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Hurray! We are keeping the gym!

Friday, October 01, 2010

We worked it out to keep our membership by taking advantage of a promotion they were offering that gives us the rest of the year free. That will give us a little wiggle room with our expenses for the next three months. We also found out that we get a discount on our membership because of DH's job. Wish we knew that three years ago!!! Anyway, I am so happy that we can continue to go to the gym. I don't know what I would have done without it!

On the flip side, we are thinking of canceling our DirecTV. I think we can live with just the basic channels for a while. I will miss the programming on some of the channels like Food Network, HGTV and TLC, but otherwise there is really nothing I need all those channels for. The show I would miss the most - and it will be SO hard to live without it - is What Not to Wear. Unfortunately, you cannot get those episodes online. (Why not, TLC?????) I am actually a leader of the What Not to Wear Spark team, so I would be sad not to be able to watch the next season with my team. I could try watching it at the gym when they show reruns and get my "fix" that way.

The way I see it, if I have to choose between the gym or the TV, I will choose the gym. Better to be active and fit than a couch potato.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BSTELLING 10/19/2010 6:12PM

    I'm so glad you could keep the gym membership. I know how much you wanted that. I have thought of getting rid of the Directv too, but in a rental for now, there is no antenna so really can't do it. I'm thinking of buying soon so everything will change then.

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COLD_GOLD 10/11/2010 11:41AM

    hey! thanks for the comment on my spark page. Sorry to hear that you are cutting back your cable. I don't have cable right now, and mostly manage by watching things on-line, but it is really annoying that some shows you can't get on-line. In Canada, we can't even buy some episodes through i-tunes because of some weird rule.

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SPARKNMOM 10/4/2010 11:39PM

    Glad to hear you kept the gym membership :) And I totally agree - gym WAY outweighs TV...I have basic cable and honestly, probably could do without that.

Enjoy that gym...and hope you get to see some What Not to Wear episodes :)

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SANDIE4HLTH 10/3/2010 11:51AM

    Congrats on being able to keep your gym membership. I'm sure it's key to your fitness program and to your overall well-being.

I understand what you mean by WNTW, too. I really enjoy that program and would miss it, too. Hopefully, TLC will soon post full episodes on the Web.

Also, I wanted to thank you for your comments on my 10/3/2010 blog post about sleep. There is some comfort in knowing I am not the only person who dozes off in front of the TV, fighting the idea of going to bed. I think it's exactly for the reason you stated, if I go to bed early I think I will miss out on life. So, I guess I consider dozing "life." I never realized I thought this way until you verbalized it. Thanks so much for your encouragement and insightful comment. emoticon

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PALOMINOGIRL3 10/1/2010 5:00PM

I am so happy for you!!! Looks like we are keeping our membership as well... Today was the day we would've had to cancel by, and we just decided we'll make it work.

I feel for you! WNTW is one of my faves, too! Maybe you'll find a way to make THAT work, too??? Crossing my fingers for you!

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007JERSEYGIRL 10/1/2010 3:18PM

    I am so glad you are keeping the gym!!! Yay!

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*AMBER512 10/1/2010 12:17PM

    Yay! What a neat deal. I don't know if I have ever watched What Not to Wear, but hopefully you will be able to catch it at the gym getting your exercise on!

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DNJEN471 10/1/2010 10:43AM

    Shortly before Xavier was born, Jeff was laid off. He luckily has a job now, but he makes almost half what he did before. We had to cut back on a lot of things, one of which was cable and the DVR. We still have internet, but really it has made it kindof nice. We hardly watch any TV now and get so much more accomplished. I actually don't even miss it much and trust me, I had the shows that I felt I could not live without :)

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Body fat percentage...blah...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The other day, on a whim, I asked one of the personal trainers at my gym to test my body fat percentage. After stepping on the scale (their scale weighed me in 2 pounds higher) I held onto a little device for a few seconds that zaps some sort of signal into your body and somehow comes up with your body fat percentage. News was not great. Mine is around 29 %. Now he said this is not as accurate as other methods but in any case, I have some work to do.

It seems like no matter how much weight I lose, I don't seem to get more muscular. It's like the fat just hangs around and moves from one part of my body to another. Maybe it is genetics or maybe I am not doing enough strength training right now. Well I know I am definitely not doing enough ST. But since I am still trying to lose the last few baby pounds that are hanging around, I have been focusing more on cardio. I was listening to an old podcast of one of Jillian Michaels' radio shows and someone called in to ask about building muscle. She said when you are trying to lose weight, you should do more cardio and eat less, but to gain muscle mass you should eat more and do more ST.

But...what if you want to lose weight and get some more definition???That is where I am struggling.

Anyway...that body fat reading just gave me more of an incentive to push myself. I've been working out in the "comfort zone" and it is time to step it up.

In the next few days DH and I have to decide what to do about our gym memberships. It's been stressful thinking about coping without it. We are also thinking about canceling our DirectTV and just using bunny ears. Next step? Canceling our electricity and living by candlelight. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNJEN471 9/30/2010 9:52PM

    I hate body fat tests. It totally skews your inner thoughts and feelings. I really don't feel like they are all that accurate all the time either. If you are at a healthy weight and happy with your body, then really- it shouldn't matter. I would try not to focus on that number and just stick to what you know you want to improve on. If you want to get firm, do strength training. You are awesome! Don't let that test tell you otherwise!

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*AMBER512 9/30/2010 3:58PM

    lol, I wouldn't try to live by candlelight ;)

I hope you get it all figured out!

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SPARKVAMPY2012 9/30/2010 2:46PM

    I have been doing Jillians workouts and Jackie Warners Power Circuit Training and I can see the muscle definition in my arms and shoulders. And Im am eating between 1200-1550 cals a day. So Im not sure why she said that. I barely strength train. I only recently started to do it about twice a week (Sun and Tues).
I dont have a gym membership. So I have to use is workout videos and a couple sets of dumbells. Ive lost 10 lbs so far.

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MOTIVATED@LAST 9/29/2010 10:01PM

    It is difficult to add muscle mass while running a calorie deficit - the body tends to burn protein for energy, rather than using it to create new muscle tissue.

However, as you reduce body fat, your muscles will naturally become more visible and better defined, as there is less fat covering them.

Strength training should be part of any good exercise program - without ST, up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lost muscle, rather than fat. And even if your objectives are to burn fat, this is going to slow down your progress.

Keep up the great work.

Also, if belt-tightening (of the financial kind) does lead you to cancel your gym subscription, you can still get in a great strength workout using just your own body weight for resistance. Take a look at the Spark exercise demos for some ideas!

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CARRAND 9/29/2010 10:00PM

    I love going to the gym. I have a treadmill at home, but it's the strength training and yoga that I love and I can't really do that at home. I think you should definitely renew your membership.

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How to tame a wicked sweet tooth

Friday, September 24, 2010

Well, I don't really have the answer to that. I wish I could find the answer, bottle it up and sell it. :) All I know is that I struggle with it pretty much every day. The craving for something sweet usually strikes mid-afternoon and again in the evenings after dinner, around 8 p.m. Even when I have nothing really good in the house, I manage to find *something* sweet. Peanut butter and jelly on an Eggo waffle. An apple or banana with honey or chocolate syrup. Even a large chunk of baking chocolate or spoonfuls of chocolate chips if that is all there is. What is wrong with me?? LOL.

This morning in the shower I started to think of all the ways I can distract myself away from the daily sweet snacks. Writing them down here will help me remember. And maybe some of these will help whoever reads this, too.

1. Get out of the house for a few minutes. Take a walk around the block or a short run.

2. Pop in a fitness DVD. Do some yoga poses or stretches.

3. Get far away from the kitchen. Go to bed early with a book or magazine.

4. Enlist hubby's help. If he sees me searching for a snack, he has permission to tackle me.

5. Phone a friend. It's rude to chew when you are talking on the phone.

6. Pop a mint and/or drink some tea. Then brush teeth.

7. Work for it. Plan for the snack, look up how many calories it has, then burn that many calories off at the gym. Enjoy the snack later, guilt free. Maybe it won't seem "worth it" after knowing how hard I have to work for one cookie or 1/2 cup of ice cream.

8. Write a note from the carton of ice cream to me: "You've worked so hard. Am I really worth it?" Notes on the refrigerator and cabinet door wouldn't hurt either.

9. Get on Spark instead. Read some blogs. Browse inspirational pages. Soak up the motivation.

10. Take up a hobby that will keep my hands busy. Already tried knitting, though. (Epic fail!)

If all else fails: Forgive myself. Enjoy. Eat more veggies tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 9/24/2010 8:38PM

    I snack less when I'm sparking. It keeps my hands busy.

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BSTELLING 9/24/2010 8:01PM

    I agree that you have to just give it up completely. Substitute fruits, they are sweet enough. A long time ago, I cleaned out my kitchen of all sweets and gave my kids raisins or a banana for a snack. Sometime later, we went to Grandma's house for Easter and she gave each a big basket of candy. Between the two baskets sat a fruit bowl. The kids ate the fruit and never even touched the candy. I felt so absolutely proud of myself and them! Hope you get to have a moment like that.

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*AMBER512 9/24/2010 8:01PM

    If you can figure out how to bottle and sell it, I will buy some!

Your tricks seem good to me. I just wish I had the willpower to always put them into place!

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MRKTGCHICK 9/24/2010 6:21PM

    As a self confessed sugar addict, the best way I have found to stop the sweet cravings is to first pull sweets and sugar out of my diet altogether. It usually takes me 3 rough days to detox. After that I notice I don't really have the cravings but my brain still seems to want them, likely because it misses the sugar high. I then wait as long as I can and then gradually add sensible treats back into my diet ... but slowly. I seem to have a certain threshold after which the gates open again. The trick is finding that threshold!

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DARACOX 9/24/2010 5:50PM

    I like all of them except #7. I have a sweet tooth myself and I have found that working out to "earn" treats or "burn" them off is not a good mental place to be. I like to separate my exercise and my diet. I won't exercise more or less based on what I eat because that can be a downward spiral. I aim for 5-6 days of exercise a week and I let myself have my treats guilt free, as long as they fit into my daily calorie range. So I usually have a treat (sometimes 2!) a day. Lately I have been having Nutella with breakfast and an ice cream bar at night. Sometimes it's a cupcake, sometimes it's cookies. Something about having a sweet tooth is genetic and if you try to fight it you will eventually go crazy. Just indulge in moderation. As long as you track and keep your calories in range you will be fine.

Oh and have what you REALLY want too! Buy small portions of treats that you really enjoy, because if you are craving chocolate sometimes peanut butter just won't cut it!

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KAITLYNSNAMMY 9/24/2010 5:39PM


Just a little always helps me. Hope it does the same for you!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NICOLE12-01 9/24/2010 3:48PM

    I wish you could bottle it up and sell it too! HAHA! I would be your biggest customer!!!

I LOVE the idea of writing a note on the carton of ice cream (or whatever the "vice" is).

I used to get on Spark and read blogs at night. Come to think of it, I was much more successful with conquering late night snack attacks when I was doing that. I'll start that routine up again tonight!

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Scale teaser, food boredom

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So the scale has been teasing me. One day last week I got on the scale (after breakfast, even) and it said 119. I moved it to another spot and stepped on it again. And then moved it to another spot. Just to make sure. It still read 119. I did a happy dance because this was the first time I have been under 120 since before I had the baby!! The next day I got on the scale again (first thing in the morning, BEFORE breakfast) and it was 121. What the bleepety bleep?!?! Oh well, I figured it had to be a fluke.

BUT in other happy news..."Hello size 2 pre-pregnancy pants!"I think Express is generous with their sizes, but still. It does say 2 on the label, so I am going with it!! emoticon emoticon

Things are not great on the food front right now. I am just so uninterested in anything we have in the house. Waiting for the next paycheck to go for a decent grocery shopping, so we've been paring down the food in the refrigerator and cabinets. Don't you hate it when you have random ingredients but lack one or two things to make something good, so you end up with a hodgepodge instead of a normal meal?

I am also going through a phase in which I am bored with all my usual food staples. Need something new to jumpstart my cooking creativity. Not sure what...

Last weekend we went to Philadelphia for a wedding. After fasting all day Saturday the wedding food tasted GOOOOOOD. At that point anything put in front of me would have tasted absolutely devine. But it was good food. Not typical wedding food blah. Sunday we waited in a ridiculously long line for a Philadelphia cheesesteak. I felt like such a TOURIST. It wasn't bad, for a cheesesteak, but hardly worth waiting in that line. I guess I should have ordered my cheesesteak with "wiz" (cheese wiz) but I heard Jillian in my head saying, "cheez wiz?? Seriously??" Yeah, I am not keen on putting fake cheese into my body anymore. Well, at least I can cross "eat a Philly cheesesteak in Philly" off my bucket list.

(Speaking of Jillian, I heard her radio show is COMING BACK in January! I am beyond excited! emoticon)

Back to food... So last night I had dinner with a college friend who was in town for one night. Thai food...yum!! Had leftovers for lunch today. Plus some Mac and Cheese because apparently the Thai leftovers did not fill me up. And WAY too many fig newtons. Kind of a weird combo today, isn't it?

On the fitness front, I am doing pretty well. I still have not decided what to do about the gym. Laila and I both love going there. We'll see...For now, I am just enjoying it as long as I can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 9/23/2010 9:59PM

    I remember getting a Philly Cheese Steak in Philly. We had to wait in line, too. I'm afraid I did get the cheese - that was before SP. I couldn't eat the bun, though, because I'm gluten intolerant, so it wasn't quite the same thing.

Congrats on the size 2 pants!

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KELLEY1010 9/23/2010 9:38PM

    I had the same experience this last week with my food. I was waiting for payday to get stuff. But I didnt have things to make a complete meal, so it was ranch beans and wild rice one night (which wasnt that bad :)) Scales are satan sometimes :) LOLOLOL

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PHEBESS 9/23/2010 4:41PM

    Yeah, our scale moves around too. But YAY for smaller size pants!!!!!!!

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*AMBER512 9/23/2010 3:54PM

    I have always said scales are evil. I'd much rather go by clothing! My scale is currently in the cupboard beneath the sink, I had had enough of its crap!

I hate it when I feel stuck in a food rut where nothing works. I'm actually sort of in one right now. Beyond frustrating! I hope we can both figure it out and do something different soon!

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PALOMINOGIRL3 9/23/2010 3:41PM

    emoticons can be SO stupid!
Mine can fluctuate by 5lbs overnight - and that's just not possible!

You are so tiny! I'm curious to know how tall you are because I wear a 2/4 (I'm 5'3") and I am a good 10 pounds heavier than you! It's so interesting to me how different each person's body is, but according to my calculations, you should be a ZERO! You're an itty bitty thing!
emoticon WOO HOO for the size 2s!!!

I go through those same "food phases". Sometimes, you just need to mix it up! On your next shopping trip, try to avoid the "staples" you usually get and try some (healthy) things you normally wouldn't try.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/23/2010 3:41:52 PM

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Checked out a new gym, but pros and cons abound

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So yesterday, hoping to find a solution to my gym dilemma, I went to tour another gym in the area. This one is also walking distance and even a little closer to my house. It is a "community gym" (read "smaller") but the machines have a great view of the water and they have some intriguing things to offer that my current gym does not.

One thing they have is called TRX Suspension Training. This consists of resistance bands suspended from the ceiling. You can do various exercises with them - pushups, squats and much more. Because of the way they are designed, you are using your entire body weight, so everything gets a workout.

They also have "air yoga," which to me is both intriguing and a little frightening. You do yoga poses from hammocks suspended from the ceiling.

Finally, they have "fitwalls," which look like small climbing walls. Also designed to work your entire body at one time.

So, it is very cool and innovative. Unfortunately, none of the above come included with a basic membership, but you can pay as you go or sign up for a series of classes. With a basic membership you do get all their regular classes in addition to use of the machines. They do not have my beloved Body Combat or other Les Mills classes, but they have similar but different alternatives. There is a kickboxing class using real bags (Body Combat is non-contact) and they told me they have a similar class to Body Pump. There is also group cycling, more mainstream yoga, pilates, zumba and some sort of bootcamp class.

Now for 2 major cons:
- There is no childcare, which means I would no longer have the option to go to the gym during the day. It will be starting to get dark earlier in the next few months and I do not like the idea of walking when it is dark outside. Driving is an option but it's so close that it is almost ridiculous to drive, and because I live in the city, after a certain hour when people are coming home from work, you don't want to move your car or you won't find a parking spot when you get home.

- They want you to sign a 1-year contract as a new member. After a year you can go month to month. You can suspend your membership if you are traveling, injured, whatever and cancel if you move. I did not want to sign a contract because we are thinking of moving soon. Even though they say you can get out of it with proof that you moved away, I wonder how easy or difficult it would be to actually get out of a contract. This gym does not seem like a high-pressure sales type of place, but I am so used to belonging to gyms where it is almost impossible to get out of your contract. Reminds me of that episode of "Friends" where Ross and Chandler wanted to quit the gym but could not. LOL. One heartening observation I made is that the membership options seem simple and the same for everyone. At bigger gyms it seems like people are paying all different amounts tied to how long they have been members, incentives, etc. etc.

Finally, there is the cost comparison:

- Staying with the existing gym and taking DH off the membership would only save us $40/month. We would no longer have a family membership, which means the childcare is not free. We would be adding $25/month to my membership for the kids area.

- Staying with my existing gym, with only a membership for me and without the kids area, would save us $65/month. But the child care is really the selling point for me staying with this gym. If I don't have access to the childcare, I would be limited only to evenings (just as with the new gym), which defies the purpose. Plus, it would be a longer evening walk. Probably not worth doing this option.

Joining the new gym would save us $90/month.

Of course, just quitting altogether and working out at home would be the most cost-effective option. I feel like none of these situations are ideal, but we have to evaluate each one and see what we can do. The new gym offers a 14-day free trial, which includes everything such as the cool classes and personal training sessions. Also, if I join, the first month is free. I am totally considering giving it a try to see how I like the classes and the facility overall.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEFERNANDEZ 9/22/2010 11:55AM

  Do you have a Planet Fitness locally? Some of my friends go there for about $10 a month.

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PUPPYWHISPERS 9/22/2010 10:29AM

    I agree about checking out your local YMCA. They have a lot to offer, and some offer child care as well. I'm thinking of joining the Y near me for the indoor pool. And it may be more affordable than a private gym.

Good luck to you!

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CANCER711 9/21/2010 10:59AM

  Have you tried your local YMCA? That may be a good alternative! I don't know what I would do without mine!

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BSTELLING 9/15/2010 10:40AM

    Go for the free trial and consider some options for child care like neighbors, friends, ask the gym to consider a child care area, church near by might have child care, whatever you can think of. You might be able to arrange a trade with another mom who is a neighbor or maybe a member of the gym. Ask at the front desk if there are others who are asking for child care. Just some ideas. Keep up the research.

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ZIRCADIA 9/14/2010 5:50PM

    Try the new gym!!! The one thing that was really hard for me without the gym was remaining consistent with strength training - Because I was running and rowing as well, so plenty of cardio. I highly recommend TRX! You could even go take the class for free and then get some Freestyle Trainer straps to use at home after you're not going anymore. Mine cost $50.

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SHAUNDA 9/14/2010 5:20PM

    I say try it for the trial period and see how it goes. In the meantime you can check out other options as well and see what makes sense.

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PALOMINOGIRL3 9/14/2010 4:39PM

    The child care might be the selling point for me, too! We haven't yet taken Devin to the child care at our gym, but have looked into adding her to our membership (which will add $30 a month for unlimited child care). We're already complaining about spending $128 a month and never being able to get to the gym, but at least if we add her to the plan, we have FEWER excuses not to go. Hmmm... I say give the 14 day trial a shot just for the fun of it. Do you have other options for child care if you choose this new gym?

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*AMBER512 9/14/2010 3:51PM

    Definitely take advantage of the free trial! I'm sorry that none of them are ideal. I hope you can figure out which option will work best for you!

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