Thursday, May 6, 2010

Marinate On This....

From LaWanda Brokenborough of Aerobics Delivered....

(Healthy) Food for Thought:

Does your family have a "history" of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes,etc?

Or does your family have a "history" of bad choices-( pork, fried foods, sugar, red meat,and a sedintary lifestyle)?

If you all sit at the same table and eat the same foods, it will usually yield the same results!

Marinate on that!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Black Women "DO" Workout!

I stumbled upon this facebook page a few days ago. I'm diggin' it!

Its a celebration of the sisterhood working towards being healthy!

I especially love the pictures of the transformations from overweight/inactiveness to fitness.

I ordered my t-shirt today! Can't wait to wear it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eating Healthy in the Airport

I travel with my job...anywhere to 5 to 12 trips a year. I enjoy traveling...seeing new and familiar places. I have an any club membership with 24 Hour Fitness so I can work out facilities all over the nation. I also love Zumba-ing when I travel too. I look up new instructors to try out.

Once at my destination, I am usually able to eat pretty well (though that can be tricky at times). But, one of the hardest thing with traveling is finding good selections at the Indy airport. So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I stumbled upon this:

An organic and healthy food eatery. I was pretty happy with the selections there....
(If you look closely to the left, you'll see the sign stating "eat right")

AND THEN....I noticed this....

Why is all this junk in the organic and healthy restaurant? :)

Anywhoo...I hope to see more places like this in airports (and out)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Trolley Run

Yesterday, I participated in the 22nd Annual Trolley Run. It's a run benefitting seeing impaired children. It's also the nation's largest timed four-mile run is 'known for its fast, flat to downhill course'. 7,630 people participated. It was chilly outside and overcast - perfect for running.

It's a beautiful run...winding through a lovely section of town....Waldo, Brookside, ending on the Plaza. At times you run through neighborhoods and the residents were wonderful coming out to cheer us on - some still in their bathrobes, coffee cups in hand. Other residents turned up their stereos so we had music to run too. A band was out playing around mile 2 and 1/2. But, my favorite was the ladies at mile 3. They were hilarious and definitely helped me going.

I ran/walked it. My official time is 49 minutes. 12:15 average per mile.

I'm out of shape (as far as running is concerned) due to sitting out a few weeks due to the knee pain/waiting on the medical diagnosis. Although we are working on building back to running in physical therapy, I am not doing more than 10 minutes at a time.

I'm convinced I would have been faster if I had had my mp3 player. I forgot to check the battery and it was dead :( But, then I wouldn't have heard the supporters and volunteers.

Oh, yeah, and about the mostly "down-hill" (which they publicize, my co-workers, and the folks at the running shoe store all say how 'easy it was')...Uh...there were plenty of UP-HILLS...It's was challenging.

Today, I'm feeling pretty good...Just very sore and very little knee pain.

Nope. Not me. :) This is Jane Kibii. She was the women's winner. She clocked in at 20:43. AND she is blind in one eye! She is my she-ro. the end of it, there were goodies like most races...Orange juice, yogurt, and skim chocolate milk.

And every more goodies....Krispy Kremes, Gourmet Popcorn from Velvet Popcorn, and Lil Guys tortilla chips. First race I've been to with "goodies" like this. LOL!

Anyways...this race was a lot of fun...can't wait to do it again next year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Physical Therapy

Well....I have been trying to come up with a witty title or an interesting way to broach this topic, but I can't. I am back in physical therapy. I have been feeling much better and doing more than I was since my last session in December 2009. But, not 100%.

But, about 4 and 1/2 weeks ago, I started to experience pain in my knees - consistently or in greater amounts. I iced; I ibuprofen; I rested. Still in pain. Then I worried.

I set up an appointment with another Sports Medicine Doctor. I wanted a second opinion. I know that my physical therapist told me that this is a 6 month recovery, but I wasn't progressing relative to that time frame.

So, I had a new set of x-rays and mri's done per Dr.s' orders. And the Dr. confirmed that there was no tears or anything requiring surgery. But, she ordered me back to therapy (3 days a week for 4 weeks).

I was relieved and am looking forward to getting better. I was concerned about the co-pay ($30 per visit). But, I wanted to work with a therapist closer to home this time around...This facility is alot more affordable $10 per visit.

Physical therapy is no joke...It's a serious workout...including bosu balls, squats, lunges, weight lifting, and various other exercises. I'm determined to go until I feel completely better and can do all the activities I was doing pre-injury. I do see the benefit in it. I think I stopped too early before.

I admit this injury, the recovery process, and everything in between has not been easy. But, I am thankful for what I can do and what I will be able to do in the future. Every session I see folks who are in worse shape then I am. Some due to no fault of their own. Others due to inactivity or lack of attention to their bodies. Its a reminder to work hard and stay in shape.

*Welcome New Followers*

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrate & Honor It

Loved this quote from's article 'The 8 Worst (And Best) Snack Foods':

But a good practice for daily eating is this: Remember that your body is a temple to be celebrated and honored – littering your body with doughnuts and other bad foods, in general, is just not allowed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Single Ladies Devastation

Totally, not fitness related, but soooooo funny. Shouts out to Ro is Getting Fit who looked fab in her Single Ladies outfit and is inspiration for buying my own one-sleeved leotard!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I am so excited to share that I am now a Zumba Instructor.

I took the workshop this weekend.

I can't believe that I am finally 'certified'.

I had SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun this weekend.

The instructor training was aboout 4 hours away in another state. My dear friend found out I was going down and asked if she could accompany me. We had a fun "Zumba" themed girls trip.

We did an hour and half long master's Zumba class on Saturday night along with other Zumba instructors, instructors to be, and fanatics.

Sunday I spent 8 hours getting certified. I don't think I've worked out that much in my life in one day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Intersection of Knowledge, Skill, & Desire

"A habit is defined as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. You may know you need change, you may even know how to change, but, without desire, change may elude you." Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I loved this quote of the week! I truly believe that is why I have succeeded at weight loss this year....because my desire to change finally met the skill and knowledge needed to change.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meltdown Mondays

My church started an 10 week exercise program for the ladies called "Meltdown Mondays" 3 years ago. I have been helping with it ever since.I am really excited about this years program.

We made some major changes. We really wanted to move from just being an hour of aerobic exercise to being a wellness program. So, this year we are offering an cardio/strength/flexibility session as well as volleyball. We are also offering talks with a doctor, a registered dietitian, and a personal trainer.

The first hour we are doing 30 minutes of cardo, 20 minutes toning/strength, and 10 minutes of flexibility. The next hour we are doing volleyball - both competitive and recreational. The ladies can pick and choose what they want to do...

We had a good turnout and I am excited about how this year will go.

We also gave the ladies a 10 week challenge to encourage being healthy on more than 1 day a week. We are challenging them to walk at least 100 miles...(they can also run, skate, bike or do other convertible exercise). We are also challenging them to eat at least 5 to 9 servings of fruit and veggies servings a day. Each fruit and veggies serving counts as 1 point. They are to strive for at least 275 points.

Even though I work out 5 to 6 days a week. I am going to participate in the challenge and see just how many miles I'll do. I strive to eat 8 servings of fruit and veggies a day - 3 fruit and 5 veggies - as recommended by my dietitian. But I've been kinda slacking on the veggies. So, I gonna strive to meet and exceed 275 points.


Do you have a part of your body that you don't have to work as hard on? And consequently, you can be lazidical?

For me, its my stomach. Because of my body I slim down overall, my stomach tends to slim down without as much work as other areas - more than other areas. Not to say that I don't have work to do on my core but I must admit sometimes I feel like skipping the situps....

Another area I can be lazy butt. But, not because I don't have to work as hard, because its an area that sees to be harder to change. I have a big butt. Always have. It's not going anywhere....

Although my trainer worked on these areas during our 1-on-1 sessions and gave me a workout plan that included working on these areas, I must admit I didn't always work on these areas on my own with the fevor as others.

One thing I did learn in physical therapy however was the importance of a strong core and glute muscles. Especially, in many of the things I like to do....running & dancing. So, I've been fighting my natural urge to say ehhhhh, go easy on yourself...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weight Loss Results: Month 8

A few weeks ago I had a follow-up body composition done by my trainer. We then talked about the results. It was so helpful. If you are not working with a trainer, I recommend doing this. I no longer work with my trainer on a regular basis but I do check in with her every few months or so to check my progress.

Starting Weight 6/11/09: 158 lbs -- Current Weight 2/20/10: 134.2 lbs

Total Loss: 23.8 lbs

Starting Body Fat 6/11/09: 36.4% -- Current Body Fat 2/20/2010: 29%

Total Change: -7.4%

BMI 6/11/2009: 28.9 -- BMI 2/20/2010:24.5

Total Change: -4.4

Starting -- Current -- Loss

Chest 36 -- Chest 32.5 -- 3.5
Bust 30 -- Bust 29.25 -- .75
Waist 33.5 -- Waist 28.25 -- 5.25
Hips 40.5 -- Hips 33.5 -- 7.00
Abs 35.5 -- Abs 32.25 -- 3.25
Thigh 26 -- Thigh 22.5 -- 3.50
Bicep 12 -- Bicep 11 -- 1.00

Total Inches Lost: 24.25

My trainer shared with me that though my weight loss was a good; My body fat change and inches lost were excellent. That's where I think working with a professional can be so helpful....I didn't realize that was true. She said its very hard to move body fat percentages. Measuring my body fat and inches lost have been so helpful during this weight loss journey...especially when I plateaued on weight loss (but saw progress in other areas).

Yes, I still have progress to be made -- I'd like to get to a normal body fat percentage (18-24%), but I am very happy with these results! She told me that I should be very proud/pleased.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thick? Curvy? Voluptuous? No! Obese!

I came across this discussion months and months ago. Recent events reminded of it....

If you weigh 250-300 pounds and ain't 12 feet tall, you are NOT:

More Bounce to the Ounce
Zaftig (whatever the hell THAT means)
Big Boned
Have a cute face...

or ANY other lame description. You are one of TWO things...FAT or MORBIDLY OBESE!!!!

Solutions? As previously posted:

EXERCISE!!! Walk, run, forget about mussin' up your dadgum hair and SWIM-just DO something other than watch TV and talk on the PHONE!

WATCH YOUR DIET! The four food groups are NOT McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and your neighborhood Chinese Buffet.

COOK! This ties into the previous...Fresh vegetables can work WONDERS! Use the microwave to warm up what you cooked the day before, instead of nuking processed junk! If you have to get the veggies canned or frozen, so be it, but get something green in you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Real Women Look Like

That's what showcases. I learned about this site today from Girls on the Run (which is an awesome organization that empowers girls by teaching them life lessons by training them to run a 5k). It was absolutely fascinating to look at all the different pictures...I think I'm gonna submit my picture to this project. You can sort by weight, height, body shape, and pants size.

Here's how they describe the project....In a world full of images of how we "should" look it can get difficult to tell how we DO look. Our hope is to build a site where women can see what real women look like. What we really look like. Most women have spent so many years looking at themselves in mirrors that we can no longer see what's really there. The My Body Gallery project's goal is to help women objectively see what we look like and come to some acceptance that we are all beautiful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Lately, I've been hearing this word a lot. This past week in particular!

You're getting skinny. Look at you - skinny minny. Man! Is everybody getting skinny?

I'm never sure what to say....Is that a compliment? Or an observation? Or dis-approval?

For sure, I am not skinny. I've slimmed down alot. Nearly 30 pounds. BUT, I am still a curvy pear shape.

It's funny...My dietitian mentioned that people wouldn't notice until about 15 pounds lost. For me, that was more like 20 to 25 pounds. But, as I close on 30 lbs, I've been really hearing it.

The positive feedback is nice. I so appreciate peoples kind words.

But, I guess what I didn't expect is for it to be a bit unnerving too. I've been working hard. Do I say that? I'm just getting back - close to where I was. Do I say that? I still have work to do. Do I say that? You didn't know me at my old weight. Do I say that? I was getting too chunky for my own good. Do I say that?

I don't know if it's that big of deal or if I want it to be that big of deal.

Enjoying Life

Months ago I attended a conference in Chicago along with several others.

I'll never forget this trip....for many reasons. But to sum it up, it's that it solidified to me that I will not let my lack of healthy living keep me from enjoying or partaking in what life has to offer.

1) The man who greated us, carried our bags, and drove us to our hotel was very nice. He shared with us that just a year ago he wouldn't have been able to do so. He was overweight and outta shape, but he part-took in a nutrition/workout program at church and made a total turn-around.

2) I attended this conference about 2 weeks into physical therapy. There were long days and nights of training and follow-up homework. But each morning and each night, I did my physical therapy assignments. I kept telling myself "Do What You Have To Do, So You Can Do What You Want To Do". I proved to myself that yes there is always time to be healthy. I had plenty of excuses not to...I was in pain/discomfort...I was TIRED.

3) One day we had free time to do some shopping down the magnificent mile and Chinatown. Yet, many of the ladies couldn't keep up or struggled with "all" the walking that was involved. Even though I was "impaired", I fared better than many of these ladies. Here we were on a a fabulous city (which some had never been to)...and they weren't able to enjoy it or enjoy it to the fullness. And, I purposed right then, to stay in a healthy condition, that would allow me to enjoy vacations, playing with kids or grandkids, or anything else life had to offer.

4) The next day eating at a restaurant so many of the ladies said this and I quote..."I can eat this (cake, fattenin' dish, not healthy item, etc) because of ALL the walking we did yesterday". What a misconception! But of course, we all do this from time to time. Yet, hearing it out loud...seem to make it so crystal clear. Exercise is not a license to eat whatever or over eat. Why would you want to undo the progress you make?

5) One of the ladies mentioned to me that she really needed to do something about her weight twice. We weren't talking about anything weight related...It came up quite randomly and before she could eloborate more she changed the subject. Yet, the next day, during a shopping spree....she stopped and had a cinnabon & a little later a fudge covered ice cream cone. She said to me my trainer said one of the best snacks you can have is a small vanilla soft serve yogurt. I remember thinking yeah, small vanilla soft serve yogurts can be snack under 200 calories and 5 grams of fat but she is a trainer and not a dietitian. And besides, you put chocolate all over it. But what struck me was that I've done the same know saying I want to lose the weight...I want to be healthier and then I go and eat things that aren't the best for me or don't work out.

6) You can eat well on the go or on a trip if you really want to. Here I was in Chicago....a faboluous town to eat in! But, I made a point to eat healthily. In the shopping mall, friends chosed to eat cinnabon and I ate apples and yogurt from subway as a snack. Yes, I would have rather had the french toast and the bacon at the breakfast buffet...yes, I would have rather have had the fried chicken instead of the roasted...Yes, I did have to make it a point/work a little harder to pack/bring healthy snacks.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weighing Yourself

How often do you weigh yourself? Daily? Weekly? Once A Month? At All?

I weigh myself daily. I always do it first thing in the morning - all natural :)

Some experts recommend that. Others recommend weekly or bi-weekly weighing.

Day to day weighing has let me see first hand the natural fluctuations that happen every day. I've seen clearly the changes that can occur due to water retention, eating salty foods, or my menstrual cycle. I can see the results (or lack thereof) that may occur from a workout or a certain meal. I can catch earlier if I am gaining weight.

But, daily weighing is NOT my only measure. I also pay attention to my body inches/measurements, body fat, and energy levels/strength during workouts. I also use certain pieces of clothing and view my body in the mirror.

When I was meeting weekly with my dietitian, she would mark my weight down each week. Some weeks that particular day my numbers would not reflect a loss or maybe a gain but the other days that week showed that I had made progress. Some weeks correspond to what I was seeing daily. That's the strength and weakness of weekly weighing...Not so frequent that you could become obsesive, enough that you can track progress, but harder to determine where you are natural daily fluctuation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bollywood Dance Aerobics

Bollywood dance aerobics features the dance and music featured in Bollywood movies. The dance is a mixture of classical indian and pop/hip-hop dance.

I took a Bollywood dance class tonite. It was fun.

I wish my class was more like the one featured in the video. My class wasn't quite the aerobic challenge I was hoping for; it was more focused on learning choreography.

If I can find something more like what was featured...I'd try to squeeze this in more often.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Prude

So lately...I've been wondering if I am a prude.

When I hit the gym directly from work, I change in the bathroom of the locker-room.

Other ladies are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO free. Not just changing their clothes in front of their locker. I am talking strutting around or in no hurry to put clothes on.

I've seen a lot of naked ladies lately.

I think its weird. Is it just me?

The other day a lady who was drying off with a towel and mostly not covered struck up a conversation with me. I didn't know where to look....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Worst Workout Week

This week I had the worst workout attendance since I began refocusing on my health (***excluding when I hurt my knee and had to sit still due to doctor's orders).

One workout....That's all....

I was outta town on vacation for 2 days....

I caught a bug and was down for two days.......

I had family in town....

I had two (non-work) project meetings....

So, here's to another week and new beginnings and hitting workout targets....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Does Weight Loss Success Require Mental Toughness?

I would say yes and so do the author of the article with the same title as this blog post.

The author states that Mental Toughness includes:

1. belief in self
2. good work ethic
3. being self-motivated
4. high in self-regulation
5. being good at handling pressure
6. having good emotional control
7. able to monitor self
8. being resilient

And all these things combined, helps you overcome life's challenges to succeed in weight loss.

I can't agree more. It takes a certain mental toughness to persevere when you aren't seeing results, to say no to food that isn't healthy for you, and to exercise regularly - whether you feel like it or not.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Leggo My Eggo!

Growing up we ate eggo waffles! Yummy! With butter and syrup.

This summer I discovered multi-grain eggo waffles and I started eating them again with reduced sugar smuckers jelly. They're 140 calories, 2.5g of fat, and 2 carbs per serving (2 waffles).

But its gotten harder and harder to find them. There is a sign in front of the freezer section, noting that Kellogg apologizes about the shortage and they are working on it. Yeah, but that signs been up there for weeks and weeks.

So, I googled it....CNN had an article about it.

They'll be in short supply until mid-2010!

Seriously, Kellogg, Leggo My Eggo!

Have you tried Van's waffles? I may give those a try.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Almond Milk

OR "Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't" (Remember Almond Joys? But, I digress)

One of the bloggers I follow drinks almond milk. With limited options while fasting (gluten free, vegan eating), I decided to give almond milk a try. I've tried both soy and rice milk before - I don't care for either.

I really liked it! It's got a great flavor and texture to it. You can find it in your local grocery store, healthy food store, even Walmart. I like both the Almond Dream and Blue Diamond Milk brands. You can even find it in chocolate and vanilla flavors. Interestingly enough there are a ton of videos and articles out there on how to make your own almond milk.

I recommend trying it out...

Do you drink a milk alternative? Why?

Here's what a LA Time's article has to say about...

"Almond milk contains zero cholesterol. It's free of saturated fats, so it's a healthful option for people with, or at risk for, heart disease. It doesn't contain lactose, so it's an option for people with lactose intolerance. And it's even lower in calories and total fat than soy milk: a glass contains just 60 calories and 2.5 grams of fat to soy milk's 100 calories and 4 fat grams.

But although almonds, among nuts, are a good source of calcium and protein, almond milk's calcium and protein levels don't compare to the levels in cow's, goat's or soy milks. A glass of almond milk provides just 1 gram of protein. Some brands provide up to 20% of the daily recommended calcium intake (about 10% less than the other milks), but other brands provide none.

Almonds are also a good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamin E and some essential fatty acids. A cup of the ground-up nuts contains more than 11 grams of omega-6 fats (but very few omega-3s).

In recent years, several studies have hinted at a link between nut consumption and lower blood cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease. Since 2003, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed almonds (and other nuts) to bear the claim that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts daily, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce risk of heart disease.

Still, nuts are one thing -- almond milk is another. The fraction of almond milk that's actually comprised of finely blended almonds varies between products and can be minimal, Kazaks says. In many commercially available almond milks, almonds are the second or third ingredient, after water and sweeteners. (The same is true for many soy milks as well.) So despite the high vitamin E and omega-6 content of almonds, a glass of almond milk may contain none of the vitamin and just 300 to 600 milligrams of the omega-6s.

Almond milk is a fine alternative for people allergic to cow's and soy milks, Jaffe's Sicherer says, but almonds pose their own allergenicity hazards. Allergies to tree nuts, including almonds, are among the top allergies in the population, affecting 0.2% of children. And although cow's and soy milk allergies are often outgrown, nut allergies are more likely to persist."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Even Martha Stewart Does It...

Wow...I didn't believe that Martha Stewart had tried pole dance fitness until I saw it.

What's keeping you from trying it?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Refuse to Regain

I read this book a few months ago after learning about it in a Women's Health Magazine article. I read it on google books because I was anxious to read it right away. The author, Barbara Berkeley, also has a blog that's updated regularly.

I was dissapointed with the book; though I think the WHM article and her blog are great.

Here are some pointers from the book:

1. Be Tough, Not Moderate - When it comes to weight maintenace. Adpot a tough maintenace strategy. Practice your strategy by imaging yourself in potential situations and overcoming the obstacles. Don't fear the challenge. Never let others dictate your eating plan. Refuse to deviate or be deviated from your plan.

2. Keep tabs on your weight - whatever method you think is best.
Whether that is step on the scale regularly or trying on the same pair of jeans.

3. Drop the use of "cheat" and substitute "choice"

4. Immediately reverse small regains.

5. Make sure you have a pre-arrange 'to get weight off' strategy so that you don't have to wing it at the last minute. The easiest strategy is to go back on your original weight loss regimen.

6. Accept reversal of regain weight gain days as a part of life.

7. Exercise is crucial for maintainers. Find an intiguing practice and practice it 5 to 6 days a week. Underscore, its importance by scheduling it, outfitting yourself for the sport, and setting goals to achieve.

8. Remain in a supported setting until you are sure you have achieved your senior maintenance setting - if not permanently.

9. Have a balanced diet including lean meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and low fat diary. A diet low in sodium, saturate fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber, low in trans-fats, high in vitamins & minerals.

In the book she outlines, 12 Rules for Success:

1. Be Tough, Not Moderate (about weight maintenance)
2. Commit yourself to a 3 month opt period* (following all the rules for success perfectly for at least 3 months. afterwards, more flexibility is allowed)
3. Weigh Yourself Every Day
4. Reverse Small Gains Immediately
5. Eat Primarian At Least 90% of the Time*
6. Eat One Major Meal a Day*
7. Perform a Daily Plan and Scan (each day think about your food plan; also think of the challenges that may occur and how you can overcome them)
8. Stop Eating after 8pm*
9. Eat from a Limited Menu*
10. Have One Acceptable Treat a Day
11. Have a Love Affair with Exercise
12. Maintain w/ Support & Support Others

I didn't agree with Rule 3,5,6,8, or 9. I don't find them personally applicable nor do I think their applicable for the average person. Rule 3 - included incorporating other rules I don't agree with.

Rule 5 - Eating a Primarian diet 90% to 100% of the time. What is a primarian diet? It is one that consists of lean meat, eggs, non-starchy veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and some low fat diary similar to what our ancesters ate. No/very little starches....rice, most beans, potatoes, or bread. That's little grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn) and grain-based products (flour, cereal, breads, etc..) - even those that are whole grains. Little to no sugar, honey, juices, sweets, pasta, sweetened drinks, condiments. Limited consumption of tropical fruit including bananas, pineapples, mangos, and papayas. Non-caloric beverages are allowed. The only oils allowed are olive, canola, and avocado. Acceptable treats: low-fat pudding cups, low-fat sugar free jello, low-fat frozen yogurt & ice cream, and low- fat toppings.

Rule 6 - Eating one major meal a day. I just don't believe in this. I think you should listen to your body. Some days it may be evenly spread out meals, others one major meal and other small meals. Rule 8 - Stop Eating After 8pm. Research shows that its not when you eat that causes weight gain, but how many calories you eat during the day. I do agree that if you have a snacking problem, you may need to make rules about not going back to the frig after a certain time. Rule 9 - Eat from a Limited Menu - I understand the principle and have read the research behind it in other publications. However, I do think that you should enjoy eating and try different things. If you have a problem doing so, then consider limiting your menu.

The book spends a lot of time discussing the Primarian diet and ways to implement - which is why I didn't find it more useful. However, as I typed this recap I did realize it did have several tips that were helpful. So, I recommend reading this book but take the some of things she advocates with a grain of salt.

Thin For Life!

I just finished reading this book by Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D. The full title is Thin for Life: Keys To Success From People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is determined to keep the weight off after losing it. It packed full of wonderful advice, tips, and principles...415 pages of 'em.

This time around losing weight (I lost 25lbs about 2 and 1/2 years ago) I knew I had to do somethings differently if I wanted to keep this weight off. Not necessarily losing the weight, but in keeping it off. But since that was my focus, I ended up losing weight differently too.

What I loved most about this book was not only did it highlight similar/pattern behavior that worked for the group of weight loss masters (those who had lost the weight and kept it off for a number of years) but also the individual things that the weight loss masters did keep the weight off.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

1. It doesn't matter if you've lost weight beofre and gained it all back, b/c most of the masters didn't make it the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time around either.

2. Majority of masters weigh themselves regularly so they can cathch themsleves when their weight starts to climb. Most have a special plan of action if their weight starts to climb.

3. Maintenance means much more than weight maintenance. It includes the maintenance of other healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as healthy eating patters, exercise, reducing stress, keeping healthy relationships and more.

3. If you spent six months getting in shpae by jogging and lifting weights, how long would you expect the positivie effects to last after you'd stopped? Exercise training doesn't last three years later. You have to keep practing the good habits or you lose the skills.

4. Biology permits obesity to occur in individuals; but the environment causes obesity to occur in the culture.

5. You motivation for weight control will wax and wane.

6. Maintenance is not static. What works at one point in time may not at another.

7. Regainers were far less likely to exercise

8. Some experts advise you spend at least one month in a maintenance program for each month that you spend losing weight.

9. The masters gain and enjoy new tastes in food.

10. Some masters view more healthy foods, such as fruits as desserts/rewards. Others develop low-fat/calorie "splurge" foods.

11. The masters make conscious choices about how to choice their calories. Part of the choice making process is trade-offs. If you have a higher calorie or fatty item, you may have to forgo something else.

12. There's evidence that the longer you cann keep extra pounds at bay, the more likely you'll be able to keep weight off for good. Maintaining weight loss for 2 to 5 years decreased the risk of subsequent regain by more than 50 percent.

13. The most striking similarity among the masters was that they have discovered a way to nip weight gain in the bud. The masters nip weight gain in the bud on a day-by-day basis and on a meal-by-meal basis. The vast majority of masters stop gaining before they put on 5 pounds.

14. Masters don't let lapses become relapses. Lapses are single events of doing something unplanned that is not ideal for weight control.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Applebee's Under 550 Calories Meals

My cousin wanted to eat out yesterday....I said no to his first two suggestions. When he finally suggested Applebees, I said yes because I knew they have a weight watchers menu.

But, then I noticed their new under 550 calories meals. (Just how don't know b/c they don't provide the nutrional info...LOL).

I chose the 7 oz. peppercorn grilled sirloin steak (its topped w/ melted Asiago cheese), steamed herb potatoes, and carrots & zuchini (i don't like brocoli).

It was delicious!I highly recommend it.....

Tyrese Gibson Success Tips

Read this quote on another blog that inspired the author too and really got me thinking too....

"When you look a certain way, that says how you feel about yourself," says Gibson. "When you're in shape, you don't have to walk up to somebody and say, 'Yo, I love myself.' You look like you care for yourself."

WOW....What I am saying to others by taking care of my body? What about when I wasn't? What I am saying to myself?

So, I read the original article. It shares on how Tyrese gained & lost almost 40 pounds and refocused on his career. He shared about how he did alot of things to mask the weight he was gaining....

Another, thing he said really stuck out to me. "If you can find time to eat, you can find time to work out."

Here's the original article....

Blogging Aspirations

Every week - if not everyday - something blog-worthy happens or I read something blog-worthy. I make a mental note to write about it or email the article to myself. Sometimes, I blog about it. Often...I don't.....

Letter To the Office Diet Saboteur

************Does this blog make us look fat? highlight. You can download this as a printable letter here. You can also find other great letters on their site**********

Dear (co-worker/supervisor/boss, assistant),

I am sure you've noticed that I have (struggled with weight my whole life/just
had a baby/am retaining water for many people/drink too many beers). Recently I
have begun to (crash diet/count calories/reduce carbs/adopt a healthy lifestyle) in
attempt to (lose a few pounds/fit into my old prom dress/become smoking hot/lower
my risk of a massive heart attack).I have noticed that you enjoy (baking/bringing in band candy/celebrating eventhose most minuscule holidays). I would appreciate if you would stop putting treats on (my desk/next to my cubicle/on my computer monitor/in my face).

You certainly have every right to bring these items to work but please put them in the break room. This way I can avoid the temptation and you can continue to enjoy bringing in treats. In addition, after I decline your food items please desist from announcing loudly to the (entire office/free world) that (one piece won't hurt/I am on another crazy diet/you knew I couldn't resist). Your actions when I decline your food indicate that you (are jealous of my success/want me to continue to ignore my health/are a jackbag).

I enjoy our working relationship and hope that it continues productively, however
if you persist in sabotaging my efforts I will get a safety pin and poke the voodoo doll of you I keep in my (purse/briefcase) in it's (butt/eye/big toe). This shouldn't surprise you as you always knew I couldn't resist.

The Dieter

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat? Highlight

If You Ate Too Much On Vacation

Gain a little weight on vacation? No you didn’t. Here’s some denial affirmations to tell yourself.

1. It’s not fat it’s sand trapped in my suit.
2. It’s not fat it’s my new necklace made of shells.
3. Since it’s on my back and I can’t see it it doesn’t exist, thus, it’s not fat.
4. It’s not fat it’s “carry on” luggage. It will store underneath my seat conveniently out of sight.
5. I gained muscle from all the walking.
6. It’s not fat it’s the happiness and contentment I found on vacation that I’ve crammed into my soul.
7. My body is still on Pacific Time and my scale is on Eastern Standard so it’s just a 3 pound time difference.
8. It’s not official weight gain until one week AFTER vacation ends.
9. It’s still cold here so I need the extra weight for warmth.
10. The scale calls it three extra pounds, I call it a souvenir

Monday, February 1, 2010

Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat?

I LOVE this blog. It always makes me smile. Real weight loss adventures by real women with a sense of humor.

This week I'm gonna highlight a few of my favorite posts. Hope you enjoy will enjoy them too.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Misconceptions About Healthy Eating

********I just stumbled upon this article and loved what it says. Eating well doesn't have to be hard, Just recently, I had lunch with a friend (a Panera...I had chicken soup, half a turkey sandwich, and an apple with a glass of water) & she said I just can't eat like that. Like what I asked? Healthy. I don't think eating well has to be lots of work inconvenient. I think we can do things everyday at every meal to eat healthily****

5 Misconceptions about healthy eating by Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

In a recent discussion with a friend, she blurted out "healthy eating and dieting are the same thing." I winced. If that is true, then I must have been dieting for years! How awful!

Contrary to popular belief, healthy eating and dieting are two very different things. Unfortunately, healthy eating is really misunderstood and there’s a chance most people have acquired some preconceived ideas about healthy eating and what it actually entails. Here are five misconceptions I just have to put to rest.

Misconception 1: If you eat healthy, you must be on a diet. Too often, the word “diet” is confused with the concept of dieting. Most people equate dieting with deprivation, especially as related to foods they love. Whether you are at your ideal weight or trying to lose weight, eating healthy is NOT dieting. It IS eating a healthy diet, however, which is a proactive lifestyle choice. If you want to eat healthy, you are choosing to do so. You choose to optimize the way you eat to look and feel your best.

Misconception 2: Eating healthy is boring, tastes awful and is never satisfying. Truth be told, eating healthy can taste better…can be wonderfully varied…and can fill you up for longer periods of time than food that is unhealthy. Many individuals who make a long-term switch to a healthier diet swear that they don’t miss the unhealthy foods they once ate. Some actually find them distasteful and unsatisfying! As you eat higher quality foods, your cravings for those that are bad for you and lack nutritional value will diminish.

Misconception 3: There is a secret to weight loss. There is absolutely no secret, no magic pill and no trick to losing weight. You are an individual with individual needs. As a result, fad diets and “secret weight-loss programs” may work for some, but not necessarily for others. Even still, those that find that these fad diets work…only do in the short term. Anything that seems too good to be true, often is.

Misconception 4: Eating healthy is difficult and complicated. Eating a healthy diet is not rocket science. It never has been and it never will be. Don’t tell the experts this, but you don’t need a degree in nutrition, a PhD or an MD to eat well. All you need is a basic, easy-to-implement framework that will demystify the realm of healthy eating and provide simple, common sense rules that are easy to remember and easy to put into action.

Next time you are considering going on a diet…think about the more appealing alternative: A lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating. Change your perspective and see the power it has on your overall health and well-being…not to mention, your waistline!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Body Magic

So my friend invited me to check out a Body Magic party she was hosting. Are you familar with Body Magic? It's a heavy duty girdle that can help you look like you've lost up to 2 to 3 dress sizes. It's pretty pricey to boot. I had a conflict and wasn't able to make it...But, I promised to go to the next event.

But then I got to thinking.....wait a minute, why would i want to go to this party? I've lost nearly 30 pounds so that I wouldn't "have to" wear a girdle (especially a super girdle) to look good in my clothes. I'd like to tone up some more but I'll do that the old fashion way....SWEAT. So, when the next event comes along, I will go, but purely to socialize...

Ways to Have Your Girl Scout Cookies and Eat Them, too!

***********Only one more day of this fast left and when it's over I can FINALLY eat some girl scout cookies. I saw this article and thought it gave good advice. I LOVVVVVEEEE girl scout cookies - Carmel D-Lites in particular. Your favorites? **********

Ways to Have Your Girl Scout Cookies and Eat Them, too! By Brandi Koskie -

Just three weeks ago you made a resolution to get fit, start a diet, or eat healthier. And then your doorbell rang and a Girl Scout announced that cookie season had begun and waved that tempting order form under your nose to coax you right out of your resolve and back in to the familiar loving arms of her $3.50 a box cookie haven.

If you're struggling between wanting to indulge in your favorite Thin Mint, Samoa or traditional Trefoil, don't fear the double-edged sword that is the Girl Scout Cookie. You can support your friendly neighborhood scout and not wipe out your weight loss goals in one crumby setting. It's mind over matter, and your mind is far stronger than the sugar in those cookies.

Follow these five tips for surviving Girl Scout Cookie season with your willpower, weight and philanthropic needs all satisfied:

1. Think Moderation. No matter what you're eating it's all about moderation. Don’t eat the cookies three times a day, or an entire sleeve or box all at once. Follow the serving size and allow yourself this small treat on occasion.

2. Savor the Flavor. Don’t hover over an open box and shovel in cookies. Instead, pull the serving of two, three or four cookies out and place on a plate. Then, sit down and take your time savoring each bite. Treat these cookies like you would your favorite slice of cheesecake from Chez La Where Ever.

3. Count Calories. The nutrition label really is important, not just taking up space from those cute Scout pictures. Stick to the serving size and add those calories to your daily count. If you grab a second serving worth of cookies, multiply those calories, fat grams, etc. by two.

4. Think Small. If you're trying to satisfy a craving, that is typically done within the first few bites of a food. Avoid ordering enough cookies to last the rest of spring and instead order just one box of your favorite flavor. Then, see number two and savor the flavor!

5. Share! It's a simple, generous concept that can save you a load of calories. If you don't trust yourself with the cookies, but want to support the next door neighbor, buy the cookies and then get rid of them. Share them with a senior center, ship them to the troops, take some to a shelter, or anyone else whose day could be brightened by a box of cookies.

Friday, January 29, 2010


And loving it....

My arms are especially sore...but so are my hips and legs...Thanks to that 24Lift class. (and possibly, going out to salsa later that night)

Thursday nite was my second time taking the class. I love my instructor's use of fun music and the variety she mixes into the routine.

I'm sure by March I'll be seeing some results I'm very happy with.

It's funny how things can change. I started strength training again last summer. Although I used to regularly strength train - sometime ago I got out of the routine. And though I was still doing cardio, I never really got back to doing weights. One of the reasons (excuses) I avoided strength training for about a 1 and 1/2 years because I didn't want to "be sore". But now, I feel that soreness in my body and recognize it as a sign of what is to come.....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good Nutrition Isn't All Bad

*****I loved this article by Andrea Holwenger, RD. Highlighted my favorite parts.******

When I meet people for the first time and they find out I am a dietitian, there are often two types of responses. Some people are sincerely very interested in what I do and inevitably start fishing for answers to some of their own burning nutrition questions. I also meet a fair number of people who literally shut down at the mere thought of healthy eating.

I have always been curious about why some people are so repelled by the idea of dietitians and the field of nutrition in general.

Perhaps it is because the word dietitian contains the word "diet" and also the word "die" — both often perceived as very negative. Or is it because the diet industry and many so-called health professionals have them believing that in order to be healthy, food must taste awful, be part of some special product or be difficult to prepare? Or could it be that they feel guilty that this is one area of their lives they value tremendously but can't seem to figure out?

Regardless of the reason, if you have been repelled by the field of nutrition, I would like to challenge you to think a bit differently about what "healthy eating" is all about.

Get over getting it right
If you have felt in the past that healthy eating is about deprivation, realize that you don't have to be perfect. In fact, I like to say that "imperfect is perfect." Get over getting it right and move to a philosophy of eating just a little bit better. Challenge the stubborn voice in your head that tells you, "Go big, or go home," because inevitably trying to make too much change will result in "Go big, and go home." Instead, choose flexible nutrition goals that cause you to work a little bit on your food choices but are not absolute.

For example, if you drink lots of alcohol and are looking for strategies to help you reduce intake, you might consider setting a target number of drinks for a typical work week coupled with permission to take a vacation from this during the playoff hockey season and your summer holidays.

When you avoid "all or none" thinking, you can't lose. You can still choose to get healthier without sacrificing social fun and the amazing taste of sugar, fat and salt (since even dietitians know these really do taste good).

Believe in learning vs. failing
Tried making a nutritional change and found that you didn't stick with it? Don't worry about it; you didn't fail. You just learned a valuable lesson about yourself. A single strategy won't work 100 per cent of the time, but if it works occasionally, it is still useful. Think of having a healthy eating tool kit with a variety of tools that will be useful at different occasions.

For example, if you usually skip lunch but remembered to pack your lunch twice this week, celebrate the fact that your strategy worked two out of five times and work on devising different tools for the other three workdays.

If you bought a box of 100-calorie chocolate bars in order to help you reduce your daily chocolate fix to a smaller portion but ended up eating the whole box in one sitting, you learned something about yourself. You didn't fail. You learned that having the bars in the house is a trigger for wanting to eat them all at once. Take this information and try another strategy until you stumble upon something that makes sense.

Repeat, repeat, repeat
Trying something new and getting into a healthy eating groove takes time and patience. Repetition is needed to develop any new habit, so cut yourself some slack and remember that anything new feels awkward until you get into the habit.

The first time you try adding a piece of fruit to your usual breakfast of toast and peanut butter won't feel just right. How could it when you have never done it before? But after you have repeated this new awkward habit over time, it becomes second nature. Acknowledge that change, no matter how small, is hard.

No better time than now
Although you may think you are invincible, chances are eating poorly will catch up with you one way or another. One of the most profound ways nutrition will affect your day-to-day life is related to your energy and stamina. You can't put a price tag on the benefits of feeling better through your workday and having the "get up and go" to do the things you want to do in your personal time.

The toughest part about my job as a dietitian is to convince you to invest in your health now for benefits that will take months and years to show. What you eat now influences your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more. What you do is also a glimpse into the future of your children's lifestyle and eating habits since they will reflect your choices. If you can't be motivated to choose a healthy lifestyle for yourself, do it for your kids.

Realize that while I don't expect eating well to rank as the focal point of your life, it shouldn't be at the bottom of your "to-do" list either — to get to when you have the time. There is never a good time to start. Somehow, life never slows down enough to get to the things we need to change. There is no better time than now.

Tap into the biggest payoffs
If you are somewhat convinced that you should make a move toward healthier eating and have embraced the above philosophies, here are the three most important things you can do to tap into the biggest payoffs.

Avoid skipping meals and choose to eat every 3-5 hours for the best energy and also to prevent you from overeating at the next meal.

Overwhelmed by the massive assortment of foods you could eat? Start by shopping on the outside perimeter of the grocery store, where most fresh foods are located. Then at each meal be sure to choose something from each of the following categories:

•Grains/starches such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and cereals.
•Vegetables and/or fruits, including the fresh, frozen or canned variety, as well as dried fruit and vegetable/fruit juices.
•Protein such as red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, soy milk, beans/legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds.
For adults, an ideal plate should be composed of half vegetables and/or fruits, one-quarter grains/starches and one-quarter protein. If you are overweight, try shrinking down the size of your portions by 10-25 per cent, and you will find that your weight starts to change even though you have not changed your food choices.

If you are already doing these things, well, it looks like you are not so repelled by the field of nutrition after all.

Andrea Holwegner — the Chocoholic Dietitian — is a registered dietitian and founder and president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting in Calgary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today's Inspiration: Action, Not Perfection, Creates Results

******I liked this quote from Jane Powell. I have a tendency to want things just so or else I don't want to proceed at all. But, progress takes some type of action, big or small - perfect or flawed****

"Action, not perfection, creates results."

When you start something new, don't worry about doing it perfectly, initially. Just start and recognize that adjustments will need to be made along the way. In other words, take action!

It’s easier to take action when you don’t expect perfection. Obstacles don’t intimidate you and adjustments are seen as part of the learning process. Expect them and be ready to reach into your tool bag for a solution at any moment.

Action, even imperfect action, will bring results, and, eventually, perfection may follow.

By Jane Powell -

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Too Quiet

Ha...I said smugly to myself as I pulled into my gym's parking lot around 9:30pm. I knew attendance would start dropping off soon...Still, I was a bit surprised to see only 3 cars were in the lot.

But when I got to the front door, the staff alerted me that the gym was closed due to a sewer main break. really was a little too quiet....

Pole Dancing Perils

First read about this here.

Sue Ann Wee filed a lawsuit last week against Crunch Fitness chain after she hurt both her shoulders when she slid down a pole and fell to the floor. Wee told an instructor she couldn't hold herself up during an upside-down maneuver, and claims the instructor didn't properly supervise/support her during the pole dancing class.

To read a little more about the story,

When I shared this story with my friend who checked out the class with me, she said she wanted to sue for how sore we were after. LOL! We were SOOOOOOOO sore after. For days after! In places that shouldn't even be sore!

Anyways...based on the info provided, it sounds like Ms. Wee was in the wrong. Ultimately you are in the best position to determine what your can and can't do in a class.

Interestingly enough...I went upside down a few weeks ago with my instructors help/spotting. I wouldn't have done it w/o her.

What do you think? Who was in the wrong?

P.S. I just love my pole dancing class. I can totally see the importance of being flexible and having good upper body and core strength. It makes me wanna get as fit as I can. My instructor shared that the class can become 'addictive'. I certainly think I might end up doing it more frequently after this beginner's workshop is over.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Being A Gluten-Free Vegan

24/7 is how I am living for another week.....

My church is fasting for 3 weeks (2 down). Only allowable foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and water. We have done this every year for sometime.

This year, however, it's been 'easier' for me. Thanks to working with my dietitian, 1) I am better at eating strategically throughout the day, 2) eating foods that are more filling and satisfying, 3) working on eating more balanced meals of fruits/veggies/protein.

I've also been eating a few new items (and some old favorites) that are gluten-free/dairy/meat free. Some, I only eat during this fast. A few things I think I'll keep after this fast is over.

Here are a few of my 'have to have' foods. These are things I would/do eat off the fast:

1. Quorn products --- meat substitute made from corn protein

2. Sunkist Smoothies --- 100% juice. No sugar added. No artificial ingredients. I really like the strawberry banana & mango flavors.

3. Burger King Veggie Burgers -- I take off the bun and keep on the veggies...Yummy. I eat w/ their side salad and apples.

4. GeniSoy Parmesan & Garlic Potato Crisps - Low fat, trans fat-free, cholesterol-free, and all natural. I eat them w/ some hummus (roasted red pepper), and it's a great and filling snack.

5. Of course, veggies...But, I especially make good use baked potatoes and large salads.

PLEASE believe I can't wait for the fast to be over! :) I can't wait to have cheese, yogurt, bread, chicken!!!!! Being a Gluten-Free Vegan is NOT for me....More power to those who are....Or are one or the other.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24 Lift

My (ex) trainer invited me to join a strength class (24 Lift shown in the video) with her at 24 Hour Fitness (we're both members). I LOVED it! I never would have taken it if I had not been invited. I generally take "fun" group exercise classes like Zumba or Brazilian Samba or Global Soul Dance. If you are a 24 Hour Fitness member, I strongly recommend it.

It was so challenging and offered plenty of variety. I enjoyed working out with several different types of equipment....barbells, handweights, & benches.

When I do strength days, I just stick to the machines....I don't care for free weights. With the machines, I have less to worry about when it comes to form or needing support. I am excited that this class is opening up new ways of exercising for me...It got me trying things that I wouldn't have on my own or w/o a trainer.

I'm soooo close to my goal weight which I am excited about! But, I'd like to tone up my arms, stomach, and thighs some more and I think this class will really help!

I think one of my favorite parts of the class was a guy right in front of me. He would dance to the music any chance he got....It was hilarious....I was watching him shake his hips thinking he should be in Zumba....Later on, I overhead him tell another classmate that he tried Zumba for the first time that week and really liked it. :) LOL! I guess he still felt that grooving...

Friday, January 22, 2010

One More Pound

I'm a pound away from losing 30lbs!

I can't believe it.

I think 130lbs is going to be the right weight for me. I am loving how my clothes fit, what I see in the mirror (w/ or w/o clothes), how I feel when I am working out.

I never would have thought it would take this long or be this hard. But, I think I'm all the better for it. I won't take my body for granted. I won't underestimate just how much work it takes. I will make exercise and healthy eating a priority.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's Inspiration

"Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future, but right now. Realize that nothing is too good..” ~ Eileen Caddy

*******Loved this quote of the week provided by Franklin Covey************

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blessing My Body

My body serves me well, and I am open to ways that I can bless my body by nourishing it with food, rest, activity, and prayer.

Daily Word for Weight Loss

******Loved this meditation from the Daily Word for Weight Loss, a book which shares encouragement and guidance for living healthier*********

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Please Don't Stop The Music

This is my new MP3 player! I love it....It has plenty of storgage, it can even play videos, it charges through my computer (no more batteries to deal w/! i'm always forgetting them/or running out of them at the most in-opportutine time). PLUS, I got it for a GREAT price on a Black Friday sale. Do you work out w/ tunes? What music player to you use?

Here's a great article on how music can help your work out....

How Music Can Put a Spring in Your Fitness Routine

August 07, 2008 05:48 PM ET | Katherine Hobson | Permanent Link | Print

Last summer, I was making my way through the final miles of the marathon leg of Ironman Canada and was not at all pleased with my performance. I knew, if I just ran a little faster, I could finish in under 13 hours, but I couldn't seem to muster up the will to do so. Then I passed a water stop where the volunteers had set up a boom box. An old favorite from the '80s, Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts," started blasting from the speakers, something clicked in my mind and legs, and I was able to pick up the pace.

Music is powerful. That's why you'll see Olympic athletes spending their last prerace minutes with iPod headphones stuck in their ears. It's why your spinning class seems to fly by if you like the instructor's all-Madonna soundtrack—and seems interminable if you don't. RenĂ© Murphy, an associate professor at the School of Recreation Management and Kinesiology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, got interested in the topic of music and performance when one of the cross-country runners he coached missed a tough group interval workout and made up the same workout herself while listening to music. "She said, 'When I do it with everyone, I'm exhausted and it hurts, but when I do it myself, it's easy,'" says Murphy.

His research suggests that the music is essentially providing a pleasant distraction from the pain of going all out. The mind can process only a limited number of things at once, so if you crank up some tunes, "you're focusing on the music rather than your breathing or what you're doing," he says. In one study, women instructed to run for as long as they could on an inclined treadmill were able to run longer when listening to music, he says.

Of course, the degree to which you focus on the music and ignore your achin' dogs (or lungs) depends on a lot of factors, including, presumably, whether or not you like what's playing. While some songs are pretty much universally inspiring (like the theme from "Rocky"), what some people may find motivating and exciting, others won't, says Vince Nethery, chair of the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Sciences at Central Washington University in Ellensberg, Wash. It all depends on your taste and emotional associations with a given piece or genre of music.

The beats per minute, or tempo, of the music are also probably important, Nethery says. Studies by Costas Karageorghis, a psychologist who researches music and exercise at Brunel University in London, found that exercising in time to music can boost efficiency, which means doing the same work with a smaller amount of effort. He suggests matching the music to the tempo of a workout. For example, if you're warming up, start with music that has about 80 beats per minute and go up from there. To work out at the lower part of your aerobic zone (say, a brisk walk), music should be in the range of 115 to 125 bpm. The faster or more intense the exercise, the higher the bpm. (I found this tool that helps you measure the bpm of any piece of music; just start tapping any computer key to the beat.) Karageorghis's research team is helping to prescribe music for a London half-marathon in October that will have live music along the route that is scientifically selected to boost performance. (Runner's World has a great selection of mixes for different aspects of a workout.)

Music isn't preferred by every athlete, says Murphy. His cross-country team broke down about half and half between runners who welcome the distraction and those who prefer to focus on things like their breathing, effort level, and heartbeat. That might hinge on a personality trait—perhaps some people are motivated by external cues, while others prefer internal ones, he theorizes.

Steven Wininger, a sports psychologist at Western Kentucky University, says more serious athletes are likely to use music only as a precompetition psych-up, while those of us merely trying to improve our fitness tend to use it to make an exercise class more enjoyable or to make the time go faster. "If you're just making sure you get 45 or 60 minutes of aerobic exercise in to burn calories, you want to distract yourself. You're not even thinking about exercise, and all of a sudden you're done," he says.

The time didn't really fly in Canada last summer, but I can say that I never would have finished in 12 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds without Juice.

For more: My colleague Matt Shulman recently wrote about how music is used to treat diseases of the brain, such as depression and Parkinson's.

Squeeze It In

I think this an interesting idea. I do try to go out of my way to walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator or park a little further away to get in some extra steps, but I prefer to get in a "proper" workout at the gym or park.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pole & Chair Dance Aerobics

OR "Why I Will Be Sore in the Morning" OR "I Have a Whole New Respect...."

So, Monday night I had an annual Christmas dinner w/ some friends. One friend gushed about a new aerobics class. Intrigued...I asked her to tell me more. In a few minutes she had me convinced...

So, I called the number and asked about the schedule. The location is a bit of a drive for me to attend a class during the week, but Saturday offered both the chair dance and pole aerobics class. I could attend both back to back (a few of her students do).

I LOVED IT! The chair dance in particular. At one time or another, we incorporated great music, feather boas, fake money, and high heels....

Have I mentioned that I have a whole new respect for the ladies who do this for a living? Sure, I think we realize that it takes a certain level of athleticism, but geez....I don't think I realized just how much.

I'm gonna be soooooooooooooooo sore tomorrow. I think I convinced myself that it wasn't going to be that intense of a workout...Afterall, how could it beat 5k(+) training or zumba or global soul? It was a WORKOUT! But, it was a great challenge and a GREAT way to spice up a work out.

She's a little too far out for me to add the classes regularly, but I will take her Intro to Pole Fitness 3 week workshop. And I think I will try to take a chair dancing class once a month or so on Saturdays...

If you are in the KC area check her out here...Classes are reasonable $6 for chair dancing and $12 for pole fitness.

Friday, January 1, 2010


The gym has been awfully crowded the last few days.

I couldn't quite figure it out...

With the record breaking snow and cold weather the Kansas City area has been getting, it should be emptier....

I couldn't get on my "favorite" treadmill.

And then, it hit me...It's that time of the year...Full of promises and hope and goals and purpsoing....New Years Resolutions and I guess people want to get an early start.

I wonder how crowded it'll be today? :)

My Favorite Present & A Good Start

While rummaging through the basement for Christmas supplies, I found a pair of jeans I used to wear in grad school (5 years ago). I wonder if these fit...I thought. So, I took them upstairs and tried them on....Nervously. They fit! Great too!

I wore them on Christmas day and that was my favorite present of all. To have finally, lost this extra weight...

Today, I jumped on the scale and it said 134.8! The lowest weight I've been in 2 years! I've actually lost 25 pounds! It's a wonderful way to start the new year!

My 2010 Fitness Goals:

1. Lose the last 5 pounds (preferably before the All-Star Games)

2. Exercise - 4 to 6 days a week including 1 to 2 days of weight training

3. Eat Healthily - Daily strive to Eat 3 servings of fruit, 5 servings of vegetables (starchy & non-starchy) a day, 6 servings of protein, 7 servings of Carbs/Starchs, 2 servings of dairy, and No more than 3 servings of fat/oil, 6 to 8 cups of water

4. Run a half-marathon (Participate in a few smaller races to get ready for the 1/2)

5. Become Zumba certified

6. Successfully help lead the 3rd Year of Women's Workout Program at my church