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.

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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