Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Blog

Just my new general writing venture...if you are interested.  True, Factual Fiction.  Stop on by!  I would love to have you!
 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday, Monday

I haven't been around much lately.

I haven't been writing here, I haven't been reading here, I haven't been here at all.

It's not because I went off the rails, quit trying, and gained a bunch of weight.  It's because the impact of writing this blog affected an area of my life that is important to me: My Writing.

The responsibility of trying to be here and straight up writing about losing weight, writing about trying to get healthy stole my writing joy.  I didn't write for a while...at all.

It's back though...it's like an addiction.  A need for me to put pen to paper and express how I feel, or just feelings in general, bubbles right underneath the surface, I have to feed that need.  It's a healthy addiction.

I have considered that maybe the strong focus on losing weight sometimes makes me dislike myself. 

Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees due to my laser focus on one particular area of my life.

We all know that you can workout and eat right and do everything right and one day you will reach your goal...but will it fix what got you here in the first place?  I don't believe that everyone has a deep seeded reason they gained weight, but I believe I do.  I believe this because the same struggles I fight with losing weight are the same struggles I have in not reaching ANY goal I set.

I am still here.  I am still fighting.  I am still writing both here and around.  I am not sure right now if my two writing worlds have a relationship they plan to take public.  I am not going anywhere.  This is still a priority to me.  It just can't be THE priority.  It has a place and an implementation, but it has definitely carried unnecessary focus since I lost my job.  The phrase that pays should be "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind." 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fitbit vs. Slimcoach: A Winner

When it all comes right down to it, Fitbit is victorious.  When it comes down to a reason...it's because of convenience.

Slimcoach is just a hassle.  It has been knocked off of me getting in and out of the car, walking with my kids,  and getting out of a movie seat.  I have had to make numerous calls to stores, restaurants, and movie theaters to search for it.  I have sent many a child to the wall for repeatedly pushing the button to make the light come on, therefore my children, nieces, and nephews HATE it.  :)

Besides that...fitbit is conveniently worn while I am sleeping.  I never forget to put it on.  Slimcoach is too clunky to sleep in and if I tried, it would fall off in bed.  With a busy schedule it gets left behind all the time and this skews its reporting. I am increasing my steps daily, but my inability to remember to put the darn thing on forces slimcoach to give me a reading indicating that I am a waddling penguin with an inactive lifestyle (actual graphic).

Fitbit only needs to be charged like every 6 or 7 days.  If need be, I can charge it during one night of sleep and since I wear it on my shirt or bra...I can easily remember to put it on.  I have also gotten into the habit of putting it on the charger while I shower, eliminating the need for it to be charging for an extensive period of time.

I have also noticed a difference in step tracking between the two devices.  Slimcoach always ends up reporting a significant increase in the number of my steps compared to fitbit.  Sometimes as many as 1,500 to 2,000.  I have no way to know with which device the issue of accuracy lies, but knowing what I know about myself and the fact that I want to get healthy, I am going to err on the side of caution and go with the lower number. 

The Slimcoach website is only free for the first year. Fitbit is free whether you have the device or not. The user interface online for Slimcoach has a lot of really nice features, but the clunkiness and inconvenience of the device itself, outweighs the good.

In the end, fitbit is more user friendly, convenient, the website is free.  Losing weight is hard enough...no need to complicate it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Open Letter To Davy Jones

Dear Davy,

When I was 12 and totally in love with you, I began many, many letters with those two words.  Of course, my undying devotion to you continued despite our 30 year age difference. The fact that you were 42 when I was a pre-teen was not an insurmountable feat for true love.  You were gorgeous and I was adept at making friendship bracelets, surely you would have felt the same if you had met me.  After all, there would be absolutely nothing pedophilic about the way that you would feel when you saw me in my knee length, navy blue culottes and yellow sweat shirt.

My friend Rachel and I bonded over our love for The Monkees.  She was in love with Peter and I was completely devoted to you.  Somewhere there are cassette tapes of our conversations recorded on a chunky Strawberry Shortcake player, conversations where she gently reminded me that you were married to Anita (at the time) and I eerily joked about her not being able to live forever.  (Not a sociopath, I promise).

The truth is that I was a scared little girl, living a sometimes torturous life, seeing you smile a boyish grin and pretending that it was for me despite the fact it had been recorded a mere 20 years before I was seeing it, gave me hope.  It also opened me up to a world of feelings that I never had or understood before.  Through crushing on you, I listened to and loved every Monkees song.  Really listened to them lyrically. (consider the lyrics to Carlisle Wheeling). 

Local St. Louis Channel 11 (KPLR) showed The Monkees after school and my summer filled with reruns on Nickelodeon giving me many chances to see your face and smile.  After all...I had seen English men before and by those standards you were apparently cream of the crop (Sorry Rowan Atkinson).  I watched every episode.  I've seen the movie Head (24 years later I still don't understand it).  One day...no more episodes.  You were gone.  I mean, this was pre-internet, so you were GONE.  Sure, I caught you on an episode or two of My Two Dads, which led me to a short lived crush on Greg Evigan that is so completely embarrassing at this point I probably shouldn't even mention it.

I owe to you thanks for my love for the written word, my love for all genres of music, my completely developed, full-on corny sense of humor.  All of these things were sparked by a talented English lad thirty years my senior who will never know that I existed.  Perhaps it's better that way, you can remain perfect in my eyes forever.  Rest in Peace, David Thomas Jones.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Disappointment

Nothing hurts me like the feeling of disappointment.

Is that weird?

I try to control it, but it stinks.  It's embarassing for me at 36 years old to admit that, but I'm trying to keep it real.

For example, when we went to Chicago this past summer for vacation (the first vacation we had gone on since Autumn was two and I was pregnant with Erica) you may remember that my hubby's friend committed suicide.  We found out literally 10 miles outside the city on our way in.  Hubby was upset and torn about whether he should go back home.  I felt trapped.  I felt like I couldn't say anything because he needed me to be there for him, I was super pissed at the friend, and more than anything the hot tears I felt on my face that day were mostly for the fact that I actually let myself get excited about something and well...it fell apart.  Par for the course.  I was disappointed.

I am a prime example of someone who "suffers" from disappointment. 

People, when given the opportunity, will let you down.  I don't mean to sound all melodramatic about it or anything, but I truly believe it.  If you ask the handful of people that I feel I can depend on to come through for me, they will mostly tell you that among them are people who don't deserve to be there, but have earned a place anyway due to my notoriously low expectations of others.

They will tell you that (with exceptions), I am a way better friend to others than others are to me. 

I guess I am thinking a lot about it today because I am starting to realize that I am lonely.    Most of the time, despite people being around...I feel alone. 

Taking all this a step further, I wonder if this is why I find it so hard to motivate myself, sometimes.  Am I trying to stave off possible disappointment in myself?  Is this abnormal?

What do you think?

Today's Spark: No disappointing me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Next 4lbs...

...are gonna be crazy.

First of all, I want to make it clear that I do not deserve a 5.8lb loss this week.  The only food choices I made this week was what color Powerade Zero to drink.  The only work out...coughing and sleeping.  I wore my fitbit religiously throughout my illness and if I remember correctly through the haze one day it only registered 283 steps. 

Yes.  I was THAT inactive.

I know that I didn't work for these pounds, but they are mine nonetheless.  The only thing is that it is very likely that I would gain it all back, but I am going to do my darnedest to hang onto what is lost.  I need 4 more lbs to hit my 20 lb mark.  That being 20 lbs since 01/03/2012. 

If I don't start losing in bigger numbers...I am going to give my weight loss competition away (which is fine) all of my ladies that are still hanging in are doing a bang up job.  There are eight official contestants who have lost a combined total of 102.4 lbs since January 3rd.  Even my daughter who is an unofficial contestant (who's goal is only to make good choices and NOT lose weight) has lost six lbs.  Six pounds on a 7 year old is a big deal.  She is really a lot more conscious of what she eats.  I am so proud of her for being so willing. and having the resolve to really learn to eat the right things.  (It probably doesn't hurt that she has the possibility of getting some moolah for continuing to make good decision until the end of the competition...thanks Grandma!)

Anybody watching the Biggest Loser this season? (minor spoiler alert) Just curious.  I had started a recap blog , but the attitudes of the people this season are just soo bad.  People have voluntarily left.  People have been targeted.  It's just like watching an episode of work. (you know back when I had a job)  What a squanderous waste!  They should be ashamed.  Last night a whole entire team threw a weigh in...can you believe it?  They purposely sabotaged themselves to get back at someone else.  Everything is just so negative that I have actually gone as far to say that I am truly thankful that I was not selected.  I don't think it would have been an environment that would have been conducive to me learning and changing anything in my own life. 

On a personal note, still no job.  Working hard at looking, though.  Anybody looking to hire a hard working, pleasantly quirky, and positive employee drop me a line.  Oh...I have skillz too.  Mad skillz.

Today's Spark:  I NEED THOSE 4 pounds!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Some Things In Life Just Aren't Fair

I think that any reasonable adult knows this to be true.  I think most unreasonable adults know this to be true, but refuse to accept the status quo.

I am not sure which of the two categories I fit into at this point.  I have been away for a bit, but I just want you to know that while I was upset by the news that I did not get the job...it did not make me go cray-cray and forget all the things that I know and want to change about being an obese woman. 

In fact...it gave me new resolve.

I have been MIA, but I am happy to say that it is not because I have fallen off plan or because I am embarrassed by my actions over the last 10 days or so...it is strictly because I have been ill.

Saying that I have been ill is like saying being covered by a thousand mosquito bites "itch". 

This adventure into affliction and convalescence has not been one for the weak of heart. It started off as a persistent cough found in my seven year old.  Persistent enough that there was no way to avoid an appointment with the doctor, despite not having insurance.

 On my way to the appointment,  I already knew from the general achiness in my bones that it had my name and it was coming for me.  I tried to blow it off...Be tough for the kids, but as the doctor was confirming a diagnosis of Influenza A and Pneumonia in my eldest, fever was already radiating from my collar.

The next seven days were a blur.  Hours of  sleeping.  At some point not being sure of what day it was.  Vague memories of telling my four year old to eat bananas and passing out while staving off a 104 degree temperature in my eldest...it was all very "Little Women".

I can only confirm that the banana thing must be true because when the haze cleared, half eaten bananas could be found on every available surface throughout my home.

I wondered why no one bothered to clean any of it up and then I remembered that I am married  ;).

I believe that I am on the mend, but there is no telling with this thing...lol.

My weigh in is tomorrow.  Thanks to the flu...it promises to be fantastic. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Slimcoach Pros and Cons

I have been away...dealing.  Life is kinda crazy right now.  I finally got the letter and as a result...I am still looking for a job.  I wanted to cry, but there is no sympathy here. (at home)

Must move on.

I don't want to write about my feelings today, so I am going to give you my thoughts on my first week or so with the slimcoach.

Slimcoach Pros:

When you start off using it, in the computer set-up process it asks you what your weight loss goals are, then it asks you how quickly you want to achieve them.  In doing so, it creates both a meal plan and a activity plan for you.  It starts you off slowly and then builds so that you are truly building up to a higher activity level slowly.  The meal plans are nice.  Where the Fitbit lets you log your food.  This actually gives you what you should eat.  Don't like the selected meal?  Hit the swap button and it populates a list of acceptable swaps.  Don't know how to make the suggested meal?  The recipe is just a click away.  When you click the button the circle on the outside of the device changes from red to green as you reach your fitness goal for the day, click it again and it will show you where you are with the calorie, energy, and heart goal that it sets for you.  I purchased the heart monitor, so it really keeps track of my heart rate, so I know I am getting proper credit for how hard I am actually working out.  There is also an online community.


Slimcoach Cons:
The online community is super clunky.  I don't use the one on fitbit.com, but I have in the past and it is super user friendly.  This one is not.  Not in anyway.  If I was looking for support from an online community and I was using this device.  I would look somewhere else.  The device itself is awkward, I find that clipping on my pocket or waistband as suggested does not work.  I hit it on cabinets, it gets caught on doorways as I walk through.  It has hit the floor more times than I can count and the surface of it is already scratched up.  The activity plan that it sets at first is almost too easy.  I find myself doubling the required calorie burn watching tv and never leaving my house.  I have it on the "challenge me" option, I do not feel challenged.  As a matter of fact, I have found myself giving myself liberties with it because it expects so little of me at this point.  The meal plans are nice, but I find that it is difficult to find a lot of the ingredients at your local Wal-Mart.  Whole Foods is the nearest store to me that carries a lot of these items and it's an hour and a half away, so I end up swapping everything out because it not accessible for me.  I haven't even figured out how to log food that is not pre-suggested because the website is not simple to use, nor does it have instructions or even a place that is easy to find the answers you need.  I find the entire site stylized with little accessibility, and short on substance.

This is my "surface" opinion and I vow to continue using both for awhile and keeping you updated. 

Have an opinion on the Slimcoach?  Let me know.  Questions or thoughts, leave them in the comments and I will answer them as best I can.

Today's spark:  Be the best me I can be for me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Where Have I Been?

I can not imagine why I haven't mustered up anything to say this week.  Things are going well.

Very well. 

I still have not heard anything about the job.  That's ok.  It will either be good news or bad news and either way..it's ok.  I have a roof over my head and food on my table.  The right thing will come along when then right thing comes along.  I have to have faith and believe that it is true.

I stepped on the scale this morning and if everything continues in the upswing this week, my weigh in on Tuesday will be NOTHING short of amazing.  CRAZY Amazing!  Of course to keep myself and the crazy amazing things in check...I WILL change my scale batteries before I weigh in (just to ensure accuracy)

Here's what's going on with the Fitbit/Slimcoach Battle this week:

I want to give you the run down of the Fitbit today and tomorrow I will address the Slimcoach.

Fitbit Pros:

It is small, discreet.  I can wear it on my bra and it can not be detected. (which is nice because otherwise I get a lot of questions about it)  Everything is stream lined to your personal information down to the measurement of my stride. (This is important to me being a shortie...it takes a lot more steps for me to reach a mile and I know that I am getting credit for them and my distance traveled is as accurate as possible) I have used their free online interface for a longtime (with my regular fitbit)  It is super simple to use.  The dashboard is user friendly.  The "log your food area" is filled with thousands of items, it is super easy to change measurements and/or log food that may not be in the database.  It also keeps track of foods you eat on a regular basis for ease in logging.  Works effectively as a pedometer and also tracks flights of stairs/hills.  The calorie burn is figured based on your BMR and then any activity increases above and beyond your basal burn. The online fitbit community appears to be very active.  I have several friends and family members who own one and you can link up and "compete" to be #1.  There is premium content available for a charge.

Fitbit Cons:  I have replaced mine twice in 1 year (thanks to the buyer protection plan I purchased through Best Buy) The outer casing is not very durable.  It's made to clip onto your clothing, but the casing obviously can not handle the stress of clipping on and off basic articles of clothing.  Being a larger gal makes fitbit pedometer accuracy questionable.  It will sometimes log deep breathing and bouncing boobs in the car (or excited clapping)as steps.  I don't understand their "advanced algorithms" that log the flights of stairs and hills, however despite the assurance on the website, it has logged me as going up 7 flights of stairs on a day this week that I was mostly laying around watching TV and never left the house let alone climbed A flight of stairs. What this means for my calories accuracy that day...I have NO idea.  The Fitbit ultra has motivational messages that can be turned on or off.  I haven't figured out how to turn it off and I do not find the messages motivational.  Actually, I was wearing it on my shirt the other day and the device lights up out of nowhere and the display reads "I LIKE U CHRISTIE" to which I verbally responded..."Like me or Like me, Like me?"  I have never had an inanimate object try to pick me up before and well...I'm married and it kind of creeped me out.  With Facebook, Blogging, and Twitter...the online community is redundant for me.  I personally have no need for it.  The food database is not always accurate, so especially at first, I always double check the accuracy on a new food and log it in manually myself if it is different so that I can assure accuracy when logging.  Being so small and wearing it on my bra, while convenient...is a hazard.  Sometimes I take off my bra and forget to take it off.  I have saved it from the laundry right before it went in MORE TIMES THAN I CAN REMEMBER.  I do not participate in the premium content due to the expense.  Other devices offer an extensive time period where premium content is free.

If you have any further questions about the fitbit.  Please visit their website.  Any questions about my experience with the device, leave a comment or send me an email. 

This is not a paid valuation, but instead just one woman's opinion trying to decide which one works for me.

Today's Spark: Amazing Weigh in coming.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fitbit vs. Slimcoach: A Head to Head battle

Before I get into it...at today's weigh in : 294.0  I am down 10lbs in just 3 days shy of a month.  Woot Woot!

Exciting, right!?

My mood this week has been all over the place.  I have been thinking a lot about what it means if I do not get this job.  I know it doesn't MEAN anything in the grand scheme, but it means that I am closer and closer to being 1 whole year with no job and that means a lot. 

No beating myself up.  Just wish I knew something so I could get excited or move on.

Now....onto the challenge.
and
As you all know, I lost my fitbit.  Couldn't find it for months.  Yesterday, through some quirky circumstances I located it, only to have it fall apart in my hands moments later.  Lucky for me...I purchased the two year protection plan on it through Best Buy, so no biggie. I have been considering replacing it with a new device anyway.  After all, I paid around a hundred bucks for it and the new MyTrak Slimcoach (used by this season's Biggest Loser contestants) is priced at about $130.00 (between 180.00 and 300.00 total, if you purchase a recommended Polar Wearlink Heart Monitor). 

To be honest...the decision to put them head to head was made before I even got to the store.  I ended up with them both and I will USE the one I love and perhaps give the other one away.

Even though I have had the fitbit for nearly a year, Best Buy replaced it with the new fitbit Ultra, which NOW measures hills and flights of stairs, so there are still new aspects of it.

Perhaps next week I will give an overview of my first impressions of both.  I definitely already have strong opinions on either side.  I plan to use both for a month and then openly and honestly compare them.

Do you have a device that you prefer?  What is it?  What do you love about it?

Today's Spark: A 3.8lb loss!  I want more weigh ins like this!