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Monday, April 14, 2014

Snow Again

This weekend was a lot of fun.  Friday, I purchased a basketball hoop off of craigslist and brought it home for my son.  He was so excited.  We spent a lot of time shooting hoops, playing pig, horse, and several other animal name games.

Saturday, I was able to get out and ride for an hour on my bike.  It felt so good to be back on my bike for a fair distance.  The wind Saturday wasn't very conducive to riding.  It was blowing about 10-15 miles per hour out of the South.  Riding South was almost impossible for me.  Riding East or West felt like I was zig zagging back and forth across the road.  I was able to get 15 miles in at a quicker pace than I was riding last year, even with the wind.  I'm not sure if I can attribute the extra speed to my weight loss, but I sure want to think it's helping!  I was able to get into a more aerodynamic position without my knees hitting my belly!

Then comes today, Monday.  It's been raining most of the day and they are calling for 2-4 inches of snow tonight.  So much for my garden.  I have a feeling this will kill off everything I have out there already.  Oh well, I'll just replant if that happens.  I'm hoping the ground is warm enough that the snow won't be able to stick.  I'm also hoping the cold won't stick around long because I'm loving commuting by bike to work, especially because it saves on Gas costs.

A couple weeks ago, we got out for a walk and my son took his bike.  I just love the picture below that my wife took.


I've also thought about taking the Advocare 24-Day Challenge to boost my weight loss a bit.  The cost is the only thing that's really been holding me back.  I'm looking at our budget to see if it's something I could commit to.  I do have some money available on my miscellaneous survey sites that I could withdraw to pay for part of it.  I've got a friend that sells the Advocare products and she has been so great at encouraging me in my weight loss journey even though I haven't committed to buy the products yet.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Week in Review

This has been a busy week for me.  Monday, I got a text at 7:30 A.M. that completely changed the plans I had for the morning at work.  The rest of the week was a lot of the same.  I didn't feel like I got much of anything done that was on my task list until today.  I was able to get to the gym on Monday for a cardio workout and Tuesday for weights.  Wednesday, I rode my bike to work and back home.  Thursday, I had to be at work at 5:30 A.M. and after work, we visited a friend who lost a relative this past weekend.

Today, I was browsing craigslist and came across a basketball hoop.  My son has had an interest in basketball and asked for a ball for his birthday.  Well, he got the ball, but had no basket.  I couldn't see paying for the new ones I've seen in stores. The lady that was selling on craigslist was amazing.  I mentioned that my son was showing an interest and asked if she'd take less than she was asking.  She told me her three boys played basketball and that she'd be happy to take less because of why I wanted it.

Tomorrow, my son has baseball practice late in the morning.  I'm hoping I can either ride my bike before or after his practice.  I really need the stress relief I get from being on my bike.  A good 20-25 mile ride could do me some serious good!  I figure I need to start getting some distance rides in.  Commuting to and from work won't get me in shape for the organized distance rides I plan on doing this year.  Also, I'm hoping to start scheduling weekends in May to begin my journey down the Ohio to Erie Trail!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Graze Box

I recently discovered Graze Box.  With the "diet" I've been sticking too, I still need a good snack once in a while, but when I say good, I don't just mean it has to taste good.  It has to be healthy for me too.  I'm not eating a lot of chips and cookies these days.  Graze was started by seven friends sick of chips and candy, who wanted a better way to snack.

I received my first box this week and I'm really enjoying it.  My first box was their calorie counter box option.  In this box, I received 4 different snack items that are all under 150 calories.  This is great because many days, I have just enough calories for a small snack, but can't find something at home in that small calorie range.  With Graze, I can just grab one of the packets of snacks and eat the whole packet because they are created with proper portion sizes.


In this box, I received the following 4 items.

The British Barbecue
rosemary crostini, mini basil breadsticks, fiery seeds and smoked almonds

Scandinavian Forest
blueberries, lingonberries, cherry infused raisins and apple

Wholegrain Banana Caramel Dippers
caramel sauce with wholemeal banana shortbread dippers

Hot Cross Yum
sponge pieces, cinnamon and honey almonds and orange infused raisins

Graze is the first subscription box I've actually signed up for.  You can subscribe for a box every week, every two weeks, or every four weeks.  One of the other things I really like about Graze is that they choose different snacks for each box based on what I like.  They list all their snack items on the website and you can mark each with Trash, Try, Like, or Love.  This helps them to know which items you don't like or don't even want to try.  I'm not a fan of pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts, so I marked anything with those in it as Trash so I won't get them in my boxes.  Then once I try the snacks, I go back in and mark my opinion of them so they know if I want them again or not.

If you'd like to give Graze a try, you can visit their website using one of the links in this post.  The link includes my Graze Friend Code (MATTS9CJP) that will allow you to get your first (1st) and fifth (5th) box free.  At $6.00 per box.  It also earns me $1 off my next box.  I'm currently signed up to receive a box every two weeks to give me some healthy snack options on the days I have extra calories and a craving for a snack!  Oh ya, if you aren't counting calories, they offer a nibble box that includes some snacks with a slightly higher calorie count.  You can change your delivery and type of box at any time.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way by Graze.  I just wanted to share my experience and friend code.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Warmer Weather Means Bike Commuting

The weather here in Ohio finally reached 50+ degrees in the morning, so today was my first ride of the year.  It was a short 3.61 mile commute in to work, but it felt so great to be back outside on my bike.  Although the cold wind made my eyes water most of the way to work, it was quite exhilarating to be out feeling the fresh air in my lungs.

I've bee awaiting this day for what seems like forever.  Every time I'd think the weather was turning around, it would either get cold or rain really hard.  I'm hoping this is finally the start of warmer weather and many more rides this year.  I've started using Endomondo Pro again this year to track my rides and I've tied it to other services like MyFitnessPal, Earndit, and Everymove.  I think there may be a few other fitness programs I've signed up for.  Some offer challenges or allow you to earn rewards.  Some are just an additional way to track my workouts.

I'd mentioned a while ago that I was starting to concentrate on losing some weight as part of our wellness program at work.  I've been doing cardio at the YMCA 3 times a week and wights 2 times a week.  I've also been surviving on a 1200 calorie diet using MyFitnessPal.  I've lost about 12 pounds in about 6-7 weeks.  I'm not tracking the time real close.  I'm more interested in getting down to a healthy weight.  I'd like to lose 15-18 more, so I have a little ways to go.  The best part for me so far has been proving that if I really concentrate, watch portion sizes, and just eat more fresh fruits and veggies, I can successfully lose the weight.

Well, as my blog name says, it's time to meander a bit.  I started with fitness and the weather.  Now it's time to just spit some stuff out that's in my head.  Our oldest son turned 8 at the beginning of March and our youngest just turned 1 at the end of March.  It's amazing to watch them grow up so fast.  I sure enjoy my time with them, although I've never considered myself to be a kid person.  I'm just amazed to watch God work in my oldest's life.  He'll be going away for a week of church camp this year.  It'll be the first time he's been away from home and mom / dad, other than going to grandma and grandpa's for the weekend.

With having the children, it's been a challenge to get the time that I feel like I need with my wife.  I really enjoyed the years of it being just the two of us.  Now, I wouldn't trade the time with my family as a whole for anything, but I do miss being able to just pack up and go away, just the two of us for a weekend.  We really like Belamere Suites in Perrysburg, Ohio, but they've been pretty booked up on weekends.  With my son being in school, it's hard for us to get away during the week.  I had found a hotel in Cleveland, the Hyatt Regency at The Arcade, and was thinking about booking a Saturday night there for just the two of us.  We hadn't settled on a week yet, but knew we'd like to do it in April.  Well, I got on their website yesterday and they are completely booked every weekend in April.  We'll find a time to get away soon.  I'm just not sure where it will be.

Well, there's a dumping of what's on my mind this morning.  I hope you are all doing well!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weight Loss Goal

Last year, our wellness program at work changed, using different measurements to determine our eligibility for health care premium discounts.  I did pretty good as far as my blood measurements, although they said my sugar was slightly high.  My waist size was within the recommended range.  The biggest problem they noted was my BMI being too high.  They're calculation put me at a BMI around 28.1, which is considered overweight.  I was 5'8" and 185 pounds.  We only had to meet 3 out of 5 of their measurements to get a full 25% discount on our healthcare premiums, but I really struggled with my BMI being that high.

In January and February, 2014, I've started trying to find a way to lose around 29 pounds.  I haven't gained or lost a single pound in 7+ years, so deep down I thought it was going to be really difficult.  Before I started anything, I had heard about Advocare's 24-Day Challenge, which is partially a cleanse and diet change.  I really wanted to take it on, but the price of the products for the challenge is more than I'm willing to commit right now.

In looking at the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, I read a lot about the foods they allow while doing the challenge / cleanse.  I found that a lot of it is portion size, lean meats, complex carbs, and lots of raw fruits and vegetables.  I decided I'd at least try changing the way I eat.  That meant no more second overflowing plate at dinner, more fruits and veggies, and no more potato chips in the evenings.

I've been quite surprised.  I started making changes around February 10.  I've reduced my portion sizes at dinner and when I still feel hungry, I go to the fridge for a handful of cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, berries, or some other vegetable or fruit.  What have I noticed from making these very minor changes to my diet?  Well, first and foremost, I am down from 185.2 pounds to 180.2 pounds.  That's a loss of 5 pounds and a reduction in BMI of .6 in a little over two weeks.  Other than the weight loss, I haven't noticed much else that stands out.

I have also been back to the gym trying to figure out a routine.  I go in around 6:00 A.M. so that I can workout and still get to work on time.  I also don't miss too much family time because everyone is still in bed at that hour.  I use the Nautilus circuit for weight training and the treadmill, stair climber, or elliptical for cardio.  5 days a week is a bit much, so this week, I'm trying 3 days.  I've made two days and Friday would be my third.

Hopefully, I can continue on this "diet" and get down to a goal weight of around 155.  I still have to splurge on occasion and eat something sweet or highly fatty just to satisfy a craving, but I've done pretty well at sticking to my eating plan.  We'll see how it goes.