Friday, December 28, 2012

well hello again!

Two months.  8 weeks.  56 days.  

That's how long it's been since I felt like blogging.  

That's how long it's been since I let myself slide off track.  

That's how long it's taken me to gain 4.8 pounds.  

That's how long it's been since I think I gave a damn.  

Well I'm giving a damn again.  
Not because of the new year's resolutions, because those things are junk and I know it.  
Not because the holidays are over, although I did manage to give myself free reign and it got ugly.  
Not because of anything anyone else said to me.  

I'm giving a damn again because I need to.  
I need to because I miss the way it felt to be getting in better shape.  
I need to because I miss the way people smiled at me when they hadn't seen me for a few months.  
I need to because I miss the way that old clothes became new again.  
I need to because I have invested quite a bit of money in a new bicycle, loads of new workout clothing, and some home exercise gear throughout 2012 and I cannot let that go to waste.  
I need to because I don't feel right without taking care of myself.  
I need to because I need to be in control of something, even if some days I can only control the amount of water I drink or that I ate fruit with every bite of a guilt laden snack option.  

I cannot wait for January 1st to come back and begin taking care of myself.  I especially cannot wait until my meetings resume on January 8th to start acting like a Weight Watcher again.  I cannot delay signing up for my beloved spin classes until after the supposed "New Year's Resolution" rush dies down.  

So I've made a few small changes, but I hope they have a large impact.  Here's where I'm starting:

1.  I logged in to the Weight Watchers main site and I changed my weigh in day to Friday.  
This was completely personal, and I'm not saying everyone has to do it.  I only did it because for the past 14 months I've had my weigh in day on Tuesday which means that I would fall into the following bad habit: I would track on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but on Friday and Saturday I would consume so much junk that I'd give up tracking on Sunday and Monday and just tell myself I'd start over on the following Tuesday.  This did not work well.  Let me rephrase that, this did not work at all.  

2.  I updated my Weight Watchers application on my phone.  
If you haven't done this yet, go do it.  Don't pass go, don't collect two hundred dollars.  Go update your app.  Now.  There are so many more features now on the program and I want to take advantage of every single one of them.  I want you to take advantage of it too!  The points program hasn't changed and neither have the good health guidelines, but the good people of WW have added a ton of new mental diversions and though process changing tools that I am really optimistic about.  I want to see if they work, because I know the points plus already does and anything on top of that is simply a bonus!  

3.  I logged on to my favorite spin studio's website and I signed up for 5 classes in the next three weeks.  
Back to the good old days.  I was cycling outdoors quite a bit over the summer and into the fall, but when the clocks changed and the weather got cooler I found excuse after excuse not to exercise outdoors anymore.  I've removed my excuse for the next three weeks because my beloved Pedal Spin studio is climate controlled and the rain doesn't change the ride at all.  After I signed up for the classes, I put them all on my calendar so I wouldn't have an excuse to forget...again.  

4.  I made sure that all of my exercise clothes are ready to go at a moment's notice in an easily accessible drawer.  
It sounds stupid, but because I'm putting my house back together after an unexpected and lengthy remodel (which I'll explain later, with pictures!) I had clothes all over my bedroom and in piles of disarray.  Just getting all of the necessary items in one place is going to help me, even just a teeny tiny bit.  Another small part of this equation is going to be getting the residual junk food out of my house, but I'm not going to try to tackle that all at once.  I find that getting rid of all the junk food makes me feel deprived, then I just rebel and eat like crap anyway.  It defeats the purpose.  

5.  Last, but not least, I'm back to my good old grocery shopping list.  
For a long time I had a routine of what foods I would buy and the good thing was that I got really comfortable with knowing the points plus values of my usual goodies.  The last couple of months have been a disaster of me grabbing whatever I could find at my local Target and eating junk food and fast food like it was the end of the world.  By adding my old grocery list to the knowledge that my beloved Trader Joe's has partnered with Weight Watchers to add over 1,000 of their food items into the Weight Watchers points plus database and I feel like I'm setting myself up for some baby steps back to success.  

So there you go, I'm going to coming around again.  I appreciate the "are you alive" emails, text messages, and tweets.  In fact, if you're not connected to me online somehow then I really hope you'll take a second to do so.  The easiest way is on Twitter, since I try to keep the health related stuff there.  I'm not shy though, feel free to get in touch with me in other ways such as Facebook.  I can always use another friendly person that is willing to share some accountability and support, and I hope I can provide the same to all you lovely people as well!  

Monday, October 29, 2012

tri update: a multitude of emotions

I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so I've compiled some photos to explain what was going through my mind during the triathalon.  The biggest chunks are (of course) missing because I didn't take a camera with me as I travelled, I only have the photos of my dad and other friends and family members to rely on.  But the location was gorgeous and I really wish I had a camera with me to show you some of the parts only viewed by those of us on the course. 

I didn't see this sign until after I had finished the course, but this is the body of water that we swam in.  Lake Cahuilla.  No swimming.  Except for the cool, spandex-wearing, bicycle-riding kids like us.  I feel special.  

Pre-swim.  Orange cap.  Unflattering clothing.  Big freaking smile on my face.  I was a doofus.  A pretty nervous doofus.  

By the way, the people behind me aren't strangers, they're my best friend and her husband.  My dad likes candid and awkward shots, what can I say?  

In the water (note the attractive "swim angel" in front of us) ready to begin and I believe this part of our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Well, we've done some pretty crazy shit together, haven't we?"
Amanda: "Yah, but I think this is by far the craziest."  
Me: "Definitely."

Transition #1.  All I was thinking was (1) how do I get this lake water out of my nose and mouth while my family is watching me and (2) I SURVIVED THE SWIM!!!

This may look like I'm smiling, but I think it's an optical illusion.  I was pretty nervous to get started on the bike ride.  This is where my fears started to kick in.  

What if I get a flat tire?  
What if I fall of my bike?  
What if I don't finish?

Fast forward to the part that I finish the 14 mile bike ride.  Here I was coming back into the park area.  

At this point, it was a down hill slope and I was so grateful for that.  You basically get to coast all the way into the bike area once you climb the hill back into the parking area.  


What was I thinking here?  Hell.  That's what.  

It was unbelievably hot at this point.  Hot like hell.  My first mile was in an area like what you see above, then it became a flat run around the lake for another mile with no shade.  Not a single inch.  Sun blazing.  Tired.  Probably the worst run I've ever had.  

My best friend finished ahead of me by about 20 minutes.  When she saw me round the corner, I thought she was walking to her car or coming over to wave at me.  

Instead she ran with me all the way up to the finish line entrance.  Yah.  It was awesome.  I have great friends.  

Here I go...

"Am I there yet?"

Obligatory action shot...

Here's the lovely aftermath: Me shoving a banana in my mouth while explaining to my boyfriend how hot it was on the run.  

Right to left: Amanda's brother, my lovely aunt hugging me (excuse my mouth full of food and sweaty clothes), and my boyfriend contemplating all of life's deepest mysteries.  

Just kidding, I think he was hungry.  Or hot.  Or both, which means he's unhappy.  


My mommy got teary eyed, so I had to go give her a peck on the cheek.  

We're odd like that.  

So there you have it, my belated and picture filled wrap up!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

tri update: how i did part 1

I'm back from La Quinta and I'm alive!  Yah, that was a goal of mine.  To survive my first triathalon. 

Mission accomplished. 

This blog has been a long time coming in my mind so I've decided to split it into two segments: physical and emotional.  So now I get to tell you how I did, more specifically how I did physically. 

Let me start by saying that I attended a pre-triathalon meeting with Sally Edwards on Saturday before the big event and I heard women saying things like "It took me three hours to finish my first triathalon last year" and "I walked the entire 5K.

I knew then that I had to re-adjust my goals, not that I'd really set any goals at that point.  So I started thinking about how I'd been performing and what I should possibly expect from myself: 

I know that lately I had finished 500 meters in a swimming pool in less than 20 minutes.  I decided to be nice to myself, and I gave myself a goal of finishing the swim portion of the event in less than 30 minutes. 

I also know that my cycling at a steady pace with no big inclines has been about 14 miles per hour, but when hills and such are factored in I can drop down to as low as about 10 miles per hour depending on the size of the hill.  I had to complete a total of 14 miles in the race, and there were a few hills that lead out of and back into the race venue, so I gave myself a goal of finishing the cycling portion of the even in less than 90 minutes. 

Finally, I know that lately I've been in the 13 or 14 minutes per mile range when I've been out running.  But I have been running early in the morning when there is no heat and I've only been running about 2.5 miles each time.  Also, I don't always run right after a bike ride.  Sometimes I just run, ya know?  With all that into account, I gave myself a goal of finishing the running portion of the event in less than 45 minutes. 

That puts my grand total for the event at 2 hours and 45 minutes.  That was my goal and I was sticking to it! I had my Polar heart rate monitor as my timer and I was ready to go.   

So here's how things really went down:

I was in the very last group of the day, (orange cap) the mixed ages group.  I had a helluva time putting my swim caps on, since I put my TYR silver swim cap on first, then my goggles, then my race issued orange cap on second.  I fidgeted, I got in the (really warm) water for a bit, and then I stood around looking at all of my friends and family that had come to support me.  NERVES!!!

I went down into the water, I was given a mantra for my race by Sally Edwards which was "WICKED GOOD" for all of my Massachussetts friends!  And then before you know it, we were OFF!!!  I did a beautiful stroke all the way out to the first turn which was about 100 meters and I made the left hand turn. 

From there, something in my mind turned off and my stroke turned choppy and irratic, then I saw my best friend's eyes get big and she flipped over onto her back and did the back stroke.  My head turned to mush and I started alternating between the breast stroke, freestyle, and a back stroke.  About the time I reached the 400 meter marker, I had decided that I had been in the water for what seemed like an eternity and I should have not set a goal of 30 minutes for myself.  It was only the first event and I had seemingly failed myself in my head.   

Then I looked down at my watch and I realized that I had only been in the water for 12 minutes and I needed to shut the eff up!  My mind was playing really mean tricks on me.  I got out of the water (but not before tripping on a huge rock) and trailed my best friend up to the first transition. 

Funny story to insert here. I had swallowed and snorted quite a bit of lake water, so as I tried to make it up to my bike I was coughing and blowing my nose a lot and saying sarcastic things like "Gee, that lake water was delicious!"   Little did I realize that my father, friend's husband, and a professional photographer were all snapping away during this portion of the race.  I can't wait to see the photo of the buckets of snot I was expelling! 

I got up to my towel, pulled my socks on (note to self: wash rocks and dirt off feet first next time) and geared up and we were out of the transition and headed into the cycling portion in less than 20 minutes! 

Booyah transition 1!

Cycling out of the park was really odd because my calves and toes started to cramp during the swim, but as soon as I hit the bike I was able to use the pedals to stretch out my legs and scoot right out of the parking lot.  I climbed a few hills, hit the flat road and settled in to the get my heart rate down a bit.  That's when I noticed that my trip computer on my bike had disconnected and I had no way to monitor my speed or distance. 


The rest of the ride passed smoothly, a bit too smoothly actually.  I found myself looking around at the amazing desert scenery and often forgetting that I was doing a race!  I really wish I had a camera with me and was coordinated enought to take a photo while riding.  I had to clue myself in every once in a while so that I'd speed up a bit more, but even though I was passed by a few riders, I passed more than my fair share.  Each time I passed I started out by saying "ON THE LEFT" and as I rode by I'd follow up with something like "Great job" because honestly, everyone who was doing this race was great in my book. 

Then I noticed around mile 9 or so that quite a few of the riders that had passed me were the very same riders that I was now passing and I congratulated myself for maintaining such a consistent speed.  That was something I had struggled with in the past, and I was glad I had control over it now.  I had conserved my energy well and was about to head into the park again. 

I had to climb one ugly monster of a hill to enter back into transition number 2, and as I started climbing it I saw my best friend's husband standing at the top of the hill with his camera and cheering me on.  Boy, did I need that.  My legs burned as I huffed and puffed my way up that hill, and as I passed him I said something like "I guess it's a good thing I didn't get off and walk my bike up the hill, right?"  He later told me that about 20% of the riders had walked that hill.  I was glad I didn't. 

As I came around the the bike rack I passed my family and smiled because I was going down hill and it was easy to smile.  Thank heavens they didn't see me at the hill I just climbed.  Those photos are probably hideously ugly. 

Transition 2 was easy.  Bike up.  Dump water in mouth.  Helmet off.  Dumpe water in mouth.  Visor on.  Dump water on head.  Eat 2 energy blocks.  Dump water in mouth.  Leave the transition. 

Take that tranistion 2! 

That's when I passed my best friend's family, and her brother ran along and took photos of me with his iPhone leaving the gate so I knew I had to run for the photo op!  I rounded the corner and my energy left me like air out of a balloon and I had to walk for a bit.  I did a steady walk-run for the first mile and counted the minutes on my watch when I saw the marker: 1:33 to 1:47.  14 minute mile.  Bleh.  Then I sped up for the second mile marker and I saw the greatest thing: 2:00!  A 13 minute mile.  Great! 

The last mile felt like it took forever, but it was really about a 16 minute mile and I rounded the corner to the finish line.  As I approached my best friend, who had already finished, she met me at the sand and ran the last few hundred yards as I entered the last stretch with me and I started to get tears in my eyes. 

I.  Was.  Done. 

I.  Was.  A.  Triathalete. 

I.  Was.  Wicked.  Good. 

So that's my story about how I finished a sprint triathalon in 2 hours and 17 minutes.  That's nearly 30 minutes ahead of my goal and it leaves plenty of room for improvement! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

tri update: reflections

As this blog goes up, I'll probably be lining up for my first race event in my life: an all female sprint triathalon.  

You read that right.  I've never raced in my life.  In fact, I've never even run a 5K.  At least, I haven't until today.  

Today, everything I've thought about myself for my 28 years on this earth is going to shift a little.  Today, every negative word I've spat at myself is going to fade away a little.  Today, my own two legs are going to take me further than I've ever gone before.  They're going to take me approximately 17.4 miles through a series of events, culminating in one single thing that I said I'd never do: running.  

Let's back track, I've been active before, but never like this.  Distance wasn't my thing.  I used to ice skate a few days a week as a kid, I took tons of swimming lessons, I'd follow my dad around on my pink bike with the white basket on the front, and eventually I'd be a cheerleader and take gymnastics classes.  But never have I ever done anything like what I'm about to do.  

I am sure I'll come home and post pictures and tell you all about what it was like, but right now let me tell you about what it means in my head that I'm about to do this.  

It means my scale can take a long walk off a short bridge for a while.  I feel good and I haven't really let the number on that screen get me down in a while.  

It means my size 12's are loose and my size 10's fit right and aren't snug anymore.  It means a medium shirt in most brands will fit me, and I have gotten rid of a number of large and extra large items in my drawers and closets and the only size that has stayed the same has been my shoe size.  

It means that I'm in the home stretch.  I'm about 20 pounds away from that magic number in my head and while I am not worried about getting there or how long it's going to take me, I've got some new tools to help me along the way.  

It means I want to do this again.  True, nothing will be as cool and crazy as this first time, but I've already lined up another event in my mind and I'm anxious to keep training for it even though I've yet to complete this first one.  That sounds absolutely flippin' nuts, but it's the God's honest truth.  

So sit back, enjoy your day, because you know I'm going to be enjoying the heck out of mine.  

"Catch you on the flip side."

Thank you to Fit Bottomed Girls for sending me on this journey with your giveaway.  Thanks to Laura, Mae,  Alejandra, Lisa, Dawn, Kelly, Marisol, Andrea, Dacia and the rest of my twitter family for sending me (in 140 characters or less) all of your support.  Thanks to my friends and family for thinking I'm nuts, loving it, and cheering me on and supporting me as I do this.  But really, really, really thank you to my friend and coach Amanda for smacking some sense into me when I said I wasn't going to do this and she wouldn't let me quit before I'd even started.  Then she wouldn't let me quite after I'd started.  And I'm going to guarantee she won't let me quit ever in life and I love her for it.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

tri update: regrets part 1

I have to get some regrets off my chest, apologize, and move on right now.  I've got to do this so I can let go, get up again, and scurry on my merry way. 

First of all, I regret that my last blog post was 2 months ago.  I've not felt like talking much about training, I just felt like doing it and feeling it.  I've not felt like talking much about Weight Watchers, I've been falling off and fall back onto plan for a while and subsequently I weight exactly the same as I did 8 weeks ago.  I'm still down a total of 25 pounds, but that's not saying much.  I've not felt like talking much about my personal life, but I think it's time to open up a bit about it.  Apology made, now let's talk. 

Triathalong training has flown by.  Literally.  It just went WHOOSHHHHHH!  Then, it was gone. 

I can start by saying my brick experiences have been such a hard thing for me to accomplish, and they are far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.  If you don't know, a brick workout is any workout where you combine two or more disciplines, such as a bike ride and a run or a swim and a bike ride. I did about 8 bricks over the course of 8 weeks, even doing two in one weekend!  Of those 8 brick workouts, 3 of them were done with my amazing friend, Amanda. 

Let me pause here and say I have amazing friends and family, Amanda being one of them.  Each of my friends and family has supported me through all of this, asking me how I was doing or simply taking a moment to say (or send me a text message) how proud of me they are.  Words and tears simply cannot explain how amazing this makes me feel, and I have to pause and say thank you to all of you. 

So back to bricks, we rode several times between 10 and 12 miles and then followed up with runs that were usually between 2 and 3 miles.  I.  Was.  Exhausted.  Thank the good Lord above that Amanda is a pretty awesome runner and an even better teacher and running coach.  She taught me to relax my shoulders, find good music, set attainable goals, and stop balling up my fists.  Those teeny tiny lessons have expanded running from something that I loathed into something that I tolerated, and more recently even something that I enjoyed completing. 

There, I said it.  I enjoy finishing a run.  I don't consider myself a runner in any sense of the word, but finishing up 2.5 miles during a sunrise with P!NK blasting in my ear buds has become a bit cathartic for me, and it's helped ease my anxiety a whole helluva lot lately. 

That being said, I regret not doing more brick workouts. 

I also have one more moment I regret.  About 8 weeks ago, I went down to ride with Amanda near Tom's Farm in Corona.  It was my first time riding there, and she warned me about a couple of hills.  I think I let myself get caught up in the warning and on the second to the last hill, I gave up, hopped off my bike and walked it.  Two words come to my mind as I type this: chicken and sh*t.  I regret hopping off my bike.  To this day I'm mad about it, but luckily I was mad enough that two weeks later I sent her a text message that said "I want a re-match with that hill." 

Needless to say, I did not walk my bike up the hill.  I huffed and I puffed and I blew that hill down, well, not really but you get the picture.  I wasn't speedy, I wasn't graceful, and I certainly wasn't lady like about it.  I said bad words, and even Amanda said I could call her names if I wanted to, as long as I was up at the top of the hill when I did it.  That is a moment I do not regret.  I'm grateful for that ride, and the 2.5 mile run that we did afterwards.  In that moment, I felt like I might actually be ready to do a triathalon. 

Before I sign off after this rambling story, I need to tell you that if you're reading this, you need to go read my friend Mae's blog.  She's getting an awesome opportunity to head to NYC and do a photo shoot at Weight Watchers because she is the epitome of a "Success Story" and they finally realized how amazing she is. 

Seriously, go read it.  Fall in love with Mae.  Wish you could snuggle with her awesome Boxer, Bowie.  Then thank me later. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

tri update: training

It has been quite some time since I've told you all what's going on with the tri training.  First, I've developed some strong feelings for each of the events and although I'm apprehensive to share my thoughts, I'm going to anyway.  

Running sucks.  It isn't fun to me at all.  I've talked to everyone I can about running, and I just cannot seem to get much better than a 12 minute mile pace.  Then, I try to change things up and I run some hills and my pace shoots up to a 15 minute mile which makes me completely frustrated and incredibly sore.  I hate to run.  

The only good thing that's come of running is when I ran with my best friend and tri-buddy this weekend.  She was able to correct quite a few things I've been doing all wrong which lead to our 1.7 mile run being moderately enjoyable, which is a huge improvement!  

Biking is my favorite event to practice.  If I had more time, I'd just bike all the time.  I have reached the point where I'm rarely ever sore the day after a ride and I can simply focus on my breathing, my speed, my form, and enjoying myself.  Just pedaling like a goofball and chatting with my friend the other day got us to a 6 minute mile, and I think we can definitely improve.  I have a couple of different routes that I can take around my house, and each of them poses a challenge in a different way.  Length.  Hills.  Traffic.  You name it and I can face it.  I feel great after ever single ride, and I love not worrying about anything except improving!  

Swimming is like an old friend.  My mom used to call me a fish when I was a kid.  Ever summer she'd sign me up for swim and diving classes and I loved it.  I haven't swam laps in years, but a few weeks ago I hopped in to the lap pool at my local 24 Hour Fitness and just took off.  I told myself I'd try for just 10 laps, about half of the distance I'd need to complete for my sprint triathalon in October.  After 10 laps I felt so good I did another 5 laps and got out so I could head home and cook dinner.  I've swam a few more times since then, each time completing the full half mile I'll need to complete in the tri.  

Here's the re-cap.  I think the first event, swimming, will be like a wonderful warm up and enjoyable event for me.  Heading in to the bike ride will be a personal challenge for myself to get to a good speed and keep a steady pace for all twelve miles.  However, ending with the run will be a simple battle of mind over matter.  My mind hates running and I'll just have to convince myself that what I think doesn't matter, I need to do my best.  

Plain and simple.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

product review: new TRI gear!

Back when I started taking spin classes, I started collecting bits and pieces of gear that made my rides more enjoyable and helped me do my best.  I tried not to ever worry about how gear made me "look" and only about how the gear made me "feel."  Vanity aside, I've noticed that some of my spin gear did not translate well to bicycling.  

Well you know what that means, it's time to shop!  

I started off at the Danskin website to look at some pieces that could be worn for swimming, biking and running.  I ended up with a couple of really great items.  First off, I got some TRI Shorts.  I really debated about buying these because I never wear shorts.  I don't wear them in every day life, and I don't wear them to spin class.  However I have to contend with the heat, the sun, and tan lines when I'm riding my bike outside and I decided that shorts were a necessary evil.  These shorts have a 7 inch inseam, so they aren't obscenely short and the waistband and leg bands are reinforced to prevent movement during a ride or a run. I haven't swam in them yet, but I'm confident that they'll be perfect for the day of the triathalon and I love riding and running in them so far.  

Next up I bought a TRI Tank and I'm a bit less enthusiastic about this purchase, but it's for vanity reasons I've decided.  First off, the back of the tank is wide and produces a very large tan line during long rides.  Next, the tank is very fitted and I like things to flare a little bit around my midsection, or at least not cling to me for dear life.  Then, it occurred to me that if I'm going to swim in this shirt that I don't want it to move around a lot in the water.  And lastly, it is cut in the front in such away that it gives me a sort of arm bulge.  I've moved it around and I just can't seem to get rid of it, so I'll deal with it.  There are some good things about it though!  I like the shelf bra interior and the zipper on the bust.  The bra shelf means that once it's in place around the girls, it won't budge.  The zipper on the bust means that I can wear it zipped up and tight in the water (it's a bit constricting) and then I can drop the zipper for the bike and the run to allow for a bit more room and air circulation.  The pocket in the back (with a zipper) rocks also.  The length is good, and it doesn't ride up while I'm moving.  

I also (and for no good reason) bought a jacket that was on sale called a Cross Tech Jacket and a Camo Flower Active Tank from Danskin.  The tank I could take or leave, and I'm glad I got it on sale.  But the jacket?  I love the jacket!  It's the perfect mid-weight jacket for spring workouts or heading to my car after an evening workout.  It is lightweight, soft material, and easy to clean.  Winner!  

Just recently I added a new tank to my collection from Novarra called the Rhumba Bike Tank and it has quickly become my favorite biking tank!  It fits perfectly, with a flare at the waist and it has an extra long back side with not one, but two pockets!  The back also cuts in like a racer back, so the tan lines are a bit more tolerable.  I highly recommend this as a cycling or running tank!  

Underneath every tank I wear is this: Moving Comfort Juno sports bra.  I'm not small up top, and my best friend recommended this brand to me after she'd run a few half marathons and a marathon in it.  If it was good enough for her, I thought I'd try it.  My first time out, I fell in love with it!  The adjustable straps are heavenly and the wide band with a bra strap in the back that actually snaps is simply genius.  They took all the great parts of an everyday bra and turned it into my all time favorite sports bra.  I cannot say enough good things about this bra.  

And last, but not least, I bought a Camelbak.  I was trying to drink water during rides and I nearly fell down a couple of hills in the process, so I figured that it was time.  I ended up with the Rogue model, and I was sold finally on the lifetime warranty and replaceable parts.  I looked at it as an investment.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

There are no letters F, U, or N in the phrase "Weight Loss"

I have to admit, I am having a bitter critter moment. Bear with me for just a second and I will try to elaborate without using the eff bomb too much.

Twenty five pounds is quite a success for me, in fact I am quite proud of it. However, as soon as I got that 25 pound charm during my meeting, my brain turned off and my stomach growled. I spent the better part of 3 weeks fighting urges and cravings until this week when I succumbed.

And boy, did I succumb!!!

In just a matter of days I went from moderate self control to brownies, chicken strips, french fries, Pop Tarts, and bacon wrapped hot dogs. Yah, I put an s at the end of the last one because I did not stop after just one.

Bite me.

So what happened? I am not entirely sure. Part of it is because I am a girl, and every 4 weeks I go stark raving mad and eat like a 500 pound man for a few days. But that is only a small part of what I really think happened.

I think I got rebellious. I think I forgot how good it felt to be getting healthy again. I think I wanted instant gratification. I think I gave myself permission to not only fall off the wagon, but to tip the whole damn wagon over, pour lighter fluid on it, and light that bitch up like a bonfire.

I started looking at some of my favorite healthy meals and snacks with such disdain that it was sort of freaking me out. I may have told a banana that I hated it, I cannot be sure. It is all sort of a carbohydrate haze really. I am not sure I was in my right mind.

The good news is that it was a small uptick on the scale thanks largely in part to the fact that my amazing boyfriend has started joining me for bike rides and gym trips. The bad news is that I physically feel ill because of it. Every single bad thing I like, I managed to cram into a 96 hour eating frenzy. It was disgusting. I ate like a teenage boy for a few days, and now my 28 year old female body is pissed. Karma is a beezy.

So there you have it. People talk about trigger foods a lot of times, and I do not know if I have one. I will tell you that I have about a dozen foods that flew quickly into my mouth recently, and I can also tell you that they need to go away for a while.

If you are wondering, I have started my swim training. I am not really pushing myself as of yet, but I have a fairly decent lap pace that makes me confident that the swim portion of the triathalon will not be my weakest event. I am running right about a 1:10 lap for 0.5 miles. That means for about 18 laps, it takes me less than 25 minutes. I also goof around at the ends of the pool, fiddle with my goggles, and check my timer and heart rate. I am so odd.

I have not run in 2 weeks. I do not have an excuse. I worked really hard to bring my pace down to  a 12 minute mile and boosted my distance to 1.5 miles, then I stopped. I am so odd.

I have been biking short distances with a couple of hills lately, and I throw in a couple sprints or tabata drills everynow and then. Except for Sunday morning, when I skipped breakfast before our ride and ended up doubled over on the side of the trail, nearly throwing up. I made my boyfriend ride back in front of me the whole way so that on the off chance I did end up puking, it would not ruin his day too if you know what I mean. I am so odd.

So I leave you with something one of my twitter friends brought up, and it was that everyn should have a saying or a mantra for their journeys. Mine is this,

I would rather be healthy than skinny.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reality Check!

So the first couple of weeks of triathalon "training" have been, um, well, interesting.

I still spin on Saturday mornings for 90 minutes. I kick ass in that class. Really I do. 1100 to 1200 calories of ass. That is a whole lotta ass.

I have spent 3 weeks trying out the simply filling technique of Weight Watchers. Lost for 2 weeks, then rebelled completely and spent a weekend worshipping chips and salsa only to gain a half a pound. I have forgiven myself. It is over. Damage done. Now get the f*ck over it.

Here comes the anger. I installed my new trip computer on my bike,but not ridden it. Why? I. Do. Not. Know.

Maybe it is laziness.

Maybe it is part of the rebellion thing that I had going on with Weight Watchers. But it has to stop.

The war is over.

The chips and salsa won.

Move on.

And by move, I do not mean figuratively. I mean get that ass up and MOVE!

And the running. Oh, the running. I started at 2 days a week. But the past 2 weeks, I have only attempted to run twice. Each run was about 1.5 miles, and I had about a 13 minute per mile pace. That is not bad, but I know I have a long way to go before I get comfortable with the idea that I will be running 3 miles.

I keep reading about how experienced runners sign up for their first triathalon and get to the run only to hit a wall or have problems. They are runners. I am not. This just intensifies my fear.

Then I stop, ask myself what the fear is, and realize that even if I am walking, I will eventually cross that finish line and complete my first triathalon.

That is my only goal right now.

Finish the race.

But all tri talk aside, I celebrated a big victory last week and I would like to share it. As of last week, I have lost 25 pounds. Even with my. 5 pound gain this week, I am still holding on to that accomplishment.

This goal means I am about halfway through my journey, and my drivers license is only a lie by about 25 or so pounds. When my drivers license is not really a lie anymore, well, I guess I will be a happy, healthy lady.

For now, I am happier and healthier than I have felt in a long while. I stop and shake myself when I realize that running a mile or more was not even a possibiltity for me last June. Spin class terrified me last June. I was a mess last June.

Who knows what July will bring?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Control freak...

Here is a fact, I am a control freak. Totally. I need to plan everything. I have to be in control. If I want something, I plan out the necessary steps I need to take, I complete the steps, and I get what I want. It is easy to me, perhaps because I have practiced it my whole life.

When I was a child, I did not have rules. It sounds odd, but I did not really need rules because I was pretty strict on myself. Oh sure, there was the occassional "Do not run in the street" but it was followed by "unless you want to get run over by a car." That was all I needed to know. I studied fairly well, I loved all things or places educational, and I was fairly well behaved in public.

But there is always one thing I never controlled, food. Early on, it did not matter. I was not skinny, but I was active enough to be a sufficiently chubby but cute kid/teenager. After I stopped exercising, well the eating became my clearly obvious weakness.

I never had control when it came to food. I ate to celebrate. I ate to mourn. I ate when I was bored. I ate when I was nervous. I ate. I ate. I ate.

So when I joined Weight Watchers in 2011, I exercised control...for a while. I would be really good for days or even weeks, then I would lose control. Instead of eating a small portion of something I wanted, I waited until my desire grew so much that I would pratically overdose on it. I was a mess. I was not in control.

So what changed?

I surrendered control. I gave up trying to force my body into submission. I stopped kicking my own ass.

Now I spend more time doing what I want to do, and less time doing what I think I should do. I forgive myself for the bad things (buffalo wings) and I congratulate myself for the good things (spin classes).

I surround myself with the right things and people, but I am not one to shy away from guzzling down a beer or eating dinner out with my girlfriends. I will never be the girl who eats nothing but chicken and salads. Never.

But I eat chicken and salads. And pizza. And bread. And wine.

So here is the deal, since I gave up being so hard on myself I have made my weight loss journey easier.

That being said, I know I would lose weight faster if I gave up cocktails and fatty foods, but no one wants to see the bitch I would be if I did that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

holy crap, i've lost my mind

Do you know about Fit Bottomed Girls?  Well consider yourself enlightened. I follow these ladies on their blog and on twitter and I am always amazed about the span of topics they cover! Food and recipes. Workouts and goals. Challenges mentally and physically. They cover it all.

A few weeks back, I saw a post they had shared about a giveaway they were doing. I love giveaways, and although I enter them all the time for free stuff on blogs, I have never won a single one. I have tried for blenders, books, juicers, cookbooks, free trips, and cameras. Alas, I was not ever chosen. Until a few weeks ago.

I entered for a chance to win the entrance fee into the Danskin triathalon of my choice. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I typed in all my info and hit the button. I never win this stuff, so I was safe. Later that day, I stopped off to see my best friend and mentioned I had briefly contemplated doing a triathalon, but since I was not at my goal weight yet, I was not going to do it. She gave me a puzzled look, then we went on to babble about how much quicker we could lose weight if wine were not so damn tasty. Yes, folks. This is our deep, enriching conversation topic.

Well a few days later I found out I had one the giveaway. I had 24 hours to respond or they would give it to someone else. I ran through every excuse I possibly could. I am still 25 pounds away from goal. I hate running. I have not swam competitively in years. I really only spin, and I only take my bike out once a week or so. It was decided, I would skip the tri. I sent my best friend a joking message about how I had won the giveaway. Her response? "It is a sign."

She is not the type of person to say things like that so when I pressed her and started throwing my excuses at her, she shocked me with her clarity. "Think of it this way," she said, "they just gave you free motivation for the next 4 months."

Hello, epiphany!

So here is my official announcement. I am training for something I never imagined or strived to complete, a sprint triathalon. It is a. 5 mile swim, a 12 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. My goal is not to finish fast, but to simply finish. The event is sponsored by Danskin and will take place on October 7th in Palm Springs.

Thoughts and feelings are pouring like water through me, and I will try my best to share them as I train, but for now I will say this:

I am scared in a healthy amount, excited in an intoxicating amount, and overwhelmed by the words and actions of the people that I have told already. It is already proving to be a life changing event for me, and I am looking forward to the challenges as well as the success I  can see lying ahead of me.

And as a sneak peak, I will tell you now that the amazingly talented and gorgeous friend I mentioned was motivating me has also decided to join me in training and completing the triathalon. I am overjoyed!

We will let you know how it goes!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

recipe review: brown rice

I like to think of myself as a fairly good cook.  I am pretty fearless, and I generally make good eats for myself and my family.  I've bravely tried out new recipes hundreds of times, and modified them lately to make them my own healthier versions.  However, I have one item that I simply cannot get right. 

I cannot cook brown rice. 

Rice cooker. 






So I resorted to purchasing pre-cooked brown rice from Trader Joe's.  You read that right folks.  I can make just about any dessert or dish in a cookbook, but I have to buy ready made brown rice.  I felt like such a failure.  Plus, it would be so much cheaper for me if I just knew the secret to cooking brown rice! 

Well one day, my fair god-blogger whispered down from the heavens I have a foolproof method for making perfect brown rice that is never sticky! To which I replied SIGN ME UP

So here goes: From Skinnytaste

5 servings
4 points plus per serving

1 cup of brown rice
8 cups of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Rinse the rice with cold water for 30 seconds. Bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat in a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid.

When the water is boiling add the rice, stir and partially cover (don't cover complete or it will spill over) and cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes.

Drain the rice in strainer, then quickly return to the pot and cover tightly for 20 minutes so the steam finishes cooking the rice. Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups. Different rice varieties may yield different amounts.

SUCCESS!  I can now cook my own brown rice!  That's amazing!  I'm extatic!  Thank you Gina from Skinnytaste! 

Then I saw this recipe and I drooled.  I'm going to have to try that ASAP.  Like this weekend!  Pulled beef and this side dish would be fantastic! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

want versus need

I am facing a major struggle lately.  I was ounces away from getting my fourth 5 pound sticker, then my birthday happened.  The week before my birthday was great, the week after my birthday I was the same weight, and the second week after my birthday I was battling TOM and a whole lot of snacking and up 1.2 pounds.  

If you're on the outside looking in, you might be saying "Gee, 1.2 pounds isn't a lot, get over it" and you're probably right.  But the point is that I need to nip it in the butt.  I need to stop the needless carbohydrate consumption and start getting more serious about the way that I'm training.  I need to ask myself one simple question: Is what I'm about to do something that I want or is it something that I need?  

It's a simple question, right?

But I'm so horrible about answering it.  

Most nights I'd rather stop at Target on my way home from work than the grocery store or the gym.

Most nights I'd rather pick up two pizzas than cook a healthy dinner.

Most nights I'd rather curl up with a good book than go to spin or take Maddie for a walk.  

But we all know that I don't need anything from Target, pizza, or to sit my chubby but on the couch.  I only want those things.  

What I need is to make more consistent and healthier choices.  It's not as hard as it sounds.  I don't need to make some stupid statement like "I'm going to go to the gym every single day."  I'd love to pretend I'm that girl, but I'm not that girl.  All I need to say is "I'm going to make healthier choices."

I'll choose an apple over a candy bar more often.  I'll choose one gym trip over nothing sometimes.  I'll make a healthy dinner more often instead of looking for the easiest take out solution.  

Fear not friends, I may have had a mediocre couple of weeks and I'm feeling super bloated, cranky, and irritated but I'm stepping right back on plan.  

My head is screaming "I WANT THAT LEFTOVER PIZZA!" but my body is telling me softly "I need some yogurt and berries."  Funny what we choose to listen to, isn't it?

Note, if you like the illustrations you should head over to Erin Hanson's website.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

i don't f*cking wanna

I have a confession: I'm stuck in "I don't wanna" mode.  

I don't wanna workout.  

I don't wanna eat another apple.  

I don't wanna drink water instead of diet soda.  

Then I wonder why I can't hit that gall darned next goal!  

I can't hit the goal because Pretzel M&M's are quite tasty.  

I can't hit the goal because sleeping in is more fun than workout dvd's.  

I can't hit the goal because beer is delicious.  

I can't hit the goal because I don't wanna try.  


And so, I'm going to have a little pep talk with myself.  I'm going to ask myself why I am stopping myself and why I care more about snacks than I do my own personal well being.  

I am at that point in my journey where pants are starting to get more and more loose and old clothes are starting to fit again, but I simply cannot stop bringing myself down.  

I'm going to re-focus, re-center, start a new week with a weigh in and I'm going to forgive myself for whatever that number is and I'm going to move the EFF on!  Get over it!  Get over yourself!  Get over your love of junk and get back to the lovely and healthy foods that you know you love!  Skip the beer and wine for a while because they are a mutha fuggin treat, not a right!  

Start listening to your support group and stop listening to your cravings.  

Start asking for help instead of asking for a second serving.  

Find a darn anchor because you weight as much as one!  That's right, I don't have an anchor.  I need to find a stupid anchor!  It needs to be something I see every single stinking day of my life, otherwise I'll forget about it.  

Start moving your ass more because the last time I checked, thinking about exercise doesn't burn a single friggin calorie.  Driving by the gym on your way home doesn't count as activity.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

recipe review: slow cooker beef stroganoff

I grew up eating beef stroganoff, and I love it.  My mom used to make it year round, even though it is sort of a cold weather dish, and I never complained.  If you ask me, it's got a few basic ingredients that I keep on hand most of the time because they happen to be delicious!  

I decided to look around for a slow cooker recipe for beef stroganoff a while back (because slow cookers rock!) and I ended up combining a bunch of recipes into one because I couldn't find one that suited me.  I'm a purist, I don't think beef stroganoff should be made from a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I think the flavor should come from the beef and the mushrooms, not some sodium filled metal container.  

So here goes, my take on beef stroganoff in a slow cooker.  

Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff
8 servings
6 Points Plus 
(no noodles or rice included in that number, track separately)

1 1/2 pounds of trimmed stew beef, such as a round cut, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of (hot) water
1 beef bouillon cube
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup finely minced onions
2 cloves finely minced garlic
2 cups or an 8 ounce package of sliced white button mushrooms
salt and pepper
8 ounces light sour cream

Start off by mixing the hot water with the cornstarch and bouillon cube.  You can do this over the stove, or just be lazy like me and microwave the water and mix it in the measuring cup.  It works fine either way.  

Combine the cut up beef, liquid mixture, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and Dijon mustard in the slow cooker.  Add salt and pepper, but don't worry about adding too much because you can adjust the flavor at the end.  Turn the slow cooker on low heat for six to eight hours.  

(After six hours the flavors will be developed, but the meat will still be in soft chunks.  After eight hours the flavors will be developed and the meat will begin to fall apart more, like a shredded beef.)

Check the mixture near the end of cooking, you may want to skim off and fat that is sitting on the top.  Depending on which meat I use, I find myself skimming a lot or not at all.  

Just before serving, add the 8 ounces (that's only 1/2 of an average container) of light sour cream.  Heat the mixture, adjust the salt and pepper to your liking, and serve!  

I serve mine over egg noodles, which adds an additional 5 points plus to the meal.  I know other people use rice or simply serve it with bread.  The choices is yours, but just remember that the 6 points plus is for 1/8 of the meat and sauce mixture, about a half cup or a hefty ladle full.  

Also, and I know a lot of people think it's gross, but I top mine with diced dill pickles.  It adds a nice and salty crunch as you dig in.  

It's a simple recipe and you can play around with it however you'd like.  You can use fat free half and half instead of the sour cream or substitute baby portobello mushrooms (sometimes called Baby Bellas) instead of white mushrooms.  Some people add worchestire sauce instead of the Dijon mustard, and others use flour instead of cornstarch.  I've tried it all different ways, but I've never found a style I didn't like.  I'm just sharing my favorite version, and also the simplest version I've found.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

activity review: bob harper's bob's workout #2

So about two weeks ago, I reviewed Bob Harper's "Pure Burn Pure Strength" workout.  Then about a week ago, I reviewed workout #1 from his dvd, "Bob's Workout."  Today, I'm going to tell you about the second workout in this dvd.  

I keep waking up early every morning, and instead of trying to go back to sleep like I would have in the past, I've been getting out of bed and starting my day.  One day a few weeks back, I set out to conquer Bob's Workout:

Brief re-cap from the first review I did:  This dvd is really his full 60 minute workout spread in to two-30 minute workouts.  It isn't like the first one is beginner and the second one is advanced, they are both advanced.  You can do workout one, workout two, or play both workouts back to back for a really intense 60 minute workout.  

So here goes, I pushed play on workout #2 and was immediately greeted by Bob explaining that this was mainly an upper body workout.  This was perfect because although I've been spinning 2 times each week, I have been struggling with getting a good upper body workout.  By an odd stroke of luck, I was just complaining about it to one of my spin friends, Angela, the night before.  Also, I had just purchased a set of 5 pound dumbbells and a small kettlebell at Walmart, both of which I figured I'd need down the line.

The dvd starts with a warm up, and it contained no burpees like last time.  Hooray!  It was mainly jumping rope, jumping jacks, sumo squats, and jumping horizontally over a jump rope (or imaginary line in the ground).  I completed this set with relative ease and I was shocked.  The January or February version of me would have been completed winded and doubled over.

(Insert my mini celebration for a non-scale victory here.)

Next up was plyometric push ups, or a push up on an incline (I did mine on the edge of a dining room chair) with a "pop" at the top of the push up.  Hard, but I did the best I could.

From there, Bob has the model grab hand weights and go into dumbbell presses. You could do these on a ball, on a bench, on a set of steps, or on the ground which I did.

Following that, you move straight into dumbbell rows or bent dummbell rows.

There is a bit of an upper body break for some squats, but before you know it you're off and moving again!  You quickly move through standing shoulder presses and bicep curls before you find yourself back at the starting point.  You do this about three more times (and here's the important part) without stopping or taking a break.

It isn't the first round that hurts, and the second round is really just a period of time in which I was sweating buckets.  But before I knew it, I was in the third set and as the sweat poured into my eyes and my triceps and biceps burned, I realized this was going to be a good work out.

There is a small set at the end of the workout that includes dead lifts, step ups, and some more squat exercise.  But you only do this once, and the model really struggles through this last set.  During the model's struggle, I caught my breath, wiped off my sweaty face, got a drink of water, and completed the workout.  Bob really kicked that poor model's butt!

Before I knew it, I was done and into the cool down and stretches.  The total time of the dvd was less than 30 minutes, but I stretched a bit more after Bob was finished.  I love stretching, and my muscles were nice and warmed up!

Pro's: The dvd is fast and effective.  In less than thirty minutes and with only one set of hand weights and a single kettlebell I was able to complete what I feel like was a great upper body workout.  Optional equipment would be a second (identical weight) kettlebell for the dead lifts (I just used my dumbbells), a jump rope, and a bench or a set of steps.  The model was attractive (he looked like Alex O'Loughlin).

Con's: The model sort of pooped out at the end, and they sort of stop and wait for him to catch up.  Now, I was hurting and sweating, but I didn't need all that extra time.  I ended up fitting in an extra set of dead lifts and some more cardio into his breaks.  Also, the cool down and stretches at the end simply aren't enough.  There are about two leg stretches and two arm stretches.  I need more.  It's no big deal, I just tacked a few extra stretches onto the end and I was all set.  Also missing are any dedicated ab exercises, although you do use those muscles to stabilized you throughout the dvd.

Overall, I really enjoyed the dvd.  I'll definitely be doing it more often, as I really feel like I want to tone and work out my upper body and torso.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

activity review: bob harper's bob's workout #1

About a week ago, I reviewed Bob Harper's "Pure Burn Pure Strength" workout.  Now, I'd like to share with you about workout #1 from his dvd, "Bob's Workout."  Yes, he made a dvd about his own workout regime.  Yes, I knew it was going to be tough.  Yes, it was still tougher than I prepared myself for.  

Back on Easter Sunday, I woke up tired and sore from a pretty rough week of work and workouts.  I'd gone 5 days straight with spin, the Lady Gaga workout, more spin, and another Bob Harper dvd.  I knew I should get in some form of a workout, but what I simply didn't want to.  I made coffee, I ate two cinnamon rolls (hey, Mike wasn't awake yet and I didn't want it to go to waste!), and then I got desperate.  

I was either going to (a) eat more or (b) get moving.  So I stomped upstairs, put on some workout gear and my heart rate monitor, and came back down to the living room to workout.  I grabbed my towel, my water bottle, my little dumbbells (it's time for bigger ones!), and the remote control.  I set out to conquer Bob's Workout:

The first thing you need to know about Bob's Workout is that it is really his full 60 minute workout spread in to two-30 minute workouts.  It isn't like the first one is beginner and the second one is advanced, they are both advanced.  You can do workout one, workout two, or play both workouts back to back for a really intense 60 minute workout.  

I chose to start with the first workout and see how it went before I did workout two.  Good choice.  

It opens with a brief cardio set which includes burpees (boo, hiss) and then moves on to kettlebell exercises (I don't have them, I used dumbbells) and then lateral rows from a plank position (with an optional incline used by the model).  I have never done lateral rows in a plank position and surprised myself when I did the entire set!  You move rather quickly through lunges and as soon as you think you've gotten a break, he makes you start over with the burpee segment!  Needless to say, those lateral rows and lunges are about 10 times as hard during that second round.  

That takes you about 15 minutes into the workout where he then introduces the second interval.  This is something I (a) cheated on and (b) will have to continue to work towards.  This interval included things that I simply couldn't do such as a spine roll: stand, crouch, roll onto my back, roll back up onto my feet and stand up again.  I'm 100% positive that this is an excellent abdominal and total body workout, but I simply couldn't do it.  I chose to substitute crunches and Russian twists during this time.  Next up was some wacky exercise in which you hold a dumbbell up towards the sky as you stand, crouch, sit, lie on your back, then get back up.  I did dumbbell side bends.  

There are a few more heart pumping exercises that are like runner's stretches combined with mountain climbers, a few planks, and then you do the whole circuit again.  

There is a brief, but pretty decent stretch at the end of the dvd and then you're done!  It's about 28 minutes total, and Bob very carefully explains that you can make this workout harder (hah!) by simply upping the weights you're using as you get stronger.  We'll see if I ever get that far.  

Wrap up: Okay I know I cheated through this workout, but I focused on keeping my heart rate up even if I couldn't do the exact activity on the dvd and I kept moving the whole time.  I was definitely sweating through the whole dvd, and my legs and arms were noodles by the end of it.  My heart rate monitor showed that I burned over 300 calories, and I could certainly feel it!  

This is not a beginner's dvd.  This is not your old step class dvd workout.  This is not an easy day.  I made the mistake of doing this dvd on a morning when I was already sore, but in fact I'm glad I did.  I can now appreciate how truly challenging this dvd is going to be for me in the future, and I really like that I barely noticed that the thirty minutes were up.  You will definitely not be bored during this workout!  

The model in the dvd got her asphalt kicked if you know what I mean, but honestly the only thing Bob Harper did during this workout was the stretches.  He guided her the entire time, corrected the model as she needed, and gave you tips and tricks for the exercises.  It was a different format than I was used to, but I guess it worked out alright?  

There you have it!  Bob's Workout, part 1!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

a funny for my friends

If you've never read his blog, do yourself a favor and go check it out.  He puts the humor into weight loss, points out our common ignorance, and puts everything into perspective!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

progress update

If you've been a Weight Watcher for any length of time, you remember that at one point they called their plan "Momentum."  I never understood why.  

I do now!  

You see, I'm a numbers based person.  In my life, numbers mean everything!  Numbers like how much money is in my accounts or the numerical value of how much of a chemical is in a sample I'm testing.  You could say that I'm sort of obsessed with numbers.  

So a few weeks back, I decided to explore my eTools page on Weight Watchers.  It tracks my food and keeps track of the number of points that I'm shoveling into my mouth, but it also records my weight every week after I step on that scale at my meeting.  

Let's just say eTools rocks.  You can set it up to only show you points tracking, activity tracking, or weight records for a specific date range!  I had to play around with this feature to truly appreciate how hard I've been working.  

Step 1: I asked eTools to show me results from the last week in 2011 into the first week of 2012, basically my first year back on plan.  This was sort of a disappointing year for me, I spent a lot of time hopping on and off of plan and I spent almost no time exercising.  The results weren't bad, but they weren't all that great either.  In twelve months, I recorded a loss of 11.2 pounds.  Less than one pound per month on average.  Actually it is a loss of 0.93 pounds per month.  Like I said, I like numbers.  

Step 2: Then I started looking at some small life changes.  Like when my mom joined Weight Watchers with me back in the fall of 2011.  She's been on plan with me for approximately six months (I don't remember her exact start date, so I'm estimating) and I managed to lose 8 pounds in that time.  Now that means that my average weight loss jumps up to 1.33 pounds per month since my mother has come into this journey with me!  That's a 40% improvement from 2011, when I was faltering and trying to do it on my own!  Yowsah!  

Now let's look even closer, at some more recent changes.  The last week in 2011, I committed to plan 100% and I started taking control.  At the time of writing this blog post, I am approximately three and a half months into these changes and I've lost a total of 7 pounds.  That is an average loss of 2 pounds per month! It is a 107% improvement from my average weight loss for all of 2011 and it is a 50% improvement from my average over the last 6 months.  

What did I do?  Not a whole lot actually.  I started by attending spin classes twice a week.  It is only about 2 hours of my week, which I manage to fit in, and it makes a big difference in my confidence level.  Then I started taking more control of what I was bringing into my house to eat.  In other words, I became a more careful grocery shopper.  I followed the simple rule that you cannot eat something if you don't have it, and it made a huge difference.  If you don't have healthy food in the house, it is going to prohibit you from making good choices.  If you don't have junk food in the house, it is going to slow you down on bad choices.  

Notice I just said  it will "slow you down on bad choices."  This is because I didn't give up things like going out to dinner.  I can still make bad choices if I go out to dinner with friends and family, but I'm less likely to let them occur.  My mom and I have this saying that we got from a past Weight Watchers leader, "Date the enemy, don't bring him home."  What this means to us is that it is okay to go out to dinner and splurge a little, but you need to leave the bad stuff at the table.  It isn't a huge deal if you split ice cream dessert at a restaurant, but it would be horrible if you brought home a 5 gallon tub of ice cream and started chowing down on it!  Date the ice cream, but don't bring the ice cream home.  

It is for this reason that I don't buy frozen french fries at the grocery store, but I still eat them at a restaurant. I don't keep loads of pre made pizza dough in my fridge any more, but I'm not afraid to buy a cheese pizza at a restaurant.  I have also started (sometimes) asking for a box with my dinner, and in some cases that waitress will box half of my dinner before she even brings it out to me so that I don't have to do it myself.  The reality is that I'm usually satisfied (or even full) after eating half of the dinner, and I can eat the rest of my dinner at a later time.  Saves me money, saves me time, saves me points, what's not to love?  

So there you have it, my numerically motivated and highly personal update!  If you have eTools or another way of tracking, I challenge you to take a look at how you've been doing in the past and present.  It's really eye opening!