Friday, December 31, 2010

"Out with the old. In with the new"

I had planned to write about this past year, and what I hoped the new year would bring. Like every other blog out there, I guess. After an hour of trying to formulate something that didn't sound corny, I gave up.

Screw it. Keeping it simple always works.

Goodbye 2010; it's been a slice.

Hello 2011.

Resolutions? Who needs them? I quit smoking without one. If you've read any of my previous blog postings, it should be obvious what's next.

Clean slate. New experiences. New goals. New determination to reach those goals. And maybe a little fun thrown in.

I'm ready.

I think.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More than just the turkey got stuffed - Week 6 progress

I should have seen it coming after the Christmas morning breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and hash browns exceeded half of my daily calorie intake.

Despite switching from working out daily to every two days, I had to work out yesterday to counteract the evil to come in the form of Christmas dinner. On the plus side, the workout yesterday was the biggest calorie-burner for me this month at 459 slayed calories.

Dinner came and went. It was damn good, but I paid for it adding ~2000 calories to the ~1400 I ate at breakfast. And that doesn't even include the 7 or 8 beers later in the evening. It sure adds up quickly. It's no wonder I am the weight I am.

Anyway, the weigh-in this morning turned out to be no worse than yesterday's weigh-in at around 258. This leaves me at around 2lbs over my lowest so far, so all things considered, I'm not in bad shape (no pun intended). Since I'm off work for the Christmas holidays, I have a week to work it off -- again -- before New Years Eve arrives.

My wife bought me some 3 pound weights for Christmas to use with my workouts. I tried them yesterday when I did my YSFE cardio boxing. They even recommend using hand weights with some of the workouts. What a difference. It's too bad that there's no way to account for using weights in the workouts. I'm sure more calories are being burned and not counted.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Spirit -- it's what you make it

Every year, without fail, some people get offended that they are not wished a "Merry Christmas". Instead, they hear "Happy Holidays", or something else, and this is supposedly very wrong.

I used to hop aboard that same bandwagon. It was almost like... I felt I was being robbed of Christmas spirit, or something. Denied my right to have a Merry Christmas.

Over the years I have come to realize that it doesn't really matter what we say.

We're Canadians. We're multi-cultural. If you want to say Merry Christmas, go ahead. If you want to say Happy Holidays, go ahead. If you want to say Happy Hanukkah, go ahead. If someone gets offended by whatever you choose to say, that's their problem.

Christmas spirit is what you make it. Say whatever makes you happy. If you choose to say nothing at all, that's fine too. Life is too short to be upset over something so trivial, and you do get upset by it, then you are ruining your own Christmas spirit.

When it comes to Christmas, there are no rules... except maybe holding the door open for that person whose arms are full of gifts for their friends and family. :)

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weigh in - Week 5 progress addendum

As I said I would be, I was under 260lbs this morning at 259.2. :)

I must have jinxed myself in the process, as I was unable to get my workout done this evening due to unpredictable people traffic in my house around my usual time. Had I known there would be people in and out of here, I would have done it in the afternoon. Not a huge deal. I was still under my 2000 calories for the day -- by around 25. :)

I think my brain is being reprogrammed when it comes to food.

First, I was out Christmas shopping with my kids this afternoon. When we were done, they wanted ice cream from Laura Secord. I bought them each a single scoop in a waffle cone. I didn't have any. Just as we were about to leave the mall, I thought about picking up some onion rings from A&W because that's what we did last year when we were finished shopping. Then I thought about what that would do to my daily calorie intake... not to mention the sodium. I quickly scrapped that idea.

There was a lot of baking going on in my house this afternoon and this evening, in preparation for the Christmas holidays. My wife likes to make all kinds of goodies for her co-workers and family, and for when we have friends over. Despite the awesome smell in the house, I didn't indulge in the yummy treats. At one point, my wife even offered me some, holding it within reach and I declined.

It seems to get easier the more I refuse to give in to the temptation(s).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Counting Calories - Week 5 Progress

This counting calories thing appears to be working, thanks to the Livestrong.com web site.

A few days ago I broke the 260lb barrier. Unfortunately, I did put 1 or 2 lbs back on thanks to a yummy pot luck lunch at work, but I expect that after this weekend, they will be gone and I will be below 260lbs.

This makes me very happy.

My goal is set at 2000 calories per day. With the exception of two days that I hit nearly 3000 calories (last Sunday, before I started tracking, and Thursday's pot luck lunch), I'm averaging 1450 calories per day, after my workout burned calories are subtracted. Even without the workouts, the average would be below 2000. Knowing that makes it tempting to skip a workout every once in a while. I have to convince myself that if I do that, then it'll get easier and easier to skip.

One thing that is extremely difficult to keep low is my sodium intake. It's almost always over the recommended daily intake. It's crazy. I have to try and keep a closer watch on that.

My workouts are up to around 30 mins long and are supposedly burning off anywhere between 350 and 400 calories per day, according to Your Shape Fitness Evolved. That's more than double than when I started and it's my plan to keep doing that much as a minimum.

My left hip joint is giving me a bit of trouble. It's bothering me for a couple of years now. It feels like it's grinding or needs to pop. It hurts when I stand for a long time or do a lot of walking, but I can really feel it when I work out and have to kick with my left leg.

Anyway, that's the update for this week.

Kudos for Best Buy?

I had some rather unpleasant experiences with Best Buy in the past, and this was no exception. However, when they do something right, it's also worth mentioning.

Earlier this month Best Buy had a promo where you could earn extra Reward Points for purchases totally over certain amounts. One of those was 2000 Reward Points ($20 value) for a purchase totally $100 or more. I ordered a couple of items and the total came to $104.98 before tax.

The first problem I ran into was not knowing where to enter the "2000POINTS" code that entitled me to the 2000 Reward Points. The only field that would accept this code was the Redeem Digital Dollars field. I entered it there and proceeded with the purchase.

A day or so later, I checked my Reward Point balance and there was no record of the purchase, nor was there any "pending" points balance.

I emailed Best Buy inquiring about this. I never got a reply.

I posted the issue on their Facebook page and I did get a reply saying that I should have gotten them and suggesting I check my balance. Not entirely helpful, but it was a response.

I bitched about it on Twitter and a day or two later I got a message from someone who appeared to be a Best Buy rep asking for details. I sent the ma brief summary. They gave me an email address and suggested sending the details to it and I did.

A day or two later I got a reply advising me that my problem was being forwarded to the Reward Zone reps.

This evening a long distance number called my home phone. We don't normally answer them because it's almost always a telemarketer, but my wife answered it anyway. Moments later she handed me the phone and said "Someone from Best Buy headquarters..."

I don't recall the woman's name, but she was apologetic and advised me that I did everything correct in entering the code, and that I did indeed qualify for the points and they had no idea why it didn't automatically add the 2000 points to my Reward Account. She said they were going to look into it, but she also added that she would fix my account so I got the 2000 points that I was entitled to.

I thanked her for the call and that was that.

I think it's pretty cool that a company will actually call someone to resolve a problem rather than let them go through email hoops.

I will add, however, that the call lead me to believe that the points had already been added to my account. I checked an hour or two later and they still did not appear. I'm hoping that it's just a delay and I won't have to update my blog with a rant. :)

I think Best Buy still has a long way to go to improve their customer service (i.e. responding to ALL emails!), but this is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Livestrong.com

I was searching for the calorie count on various food items today and I came across the LiveStrong.com web site. If you create a profile there, you can track what you eat. So, I figured what the hell... I created an account and started entering what I ate for the day. I don’t know if I’ll do it for the long term, but at the very least it’s making me more aware of what I can eat without overdoing it (not that it’s not sometimes blatantly obvious) ;)

I even passed on having a second Light beer this evening while watching hockey. That’s a first for me, and it wasn’t even going to push me past my calorie intake for the day. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fitness hell - Week 4 progress

My suspicion from last week was correct. I have to start keeping a close watch on what I eat.

I weighed myself this morning and was disappointed to see that I gained a few pounds back. It's not like I went crazy with eating, but clearly whatever I ate was really bad for me.

Ugh. Too good to be true. :)

And to top it all off, I burned more calories this past week than the 3 weeks prior: just over 1600. I hate to think of how it would be if I hadn't.

On the plus side, it's looking really good for beating my 2000 cal in 14 day goal that I set for myself; 5 days and 274 cal to go!

I'm really enjoying the cardio boxing routines. That's part of the reason for the increase in calorie burns. It makes for a great warm up.

The Your Shape FE web site is still not fully functional, and it's been at least 2 weeks since I've been able to access their support forums. For some reason I get an error when I try to log into them. There are others with the same problem. At first, the reps in their Facebook page seemed concerned and were passing along info to their support people, but now our pleas appear to go ignored... and the problem still exists.

The leaderboard stats are a little f'd up too. For example, it has me listed twice. The "female" one is not the correct one, obviously. :)

That was yesterday, but it's still listing me twice today.

There have also been some questions about when they're going to post "events" on their web site that we can participate in. No replies to those questions either.

It's annoying when a product is released with virtually no support to back it up.

Here's my current rank:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kinect & Your Shape FE - Week 3 progress

Since the last update, I discovered that I had entered my weight incorrectly into Your Shape FE when I did the fitness test. I fixed it, and it didn't seem to change the recommended workouts. However, since my weight was incorrect, it miscalculated the calorie burn. Heavier people burn calories faster. Based on the number of calories burned at my correct weight, I estimate it is around 360-400 calories short. Not a big deal though.

After completing the 12 easyier sessions, I went in search of something different. I learned the the Cardio programs will change daily, which makes it a whole lot more interesting. Plus, they appear to be broken down into two or three routines per session, which lets me decide how many sessions I want to do per day. I upped my workouts to burn around 200 per workout. That lasted until the weekend.

I had a little setback (err... night out) on Saturday. I didn't go crazy, but it definitely wasn't part of my fitness agenda. :) Good food. Cold beer. Fun times.

So, on Sunday I was wiped. Not hungover, just tired. I did try to workout in the evening but after a few routines, I was so winded it scared me a little. I had to call it quits.

At least I tried, so the guilt was minimal.

This evening, I decided to re-do the fitness test with my correct weight set to see if anything would change. It didn't seem to affect the recommendations as far as I can see, but it feels better knowing that it's based on my correct weight.

I redid one of the easy sessions for this evening's workout, which is how I determined how much short the total calorie burn was with the incorrect weight. It went well, but it felt like a bigger workout than it was. I didn't feel as energetic. Either I was still in weekend recovery mode, or missing a workout really messed things up.

On to the weight loss for this week. There was none. In fact, I gained about ½ a pound. Should I be surprised? No. Oddly enough, I weighed myself on Friday and it had me about 3 lbs heavier, so in the end a ½ lb is good enough for me.

We'll see how this week goes, but I suspect I'll have to start taking a serious look at what I eat if I'm going to have any chance of achieving a 10lb per month loss. The Christmas holidays sure aren't going to help with that either.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A message to Sens fans

... in particular, the Heatley-hating fans:

It's cool that you're all excited about the game tonight and being able to boo and trash the much-hated Dany Heatley. It's great that you seem willing to display a little energy and emotion for once because we're certainly not known for being anything but comatose.

But what do you say to sharing some of that energy, emotion, and excitement with the home team for once? How about more than a couple of Go Sens Go! chants that don't die the second the other team touches the puck?

Seriously, how embarassing will it be to hear more Heatley boos and jeers at the game than cheers and rallies for the Ottawa Senators?

Very. And to be honest, not too surprising.

Surprise me.