8/30/12 PF 30 Minute Express

I have to be honest–I had no plan to exercise today. But, my daughter asked to go to the gym today and she kinda talked me into at least doing the treadmill. I decided I would do the bike and was on the way there when I decided to check out the Express workout room.

I stayed.

You can ideally start anywhere in the room but it is set up with 20 numbered stations that you follow around the room. I really liked that it was well thought out using the bigger leg muscles progressing into smaller arm/shoulder muscles then core. This alternates with a “step station” to keep your heart rate up and get in your cardio as well.

Will I do it again? Absolutely!

BTW– I also signed up for a “design your own” (DYO) workout with a trainer session.


8/27/12–Recumbent Bike

Ok– so this is actually from a few days ago but…

I was short on time but wanted to do something before I took a nap for work (I work 12 hour nights) and wanted to make the most of my efforts….


Time–20 minutes

Distance– 5.5 miles


Program– Interval 2 (short rest and longer work plateaus)

Resistance Level (RL) -3 for recovery and 5 for work

Avg speed–17.2-17.5 mph

Music– Podrunner @ 139 BPM “Easy does it”

BTW– my pedometer for work showed 3.7 miles for my shift as well !

Critique? Comments? Suggestions?

SportsArt C53r Recumbent Bike

I have to say I am very fortunate to have gotten this recumbent bike a few years ago. If you are considering a stationary bike this one is solid and very functional. SportsArt makes a good product!! This one is totally powered by you but I believe you can buy an adapter to keep the monitor lit if you need to pause during a ride. Part of why we purchased this one is because it is not powered by electric, so it is very quiet to use and you can use it anytime, regardless of if someone is sleeping.

One of the really nice things about it? It can hold 4 “identities” so each of us can recall our settings without the full start up process and we can also switch programs “mid-stride” if we decide to change paths.  The seat position and back are easily adjusted and the heart rate feature is just a hand grip away.

No, this is not a ‘paid advertisement’ just my appreciation for a great product. ~Janice

Keeping Track of it all: Accountability

Accountability is a huge thing in being motivated to continue something you may not really want to do. I’ve tried writing food and workout specifics down in notebooks, printed journals  and different online sites. I think that sometimes I get too technical for my own good in recoding things so that it becomes a burden rather than just a journal of achievement.

But ‘writing’ it down does work so I will be starting to keep track of things here. Please feel free to comment and critique as well as offer advice–I know a lot about food and nutrition, and I think about the basics of exercise but by no means am I an expert. Research constantly changes what we know about food and nutrition so it is an ongoing process of learning.  I am not a trainer, although it may be a path I choose down the road, but there is much to learn before that time.

How do you keep track of eating and activity?

Keep making Smart Choices–Janice

Chia Jam– the Smart Choice version

I love jam and preserves–love all the bits and pieces of fruit….but I really dislike how sweet it normally is and how the sweetness can overpower what it is served with. I may have found a solution to my dilemma!

I originally found the ‘recipe’ on one of the health/fitness pages on Facebook (I can’t remember which one) but then started experimenting with flavors and amounts.  I think the key to a great Chia jam is making sure what you are using has enough juice for the chia seeds to absorb and do their job.

I’ve tried plain blueberry, plain strawberry and a mix of berries. So far this one is the winner!

Triple Berry Vanilla Chia Jam

2 16 oz containers blueberries, rinsed and stems removed

1 16 oz contained strawberries, hulled and diced

1 8 oz container blackberries, rinsed

3-4 Tbs chia seeds

3-4 Tbs pure maple syrup

1 Tbs pure Vanilla extract.

Once you have all the berries cleaned you can put into a large pot, preferably nonstick, and heat on medium heat.









After about 5 minutes some of the blueberries should be releasing their juices, continue heating another minute or two and then remove from heat. I like to mashed some of the berries at this time but you can leave them in bigger pieces if desired.






At this point add in the chia seeds and return to low heat for another 5 minutes or until liquid is starting to absorb. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Allow to cool in pot slightly.







The chia seeds absorb the liquid and appear like berry seeds. The mixture will be a medium thickness at this point.

                          Using a wide mouth canning funnel keeps the jars cleaner while allowing you to see what is going on.

Viola– a nice Jam without all the sweetness. I love it on English Muffins but it can go pretty much on anything.  I’m still experimenting with other flavors and combinations–looking forward to trying them out and sharing.  Oh–these last a long time in the fridge  and I have not tried actually canning them for storage but follow manufacturers advice for specific jars/bottles. (You can actually store in clean former jelly jars as well, no special jars needed!)

Yes, I CAN eat that…but is it worth “the price”?

Its really amazing what can happen when you think about things differently! Living a Healthy Lifestyle is not about restrictions but about balance. You can eat anything but it all has a price.

Granted there are some foods that are better for you than others. The thing I’m learning though is its all a matter of balance. Sometimes it IS worth the Price to have that piece of cake or candy instead of the ‘healthy’ stuff. Sometimes it is what allows you to stay on track the other 80% of the time. Deprivation is not required for healthy living.

So what is “the Price” I speak of? Something that recently occurred to me is that all our actions–eating choices, activity choices and our ‘mental game’ all give us credits or debits in our Healthy Living bank accounts. I’m sure you’ve heard that to lose 1 pound of weight you need to eliminate 3500 calories either by cutting back on food eaten or through increasing exercise/ activity. To maintain your weight you need to balance calories in with calories out. Simple enough. SO–that Price is determined by what you have in your account–do you have ‘extra’ credits to have that piece of cake? Can you balance your account if you have it? Exercise should not really be used to counter a bad balance but to help create a positive one. To build the credits needed to splurge on the high calorie (high cost) items you can be more active on a regular basis, thus adding to your account for special times, or choose to really eat well to account for the high spending. Either way, to maintain or lose you need to keep your account balanced. Healthy Living does not have “charge accounts” to offer.

Sometimes the best way to keep your Healthy Living bank account in the ‘black’ is to plan ahead. If you know you have a special event or social activity where you may be tempted to splurge you can eat “cheap” for several days ahead or bump up the activity you do normally to create a surplus in your accounts. One great way to do this–prep your food, especially fruits and vegetables, so it is ready to grab when you may otherwise choose something quicker and easier. Lately I have been cutting up and storing carrots, red and green peppers and celery to grab with single serving containers of humus. While my hubby munches on chips or other snacks I am able to get my veges just as quickly and suffer no “overdraft” fees for choosing to go the easy (but more expensive) route. And you know what? I don’t feel deprived because I like veges and humus. If its not your thing, find something that works. My daughter opts for Greek yogurt, nuts or fruit.

Choosing to live healthy is making the most of what you enjoy, not what you think you ‘should’ have–its about versatility and balance and just having fun being healthy.

Best wishes for Smart Choices, Healthy Living! ~Jancie

Disclaimer: Images are from Google Images–my thanks to their creators!

You’re ready when you are ready….

Its funny about wanting to be healthy–you can wish for it all you want but until you are really ready to make the changes-and stick with them-it just won’t happen. 

I had this epiphany last night–I was laying in bed reading  a book I had bought a while ago…Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. My regular doctor had decided to leave the practice and I was being given a new associate.  She was very enthusiastic and actually discouraged medications in favor of food, exercise and vitamins. Wonderful you think…but I was not ready for it or in the correct frame of mind to appreciate it.  I did buy the 2 books she recommended but only read about 30 pages each before sticking them on my shelf.

Fast forward to now–I am very much into reading more information about the process of how food is being produced, how others are controlling what we get to eat and actually growing some of it myself.  I am much more pro-active with my healthy habits in terms of eating, being active and doing what I need to do to be optimally healthy. Although I am not a vegetarian I am inching closer to that idea based on what I’ve read and how I feel.  I try to eat a “cleaner diet” whenever I can; by this I mean less processed ‘food’ and more real and fresh food. I am much more active but not always the kind you think of for a gym. I am human though and the dedication and commitment vary based on sleep and outside commitments. I am still learning how to make it the priority in my life.

One of the biggest things I have to accept and keep in mind is that not everyone is ready to think this way or can even see the benefit of “all the extra work” of being healthy. There are times I have to remind myself that we each must decide when (or if) they are ready to make this journey.

My own home is a great example–my oldest daughter became a vegetarian in December 2011; she almost goes to the extreme in healthy eating by weighing and measuring everything and only eating things she deems to fit her idea of being healthy. I had tried to discuss things with her but she was not ready to talk with me about ‘possibly’ being too thin. At her college physical my doctor made sure she (and I) knew she needed to gain 8 pounds to be a healthy weight for her height. She and I had a very candid conversation after that and she is slowly increasing her calorie intake to gain about a half pound a week. Something she can live with.

My younger daughter has not made a 100% transition to eating healthy but is getting there. She will only eat chicken and turkey (in terms of “meat”) but does make an effort to get in some fruit and vegetables and tries to keep portions moderate. She now goes to a gym and is working on building strength and learning to pace herself at running (she is more of a sprinter). She still drinks soda but now it is more socially than every day.

My hubby, well–he is a snacker; he often eats in front of the TV (from the bag and not a bowl). He often misses meals or eats a granola bar at his desk. Aside from OJ he does not normally does not get any veges (and no fruit) except for what I serve at dinner. He will make an effort to exercise at least several times a week but his job often interferes with a normal schedule. He understands the rationales of eating and being healthy but I’m not sure at what level of healthy eating he will achieve. If he could abstain from working and had someone preparing all his meals…I think he would be fine (enter real life).

So the point to my tale? When you are ready you will know it; it will sound normal and reasonable instead of something impossible to achieve. In the mean time, try making small adjustments to your eating and activity habits…sometimes all you need is a little motivation to steer you toward the Healthier Path.

Best wishes for making Smart Choices ~Janice

Perfection is overrated!

Definitely something to realize–changing habits and making Smart Choices is NOT easy to do! Living a healthy Lifestyle is an ongoing process; the more we learn, the more we can adapt and change our thoughts on what to consider “normal”.  Thinking we can change-and maintain- a completely different way of living without any experience is just setting ourselves up for failure.

The way that I have found to be a good start is to make small changes.  If you can change and adapt something small, say using less sugar in your coffee or taking a short walk every day and adjust to that, then you can build on a series of minor successes. Try not to make too many changes at one time so it does not become overwhelming.  Make the changes things you can agree with and can see doing forever. Doing something you can’t maintain is not a smart choice, it sets you up for failure and then most people give up.  Living a healthy Lifestyle is one that fits into your life–you are not looking for a temporary fix like losing weight for a special event, but looking to change the way you normally do things. Will you fall back into old habits? More than likely, yes–but that is ok, its part of the learning process.  Just learn from your ‘mistakes’ and make a smarter choice next time.

Making good choices will eventually become a habit. Keep making them and the positive feedback will help propel you to the next level of living healthy. Something that made a difference for me–don’t just look at the scale for progress; weight loss is a side effect of living healthier. Think more about how you feel and your increased energy level and clothes fitting better. Are you breathing easier? Can you carry more grocery bags? Do you feel calmer and more relaxed? Studies show that when you focus on being healthier and not on weight loss you are more likely to continue with your good habits when you hit a plateau and don’t see the scale moving.

What Smart Choices have you made this week? For me, I am focusing on getting in more fluids and taking my vitamins more regularly (both Smart Choices and things I can maintain).

Best Wishes for your Healthy Life~ Janice

Disclaimer–the images on this page were found on Google Images but the top one appears to be from Inspire Me Thin.