Spotlight Gesundheit


September 2015

Harbinger Women’s Pro Gloves Review


My hands were getting pretty torn up and calloused from the bar grips on my squat and curl bars. I invested in a pair of Harbinger lifting gloves and they make a big difference in the condition of my hands. Do they totally eliminate callouses? No. But, they guard my hands against skin tears, which can be a major pain to heal while continuing to lift.

The things I like best about these gloves is they are washer and dryer safe even though they are leather. I washed them right after purchasing and the leather was still supple and flexible after machine drying them. The mesh on the top keeps glove “stink” from sweat at bay and provides a lot of comfort with a tight fit.

The 1/4 finger slots still allow a bit of the bar rashing to come in contact with the top two sections of my fingers, but it does not seem to produce the skin tearing comparable to my bare palms. If I had to do it over again, I would probably invest in a full glove to guard my whole hand against the bar rashing. But they are very comfortable, easy to clean, and fit perfectly.

Time Block Tasks to Lower Stress


I recently started feeling like I was running against the clock. I felt stressed because I could not manage to fit all my “to do list” into the day. Turns out, I didn’t need more time, I just needed to prioritize better.

For example, I would be in the middle of laundry. My cell phone would beep. I would stop doing laundry to respond to an email. Thereafter, I would return to the laundry realizing I could have been done. Or even worse, I had wasted time reading emails and laundry would have to sit there till I got back from an appointment. I found this cycle to be exhausting and decided to streamline my day into task blocks.

I started by setting certain times to read, write and check email during the day. I turned off all my cell phone vibrate and sound notifications for new content as well. It was a huge change. No more vibrating and jingles to interrupt my current task. No more rush to check new content. I was able to fully focus on the task at hand.

Since I cut out the distractions, I focus better throughout my day. I feel more capable with every task completed. And, I get a lot more accomplished, which lowers my stress level.

My Training Routine: Pros and Cons of Cable and Free Weights


I typically lift every other day for 30-40 minutes. I train on a scale between 5 sets of 5 reps and 1 set of 25 reps per exercise. These sets are performed with emphasis on either slow or fast movement through the lift and varied rest times between reps. I have a max day once a week where I do as many reps as I can to failure (can’t lift anymore) to track my progress and determine whether I should increase my weights for the next week.

Cable pulleys are my go to for lat pull downs, cable rows, cable crunches and safe chest presses without a spotter. And as I progress to heavier weights, the cable system has a built in safety buffer. But, cables also limit range of motion. The weight range is also very structured as compared to free weights.

Free weights, on the other hand, offer free range of motion which is crucial in building stabilizer muscles. But, for heavier lifting, a spotter is required for safety. Customized weight loads are a big perk that I utilize for my arms, chest, back, shoulders, as well as dead lift and squats.

Both cable and free weights work really well together to build a safe and effective training regimen. The trick is using them both to your advantage.

As a side note, Power Racks can be a great substitute for spotters when using heavier free weights, but they are quite large and can be cost prohibitive.

Wallaby Greek Yogurt

Wallaby Greek yogurt is a huge staple in my diet. It took a while to find a Greek yogurt that had a high protein content and was not extremely tart. Wallaby fit the criteria 100%.

If they ever stop making it, I’m going to lie down on the floor and throw a big girl tantrum followed by fetal position sobbing. It is that good.

Anyway, back on topic, the protein count is the highest I can find: 23 grams of protein for every 225g serving which totals 130 calories. A picture of the full nutrition facts is below.

Tips for flavoring this luscious plain Greek yogurt can be found here.





The System I Used to Lose 70+ Pounds


Calculate Caloric Intake

Use this calculator to calculate total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

Take TDEE calorie figure and deduct 10 – 15%:

TDEE x .90 = 10% deficit.

TDEE x .85 = 15% deficit.

Set Daily Calories in My Fitness Pal

Input deficit figure into My Fitness Pal (Do not use “Guided Setup”).

Recalculate and update My Fitness Pal every 5 pound loss.

Set up Macros in My Fitness Pal

Protein and fat are essential nutrients.

One gram per body weight is a good place to start for protein intake. A great source of protein is Greek Yogurt. See my post on how to make it delicious here.

I keep my fat ratio at 20% – 30% of my total calories (olive oil and fish are great choices).

I fill the rest of my calorie allowance in with carbohydrates (whole potatoes are a great choice).

I set my fiber goal around 30 grams a day to ensure lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.


Exercise 3 hours or more a week.


I use a food scale for precise gram weighting of portions.

Weight Training While Lactating: Tips From A Mom


Weight training while lactating doesn’t have to be complicated or embarrassing. Here is a list of simple, effective steps I use to make lactating and weight training enjoyable.

Compression bras seemed to be the worst type of bra for me to train in. My milk production tends to increase as I train and compression puts pressure on my filling breasts, causing pain. I have found that a good fitting, non under wire sports bra (with or without padding) is best as it allows milk to naturally pool in the breasts and enlarge.

Bra Padding
Not only does the padding provide more comfort for nipples, it also camouflages any differences in breast size after feeding or pumping.

Absorbent Breast Pads
Exercises such as lying leg curls require me to lie chest down on the padded bench. If my breasts are full, I can leak a bit of milk. Having an absorbent pad to contain leaks helps keep my focus off leaking and on training.

Sore or Chapped Nipples
This can be a major downer but I have found any food grade oil will prevent friction between bra and nipples.

Filled Breasts
If the pressure from milk becomes uncomfortable, it is best to either feed or express milk to reduce pressure. Milk can be expressed by hand into an absorbent cloth or pumped into bottles for later use. Most facilities have an area specifically for lactating moms to pump in or will find a suitable area when asked. Pumping can also be done in the car.

It’s especially important for breastfeeding women to keep hydrated. The loss of fluids from sweating can cause dehydration, dizziness and affect milk supply. Take frequent water breaks to ensure proper hydration.

The USDA recommends breastfeeding women eat 71 grams of Protein daily. But, I aim to eat 1 gram per pound of body weight to cover my recommended daily allowance and allow extra for training. Plus, the higher protein content in my diet keeps me feeling fuller longer.

The extra calories used for milk production can bring on unbearable hunger at a moments notice. Pack healthy snacks in case of hunger during training. I have become light headed trying to complete a training session before eating. Fuel your body when it asks.

Clean After Training
Thoroughly wash and dry the breasts and surrounding area post workout and replace sweaty bra with a new, dry one. The warm moist creases under the breasts are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and infections.

Sanitize Hands
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close and sanitize hands before touching the car steering wheel and after entering the house. Our homes and cars are the two largest areas for spreading germs as we routinely inhabit them after coming in contact with objects strangers frequently touch.

Body Changes and Home Invasions


I distinctly remember walking into my dimly lit kitchen and having my fight or flight instinct kick in. I was staring straight at a would be intruder standing about 3 feet from the sliding glass door. I remember trying to formulate a plan to prevent this crazy lady from making it into our home. There was one glaring problem; she was a reflection of me.

This was the first time of many incidences I would be shocked into fight or flight mode by my changing body image. My psyche had identified with my overweight figure for 20+ years. But, after dropping approximately 40% of my body weight, my mind started to struggle between my old and new body.

It has taken my mind much longer to acclimate to my new body than it took to achieve. I still from time to time ask about the random lady in photos (new body me) when my mind defaults back to my old self. But, as time goes on, the new version of me is taking over for the old.

I know my mind will eventually shed the old obese concept of me like I did the pounds. And I’m really looking forward to my mind and body functioning on the same page. But until then, I’ll have to be patient while the two versions of me grapple for some sense of identity.

Cut your Grocery Bill with these Simple Tricks

IMG_4626No one likes paying more for groceries than they have to. What if I told you there were ways to save money on your favorite foods? I’ve got a few tips that may just save you quite a bit of money on your grocery runs.


If you buy your meats from the butcher section, it makes sense to buy on sale. Unfortunately, most chain grocery stores do not advertise anything other than chain mandated specials. So how do you know when your favorite chicken drumsticks or packs of ground beef are going to be marked down? Ask the butcher. In my experience, the butcher would rather sell reduced meats than take a loss. They will gladly tell you when your favorite items will be marked down to secure a sale. And, from time to time, I have had butchers mark my favorites down ahead of time while I was willing to buy a large amount. I often get 12-15 packs of drumsticks at a time and freeze them for Crockpot meals this way. The savings is 40% or more off regular price per pound.


Bulk suppliers are the best way to get lower priced grains. Amish stores and farmers markets are good places to buy bulk grains. They can sell cheaper due to minimal packaging, less processing and lack of overhead. There are also numerous online bulk grain distributors that send out their grains in clear plastic bags. Prices are typically based on weight and the savings can be huge if buying in bulk.


Have you ever needed a couple bananas for a recipe but the only bunches left were prepackaged and so ripe the rest will go bad in the next couple days? Pick up your over ripe bunch of bananas and ask the produce manager to mark them down. I have used this trick to get bananas at 1/3 the price for banana bread. This works for any produce that looks less than perfect or is slightly past it’s peak.

New Products

If you want to try a new product without paying full price, email the company for a coupon. I have never been denied a coupon to try a new product. I have been able to try products such as salad, half and half, and eggs either free or very close to free.

Let the Company Know What You Think

I once bought a salad dressing and the consistency was horribly chunky and it tasted too sweet. My feedback got me a coupon for a free replacement bottle of my choice. Companies pay thousands of dollars a year for consumer testing, focus groups and opinion polls. Taking the time to send your feedback means they get feedback for free. In exchange for my feedback, I have received either a replacement coupon or a book of coupons for all of the company’s related products. The same goes for positive feedback. Companies thrive on customer opinion and will gladly reward you for your time!

Have another tip or trick to save money on groceries? Please share!

My Turning Point

The majority of my life I have trudged along the overweight to obese spectrum. I had difficulties buying clothing, limited my activities because I was embarrassed and my self confidence dwindled with every pound gained. Everything I did was woven with despair of being overweight and it robbed me of self respect and confidence for decades.

Looking back, I let my self worth get so low I believed I did not deserve to be healthy. I let my unhealthy lifestyle become a billboard for how I felt inside: hopeless.

I slammed face first into reality last Summer. It was a beautiful day with my family at a local state park. We had a great time together wading in the water, watching the dragonflies dance and walking trails. My husband snapped some photos of our afternoon and when I got around to viewing and editing them, I was so mortified. I had become accustomed to the shame of my fat pictures over the years. This shame was different: I was ashamed of being a bad role model.

At the time, I would put my weight close to 200 pounds. My clothes no longer concealed my source of self loathing. And there I was staring at myself holding our daughter. It was then I realized I wanted a better life for her. I did not want her to carry the same shame and hopelessness. I wanted her to love and take good care of herself.

At that moment I became determined to heal myself and become a better role model. I slowly started improving my exercise and nutrition habits. As I lost weight, I gained confidence. I felt better, looked better and knew I was on my way to being a better role model for my daughter.

Fast forward more than a year later and I have implemented a lot of healthy habits. I am thankful for all the positive ways my body has changed. I’m in a normal weight range and full of energy for the first time in decades. But, what I am most grateful for, is my confidence and ability to teach my daughter self love, respect and empower her to be her best.

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