home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You get a bonus photo today as well. Here is a suggestion for how to use basil if you see these cute little plants in the store and wonder “Hmmm, what do I do with that?” This is Bruschetta I made using the recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis.

 

 

 

 

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta

From the book, Everyday Italian.

Makes 36 pieces

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta
1 (32-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and spun dry
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large French baquettes, sliced 1-inch thick (about 36 slices)
1 ½ pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼-inch thick
Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor, add drained tomatoes, 1 cup basil leaves, olive oil and 2 cloves garlic. Pulse until smooth, but somewhat chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
On a baking sheet, line up baguette slices. Toast in oven for about 3 minutes or until light golden brown. Working quickly, rub the remaining garlic on the toasted side of each slice and then lay a piece of mozzarella cheese on top. Place bread back in oven and melt cheese slightly, about 45 seconds. Remove from oven and spread one tablespoon of the tomato mixture on each piece.
Place bruschetta on decorative platter and garnish with basil leaves.

 

Here is a link to her website. http://giadadelaurentiis.com/

 

Day 26 subject – “Night”

This photo was taken on the night of a full moon and we were desperately trying to capture, with our borrowed camera, the gorgeous view we were seeing. The moon didn’t come out so well. But some spur of the moment shots of a wild thistle plant are some of my favorites and one of the bestsellers in my notecards!

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“Come on over and join me on Facebook! “Like” my page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melissa-Rossetti-Folini-Bee-Leaf-Works/123347344351416

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“Story Times Good Enough to Eat! : Thematic programs with edible story crafts” by Melissa Rossetti Folini – Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO – Jan. 2010 – 3 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, also available from Barnes and Noble  or from the author.

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