Revolution of Love Blog

Revolution of Love Blog

Little things done with great love...

Weigh-in Wednesday: Sharing Health Goals (vol 1) – A Review of Fitbit Flex

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 28 & 29 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

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One of my goals for September and October was to better my health by walking 30 minutes a day. I got a Fitbit Flex to help me with my goal and a few people have asked me about it so I thought I’d start a new series – Weigh-in Wednesday: Sharing Health Goals.

Now, to my friends reading this who run marathons and look great in your skinny little yoga pants, you can skip this post.

I want to talk to the women who spends more time in front of the computer looking for health tips than actually exercising and the mom who only runs to chase her naked toddler down the hallway and to the fellow husky mama who doesn’t want to get OUT of a size 18 but INTO a size 18. Yeah, this is for you, baby.

ba_age_5Those chubby cheeks have long been acquaintances of mine.

Okay, some background first. I have always been overweight. Like forever. I wore Sears’ Pretty Plus until I graduated to Lane Bryant. I hated it then but I got to a point in my life after I married and has a few kids where I made peace with it. This is just who I am – a plus size mama. That’s good…and bad. Good that I am comfortable in my own skin but bad in that I know I am not as healthy as I should be.

When Brian got sick with cancer, we made healthy changes in our lives but to be honest, although I was feeding him better, I would still stress snacking and eating foods and sweets that were no bueno. In September, I wasn’t feeling well myself. I was sluggish, was getting light headed and feeling slight numbness in my legs. Scary. In general, I was not feeling good. I decided it was time for a full physical and for me to get serious about my health. Besides doing it for myself, I’ve got four young kids and a husband that needs me to stick around for awhile!

After all the tests, I found that in almost every aspect – blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol – I was on the fence, border-lining between normal and too high. Some of my hormones (like progesterone) were off but that has always been the case and I was deficient in some vitamins, particularly iron and D3. So the doc has me on multiple supplements, I am walking at least 30 minutes a day and I’ve cut out white flour (and for the most part) processed sugar and sweets and eating a lot more veggies.

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For this post, I am focusing on the walking.

It is recommended that every person take 10,000 steps a day for optimal health. I knew I probably wasn’t at that level but assumed I was not too far off.  I would take random walks here and there and I felt like I was always running around but I wanted to know for certain how much I was moving each day.  I read a lot of positive reviews of the Fitbit Flex so I decided to give it a try. I liked that fact that I could wear it all day, every day without giving it much thought. (Technically you can also wear it in the shower, but I take it off.)

The first day I wore the Fitbit, it was a leisurely Sunday and as the sun set I checked my numbers and was surprised to see I had only logged in 3,500 steps. I figured that was a fluke because it was Sunday. Surely during a busy week I’d be logging in closer to 10,000. Well, I was barely getting over 4,000. Ouch. That was eye opening. So for the next two weeks my goal was to add an extra 1,000. I worked on it and got up to a 5,500 average. The next two weeks I upped it another 1,000. Then another 1,000. Right now I am averaging between 8,500 – 9,000.

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Some days I kick it and log over my 10,000 goal.

Revolution of Love Blog - fitbit_3WOther days I don’t quite get there.

My problem is consistency. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when all the kids are in school, I have time alone where I can walk 2 miles on my favorite trails like this one.

Revolution of Love Blog -day_23_beach1The Monterey Bay Rec Trail

 walk_1WCan you say, “Gorgeous!”

But the other days of the week I am usually running around or taking care of kids or the household and the day speeds by without me strapping on my walking shoes. On those evenings, I walk for 30 minutes doing laps up and down my driveway after the kids go to sleep.

walk_2W  Sometimes it is soothing to put on my earphones and walk away the stress of the day as the stars come out.

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Other days, I am draaaaaagging. There’s no pretty ocean to motivate me, just the asphalt and shadows amongst the trees and the chilly wind nipping at my face. There were plenty of days I was ready to say, “Forget it!” but looking at my Fitbit steps in black and white motivated me to get outside and bring that number a just a little higher.

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Another great features of the Fitbit is the calorie log. The same way I would over estimate my steps I would also under estimate how much food I was eating. Once I started tapping in my meals into my Fitbit app, I could see that all those little nibbles here and there added up quickly. On the plus side, on the days I did extra walking I was allowed extra calories in.

 The Fitbit also has a sleeping mode which will tell you how many times you wake up in the night or are restless. I don’t use this all the time but it is interesting to monitor now that the kids pretty much sleep the night through. (Heavenly.)

I also recently started adding friends to my profile. We are able to set a daily challenge and “compete” or offer support to one another. And I can use all the support I can get!

I will add, however, that the one negative I have heard about the Fitbit is that it does not do well tracking your steps when you are pushing a stroller. Apparently, it likes when you move your arm back and forth as you walk/run. It’s not really an issue for me since I walk alone now, but it may be something to look into if it’s a concern. That aside, I love my Fitbit and I know it has helped me stay motivated.

My goal now is to be more consistent with my 10,000 steps a day. Perhaps, going out early in the morning on the weekends when Brian is home with the kids or bringing Matthew with me on a walk on Mondays and Fridays. (I hesitate with that one because I feel like one of those people who walk with their dogs and they have to stop every five minutes so their pooch can sniff around and do their business. Picture the pre schooler version of that.) ;-)

So what are the results from the last two month of walking and eating better? All the crazy symptoms are gone. My blood sugar and blood pressure are normal and I’ve lost ten pounds. That’s just a small portion of what I need to lose but it is a heck of a lot better than two months ago. I don’t think I’ll ever be “thin” but I certainly don’t mind being a healthier version of myself. ;-) And for that , I am truly thankful!!

What about you? Are you working on health goals? Or do you have exercising advice (like how to keep at it!) or healthier eating advice (like how to not fall off the wagon??) Spill, por favor!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.


31 Days of Gratitude (Day 26 & 27): Meal Planning & Family Time

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 26 – 27 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

I’m crawling to the finish line of this 31 day challenge. This post is a twofer. ;-)

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Yesterday I was really slacking in the cooking department. (Sandwiches for dinner anyone?) BUT I am feeling domestic today so I am making up for it. I’ve got a chicken in the slow cooker for dinner and granola in the oven for tomorrow’s breakfast. While those are cooking I’d thought I’d post my menu for the week and Link-up with Nell at Whole Parenting for Week Eats.

Monday

Slow Cooker Rotisserie-Style Chicken, Wild Rice & Green Beans.

Tuesday

Breakfast Dinner

Wednesday

Slow cooker Lentil and Kale Soup & Salad

Thursday

Leftovers (If there aren’t any leftovers, we’ll have a chef salad or grilled cheese.)

Friday

Chili Beans and Corn Bread

(After trick or treating a nice bowl of chili sounds cozy.)

Saturday

Homemade Pizza and Greek Salad

Sunday

Enchilada lasagna (I still need to post that recipe), pinto beans, veggies, salsa and guac.

I’ll be hosting dinner for my in-laws and, if all goes well, my parents too! They’ll hopefully be driving up from So Cal to spend a few days with us. This is my go-to company-is-coming meal.

Knowing that I will be getting a hug from my parents and spending time with them in just a few days, well, that makes me very, very grateful!

Thanks to Nell for hosting the link up!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.


31 Days of Gratitude (Day 24 & 25): The Grace of the Cross

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 24 – 25 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

I started writing this last night but fell asleep so I’m finishing it in the morning and counting it as two days. ;-)

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(From Jan 2014, after Brian’s surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.)

As many of you know, at the beginning of the year, God asked us to travel a difficult path. In January, my husband Brian was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. He went through his second surgery to remove the cancer and this time around he had to have chemo. They surgically inserted a port into his chest. He had chemo for six months and finished his treatments in July. They won’t take the chemo port out until he has been clean for three months after treatment.

Over the last two months he’s had bloodwork and a scans and this week he went through his last round of bloodwork. We got a call from the doc yesterday and he said that everything looked good, his lymph nodes are clean and there’s no signs of growth. Brian can now schedule the removal of his port. Blessed be God!

I pray that this cancer chapter is over forever! Sometimes, I’ll start to worry, especially when he is not feeling well, that maybe it is back but I’ve got to tell myself to shut up and don’t even go there because worrying like that is no way to live. I’ve just got to enjoy each day we have togeether and not worry about what may or may not happen. Its not the easiest thing for me but I’m trying.

Now we are concentrating on helping Brian recover from the chemo. He started going to a new doctor that has a more holistic approach to medicine and together they are working on building his body and his immune system back up and working on getting the lingering chemo out.

scrip_rom_8_28You know, I hate the cancer that invaded Brian’s body. It brought physical pain, emotional heartache, spiritual questions (and not to mention late night binging on ice cream while I worried about being a widow.) But now that the dust has settled and our lives feel “normal” again, I can’t help but think of the Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” There actually have been positive outcomes to this whole situation.

First, we are taking much better care of our health with diet and exercise. Goodbye double cheeseburgers; hello, salads! Good bye pan dulce and glazed donuts; hello, black bean brownies! Goodbye, couch potato; hello, walking fool. I complain about it (shocking, I know!) but it feels good to feel healthier. (I’ll talk more about the improved health next week. ;-))

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This cross has also brought Brian and me closer together. We have shared such raw moments together that it was either going to drive us apart or cement us together. It brings me to tears as I type to think about just how much I love this man. He’s a gem. Funny thing is, he says the same about me. I always felt like he was the rock and I was the flighty one. To see him hold onto me for strength is disconcerting, and reassuring, at the same time. As a family, it has drawn us closer and made us more compassionate towards those who are suffering illness and their families.

Lastly, we have grown closer to God and more reliant on him. We have been reminded that life is precious and that we can’t take any day for granted. I’m trying not to get so caught up in the tedious chores of the day that I forget to see the beauty in the mess.  I think we’ve also come to realize that, by the grace of God, we are much stronger than we think. I have no desire to be tested any further but that’s not the way life works. So for now, I lay it at the feet of Christ and celebrate in the blessings of today. For that, I am truly grateful.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.


31 Days of Gratitude (Day 23) & Theme Thursday

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 23 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

I am also linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday: Good Job.

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Cari prompted us to post a photo that we did a good job on. I took these this week when I was out on my morning walk. Normally, the waves are pretty calm but this day they were rough and wild. It left me breathless and I wished I could capture what I was seeing and hearing and feeling but I couldn’t do it justice. However, I only had my iphone (my old one finally bit the dust so I upgraded to the iphone 6) and even though it was a camera phone in the hands of an amateur photographer, I still think I did a pretty good job. (Let’s not talk about the fact that it took 100 shots to get these four.) ;-)

Revolution of Love Blog -day_23_beach1The view from the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

day_23_beach2My zen seagull that I posted on Instagram earlier this week. The waves never bothered him.

day_23_beach3When I was done with my walk I drove the scenic route home. There are little turnoffs where you can park and watch the ocean and I couldn’t resist stopping.

Revolution of Love Blog - day_23_beach4I made it down to the water and after last week’s hectic craze I was thanking God that this week I was able to regroup and re-energize myself. God always seems to know when I am at the end of my rope. Circumstances ease up and I get a little respite. For that I am truly thankful.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.


31 Days of Gratitude (Day 22): Beautiful Imperfection

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 22 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

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I took this photo of a pretty plant today but after I looked at it I realized there was a hole in one of the leaves. It bugged me and I was going to delete the photo. Either that or drive back to the place I took the photo and do a retake after I pulled off the guilty leaf. Instead, I remembered that things don’t have to be “perfect” to be beautiful. A person can still find beauty in messy imperfection. For that, I am grateful.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.