Friday, January 4, 2013

product reviews: new year, new tools

So I've done several reviews in the past of products that are important to what I've been doing at the time.  You can find the links below:  

But in the past several weeks, I've added a few really fun things to my kitchen tools, workout essentials, and just daily stuff.  I wanted to share some of these things with you, just in case y'all had been looking for something like it or maybe contemplating buying them in the first place.  

1.  The new 2013 Weight Watchers 360 Kit 
(Available for purchase at Weight Watchers locations, I couldn't find it on the website yet.)
Sure, Weight Watchers launches a new kit annually.  Sure, it has a lot of the same stuff year after year.  Sure, most of the information is online.  Until now.  This new kit isn't like every other Weight Watchers kit that I've purchased, in fact it only shares two things in common with the old kits: it comes with a three month tracker and it includes coupons.  After that you can throw what you used to know out the window!  

The photo above is from a lovely website I folow, and I've included the link to the blog below:

So here's the recap (left to right): You get a Success Handbook (sort of like a workbook in my opinion), a cookbook called What to Eat Now, a workout DVD sampler, a silicon measuring cup set, several pages of stickers with Points Plus values on them so that you can label your foods at home, body measuring tape (not pictured?), a three month tracker, and a neat neoprene zippered case to cart all of the stuff around in.  Shown here are the Points Plus calculator and skin, which do not come in the kit itself but you can redeem the coupons that are included at the Weight Watchers locations.  

Here's what they left out this year: The books with the Points Plus values and Dining Out companions.  Why?  Probably because the 360 program doesn't make any changes to the Points Plus values and they realized that we all had that already.  Smart people!  I wasn't about to buy another set of those when I don't use the ones I already have due to the fact that everything I need is online!  

2.  Glam Headbands, Inc. Products
For Christmas this year, my best friend and triathalon training buddy gave me my first Glam Headband.  

Back story:  I had been contemplating buying all kinds of headbands recently, but I was sticking with my cheap ones from Target for the time being.  They stink.  As soon as I sweat, they aren't stretchy anymore and I end up adjusting them a bunch of times.  

This new headband rocks!  I was so excited when she gave it to me that I couldn't wait to wear it to my next spin class.  Luckily, my next spin class was less than 24 hours away and I didn't have to wait long.  

Here's my mini product review:  The adjustable strap on the bottom of these things gets a HUGE thumbs up from me.  I happen to have a lot of hair, but a relatively small head.  Yah, I'm sort of a pinhead.  Yuck it up.  I was able to slide that thing to the smallest it would go and it fit perfectly!  The sparkly material did not shed a single strand of annoying glitter, because we all know that glitter is awesome until it ends up stuck to everything you own.  The width (1") was great for me personally, but they come in a smaller and larger version just in case you don't like that.  The soft side that went against my hair didn't budge at all during 70 minutes of spin, which meant zero adjustments.  That's unheard of for me!  The only thing that I struggled with were the two little clips to snap it into place.  I ended up just leaving them alone and putting the headband on like a normal headband and it worked great.  I think when I order more, I'll just skip buying the clips.  Sometimes simpler is better.  

3.  My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 & EVO 4G LTE
Galaxy Tab at Costco
EVO 4G LTE at Sprint
I wasn't always big into technology, but the last 6 months of my life have really got me looking for ways to do things faster and easier.  Enter: my tablet and smartphone.  I don't really need them, but these two things have become two of my favorite tools for making my life better.  I've got a number of applications that help me with this, the first of which is the Weight Watchers Mobile App.  I can still do all the stuff I used to do (track meals, check off good health guidelines, log weigh ins, etc.) but now I can get more tips on how to make the program work for me!  New for this latest update is a way to snap a photo of my meal and track it later, review my spaces, and a place to take a look and get tips to help me change my routine.  I also use the Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner App at the grocery store!

Just about everything else that helps me simplify my life on these two gadgets is free!  I use the calendar app and sync it with my Google calendar.  This alerts me to my meeting times and spin class schedules really easily!  Also, I'm addicted to the Kindle app lately.  My Twitter pals know that I'm always down for a good read!  I've got my Blogger app, Twitter app, and loads of great recipes and blogs bookmarked through my Google Chrome app.

So there you have it, three tools I'm really digging right now.  I'm always looking for new things to try, so keep me posted!  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

looking backwards, moving forwards

I feel like people are always telling me not to dwell on the past or that I need to move on & move up. Yaddah yaddah yaddah...
Sometimes, I think they're full of it. If you don't examine your past actions or behaviors then I truly believe you are doomed to repeat all of your previous failures. I know that this is true of my life, so I want to take a moment to reflect.

In July I hit my 25 pound goal, and it felt great. Not long after that I threw my Weight Watchers tracking out the window because I had something new to focus on: a sprint triathalon. I can honestly say this was one of those wacky things in life that I'll never forget. Training, traveling, was epic. Yes, I said epic. I had so much fun & support from friends far & wide that it was spectacular.

Now here comes the reflection: I spent three months training for the triathalon & ignoring what I was eating. After that event, I spent the last 3 months in the middle of a home renovation from hell & ignoring my eating & my training. I slacked off. Luckily, I have less than 5 pounds of slacking to account for. I realize it could have been a whole lot worse, but I feel as if the last 6 months were a waste of my time.

Now I've mentioned that I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, so I've started this little journey back to healthy a bit early. I realize though, as I sit on my couch eating the Pioneer Woman's Mac & cheese, that as the last 6 months haven't been successful, they haven't been a total loss. I've learned a few things about myself & I believe I have some people to thank:

1. Weight Watchers has truly given me the tools to continue being healthy, even when I'm not 100% focused.
Truly, I don't keep all the bad stuff in my home anymore thanks to what I've learned and that (if nothing else) saved me from completely losing my marbles.  
2. Eating out is not convenient, healthy, or efficient. 
Having my home in pieces for 3 months showed me that when I'm cooking at home I'm able to multi task & cook several things at once, do laundry, & meal plan for the week ahead of me. 
3. Exercise is not a luxury, it is a necessity in my life. 
I used to think that finding that time was a bonus or a treat, now I see how poorly I feel without it. I'm irritable, tense, & lethargic without some sort of outlet. I cannot live that way for long. The last three months appear to have only reinforced that in my mind. 
4. Loved ones that know you're on a journey towards a healthier lifestyle are priceless. Priceless. Priceless. 
I had to say that word multiple times because it is just so true. Twitter family, they're there when I'm stumped, lost, or feeling alone. Tangible family is there at family gatherings to give me the much needed "are you sure you want to eat that?" look. Friends that may as well be called family are always around to split appetizers at restaurants or join me for running, cycling, & spin classes when I need their support. Not a day goes by when one of you lovely people blessed my life & don't think I didn't notice it!

So there you have it. I'm sure I've learned more than what I just told you while I've been reflecting, but those were the big things. May you have a blessed new year & I hope you have plenty of amazing reflections during this time as well!