Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little run

The girls and I went out for a run/walk last night. Hanna came with this time. We went shopping and bought her some new running shoes, some workout clothes, and an arm band for her phone. She has Run Keeper on her phone so we are able to track her progress. She has set a goal for 10lbs in 2 months.
She's not a runner and admits to hating it. She would rather do almost anything else. But the thing with her is, it's the only thing that is going to guarantee to get her working hard enough. I can tell it's really hard for her. We only went about 1.5 miles and probably walked half of it. She's very out of shape. But I promised her the more she did it, the easier it would get. I don't think she believed me. I said, if she ran every night M-F, it wouldn't take long to build her fitness level. And for her with a lot of fat to lose, this is the best option right now.

I was very inspired by my girls and their willingness to run. Of course after that quick little workout, I wasn't satisfied and craved more. And it was a beautiful night. So when we got back home, I took her phone (using Run Keeper) and went for a run on my own. Here are my stats from that run:

3.20 miles, avg mph 6.21, time 30.56, cal 355 (calories are wrong because it is generalized)

Kind of a neat app. I think will also work with my heart rate monitor, which is pretty exciting. Although I know that Hanna is not a fan of wearing them. But it's really cool, especially for a free app.

I got home, guzzled water and ate. I was so hungry. Then I got a headache and I still have one this morning. Not sure if there is a relation.

We also did our weight training workout in the morning. Here's what that consisted of:

Super Set (no rest between exercises)
1) Medicine ball ( 10lbs) jump squats - 12
2) Front squats 30lbs - 12
3) Back squats 30lbs - 12

Static lunges bw - 12

Super Set
1) Sumo squats 30lbs - 10
2) Split squat bw - 10/10

Super Set
1) Side lying leg raises 12/12/12 each leg
2) Bench single leg hip raises 12/12

Super Set
1) BB bent over row 40lbs - 12
2) DB lat raise 8lb dbs - 12
3) Single DB front raise 12lbs - 20
4) Tricep skull crusher 12lbs - 12

Super Set
1) Crunch (feet up, arms out in front) 12
2) Cross over crunch (feet up, one leg crossed over, arms out front) 12/12
3) Jeri Curl (plank position, knee to opposite elbow) 12

Repeat circuit two or three times

I'm keeping the weight pretty low here so I've got a lot of room to grow.

Hanna's workout looked very similar, just a few differences. She did her jump squats and regular squats just using bodyweight. She was excited about the lat raises because she wants to build her arms. Yeah!

Diet yesterday:
#1) 2 eggs, 1/2 Ezekiel sprouted grain multi-grain English Muffin with all fruit jelly
#2) Greek non fat plain yogurt mixed with cinnamon, truvia, blueberries and crushed almonds (yum!)
#3) PW protein powder mixed with unsweetened almond/coconut milk, 100% pure organic maple syrup
#4) Chicken in a multi-grain pita pocket with spinach
#5) handful of raw almonds and a low fat cheese stick
#6) Chicken with a green salad and asparagus, french bread (a bit of a no-no but I knew I'd be running so I felt ok about it)
#7) post run - 2 eggs and multi-grain pita

BCAAs 4x/day
Glutamine pre and post workout
On my last day creatine loading (4x/day)
And the regular supps morning/noon/evening

Monday, July 30, 2012

A GREAT weekend!

I feel like I have so much to say! Not sure where to begin.

First of all, I wanted to say that I found something out over the weekend. I picked up a copy of a local magazine called "stride" the other day. This is one that I've not seen before. It's a health/fitness/nutrition kind of mag...so right up my alley. Anyway, there was a bit inside about a local woman who teaches some group fitness classes and also took first place in a bodybuilding comp in Eden Prairie, MN. And she is planning on competing in a comp right HERE in Fargo next March!! I could not contain my excitement when I found out there was going to be a bodybuilding competition here. I told my family right away. The first thing Eden said was, "Are you going to be in it?". I love her confidence in me. I said that technically I could be if I wanted to but I'd have to work REALLY hard over the next 8 months - which I intend to do. I don't know if I'm ready [mentally] for that kind of pressure. But I will DEFINITELY be there to watch, if I can be. I would love to experience one as a spectator so I know what to expect and how they operate. I still have 2 years before I turn 40, and as you may or may not know, it's on my bucket list!

The second thing I wanted to mention is that my 9 (almost 10) year old, Eden, has shown a recent interest in running. Mostly because we bought her some snazzy new kicks and she wanted desperately to try them out before school. So we ended up running twice in one day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Her legs got SO sore. She was complaining about her quads and that she could barely go up the stairs. I thought that was an odd place to be sore because I don't ever  get sore there when I run, usually only in my hips if it's been a while. I was teasing her a little bit about it, saying, "You sound just like Mama!" because I'm usually the one that is perpetually sore from lifting. But I'm used to it being a part of my life. She is not. But now that she is over the DOMS, we will go out again. And I have an app on my phone now that we can try out called BeFit, which uses GPS to track our run. It's free in case you want to try it out. It will be interesting to see how many miles she will log. I'm not sure if she's interested in her speed, but I know she is interested in miles because she must have asked me how far we'd gone every quarter mile last time. And of course I had no way of knowing other than by sheer guesstimation. Now I just need to figure out how to strap my phone to my body so I don't have to hold it the entire time.

I get SO excited when my kids show an interest in being healthy and fit. It has been my hope that during their young and impressionable years I will have been able to plant a sense of pride and accomplishment in them, and just an overall feeling of well being that is associated with staying fit. Because the more they see it, and the more it is apart of their lives, the more likely they will be to stick with healthy habits into adulthood. I am always making sure that they know it is NOT about being skinny, it's about being healthy. Sometimes I worry that they are getting the wrong idea about working out and eating right because they will say things like, "You're so skinny. I wish I was skinny like you." And that frightens me. I explain that my goal isn't to be skinny, but to be healthy and in my case, to actually gain some muscle. I don't want them to look at a bowl of spinach and think "diet food", I want them to see good nutritious fuel for the body. I know that they mimic me and the things I do or say, so I have to be careful. And I think I am. But what I cannot control is how the media constantly seems to portray skinny people as the most beautiful and happy. I don't want them to look at a magazine with stick figure models and actresses and think that they cannot measure up to their standard of beauty unless they grow up to be a size 00. 

The other day Hanna said to me, "I wish I was skinny like you. Then maybe people would like me better." And my heart just broke. I said, "No Hanna. People like you for your personality, not your size. If it worked the way you are thinking, I would have tons of friends, right?". After a long chat about it, I think she felt a little better. But I know that she really struggles with body image. It's pretty common, I think we all do to some extent. Some more than others. But even some people with awesome bodies tend to focus on every little flaw. It's almost more of a battle with the mind that we have to win.

I'm finally just starting to win my own battle with this. This summer is the first summer that I've walked around in a bikini in public and around the house, without a cover up, and felt ok about it. I was thinking to myself how crazy it was to let a few flaws ruin my summer fun. Screw it! Life's too short! Before I know it, I'll be 80 wishing I had my 37 year old body again! No way.

Yesterday, after our swim, my husband was patting the bottom of my thighs as I laid in the sun and I said to him, "You sure like playing with my jiggle."

"But it's so beautiful." he said. "And you have far less jiggle than most. You just need to embrace it."

I melted. Sometimes, he just knows exactly what to say.

"I think I have been embracing it. I mean, when was the last time I walked around all day in a bikini?" I said.

"True." he answered.

We swam nearly all afternoon yesterday. We bought a pool and it has been the best investment we've ever made, I think. I almost think we should save money for an in ground pool, judging by how much fun we are having. All five of us, swimming in this pool, for hours on end.....we had the best time. Getting a little exercise together. Finally! It's like a dream come true ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

anerobic vs. aerobic: do you know which you are really doing?

I read something today that TOTALLY blew me away. If you like to do aerobic exercise, you really need to read this to make sure you aren't actually doing an anaerobic workout by mistake!


This hit home for me. It's about a common workout mistake people make, thinking they are doing an aerobic workout that is actually anaerobic. In other words, working too intesnsely or at 80-85% of your max heart rate. When you do aerobic exercise, you need to be around 65-75% or it can work against you. Only elite athletes can train at 85% of their max and still be in an aerobic state.

This totally explains how I felt like I was busting my ass all that time and not seeing results take shape from it. I simply cannot wrap my mind around this! The harder I pushed myself, the more intervals I ran, the more I was just stressing out my adrenal glands, overtraining and causing hormonal imbalances and fatigue. No wonder I was getting fed up!

Aerobic exercise should be slow and long duration. When you are done, you should be able to feel like you can do the exact same workout again. If you can't, you are working too hard and not making it aerobic. But then why has HIIT gained so much popularity? Probably because you can burn a great deal of calories in a short time. But where are the calories coming from? Stored carbs and muscle, not fat, according to the article above.

Yikes! I think I might give HIIT the boot. At least no more than one session per week. I think I'll stick with a good uphill walk or a light jog for my cardio days.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Workout stats for today:

Total time: 1 hour 29 seconds
Total calories burned: 408

Weight training workout: 48 minutes, 320 calories
Uphill walk: 12 minutes, 88 calories

Fat burn: 28:53
Fitness: 31:36

That is a great ratio for me I think. Almost equal time spent on improving fitness and fat loss. Usually, my heart rate is elevated to where it's all spent on improving fitness levels and very little time spent in the fat burning zone. Typically only minutes out of my total workout. But that has always been how I train, everything is "balls to the wall", as my sister would put it ;)

I wanted to post my last two runs as well (yeah, I run once in a while).

I didn't wear my heart rate monitor for these:

45 minutes, 4.5 miles, (755 calories: according to treadmill) real calories burned around 330 as per online calculator. I burned close to the same amount weight training for the same length of time, as you can see from above.

1 hour, 5.6 miles (935 calories: according to treadmill) real calories burned around 410 as per online calculator. Which makes me wonder who is burning 800-1000 calories per hour. One must have to weight a lot more than I do to be burning that amount of calories. Because I would have to run 9 mph for an hour to burn 736 calories according to runtheplanet.com. Ouch!

I would post every day but sometimes I get sick of wearing my heart rate monitor. I get so sweaty and move around so much that it tends to slide down. Plus, it's on the smallest setting and still doesn't feel tight. But I'm going to try to be more faithful with it.

Diet today:

Breakfast: 2 eggs, toast and natural peanut butter, supps
Pre Workout: creatine, L-Glutamine, BCAAs ixed into water with MioENERGY liquid water enhancer in Green Thunder flavor, and a couple of figs
Post Workout: creatine, L-Glutamine, BCAAs mixed into water with whey protein powder, supps
Lunch: multi-grain pita pocket stuffed with chicken and onions, and a bundle of asparagus on the side
Snack: Greek plain non-fat yogurt with berries, and nuts, creatine, and BCAAs
Dinner: Spaghetti squash and home made sauce with extra lean ground beef, supps
Pre-bed: Casein protein shake with creatine and BCAAs

I'm loading creatine because it's been a while since I've taken it. So 4 times per day for a week. After that I will be down to just pre-workout.

Supplements: good or bad?

Recently, my mother-in-law was here for a visit. One day, I had my little GNC supplement holder open on the counter because I was either filling it for the day or taking my morning supps, and she passed by and said, "Are these all yours??"

Uh oh. I felt a battery of questions coming my way. Would I remember what I was all taking and why? Would I remember all the stuff I've read to back up my reasoning for taking each supplement?

"Yeah. They are just vitamins and stuff." waving it off like no big deal. But I knew she was going to think it was bad.

"You know that vitamins shorten your life. By 5 years." she said.

"Hmmm." I said, not really sure what to say next. "Why is that?" I asked.

"I can't remember." she said. "I read it."

Ah yes. I can vaguely remember not that long ago that there was a big headline about how taking supplements may not be all that good for you. A good scary headline is going to get your attention. We love sensationalism, don't we?

She went on to tell me that she hasn't taken anything for something like 15 years.

"Not even a multi-vitamin?" I asked.

"No." she said. "You should get all the nutrients you need from food."

Yep, I know this would be lovely. But the reality is, most of us don't. And supplements can fill in those much needed gaps. Plus, when you workout hard, you need to replenish your body with more than what the average person needs.

Of course I researched into this a little more. I remember when my mom brought the headline to my attention. I rolled my eyes at her and said, "Yeah, I will look into it." I'm not one to believe the first thing I hear. I need back up.

After a little searching, I discovered what I pretty much figured to be the case. A poor study. I would tell you all about it but I figured if you are interested, you can just click on the link yourself. It really is interesting.


And this isn't the only one I found. Just Bing it sometime if you want more than one source. You will find that most of it has the same message...."Don't stop taking your vitamins!"

My MIL is very educated and smart. I do trust her wisdom. But this is one of those things that will need more convincing, more solid evidence, to get me to change. I know she is just concerned about my dietary habits. Like my mother, she thinks I could stand to gain a few pounds. And as far as the supplements go, she didn't push me for an explanation, she simply wanted to share some information she thought was valuable. And I appreciate that, because it made me think enough to want to do more research into it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

eat asparagus

My lunch today: multi-grain pita pocket with crab meat, dill and small amount of lite mayo with a side of asparagus.

I make my asparagus by first breaking off the stalk close to the tip. I like to eat the most tender parts. Then I throw them into boiling water for about a minute. And lastly, I saute them in an olive oil misted pan with Lemon Pepper Mrs. Dash, dill and a little lemon juice. YUM! They are perfectly crisp tender and flavorful this way. If you aren't a fan of asparagus, I urge you to try this method. It's really divine. I eat an entire bundle by myself.

Asparagus is a natural diuretic and high in antioxidants. It's also a good source of vitamin A and C and rich in folate and fiber. It has circulation-boosting properties as well. So eat up!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

calories burned

I was searching the internet for some info on weight training. According to the Mayo Clinic, the calorie expenditure for a 160 pound individual in a 30 minute session only burns 109 calories. That means that for me, currently weighing 112 pounds, it's even less.

According to the late Jim Fixx, a 150 pound individual burns 800-1000 calories per hour running. Which is about 4 times the calorie burn of weight lifting.

A 40 minute cycling class can burn 475 calories, this of course varies on your weight and intensity.

Rowing for an hour will burn 511 calories if you weigh 160 lbs.

You can easily see how if you are trying to gain muscle, some types of exercise will be counter productive to what you want to achieve. Although I have to say that I'm not quite sure what kind of weight training this 160 lb person is doing to only burn 109 calories. I burn twice that when I lift, as per my heart rate monitor. And obviously more when I used to do 20 minutes of cardio after. I guess that is because I keep my rest periods short and lift a pretty heavy - to my standards.

You really have to pay attention to how many calories you are burning. If you are burning tons of calories through exercise, it is important that you refeed yourself or you will find that you become lethargic, prone to headaches and a weakened immune system. I definitely notice a bigger appetite on days I lift. It's my body's way of telling me, "Hey, we worked hard today. We need to replenish those energy stores."

If you are looking to burn a lot of calories, cardio is a good choice. But be careful. After a while, your body will adjust and all the efforts you're putting in will stop being as productive as they once were. When you experience that plateau, it's time to change things up. This is where weight training can take over as being that plateau buster.

If you are doing cardio exclusively, you might be losing muscle along with the fat. Weights can help you get that back. If you still have weight to lose, never fear. Even though it's obvious that weight training doesn't burn as many calories, it has the superior benefit of keeping your metabolism raised, thus fat burning on high for up to 48 hours after your workout. So if you train with weights every other day, you will constantly be in an elevated state of fat burning. This is something cardio alone does not do. You burn more while doing cardio, maybe even up to an hour or two after, but then you're done.

Not only that, but when you add muscle to your frame, you burn more calories just sitting around doing nothing. And I'm sure if you have extra flab to lose, that sounds appealing.

But what about someone like me? I have extra flab to lose, for sure, but I'm more concerned with gaining muscle than I am with losing fat. I really limit my cardio and rely mostly on weights and eating lots of protein. If I do too much cardio I get far too thin with no muscle tone and it looks ghastly. It really ages a person. My husband even says this, and he is tell-it-like-it-is honest.

My body is a bit of a mystery to me. I can literally pig out for weeks on end and not gain an ounce. Part of that is genetic and part of that is exercise. If it's my destiny to be thin, believe me, I would rather be thin with some nice hard muscle than thin and soft.

Whatever your situation, there is an exercise routine that fits your needs. So make the most of it. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Muscle, it's what matters

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you are probably aware of my "tell it like it is" attitude. I'm not entirely this way in person. It's true that you would probably say things much more freely in writing than you would in person. I think that is why bullying and trolling online is so prevalent. I bet most people who exhibit this behavior online wouldn't do so face to face. Unless they are 13. I do know a few who are not shy about telling it like it is in person. I like that real honesty. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Not saying that these people are always right about what they say, but they believe in their point of view strongly and have the guts to stand up for those beliefs. They don't just tell you what you want to hear or expect to hear. I admire that.

I don't tend to sugar coat my beliefs on this blog, no matter how right or wrong they may be in YOUR eyes. I am just another person with her own set of beliefs and most of it is based on my own personal experiences or things I've read through reliable sources. I have a goal for myself and I read tons of information that relates to my goal. I feel it's very important to educate myself on the
best way to go about getting where I want to go. It might not be the same as your goal. But then again, it might. And for those of you who share my passion and my goal, it is my hope that we can help each other out here, sharing valuable tips to help us achieve our best.

Health is of the utmost importance to me. I know that I will grow old and die one day, but I want to make the most out of growing older. I want to enjoy my golden years. I don't want to be plagued with health problems if I can prevent it. Obviously we can't predict our own destiny, but we can certainly do all we can to sway it in the direction we want, if we care enough to do so. And if I can do my part to prevent heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, I will! Your genetics and environmental factors play a part in it, but one can still take preventative measures.

And if you don't care, that's cool. Sometimes I wish I didn't care as much. But I know one day my kids will be grateful that I took such good care of myself and my health. There are many many days that I wish my mother could do more things with my children. And many days I wish my father could have been around to see them grow up. I don't want my kids to know that same longing.

I don't always do what I know I should do. I am flawed and have low motivation days, just like you. No one is perfect 100% of the time. NO ONE. But I try hard to stick with what I know is best. And I will be forever trying to encourage others to do the same. Because I want people to get excited about getting healthy and fit. This is why I love Michelle Obama, she does what I wish I had the power to do. I am so glad that someone in a position of power is taking a stand to try and help this country, help our kids, learn about how to be healthy.

I am still very much a work in progress. I absolutely know what I need to do to achieve what I want, but it's very difficult. In one way I love the challenge, but in another, I wish to be there already. And it's not something that I do temporarily, it's ongoing work. Once I stop, it will fade. I am in this for the long haul. Ready for all the ups and downs it brings. It's not just about the type of
workouts I do. And it's not just about the diet I have. It's both together, working synergisticly.

Even though by body is not quite where I wish I was, athletically I am there. I really couldn't be happier with my fitness. Look at the Olympic athletes, each one of them looks different. From the not quite so fit looking women powerlifters to the scrawny sickly looking marathoners to the incredibly toned and muscular sprinters and swimmers, to the down right blubbery sumo wrestlers, their bodies are all shaped according to the sport they train for. We train the way we train because it's what we like and ultimately how we want our bodies to look. Our genetics determine how far we can take it. Obviously I fit into the "hardgainer" category. It's a big obstacle for me, but I don't back down because of it, I push on. I have no interest in how my workouts measure up to someone else's. What I do at the gym is MY best. I am not the heaviest lifter, but I lift to my max potential. I lift to grow.
That's what matters to me.

For me, I LOVE the look of muscle definition. I stop in my tracks when I see a woman with arms. Immediately I'm thinking, "Oh, SHE works out!" and I am most impressed by it. I think it's hot. Yeah, I can say other women are hot. I don't get jealous. I'm more like a puppy who would follow them around with admiration if I could ;)

What matters to you and why does it matter?


I got to spend time with my nephew and his family (among others) last night. It was so good to see them again. He had gotten back from a year in Iraq - his second year away from his young family - in May. I admire him so much, not only for his service to our country, but for the man he is in general. We are very close in age, only 5 years apart. I have very fond memories of our childhood together, playing and having so much fun.

While he was in Iraq, he ran a marathon. His first ever. In fact, he had never run more than 6 miles at once when he decided to do it. And only trained for 10 weeks. This is absolutely amazing to me. So I talked to him a little bit about it last night. Of course, I'm always ready and willing to talk to anyone about their fitness endeavors. For him, it wasn't any sort of life long dream to run a marathon. He was sort of talked into it. When I asked him if he liked to run, he said "No" flatly. Why on earth would you put your body through that when you don't even like it?? But you know men, always up for a dare from a fellow man ;)

At mile 11, he thought "Why am I doing this?" but at mile 14 or 15 he thought "I can do this". And he walked about a third of the last half. Apparently, walking hurt more than running. And he lost toenails on the middle toe of each foot. Yikes. I asked him if it was something he would do again. He wasn't sure. Maybe a half? But he has subscribed to Runner's World. Haha....the one who doesn't like to run.

I remember when my oldest was a baby, almost 15 years ago (wow!), he came out to my parents cabin one weekend. He must have just done basic training or just signed up for the National Guard or something to that effect, and decided to go for a run through the secluded wooded dirt road winding around the lake. I thought, hey, I want to come to! So I joined him. And I don't think I even made it to the mailboxes at the end of our drive. It was horribly embarrassing! I was so out of shape and I didn't even realize it! It was a wake up call for sure. I've come a LONG way since then! Now, even though I rarely run, I can easily do it, when I chose to. Just knowing that I can now, when I couldn't in my 20's, is really satisfying. I love being fit!

Friday, July 20, 2012

endurance athletes at risk for heart damage??

Please note in advance, before reading this, I am NOT (I repeat, NOT) trying to discourage people from running. I have a very dear friend who loves to run and runs a lot and I would never want to squash her dreams and love for running.


I read something, on a blog that I follow, and it's got some similar information to what I've shared before [here]. It's well worth at least thinking about.

The article says that the Mayo Clinic suggests that chronic excessive endurance exercise (like marathon training) can cause major damage to a person's heart.

"They found that more than an hour of intense aerobic activity per day put runners and cyclers at heightened risk of serious heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat, clogged arteries, and scarring."

I hate to discourage anyone from exercising. And I don't think that most people over-exercise. In our nation, it's probably more common that we don't get enough exercise. But there are some who definitely over do it. Too much of anything, even something good for you, can be bad.

"Researchers theorized that repeated structural changes to the heart occur during excessive endurance training or competition, and when people take part in these activities multiple times over several years, scar tissue can form and weaken the heart muscle."

Isn't that crazy? You would think that the more you exercised, the healthier your heart would be. Not so. Apparently habitual marathon runners and professional cyclists are five times more likely to have irregular heartbeats than their less-active peers.

How can you tell if you are "over doing it" and may be at risk?

"According to a 15-year observational study of 52,000 adults, the highest degree of survival and health was found for those that:
  • Ran less than 20 miles a week
  • Ran at speeds of six to seven miles an hour (about a 10-minute mile)
  • Ran 2-5 days a week
Those who ran more than this at faster paces had no additional survival benefits."

And in case you want to read the full post, click the link below.

Again, I will reiterate that I'm NOT suggesting that you shouldn't run. Just a little heads up for those of you who might be interested in your health long term. A year ago, I would not have had a clue that it was possible for avid or "chronic" endurance exercisers to scar their hearts doing something that is supposed to be good for you.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To cure my boredom with eating plain (unflavored) Greek yogurt every day, I've discovered a new way to eat it.

If you've ever eaten Greek yogurt, you know that it is on the sour side. Especially if you get it plain, which is how I eat it. WAY less sugar that way. Only 9 grams. Compare that to your ordinary flavored yogurt which can have somewhere between 20 and 30 grams, maybe even higher. But I think it tastes horrible so I have to add things to it to make it more palatable.

I used to add cocoa powder and truvia. It tastes almost like a mousse or pudding. But I got sick of that. Now, I add cinnamon and truvia. It. Is. Awesome.

Here's what I usually do: I take a handful of raw almonds and put them in a ziploc baggie. Then I pound them with a meat tenderizer until they are broken into small pieces. I put them in a bowl with some non fat plain Greek yogurt, truvia, cinnamon and berries. It is so delicious!! It's been my go-to snack. Nutritious, filling, tasty. Win, win, and win.

Try it!

Over the next 3 days, I will be traveling with my husband. While it will be great to get away, I worry a little about how well I will stick to my clean diet. There will be plenty of temptation. But I am comforted to know that I am smart enough to make healthier choices when we dine out. I've got portable healthy snacks ready. And if there is something I really want, like wine or a small dessert, I'm not going to stress about it.

I'm really dedicated right now though. Tonight I made my 3 minutes chocolate cake with orange chocolate ganache for Andreas and his mom and I didn't even have a taste. Also, I cooked broiled Parmesan tilapia (love) with asparagus, and I didn't even try the sauce I made because it had cream and butter in it! How's that for willpower?! I warned them before hand that I didn't try the sauce so I wasn't sure it would be good. I never make sauce from a recipe....I'm that good at sauces ;) Butter, fresh squeezed lemon juice, white wine and cream. Mmmmm....sounds good right? They said it was great. Had to be the butter. Needless to say, I took my asparagus sans sauce.
So it's still going incredibly well. I've really got a good feeling about this! The more days I have behind me, the more it is becoming habit once again. And I'm so glad I've got some momentum again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The day was a total success!

Ok, I know this will be two posts in one day, but I just couldn't wait.

We went on a swimming day trip today. The whole family. We packed a picnic lunch and headed an hour and a half away to one of our favorite state parks.

My lunch? Salad greens (mostly spinach) in a plastic bowl. Cucumbers and tomatoes in a seperate container. Homemade salad dressing. A small can of tuna. A multi-grain pita pocket.

My snack? Almonds and a banana.

We stopped for dinner on the ride home. Subway. My dinner? A grilled chicken and spinach salad.

Pre bed snack? Greek plain yogurt with cinnamon.


This would typically be a day to stray for me. Munching on potato chips (like the rest of the family). But Hanna and I held strong despite the fact that my husband brought two bags of chips along! Yay us!

p.s. Oh, and I also did a killer HIIT session this morning. I didn't want to do it, but I did it anyway.

workout and diet

So, what have Hanna and I been eating over the past week? I will share a full day’s menu. And I will mention that we eat six times per day, and 2 of those meals don’t change at all (I denote these with an *). It’s the same every day.

Meal 1: Most often it will be oats, berries and seeds.

*Meal 2: Most often it’s plain non-fat Greek yogurt, almonds and a pear. But if it’s a workout day, this meal will be our protein shake.

Meal 3: This is lunch, so it will vary. If we have left over meat from the night before, we will have that in a multi grain pita pocket (one of the nutritious kinds with no added junk) and salad with lots of veggies.

Meal 4: Shake on non-workout days or else same as Meal 2.

Meal 5: This is dinner. We will have a lean meat (sirloin, chicken or fish) with lots of salad and veggies. No starch.

*Meal 6: This is 2 hours before bed. We will have yogurt or cottage cheese.

And that pretty much sums it up. It’s not a wide variety, but it’s easier that way. We are more prepared always knowing what to eat. It’s very hard to fail at this diet when you are prepared. I sit down and write out the whole menu for the week. Every. Meal. Then I shop for what we need. So we are always ready. We eat around the same times each day, and we are used to the schedule…it fits.

As far as our workouts go, Hanna is on a beginner body weight routine. She does a lot of squats, lunges and plyometric movements. Also things like push ups and core exercises. She does them circuit fashion so she is always moving.

I chose to get back into the swing of things on an intermediate level since I had two weeks off. I didn’t want to start “full bore” as my mom would say. I will ease back into it. I am using weights, just lighter than I’m used to, doing 12 reps of each exercise. I go through the whole routine, take a two minute rest, and go through it once more. It takes me about an hour.

What made me so sore was the fact that I had done any training for 2 whole weeks. I had expected to be sore.

I did things like jump squats with a 10lb medicine ball, front BB squats (which I never do, they are harder), squat and presses, sumo squats, narrow squats, split squats (squats, squats, more squats!!! Saggy ass be damned!) Then lunges, step ups, leg lifts and on to the upper body. All the basic moves there. And finish up with core.

These exercises are not hard on their own, but combined and done one after another, you have a cardio element thrown in and that lactic acid burn that makes you FEEL like you are working, even though the weight isn’t heavy. It’s good to change stimulus. I’ve been used to lifting to the max of my potential for a while. It was the perfect time to jump back into lifting with lighter weight.

And there you have it! So far, we haven’t added any cardio in. We get our heart rate up plenty good doing what we’re doing! We are always dripping sweat and panting, so it’s good. I’m so NOT in the mood to do cardio these days anyway. Not even HIIT. I must like pain because I would rather feel the constant burn of weight lifting than an easy run for the same hour. The time just goes so much faster for me. I wonder what most people prefer. What do you prefer? Would you rather run for an hour or weight train for an hour?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

successful week!

Well, I have had one successful week of clean eating under my belt. So has Hanna. Yay for us! We have been eating WAY more fruit and veggies than either of us are used to. And we have not felt deprived at all. I am loving it! No, really, I am!

I say this because yesterday was a scheduled cheat meal for us. And afterwards I felt SO HORRIBLE. I was in the bathroom a lot yesterday evening. Sorry for that detail, but it's the truth. My body was already used to eating healthy, that the moment I indulged in something unhealthy, it revolted. Again and again. This is a big reason why I like to eat good nutritious food. My gut just doesn't tolerate a crappy diet well anymore.

We were both saying, "I'm so ready to get back to 'normal' eating". We have another scheduled cheat for today but I'm not really looking forward to it like I was yesterday. Our cheat, we decided, was going to be tater tot hotdish. Hanna chose it. Yesterday, I grilled filet mignon (it was DELICIOUS! Expensive, but delicious), mashed garlic potatoes and corn on the cob. Followed by a lovely lemon dessert made by my husband. And before our meal, we had red wine, Brie and rosemary crackers. That was my pick. It was a good meal, but I was so full and miserable. It was just way too much food. That is why tonight, I'm just sticking with the hotdish.

I think in the future, I am not going to make cheats such a big deal. I'm just going to make a dinner that I love and would not normally make while eating clean and healthy. That way, I won't feel so terrible afterwards.

We've completed our scheduled workouts for the week and I'm looking forward to the new week that lies ahead. After just a few days of eating clean, I felt so much better. My stomach was flatter, I didn't feel bloated, and I just felt that all over good feeling that I've been missing. Why I would ever want to stray into nasty junk food territory again is beyond me. You just can't beat this feeling!

Cheers to a successful week!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

going good

OMG I am sore today! WOW! I am walking funny and going from standing to sitting is a challenge. Squatting down to reach dishes in the lower cupboards is....well, I can't even do it, it's THAT bad. My quads....oh my quads. I was supposed to do HIIT today but I couldn't this morning. I bet all I'll be able to do is walk, but I'll try. I'm scared.

Diet is going AWESOME! Perfect. I love it! I feel great, I'm always satisfied, I'm not craving, I've got willpower through the roof. Everyone had donuts today but Hanna and I. She's doing great too. But she goes with her dad this weekend so I'll have to start her all over again on Monday.

We're on a roll! I get my first reward on Saturday night. Not sure what I want though because I honestly am not craving anything. Maybe a nice glass of wine and some brie. Mmmmm...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We had a great workout today! And by we, I mean Hanna, mom and I. I wrote down a different workout for each of us since we are all on different fitness levels, then we headed down to the workout area and each did our own thing. I loved it! According to something i read, it takes 3 weeks of inactivity to lose 5-10% of your fitness level. Since i went two weeks without a workout but certainly wasn't inactive, i don't think I've lost that much. It will be interesting to see how intervals go. I was improving so quickly with those!
Hanna has been eating my clean diet with me. I'm so glad she is trying it! The thought of getting two treat meals a week is what keeps her going i think. Its always better to have someone to do this kind of stuff with. So I'm happy :)
Today we had oatmeal pancakes for breakfast and they were delicious! We had a tuna noodle salad and she said, "this is tuna? I thought it was chicken. I guess i like tuna." See what happens when you explore a new way of eating?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

clean eating

Yay, I have an internet connection! I better type a post quick before it craps out again. (we need a new router)

This is day two of my clean eating 'diet'. It's not really a diet, I hate calling it that. Because I don't want it to be a short term thing, I want it to be my lifestyle. Anyway, it's going extremely well! My mom is enjoying it too. Either that or she just likes having someone cook every meal for her. She is with me for a few days while my husband is out of town. There have only been a few fleeting moments when I wished I could eat a slice of bread or something sweet but they didn't last long. The meals so far have been fantastic! I discovered a new salad dressing that is incredibly good. I get so bored eating salad mainly because I can't find a healthy dressing that I like. My favorites are Ranch and Blue Cheese but I never use them because I know they are bad. So I usually just use oil and vinegar but that gets so old.

This new one is basically just a bunch of yummy ingredients blended together: mustard, red wine vinegar, green onion, tomato, honey and olive oil. Amazing how tasty this is! It's a weird bright orange color that sort of scared my kids, but they ended up loving it when they tried it.

I told you my internet would go out soon.....yeah, no connection. Who knows when I'll post this! I'll keep typing. I know the new router is in the mail, hope it arrives soon.

I've set a new goal for myself. It's another 12 week timeline BUT the difference this time is that I'm not shooting for a specific measurement or weight. Because I don't know what a realistic loss for me would be. My goal is simply to follow the clean eating plan I've got in place. No straying from it! I get 2 treat meals a week the first month, 1 treat meal a week during the second month and only 1 treat meal during the entire last month. This is where body fat percentage will really take a dive. I can do it!

In the few days leading up to the start of this timeline, I was nervous. I had gotten used to eating whatever I wanted and I was scared how hard it would be to go back to clean eating. So far it hasn't been bad at all! I've kept satiated with healthful fibrous fruit and veggies and lean proteins. There has definitely been a LOT of planning ahead though. I know every single meal I'm eating for the next week (that's 7 days x 5 meals for a total of  35 meals to plan for) so I could shop for everything at once. The key is to never be unsure of what my next meal is going to be. The snack meals are pretty repetative for the most part, but that doesn't bother me. After 3 months I might be sick of plain yogurt and almonds though!

What goal are you working toward these days?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

new journey

I'm very excited to be starting a new fitness journey starting tomorrow! I've had my break and I'm ready to get back into clean eating and back to religiously working out. I've missed my gym! Even though it's going through some major cosmetic changes. It's going to be SO nice when it's finished.

My mother is spending a few days with me and then on Wednesday, my mother-in-law is coming to visit all the way from Sweden. She'll be here two weeks and my husband is taking that time off from work so we can all be together. It will be so very nice to have her here again and to be able to spend relaxing days by the water or hiking or sight seeing or just doing whatever the heck we feel like. Even if it's nothing at all!

Not sure how much blogging I'll be doing during that time but I will try to remain consistent and post my diet and workouts.

p.s. have I ever told you how much I appreciate you for taking the time to read my blog? Because I do! Very much! Thank you for being a source of support when I need it the most.

Friday, July 6, 2012

a milestone

First, I wanted to share a photo of the cheesecake from the recipe I posted yesterday.
See? Doesn't it look delicious?!
Yeah, it is.

Today is a milestone for me. 2 weeks without any scheduled workout. That's right, I've gone 2 whole weeks without working out. It's been YEARS since I've gone that long. But I took my mother's advice and promised that I would try it. I had a short but emotional talk with my husband about it. He asked if it was planned or unplanned and I said, "sort of both". I didn't tell him about my breakdown in the car. But I did tell him that I'm sick of working so hard for what seems to me like ZERO results (at least none that I'm hoping for).

A typical exercise milestone for most people might be to exercise for 2 weeks straight, mine is NOT to. It has actually been quite enjoyable. I've tried not to worry about it, although that part has been difficult. I still look at my body in the mirror daily and SWEAR I am already getting fatter...lol. I still think about working out constantly and hope that I'm not losing too much muscle during this whole experiment. But muscles have good memory and it won't take long to get back up to speed. I'm not too concerned about it, because I don't HAVE to be. I'm not gearing up for anything, just the same old....trying to stay fit, healthy and look my best. 

The funny thing is, while my belly is rounder and I feel "more plump" in general, I'm not freaking out about it. When I told my husband I felt fatter, he said, "I don't think so. But your butt is looking FANTASTIC."
I was stunned by this. I said, "What's so fantastic about it? And when have you seen it?" (I try to hide it from him)
He said, "When you were walking into the shower the other day. It's got the most wonderful shape."
My mouth is gaping wide open at this point - I was thinking, why can't he knock first???

At least he's happy. After all, part of the reason I stay fit is for him. Although he seriously dislikes when I tell him that. "Don't pin your workout obsession on me! I liked you the way you were when we first started going out, 15 pounds heavier."

I really do think this break is what I needed. I've had time to work on my website, which has made my days FLY by! I am truly happy when I'm working with my photography. I have also been out in my flower beds working like crazy to get them looking nice. Years of neglect by previous owners of this house has proved to be a LOT of work for us. But my rose garden is looking spectacular and I've gotten some great exercise from gardening alone! I never realized how much work it could be. Yesterday, I was digging up plants and this one in particular with some big ass roots took me an hour to get it out of the ground! A lot of moving rock, digging and digging and more digging....and sweating! Holy man, I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower and then rolled around in the dirt. Wet and dirty from head to toe. I was outside for many hours yesterday working in the flower beds. It was the most perfect beautiful day for it. And of course, like an idiot, I sunburned my back (it's hard to put sunscreen on your own back).

At least I have found ways to keep myself active.

Now that my oldest will be back home and I've got a babysitter again, it's time to get back to the gym. WITH my mother. She has been out of it since February! Need to get her back there. It's always more fun to go together. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wonderful healthier cheesecake recipe

How was your 4th? Our was uneventful, to say the least. We did nothing. We stayed home - no family, no lake, no picnic....nada. We had another "chopped" competition and we each critiqued the other's meal. I wouldn't say it was our best. Oh, and we made cheesecake. A healthier version of cheesecake - only 195 calories per slice. It turned out amazing. I found it in my collection of recipes. I have no idea where I got it, I had typed it up and printed it but neglected to note where I took it from. So I cannot give proper credit to the source, but I will post the recipe for you to try. My husband thought that the ricotta cheese was a little too much but he still liked it. I don't think ricotta has much of a taste in the first place so it didn't bother me at all. Really worth trying if you love cheesecake but hate all the sinful fatty calories.


5 graham crackers ( although I TRIPLED this because it was too gooey and didn't cover the pan otherwise )
1 tbsp sugar (or stevia)
1 egg white
16 oz non/low fat cream cheese
16 oz light ricotta cheese
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar (or stevia)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla


  • To make crust, put crackers in a plastic bag and crush into fine crumbs (I used my magic bullet). Add the sugar to crumbs and mix well. Add the 1 egg white and blend until moist.
  • Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and press the mixture over the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  • To make filling, blend the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, the 4 egg whites, sugar, flour and vanilla in an electric mixer until smooth. Spread filling evenly over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Turn oven off, and allow cake to cool in the oven with the door open for 25 minutes.
  • Place cake in refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours
Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 slice (1/10 cheesecake) - nice big piece, eh!
Calories: 195 - oh yeah!
Fat: 0.5g
Protein: 15g
Carbs: 33g
Fiber: 0.5g
Sodium: 345mg

Not too shabby for a delicious dessert! The perfect light summer treat!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Protein balls

Tried one of Darla's "stay healthy" recipes today. Easy afternoon snack - power house pick me up protein balls! These are easy to whip up and a great way to get your protein and sort of feel like you are eating a treat.

I ate mine with a glass of unsweetened almond coconut milk. Yum!

The only things I did different were I omitted the raisins and instead of grount oats I used quinoa flakes.

I was a little concerned that these would taste bad with the vanilla whey powder in them, but they were really good! I might experiment a little with some different flavors.

Again, the website is http://stayhealthyfitness.blogspot.com/p/in-my-kitchen-stay-healthy-recipes.html

Next on the list is her sweet potato gnocchi and her brownies!