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Water, Water Everywhere?

Don’t care about my opinions on water?  Want to win some Olympic Granola instead?  Go say hi to Healthy Ashley

Can I ask an honest question that I imagine will make me NO friends?  If recent science has shown that drinking more and more water has no particular health benefits (which it has) why is there such a focus on it?  Is it just that water helps us feel full?

The Mayo Clinic says the 64oz/day rule is not supported by science and also says ALL beverages count toward your daily fluid total.

And from Snopes (you may not credit Snopes with much, but if you look at their listed sources below the article, they’re legit):

“Kidney specialists do agree on one thing, however: that the 8-by-8 rule is a gross overestimate of any required minimum. To replace daily losses of water, an average-sized adult with healthy kidneys sitting in a temperate climate needs no more than one liter of fluid, according to Jurgen Schnermann, a kidney physiologist at the National Institutes of Health.  One liter is the equivalent of about four 8-ounce glasses. According to most estimates, that’s roughly the amount of water most Americans get in solid food. In short, though doctors don’t recommend it, many of us could cover our bare-minimum daily water needs without drinking anything during the day….”

“In a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition in Omaha measured how different combinations of water, coffee and caffeinated sodas affected the hydration status of 18 healthy adults who drink caffeinated beverages routinely.

“We found no significant differences at all,” says nutritionist Ann Grandjean, the study’s lead author. “The purpose of the study was to find out if caffeine is dehydrating in healthy people who are drinking normal amounts of it. It is not.”

The same goes for tea, juice, milk and caffeinated sodas: One glass provides about the same amount of hydrating fluid as a glass of water. The only common drinks that produce a net loss of fluids are those containing alcohol — and usually it takes more than one of those to cause noticeable dehydration, doctors say.”

I’m not saying (nor are these sources) that we shouldn’t drink any water, and I would certainly say that if weight loss is your goal it is better to drink water than the empty calories in a soda, but I’m just wondering why there is such a push for water water water, with some programs pushing people to drink 100oz a day and more, when the science just doesn’t seem to support it?

Full disclosure: I drink water almost exclusively, but mostly because I started doing so to avoid excess calories and now I’m used to it.  I keep a large cup nearby, and I get anywhere from 32-64oz per day by only drinking when I feel thirsty, including when I exercise.


More from me:

Futures: Thinking about the future sort of bothers me. Is that weird?

Screwcap vs. Cork: which for wine?



C25K Week 4: New Shoes?

I managed to get through another day of C25K week 4, and it was actually easier than the first day.  So yeah, it does get better.  I will definitely be repeating this week though.  The second five minute run pushes me to my absolute limit and I don’t think I could finish a longer run at this point.

Unlike Monday’s run, I actually felt pretty great when I finished this one.  The husband and baby were able to come out with me, which helps a lot in terms of motivation, and I like the time with them.  It was funny though, because at one point I got heckled by a couple of guys drinking beers on their porch.  Apparently they though it was pretty ridiculous (hard to say how serious they were) because my husband was pushing the stroller instead of me.  So only women can push strollers, I guess?  When I yelled out that I was DYING (just finished the first five minute run) they just kept up with the heckling.  I was tempted to challenge them to get out there and run too, but was afraid they’d turn out to be oddly healthy and totally show me up…. so I just kept moving and put them out of my head.  By the time the next run came around, I’d already forgotten them.

Last night was a great time to run thanks to some cool breezes and a little less humidity.  I’m usually the first to complain about unseasonal weather, and it is tough to know how to dress when the weather is super hot one week and pretty chilly the next, but when it comes to running, I am LOVING the cooler weather.  The breezes and the lower temperatures make it a lot easier to run without feeling so heavy and disgusting like I do on hot and humid days.  I also drink less water, which helps me not to feel nauseous.  Sometimes the feeling of the water sloshing around when I run really does make me feel like I’m going to be sick.  Yesterday I also discovered that the smell of food cooking (since we run in the evening’s we’re hitting a lot of dinner times) makes me totally want to barf when I’m full on running and really pushing myself.

It’s interesting, because I’m getting some really good times (for me.)  This week I’ve been averaging 32 minutes for the 2.25 miles, putting me at about a 14:00 mile.  For me, as a beginner, this sounds SUPER fast and I’m really pleased with it.  I’m hoping it’s a pace I can hold on to and bring to my first official race. I’d love to be able to say I finished with a 14:00 mile time.

So now I’m looking for some advice from other runners.  How often do you buy running shoes?  The ones I have now are older shoes, but I never really used them before this whole C25K adventure… so they’ve only been getting regular use (maybe 6 miles a week) since March.  When will I need new shoes?  How will I even know that I need them?  I have intentions of buying new shoes for myself when I finish running my first 5K, but now I’m wondering if I should get them before that so that I will have new shoes for the race.  And don’t worry, I know better than to run in totally new shoes.  I promise to break them in first.

I’m starting to think of bigger and bigger running goals, which surprises me since when I started this whole thing I was really just thinking of it as a better weight loss tool and not a goal for its own sake.  But now I am thinking about the Disney Princess Half Marathon, or the new Wine & Dine Half.  I wonder if I’d be ready to do one of those next year…  I think it would be amazing to compete in a Disney race, plus it has the added benefit of being close to my family.  I am actually thinking about waiting to do one of those races for a few years, until my daughter is old enough to enjoy Disney and we can turn it into a family vacation.  What about you?  What are some of your favorite events to walk/run/bike/watch?  What  makes a good race?  What makes a bad one?

C25K Week 3: Motivation

After a two day break, I was expecting yesterday’s C25K run to be really difficult.  And it was, but not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  Even more surprisingly, I felt GREAT after I ran.  I had asparagus for dinner (I’m usually not hungry AT ALL after running), did lots of stretching, and I went to bed.  A lot of times I have serious soreness after I run that makes it tough to get comfortable when I sleep, but last night I felt fine.  This morning I feel great, unlike my last few runs which left me with super SUPER tight hamstrings and/or calves the next morning.

I don’t know what the difference is, except that maybe my body is finally getting used to running.  I am considering moving on to week 4 next week without repeating week 3… but I am scared that it might be too much.  I’m not sure if I’ll recognize the feeling of “too much, time to stop” versus the current feeling of “almost too much, might die, super hard… but you can do it.”  Yesterday, during the last thirty seconds or so of the second three minute run, I felt pretty rough.  I was feeling sore, my left hip was threatening to seize up, my stomach felt questionable… but I still felt like I could push through and finish.  Will I recognize it if I try out the next week and it’s too much?  Will I know that it’s too much, or will I end up pushing myself into a stress injury?

In the end, I am just going to try it.  I think we all tend to overthink these things sometimes, so I am just going to rely on my own intelligence and intuition.  Novel idea, right?  Today I am going to go for my usual morning walk, do some strength training, and try to get LOTS of water in.  Tomorrow will be the last week 3 run, and then I have two events this weekend!  On Saturday I’ll be doing the three mile March for Babies walk, and then on Sunday I’ll be doing a 5K Little Angels walk to benefit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  If you don’t know about this organization, I strongly recommend checking out their website.  I wish I’d known about them in time to document our final moments with our son… so I do what I can to support them.  So… I’ll be getting plenty of exercise over the next few days, and then Monday will be the beginning of week 4.  I am purposefully not looking at the training schedule for week 4.  I don’t want to see it and psych myself out.  If I look now, I’ll spend the next four days worrying about whether or not I can do it.

See what I mean?  Again with the overthinking.  We all do this though, don’t we?  We think ourselves out of exercising.  We think ourselves into poor food choices.  We think ourselves into bad habits, out of good ones.  I don’t know if it’s possible to stop overthinking, since I think it might just be human nature, but I’d like to think we can shift it to work for us.  If we’re active about our thinking, if we purposefully concentrate on thinking the right thoughts, maybe we can overthink our way INTO good choices and healthy habits, and OUT of the bad ones.  Right now I am really concentrating on waking up every morning with a purpose, opening my eyes and thinking about what I want to accomplish for the day and reminding myself why it’s important.

Sometimes that part is easy.  Every morning when Evi wakes up, she has a huge smile on her face.  There is just something about being presented daily with the world’s most beautiful smile that makes it easier to keep your motivation.

All smiles, me & Evi I know everyone says that healthy habits won’t stick if you are doing them for someone else, but I think success has more to do with the underlying motives.  If you’re losing weight or eating better to impress a potential date, to fit in with a certain crowd…. those habits are less likely to stick because they are directly related to relationships that could easily be transitional.  If, however, you’re making the right choices because you truly believe that it will benefit your family (or yourself) I think it’s a great motivator.  Getting healthy to benefit my daughter, for whom I would willingly lay down in traffic if it made her life even a little bit better, helps to keep me motivated in a way that wouldn’t work if I was doing it “for myself.”  After all, I’m used to putting myself last in some ways.  It sounds sad, but it’s just life.  We all do it.  We all put ourselves last in some ways, and when the stress of life gets to be too much, most of us have to let something slide.  Whether it’s right or wrong, our health tends to be the thing to go.  But when you’re doing it for her health?  It can’t go.

Thank you, my amazing nearly-one-year-old daughter, for keeping me steady on this journey.  It wouldn’t matter without you.

Couch to 5K: Repeat Yourself

I think this will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I think I’m too hard on myself.  This week’s C25K tip would definitely be to relax and try to enjoy the enormous sense of accomplishment that can come from the process if you let it happen.  Yes, it IS really hard.  And some days are going to feel ten thousand times harder than others.  Some days, like yesterday, you’re doing to feel tired and sick and slow, and the run is going to take everything in you to complete.

But finish.  You’ll thank yourself for it.  And when the week is done, repeat it if you need to.  Heck, repeat it if you just want to!  It can’t hurt, and it might help.

Right about the end of my third run session yesterday, I had a total weirdo breakdown.  I am choosing to blame it on hormones, because it sounds better and could conceivably be true.  As I finished the third run session and we passed a neighbor out pulling weeds in her garden, I had a complete meltdown.  I was so tired, so queasy.  Everything hurt and I felt like I’d never make it through another three run cycles.  I got weepy.  I thought about how ridiculous I must look struggling through the neighborhood, never making any progress… and then I stopped myself.

I have made progress.  I have made HUGE progress.  I couldn’t even finish the first day of week one when I went out the first time, so this is huge.  I’m running week two, and I am stronger and faster.  I looked over at my husband and noticed that he was a little sweaty and out of breath from running along with me, which is a huge marker of my progress since the first time he went out with me he didn’t even have to run to keep up.  So to you, Inner Voice of Doom, I say this:

Shut up.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.  You never do.  You’re not out here pushing yourself to bigger and better things (and smaller pants too) and you’re not the one making changes.  I’m doing all the work around here, so I get to call the shots, and I say you’re fired.  Get out and stay out!

It felt good to yell at my ridiculous inner monologue, and it gave me the confidence I needed to keep going, push through the moment at run session five when I was relatively sure I’d throw up (I didn’t), and finish another day of Couch to 5K.  I’ve already decided I’ll be moving on to week three on Monday, even if it kills me.

If you’re doing C25K, I am so proud of you!  If you’re faster, slower, bigger, smaller… who cares.  It’s a huge achievement to go from no running to dedicated, scheduled training.  We should all be so proud of ourselves, and get trophies… and foot massages.

If you’re not doing it but you’ve been thinking about it, what’s holding you back?  Get out there.  Believe me, if I can do it so can you.  Here are some things you ought to know about my health history:

  • When I first went away to college about twelve years ago, I routinely had a frappuccino and donuts for breakfast.  I ate a cheesesteak sub and fries for either lunch or dinner every day.  I added gravy or cheese to the fries.  I drank real soda with added sugary “fruit” syrups, and I ate candy all the time.
  • When I was living in Boston about seven years ago, I went through a pint of Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream and a medium pizza about every two days.  I ate pastries and drank sweet, sugary coffee drinks for breakfast every morning, and I drank without thinking about it.  I’ve never been a huge drinker and I still wasn’t, but I’d go out and have two or three margaritas just because they were there.
  • When I was pregnant with my son in 2007, I totally used it as an excuse to eat, eat, eat.  I ate donuts and fast food all the time, I drank milkshakes.  I went through a phase where I had two cheese danishes for breakfast every morning.

So what is my point?  My point is that I’ve come a long way.  I have made huge strides in how I treat my body, and it has helped me get to the point where I can even consider a 5K, walking or running.  So I am proud of the changes I’ve made, slowly over many years, and I am happy with the strong body I’m earning.  Get out there and earn yours too.

FitBloggin 2010: Day One

This weekend was AMAZING.  My brother dropped me off in Baltimore on his way back to college on Friday.

FitBloggin Day One:

The weather was gorgeous, so I spent a little time outside before checking in.

Me in front of the hotel

Waiting in front of the hotel

I headed in to the hotel and registered, collecting my awesome swag bag, and headed up to my room.

Swag bag goodies

My swag bag goodies - a Skinny Cow kitchen towel, bowl and spoon from Green Lite Bites, New Balance socks, Skinny Cow magnet, POM Wonderful notebook made from recycled paper, New Balance running shorts, Quaker granola bar, FitBloggin sticker, Gruve body monitor, a sample of Click Energy Drink, New Balance walking shoes, mints, a beautiful FitBloggin t-shirt from Thriv, a Diets in Review sticker, a Clymb gift card, and a Weight Watchers Points pedometer

I can’t believe how much great stuff was in the bag, and there was even more great stuff I collected later!  I had some time to kill before the cocktail reception started… so I called home to check on Evi and Aaron.

Talking on the phone...

Me on the phone with my awesome husband.

In the remaining time, I started second guessing the dress I’d planned to wear to the reception.  I saw some Tweets and posts saying people would be going casual, and since I was already feeling a little out of place, I was terrified to show up and be the only one dressed up.  As it turned out, I would have been fine in the dress (which I will be wearing somewhere soon since it was SO comfortable) but I ended up in this instead:

My reception outfit.

My reception outfit... snapped while standing on the edge of the bath tub.

Finally, I made my way down to the reception.

Me in the mirror.

Wearing my conference pass and snapping a quick pic before heading down to the reception.

At the conference, I had a wonderful pomegranate martini (the reception was sponsored by the great people at POM Wonderful) and met some great bloggers.  I had a great time snacking on mushroom tarts, chicken curry tarts, and talking to Dani from Dani Spies and Marisa from Loser for Life.

pomegranate martini

A fantastic martini from POM

FitBloggin sticker

Roni's adorable son passed out FitBloggin stickers to everyone at the reception.

Me & Marisa

Me and Marisa getting ready to head up to our rooms after the cocktail reception.

Although the reception was fun, it was also sort of overwhelming to try and mingle with SO many people.  Afterward, I felt a little concerned that I didn’t really belong at the conference.  There were so many people there who were already fit, so many blogging superstars, and a ton of people who already knew one another.  I called Aaron for some comfort and to say goodnight.

Me on the phone

Relaxing in bed and talking to Aaron one more time before getting some sleep.

My room was great, and the view was so beautiful…

Hotel room

My room - pic taken from the doorway.

Hotel bed

My big, comfy hotel bed.

Coffee machine

The all important coffee maker.

Baltimore at Night

The beautiful view of the Baltimore Harbor at night.

Baltimore Harbor at night

Another night view of Baltimore from my hotel window.

I made sure to wear my Gruve all day long (and I’m still wearing it now), though I was super frustrated to discover that the battery died in the middle of the night and all of my hard work burning calories on Friday and Saturday morning (including a fast paced one mile walk) didn’t get recorded.  I did a little bit of much needed reading to relax, then inspected my gross toe (still bruised from walking five miles in slightly too small shoes) before finally getting to sleep.

The Gruve

Me wearing my Gruve, which I cannot think about without playing a scene in my head from The Emperor's New Groove where the old man is raving about The Groove, The Groooove...

Reading La Bella Lingua

Finally catching up on some reading with the long awaited La Bella Lingua.

Bruised toe

My super gross toe bruise.


Since I gave up yesterday, today I am indulging… in fitness.

Seriously, if you’d told me I’d be posting any of this as of a few months ago, I’d have laughed at you.  And yet…

I am now officially registered for the Van Metre 1 mile walk.  Not only does this walk get me out and moving with good friends, but it also benefit Children’s Hospital, who you may remember saved Evi’s life…

May 26, 2009 - Evi at Children's Hospital, still waiting for a positive diagnosis of pyloric stenosis... This picture still breaks my heart.

June 8, 2009 - Evi, looking two million times better less than two weeks after her surgery.

I still get weepy looking at that…..  So obviously, it is SO important to me to be a part of this.

And then I got super motivated.  Since I am officially going to FitBloggin’ now, I’ve signed up for a conference walk hosted by New Balance on the morning of March 20th.  So, for the first time in my life, I will be ringing in a new year of my life with a fantastic collection of healthy events!  I can’t wait to turn 30!

My Fitness

I am having a really hard time exercising.  After a pregnancy, four months on bedrest, and the recovery from both, I am easily in the worst shape of my life.  I’ve weighed more, but I’ve never looked so big or felt so weak.  Just the idea of exercising terrified me, but I couldn’t help remembering how good I felt when I was exercising 4-5 times a week for an hour a day.  I felt good and strong, and I was seeing amazing health and fitness results.

I missed the feeling of strength, the knowledge of what my body could do… so I decided to try as hard as I could to get it back.  We don’t have the resources for me to join a gym.  Our neighborhood has no sidewalks and a lot of twisty roads populated by speeding cars.  It’s too cold to take Evi outside for long periods, and my car is broken so I can’t taker her out to the mall to walk… which is good enough since the closest mall is 45 minutes away.

So I can’t do it, right?  Maybe not…

I got an Xbox game.  Actually I already had it.  It’s called Yourself Fitness, and fortunately it plays on the 360 even though it’s a regular Xbox game.  I don’t need anything special or a lot of room to do the workouts, and you start out with a simple fitness test to make sure the workouts are the right level for you.  The routines are a little repetitive, and it bugs me a tiny bit that you can’t customize the way the trainer (Maya) looks, but it is a genuine workout and it gets me moving.

It’s something, and so far it’s working.  Since it’s an older game, you can get it used on Amazon for pretty cheap, and there are also PlayStation and computer versions out there.  I know I will eventually get bored with it, but as you workout you earn new music tracks and new workout spaces as well.  For right now, at my level and given my situation, it’s the best possible option for me.  Every so often, it puts me through the fitness test again (timed sit ups, jumping jacks, etc) to determine progress too.  I feel good knowing I am doing something.

For the sake of disclosure:  I was not paid to write this.  I didn’t receive anything for free, no one from the company even knows I exist.  It’s just a game I bought on my own a couple of years ago and am now using as a tool to help me on this health journey.  If you click on the Amazon link, it goes to my Amazon associates account, so I would get a couple of pennies if you bought it through that page.