Progress Notes – Have I Stuck To My Goals?

So, a little more than a week ago I committed to raising my average weekly steps to above 30,000 steps.  I’m a little short, but better than I’ve been for a long time.  I’m averaging around 27,000. It’s really not that hard to bump that up.

This week I rededicate myself to increasing my average weekly step rate to above 30,000.

I have not been out on my bike, though.  With the kids at home I have been conflicted about just taking off for an hour. I think it’ll be a bit easier when they are in school next week.  Also, my step count will consistently be higher as of next week, too, when I start walking my youngest to school and back again.

I am going to start some weight work.  I bought a kettlebell a few years ago and I haven’t used it in a long time. So, this week I’m going to do a short KB routine every second day.  I’m going to definitely do some swings and some some bent over one armed rowing – I only have one 25lb bell.  I want another exercise, too and will add that in.

My hope is that I will create this habit and then when it gets routine that I will return to learning to run on my alternate days. I don’t want to do too much too soon, however. 

Also, I am going to start listening to some mindfullness/metta discussions on podcast. I’m going to check out the Against The Stream podcast by Dharma Punx author Noah Levine. I want to work on my stress and work up to meditating. This is going to require that I regularly update my ipod so I can listen in my headphones while I take some me time or while I am working around the house. 

Finally, I downloaded the TwoGrand app to my phone.  It’s a food and drink tracking app that only tracks with photos.  It’s a bit like mindfullness in the sense that it helps you become aware of what you are eating and drinking and how much.  I’m shit at tracking and find the process of trying to come up with either calorie or points counts for the food I make from scratch to be completely crazy and overwhelming.  Photo tracking my meals and snacks is not.  But I have to remember to do it. 

If you’d like to “friend” me on TwoGrand, my user name is, wait for it: LeanneP. I set a goal of 2L of water daily – I got a UTI two weeks ago and had to drink crazy to me amounts of water and want to continue – so that is kind of my final goal. 

So, I want to lose a bunch of excess fat from my body. I’m going to walk a little bit more, do a short weight workout a few times a week, listen to some inspiring talks, drink more water and take pictures of my food. Totally doable, right?


Starting over, again

I’m participating in the crowd-sourced Quantitative Diet study going on through Lift. I’ve been given the Mindful Eating Diet. Essentially I’m going to eat more mindfully one step at a time.

Today’s task: eat one meal using a mindful eating technique. My technique tonight was to eat dinner at a table.  I still looked at my phone occasionally and I ate far too fast, bu I ate at the kitchen table and not on the sofa. Yay me!

I’m also doing the Eat More Vegetables plan on Lift. Today’s first task: make a list of veg and fruits you like and one’s you’ve never tried.

Stuff I Like

  • avocado
  • asparagus
  • apples
  • apricot
  • eggplant
  • bananas
  • beets
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • boysenberries
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • garlic
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • green beans
  • green onions
  • sweet peppers
  • melon
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • canteloupe
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • cherries
  • coconuts
  • cucumber
  • corn
  • cranberries
  • kale
  • kiwi
  • leeks
  • lemons
  • limes
  • radishes
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb
  • raisins
  • rhutabaga
  • mangoes
  • mulberries
  • mushrooms
  • oranges
  • snow peas
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • turnips
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • peaches
  • pears
  • peas
  • pineapple
  • plums
  • potatoes
  • zucchini

Though I’ve eaten them before, it’s not often; I’d like to try squash but I don’t get much support at home. I’d also like to try jicama, but I think I have a familiarity with a lot of veggies that I don’t really need the second list. I could easily eat a wide variety of fresh foods if I committed myself to it.

I’ll also be starting the Easing Into Running plan shortly. I’ll be starting on a day that is not snowing and not -22C. I really enjoyed my attempt at starting a running program but it was far too intense for me. This plan is much, much more gentle.

I’ll be writing about my experience with the Quantitative Diet program in the Lift Community on Medium. You can read my first piece They Don’t Carry Girdles In My Size.




I finally stepped on the scale this morning after successfully avoiding it for more than a month, and it confirmed what my too tight clothing has been telling me. (BTW, the scale image to the left cracks me up. That blue light … it’s like the dread that goes directly to my noggin as I await the final number on my Aria scale.) Image

Anyhow, I’m going to re-prioritize a little. I focus exactly ZERO attention right now on my health and well-being. Nothing. I focus all my attention on school, my family, business and other people. For the last few months, I have spent a little on my home which keeps it from being a total sty but just the bare minimum. I have free time but I often use it to just zone out rather than doing anything productive because I’m mentally tapped and frazzled at the end of the day. I suppose zoning out is for me but it doesn’t feel that way — it feels like survival. Anyone know what I mean?

I started today with just being mindful of what I’m eating, and writing it down with an amount. Writing it down is key for me. I want to see that I’m eating things in balance. I’ll start with that and see where I’m at next week. You thrive where you place your energy and I need to place more on a healthier me, too.

Habits and Tools

I have terrible habits and habits are where it’s at.

My weight has been holding steady which is good in that it’s not going up. But it sure isn’t coming down. And, though I’ve been far more active in the last few weeks, a quick examination of what’s going in my mouth reveals a shocking lack of vegetables and a huge amount of starches and sugars.

So, I have to change my habits. I need to make eating better more regularly an unconscious part of every day.

I’ve written about Lift before and I found it very useful. Quickly: it’s a site/app where you define habits you want to create and then track how well you do each day. It works well. But, it’s undergoing some updating and they’re including a goal feature.

I don’t know if people will be able to define their own goals but they currently have a number of goals in different categories. They look a lot like those memes going around FB and Pinterest such as 21 day squat challenge or 30 day plank challenge that list activities to do each day that build to the goal of a firmer stomach or something similar.

I got an email the other day that announced the website overhaul and the launch of a new endeavor within the Lift app called the Quantified Diet Project. A person chooses one of 10 diets and then the app provides guidance over the course of a month to follow the diet and achieve whatever goals you define – lose weight, get healthier, sleep better, have more energy, feel less depressed, etc.

The diet options are pretty wide-ranging, to. Everyone ought to be able to find something that works for them out of the plans: paleo, slow carb, vegetarian, whole foods, gluten-free, now-sweets, DASH, calorie-counting, sleep and mindful eating. The really interesting thing, though, is that Lift is pairing up with UC Berkeley who are doing a massive diet study and you can choose to be randomly assigned as a control participant.

I am thinking of following the Whole Foods approach which is based on the Summer Tomato/Foodist approach. I loved the Foodist book and Darya’s Summer Tomato blog.

You can go to the Lift website and download the free iOS or Android app to use the tool or just use the website itself. Be sure to click on the Sign Up To Be Notified button.

Anyone want to join me?  What diet do you think you’ll choose?


A Tale Of Two Pits

This past summer I wrote about my initial experience with a natural deodorant. You can read about my excitement here: That Sweat Don’t Smell.

I had wanted to get away from my long term use of aluminum salts in commercial deodorants. I wanted a more natural option and I wanted to make my own, but I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in the raw ingredients if the end products wasn’t successful for me. I bought a small local-ish made deodorant that smelled good and seemed to have good ingredients: baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil, tea tree oil and lemon essential oil.

It smelled great and I was amazed that for the first couple days there was literally no sweat smell and no wetness problems in the middle of summer. Huzzah!  But, my elation was short lived. By the third day my pits were a bit itchy. By the fourth day they were insanely itchy and there was a slash of red across the pits.

I wanted to give the deodorant a decent trial, so I kept using it for a few days. Perhaps my body needed to adjust. But it didn’t. I made it 6 days and had to give up. The entire surface of my pits were bright red, itching and raw feeling. I had a chemical burn.  I immediately discontinued all deodorant use.

It took two weeks for the chemical burns to heal. In that time, I emailed the company to let them know. Their response was really unsatisfactory. They said that it was likely the tea tree oil. “C’est dommage.”  I was hoping they would offer to send a sample of a different formulation. That’s what I would do if someone told me my product gave them chemical burns. Certainly there was no warning on the label. I was a little ticked, but I’m sure the rest of their products are great. I’m not going to be giving them another $7, however.

After 2 weeks, I went another week without using any deodorant. I was sort of fascinated with my natural personal smell. It smelled strong!  And bad!  And weird!  I kept sniffing my pits and recoiling and then laughing at myself. When my husband started remarking that he could smell my pits without being close to me, I decided to return to the world of commercial deodorants.

A few months later, I’m still a Lady Speed Stick devotee. My first stick back was Summer Citrus and I recently picked up Fruity Melon. I love the silly fruity scents.

I haven’t ruled out making my own deodorant. It definitely won’t have tea tree oil in it. But I have heard some people say that it is the baking soda or corn starch that they react to in natural deodorants.  I sure hope that’s not my experience.

Have you tried natural deodorants?  What was your experience? Is there a brand you love?

Night Walks

Yesterday I was running around wearing my FitBit for the first time in many days — I had forgotten to put it in the mornings and it has totally thrown off my step count — but I stuck it on my underclothes and had at it, determined to overcome BirthInTheHammer’s lead. Baha! At the end of a busy but low step count day, I met an old friend for coffee, abandoned the coffee shop after a short sit, and then he and I wandered through the park until I reached my 10K steps for the day. Go me! I overcame my penchant for lazy. Picture proof!photo (6)

There is so much activity after 10pm in parks in the summer! People were sitting around, some folks were playing tennis and squash in the courts, people were walking dogs, and some were out running. Like daytime except there were no children. A perfect time for walking. I’m most energetic in the evenings so I came home and danced my way around the house with headphones — me and a broom, sort of sweeping. You can earn quite a few steps dancing and quasi-tidying!

Also of note, I have had a really good week surrounding food. It’s not seemed to matter that much other than fuel, which is a good head space for me, and I’ve been occupying myself with other things.

That Sweat Don’t Smell!

I just sniffed my underarms and they smell awesome!

OK, I probably need to explain that better. I just wanted to share my excitement right away.

One of my long term goals is to reduce the amount of harsh personal products from my life. About 4 years ago I made the big leap to stop using commercial menstrual products and I haven’t looked back. I use a silicone menstrual cup and reusable cotton and bamboo liners. There have been some distinct benefits to that switch: I’m healthier, more comfortable and I no longer pay a dues to a pharmaceutical company monthly just because I’m female and menstruate.

Now, I’m switching to a “natural” deodorant. I’ve stopped using my long time favourite Lady Speed Stick in Orchard Blossom and taken up with a new favourite, Penny Lane’s Tea-Tree-Lemon (VEGAN) stick deodorant.

A friend had given me her recipe for homemade deodorant, and I had intended to make it this week, but when I went to buy the ingredients, they were pretty expensive. Of course, I probably would have made enough deodorant for 6 months, but, well, $20 each for a couple of the ingredients seemed steep to me at the time. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes staring at a handful of “natural” deodorant options trying to figure out which to experiment with. I sniffed a lot of sticks.

I briefly, about 20 years ago, used a rock style deodorant from Tom’s of Maine but it was pretty much useless. That may have made me more than a little reluctant to try again. And, while I have no problem, in theory, with folks who choose to go natural, that kind of smell can get intense, especially through the very sweaty summer. I didn’t want to have people call me a hippie like it was a swear word every time they got close to me.

It is with relief that I report that even on a super sweaty day when even walking between the living room and the kitchen makes me break out into a sweat, I smell great.  The deodorant has been on my pits for well over 12 hours, even. It doesn’t smell like lemon or tea tree oil any more, but my pits don’t smell like anything else, either. And they are dry. They aren’t crumbly. There’s no residue like there usually is from the Lady Speed Stick.

I like that the ingredient list is small: baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil, tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil. Also: I know what everything is in that list. I can’t say the same of the stuff on the shelves at the pharmacy. And it only cost $9 for 120 grams (as compared to $3 for 65 grams for Lady Speed Stick).

What do you use on your pits? If you make your own, share your recipe – I still haven’t ruled out making my own.