Can’t Function Without… My Fitbit Friday

I didn’t realize the heights (or maybe I should say depths) of my addiction to my FitBit until I lost it this week. At first, I thought I just wasn’t seeing it around the house because I didn’t have my glasses on. But when I put on my glasses, and still couldn’t spot that little neon green thing — I freaked! It took me almost an entire day to find it, and I was constantly bemoaning to Kevin the fact that I was “missing steps.” I kept tapping the place on my hip where it usually resides, and I felt like a piece of me was missing!!!

So I’ve had my little FitBit Zip for MONTHS!!! I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about it. Partially because I do enough advertising for free, but now I feel the time has come. I’m a fangirl. Let’s play I Spy The Fitbit! Bet you didn’t spot it here:

fitbit fan girl

What about here?

fitbit zip review

Sneaky.

And it’s not just limited to workout clothes. It’s a great accessory with some J.Crew too:

fitbitlove1

Okay, I guess working out isn’t limited to workout clothes either!! The point is that I’m always wearing it. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. It’s a teeny tiny little neon green thing that’s practically attached to my hip.

So what’s the point of it? Basically it tells me when I’m moving, and when I’m not:

fitbit stats

What up — doing pretty good for a Friday morning thanks to the 400’s we ran in CrossFit!!

My daily target goal was automatically set for 5 miles a day, and I haven’t changed that setting. As you can see, there are tabs where you can manually enter activities, your weight, and check out your friends’ steps. Now, I’m ashamed to show you this, because I’m almost always winning, but keep in mind that it was lost for a day so that really had a serious (very serious – haha) impact on my step total:

loser

Do you see “Linda” on the bottom?

Yeah, that’s right. That’s my MOM!!!  She needs to get some more steps in, am I right? Just kidding. But what I wanted to say is that… my mom does not have a cellphone. Yeah, that’s right! It’s not that she doesn’t have a smartphone. She actually does not have a cellphone. But guess what? This still works for her because there’s also a place to login online and see all the same info. It looks like this: fitbit dashboard   Isn’t it pretty? I mean this with love, but you know it’s very user-friendly when my mom set it up by herself. :) She has also put it through the washing machine, and it still works! 

One of the best parts is that it syncs wirelessly. Yay!! There’s a little usb thing that syncs automatically whenever your FitBit is in a close enough range. My mom and I both just keep them in our computers at all times. It also syncs automatically with my iPhone app. I have a super old iPhone 4 (can you believe I haven’t broken it????) so I don’t think it’s quite as efficient, but it still works!!! Another perk is that it doesn’t have to be charged. It has a little battery that you have to replace every 4-5 months, but you can buy them easily at Target. I just bought a 2-pack, and I’m set for the rest of the year!

fitbit screenYou actually don’t even have to sync it constantly because you can check your current day’s steps on the little screen. If you tap the screen, it toggles to show you the day’s mileage and the time (it’s a watch too!!).

Now why would I need one of these? I work out quite a bit, right? Yeah. In a way, it’s just a toy. But it’s a really fun toy! It motivates me to take Pippa for extra walks, walk around in airports, walk circles around my kitchen table, take the stairs, blah, blah, blah. You can use the website to see what hours of the day you were totally inactive:

fitbit time active

Yep, that’s the day my FitBit was lost, found it around 2PM. :)

But guess what else ? I consider myself to be a very active person, but check out my stats even on a good day:

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 10.17.02 AM

That seems fairly unimpressive, right? Especially for a runner and a CrossFitter who works from home!!!

We all sit way too much even if you workout 60 minutes or run a 5k a day, that’s really not enough, in my opinion.

New evidence suggests, in fact, that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are. That’s right: Even a sculpted six-pack can’t protect you from your chair. (source)

So anything that encourages you to get up and move it  throughout the day, I think, is a worthwhile investment. It’s a good reminder that what you do in the 23 hours outside the gym matters too!!

I’d like to get one on Kevin someday because I feel so bad for him sitting in an office all day!! :/

I do have to say on the thing for the runners out there:

fitbit and running

I definitely wore it when I ran a half marathon with my dad it cheated me out of 2+ miles. I know because I was wearing a Garmin, plus it’s marked course that my dad has run for years. Not a big deal because I still got 13+ miles in that day, but I’m just saying. I would never use it to track running mileage. It does, however, seem very accurate when I’m walking.

Tip for the CrossFitters: You get great steps for practicing double unders.

One last cool thing is that you can sync it the MyFitnessPal app to track both exercise & diet!! I did this a little bit during my paleo challenge, mostly to make sure I was eating enough!!

Fitbit also has a wristband version with some cooler stats, but I like the Zip because it’s tiny, cheap, and unobtrusive. I have to also note that I was hesitant to buy it first because a while back, I had a BodyBugg. I’m always really nice up in my blog, but I can’t hate on that thing enough. It was big, ugly, you had to use a cord, it never really worked right, and the customer service was horrible.

Do you have a Fitbit? Or other step tracker? I want some more friends on there!!!!! Let me know. What do you think of it? They also make great gifts. :)

What do you think your Sedentary/Lightly Active/Very Active pie would look like on a typical day? I’ve been sedentary for 85 hours this week (excluding sleep)!

P.S. You can buy them on Amazon Prime for $59.95 and be counting your steps in 2 days!!

And no, I haven’t tried putting on Boyd or Pippa… yet. Boyd would be like 100% sedentary, but I bet I could get some good mileage out of Pippa C!

Wall Balls + New Boykin Tricks!

Last night we got to play with a new toy at the gym!

Hello, Medicine Ball! You’re not quite as harmless as you  look!

And this workout looked kind of like a nice Friday workout. I mean, only two exercises!

Five rounds for time of:

  • 15 Medicine ball cleans
  • 15 Wall ball shots

Oh my. Wall ball shots is like playing dodgeball. Wall versus you. And the ball is really heavy so don’t let it hit you in the face !

Kevin took the lead immediately. I think it’s because he’s not a girl who is afraid of the ball. Haha. Kevin used a 12 pound medicine ball in rounds 1-4 and was still apparently feeling frisky. So he grabbed the 18 pound ball to finish in 10:38!

Don’t my arms look ripped? I haven’t been able to stop admiring them. Yeah, a little big for my tastes, but I look like I could do some damage. However, this workout did a little damage on my pride. Kevin almost lapped me!! I used an 8 pound ball for the wall balls and 10 pounds for the cleans. That seemed like a TON of weight for me to catch, and I got a little scared about it coming towards my face!! I need to work on my strategy of how close I should stand to the wall. And it would probably help if I could see (I don’t have contacts – so that makes catching a ball a little bit scarier).

My time: 12:45

After our workout, we played around with the TRX bands a little bit. Look at Kevin in teacher mode! He’s done a little training with them before so he was showing me the ropes!! I love playing with new stuff at the gym. But I am still just loving those box jumps!

Unfortunately, I did not sleep well at all last night which I have found to be my #1 warning sign that I have been overtraining. That’s what I get for that 1000 Rep Workout on Wednesday. And I know I haven’t been talking about my running as much lately, but I’ve still been cracking away at a 5k or more every single day. So that all adds up, and I was super sore this morning.

Kevin and I kind of took it easy this morning and had our regular Saturday morning Starbucks date.

Before we left, I caught Boyd trying to give Kevin a Spiderman Kiss!!!!!!!

Hehe. Busted!!!

I ordered something new-to-me at Sbux. Can you believe it?

Iced Americano! I’ve always noticed that lattes upset my stomach. Something to do with the coffee and the dairy in the morning?  Anyways. I loved it. Definitely a good option for me. And cheaper! Kevin even thought it was okay. And he doesn’t really like coffee all that much.

I know I said I was sore, but it really helps to do a little shake-out run. It seriously does.

Freckle pop! It got sunny out!  I ran Boyd 1.25 miles, and the did another 2.5 on my own.

I thought for a second today that I taught Boyd a new trick! I told him to fetch my sweaty shirt, and he did it! Kevin and I just sat there and watched in awe. Of course, I tried to get him to do it again. And by that time he thought my shirt was a toy, and I had to trade him a piece of broccoli to get it out of his mouth. Silly Boykin!

Have a great Saturday, and remember to mix it up at the gym – or the outdoors! Try something new! It’s fun. And bring a friend with you to do it. I like having Kevin with me when I try new things so he can check my form and help me troubleshoot. I sometimes make him watch YouTube videos with me on correct form before we go to the gym. What a lucky guy. Oh my. Just found a humiliating spelling error in an old post. That’s what I get for bragging about my arms!

 

 

 

 

2 Jar Meals + My Least Favorite Exercise

I totally did not meal plan this week. Not at all. I used all my creative cooking up on the in-laws! So this week we’ve had meals inspired by jars seen in the grocery store.

I was originally planning to buy the Korma sauce I had seen the other day, but when I read the labels – this one seemed like a better idea. Spicier & lower in calories. Don’t you love that those 2 things often go together? I’ve noticed that when I order at restaurants (for example: at Firebowl I always order one of the spicer sauces because it’s the lowest calorie content).

We paired the sauce with boiled carrots, celery, cauliflower, and potatoes. Unfortunately, we were impatient and didn’t cook the vegetables long enough so they were pretty crunchy. But the sauce was awesome. I want to try a Vegetable Korma recipe from scratch one day soon!

Jar meal #2:

My wandering grocery store eye spotted this green chile sauce, and I knew it could be the starter for a delicious meal. And only 5 calories a serving!!! You could have the whole jar for less than 100 calories. I should have one for lunch someday! Haha.

Layer of green chile sauce on the bottom. Inside the tortillas: refried beans pureed with fresh spinach & red onion. More sauce and part-skim cheese on top. These were so filling I could barely polish off one! I don’t know what my deal is tonight.

Oh. Check this out. Remember my failed Cookie Friday Hot Cocoa Cookies?

Well. I still had the dough in the fridge. And it was just sitting there making me look like a loser. So I put some in a ramekin, and made kind of a hot cocoa cake!! Awesome, right? Kevin was definitely a fan. He has to have something sweet after dinner.

My Least Favorite Exercise: I can’t even begin to describe to you how much I despise push-ups. They are, hands down, my least favorite exercise. I don’t even like doing them on my knees.

 

But I’ve decided, that I need to get my act together and learn to pump out a few. Maybe not 100 at a time, but a decent amount! I bet you’ve heard of the 100 Pushup Challenge. I did the pre-test the other night. Trust me, I can do ALMOST 1 pushup. I have to do this weird jiggle to get myself back up. Isn’t it so weird that I can’t do pushups? I do a lot of planks. I’ve been exercising almost every day for about 3 years now… It’s time to conquer this once and for all. I’m happy because I’ve convinced Kevin to do it with me. I think he just wants to do it because he knows it’s something he can totally kick my butt at. Running definitely comes more naturally for me so I get a little cheerful annoying with it. ;)

I eventually want to be able to do this tough girl exercise: Bosu Burpee Pushup

Now that looks fun to me!

What’s YOUR least favorite exercise? Anybody with me on the pushups? Want to try the challenge.

What’s your favorite meal from a jar? Nutella doesn’t count.

How are your 2012 Resolutions coming? I ran 216 miles in January! Well on my way to my impulsive goal of 2012 miles for the year!


The Best Carrot Cake Ever, Mini Pumpkin Pies, & Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Excuse me! I’m trying to catch up on all the goodness that was our Thanksgiving weekend.

I feel that the desserts deserve a post of their own.

On Kevin’s side of the family, his brother was making pie. I was thrilled to be relieved of that duty. I don’t enjoy working with pie crusts. Just not my thang. I came up with the idea to make my husband’s favorite dessert, carrot cake (or is it apple crisp?). I wanted to do it with a twist. This Orange-Pineapple Carrot Cake from Bon Appetit looks incredible! But Kevin through a hissy fit so I went with the original.

When Kevin’s dad told us he had tons of carrots on hand, I don’t think we realized how FILTHY they would be. Kevin tackled the job of scrubbing them which he barely finished by the time I had the rest of ingredients mixed together.

I am an extremely nervous cake flipper. So much so that Kevin looked at me and said,”Shouldn’t we pray first?” So I made him since he was being all cute & sarcastic with me. The pans took a little bite of each cake, but nothing that was noticeable underneath gobs of delicious cream cheese frosting!

Our masterpiece. My sister-in-law did the honors of frosting it. I’m a nervous froster as well. Basically all I’m good for is mixing together the cake! :) And I have a keen sense of timing when things are done in the oven. I haven’t burnt a pan of Cookie Friday cookies yet! *knock on wood*

This really IS the Best Carrot Cake Ever so I’m going to add this recipe:

Birthday Carrot Cake (via The Noshery)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans  —> I always skip this!
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup pecans chopped (optional, for garnish)  —> We happened to have walnuts!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 9 inch round pans.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. (DO NOT USE ELECTRIC MIXER) Stir in carrots, pecans, rasins and pineapple.

Split evenly between both 9 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Don’t panic, the center will sink a little. Allow to cool.

To make the frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until creamy.

I heard a rumor that certain nephew would be disappointed without some pumpkin so I did make these. Pies in cupcake tins made with packaged pie crusts? That I can handle! These were so adorable that I had to show them off to everyone! I followed the directions from Make & Takes.

My father-in-law requested “chocolate” and my mother-in-law had cheesecake on the brain so this is what I came up with. I wanted to do some smaller desserts since super rich desserts would be a tad bit overwhelming for non-McMillin appetites. I found a really simple recipe for Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes on Betty Crocker. I realized that I called them Chocolate Cheesecake BITES in the title, but I just didn’t want to use the word mini twice! ;) These were really easy and turned out famously. Mine are a little on the large side because I only had one cupcake tin handy and was too tired on Thanksgiving Eve to stay up any later just to bake another pan!

Reminder: Maintain no gain!

By the way, check out my workouts (on Daily Mile) for Thanksgiving week.

I’m really happy we didn’t miss a day even with all the baking and traveling! It was a challenge, but you can do it if you set your mind to it! You really can! Do you think I really wanted to get up at 5AM so I could workout on Tuesday before work since we had to leave for the airport? Or on Wednesday after I faceplanted in Mile 1? :) I mean, it wasn’t my best mileage of all time. And I probably ate it all back, but I thought it was a good balance for the dessert post! Haha. :)  For more on this scintillating topic, check out an article in the NY Times about Curbing Holiday Weight Gain With Exercise.

Do you prefer to bake pies or cakes? Cakes!!!!! And preferably desserts that don’t have to be taken out of the pan. I like to minimize my meltdowns. Ramekins are the answer!

How are you staying committed to your health/fitness throughout the holidays? Staying totally committed to exercise really helps. I just consider it a non-negotiable in my schedule. :)

P.S. If you missed it, I think the Running For Turkey post was one of my favorite ever!!!!!

Unique Forms of Exercise: Retro Lawn Mowing

Our personal rainforest needed a little trim before today’s yard sale. Kevin James is gainfully employed, and apparently we are social butterflies because we have plans every night after work. That’s how it fell to Miss Priss to get that yard mowed. The best way to convince me to do something is always to trick me into thinking it’s good exercise. According to Livestrong.com (which is clearly infallible because it’s endorsed by Lance Armstrong!) if you spend 30 minutes mowing the grass by hand, you burn 205 calories at a rate that is faster than a 30-minute session of volleyball or kayaking. I knew volleyball wasn’t a real sport!

Here’s a fun question to entertain me on a Friday morning: What’s something you’ve done for love that you never expected to do? Well, if you don’t count the obvious (moving to Winona and now Denver) also mowing, carrying a canoe, going to the doctor, getting up early, and I may have made some sort of extremely vague agreement (no pinkies or handshakes involved) to visit the Boundary Waters someday. That’s not to mention I have to smell Boyd on a daily basis!

I Know the Sun’s Still Shining When I Close My Eyes

You know it’s a great day to be alive when you have both this:

And this:

Woohoo!!

I cashed in the free Sbux while taking a little shopping trip to Target with Kevin James. VENTI Skinny Vanilla Latte Iced…. Hooray! I received the freebie card after we had to wait about 15 minutes one time to get our drinks. I’ll wait 15 minutes for a free Sbux any day of the week. As long as I have my iPhone along to keep me entertained. Haha.

That’s when I encountered this dog toy DILEMMA. Since Boyd and I have been bonding, I’m starting to develop a soft spot for him. So much so that I’m thinking he might just need a Kooky Chicken. Or a Tug-of-war toy? But which? I kinda hate doggy toys because they get so slimy – ewwwwwwwwww – but I gotta show some love! I need a manicure, right? There was just no hiding my fingernails in this photo. My nails haven’t been done since the wedding!! Ayiyii. My Dominican salon ladies would have my hide!

Wellllll, I am wiped! Kevin James forced me to run another 5k after work today bringing my day’s mileage up to a whopping 9.66 miles. I also found the energy from deep down to do a Jillian Michaels workout. I think it might be the first time I’ve ever done one of her dvds on an actual tv. I LOVED IT because it was so much louder. I used to always do it in our “apartment gym” on the Macbook. Jillian is so much more realistic at the louder volume!

Here are two fascinating facts about running since I no longer have high school p.e. classes to annoy with these little zingers! I miss seeing their little eyes roll when I would say daily,”EXERCISE IMPROVES YOUR MOOD.”

  1. Do you know that SWEAT SOOTHES THE BRAIN? In the first study to use a control group to compare exercise with an antidepressant, researchers found that the two are about equally effective in treating serious depression! Singer Alanis Morissette self “medicates” with exercise.” She has completed two marathons and says she finds it impossible to be depressed when she runs! You’re my best sport, best sport with benefits.
  2. Runner’s high: Why do runners get higher than bicyclists, swimmers, and those who simply stroll around the block? Bicyclists and swimmers don’t support their own body weight while exercising; walking isn’t very intense. In other words, these activities don’t produce as much stress as running. No pain, no gain–at least not from anandamide.So a runner’s high doesn’t come from endorphins. It comes from a blissful substance that Dietrich believes could help people suffering from chronic pain. (via Runners World)

Alrighty. I’m out. I’ve got some breakfast plans that require a few extra minutes of prep. Don’t worry, you know I’ll share. xooxoxo

Bridalhood + Healthy Eating

Eating healthfully is never really as simple as it sounds. Take that fact and multiply it by living in a foreign country x travelling x many parties thrown in your honor x high stress levels due to moving back to your home country x saying goodbye to people you love x dealing with your wedding details. Not something you really tend to focus on when you have things like “picnic box lables” and “aisle runner flowers” to focus on!

But I am proud to say that I was still able to give my friend, Joanie a dose of thinspiration. It should really be “healthspiration”, but “thinspiration” sounds a lot nicer. I don’t think she was a fan of my late afternoon workouts pushing her dinnertime to around 10 p.m. almost every night, but she was able to see the benefits of (relatively) healthy eating and exercise. Last night when I was doing my regular blog stalk, we came across this on Carrots ‘n Cake.

We tried to use this as a guide as we prepared our lunch today. While we were out shopping, I had salads with chicken on the brain. So instead of buying salad dressing, we purchased Greek yogurt (sub for sour cream) and salsa. So delicious! Joanie is skeptical of health foods and she enjoyed it. Kevin is…. a boy…. and he liked it too! He kept saying that he was surprised that it made him full. Hooray! :) We also shared some apples with PB2 to get our fruit in. I’m not sure how they felt when I announced that it was dessert for today!

I enjoyed shared my rampant knowledge of healthy eating/fitness tips with Joanie while we prepared our lunch today. For example: I do not consider apples with peanut butter to be a healthy snack. People are KIDDING themselves if they think that. Especially when you are blissfully unaware of portion sizes and consuming enough calories for it to be considered an entire meal. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a true health diva… yet. I tend to drink copious amounts of DIET COKE, and please, last night I ate french fries and a pizza burger. But I’m constantly working to find that balance. I had so much fun talking to Joanie about it that it reminded me of a mini-dream to study something in the nutrition/fitness field just for fun. I love encouraging people to exercise and eat healthy (even though I’m a hypocrite in some areas. I’m sorry)!!! I think this is going to have to be a series topic because I need to go clean/organize/wedding plan.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the most beautiful iPhone cover ever!

P.S. Joanie, here are my top 3 blogs for daily health/fitness inspiration.

1. Carrots ‘n Cake (obviously)
2. PBfingers
3. Healthy Tipping Point
4. Ok, and me too!! Corrie Anne

Do you like that I made a whole post about how I am an INSPIRATION!?!? Who inspires you to be healthy? Or who do YOU inspire to be healthy? Obviously, my parents really are an inspiration to me too. See my dad here, and my mom is a fitness all-star as well.