Previous month:
April 2013
Next month:
June 2013

May 2013

I'm being a big, bloaty baby today

Pms bloaty whining
Yeah, today's my weigh-in day but I wasn't going to get near the scale this morning. I'm in one of those over-a-certain-age prolonged PMS fiestas and I woke up looking and feeling like a Macy's balloon with a raging back-of-the-neck headache.

After an Aleve and an Extra-Strength Bayer the headache is pretty much gone but I'm going to weigh in tomorrow and will report the results regardless of the outcome.

But today? Waaaah.

See ya tomorrow.

Tunes for Tuesday: Podcast roundup edition

Gotta be honest -- I've been listening to podcasts more than music on my walk/jog adventures.

(I was going to regale you with my favorite baseball walkup mariachi song [Adrian Gonzalez's "El Mariachi Loco"] but I thought better of that. Some people just don't appreciate mariachi music.)

So while there's not much music going on, there is a whole lot of fun, informative information going on. Here's what fills my Nano these days (they're all available through iTunes but I'm linking to the podcasts directly if you need other ways of listening):

The Jillian Michaels Podcast: I've been listening to Jillian since she had a Sunday radio show in L.A. Those shows were made into podcasts, and after she discontinued them, fans were in a fitness funk. But in February 2011, Jillian resumed podcasting and posts a new 45ish-minute edition nearly every Monday. Her show offers much more than the "toughest trainer" persona. Jillian and her sidekick Janice chat about fitness, of course, but also food, family, emotional issues and relationship advice (Jillian half-jokingly has added a "Love Doctor" segment to the show.)

Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy: Another longtime favorite, this podcast features the two title dudes (plus "Mighty Mom" Katie Scharf), talking to fitness DVD stars, authors, star trainers and athletes. The hourlong weekly podcasts offer lots of fit-living info with a liberal dose of humor.

Robert Ferguson's Diet Free Life: Robert is one of my favorite "diet gurus." I'm reluctant to use the term "diet" because his whole philosophy is to live diet free. Robert, who has a master's degree in counseling psychology and certifications in fitness and performance nutrition, blends all those specializations into his Diet Free Life System, which he does talk about at length in his podcasts, which are recordings of his weekly Internet radio show. I love how motivating and funny Robert is and how he makes losing weight very realistic and stress-free.

Nacho Mama's Podcast: Margo Porras is a weight-loss blogger who lost over 70 pounds. She blogs and also has a podcast, where she discusses everything from Weight Watchers to reality TV to fitness with chatty humor. Her podcasts are every other week and are about an hour long. And I'm really psyched that we'll get a chance to meet in person next month at Fitbloggin'!

I've been scouring iTunes for other podcast ideas and have a few loaded up on the iPod but I haven't listened to those yet. I'll let you know how those stack up.

Until then ... oh, heck, enjoy the mariachi music!

Do I have fitness performance anxiety? - That's the last time I go

Well, it happened again last week. I took a wonderful class at the schwanky Exhlale Spa in Miami and halfway through I felt that old feeling, which I described in the post: Pei Wei and Zumba: A Cautionary Tale.

That time I chalked up the "bottom dropping out" feeling to working out really hard immediately after eating. 

This wasn't the case this time -- I had eaten Greek yogurt mixed with oats and walnuts. Not too big, not too small. 

Last week's barre class wasn't high impact but it was pretty high intensity. Plus the class was full and it took place in a very sunny, slightly warm room filled with young, fit and experienced exercisers -- and me. And once again I felt the need to keep up with everyone. I was wearing the wrong socks (you need grippy socks and I was wearing running socks), I was probably dressed a little too warmly (long yoga pants and a black T-shirt made me a solar collector in that window-filled room), I was dripping sweat, and I frankly felt like a big ol' fish out of water (emphasis on BIG and OLD).

So I was doing my best, which wasn't good enough for perfectionist me. I pushed and pushed and 30 minutes in, it hit me again -- woozy, nauseous, light-headed and wobbly.

I smilingly gathered my stuff, left the workout room and headed to the hotel's gym, where I guzzled down cup after cup of water, put my head between between my legs and thought to myself "Don't puke, don't pass out, don't puke, don't pass out."

And I didn't. I walked back to my car but first stopped at a drugstore for a protein bar and a big container of coconut water, which I drank on the drive home.

Did I mention that the same thing happened to me around this time last year in another group fitness setting? Well, yeah, but that time I put on a show for some people, projectile vomiting and ending with a knee-buckling pass-out, which I had never done in my life.

Thankfully the fitness event was at a public beach and a bevy of lifeguards rushed over with water and ice. After drinking about a half gallon of water and being ice-packed all over, I felt just fine, if not supremely embarrassed.

After I got back home (it was an out-of-town gig), I made sure I saw the doctor, who signed me up for an echo stress test, which I passed with flying colors (seriously -- even the techs said I did super well for someone my, ahem, age and size). The results sheet even said "good exercise tolerance."

My doc's diagnosis -- syncope (fancy word for fainting). It's a temporary loss of consciousness due to the sudden decline of blood flow to the brain.

It can also "almost happen." I'll let Alexandra and Kymberly from the wonderful blog Fun and Fit explain:

 Pre-syncope is when you have signs that you’re about to faint, but manage to recover before fainting occurs.

I found their blog post after I got back from Miami last week. It was just the thing I needed to read to slap some sense into me, and give me perhaps another clue.

I had all the same variables that I had the other two times: overexercising, dehydration (oh, the sweat!), overheating. But the one variable I didn't think about until recently -- stress and anxiety -- made me think that I have an issue with "playing with others." 

I can jog in 90-degree heat, I can Zumba with friends (I'm the one in the white shirt and purple headband in this video from last year's Fitbloggin'), I can do a Hip-Hop Abs or TurboFire DVD in the comfort of my home -- all without passing out or even feeling like I'm going to.

Only time this happens is when I'm in a big class of skinny strangers.

So here's where we all get to play armchair exercise psychologist:

Is "performance anxiety" that one piece that sets my Jenga tower of fitness toppling over?


I'm OK with the status quo this week

Exactly the same this week, which is totally OK, since I was expecting disaster. I'm REALLY salt sensitive, it's "that time of the month" and last night involved a few fried pickles and a restaurant meal. We pretty much never go out to dinner during the middle of the week but the kid was in Orlando on a school trip (for the second time this month) so we went to our favorite neighborhood "gourmet sports bar" (Bokamper's).

So when I got on the scale this morning, I was good with the number because I know that after a few days, any extra bloat will magically vanish.

Guys don't have to worry about this nonsense, do they?

Recipes? We don't need no stinkin' recipes!

I've been trying to cut back on costs by using up food languishing in my pantry and freezer and I came up with a fab dinner a couple nights ago using these items:

Scallops and collards
I think the ingredients are pretty clear, but the leafy stuff in the plastic wrap is a bunch of local organic collards, which I love because they're not a sandy mess like other brands. The things in the bowl are 9 ounces of frozen Patagonian scallops.

I just started pulling food out of the fridge, freezer and pantry and thought I could make some sort of sweet and sour vaguely Asian scallop dish. I'm sorta obsessed with that Tasty Bite Thai Lime Rice, which I found a couple weeks ago at Whole Foods. But when I went to Publix last weekend I found it there, too, so I'm jazzed. No, it's not whole grain brown rice but it's damn tasty. It went really well with the dish. And even though it's supposed to serve 2, I stretched it to 3 servings.

So what did I do with all this food? Let's call it:

Sweet & Sour Scallops and Greens

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon ginger

1 bunch collard greens (or your favorite hearty leafy green), chopped

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, not drained

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon soy sauce

9 ounces Patagonian scallops, thawed if frozen

Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and swirl it around in the oil. Then add the collards, turn the heat to medium, cover and let the greens wilt down a bit.

Uncover the pan and add the pineapple, juice and all, along with the lime juice and soy sauce. Cook for around 7 minutes, then add the scallops and stir fry until they're no longer translucent. (They cook quickly, so it may only be 5 minutes or so.)

Serve over rice.

Makes 3 servings.

The dish came to around 270 calories, without the rice.

I sprinkled on some sesame seeds, because I love 'em. I buy them in the sushi section of the grocery store because they're toasted and they're really cheap.

And here's the final dish:

Sweet and sour scallops with greens
Sweet & Sour Scallops and Greens



I feel totally locked in

Surfboard of success
Driving home from the grocery store last night, I thought to myself “I am totally locked in.”

I was sipping on a bottle of Propel that I just purchased, and thinking about all the good decisions I made this weekend.

I took advantage of the fantastic weather and walked outside four times last week, logging nearly 12 miles. I did a little “functional fitness” Sunday afternoon and my husband and I washed our cars in the driveway, old-school with buckets and hoses.

Locked in.

Fridays are our night to dine out, and we went to Chipotle. I got the burrito bowl with chicken but unlike most weeks, I left off the guacamole because I had guacamole at lunch (those 100-calorie packs of Wholly Guacamole are staples in our house). I also left off the cheese and sour cream, but I usually do that.

Locked in.

I’ve been getting in my food and tracking before 9 p.m. and making a big mug of decaf green tea every night. I admit – I really want to eat, but that’s not my plan.

Locked in.

(Well, except last night when MS Word completely ATE the first draft of this blog post and I completely ATE a bag of Popcorners. Totally rage ate.)

But right back on the horse (and hitting “save”).

OK, here’s where this blog post gets complicated.

I had seen some online discussions of “healthy living” bloggers who were anything but healthy looking. They were shockingly thin, yet still restricting their eating and overexercising.

That’s when I thought to myself “If I could harness just a tiny fraction of their obsessive dedication …”

Is that wrong? Unhealthy? I’m conflicted.

I have a lifelong tendency to stray from my given plan, no matter how well I’m doing at the time. It’s just how I’m wired. I marvel at people’s sticktoitiveness.

But those driven, skinny women … how do they do it?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be skinny. Hell, my goal weight right now is 199, which is far from skinny, although on me it’s a size 12. Besides, I don’t believe it is genetically possible for this size 12 shoe-wearin’ Eastern European chick to be skinny.

Because as locked in as I am right now, it could unlock just as quickly. (See Popcorners demolition.)

I've gotta be honest -- I'm envious of their dedication, as misguided as it is.

After Friday’s weigh-in, I’m lower than I’ve been in months. I’m riding a wave of motivation, but there are gobs of seaweed heading toward me, threatening to knock me off my Surfboard of Success.

Learning how to stay on this surfboard while dodging the seaweed (or Popcorners, or what have you) is my biggest challenge.

So I dug out my Endorphin Warrior bracelet I bought last year and snapped it on. 

Relentless bracelet
... because I am.

Friday weigh-ins for the win

When I told the Weight Shrink that I was changing my weigh-in day from Mondays to Fridays, she pooh-pooed it as me making another excuse for bad results on the scale.

But I know my body and I had a feeling that Mondays were a bad idea, given all the "celebratory sodium" over the weekend.

So today, after I got back from my walk (my fourth one this week, adding up to 11.7 miles), I stepped on the scale and reached that number you see above you. That number is significant because in the past, when I'd ramp up my exercise, my hunger would also ramp up, and also my weight.

This week was different -- I battled my demons in the late-night kitchen and took off that weight that bounced back up on Monday, so that I'm lower than I was a couple Mondays ago.

(I know, it's hard to compare weights when I keep changing the weigh-in day, so we'll just go with what you see up there on my Withings chart. I'll be posting that every Friday now.)

Gotta admit, not eating after 9 p.m. is HARD most nights. I'm often really and truly stomach-growling hungry, but I'm eating around 1,500 calories a day so I'm not starving myself or anything. It's just that my physiology has gotten accustomed to the 10 p.m. or so "feeding time at the zoo" and the Pavlovian reflexes are kicking in.

And they stink.

But hey! I like the Friday weigh-ins. The number has me supercharged to continue the good work over the weekend so I don't undo this.

So, in honor of these renewed Get Fit Friday posts, here's a little song for y'all:

Gettin' saucy with Subway: A giveaway!

Pulled chicken in barbecue sauce and you don't even have to pull out the grill! Subway has a new limited-edition sammie on its Fresh Fit menu: The Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich. It’s also one of their $6 footlong specials, which makes a great meal for two at 380 calories for a 6-incher.

We tried out the new sub recently and it was saucy without being squishy, with a nice ratio of chicken to sauce. Usually I'm an "everything but the kitchen sink" Subway orderer, but I wanted to really check out the flavor of the sub so I kept things simple and ordered it with lettuce, red onion, tomatoes and pickles (pickles and barbecue sauce are a match made in heaven). 

Would you like to have a Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich of your very own? How about a few of them? 

I'm giving away a $25 Subway gift card and here's how you can win it:

  • Tell me in the comments what you love most about your favorite Subway sandwich. I'll go first: I love the fact that I can control exactly what goes into my sub and also that Subway has removed all the high fructose corn syrup from its breads -- yay!

This is a limited-issue sammich so time is of the essence. I'll choose a winner on WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 at 8 p.m. ET. You'll need to get back to me quickly so Subway can get you your gift card. 

Disclosure: Subway provided me with a gift card plus one for the winner of this giveaway. All opinions are my own and are not edited or approved by Subway.