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December 2015
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February 2016

January 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: More Bounce to the Ounce, by Zapp and Roger

Over the weekend, we were watching the Broncos beat the Patriots, and the pregame show featured DeMarcus Ware of the Broncos talking about the music he listens to to get him psyched for the game. He mentioned the old school super-funky Zapp and Roger and my brain immediately went to this song. As I'm sure you all know, music can go a long way to motivating fitness.

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Stuff I Love: The bargains at Swanson Health Products

I was given a store credit to try out the products at Swanson. No other compensation was given for this post.

I've been meaning to write about Swanson for ages, but I've been crazy busy with the holidays, the kid's school stuff and the office redo.


But all that's behind me now (sorta -- there's another band function tonight!), and I can get back to some semblance of normalcy. 

Swanson contacted me at the end of 2015 and I was intrigued because 1.) I love shopping online 2.) I love healthy products, and 3.) I love bargains. 

SWF074I had heard of Swanson but thought it was only online vitamins. Boy, was I wrong! The site has expanded to include food and beverage products as well as supplements. And the prices are fantastic.

I figured I'd mention them today because if you hurry, you can get an extra 25 percent off all Swanson-branded products. The site also sells name-brand items. I bought some Swanson organic raw cacao nibs, which are great blended into smoothies or sprinkled on top of fruit and Greek yogurt. Right now you can buy an 8-ounce bag for $5.99, which is a crazy good price.

SWF101I also bought a bottle of Swanson's organic tart cherry juice concentrate. If you've never tried tart cherry juice, DO IT. A tablespoon mixed into 8 ounces of sparkling water makes a delish alternative to soda, and tart cherry juice is great for melatonin production as well as post-workout aches. The 16-ounce bottle is $9.99, which is great, because I usually pay around $15 for that sized bottle at other stores.

And if you wind up with a big ol' shopping cart of stuff like I did, you get free shipping with orders of $50 and up. Shipping is quick and they do a good job of packaging the food so it doesn't clank around in the box.

Also, the freeze-dried tart cherries are fantastic, as is, frankly, everything else I bought.

I've tried other online natural food retailers but couldn't get behind the membership fees. Swanson just has great prices all the time.




Weight Watchers update: 4 pounds off and keeping my fuzzy eye on the prize

Since we last discussed the new Weight Watchers plan, I am down 4 pounds in those 2 weeks.

Have I been eating any differently? Not really, but I'm keeping starchy stuff in mind as I plan my meals. I alternate meals with starches (sandwiches, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.) with non-starchy meals (salads, smoothies, scrambles, "meat-and-veg"). And snacks are smaller. I have a tendency to obsess over making sure every meal and snack is balanced (I need protein! I need healthy fats!) but now if an apple and a few almonds will tide me over to the next meal then I'm good.

I'm not stressing about food, just plugging everything into the Weight Watchers app, and it's paying off. 

Now, the key is to keep on keeping on with this stressless approach.

I was going to update after the first week but I have a couple things going on -- a home office redo and eye doctor appointments. Both of these things have been either taking up all my time and/or keeping me off the computer. The husband is going to be working from home, so it was finally time to take the office from "garbage dump of random furniture" to a relatively pulled together functional home office. So I've been cleaning out and getting rid of particle-board desks and bookcases, clearing out the closet, painting the room (for the first time since we moved here in 1999!), vacuuming up 16 years of newly uncovered dust bunnies, putting together furniture and arranging the room for maximum space and efficiency. 

Happy to say, I'm about 90 percent done! All I really need to do is hang (less) stuff back on the walls and put out (fewer) doo-dads. 

Doing all the office stuff has kept my mind and eyeballs off the computer because these cataracts (the left one especially) are kicking my butt. I have the special "young person" cataracts that progress quicker than your Nana's cataracts. (Here's a great Washington Post first-person article on a 42-year-old's experience with cataracts.)

Eye folder
My "eye folder," full of eyeball options.

Working on the computer, using my smartphone, reading a book, driving on a sunny day, driving at night, grocery shopping -- all of these things are getting increasingly more difficult and annoying. And all those tasks basically sum up my day-to-day life. So after a particularly emotional eye exam, where I nearly broke down in tears trying to answer the "number 1 or number 2?" questions, I was overjoyed when the doctor said I needed cataract surgery. 

There's a Bascom Palmer Eye Institute location right down the street from my house and I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be walking distance to one of best eye hospital in the world. But for the surgery, scheduled a day before my birthday, I'll trek down to Miami. Right now I have to decide which replacement lens to choose -- standard, astigmatism correcting or super-fancy multifocal. I'm leaning toward the middle choice because I honestly like wearing glasses (and also that multifocal lens is super expensive).

I cannot wait to get this fuzzy old lens vaporized.



Weight Watchers just got a lot 'harder' and I love it

Tuna vs pizza smartpoints
When I heard that Weight Watchers was revamping its Points system, I was intrigued, and although I swore off any more paid weight-loss plans, I really wanted to see what they were working on. 

Zulily was offering a 2-month online membership for $19.95, so I bought it and signed up again.

And, holy 20-Point pizza, the plan is different!

If you were used to carb-heavy meals and snacks, the new SmartPoints plan is a kick in the teeth. Points for bready, crackery, ice creamy foods have basically doubled.

And that's a good thing.

It REALLY forces you to rethink your food choices -- especially when you can eat an entire can of tuna for 1 Point, while a Weight Watchers Giant Fudge bar is now 5 Points.

Zero Point vegetables are still your best friends and now lean proteins are your BFFs, too. Like I said, a whole can of chunk light tuna in water is 1 Point and 3 ounces of turkey breast is also 1 Point.

And I wasn't kidding about 20-Point pizza. We had a Costco cheese pizza left from the teenager's New Year's Eve party, and thank goodness I cut it into 16 slices instead of 8 or I'd be eating lettuce for dinner. But it was lunch and I enjoyed it. I'll just enjoy pizza a heck of a lot less frequently.

I've been a member of Weight Watchers on and off since I was 10 years old (really), and this change is probably the most radical, results-driven change the company has ever made.

So we'll see how this 2 months plays out.