Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation Time! Southern Cooking Here I come....

In 6 hours I will be boarding a plane for a week long vacation on the beautiful Isle Of Palms off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina with Chris's family.  It cannot come soon enough and I am looking forward to a great week of beach, books and good food! The pic is a view from our room- ahhhhh.....  I'm already relaxing just looking at it! I will probably not be blogging, the plan is to disconnect from ALL work and technology but will give a full disclosure report when I get back! I did pack some running gear (good) and although I'm planning on sampling some delish southern cooking (be careful)- I'll do my best to take it easy on the fried food! (hopefully good) Last year I had a hard time turning down anything offered to me in a southern accent....
Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blogs I LOVE!

Since I can't blog every day (until I figure out a way to make it profitable!) I thought I'd share a few of my favorite blogs. They are RANDOM and different from each other, but for the most part health/fitness/weight loss/foodie oriented. For me, reading a good blog is like a novel combined with a reality tv show. Ongoing glimpses into other peoples lives help to motivate me and make me realize that no matter what challenge I'm facing- someone else has already been through it and I can learn from their experience. The world we live in today is so interlinked in ways it never has been before- take advantage of this free resource! Below are some links and snippets from each blog so you can get an idea of what it's all about. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! The name says it all- this is the story of a girl who has kept off a weight loss of nearly 100lbs and even better than that- she's funny.  She shares what she eats, workout, etc. Her before and after pic is on the right. Below she shares a story from a guest blogger, Cindy:
"I have spent a lot of my life being “the fat girl.” I honestly wish I had photos of my progression through high school and college; going from “fat girl” to “what did you do to yourself?” girl as I got even fatter. But I had excuses, right? I only had time to grab a muffin or bagel on the go. Or to get fried food for dinner because it’s “fast” and “easier” to eat while I study. I just have to have the bag of chips as I run through the student commons or I will just DIE during my next class.
You know what these are? These are EXCUSES I used to justify eating my way through college" Chris found this one for me- the story of an LA foodie who cooks, dines out and ENJOYS her food, while still keeping healthy. Checkout her scallops!
"I only had eyes for dates. And I only had visions of them snuggly wrapped up in bacon – like cute little edible babies in swaddling clothes." An entertaining personal blog by a magazine editor & photographer in New Jersey.  This one has great photos and recipes.
"Here's a picture of the cheese I talked about in yesterday's post. It was enjoyed during an impromptu cocktail party on the veranda outside my friend Stephanie's hotel room. Is there anything better than an impromptu cheese and wine party?" Obviously- who wouldn't love a hot blond in the kitchen?? :)  She doesn't post very often (she just had her first child- see how much you learn about people??) but she's hilarious & has some great recipes, her White Bean Soup was one of my favorites!
"For those of you wondering why my posts had become less frequent during the latter part of 2009, its because I was pregnant. Besides when I had an occasional stomach flu, it was the first time in my life that food did not interest me. Fast forward to New Years Eve, when I gave birth to my beautiful son, and my appetite returned with a vengeance. No joke. To answer your question, YES I DID order take out from the Cheesecake Factory and YES I DID finish my chicken salad sandwich AND Godiva Cheesecake. The long and short of it is, that since my appetite is back, so are my posts. Now I need to work on bringing back the "hotness." These Tony Soprano sweatsuits I'm wearing have got to go." This is a blog written by the main trainer of my bootcamp class.  She is fairly extreme in regards to what she eats (follows the Paleo diet, no dairy or carbs) but often has great snack, recipe ideas.  A very educational read. 
"I was really excited when I saw this ad for Crystal Light with No Artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.  I was crossing my fingers to read the ingredients and find it sweetened with stevia and vegetable glycerine, but no they just used real sugar instead.
Ladies, please don't fall for this.  Clever idea and good marketing, it appears to be healthy, but really is not.  Bummer :("  Just for fun... but check out some of the crazy foods on here!
Hope you enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog #100! What I've learned...

It feels like such a milestone to reach my 100th blog! Now if only I could have lost a pound for every blog.... Ok fine, that's a little extreme :)

What have I learned from 100 blogs? That losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is hard work. That there are no quick fixes and it is a lifetime journey. On the upside- it's possible! Anyone can lose weight and change their lives. All it takes is commitment to yourself and the choice to live consciously and make health a priority. The following ideas may be simple, but they have made me a much healthier, happier person than I was 100 blogs ago.

"Rules To Live By"
  •  Diets don't work. Lifestyles do.
  • Any food is OK if you only have it once in a while.
  • Eating out basically doubles calorie count in food compared to preparing it at home.  
  • Food journaling WORKS.  
  • Calorie Counting is not fun, but it gets easier. 
  • Use failure as a motivator, not as an excuse to give up. 
  • Weigh yourself once a week. More can get obsessive, less and you can let weight gain go unnoticed. 
  • Never let yourself feel "starving". 
  • Reward yourself for successes with non-food incentives. 
  • Surround yourselves with supportive friends and family and share your goals with them.
  • Eat breakfast every day. No excuses.
  • Food should make you feel good.  Pay attention to how you feel after you eat. 
  • Eat whole foods.  Meaning the original form they come in. The less processing the better.
  • Snacks are critical. 
  • Invest in yourself. Have a good pair of running shoes. It's worth shopping around to find the right fit.
  • Preparation, both mentally and physically is THE MOST important part of staying on track. 
  • It's not a good workout unless you sweat a lot. 
  • Be supportive of other people's weight loss goals. Don't compare yourself to others.
  • Don't drink soda or juice with calories.  Artificial sweeteners aren't good either. 
  • If you fall "off the wagon" - get back on.
  • Do it for you. 
 Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. -Henry David Thomas
Who knows what I'll know after my next 100! Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Caving to Temptation- Confession!

Here's what happened.  It's 4pm yesterday. I'm cranky, tired and dreading bootcamp after work. I finish up a rough meeting and walk back to my office to find a Fed Ex box on my desk.  I open the box to reveal a "goodie basket" sent from a company trying to woo mine into partnership.  There in the box, cutely wrapped with a ribbon among the harmless items like a pen and notebook sits a large bag of M&Ms. Plain chocolate M&Ms. And I caved.  I tore off that ribbon poured out a handful and munched them down while I responded to emails.  10 minutes later looked up and realized I was still snacking on them. "What am I doing?? I've just ruined a good day of eating!" Trying not to panic, I took the remaining M&Ms and dumped them in the trash.  Then I dumped a half a bottle of water on top of them (just to be safe :).
I wrote them down in the food journal (even though I did NOT want to). An estimated 400 calories for my moment of weakness. Then I went to bootcamp and worked them off through sprints and squats. (side note- I don't recommend M&Ms as a pre-workout snack, when you feel like they could come back up at any minute- it's not pleasant).  I managed to salvage the rest of my day by eating  a low calorie dinner (egg white & chicken scramble) and going to bed early.
Lessons to be learned?
#1 Mistakes happen.  Don't beat yourself up, accept them and move on.  Make the next choice a good one. 
#2 10 minutes of M&M pleasure is NOT worth the 75 minutes of hell at bootcamp to burn them off. 
#3 Do the math.  If you're going to indulge- make sure you're using your calories wisely.  I could have had 3 glasses of wine with those calories!
I share all this with you- so you will not have to repeat my mistakes.  Or if you do- realize you're not alone! We can do this. I may have lost a battle yesterday, but there's still a war to be won.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Modified Cooking- Enchilada Time!

I made delicious and healthy enchiladas for dinner last night by taking a highly rated recipe and altering some of the ingredients to make it more diet friendly.  The results were great!
Creamy Beef Enchiladas Let's call them Healthy Turkey Enchiladas That Still Taste Good :)
Keep in mind as I talk calories that this is for the ENTIRE DISH (6 large servings) not per serving.
1 lb ground beef I switched this for ground turkey. Turkey has 670 calories per lb compared to 800 in 90% lean ground beef.  Calories saved= 130.
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic Salt
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream I substituted nonfat greek yogurt. Regular sour cream has 495 calories a cup, greek yogurt only has 90! Calories saved= 405
1 small can sliced black olives
6 flour tortillas I substituted whole wheat tortillas for flour. Flour tortilla has 170 and the whole wheat I found was 140.  Since there are 6 in this recipe, calories saved= 180.
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese I substituted "light" Mexican blend cheese for the regular and couldn't even taste a difference. 2 cups regular Mexican cheese= 880 calories.  2 cups light cheese=600 calories.  Calories saved=280.
Directions: Brown ground beef with chopped onion in a medium pan over medium/high heat. While browning add cumin and garlic salt. Once cooked through and no longer pink, remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled stir in salsa, sour cream and half of the olives. Pour a little enchilada sauce in a 9x12" baking pan (about a half cup). Fill tortillas with the mixture and place seam side down in pan. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle with remaining olives and then top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

So- overall with the modifications, I was able to save 995 calories off the recipe and I didn't sacrifice good flavor! Each enchilada has 420 calories and they were huge, cheesy and delicious! Next time to get it even lower I'd use 1 cup cheese instead of 2 on top and try low carb tortillas.  I could save another 600 calories, which would make each one only 320 instead!
Dreading bootcamp tonight because it's cold outside (ok San Diego cold- overcast and 65 degrees-I'll stop complaining now).

Friday, May 14, 2010

There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Good Stuff...

Finally Friday.  I've had one of those weeks where I want to eat everything in front of me.  Literally. I feel like I could eat non stop all day and not feel satisfied.  Normally, I feel like as long as I have the right foods to eat well I usually do a pretty good job of staying on track.  This week, even with a house full of healthy food- my problem wasn't what I was eating, but how much. 
I confessed to Julia on Wednesday that I had gone home for lunch and binged (and didn't write it down).  She asked what I ate- a handful of this nuts, trail mix, crackers, string cheese, etc. Her response was "That's not bad! It's not like you went to Taco Bell!"  Taco Bell or not, calories are calories and even healthy food can be calorie dense.
So what are survival tactics when you want to eat everything in sight?
  • Eat high volume low calorie food like air popped popcorn or snack on some veggies. 
  • Distract yourself.  Get out of the house, take a walk around the block, read a book, unload the dishwasher... anything to keep your hands busy. 
  • Brush your teeth.  This one really works for me- I need to work on doing it more.
  • Drink instead.  Preferably something calorie free (alcohol is not a valid substitute :)
That's all I've got... if anyone has ideas to share- let me know! I'm still struggling with this one...
Ok on a major not health related note (although I believe in rewarding yourself for progress! :)  I have found the shopping mecca.  It's called and it is amazing!! They are 40-80% of MSRP on all of my favorite brands, apparently they buy closeouts but the stuff is this season... wow! Check out purses (my weakness) or shoes! They have Steve Madden and Nine West for 50% off.  I am in trouble now. 
You're welcome :)
Have a great weekend! Bootcamp is a field trip to Coronado Beach in the morning- which sounds like a lot of SAND RUNNING... wish me luck!
PS- Which purse do you like better? White is fresher and more fun for summer, but I've had my eye on the black one for a while... and now that they are on sale...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diet is a Dirty Word

This morning I woke up nervous about my weekly weigh in, for good reason.  I gained 2.4 pounds from last week.  I realize that weight fluctuates and it's not the end of the world... but still frustrating.  Did I have a great eating week last week? No. I didn't food journal this past weekend, went wine tasting (picture below!), carb loaded pasta for our run, and traveled two days last week.  Somehow I still expected the weight to come off... call me crazy!
What I realized as I was driving to work is that I need to work on changing my mentality and use "bad news" to motivate me.  When I saw the number on the scale, instead of wanting to squeeze in an extra run I just wanted a bagel and a latte. And I think that's why typical "diets" don't work.  People don't see instant results, get frustrated and make themselves feel better (temporarily) by giving up and eating junk food.  How easy it would be to say, "I'll try again next week" or "Oh well, I'm already off track might as well.... ".
That is the mentality I am trying to fight.  When being/living/eating healthy is a lifestyle rather than a diet, slip ups and setbacks are no longer the end of the road.  And when I see a number on the scale I'm not happy with (like this morning) I take a deep breath, record the number, banish thoughts of bagels and get back on track one bite/choice/step at a time.  It's not my automatic reaction, but the more I practice, the easier it will become and eventually those numbers on the scale will reflect both my determination and commitment. 
A quote from my bootcamp journal that felt very appropriate to share today: "Understand that when keeping your commitment (to yourself) becomes hard, you have two choices: You can change your behavior to match your commitment, or you can lower your values to match your behavior. One choice will strengthen you (self) integrity; the other will diminish it and erode your confidence in your ability to make and keep commitments in the future."- Stephen Covey
Today I'm changing my behavior to match my commitment to myself.  Wish me luck :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vineyard Run & More TJs Recommendations

Happy Friday!  In a few hours I'm off for a weekend of fun in Temecula! Well- not entirely fun, Chris and I are running a 5k race through the vineyards tomorrow morning bright and early, but that will make the afternoon wine tasting tour so much more deserved! It's all about balance people! :) Last year this race completely kicked my butt- it's the HARDEST 5k I've ever done.  You run actually through Vineyards between the grape vines, UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN big rolling hills.  When you reach the bottom of each hill, you run though about 50 yards of SAND that they use for irrigation, before heading back UP the hill again! Luckily I made a really good playlist for my ipod that hopefully will get me through (thank you Britney!!).
I wanted to do some quick product recommendations, because I've had a few new favorites lately and wanted to make sure I didn't forget to share. All of these are Trader Joes products... one of these days I'll write about my pics from my regular grocery store, but they just don't get me as excited as that Trader Joes!
Organic Creamy Tomato Soup and Red Pepper Tomato soup.  This stuff is ridiculously good and tastes like it was made with cream- but at only 100 calories per cup, it's a miracle food! And it's only 2.79 for a 4 serving container. Deal!
Soba Asian Noodle & Veggie Bowl, this one comes from the frozen section.  It's a single serving bowl that you heat in the microwave and with only 250 calories it's the perfect lunch food! $2.99 (less expensive than Lean Cuisine and a lot less sodium!)
Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers.  I hesitate to share these with you because I don't want to lead anyone down the scary path of addiction... which I'm currently on.  These crackers are SO good with tons of flavor.  And you can eat 30 of them (most cracker servings are 9-12) for 140 calories! I literally had to pre-divide these in serving size baggies at my house to stop me from eating them 24/7. $1.99
Latte & Cream Ice Cream Bar. As I was checking out at Trader Joe's the cashier asked me if I'd tried them yet. When I told her I hadn't, she said I was in for a treat and she was right! These little bars are only 90 calories, but what they lack in size they make up for in rich deliciousness flavor! Perfect for when you want something sweet at night that's not going to ruin the effort of a day of healthy eating. $3.49 for a box of 8.
Enjoy! Have a fun & healthy weekend.
PS. I want to do a blog soon about books (whether novel, or diet book, or ??) that motivate you to eat healthier or workout. I have a few favorites that I'm excited to share- but wanted to hear from other people too.  Do you have a book that motivates you?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eating Right on the Go

I'm writing this blog from 30,000 feet as I fly home from a 2 day work trip to AZ.  As I'm sitting here- I've run out of reading material and pulled out my bootcamp food journal and spent some time contemplating my food choices over the past week and a half. It got me thinking about how challenging it can be to stay on track when taken out of your "comfort zone" of home. At home you stock your own fridge, have healthy takeout menus memorized and a standard meal schedule. Travel can really throw that off. Which got me thinking about how to eating well on a trip, whether for work or play is always a struggle. There are so many easy excuses to make- but a few days in a row of poor eating can really put a dent in a healthy eating habit.
This trip I managed to do decently- I stayed in my calories and had salads both days for lunch but I'll be honest and confess that dinner last night in my hotel room was a mini bottle of chardonnay (120 cal) and snack sized bags of pretzels (110 cal) and beef jerky (80 cal). 300 total. Completely balanced right?? :)
I realized there were 3 factors that got me through the trip semi-decently without doing major damage to my healthy eating, so I thought I'd share: 
Preparation. I packed snacks. I brought in my purse for easy access a Lara bar, a Kind bar (new fav- 190 cals, coconut/almond goodness and all whole ingredients) and a packet of instant oatmeal. I ate all of them over the course of the trip and each saved me from what could have been a bad food choice in a pinch.
Friends. I love this. The first night I was at a happy hour at a sushi restaurant and discreetly texted Julia under the table "How many calories in a Kirin Light?" Within seconds I had my answer (fyi 95 in 12 oz- not bad!) And was good to go.
And this morning- running late to a meeting stopped at the only food spot in the area- Dunkin Donuts. Being a West Coast native these are few and far between so I text my East Coast bestie Brooke "help what do I get?" And soon was on my way with a 310 cal egg white mcmuffin.
And of course the Smart Phone. Love websites like Calorie King, the Daily Plate, and most chain restaurants that list their calories online. A quick google search can help me determine calorie counts on just about anything- including the 70 calories in a bag of Southwest peanuts I'm eating as I write this.
So- as Verizon might ask, "What's in your network?" Have people, plans and tools that support you and you will succeed. A quote from my bootcamp journal reads: "Today's preparation determines tomorrow's achievement". I couldn't agree more.
PS.Quick update- I lost 1.6 lbs at my weigh-in this week. Not as dramatic as I would have liked to seen for my first week back in bootcamp & calorie counting but right on track with my goal of 1.5 lbs per week.
PPS- Travel snacks!
KIND Fruit & Nut Bar, Fruit & Nut Delight, 1.4-Ounce Bars (Pack of 8) 
Larabar Original Fruit and Nut Bars 18 Bar Variety Pack