Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Contest! An Unnamed Contest!

You know how people eat too much during the holidays and gain 5-15 pounds in approximately 30-35 days and then find that it takes 3 months to 35 years to lose that extra weight? You know what I'm talking about, right? Well, let's not do that this year. I'm talking to you. Yes, you. You! Tell those visions of sugar plums to stop dancing around your head right now. (now!) I have a proposal. A proposal of the losing kind. I think we (this still includes you, by the way) should not only avoid gaining 5-15 pounds before the year is out, but we should also lose some weight. You heard me. Forget maintenance. Forget the status quo. We're talking about real live weight loss here. As in, pounds of fatty excess gone from your body. 

Rather than have a vague notion of doing this thing (remember "hope is not a plan?"), I propose that we have a little weight loss contest with prizes and everything. We at Diet Cake care about our reader. Oh wait. I'm seeing a problem'll get to that in a moment. 
But first, let's talk about the contest itself. 

I think the grand prize should be $100,000. However, I'm a little short on $100,000es today and I think Sara might be in the same boat (please correct me if I'm wrong, Sara). Also, all our major corporate sponsors have either backed out or outsourced their blog weight loss competition sponsorship to India. 

But all is not lost. We will still offer a prize to the person who loses the most weight (as a percentage of starting body weight) during our competition. It will (brace yourselves) be worth dozens of dollars. I can't tell you what it is yet, because I don't know. I promise you will not hate it (unless you are incredibly picky, in which case you probably shouldn't be hanging out with me and my blog because I will undoubtably annoy you a great deal) and that you may or may not be the envy of everyone you know. 
How about some rules?

Weight loss contest rules:

  1. Contest is open to anyone, including me and Sara. We only ask that all contestants be real people and over the age of 18. I don't know why they have to be over the age of 18, but it seems like something I should put in contest rules. 
  2. Contest will begin on December 5th (there is a reason for this--be patient) and end on January 15th (of course).
  3. To enter the competition, all you have to do is leave a comment on December 5th's post with your name and starting weight. If you don't want the internet to know what you weigh, let us know and we can make other arrangements.
  4. Contestants must check in at least once a week to let us know they are still participating.
  5. Contestants are requested to refrain from using extreme measures (e.g. fasting for the entire month of December, chopping off a limb) to lose weight. Please try to be healthy. If you don't know how to lose weight in a healthy manner, I'm sure there are people who could tell you (don't look at me!) As the restraining order forced us to remove our hidden cameras, the honor system will have to do.  
  6. Contestants are also requested to refrain from being contestants if they are already below a healthy weight range for their height. We want to encourage good health!
  7. Grand prize will be awarded to the person who loses the highest percentage of his/her body weight. There is a possibility that second and third prizes will be awarded, but don't count on it.
  8. Sara and Holly reserve the right to disqualify any contestant who seems fishy, dishonest or non-human. We'll try to be fair, of course. 
  9. We also reserve the right to amend these rules at any time during the contest. 
I'm sure I'm missing something...

Oh yes. Back to the fact that we get maybe 10 hits a day (I'm not counting hits from me and Sara) on this blog and many of those hits are from people looking for pictures of Igor (I'm not even kidding). We have a few faithful readers (thanks guys!) and one very faithful reader (thanks Wendi!), but it would be far more exciting if we could recruit others to join in our weight loss fun as well (of course it will be fun! what's not fun about eschewing cookies and pie all month?) Plus, I don't think Wendi needs to lose any weight. 

So, that's why we're not starting officially until December 5th. We need time to find contestants!

Anyway, if you're reading this, and you know of someone (or someones) who might be interested in losing weight over the holidays and possibly winning a not-so-valuable prize, please send them over to Diet Cake. 

Stay tuned for more information! 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's times like these I wish Santa really existed

Since the Christmas shopping season has officially commenced, I'd like to share with you what's on my fantasy health-related wish list.

An unlimited supply of shoes, for every activity. Whether or not I actually participate in said activity.
An unlimited supply of Nike athletic clothing of every kind. Specifically, this jacket. In pink.
Every piece of home exercise equipment my little heart desires. (Please note: my hoe gym will not have a namby-pamby elliptical like the one pictured. No, ma'am. Mine will be a pimp-tastic Precor.)

And of course, since I'll be properly outfitted and have all the equipment I'll ever need at my fingertips, I'll need someone to yell at me while I use it. Enter Jillian. And Bob. But Bob will just be there to teach yoga and fetch me drinks (But he won't be allowed to have that expression on his face. What is up with that?). Jillian will be the one training me. And hurting me. And I will love it.
And since losing weight is 90% about the food, I will of course need a personal chef.
I also want a Garmin 405. I have an earlier model of this and luuub it, but this one is better. Personal GPS is actually illegal in Egypt, so I'm hoping that by next Christmas the 405 will be cheap enough that I can realistically put it on my wish list.
Now this is the one item on my list that I'm actually getting this year. We are crossing over to the dark side and getting a Wii. I have always vowed that as long as there is breath in my body, there will never be a video game system in my house, but apparently my strong convictions cannot withstand the siren song that is the Wii. So that will be for the family. Dh is getting Guitar Hero, and I'm getting the Wii Fit. (I am also getting the Jillian game for it, so yay!)
And since I'm at it, I might as well add one of these to my list:
Mine's going to need to grow larger denominations though.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Would I eat pumpkin pie if I couldn't have whipped cream on it?

Answer: probably not.

Thanksgiving was a lovely day. 

Guess what! Guess what!

I totally didn't pig out--and it didn't kill me. 

Now, to be honest, I can't say that I ate entirely prudently, but I don't have any regrets. I didn't eat seconds of any of the dinner items (though I had two pieces of pie when we had dessert later.) All my portions were quite reasonable--I even cut back on the things I didn't care as much about (mashed potatoes, for instance) so I could have a little more of the stuff I really wanted (stuffing). Best of all,  I wasn't sick at the end of the day. 

Joel is the dieting king--he is better about sticking to a diet/healthy eating plan than anyone I've ever met. Yesterday, however, he just let go and ate with abandon. He logged all his WW points, though, so I guess he wasn't quite as wild 'n' crazy as he might have been. 
He used 37 points on pie alone. For those of you not up with the Weight Watchers lingo, that translates to roughly 1800 calories. I'm not entirely sure why he didn't descend into a diabetic coma during the night. 

As promised, I took a picture of one of my mother-in-law's enormous Thanksgiving plates (see above). As always, I made sure this picture was as flattering of me as possible. 

I hope you also had a very nice holiday. If you, along with Joel, ate a day's worth of calories in pie alone, please forgive yourself as soon as possible. Just be on the lookout for the diet dangers that December will be bringing your way shortly: fudge, fruitcake (ha!), chocolate Santas, frosted sugar cookies, eggnog, schnitzel with noodles...etc. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Insert Your Own Clever Title Here (cuz I got nothin')

As you can see, my ability to think is still about where it was two days ago, so there's no possible way I could come even close to producing a list like Holly's. I do have a few ramblings to share though. Lucky you!

I was thinking today about gratitude and health/dieting/body image stuff, and when it comes right down to it, I am just plain grateful to have a body, even though I'm not entirely happy with how it looks. I am grateful that I'm healthy and that my family loves me no matter what I look like. I'm grateful that my children and husband are healthy, too, and that we have plenty of everything we need. Technically, I don't think sanity is a need, per se, because we're a little short on that.

Last year I had a malignant melanoma removed from my arm. It was caught early enough that the only treatment I needed was the one surgery, but my risk for skin cancer to return is what they call "elevated." I recently reconnected with a friend I lost touch with several years ago and found out that last year she was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. She went through 5 months of chemo and is currently in remission. In April, my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and 2 weeks ago was moved to Stage V. She's not expected to live much past the new year.

None of us can control whether or not we get cancer, but we can mitigate the risk. None of us can control what happens to our loved ones, but we can control what we put in our mouths, how (and how often) we move our bodies and whether or not we wear sunscreen (p.s. wear sunscreen). We don't know what's going to happen in the future, but we do know that how we live today can influence it. Influence it for good, ok?

Because this post isn't very funny, I'll try to redeem myself by posting a homework assignment my Kindergartener did. I feel the same way she does.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chock Full o' Thanks

Sara has blogging duty (like guard duty, but with fewer weapons) on Thanksgiving day, so I'll have to settle for a pre-Thanksgiving gratitude fest. 

(Who am I kidding? I'm happy to spend tomorrow doing nothing but eating simple carbs and watching other people do dishes--there will be no time for writing a Post-It Note, let alone a blog entry.)

I feel like making a numbered list. Please note that the list items are in random order (I don't want you to worry in case I happen to list Cheetos before my children...or something like that.)

Holly is thankful for:

  1. Cheetos
  2. My children
  3. Cinnamon toast
  4. Rhinestones
  5. Indoor plumbing, especially toilets
  6. Finding a good deal on a new furnace (not as good as the furnace not dying in the first place, but still...)
  7. A husband and father-in-law who are relatively qualified to install a furnace
  8. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
  9. Grocery shopping with my sister tonight
  10. Eggnog ice cream 
  11. Weight Watchers
  12. Fresh salsa
  13. My best in-state friend: Wendi
  14. My best friend: Sara
  15. My best friend who is also my husband: Joel
  16. Cinnamon toast
  17. Books!
  18. Jim Dale and his performance of the Harry Potter audiobooks
  19. Hot rollers (not to be confused with high rollers)
  20. Coupons
  21. Thai food
  22. Our parakeets
  23. My mannequin
  24. French doors
  25. Office supplies
  26. People who know how to sew
  27. My mom
  28. Your mom
  29. All the moms
  30. Sunscreen
  31. Lockets
  32. Clementines
  33. Post-it notes
  34. Those pens I love (what? I'm not going to get off the couch to find one and look at the brand.)
  35. Clifford the Big Red Couch
  36. Good haircuts and the people who give them
  37. Shop vacs
  38. The Hotties
  39. My siblings
  40. England
  41. Footy pajamas on little kids 
  42. Hot oil treatment
  43. Health insurance
  44. The USA
  45. New York City
  46. 50's dresses and vintage clothes in general 
  47. Etsy
  48. Apple computers
  49. Cupboard space
  50. It's a Wonderful Life
  51. Shoes
  52. People who spend their lives helping other people
  53. My mother-in-law's homemade macaroni and cheese
  54. Cheese
  55. God and all the good stuff that goes with
  56. Being free to worship Him
  57. Our DVR
  58. Jeans that aren't too tight or too loose
  59. Lotion
  60. Excedrin
  61. LASIK
  62. Flowers--any kind, but not calla lilies as much as the others
  63. Silk
  64. Wrap dresses
  65. People who are thrifty but aren't snotty about it
  66. Savings accounts
  67. Player pianos
  68. Digital cameras
  69. Red
  70. Cousins
  71. People who like me anyway
  72. Anti depressants
  73. Teachers who are really patient
  74. Tweezers
  75. Lysol wipes
  76. Heating pads
  77. Cetaphil
  78. Christmas trees
  79. Christmas
  80. Scottish accents
  81. Dangly earrings
  82. People who are smart but would never call themselves intellectuals
  83. (Parentheses)
  84. Sesame Street
  85. Houseplants that just won't quit
  86. No-iron fabrics
  87. Food banks
  88. People who get up early (how do they do it?)
  89. People who do jobs I don't want to do
  90. Trees
  91. Polite children
  92. My husband's insane but wonderful Christmas lights
  93. Kind neighbors
  94. Hotels
  95. Hiking (as long as I can stay in a hotel when I'm done)
  96. Hot baths
  97. Air conditioning
  98. Digging in the dirt
  99. Gas stoves
  100. Google

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yeah...sorry...I got nothin'...

I've been trying all day to think of something to blog about, and I think I thought of some things, but they got lost. In my brain. Which means they are irretrievable.

I'm pleading the fact that as of today my husband's been gone for 5 weeks, and there's still another week before he gets home. I have officially turned into a wuss of a Marine wife. Last time he was gone for longer than a scout campout (which is pretty much the longest he's been gone since he got home from his last deployment 3 1/2 years ago), it took me until Month 5 out of 6 before I hit this level of No Rational Thought In Here. Plus my 2-year old was on a rampage today. Let me rephrase: my potty-training 2-year old was on a rampage today. There was so much pee to clean up today.

So really all I have for you is that I exercised twice today, both at home, because I had errands to run this morning and wasn't able to get to the gym. I spent an hour walking the length of my apartment after I got home from the errands and then tonight I rode my stationary bike for 40 minutes while I watched a TV show on my computer. I also drank all my water and recorded all my food. Most importantly, I did not eat all of the cookies I made for my Kindergartener's Thanksgiving party. That was probably the hardest part of the day.

I apologize for the lameness of this post. Probably what I should do instead of whining about the wolves that are chasing me (luckily I dn't have a hangnail; that would just be the last straw) is point you toward the comment of this post so that you can see how awesome Wendi is. You probably won't believe that I have an opinion about this, but I believe that real change comes through making small changes and then being consistent. Her trip to the store on foot for her very heavy appples (sorry, Wendi, couldn't resist) and not buying caramels for said heavy appples is what it's about. Go, Wendi!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey...

and stuffing and yams. 

First, let's talk about yams. They are nasty. Don't waste calories on tubers smothered in marshmallowy ooze. 


We're having Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws this year. Somebody help me! (Just kidding--I love my in-laws. I especially love any of my in-laws who happen to read this blog entry. I love them SO much!) 

My mother-in-law has special plates just for Thanksgiving dinner. And by "special," I mean, "bigger than my hair in the 80's." You could feed an entire third-world nation off one of these plates. I'll take a picture of one of them (the plates, not a third-world nation) on Thursday and post it on this blog.

This post is not about big plates or big hair--it's about food. Specifically, it's about the big calories in your Thanksgiving dinner. 

If you want to eat until your belly button pops out like a Norbest turkey timer, go right ahead, but I want you to be informed first. Here's a veritable feast of information (tasty, tasty information) for you:

Thanksgiving Foods: Calories and Weight Watchers Points

*turkey, white meat 2 ounces (approx. weight 111 cal 2 WW pts
of an obese parakeet)
*turkey, dark meat 2 ounces (see above) 125 cal 2 WW pts
*turkey gravy 1/4 cup 68 cal 2 WW pts
*mashed potatoes 1 cup 233 cal 4 WW pts
*stuffing 1 cup 300 cal 6 WW pts
*sweet potatoes 2 1/2" x 2" section of 151 cal 3 WW pts
casserole dish
*green bean casserole 1/6th of 1.5 qt casserole 410 cal 11 WW pts
*cranberry sauce 1/2 cup 209 cal 4 WW pts
*dinner roll 1 average size roll, white 111 cal 2 WW pts
*butter 1 tablespoon 102 cal 3 WW pts
*pumpkin pie 1/8th of a 9-inch pie 323 cal 8 WW pts
*whipped cream 1/2 cup 207 cal 6 WW pts

This information was gleaned from the fertile fields of the internet. The caloric values of your Thanksgiving foods may vary. 

What are you going to eat on Thursday? How much of it? How many new feuds will you start with your siblings? 

(my answers: everything but the sweet potatoes, not enough to make me throw up, 2)

Photo notes: 

1) It was taken in 1990, not the 80's, but for our purposes it works.
2) I don't know what's most horrifying: my hair, my pleated white pants, my facial expression or the lasers. What do you think?
3) In my defense, I was reluctant to be photographed in front of the laser background. The photographer talked me into it. "It looks really good in the finished pictures!" he gushed. 
4) The pants were my idea, and there is no excuse for them. 
5) This picture will probably come back to haunt me someday. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Middle-Aged Surfer Can Teach Us About Thanksgiving

I thought about writing about how tonight when I was walking on the track at my kids' school I kept a really great pace because I was trying to make sure I stayed way ahead of any other people who were also on the track because I had gas. 4.52 miles in 71 minutes, thank you very much.

But (get it? Butt? Hee. I slay me.)(As a side note, something you should know about Holly is that when I first met her she was so refined that she wouldn't even say the word, "butt." It took me two years to wear her down.) I figured that that wouldn't be the most interesting post. Maybe it would, but that's sad. So instead I'm going to talk about Thanksgiving.

A couple of years ago I read a book by Anderson Cooper that I really liked--it was a good story well told, which is my main criteria for me liking it--but what I liked best was a phrase I took from it. I wish I were cool enough (or had enough brain cells, for that matter)(it is my time-tested hypothesis that placenta is made of brain cells) to remember the context of this phrase, but that doesn't make it any less good. Holly actually referred to it a few posts ago, because, well, I do say it a lot. "Hope is not a plan."

17 years ago, my husband was in Florida serving a mission for our church, and he was teaching a man named Greg. Greg was a nice guy--a typical surfer dude type--who was really interested in living a good life, but had a few addictions that he wasn't quite ready to give up. The way he said it several times to my dh was, "Man, I hope I repent." This has now become a saying that Holly and I use quite often when we're referring to something that is entirely in our power to do but that we may or may not actually get done. Such as, "Today I want to exercise and eat well. I hope I repent," or, "I really don't want to eat too much candy at my in-laws' house today. I hope I repent."

You get the idea.

With Thanksgiving coming up, you need a plan. You can't go into one of the most caloriffic days of the year saying, "I hope can control myself." Want to know why you can't do that? That's right, because hope is not a plan.

Your Thanksgiving plan can be any kind you want it to be. You can plan out everything you're going to eat and the exercise you're going to do that day and when. You can also plan to eat everything in sight and make sure there's always someone nearby to fetch things for you so you never have to get up. You could also take a more moderate approach and set yourself some guidelines, such as "Only a small piece of the dessert(s) that look really good," or "No thirds." Knock yourself out figuring out what's best for you. But while you're thinking of your plan, think about how you want to feel--physically and about yourself--that night or even the next day, and think about how you can best plan to make those feelings reality.

Now, I know that there's a school of thought that says, "It's the holidays! You should just relax and enjoy yourself!" You should know that I do not subscribe to that school. I do agree that the holidays are a great time of year and should be fun. However, I also believe that one day of gorging yourself and sitting on your duff (that's a term pre-Sara Holly would likely have approved of) all day is not going to do you any favors. You've tasted it all before. You will have another chance in your life to taste it again. This year make the decision to eat sensibly, make a plan for that, and follow through. The holidays are not about the food. They're about the people we love and getting in touch with our better selves. Thanksgiving in particular is about remembering the many things with which youve been blessed and expressing that gratitude, whether publicly or privately (personally, I am not a fan of having to go around the table and share something you're grateful for for every M&M that's in a little cup at your place, and I love that one year my brother-in-laws last gratitude was "I'm grateful that this is the last M&M.").

I do not, however, believe that the holidays are meant to be spent stressing out over every calorie and every morsel, or feeling guilty because you overslept and didn't get your workout done before it was time to start cooking/leave for Grandma's. Be realistic. You know you, and you know what challenges you're going to face on Thursday. Take all that into account, and do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect; just do your best. Eat three pieces of pie instead of your usual 5? Great! Just think about what you want to happen and then make a plan to make that happen. Want eat with wanton abandonment and just get back in the game on Friday? More power to ya! Plan it out!

Think it through. That's all I'm saying.

I hope we all repent :)

That picture up there is because when I entered "turkey" into Google Images, that map of the country, not the bird (though a map of a bird might be both gross and fascinating) is one of the first results that showed up, and it made me laugh, and since I am all about the humor, I went with it. Photo credit:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I knew you were coming...

Those in my inner circle are aware that when I'm not clubbing, playing high stakes poker or committing random acts of macrame, I dabble in cake decorating. ("Ah ha!" you say. "That must be why she has 45 pounds to lose!" No, not quite, but this hobby may have contributed to the need for others to drop a few pounds.) 

I enjoy cake decorating like I enjoy giving birth: it's a big, messy pain, but the results are pretty great. (Don't go too deep with this analogy--I have yet to consume one of my children.)

I decorate maybe 10-12 cakes per year. That's about all I can handle at this point in my life. Keep in mind that some of these are wedding cakes and take 40-50 hours from start to finish. Also, keep in mind that spending 40-50 hours on anything, ever, goes against my very nature. 

Today is a cake day. In fact, I'm taking a break from making my 3-year-old nephew's birthday cake to write this post. It's close to midnight, but I still have at least 2 hours of work before I can go to bed, and that's being optimistic. However, I'm grateful that this cake doesn't appear to be an all-night project. 

It helps that I'm making a cake shaped like a rock. (The picture above is of a previous cake I made for the same nephew, which was much more elaborate and large than the planned rock.) One of my nephew's favorite pasttimes is lifting up rocks in his yard in order to unearth the bugs beneath, then smooshing said bugs. So, his cake is going to be a bug-covered rock. It won't be one of my prettier babies, that's for sure. But I hope this cake will teach Ethan that bugs are for eating as well as smooshing.

This post doesn't have much at all to do with dieting. That's OK--we've warned you already that cake will play a part in this blog. At least I'm trying to create an association in your mind between cake and bug smooshing. You're welcome!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Honk Honk

That's me, tooting my own horn.

(I guess this could be subtitled, "I Can't Think of Anything to Blog About, So I'm Going to Tell You How Great I Am Instead.")

Today marks 6 weeks of tracking my food. Everything I ate. Every day. 6 weeks. For me, that is huge. I think to this point my record is 3 weeks, maaaaaybe 3 1/2. But probably not. Today is also 3 weeks of drinking 100+ ounces of water everyday. And in 2 days, my 12-week chart will be 3/4ths of the way full. So yeah, I'm pretty awesome.

I will pause whilst you go hurl.

But that's really not my big deal this week. I am so grateful that the tracking and the water and the exercise feels commonplace and that, while I'm pretty pleased with myself about my consistency (usually me and consistency, well, we are not friends), it's almost so normal that it's almost no biggie. (I say "almost" because I'm trying to be better at giving myself credit for the good stuff I do.) No, my big deal this week is that I didn't quit.

I really wanted to. The combination of the scale jump and the abysmal running experience--along with a bunch of other junk going on--really did a number on my head. I would not have been surprised if my period had shown up this week, even though it's a week too soon, that's how bad my brain was. In fact, I was almost hoping for it because then I'd have some explanation other than "Crazy." But alas, it was just me.

Yesterday in particular was really hard. All day long I just wanted to stuff myself with whatever I could find. Yesterday just happened to also be the day I did my weekly grocery shopping. It's truly a miracle I didn't leave the store with nothing but a cart full of Oreos and Pop Tarts. I am so not kidding. But I didn't. Stuff on my list only, thank you (though I did buy a bag of really giant ziploc bags, because you never know when you might need a really giant ziploc bag, and around here if you don't buy something when you see it, you're not likely to ever get the chance again, so that was an impulse buy, though thankfully an inedible one). I spent the evening talking myself out of making cookies, a task made harder when a friend updated her Facebook status to read "is making cookies." Even Facebook was against me!

I didn't quit though. I even exercised 3 times yesterday. And after spending all week higher than last week's weigh-in, the scale was down 1 pound this morning. Still not caught up with last week's gain, but it's in the right direction, and I'm pleased.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Gave Birth to Muppets

It's the only explanation. When my children (girls, ages 10 and 4) eat, food enters their mouths, but then immediately flies out again in crumb form. There's no point in vacuuming, because the carpet crumb coating will reappear moments after I finish. (My fault for letting them eat over the carpet? Possibly.)

As frustrating as the Muppet-mouthed eating by my offspring is, I think they may be onto something. 

Think of the dieting possibilities. You want cookies but are worried about the calories? Just make sure you eat with your mouth wide open so most of the pieces fall out. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Want to feel like a wuss while lifting 3 pounds?

Hi, I'm Sara, and I'm a magazine junkie. If it's geared towards women, chances are good that I'll read it. Well, that's not entirely true. I don't like the fashion magazines, and I can do without the pseudo-fashion/how-to-be-a-sex-object ones, and I stay away from the ones that loudly profess on their covers things like "Lose 40 Pounds by Blinking!" So I guess to make that a more accurate statement I should say, "Hi, I'm Sara, and I'm a magazines-that-I-like junkie."

It just so happens that most of the magazines that I like are diet/health/fitness related. Big surprise I know. I'll give you a minute to recover from the shock. Feel better now? Good.

In this month's Self magazine, there is an arms workout that hurts me. It's by Madonna's and Gwyneth's trainer, Tracy Anderson. We don't get real TV here, so I didn't see Gwyneth on Oprah, but I did read some blog analyses of the interview, more specifically her trainer's assertion that no woman should lift a weight heavier than 3 pounds. Like most of the discussions of it that I read, I basically thought the woman was, er, wrong. But then I saw this workout in Self and decided to give it a try (think what you will about Madonna, Gwyneth, and/or their trainer, you can't deny they all have great arms).

Here it is:

Sculpt A-list Arms Fast!

It says to use 3-pound weights, but all I have at home are 2.5 (they're weight plates for dh's barbells; the smallest hand weights I have are 8-pounders)(yes, I am just that tough)(no, really)(stop laughing, Holly) and the gym's weights are in kilograms, so I can either go with 1 kg (which is 2.20462262 pounds) or 2 kg (which is 4.40924524 pounds). I've used the 2.5 lbs at home and the 2 kgs at the gym and the take on both is this: Ow.

This is a good workout, especially for your shoulders. I don't think it works my triceps all that well, so I've been doing extra sets of tricep exercises as well, and by the end of both, my arms are spent. If I were more concerned with building my biceps more, I might add in some exercises specifically targeting those, too, but right now I'm not.

I'm interested to see what the rest of her workout would be like, considering I was, er, wrong about the arms portion of it. Too bad I'm cheap. I can't bring myself to pay $30 for her DVD.

Go try the workout, and tell me what you think. Be sure to watch the accompanying video, because a couple of the exercises made no sense at all to me until I did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sounds too healthy to be good...

and wasn't good. 

I'm referring to the 6-Grain Breakfast recipe I tried this week. A few things drew me to the recipe: the aforementioned six grains (there are six grains in the world?!? wonder of wonders) and the potential health benefits of those, the cooking method (Crockpot overnight--wake up to hot breakfast!), and the inclusion of apples and cinnamon in the ingredient list. It sounded like a perfect food--tasty, easy and ridiculously nutritious.  
Here's the recipe as I found it (somewhere online [I like to give credit where credit is due]):

6 Grain Breakfast

2 1/2 TBS bulgur wheat
2 1/2 TBS brown rice
2 TBS barley
2 TBS quinoa
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup diced apples
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups water
1 TBS vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Stir before serving. Serves 4. 

I like most hot cereals, so I thought I would like this. I'm not stupid though, so I tested it on my 10-year-old first. She is very good about trying new things and she likes oatmeal, so I thought she'd love the apple-y goodness of the 6 Grain Breakfast. After a few bites and five minutes of silence, she said, "Um...Momma? This isn't very good. I don't think I can finish it." I gave her permission to stop eating (the kid loves vegetables and would rather eat salad than candy, so I give her a break every now and then when she doesn't like something). 
After she left for school, I tried some too (I added plenty of sweetener). I managed to eat the whole bowl, but I didn't enjoy the experience. 

*Problems with the 6 Grain Breakfast:

1) For the life of me, I can't figure out what the 6th grain is. I only count five. I didn't notice this glaring problem until I typed the recipe just now. I wonder if the missing 6th grain would have made the cereal taste good?

2) Too apple-y. Maybe I shouldn't have used Granny Smith apples. Perhaps a sweeter apple variety would have tasted better. The apples overwhelmed the cereal, and not in a tasty apple pie way. 

3) Too cinnamon-y. I like cinnamon, but there was too much in this recipe. Yet it still didn't counteract the apple. Rude.  

4) Too vanilla-y. It's rare that I complain about a recipe having too much seasoning of any kind. I like seasoning. But this had too much vanilla. It tasted like a vanilla candle (mixed with an apple and cinnamon candle). 

5) Needed salt. There was a blandness underlying the overly vanilled, cinnamoned and appled flavor. Salt fixes stuff like that. 

6) Nobody washed the Crock Pot for me afterwards. I don't like washing Crock Pots. 

I'm not giving up on the recipe. I liked the texture (mushy--but in a good way). I liked the grains! I liked having breakfast ready with no morning effort!

I think I'll try again next week, but leave out the apples, cinnamon and vanilla; change the name to 5 Grain Breakfast; add salt; add pumpkin puree; and add pumpkin pie spices. (Sara adds pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to oatmeal--tres good). I hope salad-eating daughter is ready to be my guinea pig again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Perhaps not the first guy you'd look to for dieting inspiration?

Winston Churchill: the right man for the right job at the right time.
Winston Churchill: not necessarily a bastion of healthy living.

But he did have a way with words. I'm sure I'm not the first person who has applied his famous "Never, never, never give up" to their efforts in getting healthier, but today I found another quotation that feels even more applicable to me right now.

On Saturday, Holly got to listen to me rant via IM (I'm thinking that at this point, she's likely cursing the inventor of iChat and/or whomever it was that gave me access to it) about how despite consistent exercise (9 straight weeks!) and diligent food tracking (5 weeks without missing a day!) and persistent water consumption (100 oz. a day! for over 2 weeks now!)(with no thought to the risk of injury to my person, no less!) I gained 1.4 pounds last week. Boo.

So far I've done pretty well and looking past the results and focusing on the effort, but sometimes it would be nice to have a little correlation between the two, you know?

Anyway, here's where Mr. Churchill comes in:

Success is the ability to go
from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm.

Thanks, Winston; I feel better already.

I was just walking down the hallway and stepped with my bare foot in a puddle of pee. Right then I decided that this quotation is also really applicable to potty training.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

If you fail to plan, you plan to gain 50 or 60 pounds

I promised the world a plan by tomorrow night. For once I'm true to my word. In fact, I'm early. I'm never early. I live across the street from my church and yet I'm consistently 2-3 minutes late for services. But I digress. I have a diet and exercise plan. Or, rather, I will be making one up as I compose this post. But by the time you read this (all 3 of you), I will have a plan. Confused yet? I am.

Plan, the:


I don't exercise much nowadays. That's not good. My joints ache, I don't sleep well, and things are lumpy. I feel that exercise may change these things.
(Always go with your feelings--just ask teenage girls.)
Fortunately, I also know that exercise will change those things (aches, bad sleep, and lumps--not teenage girls and their feelings).

  • Exercise 6 times/week (Monday-Saturday) for at least 20 minutes.
  • Plan type and time of exercise the night before.
  • Keep track of it all on a chart. I love charts. So does Sara.
  • Buy stickers for chart, preferably scratch and sniff (Bubble gum and green apple, please)
That's a pretty basic plan. For now, I'm not going to focus on what type of exercise--just doing something that benefits my body cardiovascularly or gives me muscles and/or less lumpiness. As I see it, developing the exercise habit is much more important right now than fine-tuning a fitness program. That'll come later, I'm sure, when I'm all skinny and decide I need abs of steel.


  • Make sure I eat breakfast before 9am. I used to be really good at this, but lately I forget to eat until 11 or so.
  • Track my food and Weight Watchers points. Joel found a great app for my iPhone, so I don't even need to use a pen and paper like some crazy Luddite! (Joel can't believe I still read actual books made of paper.)
  • AND (this is crucial), track everything I eat. Everything. Even on days when everything I eat is coated in cheese powder.
Again, I'm starting with the basics. I'm not setting calorie or point goals yet (though that should come soon.) I just want to raise awareness...of consumption of cheese powder.

  • Get more of it
  • Go to bed before midnight
Again with the baby steps and manageable goals.

Tomorrow night I'll post a wee analysis of my first day on the plan.

EDIT: I just noticed something on my "plan" picture. Under "exercise" I thought I wrote "boogie down." But it appears I wrote "boggie down" instead. Even better.
(See why I need more sleep?)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Turns out Gravity hates me

This morning I had the bright idea that instead of going to the gym to do my workout, I would go to my kids' school and use the track there to do it. Today The Schedule dictates that I do 20 minutes of running. 20 minutes. Of running. 20 minutes straight running. Yikes.

But I really want to do this, so I made a new playlist for my iPod, charged that bad mamba jamba up, and headed out the door. I knew it would be hard, but I was willing to give it a try.

When I got to the school, I realized that there were soccer games going on on the field the track circles. Goody! My favorite! People! People to watch me! People on bleachers! I should have brought them all popcorn to help make the show complete. It honestly took everything I had not to just turn around and head home. If I had brought my purse with me I would have hopped a cab to the gym right then. But I was there, I had my music, I decided to just go for it.


Running outside = not the same as on a treadmill.

I barely made it one lap. And I really wanted to just go home. Again. Some more!

But instead I alternated running a lap with walking a lap. I was going to keep track of how many times I did it, but, well, I'm distracted easily. Especially when my lungs are on fire.

So I'll try the 20 minutes straight at the gym later this week and see how it goes. I've read that setting a treadmill's incline to 1 better approximates what it's like to run outside, so I'll probably try that.

I'm also thinking I need to figure out a way to work outside runs into my workout schedule. I'm doing this because I want to be good at running, not just good at running on a treadmill.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Confess and Assess

Weight loss is a constant battle. I know that's not a news flash to most of you--it isn't to me, either-- but the past 12 months or so have been even more strugglish than usual for me on the weight loss front. Last October my weight was in the low 170s after a long stint in the 180s and I anticipated continuing the weight loss and reaching my goal weight (Weight Watchers goal: 155, personal goal: 145) in the next year.

As Sara likes to say, "Hope is not a plan," and I'm afraid I was running more on hope than finely-tuned plans. Throw in some battles with medication difficulties and changes (no, no--I'm not trying to blame all my weight problems on that, but it was a factor) and some holidays that sprang up out of nowhere (Christmas is brand spankin' new, right?), and I was on the bullet train to Chubsville in no time flat.
At first my gain was slow (there goes my bullet train analogy), but I gained momentum rapidly and by late spring I was in the 190s.

Allow me to backtrack a little: when I joined Weight Watchers in February of 2007, my starting weight was 194.5 pounds. I received my 25 pound award in August of that year.
Back to this summer. By mid July, I hit 196.5 pounds, putting me two pounds above my starting weight (WW does not currently offer an award for this). I had given away all my size 14 clothes in the previous year and not only did I need those again, I was fitting into size 16 (and even 18--curse you, Old Navy!) for the first time ever. (Hey plus size friends--I realize you're pulling out your tiny violins at this point, but too much weight isn't good for you, whether it's 50 pounds or 150 pounds, wouldn't you agree? [If you don't agree, I don't want to know.])

I guess you could say in July I was near rock bottom (though my actual bottom was far from rock-like). I don't know exactly what made me stop the weight gain, though if I ever figure it out, I'm totally bottling it and selling it on QVC. Nonetheless, I stopped gaining and lost a few pounds before kind of hovering for a while in the lowish 190s.

Ever since, I've managed to avoid returning to the habits that put me on the gain train in the past, but I haven't really committed to doing anything that will produce steady and continual weight loss. I have lost a few more pounds over the past few months, it's true, and I'm happy about that, but if it's going to stick I need to start trying harder. Effort is a beautiful thing.
I've been working long and hard on my plan. Well, actually, so far my "plan" has consisted of not resisting Sara's efforts to get me to blog about weight loss for NaBloPoMo.

I hereby promise to make a plan. A real live plan for losing weight and doing it soon. And I also promise to post this plan on this blog (this one--right here) by midnight on this coming Monday.

Here's the rundown of how things are with me, weight-loss wise and health wise right now:

*Weight: 186 (yesterday it was 185)
*Height: still 5'9"
*Exercise regimen: none
*Best thing I eat regularly: broccoli
*Worst thing I eat regularly: Arby's mozzarella sticks
*Husbands who weigh less than I do: Joel
*Nights per week I get enough sleep: one or two
*Number of aches and pains: four
*Water consumed daily: around 48-64 oz
-Upper arm: 14 inches
-Neck: 14 inches (for pity's sake--why is my arm as big around as my neck? Oh yeah. Frequent fried cheese consumption).
-Bust: None of your diggity dang business
-True waist (smallest part): 34 inches
-Waist at belly button: 37 inches
-High hips (at hipbone): 43.5 inches
-Largest hip measurement: 44.5 inches
-Thigh: 27 inches
-Knee (just above kneecap): 17 inches
-Calf: 16 inches
-Ankle (why not?): 8 3/4 inches

Well, that's the scoop. The scoopity scoopy scoop.

Stay tuned for the plan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not only do I make Holly go along with my crazy ideas..

...but I also steal her good ones.

Today we were chatting on IM, and she said that she thought we should occasionally post some recipes. And since I was simultaneously wondering what the heck I should blog about today, I quickly agreed with her--and then tried to figure out which recipe I could post today.

It took me a little while to come up with one, since most of my favorite recipes aren't exactly, erm, appropriate for a "diet" blog. But then I remembered a fun, easy, and really good recipe I found last year that my kids and I all love.

I found it on Green Lite Bites, which is a veritable treasure-trove for healthy meals, snacks, and food ideas. Plus Holly and I both like that Roni's our height and is currently at our goal weight, so we like seeing pictures of what we may look like when we get there, too.

So here's the recipe for "Big Simple Chocolate Cupcakes." They are awesome. I highly recommend adding the sprinkles. Everybody loves sprinkles.

The only thing I do differently is that I make them in mini-muffin tins, not giant (just reduce the cooking time to more like 15 minutes). I do this mostly because I have a lot of kids. It doesn't matter if I'm using the same amount of batter to make the cupcakes--if the end result is a lot of things for them to eat as opposed to a few, they are happier. They get this from me. And also, like sprinkles, everybody loves mini cupcakes. If they say they don't, they're probably lying.

Oh, and one important thing to remember--make sure they are cooled all the way before you feed them to your children. If you don't, they will say, "Hmm...what's the deal with these?" sprinkles or no (though they'll still eat them, mind you), but if you wait they'll only know they're eating really moist chocolate cupcakes. And maybe fight about who got more sprinkles.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hit me with your best (flu) shot

If I were one of those people who is convinced the world is out to get her, I would have a serious bone to pick with the world for the ineffectiveness of last year's flu shot. Sure, universe (or world--whatever)...I finally decide to get a flu shot for the first time in a decade and that's the year they (read: you) get the strain wrong, rendering the shot essentially useless and dooming me  and my 9-year-old to a miserable bout with the flu. Miserable! Flu! Bout! 

I want our $60 back. (Yeah--Joel never got the flu, but he could have gotten it, so I want his $20 back as well.)
But wait, I guess I'm not a world-is-out-to-get-me type person. Today I'm not, anyway. Which explains why I went to Joel's workplace today and got stabbed in the arm with a gigantic needle. (I never said I wasn't a whiner.) It also helps that it was free. 
I sincerely hope they (not sure who "they" are--the CDC? the WHO? the cast of Grey's Anatomy?) have chosen wisely this year. As much as I dislike the stabbage of a flu vaccine, I dislike the flu even more. 

I was thinking today that it would be nice if there were a vaccine for all potential diseases/ailments. And that led me to think (so much thinking today! is that a side effect of flu shots?), that while there isn't a single shot to prevent many/most of the physical afflictions that can befall us, there are things we can do, that in combination, can possibly and maybe prevent many illnesses and health problems. 

The problem is, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising, getting enough sleep and all that good-for-you jazz involves a wee bit more of a long-term commitment than a 2-second needle jab. And, just like getting last year's flu shot, doing those things doesn't necessarily mean you won't get cancer or pneumonia or a goiter. Still, in theory, I believe those things are worth doing. It's good to minimize risk whenever you can. 

If I happen to be in a thinking mood again tomorrow, I should maybe figure out when I'm going to take my health more seriously. While getting a flu shot is a good start, it's only a start. I see a lot of exercise, healthy eating and self-discipline (oh horrors!) ahead. 
Hmmm...maybe that needle wasn't so bad? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And you were so scared...

I'm feeling a little like Grover right now. (Quick! Name the book!)

Today's run was actually pretty darn good. It would have been pretty darn gooder if my gym's A/C had been on, but whatevs. The schedule (which I totally meant to link to in the last post and then totally forgot) called for me to run 5 minutes, walk 3, run 5, walk 3, and then run 5 more. The first 5 actually weren't all that bad. From the get-go, though, I used my towel to cover up the clock on the treadmill and just focused on the music on my iPod. The next 5 minutes was fine, too, but the last 5 was more of a struggle. About 2 minutes in I realized that no way in heck was the song that was on going to carry me for the rest of the time, so I quickly scrolled through my workout playlist (no easy feat when you're dealing with an armband whilst running, I might add), and found one of my go-to songs and made it through the rest of the run alive.

What song was it, you ask? Well, I'll tell you, I answer. It's called Is This the Way to Amarillo? Is that a country song, you ask? Why no, it's not, I answer. It's a song from the 70's, written by Neil Sedaka and sung by Tony Christie (though until I googled it, I would have sworn it was Tom Jones). Why, on earth, is this a song you even know of, let alone use as a power song while working out, you ask? Because of the greatest. reason. ever. (I answer.)

My husband forwarded me this 3 years ago, and ever since it has been a constant source of happiness to me. And because I like you so much, I hope you like it as much as I do:

Warning: contains a couple quick shots of some bums (of the naked kind, not homeless), so maybe don't watch if your mother-in-law's in the room (assuming she's anything like my mil, that is)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ok, this time the crazy's just coming from me

I know it's nighttime in America, but here in Egypt it's morning. Specifically, it's time for me to leave to go to the gym. And--here comes the crazy--I'm a little scared. Because there are monsters at the gym. Ok, not really (I'm sure I had you going there for a minute there, didn' t I?). Because I have to run. I guess I don't have to, but I'm going to. I've been doing the Couch-to-5K running plan for the last 6 weeks, and today I start week 5 (pay no attention to the fuzzy math; I'm slow).

Week 5 means that never again on the schedule will I see a running interval shorter than 5 minutes. 5 minutes at a time is the longest I have run in my life. As far as I know, 5 minutes is my max.

Things aren't usually as bad as you anticipate them to be though, right? Well, at least gym-related things aren't anyway; I'm sure there are many things that are, but I'm not going there right now. Right now I'm going to the gym. Sigh. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Craigslist: Wanted: Husband-sized heat rock

We used to be the stereotypical couple arguing over the thermostat, Joel* and I. I was always cold, he was always too hot. I'd huddle under a pile of blankets while we watched TV, he'd fan himself with the remote and eat a giant bowl of ice cream. I'd put my frozen feet on his legs in bed to try to get warm, he'd scream in terror at being awakened in such a fashion. You get the idea.

Then Joel went on a diet and something went terribly wrong (in addition to the fact that I gained weight while he lost). He's lost about 75 pounds over the past year and a half and he's still working on losing 10-20 pounds more. He's also lost his ability to regulate his body temperature, it seems. He's always cold!

Yesterday, the thermostat was set to 72 degrees. I was perfectly comfortable. And Joel was huddled on the couch, looking like this:
Look how miserable, poor thing. He's wearing two t-shirts, topped by a thermal-lined hooded sweatshirt, topped by another, greener sweatshirt. Note his hands tucked in the sleeves.

It's kind of funny, this role reversal, until I start wondering why this is happening to him. He used to produce heat (even before he got fat) like nobody's business. Now he can't get warm without going to McDonald's and climbing under the heat lamps. I wonder if he's permanently damaged his metabolism by dieting. He had his thyroid checked recently, so that can't be it.

I think he needs to go to the doctor again. ("So, patient, what can I do for you today?" "Um, I'm cold!") Meanwhile, I'll enjoy saying things like, "Well, you'll just have to put on a sweater--it's easier for you to get warm than it is for me to cool off." He may have said that to me a few times in the past.
(For the record, he was never mean about it--I'll try not to be mean either.)

Joel's mom suggested that he purchase this wearable blanket
She insists that it's a perfectly masculine item.
Uh. Sure it is!
You might notice that it's called a Snuggie. I hope he gets one, just so I can ask if his Snuggie is keeping him warm enough.

*I was going to use pseudonyms for my husband and kids in this blog, but Joel didn't like that I referred to him as "Nerd" in another post. Apparently only his brothers are allowed to call him that (there's a story behind it). I can't think of anything else, so I'm going to be lazy and use his real name...unless you think I should call him "Snuggie."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A peek inside our twisted little brains

This is the transcript of an IM conversation Holly and I had earlier this year. It made me laugh, so I saved it. The only thing I changed about it was substituting our real IM monikers for the ingenious (and virtually uncrackable) code of "H" for Holly and "S" for me.

For a little context, we had been chatting earlier about me going out to lunch with some friends at a restaurant I'd never been to before, so I had been whining to her about not knowing what to get, and this is the conversation we had after I got home. She is so lucky to be my best friend!

Anyway, please enjoy:

H [4:39 P.M.]: how was lunch?
S [4:40 P.M.]: yum-o
S [4:40 P.M.]: I got "Chicken Delight"
S [4:40 P.M.]: which is like Turkish Delight I guess
S [4:40 P.M.]: but not gross
H [4:41 P.M.]: I'm going to start calling all my dinner recipes Something Delight
H [4:41 P.M.]: Chicken Delight
H [4:41 P.M.]: Tuna Delight
S [4:41 P.M.]: lol
H [4:41 P.M.]: Ramen Delight
H [4:41 P.M.]: McDelight
S [4:41 P.M.]: Eggs Weiners and Rice Delight
H [4:41 P.M.]: yep
H [4:41 P.M.]: Get Your Own Delight
S [4:41 P.M.]: Make Your Own Dang Delight
H [4:42 P.M.]: Leave Me Alone This Chapter is Really Good Delight
S [4:42 P.M.]: I Fed You Yesterday Delight
S [4:42 P.M.]: Your Hands Ain't Broke Delight
H [4:43 P.M.]: The Toaster's Over There Delight
S [4:43 P.M.]: What Do You Think They Invented Pizza Delivery For Delight
H [4:43 P.M.]: There's No End to Mama's Lack of Interest in Your Well-Being Delight
S [4:44 P.M.]: Cry Me A River Delight
S [4:44 P.M.]: You Don't Look Like You're Starving Delight
H [4:44 P.M.]: Tell Your Dad to Get off His Butt Delight
H [4:44 P.M.]: except then
H [4:45 P.M.]: it has Butt and Delight right next to each other
H [4:45 P.M.]: and I don't think that will do
S [4:45 P.M.]: ew
S [4:45 P.M.]: and lol
S [4:45 P.M.]: How about "You Have Two Parents Y'know Delight"
H [4:46 P.M.]: That's better
H [4:46 P.M.]: not so gross
S [4:46 P.M.]: yes
S [4:46 P.M.]: not quite as funny though
H [4:47 P.M.]: no
S [4:47 P.M.]: sigh
H [4:47 P.M.]: as much as it pains me
S [4:47 P.M.]: humor isn't everything
S [4:47 P.M.]: in theory
H [4:48 P.M.]: are you quite sure?
S [4:48 P.M.]: no

Friday, November 7, 2008

Healthy living is a pain in my rear

Word to the wise:

If you set yourself a goal that you will drink a certain amount of water every day and said amount is 100 ounces and you have this great little chart that you don't want to miss a day of putting an X on because you didn't drink all your water that day, maybe don't wait until 7pm to start drinking said water.

Otherwise when you are inevitably getting up in the middle of the night to use the facilities, you might run into the exercise bike at the end of your bed, and this maybe will cause you to twist all funny and wrench your hip all weird, and then perhaps you may just end up with a wicked pain deep in your posterior. Possibly.

My butt hurts.

(But I got my X.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My feet are cold

But if I were on the treadmill right now, exercising, like I told Sara I would, my feet probably would not be cold. 

That's all I got tonight, folks. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So if the day after Halloween is All Saints’ Day and the day after Christmas is Boxing Day, what’s the day after Election Day? I’ll tell you what it is this year: exactly eight (8) weeks until New Year’s Eve! That means you have exactly eight (8) weeks until it’s time again to make you annual resolutions. Perhaps you were smart and kept this year’s list fresh and pristine, ready for 1/1/2009.

(True story: about 4 years ago I was cleaning out an old box of papers, and I found a To Do list from about 5 years before that. Except for about 2 things, the items on it were identical to that current day’s list. Sad.)

Or maybe perhaps you’d like to enter the new year with a solid 8 (eight) weeks of healthy living under your (by then smaller) belt!

Think about what you will be doing 8 weeks + one day from today. Think not so much about how you’ll look but how you’ll feel--about your body, the effort you gave, and how good it will feel to start January 1st with 56 days of momentum. Instead of beginning new health-related habits that day, you’ll be able to just continue on with what you’ve already been doing since early November. Make January 1st just another Thursday that you take the best care of yourself that you can, not Day 1.

Remember that on January 1st, you’ll being saying one of two things to yourself about your goals and your progress towards them (and think about which you’d rather)--“I wish I had” or “I’m glad I did.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote for me!

They totally left me off the ballot today, which is unfortunate, because I have some great ideas for this country. And by "this country," I mean "this blog." My opponent (and by "my opponent," I mean "my best friend and fellow blog owner.") claims to have come up with the fabulous idea of participating in NaBloPoMo and thus breathing new life into the soggy, inedible lump that Diet Cake had become. This great idea (and by "great idea," I mean "super-duper idea") may be motivating me to do wild and crazy things like walk away from my daughter's Halloween candy stash* and leave several handfuls of popcorn in the bowl tonight rather than eat them just cause they were there. Crazy! Wild! 

Given the incredibly brilliant nature of this idea, I must claim credit. I think my opponent would agree that it's for the good of the nation. 

*I saw on TV the other day that 90% of parents steal Halloween candy from their kids. The other 10% are lying. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Something Else I Have in Common with a Kindergartener

Besides a short attention span and a love of snack time, that is.

I wish I could remember the website I found this idea on, but I can't, and so I totally thought of it on my own! Totally. I am very smart.

One of my biggest problems with getting and keeping weight off has always been consistency. More specifically, my lack thereof. Whether its exercising or eating well, I tend to start off strong and then peter out with a vengeance. See also: August. But about seven weeks ago, I found, er, thought up this really great idea--its called "Don't Break the Chain." It was originally intended as a motivational tool to help kids get their chores done, but I'm finding it's working almost embarrassingly well to keep me exercising. Well, it originally started with exercise and then when that worked so well, I branched out to food tracking (I just added water consumption, too, and I'm hopeful this will work, too).

So here's the dope: I downloaded a 12-week calendar from here. Then, each day that I've exercised, I've X-ed out the day. The idea is to create a "chain" of X's over time, and thus the motivation lies in not wanting to mess up this chain by missing a day. I also like to write in the box what it was I did for exercise that day, just cuz it makes me happy.

Helpful example here:
Don't I look lovely? That's thanks to last night's (when I took the picture) workout, which reads "80 min. walk."
Here's a close-up:
I am now six weeks into the 12 weeks covered by the calendar and feelin' pretty darn good about it. I do take a rest day every week, but I let myself earn an X for it if I use that day to plan out the upcoming week's exercise. So far so good.

About three weeks in, I started keeping track of days that I track my food, too. I use a thin pink (my favorite color) pen and make another X over the day (notice that I didn't say I have to be perfect with my food; I just have to write it down to earn the X). Yesterday I started in with water (if I meet the ounces goal I set, I get me another X), and for that I use a thin blue (cuz that's what color water is, duh) pen. I'm sure I could get quite the rainbow going, but I'm going to stick with those three for the time being, as those are the things I need to be the most consistent about in order to control my weight.

Like I said, I'm almost embarrassed by how well this has motivated me. What's next? Gold stars? Getting to be Line Leader? But as Paul Simon so wisely said, who am I to blow against the wind. It's working, so I'm just going with it.

Please feel free to steal, er, think this idea up entirely on you're own. I hear you are very smart.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Dog Ate my DVD Player

I very much wanted to complete Sara's inspired "Do an Exercise DVD Every Diddly Darn Day of August" challenge. Really, I did. But you see, one day in August I was baking my cousin's wedding cake when something terrible happened. The second tier of this wedding cake was supposed to be strawberry flavored. "No problem," I thought. I've made this recipe dozens of times. So I whipped up the cake batter, filled the pans and popped them into my trusty, preheated oven. I set the timer, then immediately began washing the dishes. Ha! Just kidding--I left the dishes to "soak," and turned to more important tasks like Googling my name (turns out I'm a fairly famous Harlequin novelist). Twenty minutes into the baking/Googling, I smelled a smell--not the fruitily fragrant smell of baking strawberry cake, but the acrid smell of a big fat burning mistake. With a heavy heart (it eats a lot of bacon), I opened the oven door, sending smoke spewing into the kitchen by way of my face (*cough choke sputter*). I found cake batter flowing out of the pans and onto the oven floor, where it was quickly turning into little mounds of carbon cake and creating the aforementioned billowing smoke. I turned off the oven, and began scraping the mess out of the oven, hoping that I could continue to bake the batter left in the pans if I was able to get the oven to stop smoking. (I'll save you the suspense--it didn't work.) Meanwhile, the smoke detector began to beep, sending the parakeets into noisy conniptions and causing my 3-year-old to start crying at a pitch several octaves higher than the detector. (I have yet to have my life saved by a smoke detector, but they've caused me to age 5 years on more than one occasion.) My husband walked in the door at this moment and asked, "What is going on? And why haven't you opened a window?" (see illustration). I responded the way any reasonable woman would, by throwing a handful of burning cake at him. (Hey! He happens to like burnt cake.) I missed him by a mile (I'm not good at sports [even those that involve cake] on the best of days, let alone in stressful smoky situations) and the cake landed on the dog's head. He (the dog) hardly noticed, as he was busy chewing the dickins out of my DVD player. So now you know why I wasn't able to complete the exercise DVD challenge or write in this blog for months. Thanks for understanding. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We Are Nothing If Not Challenged

So apparently November is NaBloPoMo, or, for those of you who may prefer real words, National Blog Posting Month. This is clearly a spin-off (hee, I wrote that "spin-oof") of NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. Know what sounds a lot more pleasant than writing an entire novel in a month? Sitting on the couch eating donuts, that's what. And also sleeping. But since Holly's been pestering me about us being more dilligent about our little neglecterino (why, I ask you, doesn't spellcheck have a problem with that word?) of a blog (and by "been pestering me," I mean "mentioned it once or possibly twice")(and since, as far as I know, there's no NaDoEatMo, though there should be), I thought this might be more realistic. Of course I also once thought it would be realistic to organize my whole house in a month, so perhaps my grasp on reality ain't so great. But we'll overlook that for now, and sally forth on the assumption that maybepossiblyperchance we could post every day this month.

Or, as Holly's favorite humor writer and mine, Eric D. Snider once said, perharps perharps perharps.