July 08, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #20

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'm looking into getting a treadmill.  Can you recommend a specific make/model or just features that it should have?

A. I am certainly no treadmill expert, but I can tell you from my experience what features I like, as well as features I don't find to be necessary. When I was looking for a treadmill, a huge factor for me was the cost. I couldn't afford to spend a small fortune on a machine that I was hoping I wouldn't have to use all that much (I much prefer running outside to the treadmill). I also knew that I didn't need all the bells and whistles--I just wanted a reliable machine I could run on.

The features that I really like (or features I wish I had) are:
  • The one-touch speed and incline control buttons. See the gray numbered strips on each side? You just have to push the button and it will change your speed or incline. You don't have to hold down an up or down arrow button to change the speed/incline. This makes it easy to go from a walk to a run almost instantly, and makes my running intervals much more efficient.
Front face of my treadmill
  •  The speed goes up to 12 mph and the incline up to 12%. A lot of lower-cost treadmills only go up to 10 on each. Now, I'm certainly not going to be running at 12 mph ;) But, I hope to use that for sprints one day. The highest button I've pushed is 10 so far. On the incline, however, I have used the 12%--it makes a GREAT workout. Some treadmills go up to 15%, which would be nice, but those treadmills usually cost a lot more.
  • This treadmill has iFit technology, which is something I've never used and probably never will. This wasn't a selling point for me at all.
  • I like that the console is very simple. There aren't a million different buttons to try and press while I'm running.
  • I don't remember the length or width of the stepping part of the belt, but when choosing a treadmill, it's important to get one that isn't so small that you're practically falling off the back of it with each step. Also, you want it to be wide enough for comfort.
  • My treadmill folds in half, but that doesn't make it take up much less space. From what I've read, the treadmills that fold up smaller tend to have more problems with the hardware, so I didn't care about finding a treadmill that folded up.
  • I wish that mine had a spot to put a magazine for reading. You can see from the first picture that there isn't a spot to put a magazine. I can't read while I run, but while walking, it would be nice. 
  • I have found (with all treadmills I've tried, even at gyms) that the heart rate grip monitors are extremely inaccurate; so that wasn't a selling point for me either.
  • My treadmill has built-in running/walking programs. I've used them and liked them, but I mostly just use the manual setting.
  • Options that you can get on certain treadmills, but will most certainly pay extra for: a built in TV, a color touch-screen panel, downhill incline, etc. But keep in mind that the more features you have, the higher the risk of something breaking.
Overall, I would just suggest thinking about what YOU plan on using it for, and then find the simplest version you can find that meets your needs. 

Q. I was just wondering if you ever had a hard time sleeping when you were losing weight?  I'm a good sleeper till I start to count my WW points again.  If you did, do you have any tricks for a better nights sleep?

A. It is definitely harder to sleep on an empty stomach (for me, at least)! But from the very beginning of my weight loss, I would always have a bedtime snack. I usually saved that time for dessert--a brownie, a cookie and tea, wine and a piece of chocolate, etc. I know a lot of people think that you shouldn't eat right before bed, and maybe that's true, but I always have (and probably always will). Maybe give it a try and see if it helps :)

Q. Did your bra sizes drop quickly during weight loss, and did you have to keep buying new ones? I'm wondering how much mine will shrink as I lose weight. 

A. I've actually never been very large-busted... at my heaviest, I was a C cup. I can't remember exactly what my band size was, but I want to say it was 42 or 44? Anyway, my band size went down, but I resisted buying new bras until I couldn't stand it anymore--because bras are expensive, and I knew I would have to get another new one soon anyway. So I think my bras went from 44C, to 40C, then 38B, then 36B (which is what I wear now--although I'm probably closer to an A cup!).

I didn't really notice the decrease in breast SIZE as much as the perkiness--they are not at all perky anymore :(  But it surprisingly doesn't bother me--I'm fine with having small boobs ;)

And now a question for all of you...
How have you been staying cool in this heat wave? Has it changed your summer plans at all?


  1. The heat has made me think that this will be my last fall marathon! (going for a spring one in 2015 for sure)

  2. AnonymousJuly 08, 2012

    I have had to seriously push myself to drink more water this summer!

  3. When it's super hot we usually stay in. When it's bareable we like to go to the lake. My hubby fishes but my favorite part is when we beach the boat & swim with the kids! :) To be honest I kind of dread Summer. With 75 more lbs to loose & the vitiligo it's not my cup of tea :/

  4. The hot weather has caused me to hibernate inside. Stepping outside was horrible, such thick air! Today was much better. Took a 3 mile bike ride. (:

  5. Planning on running my first marathon this fall in Grand Rapids, but this heat is making me doubt my ability to get these miles in. Its also very hard to get the long runs in when there is so much fun stuff going on in the summer. I am planning to buy a hydration belt this week and maybe invest im a nice pair of sunglasses.

  6. Heather HJuly 09, 2012

    I'm signed up for a virtual half marathon and a real 4-mile Dirty Dash, but the 70 degree mornings are not conducive to running, at least not for me. It's going to be a long July if I don't get going. I've been on vacation all week, so hopefully this week I can get back to normal and get back to running regularly.

  7. Oh yes, this heat is a game changer! It has made running outside during the day pretty much impossible, especially with the humidity. Also, I'm always late getting out the door to catch the subway to work, so I'll jog down the street to get there on time. If I'm running late and jog to the subway in the summer, I kid you not, I'm drenched in sweat! Bleh!

  8. Just wanted to let you know that at my gym, they have these plastic magazine holders that slip right over the top of the treadmill and have a shelf to hold reading material. Just a thought in case you want to purchase one for your home TM.

  9. AnonymousJuly 09, 2012

    The heat, ARGH! I have had to forgo walks outside and just work out in the gym. I miss being able to walk outside, too, but with temps over 95 for 11 days, NOT a good idea.


  10. I usually take the 2 little ones I babysit for walks after breakfast, but since it's been so hot I just can't take them out. The heat has also interfered with getting the yard work done! I can't exactly take them out in the back if the grass is too long and a poop patrol hasn't been executed!

  11. I remember when I lost weight a few years ago, the first thing my mom commented on when she saw me for the first time was how much my boobs shrank lol

  12. I have the same brand of treadmill. I have an Epic View something or other. I did some research before buying it and it's a $2,500 gym quality treadmill. I got it for $750 at Costco in 2007 and it's still going strong after 4 military moves in the last 5 years. I was looking for the same things previously mentioned but fell in love with the built in TV and fan. It also has a headphone set up so I can plug a little cord it has into my iPod or my Kindle Fire and listen to music or watch a movie while using my treadmill (uses the treadmill's speakers). Great purchase.

  13. I wish I had room for a treadmill. But I hit the gym-so it's all good! To keep cool we swim pretty much every single day. The gym has an indoor pool and I have season passes to our outdoor pool. The time passes really quickly when we swim and the kids are exhausted when we get home. Bonus for mom!

  14. The heat has affected my work-outs. I make the excuse that it's too hot to walk. I really need to get back into walking every day. For so long it was a routine, now it's more of a rarity. Now that I have a dog, I will have an excuse TO walk, even when it's hot, so that she gets some exercise. At least--that's my plan. Right now she is too young to walk much, although she will trot along beside me as I walk down my long driveway to get the mail or newspaper. I think part of my problem is that walking burns so few calories, I always think, "Why bother?" If I was running and burning mega-calories like you, at least it would be worth my time, if I could have Cracker Barrel pecan pancakes or COOKIES afterwards! My weight is staying the same whether I walk or not, but I know it does me good to get out there and go, so I really have to JUST DO IT!

  15. I live down here in Texas where it's already hit 100+ degrees a few days in a row and now that it's the middle of July and going into August, it's only going to get worse. We're already to where swimming isn't really fun because the pool feels like bath water. So, we usually get a cool sprinkler for the front or back yard and let my son play in the cooler water for a bit. Other than that, we avoid going out if we can. The heat just drains energy from you.

  16. I have been staying cool by drinking lots of icewater. It does not help that I am at the age of hotflashes, but all-in-all, I am doing pretty good.

    Motivation in my head: 100 Moving that to my feet: 0

  17. We are in our 10th day of 102-105 heat, it's really just nuts :(
    I leave home to go to the gym at 4:45 am (NO running outside since June when we hit our 90's) for the treadmill or spin class.

    Leave again to go to work .... when we ran out of toliet paper this weekend...someone HAD to go to the store, we flipped for it and my husband lost ..... poor guy!

    Praying for some relief soon for millions of folks! Scary hot out there :(

  18. Additional treadmill feedback:
    Look to treadmill horsepower to make sure it's powerful enough for running, larger riders, etc. I was taught not to buy one < 2.5 horsepower. Also, check the incline. My old one at home has a minimum incline of 1.5, not down to 0! Makes it kind of tough. I bought a ProForm for Sears and spent the money on the extended warranty. Getting free yearly maintenance if you use it regularly is great!

  19. This heat has been killing my running! It's made it insanely hard which has killed my motivation to get out there. I try and run at cool hours as much as possible, but I work nights, so I'm not always feeling up to running at midnight when I get home (though I have, and have loved it). I'm in the first couple weeks of a fall half marathon and I'm getting so nervous my lack of motivation will snowball and I won't get my training done!

    And about the boobs- I'm so scared of loosing my boobs when I lose weight. I have about 100 pounds to lose (already down 18) and I'm terrified of saggy skin and saggy, tiny boobs. I'm scared to do all the work of changing my body and then not liking how I look in the end!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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