Showing Posts From: Fitness

My Self-Imposed Walking Challenge
06 Dec, 2019

My Self-Imposed Walking Challenge

/ posted in: Fitness

A while ago I signed up on Yes.Fit for a virtual race called The Tortoise Creep.  It was 155.1 miles long.  The idea was that you log your workouts and earn a medal.  I like tortoises so I picked this one.


I did well for a while and then pretty much forgot about it. I think I’m at around 100 miles in.

I decided that I needed some motivation for working out in December so I decided to do another race. I wanted to walk about 2 miles a day. So I picked the Sea Turtle Exploration race.  (You may see a theme…) It is 42.3 miles. I should be able to finish that this month and then get a good chunk of the Tortoise Creep finished.


They also have a race that starts January 1 that celebrates how far you go all year. Some people are doing that with just exercise miles. Other people are hooking up their fitness trackers to log all the distance they walk in a whole year. I may do that.

I just ordered myself a new Fitbit. I wanted to go old school with it. I like the ones that clip on. I don’t want to wear a watch. I don’t care if it does anything other than measure the distance I walk. I don’t need it to help me remember to breathe or track my sleep. I got the most basic fitbit and now you can get the clip but you have to pay extra for it instead of a wristband.

I have a conference and some time at amusement parks in January. That should be a good start at getting my totals up.

10 Sep, 2019

Learning to Market Online

/ posted in: FitnessFood

Yesterday I talked about wanting to tell more people about the products that helped me lose weight.  When you sign up to be able to sell products, they tell you to have a party and invite your friends.  That would work if everyone you know locally wasn’t in the room with you when you learned about the product.  What do you do then?

That’s the spot I found myself in.  I literally didn’t know anyone else to invite to a party.  All my family lives a few hours away.  If I want to sell products, I need to do it online. 

I’ve also always been interested in people who build passive income streams online.  I’ve read their information but while I understand it in theory I’ve never quite understood how to make it work for me.

So I’m taking a course on online marketing.  One of the things I’m doing is starting a Facebook page to talk to other people who are running home businesses to see what is working for them.  I’m going to be having interviews and I’m doing Facebook lives about what I’m learning. If you also are part of a network marketing company, I’d love to interview you!

If you are interested in this information, join me on my page

What’s Happening with my Arbonne Challenge?
09 Sep, 2019

What’s Happening with my Arbonne Challenge?

/ posted in: FitnessFood

Back in April I went to a party that a coworker was throwing for Arbonne.  I’d never heard of the company but I went to be supportive. 

The company has several lines of products including skin care and nutrition.  At the time I was working out 5 days a week and steadily gaining weight.  I was actually getting pretty scared.  I knew I was heading into perimenopause and it was just going to get harder to lose weight.  I couldn’t stop the gaining!  This wasn’t gaining muscle either.  It was fat.

They have a program called 30 Days to Healthy Living.  You get a huge box of products to use for 30 days to jump start weight loss.  I’ve always been hugely dismissive of meal replacement shakes.  I wasn’t going to do that.  I get hungry.  But, I was desperate and there was a money back guarantee if I wasn’t happy. (Also, the presenter said that she made her shakes at night for the next day.  I don’t know why that appealed to me so much.  Maybe because I’m lazy in the morning.)  So I signed up.

I lost 15 lbs in the first month!  Easily lost 15 lbs.  I gave myself permission to have healthy snacks with breakfast and lunch so I was never hungry.  You combine the shakes with a clean diet – no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy.  I’ve done diets like that before and always do well on them.  I know it is best for me.  Why do I ever wander off the path?  Also, I didn’t work out that month.  I wanted to see what the program alone would do.

After my 30 days was up, I went on a modified program.  I still do shakes for breakfast and lunch.  I stay mostly on the clean diet but have been known to stray.  I got used to being lazy and didn’t pick my workout routine back up. 

What happened?  I maintained the weight loss but I didn’t lose any more. 

I put my husband on the program.  He didn’t lose a bunch a weight but his blood sugar stabilized.  My boss started the program and he is losing weight. 

Now I want to kick myself in the butt again and lose more of the weight I need to lose.  I’m doing to be stricter about my diet and I’ve started walking again.  I even got up this morning at my normal work out time and did some yoga.  I’m so stiff from not exercising!  I need to do yoga for at least a week to get everything moving again before I try anything harder.

I’d also love to start getting more people on this program.  It is the only thing that worked for me.  If you are interested in more information, let me know.

I’ve made a Facebook group for people who are interested in learning more and following the journey.  Join here!

Adventures in Women’s Fashion
20 Jun, 2019

Adventures in Women’s Fashion

/ posted in: Fitness

You know the fitness saying, “Don’t weigh yourself. Focus on how your clothes fit”? I tried that.

When I noticed my clothes getting tight I weighed myself and that’s how I found out I gained 30 lbs without noticing.

What kind of denial was I in to not notice that weight gain, you ask? How did I gain that much without outgrowing my clothes? My working theory is that I developed a small black hole that gained mass but didn’t get bigger.  If you have a better theory I’ll entertain it.

The point is, now when I’m losing weight I’m not having the joy of wearing smaller clothes.  I decided to try on clothes in my closet to see what fit and what didn’t in hopes of finding out that I was wrong about this. I had a bunch of old stuff so I got to try on different sizes.

We all know that women’s sizing is stupid but this was extreme. I mostly had 2 sizes. It was 50/50 if a pair of pants would fit regardless of what size it was.  What really made me mad was the two pairs of jeans I had of the exact same brand and style in different colors where I couldn’t come close to fastening the larger size but the smaller size fit fine.  That’s stupid.

I’m also trying out Stitch Fix.  It’s been weird.  I’m trying to be more adventurous.  I really am.  But I just can’t really do prints.  I told them to try to expand my horizons a bit.  Mostly it isn’t working.  So far I’ve kept one thing from each box.  Mostly I’ve kept the thing that I was sure I wouldn’t like.


(The cat is sold separately)

From my first box I kept the bracelet.  Very brave of me.

The second box had the pink denim coat.  I liked it when I saw it. I knew it wouldn’t fit.  My shoulders and upper arms are too big for coats.  I tried it anyway.  Surprise, surprise… stretch denim!  The heavens opened and sun streamed down.


Then next box had the jeans. They were supposed to be boyfriend jeans. That means sort of oversized. I put them on and they were… leggings. They were leggings in the largest acceptable size in my own personal head canon. (This really was the episode that tipped me over the edge to getting super serious about weight loss.) But the weird thing was that they actually looked really good on me as long as you didn’t realize they were supposed to fit differently. The husband tried out his man of the house patriarchal muscles and demanded that I obey him and buy them.

The last box had that plaid shirt. Both the husband and I looked at it and said, “No.” I have a strong bias against western wear that comes from years of showing horses. If you are wearing something like that I feel like you better be about to head into the ring or out to count the cattle. When you return something though you need to report how it fit so I put it on and it looked really good. We were both shocked.

So now I’ve made a whole outfit. It is the most expensive outfit I own since most of my other clothes came from thrift stores. I’ve also learned that I have no judgement when looking at clothes without trying them on.

Here’s the part where if I was a good blogger I’d try to have you sign up for Stitch Fix so I get money off. I‘m not a good blogger though Wait, found it!  If you want to try it out for yourself you can use this link to get $25 your first box.  That would get you the box for free if they aren’t being tricky somehow.

What Happened with the Arbonne Challenge?
21 May, 2019

What Happened with the Arbonne Challenge?

/ posted in: FitnessFood

Back on April 17, I wrote about starting the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living challenge. I was stuck at a weight I didn’t like and I couldn’t get under.  I was ready to do something radical.

Now, a month later, I’m loving it.  As of May 19 I’ve lost 12 lbs.  I don’t have exact measurements right now but I know I’ve lost significant inches in my hips and lower abdomen especially.  Other improvements I wanted to see were decreased gastric reflux and IBS flares and some improvement in my psoriasis.  I haven’t had to take much medicine for reflux at all.  I haven’t had any IBS issues.  I knew cutting out dairy would fix that one.  My psoriasis hasn’t changed at all but I didn’t really expect it too.

I’m continuing on the program.  I’ve also started the husband on it.  I’m sort of surprised that he wanted to do this.  I knew it would be good for him but he is a dairy addict.  The diet involves cutting out dairy, gluten, and sugar.  He loves all of those.  You can go more hard-core and cut out a lot of other things in order to eat super clean.  I didn’t tell him that.  Just cutting out those three things is a major lifestyle adjustment for him.  He’s in his first week and he has lost 3 lbs. 

My goals for this month will be:

  1. Continued weight loss – I’m not likely to be done with that for a while.  I’m still 55 lbs heavier than when I met the husband in 2008.  I don’t think I can get back to that weight because I’ve gained a lot of muscle since then and I was only that skinny because of my divorce.  Still, there is a way to go.
  2. Eat better – This seems like a weird thing to need to do since I’m losing fat but I’m eating like crap.  When I first started I had my emergency food.  I had a container of cut up veggies and fruit to eat if I got hungry during the day.  Eventually this morphed into eating a little something with my shakes at breakfast and lunch so I functioned better.  That’s fine.  Then it changed from fruits and veggies to gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free snack foods.  (Believe it or not, there are some good ones.)  Yeah, so I’m eating junk food and losing weight.  Dream situation to be honest but I need to cut back and go back to the vegetables.  I’ve also just been living on veggie burgers and rice variations for dinner.  Quick and easy but it wouldn’t hurt to do real live meal planning again and shock the system with some vegetables.
  3. Work out – I haven’t exercised at all in the last month.  Again, dream situation.  Weight loss without exercise.  I know the body doesn’t function well without exercise though.  I need to quit being lazy.  At least go for a walk or something.

So far, I feel really good.  I’m satisfied with much less food.  I think that’s the major change I’m seeing.  I still have sugar cravings.  My sweet tooth has not gone away. 

I signed up to be an Arbonne consultant so I can get discounts on our own products.  If anyone is interested in finding out more about the program, I can get you information.  It turns to be about $9 a day for this.  That’s less than what I was spending for breakfast and lunch before.  It is just a bit of a shock to the system to have to hand it over all at once and up front.  I’m saving money and losing weight that I couldn’t budge before so I’m pretty happy.

Arbonne Challenge
17 Apr, 2019

Arbonne Challenge

/ posted in: Fitness

I’ve been sitting at a plateau weight for months now.  There is a number I just can’t get under. I bounce around about 5 lbs above it but never get less.  This isn’t because I’ve lost so much weight that it is hard to lose any more.  I’ve gained so much weight in the last year that I’m horrified.

We all have our different lines that we will not cross.  One of mine was to never get bigger than a size 16 so I didn’t have to shop in special stores.  I can still fit into my size 16 clothes but they are getting tight.  I’m aiding and abetting my denial by only buying stretchy clothes and scrubs.

I’ve been trying to lose weight.  Nothing is working.  I work out 4-5 days a week.  I even did a week of strict calorie watching and posting everything I ate online. I gained weight.  I’m starting to get scared.  I’m sure that part of this is hormonal. I’m 46.  I’m probably in perimenopause.  That may mean that this will only get worse and in a few months I could be looking back fondly at this size and wishing I was here again.

I’ve never been a person to put any stock in meal replacement shakes but I need to shake things up hard.  So, I’m going to do the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy challenge.  It is a whole system of drinks.  If you are looking to lose weight with it, you are supposed to use a shake for breakfast and lunch followed up with whole-food dairy-free gluten-free snacks and dinner.  There are also pre- and probiotic drinks and fiber supplements to mix in.  There is a liver supportive tea and some energy-type drinks too.  Lots of drinking.  I may need a chart to keep it all straight.

One of the things that appealed to me about this is really sad.  The person talking about it said that she makes up her shakes the night before she needs them.  I am so freaking lazy in the morning that I can’t get myself to make breakfast smoothies.  Seriously, how much time does that take?  I skip it and hit the McDonald’s drive through.  That takes longer and is worse for me than making a smoothie.  But, I would make the time to make shakes the night before.

I’m going to be documenting my journey for the next 30 days in my Instagram stories at @dvmheather and I started a new Instagram just for this at @arbonnechallenge

I have a Zozo suit to get precise measurements every week.  I have a coworker who is going to do this with me.  We will be accountable to each other and if we get cranky we have to take it out on each other and no one else. 

Has anyone ever tried this before or know someone who has?  I had never heard of it but I have a coworker who said she did it before and lost 30 lbs.  I’m not sure how long she did it for. 

Other than size and weight, I will also monitor:

  • Episodes of gastric reflux.  I don’t have this all the time but I’d like not to have it at all.
  • IBS flares.  Cutting dairy should fix that up for me all on its own. 
  • Psoriasis – The freaking holy grail of my health issues.  I’ve had it since I was a kid.  Nothing helps it but I’m not willing to go on the super hard core drugs for it.  It is an autoimmune inflammatory disease.  In theory, increased overall health could help it.  I’m not holding my breath on this one but it would be a nice side effect.
11 Sep, 2018

Fitness Update

/ posted in: Fitness

I have been doing Facebook fitness challenge groups.  I’m in my second month.  The idea is that you have a group of people who post three things every day:

  1. A post-workout selfie
  2. A picture of a healthy meal they ate that day
  3. Check in at night about how the day went

Then once a week we have to record a video about a non-scale victory. 

I didn’t win last time.  My partner was apparently not as super competitive as I am.  She didn’t do her posts every day.  This partner isn’t either.  I am sad but having to post every day is helpful for me.  I makes me eat at least one healthy meal if I’m accountable for it.

I’ve gotten a subscription to Beach Body on Demand.  It gives me access to all kinds of workouts at home.  I just finished Liift4 which is a 4 day a week mixture of weight lifting and high intensity interval training.  I liked it.  I finished it exactly on time which meant that I didn’t procrastinate any workouts to the next day. 

I didn’t lose any weight but my body definitely changed during the 8 weeks of the program.  It focuses on upper body weight lifting and my arms are much tighter.  I’ve lifted a lot heavier in the past but this was all about consistency.  Unfortunately, I come from a long line of peasant stock so I have my family’s flabby underarms covering up some of the muscle.  I need to keep working on it so I can get these muscles to show! 

In the challenge last month, I lost 3.5 inches overall.  1.5 inches of that was in my waist.  My arms and thighs went down a little. The difference is noticeable even though the scale didn’t move.

I just restarted Liift4 at the beginning to keep working on my upper body.  I’m not really a fan of the lower body day each week so I think I may mix in other workouts on those days to keep from getting bored.  I’m used to lifting super heavy in deadlifts and squats so doing those moves with dumb bells just isn’t challenging my muscles.  There are also a lot of hiit moves in those days that my knees have protested.  They must be getting old! 

Working out at home is working for me though.  I have a scheduled time on each day when I know I’m going to be working out.  I don’t have to go the gym even though it is close.  The equipment I need is always available. 

14 Aug, 2018

On Being Forced into Body Positivity

/ posted in: Fitness

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the body positivity movement.  On one hand, you shouldn’t hate your body and obviously you can look amazing at any size. On the other hand, being fat is hard on your body. On your magical third hand, I’m a healthy fat person who doesn’t like being fat so that colors everything.

I was going about my business not taking a side until a few days ago when I got a letter turning me down for life insurance.  You know what the reason was? My “build”.

It took me a second to reread that a few times to even understood what it meant.  Then the rage took over.  Yes, I’m overweight. I also am pretty muscular. That adds to my weight.

If they had cared about my health, they might have asked to see my perfectly normal blood work.   But, no. Height and weight only.

I don’t even wear plus sized clothing, for the love of chunky Aphrodite.

I have spent the last few days yelling that I am “too fat!” and swooning when asked to do anything. So far it hasn’t actually gotten me out of anything because no one agrees with me.

The life insurance company doesn’t care that my workout routine is going swimmingly.  I did a challenge group last month. I was down 4 lbs and about 4 inches. I’m happy about that.  I’m halfway through the course I’m using (Liift4 on Beach body on demand) and I really like it. I’ve made a routine of 7 am workouts on Monday and Tuesday and I’m actually getting out of bed and doing it.  I also work out on my day off on Thursday and as soon as I get home from work on Friday. (I go in too early for a 7 am workout on Friday.)

So right now I’m feeling super skinny from the inches off the waist.  I might even be feeling body positive.

30 Jul, 2018

My Fitness Challenge

/ posted in: Fitness

Molly, who used to hang around here but now we are Facebook friends, sent me a test workout video a while ago.  I liked it.  It was a combination of lifting and cardio. I decided to sign up for to be able to access it. 

I mentioned doing that on Facebook and I got swooped onto by some of my ex-4Hers.  They are BeachBody coaches and they were doing a challenge group.  Did I want to join? 

  1. I have to check in on the Facebook post every day.
  2. I have to post a picture after my workout
  3. I have to post one meal picture a day
  4. I have to make a video once a week of a non-scale victory.

I’m competitive.  I raised these children from pups.  (Ok, they were maybe teenagers when I met them.  Same thing.) I can not let them beat me.

I’ve been doing my workouts when scheduled.  They are all on 6 day a week workouts. Mine is special and is only 4 days a week.  I enjoy posting rest day selfies. 

I made a video of a 5K run I did on Sunday for my non-scale victory.  I hate running.  I hate video.  I figured it was a perfect combination.

30 Jan, 2018

My Yesfit Challenge

/ posted in: Fitness

I’ve heard of people tracking how far they run/walk on a map to see your distance this year.  That’s cool if you run to Brazil or something but at my rate I’d spend a month just trying to get out of my neighborhood.  Still, I like the idea so I was excited to find something similar on

This is a site for virtual races. You sign up for  race, pay your entry fee, and then do it on your own time. There are short races that you could do on one day up to races hundreds of miles long.  That’s what I’m going to do.

I’m doing the Tortoise Creep.  It is 155 miles long. The route is in Thailand. As you enter your workouts you get moved along on your map. You can even go to streetview to see where you are running.

You can have a fitness tracker upload your info but I’m entering my data manually. I’m only counting actual workout miles. Miles I walk for other reasons don’t count in my race. Let’s see how long it takes me to earn my medal.


Linking up with Readers’ Workouts.

08 Aug, 2017

Reader’s Workout

/ posted in: Fitness



I haven’t done a Reader’s Workout post in forever.  I’m pretty happy with my fitness routine right now though so I thought I’d update.

I signed up for Strong by Bret.  This is a monthly service that gives you 3 – 4 weightlifting workouts for a month.  You do the same workout each week but increase the weight each time.  If you want more there are optional additional workouts based on your goals:

  • You can pick additional full workout if you want to work out your whole body more days (rest days are recommended though)
  • You can add on a supplemental glute workout to your workout days or your off days
  • If powerlifting is your goal there are additional strength-building workouts

I’ve just been doing the main workouts.  I keep meaning to do the supplemental glute workouts on off days but I forget.

I love, love, love this program.  It is exactly what I’ve been looking for.  It is all weight lifting.  No explicit cardio but I’m dripping sweat when I’m done.

I’m just starting my third month now.  I haven’t lost any weight but I have made strength gains.  There is a big emphasis on pull ups.  I use the machine in the gym that lets you offset your body weight on pull ups.  When I started I was only lifting 45 lbs for a few reps.  Now I’m doing 55 lbs for sets of 5.  It is still super wimpy but it is better.  I can see changes in my shoulder muscles.

The other nice thing about this is that it is planned with women in mind.  Most weightlifting plans have women as an afterthought.

The husband and I did the Biking Spree at our local MetroParks.  We had to ride 5 of the designated trails.  It is designed to get people out and exploring all the Parks.  These were all simple paved trails. It turned into a saga.  I bought a pretty pink bike.  Long painful story short – it was horrible. 

This was a bike that should have been bought by someone who rides only on level roads in Florida on the way to the library to get a basket full of books.  Despite having enough gears and only riding on fairly level ground, it was the hardest bike to ride I’ve ever met.  It would just stop if faced with a hill.  Not a mountain.  A long, slow incline was tough.  I’d be in first gear and pedaling for all I was worth and all of a sudden I wouldn’t be able to move the pedals anymore.  I took it back to the store and am having them try to sell it.  If I wasn’t anti-littering I would have left it on the side of a trail.  At least I wouldn’t have had to push it while walking back to the car.

I realized that when I got rid of that bike that I only had one ride left to finish the program.  I took the husband’s bike out and did the longest ride I had done so far in program.  It was no problem at all.  That proved to me that it was the bike and not me that was making the rest of the rides so freaking miserable.

I’ve never been able to do arm balances in yoga.  Teachers are always like, “It isn’t about strength.  It is just balance.” while I crash on the floor.  

I signed up for access to a video series teaching handstands and arm balances. There is a series of daily short practices to build skill.  I failed video number 3. I need to work on my skill in that one before moving on.  I know I have the strength to hold handstands against a wall once I get into them.  Getting upside down is hard for me.  This video series also works on fear of falling and fear of getting upside down.  We’ll see how I am able to progress.

16 Aug, 2016

What I Learned From Watching Olympic Weightlifting

/ posted in: Fitness


What I’ve Learned While Watching the Weightlifters at the Olympics

I’m a Superheavyweight woman

If I lost enough weight to be down to my imaginary mental ideal weight and then lost a little bit more, I might still be a superheavyweight.  Women’s weightlifting categories start at 48 kg (103 lbs) and end at 75+ kg (165 lbs).  They need more categories.  In the 75+ category the competitors were between 89 kg and 141 kg.

On the other end of the scale, the 48 kg women lifting 100 kg was seriously impressive.

I don’t have a proper support staff for my lifting

These guys have people who hit their muscles before they lift.  I have never wanted anyone to hit me before I lift but maybe that’s why I can’t lift as much as these women.  I ran this theory past the husband.  He doesn’t want any one to hit him either, it turns out. He didn’t even volunteer to hit me before my lifts.

They get smelling salts after lifts

I’ve never been close to passing out after lifting.  Obviously, I’m not working hard enough.  Slacker.

I haven’t been showing proper respect

A lot of the Asian lifters bowed to the judges before the lift.  I’m more impressed by the people who bowed to the weights or to the woman who dropped to her knees and hugged the plates after a good lift.  I’ve never hugged the plates.  Obviously, I haven’t been friendly enough.

I love the announcer

There is a female British commentator for the weightlifting and I love her.  I have no idea who she is.  They have never introduced themselves.  They are never on camera.  The NBC website lists a team of Americans who are supposedly announcing weightlifting but that isn’t who is actually on.

So, how have my workouts been going?  Pretty good.  I’m definitely lifting more often now that we have a closer gym.  I’m still working on my meal plans from Meal Mentor.  I’m usually making 2 or 3 of the meals a week.  I miss a lot of meals it turns out.  I don’t eat much after my late days at work because I get home about an hour before I go to bed.  Usually I just have some fruit or something then.  The last time I weighed myself I was down a few pounds though.  I think having the meal plan is making me more aware of what I’m eating.

26 Jul, 2016

Reader’s Workouts

/ posted in: Fitness


Yeah, I know, it has been a long time since I’ve done one of these. That’s because I’ve been a slacker.

It started in March at the time of the husband’s cancer surgery and recovery. He wasn’t going to the gym so I stayed home with him. Lately, work has been wearing me out. I’ve been known to go to sleep at 7:30.

I’m trying to get back on track though. Walking 8 miles a day on vacation helped.

We ended up joining a second gym that is really close to the house. We are keeping the membership at the far away one with the pool but this new one is so close to the house and it is open 24 hours so there are no excuses. It is set up as a weightlifting gym so you don’t have to wait to get to the one squat rack, for example. That’s nice.

I’ve been twice so far. On the first day I eased back into squats and lunges. I’m definitely weaker than I like. On the second day I worked on push presses.

Klokov-push-press Hook Grip

Except I didn’t do quite that much weight.

I added in lateral raises and curls and tricep work too. There is a track that I walk on to add in some cardio.

I’ve also been watching the Crossfit Games all weekend. I don’t do Crossfit anymore but I still love the crazy.  I’m adding a bunch of the female individual athletes on Instagram for inspiration.


I also signed up for Happy Herbivore’s Meal Mentor plan.  It is a vegan meal plan where you get the recipes for healthy lunch and dinners.  I hope it will help with cutting calories for weight loss. I like her cookbooks and the recipes on the meal plan look simple and good.




29 Mar, 2016

How To Choose an Infrared Sauna

/ posted in: Fitness

For a while the husband and I have been talking about getting an infrared sauna.  He was interested in the supposed health benefits.  I just want to be warm.  I’m a cold person who takes hot baths every night to warm up so I’m not freezing in bed.  Anything else that makes me warm sounds good to me.  If there are any health benefits, I’ll count that as a bonus.

Here’s what infrared saunas supposedly do:

  • burn up to 600 calories per 30-60 minute session
  • sweat out toxins
  • clear skin
  • enhance immune response

The science behind any of this is sketchy at best.

There are also different types of infrared saunas.  I think of them as the expensive ones and the cheap ones.  I had a hard time deciding what to get.  If you look for info on the internet you find out that the expensive ones have less radiation given off, are made of better materials, don’t get hot to the touch on the backrests, etc.  But guess what?  All of that is written by the manufacturers of the expensive saunas.  Is it real?  I can’t tell.  What settled it for me was that if I got an expensive one, I would need to rewire my sewing room to put in a new type of plug.  A cheap one would plug into my existing wiring.  It was also cheaper so if I ended up not using it, it wasn’t as big of a financial loss.

I ended up getting this one.  It is a Dynamic 2 person sauna.  It will only hold 2 people if you really, really like each other.  I really, really like the husband but I don’t plan on being in this at the same time as him because I don’t want to be that up close and personal to a nasty sweaty person.

That brings me to another of my concerns.  I don’t sweat in saunas.

I use the sauna in the gym after swimming and showering to dry off.  The husband thinks it is gross because he sweats in saunas.  I don’t.  Never have.  Apparently, this is a thing.

The sauna came in a big box.  I was able to put it all together myself.  There was a lot of cussing about how much easier this would have been if it came with directions.  I had watched a video about putting together a sauna before I bought one so I had a general idea.  I got it together in about an hour.  I don’t think the panels are completely square because I can’t latch all the latches on it at the same time.  (I was warned about this on the Why to Choose an Expensive Sauna websites.)  I did work up a sweat kicking and cussing out this aspect of sauna building.  After I got all the panels out and together I found some directions at the bottom of the box.  They came in handy to getting the wiring all together.  I basically got the whole thing together on my own and only forgot one piece of the floor that I had to go back and add after I thought I had it all together.

I made sure I got one with an mp3 adapter.  I can listen to audiobooks while I’m in the sauna!  I also bought optional backrests.  The back of the sauna does get hot to the touch so the backrests help avoid touching it.

I plug it in and turn it on about 20 minutes before I want to use it.  It seems to heat up quickly from room temperature to 115 degrees.  Then it has a really hard time going higher.  It is supposed to go to 140 but I’ve never seen it get over 130.

It does feel strange to sit in this box and look out a big glass window.  It confused Freckles.  She followed me downstairs because I was eating left over pizza for breakfast.  First, I wouldn’t let her in the box with me.  Then I sat there and ate pizza in front of her while she stood and stared at me through the window.

So how is the sweating going?

The first time I was in for 30 minutes.  I got a little damp on my hairline.  The second time my hair was slightly damp too.  That night I woke up in bed dripping sweat.  I was quite annoyed that I could sweat in my own bed but not in a sauna. On my third time I took some advice from a website on this issue and rubbed my arms and legs while in the sauna.  I got a little bit damp on my shoulders and arms.  You can’t see any sweat but if you touch my skin you can feel a little.  I guess I’m making progress.

I do enjoy it.  I wish I had a bigger one so I could lie down but that’s just me being lazy.


26 Jan, 2016

Reader’s Workouts

/ posted in: Fitness



I was on vacation last week and so there were no formal workouts but I had to pop in to show off these numbers.


January 15 – airport day – 6569 steps – not so good

January 16 – convention starts but no exhibit hall – 8093

January 17 – exhibit hall opens at convention – 12,770

January 18 – more exhibits – 10,727

January 19 – the whole convention thing is getting old -9741

January 20 – Animal Kingdom – 16,905

January 21 – Universal (Harry Potter world!) – 21,771

January 22 – lazy day visiting relatives – 5755

Now I’m back to normal life and probably won’t see those numbers for a while.


I’ve also realized that the floors climbed setting on my Fitbit is completely imaginary.  There was a big escalator at the convention place.  It was three floors long.  One day it was not working and I walked up it with lots of other people.  People were acting like it was a death march because with the crowd you couldn’t stop without getting run over.  There is no break between floors on an escalator.  Fitbit floors climbed reading – zero.  I turned off that setting.

12 Jan, 2016

Reader’s Workout

/ posted in: Fitness

It wasn’t a great walking week because it suddenly got really cold. Freckles flat out refused to go for a walk with me yesterday.

I did go to the gym on Sunday. I walked two miles and interspersed lunges and Bulgarian split squats every 1/4 mile. I usually go to the gym at least twice a week but some changes in my work hours means that for right now I only have Sundays off.

I am doing a better job of warming up before lower body work since I found a routine that is working for me. Before when I was doing a lot of squats and lunges I was having problems the next day with pain in the front of the hip. I knew I needed to stretch more but it took a while to find a routine that helped. Now I incorporate this into my warm up at the gym.

  • Walk 1/4 mile
  • 3 sets of low lunges – I start with left leg forward and right knee on ground.  Reach forward to put hands on ground on right side of left leg. At this point I am usually super stiff.  I don’t hold this long, only a couple of seconds, because you don’t want to hold a static stretch on cold muscles.  I switch legs quickly.
  • Walk 1/4 mile
  • 3 sets of lunges – I do the same stretch but this time I can get considerably lower.  Try to go to forearms on the ground if possible.  Sometimes at this point, I’m still too tight for that.  Again, I don’t push this stretch much.  Move smoothly and quickly from leg to leg.
  • Walk 1/4 mile
  • More lunges.  I also start adding in pigeon pose if I feel warmed up now.  From the lunge with your left foot forward, move your left foot to the right and lay your left shin down on the mat perpendicular to your body.  Fold your body over the leg.  I do this a few times on each leg.  I also hold a low squat for a few seconds two or three times.
  • Walk 1/4 mile
  • Overhead squats.  My gym has a few 15 lb bars laying around.  I hold those overhead and squat.  When I was doing cross fit we used PVC pipes and I’ve used a broom at home.

Now I’m ready to either walk longer or to start doing squats without hurting myself and I have a mile of cardio done.

05 Jan, 2016

Reader’s Workout

/ posted in: Fitness


I haven’t done one of these forever basically because I’ve been slacking.  I haven’t been doing any formal workouts at all.  Trying to get back to form now.

I’ve been doing more walking in the morning because I’ve been having to walk Freckles.  She decided a few weeks ago that it would just be easier on everyone if she didn’t go outside to go to the bathroom anymore.  She could just go downstairs in the sewing room.  It wasn’t cold outside.  She didn’t care if we were home or not.  She wasn’t acting like she was doing anything bad.  She honestly seemed to think that she had had a brilliant insight and was shocked that we weren’t agreeing.

So, under the principle that a tired dog is a well behaved dog, we instituted morning and evening walks.  Usually we just let her out in the backyard to run around.  I do mornings.  We go from 0.5 miles to 1.5 miles depending on weather.  This seems to have solved the problem.


I swam some laps.  I haven’t done that in a few months.  On the third length my arms pointed this fact out to me.  I ended up doing 10 laps (500 meters) alternating 25 m breaststroke and 25 m backstroke.


Walked about 1.5 miles at the gym.  I lose track of the laps all the time.  Mixed in walking lunges and some body weight Bulgarian split squats.

I got a new Fitbit.  I had the Zip which is the smallest one.  I really liked it but it has a battery instead of plugging in to recharge.  Every time the battery dies, it is a real problem to change the battery.  Actually, you can change the battery but it might not work.  It isn’t just me.  This is a known problem.  I’ve gotten a few free replacements from Fitbit because of it.  This time I went into my first battery change and it seemed to work.  I was thrilled.  I put it on and looked at it a little later and it said 170 steps.  That seemed a little light but I wasn’t sure.  I looked a few hours later.

It read 3 steps (not 3 steps more- 3 steps total for the day) and I’d lost 3 hours on the clock.

I was done.  I bought a new FitBit One which plugs in to charge like the older Fitbits did.

I’m going to be going to a conference in a few weeks and I always rack up major steps there.  I was actually feeling a bit odd at the idea of going without a pedometer.  If you walk a lot and it isn’t monitored, does it even count?




27 Sep, 2015

How to be a great marathon spectator

/ posted in: Fitness


I don’t run.  I have no desire to ever run a marathon.  But, I’ve been a race spectator since birth.  My father was a cross country coach until I was five.  Some of my earliest memories are cheering on the sidelines for runners.

This weekend the Akron Marathon passed through my neighborhood.  I went out to watch.  Here are some tips for how to make the most of your marathon viewing experience if you know nothing about racing.

Know Where You Are on the Course

You can usually look up the course on the race’s website.  The course of this marathon changed this year.  My viewing spot was right next to the 25 kilometer (15 mile) point.

Know When to Get There

Elite runners cover the 26.2 miles in a little over 2 hours depending on the course. If you know the start time and where you are going to be sitting you can judge when to get there. I showed up at mile 15 about an hour after the race started.

At this race they had a car with the race clock on top of it, right ahead of the front runners. This is when they got to me.  At this race they also have cyclists with signs riding next to the front runner in each division – men’s, women’s, master’s men (over 40), master’s women, male relay team, female relay team, and mixed relay team so you know who is winning at the time.  It is sort of mean though.  The runners look miserable and the cyclists are coasting alongside them looking at the crowd and the scenery.  I’d be tempted to knock them over. 

Make Some Noise

When I left my house and started walking to the marathon route, I thought that my neighborhood had hired a band for the race.  It turns out that I was hearing the music from the finish line that was 5 miles away as the crow flies.  I bet all the people trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning were thrilled about that but it is encouraging for the runners.  This isn’t golf.  You are encouraged to clap and yell and ring cowbells (honestly) when runners are passing you.  Some races have the runners’ first name large on the bibs so spectators can see them and yell personalized encouragement.  Making signs and waving them is good too.

Stay for the Regular People

It can be great to see the elite runners passing by.

Actual flying runners!


But the majority of people in a race are not running to win. Their reward is just finishing. They need the encouragement more than anyone. Sometimes with these runners who get to see costumes and funny shirts and signs and all kinds of entertainment.


23 Jun, 2015

Fitness Tuesday – Pretzel Edition

/ posted in: Fitness



Every time I make big dietary changes I get convinced that I’m going to starve.

Spoiler alert – It hasn’t happened yet.

Since focusing on a gluten-free vegan diet, I’ve been feeling like a need to keep a supply of appropriate junk food close at hand.  It doesn’t make sense.  I never did that before.  But now I have to have gluten free pretzels in the car at all time.  Gluten free pretzels taste like regular pretzels that were burnt and have gone stale.  They are strangely addictive anyway.  I think I like to have something crunchy.

Earth Balance makes vegan white cheddar popcorn.  Not going to lie – the thought of never eating white cheddar popcorn again made me very sad and was the worst part of thinking about veganism.  I appreciate Earth Balance for trying but the problem with most fake cheese products is that they are made by people who don’t remember what cheese tastes like.  This is ok but tastes like garlic and not cheese.  Their cheese puffs are better.  Still not cheesy but they get delightfully stale like I like my puffs.

You would think that this embrace of junk food would be a bad thing.  Since I started this diet at the end of April, I’ve lost 11 lbs.  That weight I couldn’t seem to lose when I was trying and now it is melting off while I eat pretzels.  Life is not fair.

I haven’t even been working out all that much.  I haven’t been lifting at all.  My fitbit zip died after the trip to England.  I talked to customer support at Fitbit to try to fix it and they ended up sending me a new one so I’m back on track with that.

I need to get back in the swing of things and see how much weight I can lose if I am actually exercising and not eating my body weight in pretzels each week.


19 May, 2015

Exercise on Vacation

/ posted in: Fitness

Can you tell what days I was sightseeing on vacation?

Our high was over 20,000 steps and our low was 11,000. That’s 6-9 miles a day. I’m surprised it was that little.

Then I got home and my fitbit died. I feel naked without it. I changed the battery before the trip because it said it was running low and then it drained in less than two weeks. I guess this is an issue with this style so I’ll try to get it fixed.

I did lose 5 pounds on the trip from all the walking. We also didn’t eat much. When I go on vacation with the husband he plans his day around where we are going to eat lunch and dinner. My mother is the kind of person who eats a yogurt for breakfast and then when we next eat at 3 PM says, “Well, I’m full for the rest of the day.”

All the walking did end up making me really stiff though. I had to do some yoga focusing on hip openers about halfway through the trip. I couldn’t even get into the poses I was so unflexible at that point but getting close helped enough that I wasn’t in pain anymore.

Diet update – I’m supposed to be an a gluten-free vegan diet with no soy. That was hard on vacation. I could generally have vegan or gluten-free. Now that I’m home I’m back on the wagon and I’m trying to remember to take my supplements but I’m horrible about that. I didn’t feel horrible before so it hard to tell if I feel better. I haven’t had any reflux at all and no allergy symptoms but those weren’t consistent enough problems to be able to say that the diet change made them go away. My hands don’t hurt as much either.

Sauna – We are looking seriously into getting an infrared sauna at home. Does anyone have any experience with these? The husband has all kinds of pain issues and I just like to be warm.