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What I Learned at the Spa

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a week at a very nice destination spa. Though body "treatments" were available, the emphasis was on a wide range of exercise options and healthy eating and cooking rather than lounging in mud or wrapping up like a seaweed burrito. I went for a more active experience, and that's what I got.

My purpose for going there was to have a warm-weather break and to spend quality time with my companion, and I definitely got those, but what I wasn't expecting was a major diet and attitude reset. For a week, menus, shopping, cooking, and cleanup were out of my hands, and all I had to do was choose exercise and leisure activities, and show up at the table 3 times a day. Meals were in the hands of talented experts, and they were fabulous, yet fabulously healthy. After a week, I noticed a few things:

--My taste for sweet stuff got reset. Yes, there were desserts at dinner, but the portions were small, and mainly sweetened with agave. By the end of the week, a piece of chocolate somebody gave me wasn't all that appealing (was this really ME??) and I ended up bringing it home and giving it to someone else.

--My taste for salt got reset. I had thought I lived a pretty low-sodium existence, but was amazed after a Chinese meal back home when the soy sauce seemed unpleasantly salty and my body blew up with water retention.

--You can have vegetables at any meal. Even breakfast. Rice and steamed vegetables were always a breakfast buffet option. You can have them with savory instead of sweet oatmeal. You can pile them on an egg.

--You need adequate protein when you're active, but this can be some beans on your salad or a yoghurt drink, not necessarily a hunk of chicken or steak.

--You can eat flowers (if they're grown organically). Calendula petals are a beautiful garnish.

--Relaxation is an important component of exercise. I discovered the "stretch and relax" class was the perfect ending for an active day.

I was an altered person when I returned to the "real" world. It started at the airport, where all the food offerings were highly processed items full of empty calories, sugar, and salt. Eventually I found a fresh fruit salad, but it took some searching. I now approach meal planning with the phrase, "what would the spa serve?" We have more vegetarian dinners, more vegetable ingredients, and I keep a better supply of fresh fruit for snacks. There's dried fruit (in limited amounts) in the car for when the munchies strike.

And the result so far has been a restart on my weight loss. Slow, steady, sustainable.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GREENGEENY2 5/16/2013 1:01PM

    How exciting to get to spend a week at a spa! AND...to gain benefits from it as well. I am totally green with envy :)

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FIFIFRIZZLE 4/2/2013 7:09PM

    Well done for bringing your spa week back with you. And thankyou for sharing it with us!

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GEORGE815 3/21/2013 8:48PM

    What a great week!

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    CONGRATULATIONS, and BEST WISHES in reaching all of your goals.

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WHYNOTJ1 3/21/2013 10:16AM

    Sounds awesome!

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LASKIE2 3/21/2013 7:43AM

    It sounds like you had a very pampered week at the Spa without indulging in the "Body Treatments" and opting out for more of an "Educational" experience. Good for you! emoticon

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BCARSON11 3/20/2013 5:06PM

    Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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NHES220 3/20/2013 1:41PM

    Sounds like a fabulous week! Certainly provides a new perspective on things. Even though I am not a person who adds salt to my food, there is a lot of salt in some of the foods already. Certainly good to be more mindful of eating more vegetables and looking at other sources of protein. And just a little jealous of your spa week.

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Enter the Idita-Splash!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Want some extra motivation for your workouts, plus a beautiful shirt, plus help some kids in a frozen part of the world enjoy a healthful activity? Step right this way and join the Idita-splash!

The Idita-splash is a cousin of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race iditarod.com/ a 1049 mile mushing race across most of the state of Alaska run in early March each year. It begins near Anchorage and ends in Nome. The town of Nome is near the Arctic Circle and is accessible only by sea and air (and dogsled)--no roads! Imagine how expensive it is for a swim team to attend a meet!

Here's what happens: You go to the web site www.idita-splash.com and read all about it, look at the pictures of the Nome swimmer kids, and sign up for the splash. Then between January 1 and March 31, 2013 you log at least 1049 minutes of any kind of water activity--swimming, water aerobics, playing with the kids at the pool, whatever. You can track online at the web site or print out paper tracking sheets. If you've paid for your t-shirt or hoodie, your shirt will come along in the mail this spring, and all money beyond the cost of the shirts will benefit the Nome swimming teams. A win-win-win!

If your outdoor pool is closed for the winter, or you're not a water exerciser, you can go over to the Idita-Walk web site www.idita-walk.com for a similar land-based scheme. And your dog can be included in the Idita-Walk!

Do it! It's fun; it's extra motivation; the shirts are beautiful (royal blue this year); and the Nome kids can really use the funds.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLPHINSINGER72 2/17/2013 8:19PM

    I might have to do Idita-walk with my baby girl (my dog that is). Is it too late? I will have to check it out.

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MEALMAKER 1/3/2013 6:59PM

  I've registered and started my workouts today! Looking forward to it again this year; I was an Idita-Splash finisher in 2012. I really like that I'm helping encourage the Nome & Nanook H.S. swim teams in their efforts (and I like my cool t-shirt, too!). Thanks for spreading the word. emoticon

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FLORIDAGHOST 1/1/2013 6:55PM

    This sound great. Thanks!

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GEORGE815 12/14/2012 7:33PM

    Great program. I will look at the web site. The T-shirt looks killer.

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Digital Snow Day x 4!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The big wind storm in Anchorage knocked out our power supply for 4 days! I'm just now catching up with all the online stuff. I blogged the experience on my other blog, and you can see it at ptarmiganptracks.blogspot.com/

We're now back to nearly normal, with a healthier respect for the forces of nature vs. human technology. Just grateful it wasn't winter time! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRIS3874 10/10/2012 8:55PM

    Yeah, we got snow today - really stupid early this year we usually do NOT get it until after Halloween. I know it isn't going to stay but its still frustrating.

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OTEN36 9/20/2012 2:18AM

    Very cold temps for Northern Minnesota. I wonder what type of winter this will be.
Here's to your power staying on...

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LASKIE2 9/11/2012 6:00AM

    I am glad to learn that you and your love ones are okay!

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BEARGODDESS 9/10/2012 10:07PM

    Sorry to hear about the windstorm outages! Another friend is in Alaska, experienced the wind storm, but thankfully didn't lose power. The ideas on your other blog are very good. We occasionally lose power for a couple of days due to heavy wet snowfall and I frequently fill pitchers and the bathtub when I think we might lose power. We're on well water too. We have a swimming pool which we use for flushing-the-toilet water, and also boiled and cooled we've used it to bathe and wash our hair. We use a woodstove for cooking and heating water. Some of our neighbors have generators which come on automatically to run some of their electric appliances. We have a generator too, but not one which comes on automatically! Lol!
I had a tall pine miss the house by a couple of feet in a high windstorm, and had to have a friend come rescue me with his chain saw.
I'm glad that everyone came through it safely, and that it wasn't winter as you've said.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Whew! I did it! Gave a water aerobics instructor masterclass for my fellow teachers at the health club to share some of the ideas and techniques I got from the conference I attended in May. (blogged at http://subptropical.blogspot.com/)

Most people's big fear is speaking in public. Now add to that being in a bathing suit. And not young and definitely not cute! The antidote for that supposedly is to imagine your audience naked or in their underwear. But they were already in bathing suits, too!

Anyway, it went well; I had more material prepared than I had time to deliver, which is the best way round for that equation. And they were a very eager and collaborative audience.

I had a hard time deciding what to pick out of a week's worth of conference workshops to try to distill into my 45 minute pool time, but eventually chose themes that I had heard from more than one presenter, as these are likely to be emerging trends. So: incorporating diagonal movement into workouts, alternatives to the supine abdominal crunch, and a little taste of Ai Chi.

I did it; it was good; and yay! it's over! Kind of like exercise in general--the best part is being done!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARLENE_MOVES 8/20/2012 9:08PM

    Good for you. Wish I could have heard it!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 8/20/2012 5:44PM

    Good for you! It sounds as if you did an excellent job! I think that Wet Ptarmigans are rock-stars!

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SRBSRB26 8/20/2012 11:55AM


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BEARGODDESS 8/20/2012 11:50AM

    Congratulations! You're right talking in public AND in a swimsuit would be a challenge. Wonderful that you were a great success at it!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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It's always better to show up at the pool!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Just had to share this with fellow Sparkers, especially the Water Aerobics Team.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIFIFRIZZLE 4/2/2013 7:12PM

    This image reminded me of the feeling I get when I turn up at the pool and there is the water all inviting, I love it!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 8/8/2012 10:43PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LASKIE2 8/8/2012 10:30PM

    emoticon I love it! And it's so true.

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FARMGIRL1968 8/8/2012 12:38PM


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BEARGODDESS 8/8/2012 12:37PM


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DEBBIELCG 8/8/2012 12:26PM

    thanks for sharing

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