Weight Loss 3-Moving More

victoryExercise. Yes, there is no substitute for exercise for a variety of reasons. For our purposes it does indeed burn calories. Alas, your body is so efficient at holding onto fat that it lets it go in dribs and drabs but you really do need to get out there and move to make the pounds come off a bit faster and to keep your muscles, bones, and skin in shape. It is a blessing to help you maintain your new figure, too!

Of course there are lots of things that you can do at home: DVD’s of power workouts, home equipment, bar bells and the like. However, I found that for me having to get out and go to the gym was a real motivator because I worked harder and did not let myself off the hook. At home, I would get tired and stop. Oh, the refrigerator was right there, ready for me to have a nice snack. Bad idea. Don’t have that problem at a gym.

Gyms are great because many have group fitness classes, they have an entire array of equipment (which they have to maintain), coaches and personal trainers can be hired, and the friends you make there are pretty nifty like minded people, too.

Investigate gyms in your neighborhood. I bet you will have quite a few to choose from. Look at reviews in Yelp and Google (and take them with a grain of salt if you think it wise). Talk to your friends about how they like their gyms. Lots of them are having sales now (or in December) so take advantage of that. Some hospitals are now offering a “health-plex” kind of deal and those are pretty swanky (but pricy).

Just about every gym has a contract plan you can buy. Please know that getting out of a gym contract can be a real problem. They make it as hard as possible for you to quit. So, investigate the heck out of any place you want to attend before going in for negotiations with them. Be sure to comparison shop. Just about all of them have angry clients who wanted refunds or perfect cleanliness, or no fees of any kind and more more more. Make sure you understand what is realistic and what is just spoiled tantrums from others.

Comparison shop. Visit each gym you are interested in and see what they have. Ask yourself if you would really be willing to plow through snow and bad weather just to get to this gym if it is, say, on the other side of town. I do suggest looking only at gyms in your neighborhood or close. Trust me, it does make a difference.

Now it’s time to talk about the contract. You cannot change it, they hand it to you. Basically they are telling you that you will have to pay $X per month or quarter or year whether you go or not. That’s right, they can do that. Take it or leave it.

Here is how I beat the system: I asked them if they would give me a discount if I paid in cash (get a receipt) for two years in advance. I had the money and I got a nice discount. The catch? I go to the gym every day! I bet the manager sort of weeps every time I come it but that is the deal. I take classes 6 days a week (Friday they don’t have classes at times I like so I just use the machines for an hour). I am really super fit, have a lot of gym friends, and REALLY got my money’s worth.

So you see, I have a super cheap deal and I am really buff. That was the idea in the first place. I win. So can you.

On the other hand, if you find that you are not going so often (read “ever” after the novelty wore off) and you could really use that money for something else…that is going to be hard on you.It is basically gone and you won’t get it back. The only way to outfox the gym is by going. You also make yourself into a fox at the same time. Sloth is not your friend.

On the subject of personal trainers, BE VERY CAREFUL. They are unearthly expensive ($75 for half an hour where I come from) and might or might not be good for you (I had one who wanted me to get my heart rate up to 200 beats per minute—NOT a good idea, meathead). So, I think that you are better off with group fitness classes and your own routines rather than a trainer. My preference, also I am so over being told what to do by other people that it would not work.

BUT if you still want good guidance try one of the cheap and effective personal trainer apps in the smartphone! There are a load of them which give you a program you can work into over time that targets various muscle groups and your whole body. For less than $5 total you can get experts tell you how to shape up. Full Fitness, iCardio, Body Fitness, and Gain Fitness are all good ones. There are many more, too.

Good luck and happy hunting.

I lost 25 lbs from January 2011 to June 2011. It came off about a pound a week and I have managed to keep it off for 6 months. It has not been real hard but you do have to work on it. These are the things I learned when I was going through my diet, I hope they work for you.

Weightloss 2.5-Eating Out

Don’t. If you are trying to lose weight a restaurant is the worst possible place to be. Restaurants are there to serve you food which tastes delicious but which puts it on you quick. Some restaurants have a reputation for being very good for you (i.e. Chinese restaurants use a lot of vegetables). However, be cautious…the salt, oil, garnishes (like those tasty little fried noodles), and sheer SIZE of the portions make Chinese food (like all food) something to consider before you eat it.

Portion size is the worst enemy in a restaurant. Food is actually pretty cheap and the establishment is considered “good” if the size of their offerings is abundant. We are also trained to want MORE. So, getting a real portion of salmon is a shock and makes the restaurant look stingy, doubling it is more appealing to the average diner.

We have a very fancy snooty restaurant in my neighborhood. They used to serve gourmet sized portions at dinner: a dab of something insanely rich in the bottom of an enormous porcelain bowl, one ravioli stuffed with things so tantalizing you could only eat one. Teensy desserts teased you. The experience was for special times…it’s smallness made it deluxe.

Now we went there for our anniversary. Even this gourmet restaurant had fallen for the lure of MOAR. There were 3 not 1 raviolis with rich rich cheeses, BIG hunks of meat for the main course, the appetizers were twice the size they used to be and dessert? I could not finish my gigantic pot de creme.

I looked around the restaurant and realized that the diners were all a lot plumper than I was used to seeing! A table of doctors were eating next to us and they were all overweight. You never used to see that but you do now because of portion size. It is really insidious and will insert itself any place it can get a toe hold in.

I was coming back from a trip and had to eat in an airport tavern recently. I looked at the menu and the least calorie laden things I saw was the hamburger and fries. I ordered it with the sauce on the side, lots of veggies on the burger. When it came I cut it in two (which made for 2 4 oz servings), scooted half of the fries off to the side and ate half of it all. It was good and I didn’t gain an ounce. But I had to physically cleave my meal in two to make sensible portion sizes, and that is the norm now rather than the weird instance.

So my big tip here is: ALWAYS CUT THE SERVING IN TWO AND EAT HALF. IF THEY HAVE A CHILDREN’S MENU, ORDER FROM THAT. This idea has saved me millions of calories in places like McDonald’s, my corner pub, the snooty restaurant, and every place else.

Revoke your membership in the Clean Plate Club and take home what you don’t eat IN A BOX, NOT ON YOUR REAR END!

Weight Loss 2-Which Is More Important: Eating Less or Moving More?

NikeMy father was a doctor and he had a tendency to gain weight. I asked him what the most important part of losing was and he said what so many doctors say,”Eat less and move more.” It’s true, that is just what you have to do.

But which part of that equation is the most important part? Why?

For losing weight eating less is the most important part of it all, it is the hardest to do and the easiest to fool yourself into violating. You can work out all you like but you don’t burn up as many calories as you think you do (we will hear more about that later). For instance, I am a small framed woman. I go into Zumba! class and work myself stupid, getting my heart rate up to 160 beats per minute, sweating and just turning myself inside out. What will I burn up? About 400-450 calories in an hour. Think about it: I could put that right back on if I ate 2 cake pops at Starbucks and had about any kind of a sugar sweetened drink. That is scary!

So, thought working out is crucial (for a variety of reasons) if you don’t eat less you are not going to lose weight. I know quite a few people who turn up for weight lifting class twice a week and talk about how they need this class because they are going to go out on a vacation and stuff their faces this weekend. Oh, that is not going to go well for them, my friends. Lifting 300 calories twice a week is not going to compensate for 1200 calories wolfed down on a junket.

Curbing your eating is what you have to do. There are lots of lower calorie choices for you out there and yes you will have to change your idea of what is delicious and what is meh. Trust me, you can change.

I lost 25 lbs from January 2011 to June 2011. It came off about a pound a week and I have managed to keep it off for 6 months. It has not been real hard but you do have to work on it. These are the things I learned when I was going through my diet, I hope they work for you.

Weight Loss 1-Willpower, The Foundation

I lost 25 lbs from January 2011 to June 2011. It came off about a pound a week and I have managed to keep it off for 6 months. It has not been real hard but you do have to work on it. These are the things I learned when I was going through my diet, I hope they work for you.

The first thing I had to do when I embarked on a diet was to sit down with myself and psych myself out that I was not going to be hungry. I had this habit of thinking, “I’m hungry, I will get a candy bar (or chips or something).” I wasn’t really hungry, I was bored or sad or scared or tired or restless. I had to face what was really the problem and deal with it consciously. 99% of my over eating was from some problem other than hunger. Once I convinced myself that I wasn’t hungry, that made my life a lot simpler and the “hunger” vanished! I was surprised but believe me, that was my salvation. Was it me convincing myself? Yes. Did that reinforce my will power? Absolutely. Was this the key that helped me lose weight and keep it off? Yes yes yes.

Some people scoff at willpower but I think it’s the MOST important part of your arsenal losing weight. It’s: legal, you have it with you at all times, works perfectly when used as directed, invisible, odorless, and belongs 100% to you. So it’s the height of convenience as an aid to losing weight.

I simple put myself in the constant thought that I was not hungry and then I was not hungry. That is where I started and I am still using it! As of today I am actually 2 lbs under my target weight in the middle of the holiday season!

More Later.

Medieval Perfumes Part II

Last time I gave you a taste of some of the Medieval perfuming ingredients. Here are more:

  • Mint-A lovely fresh topnote from an easy to grow plant. Though it is a very interesting type it does not linger.
  • Calamus-a form of iris known as “Sweet Flag” calamus has an earthy or stone-like part to its fragrance which makes it a refreshing base note.
  • Civet-secretions from the tail gland of an animal I think resembles a raccoon. It smells terrible BUT has the property of lasting a long time and fixing other fragrances. If you use just a little, there is a lovely floral smell to it. Also from the secretions of the musk deer.
  • Cypress-the distillation of the evergreen tree. It is sharp and quite herb-like.
  • Labdanum-a thick and sticky liquid which must be heated to work with. It is from the rock rose plant and has a musty old fashioned smell on its own.
  • Benzoin-a somewhat vanilla-like resin. Rather subdued in its scent, but stays nicely close to the skin.
  • Jasmine-there are many different types of jasmine and the power of its fragrance owes a great deal to the chemical components of each species. There are stinky jasmines like the “January Jasmine”, rather moth ball smelling jasmines like “Maid of Orleans”, and the divine scented jasmines like the “Confederate Jasmine”
  • Chamomile-a fabric and vanilla scented flower which was used for making tea and for aromatheraputic purposes.
  • Oakmoss-a parasitical lichen. It is a light blue-green feathery looking ball and has to be dried to bring out the intense fragrance. A main component of Chypre and a lot of very strong perfumes.
  • And herbs like thyme, rosemary, and tarragon. These were mostly used for top notes and were not considered “high perfume”.

One of the main problems that the Medievals had was how to “fix” a perfume so that it didn’t vanish on the skin or clothes after it dried. Some of the above ingredients were very good for being the bass notes, but you had to exercise caution about that because if you used too much of that it would overpower the blend and you would not be able to smell anything else in it. Civet, labdanum, benzoin, cognac, chamomile and oakmoss were all used to the end of being fixatives. Patchouli is a modern natural perfumer’s fixative, too but back in the Middle Ages, it was wildly expensive owing to its having to come from the far east.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on Medieval perfumery. We are enjoying a Medieval Yule on Possets Perfume right now. Come and join us in our celebration with such perfumes as: Bar Sinister, Courtly Love and The Black Prince. www.possets.com

A Harsh Reminder

On Saturday I put up the tree and one of my first acts was to put on the lights. I noticed that one of the strings of light had several bulbs out in a row. That is pretty unusual because they are the kind of lights which are supposed to all stay lit if one goes out. I just thought this was a curiosity.

THEN I put my hand up to adjust an ornament and felt another lightbulb which was way hotter than any of the others. I took a good look at it and saw that it was melting its socket!!! Of course I unplugged the entire strand and threw it all away. I had bought them in 1997 and they seemed just fine until this year.

I do think it was oh so lucky I found that faulty bulb out of hundreds. I also recommend that you just go ahead and replace your tree lights at least once every 10 years. Better safe than sorry.

What Medieval Perfumes Were Like:

May from the Tres Riches The people of the Middle Ages had only natural perfuming ingredients at their disposal and they are responsible for a great many of the best loved elements in all of perfumery.

  • Rose-Rose water and oil was distilled from the petals of roses and this was one of the best loved of all fragrances. They scented their garments with it, baths, and linens
  • Lavender and Spikenard-This small desert loving plant was cultivated by the Romans and that tradition carried on to the people of the Middle Ages. It was thought that lavender promoted a peaceful sleep and so it was often used to scent bed clothes.
  • Sweet Flag-A form of iris, the fragrant stalks of this plant were strewn on the floor in the rooms of houses so that stepping on them would release their sweetness and scent the air.
  • Iris-The dried root of this flower has a violet like scent and is very persistent. It was used as a fixative in potpourri and a base for perfumes. Very expensive, the best was thought to come from Italy and the stylized iris (which looks like a fleur de lis) is the official symbol of the City of Florence.
  • Orange and Lemon-The peel and oil of citrus fruits were used as topnotes in potpourri and some scented oils. Thought to lift the spirits and rare in Northern Europe.

Those are just a few of the elements and I will explore more later. The forms they used these things in were quite diverse. In addition to strewing on the floor and extracting the oils, Medieval people would burn volatile herbs to keep away bad smells and plague and they made “tablets” to burn like incense, that was one of the average Medieval housewife’s tasks.

The people of the Middle Ages would also take great delight in making moist as well as dry potpourri. The moist variety has mostly fallen out of fashion but was made to be enjoyed wet because the scent would be richer and it was more suitable to receive wet ingredients in the blend. So, liquor was often part of the mix and that combining with spices made for a beautiful combination. This potpourri was kept in airtight jars which were opened when a strong sweet scent was desired and kept closed the rest of the time.

This is the first in a several part series about the perfumes of the Medieval times from Possets Perfume. At Possets we are having a Medieval Yule and many of these scenting elements are featured in the line this season. Come and explore the beauty of Medieval scent on the Possets site.

Cambienne: Medieval

The latest and probably the most magnificent Cambienne I have ever made is out: Cambienne: Medieval. Very deep resinous blend but with a lilt of perfume from the West. Hard to describe but utterly captivating. Frankincense, labdenum, clove, cystis, sweet flag, a touch of teak. Fantastic. So much of the lovely elements in the Middle Ages all at play here. I really do recommend this one. Take a look here. And you are lucky because you still have at least 24 hrs before my generous sale ends one phase! There is a 10% discount on ALL perfume on Possets site, AND a $10 gift cert sent to you for every $50 of perfume you buy! Sale continues THROUGH the 16th and ends on the 17th of December. So go and take advantage of it!