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BLC25 Fit Test - Week 1

Monday, May 05, 2014

SP has an article that talks about fit tests you can do at home and for this weekend's challenge, we were to do it. We're supposed to repeat at the 6-week mark and again at the 12-week mark.

Initially, I thought I wouldn't be able to do the step test because I didn't have a 12-inch step but I did it anyways using a 9-inch step (the tallest I have).

Here's the article in case anyone else wants to try it:


Here are my test results:

Walk 1 Mile - 20 minutes - SP rates this Poor
Pushups - 8 (my right shoulder gave out before the time was up) - SP rates this Average
Crunches - 16 (I did better on this than I thought I would) - SP rates this Good
Step-ups - 127 bpm (pulse rate 1 minute after they were done) - SP rates this Poor

So, I did better than I thought I would for the Pushups and Crunches but I'll have to try to improve the walking and step-ups between now and Week 6. Overall, I'm pleased that I was able to do the full fit test and I look forward to seeing what Week 6 will bring.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUTZ4HARRY 5/9/2014 7:30PM

    I didn't have a step so I just used my stair as a step. Great job!!

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FUSIONFITNESS3 5/6/2014 12:45AM

    emoticon You completed the test. Great attitude on planning for improvements in 6 weeks already. emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 5/5/2014 2:54PM

    emoticon completing it all!
No where to go but up! I think you wouldn't be able to find a 12" step anywhere except in a step class using risers.
Good Luck with your challenge!
emoticon emoticon

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A-STRONGER-ME 5/5/2014 8:49AM

    emoticon I am half way done and doing fairly well also.

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SWEETNEEY 5/5/2014 6:55AM


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BLC25 Goals

Sunday, May 04, 2014

For this first weekend challenge, we're supposed to list our goals for BLC25 so here they are:

1. Re-learn to only eat when I'm hungry and to stop when I'm full in other words, practise mindful eating. I was doing pretty good on this at the end of last year but lately I've failed to follow through when confronted with foods I don't eat often but love (like homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - yum).

2. I'd love to get under 200 pounds for the first time in over a decade and stay there so that's my weight loss goal for this BLC (and this year).

3. My third goal is to participate in 100% of the challenges and to absolutely do my very best for each one.

And, that's it. No problem, right? emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

A-STRONGER-ME 5/5/2014 8:51AM

    No Problem at all.

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AEGISHOT 5/4/2014 2:56PM


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_LINDA 5/4/2014 11:46AM

    emoticon goals!
You can do this!!
Go Joanna, Go!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 5/4/2014 10:42AM

    Great goals. Have fun with your journey to where you want your life to be. I know you can get there.

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Canada's Healthcare System Explained for My US SparkFriends

Friday, March 14, 2014

Good morning.

With Obamacare being hotly contested in the US senate, I ran across some info about Canada's healthcare system that might provide some clarification for my US SparkFriends:

Dr. Danielle Martin, a Toronto doctor, testifies at a U.S. Senate committee in Washington on Tuesday. The committee was studying health-care systems in other countries.

Martin outlined the benefits of Canada’s health-care structure and contrasted it with the American one, while noting the strong public support in Canada for the idea that access to care shouldn’t depend on one's ability to pay.

“We do not have uninsured residents. We do not have different qualities of insurance depending on a person’s employment. We do not have an industry working to try to carve out different niches of the risk pool. This is a very important accomplishment and as we watch the debate unfold as to how to address the challenges you face, we are reminded daily of its significance,” said Martin.

Here's a video of part of the debate between Canadian and American healthcare in the US Senate that includes the statements above by Dr. Martin:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JMOUSE99 3/17/2014 11:33AM

    Our system is far from perfect, but I still think it works better than the US system.

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_LINDA 3/14/2014 6:24PM

    Good debate. Mexico is getting some of our health care dollars, particularly in Dentistry, apparently really cheap down there compared with here..

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 3/14/2014 3:47PM

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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HERMIEME 3/14/2014 2:35PM

    I would never be able to live in the States and pay for my hundreds of dollars worth of medications a month (it used to be in the thousands and could be again) plus I have had at least 14 hospitalizations of 1-4 months - thank heavens for Canada's system though it keeps me tied down and poor it's the only way I can afford this. I've always wanted to live in NY or LA but I guess I am very lucky to be where I am and should be happy. emoticon
emoticon for sharing this with our American friends!

Comment edited on: 3/14/2014 2:36:10 PM

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TRUNKJUNK 3/14/2014 12:15PM

    I've been enlighten thanks for sharing

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 3/14/2014 9:42AM

    Thank you so much! Health care would cost much less in the USA if the big insurance companies, who make so much profit, were shuttered. emoticon

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LOVELESMILLS 3/14/2014 9:39AM


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A Typical Day at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A typical day started around 7 a.m. when my dad headed out for a 1 hour hike and I did an exercise DVD in the room (except for Thursday when I went to the fitness centre for TnT).

When my dad returned from his hike, he showered and we went to breakfast at the buffet restaurant. My typical breakfast was an omelette with green pepper, onions, ham and a little cheese plus 2 slices of French toast, a little bit of extra crispy bacon and fresh fruit.

After breakfast, we went back to the room to get "slathered up" as my dad would say and put our bathing suits on. During the day, he hung out on the beach, which was cooler than the pool as it was breezier and I hung out at the pool so that I could do my laps and because it was closer to the restrooms.

Between 11:30 a.m. and noon, I would go and get my laptop and head to the lobby to enjoy the free Wi-Fi so that I could log my exercise and touch base with family by email and my Warrior team. Between 1:30 and 2:00, I would meet my dad at the buffet restaurant for lunch. After lunch, he would head back to the beach and I would head back to the pool for a couple of hours. Around 4 p.m., I would head to the room for my shower and change for dinner. My dad would arrive around 4:30 and have his shower and change for dinner.

Dinner was usually between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. so between 5 and 6:30, he would have a cup of coffee and I would have a Diet Coke and we would play Scrabble. He's much better this year than in past years. He's finally learned that Scrabble isn't just about words but it's also about strategy. After the game was done, we would go to dinner.

We ate dinner at 4 of the specialty restaurants and the other nights were at the buffet restaurant.

My favourite specialty restaurant was Le Chanterelle, the French restaurant.

However, there's a funny story about it. My dad and I arrived at the restaurant and the maitre'd showed us to our table. We were told to help ourselves to the salad bar after we had placed our orders. I had French onion soup as my appetizer and my dad had mushroom soup. For our mains, I had Chicken Provencal and my dad had Coquille St. Jacque au Gratin. And, for dessert, I had Crepes Suzette and my dad had Creme Brulee.

After we had finished our soups, the waiter came over and told us that we had to leave. I asked why and he said we weren't allowed to be there so I said but you've already served our food and taken our orders so we weren't leaving. He kept insisting so I finally asked to speak to his boss but he said no one was around to speak with so we just ignored him until he went away. My dad and I sat there for awhile wondering if we were going to be served our main courses or if we would be forced to leave. Finally, the waiter came back and told us we had to take our wristbands off and hide them, which we did. They served us our mains and dessert and so were able to finish our meals.

It turned out that Le Chanterelle was only available to guests who were staying at the Royal Suites Turquesa next door to the Grand Palladium and our wristbands were the wrong colour. emoticon But, it was their fault; they let us in without checking our wristband colour!

My dad's favourite specialty restaurant was Rodizio, the Brazilian restaurant. If you like meat, this is the restaurant for you. First of all, the waiter directed us to the salad buffet. After the salad course is done, the waiter pointed out the card on the table which was green on one side and red on the other. We were told that lots of meat would be coming out of the kitchen and as long as we wanted more meat, to leave the card on the green side. When we'd had our fill of meat, turn the card over to the red side and she would bring us the dessert menu.

The meat comes out on large kebobs. There was chicken, beef, lamb, pork and sausage. There was also a vegetable skewer. I tried everything except the sausage as I don't usually like sausage. It was good and the meats were really tender.

Another specialty restaurant we tried was the Japanese restaurant. The tripadvisor.com website said that this restaurant was a must try especially because of the show that the chefs put on. There were 3 square cooking stations with approximately 12 seats around them for the diners and then there was around 10 tables placed along the window and wall of the restaurant. We asked for seats at the cooking table but were denied even though most of the seats were empty. Language was a barrier and so we have no idea why we weren't allowed to sit there so we made do with a table by the window.

My dad insisted on ordering hot sake wine for both of us even though I didn't want any but he wanted me to try it. I did try it and honestly, it just tasted like hot white wine, in my opinion and since I don't like white wine, I didn't drink mine even though the waiter kept adding more to my glass each time he came over.

My dad had tempura vegetables and shrimp as an appetizer but I passed on the appetizer since what my dad had and miso soup were the only two options and I don't like tempura or miso.

For our mains, my dad had Chicken, Beef and Pork Kebab marinated with sake, honey and ginger and served with vegetables and I had Grilled Salmon filet with teriyaki sauce and sautéed vegetables. For dessert, my dad and I both had chocolate mousse. The food was good and I tried to eat a lot of it with my chopsticks.

And, the only other specialty restaurant we went to was Mare Nostrum, the seafood restaurant. Once again there was a salad buffet for the start and then my dad had the Cod Fish Portuguese Style and I had Sea Bass Filet Meuniere Style. My dad's entree came with potatoes and veggies and my Sea Bass came with rice and veggies. This was the only specialty restaurant dish that I didn't enjoy as the sea bass was overcooked and mushy. For dessert, I had ice cream and my dad had fresh fruit.

After dinner, we'd go back to the room and read until bedtime, which was usually between 9:30 and 10.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITMAMAOF1 3/7/2014 12:43PM

    Sounds like a very relaxing time!

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 3/6/2014 8:11PM

    Sounds like you had another great vacation with your Dad! emoticon

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JANISMKW 3/3/2014 10:26PM

    Great that you could share that experience with your Dad.

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_LINDA 3/2/2014 11:37PM

    Glad you were able to enjoy the food for the most part. Not much of it would interest me. Those all inclusive resorts must be stacked one after the other..
Good for you only gaining 2 pounds in spite of all the rich foods!

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Punta Cana 2014 - Pros & Cons

Sunday, March 02, 2014

My dad and I just returned from Punta Cana yesterday afternoon after spending a week at the Grand Palladium Palace Resort & Spa.

Overall, we had a good time with more pluses than minuses. The weather was almost perfect. It rained one evening on our way to dinner and once overnight. Other than that, it was sunny and hot every day with a nice Caribbean breeze.

The pros of our trip include:

- The Pool

It took me 15 minutes to swim 10 laps of the pool and I tried to do a minimum of 20 laps daily.

- The Ocean and the Beach

The beach was long (almost a kilometre) with fine, non-seaweedy sand. The ocean was warm and not too wavy. However, I only "swam" in it once because I much preferred the pool since it was easier to swim in and get some exercise.

- The Beach wildlife

We saw this cute little guy on the beach the first day.

- The Company

I always go somewhere warm in February with my dad. Both of us are sick of the cold and the winter by then and look forward to our annual trip.

- The Food (overall)

(Crepes Suzette at La Chanterelle)

- The Flights

I usually get an awful earache and/or headache when the plane is landing but I didn't have any problems either way. I also paid extra for my dad and me to have seats with more leg room. Well worth it in my opinion.

- Free Wi-Fi in the Lobby

Most days, I went to the lobby for a couple of hours when it was hottest out to use my computer to touch base with family and friends. The Internet was a little slow but not too bad.

- Weight

My goal was to not gain any weight while away. Unfortunately, I gained 2 pounds but I still consider this a Pro as it could have been much worse.

- Alcohol

I only had one alcoholic drink the first day and two sips of sake at the Japanese restaurant.

The cons of our trip include:

- The staff at the resort, for the most part, didn't speak or understand English so if I wanted something specific, I had to go online to look up how to say it in Spanish, e.g. tea with milk is te con leche. Although, that said, they tried to be helpful and friendly despite the language barrier.

- The specialty restaurants didn't take reservations so you had to show up when they opened and hope to get a table. The tripadvisor website said that La Parillo, the steakhouse was also a good choice for dining and we showed up at 7:30 for a table and told that there wouldn't be one for two more hours. It's fine if you like eating early but since lunch wasn't until 2, eating early meant that we sometimes were at a restaurant but weren't even hungry yet.

- I wanted to read a minimum of 3 books during the week but I only got 2 read since the first one I chose took longer than I thought it would (4 days).

- On Friday, I woke up with some bathroom issues so I avoided dairy and fresh produce for the day except for one banana in an effort to reduce the possibility of any accidents. Friday night, I woke up around 3 a.m. feeling like I was going to throw up and rushed to the bathroom but felt better once I got there but was wishing for an antacid, which I didn't think to bring with me. I took aceteminophen with codeine (what I use in place of Immodium) throughout Friday and Saturday (our travelling home day) to avoid bathroom emergencies. I'm still not feeling 100% but I'm better. I also didn't exercise Friday morning in the room prior to going to the pool because of not feeling up to snuff but I swam 40 laps in the pool for a total of 1 hour so I did get some exercise that day.

- I got a blister on my right big toe the first day and then a small pus-filled sac on the side of my right foot and a larger one on the side of my left foot, which made it somewhat painful to walk and to put my sneakers on for my exercise. I have no idea what caused the two pus-filled sacs. The blister occurred because I needed to adjust the strap on my sandal.

- On Thursday, my dad and I went to the beach to swim in the afternoon. Somebody had stolen his towel and chaise from when he was there that morning but his chair was still there with 2 towels on it plus someone else's stuff so he just took one of the towels since it was probably his anyways.

We found two empty chaises and were going to move them to a quieter area and while I was pulling my chair across the sand and up a small incline, I fell on my butt. It happened so fast; I literally wasn't expecting it. My dad helped me up and told me to just carry our bags and he would move the chairs.

After relaxing on the chairs for about 45 minutes, we decided we wanted to go swimming but getting in and out of the ocean was tricky since the sandy bottom was slightly hilly with some deep drops and of course, the water itself was wavy and tended to knock me off balance as well.

So, my dad and I agreed to help each other in and out of the water but my dad didn't help me with the getting in part and the first big drop landed me on my butt AGAIN! And, then I couldn't get up because each time, I tried to get up, a wave knocked me over again and it was all so ridiculous that I couldn't help laughing and my dad was trying to pull me up but I just couldn't get my footing. Finally, the lifeguard came over and pulled me up and out. Consequently, I didn't do any swimming that day. emoticon

- The Airport

We arrived and departed on a Saturday. Arrival was chaos. About 1000 people arrived at the airport all at the same time and there were lines for everything from going through customs to going through immigration to getting our bags and it was really hot in the terminal. One of the airport personnel told me that Saturdays are their busiest days because of all the incoming traffic.

Arrival may have been chaos but departing the airport was very stressful and of course, I was having multiple hot flashes as well. We got to the airport around 9:30 a.m. Lining up to get our boarding passes went smoothly but my dad wanted to use a rest room before going through security so I waited outside on a bench for him. We headed toward security and after we had been in line for only a couple of minutes, I realized that I couldn't find our boarding passes or baggage claims! Somewhere between checking our bags and this line-up, I had lost them so we had to backtrack. First stop was the bench by the restroom and there was nothing there but a woman saw us looking and wondered if I was looking for my boarding passes and of course, I said "yes". She said that she and her husband just found them and he had given them to one of the airport staff and as he could still see the staff person, he went after him to tell him that I had come back looking for them so that was a relief. emoticon My dad and I thanked both of them profusely.

But we had to get in line for security once more and it was really long but moved fairly quickly. We loaded the trays with our shoes, personal belongings, etc. and went through the gateway. On the other side, a female employee told me to put up my arms so she could pat me down, which I did but I'd forgotten to remove my pedometer so she found that and indicated that she wanted to know what it was. I told her it was just my pedometer and that I had forgotten to take it off. She looked miffed but let me go.

I had to wait for my dad as he had to remove his belt and shoes and it always takes him longer than me due to his age.

It was now 10:30 and our flight was due to leave at 12:30 p.m. with loading the plane beginning at 12:05 p.m.

We went and found our Gate and I left my dad with our carry-ons and I went to buy us some water (since the tap water was suspect).

I got back to our seats about 11 and sat down to read. Periodically, someone would make an announcement over the PA system but it was indecipherable due to the language and accent but around 11:30, I was sure that I had heard my name in the announcement. My dad said that I was imagining things and to ignore it so I did. At about 11:45, another announcement was made and this time, my dad heard my name as well. It asked me to go to our Gate so I did. The man there told me that my checked bag had been randomly selected to be searched and that I would have to come with him to ensure that nothing was taken.

I said my plane was leaving soon and why did they want to search my suitcase; I was just a normal woman with normal woman stuff in my suitcase but he kept saying it was just routine.

I had to go all the way back to security and then he told me to wait when he went to get my suitcase. This probably took about 5 minutes and then apparently, certain personnel were also needed and this took about 10 minutes and it was now 10 to 12 and I was feeling very anxious. All told, 4 men went through my suitcase taking everything out, checking out each still unopened package of gum, looking in all the pockets, looking in the liner of the suitcase, handling all of my dirty underwear, etc. and I hated it. They even made me turn my computer on and off. We didn't get done until after 12 but the original man told me that the plane would have to wait for me so I shouldn't worry but I was because I knew my dad would be wondering where I was. However, I had to stop at the restroom on the way back though because my nerves had made my bladder weak.

When I got back to our Gate, everyone was gone except my dad who looked relieved to see me and we headed outside to get on the bus that would take us to the plane. A lot of the people from our train weren't on the bus but waiting beside it. I found out that they had been on the bus but since it wasn't air conditioned and they had been on it for 15 minutes, they got off because it was just too hot. The reason the bus hadn't taken them over yet was because they were waiting for me. I tried to get an upgrade on the plane, which I thought I more than deserved after all the hassle but no such luck.

DH thinks that I was singled out because of the lost boarding pass and that honestly, didn't occur to me but he may be right.

And, now, I'm home again where it's still cold and snowy and I'm tired and achy. I laundered everything in the suitcase even the stuff I didn't wear because of all those hands touching my stuff. I even thought about throwing the gum out but I didn't since it really hasn't been opened yet.

I've done the grocery shopping and two loads of laundry and this blog. I booked tomorrow off from work as well and I'm glad because this week is going to seem long enough as it is. I have a dentist appointment on Thursday and a hair appointment on Friday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANISMKW 3/3/2014 10:31PM

    Love your pictures! emoticon
That is the cutest crab I've ever seen with those big eyes!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JMOUSE99 3/3/2014 4:57PM

    Wow, very stressful traveling! I'll have to remember not to arrive on Saturday if I ever go to the DR (which I really want to). Glad everything worked out!

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DEDICATED2HIM 3/3/2014 6:46AM

    Wow.What an adventure. Sorry Joanna, I had to laugh at the mental image of your dad and then the lifeguard trying to get you on your feet. Sounds like something that would happen to me. I'm glad you had a good time...and am sure you loved getting away from the cold and snow.I wish I could go somewhere warm.Was your pain much better when you were there?

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_LINDA 3/2/2014 11:18PM

    A nice relaxing getaway to be sure. Traveling to get there is always the worst part for me as it always means a personal search through security because of all my metal parts -they were always surprised one so young would have that much. I felt like maybe I should just wear a bikini checking through lol.
So glad your boarding passes were found!!

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