Are you 'fine' fine or 'Mary J. Blige fine-fine-fine-fine-fine-fine-OOOOH!' fine?

Just Fine lyrics
Read this. We'll get to it in a bit.

"I haven't been doing my best lately and I'm ready to do better."

I'm paraphrasing something my friend Roni Noone said in the WYCWYC Podcast she does with my other pal, Carla Birnberg. 

I was listening to it while on a noontime walk today, something I hadn't done in quite awhile because I was listening to all the "WEIGHTS, NOT CARDIO!" fitness experts. 

In the interim -- ahem -- I went up 10 pounds.

I had decided this week (well, yesterday at the gym) that I needed to make a better balance between cardio and strength training, 1) because I need to "burn more butter" and 2) I've been working so hard and so frequently with weights that I've been causing day-after rip-roaring muscle tension headaches. As I've mentioned before, I have a "bad neck," and my upper body is rock solid because of it. Basically it's not my spine holding up my cabeza, it's my neck and shoulder muscles, and when those muscles get overtaxed, they cause massive all-day headaches. 

So yesterday, instead of hitting the weights, I headed over to the elliptical and did a solid 15 minutes, burning 150 calories. Doesn't sound like a lot but I had completely abandoned the elliptical for so long that I need to build back up to 30 minutes.

(Yes, cardio is good for you! And you realize it when your conditioning falters.)

Instead of listening to my usual gym-time podcasts, I cranked up the OK Go, and two songs stood out and they came on one after another -- "Get Over It" and "Invincible." Two songs from different albums on shuffle -- it was like my iPod was trying to tell me something. 

That's when I decided that two days of cardio and two of strength training, with a day of abs will be my latest workout combo. 

So back to that podcast. I listened to it today on my 3-mile walk around the neighborhood. The weather has finally gotten a touch less hot and humid so I didn't feel like I was melting. But Roni and Carla were talking about healthy perfectionism and the "F word." Not that F word -- the word they were discussing was "fine."

As in, "How are you doing?"


I don't use that word myself. When anyone asks, my usual response is "Good!" There's something about the word "fine" that doesn't really say anything to me.

But I understand what they're talking about. Fine feels like just getting by, subsisting, treading water. 

But the world also has another vibe -- one that Mary J. Blige sings about in her song "Just Fine." She makes fine sound, well, fiiiine. As in planets aligning, ducks in a row, super happy fine.

Like I said at the start of this post, I haven't been doing my best lately and I'm ready to do better. 

My walk today seems to have pulled me out of my "fine funk" and a little bit closer to Mary J's fine.

I'm done treading water and ready to make some waves. 

Calories and cataracts

I cant even

I actually started this post last week, when I was going to call this "Calories: I can't even!"

A couple weeks ago, after simply writing down my food for the day, I thought I'd go back to counting my calories and tracking my macros. I had been finally losing weight and thought that I should add another layer of crazy accountability to my plan.

I gained 2 pounds last week.

So the past week or so I've been planning my meals better and simplifying my snacks, focusing on protein first, then produce and healthy fats with starchy carbs a couple times a day. My brain is feeling better and I'm inching back to simply writing down my food in my Fitbook.

It's probably from decades of "dieting" but I just can't obsess over numbers or I end up playing games, feeling like things need to round up, round down, go a little more in one area than the other ... you get the drift. I start overthinking. Simply writing things down helps me "underthink" it.

My eyeballs on the other hand ...

Monday I finally dragged my butt to the eye doctor to find out why I had so much glare and eye strain. I'd been using dry eye drops like nobody's business and while they felt great, my vision was still "glary." (I don't think that's a word but it perfectly describes what I'm seeing.)

I had a sneaking suspicion what it was and my doctor confirmed it -- cataracts. "So just in the left eye, huh?" I asked. "No, both eyes have it," he replied. Referral in hand, I high-tailed it to my next stop -- Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which is pretty much the best eye institute on the planet and walking distance from my house. Nearly 10 years ago I went there to avoid glaucoma by having holes lasered in my irises. (Seriously, I have the eyeballs of an 80-year-old.)

I wasn't in their system anymore so I called the appointment desk from the lobby of the very fancy new UHealth building in Plantation. I wasn't leaving until I had an appointment -- I'm just that way about my health. I got one for early January because seeing a Bascom Palmer eye doc is like asking to go backstage with the Rolling Stones. They're all rockstars there, and I'm willing to wait a couple months for a rockstar.

My next stop was to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for dinner, and while I had my parsley, cilantro, lemons, limes and other healthy things in my basket, all I really wanted to do was head to the frozen food section and grab a pint of Halo Top for dinner.  To be honest, I was feeling a little sorry for myself and my precocious eyeballs.

Don't get me wrong, if you're going to eat ice cream for dinner, Halo Top is a great choice, as the entire pint is only 240 calories and you get 24 grams of protein.

But I didn't do it. That would have been giving in to the urge to comfort eat, and I am knee keep in fighting that battle. So I got my dinner ingredients and left.

But I didn't make dinner because I ran too many errands with dilated pupils and gave myself a headache, so I had a frozen meal and a salad. A competent compromise.

Need a topical Halloween costume? Try my Killer Bacon idea!

Killer bacon costume idea

So listen, I know some people may be freaking out about the World Health Organization study that came out this week linking processed meats to death and mayhem, but really, how much bacon are you eating? Let's keep things in perspective. 

This processed meat-gruesome death connection is nothing new -- the (sausage) link (ha!) has been around for quite a few years. Just treat things like BLTs and ham sammies as a once-in-awhile treat, not the foundation of your diet.

The increased risk was shown to be the equivalent of two slices of bacon a day ... EVERY DAY. Do you eat bacon every day? Really? You need to vary your diet, hun. 

I can't remember where exactly I heard this but the upshot is:

Treat a treat like a TREAT.

Bacon is a treat. It's meat candy. Do you eat candy every day? Really? Well, there's a depressing study for you, too, champ. 

This one on sugar being a monster.

Yeah, sugar will kill you, too, so definitely don't make THIS recipe:

image from

That would be Paula Deen's Brown Sugar Bacon, which is basically bacon slathered in sugar.

Ooooh, super scary! 

Or maybe make it and serve it for Halloween, like a "Fear Factor" sorta thing.

What's my point? Well, actually, I just wanted an excuse to run my Halloween costume idea but, sure, I'll come up with an upshot: Bacon and candy aren't health food, so don't eat them all the time.

Once again, I go back to Michael Pollan's credo:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Tunes for Tuesday: Me Want It (But Me Wait), by Sesame Street's Cookie Monster

If you think you're too old to learn anything from Sesame Street, think again, friend! A couple of friends had posted this video on Facebook last week, and I knew it had to be this week's Tunes for Tuesday song. This video really does a great job of explaining self regulation, self control and even executive function.

image from

A super simple, super blueberry smoothie

Blueberry smoothie white labeled
Wyman's sent me a coupon to purchase berries for this post. No other compensation was given.

I think I've made it abundantly clear that I LOVE smoothies -- I love making them, drinking them, dreaming up new flavor combinations. So when Wyman's wanted to know if I could come up with a recipe using their frozen berries, I said "of course!" I buy a bag of Wyman's blueberries pretty much every week. The big difference with their frozen blueberries is that they're wild berries, so they're much smaller and sweeter than other frozen blueberries. Bottom line -- they just taste better.

They're also easy to find. Publix carries the smaller bags of blueberries, and you can find bigger bags at Whole Foods, and even bigger bags at Costco.

Blueberry smoothie marbleI wanted to show off the blueberries so for this recipe I didn't mess around. Everything is blueberry -- from the yogurt to the liquid to, well, the blueberries. If I could have found blueberry protein powder I would have used that as well.

Many fruity smoothies are just a big load of sugary carbs but not this one. There's 12 grams of protein from the Greek yogurt and another 20 or so from the protein powder, so it's a substantial meal replacement. All that awesomeness and only 300 calories!

Deep Purple Blueberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup Wyman's frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Bai5 Brasilia Blueberry beverage
  • 1 5 ounce container blueberry nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I used Twinlab Cleanseries whey)

Add all ingredients to a single-serve blender container and blend.