Let’s try this again, shall we?

Back in December of 2010, I purchased a refurbished iPhone 3GS. I was always looking for apps for my previous devices to help get organized and make my life easier. The iPhone and the iTunes app store, unlike Windows Mobile and Palm OS, did NOT disappoint in the wide variety of offerings in every category. Wanting to get back to losing weight (which I had regained since the elimination diet in 2009), I started looking for an app for that….

When it came to apps for health & fitness, there was no shortage. I started in late December with My Net Diary. I tracked my meals and snacks using the program, as well as cardiovascular and strength training exercises. This was was just before the holidays, not the greatest time to get fired up about weight loss, but I managed to lose a pound from 12/17 – 01/10.

On January 10, 2011, during my company’s monthly staff meeting, it was announced that they would be having a weight loss contest. There would be a $10 entry fee, weekly weigh-ins, and mini-challenges to keep us engaged and motivated to lose weight and get healthy. I was hesitant to get involved (weight loss is very personal and I was very nervous about failing – yet again – only this time in a more open manner). The contest was anonymous, we all selected 4 digit code numbers to identify us on the leaderboard, so I figured why not? I am happy to say it worked well! Over the course of 13 weeks, I lost 28 lbs. by tracking meals and exercises. I switched from My Net Diary to My Fitness Pal due to no problems with the former, but only that a coworker of mine was using the latter and we could be on there together, cheering each other on and motivating each other. It’s a social network for weight loss and fitness!

Besides cutting down to the program’s recommended 1200 calories per day, I also added exercise to my routine. I again resumed using my Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVDs, using mainly a new 5 mile Fat Burning Walk. I also mixed in walking outdoors, and an old Step Reebok the Video VHS tape and my trusty step bench. That tape was very challenging and I needed a few weeks of less intense aerobic activity to build up my aerobic capacity. Eventually, that came, and I started the tape slowly, building up within a week or two to the point I could complete the workout. I also mixed up some Tae Bo and also a very fun swing dance aerobics DVD, by professional swing dancer and choreographer Robert Royston called Swingout Workout. Back in 1999/2000, I had the pleasure of participating in Robert’s classes of this aerobic swing dance workout when the fitness center Crunch on 59th Street in New York had a series of Broadway dance aerobics classes based upon then-current Broadway shows. I was a big fan of the Broadway musical Swing! and Robert was teaching the class of swing dance aerobics. That was so much fun and enjoyable, I was thrilled many years later (and residing much farther west) that he made a DVD of the workout. Another class I took right after Swing ended, was one based on the dances from the stage musical version of Saturday Night Fever. Most of those dances were taught verbatim from the show, which was very challenging to a non-dancer, but most were not that difficult and it was a great workout and loads of fun!

When walking both indoors and outdoors, I used an Omron HJ-720ITC pedometer to track my steps. This pedometer is very nice as it comes with software to download the data (it can store 42 days’ worth of stats). The pedometer separately tracks all steps but keeps a separate tally for “aerobic steps,” which it will count after 10 minutes of walking at a certain pace. The software is very useful, as it can track steps based upon a percentage of personal goals, and breaks it down throughout the day, showing how many steps you took each hour, and showing aerobic vs. regular steps in different colors. Also useful for tracking outdoor walks is an iPhone app / website called Runkeeper. I found it very helpful to track my walks using the software, which gave me a map and nice detailed stats about my time walked, MPH, minute/mile, etc. I signed up for the 500 Festival’s Finish Line 5K. Runkeeper helped me monitor my pace, working up to the point where I could go from a comfortable 20-minute mile to the minimum 18-minute mile. Happily I progressed past that, at times averaging a 15-minute mile! I’d been doing jogging intervals during my Leslie Sansone DVDs, so when the day came for the 5K, I ended up jogging almost the whole course, finishing in 38 minutes, 57 seconds, an average of just over a 12-minute mile! I surprised myself and was excited at this accomplishment!

The first phase of the contest ended, I had lost 28 lbs, going from 163.6 down to 135.6, or 17.11% of my body weight. I came in 3rd, only behind two guys in the office, who were so lose, with barely a percent between them. I was proud of my accomplishment because being female, I was only behind them in the percentage that I’d lost, and ahead of 59 others! Woo hoo!

There was a short break and a month later, Phase 2 was announced. I wanted to finish the job – and get the remaining weight lost, about 25 lbs. It was very hard to keep the momentum up all summer, but I did manage to lose an additional 12 lbs., ending up at 123.6 (what is with all my weights always ending in .6?). As you can see, this phase was difficult for me!

I only had a scant 13.6 lbs go get to my goal weight of 110. I wanted to keep going but after 8 months and 41 lbs. lost, I needed a break. I was happy with my progress so far though! Not only that, but I won the 2nd Phase of the contest!

                                 BEFORE: 164                                       AFTER: 123.6

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