Friday, January 20, 2012

January 2012 Activity - DietBet Progress Report (Amy's version)

Dear Friends, Fans and Stalkers of the Dilettante Club—

Greetings from Amy… “the quiet one,” (ed. Ha ha "the quiet one") as I have never in my life submitted a blog post.  Hey!  That should count as my January activity, instead of this stupid Diet (dear DietBet, she is only saying that because she's hungry and cranky. DietBet is awesome.) I got roped into.
If you are following our blog, you know that the three of us are participating in a weight loss challenge through the DietBet website.  For someone with a firm 50-minute attention span, this four-week challenge has been extremely tough. With 2 1/2 weeks into this diet, I have made three important discoveries.

1.       Unlike my summer diets in college, eliminating beer from my diet no longer has an effect.  I am not sure whether to be happy or discouraged about this.  Over the years I’ve been on so many diets that I have slowly eliminated many of the “bad foods” from my daily meals.  Butter—long gone.  Cokes and diet cokes—not in years.  Rolls of raw cookie dough—nada.  Beer is my last diet vice—in that I am drinking my calories.  And I like real beer—not that watery Bud Light crap. (ed. the Dilettantes bond over a love of good beer.) So my original strategy was to cut out the beer for the four weeks, and watch the fat melt away.  Nope!  Two and half weeks in and I weigh the same as I did the day after Christmas—and the 24 beers of Christmas challenge (which was way more fun than this stupid diet).

2.      DietBet sends daily suggestions for losing weight during our challenge.  As I mentioned, I’ve tried them all—Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, marathon training, Cindy Crawford’s  workout video—and they all boil down to the same thing: eat less, exercise more, drink lots of water.  But yesterday I learned a new tip—the 3-day juice cleanse.  I wonder if a three day beer cleanse would work just as well? (ed. If it does, I've found my new weight management tool that I will be able to maintain for a lifetime.)

3.      Stephen Hawking will want to explore my third discovery.  After having a baby in late August, the remainder of 2011 raced by.  Visitors, holidays, parties, work—I wished I could slow down the days.  Well, I now know how to slow time—dieting.  I can’t believe it is only January 20th!  I have never before looked forward to the month of February.  But bring it on, extra day and all! (ed. February 1st will be the best day of our lives. with the exception of Oktoberfest 2007. That was a great party.)
So with 12 days to go, I am not confident I am going to successfully complete this Dilettante activity by losing 4% of my body weight.  Here is my final stretch strategy:  3 day beer cleanse, diuretics, and a new scale.  Wish me luck!

January 2012 Activity -- DietBet Progress Report (Amanda's version) -- Of course she had to go to Chile -- though perhaps Hungary would have been more appropriate...

Anyone who has seen me in person or is friends with me on Facebook is keenly aware of how pleasant I have been during this little weight loss “competition” between the Dilettantes and 4 other bloggers to lose 4% of our body weight in 4 weeks. 
Trying to maintain a 1,000 calorie daily deficit means lots of working out, and not very much eating. I’ve been doing pretty well, despite the temptations. As Kathleen noted in an e-mail to me and Amy recently—“everything looks like a turkey leg to me!” So true. I’m convinced the restaurant next door to my office has installed extra exhaust fans to make sure I am enveloped by the smell of burgers every time I walk out the door. We’ve had a birthday cake sitting in the office kitchen this week—its inch-thick frosting calling to me seductively every time I head in to refill my water bottle. It’s torture.
Maintaining self control is one thing surrounded by the comforts of home. On the road is a different story.  Yet, on the road (to Chile) is where I found myself last week.  Weeks like this usually throw my normally healthy habits way off. Lack of sleep, airplane food, and jet lag are a lethal combination. I should also add that Chile is home to one of my favorite beverages, the pisco sour, and the food is amazing. On those nights when I am able to have dinner with work colleagues, we typically over consume all of those.  Guess what this does to my motivation to wake up early and work out?

On this last trip, I knew I had to make a conscious effort to maintain my good habits.

It started with my layover in Miami. My flight was delayed 1 hour, so since I couldn’t drown my sorrows at the airport bar, I chose to walk the airport—logging about 3.5 miles in an hour (while dragging my suitcase). In addition to the strange looks I got as I passed gates 3, 4, and 5 times, I managed to get several all-pro blisters on my feet. Awesome.  The things I do to win.

The town where I was staying was on the beach, and the temperature stayed between 75-78 degrees the entire time. It’s pretty hard to come up with an excuse legitimate enough to avoid exercising in those conditions. I managed 2 runs while I was there, enjoying gorgeous sunsets and waves crashing on the beach:

taking in a little bit of the historic town:

and hanging out with the local wildlife:

It’s very glamorous.

In the middle of all this consistency, I had two overnight flights coming and going, about 2347234083 cookie breaks that I had to resist, and a road trip up to 14,000 feet, where I was barely able to walk 5 feet without collapsing. On balance, I think I broke even, but I’m glad to be back home to finish this misery competition.
I hadn’t mentioned it before, but the Dilettantes have some pretty stiff competition.  Foodie City Mom has already met her goal, as has Angie from Blessed Beyond Words.  Selfish Mom and Dusty Earth Mother aren’t far behind, and are well over halfway to their goal. The Dilettantes are bringing up the rear, although Kathleen is maintaining the mystery and not weighing in until the finale.  Applause to our competitors (I will be posting their addresses later so that you can send candy and cookies to congratulate them!). The Dilettantes have to kick it in gear—stay tuned!

Friday, January 06, 2012

January 2012 Activity -- DietBet

[Guest Post by Dilettante Amanda, though we all plan to chime in throughout the month.]

If this post ends abruptly, it’s likely because I passed out from hunger and exhaustion as a result of Day 1 of the DietBet competition I and my fellow Dilettantes were conned into happy to join for the month of January. Kathleen described the key details on Brutalism, but the basic idea is that each of us has to lose 4% of our body weight in 28 days. For me, this means losing 7 lbs, or almost 2 lbs per week. If we are successful, we win a share of a $5,000 pot for charity. The Dilettantes are playing for a very worthy charity, DC Central Kitchen.

This would have been a great competition for me last year, when I was looking to lose 20 lbs. This year, 20 lbs lighter, this is going to be a challenge. After running the numbers this morning (Captain Spreadsheet has nothing on me), I realized that in order to “win”, I will need to burn about 1,000 calories more than I take in each day. Translation: work out like a fiend and eat celery. I’m not happy. Nor is anyone who’s had the misfortune of having to interact with me in the last 24 hours…it’s going to be a long 28 days.

While I’m being Princess Whinypants right now, in truth, I’m happy for a contest like this. The Dilettantes have previously bemoaned the fact that all of the weight loss shows out there focus on people who need to lose a ton (har!) of weight. Makes sense—more dramatic transformations and what not. We’ve entertained the idea of fattening ourselves up to “earn” the opportunity to rub elbows with Bob Harper. I even tried to call in a favor with a friend of mine who knows the Biggest Loser trainer to pitch a “Medium Loser” (Not Quite the Biggest Loser? Not Much Left to Lose? –it’s a work in progress) competition for those of us with just a few pounds to lose. DietBet actually provides this—short, 4 week competitions designed to help you lose those last few pounds, or jump start a bigger weight loss program. As Dilettantes, it fits well with our attention spans and ability to commit (although it would be great if we could do it in under an hour and then go for beers).

That brings us back to what it will take to sabotage the other competitors successfully lose 7 lbs. My current plan:

• Track my food every day (stay within 1200-1500 calories)

• No drinking (yet another reason I am super pleasant these days)

• Burn 500-1000 calories per day through exercise (mostly running)

• Strength train (assuming I have any strength left)

This grand plan will be put to the test when I head to Chile for work next week. Wish me luck (and steer clear of South America if you don’t want me to bite your head off)!