Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #10

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. I run frequently for short distances on the treadmills at the gym, but I am horrible at running outside. I feel like it is a HUGE difference running on a treadmill compared to outside, and outside is SOOO much harder for me. I run about 3 miles on the treadmill, but I can barely do 1.5 miles outside. I don't know if this is because of the technique I am using or if I can't keep a steady pace outside, but have you experienced this problem or know what i am referring to? Any tips would be great because I would love to start training outside and increase my pace/distance so I can do some races!

My fastest treadmill 5K run
A. This is actually a really common experience. You know I have a sub-26:00 5K goal; well, I met that goal on a treadmill, but I'm having a hell of a time trying to meet it outside. I find it much easier to run faster on a treadmill than outside.

Running on a treadmill is generally easier because the belt on the treadmill is moving (obviously) and you don't have to propel yourself forward. Imagine jumping straight up outside--when you land, you would be in the same spot. But on a treadmill, if you jumped, you would land "ahead" of where you were when you jumped. On a treadmill, you also don't have any wind resistance--as minimal as the wind may be outside, there is still some resistance there.

Fastest outdoor 5K run
To better mimic an outdoor run on a treadmill, you can up the incline to 1-2%. Your legs will feel heavier that way and it will require more effort. But the best way to get faster outside is to run outside. You can also try running more slowly outside, which will allow you build up more distance. It's best not to compare the two--let your treadmill runs be separate from your outdoor runs, so you don't get discouraged. Keep at it, you'll be running 3 miles outside soon!

Q. How did you start your blog? (quick refresher) and how did you start earning money from the blog? I read your blog and know the general info: "start writing and place ads," but how did you make it happen? What sources gave you the best advice that worked for you? Do you have a strategic plan for growing that income in the future?

A. Starting the blog was actually the easy part for me, because I'd been "blogging" for 11 years. I wrote on a site called Open Diary, and I actually paid to use it (you can use it for free, but if you pay for it, then there aren't any visible ads). I had NO IDEA that people could earn money from blogging! Once I hit my goal weight, I kind of wanted to start a fresh chapter of my life; and I decided I wanted to make a new blog. I removed my old blog from Open Diary, and started this one with Blogger. I just picked up where I left off, but with a new agenda: to write about maintenance and running instead of losing weight. 

Where I spend waaay too much time ;)
At that point, I still didn't know anything about ads or earning money, so I just blogged because I love it. I have no idea how my blog grew so large so quickly; on Open Diary, I had a handful of readers--maybe 15? after 11 years of writing. I was surprised and humbled by the large following I got so quickly. Once I decided to go ahead with skin removal surgery, I knew I need to earn some money. Getting a new job wasn't practical for me because I would have to take so much time off from the surgery itself. Some of my readers suggested earning money from ads, which I hadn't even considered.

I assumed that ads would earn me just pennies a month, so I wasn't expecting much, but I started with Google Adsense. That didn't work out--they canceled my account without telling me why, and I never got paid for the ads that were on the blog for two months. I tried a few other ad companies that I had Googled, but they weren't working out either--trashy ads or literally a penny a day. I became an Amazon affiliate, which means if people click through to Amazon from the links on my page and purchase something, I will earn a small percentage as a referral. I also applied for (and was accepted into) the BlogHer ad network, which I love. The ads aren't trashy, I get paid per pageview (rather than per click on each ad), and I really like the BlogHer network in general.

I had no sources to figure all this out--I just did a lot of online research, read tons of reviews of ad networks, and did some trial and error. Right now, I'm happy with how it's going. I don't make a ton of money, but I make enough that I can pay a little extra on my debt each month, which was my goal. If the blog grows, my income will grow, but I honestly love blogging so much that I would continue to do it even if I couldn't get paid for it. But earning some cash is a big bonus for me :)

Q. Why do you love your Brooks running shoes? Also, did you get fitted for them or did you try different pairs?  I really want to get some good running shoes but for some reason dread going to the running store to get fitted.  I have looked online and did multiple running shoes test, I did the one on runner's world and it only gave me one shoe to choose from.  Do you mind sharing your thoughts on this.

A.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to go to a running store to get fitted for shoes--whether you plan on walking or running, they can help you pick the best shoe for YOU. I love my Brooks because they've never given me any trouble--I've never gotten a blister, I've never lost a toenail, and I've never had problems with my feet.

My Adrenalines aren't pretty, but they get the job done
I know how hard it is to go into a running store (especially if you are overweight). I went to the store when I was 253 pounds, and I felt like and elephant in a china shop running store. I worried that the man who was doing my fitting was judging me, and I just kept telling myself it would be over soon. (Now I realize that I was just very insecure--and there is no reason to feel that way!) I told him my goals (I said I wanted to walk a half marathon) and he gave me a few pairs to try on, and watched me walk around in them. Then I bought the shoes that he recommended. It's important to get the best fit rather than the prettiest or cutest shoe you can find ;)  I know it's tempting to pick the one that looks the most appealing, but it's more important to get a good fit.

I wouldn't do the online tests--I would definitely go to a running store and go through the fitting. Just be honest with the employee about your goals, and listen to their advice. If you are in the process of losing weight, you will need to get refitted when it's time for new shoes (400ish miles on your shoes). Your feet may get smaller, and/or you may walk/run differently as you lose weight.


Now a question for all of you...

What is your very favorite way to spend roughly 200 calories? (healthy or not... just your favorite!)

Mine would have to be something with chocolate and peanut butter, of course ;)  A graham cracker spread with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter and topped with 1/2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips always hits the spot.

49 comments:

  1. Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt, some chopped strawberries, a tablespoon of cocoa, and a tablespoon of honey. Mmm...

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  2. I just wanted to point out that I started reading your blog by visiting your SparkPeople page when you did the video about jour weight-loss journey. I would guess that that was something that really boosted your blog readership.

    Hmmm .. 200 calories ... it is hard to choose but the one that comes to mind is a gala apple with 1 T of PB (sweet and salty).

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  3. 200 calories? Naked Pita Chips with lots of Tzatzkiki dip! Yum! or if I am looking to quench a junk craving it's the Totino's Pizza Rolls. Gross but so good at the same time :) I love your blog, thanks for sharing so many great tips!

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  4. I'd have to say a huge cup of coffee with flavored coffee creamer and 1/2 cup of whatever delicious ice cream is in the freezer or a couple of cookies. Anything sweet would do.

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  5. Thank you for your first question and response. I have just started running and I made a goal for myself to run an entire 5k. I was getting frustrated too because I can run 2.5 on the treadmill but struggle outside. It's good to know I'm not crazy and I'll just keep going outside to get to that point.

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  6. My 200 calorie snack is Tribe Roasted Red Pepper hummus and naked pita chips. My 200 splurge is some dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds. Although I love a McDonald's Caramel Latte...man I could go on and on about 200 calorie snacks....

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  7. A cookie from subway. Either chocolate chip or double chocolate. They are either 210 or 220 calories each, I forget exactly. Of course I usually just get one of each and take the 400 calorie hit! :)

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  8. Ooh, that's a toughie. Probably an individual serve of low fat frozen yohgurt with a small punnet of strawberries. Or a row of dark chocolate and a hot chocolate made from one of those low-cal sachets.

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  9. I agree with Linda - ice cream!! Or maybe a few Hershey kisses. 7 Swedish Fish. Something sugary basically.

    I am hoping to transition to outside running once our weather gets sunny and stays that way most days. The one day I did run outside I ran into my boss (superintendent) who is a long distance runner. How embarrassing!

    I found your blog on Sparkpeople - prevideo. When you started this blog and began posting every day I was in stalkerheaven. :)
    I thought your blog membership went up quickly after Dr. Oz and pinterest.

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  10. Thank you for answering the question about running outside! Geesh, I feel soooo much better knowing I am not the only one who struggles to run outside. I also just went and was fitted for running shoes. I was TOTALLY embarrassed, because the store's elite runner club (Marathon training) were all there talking about how awesome they are at running and here I come at 230 pounds looking for shoes... But, the girl that helped me was super sweet and helpful and when she saw me watching the runners out the door she said, "You will be there before you know it!" She must have known how bad I want this!

    My 200 calorie snack would be 2 marshmallows melted on a gram cracker. (YUM!!) Thanks again for blogging.. you really inspire me!

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  11. A bit more than 1/2 cup of Dark Chocolate Gelato is my favorite way to splurge 200 calories!

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  12. teachpsychsoc - KimberlyApril 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    200 calories ? Really !? I totally stink at counting calories.... I grab a spoon and head for the Nutella jar :0 I'm really good at eating fruits and veggies.... I figure that's got to balance things out !

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  13. 100 calorie popcorn and a Corona light with Lime!! 199 calories, plus the lime squirt lol! Sounds perfect to me! I actually am going to have that tonight :)

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  14. Mcdonalds ice cream cone. they say that they are 150 calories...I don't always trust they make them the exact size for 150cal, so I count them as around 200 to be on the safe side ;) Bonus: they are a cheap treat!

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  15. I love crushing up 1/2 of a graham cracker (55 cals) and putting it in a bowl with a serving of sugar free chocolate pudding (60 cals) on top. Then I add 2 servings of light cool whip (30 cals) on top. Its like a mini chocolate pie for less than 150 calories!

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  16. A bottle of Woodchuck cider is about 200 calories. Whenever I have a couple hundred extra to spend, I grab one of those.

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  17. 1.5 TBS of Hersheys Dark Chocolate chips and 1.5 TBS of Reese's baking chips! (I weigh them out by grams instead of using a measuring set). I eat them one of each at a time and it's like eating a whole bag of Reeses PB cups!

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  18. I must be completely backwards, because I don't do well running on the treadmill, but I do really well running outside. Put a big hair band channel on pandora, and I am down the road, but the treadmill...oh how I hate the treadmill. The balls of my feet feel like they are on fire when I run on the treadmill.

    As for the 200 calorie snack, anything with dark chocolate!

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  19. It's a little more than 200 calories (250) but I just discovered Dark Chocolate Snickers today. Yeah. That one's gonna have to be an every now and then deal. But a good cup of "drinking chocolate" is heaven. 2 1/2 tbsp ghirardelli hazelnut hot chocolate, 15g of mini marshmallows then slide in 1 Ghirardelli's Dark Chocolate/Sea Salt Square in and when you get to the end, that last drink is better than sex baby! HA!

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  20. Something involving chocolate, probably a big brownie!

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  21. Banana & chunky peanut butter

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  22. Hey, Katie --
    I know you asked a question, but I've just got to add my 2 cents to the question about running shoes. If you have a Luke's Locker in your area, I highly recommend going to see them. I did the C25K program last year and went there first. I found out that I "pronate" (roll in) when I walk/run and I needed a shoe to stabilize that tendency. I has made a trememdous difference; when I first started running, I had constant calf and hip pain, but a new pair of shoes (Asics at the time) took so much of that away. I'm now on my third pair of Luke's-fitted shoes, and just moved to the Brooks Adrenaline model. I've been running more and my need for support has changed slightly. My husband also just got fitted for his first pair of running shoes. He spend probably an hour trying on recommended styles and sizes to get one that didn't slip on his ankle and still allowed for the swelling that occurs in running. We are huge fans and would have a very hard time buying running shoes without that level of expertise. [PS I don't work for/with Luke's!]

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  23. Haha! You've got me onto the crackers, peanut butter and choc too... so much so that's a favourite on my spark nutrition tracker lol. My favourite treat around the 200 cal mark though? Possibly coming in slightly under that - a crunchy ice cream bar. I don't even like ice cream very much - but yeah, they are great on a rare occasion, I look forward to them.

    I am not yet ready to be a runner. I have been doing Zumba 6 times a week which I love, I figure once I'm under 100 kilos again that I'll buy me a pair of runners - but I want a Garmin now though - so the calories burnt are what I'm really burning.

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  24. Tillamook Mudslide ice cream! It's the best!

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  25. I love these posts! I agree with you. I think running outside is a bit more difficult then on the treadmill. You explained it very well too!

    My favorite way to use 200 calories. Hmmmm..It would be a TLC dark chocolate and coconut granola bar. YUMMMM!

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  26. Oh wow I wish your old weight loss blog was still online. That would be fun and helpful to read! :)

    Anything chocolate is the best way to spend 200 cals. I'm such a chocoholic!

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    1. I agree - I'd like to see your posts/thoughts from when you were actively losing weight, Katie.

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  27. Gosh--200 calories?? I'd probably have a serving of some kind of lite potato chips--like barbecue Pop Chips, or those Pepperidge Farm cracker chips, or even Lay's LITE chips--you actually get quite a few for that many calories. Of course, it's not like the whole bag of regular chips I used to eat in one sitting.

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  28. Dry Roasted Almonds.... they are my weakness!

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  29. I confess: right now my favorite way to spend 100 calories (well, 110) is one of those Russell Stover Easter egg candies. They're filled with caramel or marshmallows or, my favorite, raspberry creme. There's nothing healthy about it, I know, but I love reminding myself that even a sensible eating plan has room for a ridiculous treat like this. Even better, they're on clearance at my grocery store so I stocked up!

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    1. And yeah, now I see the question was about 200 calories, not 100. Oops! My favorite 200 calorie snack would probably be three melba toasts with a Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese wedge, and maybe a piece of fruit. Or maybe two of those Russell Stover eggs. :)

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    2. Oh yeah! I love the Russell Stover maple cream filled eggs. I had ONE this year, but I used to buy them by the dozens. I couldn't ave a bunch of those in my house, however, cause I would definitely binge on them!

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  30. I am not a huge bread eater because it is a weakness of mine. It is just better for me to avoid it all together.

    However, when wanting a yummy treat I LOVE a perfectly toasted piece of cinnamon raisin bread with a few squirts of spray butter. I saw recently at the grocery that one brand just came out with a banana strawberry version and also a brown sugar cinnamon flavor. To die for. I am sure the second it is in my house it will be gone quick so I have to buy it when I can "afford" the calories! :)

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    1. This is probably over 200 calories, and I only had it once, but it was delicious. Cinnamon raisin toast, covered with Biscoff sread (which is just like cookie butter--or so I hear). It was heavenly!

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  31. Yummy homemade bread!!! Except I eat more than 200 calories worth.

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  33. I too feared going to the running store, but am so glad I did. My husband was with me and I am so self-conscience. The guy at the store made me run outside (store is located in an outdoor shopping center). I thought he was kidding when he asked me to run, and resisted for more than 10 minutes. He told me that the best way to find a running shoe is to run in the shoe itself. He pulled 4 different brands and styles and then proceeded to make me run in each one. Let me tell you how embarrassed I was, but then when I noticed that each shoe felt different when I was standing still, walking, and running (same shoe different feel). So, I was so grateful that he made me run and didn't give up on me. I wound up picking the Brooks Trance as my running/walking shoe! They feel like I'm walking on a mattress. Best thing I could have done for myself!

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  34. In regards to getting shoes, I have to disagree about the importance of "getting fitted" at a running store. I did that, and it ended up being a total waste of time and money. Maybe my experience isn't typical, but I was much more successful by researching shoes, arch types, and foot mechanics, and then picking out my own shoes. I did go through a sort of trial-and-error process before I found my perfect pair, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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  35. First off, I love love my Brooks shoes too! And my New Balance are a close 2nd. I alternate. I never knew that a running shoe was supposed to feel like a house shoe, and both of those do for me :) Second, probably my favorite way to spend 200 calories is an ice cold beer, but food wise...apple + PB, or pistachios, or a few triscuits and some cheese

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  36. My favourite 200 calories is a small skinny butter pecan latte from Second Cup...I also went to a running store about a month ago to get fitted with sneakers, Mine are Asics and I love them...I mainly walk in them but am trying to do the couch 2 5k

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  37. Kind of random, but I got my new favorite 200 calorie snack from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop email. I mix 25 grams of chia seeds, 1/3ish cup water, & a flavored protein powder (or pudding mix)together & then put in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. It's quick, easy, healthy - & SO delicious, just like pudding.

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  38. Katie, thanks for answering the blogging question. It's much appreciated! I need to work from home for now, and finding a way to pay bills and pay down debt is tough. It's good to hear it from someone who's already "been there, done that, and made her own T-shirt." Thank you!

    Fyi: I found your blog after seeing the very inspiring weight-loss video on SparkPeople. Loved the part about getting your life back.

    I too *would love to read your blogs from when you were still losing weight.* We're going through now what you went through then. It would be so encouraging.

    Spending 200 calories, hmmm :D ....

    Two hundred cals.-worth of those yummy Maple Leaf cookies from the dollar store, kettle-corn style popcorn, or diet root beer and barbecue potato chips. (Bad, I know!)

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  39. I LOVE PB, so I would choose that everytime!

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  40. I found you through Interest. My favorite way to use up an extra 200 calories is either a skinny iced latter from Starbucks or a Reese's cup....or just a spoonful from the Nutella jar. When you dish soaped the Nutella I almost cried!

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  41. LOVED your answer abut how you started blogging. I read you all the way along as soon as I found the link on Spark....but didn't realize those old blogs about when you were losing the weight are no longer available. You definitely need to get that memoir published!! Your story is so inspiring and it continues to motivate me!

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  42. Hmm, 200 calories... Thanks to you Katie I would probably go with a chocolate vitatop with a cool whip/PB2 mix. I love PB2 and the chocolate Vitatops, and I hadn't tried either before I started reading your blog. If not that then I would go with my "ice cream" that I make out of frozen banana, a dash of cocoa and a dash of PB2. Thank you for being a major inspiration to me!!!

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  43. Thanks for the question. Love this arsenal I have of 200 calorie snacks now.

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)