House Party!

*Full disclaimer: I received free products for hosting a House Party (details below)

I hope you hear House Party and think the same thing I do . . .

Much less eventful, I had my own House Party in January. Quick tutorial, House Party is a company that organizes parties from companies (usually popular brands). You sign up and say you want to host a party and then wait with baited breath to get selected. I think I signed up for House Party years ago when my boy was a baby so that I could get free diapers. Every once in a while I’ll get an email from them so when I saw a party for Eat It To Beat It, I jumped at the chance.

EITBI

Have you heard of Eat It To Beat It? It’s pretty self explanatory but if you want more, check out the website. The Eat It To Beat It book was written by the David Zinczenko, who wrote “Eat This, Not That!” It gives healthier options to popular food choices, and also discusses why items are unhealthy. In my House Party gift pack, I was given a free copy of the book to keep and an additional one to giveaway. I haven’t read the whole thing but I have looked through a bunch of times. It focuses on brand name product substitutions – instead of X brand of cheese, eat Y brand. I’ve referenced the book a few times when seeking out better options, so I like that aspect of it. We’ve been trying to make changes at our house a little at a time, and I’ve found the book helpful with that. Did you know packaged shredded cheese contains wood pulp? Yeah, wood pulp. Needless to say, the one change we made right away was shredding our own cheese.  Side note, trying to use the shredder feature on our food processor that I’ve never used, produced flying cheese and lots of fun for my son and I!

I could write much more about the book, but I also got lots of other good stuff in the House Party pack. (Continuing full disclosure: all these items were provided to me at no cost.)

partypack

I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do as the host of this little party, so I thought a taste test would be fun.

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So how did the products rank?

  • Tate’s Bake Shop Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Cookies: The hands-down winner. I may or may not have eaten two. (OK, three, stop hounding me.) These cookies were good. I mean, seriously good. Like, I had them 6 weeks ago and still dream about them at night. Alright, I’m not a cookie psycho, I don’t dream about them. Much. Some of the comments were “light,” “crispy,” “sweet,” “delicious,” and “yummy.”
  • Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs Bar: Most of us were surprised at how good this was. Chocolate? Always good. Dark chocolate? Not always good. We thought this was “smooth,” “pleasant,” “creamy,” and “sweeter than I thought.” The pieces were very hard to bite into. This is definitely a “let it melt in your mouth” kind of chocolate.
  • Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate with 88% Cacao: This is dark – 88 percent – and we found it too bitter for our tastes. I’ll go out on a limb and say for people accustomed to eating very dark chocolates, this is probably good. We’re not one of them, though. It also had a chalky aftertaste that wasn’t great.
  • Blue Diamond Lightly Salted Oven Roasted Almonds: These come in cute little 100 calorie packs. I’m all for anything that helps with portion control. As any nut lover knows, not all nuts are created equal. These were pretty good and a hit with the group. Not too salty but salty enough too add a little flavor.
  • KIND Fruit & Nut Nut Delight Bars: I don’t know about the rest of the group, but I am super picky about any kind of bars. I didn’t expect to like this, but it was very good. We thought it was sweet without being overly sweet. It was a little sticky so you definitely want to keep it in the wrapper. We had a few leftover so I put them in the pantry, and they were gone a few days later!
  • Vitalicious VitaBrownie Deep Velvety Chocolate mix: I baked these before the gang all arrived and the house smelled super yummy, so I had high hopes for the brownies. Unfortunately, they were our least favorite, coming in at a “weird texture,” “too cakey” and had a “strange aftertaste.”

A little off topic of the House Party, but I am proud to say that my six-year-old joined us for the taste test and gave his only five rating to the pomegranate seeds I added to a fruit salad!

fruit

Yay!

Well, it only took me six weeks to get this on paper (so to speak). All in all, it was a good time with good friends and family, and good food.

DVD Review – Weight Watchers Punch! (Beginner)

I’ve done boxing workouts before and really enjoyed them so I was excited to try this Punch! Weight Watchers DVD. I know a lot of people think WW DVDs are not hard workouts, and I have no idea why they would think that except they’ve never done one before. Don’t let the name fool you. These aren’t DVDs especially geared toward overweight people (although I will admit that they do accommodate that group).

Punch_WP

Anyway, I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago and saw this DVD as well as the WW Belly, Butt and Thighs DVD. I was planning to only get one but couldn’t decide between the two so I just got both. Since then, we’ve had family staying with us so I haven’t had the chance for an at-home workout. Finally today everyone went out, leaving me home alone (my dream come true) so I got to it.

So this DVD offers three levels. I figured since I haven’t worked out in a while–OK, a year, stop badgering me!–that I should start with beginner. At a total of 30 minutes, including warm up and cool down, it seemed too short. I am a huge fan of the shorter workouts for when there are time constraints (and when aren’t there?) but I always feel like by the time I get going, it’s over. Also I felt like the moves were not challenging enough. Not sure if it’s because I’ve done boxing before or if it’s just that beginner level. I also thought it would be a little more cardio. This is not a vigorous workout. Of course, if I had actually read the back of the DVD, I would have seen that it’s a low-impact workout. But really, who has time to read the back. I’m just looking at the front. If it’s appealing, I’ll try it.

I’d definitely recommend the Beginner workout for people just starting to exercise, or who are limited on time. I won’t do the Beginner level again, but I am anxious to see what the other two levels offer.

PROS:

  • I’ve yet to find a DVD instructor I really like, but this one is among the less annoying. Not too “rah rah” but encouraging.
  • DVD comes with weighted gloves. I could definitely feel more resistance in the moves because of the weight. At the same time, not too heavy that they are inhibitive.
  • Moves are easy on the joints. As someone with knee issues, I really appreciate this.
  • Background music is not annoying.
  • Set design is nice.

CONS: (For beginner level only)

  • Too short
  • Not challenging enough

OVERALL RATING: Worth trying

SWEAT FACTOR: Minimal

FUN FACTOR: Not too shabby

Do Over!

I’m thinking one of the best parts about being a kid is the do overs. Trip up during jump rope? Do over. Miss a basket playing HORSE? Do over. Forget a number while counting? Do over. So what I want to know is, why do we stop doing do overs as adults?

So maybe there’s not an option to do over after eating an entire pizza, but why wait until Monday to get back on track? Or worse, wait until a new month begins or even a new year? “January is only three months away; I may as well just wait until then to get back on program.” (I may or may not have actually said that.)

When I’m not tracking (and sometimes when I am), I regularly get off track, for lack of a better word. But I’ve been trying to look at things day by day, meal by meal. This means I can get back on track immediately, without giving myself the excuse of “I can’t start over until tomorrow so I may as well just blow through the rest of the day.”

I saw this quote on Facebook and it really hit home:

“What you have to remember is that changing your eating habits is a process of recommitting to your goals each and every day. Anytime you lose sight of that and start focusing on what’s going wrong, you’ll take yourself away from the life you want to lead. The key to overcoming your eating problem is to remind yourself that at least you’re taking today (or this afternoon or this hour) to move toward your goal.”*

I’m nowhere near the end yet, but I have made a lot of changes that I’ve been able to stick with. But, it’s something I have to think about every day.

So for me, it’s taking things one day at a time, one meal at a time, one bite at a time. And that’s OK because I’ll get there eventually.

* The quote is from the October 2000 O magazine, Emotional Eating: Get Your Feelings Out of the Fridge, a piece by Bob Greene. Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Emotional-Eating-Cure-for-Emotional-Eating/1#ixzz2akFlxjUd 

Foodie Penpals – July 2013

Quick Foodie Penpals tutorial: Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean runs it every month. You have to opt in each month so you choose how often to participate. You get sent a name and email address, contact that person for their address and other information (special diet, allergies, etc.) and then mail them a food package. The person who sends you a package is a totally different person.

I haven’t done a Foodie Penpals in a while. OK, a year, whatever. Here’s the problem. I really enjoy shopping for other people. I put a lot of thought into it and get pleasure out of it. Unfortunately, I usually get carried away and then still have to pay for mailing. But I haven’t done it in a while so I thought I’d give it another go. I was matched up to mail to Maya, who blogs at Chumpkin Butter. I like doing theme packages but ran out of time, so I send Maya some of my favorite things. Check out her blog* to see what I sent her. I received a package from Shelly.

Shelly sent me foods that are manufactured close to where she lives. It wasn’t exactly a healthy foods package, but it was really thoughtful. I enjoyed seeing the companies close to her and reading her card about each one. Dying to know what I got, right?

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  • veggie sticks from Weis
  • pretzels from Utz
  • barbecue sauce
  • Special K pastry crisps
  • Orbitz gum
  • a vanilla sugar mix
  • a cinnamon mix (P.S., this smelled incredible. As soon as I opened the box, it took over and the whole kitchen smelled yummy!
  • Sparking Ice drink

Thanks, Shelly!

 

* This is, of course, dependent on her blogging about her Foodie Penpal experience.

Truth Be A Five-Year-Old

Kids say the darndest cruelist meanist truth.

Do you have kids? If so, you’ve more than likely been in a situation where they blurt out something completely inappropriate about someone. Despite having many conversations that we don’t talk about how people look, once at a restaurant, my then-four-year-old shouted out (while laughing) “look at that guy’s fat belly.” I was horrified and immediately apologized. I felt terrible for the man in question. Of course, the thing is, he did have a fat belly. You see, children, maybe due to lack of a filter, speak the truth.

And it sucks.

My stomach has been bothering me all day. I have no idea why, just one of those tummy ache days. So after dinner tonight, we went outside for a little two-on-one baseball action. My kid asks why I’m not running the bases. I say that I have a stomach ache. He says, “probably because you’re super fat.”

So there it is. I know it shouldn’t bother me — kids say things out of line; they don’t know what they are really talking about; another excuse. Bullshit. The kid speaks the truth. OK, I might not be “super” fat, but right now, for the way I feel, I may as well be a circus act. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing, the super fattest woman in the world.

Now I’m not sitting here crying. I’m not mad at the kid. I’m not really much of anything.

No, that’s not true. I’m angry. I’m angry for being this weight. I’m angry for not working harder to change it. I’m angry for being lazy and having little self control.

And let’s be honest, I’m a little angry at my kid, who I’m sure thought he was joking, for telling the truth.

It's ultimately about a healthier me

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