May 122014
 

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That picture above was taken in 2005. It was a few weeks after my 25th birthday and a month before I was going to have surgery to repair the ligament in my ankle. (You can read more about that here: Why Wednesday – Why I Don’t Take Things for Granted.) My cousin Anna and I decided to go to Las Vegas. It was the first time either of us had ever been there and it was the beginning of a love of all things Vegas! As a side note, I’ve been to Vegas I think five times now, once with my friend Robyn and the other times with Michael.

When I got engaged last year my cousin Anna and I talked about going to Vegas for a girl’s trip. After most of the wedding plans were taken care of and I got my tax refund, we revisited the topic. We booked a weekend getaway for the beginning of May. I was craving sunshine, umbrella drinks, and girl time.

Robyn's Birthday

We booked a room in the Bally’s Hotel/Casino. In all the times I’ve been to Vegas I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the Bally’s. I don’t know why, because it’s right in the middle of The Strip (great location!). This trip wasn’t a bachelorette party or anything. I didn’t want the other bridesmaids to feel obligated to spend a lot of money on something like that. Funny enough, after it was booked I found out my friend/coworker Debby was also going to be in Vegas during the same time! Small world.

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Anna and I got Vegas around 9:30am Friday (ugh that was early). It was too early to get our room so we dumped our suitcases at the hotel and decided to walk around The Strip. I forget just how much walking you do in Vegas! You really don’t need to exercise as long as you walk everywhere. I estimate that we did at least a minimum of 5 miles a day –not including the times we got lost inside casinos. ;)

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The Vegas Strip is deceptive–you think “oh that casino isn’t too far, let’s walk!” And before you know it, it’s been an hour and you’re still not there yet. We left Bally’s and walked over to Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio and then ended up at The Venetian. I LOVE The Venetian and would love to stay there some day. We talked about doing the gondola ride (which wasn’t that expensive) but we decided not to. Some day I will do this. It looks so fun. It was around 82 degrees on Friday — gorgeous, sunny, with a nice breeze that made the heat tolerable.

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When Anna and I went to Vegas oh so many years ago I wanted a picture of myself with Elvis. I was on a mission–and strangely never fulfilled that wish. This time, I got my picture with TWO!! :D I love the street performers. They are so awesome. These two guys were sweethearts.


After walking around, gambling a little at The Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace, it had been about 6 hours and we could finally check in to our hotel room. We walked back to the hotel and got our room–which was super dumpy. We’d requested a non-smoking room and when we entered it was like a wall of cigarette smoke (yuck) and the A/C was pretty weak and I also spotted some holes (cigarette burns?) in the sheet on the bed. I called down and we got a different room and it was MUCH better. Smelled great, no holes in the sheets. :P Our new room was really nice; the bed was heavenly, the pillows were perfect, the bathroom was huge, the room was really quiet–never once heard revelers in the hallway. I would definitely stay at Bally’s again.

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Anna and I got in our swim suits, packed a bag for the pool and then stopped at the Tequila Bar in Bally’s for a snack. They have $2 Tacos and $2 Margarita for happy hour. The tacos were REALLY delicious! I was surprised at how great they were considering they were only $2 each. I got 2 tacos and Anna got 3 and then we went down to the pool. If you go and get the tacos, get the shredded beef. It was so flavorful and delicious.


The pool was amazing! It was hot and sunny but there were parts of the pool area that had some shade if you wanted it. There was a big pool and then tucked away in the back was a smaller pool. They had cabanas for rent that were covered and have misters on them. There was a DJ playing fun music and the party atmosphere made us giddy.

Anna got a strawberry and basil mojito. I got the coconut mojito. My drink was HEAVENLY (sadly, it was lacking an umbrella, but it was still great) but it was very expensive and lacking in alcohol. :P That’s the one thing that irritates me in Vegas–overpriced drinks that don’t even give you a teeny tiny buzz.

We lounged at the pool for about two hours and then decided to go back to the room, clean up and go out. We both wanted to see Fremont Street. Every time I go to Vegas I vow that I will go and never do. We finally did it! We got the 24 hour bus pass (I think it was like $8 or so) and took the bus to Fremont. It was a very crowded bus, took about 30 minutes to get there, but it was easy enough to figure out.


Fremont Street was really fun! I’m glad I finally checked it out. There were tons of people there, lots of street performers, and so many shiny, blinky lights! There was a huge arched screen over the whole street that showed little videos and stuff and there were ziplines above the crowd. We watched as people did the zipline just above our heads. It looked like fun! It was around 9:30pm at this time and we were both hungry.

We ducked into the Golden Nugget–which was actually really pretty–and got dinner at The Cadillac Cantina. It was a cute place despite being a sports bar. Neither of us are tequila fans so Anna got a sangria and I got a glass of wine. Dinner was enchiladas and the food was better than I expected. It was upscale Mexican food that reminded me of some of the yuppie Mexican restaurants here in Portland. :)

The Golden Nugget is a pretty hotel and the pool looked fantastic! There were lounge chairs INSIDE the pool, there was a huge shark tank in the middle of the pool that had a slide/tube that you can go down that went inside the shark tank. There were also lots of cute lounges and fire pits. We walked around Fremont Street for a few hours and then took the bus back to the hotel. It was around 12:30am when we called it a night–a know, party animals, aren’t we?! :)

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Apr 092014
 

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V is for Victory

I think one of the biggest factors that will lead to success in weight loss is positive thinking and recognizing how far you’ve come. Celebrating the successes is SO motivating. It helps us get through those plateaus; it helps us get back on track when we stumble along the way (which we all will at some stage).

When I first decided it was time to lose weight, I knew I couldn’t do both the exercise and the food part at the same time–not right away. I needed to take it step by step. I chose fitness first. I started swimming a few times a week and it was HARD. It was so hard. I hadn’t been swimming in probably 5 or 6 years and I was so out of shape I could barely make it down to the end of the pool. Instead of being discouraged or giving up, I made that my goal–to swim to the end of the pool without stopping.

The first victory came a month later. I hadn’t changed any of my food habits yet, but after just one month of swimming I was 10 pounds lighter. It was amazing! It was the boost I needed to see that this could really work! The next victory came a few months later when I was able to swim the length of the pool. As time went by I made knew goals. I wanted to be able to swim a lap (down and back) without having to rest on one side. The tenacity worked and slowly but surely I was becoming conditioned to swim. My next goal was to swim half a mile. It may have taken me a very long time, but I got there. Then the goal was to swim half a mile without stopping to rest!

Each step of the way I made mini goals for myself and focused on that. Instead of dwelling on the number on the scale I celebrated my successes at each milepost. It was such a good feeling to accomplish my goals. The day that I was able to swim 1 full mile without stopping to rest, I was ecstatic! When I got home I called one of my friends to tell her of my victory. I wanted SOMEONE to know what I had done! The positive support helped me in so many ways.

There were other victories on my journey. Each time I went down in a pant size I was euphoric. It was such a cool feeling to buy new clothes in smaller sizes! When I reached my first goal of losing 50 pounds I celebrated by buying some new clothes.

My suggestion for celebrating your victories is to choose rewards that are not food oriented. That will just sabotage how far you’ve come. Instead, do something nice for yourself. Get a pedicure. Buy some new clothes. Go to a movie you’ve been dying to see, ask a friend to help you celebrate. Basically, make note of your success and relish in!

Your victories don’t have to be the number on the scale, either. As I illustrated above, most of my victories were related to reaching a goal as opposed to the scale. Celebrate those NSV’s!!!

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You would think the ultimate victory for me was when I reached my goal weight (150 pounds). As I wrote about before in the post The Arrival Fallacy, that wasn’t the case:

“…the ‘arrival fallacy’ the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy. The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.”

Honestly, reaching goal was kind of anticlimactic. Once again, all the things that made me happy were the goals I accomplished as opposed to the scale. Finishing 55 miles in Reach the Beach made me happier than seeing 150 pounds on my scale.

Do I still celebrate my victories? Not as much anymore. My maintenance mode has become the norm for my life and I don’t really think about stuff like that anymore. I do still try to have goals for myself but even those seem to have less emphasis. Time will tell if that changes.

Do you celebrate your victories? What is one you can share with me? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *N-Nemesis * O-Open * P-Plateaus Q -Quitting * R-Runner’s Knee * S-Support * U – Unattainable *

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