Health

Diving into Discovery Mode: USANA

As part of my continuing discovery journey for the Health Fitness Beauty Quest, I am in Salt Lake City, UT to attend the USANA International Convention. I have used their nutritional supplements for almost a year. In that time I have shared my improved health and energy with you. Now I am putting my detective hat on so I can learn more about why these nutritional supplements have had such an impact to my health. I also want to get to the heart of what makes this company so different.

Join me for daily video interviews on my USTREAM channel and YouTube channel or follow me on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags: #HFBQ and #USANA14.

New Adventures

Today, I am embarking on a new adventure. If you have spent any time at all on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest site or following me on Twitter or Facebook then you will know a bit about the nutritional supplements I have been taking since September 2013. I have shared the changes I have seen in my health and the improvements I have experienced in my cycling. In my book, both have been quite noteworthy.

Perhaps, it will not come as a surprise to you that I decided to join the company who makes the nutritional products that have helped to transform my life into the healthiest and most active version of me I have ever known. Both my sons are also taking the nutritional supplements and have seen improvements in their health. My mom is the newest nearest and dearest person to me to begin taking nutritional supplements from this company. Heck, even our 13 year old dog is taking supplements. As I’ve said before, when you know something works you share it with the people (and dogs) you love.

Although, I consider myself a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal, it did take me almost a year to make the decision to go from a consumer of their products to becoming part of the company. I thought about this decision a lot over the past few months. The longer I took the products and the more I saw the benefits in my life and the lives of those I love, I knew there was only one direction I could go and that was forward.

usana logoTomorrow, I am flying to Utah to attend the USANA convention  Since the company is located in Salt Lake City, you could say, I am going straight to the source. I am ready to drink from the USANA firehose to learn everything I can about the company that developed the products which have made such an impact to my health.

However, I won’t just be attending the convention, I will also be hosting a Social Media Lounge. Follow all the video interviews this week on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest streaming channel.  I will also post random musings and the occasional audio interview on SoundCloud. You can be sure there will be Twitter and Facebook posts as well. Be on the lookout for the #HFBQ and #USANA14 to follow all the action.

 

Cha-Cha-Changes

Your Healthy Life SignSince beginning the Health Fitness Beauty Quest, there have been many changes in my life over the last 9 months. Some are big changes but most are small little nuances of change that have combined to leave quite the impression in my life. I am the first to admit that my life has not been the healthiest.

There were many times I knew there had to be a better way, but I always thought it would be too hard. I thought a healthy life meant a life of denial. A life without spice or flavor or fun. If I could go back in time and talk to that Jennifer from 20 years ago I would explain how empowering it is to be physically strong after a walk, run, cycling or gym workout. How liberating it can be to make knowledgable nutrition choices. How satisfying it is to be full from eating a delicious meal and not feel bloated afterwards. I call it clean simple living and it’s wonderful.

Over the last 9 months, my life has changed in so many ways. Some I will share with you here on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. Let’s start with my outlook. Even though my family is long-lived. (90’s to 100’s) and I knew I had the potential to live to a ripe old age, I wasn’t living like I would get there. Each year as I got older, I could see my girth increasing, myself aging and my health dwindling. Now, after 9 months of focusing solely on the three things (health, fitness and beauty) I felt were of importance, my outlook has completely changed. I look back on my previous life and wonder why it took me so long to make the decision to choose a healthy and empowered lifestyle.

If you have been waiting for “some day” to get healthy. That someday is right now. Look yourself in the mirror and verbally claim your healthy, strong and empowered life. Believe me when I tell you, it is so much closer than you think.

Learning to Make Smart Food Choices

Now that I have had my awake lipo procedure, I am paying even more attention to my food choices. Luckily I work with some really knowledgable and savvy folks.

HFBQ NUTRITIONAL HISTORY

You already know I am taking USANA nutritional supplements and am receiving chiropractic care as part of the health portion of my journey. Thanks to advice from the team at Pinnacle Wellness I already knew I could eat “all the fruits and vegetables I want” and simply cut back on things like hamburgers and breakfast tacos. Quick Recap: By simply eating a piece of fruit before a breakfast taco or eating a salad before a hamburger I would increase the food my body needed to properly fuel (fuel-rich) my day and decrease the food that was fuel-poor. Dr. Q and Dr. Ho told me that over time my body would start to crave more of the fuel-rich foods and less of the fuel-poor foods. I wasn’t entirely convinced this would be the case, but listening to my health advisors was all part of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest so I gave their advice a try.

SLIGHT OF HAND

A few weeks into this simple but strategic addition to my diet, I noticed that my hamburger and taco intake had gone down considerably. I wasn’t craving the burgers that were weekly part of my diet. I still had the occasional breakfast taco, but thanks to the fruit I added, I was eating less of them. It was then that I realized I had been tricked! When Dr. Q and Dr. Ho told me not to stop eating my favorite foods but only to add fruits and vegetables in front of those foods they were helping me reset my body into craving fuel-rich foods and diminishing my desire for fuel-poor food. While I certainly wasn’t upset at their “trickery”, I admit I was taken by surprise. I hadn’t realized that the road to a healthier me could be so simple.

GOOD, BETTER AND BEST

Fast forward to my food choices after my awake lipo procedure and I must mention Jan Tilley, MS RD LD and the JTA Wellness team: Sam Lopez, RD and Krista Neugebauer, RD from whom I am gleaning countless healthy food choice knowledge.  Jan is a Registered Dietitian who also happens to be my client. Over the last two months as we have worked together, I have learned a whole lot more about making smart choices when it comes to my nutrition. One tactic that has really stuck with me is their Good, Better and Best approach. They have many, but that one really struck a chord with me. Learn more by subscribing to their newsletter or following them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (I’ll bet you didn’t see that one coming 😉 )

Healthy Meals for Hurried Families CoverOne of the projects I have been working on was to transition Jan’s highly successful hardback cookbook, Healthy Meals for Hurried Families into an ebook available for sale on Amazon. It went live last week and I immediately purchased the book on my iPad Mini through my Kindle app. As I was reading through the recipes, I decided to take the recipes inside the book and start cooking. Sort of a like my own version of blog/movie, Julie and Julia. I guess in this case if would be Jennifer and Jan.

I perused the many options and decided upon the Lemon Spinach Chicken. I have attached the recipe and the photos I took during my cooking. By the way, I loved having the recipe on my iPad Mini. It was so easy to follow the recipe and cooking instructions with it right in front of me.

Stay tuned as I continue on through the book and test out the recipes in the weeks and months to come. My first foray into healthy home cooking was quite the success. I am looking forward to expanding my culinary skills in a new and healthy direction.

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THE MEAL

lemon-spinach chicken

The Recipe

 

Lemon-Spinach Chicken Ingredients

The Ingredients

Floured Chicken frying in the olive oil, butter and lemon sauce

Floured Chicken frying in the olive oil, butter and lemon sauce

Add Mozzarella Cheese and Tomatoes

Add Mozzarella Cheese and Tomatoes

Spinach Completes the Meal

Spinach Completes the Meal

 

 

Fitness: 100K Bike Tour Jalapeno100

As part of my ongoing fitness journey, I am working towards a 2015 cross-country bike tour. Yes, you read that correctly. I first became inspired after reading the journals from the crazyguyonabike site. The more I read, the more I could imagine taking such a journey. In order to be ready to embark on a ride that lasts for weeks on end means putting some serious miles in the saddle. So, part of my training is to go on longer rides. A fun way I have found to do so is by participating in bike tours. In the past, I have ridden 50 hilly miles and 54 flat miles. My goal on this bike tour was to hit the 100K aka Metric Century milestone. Which for those of us not on the metric system is 62.5 miles.

Jalapeno100 route

The Ride

My fellow cyclist, Penny Muckleroy also had a goal to complete 62.5 miles by April, so we signed up for the Jalapeno 100 Bike Tour in Harlingen, Texas. Originally she was only going to ride 50 miles which is still quite the feat for someone who has never done a bike tour. But once we got riding, Penny decided to go for the gusto and complete her goal a couple of months early.

Turns out where there are wind farms, there is a lot of wind. Did you know that we cycled through fields and fields of wind farms? So, while the route was flat, the wind was the real challenge we had to overcome. And overcome it we did.

Still smiling after 62.5 miles

Still smiling after 62.5 miles

Post Ride Surprise

As readers will recall, Penny Muckleroy is an Independent USANA Distributor who is providing me with supplements for the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest. I already take my AM and PM nutritional supplements but, for this particular ride, Penny recommended I take some additional supplements to combat muscle fatigue. So I took them before the ride, during the ride and after the ride.

Here is where things got interesting. I have done quite a few bike tours over the last 2 1/2 years. After every long distance ride, I typically have muscle stiffness and achy legs for a couple of days. The fatigue was always especially noticeable after sitting for a while. Since our plan was to drive straight back to San Antonio after the ride I was expecting some serious muscle stiffness to make getting out of the car after a 4 1/2 hour drive a less than pleasant experience.

Imagine my surprise when I got out of the car and didn’t think twice about it. I felt normal. Which was so far from what I had come to expect as normal from my post-ride body. I was puzzled for a couple of seconds until I realized that this was the first long distance bike tour since I began taking the AM/PM pack supplements in September 2013.  That coupled with the extra supplements Penny gave me specifically to combat muscle fatigue for the bike tour made all the difference in my post-ride experience.

I Am A Believer

In previous posts I have written about the changes I have seen in my energy, skin and hair from taking the AM/PM packs. I have shared my story one-on-one and up in front of a crowd. If there was even the tiniest shred of doubt lingering in your mind that the USANA supplements will make a difference in your life, then let me challenge you to give your body the 30-day USANA AM/PM pack a try. I can’t tell you what benefits it will have for you specifically. I really believe each person’s experience is unique to them and their particular circumstances. What I can tell you is that for me each new discovery has been a wonderful surprise. I continue to be impressed by how well I feel and how well my body performs.  Yes, I am a believer. So much so that I now have family members on the AM/PM pack daily regimen. When you know something works, you share it with the people you love.

 

A FitBit World: Better Health through Technology

Better Health through Technology

I am a recovering addict of shiny things. Little health and fitness tracking devices and pieces of technology that claim to make me more efficient, healthier, happier, and all around a better person. Well….who am I kidding? There’s no way I’m giving up my shiny things. Maybe I’m extending my wish-list instead of impulsively buying everything as it is introduced, but several little devices, mobile apps, and websites  HAVE made me better in the area of fitness and awareness of my overall health. At last count, I use approximately 24 different technologies to help me understand myself and accomplish my health, fitness, and beauty goals. I started to list these out all at once, but quickly realized it would be easier for you to take in piece by piece (and more likely that these posts will see the light of day). Today marks the start of my ongoing series: Better Health through Technology.

Gadgets #1 : Fitbit Fitness Tracking Devices

FitBit One

For starters, lets talk about my Fitbit One. Well, to be honest, this is my third Fitbit tracker, and I’ve had every generation they’ve made (addiction perhaps?). During the day, I tuck my Fitbit inside my pocket, or if my outfit does not have pockets, it hides clipped on my bra or underwear while I roam about.* I wear my Fitbit all day, EVERY DAY. I’m naked without it. Funny thing is, I rarely actually look at it during the day. But what it tells me about my habits is astonishing.

The Fitbit One device clipped onto shorts

*Note: I have lost a Fitbit Zip tracker by wearing in the manner shown in this posts’ picture. I normally wear my Fitbit with the front toward my skin so that it does not wedge itself out of the rubber carrying clip.

In one day, this little device tracks…

  • my total steps taken,
  • my total distance traveled by foot,
  • how active I am in any 5 minutes period of time through my day,
  • how many flights of stairs I climb,
  • how many calories I burn,
  • my sleep patterns (awake, restless, or actually asleep)
  • total length of sleep.

it also provides words of encouragement if I do happen to look at it, and shows (via a growing flower stalk) how far I have progressed in my daily goal (which I set through the website or app).

 

 

 

As far as tracking sleep, Fitbit Sleep Data Pie Chartthat is done by inserting the Fitbit device into an included velcro wrist wrap/strap with a mesh pocket on it, and then pressing and holding the main button for a few seconds to start the sleep clock. I’ve recently had some issues with my device falling out of the strap while I sleep, so lately I’ve just been flipping the pocket on the strap toward my wrist instead of leaving it exposed, and that seems to do the trick.  I can’t stand the sensory overload of wearing bracelets, so the Fitbit Flex is out for me, but I’ve heard great reviews from friends who have that device. It solves the whole “transition the device to sleep mode” issue. (plus the Flex is waterproof, and can be worn in a shower, FTW)

The best part of it all- my Fitbit tracks all of those steps I take to let my aging dog out 2-3 times in the middle of the night. They count!

FitBit Aria Scale

Then there is my Fitbit Aria Scale. This beautiful little white glass scale recognizes up to 8 people (and knows when your friend comes over and decides to weigh herself- it tracks her as a guest), and tracks…

  • my weight
  • my BMI
  • my Body Fat Percentage.

Both of these health and fitness tracking devices quietly sync to the Fitbit website via either my phone or my home computer through Bluetooth or Wifi. Even if I purposely don’t choose to look at the scale, their website does, and it tracks my journey for me.

Fitbit Website Dashboard

The pinnacle of the Fitbit family of products is the personalized Fitbit.com dashboard. Here is where the rubber meets the road and I meet accountability.

What did I really do yesterday, today, or this week? Did I sit at a desk for hours on end or did I walk about the building at least 5 minutes every hour?

Did my weight fluctuate drastically or did I keep on a smooth and steady pace? Where am I with my goals? How many times did I wake up to let my dog out to do her business this week, or did I actually stay up later than I wanted just to watch shows that I can easily catch up on the next day?

If I journaled my food intake, I could see how much I consumed and if there are any trends I need to work on. I can track my intake of water, enter my heart rate, blood pressure or glucose levels, and even see trends in things I’ve set up to track, like “Did I take my meds at the right time(if at all) this week?”

The Fitbit dashboard shows graphical representations of weight, activity, steps, sleep, calories burned, distance, and calories in versus out.

 

Fitbit even offers a premium membership ($50 for a year) that offers a digital trainer, benchmarking, more in-depth reporting, advanced heart rate tracking, and unlimited glucose and custom tracking. I personally have not decided to use the premium membership. I haven’t ruled it out, I just don’t feel like I need that data right now, since some of it I get from other sources (which will be covered in later posts in this series).

Fitbit Friends

Finally, there is a social and competitive component to the Fitbit universe, should you choose to opt into it. You can add friends to your dashboard and compete against the for the most steps taken. Results are shown in a Leaderboard every week. I’m not a super competitive person, but it is nice to see that when I’m having a less than optimal week, someone I know is also doing the same. (Sorry Fitbit friends!)

Fitbit provides groups you can join (or create) to track certain sections of your social sphere. A great example might be to create a group for an office, and involve employees in the group by introducing some healthy competition. At the time of writing, there are 9,476 public groups in the Fitbit universe, with more added every day. There is a group that is bound to fit you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Fitbit line of products have become invaluable to me over the past few years, creating automatic accountability and awareness of my habits and lifestyle. In another post, I plan to talk about how the data collected by these devices works with other tools I use to create a holistic and strategic healthy living approach. Until then, remember to keep your devices well charged and let your eyes look up once in a while! Happy gadgeting!

Health: Interesting Observations on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest

abstract treeWhen I started my Health Fitness Beauty Quest in early September, I wasn’t quite sure what I would discover. I was pretty sure whatever it was I would be more knowledgable and healthier. What exactly that would be had yet to be found. Well, here I am on December 10th and I have had many AHA! moments as well as some, Hmmm….interesting moments.

In this post, I will share those moments as it relates to taking the USANA nutritional supplements provided to me by Penny Muckelroy who is an Independent Distributor for the company. Penny gave me a bag full of nutritional items she felt I would need in order to move in a positive direction. The goal was to improve my nutritional health on a cellular level. Penny explained to me that if each individual cell was healthy, then my entire body would be healthy. Sounds simple enough. In order to do that I needed to take a handful of supplements twice a day. These were given to me in AM and PM packs. As in, take this handful of pills in the morning and this second handful of pills in the evening. Seemed like overkill to me, but I was on the quest and listening to my advisors and following their instructions towards better health was the entire point.

USANA AM/PM Pack Supplements

USANA AM/PM Pack Supplements

The Ride

So for a few weeks I took them and other than fluorescent bathroom breaks, nothing seemed to change. At least that was what I thought. About 3-4 weeks into the AM/PM packs, I went for one of my weekly bike rides with my bike group. We went for a normal weekday ride of 18 miles. No big deal, right? Well, actually it was a big deal. About 1/3 of the way I noticed I didn’t feel tired. Then at the halfway mark I still didn’t feel tired. Then we finished the 18 miles and I felt like I could have ridden 18 miles more. What was going on? Then it hit me. The only big thing I had changed was in adding the AM/PM packs to my day.

I thought about all those rides and bike tours I had done in the past (20-54 miles) where I had always felt the fatigue during the ride and pushed myself to complete the tours. All this time I thought that the fatigue was part of the ride. Little did I know I was pushing my cells to do so much on what apparently was an empty gas tank. When I started taking the AM/PM packs my cells began receiving the nutrition they were missing. They charged themselves up and then I really felt what it was like to ride at full power. What a difference!

A Glance In The Mirror

At about two months into taking the AM/PM packs I noticed something else entirely. I was fresh out of the shower, going from robe to my clothes for the day when I happened to glance at my full-length mirror. I was so surprised by what I saw…or should I say what I didn’t see that I stopped for a closer look. I am a 44 year old woman who has a couple of kids under her belt and has lived a bit on the frivolous side of life. So I am sure it is no surprise that I have cellulite and stretch marks on my body. What caused me to stop and stare at myself was what appeared to be smooth skin in places that hadn’t seen smooth skin in years. I went closer to the mirror and I could see the stretch marks, but they were very faint and my skin felt smooth and soft to the touch. I was amazed. Am I saying that if you take the AM/PM packs that this will happen to you? No. I have no idea what will happen to you. I am merely sharing what I am noticing is happening to me.

Shiny and Thick

It is no secret that as we ladies get older hair dye becomes an important part of our beauty routine. Hair dye is not the kindest thing we can do to our hair. In my case, it exasperated things by drying out my hair. So, I now had dry thin hair that on good days I could manage with lots of deep conditioners, leave-in treatments, mousse and hairspray. On bad days my hair resembled a dry haystack.  So, in the third month I was surprised to discover that my hair which has always been fine and in recent years thinning felt thicker to the touch. It also looked shiny. I mean healthy shiny. It was actually bouncy and soft to the touch. When the heck did this happen?!

My Thoughts

When I started taking the AM/PM packs, I had no idea that where I would see the biggest difference would be in the challenging areas of my body. My hair had become more and more of a problem the older I have gotten. I had long ago written off the stretch marks and cellulite as just part of getting older. I thought the energy levels I was experiencing when cycling were what they should be and had no idea how much I was missing.

I cannot say that anyone reading this will experience what I have in just the few short months of my Health Fitness Beauty Quest. In my opinion I am still in the infancy of what I will learn and experience as I move forward. What I can say is that I have found a whole lot of positive benefits to taking the USANA AM/PM nutritional supplement packs on a daily basis.

In the beginning I took the AM/PM packs with little expectation. Now I look forward to taking them. I wonder what the next AHA! moment will be and can’t wait to see how my body will improve as I nourish it on the cellular level. I now am beginning to understand what Penny meant when she explained the importance of doing so back in September. I am so much wiser now than I was then.

I do appreciate all of your encouragement here on the blog in the comments as well as your replies and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for continuing to support me on my journey.

Health Assessment Part 3: The Bloodwork

In part three of the Health Assessment, Dr. Ho from Pinnacle Wellness draws some blood and explains what I will learn once the results are back from the lab.

 

 

Disclosure: Pinnacle Wellness is providing me with services for the health portion of my Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest. I will share my personal experiences of my weekly visits through audio posts and videos which will be posted on the site as well as on the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest YouTube channel.

Health: Spine Check and X-rays

In part 2 of the Health Assessment, Dr. Q takes a look at my spine to see it’s current state. During the check, I learn a whole lot about which part of my body is carrying more weight than the other, how carrying a bowling ball is very similar to what my spine has to do with my head and that I may not be as straight or as centered as I thought.

 

 

Disclosure: Pinnacle Wellness is providing me with services for the health portion of my Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest. I will share my personal experiences of my weekly visits through audio posts and videos which will be posted on the site as well as on the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest YouTube channel.

Fitness|Food: Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned…

The past few weeks have been an amazingly productive time for me. I work with some phenomenal clients and have had 3 launches in the last 3 months. I was coasting along quite nicely until I added in some online training courses and some social media events. Not sure why I am surprised that all of the sudden my fitness and health program are going by the wayside. And do not even get me started on the food. I am still eating fruit and salad during the day but, after pulling 3 all-nighters in the last week, pecan pie, Krispy Kreme donuts and cake have become a major food group.

Turns out that when I’m crunched for time the first thing that gets the heave ho is me. Sleep, Exercise, Healthy Eating have suddenly become some foreign language. At this point I don’t even think it’s Klingon. Hence the title of my post.

Confession

Bless me Father for I have sinned…

Clock…..I love what I do but I need to do a better job at managing my time. Which means no matter how much I love a project the answer might be no…or at least not now.

…..I have not gotten a good night’s sleep in at least two weeks. I really do like working in the wee hours of the morning when the house is silent and my creativity is free to dance and frolic. Which does not mean I have to stop pulling all-nighters. What it does mean is that I need to not do cram them all in together. I need more of a gap so that my body and mind can replenish itself.

…..I have been slacking on my fitness regimen. I enjoy cycling. No wait. Let me rephrase that.  I really, really, really enjoy cycling. When I am on my bike I can’t help but smile. For me, being on my bike is a state of blissful childlike abandon. Every place is magical and every moment an opportunity to revel in God’s Glory. Which means I need to do more to protect this piece of zen in my life.

SnapMeal…..I am still stubborn about my food. I am bargaining with myself to allow donuts and pie and cake (oh my!) . Eating a salad does not equal a delicious, tasty, sweet donut. No matter how much I want it to, it just doesn’t. Which means I need a reality check regarding this aspect of the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest. Being accountable to only myself is not working. I told you I would put myself out there, so I am going to start share my meals using the MealSnap app. Hat tip to Pamela Price for sharing this gem of an app.

Absolution

It is my hope that by confessing and coming up with what I believe are positive solutions that I can be absolved of these health, fitness and beauty sins.

Have you ever known you needed some accountability to help you stay on track during busy times?