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My ideas and experiences in exercising, hiking, and healing, and reviews of products to help you stay healthy.
Riding the Stationary Bicycle on Lazy Days

Stationary BikeThis morning I was lazy so I rode my stationary bike. I should use it more often, but I tend to use it on mornings when I don't have energy to do my normal workout routine, or my mind is still asleep, and I just can't think of what I'm supposed to be doing.

I got this bike quite a few years ago, back when spin classes were a fad. I had had ACL surgery on my knee eons ago, and the stationary bike was what the PTs had me use for months for rehabilitation. Since then, I have always found the stationary bike to be the easiest way to strengthen the muscles around my knees.

Lately, when riding the stationary bike, I usually try to burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. I set the bike to the second level (low interval intensity). I enter my age, and it calculates my calories burned based on the revolutions of the wheels. It also measures my heart rate when I put my hands on the handlebars. When I'm feeling more energized, I go for 400 or 500 calories. But my old standby is 300 in 30. I work up a pretty decent sweat that way, and feel nice and energized after that.

We put the exercise bike in the living room so that I could ride it while the family watches TV. Doesn't always happen, I usually fold clothes while watching TV. But on the rare occasion that we are sitting there for more than an hour or so, I do end up hopping on the bike. Its my anti-couch potato weapon.

Soothe a Sore Throat with Nitto Tea with Lemon & Vitamin C

She woke up yesterday morning with a stuffy nose and sore throat, really sore. Isn't it too early for a cold? Fall doesn't officially start for a few more days. It's been so bad that she can barely stand it in the mornings and doesn't like taking Tylenol or anything.

I remembered that she had picked out some lemon "tea". It isn't really tea, but it is made by the company called Nitto Tea. It is a powder that you can add to hot water to drink hot (or warm). It has sugar, honey, lemon, and vitamin C. I figured that would be the perfect thing for her sore throat.

She reports back saying it did help a lot. It was nice and soothing. I've been giving her one or two of these for the past few days, mostly in the mornings, when it bothers her the most. At night, I put warm water in her water bottle by her bed for her to sip on to sooth her throat, so as not to give her sugar at night.

Lemon is great for sore throats. My doctor used to tell me to suck on lemon drops when my throat was sore. But this lemon "tea" is awesome because it is warm and even has vitamin C. I will definitely give this Nitto Tea Lemon & Vitamin C drink a shot when I have a sore throat. It comes in a bag with 10 powder packs in it. I put one pack in a cup of hot water. I mix, then top it off with some cold water so it is not so hot for my daughter.

Workout Leggings with Cell Phone Pockets

Munvot Yoga Workout Leggings PantsLately, I've been trying to get more exercise. I had to lose my mamma fat which I had held on to for far too long. I got so used to eating as fast as I could just so that I get a meal in. I've eaten too many of my kids leftovers in addition to my own meal. I've resorted to wearing skirts and dresses because I can't fit into my jeans or look decent in shorts.

So this summer, I decided I would go on more dog walks and actually start hiking again after so many years. First things first, I needed workout clothes. I found that I really like workout pants that have pockets that fit my cell phone. When walking the dog, I only carry a cell phone. The dog carries her own poop bags on her collar. I usually use two hands to handle the dog, so having a pocket that is big and deep enough to fit my cell phone is a really big help.

Thoughtful as he is, my husband got me these Munvot workout leggings online. They are perfect for walking the dog and hiking on cooler days, when you need longer pants. They have a big Samsung Galaxy S7 sized pocket on each side. They are comfy and fit great. Also, they were a lot cheaper than most places that sell workout pants.

Slideshow of my Munvot Workout Pants

Iced Coffee, instead of a Coke

Iced CoffeeIn the evening, sometimes I'm totally wiped out from the day or I have a headache and need some caffeine to get me through the evening. I usually just grab a coke. But lately, trying to eat and drink healthy, and not put on more excess fat, I've found a different solution. Its been hot this summer, and coffee, though usually my beverage of choice, has not been appealing. With my strong efforts to watch my caloric intake, I went for an iced coffee, black, as I usually take my morning hot coffee. And it was perfect. It did the trick, with some antioxidants to boot. It was a little more effort than just grabbing a can of coke out the of the fridge. I had to fill a glass with ice while my coffee was quickly making its way through the Keurig Coffee Maker. But then once I poured the coffee onto the ice, I had a wonderful low cal beverage to perk me back up for the evening.

I had forgotten how much I liked iced coffee. My mom used to make iced coffee for us instead of iced tea sometimes, and I always liked it much more than the iced tea, which I also liked.

The Most Important Meal

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

Do I Deserve Breakfast?

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that even when dieting, you should never skip breakfast. I get that. After starving for 8 or so hours throughout the night, I'm famished when I wake up in the morning. Skipping breakfast would be torture for me. How would I conduct Homeschool in the morning when I'm hangry?

I usually try to workout in the morning before breakfast. And this morning, I was wearing short workout shorts since we've been having a heatwave here in Seattle. As I was doing my side plank, I saw how my thighs hung down like big blobs of goo. And I thought, for that, I don't deserve any breakfast!

But remembering the old adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I decided it was best to eat breakfast, but I would cut it in half. And I actually found it easier to do than I thought it would be. Lately I've been eating Belvita Breakfast Biscuits for breakfast. They are whole grain, not to sweet, contain a little protein, and not too high in calories. Plus, my son and I think they are pretty yummy.

Cutting Meal Portions

I've been eating one pack of these biscuits in the morning. They come 4 biscuits to a pack. It used to be that I would eat two packs. But I've since cut it to one. And today, I ate only half a pack. Will I survive? I think so. My plan is to just cut my meal portions at the same time as eating healthier foods. I am noticing my stomach capacity is shrinking as I am no longer cramming it full with everyone's leftovers. That way, I am feeling more satisfied with less.

I imagine Matt Damon on "The Martian" rationing out 1 small potato per day. Not that that's all I want to eat. But it's all about the caloric deficit. Eating a little less than what your body needs causes it to start using the energy stored as fat. That was really hard for me when I first started trying to do that.

Eating Until I'm Sick

My loose, stretched out tummy would be craving to be stuffed to the max. That feeling would bug me all day long. And honestly, I would break down at dinner and stuff myself a little. But then I would get that opposite feeling of being too full. A sick bloated belly suffering from food gluttony. I realized that feeling was almost worse than hunger.

I decided to try to pay better attention to my body and eat each meal until my body felt it was enough. Rather than eating until I was stuffed, beyond full. This was a little hard to get used to. I noticed that about 30-60 minutes after a meal, I felt like my tummy was empty again. But I fought through it until the next meal.

The Incredible Shrinking Stomach

After a few weeks of this, I started to get used to it and actually welcomed the feeling of hunger. It told me that I was doing my part in cutting down on my portions. Soon, my stomach started to shrink and required less food in order to feel satisfied. I still crave desert after dinner sometimes. But now, I'm noticing myself eating just a few cookies rather than the half the pack or the whole pack.

I think working out during dieting is very important. The body also uses energy stored in muscle tissue during your caloric deficit. Keeping the muscles toned keeps the muscle tissue building. Once I lost the bulk of my body fat, the weight loss slowed down. I'm sure part of it is a battle between burning stored muscle tissue verses fat tissue. The last several pounds of fat are probably the hardest to loose.

Losing Post Baby Fat

Eating for Two

When I was a teenager, I remember my mom complaining about how having four kids made her gain so much weight. I never really appreciated the truth in that statement until I myself had kids. When you get pregnant, your doctor and books tell you to eat well, which includes lots of protein and fats. Because you are "eating for two!" When you are breastfeeding, they tell you to eat even more because your body uses so much energy to produce milk.

Eating More to Produce Milk

I hadn't gained too terribly much weight after the first child. But not long after I had our first child, we had a second one. I vowed not to pig out this time during pregnancy. And it worked, I didn't put on as much weight during the second pregnancy. But I started to eat a lot while breastfeeding, which when on for almost a year and a half for the second time.

By the time our second child was 4, I started to notice myself continuously packing on the pounds, and for no good reason really. Mostly it was out of habit and probably the fact that my stomach was all stretched out and could fit and demanded a lot more food than my body needed.

Eating Everyone's Leftovers

I had a bad habit of finishing my kids' leftovers. Not just one kid, but both. I didn't want to throw the food away, so I figured if I eat it, it won't go to waste. Well, little did I know that it still did. It went to lay waste to my body, stuffing it unnecessarily  in my adipose tissue.

At birthday parties, I would finish off both of their snack plates and then stake a claim on the cakes they didn't finish. And that was typical of every meal. I would eat my meal, the unfinished portions of their meals, my dessert, and the unfinished portions of their desserts.

Time to Cut Back

I realized that something needed to be done. At this rate, I was going to continue gaining weight indefinitely. I decided to cut back on desserts. I planned to avoid desserts at all costs. Well, the costs were too great. I just couldn't do it. I love dessert and would eat it first before every meal if I could.

So I decided to stop eating their leftovers. Well, it broke my heart to watch so much food go into the garbage. Most of the time, I just didn't have the heart to go through with it.

I remember long ago, before kids and marriage, I would always make it a point to leave some food left on my plate for my dog. The clean plate club shunned me. But I was thin then. I didn't force myself to eat everything on my plate, as I later learned to do.

I figured I would try that technique. And it was hard to see that small morsel of food sitting in the corner of my plate looking lonely and wanting to be eaten in just a couple of bites. Most days I would go for seconds, let alone not finish my first helping.

Trying to Burn Calories

I thought maybe more exercise would do the trick. I had heard that if you get muscular, your muscle tissue will use up so many calories that you will lose fatty tissue. Strangely, it seemed the reverse was true. It seemed the more I worked out, the heavier and fatter I looked. Didn't make logical sense to me, but I didn't like the way I was looking at all.

I remember telling my doctor long ago that it is when I go walking that I lose weight. So I tried that. Turned out that all that walking only made me hungrier. My caloric intake increased, and I got nowhere.

The Caloric Deficit

Last ditch attempt was to "starve" myself. Just allow myself to go hungry. Sounds bad, doesn't it? I didn't think it would work because I've heard that if you starve yourself, your body will kick into storage mode, storing as much fat as possible in case of starvation.

But lo and behold, that was what worked. The caloric deficit. The body cannot use the fat reserves unless it needs to. And it won't need to unless you eat less than what you need. Then the body will start cutting into "savings". It is simple math, and it works.

Now, when I say "starving" in this context, it is not literal, like you are in nutritional danger. It just means to eat less than you need. Easier said than done. There is a lot of crankiness involved in doing that. I'm talking about being HANGRY all the time. Not good for the people around you. But think of it like any other addiction. When people quit smoking, they go through that phase where they are grumpy and anxious. Well, I believe I've had a food addition. My body has gotten so use to consuming massive quantities of food that it needs it to be happy and calm.

It is so hard to eat less than you need. I workout or walk, I still have to eat small quantities. Otherwise, what was the point of the workout or the walk?

When I worked my first real job, I remember getting done with school and going straight to work. I was always so hungry because I didn't have time to get snack or a decent dinner. I was quite thin then. I decided that was the feeling I would have to have if I am to lose weight. I have to live with that feeling of being hungry.

What Has Worked For Me

Fast forward to today. I have lost about 10 pounds of extra fat over the past year. It has not been easy. I still have a bit of fat to lose and muscle to gain. But I have become more used to practicing all the weight-loss techniques that I experimented with.

  1. Don't eat your kids' leftovers. Throw their leftovers away or save it for later.
  2. Skip or skimp on dessert. Maybe eat some fruit instead? If you must dessert, then just eat a small amount.
  3. Don't finish everything on your plate. Start by leaving the last bite "for the dog". Eventually you will stop when you have had enough no matter how much food is on your plate.
  4. Eat less than you need. Do the math. Let your body reach into "savings".
  5. Get used to being hungry all the time. It will be hard at first, but eventually you will equate that feeling with losing weight.


Featured Health Blog Articles

Attack of the Sour Patch Kids  - 10/1/2013
Gym Membership  - 9/6/2011
Iced Coffee, instead of a Coke  - 9/7/2017
Losing Post Baby Fat  - 8/2/2017
Riding the Stationary Bicycle on Lazy Days  - 9/27/2017

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