Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nuun Review & Giveaway

DSCF0585We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming, “Random Rules for Weight Loss” in order to bring you this special message from our sponsors.

Ok…Nuun is not really my sponsor and I haven’t actually written the 2nd half of that Random Rules for Weight Loss post yet so technically I suppose, it can’t really be interrupted then, but I did get some Nuun to try AND a couple of tubes to giveaway. Since it fits in well with the whole theme of weight loss (you’ll see why in a moment) and the tubes for giveaway aren’t helping anybody just sitting in my kitchen drawer, I figured I’d take a time out and get to giving it away already.

When Morgan over at Smack Media contacted me about trying out some Nuun, I was fully stoked. Nuun isn’t your average everyday sports drink that you’d pick up at the grocery store. It’s little electrolyte tabs that come in convenient easy to carry tubes. Drop one in a 16oz bottle of water and voila! It fizzes and dissolves and you’ve got yourself a power packed great tasting beverage that’s a terrific option for replacing all those electrolytes you’re sweating off during a run.

Besides being unique in it’s format, effervescent tabs, Nuun is alsoDSCF0586 unlike most sports drinks on the market because it contains no sugar, no carbohydrates, and is only 8 calories, which makes it a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight and/or diabetic. I mean, why run 5 miles chugging a sports drink that’s full of the very same calories you’re trying to burn off? (You can read Nuun’s complete nutritional information here).

Sounds great right? And I knew all this, even before I was contacted to do the review. I’ve researched this product before for some of my running clients. Which kind of makes me a weirdo I know for not just buying some myself to see if I liked it, but here’s the thing, now that people are sometimes sort of interested in having me review their products on this blog, I just flat out don’t want to buy any new running gear…ever. I’d much rather try it out for free and have one or two of you join me in doing so with a giveaway. That’s way more fun (um…and free) don’t ya think? But do I actually contact these companies and tell them I’d like to do that? Nope. I just sit here and patiently wait for them to randomly discover my blog, read my mind, and contact me. Truly an effective technique right?

Fortunately for us, Morgan had already found my blog AND she can apparently read minds, because she sent me two tubes to try and a spiffy water bottle to try it in PLUS two tubes to give away to one of you lucky lucks! Thank goodness for mind readers eh? Winking smile

So since, I already knew all about Nuun on paper, really trying this product out was for me, all about how it tasted and whether or not it agreed with me on a run. I actually ended up trying 4 flavors, Strawberry Lemonade (um…yuck. I’m not really sure what they were thinking here or if their taste testers actually knew what strawberry lemonade was when they decided on the name, or if they even had taste buds for that matter. IMO, this flavor is NOT good), Lemon-Lime (ok), Orange (decent), Fruit Punch (Delish! Love it. I’m sold.)

I’ll definitely be using fruit punch Nuun on future runs, particularly those runs of mine that are under 8 miles or so, runs where I definitely don’t need or want those extra carbs or calories. (For runs that are longer, 90 minutes or more, remember, you DO need to be taking in some easily digestible carbs. You can still use Nuun of course, you’ll just need to also be taking in something with carbs as well: gels, chews, sports beans, m & m’s, whatever works for you!)

Before we get to the giveaway details though, let me leave you with a couple of Nuun usage tips I’ve discovered after using it for a couple of weeks:

1) Let it sit for 2 minutes or more after you drop in that little tab. It says this right on the tube that I of course didn’t read and so instead immediately took a swig. This was not so hot. Make sure you let that little tab completely dissolve. And I’ve also found that on the flavors I wasn’t entirely keen on, they were much better the longer I let them sit. So I started dropping those tabs before I went on my run and then taking my first sip 3 miles later.

2) Let it warm up a touch. I know, it sounds weird, but it just seemed like with all the flavors they got better when they weren’t ice cold, which is kind of a bonus when you’re running on a warmer day. Now, I’m not suggesting you heat it up or anything, but just know this one’s going to taste ok, maybe even better with some flavors, when it’s room temperature. Generally speaking, in my experience, the opposite has been true with other sports drinks. (Warm Gatorade. Blech.)

Want to try some Nuun for yourself? Well, you could order it here OR you could just read a little further and enter my giveaway and get two tubes for FREE!

GIVEAWAT DETAILS

To enter:

Simply leave me a comment either here or on Facebook about what you’d like Nuun (none) of (yeah, we’re going to have a little fun here). For example: at this very moment I’d like Nuun of my children to be sick (The Little Miss has something and The Tiger & The Peanut have started sneezing today too. Awesome.) I’d also like Nuun of this food that I’ve just served them for lunch to wind up on the floor. (HAHAHAHAHA!!!) And finally I’d like Nuun of that cold fluffy white stuff we refer to as snow to make a reappearance particularly because I made a bet with my husband it wouldn’t and it’s going to be getting cold again here this week.

Get the picture? So leave me just one comment on what you’d like Nuun of and you’re in! It’d also be a pretty good idea for you to follow this blog somehow, email, Twitter, Facebook, because when I announce the winner you might want to know if that’s you if you’ve gone to all the trouble to enter and all. If you are the winner and I don’t hear from you within a week, we’ll re-draw and keep doing so until someone decides to claim their prize.

If you’d like to earn extra entries into this giveaway and better your chances of winning, then tell some people! Use your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Email, or other social app that I’m not yet cool enough to be in the loop on. Or tell your local running club or running friends at work, whatever you can think of, just let me know what you did in your comment. As many different methods you use, that’s how many entrees you’ll get with a limit of 5 (so 6 total entries are available to you, one for commenting and up to 5 for telling people). All entries must be received by Monday, April 9th at 11:59:59PM. One of my little girlies will be totally excited to draw the winner from a big bowl of entries the next day and I’ll announce it when they do.

Best of luck!

'Til next time...

P.S. To stay up on all the latest and greatest Nuun has to offer and be the first to know about any discounts and/or special offers, be sure to like Nuun on Facebook or follow Nuun on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Secret No. 14: I have totally random rules for weight loss

I do. I promise though these are the ones that do NOT include a stomach virus of any kind.

It should be noted before I spill this little gem that I am NOT a nutritionist, dietitian, doctor or medical professional of any sort and that you should consult your own medical professional before undertaking this or any sort of weight loss program. Not that this is necessarily a weight loss program. It really truly is exactly what it says in the title: totally random made up rules that I have for myself when I’m trying to lose weight. Some of them are of my own design, others I’ve picked up from magazine or internet articles that caught my eye, and others are tips that I’ve gotten from friends or family members or eavesdropping on strangers (what? Like you’ve never  Smile with tongue out).

Wherever they came from, they sounded good enough to give a shot and that’s just what I did. So on the off chance that some crazy random thing I’ve been doing might help another mother runner out, I figured I’d share. Well, that and I’ve been asked a bunch recently.

So here goes, apply entirely at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for your weight loss, gain, stagnation or your morphing into a llama.

In no particular order, (except perhaps for how they occur in my head), I give you…

My Totally Random Rules for Weight Loss

#1 Eat better. I know right, rocket science right there. Excuse me for being blunt here, but I refuse to believe any one of us are not intelligent enough to know what’s good for us and what’s not. I mean come on. You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to know that deep fried butter on a stick or a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed donut buns is not the best choice for healthy living (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Line anyone?).

Sure, we might get confused a little when it comes to some of the jargon (fat? carbs? calories? glycemic index? say what?), but ultimately, we’re not stupid. We all know fruits and veggies are good and most sweets and highly processed foods are not so much. So rule #1 for me when I get serious about losing weight is to just not kid myself, cut out those unhealthy choices that I KNOW are not good for me and eat better.

#2 **SIGH** Plan your meals. I know, I know…what a pain in the you know what! I swear though, this is HUGE. I started doing this awhile back and I honestly, don’t think I could function now without doing so. Not only is it a great way to  help you lose weight, because you’ll always have the ingredients on hand for a healthy meal since you’ve planned it that way, but it’s also a great way to reduce waste, cut back on expenses, and save time too. You’ll throw away far less expired food because you bought exactly what you need (plus maybe a little extra in case of emergencies) and it’ll all get used up in the meals you’ve planned for the week. You’ll save money because you won’t be buying food that you just wind up throwing away. And you’ll cut back on your shopping time because when you go into the store, you’ll have a list in hand. No standing there staring at the shelves pondering what you should make for dinner that week in the store with an infant tired of being in her car seat and a three year old randomly removing and/or inserting items into your cart. So here’s what I do (and I promise you it’s worth the 10-15 minutes it takes to do this):
A) Decide what I want to make for the week. I really like the Kraft Foods website because there’s sooooo many recipes on there that are quick and simple and it’s really easy to alter them to make them healthy if they’re not already (this, for example, that I made tonight was pretty healthy in and of itself and quite tasty I might add). When I’m deciding what to make, I always keep in mind our schedules. Mondays are super busy for us and by Friday I’m just tired of cooking. So Mondays, I usually make something in the crock pot in the morning before the day gets crazy and Friday I plan on leftovers (which means Wednesday or Thursday’s meal has to be big enough to provide them). I also usually plan on making the meals with fresh fruits & veggies I buy early in the week before they go bad and the canned or frozen near the end.  That way, we’ve always got some on our plates.
B) Make my shopping list accordingly. Based off of the meals I just decided I was going to make.
C)(And this is where the crazy sets in Winking smile ) I rewrite that shopping list in the order I’m going to shop in the store. This takes me all of two minutes and I do it for two reasons. First of all, there’s an off chance (extreme longshot) I can get my husband to go to the store for me. If he does, he doesn’t know where everything is the way I do and I like to make it as painless as possible so that he’s more apt to do it again. An ordered list accomplishes this. Secondly, if it IS me going to the store, I want to get in and out as fast as possible (I loathe grocery shopping). Running back and forth across the store because I didn’t see something on my list is NOT going to make that happen, not by a long shot.  
#3 Make your plate pretty. Not just because it’ll be aesthetically pleasing and more appetizing (and hey let’s face it,  healthy food can use all the appeal it can get right?), but if you have a goal to make what’s on your plate colorful that means you’ve been FORCED to include what? That’s right my magnificent mamas….fruits and veggies!

#4 Mix it up. Because nobody wants to eat the same stuff over and over again. Well, that and if you do, if you vary the types of foods on your plate, then you’re getting varied nutrients as well. Our bodies function best when we get ALL the Nutrients we need. And you know what that leads to right? Better race times Smile! Nobody knows this better than my vegetarian and/or vegan friends. They’ve become creative masters in the kitchen in order to meet all their nutritional requirements while at the same time having significantly reduced their options for how to meet those needs. I frequently am in awe.

#5 The Portion Police. Remember when we were kids and we were told, “finish everything on your plate.” We might even tell our kids that same thing now. I do sometimes. The only difference is the portions on my children's plates have been carefully chosen in order to create the least amount of waste while still giving them at least SOME of those nutrients that they’d really prefer not to eat. Which means, my 6 year is going to get 3 green beans, cut in half and my 3 year old is going to get one segment of an orange cut into 3 pieces (we eat our ages around here. I don’t know why, but that seems totally logically to each of my children. I am 6 so I must eat 6 pieces, bites or whatever).

THEY would be perfectly content to eat nothing until it showed up covered in chocolate if I let them. Whereas, I, on the otherhand, would be perfectly happy to go right ahead and pack that plate of mine tight, pile it high and eat every bite of whatever we’re eating most nights. The problem is I’ve got to eat less calories then I burn if I want to lose weight and massive portions don’t fit neatly into that scenario…or my stomach for that matter. So instead I try to limit myself to reasonably sized portions. If you need a little help determining what this is for you, there’s some great tools to help you at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ (FYI: My Plate is the updated version of the food pyramid. Apparently, somebody finally realized we are actually eating off plates and are not, in fact, dining on pyramids. Genius. Pure genius.)

#6 Whoa. Where’s the fire? Slooooooooow down there speedy. This one’s tough for me because I know that the minute I set the plates on the table, it’s on. “Mommy, may I please have a drink?” “Mommy, I spilled my milk!” “Mommy, I dropped my fork.” “Mommy, I can’t find my grapes.” “Mommy, she took my strawberries!” “Mommy, she’s wearing noodles on her head!” “Mommy, she keeps touching me with her foot!” And on and on and on it goes. So I think perhaps it’s at least a little understandable that when MY plate is in front of me, I sort of feel as if I have to eat in a manner which might score me a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. I’m scarfing it down as quickly as possible with the fear that if I don’t,  I’m not going to get to eat at all. I’ll be too busy dealing with all the “Mommy!”s to have an actual meal myself. Unfortunately, we can’t digest on impact. So if I do eat as quickly as possible, to get it in while I can, I’m probably STILL going to feel hungry and I’m likely to eat more than I really need, albeit quickly, in order to make myself not so. But what to do right? The little ones are gonna be little ones and you’ve got to eat sometime.

Here’s my trick: I eat while I get dinner ready. Now, I’ve actually seen this listed before as something you should NOT do if you’re trying to lose weight, but I’m pretty sure the people who wrote that article have never met my little ones and it’s highly likely they don’t have any of their own or if they do, their children are not so little anymore and they’ve forgotten what it’s like. So in between helping with homework, monitoring the Tiger’s destructive tendencies, soothing the baby who’s just learned to roll over but is not entirely happy about this new found skill, AND making dinner, I’m eating, little bits here and there. Bonus for me if once dinner is done, all the kiddos, including the big one I sometimes refer to as my husband, are distracted and I can snag myself a few bites of the finished meal before I set it on the table. By doing this, I get a chance to eat a little slower, eat my food at the temperature it was designed to be eaten (hot foods hot, cold foods cold) and when/if I finally do sit down, I’m not starving and can then finish my dinner eating like a reasonable person rather someone who’s just say, finished a marathon perhaps (although, that’s probably not really a good example. I’m never hungry right after a marathon. Childbirth maybe? I’m always famished after that.)

#7 Speaking of starving, have a little snack will ya? Starving is not good. Starving is when we get desperate and will put whatever we can get our hands on into our mouth and we’ll eat it as quickly as is humanely possible. This almost always results in way more than we intended and quite frequently in eating foods we probably shouldn’t have. So don’t be afraid to have a few little snacks throughout the day to ward off those hunger pangs. Just try to make those snacks healthy ones, rather than M&M’s and Oreos.

#8 But if it’s M&M’s and Oreos you’re really craving, INDULGE! That’s right. You read that correctly. My weight loss tip to you is to eat M&M’s and Oreos. Look, we all have our weaknesses. Mine are cheese and chocolate (but generally not together…unless we’re talking cheesecake. That’s entirely different story.) I am not good when I attempt to give up some kind of food entirely. Inevitably, this results in a major crash and burn that winds up being a complete and utter binge on whatever it is that I’ve given up. It just does, at least for me. Maybe you are a total master of self control and can do that. If so, you are awesome! I applaud you, but for the rest of us frail human beings, I suggest a little indulgence every once in awhile to satisfy that craving rather than blowing your diet completely. But the key word here is LITTLE. See rule #9 for help on keeping little, well, little.

#9 PUT. The bag. Back! (If you did not just read that in your best Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein voice, please try again. Otherwise, this rule won’t work) When you do decide to give in to that sweet tooth(or salty or whatever that achilles heel of yours happens to be) take it out of it’s original container & take out an actual snack size portion. Then walk away man! Walk. Away. One cookie rather than an entire package, a small sliver of leftover birthday cake rather than the entire leftover third, a handful (or ok two) of chips. Do not, I repeat DO NOT by any means take the entire container of your yummy goodness to wherever you’ll be going to consume it. It is FAR harder to resist the temptation to eat more when it is sitting in your lap. Put the bag back. Go somewhere else and promise yourself you can have another little snack at a later date, but not tonight. Tonight you eat it and your done. Period.

#10) Keep a snack stash. In your car, in your purse, in your desk drawer at work, wherever, but if you keep good healthy snacks readily accessible, you’ll be far less likely to drive through that fast food joint on your way home from your daughter’s dance class or snag one of those office donuts just sitting there in its delightful scrumptiousness waiting for someone to claim it as their very own. Dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, pretzels, those are some of the things I like to keep stashed in my purse (ok let’s be real here…I don’t even carry a purse) diaper bag so that I can eat something quick on the fly and resist the temptation to eat something I that 15 minutes after I’ve finished, I’ll really wish I hadn’t.

And…that’s 10. And I’ve already written you a novel, but have so many more rules to share. Since I’m sure that’s not what you were looking for when you hopped on over here plus it’s already past 10:00 and I’ve got some runners to go coach still and a bed that’d really like to get slept in at some point, I’m going to leave it at that. Look for a few more rules later this week. (I know, I know, you’ll be on pins and needles waiting for the rest right?!) In the meantime, if you’ve got your own super amazing totally random weight loss rule you’d like to share with the rest of us, please do!

'Til next time...
P.S. If you were wanting to make an online donation to that pregnant MI runner mom who’s home was destroyed by a tornado last week, I’ve updated my post to include the link where you can do so. Scroll down to the bottom. It’s in the PS here.

P.P.S. Thought you all might like to see an updated version of the peanut, although, she’s not so peanut-like anymore. She’s 5 months and over 16lbs! Here’s a picture of her from St. Patrick’s day when she was attacked by leprechauns…
2012-03-17 15.48.40
Ok…you got me. It was her sisters who did that. Normally, I wouldn’t let them cover her in stickers (and trust me that was just the beginning), but she seemed to be enjoying it so that I went ahead and gave them the green light. Happy belated St Patrick’s Day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Attn: Running mamas! One of ours needs a hand

One thing about the running community is for sure, we help each other out. You may or may not have heard, MI was hit with some tornados Thursday. I received this email earlier tonight from Everal Race Management, (who puts on PHENOMENAL running events btw & now I have another reason to love them). I thought it was important to share. If you have a minute or two, give it a read. If you feel so inclined, do what you can.

Normally you receive emails from us telling you about runs that are coming up in the near future.  This email is a bit different in that we are asking you to help out a family that has been active in the local running scene for quite a while now.  Over the last few years Bob & Katie Jazwinski have put on a series of runs at Hudson Mills Park, along with being very active in coaching the highly successful Dexter High School Cross Country team.  Katie has been racing well, and was planning on trying to qualify for the Olympics.  Those plans were all changed a month or so ago when they found out she was pregnant with their third child.
 tornado home
As most of you are probably aware a devastating tornado hit the Dexter area last week.  The picture above shows what is left of Bob, Katie and their two young children's home.  While insurance will cover a good portion of what they have lost there are many expenses that will not be covered.  Anything that you can contribute will be appreciated.
You can donate by sending a check PAYABLE TO BOB AND KATIE JAZWINSKI, and sending it to:
Tom Micallef
7184 Steeplechase Drive
Saline, MI 48176
Here is a link to a video from WXYZ TV
Link to Video
 Thanks for your consideration; please help in any way you can.  Future emails from us will bring you news of upcoming runs and happier events.

'Til next time...
P.S. If you would like to make a donation via PayPal with credit or debit, you can do so by going here: http://michianatiming.com/

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hello square one. We meet again…

Throw out all your low carb, low fat, low sugar foods. Get rid of those meal replacement shakes and promise you the world supplements. I’ve got THE weight loss solution right here.
It’s called stomach virus. It’s wicked. It’s nasty. And it blows massive chunks (quite possibly literally) while you’re dealing with it, but I promise you, you’ll lose weight.
Ok, I’m kidding. But seriously, it’s been a rough few weeks around these parts. It started with just this general feeling of me being not hungry. I wasn’t really sure why. I just wasn’t. That drug on for about a week or so before it turned into nausea and stomach pains for another week or so, resulting in a loss of 5lbs. Then there were a few brief days of “Oh, I’m ok now. I feel fine.” before the fit really hit the shan if you know what I mean.
Name a symptom. I had it. Both a stomach thing AND a head and chest thing. It was awesome. I was burning 102+ for a good solid 4 days and when all was said and done (and it better be friggin’ done I tell ya.), I had lost another 5 lbs. Ten pounds in two weeks while nursing an infant is really not a good thing. Let me just say, there’s a significant impact on your milk supply. That being the case, my baby did what babies do when they need more milk. They eat more often. It’s a supply and demand thing. When they demand more, your body, supplies it, usually. Unfortunately, my body just wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed TO make more. So for those two weeks, while sick I was also nursing pretty much every hour all day every day (sleep? What? What’s that?) Have I mentioned this was awesome yet? It was. Awesome. Just awesome.
Now, nobody panic. Baby girl is just fine and got plenty to eat. In fact, during those two weeks where I was dropping weight like it was going out of style, baby girl GAINED a 1/2 a lb. So she got hers one way or another.
Needless to say perhaps, but other than those couple of days in the middle of this two+ week plague floating around my house, I haven’t run which is a huge bummer because I was really on a roll there. **SIGH** But what am I gonna do? Like I tell my runners when they run into a little snafu, “It is what is. We deal with it and move on.” Of course, this is always easier said to someone else than it is being the pill you’ve got to choke down yourself.
But it’s not like I can get those lost couple of weeks back and dwelling on it doesn’t change the situation any.  It just keeps me moping in my pajamas on the couch watching tv drowning my sorrows with leftover chocolate birthday cake (cause yeah, in the middle of all this The Little Miss turned 6. Poor thing. I cancelled her birthday party so the party favor the guests would have gone home with didn’t wind up being a feisty virus of their own. We’re gonna re-schedule it though & she’s been a good sport about it.)
I really wasn’t going to tell you all about this, but then I realized it’s March now & it’s about the time that “the best laid plans” something something something (you know, those resolutions for the new year get messed up). You might have been off to a terrific start and I hope so! But eventually, life gets in the way of those healthy fitness goals. Whether it’s an illness like me, or it’s one of your kids, a busy work schedule, burn out, or whatever, it only is what you let it become. So what’s it going to be? An obstacle or challenge to be overcome, or the end of your quest for fitness and a healthier you? It’s your call, just like in my situation it’s mine.
I’ve decided to adopt my husband’s philosophy, “just keep starting over.” Eventually, the hope is that those start overs will get closer and closer together until running or eating healthy or whatever it is in your case that you’ve resolved to do becomes the norm and NOT running becomes the anomaly. Or so his theory goes anyway.
So for me, it’s time to put the fork down (mostly because the cake is gone Winking smile ) and lace ‘em back up. That marathon isn’t getting any farther away and I’ve got a 6 year old’s birthday party to plan…
'Til next time...
P.S. Next post: My weight loss tips that do NOT involve viruses, PLUS I’ve got a slew of reviews and possibly some giveaways right around the corner. So stay tuned. ALL my posts won’t be me whining, I promise Smile
P.P.S. In case you missed it, I did somehow manage in my weakened condition find the strength to post The Potty Song on FB (see how much I love you all!). You totally do not have to have a FB account to watch it, just head on over to my FB page here and you can see the Tiger at her finest.