Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's me, jumping on the bandwagon...

As I've said before, I don't usually do New Year's Resolutions because it seems like they don't mean much. You make a resolution, make a big deal of it, then completely break it a week later. But this year, what the heck! I am however structuring them as doable, workable goals, with actions I will take to achieve them. Here goes, my 2010 Resolutions in true geek style they are in outline form:
I. Lose 40 lbs
  A. I will consistently track calories consumed
  B. I will workout 5 or 6 days every week
  C. I will keep blogging for accountability
II. Improve my 5k time
  A. I will incorporate more speed workouts in my routine
  B. I will run 2 or 3 times every week
III. FINISH a writing project
  A. I will try working from an outline :p
  B. I will write at least 3 days per week
IV. Improve my Japanese
  A. I will continue taking Japanese with my oldest son
  B. I will practice, practice, practice.
V. Get rid of the rest of my packrat tendencies
  A. I will continue giving away ANYTHING we don't truly USE, truly NEED, or truly LOVE.
  B. I will be more consistant in throwing away magazines; I will let subscriptions lapse that I don't faithfully read
  C. I will re-do my filing system

2010 Here We Come...

I hope everyone has fun plans for New Year's Eve. My 6 year old has announced he is going to stay up 'til midnight! So we are having a mini New Year's Eve party with our little boys and taking bets when they crash, lol. Most likely will be me and hubby ringing in the New Year, but that's just fine with me.
Just a note: One of my primary goals of this blog is to tell you about the products out there to help you avoid flushing money down the diet toilet. So, as this time of year is often people's new beginning with their weight loss/healthy lifestyle goals I will be bumping up the review postings for about a week. I hope you enjoy and find them helpful.
I'll be back later with my resolutions for 2010. I don't generally make those, but what the heck.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It begins...

I was sitting watching TV last night and realized, it has begun...the whole New Years Resolution, Weight Loss/Fitness Products Media BONANZA.


This time of year always makes me smile. We all get inundated with commercials for Special K, Weight Watchers, diet pills that claim you can sit on your butt and take this pill and the fat will melt away, and the fitness gadget of the moment. You name it, it's got an infomercial, TV commercial, newspaper ad, or store display. TV shows begin showing special segments on fitness, weight loss, living healthy, etc. even the news will jump on the bandwagon.


It makes me smile because it is funny to me that everyone will spend a short time uber focused on things I work hard to focus on all year round. The media gives this huge push, to sell products I'm sure, to get everyone going on this whole emotional high. "let's all do this!" But that wears off. And the media attention fades. And the commercials become sparse. The prices of Special K and SlimFast go back up. And we are still here! Maybe a little lighter in the pockets from the products pushed this time of year. The SlimFast shakes that leave us famished, the excerwonder whatever that collects dust in the corner because it's no fun to use. Eating our egg whites for breakfast, we are still here when the New Years craze fades.


So I say, why not? Let's make our resolutions, jump on that bandwagon, use that momentum, take advantage of the sales on everything from cereal to gym memberships. Let's enjoy being in the it crowd of the moment. But at the first, or even the second, bump in the road let's not jump off with the rest of the world.  Let's hang on tight for the long haul.  Let's make real, doable resolutions and do our best at sticking to them. Let's use the emotional up this time of year gives, but when we are down let's not quit on ourselves. Let's find the good deals on weight loss and fitness products, but not get sucked in to buying useless junk.  Let's do this, but really.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frustration

Got up at 5 am to try a new workout I'll be reviewing on here. Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. Now, I always try workouts through Netflix before I buy them. Been burned a couple times and even if it's $10 I hate feeling like I just threw it out the window. The only drawback to this system is that sometimes the DVDs are scratched. Which was the case this morning. About halfway through the workout my DVD player began spitting out the DVD. No matter what I tried I could not get it to play the rest. I'm not so much frustrated that my workout got cut short as I am that I don't know how I'm going to review the workout. It's $12.49 on Amazon I think. Maybe I'll bite the bullet and buy it. It does look like a workout I'm going to like. Sort of rambling here, lol. So my workout log will reflect half a Jari Love workout ;) and I will figure the rest out later. Have a great day!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't you ever let 'em tell you you can't!

Because you can!
Just because you are overweight does not mean you can't. I am so tired of hearing that! Let me tell you, for one thing, you can work out. Hard too. I know there are health considerations, etc. And, yes always check with your doctor. But if you are basically healthy don't hold yourself back or let someone else hold you back! Be careful, get educated on how best to do things: strength training, exercises, race training, etc. But let me tell you, I ran a marathon last May. Yes, chubby me RAN a marathon. That's 26.2 miles baby! I trained for months and I did it. I only lost 10 lbs during training, but so what?! I ran a marathon. That is something I will always be proud of. I will probably try to run another one sometime for a better time :) My point being that dangit, you can do anything you set your mind to! You might get there quickly or gradually, but set your goals and let's go!
I don't say any of this to brag, or say I'm so great, but as an example. I was 195 lbs when I started training for my marathon. I still weigh 185 lbs, but I am a fit chubby girl! I can do some crazy tough workouts and I can run.
You don't have to accept defeat. Yes, everyone else in my family is very large, but I refuse to succumb to the 'I can't' thinking. My family thinks they can't. But they can, they are just afraid to try. I am fighting those same genes, and it's tough, and it's scary sometimes, but I can win that fight and so can they, so can you. It's one step, one choice at a time. It's pushing yourself a little farther, a little harder every time.
I just want to give every one of you struggling with this a big hug and tell you "baby, you CAN." Put yourself out there; pick yourself up if you fail and celebrate when you succeed. Just don't be afraid to try.
Sorry for the rant, much love meant by it, I am just tired of people selling themselves short. You are capable, you are worth it, and you are amazing.

Like a Battlefield

You know that Jordin Sparks song Battlefield? I was listenning to that this morning thinking, weight loss is like a battlefield.
Watch out for those cookie mines...look out for that chocolate...sneak past the caramel macchiato to get the skinny latte...take cover, it's mom's cooking...uh-oh the holidays...bring in reinforcements...pms time, retreat!
There are times it feels like less of a battle, but those times always seem to go and the battle returns. I had a relatively easy time through the holidays, but then pms hit and I needed chocolate to soothe that beast, lol. I got up early this morning to workout and didn't. So now I need to battle myself to the treadmill. I've skipped too many days around Christmas not to. I ate too much last night and again this morning. Gotta battle myself to start logging those calories to keep me in line.
It is a battle worth fighting, and a battle I will win, but a battle nonetheless. I've been reading a few blogs on people in maintenance, and it seems it may be a battle forever. I think my past failures were based on the fact that once I got to where I felt good about myself: in that certain size jeans, or that certain number on the scale, I dropped my guard and slipped back into old patterns. I am realizing when you have been so dysfunctional with food, weight, etc your whole life the battle doesn't end when the scale reads that magic number. It is way too easy to make it go right back up. So I am changing my mindset that there is an 'end' to this. Yes, I will get to my goal. But that isn't the end. Just a point on the journey.
Better go get your armour...


http://www.youtube.com/user/jordinsparks?blend=1&ob=4#p/f/4/suPlYwJ3YvM

Sunday, December 27, 2009

UGH...when will I learn?!

Just ate past full. I have not done that in a while, but ugh it feels terrible! I ate two burritos because I'm USED to eating two burritos. Not because I was that hungry, or even really wanted them. And now I have that yucky, bloated, uncomfortably full feeling. ICK. OK, deep breath. Live and learn. Icky stuffed full feeling, bad. Pleasantly satisfied full feeling, good. Will work on that.

So much fun.

Yes, I'm a dork, but I am having SO MUCH FUN with this blog. I love the weightloss ticker I just added, and a hit counter too, oh my! Sorry, new to this blog thing and having a blast with it. Now if I could get someone to read it, hee hee.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Biggest Loser: The Workout - Last Chance Workout Review

This DVD gets 4 stars from me. It is a great workout! Definitely a workout I'll be doing for a while.


For this workout you will need:
A set of handweights (beginners use lighter weights, more advanced exercisers can use heavier weights)
A mat if you're working out on a hard floor.


This latest installment from The Biggest Loser: The Workout series is lead by Jillian Michaels. The Last Chance Workout section of the DVD is 'HIIT' or high intensity interval training. In circuits you will move from a strength move (such as hammer curls standing on one leg) for about 30 seconds to a cardio move (like jumping rope) for about 30 seconds. It is a tough workout, it moves quickly from one move to the next with little lag time. You will sweat and burn those calories. There are no ab only exercises such a crunches, Jillian seems to prefer engaging the core throughout the workout; utilizing plank type moves, etc. 

The Upper Body Sculpt and Lower Body Tone sections are mostly strength moves with much less cardio-type moves. At one point Jillian calls them 'supersets'. The moves in these sections are tough, and not strictly upper or lower body, just mainly focussed on these. They include combo moves using both upper and lower body. Your muscles will feel these the next day! Also, the Losers are much more in sync in these two sections of the DVD.

The set for this DVD is the weigh in/gym from the Biggest Loser show. Either the real thing or made to look like it. The music is upbeat and not annoying. 

Jillian Michaels leads former Loser contestants Tara, Sione, Amanda, Danny, Allen, Daniel, and Liz through the workout fitness class style. Sometimes she does the moves a bit, but mostly walks around between Losers. 

Jillian's cueing is good. She calls out the names of the next move, but doesn't always show them. Generally flows nicely, but once or twice the Losers seem confused and miss a beat after she calls out the name of the next move. I would suggest watching this once before doing. After the first time I did it this no longer bothered me. I knew what she was talking about when she called out a move. 

The Losers offer variations of exercises from beginner to advanced throughout the workout. For more advanced you can watch Tara, Sione, and Allen. For average to intermediate Amanda and maybe Daniel. Beginners can watch Liz and Danny. 

The menu choices are: Last Chance Workout Program, Individual Workouts, Training Tips, Trailers, and Credits. There are a Warmup, the Last Chance Workout, an Upper Body Sculpt, a Lower Body Tone, and a Cool Down. 

You have the option of music and Jillian's instructions or music only. 

This workout is set up to where you can do individual sections or the Last Chance Workout Program:
Weeks 1-2 are set up for 30-35 minutes per day for six days a week. Monday you do the warmup, last chance workout, and cool down. Tuesday you do the warmup, upperbody sculpt, lower body tone, and the cooldown. Wednesday the same as Monday, Thursday the same as Tuesday; alternating those two workouts all week and resting Sunday.

Weeks 3-4 are set up for 45 minutes, six days a week. Monday you do the warmup, last chance workout, lower body tone, and cooldown. Tuesday you do the warmup, last chance workout, upper body sculpt, and the cooldown. You then alternate those workouts the rest of the week and rest Sunday.

Weeks 5-6 are set up for 55 minutes a day, six times a week.
You do every workout each of the six days: the warmup, the last chance workout, the upperbody sculpt, the lower body sculpt, and the cool down.
In the Individual Workout section you can choose to do the workouts individually but you cannot program it to customize a workout. For instance you couldn't set it to do upperbody sculpt followed by the last chance workout from the individual workout menu. A bit of a bummer, but it's meant to be done as the 6 week program. The warmup and cooldowns are the same for all the workouts.

The Training Tips sections is basically commercials for The Biggest Loser 'lifestyle' products. Ali shows you resistance cords, Tara shows you a weighted water ball, Ali and Sione demonstrate stability balls, and Tara shows body bands. They do show a few tips and variations on workouts and it is pretty cool stuff. But again, this section is a commercial.

The Trailers sections shows trailers for Biggest Loser Boot Camp, Biggest Loser Yoga, Biggest Loser the Workout and the Workout 2, Biggest Loser Cardio Max, and Biggest Loser Power Sculpt. You see the theme, lol, more commercials. Credit section is, of course, the credits.

If you dislike Jillian's personality you may not like this DVD. In Jillian's typical tough trainer style she yells at the Losers, but laughs with them too. She says things like, "these contestants belong to me", and even calls a contestant her "bitch". If, however, you are a big Jillian fan or Biggest Loser fan you may love it. She is honest and straight forward Jillian, she says "this is your last circuit: it sucks!" and "Do you wanna be skinny or not? Shut up and do your mountain climbers!" She is also encouraging, saying things like "Don't quit on me, because when you quit on me you quit on yourself." I think all the yelling and hollering is hype because it's a Biggest Loser style 'Last Chance Workout'. But what we're all looking for here is a tough workout to blast some calories, and that it is.

Overall, this offers good variations from beginner to advanced and is a well-rounded, full-body, fast paced workout I felt the next day. There are many very challenging moves, yet the workout remains accessible to all levels with the modifications. I was a little distracted by some of the Losers not being in sync and some even not really doing the moves right a few times. This was an easy fix by keeping my eyes on Tara, Sione, and Allen. It is a lot like watching a fitness class, which is not what I'm used to from Jillian. (Merely a personal preference here, I like watching Jillian on a clean set with 1 or 2 others doing the moves in sync, perfectly.) I would have enjoyed it more with just Tara and Sione doing the moves in sync with Jillian. But it was fun to workout 'with' some of my favorite past contestants. While not what I am used to from Jillian, it was a great workout, which really, is the important thing here! 

Brief update: Just realized you get a free download of a biggest loser workout cd: Top 40 Hits vol 1 from workoutmusic.com when you buy this now. There's an insert in the DVD with the code. Cool.

I am just a blogger, not a doctor or any sort of health or fitness professional. What you read here are my personal experiences and opinions.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!!
My holiday strategy since Thanksgiving has been this: I work out more often and at a higher intensity the 2 weeks prior to a holiday. I also try to watch my nutrition carefully. I work out as much as I can through the holidays. But I also allow myself what I want at special occassions. Not a pigout fest here, but I pick the things I really want and that I really enjoy and skip the rest. If I really want waffles with whipped cream at the family breakfast, that's what I have. But I skip the sugary juices and bacon, etc that isn't that big a deal to me.
Usually I can get through without a gain. Feeling deprived is the beginning of the end to me, and this avoids that completely. Hope this is helpful.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sparkpeople.com review * * * *

Sparkpeople.com as well as Sparkpeople mobile gets four stars from me. LOVES this site. The best part? It's completely free! No dollars flushed down the diet toilet here.

Basically, you can go to http://www.sparkpeople.com/ and sign up ( for free, lol) and they will customize a weight loss plan for you. They focus on gradual, healthy weight loss, no crash diets here. You enter your weight and weight loss goals, how much you want to work out, etc and they spit out all the numbers for you.

The nutrition tracking is very thorough. You can have them suggest a menu for you, or you can set up your own menu staying in the calorie range they suggest. I go with my own food plan and enter the complete nutritional information on the foods I eat and save them to my Favorites for easy access later. One of the reasons for a missing star in my rating is that I have noticed some of the nutrition info is a bit off.  If you just want a rough estimate of your calories that is great, but I want to know exactly what I'm consuming. Easily solved just by entering the info yourself and saving it to your Favorites. We all tend to eat the same foods over and over so it's not as big a task as it sounds. You can track more than just calories too. I love being able to track how much protein, calcium, fiber, etc I am consuming. It really helps to make sure you are getting a balanced diet in the lower calories you are consuming.


There is also a link to sparkrecipes which has TONS of healthy recipes to try. Very good tool here. You can search for recipes, rate recipes you've tried, and submit some of your own. Nutritional information is included in all recipes, so easy!


As weight loss is simply a calories in/calories out equation you also track your workouts. You can track your strength and cardio in your fitness tracker.  Again, they will customize something for you, or you can set it up yourself. Here I did find numbers a little off on occassion, especially for biking it would estimate the calories I would burn higher than what I was actually burning. People's bodies differ, depending on size, gender, age etc so they are giving an estimate here. I use a heart rate monitor and track exactly the calories burned. I also save these exercises to my favorites for easy access when tracking from my phone. Another possible issue here I found was that when I entered my activity they would up my suggested calorie range to the point that my weight loss slowed to a crawl.  My metabolism is different than most and so I simply adjusted the range back down, an easy fix, but definitely something to pay attention to. Every one is different, learning what works for you is key! The last thing I would mention in the fitness section, is they actually have workouts you can play and do, a nice bonus.


The Reports section is fun and useful. You can see reports on your nutrition, fitness, weight over time, etc. A good tool to see where you are and how you're doing in all these things.


Now the best thing I found about sparkpeople was actually the support system.  It's amazing the teams on that site. If you have an interest, there is a team for it on that site, seriously, anything. Search around and join some teams until you find a good fit. Some are super encouraging and supportive. You can set up your own 'page' on the site telling about yourself and even add photos. People can then stop by and leave you comments at the bottom or give you 'goodies' to add to your page. There are also tons of message boards to post on, topics galore here, something for everyone for sure. Sparkpeople also has an insite message/email system to send each other messages directly without everyone else being able to see them. You can even start your own team.  I cannot stress enough the value of a good support system in weight loss. Find a good supportive team and jump in! One of the best I found was a team called "Done Being the Fat Girl". Crazy name, but FANTASTICALLY supportive team.


Sparkepeople sends out emails on what you should be doing that week they include:  tips, recipes, pointers, encouraging stories, etc for what 'Stage' you are in. They definitely break the process down into bite sized steps to not overwhelm you. Weight loss is a journey and they are very good at not setting you up for a crash and burn.


It is really great to be able to track your weight loss goals, your nutrition, and your excercise in one handy spot. Add to that the support system and you have an AWESOME weight loss tool here. A few tweaks may be necessary to make it work best for you, but so worth the time. I have used it for over a year and still feel it's really helpful. Once I set up my account on the website I then use the mobile site from my Blackberry to make tracking my nutrition and fitness super easy.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something you can do on this site, but I've picked out the things I use most; it really is loaded with helpful things. And yes, it is absolutely free, I've never paid a dime for it. Unbelievable and SO four stars!


I am just a blogger, not a doctor or any sort of professional. What you read here are my personal experiences and opinions. Of course, always consult your doctor before trying a diet, diet pill, or new workout programs.