Saturday, July 31, 2010

Body fat changes

Okay, to be honest, the first big drop is when I switched a setting on my scale. But the rest of the changes seem consistent and accurate. I use an iPhone app called FatWatch to track my body composition numbers.

I just started a new strength training program (more later about that), which I am hoping will get things moving faster. I would love to be at my goal by my birthday in December.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art Club

I originally started taking watercolor painting lessons because I didn't really know how to use the paints. I got more and more confident and then felt like I could paint on my own if I just took the time. I didn't, however, often take that time. Time that I took for painting felt stolen from "more important" things like working on my classes (job), working out (health), cleaning up (home), or spending time with my husband and cats (family).  I'm sure it's a common dilemma.

I signed up for a class again at a different place just to give myself the time to play with my painting and not feel guilty about it. If I had paid to paint between 6:30 and 8:30 on Wednesdays,  I was going to paint at that time.  Since then, I've learned the unsurprising lesson that 6 weeks wasn't enough for me to learn everything there was to learn about watercolors.

But, I was thinking that a great (and cheaper) way to satisfy the forced-practice need might be an Art Club.  Sort of like a book club, except that instead of all talking about the book, everyone would bring their various projects and materials (paintings, knitting, scrapbooks, quilts, whatever) and work on them while chatting. The host would provide the workspace and people could contribute wine and a few non-messy snacks. It would be a fun way to catch up with friends and all get a little time to pursue creative interests.

I'm still thinking about trying this but I am not sure about the guest list and the timing.  Would the club meet once a week, every month, every two weeks? I did a little poll among my facebook friends but none of my local friends responded with anything practical for this kind of setting. But I'm still interested in trying it. Have any of you done anything similar?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Focusing more on behavior, less on the scale

Sad to say, though I had high hopes for this summer being the summer I got it all together and finally lost the weight for good, just like every summer, my weight has been going up and down the same three or four pounds for weeks. sigh.

However, I'm feeling very fit. I am running and biking and swimming and doing yoga and am very, very tan. So tan that I wonder whether the authorities will accept the passport photo I just got taken as a representation of me when I present my passport in December. I decided I needed a passport and planned a trip to Toronto with my husband for shortly after my 40th birthday, since we need passports for Canada now. I love the idea of having a passport again. Even though I haven't done a lot of international travel, I like the feeling that I could just decide to leave the country on a whim and be OK with the nice people at the border.

I'm trying to focus on my behavior -- keeping the workouts going and increasing, logging my food, trying to keep my calories in line with my calorie needs -- and hope the stupid scale takes care of itself.  Besides, I am using an iPhone app called Fat Watch to track the numbers on my bodyfat scale, and it claims that the actual fat weight is gradually going down, even though my whole-body weight is bouncing all over the place. Here's hoping.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lose It! Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Jul 12th

Weekly Summary for Week of Mon, Jul 12th

for Jen S

Daily Summary
Budget Food Exercise Net +/- Weight (lbs)
7/12/10 1,804 2,604 442 2,162 357 178
7/13/10 1,798 2,087 704 1,383 -414 177
7/14/10 1,795 1,636 0 1,636 -159 176.6
7/15/10 1,779 2,291 566 1,725 -54 174.2
7/16/10 1,779 2,714 373 2,340 561 174.2
7/17/10 1,779 3,729 1,493 2,235 456 174.2
7/18/10 1,779 2,770 136 2,635 855 174.2
1,603 calories over budget for the week
Lost 3.8 pounds this week
Nutrient Summary % Calories
Fat 759g 38.9%
Saturated Fat 228g
Protein 565g 12.9%
Carbohydrates 2,121g 48.3%
Fiber 172g
Cholesterol 1,656mg
Sodium 18,969mg
Exercise Summary Calories
Gardening 1 Hour 30 Min 373
Bicycling 2 Hours 1493
Swimming 30 Min 253
Yoga 3 Hours 378
Running 1 Hour 20 Min 900
Walking 1 Hour 25 Min 316
Total 3715
Report generated by Lose It!. For more information or to sign up for your free Lose It! account, please visit

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why I can stay overweight even though I exercise...

Yesterday I did a 31-mile bike ride organized by a local club. The ride is not 31 straight miles, and it's in no way a race.  There is a set start point where you check in and get your map. The course is marked on the roads too, so if you don't want to try to ride a bike and read a map at the same time, you can just follow the marks. That's what I opted to do. People can ride fast, or amble along at a comfortable speed. The first snack stop was at 10-ish miles. There were packaged cookies (which I skipped), water, and fruit (which I sampled).  The second stop was just a stop for water, but we were asked not to use the water cooler to refill our water bottles, so I decided to just wait for the next stop five miles later and just took a rest break and ate half a Luna bar.  The next stop was lunch and then we had 10 miles back to the car.

I had a normal-sized lunch (I didn't trust the offered tacos not to upset my stomach so I just went for a peanut-butter sandwich) but after the bike ride, I was really hungry.  I logged my calories that night and realized that even with a 1500 calorie deficit from the ride, I had managed to go over my daily calories.

Yikes. After seeing that I had burned so many, I got a little too relaxed, I guess.

Why is it so much easier to take them in than to burn them?

The ride was fun. I would definitely do another one. The breaks really make the difference -- I felt like if I kept the pace easy and stopped every 10 miles, I could probably bike all day.  Not to say I wasn't happy to get off that seat. I have that should be a lot more comfortable.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Please, no more death threats

Tuesday's episode of "Losing it with Jillian" really frustrated me (but it did mostly follow the pattern I identified in an earlier post).The dad on this episode was 290 pounds, a nighttime snacker, and someone with sleep apnea. He also came across as a really self-centered, arrogant guy who liked everyone to take care of him. Even by the end of the episode, I didn't really believe he had changed, though I think his wife had.

That's not what frustrated me.

I'm tired of "this weight is going to kill you, you're going to die" being the mantra of weight-loss shows, first on "The Biggest Loser" and now on this show. Yes, studies will show that your risk for death can double if you're obese, but they don't highlight that it goes from 1% to 2%.  The risk of this guy dying from weight-related causes might have been higher because of his sleep apnea, but he didn't look in immediate danger of keeling over.  His bigger risk was becoming more and more restricted in what he could comfortably do because of his weight.  He had beautiful, healthy daughters and his weight seemed to get in the way of him playing with them. I know Jillan's workouts were killer, but they tired him out before he even really got started. He was obviously being hurt on a daily basis by his weight, so why focus on some distant-seeming, unlikely death?

Besides, focusing on the fat = death equation is discouraging.  Even on a "Biggest Loser" style regimen, this guy was months away from  being at a healthy weight, so how could he feel excited about starting a regimen where he was going to be working hard for months before his risk of death was going to feel like it was going away, because he'd still be looking at a fat guy in the mirror every night.

On "The Biggest Loser," there has been proof that just a week or tow of eating differently and working out is enough to get the contestants off their medications and feeling much better, even though they are still hugely obese. 

It could be that it isn't the fat, per se, that's so dangerous, that it's the behaviors that got you fat that can cause health risks.  It seems logical to think that it could be the sedentary lifestyle and the junk food full of fat, salt, and sugar that is causing people to become diabetic and have high blood pressure. Replacing that lifestyle with a healthy one might be all it takes to get rid of any health risks. 

Changing the behavior would also result in the weight loss, eventually.  But flipping the way it's framed allows someone to be an instant success. We always have a choice on how we behave.  We can't quickly change how much weight we are carrying but we have an opportunity in each moment to choose how we behave in that moment.

After all, we are all going to die, no matter how fat or skinny we are. We have no choice about that. We do, however, have a choice of how we're going to live.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I found my body image role models

Leafing through the Title 9 Sports catalog, I have decided that want to be one of these women when I grow up.  The women in the pictures are strong, fit, and gorgeous, and they all seem to be having too much fun swimming, surfing, or doing whatever they're doing to look at the camera.

I know it's just advertising, but they don't seem objectified the way I'm used to seeing women in magazines and catalogs, who are almost always looking at the camera with a "love me, adore me" look or glancing at their bodies in ways that seem self-conscious.  The one woman who I found in this catalog who looked at the camera seems to be saying "yeah, I rock!"  Instead of models, they photograph their own customers wearing the clothes and enjoying them, so maybe that's part of it.  There's also something about the way the women are posed and presented that seems designed to celebrate, but not objectify, their bodies.

By the way, if Title 9 would like to send me a huge gift card, I'd happily accept, but this is just fan mail, not an endorsement.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Went out on a long bike ride today -- 29.6 miles according to my bike computer. We stopped twice along the way, but our actual ride time was 85 minutes.

We went out for lunch and split a salad and an order of shrimp fajitas. I also had some chips with queso and the best margarita of my life.

I think I will just snooze on the couch for the rest of the day....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Drinking calories

No, not that kind of drinking, though alcohol has a lot of calories too.

One of the first things I did when first losing weight was to cut way back on all liquid calories. I never have been a big fan of diet soda (or "pop," as we say here), but I did like the regular stuff (194 calories for a 16-ounce Coca-Cola).  I used to have it only at the movies and in restaurants, but now I get water at the movies and unsweetened iced tea most of the time. I think it's even better to have a glass of wine or a beer than to drink a bunch of high-fructose corn syrup or toxic fake sweeteners. About the only caloric beverage I drink much anymore is my coffee with a small splash of half and half (20 calories per tablespoon). 

A friend of mine from out of town visited and asked if he should bring anything.  I told him to bring whatever he liked to drink (since I know he's not a big water drinker.)  He brought a 64-ounce bottle of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice. When he left, there was only a tiny splash left so I dumped it. I checked the calorie info: 110 calories per 8 ounce serving, 8 servings per bottle. In one night he had 800+ calories of juice.  On the same day, he also had two Cokes (one with grenadine (75 calories per ounce) added) and half a bottle of Snapple (110 calories for 8 ounces).  In one day, that would be between 1300 and 1400 calories just from beverages. That's almost as many calories as in a whole 12" pepperoni pizza. And those are just the beverages I saw, so if he had anything to drink in the morning, it would probably be more. I did say something to him about all the calories he drank when he said something about wanting to lose some of the weight he's put on lately, and he said, "But I was thirsty." I decided to drop it.

This friend isn't dumb, but I would guess he has never added it all up.  I think a lot of people do the same. Calories from drinks don't really fill us up in the same way as food calories, so it's easy to ignore them and think they're not a big deal.

I don't drink my calories, I don't eat fast food, and I still haven't lost the weight I want to lose.  So I definitely don't have all the answers.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I love the 80s

I went to an 80s-themed party this weekend. I had a lot of fun putting together my 80s outfit (pictured here, with a particular gesture I used a bit in the 80s edited out via  Of course I was listening to pop and new wave all weekend. I had to go out and buy the kind of makeup I haven't really warn since the 80s, and dust off my curling iron.  I don't really have the haircut to achieve the kind of volume I used to get in the 80s, unfortunately.
In most ways my life is a lot better now than it was back then. I was a teenager through most of the 80s (I turn 40 this year), and I went through all the usual angst. But there were things about myself then that I liked better, even besides having a body that could really pull off a miniskirt.  Putting together my clothes reminded me of how much I really loved and had fun with clothes then. The styles were a lot more fun and the worst thing you could do was look just like everyone else. I used to spend a lot of time, money, and thought on my clothes -- I loved putting together looks. My attitude toward my clothes, hair, and makeup is a lot more utilitarian now. I'm not sure if that's just about growing up, or if it's mostly because I like my body less than I did back then.

I'd like to bring back a little of my 80s mojo and have a little more fun with fashion and style again. I think it has to be possible, even if I can't get my thighs to look good in a miniskirt anymore...

What time in fashion was your personal high point? What kind of clothes make you feel sassy?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Official results from sprint triathlon

Apparently the results are still a little in flux.  Last I checked, I was #101. Now I'm #100.  That may be why the race isn't on my results page yet. Here they are, in case you are a tri geek. If not, the numbers probably won't mean much.  Interestingly, I did better in this 5K than I did the week before in a 5K where I hadn't swam and biked first.

Rank  Swim   T1    Rank   Bike  Rate T2    Rank   Run   Pace    Final 

73   19:29  1:44  100   41:34  15.4  1:30  121   32:14 10:45 1:36:29

One thing this tells you is that I was 73rd in the swim, 100th in the bike, and 121st in the run.  That means that I am a much better swimmer than I am a biker, and a better biker than a runner.  Or, more accurately, more people are better runners than I am than are better bikers or swimmers.  Running is a relatively easy sport to do and doesn't require fancy equipment.

On the day of the race, I was pretty disappointed with my bike time. I made such a big deal that I had this new bike and it was going to tear the world up, but I did just about the same as last year.  My brake may have been stuck, or maybe I just didn't train enough. It was also a hilly course and I have no hills to train on around here.  Anyway, who cares? There's still plenty of summer left and lots of time to ride (in fact, I'm going to go out as soon as I finish this post).

I had to race as a 40-year-old this year, because the USAT rules say that you race as the age you will be on December 31.  Bye, bye, 30s, at least for trithlon. As a runner, I still get to be 39 for a while.
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"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