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August 2013

Time for a gut check -- literally

I went up a pound this week and (no buts!) it's because my stomach has been ruling my life most of the week. I think this gut pain is beyond just acid. I'm tired of playing amateur gastro doc and last night made an appointment to see an actual one.

Early in the week, I was feeling pretty darn good. I've been avoiding wheat, because, why not? -- and Wednesday I seriously forgot and had a petite vanilla scone at Starbucks for breakfast. By the afternoon, the acid was churning away and the tummy ache was in full force. I didn't feel better until this morning, when I woke up feeling great. The only grains I've eaten yesterday and today have been oats and it's made a huge difference. It's like night and day.

Weird, huh?

OK, so why did I gain a pound? Because the only time my stomach stopped the flaming acid bath was when I had food in my stomach. Something as small as an ounce of cheese or a piece of fruit would occupy my stomach acid and I'd feel somewhat better.

But, geez! Eating all day is not conducive to weight loss.

And that is why I made the doctor appointment. I'd like to find out why I've had tummy troubles all my life and I'd like to stop them, preferably without having to take anything for it. I REALLY don't like "medicating the situation." It only masks the situation and doesn't change it.

CorazonasSo today -- whoo hoo! I had a Corazonas oatmeal square (Publix carries them now) and a Greek yogurt for breakfast, which was great. It's easy to go wheat free when there are nice alternatives like the oatmeal squares. Lunch was a salad and a homemade chocolate peanut butter protein bar, which was ... well, let's just say I'll be glad when they're gone. They're not bad but they make a crumbly mess.

I got in a good 'n' sweaty 3-mile walk at noon, which I hadn't been able to do when I wasn't feeling good. That felt great.

Until I see the doc, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing (avoiding wheat) and see if that makes things better. And my doing that, I can stop "feeding the fire" and go back down on the scale.

I am my own reality star

Gail table flipper copy
Well, you won't be seeing me lose weight on national TV anytime soon. 

I had applied to be a contestant on a national weight-loss makeover show that airs weekly on cable, and although I made it through a couple of hurdles, I found out last week that I didn't make the final cut. It's one of those things that's completely out of my control. They're casting a show, so perhaps I was the wrong age or attitude or nationality. 

So I decided that I'll continue to lose this weight on my own and be my own reality star.

Let's see -- I'll need some challenges. How about:

  • Maneuver your way through the pantry full of healthy but addictive snacks that your teenage son requires for after school!
  • Try and schedule your workout while you wait for home repairmen to show up "sometime" during the day! (Failed that one today.)
  • Try not to get heatstroke or chased by 4-foot lizards while on your morning walk!

Scale drama? Nope, sorry. We've done away with that.

Working out until I pass out? No, not doing that anymore either.

I guess my reality show won't make for great TV, 'cuz how sexy is moderation?

"Extreme Moderation!" Call me, Hollywood.

The Friday brain dump: Talking gymbags, Pink, and Wham!

First off, feast your eyes on this:

Very happy with that, and I didn't weigh in like a crazy person. Just got on, got off and went on with my day. I skipped last Friday's weigh-in because I was in Orlando at the Zumba Convention.

Today's workout was at the gym because I don't do it very often and felt like I should justify my membership.

While I was basking in the glow of my consistent weight loss and tying my sneakers, I looked at the gymbag (it's a Livewell 360 Core bag) sitting on the dining room table and saw this:

Gymbag message
Ahhh, yes, peace.

That's exactly what I was feeling as I got ready for the gym. I stopped "crazy weighing," I actually cut back on my workouts -- still getting in four days a week -- and have been making sure I have one or two smoothie meals a day. Why? Because I love making them and I love that I can load 'em up with produce and protein to keep me full for hours.

I'm in one of those "head screwed on right" places and I intend to not disturb this groove.

On the way back from the gym, Pink's song "Try" came on and the chorus echoed my feeling about the whole weight-loss thing.

Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame ...

Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned.

But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die ...

You gotta get up and try, and try and try.

I know she wrote it about relationships but I twisted it in my head to mean what I wanted it to mean. I pushed myself on the treadmill and on the weight machines. Pushed past my comfort zone. Higher incline, more weight. And I didn't die. 

So Wham! Where does that fit in?

It was time for my monthly massage (I do that instead of neck surgery), and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" came on in the parking lot, where I sang and danced in my car until it was over. 

Because, hey, it's Wham!

(I could post the Wham! video but why do that when there's "Zoolander"!)

Link love: A bad diet can cause brain damage

Forbes eating page
Great article on today about how a high-fat, high-simple carb diet can damage your brain and screw up the signals in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates metabolism.

But all is not lost, cronut burger fans. Melanie Haiken writes:

Switching to a healthy diet can heal the hypothalamic damage that’s playing havic with your hunger and satiety cues.

She also points to a study by the University of Liverpool that showed that omega-3 fatty acids can mitigate some of the negative effects of the sat fats and simple carbs.

Anyway, go read the article. If you're a nutrition geek, it's fascinating.

Tunes for Tuesday: Marioneta, by Zumba Fitness ft. Beto Perez & Myrto Meletiou

Who knew that Zumba creator Beto Perez was a singer? When I sat down to talk to him and told him I was going to focus on the music side of Zumba, his eyes lit up. I talked to him on Saturday morning about this song, a collaboration with Cypriot Zumba instructor and singer Myrto Meletiou. It's an international fusion, something that Beto is passionate about. 

"She’s singing in Greek, I sing in Spanish, the base of the song is hip-hop, and the second base is cumbia -- imagine this crazy combination," Perez said.  

To sleep, perchance to lose some weight

Get in bed
Kinda apropos that I'm writing this post at 10 at night. This is what I do after everyone goes to bed -- watch TV, surf the Web, surf the pantry, surf the fridge ...


I (and Roni) have renewed our vow to hit the hay in our respective homes earlier to get more sleep. We said we were going to do it, and at least for me, that plan got pushed back and back and back, and next thing I know it's 1 a.m.

But today was the first day of high school for the kid (yikes!) and I had to take him to school instead of the husband, who had to get to work extra early. So I set my Fitbit to buzz me awake at 6:45. The Fitbit software lets you schedule the alarm for one time or repeating times. I was just going to schedule it for today but I said "No, Monday through Friday! Get your day started earlier and get to bed earlier."

I figure the more I'm sleeping, the less I'm eating.

And I know I've said this before, but more and better sleep quality helps with weight loss. When you're sleep deprived, your hormones get out of whack, which makes you even hungrier than you normally are. And I'm already hungry all the time.

So ... good night!

Oh! And if you want a little fun reading, I got back from the Zumba Convention in Orlando, Fla., and wrote this article on Zumba's influence on music:

Hello from Zumba World!

Sherri shepherd keynote Zumba Convention 2013 Orlando
Sherri Shepherd was hilarious at the Zumba Convention kickoff gathering. This year I brought the real camera and took loads of photos.

Poking my head in to say hi from Orlando, Fla. I'm knee deep in audio transcripts and scribbled notes from the annual Zumba Instructor Convention, which is probably the most fun a person can have covering an event. 

I've already watched Zumba creator Beto Perez play against his own avatar on a new Xbox game, interviewed Sherri Shepherd and Sean Paul, watched an impressive Fitness Concert with 8,000 instructors all dancing in time to the music and got to be one of the first people ever to try out a top-secret new Zumba workout. I actually had to sign a non-disclosure agreement about it, so I'll let you know all about it later this year.

I also got to play "Zumba Santa Claus" and brought Fitbloggin' Zumba Queens Sue O'Lear and Samantha Collins to a kickoff cocktail party where they got their photos taken with Beto and celeb instructor Kass Martin.

I also got to hang out last night with Alina and Robin, two former newspaper pals who are also Zumba instructors. (I apparently know a lot of Zumba instructors.)

I've locked myself in my hotel room with a bag of baby carrots and I'm not coming out until I have one of my articles written and all the photos uploaded. 

There's a scale in my hotel bathroom and although today is my usual weigh-in day, I'm not using the scale because it's not MY scale and I'm not going to make myself nutso on any fluctuations. I'm just going to make sure to exercise when I can, move as much as possible (just not right now) and seek out vegetables.

Drop Two Sizes: My new BFF workout

drop two sizes dvd
A scene from the 'Drop Two Sizes' DVD set. Rodale photo

I'm only on week two but I'm totally loving Rachel Cosgrove's "Drop Two Sizes" DVD set. I've been wanting to focus more on strength training for ages but could never get past my love of cardio.

But after tiring of this plateau, I decided there was no time like the present and ordered the set from Rodale. It's actually a really good deal -- for $35 you get 6 DVDs that make up the 12-week program. 

I've done a zillion DVDs over the years and I can honestly say this is the best strength-training workout I've done in a long time. After I'm done, I'm totally sweaty, winded and (at least the first week) sore as heck. 

I'm not very good at following programs but this one is so impressive and doable I think I'll be able to stick with it awhile.

I also started (FINALLY!) reading "The Smarter Science of Slim" by Jonathan Bailor. I bought the book more than a year ago but I've been listening to his podcasts a lot lately so I ventured in this morning while waiting for an oil change. I'm barely into it but I like the fact that it works on resetting your set point because my point is set firmly and it needs lowering. 

But while the scale has been stagnant, I felt like I was firming up so I took out the ol' tape measure and waddya know! I dropped another inch off my waist, so it's 37 inches now.

And my switch-up in working out has caused another great side effect -- things that had been bothering my physically (neck, knee, upper back) don't bother me anymore.

So I'm digging life right now. 

The rest of the week should be also pretty diggable -- I'm driving up to cover the Zumba Convention in Orlando and if it's anything like last year, it'll be a great experience plus a great workout (the convention is HUGE).