Friday, December 20, 2013

The Annual Christmas Tag!

I had never heard of the Christmas Tag before receiving the email from April at 100lb Countdown!  This is a cute way to learn about your favorite bloggers and easier than the Liebster Award since you don't have to think of your own questions.  Once you've been tagged you just tag an additional 10 people to answer the questions.  It's that easy!

1.  What do you love the most about Christmas time?

I love watching Austin with the presents.  He's always been a helper, whether he's handing out presents to everyone or helping someone open their present.  I also enjoy the white elephant gift exchanges; you can get some interesting things!

2.  Do you celebrate the holiday in style or is it Bah-Humbug for you?

I'd say it's a happy medium.  We never go all out in decoration (why bother when it's just us 3) but we always have something up.  This year it's just the cards we've received.

3.  Are you leaving anything out for Santa Claus this year so he remembers to leave your presents?

No, I haven't left anything for Santa since I was 12.  I don't think Austin believes any longer since he didn't want to sit on Santa's lap at the library's Christmas party last weekend.

4.  What is the one gift you are most looking forward to GIVING?  (It can be to your kids, another family member, etc. - remember to be discreet if they read your blog!)

We enjoy continuing to give Grandma (dad's mom) a new Santa figurine each year.  We make it from Austin so we don't break the "no presents for the adults" rule since we do the white elephant exchange.

5.  What's your all time favorite Christmas movie?

Although I enjoy watching Christmas movies I don't have a favorite.  I'm not one to watch the same movies every year.

6.  What's your all time favorite Christmas song?

I've been "Bah-Humbug" about Christmas music for years.  I haven't wanted to hear it and would frequently change the station when a Christmas song came on the radio.  For whatever reason it's not bothering me so much this year so perhaps things will be different.

7.  If given the opportunity would you participate in an "Ugly Sweater" party and what sweater would you wear?  Peruse one on the internet or even in your own closet and show us!

I'd have to wear something like this sweater from Target with the attached bows.

8.  Have you started any Christmas traditions this year that you plan on carrying forward?

No, we haven't started anything new this year.

9.  It's Christmas morning....what does it look like outside where you live?

Well, the snow melted overnight so I imagine it'll just be cold outside.

10.  You just found yourself standing under the mistletoe...who comes up to give you a kiss first?

I've never had mistletoe up.  This year a coworker had bought some and gave it out to us but Benny hasn't hung it anywhere.  I'd imagine he'd be the one to kiss me first.

Carli @ Real Into
Jenny @ MetamorFit
Kimberly @ Sublime Reflection
Tamara @ Fitnitchick
Shannon @ GolladayFit
Jeri @ JeriWB

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Vant to Suck Your Blood

Image Courtesy of [dream designs] /

Monday I had my annual physical and saw that I was down some more.  Because of the anemia symptoms returning since I've lost weight I asked the doctor to run my CBC again.  He also wanted to see my cholesterol levels.  I don't even remember how many vials they took. LOL  I haven't heard from the doctor's office but I saw results on my EMR Friday morning.

 Check out the difference in my BMI from February to now - just about 10 kg/m2!
Last year my Vitamin D levels were very low.  The doctor had me take 2000 mg of D3.  I've been taking it about a year now and I've drastically improved - just about 3.5 times!

I spotted something on my EMR that I haven't seen before - ideal weight.
Calculating that out it's only about 120 lbs.  I think that's too unrealistic for me so I'm sticking with my 130 lb ultimate goal.
My blood counts (WBC, RBC, Hgb, Hct, MCV, MCH, etc.) were all about the same between last year and this year.  So I'm waiting on the doctor's response as to why the anemia symptoms have returned.  My Triglycerides are holding steady.  My LDL is in range.  My HDL is low.  Is there anything that I can do to raise my HDL without raising anything else?  Again I'm waiting for the doctor to respond.
Tuesday night I weighed in down another 1.2 lbs - just .8 lbs shy of 60 lbs for the year!  Hoping I reach that number at weigh in tomorrow night.  Will try to get Benny to take my measurements and after pictures tomorrow night so it'll all be done in one fell swoop.  My plan is to make a separate post on Wednesday with my full results.
Thursday was my best recorded burn
The Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge is now over.  Challengers slowed down in completing the workouts but I don't think that's all that bad for my first group.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fitness Challenge Registration Form

Complete this registration form if you're interested in participating in our next monthly challenge.

While you're waiting for a response back from our team....
  • Add me as your FREE coach here.
  • Browse through our Challenge Packs, taking note of which you like.  We'll be happy to discuss your options when we follow up.
  • Follow this link to watch a short video and learn about taking the Beachbody Challenge.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating


As the holiday season approaches, people will be celebrating at numerous occasions and parties.  They don’t call this the busiest time of year for nothing. Yep, this is the season where every table is piled high with calorie-laden temptations, but it’s up to us to manage indulging in a healthy way.


Among many methods of abstaining from tantalizing treats, maintaining a food and exercise diary is perhaps the simplest way you can help in monitoring your daily consumption while focusing on the daily exercise you need. Studies show that people tend to gain 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday, and these can turn into permanent baggage if left unmanaged. No one really fancies to be on a strict diet during the holidays, but there are numerous strategies you can employ to enjoy a healthy holiday. Here are several tips to keep your health in check this holiday season:


Shop smart for good health

If you’re the one organizing the holiday party, make sure to serve healthier food varieties. Plan the menu by choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, seafood, whole grains and lean meats. You can try using fat-free yogurt and sour cream instead of thick dips and sauces. Opt for low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles. Try to reduce salt or choose those with low sodium content when it comes to condiments. Go easy on sweets as well. You can use two egg whites instead of a whole egg to reduce the cholesterol while producing the same tasty result. Trimming the fat content in food can also help you to eat healthy during the holidays. Try using condensed skim milk in drinks and desserts, instead of full-fat condensed milk.


Plan your exercise

Even if you’re busy during the holiday season, you should always make time for exercise. This includes simple and quick physical activity such as walking instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise also aids in relieving holiday stress, since it diverts your attention away from all the holiday rush. Start by taking 10-15 minute brisk walking twice a day, then if time permits, you can jog or hike for at least an hour or two.


Chew gum

Chewing gum is a wonderful trick if you want to control yourself from eating too much. Choose a sugarless gum while you’re cooking to avoid too much taste testing. You also tend to lose the temptation of eating if your mouth already feels clean and fresh.


Don’t skip meals

Avoid skipping meals, especially if you’re going to a party later. Going to a party hungry could make you lose your restraint on food, which could result in overeating. Eat sensibly throughout the day since this will help you to manage your appetite. You can also try to eat light snacks such as fruit or yogurt before going to a party. This will stop your hunger from taking control of your food choices.


Skip the appetizers

Try to avoid appetizers, or choose healthy nibbles such as veggies, fruits, nuts and salsa. Most appetizers are loaded with calories, and this will only add to your holiday weight gain. Stay away from buttery pastries, spreads and dips like butter and mayonnaise.

Focus on your meal while you’re eating

Take time to concentrate on what you’re eating. This allows you to chew your food well and to monitor what you’re actually eating. Multitasking during mealtime can make you eat mindlessly, which can make you eat more calories unconsciously. Conversation at mealtime is natural, but make sure to set your food down while chatting. Eat slowly and savor every mouthful.


Don’t linger near the buffet table

Stand away from the buffet table as much as possible. It will keep you from nibbling the night away. Once you’ve chosen your food, you can take it in another room to enjoy. Visit the buffet table once and be selective in your food choices. You don’t need to eat every viands on the table, so choose those that you truly love and skip the everyday dishes.


Drink alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages alternately

Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories. If you can’t deny yourself from partaking in a few cocktails, cut the amount of calories by alternating water or seltzer for every drink of alcohol. You can also start by drinking a calorie-free, non-alcoholic beverage to satisfy your thirst first before having an alcoholic drink. Alcohol can also lessen your inhibition and induce overeating, so drink moderately.




David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Readers Digest and GQ, among others, and he has appeared on The CBS Morning Show, Paul Harvey and The Today Show. David is a specialist at health, wellness, diet and exercise, and he is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge Week 5

The headache hasn't really been bothering me but I can feel myself tensing up around 6/7 pm, whether it's in the car or on the couch.  I don't know what's going on.  Since the first time taking the Flexeril I've been extra sleepy.  You can take this muscle relaxer up to 3 times a day but I've only taken two a couple of times since I've been tired.  We'll see what the doctor has to say in the morning.

I went to the dentist Friday (during the snow storm) for my first cleaning.  Again the hygenist was surprised that my teeth looked so good even though it's been so long since I've been to a dentist.  The only teeth with a tartar build up were those at my lingual bar (the wire glued to the back side of my lower front teeth as a bottom retainer).  This is because it's so hard to get anything through there to floss.  She gave me some samples to try but I don't know if it'll work.  Everytime I try something it works for a while then the floss starts shredding or breaking. My lower teeth are just too tight!

My weight dropped 2.2 lbs, wiping out the gain of the past two weeks and then some!  I'm now just 2 lbs shy of losing 60 lbs this year.  I'd be happy to just maintain that through the holidays and then start losing again in January.

After pretty much burning the same amount of calories (417-419) all week I shocked myself with how much I burned Friday!

Trying to decide what workout to do next.  I don't really want to start a new program over the holidays so I'll be mixing things up after this final week of the challenge.  We'll see what I get for Christmas and go from there.

It was pretty quiet with the challenge group this week.  One reported a slight gain over Thanksgiving but it was much less than she normally sees.  The others didn't chime in with how they did so I can only assume either there were gains or they didn't weigh themselves this week.

Most of the jello is gone from Austin's Minecraft Cake.  I've been nibbling the cake almost every night this week; it's still so moist!  Perhaps I'm just craving sugar....  I don't remember if Austin ate any of the cake this weekend.

This week I was selected as a co-host for the Countdown in Style hop.  Be sure to enter your favorite post (not a giveaway or other linkup) to be featured on Homemaking with Style or 100lb Countdown this Friday!

Pretty Strong Medicine

Countdown in Style Week 4

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Welcome to Week {4} of Countdown in Style!

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 4

Monday night I went to the dentist for the first time in about 10 years.  I still have no dental insurance so everything has to be paid via the Care Credit financing.  The hygienist was surprised that I didn't have so much that needed taken care of not having had a cleaning for so long.  My one tooth that bothers me off and on (and is broken) the dentist gave the option of saving it with a root canal or extracting it.  Not only because of the price difference but why would you do a root canal for just one molar?  There are also 7 cavities that need filled.

Since when do they take your blood pressure at the dentist's office?  The tech (for lack of knowledge of her title) tried the arm cuff but it wouldn't work through my sweater.  She then used the wrist cuff but that said my blood pressure was high (she never gave me the numbers though).  Nevertheless I think it'd have something to do with the headache I've had since the 19th.  I asked the doctor's office about it and they suggested that I go in and possibly get a Toradol injection.  Is anyone familiar with this for headache relief?

I was up another 1.4 lbs this week.  I think it was the combination of TOM and this terrible headache.  By the time I got to the doctor Friday my weight had already dropped back to where it was last week.  The doctor said my neck/shoulder muscles are super tight so we're trying a muscle relaxer (Flexeril).  If the headaches/tightness don't improve by my regular appointment on the 9th we'll look at physical therapy.

It was a slow week with the challenge also.  Two of us had a gain and the one that had been losing 4 lbs had a smaller loss.  There are only two weeks left so we'll see what they bring!

This was our simple Thanksgiving dinner...white asparagus for Benny and green beans for me.  I cooked a 18.5 lb turkey and this was just what Benny first cut off.

Afterwards I started working on Austin's Minecraft Cake.  Benny said it's too sweet for him so he hasn't had any more.  So what am I going to do with all this cake and jello? LOL

Pretty Strong Medicine

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Austin's Minecraft Cake

There was so much involved in making Austin's cake that it has to be its own post.  It took a while to do but he enjoyed it!


  • 2 Boxes Cake Mix (Any flavor, just two different colors for the blocks)
  • 1 Package Blue Jello
  • 1 Package Red Jello
  • 1 Container White Icing
  • 1 Package Sweetened Coconut
  • Few Drops Green Food Coloring

  1. Prepare both Jello packages according to the directions and refrigerate.
  2. Prepare both cake mixes according to the directions in two square pans each.
  3. While the cakes are baking, mix a couple of drops of green food coloring in with the coconut until well coated.  Add additional drops if you want the grass to be darker.
  4. To the coconut mixture add the icing and mix until well coated.  Set aside.
  5. After the cakes have cooled, place one upside down on a cutting board.  Set a ruler next to the cake and eyeball cuts every 2 inches.  Set the smaller pieces to the side.
  6. Repeat step 5 for the other 3 pans.
  7. Line a cookie sheet (not flat but one that's at least 1/2 inch deep) with aluminum foil.
  8. Stack the 2 inch pieces of cake in a pattern of your choosing on the cookie sheet, alternating or randomly placing the two different cakes.  Leave empty spaces for the jello.
  9. Spread the icing mixture on the topmost layer, dripping some down the sides.
  10. By this time the Jello should be gelled (is that even a word?) enough.  Scoop out each Jello and place it in the spaces you left.
  11. Add candles or any other decorations.
  12. Enjoy!
I ate the little leftover pieces plain ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 3

I was up .4 lbs but it's all good.  As promised here's me in the Body Gospel shirt.  Both sides have the same logo so I didn't bother with a rear photo.  Benny and I couldn't get the picture right.  I don't know if it was the lighting, my pooch, my jeans, or something else that made it look weird to us.

My double headaches returned this week and are still going on.  Medicine will squelch the aches for a few hours but it always comes back.  I didn't let the headaches stop me from working out.

Along with my headaches, Saturday my HRM was spazzy.  First, it wouldn't even pick up my heart rate.  Then, during the warmup it jumped from 90-something to 180!

One challenger has lost 4 lbs two weeks in a row!  Fingers and toes crossed that she'll have another great loss to mark the halfway point.

I've made some progress on the Famous in Five Challenge, although not exactly in the way they intended.  I've answered Carli's interview questions and have picked out two of the three pictures to use - a couple of pictures put together from 2011 & 2012 for my before shot and one of my workout pictures (like above).  What should I do for the third one?

This week, not only do I have Thanksgiving dinner to prep but it's Austin's 12th birthday.  I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday.  He said that he wanted a Minecraft themed cake with all the fun blocks...something like this -
Photo Credit: turoczy via Compfight cc

So Saturday, we went to Kroger and I let him pick out the ingredients.

  • German Chocolate & Chocolate Fudge cake (he says there's enough of a color difference to make the blocks)
  • Strawberry jello for the lava
  • Berry Blue Jell-O for the water
  • Coconut, icing, and green food coloring for the grass
I've NEVER done anything like this before so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.  My cakes are normally just the plain kind, sometimes with writing (spelling errors included).

I think I'm going to try to do the cake in the roaster oven while the turkey bakes in the regular oven.  I picked up some square pans at Dollar Tree to make the cutting more even/easier (I hope).  I could put two in the roaster to bake, remove them to cool and put the next pair in.  I should be able to cut the cake into squares during this time also.  The leftover pieces of cake and jello (not used for the design) I'll be taking into work to share with coworkers.

Have you made a "mixed media" cake before?  How did it turn out?

Pretty Strong Medicine

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 2

I was down another 2.4 lbs this week!  My HRM showed that my calorie burn was dropping with Start It Up! so that meant it was getting too easy for me.  What's a girl gonna do about that then?  Wednesday and Friday I did the Cardio Core Express bonus workout.  Thursday I did the Thin Thighs Guaranteed bonus workout.  As you can see those workouts did me good! Saturday I wanted to take it easy so I did another Start It Up!

The challengers were quiet this week but I think they all lost a few more pounds.

Glad to see the positive feedback on the Famous in Five Challenge!  I have to kick myself into gear and actually write those pitch letters.  All I really have is "Dear so-and-so" and then my mind wonders off onto something else.  UGH!  I need to focus focus focus...

FedEx delivered my Body Gospel shirt Saturday.  I was so excited that I wore it that same day and didn't have anyone take my picture.  I'll have to save that for the next post.

Benny took my measurements tonight.  This past month I've lost:

  • 1.5 inches off my waist
  • 3.5 inches off my hips
  • 1 inch off my chest
  • .5 inches off my right arm (left arm stayed the same)
  • 1 inch off my right thigh
  • 2.5 inches off my left thigh

Weird discrepancy with the size of my thighs.  Benny measured several times and said he could actually see a difference between the size of my thighs so we're assuming everything's correct LOL.  As of tonight my left thigh is measuring 3 inches smaller than my right thigh.  I've always carried things on my left side so I guess it sort of makes sense that I've worked my left thigh more than the right.

Pretty Strong Medicine

Monday, November 11, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge Day 5

Friday's Famous in Five Challenge assignment was to pitch guest posts while Monday's was to pitch interviews.  Both use the bullet points from Day 3 to address the responsible parties of the blogs and podcasts.  Again the information is to be recorded in the spreadsheet provided

The Devil's in the Details
  • Write out the specific details of the audience involved in the other blog/podcast.
  • Decide on a specific aspect of your business that really interests said audience (the topic you're pitching).
  • Select 3+ bullet points that relate to that topic, showing your authority.
  • The same format can be used for both types of pitch emails; the interview one just doesn't involve a title suggestion.
  • In the spreadsheet record the date the emails are sent as well as when you receive a response.
They give a couple of samples so you know what the pitch emails should look like.  Yes, I know I'm being too hard on myself, but I just can't see my information looking that fancy!  I definitely don't have as much to say as the examples.

Better? Blogs

Below are blogs with a better Alexa rating than mine.  They are the ones to which I'd like to pitch my first guest posts and interview.
  • Cranky Fitness:  This blog says they rarely have guest posts so it would be better to pitch an interview.  Current Global Alexa rating is 300,078.
  • Real Into:  Carli's a fellow SITStah and Sverver so it was kind of embarrassing to not think of her LOL.  Current Global Alexa rating is 251,552.
  • CalmHealthySexy:  I just found this blog today and it looks appealing.  Current Global Alexa rating is 416,769.
I had another one but she's switched it over from Blogger to WordPress so that crashed her rating.  I've saved all the blogs on Alexa's site comparisons section on the Dashboard so I can periodically monitor to see when ratings improve.

Now it's on to figure out what topic I'm going to pitch to each.  I'm so nervous about this challenge!  Please feel free to leave any tips you have about pitching guest posts or interviews.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 1

I lost 2.2 lbs this week - 55.2 lbs lost so far!  I was definitely able to feel the difference in using the resistance band vs weights as I'd used last time with Slim in 6.  I felt it in my back and sides.  The challengers are reporting in great losses this first week!

I went from this look on my selfie

To this look

I don't know why I struggle so much smiling on a selfie.  I like to say that I'm too busy concentrating on getting the shot LOL

Saturday was our 5 year anniversary.  As promised in his vows, Benny gives me one rose for each year.  Every year I'm always surprised he remembers the day let alone to do the roses LOL.  (Don't ask me what the vows were.  I had found them online or in a book somewhere but that information was on my computer that was stolen several years ago!)  This year he said that the flower shop he'd go to pick up the roses closed down so he had to search elsewhere for them.

Pretty Strong Medicine