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Good Food, Bad Food, and a New Set of Monthly Goals

Hello friends!! Welcome to August :) This is going to be a good month, I can feel it! For the first time in a long time, I’m setting out some goals for myself this month. But we’ll have to wait till the end for those. I’ve got a plethora of food photos first!

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It’s been a while since I did a big food post, so some of these are a few days old. The other day I mixed up 30g chocolate whey powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp ground coffee, 2 tbsp egg whites and 2 tbsp plain yogurt.

You want to put this is a biiiiig mug. After 2-3 minutes in the microwave, it puffs up into beast.

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If you are a volume eater, this one’s for you. Sliced up into three sections and topped with a mix of marshmallow fluff, chocolate peanut butter, laughing cow cheese.

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I don’t know why I’ve never thought of a mocha protein cake before. This was freakin’ divine.

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Plus, the mid-day caffeine kick didn’t hurt ;)

Next up we have my first ever visit to Chipotle!

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Chipotle is a cafeteria-style Mexican restaurant with a focus on organic and ethical food.

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Their specialty are the burritos and tacos, but I was trying to keep it on the low-cal side, so I opted for a salad.

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I must say, I was a little disappointed by their salad options. Just a bit of romaine with sautéed veggies, a choice of two beans, three meats, four salsas and some cheese.

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I opted for the black beans, chicken and mild tomato salsa. No guac as I can’t eat it. The spices were right on and it was certainly filling. Buuuut, it was 9 bucks and I like a salad chock full of veggies.

Oh, and as a side note, while eating this on the patio I got recognized by a reader!! How cool is that? Hi Ashley, thanks for coming up to say hello :) I’d like to say I’m usually not that awkward in real life, but alas, that is not my reality.

Chugging right along here, I had yet another new-food experience in Toronto!

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My roommates were pretty horrified when they found out I’d never had dim sum before. Actually, I’d heard the term, but never really knew what it was. Billy took me to a restaurant called the Pearl Court in Chinatown East. For those of you who haven’t experienced it either, dim sum is Cantonese dining where the food comes in small portions. The restaurant workers came around yelling out dish names and we had to put our hands up if we wanted it. They marked it off on a little card and we paid at the end.

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The most confusing part is that they were yelling out the dishes in Cantonese, so I had no idea what was coming around! Thankfully, Billy knows his Chinese food.

The above are pork spring rolls. Very crispy.

Below are shrimp thingys in a wrapper thingy.

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Like my descriptions? :P Actually, I think these were shrimp dumplings.

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The above are some pork dumplings perhaps? They were quite good.

I am missing a picture of my favourite food! They were pot stickers with cabbage in them and lightly fried. Yumyum.
 
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Second favourite were these buns with a sweet pork filling and sticky glaze on top. I’ve seen similar buns many times on Sophia’s blog and can’t wait to try more varieties!

Least favourite dish from the meal were the chicken feet.

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OhyesIdid.

I’ve said many times that my food curiosity often gets the best of me!! These are actual chicken feet, cooked in a sort of barbecue sauce. You’re supposed to bite a piece off, suck off the skin, then spit out the bone.

I tried, I really tried. I can get past most “gross-out factors” when it comes to food. But these chicken feet defeated me. The skin was a lot more light and soft than I was expecting, otherwise, it was kinda of what you would expect scaly chicken feet to taste like :/

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Everything was chased down with some very delicious tasting tea. I think it was a green, but it didn’t taste quite so bitter. Billy told me the tea is served because it helps your body cut down on the grease.

In all, a wonderful first dim sum experience!! I ate just enough and despite it being a pretty greasy and heavy meal, I felt good after. It will be more fun to go back as I start to recognize the dishes and know what I like. Can’t say I’ll be getting the chicken feet again ;)

After an indulgent day yesterday, I’ve been trying to clean up my act today. Unfortunately, I was without groceries for half of it.

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An empty fridge and cupboard often leads to my more interesting food combinations. Today being no different.

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This would be a pita pizza of sorts with a base of tuna, cottage cheese, mustard, pickles and onions.

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That’s not mozzarella on top, but sauerkraut!

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I dunno, I saw the jar of sauerkraut in the fridge and went for it. I looooove sauerkraut and thought this was pretty tasty!

I kept with the cabbage theme for dinner after purchasing groceries.

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Browsing the internets today, I stumbled across a recipe for Mango Slaw With Cashews and Mint from Smitten Kitchen. I followed the recipe almost precisely, except I used regular green cabbage, added sesame oil for my oil, and traded in the cashews for soya nuts.

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The soya nuts were $5 cheaper than the cashews, and the nutritionals are 5x better.

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That’s better than most protein bars!!

I paired the mango slaw with some sweet & spicy chicken breast.

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I’m really happy with how the slaw turned out. It was a cinch to throw together and is the perfect flavour for summer.

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And finally, my goals for August.

1. Eat out twice a week, at no more than $15 a meal. This is going to be hard, as eating out is sooooo fun and easy in Toronto. But for the sake of my wallet and waistline, it needs to happen. I’m starting to get on a more regular work schedule, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the habit of preparing meals and snacks for when I’m not home.

2. Read more. Actually, I already have been reading more, to the tune of four books in July. But I’d like to keep it up!

3. Do at least one outdoor activity a week. Now that I’m working in a gym, it is so easy for me to just keep my workouts within the gym walls. But summer will be gone before I know it, so it’s important I get out in the fresh air! Already off to a good start with this one – put in an hour long bike ride along the waterfront this evening. Plus, I’ve got some more fun outdoor stuff in the works ;)

4. Look for part-time work and volunteer work. One, because I need the extra moulah, and two, because I want to get more involved in my new community.

5. Update my blog pages. They’re once again behind the times. I haven’t put any work into my blog since before I moved in May!

6. Lose weight. I know, when did this become a weight loss blog?? :P Truth of the matter is that I’m over my “happy weight,” thus not very happy with how I look and feel in my skin. It just means I’ll be a little more vigilant about my food and servings and probably stepping on a scale more often than I typically like.

 

There you have it! Will start checking in on these goals weekly to keep myself accountable. Now my question for you: what are your goals for August?? Write them down in the comments and we can check in together next week :)

Drunk With Courage

It’s Monday.

I have one more day of living at my mom’s house, where I’ve been living since moving away from my old university town one month ago.

One more day of living in my hometown, home province, and the Maritime region of Canada of which much of my identity comes from.

One more day before I embark on a journey with Holly and Karen through the Canadian Rockies.

One more day until I begin the next chapter in my life, which includes eventually settling down in Toronto.

What better way to signify this than by making one of the most intimidating dishes I can think of. 

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Yes my friends, I am talking about poached eggs.

Ooohhh, how I love those little yolky pockets of goodness. I tried making them when I was around 12 years of age, but ended up with scrambled eggs. And not the good kind.

Since moving back to my mom’s, I go to bed every single night telling myself that tomorrow will be the day. But then I wake up, and in my morning grogginess, chicken out and go with a breakfast that is tried and true.

Not today. As of now, I’m all about grabbing life by the horns. Taking on a sense of adventure. Naturally, my first call of action was to poach those damn eggs.

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I followed Jenna’s step-by-step tutorial for poaching eggs. She lived in France, so I immediately consider her an authority on the subject.

I brought my water to a low boil, added my teaspoon of vinegar, and lightly slid each egg into the pot. After two minutes, my water started to break the surface with a boil, and I got nervous. I held the pot ever-just-so over the burner for the last minute, terrified my precious eggs were going to get mangled.

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Lo and behold, they came out okay!

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There were a few egg-white casualties, but much of the egg was still retained. Better yet, the yolks were perfectly runny.

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Don’t let these photos fool you. I do not eat my poached eggs on top of toast. Ohno.

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When poached eggs are involved, the bread must be dipped into the runny yolk. Brownie points if the bread is homemade Irish soda bread ;)

By the bye, I had a blast reading through everyone’s favourite kind of bread! Sourdough, french/crusty and naan were probably the fan favourites. Although, Madeline mentioned her favourite is Irish brown bread. This is most certainly next on my bread-baking list. I think soda breads are a good transition to yeast breads. Sister Sara – I hope you’re up for some bread baking when I get to Ottawa!! ;)

Okay, back to the topic at hand.

After my poaching success, I began to get a little drunk with courage. I reeeeally wanted to run today, but rain was in the forecast, and the skies were most definitely reflecting that. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a bit of a running Goldilocks. I typically don’t run outdoors unless the conditions are just so. But today I strapped on my running shoes and camelbak and took to the soggy trail!!

The first 15 minutes were great. The temperature was perfect, and the cloudy skies made for good visibility.

Then it started to rain. And it was actually really fun!! It was only a light rain, just enough to soak through my shirt a little. If anything, it was kind of refreshing! Ended up running for 50 minutes in total, finishing with a strong 5-minutes sprint. Felt gooood.

I was positively starving by the time I got home. It called for more soda bread.

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Topped with tuna salad and cheese.

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Then toasted to melty perfection. This may have been the best tuna melt of my life. Homemade bread makes a world of difference.

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Veggies to round out the meal!

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I put the rest of the tuna salad on top of sliced cucumber. I’ve been snacking on this combo in the evenings as well. It’s awesome.

Afternoon snack featured my last Homemade Wholegrain Maple Oatmeal Scone. *tear*

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Toasted, then topped with blueberries and vanilla yogurt.

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Ohmygosh. I love the combination of a baked good with fruit and yogurt. Maybe I will need to make scones when I go to Ottawa as well?? :P

We had some extra buffalo meat in the fridge, so I offered to make meat balls with it for dinner.

I couldn’t decide what kind of meatball I wanted, or what recipe I wanted to use. So I ended up combining Danica’s Healthy and Spicy Meatballs with Canadian Living’s Classic Italian Meatballs.

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First, I soaked 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs with 1/2 cup water for a few minutes until it was absorbed.

Then I added:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce

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Frank’s for the win.

After all that, I rolled up my sleeves and mixed in 1 lb lean ground buffalo meat.

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I really love mixing up meat with my hands. I swear I used to be a vegetarian.

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Rolled the mix into little balls (I got 31 balls) and browned in a frying pan. It took two rounds of frying, then I transferred to a baking sheet, drizzled with more Frank’s, and baked at 350F for 17 minutes (I’m all about the uneven numbers apparently).

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While that was going down, I prepared a garden salad.

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And a dressing of laughing cow cheese + buttermilk + Frank’s + herb seasoning blend.

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Zee ballz!!

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A feast for three:

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The step-siblings are only here every other week. Although, I think they totally would have dug this meal. Please note that is not my red wine. I despise the taste of wine. But alas, my new place in Toronto is above a home wine-making shop, so these things could change.

My plate!

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Or bowl, rather. I opted to eat my meatballs on top of a big salad.

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These were really, really good. Much better than my last attempt! Not only did they get another “gold star,” but Mark confirms they are great for dipping in ketchup, barbecue and plum sauce. He would know, he tried them all ;)

Mom said the meal was so good it required a coffee afterward.

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At least it’s not a cigarette :P

And then I took pictures of Archie just because.

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Even though his wet nose wakes me up at 7am everyday, I still love the furball.

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If there is anyone out there experienced in Grand Theft Poodle, please let me know.

 

Well that’s all she wrote!! I will be back tomorrow with a short update of sorts. I say short, because I have to be up at 4am to fly out on Wednesday. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be so excited I won’t be able to put together a cohesive sentence.

I will have you know though, I am so far doing good on my Goal for June.

With a lot more smiles to come :)

 

Question of the Day: What is one thing that has made you smile recently? I’m watching How I Met Your Mother – the one where they all take up smoking. Barney said “Yeah and the coughing really works my abs.” I laughed. Hard.

Reebok Easy Tone the Easy Way Out?

Who’s that doggie in the windoooowww…

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I couldn’t help it. My mom and I went for a walk yesterday evening and could see a cat or dog peering out the front window of nearly every house we passed. It’s so nice to come home to this little face in the window every day :)

Rudy meanwhile, is only ever in the kitchen. He’s got one thing on his mind, and it’s in the fridge.

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I can relate though. I woke up this morning with food on my mind. More specifically, waffles. 

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I know, it’s Tuesday. But it’s hard to deny oneself of melted butter pooling in the squares of a waffle…

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And then drenching every groove in syrup. Life does not get much better than this.

Today’s waffles have been bought to you by Van’s.

 
Please excuse the teeny internet picture. My mother does not yet understand the importance of my photographing everything remotely food related.

Van’s sent me a couple coupons to try out their stuff. I really wanted to get some of their new French toast sticks, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Instead, I was drawn to these gluten free Apple Cinnamon waffles. 

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The ingredients on these are “Susan approved.” Although, I thought it could use a little more apple and cinnamon flavour. The texture is slightly “off” compared to regular waffles because they’re made with brown rice flour. But it’s disguised well when toasted.

Paired them with my favourite source of fat and protein.

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Boiled eggs.

Pre-workout snack was something I picked up at a new local health food store called Sequoia in Moncton.

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I love Bumble Bars but don’t buy them often because they’re expensive, and I make most of my own bars at home now. But I had to pick this up because I’d never tried the Cherry Chocolate flavour before!

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I know I said I don’t like fruit and chocolate together yesterday. But I lied. I really like chocolate and cherry. And chocolate and cranberry. But that’s it – I swear!! :P

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Okay, and the chocolate covered cherry may be my favourite in the assorted chocolate box ;)

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This bar did not disappoint. In fact, it was more tart cherry than overly sweet chocolate. Don’t let the pictures fool you, this is a really chewy bar, not hard or crunchy in the least.

My foot is still hurting today, so I tried to be nice to it while doing a full-body workout at the gym.

Warm-up: 15 minutes on the elliptical, increasing resistance (ouch to the foot)

Alternating sets:
Close-grip lat pulldown 
One-point dumbbell row

Alternating sets:
Twisting standing chest press
Some exercise I do not know the name of where I stood in a static squat, and with dumbbells, palms facing the back wall, swept my straight arms backwards.

Alternating sets:
Standing barbell shoulder press
Curtsy lunge 

Alternating sets:
Twisting standing dumbbell curl 
Dumbbell front lateral raise with a side lunge

Alternating sets:
This ab move thanks to this girl
Prone jackknife 

Alternating sets:
Decline crunch
Reverse crunch 

Then I did an easy 10 minutes on the recumbent bike while reading a magazine and waiting for my mom to show up. Afterward, I showed her around the gym, pointing out proper form and techniques on the equipment. Especially for the cable machine, which I will do a post on in the future!

Needless to say, I was hungry by the time I got back home.

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A can of tuna is probably my favourite post-lifting meal. Today I mixed it with Hellman’s olive oil mayo (yum) celery, onion and pepper. Smooshed on collard greens and sesame ezekiel bread.

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With some crunch on the side.

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Blue chips > yellow chips.

Hit up a brand new grocery store with my mom and Nana this afternoon. We were all equally excited to be scoping out food in a new joint. It was hot out today, and when I saw this in the store’s cooler, I couldn’t resist.

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Damn refreshing that aspartame is ;)

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Accompanied by a snack of egg whites topped with coconut oil. Not a fan of the egg + coconut combo.

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I blew through my deep chocolate Vitatops and convinced my mom to get the Vitamuffins today. She’s hooked now too. ‘Tis a slippery slope with these things.

Then I spent an hour applying for my dream job while sitting on the deck. Le sigh.

The summer weather inspired the fam to haul out the bbq!!

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Mommy dearest made buffalo patties with Worcester and Frank’s.

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We were bunless, so I ate it atop a small piece of naan. Burger was topped with ketchup, mustard, relish and pickled jalepenos. NOM.

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More baked corn! My family may now be obsessed ;)

And what better way to end a summer-inspired meal than with a Mr. Freeze.

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Sugar-free. But not Splenda free.

 

So Is Easy Tone Really That Easy?? 

I got a lot of comments the other day when I mentioned the Reebok Easy Tone shoes. So I thought it would be worth it to take the time to explain why I don’t personally support them. Now, I’m no podiatrist or specialist, so my knowledge only goes so far. This is just based on my training to date, along with the biases of the experts who taught me.

 

Reebok EasyTone shoes have “balance pods” on the soles, which create instability, forcing your calves, hamstrings and glutes to work harder just by walking.

In order to keep myself from going into a rant, I will not delve into their borderline offensive commercials and marketing campaign. I trust you can click on that yourself and be astounded by what some tactless marketing team came up with.

There are several other shoes that are similarly designed and carry the same claims. There’s the Skechers Shape-ups.

The Fit Flop.

And the MBT shoe, aka the “anti-shoe.”

We will also ignore the fact that these shoes are downright hideous. I am by no means a fashionista or particularly concerned about my appearance. But I would not be caught dead buying groceries in the above MBT shoe.

During my personal training instruction, I was taught that proper body mechanics hails above all else. My PRO trainer made sure that we all left with some form of expertise on how the body is meant to move and work. I’m beginning to hone my skill in watching people, and can now pinpoint when someone isn’t moving correctly. I can tell by my mother’s grip that she has arthritis, or that my friend has inflexible shoulders by the way she does a push-up.

My problem with these shoes, is that they do not align with our proper body mechanics. It is one thing to put your body off balance for brief periods of time to challenge yourself during exercise. It is another thing to completely change the way you walk, with a distant hope of maybe-sorta-kinda making your butt firmer. Not to mention, at a cost of $100. I’m sure fellow runners out there cringe with me at the idea of wearing a shoe that is designed to make life harder on your muscles.

The other thing is that the body is highly adaptable. Your body will adapt to your new walking gait, and within a few short weeks, your muscles will not work as hard in the shoes. It may feel sore the first couple times. But wear them every day for two weeks, and you’ll no longer feel the results.

I’ve also heard claims that these shoes will burn more calories and zap cellulite. I am sorry, but bullshit. The only way to burn more calories is to increase your heart rate. Skip the $100 price tag and walk faster. Cellulite is a tricky kind of fat, and even people with near-perfect diets still have remnants of it.

Reebok claims that the Easy Tone shoes work your glutes 28% more, while working your calves and hamstrings 11% more. Instead of walking around town all day to do this, I have another suggestion. Do a set of bodyweight squats. Climb the stairs at work. Save your money, your ankles, your knees, and your back. Please, do real exercise, and buy some real shoes that give your body the support it needs.

 

Now there’s my two cents – what’s yours?? What are your thoughts on toning footwear?

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