Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I've been a bad, bad blogger and didn't even complete my own challenge. NOPE! I didn't write down all of my food for a week. Not on Not in a journal. Not on my blog. Just didn't get it done. Last week was crazy - as a lot of weeks are - except that I have now started coaching volleyball which is taking away some of my extra time. I'm still working my plan and preparing my food, but it's a lot of work!

Workout recap for last week:
M: 4.2 miles on treadmill, 1600 yards in pool (not continuous, but I set a goal and got it done)
T: cardio & upper body
W: 2.5 miles on treadmill (not a lot of time, but I got it in)
     weigh-in: stayed the same. No big surprise there
Th: rest day - planned on working out later in the day, but all plans procrastinated didn't get done
F: 4.62 miles OUTSIDE!!!!!!!
S: Herrin Circuit - more on that later
Su: 6.34 miles in 1:02.31 I impressed myself.
M: kids were in school due to a snow day. Home with the hubby. We went looking for bikes. Only exercise was 4 on 4 volleyball that night.
T: Treadmill intervals & back strength training

AND today is Wednesday....weigh in day: lost 1 pound which I am actually thrilled about considering that I went to 2 movies over the weekend and took in a ton of salt. I can give up pizza, but I'm not sure about the movie popcorn.

Gotta run and hit the treadmill!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thoughts for the day

I posted on my Facebook account that my plan for the day was a 4 mile run on the hamster wheel and 1600 yards in swimming in pool.

I set some of my friends into a tizzy with that one. Apparently, I made it sound as if swimming 1600 yards was cake for me. Here was my response:

OK, let's be clear about something. I am not - nor did I mean to imply - that I am swimming 1600 yards non-stop. But I had to have a yardage goal or I would get to 400 and say "ok, I'm done." I hit 1600 yards, but did it 1-50 or 1-100 at a time.

I hate swimming. Really. I do. It’s boring and it’s hard. It’s not like when you were a kid and you jumped in the pool and just splashed for hours. Now, I have to pay attention to my arm stroke, pushing the “T” down, turning my head just the right amount to get a breath. Ugh. It’s all just too much.  But let’s start at the beginning.

I jumped on the hamster wheel this morning after doing some work around the house. My half marathon training plan said to do 3 easy miles today, but after 3 days of splurging, I needed to jump start my healthy mindset again. I started with a 3 minute warm up. Not wanting to kill my legs yet, I started at an easy pace and after 2 miles started changing the speed and incline every half mile. Now before I reveal my time, keep in mind. I’ve never said I was fast. I finished 4.2 miles in 44:07 minutes burning 511 calories.

After my run, I came upstairs, cleaned up, packed my bag and headed to the Riverplex for my swim. My first 600 yards were 12-50s with a 30 (or maybe slightly more) second rest. Then I moved to 100s with a 60 second rest. After 900 yards, I had to go wrestle an alligator. No, not really, but that’s what it feels like when you have to go to the bathroom and deal with your wet bathing suit. All of the water from my hamster wheel run had finally kicked in. After that, who knows.  All I can say is every 50 yards I clicked my little lap counter finishing after 32 clicks….or 1600 yards. Whawho!

Just for posterity I finished with a 50 yard backstroke to help release some of the tension in my chest and arms.

Now to get ready for 2 hours of volleyball tonight. Whoot Whoot!

Motivation Monday

“Consistent action will get you where you want to be” – Scott Smith, Chief Motivating Officer at

So, where do you want to be?

You may be thinking with a snort and snicker “Oh yah, I’m consistent. I’m consistent about eating fast food. I’m consistent about blowing off my workouts.”

Well, why is that?

How does that make you feel?

Is that consistent action helping you get to your goals?

It’s time to make a change. It’s time to change your consistent action and chart a new course. Follow our weekly challenges to see how small steps can make big changes in your life, health & happiness.

This week's challenge

This week’s health & wellness challenge is on the track….

Or better yet, TRACK, TRACK, TRACK all of the food you put into your mouth.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Jan/Feb 2010 issue) has a great article about tracking your caloric intake:

1.    Go Ahead & Guess!   (Are they talking to me?) “By making a guess….you’ll stay in the habit of tracking honestly – and that’s the goal.”
2.   Track Backward. If you have a big social event, note a set number of points/calories for the big event and work your back to the start of your day. “By starting backward, you get the big picture of your day in mind as early as possible leaving yourself less room for veering off course.”
3.    Keep yourself honest. Track on days when you go over your points or calorie allowance. (Again, speaking my language!)
4.    Set a tracking goal.

So, that is the challenge for this week. Track your food intake for a week. Be honest. Write it down. Keep yourself accountable to this one aspect of your health and see what type of an impact it can make on your week.  

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exercise & Menu Plan for week of 1/11/2010

Well, it's amazing how one spontaneous day can turn into a 3 day splurge! UGH! Plans for Friday night changed 3 times! So, I wound up sharing a frozen pizza with the kids and movie theatre popcorn with the hubby.

Saturday, I didn't get 6 miles in between the 4 basketball games I had to schedule around. I did get 3.75 miles though...does that count? I missed my weekly running goal of 12 miles per week by 0.17 miles. Whatev! Dinner was LaFiesta because we bailed on our Fellowship Dinner to watch our daughter play basketball. Can you say Pacifico?

Sunday we had 2 more basketball games and I had a definite attitude problem. Dinner at Biaggi's with the in-laws. Food and wine was deliciouso!

SEE? Weekends are my biggest issue! When you are trying to lose the final 10 lbs, you can't afford to eat out three nights in a row. Believe me. I know. I stepped on the scale today. EEEEEK!

I'm heading to the store tomorrow after my run & swim. Wish me luck. I hate grocery shopping.

So, let's get real.. Plan for the week:
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Meatballs
Workout: 4 mile run on treadmill, swim, volleyball

Dinner: Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup
Workout: TBL Cardio Max & UB

Dinner: not quite sure yet, but I will have to meditate and pray before eating because it's going to be a LONG day
Workout: Supposed to be bike, but I haven't joined a gym yet. Good plan, huh?
Weigh In Day - HA, good luck with that one!

Dinner: leftovers
Workout: Run 5 miles easy

Dinner: Mandarin Orange chicken (didn't get made last week!)
Workout: Swim, Back

Dinner: Spicy Shrimp Casserole
Workout: Run 8 miles


Friday, January 8, 2010

Why did I eat that?

Timing is everything and thankfully, God & Jillian put an email in my inbox on Wednesday. Wednesday, my most crazy day of the week. Remember my crazy schedule? I had to wear several hats that day…bookkeeper, coach, recreation coordinator and fitness gal!

When I got home from work on Wednesday, I had this insane craving for something sweet. I tried to ignore it. I tried to push it away from my mind. I tried to eat something other than a sweet to satisfy it, but nothing worked. Finally, I caved and ate two homemade caramels. Ahhh, relief.

BUT…that got me thinking. Why did I have this craving today of all days? Jillian had the answer for me. I read Jillian’s article on the hormone leptin with great interest. Now would I say Wednesday was a stressful day for me? NO. But I was rushing from one job to the next back to back to back with no time to mentally shift gears. Plus, I didn’t get my workout completed in the morning. Instead, I had to wait to work out and ran 4 miles on the treadmill at 8 p.m. instead of 8 a.m.

All this got me thinking about how my Wednesdays are going to work for the next few months. I don’t want Wednesdays to become my mid-week splurge day because I have problems with social eating on the weekends already. Now I’m convinced that I need to change my schedule to allow a little light exercise on Wednesday mornings even if it’s not my full workout to help me get into my healthy mindset.

As the snow flies...

Since yesterday was a snow day in our little town, I took advantage of the time to catch up on the things that I want to do. It’s amazing how far behind you can get in 4 days of just dealing with things that I need to do. I read a few blogs. I reviewed my meal and workout plans. All as I watched the snow continue to fall throughout the day.

My favorite recipe right now is based on a recipe from Hungry Girl. Berries & Cream Oatmeal Pudding. I’ve modified the recipe from Hungry Girl 200 under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories to suit my needs…and my pantry. The creamy warm goodness of this recipe cannot be beat. I love Hungry Girl’s creative take on meals. Her recipes are something usually quick & easy and she’s not afraid to say exactly what products I need to buy in the store. For me, who is NOT Martha, Hungry Girl is a great help!

For dinners this week, I’ve also tried two recipes from my latest Diabetic Living magazine. Zesty Sloppy Joes were definitely a winner for me. Not only did I make the sauce from scratch, the meal was full of, yes, ZEST & spice. My DH& I loved this one. I also made Mediterranean Meat loaf this week which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. I did modify the recipe because I didn’t have bread crumbs in my pantry. I used Old Fashioned Oats instead. Meat loaf rarely gets me excited, but I did enjoy this recipe…and I’m still enjoying the leftovers as well.

Yesterdays workout was The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout with the lower body toning segment. I will review the DVD soon now that I have completed the lower body toning, but let me tell you a secret now. It is a good one! Jillian does lead this DVD. She uses HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. In this video, HIIT is broken into 30 seconds cardio segments followed by 30 seconds weight training/toning with no rest between. Hmmmm! I love this DVD. I just wish I had more like it! I completed the Last Chance workout and felt good. I decided to hop on the hamster wheel and do a hills workout to complete my lower body toning. I warmed up for 5 minutes and then raised the incline for 4 minutes, lowered to a 2% incline for 1 minute and then returned to a higher incline for 4 minutes repeating this interval until I had finished 30 minutes on the treadmill.

By the time I was done, my legs felt like I pushed them quite a bit, but I wasn’t exhausted. I felt great! The adrenaline rush had already kicked in. I love working out! REMEMBER THAT FEELING?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: Believe it, Be it

Like many Americans, I enjoy watching NBC’s reality show, The Biggest Loser. I started watching with season 4, but caught the first three seasons on Fine Living. I was amazed by the transformation of all these obese people. I couldn’t understand how people could go through their lives and not know how to use some basic workout equipment.

By the time Season 5 started, I was hooked on the reality show. I watched as the contestants battled it out with Jillian and Bob on the ranch and trembled in fear on weigh in days. After four seasons of The Biggest Loser, I was ready to have a woman capture the coveted title. I watched as Ali Vincent and her hilariously outspoken mother, Bette Sue, were eliminated in week 4. I watched in week 11 as the first fourteen eliminated contestants returned for a second chance at the title of the Biggest Loser. The man and woman with the highest percentage of weight lost would rejoin the game and have a chance at the title of The Biggest Loser. Ali Vincent won the opportunity to return to the ranch with a 67 pound weight loss, or 28.63%.

In week 15, Ali lost 11 pounds, or 7.53%. Ali, along with yellow team contestant, Kelly, would be two of the final three contestants participating in the finale and vying for the $250,000 grand prize. America voted and put Roger in the finale as the third contestant. At the finale, Ali weighed in with a 112 pound weight loss and won the competition to become the first American female to win the title of The Biggest Loser. In the end, Ali also became someone I connected with, a woman with passion and fire, who was not afraid to do it on her own, but just needed that little jump start to get her going. So it was no surprise at all, that I wanted to read her book “Believe it, Be it” as soon as it was released.

The book tells of Ali’s personal struggle with weight throughout her life, which was triggered by years of poor eating habits, family problems and low self-esteem. Raised by her grandparents, she watched as her mother struggled with her own personal demons. Once Ali decided to try out for the reality show, she was already visualizing herself as the first female winner.

“Believe it, Be it” was Ali’s personal mantra at the ranch. She kept a bell by her bedside which she rang every night before she went to bed and every morning as she awoke repeating to herself “Believe it, Be it”. In the book, Ali does give some insight to all of the stuff that happens behind the scenes at the ranch. She talks candidly about her personal issues with food and love and how she used her weight as a way to hold herself back from all of the success that she deserved.

In the end, I enjoyed the book because I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. I enjoyed reading about the real Ali Vincent, her struggles and her path to the reality show. I did not, however, find the book to be a huge motivator in my own journey toward fitness or weight loss. The book is written as if the words are pouring from Ali’s mouth and at times I needed to re-read passages in order to follow the thought process, but it was an easy, enjoyable read for anyone who is a fan of Ali Vincent and The Biggest Loser.

What's your plan?

Health & Fitness experts agree that creating a plan for your meals and workouts will help keep you accountable and on track for your New Year’s Resolutions. So, what’s your plan?

For me, I’ve found that making monthly plans are the best way for me to go. At the first of the month, I sit down with my family’s activity calendar and figure out when I am going to get my workouts done. I am trying to work out six days a week with Sunday being a rest, or possibly my 6th workout day if my schedule gets shifted during the rest of the week. I prefer to workout first thing in the morning. I feel a sense of accomplishment by getting it done early in the day, plus the boost in my metabolism helps me to burn additional calories throughout the day.

When creating my workout plan, I try to keep in mind that most days I have a maximum of 1 hour to work out. Since it is January and most of my races are still several months away, I am splitting my workouts between running, swimming and toning….with a little bit of fun fitness as well. I am alternating days between these exercises so I am not working the same muscle sets back to back. Here is my basic schedule:

Monday – swim                                                     Tuesday – aerobics & upper body

Wednesday – run or bike, if I join a gym for the spinning class

Thursday –aerobics & lower body                          Friday – swim & yoga

Saturday – long runs

Now, when it comes to the meal plans, things are a little more difficult. I know every week we have some of the same activities week after week. I try to work in crock pot meals or leftovers on those days as needed. I try to create a dinner master plan for the month, but each week that plan needs to be adjusted in order to accommodate meals I did not make or as my schedule adjusts as well. Also, most of the time, my lunch is the same day after day. My breakfast tends to change a little, but I am trying to find more healthy recipes that I can make ahead for my early morning meal.

Since I am not a cook, I have very few “favorites” or “stand bys” that I incorporate into my schedule. I am working on it though. I went through my 4 favorite cook books and created a spreadsheet full of recipes that I want to try. As I try a recipe, I’m going to ask my family if they would like to eat the meal again. If so, I will put that recipe on a separate spreadsheet for meals we would eat again.

Grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, dinner times…the whole lot of it is enough to send me off the deep edge. It is a very stressful part of my life. Why? It all seems so overwhelming. All of the planning that goes awry. Trying to stay on a grocery budget. Picky eaters who don’t like what you cook. ALL OF IT.

BUT I will continue to work my plan. I will find the satisfactory answer that fits my family perfectly. It may take years of working it over and over again, but I am determined to not let meal planning and all of the aspects leading into it to sway me from creating healthy & enjoyable meals for my family.

Writing your plans down help you create accountability….when you realize that you skipped to workouts in a row or are making frozen pizza for the 2nd time in a week….a plan is crucial to success in your weight loss, fitness and your ability to stick to a budget.

So, what’s your plan? Is it written down?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Weigh In Wednesday

With getting the new year started, life is coming at me….fast. It’s hard to believe it’s the 6th of January already. (Happy Birthday to my nephew, Josh. He’s such a cute little thing….at the ripe old age of 29!)

And while I may not have been doing the best at posting here, my plan has been working. I’m working the plan. I’ve been using to journal my food and workouts. I’ve journaled every day except Sunday…uhh, yes, I let the unknowns overwhelm me…but I am a work in progress. I will get better at this. I must say I was overwhelmed enough in just having the in-laws over for a holiday meal. You certainly can’t call me Martha and they would all agree.

But I have been journaling. I have been exercising, squeezing it all in. Today will be a huge test…busy, busy day. I work from 9-3 at part-time job #2 today. Then I have 5th grade volleyball tryouts from 3-5 followed by part-time job #1 from 5-7. I really wanted to jump out of bed and go get my workout done, but my eldest daughter does not like to get out of bed easily. I have to spend about 10 minutes every morning cajoling her to get start moving toward the shower. That gives me 30 minutes before daughters #2 & 3 have to be woken up. With keeping them on track for the 1st week back to school, breakfast & getting ready for work myself, my workout will have to hold until at least 7 p.m. tonight….but that’s ok. I am working my plan.

So, you are all dying to know how much I liked the scale….and she liked me this week. I took my initial weigh in on the 1st because of our mini-vacation last week. With all of my hard work, I’ve lost 3 lbs in 5 days! WHOOT WHOOT! Nothing more to say there except….


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exercise & Menu Plan for week of 1/4/2010

B: Vanilla creamy yogurt, scrambled eggs

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: Mediterranean Meatloaf, sweet potato fries

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: Swim, 3.1 mile run

B: Vanilla creamy yogurt, scrambled eggs

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: taco salad w/beef

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: TBL Last Chance & UB

B: Dr Phil’s Orange Raisin Muffin, scrambled eggs

L: Mediterranean Salad, shrimp

D: Crock pot venison (family), Rockin’ Tuna Melt

S: peaches, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: Run 4 miles easy

B: Dr Phil’s Orange Raisin Muffin, scrambled eggs

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: Mandarin Orange Chicken, broccoli

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: The Biggest Loser Last Chance + Lower Body

B: Dr Phil’s Orange Raisin Muffin, scrambled eggs

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: Dinner out

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: The Biggest Loser Last Chance + UB; Swim

B: Shortly Strawberry Oatmeal, Egg Beaters

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: Fellowship Dinner

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup

W: Run 6 miles

B: Shortly Strawberry Oatmeal, Egg Beaters

L: Mediterranean Salad with ham

D: Spicy Shrimp Casserole

S: apple, Nature Valley Granola bar, mixed nuts, carrots, veggie soup


Friday, January 1, 2010

The 1st day of the new year

The 1st day of the New Year is now coming to a close. I ate within my calorie allowance and got my calorie burn as well. My afternoon snack was quite large because by the time I got off the treadmill and had a shower I really was quite hungry.

Food Log 1/1/2010

Breakfast: 1 c Kashi GoLean Cereal with 1 c skim milk, ½ c Egg Beaters

Lunch: 1 c Veggie Soup, salad with romaine lettuce, feta cheese, yellow peppers, Canadian bacon & olive salad dressing

Snack: Nature Valley Peanut Butter Granola bar


Snack: 1 c Veggie Soup, 2 slices turkey bacon, 1/4c mixed nuts

Dinner: Sweet & Sour meatballs, 1 c whole wheat pasta, 1 c skim milk

For my workout, I started out using the kettle bells, but I can’t consider that much of a workout. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was because I was watching The Biggest Loser re-run on Fine Living Network while the instructional DVD ran in the background. Plus, because it was the instructional part of the DVD, the transitions between exercises were just too long. Next time I’ll just pick the specific exercises that I want to complete.

Next I got on the treadmill. I did a 5 minute walking warm-up and then started running at a nice easy speed of 5.5 and incline of 1. When The Biggest Loser went into commercials, I pumped up the speed to 7. Of course, I was dying for the commercials to end even more than usual so I could drop the speed back to 5.5 I did this for about the first 30 minutes. During that time, I kept my heart rate between 148-160.

At the end of my 30 minutes, I dropped the speed to 4, but also raised the incline to 4. I didn’t want my heart rate to drop too fast. When my heart rate dropped below 140, I dropped the incline back to 1 and pumped up the speed to 5.5 again. On commercials, I would return to my walking speed of 4 keeping my incline at 1. I continued this interval for the next 30 minutes. Overall, my calorie burn was 618. I completed 5.11 miles in 60 minutes.

I’ve done quite well today considering that I am now dealing with a mild headache. For some reason, I haven’t been able to sleep the last couple of nights. I think it has a lot to do with all of the great plans I have for starting the year twenty-ten off in a bright, prosperous and healthy way. With my lack of sleep Wednesday night and staying up late to celebrate the New Year, I thought I would have zonked out and slept the morning away, but it was not meant to be. I was awake at 7 a.m. trying vainly to roll over and fall back asleep…..but no.

Well, here’s to having Day 1 completed. I am still working on my monthly plans as far as meal plans and finances. Meal plans will definitely be tricky for the next couple of months as I start coaching travel volleyball next week. I have considered doing some freezer cooking over each weekend to store up on meals for the week. Still trying to work out that one…..but decisions will need to be made soon.

According to Bob

Fortunately, according to NBC's The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper, "Staying healthy throughout the year can actually be simple, fun and affordable. The key is to set realistic goals and create a routine that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life."

Plan ahead: Create a calendar at the start of each month to help shape your workout routine. This tool will help you schedule social activities around your fitness regimen, instead of trying to squeeze exercise in between plans-or forgoing it all together. And when you successfully complete a month of your healthy routine, reward yourself with a personal gift, such as dinner with friends or new exercise gear, to help keep you motivated.

Read the full article here.

Write Off The Pounds

One of my SMART goals for 2010 is keep a food journal. I was once again convicted to do this after reading the Diabetic Living (Winter 2009) article on page 64. Here is a summary of the article and some of my thoughts.

According to Malena Perdomo, R.D., CDE, with Kaiser Permanente Colorado and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, a food journal can help “people start to really understand the connection between diet, exercise, and blood sugar”. As a recently diagnosed PWD (person with diabetes), I definitely need to find that connection. At this point in my disease, I have the hardest time with my morning glucose readings. To me, it doesn’t make sense that my glucose is high first thing in the morning. I mean, really! I haven’t eaten in 8-10 hours. So, why is my sugar so high? By documenting some of my food intake, I am hoping to find that magic formula for just my body.

Be honest in your food journal. Uh-hmmm. I have had issues with this in the past. I didn’t want to admit what I had eaten…or wasn’t really sure how many calories I had consumed. My goal is to write everything down and give a best guess if I’m unsure how many calories are in a particular food. It’s the best I can do, right? It’s time to let go of my perfectionism.

One step which I’ve never been at is analyzing the food journal. Look it over and note any areas of improvement. Food journals can reveal:

a. (un)Healthy Eating

b. Eating consistently

c. How the food I am eating affects my blood sugar

d. How exercise affects my blood sugar

e. Emotional Eating

Malena Perdomo, R.D., CDE, suggests including the following information when keeping a food journal:

1. Times you eat

2. What you eat

3. Blood glucose

4. Medications, if any

5. Physical activity

6. Feelings

Part of the cycle for me will include daily food planning. My goal is to plan 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day to reach a caloric intake of 1230-1580 calories, 33-58 grams of fat, 166-240 grams of carbohydrates, and 60-130 grams of protein.

In addition, I am planning to burn at least 200 calories a day for 6 days per week. By following this plan, I hope to lose 11 pounds by April 1st which will in turn, I hope, reduce my daily glucose levels as well.