Saturday, August 25, 2012

TheTracy Anderson Method: One Year On

A year ago today, I started doing the Tracy Anderson Method 30 Day Bootcamp. Two days previously I had been on my hands and knees in tears as I saw my weight starting to creep up, depsite exercising to dvds etc. I decided to go hard core and ordered Tracy Anderson's book.
It changed my life as it made me think that certain things were possible if I put the sweat in. And you know she was right.
I went from being a skeptic to being a believer in about 14 weeks as the fat melted from my body. My shape changed and my cheekbones which had disappeared sometime in my late tweenties/early thirties reappeared. After doing the 30 days, I started on her Metamorphosis programme.  I am currently on Day 289. You only count the workouts and unlike the bootcamp, you do get a rest day once a week.
So what has changed:
I am well within my healthy BMI. So I am not too fat or skinny and am currently in my ideal weight spectrum. I stopped weighing myself in the early part of this year when the scales started determining my mood. This was not good and I find it easier to do it on how my clothes fit.
I went from wearing a UK size 14 (okay I could squeeze in a 14 if I held my breath but I liked to think of myself as a 14. My daughter commented that I should face facts and I was a 16.) to wearing a UK size 8. There are times when I fit into a UK size 6 but I like being an 8. When you get smaller than an 8, it is difficult to easily find clothes. I have no super model pretension and I do like my food. An 8 suits me and my lifestyle. The equivalent US sizes are a 10 (12 if you listen to my daughter) and a 2/4 (depending).  As a side note when I first moved to the UK, the equivalency was UK sizes were one number bigger, now they are 2.
I have been able to maintain this while eating what I want. I have found my eating habits have changed and I now eat far more fresh fruits and vegetables. And something has to be worth eating if it is unhealthy. I also eat very little processed food as I don't particularly care for it. I eat far less cheese and don't drink milk. I do eat more Greek yoghurt. And I really limit my salt intake. I eat far less bread  than I used to. I no longer have the cravings for it. Having a bit of gluten/wholegrain in my diet does help my digestion and I dislike the thought of forbidding anything. It is more about how my body feels and if the food is worth eating. Underpinning everything is the before breakfast exercise.
I recently went through a stage of incredible physical hunger and have decreased my dance cardio to 30 min 6x week. I had been doing 60 min. I also walk the dogs and garden. Decreasing the cardio means that my appetite is now back under control. Some people would have easily lost more weight but at a certain level, I love my food and kept needing to eat.
For a number of levels of TAM I have been using weights once I can do all the reps, however with the last few levels of C1.2, we were supposed to wear the weights all the time and I found it hard. With the start of C1.3 and the ball, there are no weights. I decided to experiment and am keeping off the weights (unless Tracy has them on). The slight bulking I saw in my calves, thighs and abs has gone down and I am really concentrating on hitting the cross vectors. I am also sweating far more.
  I have also started repeating the arms and abs as it is permissable. With the leg lifts, because sequencing is important, you can add extra reps but you don't want to repeat them. This feels like a more complete workout.
The net results is that my body is in better shape than it has ever been. Unrecognisable to what it was last year!  I now have a bottom which is an asset instead of a behind. It no longer flows in my thighs or drops. My arms are fab and my back is great. My c-section overhang remains but I am working on it. (Hence the repeating of the abs), I think it is mostly loose skin. One of the great things is that I now know that truly redesigning your body does take time. It doesn't happen overnight. You can get great results but to get the last bits, you need to realy get in there and work.
Exercise for me has become like brushing my teeth -- something that I just do. It doesn't have to be enjoyable. I just do it. My mood always lifts and one surprising upshot has been that I have not beeen seriously ill for the last year.
My flexibility and strength have all increased. I feel far more empowered to do things. I know I can cope with various challenges that TAM throws up and therefore it is easier to cope, to be proactive rather than reactive or trying to ignore things.
I am very pleased that TAM came into my life and look forward to the next year.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New major Viking tv drama

I just found out that the people behind the Borgias and the Tudors are doing a tv series on the Vikings starring Travis Fimmell.
The drama focuses on Ragnar the Hairy Breeches  who is a semi-legnedary figure from around 850. Ironically, he was orginally based in the approximate area where I am currently writing. And the Viking book that was accepted back in Januaray but still does not have a publication date is set in England in 874 and is about the aftermath of the invasion by his 3 sons. The sons were responsible for the capture of York on All Saints Day in 866 as well as invading Ireland and taking over East Anglia. They apparently did a blood eagle of Aella the man who was responsible for murdering their father. There had been a bloody civil war raging in Northumbria at the time.
The term Hairy Breeches refers for a pair of trousers Ragnar wore and were impervious to weapons and poisons.(extra thick fur, dipped in pitch and then rolled in sand) They were created by his first wife. His first wife is really interesting as she is reupted to have been the daughter of a desposed king and brought up by a simple family. She was supposed to be exceptionally intelligent and a very good strategist. When Ragnar attempted to set her aside, she promised him that she'd show him the truth with the child she carried. That son (who did not go raiding but defended the lands at home) was Sigurd the Snakeeye as one of his eyes had the image of a snake running about his outer iris.
As with anything Norse, there is a ton of adventure, violence and sex so given the company's track record, it will be a good match.
It is good that Vikings are back and cool once more.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kate Hardy's 50 book celebrations

My very dear friend, Kate Hardy has just published her 50th book with Harlequin. Her first was published in 2002 so that is incredible.
I have burnt dinner because of her books and every time a new book comes out, it does go to the top of the TBR pile.
Anyway, to celebrate this wonderful achievement, she has invited a number of her friends to do blogs. My blog is up today and if you leave a comment there, I am giving away a signed copy of His Unsuitable Viscountess.
Friend are very precious and friends who are writers even more so. I bless the day Kate Hardy came into my life.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mills and Boon celebrates Team GB Olympic success

 One thing I have been very aware over the past two weeks is how big the Olympics have loomed  at the Mills & Boon office. There have been various pictures appearing on Pinterest of various editors cheering on the Olympics (they are being shown live) and an improvised medal tally on one of the pillars.
So when Mills and Boon announced an up to 70% off sale on 100 titles of print and ebooks combined to celebrate the success I wasn't surprised. The offer is only good for 24 hours and only good at, rather than on their mobile site apparently. But it is a chance to pickup some bargains of books people might have missed. The Viking Captive Princess is in the sale with a price of £1.49. I think it is for the ebook only as I believe the print edition was remaindered some time ago.
But there are some good bargains to be had. The UK print version of Donna Alward's rita nominated book --How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart is available for £1.49. And Kate Walker's The Devil and Miss Jones can be had for £0.99  You can see the full list here.
But the offer ends at 12 noon on 13 August 2012.

I am looking forward to the closing ceremony. I have spent FAR too long watching the Olympics and so have been making sure my words are done before I start having anything to do with the Olympics. My deadlines looms (and I want to be free and clear to enjoy my holiday at the end of September!)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Scandali e Matrimoni Giveaway

To Marry A Matchmaker is out in Italian this month. And for once I have my authors copies in a timely fashion. So I am doing a giveaway on Goodreads for a signed copy. It is open to people living in Italy, the US, Australia, Canada and the UK. I figure that there are Italian communities in those countries and someone might like to read it in Italian.

Inghilterra, 1848 - Lady Henrietta Thorndike nasconde la propria solitudine divertendosi a recitare la parte di Cupido, e benché spesso le sue vittime l'accusino di interferire nella loro vita, lei preferisce vedere la propria attività come un modo per aiutare il prossimo. Robert Montemorcy, tuttavia, sa che questo deve finire. La sua giovane protetta, Sophie, è infatti appena sfuggita a una situazione compromettente e l'ultima cosa di cui ha bisogno è di essere coinvolta nei complotti matrimoniali dell'intraprendente gentildonna. Così, per arginare l'esuberanza di Lady Henrietta, le propone una scommessa. Senza immaginare che così facendo rischia di perdere anche il cuore.

You see more about the book here on the Eharmony website. It is also available as an ebook in Italian wherever ebooks are sold.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Scandali e Matrimoni by Michelle Styles

Scandali e Matrimoni

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends August 24, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Cover for Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match

This morning's inbox brought the cover for Hattie.
Once again, the dress is not exactly Regency but I love the colour! (NB I have given up hoping for an absolutely accurate dress and now go on -- would I like to wear that dress. Answer yes.)
it releases in November.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Article at SBTB or the research behind His Unsuitable Viscountess

I have long been a fan of Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Several weeks ago I contacted Sarah Wendell about His Unsutiable Viscountess and explained about some of the research I had done. Sarah asked me to write an article for SBTB and I was happy to do so.
You can read the result here.
I really do hope more people are inspired to do more research on this unresearched area and also to write Regency novels which feature as businesswomen as heroines. They did exist! And sometimes it feels like they are air brushed from history.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Release Day for His Unsuitable Viscountess

His Unsuitable Viscountess is available as an e-book wherever e-books are sold in the North America and the UK. (I  am not sure what it means for the rest of the world -- if you are reading the book in English)
One I have noticed is that the ebook market is growing and that more and more people download their books, particularly romance. I know I do. There remain some books that I buy as print but often with romance I want that immediate hit. (It also means that I don't get comments from my sons or husband). It is funny how men can be intimdated by a woman reading a book for escapism. I certainly never remark on my eldest's penchant for reading guys with gear who go books. My daughter who received a kindle for Christmas also said that she downloads most of her romance. She also said that she is starting to realise that there is a difference between a cheap book and a good one. Simply being free or inexpensive is no guarantor of quality. She tends to use the sample function much more. I will admit to doing the same. It has saved me time. For example I recently read 50 Shades of Grey to see what the fuss was about. (Little Red Riding Hood trope with magic hooha, and a very Harold Robbins/Taylor Caldwell/1970's approach to sensual scenes -- good point one man/one woman. NB I read a lot of that genre in my early teens as I used to borrow the books from my brother who got them off a friend.) I downloaded the samples for the next two and decided that I had read enough. The time scale was far too short and the hero turned me off. I didn't like the emotional games he was playing. And you know that is fine and my opinion. Other people have obviously really enjoyed the remainder of the trilogy.
The one thing that struck me was that like Twilight (yes I know 50 shades started as fan fiction), and The Da Vinci Code, it was a very easy read.When you want escapist ficiton, you want an easy way in. You want it to hold your attention. It is about engaging the reader and making them want to read on. EL James has obviously engaged a lot of readers and this is good. Many of them may not have recently read a book but picked this one up because of the furore surrounding it. (One wonders if the New York media types who started it ever read Erica Jong or Harold Robbins) It is about time people realised that you can get  a wonderful experience from reading that you can't necessarily get from other forms of media and if it gets people into reading so much the better.

I am at Hot Pink Typewriter with a giveaway of a signed copy of HUV to one commentator.