Monthly Archives: February 2016

Review – Renard Compression Socks

I received a pair at a discounted price for review purposes via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it. 

The muscle and joint aches after a solid workout are manageable for the most part until the next day.  That’s when I really feel it, especially after leg day.  Foam rolling, stretching, and muscle rub just don’t do enough after ambitious leg days. Add in the misfiring pain messages (thanks, Fibromyalgia) and Arthritis and I want to skip leg day for weeks. I wear a compression sleeve on my knee and wrap on my ankle when the pain gets bad, but had not considered compression socks until after the 5K in January.  I loved how good my back and shoulders felt after the run/walk and I think the compression top likely played a role.  I know the support for my knee and ankle made a difference, too. renard off

I’ve checked prices on compression socks and leg sleeves and decide I could try them later.  You know, when my wallet felt heavier. I was approached with an offer to purchase my first pair of compression socks at a deep discount and figured it couldn’t hurt.  I am now officially in love with Renard Compression Socks. Sorry, hubby.

Why Renard Compression Socks?  According to Renard (and others), they provide muscle support and functionality, increase blood circulation, inhibit accumulation of lactic acid, all of which reduce soreness after a workout.  I decided to put them to the test while lifting, walking, and in general when a pain flare kicked in.  I felt like I could go further while walking and hit the 4 mile mark at close to a 4 mph pace.  I felt it in my shins and calves while speeding up, but that feeling was fleeting and did not result in excessive soreness or pain the next day.  My feet were also dry thanks to the breathable Nylon/Spandex blend.

I tried them a second time on leg day.  Oh, man, was it leg day.  There were squats, lunges, and deadlifts for what felt like days.  I finished with a good stretch and put my feet up afterward.  I expected pain the next day, but did not feel as much as I expected.  Renard promises calf and shin support and I had it. My thighs, however, were not as pleased.  Then again, they were not covered by compression gear. 

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On the third try, it was just a pain flare day.  My ankles were swelling and I had leg cramps.  I decided to slip on the compression socks to see if they would reduce the pain in my legs so I could sleep.  They did!  I felt a reduction in ankle pain and the leg cramps seemed to fade.  Compression socks were like a constant massage – a gentle, yet effective massage.  I felt fantastic the next morning and couldn’t believe the difference that type of support made.

Like I said, I’m now in love with Renard Compression Socks.  The best part, they’re on sale right now for $15.99 a pair on Amazon and they fit over my healthy runner’s calves.

Do you use compression gear?  What is your favorite type?

5 Ways to Make Diet Resolutions Doable Any Time of Year

Every once in a while someone approaches me with a great idea for an interview or a guest post. This one spoke to me and I hope it speaks to you, too.  Merilee Kern spoke with HealthyWage.com co-founder Jimmy Fleming about keeping those resolutions all year long.  It’s a good read.

5 Ways to Make Diet Resolutions Doable Any Time of Year

 By Merilee Kern

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While even the most well-intended health-seekers strategize their diet and fitness approach at the top of a New Year, far too many revert back to their bad habits and poor choices that sabotage their weight-loss endeavor and undermine their overall well-being. However, one need not wait until the next shiny New Year rolls around for a renewed resolve to shed those unwanted pounds, as there’s no better time than right now to make healthful, life-altering adjustments to the daily routine. No matter the time of year, even just a few simple, but key, considerations can make all the difference between a successful—and even profitable—weight-loss endeavor and a wellness pursuit that falls far short.

In seeking professional advice I connected with diet and fitness industry insider Jimmy Fleming who is the co-founder of HealthyWage—the industry-leading purveyor of corporate and team-based weight loss challenges and financially-induced diet contests for individuals. He offered these insights and perspectives on 5 critical elements needed for the best chance of success with a weight-loss initiative:

  1. Map out specific goals & timeframes. You are far more likely to achieve your diet resolution if you spend a few minutes thinking it through. Sit down at your desk and dedicate even just ten minutes of your life to strategizing your resolution.  Put pen to paper or, better yet, send an email to a friend or family member and make a list of the things you’re going to do to change your weight.  Simply stating that “I’m going to lose weight” is not nearly specific enough, but it makes a good headline at the top.  Write down a date when you will achieve your first goal.  This date should be in the near future–one month is a good bet.

    Now, make a specific, realistic goal.  Most experts agree that you’re most likely to succeed if you don’t starve yourself, and plan on losing one to two pounds per week.  In fact, setting a modest goal — say, one pound per week — can spare you a lot of hunger and stress.  You might even forget you’re on a diet!  Suppose you choose 1.5 pounds per week and a one month goal date:  your goal will be about six pounds.  Piece of cake (so to speak)! Put your goal and goal date on your calendar (e.g., “Weigh 150 pounds” as an entry for January 30).

    Go back to your piece of paper, or email.  Under your goal and goal date, write down the word “food.”  Ask yourself:  what exactly is your eating plan?  Are you going to follow a particular diet?  If so, when are you going to start?  Your answer should be “right now.”  Don’t be afraid.  This is going to be great!  If your diet requires that you purchase something or register on a certain website, go do that right now! What about exercise?  What specific days and times will you commit to exercising?  Who will you exercise with?  If possible, call a friend now and set something up.

Review your resolution plan frequently as you work your way toward your goal.  When your goal date comes, call a friend to either brag about your achievement or confess that you didn’t achieve it and tell them what’s going to be different for the next goal date.  Now, sit down again (pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard) and set a new goal date and goal.  Keep going!

2. Set up financial incentives.  After you’ve written out your specific goals and dates, your best bet is to build a little structure into them.  Enter:  prizes and rewards.  A significant amount of academic research shows that you are much more likely to achieve your resolution if you include a double financial incentive — i.e., money to lose if you fail and money to win if you succeed!  The reason money works better than the natural motivators of vanity and health is that money can be tied to specific, measurable goals and deadlines.  In other words, financial incentives help prevent procrastination by establishing a firm start date, and help prevent quitting by establishing a firm goal date.  Financial incentives also make weight loss a lot more fun and exciting by transforming the process into a game.

There are fantastic tools and resources available online for setting up financial incentives.  For example, my own company, HealthyWage, allows participants to make various kinds of personal weight loss “bets” and win payouts up to $10,000.  The double financial incentive is an incredible motivator and source of structure that most winners say is indispensable.

3. Do one thing at a time.  Trying to stick to more than one resolution creates a willpower diffusion that is almost always a recipe for failure.  Your weight loss resolution requires time, planning and lots of action items.  The winding road from plump to sexy is made of many cobblestones that you have to lay down one at a time with lots of small, frequent decisions (e.g., “this morning, I am going to skip that second donut”).  With all the good judgment and will power those little decisions require, you simply won’t have the time and energy for your other resolutions, too.  You’re booked solid!  If you think your weight loss resolution isn’t that big of a deal, you might be off track.

4. Tell everyone. Or, at least tell a few friends or family members about your endeavor.  If you’re not willing to tell someone about your diet resolution, you might not be committed enough to succeed.  When you tell other people about your plans, a magical thing happens.  You know that your supporters are waiting to hear news of your success, and you don’t want to let them down.  Some researchers believe that the social element is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Plus, it’s important to have support — i.e., people to brag to when you succeed; people to talk to when you feel like overeating.  Talking is a great antidote to a desire to binge or eat things that could get in the way of your success. If you’re really determined to achieve your resolution, you should consider taking the social element even farther.  Try writing a blog about your progress.  Not only will your readers help keep you seriously accountable, but you may discover that being a great teacher is one of the best ways to learn and improve your own success.

5. Seek fellowship.  When you tell people about your diet resolution, be on the look-out for a dieting partner (or group of partners).  When you work on your diet resolution with a buddy or group of friends or family members, you are even more likely to accomplish your goals.  You get all the benefits of accountability plus the comfort and fun of knowing there’s someone waiting for you to exercise, compare food and restaurant experiences, and share the ups and downs of dieting.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Enlisting family and friends in the effort may help.”  One study shows that participants who do a weight loss program with friends are more than twice as likely to keep their weight off than those that try to do it on their own.

Statistics from Fleming’s company’s own financially-induced weight loss programs apparently substantiate the results of such studies. He explained, “we track the extent to which participants communicate with friends and teammates on their HealthyWage dashboards and there is a direct correlation between the extent of a participant’s social messaging and the participant’s success. Our company’s metrics have also proven that socially-oriented weight loss is much more likely to be successful.”

Does Money Motivate Weight-Loss?
With more than 200,000 HealthyWage.com participants across America collectively losing over 10 million pounds and gaining over $2.5 million in cash prizes for their pound shedding success—and with many participants losing 100 or more pounds with the program—it’s clear this company’s weight wagering methodology is extremely powerful. Indeed, dieting for dollars has come of age to the extent that large-scale corporate wellness programs and entire school districts and municipalities have embraced this proven effective approach. In fact, in addition to helping individuals get paid for getting healthy, HealthyWage has formally created competitive, cash-fueled diet programs for more than 90 Fortune 500 and other companies, hospitals, health systems, insurers, school systems, municipal governments and other organizations throughout the U.S., and their program has been informally run at over 3,000 companies and organizations across America.

It’s no surprise HealthyWage’s money-driven competitions have surged in popularity, given that multiple highly credible studies have underscored the value of employing financial incentives and peer support to positively influence weight loss.

“Our cash-driven individual and team-based weight loss programs are helping people get fit and healthy using a unique and proven effective motivation paradigm that boosts bank accounts in kind,” Fleming said.

Getting paid for shedding pounds and getting healthy makes dollars and sense to me.

Freelance writer and two-time fitness champion, Merilee Kern, is a wellness industry veteran, consumer health advocate and influential media voice. Her ground-breaking, award-winning “Kids Making Healthy Choices” Smartphone APP for children, parents/caregivers and educators (iTunes) is based on her award-winning, illustrated fictional children’s book, “Making Healthy Choices – A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids” (Amazon). Merilee may be reached online at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.


***Some or all of the experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or arranged to accommodate this report, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

 

Review: Low Back Pain Program

I received a copy of Low Back Pain Program at no cost from Tomoson.com. My views are my own and I would not recommend anything I did not feel good about.  

low back pain trainig program

Please remember that I am not a health care practitioner.  I am just another patient willing to experiment with a variety of therapies and sharing about my experiences.

If you suffer with low back pain, you are far from alone.  Estimates show that approximately 60-80% of adults experience at least mild back pain at some point. Frightening, isn’t it?  Statistics on treatment costs, productivity loss, and treatment types are also sobering.  It’s enough to make someone want to hide in a blanket fort.

While pain like mine has both chemical and mechanical causes, physical therapy has proven to ease some of the pain and increase my mobility. It’s been an issue for me since 2003 and there seems to be no end in sight.  As I grow older and somewhat stiffer, I look for additional therapies that may help me stay on the flexible side.  I have my favorites, but it never hurts to expand the regimen.  Well, it usually doesn’t.

There are many books and videos on the subject, and Ontario-based Sherwin Nicholson wrote a good one.  Low Back Pain Program is an illustrated training manual designed for those who want to self-treat their chronic pain.  It is progressive and starts with exercises to help increase mobility before moving on to a set that strengthen the muscles and joints.

If you are currently under a doctor’s or therapist’s care, do not try any of these exercises before discussing them with your healthcare practitioner.  Why?  Because you want to make sure you don’t do anything that might hurt you.  I am forbidden to perform certain movements because they will aggravate my spine.

I read through the Limited Mobility Exercises section before deciding to go all in.  I figured it couldn’t hurt more than usual. Hoped it wouldn’t, anyway.  I’m only 20 days into the program (I’m sticking with the Limited Mobility Exercises a little longer thanks to a pain flare), but I do feel somewhat better.  The program is improving with my flexibility and mobility so far, two of my more common back complaints.  I’m stretching and strengthening my muscles without spending hours on the floor or on ice afterward.  I will continue the program to completion to see if it should stay in my personal therapy mix or not. So far, it looks like a keeper.

Low Back Pain Program is available as an e-book and paperback and can be found on Amazon.com, iBooks, Smashwords, Createspace and Nicholson’s website, LowBackPainProgram.com.  If you give it a try, please let me know what you think.

Review: For the Dogs

I received these products from Tomoson.com to review.  My opinions are my own and I would not recommend anything I did not enjoy or believe in. 

I’ve told you about my dogs before.  They are so full of energy, love, and shenanigans!  They’re all getting older and have different needs now than when they were pups.  Oz is about 13 while Fred and Victor are each almost 11.  They’re eating senior formula dog food and we’ve cut all wheat and corn from their diets and give them carrots or fruit slices as treats.  They LOVE apple and banana slices.

Other than aging and occasional issues, they’re pretty healthy.  Fred has hip issues, though. She has days when she limps for a while after awakening and it lasts for a few days.  She’s a trooper, though, and doesn’t let the pain or stiffness keep her down.

My dogs do help me on my wellness journey.  Pets help keep my blood pressure down and occasionally join me on walks.  Boxer boy Victor knows when I’m dealing with high pain levels and stays by my side.

I’ve added two new products to their routine in the past two weeks and want to share about them.  Both were sent to me free of charge for review purposes.  Before agreeing to accept the products, I did a little research and decided to give them a shot.  These three are part of the family and I wouldn’t use just any old product on them.

dog joint stuff 2

Did you know that 25% of all dogs will develop joint mobility issues of some sort during their life?  I knew to keep my eyes open for the signs, but didn’t know that many could be effected.  TerraMax Pro’s Hip and Joint Supplement Formula could help. I take a glucosamine supplement myself and it seems to help, so giving one to the dogs makes sense. Hip and joint Supplement is an extra strength formula with 1600 mg Glucosamine, 1200 mg Chondroitin, MSM, and Hyaluronic Acid.  TerraMax Pro comes in liquid form and apparently tastes great because they inhale their breakfast and dinner every time.  It has a 4.7 of 5 star rating on Amazon.com

I’ve given the dogs a dose (two teaspoons each for their weights) at each meal for two weeks now. Fred was in the middle of a flare when she started it and is running around like her usual self. Her limp and the swelling are gone. Old Man Oz and Victor are each moving a little faster as well. I should have started them on it sooner.

I’m going to stick with this liquid formula because it seems to work well, worked quickly,
and they like it. Oz has a sensitive stomach and has had no problems with the addition to
his diet.

Get your bottle of TerraMax Pro’s made in the USA Hip and Joint Supplement for $39.97
With three dogs taking the highest dose, I haven’t put a dent in it yet.

dog tear stuff 2

Another new addition ot the canine care arsenal is vet-formulated Paw Choice Tear Stain Remover.  Poor Victor gets tear stains like mad.  Several breeds are prone to them, and my white Boxer boy is a textbook case. Baths and supplemental face washes are part of his routine. He know what a washcloth means and sometimes I think I’m hurting him when I wipe away those tears. I’ve tried specific dog shampoo formulas for white dogs in the past. While it made his coat glow, it didn’t seem to keep the tear stains away for long.

Paw Choice is a plant-derived formula with coconut that’s perfect on sensitive skin. My sweet boy didn’t wince when I washed his face. Tear Stain Remover seems to keep the stains from returning as quickly. It’s only been two weeks for us; I’ve heard from others that the stain prevention gets even better with multiple uses. I like what I’ve seen so far and will keep using it. My boy deserves the best and that includes a tear stain-free face to smooch.

Paw Choice is free from fragrance, parabens, alcohol, bleach, sulfates, phosphates, MEA, DEA, and Tylosin. Get your bottle from Amazon today for $18.95

You’ll see more of the dogs doing their dog things if they’ll pose for the camera or keep playing while I take a candid shot.  Until then, peace.