Walking Tour of Stockholm

In the morning I ran. In the afternoon I walked. Loving Stockholm so much I needed to add in another blog.

Stockholm view

It’s almost a 30 minute walk to the Nordiska Museet from the hotel and it was lovely. I walked part of the way through a tree canopy and part of the time along the water down Strandvägen. Water taxis lined the water. Small cafes served small eats and drinks. Further down were small masted ships pulled up. And people were out with friends, family, kids and dogs.

Then I headed across the a bridge and down Djurgårdsvägen to the museums and amusement park. It was at once quintessential European charm and Coney Island mashed together. Which, if I had to sum up Stockholm, this is it.

museetThe Nordiska Museet confirmed my impression as 400 hundred years of Swedish history was representative of all the borrowed and adopted culture from other Nordic, Slavic, and Germanic countries along with some uniquely Swedish points. The pride in the northern lights, toys, furniture and lighting showed. The jewelry exhibit was somewhat interesting and then took a surprising turn with Sid Vicious peering out above his punk studded collars between baroque pieces. The most surprising point for me was the section dedicated to the Sami (indigenous people). I had no idea Sweden wasn’t originally Viking. Yes, dumb American. But, the story between Swedes and Sami is so like our own American history with the Indians I was stunned. While the exhibit was small, the examples of shoes, hats, carved knives and handmade spoons were amazing. Certainly worth the visit.

Thinking I was heading toward Vikingliv (a Viking museum), I entered instead Galärvarvskapellet, a memorial garden . At first I thought it was an old cemetery with historic significance, but then I noticed how recent the dates were. Families are listed together. Each site is well cared for with fresh and planted flowers. And while I wouldn’t have typically walked through a cemetery, it was so beautiful and peaceful I enjoyed the calm.

brad paisley stockholmAs I made it to the amusement park, Gröna Lund, I got an eyeful. A kiosk had a poster of Brad Paisley promoting his concert in July (I have no idea who those men are but they wouldn’t move…oh well). The screams from the rides and sounds from the merry go round called out to me. The scores of tourists speaking in all tongues and then the familiar loud voices of the Americans slicing through. And not least of all, walking past the ABBA Museum where the once young disco dancers now gathered and moved in and out of the building with their grey white hair and walking sticks. I considered taking a look but realized I was the only one under 60. I guess that is what you get when ABBA was spinning on the record player when you are only 10.

I know this post is really only a diary of my sights, but in the end all my activity today has added up to almost 9 miles and 20,000 steps. With only a small breakfast and sleeping through lunch, I now wait for room service to bring me up some dinner of Thai meatballs, vegetarian spring roll and edamame. Little portions and its a nice way to close out the day.


Chubby Girl Travel Check-in

It’s been so long since I posted!

I was back on my typical travel schedule for work the past few weeks along with a weekend visit to Philly so my daughter could check out her college choice. If I thought it was hard to slim this chubby girl down during a light travel period, boy was it hard to do while in full swing.

I’m keeping up the exercise even if I get into the hotel late. Getting on the elliptical or treadmill when I get to the hotel is usually enough to let me hit my goals after a day of sitting on planes. It also calms me down. While in Toronto this week I never did get the time to go to the gym or work out (2 days), but the weather was great and walking around outside to and from places was enough to close all my Apple rings. I didn’t feel bad though since just before I left Tom and I took advantage of a gorgeous Boston day and took an 8 mile walk along the bike path in Holliston. My legs needed a little rest.

I’ve been a little easier on myself when it comes to eating. I’m not slacking, but I am working on finding ways to pull in yummy things without killing me. If I have the calories and overall my day was healthy eating, I have latitude for a small splurge. A plain Dairy Queen cone for example. I’ll be honest, it has been a little bit of an experiment, but with my exercise increasing and being more consistent and the majority of what I eat being mostly vegetables, fish, or lean meats, a sugary splurge once or twice a week isn’t a bit deal if it is within reason.

Here’s my results during the last month of full swing travel:

Weight 142.5
Weight loss in a month 8 lbs – down 26 lbs overall
Pant size 6
Shirt size Medium – and sometimes a small!
Walking pace increased from 3 mph to 3.7 mph
Daily exercise 60 min – up 15 minutes
Heart rate drop from 153 to 149 during intensity workouts
Resting heart rate 59 – drop from 64

Still working on getting my running legs. My hips are a huge problem – its painful. I need some exercises to strengthen those muscles and tighten the ligaments. So, I’m going to talk to my physician and see what I can do. But, I still try the short intervals and the elliptical is making a big difference in improving my cardio and strengthening muscles.

The only grip this month is the sag. Where fat once held up key areas of this chubby girl’s body, I need much better bras to ‘roll’ into. My legs also are sagging at my thighs and makes my knees creepy looking. Cellulite is also starting to show. I know that this is temporary and my skin will pull back and the good fat on my body will even out. It’s just yucky right now.

Here’s a shout out to those that may healthy living on the road doable:

  • Hilton Garden in Louisville (Airport) – Thanks to the kitchen and waitstaff that accommodated my special requests for low fat and extra veggies – and they did it with a smile! That egg white omelet at breakfast and grill salmon at dinner made my day.
  • Cosi in Dulles Airport – Love the fact you put the calories of your sandwiches on the board. The half sandwich option fit right into my plan and the bag of carrots was awesome.
  • Hearth in Toronto Pearson Airport – That squash soup with corn and black beans was amazing and so filling (I only got through half the bowl). I also loved the thinly sliced radishes and red carrots over my salad, so yummy and crunchy.
  • United lounge Chicago – Not happy about your customer dragging incident, to be sure. Better not see it again.  It really gave me pause to fly United (I’m 1k) and maintain my lounge membership. I will give you one thumbs up. The chicken alfredo added to the snack area during dinner was nice. I can’t eat a lot of it, but the nibble portion I took along side the veggie sticks let me indulge and boy was it good.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken/YUM Headquarters – what most may not know about KFC is that they have a huge amazing gym in their building, and it is used – wish I could have. There were also programs to promote healthy living. The cafeteria has the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, but there is also the most amazing salad bar. I was able to load up on salad and have a plain Chicken Lil (140 calories) on the side. I got my KFC fix in a healthy way.
  • TGI Friday’s Atlanta Airport – Shout out to the bartender for getting me my club sandwich order the way I wanted it.  He definitely thought I was crazy, but he served me with a chuckle and a smile.
  • Toronto Pearson Airport overall – my recent trip was a calamity and comedy of errors starting with going through customs for my work permit. Thanks to the customs women for bearing with me as I realized I should have been in London and not Toronto and not giving me a hard time on my work permit.  If this was the US, I can only imagine the hassle. Also a big thank you to Avis that not only got me a car at the last minute, but were way more accommodating than I have ever seen. If I hadn’t gotten off to such a gracious start when I landed in Toronto, I could definitely seen myself pour my frustration into food. Note to all workers in airports – a little niceness and graciousness goes a long way to calming frazzled travelers – hear that UNITED?

Don’t Let Airports Defeat Your Healthy Lifestyle

united plane (2)

I was so ready to come home yesterday.  A whole week on the road takes a lot out of me and working in healthy living was just another stress factor to a hectic pace. Even though I was thrilled to be headed back east, a day spent in airports and on a plane mentally felt insurmountable. I needed to figure out how to make the most out of the day.

Normally I am thinking about food. Yesterday I was thinking about activity. It is way to easy to check into the United Club or pull up at a bar and watch a game on TV with laptop running. But, the rings on my Apple watch were taunting me as I passed through security. Only a quarter of the way through, sitting was not going to be an option.

Here’s the thing. Airport concourses are big. There’s a reason why they add those moving walkways.  They can be as big as the length of a mall, or maybe bigger depending on the airport. So, chubby girl figured that if walking in a mall helps seniors with their exercise, why not use the airport the same way?

Well, that is exactly what I did.  I walked up and down the concourse in Seattle and Chicago to kill time and get in my 45 minutes of exercise. If you happened to be bumped or felt a swoosh from a little girl with a roller-bag in tow, sorry, that was probably me.

It may be a crazy thing to do. But, the walking helped me stretch out during my connection. I still spent time in the lounge, I just didn’t spend all my time there. I also didn’t spend any time at a bar allowing me to avoid the temptation of poor menu choices or having more than a single Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day.

The result, I closed my move and exercise rings easily and then some.

For the week, I pulled off a pound.

For the journey, today, my fellow hockey mom noticed I’d lost 20 pounds.

For happiness, I got some new lingerie. – too much information? 🙂

A Beautiful Winter Day On The Beach

ipswich-in-februaryFor all the complaints of winter in the Northeast, it is days like these that make us New Englanders appreciate nice days more.

It hit 60 degrees today and the sun was out. An open house in Ipswich pulled us to the North Shore in our hunt to move to the ocean as our empty nester period draws close. Tom craved the sun and outside, opening up the sunroof sun shade to let as much light in as possible for the hour plus drive up.  While the radio would normally be on, I kept the car quiet so as to take in the day and talk with my husband.

The house was a bust, but the day was not. Driving up 1A a little further we turned right at the sign for Cranes Beach and Castle Hill. Tom had his camera in tow and I had my hiking sneakers ready for a long walk on the beach. We pulled up to the pay shack and were greeted by the most happy man. He took our $10 and wished us well.

The road in was cratered with pot holes and the parking area was part pond, part mush, part mud. But, that didn’t deter us as we finally found a spot to park and get out without stepping into a deep puddle.

It was then that the magic began.  Walking up the steps, across a boardwalk over the dunes, and down to the beach, the wind picked up a bit and the sun poured its warmth. It took everything I had not to just fall back to the sand and worship the sun.

Tom went his way to take pictures and my feet just took me south.  I walked and walked, watching the kids shovel sand, build castles, and beg parents to help. Couples and friends chatted and walked taking a pause every so often to just gaze out at the water.  And, best of all, the horses were out with their riders while dogs looked on curiously and even tried to get their attention to play. People were taking pictures of each other and asking others to take pictures of them. An older couple asked me to take their picture and I gladly obliged.

My little slice of heaven turned into an hour walk.  When I finally met back up with Tom he asked, “Could you get used to this?” Yes, yes I can.

10K steps
a little color on my face
a little stiffness in my thighs
a little calmer in the mind and heart

Here’s to a beautiful day on the beach in the middle of a New England winter…

Treadmill Desks – Fad or Fabulous?

Can a treadmill desk help me hit my goals?

Each day I track my activity on my Apple Watch. No matter what I do, during the week I can never seem to close all my rings except for standing.  Movement and exercise, even with 30 minutes of exercise, are my downfall.

The idea of walking my way through work on days that I work from home is intriguing. So, I started taking a look at the options on Amazon and my heart sank. I just want a piece that goes across my hand bars to lay my laptop! The plastic shelf seemed small and ergonomically challenging.  The option for about $450 was this massive desk that spanned across your treadmill – essentially a desk that just happens to be high enough to slide your treadmill underneath. Then you get the whole thing for about $1000. Nothing seems worth the money.

Now that I had a sense of cost, I looked for information on the benefits of treadmill desks.  Those promoting the health benefits had an ulterior motive of selling the treadmill desks. Not a good source for unbiased information.  Tracking down the few independent studies out there brings some concrete findings – good and bad. (attribution to these studies is available in the source links below).

  • A study  from an article in the journal Obesity, showed that participants lost as much as eight pounds over the course of a year
  • There may be an increase in productivity by 0.69 based on walker input
  • Over a 12-month period participants using treadmill desks increased their daily activity and lost weight.
  • Health benefits include lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • 10% loss in performance of fine motor skills
  • increase in treadmill accidents

The studies done are small and the predictions of changing work environments where employees have treadmills embedded in the floor as part of their desk and cubicle areas. It also seems that the cost-benefit isn’t compelling enough to those looking at significant weight loss. One could also argue that a .69 increase in productivity  may not be worth the investment, disruption, and employer ‘mandates’ to work in a walking style for the business gain.

Maybe you can now see my cynicism. I’m not convinced that a bigger investment in a treadmill desk is really going to make a huge difference for me if it is only a day or two per week. Better to be patient as my interval routine ramps up and I can go longer and at higher intensity. No need to waste money on gimmicks.

It can be frustrating at the beginning when the pounds start to come off.  You get excited and want to build momentum and get to your goal faster. I need to remind myself that this is a journey, was always supposed to be a journey, and that I have 11 months to go. This way, I don’t just lose weight, I gain a healthy lifestyle I can stay with.

Chubby girl out…

1 http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/03/11/new-study-treadmill-desks-boost-productivity/#6bc373f64c8a

2 http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/30/392580747/sure-use-a-treadmill-desk-but-you-still-need-to-exercise