Truth Tuesday: What Am I Doing?

I weighed in at my Weight Watchers meeting today and the scale said I lost 2.4 pounds. I was happy that I lost but I am not happy about this:

On May 8th I weighed in at my meeting at 167.8

The following week I weighed in at 169.8

The week after that, 169.8 again

Last week no weigh in, I was home sick

Today my meeting weight was 167.4

So, in a month of meetings I have lost 0.4 pounds

Am I happy that it is a negative and not a positive? Of course

Am I happy that my weight keeps bouncing back and forth? Absolutely not

Some days I feel my WLJ is like being on a treadmill- I’m running and running but I’m not going anywhere.

I know this lack of progression falls solely on my shoulders. I have a good week and then I follow it up with a not so good week. Why is it so easy to gain and so freaking hard to lose?

Why can’t I have a good week and then follow it up with another good week? Why does that seem to be so hard lately?

I don’t have any answers to share with you. This is something I have to look into a little deeper and see what is going on.

What I do have is a goal. Well two goals actually.

The first is a little challenge between me and my friend Roni 😉 to see if we can both lose two weeks in a row. If you are also having the same problems I am please feel free to join us in our two week challenge. I set it as my goal so now I just need a plan that will help me achieve it. I’ll check back in with you next Tuesday to let you know how it went.

My other goal came from my Weight Watchers meeting. Today we talked about our goal for the summer and how we are going to achieve it. If you read this blog frequently then you’ll know that I already set a goal to reach my goal weight by Labor Day. So, when we were asked in the meeting what our goal was for the summer I already knew.

Our leader talked about how if we followed the six principles of Weight Watchers for the next 14 weeks we could lose between 7 and 28 pounds. My goal is smack in the middle of those numbers at 17.4 pounds by Labor Day. This is a totally reasonable amount, just a little more than a pound a week.

Our weekly handout had a summer calendar in it and we were told to mark on it any events that may disrupt our routine. She asked us to take some time today and fill it out but to also bring it with us to every meeting so we can discuss them with our group.

We also set goals for three different areas; weight, activity, and lifestyle.
These are mine:

My weight today: 167.4

What I hope to weigh by Labor Day: 150

Activities I’ll be doing: running, cycling, yoga

Something new I’ll try: crossfit (I can hear you laughing, Monica)

How often and how long I’ll plan to be active: 5-6 days a week, minimum 45 minutes a day

Something I’ve long wanted to do/learn/try: ziplining

How I’ll make it happen: call and make the dang reservation already, dummy! (Ok, I didn’t write dummy in my weekly handout but maybe I should have)

So that’s my plan for the summer. I know it won’t be easy; there will be numerous disruptions popping up here and there but if I just plan for them and around them I know I can be successful.

How about you? What is your summer time goal? Where do you want to be by Labor Day and do you have a plan on how to get there?

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

June 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 1 comment.

It’s Time to Vlog

I’m home sick from work. I woke up with a killer headache and choose to wait it out hiding under the sheets in the comfort of my bed. I’m still not feeling 100% but with lots of water and rest I am getting there.

While I’ve been relaxing I decided that I wanted to do another vlog. It has been months since the last one and it was so much fun I thought it would be great to do it again.

But I need your help.

What do you want to see? Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? I’m open to almost anything; weight loss, veganism, marriage, etc. Or would you like to see another cooking vlog? I’m leaving this one up to you. Leave me a comment, shoot me an email (thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com), Facebook message or tweet (@dacialee33) at me your responses. I’m hoping to vlog this weekend so please get your questions/requests in by Saturday 🙂

That’s all I’ve got for now. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

May 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Blogging, Vlog. Leave a comment.

An All-Time Low

Today I hit an all-time low.

Not the ‘I just ate a chocolate éclair out of the trash can like George Costanza’ kind of low.

Nope I mean a new low on the scale.
Today I weighed in at 164.2, a new low weight for me and I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s nice to be on the lower half of the 160’s because just like how I felt after months in the 170’s I am sick of being in the 160’s. I FINALLY feel like I am progressing out of this decade. Hopefully in the next month I will reach the 150’s and celebrate a new decade.

I am sure you figured out that my new routine has helped boost my weight loss this week and you are correct. This week has been pretty awesome and although I got off to a rough start on Monday I quickly fell into a rhythm and have been able to adapt nicely to the changes.

My workouts so far this week:

Sunday: short 12.5 mile ride through the city

Monday: CXWorx at the YMCA and a 4.27 mile walk with the doggies. We were supposed to stay for boot camp on Monday but Paul hurt his knee in the first class so we headed home and instead of calling it a night a went for a nice long walk.

Tuesday: Nia followed by a slow run along the river

Wednesday: 30 minute walk on my lunch break and then an evening spin class which was awesome. I cannot wait to go to another one!

Thursday: yoga and then 45 minutes on the treadmill doing 400m intervals (6.7+/4.0)

Workouts for the rest of the week:

Friday: I am hoping to get in a walk on my lunch break and also hoping to get out of work early to catch a 330p yoga class. If I do not get out of work early I will just head to the YMCA after work and do a custom routine there.

Saturday: 3 mile run in the morning on a paved trail through one of our parks and an 11am TRX class

I have another 5K on June 2nd and I am hoping I haven’t slacked off too much in the running department and am still able to run the whole thing. We’ll see.

I also hit new lows this morning for BMI and body fat percentage. This morning my BMI registered at 27.3 and my body fat was 29.7%. I first started measuring my BMI/body fat back on April 2, 2011. In fourteen months my body fat has gone from 41.8% down to 29.7% and my BMI has dropped from 45.2 to 27.3. Holy crapballs! I hadn’t realized how much it had gone down until I pulled up the numbers just now. Wow! That’s so crazy. Just seeing my BMI at 27.3, getting so close to normal at 25, makes me so happy about my progress and so hopeful for my future.

Working out is great and I love it but it is only part of the weight loss puzzle. This week I also focused on my eating. On Monday night I kind of went snack crazy at night (this seems to happen frequently on the nights before weigh in) and so I have spent the past few evenings planning healthy snacks and then cutting myself off after I have eaten what I planned. It’s ok to go to bed a little hungry. I need to remember that.

Goals

I haven’t really talked about weight loss goals recently so I thought I should share them with you now.

My first goal is to reach 150 pounds which will give me a normal BMI and is considered a healthy weight for my height. That’s less than 15 pounds away. Ridiculous!

My ultimate goal is to reach 143 pounds. That is my personal ideal weight. It is well within the healthy weight range for my height (120-150) and it gives me some buffer between normal weight and overweight. I’m less than 22 pounds from that goal. Again, ridiculous!

My target to reach goal is by the end of the summer. I want to be at 143 by Labor Day weekend. I want this to be the last summer I ever spend overweight.

Goals for this week:

-don’t drink too much

-eat only when I’m hungry

-portion my food, try not to over eat

-stick to workout plan

-have fun

I am looking forward to enjoying my three day weekend. It is the perfect balance of fun and focus.

How are you spending your weekend? Any goals or plans to help you stay on track over the holiday?

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks for reading!

May 25, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Fitness, Weight Loss. 3 comments.

Veg Week 2012: A Week of Vegan Recipes

Next week, April 23 through April 29, is Veg Week. I am very excited about this. Obviously it was easy for me to pledge to eat vegetarian for a week, you know being a vegan and all, but I am excited thinking about all of the people out there pledging to take one week out of their lives and try something new. The basis of Veg Week is compassion over killing and although my choice to go vegan did not start out for this reason it has quickly become a big part of this lifestyle for me.

In honor of Veg Week I wanted to put a post together filled with quick and healthy recipes that utilize easy to find ingredients. I want people to feel comfortable taking the seven day pledge. Choosing to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet should not be stressful and I thought what better way to help others out who want to take this challenge by giving some advice, tips and recipes to make it as easy as possible.

Breakfast

There are so many great blogs and cookbooks dedicated to vegan cooking and I could provide you with tons of great breakfast recipes but for the sake of your sanity (and mine) and the fact that most people don’t cook huge, elaborate breakfasts during the week I say keep breakfast simple.

Cereal with non-dairy milk (I prefer almond milk) with some sliced fruit. I love Uncle Sam original with sliced banana and almond milk. Some days I’ll even add some walnuts, too. Check out this list of vegan cereals on the PETA website– you will be amazed at the choices of cereals you have!

Oatmeal with Berries/apples/raisins and a splash of non-dairy milk- YUM!

Toast (I prefer Food for Life or other sprouted grain bread which can be found in the freezer section) or English muffin with nut butter and sliced banana – this is usually a snack for me but would make a great breakfast.

Lunch

I am a creature of habit. Most weekdays you will find me eating soup and salad for lunch. I change up the soup weekly/bi-weekly so it’s not really the same thing day in and day out but it kind of is. I like it this way, though. I love salad. I love soup. It’s what I want to eat. Paul…not so much. His lunches are either leftovers (which you will have for most of these recipes) or I make up some grain and bean salad or quick bowls (from the Whole Foods website) for him. However, don’t forget that something as simple and easy as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be a perfect vegan lunch.

I like to keep these salad ingredients on hand for lunches but I also use them in other recipes like the hummus pitas: plastic container of salad mix (I like the organic mesculin mix), cherub tomatoes, bagged shredded carrots, alfalfa/broccoli/radish sprouts, bell peppers, cucumber, and zucchini.

If you are a soup person like me then try making up a batch on Sunday and then portion it out into Ziploc baggies and freeze. I pull a portion out of the freezer for my lunch each day- it’s so super easy. Here are two fast and easy soup recipes I love to make.

Soup Recipes

Asian-Inspired Vegetable Soup from Weight Watchers

Makes 6 hearty servings or 12 smaller servings

2 cup(s) uncooked bok choy, chopped

2 cup(s) uncooked Chinese cabbage, chopped

3 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced

1/4 cup(s) ginger root, thinly sliced and julienned

4 small uncooked oyster mushroom(s), chopped

2 cup(s) uncooked scallion(s), chopped

1 cup(s) canned water chestnut(s), sliced (8 oz can)

1/2 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), thinly sliced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

6 cup(s) vegetable broth

2 cup(s) snow peas, stringed

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup(s) cilantro, finely chopped

Directions
Put bok choy, Chinese cabbage, garlic, ginger root, mushrooms, scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, red pepper flakes and broth into a large soup pot; stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes. Toss in snow peas during the last 3 to 4 minutes of simmering.

Stir in soy sauce and cilantro.

*If you can’t find oyster mushrooms try white mushrooms instead. No Chinese cabbage use Savoy or green. I don’t like water chestnuts so I omit them and add half a box of prepared thin rice noodles instead.

Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup from Vegan with a Vengeance

This is the first vegan cookbook I owned, months and months before becoming a vegan, and this was the first recipe I tried. I love it! Not a lot of ingredients. Super easy. Very tasty.

Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients
16 oz dried split peas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced small
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
1 carrot, grated
fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Spice blend:
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons salt
generous pinch cinnamon

Directions
Sauté the onions in the olive oil at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Sauté 2 more minutes.

Add the water and stir well. Add the split peas. Cover and bring to a boil.
Bring heat back down to medium; let soup simmer for about an hour, until peas are tender. Grate in the carrot and serve. You can garnish with fresh cilantro if you have it on hand.

Snacks

I am a big fan of snacking and prior to becoming a vegan my routine was 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. That hasn’t changed. I mainly stick to fruits and nuts for snacks but here are some other things I like to keep on hand to snack on as well.

Apples and almonds (my typical morning snack)

Grapefruit (or oranges if you don’t like to eat plain grapefruit)

Hummus and veggies (or pita chips or pretzels)

Toast with nut butter and banana

Popcorn (whole kernels, microwave in a brown paper bag, seasoned with spices)

Dark Chocolate

Non-dairy ice cream with fresh fruit and nuts

Dinners

Paul and I were talking about this post yesterday and what recipes I should include. Here are some of our favorites and anything with an (*) notes the changes/tweaks/tips to the recipe. All of these are from Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet. His recipes are super tasty, easy and healthy and so we use them quite frequently. They also don’t use a ton of ingredients and come together quickly which is important to me as a hungry cook who wants to eat ASAP so she can get to riding. I love my new hobby.

Jane’s Jammin’ Burritos

Serves 6
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (*I buy one head and use for both this and the asian-inspired vegetable soup)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans fat-free vegetarian refried beans
1 cup cooked brown rice (*cook up 2 cups and save one cup to use on Rip’s Sweet Potato bowl)
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 large Ezekiel sprouted-grain wraps (*if you can’t find Ezekiel brand just use any large/burrito size whole wheat tortillas you can find)
Salsa
Guacamole (*I buy Wholly Guacamole brand guac usually found in the produce section and keep a box or two on hand at all times. I love the 100-calorie packs because they are the perfect size – we split one pack per two burritos)

Preheat oven to 350º.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a large sprayed skillet on high heat for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, and cabbage to the skillet. Cook 4–5 minutes, until the vegetables are al dente (soft but firm) and the cabbage is wilting. Add the black beans, refried beans, and rice to the skillet. Stir the ingredients together on low heat until the mixture is thick and mortar-like. Season with the cumin and cayenne. Slap a large spoonful of veggie mortar onto the center of the Ezekiel wrap and spread it from top to bottom along the center line. Fold the sides over using a bit of the veggie mortar as adhesive for the top flap. Rest the burritos next to each other and place them seam side down on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the wraps are crisp. Serve with salsa and guacamole on top.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Location 3821). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This recipe makes 6 gigantic burritos. You can halve the recipe if that is just too much for you or wrap leftover burritos in aluminum foil and place in Ziploc bag. These keep well frozen and make great leftovers for lunch or for dinner next week.

Rip’s Sweet Potato Bowl

Serves 2
1 large cooked sweet potato, skin removed, cut into cubes (*or two medium/small potatoes)
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ bunch chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Balsamic vinegar to taste

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3795-3801). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*How I make this recipe- I microwave the potatoes for like 5 minutes to cook them (make sure you pierce the skin with a fork first) and then let them cool a bit before peeling them. I warm the black beans in a small pot with some water/veggie broth and some chili powder. I toss in the bell pepper and ½ cup frozen corn and let them warm together. Reheat the leftover brown rice from the burritos. On a plate or bowl layer potatoes, rice and bean mixture then top with mango, avocado and cilantro. I squeeze some fresh lime juice and top with salsa. I omit the vinegar.

Healthy Homemade Hummus

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2–3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium tamari (*low-sodium soy sauce works fine too)
3 tablespoons water or vegetable broth

Blend all the ingredients into a thick paste, using a small amount of water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Variations: Customize by adding one or more of the following:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 roasted, seeded, and chopped red bell pepper
1 cup dark or Kalamata olives
1 bunch fresh mint
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup cooked eggplant

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Location 3940). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This is one of my favorite recipes. I make a batch of the hummus up and spread a thick layer of it inside a pita. I top it with cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, sprouts, squash, really any veggies you have on hand would work. I serve it with a side of canned black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed) warmed in water or veggie broth and topped with some hot sauce. Voila- dinner in less than 10 minutes.

Pasta Primavera

1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch fresh kale, rinsed and chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz (I prefer Muir Glen no salt added, organic which they carry at the commissary)
1 jar pasta sauce (I prefer Organic Ville, Whole Foods brand, or Newman’s Own)
16 ounces whole-grain spaghetti, cooked
½ cup raw cashews, finely ground

Sauté the onion, garlic, and corn in a large skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeño, bell pepper, and kale to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce to the vegetables. Ladle the sauce over the pasta and top with the cashews.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3205-3214). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This is a great base recipe and I tweak it based on whatever veggies I have on hand. I have used frozen corn instead or canned, red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno, omitted kale (which I recommend using if you have it) and threw in every frozen veggie I had in the freezer, including okra. Oh, and those shredded carrots I use for my salad- yeah, I toss those in too. This recipe is practically fail proof and it makes a ton and the sauce freezes nicely. I omit the cashews and use half the amount of pasta. I prefer penne or fussili over spaghetti- whatever your preference is go for it.

New York Times Veggie Burgers

Makes 8 Patties
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tomatoes with zesty mild chilies, drained
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup parsley or cilantro
2 cups quick rolled oats
8 whole grain buns
Fresh veggie toppings and healthy condiments

Preheat oven to 450º. Process the first seven ingredients using an immersion or a regular blender or food processor. Remove contents into a large bowl and stir in the oats. Form into patties, place on a sprayed baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes. Turn oven up to broil and cook for 2 more minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Toast the buns and pile on your favorite toppings. Variation: Sauté the burgers on medium heat in a sprayed nonstick skillet for 5 minutes on each side, until both sides are browned.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3061-3073). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*The only change I make to the recipe is adding in a tablespoon or two of flour to bind it better. Sometimes make mixture seems a little wet (maybe I don’t drain the tomatoes well enough) and so I found if I add some flour it binds it together nicely. Oh, and I cook mine longer. Ten minutes on each side. I usually cook up half the mixture and freeze the other half since there are only two of us. 8 patties are too much for one meal for us. These are great topped with grilled onions and peppers, guac, and salsa or ketchup, mustard and relish work too.

EMS Portobello Mushroom Fajitas with Rice and Guacamole

Serves 4
4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into thick strips
1 large onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 jalapeño pepper, diced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
12 corn or whole grain tortillas
Guacamole
Salsa
3 cups cooked brown rice

Cook the mushrooms in a large nonstick skillet on high heat for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to brown slightly. Add the onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and jalapeño and cook for 3 minutes. Warm the tortillas. To serve, spoon the mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion strips into the corn tortillas with the guacamole and salsa. Serve with a side of rice and beans.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3809-3819). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*I omit the rice and serve with a can of fat free refried beans instead. To the mushroom fajita mix I also add in some taco seasoning blend I made for some added seasoning. Use whatever seasoning you like; cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, etc. Leftover fajita veggies make a great addition to salad the next day.

Three-Bean Chili

Serves 6 to 8
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 bay leaves
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, with juice, chopped
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1 can corn or frozen equivalent
1 apple, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion on medium-high heat in a large sprayed soup pot for 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and jalapeño, and cook on medium for 5 more minutes. Add beans, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, tofu, corn, apple, remaining seasonings, mustard, molasses, and parsley or cilantro. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Esselstyn, Rip (2009-02-19). The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds (Kindle Locations 3682-3701). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

*This makes a lot. Like a giant pot full of chili. It is not spicy and the apple and molasses add a sweetness not usually found in chili. It is not like any chili I have ever had before. With that being said- I love it. Think of it as a stew and not a chili and then you won’t be disappointed when it isn’t what you expected. Again, this freezes wonderfully and I freeze it in individual portions so I can have for lunches or dinners.

I hope some of these recipes sound good to you and inspire you to try to eat vegan for a week. I picked recipes with ingredients you should be able to find at any regular grocery store but if there is something you can’t find feel free to ask me or a grocery store employee what would be a substitute for it. We eat a lot of foods that have somewhat of a Tex-Mex flavor so we always have guacamole (like I mentioned before Wholly Guacamole is a lifesaver) and salsa (we prefer Muir Glen organic or Newman’s Own both of which we buy from the commissary) on hand. Veggie broth is another staple as well as low-sodium soy sauce, brown rice, and whole grain pastas. All of these items you can buy at any grocery.

Some other great online resources to check out in case you still need some ideas are:
Engine 2 Diet
Post Punk Kitchen
The Blissful Chef
The Happy Herbivore
Oh She Glows
The Sensitive Pantry

And of course don’t forget to check out the Veg Week websiteand take the seven day pledge!

Thanks for reading!

April 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Veg Week, Vegan. 6 comments.

MB Challeneg: Week Six Results and Week Seven Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. We are now 3/4 of the way through the challenge. Crazy how fast those six weeks flew by!

Are you happy with your progress so far? If not, know that you have the power to make this week different. You can change your path starting now so do it. No excuses!

The results are in and our current leader is still Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 6.51% so far. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing! Would you care to share your secrets? 😉

I am so proud of Alexis and the progress she has made but if there is one thing I have learned by watching her weight drop every week is that this challenge, this competition, is personal and unique for each of us. I cannot compare myself to Alexis and wonder what I am doing wrong, why I am not getting the same results as her. All I can do is to be honest with myself, make the best choices I can and try my hardest and whatever the results are is how my body reacts to those choices. I cannot change that. We can only do our best and have to be satisfied with the outcome regardless of whether that number is 6.51% or 0.51%- if we gave it our best we have to be happy with the results. Each day we chose to put our health and wellness first is a victory. I am so proud of all of you for making the choice to do so!

Are you ready for week 7 and the new challenges?

Challenge 1: Miles or Reps- You Choose

Last week we racked up the miles and although I loved this challenge I know there is a large number of people doing this challenge who focus on weight/strength training. Since I don’t want to exclude them this week I am going to change the challenge to miles or reps.

Walk/Run: 16 miles

Bike: 60 miles

Reps: 500 My logic behind the 500 was this; I know I usually do 30 reps of an exercise or on a machine. I figured 5 machines/exercises would be 150 reps. Three times a week equals 450 reps. Rounded up to make a nice even 500. Seems realistic, right?

Challenge 2: 100% Perfection

This week I want you to pick one thing you are struggling with and do it every day, no skippsies! So if you are struggling with your water intake try for 100 oz a day for all seven days. If you hate tracking but know it works (cough, cough wink, wink) then track for all seven days. Even Easter/Passover. No free passes this week.

Challenge 3: NO CANDY

I really wanted to say this challenge will include today and that you can’t have any candy whatsoever but then you might think of me more like a dictator, not a friend. So for this challenge I say go ahead and have a couple pieces (2-3) today. Don’t go crazy. WW peeps those fun size bars are like 2 PP and if you have just 5 of them that’s ten points. That’s the equivalent of a meals worth of points. And guess what? You’ll still be hungry because they provide no nutrients to your body. So have a piece or two, paired with some fruit for a filling snack and then step away from the candy. You’ll be very happy you did.

Then tomorrow when you are in a house/office filled with leftover candies be strong. Fight the temptation. Arm yourself with good, filling, healthy alternatives and walk away. We are all strong enough to beat the candy monster.

Ok, so that’s about it for this week. Are you ready for the challenges?  I hope so.

Happy Holidays!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

April 8, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 4 comments.

MB Challenge: My Progress

I have been really struggling with my blog lately. It’s been a combination of not enough free time and not enough new topics that have kept me from getting in regular posts. I apologize about that and am going to try to do better with posting more frequently.

Having a lot on my plate is not really a good excuse though. Who doesn’t have a lot on their plate? Everyone I know is busy so if my fellow bloggers can write multiple posts a week then so can I.

Today I want to share with you my progress in Monica’s Birthday Challenge. Although I am not eligible to win it I am still tracking my progress and participating in the challenges. So far I have lost 4.61% percent of my starting weight going from 178.0 down to 169.8 pounds. I am pretty pleased with my progress so far. Getting my workouts in during the AM definitely helps as well as tri training and having a new bike that I love to ride. I am guessing you figured that out when you saw this week’s miles challenge.

Speaking of the miles challenge so far I have rode for 27.27 miles (20.4 on my bike, 6.87 at the gym) and have walked/ran 2.69 miles. I am over halfway to my 50 mile bike goal but less than 20% to my 15 mile walk/run goal. Definitely need to step it up on the walk/run portion.

I planned on going for a walk last night but I was just so exhausted, my body had a different plan. I hit the gym in the AM and then had my lunch time yoga class so no, I didn’t feel guilty not getting in a walk last night. Yes, I want to reach the 15 mile goal but not if it means overexerting myself. My body was tired; it needed rest so that is what I gave it.

Tuesday is my Weight Watchers meeting at work so I don’t normally workout. I try to take it easy on my weigh in day and so I won’t be hitting the gym at any point today. I will, however, be heading out for Girls Night later this evening. We are having our second girls only outing at the roller skating rink. I am super excited. Not only is skating a great way to have fun while being active it also allows you to be carefree for a few hours. I totally feel like a 12 year old when I am out there. I don’t think about work or other life stressors and just focus on skating and having fun with my girls. It’s great.

My workout plan for the rest of the week includes; swimming (W, F), yoga (W), Couch to 5K week 6 days 2 &3 (Th, Sat), stationary bike (Th, Sat), cycling (W, F, Sun) and walking (Th, F, Sat) and I am pretty excited. Oh and how can I forget Kick-Ass April and Six-Pack March from the Sisterhood? I am doing squats, burpees, wall sits, push-ups, sit-ups and planks daily, too.

I wanted to point out that if you are following the Kick-Ass April routine set up by the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans the burpees are in seconds, not reps. So for day one it was 30 seconds of burpees not 30 burpees. Just wanted to clarify that since I have heard from several people that they thought it was reps. It’s not, don’t kill yourself doing burpees. 😉

Although I have been doing really good with tracking I have not been doing really good with food choices. This weekend I ate a lot of junk and drank more than I probably should have. So for this week I am trying to make better choices. For my lunches this week, I made a batch of Asian Inspired Vegetable Soup (recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers) to which I added some thin rice noodles to make it a little more substantial. I will be having my standard salad with that, too.

For breakfasts I am going to start my day with a pre-workout meal of a banana and an almond date roll. Post workout I will have a Vega recovery drink and then a Vega One nutritional shake. I switched over to the nutritional shake instead of my normal green monster smoothie because it is filled with so much good stuff and so much faster to prepare in the morning it is totally worth the additional cost.

For dinners this week we are having; BBQ mushroom sandwiches, pasta primavera, pitas with veggies and healthy hummus, pad thai and a red quinoa lentil tart. I am still not sure if we will have a special dinner for Easter Sunday but I do plan on making baked quinoa oatmeal for breakfast that day. I did just see that Engine 2 posted on their blog some Easter meal ideas so I am going to definitely check that out.

So, that about wraps up my week; how I plan to complete the two fitness challenges along with what I am eating which will hopefully help me conquer the food challenge as well. I would love to see another loss this week and am hoping this plan helps me get there.

How are you facing your challenges this week?

Thanks for reading!

April 3, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 3 comments.

Wordless Wednesday – the Suit

Because I felt ballsy this morning…

20120328-044715.jpg

20120328-044722.jpg

20120328-044727.jpg

20120328-044733.jpg

Thanks for reading!

March 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, wordless wednesday. 1 comment.

MBC Week 2 Personal Challenge

Do you remember week two of Monica’s Birthday Challenge where I asked everyone to create their own fitness challenge? Initially I had set out to do a rowing challenge as mine but then as the week progressed I decided to do something different.

Something that was mentally challenging and still very physical. Something I hadn’t done in 14 years. Something I was afraid of doing.

Something that Paul had taken me to do when we lived in Washington and I absolutely refused to try as I was completely paralyzed with fear.

Skating.

It had been 14 years since I put on a pair of skates but last week I just felt like I was ready to give it another shot.

You see, back in 1998 I fell while rollerblading and did a number on my back. I broke my pelvic bone. It was awful. That accident not only kept me off any type of skates for almost a decade and a half it also left me with an overwhelming fear of injuring myself again and was how I stopped doing most physical activities.

It was there that my road to obesity all started.

But I don’t want to dwell on that story. That is my past. My future is now completely different because of this new road I decided to travel down.

And this road lead me to roller skating.

It was time to get back on that horse.

I was super excited to be able to push through my fears and get back out there. I asked Paul to record me skating around so I could share it with you and also as a reminder of how far I’ve come. He kindly obliged and took four videos. On the way home I stole his phone so I could check out the videos- I was thrilled to see how they turned out.

The first one- one second.

The second one- two seconds.

The third one- five seconds.

The fourth one- 1 minute and 25 seconds.

Yes! One minute and twenty-five seconds. I was so excited to watch since clearly he had some issues with the first three.

Sadly it was one and a half minutes of him filming the ground. WTF Paul! Really? No video! Blerg!

Well, at least I have this picture.

20120316-105950.jpg

We had so much fun that night. It took me some time to move away from the wall and get comfortable enough to skate. I never really got the hang of turning so I kind of skated in a rectangle. Straight line- stop at wall- turn- straight line- stop at wall- turn- you get the idea. I definitely was rusty to say the least but damn did I have fun.

I kept telling Paul that it might not look like it (because of my tense, serious facial expressions) but I was having a really good time. Surprisingly, he did too.

We skated for about an hour and a half and it wasn’t too crowded either which was nice. I felt like a giddy school girl watching Paul skate around during the boy’s only fast skate. Yeah, we were the only adults there not with kids but we didn’t care. It was awesome.

Afterwards we headed to Blue Star for some beers and sweet potato fries- it was the perfect date night.

And since I had so much fun and was super excited to go back again I decided to organize a girl’s night out this upcoming Tuesday. I’m not sure how many people are going to show but I guarantee it will be a blast!

I would love to know what your perfect date night or girl’s night out would be. Have you been roller or ice skating recently?

Also, do you have any fears keeping your from trying something?

Thanks for reading!

March 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Health, Life, Weight Loss. 4 comments.

Bad Habits Come Creeping Back In

It’s been about six weeks since I reached my lowest weight of 173 pounds. That was before I left for vacation. Since then I have bounced between 173.2 all the way up to 178 and it has been nothing short of frustrating.

Yes, I knew that vacation would bring forth a gain- which it did. And that it wouldn’t take long to lose the weight, which it didn’t. But then I got sick. I fell out of routine. And bad habits started creeping back in.

So, I bounced. That weight jumped back and forth and the more that 173 evaded me the harder I found it to make good choices.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I was making good choices. They were just surrounded by bad choices.

Like I would kill it at the gym and then later go crazy with my eating and not track.

Or I would make good food choices but I wasn’t getting in any activity.

So I wasn’t shocked that my weight kept fluctuating.

I was, however, shocked by the habits that started to come back as the frustration increased.

My worst habit by far- eating when I am not hungry.

Perfect example was last Saturday. I woke up, got in a great workout. Had a healthy breakfast and lunch and made great decisions to set me up for a successful evening at a friend’s house where I would be drinking lots of home-brewed beer and eating foods not prepared by me.

To help survive the smorgasbord that would be there I prepared a healthy, nutrient dense wheat berry and chickpea salad. I knew if I could eat this and limit the portions on the other foods I would be ok.

But that’s not what happened. I ate and ate and ate. Even when I was no longer hungry. All because the foods were new and oh so yummy and because I easily revert back to bad habits when alcohol is involved and that is not a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s ok to have a night of fun like that (with slightly less indulgence) as long as the next day I go back to eating like a normal person.

But I don’t. That’s where my struggle lies. Saturday was fun. We had a fabulous time with friends. I didn’t make the best decisions but that’s life. It happens. I move on.

But Sunday found me making the same mistakes- having a big, hearty brunch and then eating samosas just an hour or so later (not even slightly hungry) because they looked yummy and were in front of my face. I regretted eating them not because of the points, which I tracked, but because I felt like I was losing control of my mindful eating practice. I was letting the food control me, not the other way around.

I told Paul about how pissed I was that after a year I am still making bad decisions and he said that I need to look at it differently. I’ve had that habit for a very long time, far longer than a year, so it should come as no surprise when that habit comes through and causes me to make bad decisions.

I guess that’s true.

Although I don’t want it to be. I like to think I’m different now. I like to think those habits are gone.

Maybe we are both right. Maybe that urge will always be there, that temptation from food which leads me to overindulge. But maybe it’s lessened.

Or maybe I just have the tools now to help me make better decisions that allow me to keep that temptation at bay.

Most of the time, at least 😉

Thanks for reading!

March 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 8 comments.

Pool PT

I didn’t even think to show a picture on yesterday’s post of the bathing suit I ended up getting. It’s a Speedo swim dress. I wanted to get a bathing suit that would hold up to frequent pool usage and that was meant to swim/exercise in opposed to beach wear. Although it is a swim dress it is a fitness suit, designed for swimming. It is hella comfortable and I love it.

20120314-084858.jpg

20120314-084906.jpg

*Images from the Speedo website

I also love the fact that the on post gym has an indoor pool that opens at 5a on weekdays. This morning I was at the pool at 5a on the dot, with Paul by my side, for my morning workout.

After I had bought the suit Sunday I went to the pool with Paul so he could show me what the soldiers do during their pool PT sessions. I am not a great swimmer so I wanted to incorporate more exercises into my workout in addition to swimming laps.

This morning I took the exercises Paul taught me and created my own routine.

I thought I would share in case you are looking to add something new to your workouts.

Equipment Needed:

Pool (Aqua Fitness) Dumbbells-2

Buoyancy Belt

Using pool dumbbells do 20 reps each of;

Jumping Jacks- One dumbbell in each hand. Arms stay under water the whole time. Should have resistance on dumbbells in both directions

Push Ups- One dumbbell in each hand, under water. Slightly hunched over. Arms in front of chest with elbows bent. Push the dumbbells out in front and bring back in towards the body. Arms move like they would in a pushup while body remains in the same position.

Dips-One dumbbell in each arm, underwater. Knees slightly bent. Arms at side, hip level, with bent elbows. Push dumbbells down while straightening arms. Pull back to bent position.

One minute of cross-country skiing using dumbbells. Keep dumbbells under water. Move in place like you are cross-country skiing- alternate arm/leg movement back and forth.

One lap each;

Arms only-Take one dumbbell and place it between your legs down towards the knee. Swim one lap using just your arms. If you don’t have dumbbells try crossing your legs at the ankles and swim using your arms only.

Legs only- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim with arms straight out in front, kicking only. If you don’t have dumbbells then just extend your arms in front and kick only.

Bicycle- Take one dumbbell in each hand and hold them underwater by your side. Bend forward and move your legs in circles to simulate riding a bicycle. If you don’t bend forward then you will end up staying in place.

Freestyle with dumbbells- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim freestyle. This is a difficult exercise because of the added resistance of the dumbbell moving through and out of the water. You will feel the burn 🙂

Running- strap on the buoyancy belt and run (make sure to use your arms, too) one lap

Repeat both the exercise and laps

Once I completed two rounds of exercises and laps I swam regular laps (alternating breast stroke and freestyle) for ten minutes.

It was a great workout. I was in the pool for 45 minutes and it felt great. I have decided to make it a very regular part of my routine. So I am going to make that routine above my Wednesday and Friday workout and then on Sunday I will hit the pool again but probably just for lap swim.

Do you workout in the pool? Do you have any fun exercises or routines you would like to share?

Thanks for reading!

March 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Swimming. 1 comment.

Next Page »