Don’t be sucked in

PLEASE NOTE: I am not (nor will I ever claim to be) the all-knowing expert on the subject. I simply wanted to point out how easy people can be fooled by healthy claims and “quick fix” weight loss programs. All information research was pulled from various sources around the web I feel were not only trustworthy, but also cross-checked for accuracy as best as possible. 

After my story appeared Monday, I received numerous messages from people and one solicitation. The email came from a local girl who was peddling a product called “skinny wraps.” She graciously offered me a $20 wrap to celebrate my achievement.

Now, a year ago I may have been sucked into the dream that in an hour I could just wish the inches away. Today, I would look at this person (if I saw her) to tell her she’s insane. No one can simply “wish” inches away and if this “magic” product really worked, don’t you think there’d be a whole lot more skinny people on the planet!

So before I called this product junk, I wanted to look into just what these “natural” ingredients were. First, I went to the website she sent me… which boasts everywhere that their product is “all natural” but coincidently doesn’t list the actual ingredients anywhere that I could find easily.

So I sent a message back to the vendor asking for the ingredients list and a few hours later received a fuzzy photo of the ingredients.

Cream Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glucose, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 12, Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Urea, Centella asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Thalle Extract, Hedera helix (Ivy) Leaf Extract, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Leaf/Stem Extract, Ruscus aculeatus (Butchers Broom) Root Extract, Paullinia cupana (Guarana) Seed Extract, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Decyl Oleate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, TEA-Hydroiodide, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Menthol, Camphor, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, cc, BHT. Limonene, Linalool.

So let the detective work begin (FYI, I’m only pulling out some of the product offenders).

Alcohol Denat –  Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Websites report that  it can cause systemic eczematous, contact dermatitis and chemical sensitivities. But seriously, why do I want to put something used in CAMPING STOVES on my body?  You can read more about this and other products to avoid here.

Stearic Acid – has a history of hazardous and dangerous side effects. The fumes contain octadecanoic acids which cause severe respiratory problems. This product has also been linked to problems with intestines. Additionally, extended exposure has been linked to cancer. No thank you!

Ceteareth 12 – Usually when I see a number, I associate that with some kind of chemically produced thing because they clearly didn’t get 1-11 right! I found out this product is found in a variety of cosmetic products and often found with pseudonyms of dimethicone, PEG-40 and other compounds with syllables of “eth” or PEG. It’s really just a chemical cocktail (wait … wasn’t this product “all natural.” It’s also a known breast carcinogen. Various websites report that the process, called ethoxylation, adds ethylene oxide to other chemicals to make it less harsh on the skin. However, during the process 1.4 dioxane is created, another known breast carcinogen.

That alone should stop you from wanting to use this product. But just in case… here’s a few more reasons.

Urea – formally known as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis. You can read more here.

Peg 7 – Known to dehydrate the skin and increase (yes INCREASE) signs of aging and also leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria and disease. I don’t know about you… but I already look old… I really don’t want to look older!

Phenoxyethanol – This product has an FDA WARNING!!!!!!! It’s a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medication. It has been known to depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea,which leads to dehydration. Read more here.

Triethanolamine causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dry hair and skin and can be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. These chemicals are restricted in Europe because of their known carcinogenic effects because they have been linked to cancer in mice.BHT – this additive is used in so many products and has some pretty scare concerns including a warning to not let this chemical into the environment. It’s combustible. Ingestion will cause abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and has been linked to effects on the liver. You can read more here.

I could go on and on and on and on with this list but I think you get the point… well at least I hope you do!
According to my husband, I’m turning into a crazy hippy chick. But then again, why wouldn’t I? The more I read the more I learn and the more I want to know what goes in and on my body. For those out there saying “oh it’s just on my body” I’d like to thank my friend Lisa for pointing out that our skin is our largest organ and it takes less than a minute to absorb chemicals into the body… and then they’re IN the body.
Between this mini research product and the more knowledge I gain, I’m going to start exploring my own healthy and beauty recipes. I know two people who have done it successfully and are happy. Hopefully I’ll continue following in their footsteps.

As I’ve been saying for a while now, this all doesn’t happen over night. It started with making better food choices. Then I realized I could make those good choices even better. It’s now spreading to other parts of my life. If you really commit to this process and dive in with an open mind and the need to read – you’ll be amazed at what happens.

To those that “think” this process is more expensive. I’m willing to bet it’s not. My food bill has DECREASED since starting and I’m thinking my HBA bill is going to follow suit.

So back to the original reason for this post, just in case you still aren’t convinced that this product is a sham, here’s a few other tid-bits I found searching online:

  • The product basically dehydrates you (which is why you need to drink half your body weight in water). Dehydration is NOT healthy nor recommended. 
  • The results are temporary and if you want them to last you have to do the wrap weekly. Boy won’t that get expensive. Let’s see I can do simple math…. $20 per wrap (likely more like $30 per wrap) once a week times 52 weeks in a year… that’s $1,040 (roughly speaking)… I can think of a few better uses for that money!
  • The wraps cause circulatory compression. This will cause a LOT of problems in your life.

You can read more about these dangers here, here and here.

I hope this helps and inspires a few people (like it’s inspired me) to look at not only the food in your life, but all products associated with your body.

Profile Piece and new blog

My profile appeared on the Canon-McMillian patch today. Super excited. You can read it here. With the profile also starts the side-blog I will be doing for the patch on health and fitness related topics. My first story can be found here62779_618985164796007_1113565456_n

I’m really excited to embark on the next journey with my life. This entire process has been nothing short of amazing. This blog, the Facebook page and all of you wonderful followers have helped me grow and evolved and it’s such an incredible feeling. I truly feel so loved and blessed!

While I love writing about entertainment, writing about nutrition, fitness and motivation has been an incredibly moving experience. While I don’t claim to know everything and I’m not perfect …. I know that I’m helping people. I’ve seen it through people who have emailed me, wrote on my page and responded to my blog. I’ve also seen it in real life with those I work with and family members.

This journey is far from over, it’s just ramping up for the next stages!

Understanding Research

I read a great blog tonight from The Iron You that discussed how you need to take all the “research” on the web with a grain of salt.

It’s no surprise that many people are confused and well… gullible when it comes to research studies surrounding nutrition. You can look up just about any food known to man and find a reason why you should or should not eat it. What most people forget to realize – and thanks to The Iron You I was reminded – that nutrition science isn’t really that old. In fact, in the world of research … it’s probably closer to a teenager that thinks it’s a know-it-all.

I encourage each and every person that wants to lose weight and get healthy to be diligent in their own research. To effectively understand how to eat healthy, you need to be out on the internet researching facts and statistics.  Just like your high school teachers taught you, when you read articles – come to your conclusions about the information.

There is a lot of information out on the web, but only you can figure out what you want to believe and what you feel may be exaggerated. It takes a little detective work, but you’ll get the hang of it. You don’t have to read it all in the course of a day, week or month but overtime – you will get the hang of it.


Soapbox: Emotional Eating

Hey, I’m digging this idea for my own little soapbox!

Anyways, let’s chat about emotional eating since it paid me a little visit. Let’s start with the back story (because there’s no emotional eating without a reason … right!)

The (very short) version of the story is my husband and I are putting in an offer on a house. Unfortunately, so are a whole bunch of other people. It’s a bidding war and it sucks. We were given a memo yesterday to put in our highest and best so for the past 24 hours my husband and I have been going in circles as to whether we should change the offer or leave it alone.

Now… onto the real reason for this post… emotional eating. To say that stress got the best of me today would be an understatement. This evening (on the brink of tears), I couldn’t take it anymore and had a decent portion of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It wasn’t a half gallon (though I have no doubt I could consume it tonight), but it was a nice bowl of ice cream.

Yes I was emotional. No it wasn’t the best thing I could grab but yes… I did feel slightly better after I had it.

Emotional eating is nothing new to anyone… we’ve all done it at some point in life. Sure those empty calories are worthless, but damn it sometimes they just make you feel better. I do believe in the 80/20 rule of life – 80% of the time I eat great …. and 20% … well yeah I want my ice cream, Oreos or chocolate cake damn it!

As several followers pointed out, there are billions of recipes online that can be easily made that were probably a much better option. However, when you’re on the brink of tears because you’re so overly stressed out… pulling out the baking pans or blender just wasn’t happening tonight.

I do NOT support emotional eating… but I also understand that ice cream (or whatever) happens. That one bowl isn’t going to ruin me forever. I’m not gaining all my weight back and I”m not reverting back to my old ways… but I do feel a little better… and it was certainly tasty ice cream.

The point is… when you make a lifestyle change, you have to understand that 100% of the time life isn’t going to be grand. You’re going to have a bowl of ice cream, gain a pound, lose nothing and be stressed. It’s all in what you do with these situations that make the difference.

Eight months ago, that half-gallon would have been toast during this situation but today it’s not. I had my fix and feel (somewhat) better, though I’m still extremely stressed over this situation. My motivation, drive and determination aren’t thwarted by this little bump in the road and more importantly – knowing how to handle this situation has made me a stronger person.

To all the people out there who struggle with emotional eating, you can get it under control with a little determination. For me, it’s finding another outlet to hopefully curb the behavior. It’s funny, as I was writing this post I received an email from Jackson checking on when we’re going to start training again.

I fully hoped to be back training with him by now. It’s been almost a month from the end of the Biggest Winner. Unfortunately, due to cost and time … it simply hasn’t happened. Though I really miss seeing him all the time, I feel confident on my own and my knowledge to get me through until we meet again.

In my recent email to him, I actually told him about how much I’ve changed through the process. Today, I use the gym to really help control my emotional eating and for the most part it really has worked! Every night I hit the gym allows me to clear my head and really focus on me for an hour. I take my frustration out on the weight machine. … I run … whatever it takes to clear my head and stop thinking of all the crap going on in my life.

I hope this post inspires at least one person to put down the carton of ice cream and do some push ups. You can beat emotional eating! If I can do it … you can do it and I’m happy to help anyone who needs help.

Soapbox: Meatless Mondays

I think I’m going to start a series of posts on my blog that allow me to get on my own soapbox so to speak. Today I think I’ll start with an article I posted on my Facebook page which prompted a bit of heated discussion surrounding diets, which took away from the point of me posting the article in the first place.

First, let me say that I do believe there are a number of diets out there that work for people – because it has to work for you. With that being said, I do not discriminate between any of the diet lifestyles – including Atkins, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Clean Eating, Vegan, vegetarian, etc. NONE OF THEM!

The debate between the meat eaters and the non-meat eaters has spanned many years. I don’t care whether you’re for / against or what your reasons are – that’s not the point of this soapbox post today.

Now let’s get to the real thoughts of the day – Meatless Mondays!

I discovered the concept back in the early days of my lifestyle changes. The concept seemed strange at first, but today I can honestly say I love it. I realized very early on in the process that our family was simply not eating enough vegetables. Without vegetables, people are severely lacking important nutrients important vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they can suffer from constipation and weigh gain!

When it comes to kids, getting an adequate amount of vegetables in them can be difficult – especially if you have a picky eater! While you can somewhat control what they eat at home, when you send them off to school you’re simply hoping for the best choices they can make at lunch.

With the growing trend of obesity, some schools have taken to including “Meatless Mondays” as a hope that children will become more adventurous in their food choices and rekindle a love of vegetables for many picky eaters. The LA Times reports that Los Angeles public schools have officially adopted meatless Mondays for the school cafeteria lunches. Citing  reasons of hope to introduce kids of all ages to a variety of vegetarian meals in hopes of expanding their choices, while still getting their needed protein and heightening their awareness of animals.

Now, before I wage a second war between the vegetarians and meat eaters … I truly only care about their first hope … expanding their choices.

Have you looked at school lunches lately? In my research of school districts in the area in preparation for our move, one of the main items I looked at was their lunch menus. Sure, I can pack my daughter a lunch and I truly will try like hell for as long as possible, but inevitably she has to face the lunch line at some point in her life and I can only HOPE that she has enough brains to make good choices like I’ve taught her … but more importantly those GOOD choices are going to actually be there for her to make.

The point is… “Meatless Mondays” does not need to be focused on pushing “animal rights” on kids… but looked at in terms of healthy options because there is nothing wrong with trying to get a kid to eat a few more vegetables!





Shamrock Shuffle

Well the first race of the year is in the books and it was quite an experience. The Jameson’s Army Shamrock Shuffle marked the first race on a trail for me (the Tanger Outlets Breast Cancer Walk was on pavement). I knew it would be different, but I wasn’t ready for just how much.

So, let’s go back to Saturday and the promise of a 50 degree day. Yeah… not at 9 a.m. It was seriously cold this morning! Armed with two of the greatest ladies on earth – my sorta-cousin-by-marriage-amazing friend, Megan – and my sister-in-law, Sunni – we headed to the park for an eventful day!

After checking in and getting our bibs, we wandered around a bit warming up. Of course, when it’s cold there’s really no “warming” about it. At 9 a.m. we headed up to the trail at Cecil Park only to discover the majority of it was still covered in snow and ice. EEK!

So … snow and ice. I can honestly say I was not prepared to do a 5K on snow and ice. Oh well.. no backing out now!

So I started down the path. Once we got off the starting line the trail cleared up and I was hopeful (but not for long). There were small parts where I felt confident enough to job the 5K but I will say I walked the majority of it – mostly out of fear of falling on my ass!

Megan warned me the trail was going to make my feet hurt. She wasn’t joking. My feet still (on Monday night) ache from the trail, but it hasn’t stopped me!

Despite the ice, this 5K went along much better than the last one! My time was 46:47:50 (or 15:05/Mile). When I did my first race in October, my time was 53:49:60 (or 17:22/Mile). I consider that a great improvement in about six months.


Vast improvement over October

I can’t wait until my next race. I just know now that I need more time on the trails!