Promises of An Adventure

January 18th, 2011

Remember my little brother? He’s the one I chased after waterfalls with last summer. He’s one of my favorite people in the world and he reminded me of that fact a few days ago via text message:

Hey! I want to visit next week. Which day should I come that you’d be available for an adventure?”

How fantastic is that?! Not only does he want to visit me (I wish my family and friends would visit more often… hint*hint!) but he wants to go on AN ADVENTURE!!!

I love adventures.

It just so happens that a mere 2 days prior to his text I received the latest newsletter from Venture Outdoors, a company dedicated to getting Pittsburghers outside. I pulled out their calendar of events and discovered that they’re hosting a Full Moon Hike tomorrow.

It didn’t take much more than a brief text-versation to settle our plans. Stephen will be here tomorrow afternoon, and we’ll be joining a small group of like-minded folks on a 4-6 mile evening hike by the light of the full moon. In January. In the snow.

I’m so freaking excited! Photos and details of our adventure to come :D

The War Continues…

January 3rd, 2011

Today marks the end of the 6-week Holiday Assault Challenge that spanned the winter holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

During this period, it is said that Americans gain an average of 7 pounds. I’m pleased to say that no one who accepted my challenge gained seven pounds — though I’m still awaiting final numbers from a few of you!

Overall, people didn’t lose as much as they hoped, but those who hung in there throughout the challenge faired reasonably well. A few made it to or exceeded their goals, some made it to their revised goal from the halfway point, some — like me — came close to their goals, and the rest gained a bit. I’m willing to bet, though, that those people would have been worse off if they didn’t put forth any effort over the last 6 weeks!

As I said, I came close to my goal of a five-pound loss, but came up short. Like yesterday, I weighed 178.5 this morning, 3.5 pounds less than 6 weeks ago. Not what I had hoped, but I still feel good about it, especially knowing how bad it could have been.

And now I feel like I’ve got a running start on the new year and the next battle!

This morning was my first boot camp class in nearly 2 weeks and it felt great. There were so many people there — about three times the average. So wonderful to see so many people working on their health and fitness! I know gyms across the country are bogged down with new recruits these days, I just hope they stick to it!

I know I plan on sticking to it! How about you?

Auld Lang Syne

January 2nd, 2011

I feel like I just got used to the idea that it was Christmastime, and now Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone. There’s a reason that ‘time flies’ has become an oft used idiom.

Though in recent years I have learned to dislike the idea of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ per se because they have a connotation that they are never going to last longer than a few weeks or a month, I do still tend to reflect and set new goals for myself on or around the first of the year. Agree or disagree, the beginning of a new year – or decade! – seems like a natural time to examine where I am, where I’d like to be, and what steps I need to take to get from Point A to Point B.

Since this is a health, fitness and weight-loss blog, I’m going to limit this post to health-related items, though I have set goals in other areas of my life as well, such as my business and relationships.

A few minutes ago, I reread a few posts from the beginning of last year, and I’m a bit dismayed to see that I weigh nearly the same that I did 365 days ago… after attempting to lose weight much of the year. A lot happened toward the end of last year that I haven’t gotten in to on the blog – maybe someday… or maybe not – but regardless of the reasons, it’s still disheartening to know that I’m at Square One again. Okay, so not exactly Square One, because I’m still roughly 80 pounds less than my high, but you know what I mean…

I intend to do better this year. I’m not going to put a number on my goal (though my ultimate weight-loss goal has always been 150), however, I want to be in better shape at this time next year than I’m in now: I’d like to lose some fat, gain some muscle, and stop feeling like my pants are too small. FYI my weight this morning was 178.5.

My plan to get there? I’m putting a lot of eggs into one man’s basket: Bootcamp Guy, as I like to refer to him. I decided to sign up for his classes indefinitely, after he assured me that I can always go to his evening classes if I decide the mornings are too tough, which was my biggest concern about continuing on. Between these classes three days a week and Kung Fu another three days a week, I find it unlikely that I’ll frequent the gym with any sort of regularity, so on the day that thousands of Americans are joining gyms, I’m canceling my gym membership. I love the irony of that.

In addition to the workouts, Bootcamp Guy stresses nutrition – like me! We all know by now (or should) that weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% perspiration, so my eating habits need to improve. Looking back on the last few months, I’ve been incredibly inconsistent, even within a single week: I’ll be good for three days, then have two days where I give in to a bunch of temptations – and not in moderation. If I were tracking my food with any sort of consistency, I’d know better where I’ve gone wrong, but I’ve floundered there, too. All I can say is that I’ve reverted to eating out with far too much regularity, and without control over the ingredients and preparation of your food, you never know what you’re really eating. Plus, I have an affinity for a good burger and fries…

Thankfully, Bootcamp Guy has a nutrition program integrated into his system. It seems similar to My Food Diary, which I love, with one huge difference: He can log in to my food journal and see what I’ve been eating. Now, after a solid year or more of logging my food (not last year, of course), I pretty much know what I should be eating and in what amounts (though that’s not to say that I can’t learn a thing or two). The real value that I see in this for me personally is that I know he’ll be checking, which will hold me accountable for logging, and as long as I log I’ll eat better, and if I eat better I’ll lose weight and be healthier. It’s a no-brainer.

So yes, that’s a lot on one man’s shoulders, but it’s really just holding me accountable for my own actions, and frankly, that’s what I’m paying him for. That, and to kick my ass in class three times a week.

The other big fitness-related thing I’d like to do this year is another big run or event of some type that will require training. Some girlfriends and I were going to do the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in DC, but it’s a lottery race and our group wasn’t picked. Boo.

So, a triathlon finally, perhaps? Another half marathon? A full? No, probably not that last one… Not this year, at least. I want to think on this one a little more – do some research into events in my area, pick one and just register for it. I’m such a cheapskate that I won’t want to lose out on my registration fee so I’ll feel obligated to train for and do it! I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide on.

What are your fitness goals for the year? I believe that it makes more sense to tell people your goals rather than keep them to yourselves for fear of not succeeding. Go into a challenge with the belief that you WILL succeed and you’re much more likely to!

Here’s to a great 2011 for us all!

I’m Bein’ a Glutton for Christmas

December 27th, 2010

The pattern continues: I’m back up again this week, this time to 184. That’s the biggest jump yet, and not in the flattering way. Up six pounds in a week? I can only hope it has more to do with water retention than with eating all of the cookies left out for Santa…

As I mentioned, we visited my husband’s family in New Jersey for Christmas this year. It was so nice to see all of them and to finally be together for the holiday!

Traveling, though, always wreaks havoc on my plans for eating well.

First, there’s the eight-hour car ride, for which I brought healthy snacks, but those 8 hours still spanned two meals, and there aren’t a lot of options when you’re on the highway.

Then there’s being up until all hours of the morning with your stomach calling out for a fourth meal. And a room full of family whose stomachs agree.

It was Christmas, so of course we had to bake cookies for Santa, and I seriously ate these like mad. Why? Because they were there. And delicious.

There was also the delectable turkey dinner with all the fixin’s (my husband’s first attempt at cooking a turkey – huge success!), Chinese food on Christmas Eve (and leftover lo mein to snack on for the 2 days following) and, of course, the 8-hour car ride back.

It sounds like I did awful with how I ate, and I can’t argue with that, except to say that it could have been worse. There was pie which I didn’t have any of, there were lots of chocolates and even more cookies which I avoided (these ones weren’t sanctioned for Santa, and so didn’t have the same allure), and I could have had MORE of all of the things I did eat.

I did get a run in on Christmas – on the beach! – which was fun. That seems to be becoming a bit of a tradition for me.

But yeah… six pounds in a week? Clearly, I didn’t do well overall.

Even though I’m a bit embarrassed by this gain, I’m also kinda like – so what? It was Christmas and I had a good time, without being completely gluttonous. This week will be rough too (visiting my family for New Year’s) but next week life will be back to normal and so will I. And hopefully I can do better over New Year’s than I did over Christmas.

Who knows – If my pattern continues, I could be down 6 next week. I’m not counting on it, but that would be a lovely belated Christmas gift!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!


December 20th, 2010

Huh – It seems my posts have become a bit repetitive: Monday morning: Weight? Good/Bad. Here’s why, and here’s what I’ll do differently… or not.

Sorry for the same-old-same-old. I’ll try to post something more interesting this week.

But not right now; right now it’s the fourth Rally Point!

I’m down again this week! (I’m sure you could’ve guessed that, based on my “two steps forward, two steps back” pattern.) Today I weighed in at 178. If you look at a graph of my weight since the start of this, you’ll see that – overall – there is a downtrend. Hopefully I can hold on to that downtrend over the toughest part of the holidays: Christmas and New Year’s.

This year, my husband and I will be spending Christmas with his side of the family for the first time ever! While it will be strange not to be with my family (as that’s who I’ve spent every Christmas with since birth), I’m really looking forward to seeing my in-laws. They haven’t all been together on Christmas for 11 years (!) so this is a really big deal.

And, to round out 2010, we’ll be visiting my family the following weekend for New Year’s, which I’m excited about, as well!

What this means, though, is that for the next two weekends, I won’t be in my own house and able to control my food. Not only that, but it’s the time of the year when everyone bakes and cooks and drinks and has all sorts of delicious treats out and about. It’s going to be a challenge to continue that downtrend I mentioned so that I can start 2011 out feeling good!

My plan is to bring some healthy snacks, so that I know that I’ll always have those available to me. This will be particularly helpful on the road, when often you’re stuck trying to choose the lesser of two evils from a rest stop or gas station.

The other part of the equation is to try to work out as much as I can without interrupting the fun family activities. Since I’ve been getting up so early to workout and I’m getting used to that, maybe I can do that a few times while out of town.

What are your plans for the next two weeks? Any strategies in place to battle the holiday bulge?

For those of you still in on the Holiday Assault Challenge, now might be a good time to reassess your initial goal: We’re more than halfway through the six weeks, and the last two will be the most difficult. My initial goal was to be down 5 pounds, and I’m down 4, so I’m going to stick with that goal. Hopefully I can combat the next two weeks enough to drop one more pound and come out on top!

If you’re not more than halfway to your goal, though, reassess and adjust as necessary. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s a lot better than giving up altogether! If you’re adjusting your goal, send your new one to me today along with your current weight.

In the Words of Paula Abdul…

December 14th, 2010

As per usual, following my two steps forward from last week, I’ve taken two steps back this week. Well, a step and a half.

For the third Rally Point, I’m up 3.5 pounds to 182.5. This is almost as insane as last week’s five pound loss, but not a good insane like that was.

Most of the week I did really well with my eating, and my exercise is almost always on point. In fact, on Thursday I was down even further than on Monday to 178.5.

Which means that I gained four pounds in four days.

Just like last week when I said I didn’t believe that I lost 5 pounds of fat, I don’t believe that I gained four pounds of fat this week. But something has certainly gone awry this week.

I’d like to blame it on the fact that I’m female and that this is a ‘special’ time of the month, but I doubt more than half a pound is from that. Let’s be generous and say a full pound. What’s the cause of those other three pounds?

FOOD, that’s what.

On Saturday we got together with a few other couples for dinner: Lots of delicious hors d’oeuvres covering a large table, that we all stood around for three hours. One of my main techniques to thwart excess food ingestion at parties is to not linger around the food. That was nearly impossible at this party, and therefore my brain kept rationalizing eating more and more and I gave in to the deliciousness: “Oh I’ll just have one of those.” Two minutes later… “Man, everyone’s commenting on how good that is – I should try it.” Another five minutes and “I don’t want to be rude; I should try the thing the newest guest brought.” And on and on.

Then there were the desserts. I COULD have just had the one cookie (lady locks, my favorite!). But I also had a little sliver of an almond torte cake (so good). And then later I also had a brownie. There were cupcakes, too, but I refrained from eating any of those. We didn’t take any desserts home, either, so I guess that’s something.

I also had a glass of wine and two glasses of cranberry juice with ginger ale.

Am I beating myself up over my choices at one little party? Not really, because it’s just one party. But – if I can so easily fall off the wagon – so to speak – at one party, what happens when it’s a two or three parties? If you think about it, the holidays are really just a long string of parties that at some point, stop being called “parties” and are just “days”.

Also, I know that those choices affected my weight yesterday, and therefore my ultimate goal. Was the cake that good? No. It wasn’t.

So this week, I’ll do better. Over the weekend, too. It’s the last “easy” weekend of the year, since next weekend is Christmas (holy crap!) and the weekend after that is New Year’s. Hell, if I can’t control myself on normal weekends, those two will be detrimental to my goal, so I must prove to myself that I’m stronger than that.

Who’s with me?

Chugging Along

December 6th, 2010

It’s Monday again, which means it’s the second Rally Point in the Holiday Assault Challenge! There are a bunch of you out there who are officially in this, and a bunch more who have indicated to me that you’re playing along on your own. Regardless, I hope you’re keeping your health in mind as you enjoy your holiday parties and cookie exchanges!

I did damn well this week. I went to a cocktail party on Friday hosted by one of my husband’s coworkers and was very conscious of what I ate. I didn’t deprive myself of anything I really wanted, but I was discriminating as I made my way around the hors d’oeuvre tables.

A little trick? Hold out on the things that you love but aren’t good for you as long as possible. Once you get the taste in your mouth it’s harder to resist, and the longer you wait, the less time you’ll have the taste in your mouth, so the less of it you’ll eat. Probably.

Last week I was 184. This week I weighed in at 179. That’s five pounds! Yay!

I don’t actually believe I lost five pounds of fat, but more likely that my two pound gain last week was due to excess sodium from Thanksgiving.

Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled to be back in the 170s and I’m pleased to be down three pounds from the start of my little challenge just two weeks ago.

So how are the rest of you doing? Any issues that are causing road blocks to your success? Maybe I can help! It’s worth a shot, right?


December 5th, 2010

At Boot Camp on Friday, we did something I’ve never done before: “suicides”. Let me tell you, this exercise is appropriately named.

Often done on a basketball court, this is a speed and agility exercise. There are a lot of variations, but here’s what we did: We stood on a line at one end of a long, flat surface. There were more parallel lines going across the floor about every 5 feet. You sprint to the first line, then sprint backwards back to the starting line. Then you sprint to the second line, then backwards back to the start. Then sprint to the third line, and backwards to the start, etc. There were about 8 lines altogether.

We did this as part of a circuit: The suicides were the first exercise, then we did punches from a horse stance (not at all challenging for me considering I’ve been doing Kung Fu for over five years…), and the third station was step ups or jump ups.   

When the instructor explained what we were doing, it didn’t sound too difficult. But holy shit – run suicides four or five times and you’ll understand where the name came from.

Honestly, I was incredibly grateful for the punching station because I needed a chance to recover. The instructor kept saying that our legs might feel like jello, but it wasn’t my legs that were causing me grief – my chest hurt (not so much that I was worried, but enough to remind me that I still have a ways to go in the fitness department!) 

I didn’t like the pain, but I did, you know? It felt great to push myself that hard. And I love that I found a high-intensity exercise that will help with both my speed and agility, two areas in which I know I could use some help.  

I’ll tell you this much: I’ll be doing more suicides in the near future, whether in class or out. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s class!

The Battle of Turkey Hill

November 29th, 2010

You’ve heard the phrase “Nobody’s perfect”, right?

Just call me nobody.

Last Monday, for the start of the Holiday Assault Challenge, I weighed 182. This morning, I’m up two pounds to 184.

Obviously I’m not thrilled about this, but I know it could be a lot worse. I feel like I did okay over the Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I were in Buffalo visiting my family, and if you know anything about Buffalo, you know you have to eat a lot in order to stay warm.

hahah I kid.

Seriously, though: Was I perfect? No. Was I awful? No. I ate more calories than an average Thursday, but that’s not at all surprising. In fact, I think that’s the idea behind Thanksgiving. Why else would you cook for 10 hours?

And yes, I want to live a healthy lifestyle. But I think that if I completely deprived myself on Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t be living the life I wanted. Again, I didn’t go crazy, but did I eat a piece of pie? Hell yeah. Did I also eat a piece of pie on Friday? Nope!

That’s the thing about special occasions: They’re just one day. So enjoy it (without overindulging) and then get back on track as quickly as possible.

This is me, getting back on track. Mark my words that next week, my weight will be lower, not higher.

Cadets: Today is your first Weekly Rally Point. Send me your weight by midnight tonight! And don’t fret if it’s higher than last week – just do better. (

Set a Goal!

November 23rd, 2010

Good Morning, Recruits!

Special Commendations to those of you who sent me their starting weights yesterday! I’m pleasantly surprised by the turnout – especially since I convinced myself I lost most of my readers during my blogging hiatus.

If there are any others out there who neglected to send in their starting weights yesterday but who want to join in, you still can! Email me at

Next Objective: Set your goals! I mentioned a few possible goals for this challenge – Lose a particular amount of weight, prevent a weight gain, etc. Since this isn’t a contest, we don’t all have to have the same goals, so everyone should set their own, personal goal. For instance, my goal is to lose 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That’s a little less than a pound a week; I’m cutting myself a little slack over the holidays, but I want to start moving in the right direction again.

Think about what, come January, would make you feel great and ready to continue on, and then email me what your personal objective is (for those of you who didn’t include your goal in your first email).

That’s all I have for now. Keep up the good work, troops!

This is Captain Werner, signing off.