Monday, September 15, 2014
You know those banner ads from Fabletics.com that you see here on SparkPeople and other places? I don't like them. It's one thing to go to a website that looks interesting, cruise around and discover that all their clothing is not the sizes you need (if you are like me, larger than a size 20.).
It's quite another thing, very humiliating, to land at a website from a banner ad, and then, before you can even go look at the clothing, you have to fill out a survey - maybe they don't collect all the information, but it's enough. In this case, they asked for my first name, email, the sizes I needed for tops, bottoms and I forget what the other category was, my income level (fortunately there was a discreet "prefer not to answer"), and month and date of my birthday. Then the next page I think they wanted me to create a password. My first password was "junk" but it got busted because it needed to be at least 6 characters. So I got that changed.
I've seen other websites like this and usually it's fairly obvious that they are NOT going to have the sizes I need, so when I get those pre-emptive quizzes that allows them to sort out desirable customers vs pond-scum Rubenesque gals like me, I just delete the tab and move on. Today...I got caught in it. I could even see the "Contact Us" and they wouldn't even let me contact them first, before the quiz. So as soon as I was done with the quiz, I let them have an eyeful in their contact us email form. Politely of course, but I let them know in no uncertain terms that I'm not happy with their way of doing business. And I also told them that when I got to a lower weight where I could wear their clothes, I wouldn't be back.
I just felt like their pre-sale quiz was so invasive and hurtful. Can you imagine going to the mall and seeing a cute window display and going to the door to check it out and finding one of those Amusement Park Ride Warning Signs that says "you must be smaller than a size 20" or "you must be within a BMI of 25 or less" or whatever size range criteria? I'm sure that would be wildly popular, would it not??
Friday, September 05, 2014
I've seen a few different websites discussing herbal teas that are helpful for weight loss, and many are somewhat hard to understand or follow - I'm guessing because the articles were written by non-native English users. The information is still helpful though, so I wanted to have it on hand here in one place, rather than having to scroll page after page of advertisements with just little blips of the specific information.
Here's a few that I've found so far, and in some cases have used with decent results (just need to be consistent!). Plus - drinking herbal teas helps with your overall consumption of water, so that's a bonus, right!?
This tea is effective in balancing sugar levels, and hence, making it possible for you to have reduced cravings for sweets and other common foods that can make you fat. This natural appetite suppressant is best taken at night, preferably before having dinner. This will allow you to eat in smaller portions, which will make it easy to digest as you go to sleep.
Chamomile helps improve digestion and acts as a natural appetite suppressant. It is also cathartic, allowing the detoxification and removal of toxins. It is rich in magnesium, calcium, and Vitamin A, among others, and provides a wide array of health benefits while helping you to manage your weight, including improving sleep (and we all know the benefits of sleep in improving our weight).
Chickweed Tea (you know, the plant that gives us garbanzo beans?).
In a research that has been completed at the Washington State University Extension, chickweed tea has been proven to be abundant in diuretic, laxative, tonic, and expectorant properties, all of which are known to be helpful in being able to aid in weight loss. I did not know that! And it also works through the elimination of water...which I did know, as we're all about losing that water weight.
Known as the "little plant that roars", dandelion has natural diuretic and laxative properties to remove water and food weight before digestion begins and help your body reduce the feeling of 'feeling bloated'. Many avid dieters believe that diarrhea keeps their bodies from absorbing calories or fat, but this is not the case and could lead to dehydration and dependency on laxatives. Dandelion is also a beneficial aid for digestion and because of its mild laxative properties, it can help in bowel movements to become more regular. My favorite dandelion beverage is a product called Dandy Blend (which I have bought online or in local health food stores.). It kinda comes off like a coffee, but not caffeinated.
I have only tried garlic tea when I've been very congested with a cold - but evidently the allicin in garlic tea sends signals to the brain letting you know - "you are feeling very very full and satisfied..." yet sending that signal much sooner then you would get if you had simply eaten three plates full of food! Garlic is not exactly the first thing I think of drinking before a meal, because most of us don't like the strong taste of garlic. It will work fine if you combine the tea with some honey and lemon to kill the taste. Plus, the honey and lemons have their own benefits.
One of the things that make ginger tea a favorite for weight loss is that it is calorie free (except for whatever sweetener you might add, if any). Ginger also stimulates the digestive enzymes, and ginger is known to be able to increase the pH level of the stomach. It allows the essential nutrients to be absorbed by the body while the non-essential nutrients are flushed. That's cool - keep the good stuff and kick the junk out!
Green tea is technically not an "herbal tea" - it's a real tea. One of the most important components of green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate or EGCG, which boosts metabolism. This EGCG has enzymes which send signals to the fat cells in the body and tells them to break down. Aside from catechins, it is also rich in caffeine and polyphenols, both of which are proven to have fat-burning capabilities. It's also tasty and blends in well with fruit flavors. Need to be careful if you are anemic though, as it can block your ability to absorb iron.
Hibiscus is a natural source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or hydroxycut), the same chemical used in many diet formulas. It also contains other obesity fighting chemicals such as chromium and ascorbic acid. I was recently given some Hibiscus tea from a friend who got it from her friend (who brought it over from their visits to "the old country" - I'm thinking around Croatia or elsewhere in Eastern Europe). My experience was it tasted like rosehips and I did seem to detox, but I did not experience at all the hyperactive heart fluttering stuff that I got with the actual Hydroxycut product that came out a few years ago. I hated that feeling. And so I'm surprised reading a website that this is one of the other ingredients. Evidently those other "Hydroxycut" type diet pills have something else in there I was reacting to, and not the Hibiscus (and at the time I tried those pills, I was not at all aware of Hibiscus as a weight loss tea.). Or maybe having it as a tea just reduces the overall "hyper" impact on my heart, yet still provided the anti-sugar craving effect of the chromium and the general antioxidant properties of vitamin c in the ascorbic acid.
There are many reasons on why oolong is one of the most effective teas that can aid in weight loss. It is rich with antioxidants that are said to help in increasing your metabolism by as much as 10% in as quickly as 2 hours after drinking it. Its antioxidants are also claimed to be effective in burning fat, specifically those that accumulate in your upper arm and tummy. And it's one of my favorite teas! The caffeine in oolong does not affect me the same way as in green or black teas, so I have been able to sleep even if I had oolong tea late in the day.
Peppermint tea is one that I love to drink in combination with the oolong tea. It has proven to be highly effective in being able to control what you eat. Generally speaking, mint tea is good for improving digestion. Some people suggest that it is combined with green tea in order to create a powerful infusion that will be twice as effective for weight loss. Many also liked that it does not contain caffeine, which is great to know if you are drinking it with oolong or green tea.
Rose (or Rosehip) Tea
Also known as rosehip tea, this will help in the promotion of faster and healthier digestion. Aside from its weight loss benefits, it is also good for constipation and in flushing toxins from the body. With the abundance of the vitamins that can be found in this tea, you will also be able to experience benefits in terms of improving the glow and youthfulness of your skin.
Star Anise Tea
This tea is rich with diuretic properties that can prove to be naturally helpful for losing weight. If you have digestive problems, such as an upset stomach, star anise tea can also be helpful. This is a Chinese herb and must not be confused with the Japanese counterpart, which is known for being high in terms of toxicity. I don't know about the Japanese counterpart, but I do know I tend to benefit greatly from a healthy bowl of Beef Pho, and Pho spices typically include Star Anise. And tea? soup? both hot water and spices - what's the difference if it is sweet, savory, or just plain?? Bring it on.
Monday, August 25, 2014
I am taking an online music appreciation class, and we were asked write up introductions, including a link to a youtube or .mp3 selection, and why we liked it.
Well I'm the nerdy type so my link was to an organ piece I like written by JS Bach... but in the process of reading the introductions from my classmates and checking out their links, I've found new songs I'd never heard from and found the lyrics versions of those songs. So I think this is going to be a "blog to add to" from time to time, as I encounter new songs. I think some of these I've mentioned in the past but too tired to go see which blog I mentioned it in and link to it - but if I find them, I'll link to them as well...
Here's a new one for me:
"All about that Bass" by Meghan Trainor
I am sure I've mentioned Bruno Mars "Just the Way You Are" but here's a video of it both captioned and signed in ASL:
John Mayer's song "Daughters" - kind of sad but he's making some valid points on how parents can influence their daughters:
Jonny Dias - "More Beautiful You"
Colbie Caillat "Try"
It's come to my attention that the links don't always work, because on my screen they load up with the "https" (secure socket layer). One has mentioned taking the S out, so that it looks like this:
watch?v=MyTJaclSJgo (without the S - I deleted it before I copied and pasted it, and it went to the site, and then while loading, it automatically changed from the "http" to "https" ).
Maybe that will work??
Hope it does. Otherwise you'd just have to go to your YouTube and search the artist and the song name (and lyrics, if you want to see the lyrics, which is generally what I search for - ie. Bruno Mars "Just the Way You Are" Lyrics
maybe this one http://youtu.be/MyTJaclSJgo sometimes youtube does it like youtube.com and other times youtu.be/(rest of link) - I don't know why...
Friday, August 22, 2014
What a crazy summer!! Last Saturday the 16th, my step-sister's son and daughter-in-law were involved in a motorcycle wreck, where a trailer slipped off the hitch in the EB lane and whirled into their WB lane in Great Bend. They were airlifted to Wichita (it was all over the news, so those of you in Kansas likely have seen or read about it.). She coded twice that day, once en route on the helicopter, and they got her back, but when she coded at the hospital, she never came back. He hung on until mid-day Sunday and when they checked, he let go. They put him back on life support only to keep his organs saturated until the Midwest Organ Donation team could get to him later that evening to transfer to waiting recipients (We won't know for three weeks what they were able to use - likely only eyes or corneas, maybe pancreas. The rest of his abdominal organs were badly damaged in the wreck.).
Then we had the funeral last night and that was so heartbreaking. The two kids are only 5 and 6 years of age. The officer representing Ft Riley Honor guard came to pay the last respects for both. There was no graveside service, so they didn't do the gun salutes and all of that. On stage were photos of both Shawn and Danielle and folded American flags besides each photo. So after "Taps" was played (which is always a tearjerker for me), the officer picked up Danielle's service flag and presented it to the daughter, and then went back to the stage, picked up Shawn's service flag, and presented it to the son. Grandparents and step-grandparents were on either side, as well as the Godparents who will now be caring for the kids... It was really rough on my mom, as she was Shawn's step-grandmother, marrying his granddad while he was in middle school and just a short while before his parents finally divorced and then married their respective new partners... It's just so heartbreaking...
After the funeral, during the family lunch, watching the kids playing gleefully with their cousins, surrounded by so much love, I suddenly realized I was basically the same age when my mom was pregnant with my baby sister. Back then, the whole idea of families being together for births was foreign - and so my parents went to the midwife because they couldn't afford health care, hospitals etc. The midwife legally couldn't do what she knew medically needed to happen and told them they needed to go to the hospital, but they were so paralyzed by the idea of going bankrupt for lack of paying hospital bills (my dad was self employed then, didn't really make a lot of money, and they already had us 3 older kids.). So for some reason, after she was stillborn, the congregation we worshipped at kinda went all cold shoulder on us, and there was no funeral, no visitation, no attempt to keep the family together, to explain to us kids what happened, why baby sister wasn't coming home, why those ladies took away the baby shower gifts that we were excitedly looking forward to playing with and using to help care for our baby sister...the 1960's was kind of a harsh time, looking back...so much denial of life? And she was born and dead the day before my birthday. So no wonder my birthday is a sad time in the dead of winter, literally and figuratively... hard to move on with an annual reminder!!
So anyway... that was all mixed up with me starting a few classes at Wichita State - taking Yoga, Tai Chi, and Music Appreciation class...juggling things around the funeral...
But I did finally make myself jump on the rebounder today!!!
Today's rebounding playlist was from Carlos Santana "Supernatural" album - (I think, but I'm already trying to remember, because I had to jump off and skip ahead to the next one with the "right beat" for where I wanted to be.)...
"Game of Love" 4:14
"You Are My Kind" 4:20
"Since Supernatural" 4:32
Of course, my SPAT denies all knowledge of my rebounding. I've not been able to sync it since 8/11/2014, despite our attempts at uninstalling it, reinstalling it, fiddle with this or that, etc etc. At least my FitBit shows a happy tall flower with 8 leaves, so I guess I was putting out some energy??
Oh well. At least I know I exercised, even if the electronics are clueless!! (Typically Fitbit and Spat call rebounding exercises as "cycling" !? ha!)
Monday, August 18, 2014
So many deaths this summer - I'd think it was winter, but these are a little more sudden and abrupt. My girlfriend's son just died a month ago the 13th. This past Saturday my step-sister's youngest son and his wife and a group of others were in Great Bend, KS to scope out an honorary motorcycle run for a friend of theirs who had died LAST summer (his airplane crashed.). While there, the one friend was up ahead, with their 6 year old daughter behind him. The couple - my step nephew and his wife were in the "middle" of the pack, when suddenly a truck pulling a trailer passed them and the trailer was evidently improperly hitched, and it swung out sideways and knocked the two over, with the trailer hitch or some piece of it hitting the wife in the abdomen. Behind them, where he could see and immediately stop/lay down his cycle, was the father of my nephew, and his passenger in back was the 5 year old son of the couple. When he got up to the wreck, he could see his daughter-in-law's sliced open abdomen and so he rushed back to prevent his grandson from seeing any more.
They were airlifted into Wichita yesterday and I guess his wife coded en route, they got her back, but shortly after she got to the hospital, she coded again. My nephew likely never knew she died, as he has been unconscious all this time, despite several surgeries, removing his spleen and other surgery, he began actively dying and hospital basically declared him dead at mid day. They kept his body on life support until late this evening so they could begin processing for organ donations (possible pancreas and corneas?).
His parents are divorced, so step-sister and her husband and the ex-husband and his current wife have been sharing grandparent custody of the grandkids while my nephew and his wife had been dealing with issues stemming from their service overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, including PTSD. It's not immediately clear how they will resolve the care of the children.
His wife's parents are also divorced, where her dad lives out of state, and her mom is in prison. Her only sister lives some four hours away and she is unable to care for the children. So it's not clear how funeral arrangements will be resolved. I'm hoping that some of those details were already established since that's the kind of procedure that the US Military requires before going overseas.
And I start at college again tomorrow! My girlfriend has transferred from the community college to the big campus here, Wichita State (you know, Shockers??). What was I thinking? and we haven't finished doing our FAFSA to figure out what financial aid might be available.
I'm not taking a full load - just yoga, tai chi, and tae kwon do. Or until I figure out which one is not going to work for me and drop it!!
So anyway, some will offer prayers to this crazy mixed up family and others like us ... others will just shake their heads and go, oh bummer, bad karma, so sad, whatever it is we say when words are not enough. I'm mostly just venting anyway, as I need to spill I guess. Maybe I'll take my notebook with me to school so I can spend some time writing out thoughts.
I'll be hearing more from my mom as she tries to referee her two step-children and their respective families (my step-brother and his wife share a duplex home with her, where she has remained ever since my step-dad died 5 or 6 years ago.)...as I know the funeral(s) will at least include full military honors for both of them, the 21 gun salutes, the whole kit and kaboodle, presentation of flags. My personal vote is to do both in one funeral and just get it done, so her dad doesn't have to fly back and forth to Florida in between??
Time for bed....
Oh, I was going to include at least one article for those who want to look at such things and see him at his handsome smiley best... (there are quite a few articles out now)
(8/18/2014 just saw a link to local newspaper with info on the Memorial Fund set up for the kids. I also know they have set up Wounded Warrior Projects and Camp Hope for PTSD for memorials. I can send the link if anyone is interested.).
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