Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Like a Smoker...

I never quit quitting.. or something like that. I don't know what happened to my motivation last week. I couldn't get out of bed after doing the workout last week, and I told myself it was ok because this month I'm not trying to workout 30 days straight. Somehow, I didn't workout at all the rest of the week. I don't really have an excuse. My husband was sick, and I wasn't able to sleep well with all of his snoring and tossing and turning, but not being able to sleep well is not anything new.

So, here I am again, starting with ANOTHER DAY 1. I'm shooting for 7 straight days, that's my immediate goal. My motivation... I'm almost too embarrassed to admit.... is that show "The Biggest Loser." This is the first season that I've been hooked on it, and I absolutely can't stand one of the "players," Vicki. Last night, she made it into the final 2, I'm so disappointed. The finale is next week, and if she has lost another 40-50 lbs, (which would put her into the 120-130 range) then I know I can lose the 15 lbs I'm strugging to lose.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 1 (Again)

I have no idea where November went. I was planning to give myself a short break after my first 30 days, but somehow, a short break became 30 days. I can't believe I let that happen, but now I'm back and ready to be motivated.

So I promised myself that I'd get up and work out on Dec 1, NO. MATTER. WHAT! If you look at the date stamp, you'll realize that it's now Dec. 2. As my luck would have it, I woke up yesterday morning with the absolute worst stiff neck... I could barely move.

So, now it's Tuesday, Dec. 2 and I did wake up and do my workout.

I decided that this month I'm going to aim for every other day... I think that's a more reasonable goal than every day. I may start off with everyday, just to get back in the habit, but we'll see how I feel tomorrow morning.

I started back at Level 1 of Jillian's 30 Day shred. I used the 2.5 lb weights. It was perfect... slightly too hard, but not so hard that it was a miserable experience. It's strange how fast you can lose your strength when you fail to keep up with your workout routine.

I will also plan to vary my workouts from day to day with Jari Love and yoga and whatever else I have around the house.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 36: Done and done

I never had a chance to workout yesterday afternoon.

I did, however, manage to get myself out of bed this morning... for my last workout of this month's challenge! I did Level 3, and I did a great job!

I'm moderately satisfied with my results. I wish I hadn't been lazy yesterday, there really was no excuse for that.

I also managned somehow to delete my $20 coupon from Sephora, so I won't be rewarding myself with the M.D. Skincare product that I wnated. I just can't justify the expense.

I haven't stepped on the scale in a while, so I don't know what I weigh, so I don't know as of this moment how much weight I lost this month, if any. I know I started out gangbusters, but we'll have to see.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 35: I should have gotten up at 5:08

Ugh... this is what happens when I start losing my motivation.

My little one, (again), was up early to use the bathroom. This time it was 5:08. She did her thing and then I put her back to bed. It was about 5:18 by the time I was back in my bedroom. The alarm goes off at 5:28, so I debated just staying awake, but of course, I decided to crawl back in bed and wait unitl 6:00 or so. Well, it just didn't happen. Somehow, over the din of the shower and the other usual "getting ready for work" noises of my husband, I fell asleep. He woke me up at 6:35 to kiss me good-bye, so I could have gotten out of bed then, but I didn't think I'd have enough time. So, no workout this morning.

I may try to get one in this afternoon while my daughter is napping, we'll just have to wait and see if my son can occupy himself for 20 minutes plus the shower.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Days 32, 33, and 34

Okay, where to start...
Day 32 was a scheduled off day.

On day 33, I didn't get up early to workout, I crammed it in the hour I had between dropping my son off at school and the time I had to be back at school to help out with computer lab.

Today, is day 34, and I'm back on track, sort of. I got up early to work out, but it wasn't early enough to get my blog entry done.

I've decided to stay with my own "advanced" version of level 1, wherein I use 5 lb weights for the strength exercises and 2.5 weights for the cardio bursts. I also do two extra exercises at the end, before the cool down. I do a tricep exercise and I do the plank ab twists.

Even though I only have 2 more days of this month's challenge, it hasn't been as easy to motivate myself as I thought it would be. If I keep this up for next month, I have to add back in the "diet" portion of the weight loss challenge.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Days 30, 31: Alternatives

I didn't have a chance to post yesterday. I did work out, but then I had to get everyone packed and ready to head to Ann Arbor for the football game. Yet again, another disaster. That was the last game of the season for me... they should just forfeit the rest of the games.

Today, I decided to try something. I went back and did Level 1, but I used 5 lb weights for all the strength moves, and I held 2.5 lb weights for the cario intervals. I think it worked great. I really liked Level 1 workout... I don't think it's any easier than Levels 2 or 3, the moves are just more basic moves. I actually think the pace of Level 1 is the best of the 3. I like Level 3, too, and will go back to doing it, but I just wanted to compare the levels back to back.

I'm in the process of trying to figure out what to do for my November challenge. These are my thoughts:
1. Workout 6 days a week.
a. Monday: rest
b. Tuesday: Jillian Level 1 (modified)
c. Wednesday: Jari
d. Thursday: Jillian Level 1 (modified)
e. Friday: Yoga
f. Saturday: Jillian Level 3
g. Sunday: Jari

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 29: Just a quickie

Got a late start this morning... and then I checked my email before I wrote this blog only to find that Sephora has sent me $20 to spend on a $50 order. So, my "reward" is back in play. My $75 purchase just became $55 and it will still qualify for free shipping. The timing is perfect as the offer ends Oct. 31. Yay!

Workout was ok today. I could not do the jumping lunges, so I did alternating ones instead. I still hate the rock start jumps, too. They are too jolting.

I'm thinking about doing the NaBloPoMo (or whatever it's called.) We'll see, I'm not sure my blog will be "interesting" enough, but I'd like an excuse to keep going. I'm going to change things up a bit, I'm still going to exercise most days, but I'm going to incorporate some variety. Nothing against Jillian, I just need to do some Yoga and some of Jari's workouts, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 28: There is light

I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how I count the number of days remaining (either 2 or 8), I can still see the light. That is what is motivating me at this point. Again this morning, it was very difficult to get out of bed, but I kept telling myself (a la Ms. Jillian) that I've come this far, I'm not going to quit on myself now. I gave myself 1 day off this week, I can't take another. I almost convinced myself to do my workout later this morning while both kids are in school, but I have so much that needs to get done around the house, I just can't justify a middle of the morning workout. I like to get it done in the morning.

A note about my reward... I've decided that I can't afford to spend the money on the reward that I chose at the beginning (the MD skincare product). I'll reward myself with something, but I haven't come up with anything. I may purchase Jillian's book Making the Cut, but that's not really a reward, that's just more work!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 27: Level 3, day 2

I wasn't as tired this morning as I was yesterday, and I didn't even sleep all that well. I had difficulty falling asleep, and then our garage door mysteriously closed/opened itself shortly after I finally fell asleep (we think it may have been left open and our neighbor closed it for us). But, when the alarm went off, I didn't dread getting out of bed to workout.

Level 3 does not wear me out like Levels 1 and 2 did initially. I definitely sweat alot more, and the sweating starts earlier, too, like during the first strength moves.

There are 2 moves that I are super difficult for me: the jump lunges and the rock star jumps. The rock star jumps are not all that hard, per se, they just hurt when I land. I guess I'm not light enough on my feet.

Jillian talks about her "diet plan" in Level 3. I was not aware she had one. If I can find it, I may incorporate it next month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Days: 23, 24, 25 and 26

Yes, I know I've been neglecting my blog. In my defense, for someone who has never really blogged consistently before, I'd say I'm doing pretty well. My other excuse is that I spent most of Saturday and all of Sunday getting ready for my daughter's birthday party. And finally, I did workout on Saturday and Sunday, I only did Level 2 though, I didn't have much more to say other than, "yep, I did it. It was good."

As planned, I did skip yesterday's workout.

Today, I was so tired again! I don't know what is wrong with me. Could it be my "cycle?" I just don't know. I so did not want to get out of bed. I'm not even sure what motivated me to finally kick off the covers and get out of my warm bed. My usual motivation conversation with myself didn't work.

When I did finally get to the basement, I decided to try Level 3! It was, as expected, hard! It was also the fastest 20 minute workout out. It was a good workout out with a good pace. It doesn't seem as "forced" as Level 2. I'm noticebly not as "spent" as I had been after doing Levels 1 and 2 for the first few times. Does that mean I'm in "shape" or does it mean I didn't push myself very hard? I'm tempted to go back and try Level 1 in a week or so, just to see how hard it is for me now.

I'll have more to say tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 22: Tired again

For some reason, I was incredibly tired this morning when the alarm went off. I gave myself an extra 15 minutes of rest before I got out of bed. I still had a fine workout. I've been using 5 lb dumb bells for some of the moves, and I had plenty of energy once I got started, it was the "getting started" that was hard this morning. I don't know what it was that made me so tired. Perhaps my little one getting up 2x to go to the bathroom contributed, but I don't know... I swear... it's worse now than when she was a baby!

I also had some really bad chest pains last night. That's the second time that's happened. It feels kind of like a pulled muscle in my breast plate. It's hard to take a deep breath. I took some asprin, and it seemed to resolve itself by this morning.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 21: Good again

Another good workout this morning. I'm defintely ready to challenge myself with Level 3. I'll probably wait for Saturday, though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 20: Looking ahead

Workout was definitely easier this morning. For the first time during this challenge, I feel like I could actually do Levels 1 and 2 back to back (or Level 1 twice.) I suppose that means that I can start thinking seriously about moving on to level 3. A while back I planned to be doing Level 3 for the last 10 days of this challenge. I think I'll plan to do Level 3 for the first time on Saturday or Sunday.

I'm also still not sure what to do with my "extra" 6 days. My thought right now is to allow myself one day off next week and one day off the following week. If you include the day off I gave myself earlier this week and the day I did yoga, that means I only have 2 "extra" days which is perfect. I will then call this endeavor a "success."

I've also started thinking about what my new challenge for November is going to be. I'd like to keep Jillian's 30 Day Shred in the mix, but I don't think it's realistic for me to think I'll do it for another 30 days straight. ("Straight" being a relative term.)

I've got some ideas mulling in my head, but I figure I still have 16 days left in this month, so I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 19: Good workout

I needed that day off. Today's workout was really good, tough as usual, but good. I kept pace with every move. I made a different substitution for the pendulum lunges today...ready...I did those dreaded side lunges with anterior raise from the Level 1 workout. Rememeber those? The ones I hated? Well, I decided that I hate those less than I hate the pendulum lunges, so I decided to incorporate them back into Level 2. I also managed to do the other move that I dislike with weights, the squat with v-raise.

I also feel invigorated for the rest of the day, not "spent" as I have in the past after the workout. Does this mean I'm getting ready to move on to Level 3?!?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 18: A break

I gave myself a break today. I think my muscles really needed one. I will be right back at it tomorrow morning!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 17: A little easier

I can finally tell that Level 2 is getting slighlty easier. By this I mean that my body is adapting to the exercises. I still don't find the workout easy, but I can tell my body isn't quite as fatigued.

But I do have a different problem now, I'm suffering from the beginning stages of burnout. I suppose this was bound to happen. When I started this challenge, 30 days didn't seem that long. In the grand scheme of things it isn't that long, but 17 days in with 13 more plus 6 extra to get me to the 31st of October, I'm feeling like I may not make it. Of course, as in past endeavors, I won't quit trying, I'll just start over with a fresh 30 day challenge. We'll see what the next week brings, if I can make it without stumbling, then I might be ok.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 16: Better than yesterday

Perhaps it's because it's Saturday, and I didn't have to get up before the sun, but today was much better than yesterday. I didn't dread the workout in the least. I kept pace with all the moves. Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, even at day 9, is still kicking my butt all over the place by the end, but it's such a good feeling when it's all over. It's only 20 minutes, but I still feel a real sense of accomplishment.

The strength, cardio, and ab combination in the third circuit leaves me panting and ready to pass out every morning. Fortunately, I'm able to recover quickly enough, but there are a few seconds after the final plank twist where it's "touch and go." On second thought, it seems to me that the workout actually starts to get really tough during the cardio work in the second circuit (jumping ab twists and the skater), but there's a short recovery while doing the ab work, so it's not as pronounced is it might otherwise be. Don't get me wrong, the ab work is tough... but at least we're on the ground.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Will someone please explain weight fluctuations to me?

I'm sure I've mentioned previously how much I hate stepping on the scale to weigh myself. It's such futile endeavor, anyway. How is it possible to gain 3 lbs literally overnight?

I weighed myself last night just before going to bed/ This morning, immediately after my workout, I weighted myself again, and I'm 3 lbs heavier? Is it somehow attributable to the workout? Water weight? Bloating? I don't get it, and it's very frustrating, to say the least.

Day 16: Losing steam

Not sure what's going on, but I can feel myself losing steam with this challenge. I so did not want to get out of bed this morning. We were at the Red Wings game last night, so I went to bed late. Fortunately (at least as far as this challenge is concerned), my little one was up again at 6 am to use the bathroom, so I could not stay in bed and be lazy. After I put her back to bed, I did the 30 Day Shred workout. I had very low energy, but I made it through and kept pace. My shoulders are still sore and bothering me from the Yoga workout the other day, but at least my knee is not a problem.

I'm thinking about giving my body a break early next week, like Monday or Tuesday. I really think my muscles could use the rest. We'll see. If I do that, though, I think I'll have to lessen my reward... sort of a graduated step down.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 15: It must have been the "downward dog"

Back to Jillian's 30 Day Shred workout today.

Good news: my knee isn't bothering me this morning.

Bad news: my shoulders are absolutely killing me. Jillian thought it was going to be the third cardio section in Level 2 that was going to kill me, but she failed to account for all the shoulder work in a Yoga workout. (Yes, I know that Yoga isn't part of her program.)

I managed to get through the 30 Day Shred without much problem (related to my sore shoulders, anyway) despite the fact that there is quite a bit of shoulder work in Level 2 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred. (Walk out push ups, plank jacks, plank twists, squat thrusts... all of these moves are hard on the shoulders!)

Side note re: my reward for completing this challenge: I'm not certain how I'm going to handle the fact that I missed a day of the 30 Day Shred. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next 15 days. If yesterday was my only digression, I may give myself a free pass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 14: Set back

Ugh, I guess it was bound to happen... I woke up this morning with a sharp pain deep inside my left knee. I don't remember tweaking it yesterday or doing anything to it, but it hurt when I stood up, and I didn't want to risk hurting it worse. I decided not do the 30 Day Shred workout this morning. I was content not to do any workout and deal with the consequences of a little guilt, but then my little one got up to go to the bathroom. After I put her back to bed, I decided that despite the pain I could do Yoga.

I used to love doing Yoga, but I fell out of the "Yoga habit" and never really got back into it. I have a video (yes, for use in a VCR, don't laugh) that I like called Cardio Autonomy Yoga. For someone (like me) who has never taken a Yoga class and doesn't really know what she's doing, I think the moves are pretty intense. I haven't done this video in about 8 months. The last time I did it I found it difficult to hold many of the poses. I kept wobbling and falling all over the place. Today, it is obvious that I have gotten stronger in the last few months. The moves were no less intense, and I am far from flexible, but I was able to hold the poses, and I didn't fall over as often, especially during the praying twist.

I'm satisfied with my workout and even managed to work up a little sweat. I'm typing this post mid-afternoon, and my knee is still a little sore, but it does not feel nearly as painful as it did this morning. I think I made the right decision to skip the 30 Day Shred workout for today. I plan to get right back at it tomorrow.

A conversation with Jillian

Me: "Hey, Jillian, why don't you do your work out with us!?!"

Her: "I don't need to. I'm already awesome! I already know how to do the exercises, and YOU DON'T. Now keep going!"

Me: "But Jillian, if you don't need to workout out, why are you so jealous of Anita's abs?"

Her: "I am not jealous of Anita's abs! What are you talking about?"

Me: "Well, during the workout, after 2 whole crunches, you get down on the floor to point out Anita's abs, and you say, "See these abs, I'd do just about anything to have them, but they don't come for free."

Her: "That's just my way of motivating you, you flabby waisted fat ass! I'm not jealous of Anita in the least, but you should be! Keep going!"

Me: "Oh, I'm jealous of her abs, all right, but face it, you are too! You can't deny it."

Her: "I can deny it, and I will. Anita's got nothing on me! Keep going!"

Me: "All's I'm saying is, if I were Anita I'd watch my back."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Level 2 workout

I briefly described Level 1 of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred workout DVD, so I figure I should try to do the same for Level 2. I'm doing this from memory shortly after finishing the workout.

The warm-up section begins with arm swings, backward windmills, neck rolls, jumping jacks, and leg extension lifts.

The first circuit begins immediately with the strength moves which are walk out push-ups and squat rows. Then we move on to two minutes of cardio which involves alternating between high knees and squat thrusts. The one minute ab section includes crunches with one leg raised and lowered and then switching to the other leg.

Then it's on to circuit two where the first strength move is the static lunge with arm rows. The second move is that dreaded pendulum front and back lunge that I can't seem to do very well. In the cardio portion we do jumping ab twists and then the skater. The first ab move has me extend my arms above chest with a weight in each hand while I raise and lower my legs together. The ab section ends with double crunches.

In the third circuit we start the strength move with the military press with leg extensions before moving on to the other move I don't like, the chair squat with "V" raise. We do plank jacks and double jump rope for the two minutes of cardio. We finish strong with plank twists for the final ab move.

And then, I feel like I'm going to pass out before we start the stretch/cool down.

Not that I'm asking for a longer challenge, but...

I happened to catch Jillian Micheals on the Today Show this morning. I was folding laundry, and she was talking with whomever about diet and exercise. She was with one of the former contestants from the current season of Biggest Loser who has been voted off. (It's the police officer who entered the contest with his daughter. I can't think of his name at the moment, I'll go back and look it up.)

Anyway, Jillian said on the show that "Thirty minutes a day of exercise is optimal." Hmmm, then why is your 30 Day Shred video workout only twenty minutes long?

Just asking...

Day 13: Level 2 day 6

Again, I'm at a loss for words to describe how difficult I am STILL finding this level to be. It's not that I can't do it, it's just that it's really hard, and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier.

I did the pendulum lunges without weights and I also did the chair squat with V raise without weights, and I do not feel like I am cheating in the least. If I had one pound weights I would use them, but the 2.5 pounders that I have are just a little too much right now. (Wow, that makes me sound like a real wimp.)

By day 6 of Level 1, even though I was having difficulty with the anterior raise side lunge move, I still felt confident enough that I could move on to Level 2. I don't see Level 3 in my future for several more days, if not another week. I know there's no rush, but I would like to at least be doing Level 3 for the last few days of my 30 day challenge.

Today, after the cool down/stretch, I actually did some extra exercises. There are a few moves from Jari's workouts that I always thought were good ones. Today I did some dead lifts (I didn't count how many) and with each arm I did 30 tricep extensions while on my kneews with opposite leg extended.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 12: Level 2 day 5

Still. Not. Easier! I'm running out of things to say about how hard the transition to Level 2 has been. I'm able to keep the pace well enough, but I'm still panting and sweating as if I've never worked out in my entire life.

Another thing, I don't know what it is about Mondays, but I had an extrememly hard time getting out of bed this morning. The alarm went off at 5:30, and I didn't get out of bed until after 6:00. Oh, well, at least I did it.

Confession: I did the chair squat - "V" raise move without weights today, so I could focus on the squat portion.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It fits!

I bought myself a dress in July for a wedding that we have in November. I have never done this before, but I bought the dress one size smaller than I was wearing at the time. I'm not really sure what possessed me to do such a thing. I did try the dress on when I bought it, and it was just ever so snug that I guess I felt like if kept myself motivated, it would fit just right by November 1.

I tried the dress on today, and it fits! And I don't mean that it "just barely" fits or that it "fits today, but it might not tomorrow, so I better not eat anything." No, it's the kind of "it fits" such that if I were to go out shopping today and buy the dress, it's the size that I would buy and feel confident that it will fit when I actually have to wear it.

Day 11: Level 2 day 4

I'm not sure what possessed me, but today I felt the urge to try using 5 lb weights for some of the moves. For example, for the lower ab move where the legs swing up and down, I held 5 lb weights above my chest, that wasn't so bad. I also used the 5 pounders for the static lunge - arm row combo. I had a fleeting thought to use them for the military press with leg extensions, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

The pendulum lunges are still the absolute hardest move for me. I also continue to have difficulty with the chair squat - "v" raise move. Both of these moves are even harder than the plank jacks, squat thrusts, and plank twists, all of which I can feel myself getting stronger as I continue to do them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 10: Food

Breakfast: the usual... I don't vary b'fast very often, do I? OJ, yougurt w/ cereal mixed in= 3 pts

Lunch: small salad w/ dressing = 3 pts and a small piece of leftover deep dish pizza = 9 pts

Dinner: Large Salad w/ dressing = 3 pts and glass of wine that I'm still nursing = 2 pts

I've had really low energy all day long. Don't know what that's about. I was fine when I woke up and when I did the workout, but I've been "slow" all day.

Until we meet again

One of my mini motivations for this month is wanting to look good for a wedding we have to attend the day after Halloween. We've known the groom for many years and recently saw him at a wedding in August. At that wedding, I was comparing my biceps with another friend's in front of the groom to be (don't ask). When he felt my bicep and the other woman's he said to me, "Yours might be bigger, but hers are more toned."

The other woman, who I love dearly, laughed and said, "That's funny, I don't even work out, they must be that way naturally. Ha! Ha!"

This person certainly wasn't mocking me, she certainly has no idea how hard I've been working out, but with that, the gauntlet was thrown, and I am now on a mission to make sure my arms are toned in time for this upcoming wedding, and if I'm confident, I'll be sure to arrange a re-match bicep comparison. Otherwise, I'll be the one wearing a long-sleeved dress.

Day 10: Level 2 day 3

Unlike day 3 of Level 1 when the 30 Day Shred was decidedly easier for me, day 3 of Level 2 is decidedly NOT getting any easier. I guess that's a good thing, but man, I am so spent at the end of the workout I can barely get into a seated position to do the stretches!

Just as there was one move in Level 1 (side lunge w/ anterior raise) that I could barely do, there is a move in Level 2 that I am having trouble with: the moving (as opposed to static) lunges w/ pendulum swing. (Again, I'm not certain that's the name of the move, but it's got to be close.) Part of the issue is that we're coming off a static lunge move, and my legs are already shaking when we go into the lunges. The other move that's difficult for me is the chair squat with "V" raise. And I haven't even talked much about how hard the cardio is.

I'm only using 2.5 lb dumbbells; I haven't even thought about moving up to 5 lb weights yet. I have a feeling that I will be doing Level 2 for more than just seven days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 9: food log

Breakfast: OJ (1 pt) yogurt (1 pt) hi-fiber cereal (1 pt)
Lunch: I skipped lunch today... I know that's bad, time just got away from me, and I didn't feel like any of the leftovers in the fridge.
Dinner: 1 slice thin crust pizza (5 pts) side salad with dressing (2 pts) 3 glasses of wine (6 pts)

It's just a number

As I turned on the digital scale with my toe, I remember saying to myself, "Just ignore what you see on the scale. It's just a number, it doesn't matter."

Imagine my reaction when I realized that the number on the scale suggests that I am 13 pounds lighter than I was when I started this endeavor in July. I am now within a piece of cake of dropping into the 120s. (Albeit, a large piece of cake, probably an end piece with extra frosting and lots of ice cream with caramel and candy pieces inside, but still...)

Needless to say, I'm thrilled with the number on the scale, but I must keep telling myself that it is just a number, and I'm still far enough away from my ultimate goal that I know I have lots more work ahead of me. But, it defintely feels good to be where I am right now, and I'm motivated and encouraged to keep going.

Day 9: Level 2, day 2

That is a 20 minute workout. I just finished, and I'm still dripping sweat all over.

My little one was up three times last night, so needless to say my sleep, what little of it I got, was quite disrupted. When the alarm went off at 5:30, I was afraid I wouldn't have any energy to get out of bed. Fortunately, I wasn't sore from yesterday's attempt at the Level 2 workout, so I was able to get out of bed with relative ease.

In previous attempts to be diligent with my workout routines, I would not have gotten out of bed to workout after a bad night's sleep, I'm proud of myself for getting this workout done today. It certainly helps that it's only 20 minutes.

I kept pace with all of the moves today. The pendulum swing lunges are still the hardest strength move. It's a tie between the plank jacks and the "moutain climbers" for hardest cardio.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 8: Food

Breakfast: Glass of OJ (1 pt), hi-fiber cereal (1 pt) w/ hi-fiber yogurt (1 pt)

Lunch: Left over sweet n sour chicken, small portion w/ rice (6pts)

Snack: handful of almonds (3 pts)

Dinner: left over sweet and sour chicken (that's enough of that!) with some cheddar broccoli (just what was left in the pan that I made for the kids) = 9 pts

Snack w/ kids: milk and cookies (5 pts)


I may or may not have mentioned that I didn't actually purchase Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD when I started this project. For the first 7 days, I was using a Netflix copy. Yesterday, I happened upon the DVD on sale at Target, so I bought it. I have now invested actual money into this project, so I guess I'm committed.

When I got home, I realized that yesterday was October 1, so even though I've been doing this for a week, yesterday was day 1 as far as the calendar is concerned. I still haven't decided if I'm going to allow myself to take one or two days off, but after seeing the cover of 30 Day Shred up close for the first time, I noticed that it says, "Lose up to 20 pounds n 30 days!" I'm not sure that's even possible for me. That's not even my goal, I've given myself a much longer time frame to lose my 20 pounds. That said, I'm back to thinking that I should just plan to workout everyday between now and Oct. 31.

Day 8: Level 2, day 1

WOW! That was tough. Not quite as tough as the first time I did Level 1, but pretty close.

First impressions: the walkout push-ups were not as tough as I thought they would be, they were hard, but not impossible. I had difficulty with the lunges with pendulum swings as well. (not sure that's what they're called, I'll double check tomorrow.) The cardio is noticeably more difficult, too. The plank scissor kicks and the (what I call) "mountain climbers" are much harder than any move done in Level 1. Jillian has also stepped up the ab work a few notches. I almost couldn't do all of them. For example, the plank twists are super hard!!

At the end of the workout, Jillian says, "We'll see you tomorrow." So, I'm guessing she does expect us to do this workout every day! I'm not expecting to be as sore as I was when I did Level 1 the first time, but it will be interesting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weight Watchers, part 2

The following post was also written in my journal on August 13, I am typing and posting a portion of it here.

Ugh! How did I gain weight?! It was only three quarters of a pound, but I want to see downward trends, not upward trends.

Keep going

One of the most annoying aspects of Level 1 of Jillian's video is that she doesn't do the entire workout with me. She does two sit ups before she stands up and says, "Let's take a look at Anita's form." Same with the lunges and some of the other cardio work. I know she doesn't need another workout, and I realize that part of her job is to instruct. She also has an interest in making sure that the moves are done correctly, but still, I wish she would sweat right along with me... Jari does!

That said, I do forgive her when we get to the third and final cardio circuit. It's right before the end of the workout, and she decides to join us in the workout. She's very encouraging in this part. She shouts, "I know you just want to turn off this DVD and stop, but you're strong! You can do this. You're flying through this. We don't get to the finish line and stop, we get stronger and keep going." These positive affirmations really do help me to keep going. They were especially encouraging those first few days when I thought I was going to pass out, now I really try to step it up a notch when we get to this point in the video.

There is an audio option on the DVD that mutes Jillian's voice and instruction during the workout. Even though I find some of the instruction stuff repetitive and boring, I don't really want to mute the whole thing because I need to hear Jillian's words of encouragement.

Level 2

This morning, I had a few minutes to watch Level 2 again. I think I will try it either tomorrow or Friday depending on my energy in the morning.

My impression is that the walk-out push ups and the squat thrusts will be hard for me initially. I'm also not looking forward to the lunge-rows.

Day 7: food

Ugh. Today is not starting out to be a good day.

After I finished my workout, I was slightly behind in my morning routine. I let the kids sleep a little longer given that they had both been up so early, and I wanted to take a shower. I decided to make breakfast only for the older child. I figured my daughter and I could have breakfast when we returned from the bus stop.

Well, the little one didn't want to cooperate. She was upset because she didn't get to eat with her brother and threw a tantrum by throwing her French Toast and banana back at me. I decided... no breakfast for either of us.

Breakfast: small glass of OJ = 1 pt
Mid-morning snack: a handful of almonds = 4 pts
Lunch: 6 spoonfuls of mac n cheese = 6 pts
Dinner: sweet and sour chicken = 9 pts
Snack: milk and cookies w/ kids = 5 pts

Day 7: workout

Alarm: 6:03, out of bed at 6:15. K is out of towm, so I think I don't need to get up quite as early.

I have moderate energy when I wake up.

See, this is why I get up early, though...
I had just finished the warm up and started the first strength move which is push ups, when I hear screaming upstairs. "Uh oh, someone's awake." I immediately hit pause and rush upstairs to see what's the matter." My little one has gotten out of bed and is standing in the middle of the dark hallway screaming and crying, "moooom, moooooommmy!" Tears are streaming down her face, I have no idea how long she's been calling for me. I can't hear everything in the basement where I work out. My older son has come out of his room to investigate. I know my little one is scared, and I feel terrible, but I also know that all she needs is to go to the bathroom, and then she'll (most likely) go right back to bed for an hour or so. I put her on toilet to do her thing, and I tuck the older one back in bed. I go back for my daughter, and she is just finishing up. We walk back to her room, and I tuck her in. She says, "sleep with me for a few minutes." I can't say no, so I cuddle up next to her for about two minutes before I quietly leave her room and head back downstairs to finish my workout.

The girls on the screen are paused in mid push-up, I hit play, and away we go.

Despite the short set back, I follow the girls on pace. I feel good during the workout and for the first time I actually think I might be able to do it two times through, but not today, given the events of this morning, I don't really have the extra 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 6: food

Breakfast: OJ with high fiber cereal and yogurt: 3 pts
Lunch: leftover lasagne: 10 pts
Dinner: left over lasagne: 10 pts
Snack: apple pie (only a few bites): 3 pts

Day 6: workout

Alarm: 5:24 out of bed at 5:36.
I didn't sleep very well last night, but for some reason I seem to have more energy than I did yesterday morning.

Good workout today. I kept pace with everything. Yesterday, I mentioned that I reverted to 8 lb dumb bells for the squat presses, but that's wrong. I've only been using the 5 pounders. Today, however, I did revert to using 5 lbs for the bent over rows; my forearms were really sore when I tried to use the 8 lb weights.

I've also decided that the only way I'm going to build strength and endurance with side lunge - anterior raise move is to actually do it. So, instead of substituting a move, today I did the move without any weights. Basically, I want to get the form right, and when I feel confident with the move, I'll add the 2.5 lbs.

My shins were also hurting during the butt kicks, but not enough to make me stop.

No weigh

I hate stepping on the scale to weigh myself. I think part of the reason I gained 13 or 14 pounds in the first four years of marriage was because we didn't have a working scale so I never, ever weighed myself during those years. Sure, my clothes were getting slightly tighter, but it was gradual, so I didn't really notice it.

When I started Weight Watchers in July, I weighed myself every morning. At first, I lost weight when I went in for my weekly weigh-ins, so I was happy to step on the scale. But, then I gained weight one week. It was only 1/2 a pound, and it happended to be the week after an out-of-town wedding where most meals for three days straight were eaten in a restaurant, but it was enough to frustrate me. It was also about that time when I started to notice and get frustrated with the fluctuations in my weight. Somehow, from one morning to the next, I would gain or lose up to three pounds. I know that's not possible, but I've never had anyone give me a satisfactory explanation for these weight fluctuations. I know I weigh slightly more right before my period starts, and I have noticed that I seem to "lose" weight shortly after my period ends.

I've gone back and forth for the past few days over whether I should document my weight in this blog. For now, I've decided not to post my weight on a daily basis, but I reserve the right to change my mind once I get within 10 pounds of my ultimate goal, but at the rate I'm going currently, that won't be for a while.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My personal trainer

The most serious I've ever been about losing weight (before now) was in May of 2007. I visited my doctor for my annual exam, and I was appalled at the number on the scale when I got weighed. It had been 18 months since the birth of my second child, and I was about 14 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. I set my mind toward losing those 14 pounds, at least.

For about two months, I worked out on my own at least 3 days a week. I tried to watch what I ate, but truth be told, I didn't change my eating habits or limit my caloric intake at all. I'm one of those people who fall into the trap of "I worked out today, I can eat whatever I want." So, I didn't lose any significant weight, but I was encouraged by some signs that I was toning up.

In June of 2007, I read an article about a new company of personal trainers who made house calls. The rates seemed reasonable enough, so I called the number in the paper. When I hung up the phone, I had an appointment with a personal trainer for the following week. After doing the intial assessment, we agreed that I needed to work out at least 4 days a week. Two days a week the personal trainer would come to my house at 6:00 am, and the other two days a week I'd be on my own. The trainer put together a little routine for me to follow on his off days, and I was pretty diligent about doing it.

The best thing about having the personal trainer, for me, was that he really taught me how to work out. He taught me how to push myself, and he made me realize that I was strong and could get stronger. He showed me new exercises, ones I never would have tried on my own. He started me off with 2 pound weights, but he had me doing most exercises with 10 pound weights in no time.

Unfortunately, I did not see the results I was looking for. I was expecting the weight to "melt" off me given all the lean muscle mass I was building. In three months of intense working out, I lost about nine pounds and several inches. My trainer also expressed dismay at my lack of weight loss. He suggested that perhaps my metabolism was "off" and urged me to get my thyroid checked. When my blood work came back "normal," I decided to let the trainer go because I could not justify the $125 a week for what I considered sub-par results.

It was around this time that I discovered Jari Love and her Get Ripped 1000 workout. This is the DVD that alternates between segments of cardio bursts and strength training. I never would have considered this video prior to working out with the trainer, I never would have had the confidence in my ability to do the moves. But after working with the trainer, I knew I could do it.

Unfortunately, at the end of October 2007, our family was struck with a sudden and major tragedy, and my desire and will to work out ended abruptly. It took me until July 2008 to get motivated again to lose weight. I did work out sporadically during the winter months, but I was nowhere near as serious as I had been.

When I went back to my doctor for my annual exam for 2008, I weighed exactly what I weighed the year before. Ironically, the doctor actually commended me for not gaining any weight over the course of the year. I then had to admit to him that I had actually lost and then gained about 9 pounds.

Today, I'm actually a pound or two less than I was when I was working out with the personal trainer. I'm not satisfied, I will keep going. I can't think about where I might be if I had kept going. I just know that I have a goal, and I have motivation. I have a series of incentives, and I think I've given myself a realistic time frame to lose the weight I want to lose. With Weight Watchers' help, I've changed my eating habits. I'm not a perfect dieter by any means, I still cheat, and I "overeat" my points on occasion. But I think, if I keep plugging away, I can get to where I want to be.

Day 5: food

Breakfast: yogurt w/ high fiber cereal; 1/4 of a donut = 4 pts
Lunch: veggies and dip = 3 pts.
Dinner: Cajun Chicken Lasagne = 12 pts (I'm rounding way, way up as I don't know for sure)
And a piece of homemade apple pie with apples picked by the kids yesteday w/ gram and papa, so there are virtually no points!!! (0r maybe 6 pts, give or take)

Day 5

Alarm: 5:20, didn't get out of bed until 5:56
I'm really tired this morning. I have almost no energy, and I'm kind of dreading the workout. Without the motivation of this blog, any other day I would have stayed in bed, but I get up and do it.

When the workout starts, I'm kind of lethargic, but I keep pace with every move. I did, however, revert to 5 lb dumbbells for the squat presses.

I have a confession: I did not do the side lunge with anterior raise move. I find that exercise to be very difficult. I don't know why it's so hard, perhaps I am doing it wrong which is creating stress and causing pain. I reward myself for getting up and making it through the workout by not doing that exact exercise. I substitute squats and dead lifts with 8 lb weights instead. I only feel slightly guilty.

Weight Watchers

I hand-wrote the following entry in my journal on July 22, 2008 and decided to type it up and post it here.

I'm at it again, trying to lose weight that is. Last year at this time it was the personal trainer; the year before that, who knows?!

This year it's Weight Watchers. I joined for an initial 8 weeks, I'm just finishing up week one. The points system is easy to follow, and most days it's relatively easy to stay within a point or 2 of my daily points allowance.

The problem right now is I'm constantly thinking about foor and about points. I keep going back over the points index in the Eat Wisely book again and again. I also keep going over the meal plan in the kickstart book. I'm hoping that the obsession with food and points wears off.

Initially, I'm working towards losing 10% of my weight. I'm optimistic that I can lose 10% in the next 7 weeks. I don't think it will be easy, by any means, but at least I have something to work for and as long as I see results, I'm hoping I'll be inspired to keep going to my ultimate goal.

I have seen several women I know lose weight on the WW program, and I hope it works for me.

Day 4: Food log

Breakfast: Egg white omelet with feta cheese, spinach, tomato, and green pepper = 5 pts

Lunch: veggies and light dill dip = 4 pts

Dinner: soup and salad, almost no dressing = 6 pts; normally I drink water with my meals, but today I had a Diet Coke.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


At some point in one of Jari's DVDs (I think during one of the push-up segments), she says something like, "with every effort there comes a reward." I've decided that I need to set up small incentives for myself to keep me going this month. I've written briefly about my motivation (to lose weight for our ten year annivesary next year), but I think I need to reward myself with something small along the way to my ultimate goal.

I'm still working on the details, but this is what I'm thinking. I've been wanting to purchase for myself m.d. skincare's exfoliating pads. But, at a whopping $75 at Sephora, I just can't justify the expense for something that will only last me 30 days. I'm just not sure what level of success in this endeavor should warrant my desired reward.

I know I should say 100% workout and blogging output, but is that realistic? Is it even physically possible and/or advisable for me to workout for 30 days straight? Should it matter whether it's realisitic? Should I allow myself to skip 2 or 3 days of working out? What if I skip one day of blogging but I make up for it by writing 2 entries on the following day?

At this moment, I am leaning toward 100% workout and 100% blogging between now and October 31. Yes, I realize that's longer than 30 days, given that I started on September 25, but I can keep myself going for the extra six days with the knowledge that we have a wedding to attend on November 1, and I've already bought myself a size 6 dress that I want to wear.

Day 4: workout

Just finished. Didn't wake up to an alarm this morning... that was nice.

The workout continues to get easier. (I said "easier," not "easy!") I started cramping up in my left side very early on, but I managed to work through it. Drinking water at the start of the ab section seemed to help, but I felt the water sloshing around in my stomach while I was doing the crunches. The pain started to subside about half-way through the workout.

I held pace with all of the cardio work and the push ups. I used 5 lb weights for the bicep curl-lunge combo, and I used 8lb weights for the bent over rows and the chest flies. I had to revert to 2.5 lb weights for the side lunge - anterior raise combo, though. That is the hardest exercise for me.

I'm not sure at what point I should move on to Level 2. It won't be for a few more days, but I'm already dreading it because I know it will be just like starting over.

About yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days that is typical of why I can't seem to lose any weight. The day started out just fine. It was a Saturday, and the plan for the day was to take the kids to my inlaw's house for the day, head to Ann Arbor for tailgating and a football game. As I mentioned, it's always hard for me to use self-control at the tailgates because of the scrumptious offerings of tailgate food, and yesterday was no exception. I did all right only eating a few veggies and a turkey brat with mustard. I did sneak a sugar cookie or two adorned with maize and blue "chocolate gems." I drank two Michelob Light Pomegranate beers and two bottles of water before we headed into the game.

We sat in our seats for the first half debacle of Michigan football (what a disaster that was), and left at halftime. And, no, I do not feel one ounce of remorse for having left early even though the team mounted the biggest comeback in Michigan Stadium history during the 500th game at the Big House. I take solace in knowing that the team's fortune would not have changed had I stayed to watch the rest of the game. The first half that I watched was atrocious!!

On the drive home, we made plans to go out to dinner with friends who also left the game early. We settled on a steak house in B'ham called Fleming's. While we were driving, Michigan was mounting its comeback, and by the time we reached our house, we turned on the television to watch Michigan win the game. So, now we had an excuse to "celebrate."

At Fleming's, I ordered a wedge of lettuce with bleu cheese dressing (4 pts), a petite filet (4 pts) with pan seared scallops (1 pt ). We had cheesy, jalapeno potatoes (3 pts), asparagus in olive oil (1 pt), and creamed spinach (3 pts) as our sides. I'm sure I drank at least 5 glasses of red wine over the course of the evening (8 pts). That meal alone was 24 points! More than my entire daily point allowance.

The meal was excellent! I don't regret eating it, but it's meals like that that set me back in my weight loss goals.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How I got here

I was 17 years old when I first started an exercise routine geared to help me lose weight. I was a senior in high school, and I wanted to look good in my bikini on the beach in the Bahamas for Spring Break. I didn't have a lot of weight to lose, I just wanted to slim down a little. I always had "thick thighs," and I was hoping that I could make them thinner.

During college, I worked out at UMich's CCRB using mainly the stair master and attending a variety of aerobics classes. In four years of college, I'd say I gained somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds.

When I went on to do my post-graduate work, I started running 3 miles a day, and occasionally I'd mix in some aerobics videos. I was able to maintain my weight during those three years. My first business suits were all size 4.

The day I got married, one year after graduating from law school, I weighed about seven pounds more than I did when I graduated from high school nine years earlier.

Somehow, in the last 9 years since I got married, I have gained and lost weight such that currently I am 17 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day. Four years into my marriage, before getting pregnant with my first child, I had gained 13 pounds. I have weighed as much as 178 lbs, which was on the day I gave birth to my first child. Before getting pregnant with my second child, I was within 10 or 11 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.

Since July, I have been able to lose most of my remaining "pregnancy" weight; Today, I am a mere four pounds away from what I weighed when I got pregnant with my first child. That may look good on paper, but the unfortunate thing is that my body parts simply are not as firm and taught as they once may have been. Whereas before I always thought my "problem areas" were my inner thighs and saddle bags, today the most pronounced problem areas are my stomach pouch and "thick waist." This is not to say that I still don't find my inner thighs to be a problem, that area has simply fallen in my list of priorities.

My goal is to lose 17 pounds by next June. In honor of our 10 year anniversary, I'm hoping to weigh what I weighed the day I got married. Depending on how that goes, maybe I'll push myself to lose an additional 7 pounds so I can say that I weigh what I weighed in high school.

Day 3: Points log

Tailgate days are always a challenge. I don't keep track of every single item that I eat or drink. I try to eat in moderation and keep a mental tab running, but as it goes when there's a smorgasbord of junk food, it's not easy. My contribution to the tailgates is usually a healthy option, like fruits and veggies. But of course, I always eat the brownies, rice krispie treats, and cookies that others have brought. I have very little self control, and my philosophy is not to deprive myself.

We'll see how today goes, but I'm not promising a food points log today.

Day 3

Alarm: 6:02. I was going to allow myself one snooze, but at 6:04 I shot out of bed upon realizing that I forgot to cut up my veggies for today's tailgate.

The workout was decidedly easier this morning. I didn't miss any jumping jacks, and I didn't rest for any lunges. I also used 5 lb dumbbells for the bent over row exercise, and I used 8 lb dumbbells for the chest flies. I am not as stiff or sore as I was yesterday.

I still couldn't even think about doing the routine 2x though, and despite the fact that the routine seemed easier today, I don't think I'm nearly ready to move on to Level 2.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 2: energy observation

Yesterday, I wrote a short post describing my "increased energy" for the day. I wrote that it was noticeable enough that I thought I should mention it. Well, today, I had the opposite of "increased energy." Between all the soreness and stiffness in my neck and pecs, I have felt very sluggish all day long. I did not have one of those Lipton energy packs today, either, for the record.

Love Jari Love

As I have written, I wasn't really looking to replace my Jari Love workouts. I really do love her programs. I stumbled upon her about a year ago much the same way I recently stumbled upon Jillian's Shred video. For Christmas, I asked for and received a three pack of her videos, Ripped, Ripped to the Core, and Slim and Lean. In July, I purchased Get Ripped 1000.

Jari's programs are approximately 60 minutes long; the workouts are broken down into short segments of mostly strength and conditioning moves. Representative moves include push ups, lunges, bicep curls, tricep extensions, dead lifts, squats, and ab work. I started out using 2.5 lb weights and gradually worked up to 8 lb weights. Recently, I even contemplated purchasing 10 lb weights to start using with some of the moves.

To the Core is my favorite DVD as it contains compound moves. For example, instead of doing a solitary dead lift, we do dead lifts with bicep curls; chest flies with raised hips; and tricep extensions with the opposite leg raised to focus on the abs.

In the 1000 program, Jari added cardio segments. She alternates between strength training moves and cardio work most of which is done with a step. For example, "up-ups" are followed by squats which are followed by "the skiier" which is followed by lunges, and on and on.

Slim and Lean is my least favorite of the four that I own. The problem with S&L from my perspective is the pulsing. I still work out with this video on occasion, but I don't follow the pulsing with all the moves, sometimes I just do the whole move (e.g. a full squat instead of a pulse squat.)

I like Jari's programs. She pushes you, and she's certainly encouraging. Unlike Jillian, she encourages you to rest and requires you to stretch after each segment, especially in 1000's cardio segments.

What is so hard?

I can't quite figure out why Jillian's DVD seems so hard. The basic moves of the Level 1 portion are not hard. It must be the combination of the moves and the pace of the work that make it hard.

Jillian's DVD contains three 20 minute workouts: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each level is broken down into three circuits of strength, cardio, and ab work that are repeated three times each.

In Level 1, representative exercises for the strength training include: push ups, squat presses, lunges with bicep curls, and the chest fly. The cardio work includes such moves as jumping jacks, jump rope, and butt kicks. Traditional crunches and bicycle crunches, among other moves, are in the ab portion.

Again, individually, none of these moves are all that difficult, and most are actually easier than those found in Jari's DVDs, so I'm not quite sure why I have found Level 1 to be such a challenge thus far.

Day 2: Food log

DPA = 21+2 activity points = 23

Breakfast: high-fiber cereal with high-fiber yogurt and a glass of OJ= 3
Lunch: leftover tortellini (small portion) = 7
Dinner: 2 small slices of thin crust pizza = 9
snack small handful of knock-off m&ms = 3

Total: 22

update: While I was writing some posts last night, I munched on some Cheezit Party Mix for an additional 4 pts. I tried to stop myself, I really did...

That means I was over by 3 points for the day.

Day 2: workout

The alarm went off at 5:30, but today I didn't get up until after Kyle, at 5:56.

Again, I had ambitions of trying to do Level 1 back to back, but as soon as I tried to get out of bed, I realized how sore I am. Honestly, I am surprised at how sore I am. I have been working out diligently since July. I've been using weights and doing cardio with Jari, but obviously, Jillian targets a few different muscles. The pecs must be one of those muscles I wasn't using as much with Jari as that's where I'm the most sore.

I decide I can only use 2.5 lb weights again, I'm not ready to move up to 5 lb. Again, this surprises me, because I've been using 8 lb weights. Shortly after beginning the workout, I decide that I'm only going to be able to do Level 1 one time today.

Today, I do a little better at keeping up with Jillian's pace. I only skip 8 jumping jacks while I drink some water, and I rest for a total of 4 lunges (2 on each leg) during the difficult static lunges with bicep curl.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I wonder if they know each other

I have been a casual observer of NBC's show, The Biggest Loser, for a few seasons, so I at least knew who Jillian Michaels was when I stumbled upon her relatively new workout video, 30 Day Shred. I wasn't really looking to change my workout routine. I've been very happy with Jari Love's series of DVDs, I have 4 of them which I rotate through on a weekly basis. I find Jari's workouts challenging, I feel great when I'm done, and I have certainly seen positive changes in my physique. But, after watching the trailer for Jillian's 30 Day Shred DVD, I felt that she was challenging me.

I've tried just about everything to lose weight since the birth of my second child in October of 2005. I joined two different ladies only gyms; I've dieted; I've worked out with a personal trainer; I've worked out on my own; I've walked; I tried running; I workout with weights; I throw in some cardio. I've even tried a few "diet pills" and "colon cleaners," but no matter what combination of healthy eating and exercise I try, I simply do not see the results that I am looking for. The personal trainer I had was convinced that there was something wrong with my thyroid, so I had that checked, but it's fine.

This is not to say that I haven't seen any results. Sure, I've lost as much as 10 pounds. And, yes, since adding the free weights, I have definitely seen an increase in my strength and endurance, and yet, I can't seem to lose all the weight I'd like or look the way I think I should look given all the effort I've put forth.

Part of my problem has been consistency. I go all gang busters for a period of time, but then something happens (sickness, death, job stress, etc) which causes me to stop working out the way I was, and then I have a hard time getting back into it again. Kind of like the smoker who "never quits quitting," though, I do eventually get back into a workout routine in an effort to lose more weight.

For some reason, I've decided to take Jillian up on her challenge to shed weight in the next 30 days. We'll see if this time is different. I'm logging this experience because maybe it will shed some light into my own inability to stick with a work out program.

A points predicament

After typing that last post and figuring out the number of points that I can add to my daily points allowance (dpa) on the days that I work out, I realize there is another major difference between Jari and Jillian.

On Jari's program, I can give myself up to 7 extra points, depending on how long I work out and how intense the work out is. (I figure this out using weight watchers' activity points sliding scale.... 60 minutes of high output at my current weight gives me an additional maximum of 7 points.) I didn't add in the extra points every day that I worked out with Jari, but when I did eat the extra points, I never felt too guilty about it.

With Jillian's program, if I continue to workout for only 20 minutes, even with the high intensity, I only have an additional 2 points maximum. The way I love food, I guess this is my incentive to work out for the additional 20 minutes so I at least get 4 extra points.

Day 1: Food log

I realize that exercise alone will not get me to weight loss goals. Since July, I have been following Weight Watchers' points program. I plan to log my food and points on this blog as well.

My daily points allowance is 21.

Breakfast: high fiber yogurt mixed with high fiber cereal= 2 pts
Lunch: Tuna cakes = 7 pts
Dinner: Italian Smothered Steak = 10
Snack: Ice cream=4 pts
Activity points= 2, bringing dpa=23

Total for day: 23

Day 1: 11:00 am observation

I seem to have quite a bit of energy today. I'm not sure if it is attributable at all to the new work out I did this morning, but who knows. It was noticeable enough that I thought I'd document it.

Yesterday I added a packet of Lipton's Energize Iced Tea mix, blueberry and pomegranate flavor, to one bottle of water... again, I don't know if that has anything to do with my extra energy either.

Day 1

The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. My goal was to be out of bed before K. I got out of bed at 5:46, two minutes before the second snooze, and one minute before K.

After previewing Jillian's workout, my plan was to start with the Level 1 workout and use 5 lb weights. I figured 5 lbs would be no problem, I've been using 8 lb weights with Jari for the last month. By the end of the first set of strength exercises, I've switched to 2.5 lb weights, and I don't feel guilty about it.

In the beginning, I'm skeptical that Jillian's 20 minute workout will be enough; I'm used to Jari who keeps going for about 60 minutes in each of her intense workout sessions. When I start Jillian's program, I think I'll do Level 1 and Level 2 back to back for a total of 40 minutes. I think I can handle that, despite what I've read in the reviews of Jillian's program. At least I can't say I wasn't warned, I simply failed to heed the warnings.

About half-way through the first 20 minutes of Level 1, I decide to simply repeat Level 1.

At the end of the first 20 minutes, I am dripping with sweat and out of breath, I'm in no shape to do anything but the cool down!

Maybe tomorrow.

At first blush, the major difference between these programs (besides the length) is the fact that Jillian gives you absolutely no time to rest, not even for a drink of water. In contrast, Jari has you stretch after each short segment. That much stretching is annoying, and I admit that on occasion, when I am pressed for time, I fast forward through some of the stretching, but Jillian's extreme is no better, I need to drink water when I exercise. I admit, I missed the first few repetitions of a few of the exercises so I could gulp some much needed water.