Weight Watchers vs. Calories

an interesting post, via @LoseIt.

While it’s an interesting explanation of what the pro version of LoseIt offers (which the site itself doesn’t explain as clearly) it’s also a very solid look at the reasons I started to struggle with Weight Watchers despite my initial success with the program.

I had fallen out of love with Weight Watchers, and it was time for me to move on. I still recommend it to people who are new to weight loss, especially people with a lot to lose, but I find that most people end up wanting to move on to something else when they are in maintenance mode.

It wasn’t that I reached maintenance, but I hit what was essentially a 2.5 year plateau. Part of it was my own doing and I think it was good maintenance training, but WW lost that spark for me and I didn’t have the passion I had when I started.

Speaking of starting, March is my WWversary. I’m not at Goal yet (and, to be honest, I still haven’t set my Goal) but I’m in a much better place than I was in March 2009. And that’s what matters. While I don’t think LoseIt is perfect, it’s a good app for me right now. I could easily count in Excel, but I like the ease of the app. So LoseIt, in combination with the competitiveness of DietBet has me on the right track.

Oddly, I still find myself going back to some of the same tenets from WW. Is two packages of Cosi baby carrots really only 40 calories, or via math is it something like 800. But the scale is going down and calories are making it happen.

And despite my recent radio silence, I’m still on track. It was just a very busy period for me, but most importantly, I didn’t use that as an excuse to give up.  I didn’t win the last round of DietBet but I ended the four-week period weighing less than I did when it began, so that’s a Win for me. I joined a higher stakes DietBet this month and am off to a good start with a solid first week.

I walked home yesterday and hope to get back to the gym on Saturday,

Tom Coughlin: Earn the Right to Win

Tom Coughlin signing

Tom Coughlin signing his book at Barnes & Noble

this blog has been mostly travel and weight loss journey with the occasional foray into sports. Today, is one of those forays because I just finished reading the best book I’ve read in a very long time. Tom Coughlin’s Earn the Right to Win.

I don’t tend to put athletes on pedestals because Here, There be Dragons or Tigers or whichever term for danger you prefer. It generally comes to no good end. Celebrities, athletes or otherwise, are just everyday people who live their lives in the spotlight. That’s no reason to look up to them unless they show themselves worthy of such attention. I was never sure whether I put coaches in the same category but since he came to the Giants in 2004, I knew there was something special about Tom Coughlin. This book just reinforced that.

If you’re a fan of the Giants or Jaguars, and or have read his previous book, A Team to Believe In, written following SB 42, some of the material isn’t new, but the story it told and the picture it painted about the man was. The story of the transformation in Coughlin’s relationship with Michael Strahan has been told a number of times, but not in this detail:

“Tom has since been recognized as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, but at the beginning, our relationship was tough: I hated him. Hate is a strong word, but that’s the way I felt. … When I began adding it all up, I realized, You know what? Maybe I haven’t been seeing this guy the right way. Maybe there’s more to this guy than I originally believed… We were a family. And if anybody in our family needed help, the rest of us were right there to provide it, knowing that people would be there for us….When I look back on our relationship now, I tell people proudly that I love the man. I love him, and if I could, I would play for him any day. And together, we would win.”

And if it was only Michael, it might have been written off as a personality conflict, but there was Fred Taylor too:

“In 1998, at the beginning of my fourth season as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, we drafted running back Fred Taylor in the first round…. We did have some conflicts. In fact, after I left Jacksonville I read several articles in which he said that he really believed I was trying to kill him during that year. In the ensuing years Fed and I had spoken a few times. I’d see him on the field when the Giants played his team, and we’d greeted each other politely. But we didn’t have a real conversation until after he retired in 2010, when I ran into Fed and his bother at the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. I was walking through the lobby when I noticed a crowd of people and a little bit of a commotion. As I looked to see what was going on, Fed spotted me.  I stopped to say hello, and we started talking. Finally I got around to asking him about that comment. “I didn’t understand what you were trying to do then,” he said. “I understand it now. I have great respect for you”… We shook hands and they got into the elevator, but as the doors started closing, Fred said suddenly, “Thank you, I love you.” I love you? That was one thing that I wasn’t prepared to hear.”

People genuinely hated Tom Coughlin, and sometimes I wonder how he was able to get through a day. But somehow he turned the page — and I think it was more than the conversation with Charles Wray, the meetings with the NY media, the comments from his family. He decided to change — but I can still see him getting in a fight with a GPS.

It showed in his players too, Manning’s preparation and dedication throughout his rookie year and his career — from fear they were going to make a change and he’d no longer be the starting QB to not wanting to let down Coughlin. And eventually, it almost evolved into Coughlin not wanting to let Manning down:

“When you have hardworking, disciplined people like Eli Manning working for you, why would you ever yell at him, no matter how he has played? He’s ten times harder on himself than I’m ever going to be. “

As much as this book is about preparation and leadership, it’s about the undercurrent of family. Head coaches and GMs always pay lip service to hating to see a player leave the team — but I truly think it hurts Tom Coughlin to lose someone from his family. He has been there, even 11 years later, it’s clear how much his firing in Jacksonville still hurts him. He’s determined not to let that happen again to him — and wants to help his players through it if it has to happen to them. While he maintains that he doesn’t read the sports news, he was clearly aware of the media wanting him gone in 2011. and I can imagine how much it must have hurt him.

The other primary theme throughout the book is pride. Pride in your work, wanting to restore pride to the Giants’ organization, wanting to create the RIT & Jacksonville programs with pride. He practices what he preaches. He wanted the 2011 Giants to “finish” and be “all in”, he certainly wasn’t going to take time off after his hamstring was torn off the bone! He’s a taskmaster, but he won’t ask the players or coaches to do anything he won’t. He wants them to learn the way he learned.

The only thing I really didn’t care for in the book was the flow. It jumped around a lot — and maybe it wasn’t meant to be read cover to cover. Each of the chapters really could be freestanding lessons on one of his themes. And the best thing about this book? It doesn’t matter at all if you’re a Giants fan, a football fan, or you hate sports. The themes in here apply to all walks of life. I said to someone earlier today that I actually thought calling it a sports book was limiting and somewhat cheapening it. It’s much more than that.

And to think, the book was on my radar but I had no intention of moving it to the top of Mt. TBR (or reading it in two sittings!), but then I saw a tweet that Coughlin  was signing at Barnes & Noble and I decided that was a very good use of lunch. Bought two copies which he signed, and I decided I didn’t want to break the spine on my copy so I bought it for my Kindle and read it in two days.

Wow. I’ll be reading this again. And if you haven’t seen Tom Coughlin: A Football Life, find it and watch it. Another amazing look into the man.

Weigh In: March 10 and 300

Weekly Loss: 2.6 lbs
Total Loss: 15.2 lbs
Honestly, I’m losing in the most bizarre places. Not remotely complaining, but it’s weird to lose in my face and legs first. Over all, thrilled with progress since I recommitted and this is the longest (42 days since January 28) that I’ve been focused since I started this journey. I have tracked every morsel I put in my mouth since then and it hasn’t felt like a chore at all. I will finish it this year. I am “All In”, no doubt inspired by this weekend’s reading. Speaking of this weekend …300 visits to the gym in less than three years

300 gym trips? 300, me?!?!?! I joined Boom on March 24, 2010.. so this is 300 trips to the gym in less than three years. WOW.  That’s definitely not the old me. I’m a bit off the pace that I was last year, but it’s still 100 visits in 13 months.  I’ll take it. Recently I’ve ramped back up to long visits, increased cardio. I need to build back in weight training but this is working for me and my health.

Weigh In: March 3

Weekly Loss: 1.5 lbs

Total Loss: 12.6 lbs

And the downward trend continues. Yay.

I’m fibbing slightly. This is yesterday’s number because I fell in a vat of sodium. But I’m glad I WI daily and track obsessively because I know that this morning’s number isn’t real weight. My numbers are slightly out of sync with LoseIt because I started that after I started the first DietBet, but I LOVE DietBet’s weekly reports.  I just spent an unholy amount dumping them into excel and analyzing my habits

Lessons Learned:

  • Stay away from the sodium. OK, that’s not a lesson learned. It’s just something I need to follow because, holy crap, I can’t bend my fingers and I eat way too much salt. I actually think that’s the biggest scale driver as neither the amount of calories eaten or burned changed much while the scale does.
  • Carbs are lower than I thought. I’m not actually trying to low carb it, but my carbs are lower than they were at other points I was tracking on a macro level so that’s good, I think.
  • I need to eat more protein. Again, not a lesson learned but something I need to follow.