Saturday, October 31, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 11- Happy Halloween!

Today was my 20 minute day! It flew by, and I feel super accomplished! Day 11 down!
Since this is the Halloween version of the Shred, I decided to dress up like Jillian Michaels. Here are the results! (Thank you to my boyfriend and Photoshop!)

The Likeness is uncanny.

Inspired by the menu screen on The Shred- yeah, I AM a Bad ass.

Mean Face. Because I don't look like Natalie.

Friday, October 30, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 10

Y'all! I am tired!

I find the Shred is harder on me the days that I work because my job is so physical in nature. If I was sitting at a desk, it may be a different story!

I did the Shred Level 2, and stayed with the 5 pound weights until the chair squat V-ups, switching again to the 3 pound weights. I was doing fairly well with the cardio, but when it got to the third cardio section, I had to switch to regular jump rope on the double jump rope section on the second go round. I just didn't have the energy to get all the way up there today!

I rounded out my weights with Karen Voight's Sleek Essentials Strength Effect 20 minute workout. It has a killer ab section!

Happy that tomorrow is my single workout day! And HALLOWEEN! I'm sure it will be a spooky workout. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 9

Sweaty is an adjective I use to describe how I feel after Level 2 of the Shred. Especially after this level's cardio. Those in and outs and plank jacks make me drenched like a sprinkler system.

It felt better today, though, and I felt stronger and more balanced. I didn't fall over on the one legged shoulder presses, but I still used 3 pound weights on the chair pose V raises. I think since I haven't had a recovery day, my shoulders are fatigued.

I know that muscle builds on days of rest. Since there is no rest on the shred, I wonder when the muscle will grow? I should research that.

I followed Level 2 with the Core Rhythms Quick Workout, a fun 25-minute ballroom cardio DVD that I love. I feel like I'm Dancing with The Stars! Nothing is more hilarious and cute then the Russian accents the instructors have.

Alright, shredders. Let's get to Day 10!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 8

Movin' on up! To Level 2! In my deluxe apartment in the sky!

Level 2 Shred is hard, but I am so thankful I completed seven days of Level 1 to prep for it. I started with 5 pound dumbbells, but it was my butt that was yelling at me for most of the workout. All those static lunges! Aye yai yai! I moved to 3 pound dumbbells for the second set of V arm squat thingys. Which my shoulders thanked me for when I got through all that plank work!

Since I was given my monthly gift, I wasn't much for all the jumping today. I did a 20 minute pilates foam roller workout by Karen Voight, the queen of form. Her Sleek Essentials workout series is just what the doctor ordered for my tight low back and sore shoulders.

Onto Day 9! Eight is great, but Nine is FINE!!!!

The Biggest Loser- week 7- 'Cause I've Cried a River Over You. . .

It's hard to be catty about The Biggest Loser when you are so touched by an episode. Or should I say, so touched by a contestant. The focus of this episode was on Abby, the mom who lost her entire family (husband and 2 beautiful kids) in a car accident that occurred over 2 years ago. She has managed to make it to week 7 even though she has a stress fracture, she can only workout in the pool, and she was sent home by the Blue Team last week. Add to that the emotional stress and strain that can happen when you experience a major life change, and she could quite possibly be the most saintly and beloved character in all of The Biggest Loser's history.

And week 7 was a tear fest!

The episode unfolds much like last weeks- the Black Team shuffles silently into the living room, minus Dina. We see Rudy's face scrunch up a bit. We know that they were BFF and a support structure for each other, even though they were split up Black vs. Blue team. The Blue Team seems surprised that Dan is still there, but Amanda reveals that there is an alliance between all the Black Team members EXCEPT Dina, so even though Dan gained a pound and Dina lost 5, Dina was the one sent home. GAME PLAY.

Dan better lose 30 pounds this week.

Then it is on to the POP challenge. Ali tells the team it is Face Off week, and each member of the Blue team must go one on one with a member of the Black Team. So, no getting plastic surgery and wearing each others faces? Whew. I don't think anyone would want to wear the Trazy face.

Whichever team wins the POP challenge will get to choose who gets paired up. Like The game consists of two touch pads on either side of a low bar. The contestants must touch one of the pads, which are hanging in the air, and then crouch under the bar to get to the other side to touch the other pad. My low back is already tired! The touched pads earn a point for the team. The trick is that only one member of the team can compete at a time, but they can switch out.

The game starts with Amanda vs. Trazy. It's Trazy's first challenge, and she is totally pumped to win yet another challenge for her team. What the school of witchcraft and wizardry that Trazy graduated from did not tell her is that being wicked doesn't help you grow. And her height actually hinders her as the game begins. She has hard time reaching the touch pads.

Other members of the teams have a hard time too. Rudy is super tall and has a hard time getting under the bar. Shay and Dan get tired easily. Country Liz falls on her grits.

The challenge looks hot, difficult, and motion sickness inducing, but in the end, Rebecca vs. Dan shows Rebecca the victor for the Blue team. Blue wins another challenge! While still sweaty, the Blue team has a quick meeting to decide who they want to fight against. Then they meet in a boxing ring to tell their decisions. I thought we were going to see people PUNCH OUT each other! But no.

The pairings were as follows:
Rebecca vs. Amanda: Girls Gone WILD!
Trazy vs. Abby: Beauty and the Beast
Allen vs. Danny: The Firefighter and The Rock Star
Rudy vs. Shay: The Biggest Guy against The Biggest Girl
Country Liz vs. Dan the Man: The Grandma against The Man Child

It was officially on, like Donkey Kong.

Then it is time for the workout. Finally! Has anyone else noticed that the GAME PLAY is taking precedence over the workouts?

Bob takes the Blue team to the pool, and Jillian makes the Black team sweat it out in the gym. I would rather do push ups in the pool then be on that ladder machine. That looks like a torture device!

Jillian focuses her mind bullets on Amanda first. Amanda is on the treadmill, and Jillian is pushing her, and Amanda wants to quit. As usual, Jillian gets to the bottom of it, getting Amanda to reveal she is not used to being a leader and is used to being the fat girl with the pretty face. With all the cameras on her and all the pressure of being one of the smallest team members, she isn't ready to take on the responsibility of taking her team to task. She basically FREAKS out and she and Jillian have a fight. She gets off the treadmill, exits the gym in a huff, and Jillian says the quotable, "Why are these contestants so freakin' difficult this season?"

Then it is time for the challenge. We meet Ali (with an Alison baseball jersey! I WANT IT!) on the baseball field with life size photos of the contestants in their pre-BL body shape. After a much touted and advertised Derek Jeter is shown on the Jumbo Tron (First Plug of the episode for 24 Hour Fitness) and offers some half hearted words of encouragement, he explains the rules of the game. The contestants must run around the baseball diamond, picking up baseballs and putting them in their rival teams baskets . When the basket hits a certain amount of baseballs, that contestant is out. The winning team gets lunch cooked by cutie Curtis Stone and a 2 pound advantage given to the team member who deserves it the most.

The Black team focuses on getting Allen out first. The Blue team seems surprised. Allen strikes out first, and then Amanda focuses on Rebecca. But Rebecca strikes her out first. Then the Black team focuses on Rebecca and strikes her out. Then Shay focuses on Rudy, but Rudy strikes Dan the Man out first. Then there is lots more exhausting game description. Don't be mad. I'm not lazy, just not a sports fan. :) At the end it is Danny vs. Country Liz, but what Liz doesn't know is that Danny used to be an athlete, and he ends up winning the game for the Black team. Their first challenge win in a while!

The Black team meets Curtis Stone next to the pool for the weekly Jennie-O plug. He makes them turkey burgers with mushroom cap buns. Sorry, folks. I won't be eating that. Mushroom buns taste sluggy.

Then it is on to the most heart wrenching part of the show. Jillian uses her mind bullets on Abby, and she tells Jillian that it is hard to love people again when you have lost everything. And Jillian asks her point blank what it feels like to lose everything. The show gives us one of the saddest montages ever. We see Abby's beautiful family, and everything that she has lost. But despite such a great loss, The Biggest Loser has enabled her to regain the light in her eyes and the ability to live for something again.

Having lost a family member (my big sister died of kidney failure in 2002), I can relate to her pain. And I can relate to using that pain to turn your life around and make a choice to live. Abby is proof positive that you can take any tragedy and make it work to your advantage, to make it work as something positive.

How many calories does crying burn? 'Cause I burned some major calories watching that!

During the weekly Brita plug, Amanda and Jillian decide to make up after Amanda walked out on herself. Another Black team member who Jillian has made a break through with! The count now: Shay, Julio, Dina, Dan, Amanda, and Abby. Is there anyone left?

Last chance workout montage shows the teams facing off and gearing up to kick some ass at the final weigh in. Allen turns into Bob and leaps onto those Dina feared leaping stools. Allen is the champion of this! We see Jillian screaming at Danny in reply, pushing against Allen the athlete. Amanda vs. Rebecca on the spin bikes! And Shay on that ladder. Jillian breaks down Shay (again) with her mind bullets by asking about her heroin addict mom. How hard would it be to face down your fears and climb on that thing at the same time?

The final weigh in is tense. The contestants weigh side by side with their face off competitors. The Black team has given Amanda the 2 pound weight advantage, and she needs it because she only loses 4 pounds. Even with the 2 pound advantage she loses to Rebecca, who pulls out 9 pounds. Happy dance.

Abby and Trazy go up next. Abby loses 3 pounds, and Trazy loses 5. Damn. Another point for Blue.

Allen and Danny weigh next. Allen loses 8 pounds, and Danny manages to pull double digits AGAIN by losing 12 pounds. One point for the Black team.

Then Country Liz and Dan face off. You think that Dan would pull out a huge number after gaining a pound last week. Alas, it is not to be. Dan loses 4 measly pounds, and Country Liz loses 7. The Blue team gets another point, and we are left wondering what is wrong with Dan. I don't believe him for some reason. And neither does Jillian.

Then the final weigh in is the highly anticipated "Will Rudy break the 100 pound Mark?" weigh in. They flew in last year's contestant, Dane, who also lost over 100 pounds. I'm assuming NBC would not have wasted a plane ticket on Dane if we didn't already know that Rudy had accomplished his goal, but they weigh him anyway. Rudy loses 14 pounds and meets his goal, and Shay loses 9 pounds. Another point for the Blue team.

In the discussion of who is being sent home, the Black team weighs all the options. Because Danny is immune, Dan, Shay, Amanda, and Abby are the ones on the chopping block. Abby decides to fall on the sword, and wants to be sent home.

In the board room, everyone votes for Abby except for Abby (she votes for Amanda) and Danny, who votes for Dan. And Dan whimpers that he is just doing what Abby wants, and votes her off.

Abby's reveal is touching. Not only does she look great, having lost 80 pounds, but she is light and lively. We see her giving a speech at her school, and telling people that it is never too late to have a second chance. More tears, but they are happy ones.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 7- END OF WEEK 1!

After a GREAT nights sleep (finally!), I felt ready for anything today!

I finished Level 1 of the Shred and the Cardio Kickbox DVD that I did on Day 1. I feel so much more strong and balanced! Areas that are still a challenge for me are the shoulder raises with side squats- I haven't been able to up the weight there. But I know that the shoulder muscles aren't as strong and can't take a super heavy weight. Areas that I feel more accomplished in are all the cardio drills and the back, bicep, and chest work- especially the push ups! They are getting "easier" everyday.

So, tomorrow I am graduating to Level 2!

Shred you later!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What I am "F'd Up!" about today! McDonald's Monopoly: Gain Big to Win?

I picked up lunch with the boyfriend today at McDonald's and he pointed out this picture of the winners of McDonald's Monopoly game. We couldn't help but notice that every person was overweight.

At what price to win? Obviously, their health wasn't a concern. Just like the film Super Size Me made a success out of it's filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock, it also put him in almost mortal danger when he gained a dangerous amount of weight and damaged his liver by eating at McDonald's everyday for thirty days.

I know that McDonald's is an easy and inexpensive choice for many, and it's hard to get preachy when I told you we just ate lunch there. I did, however, order a grilled chicken salad that was recommended on a Fitness Magazine tweet last week (the bacon ranch grilled chicken salad with 1/4 of the dressing packet- pretty tasty!).

My issue is this: in order to win, you have to order the most calorie laden foods on the menu in order to get the winning tickets. I noticed I did not receive a game piece with my salad. I would have had to order the over 700 calorie Angus burger to get one of those. The contest only lasts for thirty days, so you have to get in a LOT of eating to be a contender.

It would be nice if all the winning game pieces were on the apple slices and yogurt parfaits.

Here is a great article that talks not only about the way the game is played, but what you have to ingest to play it. Good luck. . .

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 6

I'm not going to lie- today was really hard for me. I didn't sleep well, and I was going to use that as an excuse not to push myself as hard as I normally do.

Somehow, hearing Jillian's words motivated me to "Nut Up or Shut Up" and I pushed through my workouts. And I'm glad that I did it because now I feel really good.

I did Level 1 of the Shred, using only 5 pounders because I was doing another Jillian based workout with weights and didn't want to die. I did another from the Biggest Winner series, this time the Shape Up-Backside DVD. Weighted Jumping Jacks and Butt Kicks? JEEZ LOUISE, Jillian.

Day 6 is Shredded! Now I am motivated to work on my ACE certification studies and all that other jazz.

OH! And don't forget to live tweet with FOSTER FITNESS and friends during Tuesdays Biggest Loser!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 5

DAY 5!!! Only 25 days left, and I know that everyone participating in this challenge is getting better, stronger, fitter, leaner every passing day!

I thought today was going to be rough because I had a hard time going to sleep last night. Paranormal Activity scared me more than I thought it would and I had to watch two episodes of the Graham Norton Show to feel comfortable enough to turn my lights off. That's what happens when your boyfriend quotes the movie while you are trying to sleep. No sleep at all. For either of us.

However, I woke up with the sun shining and the birds chirping and I was full of energy. I completed Level 1 of the Shred with the increased weights again, and did Patricia Moreno's Yoga Dance Fusion express workout. Patricia is one of my heroes and and one of the main reasons why I want to be fitness professional- this workout is AMAZING.

I am feeling centered and focused, ready to Shred my day. BRING IT ON!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 4

Steppin' it up! Saturdays when I don't work are usually my free day. I usually don't work out and I get a little careless with my free meal. Sometimes, it turn into free MEALS.

Thanks to my 30 Day Shred Challenge for keeping me on the righteous path! I just did level 1 of the Shred today, but I increased my weights on the back, chest, and bicep work to 8 pounds. I still kept the shoulder raises at 5 pounds. Did all the push ups on my toes, keeping me the reining "Push Up Queen"!

Today I am having my free meal and going to see a movie with the boyfriend. So happy to be done and fit for the day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 3

I would officially like to file a complaint with Jillian Michaels. I don't believe that if I follow Natalie I will look like a 5'8" Beyonce look-a-like. But I will keep trying. If it happens, you all will be the first to know!

Did Level 1 of the Shred again, and I am pleased to announce that all my push ups were done on my toes! I felt great and the time just whizzed by.

I followed it up with Tighter Assets with Tamilee Webb: Cardio Blast, a great 30 minute DVD that has lots of plyo jumps and more old school aerobic moves. You might remember Tamilee as the original Buns of Steel girl.

I can feel the soreness from all the Jillian punishment I have been heaping on myself- especially in the shoulders and quads.

Looking towards Day 4!!!

DietTribe Season 2- episode 2- "Temptations"

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is all the naughty choices that are out there. My biggest temptations are kettle cooked potato chips, movie theatre popcorn, and ICE CREAM. How I avoid these temptations is I keep them out of my apartment, and if I really want them I have to walk to the store and buy them. Then I'd have to log it on my Lose It app on my IPhone. And 11:00 at night is no time to get out of my jammies and buy a bag of chips! Too much work for too many calories and too little reward.

"Temptations" was the the title of DietTribe's second episode. The 5 ladies are starting to falter a bit after their strong start and large weight loss results. Trainer Jessie states that in the first 2 weeks the weight loss seems easy because it is mostly water weight, but starting in week 3 we will see the if the ladies are truly dedicated to working hard and reaching their goals.

We begin at Bally Total Fitness, where Jessie is giving the ladies a good work over doing circuit training. Laneesa is having problems, due to a pin in her hip. But as the workout unfolds, we see Laneesa not giving 100%, instead giving a lot of excuses. Her "I Can't" attitude is starting to wear on Jessie, and we see him trying to pump her up and give her the encouragement she needs. But will it work for the weigh in?

Jessie revisits the diet and eating plan, going over the portion control part and the using a smaller plate part, and reiterates the ladies should be eating 1/2 a plate of fruits and veggies, 1/4 proteins, and 1/4 complex carbs- totalling 1,500 calories for the day. Jessie ESPECIALLY wants the ladies to stop drinking alcohol, which might be problematic as Mary's birthday is approaching and the ladies have decided on a Mardi Gras theme. I can't imagine Mardi Gras without a sweet slushy Hurricane!

A Day in the Life: each lady is either a mom, a full time worker, or both. As we see the women go through their daily routines, we realize how challenging it can be to incorporate all the diet and fitness tips that Jessie has set out for them. So Jessie meets all the ladies at Mary's home to show them quick and easy meals that they can prepare themselves and take with them.

Jessie is against the prepackaged, frozen diet meals, like Lean Cuisine. Tiffany has been eating about 8 of them a week! The meals are filled with preservatives (side note: a great alternative are all natural organic meals by Amy's- no synthetic ingredients!). Jessie makes three meals for the ladies- breakfast is fat free yogurt, fruit, and high fiber cereal mixed together like a parfait, lunch is canned tuna, mustard, and apples wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with fresh spinach, dinner is baked chicken, brown rice, and broccoli.

He encourages the ladies to plan ahead for the day and the week and not use time as an excuse so they can easily avoid temptations. But it seems the ladies are going to hit it head on like a Mack truck.

It's almost time for Mary's party, and the ladies all meet up at Rita and Laneesa's costume shop to pick out costumes for the party. The fun and laughter the ladies express by trying on different outfits is dampened when Laneesa can't find any costumes to fit her shape. Anyone who has had weight issues knows how depressing it can be to try on clothes and nothing fits. Luckily Laneesa is surrounded by her good friends, and with their support, she finds a great Medusa costume that fits her well and makes her feel more confident.

The ladies now must workout their insides with the fabulous Stacy Kaiser. Stacy wants to know how all them got where they are today, and what do they consider success. Mary wants to be happy, and wishes she didn't have the burden of being a full time mom with a blended family. That is why she drinks and eats! Lanessa wants to not pretend anymore. Stephanie wants to find happiness after her divorce and wants to rediscover who she is. Tiffany wants to stop fixing her sister Stephanie and feel her own happiness. They all agree that meeting at Tiffany's house for food and drinks is the reason why they are here today. Stacy encourages them to find a healthy ritual that they can enjoy together instead, and makes them all commit to putting themselves first.

Jessie then takes the ladies to Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base camp. Their team trial for the day is running the Marine's obstacle course in 5 minutes (the Marines do it in 2. . .). The ladies also must make it through the finish line together as a team. It was inspiring to watch the ladies work through all of their issues and stop saying "I can't" and start figuring out what they can achieve together. They manage to make it through the course in 4 minutes, 58 seconds. Tiffany begins to cry, and realizes that if she is that excited to finish an obstacle course, how excited will she be when she finishes a triathlon?

On the weekly video diaries, we hear the ladies talk about all the food they are craving- nachos, pizza, chips. Are they going to be able to avoid these temptations?

At the workout, Laneesa is missing. She has been coming late, or not coming at all, and the ladies and Jessie are wondering if she is truly committed to the challenge.

Then it is time for Mary's Mardi Gras party. The ladies are ready to cut loose, and we see them drinking and eating. Jessie stops in to surprise them and see if they have passed the temptation test- and they FAIL. Jessie is super pissed off as he listens to all of their excuses. The next day is their weigh in and he likens this to drinking the night before a big job interview. If it is important to you, you make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen.

It has been 2 weeks since their last weigh in, and they are 28 days into their training. The mood is definitely darker than last time. Stephanie loses 5 pounds, Tiffany loses 4 pounds, Mary loses 3 pounds, Rita loses 2 pounds, and Lanessa loses 1 pound. The ladies are 15 pounds under their team goal of 30 pounds, and therefore do not receive their prize for the weigh in. Jessie is very disappointed, and tells the ladies that things are gonna change. The ladies are angry with themselves, and the regret they feel reaffirms the fire they had at the beginning of the challenge.

I feel it will be a fresh start for them next week! And I am sure Jessie and Stacy will whip them into shape!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 2

WHEW! I really am a sweaty mess right now! My thighs are sticking to my desk chair- eeew.

Completed Day 2 of The 30 Day Shred Challenge! Only 28 days to go. . .and who knows what I'll be feeling by then!

Right now, my butt is totally sore from all the squats and static lunges from Day 1. Today I did Level 1 of the Shred, and the cardio came easier and the side lunge squats with front shoulder raises came easier, too. Still stuck with Check Spellingthe 5 pound weight, even though I was tempted after yesterday to come down to my 3 pounders. I'm no quitter! Also did all 15 of first push ups on my toes and second half of push ups on toes. WOOT!

I paired this with Jillian's Shape Up- Front from The Biggest Winner! series. This DVD is TOUGH! Weighted standing mountain climbers? Weighted jumping jacks? MORE SHOULDER FLYS!?!

I know it's only thirty minutes, but I was really glad to get to the cool down!

If I keep this up, I should be the Biggest HOTTIE in no time. :)

See you tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 1

I'll be honest- after I completed the P90x in April, I changed up my routine because I wanted to try something different after doing a 90 day program and I missed my old workout tapes. Then I moved in with my boyfriend in June. Then summer happened. Somehow, I drifted out of my 6 days-a-week workout routine into 3 days-a-week. And I noticed my pants were fitting a little more snugly.

NO! I'm supposed to be a role model! How did I slip into old patterns? Ah, happiness. I traded up with the boyfriend and I put my routine on hold.

Thankfully, my Twitter pal Paula put up The 30 Day Shred Challenge and gave me the chance to get back into my fighting shape.

Day 1 Log: Did Level 1 of The Shred and Jillian Micheal's Cardio Kickbox from The Biggest Winner series. Used 5 pound weights, and thought I was going to die by the third shoulder series. Totally sweaty but it is a great start! Took a starting weight (please don't make me share it, maybe later. . .) and looking forward to seeing the results!

The Biggest Loser- week 6- The Curse of Davy Jones' Locker

First off, I want to apologize to firefighter Allen, because I have been spelling his name wrong for the past five weeks. Just because my name is spelled with one L doesn't mean that his is.

I feel lighter, just like the contestants on The Biggest Loser!

It is week 6, and the BL ranch is feeling the strain of GAME PLAY. The episode picks up after last weeks Trazy filled elimination where Coach Mo peaced out and Trazy worked her voodoo magic to remain on the television for yet another week. You could cut the tension with a knife as the Blue Team filed back into the room- Amanda from the Black Team thought for sure that Trazy would be gone, but it is the Blue Team's decision. Rudy states they thought they did what was best for their team. Tell Coach Mo that! If he hadn't given up, who knows what would have happened?

Trazy is here to stay. Lucky for us, this episode is not about her. Even though she thinks it is. (Shay? I really don't think you were looking for Rebecca in that line up- but I won't tell anyone.)

The contestants start in the gym, and Bob is pissed and cracking the whip. While the contestants huff and puff on the treadmill (with a surprisingly chipper Trazy- who is now cleared for take off), Bob throws out a catty, "If we can't win a weigh in, at least we can win a challenge". OUCH! Will his words haunt them as they enter today's trial?

Arrrgh, the physical challenge is a nautical theme! The contestants come to the beach at night, and Ali points out the huge piles of sand and the two treasure chests locked with four padlocks apiece. The contestants must dig through the sand until they find the keys that will unlock the box. And what will they be playing for? Arrrgh. . .we'll tell you later. I was hoping that there was a trip to Cancun- fingers crossed! The Real World meets The Biggest Loser! Call the execs!

Only eight contestants could participate, and since Abby is still pool-bound and Trazy STILL can't engage in any physical activity other than running her mouth (I thought she was cleared!), Amanda from the Black Team decides to sit this one out. Because of how she feels about sand. "It's a nuisance," she says. I'm so curious to know THAT story.

The challenge begins, and we see everyone choosing to attack their sand pile in a different way. Danny uses a shovel, Allen uses his hands, Shay lays over the pile, and Country Liz makes sand angels. 20 minutes in (digging in sand for 20 minutes! OMG!) Danny finds his treasure chest and key first. Then Allen on the Blue Team finds his- the teams are neck and neck! The phantom ghost of Bob must be watching the game, because the Blue Team completely annihilates the Black Team after 40 minutes of sand castles.

The Blue Team opens their treasure chest revealing the prize- tickets to home! The team rejoices, and Rudy and Allen talk about how they can't wait to see their wives and kids. As they head down the beach to pack their suitcases, Ali says not so fast! GAME PLAY! The Blue Team can either go home and take the risks associated with being at home, OR they can give their tickets to the Black Team. Allen and Rudy are quickly outnumbered, and the Blue Team agrees that they can always see their families when they are home at the end of the competition. The tickets are handed over, and the Black Team heads off home.

Home is a plus and a minus for The Biggest Loser contestants. On one hand it is the opportunity to see their family and friends whom they haven't seen or talked to in over a month and a half. On the other hand, home is the place where they all got heavy. Home is comfort and bad choices and 30 minute drives to the gym (in Abby's case- that is so Texas! No gyms in her town!).

We see the contestants open their front doors in the usual BL fashion- home made signs and balloons and hugs from grandma and the kids. All is right in the world. Then the reality of the situation sets in- how to incorporate all they have learned on the ranch into their real lives and how to convince their family members to do the same?

We see the Black Team at their local gyms, running on the street, swimming in the pool. We see them at big family barbecues, looking at the spread of food like lost little puppies. We see them at restaurants with the laundry list of cooking instructions for the waitstaff. How are they going to survive?

The saddest tale is Dina's. She is greeted at the door by her husband and her adorable little boy, and I thought everything was going to be okay. Her husband tells her she looks like she did when they first met, and her little boy is in awe of her treadmill abilities. But somehow things take a darker turn. Dina has to take her little boy to the gym with her (where is the husband?). When Dina and her husband go out to eat, they choose Chevy's. CHEVY'S!

Side note about Chevy's- there is one in Times Square that my boyfriend and I went to eat at. In NYC, if you are a restaurant chain, you must put the nutrition information on the menu so you know how many calories you are taking in. Every appetizer on the menu was easily over 1,000 calories. One appetizer was 2,500!!! And that was the last time that we ate there.

Dina's husband ate two appetizers and his entree. He selfishly orders the way he used to with no respect for Dina and her struggle. Why they chose that place to eat is beyond me, but his lack of support signals trouble ahead.

The most impressive tale is Danny. Being from Oklahoma, I know how hard it is to find healthy eating options when you choose to go out. I was proud that Danny managed to food journal every day, and instead of eating out he made dinners at home, proving to his family and himself that he is dedicated to his new lifestyle.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Blue Team is working their patooties off in hope that they can win the weigh in as well as the challenge and make Bob proud. Plus, they want to prove that their sacrifice of giving up trips to home was worth it.

The Black Team returns, and Jillian promptly welcomes them with a good old fashioned ass kicking. She manages to break down Dan, who finally realized that all the times his mom tried to help him with his weight that she was loving him, not hating the person he was becoming. I understand how he felt- I often felt like my family only loved me when I was thinner, and I had to realize that they wanted me to be happy and healthy. When I was ready to make the healthy switch, I had their support. And eight years later, I still have that support and I have taught them a thing or two!

At the weigh in, things are tense. The Blue Team weighs in first. Will Trazy be safe this week? Allen loses 8 pounds, Rebecca loses 5 pounds, Trazy loses 4 pounds (and now she is working out- how odd), Country Liz also loses 4, and Rudy loses 14 pounds. 14! He is a total weight loss machine. I know his family had to think that his sacrifice was worth it. So if the Blue Team is on the bottom, Trazy will have to be the one eliminated. 'Cause we all like Liz.

The Black Team is next. Will home be too much of a hurdle?

Amanda weighs in first, losing 6 pounds. Shay loses 5 pounds. Abby loses 4 pounds (so impressive! She realizes that she can keep doing this at home!) even though she is still injured. Dina loses 5 pounds, even with all the at home temptation. Danny totally blows everyone out of the water, making every Oklahoman proud. He loses 15 pounds! If you have ever been to Oklahoma, you know what a major accomplishment that is. Last to weigh in is Dan the man. Will he be able to pull off the numbers necessary to keep the Black Team afloat? Unfortunately not, because Dan not only didn't lose any weight, but he gained a pound. More GAME PLAY? Or is he feeling puffy from his flight?

The uncertainty of who will be going home hangs in the air. Everyone on the Black Team is a great person, not a game player (well, except Dan, who I have my doubts about) and shouldn't have to make this decision. But a decision must be made. Who is walking the plank?

In Twitterland, everyone thought it should be Dan, because he gained weight. But in Realityville, I knew that Dan would be staying. Why? Because next week he will pull in some MAJOR numbers. Like 30 pounds or something crazy. Who else could go? Maybe Abby, because her numbers are small. Her back story is so sad though. She needs the family support of the ranch. It can't be Shay or Danny- their numbers are too big. That leaves Dina. Even though her numbers weren't the lowest, the fact that she is young and determined means she can continue the journey at home. She heads back to Burritoville.

At the reveal, Dina is looking hot and sexy! Her little boy is still at her side at the gym, becoming a mini Bob and cheering her on. And she is a blond! Curiously absent is her husband- wondering if he was working or if he swims with the fishes.

Next week promises to be explosive! Join us for live twittering on Twitter every Tuesday at 8 pm Eastern Time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DietTribe Season 2- episode 1- "Leap of Faith"

As you all know, I love reality television, and I really love reality television that has to do with weight loss and body image. I'm following The Biggest Loser, but I have discovered another show that is also worth your viewing time: DietTribe on the Lifetime network.

DietTribe is in it's second season, and I don't know how I missed the first season because this show is GREAT! Luckily, there are full episodes to watch on in the DietTribe section. Season 2 is on the Lifetime Channel Friday nights at 9 pm eastern time.

The premise of the show is familiar: group of overweight women that want to lose weight meet with big name trainer and therapist to reach their weight loss goals. Sound like The Biggest Loser? Not quite. There is no shiny ranch or private gym or Jillian Michaels. DietTribe's premise puts the participants in their everyday lives and situations. They still live at home, they raise their families, work their jobs, and have to find a way to fit in workouts and eat healthy. I like the fact that these women are learning the tools of success as they intertwine with their normal lives. I know that the contestants on The Biggest Loser are afraid to go home and leave the comfort of the ranch because they don't know how to integrate the things they have learned into their real lives. DietTribe shows it is possible to be a "normal" person and be a fit person: the reason why I am here and writing this blog!

Another difference- the women on the show aren't contestants. They are participants. There is no game play, no tearful elimination ceremonies. The women can't be eliminated and must be a part of the entire show. With the pressure of game play out of the way I feel like these women must be motivated by something within themselves. There is no money at stake, just the promise that at the end of their time on the show, they will have reached their goal weight. How different and refreshing! No offense, Biggest Loser fans. You know I am still totally down.

Although I am starting to watch season one online and will write recaps for that season, I am starting with season two because I was watching that one first and I'm already so invested!

Episode one is entitled "Leap of Faith", what people must take when they are embarking on any major change in life. We open on a small town softball game, and meet the five women that this show is revolving around, named the Misfits. They are not athletes, and after some crappy yet entertaining ball playing, we meet the ladies of season two gathered at their favorite pub, chowing down on some major fried fatty business.

Eat now ladies, 'cause tomorrow it's all gonna change.

The ladies of season two meet their hunky trainer, Jessie Pavelka for their first weigh in. Jessie has been a personal trainer and fitness model for over seven years, and he is a hot guy. I mean, really hot. He informs the ladies that he will be with them for the next 120 days, and each one of them is going to lose 50 pounds over those days. That is about 3-4 pounds a week.

Mary is the first lady to weigh in. She is 37 years old, 5'7", and her starting weight is 210 pounds. Her goal weight is 160. Then 34 year old Rita steps up- her starting weight is 177 pounds. Because she is only 5'2", she is going to lose 35 pounds. Her goal weight is 142. Stephanie is next. She is the oldest at 39, and weighs 244 pounds at 5'7". Her goal weight is 194. Stephanie's sister Tiffany is next. She weighs in at 221 pounds, is 5'7", and her goal weight is 171. Then lastly, Laneesa weighs in at 335 pounds. She is the biggest participant and the tallest at 5'11". Her goal is 285 pounds.

The ladies will weigh in every two weeks. Jessie sets their first goal at 35 pounds for a team goal- around 6 pounds apiece. If they reach their goal they will win a prize.

But then Jessie drops the bomb- at the end of the 120 days, they will all be competing in a triathlon. WHAT? They are pretty out of shape, but Jessie promises they will be shocked by what they can accomplish.

So will this group of friends be able to pull it off? It is time to begin.

Jessie is taking the ladies to work out 5 days a week for 1 1/2 hours every time- one hour of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training. He will be there every time, every day to give them 110%. Their first fitness test was telling- they could only run on the treadmill for a couple minutes. They all complained of aches and pains. And then he had them on interval training (One of my favorite ways to workout) on the spin bikes, and they could barely do that. Jessie introduced all the ladies to the gym machines and showed them ways to build muscle so they could keep burning calories.

Mary breaks down during the first workout, disappointed that she has let herself go for so long. Realizing that you have a mountain to climb can make you feel overwhelmed for sure! But after a good cry, she is ready to shake it off and keep working.

We first meet Mary. She is a working Mom with three children from two different marriages who gained more and more weight as each child was born. She is ready to reclaim the skinny girl she once was.

Then we meet sisters Tiffany and Stephanie who do everything together. Literally. They live together. They went to nursing school together. They had a double wedding. They had children at the same time. They both had gastric bypass surgery, and Stephanie has gained back 40 pounds due to her recent divorce. Tiffany is also feeling the strain- at a family garage sale, she cries when two people at the same time put on her plus-size wedding dress that was for sale. Tiffany blames not being able to concentrate on herself as the reason she has gained weight from her gastric bypass.

Jessie makes an impromptu stop at the garage sale, and rummages through Tiffany and Stephanie's fridge and cabinets. He throws out pretty much everything. They even had funnel cake mix. WHO HAS FUNNEL CAKE MIX? Side note: he didn't buy anything from the sale.

Jessie introduces all the ladies to their 1500 calorie diet plan. It is meticulously laid out for their 120 days. They will be eating 5 times a day a specified amount of carbs, proteins, and fats. Jessie assures them that if they stay with this program, they should have no problem losing weight. But the first issue the ladies have is that they don't cook- and that is why they have so many convenience foods in their pantries. Jessie tells them it is easy, and buys them a ton of healthy groceries to show them correct portion sizes and the proper size plates to eat off of.

Then it is time to meet Lanessa, who blames her weight on her family and never being healthy. She has a new boyfriend, and she is scared to see who she is without the weight.

Don't ask me why we can't meet all the ladies at once- it's sprinkled throughout the program.

It's a new day, and Jesssie takes the ladies for a hike and to meet therapist Stacy Kaiser. For reality show fans, she is the therapist on Celebrity FitClub on VH1. She wants to help them with the mental and emotional baggage that comes with being overweight. She shares that she has lost 60 pounds herself (just like me) and is excited to help these ladies overcome their fears. Starting with jumping off a thirty foot platform. Each lady jumps off the platform, even if they are scared to death of heights. It is their literal leap of faith into the program.

Then we finally get to meet Rita. She is a busy mother of two who complains of being nonathletic and wishes she could do more with her in shape husband.

They show the ladies on their workouts, and with their personal video cams talking about their challenges staying on the plan and how hard the workouts have been.

Has the hard work paid off?

At the final weigh in, there is much to be excited about. The ladies are eager to see if all this lifestyle changing is actually going to pay off. And will they meet their team goal of 35 pounds?

Stephanie goes first, and weighs 234 pounds, for a total weight loss of 10 pounds in two weeks. It makes everyone excited, and her sister Tiffany is confident that she also put up some serious numbers. She also loses 10 pounds, weighing in at 211. Rita weighs in next, and she had to go to the hospital for kidney stones during the week. She is swollen from the saline, and worried about her number. She still loses 3 pounds, weighing in at 174. Jessie says sometimes life gets in the way and you have to keep going. Laneesa steps up next- will she let the team down? She weighs 325, also losing 10 pounds. Last is Mary- who wants to lose at least 8 pounds. She weighs in at 197- a total loss of 13 pounds!!!

The ladies have exceeded their goal, losing 46 pounds, and their reward is some pampering at the spa- my favorite way to unwind! The ladies all say they deserve this because they worked so hard, but will they be able to keep it up? Jessie says the first weigh in is always the easiest- will they be able to reach the team goal of 30 pounds for the next weigh in?

I'll be tuning in!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I am "F'd Up!" about today! Collage Video

Collage Video is the ONLY place that I order my workout videos from. Why? Amazing selection. Each video is prescreened by ACE certified personal trainers (what I am getting my certification in!). Each video has a clip so you can see what you are going to get, plus there are graphs to show the length of videos and what the video focuses on.

Did I mention the free shipping on regular DVDs that have no equipment? And the monthly newsletter and weekly sales alerts?

Check it out! I guarantee you will love it better than Wal-Mart or Amazon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Foster Fitness Feature: Total Core Pilates with Jules Benson

One of the challenges of at home workouts is finding the videos that inspire you to push yourself and that are just as challenging as something you could do at the gym with a professional trainer or teacher.
I love pilates, and I have taken group mat classes and private reformer classes, and Jules Benson is the closest I have found to the same quality teacher experience without having the teacher there in person. And the Total Core Pilates workout is one of the best DVDs I have found!
Jules is a warm and welcoming instructor with a charming Texas twang. The set is cool and uncluttered, and the music is really peaceful, putting you in the mood to work. And work you will, because although Jules seems like a real sweetheart, this workout is a muscle killer!
The 60-minute workout manages to challenge your core (abs especially), your adductors and abductors in your inner and outer thighs, and even your arms and shoulders with the addition of side planks. The leg series is one of the toughest around- she even jokes that you shouldn't quit because you might not come back. But you won't want to quit this workout- you can feel the movements really working to sculpt and tone your muscles.
Total Core Pilates definitely shows results. I attribute my excellent core strength and toned legs to my pilates practice: and most of that practice involves Jules Benson and her Total Core Pilates workout.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I am "F'd Up!" about today! Ralph Lauren fires "plus size" model

I looked at the photoshopped image, and then the real image of this BEAUTIFUL women. This story makes me so angry!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Biggest Loser- week 5- Trazy and the Chocolate Factory

Maybe the good folks at NBC knew that this episode was going to be airing on the 13th. Add to that that it is the month of October, and it is extra SPOOKY. This weeks episode of The Biggest Loser was exactly that, and all because of our favorite little crazy person: Trazy. This episode was so chock full of action packed Trazy goodness that I actually over tweeted my Twitter with my live tweet buddies.

If NBC has a reality show based on this problem, please tweet me. The Biggest Tweeter!

Back to the show: the episode starts with the lovely Ali and a whole bunch of covered silver platters- TEMPTATION TIME! Within the first minute! This temptation looked like a good one- all the goodness of The Biggest Loser combined with Wheel of Fortune and Ace of Cakes. And cakes and cupcakes abounded.

The rules of this weeks temptation were simple- spin the wheel for the chance to win cash prizes or the opportunity to control the game. How? It is Blue versus Black time, and if your platter revealed the GOLDEN TICKET, you would get to choose who got on what team. And who they would train with. But not all platters held treasures. Most were like a trip to Willy Wonka's factory: huge slices of icing heavy cakes, donuts, and cupcakes. And if you landed on that tray, you eat it. All of it.

Who competed in this gruesome turn of the wheel? Everyone EXCEPT Abby Phelps, who I felt chose wisely. If she can't take a regular beating in the gym from Bob and Jillian, she needs every calorie advantage she can get. Sizzle, Abby, sizzle.

First up to spin was Rudy- and he landed on a huge slice of cake. We had to watch him stuff it into his face. I wonder what embarrassment tastes like? Then Rebecca spins and gets a chocolate donut- a more modest punishment. Third at bat was Alan and he "wins" a teeny chocolate cupcake.

So far, everyone is sucking. Yes, it is a game of chance, but won't anyone be lucky?

Danny spins next, and he lands on the seriously BIGGEST cupcake I have ever seen. It was like the size of a baby's head. A sweet, icing and sprinkle covered baby head.

Then it was Trazy's turn. Using her powers of magic, she beckons the wheel to do her bidding (my friend Lori at tweeted it was like the wheel was her Ouija board) and the silver cover is lifted to reveal one GOLDEN TICKET. Trazy's grandfather leaps out of bed, they sing and dance, and then realize that tomorrow is when the factory will be opened to visitors for the first time since Slugworth stole Wonka's secret ingredient!

OR now Trazy can decide the fate of the game. Just like all those other times.

I like my version better.

The people behind Trazy breathe a collective sigh of relief (Yay! No cupcakes!) and then a gasp of horror (Oh, crap.) as Trazy sits in her garden and evil laughs over the fate of her fellow players. I like that she had a little journal listing all her pros and cons:

Coach Mo
Pros: He visited me in the hospital!
Cons: Doesn't believe in my powers!
We see the other team members burning calories by freaking out- especially Blue Team member Dina who doesn't want to lose Rudy and is having a hard time grasping the concept of doing it for yourself, and the burgeoning romance of Brown Team's Country Liz and Danny, who never were a pair of more star crossed lovers. Okay, not really. But I think the lady doth protest too much to be separated from her partner.
The contestants and trainers reassemble to hear their fates. Everyone is on pins and needles as Trazy starts talking about choosing from her heart- as far we all know, she doesn't have one! Just a small, black lump of coal. I realized I was holding my breath as each selection was made.
She chose the Blue Team for herself with trainer Bob. And he was like, "Girrrl. For real?" I have a pretty good Gay-dar, and I know when one doesn't like you. And Trazy? Bob doesn't like you. But, she has the GOLDEN TICKET, and Bob must fall under her spell. Her other team mates are Coach Mo, Rudy, Alan, Rebecca, and COUNTRY LIZ. That means she and Danny are splits ville, as well as Dina and Rudy. Country Liz and Dina join their new Black Teammates Dan, Danny (thanks for making this whole blogging thing so much easier, Trazy. 2 Dan's on one team?), Amanda (who had to break up with Bob), and Shay.
There is a lot of hand wringing and crying over wearing new t-shirts and people inadvertently hurting Jillian's feelings by swearing their allegiance to Bob. I was worried that this might start shaping up to be like last season with those Samoan boys who boycotted Jillian. AND WHAT'S SO WRONG WITH JILLIAN? She is my hero. And she produces The Biggest WINNERS. No offense, Bob. You are my hero, too.
Now we enter into the gym to workout, the real reason we are all here despite some pretty heavy game play. Jillian makes Amanda puke up her apples, Dina tries over and over and over (and over) to jump up onto a stool, and Country Liz passes out mid Danny glance. She was just so angry at Trazy she forgot to breathe. She informs Bob that Southern women don't get angry, they get even. And a lot of other threats. I'm starting to think that Country Liz might have the guts to actually get rid of Trazy. Or at least put a horse head in her bed.
After a Jennie-O sponsored picnic, the new teams get ready for the physical challenge. This weeks challenge looked so hard, I swear I take back what I said last week about the challenge looking easy. These are large ladies and gents. Southern California is warm in the summer time. I wouldn't want to carry a box with a contestant on top of it for any length of trail. During the Cleopatra Challenge (what? No Shakespeare for this section? No time for cutting and pasting, my friends.), 4 contestants must carry one of their teammates through mud and hills to the finish line. No lives were lost, but Amanda's shoe will be sorely missed. The Blue Team makes it to the finish line to win their prize of videos from home.
Rebecca offers Dina her home movie (I don't know why Dina wants to see Rebecca's sister singing an off tune ditty, but to each their own) but Dina refuses, telling the at home audience that she needs to do this herself. That and jump on the stool.
Movie night at the ranch is a montage of home movies and tears. Country Liz propositions Danny (so I thought) but actually gave up her home movie so that he could see his family. It warmed my heart cockles. What didn't warm them was Trazy's home furnishings. I think she lives in Sarah Palin's house. That is the only explanation for that awful Longhorn covered leather side chair and Marlboro man artwork.
Then the last chance workout! Bob takes his team to 24-Hour Fitness for circuit training and judging of Trazy on the treadmill, while Jillian makes her teammates push each other around and makes Dina jump on that stool again. Still, no cigar. I am so worried about the fronts of her shins!
The final weigh in was a nail biter! If the Blue Team wins, Trazy stays for another week. If the Black Team wins, Trazy stays for another week?
What? The Blue Team was at the bottom, and somehow, Coach Mo convinces everyone to keep Trazy and send him packing.
Now we are stuck. If she wins, Mo, I swear! He looks fine at his reveal, but the sore feelings emanating from all of America kind-of diminished any accomplishments he made.
FOSTER FITNESS EXCLUSIVE!: While tweeting during the episode, I stated my displeasure that Dina never made it on that stool. THE Jillian Michaels ( @jillianmichaels for all you in Twitterland) tweeted me PERSONALLY to tell me that Dina did in fact make it. DAMN EDITORS. So congrats, Dina. And it is the real Jillian, not like the fake Shay/real Shay debacle plaguing us on Twitter the last few weeks. And this is why I love Jillian. No offense, Bob.
See you all next week back at the ranch!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I am "F'd Up!" abut today! Unintentionally Hilarious Infomercial

If this product is really real, I'm suprised no one mentioned the incredibly sexual and hilarious nature of the product to its creator.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Foster Fitness Feature: 10 Minute Solution Tone Trouble Zones with Amy Bento

I am an avid at home exerciser. In fact, most of the 60 pounds I have lost have been in the comfort of my own living room. So, one of the features I will start having on my blog is product reviews of items that have helped me reach and maintain my goals.

My first review has to be about Amy Bento, one of my favorite fitness personalities. She is cool, take charge, in amazing shape, and I so want to be her when I grow up. When I grow up, I will let you all know. :) Amy is the instructor on this installment of the 10 Minute Solution DVD series, and Tone Trouble Zones does exactly that.

If you are new to the at home workout, 10 Minute Solution is a series of workouts that promise you a quick, effective workout in merely 10 minutes. Each DVD has 5 blocks of exercises that are completely customizable- you can work out for 10 minutes to 50 minutes, and each 10 minute block has a quick warm-up and cool down so you feel like you are getting a full workout in as quick a time as possible. I own a few of these DVD's and they are really great in a crunch or if you want to add an additional workout to a specific part of your body.

Tone Trouble Zones 5 segments are:
1.)Arm and Shoulder Sculpt
2.)Butt and Thigh Blaster
3.)Sleek and Sexy Abs
4.)Total Body Tone Zone
5.)10-Minute Stretch

The DVD allows you to put these workouts in any order you choose so you can pick what areas you want to target. AND it comes with a 6 foot resistance band which is the only piece of equipment that you need for the workout. Pretty nifty, right? I found the band to be a little on the light side of resistance, but you can substitute any grade reistance band for your needs.

What I love about this DVD is the arm and shoulder segment- what a burn!- and the butt and thigh segment. The resistance band really allows a full range of motion that you can't get with dumbbells. My favorite exercise is the skater squat: while standing on the resitance band in a wide stance, you squat side to side like you are on ice skates. Seriously, my rear feels warm within two or three reps.

Another great thing about this DVD is that it is totally portable. Yes, I know the DVD itself is light and travels well, but since this video only requires a resistance band, you can stick it your carry-on luggage and have a great workout on vacation or that next business trip.

My only complaint is that since each segment is 10 minutes long, some of the transitions are lightning fast. Once you have done the video a few times you know what to anticipate next, but your first couple of times through you may find yourself pausing and rewinding.

Overall, Tone Trouble Zones is a great workout and a great value since it comes with everything you need. What are you waiting for? You've got 10 minutes!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I am "F'd Up!" abut today! Funny or Die Video with Nicole Eggert

My video of the day is from the site even The Hoff would think this was funny.

Or, watch the video posted at the bottom of my blog page!

The Biggest Loser- week 4- Dial D for Delivery

I knew this week's episode of The Biggest Loser was going to be great when it started with crazy Trazy and her crazy eyes. I knew that NBC could not resist the siren song of reality mayhem! The episode recaps in stark black and white (for extra dramatic effect) the choices that Trazy has made since she returned to the BL ranch- choosing the 2 pound weight advantage, throwing Shay under the bus, etc. We follow the Orange Team getting all up in the Purple Team's bizness, and Shay putting a bounty on Trazy's head- she will never trust her again. Bum bum bum.

But today is a new day, and what do you say for taking chances? Or, what have you done today to make you feel proud? It's never too late to try. I love tv theme songs. We are back on the ranch in color, and as the teams make their way into the gym, Trazy meets with Dr. H, who tells her that she can't workout. At all. Not even in the pool, which I'm sure Abby feels a little relieved about. So Coach Mo has to carry the team again. How Trazy is getting this free ride at the ranch is curious.

The rest of the contestants start their workout montage, and we see Jillian trying to break down Julio, trying to get to the meat of his potatoes. Why was he over 400 pounds when he arrived at the ranch? Besides the fact that he is at least 7 feet tall. Instead of being abused as a child or having a deadbeat parent, Julio states he loves food. He likes to cook it, smell it, eat it. It was a little pornographic- I was seeing a vision of a Yoplait yogurt dressed in a bikini. Jillian seems satisfied with this response, and goes off in search of other prey.

Then we follow the contestants into the kitchen, we notice that all the kitchen cabinets have been chained and locked. And Ali is there. Which means that the contestants have a new weekly challenge: they must order all of their food from restaurant delivery- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The contestants must use everything they have learned about portion control, calorie counting, and sauces on the side to succeed this week.

I live in New York City, and delivery is just as natural as breathing or hailing a cab: it's what we do. Apparently, every where else in the country this is not common. We watch the contestants struggle on the phone as they ask for no cheese and skinless breasts of chicken. I guess Dominoes online ordering is a lot easier.

No suprise, the food comes to the contestants incorrectly, and we watch them get flustered and frustrated. Either this is the worst delivery restaurant in all of LA, or NBC just loves to mess with these people. I vote for the latter.

The game show portion of the show for this week is chosing the healthy choice out of 3 meals. (The answer is A. Shhh.) Whichever teams chose A then had to guess the calorie count of the meal- and whichever team was closer would win a years supply of healthy groceries. The Pink Team was the big winner, which was a boost to their confidence and morale. Poor Shay from the Orange Team tells us that she has three jobs and winning the groceries would have really helped. Wee woo. At least losing some weight will give her more energy for those jobs!

When Bob and Jillian hear of the weekly challenge, they decide to take the contestants out to eat. I really was hoping it wasn't Subway, because that is not the type of date I want to go on with Bob. My thoughts were rewarded- and I'm sure the contestants were thankful too- because they all get to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.

MEXICAN? Holy frijoles.

I love Mexican food. I love the chips, the guacomole, and most importantly, the margaritas. I felt for these contestants as they struggled through the order process and told the world's most patient waiter no to the baskets of chips and salsa, yes to sauceless salads and lardless black beans, and no to the margaritas. Even though I know that Jillian loves her tequila- I read her tweets! But when the contestants look like Jillian, they too can have a shot. My favorite comment of dinner was Liz ordering- Bob tried to take the reigns and order no sauce, and Liz declares, "But I want the sauce!". She gets it on the side, and the world is right. It was a stressful date night, but an informative one. And Jillian breaks down the second contestant of the night- Rebecca- who starts crying because she wants to wear skinny jeans. No dinner would be complete without someone bursting into tears.

Then it is time for the physical challenge. The contestants are strapped to a board that hangs over a pool and they must hold onto straps for as long as possible without falling in. Sounds easy enough, but I forget that many of these contestants weigh over 300 to 400 pounds. That is a lot of weight to hold up against gravity. The contestants literally drop out one by one, until firefighter Alan and Dan the man are the last two hanging. Dan wins this one, gaining immunity for the Orange Team and beating his curse from last season- he will now make it on to week 5.

At the last chance workout, Coach Mo pushes himself so hard that he starts to panic and causes himself some pain on the tricep dips. Will he be able to lose enough weight for both he and Trazy?

At the weigh in, there are a few twists and turns. The Orange Team weighs in first since they have immunity, and Dan weighs in with zero pounds lost. Game play!!! He says it's not, honest! But we aren't suckers, Dan. Watch him lose like 50 pounds next week. Rudy from the Blue Team pulls out 11 magical pounds. The Green Team pulls it off even though Abby has been swimming her weight off. The Purple Team manages to stay in the game, even with Coach Mo injured and Trazy losing weight somehow- apparently, sitting at the kitchen table and fretting burns a lot of calories. 4 pounds worth.

The bottom teams are the Brown Team with Danny and Country Liz and Julio, the remaining black team member. The other contestants have a tough choice to make- eliminate 2 contestants or eliminate 1. They rise above the game play, and get rid of Julio. And on his recap, we see him looking mighty svelte and trying to get his family in on the action. They do show him cooking food, and he looks happier than a pig in poop.

Next weeks show looks like an exciting one- who is going to be in charge of dividing the teams into blue versus black? If it is Trazy, it should promise to be a very exciting episode, indeed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Surrogates and how we feel about ourselves. . .or I am my own Robot.

This weekend my boyfriend and I went to see the Bruce Willis thriller "Surrogates", which was pretty fantastic. And pretty freaky. And pretty most importantly, it made me think- and we all know that thinking leads to blogging. :)

In a nutshell, the movie takes place in the not so distant future in a world where everyone uses robots to do their everyday business. These robots are called surrogates, like the title, and are controlled by their owners with their mind in a contraption called a stem chair. These surrogates are supposed to be you, only better. Bruce Willis' surrogate had hair and no wrinkles, his wife was a beautiful blond with no scars and zero body issues. Some people took it to a whole different level: a hot female surrogate who had been murdered was in reality a big burly dude. The movie was frightening in it's commentary on how the human race is interacting with each other, or not interacting, by first using the Internet and chat rooms and things like facebook and MySpace, and leading to things like the use of surrogates.

I don't REALLY think that we will use robots as people in the future. I mean, not really. The fact that we could possibly have this technology is a little scary, but we all like being ourselves in the flesh, don't we?

And that's what got me thinking.

During the movie, I notice there wasn't a single surrogate that was fat. Or ugly. Or real looking. Everyone had high sculpted cheek bones and washboard abs, fabulous clothes and perfect hair. The world is already drifting towards the "fix what you have" phenomenon of plastic surgery. Botox and Juvederm injections are the norm for Hollywood elite and soccer moms. Reality shows like "Dr. 90210" and "Addicted to Beauty" make getting a boob job look like going through the drive through at McDonald's. All this fixing of ourselves through extreme methods has become so normal.

I wondered if surrogates really became a reality what would happen to us as people? Would we end up being the rolley polley fat people like in the movie "Wall-E" who forget how to walk and take care of ourselves without the use of computers? Or will we become the vanity obsessed creatures like the people in "Surrogates"?

I know that we all want that pill or that diet or that medical procedure that is going to give us everything that we have ever wanted, from younger looking skin to being that thin gorgeous super model. The only way to make our "dreams into reality", in reality, is hard work. Sweat. Making wise choices. To change your outward appearance, you have to make those changes inside too.

Everyday when I look in the mirror, I try to love what I see. It isn't always easy- I have days where nothing fits or my boobs look too big or I see a forming wrinkle and I wig out. But then I take a deep breath. I go for a run or pop in a workout DVD. I decide to pass on the donut and drink a health shake instead, have that extra glass of water. I try to make the healthy decision that will make me feel good inside, and that feel good radiates on the outside of my body.

I may not be the thinnest, but I am healthy. I may not be the youngest, but I never will be the youngest. I'm not a perfect robot. But I love this perfectly imperfect person that I am becoming very much.