Monday, February 27, 2012

Biggest Loser: End of Week 6

And so ends another week of weight loss. I wish I had some pictures to share of meals that have been made but I seem to have forgotten to do that this week.  Instead, I will share some thoughts on the week.

In the past, I have always had trouble when going to restaurants when I am trying to eat healthy. It used to be that if you sat me in a booth and handed me a menu, I would cave and order anything greasy, yummy and a side of fries. Instead, I have found myself examining calories, looking for protein and weighing all possible options before ordering. I've settled on salads and healthy wraps instead of chicken fingers and fries. I'm very proud of myself because this has always been something I struggled with.

I think the reason I've stayed strong this time is because I have an even bigger goal in mind aside from weight loss. Yes, I want to lose weight, but I also want to get my back as healthy as I can. The constant pain seems to work as a good reminder why I am doing this. Oh, and there is that competition in the family...that helps too. 

I've began following Weight Watchers, using their handy point calculator online. We've still been substituting in a lot of gluten-free foods, because they don't leave that heavy feeling after eating like some other foods do. I'm still taking the bee pollen and raspberry ketones and I feel great. I've been able to cut my portions down quite a bit and I'm seeing the results.

Here's where I stand:

Weight Lost this Week: 4.4 pounds
Total Weight Lost: 14.3 pounds
Weight Percentage Lost: 6.98%

I don't know if I am leading the family competition because I haven't gotten my sister's weight for the week yet. I know I am ahead of my mom and that is good enough for now. I'm very proud of my 4.4 pounds and I look forward to another great week! How's your diet going? Feel free to comment below. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

P.P.M.R- Positively Positive Movie Review- This Means War

**Spoiler alert. This time I can't keep myself from putting in a few things you might not want to know...mainly because they annoyed me. I wouldn't read this unless you have already seen this movie or you don't care about a spoiler.**

This Means War is the new romantic comedy/action film starring Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine. The premise is simple: two best friends, who are also spies, fall for the same girl and vie for the girl's heart, all while trying to thwart the other one's attempts and catch an international criminal at the same time. Sounds exciting right? It was! There was plenty of humor, lots of great romantic parts and a nice blend of action!

I have to say, I have never found Tom Hardy attractive until this movie. Now, I understand ladies, now I understand. He plays Tuck, the sweet, good guy with the heart of gold who is simply looking for love to balance his ever-chaotic life with the CIA. He is the guy that says the sweet things and means them. He's the nice guy (and the British accent definitely helps him out). He is also a divorced father who is simply adorable with his son. He will make ladies go "awww." 

Chris Pine plays his best friend, FDR, who is almost the exact opposite of Tuck. He's the ladies man who is always on a different conquest. You know, the kind of conquests that end with the girl waking up alone and him walking with a spring in his step into work. He's the bachelor and the bad boy type.

Reese Witherspoon plays Lauren. Lauren is a workaholic, who keeps running into her happily engaged ex who cheated on her. With the encouragement of her friend, the great Chelsea Handler as Trish, she decides to try dating again. Trish signs her up for an online dating site and this is how she meets Tuck. 

So, after a wonderful meeting with Tuck, where they are both relieved that the other isn't an ax murderer from the internet, Lauren heads off and is convinced that online dating isn't so bad. This is when she meets FDR, who has been waiting nearby just in case Tuck was on a date with a psychopath. FDR is cocky and treats her like yet another conquest. She rejects him but he decides to chase her.

This is where we get the love triangle of the movie. The guys find out that they are dating the same girl but she is unaware that they know each other and, with the encouragement of her wacky friend, decides to date them both to see which one works out.

Here's were I am going to sway from my usual movie review. I am trying to be positive, because that's my thing, so hopefully you can read sarcasm. However, as I said above, I will most likely spoil the ending for you. 

Everyone knows that romantic comedies are full of cliches and plot points that throw characters together. That is fine. We are used to this and we have accepted it. In fact, we just love cliches. The point of a romantic comedy is usually watching the journey of how the characters get together, because you know they will. But here we are dealing with a love triangle. In romantic comedies this usually means that there is a clear front-runner and you know they will end up together. Unless there is a tragic twist, cough "My Best Friend's Wedding" cough, you are left happily knowing the two people who belonged together ended up together.

But let's throw in another romantic comedy cliche and we have a problem. Here it is: the story of the ladies man who is against love until he meets the perfect girl and she melts his heart and makes him realize that love is worth a shot. As a girl, we all love watching the bad boy make his miraculous change that makes us believe that we too can change men so that they will suddenly be great, when a day before they met us, they were scum.

Do you see the problem yet? Let me make it clear. Tuck is the good guy that deserves to win. FDR is the player who suddenly finds himself in love for the first time. Now, who wins? I think you can guess by now. However, I have more.

I knew who would win almost instantly. Although both couples shared excellent moments of love and tenderness, it was apparent to me who would win Lauren's heart. I wasn't happy when I realized this and I hoped I was wrong. Nope, I've written too many plot twists to be wrong about this one. With a few chosen added romantic comedy cliches (yup, there are more), the bad choice becomes an option. I think you can figure the rest out from here. 

So, let's move on to what I loved, because I don't think I have stayed true to the positive mood that I meant to have with this review. Eh, you win some, you lose some. I feel this might be more of a rant than a review but it is what it is. I promise to be a good girl next time.

I loved the humor. I loved the action scenes and how they managed to tie them into the romantic comedy without seeming forced. I loved the acting. I loved Chelsea Handler, but I always do. I loved Tom Hardy, especially his bad-ass moments (won't ruin this, go look for them).This movie had a great cast and it kept my interest the entire time. I definitely will purchase this movie. It was that good. Even though I was disappointed with the ending, I will still buy it. Don't worry, both men end up happy, just not in the way I wanted. 

I may have sounded a bit bitter so my rating may surprise you. Remember, no sugar is good and lots of sugar is bad (in case you forgot the rating system since I have not been as positive as intended).

Movie Rating: 1 spoonful. We needed a little sugar coating.

Biggest Loser: End of Week 5

So ends another week of weight loss. I didn't update last week for one simple reason that I will state quickly, simply because men don't like this topic. To put it simply, mother nature visited and when mother nature visits it makes women weigh heavier. That said, I always weigh about 3-5 pounds more during this week so I decided to bypass the pain of looking at the scale. Ok men, it's safe to read again. ;)

Now, on to happier subjects. Ever since my initial weight loss of 8.8 pounds I have seemed to be in a sort of slump. I have never plateaued so early in a diet but it happened. I am proud to say I am off of that plateau, though I feel next week will be much better than this one. I started taking a Raspberry Ketone supplement, as suggested by Dr. Oz. I also started taking a supplement that is made from bee pollen, green tea and other natural herbs. I don't normally believe in pills for help in weight loss but these are both natural and I needed help off my slump. I am loving the bee pollen pills especially. 

I had been having this problem where I felt hungry all the time. It's been ridiculous because I know I am not hungry, know I shouldn't need to eat, yet I felt hungry and needed to eat. Maybe it was boredom, but it was not possible that I was still hungry because I was eating sufficiently. This is where the bee pollen pills have been helping. I've only been using them for 3 days now but I already feel the difference. Before buying these pills I researched the effects of bee pollen and apparently it is supposed to help curb hunger, increase energy, help with stress and allergies. I'm not sure about all of that yet but it has definitely helped with the hunger part! I'm already cutting portion sizes and not feeling the need to snack constantly.

I've also been finding nice alternatives to the foods I love and crave. I have been craving chips and fries...hmm, salty, greasy goodness. Well, I bought some Special K cracker chips and I love them! They are 110 calories for 27 chips. I don't need 27 chips (I usually do about half a serving) but that makes for a great substitute to my calorie filled fries. I've also been craving chocolate and I love the FiberOne brownies! They are 90 calories and they help get the chocolate monkey off my back. Before someone asks, no, I'm not being paid to endorse these items, I'm simply suggesting them to help my fellow dieters. 


I actually like these as much as chips!

I will admit that I cheated a little this week. I like to call these treats. Though a friend of mine once pointed out that treats are for dogs, I believe they are important. First, if you don't treat yourself occasionally then you will feel restricted and crave those foods more and more until you fall off the wagon. This can also lead to binge eating. So we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and I had my boneless wings, but I didn't have fries. I also got a bar of dark chocolate this week (for reasons obvious to my female readers). Dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate so I guess it was an alright substitute. That's enough treats for a while. Without these treats, I probably would have lost more but this week is a new week and I plan on it being a great week for weight loss!

That said. Here are the numbers:
Weight lost this week: 0.4 pounds
Total weight loss: 9.9 pounds
Percentage of weight lost to date: 4.85%

That 0.4 may not seem like much to most people but to me it says that I am losing again and I will take that happily. I spent a couple hours thinking about how if I had just lost 0.1 more pound I would be at an even 10 pounds but then I realized I was just happy to be losing weight again after my plateau. So, this week will be better! I still can't do a lot of exercising but I am walking more and this will have to do for now. I'm feeling positive and I can't wait to see the results for next week! From what I know, I am still in the lead for the competition. However, my sister has yet to send me her weight for this week so we will see. How is everyone else doing? Please leave comments about success, questions or recipes below! Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Growing Up-Friend Weeding!

This is a subject I've been wanting to talk about for a while but haven't known what direction to go with it until now. Growing up is a part of my life, we all know that and we all accept it...well, most of us anyway. It doesn't mean you suddenly stop being fun or become a person nobody recognizes, it simply means you change, you evolve and you become the person you were destined to be. The subject of growing up is a very broad term so, for this post, I'm going to narrow it down further. This will be about growing up and how it affects your relationships with friends.

In high school, it seemed like your friendships were either rock solid (besties) or you fought every other day. This was just something you accepted since you were a hormonal little piss-ant who was just trying to get by. Then you entered college and things became more real. There really is life after high school; all those after-school specials were telling the truth. This is when you kept the closer friends from high school and made new college friends. It also may be the time that you grew apart, a time you regret later on.

Now you're out of college, or close to it, and things are changing even more. The first few years of college were fun and full of parties and silly adventures. Now you are coming into your own and people are changing and so are you. It's not a bad thing, it's just true. HERE is the point were I am at. I graduated from college in 2009 and took a look at my life and went, "What did I do?!" I had very few friends, somewhat because of some control issues from one friend and also because I pulled away from others. I was also lost in my life. It was time to grow up and figure everything out.

Well, for me, things didn't work quite like that. I was in a car accident, bed-ridden and BAM suddenly I was growing up in a way that I never imagined. I was learning to live with pain, learning that life isn't planned carefully like I want it to be and, very important here, learning how to tell who my real friends are. 

When you're lying in bed, unable to move even enough to hold up a phone, you feel pretty lost. I had friends who stopped trying to talk to me. I had friends who were suddenly shocked that I couldn't listen to their every problem and fix it. I had friends who were angry because I wasn't there to be a therapist and baby-sitter. BUT I also had friends who made sure they got online on facebook to talk to me because I could balance a laptop on my stomach while I laid down. I had friends who texted me daily to make sure I was alright. I also had friends that eventually dragged me out of the house when I was able again. These are my true friends.

Since my accident I have done a lot of "weeding" when it comes to friendships. Having your life put on hold for a while makes you view things differently. I'm sure if you asked anyone who has ever had a life-threatening or life-altering ordeal occur in their live they would say they started to see the world differently. I suddenly had no time for people to use me and no time for people who didn't have time for me. 

Oh, multiple meanings for this picture...

Here's were I get to my point (finally right?) I've been told by people that I've changed, some say for the better and some say for the worst. I know I've changed but this is called growing. I have also guarded my heart for quite a long time. Some people have looked at my friend "weeding" as me being cold-hearted and unforgiving. If they knew the whole story, they would know that really this is me being driven to my final straw by many people who used me, abused me and only called when they needed something. These are people I had forgiven time and again and they never changed. Those aren't friends, they are tumors in the body of life and they must be removed. What people fail to notice is that I am no longer friends with these people but I've also forgiven them and moved on to cleanse my soul as well as my heart. I'm not perfect by any means but I am a good friend and I try to give as much as I take and I don't think it's ridiculous to expect the same in return.

In my time since my accident I've also taken a look at friends that I lost touch with along the way, for one reason or another. People have asked why I'm talking to them again and, frankly, it's none of their business but I'll say why. These people either approached me and apologized or one of us approached the other simply because it'd been a long time. You see, another part of growing up is getting over things. I'll never be friends with some people again because they were weeded out with a strong purpose but some people were young and stupid and deserve another chance. Part of growing up is deciding which friendships are worth fighting for, which are worth mending and which are lost causes.

So, why did I feel the need to right this all down? I know some people close to me who have recently done some friend weeding or need to and I thought it might help to know that they aren't alone. Hold on tightly to the people who treat you right and don't give a second thought to those who never gave you a first thought. I love all of my friends dearly and I can't imagine my life without you!

Yes they are, Calvin, but well worth the search!

Pics thanks to:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Biggest Loser: End of Week 3

It seems impossible that another week has already gone by but it has. I mentioned that I threw my back out last Monday night. Well, I'm still in bed. I'm a bit better but I can't stand or sit for too long. This has NOT helped my weight loss. It hasn't really hurt it either but it did me no favors. Last week, I mentioned that I thought my Wii was broken but I reconfigured it and it seems to be working again. This was after I bought what I shall now refer to as "the devil scale." I weighed on it and, after calling my mom and her repeatedly assuring me that there was no way I could gain 20 pounds in a day, I have decided to take it back to the store. Now, this was a cheaper scale so maybe that had something to do with it. Either way, I'll stick with my Wii as long as it works. This should help reduce my tears for the week. (Looking the scale up now it has really mixed reviews). 

That's the scale that called me fat mommy! Get him!

So weight lost since last weigh-in: 0

You read that right, 0! Now, I am happy I didn't gain weight after spending a week in bed but I am not happy to say that my weight didn't go down. I have been making homemade meals, using gluten-free products, drinking a TON of water and I haven't had candy or soda in 3 weeks. There has to be something wrong right? I am guessing it's my lack of exercise. When you can't move, you can't exercise (DUH!) I'll but cutting down on portions a bit more but I have also decided to do something I normally don't approve of because of some of the dangerous products: I've looked into supplements. Don't worry, I'm not taking harmful, damaging pills. I have ordered Raspberry Ketone pills, which Dr. Oz recently said helps burn fat. I've also looked into Bee Pollen pills (you read that right) which are supposed to help curb hunger and increase energy. They are also supposed to help with stress, anxiety and allergies. I've been doing a lot of reading on them and I hope they help. Once I can move again I will be going on walks and hopefully we kick this weight loss into gear.

Even though I as sidelined for most of the week I did manage to make one meal (otherwise Bill did the cooking). I got this recipe from Pinterest  and did some tweaking. Here's a link to the original blog. While propping myself up on my cane, I decided to make a Pizza Casserole or, as Bill calls it, Pizza Ziti! I changed her recipe to fit our dietary needs which meant gluten-free pasta, extra lean meat and a few other things. We also tried organic Mozzarella cheese for this one and it turned out pretty good and the tomato sauce in this recipe is great for the heart! You'll look at the picture and think it looks bad for you but, if made correctly, it makes a great meal! 


My best friend Kortnee has decided to start her own weight loss adventure and I'm very proud and happy for her. My support system seems to be growing quickly! I even have co-workers dieting now. It's nice to know that there will be someone to go to when all I want to do is scream, "I miss candy!"

Kortnee's goal is to slim down before an awards ceremony in the Summer. Mine is to take weight off my back and look good in a bridesmaids dress (cliche, I know, but true.) I also just want to like looking at pictures of me. Kortnee has even made these cool jars to keep track of weight lost and weight to go. Check them out here. I plan on making some of those for visual inspiration! 

Before I check out for the night I should mention the contest! Mom has lost another pound and I'm so proud of her! I think that puts her at a 3.58% weight loss so far which means she is catching up to me. Sarah has yet to check in today...ahem, that's a hint, my dear sister. Since I didn't gain or lose I am still at a 8.8 pound weight loss. So we will see how this goes and hope for more great results!

So, here's to another week. I hope this one yields better results! Please share recipes or comments in the comment box. And beware of the devil scale! I now fully understand why people say to stick to the same scale! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sparkly Retail Death- Reformatted and Re-released!

So, a few weeks ago I put my short story "Sparky Retail Death" on a free promotion on Amazon as part of my KDP Select agreement that I signed with Amazon. I was happily watching the sales go up and watched my story climb the free charts (making it to number 32 on the short story list) before I got some startling news. Someone had reviewed my story! (This was not the startling part). He'd given me five stars and I was giddy as I began to read...then my heart plummeted. Part of the review said, "There were some typos, but I easily looked the other way as this story was good from start to finish." Typos!? Typos? Where? What? How? I am not one of those people who uploads a story without a second thought. No, I edit my stories, re-edit them and then I send them on to an EDITOR who continues to edit my story.

I understand a few things get lost in the mix. Heck, I have read some of my favorite authors' books and noticed a typo here and there, but how were there enough typos in my story to have it mentioned in a review? I quickly bought a copy of my story and opened it and my heart went straight into the pit of my stomach. The formatting was a disaster! Somewhere between my finished copy and the uploaded finished copy on Amazon there had been a horrible mistake. All the apostrophes had turned into quotes. My story looked like a piece straight out of the nightmares of editing in college. Back in those classes you would always get a piece that made you wonder, "why did this person become a writing major?" Anyone who has had to edit one of these stories knows what I am talking about.

Well, me being me, I started to panic. It didn't matter that this reviewer had ended his review with "Jill B. Zimmerman, please keep writing!" All I saw were the typos (formatting errors). Over 200 copies of my story had already been purchased and the number was rising. I quickly took it off of the free promotion and began trying to find a way to fix my formatting. After about 2 hours of frustration, I gave up and e-mailed Amazon. They were great! It took a while but they told me how to fix the problem and now my story is back up and, as far as I can tell, error free. 

So, long story short, I may not have gotten a new story up yet (soon, I promise) but my other stories are available for purchase once again. Tomorrow I will begin a two day free promotion for "Sparkly Retail Death" and anyone who already purchased the error-filled copy can hopefully re-download it. If not, leave me a comment on here and I will find a way to rectify the situation.

Thank you for your patience and happy reading!
~Jill B Zimmerman~