Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shrinking Jeans Challenge: Week 4

Becca and I maintained our #4 spot in the SpringIn2Action challenge this week.

I'm not sure how many teams are registered, but I'll say 237,384. Yay us! Seriously, it's nice that someone smarter than me did the math and calculated that we have lost a combined 4.09% of our weight since March 2. It's another non-scale number that's a great bolster.

And, props to our friends Amy and Jami who hit the board at #9.

The fun thing about challenges, especially team ones, is someone else is counting on you. Granted, we've got nothing invested in this but pride (thankfully), but if I'm having a weak moment, sometimes I'll remember that Becca is counting on me not to eat a sleeve of saltines.

The extra accountability is fun. And on a project like this, fun matters.

In other me-centric news, I had a good run this morning. Walking from the car to the gym it smelled like spring. Sure, the sun wasn't up and it was kinda cold, but there was that moisture in the air that said, Spring is coming! And Get inside, I'm going to rain on you!

But it's all a total tease as we're expected to get several inches of snow overnight. Everyone is saying: Do you believe it?!? Yes, yes I do.

My first full bootcamp class is tomorrow at 6 am, and Mother Nature has enjoyed nothing more this year than throwing snowy monkey wrenches in my workout schedule.

Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

My friend Becca whipped up some great, low-Point, high-volume stuffed peppers, and I was so intrigued I had to follow suit.

Yet another reason why it's so great to have friends who follow your WW lifestyle. They generously share ideas and you can steal them!

And, instead of rice she used couscous, something I had never tried, and until recently, could not spell. I was doubly intrigued - if that's even possible.

Anyway, Becca made it up as she went along and I followed suit.

Here's what I came up with:

  • 2 green bell peppers (0 Points+)
  • Small onion, chopped. (0 Points+)
  • 2 cloves garlic (0 Points+)
  • 1t olive oil (1 Points+)
  • 2/3C Morningstar Farms crumbles (2 Points+)
  • 1C cooked couscous (4 Points+)
  • 1/2C Newman's Sockarooni Sauce (2 Points+)
  • 1/4C Kraft 2% Italian shredded cheese (2 Points+)

    Take the tops off the peppers, clean out the insides and boil for 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Saute the garlic, crumbles and onion in oil. Add the Newman's sauce and cooked couscous. Salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 5-10 minutes on low.

    Split the mixture between the 2 peppers and bake, covered in a dish, for 20 minutes at 375.

    Uncover, split the cheese between the peppers and bake in the oven for another 5 or so minutes until the cheese is melted.

    Serves 2, 5.5 Points+/svg

    Turned out to be a delicious, easy-to-customize recipe for a cold afternoon. I like the couscous, and next time I think I'd try adding diced Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausages (love them) in place of the crumbles. That would bump the total Points+ for the recipe from 11 to 13, making the peppers 6.5 Points+ each. I liked the crumbles, but I will find any excuse to add sausage to a recipe.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    In which I confound the nurses

    Went to my general practitioner for a checkup today, my first in 4 years.

    I put off annual checkups for a variety of reasons:

  • Didn't have any pressing problems.
  • Was often at the OB for various pregnancies, so I was monitored there.
  • Didn't want to hear the "You need to lose weight" lecture again.

    I like my doctor, but after a lifetime of those conversations with many of them, I really didn't want to hear it again. Especially because it was true.

    However, one of the side benefits of getting in shape is a trip to the doc was now something I wanted to do.

    So there I was, on the exam table today as a nurse took my blood pressure. I had high BP with all of the pregnancies and took meds, sometimes during them and often after.

    The nurse finished the reading, looked at her chart and said, "Can I take it again?"

    "Sure, is everything OK?"

    "Oh, yeah. Your blood pressure is so normal, given your history, I want to make sure I didn't do anything wrong."

    Nice! She took it again - and then my doctor took it again at the end of the exam. Three readings, all excellent.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Welcome, family and friends

    Don't feel bad you didn't know about this because, frankly, no one knew.

    Regardless, this all started as a private weight-loss diary, a place where I could record stats, things I wanted to remember, recipes I would surely lose if not typed in somewhere, etc.

    I love well-done weight loss blogs. I list my favorites on the right, they're full of information and inspiration, something you need an awful lot of during a project like this. If you thought I was going to type "journey" instead of "project", please read this.

    Anyway, if you go through the past posts, you'll see it started sparingly (I was too busy trying to get back in the WW swing of things and, you know, lose weight) but has ramped up considerably as of late.

    The more I wrote, the more I realized it's kinda selfish to keep it all to myself. Not that I have any secrets or magic formulas, but maybe something here could help someone out there. And that would be very cool.

    And if not, well, at least I know where I put that chicken soup recipe.

    Week 29 Weigh-In: -75!

    The last few days have been great.

    On Saturday, I finished my bootcamp intro classes.

    On Sunday, I finished the C25K program.

    And, today, the stingy scale finally coughed up some big love and I hit -75 down. -75.4 to be exact. Well, it is almost half-a-pound there.

    I wasn't sure what this weigh-in would bring. Over the past two weeks I lost a grand total of 1.4 pounds, despite working harder than ever in the exercise department. It was discouraging, to be sure, but I knew if I kept on plugging my body would give it up.

    I gotta admit, I didn't expect -4. When running Sunday my mind was wandering a bit and I was figuring out how much I had to lose to get to -75, my next big milestone.

    I needed to lose 3.6 lbs. Would it happen Tuesday? Who knows? I've had big weigh-ins like that before, so it's possible, but given how the scale has been acting on Tuesday mornings, I wouldn't have put money on it.

    I was nervous, as always, when weighing in this morning. As I approached my favorite receptionist, Donna, she asked nicely, "Would you go to Holly? She's training someone."

    I reluctantly agreed and went to Holly, who said, "OK," my cue to step on the scale.

    Then....nothing. Some receptionists, like Donna, will whisper your loss. She usually proceeds it with "Goooood." When she says nothing, it's not good. So when Holly said nothing, I was nervous.

    "Oh," she said rather nonchalantly. "You lost 4 lbs."

    Damn, Holly, step up the enthusiasm. That's a lot!

    I did the quick math in my head and realized I made it. -75! I've been gunning for that -75 lb charm since I earned my -50 charm in January.

    Got a hug from the leader and pretty much floated into the meeting room. Non-exciting weigh-in streak broken, big milestone reached.

    Then, I realized, I am only 6.6 lbs from Onederland. A very big deal. And, of course, the last charm to go, -100. Can't wait.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    In which I remember where my battle lies

    The alarm went off at 6 am yesterday and I didn't want to get up. Really didn't want to get up and drive to the gym.

    Some days it's easier than others and this was one of those difficult days.

    It's Sunday morning, everyone in their right mind is in bed, warm and cozy.

    It's still pitch black out and in the 20s.

    For God's sake, even the kids are still asleep, I really have to get up?

    Yes, I did. Early morning is the only time I can reliably get a workout in. If I didn't do it now, chances are slim I would be able to easily make it to the gym for the rest of the day. I would be pissed off at myself for the rest of the day and, likely, all the way until weigh-in on Tuesday.

    Then a thought came into my head:

    This is where you win your battle. Not Tuesday mornings on the scale.

    True enough. That's all it took. Up and out I went.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    C25K Week 9: The Finish Line

    Today I finally finished the Couch To 5K training program.

    It's supposed to take you 9 weeks, but I had to stretch it out to 12 due to weather-related workout cancellations and a few scheduling/childcare issues.

    Regardless, I started on Dec. 30, running 60 seconds, then walking 90 seconds, repeating for 20 minutes. That was a lot of work, and a 5K might as well have been a 500K.

    Today I ran 31 minutes straight, a distance of about 2.75 miles. On Dec. 30 I weighed 236.8 lbs. Today, well, I'm not sure as my weigh-in isn't until Tuesday - and I refuse to get on a scale at home. Edit to add: Tuesday's WI: 207. For a total loss of 29.8 lbs during C25K training.

    I'm not going to write, "It sure didn't seem like 12 weeks" because it sure did. I was at the gym 3x a week in the predawn sweating it out and working hard. But it pays off. I even ran half a 5K.

    I don't always love running (read earlier C25K posts and it's a common refrain), but I always love the results. I'm lighter, fitter and stronger.

    So where to now? Well, I want to run outside and race more, but my right hip flexor is debilitatingly painful when running outside (treadmill running is pain-free). Heading to the doctor next week to see how I can get that remedied, by exercise, orthotics or whatever.

    Provided I can run pain-free outside, I'll run outside and race more. It's fun and races are good goals to shoot for.

    If for some reason there is no relatively easy fix for the hip, I'll continue to run on the treadmill. I plan to add 3 minutes a week to my running to get up to 45 minutes a run. I may be the only person I've ever known who doesn't mind the treadmill. I can watch the news, listen to my music and get my workout and 32 oz of water in - all before 7 am. That's a win in my book.

    Thinking of giving it a shot? Read a little of this blog. And this one. Then I defy you not to sprint to a store to get a good pair of running shoes and give it a go yourself.

    And, if you absolutely don't want to run, absolutely do not watch the video below as you will quickly find yourself being fitted for a new pair of Asics and scouting 5Ks on CoolRunning.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    In which at bootcamp, 1 minute is a long time

    This morning was the second of two introductory classes I had to take before starting regular bootcamp classes two times a week.

    Last week, the trainer ran us through a lot of basic exercises we'd encounter. They have a repertoire of about 200 exercises they use, switching it up every week so no circuit is the same. This week, he set up a mini-circuit modeling what it would be like during a regular class.

    There were 4 stations throughout the gym, with two exercises at each. For the first minute you did one exercise, rested 15 seconds then did the other for a minute. Then you progressed to the next station. Some of the exercises were cardio, some were strength training. All seemed long!

    Sure, throwing a medicine ball as hard as you can against a concrete wall for a minute doesn't sound intimidating, until you try it. Then slam it to your side for another minute, hoping you're still with it enough to catch it, before it hits you in the face.

    After one rotation - 8 minutes - I was sucking wind with wobbly arms and legs. The regular classes send you through three times and there are six stations - and that's after a decent warmp. This will be a great workout, that's for sure.

    First real class is next Friday, 6 am. Oddly, I'm looking forward to it.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

    It had been a couple of weeks since I tried a new recipe and I needed it.

    I think it's good for me to try new recipes and not just eat the same foods over and over again. Although, I do that a lot, too.

    So when I opened the WW Weekly last week and saw a slow-cook version of Chicken Cacciatore, I was in. I love my slow cooker.

    I made it earlier this week and it was excellent. And the house smelled amazing all day.

    The recipe says you get 4 1-cup servings, somehow I got 5, although I followed the recipe as written and measured my portions carefully using the WW measured serving spoons (which I love).

    One cup is a good serving and for 5 Points+ it's a bargain. If you were really hungry, you could even go a cup-and-a-half for 7.5 Points+. That's still pretty low for an entree and even more food.

    Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

    1 pound(s) skinless chicken thigh(s), cut into bite-size pieces   
    1 cup(s) mushroom(s), sliced (fresh, frozen or canned)   
    1 cup(s) green pepper(s), sliced (fresh or frozen)   
    1 cup(s) onion(s), chopped (fresh or frozen)   
    1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
    1 Tbsp canned tomato paste   
    14 1/2 oz canned crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted   
    1/4 cup(s) red wine, dry-variety   
    3/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed   
    3/4 tsp table salt, divided   
    1/4 tsp black pepper   

    Place chicken in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker. Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes and juice, wine, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper.

    Cover slow cooker; cook on high heat for 5 to 6 hours or on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Taste just before serving and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt if necessary. Yields about 1 cup per serving. Serves 4. 5 Points+/svg

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    In which I build a massive salad

    I grilled a bunch of chicken yesterday. In gonna-snow-soon 38-degree weather, no less.

    That (the chicken, not the weather) had me angling for a big 'ol salad today. While at the grocery store, I got a bag of Classic Romaine and found this deliciousness in the Produce aisle.

    1 Points+ for 2T (7g). 7g isn't a ton, but for 1 Point it adds a great hint of spicy and tangy.

    I love Wasabi and I love Ranch. I've never seen them blended before. Good, crunchy flavorful stuff if you've got 1 Point to spare.

    Anyway, put together a monster salad that was quite delicious:

    5 oz grilled chicken (5 Points+)
    1/4C feta cheese (2 Points+)
    3 slices Oscar Meyer Thick Cut Ready Cook Bacon (2 Points+)
    7g Wasabi Ranch Wonton Strips (1 Points+)
    1T balsamic vinegar (0 Points+)
    Romaine lettuce (0 Points+)

    For 10 Points it was a lot of good food.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    In which I bake Vitatops

    I love me some VitaTops.

    I just wish they weren't so expensive. My local grocery store carries them for $5.99 per box. And, in worse news, a box contains only four VitaTops.

    Since I eat one every day with my plain Chobani and 1c of raspberries, it's an expensive daily breakfast. But, damn, it's delicious.

    However, my WW guru, Flo, gave me the heads-up that you can order the mix from the company and bake them yourself (that's what she does).

    One box of mix yields a dozen Vitatops. A box of mix costs $6.25. That's 52 cents per top. Buying them frozen at the store it's $1.49 per top.

    I didn't own any muffin top pans, so I went straight to the source and ordered silicone pans from Vitalicious. $30 for two pans is kinda a ripoff, but I justified it in that I'd get a quick return on investment with the savings from going to the mix.

    The hardest part of the whole process is not eating half of them when they're cooling.

    My mix and pans arrived quickly and I whipped up my first batch. All you need to add are egg whites, water and chocolate chips. Super easy and they came out perfect. Even the cleanup is simple with the silicone pans.

    Once cool, I wrapped each in plastic wrap and froze them all in a bag. Now I only have to bake once every few weeks.

    If you enjoy VitaTops regularly, DIY is a good deal.

    Ready for the freezer.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Week 28 Weight-In: I Want More

    I suppose all Weight Watchers want a "better" number at the scale.

    I sure do if the loss is under 2 lbs. So, this week, I wanted more. But since my weigh-in didn't have a + or a . before it, I'm OK with my -1 loss. Not, you know, like I had any choice.

    I had an on-plan week of eating and exercising, so I believe my foray into bootcampland is the culprit.

    I know muscle-building is important - and necessary - I just wish it didn't lead to water retention on my part.

    But, onward, downward.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    C25K: Last week!

    It's hard to believe it's my last week of C25K.

    One run today, one run Friday and my last either Sunday or Monday. It depends how my glutes and quads feel after bootcamp Saturday.

    That said, while they're still sore from last Saturday, the run today didn't aggravate them at all.

    But, I looked 90 years old trying to step off the treadmill. Yay.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    In which my squat muscles are sore

    Yesterday I wondered what I'd feel like today, 24 hours after my first bootcamp workout.

    Whatever muscles are used for squats are very sore. Trying to sit. Ouch. Trying to get up from a seated position. Oof.

    No pain, just sore muscles. Not a lot of squatting has been going on in these parts in years. Yes, I could take ibuprofen. But I have this No meds of any kind unless absolutely necessary rule 48 hours before my weigh-in, due to water retention. It's a painful one to keep today, but I am sticking to it.

    Typing of weigh-in, I am concerned about sore muscles = water retention = crap weigh-in. But I need to tone and strengthen, and I know cardio combined with strength training will turn me into a toned, fat-burning machine. However, I also know muscle-building can throw a monkey wrench in your weigh-in for a bit. Fingers crossed I can avert that.

    I was due for the gym today and had planned to run, but I wanted to give my legs another day to recover from squatville. So I did 45 minutes on the elliptical with no problem.

    Tomorrow I plan to run.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    In which I start bootcamp

    Very exciting morning today - I had my first intro class for a local bootcamp.

    As I wrote earlier, this idea had been percolating in the back of my brain for a while and, finally, the time was right to commit.

    This camp requires new members to attend 2 intro classes before jumping into the weekly classes. Today was the first, the last next Saturday. Then, the following week, I can hop into my regular 2x/week.

    I was a little nervous when I walked through the door of what, essentially, is a giant warehouse covered in green astroturf and loaded with exercise equipment of all shapes and sizes.

    As a lifetime overweight person, gym class was not a favorite by a longshot, and this action looked a lot like gym class. But I'm not 12 anymore, I'm not going for that damn Presidential Physical Fitness test, and I'm in better shape than ever. So, let's roll.

    There were 7 other newbies in the class. One guy looked fit enough to be a trainer. A few women were young and looked fit. And, thank God, there were two overweight people in their 50s. I didn't want to be the only overweight person there. Old insecurities die hard.

    We had a good warm up, one move of which was skipping down and back the length of the gym. Can't remember the last time I skipped. We stepped up and down on boxes for cardio and balance. We did a ton of 6-lb medicine ball tosses, chucking them at a concrete wall. That was very cool and therapeutic. Fun Fact: The harder you throw them, the harder they come back. Lesson learned.

    We did strength work with resistance bands attached to the wall. Then we finished with free weight upper body presses, raises and punches with 5-lb dumbells.

    At the beginning, I was wondering how intense the workout would be. By the end of the hour, I was sucking wind and sweating with wobbly arms and legs. Question answered.

    What I liked best about the class was the fact it was run and designed by a physical therapist. He emphasized correct form, not speed, and issued quiet corrections when you needed it, "Make sure you knee stays back...", etc. There was none of the ridiculous yelling and screaming I hear emanating from the group exercise room at my regular gym, taught by The Hulk: "C'MON, PUSH IT! PUSH IT! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!" And that's from a spin class.

    As I write this, I'm a little sore, but not in pain. I can feel solid, well-earned muscle fatigue in the quads, thighs and glutes. Wonder how I will feel tomorrow. Regardless, looking forward to next week.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    In which I have a good run and my hip doesn't shatter

    I had a great run today and that meant a lot.

    After the 5K my right hip was hurting big-time. So much I wasn't sure how - or if - I would be able to run, even on a treadmill.

    Today was a gym day and I made myself a deal: If there was a free treadmill, I would run. If not, I would do the elliptical.

    When I got to the gym, there were several free treadmills and my hip felt OK, so off I went. It was also the first run of the last week of C25K - finally!

    I set my Nike+ iPod to 31 minutes and after a 10-minute warm up, hit Start on the Nike+ and was off.

    I kept the pace very slow and was thrilled that the time flew and running was not the sometime-struggle it can be.

    Thirty-one minutes represented my longest run to date and was relatively easy. I was very happy, not only because my hip felt OK, but also because the last few runs before the 5K were not great. Time dragged and they seemed to take more effort than they should.

    But now I'm encouraged about my running future. In the next 2 weeks I meet with my physician for a checkup and I will request a referral to an orthopedist or sports med pro to get advice on this right hip. I want to run outside, especially that it's getting nice out, but I don't want to severely injure my hip in the process. Something is up and it needs to be fixed.

    In which I'm back on the Leaderboard

    All hail Becca this week, as she pulled off a super loss (and I did meh) to get us onto the Week 2 Spring Into Action Leaderboard at

    Check out Becca's blog. She's an expert.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Week 27 Weigh-In: Meh

    I knew, just knew, this wasn't going to be a great weigh-in.

    I had my usual on-plan week: smart eating and hard exercise. But because I did a 5K two days before, I knew I was going to get screwed at the scale.

    It was my first 5K in 8 years and anytime I do a strenuous new exercise my muscles are sore and retain water to rebuild themselves. This race was just too close to WI for them to rebound in time.

    You would think it's just the opposite, right? Wow, I did something very hard and surely I will lose a lot of weight next time I step on the scale! It's just another one of those weight-loss screw jobs that pop up here and there.

    Plus, I had lost nearly 8 lbs over the past 3 weeks, so I was due for a small loss, anyway. Regardless, a little voice inside was holding out hope. All I wanted - all I ever want - is to lose 2 lbs a week. Anything over that is gravy. Anything under, a disappointment (unless there was an underlying reason).

    I knew things weren't going to go my way when I got to the meeting, got in line and a new member cut me in line to get to Donna The Wonderful receptionist. This did not bode well.

    Now, a lot of us Weight Watchers are superstitious. We religiously follow the same weigh-in day routines, wear the same lightweight clothes, want the same receptionist/scale. I know it's BS, but it's how I roll. Donna was weighing in people and so was our leader. Donna weighs me in each week.

    But the new people joining kept getting Donna, which sucks because they have all their paperwork and other first week crap that takes forever. I wanted to go to Donna, but she was constantly tied up. Sick of waiting, I went to the leader's scale.

    You lost.4! Great! she chirped.

    Seriously, .4 is not great. I have never seen a person get excited for losing .4. Maybe if that's all you needed to reach Goal or Lifetime, then OK. Get excited. I know she was just trying to be encouraging, but -.4 sucks, even though I wasn't expecting much.

    Regardless, it's better than up .4. Onward and downward.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Race Report: Guinness Celtic 5K

    Going in I knew this race would be a stretch for a few reasons:

  • The longest I had run on the treadmill was 28 minutes.

  • The farthest I had run on the treadmill was 2.2 miles (and who knows how accurate that distance is).

  • I hadn't run outside yet. And running on pavement is much different and ridiculously harder on your body.

    I registered for this race back in December, figuring I'd be done with C25K by March 13 and surely would have run outside. Because the answers turned out to be No and No (due to constantly crappy weather and dangerous road conditions), I decided to just go and pick up my race packet since I had already paid my entry fee.

    But a few days before the race I got an email reminding me to pick up my packet, and it noted that 1,700 runners and walkers had already registered. Walkers? If there were walkers my fear of being the last person across the finish line would, in theory, go unrealized. Plus, I had to run outside eventually, why shouldn't it be this race?

    10 weeks of running and the first time my running shoes hit pavement - 75 minutes before a race. Don't try this at home.

    So I picked up my packet the day before, confirmed that, yes, there would be walkers, and got ready to run - well, run and walk. I figured I would run as far as I could, walk some, then run the rest.

    My last run was Friday - on the treadmill. On Sunday, I was ready to go. I got to the race about an hour before start time to find a parking spot, figure out what was where and, most importantly, walk around a lot to warm up.

    I'm smiling because the race hadn't started yet and my right hip still felt attached to my leg.

    By gun time I had walked around and was continually moving for about 25 minutes to warm up my legs, which were in for a shock. It was grey and in the 40s, with a nasty wind that made things feel much colder, hence the long-sleeved shirt. I lined up at the 14-minute-mile pace spot, cued up my Nike+ iPod and was soon off.

    I felt soooo slow, even though I was with the slowest runners and in front of the walkers. But I took it slow, knowing that going out too fast in a race will come back to bite you later. And, you know, the whole not-running-outside thing. It seemed like it took forever to reach the 1 Mile marker - and the course was very flat (thank goodness).

    My Mile 1, my right hip was killing me with every stride. When I last ran in 2003, my right hip would be sore after an outdoor run. During C25K this time, sometimes after a run my hip would be a little sore, but not agonizing. During the race - and I would find out, after - it was terrible. I felt like my leg would fall off at any moment.

    So at Mile 1 I slowed to a fast walk and walked the second mile. Soon, I'd make a deal with myself and run to the next landmark or lightpost in the distance, then walk again. I really wanted to finish in less than 45 minutes. I just kept trucking along, run/walking.

    When I hit Mile 3, I knew I was almost home, so I started running again. My hip was killing me, but I knew it was almost over. I turned the corner and saw the finish line. Vainly, I knew there was a photographer ahead so I tried to look cool and no-big-deal as his long lens was trained on me. As you can see, I didn't succeed. Next time I see a race photographer I need to remember, Head down. But I feel like a real runner now in that I have a crappy race photo.

    I crossed the finish line and glanced at the clock on the right: 45:20. Damn. Oh, well, at least I finished and I was not the last person to cross the line.

    By the time I got home my official times were in my inbox: Chip time - 45:20. Pace - 14:36, not bad considering I walked a lot of the race. If I ran the whole thing it would have been much better.

    My hip continued to kill me Sunday and nag me Monday. On Sunday I walked around like a had a peg leg, and since weigh-in day was only 48 hours away, no way would I take Ibuprofen, which causes me to retain water. If you've never been to Weight Watchers, this makes absolutely no sense. If you have, I know you're nodding your head in agreement.

    My hip was hurting so much I will be asking my physician for a referral to a orthopedist or a sports med facility. I'm hoping it's something easy, like I just need an orthotic or specific exercises to strengthen my hip. I already wear a mega motion-control shoe to help my overpronating, so maybe I need something more.

    I hope it's something easily fixable so I can continue to race. It is a lot of fun and races are good goals for all the 6 a.m. running I do. I would like to continue them without agony.
  • Saturday, March 12, 2011

    In which I get more support

    I initially hesitated posted about this, but I figured you already know how much I weigh, why would my bra size be any more intimate?

    I went to a local bra specialty store to get fitted for a new one. A) My current bras are from last fall. They are supportive in name only. B) It's fun to get felt up by old ladies with tape measures.

    I love this store because it's staffed by expert fitters and they will get you in the right size. You always hear that 85% of American women wear the wrong size bra, and left to our amateur devices, I believe it.

    All I had to do was listen to the woman squawking a few fitting rooms down: This bra is too tight!

    It's supposed to be tight, the saleswoman patiently explained. Again and again.

    Anyway, I bought my old bras from this store, so I know they were the right size: 46DD.

    After a fitting today, my new size: 40C. Woo!

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    In which there is big fitness news

    Two very big developments here on the fitness front.

    1. I will run my first 5K this Sunday. This was unexpected, somewhat. When I made the decision in December to start C25K, I discovered this race. I looked at the calendar and thought it would be a good one to try upon finishing the program, so I registered.

    However, bad weather and lack of childcare has put me about 2 weeks behind in finishing C25K in time to do this race, so I figured I'd go and pick up my T-shirt, but not run the event.

    I got a reminder email from the race organizers this week and it noted, "More than 1,400 runners and walkers have already registered." Wait, runners and walkers? I could do this, even though I'm not technically "done" with C25K and the longest I've run is 2.2 miles. And that was on a treadmill.

    I'm pretty sure I could run the whole thing, but my major concern is injuring myself and really screwing up my body. I haven't run outside yet and running outside is so different from the treadmill.

    So I would be combining my first outside run with a 1/3 increase in distance. I'm concerned that will equal "injury." However, I have a plan. I can run the first mile, walk the second and then run the last 1.2. And that should put me in the 45-minute finishing range I would expect to land. If I'm hurting, I can just walk more.

    So, planning to give it a shot.

    2. I signed up for a boot camp. I've been thinking about boot camps since I rejoined WW last September. A friend has been going to one nearby and raving about it. It's run by physical therapists and the Web site prominently display pictures of all shapes, sizes and ages. It looks safe, fun and challenging. And I have to tone up.

    I finally have the schedule that will allow for me to take the two mandatory beginner classes needed to join. There is one each in the next two weeks and I can't wait. With those under my belt I can enroll in April classes and start going two times a week. I will still run three times a week and just replace my weekly elliptical workout with a boot camp session. I'll end up working out five days a week instead of four, but I still think that's doable and well worth it.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    C25K: Week 8

    Been a while since I posted a C25K update because my training is dragging.

    My husband's work schedule has been upended the past two weeks, which means no childcare, which = no run.

    But today, the first day I could, I made it to the gym. It was Week 8 Day 2 of C25K, just four runs left until I finally complete the 9 weeks (or, technically, 11 weeks in my case).

    Today's run was decent, the best in the past 3, and my first run in 6 days. My legs were feeling it a bit in the first few minutes, but I go into a good rhythm and finished without clock-watching too much, a big victory right there. I bumped my speed up to 3.9 for a few minutes and was congratulated by Lance Armstrong (via my Nike+) at the end for my longest run - 2.2 miles.

    My husband's work schedule has calmed down for the next week, so I will be able to finish Week 8 and start and finish Week 9 without any interruption!

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Week 26 Weigh-In: Not-As-Fat Tuesday

    Every week I get nervous heading to my Weight Watchers meeting.

    Even though I follow the plan closely and work out regularly, that stupid scale spooks me every week. I had no reason to be worried this week, I didn't do anything "wrong."

    But I know what it's like to get screwed at the scale, and every week I worry it will happen. It's stupid. So what if it does? As long as I did my best, if it's a small loss or undeserved gain, so what. It'll come off - and then some - next week.

    Not sure why I got on that rant today as I certainly didn't get screwed at the scale. I was -3 to bring me to an even -70. So close to -75! Donna The Wonderful receptionist was thrilled. I was thrilled. And my leader was psyched, I even got a hug.

    This week's meeting topics was celebrating all victories - no matter the size - and I was flattered that the leader highlighted my milestone and asked me lots of questions in front of the group. It was fun to share.

    When I got home later, I input my new weight into Weight Watchers very helpful eTools site. I got the CYA/ridiculous "You're losing too fast!" admonition from the site (you get it if you lose more than 2 lbs a week). Which at the bottom features what friends and I call The Loneliest Link on

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    In which I question the accuracy of the Weight Watchers PointsPlus pedometer

    I purchased the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus pedometer for two reasons:

    1. I love that it automatically calculates how many Activity Points you earned. No more over- or underestimating!

    2. I love gadgets.

    But I've worn it for several days and the numbers it's producing are fantastic. "Fantastic" as in Wow, look how many APs I earned! And, unfortunately, "fantastic" as in Can I really believe the numbers?

    For example, last Friday I put on my pedometer upon getting out of bed at 5:30 am. I went to the gym for my workout, ran for 30 minutes and then went about my normal, everyday activity. When I took it off at 5:30 pm, the pedometer informed me I had walked 18,000+ steps for the day, logged more than 8 miles and earned 11 APs (see the picture above).

    Now, I'm an active person, but I can't believe I am that active, as nice as it read. (I did pause the pedometer any time I was in the car in case the vibrations were calculated as steps.)

    Thinking about it over the weekend, I thought that perhaps the average stride I used (set by the pedometer according to my height) was too long. I lost the manual, so I went online to try to find a manual to figure out how to customize and reset my length. My Googling found no manual, but evidence that others were questioning the pedometer's accuracy as well.

    I remembered I owned another pedometer, an Omron HJ-112, so I decided to conduct an experiment.

    Today, I wore both pedometers on my right hip from rising (7:30 am) for 12 hours. Each was updated with my height, weight and my custom stride length (21 inches). The Omron doesn't feature a Pause button like the Weight Watchers pedometer, so I didn't use the Pause button today. Anytime I was in the car, before I drove I wrote down the current step numbers on each and then the step numbers when I arrived at my destination, ensuring I could subtract any "false steps" generated by the car vibrations at the end of the day.

    I was in the car three separate times over the day and each time the Omron pedometer did not register time in the car as steps. Each time I got to my destination, the number of steps taken on the Omron unit was unchanged from the time I started the trip.

    Without employing the Pause button, the WW Points+ Pedometer racked up hundreds of false steps - 459 to be exact. But, I would argue that's why they built in a Pause button. And, I remember it is clearly stated in the manual to hit Pause if you're riding in or driving a car.

    So, what were the numbers at the end of the day?

    Steps taken: Weight Watchers PointsPlus pedometer: 18,585 (subtract 459 as false steps). Adjusted minus false steps: 18,126.

    Steps taken: Omron HJ-112: 10,992.

    Miles walked per Weight Watchers PointsPlus Pedometer: 6.15

    Miles walked per Omron pedometer: 3.46

    No doubt, the Weight Watchers pedometer's senor is super sensitive. And, you could argue, inaccurate in its assessment of steps and miles walked and APs earned.

    This post isn't meant to bash Weight Watchers or its products, but serve as a PSA that the numbers on your hip may not be as great as they read. I'm concerned that members using the pedometer would trust the number of APs earned and eat all or some of them, which would perhaps affect their weight loss.

    Given I'd rather be conservative in my estimates of APs earned, I'm putting my PointsPlus pedometer in my drawer. I hope Weight Watchers will sometime offer a more accurate pedometer that calculates APs. I will miss that feature.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Recipe: Salsa chicken

    My friend and WWer extraordinaire, Flo, tipped me off to this insanely easy yet delicious recipe (although "recipe" may be a stretch given how easy it is).

    Chicken (any parts, bone-in or boneless, fresh or frozen)
    1 jar of your favorite salsa.

    1. Put chicken in crockpot.
    2. Add jar of salsa.
    3. 8 hrs on low, 4 on high.

    As awesome as it is easy.

    I like using boneless breasts and topping with a jar of Newman's Mango Salsa. I spread a little on the bottom of the crock, then add the breasts (usually 4). If I use more breasts, then I add a little more salsa, enough to cover.

    I cook it on High for 4 hours, then take off the cover and with two forks shred the breasts so it looks like pulled chicken. Then, I put it on Low and let it simmer for another hour.

    It's so good! I normally eat it with a baked potato, but it would work over or with rice, or in a sandwich or wrap.

    It freezes and reheats beautifully, so when the chicken is cooled, I freeze it into 3-oz portions in 1/2c Glad containers. It leaves you a lot of food for future meals. One of my favorites is having it with a wedge of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese, on its own or even on a Fiber One Whole Wheat English Muffin in a sandwich.

    Ready for the freezer.

    3 oz of Salsa Chicken on a Fiber One Whole Wheat English Muffin, with 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese (7 Points).

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Recipe: Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

    I've been cooking a lot this week. On Wednesday I roasted my very first chicken (easy) and then made homemade stock (surprisingly easy).

    All the effort was geared toward the end game: Chicken Noodle Soup.

    I never made it before from scratch and it's soup weather, so I looked up the recipe at

    It was very easy and delicious, and 1.5 cups/svg is a decent deal for the 8 Points. I ate it over two days and then froze the rest. Will definitely make again.

    WW Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 3 pound(s) skinless chicken drumstick, or/ and tights, trimmed of all visible fat (I substituted 1 lbs of roasted chicken)
  • 6 cup(s) water (I substituted chicken broth)
  •  5 medium carrot(s), cut into 2-inch pieces (I doubled the carrots)   
  •  3 stalk(s) (medium) celery, cut into 1-inch pieces   
  •  2 medium onion(s), each cut into 8 wedges   
  • 2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
  • 1/8 oz parsley, about 3 sprigs, falt-leaf variety   
  • 1/8 oz thyme, fresh, 2 fresh sprigs   
  • 2 leaf/leaves bay leaf   
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt   
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground   
  • 2 cup(s) uncooked egg noodles (I used No Yolks brand)
  • 1/4 cup(s) parsley, flat-leaf variety   

    Bring the chicken, water, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to a boil in a Dutch oven. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Discard the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.

    Remove the chicken from the soup. Skim any fat from the top of the soup with a large spoon. Add the noodles and return the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. 

    When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bones. Cut the chicken into chunks and return 2 cups to the soup. Reserve the remaining 2 cups chicken for another day. Sprinkle the soup with the chopped parsley just before serving. Yields generous 1 1⁄2 cups per serving.
  • Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    In which I see tangible results

    One of the best things about weight loss are the little victories, the ones you don't expect that creep up on you on an average day.

    Sure, weekly weigh-ins are great, but it's those wonderful everyday surprises that really pack a punch.

    Today I reached into the backseat of our family car and pulled out the Beco baby carrier you see on the left (no, that's not me). Due to the weather, I hadn't used it since before Thanksgiving, maybe even October, but I was thinking about it today and needed it.

    I put my arms through the straps and snapped the belt around my hips, then it hit me, Oh, yeah. I lost weight. This is huge!

    Last time I used the carrier I remember the hip belt was a little loose (it's supposed to be very snug). I must have been on WW for at least a month and I remember cinching the belt tighter and being happy I needed to do that already.

    I also remember buying the carrier last summer and kinda freaking out in my mind, wondering if the hip belt would buckle at all, fearing embarrassment in front of the saleswoman. It clicked, with maybe less than 2 inches to spare.

    So I'm standing there with this hip belt dangling and I think, I need to take a picture of this before I adjust it.

    I didn't take any measurements when I started last September, but these are great indicators:

    Wow! (Excuse the grandmotherly socks-and-sandals look.)

    Leeway on the hip belt when I first tried it on (4.25 inches).

    Leeway after adjusting it for a current fit (12.5 inches).

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    In which I celebrate

    Every Tuesday after my WW meeting, I head over to a local grocery store that has a sushi chef & sushi bar to celebrate with one of my favorite foods, avocado maki.

    I know I probably shouldn't be "celebrating" with food, but it's a weekly, low-Point treat to which I really look forward. Plus, the chef makes the rolls to order, so they're super fresh. It's somewhat frightening how little it takes to make me happy these days.

    Week 25 Weigh-In

    Good stuff this week. -2.4 to jump past the -65 mark and reach -67 lbs gone. The only "bummer" is I lose another daily point, taking me down to 32, but I'll gladly take it!

    Getting pretty close to -70 and then the next big milestone -75!

    This loss was very gratifying this week as I missed 2 days at the gym due to a lack of childcare.

    That means I lost 1 run and 1 45-minute elliptical session - big calorie burners. I substituted a 45- and 60-minute Leslie Sansone DVD for each, and apparently it was a decent swap.

    That said, I really miss the gym.