The Fitbit Addiction…

Got it and LOVE it!

Got it and LOVE it!

I know, y’all…It’s been a while. I’ve been busy… (one word; wine, and how many blogs can one girl do on wine making, right?)

Today’s post is about addiction.

Specifically, my addiction. To my Fitbit.

Hi. My name is Julie and I am a step-a-holic. I have relied on a Fitbit in one form or another to give me a fairly realistic idea about my activity level, calorie burn, etc, since September 2013. These handy little tools are not a new concept to me.

The Culture of Wellness Committee where I work recently got a lot of folks on the Fitbit bandwagon by offering the “Flex” model for a reduced price and a two-time payroll deduction, thus making it affordable for pretty much everyone. They also set up a group for employees on the Fitbit web site. (Unbeknownst to me, this would become my undoing.) Of course, being a Fitbit veteran, I added myself to the hospital group.

Now, I generally strive for ten-thousand steps per day, because it’s what I do. Granted, I might not usually don’t make that over a weekend, because slugs generally don’t move a lot on Saturday and Sunday, but I wasn’t doing too badly. Then two of my friends each purchased a Flex back in September and invited me to a Work Week Hustle competition. (For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is when a group of people compete for the highest number of steps during the work week.)

Looking back, I think this is where it all started. One day Simone got 15,000 steps, and so did Jennifer. *sigh* Did you know I am REALLY competitive? Neither did I. I figured if the girls could do it, so could I. Now by “girls” I mean women in their early to mid-thirties. I, on the other hand, am applying for my AARP membership. I had something to prove. (I hate when that happens.) But I did it. AND I got a new step badge. (For every increase of 5K, you get a new badge- 5K is a Boat Shoe, 10K is Sneakers, 15K was the Urban Boot.)

About two weeks ago, I saw a sign hanging by the elevators. There was this contest… (isn’t that the way a lot of stories start?) Seems that the Culture of Wellness was going to award prizes to the employees who had increased their percentage of steps the most from September to October. To be eligible, one must belong to the hospital group, and must have averaged at least 2,000 steps per day in September (which, I guess, is to keep people that didn’t step at ALL from getting crazy percentage increases)…Anyway, 1st place wins a massage package, 2nd place gets a $50 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods and 3rd place is a $25 shoe gift card. Now, while I do love Dick’s (get your minds out of the gutter, people…I hear you tittering out there) and I DO kind of need a new pair of runners, all I could really see was MASSAGE PACKAGE.

It was all over but the shouting, as they say.

I started ensuring that I exceeded my 10K step goal daily, then I realized I could INCREASE my step goal, so I did; to 15K per day. I’d been doing the occasional Work Week Hustle with some folks I’d met through Lisa (this is her blog) and upping my steps a little at a time. I nailed a High Tops badge for 20k. I was really starting to get into this, and shared that bit of information with my buddy Ron at work. Now Ron is no joke; the man does marathons, and comes in hight on the leader board on the regular. (Yes, there is a leader board, and yes, as soon as I discovered the contest, I also started checking out the group page and stalking the leader board like a fiend. These people take STEPS; I’m not kidding! They are amazing and how were they getting numbers like that?????)

These Danskos were made for walking...

These Danskos were made for walking…

Apparently he TOLD some friends, because someone invited me to a Work Week Hustle with the Big Dogs of the group Leader Board. Around the same time I realized that I really wanted a massage package (because I am too cheap to get one for myself, because what if I hate it?), I checked my position on said leader board. I was ranked 24th or 25th out of 208 participants. Hmmm, I thought, not too shabby. But these people I was competing with were in the top five, easy. So I’d gotten an invitation from Christy to play hardcore with the Big Dogs last week. We’d not met at that point, but she said she’d heard I was fairly competitive. (At this point, not even I knew just how competitive I was!)

I’d started to up my steps daily, throwing in a minimum of ten flights of stairs on workdays. It really has become an addiction. When I would see the numbers they were putting up weekly steadily climbing, I started upping my numbers, too. A lot.

It got to the point where I looked at Johnny and asked him, “All this exercise CAN’T be good for me, can it?” He laughed. I groaned. The stair climbing had given me a serious case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and my hammies were talking to me. I didn’t give up, tho. The week before that I earned my “Classics” badge for 25K in a day.

A week ago last Friday night, I decided I would walk around the yard and then the treadmill, and then around the house until I simply couldn’t walk anymore, you know, just to see what I could do to kind of push myself. At this point I was somewhere in the middle-teens on the leader board. I nailed 30K and some change. I got another badge; a trail shoe.

Last week, I somehow managed to keep up with the Big Dogs, earned my Hiking Boot (35K), Cleats (40K) and Snow Boots (45K) badges, and ended up taking home the win for that challenge (I totaled out M-F with 159,951 steps). My steps increased by 155% from September (because I really want that massage package, in case I hadn’t mentioned it). I even managed to snag the win in the Weekend Warrior challenge with 48,455. I also ended the month 6th on the leader board…Not too bad, right?

Do you see? It’s addicting…so much so that I frequently check the leaderboard. As of right now? I’m in first place, and Christy (who I met last week) and I have been ping-ponging for first place in this week’s challenge. 🙂 It’s ridiculously fun, and apparently good for me.

Last Thursday night, I shared the Snow Boots badge on Facebook, and the morning after my all-time step record, a friend of mine posted this article by David Sedaris as a reply to my post. It’s lengthy, but a really good read, and I can relate to what he says.

Honestly? I don’t see myself spending 9 hours a day walking like Mr. Sedaris, but I do have my sights set on running a 5K this month to get back in the game after not having run in two years. And, hey, it’s good for me, right? RIGHT? 😀

Do any of you count steps? Use a Fitbit? Have another healthy addiction? Tell me about it!

Until next time…

Addiction-The Good, The Bad, The Funny!

This evening I’d like to discuss addictions.

For our first example, we’ll use me and my new-found addiction to heavy lifting. This covers “The Good” and “The Bad.” (And you may even file this under “The Funny.”)

I have one of these heavy buggers! :)

I have one of these heavy buggers! 🙂

Back in early February I knew I was going to need some upper body strength for the upcoming Hog Wild Extreme Mud Run. My friend, She Who Shall Not Be Named was telling me about a book she’d picked up called “The New Rules of Lifting for Women” and I was interested immediately. Of course, readers of this blog know that I ended up starting my lifting program with the StrongLifts 5×5 program. I started my lifts at 20 pounds – squats, bench presses, deadlifts, overhead presses, and barbell rows – all at a starting weight of 20 measly pounds, which was kind of a big deal to me.

Since then, I’ve purchased an Oly bar and plates to add to the rack/bench set that we picked up in mid-February. I can happily say that my stats are as follows:
Squats – 95 lbs.
Bench Press – 60 lbs.
Rows – 70 lbs. with a recent deload to 55 lbs. (form IS important)
Overhead Press – 50 lbs.
Deadlift – 115 lbs., deloaded to 95 due to injury.

Given that I hate to miss a lift, I probably over-did it more than a little bit.

About a week ago, I noticed a “catch” in my lower back. It was a dull ache that seemed to start in my tailbone, and would occasionally radiate down my left leg. Not cool.

I deloaded on rows, skipped a deadlift last week, and pressed on. My workout Saturday was amazing! Annnnnd I had the added bonus of feeling it yesterday…all down my leg and into my back. Turns out that it’s NOT my back, but some screwed up muscle in my BUTT that’s all knotted up. WTH? Who pulls a muscle in their ASS??? That said, I picked up a foam roller earlier tonight. In certain circles it’s also known as a pain inducing device and feels uber good when you stop. *shrug*

Now onto “The Bad” and “The Funny.”

Y’all remember the blog I wrote about the bubble gum addiction that She Who Shall Not Be Named was suffering? Well, we all thought that she had kicked it. We were wrong.

Damn you, Double Bubble, and all your sweet, chewy GAS INDUCING goodness...

Damn you, Double Bubble, and all your sweet, chewy GAS INDUCING goodness…

She’s been a little more careful about her chewing habits, but I got a call from her this afternoon. “She Who” has been having some gallbladder and other issues, and she’s had to pretty much cut out a lot of the food items she adores: tomatoes, onions, caffeine, dark soda products, etc. She’s actually held up really well, all things considered. Or so we thought. Apparently the freaking bubble gum has been keeping her sane. (I thought she seemed too happy for a person that had her favorite foods and bevies axed…)

Turns out, she had a lot of pain this past weekend. So she turned to her friend, the gum. The more she hurt, the more she chewed. The more she chewed, the more she hurt. After some Googling this afternoon, she learned that chewing gum creates air that, in some circumstances, creates painful gas. That’s when she called and ‘fessed up that she’d been chewing like a fiend, but was going to have to quit. I talked with her, in hopes of putting a positive spin on things.

The first thing she said was that she would save about $50 a month in gum expenses. I mentioned calories. Seems that a serving of her favorite is about 50 calories. One of those long bricks of gum contains about 600 calories. She was aghast! She figured she was consuming an exorbitant amount of calories just from BUBBLE GUM!

The only thing I could think to tell her is that she was becoming blog fodder for the Type A Workaholic!

So addictions, while they CAN have an up-side? Most usually do not. These are the days that I wish I was her dentist…

Until Next Time…

It’s Winter in Eastern NC! >:(

Those white lines on the road? Brine solution. Dammit.

Those white lines on the road? Brine solution. Dammit.

I’m a summer girl.

We all know this.

Rarely, though, do I let weather kick my butt.

Today I hollered, “UNCLE!”

Ok, y’all know I’m training (along with my fellow Dirty Divas) for the mud race in April. I started the Couch to 5K program on Sunday, and also began Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred on Monday. I have religiously done the Shred every day since. I did my C25K on Sunday, again on Tuesday, and was going to do it again tonight, but there is just something about a 24 degree wind chill factor that talked me out of it.

Look…I gave it the old college try. I had lunch, let everything settle and went for my 15 minute walk around the block at 1:00 this afternoon. Everyone said it was cold. I don’t worry about cold. You walk fast, you warm up. Piece of cake. I grabbed my coat (I would refer to it as a parka, but people here laugh at me when I say that), my iPod, and set off, planning to knock out 15-20 minutes. I was back in 13 flat. I cut corners, practically RAN through grassy areas, just to get back to somewhere where the wind wasn’t blowing. OMG…REALLY?

Did I mention I’m a summer girl?

Before I left the office, the National Weather Service put Wayne County under a Winter Weather Advisory for freezing precip from noon tomorrow till what? Midnight tomorrow? Jeebus. I am NOT running on slush, but whatever. I’ll pick it back up Saturday if I have to. Ice and I obviously don’t get along, since I have this thing about falling frequently.

Over the last day or so I was able to concoct a logo for our mud running team, Shag Daddy’s Dirty Divas. I am about to tear up the studio to find the original Shag Daddy logo that I developed back in the day when I was operating under the name of Web By Design Online. 🙂 We’re going to implement the PSD of the logo below (and please, pardon the assiness of the attached image). It is a screen shot of the work in progress taken with my phone, so, it is what it is.

The beginnings of a legend. ;)

The beginnings of a legend. 😉

Now, in other news…She Who Shall Not Be Named is writing, also. And she’s writing a LOT. Like me, she finds that venting through written (or in this case, typed) word is therapeutic, and therefore GOOD. I am not going to go into specifics, but when she finally came out of the writer’s closet and told her husband that she was writing, and what she was writing (and she writes incredible fiction, as well as “how to” non-fiction, as well as some pretty juicy stuff), and he was totally accepting of all of the above subjects, he asked her to write a story for him. So she told him she would and then told him that she would write her fantasy down and under no circumstance was he to feel obligated to fulfill any fantasy put down on paper. During the latter part of the conversation, I think she told him not to worry about the goats, golf carts, Swedish flight attendants and oil. (????!!!!!)  Have I mentioned how much MAD respect I have for She Who Shall Not Be Named? Just sayin’.

So with that little catch-up in the winter world of a Type-A Workaholic, I leave you with a ridiculously healthy (and delicious) Parmesan Swai Recipe for those of you that are watching your eating habits:

Ridiculously Easy Parmesan Swai

16 oz (about 4) thawed Swai fillets

5 Tbsp reduced fat Kraft mayo with olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder

lemon juice



Put foil on broiler pan and turn on broiler. Place fillets on foil. Lightly salt and pepper swai.

Put under broiler for approximately 3 minutes. While fish is broiling, mix mayo, Parm, garlic powder, and a little lemon juice to thin the mixture in a bowl and set aside.

Take fish out and flip. Spread equal parts of Parm/mayo mixture over each fish fillet.

Broil 4-5 minutes. Fish will turn opaque and flake easily with a fork when done.

280 Calories per serving

8 g fat per serving

60 g protein per serving.

Good stuff, Maynard…I promise.

Until next time, y’all!  🙂