Jawbone UP MOVE – Fitness Tracking for the Unfit

Jawbone UP MOVE

My prediction is that sales of fitness trackers are up massively year on year for the month of January. This time last year, this wearable tech was still quite niche with most of us thinking this would be a very short-lived fad. We were thinking it could be the Tamagotchi of the twenty-tens…for adults. Something people would play with for 5 minutes and then throw onto the discard pile along with their resolutions to make this the year they’d finally shift those extra pounds.

So far though, it seems to be more of a mobile phone; something that’s spawned a whole load of new brands trying to beat the ever popular Nokia 3210 (Fitbit). Everyone wants one and often they’re not really sure what they even do. Think about those 3210s for a minute; did you want one because you urgently needed to make calls on the move, or did you want to be able to play Snake and thrust your cool new tech in your friends’ faces? This is what’s happening with fitness trackers.

It’s January, we’ve all decided we’ll be happier, healthier, better people this year and since it’s now 2015, we can’t possibly contemplate doing this without a new gadget of some description. In comes the fitness tracker! (Cue round of applause)

Oh wait, what?

Fitness tracker. But that would mean I’d have to, like, get fit or something. My resolution was public declaration to show the world that I know I’m fat, it wasn’t an intention to fix it! Maybe I should get one anyway…

And so my journey began.

I did quite a lot of research into the various fitness trackers out there because most of them are pricey enough to make me think twice before impulse buying. In the end, I settled on the Jawbone UP MOVE because it has an accessible price point of £39 and it seems to have all of the functionality I need.

I haven’t turned into an athlete just because I purchased a device to track my movement and consequently, I don’t need a sophisticated tracker to tell me that. What I wanted was something to make me aware of just how sedentary my life is and how varied my sleep patterns can be. It’s working.

Every day my steps are monitored so I now know that on an average day working in my local office, I do a fraction of the exercise I assumed I was doing whereas on an average day working in London, I manage far more exercise than I had realised. This is great because I have a starting point and a real indication of how much more I need to move on those local days in order not to turn into a sloth.

I can also track what I eat with this little gadget which is useful for those who are calorie counting. I was already a fan of MyFitnessPal for that though and guess what, the two integrate! 

Basically, what I have is a little gadget I clip on to my tights or trousers in the morning to track my steps and then I press 1 button at night so it tracks my sleep instead. It’s so easy! There’s not even any charging. By charging, I mean that moment you have to separate yourself from the device for a few hours for the first time and then you never go back to it. I’ve been wearing this little Jawbone pal for about 7 days now, which is pretty much the longest I’ve ever played with any toy.

In the meantime, my friend who invested in a Fitbit is sat there staring at her wrist telling me she has no idea what the flashing lights do or how it works. She tried to track her sleep but it didn’t work and she can’t find any proper instructions. She’s 23 and works for a forward thinking software company, surely she’s meant to be able to figure it out!?!

If you’ve read this far, thank you for putting up with my waffle. I hope you can understand that what I’m trying to say is this; if you think you want a fitness tracker but you rarely do anything to warrant one, why not start with the reasonably priced Jawbone UP MOVE and see how you get on. By the time it’s battery dies in 4-6 months’ time, you’ll know whether you’re ready for the big boys or not. It really is the fitness tracker for the chronically unfit and I love it :-)

Review: Cats the Musical

Once upon a time I used to write up reviews of pretty much every show I saw but these days I rarely have time. Given that this is a lazy Sunday evening, I thought I’d start to make up for that and write a brief review of the show I saw yesterday: Cats the Musical.

Cats

I never saw Cats when it was on for it’s insanely long run which ended a few years ago so this was my first feline experience. Obviously a huge thing with the new run is that the stunning Nicole Scherzinger stars as Grizabella. This was one of those shows which I had just been dying to see for absolutely ages so I was over the moon when a friend decided that seeing this was what she wanted to do for her birthday!

Well…

I don’t get it.

I had anticipated myself having many reactions to Cats but none of them were in any way, shape or form negative. Negative might be a harsh word, indifferent might be more accurate. Having seen many West End shows, this was one which just didn’t “wow” me. It didn’t draw me into its world enough to make me switch off. It felt like a series of disconnected songs which were well performed but lacking magic.

Nicole Scherzinger could obviously never look drab in any way because she is just stunning but I really didn’t mind that. What I hadn’t expected was to see so little of her character. My poor understanding of the “plot” led me to believe she’d be on the stage far more. She wasn’t on stage enough for me to gauge her acting ability but her rendition of Memory was so phenomenal that it made the whole show worthwhile. She gave me goosebumps and made my eyes swell with tears. Scherzinger’s voice has an incredible depth to it that you just cannot ignore. You should see the show just to see her.

Another notable performance is Joseph Poulton as Mister Mistoffelees. You’ll barely notice him for most of the performance but when it’s his time to shine, he absolutely owns the stage and showcases his incredible talent. Watch out for his pirouette, it comes out of nowhere and stuns you. Poulton is one fantastic dancer!

So, in essence, it’s worth seeing just to say you have seen it and to check out a couple of stand-out performances but if you haven’t got tickets and you’re struggling to do so, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Perhaps go and check out one of the many other shows in town; I’ve heard Urinetown is worth a watch! x

What’s the Right Diet for You?

Hello, hello!

So, who’s been watching the BBC Horizon special, What’s the Right Diet for You? It’s a programme looking at why different people over-eat and therefore what might work for them as a diet. They’ve taken a sample set of people and run them through a series of tests to calculate what sort of eater they are.

They’ve broken down the group into 3 subsets, which are:

  • Emotional Eater
  • Feaster
  • Constant Craver

They’re fairly self explanatory by name and the BBC have also created an online test you can take to approximate which of these categories you are likely to fall into. You can find the test here.

I have taken the test and found myself to be 39% Feaster and 61% Constant Craver. Essentially, this means that I’m likely to have a genetic disposition which drives me to continually graze, with less interest in / ability to sit down and eat big meals.

Genetic or not, it certainly rings true that I do constantly graze. Where it’s gone wrong is that most people I know tend to eat square meals. What this means is that I end up doing both!!! The recommended diet for Constant Cravers is the 5:2 diet where you fast for 2 days a week and eat normally (with a healthy spin) for the other 5 days. Given that my bf has just started doing this anyway, I may as well give it a bash.

The idea is that it’s much easier to control your cravings for 2 days a week than it is to try and do it, yet fail every day. Knowing you can have that treat, but you just need to wait 2 days is far easier than eliminating it altogether. It should have clicked sooner but it didn’t. Every way I think about it, this option suits me much better than constantly telling myself “no” as I reach for a snack every 10 minutes!!!

So here I go again in my quest to find a more balanced lifestyle that allows me to shed a few lbs. And no, they didn’t say exercise was the key to weight-loss, they said reducing your calorie intake is the way forward. So you exercise nuts can jog on (geddit!?!) x

Meet My Princess!!!

Oh boy am I a lucky girl! Saturday just gone, the bf and I embarked on the most important mission of our lives and we went to collect our new baby. Lexi is a Staffie cross, 2 1/2 years old and just about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!

She’s come to us from a broken home but thankfully has never been abused and she’s settling in a dream. Hour on hour her confidence grows and she’s really starting to show us her mischievous personality.
LexiThere I am cuddled up to her on the sofa, which is pretty much her favourite thing to do. I’ve never met such a cuddly dog, she even gives my parents’ dog, Rudi a run for his money!

So here she is! She’s not great at posing for photos but as and when she does, I’ll share more because she’s just SO cool!

That’s all I have to say, I just wanted to brag about the epic new addition to our family :-) x

 

Juicing for Wellness, Days 4 & 5

Homemade Vegetable Curry

Homemade Vegetable Curry

I may as well have just walked into a confession box because what I’m about to say isn’t good. I fell off the wagon big time yesterday. I was hungry, it was the weekend, I wanted to eat something familiar. I’m sorry!

In the interest of being open and honest, I may as well confess that yesterday morning I ate a couple of chocolate biscuits. Then at around 3pm I ate a burrito. It had pork, rice, guacamole, sour cream, pinto beans, peppers, cheese and a heck of a lot of flavour in it. It completely flouted the diet rules but it tasted sooooooooo good! It also gave me the motivation to buck up my ideas and get back on track. Well, that plus my bf watching me and telling me that I want to be healthy, not full of sugar.

So for dinner last night I had a corn on the cob and another bowl of my tomato and garlic soup. I’m back on course. Go me!

Today has been somewhat challenging as it’s been my first day back in the office and things are a bit slow after the Christmas break so I’ve had lots of time to think about food and stare at the chocolate bars and biscuits in the kitchen. On the plus side though, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in months now that my cold is clearing and I’ve had some rest and good food for a few days.

Today’s menu has been much better:

Breakfast – strawberry, raspberry and blueberry smoothie made with just fruit and water

Lunch – tomato and garlic soup

Dinner – vegetable curry

Snacks – an apple, a clementine and some lemon & ginger tea

It’s not very juicy, I admit but it is bloody healthy!

I’ve posted the recipe for my homemade vegetable curry over on another of my blogs. You can find it here. It’s pretty quick and easy to knock up even on a school night and it’s bloody lovely. Not only that but there’s enough left for tomorrow night too. You’ll notice if you read it that I even experimented with the cauliflower rice that everyone’s talking about at the moment. It was pretty darned scrummy, if I do say so myself!

Happy eating, everyone. Just remember that falling off the wagon doesn’t matter, it’s about making a gradual change to improve the quality of what you consume. It’s not a race! x

Juicing for Wellness, Day 3

I did it, I went home and I weighed myself. I was expecting to weight about 11st 7lbs as I feel like I’ve been putting on even more weight recently so it was a pleasant surprise to weight in at 11st 1lb. That’s basically half a stone less for me to lose :-)

So, the update on the juicing and the life with it. Here’s what happened on Day 2 following my blog post that day.

Breakfast was the carrot, apple and ginger juice which was pretty delicious.

Lunch was a change up. Instead of juice for lunch, I made a tomato and garlic soup, the recipe for which I found in a different version of the juice plan I was following. It was a smidge on the bland side but it was decent enough that the bf joined me in having some. You can find the recipe here.

Tomato and Garlic Soup for 2

Tomato and Garlic Soup for 2

We took the dog on a couple of walks yesterday and my energy was a bit low so I snacked on an apple and some grapes throughout the day and drank a fair bit of fruit tea.

By the time dinner came around, my cold had got the better of me so I had a chicken breast salad. My chicken was flavoured with paprika and cooked in a tiny bit of olive oil, my salad was without dressing. The leaves and avocado tasted better than ever because I was so deprived of food!

You’ll notice that my juice diet has strayed a little way off the juice track so I tried to bring it a bit more under control today, (day 3) but I was out and about so it’s been another compromise.

Breakfast – blueberry, raspberry and strawberry smoothie made with just fruit and water

Lunch – juice from Fuel juice bar, made with carrot, celery, apple and ginger

Dinner – chicken, mash and low-mayo coleslaw with a side salad, (we went out for dinner)

I’m not sure if it’s the cold/sore throat or the diet or both but I’ve been feeling mighty tired. My tummy is still bloated, I ache and all I want to do is sleep. I’ve added meat back into my diet in the hope that eating protein-based meals as well as juicing will help me pick myself back up but it’s proving challenging. I just want to snoooooooooooze! Still, I must keep pressing on because I don’t want to be this size and feel this unwell all the time. I CAN DO IT. PMA!

Until next time…  x

Juicing for Wellness, Day 2

Carrot, Apple and Ginger Juice

Carrot, Apple and Ginger Juice

I’m still alive!!! I honestly thought at one point yesterday that I might die before I got to post today because I was so hungry and so tired.

As promised, this is an honest account of my juicing experience so here’s a run down of what’s happened in the last 24 hours.

Day 1:

Breakfast – Carrot, Apple and Lemon juice
This juice was bloody lo
vely and when I posted yesterday morning, I really thought I could do it.

Lunch – Cucumber, Apple, Kale and Parsley juice
By lunch time (12pm) yesterday, I was blinkin’ starving and this juice just did not hit the mark. As separate ingredients I like all of the components but as a juice, this was green yuk. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever tasted but it did nothing to entice me to drink it either. I was ready to give up, I was grumpy and I had to re-evaluate.

Re-evaluation
As always with me on any sort of diet or healthy eating plan, I find that I am instantly grumpy and dreading the rest of the programme. With a cold as well as what felt like a starvation plan, yesterday was unbearable. I took a cold, hard look at what I want to achieve and came up with these priorities:

  1. Health – I’m fed up of feeling tired, looking tired and having a pregnancy bump sized bloated tummy
  2. Weight Loss – I have clothes I can no longer fit into. This is new to me and I HATE IT
  3. Sustainability – Yo-yo dieting just isn’t a good idea, what I want is to change the way I think about food and actually use food to nourish me, not just to feed my sugar cravings

Once I’d prioritised, I looked at my options again. I could juice for weeks on end, making food the enemy, feeling grouchy, probably bingeing on junk along the way, OR I could make the plan work for me. Now let me share what I had for dinner…

Dinner – Corn on the cob, lightly cooked broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts with garlic and chilli, with a handful of black grapes for pudding.

I also had a “snack” juice yesterday, made with pineapple, yellow pepper and ginger which was pretty darned tasty.

I made it through and the way I did that was by tailoring the plan to suit me. My dinner was still just vegetables and it wasn’t particularly satisfying but it took away some of the hunger pangs and still contributed a lot of goodness to my eating plan.

This is how I’m going to do it from now on. I’ll juice in the morning, as I have done again today. I’ll probably have juices as snacks too and the rest of the time I’ll eat. I’ll eat like a vegan and I’ll get to my goals, taking this like a marathon rather than a sprint. What I realised is that this is about control; it’s not that I can’t have the Maltesers sitting on top of the book case, I’m choosing not to. In the same vein, I can choose to eat well but without just living off juices that leave me feeling like I’m missing out.

I still have no idea of my weight but I *should* go home today where I can check that out and report back. In the following posts, I’ll share any fab recipes I encounter which I think could help others trying to do the healthy thing.

Anyone else on a similar plan? x