Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm like the Energizer Bunny...

As I have written this week, I am in Princeton, NJ at Princeton Theological Seminary for a Youth Ministry Forum. And I have taken the hotel shuttle back and forth to the seminary all week. Today, the weather was gorgeous, so I thought I would walk back to the hotel. It took 5 minutes for the shuttle to get to the seminary, so I figured it was about 2 miles.

After I double-checked my directions with the hotel, I was off. It felt great to walk after sitting most of the day. As I walked, it felt a little further than 2 miles, but I had to keep going. By the time I ended up back at the hotel, I thought, "Wow, that was more than 2 miles" after all, I walked for nearly an hour.

I decided to double check Mapquest and it ended up being 4.4 miles. I couldn't believe it. I was starting to wonder why it would have taken me an hour to walk 2 miles. I felt great and was completely surprised that I did it. I did not give up. I did not even think about giving up. I just kept going. A couple of weeks ago, I would have never just decided to "walk" back to the hotel.

I am full of energy and ready to rumble after only 3 weeks. I can only imagine what I will feel like after 12 weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Did you read your paper today?

I just noticed that I had not posted the results from our weigh in. Please remember, that we are actually a week ahead, but I did not want to publish the results until the paper did. Please remember to go to: for more information.

So, here are the results:

David Drayer: -4.5 lbs.
Richard Feld: -5.0 lbs.
Susan Feidelman: -2.5 lbs.
Jen Green: -3.0 lbs
Tina Hardy: -0.5 lbs.

I am so excited!!!! The Blue team is doing great and is exactly 0.1% ahead of the Red team. Isn't that great? I love getting bragging rights for the week. It just proves that both teams are working hard!

Give me a "B" (I got your "B", I got your "B"!)
Give me a "L" (I got your "L", I got your "L"!)
Give me a "U" (I got your "U", I got your "U"!)
Give me a "E" (I got your "E", I got your "E"!)
What does that spell? BLUE!! Goooooo Blue Team!

(And the crowd goes wild!!!!)

A lost chick

Well, yesterday was the big weigh-in again. Unfortunately, I was not be able to weigh-in due to the forum I am attending at Princeton Theological Seminary. I am praying that the team does an awesome job.

Since I have been away from the team it has been more difficult than I imagined. I have seen the enemy face-to-face: Double chocolate cheesecake. Yummy! At the conference dinner, I chose a nice piece of chicken, green beans, and a salad (hold the dressing and croutons). The desserts were at the end of the table, so I did not have a problem avoiding them. As I sat down with my group, I noticed that everyone had desserts. The woman sitting in front of me had the enemy next to her plate. I ate my dinner slowly and excused myself. I felt silly that I had to "run away" from the enemy, but I guess it was kind of a success story. I felt the need to give in to the enemy, but made the valiant effort to leave instead of consume it.

This experience gave me a goal for this competition besides losing the weight. I want to be able to control myself so I do not have to run away.

As for the physical training, I have done at least 45 minutes of cardio each day and did weight training for another 30 minutes. It is hard to maintain the intensity that you get with the trainers and teammates, but I am doing my best. This morning, I woke up at 4:30 am... for no reason. I had two choices: go back to sleep or go to the gym. I decided to go to the gym. Yay! I walked on the treadmill at 15% incline at 2.0 speed for 25 minutes. I did 30 minutes of weight training and instead of stopping there; I got on the bike and rode for 11 miles (38 minutes). It felt really good to start the morning this way.

I need support now more than ever. I wasn't ready to leave the "nest" and have been tossed out in the wind. I will find my way back on Friday morning, but until then I am a struggling chick looking for her way back home.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I have been keeping something from you...

Secret: I have delayed in letting you know that my knee trouble a couple weeks ago turned out to be either a torn ACL or a partially torn ACL in my right knee. My orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Farrell of Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, says it hard to tell exactly until he goes in. The good news is that it is a not a new injury. I probably tore it several years ago (I used to play basketball and of course working with youth at the church, we play “mad” dodge ball).

Why do I have an orthopedic surgeon you ask? Well, last June at a good friend’s wedding, I tore my ACL and had a lateral tear in my meniscus in my left knee. It required immediate surgery. I had my ACL replaced and my meniscus repaired. I was unable to drive let alone walk for 6 weeks. As a stay-at-home mother, it was awful. Thankfully, my supportive husband and friends stepped up to the plate and tried to keep my children’s life somewhat normal. I had months of Physical Therapy and emerged in early November with a “new” knee that I was weary of fully using. The thing that boggled my mind at that time was that my right knee had always been my “bad” knee not my left. It would “pop” out every now and again, but I would shake it out and be better in a few minutes. As I have aged, this recovery time has greatly increased. When I hurt my knee at the gym with the trainers, it took 2 days for the swelling to go down and for me to comfortably use it again.

Verdict: Well, Dr. Farrell said I could hold off on surgery since it was an old injury and there was no bone bruising.

One of the reasons that I wanted to share this with you was because, as we get older, we are bound to have many ailments. Granted, I am only 31, but I could have decided to give up on this challenge. I could have decided to go ahead with the surgery or better yet, decided not to continue out of FEAR.

I chose to remain in the challenge and to hold off on the surgery for two reasons:

1. I completely trust my doctor and if it was necessary to do now, he would have told me, and
2. Our trainers at Rio Sport & Health are AWESOME!

As soon as I told the trainers about my injury, they did not hesitate to tailor the exercises that would be stress on that knee so I am able to complete them - pain free! At first, I felt like I was letting my team down, but I realized that they were rooted for my success too. They do not want to see me have to drop out of the challenge because of my knee. This is the kind of support that I was looking for when I applied to this challenge. And the BLUE TEAM is delivering it wholeheartedly.

I remembered as I was writing this that Dr. Farrell told me something at my “last” appointment regarding my left knee that has rang true. You see, at this appointment, I asked him was I still supposed to have discomfort in my knee even after the surgery and the PT. He said, “Jen, we got to get this extra weight off of you and then you will notice a difference.”

Now that is enough motivation to give this challenge 100% of my effort!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

He conquers who endures. ~Persius

Last night at our team workout, the trainers reminded us that we should be doing 45-60 minutes of cardio 2 to 4 times a week. In case you did not know, our first competition is the Germantown 5 miler. Yes, that is right. They are taking 10 over weight people and forcing them to run a 5 mile race. Now being realistic, we will not run the entire race, but our goal is to finish with the best time we can manage.

After our workout last night, Kim and Benny took us outside for some "fun". We were expecting something else, but we were asked to run a lap around the lake at Rio. My first thought was "after that workout, I will not be able to move my arms." Surprisingly, I ran the entire lap - never stopping to walk. David came in first. He is a speed demon. I tried to catch up to him, but I decided I would rather finish the whole lap instead of walking it in. As I rounded the corner (where all of the yummy restaurants are), I decided to pick up my pace and sprint it in. I was afraid that Kim or Benny would say, "Okay, give me one more lap," so I did hold back a little. It felt great to push my body past its breaking point - exhaustion.

During our workout, we did a lot of arm exercises. We have been doing the same "type" since the beginning. Here is my pathetic attempt at describing them:

  • We straddled a bench in a squat and did arm pulls that made our arms come to our body in a "W" formation. We were to tighten our shoulders. We did it at 8 lbs, then 12 lbs, and I think the men did it to 16 lbs.

  • We sat on a bench and did arm pulls out to our side - stretching our arms out like we were pretending to be an airplane. We stayed at 8 lbs because this was extremely hard to keep up.

  • We did chest presses while doing rotating leg lunges. I think we stayed around 15 lbs.

  • We took weights are did arm rows to our neck and them arm lifts rotating between each of them. This again was hard to keep up for the minute. I did it at 5 lbs in each arm.

  • We did a lunge and use the stretch band to do rows quickly (as fast as we could) and after 30 seconds switched legs.

Remember, we did each station for a minute and rotated through all 5 stations 3 times. It was hard to transition between some of the stations as it felt like we were using the same muscles. But we ALL pushed through.

The final rotation was core training:

  • Stand at machine in a squat position and pull a weight from shoulder to shoulder with both arms straight out. Rotating directions about 30 seconds.

  • In the push up position and with a half circle tube on the floor under us, we were to "walk" our arms: both on one side of the tube, both on, and both on the other side. This was the HARDEST for me to keep up for the minute.

  • Football jig: Had a stepper under us and we had to straddle it and then step up with both feet, then straddle it again. Repeat.

  • Plank while lifting each leg up. Very difficult.

  • Push up position while lifting each knee to your chest.

I think Kim and Benny felt sorry for us. We only did one rotation of this then we headed outside for our run.

Well, I have a treat for everyone next week. I have a challenge within a challenge: I have a conference at Princenton University, so I will miss our workouts on Monday and Wednesday and also the weigh in on Tuesday. Let's see if I can do this thing on my own for a few days.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming," Dory from Finding Nemo.

The results are in ladies and gentlemen: I lost another 3 pounds!!! Can you believe it? I was super excited to see the results on the scale. I have to admit that I was very nervous to step on that scale. According to the scale at the gym on Monday evening, I had only lost 1.2 pounds (seriously I thought "only 1 pound" - I mean 2 weeks ago, I would have been thrilled by losing a pound in a week). It just proves that you should not weigh yourself daily because it may affect your attitude.

The rest of the team did AWESOME too. Be sure to keep checking out: On a side note: the website and paper are a week behind us (like on TV), so the blog will be a week ahead. I do not want to reveal the whole teams results until it is published, but we are ALL doing AWESOME!

Here are the weight losses that are published for this week:

David Drayer: -5.0 lbs.
Richard Feld: -7.5 lbs.
Susan Feidelman: -6.5 lbs.
Jen Green (me): -4.5 lbs.
Tina Hardy: -5.0 lbs.

Go Blue! We are giving it 100% and the results speak for themselves. BTW: Susan leads the women (on both teams) with the most % of weight loss. Go Susan! And she was worried that she would not lose any weight! I can tell that she is in the lead: her body is looking better and better everyday. It is so awesome to witness first hand!

With these results, we are also tied with the Red Team with a total of 2.5% weight loss for the entire team. I wish we were ahead for the competition part of this challenge, but it is too cool that both teams are doing so well. We like to talk smack with the Red Team, but we are still excited to see them lose weight too. For their results be sure to check out the website list above.

This morning, I did 20 minutes on the bike at 8 which was 4.7 miles and my heart stayed around 160. Next, I walked on the treadmill at 15% incline and the speed was between 1.7 and 2.0 (it varied) for about 25 minutes and my heart rate was about 165. I stretched for the last 15 minutes and felt really energized.

Tonight, we workout with the trainers again. I have no idea what is in store, but I am going to "just keep swimming" and let the results do the talking!

Monday, April 20, 2009

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”

We survived our run around the lake at Rio on Saturday early morning. We ran/walked around it 6 times and if each lap is equivalent to 3/4 of a mile (there is a little debate about this) we did more than we thought we would. David was a maniac and full of energy so he kept the pace and the rest of us did our own pace. It was a gorgeous day, so it felt nice to get out and run.

Tonight, Benny really worked us again. We did tons of stength training exercises. It is getting much easier to complete the workouts. Now, let me just tell you, it is not easy in the sense that I am not getting a workout. I mean it is easy that I can do each station the way it is meant to be done and I can increase the weights each round. It feels so good to be increasing the weights. It means progress.

Rich was back with us tonight. We missed him over the weekend. It wasn't the same without his sense of humor. And other exciting news is that David got a new bike. He rode his new bike to the gym tonight - 2 miles worth - before the workout. Go David! Way to warm up! It was a bad day to start out with all of this rain, but he was a champion and did it anyway!

Tomorrow is the next weigh in. I am a little nervous; but again, I will take anything that is not gaining weight. I have increased my cardio workouts and hope that it makes the difference.

On a side note: People are recognizing me from the article last week. I am surprised but pleased because all their words have been quite supportive. A nice clerk at Target said, "Hey, aren't you a part of that Healthy Challenge?" I blushed and admitted that I was and she said, "I think it is great to put it all out there and have us all root for you." I said, "I hope everyone is rooting for us because we all want to be losers - as far as getting this weight off forever!"

Keep rooting for us and if you see one of us, encourage us - we can use all that we can get!

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Know that it's your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny."

Wednesday was the official Kick-off for the Gazette Healthy Challenge and I felt like a celebrity. From the interview to the well wishes from all in attendance, I was overwhelmed by all of the support.

It was held at the Double Tree Hotel in Bethesda and Diet to Go gracious provided all of the food. It was the first chance that my family and friends got to try the food. (I have never shared my portions at home because this was all of the food that I was allowed to eat.) I heard rave reviews and most people were surprised that it was low calorie.

One of the main purposes of the kick-off was to meet all of our sponsors. I could not believe how many businesses stepped up to sponsor this competition. It was awesome and I felt truly honored. You will hear more about the sponsors as the competition continues.

Since we missed our workout on Wednesday due to the kick-off, Benny and Kim kept us moving tonight. It seems like it is getting easier to keep good form while we are using the weights. It is no joke that the hour goes by so quickly that I find myself wondering why I never did this without the trainers. The camaraderie among the team is awesome and so encouraging. We are growing into a family!

The ladies of the team (Susan, Tina, and I) were briefly discussing with Kim (our trainer) how this 3rd week has been difficult. It is easy to be too busy to sit and enjoy our meals. It is easy for life to catch up to us and to turn to those comfort foods all over again. Kim gave us great advice: If you can make it through this point right now - the point where you are stressed and too busy - without eating those comfort foods, then you will break the cycle. Some people turn to exercise during those stressful times, so find an outlet besides food. (I think I will turn to cleaning. It is Spring afterall - my home could use a good scrub down!)

To make up for missing Wednesday's workout, we are meeting at Rio Sport & Health at 8am to do a cardio workout. So, if you see 4 helpless people (Rich is away this weekend) running around the lake, begging Benny for water and a break, stop and encourage us! We may need it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One step back and 4.5 steps FORWARD

I experienced my first set back at last night's workout. During our side squats on the BOSU ball, my right knee "gave out". I felt an excruciating amount of pain in my knee that sent me to the floor. Thankfully, our trainer, Benny, was right there to assist me. She helped me stretch and relax. She wanted me to get on the bike, but I did not want to let the team down. After about 5 minutes, I decided to rejoin the workout. I was unable to continue the work on the BOSU ball, but the rest of the team looked great. Apparently, Tina is a pro because her balancing abilities looked effortless.

This morning, I awoke to stiffness and pain in my knee. I tried stretching it out, but nothing seemed to make it feel better. I decided to go back to the gym and talked with Eric about the pain I was experiencing. He got me up on the "magic" table to stretch me. Despite the tears of pain at first, he was able to work out most of the discomfort. It was amazing how simply stretching out my calves and quads made my knee feel better. Eric gave me several stretching exercises for homework to help me get back in the game at tomorrow's workout.

As for the 4.5 steps forward, well... that is how much weight I lost. I was hoping for more; but seriously, that is awesome! The team did great too. Be sure to check out: for this week's official results.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting the "Whole" out of Foods!

Today, my children and I went to Whole Foods in Rockville and met with their Marketing Specialist / Community Liaison, Susan Lennon. Whole Foods is one of our sponsors, so Susan took us on a 45 minute tour and explained healthy eating options (like this Greek yogurt) and how eating organic food is better for our bodies. My kids devoured the organic chocolate milk she gave them.

I believe I was most impressed with their fresh fruit and vegetable selection. There seemed to be more variety and everything looked like it just came from the farm. And the prices were even cheaper than some of the other grocery stores. They also had a grab and go section that had fresh vegetables and fruit already sliced for your convenience. No more excuses about not having time to make a healthy meal.

Also, check out this "salad bar". The options are endless. There were so many things to choose from including a seaweed salad, which is my favorite. I think this is a quick way to prepare a healthy lunch or even dinner on the go.

Susan stressed the importance of incorporating more than just wheat, and that it has been proven that we need to use a vairety of grains. Whole Foods has a section where you can buy grains by the pound. Again, the variety was impressive. As we cruised through the aisles with my kids in tow, Susan pointed out healthy alternatives. She even gave me a recipe for a warm black bean salad that I cannot wait to try.

Susan revealed that a common misconception is that Whole Foods is more expensive than other grocery stores and that you cannot get all of your necessities here. I fell into that category; but I am ready to take the Whole Foods challenge - do a weeks worth of grocery shopping and compare prices. I will let you know the result.

To conclude, Susan gave me a "goodie bag" of healthy snacks (and some treats for the kids) and a gift card. I am so thankful to Susan for her awesome tour and to Whole Foods for sponsoring us.

Tonight is our 3rd workout with our trainers and tomorrow is our first weigh-in since the start - EEK! Check back tomorrow to see the results.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting tough to get TRIM!

I wanted to comment on the picture at the top since I have been fielding questions. This was taken shortly after we were selected to participate in the challenge. Our cool photographer said, "Look tough!" So, there you go - our tough, "lets scare the competition" look. LOL! I am almost laughing in the picture, sorry. (BTW: I am the one in the middle) I could have done better!

Last night before we worked out with Benny, I got to the gym early, along with David and Rich. I did about 30 minutes of cardio and then stretched. For the cardio, I put the treadmill on the highest incline (15) and walked fast enough to keep my heart rate up. I believe the speed was 1.7. I was sweating after the first 5 minutes, but walking was not hard. I tried not to hold on to make it more of a workout; but occasionally, I did to "check my heart rate". I managed to keep it around 160.

At 6pm Benny was waiting for us. She is so positive and very motivating. She kept us moving and made us chant: "Yo quiero agua", if we wanted water. It really took my mind off of the pain! I am pleased to report that on my second "plank", I did it for the entire minute without taking a break. It felt good because on Wednesday I barely made it 20 seconds.

The team looked awesome! Everyone tried to keep their smile on even through the end of the workout. I am amazed at how fast the hour goes by. Benny also stretched us out at the end, after our hour workout. It was generous of her to spend more time with us. It just proves that the trainers at Rio Sport & Health are here to help us stay healthy so we can finish the competition and continue working out after the 12 weeks without injury!

I am not as sore as I was on Wednesday (shhh, don't tell her), but I can definitely feel it in my upper body today. We do not work out with our trainers until Monday, so I have to figure out what I am going to do. I got on the scale at the gym last night, and I have lost weight already. I will wait to report the actual weight loss until Tuesday for our official weigh-in at Holy Cross Hospital.

Before I go, I wanted to share some pictures from our first workout. Our lovely reporter, Karen took many pictures and they are posted on: Look to the left under "Newest Galleries" and find "1st 2009 Blue Team Workout." They were just posted, so they are raw (not cropped). Some are more flattering than others; but I keep concentrating on what Benny told me at the orientation: "Be the weight you want to be, not the weight you are!" Now that's powerful!!!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Go for the "Blue"!

To catch you up, the Blue Team for the 2009 Gazette Healthy Challenge was selected (and weighed in) on March 31st. The Blue Team members are:

David Drayer
Richard Feld
Susan Feidelman
Jen Green (me)
Tina Hardy

We began meeting with our trainers (Eric, Kim and Benny) at RIO Sport & Health on Monday, April 6th for orientation. We will be meeting with our trainers for team workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Our meals from the fabulous, Diet to Go began on Tuesday April 7th. In case you did not know, Diet to Go is donating all of our meals for the entire 12 weeks. Now we do not have to think about what we are going to eat - simply heat it up. So far, every meal has been delicious.

The first "butt kicking" workout was on April 8th and boy am I still feeling the pain. Our RIO Sport & Health trainers Benny and Kim were able to cause muscles to ache that I didn't even know existed. They kept us moving the entire time and I was suprised when the hour was over. I could barely walk down the stairs to leave. Ouch! The next morning, I was not as sore as I thought I would be; but as the day progressed, I felt the pain.

Tonight is our 2nd workout and I am a little anxious. I know that Benny will make us work and I pray that I will be able to keep up.

Keep checking back for updates from the team as we Go for the "Blue". Be sure to also keep track of our weigh-ins and other news at: