Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014. 

I hope you will consider accepting the love and joy that is already in your life, and use that as the base from which to build anything else you hope to create. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 30, 2013

One resolution

In the past, I have toyed with Daily Checklists and lots of different habits I wanted to develop to make my life better.  I admire Gretchen Rubin and her huge resolutions checklist. I know from experience, though, that making things too complicated doesn't work for me.

I already posted my goals for the new year, but I am only going to make one resolution: To track my food and exercise every day this year. If I miss a meal, I will go back and reconstruct it the best I can from memory -- no excuses.

I think this is the one keystone habit that has made the difference between good behavior and not-so-good behavior over the years. There is plenty of evidence that people who track their food lose more weight. Keeping track will nudge me to make better choices so I have nicer food logs.

Sure, there are other behavior changes I will try to make, but this is the one I'm going to make sure to do every day.

What are your new year's resolutions?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

On not falling in love

I recently put some money into repairing my car and was thinking about getting a new one. My Honda Accord is going on 15 years old and has been very reliable, but it is starting to get old. I thought it would be a good idea to look for a new car before it had another major repair.

I test-drove a Civic, same trim line as mine. They have made the Civics larger and it's about the same size as my car.  It felt almost exactly like driving my car, but instead of having a $0 payment, I'd have about a $400 payment.

I had been nervous about going into a dealership because I thought I'd get talked into buying something, but I was able to leave with no problems -- I wasn't in love, there was no urgency to make a decision, and since my car has very little trade-in value, it seems smarter to keep driving it. If I was looking at a lower payment or a more exciting car, maybe I would feel more of a push to do something.

I haven't been feeling great about work lately -- I haven't felt supported or valued. That's just the way it has been going in higher education lately, everywhere, not just at my workplace. Maybe that's why I'm reluctant to commit to a new monthly expense?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Running naked


At my Spin class yesterday, everyone was asking who got a "running watch" for Christmas. I got a Timex Ironman, but I didn't pipe up, because they were talking about the high-tech wrist computers that calculate your running distance, pace, and, according to one guy in the class, some even calculate how much time you spent in the air while running and how long your feet were on the ground.

It's not that I'm against gadgets -- I love them. I have my JawboneUP back and I'm loving being able to know how active I am. Yesterday during a shopping trip, I logged more than 5,000 steps.

It's just that these kinds of things can become a distraction or a cruel master.  I ran with my friend one day when she wore her Garmin, and she almost killed me because she wanted to run a 10-minute-mile pace or less for the entire run. This was supposed to be an easy weekend workout, and my days when 10-minute miles are easy, especially on trails, are in the past.

I used to wear a heart-rate monitor when I ran, and even that bothered me, because I spent my run looking at it instead of focusing on my run. Now I prefer to just set an amount of time for my run, and ignore all of the other data. I understand that it can be really useful for someone trying to boost their speed to have all of this information, but it tends to make me neurotic. I like going old-school. 

I have been using my Ease Into 5K app for my runs, which tells me through my headphones when to walk and when to run. If I wanted to know how long I had been running in the middle of a run, I had to pull my iPhone out of my pocket, so I usually just focused on the music and relaxed.

Having a watch is nice for my other workouts, and this one can be worn in the pool so I can time a swim workout.  

By the way: The thing underneath my watch in the picture above is my RoadID (I purposely took it so that my identification tag is not pictured).  I strongly recommend something like this for anyone who works out alone, even though I can't get my husband to wear his. I keep mine in my car with my headphones so I remember to wear it.  A friend of mine was hit by a car when she was out biking and was a Jane Doe for more than a day while she was unconscious. My triathlon club also requires that we wear something like this during our swims in case there is an emergency.  The RoadID would also be good for anyone with medical issues like diabetes or seizures. This is not an affiliate link, just a Public Service Announcement. Running (or biking, or swimming) without ID really is Running Naked.

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and that you will have a healthy and happy new year. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?"

John Lennon - So This is Christmas from HarvestLights on Vimeo.

I have decided to shoot just for maintaining for the rest of this year, and to get more serious about weight loss once the new year starts. I will have a few weeks before school starts to work on getting into a healthy routine. But this is the time for taking stock and setting new goals.

I didn't lose a lot of weight. But thanks to swimming and my kick-ass Pilates Circuit class, I did increase my strength and muscle tone, to the point that I am not hesitant to go sleeveless anymore.

For the new year, I am going to focus more on food quality while continuing to count calories. I am going to print the Weight Watchers Power Foods list and use it as a shopping list (subbing in low fat dairy for the fat-free). I am going to stick with calorie counting but try to use more Power Foods. I was tempted for about 10 minutes to try Weight Watchers again after listening to Margo's review of the SimpleStart program, but realistically, I haven't done well with Weight Watchers (except the first time, when I lost 20 pounds in 16 weeks). Calorie counting and incorporating more good food seems smarter.

I wasn't able to do an Olympic-distance triathlon. My knee problems interfered with that goal, and   I did very few races this year, and none of them with time goals. But I was able to go swim with Team Toledo all season, and after the first few times, got over my self-consciousness about being in a bathing suit around a bunch of sleek endurance athletes.  And after changing my primary goal from racing to staying injury-free, I am going to continue to focus on the long-term.

For the new year, I am going to keep the focus on avoiding injury and getting stronger. I will try to do some racing, but my knee is still the boss.

I didn't get down to some magical size, but I do feel a lot better in clothes and more confident in general. I recently listened to
by GMA correspondent Tory Johnson, and even after she went from a size 16 to a size 6, she still didn't seem to like her body.  I had the same experience the last time I was at my goal. I think the confidence has to come first. I have been amazed at the difference that having well-fitting, fashionable, and fun clothes has made for me. Thanks, Gwynnie Bee! (affiliate link) Also, I have been watching "What Not to Wear" and incorporating The Rules into the clothes I buy for myself, and taking the time to do my makeup most days, which was something I used to think I was "too busy" to do.

Though I still have weight loss goals, this newfound feeling of being comfortable in my skin most of the time is something that is even more important. I still have bad days, of course, but often they're more about my general mood than about my body. This year, I want to put the focus on taking good care of myself, even when I'm busy with classes and work. I want to move forward from a stable center, and not whip myself into shape from a place of desperation to change.

So, no huge ambitious goals or resolutions. There's no reason to think that 2014 is a magical year when everything that used to be difficult suddenly becomes easy.  I'm grateful for what I already have and confident that I can continue to take small, positive steps.

What are your accomplishments for 2013 and your goals for 2014?

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 10: When I'm wrong, I'm really wrong

Sorry for the delay in my post. Our local NBC affiliate is trying to squeeze our small cable company for more money, and I was unexpectedly left without the ability to watch The Biggest Loser. In addition to my regular cable, I now have old-school cable:

Yes, those are rabbit ears in the background. Now you can see our glamorous TV setup, which is our old coffee table stacked with videos. I had to watch Tuesdays episode online, which was an annoying experience. NBC inserts commercials for Botox at random intervals every five seconds.

The next episode isn't until January 7, so I'm hoping that WNWO and Buckeye can kiss and make up before then. If not, I have my antenna, provided free by Buckeye.

Remember last week when I said that I bet that one of the big boys would win?  It became obvious how much Matt and Hap were leaning on their teammates this week, as the whole show went to singles.  Because there are still so many contestants on the show, they seemed to have trouble finding enough different colors for all the players. And now they are going to bring everyone back again? I am really calling BS on the whole "caffeine scandal," because it seems obvious that the producers will do whatever they can to get mileage out of the celebrity contestants that they paid good money to get. There are so many people already on the show that it seems ridiculous to bring more back. We haven't been told what the contestants will do to win their place back, but it would not surprise me if it was a sing-off followed by a power weightlifting competition.

It's annoying when there are so many people who are working hard to keep their spots. It is no surprise to me that Rachel was given the green t-shirt, as she is a tough girl in true Tara Costa style. She won this week's challenge, yet another variation of the hold-a-heavy-thing-until-everyone-else-gives-up variety, beating out the big boys in a preview of the weigh-in.  There is a Biggest Loser Triathlon in the works, which will give a spot in the final weigh-in to the winner. This has to be great news to Rachel, a former champion swimmer and enthusiastic runner. I can't imagine that she won't win this.  We saw from the little Subway integration "race" that swimming skills are in short supply on the ranch, and even though the swim is usually the shortest leg of the triathlon, a truly terrible swimmer would lose a lot of energy just struggling through it.  The only place where anyone might catch Rachel is the bike. To be honest, the biggest competition for Rachel is probably Marie, another quiet contestant who just gets her work done.

The trainers switched up the contestants they worked with, and Bob has to be furious at Dolvett, since every one of the players who worked with him seemed to have a bad week.  They all ended up in the bottom spots.

Jillian had another "moment" with David, who admits that he felt resentful at times of the burden of being left with two young girls to raise after his wife's death. We don't know what dreams he might have had to give up to take care of his family all by himself, but it would have been hard for a young man in his twenties to do all of that on his own.  There are a lot of single mothers who do the same, but I bet they feel resentful sometimes, too, as hard as it would be to admit it.

Another "moment" on the show was Bobby's "Where Are they Now" video, where he came out as gay to his father.  I knew that was coming. I have to be honest, I felt bad for his father for having to be told in front of a camera for national television. Either his father already knew, or this was all staged, because there wasn't any surprise on his face.  Bobby looks great and I'm happy that he is now able to be honest about who he is.

This week also saw two more contestants getting into "Onederland," as Jay and Jennifer both dropped 5 pounds to break through the 200-pound barrier.  It's getting into that weird part of the show where the contestants are starting to look a lot thinner -- though the girdles they are wearing for the weigh-ins are super-obvious this year, it is still amazing to see what can happen in just 10 weeks.

Keep commenting about the show, I'd love to hear what you think, especially since I watched it in a distracted, "Why is my AppleTV dropping the connection AGAIN?" state.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fitbloggin'14: I'm presentin'

Sorry for the crummy screen capture -- no badges are available yet

I just got word from Roni that my idea for a Fitbloggin' 14 session has been accepted. Woot!

I will be hosting a "Triathlon Chat" session, for newbies, wanna-bes, and experienced triathletes to share ideas, have their questions answered, and generally network. I did my first tri in 2001, so even though I'm no pro, I think I have some insights, especially on what it's like to do a triathlon in a curvier body.  I think it will be fun and I hope that some of the other experienced racers will join us to share their experiences. 

Who else is going to Savannah in 2014? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What I did this week

I am missing my Jawbone UP -- the replacement should be here Thursday if it wasn't delayed by the big snows. So hopefully I will be back to step-counting next week.

Monday: Yoga class, 45 minutes.  This was my birthday and I played hooky all day. I went to fancy-schmancy French dinner, which was nice. Small portions of wonderful food, which felt like exactly enough. 4 half glasses of different wines over 2-3 hours.

Tuesday: 20-minute walk.

Wednesday: 20 minute run with 5 minutes warmup and 5 minutes cool down walk.  It was hard footing in the snow. Shoveled the sidewalk by myself, probably 30 minutes.

Thursday: Spin class, 45 minutes.

Friday: No time for a workout, took a day off.

Saturday: Snowed in all day. Didn't sign up for my Pilates Circuit class because of the predicted snow. Shoveled sidewalk and driveway for half an hour with my husband and went for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood.

Sunday: Shoveled sidewalk and driveway with my husband and dug out my car. He did a lot of the shoveling while I uncovered the car, so I'm only counting it as 20 minutes of shoveling. Did my Master's Swim group tonight, one hour of hard swimming. We did this thing called a Loco, which might stand for locomotive or might stand for crazy: 25m hard, 25m easy, 50m hard, 50m easy, 75m hard, 75m easy. I'm just glad there wasn't a 100m set in there! I snuck in a rest between the 25s, the 50s, and the 75s but we weren't supposed to. Then we did 4 25m sprints on 40 seconds.  This was at the end of the workout, which had some other hard stuff in it: Tarzans, fist drills, some fast kick sets.  If you aren't a swimmer, I realize this is all Greek to you, but I know some readers do like the swim details. I am still tired  and I got out of the pool almost 2 hours ago.

I am really starting to see muscle definition in my arms from swimming, Pilates Circuit, and maybe the yoga. The shoveling was a nice bonus workout. I really felt it in my abs.  They are starting to feel very firm, and even with the padding, I can see the line down the middle of my abs when I look in the mirror. I guess what I am saying is that even though I haven't lost a lot of weight this year, I can see some progress in body composition.

For next year, I'm going to follow Yoni Freedhoff's advice and make this my resolution. I just pre-ordered his book to review.

The view from my window

What I plan to do about it

So I'm not making very speedy progress toward my goals. The image above is an improvement over a -- at least it projects that I will hit my goal sometime this century.

I have not been taking the time to shop or plan for healthy meals. My fruit and vegetable intake is way down. Veggies take time to shop for, to prep, and to eat. If I'm grabbing something quick on the way to work, that's not what I'm going to choose. I am going to change that with a shopping trip today. The dinners for this week are already planned.  

Work has been very stressful and crazy lately, and I know that both emotional eating and grab-and-go eating have played a part in my lack of momentum.  I will have about a month before I have to start teaching again (two nights a week, four hours at a time). I want to take advantage of that time (even though the holidays are in there) to start making some progress again.

I am going to bring back a version of the Daily Checklist, but I think I'm going to try an app to track it on my iPhone.  I need to make it easier to do the right things.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jawbone UPdate

I forgot to mention that my Jawbone UP, which was malfunctioning, is being replaced by the company itself instead of by the eBay seller who sold them to us. We had tried a couple of returns with the seller but the ones he exchanged for the broken one didn't seem to work any better.

When mine wouldn't hold a charge, I tweeted about it in despair, and the UP gods responded.  I had not thought I could get an exchange because I bought them from an eBay reseller.

I look forward to counting steps again.  I really miss the sleep data, too!

A few of my favorite beauty finds from 2013

I'm snowed in today -- we are expected to get between 6 and 12 inches of fluffy snow today, and when we shoveled, it looked like we had already gotten about 4. I expect we will have to shovel a second time.

I decided to write a post about some things I'm enjoying now. Some of the links below are affiliate links and are marked. Mostly I just wanted to share some fun finds.

1. Gwynnie Bee clothing subscription service (affiliate link)

 I still feel like this is such a great deal. I have the three-at-a-time plan, so I always seem to have something new on its way to me. This is definitely my favorite find of the year. I have never taken so many in my life.

2. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 ()

This summer I was wearing this in St. Moritz, but when I went back to Sephora this winter, the sales associate said Groenland would be a better match (not available on Amazon, here it is on Sephora).  This feels so light but has a little more pigment than some other tinted moisturizers, so it covers blemishes. There is a nice range of shades too.  It has a little bit of a dewy finish, which is nice this time of year when my skin tends to be dry. In the summer, when my skin gets oilier, I like Urban Decay's NAKED Skin Makeup, but this time of year it tends to look chalky on me.

3. Urban Decay's NAKED Basics palette (at Sephora and Ulta)

The problem with most of those eyeshadow mega-palettes is that they are too big to fit in my makeup kit.  This one from Urban Decay has matte, wearable shades. Here's a nice review with swatches. I don't really wear a lot of color on my eyes so I get a lot of mileage out of this.

4. Oral-B Deep Sweep Electric Toothbrush ()

Sometimes I miss the simplicity (and quiet) of my old manual toothbrush, but I got rave reviews from the hygienist at my last dental visit since switching to this one.  She said, "whatever you are doing, keep doing it." What I have been using is brushing with this every day.  Now that I have figured out how it works, I am getting great results and I'm no longer making a mess with it. I would have never bought an electric toothbrush for myself, so I'm very happy that I won this one from the Prime Beauty Blog earlier this year.

5. Bliss Spa The Youth as We Know It starter kit ()

I found this on sale at T.J. Maxx for $25 and decided to give it a try.  My skin had begun to act up because of the cold. I have the weird issue that my skin can be be sensitive, dry, or acne-prone depending on the weather. This is a little bit moisturizing without being too heavy, and it has helped to calm things down a bit. I don't know if it's making me look younger, but it has kept my skin very soft.

By the way, I am still using my  regularly, and my review of it from 2012 is by far the most popular link on my blog. I have had even better results since I switched to a .

Have you found anything fun that you'd like to share? Let me know.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 9: Diner and Dash

The White Team has had a run of bad luck this season -- they are the smallest team and they seem to lose every weigh-in.  This week, Jillian goes ballistic when she finds that instead of working out with her all week, her three contestants are stuck working in a diner because they missed a few arbitrary "obesity trivia" questions. She adapts by giving the contestants shorter, more intense workouts. The White Team has a little fun with the other contestants by leaving "treats" from the diner in the kitchen and in some of the contestants' rooms. I swear that Hap really sounded like the Cookie Monster when he talked about how much he loved cookies.

It isn't clear to me whether this was a real, actual diner that normally operates when not staffed by reality show contestants, or the set from "Saved by the Bell" retooled to look like an actual diner with a clientele of extras working for free food.  My suspicion is it might be the second one.

This whole scenario is intended to simulate a real-life situation where someone has to work all day and still wants to try to lose weight. The difference is that in real life, most people can't come home and spend their remaining time working out or sleeping.  In real life, most people have family and other social demands.

Out of curiosity, I looked through the contestant bios and a few of them do work in the food industry. Jay is now a retail manager for a food company, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had worked in restaurants -- he seemed to be the most competent of the three team members and the one that the fake-looking manager (he reminded me of the car wash owner from "Breaking Bad") relied on the most.

I also noticed when cruising the contestant bios how many of them used to be fairly serious athletes. Several of the big guys used to be football players. Rachel was a swimmer and Chelsea used to do softball and cheerleading. I think this is one of the ways that TBL "cheats" to get high-weight contestants who can also stand up to the demands of the grueling workouts -- they take people who are fairly tall and muscular who are also overweight.  I have heard they also look at old pictures to make sure the contestants will be relatively attractive once they lose the weight.

Am I the only one who is really uncomfortable with all the focus on Jennifer's daughter? Dolvett Skypes Jennifer's family and offers to train this one daughter. If the desire is really to help this girl develop healthier habits, why not train the whole family instead of singling this one girl out? Would she really have been able to turn this "opportunity" down? The kids from last season seem to have done well, but they auditioned to be on the show.

There was a brief scene with Tanya where she seemed to get on a monologue about how great Dolvett was. I wonder how much of that kind of stuff ends up on the cutting-room floor. The other contestants seem relatively introverted, so maybe Tanya was brought in to make sure that at least someone would have something to say. This is not the most dynamic group of contestants, even though they all seem likable enough. They mostly seem to just get their work done, which makes me like them more but doesn't create much drama. Having the trainers involved in casting seems to have kept out the mean girls and the bossy alpha males.

Next week the teams are gone and we are down to singles. This is usually the point where people who have been coasting get dropped from the show.  This time around, though, there don't seem to be any real slackers.

There isn't really anyone with the personality of Danni or Tara, but I like Tumi, Rachel, and Marie -- they all seem to be hardworking and smart. I bet this season there will be a male winner, though. The deck is stacked with huge guys like Hap and Matt.  Who are you rooting for?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What I did for my birthday

My birthday was yesterday, but I also did a little celebrating over the weekend, which is perfectly valid, I think, for a birthday that falls on a Monday. I'm now 43, in case you were wondering.

Friday morning I went for a run. Unfortunately, my Jawbone UP band decided to stop working, so I won't have a step count until I decide on a replacement. That night, my husband and I went to see "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," and then went to an Asian tapas restaurant near the theater. I loved being able to order small dishes to share instead of a big entree.  I had a Groupon for this place and thought it was really fun.  We will definitely be back.

Saturday I went to my Pilates Circuit class and we celebrated with another couple who lives in Ann Arbor. We had originally planned to see the movie with them, but the husband is a doctor and was on call. We just hung out at their place, played cards, and had pizza and birthday cake #1. It was fun to spend time with them and play at being college kids again.

Sunday I went to my parents' and had a birthday lunch with my family and birthday cake #2. I said no to taking home the leftover birthday cake. I went to my swim practice, where we had an informal competition.  In case you are at all curious, my times were:

50 Free: 44.53
50 Back: 59.45
100 Free: 1:42.60
50 Breast: 1:00.19
200 Free: 3:56.00

I am not familiar enough with swim times to know what they mean, but I had fun and I never finished in last in my heat.  I started off the blocks for everything but the backstroke and the 200 -- we started those in the water. For the 200, I swam in a lane with a guy who I always thought was a better swimmer than me.  I was neck-and-neck with him until about 3/4 of the way through, where I lost sight of him. I figured he had gotten ahead of me and I was feeling a little discouraged, but I finished hard anyway. Turns out he was behind me by about 10 seconds. That was a good lesson in not giving up...

Yesterday, my actual birthday, I decided to take as a fun day for me. I am mostly caught up on my work, so I checked in on my email every few hours just to make sure no one needed anything and stayed away from the office.  I started the day with a yoga class. I had an astrology reading with a local celebrity astrologer that was really great. I got my finger- and toenails painted Danke-Shiny Red. That evening was the Alliance Française's Christmas Party. Jesse didn't want to go so I went solo and wore this gorgeous dress from Gwynnie Bee (affiliate link). I didn't have anyone at home to take a picture when I got ready, but I loved it on.  The dinner was in courses, with wine pairings. The wine "glasses" were about 2 ounces each, and the portions of the courses were small. I found that a meal was much more filling when eaten like this, especially with great company. No wonder French women (supposedly) don't get fat. There was a small (2" square) cake with a teaspoon-sized scoop of sorbet for dessert, so that was birthday cake #3.

Update: For Debbi

Today is back to my normal routine.  I am going to Spin class before going in to the office early to make up for my lazy day yesterday.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a great day today.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Taking a new direction

Some lessons just keep circling around for me.  I have been thinking a lot about worthiness lately, and went searching for information on "Brene Brown hustling for worthiness" on the Google. I found . Obviously, I'm still thinking about this.

With all the injuries I have been having, I realized that I have been treating my body not as a performance machine, but as an old beater car that I'm trying to get some more use out of before it finally falls apart.  As I get older (tomorrow is my 43rd birthday), I am going to need to change this attitude for good.  I want to find joy in movement and push my limits, but without crossing the line into self-punishment. It has been hard for me that my husband is an endurance athlete who has less injury problems than I have and has been more successful at losing weight, but I don't want to make him feel guilty about being healthy and fit. I just need to stop with the comparisons.

At Fitbloggin' this summer, Margo said that she always liked her body, even when she was heavier. The thought snuck in at the time, "How much easier would it be to pursue my goals if I didn't have all this junk in the way?" Her recent interview with Heather on Half Size Me was really great and helped bring this issue even more to the forefront.

Finally, this podcast by Renee Stephens (warning, all her tangents and fake "Oops, we're out of time" will drive you batty, but it does have good insights sometimes) helped me put it into words. People who are trying to prove their worthiness are prone to all sorts of annoying and self-destructive behaviors.

What if I accepted the love that is already all around me and internalized it? What if I stopped trying to be good enough and just decided to be myself?

I'm not giving up on weight loss but as I have said all along, I want to pursue it in a way that makes me happy, not miserable. One of the things that has been making me less happy is my public weigh-ins. When I mentioned that I was thinking of scrapping them, I didn't get much public outcry, so I am going to put them on hold and just check in with the Half Size Me Community. I may decide to pick them back up later, if they seem like they would help me. Weighing in publicly seems to go against the whole idea of "no prerequisites for worthiness."

So what can you expect to see here if I get rid of the weigh-ins? The rest of the things that seem to get pushed aside by the weight obsession: Reviews, fashion, beauty products I love, thoughts on what it means to be "perfect in our imperfections." I will still write about my workouts and my day-to-day life.  I hope the change will be positive. I feel like lately I have just been posting weigh-ins and Biggest Loser episode reviews.  So this will actually give a little more variety. I hope my regular readers will like the change.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Wednesday weigh-in: A day late and a dollar short

I weighed in yesterday at 179.2, down a little from last week but still up from a couple of weeks ago. It's not surprising -- I had too little for lunch Tuesday and ended up having a bag of microwave popcorn as a snack before my class just to get through.

I am starting to have a lot of anxiety around the public weigh-ins and find I'm doing dumb things like this as a result. I'm considering dropping them. I am a member of the Half Size Me community and I can weigh in there for accountability  without posting my numbers publicly. 

I have been having trouble with my knee again and haven't been running, and I think that might be a factor in the higher numbers, even though I'm still doing other workouts.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 8: Cowboy-Hat-Guy has his day

SPOILER ALERT -- at the end of this post, I reveal which team and player loses the weigh-in. If you don't want to know, please come back later and tell me what you thought.

Holley's at-home video was fun to watch. I didn't notice a lot more weight loss since she left the ranch (I looked it up online and it was about 20 more pounds), but she is feeling confident that she can lose weight and get stronger.  It strikes me that there have not been many eliminations (at least not as many that stuck) this season. The Red Team begins this episode at full strength, the Blue team is only missing Holley, and Jillian's team is only down two. The trainer save has really changed the dynamic this season.

In this episode, we learn a lot more about Jay, who has been a cowboy-hat-wearing enigma up until this point. Jay got to spend a week at home and take Jillian with him, and we get to see a little of his home and family life.  He must not be a big talker, because we don't get a lot of ordinary moments with him, but like most of the contestants on this show, he has suffered deep, soul-crushing losses, and instead of dealing with them has tried to push his feelings down. Jillian forces him to confront his feelings of grief and loss and it seems to be a big breakthrough moment for him. Because his weight loss will be the only one that counts for his team, Jay doesn't get to spend much time visiting with his family -- he has to do improvised torture-chamber workouts with Jillian in the barn where he used to train his horses. Missouri is hot and humid. Jillian, who has always said she hates working out outdoors, is obviously missing her nice, climate-controlled gym.

Bob is obviously missing Holley and so is his team. It seems like without her there, the guys are now fighting for the Alpha Male role.  Hap and Matt seem to be ganging up on Bobby, which is supposedly because he is "not working as hard" as they are, but could also be because he is gay.  Bobby has been losing more weight than the two of them put together, so they might also just be jealous.  I think it's funny that Bob thought he needed to save his trainer save for Chelsea, who is holding her own and losing more than guys twice her size.

Dolvett has a couple of "moments" with his contestants. His attempt to motivate Ruben with an old football jersey seems to fall a little flat, but Rachel responds well to getting back in a competitive swimming pool. For some reason, Dolvett needed to be in a swimsuit to stand on the side of the pool and time her, though he wore board shorts instead of a competition suit.  He does have a beautiful body (as long as he's not talking or staring soulfully at the camera), so the producers might well have wanted to show it off.

Both the Red and Blue Teams have some low weight-loss numbers from the guys. It seems impossible that these huge men would not be losing fast, given the grueling workouts and the low-calorie diets they are on.  They can't possibly be putting muscle on that fast.  Ruben, who is barely out of the 400s loses only 2 pounds.  He seemed to be smirking on the scale -- I would not be surprised if he threw the weigh-in on purpose. Other contestants have in the past by drinking large amounts of water. He did not seem to like working out, he didn't seem to really click with Dolvett, and he has a celebrity lifestyle to return to instead of the usual low-wage jobs held by contestants on the show.  He probably figures that if he wants to lose more, he can hire his own trainer.  I think he is very conflicted about losing weight in general. Being big seems to be part of his brand, and I also wonder if his voice would be affected if he lost a lot.  It seems like there is a perception, at least, that a big voice might need a big body.  I will be curious to see what he looks like at the finale.

NBC has to feel cheated. They brought two celebrities on this season, and both of them have been eliminated. One was even eliminated twice.  Celebrities just don't seem to work on The Biggest Loser.  Remember Rulon?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

What I did this week: November 25 to December 1

Fell off the tracking again this week -- was feeling disorganized in general.  Just got done tracking my day for today. I'm going to commit right now to tracking through my birthday on December 9, even if I have to do like I just did and go back and reconstruct the day.  Forgetting is not an excuse.

Workouts for the week:

Monday: 6,081 steps. Yoga. Definitely need to make this a regular part of my routine.
Tuesday: 7,781 steps. Spin class.
Wednesday: 6,443 steps.
Thursday: 6,119 steps.
Friday: 11,621 steps. 
Saturday: 9,413 steps. Pilates Circuit class.
Sunday: 6,026 steps. Masters' swim practice.

Notice no running -- the knee is acting up again. It has a tendency to feel like it's locking up, especially when I get up from sitting.  It's really sporadic and annoying, just like the problems with my toes. I got a functional movement screen from a massage therapist and one of her colleagues and they mentioned how strong I was but said I also had some imbalances. Weird things, like a tendency for my upper abs to do all of the work, resulting in weak lower abs. I'm not sure I understood all of it, but I have exercises to do to deal with it.

To check my ab function, the therapists had to touch and feel my ab area. I realize that I flinch when touched there. I said that it made me uncomfortable because I carry extra weight there, and they seemed not to see why -- that everyone carries their extra weight there. It made me wonder if all the bad body feelings that I have been carrying around are somehow responsible for all these mysterious aches and pains. If I could declare a truce, would I start feeling better?

I have been binge-watching What Not to Wear in the hopes of picking up some style tips, but mostly I have been picking up a better attitude about all of this.  It helps to see makeovers with similar shapes to mine who get transformed by the right clothes and are told, when they start to put themselves down, "Your body is your body -- you just have to learn to dress it."

It's all very much work-in-progress, just like me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday weigh-in: Discouraging

Today I was up again, 179.6.

My tracking was sporadic and I have generally been feeling discouraged. My knee has flared up again. I had planned to do a Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday and I am going to have to sit it out.  I could walk it, but I wouldn't enjoy that, so I'll just skip it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I did last week: Nov 18-24

I didn't get around to doing my usual update yesterday because I was obsessed with switching iPhone carriers and all the various details that went along with that. If you're interested, I switched from AT&T to T-Mobile. We are bringing our phones, so switching cost about $20, but we will save $50 per month on the new plan. If we do decide we want new phones, we will have to buy them outright.

I have a hankering for the gold iPhone 5S, but realistically, do I need to spend more than $700 to replace a thing that seems to be working just fine? No, no I do not. I was having some problems with mine for a while, but lately it seems to be OK.

I had fun with all this geek stuff. I need to find a way to bring more meekness into my life. I had to unlock our phones, which was not that hard but required a little online digging to figure out. I love this kind of stuff. The only not-fun part is that it bores everyone else to death when I talk about it, so I will stop talking about it now...

What I did last week, workout-wise:

Monday: 9,825 steps, 40 minutes Spinning
Tuesday: 8,282 steps
Wednesday: 8,628 steps
Thursday: 7,663 steps, 40 minutes Spinning
Friday: 12,767 steps, went to Ann Arbor to get my dad's iPad serviced and had dinner with friends, lots and lots of walking
Saturday: 10,412 steps
Sunday: 6,773 steps, swam for 1 hour

I averaged just under 10,000 steps last week. One problem was that I couldn't run -- my knee has been tight and sore again. I went to a workshop on how to use Rocktape (similar to KinesioTape) but I didn't really get much in the how-to department, it was more a promo for the tape and personal training by the instructor.

Yesterday I did a yoga class for the first time in a long time. I think that I need to do this regularly. I think it could be a combination strength training/therapy thing for me, especially if I did a little weight work before or after.  I might cut back for a while on the endurance work to fit this in.  My schedule could go something like this:

Monday: Yoga and weights
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Yoga and weights
Thursday: Spin
Friday: Spin or Run
Saturday: Pilates Circuit
Sunday: Optional morning run, evening swim

I'm not even going to try to add a second swim in for now. I find it kind of a pain to swim in the mornings -- I have to drive further to the gym with a pool and then shower in the locker room.

The Rocktape workshop taught me one thing. There was so much emphasis on what was "wrong" with our bodies that I rebelled. I realized that our bodies are all different, and there is only something wrong if we are comparing ourselves to some "perfect" alignment.  I feel like it's time to declare a truce instead of fighting my body so much.  It is doing its best.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stacy and Clinton are revolutionaries

As What Not to Wear is finishing up its last season, I thought it might be useful to reflect on something pretty revolutionary about the show: Stacy and Clinton might come across as snarky and critical, but they criticize the fashion victim's style, not her body.  They are dedicated to helping people become a better version of who they are, not making them into someone completely different. And in a culture where we are used to images that average out models'  individual quirks to make them all look weirdly similar, that's pretty amazing.

I was struck by this while watching two of the saddest makeovers I have seen on the show, both from Season 9. There was Jil, whose fashion issues stemmed from the fact that she was living in a fantasy world because she was desperately unhappy with her real life. And there was Jodi, who was hiding behind her long, spiral-curled blond locks, baby-doll makeup and goofy too-young clothes because she hated her nose and the fact that she was getting older. After her hair was cut, she kept trying to flip her hair forward to hide her face, but it wouldn't work anymore because her long side pieces had been cut.

In both of these, it was so sad to see how much these women were trying to escape who they were. I have to say, I thought a 51-year-old dressing in teenagers' clothes to look younger seemed pretty silly. And then I went to wash my face and noticed the packaging on the skincare products I had bought earlier that day at TJ Maxx: "The Youth as We Know It." And then I think of how often I go looking for that magic product that is going to solve all my problems.

Jil and Jodi's reactions make a weird kind of sense in the context of a culture that has a narrow range of acceptable ways to look and live in the world. The term "obesigenic" was coined to describe how we have to go against the grain not to gain weight in our current environment. I think that our culture is also "neurosigenic" -- we have to go against the grain to get past the cultural neurosis of thinking that everyone has to be eternally young, eternally thin (or the new version, thin with muscles), and preferably blonde with long hair.  It's an act of defiance to actually like our normal, imperfect selves.

Stacy and Clinton have served nobly as warriors in this fight to teach people that the problem wasn't their faces or their bodies, it was their clothes, their hair, and their makeup.

The fashion victims on the show seem to fall into two categories: Not-Trying and Trying-Too-Hard. The Not-Trying group felt like there was something so wrong with them that they shouldn't even bother to try to look good.  People in the Trying-Too-Hard group often seem to "hide" in clothes that are too wacky, too sexy, or too costume-y. The message of the Not-Trying group is, "Don't look at me," and the message of the Trying-Too-Hard group is, "Don't look at me, look at my clothes." Neither group has much sense of who they really are because they are hiding behind a costume.

I noticed in last night's viewing session that Stacy and Clinton really want to find out how the person wants to look and be perceived and to help them find a version of that vision that projects confidence and style.  They do have certain "rules" about wearing clothes that are age-appropriate, that show some awareness of trends, and that create an attractive line on the body. There is a lot of room to play within those rules, though, and that's where the fashion vision comes in.

To be honest, I hadn't ever really thought about what my fashion vision is before, but there are definitely some threads there I can pick up on. I want my clothes to flatter me. I love color and a sense of fun. I want to look stylish but not like a fashion slave. I want to be comfortable and be able to move (no pointy-toed shoes or sky-high heels for me, thanks). I want to look professional and put-together at work, and fun and confident on the weekends. Right now while I'm writing this, I'm wearing a stylish combination of a bright-blue XL t-shirt, gray track pants, and a hoodie, but these are pajamas. I do a little better for work and when going out, but some of my at-home stuff can tend to fall into the Not-Trying category.

So what's your fashion vision? Have you been Not-Trying or Trying-Too-Hard lately?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 6: Progress check

This week seemed to give the contestants to look back at the progress that they have made over the last 6 weeks.  Weirdly, because of the trainer saves and the whole caffeine-supplements dustup, the Red Team is back at full force and the Blue Team still has all its players. The White Team is down two players, with Marie, Tumi, and Jay (a.k.a. Cowboy-Hat-Guy).

Jillian seemed genuinely baffled by the supplements issue. She posted on Facebook about it last week that seemed to support my suspicions that the producers used this whole thing as a way to bring Ruben back:

by .

There was also a fairly stiff discussion with her team members about it, in which they seemed to accept that she was doing what she thought was best. The producers seem to have realized that without Craig and Fernanda, the two White Team members with the most airtime, we need some details on the personalities of the other players on all of the teams.  There was a nice retrospective where the contestants watched their audition videos and reflected on the changes they had made. It is really stunning to see how far they have come in such a short time. The players like Tanya and Holley who have gotten a lot of screen time weren't featured, and those we haven't heard from got a chance to talk, even Cowboy-Hat-Guy. We had yet another rehash of David's sad story with the same exact clips as the last few times we have seen it, and despite his determination to be "more than just a sad story," he doesn't seem to be able to do that. The producers just barely let us know last week that he had remarried, and his current wife wasn't mentioned this time around. It's not that this story isn't sad, I'm just kind of annoyed that the narrative is one-note Sadsploitation.

In the video audition tape, we also learned that Bobby is gay -- it has been interesting to me the number of players on TBL who turn to food to deal with their feelings about their sexual orientation when they think they won't be accepted by family members. There have been several players who have been open about this, and other players where I suspected this might be part of the story. Jillian is, of course, in a committed relationship with a woman, and I think she mentioned on her podcast one time that Bob has a male partner. (Dolvett strikes me as straight -- he has creepy eye-contact moments with the women on his team, not the men.) I wonder if part of the success of TBL has been giving players positive role models of how a person can be successful in the world as an openly gay or lesbian person. Food addiction seems to be a disease of trying to fit in and please people, and Jillian, for example, is someone who is unapologetically herself.

Of course, since he is back, Ruben got a lot of on-screen time. There was a little segment with his music producer where we get to hear Dolvett sing (not too bad, really) and see a little behind-the-scenes stuff about the music biz.

The challenge this week was super-dumb and ridiculously complex. I have used that trampoline ball-bouncing thing in physical therapy -- it can be hard to control where the ball goes. The only interesting thing about it was that Red Team finally beat the undefeated Blue Team. This challenge was for cash, not immunity, so it was low-stakes.

I almost forgot to include my favorite part of the show. Dani, winner of last season, came back for a Subway integration. I love, love, love Dani, and was glad to see her looking so confident and cute.

The weigh-ins this week were erratic. Some players posted big numbers and a lot posted less than would be expected. My husband and I have a theory that players initially have a big (water) weight loss, then the weight loss slows down for a while, and then it picks up steam as players gain muscle and can work harder in the gym. This week's all-over-the-map numbers could reflect some players having minor injuries that keep them from doing a whole lot but aren't being mentioned in the storyline. The Blue Team had a particularly poor showing as a whole, though, so maybe it was something about the way Bob trained them this week. Tumi (White Team) and David (Red Team) both had big weeks.

Makeover week cannot come soon enough. Holley's weird pink lipstick reminds me of the neon stuff that was popular during the 80s, the men with beards seem to be losing their faces, and Rachel is apparently auditioning for the part of Rapunzel. But there are still way too many players, so I think we are going to be looking at this hot mess for a while yet.

Wednesday weigh-in: Up 0.2

Red line is a trend line, and the dots represent actual weigh-ins.
I'm up a little from last week, putting my current weight at 178.  I'm relieved that it is not higher.

I am going to limit myself to only weighing in on Wednesday from now on. I saw that I was up (181) yesterday after eating in the cafeteria, and became paranoid about being up again today, so I could not decide what to eat. I didn't pack a dinner, I didn't want to eat in the cafeteria... so I was sitting in my office hungry and ate vending-machine peanut-butter-and-cheese crackers.  Dumb, about the worst possible choice, and probably saltier than anything in the cafeteria.  I need to relax a little about weighing in and I need to be more proactive and thoughtful about actually planning my food. I had myself so paralyzed that I made the worst possible decision.  There are good choices I can make in the cafeteria. I could just stick to the salad bar, for example.
I'm hoping to get things straightened out and do better for next week. Since I was a little ahead of my one-pound-per-week goal, I can get things straightened out if I stop being so nutty. 

I ended up buying the dress pictured here from Gwynnie Bee. They have a try-and-buy program -- they will charge the card I use for my regular billing and send me another item from my closet.  I love the way the dress looks and feels, and when I was looking for the link for Vickie, I realized it was sold out in my size. I got a price quote from them that was about the same as the clearance price from Macy's, and since this month is free for me because I won the video contest, I decided this would be a nice one to add to my closet permanently.  Because the dress is designed to fit a little loose, I think it might fit me even at goal, but if it doesn't, I'll find it a good home.  That would be a nice problem to have. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I need a MacGuffin

For reasons I don't want to discuss here, I have been unhappy about work lately. I was hanging out with some former students last night and one mentioned getting a PhD "just for the satisfaction of it."

I wish I could search my Facebook statuses, because I once wrote a whole list of things of things that would be a better use of time and money if personal satisfaction were the only object, including running a marathon, backpacking in Europe, writing a novel, etc. I then spent a lot of last night ruminating (in that half-asleep way that I often ruminate) on whether getting my PhD had been a mistake.

This morning, I don't think it was, simply because my life was stuck when I started working on my degree, and that helped me get going again.

I went to a writing conference last weekend and learned about Alfred Hitchcock's theory of theMacGuffin, an object that moves a story forward, and if nothing else, getting a doctorate served as my MacGuffin. I could use another MacGuffin about now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What I did this week: November 11-17

The weather is really changing fast here in the Toledo area. Almost all the leaves are already off the trees, and the big winds we're having tonight will probably get the rest.

Monday: 13,212 steps, ran 30 minutes
Tuesday: 6,859 steps, busy work day
Wednesday: 10,402 steps, ran 20 minutes and did some kettlebell work
Thursday: 2,984 steps, wasn't feeling well
Friday: 11,181 steps, 45-minute Spin class
Saturday: 4,935 steps, was at a mini-conference
Sunday: 11,507 steps, ran 20 minutes (in the rain) and swam 40 minutes (interrupted by storm sirens)

Lots of days off this week. I have not been feeling at 100% lately.  Hoping I can still pull off a 1-pound loss by Wednesday to keep my downward weight trend going. People have been starting to notice the losses, but it hasn't been as big a deal to me as it used to that people notice. I am doing this for me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Half Size Me Community

After subscribing to the Half Size Me newsletter, I was given an opportunity to preview the community membership. This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.

I reviewed the Half Size Me podcast back in September.  Heather's podcasts have become some of my favorites to listen to while running -- there is just so much good information, and I find Heather's interviewing style very engaging.

To get a little more content, I decided to sign up for the newsletter for three months.  Every week, it sends out a link to a Half Size Me Community meeting, some bonus audio, and other premium content.

When I signed up, I sent a question about something in my welcome email, and found out that it was referring to the community instead, and that I had gotten an email I wasn't supposed to get. I was offered a chance to try the community for a month and see if I would like to upgrade.

I had been thinking for a while that I might enjoy the meetings, so I decided to sign up.  Even though I haven't been able to make any of the regular meetings, as someone close to my weight goal I was invited to join the "Maintenance Mastermind" meeting on Monday.  I used to do virtual meetings all the time for my previous job, and the Fuze meeting software that Heather and her husband used to set this up was miles ahead of what I remembered from those days (more than five years ago).  I was a little distracted by trying to look good for the camera, but I found the group of people very supportive and welcoming, even though I have quite a ways to get to my goal.  I have maintained about 30 of my original 60-pound weight loss (I estimate that my highest weight was around 215), and have  recently gotten down another 7, but I still have almost 23 more to go.  I was afraid the maintainers wouldn't want someone like me there, but they were very friendly.

The community membership also includes private Facebook group, which is very well-traveled, and a  slightly clunky, somewhat-less-used Ning site with resources, forums, and blog posts. Extra audio content is stored on Ning for download. The Ning software feels a bit dated, but it works fine.  Of course, there is also the Half Size Me website, where  Heather posts her weekly menus and where users can subscribe to the premium content.

I have enjoyed the extra support, though I'm still getting to know the community members. There seem to be a lot of them, some of whom have been with Heather since she started the community.

I think there is a nice logical progression here from the free content -- the podcast -- to a low-cost premium newsletter, to a premium community that helps make the whole model sustainable. If it were not for the premium content, I am sure that Heather could not continue to produce her podcast without ads for third-party products that might compromise her vision.

What I have appreciated most in the podcast, the newsletter, and the community is a sustainable vision of maintenance. There are not a lot of maintenance bloggers around, and many of the ones I have found follow a very regimented plan, something I wouldn't find to work for me.  Heather does not believe in all-or-nothing thinking. She still eats dessert. She follows a fairly ambitious exercise program, but enjoys it.  She has also tackled the emotional side of weight loss, and discusses it quite frequently, especially the need for boundaries.

Avoiding all-or-nothing thinking has helped me to track consistently and has led to my recent weight-loss success.  I don't scrap the whole day (or week) just because I'm over my calories. That makes a big difference.

Though much of the audio content I enjoy is available through the newsletter, the community adds a little extra accountability that I like, so I'm planning to stick with it.  At $18 a month, it's a bargain compared to other support communities like Weight Watchers, and it has the benefit of letting me use my own plan.

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 5: Cooking, kids, and caffeine

This episode had a few interesting elements.  Most puzzling was during the weigh-in, where Jillian was scolded for giving her team caffeine supplements the week before (she has a relationship with EBOOST) and her team was penalized four pounds.  Worse yet, the Blue Team, which was looking vulnerable this week, got to keep their immunity from last week. Ruben is coming back as a result.  This is why we didn't get his "Where are they now" segment at the beginning of the episode. Jillian, when asked to comment, said that it was her "professional opinion" that the supplement was "healthier than unlimited coffee."

Jillian might be a lot of things, but she isn't dumb. She knows, and has discussed on the podcast, that TBL has a strict anti-supplementation policy, especially if the supplement company hasn't paid for the right to be part of the show.  It seems like it could have been a weird plot device to let Ruben leave for a little while and then come back, except that TBL is a game show, and game shows can't cheat.

Jillian has always been a strong proponent of caffeine as a performance enhancer. Her advice to callers on her show has always been to take a caffeine supplement about 45 minutes before a weight workout, not just as a stimulant, but because it can help with pain tolerance and endurance during a workout.  She has alternately suggested a caffeine and aspirin "stack" supplement, guarana with white willow bark, and now that she is an investor and brand ambassador (her official title is "Chief Energy Officer") at EBOOST, she has switched to recommending that.  She used to say that organic, shade-grown coffee was okay as long as it was run through a paper filter to remove the cholesterol, but her new line is that too much coffee is bad.

Other than that weirdness, this was a fun episode. There was a cook-off, judged by Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor to the White House on Nutrition Policy and the kids from last season.  I think there might have been some kind of unspoken requirement that the recipes had to include tortillas, because all three teams made a variation on quesadillas.  That seems too weird to be a coincidence.  There was no specific product tie-in, though.

There was, however, another tie-in to Jennifer's poor daughter and how overweight she is. I feel so bad for this kid, who did not sign up to be part of the show. I am sure we are going to get a big reveal at the end that this daughter has lost a lot of weight, but it seems an unfortunate amount of pressure to put on a 10-year-old who has to go to school with kids who have watched her mother crying on national television about her weight.  I think it is very unfair, and could lead to lifelong problems for this girl.  There are plenty of weight-loss bloggers whose parents weighed them and put them on diets, which made them self-conscious and unhappy and did not lead to long-term weight loss. Courtney from Season 11 should be a cautionary tale -- her mother's attention to her weight only made her feel unloved and rebellious.

The weight loss numbers this week were phenomenal -- double-digits all around. Either this was a longer "week" than usual on the show, or the contestants are finally hitting that point where they have developed enough muscle to work out longer and harder and drop weight more quickly.

We didn't get a lot of new insights into the contestants this week, just more of the same people. There are some contestants who are still complete unknowns to us -- I loved Margo's commentary on Cowboy-Hat-Guy on her last podcast episode, and how we don't know anything about him except that he wears a cowboy hat. He is still just Cowboy-Hat-Guy, though he actually spoke this week. We saw Tanya take to her bed with a mysterious illness and make up for it with a solo workout (I suspect a migraine). There was a little workout segment with the Red Team and a group of cancer survivors, which queued up the tape of David talking about losing his first wife (I think this is the first time we found out that he is remarried) to brain cancer.  Holley wore another weirdly bright lipstick shade at the weigh-in, but remained mostly mute.

Next week promises to be all about Ruben's return -- I wonder if he had time to go staff his music camp in the interim.  I would be very unhappy if I spent the money for my kid to go to a music camp with a celebrity and that celebrity was not there.  I would also, if I were an NBC producer, feel cheated if I brought on someone who had become famous on a reality show on another network with a bunch of fanfare, only to have him eliminated in the fourth week.

Anyone else have conspiracy theories? What TBL Mystery Contestant are you hoping to hear more about next week?  Do you have a bet on what color lipstick Holley will wear next? Is Cowboy-Hat-Guy bald under his hat?  I'd love to hear what you think.

Wednesday weigh-in: On track

I am down 3 pounds exactly since October 30. I lost 1.6 the first week, and 1.4 this week, to put me at 177.8 this morning.  If I lose another 3 pounds in the next 4 weeks, I will hit my first milestone.  I really want to break through that 175 barrier. I was close to it in late May, but the last time I was under it was July 2010.

I think getting there again would be a nice 43rd birthday present to myself.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What I did last week

 This was a busy work week, and my step counts suffered. I also did some non-step-oriented workouts, which don't count toward the step total, like yesterday's swim.

Monday: Spin class
Tuesday: Did some walking, no formal workout
Wednesday: Ran 20 minutes
Thursday: Did not feel well, rest day
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Pilates Circuit class
Sunday: Masters' swim, 1 hour

Taking those rest days really helped. I have been feeling so run-down lately.  I went to bed at 8:30 on Thursday and slept straight through until 6.

I'm trying to figure out a default workout schedule, which would make it easier -- I wouldn't need to decide every day what workout to do. I have some outlines of one already but I have some things to fill in yet.

I printed a simple, full-body kettlebell workout that I can do at home. I'm thinking of putting that in on Wednesdays so it won't affect my weigh-ins.

Hope you have a good week!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Attitude adjustment

My new fitness goal, staying injury-free for the next year, has really helped me make an attitude adjustment.  I think that the problems I have been having -- nagging injuries, difficulties losing weight, general lack of motivation -- have been related to my attitude toward myself and my body. I'm always trying to prove that I'm good enough, and because I'm self-conscious about my weight that translates to pushing myself too hard, ignoring my body, trying to be perfect, and then getting discouraged and letting everything go.  This has been a central issue for me as long as I can remember.

This week I took a couple of days off working out because I was feeling sick and run-down. I planned meals for the week that fit my definition of healthy but that I would also look forward to and enjoy.  We have lots of delicious and healthy leftovers in the fridge, so even a day where I didn't want to cook won't be an excuse to go out or order in.
I am being more forgiving with myself and have a better body image, which takes away the urgency to beat all of this extra weight off and double-quick. I'm doing a better job of living in the body I have now.  That's the reason I post .  I still have my weight loss goals but that doesn't mean I have to be angry at myself until I reach them.  I am looking forward to the rewards I set for myself at my weight-loss milestones, especially the new jeans. There is a place in Toledo that does custom-made jeans at a pretty reasonable price, and I am thinking I might do a pair of those when I get to that milestone, or maybe save that for hitting goal. Behavior change is so much easier when there isn't nasty self-talk in the way, whispering, "Why are you even bothering, when you know you will always be a fat loser?" Or maybe that's just my inner voice. I hope yours is nicer. I can't totally shut mine up, but I have started talking back to it.

Today's plans: Make a weekly menu, visit with my family, do some cleanup and prep for next week, go swim.  Hope you have a relaxing and restorative Sunday.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 4: Tricky Treats

I'm finding it weird that the show is focusing so intensely on a few of the contestants to the exclusion of all others. Tanya, for example, is getting tons of airtime, and I'm getting a little tired of how everything is huge and dramatic with her.  There are other contestants, like Jay, that we hardly hear from at all. Bobby has barely gotten any camera time.  I am hoping that this will shift as time goes by.

Of course, since the show was airing close to Halloween, we had to have a Halloween-themed Temptation, with candy and prizes hidden inside pumpkins.  Every team had a reason that they "had" to win the challenge, and it was mostly to keep another team from winning it and getting immunity. I think the teams should have agreed not to play, since eating lots of sugar always has bad effects on the contestants, but they were all hoping to win that golden ticket. Some contestants ended up eating 1000 calories of sugar, including stuff they didn't even like, as a result. That had to have an effect on the weigh-in numbers.

We get an interesting segment where Bob brings in some women from his Crossfit gym, and at first I was disappointed that it was only women -- where was the beefcake?  But the girls were "heavier" Crossfitters, who weighed around 165 pounds, the weight that Holley would have to drop to in order to leave the heavyweight category.  It was hard to believe those women weighed 165, but it was impossible to imagine Holley ever being that small. Even if she doesn't lose enough to drop weight classes, in Olympic weightlifting, the lifter's weight is the tiebreaker if two people stop at the same weight. Holley is much larger than most of the other Olympic lifters, so she would lose every tiebreaker right now. Even if she got down to 200 pounds and could keep her strength, she would be able to win some of these tiebreakers. Bob wanted to show her that she could be strong even at a smaller size. Heck, I'd be happy to stay at 165 if I could look like those women, though I think they are taller than I am.

There was a little segment with Tumi, who is training with Jillian. She is very passive and feminine, and Jillian thinks she's hiding something. It turns out that Tumi was abandoned at a young age by her family, and she is still angry and hurt. This is the kind of stuff I like them to give airtime to.

Finally, we got to see a little clip with Biingo (that's how he spells it), one of the kids from last season. He seems so much happier and more active. His parents look great too. It seems like their financial situation has changed a lot, and I am sure that helps -- they had been living in a relative's basement last time around.

I was really surprised to see Ruben go home -- I hope he does okay on his own.

Wednesday weigh-in: One down, 24 to go

Actually, down 1.6. Last week I weighed in at 180.8, and today it was 179.2.  Glad to be out of the 180s and I need to work to stay out of them.  I was, of course, hoping for more, but I promised myself to be satisfied with one pound per week.

To be honest, I have a lot of room for improvement on my food choices, so I think I can do better next week. No time like the present to start.  Today, when I went out with work colleagues, I bucked the cheeseburger trend and had a grilled chicken salad -- and it was delicious. 

Hope you are having a good week! I am going to work on the Biggest Loser review tonight -- I always like to talk the episode over with my husband first, and we were too tired last night.
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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