Previous month:
December 2013
Next month:
February 2014

January 2014

Giveaway: Get in Balance for the new year

Has school started again for you yet? It did here today and I was glad to wrest the office computer back from the teenager -- now to see if it can do anything besides run World of Warcraft ...

While it was fun to have the husband and the teenager around the house, it was good to get back to my regular routine today. Part of my "new normal" is to get up and head out the door to exercise. That way I'm exercised, showered and ready to roll well before noon. Makes me feel way more in control of the day.

Notice I didn't mention anything about New Year's resolutions -- that's because I didn't make any. Instead, I'm pledging to simply be the best possible version of myself.

And so far, so GREAT. I have a tendency to give everything a headline, and I decided to dub this year 52-52-52.

There's 52 weeks in a year, I turn 52 this year and I fully intend to remove 52 pounds of excess this year. That's only a pound a week so it seems completely doable.

We're only six days into 2014 and I've dropped 3 pounds so I'm ahead of the game!

One of my strategies is to save my indulgences for snack time. That way I know I can have whatever I want as long as it's under 200 calories, and I have two or three opportunities for snack time.

Balance pledgeTo celebrate the new year, I have a great little giveaway, courtesy of Balance Bars, which is also into the "anti-revolution" movement with its Balance Bar Pledge.

Instead of making a laundry list of resolutions (which only 8 percent of people actually achieve), make a pledge to make one small step each month. You can read the entire pledge HERE. (And I swear I came up with the "best version of myself" totally before I saw that phrase on the Balance site!)

Here's what you'll win:

I first tried the Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch Balance Bars at this summer's Zumba Convention in Orlando (they were one of the expo booths). Do you love Thin Mint cookies? You'll LOVE these, plus you'll get 14 grams of protein, which can't be said of that sleeve of cookies.

And I've been using the Yurbuds headphones, which are fantastic. They're super comfortable and secure. I used them on last week's 20-mile exercise tally.

To find out more about the Pledge, there's a hourlong Balance Bar Twitter Chat on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. ET. @BalanceBar and Laurel House (@QuickieChick) will be hosting the chat.

How to enter: In the comments, tell me one small step you're planning on making this year. You can also get extra entries by:

Giveaway deadline is Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET. The is open to U.S. residents only.

In addition, you also can enter the Balance Bar pledge and giveaway at where you'll be entered for a chance to win a wellness vacation at New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vermont. And five fans will also win the same prize pack that I'm giving away. So enter both!

Disclosure: Balance Bar provided bars and Yurbuds for this giveaway. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are my own.

I kept my commitment to myself: 20 miles!

I was going to post on Friday but I wanted to wait until I finished this thing today.

What's this thing?

Last weekend, I made a commitment to myself and no one else that I would get up, get dressed and get out the door every single day. Not every other day, not a few days this week but every single day.

And as of noon today I did it -- 20 miles either walked or run.

I didn't do it for weight loss or any other specific reason -- I just did it to do it, to see if I could keep the habit going without crapping out. (I crap out a lot ... wait, that sounds gross.)

Commitment day 2014
A couple of times this week I wasn't sure it was going to happen -- especially the day after New Year's Day. I did the Commitment Day 5k up in Boca Raton and I pushed myself to run more than walk. It rained most of the course and I didn't know a soul but I plugged in my iPod, cranked up the Pitbull and partied my way to 3.1 miles.

I've been having some issues with my right leg -- I don't know if it's the quad, the knee or a combination of both, but the next day it was STIFF. I iced it, stretched and got in a 2.5-mile easy walk that afternoon. 

Today was also a little iffy -- my knee was making an audible clicking noise -- but aside from that there really isn't any pain, so I chalked it up to middle age, laced up the sneaks and headed out the door. About a mile in (and after repeating my mantra of "GO, SYNOVIAL FLUID, GO!"),  the clicking went away and I got in another 2.5 miles.

The "side effect" was I did lose around 3 pounds from last Saturday to this Saturday, but it wasn't because of the exercise.

I decided to start acting like a grown-up and plan and time my meals and snacks. No more "I WANNA SMOOTHIE! I WANNA YUMMY, CHOCOLATEY PROTEIN BAR! I WANNA VAT OF GUACAMOLE!" and then try and make a meal of a goofy combination of foods. If I want a Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch Balance bar (more about those on Monday), I can save it for a snack, when it makes more sense that shoehorning it into a meal.

I'm also making sure I'm eating either a meal or a snack every 2 to 3 hours to keep my blood sugar levels stable. It's REALLY helping with the "late-night situation," especially because I know that I have a planned, sensible snack waiting for me in the kitchen. I had tried to shut the kitchen down after dinner but it just wasn't working. The "Oh, no, don't go in there" only made me go there more. 

I also made a commitment to drinking more water -- like water water, not coffee water or soda water or gin and tonic water. My rule is to get in 4 glasses by noon, even if that means standing at the fridge and guzzling down a few glasses at once.

It's working and I'm going to make sure it KEEPS working.