Saturday, March 18, 2017

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

This short list of features that make up the best fitness tracker is here to give you some ideas of features you might like when you are ready to shop for an activity tracker or a fitness armband to give yourself a bit of extra motivation in your workouts and fitness efforts.

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker
Features of the Best Fitness Tracker image courtesy of Pixabay

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

By: Laure Justice

Fitness tracker style: First, these trackers come in a variety of styles, like big-faced watches, slim wristbands, and clip-ons you can hook on a belt or zipper pull. The one that's best, is the one that's most comfortable for you. One interesting feature with the Fitbit line is that you can have more than one device linked to your smartphone app, so you can choose from different styles to match different outfits with a Fitbit.

Heart rate monitor: A device that tracks your heart rate during workouts and also when you're at rest provides information you can use to make your workouts more effective, and also that you can share with your physician or personal trainer when you have questions or need professional advice.

GPS tracker: GPS tracking records how fast you walk, run, or bike and how much distance you have covered. You can then use this data to ramp up your workouts or reduce them as needed, and it's especially useful when you combine the data with info on your heart rate during your workout sessions.

Sleep tracker: Since lack of sleep has been linked to weight loss struggles, as well as many other ailments, sleep tracking can help you determine how well you are actually sleeping, and can help you pinpoint things that are keeping you awake. 

Syncs with smartphone: This feature adds value two different ways. First, it lets the activity tracker send data to an app in your smartphone to track all the data about your workout and sleep. Second, it lets your fitness watch display call and text alerts, so you know if you're getting a call or text you want to take or respond to, without stopping your workout to check your phone.

Floors climbed: If you're climbing the stairs on your lunch break instead of sitting in the break room, this feature is nice because it records your stair climbing efforts.

Time and activity statistics displayed on watch face: Even a really basic fitness tracker, like the Series E Action Tracker that I reviewed a few weeks ago should offer this feature, though the more basic bands only show the number of steps you've taken, because they're basically pedometer. This is an important feature, though, because it lets you glimpse at least some of your data without checking your phone or mobile device.

Interchangeable bands: This is a nice feature if you want to switch your tracker unit into different bands to match different outfits, instead of switching to an entirely different tracker with each outfit change.

Guided breathing sessions: As far as I know, this feature is unique to the newer Fitbits. In my opinion, it would be great for the warm-up period yoga postures, and the stretching period after a hard workout, though if you have other ideas how to use this feature, please ring in and share.

Waterproof for swimming or showering: If you're working out, you're most likely going to sweat at least when it's hot out, so this is a great feature for any fitness band or activity tracker.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet
Soup so creamy it's like comfort food
A thick, creamy soup, like Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup, might seem like an unlikely thing for someone talking about diet and weight loss to recommend, but there are some reasons, including the sheer convenience of heating a can of soup for a quick meal, that it can be a great part of your healthy diet.

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

By Laure J

I'll start with my opinion of the soup as far as flavor and texture: Good... and good...

The flavor was satisfying and pleasing = like a very satisfying potato soup. It's a touch salty - but I like that and so far anyway - I'm lucky enough I don't have to watch my sodium intake - if you do - I believe there's a low-sodium version of this.

The texture is a blend of hearty creaminess that is "pure comfort food" combined with chicken bites that have the texture of freshly roasted chicken and vegetables that are soft but still have that slight pop when you bite them that you would get from fresh veggies in homemade soups.

Progresso Chicken Pot Pie Soup Nutrition Info

First off, I don't believe in ruling out any food from a healthy diet, but that is not counting people who have allergies and dietary restrictions imposed by their doctors - because those of course have to be acknowledged.

Now, for why you can add this soup as part of a healthy diet:

Calories: Each can contains 2 servings at 150 calories each. So, even if you eat the whole can, you are only actually taking in 300 calories.

Fiber: While this soup isn't super high in fiber at 2 grams per serving (or 4 per can), it does at least have some, and you could feasibly add some ground up chia seed to it in order to up the fiber without changing its taste or texture.

Protein: This Progresso soup does a bit better on protein (compared to fiber) at 7 grams of protein per serving or 14 grams of protein per can.

(I put the image of the label so you can check the details of any other nutritional facts you are tracking for your healthy diet.)

I bought my Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup at my local Kroger's store - it was on sale and I thought it sounded interesting. It's actually MUCH better than I expected, and I'm pleased that it delivers both a satisfying meal option and the "comfort food experience" without being a 'diet-wrecker.'

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast
I bought this Simple Truth Organic Instant Chia Oatmeal at Kroger's because I'm always looking for healthy, nutritious things that taste good and that I can share with my readers here on Fat and Cranky.

Plus, I really like everything I've read about chia seeds and I look for ways to add it to my diet because it's such a great way to get more fiber.

I picked the maple and brown sugar flavor because the 'kid in me' screamed, "That one!"

Chia Oatmeal for a High Fiber Low Calorie Breakfast

I'll start with my opinion first, then I'll add my tips for ramping up the flavor a bit, and finally I'll cover a bit more of the nutrition info, but that's also shown in the image at the side.

How it Looked

When prepared according to the package directions, this product looks like pretty much any other instant oatmeal. In fact, it matched the inside of my beige microwaveable bowl so well I didn't bother taking a picture.

How it Tasted

For flavor, and this is the important part, in my opinion, it didn't really have a lot. It tasted very much the way I would expect organic oatmeal to taste, There was only a mild, almost indiscernible sweetness from the maple and brown sugar flavorings. Still, it was okay, just not quite exciting or pleasing.

Additions to Improve the Flavor

This product is so high in fiber, I REALLY wanted to enjoy it and keep it as a part of my regular diet, so I decided to look for ways to ramp up the flavor without adding TOO many extra calories. So, I added a lump of brown sugar, a pat of my favorite diet synthetic-butter, and a couple dashes of cinnamon. Adding these three things turned a VERY plain, bland breakfast into a really tasty meal.

How Was the Texture?

Okay, oatmeal isn't exactly known for its texture, and I rarely eat it because of that, but I have to say, the addition of chia seeds really helped! The chia added a texture similar to that of tapioca and an occasional crunch as well, to the mushiness of the oatmeal.

Nutrition Info on Simple Truth Organic Instant Chia Oatmeal

Just to sum up the basics, from the package, if prepared with water, this product provides you with a light breakfast (or snack) with 170 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.


Overall, I really like this chia oatmeal product, though I prefer it with the additions I mentioned to give it a bit more flavor. Even with the pat of butter and brown sugar lump, it still provides a low calorie breakfast that is quick to make and convenient, too.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Why You Need to Give Yourself Permission to Be Magnificent

Just in case no one has told you today, you should just go ahead and do something positive for yourself, and completely, and totally, give yourself permission to be magnificent.

Be Magnificent! Magnificent red-tailed hawk image courtesy of Pixabay

Be Magnificent!

There is no benefit to staying in your 'safe' place if it isn't a physically and emotionally healthy, happy place!

Be honest with yourself about the things that are holding you back, and give yourself permission to be magnificent!

When you let go of the things that are making you unhealthy and holding you back, and these will typically be emotional things that are deeply nested inside of your spirit, it opens new doors to an almost imaginably happy life, and sure, not every moment will be bliss, but you'll see a lot more bliss than you'll ever see if you don't act.

So, go ahead, BE MAGNIFICENT!