Friday, January 31, 2014

New podcast find

I saw Kay Lynn's post announcing that she was going to be on "The Lifestyle Accountability Show" podcast and decided to check it out.  Podcasters Adam and Devon do short, 20-30 minute interviews with bloggers who are working to live a healthy lifestyle.

The idea of a daily podcast is staggering -- so much work! But I really enjoy listening to it.

I actually am going to be interviewed for the show -- I set it up as far in the future as possible so I would be finished with classes first. I will let you know when the show is going to air.

By the way, host Adam Bate will be speaking at Fitbloggin' -- I am looking forward to meeting him there. I have my plane ticket and hotel booked.

Dreaming of warmer days

The photo above was taken on a camping trip to Kelley's Island that was during a heat wave. It was so hot that we sweated all night in our pup tent and woke up to this "nuclear sunrise." I think it was already 90 degrees at 5:30 in the morning that day.

We certainly get to enjoy all the kinds of weather here in Northwest Ohio.  Yesterday, when it warmed all the way up to 15, I saw a guy walking around campus in shorts.  And, to be honest, I wasn't that much different -- it felt pretty warm to me, warm enough to wear a dress, at least.

Today is going to be even warmer, getting into the low thirties. I might wear that striped-dress-leather-jacket combo again. It seems too warm for me to wear my winter coat.

I ended up buying the jacket. I like it too much to send it back, and it will make a great spring jacket, perfect for the rain since it isn't really leather.

Today is going to be a catching-up day. I have Spin class this morning at 9:30, and then I'll go in to the office to get some grading and other work done. I also need to start writing a talk I'm supposed to give in March.

On the way home I'm going to hit the grocery store, since it's looking very Mother-Hubbard around here.  I'm also going to pick up some Superbowl supplies. Neither of us cares much about the teams playing, but I'm going to get some chicken wings and barbecue sauce -- I broil the wings and then slow-cook them, no frying involved. We are also going to have sweet potato oven fries and hummus and veggies.  I have my swim that night so it will be nice to come home to a hearty meal.  If it's a really boring game, we can always switch over to Downton Abbey.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mod Dots Cherry Velvet Dress

Note: This post contains affiliate links

Too tired to write a real post today, so I'll just post some photos of my latest outfit from Gwynnie  Bee.  The belt and sweater are mine.  I thought the dress was a little too "racing flag" on its own, but I liked it as an outfit.

The dress is by Cherry Velvet. I wore it with the sweater and belt pictured, plus black tights and boots to celebrate our warmer temperatures today -- 15 degrees (Fahrenheit)!

A link to my other posts on Gwynnie Bee, including a review.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weight goals

I have gone too long with no weight progress. I think I needed the break, but it is time to get moving again.

I did what I have done dozens of times before -- set up a new Excel spreadsheet with some weight goals and all kinds of formulas. Maybe you have done it too. This time, though, I set a goal for this week. I kept that number in mind as I went through my week. I made decisions based on that weekly goal.  And it worked. I lost more than I had hoped -- my goal was to lose 1.3 pounds, and I lost double that. It's a good start.

My goal for next week is to lose just 1 pound.  I'm going to keep that goal in mind as I go through the next week.  If I can average just a pound a week loss, I can finally make my weight goal this summer.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Biggest Loser, Season 15, Episode 14: TRIATHLON!!!!!!!

A little thing that bugged me during this episode:

The one good thing about the Snowpocolypse is that I had a day off school tonight and got to eat dinner at home and watch "The Biggest Loser" live instead of waiting to watch it online tomorrow. I'm typing this Tuesday night since I don't have to get up early tomorrow morning -- my husband has yet another snow day.

Before the episode started, I made my predictions on how the triathlon would turn out:

  1. Rachel
  2. David
  3. Jennifer
  4. Chelsea
  5. Bobby

Bobby knows he won't do well -- he can't really swim.  I'm not sure why they aren't given lessons if they are doing a triathlon.  Jillian talks to Bobby about his life and his fear of failure, and I think this is one of the central lessons of The Biggest Loser: 
"Fear will pass, but regret? That is forever." -- Jillian Michaels
The important thing is just to try, and finish.

I expected Rachel to crush it, and she did. The coverage of the race made it look like it was a lot closer than it was. She got out ahead of David early in the swim and he never saw her again.  She finished the race as Chelsea was going out on the run. I really underestimated Chelsea, though, who came in third.  I felt very bad for Bobby, who seemed to be really flailing around during the swim. I am glad there were kayaks standing by. The rule is that you can hold on to a kayak and not get disqualified as long as it does not help you move forward.  He finished more than an hour behind Rachel, but he finished.

Rachel won a spot in the finals and a brand-new Ford Fusion Energi (I had to look it up -- the Energi is a plug-in hybrid, worth about $40,000). But I cried watching her finish because I know that feeling of crossing a triathlon finish line and feeling like I had won my life back.  

I would really like to watch the full triathlon -- I am going to watch the Biggest Loser site to see if they post any bonus videos.  I also would like to see everyone's times again.  It would be interesting to see the swim/bike/run breakdowns. But maybe I'm just a geek?

Because this was the last week, there was a lot of looking back -- images of the contestants working out on Week 1, struggling, and then now, thinner and handling it like a champ. We also get to see them watch retrospective videos of their progress on the ranch, and their Week 1 selves talking to them about the very real risk of forgetting what they learned and backsliding.

Contestants seem to get to a healthy, sustainable weight on the ranch, and then go all out and go to extremes for the finale. Most of the ones who regain put the weight they took off for the finale back off, but it is probably unrealistic for most of them to expect to maintain a movie-star weight.  If they can be healthy and do the things they want to do, I think they should appreciate that. I think that sense of failure they get from regaining that finale weight is what drives a lot of the regain.  We see Jackie and Dan, a mother-son team from one of the early seasons. Jackie is still pretty thin, but Dan just looks like a normal guy -- that's still a success, considering where Dan started. On Ali Vincent's show, there was a big Come-to-Jesus moment with the scale where she admits she has regained (I had to fast forward through a lot of the "blah-blah-blah-I'm-so-ashamed"), but she isn't that far from a healthy BMI for her height -- she is just not at a Hollywood weight for her height. She still looks good and she just did a half-marathon, so she is obviously pretty healthy and fit. I was frustrated by all her negative talk about her weight because she seems to forget the person she used to be, who couldn't do any of the things she is doing now. I'm hoping this season's contestants won't fall into that trap.

We got a glance at Tanya and Marie this week. Marie is starting a healthy restaurant called "Livin' Soul," and Marie is enjoying a healthy and active life with her husband and planning for a baby (though she seems to be holding off so that she has a chance for the finale). Marie seems to be growing out her hair, because it's in that awkward bangs-in-her-face stage. Both of them looked beautiful and seemed happy.

Okay, I have covered everything except the weigh-ins. Rachel, who had her spot locked, lost 1 pound. Chelsea lost an incredible 7 pounds.  Then Jennifer lost 3 -- obviously not enough to make the finals. It came down to the two guys. Bobby dropped 17 pounds. Then David lost 16 to take the top spot, knocking Chelsea out.

By the way, I usually don't notice Allie's clothes unless they are weird, but because of the comments, I paid more attention this time. I thought the dress she wore for this weigh-in was perfect and really brought out the blue in her eyes.  Her hair and makeup were pretty and natural. 

Okay, here's the data on the Final 5, courtesy of the Wiki. All but David are now at a healthy BMI:

Contestant Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Most Recent % Lost
Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 25.7 260 150 42.31%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 31.2 409 243 40.59%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 28.9 358 231 35.47%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 25.3 241 157 34.85%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 28.5 266 182 31.58%

It comes down to Rachel and two guys for the Biggest Loser title.  My money is still on Rachel, but David does still have more to lose.  And honestly, it could be any of them.  With Bobby's track record, he could surprise us all and win. This was a really good season with great people, so it's hard to be against any of them.  Who are you rooting for? 

Good news and bad news

Today the sun was out and the temperatures climbed into the positive numbers. For a while. We are going back down into the negatives tonight, but there are warmer temperatures coming. Unfortunately, they seem to be bringing more snow with them.

I have to admit, I felt like I should be disappointed that I don't have class tonight, but it feels like a relief to be able to stay in my nice warm house instead of teaching all night and then venturing out into a freezing parking lot at 9:30 at night.  I'm sure my students didn't mind having the night off, either.

I'm hoping the slightly warmer temps will bring my energy back. I did feel a little better yesterday after a short treadmill run.  I will definitely get to the gym tomorrow in case that would help.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Shopping with body shapes


Like I said, I went shopping with a friend yesterday. She and I are almost completely opposite body shapes. I am sort of between the pear and the hourglass shapes listed above -- I am a pear in the sense that my shoulders are narrow, but I have a bigger bust than the picture above would indicate. My friend is an apple in the extreme. She can wear a size 10 in jeans but might need an extra-large jacket.  Things that looked good on me looked terrible on her and vice-versa.

At Macy's, we were going through the bins of on-sale undies, and she was shopping in the S-M bin and I was looking at the L-XL. She kept sounding doubtful that I would need something so "huge." I do.

I was looking for images for this post and there are a lot of names for the different body shapes -- a pear might be called a spoon or an inverted triangle.  There is some confusion of body shape and body size -- "full" is not a body shape. It's a size. You could be a full-figured pear or a full-figured apple, and what you would need to wear would be different.

I noticed that on "What Not to Wear," the fashion victims often exaggerated their shape. An apple shape might dress to exaggerate her small legs and make her rounder upper half look bigger. Or a pear would wear very fitted tops and full skirts. I think this comes out of trying to wear the smallest possible size in everything.

I like to wear jackets and blazers to try to create a little balance. I also notice that I look better in A-line skirts than super-full ones or pencils.  I like to wear jeans but it's hard for me to wear dress pants without feeling dowdy and bottom-heavy, since I have heavier thighs.  Other than trying to create balance and to define a waist, what do you do to dress for your shape?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Zombie apocalypse

Zombie mannequin army at Ann Taylor
Last night I managed to get out of my house for a little while and went shopping with a friend. I was sad to see that Ann Taylor is leaving the Toledo area. We will have a LOFT in Perrysburg, but the nearest Ann Taylor will be in Ann Arbor.

I guess I don't really need them, anyway. I have barely been able to leave the house because of the back-to-back snowstorms, so I'm not getting as much wear out of my Gwynnie Bee (affiliate link) clothes as I usually do.  I did get to wear this teal Kiyonna dress on a date night last weekend, and I have been wearing the black "leather" jacket pictured below a lot.  I have two dresses right now that I haven't been able to wear outside the house yet, the striped one pictured and this one, which I hope will look fine if I wear Spanx. It is a little tight in the midsection and isn't quite as cute on me as it is on the model.

I have been doing my best with my workouts. Yesterday's Pilates Circuit class was cancelled and I think swim tonight may be too. I got in to the gym for Spinning, and I have been doing a simple kettlebell circuit a couple of days a week at home. I miss running outside, but it's just too cold for that. If this storm doesn't go away soon, I'll have to resort to the Dreadmill.

All in all, I have been trying to keep my spirits up, but the cold has me tired and bored and frustrated. I have a weight goal for next Wednesday and I feel like I need to be more regular with my workouts to reach it. I'm tired of feeling like a zombie -- I want to feel like I'm going somewhere.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Some progress

Vickie asked if I was feeling better after my post about being "in a slump." I am, somewhat.

I blame the cold for the bone-tired feeling I have been living with for the last few days. I have been very tired and it has been hard to get enough sleep.  I wake up a lot, again, I think, because of the cold and the difficulty of keeping the temperature right -- sometimes I wake up soaked in sweat because I put on so many blankets trying to stay warm.  On Wednesday, I tried to work but mostly stared at my computer in a stupor and told myself I should go to the gym while not going to the gym.

I haven't been able to work out outside (wind chills here have been in the negatives), but I have gotten to the gym or worked out at home most days.  I have a workout class scheduled for tomorrow and I will have to watch the weather to see if it will be cancelled.

I have been sticking to my New Year's Resolution of logging my food no matter what. I have set some weight loss goals because I have been pretty loosey-goosey about that. I'm taking a cue from the DietBet10 goals, although there is no way I'm spending that much money to play the game. I am going to be weighing in weekly with the Half Size Me Community group.

Work is still stressful, although today I had a break in one particularly demoralizing problem that has been nagging at me since fall.  I'm not sure the situation will go my way, but it is looking up and it's nice to know that someone cares enough to at least try to help. I'm enjoying my classes so far -- that's always the bright spot for me.

I do think most of my woes can be chalked up to the Polar Vortex.  But we had such a mild winter the last two years that I knew something like this had to be coming.

Winter can't last forever.  Someday my feet will not be cold and covered in rock salt!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 13: Finally, Makeover Week!

It felt really long watching this episode in the morning on I started to cringe at the little "Doo-do-do-do-dooo" jingle for the battery commercial that started every break. In between watching I worked on a new spreadsheet for my own weight goals.  I took tons of notes during the episode.

I liked the way they began this episode, with little peeks at the contestants in the limo after their makeovers, interspersed with their interviews about Makeover Week on Day 1.  It helped to build the anticipation to actually see the contestants and their transformations.

I think if I ever meet Tim Gunn in person, I will probably instantly burst into tears. I was dabbing my eyes during the entire segment with him.  He gave each contestant his full attention and made them all feel special.  They had set up a "boutique" which looked like a set with clothes chosen for each contestant -- given how often they are all weighed and measured, I'm sure that they knew what sizes everyone was in.  He let each of them choose their own clothes to try on -- "I don't want to make anyone my dress-up doll." It sounded like he did choose their final looks, based on how they looked in the clothes they tried on and what they seemed to like.  I liked how he empathized with what Bobby was going through, "Coming out is nothing to take lightly -- I speak it as a fellow gay man." He gushed over everyone in their clothes -- not surprising, since they all looked fantastic. I only noticed one contestant, David, who had obvious loose skin. Maybe they were wearing shape wear under their clothes?  Most of the women ended up in sleeveless dresses, so maybe they were young enough not to have loose skin. The final fashions were all great and flattering. I loved Bobby's leather jacket. David looked much better in a jacket than in the sweater he had on first. Note to self -- to look taller and thinner in a dress, wear nude or metallic shoes, preferably heels with platforms.

I was less enthused about Ken Paves -- I didn't understand the insistence on giving Marie short hair if that was something she didn't want. I wasn't sure if the short hair was because she had sort of fine, limp locks and he wanted to make them look thicker, or just because she said she didn't want it and he wanted to create drama.  I think Marie has a beautiful jawline and the short hair did bring it out, but the super-light color and the swoopy curls seemed more appropriate for a much older woman. I liked her hair better when it was straighter during the gym segments -- it seemed more chic.  I would like to see her in a little darker hair color and a more modern, edgy cut.   I loved the fringe on Chelsea, and the color changes for Jennifer and Tanya.  Of course, David looked much better without his beard, though the scene where he clipped it off was kind of gross to watch. Rachel had the least dramatic transformation, but her color was brightened up a little and several inches came off her hair length.

You can see the final photos for yourself -- let me know what you thought!

Contestants met their family and friends with Allie in the garden area used in Hannah and Olivia's season (that's how I think of that season).  The contestants didn't know who would show up, so it was an exciting surprise for them. It looked like the families had gotten makeovers too, or at least wardrobe help and manicures.  The initial meetings were touching, but I have to admit, as the seemingly scripted conversations went on and on, I got bored and thought, "Let's just get these guys back in the gym, they have work to do!"

That's how Bob felt too -- it seems like every week, he is the designated person to complain that whatever is happening is going to interfere with the contestants' workouts and weight losses.  It seems like whenever the contestants see their families, some of them have a bad weigh-in.

I had been surprised that only Chelsea's brother had showed up to meet her for her makeover reveal, but we learned in a conversation with him that she had gained her weight trying to take care of an alcoholic father. In the gym, Jillian takes time out to talk to Chelsea about how she will need to take care of herself when she gets home.  This was a really sad moment for me, to think that such a young and beautiful girl would be dragged down by her parent's problems.  I hope she moves out on her own -- her efforts with her dad probably weren't helping him, and were obviously hurting her. Her 10-year high school reunion is coming up, so she's only 28. I am hoping she has a lot of fun showing everyone how great she looks.

There was a random segment about a mud run thrown in sort of haphazardly into this episode, and it obviously happened before the makeover. The only reason it seemed to be included is to advertise Biggest Loser races happening around the country. I love races, but the idea of a mud run is not appealing to me. It also seemed like a disconnect with all the glamour of the rest of the episode.

We also got to see Jay at home roping cattle at a trim 185 pounds.  I wish he would have shaved or at least trimmed his beard, but maybe he's saving that for the finale. He is so much more than Cowboy-Hat-Guy now.

There was a double red line this time, so the scale, not the contestants, decided who stayed. Personally, I'd like to see only red lines and no yellow ones.  The weigh-ins weren't terrible, despite Bob's warning. Only Marie seemed to have an off week.  It was a shame, because she was the only one of Jillian's original White Team left (although, by the numbers, Tumi and Jay should have been there instead of Jennifer and Bobby).  Tanya, as expected, finally had her luck run out.  She wasn't one of my favorites originally, but she grew on me as I got to know her story. To be honest, I didn't want to see any of them go home -- this has been an amazingly sweet and drama-free season. The contestants genuinely seem to like each other.

Here are the stats on the final five (courtesy of the Season 15 wiki):

Contestant Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Most Recent % Lost

Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 25.9 260 151 41.92%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 33.3 409 259 36.67%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 26.5 241 164 31.95%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 31 358 248 30.73%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 29 266 185 30.45%

Next week is the final week on the ranch. There will be the triathlon, and there is a double red line. The winner of the triathlon is guaranteed a spot, but then the two lowest losses out of the remaining contestants go home. 

I expect Rachel to win the triathlon unless they weigh her down with 50-pound rocks when she swims.  No one who is left can come close to her in the swim or the run.  She is also the person with the highest percentage lost, again, by a lot.  Chelsea, Bobby, and Jennifer are all pretty close on weight loss so far.  Any one of them, or David, could have a great week or a bad week next week. I think Chelsea is vulnerable because she is closest to her goal.

Once it's down to the final three, the ultimate winner could be any of them. Everyone looks great now, but they all have room to lose and still be in a healthy weight range -- and Rachel is closest to her goal.  It should be exciting.

Unfortunately, I'll probably have to watch online again. "Doo-do-do-do-dooo!"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm In a bit of a slump


I have been in a slump lately. The weather is cold and depressing and it's less fun to work out outdoors. The new semester starting up has gotten in the way of my workout classes. I feel frazzled and stressed by work and unmotivated to do more than "good enough" workouts and meal planning.

I'm just muddling through right now the best I can.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 12: "Oh look, it's a fork that an Olympian used, how thrilling!"

I got a little tired of the Olympic-level gushing over every little thing this episode. I did like that they pointed out that even Olympic athletes have faced setbacks and challenges.  But all of the phony thrill -- "It's so great to weigh in near the ski jump, even though I'm freezing to death" -- wore thin. They did get some really cool coats out of that last one -- I think those jackets were made just for this episode (by Marmot -- the logo was quite prominently displayed).

I was already frustrated because our NBC affiliate has not made a deal with Buckeye Cable, and so I was trying to watch this episode with the digital antenna. Our signal kept going out, no matter what gymnastics we tried with it.  Beginning next week, I teach Tuesday nights. Since I can't record the episodes, I'll just be watching on Unless, hope against hope, this whole cable mess gets straightened out.

Because the contestants were at the Olympic training center, they had to manage their own eating. Rachel reminded me of Vickie -- she had brought a cooler packed with all of her "safe" food from the ranch.  Everyone else seemed to struggle, and as Bob predicted, there were some lackluster weigh-ins, including two people who gained weight (or "plussed" in Biggest Loser terminology).

The challenges this time were fun because they got to incorporate some of the Olympic sports. There was a simplified version of curling.  The contestants had to run up a one-mile bobsled track at altitude. I have spent time at altitude only once, and it was very hard on me. I felt sick the entire time. This made Rachel and Jay's fight to win this challenge even more impressive.

There was much talk of Rachel having a "target on her back" because of her incredible success in everything. Jay, who is very close to his goal weight, pulled back on some of the challenges because he didn't want to make the contestants resent him and want to vote him off. The problem is, that strategy didn't work.  I think Rachel has the right idea -- she already tried giving up on her goals to win love, and it didn't work. Why not go all out?  She doesn't seem to be bragging about how great she is all the time, she just is very strong and focused. This week she passed the 100-pounds-lost mark. Jay could not have won "The Biggest Loser" title -- he has a lower percentage of weight lost than Rachel, and he only had 7-8 pounds more to lose. Rachel looks great now, but as an average-height woman, she could push herself down to the 120s or even the 110s and still be in a healthy BMI  range, and she's at 155 now.  She is definitely the one to beat.

Here are the updated stats, with data from the show's wiki page:

Contestant Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Most Recent % Lost
Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 27.6 260 155 38.08%
Jay 38 5'10" 42.6 27.5 297 193 35.35%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 34.7 409 266 33.99%
Tumi 41 5'8" 48.5 33.6 319 221 30.72%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 31.7 358 256 29.05%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 27.6 241 168 29.05%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 29.6 266 189 28.95%
Marie 30 5'6" 40.2 29.5 249 178 26.51%
Matt 38 6'3" 45.7 33.8 356 263 26.12%
Tanya 40 5'7" 41 31 262 196 24.43%
Hap 26 6'5" 47.8 37.5 403 316 21.59%
Holley 24 5'8" 53.4 42.1 351 277 21.08%
Craig 30 6'1" 50.8 40.5 385 307 20.26%
Ruben 35 6'3" 57.7 47.1 462 377 18.40%
Fernanda 32 5'7" 39.2 32.6 250 208 16.80%

I have to admit that I liked the other contestants less for resenting Rachel's success. But there were some good moments with Jennifer facing her fears (though I really hope her daughter never watches this show, since a clip of Jillian saying "you're more than just the mom with the fat kid" got in there). Marie, too, hopes to win. She even carries Bobby piggyback when she can't jump up to his back.

It's hard to tell if Bobby is really a slacker, or if Bob is just being hard on him. But he admits to having some trouble with binge eating, and he is one of the ones who gains weight. Like Tanya, he got a break this week with the voting because no one saw him as a threat.  I have to say, I'm glad Bobby gets to do Makeover Week (I'm so excited about next week!).

Speaking of makeovers, we got to see Tumi trying on wedding dresses and she looked gorgeous. It was sad to me that she didn't feel like trying on dresses when she first got engaged because she was too big.  I liked what she said about feeling like a winner whether she wins a prize or not.

We are up to a two-hour format again -- but unlike last season, I don't feel like it's filled with fluff. These episodes feel jam-packed, so it's hard to include everything in these reviews.  Frustratingly, because my reception was going in and out, there were a lot of things I missed that I'm catching up on this morning by listening to the episode on while working on this post.

One of those things was Rachel's talk with Dolvett about her dad. She and her dad stopped talking a while when she kept swimming. I don't think parents should push their children so hard or make them feel that their love is dependent on accomplishments, but at the same time, I can't imagine feeling happy if I had a child who was offered several college scholarships for swimming but quit for a high-school boyfriend.  Rachel also revealed that this was around the time that her parents got divorced, so I'm sure the hard feelings there played a part in their estrangement. Rachel said her dad has been very encouraging since she told him she was trying out for this show. I hope, though, that she doesn't feel like her dad will only love her when she's a winner.

Again, next week is Makeover Week! My post might be a little later since I will be teaching on Tuesday night.  So do you think that Rachel will have her Rapunzel-like locks cut (I hope not too much)? I can't wait to see what David looks like without that ugly beard.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Road-Salt Blues

I have been feeling emotional about road salt.  My car, the carpet of my car, my shoes, my favorite boots, my floors... Road salt is everywhere right now. I found some on the ELBOW of my running jacket yesterday and almost lost it.  How did it get there?

Even with the snow and the bitter cold, we have been getting plenty of sun, and with all the snowed-in days, I should be very well rested. Winter just has me out of sorts.

I saw some little bunches of daffodils at my grocery store and decided to buy them to remind myself that spring will eventually come.  I put them where the cats can't bother them, on my kitchen counter. I know that some cats can get up on kitchen counters (or even refrigerators) but thankfully, mine cannot.  Ours are both pretty old and they still manage to get into enough trouble.

One of the first things I did when the snow emergency was lifted was to go to my gym.  I wanted to use the Spin bikes but they were all locked up. I used a really dumb video-game-style exercise bike while waiting for a treadmill to open up, and then did an interval workout. I hate running on the treadmill, so the only way I can make myself do it is to play with the speed. I didn't quite do a Jillian-style 10 mph interval, but I did do two minutes at 8 miles per hour (7:30-minute miles).  Considering that my normal running speed is closer to 11-12 minutes per mile, it was tough.  It felt great to sweat!

I got my first outdoor run the next day.  I don't normally run two days in a row, but this was a special occasion.  And on Friday, my husband went to school and I was finally back to my normal routine. I had a very productive afternoon at work and also spent the morning straightening up the house. I'm hoping that we don't get snowed in again this winter.

What I did this week:

Monday: Snowed in, shoveled snow for an hour
Tuesday: Snowed in, Kettlebells
Wednesday: Dumb exercise bike thing, 5 minute walk warm-up, 20-minute treadmill interval run, 5 minute walk cool down, went to campus in the afternoon to get a few things done
Thursday: 5 minute warmup walk, 20 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down.
Friday: Spin class! Boy did I miss it!
Saturday: Pilates Circuit
Sunday: will swim this evening with the masters' swim group.

I am hoping the ennui will lift now that I'm getting back to my normal routine. I got a manicure and pedicure yesterday and I almost feel human again.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 11: One more thing... Rachel rocks!

This was a two-hour episode, so it was easy to forget important points I wanted to mention in my review.  I wanted to mention contestant Rachel Frederickson, who is my favorite to win this thing. During the weigh-in, Jillian compared Rachel to past seasons' tough women contestants, saying something like "Tara, Ali, Hannah and're blowing them all out of the water."

Rachel has the unlikely combination of athletic ability and experience and a high starting weight.  This is pretty common in the men, who are often former athletes, but has been less common in the women.  The Wikipedia page for this season shows that Rachel has already lost 99 pounds. That means she has lost 38% of her starting weight in 11 weeks. Here is some data from the wiki with the contestants sorted by their percentage lost:

 Name  Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Weight Most Recent Percentage Lost
Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 27.6 260 161 38.08%
Jay 38 5'10" 42.6 27.5 297 192 35.35%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 34.7 409 270 33.99%
Tumi 41 5'8" 48.5 33.6 319 221 30.72%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 31.7 358 254 29.05%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 27.6 241 171 29.05%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 29.6 266 189 28.95%
Marie 30 5'6" 40.2 29.5 249 183 26.51%
Matt 38 6'3" 45.7 33.8 356 263 26.12%
Tanya 40 5'7" 41 31 262 198 24.43%
Hap 26 6'5" 47.8 37.5 403 316 21.59%
Holley 24 5'8" 53.4 42.1 351 277 21.08%
Craig 30 6'1" 50.8 40.5 385 307 20.26%
Ruben 35 6'3" 57.7 47.1 462 377 18.40%
Fernanda 32 5'7" 39.2 32.6 250 208 16.80%

This makes it even clearer that Tanya, not Tumi, would have been the one to go home if this was strictly a weight-loss competition and not a reality TV show.

Because there is a triathlon coming up where the winner will be guaranteed a spot in the finals, Rachel should make the finals if she can compete in the triathlon. She is a former champion swimmer, and she's also one of the best runners on the show. All the contestants do Spinning.  She just has to make it to the last challenge before the finale:
For the first time in series history, licensee partner “The Biggest Loser RunWalk” will host an in-show Mud Run and first-ever triathlon where each contestant swims a 1/2 mile, bikes 12 miles and runs over three miles as the last challenge before the live finale.
The swim is long enough that someone who can swim well is going to have a big advantage. Contestants might be able to fake it for a few hundred yards, but not for half a mile. Rachel's only issue is making it to that triathlon -- if she ever has a bad week, she will definitely be eliminated, just like Tumi.

The moral of the story:  If you ever decide to try out for The Biggest Loser, learn to swim first! 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 11: Going for the win

This is how I had to set up my new digital antenna, provided by Buckeye Cable, just to be able to watch "The Biggest Loser" last night. No, Buckeye and my local NBC affiliate still have not come to an agreement on pricing. I think Sinclair is trying to gouge Buckeye because they are a small, independent cable provider. and I'm glad Buckeye is fighting them -- but I really just want to be able to watch TV and not have to do acrobatics. Plus, it's nice to DVR the episodes so I can go back and watch something I missed or start watching late and skip the commercials.

Since I had to watch the commercials, I noticed that Dave's Running Shop, a local running store, was advertising during the show.  Better yet, they shot the ad in Wildwood Preserve Metropark, my favorite place to run. It actually seems to be everyone in the Toledo area's favorite place to run, and it's also only a few miles from one of the Dave's locations. I thought it was nice that they were sending a welcoming message to the audience of the show. 

So this week's big news (since we are coming back from the holiday break) was supposed to be that all the contestants were back, including Ruben and Holley, weighing in for a chance to get back on the show. Since both Hap and Matt, two of the big boys on the show, were both eliminated last week, this meant that they didn't even leave the ranch before having a chance to win their right to stay. I suppose we were meant to be excited to have the two celebrity contestants back, but they didn't do or say much of interest. I figured out why Holley's lipstick looks so strange to me -- she has this very pale face, with her skin and hair all about the same color range, and then these bright lips. They look out of place to me.  If she put on some eyeliner, I think it would be fine.  I'm glad to hear the weight loss is helping her in the weight room  -- that was her real goal for being on the show.  Ruben did not seem to want to be there -- he sort of rolled his eyes as he walked in and stood almost behind the door holding it open as the contestants walked in.  He didn't seem to have lost any additional weight since leaving the show.

I was glad Bobby got to come back. Coming out to his family does seem to have changed his outlook on himself and his life, and I think that is why he has been so incredibly successful losing weight since he went home. He was so handsome that didn't recognize him at first.  I'm very happy to see him doing so well, as he seems like a generally good guy. Most of the contestants do at this point.

The big news to me this week was Marie telling Jillian that she wanted to win the show, and not just lose enough to feel healthy so she could have a baby. Jillian stepped up her attention on Marie as a result. There was a recent episode of Jillian's podcast where she talked about "dropping the ball" with a contestant and feeling devastated about it. I have a feeling she was referring to this episode.  The yellow line came back -- two contestants were up for elimination, Tumi and Tanya. I know that Tumi is one of Jillian's favorites, and she was eliminated this week, after working out with one of the other trainers while Jillian was with Marie.  

Jillian worked out a little with Tanya this week, and I got a better sense of why she does the things that had bothered me before. Tanya's mother was abusive, and she is still seeking love and approval everywhere. That makes the attention-seeking behavior easier to understand.  I feel bad for Tanya, because she got to hear during the elimination that no one saw her as someone who could win, and they kept her there not because they liked her, but because they saw Tumi as the bigger threat.

Some other points of interest:

This week the challenge was actually an interesting one -- contestants had to collect kettlebells from a sandy hillside and put them on metal rack, collecting ten in all. The challenge was much easier for the people in front, as they were able to get all the easy-reach weights first. There was a fierce battle not to be last, as there was a one-pound disadvantage on the line. Tanya came in last, and the one-pound disadvantage wasn't even needed to put her under the yellow line. If second-to-last Bobby had gotten it, it wouldn't have hurt him enough to put him below.

Finally, finally, we got to hear something about David's current wife, who was just mentioned in a recent episode -- until then David's storyline was all about his first wife, who died. They still had to replay the same clip we have seen 10 other times about this.  There was a very sweet conversation where David talks to his current wife and thanks her for everything, and apologizes for not giving her his "best." I think it's understandable that someone who lost a spouse would feel a little conflicted about moving on. It was a nice link-up to Abby, from Season 8, who made a reappearance on this episode. She lost not only her first husband but both of their children as well, and has since remarried.  I think that any loving person would not want the one left behind to suffer endlessly, and would hope that they would move on after their death, but it would still be very difficult.

Abby admits to some weight regain -- though she still looked beautiful and happy -- and is able to bring in a plug for the Biggest Loser Resorts (You can win a trip to the one in Malibu by entering on The Biggest Loser website. Of course I did!). 

There was a weird last-chance-workout at a NASCAR facility with the Subway car driver, and the obligatory Subway plug. I didn't find this of much interest, but it did look like a tough workout.

Finally, the "Where Are They Now" videos for Hap and Matt were integrated into this week's show. They have stayed in touch and are calling each other now to check in, which is great.  Matt is preparing for his wedding, and he now needs a size-48 jacket instead of a 60.  Though men's jackets are based on chest measurement, my guess is the 60 was needed more to go around his waist, as in his before photo his chest looks small in comparison with the rest of him. No timeframe was mentioned for the wedding, which may be because they want to get to know each other again now that Matt has changed so much, or they just don't want weird fans showing up at the wedding.

Hap is in some kind of real-estate sales, and we get to see him working out and eating on the road in Hawaii. He goes to some pretty heroic lengths to stick to his plan, including bringing a cooler and a portable grill with him to cook in his hotel room. 

The biggest thing I noticed this episode is how much different everyone looks after only 11 episodes. There are still so many contestants that it's hard to know how they will whittle down to a final 3 in a month's time. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Snowed in, Day 3

Since Sunday morning, I have left my house twice: Once to shovel snow for more than an hour, and once to go to the grocery store just because we were (temporarily) downgraded from a Level 3 Snow Emergency to a Level 2, and I just wanted to leave my house. Once I got back, I was happy to be home and wondered why I felt the need to leave.

The problem at this point is not the snow, which has stopped falling, but the dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills way below zero. A woman in a small town nearby died from being out in the cold.  My husband has already been off school for two days and is already cancelled for tomorrow.

My new car is tucked in the garage and the driveway and sidewalk are clear, so there's no reason to venture out tonight.  I suppose I should be complaining about being bored or stir-crazy or upset that I can't work out, like half my Facebook friends. I really feel lucky to be somewhere warm and safe and am content to relax. I got some schoolwork done and there is more I can do.  I'm hoping to finish  tonight (Amazon affiliate link, thanks to Laura for recommending this series). My husband and I did some kettlebell work today, just a short routine for something to do. There is plenty I could do around the house, too. My cats are very content to have us around all day.

I have things I need to do tomorrow, so I hope the travel ban is lifted.  I'm supposed to get a haircut and color touch-up, for example -- very critical, as my stylist is always booked up and it's hard to reschedule.  It would be nutty to try to run outside, but if the gym is open and I can get in, I'll go.

I know a lot of my readers are snowed in too. I don't think it's terrible to get some quiet time once in a while. I would feel a lot differently if I was without heat, power, or water, though. I'm very grateful for all of those things today.

Stay warm!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

How Gwynnie Bee has changed my style

We are snowed in, and since I don't really want to write about the snow, I thought I'd answer Vickie's question about whether I'm wearing more dresses since I got Gwynnie Bee (affiliate link).

I definitely am wearing a lot more dresses, partly because Gwynnie Bee doesn't have pants (yet), just tops, dresses, jackets, skirts, and cardigans.  The majority of the items on the site are dresses. I have always liked the way I look in skirts and dresses better than the way I look in pants, but I live in northern Ohio, and it gets cold here. Last year around my birthday, I bought a pair of tall black boots, and with those and some black tights, I can make a dress work. Especially since I work on a small campus where I can usually part right outside my building. I used to have a longer walk in from the parking lot when I worked at a bigger school.

I find myself wearing more fun clothes, too. When I was buying all of my own clothes, I would buy basics, because it's hard to wear a distinctive print or a fancy party dress enough times to feel like it was worth the money.

I also try things that interest me even if I'm not sure how they will look. Sometimes I love them, like the , and sometimes they are misses, like the purple print Kiyonna dress that looks great on the model, but because of the unstitched keyhole in the front, looks indecent on me. Some things are just unexpectedly wonderful, like the . Other things, I tried on and sent right back, like the Jessica Howard dress that made me look dowdy. It's not a big deal to send something back -- a replacement usually arrives within a 4-5 days. I'm getting a little better at knowing what will work based on the pictures and the size charts.  Knowing my own measurements has been really useful for this.

I keep some basics on hand to work with the other pieces: The denim jacket that works with a lot of the sleeveless dresses. Cardigans. Slacks in neutral colors. Jeans. Slips in black and white, so that some of the lower-cut dresses aren't too revealing.  Over Christmas and my birthday, I also got a lot of cute tops for my non-GB days. Those were some of the first new clothes I had bought for myself in a while.

The only thing I'd like to see added are more professional offerings. If I ever had a job interview or a big presentation, I probably would have to spring for a suit. I was told by a friend that most of my jackets are too big and don't look great on me.  Maybe at some point I will take what I have to a tailor to see if it's worth altering them.  My body is hard to fit for things like that.

My current job does not require me to wear that kind of corporate attire, and I have been spending a little more time on hair and makeup and trying to look more put-together.  I think that can only benefit me for work. I do wonder if the people at work think I'm spending a fortune on clothes.  I don't advertise that I'm using a clothing rental service -- it sounds a little weird.  I do think, though that the math works, at least for me. If I were buying the kind of stuff I usually bought, I'm sure I would be spending more and getting less.

I am starting to see that as I lose weight, there will be less for me on the site. Though the sizes go down to 10, there is less available at that end of the size range. Gwynnie Bee has said that at some point, they hope to expand their size range, but I am not sure about their timing. I'm just going to enjoy the ride for now and see what happens.

, a set on Flickr.
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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