Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Extreme is an Understatement…..

As promised (just for you Gary!) here is my mini-rant on “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss” – ABC’s answer to “The Biggest Loser”.

The show started last year and I mentioned once before that I wasn’t a huge fan. I’m a little more on board with the show now. This season they focus a lot more about the person’s background (which I think is important!). What choices did you make, what circumstances happened that caused you to balloon up to your current size? You didn’t wake up one afternoon weighing more than a half-ton. Just like I didn’t wake up one morning at 400 pounds. A lot of bad decisions and wrong turns went into that number. I’m a firm believer in fixing the root of the problem instead of the side effects. I was unhappy with who I was as a person and I turned to food as a comfort, an activity etc. I can eat healthy and go to the gym or barre all I want ~ but that won’t fix what’s on the inside.

I have this saying at my desk at work, in both my phones and next to my bed:

Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

Back to the show  so the host is also the trainer, Chris Powell. I like him, I like his philosophy’s concerning weight-loss (except for one giant exception which I’ll get to in a second). He advocates healthy eating, cardio, weights and most of all – figuring out why you overeat.If you don’t know what got you lost in the first place, how can you prevent yourself from getting lost again?

His program is set up into 3 month segments – Phase 1 is three months of boot camp essentially. Phase 2 gets you read for a physical challenge of some kind (hiking, biking, triathlon) and then Phase 3 prepares you for skin surgery. During Phase 1 Chris moves in with you and transforms your house into a gym. Woo! I’m fine with this. However, I think his weight-loss goals are often entirely too lofty. In 90 days he has some contestants losing 120 pounds. Do  the math – that’s 1.3 pounds a day or a burn of 4666 calories PER DAY. That’s insane + frankly unsustainable. Ya know what happens when you lose that much weight that quickly? Loose skin. Like woah. Like this:

Why does this happen? Extreme, rapid weight loss causes your skin (which is an organ) to be unable to adjust. Your skin is a living organism ~ it expands (stretch marks) and it contracts. However, it does so slowly. By losing more than 1-2 pounds a week you not allowing your skin a chance to rebuild its elasticity and go back to normal. Now, will it ever be perfect? No. You will still have stretch marks and in some cases when you lose 200 + pounds you will need to have skin removal surgery in some areas. So why am I bitching about it? I don’t like the EMWL goal of Phase 3. Skin surgery. EVERY contestant has it and every contestant is excited about it. Skin removal surgery is a HORRIBLY painful process – why would you WANT to lose so quickly it became your only option? Oh right, because you’re on a game show. In addition skin surgery can be looked at like corrected vision surgery. You must maintain your current prescription for X amount of time (I believe it’s a year) before you can undergo laser eye surgery. On the show you literally hit a weight-loss mark and BOOM – you qualify for surgery. No maintenance required! This is (in my mind) a very bad practice. When you reach a goal there needs to be a level of maintenance to ensure you’re really there – you understand what’s required of you physically and mentally. Having skin surgery at the 9 month marker is instant gratification. If you haven’t learned anything ya know what happens? You’ll balloon back up to where you were.

I feel strongly that gastric bypass is not a choice for me – you guys know that – but the reason I’m so against it is tied in with what irks the shit of out me about this show. With GB you don’t learn to eat – you can still eat cupcakes and ho ho’s – just not as many as before. Hell you can lose 200 pounds and go right back to where you started if you’re not careful. Your skin (which is now scarred) will stretch back out and you will be right back in the same pickle you were in before….only now you have physical scars to remind you of your failure.

Do the contestants look amazing? Of course. This is Mike – he went from 493 to 238. He’s a different person! Oh and he also had almost 3 FEET of loose skin removed. Needless to say there are no pictures of the “after” showing the scars.

So, that’s my beef with the show. Yes it’s got some merit but dammit, why rush the process? Why advocate for dangerous surgery when it could (hopefully) be avoided.

I am losing weight. SLOWLY. Sometimes at a snail’s pace! But, I am keeping it off and learning a lot in the process. What I ate on a day-to-day basis 2 years ago is world’s away from what I eat now. How I feel about myself is also world’s away. I don’t want to be skinny – I want to be strong. I don’t have my mind set on a number I must weigh or a size I must attain (though for a long time 143 was the number and 8 was the size). I’ve come to a point in my life where I want different things. I want to be curvy yet strong. I don’t want to rush this process and end up looking like Frankenstein. Of course, that’s me – you’re welcome (as always) to your own opinion. That’s what makes this great nation so great – to each their own.


Where We Gonna From Here?

The title of today’s blog is from my favorite Mat Kearney song. If you’re in the mood for new music, check him out. Love him.

So, where do we go from here? I’m not sure. I’m stuck. Like glue. To the 300’s. I can’t even claw my way out!

I weighed in this morning and I’m at 315. Up 5 pounds from last weigh-in. In between the weigh-in’s I have gotten sick (thank you San Fran airport…every time I come through I bring a souvenir bout of bronchitis home with me!). I spent my 3-day weekend coughing, sleeping and eating very little. It was all HELLA hot here in Boston, and my appetite usually wanes in the heat. So, how did I gain weight? I haven’t the foggiest.

In an attempt to keep my sanity, I’m choosing not to weigh in again until July 1st. I need a break from the scale. I also need a new workout routine. I was thinking about the classes I took at Tribal Fest. I sweat my ass off during a Zoe Jakes drills class (you basically drill the same series of moves for a whole song….or two). Could I incorporate some of this awesome dance cardio into my life? Heck yes! I just made a mix for my iPod that mimics the one used in class. I’m going to aim for this to be my new workout schedule:

Cardio Dance Drilling (home) – 3X a week

Weight Routine (gym)- 3X a week

Traditional Cardio  (bike, treadmill, walking)- 2X a week

Sounds ambitious right? I know. But, I think if I go hard for the month of June, I will be happy with the scale come July! Plus, I have ample time to drill at night with all my favorite shows on hiatus!

Oooh and it seems that the Universe answered my prayers for a drills DVD. This gem is being released in a week. Woo!

Perfect! It will be mine in a mere 8 days. 🙂

A new weight-loss show premiered last night, “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition“. If you didn’t watch it, but plan to then stop reading right…. now.

Still reading? OK, here’s my honest opinion on the show. I don’t like it. I wanted to love it! I really did. But I just don’t. Each episode will follow one person, week one was Rachel. You figure in an HOUR you will learn a lot about a person and really see their transformation right? Notsomuch. I felt like giant chunks of her weight-loss journey were glossed over. I didn’t like the format (she goes to a bootcamp, then goes home and has a 3-month goal, 6-month goal, 9-month goal then a 1 year reveal). It had so much potential….but I just couldn’t get into it. I was also confused that one of her “goals” given by her personal trainer Chris Powell was to be thin enough to get skin removal surgery. Hold up! She’s 21! Why isn’t her skin going back? The only times I’ve ever heard of skin removal is when the person is extremely morbidly obese (500+ pounds), losing weight  too quickly for the skin’s natural elasticity to kick on (ie during gastric bypass) or when someone is over 60 and their skin has lost some of its natural elasticity. No one from Biggest Loser has ever had skin removal surgery (at least not that’s been announced publicly).  No one I personally know need to have skin removed after extreme weight-losses. I was very confused  by that part.

My other complaints with the show – why did she gain so much weight? It never talks about why she was eating so much in the first place. Her family was all average-sized so there weren’t any assumptions you could draw. Did she work through the emotional/psychological reasons for overeating? I know first-hand that you can’t ignore that stuff, it just bites you in the ass later!  We also never saw what kind of diet Chris put her on. What was she eating? She was doing a lot of cardio but I never saw her doing any strength training. Why not?! I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the best way to ensure skin will shrink down is to lose slowly and incorporate a mix of strength training and cardio.

Now, for all it’s faults….I’ll probably keep watching it. All my other shows are on hiatus, and I am a sucker for a success story – even if I don’t like the way the story is presented. Overall I’m giving in a C+

Did you guys tune in? What did you think?


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