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  This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond.

As a Blue Diamond Tastemaker I have the opportunity to try new products and this time it was their new Blueberry and Salted Caramel flavors.  I have a 100 calorie pack of natural Blue Diamond almonds just about every day for snack.  I was ready to change it up without going off my eating plan.

Salted Caramel Almonds

salted-caramel

Who doesn’t loved salted caramel anything?  I was most looking forward to this flavor of Blue Diamond Almonds and they didn’t disappoint.  It’s a great snack when you want something sweet and even a little decadent without all the sugar.

This flavor would be perfect for cooking with as some other tastemakers did.  My favorite recipes were  for Salted Caramel Almond & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and salted caramel almond bark.

can-salted-caramel-almonds

Having said that I enjoyed them very much right out of the can.  It’s hard to describe but it was sweet, savory and satisfying all at the same time.

salted-caramel-nutrition

Although there are lots of reasons I eat almonds regularly, it’s important to keep track of portions.  I count out 14 almonds (1/2 serving) every time I enjoy these.

Oven Roasted Blueberry Almonds

blue-berry-almonds

First I tried the Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Blueberry Almonds.  They came in a great resealable 5 ounce bag.

 

blueberry-almonds

These almonds really tasted like blueberry!  I took this bag to the office and they were gone fast.

For me the salted caramel almonds were the best but as they say, your mileage may vary.  Either way, you’re getting the satisfaction of a sweet treat but without the guilt.  Which flavor do you want to try first?

Disclosure: I received product for the purposes of this post and no other compensation.

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Tales From the Scale: My Action Plan

actionplan

This past week was a big success! Before we get into details let me talk about my first Weight Watchers coaching session.  Although I started the plan on Sunday the first availability (that fit my schedule) for the coach I selected wasn’t until Thursday.

I could have spoken to a coach sooner but I wanted to have the same one as a friend who highly recommended her.  She had read my self-assessment and had great follow-up questions and during the 30 minutes we came up with the action plan you see above.

pantry-door

I have the action plan posted on my refrigerator and the anchor picture is taped to the pantry door.

halfmooncay

My anchor is a picture of my favorite beach in the world, Half Moon Cay, with a cruise ship in the background.  I’ll be returning here in November and this will keep me focused on the plan to lose weight so I fit into my shorts and swimsuit!

Food Plan

It was a great week food-wise even though I ate out three times.

eggbeaters

Eggbeaters with bell peppers

I had healthy breakfasts and lunches…

carrots and celery with hummus

carrots and celery with hummus

snacks and dinners.

For the first time in a long time I feel good about the choices I made all week when dining out.

Rubios Grilled Mahi Mahi chopped salad

Rubios Grilled Mahi Mahi chopped salad

I had lunch out with co-workers Thursday and this salad from Rubio’s hit the spot.  It was my favorite thing all week.

Swordfish chopped salad

Swordfish chopped salad

My sister-in-law and I had lunch before seeing a 1 pm musical theatre production Saturday.  I had the chopped salad with grilled swordfish.  It was good but the fish was overcooked.

Denny's Fit Fare Slam

Denny’s Fit Fare Slam

My husband and I had breakfast out Sunday morning and I enjoyed the Fit Fare Slam which is just 9 PointsPlus.  I ended up finishing the week with over 30 weekly points thanks to earning 20 activity points!

 Fitness

I went to all three weekday sessions of Kaia Fit last week plus the group walk on Saturday morning.

xcite

Monday’s workout was X-cite.

material-girls

Erika, Aron and I were team “Material Girls” for Wednesday’s Hazaardous Material workout.  It was also Aron’s last 5 am class before moving to Northern California. 😥

power-play

We finished off the week with Power Play.

Weigh-In

My weigh-in day has changed to Mondays which I think will help keep me accountable over the weekend.  I lost 1.2 which brings the total loss to:

-37.0 Pounds

Challenges Ahead

There aren’t any specific challenges this week as we don’t have any social events to navigate around and I made a meal plan before shopping Saturday.  My goal is to focus on the action plan and have a great week.

How did your week towards great health go?

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Coffee and Your Health

coffee

The definition of coffee is simple: Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of “berries” from the Coffea plant.  But this beverage is so much more than that sentence.

People have consumed coffee since the 10th century although Americans started drinking it more during the Revolutionary War when drinking tea was deemed unpatriotic.  Now 61% of Americans drink coffee daily including yours truly.

I’m not alone in my love of the brew.  Just search for coffee on Pinterest and you’ll get thousands of images returned.  The good news is that this obsession can be good for our health.

Coffee Health Benefits

bahamas_coffee_mug

Besides tasting great and being naturally low calorie coffee may just help you live longer.  Here are five benefits of imbibing this nectar.

1. Antioxidants – A 2005 study showed that Americans get most their dietary antioxidants from coffee.  Even though you might eat fruits and vegetables the antioxidants they contain aren’t used by the body as easily as those from coffee.

This alone might account for all the other health benefits of coffee found in studies.

2. Disease – Coffee has shown a protective effect when it comes to many diseases.  Whether it’s Alzheimers, liver disease, diabetes or cardiovascular disease this nectar decreases the risk for all.

Coffee can’t protect people altogether but it seems it does extend time before getting these diseases and potentially severity.

3. Athletic Performance – I get up in time to have a cup of java before heading to my 5 am Kaia Fit class.  Apparently studies backup my assertion that I’m able to comlete the workout better after coffee.  Researchers don’t know exactly why performance is better with caffeine but a theory is it has to do with extending the time before muscle exhaustion.

4. Happiness – While coffee alone won’t make you happier it is tied to reducing the risk of suicide by 50%!  Another study showed that coffee drinkers (4 cups or more daily) were 10% less likely to be depressed than other people.

5. Intelligence –  Coffee doesn’t make you a genius but it does enable your brain to perform better.  It makes you feel more energized and focus on your work/study.  It accomplishes this by blocking neurotransmitters that make you feel calm and sleepy.  This is the opposite of other stimulants that just add more stimulating neurotransmitters.

My coffee habit is a balancing act as I try to get enough to satisfy my taste (and get these incredible benefits) and not impact getting a good night’s sleep.  For the most part I’m doing well by not having caffeine after 9 or 10 am.

Ready for your next cup?

Check out the other great posts in this special coffee talk blog hop!

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FitBloggin’ 15: Sunday and Giveaway!

fitbloggin-board

Sunday morning I dragged myself out of bed in time to have a cup of joe before meeting others for the last official event – a fun run/walk.

Ready to go with coffee and my Katie K Activewear

Ready to go with coffee and my Katie K Activewear

When I got downstairs people were already gathering for breakfast and some with early departures to say their good-byes.  The RunWestin concierge brought maps and swag.  In addition to a stretching band and chapstick, she had this cool sweat wristband that had a zipper to store your room key or other important small items.

runwestin-wristband

We were off!

group-run

Photo by CarrieDPhotography

Well after a photo opp in front of the hotel. :-)  I’m the one in yellow zebra top!

bear-statue

I saw even more Denver outdoor art on this walk.  This sculpture is titled “I See What You Mean” featuring a 40 foot tall bear peeking into the Convention Center.

half-face

This interesting sculpture is named “East 2 West Source Point” and located outside the city office building.

one-mile-foursome

The group I walked with made it up the Capitol steps and convinced a bystander to take our picture to prove it!  It was fun chatting with these awesome ladies: Brooke, Lorraine, and Gail.

capitol-view

This was the view from the steps.  Beautiful morning!

women-sitting-statues

I couldn’t find the name of this sculpture.  If you know please share! After the walk I had breakfast with other FitBloggers and said good-byes.

2015-06-27 12.56.52

All too soon I was on the way to the airport and back to reality for another year!  Read the previous parts of this year’s recap at:

FitBloggin Giveaway

Every year there’s a swag exchange the last morning of FitBloggin where extra gift bag items are available as well as items other attendees preferred not to take.  I grabbed some so I could share with one lucky reader.

fitbloggin-swag1

The swag includes (from top left to right):

  • What You Can When You Can book (authored by FitBloggin’ Founder Roni Noone & Carla Birnberg)
  • Running pouch from Bell Institute
  • Workout towel from Stonyfield OP
  • Egg stuffed animal from Eggland’s Best
  • Pedometer from California Avocado Association
  • Lip balm from AcaciaTV
  • Inspiration token
  • Infinity scarf from Soybu
  • Running light/reflector
  • Mobile phone card holder from Stonyfield OP

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older and have a US mailing address.  Use the Gleam form to enter and good luck!

FitBloggin’ 15 Swag

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Tales From the Scale: Getting Help

music-man

It’s been three weeks since my last Tales from the Scale post where I shared that it has been a struggle getting back on the healthy living wagon since returning from Italy in late May. I felt that I had righted the ship and was in good spirits.  Those good intentions weren’t enough.

When I quit going to Weight Watchers a few months ago I believed I could do this on my own.  Maybe someday but the results show I’m not ready to now.  This weekend I rejoined Weight Watchers but with some extra help.

I signed up for online membership with coaching and have my first session scheduled for later week.  I’m looking forward to some one on one help.

Food Plan

Studies show how important tracking food is to weight loss but every time I falter so does tracking.  My husband and I are in the photo above celebrating his birthday at an outdoor performance of The Music Man.  We celebrated with a birthday dinner out the next night.

spinach-salad

I started off with spinach salad (and a berry mojito).

beef-medallions

My entree was filet medallions (with three sauces) and au gratin potatoes… and a second mojito.  We had cake at home but earlier the day before we attended an anniversary party that had cupcakes…

cupcake-tower

I had two!  Now you can see why I didn’t want to track.  There were a whole lot of bad choices happening.  Now, there were lots of good meals but two good meals a day won’t make up for overeating during the third on a regular basis.

Weigh-In

I weighed in to sign up for Weight Watchers and was relieved it wasn’t much worse than my last report.  I had gained 0.8 pounds which brings the total loss to:

-35.8 pounds

 Fitness

I had perfect attendance the week before my husband’s birthday.

workout1

Monday’s workout was Risky Business.

Wednesday's workout was Bold & Beautiful

Wednesday’s workout was Bold & Beautiful

workout3

Friday’s workout was Friday Power.  Then I didn’t go the past two weeks!  I’m there today.

Challenges Ahead

The challenge this week will be not to take the easy way and eat whatever I want whenever I feel hungry but to eat healthfully and within my point range.  I have two restaurant outings planned for the week.  Both are lunches and I’ll focus on making healthy selections.

What are your challenges this week? 

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