Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End of 2014

Well here we are, the last day of 2014. I'm not quite caught up to feel like I'm starting the new year fresh. I never got around to my November Recap post, and I wanted to have my family blog up to date before 2015 started (I've done several blog posts in the past week but am still not quite current). 2014 still feels a bit unfinished, and I'm not sure that will change before midnight tonight.

As far as weight ... I'm almost exactly where I was last year. That's just barely under the "overweight" mark. While I am happy about that, I would like to be 10-15 pounds less, or at least under 150 for sure. Last year, I hit a low of 144 after a week of being very sick. Of course I knew that wasn't real weight loss, and I rebounded back up to the 150-155 range pretty quick. This year, I earned that 144 (back in Sept/Oct) and kept it for a little bit, but haven't been able to hold it over the holidays. 

I wanted to compare my stats this year with last year ... I usually do that on the Walker Tracker website. I've been inputting my numbers there since I started back in 2008. I had done a blog post about Walker Tracker back in June (here). I mentioned there how I had considered giving up on it, but the draw to the data was too much. I got caught up in June and then ... promptly forgot about it again! I really hadn't been thinking much about it until I wanted to go compare this year with the previous years! At this point I am SOOOOO behind, but again, I do really like the data there.

Another site I started was Daily Mile. I started it mid-2013. I'll easily fall behind in my entries there too. I do have a widget on my blog sidebar, so that does push me a little to keep it up to date. I also have it post my weekly stats to my Facebook page. That is motivation to get all my numbers entered by Sunday night so I don't get a "Jennifer logged ZERO workouts and ZERO miles this past week" when I did get my workouts in ... just not logged. As it has been a bit of a struggle to keep up my logging here, I have also considered giving it up. But ... I HAD to finish out 2014 anyway, right? I've decided to make it a little easier, rather than inputting every different workout separately (Zumba, Elliptical, Treadmill, etc) I'll just do one daily one with my different exercises and miles in the notes. 

I just have to say I LOVE my Fitbit ... that it connects and updates automatically! At least I know all those numbers are recorded whether I write them down or not. 

I do still write everything down *Ü*  Last January, I changed my notebooks (Revising My Records) and I'm pleased to say that has worked really well this year. I have my medium-sized notebook will all my day's stats from the entire past year. I transfer all that to an excel file too (I had been using GoogleDrive but switched back to excel, Drive was driving me crazy).

There was a January post last year that featured my calendars too ... (Calendars and Keeping Track). After many years ... I stopped making my little color-coded family calendar. I just got busy I guess. It makes me a little sad, it was such a tradition for me! I kept my "exercise calendar" for about half the year (you can see them on some of the monthly recaps) ... I really liked them, but they were a bit of work to make. I gave up on my little Streaks calendar app too.

Some things continue to work. Some things don't.
I'm still going strong on My Fitness Pal ... see my log-in streak of 593 days? I still need to improve what I eat, but I least I'm logging everything.  I stay up-to-date on my MFP entries too. I find I need to input my food as I eat it ... it's so easy to forget if you don't! I have to have my MFP food entered by midnight to credit my PACT program as well. That is pretty good motivation too.

So, in prep for the New Year ...I think I am going to try and continue on with Walker Tracker and Daily Mile. I'm not sure if I'll catch up completely on WT for 2014 though (not even sure if I can at this point). I hope to stay updated on my blog, weighing in each Friday, with multiple posts during the week too.  I'm not planning any big changes in how I keep my records. 

2014 was a big change for me as far as exercise ... I was introduced to Zumba. I had never done it before 2014, and ended up going to classes five days a week for most of the year. I wish I could say there was more of a weight change because of it ... but there have been other, non-physical changes (in confidence, stance and friendships). Hopefully I'll be adding some racquetball back into my routine (as the hubs is getting back to the gym himself).  We'll see what the next year brings!

A final wrap up of the last weekend ...

 Hub's brother flew in as a Christmas surprise, 
so all the adults went out to dinner.

 We got together with extended family on Hub's side.
Much laughter while playing "Heads Up"

 We invited my BIL, MIL and SIL over for breakfast Sunday morning.
Waffles, bacon, sausage, hash browns, hot chocolate...
Don't my men look cute cooking in the kitchen?

Sunday evening we went out to Maga's for smoked brisket and pulled pork. I made Brazillian Cheese Rolls (a current family favorite, so quick and easy and yummy too). It seems that almost all the social activities are food related! Dinner out, dinner and games, family breakfast, out for drinks, family dinner ... it is any wonder it's hard to control calories during this holiday season?

Late link-up with MIMM and Workout Wednesday. We do have my folks and some of the kids cousins coming over for New Years games tonight. I'm not sure I have it in me to make it to midnight!






Saturday, December 27, 2014

WWI #75 ... After Christmas

I'm falling into the stereotype of Christmas weight gain this year. 
It was a BAD week. 
With the munchkin's birthday, then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ...

I had been doing so well for a few months there. I'd dropped into the 140s and was staying there pretty comfortably. Then ... over 150 the entire week and another jump for weigh-in. Not good! I had some struggles with motivation as the holidays approached. I actually put my PACT on hold, not committing to exercise (although I still did get my Zumba in Mon, Tues and Wednesday). Christmas Day was pretty pitiful. I didn't even get 3000 steps! My little niece had noticed our whole family tracking steps and asked for a pedometer for Christmas. Her parents picked up a Misfit Shine for her. 

The eating hasn't been good either ... no deficit this week, in fact I was over 2540. Average intake was 2270, average burn just 2346. I am just feeling off. I've really been struggling to get extra activity in. Even just 40minutes (one show) on the elliptical has been difficult. I've been reading, but NOT riding. I've been dragging and finding myself reaching for food even when I know I'm not that hungry. Not sure if it's the "holiday blues" or what, but I've been feeling a bit down, and down on myself. I haven't shaken it yet, but I hope to soon! I know we all go through these phases. This weight gain is a little discouraging ... I just feel like I haven't moved much in well over a year. I mean I am close to goal and I'm happy to at least be "stuck" where am at rather than stuck at a higher weight ... gotta get back under 150 again though. That's for sure!


When I was growing up, we'd take a traditional picture of us kids lined up in the hallway, youngest to oldest. I have NOT been doing that in my own family, but I did line the boys up this year. With #1 preparing to leave on an LDS mission, I am taking note of these family moments that he'll be missing in for the next two years. :(

The boys and their spoils ... I'll admit Christmas can stress me out. I like to buy gifts as needed, or as deserved, or as I find them and want to give them. The obligatory gift giving at Christmas makes me a bit crazed and I always feel like a bit of a failure. I am glad it's over at this point! There is still another week off school (off schedule), and the New Years Eve/New Years Day celebrations ... then the return to routine, and hopefully to me having a bit better weigh-ins to report each week.

 


Monday, December 22, 2014

The Weekend and WWI #74


It's that time of year ... to "don our gay apparel". I looked in the Christmas box and found some shirts for myself and the two little ones. They consented to take a picture (ok, actually, they didn't, it was quite the ordeal and #3 taking the pictures didn't help any!).

At this point, I think I'm pretty prepared for Christmas. That's a good thing, as it's just days away. There will be a few last-minute wrappings, as UPS makes deliveries down to the wire. Some food prep ... I'm in charge of bread sticks and chicken noodle soup for our Christmas Eve celebration.

I'm NOT doing so well on the food and fitness front. I DID weigh in last Friday, as I always do, but I never got around to getting my official weekly weigh-in blog post up. Sigh ...

Profound Fact: Did you know, if you cut back on your activity, but still eat your usual amount (and maybe a bit over, and NOT good stuff) that you will gain weight? Go figure! It wasn't a very good week.  I managed to get my Zumba in Mon-Thurs, and I got in SOME elliptical each day, but not my usual hour ANY day last week. No bike, treadmill or weights either. Not great. I mean yes, it's been busy, but I don't know if it's really been worse than usual. It's just my motivation that has been lacking.

In addition to the profound fact mentioned above ... I also have always joked that there is a certain amount of weight out in the universe. When one person loses, another gains. It's equilibrium! *Ü*  Well, the hubs, after getting on the wagon and falling off, and on again and off again ... is ON again. He said it was some of the pictures from our recent Limo/Lights outing that jolted him into doing something. Anyway, apparently I am giving him a gym membership for Christmas! Yes, we have our own personal gym (J&G's) but I've taken over in there. My shoes all all over the place, it's MY show paused on the TV, if we both want to work out, of course I get dibs. Additionally, while our equipment is pretty nice for a home gym, it isn't quite the quality you'll get with commercial machines. Our elliptical and bike definitely need a tune up, as they both squeak annoyingly.


Hubby's sweaty selfie.
 
So ... hubs has started workout out again, and tracking food on MFP, and he had success this week losing a few pounds. So it's no wonder I gained right?

I'll admit, I am a bit on the "It's the holidays, I'll get back on track January 5th" train of thought. That's when the kids go back to school, the return to the routine. I'm not being HORRIBLE right now, but I'm certainly not where I was when I was losing in September/October (right after the kids went back to school after the summer ... structure is good for me!)

NUMBERS from the week ... average intake was 2450 (ouch), average daily burn was 2487 (ouch), I didn't even manage a deficit, but had an overage of 2250 (ouch). No wonder the scale moved upward (2.5 pounds from last week, ouch). 

So that was my weekly weigh-in ... Now a quick look at the weekend. 
Linking up with MIMM.

 My baby turned NINE years old! Poor kid, with a birthday so close to Christmas it so often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I think we did manage to have some fun this year. They had a Christmas party on Friday at school, and he took in treats to pass out. I ended up missing Zumba and going in to help out with the party in Anxiety Child's class.  On Saturday, the birthday boy had his basketball game (they lost, bummer for the birthday boy!) and then we went bowling! 



It was a rather impromptu party, but we got Maga, Aunt Ana and her boys, all the brothers, the boy next door and even #2's girlfriend to attend. It was pretty fun. There was pizza, and then games in the arcade (which the kids like as much or more than the bowling). In the evening Grandma and Grandpa came out and we had cake and ice cream and played games.

Sunday after church we went out to Maga's for the annual "Sunday before Christmas" Christmas party. We played the "candy bar game" and bingo  and had soup and rolls ...

 and PLENTY of dessert. This is the leftovers ...
I made lemon jello cake, cinnamon rolls and brownies. Maga made a pineapple dessert. The cake didn't even get touched (I'm sure my boys, sans Hubby now being good, will finish it) and birthday boy had requested cinnamon rolls for his birthday breakfast. There is still some birthday cake left too. Ahh the temptations. AND ... I opened one of the packages of salted caramels.

So it was a great weekend with family and fun ... not so good lately on food and fitness. Hubby being good SHOULD help ME refocus, although I might need to get the holidays behind me and get back on a schedule. These next couple weeks with the kids out of school, I can sleep in, and I do plan on indulging in that! Schools and schedules will return, and hopefully I'll be excited to share my weekly weigh-in rather than putting off my Friday post!






Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Zumba in a Santa Hat

One of the Zumba classes I frequent has had a number of "themed" dance days. There was the 80's spotlight, western wear, hula skirts and leis ... it IS fun and can add some extra energy. Today? It was Santa Hats, and even though it was a bit HOT with that fuzzy hat on my head, I participated.

We'd had to move from our regular church building to a smaller/carpeted gym. There were a few unfamiliar songs, and it was harder to see the instructors without a stage. I wasn't expecting great numbers, but the HRM read 421 calories burned at the end of the hour, and the Fitbit said 549 and 8707 steps. Not bad!

There have been some Christmas numbers added to a few of the Zumba classes too. At first I had mixed feelings about them ... why learn something new when you'll only be able to do it a few times? But, the songs are cute, the steps were pretty easy, and I've ended up really enjoying them.

Here's a couple we've done in my Tuesday class.


They have helped me get into the Christmas spirit a bit more.


We did get our tree up and decorated.
We just do the hodgepodge of ornaments. I must admit, my favorites are the one the kids have made in school or church over the years, especially if they have a picture on them. Thank you to all the teachers who helped create them! These really do mean the world to me. I also hosted an "ornament exchange" party for a number of years and have many fun ornaments and memories from that.  

Not too many presents under the tree as of yet. I do have some additional purchases I haven't gotten around to wrapping yet. I'm not feeling super prepared for Christmas this year. I don't have many ideas for #5, which is doubly bad as it's also his birthday on Saturday! I even asked him outright and even HE didn't have many ideas.

The schedule has been a bit crazy and I'm still struggling a bit with the exhaustion ... I haven't been getting in as much activity as usual.  

Glad I still got my Zumba on this morning.
Linking up with Workout Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Realistic" Reads

Topic Tuesday - Five Recent "Realistic" Reads

I must admit, when it comes to reading, I like the supernatural stuff. Dystopian worlds, zombies, vampires, aliens, magic and more. Sometimes, I will move back to the more "realistic" reads. I DO put realistic in quotation marks, because while there are no paranormal persons in these stories, "realistic" usually does stretch the definition a bit.  I think I'm much more willing to suspend my disbelief in the books that are totally out there.

Anyway ... just a quick recap of some recent realistic reads:
  • Anna and the French Kiss: I'd heard a lot of great things about this book. When I first started it, I loved it. Very conversational, very easy to read. Quite a bit of humor and some romance. As it went on, I got a little frustrated with some of the characters, and didn't end up liking it as much as I thought I would.
  • His Frozen Heart: I was asked by the author to review this book. It was a quick read. I did get involved in the story and the characters. Like I mentioned above, I get a bit nit-picky with "believable" things. Would this really happen? It was a bit of a stretch, but still an exciting, romantic read. Aimed at a slightly older audience without the extremes (in language or sex) that most New Adult books seem to feel is necessary to include.
  • Watched: This is a free download from Amazon Kindle. They can be a little hit and miss. This one wasn't great. It seemed very "teen" and had me rolling my eyes quite a bit. Again, many circumstances that really stretch believability. It would be fine for teens though (without language or sex). I caught some church references sprinkled throughout the book and looked up the author to find she is LDS.
  • Gated: I grabbed this as a download from the library without really reading the blurb. I thought this was a dystopian tale, but it wasn't. Well ... it is pre-apocalypse, at least in many of the character's minds. A group of people in a gated community preparing for the end of the world. While it seems a little unbelievable, quotes at the beginning of the chapters from Jim Jones, Charles Manson, David Koresh remind the reader that such cults and communities do exist. It was a really interesting read that really kept me intrigued. I had no idea how it was going to end.
  • Every Soul A Star: I really liked this book. A simple tale following three teens as they come together in the desert to observe an eclipse. The three characters are very different but the reader really gets to know each one, and learn a little about astronomy too. It was definitely a feel good book, one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to teen readers.

With the exception of "Every Soul a Star" ... I believe the other four books are the first in a series. I don't know how much the "Anna" books even continue on with this storyline - I don't believe they do. There are just two more books with similar romances. "His Frozen Heart" definitely had an ending here, but also left some things open. There will be a sequel but it isn't out yet. "Watched" has two more books, but I don't think I'll be reading them. "Gated" has at least one sequel, and I am very interested in reading it. Of course my library doesn't have it yet ... am I interested enough to pay almost $10 for it? THAT is the question!

Do you like "realistic" reads, or actual non-fiction, or the supernatural stuff?
Have YOU read any of these titles?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Weekend, Another Monday

It's Monday again ...
We did a little "going through closets" over the weekend. #3 was clearing out t-shirts he no longer wears. I looked through them and found this one and thought it was PERFECT for #4. He's my anxiety child, and Monday mornings are so hard for him. Returning to school after the comfort and safety of home over the weekend. He did ok this morning. He did ask me to walk him into school ... which was a slight problem, because I only had slippers on. We hadn't exited the neighborhood yet, so we went back home quick and I changed into shoes. #4 made it through the day ...

And I made it through the weekend. Just barely! I was dragging so much last week, by the time Friday rolled around, I didn't have it in me to go to my Zumba class. I don't know if there has ever been a time when I could have gone, but didn't. I dropped off the kids (which requires multiple trips, especially on a Friday morning) and then came back home and crawled into bed and stayed there for a few hours.

Last year at this time, I was struck down with the flu. For a solid week, I didn't want to move, I didn't want to eat (very rare for me!) and I had to force myself to drink. I lost 10 pounds in seven days, and then ended my flu with the stomach flu. It was miserable. I wondered if I was going to repeat it this year, but other than the extreme exhaustion, I really haven't had any other symptoms.

I still had my PACT to complete ...
so I did push myself to at least hit 10k on Friday and Saturday. I've given myself the leeway to take ONE day off a week, so I didn't worry about it at all on Sunday. Unsure of what I might be feeling this coming week, and with #5's birthday and the Christmas holiday coming right up, I actually changed my PACT for the next few weeks, only committing to four days instead of six on the exercise. Just in case ... and maybe it will be nice not to really HAVE to exercise if I'm not feeling it. Usually I want to. I actually have trouble NOT exercising as the norm!

What else happened over the weekend?

#3 and I finished up his science fair project. 
Whew ... I'm glad it's done! And it's not even due until Tuesday! 
We got it completed three whole days early!

I sneak in a Sunday Selfie many weeks (it's often the one day of the week I actually don't have my hair in a pony tail, not wearing my workout wear, etc.) I'm hidden out of the way behind the piano, but this week our music chorister caught me taking a picture and wanted in on the action. And then he called me out and had me post it to Facebook. 

I'm really TRYING to stay on top of things this weekend to start the week right. I wrapped some presents and prepped for Christmas. I got my Daily Mile updated. My Daily Doings (journal entries) are now up to date. It's Monday ... and I'm doing my Monday post (ok, it's 9:00 in the evening so I'm just squeaking it in).  My morning weigh-in was over 150 (151.1) which isn't quite as bad as last week. I'm still feeling tired though, and #2 HAS been sick (chills/fever, cough, absolute exhaustion, no appetite). He stayed home from school and slept all day long. I really hope he feels better, as he has a game tomorrow. I hope I get over my tiredness and that no one else gets sick! 

Linking up with MIMM ... how was YOUR weekend?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Stats


Weekly Zumba Stats
I only got in FOUR classes this week ... GASP!


  • Monday with Southziders ... HRM 407, Fitbit 475 and 6752 steps. "In Zone" 44 of the 64 minutes. Average HR 123. A bit of a late start today, but it gave me a chance to chat. I do like the social interaction that these Zumba classes provide. Perhaps because it was late, we skipped the prayer today. Am I bad to say I prefer that? Didn't quite get as high numbers as I have the past few weeks, but the HRM was still giving me a bit of trouble. We had Nina and Sabik, and guest instructor Lydia (I recall seeing her at the MZL classes). Good start to the week. Wore my Zumba leggings and got compliments on them.
  • Tuesday with Marian ... HRM 343, Fitbit 451 and 7202 Steps. "In Zone" 33 of the 62 minutes. Average heart rate 113. The little boys were cooperative getting off to school a bit early, so I  made it on time today. My HRM was misbehaving though. I'm quite frustrated with it! My heart rate did finally go up when I lead my two numbers. Fitbit numbers were very good anyway. I'm just dragging a bit, felt a little off but pushed through. Enjoying the Christmas songs.
  • Wednesday with MZL ... HRM 431, Fitbit 495 and 7606 steps. "In Zone" 47 of the 64 minutes. Average HR 126. Had an issue with anxiety child at school drop-off (a sub) and I ended up taking him home and setting him up with some homeschool assignments. He is very good at following through without direct supervision. I still made it to Zumba, I was quite late (about 20 minutes after 9:00) but they hadn't started yet! Polar seemed to be working today, didn't really notice  reading zero much, but it did seem to get stuck on certain numbers (112, then the 220 high ... I really don't think that was my heart rate at any time, much less the several minutes it was reading that). Seemed HARD today. A friend said it seem easier to her.
  • Thursday with Claudia&Kristy ... HRM 353, Fitbit 457 and 6915 steps. "In Zone" 38 of the 59 minutes. Average HR 118. #4 had a tummy attack right before school. Although his anxiety can create physical symptoms, I didn't feel this was that. I was pretty sure it would pass (with a trip or two to the bathroom) but he didn't make it to school in the morning. My oldest was home to keep an eye on him, so I did make it to Zumba ... although I'm feeling SO run down that the thought of missing was actually a bit more appealing than distressing. But, I went. Again, not sure if the HRM readings are very close to correct, had some funky stuff going on. It always distracts me. I'm wondering if I should bag it, but I really do like the feedback when it's working correctly.
On Friday ... I had no excuses. I could have made Heather's Class. But the thought of driving across town just seemed too much. I wasn't sure I had enough energy to make the trip worth it. I debated hitting MZL's Friday class. After dropping off my middle-schooler, I'd only make half of it, but I figured that was all I had in me. I decided against even that, came home and climbed into bed. I don't think I'm SICK. I have had a nagging headache here and there for a while, but no runny nose or cough. I have felt I've had some hot/cold sessions, but no fever that I can tell. It felt good just to rest on Friday though. It was exactly one year ago that I did get sick and knocked out for over a week (losing 10 pounds in those seven days). I sure hope this isn't a precursor to anything like that!

I hope I'm up to my Zumba next week, it will be my last "normal" week before the kids get out of school for the holiday break and all the Christmas and New Years stuff throws things off schedule. I'm already looking forward to the return of the routine in January!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weekly Recap & Weigh-In (#73)

It's Friday (ok ... it's Saturday, I didn't get around to finishing up my post yesterday). Time for a look back at the week and the official "step on the scale" accountability.

This past week was not a good one. I'm not sure why. My energy has just been completely sapped! Starting with the weekend ... I usually still get in my hour of elliptical, even on Saturday and Sunday. But not last week. Mondays are almost always my most motivated days. Monday was good. Elliptical, Zumba, bike and treadmill ... and kept calories in check. I was happy when my weight dropped Tuesday morning after the jump after the weekend (not only over 150, but the high in quite a while). 

Then ... I just lost it. I didn't go overboard on eating (well, Wednesday was a 3000 intake day with a family activity in the evening ... hot chocolate and then some Popeyes). It was my activity ... I just didn't feel like my usual energetic self. I still hit Zumba Mon-Thursday but it was HARD every day. I did NOT do weights this week, nor any additional bike or treadmill. It was all I could do to get in my hour of elliptical each day.

So NUMBERS ... I'm surprised I didn't log a gain this week. Weight actually dropped a couple ounces (although the average went up by a few ounces). Other than the Monday morning jump, weight stayed quite steady. With uber-calorie days Sunday and Wednesday, intake averaged high at 2436. With my low energy, I only managed an activity average of 2820. So ... no deficit this week, my calories in were more than calories out (only by about 70, but not good when I'm aiming for a deficit of -3500 or more).

Tuesday ... realizing my energy was low and I wasn't getting much done, I agreed to take the kidlets to Airborne (a trampoline park). They got plenty of steps for a couple hours while I sat and read my book. I did get a little extra walking in at a basketball practice, but even though there were a couple of games, I didn't get in steps there (both because of lack of energy, and the locations weren't ideal. I video taped instead).   Wednesday we went down to Thanksgiving Point to drive through the light display ... In a limousine!

 

Missing #2 who couldn't miss basketball practice. The limo and lights part was fun (with the extended family too, cousins, Aunts, Uncle and Maga) but the drive there wasn't. My anxiety was in full force as we were late, hitting rush hour traffic, driving at night and all the headlights and brake lights. At least the weather was fine, snow and ice wouldn't have helped.

I had a couple struggles with #4 (Anxiety Child) this week too (he's the one making funny faces in the pictures above!). He's been doing better, going to school without crying or complaining (which is NOT to say he likes it, he's just trying). But Wednesday they had a substitute and he couldn't quite handle that. I home schooled him for a half-day and had him go in the afternoon (when they had their regular rotations). Thursday he was ready to go when he was hit with an extreme stomach ache. I actually didn't think this was school related, but we waited it out (had him go to the bathroom and he started feeling better). So he missed the morning that day too, but then went to school when the pain passed. I was lucky that #1 son was around, so I still made my Zumba classes those day, although with my lack of energy, I actually wouldn't have cared too much if I'd had to miss (which would usually be TRAGIC for me! Can't miss Zumba!)

So ... am I getting sick? Other than the extreme exhaustion, I don't really feel "sick" at all. No tickle in the throat, or coughing or runny nose. Yet anyway. I have had a lingering headache. It was exactly one year ago that I came down with the flu. I remember trying to push through it the first few days, before it knocked me down completely. Crossing my fingers there is not a repeat of that this year!

... and just following up on the topic of Salted Caramels from last week ...
I didn't eat ANY this week!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reading While Riding

I've never been one for riding bikes. The traffic, the helmet, weather conditions, dogs, bugs, flat tires. I don't have to deal with any of that on my handy dandy stationary bike. Plus it has another great advantage ... I can read while I ride!

I'm sure no one recommends reading while riding a regular bike!

Many people poo-poo the idea anyway, saying that if you are reading, you are probably not putting everything into your exercise. I don't dispute that. My "exercise" isn't on the bike, my bike riding is just a little extra activity I do. No, I don't get a big calorie burn, nothing close to a spin class or mountain bike ride, but it's more than I would have if I had been sitting or laying down.

I think I actually concentrate better on my book while riding the bike. I am more focused on my reading than if I'm completely comfy. I do read each night before I fall asleep, and sometimes my mind wanders, and I feel my eyes growing so heavy. On the nights the boys had a late basketball practice, I would go read on the stationary bike in order to stay awake!

A couple of my boys have even jumped on board. I encouraged my oldest to give it a try, and he did. For #4, when we were doing a couple trial run "homeschool" days (anxiety issues) I had him do some reading and riding as part of his routine. I'm not the only one who has thought of this ... I found this article online (Elementary School Replaces Desks With "Reading Bikes" and Test Scores Skyrocket). In the picture in the article, the kids are reading regular books. I LOVE digital books for reading on the bike, it's much easier to "turn" the pages and my ipad mini fits on the bike perfectly. 

It's a bit ironic ... I ADORE reading and always have, but my boys? It's not something they have ever enjoyed. At times they would get into a book or series, but they only read because it is required, not for their own enjoyment. These last few years however, my oldest HAS started getting into books. He's only into non-fiction, seeking knowledge, not entertainment. He even got a job at Barnes and Noble! He was pretty happy when he won the prize in a work contest ...

He was wearing the headphones while reading and riding, which was actually a good thing, as I wanted to hit the elliptical at the same time. That way I could still watch my show without disturbing him (I'm not really used to the family coming down to MY gym).

I've done quite a few "What I've Been Reading" posts ... book reviews and recommendations. I had totally planned one doing one on that topic this past Tuesday, but I didn't get around to it. I'll try to get it up this coming "Topic Tuesday" and do one once a month. I read enough that it should be easy to come up with something to say on the subject. I LOVE reading ... have I mentioned that?

Well ... time to hit the home gym again!

Linking up with Thinking Out Loud and a late Workout Wednesday.



Monday, December 8, 2014

What Happened This Weekend?

Monday morning accountability.
I can't say I was really shocked ... it wasn't a great weekend.
Do you ever have those self-destructive days? I thought I had a pretty good week last week. I was determined to reverse the recent upward scale slide. I was uber active all week long, and did pretty good on the eating. But it didn't show up on the scale. I admit, I was disappointed, and had a little bit of the "if being good doesn't work, lets just see what happens when I totally screw up!" attitude. 

  • Friday mornings are a bit crazy. There is early morning basketball practice ...two additional trip for drop-off and pick up, in addition to the three existing trips to school. I didn't start my day with a workout. I made it to Zumba, and got in two 20 min sessions on the elliptical. I pretty much ALWAYS get three. I'm a little OCD about my "hour" elliptical, but it didn't happen on Friday. I went to watch #2 play in his school basketball game. I manned the video camera during his game (highlights below) and then walked during the JV game (#2 dressed and sat the bench but didn't get any playing time). I stopped and grabbed some Dominos Pizza on the way home. We hadn't had it in forever, but they had a 50% off deal on. Not the best dinner, and I'd indulged in salted caramels throughout the day, even after contemplating them as the cause for my Friday failure at weigh-in ...
  • Saturday I was up early, dropping #2 off to practice and taking #5 to his game. I videoed this game too, although I don't get enough highlights from a single game ... I'll wait and make a compilation video at the end of the season. Back at home, the kids asked for French Toast. I made it, I ate it. I only got in two 20min elliptical sessions Saturday too. No Zumba, but quite a few steps from shopping with the kids. #3 had a game in the early evening, and there was no place to walk ... so I manned the video camera again. Hubs picked up some Popeyes ... fried chicken for dinner.
  • Sunday I made our usual Sunday Circles breakfast. I indulged in a Belgian waffle, bacon and hash browns. I got hit with the sleepies after the morning meal and crawled back in bed and figured I'd just take a rest day. I actually feel SO much more tired when I don't exercise though. A little later I was dragging so much I went and did 20 minutes on the elliptical, but that was all the exercise I got in for the day.  In the evening we had the inlaws over and Hubs made his famous BBQ (steak, marinated chicken, mashed taters). I made Brazilian Cheese Rolls, which have been a big hit at our house recently and our guests loved them too. We had Skookie for dessert. WAY over calories for the day!
So ... three days of "eh" exercise and oodles of intake calories, I'm not really surprised at the 152.7 on the scale. I guess there was that small part of me that was hoping that because the scale didn't move as predicted when I was being good, maybe it wouldn't move as predicted when I was being bad. But it did. Now to try and correct it! Linking up with Marvelous in my Monday as I recap the past week and start a week fresh!

Sundays are always slow, with the sitting at church. I did my Sunday Selfie ... which I do sometimes when I'm bored :) My Omron pedometer can be a bit bulky at my waist, especially in a skirt. So today, I clipped it to the top of my boot!


I did walk to/from church, the weather over the weekend was wonderful! It has been all week, and the forecast continues to look really nice. I know some people want snow for Christmas, but I'm loving these 50° days!

In addition to the lack of movement during the basketball games (I need to stand still for the video-taping) I also made some highlight videos. This requires about an hour going through the clips, and then another hour or so making the muvee. But they are a fun way to relive the glory moments. The entire game condensed to just a few minutes. Here's #2 and #3's game from the weekend...


 My #2 is #3 (on his jersey *Ü)


My #3 is #31

I find as I'm sitting at the computer, going through video clips, or writing a blog entry ... I get the munchies. I get the munchies BAD. It's just second nature to grab something and eat it while I work, even if I'm not particularly hungry.

The bad news ... I at a LOT of salted caramels this weekend.
The good news ... the opened packages are now GONE.

The bad news ... I still have two big packages of salted caramels.
The good news ... they aren't open. I SHOULD be able to resist as long as they aren't open.

Well ... enough sitting in front of my computer typing. I've been sipping on a Fresca to keep my mouth busy, not snacking! Still, time to get up and move. Even though the Motivation Monday link-up is no longer active, I always try to motivate myself and start off the week with a bang! I've done pretty good so far today. Thanks for checking in *Ü* How was YOUR weekend?




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Stats

Zumba, Zumba, Zumba, Zumba, Zumba
Five Days ... Five Classes

  • Monday with Southziders ... HRM 473, Fitbit 517 and 7676 steps. "In Zone" for 39 of the 69 minutes. Average heart rate 127. I'd anticipated a hard morning with Anxiety Child ... but it didn't happen! "I even surprised myself" he said as I dropped him off without complaining or tears. Great to hit Zumba to start the week. Good numbers! I helped lead four songs.
  • Tuesday with Marian ... HRM 424, Fitbit 484 and 7275. "In Zone" for 51 of the 61 minutes. Average heart rate 125. Anxiety Child cooperated again today, so I thought I'd make it on time. I was only a minute late, but class had started. Marian introduced some fun Christmas songs!
  • Wednesday with MZL ... HRM 430, Fitbit 537 and 8140 steps. "In Zone" 47 of the 70 minutes. Average heart rate 116. I carried my shoes/hat/HRM in with me, and dropped the watch part of the Polar. Luckily someone found it and brought it in. I couldn't seem to get my heart rate up at the start of class though, not sure why. Some songs I wasn't as familiar with? A little sore from my weights workout yesterday? Not positive the HRM was working 100% either. Still stepped up and got good Fitbit numbers. Had a new Christmas song with this group too. Brought in some toys as they were asking for donations. Not quite as big a crowd today (still more than the other Zumba classes I attend, but not as many people as usual.)
  • Thursday with Claudia&Co ... HRM 389, Fitbit 457 and 7032 steps. "In Zone" 41 of the 63 minutes. Average HR 119. I dropped off the kids at school (Anxiety Child had a good morning) and went straight to Zumba, which gets me there a little early. There is always a little setup (pulling the dividers open/closed). Marian started, and Nina came soon after, but no Claudia today. It is so nice when there are multiple instructors so a class doesn't get cancelled when one person has to skip. Marian did her Christmas numbers, gotta get them in while we can
  • Friday with Heather ... HRM 315, Fitbit 472 and 6673 steps. "In Zone" 32 of the 63 minutes. Average heart rate 114. My Polar was misbehaving, especially at the start. You can see I upped the numbers slightly in the chart above, as I know it missed out on some. Time to wash the strap and hope that fixes the problem. All of the other Zumba classes are held in larger church gyms ... but this one is a small one. It gets a little crowded at times (I'm a bit claustrophobic). One of the things I DO like more about this class is it does NOT start with a prayer like all the others do. Am I a bad person for finding that a positive thing? *Ü*
It was nice to get back to my five different classes for the week ...

Friday, December 5, 2014

WWI#72 and Salted Caramels

Blah, blah ... another weekly weigh-in. Another week up again! I must admit, I really had high hopes for this week. I thought for SURE I was going to be able to reverse the rising trend of the past few weeks. But no. I'm a little bummed. I'm just barely under my "150" limit, and I bopped over it twice. Not good.

NUMBERS: Up 1.4 from last week. Average was up too ... 1.38. My intake was a little high, at 2107 but I was extra active! My average burn for the week was 3132 per day. I had several 30K days, getting in my hour of elliptical spread throughout each day, my hour of Zumba Mon-Fri, several sessions on the bike and treadmill and a weights workout. There were several basketball games (Sat/Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri) too, where I walked around while I watched, usually getting in 6000+ steps during the hour. Crunching the numbers, I had a deficit of 5041! That should be a loss, not a gain. Of course ... the numbers are all estimates, I do realize that. It's hard to know for sure on calories in and calories out even when you are keeping a food diary and monitoring activity.

I was trying to think back on what could have changed these past few weeks. Why, after losing steadily for several weeks, have I started to gain some back? Oct and the first couple weeks of November were great ... then? There were birthdays, and Thanksgiving, but the other addition ...


Salted Caramels
Last Christmas Hubs gave me a box of salted caramels from Willam's Sonoma. They were wonderful! I never succumbed to the whole "pumpkin spice" temptation that others did during the fall (I like the smell of the candle, but the taste? I'll pass). Salted caramels seem to be a winter holiday trend, and they ARE a major temptation. Hubs bought me another box from William's Sonoma. It's gone. There were some for sale at Sam'sClub ... half the price, and I figured I needed to at least give them a try. They were really good too. Then hubs found some at Costco for an even better price. I joked that I probably should try all the  brands out there to compare. I really have trouble stopping at a single serving ... I wonder if the shift in the scale is reflecting my current salted caramel addiction?

I should try a WHOLE WEEK without eating any ... can I commit to that? I'm not sure ... not as long as there is an open container in the house (which there is). It's a good thing these things are seasonal!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Look ... Leggings!

I follow several Zumba instructors on Facebook, and a few weeks ago I heard many of them talking about some great giveaways they had received to pass on to their favorite students. I didn't really pay it much heed. My Zumba classes are already "giveaways" (Free Zumba in Utah) and although I thought some of the Zumba Wear I'd seen was cute, it wasn't something I was planning on adding to my wardrobe anytime soon ...

Then I went to one of my classes, and my Tuesday Instructor (thanks Marian!) gave me this coupon. I am the skeptical sort, so I figured there were some strings or something ... and I wasn't sure if I could even pull off leggings (body wise or confidence wise). I went home and looked up the deal ...

Hmmm ... a little tight, a little bold, even if they were MY colors (black and gray). $50? I'd never spend that on an item like this (I'll spend that on gadgets like my Fitbit or Polar, but not clothes) but here it was FREE, although I did need to pay the shipping (a little over $5). 

I had tried a pair of leggings at a local store. Although I've been in a medium in most things for a while, I just wasn't comfortable with how tight and form fitting they were. I ended up buying an x-large. When I tried working out with them at home ... they started to slip. I just returned them, sure that leggings weren't for me. Here ... willing to risk the $5 shipping investment, I wasn't sure what size to order. I did get a giggle out of Zumba's sizing chart -

Based on the measurements ... I was probably "marvelous" but I just wasn't sure. I read the reviews and some said they ran small. I ordered a "lovely" (large). Zumba.com was super fast with the shipping. When they arrived I tried them on and really liked the feel. Silky smooth, and the form fitting feel was completely new to me. I still wasn't sure it was ME. I wore them to my Tuesday class (I'll often stop at a store or something on the way home from my other classes, but not on Tuesdays. Just wearing them to class was enough of a challenge, I wasn't going to wear them out in public.) My Tuesday teacher was the one who had given me the coupon too.

The elastic waist wasn't adjustable They DID fall down a bit ... I would have to pull them up.  I've heard this can be a common problem. I had been quite the seamstress in days past, so I figured I could handle a quick-fix. I felt a little sacrilegious cutting a small hole in the waistband ... but I did it. I then threaded a string (ok ... a shoelace) through and - I had an adjustable drawstring. No more falling down. 

While the leggings are super comfy ... I'm still not entirely comfortable in them. That's just me. I'm used to baggy. I'm used to plain, not patterns. I wore them to my Friday class and my Zumba instructor there had a pair on too ... she had on the blue ones. They would be way to bright for me! And ... while it seems to be the trendy thing to do, I tied my jacket around my waist. That helped bolster me a bit. It covers up the butt ... and then I have somewhere to clip on my Omron pedometer.

I don't know that I'll be shopping at Zumba.com again anytime soon. It's not really my style or price range ... but I am loving my leggings!  I have to admit ...I feel just a little different, and little more "Zumba-ish" when I'm wearing this outfit.  So thanks again Zumba. Once again you pushed me out of my comfort zone, for better or worse. *Ü*

Linking up with Workout Wednesday
Can clothing change your confidence?




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TV Talk Tuesday

My TV time is exercise time. I only watch while I workout. 
What have I been working out to lately?


Last month I was getting into the shows starting their new seasons ... and I am still interested in them (caught up on several, behind on a few). But I'd heard a lot of good things about the show "Nashville" that I went ahead and requested a hold at my local library. With the library hold program, you are never quite sure when it is going to come in. I got it pretty quick, and it was the entire season. 24 episodes. And it was due back in one week!

I abandoned watching anything else (Grey's, Scandal ... even The Walking Dead!) and just watched Rayna James and Juliet Barnes sing and struggle with their social lives and careers while I elliptical-ed, walked on the treadmill, and even while I did my weight workouts. I do workout a lot... but I didn't quite get through all 24 episodes in the week. I kept the DVDs a few extra days, paid the fines, and finished it up. Season 1 done.

Back in my high school and college days, I was a singer myself. I never did envision or even want stardom. I was content to be the lead in the school musical, sing solos at church, and place in local talent competitions. I've enjoyed watching music shows like American Idol (years ago, not lately) and The Voice. I really enjoyed the singing series "Smash" ... catching up on it once it hit Amazon Prime. While I'm not big into country music, I have really been enjoying the show (and the music). There sure is a lot of sleeping around though!

At one time, DVDs were the preferred method of catching up on past programs. Before Netflix and Amazon Prime really hit the scene, and even after, when wifi was iffy. I LOVE closed captions! I just can't catch all the spoken words (especially on the treadmill, it is noisy!) and although Netflix and Amazon have come a long way in adding subtitles to their shows, DVDs have had captions for a while. One complaint I had on the captioning on Nashville is the song lyrics weren't subtitled. The music is such an integral part of the show, I really wish I'd been able to catch all the words (which I wasn't!). Some shows even caption the background music ... I just felt like I missed out on the meaning of much of the music.

So I'm almost done with Season 2 now ... and I've been recording the current Season 3 (using PlayOn/Playlater ... ABC does include captioning as they post their shows to the web). I'm not sure if I'll jump right to it when I finish Season 2 or take a break and watch something else ... hmmm.

While I watched Season 1 on a show streak, I've been interspersing a  few favorites while watching Season 2.  I couldn't help but laugh in a recent episode of Grey's Anatomy where one of the doctors has on a "wrist thingy" and is taking stairs and bouncing in place to get more steps! I'm a little behind in Scandal, but hearing that a prisoner was eating 2700 calories a day? I've been gaining at 2200 and that's when I'm very active. No fair guys! I don't think I've seen the characters on Nashville fitting in exercise (at least on the show) ... of course I rarely see them eat either (although there is plenty of drinking going on). How do they stay so trim (I guess those concerts can be calorie burners)...

Any other Nashville fans out there?




Monday, December 1, 2014

One Super Sunday Sleep In

I know there was a sleep study that indicated it was better for the body if you had a consistent wake up time every single day. But for ME? Weekends are made for sleeping in!

This was my Fitbit sleep tile Sunday morning when I FINALLY rolled out of bed. I'd gone to bed at 9:59, and got out of bed at 9:53. I was in bed for 11 hours and 54 minutes, and "asleep" for 10 hours and 4 minutes. My average is probably around six hours of sleep a night. It felt good to catch up a bit. Sunday was actually the only day over the entire Thanksgiving Weekend that I was able to really sleep in though.

My MIMM Weekend Recap ...
  • Friday, I planned on hitting my Zumba class at 9:00. So that WAS a sleep in, based on my usual 6:00 rising time. I ended up needing to pick up #2 from his friend's at 10:30 that evening (that is past my bedtime!) even though Daddy and #1 son were out late that night already.
  • Saturday ... #2 had to be at the high school at 8:00 in the morning to go driving for driver's ed. Normally, he has basketball practice at that time, but not this weekend. I was glad #2 got one of his driving done (he has to do three) as the other workable time is 5:00 a.m. THAT is early! #2 actually attended a family event (see the picture below) and so he was home, instead of out with friends that evening. That meant an early in night for me!
  • Sunday ... It felt SO good not to set the alarm and just stay in bed until I was ready to get out. It made breakfast quite late, insomuch that it was more of a brunch. We are on the 1:00-4:00 church schedule for another few weeks. Then we'll switch to the 9:00-12:00 with the new year. I'll miss my Sunday sleep ins I think ...
 At the annual "Leg Lamp Lighting" party. 
Missing #1 (he had to work), and Anxiety Child was NOT happy.
I have to say ... I'm very happy to have the Thanksgiving holiday and the November birthday's behind us. I know Christmas is right around the corner, but I feel like I have three "normal" weeks (as far as school and such) to try and get back on track a bit. The return to the routine. Basketball is starting up again, so schedules will be a little crazy in the evenings. #3 has a game starting at 9:30 at night, downtown! He won't get home until after 11:00 on a school night ... and that's definitely past MY bedtime!

I did bop over 150 for my weigh-in this Monday morning (150.5). I'd done so well for several weeks, I'd like to get back to bigger deficits, lower caloric intake, keeping up the activity.  I had been quite nervous about this morning regarding Anxiety Child. He struggles almost every Monday, having to return to school after the weekend. With this longer weekend, I was anticipating a complete meltdown. He surprised me (and himself) by having a good morning and getting off to school without complaints or crying.  I've told him I want him to make it through these next three weeks, and then we'll revisit the homeschool possibility if that's still something he really, really wants.

But for now? Three weeks of a schedule. 
Which means alarms set for 6:00. 
With a few more Sunday Sleep Ins. I'm going to enjoy every one!


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