eat, move, think, feel


The Biggest Loser

Rocco Rocks the Comfort Food

I was excited to win a (signed) copy of Rocco Dispirito’s brand-new cookbook Now Eat This! (150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods Under 350 Calories) from Ryan over at NoMoreBacon. I’ve loved watching Rocco on the Biggest Loser as well as on Top Chef, and one of his special skills has been “lightening up” normally calorie-heavy dishes. And I am a person who certainly enjoys comfort food. In fact, Comfort Food is practically my middle name. When I got the book in the mail, Juniorette flipped through it and put a Post-It note on the page of every recipe she wanted me to make. Fried chicken! Mac and cheese! Brownies! All under 350 calories? For real?!?

Tonight I decided to make Rocco’s Tortilla Soup with Avocado and Cilantro. (<— sorry, we do not like cilantro in our house) It was awesome. Delicious. Fast. And EASY.  I cannot even begin to describe how easy. That, my friends, is a combo that cannot be beat. And under 350 calories per serving? Yow. We are going to be dipping into this book OFTEN.

I have to admit I fiddled with the recipe a teeny bit. I took out the cilantro. I added some black beans (fiber can’t hurt, right?). It was YUMMY. The whole family gave it a giant thumbs up.

Thanks, Ryan! Thanks, Rocco! TOTAL WINNER.

Upcoming Blog Topics

Ooh, there is too much I want to blog about, a LOT on my mind lately, and not enough time. But I want to write about the following in the next few days:

  • people who have successfully lost weight/kept it off without counting calories or points
  • blaming one’s weight gain on others (entities, people, situations, etc)
  • my first run/walk around the local lake AND my first Couch-to-5k session (done!)
  • what people are talking about when they say “dealing with your issues” re food/emotions and why this year might be the first year in my life it might actually happen
  • this week’s episode of the Biggest Loser
  • changing up trainers/exercises/workouts

SO — that’s what’s been on my mind this week! I want to write about it all eventually. What would YOU vote for, for me to write about first?

Biggest Loser Top Chef: YAY

Y’all know that The Biggest Loser and Top Chef are two of my favorite reality shows EVER. So last night I was just squeeing with glee to see Rocco Dispirito, frequent Top Chef guest judge, on the Biggest Loser! It was set up totally Top-Chef style. It was like the merging of two perfect elements, except a lot funnier. I LOVED it. First, Rocco laid out the nutritional reality of many fast foods: pizza, burgers and burritos. It was super gross and mind-boggling to see him scoop up the amount of fat in a burger and fries meal. Shudder. Great visual.

Anyway, the challenge was for the BL contestants to make healthy and tasty versions of those three items.  I was enamored of the bison burger with feta cheese and portabello mushrooms. (and yay, it won) I just happened to read an article about bison in Eating Well magazine, which I just discovered yesterday. I am kind of intrigued and might go see if they have bison at our local Whole Foods.

Another part of the show featured one team going to do a shadowboxing class with Sugar Ray Leonard. Man, that guy was awesome. He talked about the mental and spiritual challenges being just as if not more important than the physical part. He reminded them to remember their POWER:


and also talked about having “tunnel vision” – just focusing on one’s goal and not getting distracted by outside things. Everyone was very emotional and teary watching him and so was I.

There’s been a fair amount of controversy about coach Jillian yelling at Laura, who has been a bit of a slacker and whiner. I have mixed feelings about this. She HAS been a slacker and whiner. My own trainer has never yelled at me and I am not sure I would be appreciative if he did. But I’m much more of a Kristin than a Laura – if he tells me to do something, I do it. Today I even asked for MORE because I was feeling so pumped up.  I’m not sure if it was the rest day yesterday, or watching BL last night. I always seem to have good workouts on Wednesdays.

In not-so-good news, the scale gave me 2 extra lbs this morning. Does that mean I have to change my weight-loss graphic thingie back to 13? I think not. It will just have to wait for me until it catches back up to 15. I’m not totally surprised or freaked out because there are some hormonal things going on but still, one hates to see that number go UP.

In other news: I now officially weigh a decent amount less than my husband. At one point I actually weighed more than him, and I cannot even express how NOT OKAY this was. He is six or seven inches TALLER than me. And he’s a guy. So for me to weigh more than he does, was just soooooooooo unacceptable. I want to weigh a LOT less than he does, but for now, the little distance is a big improvement.

Liveblogging The Biggest Loser

So I have no idea what to expect from TBL tonight. My daughter (who is 2 times zones ahead) texted me and said it was “crazy.” Crazy good, crazy bad, I don’t know. So here goes.

  • Helen recaps the decision to send Shanon home. She questions herself as a mother. I don’t. Mama, you did the right thing.
  • Music of doom. Pop challenge: black and blue shirts -the teams are going to reconfigure. I don’t understand Sione’s attachment to Bob. Ooh the winners get to choose trainers. WHO ON EARTH would choose to work with Bob? Psycho yoga man.
  • Challenge: up and down, 100x in the mud. They love mud wrestling! Kristin will win, ha. 🙂 Kristin FLOPS. I love her! I can tell you these up-down things are damn hard. I’ve done a version of this (sans mud) with my trainer, all the way down and then leaping up. It’s hard. Tara wins. She’s bawling in the mud. I’d be bawling too. Sometimes these exercises are really emotionally draining. I’ve burst into tears more than once after finishing a real killer.
  • I have to say I really don’t understand the concept of this team thing on this show.
  • Wow, NOBODY is getting what they want. Sione is such a sad little hangdog.
  • Sione, Jillian is going to push you a millionx more than Bob. You have no idea how much better this is going to be.
  • Mikey has a great attitude, and J is pushing him SO MUCH.
  • Wah wah wah wah.  All the guys are crying. Cue the violins!! Now the cheesy vocals. BAD.
  • Bob, be a man. Be a professional.
  • STOP WHINING PEOPLE! You know, I love my trainer. I adore my trainer. But he needed to take some time off and he handed me off to someone he trusted. (his own trainer) and guess what? Trainer #2 was freaking AWESOME. I learned new great things. It was tremendous.
  • They’re trying not to laugh their faces off at Jillian’s Ziploc product placement. Hah.
  • Bike challenge. I would SO FAIL at this!! It’s like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (about the dance marathons of olden days)
  • Favorite quotes so far: “My ass is on fire.” “Uh huh, it will go numb, don’t worry.” HA!
  • Cue the Gladiator music!
  • Wow. Mandi wants to throw in the towel!  BLACK TEAM, SAY NO!
  • Aw Sione is not a quitter. Blue team is bummmmmmmmed.
  • “the reason we are all here is that we always quit before, we didn’t finish what we started.” YEAH.
  • One minute left! This is very exciting. Ha, Helen’s still going even though they counted to zero.
  • GO BLACK TEAM. Yeahhhh…
  • I love how the two teams are hugging each other.
  • More tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!

My response overall: this was a good show. I got all choked up AGAIN when Sione talked about not quitting. I can remember my earliest days of quitting in the face of a physical challenge. I was on the high school track team. Originally I was supposed to be a sprinter, doing the 220m (1/4 mile) but like EVERYOne wanted to do the 220m so they switched me over to the 880. Which is just a brutal, horrible killer, of having to really pump out for two entire laps rather than.. half a lap.  So many times, during a meet I would end up dying somehow at around 1.5 laps; I’d twist my ankle, or get injured, or throw up or pass out or god knows what. But I was so terrified of losing that I just took myself out, over and over. That was a very bad precedent to set. However, I do not remember ANYbody being there or encouraging me to keep going, so I never did. It was very lonely. I didn’t last too long at track, maybe 2 years max.

Three Cheers for the Torture Machine

I’m only half kidding when I say that about our beloved (cough) erg machine (ie rowing machine). Both of my daughters, as I’ve mentioned before, are rowers, one on a Division I college level. I’ve watched them and their teammates erg for years. It looks like torture. But they are not kidding when they say that rowing is a full-body sport.

I just got off my third 20-minute erg session. The sweat is running in rivers down my head and body. I know I’ve gotten an amazing workout. And the cool thing is that the machine actually shows you your progress. The first time, I was averaging (“splitting”) 3 minutes and six seconds per 500 meters. (to give you some perspective, the young athletes are always trying to get a “sub-two”) The second time, I got a 2:56 (YAY! a sub-three!!) and today I got down to 2:50.4.  I was very proud of myself. If I can get into the 2:30s by this summer, I will be a happy person.

I have to thank The Biggest Loser and my daughters for even getting me to try this (my older daughter for being an example of a MONSTER rower, and my younger one for not laughing TOO hard when she tried to show me proper form). But it’s a crazy awesome HARD workout that I can do from my garage. With all my best music on my iPod.

Yay for the torture machine!!

Note to self: do NOT eat hard boiled eggs prior to erging. Burps will be very nasty.

I have to say, I’m pretty pumped full of endorphins right now.

I (Heart) Biggest Loser

I know, I know, it’s junky reality tv, but it inspires me. It truly does. Last night was one of my favorite episodes.  So the first challenge involved running up and down a hill to get keys (one at a time) to fit into these two padlocks on the workout gym. People were desperate to keep their access to the gym. I was wondering what this was about but I think it might have had something to do with the machines- the elliptical, the treadmill, stairmaster, etc. The numbers on those machines can be very seductive, especially when they measure your progress, with speed, resistance and calories burned. It can be great to know you’ve just burned X number of calories.

I don’t feel all that attached to my gym. I do enough workouts in “alternative” settings that I know it all works, and sometimes it just feels so good to be outside.

So two teams of two got gym access and they immediately turned it into a … lounge? With comfy chairs, tea, water and fresh cut fruit. So they could lounge around instead of work out!

Meanwhile, the out-of-the-gym teams had these crazy workouts where they were lifting lawn furniture, leaping over barrels, running on the beach with enormous logs on their shoulders… it was insane and cool. They also had a really fun looking mud-wrestling fight after that. I really like this season’s people. They know how to have fun and they SUPPORT each other in a really heartwarming way.

My particular family was also VERY jazzed about last night’s show because the elimination challenge involved – erg machines! Ergometers! Or, if you must call them that (much to daughter’s exasperation): rowing machines. My two daughters have collectively pulled hundreds of thousands of kilometers on those very machines. They kick ass. So it was a personal thrill to see the Biggest Loser teams trying to erg their way to immunity. Wooo!

My favorite moment was when Bob (whom I do not particularly like) talked about Kristin, the young woman who weighs more than 300 lbs. She does EVERYthing. He said, “No matter what I ask of her, she always does it. She does not whine or complain. She puts her all in.” And she talked about weighing almost 400 lbs? before the show and how she had no idea”this girl who could do this” was living inside her. It brought tears to my eyes.

So I went to my trainer today and was determined to be Just. Like. Kristin.  She has SO much to overcome, and she is hanging in there, so steady. I have great admiration for her. And he was duly impressed. I basically said, I am never going to complain again. Even when he had me doing my personal nemesis, which is jumproping. I am just a spaz. I am very very bad at it. But I kept going, and got my 100 jumps in, and that was that. It was a great workout. I love working out on Wednesdays after watching Biggest Loser!

Now that I am finally HOME and settled and not traveling very much for a long time, I am hopeful I can really get into a routine. I also want to get together my in-person and online Beck Diet Solution support group. I am going to go through that book from front to back.

Let me know if you want to join in. (online)

The Lure of Biggest Loser

I basically turn my nose up at many reality TV shows, but I am a total sucker for The Biggest Loser, (and also Top Chef).

This season of Biggest Loser started out in a really uplifting and heartwarming way. People on this season were “the biggest ever,” meaning some upwards of 400 lbs. But everyone seemed to be earnestly working hard and rooting for each other.  There was a hint of Bad Attitude before, but last night it really hit the fan. It was so bad. People fighting and screaming and such. It was really unpleasant.

I have been most interested in the medical aspects of this show; the guys on the Black team who don’t look SO bad, until you look at their body scans. The doctors present their transparent body scans next to one of a “normal” body. They point out the enormous pockets and layers of fat, and this one guy whose lungs have been pushed up into the shape of orange slices, rather than full length lungs, because he has so much abdominal fat pushing up from below.

This is something I have long been afraid of: that if somebody opened up my body and removed my heart, it would be this slippery butterball. And that the truth about my diet will be out.

I guess the blood test was one way that I got a little insight into my insides. Which was a hard truth.

Anyway, 3 weeks into The Biggest Loser, the guy with no lungs goes back to the doctor and the doc gets rid of ALL OF HIS MEDS (10 pills per day) except one (he didn’t say which one). I was rather shocked at that. Was he really at normal levels for EVERYthing after 3 weeks, or was that doctor practicing really irresponsible medicine?

Speaking of medicine. I am taking a certain drug, Lisinopril, for my high blood pressure. One of the side effects of this medicine is a tickly, dry, super annoying cough. Last night I feel like I was coughing all night. I have had this cough for over a year. Before, I was on something called Diovan, which had NO side effects, but my health insurance changed, and suddenly Lisinopril was $3/bottle while Diovan costs $90.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s annoying.

Anyway, I hope that if I can lose enough weight I can stop taking this BP medicine altogether, and my cough will go away.

Some nice news: I have lost about 4-5 lbs since last week.

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