30 October, 2009

Fitness Month Rules

For the month of fitness I came up with a few rules. For today’s article, I wanted to discuss the reasons why these rules are important for me. Some rules others have considered crazy and outlandish, yet others generally have said they are good idea.

No coffee - only Milk or Water:
I decided I wanted to go 30 days with no coffee. Coffee dehydrates and makes me dependant on caffeine for energy. During this next month I want to rely solely on my own motivation and workouts for increasing my metabolism. Sure I could go with decaffeinated coffee, but what would be the point? I love my coffee, but I love my body also and think I can do 30 days of no coffee. With less coffee intake it leaves room for more water. As a change of pace, I’ll also be trying to drink more milk. Rumor is, it does a body good.

No Alcohol:
This shouldn’t be a hard one to understand. For the most part, I don’t see any value of including alcohol in my fitness plans for the next month. Alcohol has so many empty calories which only take away from eating anything healthy. Once again, I want to increase my water intake. Going dry for 30 days has an added bonus of knowing I can do it.

30 minutes of exercise daily:
Routine, normal activity during the day like walking is not going to do it for me. If I want to boost my metabolism, I need to increase my activities. My goal is to work two areas, strength training and cardio. I actually love to run and know I need work more on strength training. An increase in both helps burn those extra calories. Sure muscle may weigh more than fat, but it also helps burns more calories.

Breakfast - Fruit, oatmeal, English muffin, etc...
I haven’t done a terrible job in this area. For the most part I love fruits and oatmeal. Still, I know how easy it is to think breakfast is doughnuts or pop-tarts. So many empty calories and hardly going to leave me feeling satisfied. Some might suggest including cereal in the plan, but for me that’s not an option. Cereal is a trigger food for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s Lucky Charm’s or Cheerio’s, if it’s in the house it’s going to be eaten.

Lunch – including sandwiches, fruit:
Again, not really a big problem for me. I like sandwiches and there are many great options for preparing a healthy sandwich as opposed to one not so healthy, loaded with all sorts of condiments. There are actually many good whole grain breads which taste as good as the bleached white breads.

Dinner: lean meat, serving of vegetables:
This is where I normally have the biggest problems. Lately my dinners have consisted of pizza, TV dinners, pizza, fast food, cereal or pizza. I need to prove to myself I can eat healthier. It really doesn’t take much longer to grill up a piece of chicken or steak and steam some vegetables. It’ll also give me a chance to really start looking through recipes for dinners to prepare including meat and vegetables.

10:00 bedtime - up at 6:00 for exercise:
When I’m not watching carefully, I can be up to all hours of the night. It’s not uncommon for me to be up till after 12, yet still be up around 6 or 7. It’s no secret sleep is important, especially true for weight loss. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep they are fatigued, the body doesn’t function as it should, and the risk of late night snacking is increased. Late night snacking has certainly been a problem of mine in the past.

No fast food - Exception (Subway):
Is there really anything good when going for take-out? Not really. Most foods are prepared with lots of fattening ingredients like being fried or use of high caloric sauces. The exception I made is Subway because the sandwiches are tasty and many are low in calories. Additionally, a lot of the breads used are whole-grain, another bonus.

Snacking will be limited to popcorn, dairy, serving of nuts or WW snacks:
I’ve got a serious problem when it comes to snacking. It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips, a bowl of cereal (dry or with milk), candy or something else to satisfy these attacks. Still, popcorn can be purchased low in calories, nuts have good fats, dairy is good for the body and with my weight watcher snacks, I can keep close track of the calories I take in. A person needs a bit of something sweet to keep from going insane, at least I certainly do.

One vitamin a day: With all the exercise I plan on taking part in, a vitamin a day is going to come in helpful. It’ll make sure, no matter what I’m eating, I’m still getting the nutrients I should be for the day.

Can I do this 30 day fitness challenge? I’ll discuss more in detail my continued thoughts on the fitness month in my next article, and what my biggest inspirations will be.

Thoughts or suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment.

29 October, 2009

The Reason for November Fitness Month

As some of you may know, this past month I was engaged in a writing challenge. I made it my goal for each day to write either a poem, short story or article. It has been a great month and I've been on goal. I finished the last of my stories on Tuesday. Wednesday have been my Biggest Loser recaps and I will continue to do them into the next month, so no worries there (if you read and/or enjoy). With three days left in my writing challenge I was going to write a three part story but due to lack of interest in the project and to gear myself up for November, which I have declared to be my fitness month, I've decided to write three articles to finish the month. I've actually been looking forward to November for several reasons. The biggest reason is with all the writing I've been doing, my exercise and diet have taken a terrible turn for the worse, especially the last two weeks where I really didn't watch what I was eating. I've been up to all hours of the night to get my writing done and I think it's taken it's toll. I'm starting to feel awful and know the reason why. Not taking care of what I'm putting into my body is having a drastic effect. But I stuck to my goal and I'm proud of myself for that. That's how I got the idea for a fitness goal. Knowing how dedicated I become to something once I'm focused I've got high hopes this Fitness month I'll be able to lose at least 20 pounds. That is my goal for the month. To keep me on task, I've devised a few rules I'm going to try and stick to. Following is the list, which I'll explain more in detail in tomorrows article.

No coffee - only Milk / Water
No Alcohol
30 minutes of exercise daily
Breakfast: Fruit, oatmeal, WW English Muffin...
Lunch: Sandwich, fruit...
Dinner: lean meat, serving of vegetables.
10:00 bedtime - up at 6:00 for exercise.
No fast food. Exception (Subway)
Snacking will be limited to popcorn, dairy, or WW snacks.
One vitamin a day.

I'm willing to bet I can do this. I'll appreciate all the help I receive from my family and friends.

Biggest Loser Recap - S08E07 Part-2

As Jillian is working with Abby, she tries to motivate her by asking what she really wants. Abby tells her she wants to live again, but she feels like she’s just been going over the motions of living. Jillian senses her pain so encourages her to open up by asking what it’s like to lose everything. Abby tells her it’s something you couldn’t dream it in your worst nightmare. She had the perfect family, husband and two kids; 5 ½ old girl and a baby boy. She recalls her daughter running over to her and saying, “I love you,” just before getting in the family car. That was the last time Abby saw her daughter. Finally Abby tells Jillian she doesn’t just want to exist anymore, she wants to live again. Hearing her story, Jillian wonders how she’d handle what Abby went through because she’s not sure if she could.

Later, Jillian is walking with Amanda. Amanda wanted to explain to Jillian why she walked out on her. Jillian says Amanda walked out on herself. Amanda confesses she’s scared of change.

During the last chance workout, Bob has Allen jumping on the step platforms and has him jump on one almost three feet tall. Allen is unsure at first, but makes a leap that lands him on top of the platform. Meanwhile Jillian has now targeted Dan, who says he’s gonna kill Allen at the weigh-in. Bob next has both Rebecca and Amanda on the bikes. He’s enjoying their friendly rivalry.
While Jillian is training Shay, she tries to get her to open up more as to why she got so heavy. Shay says she tried to learn how not to die because of her troubled past and ultimately chose food as the outlet. Jillian informs her by choosing food, she hasn’t learned how ‘not to die’ because she’s so overweight she’s killing herself. Shay breaks down and talks about how much her mother didn’t love her every time her mother was shooting up, or buy drugs, or hiding Shay in a closet when she brought men into a hotel room with them. Shay says no matter what, she couldn’t make her mother love her. Jillian tells Shay she needs to forgive herself because she has not done anything wrong and needs to help that kid in the closet.

Time for the face-off weigh-in. First match up is Amada and Rebecca
Amanda PW-218/CW-214/WL-4
Rebecca PW-232/CW-223/WL-9
Blue team 1 – Black team 0

Abby PW-204/CW-201/WL-3
Tracey PW-202/CW-197/WL-5
Blue team 2 – Black team 0

Dan PW-357/CW-345/WL-12
Allen PW-270/CW-262/WL-8
Blue team 2 – Black team 1

Daniel PW-277/CW-272/WL-5
Liz PW-228/CW-221/WL-7
Blue team 3 – Black team 1

Shay PW-411/CW-402/WL-9
Rudy PW-355/CW-341/WL-14
Blue team 4- Black team 1

Blue team wins the weigh-in but for Rudy it’s a double accomplishment. He breaks the record of Dane from the previous year who lost 100 pounds in 8 weeks. Dane shows up to congratulate Rudy and inform everyone he’s competing in a triathlon with 12 other previous ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants. Bob is impressed; he’s never done a triathlon.

Black team must now decide who they are going to vote out. Liza is happy Dan has immunity for loosing the most. She mentions that now the tears will be real because Amanda, Abby, Daniel and Shay will have to vote out one of their closest friends. However the choice is not as hard as they expect. Abby lets everyone know she is ready to go home. She says her journey hasn’t been so much about losing weight as it has been about learning to open up and love people again. She assures them she will ‘fly’ at home and do very well. Daniel and Shay are heartbroken because they want Abby to stay but she asks them to respect her wishes.

Since she can’t vote for herself, Abby votes for Amanda to leave, knowing no one else would be voting for her. Shay sadly votes out Abby and tells her she will miss her because in Abby, she sees “the mom that I wanted.” Amanda also votes for Abby, but Dan votes for Daniel. The last vote is cast by Daniel who is saddened by having to vote for Abby, but respects her wishes.

24 hours later, Abby is heading for her homecoming. Abby tells her friends and family she’s happy to be home, but wants them to know she is not just there in body, they now “have her back”. Abby has decided to move on with her life and live once more. Currently she has lost 80 pounds. As the credits begin, we see the episode has been dedicated to the memory of Abby’s dearly departed family.

28 October, 2009

Biggest Loser Recap - S08E07 Part-1

As the black team returns from voting Dina home, Rudy is really upset and soon leaves. Amanda wishes it would have been Dan going home as she is closer to Daniel, Shay and Abby. Liz is as upset as Rudy and hates how they said it was a tough decision. She claims they knew who they were going to vote out the second they left the gym.

When the contestants meet Alison, she informs them this is “Face-Off” week. The catch for the week is they will be weighing off head to head. One contestant from each team will weigh in together. Whoever has a higher percentage lost, will win a point for their team. The team with three points will win for the week and the other team will be forced to vote someone home.

Rudy is only 13 pounds away from having lost 100 pounds. Previously, Dane of season 7 lost 100 pounds in 8 weeks, if Rudy can lose 13 this week, he will beat Dane’s record.

For the challenge, each team has one participant at a time. Each team has a bar they must go under to hit a disk and then go back under the bar and hit a disk on the other side of the bar. Each player can tap out and bring someone else into the game, but each contestant can only go once. The first team to 500 points wins. The winners of the challenge get to decide who faces off at the weigh-in. Abby and Tracey are both allowed to play and go first for their teams. After only 20 points Abby passes to Shay. Tracey continues for a full 100 points before bringing Allen in. Shay leaves the challenge next at 104 points and brings in Dan who leaves at 219 and brings in Amanda. Finally Allen gets tired and passes to his next team-mate at 250 points. Liz follows Allen and is able to continue to 302 points, now followed by Rudy. Amanda tires at 350 and brings in Daniel to finish. Rudy has a lot of problems with the challenge but he stops at 390, letting Rebecca come in to finish up. The numbers are neck and neck for a while but Rebecca finally overtakes Daniel and reaches 500 while he is still on 496. Daniel continues to finish what he started, but blue team has won.

Blue team deliberates for a while but ultimately they decide the match ups will be Rebecca vs. Amanda; Tracey vs. Abby; Allen vs. Dan; Rudy vs. Shay and Liz vs. Dan.

For the work-outs, Bob is in the pool with his team and tells them he wants them to kick their legs in the pool so hard all the water comes out. Jillian is in the gym with her team. Jillian and Amanda face off when Amanda says she can’t do what Jillian wants of her. Jillian keeps trying to convince her she can continue by telling her the difference between failing and quitting. Amanda walks out anyway; despite being upset she is always the ‘fat girl’.

The reward challenge has both teams on a baseball field filled with many baseballs. On a scoreboard, Derek Jeter encourages both teams, and talks about teamwork. He wishes Daniel well and congratulates him on his weight loss of both seasons, and also tells the black team they need to win one.

For the challenge, each contestant must gather as many balls as they possibly can and throw them at targets with pictures of each contestant. A container collects all the balls thrown at each target. When a person has collected 316 balls, they are out of the game. The winners will receive lunch cooked for them by Curtis Stone and receive a 2 pound bonus at the weigh in. Because of the vigorous activity, Abby has to sit out and Tracey is chosen to sit out as well to make the game fair. As the challenge begins, the black team begin loading up on Allen and take him out of the game quickly. Blue team work on getting Amanda out, even Rebecca has a hand in it. But Rebecca is next out. Blue team take out Dan next, and the black team retaliates by taking out Rudy and Liz in quick succession. Black team win the reward and the weigh-in bonus which they can decide later how to use it. Either giving 2 pounds to one person or splitting it up

For the reward, Curtis Stone grills out with the black team and shows them how to make burgers using Jeanne-o ground turkey, thyme and garlic. Also used are cherry tomatoes, red peppers, red onions and red wine vinegar. The bun is replaced with an open faced portabella mushroom. The team really seem to enjoy the lunch reward.

23 October, 2009

Biggest Loser Moments - S08E06

Black team is shocked Mo is gone.

Tracey is hurt by the reaction of the black team when they see her.

As Tracey begins to cry - Shay, "That's my cue." and leaves.

If you can't win the weigh-in at least win the challenge.

Reward challenge is on the beach.

They must dig up keys to open the chest.

Alison won't reveal whats inside, but says it'll determine who leaves.

Some dig with shovels, others with their hands...

... others use their face.

Dan finds his key first. Inside the wooden box.

In answer to Alison, We don't know what we're playing for.

"Oh... right."

Blue team wins the reward. A trip home.

But passes it to black, with mixed emotions.

Bob takes advantage and trains blue as hard as possible for the week.

Celebrating the black team gone, with a glass of milk.

Volunteering some time at the food bank.

Black team is warmly welcomed home.

Jillian tries to motivate Dan who's been low in his weight loss.

Dan realizes how much his mother loved him by trying to motivate him.

Time for the weigh in, where anything can happen.

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

No victory this week.

Deciding who to send home. Dina? Shay? Dan?

Time to send someone home.

Dina is sent home. She hates it, but she's a good sport.

Finally overcome her fear of the step.

Now weighing 188, and has done a half marathon.

21 October, 2009

Biggest Loser Recap - S08E06 Part-2

While the black team was home with their families, Bob was making sure the blue team were doing all they could to win the next weigh in challenge. While talking with Liz and Tracey in the kitchen, Bob suggests drinking milk instead of soda.

Trainer Tip: Bob mentions how circuit training exercises are great. One arm rows, lateral raises and step ups are fantastic for keeping yourself fit and energized.
Jillian suggest when making sandwiches, skip the mayonnaise and other unhealthy condiments. Try adding avocado. It has healthier fat and less calories.

With the black team still gone, Bob takes the blue team out to volunteer at a local food bank. They spend the day filling backpacks of food for needy families.

Once the black team comes back, they mention how hard it was at home. Dina kept feeling guilty when she had to work out with her son following. Dan reflects how much time he has wasted and wants to gain control of his life back. During the last chance workout he feels more motivated than ever before. He’s starting to feel like Superman once more, without the kryptonite. Jillian decides to pack a week worth of training into one day and really pushes her team.

As Jillian is working with Dan, she notices how much he’s been struggling lately. She finally gets him to open up and he reveals how upset he used to get with his mom when she’d stress fitness to him, or ask him to try and work out. He couldn’t understand why his mother couldn’t just love him for who he was. Dan tells Jillian he can now see she loved him all along and he wants to prove himself to her; he wants to prove he loves her.

Time for the weigh in and Bob mentions how his team better win or he’s going to be pissed. Blue team is chosen to go first.

Blue Team:
Allen PW-278/CW-270/WL-8 .61%
Rebecca PW-237/CW-232/WL-5 .98%
Tracey PW-206/CW-202/WL-4 1.29%
Liz PW-232/CW-228/WL-4 1.59%
Rudy PW-369/CW-355/WL-14 2.65%

Black Team:
Amanda PW-2214/CW-218/WL-6 .35%
Shay PW-416/CW-441/WL-5 .64%
Abby PW-208/CW-204/WL-4 .87%
Dina PW-223/CW-218/WL-5 1.16%
Dan PW-372/CW-357/WL-15 2.04
Daniel PW-276/CW-277/WL- 1 gain 1.98%

Rudy has done such a great job losing weight so far with. He’s only 13 pounds away from losing 100 and if he does so next week, he will have lost 100 pounds faster than anyone in Biggest Loser history.

But with Daniel’s weight gain, the Black team must send someone home. Dina cries and lets everyone know she’s not ready to go home yet. She’s practically begging her team to keep her. Shay mentions she still has a long journey to go and doesn’t want to leave either. Dan is afraid he’s going to be targeted because of his weight gain.

The break down of the vote is as follows. Daniel votes for Dina, Dina votes for Daniel, Abby votes for Dina, Dan votes for Daniel, Amanda votes for Dina. Shay also votes for Dina, keeping her team-mate safe.

In the six weeks at camp, Dina lost 35 pounds. Today Dina is 188 and is now successful at jumping up on the platform. She also just recently finished a half marathon.

19 October, 2009

Biggest Loser Recap - S08E06 Part-1

The black team is shocked to find out the blue eliminated Mo instead of Tracey. Tracey claims she is hurt seeing their faces when she enters the room, as if they are disappointed she is still around. Shay informs the camera what’s most upsetting is how Tracey makes everything about her. As Tracey begins to cry, Shay says, “That’s my cue,” and leaves the room.

Instead of seeing the reaction to Mo being gone, we see the trainers haves started working with their teams right away. Jillian has the black team pedaling on the bikes as Bob has his running on treadmills, including Tracey who has been given clearance to workout in the gym to a limited degree. Bob tells his team, “If you can’t win a weigh-in, at least you can win a challenge.”

The challenge is on a beach where eight large piles of sand are. Each team has four keys; one hidden in each pile of sand. As the teams find a key, they will have to use the keys to unlock a large chest with four locks. The first team to unlock the chest will win what's inside. Alison does not disclose what is in the chests, but does say it will determine who stays, and who goes. Sitting out this challenge are Abby, Tracey and Amanda. Sticking out of the sand are shovels, but sunk into the sand deep enough the contestants need to dig a bit to get the shovels out. As they start to dig, Allen and Dan are first to discover some kind of a wooden box buried several feet under the sand. The box is unlocked and contains a key. The box is large enough they need to dig it almost all the way out before they are able to pull it up. Dan manages to pull his out first and runs over to unlock the first of their locks. He then helps Daniel dig up his chest. Allen finally digs up his chest and after unlocking it, he tries to help Rudy out.

Alison is counting the time spend, and around 20 minutes into it she reminds everyone, “Remember what you are playing for.” Rebecca reminds her they don’t know what they are playing for. “Oh, right.” Alison sheepishly admits. She adds she does know and it’s worth playing for.

Rudy finally has his chest free with the help of Allen and the two now run over to help Liz and Rebecca. Finally Dan and Daniel get the chest they have been digging up and help Shay and Dina. However, it’s a little too late as Rebecca and Liz now have their chests containing their keys. They run over to see what their prize is, which turns out to be airline tickets home. They have the option of accepting the airline tickets or passing them along to the black team. Rudy wants to go home but they decide as a team it won’t help them as going home could be a hindrance. They begrudgingly pass the tickets to the black team, hoping the trip home will upset their game.

Daniel arrives in Raleigh, NC. While spending his time at home, he also makes sure to prepare his food properly, while working on the treadmill. Jillian gives him a call to help motivate him while he’s home. She knows he’s not been pulling big numbers lately and needs to be shoved in the right direction.

Abby’s home is in Mabank, TX. She has a family outdoor picnic and has to inform her family she’s not eating the brisket set out as one of the main courses. She continues her workouts while swimming and the stationary bike; the few exercises she has been released to do.

Dina heads to Commerce, CA. While eating out with her family, she is somewhat sickened by how her family members are eating and realizes she used to eat exactly the same way. Despite the many appetizers set out, she opts to eat only grilled chicken. She continues training by jogging at the gym with her son in tow. He’s impressed by how fast she can go.

Shay is in Newport Beach, CA. She’s shopping in the store with her family, making sure to pick up Jenni-o because of the lower sodium levels and calories. While dining out she gets a 6oz. Mahi fillet. When it comes out, it looks oily and she debates whether to send it back or not. A little later she is out with friends and heads to Subway, knowing it’s so much easier because you can see how your sandwich is prepared right in front of you. She gets the veggie delight and has the employee scoop out excess bread. Shay coaches her friends on what sort of bread is the best option. While working out, Shay feels out of place. Despite her being so big and needing to work out, she’s intimidated by everyone else who are seemingly very fit, and she almost feels like she doesn’t belong despite needing the gym more than them.

Amanda’s family is in Butler, NJ. She gets a very warm reception from home but is soon in the gym. Without Jillian around, she has a hard time using any of the fitness equipment. Almost on cue, she receives a phone call from Jillian who motivates her and lets her know she can figure the equipment out. Amanda decides to buckle down, stop roaming the gym aimlessly and get to work.

Dan is in Tulsa, OK. Right from the start Dan is counting calories. When he goes to the gym his wife comes with him. He almost considers it a distraction, but she is supporting him as much as she can and he appreciates that. Instead of eating out, Dan prepares all his food at home. He grills out and his family loves the raw vegetables and meat he has prepared in the form of kabobs. He continues to count his calories as his wife brings out older photos to share with him. He recalls how much he wanted to do for his wife but over the years got less motivated and sluggish. He feels he has done nothing and his life has been just like the earlier challenge where the more he has tried to dig himself out, the more things cave in. He has made a determination now though, and he’s making headway. He explains to his wife the sand is no longer caving in around him. She tells him, she’s ready for him to head back to the ranch and finish what he’s started.

(End of Part One)

18 October, 2009

Carrot Sticks & Cottage Cheese

When you think of healthy food
are you limited with picks?
Do you think of something bland
like many carrot sticks?

With all the food within your home
you trash it all but peas.
Snacking foods you dare not have
except for cottage cheese.

But did you know you can have
food other than your veggies?
Even treats you thought taboo
like pizza or warm cookies?

The trick is moderation
just a little at a time.
Healthy food, then something sweet
you'll find it's not a crime.


16 October, 2009

Biggest Loser Moments - S08E05

One more chance to control the game.

Rudy wins 1,000 calorie piece of cake.

Tracey wins once more.

Tracey "has the ability to gain control whenever she needs it."

Bob and Jillian looked perplexed by who won.

Bob is surprised Tracey feels close to him.

Jillian is angry she won't be able to pound on Tracey.

Tracey has a hard time splitting the teams. Or is it crocodile tears?

Is it just me, or does Alison look very uncomfortable?

The new blue and black team. Tracey divided just about everyone up.

"This marks the beginning of 'game on.'"

Discussion how Tracey didn't pick from her heart - she's heartless.

Liz works so hard she passes out.

Dina is having problems with the step. She has yet to conquer it.

Suddenly I have a craving for turkey breast.

Blue team starts off strong for the reward challenge.

Daniel drops his end before anyone is ready, making them more upset.

Alison hands out the winning videos to blue team.

Rebecca tries to give Dina her reward. Dina politely refuses.

Liz surprises Dan by trading her video for his.

Shay drops 16 pounds, giving the black team immunity.

And there is much rejoicing.

Even Alison seems to be celebrating.

Mo falls on the sword, hoping to save Tracey.

Sure enough, Mo is sent home.

Mo goes from 355 lbs to 279. Total loss so far 76 pounds.