Move It Mama Monday – More Love for the MisFit Shine

Well, I’ve had my MisFit Shine for over a month now, and I’m still very happy with it. While I do miss some of the features of the Up Band, the fact that I now have an activity monitor that tells me both how much I’m moving and what time it is more than makes up for that. Seriously, I hated trying to wear a watch and the Up Band on the same wrist. The Up Band needs to be worn on the side of your non-dominant hand, which is the same side I wear a watch on. I cannot stand to wear a watch on my right wrist because I feel like it interferes with my ability to draw and type, two things I try to do lots of throughout the day.

In fact, the problem with needing a watch and an activity monitor had led me to depending a lot on my Wii Fit U monitor (yes, I am one of those weirdos who wears multiple fitness monitors; sue me). The Wii Fit U monitor shows both step count, calories burned, and the time of day! Pretty handy, but it doesn’t come with a wrist band. Instead, it comes with a clip. I prefer to wear the Wii Fit U monitor clipped to my shoe laces, because I think it takes more accurate readings of my step count that way. But wearing it on my shoe meant that every time I wanted to see what time it was, I had to bend over to check my shoe. And that looked a little too much like an invitation to be kicked in the rear-end for my tastes.

So, I finally have my combined wrist watch and activity monitor and I’m happy. Plus, as I mentioned last time, the MisFit Shine just looks gorgeous! Very sleek, very polished. It has also proved to be water-proof, at least during my water aerobics class, though it doesn’t track an hour of water aerobics the same way it tracks walking or dancing. And I’m finding that no fitness band can really seem to track the amount of effort I put into karate classes. I accrue more steps in a 20-minute walk than I will in 2 hours of karate. Granted, I cover more distance in the walk, but 2 hours of karate class leaves, with all the kicking and punching and push-ups and deep squats, leaves me exhausted. But it’s done in a very limited space, so I guess that’s what’s throwing off all the fitness monitors I’ve ever used.

The solution to that may be to set the MisFit Shine to specifically track that activity while I do it. There’s an option to track particular activities by triple-tapping on the Shine before starting that activity. It can be set up in the app for the Shine. But the app doesn’t list karate. It does list yoga, though, which is the activity I think is closest to karate, so I may try setting it up for that. Or maybe I’ll set it up for basketball. Basket ball is somewhat similar to karate, although I don’t think kicking and punching an opponent is allowed in either yoga or basketball.

But overall, I’m still loving the MisFit Shine!

Move It Mama Monday! I got a MisFit Shine for Christmas!

Lest you all think I was nothing but lazy over the holidays, I am happy to report that I did a lot of walking to Mordor. I got out every day over the holidays and walked at least 15 minutes each day. I also did a bit of yoga and some Just Dance. We got Just Dance 2015 for Christmas and now Pixie and I are shaking our booties like maniacs after school each day while Princess watches us in ever-growing horror.

Speaking of Pixie, she got a new Jawbone Up band for Christmas. She had been asking for the activity band by Leap Pad, but Hubster and I thought she was a bit older than the target audience for that, thus she got the Up band. She loves it. She’s been asking me to go out for walks and to play Just Dance so she can see how much moving around she can cram into each day. She got in at least ten thousand steps a day over the holidays.

As for me, I got a new MisFit Shine. I had been eyeing that device for weeks. I loved my Up band, but there were some limitations with it. First, it wasn’t waterproof, meaning I couldn’t take it into the pool with me. That made it a no-go for deep water aerobics. The MisFit Shine is supposed to be good in water up to 50M, so I will be putting that to the test soon.

My second issue with the Up band was the amount of pressure it put on my wrist. I was wearing the recommended size for my wrist (a medium), but while the band had plenty of room around the sides of my wrist, it tended to press into the front and back. Some days, this would cause my wrist to go numb, and I’d have to leave the band off for a couple days.

The MisFit Shine, however, comes with a flexible watch-style band that you can slip the device into. Or I can wear it with a small band that I can attach to my shoe or sports bra. Best yet, I can buy a sterling silver pendant and chain so I can wear the MisFit Shine like a necklace. The MisFit Shine looks really nice – it’s a small, polished disk that comes in a variety of colors – and when I showed it to some friends, a lot of them were impressed with how sleek and stylish it looked. They were also impressed that I finally decided to wear something sleek and stylish, instead of something more along the line of my usually bizarre fashion tastes.

Finally, the best thing about the MisFit Shine is the display. To get an accurate count of steps (or hours of sleep, since it tracks that too), you need to sync it (wirelessly) with the free app. But, during the day, when I’m out and about, I can simply double-tap the Shine and it will light up to show me how close I am to meeting my daily step goal. The Shine has a series of lights around its edge, positioned just like the numbers on a clock face. As you progress toward your step goal, the light display increases to 12 o’clock. And because the lights are set up like a watch face, you can also set up the Shine to show the time of day as well as your daily step progress. You won’t see any numbers or watch hands, but one steady light will indicate what the hour is, and a second blinking light will show you the minutes. It takes a bit of getting used to, but now I no longer have to wear a watch AND a fitness device. I’ve got both all in one.

I’ll continue to post updates on how things go with the MisFit Shine. Right now, I’m extremely happy with it. And Pixie is so happy with her Up band that she and I are planning to do a 5K walk in March. So yay for walking and yay for fitness devices that motivate us both to get up and move!

Move It Mama Monday! Yes, Girl Scouting Counts Toward Mordor

This is just a quick update for today. We had another Girl Scout troop meeting yesterday, and once again, I was on my feet from the moment I got up until a couple of hours after the last girl headed home. It was an exhausting day, and in spite of my intentions and my efforts to get out the door for just five minutes to walk, IT NEVER HAPPENED.

But I was on my feet all day and constantly moving, and I have been walking every day for the last two weeks (I even took a nice long walk with the Hubster on Thanksgiving — in a GRAVEYARD!). So I decided that working hard all day on Girl Scouts, whether I’m inside or outside, counts as a successful day in the Walk to Mordor.

So there.

I’m hard at work on the next episode of the webcomic, so it should be out in a couple days. It’s another long one, but I’m working on it as fast as I can. You should see it soon.

Move It Mama Monday! Why I LURVE the Yoga Studio App

Welcome to that special hell known as “Don’t gain 50 bazillion pounds over the holidays!” I both love and hate this time of year. I love it because everything is so festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere! I hate it because everything is so frikkin’ festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere along with magazines and commercials and ads to remind me not to stuff my face and gain any weight whatsoever over the holidays.

Seriously, have you looked at the cover of women’s magazines during the holiday season? The articles featured on the cover are always about the latest most fantastic holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar. And right beneath those are the articles that exclaim “You can lose 500 pounds in just 5 DAYS!” (The rest of the year, these magazines only feature non-holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar, and they tell you that you can only lose 495 pounds in just 5 days.)

Anyway, that’s the atmosphere that permeates the holidays every year. And because everything is so busy this time of year, it can be hard to make it to the gym or even step outside for a simple walk, which makes the whole “EAT EAT EAT LOSE WEIGHT LOST WEIGHT LOSE WEIGHT” message even worse to deal with. To combat the artifical sense of guilt that I know this message is trying to instill, I make sure my favorite yoga app is cued up on my iPad so that can stretch wherever I am and do it in short bursts during commercial breaks no matter where I’m watching holiday specials on TV.

And what is my favorite yoga app, you ask? It’s Yoga Studio. Yoga Studio comes with pre-made yoga routines (lasting anywhere from 10-60 minutes) and lets me make my own routines using either individual poses from their pose library or short routines that I can string together in the order I prefer.

But the thing I love the most about Yoga Studio is that I can choose what music I listen to while I do my yoga routines! And I don’t mean choose from the very limited and ear-bleeding options of wailing desert flute or wind-chimey, brain-dead mood music. I can actually make a playlist from the music I have on my iPad and listen to that while I do yoga! You have no idea how much that matters to me. Really, I can’t stand the typical music most yoga apps and videos and classes play. It makes me want to slip into the corpse pose and kill myself.

So what music do I have on my Yoga Studio playlist? My current playlist starts with Imelda May’s “Oh My God, It’s Good to Be Alive!” and then goes straight into “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. Next up is Gin Wigmore’s “Man Like That,” followed by the Kongos’ “Come With Me Now.” Yes, I prefer pulse-throbbing, heart-pounding, rockin’ and rollickin’ music when I practice my stretching and deep breathing. Because that’s the kind of gal I am.

This is the app I used over Thanksgiving break while we visited the Hubster’s family. I was able to set up in the guest bedroom and stretch my groove thang for half an hour, then go stuff myself with delicious food, then take a long nap and then repeat the whole cycle all over again. I did go for a daily walk, although I didn’t get in the usual 30-60 minutes like I do at home. But still, walking! I will eventually complete that “Walk to Mordor” quest.

I don’t know if using the Yoga Studio app helped me keep off the extra pounds over Thanksgiving break, but honestly, I don’t care. Like I said, the best thing about the app is that I can load the music I want to hear on it. And I made sure to turn up the volume nice and loud so I never had to hear about how I had to stay rediculously slim and trim while stuffing my face this year. And that made me very thankful indeed 🙂

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I’m gonna stretch out and take a nap now.

Move It Mama Monday! I ain’t been moving all that much…

So, the week after I started up the “Move It Mama Monday” posts again, I didn’t get much moving done.

What happened is this. Two weeks ago, I spent every waking moment and then some working on a special event for Girl Scouts (you’ll hear more about that in a later post). Pulling off this event meant a lot of late nights, one all-nighter, and not a lot of sleep in between. And that meant I had to spend all of last week recovering.

I had expected that after a week of very little sleep, I would have slept like the dead all the next week. Instead, I had a couple of nasty bouts of insomnia. The first bout happened right after I finished up the event for Girl Scouts. I was exhausted. And I mean ready to fall over dead tired. However, when I went to bad that night, I couldn’t sleep.

I tried everything – Zzzquil, a big fat book (I’ve been reading “The History of Middle Earth” for the last two years), moving from the bed to the couch, yoga, meditation, warm milk… Nothing worked. When the Hubster got up at 6:30AM, I made the bed and just stayed up, hoping I could keep going until bedtime and THEN finally fall asleep.

The plan worked. I could only manage to do light work, but I did get some stuff done, and at 9PM I was out like a light. I slept through until noon the next day.

And then I had another bout of insomnia, just like the last one.

Combined with a cold.

So I went through another 36 hours of sleeplessness, trying to battle a sore throat with lots of chicken soup and green tea with honey. I did get to sleep the next night, and have slept every night since, but I gotta say, being sick plus having two bouts of insomnia has completely screwed up my schedule. I managed to go for a walk every day but one (which means I’m starting over on the Walk to Mordor yet again), and I did some light yoga most days. But that was about it.

I’m hoping to turn things around this week. I feel a bit better, and I’ve been able to get some sleep. One of the problems that exacerbated my insomnia involved Hubster stealing the covers every time he rolled over in bed. So I went out and bought us a pair of sleeping bags and zipped them together. With both of us zipped in at night, the covers don’t go anywhere when he rolls over. I think I’m a genius for figuring this one out in my sleep deprived state.

The goal for this week is to keep up with the daily walk and the daily yoga. I’m going to see if I can get to the pool once this week, and to karate class. Beyond that, it’s Thanksgiving week. I’m not sure how much more I can do. I do wear a pedometer and the Jawbone UP band, so I can use that to prompt me to keep moving. We’ll see how that works!

Speaking of devices, I’m curious what devices folks wear. I’m considering upgrading the UP band, but don’t know if I want to go with the next version of the UP or get something different. The UP is nice, but I’d love to have something that includes a watch function with it. I can’t really wear a watch and the UP band at the same time. It’s just too bulky to wear both on my left wrist, and I can’t stand to wear a watch on my right. Any suggestions?

Let me know and have a great Monday!

Move It Mama Monday! Walking To Mordor

One does not simply walk into Mordor…

Except that one does. Well, Frodo and Sam certainly did. I think Gollum sort of slunk or slithered his way in.

But to get to the point…

Last month I signed up with Nerd Fitness Academy. NFA is a website that offers advice, informatin, and motivation for people looking to get into better shape. It’s set up like a traditional RPG for the most part, allowing users to choose a character class – warrior, assassin, ranger, and ninja – to help people set fitness and health goals and achieve them. The more goals or “quests” you achieve, the more points you accrue on NFA, and as you accrue points, you level up. The program makes good use of the nerd/geek theme to motivate users, I think, and so far, I’ve had fun following the various parts of the program and working on quests.

One of the quests I’ve been working on is the “Walk to Mordor.” The goal of the Walk to Mordor is to get into the habit of walking daily. To complete the quest, you have to walk for at least 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks straight. I’ve been working hard at this one for over a month now. Sadly, I have not yet achieved that goal.

Why? Why can I not manage to get in at least a 5-minute walk every day?

Well, it all comes down to priorites. Most weeks, I have been able to walk at least 30 minutes every day for 6 days straight. Then the 7th day comes along. The 7th day is usually the day I have a Girl Scout event to run – a troop meeting, an outing, a certain murder mystery party, etc. Girl Scouts usually takes up one full day of my week, every week, in addition to the 1-2 hours I put into volunteering for Girl Scouts everyday.

I have come to realize that 6 out of every 7 days, I can and will make walking a top priority. As soon as I get up on those 6 days, I will put on my exercise clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head out the door. I will walk 3-4 miles a day during those 6 days. But come that 7th day, my priorities are very different.

On the days that I work Girl Scout events, my only priority is Girl Scouts. I am up by 6:30AM, sometimes even earlier. Chances are very good that I was up until after midnight the night before, preparing for the event in question. So I’ll be a little low on sleep. But I will be up early because I need that time to clean my house (if the event is at my home), prepare a meal and/or snacks for the girls, double-check paperwork for the event, set out supplies for activities, check email for any last-minute communications from other volunteers or parents, drive to the event if it’s not at my home, probably pick up some Girl Scouts along the way who need a ride, gather and store receipts for anything we purchase that day (because I have to account for how the troop spends its money), check in girls at the event, run and/or get through the event, surpervise the girls in their activities, lead the activities, supervise clean-up after the activities, check the girls back out when their parents come to pick them up, drive home any girls that came with me, file the receipts and paperwork, etc., etc., etc.

On days when I do Girl Scout events, I am on my feet all day long. I do not go out for a walk, but I do not stop moving until the event is done and the paperwork is taken care of. And on some days, I don’t even manage to finish that final paperwork before I collapse into bed and pass out. Those days are busy and exhausting. Going for a walk, even a 5-minute walk, doesn’t even enter my mind.

So how can I complete this quest for NFA? Tomorrow, I know I will get up and get out the door and take at least a 3-mile walk. I’ll easily walk more than 10,000 steps (the recommended daily step count) before dinner. And I’ll do the same the next day and the day after that for 6 days straight. But on the 7th day…

I have a Girl Scout troop meeting scheduled. It will run from noon to 5PM. And I guarantee you I will be up by 6:30 that morning to cook, clean, prepare for and run that meeting. I will be busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest until that meeting is over, and then I’ll be deader than a zombie who hasn’t eaten her daily alotment of brains. And I probably will not have taken even a 5-minute walk that day. I will have been moving all day long, but that isn’t part of the qualifications for the “Walk to Mordor” quest.

What to do? Should I get up just a bit earlier so I can take that 5-minute walk? I’ll probably be low on sleep that morning, but I could try it. Or maybe I should adjust the goals of the quest a bit? Instead of walking 14 days in a row, set the goal of walking 6 days a week for 4 weeks straight?

I don’t know. I’m considering posting the question on the NFA forums to see what people think. In fact, that’s probably exactly what I should do. And maybe I will if. Unless, of course, I choose to use that time to go for a 5-minute walk instead.

Like I said, it’s about priorities. And choosing how to spend 5 minutes can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to achieve a goal.

ACW 166 – Step Away from the Scale, Woman.


Click on the thumbnail above to see the full-sized webcomic!

I know there are some people out there right now who are rolling their eyes and thinking, “Who the hell is she kidding? She’s not fat!” To all you kind, kind people out there, thank you. Now convince my scale of that.

In all seriousness, the last month or so has been very hectic, just as hectic as the few months previous. In fact, I’m considering renaming the time period from January up through May as one extra-long month known as “Hectic.” Although maybe “Hell Month” would be a better designation. I did better this year in terms of keeping up with exercise. After last year’s “Hectic,” my blood pressure shot up thirty point and I had constant headaches. I didn’t want a repeat of that so I made sure to get in some sort of exercise everyday. But I also did what I usually do when I get stressed, and that’s eat. Because even though I know I shouldn’t, I use food to reward myself for surviving a really tough time. And when part of that tough time involves Girl Scout cookies… Well, you can figure it out.

Anyway, I am not really FAT, but I have put on some weight, more than is comfortable for me. And it’s not the number on the scale that bothers me so much as the way my clothes fit. I am very stingy when it comes to spending money on clothes for myself. I don’t like to pay a bazillion dollars for a new pair of jeans. I can recall back in college when I got sticker shock over buying jeans that cost me $20, and they don’t make jeans that cost a measly $20 these days! So I buy clothes that will last and then I do my best to make damn sure I’ll fit into them so long as they hold together. Those of you who have seen me know that I’ll even convert a favorite pair of jeans into a floor-length skirt, and while that’s partly because I love floor-length skirts, it’s also because I’m a damned tight-wad when it comes to buying new clothes.

(Unless it’s t-shirts from Threadless, but even then I wait for their $10 sales.)

So after I got over the shock of realizing that I’d packed on more than a few pounds on my rear-end, I got busy doing something about it. I made a few changes to my diet –  no more soda, a glass of wine only once a week, only one cup of coffee a day, water the rest of the day, two servings of fruit and/or vegetables at every meal, and if I’m absolutely dying for chocolate then I can make myself a big glass of chocolate soy milk rather than raid the pantry for a bag of M&Ms.

In addition, I’ve made an effort to exercise twice a day –  an hour in the morning at the Y and then another half hour or so in the evenings with the Wii. My copies of Just Dance have been dusted off and I’m making the kids get up and dance with me, which they only sort of hate. And if the Hubster comes home and finds us dancing, then he’ll join right in and that 30 minutes will easily become an hour or more as he and I compete to see who does the best Katy Perry imitation (I cannot stand it when he beats me at “California Girls”).

The results? In the last two weeks, a couple pounds have come off. Of course, I’m getting ready to go on another trip again, away from my beloved Y and my Wii, so I’m really going to have to be careful what I eat while I’m gone and make certain I get out and walk every day while I’m away. I don’t want to back-slide after two weeks of hard work. If you hear someone screaming obscenities at a scale, you’ll know I failed in that. But if you hear someone whoop it up as she beats her husband soundly in Just Dance, then you’ll know I succeeded in dropping another pound.

Anyway, have fun this week! I’m going to enjoy a glass of chocolate soy milk now.

Move It Mama Monday! Do the Holidays Weigh Heavy on You?

The Christmas holidays are here, and my parents have arrived with it. Naturally, I’m eating more and exercising less, and it’s not good for me. I’ve already got a massive headache that I think is related to drinking too much caffeine (my mom loves to go to Starbucks and my dad loves coffee and hot cocoa). And my stomach doesn’t feel so hot, because of all the high fat food I’ve ingested in the last couple days.

Obviously, I need to cut back. Doing so will be a bit of a challenge. The good news is, I did manage to get in a workout yesterday – Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout on the Wii, followed by a ten minute yoga podcast I bought from iTunes as a way of squeezing in a little extra stretching and toning over the week. But I’m going to have to step it up a bit more, and I don’t know how I’ll do that yet.

Maybe I’ll make it out for a bike ride this week. Or maybe I’ll do more Wii games and sweat it out. I dunno. But I do know I need to lay off the coffee and the fruit cake, ’cause my head and gut are killing me!

Move It Mama Monday! What will I do when I’ve walked out “Walk It Out”?

To quote Pepe Le Pew, “Le sigh!” I’ve gotten back to playing my fitness games on the Wii now that the weather’s turned cold, and I’ve come to a sad realization. One of my favorite games, Walk It Out, has no follow up game to play. And I’m really kind of bummed about that.

Walk It Out, if you haven’t seen it, is probably one of the simplest Wii fitness games out there. Using either a DDR mat, the Wii balance board, or the Wii nunchuk tucked in your pocket, you walk along to music while exploring a virtual island. That’s it, period. Well, you do accrue points as you walk, which you use to unlock various items on the island, like trees, buildings, a cafe, farmland, and even a giant airship, but basically, you just walk around the island. And I really love that.

I’m the kind of person who loves being immersed in video game settings, but doesn’t particularly care to hack and slash or shoot my way through a scene. Rune Factory is one of my favorite video games, even though I rarely play it, because I can spend an hour or two just running around talking to people and digging up farm crops and such. Of course, Rune Factory doesn’t require me to get my butt off the couch, but Walk It Out does, and that’s part of where my love for the game comes from.

I’m about 75% of the way through Walk It Out at this point, and will probably finish it soon. When that happens, I don’t know quite what I’ll do next. Konami, who released Walk It Out, apparently have no plans for a second game, even though I’ve seen rumors that the company who developed Walk It Out would love to do another one. I would love a chance to explore another virtual environment, and had hoped a new version of Walk It Out would include more exotic settings, either from around the world or straight from imagination. Can you imagine how cool it would be just to walk around on a space station on Mars? Or explore a steampunk city in Victorian England?

But it appears this is not to be. So what will I do when I’ve completed Walk It Out? Play it again from the start, most likely. That’s what a lot of fans seem to be doing. Just starting the game all over again from scratch. But I will keep my eyes out for a new game. After all, I do get bored, and I like to be entertained with new things.

I wish Konami realized that.

Move It Mama Monday! Thank Heavens for the Wii

I am very thankful for my Wii this week. Between the flu and the holidays, I didn’t get to do much of my usual exercise routine. I **did** exercise over the Thanksgiving break, but it was in the comfort of my in-laws’ living room, where Hubster set up our Wii. I did an hour of Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout (the boxing game I love so much) and another hour of Just Dance with Hubster and the kids. I’m sure my brother-in-law just loved watching the four of us bounce around the living room while he was trying to write his latest novel 😀

Once we returned, home, when the flu didn’t have me flat on my back, I did some Walk-It-Out with Pixie and more boxing. I did manage to get to the Y once, on Friday, and then took my first bike ride in a couple weeks yesterday. Both activities went well, which makes me feel good. It means that my Wii workouts let me keep up my endurance in spite of my break from the usual routine.

In fact, I think with the weather turning colder, the Wii will become part of the usual routine again. During the summer, it was easier to get out during the week to bike. Even though I promised myself I would not hibernate inside all winter, I still can’t seem to get myself outdoors to exercise. And with Girl Scout cookie season coming up, it may only get more difficult as things go. So I’m certain I’ll be relying on the Wii to keep my butt as jiggle-free as I possibly can. I may even look into getting a new fitness game, like Wii Zumba, just to mix things up.

Anyway that’s the fitness news for today! If you have any Wii workout games you’d recommend, let me know.

Speaking of news…

Cynical Woman has a Steampunk section in the Zazzle store!!!!!

Huzzah! I finally finished the steampunk themed artwork I’ve been slaving over all month and posted it in the Zazzle store. It was so good, I made it into Christmas cards, prints, stamps, a t-shirt and more! Plus all the other stuff is there too, including my Zombie Santa card! So pop on over and take a look. Zazzle offers sale codes on a regular basis, just look at the top of the page and you’ll see what the current special is. Support your local Cynical Woman and help her conquer the world of merchandising! Yay!