My Fitbit is Making me Fat!

After losing nearly thirty pounds in 2013, I enrolled in a class called Fit for Life to maintain my weight loss and to hopefully lose a few pounds that had creeped back. The class included free membership to an exercise facility, group and individual sessions on nutrition, a food scale and a Fitbit.

It's hard to find a picture of me when I'm not wearing my Fitbit.
It’s hard to find a picture of me when I’m not wearing my Fitbit.

I completed the first twelve week session and then moved on to the second continuing with exercise, nutrition classes and the use of the Fitbit.

While I’m no star student when it comes to meeting the daily goal of achieving 10,000 steps per day, I haven’t done too poorly. According to the badges I’ve earned, I’ve walked over 1,600 miles in total and have trudged up and down 50 flights of stairs in a single day. On two occasions I’ve pounded out more than 25,000 steps.

So when I heard reports this week on NPR and then on CBS that studies have found users of fitness bands have complained about weight gain, I searched for more information on this topic. And sure enough, I found articles with the following titles:

Fitness Trackers Didn’t Help People Lose Weight

Activity Trackers May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts

Fitness Trackers Don’t Help You Lose Weight, After All

Fitbit: Friend or Foe? Is your tracker hindering your weight loss efforts?

Wearable activity trackers may not boost weight loss

How Trackers Can Sabotage Weight Loss

I’ve complained not only about my inability to lose weight, but my inability to stop gaining weight in the past several months. I’ve talked about cutting out sweets and ending my love affair with soda. Eating out, snacking and big breakfasts have also been on the chopping block to get my weight under control.

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So I’m elated to know that it’s the Fitbit! I’ll bury it deep in a drawer and I’m sure the pounds will disappear.

 

Kick the Sugar Habit

Sugar made headlines last week with the release of new nutrition guidelines. The big news: sugar should only be 10% of daily caloric intake. As my mom would say, “That’s about as clear as mud.”

What’s meant by this 10% news? Based on a 2000 calorie diet, sugar intake should be limited to 50 grams or about 12 teaspoons. That’s a little more helpful, but then when I read that one soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, I really got the picture.

I’ve cut way back on soda, but knowing that one soda contains enough sugar for an entire day makes me think about those unlimited soda refills at restaurants. That sounds dangerous for someone like me who is a self diagnosed sugar addict. I love sugar…not only in soda, but in cookies, cake, brownies, ice cream and candy. Cereal for breakfast is just another excuse for some added sugar, and when you consider things like syrup and jelly, not to mention the sugar hidden in dressings and other processed foods, I’m in trouble.

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Walking through Target yesterday, I saw a super-sized box of Lemonheads, and I wanted to buy it badly. I tried to remember of the last time I’d eaten a Lemonhead and kept thinking about how I like the soft super sour outer layer as well as the sweet inner core. I’m proud to say I did not succumb to the temptation and left the store empty handed.

A diet limited to only 50g of sugar is going to be tough considering the information I found on the following containers in the refrigerator and cabinet:

  • can of soda – 39g
  • box of apple juice – 22g
  • fat free yogurt – 13g
  • ketchup – 4g
  • lite dressing – 4g
  • strawberry preserves – 12g
  • pancake syrup – 33g
  • M&Ms – 31g

Looks like I’m in trouble, but I’m committed to cutting back on sugar. Not sure if I can reduce to only 50g, but I’m going to work on it. Hope you’ll join me in an effort to kick the sugar habit.

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Mom

 

 

Shamed by My Phone


A couple of years ago, I lost 25 pounds by exercising, watching my diet and using the app Lose It! to monitor my progress. Well, a few of those pounds have moved back to my waistline so I’ve been making an effort to get back to using Lose It! to track my eating and exercise habits.

After going on an eleven mile bike ride in the heat of a late August day, I received this message from my Lose It! app:

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Thanks for the encouragement! Two days later after another eleven mile bike ride and a three mile walk, I turn on my phone to see:

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I really felt like I’d accomplished something after riding almost 25 miles…in the rain. That’s 666 calories burned, even at a slow pace of 9.1 mph.

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So how did Lose It! help me celebrate? With this message:

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Apparently walking, bike riding and lawn work is not something to celebrate. The message is loud and clear. EAT LESS FOOD!

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Yes, I’ve eaten Cheetos, cookies, and nachos. I’ve even consumed a couple of glasses of Coke. The latest message from my phone:

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I think my phone just called me a Fred. I’ll keep exercising, but I need to do a better job with my diet…and I’m sure Lose It! won’t let me forget!

 

Have I Got a Deal For You!

For the past five years I’ve worked from home, something I could never have dreamed of when I started teaching in 1979. As a virtual teacher I needed to set up my work space so I could be productive. After the first year, I’d gained weight from sitting in front of the computer 10-12 hours per day.

I realized I had to make some changes. First, I found ways to be more efficient so that I worked many more 8-10 hour days, with 12 hour days the exception instead of the rule; and then in 2013 I bought a treadmill desk so I could walk while working.

I mostly walked while talking to students on the phone but also when grading work. I could score student submissions and provide feedback unless a student was so far off base that I needed to write a dissertation, in which case I’d let those assessments wait until I was back at a desk and chair.

Treadmill desk - a great birthday gift!
This treadmill desk can be yours for $700!

By working at the treadmill for an hour or two each day, I managed to lose 25 pounds…not bad since I wasn’t looking for extra time to exercise, but instead, finding a way to exercise while working.

Unfortunately, the beloved treadmill desk did not make the cut of items moving with us to the lake. The house is smaller and there really just isn’t a space suitable for this desk.

So, do I have a deal for you!

I’m selling my treadmill desk, and you can be the proud owner. It’s perfect for those who work at home, but it’s also great for walking while reading, checking in on social media, playing games online, listening to the radio or watching TV. And if you have a hard time getting to the gym, you can cancel the membership and walk in your air conditioned home.

Or better yet, you can convince the boss that you’ll be a better employee if you have this desk at work. Maybe you can even share with coworkers so that your employer gets more bang for his buck and healthier employees as a bonus. It’s worth a try!

Asking price: $700

The LifeSpan treadmill is recommended as the best treadmill desk by Consumer Reports.

Interested? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook or message me. (Must be able to pick up in Ocala.)

Make A Medical Kit

Certainly we’ve all awakened to an upset stomach or fever in the middle of the night, and it’s frustrating to find that the medicine cabinet does not contain items that could relieve your symptoms so you can get back to sleep.

Products that address heart burn, cold, flu, or allergy symptoms and pain relievers are a welcome sight when you’re not feeling well. No one wants to run out late at night and in fact, no one wants to run out at any time of the day when not feeling well to purchase over-the-counter medication. You just want it to magically appear so you can get help quickly.

My suggestion…make sure you have a well stocked medicine cabinet…just in case. Don’t forget to include a thermometer, band-aids and eye drops. Include at a minimum, the following items:

  • pain relievers like Tylenol and Aleve
  • antacids
  • anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium
  • cold and flu tablets
  • allergy medication
  • eye drops
  • bandaids
  • triple antibiotic ointment
  • thermometer
  • ice pack (or bag of frozen peas)
  • ace bandage

With these few items, you’ll be well prepared until morning light or until you determine if you need to see a medical professional.

And while you’re preparing a medical kit you may want to make sure you have a couple of cans of chicken noodle soup, a box of jello, and a bottle of Gatorade or Sprite on hand. You know, just in case.

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Mom

 

National Donor Day

National Donor Day is next Saturday, Valentine’s Day; but we’ll be a little busy with a wedding on that day so today’s a good day to think about joining the list of more than 120 million U.S. organ donors this week.

Started in 1998, National Donor Day focuses on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood.

Here’s a few facts about organ donation from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Did you know 61% of living donors are women but 59% of deceased donors are men?
  • Did you know that in 2013 28,954 people received organ transplants?
  • Did you know on average 79 people receive an organ transplant every day?
  • Did you know that more than 1000 children under 10 received organ transplants in 2013?
  • Did you know that 78% of pancreas recipients are still living 10 years after their transplant?

Click the link below for more information about registering as an organ donor or make a date with the blood bank and donate a pint of blood.

Don’t you just love the messages on the candy hearts?

Click here to sign up to be a donor.

Team B. Lou

This Saturday, we’re walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

My mother-in-law, Bettie Lou was one of the more than 5 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s. We’re celebrating what would have been B. Lou’s 87th birthday on Saturday, September 6th by walking as a family in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala.

We need your support! Click here to DONATE TO TEAM B. LOU to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research into prevention, treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Thank you for joining our movement! The end of Alzheimer’s disease starts here.

$200 Eyedrops? Ouch

eyedropsLast month my eye doctor asked what seems like a simple question that I had difficulty answering. “Do your eyes hurt?”

My response, ” I don’t know.”

Yes, I rub my eyes constantly. Yes, my eyes itch. Yes, they burn. And my eyes feel best when they’re closed. But do they hurt? I’m not sure. My eyes have felt this way for the past 35 years. Nothing’s changed. I don’t know if they hurt since this is all I know.

My doctor prescribed eye drops to be used twice a day. He said my eyes are not only red but swollen and he thought I should try this prescription to see if they helped. Since he didn’t have a sample, he wrote the prescription and warned me they may be a little pricy, but asked that I give them a try and then check back in a couple of weeks.

When I dropped off the prescription I was told they would have to order the drops and they should arrive in a day or two. This should have sent off an alarm. No eye drops at any Walgreens in the county?

Well, I understood the problem when I learned they would cost $205 – and I have insurance! I decided to pass on the drops since I can’t even remember to use the $5 over-the-counter drops on my night stand, in my purse, and in the glove compartment in my car.

I may not know if my eyes hurt, but I know I’ll feel pain when one of those eye drops rolls down my check or drips off the end of my nose which happens to at least 50% of drops I try to put in my eyes. Now that would be painful!

I did agree to splurge on a new pair of glasses with transition lens to provide additional protection from the sun since I remember my sunglasses about as often as I remember to use eye drops, but for now I’ll pass on the drops more expensive than gold until I answer the question about my eyes hurting in the affirmative.

 

 

Weigh-in Wednesday: March

Fortunately there’s more to weighing in than stepping on the scale because I’ve been stuck on the same weight for three months now.  However, this month the MRMC Wellness bus enabled me to check on progress of a variety of health measures, not only weight.
After starting my year long weight loss efforts in 2013, I realized I hadn’t kept any data regarding health or fitness other than my weight. If I were to start today, I would also measure inches to get another picture of progress.

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Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Wellness Bus every year since 2000 so this year’s health screening provided data that enabled me to compare more than my weight this year compared with my weight a year ago. And while I knew carrying extra weight affected other health measures, this year’s results proved the importance of lifestyle changes.
For those not convinced, the proof is in the numbers.

  • Weight: 25 pounds lighter than 2012 and 10 pounds lighter than in 2000
  • Blood pressure: No change…I’ve always been the picture of health where blood pressure is concerned.
  • Cholesterol: In 2008, my doctor’s office called when my total cholesterol exceeded 200 warning me that I needed to exercise and lose weight or I’d need to take medication. Guess what? They were right. A year of weight loss and increased exercise and my total cholesterol dropped over 30 points – back to where it was in 2001. And better yet, both the HDL and LDL levels improved as well.

Even my grip strength improved after declining for several years.
In fact, my health stats are back to what they were at age 40…not bad.

Of course, the nursing student conducting the screening couldn’t let me escape without admonishing me about my body fat percentage (the one stat that remains less than desirable) telling me I need to drink more water and participate in a weight training regimen.

Oh well, a good reminder that this health thing is a constant work in progress.

It’s Spring Break…Use Protection

You know as well as I that you need to use sun protection year round, but Spring Break signals beach time and sunbathing so it’s a good time to remind you to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun.

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  1. Use sunscreen EVERY day. It’s easy to protect your face with moisturizer and makeup since most include sunscreen, but don’t forget other parts of your body exposed to the sun.
  2. Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours. This is especially important for days at the beach, boating, fishing, or any other all day outdoor activity.
  3. Wear a broad brimmed hat to protect your face and head from the sun (and encourage the men you care about to do the same!)
  4. Wear UV blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and eyelids.
  5. Clothing serves as a great protector from the sun. Long-sleeve shirts and pants work wonders. The more skin you cover, the better.
  6. Whatever you do, DO NOT BURN! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, doubles if you burn 5 times in your life.

 

And don’t forget to examine your skin from head to toe regularly. I’ve had basal cell skin cancer in my scalp which is hard to explain since my scalp has always been covered with a head full of hair, and both Dad and I have had a variety of treatments to take care of skin cancer on our faces, arms, and backs.

My cousin recently celebrated her 40th birthday at UNC meeting with doctors and a medical team regarding participation in a clinical trial to treat her  re-occurrence of melanoma, so it’s obvious that you’re not too young to start thinking about protecting your skin.

 

Living in Florida, you live in paradise. The perfect place to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, bicycling, and theme parks in the famous Florida sunshine; however, you’re also exposed to more UV radiation than those living farther from the equator so you need to take more precautions. Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of cataracts, suppresses the immune system, and prematurely ages your skin, and of course it causes skin cancer. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s “only skin cancer”…because it’s still cancer. Be smart. Enjoy paradise, but use precaution when in the sun.

Yes, it’s Spring Break, time to remind you to use protection…protection from the harmful rays of the sun!

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Mom