Monday, December 31, 2012

Last post of 2012, new beginnings in 2013

There will be no weigh-in today. We had overnight guests and they were using the guest bathroom, where I keep my scale. I wasn't going to barge in there to use it. I did think about taking it out of there before they arrived, but I didn't see the point. I knew there was no chance I'd make my goal. I will weigh in tomorrow morning and post then.

I feel frustrated that I didn't meet my goal, but I also think that I did some important work this year to prepare for success in the coming year. I have worked harder on my swimming and Spin classes this year and I feel like I'm ready to start even more serious triathlon training.  I tested out both calorie counting and intuitive eating, and found that for me, keeping a food journal works better. I bought the premium version of Lose It! yesterday, after my five-year-old nephew made a comment about how my belly is bigger than it was when he saw me last year. That was the last straw. I need to work harder, and smarter, if I'm every going to succeed, and if a $40 app can help, I will use it.

Oddly, I had a dream last night that right after I bought this new app, I decided to join Weight Watchers, and I was upset about wasting the money on the app. That is going to be Plan B -- if by February 14 I am not seeing some serious progress on my own, I am going to rejoin.  I want to give myself one last chance to make calorie counting and triathlon training work first. I have found that when I am training seriously, it's harder to follow WW, and I have some big goal races this year. But if I can't do it any other way, I'm willing to go back.

I feel really willing to do whatever it takes to meet my goals this time around. I don't feel all anxious and ashamed and wrapped up in the outcome, I just feel some serious determination to stop fooling around and do the work, for my own satisfaction.

Mary Kay Giveaway Winner!

Madeline Brubaker, please email your address information to Toledolefty at gmail dot com, and I will send you your prize. Happy new year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 28, 2012

Keep looking up! A photo essay

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Giveaway! Mary Kay Cosmetics

As a BlogHerAds blogger, I was sent a few Mary Kay products to try. I got the large box pictured above, which contained a mascara and two lipglosses, plus some catalogs and a lot of packing peanuts.

I had a friend who sold Mary Kay in the early '90s, and I have to say the product line and packaging is much more sophisticated than back then, when it was pink, pink, and more pink.  At its 50th anniversary, the company seems to be marketing to a wider audience, with more than 20 shades in some of its foundations and skin-care lines targeted to men and younger women in addition to the products I remember. The looks pictured in the promotional materials are more on-trend, too.

I tried the Passion Red lipgloss (second from left, above) right away. I was impressed that it was not sticky at all. Like all lipglosses, it takes a lot of product to get the intense color pictured on the model, and it requires a lot of reapplication to maintain that look.

I decided to give away the other two products to one lucky reader: A Lash Love mascara in I ♥ Black (retail value $15) and a NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in Café au Lait.(retail value $14). For the sake of my wallet, I will send the product in a small padded mailer and keep the box and packing peanuts.

To enter, just leave a comment telling me about your favorite beauty product. One comment per person, please. I will use a random-number generator to pick the winner at 9 a.m. on December 31. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Just in time for the new year: My fitness wishlist

I really have everything I need to be fit: A gym membership, my iPhone 4S, lots of workout clothes, my running shoes, swimsuits, and, when the weather gets warmer, my bike.  Still, I'm daydreaming about a few things that might help me achieve my goals. These are all in the nice-to-have-but-not-essential category:

Lose It! Premium ($39.99)

I have been using Lose It! for a while now, and would love to give the premium version a spin. I haven't been able to find out a lot of information yet, but the premium version offers meal tracking, new goals, and integration with a lot of popular fitness gadgets. I haven't bit the bullet yet, just because I'd like to see a review or get a trial to make sure I'd really use the new features.


I have a Polar heart rate monitor but I barely use any of the features because it's too difficult to set the heart rate target training zone or readjust things like my weight and age. I was just thinking that it would be easier to have a strap that could send to an app on my iPhone, did a search, and found this. I will probably buy something like this if and when my current HRM gives up the ghost.


Believe it or not, I'm just as interested in the sleep tracker as in the activity tracker, which is why I'd like the  and not the .  I know that several other bloggers, including Shauna, use the FitBit and like it, and I have heard great reviews of it on Fat2Fit Radio.I am a little afraid of spending $100 on something that is so easily lost, but I think having a step counter like this could motivate me to get up off my butt a little more.

I have a Tanita body-fat scale that I got when I was 39. I know this because that's how old it still thinks I am. It works fine, and is probably just as accurate as any body-fat scale can be. But it isn't cool and wi-fi integrated, like this one is. This is definitely low on the priority list but it just seems like a cool thing to have.

Anything I've missed? I am not really much of a gadget girl, so something has to seem really innovative and useful to get my attention.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Weigh-in, December 24

Santa did not bring me weight loss this week. I weighed in at 185.4, a couple of tenths of a pound up from last week.  I don't think even at my most optimistic, I could believe that I will make my goal for this month of 183. I would have to lose two pounds in the hardest weight loss week of the year. I will do my best to eat healthy and get in some extra exercise on the non-holiday days. I even have a massage scheduled on the 27th.

To be fair, I think that I would have had posted a tiny loss if I had gotten to swim last night instead of having my 10-month-old nephew stay the night. Instead of getting a hard workout and coming home to a healthy dinner, I ate whatever I could eat with one hand and didn't get much sleep. I knew I was going to have him, so I weighed myself on Saturday and had a much nicer 184.6 That half-pound loss is in line with what I would expect, given that I was about 1500 calories over my goal for the week.

This week's workouts:

Monday: Walked for an hour
Tuesday: 45-minute swim, 20-minute walk
Wednesday: 20-minute run, 15 minutes of walking
Thursday: 45-minute Spin class
Friday: 20-minute run, 15 minutes of walking
Saturday: One-hour Pilates Circuit class
Sunday: One-hour yoga class

According to Fat Watch, I kept my weight mostly steady throughout December while dropping some body fat. The blue line in the graphs below is fat, the red line is total weight. The graphs are smoothed out from the data points. If I just subtract today's weigh-in from December 3's, I get 0.8 total pounds lost, and 3.3 pounds of fat. I'm not sure that I trust the scale's accuracy enough to make much of that, but I do think that I can confirm that there has been some shift in my body in the last month.

As I said, I plan to get through this last week of December the best I can and really focus on my goals again in January. I have a bigger goal than just weight loss, too.

I want to do an Olympic-distance triathlon this summer. My husband gave me my Christmas present last night, and it's a great triathlon backpack filled with gear. I have my eye on three of these races

June 23: Tri Goddes Tri (sprint)
August 11: Swim to the Moon (I want to do either the 5K or the 1.2 mile)
August 25: Last chance 2 Tri (Olympic)

It works out perfectly because school would begin for me the day after that last triathlon. If I can be ready for these goals (and my foot holds up), I will have to be in great shape.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Recipe: Tilapia tacos

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  

I thought I'd share a great low-calorie meal idea. We had these for dinner Fridy night, and liked them so much we had them for lunch the next day. They are light on calories (252 according to my count) so you would either want to supplement with a side dish or have them when you wanted to leave calories for a big meal or a snack later in the day.

The original recipe used a lime-chili mayonnaise, which sounded awful to me, so I just used the lime and the chili on the fish. I also added a lot of the veggies.  This is a very summery-tasting dish, which is nice in December. If you have the calories (I didn't), a Corona Light would go really well with this, and you could put on some Jimmy Buffet and pretend you were on the beach.

You can almost reconstruct the recipe from my LoseIt! entry, though the fish is cut off in the view below.  I used individually quick-frozen tilapia fillets, but you could use any firm white fish for this recipe.  The Weight Watchers recipe called for baking the fish in a 450 degree oven, but that takes a long time, so when I made them for lunch the next day, I just cooked them a scant amount of oil in a nonstick skillet with a lid. The fish gives off a lot of liquid so they sort of steam-poach.

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 tilapia fillets, thawed and seasoned with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper (to taste)
1 cup of Romaine lettuce, chopped roughly
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped roughly (I love cilantro, but if you hate it, sub in fresh parseley or even mint)
1/4 lime
4 corn tortillas, warmed
1 teaspoon olive oil (you could use cooking spray instead)

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan to distribute the oil. Put in the seasoned fish fillets, and put the lid on the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Put two tortillas on each plate and top with the vegetables and cilantro.  Break the cooked fish with a fork and use half a fish fillet on each tortilla.  Squeeze lime juice over the top of the fish. Enjoy!  They are a little messy because the tortillas are small.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Lose It! 4.0

I have been using the Lose It! app for a few years now, but since they just released a great new upgrade, I thought I'd do a new review to show off the changes.

The basic idea is still the same: Log food and exercise and stay within a calculated calorie target to lose weight.  Users can log food and exercise on an iPhone, Android, or from the web on any computer. I have the iPhone version, which is what is pictured here in the screenshots. I took these this morning after my workout.

The cute icons are still there, which I like because they give me a quick visual idea of what I have eaten, drunk, and done that day. If the food I want is not in the Lose It! database, I can either scan a barcode to enter the food, or enter the nutritional information yourself, and choose an appropriate icon for it.

It's also easy to add whole meals from the "Meals" section, which is nice because I tend to have similar breakfasts and lunches day after day.  You can also add combinations of foods as recipes, which I have done one or two times. Usually if I am adding a recipe, I just add it as a food using the nutritional information from the recipe.  The database is fairly extensive, but doesn't have some common ethnic restaurant foods.

This version fixed something that was a major annoyance for me.  If I added a food to Breakfast that I meant to add to Lunch, I used to have to delete the food and re-add it to the right meal. Now Lose It! allows users to edit a food and change the meal, as well as the serving size. That makes logging much easier. Lose It! does not currently have a feature to track water by glasses, but there are entries for water. The option to add a new food or exercise can allow a creative user (like me) to track things like supplements or meditation by designating them as 0-calorie items. The one feature I would like at this point that is not available is the ability to track hunger before and after meals.

The new daily view is attractive and simple. It is nice to have the macronutrient graph on the front page so I can easily see what my protein, carb, and fat ratios are for the day so far.  The app also shows how many calories under (green) or over (red) budget I am.  I find the color cues very intuitive, but something like 10% of the male population is red/green colorblind, but I guess that they would just have to pay attention to the text and not rely on the color cues.

The new release hasn't changed every screen.  The "My week" page hasn't changed a lot. The red/green pattern is also used here to show how close I have found that the weekly calorie counts in the app track pretty closely to my weight loss (or gain) on the scale for that week.  The past week, I was 2000 calories over, and since my goal for the week was to lose a pound and a pound is 3500 calories, I predicted (rightly) that I would lose about half a pound that week.

In short, this was already a great app and the changes have made it better. There are some new Premium features for the app, like meal planning and integration with devices like the Withings scale and the FitBit. I don't have those devices and I am happy with the free version for now. I saw from the online forums (also part of the free site) that there are a lot of users who are really excited about the premium features, but so far I'm not ready to pay $39.99 a year for them.  If they ever offer a free or discounted preview, I might consider trying the upgrade. It's still less than Weight Watcher's eTools, and Lose It! has the advantage of letting users set their own weight and calorie goal numbers. I like this app because it puts me, and not some corporation, in the driver's seat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Detailed musings on workouts and foot pain

I haven't been doing my Daily Checklist posts, because they were getting a little boring. I did make a special effort to do the meditation today since I had been skipping it for no good reason except that I didn't make it a priority.

I have been having some trouble with my foot again -- I think it is a nerve issue, because rubbing my foot helps (or weirdly, my butt on that side, discovered that during a chair massage). The problem is my toes going numb and hurting, and I'm wondering if it might be some form of sciatica.  Getting older sucks.  Because of that I skipped a workout Monday to try to keep my feet pain-free while I shopped -- it didn't work.  I did get a short walk in later that evening, after my foot had calmed down.

Tuesday I did another swim workout. My coach sends out two workouts a week that we can do on our own. I chose the one that looked more fun and modified it (and not the one with the 150 yard Dolphin Kick segment, yuck).  For Vickie and her husband and any interested parties, here is what I ended up doing:

  • 400 free, every 4th lap fist swim
  • 10 x 50: half of each 25 underwater, the other half breaststroke
  • Kick: 3x100: 50 choice, 25 plow/25 fast (I wasn't sure what plow was but I guessed it was pushing down on the back of the kickboard to make it harder to push through the water, and that's what the videos I found seem to suggest. Take 15 sec. after each
  • Pull 3x100, breathe every third stroke (It was supposed to be 3x300 but I didn't have that much time and I hate to pull).
  • Loco 1-3, 3-1, fast to easy. I didn't know what this meant but I found an explanation for next time. I just did one fast and three easy on the first set and then three fast to easy on the second set instead of doing the whole progression).
  • 100 easy stroke (I did breaststroke down and backstroke back).
  • 50 easy free
Today I did a walk/run workout.  It was 5 minutes walking warmup, 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, 10 minutes running, and 5 minutes walking to cooldown.  I'm using the Ease into 5K app. Oddly, my foot did not hurt while running or while shopping today. 

Tomorrow and Friday, I am going to get to Spin class very early and hope to get a seat. There is no signup this week or the next two, so I have to have a backup plan in case that doesn't work.  I hate that. This gym doesn't have an indoor pool, so I will probably do some strength work if I don't get a bike.

Saturday I have my Pilates Circuit class. Sunday I have to miss swim because I'm watching my nephew, and I'm going to try to get in some kind of workout Sunday morning if I can.  I don't want to schedule a class because we are going to dinner Saturday night with friends in Ann Arbor and I'm not sure when we will get back. 

I really want to go into Christmas week feeling strong, because I know it will be hard to stick to a schedule that week.

Monday, December 17, 2012

DDF Skincare Deals

DDF Skincare
I am always looking for new beauty products to try.  I have a huge assortment of samples and gift-with-purchase items, but I still keep searching for the one product that will solve all my skincare problems, including blemishes, sensitivity, and fine lines. I keep thinking I will find that miracle product that will make it all better, but so far, I haven't.
I have not tried DDF yet, but I plan to soon. It has been recommended to me by salespeople at both Ulta and Sephora as a great line.  The one thing keeping me away so far has been price.

As a BlogHerAds blogger, I sometimes get special offers to share with my readers, but I try to only share them if I would want to try them myself.  This time, I was offered several options, but chose to offer some DDF deals because it will give me the chance to try the products myself at the same discount. I plan to try some products from the Sensitive line because I have unpredictable reactions to products with fragrance or other irritating ingredients. I am finally getting over a bad reaction I had to something (I'm still not sure what) that left my skin inflamed and sore. I am also tempted to try the Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizing Serum, though, because of the high-tech, orange-swirled packaging (pictured second from left).

If you are looking for new products to try, DDF has an online skin consultation that will help you choose the products that fit your own unique skin type and create a customized regimen. I would recommend doing the assessment from a computer rather than a mobile phone or tablet, since it seemed to work better for me that way.  Right now, DDF is offering a special: Buy one product and get a second at half off with free shipping, so it's a great way to try multiple products from your customized line. (CODE: DDFSKIN)

 Also, if you don't already have a cleansing brush system, DDF's Revolve 400X Micro-Polisher and Deep Cleansing System is available for $45 with free shipping, more than half off the regular price. The kit includes: 1 Micro-Polisher, 2 Foam Microdermabrasion Exfoliators, 1 Deep Cleansing Brush, 2 oz. DDF Polishing Crystals, 2 AA Batteries. (CODE: DDFMICRODERMA) This would make a great gift for the beauty diva who has everything. It is much less expensive than comparable systems.

If you decide to try any of these products, please let me know in the comments below. Once I receive my products, I will be sure to write a review.

Weigh-in, December 17

I guess LoseIt is pretty accurate -- yesterday I said that I would expect to lose 1/2 pound this last week, given my numbers. And that's pretty much what I did: I am down 0.6 from last week's weigh-in.

Of course, I had hoped to lose more. I had a high-calorie day Saturday, and that one day may have set me back a bit. I think I need to stick closer to my calorie limits on regular days to make up for the days when things go a little off-track. Going out for Mexican food was a bad idea. The entrees are bad enough, but then there are the chips and the beer that go with them.

I can still make my goal of 183 or under by the end of the year but it would be a stretch, more than a pound a week. I have to be careful, with holiday parties galore coming up.

This wouldn't seem to disprove that I can lose weight with a higher calorie goal, only that I have to actually hit the calorie goal if I want to lose. I do feel like I know what to do to be successful, I just have to do it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16: Workouts, daily checklist, and weekly score

I had a good workout week this week.

Monday: 15 minutes running, 15 minutes walking
Tuesday: 60 minute swim on my own
Wednesday: 45 minutes Spinning
Thursday: 45 minutes Spinning
Friday: 45 minutes Pilates
Saturday: 30 minutes running and 30 minutes walking
Sunday: 30 minute walk, 60 minute hard swim with the masters' group

Since Vickie was curious about my swim workouts, here was today's. I was in a lane with one really fast person and two that were fairly close to my ability. I was faster than all of them on the kick, but I dragged through the pull set and struggled to keep up:

2 x through with 20 seconds rest in between:

  • 150 free, build
  • 4 x 75 (25 Tarzan, 25 fist, 25 build)
  • 100 stroke
4x through with 25 seconds rest in between::
  • 50 build kick
  • 2 x 25 fast kick
4x150 pull, breathing every 3rd stroke, descend

100 easy swim

(2200 yards)

Funny story: I asked my favorite Pilates instructor if she thought swimming could sort of count as strength training, since there is so much natural resistance in the water. She is a hardcore bodybuilder, so she would prefer that I was pumping iron 3-4 times a week, but she reluctantly said yes. "But it's not aerobic," she said. Actually, I think swimming is aerobic. Drowning is not aerobic, but if you are swimming more than a 25-yard sprint, you have to be breathing while you are doing it. I feel like swimming has increased my aerobic strength and my lung capacity.  I also do think it is a full-body strength workout, especially the hard swims like today's.

I usually do a breath every 3 strokes alternating sides, though when I'm tired I default to breathing every second stroke, always on the right. Another swimmer once told me that everyone has a "chocolate and a vanilla side" for breathing, and since I like chocolate and breathing on the right best, I guess that breathing on the left is my vanilla.

Today's daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes (see above)

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings -- Yes: tossed salad with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber; celery; roasted beets, sweet potato, onion, and peppers; large banana (2); 1/2 grapefruit. I may have another fruit if I get hungry later.
  • Log all food -- Yes.

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- Yes (although if I have that last fruit it might put me a pinch over, I'm at 1977 now).

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Yes.

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- Yes.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- Yes.

  • I thought I'd give my score for the checklist for this week. Out of a total of 7 daily points possible, and a weekly score of 49, I got 32:

    • Monday: 5 points
    • Tuesday: 5 points
    • Wednesday: 4 points
    • Thursday: 5 points
    • Friday: 3 points
    • Saturday: 3 points
    • Sunday: 7 points.
    Tonight I'm very tired so I will sleep well. Weigh-in tomorrow first thing, then Christmas shopping, which might just count as my activity for the day.

    According to LoseIt, I would expect to lose 1/2 a pound tomorrow.  I'm about 2000 calories over my goals to lose 1 pound a week. We will see what the scale says and how accurate that is.

A lazy Sunday post

According to my friend Laura, as long as my birthday balloon has not touched the floor, it is still my birthday. This thing is still going strong, so I think it will be my birthday until Christmas.

I have seen from my checklist that I can go strong with something new for a week or so and then I need to reenergize and keep pushing. I wish my motivation was a little more like that balloon.

I'm looking forward to wearing my new swimsuit for master's practice tonight. And I have a nice long break from work, which should give me more time to plan meals, cook, and exercise. And I can finally schedule the massage I bought that Groupon for. After all, I am the birthday girl, so I should take good care of myself.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! 30 minutes each running and walking.

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Short on both

  • Log all food -- All food logged.

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- No.

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Forgot until it was too late. I don't want them to interfere with my bedtime meds.

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- easily.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- nope.

I had a great day but not a great checklist day. Met a friend for a run and coffee, got our Christmas tree and put it up, saw "Lincoln," (skip if you are not a history buff), went out after for Mexican food.

Fun day but not a great weight-loss day. I did pay attention to hunger and fullness and seemed to feel satisfied more quickly than I expected when eating dinner.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! Pilates Reformer.

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Short on fruit: Avocado, salad, edamame, tomato, banana, tangerine. I was planning to have a pear as an evening snack but wasn't hungry for it.

  • Log all food -- All food logged.

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- No -- close but not quite. 2170. I seem to be ending up closer to 2200 each day.

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Forgot until it was too late. I don't want them to interfere with my bedtime meds.

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- easily.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- no. Amazing how hard this is to make myself do.

I'm blogging from under the covers. Watched the news and it put me off doing anything but going to bed.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! Spin class again.

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Short on fruit: Avocado, baby spinach, salad, cucumber, tomato, tangerine. I think overdoing the fruit caught up to me -- I couldn't face it today even though I normally love it.

  • Log all food -- All food logged.

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- No -- close but not quite. 2185.

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Yes!

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- easily.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- squeezed it in kind of late.

  • I sort of forgot about eating after lunch today until I got stuck on campus too late and grabbed some cake from the break room. I wish I had gone home earlier but I got stuck waiting for someone. The cake was just okay. The rest of the day was fairly clean.

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Let's talk about food

Vickie's comment on my post the other day got me thinking.  Looking at other people's food blogs often makes me feel a little insecure about my own food -- they don't seem to eat much, especially compared to me. But I do tend to bulk up my food with veggies.
The breakfast pictured is a good example. I threw about 1 1/2 cups of baby spinach in my frying pan before adding one egg scrambled with a little milk and some fresh thyme. I had something very similar for lunch the past two days -- it's one of my favorites.

It's a little uncomfortable to talk about food because most people seem to have different ideas than I do about what is appropriate. I have been purposely vague about my calorie goals here because I have gotten nasty comments in the past about what I eat and how much, and I really don't want to start that up again. But I'm going to anyway, in case there is anyone out there who feels like I do.

I have never really been a big dieter, believe it or not, given all the emphasis I might seem to put here on weight loss. I have a strong self-protective streak, I guess, because I never tried anything crazy like Slimfast or starvation diets. When I have tried stuff like that I last for maybe a day, or even half a day. The longest I probably lasted on a restrictive diet was when I tried the Live Below the Line challenge and ended up giving up in the middle of the third day because I felt weak and headachy.

I did fine the first time I was on Weight Watchers, back when the program was less restrictive than it is now, but I was always over my points even when I was losing.  And then, when I got my body fat and metabolism tested at goal weight, the techs said that my body fat was still fairly high, and suggested it was because I was on Weight Watchers and running and not getting enough calories to maintain my muscle mass. At the time I was angry with them, but I think that's the reason I had such a hard time maintaining and have struggled so much with my weight since then.

The plan I am using now is the Fat2Fit philosophy (I really miss those guys -- I am afraid that Jeff might be ill again).  The screenshot to the right is the results when I plug my stats into their iPhone app.  I am shooting for 1800-2000 calories per day, even though my activity level is closer to the moderately active level.  Even LoseIt suggests that my calorie goal should be 1684 calories plus whatever I earn through exercise if I want to lose 1 pound per week (yesterday I was under my LoseIt calories but over my personal goal).  I would prefer to stick with a more consistent number of calories which is why I set my goals the way I did.

I know from experience that I will lose if I stick to this plan. It may not be the conventional approach. I know that most people think 1200-1600 calories (or less) is the way to go, but I know for me, if I undereat, eventually I give up. I would rather have a more moderate plan that I can really do than something that gets quick results but an equally quick weight regain.

December 12, daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! Spin class, my favorite

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Yes! Avocado, baby spinach, celery, salad, cucumber, tomato, apple, 1/2 grapefruit, tangerine,

  • Log all food within 10 minutes of eating it -- All food logged. That 10 minute rule is too restrictive.

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- No -- close but not quite.

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Yes!

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- I was one short.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- No, put it off and never did it.

Didn't eat much during the day but had a big dinner, including half the salad pictured (dipped my fork in the dressing), a slice of pizza, and some fries. I usually do better if I eat more early in the day so I don't have a 1,000 calorie dinner. I was about 300 calories over goal for the day.
Was short on water since I'm not counting seltzer. That is the drink pictured.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11, Daily checklist

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! Did an hour swim workout

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Yes! Avocado, salad, carrot, celery, lettuce, tomato, banana, grapes, tangerine, clementines, pineapple -- maybe went a bit overboard on the fruit!

  • Log all food within 10 minutes of eating it -- All food logged but delay was longer than 10 minutes for some meals

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- If I cut two of those extra fruit servings (or dessert at the World's Saddest Christmas Potluck), I would have.

  • Take my supplements -- Yes!

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- I will need one more glass before bed unless I miscounted.

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- Yes!

I should have skipped the work potluck but usually it's sort of mandatory. This year it was pretty lame. The food (other than the homemade desserts) was not that special and it was sparsely attended. I would have been happier if I had picked up sushi to eat at my desk so I could finish my work faster.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily checkist, December 10

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity -- Yes! Did C25K workout

  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings Yes! Avocado, baby spinach, carrot, onion, fennel, apple, banana, clementines,

  • Log all food within 10 minutes of eating it -- All food logged but delay was longer than 10 minutes for some meals

  • Stay within my calorie goals -- No.

  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)-- Yes!

  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water  -- Yes!

  • Meditate for 5 minutes -- Yes!

I had a good food day but had a fancy French tasting dinner with wine and went about 600 calories over. The portions were tiny but the food was rich.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Weigh-in, December 10: Never fear

Obviously, I did not reach my original goal of being out of the 180s by my birthday. I am, though, feeling confident that I can lose a few pounds by the end of the year and start 2013 off feeling good.

I am going to use my checklist, focus on cleaning up my meals, and get in a few extra workouts while I am on my semester break. I keep thinking about doing something more drastic, but I know would be only a short-term solution. Anything I can't sustain long-term isn't worth doing now. So sorry, no Paleo Challenge, but I do think it's a good idea to focus on Less Processsed like Roni, since I know that is something that will help.

December is a tough month for weight losers because there is food everywhere. Since the average person gains about a pound over the holidays, a goal to lose 1 pound per week (that would put me at 182.8 and out of the "obese" category) is swimming upstream, but I think it's doable. I may be making too much of that label but I don't want it in my life. I don't like the way it makes other people see me, and most of all, I don't like the way it makes me see me.  I want to feel strong and confident and fit.

I have posted a few times about how I hate the way other people seem to think of me as a beginner just because of the way I look, not realizing all of the history I have. I have a lot of fitness experience, a lot of knowledge, and just because my body is not reflecting this at this moment in time, I don't want to be treated like someone who has just stepped off the turnip truck and into the gym for the first time. Here's a well-meaning example: the writer thought that because she saw someone overweight in a workout class, that it was her responsibility to keep her from quitting with a kind remark. I think that her intentions were good, but that she probably triggered the same internal response I'd have to a remark like that, "I must look really awful if this stranger feels the need to comment." I would never verbally react in the same way, but I'd be annoyed too. The poster's defense that she cheers on all new people rings false to me. How does she know someone is new unless they stand out? This woman stood out to her because of her weight, not because she was new..  What would I want? To be treated just like any other person in the class.  Smile, say hi, but don't make a big deal out of it. No one wants to stand out when they are struggling. They want to feel like they look like they belong.

Speaking of looking like I belong, I ordered some new swimsuits and I'm hoping to have at least one that I like. The rest go back to Dick's Sporting Goods. I'm done ordering from places that don't have a way to do free returns. I stayed away from "aqua fitness suits" because I want a competition suit, one that looks like I'm serious about swimming, because I am.

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Birthday celebration and daily checklist

Today is my birthday, and I'm over my calorie allowance and my main activity was playing with my nephews.  Still, I have found the daily checklist to be a good reminder of habits that help keep me on track.

Yesterday we went to Ann Arbor to celebrate with friends. I did my meditation before I left, using a free guided meditation I found on iTunesU. It has been a long time since I had a meditation practice, so I thought having the guidance would be helpful. I found this pretty calming. One problem for me with meditation is that my cat cries if I don't have her on my lap, and if I do have her up there she won't sit still.  I guess it's more practice in dealing with distractions.

On the way there I realized I did not have my supplements with me, so I stopped at Whole Foods and picked some up to keep in my car.  I am not sure if supplements are helpful for weight loss, but Dr. Ornish says that the evidence is there for fish oil and heart disease prevention, and I know that Weight Watchers always recommended a multivitamin. The flaxseed oil is for my skin.

I had a piece of fruit before we left, and I knew I would need to have 2 servings of veggies at dinner. It helped to keep that in mind when ordering.  It was a celebration meal, so not light on calories, but I wasn't too far over my goal.  It felt good to have a meal out with friends and not feel like I had gone overboard.

I'm expecting that the daily checklist will work even better on a regular day when I have no cake and ice cream to deal with. I gave myself a bit of a pass today, but it was a wonderful day, and I'm feeling optimistic about life, the universe, and everything.  I re-took the Real Age test and I'm supposedly only 35.5 on the inside, even if my driver's license says I'm 42.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Daily checklist

I was reading Shauna and Julia's HAM Plan blog posts and was really impressed with the idea. Each of them has set three goals to meet every day during December. I realized that one thing that has been missing from my repertoire is an idea of what success looks like on a daily basis for me. If I don't have any markers of how well I'm doing besides the scale, obviously that can be discouraging.

And then I remembered that the one thing that really worked for me, consistently, when I was doing Weight Watchers was to focus on their Healthy Habits/Good Health Guidelines or whatever they were called at the time.  When I worked them consistently, the program worked for me. I think the main reason was that if I ate my fruits and veggies, drank my water, and all that, I didn't have the points to munch on junk food.

So here's my daily checklist:

  • Get 20 minutes or more of exercise or intentional activity
  • Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables and 3 fruit servings
  • Log all food within 10 minutes of eating it 
  • Stay within my calorie goals
  • Take my supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, flaxseed oil)
  • Drink at least 6 16-ounce glasses of water 
  • Meditate for 5 minutes
That last one is a new thing for me but I was just listening to part of The Willpower Instinct again, and Dr. McGonigal says that meditation is like willpower training.  I'm going to try it out and see if it helps. I did it today and I can tell you that a few minutes of meditating feels like an hour and a half.

So far today, I am right on target with the other goals. I didn't make the Spin class so I went for a run instead.  It is still pretty warm for December so I might as well get outside while I can.  I just finished a carrot and an apple because I realized I was a little short on my produce.  All my food is logged and I'm under my calorie goal. I will need to have one more glass of water before bed.

The nice thing is, I can track all of this with LoseIt.  I created a 0-calorie food called Supplements, and an exercise that burns 0 calories called Meditation.  I just have to go through and count veggies, and remember to log my water, which is also 0 calories.  I can go through and count veggies and fruit in the log. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Life happens

Yesterday, I didn't get to go to Spin because I forgot that I had a hair appointment in the morning. No big deal, I thought, because I was planning to go Thursday too. Then yesterday afternoon, my sister asked if I could watch her son while she took her husband in for minor surgery. Of course I could.

So it's been two days and no workout, unless you count hoisting a 20-pound kid and carrying him around while I tried to do things one-handed.  Friday's Spin class is often full, so I'm going to plan to get there half an hour early and hope for the best. If not, I will use a run/walk workout as a backup plan.

I'm hoping to get my grades turned in tomorrow, and my syllabus done next week. Then I have almost a month off for the holidays. During that time, I need to remember that Christmas is 24 hours (Christmas Eve is kind of a big deal in our family) and not a whole month.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Weigh-in, December 3: Back where we started

Not exactly, but close.  I'm up about 1/2 a pound after two months of trying to lose weight. Frustrating.

My goal for December is simple. If I get down to 183 pounds, I would be at the top of the "overweight" BMI category instead of the bottom of the "obese" category.  That's 3.2 pounds. Get out of this lousy category and stay out, that's all I want right now.

My bigger goal is to feel strong, capable, and proud, like I did last night when I was swimming.  I don't want to feel weak and ashamed anymore.

All I have to do is log my food, be reasonable about food and exercise, and get into a better headspace. I don't need to do anything drastic. I flirted, for a while, with rejoining Weight Watchers in time to see what this "new plan" is all about, but it looks like just a few tweaks to the same old plan that I couldn't stick with, so I am not going to bother.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Workouts, November 26-December 2

As you might remember from earlier posts, I was sick this week. Actually, every member of my immediate family was sick. I count myself lucky that I only had three days of it, since most people had it worse. The first day I felt it coming on, I happened to go grocery shopping at the co-op and they gave me a sample of carrot juice and one of kombucha. Maybe that saved me?

Monday: Yoga with Rodney Yee, 20 minutes
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Off. Did some stuff around the house and some walking.
Saturday: Pilates Circuit
Sunday: Master's Swim practice, 1 hour

I felt very strong during my swim workout today. I was in a lane with three other people, once seriously fast dude and a husband-and-wife triathlete couple. I swam after the triathlete husband, and even though I gave him a serious lead, I kept creeping up on him. He is thin and fit so he fooled me into thinking he'd be faster than me.  After the workout I remembered doing kick drills next to the same couple and the wife looked at me and said, "how are you so fast?" I think what helped most is the work I've done on my flip turns. Hubby was not so good at turns and that was where I caught up to him. I'm not trying to gloat, but it felt good for a change not to be the slowpoke.  I would like to feel this strong and confident all the time.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be in the 60s here. Crazy. I'm going to get out for a run to take advantage of it.

Planned workouts for next week:

Monday: Run/walk
Tuesday: Solo swim workout, maybe work a little on butterfly because I never really learned it
Wednesday: Spin
Thursday: Spin
Friday: Run/walk
Saturday: Pilates Circuit
Sunday: Master's swim

I have some time off coming up in the semester break. I have all kinds of big plans: Clean my office, do some research, prep for next semester. I also want to make workouts and meals a priority so I finish the year strong.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Happy December 1: Updates

I went to my Pilates Circuit class. I seem to have shaken the bug I was getting, or maybe my allergies were just acting up. It felt good to be back in it.

I wanted a new suit for swim practice, and you would not believe how hard it is to find one with decent coverage in the back. I don't want my back fat showing. I got two I had ordered and am sending them back because they are too naked, even though they looked fine in the pictures. I found that Dick's allows you to filter on the amount of coverage in the back -- more sites should offer this.

I have been doing better with tracking. I don't do well if I don't get the meal logged right after I eat, so that needs to be a priority.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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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