Mar 242016
 

Hi friends! How’s everyone doing today?

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been limiting the amount of carbs in my diet to try lose a couple of pounds before our engagement party next weekend. I’m not doing anything too drastic – hello, did you see my weekend recap? – but I am trying to clean up my eats a little so I can feel the best I can during the party. I’ve been at the same weight for a few years now, and it would be great to just lose a pound or two more, if for no other reason than to prove that I can get over this hump!

Anyway, I read recently about the benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet, so I thought that would be a good place to start.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been eating lately as part of that meal plan!

Breakfast

The juice game is still going strong in our home, and Fabio and I have a glass of it almost every morning. I just feel so much better starting the day off with all those nutrients!

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As far as “real” breakfasts go, we’ve been having eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. veggie scrambles have become my go-to, and recently I’ve been making one egg + one egg white + sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers. Sometimes I throw a little cheddar cheese on top if I’m feeling fancy. Yum!

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I’ve also been making a lot of hardboiled eggs lately (and did some research on how to make them easier to peel) which I’ll usually pair with some nuts (either almonds or walnuts) and berries (either blueberries or raspberries).

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The plan I’m following also isn’t no carb, it’s low carb, so low carb tortillas and certain types of bread (like sprouted grain bread) are fine in small doses. Last week I made breakfast tacos with Jones Dairy Farm sausage patties (only three ingredients!), scrambled eggs, and salsa on a low carb tortilla. This breakfast was delicious!

IMG_9848When we’re not eating eggs we’ve been eating avocado toast (a slice of bread topped with 1/4 avocado, a slice of turkey bacon, sliced tomato, and cheddar cheese – thrown under the broiler until melty).

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And also smoothies! To make this one I combined light coconut milk with 2 tbsp. chia seeds and let them soak for about 10 minutes. Then I added the mixture to the food processor with some frozen fruit – we had mango and strawberries on hand – and then tasted and added a little honey for sweetness. Ever since trying an acai bowl in California, I’m obsessed with having smoothies in a bowl (it feels more like ice cream that way!) so I served mine in a bowl with some nuts on top for crunch.

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Yum!

If nothing else, following this type of meal plan has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and move away from having bowls of cereal every morning!

Lunches

Ah – just when I talk about trying something new, I show you a picture of something I eat every single day. Sigh.

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Ok, ok, so I’m still eating a salad almost every single day, but at least I’m trying to add some variety in the ingredients I’m using! Most days, my bowl consists of mixed greens, chicken, feta cheese, carrots, apples, and 1/4 avocado. Having the avocado in my salads has been such a treat – I love the creamy texture it adds.

Some days I’ll get a little crazy and make a Mexican-type salad with mixed greens, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, cheddar cheese, and a salsa-based dressing, but then I usually miss having something sweet in there.

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What can I say? I know what kind of salads I like.

Snacks

Snacks have been different from my typical apple as well! I’ve been enjoying celery with peanut butter…

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…nuts and berries…

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…string cheese (unpictured)…

…and small bowls of plain Greek yogurt with more nuts and berries! This snack is especially tasty after dinner when I’m craving something sweet. The thick yogurt is so satisfying! (It’s not chocolate, but it’s still good.)

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Dinners

Speaking of dinners, we’ve been having some good ones.

One night we had baked chicken with a honey mustard dressing (I just slathered my favorite spicy/sweet honey mustard on top of the chicken and then baked it at 375 for about 13 minutes until it was done), sautéed spinach and kale, and mashed cauliflower.

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This meal was really tasty, but the texture of the mashed cauliflower was a little grainy. Anyone know if that’s how it always turns out?

Another good meal was pork loin with apples!

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To make this, I sautéed the pork on high heat until there was a “crust” on all sides, then removed it to a pan. Then I added a chopped apple and diced carrots, onions, and celery to the pan and let everything cook for a few minutes in the drippings from the pork. Yum. Then I added the veggies to the pan with the pork and finished everything up in the oven. This meal was loosely based off of this recipe but I wound up changing a lot of things. It was a good one!

Then there was the salmon and asparagus I told you guys about last week! We are planning to have this again very soon. 🙂

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My favorite meal of all though has got to be a burger that Fabio grilled for us one night last week when the weather was nice!

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I wound up using two pieces of romaine lettuce for the “bun” then made sure to top my burger with all kinds of goodies: Swiss cheese, turkey bacon, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. With all those flavors, I really didn’t miss the bun (that much…haha). We had some asparagus on the side and I might have had half of Fabio’s beer too. 😉

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Overall I’d say my meal plan is going well, but I don’t plan on sticking with it long-term. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for cutting down carbs which I’m sure I’ll continue to follow, but I really don’t believe in “diets” and I don’t think they’re sustainable long-term. I prefer to do the best I can the majority of the time, but sometimes you just want the bun on the cheeseburger. 😉

Question of the day: How do you feel about diets?

 Posted by on March 24, 2016
Feb 042015
 

Hello, and welcome to another edition of What I Ate Wednesday! I really missed writing these posts, so I’m going to try to get back in the habit of doing them weekly. We will see how it goes!

If you’re new around here, What I Ate Wednesday is a weekly linkup hosted by the lovely Jenn of Peas and Crayons where bloggers post about the foods they’ve been eating. I always like seeing what other people eat, and hopefully you do too!

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Here’s a look at what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast #1

First up was a glass of green juice made with cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, apple, and strawberries. The strawberries were leftover from the super bowl (we had them with chocolate fondue) and I threw them into the juicer stem and all. This juice was extra tasty, and I’m pretty sure it was from the extra sweetness of the berries. Yum!

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Breakfast #2

About 45 minutes later, it was time for breakfast number two which featured a bowl of peanut butter apple baked oatmeal (psst…it’s this recipe).

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I’m so glad I made a big batch of this baked oatmeal over the weekend because it’s been so easy to reheat in the morning. All I do is scoop it into a bowl, add a splash of skim milk, and heat it in the microwave for about one minute. Boom! Breakfast is done. (And delicious, I might add.)

Lunch

When lunchtime rolled around, I made myself a salad with leftover chicken from the Asian chicken wings I made for the super bowl. The wings had been cooked in the slow cooker then broiled, so the meat was literally falling off the bone, making it really easy to add into the salad!

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As far as dressing goes, I used some sriracha cream sauce leftover from this fantastic teriyaki salmon recipe that Fabio and I had for dinner on Monday (seriously, it was SO good). The combination of sweet Asian chicken plus sriracha cream sauce was divine! Also included in my salad was a bit of quinoa, Craisins, and a kale/brussels sprouts slaw mix, all topped on a bed of greens. Yum!

Snack #1

Around 3:30 my tummy started grumbling, so I ate a banana with some of the chocolate fondue leftover from the super bowl. This snack was so good, and even though I felt a bit guilty eating chocolate in the middle of the day, I decided it was worth it.

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First of all, I only used about a tablespoon of chocolate, and second of all, YOLO! 🙂

Snack #2

When Fabio got home from work, he poured us each a glass of wine and brought out some brie and crackers that were also leftover from the super bowl. This is why we don’t usually keep such decadent food in our kitchen – we have basically no control, haha.

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I tried to limit myself to just a few cheese and crackers, which actually worked since Fabio housed the rest. Haha!

Dinner

Last night it was Fabio’s turn to make dinner, and for the first time in a while he did it 100% by himself (usually he winds up getting overwhelmed and asks me to come in to help with something). 😉

On the menu were steaks, spinach, and potatoes.

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He did a great job, and we both gobbled up every bite!

Workout

Yesterday’s workout involved three YouTube videos from BlogilatesPilates for beginners6 minutes to a sexy booty, and 6 minutes to sexy arms. (Thank you to Stephanie for recommending these to me!)

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I loved that I could do all of these videos without having to stand on my feet, but they definitely still gave me a good burn! The arm video was especially good, and I can see myself doing it again even when I’m not injured. I loved these!

One other last note – I haven’t been weighing myself too much because a) my clothes fit fine b) I don’t feel like I’ve gained any weight and c) I hate how the scale can make you feel bad about yourself. However, since I haven’t been doing any cardio for a month I wanted to see where I stand. Well I weighed myself yesterday and it looks like I’ve lost a bit of weight! Now I’m thinking this is probably a muscle loss (you should see how small my right calf muscle is) but there’s also a chance it’s from drinking the green juice? Either way I’ll take it. I was pretty worried about not being able to workout after my foot surgery and wasn’t sure what was going to happen with my weight, but it looks like my body has adapted. Thank goodness!

Question of the day: How do you feel about the scale?

 Posted by on February 4, 2015
Jun 112014
 

Can you believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve posted a What I Ate Wednesday post? The insanity!! Let’s get back to one of my favorite CET traditions today by taking a look at what I’ve been eating lately. This will also give me a chance to talk more about my progress with the Kayla Itsines eBooks (affiliate link, FYI), which will hopefully be helpful since you guys have had a LOT of questions!!

As always, a big thanks go out to Jenn for hosting the What I Ate Wednesday linkup!


So here’s what I’ve been eating lately (i.e., the last couple of weeks!)

Breakfasts

I have pretty much omitted cereal from my breakfast rotation (I know, I never thought that would happen either) and I am loving it! These days I have been switching back and forth between two awesome breakfast recipes that came from some of my favorite bloggers.

The first is perfect microwave banana oatmeal from Anne, usually with a little natural peanut butter and nuts, seeds, or dried fruit mixed in. (Tip for storing natural peanut butter: keep it upside down in your cabinet so the oil will float to the top and you’ll never need to stir it!)
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I’ve been making oatmeal this way for almost a year now, and I don’t think I could make it any other way again! The banana and milk really make a difference!

The other recipe I’ve been loving lately is the two ingredient pancake from Tina (who just had her baby BTW! Omg he’s so cute I could die. #instagramstalker). I also will usually eat this with a bit of natural peanut butter.
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The first time I tried making these two ingredient pancakes I thought they were sort of watery and weird, but once I got the hang of cooking them low and slow, I realized I had been cooking them wrong! They are actually amazing!

Both of these recipes are easy and nutritious and keep me full all morning long. If you’re looking for something new to eat for breakfast I would definitely give these a try!

Lunches

My lunches have consisted of giant salads made with greens (usually baby spinach/kale mixture) and a serving each of grains, protein, and healthy fats. I’ve found that salads that include all of those types of foods keep me feeling full the longest, and I actually enjoy eating them instead of thinking “ugh, a salad for lunch.”

My new routine includes cooking up a bunch of grains and roasting some veggies/chicken on Sunday nights so I can use them for salads and dinner all week long. The night before I’ll usually pack my greens and veggies in a giant tupperware container, and then I put the grains and protein in a separate, smaller container. When I get to work, I nuke the grains and protein in the microwave and then add the hot chicken/beans/rice/quinoa to the cold greens. Something about warm chicken and rice in a cold salad just sounds much better to me than a completely cold salad.

I’ve been making my own salad dressing too which includes a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and a little honey. I make this on Sundays too and then pour it into little individual containers to bring to work.

These salads are really easy to throw together and I’ve been totally loving them. Sometimes I worry that I’m eating too much salad (seriously, my bowls are huge) but I know I’m ok as long as I’m not loading up on too many of the toppings. There’s nothing wrong with a lot of greens!

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Snacks

I’m still loving my sliced apples every day around 3:30 pm! Sometimes I’ll have a few raw almonds on the side, and sometimes not. It depends how hungry I am.

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Dinners

To be honest I’ve been getting pretty lazy with my dinners lately. As I’ve mentioned before, Fabio plays a lot of sports during the week (volleyball is over so it’s just soccer and softball for now, but we are both starting up flag football with our friends soon!) so I’m usually just cooking for one. A lot of the time I will wind up having another salad of sorts, but usually with some different roasted vegetables (hot) mixed in with a couple of wedges of Laughing Cow cheese so it gets all melty. You can read more about making throw-together dinner bowls here. My favorite veggies to include are sweet potatoes or butternut squash so I can get a bit of sweetness to go along with the rest of the ingredients which are salty and/or spicy. Yum!

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Other dinners include the typical grilled/baked chicken with veggies on the side, or some type of spaghetti squash/ground turkey spaghetti situation. Everything I’ve been eating has been really tasty, but sometimes when Fabio’s not home my creativity starts to wane. Ah well, that’s life.

Treats & Cheats

Those of you who have been following along with my progress on the Kayla Itsines BBG eBooks may remember that I am allowed one “cheat” meal per week. I have been straying from this a little bit because 1) I sort of hate the idea of a cheat- nothing you enjoy should be seen as cheating – and 2) I’m trying to improve my eating for the long run and having just one unhealthy meal a week is not always feasible.

Take last week for example. On Monday Fabio and I had dinner with some friends of ours at a Mexican restaurant. I wanted to order something healthy but also something I was going to enjoy eating, so I went with grilled fish tacos. I also snacked on some of the chips and salsa and had two glasses of sangria. Technically by this BBG plan that should have been my “cheat” meal, right?

So what happens later in the week when my friends invite me to a BBQ where I know I will probably want a cheeseburger or hot dog and will be drinking beer? Do I just not go because I already used up my weekly cheat? No. That’s just not me. For some people that might work out ok, but when I’m with my friends I want to enjoy myself and live in the moment rather than worry that it might mess up my “diet.” I don’t like diets anyway, and don’t see this as one, so I just eat healthy wholesome foods when I can, and enjoy myself when I can’t.

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Because sometimes, you just need pizza.

Workouts

Ok now moving on to the workouts- they have been going great!! I’ve explained how the workouts work here and here, so today I will just tell you that I am still totally loving them. Of course when my alarm goes off at 5:30 I want to either throw my phone at the wall, pull the blankets over my head, or basically do anything to get out of bed and workout, but the thought of how I will feel once my workout is over always gets me up and moving.

The workouts are challenging but they don’t make me want to die, and I am always, always dripping in sweat at the end.

Here’s my I’m-totally-sweaty-and-my-hair-got-caught-in-my-bobbypins-while-doing-burpees-but-I-feel-so-great face.

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Results

I have honestly not lost that much weight in my 5ish weeks of following this plan (I think this is probably because I was already eating healthfully and was in decent shape before I started), but I can definitely see changes in my body! I’ve noticed that when I lay in certain positions, my legs no longer touch where they once did, and my love handles and behind look smaller (to me). Fabio commented the other day on how my legs look leaner and stronger, and it was totally unprompted so I believe him! 😉 Even if I’m not really seeing the scale move at all, I’m feeling really good about my body right now, and after all isn’t that what’s most important?

**Note: this post was not sponsored by anyone, and as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Question of the day: What kind of salads keep you full?

 Posted by on June 11, 2014
May 202014
 

Hey friends! Two weeks ago I told you about how I purchased the Bikini Body Guide eBooks from Kayla Itsines (affiliate link, FYI), and you guys seemed really interested in them! I got a lot of comments, emails, and tweets with your questions, so I thought today would be a good time for an update. Hold on to your seatbelts- this is going to be a long one!

First and foremost, I should explain how to purchase the eBooks. Although they are technically called eBooks, they are actually just PDFs. You can buy them from the Kayla Itsines website here. You won’t find them on Amazon or anywhere else where they sell traditional eBooks. I hope that helps clarify things!

As for my update- so far it’s going great! I’ve lost about 5 pounds in two weeks, although I have to say most of that was probably bloating from all the junk I ate and drank right before I started. Bleh. Like many women, I have a typical “weight range” that fluctuates up a few pounds or down a few pounds from day to day. When I started using the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) eBooks, I was at the heavier end of my usual range. I am now one pound less than my typical low weight range, so take that as you will (1 pound loss or 5). Either way the scale is moving in the right direction and my body is feeling great 🙂

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

The Nutrition Plan

The BBG Nutrition Plan (which is called the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan aka HELP…so clever!) is one of the things I was most excited about when I decided to try out the 12-week BBG plan. I have always had (and probably always will have) a love-hate relationship with food. I grew up not understanding healthy food AT ALL and was basically (unknowingly) addicted to junk food. You can read more about that here.

Now I try really hard to eat a balanced diet but I still crave food that’s bad for me and I’m not sure that will ever really go away. I am totally fine with following a 80-20 diet (eating healthy 80% of the time and enjoying yourself the other 20% of the time) but lately that balance seemed to be leaning more toward a 60-40 “balance” which I was NOT ok with. Especially with summer right around the corner and some fun plans on the agenda which involve being in a bathing suit.

The HELP Nutrition Guide suggests following a food regimen that a) I was already familiar with/loosely following, b) was backed up by science, and c) in-line with my nutrition preferences and beliefs (i.e., no fad diets), which made it a perfect match for me. In short, when I read about it I couldn’t wait to give it a shot!

The Nutrition Plan recommend eating a specific number of servings of each food every day. As I have explained before, it’s basically like following the old food pyramid recommendations we all grew up with.

To track my meals, I use the notepad app on my phone. Basically I write out the recommended number of servings of each food I should be eating each day under “IDEAL,” and then I list the actual amounts I’ve eaten below it. At the end of each day I delete all the numbers in the “ACTUAL” list and start over.

Here’s a sample of what my tracking looks like after I’ve eaten breakfast:

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You’ll notice that some of the serving amounts seem pretty large (6 servings of grains!) but the portion sizes are actually really small, so it balances out. One slice of bread, for example, counts as one serving, so a sandwich would be two servings. Similarly, 1/4 cup of brown rice counts as one serving, and sometimes with dinner I’d rather have 1/2 cup of brown rice instead of just 1/4, which bumps it up to two servings. I don’t usually wind up eating all 6 servings of grains, but I get a lot closer than I thought I would. I also run out of dairy and healthy fat servings before I even make it to dinner time, so that’s been a bit of a change. I used to just pop raw almonds by the handful, but now I’m more careful! I also have to be careful to avoid processed foods, since they aren’t recommended on the meal plan. So far that has been going well!

Overall I would say that what I’ve been eating while following the HELP Nutrition Plan hasn’t changed all that much, but the amounts definitely have. Here’s a snapshot of some of my meals.

Breakfast hasn’t really changed that much for me. I am trying to make an effort to eat cleaner (i.e., less cereal) even though technically some whole grain cereal is still allowed on the plan. I’ve been having a lot of my favorite oatmeal (which I make with 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup skim milk, 1 mashed banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon) and I’ve also brought the two ingredient pancakes from Tina over at Carrots ‘N Cake back into the mix. I forgot how tasty these are! 

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Yogurt and fruit has also been a good go-to. The picture below includes one container of blueberry Chobani, a sliced banana, and organic coconut granola. Yum. FYI, this would count as one serving of dairy, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of grains).

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Lunches have been a bigger switch for me. As part of the nutrition plan, I am supposed to eat six servings of vegetables every day. I thought I was really good at eating a lot of veggies before, but it turns out I was no where close to getting six servings (it was more like 3-4). I have been trying to squeeze them in wherever I can, which means replacing my beloved turkey and cheese sandwiches with giant veggie-packed salads. These usually include mixed greens, baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and feta cheese. Other add-ins include any leftovers we might have laying around like chicken, roasted veggies, quinoa, or rice.

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My salad-making skills are improving and I’ve been enjoying these combos!

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Not much has changed with my snacks; I still eat an apple almost every day and depending on whether I have any servings of healthy fats left I will also eat some almonds or peanut butter on the side (just 1 tsp. of peanut butter = 1 serving of healthy fats, BTW, so that’s been a bit of a change). Through this process I have realized that I was probably eating way too many healthy fats before I started this nutrition plan. Also, you can only have two pieces of fruit! I usually have a banana with breakfast and an apple as my snack, and then that’s that.

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There’s always room for more veggies though! Carrots and hummus still make a perfect snack (I usually count hummus as one of my healthy fats though, so I have to be careful how much I have).

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Dinners have also stayed pretty much the same. I am trying to include more lean meats and lots of veggies, but that has always been a priority for me. Being on the nutrition plan does help keep me from ordering out too often, and it also encourages me to steer clear of unnecessary alcohol with dinner, but I’ll get to more on that in a minute.

Here is a tilapia filet with Thai curry sauce that I pulled out of the freezer from the Saucy Fish Co., some broccoli rice, and sweet potato wedges (that recipe is also from Carrots ‘N Cake! These are so tasty, and you must try them if you haven’t yet!).

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More broccoli & rice, grilled chicken, and balsamic carrots & cauliflower. Simple, nutritious, delicious.

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Unfortunately (for me) Desserts and Alcohol pretty much have no place in the nutrition plan. I know. However, since the BBG plan is a 12-week program, I’m trying to be realistic about things. Knowing myself, my social life, and my sweet tooth, there is just no way I won’t eat any sweets or alcohol for twelve weeks. It’s just not realistic!

The plan does allow for one “cheat meal” per week, so I try to schedule my social events around that. Even still, I know I am usually tempted by booze and/or sugar more than once a week, so I am just doing the best I can. I want this plan to be something I feel comfortable following well beyond the 12 weeks, and omitting drinks and sweets all together just won’t work for me. That being said, I have made a huge change from having a glass of wine with dinner and a low-calorie dessert afterword each and every day, to saving my “cheats” for when it’s really important. It’s a step in the right direction but I’ll be honest, even that hasn’t been easy! Oh well, at least I’m making progress!

The Exercise Plan

I have also really been loving the BBG exercise plan! I’m on week 3 right now, and for weeks 1-4 you complete 3 resistance training workouts (circuits) and 2-3 low intensity steady state (LISS) workouts like a light jog or power walk. I probably should be taking the LISS workouts more seriously, but I walk a lot every day anyway to and from the metro plus when walking Jack, so I like to think if I just take Jack a little further than usual or go for a quick run that counts. Eh, maybe it does, but I could probably do more on this front.

I think the reason I’ve been taking the LISS workouts so easy is because the circuits are so tough!! Here’s an example of one of the circuits. As I explained before, you have 7 minutes to run through the circuit as many times as you can (usually 2 for me) and then one minute of rest before moving on to circuit #2. Then you repeat, so you wind up doing 14 minutes (4 rounds) of each circuit. Phew.

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I am usually dripping in sweat after each and every workout and feel sore in some spots the next day. They are quick (about 30 mins) and effective which I love!

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And that’s about it for my Kayla Itsines BBG update! The nutrition plan is going really well and so are the workouts. I’m just chugging along trying to continue toning up/losing a little weight and reminding myself that I’m in it for the long haul, so if I mess up here or there it’s really no biggie. Also, I continue to look at the Kayla Itsines transformations on her website to keep my motivation up. Hopefully in 12 weeks I will look like these awesome ladies!

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**Note: Although I am an affiliate for the Kayla Itsines program this post was not sponsored by anyone. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Question of the day: How do you deal with unhealthy “cheats” in your diet?

 Posted by on May 20, 2014
May 022014
 

Hi friends! Happy Friday! I actually don’t have a Favorite Things Friday post for you today, since most of my week was dreary, cold, wet, and not too exciting.

However the weather finally cleared up yesterday and I was able to run in to Georgetown for another Barre3 class, which was really nice.

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Oh, hello!

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Check out that brown water from the rain. Yuck!

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Instead of trying to scrounge together a less-than-my-best Favorite Things Friday post today, I thought I would share some health news and views we have been discussing at work instead!

Now that I work full time in the health & wellness industry, I am always hearing about topics that I think would interest you guys, and I figured today would be a good day to round them up. Think of this as more of a “Favorite Things I’ve Learned At Work Friday,” if you will 😉

So without further ado, here are some hot health topics!

1. Sugar Sweetened Beverages are a big problem. One thing we talk about a lot at work are sugar sweetened beverages. Personally I hardly ever drink soda (except when mixed with alcohol, but even then I am likely to order soda water) so I often forget about this issue, but it’s actually a huge problem in our country. Did you know that 6-7% of Americans’ overall calorie consumption comes from sugar-sweetened beverages? That number shocked me!

Soda is not the only culprit either; many healthy-looking juice drinks trick people into thinking they are making a smart option, when in reality they can be loaded with added sugars. Make sure when you are selecting a juice drink you look for “100% juice” and not “juice cocktail” on the packaging to avoid buying anything with added sugar. Naturally-occurring sugars in juice are ok in moderation, but you really want to avoid drinking anything with added sugar.

My organization also issued a statement last week about how sugar-sweetened beverages are a leading cause of the obesity epidemic in America, especially in children. Our statement has now garnered some significant coverage in the media, and I have to say I am really proud to be a part of the process!

We are also exploring the results of some recent research regarding diet sodas and how they affect weight loss, but the results haven’t been published in our journal yet so I can’t share them at this time. I’m in charge of writing the press release on the study, contacting reporters, and handling interviews with our spokesperson, so it’s going to be very exciting! If you guys are interested in hearing more about this let me know in the comments section below and I will keep you updated 🙂

2. A new movie is coming out about the food industry in America, and we should all go watch it.

One of our partners sent us the trailer below for the movie FED UP, a new documentary from Katie Couric and Laurie David about the country’s food industry. The movie comes out on May 9 and highlights a couple staggering facts including: (1) More than 95 percent of all Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades; (2) By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes; (3) 80 percent of food items sold in America have added sugar (source). Wow. I definitely plan to see this movie, and if you’re at all interested in health/wellness I encourage you to see it too!

3. There is a big debate over how schools should handle children who are overweight and obese.

Lately some schools have started screening students for BMI (which is calculated by weight and height) as part of their normal school check-up. If their BMI falls under the overweight or obese classification, the school nurse will mail a letter home alerting the parents and suggesting tips for talking to pediatricians, maintaining a balanced diet, and increasing physical activity. Theoretically the child (and his or her peers) will never see the letter, thus avoiding many concerns over bullying that many people have had.

Obviously this has been a very controversial topic because parents have strong opinions about how they want to raise their children. I know everyone has their own opinions, so my organization is trying to figure out what our stance should be. I personally think sending letters home to parents is a good idea since there are so many uninformed families out there who probably don’t even see that their child is overweight, but I understand the consequences involved.

What do you guys think?

4. The FDA is planning to change their nutrition label. 

The proposed changes would do a couple different things. One of the main changes would be to make the caloric information much more prominent on the package, so people will be more likely to pay attention to it.

The changes also propose adjusting serving sizes to more accurately reflect what people normally consume, and making that information more prominent as well. Yes! I especially love this change because so many people get fooled into thinking what they are eating is low in calories, and they don’t realize that the “serving per container” is actually 2, 3, or even more. Yikes.

The FDA is also proposing the addition of an “Added Sugars” label, which will require manufacturers to report the amount of sugar they add to food and drinks. Hopefully this will not only help people become aware of just how much added sugar they are ingesting (e.g., a can of soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar, and the recommended daily average for women is only 6), but also get manufacturers to start lowering the amount of added sugars.

FDAnutritionlabelchanges

[Source]

Woohoo! Go FDA!

Other Interesting Information

In addition to the topics I mentioned above, I have two other interesting things I wanted to share with you.

1) While researching something for work, I came across an interesting article written by a man who lost 140 lbs “the right way”about how Eating is Not a Hobby.  As a food-lover I found myself relating to a lot of the points he made, and I thought you guys might find it interesting.

2) HealthyPeople 2020 is holding a webinar with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday, May 9, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. ET for a conversation on how a diet rich in nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — along with regular physical activity — is essential for the health of the Nation. The webinar will also discuss how healthy environments and healthy communities can contribute to healthy people. Should be cool if you want to join!

Well guys, that’s all I have for you today. Please let me know if you liked hearing about all these little health updates that I am learning through work; I think they are really cool and would be happy to share more information like this in the future if you’d like!

Happy Friday!

Question of the day: If your child was overweight or obese, would you want his or her school to contact you about it?

 Posted by on May 2, 2014
May 012014
 

Hi friends! Today I have something a little different lined up for you guys. You may remember hearing about my friend Catrina, oh, I don’t know, maybe a time or two 😉 She is one of my best friends from college, and we have a lot in common fitness-wise. She recently started doing CrossFit, and I had so many questions for her that I thought it would make more sense if she wrote everything down so I could share it with you guys too. Here she is!

chelstreen

Chels and I love to discuss working out and eating healthy, and after we participated in OutRun during my last visit to DC, she asked me about my experience with CrossFit. I guess I should start by explaining how a girl who absolutely hated running and never lifted a weight heavier than 15 lbs even got involved with CrossFit.

It all began when I moved to a new town (Astoria, NY) and thus didn’t have a gym membership. Instead of signing up for my local gym (I was so bored of the damn elliptical it brought me to tears) I looked on Groupon for some deals. I saw one for CrossFit and- voila! The rest is history.

CF1

I have to admit when I started CrossFit back in October I was a little cocky. I thought I was in shape and I thought, yeah no biggie I can do this. Well let’s just say I hugely underestimated what it would take. At the same time, I also underestimated how much I’d love it!! Six months later and I can truly say I’ve never been bored in or dreaded going to a CrossFit class, which is the polar opposite of how I used to feel about the gym. The coaches are awesome, the people are great, and the way each class is set up keeps you on your toes every single day.

Typical classes at my CrossFit gym (or box, as it is called) are set up like so:

  • Warm-up: Can be as simple as 10 minutes of stretching, or can be as intense as a 1.75 mile run
  • Skill: Focuses on one movement or skill (e.g., pull-ups, handstand pushups, deadlifts) either teaching you “how-to” or completing a focused workout
  • WOD: this is literally the “Workout Of the Day” and changes every single day so you never know what to expect

The thing about CrossFit is that there is no way to predict what you’re going to see on that board when you walk in. There are days where I am exhausted from work, walk in to see a HELL of a WOD, and then I just have to suck it up and do it. Other days I go in expecting the worst, and it ends up being fairly easy. Because you have no control over your workout (to a certain extent, because obviously you only go as hard as you push yourself), it takes the monotony out of exercising, and adds a fun element of surprise!

Here are a few examples of classes I’ve taken recently:

WOD1

WOD2

WOD3

If I had to pick the best thing about CrossFit, personally I’d say it’s that it makes you do things you never thought you could do. If you asked me October 1st how many push-ups I could do, for example, I’d probably say 30 and then I’d have to go to the modified version with my knees on the ground for maybe ten more. Now if I saw 30 push-ups in a WOD I’d thank the heavens for an “easy” WOD. Like really, I think 30 pushups is easy…who am I?! Also, pull-ups…what-ups? No thank you! But now, I did 120 in a WOD the other day, which was deathly, but still I survived!  Please note I use small resistance bands for pull-ups; I’m not that much of a pro.

Last but not least, I RUN NOW! Prior to starting CrossFit I honestly could not run a mile without stopping to walk in the middle when I inevitably felt out of breath and in a near-death-like-state. I don’t necessarily consider myself a “runner,” but I now see 2 miles as no problem and can get to 3 if I push myself. I know this isn’t running a marathon or anything, but for me this is a HUGE accomplishment. It feels so good to look down at my RunKeeper App and see that I ran 3 miles at a 9 min mile pace because I truly never thought this was a possibility for me. Running still bores me so I’m working on that, but once I sort out how to be entertained while running, I have a feeling that 3 miles is gonna look a lot more like 5 or 6!

Obviously I now feel stronger than I ever did, but I can also physically see a difference, which is cool. This may not sound appealing, because realistically it bugged me at first, but I have a hard time fitting in my older shirts because my shoulders and arm muscles are so much bigger now. As a 20-something living in NY, I felt trained to believe that the thinner/smaller you are the better, so at first I was a little bummed about this tightness across my back/chest, but now I totally embrace it. Why!? Because it’s MUSCLE and I’m fit and this should NOT be considered a bad thing. It’s just different, and I know come summer when I put on all my tank-tops I’m not even going to have to worry about doing the “skinny arm” in photos because there ain’t no flab there anymore! (You know what I’m talking about…that nice pinch of skin we all get aka side arm fat, not cute).  Also, you know how people always say if you do lunges and squats your butt will lift? My typical response was “um yeah right people, I was born wide,” but I actually can see a difference. Insert shocked face.

So that’s been my experience so far and now I need to start training a bit for the Spartan Race I have June 7th. Please wish me luck because I am so nervous!!!

Good luck, Treen!! You’re going to do so awesome and will be able to put all of your brand new muscles to work 😉 Thank you so much for sharing your CrossFit experiences with us! If anyone has any questions for Catrina, please leave them in the comments below. She may chime in and answer them for you, but if not I will make sure she sees them.

Now I’m off to go hunt for CrossFit deals on Groupon…

Question of the day: Have you ever tried CrossFit?

 Posted by on May 1, 2014
Feb 052014
 

I feel like I have a lot to talk about with you all today, so let’s jump right in to today’s What I Ate Wednesday post. As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the linkup!

Here’s a look at what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast

I decided to take a break from the oatmeal I have been enjoying lately, and go for some cereal instead. As always, I’m loving Oatmeal Squares + skim milk, and I take the time to measure out 1 cup of cereal (the serving size) every single time I eat it. Yep, I’m weird like that.

cereal

I’d say that lately I’ve been eating oatmeal around 3-4 times a week, and cereal around 2-3 times. Usually on the weekends I try to get more creative with my breakfast, and will wind up having something out of the box 😉

Since I didn’t have any bananas or blueberries to eat with my cereal, I was a little worried I would get hungry again before lunch. I decided to snack on a small handful of almonds (I like raw, unsalted almonds) while I finished getting ready for work, and they did the trick.

almonds

Lunch.

Woah, sorry for this terrible picture. I guess homemade tomato soup is not the easiest thing to photograph. But that’s what I had- leftover tomato soup from the weekend along with a few unpictured Saltine crackers. Yum.

soup

Snack

My snack yesterday was quite delicious. Around 3:00 pm, I had a mug of green tea, a mini Babybel cheese, and the juiciest, most delicious pear I’ve had in a while. Seriously, it was the kind where juice runs down your arm and you need 8 napkins to clean up. It was SO good. Plus cheese and pears just go so well together. 🙂

snack

Dinner

Man, another unappetizing photo. Sorry about that! For dinner last night I made us a quick stir fry with quinoa, chicken, egg, bell peppers, carrots, and peas. I wound up using this Thai peanut sauce, which, as un-photogenic as it is, tasted great.

dinner I was originally planning to use broccoli for this dish, but last time we bought broccoli we got it from Costco, and apparently our broccoli-eating habits are not sufficient enough to tackle such a giant bag. When I went to open the bag yesterday most of it had gone bad and we had to toss it out. Boo!! 🙁 I hate wasting food. Lesson learned!

Evening Snack

After dinner I enjoyed a little piece of chocolate while watching the Biggest Loser finale (which I will get to in a second).

My aunt CC gave Fabio and I each a chocolate bar along with our gifts this Christmas, and Fabio and I have been breaking the bars into little pieces to enjoy when our sweet tooth is calling. Sometimes having just a little piece of chocolate to take the edge off is all you really need. It’s been such a nice evening treat!
chocolate

Workout

Yesterday’s workout was another tough one- in the morning I ran one mile with Jack and then completed the Plyometrics DVD of P90X. This one is one full hour of squatting and jumping like a crazy person, and I think it might be the hardest one I’ve done. Phew. I definitely worked up a great sweat doing this workout.

Overall I’d say it was a healthy day!

Biggest Loser Finale

If you’ve been a reader of CET for very long, then you probably know that The Biggest Loser is one of my favorite shows.

For those of you who have never seen the show, contestants who are classified as obese are chosen from around the country and have a few months to live on “campus” and work with world-class trainers and various nutritionists/doctors to lose weight. The results are always incredible and the show has helped SO many people get on track with living a healthy lifestyle.

Overall I am a huge fan of the show, and I applaud what they are doing since they are able to teach healthy habits to so many people. I always recommend the show to others, and sometimes I will send clips of particularly inspiring episodes to my friends and family.

Last night was the finale of season 15, which was taped live. As my friends and I were texting each other throughout the show, we were all feeling so happy and proud of what this season’s contestants were able to accomplish. When it came time for the final three contestants, I was so excited to see Rachel, one of my favorites, come out for her big reveal.

That’s why I was shocked and frankly, upset, when I saw this.

rachel

[Source]

Yes, she looks great. She lost a TON of weight, and is clearly just a shell of her former self. But, she didn’t look healthy. At all. In fact she looked way too thin and the more I looked at her legs and her arms, the more I thought that she had taken the weight loss challenge too far.

Then she changed into her spandex and hopped on the scale for the final weigh in. Here are her results.

The Biggest Loser - Season 15

[Source]

Yes. She weighed 105 pounds. She is 5’4.

According to Weight Watchers, the healthy weight range for a woman of that height it between 117-146 pounds. Definitely not 105.

Seeing Rachel, who I had formerly admired, up there looking like a stick made me incredibly sad.

Since it was a live show, there wasn’t enough time or editing to address the issue that she was too skinny. In fact, here are the faces of the judges when Rachel came out.

racheltooskinny[Source]

 Clearly no one thought she looked good.

Although I love the concept of this show and I truly do applaud what they are trying to do, I can only say that I am disappointed and saddened that this is the message they are communicating. There is a fine line between losing weight to be healthy, and becoming obsessed and going too far.

I have known a couple of people in my life who have struggled with serious anorexia, and I remember the first warning signs for one of my friends was when she wanted to move her family’s treadmill up to her bedroom so she could get as much workout time as possible. Is this what happened to Rachel? Did she just become so focused on winning that she forgot that the goal was to GET HEALTHY?

I guess I don’t really know what else to say about this, except that it really saddens me. I don’t like that this is the example the Biggest Loser is setting this year. I don’t like that the show is making Rachel out to be a role model, because I wouldn’t want people to follow in her footsteps. Overall it just makes me incredibly sad because Rachel is a strong girl and a fantastic athlete, and I was really rooting for her. Now I just think she took it too far and is setting a bad example for America.

I really hope the Biggest Loser addresses this at some point, because  I don’t think it’s right that they can encourage people to be like Rachel. Losing weight can be a slippery slope, and I wouldn’t want other people to think that what Rachel did was best.

As a side note, I thought that everyone else on the show did amazingly well (especially David and Tumi), and I am still so proud of everything this show is doing.

Question of the day: What do you think of Rachel’s weight loss?

 Posted by on February 5, 2014
Jan 102014
 

Haaaaaaappy Friday, ‘yall! After a nice long break during the holidays, this week just seemed to drag on for me, so I could not be happier that the weekend is almost here. Fabio and I also don’t have anything we have to do, just a bunch of options that are open to us. I love that! I’m so excited to just see where the weekend takes us.

Anyway, here are a few things that made me smile this week!

Favorite Winter Running Gear

workoutpants

I’m really lucky that for Christmas I received a lot of cold-weather running gear from friends and family (they know me so well), and when the temperatures dropped way below normal this week I was SO happy to have it. My favorite new pieces include a new zip-up, earwarmer, and gloves, but my absolute FAVORITE are these running pants from Lululemon that my aunt CC got for me. They are incredibly flattering, comfortable, and warm and I definitely took advantage of them this week. This is my first pair of good-quality running pants and they make me wonder why I ever waste money on the cheaper versions from TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Target, etc. I think I might be hooked on Lululemon now. Someone please go protect my wallet.

Favorite Made-for-me Breakfast

breakfastsandwich

One night this week Fabio was reading through his most recent edition of Men’s Health magazine, and the next morning after our workout he was insistent upon making me breakfast. Well, ok!! I can’t say no to that! 😉 Apparently his magazine had included some breakfast sandwich ideas and he was excited to try them out. For my breakfast he made me one egg, one egg white, 1/4 an avocado, melted provolone cheese, and siracha sauce on a toasted sandwich thin. YUM!! I could get used to this!

Favorite Made-for-me Dinner

stirfry

Fabio has also been offering to make me dinner one night a week (usually Tuesdays) which is a great change of pace. It’s nice to know that when I leave work on Tuesday my workout is behind me, dinner will be taken care of, and I can just relax and do something for myself. Such a luxury!

This week I asked Fabio to use up some leftover pork that we had from the weekend and the broccoli that we had so it wouldn’t go bad, so he came up with this delicious stir fry. He made the sauce himself by mixing soy sauce with honey, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil. It was so cute because he used a recipe and had to ask me if we had every single ingredient (do we have onions? carrots? ginger? soy sauce? sesame oil? etc.) Haha! It was delicious and I made some quinoa to go under the stir fry. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with next week!

Favorite Morning Surprise

starbucks

One morning this week when I came into work, my coworker Claire surprised me with a tall skinny peppermint mocha!! What a sweetie!!! She had heard that it was the last day Starbucks was serving their holiday drinks, so she picked one up for me and my other coworker Mary on her way into the office 🙂 What a great morning surprise!

Favorite New Breakfast Options

healthierofficebreakfast

Our HR department just started a wellness committee (which you better believe I am a member of) to start healthier initiatives around the office. We have a bunch of goals in mind like having free yoga once a week during lunch time, forming a team for a 5K walk/fun run, and having the option to have stand-up desks or exercises balls as chairs, but our first initiative was to have healthier breakfast options on Friday mornings. Every Friday my office provides bagels and donuts to employees, but I always choose to eat my normal breakfast at home since it’s a healthier option. Starting today, my office will be providing fruit, cereal, and milk (skim and 2%) on Friday mornings. So awesome!! This is such a great idea and I love that my office is trying to be a little more mindful of the options they provide.

Favorite Health & Fitness App

myfitnesspal

I used MyFitnessPal a few years ago when I was first beginning my journey to get healthy, but I hadn’t looked at the app in quite a while and figured not much had changed. Well, after hearing Tina rave about it last week, I decided to give it another try. I wound up eating a lot of junk over the holidays and wasn’t feeling my best, so I thought a little food tracking would help me get me back to normal. 

Well let me tell you guys, this app is so much better than I remembered! Tracking my food and workouts has been so easy and there is even a barcode feature that allows you to scan things you’re eating (and it actually has every product I’ve tried in its database, unlike  similar apps I have used). One reason I hate tracking foods is because I make a lot of homemade recipes and entering each ingredient can be a pain. However, when I made my sweet & spicy chili the other day for example, I just scanned the package of ground turkey, the cans of beans and tomatoes, and then added in the onion and garlic manually. So easy!!

Seeing everything I’ve been eating right there on one screen really helps to keep me accountable and stops me from eating “just one more Hershey kiss” or “just a small treat after dinner.” It also helps me watch my portion sizes which is so incredibly important. Anyway, after using this app for just one week I’m already back down to my normal size. Woohoo!

Definitely give this app a try!

Question of the day: What are you loving this week?

 Posted by on January 10, 2014
Jan 032014
 

For the last three days, I’ve been sitting here staring at this keyboard thinking about what to write for my first post of 2014. I wanted to discuss my resolutions and goals for the new year, but try as I might I couldn’t come up with a single thing. That seems odd, doesn’t it?

You may remember from last year that I like to keep my New Years goals simple. Last year’s included:

  1. Add at least $1,500 to my savings account
  2. Run a half-marathon
  3. Get Jack to stop jumping up on people

Those might seem kind of random to you, but for me they were meaningful and attainable, which is exactly what I aim for when setting goals. What’s the point of setting a goal if you know you will never meet it, or if you don’t really care about your success?

I have to say I was pretty successful in 2013 and managed to meet all of my goals, at least for the most part (Jack still jumps on people occasionally but it’s WAY less than he used to, and I was a little bit short of my savings goal, but I’d say I got close enough).

The trouble with 2014 is that I don’t quite know what I want out of this year. I feel like I’m at a bit of a crossroads in my life- I still think about going to grad school to get a Masters in Public Health degree nearly every day, but I can’t decide if it’s necessary and/or worth the money. I also love, love, love my job, but I see other opportunities pop up occasionally- sometimes in this area and sometimes in New York or other places- that I think might be fun to pursue. I also want to increase my fitness level and try new activities like completing a sprint triathlon or running a marathon, but I don’t know if I can commit to doing either right now, because I don’t know what my finances or time commitment will look like. All that being said, you can see how I’m in a bit of a tough spot when it comes to creating some meaningful and attainable goals for 2014.

For now the only goal I can think of is to keep living each day with a purpose, and to work hard to improve in everything that I do. 

I want to continue to be happy in my career, and figure out if there’s a way I can be even happier.

I want to continue to maintain my passion for fitness, and explore new healthy activities to see what else I fall in love with.

I want to continue to eat balanced meals when I can, and strive to do so even more frequently.

I want to continue loving the body I’m in, and work on loving myself a little more.

I want to continue loving my friends and family, and I want to make those relationships even stronger.

I want to continue building a stable financial future, and see if I can get a little better at managing my finances.

I want to continue loving my life, and determine how to make it even better.

These are the only goals I could come up with for 2014, but you know what? I’m totally ok with that. I don’t want to commit to taking the GRE and applying for graduate school this year, because I’m not entirely sure that’s where I am headed. I don’t want to commit to running a marathon if I’m just too busy this year and it doesn’t happen. Most importantly, I don’t want to set myself up for failure and then be disappointed if life takes me down a different path. As long as I’m striving to be happier in 2014, I think that’s really all I need.

Sorry if this post was kind of all over the place, but I have a feeling that’s just foreshadowing my year ahead.

Question of the day: What are your goals for 2014?

 Posted by on January 3, 2014
Dec 102013
 

Hey, hey! Happy Tuesday!

Despite the crazy snow this morning, not enough of it stuck to the ground to allow me to work remotely, so I had to come in to work today (even though it feels like the entire city had the day off). Tear.

But that’s ok with me because tonight is my company’s holiday party! My coworkers are a ton of fun, so I’m really looking forward to it 🙂 Last year’s party was a blast, and we usually have an after-party at a bar somewhere once the office portion winds down. Let’s hope I’m not too tired or hungover tomorrow!

Anyway, today I wanted to give you an update on how P90X is going! Last week I completed my first full week of the program (woohoo!) and I had some thoughts I wanted to share with you all.

P.S. I still think it’s so cool that I got to meet Tony Horton, the creator of P90X, back in September, and that he gave me these DVDs for FREE. I am not compensated for this post in any way (except I guess that I got the program for free); I just wanted to give you guys an update on my progress so far. 

Schedule: When following P90X, you are supposed to complete six workouts a week, with one day for resting or following the Stretch X DVD. Last week I was able to complete all six workouts and rested on the rest/stretch day, but I could definitely see how fitting in all six workouts might be difficult for some people, especially when schedules change/things come up.

IMG_7323

Because things come up in my schedule all the time (read: I have a demanding job) and I never know when I’ll be able to squeeze in a workout, I’ve found that completing the workouts in the morning before work has really helped me. It does mean that sometimes I have to get out of bed at 5:00 am for a workout (woof) but it’s worth it to me to check it off my list, and not worry if I can’t leave the office until after 7:00 pm.

I’ll be honest, waking up early to work out is usually pretty hard for me (unless it’s summer when I LOVE it), but one nice thing about waking up early for P90X is that because it’s every day, your body gets used to it.

I used to have trouble waking up early to run because one day I would have to get up 40 minutes earlier, and the next day I would get to “sleep in.” This made it really hard for my body to adjust to my sleep schedule and I was always thinking of how much better it would feel to sleep for 40 more minutes.

Because I’ve been waking up an hour earlier for P90x every morning this week and last, I’ve kind of forgotten what it feels like to get that extra hour of sleep, and suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so necessary. I’m telling you guys, routine is crucial for this. If you do something every day, your body will get used to it.

Also, I’ve been trying to get in bed earlier at night, which helps.

DC Bloggers and Tony Horton from P90X!

The workouts: I have been following the “lean” calendar for P90X, which is one of three calendars the program offers. The lean calendar incorporates a bit more cardio than the “classic” version, which I like.

Here’s a brief description of the workouts :

  • Core Synergistics (1 hour): This workout is designed to work your full body, with a focus on the core. This one is pretty tough! There are a lot of different moves which keeps you engaged. All you need is some weights for this one, as well as water and a towel. 
  • Cardio X (45 mins): This DVD takes a few moves from the Yoga X, Kenpo X, Plyometrics, and Core Synergistics DVDs (which I like). It’s not too intense (especially compared to Insanity), but you will definitely be sweaty at the end. The only equipment you need for this one is a chair, water, and a towel.
  • Arms & Shoulders (1 hour): This DVD works your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. It’s difficult in a way that will leave you achy and shaky at the end, but in a very good way 🙂 For this workout you need weights, a wall, and a chair, as well as water and a towel (are you sensing a trend?).
  • Yoga X (1.5 hours): I’ll be honest that this DVD is probably my least favorite of the bunch. Yoga just gets really boring for me when it’s the same thing over and over, adding just one new move to each sequence. I think this video would be fine for me if it was just 45 minutes to an hour, but waking up an hour and half earlier than usual for yoga is just tough for me. This one is a work in progress (last week I only wound up doing 30 minutes), but I know how important yoga is for your body so I’m going to keep working on it. For this one you need a yoga mat, and it works your full body.
  • Legs & Back (1 hour): This DVD works your quads, hamstring, calves, and back, and to complete it you’ll need a chair, weights, and a pull up bar. I obviously don’t have a pull up bar, so read below to hear about what I use. I like this DVD because, like the Arms & Shoulders one, I feel achy and sore after! Woohoo!
  • Kenpo X (1 hour): This workout is sort of martial-arts cardio with a lot of kickboxing moves. It’s very high tempo and fun! The DVD works your full body. You don’t need any equipment for this one other than water and a towel.
  • Ab Ripper X (16 mins): This DVD works your abs with a ton of really intense moves in just 15 minutes. You won’t be doing any standard sit-ups or crunches in this video, but your abs will be on fire!! You complete this workout with the Arms & Shoulders DVD and the Legs & Back DVD. No equipment needed (except a mat, I suppose).

Equipment: Compared to other workout DVDs I’ve done (Insanity and Jillian Michaels) I was intimidated at first by all the equipment you need for P90X. While I already had a set of 5 lb. weights (and definitely need to invest in another, heavier, set) I did have to buy a couple more resistance bands in varying strengths. I also was supposed to get a pull up bar, but since Fabio and I are both doing P90X together we would have needed two. Since they are expensive and often damage doors, I didn’t think this one was happening.

Here’s how we are improvising.

IMG_7222

Why yes, those are socks hanging over the door (!), with resistance bands looped through them. I got the idea from YouTube (ugh now I can’t find the link!), and it was really simple and worked so well!

Here’s what I did:

1. Stole two of Fabio’s old long socks (woops)

2. Tied two big knots at the end of each sock

3. Looped the resistance bands through the socks

4. Put the knots on one side of the door and the bands on the other side; closed the door.

Voila!

These work best when kneeling, and this setup works the same muscles as a pull up. Woohoo!

Overall thoughts: So far I am really liking these P90X workouts. They are definitely challenging but don’t make me want to absolutely die like Insanity did. Last week I was sore in quite a few areas, but it was never unbearable and it just made me feel like I had been working hard.

I think P90X is a great change from all the running I’ve done this year, and it feels great to switch things up a bit. I also think that if you were to do P90X for the full 90 days, you definitely wouldn’t need a gym membership during this time. P90X is a great full body workout, and it covers everything you’d need to stay in shape.

So there you have it! I promise to keep you guys updated as I continue to make my way through all 90 days of P90X!

Questions of the day: Have you ever done P90X, or a similar program? Do you have any questions about P90X?

 Posted by on December 10, 2013