Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 261 - Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter!!  I slept so well last night, and Michael slept in until 9 this morning.  It was truly amazing.  Of course, since we had to check out this morning, sleeping in meant the morning was a little rushed.  But that’s OK.  It all worked out really well. 

While Michael and Steve spent some time in the pool, I went back to the hotel gym and used their stepper/elliptical machine.  I wanted to try something different, and this definitely fit the bill!  Because we were in a little bit of a hurry, I ended up only doing 30 minutes, but they were pretty intense.

After we got home, we spent some time doing Easter things.  Michael loved hunting for eggs, and playing with a few new toys.  We don’t do holiday candy, so that worked out really well.  And, just seeing him so happy was definitely the high point of the day.

I did notice a couple really good milestones today, though.  I took Michael into the HBOT for 90 minutes.  Normally, I would have to lie on one side for the entire time.  Today, I was actually able to sit up and rest against the end of the chamber with a pillow.  That was so much more comfortable.  And, I also noticed, that I am having a much easier time getting out of the chamber.  Before, it was always a struggle to get my feet underneath me.  The last few times, I have been able to swing my leg forward and just stand up.  Little victories make a big difference in everyday life!

After things calmed down, I did a short yoga video.  It was a beginner DVD geared more toward stretching, but it was definitely what I needed today.  I loved that it really used the strap, and let me get into poses I would never be able to do otherwise.  For example, using the strap around my feet let me hold the boat pose a lot longer than I would ever be able to do 100% on my own.  Very nice!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 260 - Intervals on the treadmill

The hotel has a really nice gym, and I used it today.  I ran intervals on the treadmill for half an hour, and then walked for half an hour.  I was so tired and sweaty after I was done, it was just like being back at the resort.  My shirt was soaked through, but I was happy, and so proud of myself.  I have a long way to go before the 5K in July, but this is progress.  Did I mention being exhausted, and proud of myself?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 259 - Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and it's pretty much a family day.  After work, we took off for a local adventure, but I was still able to get to my Friday night yoga class.  It felt so good to stretch and work out.  When I think back to my first class, I know I have come a long, long way.

The joy of the day was just seeing how excited Michael was to leave on our adventure.  I am hoping that this weekend turns into a great family trip.  I probably won't be posting a huge amount, but it should be a great weekend. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 257 - Just Yoga

I had planned to go to the gym early tonight and get on the treadmill and do another C25K workout.  But, my legs were still hurting me a lot from Monday night, so I decided to just stick with yoga tonight.

I think that it was the best decision Icould have made.  Coming out of yoga I actually felt relaxed and happy, rather than sore and exhausted.  It feels strange to kick things down a bit, but I think my body is responding really well. 

The joy of the day was probably the yoga class.  It felt so great to just be stretched and relaxed.  I definitely love that feeling!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 256 - Rest Day and 5K Dreams

Today was a planned rest day, and wow, did I need it.  I know I’ve said that exact thing before, but it is so true.  Today, my legs hurt so badly that it feels like they are trying to fall off.  My arms hurt almost as bad.  But hey, my abs are fine.  (Cathie, please don’t read that as a challenge!) 

I had been planning on doing the next workout in Couch to 5K tomorrow, but I am thinking that I’ll just do yoga instead.  It’s still a great workout.  I just don’t think my legs are going to be up for running tomorrow.  If I’m wrong and I wake up feeling great, I’ll be back at it tomorrow.  That’s a promise.  For now, there is an infrared sauna in my future!

Oh yeah, the joy of the day.  I have been asking my friends and family if they would consider joining the 5K team.  And, so far, several have said yes.  I am so excited!  The more people doing this, the more I feel like I can handle it.  I’m not sure why, but it’s really important to me.  So, if you have free time on July 14th, would you consider joining us?  Just let me know and I’ll tell you how to sign up for the team.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 255 - Monday Exhaustion

Today I realize that I am making the right decision by cutting back a little.  I know this because I am completely exhausted, and my muscles are hurting beyond belief.  I didn’t want to give up either my muscle challenge class, or my yoga class tonight, so I did both.  Just like every other Monday night.  But tonight, it seems to have drained every last drop of energy that I had.  So, I am more convinced than ever that I need to cut back for a bit and see what happens.

That said, the first class was really, really good.  I was doing rows with 20 pound weights, and bicep curls with fifteen.  Those are really good numbers for me.  But, by the time we got into yoga, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a great practice.  The moves have been getting more complicated, and so I have to modify a lot more.  And tonight, there were times when I just had to rest in child pose for a bit.  It wasn’t a bad session, just not the best.
The joy of the day came when I told Cathie that I signed up for the 5K this morning.  She said that she would run with me a few times and keep me company.  And, that she was proud of me for signing up.  That meant a lot to me.  I have set up a team for the 5K.  If you are interested in joining, it’s July 14th in Washington, DC.  I am both excited and terrified!

Tonight, I am going to spend some extra time in the sauna, and hope that it helps my aching muscles and joints.  Then, it will be bedtime.  I am so looking forward to cuddling up with my pillow!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 254 - 36 Week Results, Picture Pending

I was supposed to have pictures today, but my computer died, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post this week’s result picture.  It’s on the camera, so I’ll post it eventually, but right now I am just praying that Steve gets the computer working again in time for work tomorrow.  But, the weight news is that I stayed the same this week.  So, I’m still stuck at 296 and 52 pounds down.

I’ve been really frustrated for a while now.  I’ve been doing everything I can think of to push my body to let go of this weight.  Nothing seems to be working.  So, I was talking with Steve (OK, whining, a lot) and he gave me a suggestion.  Every time I’ve tried to break this plateau, I’ve upped the exercise.  His suggestion was to actually cut back a little and see if my body responds better.
At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to cut back on the exercise, but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to at least try.  I’ve been so tired lately. I just haven’t been able to recover from my workouts, and I’m still tired after coming back from the resort.  And, even the recommendation from the resort was 45-60 minutes 5 days a week.  So, what I am going to do is this – drop to five days a week and one hour a day.  If I feel like doing more, I certainly will.  But, I think my body just needs a break.  And, I need to respect what my body is trying to tell me.

I’m really struggling with this.  It feels like I’m copping out or getting lazy, but the bottom line is that what I’ve been doing just isn’t working.  I have to try something else, and see if it works better. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or send me a message?
For today, I did a little over thirty minutes on the treadmill, alternating jogging intervals with walking.  It felt really good to be able to jog a little bit.  Even though it was slow, I loved that I was able to make it for a full minute at a time.  This is definitely good preparation for the 5K coming up in July.  Oh, I forgot to mention, does anyone want to do the 5K with me?  I’d love to have company!  Already, a friend that I met at the resort said she will do it, so we have a mini team going.  Want to join the team?

The other thing I did today was an amazing workout with a personal trainer.  He had me using the TRX system, kettle bells, and ropes.  It was such a hard workout, but really, really good.  I even did pushups on a 30” cube.  It was so nice to do full pushups, not from the knees.  As I get stronger, I’ll be able to go to a smaller cube, and then the floor.  I can’t wait!
The best part of the day today was going to the library with Michael and my Mother-in-Law.  It was just a quick errand, but it made Michael so happy.  I know he just wanted to go and ride the elevator, but he’s getting used to the idea of one trip up and one down.  And, any trip out of the house without a meltdown is a great thing.  Plus, it was nice for him to spend some time with his Grandmother.  All in all, a good day!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 253 - Starting to train for the 5K

Today was a pretty good day.  I took Michael to his yoga class and really worked up a good sweat.  The nice thing was that she did the sun salutations at a really slow pace, so I was actually able to keep up with them.  That was nice.

Then, this afternoon, I officially started preparation for the 5K in July.  I went to a local track and did the first workout from the couch to 5K app.  I wasn’t able to run for the full minute each running interval, but I did OK.  I will probably have to repeat week 1 a few times until I can get there, but I will keep at it.

After the jogging, I was really wiped out and kinda depressed.  I talked with Steve and will probably be making some changes to my program.  I need to think about it and iron some things out.  As soon as I finalize it, I’ll let you know.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 252 - Two Solid Hours

Short and sweet – an hour on the bike and a great hour at yoga.  Excellent day!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 251 - Disappointing Day

OK, this is shaping up to be a rough week.  I was really looking forward to a personal training session today, and that got cancelled at the last minute.  Yes, that’s the second time this week.  I am starting to get a little frustrated.  Then again, it ended up working out OK in the end.

I scheduled a massage for tonight because I realized I was really, really sore after last night’s yoga breakthrough.  My arms, shoulders, and hips are just aching.  So, instead of exercising, I ended up getting a really good massage.  I know it’s not meeting my goals, but today, I don’t feel like it was a bad thing.  I really needed the break, and it wasn’t exactly my fault that everything changed at the last minute!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 250 - A Rough Day with a Silver Lining

Today was a really rough day.  Wednesdays aren’t normally office days, but I had a meeting this afternoon.  I had everything planned out so I’d get home and get to the gym in time to exercise and then go to yoga.  But, things didn’t quite work out the way I planned.  The meeting ran really late, and by the time I got home, I barely had time to eat dinner and get to the gym in time for yoga.

But, once I was on my mat, things started to turn around.  The class was really great tonight.  And, because I hadn’t exercised before class, I had a lot more energy than I normally do.  Tonight was the first class where I actually did, and held, all the down dogs that the instructor called for.  Well, with one big exception.  When everyone else was doing a full sun salutation, I did the half series.  Other than that, I was able to keep up really well tonight.  So, I ended the day really proud of myself and feeling like I got a great workout in.

On the way home, I was reflecting on how things didn’t go how I planned, but still managed to work out well.  I think I’m going to not worry so much about getting exactly two hours in every day, but focus on making sure that I get in a great workout every day.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to let go of my stubborn streak enough to actually do it, but I am going to give it a try.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 249 - Rest Day with Crazy Ideas

Today was a rest day, which was nice.  But, I did start back in the hyperbaric chamber with Michael, and I’m heading up to the sauna now.  So, even though I didn’t exercise, I’m still taking good care of myself, and Michael too.

Some friends from the resort are thinking about running in a 5K at the end of June.  I know it’s crazy, but I am thinking of signing up.  It’s in Buffalo, so I wouldn’t be able to bring Michael, and it would definitely be a trip.  But, it would be nice to see everyone again, and just keep myself moving forward on this journey.  The worst that would happen is that I would walk it.  There is no question that I could walk it.  Now, I just need to be able to jog it.  What do you think – crazy or fun?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 248 - More Challenges, More Creativity

Today was another challenging day.  Steve took my car out this afternoon to run a few errands.  He called me about 20 miles from home to say the windshield wipers were no longer working.  In the rain, of course.  I don’t know how he got home safe and sound, but he did.  But, he had to take the car to the station down the street to see if they could fix it.  And, of course, they didn’t have the part they needed.  So, I won’t have my car back until tomorrow sometime, if everything goes well.

I could have taken Steve’s car to the gym tonight, but I really don’t like driving it, especially in the rain.  So, I decided to do my regular Monday night routine, but at home.  I started out with a Biggest Loser toning video.  I didn’t use as heavy weights as I normally use at the gym, but I still got a really good workout. 

After the toning video, I went onto youtube and found an hour long beginner yoga video.  It was pretty good.  There weren’t a lot of standing poses, but it was still a fairly good workout.  While I am really happy with the toning video, I’m still looking for the perfect at home yoga DVD.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know?

The best part of the day was something I did just for fun though.  When I was at the resort, I wanted to see if I could do 100 crunches.  I did it.  So, today, I wanted to do it again, and I did. I love feeling that my abs are getting stronger.  One of these days, I’ll even be able to do those reverse crunches.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 247 - Lemons and Lemonade

Today was a day to make lemons into lemonade.  I had scheduled time with a personal trainer for this afternoon.  As I was getting ready to walk out the door for the gym, he called and cancelled.  He had a good reason, but I was still really disappointed.  So, I figured I would take Michael on a quick errand and then I would do my workouts on my own. 

Michael loves elevators, and I had mentioned that I wanted to stop at the library on the way back from the gym to drop off a book and pick up a new one.  He was disappointed he couldn’t go with me, because he knows there are elevators at the library.  Once my session was cancelled, I decided to take Michael to the library and give him a special treat.  He was so happy, and I felt a little less guilty for leaving him for a week.
When we got home, I did an hour hard on the elliptical.  I incorporated some intervals like we did at the resort, and I think I got a better workout because of it.  I kept hearing Betty’s voice in my ear saying ‘A minute is nothing.  You can do anything for a minute.  No big deal!’  And, she is right.  I did it, and I felt great.  After dinner, I did another hour on the bike.  I set the resistance a little higher and pushed myself for the hour.  It feels really good to know that I can push myself during my workouts and it really is no big deal.

Today I am grateful for that voice in my ear.  I know I can do this on my own, but it is so nice to remember back to all the things I learned at the resort and just replay that in my mind.  I am stronger than I ever realized, and I am going to finish this journey that I’ve started.  No matter what.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 246 - Unstructured Exercise is FUN

Well, it’s my normal weigh in day and I figured it was time to see if going to the resort really did break my plateau.  I decided the answer is yes.  I am down to 296, which is a total of 52 pounds down.  I have also decided that I am focusing way too much on the numbers, and not enough on how I feel, how my clothes feel, and other more ‘real’ measurements of success.  So, to avoid the paranoia that comes with focusing on the numbers, I’ve decided that going forward, I’m only going to report my weight on picture days.  That way, I will have two weeks between reports, and that should save me the anxiety of daily fluctuations. 

That decision made, this has been a really fun day.  A friend from the resort who lives near me gave me a ride and we went to cheer on a fellow resort friend, and one of the trainers who were running in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in DC today.  Another TACA friend of mine was also running, but I couldn’t find her.  L  It was amazing to see all the people who ran in the races, and to see how good my friends felt when they finished.  Betty challenged me to do the same race next year.  I will definitely think about that.  I’m not sure if my knees will be up for it, but I can definitely use it as a goal.

After the race we went walking around a little bit in DC and had lunch at a wonderful place called Chop’T.  They have fantastic, organic salads.  I absolutely love the concept of the restaurant, and the food was delicious.  They have a location closer to me in Bethesda, and I will definitely be going there.  Between all the standing/pacing waiting for my friends to finish, and then walking around in DC, and then walking around running errands this afternoon, I am declaring it a great exercise day.  It wasn’t anything structured, but my legs sure feel like they got a workout.  And, since I have a training session tomorrow at the gym, I’m not worried about today.

Today, I am just grateful for making new friends and having new experiences.  I have never had a reason to be anywhere near a marathon before.  It was truly amazing.  And, as insane as it sounds, I’d really like to try one.. one day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 245 - Recovery needed

Today wasn’t as good of a day as I was hoping for.  I think my body needs some rest.  I sat down for a few minutes and actually fell asleep.  That hasn’t happened in a while.  I did get out for my yoga class, and it was wonderful.  But, that’s all I got in today.  I think I need to catch up a little on sleep and rest, and then get back into my program.  Never underestimate the need to recover.  I did, and this week hasn’t been nearly as good as I was hoping for.  Rest, recovery, and then rejuvenation!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 244 - Busy, but got a walk in

Today was a crazy busy day.  I had a full day of work, and then there was a TACA meeting in Loudoun  county.  There wasn’t a lot of down time to get my exercise in.  But, I decided to go for a brisk walk at lunch time.  It wasn’t as long as I would have liked, but it’s something.  Tomorrow, I will do intervals and yoga to make up for it.  On the plus side, it was great to hear Dr. Rossignol talk at the meeting, and see some friends I haven’t seen in a while.  That just made my heart happy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 243 - Busy, Full Day

Today was another great day.  We had someone coming over right after work/school, so I spent my lunch break doing cardio cleaning.  I love it when the house is nice and orderly and clean.  It doesn’t happen all that often, so when it does, I savor it.  Now, if only I could my bedroom decluttered and cleaned.  That would be true heaven.

After our visitor left, I hopped on the elliptical and did a quick 30 minutes.  I was surprised to see that I was able to push a lot harder than before the resort. Where I was able to keep my calories/hour around 800-850 before, tonight I was able to keep it around 900.  It felt really good.  After dinner, I got on the bike for an hour.  My foot was cramping toward the end, but I finished.  I’ve really learned the value of just sticking it out and finishing.  I like that.
So, 90 minutes of hard cardio plus and hour of cardio cleaning.  Not a bad day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 242 - Normal Rest Day

I'm trying to get back to my normal routine now that I'm home.  And, Tuesday is my normal rest day.  I have to say, I really needed it.  I think Cathie wanted to prove last night that her workouts are just as intense as at the resort.  I agree, they are!  If not, more intense!

But, I did take the time to go through my photos and post them all in an album on my facebook page.  If you want to see them, just look here.  It makes me smile just to look at the pictures and remember how much fun I had.  Now, I want to get down to 225 (or so) and go back.  It will be great to see how much more I can do when there is less of me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 241 - Back to My Routine

Tired.  Exhausted.  Spent.  Those three words pretty much sum up how I feel right now.  I had a pretty good day today, but very busy.  Leaving work completely for a week is not something I ever do.  I didn’t check email or voicemail all week.  That meant work was super busy today.  Then, I had a meeting this afternoon, and things went downhill from there.

I was able to get home in time for my Monday night classes.  The first class, Muscle Challenge, was very similar to last week’s Total Tone class.  But this one is an hour, and she has no mercy when it comes to picking weights.  I haven’t felt this weak since I first started taking the class!  But, even though I cut back on some of my weights, I still did my rows with 20 pounds.  That felt good! 
The second class was yoga.  After the tease of all the stretch classes last week, it felt wonderful to be in a full yoga class.  I never thought I’d miss down dog or warrior.  But, it was a great class.  I was still not as strong as I’d like, but I held up pretty well.  After class was over, I showed off some of my pictures and answered a bunch of questions.  I think half my friends thought I was insane, and the other half wished they were there. 

But now, Michael wants company and I can barely see straight I’m so tired.  So, I am going to tuck him in and then get a hot shower and get to bed.  Tomorrow is an office day, so it’s an early day.  Sweet dreams!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 240 - Home from the Biggest Loser Niagara!

I’m home!  As much as I loved my time at the Biggest Loser Resort, I’m so happy to be home.  When I called downstairs for Michael, he came running up the stairs and gave me the biggest hug.  And, when he wanted me to carry him, I could!   That was nice!

I am a little disappointed with my results – I only lost two pounds for the week.  But, according to the trainers, some people see bigger results the week after they get home.  I’m hoping that’s what happens with me.  But, I did lose two inches off my waist, and one off my chest.  I’ll take it!  Since the scales are different, I’m not going to post a current weight.  Next weekend, I’m hoping for a really good weight.

It’s been pretty crazy since I’ve been home.  Michael’s wanted a lot of attention, and I wanted to tell Steve everything.  And then there is laundry, unpacking, and chores that need to be done here.  So, I haven’t had a chance to fully settle in yet.  I took a ton of pictures over the last few days, so I am hoping to do a photo tour one day this week.  It will just depend on how long it takes me to get settled in and caught up.  The nice thing is that Steve did a lot of little things around the house while I was gone.  That was really nice to come home to.

But, just for completeness, I wanted to tell a little about the check out process.  This morning we made appointments to weigh and measure.  Then, there was breakfast (cold cereal only) and one last stretch class, which was optional.  After stretch, I got in the car to drive home.  I missed home so badly!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 239 - Saturday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara

Saturday at the resort is pretty much half a day, but it’s the most intense half day possible.  There was no stretch class this morning, so I was supposed to be able to sleep in.  No such luck.  Right around 5 am, my eyes opened and I was up for the day.  Not a bad thing, considering.

After breakfast, we had our morning hike.  As much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to like the hikes.  It’s nice to be able to get some fresh air and sunshine at the same time as the exercise.  Who knows, maybe when the weather gets nicer, I’ll see if we can go for a family hike somewhere.  That would definitely be different!

After the hike we had our last chance workout.  It was intense!  Basically, the trainers set up a circuit around the gym with all kinds of stations.  For example, there were planks, pushups, treadmill running, wall sits, ropes, etc.  We had 90 seconds at each station.  You never really think 90 seconds is that long until you are panting and out of breath.  After the first time around at 90 seconds each, we did a second circuit of 45 seconds each.  I thought I was going to die.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, it was over.  And I was so proud of myself!  I don’t think I have ever pushed myself this hard physically in my entire life.  I finally understand where they say so much of it is mental.  You think you can’t do something, so you fight anyone who says you can.  When you just say, ‘I’ll try it’, you can really surprise yourself.  I never thought I could run at all, but I did.  I was a short distance, but I did it.  I never thought I could do the ropes so long, but I did.  Every day I tried something new and I was surprised.  I want to keep surprising myself.

After the last chance workout, we had snack and one last class – ‘Be Your Own Personal Trainer’.  It was in the gym, but basically, it was a chance to ask the personal trainers questions so we would be ready to go home and have a plan.  I was able to write down a pretty good full body workout that I can do at home with a set of weights.  There were a bunch of questions, and then it was over.

We had most of the afternoon off, and I was really sore, so I decided to have one last massage before going back home.  It was pure heaven.  I think I definitely need more massage in my life.  After that, I came back to the room and did most of my packing.  I still have a little to do in the morning, but it’s not that bad.

Graduation was really nice.  We sat around a fire pit and talked about (and threw into the fire on paper) things we wanted to leave behind, and things we wanted to take with us.  It was really emotional.  Everyone came to the resort for a different reason, but we all had a common cause.  And, the camaraderie in the group was phenomenal.  I have never bonded with so many people, so quickly.  I really do expect to have these new friends for life. 

After graduation, one couple had made arrangements to renew their wedding vows.  It was so sweet.  I loved their vows to each other, and the commitments they made.  Of course, it reminded me of Steve, and of home.  I really am ready to go home.  I miss my family so much.  And now, I feel like my family is a little bit bigger with the friends I made this week.

Tomorrow morning will be busy.  I have my weigh-in at 8:30, then breakfast, and then one last stretch class.  After that, I will drive home.  It will be a pretty long drive, but I promise, I’ll at least update you with my results.  I will probably have at least one other post with a ton of pictures, and maybe some ideas if you decide to come to Niagara.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to do for yourself!

I did have one big revelation today.  In the past, I have always viewed exercise as a punishment for being fat.  Now, I have learned that exercise is something my body needs to be healthy.  I finally see exercise as treating my body with the love and respect that it deserves.  That mental shift might seem tiny, but to me, it’s really, really huge.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 238 - Friday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara

I can’t believe today was the last full day of my vacation here at Biggest Loser Resort Niagara!  It was definitely jam packed.

6:00 Stretch – I really like waking up with a stretch class.  It is such a calm and peaceful way to start the day.  I want to figure out how to incorporate this when I get home.  I’m not sure how, but I will think about it!

8:00 Circuit Training – This was a little different than the strength classes we’ve had so far.  This time, we started with a cardio machine for two minutes (after warm up) and then switched to a strength machine for two 45 second intervals.  The back and forth between cardio and strength was definitely interesting. All in all, I really liked the class.

9:00 Spinning – I actually enjoyed today’s spinning class.  If I weren’t for the pain from the seat, I might consider trying it at home.  But, the pain from the seat is so hard to get past. I will definitely keep it as an option though.

10:30 Option:  Pool, Stretch or Cardio Intervals – I chose stretch again. After the spinning class, my legs were so tight and hurt so badly, it was really all I could do to drag myself to the studio to stretch.  And, if I haven’t said it, I really miss my yoga classes, and the stretch is the closest alternative.

12:45 Lecture:  Planning Strategies – This was a really good lecture.  It was more interactive than most of them so far.  It was also very practical.  Mostly, she focused on setting goals for ourselves once we get home, and strategies to meet those goals.  This was one of my favorite lectures.

2:00 Hike – There was an offsite hike this afternoon, but it was in the woods, and not free from ice and slush.  Given the fact that my knees were really sore from running yesterday, I didn’t want to take any chances with the terrain, or slipping on the ice.  Instead, I was able to stay in the gym.  I did an hour on the Octane Machine and then thirty minutes on the elliptical.  I also had my snack in between.  When the group came back, they said I probably made the right choice.  At least one person fell on the trail, and others said I probably would have had problems on the ice.  I’m glad I listened to my intuition and still got in a great workout.

4:15 Mini-Stretch – This was just a 15 minute class to work out the kinks after the hike.  In my case, it stretched me out after the cardio I did.  Even though it was short, it was worth it.

4:45 Lecture: Open Forum – This was just a question and answer session, with a lot of brainstorming.  I liked it.  And, I was even able to give one piece of advice or someone struggling with a goal.  That was a good feeling.

Overall, it was another really great day.  I did remember my coffee this morning, and that might have helped.  The interesting thing is, it’s past the time where I’ve collapsed in bed most nights, and I’m still awake.  I wonder if that means that my body is finally getting used to the level of exercise and providing a little more energy to compensate.  Whatever the reason, I like it!

Tomorrow will be a short day.  We only have classes in the morning, and no stretch class.  Then, most of the afternoon is free, with a ‘graduation’ ceremony at 4:00.  But, even though it’s a half day, the exercise on hand seems pretty rough.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 237 - Thursday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara

So, every day can’t be perfect.  Today, I woke up early again, but totally forgot to brew a cup of coffee in my room.  The resort is caffeine free, but if you keep it in a private room, they don’t care.  But, since I didn’t get back to the room all morning, I was caffeine free for the day.  I’m not sure if that’s why it was more of an off day or not.  But, it wasn’t terrible, just not quite as joyful as the others.

6:00 Stretch – This was actually a great class.  It was more dynamic than the others, and I actually broke a sweat.  I left class feeling alive and ready for the day.

8:00 Total Tone – I did really well with this class.  It was very similar to my beloved Muscle Challenge class, and I did pretty well.  I wasn’t able to use as heavy weights as I am used to.  I think my muscles are just really tired from so much work with no rest.  Other than that, I might have learned a routine I can use on Wednesdays.

9:00 Treading – I had heard about this class and was a little afraid it would be really hard.  It was an intervals based class, but the heaviest work is front loaded.  We did a five minute warm up, five minutes hard, five minutes recovery, four minutes hard, four minutes recovery, etc, until a cooldown after the last hard minute.  I actually really liked it.  And, I noticed a major difference today.  At the beginning of the week, I could easily get my heart rate up past 85%.  Today, I couldn’t.  No matter how hard I worked, it stayed around 75%.  That has to mean that my heart is getting stronger.

10:30 Stretch  - I was really tired after the first two classes and decided a stretch class was the perfect choice for the choice class.  It was different from the others, and even incorporated more yoga like poses.  I really loved it.

12:40 Lecture – Labels and Portions  Not a whole lot new here, but some of the questions were interesting.

2:00 Trainer Outdoor Challenge Hike – I really, really, really did not want to go on this hike.  It was snowing, cold, and I just was tired.  I have never been so tempted to skip a class, but, I went.  It was very similar to the hike on Tuesday, but I did better today.  At one point, Betty challenged me to run up Betty’s Hill.  I didn’t really feel comfortable with that, but I compromised and told her I would run from the Hill station to the gym door for the next station.  I actually ran!  I don’t know how far it is, but I might do it again and ask someone to video it for me.  I was panting so hard that the trainer at the next station had to coach me through panic breathing.  Basically, breathe in deep through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  No so easy when you are gasping for air!

3:30 Ballistics – I wanted to give this class my best effort, but I had no gas left in the tank.  My stomach was a little upset and I just did the best I could.  When it came time to do arm exercises, I wimped out and chose light weights.  I’m glad I did, though.  It was the same set of arm exercises we had done in the total tone class in the morning, and I just wasn’t up to doing them twice with heavy weights.

4:45 Lecture – Pattern Portions, & Food Tips   This was more interesting.  The class came up with a lot of ideas for portion control during meals and snacks.  My favorite tip was to ask the butcher to pre-portion your meat for you.  Apparently, most butchers will do this, even if the meat is pre-packaged in the cooler.

Even though I don’t consider this to be a stellar day, looking back on it, it was pretty good.  I love the fact that I ran, even if I did get out of breath.  And, even though I was really tempted to skip a hike, I went anyway.  Overall, I’m still really proud of myself.  I will go to bed early tonight and make sure tomorrow is a fantastic day.  I’ll also make sure to remember the coffee in the room!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 236 - Wednesday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara

Today was amazing.  Beyond mind-boggling amazing.  I woke up this morning well ahead of the alarm.  I decided to just lie there and meditate for a while, and then get up.  In the shower, I realized I was happy, truly happy on the inside.  It’s been a long time since I really looked forward to a day, and just expected great things.  I want to keep this positive energy and pure joy in my life.

6:00 – Stretch.  Fantastic way to start the day.  I left feeling energized and ready to handle anything coming my way.

8:00 – Spinning.  I was so afraid of this class, but I ended up really enjoying it.  She mixed up the standing and sitting, different levels, hand positions, everything.  By the time class was over, I was dripping in sweat, but amazed that I did it.

9:00 – Mountain.  This was a hard class.  You set your machine to a level for warm up and then increase every three minutes for twelve increases.  At the end, a couple extra increases are thrown in for fun.  It was hard, but I kept up.  At each level he had a recommended calorie for hour reading on the machine, and most of the time, I was over that recommendation by a few hundred.  I was beyond proud of myself for this class.

10:30 – Strength Circuit.  We had a choice of stretch, pool, or this class.  I wanted to really push myself today, so I took the strength class.  It was the same idea as Monday, but with some TRX stations added.  I loved it!  At the end, we did an ab routine that was so hard.  But, again, I made some modifications, and did the best I could.  I am getting more and more confident of myself with every class.

12:45 – Emotional Eating.  There were some good tips for surrounding yourself with positive supports, and recognizing the difference between eating for hunger and eating for any other reason.  I figured I am mostly a stress eater, so that’s the part of the lecture I focused on.

2:00 – Hike!  I actually hiked for 3.2 miles today.  It was a hike down the road from the campus, and was absolutely beautiful.  There were some pretty steep hills, but I managed them.  I have a picture of me at the turn around post, just to prove that I made it.  I was the last person back for snack, but I made it.  There were others who bailed earlier, but I was much too stubborn to do that.  After snack, we were supposed to go back out and hike the trails or the paved trail for another 40 minutes.  I just couldn’t do it.  My feet were burning from the first hike.  So, I asked if I could finish the workout on a machine in the gym, and that’s what I did.  I absolutely LOVE that they are so flexible, and that I am so committed to finishing what I start.

4:15 – Abs.  This was an optional class, and there were only a handful of us there.  It was really good though.  It was the same trainer who did the strength circuit, so the same ab routine.  My stomach muscles were crying by the end, but I finished.  Then, she threw in a different exercise, and some stretching to finish it out.  Again, I was proud for going to the optional class, and not cutting any corners.  This is definitely a theme for me!

4:45 – Lecture.  This was a motivational story from one of the trainers.  He had lost over 100 pounds and looked amazing.  He shared his story with us, and I am really inspired by him.  One day, I will be there!

6:30 – Massage!  I had booked this massage before I got here.  When I walked down the stairs to the spa, my legs were so sore, I was seriously wondering how I would get back up the stairs.  When she finished, I felt completely revitalized and ready to tackle the rest of the week.  Definitely a great use of time!

Now, I am going to finish up for the day and just reflect a little.  Today I am feeling so strong and motivated – like I really can handle this.  During the final relaxation part of the stretch this morning, Betty wanted us to make ourselves a promise.  My promise was that I would finish this journey and get to my healthy weight.  Tonight, I know that I will keep that promise.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 235 - Tuesday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara!

Wow am I tired.  I thought I was exhausted after two hours of exercise.  Two days of 6 hours – I can’t even begin to describe the feeling.  I ache all over now, and hate to think what the morning is going to bring.  But, it’s actually kinda fun, and I am so proud of myself for what I was able to do today.  I’ll do a brief summary, but probably not as detailed as yesterday.

 6 am – Stretch class  -  If I could start every day with a 45 minute stretch class, life would be good.  She had the lights out; we were lying on the mats for a large part of class; and left for breakfast feeling less sore and ready to face the day.  Definite highlight of the day.

7 am – Breakfast – Yummy

8 am – First Chance Workout – This one was interesting.  The class was divided into two groups.  One group did exercises on the step (with one riser) and the other half used a bosu.  Then we switched.  It was 2 minutes at a time of intense exercise, with about 30 seconds of recovery in between.  The water breaks sprinkled through the class were wonderful. 

9 am – Cardio Intervals – This was a killer class.  We picked a machine and did huge intervals on it.  I decided to go with the elliptical.  Betty was great.  She knows I have problems with my knees, so she let me increase in smaller increments, and bump the intensity with speed.  So, I was able to follow along with all the intervals, get a wonderful workout, AND not get hurt.  At the end of the intervals, we all did a minute with the ropes.  After it was my turn I got the brilliant idea that I should have asked someone to video it for me.  So, I did it again.  If I can figure out how to post the video, I will.  The bad thing is I was already tired the second time, so I didn’t do as well.  But, it will definitely give you the idea!

Snack break!

10:30  - Choice of Stretch, Pool or Cinco Speed.  I chose stretch.  After the intensity of the first two classes, I just wasn’t up for another cardio class.  The stretch class was great.  I love how she mixed motivation in with the stretches.  Definitely a good choice!

11:45 – Lunch!

12:45 – Lecture – The Facts of Weight Loss  This was a good lecture.  It focused on sleep, digestion, and stress.  Not a whole lot I didn’t know already, but definitely a good use of time.

2 pm – Outdoor TOC Hike – TOC stands for trainer obstacle challenge.  The hike was all on paved trails, and most were clear of snow.  That was a big relief.  But, the obstacles were really, really challenging.  The hardest was a climb to the top of ‘Betty’s Hill’ that we had to do five times.  Some people walked up, some ran, and some carried Betty on their back.  I’d love to be able to do that one day!  The rest of the obstacles were more traditional – push ups, dips, weight bar presses/curles, squats, jumping jacks, crunches, etc.  After the hike was over I was dead. It was a good thing next up was a snack break!

3:30 – Total Body H2O – This was a great water class.  Lots of stuff that you would find in a typical water aerobics class, but some things that were more challenging.  We had a contest at the end to see who could swim the furthest underwater.  The winner got to be done and go to the hot tub.  The rest of us broke into two teams and had to collect dive rings from the opposite end of the pool.  Each ring had a number and the team with the highest total number was done next.  The losing team had to walk a long lap, and then they were done.  Another great class!  (Oh yeah, and the hot tub was wonderful)

4:45 – Lecture – Intuitive Eating.  This class had some good suggestions on how to deal with the various ways we eat, and how to be more in tune with our true hunger, and to really enjoy each meal.  It was definitely good.  What I got out of it the most was the HALT method.  If you are reaching or a snack, ask yourself these questions:  Are you HUNGRY?  Are you ANGRY?  Are you LONELY?  Are you tired?  Unless you’re actually hungry, walk away from the snack!

After that was dinner and free time.  Now, I’m just finishing this blog and getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow is going to be another long day.  There is a two hour hike in the afternoon.  I’m dreading that!

But, once again, I am so proud of myself for making it through the day.  This is so much more of a challenge than I have ever attempted before.  And, it’s not all physical.  So much of it is the mental game of pushing yourself just a little harder.  I have found that I really am stubborn.  Once I start something, I really don’t want to give up.  Before, I never would have started some of the things I’ve tried here.  Here, I just do it.  There are always modifications, if needed, but I do it.  I want to be someone who tries things, figures them out, and does the best she can.  That is a great lesson to take home with me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 234 - Monday at the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara!

OK, I’m starting to see why there aren’t a lot of detailed accounts of the resort on the web.  I am so tired it is an effort to type!  I’m battling with myself right now because I should go hang out in the hot tub or sauna to relax my muscles, but I am so tired I just don’t have it in me to change, walk to the pool, change again, and walk back.  I know that sounds terrible, but that’s how tired I am.

The day started out with a ‘Know Your Gym’ class at 6am.  It was basically an introduction to the different machines in the gym.  I will try to get a picture tomorrow.  They have rowing machines, treadmills, octane machines (which are like recumbent elliptical machines), elliptical machines, and recumbent bikes.  Then there are a bunch of strength machines, a TRX setup, ropes, and free weights.  It really is quite impressive!

After the first class, we had breakfast.  I really hate that they don’t have coffee.  I know I shouldn’t be so addicted to it, but it’s hard to limit myself to just the one cup I can brew in my room before heading out the door. Other than that, breakfast was great.  All the food is great, actually.

Next was a class called ‘Cinco Speed’.  It was basically cardio intervals that added up to five minutes.  For example, 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes less hard.  Then 4 and 1, etc.  I tried using one of the octane machines since I had never tried one before.  I got my heart rate up to 95%  and quickly!  The trainer was great.  She was really motivating us to push as hard as we could, but there was no yelling or intimidation involved.  I did back off a little and kept my heart rate around 85% most of the class.  I just couldn’t keep up at a higher pace.

Next up was a core class.  As much as I hate to say it, it was probably my favorite class of the day.  It was 30 seconds each of two exercises, a water break, and then back to two more exercises.  We did three sets of each duo.  The first was full plank combined with supermans.  Because they were only thirty seconds, I was able to do the full plan and not put my knees down.  Yeah me!  Next was leg lifts and side planks.  I had to go to a knee on the side planks.  I’m just not strong enough to support my full weight with straight legs.  One day.  Next was a few different styles of sit ups.  I won’t go into the full detail, but it was intense.  I will definitely be feeling this class tomorrow!

After core was snack time and a group fun activity.  It was a get-to-know you thing where you pulled questions out of a bag and then answered it.  Mine was ‘If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?’  I like my name.  I always have.  So, I just said I’d re-pick my confirmation name, Elizabeth.  Most of the questions were better.  Oh, the one good thing about being over 250 pounds is that you get a larger snack.  So, I got a hard boiled egg, carrot sticks, and a tablespoon of almond butter.  I really enjoyed it!

The last class before lunch, you get to pick between three different classes.  The choices were:  Mountain (a really intense cardio session), Stretch (more relaxing than anything), and water aerobics.  I chose water aerobics.  It was a really hard workout.  Again, it was interval based, with some core at the end.  The good thing was that the pool was warm, so it wasn’t a huge shock getting in.  I’m glad I went to the pool class today, but I am not sure if I will pick it tomorrow when we get different choices.

After lunch we had a lecture.  It was mostly on the different aspects of the program here.  Some myth busting (all calories are NOT equal), and an introduction to why they set up the food program the way they did.  It was really interesting, but not a whole lot of new information.  It did seem new to a lot of the people there, so that was a good thing.

By far, the hardest thing of the day was the ‘baseline hike’.  Because of the snow we had a choice of either walking on paved trails or through the woods.  I chose the paved trails.  Even though they were paved, they were still snow covered and slippery.  One of the trainers actually fell.  Fortunately, I don’t think anyone else did.  But, even though I’ve been working out for so long, I don’t do a lot of full weight bearing exercise.  I was out of breath so fast it was depressing.   But, I did three loops around the track, and kept going the entire hour.  It was hard, really hard, but I did finish.  And, I didn’t stop.  Oh yeah, I didn’t cry either!

After the hide was another snack and then ‘Strength Circuit’.  I loved this class!  It was basically 90 seconds on each of the strength machines in the gym.  There were two trainers for about 15 of us and they really stayed on top of us.  The checked our settings, our form, and our weights!  I don’t know how they managed it, but they did.  I was really impressed at how gently they challenged us to increase our weights, and didn’t fuss if we needed to back down.  It’s a very subtle, but effective approach.

There was an optional stretch/ab class to end the day.  I was hoping it would be more stretch than abs, but it was exactly the opposite.  It was only half an hour and it seemed to fly by.  Lots of crunches, of varying formats.  It was good, but I was ready for it to end.  The stretch part was really nice, though.

Before we could celebrate the end of the workout day, there was another lecture.  It was all about the different macronutrients:  fats, carbs, and proteins.  It was really interesting, and I did get some good information.  They advocate filling your plate with 50% non-starchy veggies, 25% starchy veggies, and 25% protein.  Healthy fats being added for flavor and cooking.  It seemed really reasonable.

Dinner was delicious, as usual.  There were two chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.  I never thought I could stretch out and savor two strawberries as long as I did!  It’s amazing how you can deal with small portions and really enjoy them.

Now, I am back in the room.  Like I said, I should have gone to the sauna or the whirlpool, but I am going to bed.  It is going to feel so good to get a hot shower, relax, and go to bed.  I don’t care that it’s not even 8pm yet!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 233 - Checking Into the Biggest Loser Resort Niagara!

Well, today is the day!  I was planning on sleeping in this morning and then slowly driving the last 90 minutes to get to the resort in time for a 1:00 check in.  But, at 6:18 my eyes popped open and I was awake.  I couldn’t sit still so I decided to just get in the car and take my chances arriving early.  Fortunately, my room was ready and they let me check in early (around noon).  I was so happy. 

The first thing I did was unpack and get comfy in the room.  I set up my contraband coffee pot and started to calm down a little.  I took a couple pictures and skyped with Steve and Michael.  I have almost no phone signal here, so I won’t be making many phone calls.  But, the room is nice and everyone seems friendly, so that’s a great thing.

Once it was actually time to check in, I was able to do the full check in process for the program.  They weighed me on a high tech scale that measures weight, body fat, hydration, etc.  I’m not sure how much I trust the numbers.  I mean, I know the weight is accurate, but the rest, I’m not going to lose sleep over.  They also took measurements.  It will be great to see how I compare after the week.

After the weigh-in, I met with the nutritionist to go over my menu plan for the week.  They are great about food allergies!  When I made my reservation, they noted my allergies in the record, and my menu was all marked up to take them into account.  The great thing is, they are pretty much gluten free here, with the exception of the box lunch they give you on Sunday for lunch.  That makes me feel a lot better.

Next up was a quick tour of the campus.  It wasn’t the greatest tour in the world.  The sidewalks are all snowy and a little slippery, so it was a little nerve-wracking for me.  I know, it’s winter in Niagara.  I’m hoping that it’s a little less slippery tomorrow.  But, we did see the conference building, the gym, the fitness studio, and looked in the windows at the pool.  The pool is closed on Sundays, so we couldn’t go in.  Other than that, it was a pretty standard tour.
Next, we hung out in the lobby area and got to know each other a bit.  It was nice to talk with others, see what their journey is like, and make new friends.  It looks like there are only two ladies who stayed over from last week, and all but two of those starting this week are here for just one week.  So, we have a lot in common!

Dinner was actually really good.  They have a tiny salad bar with tiny plates and tiny little cups of dressing.  But, the food was really good.  There was even an oatmeal type bar for dessert.  I’m really relieved that they are great about food allergies.  It was nice to just enjoy the meal and not worry about if it would make me sick!

After dinner was an orientation session.  First we had an icebreaker activity in the lobby, and then went into the lecture hall for the presentation.  It was a slide show that told about the resort, it’s mission, etc.  It did answer a lot of questions, and I’m really excited for the week ahead.  Well, not so excited about the 5:15 wake up call.  But, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

I only took pictures of the welcome sign and the room today because it was so wet and snowy today.  Tomorrow, if it’s nice, I’ll take more pictures of the buildings and the main lobby.  It really is a beautiful location.