Well, it’s been kind of a mixed bag sort of week.  On the upside, I was relatively good with eating better and working out.  On the downside, my dog Clarke is starting to fall apart, it seems.

LOOK AT THAT FACE! He’s lucky he’s so damn cute

So, let’s talk about my dog (it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want…).  He had been limping around lately, and we were kind of hoping that by keeping him less active that it’d just start getting better all on it’s own.  Well, that didn’t happen (of course) and so, Clarke had yet another vet appointment where my fear was realized:  he has a torn ACL.

(yes, Clarke is just an incredibly cute walking vet bill)

The vet is hopeful that we can rehabilitate him without surgery — which sounds awesome to me, since that procedure runs into the thousands of dollars — but we have to keep him from completely blowing it up, which is not as easy as it sounds.  Despite the fact that he’s limping around, all you have to do is hint at a treat or ring the doorbell or be a squirrel and off he goes, leg be damned.

Anyway, time for the weekly recap:

Measurements
About the same.  Everything is being kind of stubborn at the moment, but I keep telling myself to focus simply on what I have control over — and that would NOT be my weight or measurements. The results will come.

Workouts
WOOT!  Not only hit all of my workouts, but didn’t end the week trying to play catch-up. I did a good job at looking at my schedule and figuring everything out beforehand. Feels good to have gotten everything in.

Habits
This week started a new habit — fitness media fast.  To be honest, I haven’t been following this to the letter, though I have been making an effort to avoid my normal fitness stopping places on the interwebz.

Intermittent Fasting
This week I did this only 3 days, but even that helped.  Need to get this going throughout the workweek, for sure.

Habit Log
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan Meals
Weeks 15-16: Log all food
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies
Weeks 23-24: Eat only whole foods
Week 25: No new habits (work on the previous ones)
Weeks 26-27: A little more, a little better
Weeks 28-29: Lean protein and vegetables with every meal
Weeks 30-31: Stop eating at 80% full (an encore presentation)
Weeks 32-33: Modify carb intake
Weeks 34-35: Do a 5-minute body/mind scan every day

Week 26:  Fitness media fast

I’m not saying anything that anyone around here hasn’t already said a million times, but I AM SO SICK OF THIS WEATHER. It’s the end of March. It’s OFFICIALLY Spring. And yet, I drove to work in white-out conditions just this week. And there’s more snow predicted in the 10-day forecast. Ridiculous.

UNCLE! UNCLE! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.

I’m ready to go running, ready to take the dogs for long walks, ready to take my bike out, ready to sit out on the patio with a book and an adult beverage but Mother Nature isn’t in agreement. I’m afraid that we’re going to go from 20’s and snowing to 97 degrees with 100% humidity with none of the beautiful Spring weather that keeps me sane the rest of the year.

I appreciate you allowing me to rant, I almost feel a little better from it. And now I’ll descend into my basement torture room for yet another workout because it’s too cold to do it outside.

(and yes, I know I could go outside regardless of the weather … and I used to run outside year-round … but I’m older and whinier now)

The new habit for the next two weeks?  Boycott fitness media — no facebook articles, no blogs, no magazines, no inspirational Pinterest posters, no nothing (really, I shouldn’t be posting here either, but I’m more whiny than fitness-y).

The premise is sound:  we are bombarded with information and choices from all sides, but this overload doesn’t necessarily do us any good.  The change is in the doing, not the reading about the doing, amiright?  And that’s what we’re tasked with — focusing on consistently making good nutrition choices and getting in all the workouts without worrying about what everyone else has to say about it.

So, yea.  That’s it.  Not much to it, is there? I won’t be all that impacted by this — while I certainly do my fair share of reading about fitness, I have more than enough other stuff to keep my brain busy.  I’ll also say that since I started LE, I haven’t paid as much attention to the articles and blogs that I used to because I already know what I’m doing and I’m not looking for anything new to take on. I’m easily distracted, you know.

And really, there’s only one diet that produces results — the one that you stick with and create a lifestyle around. 

So, none of this. Like what she’s doing is
even possible.
Real people don’t do that without their shoulders
popping right out of their sockets. A
nd her body has totally
got to be Photoshopped, right? If not, she
definitely needs a cookie. Or 8. Yup, I think not
seeing any of this will be good for me.


35 weeks down.  It’s really difficult for me to believe it — I don’t know that I’ve ever kept track of time for this long (you know what I mean, right?).  Maybe it’s just that I’ve never stuck with one thing for this long, though, of course, the 35 weeks have been filled with varying degrees of commitment.

But anyway – I’m getting back into things and my Lean Eating life is back moving in the right direction.  I’m hitting the gym, pounding the pavement and putting down the donuts — not always easy, but I’m making better decisions today than I did yesterday.

Measurements
Weight is down, measurements are stubbornly static. I’m not worried about it, though — that’ll come.  These are the things that I don’t have control over.  As long as I take care of what I do have control over — eating right, working out — these results will show up soon enough.

Workouts
Nailed it! Schedule was a bit wonky because I got lazy on a few days, but I got everything in.  So – one week down in my quest to get myself a dual monitor setup. It wasn’t as easy as I would have wanted it to be — some days required a whole lot of oomph to get me downstairs — but given some time, that should get better.

Habits
Still doing the 5 minute body scan every day.  I enjoy it — kind of a way to check in with my body and emotions without attaching too much significance to it.  Almost a detached overview of how the systems are functioning.

Intermittent Fasting
Did this two days this week, and for two days this week I didn’t snack after dinner. Which is kind of the point — when I’m eating at night there’s almost never a reason for it.

Habit Log
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan Meals
Weeks 15-16: Log all food
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies
Weeks 23-24: Eat only whole foods
Week 25: No new habits (work on the previous ones)
Weeks 26-27: A little more, a little better
Weeks 28-29: Lean protein and vegetables with every meal
Weeks 30-31: Stop eating at 80% full (an encore presentation)
Weeks 32-33: Modify carb intake
Weeks 34-35: Do a 5-minute body/mind scan every day

I can’t help it — I absolutely love this

The long-awaited write-up of my thoughts on the Fitbit One and the Withings Pulse — I know y’all were probably up nights wondering when this was going to be posted. I started using both at the very beginning of the year and have basically had them on my body every day since then.

It took me 8 tries to get a picture with both displays
still turned on, so I stopped worrying about
how awful the actual picture is.


In general, they both do their job fairly well and I think you could be happy going with either one. Personally, I’m still having a tough time choosing between them — and frankly, they’re small enough that I can carry both around without being too overburdened. And since I can’t make a decision, I’ll list all the things I think are important and then pick a winner in each category. How does that sound? Good, I’m glad you like the idea.

Step Count/Mileage

When on a treadmill or running outside, both devices are about spot-on with each other in terms of step count, however, the Fitbit always seems to underestimate distance while the Pulse compares better to the actual distance traveled. Normal walking around the office or home or out shopping?  The Fitbit will sometimes be as much as 10-15% higher in both step count and mileage than the Pulse.  Which, of course, makes me like it more.
Winner:  Fitbit One

Form Factor

While they’re both fairly small, the Pulse is definitely bulkier though I wouldn’t make a buying decision based only on this. That said, the Fitbit is not only smaller, but its curved edges seems to make it less noticeable in my pocket.
Winner:  Fitbit One

Battery Life/Charging

Battery life is good with both devices — at least 1-2 weeks, easily, and they both charge up quickly.  The Pulse battery seems to need charging before the Fitbit, but not by much, usually. A big thumbs down to the Fitbit, though, because the charging cable is proprietary. Forget it at home when you go on vacation? Hope you remembered to charge your Fitbit before leaving! The Pulse is a normal micro USB plug — the same that charges many (non-Apple) phones. I like that I can charge it just about anywhere, since I have those cords all around my house.
Winner: Withings Pulse

Syncing

The Fitbit One syncs with a computer (with a USB receiver plugged in), and with iOS/Android/Windows devices using Bluetooth. It will sync automatically, and it’s unusual that I need to force a sync because my devices and the website seemingly always show me the most up-to-date information. The Withings Pulse only syncs with iOS/Android devices and the sync doesn’t happen nearly as often and I often find myself doing a manual sync. This wasn’t too much of an issue for me until my Nexus 5 bit the dust (well, I bit the dust and it happened to be under my butt when it happened… doh) and I bought a Windows phone (which the Pulse doesn’t support). Now I keep the Nexus on at home to sync my Pulse (and for a few other things my new phone doesn’t do).
Winner: Fitbit One

Sleep Analysis

Both devices need to be worn on your wrist and turned on when going to bed and then turned off when you get up. Kind of a pain, but you soon get used to it and it’s not that big of a deal. One note — if you go to bed to read, don’t turn it on — if you’re not moving around, it’ll think that you’ve fallen asleep.  Both devices are usually within minutes of each other in telling me how long it took me to fall asleep, and how much total sleep I got. The downside with the Pulse — when it’s in sleep mode, it doesn’t count steps (sure, sure, not a big deal, but it’s not like I’m levitating to the bathroom a few times a night… I want credit for all the steps I take!). Also, if you forget to turn it off when you get up, the Pulse does not allow you to edit that sleep record while the Fitbit does (through the website).
Winner:  Fitbit One

Website

Both websites give you summary information on a dashboard-like interface. The Fitbit dashboard is all big bubbly graphics and you have to drill down to get to more detail. The Withings website, on the other hand, is awesome (how’s that for a technical review?). It manages to display a wealth of information on the dashboard without it being confusing. And you can still drill down for more details. It also integrates really well with any other Withings products you have (I own the Withings Scale).
Winner: Withings Pulse

Display/On-screen information

The Fitbit, by default, cycles through steps – floors – miles – calories (total) – energy flower – time. The Fitbit allows you — through the website or app — to change what is displayed. The Pulse cycles through steps – feet of elevation – mileage – calories (during exercise) – sleep mode/HR. Also, if you go for a run, you can swipe to a “running analysis” — basically time/distance of the activity and you can also easily see 10 days of historical data for any piece of information that’s displayed.
Winner: Withings Pulse

Clip-ons

I don’t use the clips all that often and find them both to be more than adequate for the job. I think that used more, the Fitbit has more of a chance of wearing out, but I can’t say that for sure. Just my guess.
Winner: Withings Pulse (I guess)

Extras

Fitbit:  allows you to set alarms which work by vibrating — very effective when you’re sleeping, especially if you’re trying not to wake up someone else. 

Pulse: takes your HR.  Cycle through to HR mode, then put your finger on the sensors in the back and it spits out your HR (usually – sometimes it can’t get a read and just shows an “x” on the display). I’ve found it to be pretty accurate, though it’s kind of a pain to do when you’re in the middle of working out.  I use it mostly when I wake up to get my resting heart rate.

Fitbit One
Withings Pulse

So, I suppose if you were to force me to choose, I’d probably pick the Fitbit mostly for convenience sake (it’s easier to sync) and the fact that it typically gives me a higher step count (I’m a little emotionally attached to that number). But I tell you — I’d miss the Withings website, which has been awesome in motivating me to get more active and monitoring my weight and keeping track of my weekly goals.

I’ve decided that a little external motivation might be just what I need. As I’ve mentioned the last few times I’ve been around these parts, my workouts have fluctuated between utterly inconsistent to utterly non-existent, and while I’m feeling better about getting back on track, I thought that dangling a carrot in front of me might do the trick (a metaphorical carrot, of course … though, if you tossed in some hummus, I’d be okay with literal carrots, too).

So, here’s the deal:  if I complete a month’s worth of LE workouts, I get to splurge and get the dual monitor setup for my laptop that I’ve really been lusting after (but I don’t need, so I haven’t been able to justify the cost).

The rules I’m following are pretty straightforward:

  1. A week of LE workouts = 3 strength training, 2 interval, 1 active recovery.
  2. Specific LE strength training workout requirement can be met with a trainer beatdown session.
  3. A month = 4 weeks.
  4. I’m allowed to double-up workouts, i.e. I can do a strength and interval workout on the same day to cover two days of workouts (but I can’t do two strength training workouts or two interval workouts in the same day).
  5. If Sunday passes and I haven’t completed the 6 workouts, the whole thing starts over again at square one.
I started yesterday, and so far I’m on schedule — two for two on the workouts. WOOT!  Yesterday I kicked my own ass in the basement torture workout room and today I went out and enjoyed the 49* windy day and did my intervals in the middle of running a few miles. The plan is that by April 13th I’ll have my workouts down to an unthinking habit and that two monitors will be hurtling their way towards my house.

Oh, and yes — I’m already sore.  But it’s an “I’m getting dual monitors!” kind of sore, so it’s all good.

Getting lazy in my old age, aren’t I, combining Sunday reviews like this.  I was finally freed from the chains of having to study every non-working, non-sleeping moment and went a little crazy. Read a few books, caught up on some DVR’d TV, went to bed early… yup, I’m a regular rebellious spirit.

Last week it was time for photos — oh, how I didn’t want to do that. I feel like I’m back to the point where I started and preserving that wasn’t high on my list of things to do. But, I very reluctantly did it anyway. Taking photos is a pretty powerful motivator to keep at this whole thing — nothing like back fat rolls to get my butt down into the gym.

Progress has been very gradual over the past few weeks, but it’s going forward nonetheless. I’m still not always making good decisions, but I’m always trying to be better than yesterday, which is really all I can ask of myself.

Measurements
Weight and measurements are down a touch from last week. I’m finally out of the clutches of hormones, so I expect that this week should be even better. Still need to consistently make better decisions, but I’m getting there.

Workouts
I actually did some workouts! Not all of them, but most. And I’m SORE. Being a study nerd for 6+ weeks did very bad things for my fitness level, for sure. I’ve signed up for a 5-mile race in early May, though, so I need to get things into gear. Hopefully the weather will start cooperating on a consistent basis since running outside is oh-so-much better than hitting the treadmill.

Habits
This week’s habit is doing a 5-minute body/mind scan every day, which is something I was already doing on a casual, less regular basis. It’s a good exercise, though, and working it into my day has been enlightening, especially this past week because I’ve been dealing with nonstop hormone headaches. I do it first thing in the morning — I figure I use at least 5 minutes to convince myself to get out of bed anyway — and it has given me insight into how much headaches affect every other area of my life.

After the scan, you answer 3 questions:  how you are you feeling physically, what are you feeling emotionally, and what you are thinking. I found that on the days that I woke up with a headache (which was every day except Friday), I started the day anxious and stressed, worried that the headache would turn into a full-blown migraine. I was concerned about how many migraine pills I was taking, worried that they might stop working. I was thinking about what I was going to do to keep the pain in check and whether it would work or not. In other words, not only was I obsessive and not very fun to be around, but pretty miserable, unmotivated and afraid to do much of anything for fear of making the headache worse.

(note: these headaches are hormonal and have been “normal” for me for about the last 15 years … I’ve been to a doctor and because of the timing, consistency and what the headaches respond to, we’re pretty sure that there isn’t anything more to be worried about)

Intermittent Fasting
I’ve been only kind of doing this, but need to get back into it since it works so well keeping me in check.

Habit Log
Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan Meals
Weeks 15-16: Log all food
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies
Weeks 23-24: Eat only whole foods
Week 25: No new habits (work on the previous ones)
Weeks 26-27: A little more, a little better
Weeks 28-29: Lean protein and vegetables with every meal
Weeks 30-31: Stop eating at 80% full (an encore presentation)
Weeks 32-33: Modify carb intake

Week 34: Do a 5-minute body/mind scan every day

My foot doctor appointment was today — a great way to celebrate my birthday! — and as I suspected, the MRI didn’t show anything more than the x-rays. Ironically, it identified another issue that I’ve been having on and off since about 2009, but still nothing to worry about.

So, I still have the pain, but as I’ve repeatedly said, it’s not all that bad. In fact, I’d say that it feels marginally better in the last week or so. The doc’s advice? Give the boot another couple of weeks, just for kicks and giggles. The advice I’m going to take? My own, which includes getting back to things and not worrying about it.

There’s no fracture there that I’m going to turn into something worse. So my new plan of action is going to be to sign up for an early May 5-mile race and start training. I can always revisit this issue if the foot really starts bothering me again.

(I know, I know, but I’ve got to start doing something and have a goal again or I’m just going further down this abyss. No more foot excuses!)

Still studying. Another week and then I’ll finally be done and FREE. I won’t know what to do with myself (other than not having any excuses left for not working out…).

It’s been a better week than the previous. All the junk food was finally out the house and so even though I wanted to snack constantly, there wasn’t anything to tempt me. See how that works?


Measurements

Everything’s headed back down, which is nice. Seems that a modicum of restraint can work wonders. I still have a ways to go until I’m back where I left off a few weeks ago, but I’m getting there.

Workouts

I did one! But – yes – just one. Better than nothing, right? This coming week will probably be a little light as well due to the whole study study study thing, but I’m no longer using my foot as an excuse. For the supposed stress fracture in my foot, I’ll get the MRI results and diagnosis on Monday and as long as the doctor comes back with nothing concrete, I’m going to just ignore it until it gets worse. Possibly not my smartest decision, but I’m sick of babying something that has no diagnosis and has never hurt all that bad.

Habits

Rehasing old habits — this week was taking a close look at carb intake (and types of carbs) and see whether my current habit needs any tweaking. Basically, when I’m on point with my nutrition, I think I’ve hit a sweet spot — correct portion sizes of steel cut oats, potatoes, good-for-me grains make my engine happy.

Intermittent Fasting

Started this up again and it’s been good, though difficult. Once I got past the first few days it got easier, but it’s always a little unsettling to be hungry in the morning and not eat something immediately to satisfy the urge.


Habit Log

Weeks 1-2: Fish oil and probiotic
Weeks 3-4: Eating slowly
Weeks 5-6: Stop eating at 80% full
Weeks 7-8: Lean protein with every meal
Weeks 9-10: 5 servings of vegetables a day
Weeks 11-12: Make smart carb choices
Weeks 13-14: Plan Meals
Weeks 15-16: Log all food
Weeks 17-18: Create a sleep ritual
Weeks 19-20: Drink only zero calorie beverages
Weeks 21-22: Use targeted recovery strategies
Weeks 23-24: Eat only whole foods
Week 25: No new habits (work on the previous ones)
Weeks 26-27: A little more, a little better
Weeks 28-29: Lean protein and vegetables with every meal
Weeks 30-31: Stop eating at 80% full (an encore presentation)

Week 32: Modify carb intake