Protein Bar Review: Think Thin Bars

I’ve discovered a great new protein bar and I knew I had to share. ThinkThin Bars.  These have officially become my “go-to” snack during my work days. They are big enough to feel like a true meal replacement if you’re using it as one and full of protein (20g each!) to keep you full until you actually get to sit down at a table for a meal. I tend to break these in half and each it with a piece of fruit for a snack and I’m STILL getting around 10g of protein.

Not only do they have an insane amount of protein each, they actually taste great and they’re relatively low in points!  (Around 6-7 per bar, which are around 1.5 inches wide and 4 inches long.)

Chocolate Espresso: This is my favorite one, to my surprise! It’s got chunks of espresso beans in the actual bar, so it’s definitely got the right flavor, especially when it’s my breakfast or morning snack! Keeps me going for a while.

Chunky Peanut Butter: Peanut butter… delicious. This one tastes exactly like the creamy PB one, except it has “chunks” which really aren’t peanut chunks, but more like concentrated creamy bits. It’s also not as sweet as most people expect when they get chocolate covered peanut butter stuff, but it’s still really good.

Creamy Peanut Butter: Exactly like the one above only without the chunks. Just pure PB awesomeness.

White Chocolate: This is my second favorite one, again, to my surprise. It’s more of a light brownie taste on the inside and covered in white chocolate. The flavor is just really nice.

Brownie Crunch: Chocolate with a little crunch. What more can I say?  It’s tasty!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry: Not so good… unless you like the taste of fake strawberry.  People just need to learn to stay away from putting it in their products unless they can truly make it taste GOOD.  They didn’t pull it off.

These are just a few of the flavors.  It also comes in chunky peanut butter, cookies and creme, caramel fudge, dark chocolate and a few more.  Click here for more!  I’ll definitely be ordering the last three I mentioned because I haven’t found them in stores just yet.  They also carry fruit and nut bars, bites and a few other delicious-looking products.  Hopefully one of these days they’ll respond to my tweets so I can work out a giveaway!

The bars are also gluten-free.  They aren’t dairy-free, but they do use certified kosher regular dairy ingredients.  All of them are no to low sugar (0-4g per bar).  If they used stevia instead of sugar, they’d REALLY have me wrapped around their finger.

thinkThin Protein Bars
Calories per Bar: ~230
PointsPlus per Bar: 6-7
Texture: 4/5
Flavor: 4/5
Ingredients: 4/5

Smoothies and Shakes… What’s the Difference?

Click here for this Wild Blueberry Shake recipe by “Colorful Palate”!

I’ve been on a smoothie rampage lately. Well, by rampage I mean that I have at least 1-2 per day… and not really for the purpose of losing weight, but because they are damn tasty! If I can have something that tastes like ice cream without all the guilt for any meal of the day AND it takes less than 5 minutes to make from start to finish why would I NOT have 1-2 a day? They satisfy my massive sweet tooth and since I put protein powder in every one, they fill me up. It’s a win-win.

Click here for this Juicy Pear Smoothie recipe by “The Healthy Foodie”!

My history with making shakes and smoothies has not been a great one, though. Until my mom showed me how to properly make one last month, I ended up disappointed in most of my smoothie attempts. I’d already packed the blender up for our move (which is next weekend) because I didn’t see the point in keeping it out! Oh, silly silly me. Mimsy (my nickname for my mom) brought over some Weight Watcher Protein Smoothie packets, bought some frozen fruit and went to work.

First off, let me tell you the difference between a SMOOTHIE and a SHAKE. I had to do my own research on this just to figure it out. A smoothie is typically made with fruit – frozen fruit, fruit juice, fresh fruit, etc. It’s not a dairy affair. It’s a fruit party. A shake (“milkshake” being the source of the word), on the other hand, is a dairy-based treat usually made with ice cream, milk or both. The thickness of either does not change the name; as long as you can suck it up through a straw, it’s either a smoothie or a shake. When you start to need a spoon, then it becomes an ice cream or a sorbet.

After you figure out if you’re making a smoothie or a shake, you then want to decide how thick you want it to be. Do you want to easily drink it or do you want it thicker so that you feel more like you’re “eating” something rather than “drinking” it? The breakdown:

Click here for this Blood Orange Smoothie recipe by “Bittersweet”!

– Start each shake/smoothie with no more than 1 cup of a liquid, whether that’s water, fruit juice or some kind of milk (soy, almond, coconut, regular, etc).

– If you want a treat you can DRINK, you can either skip the frozen stuff all together (like ice cream or frozen fruit) and just put in fresh fruit like berries and bananas (or even spinach or avocado!) or you can put in frozen items that are UP TO OR EQUAL to the amount of liquid you’re using. If it’s too liquidy, blend in something frozen like ice or fruit.

– If you want a treat you can EAT, you can put in frozen items that are EQUAL OR UP TO TWICE the amount of the liquid you’re using. You could also use half the amount of liquid and sub the other half with tofu, yogurt, avocado or cottage cheese. Any more than that and your blender won’t blend it properly and you’ll end of with icy chunks of fruit covered in what resembles a smoothie texture. If it’s too thick for you, add some more liquid.

Click here for this Lemon Apple Honey Smoothie by “The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife”!

– If you want a treat you NEED TO EAT WITH A SPOON, you’ll want to use 2 parts frozen stuff to 1 part liquid. Maybe a liiiiiiittle bit more, but not too much. Or you can use about 2 tbsp liquid, up to one cup of tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt or avocado and then add your sweetener and frozen ingredients.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: you want to make sure you eat/drink your treats right away. Smoothies and shakes lose their wonderful consistency within about 30 minutes. So, don’t make it until you’re ready to consume it.

Click here for this Papaya Strawberry Avocado Shake recipe from “Family Fresh Cooking”!

Now you know how to make it work. So all that’s left is some delicious recipes, right? Well, you can certainly click on any of the pictures I’ve posted to go to those recipes on different blogs or you can try some of these simple and delicious combos listed below! Just put in the wet ingredients first, then the protein powder (if using) and sweetener and THEN the frozen items. Blend and enjoy! You may need to use a spoon to re-position the fruit so that it blends properly. Once you see the top of the mixture seamlessly swirling towards the center, your treat is ready to be devoured!

Chocoberry Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

Click here for this Carrot Cake Smoothie recipe by “Pursuit of Hippieness”!

Tropical Breeze Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 PP
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen tropical fruit medley

Peaches and Cream Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, 2 PP

Simple Strawberry Smoothie (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Chocolate PB Banana Shake (5 PP)

  • 1 cup skim milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp peanut butter, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen banana

Watermelon Explosion Sorbet (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Microwave Paper Bag Popcorn

Here’s a little something to tide you all over until I can get together a tasty Thai food post! I’ve heard rumors about being able to make popcorn in minutes with literally just KERNELS and a PAPER BAG.

BOOM. Proof. Time to go buy paper bags.

We eat a lot of popcorn in our house. A lot! We usually prefer using the hot air popper so it’s on the healthier side, but occasionally we’ll make a large batch of kettle corn. We never eat microwave popcorn. Besides the fact that is laden with all sorts of unhealthy ingredients, we just can’t stand the smell! I found this idea on Pinterest. It’s one of those simple ideas that works beautifully. It’s also great when you want a single serving of popcorn. The recipe below is for decent single serving. I use a sandwich sized brown bag, but if you’re looking for a nice bowl of popcorn to share, then just double the recipe and use it with a larger brown paper bag.

Paper-bag Microwave Popcorn


  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • paper lunch bag

Place 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into lunch sized paper bag. Fold the top…

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Losing Weight with Wolfram Alpha

Hey Y’all!  So you know how I’ve mentioned a few times that I work for this company called Wolfram|Alpha?  Yeah, well, we’re awesome and so is our “Computational Knowledge Engine”.  Yup.  That’s what I said.  We actually compute data for you right on our website.  In fact, we can do a lot more than that…. like help you to lose weight!

They asked me to write a post for our blog about how to use W|A to lose weight.  I thought I might have to do a lot of research and querying on our website to find a good way to actually do that, but in fact, it was extremely simple.  We can show you the nutrition value of thousands of foods.  We can show you the estimated caloric burn of different activities based on your height, weight and age.  We can help to calculate what your caloric intake should be every day depending on what your goal weight and time allotted is.  We can do so much!  So check out the blog that I wrote to see just how handy it is.

And if you’re not interested in using it, just go and read it because you think I’m neato and you like reading what I write!  =D

One more thing.  I’ll be guest posting on ANOTHER blog this week!  Dacia over at 33 and Counting asked me to write a post, so I went all out and wrote a little about my journey and lot about food!  I even included a recipe for another delicious Indian meal.  It’s all broken down into WW PP just like I do here.  Dacia’s pretty amazing.  She’s lost over 100 lbs in less than a year with Weight Watchers!  So make sure to check it out this Friday!

Layered Taco Dip… brought to you by Blue Berri!

‘Tis the season for layering!  Layering of clothes, layering of blankets, layering of food.  We spend our weekends catching up on sleep, cleaning up our homes (since we have no time during the week… or is that just me projecting?) and watching football!  Personally, I don’t care about football, but my fiancee sure does!  And in order to appease her tailgating desires one night, I created quite a tasty taco dip that lasted all of about 30 minutes!  It was seriously SO GOOD.

Layered taco dip is incredibly easy to make, so you all should have a go at it if you haven’t already.  And since it’s Halloween weekend, I’m going to let my pal Blue Berri give you her instructions on how to be a Glam Rocker and also how to layer yo sh*t to make a super tasty dip!

STEP ONE: Be awesome. And always look a little crazy.

STEP ONE: Get out all your bitchin’ ingredients.  You’ll need, like:

  • Fat free refried beans
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Your favorite reduced sodium taco/fajita seasoning
  • Guacamole (I like Wholly Guacamole and Benita’s Spicy Guac)
  • Shredded Mexican Blend cheese, reduced fat
  • Diced tomatoes (use two different colored ones if you can)
  • Chopped jalapenos (or jarred slices)
  • Optional – black olives, more chopped hot peppers

STEP TWO: Express extreme awesomeness by showing your teeth and holding up fingers!

STEP TWO:  Take the sour cream and the taco dip and mix together (make sure you’re keeping track of portion sizes!) and set aside to let the tubular flavors blend.  Depending on the dish, I’d use 1-1 1/2 cups each of the refried beans, sour cream and guacamole.  PP values will vary, so make sure to add all that up before you start inhaling the finished product.

STEP THREE: Whenever possible, use extreme hand gestures so that even your FINGERS are rockin’!

STEP THREE: Get out a small or medium glass baking dish.  These are the most rockin’ ones to use because you can see all the tasty layers!  First, spread out the beans, then the guacamole and then put down the chopped jalapenos and, if you’re using them, put down the chopped hot peppers.  Then you’ll spread out the sour cream.  Sandwiching the hot peppers between the guac and sour cream is like keeping a hot little secret!  All of a sudden people will be like “WHOA!”.  Righteous.

STEP FOUR: Never make direct eye contact with someone unless you can look at them INTENSELY for the entire time.

STEP FOUR: Now that you have the sour cream down, put the diced tomatoes and black olives (if you’re using them) all over the top.  Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup mexican blend cheese.  If you can hold your horses for about 10 minutes, that’s spectacular.  It’ll let the flavors merge and form super powers that you’ll get when you eat it.  Those super powers are – EXPLOSION (it takes about 40 minutes for that to settle in!), SPEED (you get faster at eating it with every bite), FIRE BREATHER (if you used super hot peppers!) and GLOW (because you beaming with happiness from making the tastiest dip ever.)

STEP FIVE: Be confident. You won’t be able to pull off brightly colored hair unless you feel FANTASTICAL about yourself!

STEP FIVE: Pull out those chips and EAT!  Enjoy the tasty layered taco dip that you made yourself rather than buying in the store.  It’s much healthier for you and much tastier.  You can share if you want, but it’ll be so good that you might just want to carefully package it up in tupperware containers so you can have a portion of it every day!  BOO YAH!

Fiber One 80 Giveaway! CLOSED

Photo Courtesy of: The Tippy Toe Diet blog

My family has a history with Fiber One products.  Thanks to my brothers, Fiber One bars have been affectionately renamed “fart bars” due to their dramatic effect on the digestive system.  We’ve also tried a bunch of different cereals and I can’t say I’ve continued to buy them on a regular basis.  Sometimes a girl just doesn’t want her stomach or nether-regions singing opera to anyone within earshot of her cubicle.

When I signed up to get a free box of Fiber One 80 to try out, I thought I’d be getting a box of bland, twig-like cereal that would cause me to run to the bathroom a lot.  Why sign up?  The free pedometer and iPod armband thingy that came with it!  I thought I’d be crushing up the cereal and using it as a bread crumb coating for a chicken or fish dish.  But when the box showed up on my doorstep and I grabbed a handful to try, I was pleasantly surprised!  It has a great honey-sweetened flavor and it does NOT taste like twigs.  It doesn’t even look like twigs.  And it has a whopping TEN grams of fiber per serving!  (I didn’t rush to the bathroom all day, but I was definitely feeling lighter by the end of the day, lol).  In fact, one serving (3/4 cup) of Fiber One 80 is only 2 PP!

I’m already thinking of ways to use it in cooking rather than just eating it in a bowl with milk.  I was already planning on a parfait with some of the chobani, so I’m going to chop up some of this cereal, mix with some graham cracker and oats and make a super tasty carby layer for my parfaits.  Maybe it would be a good addition to a graham cracker crust for a pie of some sort…. the honey flavor would lend itself very nicely to a pie crust!

So yeah, I’m actually a fan of this new Fiber One 80 cereal.  I mixed some of it into my strawberry-banana chobani and had a blasty blast!  I recommend getting a box and trying it out for yourself.  Or… you could win a box of your own (plus a pedometer and an iPod armband!).  The pedometer is pretty cool too.  Small and perfect for a pocket… but easy to forget about (put it in your pocket, ANGELA!)

That’s right, you can win a Fiber One gift package right here!  It includes a box of the cereal, a pedometer and an iPod armband.  There are five ways to enter.  You can enter once or all five different ways.  Just make sure to follow the directions!  All entries must be completed by MONDAY, JULY 4th at MIDNIGHT.  The winner will be chosen on announced on July 5th.  Good luck!

1. “Like” Fiber One on Facebook and leave a comment on their wall telling them how you found their page and what product you’re trying to win and then leave a comment on this blog post telling me that you did.
2. Follow @ReluctantFoodie on Twitter and leave a comment on this blog telling me that you did.
3. Subscribe to my blog through RSS feed or through email and leave a comment telling me that you did.
4. Share my blog post on Facebook with the following in the comment box, “Win a free pedometer, iPod armband and a box of the new Fiber One 80 cereal on The Reluctant WW Foodie blog!” and leave a comment on this blog telling me that you did.
5. Tweet the following message “Win a free pedometer, iPod armband and a box of Fiber One 80 cereal from @ReluctantFoodie! Enter here –” and leave a comment on this blog telling me that you did.

Note: the product, prize pack, information and giveaway have all been provided by Fiber One through MyBlogSpark.  All opinions of the product and prize pack are personal opinions (they didn’t pay me to speak on behalf of it all).

Backpacking Through the Windy City

Our train car into Chicago

There’s something special about big cities.  It’s not just the wide array of shops and restaurants along every block.  It’s not just the monumental skyscrapers, bridges and other architectural wonders.  It’s not just the melting pot of cultural backgrounds that pass by you with each step.  It’s all of those things… plus the fact that I’d rather WALK around the city than be stuck with a mean cabbie or driving through that horrendous traffic!  So, that’s exactly what we did.

Beauty in unexpected places.

The girlfriend and I drove up to her hometown to drop her car off to her dad since he bought it from her.  We decided to go down to sharing one car!  And since we didn’t have a car to drive back down, we decided to take the train and enjoy a day and a half in Chicago.  We didn’t want to drag luggage around the city with us, so we each packed a backpack and off we went!  It was so simple and enjoyable that we’ve decided it’s our new favorite way to travel.

Luckily, we brought umbrellas with us so even though it rained a lot of the time, we were prepared and we just kept walking!  On Saturday, we did at least eight miles and on Sunday we did around five or so.  We had lunch with one of my good friends from college, then started walking with just a map to guide us.  We happened to fall right into the path of the Memorial Day Parade and it was great!  The girlfriend took lots of cool pictures with my nifty phone and a little Vietnamese Lady in the parade even came over and gave me this beautiful fan.  It totally made my day.

Me and my beautiful Vietnamese Fan!

Then we found Michigan Avenue and walked all over since we still had a few hours to kill before hotel check-in.  We hung out around Buckingham Fountain and Lakeshore Drive and talked about life and the future and then we finally headed to the hotel.  Then we quickly showered and headed out for one more store and dinner at The Melting Pot.  LORDY LORD.  SOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!!!!  Needless to say, we didn’t count, but we DID choose the healthiest fondue for the main course and enjoyed every last bite.  It was the girlfriend’s idea and her treat and we had a LOT of fun.  It was almost 2 miles to get to the restaurant, so we had to walk almost 2 miles back.  We worked off at least SOME of that fondue!  And then we passed out the minute we got to the hotel.

Some of the Chicago Memorial Day Parade participants

The next morning we went SWIMMING (at 8am, no less)!  I haven’t been swimming in over a year.  We both discovered that our bathing suits are a little too big, so we’ll need to go shopping for new ones.  That’s a much more pleasant reason to go shopping for a new suit than I’ve had in the past 15 years!  It was nice, although it was the ONLY free amenity in the whole hotel.  FYI – if you ever visit Chicago, don’t stay at the Hilton Chicago on N. Michigan Ave.  It’s overpriced and they’ll make you pay $15 to use their workout equipment.  (Only the pool and walking track are free.  LAME.)  Once we got dressed and packed up, we headed out for some breakfast.

We stopped at Caffé Baci; it was superb!  The girlfriend got a belgian waffle with fruit and lite syrup and I got a yogurt/fruit parfait (amazing) and a bagel with cream cheese.  Then we headed out for a little more shopping and site seeing, but it started thunderstorming.  We ended up stopping at just a couple stores before we walked to Union Station.

RWWF in the Windy City!

Since we brought books and music and stuff, we figured hanging out there would be nice and relaxing.  Little did we know that some movie was filming in the huge foyer and it was a scene with a MARCHING BAND.  Apparently the directors and assistants suck at their job because they kept moving people (including us) from our seats on the wooden benches.  (Seriously, could they have TRIED looking through the camera lens to see what all would be in the shot before moving people further and further down?)  After they asked us to move for the FOURTH time, we said F*CK IT and walked over to a cafe table.  It was loud and annoying and I hope the movie TANKS!

The ballroom of the Hilton Chicago. Beautiful, but not worth the moolah!

The train ride home was half as long as the first, so we got back right on time to catch the bus.  Unfortunately, the bus stopped running at 7, so it’s last stop (where we got off) still left us with a mile walk back home.  But after 13 miles in Chicago, one more mile was no big deal :)  We walked back, I ordered some Thai food and we enjoyed relaxing for the rest of the evening.

It was such a wonderful weekend!  Walking gave us so much time to just talk and enjoy the sights and each others’ company instead of arguing about traffic and directions.  Our stress levels were super low.  It definitely convinced us that at some point in the future we’d like to spend at least a year living in a city.  I know I could certainly get used to being around so much great culture, shopping and food… as long as I have to walk there in order to enjoy it!  Now, I’m on a mission for the perfect traveling backpack.  The girlfriend and I are DEFINITELY doing this again.  We have our annual bus passes for our current town and a couple of other train trips have already been scheduled.  Life is good; a healthy/eco-friendlier life is even better :)

Living my Life like it’s Golden

Oh man! Life has been good lately, and it’s only gonna get better :)

New hairs. I love that I can pull off asymmetry!

I got my hairs cut by my good friend, Chandra, at her new salon, The Studio. So awesome! I can’t give them enough praise. It’s a beautiful open space with fantastic colors, lots of IKEA furniture, and “green” innovations. Even the shampoos and conditioners are organic! They have this hydrotherapy tub that I’m bound and determined to try some day, massage, pedicures, manicures, all the hair cutting and styling you need, and a studio where you can get beautiful photos taken. Prices are reasonable and totally worth it when you realize just how green they are. There’s even a recycling bin for you to deposit your empty bottles and cans!

Chandra did an incredible job (as you can plainly see!) and I’m definitely going back. In fact, I revised my list of rewards a little bit after my wonderful experience there. Instead of buying a treadmill when I lose 70 lbs, I’m getting the “Spa Starter” – manicure, pedicure, hydrotherapy treatment and a massage! SO EXCITED!!

This weekend is going to be busy.  The girlfriend and I are driving to her hometown because her dad is buying her car off her.  So, we’ll be officially down to ONE CAR.  Yay to lower carbon footprints!  And since we won’t have a car to drive home, we’re taking the train to Chicago, staying a night and then taking the train back home.  We’ll be doing a LOT of walking around the city, so we decided NO luggage, just one backpack each!  Can you tell how excited I am about this?  We’ll be staying on the Magnificent Mile in the Hilton.  Oooohhhh yeahhhhh.  Gonna spend some time at Navy Pier, gonna watch the Memorial Day parade that’s on Sunday, gonna go to the Melting Pot for dinner (I think).  It will be grand!  And since we’re going down to one car, we’re getting an annual bus pass for each of us this afternoon!  I have a feeling it’ll be the best 60 bucks I’ll spend this year.

More walking, less money spent on gasoline, lots of train trips, eating organic, simplifying our lives…. This summer is going to be the best one I’ve had in a VERY long time.  And I get to enjoy it with less weight on my bones!  Can’t beat that :)

Why, Could You Please Pass the Gas?

Photo Courtesy of:

I need to talk to you about a serious topic, people.  And I need to talk about it now.

There’s one specific thing that undoubtedly catapults a relationship between two people to an entirely new level.  It forever changes the relationship, brings a new sense of honesty and openness, and often it means that long-term commitment (if handled correctly) is in the foreseeable future.  What is that thing, you ask?  Farts.

Now, I was tempted to put “gas” as the pivotal word, but no.  People burp in front of each other all the time; it’s no big deal.  Carbonated beverages have minimized the significance of burping, therefore destroying the poignancy of “gas” as a wholly important word (in this discussion).  Burps are small potatoes.  Farts, on the other hand, are equivalent to Thanksgiving dinner.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this journey, so far, it’s that farting comes with the territory.  My relationship with myself has reached a whole new level now that farts are a definite part of my daily life.  With the increased amounts of fiber I consume and the consistent weekly exercise, I find myself farting a LOT more.  And not just in the comfort of my own home.  I go for a nice walk before or after work and ten minutes after I’ve started… pfffffffft.  Attempting to run the day after a delicious leafy green, fiberlicious meal…. pffft.  pfffffft. pfft.  pft.

At first, I was quite mortified.  Who do you blame when you’re the only one coming out of the elevator?  What do you say to the old lady who unknowingly walked into your string of little bombs as you stroll around the park a few times?

As a woman who’s proud of her European mutt roots, farts and I have never been strangers.  In fact, gassing it up after a meal is considered to be a compliment in some countries.  “Pfffffffft… My compliments to the chef.” (At least that’s what Dad always told me!)  But still, I was worried about what people would think.  “GAWD, that fat girl just FARTED and it smells like BUUUUUUUTTTTT!”  I already have to deal with the fears that come from being the biggest girl in the workout class or the sweatiest, most red-faced girl on the elliptical, but do I really have to be the gassy girl on the track too?

Why, yes.  Yes I do.  I eat the right foods now and I exercise like I should have been doing all my life, just like all the other healthy people in the world.  And guess what?  They fart too. You hear them in the bathroom (like in Vegas.  What happens there stays there.)  We all think “gross!!” and raise our eyebrows a little as we sit in our individual stalls, but we never actually say anything to one another because we KNOW we’ve been in that same unfortunate position.  No one in their right mind is going to make fun of the person who ate some bad Chinese food and is paying for it in unholy and uncomfortable ways!  Karma is real, and you know you’ll pay for it if you do.

I’m finally starting to accept my farts for what they really are, and they are a bunch of things.

– tiny little pushes towards my ultimate goal
– bits of inspiration to get my ass moving away from the stank
– mini shouts of gratitude from my digestive tract for feeding it well
– reminders that I’m a normal, imperfect human like everyone else
– non-verbal communication from my body letting me know that my diet is on track (or off track depending on how much it burns my eyes.  TMI?)

But most importantly, my being able to accept my farts as a normal, albeit HILARIOUS, part of my new and improved lifestyle has definitely brought my relationship with my body to a whole new level.  I suspect I’m on the brink of a long-term commitment here, people!

Hello, my name is Angela and I fart.  A lot.  If you can’t handle that, then it’s your problem, not mine.  Pffffffffffffft!

My First 5K

Just a few minutes after we passed the Start line!

We did it!  My girlfriend and I finally completed our first 5K!  Wow.  What a rush of emotions.  It was amazing to be two people in a crowd of 4800 participants.  We took our places close to the very end of the crowd since we were in the “walkers” group (although we ran at LEAST a mile of the whole thing!), did a little stretching and let out a squeak when we finally started moving towards the start!  We didn’t actually cross the “Start” line until about 10 minutes after it started, since we were at the end all squished together like an old bag of marshmallows, lol.  But once we got out of our squishy surroundings, we were really able to get into a great routine of walking and running.

But since I’m not the only one who experienced this race, I asked the girlfriend to write a blurb about her experiences for this post. So, without further ado…

Special Notes from The Girlfriend

Our view from the back of the line of participants! We're so far back that you can't even see the START LINE.

The Illinois 5K was simply amazing. Going into it I didn’t think that it would be much of an event, but with 5000 runners/walkers…. it was a sight to see. When Ange and I were getting ready at home, it reminded me of when I used to get ready for track and field in high school. “The Rush”, or as I like to call it – the healthy feeling of competition :) I have always been one for contact sports. Obviously, running in a 5K doesn’t include competitive contact with the ones running next to you, BUT it does require a sense of competition within yourself. The challenge of running the 5K is between you and the ground.

While running in the downtown streets, several community friends were there to cheer us on. “Way to go, Ange and Jess!!” This was the point where my body felt like it could run a marathon. The rush went running through my veins. As we ran into the stadium, thousands of families, friends, and supporters were there to cheer on the race runners, including Angela’s family. It was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I would recommend walking a 5K – odds are you’ll end up running to your goal too!

So we finished our first 5K and we loved it so much that we’re going to do at LEAST one more this year!  And, if you didn’t know, Weight Watchers has started a “Walk-It!” day.  Although I won’t be walking on that specific day (which I believe is May 22nd), they did put out this AWESOME training schedule to get people running a full 5K in 6 weeks!  I’m TOTALLY doing this.  It has officially become my next goal.  I also downloaded an application on my phone called “My Runkeeper“.  The girlfriend and I used it on our walk the other morning.  It timed it, made an announcement at every minute (I set it that way), and it tracked it through GPS, so we could see just how far we went and in how long!  The maps/routes can be saved, you can pick from a variety of activities… it’s just awesome!  Definitely gonna be using this a lot.  In fact, I used it yesterday to track my walk from home to work and figured out that it’s .26 miles to the office and it takes me 6 minutes to get there at a leisurely pace.  So, if I walk to work and back, it’s a half mile and if I also walk home and back for lunch, I’ve walked an extra full mile each day!  Pretty schweet.

Just before we reached the turn to the Finish!

If any of you have smart phones, I would definitely recommend checking these kind of applications out.  There’s a bunch of different ones that track distance, steps, etc.  There’s also ones that are just special stopwatches that would be super helpful in circuit training!  You don’t even have to pay for most of them.  Anything that makes working out easier or more fun should DEFINITELY be incorporated into regular activities!

And the girlfriend and I BOTH encourage you all to sign up for a 5K… or a 10K or some other race or competition that will give you a focus or a reason, or maybe just enjoyment of exercise because when you cross that finish line, you too will see that you’ve really just begun :)