Sunday, March 31, 2013

What I did this week, and a weigh-in spoiler

So hopefully the posts on makeup on Friday and Saturday didn't annoy you. I was in the mood for a little break from my regularly-scheduled weight-related content.  I went back and commented on the Just Bitten Balm stain in the comments of Friday's post in case you want to know what I thought of it.

Here are my workouts for this week:

Monday: Xtend Barre
Tuesday: Ran 25 minutes, walked 10
Wednesday: Butts and Guts class (intense strength training with kettlebells and lots of ab work)
Thursday: Spin class, 50 minutes
Friday: Ran 30 minutes, walked 20
Saturday: Pilates Circuit class

Today swim practice is cancelled. I think I'm going to do a run in the evening. I should have enough light left after the family activities wrap up.  I will at least do a longer walk.

This was my first week back to a normal exercise schedule. My eye is still bothering me a little, but I'm not sick anymore.  I also had a package of classes to use up at one of my gyms. I started taking Xtend Barre on Mondays and Butts and Guts on Wednesdays, in addition to my Pilates Circuit on Saturdays. This means that for the first time in a long while, I'm taking strength-oriented classes. They work my body in different ways too. Xtend Barre uses only body weight, but all the tiny little movements exhaust the muscle completely. Butts and Guts is intense and high-rep, and really beats me up. Pilates Circuit is more moderate -- we do one-minute segments of exercises on different stations and then follow it up with lots of ab work.

That means I'm sore. Very, very sore. And the soreness means my muscles are retaining water. I can see from the graphs that I generate with FatWatch that my weight took a quick bump up after my hard strength workout on Wednesday, but my body fat weight did not increase. The little diamonds on the graph are the actual data points, and the graph is a rolling average of those points.

Graph of body weight for the last month

Graph of body fat weight for the last month

I am a little worried that this phenomenon might mess up my DietBet, but I am hoping that by the third week, I won't be as intensely sore.  I also have plenty of room to reduce calories -- I am going to need to do something.

Once my package of classes is used up, I want to continue doing strength at least two days a week -- I will stick with Pilates Circuit but I'm not sure I want to spend the money on the other classes. I still have the book on SuperSlow weight training that I bought back in February, so I am going to give that a try. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Makeup again -- updated

I wish this was a sponsored post, but no such luck.

I realized that I should take back the products I was unhappy with in my last post. The palette with the dodgy eyeshadow, the blush that made me look feverish. I also decided to see if I could return a Peter Thomas Roth skincare product that made me break out.

Ulta makes you feel like a shoplifter if you attempt to return a product without a receipt. Sephora smiles, loves you even more, knowing they will get even more money from you than they give back.

At Sephora, I ended up getting this gorgeous Hourglass powder for my blush. It makes my skin look all soft and glowy, as if I were in perfect lighting. I skipped the expensive Hourglass brush and picked up a couple of house-brand ones for the PTR, plus having to spend a little more out of pocket. I got a sample of the Hourglass Immaculate Complexion foundation, which claims to cure breakouts and make you look gorgeous. I might get some next time I need foundation if I like the sample. My skin is prone to annoying breakouts and is going through one right now.

At Ulta, I got the DDF moisturizer with SPF I needed. I also bought something I hoped would work for organizing my makeup, because I have dropped two products on our tile bathroom floor and broken them, just because I have no great storage solution -- our bathroom has almost no cupboard space. The organizer didn't fit in our tiny cabinet, so I will have to measure and try again. I made sure to keep the receipt this time. I'm thinking a train case might be a nice solution if it fits. I want something that will let me take out all my products at once and see them all so I can decide what to wear. We don't have any counter space in our bathroom, either.

Any ideas on an organizer that will fit in a space about 11" square? I will use a tape measure to be sure before shopping again. I need to be sure that an organizer is all I buy, though.



Edited to show: Problem solved! Bought a SOHO train case at Target.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beauty update

All products mentioned in this post were purchased with my own personal funds -- this is a totally unsponsored, unsolicited post. Because of the new FTC hyper-disclosure rules, I'm not going to even do affiliate links -- you can Google any products you are interested in.

I have posted quite a few times here about my makeup and skincare purchases and it seems that at least some people are interested. Until my recent makeover, I had tried to keep everything very natural, but I have been playing with color a little more and am enjoying it.  I have been wearing eyeliner pencil, which makes a huge difference.

Some of my recent purchases:

  • NARS blush in Desire (too bright, I think I am going to return it for Orgasm, which is a much better shade on me (and of course I still want to giggle when I say the name)). 
  • Urban Decay's NAKED Basics palette, really love this one. 
  • Pur Minerals Beautiful Creatures palette, nice colors but too much fallout. It did come with a nice lipgloss and an eye pencil. 
  • DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew -- LOVE it, but it's so expensive. I need to get the SPF 15 version next time.

Thanks to a new blog find, Nouveau Cheap, I have been experimenting with some drugstore makeup too. If I buy something and don't love it, at least I've usually spent less than $10 (and many drugstores take open-package returns).

  • Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple -- gorgeous color but very bright. I am still getting used to myself with bright lipstick. I expected this to be more like a balm, but it's pretty opaque. Rite Aid has a buy-one-get-one 1/2 off sale going now, so I also got a Just Bitten Balm Stain that I haven't tried yet.
  • Sinful Colors nail polish in Show Stopper -- a pink glitter that is really fun, and cost less than $2.
  • Wet and Wild Fast Dry in Emerald -- I don't recommend it, it looks great in the bottle, but in reality, you need about 5 coats to get any coverage. I only spent $2 on this so I'll probably use it over a solid polish next time.
I have enough different products now that I don't think I need to buy anything new for a while.  In the summertime, I don't tend to like to wear much makeup anyway. But if you have any great finds, please clue me in -- I can always make an exception.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"What does anyone else have to do with it?"

I got that comment on my blog yesterday after posting a sort of rant that probably didn't make sense to anyone but me. I edited my post to delete the confusing material, and while I was at it, hid the comments too. My feelings of being misunderstood were probably all out of proportion with the intent of the comment. I appreciate all comments, because it's nice to know that someone is reading and reacting. 

I was trying (unsuccesfully, I think) to work out in my head some of the emotional reasons behind my struggles with weight. Jillian Michaels talks about this all the time on her podcast and in her books, and I was listening to Unlimited, which focuses a lot on both fear of failure -- other people will think you are a loser -- and fear of success -- other people might think you are stuck-up or self-centered. Geneen Roth wrote whole books on the Food-Love connection.  So I don't think it's ranging too far afield to think that there might be something emotional holding me back.

A couple of things come to mind. Most of my family members are overweight, not surprising because of the way we seem to eat when we're together. One of my sharpest memories from growing up are the moments when I "learned" that all my family members weren't just perfect the way they are (Grandma was perfectly Grandma to me, until I was absentmindedly stroking her chin and she told me to stop because the loose skin there was ugly) but were in fact, too fat, or too old, or too something.  Adults would talk about being on diets, mostly some variation of Atkins. They would lament about how they couldn't eat bread, because bread was fattening, but that bread looked good, oh, maybe just one piece... It seemed clear that family status and weight were closely linked, but you also had to eat what was offered or risk upsetting everyone. The fact that I used to be a very picky eater seemed to be part of the reason I always felt a little outside.

In my marriage, my weight struggles -- and more recently, my husband's -- have also had way more significance than they should, becoming emblematic of all that was wrong with my life and, mostly, me.  I remember that when I got to goal, one of my frustrations was that I still felt like my marriage and other relationships still weren't what I wanted to be, and the only thing I knew how to "fix" was my weight.  Instead, I just felt a free-floating anxiety.

I have done a lot of work, with my husband and on my own, around these issues emotionally and I really feel like I am learning to deal with them.  At this point, it may be more about the mechanics of meal planning and exercise, but I needed to get to the point where food was food, and love was love, before I could make the other parts work. I have tried, so many times and for so long, to make the mechanics work without working on anything else and, well, the fact that I have been blogging here for 7 years and am still not close to goal tells you everything you need to know about how well that works.

Maybe it's different for other people, but for me, relationships and weight and food all got tangled together in a way that made it necessary to work on all of it at the same time. Otherwise, it was like trying to untangle a knotted string by just pulling on one end.



Monday, March 25, 2013

Weigh-in March 25: What can I say?


No weight loss this week. There is nothing really to say about it.  I did have a bad week. I wasn't able to work out, which hurt my efforts.  I have workouts and meals planned for this week.

I definitely need to bring more intentionality to my actions in the moment. I have big goals but they are easy to leave behind when confronted by a tempting food or a comfortable couch. I can see things bottoming out even on my rolling-average charts now. Things have been at a standstill for too long. It's time to get things moving again.

Edited from an earlier version of this post. I am feeling a little too sensitive today to allow comments -- they'll be back on my next post.







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feelings as a compass

This morning, I got up and played around with the body weight simulator some more. Then I realized I was really bored and dissatisfied with myself and the fact that I was doing something so abstract instead of doing something productive about my weight. I got my running clothes on and got out the door. I decided to listen to my audiobook of Jillian Michaels's Unilimited again. She talks in the first section about how on some level, we don't feel entitled to work toward big dreams, that we should just pay our dues and someday happiness will fall into our laps as a reward. Bingo. That's exactly what's been bothering me.  I feel like I have done the right things and paid my dues long enough in a lot of ways, and I'm not getting any younger. If I want something fabulous in my life, I am going to have to make it happen, and pronto.

One thing I really, really want to do is to give my fitness goals the attention and committed action that they deserve.  I have the right to be gorgeous if I want to, and if I ever want to make that happen, it should be soon.  That means not trying to parse the numbers so I don't have to work to lose weight, but to push myself a little so that it happens sooner rather than later.

I think that looking better will also help me as I start to push toward a more fulfilling career. Looks matter when looking for a job. I like the work I do, but don't see myself happy at the school forever.  I would like to either be at a bigger, more dynamic institution of higher education, or a smaller and more nimble workplace like my last job (but without the 45-minute commute) where I would be doing more interesting work, maybe traveling and training again. I need a 2- to 3-year plan and I have to think about what I want.

I did much better at my parents' house today. I enjoyed playing with my nephew instead of picking at the food. I planned a good dinner for tonight when I finally got hungry again, modeling a salmon salad I had Friday night when we went out.  I used a little balsamic glaze on it but no other dressing. It has spinach leaves, walnuts, a little feta, and a few berries. The salmon just had a little olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper. It was a perfect dinner after a heavy lunch. And starting next week, I am taking some new workout classes -- mostly strength-based -- which should shake up my routine a little.

Look out world, I am tired of playing it safe.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Geeking out with the Human Body Weight Simulator

I know that this tool is nothing new. I saw another blogger post about it and Russ and Jeff mentioned it long ago on Fat2Fit Radio. But the Human Body Weight Simulator allows you to test out different calorie diets or physical activity plans and see what effect they would have on your weight. It requires Java, though, which is annoying. I'd love to see them do a non-Java version, preferably an app. I just got finished turning Java off on all my browsers after all the warnings. It's supposedly safe now, but I don't trust it.

The idea of the app is simple. Plug in your current numbers. Either plug in a goal and it will tell you what combination of exercise and calories will help you reach it, or plug in a planned lifestyle change and it will plot the results.



It looks like if I increase my activity slightly and keep my calories to 2,000 per day or less, I should make my DietBet.  It also shows that a drastic calorie reduction would only make a pound or so difference over that short of a timeframe. Over the long run, the key seems to be consistency, though bigger changes will get bigger results. I have had a rough few days but I have planned workouts for next week and I should be able to wear my contact lenses again, which increases the range of possible activities. I could even swim alone without my contacts, I just wouldn't be comfortable going to a group practice blind.

If you want to freak yourself out, plug in a plan to increase your calories by 2000 or so per day. Yikes.

Daily checklists:

Today:

  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: Pilates Circuit class
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over
  • Take my supplements: No, too late now.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Berries, spinach, avocado, carrots, celery, cucumber, pepper.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: 33

Yesterday:


  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: No exercise. 
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Spinach, avocado, grapefruit, banana, greens, berries, cucumber.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: About 30.


Thursday:


  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: No exercise, went to the doctor. 
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over. 
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: spinach, orange, carrots, banana, grape tomatoes.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: About 40.



Jillian Michaels Fangirl: C'est moi


Most of you know that I am a big fan of The Jillian. This blog's name comes from something she said. The tagline, "Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t" is another Jillian quote, from when I attended a session she gave at BlogHer '07. That's the philosophy I try to use for my own weightloss, in fact.

So when I saw that as part of her "Maximize your Life" tour Jillian was coming to my state, I had to buy a ticket. She is also coming to Detroit, which is closer, but I teach that night, so I bought tickets for Saturday, May 4.  I actually bought VIP tickets, because it looks like these shows are huge. I would be disappointed if I just got to watch her on a JumboTron at a live event. It's just a few weeks away now, and I'm really looking forward to it.

This purchase, and the dishwasher, and some unexpected car repairs were the reason I was worrying about money the other night.  I think, though, that my life could use some maximizing. My husband and I are going to stay in Cleveland that night since the show goes late, and I made us dinner reservations at a restaurant that looked interesting and seemed to have some lighter entrees.  Our anniversary is in May so it should be a nice little evening away.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feeling more hopeful

I felt so terrible yesterday that I was really afraid I had some sort of antibiotic-resistant bug that was going to kill me. I know that sounds dramatic, I am just not used to feeling so terrible for so long with a cold. Then I realized that most of what was bothering me was centered around my red, irritated eye. My eyes hurt. My head hurt. I just wanted to sleep and could barely keep my eye open, especially in bright light. I remembered that sensitivity to light was a sign that an eye was infected, so I called the eye doctor, who got me in.  I had to teach in the evening, and between my afternoon appointment, and the looong wait at the pharmacy to get the drops for my infected eye, I just barely made it to class. The good news is that the doctor had me do three drops in fairly quick succession for the first day, and I woke up this morning feeling a million times better. I think once the infection really clears, I will be even better yet. I just took the last amoxycillin today.

No contact lenses until Monday, which means I will miss swimming again.  I've tried swimming without my contacts and I can't see the board, or the clock, or recognize people. I am going to take it easy until after my appointment on Tuesday, and just do some walking to keep active. Then, I hope, I might actually be able to get back to some kind of an exercise schedule. I think my souped-up anxiety about my possible death yesterday, and waking up in the middle of the night to worry about money last night, have a lot to do with the fact that I haven't been able to use exercise to unwind the tight little spring that lives inside my brain.

My weight is holding steady at 181.6. This is week 3 in my Pill pack, so I would expect to be up a bit.  Next week is the week in my cycle where I would expect to have a bigger weight loss. I learned this from my Weight Watchers agita. Week 1, down a little. Week 2, down a little. Week 3, up. Week 4, down a lot. One of the advantages of weighing in at home is that I can take note of what the scale is doing as feedback, consider all the variables, and move on. Maybe next week could be the week that I finally break out of the 180s. which has taken longer than expected because of all these setbacks. If DietBet just helps me break that 180 barrier, it is worth the $25. I am still in it to win it, though. I am at 30% of my weight goal with 23 days left to lose 5.2 pounds.

Last night was the first night of a new term, and it went really well. This class is lively -- they goof around a little, but they do actively participate in discussion, unlike one of the classes I had last term. I feel hopeful about them too.  I had been dreading starting a new class because of how bad I was feeling, and they made it fun.

Spring just might come after all, too. And maybe I'll finally be well enough to enjoy it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lose It! or Weight Watchers?

Kay asked in a comment on my last post if I like counting calories or Weight Watchers better.  I would say that for me, calorie counting with Lose It! (MyFitnessPal is another, similar app, and a lot of people love that one too) is better for me now.

The first reason is that Weight Watchers has changed. Weight Watchers was great for me when I first joined. I was pretty clueless about portion sizes, calories, etc., and I was not about to do all the math necessary to count calories. This was in the olden days (2002) when we didn't have so many great calorie-counting apps available. Weight Watchers also was a different plan then, Winning Points, which I loved because it was simple. There were no Weekly Points -- each day was a new day.  If you missed your target one day, you turned a page and started over the next day.  I learned to love vegetables, since they were free. I loved the cookbooks, and still use them quite frequently.

I never did as well when Weekly Points were added in, because half the time, I'd use up my weeklies in a few days and then be panicking about how to get through the rest of the week without them.  I also didn't like the switch to PointsPlus -- it was no longer simple. I couldn't just take my slider to the grocery store, I had to have a gadget. And the shift in the way that points were calculated made it even harder for me to stick to the plan. The "free" fruit did not make up for the fact that everything with carbs in it suddenly cost a lot more points.

I think the number of calories Weight Watchers allows is too low for a very active person like me with less than 30 pounds to lose, because I made Lifetime in record time (I think I dropped 20 pounds in 16 weeks, or something crazy like that), but never got the hang of maintenance. I just couldn't stick to the plan long-term.  I tried a lot of times, but I never had the same success as in the early days. I hated weighing in in front of a receptionist, too. Most of them were nice, but every now and then I got a mean one who smirked when I gained.  Meetings also got more formulaic and dull.  I had fallen out of love with Weight Watchers, and it was time for me to move on. I still recommend it to people who are new to weight loss, especially people with a lot to lose, but I find that most people end up wanting to move on to something else when they are in maintenance mode.

What I like about Lose It is that I'm in control. I bought the premium version, which is $39.99 for a year, less than one WW Monthly Pass.  I can set my own goals and personalize my plan so that it works for me.  If I don't like the calorie goals that the app sets for me, I can change them. With the premium version, I can also add goals for other things, like fiber or hydration.  I don't feel any less accountable weighing in solo than I do weighing in front of someone else -- I just don't feel humiliated if I have an up day. Because I'm not paying by the week, I don't feel a rush to hurry up and get to goal so I can stop paying, either, which I always did with Weight Watchers. Joining the DietBet actually has added in a little extra fire to my motivation, and that has been fun. I had to ante up $25, but I have a chance to win it back, maybe with interest. I also feel like I get more support from the blog community now than I used to get in most meetings. 

I guess for me, the difference is that a corporation is no longer in charge of my weight loss, I am.  I don't say that this solution is best for everyone, but it's best for me. I understand what Kay is saying about feeling "like a WW failure," because at one point I loved Weight Watchers and really wanted to get back to Lifetime so I could attend meetings for free forever.  I don't feel like a failure, I just feel like I have moved on. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DietBet update and Daily Checklists

I was down a little more today -- the rounding issue showed up again because I was only one pound different today when holding my clothes, whereas yesterday it was the 1.2.  My scale rounds to 0.2 pound increments. I'm 35% of the way to my goal, and I just need to average a loss of 0.2 per day to make it and win my share of the pot and a chance at the NYC trip.

Today was a crummy day, other than the weight loss. I tried running today, just 20 minutes because it was so cold and windy and I am still recovering from my cold. I don't know that I should have tried to run, because I was wiped out for the rest of the day.  It's funny, I felt so good the first couple of days, but today I had no energy, my chest felt tight and my eye is all red and bloodshot again.  I hope that I don't have some kind of antibiotic-resistant bug.  I will call the doctor on Friday if I'm not starting to feel better.  I have class tomorrow night so I'm hoping that I will be feeling OK for it.  Tonight I had to attend an open house and it was an effort being appropriately "up" for it.

I miss my calorie burn from the exercise, because LoseIt! gives me such a low number of calories (1654) when I'm sedentary, and it's a lot harder for me to stay in the Green Zone without the 300-400 calories I can get from exercise.  It's just like Weight Watchers was for me -- I couldn't stay on target without earning Activity Points every day.  I'm just doing the best I can.

We got a new dishwasher delivered and installed yesterday and it does so much better with the dishes than the old one. Glasses are spotless, just like the commercials. That's going to make it easier to keep the house clean -- we had to handwash so many things and/or rewash things that didn't get clean in the dishwasher.

Yesterday::


  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: Went for a 20-minute walk. 
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was under by 37. 
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Banana, pepper, red lentil soup (with onions, carrots, celery, and peppers in it), carrots, celery, apple.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: About 45-50.

Today:

  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: Went for a 20-minute run and a 15-minute walk. 
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over by 286.
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Strawberries, baby spinach, clementine, scallions, snow pea pods, pineapple, celery, carrots, cucumber, red peppers,.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: 37.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 14 Finale: Wow!



I can't do a finale review without spoilers. Enter at your own risk!

The season finale was one of the best I'd seen in recent years. Yes, I miss the early days, when they would show us the contestants' struggles at home as they prepared for the finale. I was disappointed that they recycled the same old clips yet again -- there's Bob screaming at Gina, there's Jackson barfing again, etc., etc. And of course there's the Hunger Games aspect to the whole thing, though no one dies and the contestants not only volunteered, but competed to be on the show. The live portions of the show were managed perfectly, though. There was the early excitement of finding out which contestant was chosen for third place, and then the at-home players were brought out in groups of three or four. We got to see everyone all glammed up. Jackson went from looking like Dilbert or Drew Carey from his "The Drew Carey Show" days to looking like a fuller-faced Leonardo DiCaprio, and Joe looked even more like Craig Nelson from "Coach."

The at-home players had the usual mix of results. There were a few who had made it to the last few weeks but hadn't lost much at home. There were a few who had gone home early and didn't look like they had lost much. And, of course, there were the stunning successes like Lisa's. When they were weighed in, almost everyone weighed less than I would have guessed.  Even the ones who hadn't seemed to have lost much at home had dropped another 30 or 40 pounds. Because the producers knew what everyone's weight really was (the scale is, of course, just a big prop), they maintained suspense about who would win the at-home prize to the very end. They managed it so that Pam had her chance to do her annoying dances for a while but then get shooed off the stage by Alex, who has the advantage of being both stunningly pretty and quiet.  Francelina gets her moment in the spotlight (I loved her dress, very flattering) before getting beaten by Lisa, who then gives way to the at-home winner, Gina. She made the right choice if she purposely bailed on the finale to compete for the at-home prize. Joe looked like he might beat her, but just missed it.

The big show, of course, is the final weigh-in.  Jillian had said on her podcast that she thought Danni had already lost all of her weight, but she slimmed down even more and was transformed into a Glamazon (scroll about halfway down for photo) with high hair and higher heels. I would love to see what she looks like with normal hair and shoes, but she looks very pretty and still muscular, though much more streamlined.  I wasn't sure she could beat Jeff, who looked to me like he could be Jimmy Fallon's younger, heavier brother. I couldn't quite figure out which supermodel Danni most resembled, though I think the stylists were going for a 1980s Cindy Crawford look. She looked amazing. Her skin looked golden and dewy, and she has gorgeous high cheekbones. I loved her dress, too, which showed off how incredibly buff she was without being too revealing.

Do you want to know who won? I think you should probably watch the clip for yourself.  But it came down to ONE POUND, again.  The winner gets to be on a Subway commercial with Courtney from Season 11 , who still seems to be struggling with her weight. Maybe this opportunity will get her back on track?

I haven't said anything about the kids yet.  I know that many people, including Yoni Freedhof, have been critical of the choice to include children on the show. I am still not sure I think it was a great idea myself. The children did lose weight and they seemed happy about it. I wasn't thrilled, though, that they chose to announce the kids' final weight loss numbers on the show. I would have rather had them focus on other improvements, like Lindsay no longer being prediabetic, or Biingo making a competitive baseball team and dropping his 9-hour-a-day video game habit.  We could see that the kids had lost a lot without needing to know the numbers. I am happy for them and their successes, and I hope that they continue to be proud of what they accomplished and continue to get support as they deal with being national television stars. I especially hope that the cheerleaders, who got to perform on a national television show because they were friendly to Lindsay, continue to be so when the cameras aren't rolling.  Sunny did look beautiful in her prom dress, and I hope she has someone nice to dance with there.

On another note, I noticed that The Biggest Loser Resort and Spa now has a Chicago location.  I predicted, before the spas ever came to be, that something like this would result from the show. And now there is a location very close to my home.  I would happily get myself there if the spa is ever in need of blog reviewers. Jeff and Francelina, this season's love interest, both moved to Chicago to train for the finale. I wonder if they are going to be working there.  Each of the Final Four went to one of the spas before the finale, and they probably each went to a different one. Fitness Ridge is near Jackson's home, and if Danni went to Malibu, it would have been easy for her to meet up with Jillian there.  I think they need one more location somewhere in the South. Hilton Head? Branson? Somewhere in Florida?

I noticed some other commercials during the show, too. One, which made me happy, showed a little girl sneaking "Cuties," little clementines, off the counter as if they were cookies.  I love to see a healthy food like this advertised prominently on a show like this -- exactly the right message! On a slightly less happy note, I noticed a weight-loss ad that had all people in Northwest Ohio -- Findlay, Toledo, Kenton -- and turned up the volume. Turns out that Wood County Hospital, which has a big bariatric surgery practice, was advertising during the finale.  Not so great.

Seriously, though, about that spa trip. I still have quite a bit of weight to lose, and I'd happily do Before and After photos... 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weigh-in March 18: On the way down

I ended up with a creative solution to deal with my DietBet weigh-in outfit. I always weigh in without clothes, so I weighed in first as usual, and then did a weight-only (no body fat percentage) weigh-in holding the pile of clothes.  Sorry in advance if that paints a disturbing picture.  I got back in my pajamas afterward -- I just didn't see the point of putting on a whole additional outfit and taking it off again. I left the clothes near the scale so I can do this when I check in.

This time the difference was only one pound -- odd.  I was 182 without clothes, and 183 with. Must be a rounding issue, since my scale weighs to the nearest 0.2 pounds. I was glad to see my weight back where I expected it to be, even after another junky, salty family party.  There wasn't much safe to eat -- not even a veggie tray.  I think I could lose a lot more weight permanently if I moved far enough away that it was impractical to visit every week, but I would miss them.  Even better would be to get to a point that I wasn't overeating whenever I was around them. Something to work on.

I'm at 24% of my weight goal for the DietBet, but this first 1.8 was the easy stuff, and now I'm going to have to work for the 5.6 pounds I have left to lose in the next 27 days. I think I'm finally really getting better from this horrible cold/sinusitis thing, so I will be able to exercise more.  I have a bunch of classes to use up from a package I purchased this winter, so I scheduled them all to mix things up a bit.  We have good meals planned for the week.  My husband is as excited as I am to go to NYC to meet Hannah and Olivia, so he will definitely do what he can to help me.

It's amazing to look at the graphs from Fat Watch that show that I am making real, consistent progress toward my goals. I haven't made any drastic changes, just consistent tweaks.  According to Fat Watch, in the past month I have been losing 0.23 pounds a week, but 0.39 pounds of fat.  Not bad for what really feels like minor changes.

Daily checklist for yesterday:

  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: 40 minute walk. Was thinking about trying to swim, but I still didn't feel up to it. 
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over budget by 396.  
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Some soggy salad at the party, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach later.  Fresh pineapple and berries for fruit.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: About 25.










Saturday, March 16, 2013

First day of DietBet and Daily Checklists



Today was a pleasantly busy day. I still have more grading to do -- I can only do so much at a time before I start dozing off. I am still getting better and my energy level is a little low.

I also got a few things done around the house, did a big grocery run to stock up with healthy food, and of course, did a morning workout. I did not love seeing such a high number on the scale again, even if I could rationalize about clothes, sodium, etc. It took several tries to get the scale photo right, because the Tanita annoyingly flashes the scale number so sometimes it looks blank in the photos. This is one of the rejects -- I didn't like the drawstring in there. But the one I did send in has my thighs from a weird angle that makes them look like tree trunks.

At the gym, a nutrition consulting group brought a big crockpot of breakfast quinoa with a bunch of different toppings for us to try -- fresh fruit and nuts, mostly, but also agave, raw honey, and cinnamon. I tried a tiny little sample cup with some berries, nuts and cinnamon and it was so good. Turns out they cooked it in apple juice, so I'm glad I didn't add any sweetener.  I cooked a batch in water today to try for breakfast tomorrow with berries. I will have to see if it's as good without the apple juice. I have been even more careful to avoid added sugars since I read Fat Chance.

I planned meals for the week and made sure I had everything to make them. Tonight for dinner, I had enough calories for a bigger meal.  I ended up just at goal for the day, which is great considering I never felt too hungry or like I was missing out on anything I really wanted. I'm finding I do better with slightly bigger meals so I don't feel snacky and find myself cruising the cupboards. Tonight when I did have a snack, I looked at how many calories I had left and thought about how to fit the kinds of tastes I wanted in with that amount. Basic stuff like that is easy to ignore if you're telling yourself you "should" be able to do this stuff naturally with no effort.  It's important for me to stay aware if I'm going to get anywhere with this.

I missed a couple of things on my checklist. I have found it harder to remember my supplements now that I'm taking antibiotics and probiotics -- just too many things to remember. Taking the probiotics has seemed to keep away the yucky side effects I usually have after taking antibiotics.  I am taking the Acidopholous Pearls about 2 hours after my amoxicillin.

Checklist for today:

  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: Pilates Circuit class (one hour) plus a short walk (20 minutes).
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone":Hit my goal exactly.
  • Take my supplements: Forgot them and it's too late now.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: banana, a few berries with the quinoa, and an apple for fruit. Celery, carrots, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, green onion, and romaine (probably at least 3 and maybe 4 servings total) for veggies. 
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: 32 grams.

Checklist for yesterday:


  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: 30 minute walk.
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over budget by 329.  
  • Take my supplements: Yes.
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: Spinach, avocado, mixed baby greens, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, onions (added up to 3-4 servings at least).  Fruit was an orange -- missed it there, unless you want to count the wine I had at dinner (I don't).
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: About 30.


DietBet start weight and photo



I just started My Fitspiration's DietBet, which has a pot of more than $26,000 and more than 1000 players as of this posting. It's crazy! DietBet says that about 1/3 of the players in a typical game meet their weight goal and split the pot, another 1/3 make significant progress (whatever that means), and almost all lose some weight.

I weighed in my usual way and then put on my official weigh-in outfit, left. It's capri tights, a thin t-shirt, underwear and a sportsbra (plus my glasses, which I always wear to weigh in) and it apparently weighs 1.2 pounds, because that was the difference between my own weigh-in (183.6) and the one I did for DietBet (184.8). One of my verification photos is attached. There is also a scale photo with the same secret word. I will wear the same exact outfit for my weigh-out photo, which I will only have to do if I win and reach my goal weight (177.4). I will need to average about 2 pounds a week.  I will be adding the 1.2 pound clothing weight to my check-ins on the game, but when I weigh-in here and on LoseIt, I won't -- just to keep things consistent, if confusing.

I am a little disappointed that my weight is up from yesterday -- we went out for dinner but I thought it was early enough (5:30) that it wouldn't affect the scale. My overall calories for the day were pretty close to target.

I am going to have to be very careful about calories, hydration, sodium, everything if I am going to make this work.  I checked my weight history, and if I make my goal, it will be my lowest weight in more than two years.  That makes me a little sad -- I didn't realize how long I've been up -- but it gives me even more reason to make this work.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On the mend, plus random updates

I finally called the doctor on Tuesday and was in yesterday. I was diagnosed with sinusitis and given antibiotics (Amoxicillin). I took the first dose last night and felt a lot better this morning, so I'm wondering if I would have gotten better without the antibiotics if I had just waited. I can't imagine they would work that fast. I was just tired of being sick. My exercise and eating are off, and it has been hard to work.

I hate taking them, but now that i started them, I'll finish the course. I picked up some probiotics to take during and after the course. After doing some research, I found that I should take them about two hours apart.

I am hoping I'm up to full strength before my DietBet starts. There is a crazy amount of money in the pot -- almost $17,000 now. Of course, that means there are more people to split the winnings, too. I weigh in Saturday. Of course, I will keep you updated on my progress.

I bought a new dishwasher today. It will be delivered on Saturday. We are wasting a lot of time re-washing stuff that didn't get clean, handwashing things, etc. I think that this will make our cleaning a lot more efficient and I'm excited about it. I don't like to spend money like that but it seems worth it for something that will make such a big difference -- and hopefully save water and energy.

I still have papers to grade -- my grades aren't due until the middle of next week, but I would really like to get them done sooner so this isn't hanging over my head. Grading papers fills me with doom sometimes because I focus on all the ways they didn't learn what I wanted them to and blame myself.

My checklist habit has kind of fallen apart -- here's today's:


  • Average 300 minutes of exercise, with at least 30 minutes per day: 30 minute walk.
  • Log all food in Lose It! and stay in the "green zone": Was over budget, but I logged everything.  
  • Take my supplements: Will do (and the probiotic) when I finish this
  • At least 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, banana, orange, spinach, avocado, homemade curried lentil soup with peppers, onions, and celery in it. I used a boxed vegetable broth as the base.
  • Get at least 35 grams of fiber: More than 50.

"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07