Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm Back ... Now I Need to be BACK

I'll be doing my official "December" look back post coming up shortly, but it's just interesting for me to reflect on these past three weeks. Monday, December 9th was my last "normal" day. I had weighed in that morning at 153.9 after the weekend.  No sign of sickness, I did my usual 100 minutes on the elliptical, plus some treadmill and bike AND Jillian's Ripped in 30. 

But that was the last "normal" day ... I thought it was a cold and I tried to workout through it for a day or so. My appetite disappeared, so did my energy, and then I was sick and completely down for a few days. I didn't do much more than lay around and read. And moan ... a little bit.

I really had a "drinking problem" ... I just wasn't able to get much down, even though I knew I needed to. I know much of the drastic 10 pound drop was water weight ... although I wasn't eating either.

My weight this morning was 152.6. About one pound down from where I was before my sickness (although I had been lower, at this point for previous weigh-ins).  My last "official" sick day was Tuesday, December 17 (almost one week ago). I've been easing my way back into exercise, back into eating (I managed a LOT of calories these past few days *Ü*) and getting my body back to a properly hydrated level.

It's "Motivational Monday" ... I'm not feeling super motivated. 
With my weight BACK ... I really need to get me BACK.
  • Exercise: Activity still seems a bit overwhelming. I look at my activity from just three weeks ago and get tired even thinking about it. I've managed to get in 60 minutes on the elliptical several days since I've been sick, but I'm not really getting it to a heart-pounding level. I'm keeping it easy. I have felt the desire to do weights ... slow and steady strengthening, but can't get up the desire to face Jillian yet.
  • Eating: After a week of eating next to nothing (about 600 calories a day was all I was managing) I'm definitely back to eating normally ... AND to indulging in holiday treats. For a few days after my sickness, I was still able to easily keep calories down to a decent level and I wondered if this might be a permanent change. Um ... no. Appetite (and cravings) are definitely back. 
  • Sedentary Time: Even when I'm not "exercising" I'm usually quite active all day, constantly on the move, rarely stopping to sit. During my week of inactivity I got a lot of reading in and I've really enjoyed getting back into books.  And naps. Even as I'm feeling better, I'm still feeling the desire to curl up and relax with a book in bed.
  • Blogging: I've gotten behind on my blogging. I don't think I'm alone here, as I've noticed many people slowing down over the holiday season. You know I participate in lots of link-ups, and many of them have been non-existent for a few weeks (I'll link up with Grab Your Kicks for their Motivational Monday link up which IS up and has a good motivational post today). I'm really hoping to get back to blogging ... not just here, but on my family blog as well (and I run a basketball blog for the boys too). I've been trying to get caught up so I can go into the new year fresh and chronologically correct!
  • House and Home: I made dinner last night ... it was a first since I've been sick. I did make soup and breadsticks for Christmas (but that was to take, not really dinner for MY family). I also made cookies last night (with the cute new snowflake disk and cookie press hubby got me for Christmas, see the picture below). There is still quite a bit of cleanup to do, and we are hosting a small gathering for New Years, and then a larger one on Saturday (baptism/belated birthday for #5). I do think I've caught up on the laundry though ...
Yummy ... Cookie Press Cookies!
Love my new snowflake disk *Ü*

So this week ... the kids are still out of school (the year-round schools start up again Thurs, but we don't go back until next Monday). So that still throws off the routine. Sleeping in, kids around all day ... but no carpools to take up time either! There is a bit of basketball. I ran #2 to practice this morning and he has a game Thursday evening. There is New Years Eve and New Years Day ... no huge celebrations for us, but exercise and eating will be affected.  The Saturday celebrations will stress me until they are over, at least there aren't basketball games that day to complicate things.

So while the NEW YEAR is officially starting on Wednesday ... my mind keeps jumping to next Monday (Jan6) as the true "NEW" start ... just a week away. It's time to wrap up 2013 and look toward 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weigh-In #24

So the numbers on the scale when up this week ... not unexpected. Between putting the pounds that I lost during my sickness back on, holiday over-indulgence and limited exercise ... well, it's not a surprise. It's a fine line between not being too hard on myself (my dramatic 10 pound drop wasn't "real" weight loss for me to try to keep - I'm not sure I'm back to a properly hydrated level still), yet I don't want to excuse ALL the weight gain, as some of it is due to eating and exercise gone astray.  Looking back at these numbers, Wednesday (December 18) was my lowest weigh-in, the day after my sickest day, after already being down a week. Since then I've slowly been getting back to eating, drinking and adding in a bit of exercise. The weight has been coming back on.

My MFP ticker is at 30. I'm just over 150, which is the line I do NOT want to cross again. When I lost weight the first time, I remember hitting 150 and what a milestone that was then. As I got down to goal weight, I was thrilled. Then as the struggle with maintenance started up, I remember being a bit surprised at NOT being that impacted by a few pounds. At 140, 145 I still felt good ... right up to 150. That's when I could see a distinct change in my face, in clothes, etc. So I definitely want to get a handle on any additional regain and start working toward losing a bit more.

Besides all the holiday hoopla, I just STILL haven't felt 100% again. I'm not sick anymore, just dragging and tired. I do feel like I have a cold. I'm a bit stuffy, I still have the cough hanging around. It's impacted my exercise. I've been getting in some, 60 minutes on the elliptical most days this week, but I did take a couple days off exercise completely. Unfortunately I DO have my appetite back and there have been a lot of Christmas goodies to temp me *Ü*. 

I did some Christmas cleanup yesterday, but there is still a lot left. #2 has been involved in a basketball tournament, so that has taken up some time (two games yesterday with an hour in-between, I paced a hallway while waiting and got in quite a few steps). The kids are out of school this week and next, so that does impact the routine. I'm looking forward to January 6th, which is when I feel like we'll actually be BACK to normal ... and hopefully my body will be back to normal and ready to resume my 3000+ days.

Numbers this week ... a gain of 3.7 pounds. My average weight was up 1.8 pounds, to 148.6. My intake WAS greater than my expenditure, to the tune of 2500. Average intake was 2164. Average expenditure was 2128. It's been interesting to watch my Fitbit numbers these past weeks (as I tumbled from the leader board). I've often wondered if my numbers were inflated, but I can see a distinct difference when I'm active, I do actually earn those big numbers. If I'm not moving, then my TDEE is quite low, perhaps even lower than I would have thought.  Lesson learned? Gotta keep active!

Linking up with Fitness Friday  for Fitness Friday
How did you do over the holidays? 
Have you been able to return to a routine yet?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Spotlight - Christmas Video Edition

Being sick this past week, I got a LOT of reading in. Novels though. I read the third Michael Vey book (my son is reading it in school and I like to be familiar with what they are reading), "Allegiance" (3rd book in the Divergent trilogy), "If I Stay" and "Throne of Glass".  I stuck to  my digital reading (on my phone or ipad mini) as real books/magazines were just too heavy and turning pages was too difficult in my weakened state :)  I also didn't have the energy to sit at the computer to read blogs (I did peruse some on my devices, but it's harder for me to comment or bookmark).

For today's Saturday Spotlight I thought I'd share a few of the favorite videos from this time of year ...

This was a cute version of 12 days of Christmas
Ordinarily NOT one of my favorite songs.

Video Christmas Card - Very Cute

With my basketball boys, I had to include this video

Have you heard of Kid History? They are some family videos, where the kids tell an often repeated story from the family history and the adults reenact it. We were introduced a few years ago, as we were doing our own family nativity and my brother said out of the blue "Dave's always the donkey" ... as there was no "Dave" at our family party, he introduced us to Kid History - The Christmas Episode. Our family was hooked. These are a little longer (about 8-10 minutes) but well worth the watching!

Breath Wars! Big Trak!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekly Weigh-In #23

Still a "sick" week. Tuesday was the worst day (the stomach flu after the flu) but I've been feeling better the past two days and have been able to eat and drink almost normally. Still keeping calories pretty low. I even felt the urge to attempt a little exercise yesterday and it went fine.

Not sure how much I can trust any numbers at this point (because of all the sickness and the drastic losses lately) but here they are ...

Down 2.1 pounds from last week. My average dropped from 152.5 to 146.9 (that's 6 pounds down). My total deficit was -5440, and that was even with no exercise/activity. TDEE for the week was 1809. But my average intake for the week was only 817. I just couldn't eat ... SO unlike me!

It would be good to get back to the routine, have a normal week or two to stabilize and see where I really stand ... but alas, "normalcy" is not on the horizon. Today is baby boy's birthday (turning eight years old), SIX basketball games tomorrow (two of the boys have double games) and then of course, Christmas next week. Then the boys are out of school until after New Years ...

THEN we'll get a return to the routine!

Speaking of school and routine. Last year, I agonized over a decision to pull my two youngest from their elementary school to different one. The reason? To move from the year-round schedule to a traditional one (with summers off, rather than 3-week breaks all throughout the year). It's been SO wonderful to be on the traditional schedule and the kids have adapted wonderfully to the new school ... but alas, due to overcrowding, a budget bond that didn't pass, boundary changes, now this elementary school is going to switch to the year-round schedule too. I'm heartsick ...

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Talk Less Say More for Fitness Friday. I do plan on getting in a little exercise today. Not pushing my return to health too much, but I'm SO tired of just laying around, I do need to move!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Flu x2 Diet :(

It's Weigh-In Wednesday. This week we're introducing the Flu x 2 wonder weight loss plan. Lose 10 pounds in a week! No exercise required ... just you TRY to get out of bed! 

Ok ... I guess I did do some ab work. All this coughing must have worked them out somewhat. And then yesterday ... turned out to be the worst day yet. The influenza flu (fever, chills, coughing, congestion) had kept me down Thurs-Sun, but I was feeling a bit better on Monday. Not back yet, but getting there.

Tuesday I got hit with nausea. There had been a touch of it for the past several days here and there, but this was much more intense. I managed to get the middle schoolers off and was about to drive the elementary kids to school when it hit hard and I threw up (what little I had in my tummy). I managed to get the kids to school in that small recovery period after, but was hit again when I got back home and a few hours later.

The stomach flu is worse than the fever flu.

It was so miserable. I'd already been eating/drinking next to nothing for days, and now I couldn't keep anything down anyway. Hubby came home from work and brought me some pebbled ice which did hit the spot. We talked about going to the doctor but again, they can't really do anything for the flu. At this point I'm figuring that they would probably suggest an IV just to get some fluids in me, but I wasn't sure it was worth the effort it would take. We called a neighbor nurse just to check options/recommendations. She gave us some anti-nausea medication. Either it eventually kicked in, or the flu ran its course (while called the "24 flu" I've noticed the actual vomiting is usually limited to 12 hours).  After one more "session" in the evening, I made it through the night.

I had stepped on the scale Tuesday morning for a 146 weigh-in (down just a bit from Monday), and just for grins and giggles I weighed myself again in the evening for a 144.1 weigh-in. Down almost 2 pounds just in those 12+ hours. I didn't think that was possible after the weight I'd already shed with sickness.

So TODAY ... I THINK I'm on the road to recovery. I felt a twinge in my tummy this morning ... could it be hunger? I don't remember exactly what that feels like. I've been able (and even have the desire) to drink today. I even took a shower and put in a load of laundry. 

I feel frail and weak. I am going to take it easy on my return to activity, especially considering Christmas is around the corner and my streaks calendar is shot anyway  *Ü*.  Baby boy complained of tummy trouble so he stayed home from school today.

I know I'm going to have some scale shock coming up. No more one pound losses every single day. I'm ok with that. I realize that I'll probably put on much of what came off during this unintentional "crash diet" of mine. I hope I can keep a little bit of it though. Having finally broken through my plateau of the 155-150s that I'd been stuck at for so long, I don't ever want to go over 150 again. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Pros of Prepared Products

Sometimes having hubby hit the store is a good thing. He'll pick up something that I wouldn't. He was packing for a scout camp several weeks ago, when he bought the prepared apple slices to take along. There were some left over, and my boys devoured them. I had no idea they would be such a hit. I always have apples available. Does having them prepared and ready make that big of a difference? It is nice being able to send them in the lunch boxes.

There are times when it is worth it to pay a little more for "prepared" foods. In a previous post, I talked about my experience trying to get the seeds out of a pomegranate. That is another one that I think I'm willing to pay a little extra for.  I tried the grapefruit in a cup, but I do prefer those fresh.  Health Magazine did an article on Prepared Foods Worth Paying For, my apples and pomegranates didn't make that list, but they will continue to be on mine.   

I'll prep the apples even more, diving them into single serving portions (you can buy them this way too) to keep in the crisper and grab each morning for lunches. I'll do with with grapes, and even clementines (as the kids often don't get around to peeling them themselves). I've told the munchkins, these aren't just for lunches, that if they want a quick snack at home they can feel free to grab a bag.

During these past few days of sickness, my "streaks" activity calendars have been streakless. The one I have been able to keep getting an X in is my "under 2000" goal. Due to my lack of appetite that has not been a problem  Then there is my "feeling fruity" goal. Getting in at least one piece of fruit a day. I've actually managed to keep that streak going during my sickness as well. The first couple days when my throat was sore, cold applesauce helped soothe it a bit. Then I had some pears I had purchased which were going to go bad (I did lose a couple) so I had one of those. Those apple slices were one of the few items that actually appealed to me somewhat over the weekend (and apparently to others in the family, as we went through the entire package ... I didn't have any left for lunches yesterday. I'm restocked now). 

So anyway, that my Tip and Trick for the week.  Check out the "prepped" options of some foods. If it makes it easier enough that you will eat something healthy you wouldn't otherwise, it might just be worth the investment. 

What prepared foods are you willing to pay a little extra for?

***On the sick front, I was feeling much better yesterday. Still having violent bouts of  coughing here and there but no fever or other big issues. Still not hungry though, although by evening things I had a couple cravings (still didn't get many calories for the day though). I even tried walking on the treadmill for 10 whole minutes.  The night went ok, and I got up this morning thinking I was pretty much over it but have been hit with light-headedness and nausea pretty bad.  I know I haven't been eating enough (thus the light-headed feeling) but feeling like I'm going to throw up isn't a good incentive to eat.  I need to take the kids to school, and I feel less sure of myself today than any of the days last week. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Still Sick

There's been a distinct downturn in exercise and eating the past few days ...

Still sick ... Saturday I did manage to get out to a couple of the boy's basketball games. I didn't feel great but wanted to watch and video. I tried to stay in my own little corner so as not to infect anyone. I rested in bed most of the day yesterday (that's a graph of my day to the left). 

No fever this morning. It comes and goes. I'll go for a bit without coughing and then I can't stop. Sleep ... the nights have been awful. I have been catching some naps during the day. My appetite is non-existent, which is SO unusual for me. I've been trying to make myself eat, but I've barely been able to get to 600 calories these last few days. My fluid intake hasn't been great either, but I'm trying to be conscious of staying hydrated. 

I'm down 7.6 pounds from last Monday.

Hopefully I'll  be able to shake this soon. Ease back into exercise and eating and back to losing weight the right way (and seeing how much of this loss I can convince to stick around and not rebound.)

I miss the me that works out all day, the Energizer Bunny me that just keeps going and going. I'm not that great a housekeeper, but this week, things have really piled up without me doing the minimal stuff I do to keep things somewhat straight. I'm attempting some laundry today.  Wish me luck!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weigh-In #22

This has been a rough week. I've been sick. When I posted Wednesday morning (Working Out While Under The Weather) I thought it was just a cold. But I proceeded to feel worse on Wednesday, and absolutely awful yesterday.  My activity has dropped (yesterday I didn't even make it to 3000 steps; I had a negative Fitbit adjustment on MFP), but my food consumption has as well.  Nothing sounds good, and as I try to eat, I end up feeling nauseated. I only took in 700 calories yesterday (a little oatmeal, applesauce and chicken broth). My throat has been sore and swollen, I grimace with every swallow. My nose is stuffy and I have been running a fever.  At times it's hard to get a deep breath. Body aches all over (some of that may be from the inactivity, my body isn't used to laying around all day). I can't speak, my voice is gone.

I was sick back in February ... this seems very similar, except admittedly that time the sore throat was even worse. Then, I was laid out for four days, and then it took almost two weeks before I could actually exercise again. I hope this recovery isn't that slow. 

One bright spot this week has been the scale!
That's 3.4 down from last week. 

So I know a "sick" loss often rebounds with recovery, but I'll be doing my best to prevent that. I've dropped under 150! This is what I've been waiting for for so long! It's not even "goal" ... I'll continue to try losing until I hit my 135 - but honestly, I think I'm in a pretty good place at anything under 150.

So I've still had some "mommy" duties to do, getting the kids to and from school. I went to #3's basketball game on Wednesday night, but that was pushing it. I felt (and looked) awful. #2 had a game last night ... and I didn't go. I hate missing the boy's games. We have FIVE games on Saturday, so I hope I'm feeling better by then.

I watched "The Sound of Music" (I used to perform in high school and college and that was the last production I was in, I was Sister Margareta). I caught up on "The Biggest Loser" and "Survivor" and I'll watch "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" today. It's weird to just watch, not watch while working out. I've tried to  get in some reading, but honestly my arms are just too tired to hold a book :)   Sleep has NOT been good (just 3-4 hours the last few nights according to my Fitbit).

Linking up with Fitness Friday ... I've noticed so many of the link-ups NOT happening lately. I guess people are just super busy with all the holiday happenings. Looks like the one at Talk Less Say More went up, so linking there too ...

How was YOUR week?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Working Out While Under the Weather

In the wee hours of the morning yesterday (about 3 am), I woke up with a tickle in my throat. It was annoying enough that I got up and ate something, just trying to "scratch the itch" but that didn't work. I tried to get back to sleep. That didn't happen. 

It wasn't a great day. I could feel my throat was swollen, not really sore (yet) but irritated. A dry cough. Just feeling off. #1 texted he wasn't feeling well and he came home from school and crashed. We were hacking it up.

Breathing in cold air always irritates my throat to a painful degree, even when I'm not feeling sick. When I'm outside during the winter, I have to have a scarf around my nose and mouth to warm the air a little before I inhale.  When I am feeling sick, I incorporate this (can I call this a Tip&Trick?) into my workouts as well. It is quite cool down in my basement gym... about 60°.  That's not a medical mask, it's actually a ear-warmer headband. I pull it down over my nose/mouth and breath through it and it helps. I really don't know if I'd be able to workout without it when my throat is irritated. Another benefit of a home gym *Ü* ... no one sees me (unless I post a picture on my blog!)

I still managed to get in five (20min) sessions on my elliptical yesterday. It takes more than a cold to keep me down. I did dial it down and kept it pretty easy, but it was better to be moving than just sitting around thinking about my throat. I've been chewing gum and sucking on hard candies to help soothe it as well. My eating has been affected ... and that's not a bad thing. Kept calories at 1300 yesterday. I did make some chicken soup, but nothing really tastes good. A hot shower at the end of the day helped a ton. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to sleep last night, but I did ok.

Still definitely feeling it today, so I'll probably be taking it easy again. Moving if I feel up to it, resting if I don't. Maybe some elliptical, bike or walking ... no Jillian or jogging.

Even with little exercise, my calorie cutback did seem to show up on the scale.
My lowest weight in years.
So close to breaking into the 140s ...
Linking up with Weigh-In Wednesday.

How does sickness affect your exercise/eating?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Insurance Issues

Healthcare has been a hot-button topic lately. A few years ago, hubby went to a small company that didn't have health insurance as a benefit. Trying to find insurance on our own was such a stressful ordeal! Filling out tons of paperwork, and then the hubs was denied, as he had gone to the doctor to have his blood pressure and cholesterol checked. It had been high, and through diet and exercise he had gotten it under control. We appealed the decision, including his current reports and they finally did accept him on the plan with the rest of us. Our "wonderful" insurance had us paying almost $400 a month, although the $10,000 deductible meant it was basically just for basically catastrophic care, almost everything else was out of pocket.  Luckily, we are pretty healthy, despite a few broken bones, we got through the years without too many issues. We set up a pre-tax health savings account in which we tried to build a buffer of some savings for medical bills.

With the current health care changes, we received this letter (pictured above) ... under the new ACA, our premiums more than double from $381 a month to $835! I have to admit, I've been intimidated by our previous insurance application experience, and all the negative reviews on the "healthcare marketplace" so I have not checked  to see what our options would be there.

Hubby has recently changed jobs ... one of the things we took under consideration in making this move was medical insurance. We went ahead and signed up with the new company. It's still expensive (about $600 per month), and I am a little worried about the impact to corporations with government regulations this coming year. I am very afraid we'll be impacted again. But for now, I just need to figure out a new insurance company, new plan, new doctors ... it is a little better coverage (copays instead of just a deductible, which will hopefully help out. There were times in the past that I should have gone to the doctor but didn't because I didn't want to pay $150 out of pocket for a simple visit). 

So much of my journey for weight loss is to look better and feel better ... but I also do want to be healthy. While there are no guarantees, the steps I'm taking in fitness and food should help with health. I'm very glad hubby is back on board too (here). Wouldn't it be nice if there WAS a guarantee? If people ate right and exercised they would be assured of good health? I do wonder still, how many people could adapt to a healthy lifestyle even then ... 

Have you been impacted by the recent healthcare over haul?

Linking up with  two new ones this week ... 

... and also my usual Motivational Monday link-up as well.
Tiff @ The Fit Train
Katie @ The Carb Monster
Alisha @ Coily Locks

How can you NOT be motivated on Monday with all these Motivational Monday blog posts going around? Monday is actually usually not a day I'm lacking in motivation ... I'm always ready to get back at it after my "wicked weekend".  This past weekend was ok. I went over calories Fri-Sun, but did manage to keep the activity up, so I didn't really go over too badly. Weight was up a bit this morning, but not as bad as I expected. Well, off to hit the elliptical!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Spotlight (#8)

I haven't been reading as much lately. Just busy I guess. During the week I do try to give a quick glance to all the updates in the blogs I follow, but I don't think I've picked up a magazine in the last week or two. Even with my huge stack of backlogged magazines, and my new subscriptions kicking in - I did pick up a few issues from my local library that I need to read and return. Does your local library carry magazines? It's a great resource! My library offers many digital options as well. If you haven't looked at your library, you should check it out.

Just a couple online articles to share this week ...

  • So You're Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed (Huffington Post). This was an article I could definitely relate with. I really don't have many "before" photos. I was generally the photographer, behind the camera, not in front. On the rare times when I was required to be in the shot I'd position myself in the back, and I'd try to delete any pictures of me I didn't like (which was most of them). Even having lost weight and getting out of the "overweight" status, I still struggle with this (Picture Imperfect). 
  • How To Make Your Workout Routine More Effective (FitSugar) I thought these were some good tips (although nothing I haven't really heard before). I have been trying to incorporate these ideas into my workout routines lately.  I know I'm in a bit of a rut.
  • A Polar Review: You KNOW I'm a Fitbit fan and I'm not planning on switching to anything else anytime soon, but this review of the Polar Loop did impress me. I most ways it's really the same thing as the Fitbit, but I really liked the presentation of the daily activity (of lack thereof). This past summer, Fitbit changed up there dashboard. I did a post about it (Fitbit Fluctuations) and I still really miss the "pie" chart which showed the various activity (sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, very active). Reading this review has made me switch back to the old dashboard so I could see this chart again.
Yesterday I posted a music video for my song of the week ... I think maybe I'll move my song of the week to the Saturday Spotlight. It seems to fit in more here than on my weekly weigh-in (even if it is part of a Friday link up *Ü*)

Have you been keeping up on YOUR reading this week?
Any interesting articles worth sharing?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Weigh-In #21

It was a pretty good week. My daily weigh-ins have been steady (no big ups). While the "weight-loss" for the week appears to be 1.4 pounds down from last Friday, I've weighed in at 152.7 twice in November, so it isn't a huge change.
 ... although it was enough to officially drop my MFP ticker another number.  Down 28 ...

My weekly average was 153.0, which is the lowest the average has been thus far. My total deficit for the week was 4824. I did finally up my activity average above 3000 (TDEE for the week came in at 3248).  I got in a lot of elliptical, bike and treadmill and did three "Ripped in 30" workouts (you can get more detail in my Day to Day Doings if you desire).

I also kept my average intake under 2000 (just barely, at 1937). It seemed a bit easier this week to keep calories in check. I was doing ok yesterday until we had neighbor's drop by a Christmas treat delivery ... I did partake. Still "under" for the day, but weight was up this morning after a low yesterday. I'm sure there will be more treat temptations coming up this month. 

Check out how others are doing. Get a little fitness inspiration. 
Share your own with these Friday Fitness Link-ups.
Michelle at Mind, Body and Goal

For my song of the week ... I'm betting you've already heard about this great version of Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix (if you haven't, it really has been getting rave reviews). We've been fans of this accapella group for a while now. They've done some great re-mixes!

Are you listening to Christmas music?
What are your favorites?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

... it's that time of year

I don't how the weather is where you are, but here? It's turned COLD. We had our first big snow on Monday. It took me twice as long to get the middle kids to school. I wasn't sure I was going to make it home in time to get the little ones off. With the cold ... comes hot chocolate.  I love this little dispenser, keeping a fresh batch of cocoa ready at all times.  As the snow fell, I wasn't surprised  at all when the kids asked me when we were going to get the hot chocolate maker out. It's a tradition in our home.  

Other traditions ...
The stockings hung by the fireplace ...
A variety of holiday nesting dolls
our little elf slide toy

The Winter Wonderland Skating Pond ... this was given to us LONG ago and we've really enjoyed getting it out each year! It's on it's last legs, having been beaten up through the years. A fond memory with this was my little boy taking his dinosaurs and placing them in the scene, with one poor skater in the mouth of a T-rex, with the other skaters looking up in terror ... *Ü*

The kinetic pyramid ...
A funny memory not with THIS pyramid, but Maga's.
... it caught fire and went up in flame!
A Christmas memory those there will never forget!

... and then there is the Santa head filled with M&M candies. Christmas just is not complete until he is out and filled up (and then of course emptied out) ... the "clank" of the candy jar being opened and closed is a common sound throughout the holidays at our house.

I'll have to be careful of my consumption of hot chocolate and m&ms ... :)

We are lucky to have both families so close (hubby and I grew up within a 1/2 mile of each other, going to the same Jr. High and High School but not meeting until afterward). We always spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family. The annual slideshow and calendar capture the memories from the year. The "candy bar game" is tradition too. For hubby's side, we have a family party about a week before Christmas, then we go up again on Christmas Day.

What are YOUR Christmas traditions?
Check out  Holly and Amy's  Christmas Traditions Link-Up!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Exercise Estimates

How do you calculate you calorie burns from your workouts (or do you not worry about the numbers?) If you've been following my blog at all, you know, I'm a numbers gal. But getting a correct calorie count is tricky. Who do you trust?  I addressed the issue once a couple months ago (Exercise Estimates) and I've continued to try tracking the different variations from workout to workout, and from the different gadgets and machines. 

The picture above is from a 30 minute/2.25 mile treadmill workout. 
The treadmill said 303 calories. 
My Fitbit said 242. 
My HRM said 225. 

I love my elliptical, and I usually get in five 20 minute sessions a day. I do always mark down the numbers from my machine itself. I do NOT always put on my HRM, or start/stop my Fitbit to get a specific reading.  But last week I did try to do just that, so I would have three different estimates for the same workout. It was interesting to see the results.

Machine readouts ... 209, 201, 211
HRM estimates ... 149, 147, 155
Fitbit calculations ... 191, 186, 182

Oh course I had to get the counts for a bike workout again too ...
30 minutes/8 miles
Machine ... 211
HRM ... 192
Fitbit ... 319/158
the Fitbit overestimates when worn on my sock
the second number is my  manual entry using Fitbit's online calculations.

Not really "exercise" ... but I thought I'd compare a 40min Lawn Mow.
The numbers came in pretty darn close!

I do always wear my HRM for my Jillian workouts (30DS, Ripped in 30) and it always comes in significantly higher than the Fitbit - which makes sense, as Fitbit can't calculate for many of the movements during those routines. It is interesting to watch how it can still vary from workout to workout (even when I am doing the exact same video), and how quickly my heart rate can change, going up and down, and which exercises make it go up ...

It was a good exercise for me. While the numbers may "only" be off by 50 calories or so, when you add that up over multiple workouts ... it's a LOT.  Generally for my elliptical workouts, I've just been going by the Fitbit estimate (knowing that the machine was probably overestimating, but not bothering to put on the HRM every single time).  I'm going to continue to try and track and watch for trends and make adjustments in my calorie calculations so that as I look at my numbers, they are as correct as I can get them.

Linking Up with

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Biggest Fan

I wanted to dedicate this post to my biggest fan ... pictured above. No, I'm not my own biggest fan, I'm referring to my actual FAN. He blows me away.  Seriously, it makes such a huge difference in how I feel during my workout. I usually don't start with the fan on, but after about 10 minutes in ... I need it. Just that little bit of air movement can cool down my heated up face and give me the energy to keep on going.

My BIG fan is positioned to where I turn it toward me while I'm on the bike. I can turn it toward me while I'm on the treadmill (but I also have a fan on the treadmill which hits my face a little better). When I'm doing a weight workout or one of Jillian's programs, I'll turn the fan so it blows in that direction.

I have a smaller clip fan attached to my elliptical as well.

Again ... I'm totally spoiled with my home gym. I guess if you GO to a gym, you don't have as many FANtastic options (although I'm sure some of the equipment has a built-in fan, like my treadmill). When I'm jogging the track at the rec center (Two Tracks) ... they have a couple fans positioned strategically along the track and I love that small breeze as I jog by.  

So just my little Tip and Trick for the day ... if you can, invest in a fan!
Check out Tips and Tricks Tuesday for more ideas, and share something of your own!

Monday, December 2, 2013

November ... A Look Back

Well ... November was my least successful month since I started tracking.  
Starting weight was 153.4.  Ending weight ... 153.1.  
The highest weight during the month was 157.1.  The low was 152.0.  
It was my lowest average burn in months, although I did keep food intake under October's numbers. I've posted all my Intake vs Burn graphs together for quick comparisons. I wonder if I can ever get an entire month without my lines touching?

Not as many successful days on my "streaks" calendar either. Only 13 out of 30 days. While I allow myself some slack on the weekends, I'm disappointed in myself over all. At a glance (without going back and examining the Day by Day) ... the 8th, 9th, 10th was my BIRTHDAY weekend, so I guess that is somewhat understandable.  I do remember feeling uber stiff/sore for the 20th, 21st ... enough that workouts were impacted... and then just having some down days.  Thanksgiving weekend was in there too.  My "Goal" ... (22,000 steps, Fitbit Burn of 3000+) IS pretty hard to hit without some dedicated time and effort. 

Now for a more exact breakdown...

I got in some treadmill (mile jog) and bike (30+ minutes) ... 
You can see I'm more motivated Mon-Thurs.

Originally I wasn't going to keep an "elliptical" streaks calendar, because I figured any day I got my 100 minutes in, I was going to get to goal. You can see (comparing the elliptical x's to the goal x's) that I CAN spend 100 minutes on the elliptical and NOT get to goal. Even the days I didn't get in 100 minutes (and no x) I did still spend some time on the elliptical. I pretty much always hit my elliptical for a bit each day.

My goal for this month was to do a full body weight workout once a week, and try to do Jillian's Ripped in 30 two times a week. I got in all my dull body weight workouts, but didn't get to "Ripped" as much as I wanted (so I have not finished it up yet, I still have week four to go). After my stiff/sore week (Feeling It) I switched things up for the last week of November. I moved my full body weight workout to Friday, and did Jillian Mon&Tues. I figured if I got stiff and sore again, it wouldn't affect me as much Sat/Sun when I'm not really getting in my usual full workouts anyway.  I'm going to try and continue this swap for December ... I do know my motivation wanes on the weekend, so my only concern is that I won't get in my full body weight workout ... but I guess that is up to me!

... I know so many gals out there keep calories at 1200-1800 every day. Me? Not so much. I'm TRYING to stay around 2000, and have set up a "streaks" calendar to mark the days I achieve that.  12 out of 30 days. Some days I made it, I barely made it; but I did have a few LOW days too. Some days I was only over by a bit, other days ... I was OVER.  My exercise is fairly routine, but I think as far as eating goes, I do a pretty good job of keeping my body guessing about what is going on :)

I had a pretty good fruity streak going there mid-November. While I do like fruit, I have to consciously make it a part of my day, or it doesn't make it in.

Walker Tracker Stats
Under goal ... lower than the last three months
... about the same as July
But better than Jan-May before I recommitted to this journey.

So ... what will December bring? I know one thing, BASKETBALL is back in full swing!  I just got most of the schedules (still waiting on one) and it looks like my Saturday afternoons are going to be booked. Games Wed and Thurs nights, often multiple practices every day. I guess that is par for the course when you are a mom to five active boys! One good thing is that the majority of the games are quite close (unlike last year when we often had to travel up to an hour each way). Some of the little boy's games are going to be at the gym with a track above (Two Tracks) so I might get some jogging in (but then again, they like me to make videos of their game highlights too, so we'll see). 

There are also Christmas activities and projects and treats ... I do think I'll just be doing my best to get through December, and looking forward to a return to the routine for January. Wish me luck ... and YOU too!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day by Day (December 2013)

1201 (Sunday) Pretty Good Day. Weight 153.3. Fitbit Steps 20106. Total Burn 2719. Calories in 2100. Calories out 1008. Exercise: 100minElliptical. Basic Sunday ... I haven't been making homemade oreos lately.

1202 (Monday) Good Day. Weight 153.6. Fitbit Steps 28155. Total Burn 3293. Calories in 1500. Calories out 1582. Exercise: 100minElliptical, 1mile Treadmill, 45min/12miles Bike, Ripped Level 3. Back to the routine, but baby boy wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school, although he didn't seem very sick (was playing by afternoon). Took #2 to a basketball scrimmage which lasted a lot longer than I expected (over 2 hours), then #3 had basketball practice in the evening, with a 10:00 (past my bedtime) pickup.

1203 (Tuesday) Good Day. Weight 152.9. Fitbit Steps 31594. Total Burn 3494. Calories in 2000. Calories out 1791. Exercise: 120minElliptical, 30min/8miles Bike, 30min/2.5miles Treadmill, Ripped in 30 Level 4. I got in all this, plus volunteering an hour at the elementary and doing some grocery shopping. 30K day! Hubby was gone all evening with a derby workshop.

1204 (Wednesday) Good Day. Weight 152.4. Fitbit Steps 27611. Total Burn 3187. Calories in 1400. Calories out 1484. Exercise: 100minElliptical. 30min/1.75 Treadmill (Incline), 30min/8miles Bike, Ripped in 30 Level 4. A negative net day ... I just got busy in the evening taking #3 to his basketball game, I forgot to eat dinner.

1205 (Thursday) Good Day. Weight 151.6. Fitbit Steps 28453. Total Burn 3127. Calories in 2400. Calories out 1427. Exercise: 100minElliptical, 30min/2.3miles Treadmill + 40min (about 2 miles) pacing during basketball practice. Had a meeting at the school for #5, getting him in some speech therapy as he has trouble with "s" sounds. I will actually miss it, it's cute, but probably won't be considered cute as he gets older. Basketball practice for #4, then a game for #3. Neighbors dropped by a goody plate ... I caved to temptation and took a sugar cookie and some fudge.

1206 (Friday) Pretty Good Day. Weight 152.4. Fitbit Steps 20063. Total Burn 2946. Calories in 2400. Calories out 1237. Exercise: 100minElliptical. 60minWeights. Late start for the boys, and thus for me. Got in weights and cardio. Early out then #5 had a playdate at a friend's house. The boys went to watch the high school basketball game in the evening. #1 cheering for his school, #2 and #3 cheering for theirs.

1207 (Saturday) Pretty Good Day. Weight 153.4. Fitbit Steps 23604. Total Burn 2832. Calories in 2700. Calories out 1123. Exercise: 60minElliptical, 45min/3.5miles Track. Three of the boys had basketball games today, but not until later in the day. I got in a morning workout, then jogged the track during #5's game. He made one basket, but it was his team's only basket. #4 had his game at 5:00, they won. #3 had his game at 7:00, they won. Tons of snow falling today ... I do NOT like the snow.

1208 (Sunday) OK Day. Weight 153.6.  Fitbit Steps 12602. Total Burn 2308. Calories in 2500. Calories out 599. Exercise: 60minElliptical. I was thinking I'd take today as a "rest" day, but I did still do an hour on the elliptical. I almost did more, but ended up spending quite a bit of time on basketball videos and journal updates. Sunday circles in the morning, Toasted Cheese in the evening and hubby restocked our Otis (cookies) and we had that for a Sunday treat. I did keep myself to one cookie.

1209 (Monday) Good Day. Weight 153.9. Fitbit Steps 28538. Total Burn 3283. Calories in 1574. Calories out 1900. Exercise: 100minElliptical, 30min/8miles Bike, 30min/2.5miles Treadmill, Ripped in 30 Level 4. Back to the routine. Stopped at the store after dropping off the munchkins then got to my exercise ...

1210 (Tuesday) Ok Day. Weight 152.6. Fitbit Steps 20186. Total Burn 2796. Calories in 1300. Calories out 1087. Exercise: 100minElliptical. Woke up around 3:00 with a tickle in my throat and couldn't get back to sleep. Feeling sick all day, #1 too ... he came home from school. I still tried to get in some exercise, but throat is definitely a problem. Made some chicken soup for dinner. The boys had scouts and basketball practices. A hot shower at the end of the day was wonderful!

1211 (Wednesday) Ok Day. Weight 151.2. Fitbit Steps 15788. Total Burn 2531. Calories in 1000. Calories out 835. Exercise: 60minElliptical. I slept a little better last night, but still awake some of the night, although I couldn't say it was because of my throat. I started the day with a session on the elliptical, but it felt hard. Got the kids to school and did a little more elliptical. Had to cut a session short at 10 minutes to go take some medication. Ended up calling it at 60 minutes, that is good enough for today.  Feeling worse as the day progressed. My voice is pretty much gone. #3 had a basketball game in the evening, I didn't really feel that great but I took him out. Easy win for them.

1212 (Thursday) SICK day. Weight 150.8. Fitbit Steps 2806. Total Burn 1674. Calories in 700. Calories out -10. No Exercise. Not a good night for sleep. Got up and was so lightheaded. Had to grab a bucket and did dry heave ... I really had nothing in my tummy. Still had to take the kids to school, and then #5 was getting an award, so I pulled myself back for that. Then home, shower, bed ... until it was time to pick up kids after school. #2 had a game tonight and I hated to miss it, but did not feel up to going out. Tried to eat a little, but food made me feel like I was going to throw up, and nothing sounds appealing.

1213 (Friday) SICK day. Weight 148.9. Fitbit Steps 2330. Total Burn 1643. Calories in 700. Calories out -20. No Exercise. Staying in bed except for the necessary trips to the schools. Not trying not to eat, just nothing sounds good and I don't feel hungry at all.  Fever/Chills, body aches, coughing, congestion.

1214 (Saturday) Sick Day.  Weight 148.1. Fitbit Steps 3370. Total Burn 1695. Calories in 700. Calories out 14. Well, I managed to move just enough to get a tiny Fitbit adjustment (and not a negative one). I made arrangements for the first two games of the day, but decided to try and hit #4's game. He really likes the videos. Unfortunately the other team was bigger and better and I really didn't get enough footage to make one anyway. It actually felt better to try and get out then to just stay in bed, so I also went to #2's games in the evening. They won both.

1215 (Sunday) Sick Day. Weight 148.4. Fitbit Steps 1103. Total Burn 1553. Calories in 600. Calories out -20. I'd planned on staying home from church today, but actually thought I was doing better. Not sure if I overdid it yesterday, but fever was back today. I can go a while without coughing, then have an attack where I can't stop. Had a fitful nap in the morning, but couldn't get to sleep in the evening.

1216 (Monday) Sick Day. Weight 146.3. Fitbit Steps 6365. Total Burn 1860. Calories in 650. Calories out 193. Did my school carpools, but still didn't feel up to too much. By evening, I did try a small walk on the treadmill, but that was pushing it.

1217 (Tuesday) SICK Day. Weight 146.0. Fitbit Steps 1562. Total Burn 1564. Calories in 120. Calories out -20. Got up for carpool and was immediately hit with a dizzy spell and nausea. It passed enough that I was able to get the middle school kids delivered. Back at home while making lunches for the elementary kids I was hit again, stronger this time. I did throw up. I recovered enough to get the kids to school then came home and collapsed in bed. I had a few more "sessions" and I was absolutely miserable. I couldn't eat/drink anything. Hubby came home to check on me and brought some pebbled ice and picked up some anti-nausea medication, then took the kids out for some dinner (I haven't cooked in a week). Thank heavens the nausea passed before night fell ... so I was able to sleep.

1218 (Wednesday) Ok Day. Weight 143.9. Fitbit Steps 6885. Total Burn 1846. Calories in 1750. Calories out 190. Feeling better this morning, but still taking it easy. Got the kids to school, tried to do a little laundry and cleaning, as it's piled up a bit while I've been out of commission. Felt a twinge of hunger ... was able to eat almost normally. Tried a little WiiFit in the evening, but it did feel hard.

1219 (Thursday) Good Day. Weight 146.5. Fitbit Steps 15569. Total Burn 2501. Calories in 1200. Calories out 831. Exercise: 60minElliptical, 60minWeights. I meant to take a slow return to exercise, but I was feeling a bit stir crazy today. I did some elliptical and felt the desire to try some weights. It  felt good. We got hit with a huge winter storm. Basketball practices were cancelled, but the game was still a go. Hubby drove so I wouldn't have to in the snow and ice. Our boys won.

1220 (Friday) Pretty Good Day. Weight 146.8. Fitbit Steps 15272. Total Burn 2340. Calories in 1600. Calories out 670. Exercise: 60minElliptical.  Last day of school for the munchkins before Christmas break. It's baby boy's birthday today too (8 years old!). I did go grab a cake and did a little shopping. #2 and #3 went to the high school to watch basketball games there.

1221 (Saturday) Ok Day. Weight 147.4. Fitbit Steps 9898. Total Burn 2044. Calories in 1600. Calories out 369. Feeling a bit off today, head feels fuzzy. Did 20min on the elliptical but it felt really hard. A bunch of basketball today. #5's game at 12:00, #3's game at 2:00, then games at 4:00, 5:00, 5:15 and 6:00. Hubby and I alternated and had #1 son drop #3 off. I think I actually had my fill of basketball today.

1222 (Sunday) Sick Day. Weight 149.7. Fitbit Steps 3454. Total Burn 1812. Calories in 2200. Calories out -20. Same as yesterday day, just feeling fuzzy headed. Did make breakfast for the kidlets, but didn't try to exercise. Had to lay down repeatedly. Skipped most of church, just going in for my piano duty the third hour. We had a family party in the evening.

1223 (Monday) Ok Day. Weight 49.1. Fitbit Steps 15420. Total Burn 2372. Calories in 2000. Calories out 690. Exercise: 60minElliptical.  Slept in and lots to do (prepping neighbor gifts, a video slideshow for my family party and some wrapping of presents). Also a bit of last minute shopping (both for gifts and groceries). Managed to get in a little elliptical, but I was pooped by end of day! Daddy and the boys delivered the neighbor gifts (non-edible! We gave wrapping paper).

1224 (Tuesday) CHRISTMAS EVE. Weight 148.7.  Fitbit Steps 6302. Total Burn 1975. Calories in 2350. Calories out 290. Didn't get in any exercise today, it's Christmas Eve and I was busy from the get go! Made roll dough, and shaped it into orange rolls and breadsticks. Made a double batch of soup (chicken noodle and chicken and wild rice) and some rice krispie treats. Finished up the video and packed everything up and headed out to my folks for the family party. Lots of people. Eating, watching the slideshow, playing the candy bar game and exchanging gifts. Got the boys to bed and santa came. I was very ready for bed myself. A bit of a slim Christmas this year, my being sick for an entire week before Christmas didn't help.

1225 (Wednesday) CHRISTMAS. Weight 149.2. Fitbit Steps 5760. Total Burn 1927. Calories in 2650. Calories out 242. The kids seemed pretty happy with their Christmas. Hubby had a ton of little presents for me, I felt bad I hadn't gotten much for him (he said his purchase of the wave runners during the summer was his Christmas, this year/next year/ the year after ...) We headed up to Maga's and spent several hours there. Overate today and yesterday. Took an afternoon nap, then I was feeling antsy and needed to move, so I got in 20 minutes on the elliptical. Grabbed a DVD (Elysiym) and ate popcorn.

1226 (Thursday) Ok Day. Weight 150.1. Fitbit Steps 17620. Total Burn 2424. Calories in 2400. Calories out 724. Exercise: 60minElliptical + walking. #2 had a basketball tournament today. Games at 10:00 and 12:00 at a new location about 30 minutes away. I had to drive on the freeway (I don't like driving on the freeway) but the roads were clear and sunny and it was fine. Unfortunately they lost both games. The gym was SO cold. During the hour wait between games I walked back and forth and did get in quite a few steps. Better than just sitting and I needed to move so I wouldn't freeze! In the evening we had a family party.

1227 (Friday) Ok Day. Weight 150.5. Fitbit Steps 14851. Total Burn 2424. Calories in 2300. Calories out 751. Exercise: 60minElliptical, 60minWeights, 20min(1mile)Treadmill. #2 had a basketball game in the morning, I was able to get up early and get in a workout before heading out. Alas, another loss (just by three, we were always just a few points behind). We stopped for donuts on the way home ... so that is not good for calories in. Still many holiday treats too. Spent some time running kids around, but managed to get in some cardio and weights. My treadmill time was NOT a run, still not up for that yet.

1228 (Saturday) OK Day. Weight 149.7. Fitbit Steps 14521. Total Burn 2364. Calories in 2300. Calories out 671. Exercise: 60minElliptical. No basketball today! Unheard of :)  If #2's team had won their games, they would have played today, but ... there was also a shooting competition my boys have participated in in the past, but #3 (the only one eligible this year) wasn't interested. With the day off, Daddy took the boys to join Maga and cousins at the museum downtown. I elected to stay home and enjoy the quiet house. I was far too lazy, I should have gotten in more exercise than I did, but I've been more "relaxed" since I've recovered from my flu.

1229 (Sunday) Ok Day. Weight 151.0. Fitbit Steps 7705. Total Burn 1999. Calories in 1999. Calories out 304. Exercise: 30minElliptical. #5 wasn't feeling well and stayed home from church. Daddy and I traded off watching him (so I just went for the third hour). Took a bit of a "rest" day today ... although contrasting current activity with past activity, all recent days have been fairly restful ... I thought the synchronicity of my in/out was interesting!

1230 (Monday) Pretty Good Day. Weight 152.6. Fitbit Steps 20207. Total Burn 2987. Calories in 2700. Calories out 1282. Exercise: 100minElliptical, 30min/8milesBike, 50minWeights. ALMOST got to goal today ... I should have pushed it a little more. Glad to get in the activity I did, but ate quite a bit too.

1231 (Tuesday) NEW YEARS EVE. Ok Day. Weight 151.2. Fitbit Steps 13075. Total Burn 2427. Calories in 2300. Calories out 730. Exercise: 30minElliptical. Interesting to see, while my dedicated activity was the same as Sunday (just 30minutes on the elliptical) my Fitbit Calorie Adjustment was almost double today, as I stayed pretty active prepping for our party (shopping, cleaning, etc.). We had the grandparents over for games and everyone but #4 made it until midnight. #2 had a 30K day today, with a couple of basketball sessions with friends.

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