Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 1 is officially in the books. Be afraid my fellow Gordo's.

FEAR THE KETTLEBELL!!
As many of you know I have unfortunately won this competition way to much.  And like many of you I struggle with the yo yo of weight.  I am not going to lie, I LOVE FOOD!!!  But as I get older and reflect, I realize that my health needs to be a priority compared to my mouth.  So I wish you all good luck.  I had a really great first week, but it could have been better.  I hope a lot of you (Tom) can start posting and talking trash, trust me it definitely motivates me.  I have fallen in love with a new piece of workout equipment for this competition, the kettlebell.  Hopefully it puts me over the top and I can capture an unprecedented 4th El Cubano Gordo title. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2 Days into the 2014 ECG...

... And lettuce already tastes like CRAP.  it's gonna be a loooooooooong 10 weeks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does This Holocaust Memorial Make My Arms Look Fat?

I don’t mean to offend anyone with the title of this post, but it relates to how I got to a place of greater acceptance about my body.

Have you read Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books? You should. They are the literary version of a pillow; they are soft and relaxing. And because I’ve always hated the term “big boned,” they gave me a great description to explain my body type. Like the bush-tea-guzzling main character Precious Ramotswe, I am “traditionally built.” I work out more often than anyone I know, but in a line up with my friends, you’d pick the others as the runners and you’d think my workouts consisted of a biweekly walk down the snack aisle (a Ho-Ho stroll?) at the supermarket. For this reason, I am constantly trying to work on accepting my body and body type.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. When I was based in The Netherlands, I had lots of opportunities to travel. One weekend, about 40 of us in the international expat group I was part of headed to Berlin—awesome city, by the way. My friend Michael was our default photographer and he snapped a candid photo of me at the above-ground part of the Holocaust Memorial. When I was later browsing the photos, I saw my arms, a body part I’ve always disliked for their chunkiness, and was horrified. I groaned and asked him to delete the photo right away. And then I realized what I was saying. I didn’t like how my arms looked chunky at a Holocaust Memorial. WOW. That, in all honesty, was one of the most striking incidences of me needing to get over myself.

These days, I’m really trying to improve my body type acceptance with the old saw, health is wealth. Because it is, as almost all ECGers can personally attest to. In my case, my husband just recently had some melanoma removed. What we thought would be a routine checkup at the dermatologist became a serious diagnosis, two procedures to remove the cancerous cells from his leg, a major procedure to close his excision, a week of total bedrest, two-weeks of using a walking cane, an emergency ultrasound to check for a DVT, emergency wound care after necrosis and infection, grafts with pig bladder tissue, another infection, a full-thickness graft, more bedrest, more emergency visits, a 4-inch scar on his hip, a 10-inch scar on his calf, and a lifetime of follow-up appointments every 3 months.

For the majority of the last several weeks he has been unable to run or cycle (his two favorite activities), but he’s glad it’s been taken care of and he appreciates that they caught it early and treated it. I’m grateful he’s fine and I’m so thankful that through it all, I was able to work out to burn off the stress and anxiety of the last several weeks. I felt like I was working out for the both of us.

So, when you’re really feeling down about your weight or body type, try to instead think about your health. Are you fit? Do you feel healthy? If your answer is no, then by all means, take action. But don’t belabor the number on the scale or on the tag of your jeans—it’s just that, a number. Instead, focus on your overall health, because without that, you’ve got nothing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thinking of ECG VII already

In the event there is an ECG next year (lol), I wanted to throw some ideas out there. Let me know what you think. We've already discussed penalizing those who gain the weight back. But not everybody is cool with negative "negative" discipline. Some like the "positive reinforcement" technique better so how about these rules...

1. If at the start of ECG VII you weigh the same or less than what you weighed at the end of ECG VI, you will earn 3 bonus points.

2. If at the start of ECG VII you weigh less than what you weighed at the end of ECG VI, then you will get an additional point for every % lost.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Week 11 Results

Week 11 results are in. Among the reporters this week, Chris Brand is back in the lead!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Body Mass Index Calculator

Even if the number on the scale is something you think you can live with, you still need to consider your Body Mass Index. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines it like this: Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

The Mayo Clinic has this easy-to-use BMI calculator which will tell you what your current condition really means to your health.

What’s your BMI?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week 10 Results

Week 10 results are in. Among the reporters this week, Steve Lee is in the lead!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Setting Goals

As this competition nears its end, it’s important to remember your goal for the end of ECG. I don’t mean a number that you’d like to see on the scale, or even the money that you hope to win. What I mean is, what will be your long-term take away from 12 weeks of my mostly-unread blog posts and weekly nags to send me your weights?

I think goals are key. My short-term goal is to have completed 60 workouts (40-60mins duration each) during ECG VI—today, I will finish workout 46. I really want to be in the best shape that I can. My short-term motivations are physically demanding vacations to Patagonia and Alaska in May and June. My long-term goals are to keep up with the same ECG “tricks” so that if/when ECG VII rolls around, that I’m not back where I started this year, or worse, where I was when I started ECG V.

You only lose weight one pound (heck, one ounce) at a time, so it’s important that these goals are realistic, especially because concentrating on your goals can really help carry you through. What goals are you thinking about when you pass on dessert or are sweating at the gym?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Week 9 Results

Week 9 results are in. Chris Brand still holds the number 1 spot, but past winner Steve Lee has moved up to the number 2 spot!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Upcoming NYC Races

Maybe winning ECG VI isn’t your ultimate goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give the leaders a run for their money. Literally—run for 3 bonus point by completing the April 22 Run for the Parks 4 mile course through Central Park.

http://www.nyrr.org/run-with-us/city-parks-foundation-run-for-the-parks-4m

Or take advantage of a last-minute calorie burning boost before the last weigh in on April 30 by completing this 4 mile race: http://www.nyrr.org/run-with-us/run-as-one-4m

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 8 Results

Week 8 results are in. Only about 4.5 weeks left.…..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


While I was visiting San Diego, I had the incredible opportunity to take my workouts to the waterfront. My first full day there I did a 2 mile run to the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, where I then completed a 2 hour stand up paddling (SUP) session. It was awesome. I could hardly move my right arm the next day. If you’re ever someplace where you can try this sport, do. It’s like old lady surfing, totally peaceful, good workout, just you and the water.

Since then I got in 3 more runs, each about 5 miles and one of which took me to the end of the world—literally. Here’s a shot I took from the end of Crystal Pier after my cool down. I didn’t manage to capture it, but there were dolphins playing in the surf of the great Pacific. I felt so grateful to have been able to do the run and to have that experience in a way that, for me, only San Diego can provide.

Workouts don’t just have to be in gyms and livings rooms. Especially those of you living in warmer climes, please take advantage of the outdoors (and for the love of all that’s good, please wear 100SPF sunscreen!!!!). And now that spring is here, those of us up north can head outside to get our workouts done. Whatever, wherever, please try to make exercise a part of your daily life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Nachos. No, really.

Last year’s ECG I was a machine. I was rarely drinking alcohol, I was monitoring everything I put in my mouth. My “dessert” was 6 M&Ms. I was running distances I would have laughed about had you told me I’d been doing them regularly just a few months before and the weight was dropping off. And all I could think about was nachos. I had decided that after being so strict for so many weeks, the thing I wanted the most when ECG V was over was to unabashedly eat a whole order of nachos. I don’t even have a particular love of nachos, but the thought of consuming them was consuming me.

Dreaming about food was nothing new. Once, when I was watching my intake before my wedding, I dreamt about eating a chocolate ├ęclair the size of a football. I awoke with a mix of guilt (as if I had actually eaten it) and relief (that no such thing exists—yet). It seemed so real!

When ECG V ended, oddly, I never had those nachos. I’d moved on. The biggest splurge I had right after was an entire bagel with cream cheese. It tasted awesome.

This time around, I haven’t really thought of what my first real “cheat” will be, but I don’t think it will be too hard to come up with something…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Week 7 Results

Week 7 results are in. Still lots of non-reporting…..

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"I'll Take the Salad" (or maybe not)


Yesterday, my best friend shared this with me. I almost burst into tears. It had to be that #1 on this list is my meal of choice when we hit Cheesecake Factory. The worst part is that when I order it, usually whoever I'm with will make a comment like, "Oh, you're being so good." Well, I guess not!

Of course, immediately after reading the article I got hungry and headed downstairs for lunch at the company cafeteria. Despite the informative article, I made the mistake of ordering a specialty salad - the buffalo chicken salad. My weight last night and this morning proved to me that the salad I ordered for lunch probably belongs up there with those other salads in the article. I admit that even as I was ordering it, I knew better. The Buffalo chicken salad included - breaded chunks of buffalo chicken, crumbled bleu cheese, bacon, yummy string fried onions, and ranch dressing (which I ordered on the side, but clearly the dressing wasn't the only problem with this salad.)

And now, it's lunch time again. I know they have the same salad downstairs today and after describing its yumminess it's going to be tough not to order it. Pray for me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sodas and the Men Who Love Them (and the men I love who love sodas)

I have very dear friends who are twins and incessant soda drinkers. They love soda like no one else I’ve met. Don’t believe me? One of them actually has a high-level position at Coca-Cola in Atlanta. He, of course, loves Coke, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke and to avoid the risk of sounding like Bubba from Forrest Gump, any other sugary drink produced by Coca-Cola. In a corporate-Cain-and-Abel-like twist, the other twin cannot get enough Pepsi Max…he has it specially imported to Paris where he lives.

I can’t make this stuff up.

As I just read, turns out soda has a particular risk for men. According to research published by Harvard (nod to Chris Bell) scientists in the journal Circulation, drinking just one sugary beverage a day can increase the risk of heart attack risk by 20%.

If I told this to either twin, I’d probably get the silent treatment for a few weeks, so I instead share this with you ECGers. I hope you’re more responsive than they are!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Week 6 (Half Way) Results!

Week 6 results are in. Chris and Kristi are holding onto to the first and second place spots, but past ECG winner Steve Lee seems to be making his power move.

We’re half way there everyone. I’m a little bummed that we’re only getting about 80% reporting each week. Please do your best to weigh in and stay strong in these final 6 and a half weeks!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Manhattan Diet

Watch out Florida-based ECGers. Looks like those of us in NYC have got an edge!

Also, heads up that this Wednesday's weigh in marks the half way point--are you where you wanted to be?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Week 5 Results

Week 5 results are in, though we’ve had a few non-reporters this week.

Congrats to Chris and Kristi who are holding strong to the first and second place spots.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Liquid Diet

This past weekend there was a lot to celebrate—and what better way to foster festivity than with something bubbly. For me, that meant copious amounts of prosecco. (Before you judge, I was not the only ECGer partaking!)

However, for all the sparkling wine I consumed, that was the extent of my “liquid carb” intake. Despite growing up in a household where the only beverage I ever saw my father drink (the occasional apple juice and buttermilk excepted) was Pepsi. Morning. Noon. Night. All day, every day. He was not overweight and generally enjoyed good health. Nurture might have dictated that I would do the same, but thankfully, his adoration of Pepsi didn’t spill over to me. Though I don’t hate sodas, after giving up caffeine on my doctor’s recommendation a decade ago, I hardly ever touch soda, even the non-caffeinated drinks like root beer, Sprite, or even Strawberry Jarritos. I don’t much care for juice either, and don’t even get me started on milk. On the flip side, I am compulsive water drinker, so much so that my husband has unofficially diagnosed me with psychogenic polydipsia.

Anyway, other ECGers have mentioned that it’s sugary drinks that really add up to problems with their weight. But it’s too easy to extol the evils of soda, diet soda, and other sugary drinks. If you live in NYC, those disgusting subway ads showing globules of fat bubbling over the familiar soda bottles might be enough. Or maybe you’ve seen those stomach-turning stories about “Mountain Dew Mouth” [Warning: do not Google this topic if you’re squeamish.] And certainly, there’s not a lot of argument for sodas being “healthy.” Like with all things, it’s about moderation.

Though it’s long, I particularly liked this article from WebMD that takes a look at all the research and presents both sides of the soda is good vs. evil.

And as you know, I’ll never tell anyone to deny themselves anything outright, so I do say, enjoy your soda, but try to keep it within normal limits and remember to hydrate with water—or maybe get yourself a Soda Stream!