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Tales from the Scale: A Simple Restart

a-simple-restart

I traveled two weekends in a row and was off my routine ever set.  It was good to be back at my meeting Saturday morning and the theme of “A Simple (Re)Start” fit perfectly.

What that means is getting back some of the excitement and discipline I had as a new time Weight Watchers member. We were asked what triggered us to join last time.  For me it seeing a picture of myself at my mom’s funeral. I was wearing the largest size ever for me and looked like a big blog in a black dress.

A secondary reason was the fear that if I didn’t get a handle on my health I’d be following mom’s path to a shorter than average life span.

Strategies to re-start include:

  • Re-reading materials
  • Tracking regularly
  • Weighing and measuring food
  • Focus on power foods
  • Try new recipes

Food Plan

I didn’t track or take photos of food the past two weeks other than while at the AARP convention.  Here’s a photo of a delicious (and generous portion) of beet salad I had at Union Kitchen & Tap.

beet-salad

It was the best thing I ate all week!  We did make it to the grocery store Tuesday and I came up with a menu plan to get us through to the weekend so we ate healthier than it sounds. :)

Weigh-In

After two weeks with travel, no tracking and much less exercise than usual I was worried about weigh-in but ready to see it and move forward. Imagine my surprise when I saw I lost weight!  The total weight loss is back to:

49.8 Pounds

 Once again I’m .2 pounds away from 50 pounds off.  There’s something about breaking through such a significant number that’s messing with my head.

Challenges Ahead

The challenge is that I’m traveling for work this week and some of the meals won’t be in my control.  I’m packing almonds and a few protein bars and will make the best choices possible.

I’ll also be packing exercise clothes and plan to get two walks in while there.  I usually retain fluid after flying so am not hopeful about next Saturday’s weigh-in but it’s just one moment in time; not a lifetime.

How did your week go?

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More Giveaway Winners!

I love emailing people when they’ve won a giveaway and it’s time to announce winners of three recent ones here at Weight Chronicles.

ecotools-facial-sponges

First up we have the FIVE winners of the EcoTools Facial Sponge Set.  Congratulations to:

  • Debra G.

  • Wen B.

  • Lea K.

  • Helen B.

  • Stacy D.

miamaru-skin-oil

Congratulations to the winner of the Mia Mariu Skin Nourishing Oil:

  • Danielle J.

everything-pretzels

Last (but not least) is the winner of the Mary’s Gone Crackers Everything Pretzels giveaway.  Congratulations to:

  • Georgette C.

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Essio Aromatherapy Shower Kit Review

essio-logo

Aromatherapy and essential oils are a newer interest of mine so I was intrigued when offered the chance to turn my shower into a spa with the Essio Aromatherapy Shower Kit. There are many benefits associated with aromatherapy including reduced inflammation, increased blood circulation, and reduced stress and improved mental well-being.

I received the kit and even from within the shipping box I could get a hint of the terrific fragrances.

shower-kit

The Essio Starter Kit comes with the shower device plus three essential oil pods and is priced $44.99. That’s much less than a trip to the spa! There  are six blends available ranging from a lavender-infused Night blend to a eucalyptus-based Breathe blend.  These are designed to suit the emotional state of the user at any given point in their day.

Pod replacements come in packs of four and eight and are priced at $19.99 and $29.99 respectively. Each pod will last around 4 – 5 showers on average, but you can get more by tilting the device up and saving for later.

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I found it very easy to install the diffuser and just used the included instructions.  There is a helpful video available that shows how to use and install the kit. No tools are needed!

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I found it pretty easy to get it clipped onto the shower head and ready to go.  Since I’ve been having problems with seasonal allergies my first choice was the Breathe formula which is a blend of cedarwood atlas, peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus.

Once the shower is going then the arm should be tilted into the flow so the essential oils are diffused in the spray using patented technology.  It worked like a charm.  I really enjoyed the shower and didn’t want to get out!  There wasn’t any oil in the shower or on my skin afterwards; just pure scent.

pods-stand

It’s important to remove the pod afterwards and store in the handy stand for your next spa shower experience.  My favorite things about the Essio Aromatherapy shower kit besides the sinus opening experience are:

  • The oils are 100% USDA-certified organic with no synthetics or harsh chemicals
  • The whole kit is made from fully recyclable materials, so it’s a green product

The only thing that may bother some people is that the scent remains for a while after your shower.  I found it very pleasant and enjoyed it.

I think the Essio Aromatherapy shower kit would make a great gift (holiday list maybe?) or indulgence for yourself.  Essio is hosting a giveaway where you can win your own kit.  Good luck!

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Top Careers Where You Can Save a Life

There’s probably nothing greater than knowing you’ve made a difference in the life of someone else. Whether you keep up with the news or not, you’re likely aware that day-to-day life is full of situations that require the assistance of those who have dedicated their lives to serving others and saving lives. When imagining lifesaving careers you may first think of the physical act of saving a life, but there are many careers where you can save lives in other ways. Below, you’ll find a short list of both physical and non-physical lifesaving careers.

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Image via Flickr by symphony of love

Drug Counselor

A drug counselor has a vital responsibility to keep people who are trying to live a new, drug-free lifestyle clean and sober. To become a drug counselor, you’ll need education, a compassionate and understanding heart, and dedication.

Firefighter or Paramedic

Every day, firefighters risk their lives to save the lives of others. Many firefighters are volunteers with regular daytime jobs, while others are full-time firefighters, ready to take action whenever the need arises.

Paramedics also have a huge responsibility when called to any emergency scene, especially scenes involving life-or-death situations. They are often the first on the scene and will need to immediately assess the patient, provide necessary medical care, and transport the patient to a medical facility.

Dietitian

Amidst rising obesity rates, the role of the dietitian has never been more important to the health and lives of others. Dietitians help people make healthier food choices by advising them on what they should and should not eat. They know all of the ins and outs of nutrition and food.

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with additional educational training from one of numerous family nurse practitioner programs specializing in areas including obstetrics and gynecology, general practice, and pediatrics. A nurse practitioner can do many tasks that doctors do, and they sometimes get to spend more time with patients.

Therapist or Youth Counselor

A therapist could potentially save a patient suffering from the depths of depression or another difficult mental illness. Most therapists are highly trained and offer patients an empathetic and nonjudgmental perspective. This career field is also important for working with kids. A compassionate and concerned adult can make a big difference to kids who feel alone in the world or who are neglected and abused.

When you’re done debating whether or not to pursue a rewarding career by making a difference in the lives of others, it’s time to take action. If you feel in your heart that you are ready to walk the talk, you need to make the time to speak with a career counselor at your local college or vocational school. With the availability of online classes to meet the needs of working students, your schooling options are virtually limitless when it comes to pursuing careers where you can save a life.

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AARP Ideas@50: The Good, Bad & Fun

aarp-life-50

This past weekend my husband and I attended Ideas@50, the AARP national conference held in San Diego.  We’ve been AARP members for over a decade and have never attended any of their events.  Now that we’re starting to seriously plan for retirement, it seemed like a good time.

AARP typically has two national conferences every year; one on each coast.  The next one is in Miami next May and the last one was in Boston.  This was the first Ideas@50 theme but I really don’t know how that differs from the previous Life@50 conferences.

The Good

1. Tracks: The conference content was organized by tracks which were Health & Wellness, Money & Work, Technology & Innovation and Travel & Lifestyle.  I thought this was a great organization of information.  It was hard to choose sometimes which session to attend because of competing interests.

2. Speakers: The speakers were for the most part topnotch.  I attended sessions by Samantha Brown, Arianna Huffington, Jean Chatzky, and Frank Abagnale.  Speakers I didn’t see included Martha Stewart, The Doctors, Guy Kawasaki and Joan Lunden.

Arianna Huffington.

Arianna Huffington.

3. Organization: The event was well organized.  There was signage everyone and volunteers at every entrance to help attendees find whatever they were looking for.  One guided us directly to the per-registered desk to pick up our badge holder and bag when we arrived.  Even though we didn’t really need help I appreciated the effort.  Sessions started on time and I never ran into a cranky person or disorganized moment.

4. AARP Bookstore: Many of the speakers are authors and AARP had a bookstore where you could buy their book for the book signing following their appearances.  These books appeared to be sold at cost.  The Arianna Huffington book “Thrive” was sold for $8 less than I paid at BlogHer in July!

The Bad

1. AARP Tek: The TEK stands for Technology Education Knowledge. AARP must think everyone over 50 is a neophyte when it comes to technology.  Their TEK sessions had only basic offerings such as “Email and Inbox Safety” or “Does this Plug Into that?” and my favorite “#WhatIsATweet Twitter Basics”.

I can see these would be helfpul for some attendees (and from what I saw they were well-attended) but what about the advanced tech users like me?  We were ignored as if we didn’t exist.

2. Exhibitors: The surprising thing to me was the number of exhibitors that offered products that were stereotypical “old age” products.  There were so many booths for mobility aids, hearing aids and emergency devices it was depressing.  What I thought would be my favorite section of the expo (health) was the one I wanted to avoid.

I can understand the challenge in trying to meet the needs of such a diverse group age-wise.  The boomers interest would be in things to keep us healthy and mobile while the older generation needs help managing conditions and limitations.  Having said that, I just walked on past most booths.

3. Conference Guide: In our swag bag, we each received a big conference guide.  Come to find out all the information was on a great mobile app.  I didn’t see any promotion encouraging attendees to use the mobile app.   Given that probably at least half the attendees had a smartphone, it would have cut costs down greatly to encourage the use of the app instead of the paper guide.  I only found out about the app from a sign at the conference.

aarp-mobile-app

4. Social Media: What I mean by this is the lack of social media interaction by AARP.  I saw very few tweets by AARP and couldn’t even find an official account on Instagram.  Yes, I understand a large number of attendees won’t use these tools but there is a subset but that wants to and AARP is losing out on opportunities to engage us.

The Fun

Concert: AARP has offered members the opportunity to attend concerts at a reasonable price in a smaller venue.  Past event concerts have included performances from top artists including Elton John, The Temptations and Gloria Estefan to name a few.  The Saturday evening concert this year had performances from Mavis Staples, Los Lobos and John Mellencamp.

john-mellencamp

The venue seated a few thousand but was maybe 2/3 full (being generous with that estimate).  We had a wonderful night enjoying great performances from Mavis and John.  We thought Los Lobos was just okay.

Kevin Spacey: The opening keynote included an interview by Soledad O’Brien with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Kevin Spacey.  Kevin stole the show.  He demonstrated he is just as brilliant as you think from his many outstanding roles and funny as heck.  He likes the F word and I am getting Netflix just to watch House of Cards.

We also enjoyed Soledad’s interview the next morning with Geordi LaForge Levar Burton and Rhoda Morgenstern Valerie Harper.  I was over the moon when Soledad retweeted one of my tweets afterwards!

soledad-retweet

Event Pins: It’s the little things that make us happy sometimes.  There was a collection of 10 pins commemorating the event being given away at various booths.  I was determined to find them all and did.  Now, what I’ll do with them I don’t know but it was a fun exercise.

Tourist in Hometown: We had so much fun staying downtown and playing tourist in our own city.  Our suburban neighborhood is about 25 miles north of downtown (although the same city) and when we do venture to the city, there’s too much traffic to really explore.

It was enjoyable to wander the Gaslamp Quarter in the early morning and really seek the sights.  We tried several new (to us) restaurants.

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All in all, we had a great time attending our first AARP event.  Although we won’t attend another one right away I can see us attending more in the future.

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