Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Challenge 2010 - Week 1

For all the effort I put in this week I feel like I should have lost at least 10 pounds but we all know that those kind of numbers are unrealistic and usually only happen on those crazy weight loss reality shows. My weight on Monday was 215 and my weight today is 212.3.

I'm happy with the 2.7 pound weight loss since the initial Summer Challenge 2010 weigh in last Monday but, unfortunately, it's a .7 pound gain from last Friday. My weight fluctuates 3-5 pounds during the week so I'm not going to get hung up on the numbers. I've been killing myself at the gym and eating mostly healthy stuff so it is what it is and I'm going to continue what I've been doing and keep the faith that the numbers will continue to go down.

I did have Chinese food and a volcano bowl last night so I'm hoping the gain is due to the alcohol and the sodium and it will come back off quickly.
I can't wait to hear how my fellow challengers did this week and look forward to seeing their progress. This weekend may be tough due to all the holiday BBQs and feasting that goes along with it. Stay strong and remember just because it's there, we don't have to eat it.

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend. A very special "THANK YOU" to all those who have served and those who are serving our country and keeping us safe. ENJOY!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Challenge 2010

I joined Kandice's Summer Challenge 2010 at No More Chunky Dunking, Time to Skinny Dip!
The challenge starts on May 24th and ends on August 23rd.

For the first time in my weight loss career (yes, I've made a career out of it) I haven't put a timeline on my weight loss because I didn't want to get in the usual trap of being discouraged and giving up if I don't hit the right mark by the deadline but it's good to have goals so I'm going to make a few just for this challenge. My goals for the challenge are:

1. continue to lose an average of 2 pounds per week (13 weeks x 2 lbs. per week = 26 pounds)
2. continue to hit the gym at least 4 days per week (60 minutes cardio and weight training)
3. increase cardio to 99+ minutes at least once a month (Tuesday challenge)
4. hike, bike, walk or jog at least one day each weekend
5. consume more veggies, more fruit and more water
6. eat less processed crap and avoid anything with HFCS

1. Post the Challenge sticker on your page and also at the head of your post when you do your weekly weigh ins.
2. Start your first post by stating what you would like to accomplish during this challenge whether it be a weight goal or an exercise goal.
3. You must weigh in every Friday (with the exception of your initial weigh in which will begin on Monday May 24) with a picture of your scale reading that week's weight.

So, here's my starting weight for the challenge:

I like the thought of being well under 200 pounds by the end of the summer. It's been way too long since I've seen those kind of numbers.

Stop by Kandice's blog to check out the prizes and other details. I bet she would extend the start deadline if you want to join in.

Have fun!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I don't sit in the sun at the beach, I don't hit the tanning beds, I don't intentionally fry my skin trying to transform it into something it will never be. I don't aspire to have skin that looks like wrinkled leather so I avoid the damaging rays of the sun as much as possible. I learned my lesson years ago, I didn't inherit that beautiful dark olive skin that tans from my Italian ancestors. I don't tan, I burn.

I'll confess I used to sit on Revere beach when I was a teen and lather my body up in baby oil and bain de soleil but I'm older and (usually) wiser now. I'm not the least bit tempted to get a tan just because everyone else is obsessed with having dark skin and is delusional enough to believe damaging their skin makes them look healthier.

I am so mad at myself for burning my skin to a crisp at the Biggest Loser Season 10 Step Challenge the other day. I can't remember the last time I got a sunburn, it must have been at least 20 years ago when our boat died out on Lake Champlain and we were stuck out on the water for hours before getting towed in.

I'm always lathering up with sunscreen and I didn't forget to do it last Friday but there's a reason the directions say you MUST reapply. After sweating it all off during Jillian's Kick Ass Warm Up in the morning, I stayed out in the sun for hours talking to everyone without reapplying. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! Lesson learned the hard way.

I'm still feeling the burn ...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jillian Kicked My Ass

I'm not talking about the 30 Day Shred or a Biggest Loser video, I'm talking about Jillian Michaels in the flesh, live and in my face. Being able to stand thisclose to her you could feel the energy, passion and intensity radiating out of her.

Jillian Michaels, Mark and Jay from Season 5, and the Biggest Loser crew were in Boston yesterday (actually Chelsea with a view of Boston) filming for Season 10. Jillian lead a fitness challenge to determine who will be on the next season of the Biggest Loser.
Mark talked about how hard the workouts really were on the show. He said the contestants were so sore they had to wash their hair by squirting shampoo on the wall of the shower and rub their head on the wall because they weren't able to lift their arms up after taking those brutal beatings in the gym.

Just warming up for the step challenge was intense. Jillian mingled through the crowd yelling, screaming and torturing us through jumping jacks, lunges, jumping lunges, mountain climbers, jump rope and push-ups before taking a break to set up for the step challenge.

There were three potential contestants there who weighed in and did the step challenge to determine who would get to go to the ranch. The first two to get to 500 steps won a trip to the ranch and a black Biggest Loser shirt. The crowd went crazy cheering them on while stepping right along with them. Unfortunately, one of the contestants wasn't able to complete the challenge and went off in an ambulance after collapsing around the 400 step mark. Jillian said she was going to send someone to the hospital and she made good on that promise. It was scary seeing someone collapse like that but we got word that Elizabeth was doing well and would be fine.

I got to meet both of the guys who will be on the black team next season. I'll definitely be cheering for my new friends Fredo and Brendan. I had the opportunity to sit and talk to them and their families (hi Caroline and Danielle) and some of the producers after the majority of the filming was done. You can't imagine how long it takes to film what will probably only be 5-10 minutes of tv. They would do retake after retake to get the right shots.

At times I was inches away from Jillian but never got to talk to her directly and she didn't hang around or sign autographs or anything like that. Security was pretty tight around her and during the breaks she was in the limo or off to the side with security all around. I did overhear her talking to Mark and Jay about this season's show. She said she stopped watching it because she would get so frustrated and would yell "that didn't happen that way" or "I didn't say that at that time." After all the production magic and editing, what we see isn't always the way things really happened. She said Koli actually broke someone's nose while boxing and how she had to convince Sam to stop with the protein shakes if he wanted to lose the weight. You know, boys will be boys.
Man, she moves fast. Can you see her hair flying? Bye Jillian, thanks for the beating.

Everyone who registered got a Biggest Loser t-shirt but not the same ones as you see the contestants on the show wear. They had this logo on the front.

I'm not sure which burns more, my thighs or my skin. I'm extremely fair skinned and always wear sunscreen. I lathered on my SPF 50 in the morning before I left but I didn't think I would be out all day so I didn't bring any with me to reapply. By the time I left 5-6 hours later I was fried.

Oh, the burn ... where's the aloe? Ouch!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Adultery Diet*

I recently finished reading The Adultery Diet by Eva Cassady and wanted to share some of my favorite passages with you.

  • husbands want their wives to look good, but they hate it when we diet...they like to feed without consciousness. Dieting is an awareness of cause and effect: cause-food; effect-gross, unsightly fat, and have the closet off-limits...They prefer to live in a world in which beer leads to supermodels, and the game can be won by a miraculous catch. If their wives stop eating, it's as if we've withdrawn the breast. Then there's sulking until you let them drag you off to Ray's for pizza, where they sit smiling happily at you as you swallow their little diet hand grenade.

  • Diet books always sell well. It's the perfect product: when one doesn't work, it just creates a market for the next one. Hope springs eternal. So all you need is a marketing hook and a supermodel to endorse it. It's like porn for women.

  • There's only one way to lose weight...Food is fuel. If you burn more than you consume, you lose weight. So work out and watch what you eat. But you can't sell books telling people that. Everybody wants a secret for losing weight without having to break a sweat. So we publish these books telling them to eat all one thing, or stay away from something else, when it's really pretty obvious: eat green stuff instead of gooey stuff, and get some exercise.

  • You need a catchy name, or it doesn't qualify as a diet...You should call it 'The Martini Diet.' You eat like a monk all day long, and then in the evening, you get to have a martini to fulfill your minimum daily requirement of languid grace.

  • woman ever goes on a diet for her daughter. The only reason women lose weight is to screw a man or to screw with a woman...Ask yourself why all the single women you know are skinny...married women gain weight because they can. They don't have to worry about impressing men. And if you see a married woman who's suddenly obsessed with her weight, that means one of three things: she's cheating, she thinks her husband might be cheating, or there's a wedding coming up and she wants to stick it to the cousins from Philadelphia by looking fabulous.

  • I am proud of myself. I've become a gym regular, there every morning at six and back on my way home from work. I'm still not the most graceful gazelle in the herd, but I no longer feel like everyone's staring at me.

  • Who knew it could be easier to lift weights than to shoulder all these feelings? No wonder I'm losing weight. It's a daily workout.

  • We're animals, built to desire. Hunger and sex, that's what keeps us going. Happiness isn't built into the design, except as a temporary reward. A good meal, a satisfying f*ck, a moment with your child when it all seems worth it. Desire has become a habit, stronger than exhaustion or hunger. It pushes me out of bed into the bitter January morning, so that I'm at the gym long before the first hint of light in the cold, gray sky.

  • What's nice about the gym is that you can make the numbers go up. Minutes on the treadmill, rate on the stair climber, and weight on the Nautilus. More weight on the machine equals less weight on me; my body's changing faster than the numbers on my scale.

  • Gym mirrors aren't instruments of vanity or self-loathing, like those in our bathrooms; they're reality checks. You work up a fierce sweat and your muscles feel like they're carved from stone, so you study yourself with almost technical self-assessment as you catch your breath. The mirror in the gym shows you that what you feel is only an illusion: your muscles may feel cut from granite, but you still look like Gumby.

  • I wish I could hibernate: crawl into bed for the next three months and live off my stored body fat as I sleep through the winter months. Wake up in April, skinny and starving, ready to build that layer of body fat back up for next winter. It's a great system, if you think about it. No StairMaster or treadmill, no brutal self-denial. You lose weight as you sleep. And when you wake up, you can have pancakes.

  • People don't get fat because they eat: they get fat because they eat the wrong things-huge amounts of fat and sugar, the endless Happy Meal of American abundance-and then fail to burn it off. We're built to survive even when food is scarce, and fat is the body's savings plan.

  • So the trick isn't to starve yourself, or to find some magic formula of foods. It's finding the right balance of food and sweat.

WOW...I'm not even halfway through the dogeared pages so I'm just going to stop here and tell you to go out and get a copy and read it if your interested in hearing more. This is not really a "diet" book so if you're looking for a "how-to" plan, this isn't it.

The thought of being naked in front of someone for the first time is a great incentive to lose weight. I remember being embarrassed when I ran into an old boyfriend and it made me really think about why I cared what he thought. He wasn't the man in my life now so why the hell did I give a second thought to what he thought about me. Shouldn't I be more concerned with how the people in my day to day life see me? I know tons of women who made themselves crazy trying to fit into their wedding dress for that one special day and then let it all go once they got that ring on their finger. I wonder why we let ourselves go when we get comfortable in a relationship. Shouldn't we love ourselves enough to stay healthy and fit?

*Disclaimer: This isn't really a "diet" book. It's the story of a woman who lost herself after getting married, having a baby and getting lost in her day-to-day life. I wouldn't encourage or condone anyone to step out on their marriage or relationship but if you are unhappy in your relationship you should take whatever steps you need to take to make it better or get out of it if it can't be fixed. Luckily, I've never been tempted to cheat but can understand why some people do.

Cheaters have been all over the news and blogs lately. If it's not the pro golfer, the actor or the spouse of an award winning actress, it's a friend, a friend of a friend or a family member. I recently wrote a post about those dirty dogs here if you want to know what I really think about these cheaters.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

100 Minutes!

Remember when Tony, the Anti-Jared, challenged Jen, the original Prior Fat Girl, and everyone else to a 99 minute workout challenge last month? If not, you need to start reading their blogs because they are weight loss superstars who blog to inspire us all.
You can read about how I did on the 4/20 challenge here. I was nervous and excited to participate, and after, relieved and happy to have done it. I even sent my sweaty proof picture to Jen to post on her blog. That's right, no pictures of me here but you can see my exhausted sweaty blue-eyed mug over on Jen's blog. ;)

I normally go to the gym, do some stretching, a little weight circuit training and 60 minutes of cardio and then rush out of there. I started thinking about how good it felt to push myself out of my workout comfort zone to complete the challenge and if I could do 99 minutes once, I could do it again, right? So, since today was a random Tuesday almost a month later, I decided to challenge myself and do it again. Hundreds of other people weren't out there doing the challenge with me but that didn't matter, people push themselves to that level and beyond on their own everyday. I struggled to stay on the elliptical machine for 100 minutes but I did it. 100 minutes! My legs felt like jello when I got off the machine but I felt proud and fully capable of doing it again and again.

I've decided I'm going to do this extended cardio workout at least once a month on a random Tuesday. I'm even going to try to add another minute to my time each month. Anyone want to do it with me? It's so much more fun when you think about everyone else breaking a sweat right along with you and cheering you on in spirit.

Who's up for doing 101 minutes next month? Jen? Tony? Anyone? What do you say? Are YOU up for the challenge?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thematic Photographic 97 - Spring Has Sprung

Thematic Photographic was on hiatus for a while but I'm happy to say it's back. This week's theme is "Spring Has Sprung." I love taking springtime photos at the Public Gardens in Boston but, unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate this year and I missed the flowering trees. I was even more disappointed when the strong wind storms destroyed most of the tulips. The lack of flowers forced me to switch off the macro and point my lens in another direction. I'm glad I did because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten this shot which is a little overexposed but I still love it. I don't know the little girl so it was just a fleeting moment I was lucky to catch as she raced by to catch up to her family.
The seasons change so quick around here we often say if you don't like the weather, wait a minute, it will change. We've already had temps in the '90s but it was snowing in Vermont on Sunday and there have been freeze and frost warnings the past few nights.
I feel like I'm always rushing around trying to capture the seasons before I miss it and have to wait another year to try it again. I definitely didn't get my fill of snowy pictures this year. I was able to get a few shots of the remaining tulips which you can see here.

You can get all the Thematic Photographic details and join the fun over at Carmi's place at writteninc.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fat Doesn't Wrinkle

There are hardly any benefits to being overweight, right? It's bad for our heart, our lungs, our liver, our organs, our feet and knees, etc. It's just unhealthy to carry so much extra weight around day in and day out. It takes a toll on our bodies to live off of sugar, soda and processed crap instead of lean protein, fruits, veggies and water.

The one and only benefit I can think of is that fat doesn't wrinkle. Have you ever noticed how many people look so much older after they drop a lot of weight? Fat plumps up your skin and makes everything look smooth, well, except for that cottage cheese look on thighs but even super skinny girls have cellulite. Anyway, I saw this video and it got me thinking about the one and only reason I'm not planning on getting down to what the charts say I should weigh and plan to keep on a few extra pounds.


I love Anita Renfroe 'cause I like it but I should have put some cream on it ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hydrate or Die ...

When was the last time you had a nice cool drink of water? How long have you ever gone without it? I know a few people who NEVER drink a plain glass of water and they're still alive and kicking so what's the deal?

We've all been told how important it is to stay hydrated but we don't realize how vital it is until we can't simply fill up our water bottles, the stores are sold out and people are fighting in the isles to get their hands on a few gallons.

Millions of gallons of water have been rushing into the Charles River due to a massive water main pipe break. Over a dozen communities are under a state of emergency with a boil water order in effect indefinitely. If you are unable to get your own supply of water, the authorities are out in various locations distributing one case of water per family per day and making sure nursing homes and schools are well stocked. They aren't sure how long it will take to fix or when we will be able to drink from the tap again. They say it's safe to bathe in but we must boil all water before drinking or washing dishes, etc.

I didn't even think about it when I woke up this morning and brushed my teeth with the TAP WATER! Luckily, I haven't suffered any ill effects from it but I'm putting a bottle of water on the bathroom sink to remind me not to do that again.

I'm sure it was all in my head but I've never been so thirsty until I heard I couldn't drink the water. My house is not stocked with gallons of water since we switched to using a water filter system to help eliminate all the plastic bottles going into the landfill. I guess going green comes with some risks.
After hearing the news we went right out to the supermarket where we found a bunch of empty shopping carts in the water isle but no water on the shelves. We went to another store with a big sign out front saying "sorry, out of water" and then finally hit a gas station where we paid $6 for 6 little bottles of water because they were all sold out of gallons.
I was sad to learn that some places have been price gouging and hoarding water supplies when people should be coming together to help each other out in a time of crisis. If only people would just take what they need instead of trying to stock up a year's worth of water to get through a few days it would make it so much easier for all of us.

It's a bit of an inconvenience but nothing compared to people in other parts of the world who don't even have a faucet to turn on. Before we had a well drilled at our camp up north we used to have to trudge through the snow to our dug well to fill up buckets of water to be able to flush the toilet in the winter so this is easy peasy compared to that. Now if I can just remember not to automatically turn on the faucet to brush my teeth I'll be all set.
Time to fill up my bottles to take to the gym since I won't be able to simply hit the water cooler to fill up. Have you had your water today? Do you buy bottled water or drink from the tap? Drink up, it's good for you.
Remember, hydrate or die.