Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm back!

Not only am I back in North Dakota, but I'm back from my week-long vacation from diet and fitness. I have been totally carefree about it and while it was wonderful, I'm feeling a bit like a bloated hefer. I know it's all in my head since my clothes don't fit any tighter now than they did a week ago, but I still can't help but feel I've set myself back even further from my goal.

No sense in dwelling on that though. I prefer to relish in the delight that was my past week. I saw and experienced wonderful things and I am so grateful for the opportunity. Thanks, hubby!

I wouldn't have had to take a break from working out because they had a pretty bangin workout facility, but with all the walking and sweating I did daily, who wants to drag themselves to workout on top of that?? Not me.

This morning, I woke up a little before 6:30 and felt really wide awake so I went down for twenty minutes of intervals before breakfast. I thought it was going to be really awful but it wasn't. It felt good.

I finished my oats for breakfast, took a short break (to blog) and now I am going back downstairs to hit the weights. The rest of the day looks like it will probably consist of doing laundry. And I'm ok with that.

It actually felt good to be home and do my domestic duties yesterday. The first thing I did when I woke up was vacuum 5 days worth of dog hair off the floor. Then I mowed the lawn. And I cleaned the kitchen. All before noon. And on just 5 hours of sleep. Not bad.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Update on Hanna

I feel like I have so much to do, I don't know what I'm doing blogging. But it's an addiction of sorts. I love getting my thoughts out. It's my daily therapy.

I thought I'd share quickly about my daughter, Hanna. We keep forgetting to take her measurements this week, although I don't expect to see any changes. Hanna has been in a bit of a slump lately. Actually, ever since her sleepover at a friend's house last Friday, it's been hard to get her to adhere to our regular rules. She has only worked out once this week so far, and it was so awful. She was whining and crying about how it hurt until I finally told her to just go upstairs and leave me alone. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on a workout when you have a whiny child complaining at you the whole time? I know that is selfish of me and as her mother I should put her first but I didn't. I was in a zone, two rounds in, sweating, muscles on fire, and I didn't want to stop to lecture her [again] about how she needs to work and feel the burn if she wants any kind of progress. Once again - if it were easy, everyone would have smokin' hot bodies.

I tried to explain this while huffing and puffing through the workout but unless I stop, get in her face drill sargent style, it does no good when she is in one of those moods.

I am scared for her. I see her starting to slide back down into her comfort zone, and I'm letting her. I want her to keep progressing. I miss her old enthusiasm. Maybe she is like me and the fire that burns inside her is slower during certain weeks of the month. But even so, I need to get her back on track so she can continue to lose inches. I want to see her wear her super cute bikini that we bought her a few weeks ago WITHOUT that self conscious stance - the one where she covers her middle with her arms.

I am always telling my mom this - it is hard enough to motivate myself some days, let alone try to get another person to workout and like it. I say this to mom because she is always telling me I need to get her over to my house to walk. This is hilarious because A) she turns it into my responsibility and B) her apartment is right across the hall from a treadmill and a stationary bike. All she has to do is literally walk about 20 steps to get to it, yet she would rather drive to my house to use mine. I think it's partly because then she has an excuse (when she doesn't feel like driving over). Sorry mom. It's just that it is so hard to motivate people who are very resistant to it.

Anyway, I am hoping that when I return from my trip I can get her into the groove again. I feel that it will be a lost cause while I am away and she is with her dad. I so wanted her to go to school on that first day a changed girl. It's still a possibility, but at this point, we are sort of running out of time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plan plan plan = success

I've been too preoccupied with solidifying plans for my trip (which begins in just 4 short days), getting things around the house in order (laundry, shopping, cleaning, etc.) that I haven't really given much thought to my fitness goals. I am on auto pilot right now. I am just eating healthy, the way I know how.

I love Tom Venuto's book 'Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle'. I take it out and read it over probably 3 or 4 times a year, or when I'm in need of a little inspiration and motivation. So I will quote him periodically. He has a lot to say about cardio and weight training. More on that later.

It's been SO FREAKIN HUMID here that working out is almost painful. I did manage to run on the treadmill for about 40 minutes yesterday afternoon. Yuck....boring....awful....running outside is so much more enjoyable. My theory is that I'm not doing enough cardio (in combination with strength training), because we all know that the combination of clean eating, cardio and weight training is the golden ticket to success. So, to combat my stubborn fat, I am planning on doing more cardio during the next couple of months. I got pretty much where I don't mind being with mostly weight training and clean eating, but now is the time for double duty. Like it or not, and I don't. I hate being a slave to cardio.

And it's good to switch it up now and then. Training needs to be cyclical. If you do the same thing over and over again day after day and expect to see different results, isn't that the definition of insanity? Yes, yes it is. Especially when cardio is involved. "Eventually aerobic adaptation will occur. If you continue doing daily cardio sessions for a long enough period, fat loss will come to a screeching halt." - Tom Venuto  ....that right there is the reason I have always been very careful about not overdoing it.

Basically the more cardio you do, the more you'll have to add to keep up the same rate of fat loss, until pretty soon you'll have to double your cardio time just to get the same fat burning effect you once had. "It tends to have a reducing effect on the entire body, including muscle size. I you want to look like a runner, train like a runner. If you want to look lean and muscular, jog in moderation." - Tom Venuto

My cardio lately has been anything BUT the same old same old. I'm getting a lot of variety. So that's good. Plus, with my family history of knee problems and my recurrent clicking, I know my limits and I'm not willing to push them. "Avid marathoners run long distances daily with no ill effects, but doing so is more likely to result in overuse injuries and muscle loss." - Tom Venuto

And this is the advice I've been following. However, he doesn't suggest that he is anti cardio, he just knows that it's the combination of cardio and weight training is what works best. And alternating between periods of high volume work with periods of low volume work. It's very smart.

I've only been doing just enough to stay aerobically fit and maintain low body fat. But now it's time to ramp up the volume.

I've had a blazing headache since yesterday afternoon (just proves that when you eliminate sugar, you can eliminate headaches) which is no surprise since I've been treating myself to sugar sweetness nearly every day this month. Yesterday I said goodbye to sugar again and did great. I must have finally had my fill because looking at the last piece of cheesecake doesn't even tempt me. I'm not craving it, and all is good so far. Of course this is only day 2 off sugar, but baby steps, right? And I'm not going to use my trip to New York as an excuse to go hog wild again, but I'm definitely going to loosen the reins. No sugar until I get there, then I'll loosen up a bit, and when I get back, no sugar again except on special occasions. That is truly when I feel my best.

Having a plan always makes me feel in control and responsible. It is almost always worth the time and effort and really does help make you successful. I notice myself sliding when I've put off making the weekly menu or haven't stocked my fridge with veggies. If I can stay on top of my plan, I do so much better.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

my news

Well, my "official" confirmation that I was waiting for before telling you my exciting news didn't come on Friday as expected. Probably tomorrow instead. But since I'm about 99% sure it's a done deal, I will tell you now.

I'm going to Manhattan! I'm totally excited because I've never been to New York and it's been on my list of places to go since I was old enough to write lists. It's going to be a whirlwind trip of only a couple days though. It's kind of a fluke that I am going at all.

My sister is a nurse at the veterans hospital in town and they are sending her there for meetings. She was very nervous about going alone and her husband couldn't get the days off to go with. I happened to mention that I was jealous and thought I should just buy a ticket and go with, as a joke. And she responded by saying what a great idea that was and that I totally should do it.

Never thinking it would fly, I asked my husband what he thought and to my surprise he said, "Sure, go ahead". *blink....blink.....stare............shock................not......breathing..........* "what?????"

So on that particular day I went from making a joke about going to NY to actually getting to go. So funny how that worked out. The only thing that makes me a little nervous is that I'll have to explore on my own during the day while she is at meetings, and I don't do stuff like that. BUT, I'm going to have to get over it cuz IT'S NEW YORK, BABY! It's only a 3 day trip so we won't get to see a lot, but more than we've ever seen because neither of us have ever been there. There are a couple things we both feel we HAVE to see; like ground zero, the statue of liberty, empire state building, maybe central park. And then, of course, there are things like NY cheesecake, bagels, street vendors......crap! My sister was like, "You aren't going to be dieting while we are there, are you?" to which I replied, "HELL no!" I'm just praying that my new smaller size skinnies still fit me by next month - the month that was supposed to be my big change. haha.....oh life, how you love throw me curve balls sometimes.

So anyway, that's my exciting news.

Fitness News: it's been SO humid and hot here lately. I'm talking dangerous temps. Heat index of 110 degrees, humidity going to be at 82%. It's just miserable. We open the door to let the dog out and it's like walking into a sauna. You feel wet the second you step out. Needless to say, wanting to workout in weather like this just doesn't really happen. Even though it feels cool in the house, it's still miserable. I did get in some Cardioflow yesterday and some pull ups.

I want to improve my number of pull ups so I'm doing a lot of slow negatives to build strength quickly. I want to try the pull up bar at the air show this year. I've seen it in the past and always wanted to try it. Wouldn't it be awesome to just blow them away by not only being able to crank out like 20 pull ups, but being a girl and cranking out 20 pull ups??!!??!! So my back is pretty sore today from that.

Last night, I decided to make cheesecake. Not only that, but mini key lime pies too. I know how much my sweetie likes that stuff. I have to say, the cheesecake turned out like a dream. BUT, not so good for my waistline. I am having a piece today and then I have to be good until I go to NY. And then when I get back from NY, I have to really hit it hard again.

I found a website with some really killer workouts. It's here if you want to check it out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

could I BE any veinier????

I had just gotten out of the shower and while I was blow drying my hair (cuz I like to damage my hair that way) I noticed my veins in a all their glory. So I yelled down to Hanna to bring up my camera and take a few pictures.

I do NOT think this is sexy in ANY way. That is not why I am showing you this. I just can't believe how incredibly veiny I am at times. I sort of look like a freak.

I usually can get some veins to pop after a training session but I didn't even work my arms today (aside from a few push ups and pike push ups).

Oh what the heck, let's just take some bicep pictures while we're at it!

Don't forget the cute little tricep ;)

Food addict

Not much new to report since finishing a 24 hour fast successfully.

I will mention that after not eating for that long, when you finally do eat, you feel really full on very little food. Or at least I did.

I know there are certain rules that apply to "breaking a fast", but I think that is more if you have gone for days or even weeks (think juice fast) without food. Just as there are rules you should follow when coming off a very low carb diet. You are supposed to add carbs slowly back into your diet. Not like the way I usually do it, where I try to shove all the carbs I've missed during the week into my cake hole simultaneously. But whatever. I have problems. I realize this.

Anyway, I made chicken enchiladas (with low carb tortillas) and so I ate one small enchilada and some fat free refried beans. Oh, and a piece of corn bread. But I was stuffed! I felt full half way through that meal and should have stopped. Story of my life. I think if I had gastric bypass surgery, where you can only eat like a teaspoon of food every meal ( ok maybe not that little, but it's not very much), I would eat myself sick every time. Because it's so hard to stop when you are full if the food is really good. God I'm a pig!

I have been trying to understand my unhealthy eating patterns lately and I just can't seem to wrap myself around what's going on. I say unhealthy because while I do eat right most meals, I have such a terrible time getting off sugar. I should NEVER had let it back in. Just look at what it's done to me! Last night, as I was lying in bed, all I could think about was ice cream. I was trying to talk myself out of it, "It's 10:30, you don't need it, you don't need it, you don't need it......." and next thing I knew I was in the kitchen filling a bowl with the nastiest stuff known to man (my husband always buys the ice cream where high fructose corn syrup is like the second ingredient) and don't think I skimped on the chocolate sauce and peanuts! I finished the bowl and contently fell asleep.

What....the....hell? I'm going to have to instill the "no sweets in the house" rule again and torture my family all because I have no willpower whatsoever. I just don't get it. I have such strong feelings against eating that crap, yet I can't stop myself lately. Hypocrite! Ever since the 4th of July weekend I have struggled with this. Sugar is EVIL. I mean it. It's the devil.

I've tried giving it up completely. And while that seems to be the best option because cravings really do decrease, it's a torturous road to get to that point. I've also tried to be more laid back but then it's a constant battle with guilt. I always thought that it would be easier if I just didn't care and ate what I wanted but I don't think I will ever truly feel that care free. Plus, I want to be around for my great grandchildren and eating sugar daily is not going to help me with that goal. And I've tried the "moderation" rule, but for me moderation is just as hard as abstaining. It's hard to have a little when it tastes good. So I don't know which way to go.

Door number one: total sugar abstinence
Door number two: eat whatever I want and when
Door number three: treats in moderation

Door number three seems the best choice, I know. I guess I really do have a food addiction. Is it my own fault? Was it brought on by my obsession with health and fitness? I don't think so. I have always been known to eat a lot of food. I've just been blessed with a pretty kick ass metabolism (or so I'm guessing) which is why I'm not currently 300 pounds. Because ever since I can remember, I could eat....a lot. Granted after having children and being closer to 40 than 30, I'm not able to eat like a kid anymore. That's just true for 99% of the population. So I should just accept the fact that I NEED to moderate. Just as I need to accept the fact that I will get wrinkles and grey hair and body parts will sag. It's called aging. Nothing you can do about it.

That's not an excuse to let yourself go, though. I can still take measures to keep my body as tight as possible, add muscle to keep my bones strong, exercise my heart, and eat to reduce my chances of getting preventable diseases. And that is what I strive for. I'm like a superhero and sugar is my Nemesis. I guess if I can just rein in my late night binges and try to eat like a bird during the day, that should be enough to keep me from ballooning. People who have never met me and saw me on the street would probably never guess that I had a food addiction. The internal struggle and torment I am faced with daily. But it comes and goes. It's very cyclical. At least there is some reprieve.

And I guess things aren't all that bad when I can eat like a pig and still fit into my clothes. That is definitely a plus. However, I'm certain if I continued on that road, after a while it would catch up with me. And it definitely isn't helping my reach my body goals, which some people might consider shallow, stupid and pointless.

And speaking of my body goals, I am pushing my boundaries because I can. It's a struggle, but if I didn't want to do it, I would quit. It can take literally years to achieve body goals, especially when those goals involve taking you to an elite minority. Realistically, how many men and women do you see walking around daily that have a body builder's physique? I don't mean just average lean or skinny, I mean ripped arms, abs and legs. Not many. I might see one a month. Maybe not even that often. THAT is how special it is. THAT is how hard it is. They struggle, they fight, they work hard and most importantly, they don't give up! It's a long process. It's phases of building and leaning. And it's all cumulative so you can only get better with more work. So I'm going to continue to work at it and struggle with it. I've gotten this far. It's too late to go back!

Ok, I think I just slapped that lingering doubt and frustration out of myself. See, it's good therapy to vent and blog! Whether or not anyone even reads it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

24 hour fast

We did it!

Hanna and I successfully went 24 hours without anything but water. And we were surprisingly energetic and in high spirits.

We decided it would be best not to sit around the house and dwell in hunger, so what can a couple of girls do to pass the time and keep their minds off their growling tummies? Shopping, of course! We hit the mall. And we hit it hard.

I was totally stoked because I got a pair of $70 pants at Express for $12. I've never gotten anything there for $12...for reals.

Anyway, after we got back, I went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for my super yummy chicken enchiladas with green sauce. I used a rotisserie chicken and smelling that heavenly chicken for the next two hours after having no food for 22 hours was torture! The last hour was definitely the hardest! We had a FullBar at 5:00 so that by 5:30 we wouldn't be so ravenous and eat ourselves sick. So I guess technically, we only fasted 23 and 1/2 hours but I'm still counting that last half hour! Cuz we rocked it! Not one crumb. Not even gum. Hanna had a sore throat and she couldn't even have a cough drop.

I'm actually surprised how well we held up because usually I'm ready to pass out if 3-4 hours go by and I haven't eaten. Maybe it's because we were mentally prepared for what we had to do. Maybe it's because we kept full on water. Either way, it was an experience. We are scheduled for 2 more 24 hour fasts plus a couple 18 hour fasts, but we'll see how it goes.

I know there are probably some people that would want to know why the heck anyone want to fast for 24 hours? What's the point? Fasting gives the digestive tract time to completely rest. During the absence of food, the body will cleanse cells of accumulated toxins and waste products. It's a good way to detoxify yourself if you've been eating unclean and it allows for a nice dip in overall calorie intake, which is nice if you are trying to lose fat.

For us, we pretty much just did it because we were told! It's part of the plan we follow. Of course, the Shapeshifter diet isn't the first place I've heard of intermittent fasting. Have you ever heard of "The IF Life"? How about a website called "LeanGains"? It makes for some interesting reading. It might make you change the way you think about eating; what you are eating and when.

I seem to be up for anything these days and I have yet to find something solid that truly works for me. Then again, being 36 and a mom of 3 kids, at a fit 110 lbs and 13% body fat, maybe I do know a little something ;)

good good day

I had to post twice today. And who knows, I might post this evening too. If you haven't already, check out my last post that includes a tasty recipe!

I just wanted to mention a couple more things. Right now, Hanna and I only have 8 hours left of our 24 hour fast and so far we are both doing awesome! Better than expected, actually. We haven't had any real major side effects yet. It's still early though. But I think we can do this! I was a bit worried about having to prepare Emma food. Especially since she wanted toast for breakfast (ooooh, the smell of toasted bread is hard on a day that I'm NOT fasting). All went well though.

So yesterday afternoon I went to the grocery store with Hanna and Emma to pick up a few things and I saw these awesome looking garlic breadsticks that would go GREAT with the spaghetti I was making for dinner. We stopped to smell the heavenly garlic scent through the bag and check out the nutrion label. The label was scary; one breadstick was 140 calories and I'm pretty sure the ingredient list included some hydrogenated oils - they ususally do with this kind of food.

Even though I KNEW it was a low carb night (hence substituting zuccini for actual pasta) I wanted these. They just looked too good. I put them in my basket and Hanna said "NO" and took them out. I whined a little and Emma screamed a little, (because she wanted them too). But Hanna held strong. She said, "I want to stick with this and keep getting smaller". Her unwaivering determination is amazing. That's MY kid!! I was so glad she was with me yesterday to talk me down from a moment that could have been disatrous to both of our goals. Thank you, Hanna!

p.s. I have some VERY EXCITING news to share with you within the next few days. By Saturday, I should be able to spill the beans!!

FABULOUS idea for low carb "spaghetti".

I love love love spaghetti. Actually, any type of pasta or Italian dish. I must have been Italian in a former life. The only down side to loving pasta so much is that it's very calorie dense.
Luckily, the pasta is just a vehicle for the flavorful sauce. And the sauce itself can easily be made quite healthy.

Although a true Italian probably doesn't drench their pasta in sauce the way we Americans do.

Anyway, I like to swap out the pasta for vegetables when I'm watching my calorie intake. You can get as creative as you want, a lot of things work. A popular choice is spaghetti squash because when you scoop it out with a fork, it looks just like angel hair spaghetti. And having that visual likeness makes you feel as though you aren't missing out.

Another thing I've tried are yellow squash and zucchini ribbons. You get thick flat pieces when you use a potato peeler. But last night I went one step further. I just used zucchini and I sliced them up with the mandolin on the julienne setting. Perfect!

I sauteed them in a little olive oil and Italian spices.

See how beautiful they look on the plate??!!

And the finished product after I top it with my delicious home made meat sauce.

My sauce is been something that I have perfected over the years. Kind of like my "pomeletes". I thought about sharing the "secret ingredient" with you today. But why would I want to do that? Cuz I'm awesome, that's why. And I like to share.

My husband is sort of kind of a finicky eater. If I mess with the good old basic recipes, chances are, he won't like it. And forget about trying to make it healthier. For instance, if I use ground turkey instead of ground beef, he turns up his nose. Although, most of the time I think it's all in his head. He puts up a mental block to any sort of healthy substitutes, even if you really can't taste the difference. I've learned NOT to make any mention of these substitutions until AFTER he's eaten it. Usually, I'll ask him "So how did you like it?" and he'll say it was good. Then I drop a bombshell like "well there was ground broccoli in the sauce" or "I used ground chicken". At that point, he'll say something like, "I thought the texture was weird". HAHA

Last night, I took a risk with my sauce. But after I tasted it (and melted into the floor) I knew I had a hit on my hands. Andreas took ONE bite and immediately raved about the sauce. I thought, should I tell him??? I waited until he was half way through his plate before I said, "Wanna know my secret ingredient?" And he looked at me with fear in his eyes and said, "There's something weird in here, isn't there" So, he started taking guesses....protein powder, turkey, and some others I can't remember. So I waited. He cleaned up two big helpings before I laid it on him.


To which he said, "I knew it was gonna be something gross!" He does NOT like anchovies. But he did like my sauce. Success! It sort of reminded him of store bought Puttanesca, which we both love.

I used to make my spaghetti sauce with cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce (no salt added, of course) but the kids never liked the chunks of tomatoes. So I finally caved and started using big cans of crushed tomatoes instead. I had to compromise on the salt issue because they don't sell any "no salt added" versions at our grocery store. But, to my surprise, I really do like the sauce better using crushed tomatoes. It gives it a more authentic feel.

So, without further ado, Charlotte's AWESOME spaghetti meat sauce recipe ;)

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 oz anchovies
1/2 cup kalamata olives
garlic and herb spices
1/3 cup red wine
fresh chopped basil
fresh grated Parmesan (NOT the shaky cheese)

Sprinkle ground beef with garlic and herb spices and brown in a fry pan. Turn down heat and add the can of crushed tomatoes. Put kalamata olives and anchovies with a little of the juice in a small blender (I like my Magic Bullet for these small jobs) and blend until smooth paste. Add paste to the pan. Add the wine (use more or less than this recipe calls for, according to your taste). Simmer on low heat for at last 30 minutes to let the flavors blend together. Add chopped fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan right before serving.

Total heaven! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kids love to follow our example

I love inspiring my kids to exercise. Here they are doing a post workout stretch.

This is what it's really about, folks. Setting good examples for our young. Getting them interested in a healthy lifestyle early in their lives so they grow up knowing it, living it. Then, hopefully they will want to continue it for themselves into adulthood. Start good habits NOW.

It's so rewarding to hear my kids talk with adoration about "mommy's muscle" and how they are going to be "strong like mommy" and that they want to jump right into the exercises they see me doing every day. They want to show me that they can do it too. It gives me a sense of pride. Working out and staying fit is a part of our daily lives.

This summer, they've been very active kids. TV? What's that? If the tv is on, it's because they are playing the Kinect, which keeps them active. It's amazing how much you can actually sweat playing those games! Mostly they are playing with toys or swimming or doing crafts. I am guilty of giving them "computer time" most days simply because they need to have a little down time, just like us adults. 

It's been so nice here and the evenings have been perfect for jogging. I love to get outside for some extra exercise. I've been going 4 miles each day since Saturday, which is pretty good considering before that it had probably been a month (or longer) since I've ran at all, let alone steady state! My body is sore though because I am NOT used to it. I also hit the weights for the first time in a month. I've missed it so much :( But I really like the change up to body weight exercises because they can be just as challenging. I really wish I could have hung on with the shapeshifter diet, I would probably be noticing some really great changes happening by now. But on the plus side, I feel that sense of renewed motivation coming around, which is good because I'm going to need it tomorrow! (24 hour fast with Hanna) And if I can get through this fast and buckle down with low calories and no cheats the rest of the week, I should have a giant calorie deficit (especially with all this extra running) which will be great on a fat loss scale! The important thing is that I'm still strength training to maintain muscle.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eatin' good in the 'hood

Breakfast this morning - was rather large

egg white omelet (or pomelete as my kids call it....I'll explain in a minute) with raw organic cheddar, 2 slices turkey bacon, mixed berries & grapes, 1/3 cup oats w/ almond milk.

My daughter Eden calls my husband and I Pom and Plop (I am Pom, instead of Mom). And so, since I can ROCK an omelet (seriously, been making them since I was like 13 and was always the designated egg cooker in my house growing up), my kids now refer to them as a "Pomelete" ... and always want me to make them. Cuz they are so delicious. Lately, I've been making a LOT of pomeletes and turkey bacon. My kids have never eaten so good...haha. I love summer when we actually have time so sit down for a good breakfast instead of rush through it before school.

Hanna had tea for breakfast because she is fasting until noon. Not that she is liking it all that much. In fact, she's been doing an awful lot of whining and crying so far today. I told her to stop or I would put pictures of her whining and crying on the blog. She didn't stop, so here you are:

She was laughing a bit too - hamming it up ;)

This is after I told her to get her workout clothes on. She's on the floor crying, "Why can't I just eat healthy and skip exercising???" LOL  Today, she actually has to workout twice....muahahahaha!!

But all this torture has produced some great results for her. She has lost 4 inches overall in 2 weeks. 2 inches off her belly alone! Way to go, girl! It's paying off.

And since she has a 24 hour fast coming at her on Thursday, I told her I'd do it with her. What......was.....I......thinking?

Monday, July 11, 2011


Do you ever think about how hard it is to come up with a post title sometimes? I mean, most of the time, it's the toughest thing about blogging. I'll sit for EVER with a blank stare on my face trying to come up with something that isn't lame yet relevant to the post. Does that mean my posts are lame? I think it does.

Anyway, on with the next lame post.

Have you heard the song "criminal" by Fiona Apple? "I've been a bad baaaaaaad girl....." It's pretty old. You might not remember it. But that part about being a bad girl comes to my mind lately.

I know sugar alcohols are bad for your system because it's hard for your body to digest them. But I have paid no nevermind to that fact because my craving for ice cream has won me over in the last week and a half. To combat waistline growth, I've opted for the low carb and sugar free versions of ice cream and chocolate sauce. While a bowl of these two things together will take care of my cravings and only set me back 105 calories, my family is suffering tremendously with the noxious fumes I seem to be emanating. Not even kidding, I had extreme gut rot yesterday and I am thinking it's from that stuff.

Really, I don't know why I've thrown caution to the wind and am eating stuff I typically wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. But I'm over it. I think. I hope. I might have been just that care free, which is nice in a way. I might have just had major pms. Or, I might have had a void that I was filling with food. Whatever it was, it was nas-T!

Hoping this week is better. Time to set some new weekly goals:
1) NO cheats! I mean it, girl. Stay away from anything fried or covered in chocolate! If I'm good all week, I will reward myself with a treat on Saturday and  Sunday.
2) Keep calories down to between 1200 - 1500
3) Keep carb intake under control, maybe only eat starch in the morning hours? Or cycle again - yikes.
4) Activity level UP UP UP! Clean the house. Go for walks, go for jogs, do some intervals. Anything, just don't sit still
5) Make a menu that is delicious and nutritious to help keep me on track. It has to be delicious. It just has to, then I won't crave.
6) Enjoy my life, enjoy my kids....this is summer! We should be all happy and smiles. We are for the most part but I think I could do better. So far, there hasn't been a time that I've wished for school to start, and it's July already. I would consider that a very successful summer.
7) Don't stress about diet so much. (oops...already seem to have mastered that one since the 4th)

What are your goals for the week? I'd love to hear them!! Leave a comment!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1/2 monte?

Made myself a "skinny" Monte Cristo today. Here's what I did:

2 slices sprouted grain bread
2 slices ham
1 slice provolone
2 egg whites

I mixed in a little cinnamon and nutmeg into the egg whites. I put the sandwich together and dipped it into the egg until both sides were good and soaked. Cooked it in the fry pan until a lovely golden brown color and cheese melted. Sprinkled a little bit of powdered sugar over the top. As I took bites, I dunked it into a little bit of all fruit raspberry jelly. Mmmm!

I went for a jog yesterday morning and today my hips hurt. It's been weeks since I've run. I was so drenched when I got back due to the humidity but I LOVED it. It really feels like I flush out my pores when I sweat like that.

Hanna had a little human moment this weekend. She went to a birthday sleep over and had cake and pizza. She felt bad (as we all do) but I told her, "Hey, you're only human! We just pick ourselves up and go again."

I did great today. Even took the family to DQ for lunch and I packed a protein bar in my purse to take along. Success! But then I ate the leftover fries we took home at the 4:00 snack attack. Why do I do that?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Normality at last

ok, so even though I bombed on my shapeshifter diet, not all hope is lost. I DO know how to eat healthy, so I have that going for me.

This morning I had Greek yogurt (plain, fat free) with a bit of chopped walnuts, dates and stevia mixed in. I love Stonyfield's little single serving cups of Oikos organic Greek yogurt. Because I don't even need a bowl, I throw in my additives and stir! So convenient. And so satisfying. The yogurt cup has only 80 calories and 15 grams of protein! Love.

So yesterday I shared an exercise that I really like. Today I'll share one that I'm not a big fan of. The pike push up. Give at me some push ups, drill Sargent! Those I can handle! But pikes push ups are much more difficult. Here's what you do: get into a pike position (bent over like an upside down V, on your toes), lower yourself down keeping legs straight and head in line with arms. It's awkward for me because I am NOT flexible in any way shape or form, so proper form on this one is tough.

Maybe that should be a new (more attainable goal) for me: improve flexibility. Anyone know any good resources on this??

Friday, July 8, 2011

the fight is over

I've been struggling a lot. And I've been thinking a lot....about struggling. And I have come to a couple conclusions.

The more I deprive myself of something, the more obsessed I become with it. This is one reason why deprivation diets don't work. This is why diets in general don't work. Because they are meant to be a temporary tool. And while you are on this temporary diet, depriving yourself of one thing or another, it seems to be all you crave. So that one day you will crack and binge and undo all the good you've previously done and be back at square one. Or even square -1, depending on how bad the binge was.

I have been craving carbs intensely since depriving myself of them lately. Even though I know it's "temporary", I can't seem to get my brain to care. So what happens is, I give in. And then I give in some more. And I give in so much that it becomes a binge. And what I'm starting to realize is that if I would just eat a little at a time, throughout the day, like a normal person, I wouldn't crave it so badly and end up binging on it later.

So what's been happening is I'm trying to do this extremely difficult diet, which is temporarily depriving me of my regular "good" foods: like oatmeal, shredded wheat, sprouted grain bread, fruit, Greek yogurt, etc. and in turn making me a ravenous carb craving fool. But instead of craving oatmeal, I'm craving the worst of it all; pizza, ice cream, brownies, etc. This plan is backfiring for me.

So, before it spirals way out of control, I'm putting a stop to it. Because when I'm on my regular habit of eating clean (carbs and all) I don't have these wild swings where I crave and binge. I realize that I'm probably giving up my chance at finally losing my saddlebags but I think at this point, I'd rather keep my sanity. If I can continue just to eat right and exercise like I normally do, who knows, maybe they'll eventually go away. 6 weeks sounded wonderful and I really thought I could do it, but it has been taking a toll on me and I don't like where it's headed. Major kudos to the test group who was able to follow this plan and get awesome results. They certainly deserved it! Because it's NOT easy.

And who knows, maybe there is still hope for me. I know that proper nutrition and exercise will certainly keep me from gaining fat and becoming overweight. That is the bigger picture that I need to focus on. I'm so sick of picking apart my little flaws. I'm so sick of thinking I need to achieve perfection. Not one single person that I care about tells me I need to change. My husband loves my body, my daughters make comments on my muscles all the time, everyone else generally tells me I'm too thin. Who am I really trying to be perfect for? Myself? I think I'm finally ready to say, I'm here, and I'm happy. Whatever comes next, comes. But for now, I'm chill.

I'm going to continue with the Shapeshifter workouts and eating healthy the way I know how, but I'm officially done with diet. It's just too hard. And there were a few fasting days coming up next week which probably would have killed me even if I did make it that far. Sorry to be a quitter but I know my limits. I know how to eat healthfully and I know that if I eat right and include carbs, I won't have the cravings that make me a maniac.

Maybe I'll start posting my favorite healthy recipes and favorite exercises. I'm sure that will be far more interesting to read than my constant whining anyway ;) In fact, I'm going to start with one now!

I love tacos. I love Mexican food. But it can be highly caloric. To get our fix of fiesta, we make taco salads. No soft or hard shells. Just a plate with a mound of lettuce, topped with extra lean beef cooked with low sodium taco seasoning. Add some ranch flavored vinaigrette spritzer, salsa, low fat Mexican shredded cheese, onions, and small bits of black olives. Totally yummy. Totally filling. When you have a dinner this packed with flavor and nutrition, you honestly don't even miss the carb!

Favorite exercise of the moment: lunge jumps. Get into a lunge then explosively jump into a lunge with the opposite leg. Repeat 10 times per leg for one set (so you are actually counting 20 jumps). Catch your breath and go again. See how many sets you can do! Don't sacrifice form. 4 perfect reps is better than 10 sloppy ones!

how I'm feeling

Last night I made Kale soup. It smelled so good but when I ate it, I just had such an intense craving for bread or some other carb, I couldn't enjoy it. Even my little Eden said "That soup was really good, you should make it more often." - which was really surprising because she, like her pappa, thinks sugar is a food group.

I didn't have any energy, and I had such intense cravings. Then I realized it wasn't any mystery, considering where I am in my cycle. It's very normal for me, and probably you too (if you are a girl).

I went outside to plant. I got one done and decided to quit. I just wasn't into it and like I said, I had zero energy. Luckily my husband didn't want to keep going either, so we went inside. We still have strawberry and grape plants to get in the ground though.

I'm currently dealing with my typical round of "why am I doing this" that creeps up now and then (also a cycle thing). It's good to be aware of the reason this happens (hormones) so that I don't get too discouraged. It is still a bit annoying that I can't keep that motivation high, but I know it'll come around again soon. So I am trying very hard to be more relaxed about it. I fear that one day I'm going to wake up and realize that I've spent so much time worrying and stressing and depriving myself that I'll have wasted all this time trying to be happy, when all along I should have opened my eyes to see that I was happy. That it wasn't as bad as I thought. Sure, certain things could be better, but everyone could say that, right? We are always striving for better. I think that is human nature.

In a few books that I've read, they stress the importance of writing down your goals and looking at them daily. But not only that, you really need to search your soul and figure out why you want to achieve your particular goal. And if your goal is simply to look good no matter what you wear, that isn't good enough. But why? That's really all I want. It's as simple as that. I honestly don't think I have any deeper wish. I just want to be happy with myself. I don't know how I can make that goal any more specific.

But why is it so important to me? Why can't I just be happy with the way I am now? I don't really know. I can tell you why I think it's important to me. And I think it's because I don't feel like I really shine at anything in particular. You know, everyone has their thing. Some people are really smart, others are really funny, some have a specific talent that they are extraordinary at.....I feel like I have none of those things. I am not super beautiful, or super outgoing with an awesome personality. But somehow, in my demented mind, I've convinced myself that if I can build a kick ass body, one that not many people have, then I would have "a thing" that defined who I was. Is it so wrong to want to be extraordinary at something??

It sounds like such a shallow and unimportant thing. And I'm not incredibly judgemental of other people. I could care less if you are 300 pounds and have no interest in fitness whatsoever. As long as we share some sort of common interest and can laugh together, I will think you are golden. I don't discriminate. It's true that I notice other people's bodies, but mostly I notice two things. 1: when someone has a FANTASTIC body (like the woman I mentioned yesterday) and 2: when someone is wearing something that maybe isn't the best choice for their body type. Example, if you are wearing tight jeans and have a muffin top spilling out all over, a tight fitting shirt to go with those jeans probably isn't a good idea. But I don't think I'm alone in noticing those things. You notice also, I know you do.

I use those same rules when dressing myself. Which is why I don't walk all over town in short shorts. I don't have the flawless legs to pull it off. Also, I'm in my 30s and have 3 kids - it's probably time to retire the Daisy Dukes regardless. I like to follow the same rule that they have in my daughter's middle school - if you put your hands down against your legs and your shorts are above your finger tips, they are too short.

My mission is to try to eat as clean as possible (stress the word try) because in the past, I've only made progress when I'm in a clean eating phase. Also, I'm trying (stress trying!!) to go as long as I can without any carbs except veggies, to see if I can train my body to burn fat. I think I'm a carb burning machine which is why it's so hard to get at the fat! But I love carbs, so it's extremely hard :( I feel like exercise has been slacking just because my workouts are so short. I should probably do some intervals in addition - but I've gotten lazy. Summer just feels like a time to have a more relaxed attitude and enjoy life. Because we have such long harsh winters here, it just seems natural to slack off for these 3 beautiful months of the year.

It's not a race to the finish, but a way of life.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 2, Day 3 (again)

Yesterday went better than I expected. Diet was stellar and exercise was awful...haha. By awful I mean hard.

We measured Hanna and she has lost some inches. She is actually up a pound, which is weird. I can't imagine she would have gained a pound of muscle in a week but you can't get get too analytical about it I guess. What matters is the way her clothes are fitting her after the 6 weeks are up.

And someone said something to me yesterday that really made sense. "It's a lifestyle, not a sprint to the finish." That is so true. Too often I get so obsessed with a deadline that I am totally missing out on the bigger picture. While it's good to have goals to strive for, because they help keep me on track, it's also important not to forget that I am in this for life. I want to live a healthy lifestyle forever, not just temporarily.

There are always going to be days where I screw up my diet plans or want to have some ice cream and pizza. I have to be ok with that. But right now, I just need to focus on the next 5 weeks. If I can get through the next 5 weeks, the hard strict weeks that they are, I'm positive that it will all be worth it.

My kids have been so absolutely in love with turkey bacon lately. They want it all the time. I never thought turkey bacon was good. I tried it, and hated it. But recently I tried it again and wow, they have come a long way with turkey bacon. It is good. I cook it until it's nice and crispy and it has a great flavor.

Last night, I cooked asparagus in the fry pan for 5 minutes with some garlic and olive oil and it got perfectly crisp-tender. I usually overcook my asparagus until it's mushy. I thought it was good that way. But now I've discovered "crisp-tender". Also, turkey ham. I never knew there even was such a thing. But I bought some, sliced it into thick slices and threw it on the grill. Oh yum. It was the quickest, easiest, yummiest dinner! I heated up some leftover rice for the carb eating members of the family. Tonight, I think I might make kale soup.

When I was driving home from the store last night I saw a woman working outside in her yard with the most fabulous muscle definition! She had that sexy line going up the side of her legs, muscular back and arms, and when you can see it from the road, that's impressive! It's so rare to see, that's why it made me do a double take. Because anyone can be skinny. But it takes a lot more hard work to get cut like that. I am so looking forward to getting the fat off my backside so that I can finally hit the weights hard again. But I'm not going to waste my time like before. This time, I'm going to EAT along with the training. I don't know how I thought I could ever gain muscle going on and off restrictive diets. I'm so dumb sometimes. I'm going to eat those carbs and lean proteins like never before!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back to normal

So after a very fun & sun-filled 4 day carbapalooza, it's back to the grind today.

We (Hanna & I) are starting week 2 over again. So we are still 5 weeks out from goal which puts us at August 10th. One day after my baby and hubby leave me for 2 weeks :( more on that another day....

Anyway, I am welcoming the beginning of this low carb day with open arms. I just want my abs back. I've felt so bloated and full that it's hard to imagine why I like "cheat" days. Why do I like eating crap when it makes me feel like crap??? Is the moment of taste really worth the hours of misery?

There are a few things on the menu that I'm not exactly super excited about this week. And so I have to alternate or think of new low carb dishes. The trick is to keep it yummy so that I won't feel like straying. Although straying shouldn't be a problem with no major celebrations in the next 5 weeks. Oh, except for my mother's birthday but that is only 3 days from my goal date so I don't think I have much to worry about there.

I have broken the news to Hanna that we are prepping ourselves for some fasting in the weeks ahead. Not days at a time or anything like that. But there are a few, strategically placed, coming up. I don't even want to think about it. It is going to be one of the toughest things I ever do.

Even though I feel the need to get my routine back in order, I'm not super duper motivated like I was 2 weeks ago. This happens, I expect it. And part of it is probably because I took a diet vacation and I might be feeling a bit guilty now. It was nice not to feel left out and stressed out and just eat like everyone else. I literally didn't have a single care or worry or stresser for an entire 4 days and it was so wonderful. I wish I could live that carefree everyday.

We were at a beach on Sunday, and I was wearing my bikini with the usual feeling (like I probably shouldn't be wearing it in public). But I am getting better. I am starting to feel more confident, even with my flaws. I know they are there. I know other people can see them. But I'm starting to let go. I have yet to see a woman at the beach with a flawless body (that isn't a teenager), and that helps. Even Jillian Michaels has admitted to having cellulite she just can't get rid of, no matter what she does. And she's a famous trainer! But when I see other women on the beach, running around in their bikinis, with the sun accentuating the cellulite on their legs, it makes me more aware of my own. I wonder, do these women know it's there and just don't care? Or are they blissfully unaware because they don't scrutinize themselves in front of the mirror daily like I do?

Despite my flaws, I know I have some really great body parts, too! I just need to keep focusing on them for the time being, while I keep trying to better the not so great parts.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

beautiful disaster

Yesterday. My first real disaster since starting Shapeshifter. I decided (since it's a long 4th of July weekend....a big deal for us here) that I was going to stop being so obsessed with everything related to what I'm eating and how much I'm working out for the next 4 days. Sometimes I get so tired of wishing I could have the ice cream everyone else around me is eating, or that we could finally go to that pizza place I've been dying to go to.....because you know what? I can. I can have ice cream, I can have pizza, I can have s'mores by the fire. I can do all those things I'm usually wishing I could do, I just choose not to. But yesterday, I chose to do it. I chose to give in and have a delicious, wonderful, relaxing holiday weekend with my husband and my kids. Four days of bliss. I'm not going to care what I eat, when I eat, how much I eat, I'm just going for it. I'm going to look at it like a vacation. A vacation from stress.

Is this going to set me back? Probably. So much for my goal date. I'll just push it back to August But, on Wednesday, when my hubs goes back to work and everything seems back to normal, I'll pick up where I left off. There aren't any more holidays or birthdays or anything between now and then that should throw me off track again.

So anyway, yesterday, we were out and about shopping, when my husband suggests we stop at this pizza place (knowing that I can't have carbs, of course). And I said, ok. I think he probably thought he heard me wrong. OK? And then when I said that I thought it would be nice if I had a more relaxed attitude over the long holiday weekend it would be so much more fun, I think he was shouting HALLELUJAH in his head. He really dislikes when I deprive myself of treats and carbs or whatever it is I am depriving myself of that day. We all know that I want to eat it. It's no secret that I love fried greasy food and chocolate cake as much as the next person, but I try so hard to resist - and usually do.

When we went to the pizza place, I was going to order "smarter" like I try to do when I order "bad" food. You know, put as much veg on it as possible. But I thought, you know what, my favorite pizza is actually pepperoni but I never order it because I know it's so greasy and bad for you. But if I'm having pizza, it's going to be pepperoni! I don't think he even knew that I really liked pepperoni.....because I never eat it.

Afterwards, ironically, we stopped at a store so I could get more CLA (haha), then we hit an ice cream parlor.....where I had TWO scoops. That's right. Bison crunch and strawberry cheesecake. To. Die. For. Good.

Later that evening, we packed a picnic lunch (complete with a candy bar for each of us and chips) and took a blanket to Island Park downtown, where there are many tall shade trees and lots of grassy area to lay, and had a wonderful picnic dinner. Then the kids played at the playground and we went home to have a fire outside and eat s'mores. It was a perfect day. Total bliss. And I was happy.

I said goodbye to guilt and was able to just have an enjoyable day in the sunshine with my family and enjoy the same treats as they do. For once, I wasn't the odd man out. It felt so wonderful.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hanna and I are deep into low carb territory. I took a peak at what our meal plan is like for the next 5 weeks and I'm scared. There is one thing in particular that scares me (well two when you count all the low carb days). But I won't share what that is until the day comes.

So far, low carb hasn't bothered us too bad. And by low carb, we are actually only eating veggies for carbs. No fruit, no yogurt, no bread, no fun! Supposedly we are training our bodies to become more efficient at burning stored fat this way. Cool! Maybe that is what finally needs to be done to attack those damn saddlebags!

I have to admit, my lack of patience is creeping in. It's being really sneaky about it too. Even though I'm following the diet restrictions depending on the day and doing the workouts, I am not seeing changes to my body yet (well of course not, it's barely been a week and a half!), but I am all about instant gratification, you know. I am impatient. And so when I don't notice improvement fast enough, that doubt starts to rear it's ugly head. I actually found myself thinking yesterday that there is no way this is going to work for me. There is no way that in 34 more days, I will achieve what I am after.

I had to stop myself. I literally said "stop!" out loud, and shook it off. It is really hard to change those negative habits. I guess the one thing that has kept me from my ultimate goal all this time is my own mind! I sabotage myself with these stupid thoughts of failure, even when I know I'm on the right track. How can this not work??!! I am eating better than ever! Trying super hard! It's going to work! I need that faith!

I have had a few minor slip ups, of course. Nothing that has erased all hope and effort though. A couple nights ago I went out dancing with my niece and had some shots. Probably not the best idea on this plan, but I probably danced it off. Three hours of dancing. I kid you not. But only getting 5 hours of sleep that night left me super tired the next day. While I was productive in the morning, I crashed and burned in the afternoon and pretty much did nothing at all the rest of the day.

And there was one evening during the first week where I was super hungry. A hollow leg I needed to fill. I basically had 3 or 4 bed time snacks, instead of just one. Even though they were considered "allowed foods", I over ate and that means extra calories.

Life happens. I am trying to stay focused on my goal though. I realize now that it is not going to be easy. It's going to suck and it's going to leave me wishing I wasn't trying to do this because I just want to eat pizza. And it's going to challenge me the same as it always does when I go hardcore into clean eating. But if I don't get through this, my dream will never come true. It's only 33 more days. Then I can reward myself with a cheat! And [hopefully] be happy enough with my results that all there will be left to do is just maintain. For me, maintaining will be the easy part.

Today I am trying a new workout (they call it an afterburner). I am very excited about it. I'll let you know how it goes. Two days ago, I did 15 rounds of the metabolic circuit and I was pouring sweat. I looked like I just got out of the shower when I was done, that's how wet with sweat I was! I LOVE that!