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Archive for weight management

Friday Fitness… Starting Over… Again

exercise-womanI didn’t exercise when I was in Nashville.  No sidewalks were a hindrance to walking… and freezing weather was another. And the third factor was the numbness of grief.  I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

Except I was able to eat.  My portion sizes ballooned.  I indulged in pie therapy, ice cream therapy, Indian food therapy, and prescription chocolate covered almonds.  I felt despair and I ate.

So it should not have been a surprise when I went to the Doctor’s for a sinus infection and discovered that my BMI was up to 31.  That’s not a very healthy number.  Puts me at risk for all kinds of bad things… heart disease, strokes, diabetes….

Time to get serious.  Really serious.

So my doctor recommended a weight management program through our HMO and gave me a prescription for Contrave.

Contrave, a prescription weight management aid

Contrave, a prescription weight management aid

I was intrigued by Contrave because it is a combination of bupropion (aka Wellbutrin), an anti-depression drug and naltrexone, an anti-addiction drug.  Together they are supposed to work in the brain to reduce cravings and mindless munching.

In addition to taking the medication, I had to register for a support program on their website.  They are going to send me a bluetooth scale.  This scale will sync with a website so the support team will know exactly how much I weigh and how much I am losing… or not losing….  there will be motivational emails and diet suggestions based on that information.

Big Brother is monitoring my weight loss progress.  Well, it’s less personal than my husband’s help… so I’ll take it.

The HMO weight management program goes on an 8-week cycle and since I need to take a few weeks off in April and the first one was filled, I will start in mid-May.  It is an educational program with weekly classes and weigh-ins.  And after completion, they will check up on you at regular intervals for a year.

This will be the year I reclaim my healthy weight… and keep it.



Friday Fitness: Inching along

exercise-womanIt has been a quiet week here in Lemon Grove.  Hubby returned from his business trip on Sunday evening and I *thought* I was staying on track with my diet…. but… according to the scale, apparently, not so much.  When I weighed in yesterday, I had actually gained a lb from last week… but today’s weight is 1.5 lbs lighter.  Which makes the overall loss since starting the DietBet 5.1 lbs.

I have 10 days to lose 2 lbs for the final weigh-in.

I am pretty sure I can lose the 2 lbs by October 7th as long as I keep from drinking iced tea and lemonade — the slip-up I made when hubby returned was to drink sweetened drinks at meals again instead of water, and at 100 calories per glass, that adds up fast!

Exercise for the week has been steady: 2.5 miles each morning. My foot is feeling pretty good with Heel That Pain insoles and a slower pace. (I should get my custom orthotics in 2 weeks)  I follow my walks with 20-30 minutes on the exercise bike and am now adding in a second session on the exercise bike in the early evening as I wait for the Hubby to return home from work — which is usually an hour later than my stomach is ready for dinner.  This has stopped my 6pm snack habit and hopefully will become a healthier habit.

In 11 days we travel to the in-laws’ house in New York for the sister-in-law’s wedding and week of feasting. I just hope that I can keep from gaining back all the weight I’ve lost in September. And the plan is to do more walking than we usually do at Christmas because the weather will be much nicer and more conducive to walking than it is in December.

In the meantime, I must keep my eyes on my prize: 2 lbs to lose by October 7… so I can get my $30 back from Diet Bet.


Fitness Friday… bits and bobs…


It’s been an up and down week fitness-wise.

The downs: back to back grad nights Friday and Saturday…

If you are not aware of this modern custom of torture, here is a quick overview.  After a day of graduation celebrations, many high schools offer Grad Nights for their graduates.  These all-nighters usually start around midnight and end around 6:00am and include junk food, caffeinated drinks, music, dancing, and “entertainment”.

As a henna artist, I am an “entertainer” and even though grad nights are not my favorite events (for lots of reasons), I do them because they are big parties with guaranteed 3-4 hours of pay.

However, I do “pay” for them later…

In order to stay up all night, I drink Red Bull, Mountain Dew and Expresso drinks heavy on the expresso, chocolate and whipped cream.  I eat a ton of candy. And if the caring parent chaperones bring me bowls of ice cream, I accept gratefully.  And then when I get home at 7:00am, I crash and burn. No exercise (or movement of any sort) is done the next day… unless I have to get up to do another grad night… which I did last Friday and Saturday…. and then on Sunday, we decided to go for a big BBQ dinner at the newly re-opened Jones Brothers Mississippi BBQ down the street… it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Needless to say, I did not weigh myself this week.

The ups: I managed to get in at least 10,000 steps most days (except Saturday and Sunday). My walking partner (next door neighbor) and I meet most mornings for 3 miles of amiable chatting and gossip… it doesn’t feel like exercise at all! But those steps add up fast!

And I’ve started back up with my personal trainer at 180 Fitness. Preza Ford is a gentle man who manages to get me to do things I would never do on my own.

Fit Pods... instruments of balance and torture!

Fit Pods… instruments of balance and torture!

Look at those spiky little half-domes.  Would you step on those?  Well, at Preza’s invitation, I not only stepped on them, I did 3 sets of squats on them… and lunges, and then I did kettlebell swings… basic exercises that become a zillion times more challenging when you are trying not to lose your balance while standing on spiky half-domes.  And the next day, my abs hurt just as much as my quads… so I hightailed my way to Amazon and bought a pair…

I have yet to do 3 sets of squats on these puppies at home, but I did try doing dishes while balancing — and it made a basic chore into a full-body work-out.

The daily walks were easy to fit back into my schedule, but getting myself to do strength training at home is another story.  I was aiming for today… but then my car’s radiator blew out and I spent my spare time at the dealer and at the rental car place… fortunately, everything was covered under the warranty and the dealer even paid for my rental car so I could get to today’s gig.

Next free spot on the schedule: Sunday.  I plan to report to you next Friday how I did a full strength training session in addition to my daily 3 miles.

Harriette Thompson! My new heroine!  She finished the San Diego Rock-N-Roll Marathon last Sunday morning (the reason I had to find an alternate route home from one of my grad nights — roads were closed from 4:00am until 2:00pm). Now, just finishing is a big accomplishment in itself, but Harriette is a 91 year-old cancer survivor, who had her last treatment just weeks before the marathon. She finished in just over 7 hours!

And she didn’t start long-distance walking until she was 76!

What an inspiration!

I don’t have any week-ends I can spare for real races in the near future.  It is my lot to work most week-ends… but I can do virtual races to give me that kick of motivation to push myself.

So I registered for the Full Medal Runs Birthday Month Marathon.  The rules are simple: complete 26.2 miles by the end of your birthday month… how it gets done is up to me: 1 mile a day for 26 days, 8 5k events, 4 10k events, 2 half marathons or the full monty in one day…. The fee benefits the “Make a Wish” Foundation (which after reading the Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I now feel compelled to help fund…)

birthdaymarathonMy birthday month is July… so there are a few weeks to figure out how to do this… right now I am thinking of 4 10ks or 2 10ks and a half marathon…. the only difficulty with virtual races is that the race volunteers with the cups of gatorade are also virtual… so there are a few logistical challenges to doing a half marathon on my own that will have to be figured out before I commit to that path…

More to come…

Trying out the Vitamin Shop Next Step

Among the goodies for review in the VoxBox I received from Influenster, was a Next Step Jaxx shaker and 3 shake mixes.

The Vitamin Shop Jaxx Shaker bottle and 3 Next Step Fit N' Full Shake mixes.

The Vitamin Shop Jaxx Shaker bottle and 3 Next Step Fit N’ Full Shake mixes.


The shakes are 140 calories and supposed to replace a meal.  The package touts that two of the key ingredients in the shake are fiber and Tonalin CLA, a dietary supplement that is supposed to reduce body fat.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size  1 PACKET
Servings Per Container   1
Amount Per
% Daily
Calories From Fat
Total Fat
5 Gm
Saturated Fat
1 Gm
0 Gm
35 Mg
260 Mg
260 Mg
Total Carbohydrate
13 Gm
Dietary Fiber
6 Gm
Soluble Fiber
5 Gm
Insoluble Fiber
1 Gm
1 Gm
Other Carbohydrate
5 Gm
14 Gm
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic Acid

* Daily value not established

Other Ingredients:
Protein blend (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, sodium caseinate), cocoa powder, gum arabic, sunflower oil, inulin (from chicory), maltodextrin, non fat milk, natural & artificial flavors, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin mineral blend (sodium chloride, potassium citrate, calcium carbonate, sodium citrate, magnesium oxide,ascorbic acid, ferrous fumarate, sodium selenate, biotin, vitamin a palmitate, zinc oxide, coppe gluconate, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, pyridoxine hcl, riboflavin, thiaminehcl, sodium molybdate, cyanocobalamin, chromium chloride), xantham gum, cellulose fiber, stevia extract.

I tried all three of the shakes in my kit: Swiss Chocolate, French Vanilla and Fresh Berries. I mixed with cold water as directed.  The Jaxx shaker worked like a charm!  There were no lumpies in my shake. And I love the giant jack that does the magic — I will use the Jaxx shaker again and again!
The shakes were delicious and I am sure that if I had been able to stick to a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and then a sensible dinner, I would lose weight.  However, I am a hungry girl and 140 calories (no matter how yummy) just did not do it for me… I was STARVING within 2 hours… and that bag of tortilla chips beckoned like never before… all the good effects of the extra fiber and tonalin CLA were nullified in just a few salty moments…
Perhaps these would be a good to use as a snack… they definitely did not work as meal replacements for me.

2013: Beauty Resolutions… how did I do?

Every January brings new hope and the will to turn over a new leaf and make changes… often the steam in the engine of change disippates after a few months and the resolutions are completely forgotten by September….

These were my resolutions from January 2013…let’s see how I did…

My vision board for 2013

My vision board for 2013

#1: Accept the things I cannot realistically change (I am not getting surgery to tighten the flabby bits), take responsibility for the things I can change (I will use magnifying mirrors so I can see those chin hairs so I can pluck them), and just accept myself the way I am.
2013 was definitely a year of acceptance as my skin developed sensitivities and I had to learn that what worked in the past does not necessarily work now…. my new beauty mantra is “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize…”

#2: Take better care of my hands.  Give them some of the TLC I routinely give my face.  Moisturize them after washing. Wear gloves 100% of the time when doing dishes. Be diligent about daily sunscreen use.
I admit, I forgot about this resolution.  I did try to wear gloves most of the time while doing dishes and I always included them in my morning sunscreen slathering… but I wasn’t very good about moisturizing or reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.

#3: Learn how to shape my brows and then maintain them.
Well, this didn’t happen.  But I DID discover eyebrow gels (my current fave is Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumizing Micro Fiber Gel) and that has gone a long ways to making my brows look neat and tidy most days.

#4: Use my skincare products for a reasonable length of time (at least a month) before trying something new.  Part of my addiction is to accumulate new products and want to try them all yesterday.  This year I will slow down and actually give things a chance to work…or not…and then blog about it.
I actually was able to follow this resolution until December when skincare kits went on sale… so now I have all the skincare I’ll need for several months!  You’ll read all about them in future posts!

#5: Get healthier by losing 25lbs and walking at least a half hour 5 days per week.  I would like to walk a 10k by the end of the year. I am also going to create a simple weight routine to build and maintain muscle tone.
Partially successful on this one.  I did lose 25lbs (and am now hovering around 165lbs). I walked 4 10ks this year.  Woo hoo!  I fell short with the strength routine… I had some good ones, but had difficulty following through. 2 out of 3 fitness goals accomplished.

#6 Eat more salads.
This is another resolution that went by the wayside after a few months.  It wasn’t all my fault… I think I was a little too gung-ho in the beginning… and then Mr. Junkie decided he didn’t want to eat more salads… and I got tired of making them just for me… and I eventually just stopped making them.

So, some successes.  Some not so successful attempts.  All in all, it was a pretty good year even if I didn’t follow my resolutions to the letter.  And good enough is truly good enough.

How did you do with your resolutions this year?

Friday Fitness: New Insoles!

I wear custom orthotics in my walking shoes — and superfeet in my regular shoes, and wear Orthaheel sandals (which have built-in support for plantar’s fasciitis which I have.)

So, I was very thrilled to be chosen by Influenster ( @InfluensterVox )  to test-drive Dr. Scholl’s new Active Series Insoles. #ActiveSeries


Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles

Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles -- the back of the box

Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles — the back of the box


Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles — the actual insoles, front and back.

What the company says these insoles do:

  • Reduces shock by 40%
  • Designed with Triple Zone Protection for your ball of foot, arch, and heel
  • Helps relieve and prevent pain from shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis
  • Helps reduce foot odor with SweatMax™ technology

I tried these out on a fast 4-mile walk this morning and I can report that they were very comfortable — in fact, they are much more comfortable than my current orthotics!  And yet, despite feeling cushiony, they also gave great support so my feet were happy during the walk and afterwards.  I did not feel any plantar fasciitis pain (which I usually do with non-custom orthotics).  Afterwards, I gave the shoes a good whiff, and was pleasantly surprised — no horrible sweaty foot smell. Granted, this is the first day of cool weather and I didn’t sweat as much as usual, but my feet ALWAYS sweat…

What I say they do:

  • feel super-comfortable — way more comfortable than my custom orthotics
  • did not cause pain; the foot with plantar’s fasciitis did not complain after a 4-mile fast walk
  • no nasty smell

5starsThis product gets 5 stars for being affordable, easily available — and making my feet happy!


Friday Fitness: My First Giveaway!

Woo hoo!

In my quest to increase my protein consumption, I ordered a jar of powdered peanutbutter from Amazon and somewhere along the line, the package opened and an empty envelope arrived at my house.


So I emailed the company and they sent me 2 jars of powdered peantbutter which arrived yesterday!

So now I have an extra jar that I can share with you!

This is a really nice addition to my protein shakes — I only get 15 minutes for lunch at the day job and need something that will not only fill me up, but also give me energy to finish out the day.  PB2 has great peanut flavor without all the fat.  I’m thinking of using it the next time I make a Pad Thai dish or even adding a bit to my Mexican Mole sauce…

And now, a lucky reader will be able to get a free jar, too!  Just follow the rafflecopter directions and at the end of the month, I’ll pick a winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Fitness: The most important meal of the day?


After months of skipping breakfast, I am back to eating the morning meal…at least for now.

We grow up hearing that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” from our parents, doctor’s, cereal companies and the Egg Bureau…

Many medical experts agree with the breakfast rule, citing studies that suggest that breakfast eaters perform better on tests, have fewer spikes in blood sugar, and lose weight faster.

However, another group of medical exerts claim breakfast is over-rated, and that especially the high-fat donuts and coffee fare of many Americans is worse than going hungry for a few hours. In fact, they contend that skipping breakfast (even just a couple days a week) revs up the metabolism, signals to the body that it must use precious resources (aka fat) to rally the troops and hunt that antelope whereas regular meals lull the body into a lazy metabolism because it can expect food at any given time.

I tried skipping breakfast.  I tried modifed fasting 2 days per week.  Skipping breakfast was definitely easier… AND I didn’t have any headaches or loss of concentration or weakness.  In fact, I had no trouble exercising an hour each morning, then having a cup of coffee while my husband ate his breakfast, then heading off to work where I broke my fast at noon.  It was an easy way to cut about 300 calories out of the day.

fat woman cartoon

But a conversation with Natalie Gibbins, my trainer at the Private Gym convinced me to give breakfast another try… this time, however, aiming for about 20 grams of protein at this meal. Protein not only gives you energy, it also requires more energy than other food groups to digest — so you get a double effect with increased protein. (But as with all things, it IS possible to OVERDO protein which can cause serious health problems… so moderation remains key).

What I’ve done this week for breakfast:

  • 1 piece of whole-grain and nut bread with Nuttzo (a nut blend) butter and coffee
  • Pan-fried egg with green chiles and a sprinkle of cheese on a low-carb tortilla
  • Protein shake

What I’ve noticed:

  • no mid-morning munchies (which I get when I’m bored)
  • I lost 2 lbs this week

For the long-term I will probably try to stick with a high-protein breakfast that is under 300 calories most days.  However, during holidays when food is plentiful and pushed…. I will probably go back to skipping breakfast to keep the daily calorie counts more reasonable.

And I’ll report back as I have more data.

Friday Fitness: No woman is an island


I admit that I am on a plateau and I need help getting off.  My best efforts aren’t working and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the motivation to ignore chocolate cake…

So, I signed up for sessions with a personal trainer at The Private Gym, located in lovely Ocean Beach (about 25 minutes from Lemon Grove, and 10 minutes from downtown San Diego).  I met with the effervescent Natalie Gibbons this afternoon for a one-hour assessment and butt-kicking (and abs, and arms…).  Her passion is to create personalized plans which not only target her client’s weak areas, but also work towards a bigger goal.

My bigger goal is to walk a half marathon, so she put together yoga, kettlebell and resistance band exercises that I can do both at the gym and at home. The routine started off with the Dolphin, a yoga pose, and then progressed through modified push-ups, planks with kickbacks, a tortuous Russian twist on a balance ball, some one-legged exercises with weights to challenge my balance as well as develop strength and resistance band lat pulldowns (which I will do at home by looping the band over my laundry hooks on the bathroom door.

I was able to do at least 5 reps of each exercise…. I have a long ways to go.  And although, my muscles are complaining now (and will probably complain more tomorrow morning), I know this is what I need to do to push beyond where I am now.

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer?


Fitness Friday: Walking Fool


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.


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.