Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up And Leave Insecurity Behind – Review

Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin NeffIn an earlier post about controlling your eating, I mentioned I was reading Kristen Neff’s book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up And Leave Insecurity Behind.

My fitness blogging buddy Marion Shaw asked me to write a review on the book, so here it is!


On the surface, Kristen Neff’s book has nothing to do with fitness or weight loss. Despite that, I  think it could be relevant reading for people who are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes.

And I think  it should be required reading for people who wonder why their attempts at motivating themselves by harsh self-judgments lead nowhere.


Kristin Neff is a psychology professor at the University of Austin, Texas. She started studying self-compassion after discovering Buddhist mindfulness meditation during her last year of graduate school. Because of Neff’s background, her book is a an interesting and – in my opinion – successful combination of western psychology and Buddhist tradition. [Read more…]

Best Toning Shoes For Women – Comparison

Originally, I was going to look for new walking shoes, but when I arrived at the store I couldn’t resist the temptation to try on some toning shoes. I picked the best three brands to discuss here.

I don’t “believe” in toning shoes, if believing means toning shoes are supposed to help you burn more calories than you otherwise would (it’s just a clever marketing trick).

What probably happens, is that toning shoes help recruit different leg muscles than what you usually use.  If you use them long enough, you might even end up toning your butt, thigh and calf muscles. (My muscles have definitely toned up since I started walking regularly 5 months ago).


Reebok Easytone Reenew Toner

reebok easytone reenew toning shoesMy first pick is Reebok’s Easytone Reenew toning shoes. They look like standard walking shoes until you check the soles. The soles come with three air-filled pads that are supposed to make walking with them simulate walking on an unstable surface.

I was surprised at how comfortable the shoes felt and how well they supported my feet. The shoes look quite stylish too, especially the black and silver pair: I could see myself wearing them for work. The only minus was a clunking sound they make on hard floors.


Ryka Reform Toning Shoes For Women

ryka reform athletic toning shoeAs soon as I put Ryka Reform shoes on my feet and walked around in them, I knew they were a perfect fit. My feet are flat, narrow at the heel but wide at the forefoot, so it’s often difficult for me to find shoes that fit well. This pair of Ryka shoes fit my feet like gloves and still gave enough support for my arches. They were very comfortable to walk in, like I wasn’t wearing shoes at all.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Ryka brand, Ryka is a Finnish brand that designs fitness and sporting shoes exclusively for women. Compared with the other two brands, Ryka’s Reform toning shoes are bulky – they remind me of the original masai barefoot shoes with a thick heel and rounded forefoot.

If one could marry a pair shoes, I’d have married the Rykas then and there. 🙂

New Balance’s True Balance Toning Shoes

new balance True Balance toning shoesWearing the New Balance toning shoes felt a bit odd at first, because they force you to walk in an upright position and they have a very “springy” feel to them. Compared with the Rykas,  the toe box is narrow.

On the plus side, the New Balance’s Toning shoes were definitely the most stylish of the three brands. I especially liked the fresh and vibrant colors.


My Verdict

If it was possible, I would cross-breed the Rykas (for fit and comfort) with the New Balance shoes (for style). Because it’s not , the Ryka Reform toning shoes were my number one choice.

Overall, I was positively surprised by the toning shoes I tried. I think they were all very comfortable and fit for walking. If you’re looking for comfortable walking shoes, take a look at the toning shoes too.

Click here to check Amazon offers on Ryka Reform shoes




How To Achieve Your Goals – A Book Review

Do you have trouble achieving your goals? Read on.

This is the perfect time to revisit a book I bought three years ago in New York. It’s called This Year I Will…How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True” written by coach and “change expert” Mary Jane Ryan.

The think the book title is pretty much self-explanatory. It’s a book written for anyone who wants to make lifestyle changes, learn new skills  or keep their New Year’s resolutions.  🙂

It is organized in four main parts, each part having several chapters for working with issues that typically rise in that phase. At the end of each chapter there are questions and exercises to work thorough.

A healthy part  of “This Year I Will”  focuses on how to pick the right goals and frame them in a way that improves your chances of actually achieving them. It also explains the concept of SMART goals, goals that are concrete, realistic and measurable.


I particularly like the chapter titled “What’s standing in your way?” Think about a situation where  you set some goal, but never really seem to get anywhere.  It might just be poor planning, but it might as well be because you have issues that effectively stand in your way, blocking your progress. This is the how Ryan words the dilemma:

…while you’re truly committed to changing, you’re more committed to something else you’re not consciously aware of that prevents you from creating forward momentum.

This chapter speaks to me so strongly because I feel I’m in the same boat at the moment. I very much would like to make better progress with my lifestyle change (I don’t see why I couldn’t), but I think I’m actually more worried about being a failure.  Therefore, it’s better not to try too hard. I definitely can’t stand if I “fail” again!

And it’s always easy to come up with reasons for not doing something, except the reasons are really rationalizations.


Who is this book for?

It’s for anyone who has ever wondered why they aren’t able to stick to their goals and resolutions –  90 % of human race? – and who would like to have some support on the way to improve their chances of achieving goals.

Click here to grab your copy!



Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone – I’m in Love!

I discovered Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds workouts when I was looking for easy ways to exercise at home. I have been doing the workouts for three weeks (minus the last 6 days I have been ill) and I absolutely love them!

I got the Sansone dvds because I was worried my new “walking habit” would come to an abrupt end when the weather turns bad.

Ice is the number one weather problem to me. I don’t want to give up walking just because it’s such a pain to be constantly on guard against falling and hurting myself.

Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds was what I found when I researched easy ways to keep moving during the  winter months. The idea of purchasing a walking workout dvd felt downright silly at first, but I thought it’s worth trying, especially when I read the rave reviews on Amazon.

How Does Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds Work?

I think these videos work exactly because they are so simple!  The workouts are so easy and pleasant to do you might actually end up “accidentally” burning away some pounds. 🙂 The only exercise that has any effect is the exercise we do day in day out!

Personally, what I love the most about Sansones’ walking dvds is the fact that the workouts are so unthretening that I have no difficulty getting started doing them.

I feel good when I do these workouts and I feel good afterwards. I’m not at all exhausted from doing these workouts like I would be if I followed some high impact aerobics program. And thank god there’s no jumping involved!




P.S. Check Leslie Sansone’s walking videos on Amazon. I recommend the Leslie Sansone Ultimate Collection because it has workouts for different distances (and times). If you have only 15 minutes, you pick the one mile walk and start putting one foot ahead of the other. 🙂

The One Fitness Gadget You Should Have – Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer

I have had my eye on the Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer (walking style ii step counter) for quite some time. Two weeks ago I finally purchased my own piece.

I specifically wanted this Omron model because you can put in your pocket, bag or wear it around your neck and it still works fine. I own a Silva pedometer that’s in working order, but it has one flaw that makes it extremely frustrating to use. The Silva pedometer is attached to your belt with a clip, but if you attach it even in a slightly wrong position, its stops recording your steps. I could never know it was really recording my steps before I unattached it and checked the numbers.

And as far as I understand, the new models of digital Omron pedometers use accelerometers rather than mechanical pendulums to sense the movements, so they should be more accurate. They are less likely to count random bodily movements as steps.

Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer – What It Tracks

The Omron pedometer records many other things than just steps:

  1. Number of steps
  2. Number of aerobic steps
  3. Calories consumed
  4. Fat burned
  5. Distance walked

The Hj-113 model also comes with a 7-day memory, which allows you to check your numbers from the last seven days. The pedometer automatically resets the counter to zero at midnight.

Omron Hj-113 Pocket Pedometer – Readying It for Use

Setting the pedometer ready for use was pretty simple and fast. It took me just a few minutes to read through  the instructions (okay, I confess I just gazed at them and then fumbled along!), put the lithium battery in place (included), set the time and weight. The most time consuming phase was measuring the length of my stride. After that my pedometer was ready to use.

What I most love about my Omron pocket pedometer is the fact that I can wear it around my neck in the morning and forget it till it’s time to go to bed in the evening.

Wearing my pedometer has been a great way to motivate myself to keep moving as much as possible during the day. I even created an Excel chart to track my daily steps. I have no actual baseline against which to measure, but I have been much more active after I got the pedometer than before it. Even rain and fog won’t prevent me from taking walks these days! 🙂



P.S. In my opinion, giving a pedometer as a  Christmas gift is a terrific idea, far better than buying some big ungainly piece of fitness equipment! Click here to check Omron Hj-113 pocket pedometers at