Friday, November 30, 2012

Twisted Nerve?

I feel like staying in bed the whole day. I can't move my neck, my shoulders and head hurt, and I've got a stomach ache (the latter thanks to yesterday's dose of aspirin).

Only one small movement has caused this crap. I think it's some kind of twisted nerve (is that what it's called?). 

Hope I'll feel better tomorrow because I want to run again. It's getting really cold here in Germany and I don't think I'll keep this routine up as soon as the temperature falls below zero. So every day counts now!

What do you do to keep fit during the cold winter months?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heart Rate Monitor

I just returned from my first run using my new Sigma PC 9 heart rate monitor watch (thank you, Cyber Monday!). 

Today's running details:

2.3 km (= 1.5 miles) / 19:45 mins / 203 kcal / average pulse: 159

I'm hungry now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Running

I didn't sleep well last night... and overslept this morning. I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented. I couldn't bring myself to hurry, I was only able to move around like a sloth. 

On my way to work, I started craving an energy drink so hard I almost stopped at a supermarket to get one. At the office, the first thing I did was get a cup of instant cappucino. And then another.

At lunch, I gave in to my craving and bought that stupid energy drink. I finished half of it before my bad conscience kicked it.

At that point, while I was wondering if I was slowly developing into a caffeine addict, I remembered that I had read an interesting article about caffeine and energy drinks at Nerd Fitness - The Ultimate Guide To Caffeine.  I finished my energy drink and have stayed away from caffeine since then (but I have been thinking about cappucino the whole time).

However, when I arrived home, I took Flo for a walk and decided to run afterwards. I ran approx. one mile without stopping. Yippieh! 

Unfortunately, I seem to have laced my shoes too tight and now have a hurting spot right on top of my left foot. Grrr. Go away, pain! You keep me from feeling good about my achievements!

I didn't check my weight this morning and won't do so before tomorrow morning in hopes of me having dropped another 200 to 500 grams...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday

I indulged in Amazon's Cyber Monday yesterday and ordered a heart rate monitor (this one) which was 30% off. Can't wait for it to arrive at my doorstep! I hope it will be easy to use.

Do you use a heart rate monitor when working out? What are your experiences? Anything I have to keep in mind when using mine?

It has been raining most of the day and I can't get rid of that stupid migraine. I don't feel like doing anything, really. My doc advised me not to work out during migraine attacks because the pain, sickness, and dizzyness will most likely get worse when exercising (it's true, I found out the hard way).

I feel bad about having eaten crap for lunch (cheeseburger & chicken nuggets). I made better choices for dinner: pita bread filled with tzaziki sauce and cucumber slices (less than 300 kcals). Will have raspberries and low-fat yoghurt for dessert in a minute (less than 200 kcals).

Still, today's carb intake was way too much. My goal is staying below 175 g of carbs but I had 224 g today. Where did most of that come from? They hid in the 5 wholegrain cookies I had early in the morning (43 g) and in both the cheeseburger sandwich and the pita bread (33 g each). I consumed more carbs when drinking a glass of banana-cherry juice... 30 g. Argh. Will only drink water and tea tomorrow (and cappucino because I can't live without it).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Body In Numbers, Oats & Muscle Mass

In 1999, when I moved back to Germany, I lost 10 kgs in 3 months by eating oatmeal at least once a day. Back then, I was exercising regularly, too, and hat lots of muscle mass to burn fat.

A short while ago, I participated in a health and fitness congress in Kassel (a city right in the middle of Germany). I had the opportunity to check out the newest BodyAnalizer scales. The results were as follows:

My Body In Numbers

Age: 31
Height: 163 cm
Weight: 62 kgs
Recommended weight: 58 kgs
Body fat: 17.5 kgs / 28.3 %
Muscles: 40.8 kgs
BMI: 23.3

- build muscle mass
- reduce calory intake by 220 kcal 
(recommended daily calory intake to maintain weight: 1,681 kcal)

(results were created individually for my body only; please don't draw conclusions from my results, yours will differ)

Okay, that tells us that I don't have to lose as much weight as I wanted thought. Only 4 kgs. Sounds easy, right? I've been trying to lose these 4 kgs for weeks now. 


I'm back to eating oatmeal gruel at leat once a day. I usually add a little cinnamon for better taste. This weekend, I've had oatmeal for both breakfast and supper. I'm aware about this being pretty one-sided, so I've added lots of berries to each meal. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, bananas and the like, so it's strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. for me. 

Do you suffer from any food allergies?

Muscle Mass

So. Well. I have to build muscles. I already knew that before stepping on that scale but I haven't done anything to gain more muscle mass yet. I've done a few push-ups, sit-ups, and squats here and there, but these do hardly count. Another point to be added to my fitness goals for 2013.

Which are yours?

Link To Check Out

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Migraine Attack

I woke up feeling groggy. That's always a bad sign. Waking up groggily usually foreshadows a migraine attack - and yes, after an hour or two, it started. I've managed to keep it at bay for now. My head hurts like hell and I'm sick to the stomach, but I'm still able to walk around the house and get a little work done. Which is good. 

My vision isn't quite clear. It feels as if clouds are coming up, like in the photo above (Atlantic City three weeks before Sandy hit). In relation to migraines, this phenomenon is called "migraine aura". On bad days it's like looking through a dark and narrow tunnel with only a small opening at the end. It's the reason why I don't drine a car when having a migraine attack.

I tried to take good care of myself today. I went outside to walk (with Flo and once on my own for a brisk 5-minute walk) and ate yummy stuff: cereals for breakfast, noodle soup for lunch, oatmeal gruel for dinner. I didn't drink enough yet so I'm going to make tea in a minute and prepare a tall glass of berry shake, which is low on fat and calories but still offers the fuel my body needs.

I'm considering having a can of coke. My Doc told me caffeine can help bringing about the detumescence of the blood vessels in my brain. Is it worth a try?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Writing, Eating, Exercising

Weekend is here! This will be a lovely, relaxing weekend. I have absolutely no plans of doing anything except for:


I'm participating in this year's NaNoWriMo. I've been failing so far. I won't meet the goal of writing 50,000 words. Okay, I've probably written more than 50,000 words this month, but most of them don't count for my WriMo-project. Read more about me failing at NaNoWriMo in my writing blog.

I hope to get a little more writing done this weekend.

Eating Healthy

Eating healthy and keeping my calory intake below 1,400 is really hard. I usually manage to stay below the 1,600 calory mark. Small success!

Today, I made exactly two bad choices: 

The first one was picking that lovely garlic dressing for my salad at lunch. Unfortunately, I didn't read the label before I bought it. If I had, I would have picked a low-fat dressing. 

The sevond bad choice was eating that caramel yoghurt. I love caramel and the yoghurt was delicious, but it had lots of calories and left me craving for more.

What else did I have today? One slice of whole-wheat bread with curd cheese, four oat cookies (in other words: boring cookies), a mixed salad, lots of oatmeal gruel with cinnamon, two cups of tea, cappucino, water...

I plan on doing another soup day on Saturday or Sunday. My first soup day ion Monday wnt really well and made me lose 700 g (approx. 1 pound).


I went jogging twice this week. Hopefully I'll be able to motivate myself to go running a third time on Saturday or Sunday. I'm also thinking about maybe going to the local health club... Undecided about that.

I will have to force myself to do some sets of push-ups this weekend. Remember: I only manage three in a row.


So many books and magazines I haven't found the time to read yet. What's better than sipping hot tea and reading a good book?


I started knitting a scarf yesterday. I might be able to finish it this weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend?

P.S.: Add me on Facebook. I'd love to connect.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Running Slowly & Eating Healthy

My new running shirt (by Tchibo).

Running Slowly

It's getting chilly and I can hardly motivate myself to go outside for long. It starts getting dark earlier and earlier, too. Sundown is at ~5 p.m.

Fortunately, I'm a dog-owner, so I had yet another chance to go out and jog. I run very slowly so that both  Flo and I can manage without starting to feel uncomfortable and our (my) sides starting to hurt.

Flo takes it very well, and so, surprisingly, do I. At first, I wasn't sure about taking her running because she's already 10 years old. But after finding the Pooch To 5k website, I decided to take her with me and just see if she'd start running on her own or not. I'm glad she did. If she hadn't, I would just have walked. Naturally, she pauses more often than I do, but that's no problem. I just wait for her, running in place. We've jogged for 10 minutes on Monday and another 10 minutes today (Thursday). 

I have no idea if this kind of slow jogging helps me build endurance. It's probably better than not moving at all.

Any advice on how to run/walk/exercise with an older dog? 

Eating Healthy

Another day of making healthier food choices. I had whole wheat bread with low-fat edam cheese and 4 oat cookies for breakfast. For lunch, I committed another sin and had a warm brownie topped with ice cream. For dinner, I'll have another slice of whole wheat bread & cheese and a soup. Desser will be strawberries and low-fat yoghurt. I was drinking water or tea throughout the day, but I couldn't resist a small mug of cappucino for lunch.

Today's calory intake will probably be around 1,600 after I've had dinner.

Does that sound healthy enough? Do you think it's okay to commit small eating sins every other day?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm A Sinner

Here's my confession:

Yesterday, I had to pieces of delicious, awesome, yummy cake with whipped cream on top. I wish I could have another piece wouldn't have eaten it.

Afterwards, I knew I would never be able to limit my calories intake to 1,400. I consumed about 2,000 calories yesterday. The dog and I took an extra long walk to compensate a little for my sin.

Fortunately, the only person I need to forgive me for this "sin" is myself. And I do forgive my weaker, hungrier self - because the cake really was awesome. 

Still, I feel a little bad about me giving in to temptation. I tried to eat healthy today. I had (in no particular order):

  • two slices of whole-wheat bread, 
  • two slices of edamer cheese, 
  • four oat cookies,
  • strawberries,
  • low-fat yoghurt,
  • oatmeal,
  • a tiny, tiny piece of dark chocolate (70 calories),
  • one chai latte (67 calories),
  • water
This adds up to about 1,400-1,500 calories. I think that's okay, don't you? I also briskly walked for an additional half hour. 

Are you "sinning" sometimes? Do you allow yourself to give in to some cravings? What do you do to resist?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

700 g

OMG, I lost some weight! Eating soup for lunch and dinner seems to have worked magic: 700 grams (1.54 pounds) less. I'm so happy.

Unfortunately, I have already been tempted to eat a chocolate bar this morning. I have resisted so far. It is stored away safely in my desk drawer.

I am drinking a cup of hot pineapple-coconut tea instead. I have added two cubes of sugar although I know I should not.

Hope you all have a great day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Before" Photographs


This post is not for the faint of heart! Contains "before" pictures. 

You have been warned!!!

A month ago, I decided to take a photograph of my lazy, gaining-weight-by-the-minute, self.
It was on October 17, 2012, to be exact.

I'm so very ashamed of how I look in the following photos. I really don't know if I should post them or not. 
I know some of you struggle a lot more with their weight than I do. Still, I feel bad about how I look and feel. Although I've been monitoring my weight, my calory intake, and the minutes I walk daily, trying to eat less and healthier, I haven't lost a pound. 
In fact, I've gained 5 pounds since these pictures were taken. 

Here they are: 

Yuck! Is that really me? Awful! 

My First Run In Ages

by Sal ("A Quest For Health & Fitness") 

I did it! I put my new running gear on and went running! I jogged for exactly 13 minutes. My pace was slow at best, but still: I managed to get out into the cold and move.

I took the dog for company. She seemed to sense that something different was going on. She started running as soon as I said, "Let's go, Flo!".

Both of us took it slowly. No need to exhaust ourselves and feel miserable about it. 

Whenever Flo stopped to sniff or do her business, I tried to jog in place. After a while, my outer calves started hurting a little but the pain ceased as soon as I stretched my legs after running.

Not only did I run today, I also made better food choices than usual. I had noodle soup for lunch and mushroom soup for dinner. I drank lots of tea ( with a little sugar, I admit it). 

And then I made myself some kind of "wellness drink": put 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt, 1/2 cup skim milk, and 1 tbs sugar in a blender, then mix until you get something that looks like a shake & enjoy. There're probably similar recipes out there, just ask Uncle Google. ;)

Did you exercise today? Do you hate exercising in cold weather, too?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Started: Running Gear & Little Helpers

by Sal of A Quest For Health & Fitness

Last week, I decided to buy running gear. I have found lots of excuses for not doing it earlier but this time I actually got up and went downtown to get the stuff I wanted.
Since fall in Germany is mostly cold and rainy, it had to be long running pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat to keep my ears warm. I own an old pair of running shoes which I never found quite comfortable (I think they might be half a size too big). At first, I thought I’d just keep these for starters but I guess I already knew I was not looking forward to wearing them. Yesterday, I found a brand new pair of Puma running shoes on sale for 30 €. They’re a full size smaller than my old shoes. Hopefully, the size is right this time. I really can’t tell just yet. I’m so used to wearing shoes a size larger than needed that I can’t tell at all.
Right now, I’m waiting for it to stop raining. I want to try out my new running gear and see how I’m doing. How long will I be able to run? A minute? Two?
Before I even started thinking about running months ago, I knew I had to change many, many things about my lifestyle. The first thing I did in late June was downloading the Noomfitness app which I used (and still use) to track the few times I exercise. I walk about 20-30 minutes daily and do push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks every other day week.
I used the Noom app to keep track of what I ate, too, but discovered in the meantime that food-tracking is much simpler using the My Fitness Pal app. Being a lazy person, I find using apps quite helpful.
Are you using any health and fitness apps? Which ones do you recommend?
Unfortunately, I’m not easily motivated. That’s why I read lots of health, fitness, and weight loss blogs for extra motivation (see blogroll in the sidebar).
Are you a health & fitness blogger, too? Leave the link to your blog in the comments. 

Starting Point & Goals

A Quest For Health & Fitness is about losing weight, getting fit(ter), and making better, healthier choices. It’s about being happy, about self-respect, and about taking care of oneself.
 ~     ~     ~
My name is Sal, 31 years old and living in Germany. I’m a tax auditor by trade, I also work a couple of hours in my local health & fitness club – I’m the girl doing all the “computer stuff”. I’m not yet overweight but getting close, which is the reason for me wanting to bring about serious change in my life.
In the past 3 years, I’ve gained lots of weight. I ate (and still eat) lots of crap, ceased to exercise regularly, and was put on medication. But I gained weight mostly because of unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. The meds only cause a little extra food-craving.
Once upon a time, I used to be thin and athletic, my body was flexible and I had great endurance and strength.
In late 2009, I changed jobs and moved to a different city. Suddenly, I didn’t have friends and family around. I turned to chocolate and chips for comfort. I tried to find a fitness club in my new “home” but didn’t want to go on my own – and didn’t go at all. In 2011 I had already gained quite a few kilograms.
In the summer of 2011, I asked to be transferred to a different department and to yet another different city. I moved in with my boyfriend, D., and all seemed to be going well. Until my new job slowly started burning me out. On top of this, a friend of mine committed suicide in September 2011, which I couldn’t handle at all: depression, panic attacks, medication, over-eating, self-destructive behavior… you name it.
Nowadays, taking the stairs to the third floor leaves me breathless and feeling awful. My favorite jeans don’t fit any more and I’ve gone two sizes up. I can’t run for longer than a minute or two. I used to do 30 push-ups daily – now I can hardly do three before collapsing.
I absolutely hate being that way! And that’s why I want to change. I want to eat differently, I want to find the courage to go to a fitness club and actually work out again(and not only help the manager doing the computer stuff). I want to be a runner. I want to be able to do 20+ push-ups. I want! I want! I want!
I want to make better choices. Because, in a nutshell, it’s all about choices.
~     ~     ~
Starting point:
  • not yet overweight, but close
  • no endurance
  • low strength
  • bad, bad eating habits (high carb)
  • back hurts
  • climbing stairs is exhausting
  • food allergies are excuse for not eating healthy
  • lose 7-8 kgs
  • be able to run for 30 mintes
  • be able to do 20+ push-ups
  • eat healthy (low carb)
  • reduce sugar intake
  • drink more water
  • build muscles & gain strength
What are your goals and what’s your starting point?