MealEnders – A Product Review

Through my association with FitApproach, I received four packages of Mealenders to sample and review. All opinions are my own. Item for giveaway is provided by Mealenders directly. Due to overwhelming response, the earliest winner shipments will go out is mid-April.

I’m not one for the easy way out on how to lose weight. I know the basics. Do I really need a dietician – this was years ago – to tell me eat less, move more? My guess is no. What I needed then, and probably we all need every now and then, is how to eat less.

There is always the shear willpower of eating less. I am not one to enjoy deprivation, though. I exercise and run so I can eat and drink within reason. I do it for other reasons, too, but these two are pretty high on the reason list. I also believe that the more we hold something back from ourselves – whether food, friends, drink, sex – the more we want that exact thing.

Enter MealEnders.

Let’s start with what MealEnders are. They are low calorie and low fat. They are gluten free and kosher. They do NOT contain herbs, added stimulants or drugs. MealEnders are signaling lozenges that help you avoid overeating. They work with the body’s natural hunger and fullness signaling process.

MealEnders

MealEnders

The actual lozenge is about the size of a jelly bean, not Jelly Bellys as they tend to be small but the kind you find with a store brand on them. The outer layer is sweet, like a desert. My favorite of the four flavors – chocolate mint, cinnamon, citrus, and mocha – is a toss up. I’m torn between cinnamon and mocha. I love the spice cinnamon and tend to easily double, if not triple, it in any recipe I make utilizing it. On the other coffee and chocolate, or mocha, has my two favorite things combined. None of the lozenges taste funny so I probably should just not play favorites. The inner layer, or center, engages the nerve that senses taste to cue the end of eating and clear the palate.

I have found MealEnders to be particularly useful in avoiding late night snacks and in helping cut down on return trips to the meal dishes – in other words, second or even third helpings. The hardest thing I found with the lozenge is to not bite it. Like with that famous candy the Tootsie Pop, I want to bite it for no other reason than because it says to not do it.  It takes me approximately 15 minutes to dissolve one lozenge in my mouth. It takes the brain 20 minutes to know you are full.

I’ve been using MealEnders on a sort of hit and miss basis – I forgot to pack any when I went on my trip to Asheville – for about five weeks now. While I am not seeing huge weight loss – and honestly, I did not expect to see weight loss, I am seeing more leftovers in my fridge. This would be the lack of a second helping.

MealEnders would like to give one lucky reader a chance to try all four varieties. As I indicated previously, these items will ship directly from the company and will not ship before mid-April. To enter, please leave a comment below on what your biggest eating challenge is. For additional entries, follow MealEnders on Twitter and follow me on Twitter. You just need to leave an additional comment for each of these. Please leave your twitter name also.

 

Asheville Half Marathon – Race Recap

It’s Wednesday. The race was Sunday. I feel like I am already behind on a recap but today is my last recovery day. Probably not totally necessary as I had barely trained for this race so why should I recover.

In a complete opposite from last year, the weather preceding race day is not spectacular. Friday was rainy and cool. I spent a good portion of the day touring the Biltmore Estate and will tell y’all more about that in the future. Saturday, while warmer, was also rainy. Things were looking good for race day. Sun and warm – a relative term but it was 28F when I left home Thursday – temps.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Saturday was spent totally on expo items. I had signed up to work transportation from 1-5 but as I got over to the DoubleTree at 10:30, I helped out where needed until the lines died down so I could pick up my bib and get my other goodies.

Lines for bib pickup

Lines for bib pickup

I love this race. The swag you get prior to the race is impressive. I am a huge buff fan since getting my first ever at last year’s race in Asheville. I also use my gloves from this race all the time, both in running and in shoveling – an activity I have done way too much of in the past six weeks. This year’s race shirt will also get a lot of use. I tend to wear either singlet type shirts or long sleeve. Somehow I seldom think the temp is right for short sleeves.

Long sleeve shirt, gloves and buff

Long sleeve shirt, gloves and buff

 

Race day dawned beautifully. As we started at 7:30 am, the sunrise colored the sky a beautiful pink but I was sure I would not need a photo of the sunrise, plus people were really moving at the start so I didn’t want to try to get to an edge to take a photo.

The first half of the race is a lot of uphill. Like childbirth, I believe I forget hills quickly. I do love to run some hills but on occasion would like a downhill race. Do not ask how we get the downhill without the up but just once.  The first part of the half is also run with the full marathoners for it is a bit crowded in spots. I really missed not hearing Danny Dreyer of Chi Running talk about the course. I was volunteering when he gave his presentation about the course. I know I’ve run it before but a lot has gone on between last March and now.

The race is run entirely on the Biltmore Estate. On top of the scenic, forested estate, runners run directly in front of the house.

20150315_084914

Then, runners head towards the pond and then the gardens. Eventually we get off pavement and onto a less hard surface. I have to admit being ill-prepared for this race made my feet very happy with the non-asphalt roads we got on in the second half of the race. Even with all the rain on Friday and Saturday, nothing was as muddy as last year when it rained all of race day.

I love bamboo so am intrigued by all of it I see along the roads of the Estate.

Bamboo

There is a little out and back at approximately mile 11. This got a bit crowded as a lot of people had to be on it at once.

Turnaround!

Turnaround!

After the turnaround, half marathoners have about a mile, maybe a little more, to go. Full runners have about six and a half to go. Even though it was a gorgeous day, I had sweat a lot and was very happy to have a fleece blanket put around me at the finish. I also am in love with the medal.

Fleece Blanket and Wood Medal

Fleece Blanket and Wood Medal

I love this race and want to let you all know that changes are coming next year. The half will be on Saturday and the full on Sunday. For those of you looking for a challenge, go visit AshevilleMarathon.com and sign up now. Prices will not get cheaper. Please feel free to use me as a referral.

What was your most recent race? Distance? How did you run? Have you ever considered running Asheville?

#TAMRTour

I know! You’ve had enough of hashtags. Why did I put one in my title?

Last night I took the 75-80 mile drive up Interstate 81 to Syracuse to catch the second stop on the Tales from Another Mother Runner book tour. This is much better than the trip to Albany in May of 2013 to meet the authors and leaders of the Mother Runner tribe, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Top that off with a March day that was perfect for driving – at least on the way there as it rained on the way home – and I was so happy to be on the road.

Couldn't wait and ran out and bought this the day after it was available.

Couldn’t wait and ran out and bought this the day after it was available.

Add to my excitement about seeing Dimity and Sarah again the fact that I was going to get to meet Adrienne Martini who writes on the AnotherMotherRunner.com website and Renee from Bendifulblog.com. You all have to know Renee and I first met virtually a little over three years ago when my mother order a watch off her site for me for Christmas. Next in the virtual meetings was my daughter winning tickets to a country concert from a company for which Renee was doing  social media. We just never seemed to connect in person even though we live less than a hundred miles apart.

Dimity and Sarah

Dimity and Sarah

The book tour included a scavenger hunt to get a free bumper sticker. There was also all kinds of Another Mother Runner merchandise available for purchase. Probably the best part of the evening was hearing Dimity and Sarah read from the third book along with Adrienne reading her contribution to the book. Let’s not forget giveaways. Upon entering everyone received a raffle ticket. Sponsors of Sarah and Dimity’s website had products that were given away. As if that were not enough, swag bags were the cherry on this mother sundae.

Swag brought home in the Swag Bag

Swag brought home in the Swag Bag

 

 

Race Week

Race week is here! I have a few races coming up in the next six weeks. Two are out of town and those races tend to stress me out as I do not own a car but I have been known to take a Greyhound bus to a race so no car is not a deal breaker.

This week I am traveling to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is one of my favorite cities. I loved my first trip there, last March, and am looking forward to seeing friends in the area while I am down there. I have a dear friend who’s second marriage included me doing a reading that now lives in Asheville. I have let her know that I am going to be in town and hope we can connect this year.

I have also been speaking with an author about a virtual assistant need she has. This person lives in Asheville and we may possibly meet while I am in town, also. All in all, it is going to be a busy trip culminating in a half marathon on Sunday.

Wondering about things to do in Asheville? Here are a couple of posts on things I did last year.

Hiking and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Last Year’s Race Recap

I also spent a good part of Friday evening last year in downtown Asheville. I visited several breweries and had a great dinner at Pack’s. I am hoping to get time for some of the same this year.

Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville

Training and Races

ShamrockThis weekend is Parade Day here in the Binghamton area. I have never been a big parade fan but there is also, for the first time, a mile race on Parade Day. I am going to help out with the race. Be not afraid! The woman who thinks a 5K is too short a race is not lacing up for a mile. Actually, I was originally just trying to stay as far away from the parade as possible.

I do, though, have two races coming up this month.

Next week, I’m heading south. On my little bit of training that I have done (February yielded 33 miles of running and 17 of walking, most of it around my driveway with a snow shovel in front of me), I’m running the half marathon in Asheville, NC on the Biltmore Estate on March 15.

Two weeks later, I will be running the local Forks XV. While a very tough race, this is one of my favorite local races.

The other two weekends of the month will be spent volunteering at races. This weekend you will find me at the Parade Day Mile here locally. The weekend after Asheville I will be in Syracuse working the Ragnar booth at the expo for the Syracuse marathon and half.

What are your race plans for March?

A Month To Forget

Have you ever looked forward to events and then had life had you not only lemons, but so many lemonade is out of the qHuestion? That’s February for me.

January was the late start of my training for my mid-March race in Asheville, NC. I managed to get 51 miles in in January. February has been brutal for training, though.

First, I had a relationship end. I had really thought this one was “the one” but was evidently mistaken. With the end to this relationship came the realization that I had tickets for two to an event that I was not going to miss. I took my 24 year old son with me instead. Not quite the Chocolate, Beer and Wine event I was hoping for when the tickets were bought but still a good time.

Then came February weather. I will run inside when it is necessary but dislike it. Top that with the bone chilling tiredness that comes from constantly shoveling, and sometimes in negative 20 degree wind chills, and this month’s training miles are going to be negligible. I think I may have walked more miles in February – especially pushing a shovel – than I have run. I know for a fact that one week I walked twice as much as I ran and all those walking miles were with a shovel.

Then, the hardest hit of all. My mother died last week. While not totally unexpected, I had spoken to her just the day before and all seemed as well as expected. Then, came the call. I feel like the past week I have been spiraling into a non-running life. I have decided Mom would not want that and swear I am getting back on track. Today will be indoors but the weekend should hold warmer temperatures and the chance to get outside and run.

Have you ever just wanted to right off an entire month?

Books

I am way behind, like weeks, on the photo challenge I joined for this year and will get caught up eventually. Guilty pleasure is one of the weeks I missed and I will get up the photo of my book shelf. It’s not like there is only one in my home. I probably could wall a room in books.

That said, I just finished reading an actual book – one with paper pages. Coming from a woman who read 133 books last year, this may not sound like a revelation but the majority of those books, probably 100+, were read in electronic format.

A few weeks back, when I was still in a relationship, we decided to go to the movies one Saturday. We both wanted to see “American Sniper” but opening weekend was not the weekend for us to see it. The shows that fit in with our schedule for the day were sold out. We opted for our second both want to see movie – “Wild.”

I loved the movie. I have hiked in the Adirondacks. I have hiked in the Appalachians. I have hiked parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have hiked some on the west coast also. I have a degree in forestry and recreational use of forest lands. I have worked on trails.

Blue Ridge Mountains, outside Asheville, NC

Blue Ridge Mountains, outside Asheville, NC

Normally, I would not go see a movie that is based on a book without reading the book first. My daughter owns the book – I know as I gave it to her for Christmas – but I had not yet read it. I decided no biggie. Well, now I can say I have read it.

I was not drawn into the book immediately. It took me a chapter or so to really start devouring the book. Once I did, though, I didn’t want to put it down. I went back to reading, as in the book, via my headlamp at night in bed. As with the movie, when I finally put the book down this morning, I wanted to start planning my trip to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

I highly recommend “Wild” to everyone. Do you hike? Have you read “Wild” or seen the movie? Would you ever hike a trail like the Pacific Crest?