Tuesday, September 13, 2011



We are going to try the San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge, which is to eat on only $4.72/person/day for one week. Since we are a family of four, that’s $18.88/day for the family, or $132.16 for us for the week. That didn’t sound too difficult: plan ahead, shop once for the week, and no eating out at all (one of the more difficult parts for us). Buying in bulk helps us save money; we usually spend about $300 at Costco, every 2-4 weeks. What was going to be harder was to shop for only one week; Costco would blow our budget but the food would last for more than one week. Should we extend the Challenge longer so that we could shop at Costco? Hmm, should we ask for more torture to take advantage of bulk savings? 

Following some of the rules will be hard and we will be lax about certain things, like calculating how much we spent on the staple foods we already have. I’m supposed to pro-rate the amount of, say cereal, we already have and add that to the food budget, which I won’t likely do, but I will try to keep track of that food, knowing that it goes over budget. Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of leftover food on hand right now: we just finished living in a hotel for 3 weeks while some work was done on our house, which means we took all our perishables and most of our staple foods with us to the hotel and didn’t want to bring a lot of food back home, so we ate it and didn’t shop for more. In essence, we just finished eating out more than usual because we were in a hotel, despite having a full kitchen there, and now we are happy to be back in our house and able to fully use our kitchen again! The Challenge says you can’t go to Costco because people who use the Food Bank can’t afford the membership. However, we have the membership because it more than pays for itself in how much we save on everything we buy there.

Our first challenge is just getting started: the Challenge started Sunday, but I didn’t get it together until Monday afternoon, so we’ll be starting Tuesday, 9/13/11. We’ll try to eat the food I just bought today, rather than what we already have on hand. I spent $164 at Costco, $32 over budget, so we will try to make it last 9 days instead of 7 days. Budget killer: we get a veggie box every 2 weeks from Dan’s Produce and this is the week. It costs $32, so we’ll have to try to make our food last 11 days instead of 7. 

Another challenge will be events: I’m going to a potluck in St. Helena this week; Maya is bringing snacks for her soccer team to this week’s game; Nick goes out for dinner and beers with his softball team after the games. Nick seemed supportive of the idea until that came up; I’m not sure if he’ll follow through with the Challenge and either (1) not go out this week after softball or (2) go out but not buy anything. He’s also hesitant about not going out for lunch with his co-workers all week long. Anyway, we’ll see what happens with him. If he doesn’t follow through, it will throw off the budget because I already bought food for the family. If he goes out, he won’t be eating the food I bought within the budget, so our food will last longer, but he’ll totally blow our food budget.

Nick mentioned that exercising will blow our budget because it will make us hungrier. It’s an interesting thought: do people on food stamps not go running because it will make them too hungry? It’s a terrible thought: you’re too poor to exercise. I know that it’s a common problem, but I would like to believe that everyone CAN eat healthy and stay active no matter what their income. Is that whack? 

I really don’t think it should be hard to eat on that budget, so I might end up being shocked at how hard it is. However, my personal challenge is to eat on that budget but still eat how we typically do; I don’t want to eat potatoes and pasta for a week! I believe it mostly means to eat out less often and plan out how to make the most of our food. . .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Best Things about GO Fitness!

Participants say the best thing about GO Fitness is:
“I like that I feel a responsibility to others, and the social aspects of working out together.”
 “Great workout before 7 AM, supportive & encouraging class” --Sue
 “Fun group, varied exercises, work to personal level”
 “By 7 AM I am done with exercise for the day.” –Gwen
 “The instructor and the format” –JK

GOAL-ORIENTED FITNESS is a monthly fitness program at Krusi Park, combining cardio, strength, balance& flexibility to motivate and help you attain your personal fitness goal.

Come join the program in December and experience your own “best thing” about it!

SHORTENED DECEMBER PROGRAM: Dec. 1-17 (8 classes), MWF 6:00-7:00 a.m.

GIFT CERTIFICATES are available!

Website: G-O-Fitness.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why do GO Fitness in October?

Why should you do GO Fitness in October?

KIDS: The kids are back in school and the transition to the school schedule has taken place. Now’s the time to focus on improving your own routine by adding regular exercise.

LIGHT: Summer’s over, as is the early morning daylight. If you work out alone, outside in the mornings, October is when most people are chased away by the darkness. GO Fitness is a group; there’s safety in numbers.

FOOD: As the holidays begin to approach, people tend to exchange exercise for food. Keep up the exercise so you won’t have to worry about holiday weight gain.

Join GO Fitness! Have a great workout, 3x/week, and feel better all month long!

  • Cardio endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, balance
  • MWF, 6-7 am, Oct. 1-28
  • Krusi Park
  • $180 for 12 sessions, 10% off by the 24th, 25% off if you bring a friend!
  • http://g-o-fitness.com/

Tell a friend!

Keep living the SWEET Life,


Monday, September 13, 2010

When a "Snack" is a "Meal"

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on 9/8/10 entitled How Lunchtime Is Turning Into Snack Time. It discussed how there's a blurred line between what constitutes a meal vs. a snack. Americans consider almost anything a snack these days, as opposed to being an appetizer, side dish or something else. In addition to what kind of food is a snack, the time of day it's eaten can define something as a snack vs. a meal. Americans eat any time of day or night these days, which is a boon to the fast food industry, which is experiencing a huge increase in the amount of sales generated between traditional meal times. Nutritionists have always said it's better to eat several small meals, rather than 3 big ones.

However, the article did not get into the calorie consumption and lack of nutrition involved in all this junk food snacking! No nutritionist would recommend eating several 300-400 calorie, junk food "snacks" in addition to three meals a day! This is why 2/3 of the the American population is overweight or obese! Too much junk food! Both too much and junk food! It's exactly the opposite of what our bodies need: fewer calories and more nutrition.

Food nutrition labels always give their information based on a 2000 calorie diet, which may be more or less than what any individual actually needs. You can check how many calories you need at My Pyramid Plan. Just enter in your gender, height, weight, age and activity level. It said that I need 2200 calories to maintain my current weight, but 1800 calories if I didn't already exercise. If I was 20 yr younger & didn't exercise, it said I needed 2000 calories.

How many calories is the typical American consuming? Far too many! The article gave the example of the Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap from McDonald's, which has 410 cal, a mere pittance compared to the full-sized Angus Deluxe burger, which has 750 calories. However, compare 750 calories to a daily recommended total of 2000; that's more than 1/3 your daily calorie intake in one burger, not including fries and a drink! Multiply that times three meals and add in a couple 410 calorie snacks and you've consumed 3070 calories, 1070 calories more than most people need! Eating like that, you will gain 1 lb. every 3 days!

The other issue is the lack of nutrition junk food provides. MyPyramid focuses on the food groups and how much you need to eat from each food group. The different food groups provide different nutrients your body needs. The more variety, the better. We, humans, are lucky in that our bodies can make use of an enormous variety of plants and animals to nourish our bodies, compared to many animals that eat a very limited diet. In fact, if we eat a limited diet, we are likely to be missing valuable micronutrients our bodies need. Junk food provides an excessive amount of fat, sodium and sugar, carbs and protein, but insufficient amounts of the many vitamins and minerals our bodies need to performs important functions. Different colored foods provide different nutrients as well; for example, red vegetables contain lycopene and orange ones contain beta carotene, which are both important for our bodies. So it's important to eat a colorful diet! The more color, the more nutrition. Have you ever noticed that junk food tends to be brown? The only colorful things on a hamburger are the lettuce and tomato, the healthy parts!

The "take away" from this is: no matter what you eat or when, or whether you call it a snack or a meal, focus on limiting calories and increasing nutrition.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Easy on the Joints" - Really?

On Aug. 31 the Wall Street Journal printed an article entitled, "Tough New Workout Gear That Goes Easy on the Joints," so I read it with interest because joint injuries are so common. The article started with a photo and description of the TRX Suspension Trainer, which I've used before and would hardly call "easy" on the joints! It's actually very easy to injure your joints if used incorrectly.

So what did the article mean by "easy on the joints"? I had to keep reading to find the answer. Actually, the author was referring to low-impact equipment, stating that Baby Boomers who have had years of high-impact aerobics classes, running, etc. may now need to participate in low-impact exercise.

The article also emphasized mostly equipment that is space-saving and inexpensive, which is a trend these days. I wish the article focused more on these aspects of the equipment, rather than on being supposedly easy on the joints, because the space and cost savings of this equipment was more significant that the ease of joint use.

In fact, almost all the equipment described can easily damage the joints if you just pick it up and start using it! Sure, they are low-impact, but if you tweak your shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee or ankle the wrong way in the process, you could have a long recovery period. There's a brief mention of risk of injury with bad form, but I believe it should have been stressed, with each piece of equipment, that instruction on proper use is vital, rather than repeating that each piece of equipment is easy on the joints.

Along with the TRX, the articles describes:

Valslide: I've used gliding disks before. They are a lot of fun and allow you to do a lot of circular exercises that you can't do otherwise. But you need to know how to use them in order not to injure yourself.

SelectTech Dumbbell: I own a pair of select-a-weight dumbbells. They are a great space-saver, by combining all the weights into two handles. If you are just starting out, you need instruction on correct form to prevent injury.

Kettlebell: I've seen these used before. They are "old-school" equipment that has returned to fashion. Like gliding disks, you can do a lot of exercises  that you can't do otherwise, using both momentum and strength, but you can hurt yourself if they aren't used properly.

P90X: I know of people who love these workout DVD's. My feeling is that any exercise program that you actually follow for 90 days will give you great results.

Elliptigo: I'd never heard of this outdoor elliptical bike. It looks interesting and would definitely get you looks on the street, but why not just ride a bike? A bike's cheaper.

Perfect Sit-Up: Here is yet another piece of sit-up equipment. It's amazing that they all sell! Certainly no one needs to pay $100 do to sit-ups!

Personally, I prefer the less is more philosophy of exercise, using body weight, a bench or chair, and resistance tubing. I do have a few other pieces of equipment, but I don't use them regularly. It's fun to try out new equipment, but once the new-ness has worn off, it mostly just gets dusty.

Save your joints by using all equipment properly, getting instruction from a Personal Trainer if necessary.

Friday, August 13, 2010

GO Fitness! add’l location: BAYPORT!

I'm very excited to be starting a new location for GO Fitness: Bayport! The first group of participants at the new Bayport location receives a 20% discount: only $96 for the month of September! (8 sessions, paid in advance)

It will be great to offer a GO Fitness Program on the West End in addition to the one on the East End, and Bayport is such a great, little community of families!

Scheduling is simple:
• Programs run the 1st -28th of each month
• MWF 6:00-7:00 am at Krusi Park (12 sessions/month)
• TuTh 6:00-7:00 am at Bayport Park (8 sessions/month)
• (Programs are subject to minimum enrollment.)

Achieve your health & fitness goal with GO Fitness!

For details: http://G-O-Fitness.com/

If interested, contact: Suzanne Fong

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GO Fitness Prorates for August Vacations!

Do you have a vacation planned and don’t want to pay for fitness classes you’ll miss? GO Fitness prorates for vacations, just let me know which dates you’ll be gone. I’ll also be gone for a week in August, so there will be 10 classes instead of the usual 12.

Goal-Oriented Fitness combines cardio endurance, muscular strengthening, flexibility and balance in order to attain your personal fitness goal. It focuses on living the SWEET Life, integrating the five essentials of a Balanced Healthy Lifestyle. It meets at Krusi Park, MWF 6:00-7:00 am, August 2-30.

What makes it different?
• The instructor doesn’t yell.
• Class is located on the East End.
• Scheduling is simple: Programs start the 1st of every month and last one month.

Otherwise, all three Alameda outdoor fitness programs offer well-designed exercise programs with certified, experienced instructors.

If you form a group of 5+ participants, the Group-Organizer is free! Get your friends to work out together!