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Archive for June 28, 2013

Not dead, yet…

I’ve been offline for a week… which feels like forever! Working crazy long hours. And then, to add glorious insult to injury, I lost my voice last Friday and it’s still not fully back. Definitely more excitement than I bargained for..

I hope to return to a regular posting schedule next week. See you then!

Fitness Friday: Walking Fool

exercise-woman

It’s been a good week for walking.  I bought a new pair of shoes on Saturday at Road Runner Sports. They have a service called “Shoe Dog” and I took advantage of it.  My consultant had me asked me a long list of questions about my fitness level, goals and types of activities I do most often.  Then I stood on a special mat which projected a heat map of my feet — and amazingly, you could see exactly where my plantar’s fasciitis was in red and orange detail!

Next, I walked on a treadmill for about a minute and afterwards we reviewed the video to assess my gait and pronation. The prescription was for motion control shoes with orthotics.  I already had the orthotics so I headed over to the shoe department to try on new shoes…. and it didn’t take long before I found the perfect pair!

Saucony ProGrid Stabil C6

Saucony ProGrid Stabil C6; The pink shoelaces came extra…

Now that my feet are happy, I have been focusing on getting as close to 10,000 steps per day as possible. In the past, I’ve tried increasing my steps after work, but find that’s not an effective strategy.  So this week, I’ve added extra time to my morning walks and with the exception of Tuesday (which was an extra early day at work), I managed to get 7000 to 8000 steps done before breakfast, and have made the 10,000 step goal 5 out of 7 days.

I use a groovy music mix when I walk.  Once, a neighbor child asked my why I walked like a robot. Well, that’s a good question.  When I walk, I like to think it looks something like this:

But I probably look more like this:

And that’s just the way it is…

fat woman cartoon

Saturday was a less than stellar day for good food choices.  It was my first day back at Seaport Village and I had to try Ben & Jerry’s newest ice cream flavor, then hubby’s department had a party at a German restaurant that evening… I ended up eating about 1000 extra calories that day.  And on Sunday, I was up 2.3 lbs. And despite staying within calorie limits and increasing my exercise this week, I only lost 1.8 lbs, resulting in a  net gain this week.

Sigh.

Fortunately, the backslide was only one day and I think I’m back on track now. I am trying to make better choices and eat more salads and fresh fruit, but I still hear the siren call of ice cream… and some days, I just can’t tune it out.

Still, it was a positive week.  I find my long morning walks really help give me more energy and mental focus during the day… AND, this morning I saw a slight definition where my abs are!  Things are shifting even if they’re not getting significantly lighter at this moment.

A few of my current faves for summer

June2013_Faves

Summertime and the living is hectic, but I still have to look good!

My criteria for a summer look:

  • Takes less than 10 minutes
  • Includes sun protection
  • Lasts as long as I do — and I work long days outdoors in the wind and sun and flying glitter

So, these are a few of my current favorite things:

Revlon Photoready BB Cream

Photo from revlon.com

Photo from revlon.com

At last!  A drugstore product that makes my skin look luminous and has SPF 30!  While it doesn’t have all the benefits of a true BB cream, it’s good enough for every day wear in the park. I layer it over my real sunscreen.

L’Oreal TruMatch Concealer Crayon

L'Oreal TruMatch Concealer Crayon

photo from L’Oreal.com

It’s an amazingly good match for my coloring, blends beautifully and lasts all day! Love this!

Maybelline's Limited Edition 24 Hour Cream Gel Shadow

Maybelline’s Limited Edition 24 Hour Cream Gel Shadow in Sandy Shores

These have been going like hotcakes in my part of town… I finally nabbed the last pot of Sandy Shores after checking my local Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS…I found it in a CVS in another neighborhood!  And I can see why it’s so popular!  It’s a very flattering pale yellow that flashes mint green.  GORGEOUS!  Plus, it spreads easily and stays put all day.

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner Pen

KP_eyeliner_pen_copy

Yes, I still love this pen! (Check out my original review here.) It’s so easy to use, gives a very fine line and lasts until you take it off.  In black, luscious deep black.

CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara

CoverGirlMascara

Photo from covergirl.com

This is my tried and true mascara.  It doesn’t clump, flake off, smudge, or otherwise misbehave. I’ve tried a lot of mascaras (including very expensive ones) and I always come back to LashBlast… plus, at this price, you can actually afford to replace as often as you should!

Neutrogena Moisture Smooth Color Stick

Photo from neutrogena.com

Photo from neutrogena.com

I like all the lippie crayons I’ve tried — from Revlon to CoverGirl to Nars… but I love Neutrogena’s colors and Fresh Papaya is my favorite.  It doesn’t last longer than a few hours, but it’s foolproof to apply even when you’re not looking in a mirror. Now, if only it had real SPF…

What’s your go-to look for summer?

 

Monday Blog Love: Fifty, not Frumpy

On Mondays I share a blog that makes me happy and I hope it inspires you, too.

I’m not really a very fashionable kind of girl, but I do love reading fashion blogs… it’s a vicarious thrill.  And Susan, from Fifty, not Frumpy does not disappoint.  Her posts are filled with accessible fashion in gorgeous Southern locales.  If you don’t like her outfits (which you will!), you WILL love the lush greenery of the Southland and those wonderful sweeping staircases and tall columned porches… I’m getting almost homesick for springtime in Middle Tennessee just thinking about it…

Susan’s mission is  “to let women know they don’t have to be invisible after 50.”  What an inspiration!  Additionally, she hopes to inspire us to eat more more healthy plant based meals (this is her story why this this important) and to keep going on dates for the rest of our lives (sounds like an awesome plan to me!)

Susan’s joie de vivre is contagious and she has a very easy, gracious style that I admire. I think you will, too.

 

Friday Fitness: Re-evaluation

exercise-woman

It’s mid-year.  Time to check in with my goals to see how I’m doing.

Back in January, I woke up with a start when I found that even my fat pants didn’t fit anymore.  I resolved to:

  1. Walk 5 days per week for at least a half hour
  2. Do 3 days of strength training (specifically with a kettle bell dvd)
  3. Do 2 extra afternoons of walking
  4. Walk a 10k in March
  5. Be able to do 15 push-ups by my birthday in July
  6. Lose 25 lbs by my birthday in July

So, how am I doing? Well, not as well as hoped.

I’m doing great with the walking.  I am now up to between 30 and 50 minutes every morning, 6 days a week. I wasn’t able to walk a 10k in March due to plantar fasciitis, but I was able to walk one in May.  I am not, however, exercising at the end of the day.  I’d like to be motivated to do so, but usually the siren call of the couch gets me.

Strength training has not been a linear progression.  I’ve started, stopped, started again.  I can’t get myself motivated to watch the dvd at all…. so I have started doing a set of upper-body and ab exercises with free weights during commercial breaks 2-3 evenings a week. I can do 6 real push-ups right now.

Will I be able to double that in a month?  Not likely, but I’ll continue working on it.

I had hoped to lose 25 lbs by mid-July. I had a good initial start to the diet/weight loss adventure, then had a major setback and gained back most of what I lost in February, but since March I’ve been on a pretty steady path of 1 – 1.5 lbs per week.  Still, I’ve only lost 15 lbs at this point, I think losing another 10 in 5 weeks is a bit unrealistic.  Revising that goal to 20 lbs lost by birthday. And it’s probably realistic to scale down the goal of losing 50 lbs by Christmas to 45.

NEW GOALS:

  1. Lose 20 lbs by July 21
  2. Lose 45 lbs by Christmas
  3. Increase morning walking time to 45 minutes most mornings
  4. Walk another 10k in August (improving on my time of 2 hours) and start training for a half-marathon in early 2014.
  5. Increase strength training and be able to do 10 real pushups by July 21 and 25 real pushups by Christmas

What do you think?  Do you check back on your New Year’s goals and see how far you’ve come mid-year?

I’m aiming for a gradual and permanent change… and I hope, step by step, that I’m getting there. I’m not as far along as I’d hoped, but I’m a lot further than if I’d kept on dreaming and not actually working.

Here’s to another half year of progress, not perfection…

 

Sun Protection from a Pill?

Most of the time we focus on external sun protection — from chemical to physical sunscreens and sun protective clothing. All tried-and-true ways to protect your skin from excess sunlight.  But what if there were supplements you could take that gave the same protection?

Here’s the hype and hopefully, truth about sun protection in a pill:

Fish Oil

FishOil

Researchers in Manchester, UK have documented the results of a clinical trial of 79 healthy volunteers to see if taking fish oil supplements had any protective effect against sun damage.  The results were very encouraging. They found that taking regular doses of fish oils blocked a sun-induced suppression of immunity and allowed the body to better fight inflammation and infection. The researchers are quick to point out that fish oils do not have the same protective effect as sunscreen lotions and sunblocking clothing and will never replace them, but are a promising tool in the arsenal against skin cancer. The findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February 2013.

Asprin:

An asprin a day may keep the cardiologist away… and now it may keep melanoma away as well.

A recent study published in the journal, Cancer, found that among post-menopausal white women, ages 50 – 79, those who took a daily asprin had a 21% lower risk for melanoma than women who didn’t. And the longer the women took the asprin, the more the risk factor dropped; women who had taken asprin for 5 or more years had only a 30% risk of developing melanoma.

Great news for people who take a daily baby asprin! And something to discuss with your doctor if you don’t.

But is it a substitute for sun cover-ups and sunscreens? No. But every little bit helps.

Fern Extract

Another hot supplement for sun protection is the antioxidant, Polypodium Leucotomos, a type of fern from Central America where it has been used as a folk medicine for a variety of ailments for centuries. There is some research which supports the claims that this plant extract does have sun protective properties. Clinical trials in New Zealand have shown that Polypodium Leucotomos does provide “significant protection of skin against UV radiation.” These studies all appear to be funded by the companies which produce the supplements (most notably, Heliocare) so I have some  questions about the bias of results.  Still, Prevention Magazine, a relatively conservative champion of alternative treatments recommends it and even Oprah thinks it might be a useful (albeit pricey) supplement to add an additional layer of protection in addition to sun lotions and sun-protective clothing.

Bottom line

The consequences of unprotected exposure to UV light can be severe.  Physical barriers and sunscreen in the forms of creams and other topical products have been demonstrated to reduce acute and chronic consequences of UV exposure. The idea of a well-tolerated, safe, oral supplement that protects against UVA and UVB without the need for topical products is an attractive one – but it’s not clear we have the evidence yet.  Oral sunscreens, taking the most optimistic view of the data, may slightly reduce some of the severity of a sunburn…  Polypodium leucotomos offers an SPF of about 3 – insufficient for most people that need sunscreen. Most importantly, these products are still recommended for use in combination with topical sunscreen…it’s not clear if the incremental benefits would be meaningful.

So, there’s no magic pill to protect us from the sun. But research is giving new tools for the arsenal… and as a very pale person who works outdoors in Southern California all summer long, I’m going to continue taking my fish oil and asprin supplements… and consider Polypodium Leucotomos…nothing to lose but some cash, and it might just be that extra factor that keeps me safe from the sun this year…