Thursday, April 26, 2012

Refrigerator Clean Out

Whenever we are going to be gone for more than 5 days or so, I stop cooking and do a refrigerator clean out.  I have to say, cleaning the refrigerator is one of my least favorite household chores so most of the time I try to wipe it down as we go along, but every now and then it needs a good cleaning.  As of today it's pretty empty so that will make this disagreeable chore easier, even though I will also use this opportunity to go through all the condiments and miscellaneous jars of stuff that somehow get pushed to the back and die there.  In the end I'll be glad I spent the time to do this as it's nice to come home, open it up, and see it sparkling and ready to fill again.

The house is being swiffered and dusted one last time so it will also be sparkling upon return.  The mail and newspaper are stopped and I've given the key to the house sitter.  I've assigned Mr. Helen the vacuuming and general cleaning of the car interior.

Before the end of the day all this will be in the suitcases.  I've checked and double checked to make sure we aren't forgetting anything important (errrr yes, this is just 'my' stuff...) but I'm sure I'll forget something as I seem to do that every time.  Hopefully it's not contact solution like it was last year.  While contact solution is available in the pharmacy, it's an imported item so it's pricier, not the mention the Euro to Dollar exchange.  I think I paid $25 for a small bottle of it.  That was $25 I would have rather spent on a souvenir!

Got some highlights put into my hair.  Mr. Helen says he can't tell the difference.  Does this mean he doesn't look at me directly, or am I just a blonde blur to him?

Later on today I'm getting a manicure and pedicure. Traditionally that has always signaled the beginning for me, so I guess that makes it official.  (Why YES, you do have to wait until I get back to find out which pink shoes I bought!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Ten: In the Pink

1.  Pink striped pedicure socks, pink toes to match

2.  Looking for new pink shoes #1

3.  Looking for new pink shoes #2

4.  Pink Swarovski Crystal bling to wear with my vacation dresses.  Does it look like a hibiscus Shelley?

5.  Looking for pink shoes #3

6.  Looking for pink shoes #4

7.  Found three pretty pink shirts to freshen up the summer wardrobe

8.  Looking for pink shoes #5, already found a pink phone case

9.  Looking for pink shoes #6

10.  Pink nails too.  OPI Dutch Tulips - the nails not the flowers :) Hi Fran!

P.S. I did buy one pair of those shoes... can you guess which?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pause Button

I've been fighting a weight plateau.  It has been weeks and weeks since I lost any real weight... and I'm not doing anything different now than I was when I was losing.  In fact a couple weeks ago I really buckled down and kept my calories under a certain number (which I choose not to divulge because how things are for me may not be how they are for you) and was stricter with myself than when I was losing - to no avail.  It's a real honest-to-goodness plateau.  In the process, I've swayed back and forth between annoyance and discouragement so much these past weeks, I'm dizzy.

I've been mulling over what to do about this plateau because I sincerely do want to lose a bit more weight.  If you do any googling at all on the subject you'll find lots of suggestions including changing up exercise in a drastic way, calorie cycling, change of diet, out right fasting, etc.  In other words, there is no ONE answer to this - you've just got to hang in there, maybe try some things and as Lori recently said to me in a comment, "grind it out."

I know I've also mentioned how tired/fatigued I've been feeling with everything that goes with trying to lose weight and that fatigue continues - part of the grinding it out I'd say.

Then came the great vacation clothing try on and much to my astonishment things that didn't fit me 4 weeks ago, now fit.  So my body has been responding to all the exercise, but the scale has not been responding to those same diligent efforts.

Right after I got into my vacation clothing, another blogger, Bzybee, wrote about making a goal then taking a short break and declared that he is going to refer to the time before and after his break as Part One and Part Two.  My immediate thought was, that is a clever, clever idea.  Doesn't sound nearly as bad as falling off the wagon or any of the other things associated with taking a break, does it?

That got my brain in a stew and after some thought, I have decided to take a break from trying to lose weight.  However, I'm going to refer to it as pausing.

As I have gotten deeper and deeper into the plateau I have started to see some silly behavior that needs to just stop.  It's okay to track intake of food, however it is NOT okay to become obsessed with every single bite of food that goes into my mouth. Obsessing that if I eat even 50 calories over what I feel my maximum should be, I should then punish myself via deprivation the next day or doing 100 jumping jacks before bed.  I certainly don't want to live that obsessed and controlling about food.  I also personally never want to associate food intake with exercise output.  I realize in weight loss it is calories in and calories out but I have always considered my exercise calories to be a bonus toward my health and fitness and never, ever do I want to tie them with food.  This is important, to me.

Mind you, my pause won't be long - just until after vacation.  I need the break to be honest.  Until then, my plan is to first dwell on the fact that I made my clothing goal. I made my clothing goal!! Secondly, I am hoping to maintain and not gain any weight.  Rather, I should clarify, not gain prior to vacation.  I fully expect to gain a smidge on vacation as the combination of serious sand gravity, different schedule and different/richer types of foods almost always mean I gain.   If I happen to lose some before or during, then that will be a bonus.  In other words, no more pressure to lose, just a bit of reveling in my accomplishments so far.  A pause to appreciate.

Once I'm back there will be plenty of time to figure out how to bust this plateau. Who knows, maybe this pause will be what I need to get things moving along again.  In the meantime, I have no other plan than to exercise normally and eat healthfully.

Interesting that I composed this blog first in my head during a run and then put it to paper over the last week and then my sister, who has gone through hell to find the heaven she is currently experiencing, posted this link:  What About the Happy Now? She always says that the biggest lesson she's learned from Gary's death is that we have to stop putting off living our lives now right at the place we are.  While the article refers to happiness, there are universal lessons in there.

Is any of this irony, or coincidence?  I think not.  I think karma knew I needed that. A huge reminder to not forget to celebrate where I've come from and not be so focused on the end that I miss the victories along the way.  A great reminder indeed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Bling!

Spring sprang hard in these parts over the weekend.  And now it's summer.  No really, we are having a freak warm up for a couple of days that will see us breaking temperature records.  You know I'm not complaining.  In fact it was so warm this morning that I was able to run in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  Three cheers for that.  Of course since spring is busting out all over - literally in the past couple of days we suddenly have leaves on the trees - so are my allergies.  Allergies that I never had in my life until about 2 years ago.  My nose ran faster than I did this morning so as soon as I got home I took an Allegra.  But I'm wearing a summer outfit today - woot!  Remember the cute dresses I got from Tarjay last year?  Well, they're too big.  But a couple weeks ago I jumped  to the online store and got a couple more inexpensive dresses as that's pretty much status quo for me in terms of how I dress come spring.  They didn't have the cute polka dots like last year so I got a plain navy blue. This is my first attempt at using the timer on my camera...


This type of weather changes the way we eat.  Made my first Red Potato Salad of the season for our dinner Saturday.  Oh, it tasted so good.  I always get a kick out of how much Mr. Helen likes this potato salad being that it's low fat and all.  Recipe here.

I've been cleaning out the freezer, meaning we're eating the things that are in there and I'm not stocking it as usual.  I like to take the opportunity while we are on vacation to turn it off and let it defrost really well.  I found a piece of Prime Rib in there so that's what we ended up having for dinner last night.

Probably my last 'roast' of the year as pretty much between now and cold weather we'll be mostly grilling.  Looking forward to grilling fresh summer vegetables especially.


Speaking of  fresh vegetables, I am in love with Tupperware's Fridge Smart Containers.  One of my coworkers was having a book party and convinced me to give them a try.  While they are pricey, I am sure these containers have paid for themselves already.  Like a lot of people I had slowly gone toward buying ready mixed/washed salad greens.  But I never could seem to find the right balance - either I would have so much I'd be throwing them away because they'd gone bad or I wouldn't have enough because Mr. Helen suddenly got on a salad kick.  Since I purchased these containers, I've switched back to heads of lettuce that I clean and shred and store in the container.  The large container fits 2 heads of lettuce and I kid you not when I tell you I've had it last for two weeks!  

 They work based on controlling the humidity and that is based on what you have in the container.  There is a sticker on the side that tells you how to adjust the button on the end so that you have optimal conditions for your produce.

I also purchased two of the smaller ones.  I generally have mushrooms in one of them and berries of some sort in the other.  Again, I am amazed at how long these items keep!  Best purchase of the year towards helping me save on my grocery bill.


My last spring bling item is brought to you courtesy of my sister.  We were sitting and relaxing last night when the phone rang and it was my sister telling us that her boyfriend had proposed!  He took Jacob and Gracie outside and they wrote in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her house, "Will You Marry Me?"  Then he sent the kids inside to get her to come out and answer.  All of us were in shock!  You could tell they are in love and he had started acting like someone who was going to hang around but this was still a huge surprise.  Three years ago she and the kids lost so much so to have this wonderful thing happen is beyond description. Amazing that hope and healing can come after loss like that - for us all.

Yes, Spring has definitely sprung - love is in the air!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dessert for Breakfast

On Easter Sunday we had a conversation about how my mother let my younger brother and sister eat cake for breakfast.  She also passed this tradition to Little Helen and has continued it forever more with all the other grandchildren.  This is the mother who made me eat Cream of Wheat!  I hated Cream of Wheat!  By the time the last two kids came around, I think she was tired and also, she was a single parent by the time my sister was only a year old.  In any case, her reasoning was that a piece of cake was no worse than them having a donut and it saved her money since she made the cake at home.

I've not been one to eat many sweet breakfasts - I don't even care much for donuts or muffins and tend to eat that type of thing as a snack over breakfast.  I've always preferred savoury over sweet and that includes me not using much, if any sugar, in my cereal or oatmeal as I grew up (I finally just refused to eat Cream of Wheat so she switched me to oatmeal.)

Every once in while though, a pancake really hits the spot.  I especially like them after a hard run.  I found the recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes a while ago on my favorite pseudo-Paleo blog, and I've been wanting to make them ever since as carrot cake is one of my top 3 types of cake.

Last Saturday after my speedy 5 miler, everything aligned and I had the appetite and the time to make them.  These pancakes are not Paleo, but as I consider a pancake a treat I didn't even try to make them so, though I'm sure you could.  First of all, they're phenominal! To top it off, after I put all the ingredients in my recipe calculator, they have really good nutrition stats as well (for a pancake).  I put a bit of butter and syrup on the finished pancakes and sprinkled them with about a tablespoon of chopped pecans. Perfect!

Carrot Cake Pancakes
(based on a recipe at Multiply Delicious)

3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginget
1/4  cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk or sour milk (3/4 cup milk with 1 tsp. vinegar stirred in.  Let sit to sour.)
1 T canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups finely grated carrot
Cooking Spray

Mix the flour through ginger in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moist.  Fold in grated carrots.

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and let heat Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into hot pan.  This batter is thick so spread a bit with the spatula.  When edges start to look dry, carefully turn.  Repeat with all batter until finished.  You will have 12 pancakes. Serve with whatever toppings you like - a cream cheese drizzle or even just a schmear would be delicious on these.

2 pancakes per serving: 190 calories, 3g fat, 38g carbs, 3.2g fiber, 5.4g protein.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Miracles, Part 2

I've talked about my closet several times on Doing A 180, I think most recently in this post.  It is large as it is not a traditional closet but rather the opening under an eave of my house.  The entire left side has a hanging rod the full length of the eave.  Above it is a shelf where I have shoes in boxes - dress shoes and shoes that are not seasonally appropriate, and below are shoes I'm usually wearing.  The right side has trunks for storage of seasonal clothes and items that are just too bulky for my dresser - like sweatshirts.

Last fall when I did the big throw away/sorting thing, I finally gave up and put anything that wasn't fitting into the steamer trunk at the very end of the closet.  As depressing as it was to think I might never wear those clothes again, I was willing to hang on to them for one more year.  Anything that fit me at the end of summer, went into my summer tote and it was this tote that I pulled out when I began the Great Vacation Clothing Try-On on Saturday.

I put all my shorts in one pile and shirts in another and just began to try them on.  Nothing fit!  But not because it was once again, too small - every last thing in my tote was too big. I was absolutely shocked because truthfully, I had been cramming myself into some things by the end of the summer so I was sure that a lot of the items in there would fit and fit nicely instead of me looking like a stuffed sausage.  I stopped what I was doing and went downstairs to get a garbage bag to put clothing in to give away.

After I packed those items away, I took a deep breath, ducked under the eave and headed for the steamer trunk.  I stood there and held items up and if I thought it looked big enough I put it aside to try on.  I came out with 3 shorts, 3 shirts, and 2 capris.  Not only did all those items fit, they went on easily.  I was in such a state of shock I started shaking.  I wanted to laugh, cry, jump up and down - and maybe I did some of that as now it's a bit of a blur.  I held my breath again and went back in and took out more items that I initially thought would be too small.  I discovered some dresses at the bottom of the trunk that I know for a fact I haven't worn since before my thyroid diagnosis.  I pulled them all out and every single item fit.  As I stood looking at the pile of "clothes that fit" growing and growing I realized that for the first time in probably 8 years I was going to have enough clothing to take my trip without needing to buy new things.  Don't get me wrong, I'll still buy a couple new things, but the feeling that I didn't actually have to or need to was just exhilarating.

As my emotions struggled to catch up to the reality of where my body was I realized that if these clothes fit, maybe I had managed to get to my goal of being able to wear the dress and the capri outfit that I had worn when we went for our 10th anniversary.  I pulled them out of the closet, said a little prayer, made a sign of the cross (and I'm not Catholic lol!) and went for it.  As I eased the dress on I actually closed my eyes because I was so afraid it wouldn't zip.  But it did and with ease!  Photo isn't the best quality because I was taking it with the iPhone and my head is cut off because honestly, you don't want to see what I looked like from the neck up - but here's proof that I made my goal:

Next up, my capri outfit:


Just after I snapped that picture, Mr. Helen came upstairs and caught me in the outfit. He got all verklempt, although I'm not sure if it was because he was excited to see me in that outfit or because he was proud of me for saving something for 10 years.  Then he looked on the bed and saw all the clothes he said, "What are those piles?"  When I said, "Clothes that fit, clothes I'm taking on vacation." I thought he was going to shed an actual tear - and I'm sure that was because he felt the bank account was now safe.

As I transferred my piles of clothing into the spare room to be packed, I realized the reason I was so shocked by all of this is because I'm pretty sure I'm at least 7-10 lbs. more than I was 10 years ago.  But once again I've learned that the scale is not everything and should not define me.  In 2002, I had just started running.  I was doing no Muay Thai, other strength training, or body resistance exercises.  I've said many times recently that right now, I feel the healthiest and in the best shape I ever have been.  I guess this time the proof was in the clothes and not on the scale after all.

One more thing:  I'm getting ready to be a size smaller as some of the looser items in that size are fitting me. (All this working out is paying off!) I only discovered this because Mr. Helen encouraged me to try on a couple dresses in the next size down, which truthfully is my goal size. I guess he sees the size I really am and as I was holding the dresses up he said I should try them on.  Not all of them fit well yet, but a couple did.  I'm telling you, it's not only like having a whole new wardrobe, it truly was an Easter miracle!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Miracles

I started my long weekend off with a bang on Thursday evening by meeting up with some friends for dinner.  The party of 9 consisted of friends who live in the area but who I don't see very much and a couple who used to live in the area that we hadn't seen in years.  The couple had traveled to Providence, RI on business and gotten in touch with one of our old group and asked if anyone could meet for dinner.  When we saw them, I almost fell over because, honestly, they looked exactly the same and it had been 19 years since we'd seen them.  They were always the glamorous cool kids in our group - and they still would be if they were here. Our time together was fabulous but, of course, way too short.

So good to reconnect - a toast to friendship!

By the time I got home Thursday evening it was 10:30 and by the time I got to bed and asleep, I'm sure it was after 11 which is an all out party for me as I'm usually in bed no later than 9:00.  I slept straight through until 4:15 and then woke up because nature was calling.  I find it interesting that my body wanted to get to the bathroom at it's usual time.  I got back into the bed and managed to go back to sleep and slept until 8 am!  Truly I can't remember the last time I did that.

Once I was awake, I went out for a run then came home and started on my chores as I'd decided that I wanted to get all my Saturday chores done on Friday if it was possible.  In the midst of scrubbing down my kitchen my doorbell rang and I mumbled as I went to answer that it had better not be some dumb religious person interrupting me because I had things to do and places to go!  As I opened the door, I got the shock of my life as there stood another long-time friend who I haven't seen in 10 years!  He was in town visiting his mother, who is 95 and in a nursing home now and someone had pointed out where we lived.  As he came by he noticed the car and decided to stop.  It was so great to see him and catch up a bit in real life (we're Facebook friends).  Well worth the hour out of my day.  And, as it turned out, I still managed to get everything done that I wanted to by the end of the day.

Saturday, I slept in until 6:30 (I know!), sat around and drank coffee and read the newspaper until 8:00 then took off for a run.  I decided to do the hilly route that I'd done a couple weeks previous as I wanted to run at least 5 miles.  It was beautiful and sunny and felt like one of those runs where I could go on forever.  When I got back home I'd actually run 5.6 miles and you can only imagine my delight and SHOCK when I looked at my splits.  My last two miles were paced at 10:03 and 9:41.  Can't remember the last time I saw a 9 something pace.

Once I got home and showered I made pancakes for breakfast and that's a recipe I'll be sharing later this week - they were so good!  Then I realized I'd forgotten to weigh myself so I hopped on the scale (after eating - I know!) and saw that I had lost 1.6 pounds.  While I was happy to see a loss, it's weight I've lost before so no big celebration forthcoming until I get beyond this plateau.

I planned to use Saturday to pull out my clothes for our upcoming trip.  I'll be wearing summer clothes of course and since I'm not wearing them now, I wasn't really sure what would fit and what wouldn't.  I had the whole day if I needed to thoroughly go through my wardrobe and bathing suits and lay things out.

Mr. Helen was out in the garage doing one of his marathon workout sessions so I figured I'd shower and it would be the perfect time for me to do this.  I had thought I'd be excited, but I was almost dreading it since I haven't made it weight-wise where I thought I'd be. Still, it had to happen and I couldn't see where I'd get a block of free time with no pressure like this again prior to the trip, so it was time to suck it up, dive in, and face the music about my clothes.

What happened next, blew me away...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not Backing Down

Don't have much to say this week.  I've just been dealing with my feelings about this dumb plateau I'm experiencing right now.  I've buckled down pretty hard on food intake so it will be interesting to see if I can re-lose the weight I last gained.  Then stay buckled down to keep the losing trend going  The other night Mr. Helen was offering me half of a baked potato and when I said I didn't want it as I was on a "vacation mission" his reponse was, "What?  You don't think you look good enough now?  I just don't understand!" All I could think of to say was "I want to look better. For you but more importantly, for me.  And I want to feel good enough that if I do gain a bit while we're on vacation I won't be stressing over it."  He replied, "Ooooookaaaaaay.  I still don't understand."

Sigh. Tired, tired, tired of it all still. But not backing down.

Believe it or not, I didn't do any cooking last weekend. Around the time I started eating Paleo I realized with all the cooking I was doing I was going to have larger portions of leftovers.  Instead of freezing all of a dish, I started breaking things up into individual portions and freezing it that way.  That has worked out really well. Our vacation is coming up soon and when I saw what was in the big freezer, I decided we had enough meals for both of us for a solid week if not longer.  All of our dinners this week have consisted of us each choosing something and heating it up.

Speaking of vacation, it's starting to feel like it's going to be a reality.  I made the reservation for our rental car, which was the last reservation I had to make.  I've been feeling a bit uneasy about it and I realized the other day that the last time we tried to go to St. Martin so we'd be there on our anniversary, our brother-in-law was killled in a terrible accident 3 days before we were to leave.  I think I need to get through this vacation and then the uneasy feeling will go away. It's also hard when one has parents who are aging.  We never book a vacation without trip insurance anymore.

Today is (thankfully) my last day of work this week.  I don't talk about my job much but it's pretty awful.  I honestly don't have enough to do each day but I'm in the precarious position that if I point that out to anyone I risk being laid off.  I don't work for pleasure, I work because we need the income so it's a terrible situation.  While I continue to try to change things, the job market is just whack right now.

I'm really looking forward to the three-day weekend, for more reasons than just not having enough to do at work.  I love having the extra day so that I can actually spend one day just doing nothing if that's what I choose... although probably not this weekend as there will be a family dinner on Easter Sunday.  If Mr. Helen doesn't have to work we'll end up at both families at some point so Sunday will be hectic.

So, this is it for me this week.  Taking a computer break and going to enjoy my extra time off!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Waving the White Flag of Surrender

I am having a very difficult time right now with a couple of things combining forces to make me want to get in bed, cover my head, and have someone wake me up on the first day of summer.

I always feel a bit of seasonal lag this time of year.  Though not buried in snow like last year, we have been getting hints of spring/summer and then the temps go right back to freezing.  My closet is schizophrenic with clothes strewn about as I try to figure out what to wear each day.  It makes me feel tired and slightly crazed.  I am glad for the vacation we have planned to warmer weather, but that’s not for another month.

The vacation itself is also contributing to the crazed feeling because I set some pretty specific goals for myself to make prior to going.  Even though I am 4 weeks away I realized last week, I am not going to make my goals.  I realized it to the point where I actually said to a friend, “I think I’m going to have to surrender my vacation goals and that feels very disappointing. I guess I need to work on surrendering that disappointment too.”  So far this year, I’ve sucked at goals:  didn’t make my weight loss goal prior to my doctor’s appointment and now will not make this pre-vacation one either.  That’s tiring and discouraging.  Pretty sure this confirms I should stop setting these damn goals – but usually goal setting works very well for me. And please do not jump in here and comment that this is why ‘you’ never set goals. Honestly, I don’t care about why you do or don’t.  I’m not you.

It is said “Love yourself more than (fill in the blank)” and the circumstance will change.  I’m not sure I totally agree with that 100%.  Because I know what it’s like to love myself more, eat less, move more, do all the right things and still not get the results I should.  Once again I find myself in the precarious position of starting to feel like I’m working very hard and getting no results.  It’s like banging my head against a brick wall.  It’s the same old pattern that has been going on with me ever since my thyroid diagnosis in 2006.  “Something” works for a while, and then?  It doesn’t.  I can’t ever seem to get back to the not overweight state I was in pre-diagnosis. I don’t want to be ‘overweight.’ I want to be normal weight even if it is on the high side of normal.  So frustrating I don’t have the words to describe how it feels. I know I'm not alone in experiencing this, but even others going through this don't have any magic answers - or pills. I want things to work for me again.

In the midst of all of this, Mr. Helen has never been more supportive of me – not ever in almost 20 years of marriage – than he has been these last few months.  Almost daily he builds me up with sweet compliments and is my personal cheerleader. He keeps talking about that dumb bathing suit and how proud he is that I’ve worked so hard to look good in it.  Last week when I got my stripe in Muay Thai and my name was called he whistled and cheered and got everyone to clap.  It was sort of funny and even as the Kyoshi striped me she looked at me and said, “I think you have a fan.”  It’s true, he has been my biggest fan of late.  With this type of personal support I *should* be able to get it together, right?

But I can’t.  I keep waffling around the same 20 lbs. total lost and still need/want to lose another 15-20 lbs. I’m completely stalled.  The tiny amount of weight I’ve lost recently? Far harder than any of the weight I’ve lost since I started losing. Not to mention that I seem to be on a lose a little, gain a little trend that is threatening my sanity. I want the results I deserve and it feels like too much to bear or to have to continue on with. I am weary these days.  I don’t want to think about food or drink or exercise or anything related to it.

Please understand.  I am very appreciative of my body and what it currently looks like and can do.  But, bottom line, I want to lose weight. While I am surrendering the specific goals I had wanted to reach prior to vacation, I can't quite give up hope that I will get to normal weight and lower body fat percentage.  I am not yet ready to wave the white flag of surrender and just let go all of my hopes and dreams when it comes to weight loss and fitness.  Still, in the midst of my weariness, I need to also figure out what to do so that I can hold on long enough to get through this.

I am going to do this regardless of my circumstance.  I am going to succeed.  No excuses.
Never give up.  Never give in.
(from the Biggest Loser)