Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Fitbit: Take THAT, Pesky Poundage! (And some Smoothie Thoughts)

Woo hoo!  Who was down an entire pound this morning?  Me, that who!

Of course this is after doing the Jillian video yesterday, having a simple smoothie for breakfast, that beautiful sushi lunch and another smoothie for dinner.

Smoothie #1 was 2 bananas, 16oz of almond milk, 1oz of blueberries

Smoothie #2 was just 1 banana and 16oz of almond milk.

Sometimes I hear people talking about their smoothies and they wonder why they are not losing weight when the smoothie might have yogurt, a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast, cow's milk, and other heavy ingredients.  I assure you that smoothies with simple ingredients are filling--and if weight loss is your goal, they will help you with that much faster.

It is the same with eating.  I mentioned this a few posts back.

Someone asked me recently, "I can really tell you're losing weight!  What are you doing?"

My answer, "I'm not eating the tablecloth!"  :-)  In other words, I'm cutting back, stopping when I'm full, and not eating everything in sight.  But also keeping it simple, eating real food most of the time.

The only non-real food I'm eating are Progresso soups for lunch once in a while, my Cafe Viennas when I need a warm beverage that isn't herbal tea, a Quiznos turkey/ranch/swiss when I can afford the calories, and Vitamin Water Zero (1-2 day.)  But real fast food, chocolate, soda?  I haven't had those in weeks.  Sob.  Just kidding.

Anyway, back to the victory on the scale this morning...I'm so happy!  Just like that other post I wrote called "Progress Keeps You Motivated," seeing this morning's progress got me motivated.

We're back on track.  Let's keep movin' and losing.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

More Fitbit: The Unforgiving Body Likes Sushi

The Unforgiving Body.  That is my blessing and my curse.  OK, maybe just a curse.  But it really does not allow me to slack or cheat.  Up another 0.2lb this morning, despite eating really well yesterday.  So all week I've been bouncing between 1_8.0 and 1_8.8.

This morning I got up early and saw that 0.2lb increase and was frustrated.  I'll admit it.  A bad word nearly escaped.  It was 6am and I ran downstairs to the family room, got on those workout clothes, and sweated with the Jillian Michaels video for the first time in 6 days.  My health isn't 100%, but I was able to do it.

At 8:45am, Hubby and I piled into the car and drove across the WA/OR border to go finalize paperwork for our CCL permits.  It was raining buckets all 25 miles there and 25 miles back.  We arrived back in town tired from standing in line and braving the rain when Hubby suggested sushi.

I can say no to a lot of things, but sushi isn't one of them.

Would you say no to a lunch like this?  Didn't think so.
Add on miso soup and a little bowl of the best cucumber salad ever and that was lunch.  I counted the soup and the rice the best I could on the Fitbit site.  Sashimi is not listed in a very comprehensive way, so I used the one type of fish it had to estimate.  When in doubt I round UP.  But it was a late meal and probably the main meal of the day.

So, it is back to the Jillian video.  Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, etc, until I get unstuck.  Time to sweat.

P.S.  Happy 600th post to me!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Fitbit: Another Pesky Plateau

So true, so true.

The annoying thing is when you are working and not seeing the expected results.  That's what's been happening with me this week on the weight loss journey.  Granted, I've been sick, but I'm still doing what I can.

Above is yesterday's end-of-day Dashboard.  Everything looks really good, and yet I was up .4lb this morning.  Grr.  Even after eating an early dinner and only having a bottle of water when Hubby and I went to the movies last night.  It is the first time since using the Fitbit and calculating so carefully that I've gone up.

After recovering from my frustration I then asked...why?  These are my theories:
Theory 1:  I haven't sweated with Jillian Michaels since last weekend because of being sick.
Theory 2:  Maybe I miscalculated some calories somewhere.
Theory 3:  When I look at the red parts of the day when I was inactive, I was really inactive.
Theory 4  My body, now sick for 5 days, is trying to rediscover its equilibrium somewhere and my weight has suffered because of it.

So today I am being extra careful, and feeling better.  I did the Jane Fonda Walkout--50 minutes, this morning.  Breakfast was a smoothie with 2 bananas, 2 oz of blueberries, and 16 oz of homemade almond milk.  Lunch was 4 ounces of smoked turkey lunch meat, an apple, and a Cafe Vienna warm drink.  I've already had 52 ounces of water too.

I have had some wonderful responses from people on Facebook and in person about my new regimen and blog posts.  To those people, I encourage you to eat real food.  Yes, my cooking has become less creative and my Crock Pot is gathering cobwebs, but I am not eating "diet" food.  (Except Vitamin Water Zero.)  No diet bars, diet soda, low-cal ice cream, diet this and diet that.  And definitely no diet pre-made microwave meals.  Just real fruits, real veggies fresh off the organic counter, and a lot of chicken and fish.  (A bummer because our store isn't going to carry fresh, wild Sockeye Salmon for several weeks--Hubby's and my favorite.)

So I am not going to let this week bring me down as far as progress.  It's a healing week.  And I'm only logging my weight on the Fitbit site when I'm losing.  Some may disagree with that, but I only want to see progress.  I'll know what those horizontal lines mean with no dates entered in.  No need to document further than that.

Plateaus happen.  They are common.  My hope is that this one doesn't last 2 weeks like 8lbs ago (a pre-Fitbit plateau.) 

I would love to hear your theories and suggestions for overcoming plateaus.  Here's to health.  :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Fitbit: A Sick Person's Dashboard

Ugh, being sick is so annoying!  And I'm rarely sick now that I am out of the classroom.

Above is yesterday's Dashboard by the end of the day.  Didn't reach my 2,329 calorie burn goal, didn't reach my 10,000 step goal, didn't reach my 5 mile distance goal.

Mostly I spent the day in bed sucking on cough drops and drinking herbal tea.  Eggs for breakfast and dinner, chicken soup for lunch.  Nothing really tasted good.

Why am I telling you this?  Because even when we are sick there are things we can still do.  I still aimed to drink my 64 ounces of water and to log my calories.  But the body has weird craving when we're sick.  On Tuesday I was extra hungry and went 200 calories over (it showed up in +0.8lb yesterday.) And yesterday I wasn't hungry at all (which showed up in -0.2lb today.)

Like I said, I am one of those people where every bite sticks to me.

There are no regrets about giving up yesterday as a healing day (that 2 hour nap in the middle of the day was awesome.)  And, even though I did go walking this morning (6,600 steps already by 9:15am) I plan to take it easy for the rest of the day.  My body is telling me to do this and I want to listen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Fitbit: Weekly Stats and the Sickies

Stats!  More charts and numbers!

This morning I received an email that included the chart above.  Pretty darn cool.  (I blotted out weight numbers and friends' names and their steps for privacy.  I'm a little disappointed that I didn't quite make it to 50 miles again this last week, but I still think these numbers look pretty good. 

Unfortunately, my cold has decided to get worse before it gets better.  Monday's sore throat added on sniffles and sneezes yesterday, and a croaky voice plus feeling pretty blah today.

I did 10 minutes of yoga this morning and my body said, "That's enough."

So I dragged myself to the store and stocked up on chicken soup, Sudafed, cough drops, and Vitamin C.  I think I pushed myself too much these last 2 days and yesterday turned into a very busy day.  I even planned out and typed an entire church lesson I have to give on Sunday.

Today will be a day of rest and healing.  Fitness goals are not a priority.  Getting well is job #1.

I didn't listen to my body on Monday when this cold began and now I'm paying the price.  OK, I'm listening!  Time for a hot shower and then back to bed. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Fitbit: Firsts

How true that quote is!

Actually, it comes straight out of the workout video I often do, and I can tell you exactly when she says it:  right before "mountain climbers" on the mat.  Those things make me sweat!

This morning was Day 2 with a sore throat.  It is drizzly outside--yesterday was probably the week's best weather--but I rolled out of bed and put on my workout clothes and running shoes.  I went to the lake, walked a little at the beginning and then began jogging.  It felt so good I almost thought someone was pushing me!  Half an hour later I jogged up the front steps of our house feeling just awesome.

And the "firsts" began.

First time really jogging in about 12 years.

First time jogging in drizzly, 50 degree weather. (I'm still something of a weather wimp.)

First time using 5 lb hand weights.  (I did the Strength section--15 min--of Jane Fonda's AM PM yoga when I got home. My arms felt the challenge, but it was doable. I began in January with 2lbs, then quickly progressed to 3lbs.  I've been "visiting" the 5lb weights at the store for weeks and finally felt ready to buy them yesterday.)

And, recently with the Jillian video:

First time doing real jumping jacks since I was a kid!

First time doing the "walking ab hold" propped up on my toes, not my knees.  

First time doing 120 knee crunches!  (2 sets of 30 x 2 circuits)

First time doing a cardio blast for so many minutes at a time!

With the Fitbit:

First time drinking 64 ounces of water per day.

First time I've been really dedicated about counting calories.

First time getting in a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

First time exercising (in some way) 7 days a week.  

First time losing weight consistently each day!  No plateaus!  (Even .2 lbs is progress!)

With my eating:

First time staying away from cow's milk and other dairy (except eggs.)

First time eating several servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

First time resisting fast food.

First time eliminating *almost* all processed foods. 

First time not drinking soda. (It's been about 5 weeks now.)

First time staying away from candy, chocolate and desserts. (How? Fruit and progress!)

Wow, as I was brainstorming these things I realized that this is a lot of firsts.  Yay!  There is a scared part of my brain that hopes I do not fall into bad habits again once I reach my goal weight, but I'm trying not to let that negativity creep in.

The point is, if I can do it, anyone can do it.  As I go through this list I see things I never imagined doing.  Doing them gradually is definitely the key, and having a great support system is wonderfully helpful.  Hubby has been AWESOME throughout all of this.  Never has he said, "I hope you can keep this up."  It is always "You'll do it."  "You'll get there."  Definitive, positive statements are very helpful to hear!

These firsts might seem a little drastic to someone else (5 months ago, they would've seemed drastic to me,) but, like I said, I've worked up to this.  The real changes in the quality of my eating only began about 6 weeks ago.

Getting fit enough to even consider doing the Jillian video also took several weeks. That's why I started out with the Jane Fonda videos, working out with ladies 20 years older than me! There is no shame in that.  You want to push yourself, but not to the point where you're so miserable that you'll quit.

What's that quote?  "It's a marathon, not a sprint." 

This is my marathon and I'm going to keep on keepin' on.  18.6 pounds gone as of this morning!

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Fitbit: The 64 Ounce Revelation

Anyone who knows me well knows that I really struggle with my skin.  Hereditary eczema manifested itself when I was 20 and never left.  I have managed it with creams, ointments, drops, and even covering it up on the back of my neck with long hair. (Until I cut it in 1997.)

Towards the end of living in California it worsened. I was in terrible (and I mean terrible) shape when I moved to Washington in 2010--probably from the stress of so many huge life changes all at once.  My mind and heart knew that they were all good life changes, but my skin was convinced otherwise.

Eventually it improved, but not as much as I would like.

Prednisone has become my best friend and worst enemy.  I only take it when I'm desperate, which is every few weeks for a few days. 

Yesterday and today, though, my skin is incredibly clear--and I haven't taken any Prednisone in 9 days.

The patches that I am used to seeing on the side of my neck, near my right shoulder, and under my chin are almost completely healed and nearly invisible.

Even the Prednisone doesn't give me those kinds of results.  What did I do differently this week?

Ding!  Lightbulb!

Fitbit to the rescue.

This past week is the first time ever, in my entire life, that I actually drank a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day.  Every single day for the last 9 days.  

That has to be it, because it is the only habit I've drastically changed.

We've all heard it for years.  Maybe there is something to it. You think?

My water stats so far this morning. I'm actually averaging more like 72 ounces a day.  My skin likey!
I log my water consumption just like I log my food.  I'm almost certain this is the reason my skin looks so good.

Even before the Fitbit, I was beginning to drink more water just to stay hydrated with that intense Jillian Michaels video I do. 
I keep a full pitcher of filtered water in the main fridge.

Hubby rigged up this DIY water filter a few months ago after seeing the instructions on YouTube.  It uses two 2.5 gallon food grade buckets and 2 Berkey filters ($107 for the pair.)  Good for 10,000 gallons.  We use it several times every single day.

The 2 Berkey filters.  Buying a whole Berkey setup, a little more attractive than ours, runs into several hundred dollars.  This is the inexpensive version, along with a $7 spigot and $15 plant stand.  It may not be beautiful, but it is highly functional!  Preppers do a 5 gallon version, but we scaled it down for daily use.

We have a small fridge at the end of the kitchen counter that is just for water.  We rotate the numbered jugs.  Filtered 1&2 and 1 unfiltered.  Time to stock up on more Vitamin water for me!  Confession:  we actually started doing this a year ago when we bought the Sodastream.  But I don't drink soda anymore. 
That is our water setup.  Having a water filter is so much easier, cheaper, better for the environment, and less bulky than buying bottled water.

I'm just happy that my skin is responding to being properly hydrated.  And to the good food.  From the book I'm reading, it takes days, weeks, and sometimes months and years for certain chemicals and other grossness to leave the body.  Now that I'm eating so much better, maybe that is what's finally happening.  I hope it lasts!  If this is the way to finally have clear, clear skin, I'm all over it!

Random Share:

This morning I woke up with a sore throat and decided to walk part of the lake in the glorious sunshine instead of doing a workout video down in the family room.
Hello Sunshine!! Who cares that it was only 35 degrees?
More than halfway to my 10,000 step goal at only 9:40am. Totally worth it.
P.S.  My throat feels a lot better too. Happiness.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Fitbit: My First "Cheat" Meal--Was it worth it?

Yesterday was interesting!  I messed up on calories at dinner for the first time.  I'll get to that in a moment.

Let's focus on the positive.  I got this Fitbit badge yesterday!
Not bad for the first week.  I wasn't even expecting this one, but, yay!

My left knee was still bothering me a little bit, so I decided to do the Jane Fonda Walkout for my morning's exercise.  Afterwards I went for a walk outside on a cold, but beautiful, morning.  (Great weather is just around the corner!  We can hardly wait!)

Actually, I went for that extra walk because I had a hair appointment coming up and I knew I'd be sitting for almost 2 hours.

Breakfast:  A smoothie with 2 bananas, 2 oz blueberries, and 16 oz homemade almond milk

Lunch:  PBJ (or is that an ABJ?) with 2 pieces of Dave's Killer Bread (The Good Seed,) 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp organic raspberry jam

Hubby and I went some friends' garage sale and then wondered how else to enjoy the amazing weather.  We decided to take a drive to Toutle, WA with Mount St. Helens as our view.

40 miles later we were hungry.  It was around 3pm. We pulled into Parker's Steakhouse in Castle Rock.  And the dilemma began...

Let me back up for a moment and say that the day before yesterday I broke a "decade" on my weight loss--one that I haven't seen for ages.  The scale said 1_9.4 (the "_" is to give me little privacy.)  And yesterday the scale said 1_9.0!  I really didn't want to mess that up.

So, we're in Parker's and I'm looking at the menu.  Sandwich?  Salad?  What to do?

It's only one meal.

I have 950 calories left for today.  The meal I order won't be more than than...probably.

I'll walk it off when I get home.  

I'll get back on track tomorrow.

I won't eat the whole thing.

My metabolism must be faster after all of the hard work I've been doing, right?

Don't obsess!

These are all of the things that were going on in my head.  Like I said, I have a bad relationship with food.  Or is it that food has a bad relationship with me?  

Then Hubby ordered this:

Their famous seafood fondue.  Parker's famous appetizer.(Yes, I made the picture small on purpose.)   And I had some.  (So much for no dairy!) Maybe 1/3 of the bread.

Then I ordered their Luau chicken sandwich and a side salad.  The sandwich had boiled chicken, ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce, mayo and pineapple--which I didn't get.  Oh yes, and fries.

It was huge.

I enjoyed my salad, guilt-free. (It is so nice to eat guilt-free!)  I picked at a few fries, the first fries I've had in weeks.  Ate half of the sandwich and it was wonderfully yummy.

Now, in the past I would've eaten everything on that plate and hunger would've been a non-issue.  I'm really trying to not do that anymore.  I was full and I didn't want to bring the other half of the sandwich home.  I opened it up and picked at the remaining chicken and ham.  OK, done.

We love our lake.  I know I say that all the time, but look at it!  I took this picture yesterday.
When we got home I went for another walk around the neighborhood and around part of our nearby lake.  Really, the day was just too beautiful to stay inside.  I also wanted to hit 15,000 steps.  As far as that meal I had just downed..well...I wasn't really sure how to count it except to give it all 950 remaining calories and start fresh with better choices the next day.

Above is my activity chart from yesterday.  The Walkout and then an outside walk are shown in the morning.  The middle green is from walking the doggie.  The green around 6pm was walking after that meal.

The plan this morning (Sunday) was to not weigh myself, but I was curious.  I knew I would go up.  Meals like yesterday's stick to me.  They always have...

And....I was at exactly the same weight this morning as I was yesterday!  No changes up or down.

Was it worth it? Not really.  Progress is more gratifying than that meal.

Did I obsess too much over what to order?  Maybe.  It would've been a lot easier if I had stuck with something lighter.  And look at the work I had to do just to maintain yesterday's numbers.

It was a good lesson, though. 

P.S.  Another Fitbit recruit!  I was telling my hair stylist about it yesterday because she is interested, and the stylist at the station next to us was listening in.  She decided to go get a Fitbit after work.  :-)

Friday, March 21, 2014

More Fitbit: Progress Keeps You Motivated

We all have our sluggish days.  Mine was this morning.  Bailey (my doggie with cancer) woke me up 3 times last night to go potty outside. This made me wake up later this morning.  I'm a creature of habit and like starting the workout videos at 7:35am.  That was not going to happen today.

The only thing that was really going to give me a push this morning was to see some progress on the scale.  I didn't weight myself yesterday.

And...woohoo!!!  ONE full pound down from 2 days ago.

That got me putting on my workout clothes in record time!

So, yes, it's later than usual, but my sweat session is done.  And the chart above?  That's a snippet of a screen shot of my weight loss progress over the last 6 days.  I like the healthy, gradual, but consistent, loss on this chart.  That's what I'm aiming for.  Sorry, no numbers for you!  I can't post everything.

What does this tell me?  First, not to expect these kinds of results--3.6 pounds in 6 days--to happen consistently, because we all know that it usually gets harder the closer we get to our goal.  That's the negative, or realistic, thing.

But what it really tells me is that our bodies are willing to work with us if we work with them.  I've been working with mine lately, especially with the way I've been eating the last few weeks.  It isn't just about quantity of food, but the quality.  I'm a little thick.  I should know this by now, right? 

I'm still plugging through the Jillian Michael's book on metabolism.  It's a little wordy, but it does give some insight on real food vs. diet food.  She listed a day of meals that she used to eat.  Ugh.

Diet Coke and power bar for breakfast.

Diet Coke, white bread, a few slices of lunch meat for lunch.

Diet Coke for a snack.

Diet Coke, non-organic chicken, non-organic veggies for dinner.

Yuck.  Who knows what the sizes are on those Diet Cokes?

**People who eat lots of diet foods are more likely to gain weight.  Your body doesn't know how to interpret the diet foods and stays hungry, making you want to eat more. (From the book.)

Then she listed the ingredients in the power bar.  Most of them were unpronounceable.

Now, in the health section of Fred Meyer, where I do most of my grocery shopping, you are still forced to make choices.  I've bought coconut oil there, and olive oil. Good choices.  My Vitamin Water, which still has a few questionable ingredients, is there.  A medium choice. 

But there are other things there that I would never eat, like tons of protein bar/power bar choices.  I've never found them to be very filling, or tasty!  (Cardboard, anyone?)  And there are lots of canned soups, cookies, cereals and pastas.  We do keep some cookies in the house, first the Back to Nature Fudge Mints and now the Newman-O's Mint Sandwich cookies.  I dip into them sparingly.  Maybe 2 cookies a day.  And the calories get logged.

Speaking of cookies, I looked at the calories on 1 cookie at Quiznos the other day--350 calories.  My breakfast this morning didn't even add to that. Yikes. 

I got off of my original topic, which is staying motivated.  This morning's scale results really did that for me, and it was motivation that I needed at the time.

What I'm also hoping with the Fitbit is that I don't see plateaus as I continue.  And if I do, I'm hoping they don't last for 2 weeks like the one a while ago.  Because I can now see calories in vs. calories out, there is no reason why that should happen.

Visual break!  Here's my "dashboard" this morning: (Click on it to see it full-sized)
As I'm still learning, I added some features to my dashboard today.  The steps, distance, and activity are all new to what I immediately see when I go there.  Again, I'm not worried about the "red zone" on calories, because with my -1000 calorie deficit in the food plan I've selected, I just have to burn more during the day.  And I always do.

This morning's breakfast was 1 yolk/2 whites of an egg, an apple, and a banana.  My body feels clean and happy.  A little better than a Diet Coke and a Power Bar, right?

OK, off I go.  It's a beautiful day today.  Time to get burning.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Homemade Tomato/Vegetable Bisque Recipe

I have invented exactly 3 recipes--very simple.  All of them were invented in the last 6 months!

Thinking about the way I've been eating lately, I realized that the only real processed food that I hadn't weeded out is canned soup.  Progresso's Chicken Corn Chowder is so stinkin' good!

And then the lightbulb went off.  How about trying to make my own soup?  Something different than Mom's Chicken Soup (still fab) that would be great for lunches or as a side dish.


Today's lunch: my soup, 5 organic crackers, water, and a banana
It was really, really good!  It is tomato-based, so keep that in mind.


1 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

1 sliced zucchini

1/2 onion sliced

1/2 cup baby carrots

2 cups of water

10 petite white mushrooms, diced

Garlic salt and Montreal steak seasoning, to taste

Instructions:  Put everything but the mushrooms into the blender and blend until smooth (I did 90 seconds on the "blend" setting, because having a few veggie chunks is OK.)

Combine mixture and the diced mushrooms into a pot and boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper while simmering.  Serve!  Makes about 7 cups of soup.

I'm estimating about 50 calories per 1/2 cup. Maybe less!

The nice thing is that there are no preservatives or things that you can't pronounce.  That's a great feeling!  And it's hearty.  Bon appetite!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Fitbit: Working with the food plan

I have this dilemma because, with the exception of my morning workout, which is usually from 7:35 to 8:25 am, I don't really start burning calories at a high rate until noon and later.  I think this is the reason I've been under my recommended calorie intake for 3 days in a row.

Today after breakfast I was over (red zone!).  I was over after lunch too, which was hearty (but smart) because I was extra hungry today.  I did some moving around in the afternoon which brought me up on my calorie burn and then ended up having a Quizno's turkey, ranch and swiss sammie for dinner, which I know is 630 calories.

I was up again and needed to burn off around 300 calories to be in the green zone.  I put on a movie and started moving--jogging in place, step-touch, whatever I could do just to keep moving.  It took a while, but I got there!  This was by 7pm.

The problem today is that my exercise choices were limited by the weather.  No walking the dog, no walking by the lake like yesterday.

But as long as you're moving, you burn. So I did some housework and made some soup for my lunches for the next few days and I burned enough to go under again! 

2 Organic mint cookies and some almond milk set me straight.  Green zone, yay! (I do look forward to the day when I won't be dependent on that little dial, but for now I'm glad I have it as a reference.)

I'm finding that getting in my 10,000 steps (16,750 as of 11pm tonight) and staying in that green zone with calories are my 2 daily challenges.

I'm actually at 2705 burned today, but 2329 is my goal, so anything over that is CHAMP.  Fitbit set my goal and I can change it if necessary but haven't seen a need to do so.
Again, from a little earlier.  I went to the yellow, then back to the green since this picture.  The green is where my body is happy!

There are so many graphs and charts, I'm constantly finding new ones.  Here's a new one I just discovered a few minutes ago.  As long as there is a 1000 calorie difference between the green and the blue, and the green is taller, I'm good!

More Fitbit: First 20,000 Step Badge and Random Info

Woo hoo!  Who doesn't love awards?  At nearly 10pm last night I earned a 20,000 step badge for the day!

Here is what the day's activities looked like: (Click to see full-sized.)
This is the phone app version, because it is a little more bold in color.

Morning's "green:"  50 minutes of high-intensity aerobics with my girl, Jillian.

2 bars of yellow:  Walking the dog for 15 minutes (poor, old doggie is really slowing down.)

3 bars of yellow:  2 errands of shopping for groceries buy a pair of pants one size down. (!!)

Yellow/green:  Around 3pm I really wanted to hit 15,000 steps, so I went for a walk by our neighborhood lake for 30-40 minutes.

Last 3 bars of yellow:  I was at 17,800 steps and I thought, heck, I can make it to 20,000. So I did again what I did on Sunday night, lots of marching and jogging in place until I hit it. But there is a reason they tell you not to exercise right before bed.  I slept terribly last night! 

Looking at this chart of yesterday shows me something else.  It is really easy to be sedentary.  Unless I'm really trying, my life is not a super active one--even though I'm moving around our big house doing laundry, dishes, cooking and housework each day.  At least, it isn't as active as it needs to be for the pounds to melt away.  I think this is the way it is for most people, unless you're running after little kids or have a very active career.  No wonder there are desks to attach to treadmills these days!

I also wanted to share the computer part of Fitbit where you log your food.  Because, remember, you're still doing all the work.  The device is just a tracker.  For someone like me, who sighs wistfully every time I pass a fast food place, logging food has been really helpful.  Above are the contents of this morning's smoothie.  And, yes, I measured everything.

As it turns out, I had been inaccurate in how much ounces of banana I was eating (I go through 2-3 bananas a day, so if you see me swinging through the trees into your yard, you'll know why.) Measuring corrected that (the inaccurate amount, not the swinging.)  The food list just says "1 banana," so I was using that.  But they also give you options for every unit of measurement, so once I knew that each banana I was eating was 4 ounces, that is what I put in, and it changed everything.  Not terribly, but more accurate.

As you can see, I'm still allotted 1401 calories to stay in a healthy range.  BUT, when I look at my "Dashboard," I'm over right now, like yesterday.  I'm not worried, because I haven't burned a lot of calories yet today.  It's only 9:25am.  Once I get going, things will even out.

By the way, I now have 2 friends who have ordered Fitbits and about 5 more who are seriously considering them.  That's awesome.  It is the most helpful tool I've ever used for losing weight. 

Lastly, I have to share this picture from Instagram:
This is from someone else's account, but it had the #fitbit tag, so I saw it and was so impressed with the variety on this plate.  Chicken, apple, carrots, almonds and ....what the heck is that yellow plasticy-looking thing? Cheese? No.  Mango?  No. A tiny little napkin?  I don't know.  But the rest looks really good!

P.S.  This morning I calculated that the Jillian video I do burns around 360 calories in 50 minutes.  :-)

P.P.S  And, you know what happens when a 43-year old walks more than 20,000 steps?  She's a little sore the next day.  That's OK.  It's a good sore.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Fitbit: Charts for the Visual Person (like me!)

New Nikes for my birthday! 
I know I can't be the only person who sleeps with their iPhone or smartphone next to them, right?

So this morning as I was waking from a wonderful, long night's sleep (yesterday was extremely busy) I did what I always do--I checked my phone.  This is the part of the modern day's routine, right? little trivia game that I play...and now my Fitbit stats.

Since I was still laying down, the rotation of the images flipped, and I saw some charts in a whole new way.  They were more detailed.  Aha...

(These remind me of the IQ chart in Forrest Gump.)  Click on them to see the full-sized versions.

And, my favorite, calories burned (Sleeping burns around 400-500 calories.) :
This is how it looks on the computer:
Really not much different.

And, one more that I discovered today, looking at activity.  I entered Sunday morning's yoga wrong, so I deleted it:

I'm still trying to figure out what qualifies as a flight of stairs.  Our flight of stairs is only about 15 steps from top to bottom--sometimes it registers and sometimes it doesn't.  Yesterday I was lugging 5 loads of laundry back and forth, so I think that is what put me over the top.

I must say, that having these visual references is very helpful.  I'm a visual person and these charts (there are lots of different ones you can look at) really give a person an idea of where they are.  As a result, I'm already losing weight faster with the Fitbit because of all this information. Especially calories in vs. calories out.  My little bugaboo that I'm always looking at!

And, something else about the calories in vs. calories out.  Here is where I am right now, 9:40am, after 50 minutes of high intensity aerobics, and a smoothie with 2 bananas, 16 oz of almond milk, and a tbsp of flax seed:

Yikes! Right?  No...   Being in the "Hard" Food Plan, as I have chosen to do, puts me at a -1000 calorie deficit per day.  In other words, after I burn 1000 calories, anything else I burn are my calories to eat.  That is why the dial puts me over right now.  As I get moving with my day and burn more calories, it will start moving to the left.  Like I said yesterday, the goal is to stay in the green area, not to stay under and put your body in starvation mode.  Still, it is encouraging me to eat around 1800 calories a day based on my average activity.

Do what is right for you, but don't starve yourself, because then your body starts to burn the good stuff instead of the bad stuff.

And, in case you're curious, when I started out in the Kinda Hard Food Plan, that put me at -750 calorie deficit.  Based on those number, I'm assuming that the Medium is -500 and the Easy is -250.  Honestly, I don't feel deprived at all, and doing exercise really puts me ahead and makes the plan very doable.

Yesterday, by 4:30, I had already had 2 satisfying meals and was an hour away from dinner.  With some calculating I saw that dinner was still going to put me in the yellow.  I was in the yellow on Sunday and didn't want to do that 2 days in a row.  So I had a snack.  I wasn't hungry, but my body needed more calories.  This is not about deprivation.

OK, just more I wanted to share!  Really, all of these charts, graphs, etc are very user-friendly if you're "semi tech savvy."

Speaking of sharing, here's what the activity tracker on the Fitbit looks like after sweating for an hour:

I'd be curious if it goes any higher.  I've never had more than 9 leaves.  Right now I'm down to 7 because I've been sitting.  Time to start moving again.

UPDATE at 10:47am:
Now we're talkin'!!  But the dial will move left and right throughout the day.  Just stay out of the red!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

More Fitbit: Staying Motivated on a Slow Day

Suddenly I have several people asking me questions and wanting to know more about the Fitbit One (I had a little group around me yesterday after church,) so this is for their benefit...and yours, if you're interested!

Yesterday was DAY 2 with the Fitbit One.  Sunday.

Sunday is not a very active day if you're someone who goes to church all afternoon. 

I did 40 minutes of very relaxing, Zen-like yoga in the morning, ate 2 eggs and a piece of toast with no butter (sob!) gave Hubby a haircut, got ready for 1pm church, and then I was pretty sedentary for the next 3 hours.

On Saturday I hit 10,000 steps by 4:30pm.  Yesterday I was at about 5,000.  Yikes.

Fitbit, based on my activity, was estimating I burn around 2,100 calories per 24 hours.  I don't remember where I was after church on my calorie burn, but it was nowhere near that.

I came home, did my normal activity of changing out of church clothes into sweats, ate dinner early and sent Hubby off to bed with a bad cold at 5:30pm.

I checked the Fitbit.  5:30pm and I was at 6,500 steps.

Two choices:  veg on the couch in front of the TV, or be active in front of the TV.  We've been having a Frasier marathon around here, so I just kept on going.  I put on my socks and tennis shoes (which I keep downstairs ready for the next morning's workout,) got off my behind, and started moving.

Two and half episodes later of doing a lot of Jane Fonda's Walkout (levels one and two) moves (which I have memorized from doing it so many times), or simply walking around the room or marching in place, I hit 10,000 steps.  I added another 1000, just for good measure.  Woo!  Nailed it.

***By the way, those are links up there. So click on them to get whisked off to YouTube and watch part of the Walkout video.  I think it is great for beginners or if you want low impact aerobics.

What was kinda fun was that I just held my phone in my hand and watched the numbers change on the app.  Hee hee.

This is where I was at 6:30pm yesterday after marching around like a doofus.  But you know what?  When you have a goal and numbers to gauge that goal it really does motivate you.

Then my mom and I talked on the phone for 2 hours (not unusual.)

 So...close to that 15,000 step mark!  i.e. more marching:

Notice the 9:27 time stamp.  But, I did it!  Also notice calories burned!

 OK, so let's talk calories with the Fitbit when you do what I did last night.  With the "Kinda Hard" food plan that I chose I was allotted around 1400 calories for the day.  Starving yourself is not encouraged.  Look below:
This is the end of my day yesterday because I ended up earning more calories to eat after my little family room Frasier jog.  Not something you want to do on a daily basis.  Getting that dial in the green is perfect, because then you are eating enough to stay satisfied and burning enough to lose. 

But, I was a "champ" for burning more calories than necessary for my Food Plan.

Holding my mouse on the top calorie burn gauge turned it to this one, which showed that I burned 11% more than required. I still could've eaten more, but I burned a lot of those calories after an early dinner and I have a "no food after 6pm" rule for myself.  (I did this even before I began this adventure.  My tummy thanks me.)

As you can see here, my evening exercise earned me approx 400 more calories (from that earlier 1400 allotment) that I had no intention of consuming.  Good to know, because if you are having an extra munchy day, just do more exercise and earn the calories to munch.  Then you can still stay within your Food Plan.

Here are a few other things you can see, like my 15,000 badge from last night and my 10 flights of stairs badge (handy when you live in a 2-story house.)  Also my activity.  Sorry, my BMI is off limits.  Ha.
(Seriously, how did we live without screenshots?  Or modern day technology, for that matter?) 

Another thing yesterday's activities taught me was that, after 2 months of eating better and exercising 7 days a week (without skipping one day) I think I have the discipline to do the "Hard" Food Plan, which should put me at my goal in July instead of August. So I switched.

I'm already 1/3 there after 2 months of hard work, so the last 2/3 of the way in 4 months should, in theory, be a workable plan.

I am curious to know what will happen when I reach that goal and how I will use the Fitbit then. I'm sure I still will, though.  Calorie counting is so tedious, but SO much easier this way.  We usually eat the same types of food anyway, so we get used to knowing the amounts.  And we know ourselves.  I'm not really a snacker, but those calories really add up at meals if you aren't careful.

Lastly, I was reading reviews for the Fitbit One on Amazon--the negative reviews (there were very few.) It is helpful to read them to see possible problems that might occur.

1.  People complained that steps were being counted in the car while driving.  More recent reviews said they think that problem has been corrected.  I would agree.

2.  People complained about losing the device or having it pop out of the holder.  Personally, I blame that more on individual carelessness, but it can still happen.  It really is best to wear it with the clip facing OUT and the device facing IN.  And, of course, clips can break eventually with daily use, but there are replacements for all of the individual parts on the Store website.

Still, I'm thrilled with my choice.