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:


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:


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.


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


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


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


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!


Take Care of Your Brain

With this year’s Memory Walk just around the corner, I’ve been receiving email from the Alzheimer’s Association regarding not only the walk but information on their research and other programs. In addition, there have been numerous stories about Alzheimer’s research on the news of late.

First I heard a story about a “smell” test that may predict the development of the disease, and then last week I saw a report about how a test performed by your eye doctor can be used as a predictor of problems 15-20 years in the future.

However, the news that most interested me was regarding brain health. I’ve been bombarded by stories on television, the radio, and from the Alzheimer’s Association about real, effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and that’s the message I want to know more about.

Four areas identified to maintain a healthy brain by the Alzheimer’s Association include:

  1.  Be active. Not only does an active lifestyle reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it’s essential for good blood flow to the brain something necessary to encourage new blood cells. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make a difference.
  2. Eat healthy. Getting the right balance of nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting food high in fat and cholesterol appears to protect brain cells. Good nutrition also prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol two more risk factors for the development of dementia; and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the chance you’ll develop the disease. Eat well and in moderation.
  3. Spend time socializing. This sounds like a good excuse to enjoy time with friends. Social interaction improves brain health. Volunteer, join a club or community group, enjoy sporting or cultural events, participate in religious activities. Even engaging at work is beneficial.
  4. Use your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, use it or lose it. Well, that applies to your brain. Engage in mental activity that stimulates your brain. Read, write, do puzzles, play games, learn new things. All of these activities provide the mental exercise your brain needs to thrive.

If diagnosed with a disease, we’re all anxious to get help. We’ll take off work to visit the doctor or schedule surgery. We’ll spend money on prescriptions or medical devices. However, until a problem occurs, many of us claim to be too busy to take care of ourselves – no time for exercise, no time to spend with friends, no time to read or eat properly. We claim it’s too expensive to eat healthy, yet it’s not as expensive as medication to control the problems caused by failure to care for our bodies.

Be active, eat right, spend time with friends, and stimulate your mind. It’s the least you can do to take care of your brain.



Remember, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala will take place on Saturday, September 6th. Register to participate or click here to support me as I walk in memory of Bettie Lou. Donations assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.


Make Yourself #1

##1I think you’ll agree that I believe it’s important to take care of your loved ones. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to spend the rest of your life with your best friend as I have with Dad, and of course, you’ll want to be there for your partner. In addition, if you have children, you’ll be fiercely protective of them as you should be. And beyond that, you’ll feel responsibility for parents, extended family, and even special friends.

Today I want to remind you that despite the fact you may feel the need to take care of those you love, you need to make sure you take care of yourself and make sure you take care of your needs. I know  you’ve all heard the announcements made by flight attendants regarding emergency procedures on airplanes. They always instruct passengers flying with children to use the oxygen masks themselves before helping their children. This is essential. It isn’t possible to take care of your child in this emergency situation if you haven’t taken care of yourself, but people need to be reminded of this fact.

A mother bear would never make this mistake. The mother bear always eats first because she instinctively knows that if she doesn’t survive, her cubs have no chance at survival. Unfortunately, bears seem to be smarter than people in this respect.

Let the mother bear teach you a lesson. Take care of yourself.

  • Eat – not just junk, but healthy food, you’ll feel better.
  • Sleep – as hard as this may be, in order to feel well, you must sleep – it’s even been proven that lack of sleep causes illness, weight gain, and lack of mental clarity.
  • Exercise – even a short walk, stretching at your desk, or doing a few minutes of exercise when you get up in the morning will give you more energy.
  • Meditate – ok,  don’t “meditate” but give your brain a break – sit quietly for a few minutes every day. Meditation can lower blood pressure, stress,  and can even reduce pain.

While I think it’s important to take care of your loved ones, it’s essential that you make yourself your top priority. Only when you’re at your best, can you truly be there for others! So remember, you’re #1!


Bike to Work – Be a Kid Again!

IMG_0918Did you know that this is National Bike to Work Week? And this Friday, the third Friday in May, National Bike to Work Day? Well, it’s not too late. You still have three days to participate in this event, but since it’s also National Bike Month, you could ride any day this month and for that matter any day can be Bike to Work day.

In the summer of 1979, South Florida experienced a gas shortage with long lines at gas stations. This motivated John and me to bike to work for an entire summer. Our afternoon commutes in South Florida in June, July, and August were not particularly pleasant, but the mornings were wonderful…truly a great way to start the day.

Then in the summer of 1990, I rode my bike to South Ocala Elementary where I taught summer school. I didn’t ride every day, but I squeezed in a little exercise by riding a couple of days a week.

Since this week is the annual Bike Rodeo at Eighth Street Elementary, John’s riding his bike to work. With this morning’s temperature a cool 46°, it couldn’t be a more perfect time for a bike ride. Of course, since he has his bike at school, he’s able to participate in the bike week activities with students so he’s having a little fun at work as well.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes biking to work a regular activity. Maybe you should try it.

Weigh In Wednesday – Week 9

LoseItlogoIt’s official, I’ve lost ten pounds since the beginning of the year following the simple steps I’ve included in my daily routine to monitor my eating and exercise habits. Being more aware of my habits regarding food and exercise allows me to make better decisions and with the exception of using the ice each evening, the other changes are becoming routine:

1. Logging food and exercise on Lose It.

2. Drinking more water.

3. Exercising at least 210 minutes per week.

4. Eliminating soda.

5. Taking a multivitamin.

This week’s plan – eat more slowly. I remember my mom saying that eating more slowly allows your body time to fill full. She suggested putting your fork down after every bite in an effort to slow down. Just this week, I read an article, Retro Diet Tricks  in the February issue of Health. It looked back at slimming down through the ages and found wisdom behind much of the advice of days gone by. The article highlights the benefits of such advice as eating cottage cheese, grapefruit, and even baked potatoes; as well as going back to eating three meals a day. So I’ll try a retro diet trick this week. I’ll put my fork down between bites. Eating more slowly can’t hurt!

Weigh-In Wednesday – Week 4

LoseItlogoAdding cold water went well on the weekdays, but I didn’t follow through on Saturday or Sunday. I know I can make this change. I just need to work on making it a seven day a week change. The biggest problem on the weekend was forgetting to start the day drinking water. I met the goal of drinking 8 or more cups of water each day. It’s just starting the weekend morning that needs some work.

Logging success continues. Lose It makes this such a simple process that I haven’t forgotten to log food for two weeks! Now it’s time for a new goal, and this week I’m going to concentrate on exercise. I’ve been walking and even logging exercise, but I want to set a goal of at least three and a half hours of exercise each week. Not 30 minutes a day because I know that will be more difficult to accomplish. I’m not likely to exercise daily, but if I spread the goal over the course of a week, I think I can be successful.

It feels great to still be enthusiastic about a weight loss resolution! Looking forward to losing that first 10 pounds.

Lose It! – A Great Weight Loss App

LoseItlogoMy goal of recording daily food intake has become a lot easier with an app I’ve added to my phone. Lose It allows users to set goals for weight loss, track food intake, and calories burned exercising. I used this with some success a couple of years ago, but at that time I recorded data on the iPad – not a bad plan, but not always convenient.
Now Lose It is on my phone so after each meal it’s easy to add foods eaten as well as daily exercise. After I recorded my goal for weight loss, the program determined my daily caloric budget so I can achieve my goal. At the end of each day I can see if I’ve met the daily goal.
The tool is easy to use for tracking what I eat since foods can be searched by restaurant, supermarket brand, general categories, or even by scanning the barcode on food packages. Personal recipes can be entered so accurate calorie information can be obtained from favorite home cooked meals. It’s just as easy to add exercise. Select from a menu of exercises and the amount of time spent on the exercise. Lose It determines the number of calories used. What a great feeling to enter exercise and see the number of calories available for the day increase!
Weight is recorded and graphed and users earn badges for their achievements. I’ve been able to connect with family members accounts so we can encourage one another and share recipes.
Lose It is available on Android, iOS, Nook, Kindle, and the web so it’s easy to access, but for me, the phone is really the way to go. I’m looking forward to making Lose It a part of my daily routine.