Friday, October 24, 2014

WWI#66 and Five Recent Reads

Holding! Week three of staying under 150. I am up just a smidge from last week. I really didn't think I'd even be as close as I was. I had the usual gain after the weekend, and then I didn't have the much of a drop the following days like I usually do. But stepping on the scale this morning ... the drop was there.

It's been a bit of a stressful week. Things have just been a bit off. Anxiety issues with my 11-year old have been a daily battle. Such sobbing every morning before school :(  There has been more homework help needed, as some big assignments were due this week. #5 earned an award at school, so I spent some time there one morning for the program. Hubs had two pinewood derbies this week. Back to basketball practices and games after a bit of a break last weekend.

NUMBERS: While my actual weight was up just a bit, my average went down (again, just by ounces). Eating is always a struggle ... I didn't have any huge days (2600 calories on Sunday) but also didn't have many low days (yesterday, 1500, that is low for me!) I did pretty good on exercise. I got in a Zumba session last Saturday ... my first Saturday Zumba in a while! I got in my hour of elliptical and Zumba every weekday. Even on Thursday, when my son's award program was at the same time as my Zumba class, I still did an hour on my own. I got in three sessions on the bike, just one treadmill time and one weight workout this week.  It did all equal out to a deficit of -4484 for the week. I'm happy with that.

On to the Friday Five ...

I've been reading a LOT lately. Every time I have a session on the bike, that's 30+ minutes of reading for me. I think it's more about the reading than the riding really. 

The last time I posted a "recent reads" Friday Five was about a month and a half ago (WWI#59). Yes ... I've read five more books in that time. What can I say? I love reading!  My spotlight here isn't necessarily a recommendation or in-depth review, just a quick peek at what has been capturing my interest of late ...



Both of these books are post-apocalyptic stories. Both of them feature a "safe" but flawed world, with an "outside" that is barren, dangerous and unknown. In "Breathe" ... trees have been destroyed, and with it, the oxygen they produced. Oxygen is now manufactured, measured and sold. From that standpoint, it was interesting that only the rich elite could afford to exercise! "Breathe" is the first of two books ... I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to continue on. But only one more book ... maybe I will, just for the sake of closure.  "Wool" is a series of five books, but they aren't long ones. I'd read the first one ages ago (it had been a free Kindle download) and the "outside world" theme reminded me of it. I'd picked up the remaining books where they were on sale (for Kindle $1.99). I was a little unsure I could get back into the story, but I did. I really quite liked this series. I believe it's only available in digital format. Whereas "Breathe" is aimed at teens, "Wool" is a little more adult (although really just in the age of the characters, not really because of content).

You can see I like a little something different in my reads ...
These books centered on Artificial Intelligence, Time Travel and Alien Abduction.

  • Turing Evolved: This had really high reviews on Amazon, and I was able to snag it when it was offered free (just follow Book Bub or Pixal of Ink to watch deals and steals). It IS adult, in language, content and complexity.  It was really interesting though.
  • TimeBound: This is definitely a teen read, but I still enjoyed it. As an Amazon Prime member, I borrowed this from the Kindle Lending Library. It's the first in a series, but other than a novella, the other books aren't out yet.
  • The Taking: I've always been a fan of alien abduction tales... loved the TV series "The 4400". This had some similarities to that ... the protagonist is "taken" and returned, thinking she has been away a day, but five years have passed and she is still the same ... or is she?  It is book one in a trilogy, but the other books haven't been written or released yet. It did have a cliffhanger ending!
So that's my weigh-in, and what I've been reading. At the rate I'm going, I'll be able to do another "Five Recent Reads" shortly!

Linking up with the Friday Five blog hops ... the DC Bloggers ((Courtney, Mar and Cynthia), Five on Friday at The Good Life, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In and with my weekly check-in link-ups: Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.   






Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Zumba Instructor?

"You love Zumba, have you thought about becoming an instructor?"  I have been asked that a few times, and while I'll never say never, I really don't think it's in the cards for me.

It's not that I'm uncomfortable up on a stage. I practically LIVED on stage throughout my teenage years (high school and local theater). I could sing in front of large audiences without batting an eye. But my skills were limited to singing and acting ... dance was always out of my comfort zone.  

Today at Zumba ... I got pulled up on the stage to be one of the "backup dancers".  Now, I've done it before at my Monday class. I'll even lead a song at the Tuesday class. But those were songs/steps I KNEW and had practiced. The Wednesday class is HUGE, and more intimidating, and I didn't know what songs were coming up. It went fine, but I think I'm more comfortable down among the masses just following along. 

I know several Zumba instructors that started in exactly that way. Coming up on the stage to help, leading a number here and there. But I doubt that will ever be me, for many reasons ...
  • MEMORIZATION: I don't know why I have such a hard time remembering steps! I have a few songs that I feel like I know, and most others I can follow along quite well, but I definitely need to be following an instructor's lead! There are generally around 14-16 songs for an hour of Zumba ... I don't know if I'd ever be able to master that many! And most instructors are pulling from a playlist of SO many more songs and are constantly adding new ones into the mix. I don't know how they keep them all straight! I do think the fact that the songs are in Spanish does impact me. I feel like I pick up the steps on pop songs easier.
  • MOVES: I can eventually learn most steps, but there are certain moves (anything with the hips, a body roll, anything too flowery with the arms) that I just can NOT master. Even the choreography I do have down, I don't have the "flow" that some of the instructors do. It's just pleasurable to watch some people dance ... not me! I'm more athletic than graceful.
  • MONEY: It costs a bit of money to be a Zumba instructor! You have to pay to take a class to get certified, and then I believe there is a monthly fee as well to stay "active". You CAN earn money as an instructor, but I don't know that I'd be able to recoup the costs.
  • MOBILITY: Most instructors travel around to teach various places ... I have anxiety issues driving in the unknown, or at night, or on the freeway. I've expanded my Zumba travels to where I'm driving 15-20 minutes for a couple of my classes, and that has been a pretty big deal. I know many instructors teach at various locations, many beyond where I'd dare drive.
  • MOTIVATION: Once you become a Zumba instructor, jobs don't just fall in your lap, you have to go after and earn them.  You would have to advertise yourself . Many of the free classes offered are to build up a reputation. I DO love my Zumba classes, and many people think I'm crazy for doing it five days a week. As an instructor ... they do even more! I very rarely am not in the mood for Zumba, but it's still nice having it be MY choice, not a commitment or a job. 
 ...  So many of the instructors will yell or whoop to encourage their students. I'm very quiet. Most instructors wear the cute, bright (tight) Zumba clothes ... I'm only comfortable in baggy and black. But you know? It's okay! I'm happy being a follower. Just being part of the crowd. I'll be willing to help out on stage here and there, but I don't crave the spotlight (like I used to ... just NOT dancing!) I'm just so happy to have gotten to where I am. I never thought I'd fall in love with Zumba, so I'll never say never. I sure do admire all the instructors out there though. Thanks for all you do!

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and Fitness Blondie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Long Weekend

I didn't get a post up yesterday! I think that's the first Monday I've missed in ages. As part of the "Motivation Monday Team" I actually felt like my blog post was a bit of my "job" (not in a bad way, just something I'd committed to, so I always got it done). But as it looks like the Motivation Monday linkup has faded ... so did MY motivation to get a blog post up. 

But better late than never, right? It was a long weekend, as the kids were out of school Thursday and Friday for Fall Break. Monday mornings can be a bit challenging after a normal weekend, but even harder after a long one! A couple extra days of sleeping in. Late nights (for Mr. Social anyway). Freedom from schools and schedules. It's really hard on my Anxiety Child, so I was pretty much expecting a rough Monday morning.

I got one!

#4 (my 5th grader) didn't want to get out of bed and cried for a solid 30 minutes. He was scared to go back to school, scared of an assignment the teacher had mentioned. Little brother and I try to stay positive and give him encouragement, but it was tough. I stayed with him until the start of school and then watched my phone, wondering if I'd get a call. He did make it through the day, and hopefully the rest of the week will go smoother with "the first day back" behind us. 

It threw off my morning a bit, I didn't get as much done as I usually do. I did still get to Zumba. I took #4 into the pediatrician after school to check on options (counseling, biofeedback, medication) and hopefully we can get a handle on this.

Back to the weekend recap  ... 

 
I pulled out the "bloonies" for the boys to play with ... at first it seemed more frustration than fun as they attempted to master the blowing technique. I tried to get a picture with big balloons, but you can see that didn't really happen (my three youngest and a couple of friends). 

My oldest got home early on Friday and was quite entertaining with a little extender tool.
He always makes us laugh!

I didn't get pictures, but I packed up the boys (sand #2, Mr. Social who of course was out with friends) and we went out to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was a big cousin bash, with some of the out of town cousins visiting. There was swimming (the weather is still nice!), games and pizza.

We don't have a lot of leaves, but the boys tried to gather what we did have into a pile. They buried #3. They couldn't find a rake, so they used snow shovels ... very innovative!

The hubs and I took the three youngest to a local theater (Desert Star). We'd taken the older boys (#3 had been a few times and wanted to go again) but it was the first time for the two little ones. They weren't too impressed and were ready for it to be over, even though it's a fun, goofy show (Dracula ... he's so vein! Do you you think I'm your type? O Positive!  ... very punny stuff!) AND there was pizza.

There was also a little homework help going on. #3 needed to make a poster for Spanish class, so I pulled out my neglected scrapbook supplies. I did make him do most of the work! I hope "we" get a good grade *Ü*   He has another assignment due Friday, and #5 does too. We didn't get as much done over the long weekend as we should have!

But happy to say ... weigh-in Monday morning was still under 150 pounds even after the long weekend. That's where I want to be. We've got basketball, derbies, homework, and I was just notified #5 is receiving an award on Thursday ... meaning I'll have to miss Zumba that day to see him receive it. And I'll have to miss the following Thursday for the Halloween parade at the school. I actually hit TWO Zumba classes last Thursday!

Well ... enough blogging, time to hit the gym, again!
Linking up with MIMM (even though I'm a day late!)
 




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Stats

Every week I attend five different Zumba classes. Different instructors, songs and steps. I like to recap and "stack" my stats each Saturday. I didn't quite get my blog post done yesterday ... but I DID get in a Saturday Zumba session! I also got in a second session on Thursday, so there are seven stats to look back on this week!
  • Monday Zumba ...  I'm always ready to get back to Zumba after taking the weekend off. Monday's almost always start off the week with a bang! Some of the other classes came close, but this class wasy the high for the week in all the categories. 
  • Tuesday Zumba ...  Good Fitbit numbers, didn't quite get the heart rate up as much. Missing a few of the higher impact songs/steps, ones I like but dread a little too. They do get the heart rate up.
  • Wednesday Zumba ... I actually thought the numbers would be a little higher. I felt like I was working ... I was definitely sweating! But over 400 for calorie burn, and 7000 for steps is goal. Just since getting over 500 recently at Southziders, I've really wanted to do that again! I'll keep working!
  • Thursday  Zumba (Morning Session) ...  My HRM was misbehaving a bit today, I looked at it a couple times and it was reading zero until I adjusted it, so I don't totally trust the numbers today. I really felt like it was a great class. Lots of high energy numbers, the music was back to back, no waiting in-between songs. I was super sweaty ... and yes, I was "so excited, and I just can't hide it" ... I'm not sure if any other instructor besides Claudia Bran Silva could pull that song off! She has SO much crazy personality (and awesome moves too!)
  • Thursday Zumba (Evening Session) ... Second Zumba workout today! Marian now offers a free evening class on Thursdays. Usually my son has a basketball game, but not tonight.  I wondered if I'd still have energy at the end of the day ... and I did. It felt good! I'd cleaned the HRM strap/transmitter after the morning class, and didn't have any problems with it not picking up heart rate tonight.
  • Friday Zumba ... Quite the difference in the two calorie estimates today. I was dragging a bit today, my heart wasn't in it as much even though I was still attempting all the steps. Any break between songs and my heart rate just plummets and is hard to get back up again. It was quite crowded today (both participants and kids) and sometimes a little claustrophobia kicks in when I don't feel like I can move as freely ... although Wednesday/MZL is always crowded (but a bigger space overall). Sometimes I'm not sure what all affects my numbers!
  • Saturday Zumba  ...  Claudia said we could get in free to Gold's Gym this weekend, so I hit her Saturday class. I THOUGHT I knew where it was, but I should have written down the address. I was a few minutes late. My heart rate popped up and stayed there and it hit my goals. I thought the numbers would be a little higher, those missing minutes would have added a bit. I also should have worn different shorts, these ones didn't have a drawstring, and they are a big too big, which was a little distracting. I had to keep pulling them up!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #65

 I did it again! No "oops" about it! Under 150 for two weeks now. I even dropped just a bit from the weigh-in last week. Enough that my MFP ticker changed to "34 pounds lost" and only 11 to go.


 I mentioned in weeks past, that while of course I'd love to get to my goal weight (135 - pre-wedding weight) I'm actually ok with anything under 150. I did reach my 135 pound goal eight years ago. I was able to maintain it for a while, but then a little weight crept back on bringing me to 140. I maintained there for a while, then a little blip up to 145. I remember actually being surprised that I wasn't more frustrated with the 10 pound gain ... but I still felt good, even with being smaller right there in recent memory.  

It's not so recent anymore ... over eight years since I was there at 135. But I have to say I feel pretty dang good being where I'm at too! I even tucked in my shirt and wore a belt the other day! Unheard of for me!

My week was pretty good, but not great. I slacked off a bit over the weekend. Friday/Sat/Sunday numbers weren't great. I kicked back into gear Mon-Thursday (as is normal for me) but my intake was higher than the last couple weeks. I only had one day under 2000.

NUMBERS: Weight is down .8 from last weigh-in, but as I mentioned above, it was enough to change my MFP ticker! My average was down too, but just a smidge (.03 ... that's a smidge!).  I ate a little more this week ... candy corn, banana bread and tortilla chips were calling. Average intake was 2314. I got in some great workouts, 30K days Mon-Thurs, but the slower weekend brought my average burn down to 2853.  I did have a decent weekly deficit of 3230. 

I don't really plan on making any changes ... just keep plugging along and hope the weight drops a bit more, or at least stays the same. Linking up with my weekly check-in link-ups: Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey.

How was your week?

 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

TOL - Shaving & Fall

Fall can be a wonderful season. In years past, it seems like we skipped Fall, going straight from Summer to Winter snow. But this year ... it's Autumn, and it's nice! Leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter and the cooler weather has come.

We had our first cool down a few weeks ago. We pulled out our hot chocolate maker, but have yet to turn on the heat. I enjoy opening the windows and letting the fresh air in. As the first "official" day of Fall hit, I noticed the comic above come across my Facebook feed and couldn't help but laugh. I HAD started wearing the long workout wear instead of my usual shorts of summer and had wondered if I could get away with skipping a shaving session or two.  As I was looking for the illustration above to use here in my post, I found a few others along the same lines ...



I don't think I'll ever give up shaving for any real length of time ... but I do get a little laid back when the legs aren't actually on display during the day. My jammies are still short though ... and hubs likes the smooth legs, so I will keep on shaving. Especially if I'm anticipating any action *Ü*

My oldest son even brought up shaving the other day. He finds shaving his face a huge pain and commented "I don't know how you women do it, legs have to be hard!" I actually don't think they are that bad ... although sometimes I do see stray hairs missed around the knees. Knees are hard!

Hubs will sometimes go a few days without shaving. I don't really mind. I like the look of a little stubble. It's manly. But just a couple days ... then it gets too bushy. It's almost strange to go back to the baby soft skin of a freshly shaved face after having the stubble there.  I do start to tease Hubs a bit when the hair on his face is longer than the hair on his head (and that only takes a few days to do!)

So ... that's my Thinking Out Loud for today.
What are your thoughts about shaving?



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wii Weigh-In and Workout

I don't get on the Wii Fit very often.
As I gave it a go yesterday, my Wii told me ...
"It's been 78 days since your last visit"


I wonder if our other exercise equipment could talk ... what would they say? Do your shoes see you as much as they would like? Does the elliptical feel slighted if you don't pay it a daily visit? How long has it been since your dumbbells saw you around? The Wii does actually seem to have a bit of a personality. It actually looks dejected if you don't want to hear it's suggested fitness tip.

I knew I hadn't been on the Wii in a while ... I hadn't realized it had been THAT long. I posted about the Wii back in April (WiiFit Funnies), and in March (Wii Fit Fail). As I stepped on the balance board and weighed in ... I cam in at NORMAL. At the very tip top of normal, but I've been in the overweight category for a while. I had lost 3.7 pounds since I'd weighed in on the Wii last. 78 days ago. And that was an evening weigh in too.

My son has had a lot of late evening basketball practices lately. Mon and Tuesday, they were from 8:00-10:00. I'd already hit goal, and had a lot of steps and a good burn for both days ... but since I couldn't go to bed (as I had to pick up the kid at 10:00) I hit the gym again. I simply had to keep moving. If I stopped and sat, or worse, lay down ... I'd fall asleep! So when he has these late night practices, you'll often find my on the elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike. Not because I need more exercise, but at least it keeps me awake. I don't seem to have any trouble falling asleep once I've done the pickup and do get to bed.

Last night, I'd done a little treadmill time, and some reading and riding (I've been getting through a LOT of books lately!) and still had a little time to kill before the pickup. So I stepped on the Wii. I usually only do 10-15 minutes.

My second son poked his head in the gym and taunted me a bit. I did get a perfect score on the soccer heading, even with him trying to distract me! I was a little out of practice on the Skiing and the table tilt. I do mainly stick with the balance exercises. The ones that work the core. I'd had enough cardio for the day already.  I do enjoy the Wii Fit once I remember to use it ... which just isn't that often.

It was a good addition to my workout routine this week. I enjoyed seeing the drop in weight ... I mean I was aware of it, and have been marking it every day, every week ... but to see it listed there in a bigger chunk from a weigh-in a while ago, makes me more aware of my recent progress.

Onward and upward ... I mean downward!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crazy for Candy Corn

Everyone has temptations, right?
Especially when it comes to food!

As Fall rolls around, candy corn hits the store shelves. I suppose it is there somewhere year round,  but not quite as prevalent as in the weeks preceding Halloween. I have this cute glass pumpkin that we like to fill with candy corn as part of our holiday decor. But it's SUCH a temptation for me!

I LOVE candy corn. I'll ONLY eat the original though ... don't try to switch up the colors, or add flavors. Only the original will do. And while I can't seem to keep from grabbing handfuls of the stuff, if it was the mallow pumpkins? I won't touch them. I'm weird, I know!

Our local Sam's Club has had a big 4.5 pound bag of Brachs (I do prefer Brachs) candy corn for just over $7. I'm ashamed to admit to having gone through a couple of these bags already ... the kids have helped! It's not JUST me eating it all ...

Often candy corn disappears after Halloween, but I want to make sure I still have plenty on hand through Thanksgiving, as I make "Turkey Cookies" ...

I also have to start setting aside the malformed candy corns without the white tip. I use those for the beaks. Aren't they cute? And SO yummy too. Not low calorie at all. As much as I love candy corn alone, after they have been sitting on a sugar cookie overnight, they are even better! Not much protein in these turkeys! Here's a link to some of the other temping Tricky Treats I make this time of year. 

Do you like candy corn?






Monday, October 13, 2014

Back At It ...

It's Monday morning.  
I'm ready to get back at it, are you?

I do have to say "back at it" because I slide during the weekend. I don't STOP, but I don't do nearly as well as I do Monday-Thursday. The graph above (from my Fitbit dashboard) illustrates that pretty well. I'm always the most motivated on Mondays, in both eating and exercise. Over the weekend ... not so much. I can't tell you how excited I was to sleep in Saturday and Sunday. But those extra hours awake do add to my activity, even if I'm not spending it in active exercise. Still worth it to me though. I managed to weigh in under 150 still this morning! That's the goal!

 
I have my Pact set to six days a week, so I can take a day off if I want to. I still easily got in my 10,000 steps on Saturday but on Sunday (yesterday) ... I took a rest day. I didn't hit 10K, but I'd already fulfilled my Pact for the week, so I was fine. I do always track my food, there was some commotion over at MFP last week as a glitch in the app allowed people to add food on previous days and still count towards the pack. That was updated, and all food entries for the day had to be entered by midnight to count. A lot of people were upset, but I always try to add my food immediately  upon eating (or even before) ... it's just so easy to forget otherwise. The MFP app on my phone makes it easy to log, wherever I am. That it and Fitbit sync with Pact just makes earning a little $$ a no brainer. It's only about $3 a week, but it adds up. 


... my Achievemint points are also adding up. I should hit my reward soon. I've earned it a couple times already. So has my son and my dad. It generally is pretty slow to actually GET the award (I've heard many people complain about it) but I have gotten mine in the past. Fingers crossed that I will again, even if I have to wait a few months. 

Mondays I stop at Kmart on the way home from Zumba. It's my weekly spending of my earned Fitstudio points. I've simply linked up my Fitbit, and then everything happens automatically. I get $5-$8 in credit each week. I now stop at the store weekly, as the rewards have a quick expiration (just seven days). My son has a Fitstudio account too ... today I checked out with mine, and picked up some stuff for him, and didn't pay a penny for either purchase. If you want quick, tangible rewards, this is a great program.

It's a short week here, with the kids out of school for Fall Break on Thurs/Friday. That might impact me a little, screwing up my schedule a bit. I best take advantage of my routine for these days I have! I've got my Zumba and weight workout in so far today ... a little elliptical, and I'd like to hit the treadmill and/or bike. I'll probably NEED to, as #3 son has basketball practice until 10:00. If I stop, or even slow down, I'll want to go to sleep. I'll probably keep moving, simply as an attempt to stay awake. The 10:00 pickups do help me get good numbers most Mondays!

If you're looking for the Motivation Monday link-up ... I'm not sure it's happening any more. Our host said that there have been so few participants that she wasn't going to bother keeping it up. I am linking up with Marvelous In My Monday though ... Mondays ARE Marvelous! I love getting back at it!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Stats (1011)

Five different days ... Five different Zumba classes.
Different songs, steps and instructors ... how do they compare?
Here are my Stacked Stats for this past week.

  • Monday: I'm always ready to get back to Zumba after taking the weekend off. I've noticed, my class on Monday seems to set the standard for the week. If I have a good class, get higher numbers ... I tend to get good numbers all week. If I don't get good numbers, I don't in any class that week. At least that's the trend I've noticed. So I was pleased as punch with my numbers today! I did really feel like I was giving it my all, and the heart rate monitor was reflecting that. Mostly fast songs today. Great class!
  • Tuesday: I was able to make it to class on time (this one has the earliest start, and unlike every other free Zumba class, it does actually start right on time!) There aren't a lot of people in this class, but that means there is plenty of room to move.
  • Wednesday: Whereas yesterday's class is a little sparse, the MZL classes are always packed! A little too crowded for comfort, but it adds it's own atmosphere. One of the gals from yesterday's class hit this one for the first time today. A lot of the songs/steps were new to me today, but I'm able to pick up new choreography a lot better than when I first started out. This is usually one of my step heavy classes, but I didn't quite get over 7000... so close!
  • Thursday: There was an activity over at the elementary school and I said I'd help out even though it meant missing Zumba. Seriously ... I SO did not want to miss, but I felt like my son needed my support at school. I went ahead and did an hour on my own at home in the afternoon. With a YouTube playlist, I can select all my favorite songs. There is still a bit of a delay in-between songs, but I'd try to keep walking around. I got my high for step count, but there is something missing doing it on my own. I don't mind it every once in a while, but I wouldn't want to do it every week ... or every day. I love the variety of all my different classes!
  • Friday: I always look forward to Friday, this class is always very energetic with some favorite songs! My HRM gave me a bit of trouble, which can distract me. Hit all my favorite songs today. Usually this class is completely different, but I did recognize a couple songs/steps from my other (I think Thursday) class. I do bring water to this class ... and I need it! *Ü*
... another Zumba week down. Going to the variety of instructors and locations, and the seemingly endless supply of songs and steps, it never gets boring or repetitive, even going five times a week! I'm so happy I discovered Zumba this year.
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