Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Herbal Tea as Weight Loss Aid

Whoever wrote this blurb on Republic of Tea's web site got my attention:

Losing weight is all about moderation, expending energy, curbing sugar cravings, and being well. That's why, if you're thinking thin, this caffeine-free blend is for you. Based on health-promoting, organic rooibos, it includes tropical banaba leaf, cinnamon and carob which satisfy the appetite, providing craving control. Carob and gymnema leaves help to tame your sweet tooth and the urge to indulge.

Ingredients: Rooibos (leaf), Orange (peel), Carob (pod), Cinnamon (bark), Gymnema (leaf), Banaba (leaf) Extract, Natural Cinnamon Flavor.

I ordered it. I like it...a lot. What I'm not sure about is how a teaspoon of herbs transforms water into a steamy magical potion that conjures images of a summer moon dancing on sapphire waves tickled by warm evening breezes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Admitted...

Nobody likes to admit defeat. Nobody likes to admit life has become unmanageable.
I didn't really consider - until today - that I have used food to medicate myself in much the same way I used to use alcohol. Bummer.

Here's an excerpt from page 48 of The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom:
"If you are chronically overweight, I know that your manner of living can be characterized as inert, harried and chaotic. You do not exercise; you are not a member of a gym; or if you are, you haven't actually graced the door of one in ages, and quite predictably, your main leisure time activity is watching television. Even your internal and emotional reactions are keeping your weight-sustaining lifestyle alive. Yes, you have set up your world and chosen your lifestyle in a way that supports staying overweight. You have chosen to live in a way in which no other result could occur."
Ouch, ouch, ouch. Yes, that was me until 12 days ago. But with the help of folks like Bob Greene and Phil McGraw, I'm learning to structure a different lifestyle - one day at a time.

And if I could describe this place of renewed hope, it would
sound like this

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Leslie Sansone's 3-Minute Mini-Walk

Q. What do you call a mother who wears a pedometer?

A. A pe-DOM-mom. (Smile.)

A few days ago, my new pedometer arrived. The big surprise was that using it didn't discourage me. Instead, it helped me see how many steps I already take in a normal day. Merely walking an extra "lap" from my office chair to the coffee pot nearly doubled my daily steps. (That should also give you an idea how much coffee I drink!)

Still, that's not enough steps to get me to the Phase I exercise level.

On one of the Best Life discussion threads, somebody suggested
Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home DVDsas a good way to get started.

Need a free preview? Watch
Leslie's desk-side three-minute mini-walk twice a day as a way to rev up your energy and be more active. Remember, it's not good to sit for long periods without moving.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How to Cool a Hot Flash

Several times a week, DH cradles my head in his lap and strokes my hair until I fall asleep. (Together now: "Awwwww.") Last night, he abruptly stopped rubbing asking, "Are you like blowing up or something? Your head feels like a volcano!"

Well, DUH! He should feel a hot flash from MY perspective!

Dr. Christine Northrup, one of American women's most trusted medical advisors, challenges conventional approaches to "the change," asserting that we are not plagued by a collection of problems that must be "fixed."

Her book, The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change, 2nd Edition, examines the connection between menopause and a woman's emotional and spiritual life. In it, she stresses how the choices we make now - from the quality of our relationships to the quality of our diets - can either secure our health for the rest of our lives, or put our futures at risk.

Beginning on page 177, Dr. Northrup recommends Black Cohosh for its "estrogenic effect to decrease hot flashes, night sweats and emotional lability....Clinical studies show that it relieves menopausal symptoms such as depression, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and menstrual symptoms. (Note: Black cohosh can interact with medicine for high blood pressure and may result in excessively low blood pressure in some women.)"

On page 179, she also cites soy as a "safe alternative to hormone replacement, offering most of the benefits of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) without the risks or side effects."

According to Dr. Northrup, a daily dose of 60-70 mg of isoflavones reported measurable benefits for the heart and bones, as well as an inhibitory effect on colon cancer and bowel problems.

"Research and my clinical and personal experience suggest that most women need about 100-160 mg of soy isoflavones per day to get significant relief from other menopausal symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, as well as to protect the heart and bones," she concludes on page 181.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Has anybody else tried this product that combines black cohosh with soy protein?

(Research from other sources here and here. )

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to Figure Your Jean Size

Our speaker at Rotary yesterday said, "Unless you can measure it, you can't monitor it." Although she was suggesting ways to improve our "green" architecture, I related her comment to how to improve your body's architecture from a BestLife article archive: "Write what you bite."

(By the way, my pedometer and food scale arrived yesterday!)

Over at Blog Fabulous, Tracee introduces a relatively painless non-numerical measuring tool to help you find the brand of jeans that will fit you best using the online tool, Zafu.com.

Did it work as well for you as it did for Tracee and me?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Upload Coupons to Your Kroger Loyalty Card?

Despite good intentions, I've never been diligent enough at clipping and filing coupons to make it worth my time to use the technique when I shop.
By the time I remember the coupons, they are usually expired. On the other hand, I always use my Kroger Plus loyalty card.

Voila! Kroger has partnered with Procter & Gamble Co. to test a computer program allowing shoppers to electronically load coupons onto loyalty cards. (more)

I am SO all over this!! Load your coupons now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fill Your Emotional Well

This morning, while preparing to speak to the local genealogical society about how to leave a legacy, I was reviewing some old journals when I ran across this clip I had taped to a page in 2001. (The italics show passages I highlighted.)

"By the time I got to Paris I need no project, no art or architecture to structure my days. I had miraculously reconnected with my oldest friend - myself. I was no longer furious with my body for falling apart on me. During my illness, I had listened to audiotapes by intuitive healer Caroline Myss. She talks about how hard it is to keep promises to ourselves. We say we'll get up and go running, but we don't. We'll bend over backward to keep our word to a lover, a friend an employer, even a stranger. But we let ourselves down.

"When we are ill, Myss says, we tell our body to get better, that we will appreciate it and treat it well, but our body knows better than to believe us. My illness had no simple cause. It wasn't because of smoking or poor diet or anything I had been warned about. But before I got sick, I had never taken my own need for care and attention seriously. I promised myself a million things - to try a yoga class, to stop filling my weekends with a gazillion errands, to get up early and watch the sun rise. I very rarely kept those vows, but I could be counted on to show up for anyone and everyone who asked.

"So in Paris, I made a decision: It wasn't going to take another frightening illness for me to give myself a break, to say no, to remember what mattered most to me. Since then, travel has become more than a respite from the world I live in; it's a way to refill my emotional well." (Sorry, I didn't save the source.)

Back in 2001, I hadn't written the first travel article. But I wanted to. And I have. And I still want to. Now I remember why. And remembering that makes today easier.

What fills your emotional well?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Music on the Brain - All Hype?

"The lower brain's hypothalamus is both your hunger center and the main spot for processing music's mood. Fill it with happy sounds and watch false hunger disappear."

Well, now, isn't that a happy thought??

Read the full post here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Don't Tread on Me!

"It's a full size professional treadmill with a programmable digital keyboard," the gentleman told me in answer to my telephone inquiry about the $100 treadmill he advertised for sale in today's classifieds. "Because I do four miles a day, I've ordered an updated model, complete with music and a fan. But I think you'll be extremely pleased with this one."

What a steal! I thought, as DH and I drove to the seller's house, less than five minutes away. And what a happy coincidence that he has exactly what I'm looking for.

Once we arrived to look at the machine, DH's attitude did a 180. "Where are you going to put this? I'm telling you, it's too big for our house."

Despite DH's moaning while he and the seller hoisted the monster onto a dolly, I handed over five 20's. Once outside, the treadmill was too large to fit into the bed of our Sporttrac without the guys having to lift it over the cargo rack. They agreed to hold off until DH could round up a buddy with a larger truck bed. The seller kept my $100 and we came home.

Once back to the house, DH went into uncharacteristic designer mode. "You actually think that thing will actually fit in the guest room?? I beg to differ. Just look." He was right. It would have taken up most of the available path around the bed where folks actually sleep probably 14 nights a year.

But THEN, he just kept going and going and going. "Have you ever in your life exercised or worked out for more than a few weeks at a time? I guarantee you, even if we could get that thing in here, it would just sit. And I'm not hauling it in here just for guests to have to wiggle around when they come over. Not gonna do it."

So we hopped back into the truck, returned the owner's manual and retrieved my $100.

Then he started up again. "I'm not trying to be difficult or critical. I just know how these things work. If you want to come up to the office, I'll pay the $5 a month to get you into the workout room."

I'm so sure I want to drive 15 minutes to walk through his office bullpen sans makeup on my way to the workout room, then walk back through his office after I'm all sweaty for the 15 minute drive home.

What I wanted to do was get a treadmill so that I could walk while I watch Joyce Meyer every morning at 7:30, then put my makeup on while I listen to Creflo Dollar at 8. Don't get me wrong; I'm an early riser who offices at home, so I can adjust my schedule to what works best for me.

DH insists that walking on a treadmill won't do anything for me, anyway. (Some folks disagree.) "You've got to run, and I know you're not going to do that," he added. "If you want to do some sort of aerobic exercise inside the house while you watch your TV preachers, you can get an exercise step or a wooden block for that matter and step up and down for 30 minutes to get a better workout than you would have gotten on a treadmill."

So the ball's back in my court. I'll let you know how I decide to become more active.

How do you get moving at home? Any suggestions how to get started indoors while it's sub-freezing outdoors?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Train Yourself to Eat More Slowly

Earlier this week, I had a dental crown replaced where one had previously broken off...um, a year ago. I guess I procrasinated scheduling the repair work because the partial tooth wasn't sensitive, thanks to an earlier root canal procedure.

After the temporary crown was installed Tuesday, I waited until just after the cement had set before chomping down on my first healthy meal of the year.
But instead of pleasure, OUCH!!!

Not yet accustomed to having a molar where the gap used to be, I bit the inside of my cheek...HARD!

On a positive note, my experience could start a new trend how to train weightloss candidates to chew more deliberately. Dentists could develop a technique to install tooth overlays large enough to cause rear molars to bite the inside of your cheek if you eat too fast!

Seriously, eating slowly has several benefits, including giving your brain time to signal the stomach you're full - which takes an average of 20 minutes.

Read more good tips on how to eat properly...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bleach Hair, Not Bottles

I'm working on a system to make sure I drink six 8-oz. glasses of water every day.

When I was a little girl, my mom let each of us kids store an empty syrup bottle filled with water in the fridge for quick swigs whenever we got thirsty. Mine was a Mrs. Butterworth's variety. My brother preferred the sleeker Log Cabin style.

Each week, our housekeeper would disinfect the bottles by filling them with a mixture of Clorox diluted in water. After letting them soak, she replaced the cleaner with clear water. Except one time, she forgot to pour out the cleaner.

Just before bed time, I chugged a only few swallows of the poison concotion before my throat started burning. Fortunately, my mom knew to rush me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped out. Obviously, I survived.

Chlorine is a powerful chemical that can be dangerous to use as a cleanser.

“A peculiar accident reported by the National Safety Council involved two housewives in separate cases. Both were using an ordinary toilet bowl cleaner. Not satisfied with the way it was removing stain, each one added some household bleach and stirred with a brush. One died quickly, the other spent a long time in the hospital.”

Read more here...

And be careful!

Get Moving!

Okay, I have no idea how many steps a day I walk, which seems to be a requirement for logging daily progress on Phase I of Bob Greene's BestLife program.

Solution: a pedometer. Yep, I looked at the one on the Bestlife site, but as an Amazon Prime member, I get two-day shipping free, or overnight shipping for only $3.99.

I also decided I need a
food scale, since I obviously have no idea what a four-ounce portion of chicken looks like.

Two items, two days,
plus free shipping.
Deal of the day.

Now get moving!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Upsize My Thighs, Please.

Be More Active

Corporate wellness gurus know it's important to prevent tension-induced ailments caused from sitting at a computer for long periods at a time: tight muscles, stiff joints, carpel tunnel syndrome and even potentially deadly blot clots.

At DH's office, desktop reminders signal employees when they have been "on task" too long. Time to take a break, stand up and stretch, work the willies out.

In Phase I of the BestLife program, "deskercise" is an good way to ease tension, increase flexibility and get your circulation going.

Stop Eating Two Hours Before Bedtime

Well, Darling Husband (DH) actually pulled through with flying colors yesterday! My late afternoon reply to a reader's comment joyfully announced that DH called just before 1 p.m., declaring he had "eaten a healthy lunch at the hospital cafeteria." What's more, he called after work to say that he could break away in time to squeeze in a 30-minute evening walk if I didn't mind getting out in cold, rainy weather. (Um, pass. I substituted my 45-minute walk through the grocery store! By the way, here are some great ways to save on your grocery bill. Login required.)

Quietly reveling in having hit all other Phase I goals for the day, we settled down to watch the Texas American Idol and the last episode of Comanche Moon. Around 9 p.m., however, we hit the wall. Eyebrows raised and heads tilted toward the kitchen, we sighed,"Can't do it. We're past the cutoff time to stop eating."

For the first time in a long while, DH came to bed before 11 p.m. - the end of Golf Central. Whether to keep from eating or to prepare for a 5:30 a.m. drive to Texas this morning, I'm not sure. All I know is we made it through yesterday victoriously...together.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Save $15 on $29 Cereal Purchase

If you and your family eat a lot of breakfast cereal, this Amazon offer is for you.

Click here to save $15 on $29 worth of Bob Greene's Best Life Diet-Approved products.

Offer expires January 31, 2008, so get clickin'!

Ho-Ho Hubby

Oprah and Bob's Best Life Challenge 2008 offers participants the opportunity to "make a contract with yourself."

Last night, during a commercial break in Comanche Moon, I presented a copy of the contract to my husband and asked for feedback.

After a quick read, he responded, "That is so nice." Click. Click. "Just remember, you're the cook around here. If you fix it, I'll eat it."

The weekend weather is predicted to be in the 20s, which should prevent his usual golf outings. Should be a good time to talk again.

In the meantime, I'll remain our household's Lonesome Dove.

P.S. I know why they tell you not to weigh in Phase I. I ate only 864 calories yesterday, but still gained a pound by this morning.

What is "The Best Life?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Best Life Begins

A bug bit me somewhere. Yesterday, I was so nauseated, I didn't even make coffee or turn on the computer. For me, that's the bottom rung of the "feel good" ladder.

Ironically, yesterday was the ONLY day in over a year that I've been sick.When Mom called to check on me, she asked if I had seen the current issue of Oprah's magazine. Well, no. I don't ever read it.

But when the show came on television at 4 o'clock, I was sitting in the living room with the remote in hand. So I watched. There was Bob Greene with Oprah introducing all these eyepopping makeovers. And I sat in my husband's easy chair, watching -- during the only hour I was awake all day.

This afternoon, I stepped on the scale to face the 45 pounds I regained during 2007 -- the same ones I lost during 2006. For the last hour, I've been perusing The Best Life web site, getting a feel for how it works and where to start.

Last week, I saw a sign: "I'm on a 30 day diet, and so far, I've lost 10 days." That's been the story of my life. Diet on. Diet off.
I'm miserable.

Well, here we go. I'm not looking for miracles. But I am willing to give it my best shot, one day at a time, beginning tomorrow morning.