Thursday, November 7, 2013

Women With Big Butts Are Smarter And Healthier: Oxford Study

My friend posted this article a few days ago...I told him I found this particular study amusing as it seems every few years or so researchers seem to study this "topic" -- what exactly are they studying :). Yet another reason to embrace the curves...

Scientists from the University of Oxford have discovered that women with larger than average butts are not only increasingly intelligent but also very resistant to chronic illnesses.

According to ABC News, the results found that women with bigger backsides tend to have lower levels of cholesterol and are more likely to produce hormones to metabolize sugar. Therefore, women with big butts are less likely to have diabetes or heart problems.

And having a big butt requires an excess of Omega 3 fats, which have been proven to catalyze brain development. The researchers also found that the children born to women with wider hips are intellectually superior to the children of slimmer, less curvy mothers.

Eyeonthenut reports that the team analyzed data from 16,000 women.

From ABC News:
“Professor Konstantinos Manolopoulos, who leads the team at the University of Oxford, says that women with more fat on the buttocks have lower levels of cholesterol and glucose.”
Having a big butt also favors leptin levels in the female body, which is a hormone responsible for regulating the weight, and the dinopectina, a hormone with anti-inflammatory, vascular-protective and anti-diabetic attributes. The adipose tissue of the buttocks traps harmful fatty particles and prevents cardiovascular disease.

Eyeonthenut also cites similar studies conducted by universities in California and Pittsburgh not too long ago that discovered that women with bigger butts, wide hips and smaller waists may even live longer as well.

*This study did not include fake butts.

We already know girls with big butts are smarter and healthier, but they also have some things only they will understand.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Shape Week: My Musings On Being A Curvy Girl

I realized I haven't been "wearing my curves". For months, I have been wearing a-line skirts and dresses, flowy tops, and jackets. I haven't worn things are more form fitting.
A week  ago I was chatting with my sister and she asked about my first weight watchers meeting. I told her I am overwhelmed knowing that I have to do this again (lose 20 pounds).  I started to tear up...
She said "You have a beautiful hourglass shape. You don't need to lose any weight. Plenty of women want your shape..."
Her words have been reverberating in my head.


I think almost everyone has a weight that they feel the best in. I do. I feel I look really great about 134-137. Most clothes fit the way I want. I like what I see in the mirror - clothed and unclothed. But, 139-142 is also really flattering. Alot of the clothes fit the way I want and I like much of what I see in the mirror - naked and fully dressed. 145-147 can be pretty good too. Not as great as the other weights but pretty darn good.
But at the weight I am now - I do not feel my best. I don't like the additional weight. 

I gave away my "fat" I can only really fit a few things that have flared cuts.  I picked up some really cute retro skirts from some thrift stores in the late spring but I purposely picked a-line cuts that I knew I could wear once I've lost the weight. Somewhere in the process of trying to wear clothes that fit and flatter w/ limited wallet impact AND losing this darn weight, I think I've forgotten to embrace the curves I do have.

The more I thought about it - the more I realized I had quite a bit to think about/talk about.  So, this week I am going to explore being shapely...being curvy...being me...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

This Week's Workouts

I want to start capturing my weekly workouts in better detail...So here goes...

This week:
Went to UHF - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I had planned to workout Wednesday and Friday too. But, we got a surprise invite to see a special screening of 12 Years a Slave on Wednesday and I was so exhausted by the time I got home. It's really good - very powerful - go see it!

I also wanted to try out this Zumba Friday pm class but my good friend had an art gallery opening and I didn't want to miss it. By the time, I would have finished the class, got back home, and washed up and changed - I would have missed it all.

After, the UHF classes, I walked the treadmill for an hour at 24 Hours. I bumped into one of my friends from high school I see super rarely twice this week at the gym! It's been nice to have someone to talk to on the treadmill.

Next week I'll start to bump my intensity up and the incline a little sooner. I realized as I was talking to him that I've been a bit too conservative with my speed.

Tuesday's workout:

I did level II. I could only remember part of this workout (and Monday's and Thursdays for that matter). My coach posted it a few days ago in case we wanted to repeat at home. It was a totally challenging!

Saturday's Workout:

Saturday was killer! We warmed up by jogging a few laps, shuffling facing in and out, running with high knees and then butt kicks, and running a few laps. Then we did some 3 sets of "hindu" pushups and planks. Then we went into the "workout". We did two sets alternating 1) burpies and jumping a heavy rope, 2) low, low squats (on a tire) and lunges with weights, 3) shoulder lifts and squats with shoulder press, 4) crunches on a bosu ball and sandbag slams, and 5) bearcrawl to pushups and kettlebell swing to burpies. 

After class, I stopped and got some yogurt and some nuts and some applesauce and some water. Then walked/hiked at George Owens Nature park. It was beautiful with the leaves changing colors. It was also cold but once I got moving I was fine. I can see myself walking there as it gets colder as long as snow/ice isn't on the ground and I stay bundled up.

Next week I wanna start bumping my exercise to 6 days a week and a few two a days.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Overslept and Had to Do Bodypump :(

Overslept, threw on some clothes, brushed my teeth, and ran out the door.

I realized that I would be way too late for the 8am UHF class and headed over to the 8:30 Strength Training class at 24.

But, the instructor had just "retired" from that class and now they were offering Bodypump in it's place. I really enjoyed that class - I would drive about 20 minutes away to take it - on Saturday before I joined UHF. So, now, I only get to do it every 6th week when we are on break. The instructor was a beautiful lady in her late 50s who was in great shape. She worked full-time as a nurse and taught a few fitness classes. She was a great role model.

And because she was older the class had a great mix of ages. About a year and half ago, they were going to end her class to bring in Bodypump. But, most of the class signed a letter stating we wanted her class and a few of us also talked to the manager about it. He promised that as long as attendance stayed up/steady he would keep the class.

Anyways...apparently, she taught her last class last week. The girl replacing her was nice enough. Definitely, didn't have the same panache. She did use or show how to use handweights for several of the exercises - which was nice - I haven't been to bodypump yet when an instructor does that (Although they'll tell you are free to use them). I think that was largely due to the class which was use to the mix you got in 24 Lift.

I really don't care for Bodypump. It doesn't help that I jacked up my shoulder in Bodypum either...I didn't do the shoulder track at all because I didn't want to risk re-injury...

But, afterwards, I went over to do Zumba. It was fun. The class was really nice. I've really got to find a regular Zumba class to be a part of...But, I'd rather do my hikes/walks at the Nature Park on Saturdays (at least for now - I'm not sure if I'll want to once it gets really cold).

Friday, a family friend invited me to check out a FREE Zumba class that a local center is offering. It was okay. I didn't love the girls music and it seemed that she didn't do enough repeat choreography throughout the songs (every few lines we were doing a different move).

Friday, October 18, 2013

I Need More Zumba In My Life

Tonight was a really fun! My girls and I went to a 2 hour zumbathon raising money and awareness for breast cancer.

I was nervous how I would do. The last month or so, I've been walking for cardio. When we have to run laps at UHF during my HIIT interval class, I can definitely feel my need to improve my cardio capacity and endurance.

I was nervous how my ankle would hold up. I had a blast and I felt great for most of the zumbathon. I took a few quick breaks or cut back on my intensity on a few songs.

This week has been a tough one emotionally - honestly. I've been feeling overwhelmed with my work and my finances. Still experiencing - although much improved - some ankle pain. And, these ~25 lbs to lose.

It was so fun tonight to let all that go and just dance.

I am excited because I now really think my goal for get back to teaching Zumba in the new year is doable. I held up great yesterday. 2 and 1/2 more months of working on my ankle & cardio endurance, I should be in a good place!

Halfway through, I realized I had once thought about what I couldn't do or wasn't comparing myself to what someone was doing or what I used to do. I don't know why...but since I've started back at UHF in mid-July I'm constantly thinking about what I can't do (yet) or what I used to do or how I can't keep up with "......" anymore.

So, I am gonna add more Zumba in every week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My First Weight Watchers Meeting (164.6): Change is Good

This Thursday was my first meeting.

I weighed in at 168 (I weigh myself first thing in the morning - naked :) - this meeting was in the evening). I was given 28 points allowance.

My 5% goal is 8 pounds. 10% is 16 pounds.

The topic was "Change is Good". :) We'll how perfect was that for my first meeting? I'm doing something new...

I've been trying to think about some of the new things I did this year healthwise. I tried Aqua Zumba, Aqua Fitness, Went Back for Another Opinion on My Ankle, Found a New Acupuncturist (after mine stopped seeing patients), and of course, WW.

I'm must admit I am feeling overwhelmed. How can I reach the 5% goal? 8 pounds feels like a huge mountain to climb.

I've worked at all summer and haven't felt like I made significant process. I am traveling next week for work and concerned about losing ground. I have a trip to a Caribbean island in December to do some work for a non-profit I'm on the board for and I REALLY want to be down to 149 but I'll take 155.

I think if I can hit 158 - the  5%. I will begin to really look and feel really good.

Winter is coming soon...and...I've got to get smaller to fit into my winter gear and clothes. I don't want to buy ANYTHING. For the summer, I went to thrift store shopping and purchased some a-line skirts. Enough for about 2 weeks of work. Quite a few are super cute and I'll continue to wear them after the weight is off.

The fit and flare look is flattering on my body type, but, I'm ready to have more variety in my clothes. 

I know I have made progress. I am getting slimmer. I am improving in my cardio and strength endurance. I'm just ready to be "there" already.

69 days left in the year and I'm determined to end it harder, better, stronger, and faster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joined Weight Watchers

I'm gonna give WW a spin. The first time I lost 25 pounds (or the Corporate 25 I like to call as I gained it from the inactivity at my desk and business travel the year right after grad school) - I lost it following advice I pieced together from health magazines and a few blogs and some advice from the staff at the gym.

I worked with a dietitian to lose and maintain the weight loss over the past few years. I did both a small group and one on one sessions. I loved both dietitians I worked with and absolutely loved the Hyvee program. But, they made some changes to the program adding testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure at the beginning and the end of the program - which really drove up the cost - from $80 for the group to $300 and double the $119 for individuals.

You can also see a dietitian one on one but at about $1 a minute - it gets expensive.

I liked the small group experience of working with a dietitian and the nice thing about the small groups is we got to have samples of product or special meals. And, I really like the "small" (depends on the night - and the season of the year -- like the first of Jan) group training at UHF. So, I was thinking maybe WW would be a good fit.

I also like that you can obtain lifetime membership.  My concern:  I am not big on counting points (of course - I've never done it). I prefer aiming for certain servings of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats and/or calories. We'll see how this works...

I was concerned about the Goal Weight. Right now I want to be at 142. Technically my 137 is acceptable on the BMI chart. Last year, I spent most of the year around 142 (+/- 5lbs) and looked and felt pretty good. I finally realized that looking back at some pictures and reading myfitness pal tracking #s. But, then I read that as long as I have a doctors note they'll honor that. Hopefully, my doctor will agree with me...I won't see him for a few weeks.

My first meeting is Thursday....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Can't You Feel A Brand New Day? (164.6)

Today was a good day!

Although, I stayed up late watching movies with my nephew until about 2:00 am the night before and then was awakened at 3:30 to drive home a friend who got pulled over for driving on a suspended license, I was determined to get a in a good workout. up early and went to UHF. Today was the end of the 6 week session workout and it was a great one! We warmed up with suicides. Then, we did 6 rounds of 1 - kettle bell swings 2 - renegade rows 3 - abs on a bosu ball 4 - flipping a 200lb tire 5 - dumbell chops 6 - squats with a jump 7 - running a lap.

I really pushed myself to run without stopping through every lap run. I'm still rebuilding my ankle strength and cardio ability...and I'm pleased with my determination today. My coach even gave me a hug after class to say good job :)

A pic from today's walk - I never feel like I can quite capture the beauty here.

Then I headed over to George Owens Park. It was a beautiful day today! I've really enjoyed these walks at GOP. I did get a little lost today on one of the trails and had to cross through "the woods" to find my way back to the trail. I have to admit I wanted to panic. I was close to finishing my 3 mile walk and was ready to go home and get some lunch...But, I just pushed up and out and through and found a way back to the trail.

I'm up a few pounds from my bday - I relaxed a bit too much on the food and exercise...I have 2 business trips this month that, honestly, I had hope to be slimmer for. I'm gonna work really hard to be at least 159 by November 1st despite my limitations to get to the gym and food I would want.

I'm a HUGE fan of the Wiz - the original broadway production and the movie version. Thursday - I was listening to the soundtrack and Yesterday - my nephew and I watched the movie. This morning on my way to the park - I sang this song to myself. I'm working towards a brand new day - physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

George Owens Nature Park (162.0)

I discovered this park about 6 weeks ago....I was looking for a park close to my gym in Independence that had a paved walking path of at least one mile. The weather was gorgeous and I wanted to be outside.

I've been loving the walks here! There's 6 different trails - they vary from paved to more rugged to butterfly trails to railroad spikes.

I'm off the next few days to celebrate my birthday and got up early to walk the park yesterday. It was a beautiful day...

Speaking of my's just 3 days away and I had plateaued for weeks. I finally saw some progress last three weeks. Dropped to 163. Then 162.4. Then today 162! I switched up the routine slightly and I guess that worked. It's almost maddening to figure out how to break the plateau. I've played with food eaten, calorie cycling, and switching up my workout. I haven't been that low since April. After plateauing most of July, I had hoped to be at 152 by Monday....That's 10 pounds over the high end of my healthy, happy range.

I've made progress and I'm happy about that but it's certainly not as much as I would like. This weight loss is painfully slow! I still have 20 pounds to go...

But, I'm liking the toning up I'm seeing in the mirror...My legs and arms look better. My stomach has decreased...I'm almost completely pain free in my ankle. Which is huge! It feels great to walk the rugged sections of the park with no issue. 

I managed to re-annoy a few old injuries - my shoulder and knee and back over the last month. But, some great sessions with my acupuncturist and chiropractor put everything back in good order. So...that's slowed things a bit.

Now that I'm feeling stronger....I'm looking forward to being able to work harder and see more results!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Loved This Quote: Weight Loss is a War, Not a Battle

I want to blog more frequently. I usually read and follow other blogs at least weekly - often daily. So, I'm challenging myself to write my thoughts down more often and share articles or stories that I found interesting or helpful.

"[Weight loss] is a war, it’s not a battle . . . don't get discouraged if you lose a battle." Dr. Friedman, clinical psychologist and EHE International advisory board member.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Got up early to go to get some laps in the pool. 

I debated if I really wanted to drive the extra distance to the pool or just go to the nearby park and walk a few miles. But, since I didn't make the pool all last week thanks to the rain everyday I thought I should definitely go to the pool.

But, when I got to the pool - the gates were closed. So incredibly frustrating! The pool was supposed to stay open through Labor Day. I quickly checked the pools website on my iphone. According to the newly updated site - starting tomorrow, the pool would now be closed during the week. That doesn't explain why the pool was closed today, but there is no one to complain to.

So, I sucked it up, headed home for some sneakers, and went to the park for an abbreviated walk - frustrated that I had to cut my workout in half thanks to all the time wasted driving back and forth to the pool.

Running laps in the pool has made a huge difference in rehabbing my ankle over the last few weeks. Plus, I've grown to love spending time in the outside pool - mostly in solitude - with the sun shining down on me. With three weeks left until Labor Day, I was really looking forward those laps in the pool.

I never thought I would enjoy water aerobics and pool running as much as I do. I really don't see myself doing water aerobics and pool running in the fall and winter when the weather gets colder...It's a bummer to wrap it up so soon.

I'll might try to squeeze in a pool run here or there when I'm at the independence 24 hour fitness as the one closest to me doesn't have a pool. But that's a 20 minute drive from the house. Honestly, during the summer, I'm rarely at 24. I liked to be out and about in nature or a park.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

No SugarCoating It...(163.6)

The scale read 163.6 today. I have lost about 3-5lbs. I have more 20lbs to lose.

I kept the weight gain from the ankle sprain in April & ankle re-injury in late May & through physical therapy in August and September & a knee injury in October to within 5lbs to 10lbs.

Beginning in Early March, however, I put on some additional weight. By the mid April, I had gained another 10lbs.

It's entirely too much on my 5'2" frame.

In January, my doctor recommended going back to Physical Therapy as I was still in pain and had limited range of motion & ability. I finished that in March. Actually, I stopped going to the sessions. They were expensive - $40 a pop - that's my co-pay - thank goodness for insurance :/. I had improved but I still was in a lot of discomfort and still had a way to go. I wondered if another treatment was more appropriate it. I wondered if I could do most of the exercises myself.

My doctor had mentioned surgery was option last year and repeated it again and again this year with my follow-ups. But, I didn't feel like he could concretely assure (or assure me enough) me that would take care of the problem. So, I sought out a second opinion from a doctor specializing in pain and pain management. She prescribed me a strong medication to help reduce the inflammation and water aerobics and more therapy. She also mentioned that surgery was an option - but offered up a less invasive option and then the more extensive option if that didn't work. She also reassured me that this length of recovery can be normal for an ankle injury.

I started out with the water aerobics and the medication. I really saw improvement with that. I then thought I would go back to physical therapy, but I ended up traveling most of May and a week in June on business travel. When I returned, I had improved enough that I wondered if I needed more physical therapy. But, I thought it best I finish the sessions out. My PT's office didn't want to take the script from April and the my referring doctor's office never returned my request for an updated request. Call it kismet...I kept going to the water aerobic classes and started walking a mile or two and doing mobility exercises. I finally realized in late June they had never called back, and I was doing pretty good. By July, I decided I wouldn't go back to physical therapy. I wanted to go back to my small groups/HIIT workout gym. I would just take it very easy at first.

I've been back for about 3 weeks. I'm feeling really good so far. Pain is down - I think I'm like 98% painfree! I'm also walking and running laps in the pool.

I'd really like to lose 10lbs by September 9th - which is my birthday. I'd like to be down another 5 pounds by late October. And another by November. That would put me back to within my happy, healthy weight range. That's just being realistic.

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Yorkers Live Longer. What About Visitors?

I'm am in NYC! This article was in the airplane magazine as I flew. Hoping I come back a few pounds lighter :)

New Yorkers will live 2.85 years longer than the rest of us.

The saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” So it should come as no surprise that Big Apple residents will live approximately 1,040 days longer than the national average, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. What keeps the city that never sleeps ahead of the game? Over the past two decades, “New York has focused
on healthy food and physical education in schools, smoking bans, trans fat bans, and also promoting simple things like making it safe and easy to walk the city,” says Dr. Ali Mokdad, who led the research. Non-Gothamites, however, have nothing to fear, he says. “You can live longer anywhere if you change your behavior.” In other words, city slicker or not, avoiding that extra-large cola might not be a half bad idea.

Monday, May 13, 2013

On Motivation, Anniversaries, & Maintenance

I'm approaching the 4th anniversary of this healthy journey. I really have four healthy anniversaries that I note. May 25th - Memorial Day - when - I looked in the mirror and stepped on the scale and knew something had to be done. July 21st - when I started this blog. And my birthday - Sept. 9 - it was my 29th birthday that inspired this fitness journey and every subsequent one is a reminder and a celebration of being healthier. On this date 4 years ago, i celebrated 15lbs lost. December 31st - I finally dropped to my goal weight and fit into my jeans from grad school.

I can't believe it's been 4 years already! I'm so glad that I made the decision to get healthier, eat better, and move more.

Over the years, I have found my motivation to stay healthy wax and wane. I have maintained the weight loss (more or less) over the years. I have learned & relearned & still learning about healthy eating and recipes. I've experienced many great workouts. I've prepared for and run several organized races. I've taught fitness and Zumba classes.

I remember reading a fellow blogger who has maintained a 100 lb weight loss for over 10 years on motivation and how it changes over the years. How you'll need to find new ways to commit and new challenges to keep you going. I try to remember that and keep learning - keep doing - keep trying.

Maintenance is about diligence, vigilance, and perseverance. It's about staying focused. It's about reversing small gains. It's about never giving up.  Maintenance is about progress not perfection. Maintenance is about remembering  milestones.

The anniversaries help me maintain. Compliments fade as people get used to my new size. My new, smaller wardrobe has become my regular wardrobe. But every May, I look to be active and fit as I had hope to be 4 years ago. Every July, I hope to become better than I was when I started this blog. Every birthday in September, I try to feel flat out fabulous. Every New Years Eve, I try to be in the best body I can be for the new year (and fit into those jeans).

This May will be the first since starting this journey that I won't be as in shape as I'd like. I'm working hard to be down to around 10 lbs over my acceptable weight range by my May anniversary. But, I know that by September I'll be back to where I want to be.

I'm determined to get back to the pinnacle of fitness. Right before I hurt my ankle I was in the best shape of my life. I will get back to where I was! If not, better! I will run, I will teach Zumba, I will get back to hiit workouts. I'll wear my bikini proudly :) But in the meantime, I'll celebrate what I have accomplished over the last few years.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who Can Tell Me I Am Overweight?

Recent Events Have Me Thinking...Would it matter WHO told me I've put on weight? Would it matter HOW I was told I've put on weight?

A friend is working on losing 40lbs and works for a major health technology and software company. They provide a yearly check up and review with a nurse free of charge to each of their employees. It was during that checkup that the nurse pointed out that her bmi is now technically obese for her height and she had put on several pounds compared to last years checkup. The nurse then gave some pointers about how to lose the weight...But, the nurse herself is overweight. So, my friend pointed out...It was hard to hear what she was saying. Why wasn't she following her own advice?

Honestly, I don't know if it would have mattered to me...I listened when my doctor gave me advice. I took action when a family friend mentioned that I was overweight (the family friend herself was overweight too).

I listened when someone said it tactfully and I listened when they didn't.

I thought this was an interesting discussion on this topic:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Well, They All Can't Be Winners

I tried out a different water aerobics class Wednesday. It's at a 24 closer to my work and although it wasn't the aqua boot camp class, the class promised to mix cardio and resistance training.

The instructor was annoying. Her music was terrible (1950's pop hits). Alot of the class were goofing off - chatting and not working as hard as they could.

After this class, I can see how water aerobics gets a rap that it's not as challenging...

But, I got a great workout. Better than the aqua boot camp class I've been taking. Maybe because the other teacher caters to the mostly older ladies in the class? This class was mostly younger. We did jumping jacks, lounges, crunches, biceps, triceps, agility exercises and more. So, I'll be back...

Next week I'll be in Seattle for work and am hoping to try out a few classes at the Seattle 24 or perhaps find a Aqua Zumba class to try out.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Aqua Zumba!

I tried my first Aqua Zumba class last week and I LOVED it!

It's an absolute blast!!!!

My ankle is improving, but I'm back in Physical Therapy for it and starting a few weeks ago, a medication too. My doctor suggested a pool workout when I mentioned I hate not being active like I used to be. I'm also taking a aqua bootcamp class.

I'm one of the youngest ones in the class but it's certainly not Zumba Gold (Zumba for senior citizens or activity restricted populations).

I've stopped straightening my hair so I can enjoy the classes without the extra hassle. This is really the first time I've worn my hair curly except for a few days - here and there since I've gone natural. It's been an adventure.

I can't believe how fun a water workout can be or how hard I could work in the water.

Have you ever taken a water workout? What do you think? Did you get a great workout?