Thursday, July 29

Now What?

Now that my eight-week adventure is over, what’s next?

The hard part—making it stick. Really turning this into a way of life instead of a one-time project, which I believe is more difficult than the initial eight weeks.

I’ve had so much fun writing about my adventures that I’ve decided to continue the blog.

The content will shift a bit since I’m no longer participating in the In8 program, but the focus will continue to be on health and wellness. With of course, my spin on it.

I hope you’ll keep reading and please feel free to comment or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you.

Talk to you soon,

The Results Are In

After 8+ weeks on the program, here are the results.

133 ½  lbs
126 lbs
-7 ½ lbs
33 in.
32 ¾ in.
- ¼ in.
29 in.
28 ¼ in.
- ¾ in.
40 ½ in.
38 ½ in.
-2 in.
Phase Angle
Intracellular Water
Body Mass Index
Fat Mass

Can I get a woo hoo?! Especially for the two inches off my hips and decreasing the fat content in my body by almost three percent. Not so cool is the chest measurement. I can’t really afford to lose much up there but I guess I’ve got to take the good with the bad.

Also unfortunate are my phase angle and intracellular water numbers. They didn’t go up as much as I hoped they would. My phase angle is supposed to be above 7.0 (it’s 6.2) and my intracellular water number is supposed to be above 56.1% (it’s 52.9%).

When I got my results I looked at Dr. Lowry and said, “But, but, I’ve been drinking tons of water and eating really healthy. I swear. How come those numbers are still so low?”

Without hesitating, he looked me in the eye and said very matter-of-factly, “Coffee and alcohol. You’ll have to give those up if you want to change these numbers.”

I threw my head back and howled with laughter. After wiping the tears from my face and taking a sip of my Venti Non-fat Latte, I looked him in the eye and said very matter-of-factly, “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

It’s a lifestyle, right? It’s all about choices and I choose not to give up coffee or the occasional glass of wine, or even the occasional two glasses. So there.

Overall, I’d say those figures are not bad for an old gal like me, and much better than I thought given my recent travels. But the truth is, I wasn’t absolutely horrible on my vacation. Sure, there were days that I completely blew it, but I was “on plan” over half the time.

Take my exercise routine as an example. I was supposed to complete 15 different workouts over the three weeks—3 upper body, 3 lower body, and 9 cardio. I completed 10 of those—3 upper body, 3 lower body, and 4 cardio. That’s a 67% success rate.

And my eating, well, yeah I had the guacamole, and the vodka tonic and the wine and the margaritas and those cookie things filled with butter cream icing, but those were isolated incidents. (Except for the wine. I was a repeat offender on that one.) When I did overindulge, I made up for my bad behavior the following day with more healthy eating.

Also, as Dr. Lowry pointed out, I was starting from a better base point. Meaning, I had already put on muscle mass prior to my trip, since muscle burns more calories than fat, the extra calories I consumed was, thankfully, being taken care of by my new higher metabolism. So it all worked together to keep me relatively on track.

While I’m thrilled with the results, I still have some work to do. According to the Biomarkers of Health worksheet Dr. Lowry gave me, I'm now as fat as an 80-year-old. The good news is I'm not as fat as a cow anymore. The bad news is I’m supposed to get that number down to 19%-22%.

(heavy sigh)

What’s that old saying, no rest for the weary?

Uh huh, my new mantra is “no slackie for the fattie.” 

Tuesday, July 27

Lessons from the Road

Three weeks later and we’ve arrived home. The free weights I debated on bringing never made it out of the trunk. But I figure hauling 70 pounds of weights up and down my stairs counts as a workout, so it’s not a total loss.

As expected, maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road was a challenge and after a few days to ruminate on our adventure, I’ve come up with a few key takeaways.

1.   Keep your vacation to one week. 

That seems to be the magic number for me in terms of how long I can maintain the willpower necessary to stay “on plan.”

During that first week, I actively sought out the hotel fitness centers and used my friends’ gym memberships to squeeze in several workouts. That tenacity diminished as the weeks progressed, as did my ability to say “no” to margaritas and wine with friends. It seems that the more time passed the louder the voice in my head became saying, "But you're on vacation!"

Monday, July 26

The Experiment

As I mentioned earlier, I thought it prudent to determine whether or not my recent illness was due to the barrage of poor food and beverage choices or simply a virus. Thus, I decided to conduct an experiment.

Because every scientific experiment begins with a hypothesis, I formulated one of my own.

My Hypothesis

After several weeks on the In8 plan, my body has become accustomed to leafy greens, fresh fruit, lean meats, whole grains and limited alcohol. The introduction of enriched white flour, sugary alcoholic beverages, and high-fat foods caused a digestive system malfunction leading to fever, cramping and general malaise.

In short, the average American diet was responsible for my illness.

Experiment Methodology

Throw as much processed food, alcohol and fat at my body as I can muster. Plus, do not exercise, as that might counteract the affects of the food and taint the results.

After following aforementioned protocol, assess physical condition and see if symptoms recur.

Thursday, July 22

The Remedy, Well, Sort Of

Lounging against the cushion of the deck chair, I gazed across the backyard toward Bald Mountain Lake in North Carolina.  After a day of putt-putt, swimming, scolding Grant for overturning his kayak and rescuing Harrison (Grant's 10-year-old cousin) after drifting too far out into the lake without a life jacket, I was ready to confine the children to the indoors and relax.

"It's well past 5 o'clock," I heard Michael say, implying it was cocktail hour.

"Would you like some wine?" my brother-in-law Troy asked him.

"Well, if you're going to open some, I'd hate for it to go to waste," Michael replied with a smile.

"Hey Di," Troy called out to me, "Can I bring you a glass?"

With my stomach still rumbling from my lingering illness, I politely, but regretfully, declined.

Wednesday, July 21

Planning Gone Awry

“If I’m really going to make a lifestyle change, then I have to figure out how to vacation without going berserk.”
—Me, July 9, 2010

I should really listen to myself because I’ve got great ideas. I plan ahead for almost everything. I plan my weekly meals. I plan my workouts. I plan my escape route on a plane, being careful to look behind me for the nearest exit. I’m always planning. What I need help with is executing the plan. That’s my downfall.

Saturday, July 17

A Souvenir for Michael

Saying on the shirt:

"More people have read this shirt than your blog. 0000002"

I found this t-shirt on the website and thought it would be perfect for Michael. Now he can taunt me without ever saying a word.

Of course I'll have to order the XL size for him, which somehow strikes me as poetic justice.

Friday, July 16

The Mystery of the South's Weight Problem Revealed

After spending the last week traveling through the Deep South, it’s no surprise it ranks as the most obese region in the nation. At every restaurant, I struggled to find high quality fresh produce to eat, or simply, anything not fried. I knew this of course, growing up in Georgia, but back then I didn’t care.

As a teenager working at Bojangles I lived off of chicken and biscuits. Especially biscuits. God I love those flaky, buttery pieces of goodness. And nothing was better than a biscuit made by my friend John. As the best Bojangles biscuit boy, he always worked the Saturday morning shift, because that was the biscuit rush. It’s like Krispy Kreme on a weekend morning in Richmond. Cars blazing through the Drive-Through, people pouring through the store, all buying doughnuts by the dozen. In the South you load up on biscuits by the dozen.

Well, that and anything that’ll fit in a deep fryer.

Monday, July 12

In Search of Beignets

Stage Three of Le Tour de South was New Orleans, Louisiana, the capital of gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets (French style doughnuts).

Having sampled the first two already, we planned on stopping by the famous Café Du Monde for beignets and coffee on our way out of town. The café is located on Decatur Street next to a beautiful park called Jackson Square. I was looking forward to sitting quietly under the awning, sipping on a rich brew of French roast, sampling the sugary French treat, and watching the tourists pass by. It was going to be a leisurely start to the day before our drive to Natchez, Mississippi.

A quick note: I realize beignets are not exactly a sanctioned food on the In8 plan, but I was going to splurge. You know, because I’m on vacation. (There's that bad vacation self-talk. The kind that leads to overeating and poor food choices. I know, I know!)

Sunday, July 11

The Oil Spill

While this post has nothing to do with wellness, I couldn’t leave the Alabama coast without jotting down my thoughts about the oil spill.

Arriving on Thursday, it was apparent that something was amiss. Sepia-colored oil floated on the waves, staining the beach. Crews in white Haz Mat foot coverings worked in teams with shovels and garbage bags, scooping up tainted sand and carting it off. Occasionally, a bulldozer would roar by, scraping the top layer of earth from the beach.

Uh Oh

“Life happens while you’re making other plans.”

This is one of my mother-in-law’s favorite sayings. And it is now the theme for Stage Two of Le Tour de South—Orange Beach, Alabama. Although I’m changing it to, “Michael happens while I’m making other plans.”

I had every intention of saving my caloric indulgences until Texas, but then I walked into our rented condo. With a perfect view out the balcony of the oil-soaked beaches and gentle Gulf waves, I pictured myself sitting on the lounge chair sipping a beverage and munching on some high-caloric snacks.

Michael, reading my mind, said, “Wow! This would be a great spot for happy hour!”

Crap, I thought. He’s not going to help me out on this wellness stuff at all.

Friday, July 9

Le Tour de South

In honor of the Tour de France, Michael has christened our summer voyage, Le Tour de South. Stage One of the tour was a quick stop in Atlanta, Georgia.

Between visits with several sets of college friends, a tour through CNN headquarters, a stroll through Centennial Park, and a drive around my college alma mater, Georgia Tech, I managed to squeeze in a workout. At a gym. How about that!

It turns out I have another avenue for completing my fitness regime, one I hadn’t considered—sponging off my friends’ gym memberships.

Wednesday, July 7

Battle of the Sexes

“Quarter-white. Dirty rice. Sweet tea.” The cashier’s voice rang out over the Bojangles intercom. Memories of high school washed over me. I was a cashier at Bojangles during my junior and senior year. Although back then we had to wear a hideous orange and brown striped shirt, matching scarf and brown pants. I envied the jeans and t-shirt attire the staff now sported.

Serving up southern cuisine in my orange outfit, I looked like a 1970’s reject, and worse, I consistently reeked of fryer grease, buttered oil, biscuits, fried chicken, and teenage angst. It was a potent concoction. No wonder I didn’t date much. Who wants to go out with a greasy-smelling, emotional cashier from Bojangles?

Packing for Wellness

Three weeks on the road requires some discipline in packing. Since this isn’t our first long road trip, we have it down to a science. Which is another way of saying, Michael made a list. He’s a list-maker. And thank God because without it we’d be ten miles down the road and realize we forgot Janelle’s blanket, or Grant’s ipod, or my computer.
With his three-column spreadsheet detailing all the activities we needed to accomplish before leaving, Michael ordered us around like Napoleon commanding his troops.

“Grant, collect all the trash around the house and throw it in the dumpster.”

“Amanda, finish washing the dishes, dry them and put them away.”

“Janelle, go flush all the toilets.”

And then finally, he called out, “Where’s your mother?”

Friday, July 2

Road Trip!

The Wellness Project is going on the road.

Michael and I are taking the kids on a three-week road trip to visit friends in Texas. Yup, that’s right. Three weeks in a minivan with my husband and children.

Actually, it’s no big deal for us. A couple of years ago we took the kids on a cross-country trip for ten weeks. And then we did it again the following summer. We’ve logged 25,000 miles touring America’s amazing landscape.

Lobster fishing in Maine, a Broadway show in New York City, hiking through the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite; these are just a few of our spectacular adventures.

Over the course of those two summers, my children tracked how many states they’ve slept in—they’re at forty-three. Not surprisingly, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are among the missing seven. There’s a reason for that. When you think about visiting America’s premier attractions, no one goes, “Hey, let’s go to Selma, Alabama,” or “I hear Jackson, Mississippi is fantastic.”

Thursday, July 1

Justifying My Alcohol Consumption. It’s Not Going Well.

Since I’m always trying to justify my red wine consumption as a healthy choice, I was disappointed to read an article on about the adverse affects of alcohol and weight loss.

The full article is here, if you’d like to read it and join me in my depression.

I knew about the lowering of inhibitions leading to poor food choices, the empty calories, zero nutritional value, blah blah blah. What I didn’t know was the following:

 “… when your body is attempting to metabolize alcohol and food that have been consumed together, it will use the energy from the alcohol first and store the food as fat. Because the body perceives alcohol as a poison and because it cannot store the energy from alcohol, its first priority is to eliminate it, while digesting and processing the food becomes secondary. That means your meal gets stored and synthesized as fat while the alcohol gets burned off.”

CRAP! Not only am I ingesting empty calories from alcohol, but the food I’m eating goes right to my fat stores, a/k/a my thighs.