Use Your Blackberry To Track Your Workouts

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

The iPhone has gotten a lot of publicity because there are so many applications that can make it a great workout partner. One I covered is RunKeeper:

AllSportGPSIt looks like Blackberry isn’t being left behind in that arena, however. Wendy Bumgardner, at About.walking talks about how to use your Blackberry to track your workouts:

Within minutes of hearing about it, Wendy had downloaded a program called AllSportGPS.

What do you get? A constant readout of your current speed and average speed for the session, plus accurate distance, plus a map of where you are and where you might be going! And when you’re done, it automatically transmits it to a web site where it is saved for posterity, and you can choose to keep it private or share it with the world. But wait, there’s more! A graph of your speed throughout the workout! An elevation profile for your workout so you can brag about the steep hills! A map of it all – and since it uses Google Maps, you can select a street view, satellite view, or topographic view.

It looks even better than Runkeeper because it also logs elevation, so if you happened to be running hills in San Francisco, you would get those extra kudo points for that as well as distance and speed. If you own a Blackberry or Motorola Smartphone, check out AllSportGPS for your workouts.


Destroy Part of Your Stomach To Lose Weight?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

September 16th RadiologyAccording to a study that was published in the Sept. 16 issue of Radiology, researchers at John Hopkins University have found a new way to curb hunger. They inject a chemical that destroys the main vessel carrying blood to the top section (fundus) of the stomach. About 90 percent of the body’s ghrelin originates in the fundus, which requires a good blood supply to make the hormone.

Suddenly, your body is only able to create 10 percent of ghrelin that it used to be able to create and your hunger pangs are lessened.

Dr. Aravind Arepally is the clinical director of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, and associate professor of radiology and surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He explained the procedure:

“With gastric artery chemical embolization, called GACE, there’s no major surgery. In our study in pigs, this procedure produced an effect similar to bariatric surgery by suppressing ghrelin levels and subsequently lowering appetite.”

I don’t know if I want part of my stomach destroyed. Considering all the negative effects of gastric bypass surgery, I wouldn’t be the first in line to try this procedure. Let them experiment on someone else.


High Fructose Corn Syrup: Is it as bad as they say?

By Laura Moncur @ 3:10 pm — Filed under:

Have you seen the commercials advertising High Fructose Corn Syrup? I hadn’t until The Diet Blog showed them to me. Here they are:

Both commercials repeat the same mantra:

“It’s made from corn, doesn’t have artificial ingredients and, like sugar, it’s fine in moderation.”

HFCS is just as safe as sugar? That’s the best they can do? Moms all over the world have been warning their kids of the dangers of sugar for decades. It all smacks of baloney to me.

The Diet Blog did the research and has the facts about HFCS for you here:

Here are their Take Home Points:

  • Implicating a single food in causing weight gain or disease is folly and takes the focus away from the big picture of our diets.
  • We eat way too much high fructose corn syrup. Even if it isn’t an independent factor in our growing waistlines and poor health, it is at the very least displacing healthier food choices.
  • Calories still do matter – fructose levels do not seem to make a difference within the context of a reduced calorie diet.
  • Rather than taking a magnifying glass to every ingredients list to find the “evil” ingredients, focus instead on eating minimal ingredient foods.
  • Oh, and those commercials are correct in that it probably isn’t any worse for you than table sugar, but I would love to hear how they define “moderation”. (Hint, it’s not 78 lbs a year).

Personally, I have been avoiding anything sweetened for a while now. When I lowered my carbs, all sweeteners, artificial or not were cut out of my diet and now things taste far too sweet for me most of the time.

Whatever your stance on HFCS, make sure you know the details so that those smug moms and girlfriends (like in the commercials), won’t be able to give you a lecture about how “safe” it is.


Meat-Free Diet Linked to Brain Shrinkage

By Laura Moncur @ 5:05 am — Filed under:

To all of you vegetarians and vegans out there, here is one study you might want to take a closer look at. Scientists at Oxford University have linked a meat-free diet to brain shrinkage.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

If you want to prevent brain atrophy, then you need to make sure you get enough vitamin B12. The best source for that vitamin is milk, liver and fish.


Weight Management: Don’t Be A Fail Dog

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Fail Dogs is a funny little site that shows me pictures of dogs in embarrassing situations every day. This one, however, hit a little too close to home:

Fail Dogs: Weight Management

After being put on weight management food, this little puppy took matters in his own hands and ate the entire bag.

He probably still didn’t feel full…

There have been so many times when I’ve gotten low calories substitutes to eat when what I really wanted was the high calorie version. It took me years to give up those bland and nearly inedible “treats” and learn how to have a SMALL serving of the real thing. Once I gave up those 100 Calorie packs, I was able to eat what I really wanted AND lose weight.

I know the 100 Calorie packs are a godsend to some people, but I ended up just like this little dog when I had them in the house. I would eat three of them and they still wouldn’t have satisfied me as much as 300 calories of a REAL dessert.


Turn Dieting Into a Game with Weight Watchers

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Weight Watchers eToolsI always thought the Weight Watchers Points system to be the easiest way to keep track of your food, but it looks like Clive Thompson at Wired Magazine has noticed how much it resembles playing a game.

Indeed, I’m in awe of the sheer brilliance of Weight Watchers in adopting the word points as its metric for measuring food. The word immediately shoves the user into the semantics — and fun — of gameplay. You regard losing weight as an intriguing challenge, as opposed to a mere grind.

This puts me in mind of the talk that Jane McGonigal — a brilliant and pioneering alternative-reality game designer — gave at this year’s South by Southwest conference. She argued that game designers ought to put their skills to use in the real world by reshaping dull, everyday activities into fun challenges. Why not a game that gives you points for walking your dog or jogging?

You can make this a game for yourself pretty easily without the use of Weight Watcher’s expensive eTools. All you have to do is use the Weekly Goals Sheet that you can download for free here:

Bribery is perfectly acceptable.

Give yourself goals for every day of the week and choose a reward for each one. In my example, I’ve been just bribing myself with money, but you can use whatever reward you want for each goal. Whether exercise, eating, getting your chores done or whatever you goals you have, this goal sheet is the first step on the way for you to achieving them.

Via: Play Girlz: Weight Watchers RPG


A Virtual Race In The Real World

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Mana Energy Potion sponsored a treadmill modification to complete a race in World of Warcraft.

What they did was modify some inexpensive treadmills to simulate pressing the “W” button.

Treadmill Modifications

Then they had a virtual race across Azeroth, which is an area in the game, World of Warcraft. Do you think running in World of Warcraft with these treadmills will be easier or harder than running in a real forest? You can see how they did here:

In the end, they ran 1 mile in the game, but only ran 1/2 mile on the treadmills. The game had them running at 12.0 mph, but the treadmills logged only 6.0 mph. So, running in World of Warcraft is still easier than running in the real world, even with fancy treadmills.

The race was sponsored by Mana Energy Potion, which is a high calorie energy drink. This may seem like a good promotion for fitness, but in actuality, they are promoting a drink that isn’t very healthy, so be forewarned.

Via: Play Girlz: Exercise World of Warcraft Style


SLB’s Bulldog 25k Trail Race

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

SLB\'s Bulldog Trail Run Swag

After fighting through injuries and problems, SLB finished the Bulldog 25K Trail Race. He talks about it here:

His descriptions of the race trail make this an enjoyable read.

The first miles took us along the side of a dried out creek bed and then along the appropriately named Crags Road, so called due its “cragginess”, basically a it’s a dry river bed complete with the prerequisite jagged rocks at every turn, beaten down over the years into a trail but pretty gnarly at best.

Remember, losing weight and exercising isn’t only about looking good. It’s about doing things that you could never even imagine doing before. You can go places and achieve things when you are healthy that you can’t do right now. That’s yet another reason to keep eating well and exercising.


Hiking for Weight Loss from Hike Hacker

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Fallen tree blocks the path. by LauraMoncur from FlickrOur friend, Tom Mangan, who writes my favorite Two-Heel Drive blog has started a new blog called Hike Hacker. He tells you all the things you need to know about hiking. Here is a good article about hiking for weight loss from him.

He lost 37 pounds in three months by hiking and here are the three things he did:

  • He cut out Cokes and cookies
  • He walked on hills for an hour a day
  • He took long hikes on the weekends

Even if you don’t live next door to beautiful woods that are accessible all year ’round, you can still follow his plan for hiking your way to fitness.

If you don’t have access to hills for your daily workouts, you can do a similar workout on your treadmill. To do a hill workout on your treadmill, turn up your incline to the highest setting, walk on it for two minutes, then turn it down to the lowest setting and walk on it for one minute. Repeat for an hour each day.

Even in the cold and snow of winter, some of the Utah trails are still open, so make sure you check with your local parks to see what trails are available to you.

Hiking to get in shape seems like a perfect escape to me because you get to enjoy yourself while you’re out there. There is no drudgery when you have beautiful scenery to distract you!


Why Should I Buy Local?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:


Driving through Oregon along the back roads to Mount Hood, we saw tons of little fruit stands and markets. It seemed like every swath of land was offering to sell us ripe and delicious fruits and vegetables.

Compared to what I can get at a supermarket, however, their choices were limited. There is a lot of talk about buying your produce at farmers’ markets lately, but not all communities have access to such great fare locally and in the coming winter months, it’s impossible to get local produce.

Why should I buy local?

When I can walk to my nearest grocery store and get whatever fruit I want, why should I go to the trouble of going to the farmers’ market once a week to get produce?

It Saves the Environment

This reason is the the least supported of them all for me. Sure, it takes less oil to transport the apples from Young Family Farm in Mona, Utah than it would to transport an apple from Venezuela, but that’s only if both farms are run with the same energy efficiency. Maybe the farm in Venezuela uses more human labor than machine labor. How does that affect the equation?

Honestly, all of the factors are many and varied. Accounting for all of them is difficult and I’m not convinced that buying locally grown produce will make a significant improvement on the environment. There are figures thrown around about how much oil eating one locally grown meal a week could save, but I want to see the data to support them. It’s surprisingly scant.

It Tastes Better

The best vegetables and fruit I have ever eaten have been from my grandfather’s garden when I was a teenager. Compared to that, nothing else tastes right. The closest I’ve ever come to truly delicious fruit and veggies has been food that I’ve gotten at the farmers’ market. Supermarket fruit and veggies just don’t compare.

It’s Usually Cheaper

I know that sounds crazy that better food might be cheaper, but from what I’ve noticed at the farmers’ market here in Salt Lake City, it is. I have compared the prices of what is available to what is in the grocery stores and it costs less every time. Of course, the variety isn’t as wide at our farmers’ market as it is in the grocery store. I’ll never be able to buy a locally grown orange or mango unless it was raised in a hot house, but if I want the juiciest apple picked ripe off the tree, then there is no beating the farmers’ market in price.

It Doesn’t Last Forever

I don’t know about more temperate climates like California, but our farmers’ market closes up the minute the weather turns cold. With frost, comes the end of fresh produce from Utah and I suspect it’s the same in all areas of the states that actually have all four seasons instead of the perpetual spring of the warmer climates.

Whatever your reason for going to a farmers’ market, the food that gives you the most bang for your calories are fruits and vegetables. Whether you buy them in a grocery store or a farmers’ market, they will help you stay within your requirements and fill you full of fiber and vitamins.

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