Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 30th - Halloween Party Night

Ok, so I figured today would be a pretty useless day concerning diet. I didn't do as bad as I thought I would! But, I'll let you decide just how bad I really did. *sigh*:

Breakfast 7:30 am:

Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with reduced-fat hazelnut cream cheese spread. I bought these for my seminary students hoping they would eat them all and leave no leftovers. My hopes were all in vain. The dumb things smelled so flippin' good and before I knew it the knife jumped right in my hand and began spreading cream cheese all over that bagel like Tommy Lee slathering Pamela Anderson with tanning oil (when they were together, of course). You can forget me listing the nutritional info on this one!

Lunch 11:30 am:

Whole Grain Garlic Chicken White PIzza Lean Pocket, water
Nutritional Facts: 270 Calories, 70 fat calories, 8g fat, 4g sat. fat, 30mg Chl., 560mg sodium, 38g carbs, 3g fiber, 9g sugar, 13g protein.

Afternoon Snack - 3 pm:

100 calorie pack goldfish crackers.

Dinner - 7 pm:

Let's see, where do I start?
3 Honey BBQ chicken wings
1 deviled egg
3 mini artichoke spinach bowls from Schwan's
2 meatball skewers with 1 meatball, 1 cheese cube and 1 black olive each
1 cranberry splash 7-Up, 2 glasses of water
1 slice chocolate spider cake. It was sooo pretty! Look at it...
How can you resist that? Though, I should have. It was evil to the core.

So, I feel bloated and miserable and this is why you shouldn't eat like this everyday!!!
Off to bed I go.
Tomorrow is another day and will be brighter...
...and LIGHTER.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29th Menu-Happy Birthday to Me!!

Yes, today is my b-day. The big 2-9! I plan on eating some of my most favorite foods today. Only, the healthier versions, of course! Starting with pumpkin pie...

Breakfast - 8:30 am:
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
1 cup water
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. Xylo Sweet
1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the pumpkin and remove from heat. Turn heat to low. Stir in oats and put back on the burner. Cook for 7 minutes or until oats are cooked and fluffy. Stir in cinnamon, pumpkin pie seasoning and sweetener. Serves 2.

Nutritional Facts: 110 calories, 2g. fat, 0g sat. fat, 0mg Chl., 5 mg sodium, 23g carbs, 2g sugar, 4g protein.

Xylo Sweet is a great alternative to regular sugar. Also, try something called Stevia. Both of these sweeteners can be found at your local health food store.

Lunch - 12 pm:
Out to lunch with my sister, Stacy who treated me for my birf-day! We ate at a local restaurant called Roma's. It's a little Italian place downtown that gets some pretty rave reviews like Khan's. I love Italian food! However, eating Italian can be a diet-destroyer or a healthful-helper. It's all in the choices you make.
Today I had the Chicken Pomodoro:

Soooo yummy and light! I had 2 of their homemade rolls (one too many) with this and a side salad with their Red Wine Vinaigrette. I am stuffed!

Next time you're dining under the Tuscan, uh, chandelier, remember these tips to help you eat lighter:
1. Stick to tomato-based sauces like arrabiata, a spicy tomato sauce.
2. Skip the garlic bread which is usually slathered in butter. Instead ask for a shallow dish of herbed olive oil and plain french bread for dipping.
3. Go all you can eat on salad and soup, NOT pasta!
4. If you get a hankering for pasta, you don't have to sweat it. Usually you can trade your white pasta choice for a whole wheat substitute they have on hand.
5. Skip dessert!
6. Split a dish with a friend. The dishes restaurants serve anymore are enough for 3 people! Divide it down the middle and you saved not only 1/2 the calories and fat but 1/2 the budget!

Here are 5 great menu options next time you go to Olive Garden:
1. Linguine ala Marinara with 551 calories and 8g fat
2. Shrimp Primavera with 708 calories and 10g of fat
3. Capellini Pomodoro with 644 calories and 14 grams of fat
4. Ask for the kids' meal grilled chicken breast with sauteed veggies for a heart-healthy, low-fat, low-carb meal with 349 calories and 11g of fat
5. Try the minestrone soup with 164 calories and 1g of fat

Cardio - 2 mile run
1. Side Lateral Lunges - 10-15 reps
2. Ball Bridge - 10-15 reps per leg
4. Single-Legged Squat - 10-15 reps per leg

Dinner-6 pm:
Leftover lunch, water

Dessert - 6:30:
South Beach Diet Hazelnut Creme Bars

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28th Menu

Breakfast - 7:30 am

Kashi Go Lean Blueberry waffles with 1 T. Smart Balance Heart Right Light buttery spread and 2 T. low-sugar strawberry jam.
Nutritional facts: 240 Calories, 70 fat calories, 8g fat, 1.5g sat. fat, 0 Chl., 380mg sodium, 39g carbs, 9g sugar, 8g protein

Lunch - 12 pm:
I am going to Sherman today so I will be eating out at my favorite fast food place of all time! Chick-Fil-A has a few of the best menu choices for people who have to eat on the go but don't want to have to run 15 miles to make up for it! Their salads are great healthful choices and if you stick to the vinaigrette or honey mustard dressings you can feel guiltless! My fav is the Grilled Chicken and Fruit Salad.
Nutritional Facts:
220 Calories, 6g. fat, 20g carbs, 22g protein
Honey Mustard dressing: 60 Calories, 0 fat, 0 Chl., 190mg sodium, 14g carbs, 11g sugar 0 protein. You could get by with 1/2 of the packet they give you (it's huge!) and cut back major on your sodium and sugar intake here!

If you feel salads just don't fill you up, you could add their yummy Chicken Soup and not be sinning.
Nutritional Facts: 150 calories, 4g fat, 19g carbs, 10g protein

I also like their chicken sandwiches. I get cravings for them every now and then. However, I like them battered. It's the worst, I know, but sometimes I just want the battered version over the grilled. If you do get one of their sandwich meals, try to stick with the grilled chicken (I will do better in the future) and go for the whole wheat bun, no mayo (honey mustard) with a bottled water and substitute the fries for a fruit cup with one packet of Splenda. It's plenty!

Afternoon Snack - 2 pm
2 Schwan's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, water

Workout: See previous posts for how-to's or click on the exercises themselves for photos. Do 10-15 reps of everything except the Yoga 100, obviously. Repeat all sets 3 times.
4. Yoga 100

Dinner - 6pm:
Ok, my dinner tonight was more indulgent than it should have been. We went to some friends house for food and games and good company and I indulged in all 3! But it was well worth it. I couldn't tell you the calories I ate but here's rundown of the stuff in general:
Taco Soup, cornbread, cookies and apple pie. 

I will warn you...the rest of this week may not be the greatest week to follow me on. It's my b-day tomorrow and there are too many people planning too many indulgent evenings for me to resist. If I fall off the bandwagon...well, I know I'll have to pay the price. 
But you guys, will still love me, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008

October 27th Menu

Breakfast 7:30 am:

Kashi Go Lean Honey Almond Flax cereal with fat-free milk.

I love all of Kashi's cereals. Kashi is a great brand if you're looking for healthier protein packed foods. However, not ALL of Kashi's items are great choices. Some of their frozen meals are low in calories but are packed with sodium! Sodium will make you feel fuller longer but bloats you and is horrible for your heart! I love their cookies, Stone Ground/Rosemary Crackers, waffles and cereals, though!

Lunch 1 pm:
My own Grilled Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Wrap (recipe follows) with 1 slice fresh pineapple, a handful of grapes and a chunk of fresh watermelon.

1 La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Low-Carb/Low-Fat Garlic & Herb tortilla
3 oz. Tyson fully cooked grilled chicken breast strips (plain, NOT southwest flavor!)
1 slice Veggie Slices American Flavor
3 slices avocado
2 slices Oscar Mayer Ready Bacon, cooked

Place veggie slice and chicken on tortilla. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Top with cooked bacon and avocado slices. Roll and enjoy!
Nutritional facts: 190 Calories, 12.5g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 10mg Chl., 600mg sodium, 14g carbs, 11g fiber (nice!), 3g sugar, 14g protein
SO satisfying!

Dinner 6 pm:
Khan's Fire custom bowl. I put chicken in my bowl, (no steak, sausage or meatballs. Sure, they add protein but they also add unnecessary fat. Stick with the low-fat, high-protein chicken). I season it with garlic pepper and Key West (NO salt or garlic salt). The veggies I add include but are not limited to: onions, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms, green onions and pineapple. My sauce of choice is a menagerie of Bourbon, Chile Garlic, Szechwan, Teriyaki , General Khan'sand lots of Peanut Curry! Be sure to steer clear of anything that has the letters S-O-Y on it! I will sometimes get no starch to keep the meal super light, but if you want it more filling go with 1/2 the noodles or steamed white rice and skip the fried rice altogether.

Udon noodles are a wheat-based starch with a good deal of protein unlike the steamed rice which gives you a full tummy but no real nutritional gain. The choice is yours.
I couldn't tell you what the nutritional info is on this if my life depended on it. Sorry guys!

Let me just say that I can't do these! I have only just begun them and you would laugh if you saw me! I just hang from them, trying desperately to pull myself up, but it's all in vain. However, I know the more I practice, the stronger I will get and the better they will look. One day, I may show you. But it won't be anytime soon!
  Targets: Latissimus dorsi
   How-to: Grasp the bar with a wide, overhand grip. Pull yourself up toward the bar, leading with your chest and keeping your elbows drawn down and back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as you can and then slowly return to the starting position. To complete the range of motion, the upper arms should be fully extended on every repetition but do not lock your elbows. Do 5 slow reps.

2. Reverse Flye           
   Targets: Trapezius, posterior deltoids
   How-to: Stand with your feet together and bend over until your back is flat and parallel to the  floor. Hold a 5-8 lb. dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. With a slight bend in your        elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades and raise your upper arms until they are parallel to the    floor. Pause and then slowly lower them to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

3. Deadlift (I pull out the heavier weights for these to really feel the effect!)
   Targets: Hamstrings
   How-to: Begin with your feet together and a 10-12 lb. dumbbell in each hand. Maintaining your balance, bend forward at the waist and lower the dumbbells down your shins toward the floor. Allow your hamstrings to stretch completely before returning to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

   Targets: gastrocnemius
   How-to: Stand with the balls of your feet on a raised platform (such as your stairs) so that your heels and arches extend off the edge, and hold onto a wall or railing for balance. Flex your ankles to raise your heels as high as you can off the platform, and then lower until you feel a stretch in your calves. Do 15 reps.

Repeat these sets 2 more times. 

By having a rest day the day before, today's workout is not as strenuous as the others, just so your body can get back into the swing of things for tomorrow!

*Keep in mind: The exercises I do are designed for me to maintain my weight now. If you are looking to lose weight you need to add weights and/or more reps. You could also do a cardio routine every other day with the sets I list here daily for maximum effect! 

October 26th Menu

Today was my slack-off day this week. Therefore there is no workout plan.
There are lots of birthdays in our family in October and so today was birthday cake and ice cream overload day! However, I was pretty good...

Breakfast 9 am:
100 Calorie pack of Streusel muffins

Lunch 2 pm:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin, fresh green beans and chicken stuffing with a Garlic Herb and Cheese biscuit from Schwan's.

Since I knew we were having cake and party food later on, I opted for fresh pineapple, grapes and watermelon for dessert. Wal-Mart sells fresh pineapple and it is so yummy! Want to try a fresh one but don't know how to cut it? Click here for easy instructions.

Dinner 5 pm:
Homemade chili with fat-free sour cream and avocado bites. I love adding a touch of fresh avocado to my chili for a surprisingly cool and refreshing bite to offset its spiciness. Avocado is high in fat, but it's the good kind of fat. They are a good source of energy and are filling. But still eat them sparingly.

"Tip the scales tip": Fat doesn't make you fat; SUGAR does!

I have a low-sugar dessert that you would never guess as being so.
Melt-in-your-Mouth Angel Food Toffee Cake
Take one sugar-free angel food cake and chop up into bite sized pieces. Place in a round glass casserole dish. Top with half a tub of fat-free whipped cream and half a tub of sugar-free whipped cream. Take 2 Heath candy bars and crush with a hammer. Sprinkle on top. Stir to mix well. Drizzle with low-fat caramel sauce. Serve immediately!
I promise, you would never know it was low-sugar!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October 25th Menu

Breakfast - 9 am
This is my signature Coco-Berry Oatmeal. It's so yummy!! Here's the recipe:
1/2 - 3/4 cup quick oats
2 T. International Delight refrigerated Coconut flavored creamer
water to cover
3 strawberries
1/2 banana
handful of blueberries
1 T. honey

Put oatmeal in a bowl and pour on creamer. Cover with water to barely cover the oatmeal. Microwave on high for 1 minutes. Slice the strawberries and bananas and place all the fruit in with the oatmeal. Top with honey. Stir and enjoy!

Lunch - 12pm
Schwan's Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Flatbread.
These aren't near as unhealthy as they sound, unlike the supposedly "good for you" look-a-likes in the freezer section at your grocery store which are packed with more than 300 or even 400 cals and untold amounts of fat!
Nutrtion Facts: 210 Calories, 70 fat calories, 8g fat, 4g sat. fat, 15mg Chl., 500mg sodium, 25g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g sugars, 10g protein

Cardio: 2 mile run

Dinner - 6 pm
Arby's Ham & Swiss Melt
Nutrition Facts: 270 calories, 49 fat calories, 5g fat, 2g sat. fat, 24mg Chl., 1042 mg sodium (ouch!) 35g Carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 16g protein

Dessert - 7 pm
McDonald's small reduced-fat vanilla yogurt cone
Nutrition facts: 120 Calories, 4 fat calories, 0.5g fat, 0 sat. fat, 5mg Chl., 85 mg sodium, 24g. carbs, 16g sugar, 4g protein

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24th Menu

It's called a Breakfast Brulee and it's to die for! Here's the recipe:
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 (6oz.) containers 99% Fat-free Yoplait French Vanilla Yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1 can reduced fat Flaky Layers biscuits
3 T. Smart Balance Light Omega butter, melted

Heat oven to 375*. Spray 8 ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray. Place them on a lipped cookie sheet. In a mixing bowl beat the eggs, cream, nutmeg and yogurt until well blended. Pour sugar into a shallow dish. Divide biscuits into 2 layers, making 16 dough rounds. Brush one side of biscuit with melted butter and lay in the sugar. Brush other side of dough round with butter. Flip to coat with more sugar. Brush off excess back into dish. Place one dough round in the bottom of each custard cup. Spoon the custard mixture evenly into each ramekin on top of the dough round. Top with remaining 8 dough rounds. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool and set. Enjoy!

Nutritional value: 218 calories, 64 fat calories, 8g fat, 3g sat. fat, 56mg Chl., 31g Carbs, 8g sugar, 6g protein.

Morning Snack-9:30am:
Newton's Mixed Berry Fruit Crisps

Homemade Curried Chicken Salad. I just threw together some green leaf lettuce and spinach with 3 lean chicken tenders I cooked in light Evoo with 1/2 tsp. of curry powder. For the dressing, I added 15 sprays of Caesar Delight spray dressing.

I have found something that is soooo yummy I have to share! Sugar-free vanilla wafers with fat-free strawberry cream cheese.
Dessert is in quotations because it doesn't seem like a dessert at all as far as technicality goes. Taste-wise it's a dream melting in my mouth! I try to keep all my sugar intake at one time below 8 g. As one fitness model said, "Sugar is the devil's elixir." It completely counter balances all you've worked for. One delectable dessert choice could ruin your hard work for an entire day! So, tame that sugar tooth.
This is perfect with no icky after taste.
I get one full serving of each item...9 cookies and 2 T cream cheese.
Nutritional Value: 170 calories, 40 fat calories, 5g fat, 1.5g sat. fat, 270mg. sodium, <5mg 

Dinner- 6pm:
We went to Dallas tonight with a few close friends of ours for our annual Haunted House Hunting. We stopped and ate at Olive Garden. I ordered the Zuppa Toscana soup.
It's not the absolute best choice on the menu but it's not the worst either. I like it because it sits light on the tummy and is filling. After we left the restaurant, I wasn't hungry for anything else for the rest of the night.

Courtesy of Oxygen Magazine
1. Standing Arnold Press
Targets: anterior deltoids
How-to: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Position the weights at shoulder height with your palms toward your shoulders. Press the weights over head rotating your wrists 180 degrees so that at the top your palms are facing away from you. Do 10 reps.
2. Side plank
Targets: Obliques, glutes, back, shoulders
How-to: Lie on the floor on one side with your feet stacked and your body in a straight line. With your forearm as support, lift your hip the floor so that your weight is distributed between your forearm and the side of one foot and your body makes a solid diagonal. Keep your abs contracted as you breathe and hold this position for 5-8 seconds or until your hips begin to sag. Do 10 reps.
3. Yoga 100
Targets: Abs
How-to: Lie flat on the floor and bring your knees to your chin. Straighten your legs up above you and let them decline out in front of you to a 45* angle. Lift your chin, shoulders and arms off the ground and begin pulsing your arms. Inhale and exhale every 5 pulses. Pulse for 100 times. When finished pull your knees back to your chin and hold for 10 seconds. Release.

Repeat this set of exercises 2 more times.

It's All In How You Use It

I don't have a plethora of gym machines I use regularly. Although, there are several out in my garage that I DON'T use but sure could be using including a treadmill, an upright floor boxing bag, an Ab Lounge and the Bowflex.

My favorite choices of workout equipment are simple and take up very little room. They include:

...3, 5 and 8 lb. weights:

...a yoga ball and floor mats: favorite Women's Fitness mag (which has a picture of the body I want) along with some exercises on just how to get it:

...and my trusty old pair of tennis shoes:
For some of my exercises I use the VKR machine ,which is kind of your all-around workout beast. I love it! If there is one piece of gym equipment you could invest in, this should be it! Look it up online and see how versatile it is.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

25 lbs and the Dancing Naked Cookies

This was me in 1998, 7 months pregnant and 25 lbs heavier with my first child. I had 3 more children directly after our first. Our fourth and final child was born October 20, 2003. After a year of sitting at home with the baby blues and stuffing my face full of comfort food, crying because I felt fat, I decided enough was enough! I didn't know much about nutrition and what the BEST food choices were, but I definitely knew what was bad for me. That was where it all began. I didn't exercise right off the bat. I just made better choices in what I consumed. But I was still ignorant to the whole health and fitness industry and just started counting calories. It still helped, although it wasn't enough.

About 6 months into my "diet" a friend encouraged me to stop drinking sodas. I fretted that was going to be very difficult for me considering I had 4 children that I regularly took to McDonald's and since I was there..."Yes, I'll have a Double Quarter Pounder Meal with a coke, please. Thanks." At least I had enough sense NOT to supersize!
My friend told me I would lose a good portion of my gut if I stopped drinking cokes. I figured, since I was on the whole try-to-eat-healthier kick anyway why not experiment? I started ordering water and drinking it with every meal. Within one week - one week- I noticed a significant difference in my mid-section. It was flatter and I felt less bloated/gassy. AND! I had lost 5 lbs.. IN ONE WEEK. I was sold. I don't drink cokes but on very RARE occasions now. I'm talking once every other month. Maybe.

I'm a magazine fanatic. I have magazines about magazines. While on one of my infamous magazine rack raids at Wal-Mart, a picture of a woman's face on a back rack caught my attention. She was very pretty to me, enough to make me reach for her and pull her out of from behind all the other appealing reads. With every centimeter that was made visible of her as she emerged I became enamored. She was more than just pretty; she was strong, she was healthy, she was tan and shapely and she had a six-pack any man would be jealous of. Yet, she was feminine and had a waist and soft, sexy shoulders. I stared at her almost stalker-like and found myself wishing I could call her up and ask her all the questions running through my head. I settled for buying the mag (still hoping for that phone number) and put it in the child seat of my shopping cart so I could stare at her some more.

When I arrived home and began putting away all the groceries (most of which were foods that were only half hindering my weight loss goals, although I didn't know it at the time), I could hardly stand not being able to look inside the magazine. I put the last package of toilet paper in the guest bathroom and rushed back to the kitchen, grabbed the magazine and flung myself on my couch. I was engrossed in its pictures and articles. "FINALLY! What I've been looking for!" I thought aloud. I found tons of recipes, workouts, snack ideas, craving helps for THAT time of the month and so much more. I was on my way to really and truly achieving my fitness goal.

And what is that goal? It's changed from time to time. In the beginning I wanted to be 110 lbs...and that's it. Just 110 lbs. However, about 2 years ago I decided that 110 was too skinny. I'm 5' 7" and that weight would have made me look like Nicole Richie on a 40 day fast. 115 was a healthier weight for me. I reached that goal early last year. Now, I don't care whether I am 115 or 125 as long as its muscle weight, not fatty weight. I have managed to maintain a healthy comfortable weight of 115 for a year and a half. All from eating healthier and cleaner (meaning little to no fast food!) and exercising.

And let me just say my exercise routines are not hard. They don't take hours of my day. I exercise for 30 minutes every day except for one which I give myself as a rest and cheat day. Usually that's Saturday. I am allowed to have my cake and eat it too during this one blissful 24 hour period. Eating healthy has been the hardest part of this trial considering I am a food fanatic. Especially for ethnic foods. For the first 2 weeks I struggled with fast food and junk food cravings so severely you would've thought that Steven King's Carrie (during her time of the month) and the Cookie Monster had collided and morphed to make one big PMSing fire-breathing gargoyle! The cookies in my pantry were practically dancing naked in front of me. I salivated for them between ferocious grunting and panting. It was all I could do to look the other way.

But I did. And it got easier each time. Eventually, I was even able to go on a cruise where food is 24 hours in abundance, the drinks are ever-flowing and the 6 course dinners are artfully magical, and yet, I was able to say no to dessert every single night. Now, that was an accomplishment! (However, keeping it real here, I will admit to indulging on no sugar added or sugar-free desserts on date nights and girls' night out).

This is where all my hard work has gotten me so far.

I have a few minor tweaks and revisions that I want to accomplish by next summer such as more defined abs, less cellulite on my rump and shapelier shoulders and arms. I will get there. This little section of cyberspace will be my 24 hour accountability monitor.

I hope you find this blog helpful and insightful for your own personal and nutritional value. I hope it inspires and empowers you to endure till your goals are met and to not ever give up on them! No matter how sexy that cookie is.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional, nor do I profess to be. I have not been trained in any nutritional or fitness certification or qualifying programs. This blog is based on self-explored opinion only and should one be inclined to follow in my footsteps please understand that results will vary. As always, before starting any diet or exercise routine you should consult with your physician.