Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is it seriously Wednesday already??

Sheesh! This week is flying by.

On my last cardio day, I wore my heart rate monitor. Haven't done that in a while. I might decide to wear it more often in the coming months though. Anyway, I was just interested to see the readout from my 30 minute hill intervals. Here they are:

AVG HR: 144
MAX HR: 165

Fitness: 29:38 - this is the time I spent working on conditioning my heart
Fat Burn: 3:59 - this is the time I spent burning fat

Total calorie burn: 259

I should have worn it when I lifted weights on Monday. I feel like I work really hard at the gym and I'm sweating and panting and it would be nice to know how many calories I burn in that hour that I'm there working. I will have to do that next time ;) It will be fun to compare the numbers against the cardio numbers.

Improvements this week from last week:

1) For pull ups, I'm now doing wide grip pronated pull ups instead supinated grip pull ups (or chin ups). Changing the position of your hands, changes the muscles targeted. Pronated grip will give you back width, primarily targeting the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids. While supinated grip also works the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids but will move the emphasis onto the biceps.

(pronated means palms facing away and supinated means palms facing in toward you)

Anyway, I was doing so well with the chin ups I thought it was time to move to "big girl pull ups" ....haha. Anyway, I was on the assisted pull up machine and did 25 on setting 4. And 4 is the lowest number you can set it before you are getting no assistance whatsoever. So to improve, I will have to take the peg completely out and it will be all me, no help.

And by the way, I didn't do all 25 at once. I did 5 sets of 5. It was tough!

2) I moved my squats up to 115lbs. That's only up 10lbs and it's hard for me to be ok with that because I'm impatient. But going up small amounts is necessary to gain strength and muscle without injury. I just desperately want to bring my squat up and it just seems so hard. I had my hopes set a little too high and wrote 125lbs in my workout log - meaning, that was the weight I was planning on using that day. But I got under it and I just couldn't bring it back up again. I am focusing on getting my squats as low as I can (and having those mirrors in the gym is handy for that!) so I got low and couldn't bring it up. Oh well, that would have been a 20lb jump in weight. Too much for this girl. I'll get there...

3) Moved my two arm KB swings to 50lbs (from 30lbs) and dropped the reps from 25 to 10. Thanks for the advice, Kristy! I am feeling it in my butt now!

4) Got my clean and press to 70lbs. That's up 5lbs - and that is a lot for me on this exercise. IT.....IS.....TOUGH! Not so much the clean part but the press part. 70lbs is a lot for these shoulders!

5) Renegade Rows (I just love these) - using 25lb dumbbells 6 sets, 5 reps each side per set. My mom just cannot fathom how I can do these. I guess they look hard. They are tough in the sense that they really work a lot of your body and you get pretty winded, but definitely not impossible! My palms will give out before the rest of me because it's uncomfortable after a while.

6) One arm snatches are at 30lbs

7) Deadlifts at 140lbs

8) Bench press at 90lbs

9) Lying ham curl at 70lbs

10) glute/ham raise - did 3 sets of 10 whoo hooo

11) curtsy lunges and band walking improved as well

I've been skipping out on the 6-8 minute intervals at the end of the workout because I've added things like the glute/ham raise, curtsy lunges and stuff like that (already mentioned previously) and it ends up getting to be too long for me. I go until I've got nothing left to give. So on my "off" days I've been adding cardio, usually 20 minutes, to make up for it. Same thing I would do otherwise, hill HIIT.

I'm feeling amazing. I feel strong. I feel like I'm making progress with each workout. I'm really happy with where I'm going. I'm totally stoked for summer!!

Nutrition is so perfect until dinner time. STILL having a problem controlling my appetite at dinner time. I don't know if I'm not eating enough during the day (although I certainly feel as though I am) or what the deal is. But I've got until March 11th to get it under control! That's when I start cycling and cutting back. Yikes! Better bury this sugar addiction once and for all! Damn girl scout cookies.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baby Got Back!

Check out my booty! HOLY MOLY!
I was on my way to the gym and I glanced at my reflection before heading out
and I caught sight of my backside and
(I want a t-shirt that says that btw)
It is growing!
I've never had a booty like this before. I didn't think there was much hope for my booty.
I thought I was a pancake butt forever.

I got news for you. THAT ain't no pancake butt!

I'd like to thank:
step ups

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A couple things...

I bought "The Fat Burning Kitchen" by one of my favorite health and fitness authors, Mike Geary, and Catherine Ebeling. I can't wait to dig into that book! It will be very useful in the upcoming months as I'm sliding into home ;)  Even though I really pride myself on knowing proper nutrition already, and how to use the kitchen just as much as the gym to get a lean sexy body, it's still important to always keep reading and learning and discovering new and helpful ideas.

Another ego boosting moment for me at the gym yesterday....

My mom is somewhat of a social butterfly. Even though she claims she is somewhat shy, she is able to talk to pretty much anyone about anything. Trust me. I know what shy is, and shy she is not! One of the funny things about her is that I will do something stupid (like crumble under smith machine, see story here) and beg her not to mention it to her trainer....

me -"you swear you won't tell her? you swear? swear it!!"
mom - "oh, of course I won't say anything" [insert evil grin]

yet, the next time she has a session, I bet you $100 that's one of the first things she says to her. I bet you!

Anyway, back to her being a social butterfly and always talking to people. Perhaps telling people more than she should. I used to tease her that if someone she didn't know got into an elevator with her, they'd know her life story by the 3rd floor! So she met this woman at the gym yesterday and as I walked by to get a drink of water, mom grabs me and says, "I want you to meet "Jane" (we'll keep real names out)". So I said hi, or whatever I could get out because I was panting like a dog. And she says, "Oh, I see you here every day. I thought you were a trainer." [k, my head just grew]

Later on, my mom meets yet another woman. They start talking, whatever. And this woman is asking about some exercise and my mom didn't have any idea, "But", she says, "You can ask her (pointing to me) I bet she would know", and the lady replies, "Oh no! She's far too advanced!" [head....growing]

Really, I just am in awe at comments like these. I feel......proud, I guess. This is ultimately what I wanted, for people to notice what I've spent literally years working on. Because the people I see everyday (my family), they don't care about my fitness or how I look in a bikini. They don't understand my goals. Therefore, it never seems like I get positive feedback from them, and they are supposed to be my biggest support system!

I think if I were someone else reading this, I might think, "geez, brag much?" but I'm sorry, I have to. I've spent sooooo long picking myself apart and not feeling good enough and feeling like a failure, that I need this. I really do. I can hold my head up high, feeling confident in myself, finally! It's nice.

When you work hard for something, it doesn't go unnoticed!

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. We went to church, got the ash cross on our foreheads, and swore off chocolate for the next 40 days. (well, at least I did) Yep, gave it up for lent. Great, girl scouts have some really good timing, don't they? Seriously, there are boxes upon boxes of cookies in our possesion right now, as I have a wee girl scout on the selling warpath. (p.s. if you are a local reader and want know who to call *wink*)

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How's your progression?

One mistake when exercising to improve your body is never pushing yourself harder. Sometimes, we get comfortable and stick with the same old stuff we've been doing over and over. Same amount of weight. Same rep range, same number of sets. Or, maybe the same cardio machine. Day after day.

Where's the progression?

I was definitely guilty of this in the past. Until I learned that your body is quick at adapting, especially the more fit you are. If you are a beginner, you can use the same workout for quite a long time and get results with it. Maybe you can even do those cutsy little workout plans in the magazines: "do 3 sets of these 5 exercises 3 times a week and in a month you'll have sleek legs!" Did that stuff ever work for you? Me either! And after that miracle month that gives you legs like the model in the magazine, what then? I guess we'd have to move on to their "sleek arm" workout the next month since our arms would still be flabby from only working our legs that previous month. I used to have a whole folder of workouts that I kept from magazines, with the super fit models showing you how to do the moves. Basically it was all stuff you'd barely break a sweat doing. How does this improve my physique now? doesn't.

Rant over....moving on....

I keep a small notebook with me at the gym so that A)I know what I have to do that day B)So I can keep track of the weight that I'm using

I need to see progression. Sometimes, I do feel like I stall at certain things for quite a while before I build up the strength and/or stamina to move forward. And sometimes it feels like I soar from one week to the next.

Progression is generally pretty slow. Even if it's only one more rep, or a teensy bit more weight, it's still MORE.

If I follow my planned workouts (and I do), it will take me a full two weeks before I progress to a heavier weight. Because I have two workouts that I alternate on M/W/F. I start at the low rep range, high set range and increase one rep each time. Once I hit 6 reps for 6 sets, I raise the weight and go down to 3 reps for 6 sets. This might seem really easy (only 3 reps, really?) but it's incredibly taxing to use heavy weight. And it's not a range I would typically use. It's something I'm not used to. It's a shock to the system "oh, she's lifting much heavier weight and not using strictly 8-12 reps for 3 sets here....this is weird....what's going on......" and so my body is responding really well to it.

Looking back on my progression:

My incline sprints have improved. I've cut my work to rest ratio down from 1: 1.5 to 1:1. That's a whole 30 seconds off the resting interval! And that is from February 5th.

I've also dramatically increased the number of pull ups I can do in a workout. At home, my usual was about 9 total, maybe 12 on a good day. Now I am up to 36!! Of course that isn't all at once, but 6 reps x 6 sets. Still, that's a huge jump! Hello sexy muscular back and arms, nice to see you!

Working out at home, I never made it past 42.5lbs on a hamstring curl. At the gym, I've progressed to 70lbs!

Right now, I'm deadlifting 155lbs. Just a few weeks ago 135lbs seemed too heavy for me. Monday, I was cranking out more than the necessary reps at 135lb so I upped it to 155lb. Although, 155lb seems really heavy right now and I can only do maybe 3 at a time without comprising form. I can feel my back start to round as I stand up and then I know it's time to quit. At home - 100lbs seemed impossible.

Squats - this is the one thing I really REALLY want to improve. I've been squatting at 105lbs for a while now. But as my progression chart indicates, today is the day I get to increase weight and go back down in reps (yeah, my favorite day!).

My bench press was at 90lbs on Monday.

For my dumbbell shoulder press, I was holding 25lb dumbbells in each hand. Not that long ago 20lbs seemed very heavy. Lat raises and front raises seem to stall at 10lbs though.

I've added more weight to my walking lunges; from 20lbs to 25lbs in each hand.

I've added more weight to my curtsy lunges; from 10lbs to 25lbs in each hand.

Improving is all about progression. And I love having my workout journal to look at so I can see the improvements I make and where I might need to step it up a little.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fit life

We are finally getting our "winter".

I wish it snowed like this on Christmas. We had a brown Christmas.

There is something so magical about snow. Even though, I'm more of a summer person,
I do think I would miss the snow if I moved to a warmer climate.

Just thought I'd share that...

Today, mom and I went to the gym and I helped her try the elliptical machine for the first time EVER.
She is very unsteady on her feet on flat ground, so this cumbersome odd machine
was very intimidating to her. But I convinced her to try it.
She did it for all of 1 minute. No joke.

She was sweating and huffing and puffing and said, "I just can't do this anymore. My legs burn!"

I said, "Well, mom, the burn is what you want. It means it's doing something good."

Muscle burn is a form of pain. But as long as the pain is not a sharp pain, as long as it is a burning sensation, it's ok. It's actually what you want to feel. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but getting into shape is not coming for free.

She is clearly not used to any sort of cardio-based activity. And I really want her to start doing something that gets her heart rate up a little. I worry about her. She is overweight and in her 70's. This lady has led
a sedentary lifestyle for far too long. But it's never too late. I don't care
if I have to beg and push and plead with her to sweat and work every day, I will until she does it consistently on her own.

She has this mentality that if she is up a lot doing laundry or putzing in her apartment, that counts toward her "exercising". WRONG! I want to see her sweat. I want her muscles to burn.
But she's not used to that feeling so she doesn't like it. Working out IS work. It isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be a little hard. That is why it's not called lounging out.

Anyway, I got her to agree to try to increase by a minute each time she goes. That's good enough for me. You have to start somewhere.

I get a huge muscle burn and sweat going by doing things like walking lunges. I hold a 25lb weight plate in each hand and I do walking lunges around the track. It's an incredible exercise for getting your heart rate up and feeling a super burn in your legs. It's HARD WORK, but I like the feeling I get from it. I want my mom to learn to love the burn too. Because that is what is going to help her drop the weight and start living a fit life.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goal Setting

Since time is flying by and February is more than half over already, I figured that it was about time I did some goal setting.

Actual, sit down and think about it, write it out, conjuring emotion, goal setting.

And I realized something. Last year, I had set a goal. This was my actual goal, as I had written it: To wear a bikini by June 1st, 2011. And when June came and went, I felt like a failure. In my mind, I had not met my goal because my body wasn't even close to the shape I wanted it to be in. But yesterday I discovered that without even realizing it, I DID meet my goal. I wore my bikini in public. Several times!

Sometimes I am so stuck on what I have not done that I completely miss out on what I have done. I accomplished my goal, as it was written on paper. I had essentially met my goal.

This is where goal setting is going to be better for me this year. I have read (and re-read) Tom Venuto's book. And lately I've been reading over the parts on goal setting. And I realized that last year, I wasn't specific enough and that's why I felt as though I didn't meet any goal. Goals must be measurable. For instance, if you want to get down to a certain weight, that number is measurable. For me, weight doesn't even matter anymore. It's all about measurements. That's what's going to be noticeable (for me).

So over the past several days, I have set aside some quiet time to really focus on what I want and why. I've written out a timeline, I've got a plan, I've got short term and long term goals, and this time, I'm going to be able to measure them! With the progress I've made in just the last 6 weeks, I'm more motivated than ever! I can do this!

I know I said weight doesn't matter, and it doesn't. Because what you weigh, doesn't determine in the least how physically fit you are, how toned you are or how good you look in a bikini. But one thing that was really hard was being ok with the number on the scale going up. When you are programmed for so long to think that the lower the number the better you look, it's hard to change that thought pattern. But realistically, I had to gain weight if I wanted to achieve part of my goal, which was to gain muscle.

Because for a long time, I was under the assumption that you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, which is physiologically impossible. You have to be in a calorie surplus to gain and a deficit to lose. What was I thinking?? It can seem like it's possible from a month to month standpoint, however. For example, you could focus on working strictly muscle building for two weeks and then switch to strictly fat loss the next two weeks. And relatively speaking, a month isn't that long of a time period, so it could feel as though you are losing fat yet gaining muscle at the same time. However, overall, it would be a painfully sloooooow process. Especially if you goal is, to build muscle AND lose extra fat.

And this has been my mindset for a long time because I've been so afraid to be in a calorie surplus and GAIN the muscle I so desperately want. Which is why it's taken forever. Crazy isn't it? Our minds can be so powerful. So instead of being an idiot, I want to harness that powerful mind of mine and put it to better use.

I've gained muscle. I've seen the changes in my body take place. I've seen the number on the scale go up. Am I ok with that? Hell yeah! My arms, shoulders and back are so muscular. My butt is growing rounder, how can I not be ok with that?!

So, the plan is, I'm focusing on staying in a calorie surplus and gaining as much muscle as I can for the next 3 weeks. Then, I'm going to make the switch to my 12 week timeline. I will still focus on heavy lifting (to maintain muscle) while carb cycling the first 6 weeks, then switch to fat loss the second 6 weeks. This will require different training style and different diet. I'm excited to see how my body responds.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

cloud 9

Last night my husband and I got away. We took a mini vacation. The older kids were out of town, our baby was spending the night at Gram's and we took the opportunity to be together in a completely stress free environment. We spent the night at a lovely hotel, right here in town. It was our sweet escape.

We went to the art museum. We were going to go see a movie but we went back to the hotel and watched tv instead LOL. Actually, Andreas took a little snooze while I watched tv. We walked to a great little restaurant downtown and had a delicious meal. I had coq au vin and it was FAB! I figured it would be a better choice than my regular gorgonzola pasta. Then back to the hotel for more tv. And finally, to the hotel bar for a night cap. It was a fabulous day/night.

Yesterday morning, I did my workout at home because I get intimidated by being at the gym on Saturdays just because it's way busier than I'm used to. And I was able to do everything I needed at home. I did my squats at home, not using a smith machine, which is something I haven't done in many months! In fact, I don't remember the last time! So I figured I would need Andreas to spot me. Well, his back wasn't feeling all that great so I flew solo. That's alright, I thought, I'll just go lighter.

It turns out, I didn't need to go much lighter at all! Before I joined the gym, I would have never been able to squat over 80lbs without Andreas spotting me. And I did 90lbs like it was nothing! It was a pivotal moment because I was able to realize the strength I've gained! It felt great!

I had to run into the bathroom at one point during the workout to wipe my dripping nose and I got a look at my arms and they just looked jacked! So I ran up to get my phone and snapped a few pictures.

I look like total hell but I don't care. You're not supposed to look cute after working out, right?

I have also noticed some changes happening in the last month or so to my butt and legs. I'm liking where this is going! We had a really great mirror in our hotel room so I decided to take advantage of it for the purpose of progress pictures.

It's a bit difficult to see but I've got some new lines going on and I like them! The artistic photographer in me also liked how the flash turned out (which typically would have annoyed me). Like my argyle socks? haha...

What's funny is how sore I am today! I mean, it's the same workout I've been doing for a month or so but I'm sore. I guess I should start ditching the smith machine for squats because I think I work harder, go lower, use more muscle for stability....whatever the case, it did me good!

Tonight, my husband is cooking us a gourmet meal and it smells SO GOOD!
Tomorrow, sushi with my mom and sisters! Excited!
I'm feeling really spoiled lately.

Friday, February 17, 2012

On track

Yesterday, I was wondering if I should go to the gym. My back was still a teensy bit sore from my little mishap a few days ago. But I figured working it would be a good thing, to prevent stiffness.
I was worried about how much weight I should use on my deadlifts. I thought maybe I should go down a bit, since I don't want to injure myself further. So on my first set I only used 115lbs and that felt pretty good so for the next 5 sets I went up to where I should be, which is 135lbs. I'm still wondering if my form is ok at that weight. Sometimes I wonder. I keep my back flat and my focus on a spot on the wall in front of me, but still, sometimes I just don't know.

I want to lift heavy, I know it's what I need to be doing, I just wonder sometimes if I'm going too heavy for my capabilities. Form should always be first and foremost. While it's fun to see the weight go up as you get stronger, I need to constantly remind myself that lifting more weight isn't going to do a thing for me if my form isn't perfect.

But as I walked away from the smith machine, a man walked past me and said "lookin' good!" so I hope that meant my form was ok. He was a gray haired man, in the gym, busting it out like a 20 year old. That's what I hope for myself at that age! (except for the man part...hehe)

Anyway, my routine for the past month or so has been alternating between two different full body workouts. It's M,W,F workouts  A/B/A - then the next week, M,W,F workouts B/A/B. You get the idea. Abs twice a week, and a cardio session on Saturday. Although I've been adding to the workouts.

It just didn't seem like enough. There are only 4 main exercises, and even though I go through 6 sets of each, it still feels like I have more in me. So I've been adding.

Workout A will consist of:
1)deadlifts supersetted with bench press (6 sets)
2)one arm snatches supersetted with walking db lunges (5 sets)
*here's where I add*
curtsy lunges with 25lb weight plates supersetted with side band walking
lying ham curl (heavy weight - low reps) supersetted with step ups or the glute/ham raises

By now, I feel like I've worked! I'm dripping with sweat.
Then I end with 8-10 minutes of incline sprints....oh mama!

I might have abs this day, I might not.

Workout B will consist of:
1)BB clean & press supersetted with pull ups (6 sets) - this is a tough set!
2)BB back squat supersetted with renegade db rows (6 sets)

Then it's two arm swings with a 30lb kettlebell 2x25

And I will add to this too, usually I will always try to add the curtsy lunges and band walking (for my out thighs) or the lying ham curl and glue/ham raise (for my hamstrings), or the step ups and the wide stance leg press (for my glutes).

Now there are days where I might just be too wiped to add anything and if I do add, I will for sure be too wiped to get in the incline sprints. And that is one thing I don't like to skip. Every M,W,F at the end of the workout, I do incline sprints for 8-10 minutes. And on Saturdays, I go for 25 minutes. It's a killer.

These workouts may not seem all that tough looking at them on paper, but believe me, it takes everything I've got. For every move I am putting forth max effort and lifting the heaviest weight I can. That is taxing. And I'm really careful about not making these workouts overly long because I don't want to exhaust my nervous and endocrine system. You are doing yourself no favors by working out longer than an hour. This could literally have been my problem all along!

So technically Tuesdays and Thursdays are rest days but I've been going to get 30 minutes of cardio and some "extra" shoulder work. Just basic stuff that I'm hoping will bring them out more. I really hope that isn't considered overtraining.

I know that right now, for my specific goal, I have to be careful with the amount of cardio I do. Since my goal is to become more muscular, running is not the best choice for me since it has a reducing effect on the entire body, including muscle size. However, I do run sometimes. Actually, I mix it up. I got from rowing, to elliptical, to treadmill. Mostly because with the history of knee problems in my family, the fluid motion of the elliptical and the rower are easier than the constant impact running has on my joints. Mostly the only running I do is sprinting intervals. My longer duration cardio will come from the elliptical or the rower.

I guess that's pretty much it. I will change up my workouts to a more plyo-based, fast paced, fat torching routine once April rolls around. I want to give myself another full month for muscle building before I start to get rid of any excess fat. Because I can see what's evolving. Everything seems to be on track. I'm gaining weight (yet still fitting into my clothes) which is a pretty good indicator that it's muscle I'm gaining. In fact, when I went to see my Dr. for a re-check, I weighed quite a bit more :) And this was only a span of 6 weeks! So I'm kind of excited to see how my body will change when I'm in "lean out" mode.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I have a dream, or maybe it's a nightmare

I was out with my sister and her friend last Saturday and we eventually met up with another one of my sister's friends. Somehow we got onto the topic of exercise (which always seems to happen at some point in the conversation). I think it was because my sister asked her if she ran that morning (apparently she runs outside...brrrr) and then I asked her if she was an avid runner, if she was doing the marathon, yadda yadda....

No, she just runs. Probably doesn't have time to train for a marathon, being a surgeon and all. Yeah, I was impressed too. She's 2 weeks shy of her 30th birthday. I felt old. And stupid. But she was a really nice girl, fun to talk to. And if I need someone to cut me open and check out my bowels, she's my go-to girl.

Of course then my sister brags me up (bless her heart - she's like my mother) about all the weight training I do and comments I get and stuff. And she turns to me and says, "oh really? That's interesting." And then she asks me how I got into it and then why did it end up being such a passion in my life.

I answered her with the usual reasons: at first it was to lose baby weight and get muscle definition. Eventually it became more about building muscle because I was too small and then I blurted out "and I want to compete by the time I'm 40".


Where did that come from? I mean I've always sort of had it in the back of my mind but never really said it out loud I don't think.

And she was like, "Wow, that's really cool". She proceeded to tell me that she is one of those people who grows big easily lifting weights so she stays away from it. I wanted to slap her. (haha...not really) But I did admit that I was very jealous. How nice that would be!

So yeah, apparently when I'm drinking, I think I want to be a figure competitor. HAHAHA! I had to laugh seeing that on the screen. There is a LOT of work that would need to be done before I would even dare step on a stage. Plus, I have this little problem, a nuisance really, called anxiety and panic disorder and I'm not sure me on a stage in front of a lot of people (all looking at my body and scrutinizing it - looking for every flaw) is really the best place for someone like me.

However, it is a BIG and SCARY goal. And I think it might have been Tom Venuto who said if your goals don't scare you a little, you need to aim higher.

Right now, for me to say, "yeah, my goal is to wear my bikini without a care in the world" that's not really scary. Because for one thing, this is a goal I set for myself EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. And for another thing, I don't HAVE to wear my bikini if I don't want to. So, bikini = not scary = not motivation enough for me. Although, it still IS the goal. My ultimate goal. As always. As usual.

But if I want to aim high, if I want to have something to work towards, something that makes me feel butterflies in my stomach, the thought of competing definitely does the trick! And there is only one thing between me and a stage right now....

actually picking a contest and a date!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My routine and a little about vegan cheese

My morning routine is so solid. It's basically set in stone. And I like that.

Every day, the first thing I consume before anything else, is a glass of pure grapefruit juice. I am too lazy to squeeze my own and too cheap to buy a citrus juicer, so I buy the organic stuff with NO ADDED SUGARS or concentrate or any other crap.

Then, I get the kids off to school.

Then, I get my veggies juiced. I get 2 tall glasses of green juice. Usually 1 cucumber, 1 green pepper, spinach or romain hearts, 2 tomatoes, 1-2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and maybe one other thing, depending on what I have. But those I've listed are staples and always a part of the drink.

Then, I take my supplements, which I've scaled WAY back. What I take now are Prograde Metabolism, Prograde EFA Icon, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Multi-vitamin, BCAAs, glutamine. (but the last three I take later)

Then, I eat my oatmeal with a splash of almond milk. Unsweetened.

Every. Single. Day.

I have had this same routine ever since I bought the juicer. And I'm not the least bit sick of it. It makes me feel good. I have energy to workout. It sticks.

By the way, I tried a couple of vegan "cheese" recipes. This is how I know I'll never be able to be vegan. I just love cheese way to much. And meat. And eggs. Dang! I know it's like uber healthy for you but it's just never going to happen for me. I'm not passionate enough about it.

So here was sauce number one:

Looks chunky. And it was. It just had a weird texture. It called for ground oats, which I didn't understand the need, mostly because it made it chunky. And it called for Tahini. If you don't know what that is, it's sesame paste. But it made the cheese taste sort of like peanut butter. I just wasn't impressed with this recipe. Although after it had cooled down, it sort of took on a consistency of Velveeta, and I decided to save it and try it again today. Cold.

Sauce number two:

Much creamier. This was taken from a vegan alfredo recipe, and it had a very alfredo texture. It was pretty good. I didn't find any vegan parmesean like the recipe called for but I'm sure if I had, it would have tasted even better. This is the sauce I chose to put on my pizza last night. My pizza was good but everyone else's pizza looked SO MUCH BETTER, with real cheese.

I saved this sauce too. I figured I could pour it over some brown rice noodles or something one of these days.

Oh, and this is the nutritional yeast I was talking about that is supposed to give the "cheese" it's cheesy flavor. There is a recipe for cheese sauce right on the package.

So that was my vegan cheese experience. I like the slices they sell in the store better.

In the end, I have discovered that being a vegan is just not for me. At least not until it might become necessary in old age, for health reasons.
For now, I'm happy to stick with healthy eating as usual, including meat and dairy.

my first gym

This is what happens when the hooks don't attach on the squat rack....except you think they have so you shift the weight off your shoulders......

....and you crumple to the ground under the weight like a pop can....or an accordion.

Actually, for landing on my knees underneath 105lbs of weight, it doesn't look bad at ALL! I'm more worried about what my back is going to feel like tomorrow.

Luckily the gym was totally dead today. I was the only one lifting. There were a few older men walking the track but that was it. So I bruised my legs but saved my ego....hehe.

I was already on my 4th set, only one more set to go, so I just kept on going as if nothing happened.

Then, when I got into the car, the song "I had a bad day..." was playing. Uh oh...
Is this how my day is going to go??


Ok, so it's tomorrow (I typed this yesterday) and I'm definitely moving a little slower. My back is hurting, as are my knees, but they don't look any worse. I just have cardio and a little extra shoulder work scheduled for today. I could probably handle a 30 minute run.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yesterday I was almost vegan. Almost. It was so close. I had a completely vegan day until after dinner (which was a hearty vegetable soup). I told you yesterday about how my Swedish husband HAS to have semlor (Fat Tuesday buns) every year at this time. It's practically a law.

And if you knew how delish these things are.....
I mean, it's not just some cream in a bun.
First of all the buns themselves are a sweet heavenly concoction bursting with beautiful cardamom.
And the cream inside is whipping cream with shredded almond paste and small chunks of the buns (after hollowing them out to make room for the cream).
I mean, you just don't know how good they are until you taste them.

And having them in the house is like having Nutella. DANGEROUS!

Needless to say, I had to have one after dinner. I HAD to. They are almost gone though. It makes me sad and glad at the same time.

I'm pretty certain that I will never be able to commit to a diet that is 100% purely vegan.
But I'm having fun trying to come up with different entrees and finding recipes for things like "cheese sauce" that actually contains no cheese.

I found out that nutritional yeast, which is one component of a cheese-type sauce, tastes a bit cheesy. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I might do home made pizza tonight and so I'll have to try it out on my pizza. While everyone else gets the real stuff.

I bought the easiest pizza crust known to man for the others: the refrigerated Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough. You just unroll it and BAM! While for myself I choose a gluten-free pre-made frozen crust. Simply because there was no nasty ingredients. I looked at the ingredients of the Pillsbury crust and now I feel terrible about buying it for my family. It has partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil in it. UGH! I should have known better.

Next time, I won't be so lazy and we will go all out home made. Like last year, we made home made pizza - heart shaped, no less!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Feeling fine

So after blowing off some steam, I feel better.

I went out for "one or two" bloody marys with my sister and her pal, Millie at 11am on Saturday. I returned at 9pm. Yeah. It was completely spontaneous and I was totally selfish and it felt great!

I didn't get drunk because I drank a lot of water during that time. I mean in those 10 hours I had a total of 4 drinks. But I also had a greasy delicious cheeseburger and fries at the bar. I was really hungry and there was nothing healthy on the menu (of course) and it sounded good. Plus, I was pretty good with my diet all week so why not.

My husband was pleasantly surprised when I returned home at 9pm sober and he wasn't mad at my being gone all day. He's a good guy.

The next day, Andreas made the most delicious dinner and I ate it without a care about calories or fat or carbs or meat or anything. I just ate and it was great. He also made fat Tuesday buns or semlor (in Swedish) and they were also great.

Today, I'm back to juicing and life as usual except the kids have the day off from school and my littlest is battling a bad cold. I think she is feeling a bit better so I might head off to the store for some more veggies and various other things. I didn't get to the gym this morning as planned because she was sick but I can either do my workout at home or go after dinner when Andreas is home.

I still feel very passionately about the possibility of trying to go vegan. I find myself gravitating towards it, whether I'm trying or not. For instance, last week I made a chickpea & vegetable curry with rice and fish on the side. I didn't eat the fish. I am not eating cheese. I haven't had any eggs. I haven't had any milk (but I never drink milk anyway, only almond milk in my oatmeal). I have eaten meat because I am still a little afraid of what Andreas is going to say/think if I stop eating meat. The only time he will probably notice is on weekends.

This week I've planned the menu around it so it will be easy to skirt by without meat. I'm making vegetable soup tonight, roasted winter veggies with chicken tomorrow (I won't have to eat the chicken), home made pizza for the next night (I've got a recipe for "cheesy" sauce for my pizza that is completely vegan) and then buckwheat pancakes for Thursday.

If I do decide to do this, it isn't going to be a cold turkey thing. I'm sure I will be able to handle it most of the time but for me, getting my family used to it might be difficult. My 9 year old has been slowly, over the past year, trying to convince us all that she is a vegetarian and rarely eats meat (only if we practically force her), so she will certainly be happy if I am on board with her. She will not be vegan, however, because she loves cheese and milk and eggs too much. I too love eggs and already I feel sad. But I do want to try. Just try. And I'm not going to explain why. I think I may have explained my reasons enough in the last post.

People might think I'm extreme. People might think a lot of negative things. I'm sure there will be whispers and maybe I'll get a lot of crap at family gatherings. Or, maybe I'll just take a vegan vacation in those instances. I think that even if I were to enjoy a vegan lifestyle 95% of the time, I would get the health benefit. Since my reasons are more for health than changing the way of the world, that leaves it pretty much open to do it however I want to do it.

And maybe I try it and decide that I just miss eating chicken too much. Or whatever. I'm just winging it these days.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm going to vent....sorry in advance

I'm so frustrated right now, I don't even know where to begin. The best place for me, is in front of the computer. I can type fast so I can just let the thoughts pour out through my fingers as fast as I can think them.

My husband told me last night that I had a problem. And he was serious. What is my problem? Wanting to be as healthy as possible. Wanting my family to be as healthy as possible. Wow. I don't think that's a problem at all. If you love someone, you want the best for them. How is that wrong.

I asked him to do me a favor. Sit down with me and the kids and watch a movie called Forks Over Knives. I have mentioned this movie in either this blog or my family blog before. "what? that health show?" he said. Right then and there I knew he had no interest whatsoever. And I find him to be a little hypocritical when it comes to this "health" issue because I KNOW he cares, it's almost like he doesn't want to show it because I care so much more. I think it's a man/macho thing where you can't let the little woman know something more or be more passionate about something than you yourself are. But I've been wrong before.

Anyway, I said, "It's a documentary. It's real doctors, real studies, real findings, that spans over 20 years of research (and beyond really). I just want you to watch it. I don't think you'll change your mind about the way you eat. I just want you to watch it." And he's like, I don't want to waste an hour and a half of my life. (yeah, and I've never watched a crappy show for you, right?) And then he proceeds to tell me about how I have a problem or issues or whatever he said that made my blood boil. Because it's something different every few months with me. I'm always looking for the next "fad" diet. Which is completely false. I may have tried certain things because I've read entire books about how to alleviate certain health issues with nutrition and how to achieve a healthy energetic body through nutrition, but I don't consider that fad, I consider that science. When you think you have a food allergy, you have to go through steps to eliminate certain foods you think may be the cause. This is as far as I've ever gone. The non-wheat "fad" as my husband called it, was merely a test to see how my digestive system reacted. Which, by the way, pretty much took care of my constant gas problem. I'm not totally wheat free anymore, I just eliminated all the super fiber enhanced cereals and bread I was eating. It really helped. I wasn't allergic, but I was eating too much. But it was a very helpful and interesting book.

The diet promoted in this movie, however, is vegan. No meat, fish, dairy, eggs - anything that is a product of an animal. Just a plant based whole food diet. And that sounds like it would be incredibly hard to do. Also not very fun. But after watching the documentary and seeing the profound effects of switching to this diet.....I am SO tempted to try it. I know it would be difficult. I LOVE eggs. I don't know if I could live without another slice of pizza (hello...cheese!), or a juicy and tender steak. But, like I said, after watching, I am really leaning toward it.

My hubby doesn't want me pushing my ideas on anyone. I wouldn't consider myself pushy when it comes to anything. But when a person is passionate about something, and that something could literally change the lives of the people you care about, it seems almost criminal NOT to share the knowledge of what you have learned. So sorry for caring. Go ahead everyone, eat yourself sick.

I asked him, "What are you afraid of? Why can't you just watch the show? Are you afraid it might change the way you think?" I always thought he was open minded. But I guess he's stuck in his ways like most people.

I tried to convince him with certain stand-out lines from the documentary.....(see below)

like how 75% of dollars spent on health care in the U.S. are due to chronic illnesses and these are due to diet & lifestyle

or how the world's cattle alone eat enough grain to feed 8.7 billion people, nearly 2 billion more than earth's population. And how redirecting even a portion of the grain used to fatten cattle could feed every hungry mouth on the planet!

and about the fact that the livestock industry has a greater impact on global warming than the transportation industry - according to the United Nations. That's leaving a big footprint.

or about the hundreds of patients with heart disease treated almost exclusively with the whole foods plant based diet

OR about Mac Danzig, an ultimate fighter, who stopped eating dairy due to allergies and all that was between him and being vegan was chicken and fish so he just eliminated that too and since has had more energy and recovers better. He is a muscular, strong athlete who used to think (like everyone else) that we need protein. He is proof that we don't.

So is Ruth Heidrich, a marathon runner for 14 years who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 47. She changed her diet and is still doing iron man triathlons in her 70s!

Countless instances of dramatic effects on diabetes and hypertension since changing to this diet.

Milk milk drink milk, right? Animal protein creates acid like condition called metabolic acidosis and to combat this, our body draws upon it's most readily available acid buffer - the calcium in our bones. Incidentally, the people who drink the most milk and are supposed to have the strongest bones from all that milk, suffer the most from weakened bones. Hmmm......

These are all interesting facts taken out of the documentary. There is SO much more. I could type the whole thing word for word, but it would be so much easier for you to just watch it.

I'm not trying to turn everyone into a vegan. That would be ridiculous since I'm not even vegan myself! But I think it's a very eye opening show and one full of information that everyone should hear.

I just wanted him to watch it with me. You know, how hard is that? It's not like I was asking him to do something immoral or commit a crime with me. Just watch a friggin' documentary.

p.s. The USDA determines dietary guidelines that are taught in our schools. And those guidelines have nothing to do with the health of children but more about the financial and business end of it.

When it comes down to it, everything EVERYTHING is about money. Money over health. That's just wrong.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Like pop?

Haha...when I first typed that title, I accidentally typed "poop" instead of pop. I almost left it. Because it was funny. And that's what I think of pop anyway.

Why? Because according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, drinking any type of soda every day may increase your chance of developing metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease.

Sadly, I know a LOT of people that are pretty much addicted to pop. Whether its regular or diet, it's all the same. Crap. Diet is even worse than regular because A) it's sweetened with JUNK like saccharin, aspartame or sucralose and B) consuming a lot of artificial sweeteners can actually make you gain weight because it increases your desire for sweet foods and leads you to consume more calories overall.

So glad I'm not addicted to that nast!

Anyway, I happened upon something called Zevia. And it's pop in all the popular flavors (cola, lemon-lime, root beer, dr. pepper, orange, etc) and it's sweetened with Stevia. So I bought a couple kinds, just to see if my family would like it. They drank it. They liked it. Zero sugar, zero aspertame. Zero calories. ALL NATURAL.

I even tasted it. But since I don't like pop in general, I didn't like this either.

My kids were STOKED because I rarely let them have pop. Pretty much only on holidays or special occassions of some type.

It's spendy though. I think a 6 pack was like $5.99. But, how can you put a price on your health, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I loves me a good quote

And there are so many of them out there. Very motivating and inspiring.

I, for the most part, am a very active person. I try to eat as healthy as possible but still have the occasional hankerings for the BAD stuff like chocolate, french fries and pizza.

After watching a documentary called "Forks Over Knives" (thanks to the advice of my niece, Amanda) it almost makes me want to be vegan! Almost. Basically the movie is about this, if you eat a plant based whole foods diet, you can be the healthiest you've EVER been. Stay free from diseases and even reverse damage from diseases. But you can't eat meat. Or dairy. No red meat, no fish, no eggs, no milk. NO FUN!

I love to be healthy and stay fit but honestly, even if I tried, I'm not sure I could handle becoming vegan. I care about my health, I do, but this is pretty extreme.

I think it would be an interesting thing to try for a few months. Just to monitor the way I feel each day, what I'm eating and make a judgement for myself based on my own results. I already feel fantastic, but could I be feeling even better??

Since I'm trying to build muscle, what would my gains be like without animal protein or whey and casein? I'm sure there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders out there. I should try and find some, see how they do it.

Anyway, I was also going to say that the movie had tons of great quotes. I will leave you with a few of my faves:

"Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure cost this country over 120 billion dollars."
- Michelle Obama

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” -Thomas Edison

“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” – Hippocrates

“He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skills of the physician.” – Chinese proverb

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

Monday, February 6, 2012

I feel amazing!

And when I feel amazing, I just want to shout it to the whole world! Not because I want to brag about it or try and make people jealous or make others who don't feel amazing feel bad about themselves....but because I want to spread the amazing feeling around!

I wish I knew how I could help other people feel this amazing.

I think that is part of the reason I blog. I absolutely know for a fact that part of (or most of) the reason I feel this good is because of a healthy diet and regular exercise. And maybe by stating that, I will help someone, somewhere, who may be struggling, to give this lifestyle a try and feel amazing themselves.

There are times when I feel selfish about blogging. Because it's about ME. What I do, day in and day out. But I need to get over that because there are TONS of blogs just like mine. And my hope is to have a faithful following of people who read me because they like my ideas, attitudes, etc. The same way I follow certain blogs that I like because I find inspiration from them, not because I find them self-centered people.

Anyway, enough of that rant.

I had another GREAT day at the gym. I am SO glad that I joined. Mom and I were talking about that in the locker room today after our workout. It was such a big leap, for both of us, and we did it and both feel like we could never go back to the way it was.

The gym has help me in so many ways. I have made gains that would not have been possible at home. The atmosphere pushes me harder and now and then I get a good dose of BAM! to my ego when people I don't know compliment me on my fitness.

Everyone likes to get recognition for what they do - whether it's a promotion at work, a compliment from your kids about dinner, a pat on the back from your parents for good grades....whatever it is, it means something to get a compliment for your efforts. It makes all the hard work worth while.

I am on my way to a goal. This blog is about that goal. The struggles, the ups and downs, the things I've tried and liked, the things that haven't worked out so well, the slips ups, the set backs...everything. I put my whole self out there for the world to see. It isn't always rainbows and unicorns. And if you read a lot of my posts, you definitely know when I'm having off days! I try to be as real as I can without disclosing too much intimate information.

Sometimes I wonder what people think of me posting pictures of my body but it is necessary to show progression. It's necessary, mainly, for myself. The scale is not a measuring tool I trust. I barely use it anymore. Because it doesn't matter what I weigh. What matters is what I see in the mirror and how my clothes fit, and how I see myself in the pictures I take. That's it!

When no one I talk to seems to understand my body goals, this is the place I usually turn to vent my frustration. When I'm sick of people telling me I'm too skinny already, why do I exercise and "diet" so much, this is where I go to explain that what they are perceiving as a quest to get skinnier is very VERY wrong. I know my body better than anyone. I have very specific goals and I train according to those goals. Whether or not you understand my goal, is irrelevant. I know what I need to do and why. And after I've reached my goals, you STILL might not understand it. But I'll still be here, blogging away, hoping to recruit you. Hoping to inspire you. Hoping to help you.

Because I feel AMAZING! And if you try it, you might feel amazing too! Go on, lift a dumbbell, see how it makes you feel - I dare you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


20 minutes of hill sprints this morning.
30 sec. work/ 1 minute rest for the first half
30 sec. work/ 1-1/2 minute rest for the second half

I was so near puking, if I'd had food in my stomach, I'm pretty sure it would have come up.

Was just juicing this morning, no solid food. Until my energy level dipped, then I ate eggs and a protein bar. My energy went back up a little, but now I'm pooped again. Not sure why I'm so tired today.

I guess it's superbowl Sunday today. I would never have known without seeing FB status posts about it. Obviously I don't watch football. I don't watch much of anything. Although I did watch a movie yesterday. I was all by myself and literally had NOTHING I needed to do so I watched Take Me Home Tonight. It didn't look that appealing to me and figured I'd shut it off after 10 minutes but it was actually a pretty funny movie.

Not much else to note. See you Monday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I had an AMAZING workout yesterday. Got a good pump in my arms.

I was doing supersets:
 clean & presses with 65lbs
immediately followed by:
pull ups (supinated)
Did 4 sets of 5 reps
That's 20 pull ups, y'all!

I also did:
back squat with 105lbs
immediately followed by:
renegade db rows with 20lb dumbbells
Did 4 sets of 5 reps on squats
Did 3 sets of 8 (each arm) on renegade rows

Then I did 2 sets of two-arm kettlebell swings, using a 30lb kettlebell.
Each set was 25 reps.
Whoo...that'll get your heart pumping!

I also added lying ham curls:
55lbs x 8 reps - 2 sets
Then on the 3rd set I did 6 reps with S-L-O-W negatives.

Followed it up with the glute/ham raise machine thingy.
2 sets of 10, sweat dripping.
I worked the first set at a wider setting and focused on the raise/hold.
I worked the last set with a smaller setting (feet closer to butt) and focused on slow forwards.
I don't really know how to explain this any other way.
The last set was very difficult. I didn't have much strength left in my hammies.

I ended the workout as I always do, with hill sprints.
This time, I went easy on myself and only put it on a 2% incline. At the gym I'm usually at a 5% incline. At home I bring the sucker all the way up. My treadmill isn't exactly top of the line, and so it doesn't tell me what incline I am at, so I just raise it as high as it'll go. That is my only beef with my treadmill. Otherwise, it's served me well for the last 5 years.


Does anyone else find it difficult NOT to eat Nutella by the spoonfuls when there is a jar in the house?
Or is it just me?
No, I know it isn't just me.
And this time I can't blame it on PMS or being extremely hungry or anything like that. It's just a - gotta have it cuz its so freakin' good - thing.
See, I'm a good mother. My 5 year old was sick and all she wanted in the world was Nutella, so I said, ok, I'll get you a small jar. Of course all the store had was the gigantic jar. But it won't last long in this house. And every time we finish a jar, I declare, "THAT'S IT! NO MORE NUTELLA...for at least a year!" But it never works.

Oh, one more thing:
Now I know why there are so many women taking Zumba at the gym. You should have seen this guy walk out of class.....wearing the jingly little skirt thingy. Um....yeah. He was FIT. I will stop there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm so excited

I got my interval timer in the mail today! Yay!

There were different colors to choose from, I chose HOT pink, what else?

It's the niftiest little device and I'll tell you why.
It's got a clip so I can attach it to my sports bra or my pants.
I can time my intervals without having to look at the clock (which is a pain in the ass).

Why is it a pain in the ass? Two reasons:
1) I'm not always in an area with a clock
2) when you are in the middle of serious plyo moves, you don't want to have to look at the clock every 5 seconds when you think you are nearing the end of the 30 second interval (or 20 seconds, or 1 minute, or however long your intervals may be)

But with this little darling, I set the interval time I want, and it will beep when it's time to change up. This is perfect for when I am doing a plyometric circuit. If I'm to perform around 10 or so plyo moves, one right after another, it can be bothersome to keep track of the clock. It's too much thinking. I want to put ALL my focus into what I am doing.

Now I just have to listen for the beep!

But what if I have my iPod playing and I can't hear the beep?
Never fear! It has a vibration setting too!

I scored big with this little gem! Can't wait to try it out!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Mom and I went to the gym after dinner last night because we both had morning appointments. The receptionist even said, "Well, you two are here at an odd hour." Yeah, we always go in the morning. She said it's a lot busier than we are used to - just fyi. The old me would have freaked out about it. Crowded gym + girl with severe anxiety + self-consciousness = NOT GOOD. But I was cool. It didn't bother me. Let me say that again, it didn't bother me! (yay)

Anyway, on with my story....

We were there, we worked out, blah blah blah. Yes it was a tad busier. More weight lifting men around than usual (intimidating). On our way out, this person whom I've never seen before comes up to me and says, "I was going to ask you, are you training for something in particular? Some sport or competition?"

I said, "Nope. Just for fun." Which, isn't entirely the truth. I mean, I DO have a purpose for training like I do, but it's not like I'm going to tell him I'm trying to lose jiggle.

And he shook his head surprised and said, "Wow, cuz you work HARD."

I think I was beaming. I said thanks and he walked away. I looked at my mom and said, "That's the second time some random person has come up to me and asked me that same thing!"

It was a great GREAT feeling!

I'm not just another girl on the treadmill. I'm out there busting my ass with the big boys, and I'm proud of it!

And now I will leave you with some MOTIVATION!

Strong, stunning and SEXY!

One day, I will have earned the right to have my picture in the line up...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I am in heaven

This past week has been phenomenal. I'm really feeling great, I'm sleeping, I'm working hard at the gym...I really feel like I'm on track.

I've been seeing a counselor for a few weeks now and today she gave me a handout about mindfulness that I think will not only help me with my day-to-day issues, but with my body goals as well.

Mindfulness is a practical way to notice thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, smells - anything we might not normally notice. It sounds simple but it is actually very different from how our minds normally behave, and because of this, takes LOTS of practice.

Having more control over my mind and thoughts is always something I knew I needed to work on. And I know that it is one thing that stands in the way of my ultimate body goals.

We are "in our heads" a lot of the time, thinking about what we have to do, what we have done, regretful thoughts of the past or worrying about future events. Instead, we should try regular daily tasks from more of a child-like perspective. For instance, instead of being "in our heads" while washing the dishes, we might think "listen to the bubbles, they're fun!". It makes us pay attention to the moment we are in and do it in a non-judgemental way. - taken from the handout I was given

I think if I can practice this and get it down, it will do WONDERS for me. I'm the type of person who often feels overwhelmed easily. I get distracted. I can be on my way upstairs to get something for a task I am doing downstairs and become distracted by a mess in the hallway, so instead of getting the thing I first needed, I start cleaning up the mess. Then I see something else that needs attention, and maybe something else, until I finally realize I still haven't done what I first set out to do. And an hour might have gone by. Hence, the feeling that I never get done what I need to do.

There are breathing exercises I can do. And meditation (although I wonder when it will ever be quiet in this house to actually do it). I have been taking active steps this past week to decrease my stress by getting enough sleep (I've been falling asleep to relaxation music) and journaling every night, and just walking away from stressful situations. It's really working for me. I think that if I keep going with this, it will help immensely with my body goals. I will start to notice myself in a more positive light and Lord knows I need that!

I actually have an audio that I listen to about mindful eating. I have had it for years. I like it because the man's voice is so pleasant and relaxing.

I still find myself standing in front of the mirror every day, hoping to see the change I long for. And although I still see the same issues, I do feel improvement. It's in the way I fit into my once tight pants, it's in the way my butt doesn't sag quite like it used to, and it's in the way I catch a glance of myself in the mirror and feel proud of the body I have sculpted so far. Sure, I have a long way to go to be the hard body I long to be, but I also have to look at what I've been able to accomplish for myself so far. I am going to spend a lot more time focusing on changing my thought patterns so that I can see things in a more positive way. It will create a better me all around, not just in physical appearance, but in emotional and mental health as well.

I am all for being whole healthy. It doesn't make any sense to be an avid exerciser and then eat junk food all the time. What's the point? Nor does it make any sense for someone to put years of hard work into improving their body, yet never appreciating that they actually have improved. Eh hem...guilty. My daughter (Hanna) has taught me about the importance of the health triangle And no I'm not talking about the food pyramid, I mean the Health Triangle. It's physical health, social health and mental health. All three sides of the health triangle are dependent on each other. Devoting more attention to one particular side, while neglecting the others, can lead to health imbalances. And I think based on that, I've got to get myself balanced. Hanna may only be 14 but she is smart enough to notice things about her mom, even though mom may try her best to hide them. And the fact that she noticed me struggling and brought up what she learned in school about the health triangle really proves to me how smart and thoughtful she is.

"Consider the person who is meticulous about diet and exercise. This person will often neglect socializing with friends for fear of missing a workout. He may avoid having dinner with people because of strict dietary rules. This individual may have excellent physical health, but his social health is inadequate. This can lead to loneliness, which might eventually compromise mental health."

Read more: The Health Triangle: Mental, Social, & Physical Definitons |

Anyway, just thought I'd share what I learned today.