Posts Tagged by fit

Transformation Tuesday: Cindy Coates

Time for another great Transformation Tuesday!  This week I am happy to welcome Cindy who has been running at Disney since 2009!  I love her determination and dedication to getting fit and healthy…can you guess what her secret is??


How I did it: runDisney, PbRC & FitBit


My passion with runDisney begins here in the year 2009: I went back to school for my Masters a few years ago and when the time came for my final paper, there was no doubt that it would be Disney. After thorough research, I chose the runDisney Volunteer section. My observation with the runners perplexed me. The thought of someone, never mind myself, running a half marathon sent me into a fit of laughter. Who would in their right mind want to do this?

After I graduated I slacked off running and the weight piled on.

After I graduated I slacked off running and the weight piled on.

Aside from all the great volunteers that I am still friends with today, I quickly signed up myself and my husband for what was to be the very last 3K Race for the Taste at Disney. A whole 1.8 miles, I cringed immediately after signing up and my husband had cold sweats! But I soon became “hooked” and signed up for the 5k’s. I was pretty content with that.


I can’t tell you if there was one specific thing that finally put me over the edge to weight loss. I never really had a problem with my weight when I was younger; I was 105 lbs. when I got married. Even after having kids, I lost the weight. A pound here and there gained never bothered me until it was 40 or 50 lbs. I always ate healthy and resigned myself to the fact that I was old and weight loss was impossible. Then I simply decided one day that I no longer wanted to feel “stuffed”!

logoI transitioned back into running to celebrate runDisney’s Expedition Everest 5th anniversary. I was still volunteering and familiar with runDisney so this was the easy part and runDisney was a perfect place to start. I set up a runDisney 3 part plan ->1) 2012 was my year to “Get Moving”, 2) 2013 was my year to “Get it Done”, and 3) 2014 was my year to “Achieve”! I was immediately “hooked” which was a good thing because mind you that at this point I am now registered for the Tower 10 Miler, Wine and Dine ½ Marathon & the Marathon Weekend half. Before Everest occurred I started searching around Facebook for running support groups. I soon found the PbRC running club and my life and obsession has not been the same since.

My first “long” race was the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

My first “long” race was the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

My weight was a roller coaster of up and down weight. At any point in time I would get the scale to 150 but just couldn’t budge it below that. I had minimal clothes to wear because I refused to buy bigger sizes and nothing fit. Frustrated, I started keeping track of food (Calories, Fats, etc.). A friend put me on to the FitBit app which you can put on your phone and made tracking easy. Once I was comfortable with that I asked for and receive the personal tracker for Christmas. I created my food plan on the very aggressive side. But I knew that if I didn’t start right out of the gate with a big nudge it just wasn’t going to work. I needed to see results quickly. The nudge worked! I tried not to go to crazy looking at calories-in vs. calories-out and even if I went over on a day, I didn’t “beat” myself up over it because most days I was under. The first 10 days were probably the hardest but I was determined to succeed.


I like to weigh myself every morning.  I bought a digital scale because the small amounts of weight loss can be seen and this was really gratifying and motivating!

I lost my weight the old fashion way, runDisney really helped me achieve this. No “Shakes”, “pills”, “pre-packaged” weight-loss food or “Drill” Sargent workouts.  Don’t get me wrong, if that works for someone – GREAT – but it didn’t work for me.

I missed my first official weight loss goal by 5 lbs. this past February but I was ok with that because I had just lost 10 lbs. and accomplished my first PR at the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. I shaved 18 minutes off my last half marathon time and I now have a time that I can “officially” submit.


I reached that initial weight loss goal a month later, hit my second goal on schedule and I am currently working on my 3rd.

I now fit “back” into my clothes. It’s like having a whole new wardrobe!  What I did realize through all this was that even though I was eating healthy, I was eating to maintain my weight and not lose.

Since then I have also PR’d twice for my 5k’s shaving a total of 3 ½ minutes off my total time. And all the “BIG” clothes that fit 6 months ago are being donated!

My secret: runDisney without a doubt! I have also found a way to go to Disney several times throughout the year, meet-up with friends and have fun. But I also eat clean which includes minimal red meat, lots of fruits and vegetables and I discovered soy. I run on the treadmill every morning for at least 30 minutes. I have found that I am most hungry in the evening so I use most of my calories then. This gets me to bed and I am not hungry. I don’t skip meals. I have egg whites for breakfast, salad for lunch, watermelon juice in between to ward off hunger pains and a healthy dinner.  I can even have ice cream (90% fat free, of course)!



Cindy Coates is a 57 year old Data Specialist at Johnson & Wales University. She is a mom to 2 grown children – Pamela & Nicholas – dog Holly and grand dog Lucy. She started running to be healthy but was taken by the social aspect and the desire to loose weight to improve my running. Cindy runs a Disney Training Group where she posts the weekly training for the current runDisney races, a FitBit group for Disney Addicts, an occasional blog called Disney Runs Through Me, and she is Team Captain to a fitness group in Rhode Island.

Cindy is currently training for 3 half marathons in order to qualify for Half Fanatics which includes Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Disney’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler!


Has running at Disney helped to transform your life?  If so, I want to hear your story!  Send me an email at to be featured on an upcoming Transformation Tuesday!

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Fitbit Flex – More Than Just a Step Tracker

Step trackers….there are quite a few out there, so how do you choose?!  Well I had been wondering the same thing for quite some time and after doing some research, I settled on the Fitbit Flex.  I went with this one for a few reasons.

  1. It has a wristband
  2. It tracks sleep
  3. It has bluetooth syncing
  4. It has a very user friendly web and phone apps

The product was announced quite some time ago and I had been frequently checking the website to see if there was a release date.  It just kept saying Spring 2013.  So for my birthday this year (March 20th if you’re wondering!), I asked B to preorder one for me.  And after almost 2 months, it FINALLY arrived!!

000 Fitbit

The Flex itself is very small and actually slips right into the wristband.  Both are waterproof and you can actually buy different colored bands to change it up a bit.  I went with this because I wanted something I didn’t have to take off.  If I had a step tracker that I had to clip to something, I know I would constantly forget to put it on.  This never leaves my wrist!

001 Fitbit

002 FitbitI was very happy to find out the Flex actually comes with 2 wristbands, small and large.  I have tiny wrists so the small is a perfect fit for me.  But I am so happy to have the larger band for when I do heavy lifting because it fits over my wrist wraps.

Each band has a clear “window” that shows through to the Flex.  The one downside of this product is that it doesn’t actually show your numbers of steps, but only lighted dots to indicate where you are to reach your goal.  There are 5 dots and each one represents 20% of your goal.  All you have to do it tap the flex and they will light up.

003 FitbitEven though a display would be nice, I kind of like the subtlety of this design.  It actually looks more like a bracelet than a step tracker, like the Nike Fuel Band does.

So now let’s dive into both the web and phone apps!


Web App Dashboard

Web App Dashboard

Phone App Dashboard

Phone App Dashboard

Both dashboards give you a quick snapshot of your day including steps, distance and calories burned.  I love having this right on my phone so I can check it throughout the day.  The great thing about the Flex is that it syncs over Bluetooth, so as long as that is turned on on your phone, it will sync every time you open the app!  I’ve even had it open while I’m walking and it will count the steps.  It also comes with a dongle (love that word!!) that fits into a USB in your computer to wirelessly sync as well.  It’s very small and I just keep it plugged into my laptop.

Activities & Step Tracking

Activities/Step Web App

Activities/Step Web App

Activities/Steps Phone App

Activities/Steps Phone App

The activity trackers gives you more of a visual of your daily, weekly or monthly steps.  You can also enter your various activities and get reports on your progress over time.  The default setting for steps is 10,000 per day, which I didn’t think would be a lot at first, but I was quickly proven wrong.  When you reach your goal for the day, the Flex vibrates and flashes to let you know!

Sleep Tracking

Sleep Tracking Web App

Sleep Tracking Web App

Sleep Tracking Phone App Monthly Stats

Sleep Tracking Phone App
Monthly Stats

Sleep Phone App Nightly Sleep Pattern

Sleep Tracking Phone App
Nightly Sleep Pattern

This is by far my favorite feature on the Flex.  I’ve always been interested in my sleep patterns because often times I will get 7-8 hours of sleep and wake up exhausted.  So this was a huge factor in why I went with the Flex over other trackers.

When you’re ready for bed, you tap the Flex a few times until it vibrates flashes.  Then when you wake up in the morning, you would do the same to turn it off sleep mode.  As soon as the flex syncs, it will give you a report of your sleep pattern for that night.  SUPER COOL!!  You can also see other reports to show your average hours slept, total times awake and more.  I wake up nightly between 1 and 3:30 to pee so that’s a constant in all my reports.  I’m not sure what I will do with all of this information, but I find it all very interesting.  Now if I could just remember to turn it on sleep mode every night…

Silent Alarm

Silent Alarm Settings

Silent Alarm Settings

This was another feature that really sold me on the Flex.  It has a “silent” alarm you set through the phone app and the device will vibrate to wake you up at those times.  It will then snooze and go off again in 9 minutes just incase you didn’t get up, which is great for me!  I have a seriously hard time getting up in the morning.  I’m one of those people that will hit snooze for 45 minutes and still not get up.  This has actually been wonderful because it seems to wake me up easier and it’s also not as jarring as an alarm.  It also doesn’t wake B up like my alarm would, so double bonus there.

Food & Water Tracking

Food Tracker Phone App

Food Tracker Phone App

Water Tracker Phone App

Water Tracker Phone App

Both apps have food and water tracking features, but I haven’t used them yet.  I’m not a big fan of tracking these things.  I constantly forget to do it or it takes too long because my meals have too many ingredients and then I just end up getting frustrated and quitting anyway.  This is one of the main reasons why Weight Watchers never worked for me…but that’s a story for another day.  However I can see this being a great feature if you are into that so you have everything in one place.

Well that’s just a basic snapshot of some of the different interactive features available on both the web and phone apps.  As you can see from the screen shots there are many other features as well, but I really haven’t explored those much.

I’ve had the Fitbit Flex for a month now and so far I LOVE it.  I don’t even notice that it’s on most of the time and it’s really helped me be more aware of how much I move, which I actually thought was a lot more.  The first full day of work that I wore it, I was horrified by how little I moved. By the end of the work day, I had only taken around 2,500 steps!  Needless to say, I need to get up from my desk more…

The technology and interactivity of the phone app has also been great.  I love that it syncs wirelessly and that I don’t even have to think about that…it’s like magic!  The one downside is the battery life, which lasts for about 5 days.  So I generally find a time where I know I’ll be sedentary (work) for a while to recharge it.  It can’t be expected to last forever right?

So what do you think?  Have you tried a Fitbit product?  Do you have a different step tracker that you use?  Do you want to try the Flex?


Disclaimer: I purchased the Fitbit Flex on my own and was not contacted by the company to do this review.  As always, my opinions are my own.