Archive for June 2012

Richard Simmons’ Day by Day

In the early 1990s, back when Richard Simmons was regularly on QVC and Deal-a-Meal was THE way to lose weight, he released a series of motivational videos called Day by Day.

Day by Day was a 12 volume set. Each video consisted of 30 to 31 five minute video clips of Richard Simmons giving weight loss tips, sharing success stories, or just being Richard with crazy antics and the occasional crying spell.

(picture blatantly stolen from an eBay auction)

I got volume one off of QVC, but I didn’t sign up for the full set. I was still a kid, and while I was able to talk my mom into buying one of them for me, I couldn’t convince her to get me all 12.

Well, I didn’t lose weight in the early 90s. At all. I did exercise, so I had that going for me, but the weight loss just wasn’t happening. In the late 90s, after the internet came about and eBay appeared on the scene, I was able to buy volumes 2 thru 12, completing my set.

And then, they more or less went into storage for the next fourteen years. I think I did watch through them all once, but… that was about it.

Until now. A few months ago, I got my Garbage Pail Kids out of storage at my parents’ house. While digging through my childhood, I found a box containing these twelve tapes.

It was like opening a time machine. I am currently in the process of transferring them all on to my computer.

I upload one to YouTube, which you can see below.

I don’t see myself uploading all of them (even though I would love to) because I don’t have the copyright to them. These are not available anywhere. But if Richard Simmons gave me permission to upload them, I’d happily upload all 365 of his motivational clips.

I may upload a few, here and there, as they strike me particularly motivating.

There is one thing I’ve discovered, though. These video clips ARE like a time machine; it’s a look back at the fitness and healthy living views of the early 90s. One of the first clips is about the evils of fat. Well, as we now know, fat isn’t evil.

It’s funny; Richard suggests eating “lite” versions of mayo, cheese, and other fatty foods, because it’s better for you. This isn’t something I see him suggesting now.

I don’t blame Richard. Everyone in the 90s believed fat made us fat.

And occasionally, The Biggest Loser still does. During the last season (worst season ever, also), they had a cooking challenge, and some of the contestants from a previous season were the judge. They were VERY harsh to Buddy because he used a TEASPOON of real mayonnaise. He said he wanted the flavor, and he’d rather use a smaller amount of the full-fat version. Oh, these previous contestant judges ripped him a new one. They actually stated that a fat-free mayo would be better.

The fat-free, chemical-filled version is better than the one made out of oil and eggs. Riiiight.

So yes, watch The Biggest Loser for motivation. Do NOT watch it for any kind of healthy living tips. Heck, just watch it for the trainwreck. That, sadly, is all the show is good for. The glory days of Ali Vincent and Tara Costa are long gone. (Oh, and I say the show should try to up their viewership next season by bringing Tara on as a female trainer, if they can’t persuade Jillian to come back.)

Wow. I ended up in a totally different place than I meant to. Oh well.

Richard Simmons’ Day by Day series was incredible. I wish he’d release another version, or heck, even release this version on DVD. I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

He’s made fun of because he is an easy target, but I truly believe that Richard Simmons wants the best from people. And one thing he is good at is motivating.

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Horror Movie Weight Loss Review: The Sixth Sense

Last week, the horror movie was a little unusual and a lot dark. This week, my Horror Movie Weight Loss Review selection is, by most horror fans definitions, not a horror movie at all. It’s a thriller at best. And as a horror purist, I agree with this definition. It’s a thriller, but regardless, it is an excellent movie, and that’s how it find its place here on this list.

The movie for this week is The Sixth Sense. I’m going to mention the twist at the end, so if you are somehow in the dark about this movie AND think you may want to watch it, you should probably stop reading.


Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a talented child psychologist, has just returned home with his wife from an awards dinner where he was presented with a prestigious award. However, their celebration quickly turns, when a patient, Vincent, from Dr. Crowe’s past reveals himself, standing in their bathroom with a gun. After a rant about how Dr. Crowe couldn’t save him, he shoots Dr. Crowe in the stomach and then kills himself.

Months later, Dr. Crowe takes on a new client, a young boy named Cole. Cole is an extreme introvert, and Dr. Crowe sees a lot of Vincent in Cole, and he is determined to not lose Cole in the same way that he lost Vincent. Dr. Crowe also realizes he and his wife are growing distant, so as he tries to help Cole, he also tries to repair his marriage.

Cole’s stresses that resulted in him needed a psychologist are the result of a unique gift that Cole possesses. He has the ability to see dead people. The dead walk the Earth, and most don’t even know they are dead. Worse than just being able to see them, they are actually able to physically harm Cole. Eventually, Dr. Crowe gains Cole’s trust, and Cole shares his secret with him.

Initially unbelieving, Dr. Crowe comes to believe Cole’s story, and he suggests to Cole that perhaps if he attempted to help the dead who came to him instead of just fleeing from them, he might find peace. That night, the ghost of a young girl visits Cole. With Dr. Crowe by his side, Cole journeys by bus to the girl’s house, where her wake is taking place. The girl leads Cole to his bedroom, where he finds a box containing a videotape. Cole gives the box to the girl’s father, who watches the tape during the wake. He finds that before her death, she filmed her mother feeding her poison. With this known, the young girl can be at peace.

Cole begins to make friends and even has enough self-esteem to be in the school play. Realizing that his work with Cole is done, Dr. Crowe says goodbye to him. It is at this point that the audience learns that Dr. Crowe did not survive the shooting by Vincent. Dr. Crowe has been dead. He makes peace with his wife by speaking to her while she was sleeping, realizing that her growing distance with him had been a result of his death and not that they were merely growing apart.

Weight Loss Analogy

Dr. Crowe didn’t know he was dead for the entire movie. For that matter, the viewer didn’t know that he was dead. If you watch the movie knowing that he is dead, you can tell that he doesn’t interact with anyone other than Cole. You see him in scenes with his wife, but she is distant and unspeaking. If you don’t know the story, it appears she is mad at him. Knowing that he is actually dead, it instead appears as a widow who is deeply grieving her lost husband.

He was so focused on helping Cole, he didn’t notice ANYTHING else in his life. Now perhaps this is because he was a ghost and things are just different when you are a ghost, but regardless – he even viewed things differently. Every time he tried to open the basement door, the door was always locked and he presumably had to go find a key to let himself in. When he discovers that he is dead, he sees the truth. His wife has moved an end table in front of the door. That was what blocked him from entering the basement.

How often do we get like this in our weight loss efforts? I know I have certainly become so focused on seeing the numbers on the scale move that I lose sight of EVERYTHING else. I don’t focus on how well I’m eating. I don’t focus on how strong my body is becoming. I don’t focus on the wonderful relationships or various blessings I have in my life.

My takeaway from The Sixth Sense? Don’t become too single-minded on weight loss. It’s just a PART of your life. It isn’t your whole life, and it isn’t who you are.

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Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day Seven & Eight, 10.15.10 & 10.16.10

I used to run several blogs, one of which was called The Window Seat and provided detailed, photo-heavy posts about my travels. Well, I don’t travel much, so I decided to just save those posts here. Periodically for the next little bit, I’ll be sharing posts about my most recent travels. This is my last recap of our wonderful honeymoon to Antigua in 2010, and then I’ll be sharing our trip to San Diego with you!


Breakfast at Bayside, as usual. No pictures, because, as stated previously, breakfast is the same each morning. I am definitely going to miss the passion fruit. At some point, I’m going to see if I can track it down back home. I’m thinking Whole Foods… maybe… if I’m lucky.

We went to the pool, read a bit, swam a bit, and after a drink at the bar at 10:30 (Frozen Mud Slide for Tina, virgin frozen drink for me), we went to Barefoot for lunch. I got the steak fries and chili; Tina got the quesadilla. The quesadilla was good; my lunch was also excellent, if a bit spicy. They definitely like their hot spices in Antigua. No pictures of this meal because I didn’t have my camera on me.

By that point, we had just absorbed too much sun, so we went to the room to cool off and rest for a bit. We also went to Bayside again to catch the tail end of the lunch buffet; nothing new to report there, either.

At 4:00, we went to Eleanor’s for tea. I got a spice tea; Tina got orange. It was served hot, though, and a few sips were all we could take. We then spent a bit of time wading in the ocean, collecting shells and sand to take home. Tina has a plan to make a Christmas ornament that is filled with sand and some tiny shells we’ve found here.

And a flower at the resort…

We also found out there is a $28 per person Antiguan departure tax. Yikes. We weren’t expecting that, and as plastic people (which we are changing as soon as we get home, but for now – we’re plastic people), we don’t have that much cash on us. I didn’t want to carry a lot of cash with us to a foreign country, so we literally brought just enough for tips and such. However, we went to the concierge, in a bit of a panic, and were told we had two options. One, there is an ATM at the airport, or two, we can do a cash advance on our credit card here at the resort that is just a 10% charge. We’re doing that option, because we don’t know how much the ATM will cost. We have $40; we need to borrow $16 more in American. We can only got it in Antiguan money, but they’ll accept that, too. I’m not entirely sure of the exchange rate, but it’ll probably be around $40 EC or so, including the 10% charge for the resort. Roughly $20 in American money, and frankly, we feared a foreign ATM charge might be that much.

We have received our departure packet (which is how we found out about the departure tax). This has been a great vacation, but I’ll admit – I’m ready to get back to a normal routine. I’m ready to tackle this diet head-on and get this weight off! (Plus, I know I’ve gained at LEAST ten to twelve pounds here, if not more. Yikes. Gotta get that off fast.)

We’re going to Barefoot for lobster for dinner tonight, and I think Tina wants to go to Mario’s again for dessert. The lava cake was delicious.


Waiting for Barefoot to open…

The pool at night…

Barefoot at Twilight…

We ended up having the spiny lobster at Barefoot. Unfortunately, they had sprayed for mosquitos before, and that serves to get them stirred up, so we were both bitten horribly while we were waiting for our food (and even while we were dining). The spiny lobster, though, was amazing. I’ve learned that Tina absolutely LOVES lobster. I like it, but I’d just as soon have a good shrimp dish.

The fun bread basket…

The fires going near the restaurant…

We also went to Mario’s after we had digested for a bit. I was craving steak, because the steak here is AWESOME, and Mario’s delivered. Tina got the lasagna, not so much because she was actually hungry but because… well, it was free, and it could be a midnight snack. The steak ended up being so good that I’m wishing I had another one to bring back myself. Oh well – at least I can cook a good steak, too.

The lava cake was dessert for both of us. Oh man, it was so good. I have to find a recipe for lava cake when we get home.

We’re going to the piano bar later. This is probably the last entry I’ll type here, because we’re packing for tomorrow, and I’m about to put my keyboard away.


What follows was written AFTER we returned home. We didn’t make it to the piano bar, and sadly, there was an amazing cultural event near Bayside and I didn’t have my camera! It was basically a live show about the culture of Antigua, complete with a steel band, costumes, dancing, and more. It was amazing. If you come to the Sandals Resort in Antigua, they have this show every Friday at 9:30. You MUST go, and take your camera.

After that, we went back to our room.


No more words actually written in Antigua, even though I do still have a shorter eighth day post (and a few photos) to make, along with one more random photos taken on day seven.

One feature that I thought was very neat was that the lights in the room operated by the key card, so as soon as you got in the room, you put your key card in the light switch and you wouldn’t walk off and leave it or otherwise lose it. There was also a button for “Do Not Disturb” and “Clean Room,” so you didn’t have to put a door hanger on the doorknob. You just had to push a button.

This post was written AFTER we returned home. Sadly, our eighth day in Antigua was a very short one, as we left the resort at 12:30.

We went for the breakfast buffet at Bayside. I still miss Passion Fruit, and I haven’t had one since.

We had to set our bags out in front of the door by 10:30, and the concierge took care of them. It was nice knowing we didn’t have to keep up with our luggage ourselves, especially as we weren’t leaving until after noon.

With our clothes packed, we couldn’t go swimming. What we did do was take our books and go up to the open-air lounge above the swim-up bar at the pool. It was cooler up there with the breeze coming in off the ocean. Beautiful morning.

Closer to time to leave, we decided to grab a bite at the pizzeria, as the flight back to Miami was about three hours long and we wouldn’t get to eat until we landed back in the states.

A few photos sitting at the pizzeria, waiting for our pizzas…

The flower in her hair was from the flowers all over the resort…

After pizza, we headed up to the main lobby to wait for our escort back to the airport…

We were crammed into a resort van with four other couples leaving at 12:30, too, and it was then off on the fifteen minute ride to the airport. Tina had a window seat and snapped pictures the entire time back. I stared at the floor of the van and tried to concentrate on making my dramamine work better.

Tina took this picture because she thought the little bathroom lady looked hippy…

And for our very last picture of the honeymoon, walking across the tarmac to climb the stairs and board our plane back to the states…

That’s it until our next vacation! Thanks for “traveling” with us. 🙂


Next week, I’m going to provide a recap of San Diego! After that, I have some travels to Gatlinburg that I still haven’t shared, and I may try to write a recap of Las Vegas from Christmas 2011. While I didn’t write a daily journal for Vegas, we did take some photos, so I’ll at least share those, along with our thoughts of the various shows we enjoyed!

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An Open Letter to My Bathroom Scale

Dear Scale,

This letter is hard to write.

We have to take a break.

It’s not you; it’s me.

But when I’m with you, I do and believe things about myself that just aren’t good for me.

I logically know that my weight will fluctuate from day to day, but I emotionally can’t always handle that.

Oh, we’ve had our good times. I’ll never forget how happy I was the day you told me, one day after vacation, that I had lost nine pounds from the day before.

I have always appreciated the fact that, the morning after I’ve eaten at a Chinese buffet, you don’t insult me. But then, the next day… kid gloves are off, and sometimes, you show a six pound gain. I didn’t eat 21,000 calories at the buffet! How dare you even imply such a thing?! And seriously? Why are you waiting two whole days?!

Sorry, this wasn’t supposed to be an angry letter. Just a straight-forward one.

I blame myself. I never should have gotten into the habit of weighing daily, but when the numbers are going down, it’s such a great feeling! “I lost 2.2 pounds since yesterday!” But then, the next day, I’ve gained 2.4.

I can no longer allow my self-worth to be dictated by numbers. And for that reason, we have to take a break.

Oh, I’m still going to weigh in at Weight Watchers, once a week. I hope that I’ll eventually lose emotions around those numbers, too. I need to view it as just a tool, and if it goes up, well… so what? I need to measure my weight loss and health in things like pant sizes, how much weight I can bench press, and how I feel. Not some cold, uncaring number.

So you aren’t going to see me for a while. It’ll be the best for both of us. Maybe someday we can get back together, but don’t hold your breath.


P.S. – Since you hurt me all the time, I’m going to be malicious and petty and hurt you. I’m having an affair with your cousin, the kitchen scale. She weighs my food, and she’s awesome and way better than you.

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Geeked Out Weight Loss Review: Hatchet (the book, not the horror movie)

I had planned to do an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, a key show from my youth that aired on Nickelodeon, but I ended up going a different direction at the last minute. I’ll save Clarissa for next week.

Today, I’m doing my first book. I’m doing the novel Hatchet.

Hatchet was written by Gary Paulsen. It describes the story of Brian, a young boy who was going to visit his father in the oil fields of Canada after his parents’ messy divorce. His trip there should have been on a small Cessna 406, but tragedy befalls him on the way there. The pilot dies, and Brian, the only other person on board, can only manage to keep the plane flying until, long after the pilot’s death, he makes a safe crash landing in a lake.

This begin’s Brian’s harrowing adventure, where, in the Canadian wilderness (fortunately during summer), Brian only has his intelligence and a single hatchet to keep him alive.

Weight Loss Connection

First of all, if you haven’t read Hatchet, you should. Immediately. Go to the library and check out a copy. They’ll have one. Every librarian on the planet has read and loved Hatchet. Yes, it’s a kid’s book, but it’s so well-written, you won’t care. Promise.

So, what’s the weight loss connection? This one is easy and direct, but it is oh-so-powerful.

Brian is trapped in the wilderness for weeks upon weeks. He changes in the wilderness. There is actually a passage about how he goes from your typical out-of-shape thirteen year old into a lean, tanned, muscular youth.

But his changes weren’t just physical. He saw everything differently.

While reading the book most recently, it was this passage that struck me as so powerful, both in terms of life and weight loss.

“…he had learned the most important thing, the truly vital knowledge that drives all creatures in the forest – food is all. Food was simply everything. All things in the woods, from insects to fish to bears, were always, always looking for food – it was the great, single driving influence in nature. To eat. All must eat.”

Food IS the most important aspect of weight loss. People who know far more about fitness and nutrition than me swear that having a set of six-pack abs is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise.

Think about it this way – you can go to the gym HARD for an hour, and burn off two slices of pizza.

In the past, I’ve tried to out-exercise bad eating. It can’t be done. You could do a biggest loser eight hour workout and destroy that in a ten minute meal.

I’m not saying to not exercise. Quite the contrary – I enjoy exercise, and if I have to miss it for whatever reason, my day feels “off.” I just know that, at the end of the day, eating healthy, nutrition food, a few treats here and there (or I’ll go freaking nuts), and counting my points/calories is what is going to get me to my goal weight. Not just exercise.

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12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)