Monday, March 30, 2009

'Biggest Loser': A Big Loser; Week of Ups and Downs, and other 'Stuff'

Once or twice a week I receive a "newsletter" via e-mail from Beginner Most of the time I just glance at it because most of the info is not really new to me. However, last week's caught my eye with the article entitled: TV's 'Biggest Loser': A Big Loser, written by Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD.

I clicked on the link and truly enjoyed the article. Her thoughts on the show articulated my exact feelings. But since she is more qualified than I will ever be to give such an opinion, it was great to read. Just a sample:

"The messages in The Biggest Loser are all about deprivation, denial, starvation, and punishment. Exercise is akin to torture. Food is the fattening enemy. The participants use sheer willpower to white-knuckle themselves through each grueling day. They are praised if they lose ten pounds in a week (as if they are now better people), scorned if they lose only two (as if they are scum of the earth), and ridiculed if the scale barely moves. The participants get no credit for having inner beauty that shines from the inside out, nor do they get treated as if they are decent people with tender feelings. The scale is the sole judge of their worthiness."

I LOVE IT! The article continues and offers tremendous insight into the show, and how unhealthy in the long run the weight-loss method is. It's an excellent article and she explains the proper way to lose weight permanently--and it is not by dieting. Read the article for some excellent insight on this subject.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to talk about how a person loses 10-20 lbs. in a week. I don't care how overweight someone is, that just sounds impossible. OK, they may be losing weight, but it is definitely not fat weight. Think about it--to lose one pound of fat, our bodies need to burn approximately 3,500 calories. So, if you were to lose 10 lbs. of fat in one week, that would mean that you would have to burn 35,000 more calories than you took in. Now tell me, how is that even possible? That would mean you would average burning about 5,000 calories PER DAY! I think that the riders in the Tour de France may do that, but I don't know anyone else who can. When I did the ironman in August, I burned about 6,000 calories during the swim and bike portion. That was after 9+ hours of competition. So you tell me--are these contestants really losing that much fat every week? I don't believe it for a second.

One contestant lost 21 lbs. in a week once. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 21 x 3,500 = 73,500. You mean to tell me that man burned 73,500 calories more than he ate that week? NO FREAKIN WAY!

So, now that I have that out of my system, what's new? Typical 'spring' weather in Chicagoland brought rain/wind/cold and snow for the weekend. While I worked out indoors, the good news was that I had a 'decent' run on the treadmill Saturday. I felt horrible when I started, but managed to hang in there and felt pretty good after 6.2 miles or so. My leg is much better--it feels good more days than it does bad now. But I have to say I can feel every pound I've added to my frame over the winter, especially when I run. YUK!

Last week was one of ups and downs. Some days I felt really motivated and OK; most days I was sad, depressed and just miserable. I know I need to go to the doctor--I'm really convinced I have an under active thyroid and need to be tested again. But money is a huge issue right now, so it will have to wait.

Because things are so tight (and I haven't run much), I haven't signed up for any races. Which also makes me sad and miserable. I feel like I have no reason to train, but will continue to do so just because it's what I do.

I also seem to have an even shorter fuse than normal. The only up side to that is when my family knows I'm upset, they actually listen and do what they're supposed to do. One of my big questions in life is "why do I have to get upset/scream/yell for people to actually listen and hear what I'm saying?". When I'm calm and nice, it's like no one can hear me. Well, if that's what it takes...... but, I SO don't want to be that person.

Next week is spring break for my kids and I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I'll be able to get outside to run. That will be really good, because next week's training is very run intensive. This week is swim intensive, which I always like. Six days in the pool, three of them long, three shorter. Just a couple rides and runs squeezed in.

Last week was a recovery week, which was really nice. I still put in 13 plus hours, but the sessions were shorter and less intense.

One more thing--in June I will be attending my 40th grade school reunion. Yes, I graduated from 8th grade in 1969. We've got quite a group together on facebook. I'm trying to get better at using it. My son gets really frustrated when I ask him for help. He thinks everyone should just know how to use it. Me, not so much. I still haven't figured out how to post pictures and other fun stuff.

Well, that's it for now. Hope everyone had a great week. Happy spring and training.

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where to Start....

It seems like forever since I last wrote...feels like a lot has happened.

I'll start with Peanut's meet yesterday. As I wrote in my last post, yesterday was the State Gymnastics Meet for the level 6 girls. Believe me when I say level 6 is TOUGH! We were warned right at the start (last spring) that it would be so. I guess I didn't really believe it. Well, it was ALL THAT and more. Peanut had an OK year, everything considered. Being sick for over two weeks several weeks ago did not help. Plus, she's developed a slight problem with her back walkover on the beam--she has a tendency to fall off during competition! Yeah, not so great.

Gymnastics is such a mental sport--it can really play games with your head (as so many other sports do--believe me, I'm the queen of mental when it comes to triathlon pre-race jitters). She looked so good in warm-ups--stuck every tough element. But, alas, she fell off the beam--when she got up and did it again, it was great. The rest of the routine was really good, but falling is a big deduction.

Her floor routine was really good--except she fell again on her front tuck. OUCH! The rest of the routine was really good, again, but that fall.......big deduction.

So in the end, she placed on both the vault and bars, nothing on beam, floor or all around. She, of course, was perfectly OK with her effort. It's so hard to be a mom, though, and watch your little girl struggle. She works so hard, really loves this crazy sport, and SOOOO has her head together. Mom, not so much. It was a really hard night for me. And it didn't help that awards weren't until 9:00. As many know, I AM NOT A NIGHT PERSON!

Anyway, the bottom line is that we had two all round champions, and at least one individual event winner (not sure because there were earlier sessions!). The combined team finished third, which is really good--except that we won first place the last two years. I think the coaches may have been a little disappointed. But, as I hear so often in this sport, 'IT IS WHAT IT IS'. The judging is very subjective, and did I mention VERY POLITICAL! The team that finished first is coached by one of our old coaches, so we were VERY happy for him and his girls. Anyway, enough of that. We can now relax for a while, and concentrate on the skills to compete at level 7 next year. Hopefully, that back walkover will correct itself over the summer!

As for me--what a mess I am. The warmer weather is nice, but until it actually stays that way, I'm still hurtin' a lot. I still can't control my weight--and to be honest, while I've really been watching my calories, they're not always the best choices. So, I start a new once again.

I've been trying to stick to my training plan, even though I'm pretty sure I won't be doing the half iron tri in June. I'm hoping to run outside tomorrow after a ride inside. It's supposed to be nice, and my leg is feeling really good. Maybe running off the treadmill will be better. I only have to run 30 minutes, so I may go to one of the paths near home and try. Even if I walk a lot, it will be a start.

Things are still really tough on the financial front. J is still looking for a part-time job. The two he had are pretty much dead in the water now. He had one interview at a local hotel last week, but hasn't heard back yet. I've applied on-line for a couple part-time jobs, but also have not heard anything.

R-man is doing great. School is going well--at least his grades are exemplary, even if he claims to not like it. He wishes he could get a job. I told him to wait a year or two, then he can work as long as he likes. Next fall he takes driver's ed--he's not in a hurry at all to drive, though. I'm a little worried about him behind the wheel. He's very bright, but not always aware of the world around him--not so good when driving a car.

I'm writing this late--11:15 a.m. I got up at 5:30 to take R-man to school, did some stuff around the house, then went back to bed until 10:00. I can't remember the last time I did that. I didn't get to bed until 1:00 a.m., and I was physically and emotionally drained. Peanut just woke up (ah, the beauty of homeschool), and I only have to swim, so it's going to be a laid back kind of day.

Congratulations to all who participated (Waddler, Trisharkie, Snipes) and volunteered (Snoopy, Moose, Kurt & Dan) at the LTF indoor triathlon. Sounds like you all had a great time. Hope to see you all soon!

Praying that everyone has a great week and enjoys the 'warmer' weather.

Until next time--take care and God bless!

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's New?!

Some random things I would like to share:

J & R-man are still recovering from their illness. Both returned to work/school early last week, but the coughing and upper respiratory stuff is still hanging on. I wonder if they'd recover quicker if they actually slept and rested? Huh!

Peanut had a meet yesterday, and while she is still not 100% from her illness (fitness-wise), she did much better. The team placed second (there is a team that's come out of nowhere with some amazing younger girls); she won the bars, placed 4th in the all around, 11th on beam, 8th on floor, and fifth on vault. She was happy, and it was a long day. They had to be at the venue by 8:00 a.m., which was tough after the crazy daylight savings time change. I stayed home to go to church with R-man.

Next week is the state meet--kind of like the competitive gymnasts' "Kona". The kids need to qualify with a specific overall score at a meet during the season. Peanut qualified in the first meet; all of our kids qualified, which is really exciting. Our gym has won the state title for level 6 the past two years; our coach would love to make it three in a row. I'm thinking that other gym has peaked at just the right time; our kids seemed to have leveled a little. Here's hoping and praying they all have their best meets of the season. (Last year Peanut won the all around and beam in her age group in level 5. We're not expecting that kind of finish this year--just that she have fun and do the best she can to help the team!)

I've had a tough couple weeks. Still not able to run. I did a specific bike workout last week that set me back with the pain in my leg. Bad idea. I wasn't able to run as planned the next day. I was upset, so I spent too much time working out that day. The next day I could hardly move. I was going to just rest, but ended up at the pool and swam about 1450 meters. I felt much better after. I'm really starting to believe that my aches and pains are due primarily to my rheumatoid arthritis. The weather this weekend has not helped. Lots of rain and change in temperature not good. I won't know for sure until the weather finally warms up for good.

I've been trying to watch my diet, but again, no luck. I haven't weighed myselft in a couple weeks--I can tell things aren't going well. I am seriously tracking calories burned and eaten, and even though I'm eating less calories than I burn, the weight still is not coming off. I feel even fatter.

Which leads to more depression. I don't know if I'll even be able to race this year, not being able to run yet. Plus, if I can't lose at least 10 lbs., it's just not going to happen. I'm too heavy to race at my best, and it's not good for my body either. Which of course makes me want to race even more. Vicious circle.

And those wonderful hot flashes/night sweats are back with a vengeance. Hormones going crazy; cravings galore; not being able to sleep. Last night I made some homemade chili and put it in the crockpot to cook overnight. As usual, I went to bed hungry with my stomach growling (not unusual for my stomach to be growing most of the time). I couldn't sleep, and I smelled the chili all night long!

Last week was very easy for me:
Swim: 6x - 12,500 meters
Bike: 2x - 53 miles
Run (turned into 1 mile walk)
Row: 1x - 40 minutes
Strenth/core: 3x - 2:36
Total time: 13 hours

I forgot to share that my husband's computer crashed a couple weeks ago. It's old, and the hard drive just pooped out. Now, here is the thing: ALL OF OUR MUSIC IS GONE! That's right, over 6,000 songs that were on I-tunes--history. I know several people who had this happen to them in the past. So last year, I suggested backing up all our stuff. After much "nagging" he did go out and buy what he needed to do it. For over six months I "encouraged" him to PLEASE BACK UP THE MUSIC! So imagine my mood when I learned it was gone. I cannot tell you how angry I was/am. He insists there is a way to take the music from our i-pods and put it back on the hard drive. YEAH, RIGHT! I'll believe it when I see it!

Anyway, hope everyone had a good week/weekend. Hang in there--the weather WILL get better eventually!

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Long, Sick, Hectic Week

So much has happened since I last posted.

Peanut was pretty sick for about 10 days. Fever for four, sore throat, coughing and fatigue the rest of the time. She finally started feeling like herself on Thursday. So, because there was the BIG (name of the gymnastics gym/team) on Saturday and Sunday, she practiced Thursday and Friday night.

I could tell she wasn't 100%, and told her not to expect too much at the competition. True to form, it was a tough meet for her. She only placed on one event (bars, traditionally her worst), and didn't place in the all-around, which is very unusual for her. But so like her, she was not at all upset, had a great time, and went back on Sunday to watch the rest of her team compete. (They had to split up the levels over the two days because there were so many teams/girls entered.)

The meet was a huge success. J, who was also really sick the entire week, worked his rear end off all weekend. He was there the entire time, including Friday night setting up. The meet was held at Lyons Township High School, so it wasn't a long drive, which was really nice. He had to go to work today, sick and all, but I think he plans to take a day or two off this week to get better.

R-man worked concessions at the meet on Saturday--I should have left him home in bed. He now has what Peanut had--fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue. For once I'm glad they have off school today for a crazy holiday. He HATES missing school, and I'm hoping he can go back tomorrow. He's still running a low-grade fever and feels crummy.

As for me, I worked on Saturday entering scores for the Floor routine judges. If I was disheartened regarding judges/judging before, now I'm even more convinced that this sport is crazy when it comes to scoring. I watched and heard how they arbitrarily came up with many of the scores. They were really tough on the girls, especially in level 6. They were also judging level 8, and were so much more generous in their scores. They did talk about how difficult the level 6 routine is, and how there are many places to take points off the score. Anyway, I NEVER want to work with judges again, that's for sure.

As for the team, two of the levels took first place, and the rest, including level 6, finished in second place. I think it was tough competing in your own host meet, kind of like a sports team playing at home during playoffs. Many of the kids worked or were at the meet the entire weekend. Lots of stress and excitement doing this the first time. Not many of our gymnasts had "great" meets, but that's OK. They all had fun.

Thank goodness I haven't gotten the "sickness", at least not yet. I'm trying to get enough rest. I cut way back on my workouts last week. Three of the days I only swam. The good news is I actually RAN on Thursday. There was some walking/jogging involved, but I managed five miles in about an hour. My joints were sore the next day--not used to the pounding, especially at this time of the year. Hopefully I can run a couple times this week and work my way up to a regular routine.

Last night I sat down and added up my workouts for January and February. January was crazy, but February was much more where I want to be. Since I don't know when or if I'm going to race this summer, there's no need to burn myself out now. Also, I will finally admit that I should have taken time off after Louisville. I didn't, and I now know that it was a big mistake. One more lesson learned from ironman racing.

January Totals:
Swim: 47,500 meters
Bike: 590 miles (all on trainer)
Run: 0 miles (all on treadmill!)
Strength/Core: 18 hours
Total Time: 81 hours

February Totals:
Swim: 33,000 meters
Bike: 417 miles
Run: 5 miles (YEAH!)
Other Cardio: 6 hours
S/C: 15 hours
Total Time: 66 hours

I'm going to try to stick to my half-iron training plan as much as possible this month. Today calls for a swim only. I'm going to also do some strength training.

Hope everyone survived February. It's March, which means we're closer to June, when it really starts to warm up around here.

Until next time--God bless!