Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

Dawnie's Life

Dawnie's Life

Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!


Recent Posts

Being Brave and Facing the Dreaded Weigh In

Being Brave and Facing the Dreaded Weigh In

Today marked two weeks since my last weigh in, when I walked into the bathroom today the scale seemed to be all I could focus on. I will admit I was hesitant at first to step on the scale, knowing that my hard work may or may not be showing on the scale yet, that fear did not stop me, I did step onto that scale! I closed my eyes while the numbers moved a bit and settled into my actual weight being shown on the display, when I opened my eyes and looked down the number 164 was what was shining back up at me. Okay, I can handle that! That was a 3 lb weight loss over the course of 2 weeks (I was 167 last weigh in). When I started back up with my weight loss 3 weeks ago I weighed in at 169.4, so in 3 weeks time I have lost 5.4 lbs, not too bad.

I have to admit when I weigh in now no matter what the number is, I am still not quite 100% happy with myself. Knowing that I was down to 144 at the beginning of 2012 and knowing I had less than 20 lbs left to lose before I hit my goal weight and then I started regaining the weight makes it hard to completely be happy with the numbers this time around.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself, trust me I am proud of my hard work and of the choices I have been making in order to not only to lose the weight but also to get back to a fitness level I am also proud of. But I just hate that I was so far along in my journey and then I just slipped back into old habits (given a lot of things came up during that time that I have blogged about previously – I battled through a horrible bout of depression, we had some major life altering changes occur in our life, including bringing home an infant unexpectedly becoming parents over night – but I always call things like that “excuses” for weight gain).

But for now I have to embrace where I am in my journey, there are ups and downs, this is a lifelong lifestyle change I am making and it will take time. Mistakes and setbacks happen, I believe how a person handles them and bounce back from them really define that person.

Choosing Your Weed Wacker Straight Shaft or Curved

Choosing Your Weed Wacker Straight Shaft or Curved

When you’re choosing the best weed eater for your needs you’ll probably be considering whether an electric, cordless, gas or propane weed eater will do the job. There’s also the question of whether to get one with a straight shaft or a curved one.

The straight shaft weed eater is perhaps the more traditional model. Historically the larger, more expensive professional models are straight shaft. If you’ve always used a straight shaft weed wacker you might wonder what the curved ones are for.

The straight shaft weed eater is usually available with more accessories: like heavy-duty cutting blades and other attachments. Curved shaft weed eaters are shorter, and to be honest I’m not sure I’d want a hard steel blade doing several hundred rpm that close to me – even if it was available!

In fact the real difference is simply one of comfort. The two Hitachi 2 stroke weed eaters pictured above have exactly the same motor, they weight just about the same (the curved shaft is slightly shorter so slightly lighter) – so the only difference is the length of that shaft. Taller people tend to prefer the straight shaft and shorter people the curved shaft – although that’s by no means an absolute.

You could claim the string angle to the ground is closer to parallel and so more natural with a curved shaft – although I’ve never had any problems with my straight shaft model. You could argue that the short shaft is more maneuverable in tight spaces – but most times that’s not really a issue. If you’re working in a small area you’re unlikely to find the really dense undergrowth that professional weed eaters are designed to tackle so a smaller, lightweight electric weed wacker will probably be your choice.

The right power and accessories for the jobs you’ll be doing are the more important factors. If your chosen weed eater has straight and curved shaft options, that’s a bonus.

Running to Obtain Clarity

Running to Obtain Clarity

My goal was to add the finishing touches to my blog over the weekend, but that didn’t quite happen. I am hoping that I get the chance to work on it today. There has just been a lot going on in my life right now and I have shifted a great deal of my attention so I can focus on it.

I have also been continuing my running training. Concentrating on my running has also been allowing me to clear my head, gain a bit of clarity and just really remind myself that I am stronger than I think I am. I have friends that always say that running is cheaper than therapy and that running is their source of therapy, I totally get it now. When I run I can choose to focus completely on my run or I can choose to sort through my life and emotions in my mind. I usually do a little of both during my runs.

On Thursday I went on a run with the jogging stroller, Tyler actually stayed awake during our run, he was busy looking at the river and the geese. I discovered on that run -a little over half way through it- that the handle on the stroller is adjustable and I was able to lower it down to my level. I then immediately realized why my shoulders/chest and back had been hurting so much recently, then I felt like an idiot for not thinking of that before. I ran a 5K distance with him Thursday, I also ran on a path that is a bit more hilly than I am used to running.

On Sunday, Tiffany was home to stay with Tyler while I ventured out on a solo run, the first outside run I have been able to take alone in quite some time. I went to the same path that I ran on Thursday, I figured I need to get used to occasional hills if I want to run in any race that may be a bit hilly in the future. At first it was a bit odd to be by myself running, I quickly found myself zoned out and focusing on my run. I ran over three miles before I remembered that I had to run back to where I started to get to my car. I wasn’t ready to turn around, I wanted to keep running, but I knew that I would already have to run, or walk another three miles back to my car. So, I turned around and ran for another 2 miles. Those 2 miles were not as comfortable as the first 3, the first 3 miles I had been running with the wind, when I turned around I was running against strong winds for 2 miles! Then I realized that I had just ran 5 miles! I haven’t ran that distance since last year around this time! I was proud of myself. I probably could have ran that last last mile back to my car and made it 6 miles for my run, but remembering that I was already pushing it with my distance increase (this was my first run over 5k distance since I started running again), I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of overdoing it. So I reluctantly walked a mile back to my car. It was the smart decision to make.

Today my body can feel those extra miles I put into my run. I’m not feeling injured or hurting in any terrible way, but just slight muscle soreness. I will do some extra stretching today, I will see how I am feeling tomorrow, if my body feels up to it I will go on a short 1 or 2 mile easy run. But I am not going to push it, I am trying to listen to my body this time around.

Other than focusing on my running I have just been trying to enjoy the last little bit of fall that is left, before winter takes over (my least favorite season of the year). So on the days that allow I have been going to various parks with Tyler, he likes to play with the leaves, I enjoy watching him and just being outside (when it isn’t freezing out). There is something about  being outside in nature that is relaxing and really helps me sort through some of the clutter in my mind.

Do you find yourself running to obtain clarity? Or if you do not run, what helps you obtain clarity?

I Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym Today

I Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym Today

Some days I just do not feel like going to the gym. Getting myself ready for the gym, then getting Tyler ready for the gym (if he is willing to cooperate with me that is), dealing with the dogs, driving there, lugging this heavy (but oh so adorable) baby inside – usually from the very back of the parking lot, getting him settled in child watch (then worrying the whole time if he is being good and is doing okay), then working out – usually for around an hour or so. Sometimes it seems like such a daunting task for an hour of gym time – when I look over what I just wrote, it really sounds like I am being ridiculous! Most days I feel it is totally worth it and it is not a big deal (especially those days when Tyler isn’t grumpy)! But there are some days that I really just don’t want to leave the house! Some days I tell myself that Tyler also wants to stay in his pajamas (which are always cuter than mine) all day, besides, the dogs totally want our company at home!

Luckily I do not feel like that the majority of the time, but there are certainly days I just feel too drained in general and spend the afternoon on the couch and on the floor playing with Tyler. Most of the time when I just don’t feel like going to the gym, because it usually isn’t when I am feeling lazy, I find another way to fit some exercise in. For example, yesterday I spent the majority of the day cleaning, cleaning and cleaning. Of course in between the cleaning I was playing with Tyler, feeding Tyler, feeding myself and then cooking dinner. I did stay in my pajamas yesterday, but I would hardly call my day a lazy day! It was hard work!

Then there are days where I just dread running on a treadmill that goes nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love the treadmill on most days, and the treadmill is much kinder to my knees than the pavement outside, so I try to do some of my running inside, but lets be honest, the treadmill does not provide the scenery that an outside run provides! So when the weather permits I also like to get out with Tyler with the jogging stroller and fitting in some running that way! But again, weather permitting!

So really, even when I don’t get to the gym, regardless of the reason, I usually fit in some form of exercise.

What do YOU do to fit in exercise when you can’t or really don’t want to go to the gym?

I Used to be Skinny : A Fifteen Pound Confession

I Used to be Skinny : A Fifteen Pound Confession

I have a confession to make, I have gained 15.8 lbs in a relatively short period of time.

I tried to think of a way to lead into that confession. A way to justify the weight gain. I mean I started a new medication, that could be it, right? I battled through depression this winter, that makes it completely acceptable, doesn’t it? I hurt my knee (in the early winter time), so that justifies why I am (still) not exercising like I should, right?

Okay, so really there are no excuses to use, because they are just that, excuses, not really what happened. I am not going to blame those things. The truth is, yes I did hurt my knee which is why my exercise decreased – AT FIRST – I then stayed lazy after it healed. Another truth is I did battle depression over the winter and spring – but even after my moods stabilized – my eating habits did not stabilize.

The biggest truth of them all is the simple fact that my weight gain was caused by two factors: 1. Extreme increase in calorie consumption and 2. Extreme decrease in physical activity. Plain and simple that is HOW I gained the weight.

So it is what it is. I gained 15.8 pounds. I noticed when I gained 5 lbs. That seemed like “no big deal”, because of course your body can fluctuate up and down 5 lbs anyway, I didn’t quite take into account that meant it would also fluctuate down as well (my weight did not). At 10 lbs, I thought to myself, that isn’t “THAT bad”, thinking I had lost a great deal of weight anyway, so ten lbs wasn’t the end of the world. Now sitting at 15.8 lbs gained, I am thinking “Why in the world did I let this happen”.

Feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt and frustration with myself swirl around in my head.  Some of my friends will probably wonder why in the world I am posting for the world to see that I gained some of the weight I lost back, but I find it to be necessary in continuing my weight loss journey. I started my weight loss journey publicly and I will continue on it, through the ups and the downs, publicly. Not only do I hope that my blogging  helps others, I also blog to hold myself accountable – and that is obviously something that I need at the moment.

So let the journey continue, but this time in the right direction.

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté

I have been gaining courage in the kitchen lately and decided to finally cook on the stove. This may seem normal for most people, but I have always been more of a television dinner kind of girl, so I am sort of just learning as I go, but I am actually enjoying creating new dishes in our kitchen, so expect more recipes in the future!

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté

Ingredients:

1. Whole Kernel Sweet Corn – 2 cups

2. Cooked Black Beans – 2 cups

3. Yellow Onion – 1 cup chopped

4. Sweet Potatoes – 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 TBSP

6. Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Season Blend Salt-Free – 1 1/2 TSP

Directions:

1. Pour 2 TBSP Olive Oil and 1 1/2 TSP seasoning onto a pan over medium high heat, until it evenly spreads onto the pan.

2. Add the corn, black beans, onion and sweet potatoes in the pan

3. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes or until potatoes are completely cooked

This recipe serves 4. Each serving is 314 calories.

I was very happy with how it turned out and it was super simple to make. I used it as a side dish when we made spicy black bean veggie burgers and it was the perfect addition to our meal!

October Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

October Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

I have been waiting to post about my first experience with trying out the Foodie Penpals exchange! It is finally the end of the month so it is now time for me to reveal the goodies I received and to recap a bit about my first experience with the exchange.

I really love the concept of Foodie Penpals, it is really exciting to receive fun new foods in the mail (and actually just as fun to shop for someone else)! For the record, the person that you send items to and the person that sends you items are two different people!

My experience with the Foodie Penpal I was assigned to send goodies to:

I had a ton of fun shopping for my penpal, I put a lot of effort into picking items that I thought she would like and that were unique to my area and that were tailored around her dietary restrictions. I put a note on each item explaining why I sent it each one. I was very excited for my penpal to receive her goodies so I could hear what she thought about them, so I even sent the package out priority mail to get it to her quickly. Well, I never heard from her, I never received an email from her, not even a quick “thank you”, it honestly bummed me out. I didn’t really expect her to thank me over and over again or anything, but just a simple “thank you” would have been nice to hear.

My experience with the Foodie Penpal who was assigned to send me goodies:

Carrie (her blog is Aunt on the Run ) was super prompt with emailing me to find out my information and she was very quick with getting my goodies sent out to me! I was her first Foodie Penpal so I thought that was neat, since it was also my first month trying it out! Here is what Carrie sent me:

Carrie sent me the following: A jar of PB2 (I actually love this stuff so it was a great pick), an almond & sea salt in dark chocolate candy bar (this was devoured seconds after this picture was taken, delicious!), a Thunderbird bar (I was skeptical of this, I was a bit nervous that I would hate it, but I was actually very pleasantly surprised, it was great), a local blend of coffee from her area (I haven’t tried this yet, I rarely drink coffee at home, but it will be great for a cold winter day), a box of couscous (I haven’t used yet because of calorie restrictions in my diet, but will be great on a cheat day/high calorie day) and The Salt Lick BBQ sauce that is from a local place in her town (I haven’t tried it yet, again because of calorie restrictions, but I am actually really excited to get the chance to try it)! Carrie also included a great recipe for couscous with shrimp that I look forward to trying and a super nice card (also very festive for the month of October)! Carrie was a great Foodie Penpal! I am lucky to have had someone so excited about the exchange as well!

Overall it was fun to try out the Food Penpals, I had an OKAY overall experience. I had fun shopping, I received a great package, but I didn’t get any feedback or thank you from who I sent to.

Will I be participating in the Foodie Penpals again? Possibly. I have a lot going on in my life at the moment, so I may not participate in the month of November, I haven’t quite decided yet. But there is a very good chance that I will give it another go in the future!

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Want to have fresh and organic vegetables grown in your own garden? There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own vegetables. They taste delicious and much healthier than any organic vegetable you get from the store. You are sure to be bowled over by the juicy, sweet flavor and lively textures of home grown vegetables.

But not many people try their hand at growing a vegetable garden because they think it is an overwhelming task. This is not true.

Here are some essential tips that will make the entire process from choosing the right location and vegetables to getting a good yield an effortless task. These tips will show you can definitely grow your own vegetable garden easily.

Begin small

When you are just starting out, it is wise to confine the gardening to a small space. Don’t go overboard with the planting and end up with more than you can eat or need.

A favorable size for beginners would be around 16 by 10 feet. This size can easily feed four persons for the summer and leave you plenty behind for freezing and canning or for giving away.

Start with 11 rows with each of the rows being 10 feet in length. To get the full effect of sunlight make sure the rows are in the north south direction.

Vegetables to start with

If you want to get adept at gardening, it is best to start with vegetables that need very little attention but give a good yield like beets, carrots, cabbage, beans, radishes, lettuce, turnips and spinach. These give you multiple crops in a single season.

Planting tips

Sunny space: Choose an area that receives sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours a day.

Soil:  Soft soil lets the roots penetrate easily. So, choose loamy soil and enrich it with compost. Ensure there is proper drainage of water.

Compost: Spread compost in late fall season after harvesting, cover with winter mulch like chopped leaves or hay. In spring, the compost would be ripe to work for you. Apply twice a week before planting as it needs adequate time to stabilize and integrate with the soil.

Pest free soil: Plants such as onions, garlic, chrysanthemums and chives repel insects. Grow such plants to repel insects. Healthy soil can easily resist disease and pests, and you can avoid harmful pesticides. Use soil amendments and organic fertilizers, which earthworms love. These are very good for vegetable growth.

Choosing the right vegetables and plants

Opt for plants that grow well in your locality and are suited to the area. Started plants are better than seeds as the harvest time is shorter. If you are partial to vining vegetables grow your cucumbers, squash and melons on a fence or vertical trellis. This is space saving and looks appealing too.

Start on the peas indoors to increase the germination rate. You will get healthier seedlings that are resistant to disease and pests. Try companion planting which keeps the plants with sufficient nutrients and even wards off pests effectively.

When you plan it appropriately, a stunning garden brimming with healthy vegetables will be much easier than you had ever imagined. You will not have to toil for hours to get the results. By combining flowers and vegetables, you can also make the landscape a potential beauty to behold.

Enjoying the Fall Season and Beginning a Journey of Self-Reflection

Enjoying the Fall Season and Beginning a Journey of Self-Reflection

I know I haven’t posted in a few days, but no worries, I am still around! I have been working on transferring my blog over from wordpress.com to self-hosted and using wordpress software. If you were subscribed by email to receive my updates, please resubscribe on the right hand side of this page, when I switched over I lost that list!

Other than trying to be tech savvy (really I am not at all), I have been spending some time enjoying the season. I love fall, the colors, the smells, the slightly cool air.

Tyler and I went to Hueston Woods State Park yesterday, to drive through and admire the colorful leaves on the trees (and the ground). My grammy always took me to Hueston Woods when I was a child, especially during the fall season, I have so many fond memories that were created in that park. Yesterday seemed like the perfect day to make the drive there, it was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. Tyler loved playing with the leaves and crunching them in his little hands, I loved watching the expressions on his face as he played with the leaves. I also spent a great deal of time reflecting upon my life and reminiscing about my childhood and time spent with my grammy, she was a remarkable woman, I miss her a great deal, and I especially missed her yesterday.

On my run today I saw red, orange and yellow leaves falling off of the trees and they landed all around me, I felt a slight cool breeze on my face , I heard the sounds of leaves crunching as I ran over them with my feet, I admired the yards adorned with pumpkins and other autumn decorations, I thought about the good in my life and the things that could be improved with the right amount of effort, I allowed myself to realize that I am stronger than I think I am and that it is okay to be perfectly imperfect.

Self-reflection and enjoying the season seem to be the current themes of my life at the moment. I think that is a very positive thing. I can not grow as an individual without taking an honest look at myself and my life.

My blog will continue to be focused on running, weight loss, fitness and health – as those are aspects of my life that are very important  – but I do plan on incorporating more self-reflection and tying in more bits of my life as a whole into my blog as well.

Are you enjoying the fall season? What is fall like where you live?

Deciding on a Running Training Program

Deciding on a Running Training Program

I have never really set a training plan for my running before, I think it is about time to do so. I really want to hold myself accountable, stick to a plan and stay consistent and see improvements. I have always just ran until I felt like I couldn’t anymore which isn’t the smartest way to do things, I need more structure. I need to set goals. I need to cross train, I need to get serious and do things right this time around.

So what I am I currently running? Where is my progress with that?

My longest run of the week is currently 3.1 miles and has been for two weeks now. I run that on Saturdays. September 29th I completed my 3.1 mi run in 42:46 and then a week later on October 6th I completed the 3.1 mi run in 39:38. I was proud of the time I shaved off in just one week. Other than my Saturday 3.1 mi runs I have been running 2 to 3 other days a week and run between 1 mi and 2.5 mi on those days. I have also been cross training using the elliptical and a bit of walking here and there.

As I have said over and over again I plan on running a 5k race on the 10th of November (the same one I ran last year). I am playing around with the idea of running a 5k race on a Saturday before then as well, but haven’t picked a race yet. I also would love, love, love to be ready to run a 10k on Thanksgiving Day, but I am not positive I will be ready, so I haven’t made up my mind on that yet.

I know by late Spring at the very least I would like to be able to run a half. But late Spring is quite a while away, so maybe I could train for a longer distance slowly. I have been looking around at different training program. I have been looking at the Hal Higdon training programs and I am not sure which training plan to follow. I need the structure of a plan, it is just picking the right one for me. I can’t decide if I want to use one of the half marathon training programs or if because I have so much time before I want to run that distance if I might as well use the novice supreme marathon training program, which is a 30 week plan. I am not positive I want to run a marathon in 30 weeks, but with the training being so long it may be feasible, but I am open to other distances, originally I wanted to train for a half for May of next year, but I have a lot of time to train.. I am still debating what program to pick and what distance and I am open to suggestions. Actually I would appreciate them.

What training program did you use for your last race? What training program do you recommend? Any suggestions for me?

My Current Battle: Avoiding the Scale and Weighing In

My Current Battle: Avoiding the Scale and Weighing In

Tomorrow I hit the 2 week mark since I last stepped on the scale to weigh myself. I will admit this time around I have been avoiding the scale, when I see it on the bathroom floor, I make myself look away! The last time I was as serious about getting healthy, losing weight, concentrating on my fitness as I am now, I obsessively weighed myself most of the time. Sometimes multiple times a day. I would get upset seeing a slight fluctuation with the number on the scale. I know that is silly and ridiculous, but it is the truth.

This time around I have been paying more attention to the quality of my foods, making sure I get the nutrition I need to fuel my body for working out, with a handful of indulgences here and there, but nothing unreasonable. I have been really sticking to my running training and cross training. I know that I am making the healthy choices I need to make and that the excess weight I gained back and then what I had left to lose will be shed in time, and hopefully muscle mass will be gained (thinking long term).

So in a way it is silly to get on the scale, but on the other hand it is one way to measure progress. I am really curious to see what the scale says, I am ready to see the number drop down a bit to remind me that even if I can’t see it yet in the mirror I am on the right track. But I am also terrified of stepping on the scale and it not budging or being disappointed by the number the display shows.

I will most likely be weighing myself within the next couple of days, but I have to keep reminding myself that the number on the display only tells a portion of the story, that the improvement in my fitness tells a portion, the changes I have made in my daily food choices is another portion and so on.

I have to remember that the number on the scale is a helpful tool to measure my progress and to stay on track and make sure I don’t need to switch things up, but I need to remember now and in months from now that the number on the scale does not define me and may not always reflect my changes and hard work right away.

An Honest and Detailed BodyMedia Fit Armband Review

An Honest and Detailed BodyMedia Fit Armband Review

I received a BodyMedia Fit armband in a little over two months ago. I mentioned my armband briefly in a past blog entry of mine. I have to say as the days and weeks go by, I keep loving this armband more and more! So I wanted to share with my readers a little information about my BodyMedia Fit armband, since I am asked so many questions about what it is, what it does and if it is worth buying.

The BodyMedia Fit Armband is a compact armband that the user wears on their left arm on a daily basis (about 23 hours a day). This armband tracks how many calories your body burns each day and also tracks your sleep. In addition to that the armband also counts the steps you take each day and records how long you are lying down down. In addition to that, there is an online tracking system that you can enter your calories consumed each day, so you can come up with your calorie deficit each day. This device is highly accurate and intuitive and it becomes more and more precise the longer you wear it.

Physical Activity details on activity managerSo how do you actually get the information? I wondered the same thing before I got my armband. I quickly learned that it was not very complicated to get the information. I have the BodyMedia Fitarmband without the display. I also do not have the blue tooth enabled version (my phone at the time of order was not compatible). With my model of the armband I wear the armband and then when I want to sync it with my computer to get information (calories burned, time slept, etc) I simply plug the armband up to my computer using the USB that is included with the purchase of the armband.

It then pulls up the Body Media software (you must make a small download to your computer when you connect for the very first time). When your armband connects and you log in to the BodyMedia activity manager you will get to see all kinds of awesome and detailed information about your daily activity.

If the user wants more information about a certain time period when it comes to average calories burned, consumer, etc then there is a great feature that lets you pick 7 days, two weeks or a month of information to download and view at your own leisure. I really love this feature of the activity manager. I am a huge information junkie so it helps a lot!

As I mentioned previously, I have the version of the BodyMedia Fit armband that has to be plugged in each time to see the calorie burn, steps and other information. They do sell display units so the user can see what their current daily burn is! I do not have one of the display units so I am unable to review that option. Also if you purchase a blue tooth enabled version of the BodyMedia Fit armband you are able to see your current burn when you use blue tooth to link it up to a compatible phone. The phones that are capable of this are some Android phones and iPhones. Also some iPod touches are able to be used with the blue tooth enabled armband. There is a list on the BodyMedia website of which phones are compatible and have been tested. Again, I do not have the blue tooth enabled device, so I am not able to give a fair review of all of the features, although it is the same when it comes to accuracy as the non blue tooth model! Although I do know that the blue tooth model does have a shorter battery life (you charge your armband by the USB included in purchase by plugging it up to your computer)!

Even if you have a non blue tooth enabled armband you are still able to download an app on your android or iPhone that will let you view some of your activity information that has already been uploaded to your computer. I like having this feature. With the blue tooth enabled armband the user is able to get more up to the minute information.

There is also a new model of the armband out that just became available. Accuracy wise it is the same. It is not blue tooth enabled. So it is a smaller and sleeker version of the armband I have. It is called the CORE armband. It is a great deal more petite! I have never felt that my armband was too large, but after seeing the new CORE armband, I have found myself really liking the look of the smaller armband! Again, I can not give a full review on this specific armband, because I do not have one to review. But I did want to let readers who may be put off by size or appearance that a newer, slimmer version has been released!

Overall, I have been extremely happy with my BodyMedia Fit armband. It provides accurate information that has really been helping me understand more about my body during my weight loss journey. The information that the armband provides the user with could be helpful not only for weight loss but also for help with maintaining a current weight or even gaining weight. It is a very versatile item when it comes to what the user uses the information collected for! The only thing that I think could use improvement is the food diary portion, it is user friendly, but I am partial to using MyFitnessPal for logging my calories, I just feel it is easier to log my foods as so much is already in the database. So I do copy my calorie count from MyFitnessPal each day and enter it into my BodyMedia Fit activity logs. With that said, it is a personal preference, I know many people that love the BodyMedia Fit food database. I think that I am biased because I used MyFitnessPal to log food intake for eight months before I got the armband!

Just a few other thoughts… One thing I would recommend is buying an extra strap for your armband, as it is nice to have an extra after an super sweaty workout! There are skins you can buy and even design from your own picture to place over the armband display to make it look more like “your own”. Keep in mind that when you receive the armband the online activity manager is free for a trial period but after that the use of the online activity manager does cost on a monthly basis. With that said, the information you collect is invaluable and the subscription price is very reasonable. The customer service reps that staff BodyMedia Fit’s Facebook page and Twitter account are very helpful and nice whenever you have a question. They also run contests from time to time!

The BodyMedia Fit armband is a great tool when it comes to weight loss, weight maintenance or even just for the person who likes to know more information about their body, calorie wise, activity wise and sleep wise! I have found this weight loss item to be invaluable in terms of weight loss success. Sure, weight loss can be accomplished without this device and by putting it on your arm does not mean you will magically lose weight, but the information the device provides certainly takes a lot of guess work out of the process!

Garden Hose Reel Advice

Garden Hose Reel Advice

What are the Choices of Garden Hose Reels and where will you get the best Hose Reels Advice?

There are many choices of garden reels available today and it can be quite confusing as to deciding which type, style, brand etc is going to best suit your needs. In this article I will offer my over 20 years experience in the hose reels business to hopefully offer you the best hose reels advice so that you can be armed with the best information when you make your purchase.

There are a number of aspects to consider when selecting a garden reel for your particular needs. Some of these are listed below in brief form and will be covered in future articles in more DETAIL. Some of these are pretty obvious however there are some things that many people fail to take into account when finding the right reel. Hose length, hose diameter (internal and external), water pressure, length of hose required (versus what hose capacity different reels have, the construction material (steel or plastic), method of winding up the hose (hand crank or spring rewind) and the major aspect that many people fall down on is the positioning of the reel.

Where Will You Position your Garden Reel?

So you are considering buying a hose reel for your garden. Maybe you have walked through a few large DYI or Hardware stores or even checked out a few sites on the internet and are maybe a little bit confused about what type you should purchase and importantly where are you going to position it?

Let’s first look at the that wonderful real estate adage, position, position, position as a starting point. Where you are going to install / mount your garden reel needs careful consideration. What practical length of hose will you need relative to where you install it? What area of garden or lawn do you want to effectively cover with your reel?

Is your current inlet water supply (tap / faucet) limiting you on where you can install / mount your garden hose reel? The chances are the position of your water supply (tap / faucet) outdoors for use with a garden hose was arbitrarily determined by the builder of your home or the previous owner, or if by you then likely from a set of plans – let’s face it, the garden / lawn area was either not predetermined or has changed.

So if the length of hose on a type of reel you are considering is not quite going to give you the coverage you need – what is the solution?

If installing / mounting your garden hose reel near / next to your water supply to the reel (tap / faucet) will not give you the most desired coverage then there are solutions.

Example – you may have 2, 3 or more water supply points around your house – typically most homes have at least 2 – one at the front and one at the back of the house. These outlets may not be in the best position for watering your garden – I know mine aren’t and I designed my house!!!

Example 2 – I have a water supply (tap / faucet) on the south facing side at the front of my house, about a metre (3ft) from the corner of the house. There is no garden(s) on that section of the south side of the house – the gardens are on the west side!!!

So mounting a hose reel right next to that outlet means I am pulling the hose around a corner – not very practical or sensible right?

So the solution for me was to run some poly water pipe from the outlet, along the ground (eventually I pulled up my pavers and buried it) to a point on the west side of the house where the garden is. Sounds logical however even I didn’t think of it in the first place!!

I fitted a riser and an on / off valve and then mounted my garden reel in the best possible position for me to get the best efficiency and least hassles. It is easy and cheap to do – you don’t need to pay a plumber to do this for you – some poly pipe, some fittings and the job is done!!

Last but not least in this section of positioning your garden hose reel is how you install / mount your garden hose reel after you have decided where you want / need it. A garden reel should be offering you efficiencies right? – if not then you could use an old car wheel rim.

Tip – make sure you mount the reel at a suitable “ergonomic” height – a height which will not have you bending over or reaching up to operate it. Take some time to measure the installation / mounting position carefully before installing the reel to a wall or post or other fixing. The ideal position is for the hose as it rewinds onto the reel to be at about your hip height (this assumes in hand crank reels that the crank is centre line with the reel which should be the case – for spring rewind reels this will be a given).