My 30 Day Shred

Four years ago I lost 42 lbs.  I went from a size 14 to a size 6.  Great, right?  The problem is that I lost all of this weight during a maximally stressful time in my life.  I lost it because I was living on Marlboro Lights and Coke Zero–not exactly a healthy diet plan.  So I found myself skinny for the first time in 13 years, but with no real way to manage it.  Within six months I was a size 8, but I was fine with that.  I was making better food choices and that was working for me, but I was fairly sedentary.

A year after I lost the weight, still at a size 8, I quit smoking.  I had been working from home for a decade, so my schedule had a lot of flexibility.  I joined the Y and started working out some and swimming.  I managed to stay in my size 8’s, though they got a little more snug. Some big life changes happened and I went back to the world of working 40 hours (at least!) every week outside my home.  Then I enrolled in college, and promptly slowed down and then stopped working out and swimming.   The next year wasn’t too bad, I was so busy that I didn’t really have time to eat much.  But I became increasingly more sedentary as I began to spend all of my spare time studying.

March 29, 2013 marked 3 years out from my last cigarette.  The only size 8’s I can still wear have a lot of Lycra or spandex mixed in.  The first warm day came last month and I tried to put on something from my summer wardrobe–nothin’ doin’.  Not one single thing in my summer wardrobe fit me.  I could still button a couple of my jeans, but the “muffin top” was enough to make me cry and I was so uncomfortable.

The biggest obstacle I face in weight management is that I cannot eat gluten.  Don’t ask me to tell you what foods I cannot have, because the list of foods I CAN have is much, much shorter.  So there is not a weight loss plan out there that I can follow.  Even Weight Watchers would not give me enough food choices to make it possible for me to stick to the diet–I looked into it.  I only have one size of clothing in my closet.  Part of no longer being a size 14 is getting rid of your size 14 clothing, which I did 4 years ago.  I have no budget for a new wardrobe.  Now what?

Enter Jillian Michaels.  I have never been much on exercise classes.  I don’t like slamming into other people while I’m trying to workout, and I don’t like having to learn a bunch of fancy dance moves made up by the instructor of the week.   I don’t have much time to throw at my workouts, so I need maximum results for a minimum investment of time.  I started doing Internet research and I found really great user reviews on the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. There are 3 levels of workouts.  This is not because Jillian doesn’t want you to get bored.  You have to do Level 1 until you’re strong enough to move on to Level 2.   If you’re looking to be entertained, look elsewhere.  If you’re looking for fancy dancing and chatting with a friend while you’re doing this, look elsewhere.  This is a SERIOUS workout.  For the first week I screamed curse words at the television, but I hung in there.  You only work out for 25 minutes including warm-up and cool down, but you work.  You get out of it what you put into it.  If you stop and rest, you might as well look elsewhere.  You won’t get the results you want.  She has someone doing lower impact, modified versions of all the moves behind her at all times.  If you can’t do the full move, do the modified version but don’t stop moving.

Today is day 18 for me.  I did level 1 for a week, level 2 for a week, and I’ve been on level 3 for 4 days.  By the end of the first week my strength and endurance had increased drastically. I was blown away at what had happened in only 7 days.  I stopped screaming curse words at the television.  All I did was keep on moving through the whole 25 minutes every day.  Some interesting things had begun to happen; I had started to crave this workout.  The endorphin boost is addictive.  I also started making better choices about what I eat. I’m not dieting. Gluten free is all the diet I can ever do.  I just make better choices.  After I hump and sweat through this routine, I don’t really want to chow on some fattening empty calories.  But, Friday night is pizza night at my house. I go down to Monical’s Pizza and get myself a gluten free sausage and mushroom individual pizza, and I eat it.  My husband is a meat and potatoes guy, so I choose lower carb lower calorie foods during the day and eat what my family eats at dinner.  18 days into this I’ve lost about an 1 1/2 inches off my waist and off each of my thighs.  My arms are slimmer and have more definition.  There is no more cellulite in my armpits.  I can now wear about half of the cloths I could not wear 3 weeks ago.  My muffin top from hell is not gone but it’s down to one small roll and getting smaller every day.  Today I was able to do things in the level 3 workout that I could not do 3 days ago.  I feel better than I’ve felt in years.

It’s pretty basic calisthenics.  Jillian is an expert in how to burn the most calories, work the most muscle groups simultaneously, and keep it simple enough for even someone with “two left feet”.  This is not for the weak-willed.  You have to push through the pain.  There weren’t really any negative reviews on this workout, but the few negative things I read were people who got bored of doing the same routine every day for a week or 10 days.  Or people who didn’t like how hard they had to work so they cheated and then wondered why they didn’t get results.  I was just happy when I could finally do what Jillian and Natalie were doing!  I’m not here to be entertained.  I’m here to be healthy, and skinny!  And that’s happening.  One caveat: don’t expect massive weight loss.  A gallon of fat only weighs 5 pounds.  This routine turns your fat into muscle and muscle weighs more than fat.  So worry more about how your cloths fit and how your body looks, and stay off the scale.  I haven’t weighed myself at all.  I don’t have a weight goal.  I have a clothing size goal.  So if I fit into my cloths and they look nice on me, I really don’t care what the scale says.

You don’t even have to go out and buy the DVD.  All of the workouts are on YouTube.  I get YouTube through my DirecTV satellite service so I do these workouts for free right in my living room.  You only need about a 3′ x 6′ space.  You can get YouTube on your computer, tablet, or smartphone for free.   If you need to buy the DVD, it’s only $10 at Walmart. While you’re there, grab some cheap hand weights.  I have a set of 3lb and 5lb.  They’re about $4 to $5 each.  It was 5 days before I could even use the weights in the routine.  I recommend watching each video once before you start the level so you know exactly what to do and can concentrate on just doing it.  You don’t want to be looking at the television while doing some of these exercises–it’s very bad for the neck.  That’s why she keeps it simple.  If you’ve watched it once or twice you know what to do.  I watched the level 3 video 10 days ago and thought “no way am I ever going to be able to do that!”  10 days later, I’m doing it.  This works if you work it.

To your health!


Mrs. W’s Word Feb 12, 2013


Their” shows ownership: “We went to their house for a party.”

Often mistaken for “there” — a place: “He is not here. He is over there.”

Also mistaken for “they’re”–the contraction for “they are”. “They’re coming over to their house because it is fun to be there.”


Dog Training Is Worth Every Penny

ImageEmma is so sweet, loving, energetic, resourceful, and VERY smart–too smart for her own good.  Imagine that God should pair me with an alpha female dog…oh, the irony in that.  She’s doing much better with her potty training, but today she peed in Nick’s bed, so I did some reading on that.  After ruling out other things, I feel certain it’s a pack animal dominance/protector/safety instinct that we WILL be managing.

Every night Nick hauls Emma’s crate into his room, and that’s where she sleeps.  Ryan is a light sleeper. He wakes up when her collar jingles or she chews her bone. Nick is sleeping over at a friend’s house tonight.  We have Emma’s crate in our room.  Nick and his friend left, I put Emma to bed, and she cried for 30 minutes.  David worked a 13 hour day that started at 3:30 in the morning. Sorry, Emma, no no.  No no.

Exhausted but determined, I hauled my cookies off the bed, got the training leash and collar, and Emma and I had ourselves a little doggy training practice session.  We did it right in the bedroom at 11:00 at night.

We’re between our 2nd and 3rd session of an 8 session training class at Speck’s in Avon, IN.  Becky is really good with the dogs and, most importantly, the humans. I highly recommend her classes–very affordable and very good.  (I don’t get anything for saying that.)  So we’ve learned “Emma, heel!” and “Sit. Stay.”  That’s our practice routine.  And we practiced it, for 10 minutes.  Man, is that little girl determined to be in charge.  When she gave up and began to mind and mind well, I gave her some love, a couple of ice-cubes (one of her favorite things), and put her back to bed with all her favorite bones.  Within a couple of minutes, she was whining again.

I hauled my irritable cookies off the bed again, put the training collar back on and we marched some more.  We heeled, we sat, and we stayed.  We marched all over the house.  We marched in front of Ryan with a little bit of distraction, we stopped, we changed directions, we sat, we stayed–for another 10 minutes.  This time when I felt she had the message, I took her, still on the leash, to her water dish and served her some nice, fresh cold water.  Then I scratched her belly, hugged her, loved her, told her how good she was, and scratched and loved her some more. Then I gave her another ice-cube and put her to bed.

She’s laying there, quiet as a little mouse, sound asleep, FULLY AWARE OF WHO IS RUNNING THIS SHOW.  Emma, girlfriend, it is not you.  These last couple of days she sure has thought so.  Eating the neighbor children’s shoes, shopping in the trash, bothering poor Teddy Piggy, nipping the kids.  Mommy was slacking on the doggy training practice. I’ve learned, and I’m teaching my family, that if Emma is bad it isn’t Emma’s fault; it’s ours.  We’ve failed to teach her our rules and make sure she understands that she will follow them at all times.

Baby steps.

The problem now is that I have to get the rest of the family completely on board.  I make them attend the training classes, but Nick really babies her.  We’ve discussed that he’s making this harder for all of us, but this dog has become something to him that I couldn’t have imagined. He gets it, but there is something special with him and this dog. It’s a road…a new part of the journey.  A difficult, but good part.

My goal now is that I will get her minding me well, and then it will be easier to teach them to do the same things with her I’ve already been doing.  She’ll know how to do them, and we will gain control of her as family. For now, she IS going to mind me.  That’s SO going to happen.

This class was only $89.  It’s once a week for 8 weeks.  I’ve learned so much after only 2 classes. Becky is really great.  She’s helped me and answered questions outside of class.  It’s really humane and useful training.  I’m planning to take the next level session.  By then the weather will be better and we can do this outside where she really has to ignore distractions.  Should be a barrel of monkeys.

I landed an alpha female.  How karmic is that? : )


Rescue A Dog–Why Emma Is Alive

Sweet baby, Emma.

Sweet baby, Emma.

Welcome, Emma, to Wormald World.  Emma is a pug mix. She was picked up by Animal Control on December 1, 2012.  The first thing they did when they brought her in was try to vaccinate her.  That didn’t go well, so they labeled her “aggressive”.  They weren’t even going to try to place her.  Emma was going to be euthanized.   If you meet Emma, you will quickly come to see how utterly unbelievable that is.  She is so sweet and loving.  I think if I was starving and had spent my day being chased down, hooked, caged, and dragged into the pound by a dog catcher, I might be a little cranky when someone comes at me with a needle.

Emma was rescued from death row by Waldo’s Muttley Crew in Monrovia, IN.  Waldo’s is in the business of saving dogs’ lives–period.  If there is a ghost of a chance of finding a home for a dog, Waldo’s takes them–from anyone, anywhere.  If they don’t find a home they stay at Waldo’s, which is a pole barn on a huge piece of private property in a small rural Indiana community.  Emma is approximately 12 to 18 months old.  She had not been spayed and she wasn’t chipped, but by the time she had been with us for a day I could tell she had been someone’s house pet.  She knows the drill.  We’re still perfecting our potty training but she does pretty well.  She understands “no”, “down”, and “sit”.  She comes to the dinner table but she doesn’t beg.  She sits quietly at our feet.  Given the lack of basic veterinary care, I think she was probably dumped because someone couldn’t keep her.

It wasn’t that I didn’t understand before, but now that we’ve found Emma I have truly come to grasp the importance of taking in a rescue dog.  On our journey to find Emma I saw a lot of tiny baby puppies being adopted with lots of excitement, and knew in my heart that half of them will wind up in Emma’s paws within a year.  Puppies are so precious, until they start eating your couch.  A huge thanks to all my friends and co-workers who encouraged me to rescue.  Emma’s was a life worth saving.


Champion Chewer!

Champion Chewer!

The fox is history. What else you got?

The fox is history. What else you got?


Emma Sleepin'

Emma Sleepin’


Indiana’s School Grading System Flawed, Hurts Economic Development

The following was written and circulated by Dr. Victor Smith, a professor at Indiana University.  You can find the full post here.  I’m trusting his research, as the state of Indiana under Dr. Tony Bennett makes it nearly impossible to understand the school grading system.  All of the data is available on the states’ web sites (FL and IN), but it isn’t easy to analyze.  You need at least doctorate in Mathematics to even look at Indiana’s system, and that might not be enough.

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to the information that Indiana DOE provides on its web site.  The information voters REALLY need to have is somewhere within what is not being said.  The sad part is, most people will not be able to sort out what IS being said.  I certainly can’t.  Dr. Bennett has succeeded in making this so complicated that even the schools can’t figure out their own grades.  It’s mid October, and we still don’t have the grades for the 2011-12 school year.  The DOE keeps setting release dates and then moving them back.  Days and days of work time have been wasted by school district employees state-wide who don’t have days and days of work time to waste.  How are we supposed to know how to improve education for our students if the DOE can’t even come up with any grades using it’s own wonderful new system?  As Dr. Smith so aptly labeled it–“fiasco”.

As election day draws near, please ask yourself if a fiasco at the state level is the best thing for the young minds that attend Indiana schools…

Dr. Bennett is the Republican.


INDIANA’S A-F SYSTEM                   Comments by Dr. Vic Smith                                       September 22, 2012

Tony Bennett’s flawed A-F system is hurting efforts to bring jobs to Indiana.

The Mayor of Goshen drove three hours to bring that message to the only public hearing on the A-F model last January.  His community was working overtime to attract new businesses, and the first thing businesses ask is about the quality of the schools.  He knew the schools were top notch, serving a student population of great diversity, but Tony Bennett’s grading system was undervaluing the schools in his community.  For the sake of economic development, he asked for a revised plan to grade schools.

He was ignored, but in an election season when jobs and the economy are the biggest issues, Tony Bennett should have listened.  Why would he want to undervalue and degrade the schools of Indiana when our communities are struggling with the Great Recession and the loss of jobs?  Why wouldn’t he want a more accurate and more realistic profile of our schools to be available for economic development efforts?

Is the A-F system unfair in the way it devalues many Indiana schools?  Compare Indiana and Florida on NAEP:


Reading/Math Year Florida Indiana   US Average
4th Grade Math 2005 82% 84% (Higher by 2%) 79%
  2007 86% 89% (Higher by 3%) 81%
  2009 86% 87% (Higher by 1%) 81%
  2011 84% 87% (Higher by 3%) 82%
8th Grade Math 2005 65% 74% (Higher by 9%) 68%
  2007 68% 76% (Higher by 8%) 70%
  2009 70% 78% (Higher by 8%) 71%
  2011 68% 77% (Higher by 9%) 72%
4th Grade Reading 2005 64% 65% (Higher by 1%) 62%
  2007 68% 70% (Higher by 2%) 66%
  2009 70% 73% (Higher by 3%) 66%
  2011 68% 71% (Higher by 3%) 66%
8th Grade Reading 2005 66% 73% (Higher by 7%) 71%
  2007 71% 76% (Higher by 5%) 73%
  2009 76% 79% (Higher by 3%) 74%
  2011 73% 78% (Higher by 5%) 75%

Clearly, Indiana outscores Florida on the National Assessment, yet Florida only gave 6% of its schools D’s and F’s while IDOE figures from last spring showed that D’s and F’s would go to 22% of Indiana schools.

That is simply wrong.  This system has been miscalibrated.  It will hurt our schools and our economy.  The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has called it a flawed system.  It must be revised.

A New Journey Begins

It’s been awhile, I’ve been pretty busy.  I’ve missed this part of my life…

As part of my student orientation at WGU, I’m required to get involved in the online Communities, to visit certain WGU Communities and post something.  This is actually pretty important because this is the only way to interact with other students.  Failure to use the Communities at my school could be a barrier to successful completion of your education.  You can’t do this in a vacuüm.  So in this particular “thread” the moderator wanted students to post advice to other students based upon our own experiences if we’re already working in the field where we are now pursuing a degree.

Right, like I’m qualified to give advice about being a teacher.  So, I shared how I arrived at this point.  I doubt anyone actually reads it, but it was a good exercise for me.  Here is what I wrote:

“If you’re thinking about teaching…

I’m starting the BA Interdisciplinary Studies K-8 program on July 1. Last year in November I landed a job as an instructor in a remedial reading program called HOSTS (Help One Student To Succeed). My students are second and third graders. Volunteers from the community come to my classroom and read with my students for an hour a day. This job has changed my life. I found my calling at the age of 44. I’m a little apprehensive about coming into public education in the current “climate” when so many are leaving, but I just know that this is what I’m supposed to do. So, here I go…

Teaching is not a career choice that should be made without having done something, even on a volunteer basis, that exposes you to what it’s all about. For the past 10 years I’ve been working from home so I could devote myself to my kids and the care of my husband’s aging parents. I began to volunteer in my children’s school pretty frequently. Kids used to say to me, “Mrs. Wormald, do you work here?” When I would say no, they would reply “Well, you should.” The turning point for me was when a sixth grade boy said to me “Mrs, Wormald, you should go back to school and get your teaching certificate. You would make a GREAT teacher!” It brought tears to my eyes. Those of you with children, particularly boys, may understand. Boys don’t just say things like that. I had somehow inspired that child without even realizing it. It was a life-altering moment. I started nosing around the HR site for jobs in our school system, but thinking they would probably never hire me. I didn’t finish college and I’ve never worked in education. I got called for an interview on a Wednesday afternoon, interviewed for my job on Friday afternoon, and started the following Tuesday. It was meant to be.

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, I strongly suggest you sign up to work in as a substitute teacher. Typically they require you to have about 60 college credits of any kind. It doesn’t matter what kind. It can be a technical program, or basket-weaving. I don’t know of a school district that has enough reliable people in the sub pool. In my district, there are many jobs each day go unfilled. They need good people! Pick the school district you live in or one close to you so you can minimize commuting and take jobs that pop up last-minute. You will find out quickly if teaching is for you.

Spending your life being responsible for hoards of other people’s children is really intense. Think about your current place of employment and what goes on there, the language people use, the conversations that take place. Yes, we talk in the teacher’s lounge. But we have to be at our personal family friendly best all day every day. Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s the difference in whether you have a career or you don’t. The whole summers off thing…if we didn’t have summers off we’d go insane. It took weeks for me to just relax a little. When you teach, one of your worst nightmares is that you over-sleep and you’re not in your classroom when your students arrive. I’ve actually had this nightmare! You go to work no matter how bad you feel. Sometimes you choose other people’s kids over your own (not always, but sometimes). You have to be able to quickly and confidently convey to large, diverse groups of  children how you’re going to allow yourself to be treated. It is not for the faint of heart.

BUT, if you have what it takes it is the most rewarding experience you could ever possibly imagine. Successes are sometimes big, but often they’re small. Nevertheless, you celebrate them. If you don’t or can’t, you won’t be happy. In baby steps you shape the lives of the future of our society.”

I left something out of that post.  The Superintendent of my school district, my supreme boss, does a monthly breakfast at different schools around the district.  The breakfast has a really catchy, funny name that is a play on his name. A couple of months after I started my job, he had one of these breakfasts at the school where I work.  It’s hard for me to get to work early because I have my own children to deal with in the morning, but I made it and that, too, may have been a life altering experience for me.

While people were stuffing their faces and sucking down coffee, our Superintendent was talking.  For whatever reason, he brought up his dad–his 70-year-old dad who is not quite ready to retire from teaching.  As I listened, I learned that teaching was a second career for his dad and he didn’t start doing it until the age of 50!!!!  My ears perked up; my everything perked up.  It had not taken very long after starting my job for me to realize that I may have found “it”–that thing I’d been looking for all these years with no real clue what it was or where I’d find it.  But self-deprecating Laura kept whispering that even if I went back to school now, who was going to want to hire me by the time I graduate.  I’d be too old, so why bother.

This whole experience took place in less than 15 minutes.  I left that breakfast meeting that day thinking that if his dad could start over at the age of 50, I can start over at 45.  It’s one of those moments I think I’ll remember forever.

I’m making this part of my journey very public for a reason.  I also did this when I quit smoking 27 months ago.  If I fail, I’ll have to fail in front everyone I know.  It keeps me honest.