A Return to Adventure!

50 Hikes in 12 Months

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.

 

I Joined a Gym!

I joined a gymPerhaps you saw this coming from a mile away. For me it was a surprise. I prefer being in the great outdoors walking, running, kayaking and cycling.  I am not a “gym person” or at least I didn’t think I was until June when I won two 6 month free membership to Gold’s Gym (Thank you Krista and Michael). I volunteered my mom to be my fellow workout partner during my new fitness adventure.

So far, I have taken cycling, body flow and ab classes. When I took the Zumba class I learned that I am even less coordinated than I previously thought. In Zumba you move your hands, hips and feet all at the same time and usually in different directions. The most I could do was two of those things at a single moment. The instructor was fabulous and I really did have fun which means I will definitely go back again. Hopefully, I will be more coordinated next time.

One of the things I really liked about the gym was a private ladies-only workout area. The whole “see and be seen” thing has never been my style. Having an area I can go to workout quietly has really been a confidence booster. The fact is, I have no idea how most of those gym machines work. The ladies-only workout area gives me chance to fumble around, figure stuff out and ask fellow ladies how machines work. Which means I am more likely to keep going back for more.

I’ll share my fumbling around story: I could not figure out how to get the elliptical machine to power up. I pushed all manner of buttons. I checked to see if it was plugged in. I went to 3 different machines and was puzzled. I finally asked the lady working out on the elliptical next to me how they worked. She told me the only way they power up is if you start working out. I jumped on started moving and the screens flashed on so I stopped to enter my data which is exactly the moment the screen went blank. I did it again with the same result. The kind lady then said, “You have to keep working out or it turns off.” Okay. Remember my Zumba experience? I am glad only 2 other women were in the private workout room to see me try and balance myself on the elliptical while entering my data on the screen. I eventually did manage to balance myself, enter my data and ended up with a challenging 30 minute workout. I was bummed when I realized the time I spent working out while entering in my data did not count towards my overall workout numbers. Surely, I should get extra credit for that, right?

Are you a gym rat or gym noob? I would like to hear your story. Drop me a line in the comments or via email: jennifer@healthfitnessbeautyquest.com

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.

 

Beauty: Awake Lipo Consultation

The more I learn about the beauty portion of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest, the more I understand the value of doing little and maybe some not so little things to improve the way you look.

Beauty Treatments

In the last post I shared my Botox® and Filler experience. Plus if you have been following my Ustream channel then you’ve also been able to see the Dermapen treatments I received starting in November.  I have been thrilled with the results of these three procedures. The Dermapen w/PRP has rejuvenated my face, neck and décolletage. Taking my tired-looking skin and making it shiny and smooth. The Juviderm® Filler in my upper cheeks lifted the skin on my cheeks and minimized the appearance of dark circles under my eyes.

The compliments I have received on how my face looks range from, “You look so natural.” to “I would never have guessed you had anything done.” and also “Your face looks so bright”.

The Next Step

I wanted to go the next step and see what I could do to make improvements to my body that would match my now glowing and beautiful face. So, I sat down with my client Dr. Mozersky and the ContourLase team to learn more about awake lipo.

Here is the consultation:


 

Beauty: New Year, New Me

One of the aspects I knew very little about when it came down to my quest was the beauty portion. I’ve always been what I would call a tomboy techie. I grew up with boy cousins playing tag, cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, red light/green light, marbles, chess and….well you get the picture. I have never been a girly girl so the beauty part of the quest was like learning to speak a new language.

In the summer of 2013, I began working with the fine folks at ContourLase Body Institute. I learned a lot while updating their website content and began to understand why folks would want to do things like Botox and awake lipo to improve the way they look. Seeing all the before and after photos, reading the patient testimonials and getting to know the team gave me the confidence to embark on my beauty quest.

Following my consultation with Dr. Mozersky, I began my first steps into a more beautiful version of myself. This is a key to the success Dr. Mozersky and ContourLase has had over the years. I would be able to make small subtle improvements that would reverse the clock while still looking like me. I think a lot of folks are hesitant to have “something done” because they worry that they will stop looking like themselves.

During my consult with Dr. Mozersky he suggested we start with my face since that is the first thing that folks see when they meet me. We started a Dermapen with Platelet Rich Plasma treatment in November which was followed up 30 days later in December by a second treatment and then a final third treatment in January. The sessions were recorded live and can be found on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Ustream Channel.

I could see a difference right away.  I was amazed at how bright and shiny my face looked. Folks told me that my skin looked smooth and my face seemed more open. All I know is that I liked what I was seeing in the mirror. The next treatment in my beauty quest was to have Botox and filler done on my face. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had every confidence in Dr. Mozersky. One of the bonuses was being the patient for the #AskDrMozersky ContourLase show. See my session below:

As you can see from the video, the entire experience was a breeze. If I had been pleased with the results of the Dermapen with PRP treatment, I was blown away by what Botox and Filler did to my appearance. It looked like years had melted away. It was still me, just a brighter and slightly younger version of me. In case you aren’t convinced of the difference, here are my before and after pics. Notice the lack of grumpy lines. I have always been an upbeat and happy-go-lucky gal so having a face that matches my positive outlook suits me just fine.

Before and After Botox and filler
If you have seen me around town, you will probably notice I have an extra pep in my step. I already have better energy through my running and cycling regimen paired up with the daily consumption of USANA nutritional supplements. Is it okay to admit that seeing my refreshed new look has really put an extra spark in my life? I guess the old saying, “If you look good, you feel good” is true.

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!