Monday, June 30, 2014

Anxiety Issues

Anxiety issues. I think we all struggle with them at some point. Different levels, various triggers. Everyone has their own personal experience. 

I didn't think much about "anxiety" really, until my fourth child started having some issues. He'd always been a very anxious child. He had several irrational fears ... water (swimming was a no go, even baths were difficult), elevators (we always had to take the stairs), dogs (I share this fear) and ... Tom Bergeron. That's right - the host of America's Funniest Home Videos. Totally freaked my kid out (those parts where they superimposed his BIG head onto other bodies during some of the videos). Seriously, my poor child would run screaming from the room and we had to stop watching the show for a few years.

When he was in 2nd grade, he developed a weather phobia. He'd nervously check the forecast dozens of times a day. Thunder and lightening would dissolve him into a quivering, crying puddle, but even clouds caused concern. School was a challenge. We had to make arrangements for him to stay inside during recess. I was getting calls and would have to come get him from class when he was distractingly upset. I hung a big quilt over his bedroom window and his room became his little cave of safety ... sometimes I'd have to bring meals to his room as he didn't want to come into the kitchen where there were just too many windows.

I did a lot of reading on the topic. We got some counseling and finally some medication.  He's doing a lot better (he'll be starting 5th grade in the Fall), he's no longer on medication. Although we all watch him whenever it is stormy,  and he still doesn't like it,  he can generally stay in control.

As I read up on the subject, the books said that anxiety and other issues are often hereditary. I looked a little closer at some of my "concerns" and irrational fears and I think they could be classified as such. With the weather phobia, it was so difficult because we had little or no control over that. My issues are a little more avoidable. I do avoid them for the most part, and feel "normal" ... until a situation arises and I have a confrontation with my concerns:
  •  Cars: I hate driving in the car. For small trips around the neighborhood, errands and such, I'm fine. But add in any complications ... unfamiliar streets, driving in the dark, weather, traffic, construction, speed/multiple lanes (I don't do freeways), tricky turns (these continuous flow  intersections, even just left hand turns) and I can have a full fledged panic attack. Often the anticipation anxiety is worse than the actual event ... although it is usually so great that I don't end up doing the driving. For the most part, we've learned to adapt as a family. The hubs has to make up for my lack. If he's not available, I have to make other arrangements or miss out.  I'm struggling even when I'm not doing the driving. Even as a passenger I'm tense and miserable and dread any long drive (and my definition of "long" is getting shorter and shorter).
  • Food: I've also mentioned before about my food issues. I don't know if that is "anxiety" per say, but again, much of it anticipation anxiety. People say "just try it" and I can't. I just know I'll gag and throw up and I can't overcome that. Knowing that I can't/won't eat so many things does create anxiety when going out to a social gathering. Dating was difficult.
  • Social: I was super social when I was young. Heavily involved in theater. I'd perform on stage, singing and acting in front of big audiences, never being nervous. I'd host parties gathering all my high school and college friends.  But now ... I'm uncomfortable at most social gatherings. I CAN still converse with people, but it's a bit of a struggle. I hate crowds. You couldn't pay me to go to a big concert. Disneyland was a disaster for me.   
Vacations are just a total trifecta  ... there will be driving. I won't have access to my kitchen, my home. There will be crowds and social situations. ANXIETY! I've mentioned this vacation anxiety last year. When hubs and the boys went to New York a few months ago, I was invited but did not even consider trying it. With my issues ... it's just SO much easier to stay home.  Home is my comfort zone. I can feel "normal" at home. I tease my hubby that I'm a future shut-in ... except there is some truth to it.

This week, the hubs planned a Lake Powell trip with another family. I have fond memories of Powell when I was a teen (although I don't water ski, or enjoy the boat/waverunners). The drive isn't awful ... five hours or so. So I considered it. I did worry about food, I looked at the menu provided and nothing worked for me (hamburgers, hotdogs, ziti, tacos, fajitas).  Five days without my kitchen, without my home, A/C, bed ...  without my EXERCISE. Like the quote below says, I really believe exercise helps me cope with stress. I need that outlet.I'm sure there would be some great moments, but I also know I'd have some miserable moments. I'm afraid I'd have more of those.

So I've had a little anxiety this past week. Should I go? Should I stay? The hubs is supportive in whatever I choose. Unsurprisingly, I've decided to stay home. It's going to be so HOT there (100°). Even though I feel better about my body, I'm not really ready to live in a swim suit for days. Given the choice, the two little boys have decided to stay home too (#4, my anxiety boy is also a homebody, and I was a little worried about hubs watching the munchkin on his own *Ü*) and even #2 is now saying he is staying (I actually WANT him to go). Even though I feel better having the decision made, there is still some stress in getting everything prepped for those who are going.

My mom and SIL have encouraged me to talk to my doctor about my anxiety issues at my next physical. Although this does feel like anxiety, I do have the panic attacks ... for the most part I'm able to avoid the triggers. I tried some counseling sessions once (different issue though) ... I dreaded them. Having to drive to the appointment, talking/crying, filling out forms. I'd often be more depressed afterward. It seems pills are so easily prescribed, but I just don't know if that is the path I want to take either. Even without the actual anxiety ... I don't know that my tastes (for food or entertainment) would change. I'm just a homebody at heart and for the most part, I'm ok with that.

I do try not to turn to food when I'm anxious ... food logging helps keep me from mindless eating, helps me realize what I'm doing and hopefully stop. I do turn to exercise often, so it's doubly hard when the exercise option is off the table (there are ways to exercise on vacation, but it's hard!)

Do anxiety issues impact you or your family?

Sorry - not a super motivational post for this Motivation Monday. But it is something I need to overcome. We all have issues that affect our motivation ... what do you do? I wonder if anyone even read this whole, long thing. Sometimes writing a post is more for myself ... you know?

A quick weekend recap for MIMM (the Marvelous In My Monday link up with Healthy Diva Eats).  Zumba has actually been really good for me and my anxiety issues. I've pushed myself to try new classes, driving to new locations (carefully mapquested out beforehand) and meeting new people. I went to a new class on Friday morning! Saturday, there was a neighborhood social. Even with people I know, it can be an uncomfortable situation for me. I did go, and pushed myself to talk to people and I actually enjoyed it. Sunday, we went to a big family gathering. It did require a drive on the freeway (I was just a passenger) and crowds, and food that didn't necessarily work for me. Again, I did fine and enjoyed it. Baby steps!

Friday, June 27, 2014

WWI#50 and Random Facts About Me

It's Friday. Time to weigh-in. Looky there, I'm exactly the same weight as I was last week! I did NOT have a good weekend (I bought donuts on Saturday ... why do I do that? Then I eat donuts!). Saturday was very high on the intake. I did pretty good the rest of the week and managed a weekly deficit of 2534. Still, my average intake was 2429. That's high, even with my activity, which averaged out to a 3098 daily burn. I do really enjoy my activity.  Zumba every day. Elliptical every day. Some strength training to keep/gain muscle. A jog here and there (ok, THAT is only "exercise" ... I don't enjoy jogging). Getting some reading in while on the stationary bike.  It's not that I'm trying to out cardio my calories, I really NEED to stay active and moving and ... ok, I am trying to out cardio my calories. If you want more details on the day to day ... (Day to Day Doings) *Ü*

I'm linking up with  Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  
and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

Onto the Friday Five ...

The DC Bloggers (Courtney, Mar and Cynthia) had a fun topic this week: Five Facts about You. I remember some years ago, there was a "25 Random Facts" thing going around Facebook. I filled it out then, and looked up mine. Most were still applicable. I had one ... "I don't know if I can live without Caller ID, Tivo and Blockbuster Online" which isn't really true anymore. I HAVE given up Tivo (PlayOn/PlayLater has taken over) and Blockbuster went out of business, so I really didn't have a choice there. I DO still need CallerId!). Anyway, I trimmed my list by five ... still leaving 20. I didn't know which five to focus on *Ü*

  1. I wear a pedometer and record my steps every single day.
  2. I always watch DVDs/Streaming with the subtitles on.
  3. I’ve been para-sailing, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and gone for a ride in a hot air balloon.  
  4. I am a total homebody.  
  5. I was the lead in my high school musical.  
  6. I prefer Word Perfect to Microsoft Word.  
  7. I have a scar on my chin from falling on the edge of our family fireplace when I was two  years old. It isn’t very noticeable, but when it was showcased how Harrison Ford’s  character got a scar on his chin (the 3rd Indiana Jones film) everyone suddenly noticed  mine too.  
  8. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from BYU.  
  9. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was out of high school.  
  10. I like to use ellipses ...
  11. I’m afraid of dogs.
  12. I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich every single day for lunch until Jr. High ... and  I’ve never had once since. Same story with Cheetos (well, I didn’t have them every day,  but I loved them. Then I bought a big bag with my own money, ate half, and have never  had another).  
  13. I’ve got an entire room full of unused scrapbooking supplies.  
  14. I think the test for gestational diabetes (having to drink that horrid drink) is the worst part of a pregnancy.  
  15. I was never able to potty train one child before the next one came along ... I went for 15+ years changing diapers with NO break.
  16. I subscribe to ALL the fitness magazines (Shape, Self, Women’s Health, Fitness, Health,  Prevention). Used to be the scrapbooking magazines ...
  17. I am nervous behind the wheel of a car ... I hate driving on freeways or places I haven’t  been to before. My parents had to FORCE me to get my driver’s license.
  18. I had a cancer scare when I was a junior in high school. For about 36 hours, I thought I  was going to die. (Misdiagnosis of a lumpy lymph-node ... turned out to be nothing).  
  19. I love to eat kids cereal for breakfast ... or dinner ... (mmmm .... Cocoa Puffs, Apple  Jacks, Capn. Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Cookie Crisp).
  20. I’ll never say never again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Soccer Stuff

A lot of people are talking about and watching soccer right now, as the World Cup takes center stage. I consider myself a soccer lover. I played when I was a teen. I coached my kidlet for a few years. I even joined an adult league for some pick-up games a few years ago (Soccer: Past and Present). I don't really get into watching professional soccer ... I watch on the lower levels though. Rec ball!

All my boys played soccer for a year or so ... then my older boys moved onto basketball. #4 broke his arm during a game and said he would never play soccer again :(   But my baby boy ... he's still kicking the ball around.

He just finished up his Spring season. This past Saturday he came up to me and asked "Mom, what time is my soccer game?" and I had to remind him that the season was over. I went through the video clips and made a highlight video of his soccer season. Between my son and another little boy, our team dominated and had an undefeated season. The coach (my BIL) would "rest" our star players, or separate them (one on defense, one on offense ... that really would make a huge difference when the boys didn't have each other to work with) to try and give the other teams a sporting chance. 
 My kid is #13

While I do love watching, it's a little painful ... especially when the kids are so young. They are getting better at spreading out around the field , passing and playing as a team. This was the first year they played with goalies (and there were some good little goalies out there! Our boys would have made quite a few more goals if their shots hadn't been stopped). As I enjoy playing soccer myself, sometimes I just want to jump out on the field and join in (I NEVER have that feeling with basketball ... that's just a spectator sport for me). 

As I've been driving to a new Zumba these past few weeks ... there is a big building called "Soccer City" along the way. Signs on the road indicated adult leagues, and just out of curiosity,  I looked it up when I got home. I don't know that I could (or would dare) commit to an actual team or league, but there was "open play" offered, and this has intrigued me. 

Hmmmmm ... do I dare? It's indoor. I've never played indoor, but the meet-up group I played with a few years ago did hold one session on some revamped tennis courts. Still outdoors, but similar to indoor play (I imagine). I remember really enjoying it. 

So while the world is watching soccer ... I've been thinking about it on a smaller scale. Thinking out Loud this Thursday (when I'm hitting my Zumba as usual today, but my Thursday group is taking July off. Is this soccer situation meant to be?) Will she? Won't she? I guess you'll have to come back and see ... I've pushed my anxiety issues trying all these new Zumba classes (an NSV for me). Is it time to overcome my anxieties and try something new again?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Walker Tracker

I've been a pedometer person for about eight years. Ever since I first lost weight back in 2006. I kept my daily numbers in a handy-dandy excel file. At the end of 2008 ... I discovered Walker Tracker.

Walker Tracker is basically just a website where people can enter their step numbers. The site has cool graphs and can foster a lot of social interaction.  When I first joined, December of 2008, it was extremely motivating to me. I made many online friends, participated in challenges and my steps reflected that. 

Things change over the years, as they always seem to do. In 2010, I got my Fitbit. On Walker Tracker, I had to enter the numbers from my Omron pedometer manually. With the Fitbit, everything was automatically updated. Fitbit was SO easy. One of the things I loved about Walker Tracker were the many graphs, but Fitbit had some cool (and similar) graphs as well. The Fitbit site also ranked you against your friends for competition and comparison. I found myself drifting a bit from Walker Tracker, even though Fitbit never really had the same level of social interaction that WT did. I have many Fitbit "friends" but I  have never really exchanged any conversation with most of them. I was very social on MFP when I joined that last year (but again, drifting ... although still tracking my food every day). I've been tracking activities on Daily Mile too. How many trackers and social sites does one need/want ... or can one even keep up with?

There were a few times I gave up on Walker Tracker. I still had my excel file. I had my Fitbit graphs. I'd get behind making my entries and then feel overwhelmed when I'd try to catch up. Yet ... I would. I came back to Walker Tracker every time. Why can't I just make a break?

I do LOVE Walker Tracker's graphs ... and I have my information there from December of 2008. I am a numbers gal, and I do love to look at my trends, especially over YEARS. This next graph is looong, but the information in it is so valuable to me ... I KNOW I faltered in my exercise and activity at the end of 2012, and the start of 2013, but these numbers really shine a spotlight on the drop!

I could come up with these numbers on my own (my monthly total steps, and my average) but I just don't know if I would get around to adding it up myself. Here on WT, I enter my stats everyday (or catch up at the end of the week) and then it calculates these numbers for me. It's interesting to compare year to year, watch for trends in certain months, etc.

 I had been VERY behind in my Walker Tracker entries. It's June now, and I had only entered through April ... nothing since then. I decided to get caught up ...
 I'm looking pretty good for June ... Over goal as of now.
(I was sick in December - I'll be happy when that dip is gone from graphs!)

I have used the graphs in my monthly updates here on the blog.

I like this "Day of the Week" focus too. It's interesting to see visually how your days average out as far as your activity. Sunday is my slow day, not surprising ... Thursday surprised me, I thought I was a little MORE active the day before official weigh-in! I have been doing a lot better on Fridays/Saturdays since I started doing Zumba on those days too.

I think there is a beta program in the works, that will automatically sync with Fitbit (as mentioned, I haven't been very active on the WT site to keep up with what new things are happening) ... which would save me the time of the manual entry. As of now, I actually still use my Omron numbers (yes, I still wear my Omron pedometer too. I like that it gives me "aerobic step" numbers, something that Fitbit actually doesn't do, but that is a separate number that Walker Tracker keeps track of. It's interesting to see how many of my steps are from "exercise" and how many come from regular daily activity.

Just thought I'd give a little shout out to Walker Tracker today. The tracking program I can't quite give up on. Maybe some of you out there might like to try it out. Linking up with WOW and the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fitness Reward Updates

I've posted several times on my blog about reward programs that I have been participating in. I don't know that any of them actually motivate me to move more ... I'm going to be doing that anyway. But if I can get a little something back, besides better health, burned calories and feeling good, then hey, I'm all for it. I love it when companies recognize and reward people for their fitness. I've spotlighted all these programs before, and expounded on my experiences. I thought I'd offer an update on each of them, as I continue on with the various programs.
  • Achievemint: You can see my original review of the program here (Achievemint Update). Since that update, I had earned another $50 reward. My father earned his $50  around the same time, and I check on my oldest son's account (he had managed to earn enough points for a $25 reward prior to losing his Fitbit). All three were redeemed and requested in April. They say it can take 30-60 days to process the reward. It did take that long. I wrote an email inquiring about my reward and received a reply that it was coming, they were having some struggles with the company funding them. But I did receive mine, my dad got his and my son got his. I did have to contact customer service again recently, as my Facebook and Instagram activities weren't registering. It really doesn't make that much difference, as I believe there is a daily cap (250 points) and I usually hit that with my Fitbit and MFP.  In my original review, I had only connected with my Fitbit, but now I have multiple apps hooked up. I DID roll over one time (changing from the original $25 reward to a $50 one) and it appears once you do that, you do NOT have the option to go back to $25, but automatically start going for $50 again (I was offered a tiny incentive to roll over to $100, but it wasn't enough to entice me).
  • FitStudio (ShopYourWayRewards/Kmart&Sears):I did a pretty thorough blog post about this program (Fitstudio Fitness Rewards) and have really been liking and using these rewards! There have been some frustrations here and there (the fine print in using the reward points and other surprise points or coupons ... sometimes they can be combined, other times they can't). I'll spend a little time logging on to sign up for challenges or goals, approving friend requests, etc. Little things like that will earn you more points.  I've shopped online and then just picked up my order in the store (everything works quite well online, easy and simple to see your points being used).  I've generally just been making a weekly trip into the store to spend my points. ** Update - This program was discontinued 02/2016 (Farewell Fitstudio).
  • Everymove:  When I originally posted about Everymove and did my  Everymove Update, I mentioned some nice rewards I'd received, and the donation to Make-a-Wish when there wasn't anything that interested me. Well ... lately the rewards have gone downhill in my opinion. Just discounts in disguise. The Make-a-Wish is sometimes still there, but has dropped to $1. It's been more of  a hassle than it's worth keeping up here. Sometimes after I earn my reward, it signs me up for some random one that I end up "earning" before I change it. I don't even bother to redeem when that happens. I earn "active days" where I can share 5 points with friends ... but I rarely get around to doing it. ** Update ... this program still exists, but doesn't offer rewards.
  • Earndit: I totally forget about Earndit most of the time. I reviewed it pretty recently (My Earndit Experience) and nothing has really changed since then. I suppose I should log in and see if there are some charitable donations I can contribute to ... ** Update - this program has ended.
  • PACT: I started Pact in January, and did a review a bit ago (Pact and Paydays). I have debated joining the Veggie Pact portion, but have decided against it. I think I'm really only comfortable with Fitbit and MFP and their automatic sync. I really don't do anything other than what I would usually do (getting in 10k a day in steps, and eating at least 1200 calories spread over three meals, recorded in My Fitness Pal). I haven't had any problems with things not getting recorded. I've never had to pay anything, and although the payout isn't big, it adds up week to week (I've earned about $60 total since I started). I had no trouble transferring my funds out when I wanted to.
  • Walgreens: When I first started with my Walgreens Rewards, I would check in pretty often. I ended up shopping at the store more and trying to augment my walking points with some purchase points. Lately ... I haven't checked into it much lately. I just peeked, and I have $10 in credit waiting for me there. It adds up pretty slowing, especially compared to the Fitstudio program (but at least it doesn't expire quickly, and you can let it sit and build up). You can check out my original blog post about the program here (Walking with Walgreens).
As I said ... these programs don't really motivate me to move, but they do reward me for it! I have a Fitbit. I simply link it to these programs and then all my information is transferred automatically, with no further work on my part. I like to say my Fitbit has more than paid for itself! If you don't have a Fifbit, many of these programs accept other trackers, and some ever accept manual entries (if that is worth the work for the reward). Give these programs a peek and see if you can earn a little kickback for your fitness! 

What programs have you been working with lately? 
What motivates you? 
Link up below with Motivation Monday!

Just a quick weekend recap for MIMM ... it was NOT a good weekend for eating. After my good weigh-in on Friday, I'm UP this Monday morning. Not really surprising. A family party and dastardly donuts contributed to that. Here's a glimpse into some of the weekend happenings.

A big boy dogpile with cousins and an uncle
(I was a moment late with my camera and it came tumbling down)

I was surprised I caught this shot, #1 taking #2 down.  I knew it was going to happen at some point, so I had #2 take off his Fitbit to show his uncle, and #1 took that as tacit permission to throw his brother in the pool. Poor #2 wasn't happy with #1 OR me!

I do try to walk to church, weather permitting. It was a little warm, and my sandals were less than comfortable. But it made me happy when I saw a mama duck and her babies swimming in the canal (we see ducks there often, but this was the first time this year I'd caught a glimpse of the babies). The boys in the car with Daddy missed out!

Friday, June 20, 2014

WWI #49 & Five "Slow" Songs (160 BPM)

It's Friday. Time for the weekly weigh-in and Friday Five.

I've mentioned before ... I can't run very far or very fast. I get in a ton of steps everyday on my Fitbit from other activities (elliptical, Zumba, even the stationary bike).  I do try to get some "running" in but, I don't run, I jog (and I still generally keep it to one mile).  I find motivation in music, and the OCD in me MUST match my footfalls to the beat of the music. I've found that 160 BPM is my comfortable pace (it's 5mph on my treadmill) and I've been collecting a big playlist of perfect songs, and sharing some of them here.

I shared my Favorites, Top 20, Pissed Off Playlist, in the past weeks,  and today I'm sharing my "Seemingly Slow" playlist. These songs don't come off as "jogging" songs. They would be a "slow" song if played at a dance, or a cool down for most aerobic activities. Yet ... the beat is there. When I set my treadmill to 5mph, my feet fall perfectly with the pace and the beat.  I don't know that I would listen to all of these back to back, I do like a little more lively songs to energize me, but I really enjoy when one of these comes on interspersed with my other music. Just thought I'd point these five songs out, as they are ones that can easily be missed when compiling a jogging playlist *Ü*

You can give them a listen below 
(although they are all pretty mainstream)
Seemingly Slow by Jennifer Blackham on Grooveshark
Linking up with I Wore Yoga Pants To Work.
Back That Azz Up Friday
Check it out for more music recommendations :)

Also the Five on Friday (Courtney, Mar and Cynthia), Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In.  

Now onto the weigh-in and week recap ...
So - DOWN 2.2 pounds! Now, before you are all "great job, congratulations" ... unfortunately this is a pretty normal fluctuation for me.  I have been hitting it pretty regularly, just the past couple weeks, my Friday morning happened to be my highest number, while today it was my low. The goal is still to drop below 150 and STAY below 150. I'm close ... but close can feel so far. 

NUMBERS: My average was also down, but much more minor a change (-.24). High for the week was 154.4 (Monday morning) and the low was today and Wednesday (Thursday was pretty much the same too).  I did have a weekly deficit of 2043. My intake was up a little, averaging 2329. I did have a really low day, so I must have had some high days too. Burn up slightly too, 3039. Happy to actually get the average up over 3000, it's been a while (I have many days over it, but usually a couple low days that drag the weekly average down). 

It was a busy week. The boys had a basketball clinic, which meant I was running to the high school four times a day. Got in my Zumba every day. Elliptical too. My "mile" and bike were a little more sporadic. I got in weights twice (last Friday and on Monday) ... not sure I'll get them in today though. It's a bit crazy here.

I'm linking up with  Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  
and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fitness in the Schools

A month or so ago, I was watching my son's basketball game at a local middle school gymnasium. I noticed this sign up ... it made me glad I was NOT a 7th grade boy (I mean I'm glad I'm not for MANY reasons!) I have been incorporating a mile run (ok, jog) into my weekly workouts. Now admittedly, I stay somewhat comfortable at 5mph, which ends up at a 12 minute mile. According to this sheet, I'd get a D- ... Yikes!

Now I'm pretty sure if I pushed myself, I could run faster. A little faster ... I'm really not sure how much better I'd get (10 minutes maybe!). I actually remember being required to run a mile when I was in middle school as well. I remember pushing myself to finish first (out of the girls anyway) and then promptly throwing up afterward. I think I threw up three years in a row, during the first run of the season. I actually ended up running track, and doing good in the sprints. But a mile? That is distance, and I didn't (and don't) do distance.

I did have a 7th grade boy this last year. While he loved his physical education class, I do remember him moaning about the mile. I do think he squeaked in under 8:00 minutes.

As my fourth grader's school came to a close a couple weeks ago, they participated in the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge. I do have vague memories of this too. Has it been around for a while? I mean if I am remembering it from elementary school, we're talking over 30 years ago!

My little guy suffers from anxiety. They did a "fun run" several weeks ago, and he stressed about that. He had complete meltdowns over the end of year academic testing. Ironically, he is at the top of his class academically and physically.  I wasn't surprised when he expressed concern about this Presidential Fitness Testing too. 

I just told him to do his best. It's never as bad as he thinks it is going to be. He came home and told me about the variety of different exercises they were measured on. He did really good on everything, except the V-sits ... he just isn't very flexible (me either!) I had to laugh though, as he complained about his "abs" for the next few days. Oh, such a workout!

To receive the Presidential Fitness Award, the student must rank in the 85th percentile of each exercise. My little guy missed it by one exercise (only two students in the class were able to get it). If the students are above the 50th percentile, then they still get the National Physical Fitness Award. He (and many classmates in the 4th grade classes) were able to get that certificate.

I do love being a mom to five active boys! They love recess, and PE class ... it was interesting to get a little peek into some of the physical fitness requirements the schools are expecting from the youth today. You seem to see the stereotypical "rope climb" and dodge ball and such when school fitness is featured in films or TV programs. Does anyone actually have to do the rope climb? I pretty sure I'd fail miserably at that as well!  Just Thinking Out Loud about school fitness today *Ü*

Even though school has ended for us ... I've been doing the ol' school carpool still because of basketball camp. #2 is working out with the cross-country team in the mornings, then staying for the basketball clinic from 10:00-1:00. I make a trip to the school at 1:00 to pick him (and friends) up, and to drop off #3 (as the different ages have different times). Then take #2  back at 4:00 for a "shooting clinic" and then I go back at 5:00 to pick up both boys. But today is the last day of that ...


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stacked Stats (Fitbit Comparisons)

I was pretty motivated on Monday. I got in several sessions on the elliptical, an hour of Zumba, jogged a mile on the treadmill, did my weight workout, and finished the day with 30minutes on the stationary bike (trying to stay awake until 10:00, the curfew for Mr. Social, my #2 son). I was pretty happy with my numbers ...

But speaking of #2 ... he totally beat me!
Here are his Fitbit stats ... he started the day doing a little jogging with the cross-country team at the high school. He then hung out with his buddies playing a little basketball before the actual basketball clinic started (at 10:00). That ran until 1:00, when I picked him up (and friends) and took them over to the rec center, where they played some more basketball ... he did slow down in the evening.

Just a little over a week ago, I posted A Fitbit Farewell, as #2 had lost his Fitbit. At one point, he looked down and still had the little silicone case attached to his shorts, but no little Fitbit One in it. I figured it wouldn't hurt to contact Fitbit Customer Service and ask if they would do anything ... I'd heard stories of them replacing lost, or even washed Fitbits. Happily, they did! And see ... I'm so happy we have it back, or I couldn't have made this comparison between our Monday.

We actually do have a Fitbit Flex just laying around. It was purchased for #1, who after wearing it for a few months decided he didn't like wearing anything on his wrist. You might ask why I didn't just give the old Flex to #2 when he lost his ... but basketball players aren't allowed to wear anything on their wrist. But it did get me thinking about the Flex.  I charged it up and strapped it on myself! Of course not replacing my One ... just in addition. I thought it might be an interesting comparison to see how similar the stats would be (it was still linked to my son's account, so it was based on the assumption that I was an 18-year old male who happily does weigh a bit more than I do). 

Fitbit One

Fitbit Flex

The calorie estimate does rely on your personal information quite a bit (sex, age, height, weight) so I wasn't surprised to see a pretty big difference there. So unfair ... these teenage boys are probably benefiting from a more active metabolism and a little extra height/weight. The distance too, that is based on stride length (although I don't know that either my son or I had ever taken the time to actually measure and input our individual stats). 

I was a little surprised at how large the step difference was (almost 3000 steps). My Omron pedometer had read 24700 for the day and 131 aerobic minutes (just thought I'd throw in a third step estimate for you!). Some of that could be attributed to my elliptical sessions ... there are times during my workouts where instead of gripping the moving arms, I grab the middle (stationary) arms. I'm betting the Flex didn't register those steps as well (or at all). 

 Fitbit One

Fitbit Flex

... and I did it a second day too *Ü* and again, almost a 3000 step difference (2838 if you wanted to know but didn't want to do the math). My Omron said 28200 ...  again, I did do an hour of elliptical both days, at times NOT moving my arms.  So less steps/active minutes and distance ... but higher calories (the 18-year old boy account). It is interesting to see the almost identical spikes in the activity graph, but still seeing slight differences.

One thing that was interesting, was my 30-minute bike ride in the evening (the yellow spike).  I take off my Fitbit One and slip it in my sock, as otherwise it just doesn't register much. I went ahead and did that with the Flex  ... and my Omron. As usual, my original reading on the One had an elevated calorie count. I'm not sure why it wants to give me 300+ calories for only 2100 "steps" registered during the ride, but it does. I always go in and enter it manually, only crediting myself with 100-200 calories, changing it from a big green spike to a smaller yellow one. The Flex however, did come in at a 175 calorie estimate, so I didn't adjust it. Although neither device is MEANT to be worn on the sock/shoe, apparently they calculate calories a little differently (the step count was very similar). 

In addition to comparing the actual stats ... I was able to experience the Flex and compare comfort and convenience to the One. I still very much prefer the One. I don't particularly like anything on my wrist. I really missed being able to see the actual numbers without logging onto the computer, and I do like my sleep and stair stats. That being said ...

Um ... THAT did NOT happen!

My "floors" readings have been really wonky of late! I know that changes in the barometric pressure can affect the stair count, but I had several days in a row with hugely elevated readings. 175 was the best one though!

I've gotten to where I'm not putting much stock in the stair count, even this past Mondays (the first image, 39 stairs for the day) is a little high. 20 or so floors? That's probably my norm, as I'm up and down to the basement in our home each day. 

I did bid (and buy) a Fitbit Zip on Ebay ($28) ... I'm going to try it with #1 ONE more time! I'm wondering if Hubs might be willing to try it again too. I don't think either of them will give me a run for my money like #2, but it is just fun to see and compare the numbers.

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and the HumpDay Blog Hop.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flag Day, Father's Day, Fitbits and Family Photos

This past weekend was filled with fun, family, flags, fathers, Fitbits and photos.
And obviously, I adore alliteration.

Friday ... I was still able to get in some good exercise, but kept up fairly competitively with my calorie consumption. I was a little surprised when Saturday morning, my weight was actually down a bit. 

Saturday ... the boys had to be up early to help put out flags. It's something the scout troop in our neighborhood does. Both a fundraiser, and it is nice for community pride. I do love seeing all the flags out in front of everyone's houses. In years past, we'd pick up the "flag shirts" from Old Navy and take some family photos, but the tradition had slipped in past years. I was a little surprised when my oldest said "We should get flag shirts for everyone this year" ... I gave him the go ahead and he went to the store to pick some up.

I told the boys I wanted to get a photo of the five of them. I was met with the usual moans and groans. I teasingly said that the last one out would need to unload the dishwasher ... thus the tears from #4. #3 can't seem to stay serious either. I even slipped on MY flag shirt ... but the hubs didn't seem too interested in participating!

The hubs then suggested we go out to breakfast. This is always a bit hard for me ... I hadn't gotten my morning workout in yet, and I usually put off breakfast until later in the morning. But ... family first. We went to our usual spot, Verg's. We didn't get a family photo there (but I have showcased a couple comparison pictures from our past visits. Too bad we didn't get a new one to add to the mix).

I did end up getting an hour on the elliptical (three 20min sessions throughout the day) ... a soccer game, a basketball game, and a birthday party too.  I was surprised on Sunday morning, when again, weight dropped a tad. 

Sunday ... the hubs said breakfast yesterday was his Father's Day breakfast, so we didn't do the breakfast in bed as we do some years. He went for a run instead. I did squeeze in a couple sessions on the elliptical. We had church, and then headed out to my brother's house for the annual Father's Day BBQ.

We got to meet our new little niece.
My oldest LOVES babies and loved cuddling his little cousin.

We take a big family photo every year. I'm waiting for my SIL to forward me the shot (and I'll update) but I also suggested we get a picture with DAD and my siblings. While we do the family photo every year, I don't know that we've ever done that.  As my brothers, sister and I lined up with my father, the photographers lined up on the other side. My hubby of course has to strike a pose, making everyone crack up. Then, he wants to include himself in the picture by taking a selfie. I don't know that we've ever had quite as much laughter during one of these family photo sessions.

There was quite a bit of "Fitbit" talk too ... comparing stats and experiences.  I should have taken a Fitbit Family Photo! There were nine Fitbits here. My son is back in business (I'd posted last week that he had lost it ... Fitbit replaced it and we received the new one already). I've also bid on a Zip on Ebay (got it for $28), so #1 son will be trying AGAIN (wish him luck NOT to lose this one!) Still working on hubby ... I'd love him to have one (I bought him one last November but it didn't really take ... it's the one #1 then lost during the NewYork trip). Now that he is running again, and being more active (his work had a volleyball tournament on Friday) it would just be fun to see! He did admit to hoping he would get a Fitbit weightloss "badge" for his Saturday weigh-in ... and he did ("Congratulations, you lost 15 pounds!"). He's doing good!

One final Father's Day photo.
My boys!

So that was my marvelous weekend (MIMM). Stepping on the scale this morning. There is it. The weight gain from my bad eating and exercise over these past couple days. I guess it is good ... motivates me to get back at it. So many pictures this weekend. I've mentioned before, how I so dislike how I appear in pictures most of the time (Picture Imperfect). These family photos are no exception. I don't love myself in them ... but I love them!

How was your weekend?
Are you motivated to get back to good eating and exercise?

Friday, June 13, 2014

WWI#48 and Five Favorite Card Games

 ... and it's Friday. Time for the weekly weigh-in and Friday Five. Up until this point, I've always started with the weight chart and recap, but it's been SO boring lately. I'm going to start with the fun Friday Five, and then include my numbers and such below if you are interested...

It's now summer! School is out and the kids have a lot more free time. There is the stereotypical tv time and video games. Legos, basketball, soccer, tetherball, wallball, ping pong, jumping on the tramp, water wars. We've signed up for the Kids Bowl Free, we'll try to hit the local park, Grandma's pool, and the bounce house.  I've also encouraged the kids to play games. 

We've got a lot of games.
For today's Friday Five, I thought I'd spotlight our five favorite card games. I really love card games, because they generally are very small, easy to store and transport. You don't need a lot of time or space or preparation to play. Personally, MY favorite is probably "Progressive Rummy" which just uses a regular deck of cards (two or three actually, when we play) but for this post, I'll feature the five favorites for the kids.

  • UNO: This one is a classic, and I'm sure already well known to just about everyone. Such a great little game, easy for even the youngest child to participate in. If you know your numbers and colors, you can play! There are a ton of variations to mix it up as well.
  • Rat-A-Tat Cat: My mom said she had played this game before with basic playing cards, and it was called "No Peeky". You start with four cards face down in front of each person, the goal is to get the lowest cards. 
  • Blink: This is SUCH a great little game! I love the version pictured, that comes in the compact little metal tin. It makes it great for taking with you. The name "blink" is quite appropriate, because you'd better NOT blink, or the round will be over. It's very fast moving and fun. Match the shape, color or number to get rid of your cards.  Similar games are Catch The Match and Spot It ... both of which I recommend very highly as well! Blink is really only for two people, but the other two can have additional players.
  • SET: This game is a little complex. I find rather than try and "teach" someone how to play, it's probably better they watch a few rounds and they are bound to pick up the patterns you are trying to find in the cards. This one can be mind-boggling. It's great for a group and really stretches your thinking!
  • The Great Dalmuti: My boys were introduced to this a couple summers ago, and it was an instant favorite. It's already been played multiple times this summer. You are trying to get rid of your cards and become the Great Dalmuti ... you do NOT want to be the peon!
Have you played any of these games?
What are YOUR favorite card games?

I'll spotlight some favorite board games in an upcoming post :)

Linking up with the DC Bloggers (Courtney, Mar and Cynthia) and then also jumping onto the other Friday Five linkups out there. Five on Friday at The Good Life, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In

  Onto the weekly weigh-in ...
Looky there ... exactly the same as last week. Average was up a tiny bit (.29). The high was today, 153.5. The low was Sunday morning at 151.7.  So a variation of 1.8 throughout the entire week.  Like last week, I DID have a deficit! 3708 total ... but no corresponding one pound loss on the scale. Average intake was 2171. Average burn was 2996. 

For the first week of summer ... it hasn't been too different. My boys are just relishing being home, not in school. They haven't been "bored" and wanting to go out and do things yet. I'm sure that time will come and it will eat into my exercise time, but I'll make it work. I HAVE been sleeping in a little, getting a later start most days. Still hitting Zumba, although I had to miss today, as #2 had basketball games. Getting in my elliptical every day, a little more sporadic with the mile jog and bike rides.You can check out the details in my Day to Day.

Next week might be a little crazy, with #2 and #3 in a basketball camp. There will be a lot of dropping off and picking up. #1 has started a job and isn't around to pitch in with any of the driving. The week after that though, #2 will be gone to a week long basketball camp and THAT should open up my time (as he's the main one requesting chauffeur duty).  But by then, the younger ones might be clamoring to get out of the house. We'll see ...

I'm linking up with  Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  
and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  
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