Tag Archives: weight loss

Drink Up: Ultima Replenisher Drink

I think I started drinking “recovery” drinks way back when with Gatorade, back when I actually ran two miles almost every day. Gatorade tasted nasty, but I figured I was putting back, um, well…stuff I needed to put back after sweating like a horse. (For most of my life I have been saying “sweat like a pig” but have recently been informed by a farmer-type friend that pigs don’t sweat.).

Did I know what I was “putting back in”? I did not. Did I read to understand all the ingredients of Gatorade and think if they worked for me? I did not.

Flash forward to the bummer diagnosis of insulin resistance. Watch that sugar source, eliminate most of it anyway. I began reading labels. Aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, fructose (okay for most, but not me), etc.

Um, and an electrolyte is?

From the Ultima web site: (yes, it’s the lazy way to do this, but hey–it’s my blog.) “The word “electrolyte” is derived from words meaning “carry” and “energy”. Electrolytes are minerals found in the healthiest foods we can eat, such as fruit and vegetables, The main electrolytes include the macro-essential electrolytes: calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and the micro-essential electrolytes: selenium, zinc and phosphorus. These minerals, when used in proper ratios, can be utilized by the body systems to control blood flow and oxygen utilization, which thus keeps our cells healthy and our muscles strong and loose. Ultima’s formula focuses on provided all of the electrolytes in correct and useable ratios. Hydration depends on electrolytes and the best way to stay hydrated is to make certain you get electrolytes.”

How we found Ultima

The Food & Exercise Guy (FEG) we visited for four sessions tuned us in to Ultima. He recommended it for the “other stuff” and the stevia, which would not affect my blood sugar. I was already using Now French Vanilla Stevia packets for my coconut-almond milk lattes and in coleslaw. (Added data: Stevia can be 70-300 times sweeter than white sugar.) Stevia was a good thing. Then he gave us the “other stuff” info, the added benefit of an electrolyte drink.

The added benefit

Here’s the gist of what the FEG said: To get optimal hydration from the water I’m drinking, I need a good balance of the different electrolytes. It takes carbs~gasp~to help electrolytes absorb best (and thus provide the best benefit to me). After the fact, when I was preparing this post, I learned that “Ultima’s researchers found that by minimizing carbs, and using only complex carbs, rather than simple sugar, the absorption is quick and effective.” So that’s why “sports drinks” made me feel nauseous, gaggy, and shaky very soon after drinking–the carb was a simple sugar. Sort of like the way I feel after eating a cheese Danish or toffee almond ice cream, dang it.

But how does it taste??

The fact is that Ultima Replenisher powder, added to water, will help me. The reality is, if it tasted like Gatorade or any other crummy sport drink, it wouldn’t matter how good it was for me–me no drink it.

The good people at Ultima (who are NOT on Twitter & YES I instructed them on the exponential value of getting their tweets going) sent me a packet of no-strings-attached-no-positive-review-hint samples of their most popular flavors. We have Lemonade and Orange at our house already. At first, I wasn’t a big fan of Orange, but now I’ve adjusted the powder-ratio to how I like it and it likes me. Remember, I was a Tang kid, so judge accordingly. Lemonade is the one I use the most.

Well. That was before I got the samples box.

Ready for the taste tasting

Before I get to that, let me say that when I was a kid, my mother was early-savvy on the white sugar thing. We had soda very infrequently and it was always an ask-first luxury item. If we did have it, it was stored in the vegetable cellar, out of our line of vision. Coke was never an option; it was Tru-Ade or Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Not sure why, but I think it had something to do with the Navy using Coke to clean the rust off bridges. (I’m not saying it’s true, I’m just saying that what I remember hearing somewhere as a young kid. I do, however, distinctly recall a baby tooth eaten in less than a week in an inch of coke in a glass bottle. That was Mr. Abraham’s experiment in sixth grade. And yes, he drank Coke in the teacher’s room.)

When Mom made Kool-Aid (shall we sing? “Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid, tastes great. Wish I had some, can’t wait!”), she put in half of the one cup sugar called for and when the “new and improved” came out, pre-sweetened, well, she wasn’t buying it.

the new favorite

All this to say that grape was my second favorite Kool-Aid flavor and Ultima’s grape is GREAT. Brings to mind the K0ol-Aid days.

Adventure Guy weighs in on taste

He tasted each of them with eight ounces of purified water. The directions say 8-12 ounces, but I wanted more flavor than not. That way, if there was an interest, but he wanted to dilute, he would still get the flavor. See how scientific this was. I would have taken pics of each glass with the ice cubes and sunshine beaming through, but alas, I have hard water and the glasses were most unattractive.

The results, in order of preference:

  1. Orange – “Reminds me of Tang”
  2. Wild Raspberry (which I thought for sure would be first)
  3. Lemonade

When it came to the Grape, he swirled the ice in the glass, sniffed the bouquet, and sipped. Cocking his head, he mushed it around in his mouth. He sipped again. I got a little worried. That was the last packet of Grape and if he liked it, it meant I was going to have to share. This time he took a deep drink. Dang it. Adventure Guy has the kind of face that looks the same whether he’s happy, sad, or mad.

Then he spoke: “I don’t like this even a little bit. Tastes like Dimetapp.”

Whew.

I’d like to know the electrolyte drinks you use and what the sweetener is in them. Please post!

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Wonder Woman Becky Danto: From Miserable Mom to Mini-Marathons

The Wake-Up Call

A time to celebrate. A birthday. Her son’s. He received a trampoline. Eyes aglow, he turned to his mom, then 271 lbs. at five foot ten inches and asked, “Mommy, can you jump on it with me?” A quick look at the safety standards and her heart sank. To make him happy would make them both unsafe.

It was then Becky Danto (@beautifulbecky on Twitter) began thinking of many other things she would miss with her children at her current weight.  Things like playing soccer or ball in the yard, sliding down slides at playgrounds, walking around amusement parks and riding rides with them. She wanted them to be proud to have friends come over to the house and play.

The Back Story

Living overweight wasn’t a new thing for Becky in 2005. It wasn’t even a having-kids sort of overweight. It had begunsoon after the first hand surgeries when she was in the fourth grade. An active kid became inactive. Enter more weight piling on and being called “orca” and “cow” in high school. Then came college, marriage, and the added baby fat with two children.

After the wake-up call, however, at 271 pounds, she donned the bracelets, tiara, boots, and cape and headed toward Wonder Woman.

Here’s the Q & A:

Me: Becky, your story on That’s Fit is compelling. You’ve had a lifetime (up until 2006) of dealing with your weight. What were some of the diets and pills you tried unsuccessfully? In looking back, why did you try those instead of a healthy path?

Becky: You name it, I probably tried it.  I did Slim Fast, LA Weight Loss, Fit America (all pills). I tried  Metabolife. I even signed up for Jenny Craig but realized I couldn’t afford to buy that food and groceries for my kids.   I thought if I did a pre made plan or have that ‘magic pill’ it would be easier to lose it.  I don’t think I ever thought I was ‘fat’ because of the way I ate.

Me: How did your boyfriend-turned-husband react to the added weight from the time you met? How has it affected your relationship then and now? You’re not only healthy, you’ve got a bikini body post two children at age 36!

Becky: My husband really never once batted an eye.  He likes the curvier, more voluptuous woman.  It never really seemed to bother him that I got bigger and bigger, but it affected my self esteem which I think halted our sex life.  I didn’t want to be touched, looked at and felt very uncomfortable naked.   Since getting healthy, it has increased my confidence and I have a GLOW which he is attracted to.

He was pretty nervous and well… his confidence decreased since I lost the weight. He was more insecure and felt since I was looking good, I was going to leave him.  That was rocky part of our marriage, but he has since started eating healthier and has started exercising and it is now something we do TOGETHER! He is so proud of me and he boasts about me any chance he gets!  He does shine when I walk into the room.

That girl is not a kid. That's the mommy!

Me: How does your body makeover affect your family? Any challenges at home to overcome during the shedding weight process?

Becky:  My family just knows what I will eat and not eat.  They know what I will cook and not cook.  Mike (my wonderful hubby) will joke to friends, ”Yeah, she doesn’t even make fried food anymore… we don’t even have a fryer in the house.”  I know he is joking because since me losing the weight, he has lost 40 lbs since January 2009.  The biggest challenge was at family gatherings, not having the healthy food I eat there.  I since then I bring my own food, and my family expects me to.

Another challenge I faced was trying to figure out a workout schedule.  Once my boys were old enough, I felt I could allow myself “me” time.  I would go walking after dinner or right after work.  I started to feel guilty that I was missing out on the evening with them. I didn’t see my kids or husband all day, and here I was going to leave them to go work out.  That is when I turned myself into a very EARLY riser.  I wake up at 4:30 every morning. I am at the gym by 5. I get a good workout in either a run/weights or a long run. I am home by 6 so Mike can go to work and then I start the day.

Me: The elusive “willpower” question. Why Weight Watchers then and not earlier attempts at Weight Watchers? What sustained you during all those two-pounds-a-week weeks? Losing 100 lbs is a looonnnnggg process. How did you handle wanting to give up? Or maybe you never felt that way.

Becky:  I wasn’t going to do Weight Watchers.  I had an appointment with a gastric bypass surgeon.  I was going to have the surgery and go from there!   Something just didn’t feel right.  I had a consult appointment with the dr, but had to have it rescheduled because I didn’t have the right documents. I was devastated. I so wanted this to be the answer.  I went home and did some reflection, and thought maybe this was someone’s way of saying… “you gotta do this on your own, Becky.”  I knew Weight Watchers worked for me in the past ( I would lose 20 lbs here, 25 lbs there), it can work again.  I signed up January 2006.  I hung up a 12-month calendar and in pencil circled my WW days and wrote down in the corner what I wanted to lose that week.  Some weeks I nailed it, some weeks I fell short.  I didn’t have a time line or a particular date I NEEDED to lose the weight by. I knew I just needed to lose it!

Well, the first 25 was gone really fast, and I knew I had to keep going to my meetings and learn more about the plan.  Before I knew it, I was celebrating 50 lbs gone, then 75 lbs.  I was getting compliments left and right.  I had a new found sense of confidence and pride. I  never once in my adult life been below 200 lbs.

I was 171 lbs and knew I only had 5 more to go be at goal and no longer pay to attend a meeting.  March 2007, I reached my goal weight (set by WW, I picked the highest in my weight/height bracket). I had to maintain that for 6wks before becoming a LIFETIME member.  Well, May 3, 2007 (my birthday) I became a lifetime member.  Just wanting to accomplish that..was my motivation.

Me: After losing 60 lbs, you became interested in the Couch to 5K training. Why running? What else did you begin to do as far as the E word, exercise?

Becky:  Mike and I always went to the gym as we were dating. It was something to do together.  I usually would do the treadmill, but always walked.  I tried other cardio machines too!  I would take fitness classes, but just felt at my size I stuck out like a sore thumb.   I started walking around my house, and well, the walking got boring. I wanted to try to run.  Well, my heart rate got up there…and LOVED THAT HIGH.  I know I really have a hard time doing anything else. I will bike ride for leisure, walk for leisure, and roller blade for leisure..but I will RUN to burn calories!

Me: I read on Twitter that you’re doing regular gym routines now. At what time in the metamorphosis did that begin? Tell us about it.

Becky: I can honestly say, I didn’t start this intense gym routine until after I hit my goal weight and maintained it for about 1 year. I realized after a year of maintaining, my body still needed a makeover.  I didn’t have muscle tone—or strength—for that matter.  My whole weight loss process I focused on losing weight. I watched my calorie intake and got the exercise in, but that was so I can lose..not maintain. I had loose skin and flabby arms.  I realized I needed to step up my game if this was going to be FOREVER!!!  It has only been more recently that I have fallen in love with lifting weights and changing my whole outlook on cardio vs. weights.  I think they BOTH play a huge role in MAINTAINING my weight.  It has taken me 3 years to learn my NEW BODY!

Me: Re-tell the story of “This is my normal.” I love that. It’s what Adventure Guy and I are living.

Becky:  Oh, my… I love my sister dearly. She was always the pencil thin girl.  In high school she was the size 0.  Before, during family gatherings and holidays, we would just eat.  I would have cookies, chips, more cookies.  Well, I was no longer indulging; I would say out loud, “ No, I am not going to eat this…”

My sister turns to me and asks me, “When are you going to eat normal again?” I turned to her and politely and calmly said, “ This is my normal!”

“Well!”  that was all she could say!

Me: Why did you decide to become a leader at Weight Watchers? Tell us how that’s turned out for you.

Becky:  I am a teacher and a teacher wants to teach everyone something new and that will better them.  I thought this would be the greatest venue to do that it.  I went and the leader wanted me to keep the weight off for a year.  Since I lost a lot of weight, they wanted me to get used to me being the NEW me!  I went for the training and started my sessions.  Unfortunately, due to life’s business of being a wife, a mom and a full time teacher/administrator, I was not able to continue being a WW leader.  It is something I will look into again when my boys (9,8) are grown.   I lost the weight to be a better mom and more active; it was hard to be more active when I was at WW meetings or at my full time job.

Me: Finish this statement: Before I lost the weight, I saw myself as someone who …

Becky:  didn’t appreciate myself and life!

Me: Now, with the after, the @beautifulbecky, complete the same statement: Now I see myself as someone who …

Becky:  loves life and myself!!!

Me: Imagine we’re sitting outside at a coffee shop in the shadow of your Wonder Woman cape, sitting and sipping something iced. How can you encourage us who are at whatever point on the path to health? What would you tell us as we hang on every word?

Becky:  I would first ask, ”What do you want?” Then I would ask you “How are you going to get what you want?”  and continue to ask “What do you need to get what you want?” Then after you say what you need to get what you want, I will ask my favorite question: “Are you going to do it?”  I would continue to say,”I can give you all the advice in the world, tell you what to buy, how to cook it, and when to eat it, but I can’t do it for you… YOU HAVE TO WANT IT and be able to reach down deep mentally, emotionally and physically and make it happen!”

Me: You go, girl. Them boots are made for running.

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“Vegesketti” Rocks & So Does the World Cuisine Turning Slicer

my vegesketti maker

How I came to be a vegetable evangelist

After Kenzie of Healthy Purpose blog made her pics of vegetable dishes look so good with what she called a “spirooli”, I purchased a World  Turning Slicer. Turns out the Spirooli is now called the boring name of World Cuisine Turning Slicer. (I think spirooli is more fun.) To call it a nonmotorized vegetable slicer just doesn’t explain it. It makes vegetables look a lot different, and when you’re eating a lot of vegetables like we are now (hooray!), it’s wonderful to have a tool that travels well and yields diversity of visual eating delights. And the price of about $26 plus shipping on Amazon made it fit my budget.

Now I make what I call “vegesketti,” using one of the on-board blades of the slicer by taking a zucchini or a yellow squash and making long strands (or short ones if I make a  couple of cuts) of vegetable “noodles.” (I wonder if someday that term will be in Wikipedia or the dictionary?) Then I lightly grill or pan “fry” them and add a chunky tomato-based sauce. We add some grilled meat and, presto! Yummy. Sometimes I cook a few quinoa noodles and mix them in for a mixture of textures.

And since I pretty much have to tell somebody when I’ve discovered something helpful (have you noticed?), I’ve carted my lightweight slicer to Crossroads International Coffee House and the Dancing Coyote Cafe here in Garden City, Utah (at Bear Lake) and loaned it to the college girls in the Beehive Cheese Company teardrop trailer across from me. Everyone has loved it and swears they’re headed to buy one. Someone asked me if I were selling them. Funny. If I were, I probably wouldn’t open my mouth. Anyone else that way? I’m a storyteller and a teacher, not a salesperson.

Here’s an example of what this little number can do:

So, if you’re looking for a boost to all those garden vegetables and your consumption of them, consider a World Cuisine Turning Slicer. ~boring name, great product~. (Here’s a side note: I emailed World Cuisine and mentioned I couldn’t find them on Twitter and would love to start a # tag for them because I am such a besotted fan. Their response? “Thank you for your kind words, but we’ll take a pass on Twitter.” They’re crazy.)

Making my daily 100%'s with the little Philips DirectLife - even one final walk the dog at 9:30 to get 'er done!

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The Reverse Pavlovian Gimme Girl

Going Dotty

Confession

You know the principle. Conditioned response. First the dog saw the food, salivated. Then the dog began to salivate when he saw the dude who brought the food whether the guy had food or not. I so relate to that dog. I used to salivate when I looked at cream cheese Danish at the 7-11, saw the guy who filled the case with cream cheese Danishes. Even if he wasn’t near the cream cheese Danish.

Now, it appears, I’m reverse Pavlov. There are no green lights at the beginning of the day. I want green lights. So I will do what I have to, to get those green lights. This would be a rather sad commentary on my susceptibility to bribes with the exception that I am doing something good for my body. I am luring the Inertiate out into the light…where Gimme Girl will run over her with a bike. I will move my molecules, wog with the dog, ride a bike, do jumping jacks, to get those little green lights.

Back to the tease from yesterday (thank you for not getting peeved at my “To Be Continued”)

So, as I was saying yesterday, I was wogging with the dog. Wearing my Philips DLactivity monitor. (I did mention I like that it doesn’t call itself an EXERCISE monitor?) It had been so many years since I’d attempted anything more than a fast walk. My body felt heavy, lumpish. Then, when I realized that I was not going to injure my upper extremity because of my firm foundation underpinning, ancient though it was, I breathed deep and began to relax. It was splurt and stop, splurt and stop. It startled the wonder dog because he isn’t used to me chasing him as he tears after the Frisbee. I was awkward, according to the shadow in the morning light, more lumbering than spritely, but hey.

After wearing him out and making my heart rate rise substantially (with a nice recovery, I thought, for a new wogger.), we headed back to the trailer at a fast trot. I wanted to see if the wogging had gotten me any green lights. Cue drool.

What up with those little green lights?

On the DL, there are six dots that lead up to 100%. One hundred percent of your goal. Three more follow to show if you pass the goal. When you plug the unit into your computer at the end of the day, it syncs and calculates the percentage of your goal you achieved for the day.

Now, for those of us who live life saying, “I wanna know NOW. Gimme credit! Gimme my due! Gimme the results!”, we have a during-the-day option.

I took it.

I burst through the trailer door, unclipped the leash from the wonder dog and pulled the necklace over my head. As per instructions, I set it on the table with the Philips logo up (of course), and watched. In a second or two, the 100% green light glowed to show me the goal. Then one green light at the end. I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. CREDIT!!! I was getting instant credit for my wogging! For moving my molecules. Oh! Then a second one popped on. By then I had fully morphed into Gimme Girl.

A short digression

Gimme Girl reminds me of Kathy Bates’ alter ego “Towanda” from Fried Green Tomatoes:

Evelyn: Excuse me. I was waiting for that space.

Girl #1: Yeah, tough!

Girl #2: Face it, lady, we’re younger and faster.

Evelyn: … Towanda! (screams & smashes into the car) Towanda!! Yes ma’am!

Girl #2: What are you doing? Are you crazy?

Evelyn: Face it, girls. I’m older and I have more insurance.

Meanwhile, back at the trailer…

I had to sit down with my tall glass of water and think this over. Dots for wogging. Very cool.

Well, then it began to rain and the thought of riding my bike to drive up more green dots seemed a little implausible. I put on my bike shorts so I would be sure to ride as soon as it cleared. Before going to bed, I took off those same bike shorts without ever having them touch the bike saddle that day. Curious, though with a certain “come to Jesus meeting” angst, I plugged in the unit to the laptop. It synced. I sighed.

A very large— really— obnoxiously LARGE font came up for the daily percentage of goal: 66%.

The Inertiate won that day.

Moving right along

So, it’s just a number, right? I’ve gone in search of better numbers these last two days and found that wogging and a determined bike ride, either up Cardio Bane Hill attended by the rodenty marmots, the skunk, and the appreciative crickets who paused to admire my slow ascent or a steady shoot into town, a zip through the side streets, startling the raccoon, and pumping my way back to the campground did the trick.

In fact, today, I was over 100% by 2 pm. How do I know that? ‘Cause Gimme Girl was looking out for me.

I locked the bike, pulled off my helmet, opened the trailer door and pulled that necklace off over my head. “C’mon, baby,” I said, ignoring the wonder dog who thought the endearment was for him. “100%, 100%. Make it happen.” I set it on the table.

The goal dot glowed. “I know, I know. Now gimme some green dots.” I pushed the sweaty hair off my face and waited. One dot, two dots, three dots, four…five…

“Keep going!” I shouted at the DL. “One crummy dot from 100%? I pedaled my BUTT OFF.”

And then I remembered naming. Lovely, lovely, dial-it-in naming. Here’s the definition of it: “Activity naming is a new feature in Directlife. With Activity naming you can interact with your activity data, naming what you were doing during a certain interval which will adjust your score for that timeslot.”

You see, the DL didn’t know I was riding a bike. It just knew I was moving. So with naming (ah, I LOVE that function), I had a second shot to GET CREDIT for moving my molecules. I entered the activity, the time of day it happened (from the chart already there), the duration and that it was moderate (more than 12 mph), as opposed to high, which was racing. (The only thing I was racing for was little green dots.)

Once that was saved, I looked at my percentages. In lovely, lovely–really–not nearly big enough numbers, it read:

WEDNESDAY   152% (1256 calories burned)

THURSDAY 159% (1314 calories burned)

Green dots, baby! Ring that bell, Pavlov. I love me some green dots.

Celebrate with me that I’m moving my molecules? The challenge arises when I get back to suburbia and all that entails. But for now, I am one startled fat woman. Who’s grinning, just a little.

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Just Call Me “Gimme Girl”: The Philips DirectLife Activity Monitor Report #1

When I investigated exercise monitors, idly at first, then with more interest, I found there were quite a lot of them, each stronger in some areas than others. I wanted more than a heart rate monitor, less than something that an Olympian would use. I’d seen the Body Bugg poster in my 24-Hr gym and thought the black armband a bit intimidating. A review mentioned it user interface was a little complicated.  That gave me pause. What did I want an exercise monitor to do for me?

Well, duh. Make me exercise. Make me love it. Make me a smooth, muscled beach number. Deep breath. Okay, since a piece of electronics can’t do that, I had to move on to other wants. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Easy to use. No fumbling around with it while I was exercising or living life. Oh. I wanted it to turn my living life activity into something that counted? Hmmm. Okay.
  • Not complicated when uploading to the website. Oh, I guess I wanted it to go somewhere so I could make sense of it all. Okay. We’re getting somewhere now.
  • Small. I hate to carry a pocketbook. I have a small smart phone. Don’t give me something else to find a pocket for.
  • No armband. This narrowed the field considerably. Although I am not opposed to wearing an armband in the gym, I wanted something to assess my functional fitness. You know, moving the molecules in real life, not just when I hit a scheduled (or, speaking theoretically, a potentially scheduled visit to the gym or road (with my bike)). And that did not include a “look at me” black armband in my normal life.

Oh, and a lot less money than a VitaMix. Although I have a 13-year-old VitaMix and esteem it highly, I wasn’t in the market to pay similar bucks for an exercise monitor. I didn’t even know if I’d use the thing. The DL is around a hundred bucks with the four-month subscription with a trainer.

What it is

I wanted small. It's small.

The Philips DirectLife calls itself an “activity monitor” which, as a recovering inertiate, I appreciated. Not just something for a trip to the gym. I’m not yet—nor may never be—the heart rate diva or tattoo  how many reps per set I can do on my upper arm. I am most concerned about getting moving consistently. As my little sister says, “movement.” DirectLife’s philosophy sounded like a connection. Plus—it’s waterproof. As in I can go into a water aerobics class and have it mean something. At least I thought it would mean something. I still wasn’t clear about how it would help me.

The fine print

Philips offered me, as a lifestyle blogger, the DirectLife monitor, to review it here. And here’s my disclosure. I didn’t ask them to give me a complimentary unit with the standard four-month trainer-by-email support. They offered it without any statement on what I was to do with it except use it and get more active. I am reviewing it for my blog and the good, the bad, and the really lame gets the same space as the raves and, if possible (oh, dear God, let it be) shrieks of joy. I have no pressure/hint/a Philips Guido-type relative showing up  to suggest I write a favorable review.

The beginning

To start off, there’s an 8-day assessment time in which I wore the monitor. Several

This is not actually my chest.

places to wear it: as a necklace outside clothing, inside my underpinning, in a pocket. I’ve elected inside and outside as a necklace. I charged it. I started wearing it. That was it. And usually forgot I had it on until I moved quickly and felt the nudge of a foreign object in my upper region. (That was a bit startling the first couple of days.)

My trainer

There’s a real Jen who is a real trainer via email. One of the first questions I asked her, while impatiently waiting for the unit to do its thing on my “normal” activity level for the assessment level, was “are you a real Jen or are there 20 women in a room and you all use the name Jen?”

“Fair question,” she responded promptly. (The speed at which she responded startled me. We’re talking less than a few hours.) “Yes, I am a unique Jen.”

Turns out, @foodiemcbody also has/had her for a coach with her DirectLife. @foodiemcbody says, “She rocks.” Thus far, Jen certainly has put in the time with all my questions and what ifs and what I will do and what I will not do. Yes, I unloaded a few rants about exercise.

It’s show time

At the end of the assessment period, which ended Tuesday, I stuck the unit into an adapter with a USB and plugged it into my laptop. At first, the site didn’t seem to like my Google Chrome browser and wouldn’t let me play, but I got it to work on Explorer and then the next day it very nicely logged me in on Chrome with no attitude. Who knows why.

It began to sync. I began to sweat. How low was I?

And the answer is

I am a level 2 activity on a scale of 6.

Level 1 showed an icon of someone sitting. A bit of the old competitive nature I hadn’t used much, stirred. At least my person was standing. At Level 3, the person is actually walking. I am above average (not much) based on country, gender, and age group, but lower than the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. Since the WHO has seldom (read that: NEVER) figured into my fitness paradigm, I’ll have to check out what they think is fit. I’ll let you know. Promise.

So the DL declared that my first goal was to bump up the 806 calories/day assessment activity level to 1036 per day for the 12-week stint. Okay. And that means…?

What that looks like

“Bump it up, bump it up” was the first thing I thought when I woke up this morning. I WILL INCREASE MY MOVEMENT TODAY. I WILL GET THE GREEN DOTS TO MARCH THROUGH TO 100%. Correction, I thought of the DL right after I wished I had closed the travel trailer blind so the early morning sun would leave me alone.

I put it on. I wore it all day. I made a point to move my molecules more. I was intentional.

I wogged with the dog. A wog is a walk with a spurt of a jog for people like me who can’t/won’t do a full jog/run. A word coined by either Becky Who Does Math, Trula, or Trula’s sister. After checking it out on the internet, you’d best only use it as we do, as a positive action verb and never as a noun. I’m just saying.

Startled

And then, about an hour into the new day, in the middle of a wog, I found out I was a Gimme Girl. Never saw it coming.

So, you ask, scrolling down for more, “Did the thing work? How did you know you did good? What the heck is a Gimme Girl?”

Slow down, turbo. Tomorrow. Let me just say there was a great deal of bickering between Gimme Girl and the Inertiate. Who won? Sigh. Tomorrow.

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Dang—Suckered Again

To date, consistency has eluded me

It’s happened again.

Remember when I said I had a rich thought life? Well, since the rehab of the living room and dining room has wandered to a close and I’ve dug out those rooms, my “floor exercise” is over. I lost three lbs during the house work. Now, however, I have lapsed back into my rich thought life.

Evidence

I wrote about Wonder Woman Janet Pratt and how she moves her molecules. On Twitter, I cheer on @beautifulbecky and @skinnyemmie who  go to the gym and work like mad. Then a blog post comes in from Kalli at fitandfortysomething and her 30-mile bike ride. @healthylosergal (we’re the same age) hits the gym, continues her nearly 100 lb weight loss, and goes on a date. Then I read Steph’s Yelps on what cool place she’s checked in and the great food she’s eating. I’m there, I’m reading it. I’m cheering on my sister bloggers.

See the problem?

Yeah. They are living their life and moving their molecules and I’m not. It’s an occupational hazard of writers,

I could, but I'm not

actually. We are observers and some of us (like me) must be participants as well to write as richly as we think. Regardless of how encouraging or lovely these gals and their lives/transformations, I need to live my life, and not as some cyberspace peeping tom. Yuck.

You’ll also remember my list of what I already own to get my molecules moving, to commit the E word on purpose and consistently. To get beyond “inertiate.” Sigh. Adventure Guy and I are at the end of two months since beginning our shedding chronicles. Lots of positive progress. (See all previous posts; except the ones about the E word). It’s the exercise that’s not getting going. Yes, I can ride a bike 30+ miles. One day. A month ago. But it’s the everyday stuff that helps shed the excess. At least 20 minutes every day of raising my heart rate. Food and Exercise Guy says so. And that’s not the flexibility and strengthening realm either.

[Insert a list of excuses here why I am not exercising, with weather the chief one. Totally irrelevant because I also own a gym membership.]

Sexy new thing?

I think I’m below exercising at this point and need to concentrate on the seminal concept of movement. My sister Linda doesn’t say she’s going to the Y in her Massachusetts town to exercise. She calls me afterward and says she engaged in some movement. Sometimes it’s really cool movement like pickle ball.

I’m awaiting delivery of a Philips DirectLife exercise monitor, what I hope is the sexy new thing that will tip me

Will this help me out?

over into more daily movement. As in something more than sitting at the computer, driving around for errands, and thinking. Richly. Yeah, and reading other people’s lives.

I chose the DirectLife because it seemed to fit where I’m at (um, starting at nowhere) and my preferences like ease of user interface, waterproofness (is that a word?) and a human trainer on the other end of an email. And small. Unobtrusive. As in tuck inside my topside underpinning.

Plus it has green lights which will simply tell me where I am on moving for the day. The stupendously cool additional thing about it is that I planned to review it for this blog (hopefully with shrieks of victory) and when I emailed Philips about a coupon to defray the $99 price tag (which includes four months of aforementioned human trainer on the other end of the email), they graciously offered to send me one. Gratus. Eeek. How much more supported can I freaking be?

Me and my rich thought life. We gotta get moving.

Anyone use a sexy gadget to monitor movement? Do you like it? Tolerate it? Give us some deets, please.

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First Wonder Woman Profile: Janet Pratt – From Couch Potato to Certified Fitness Trainer

I’ve had wake up calls. You know the ones. Where you become suddenly, painfully aware that the path you are on heads straight to Ickyville, or worse. Adventure Guy looked at the back of the bathroom door and saw the parade of medications for conditions often eliminated if excess weight is gone. Wake up call. Mine was heartburn & smacking my knees against my stomach riding the CASVAR last year.

As we move along the path toward shedding excess in life in general and weight in specific, I’m finding women I think are wonders, WONDER WOMEN. Sometimes it’s because of where they came from. Other times it’s how they dealt with a single issue. Or because of who they are, what I learned from them. Today, as the inaugural Wonder Woman profile, I want you to meet Janet Pratt of The Dancing Cyclist blog.

How we met

It was the year 2000 and we were at a writers’ retreat at author Lauraine Snelling’s. Janet weighed 285 lbs then, at  five feet five inches tall. Later, she

Hint: Janet is NOT the one on the left

and her family moved to the Salt Lake Valley a few blocks from me for about a year and a half. We talked about losing weight. Neither of us did very much and for very long. Later, after they moved, we lost touch.

Recently, when I found her on FaceBook—or she found me, can’t recall—I thought it must be the wrong Janet Pratt. She did not look like the same woman.

Back to wake-up calls

We’re talking about wakeup calls. Any of you have yours at K-Mart? Falling down on the floor because your stomach overhang made your back spasm and you couldn’t get up? And once the security guard got you off the floor and your mom got you home, you crawled to the bathroom and couldn’t get off the floor and had to lay there and wait for your husband? As in paramedics had to come because the sheet your family tried as a sling didn’t work?

That was Janet’s.

Here now is the Q & A:

Me: I’ve read the story about your wakeup call. It made my stomach clench and I wasn’t even there. You’ve come along since that humiliation and the pit. How long did it take you from that day to now?

Janet: About five and a half years. With lots of plateaus and stalls. But losing it slowly has allowed my skin time to adjust , so I don’t have a lot of the sag that many people who lose a large amount of weight end  up with.

Me: Why do you think the wakeup call motivated you to action rather than more “emo” eating as Steph at Noshtopia calls it?

Janet: I couldn’t eat for about 8 days. The pain pills made me sick. When I realized I had lost some weight from not eating, I decided to keep going.

Me: How consistent were you in your first days/weeks of “moving your molecules,” as I call it. You know, the E word. Were you ever in “pre-exercise” days?

Janet: I didn’t exercise at first, just cut back on what I was eating. No white flour, no white sugar. Only drank water. After I lost about 20 pounds I started going to Curves.  I was pretty consistent about it. I went every day. I didn’t really like it, but 20 pounds were gone and I wanted to keep the forward momentum.

Me: How up front were you with your family and friends about yet another attempt to lose weight?

Janet: I told them exactly what I was doing. I started biking around that time too.

Me: How did your eating habits change over the five and a half years? Are you the only one who eats that way at your house?

Janet: I have come to prefer my brownies made with whole wheat flour and evaporated cane juice crystals. I try to eat as naturally as possible. My first diet was born of frustration with all the conflicting diets on the market. I finally decided to consult the “owner’s manual”. I ate fruits, vegetables and broiled or grilled meats like the people in the Bible. Olive oil instead of butter. That kind of thing.  It appeared that only children drank milk but I wasn’t sure. I switched to rice milk on my cereal. At first I didn’t like the taste of it; now I prefer it.

Food-combining diets say not to have carbs and proteins at the same meal. The theory makes sense. But Jesus gave the people bread and fish. If it was just going to rot in their stomach, He’s the guy who would have known that. I don’t think He would have given them anything that wasn’t good for them.

I’m the only one in my family who eats the way I do. My husband and daughter both like junk food.

And I’m no saint. I have my moments where a Reese’s gets the better of me, but generally, I eat very healthy.

Me: What health concerns did you have when you were your heaviest?

Janet: I really didn’t have any concerns at the time. I really had no clue how big I had gotten or how bad it was for  me. I was basically oblivious. Overweight people have a way of looking at themselves in the mirror: chin up to

15 years of excess weight

smooth out double chins (I still take my pictures that way), stomach pulled in. And then when you see a picture of yourself in a relaxed pose you think, ”Oh that’s just a really bad picture.” I was clueless. But high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes run in my family. I think I got it together soon enough to dodge a bullet or two that were headed right for me. We’ll see.

What was your wake up call? Do you sense one impending? Have you been ignoring one?

Wednesday: How Janet overcame inertia and headed for the biggest challenge of her life: becoming a certified fitness trainer at age 48. And yes, there will be a REVEAL.

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In Which Adventure Guy & I are Startled

Time for an update

Confession

After our fourth and final meet with The Food & Exercise Guy (FEG), we were a wee bit disappointed. For some reason, probably something FEG said about someone who’d lost X (oh, those numbers) in  the first month, we felt like we’d failed. We didn’t lose X like he mentioned. I lost six lbs and AG lost 10. Insert a chorus of women shrieking, “Guys ALWAYS lose faster than girls!”)

Friend Becky said wisely, “It’s still weight off your ass” or something to that effect. Five pounds of sugar and a pound of butter. Okay, it’s still results.

Despite not being in the One-der World we’d envisioned, we did not, however, lose sight of the goal and the shedding of excess. We also didn’t eat our faces off in discouragement. We just kept going.

Startled

Right after our house began its rehab program and I began de-constructing and finding a gifting for it, Adventure

"Floor exercises"

guy came into the bedroom where I’d collapsed after three days of “floor exercises” (read that pulling carpet and pad, staples, wood screws, and metal carpet bar and carpet tack strips).

“I pantsed myself,” he said happily.

The story revealed: He’d tripped on the equally nude front INSIDE stairs (thankfully) and his jeans’ hem and divested himself of material goods. Both layers, clear down to the buck stops here.

“Cool!” I said.

Not the actual Adventure Guy

He dug around in a box marked “CAN’T WEAR CLOTHES” and found a pair of non-stretch jeans he hadn’t worn in three years. They fit. He smiled. I smiled. The shedding continues, regardless of the scale numbers. (I’m beginning to get the same attitude toward numbers as I do toward chunks of food vs. bits)

As a surprise, I trotted to our local thrift department store to find him a pair of barometer shorts. Savers is a handy place when you don’t want to pay retail (even on a sale) for something you really hope you won’t be wearing in about two months. I picked him up a pair of brand-new (tags still on and crease in legs) shorts two sizes smaller than the jeans he’d parted company with. On a 50% ticket. Three bucks. “Barometer shorts,” I said. Something for him to look forward to.

He tried them on. They fit. We smiled. Maybe did a leap or two. Me. Adventure guy’s not a leaper.

Since then, he’s found XL shirts that were too big in the stomach area. YES! His bike shorts are getting deep wrinkles. YES!

Fat Woman

In reviewing my scale and nonscale goals, I am pleasantly surprised. That’s what I’ve calmed down to—pleasantly

Not actually me

surprised—from ecstatic.

Entering The One-derful Zone

On May 11, I posted these goals:

  • Middle number on scale drops to 1 from 2 and stays there over a week. In fact, it’s still there. YES!
  • Drop a size in underpinnings. YES! Both ends. (In case you’re wondering.)
  • Barometer clothing: I purchased a pair of One-derful capris as barometer, a size smaller. Got them home. FIT! Lousy barometer, but a lovely addition to my wardrobe.
  • Bike jerseys are backing away from too much affection for my stomach area. Noticeably. YES!

Looking forward to One-derful Zone of a ONE in the front of the scale weight. According to the scale, that’s going to be awhile.

Further Startles

A 50% off all clothing at Saver’s for Memorial Day and I was on the hunt for more barometer capris, since I’d had Barometer Failure previously. Scored Coldwater Creek NEW in a size one above the erstwhile “dream size” . Barometer capris. By fall, I’d be able to wear them to school.

Back home. THEY FIT. Now I haven’t worn this size since about year three of marriage to Adventure guy. Disclaimer: I am not a stupid woman. I know that different brands fit differently and that I am not purely a size above the dream size. In fact, I picked up another pair of Nearly Dream Size capris and THEY FIT. The third pair in that size, however, have a long way to go. They’re up, but they are no way near close to leaving the building.

I have one pair of summer bottoms with a 2 in the front, simply because they are adventure shorts and dry quickly when washed in a sink or take a dip in a lake. The rest are One-derful.

And so it goes. And it’s going! Thanks for encouragement and laughs you provide with your comments. Let’s build the dialogue with your own path as well.

Next post: Adventure guy and I take the Shedding Chronicles on our first road trip. Will we blow it big time and excuse it as vacay? Come see.

Click here for the recipe for these yummy Coconut Almond cookies

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Craving New Comfort Food Amid House Rehab

Both the house & myself!

I’ve been under a bit of challenge with my house. We are replacing icky, icky original carpet with laminate flooring and I’m the pit boss. Not a bad job for a bossy girl.

Confession

My clean eating, however, took a dive. And however—again—I was startled to find that what used to work as a comfort food now doesn’t. Think heartburn and feeling worse than gross.

You see, I bought into the lie that it was easier to eat the McDonald’s I brought to the workers Tuesday and the pizza I ordered Wednesday and the Arby’s sandwiches yesterday. (Thankfully, by yesterday, I only ate a half sandwich instead of cramming the whole thing down my throat like the ____(insert obscene numbers of pizza slices I scraped the top off and ate Wednesday.) Disclosure: My fridge, still easily accessible, is full of healthy food. The microwave works. I had access to plates, etc.

I paid for it. I don’t know if it’s wheat from bread I’ve not had for almost two months, or the unhealthy fat content, or what, but old comfort food didn’t work. I’m sorry it took me three days to figure it out, yet glad it only took me three days. You know?

As dinner time approached, I once again had a choice (don’t we always?) Order in, go out, or make my own dinner. I was craving comfort food, my house is still very much in progress. There was yet more Killz paint on the dining room floor drying, which blocked the exit route for the wonder dog to his backyard. Details, details. I wanted something to eat to feel better*. I mean, it WAS dinner time.

Startled

I found it in my fridge. Sometimes adventure guy and I do what I call, “Eating down the inventory.” You’ve probably done it at your house. You decide you’re not going to spend more money on food when there’s food at home. It just may not be exciting food. Or it may be bits and require a little imagination to combine. Well, last night, my imagination had survived yet another day of pit bossing.

The result tasted glorious. Not what I’d call photogenic, but so warm and yummy and comforting.

Yummy

(You’ll have to minus out the watermelon shown in the picture. I tossed it after adventure guy’s comment:”Is that the same stuff you gave me yesterday for lunch?” Me: “Yes.” Him: “It’s rancid.”)

Here’s what went into the kettle for Quick Dump Yum Soup. Ingredients were leftovers and cook aheads:

  • Partial container of no-fat refried beans
  • Last bits of cooked chicken
  • A scoop of cooked ground turkey
  • A handful of coconut meat leftover from making coconut milk
  • The rest of a jar of salsa
  • Coconut milk to make the desired consistency
  • A scoop of chia gel for superfood nutrition Kenzie of Healthy Purpose got me started on chia seed. It only takes a bitty bit to use it and I have quite a lot, so I’m searching ways to use it up! (P.S. She wants to change the world one bite at a time. I like that.)

Then I made the stir-fried green beans I’ve mentioned before. I already had the peanut sauce in a Mason jar in the fridge. (My fridge looks like a science experiment. Adventure guy doesn’t open anything before asking, “Is this food or “parts” of something?”)

We ended up dumping the beans into the soup so we only had to carry one dish to the office. We ate in the two chairs that are relatively clear of stuff.

Amid the sighs and groans of comfort food, a niggling thought resurfaced:  My peace comes from inside, not the circumstances surrounding me. Food will never comfort me the way God intended me to be comforted.

I’ll be working on that.

Tell me how you handle things when they’re in an uproar.

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The Redemptive Cycle Salt Lake Century Ride

Confession

Those of you who read this blog and forward it to your friends (that was a hint) know that the

Feeling great at first rest stop

previous Goldilocks group ride was a definite lemonade outing.

For the Cycle Salt Lake Century ride, I wanted good weather and I wanted to ride a long ways and I wanted to have fun.

This ride—we weren’t riding the 100-mile century—is chatted up as the flattest century route in Utah. With good reason. The hills aren’t hills, but rather inclines.

Still, I had a past with this ride.

Last year

  • We had to go back to the house (almost an hour round trip) because I forgot my bike shoes.
  • We got lost because everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) was already long gone and the markings out of the fairpark were dubious. Add six miles to the 37-mile course we’d chosen.
  • My hands and feet went numb about ten miles from the end of the ride.
  • I had to walk all the inclines.
  • My chain fell off several times.
  • My rear end was so sore on the way back I had to get off and walk a lot.

I’m laughing as I re-read this. Is anyone but me asking, “Why on earth are you still riding a bicycle?” There have actually been a LOT more times of pure joy on a bike than icky times. Really. I mean it. You just haven’t read me that long.

Startled

The weather was about as near perfect as you can get. I like to ride cool as opposed to warm, so starting out with a light wind jacket suited me. It stayed cool most of the day, with a few patches where I stopped and took off the jacket. Sunny with puffy clouds.

Last year, my average miles per hour was barely 9 miles an hour. This year it was 12.2. Surprised the heck out of me once when I looked down at my computer and I was sailing at 17 mph.

That overpass

Memories of last year flooded in as I approached the overpass. I saw the point where I’d had to stop and walk. Across the street, the place where my chain fell off as I was going downhill. I had panicked but managed to get myself off to the side of the road without causing a multi-cyclist pile up.

A zero-body fat guy in a pristine team jersey outfit stopped to see if I needed help. No way was I letting him get jump-out grease on him! (Have  you  experienced jump-out grease? It’s grease that no matter where you thought you were, you were in the area where the grease jumps out and gets on you. A nod of the head to Gail H. for that phraseology.)

But that was last year. This year, a different bike, maybe a different me. So I shifted down and up I went. Actually OUT OF THE SADDLE AND PUMPING! And went. And went until I was almost at the top and thought,

“Good golly, Miss Molly, I’m going to ride this freaking hill!”

I did.

I rode EVERY incline and didn’t have to get off and walk. Ever.

And my hands didn’t fall asleep!

A new way of looking at the numbers

The plucky adventure guy

At the first rest stop, when I ascertained from the ham radio operator that there was indeed a sag wagon who would bring me back to the fairpark start (and where our trusty Subaru adventure vehicle was waiting), I talked adventure guy into not returning the way we’d come last year for a 37-mile ride.

I enthused. “Let’s blow our wad by going ahead. Let’s keep going until we fall over and then have the sag wagon pick us up and take us back to the park!”

He was reluctant. A couple of concepts in my suggestion rankled him:

  • Not finishing something official. The 37 mile is billed as that. Unlike the “let’s ride until we fall over” adventure I was espousing.
  • Using the sag wagon.

The sag wagon is a service provided with a full-support organized ride. It’s for, well, when you sag out and you can’t go on or get hurt, or for whatever reason. Volunteers drive the route and look for people at the side of the road. If they slow down and ask, you give them a thumbs up if you’re actually are enjoying the scenery or trying to catch your breath. If you say, “Oh, thank God” and start crying, they get the idea you want in. Can you see, however, how the connotation of sag wagon is not one of victorious across-the-finish-line pedaling? Yeah. That’s where he was.

But I did have a point in my favor. Rather, a point in his rear end. He had decided to ride a new saddle that day. May I interject to NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, DO THAT. This new saddle was not working. In fact, it was pointedly not a good saddle for him. You get my drift? So I won him over that help would be immediate should his back end give out. We left the first rest stop at 17 miles and pedaled on.

The change in perspective enlivened me! To go as far as I wanted and have another option, ratherthan slogging back a way I’d already seen three times in two years. Yes! Since cycling does leave time for a rich thought life, I wondered what else could I think about differently and open the gates of Can Do?

Pedaling on

We saw great and wonderful mini farms, a happy Border Collie chasing cyclists from behind his fence, log homes next to McMansions, lilac-scented suburban streets, country roads. Nice and flat. After many miles, however, we began wondering if we’d missed the lunch stop. Although I’d had my nuts and fruit and a generic fig bar, I was thinking LUNCH. Adventure guy was thinking BUTT.

We were stopped by the side of the road pondering this when a woman (GOD, BLESS HER, PLEASE!) stopped on her return trip. “You’re four miles away,” she called across the road. “You can do it.” Our expressions must have been telling.

Sometimes bikers are nicest people.

The take away

We noshed on a build-your-own sandwich. I had turkey, swiss cheese and way too much mayo. It’d been nearly two months since mayo. It wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. Neither was the cheese. Weird. Oh, and I ate Fritos. Yes, I ate voraciously and to my later chagrin. Adventure guy realized his end was at the end and we took the sag wagon back to the park.

End mileage: 37.44.

Just a teensy bit, but still further than last year. In the end (sorry, adventure guy, for the pointed pun), we went further than if we’d stayed on the familiar course. And that made all the difference.

I want to know:

  • what could you think about differently and open the gates of Can Do?
  • what’s any different this year than last with your body?
  • where could you go if you deviate from what’s comfortable and usual?

Let’s talk!

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