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.

Monday, November 04, 2013

"What's healthy?" (To me)

Last night I was trying to get some help with my husband on a meal plan for this week. I said that on Wednesday I was going out for lunch, so I had to make sure I had a healthy dinner. He asked,"What's healthy?" 

This is a pretty loaded question, and everyone has his or her own definition. I photograph my food now and then, so I thought I would include a little photo essay of what healthy looks like for me, plus a little description. This is what works for me and it may not be right for you.

A healthy meal for me has a lot of vegetables and maybe some fruit. I do mostly lean protein, though I like a little bacon now and then, and the skin on a freshly roasted piece of chicken is a thing of beauty. I don't like big portions of meat and high-fat meals can make me feel sick.  I do need a moderate amount of fat to feel satisfied, though. I try to do mostly whole and sprouted grains, but I think some white pasta (I don't really like the whole-grain kind) and bread can sneak in if they are balanced and I keep the portions small. I consciously work to get a lot of fiber. I feel best when I avoid sugar. I don't drink diet or regular soda. I drink plain unsweetened seltzer, water, coffee, or iced tea. I like a glass of wine or a beer with dinner now and then, but alcohol is not a big thing for me. I use half and half in my coffee but otherwise, I avoid milk. I have no problems with Greek yogurt or a little cheese. I love nuts and seeds, and just have to watch portions.

If I eat meals like the ones pictured below, I lose weight and feel good. The problem is that I don't always eat like this. This is the ideal that I am working toward, a sort of Mediterranean-ish diet. I keep portions moderate and try to keep things balanced in a way that makes me feel good.

The problem for me can be that if I don't take the time to plan and make a meal that looks like this, I might grab whatever is handy. Also, sometimes I go out and something on the menu calls to me and I go against my better judgement. Stressful times and times I'm around my family are other pitfalls. 

What does healthy look like for you?

Greek yogurt (Fage 2% plain), berries, chia, cashews, coffee with half and half and cinnamon
Hummus, veggies, pita, roasted vegetables (not sure what kind)
Moroccan lamb stew with chickpeas, quinoa

Grilled chicken with orzo, yogurt, veggies, and greens
Ratatouille, seltzer
Chipotle-style black bean and rice bowl with lots of veggies, seltzer
Red quinoa and veggie salad with Romano cheese
BLT with avocado on toasted Ezekiel sprouted bread, watermelon, seltzer

Sunday, November 03, 2013

What I did this week: October 28 to November 3

The weather has been really changeable around here -- we seem to be alternating between glorious, sunny fall days and windy, awful, rainy ones.

I averaged more than 10,000 steps this week, but I had a few really good days that balanced out some more sedentary ones. My more productive work days are my worst step days -- sometimes I wish I had a more active job.

Monday: 8,552 steps, Spin class
Tuesday: 10,736 steps, ran 20 minutes
Wednesday: 10,381 steps, went for a walk
Thursday: 8,429 steps, 10 minutes on the rower
Friday: 17,639 steps, ran 24 minutes
Saturday: 6,055 steps, Pilates Circuit class
Sunday: 8,507 steps, Masters Swim practice

I tweeted today about my new weight goals:

Here are the milestones, benchmark dates and revised rewards:

174, December 11, Sephora makeover (I would have to buy some product)
168, January 22, New jeans
162, March 5, Leather jacket
157, April 16, New bras
151, May 28, Session with a personal shopper

My weight goal is 155, but I am thinking of the advice to get below the goal to have a maintenance range.  I would try to keep the scale between 150-155.

The dates are targets, but I will do the rewards earlier or later, whenever I hit the benchmark weight on an official (Wednesday) weigh-in. I had never done rewards before, so I'm thinking that they might help keep me more on track.  I have a weird reluctance to do rewards so they might be just the thing. I also tried to be strategic and choose things I might need anyway. If I drop 12 pounds, I should be getting into a different jeans size, for example.

Hope you all have a good week. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

November Goals

I'm settling into my new term at school. It's nice to have only one evening class, instead of two. I will actually get to have dinner at home most nights again, which makes a big difference in my success.  I plan to make Sunday nights my planning night, so that I can map out our meals for the week and go shopping on Monday during the day.

I'm ready to work on losing again after spending the last couple of months essentially maintaining. I am going to work for a 1-pound-per-week loss. To that end, I plan to track every day, no excuses, using LoseIt and keep up with my exercise goals. I'm also getting some extra support from the Half Size Me Community, which I am trying out for a month. I will post a review soon after I have a chance to attend a meeting. So far I really like it.

I have a new home computer, so I hope to do more blogging and try to vary the topics so it's not all Biggest Loser and weigh-ins. Topic suggestions are welcome!

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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