Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Chit-Chat

How's the weekend going? I'm feeling a million times better than I was this time last week and it's been a great weekend so far.

I was thrilled that Dr. Lisa Young, author of The Portion Teller Plan, came and commented on yesterday's post on portion control *and* she tweeted my blog! And if that weren't exciting enough, Lori from Finding Radiance asked for guest bloggers to cover for her while she's away on holiday. I was lucky enough to get some space on her blog. Check out my post here.

And if you're a regular reader of Lori's blog or a follower of Dr. Young @drlisayoung on Twitter who have found your way over here...WELCOME!

I've caught up on my workout that I missed last week (stage 1, B3) and look forward to getting to work on those squats in A4 tomorrow. Looking forward to squats, what? YES! I've been doing some research on proper form on not rounding the back, getting low, pushing up from the butt and not lifting from the chest all while holding a 12 pound body bar on my shoulders. I look forward to putting my new knowledge into practice tomorrow.

As always, your comments, questions and suggestions are most welcome and if you haven't written in to post your picture of you doing your favorite healthy activity, c'mon. I've got some food related posts that need finishing that I hope to get up this week so watch this space and have a fantastic Sunday evening, wherever you are!

Time to Reassess

It's the last day of January, can you believe it? I think today is the perfect day to look at how your goals for 2010 are coming along. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Did you get started? Or has complacency set in regarding food and exercise?

If it's the latter, in the words of Fred Armisen playing Joy Behar on Saturday Night Live, "So what, who cares!" You have today to turn it around and get moving in the right direction. Do not fall into that trap of thinking you've "blown it" now, so you may as well eat yourself into a stupor until after Valentine's Day.

If you're making progress, good on you! Keep that momentum going and don't let the approach of the chocolate-covered Hallmark Holiday throw you off course. If you want to partake, plan your indulgence for Valentine's Day thoughtfully and enjoy it.

As for my goals, I'm loving training with New Rules. My closet, chest of drawers and bathroom cupboards are still so organized. My stomach bug set me back with the office project, but I'm going to get started on that before I leave for Boston on March 3rd. I may not finish, but I will get started clearing the room and start separating the trash heap from the keep heap. And as for cultivating an attitude for gratitude, I'm working on that each and every day. I'm so grateful for my husband, my friends and family, my health and this amazing blogging experience. You readers have been the best.

So keep looking forward, keep making strides even if they are just baby steps. You have the power to make 2010 your best year ever. Remember, you are worth it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just One Thing: Portion Control

As you know, there are no forbidden foods in my healthy lifestyle. Forbidding things (like chocolate or Christmas cookies) can be a trigger for me. So in order to still enjoy certain things that I love, I've learned to embrace portion control. I'm not overly keen on the phrase "portion control" but I have yet to think of a clever euphemism. Moving on, portion control is something that takes a bit of practice but it's a skill worth having. It allows me to eat a wide variety of delicious foods while taking really good care of my health and continue working toward my weight loss goal.

One of my favorite tricks is to check the serving size of the particular recipe that I'm cooking. If the recipe serves 4, I portion out 4 servings. One for my husband, one for me and the other two servings go into two plastic containers and straight into the fridge for lunch or dinner at work on an upcoming shift. This keeps us from stuffing ourselves. It's not like we can't have a snack later on. And speaking of snacks, until I learned to eyeball a quarter cup (which is the serving size of most nuts, granola and trail mixes) I kept the quarter cup measure right in the pantry near where I keep the snacks. It's an easy trick when dealing with high calorie but otherwise nutritious foods.

Spark people has a quick guide to portion sizes you can print off and stick on the fridge or pantry door. Also, The Portion Teller Plan, which I reviewed here, is a really helpful guide to learning how to master portion control.

It took me a long time to learn that portion control isn't about restriction. It has actually allowed me to reclaim my health and lose over 93 pounds while still enjoying so many of the foods that I love.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Weigh-In

Note to spammers: First, learn to spell. Second, don't even waste your time spamming my blog because your misspelled rubbish will be automatically rejected. Thanks and have a swell day.

With that out of the way, on to the post sickness weigh-in, 180 pounds. I suppose I deserve a little nugget of joy after this week of intestinal horrors. I wondering if that will swing up a little next week as I become fully hydrated and start getting my calories back up to where they were. I've been barely managing 1300 calories the past couple of days.

I'm just 3 pounds away from losing 100 and just 5 pounds away from 175. 175 is a rather ominous number for me. You see, every diet I ever attempted, 175 has always been my goal weight and I have never reached it. I've come close before, only to "fall off the wagon" and eat my way back up to 200 and beyond. But this time is different and I've got you in my cross hairs!

I've got some more resting and more hydrating to do but before I go, I want to wish my friend Lisa best of luck today. She's embarking on a two-day juice fast. YOU CAN DO IT! And you'll be so happy you did.

Have an awesome Friday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Road to Recovery

Thanks for all the well wishes! I'm feeling a little more human today, especially after a shower. Three days of horrible cha-cha-cha really took it out of me. No pun intended. I'm feeling like my intestinal tract is trying to come back into balance but I'm still weak and fairly dehydrated. I'm taking fresh juice, plenty of water and herbal tea along with apples, bananas and foods rich in probiotics like organic Greek yogurt and cultured cottage cheese (which is so tangy and delicious, by the way.)

I just finished making a batch of homemade turkey meatball soup with fresh, local turnip greens. I can't tell you how wonderful soup is for recovery. Think about it...warm, homey, comforting soup full of vegetables and lean turkey meatballs. A perfect source of nutritious vegetables and protein, yum. Soup is the easiest and most delicious way to get lots of vegetables down your neck without even trying. Pick your favorites, chop, cover with stock and simmer. Add some meat and/or beans and your favorite seasoning. Simple!

I'm worn out so I'm going to head to the couch to rest up. I'll see you back for the weigh-in tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quick Update

Sorry it's been so quiet around here. I'm sidelined with an infuriating stomach bug that will not let up. The projectile vomiting has stopped but the other end just won't quit. I have to force myself to eat (this alone has me amused to no end) and to drink water. I'm weak and missing workouts and am so frustrated right now, I don't even know what to do with myself.

I hope the week has been a better one for each of you. Think healthy thoughts for me and hopefully I'll have my strength and health back soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Something happened last week that stirred up a lot of old, some painful, memories. Once they were out, they wanted to stay out and I admit to not giving them the temporary head space they deserve in order to get processed and let go. I know this because I woke Rob up in the night screaming and punching. Poor guy. I wonder if the night terrors started because I don't medicate with food anymore? My brain's way of telling me to feel it, process it then let it go. Hmmmm.

So I'm thinking about all those time I "failed on a diet" along with the things in my life that happened that caused said failures. Because when you are on a diet and then life happens, sure as the sun rises, you will turn to food and be "off the diet." But now I realize that it's not so much that I failed because diets will fail, we all know this. It's that I didn't want to or didn't know how to deal with the crap that life handed so I turned to food. It's the lie I told myself, that food would comfort me, that food would make it better. But food didn't make it better, food was a temporary escape, just like drugs or alcohol, to bury emotions that I didn't want to face.

Temporary is the key here because those emotions always resurface, compound themselves and the eating gets more and more out of hand because we are always looking for the escape. Then we turn to diets which fail because we haven't dealt with the emotions and thus begins an ugly, ugly cycle. Fat couldn't save me from having bad things happen, just like eating an entire 2-pound bag of peanut M&M's won't make a bad day better.

There will always be bad days and bad things will happen to good people. But by the same token, there are wonderful days and good things that will happen. That's life. Constant numbing with food may take the edge off the bad things but it comes with a price. The price of health problems and misery that may just cause us to miss the good things that life has in store for us.

Now that I think about it, if one of these painful memories that got stirred up didn't happen, I wouldn't have met my wonderful husband. Sometimes we have to look past our momentary pain and realize that good things are coming and if we're too numb from food we just might miss them. So these past pains that have been stirred up will kick around for a bit. I'll give them a bit of time before I send them on their way. I'm not going to medicate with food because that's just not me anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just One Thing: Read the Labels

Food with no labels are often the healthiest; vegetables and fruit. But I can't live on anything but fruits and veggies and I don't expect anyone else to either. So when buying dry goods or anything prepared or packaged always read the labels. Is the list longer than Moby Dick? Can you pronounce the ingredients? How much sodium? Hidden sugars or high fructose corn syrup? Whole grains and good fats? Once you get the hang of it, you'll always read the labels when trying new items. Reading the label is just one thing that can help keep us on the road to better health.

Top 10 food ingredients to avoid.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Weigh-In

182.5, another half pound gone. I'm just back from the gym where I did stage 1, workout A3. I'm really liking this program. I'm already seeing improvements to my strength and ability. I added the 12 pound body bar to my squats, added 5 pound dumbbells to my step-ups, did my seated rows at 84 pounds and graduated from a 45 degree push up to a 30 degree push up. If you've gotten stale in your workout routine, pick up a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Women it's really changed my thinking on working out and busted so many fitness myths that I've been spoon fed over the years.

Right before I started stage 1, I took my measurements and my fat percentage on the device at my gym. The one on my scale in wonky. I'm not entirely sure that the one at the gym is 100% accurate but it's been very consistent in its measurements. When I first measured with it June, I was 43% fat and last week I was at 38%, so that's progress. I'm actually down a half percent when I peeked this morning, but I'm not going to take an official tally until I complete stage 1.

I made a kick ass "pumping iron" play list. I like to hit shuffle and let it go, I never know what I'm going to get. Maybe I should have called it the "Box of Chocolates" mix.

I Got a Feeling and Boom Boom Pow~ Black Eyed Peas
Bat Out of Hell~ Meat Loaf
Crazy in Love~ Beyonce
Superfreak~ Rick James
You're So Vain~ Carly Simon
Touch, Peel, Stand~ Days of the New
Sugarlumps~ Flight of the Conchords
Fat Bottom Girls, Don't Stop Me Now, Good Old-Fashioned Loverboy
and Princes of the Universe~ Queen
Surrender~ Cheap Trick
Telephone and Bad Romance~ Lady Gaga
Stricken~ Disturbed
Thunderstruck~ AC/DC
I Will Not Bow~ Breaking Benjamin
Everything's Gonna Be Alright~ JoDeCi with Father MC
Spiderwebs~ No Doubt
Vin-Da-Loo~ Fat Les
Are You Gonna Be My Girl~ Jet
Read 'Em and Weep~ Barry Manilow

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just How Much Should You Be Eating?

Diets that advocate 1200 calories a day or less will slow your metabolism. Eating enough calories spread throughout the day will help stoke your metabolism and keep your body from kicking in to starvation mode. You've heard all of this before and I have yet to read anything that proves it to be untrue.

As you know, I don't count calories. Well, I didn't until recently, but more on that later. I found that a progression of small steps was of the most benefit in order for me to start having a healthy relationship with food. If you try to change too much too fast and limit calories too drastically, two weeks later you'll find yourself in the parking lot of your local fast food joint pounding double cheese burgers. If you can last that long. Been there, done that, have the stretch marks!

I started by cleaning up the quality of my food by eliminating soda and fast food right off the bat, then slowly eliminating processed and junk foods and replacing them with whole foods. I wasn't limiting, counting, weighing or measuring anything at first. I started slowing down at meal times, paying attention to my emotions and my body's signals. Then I started learning about portion control and applying it.

Now that I'm training with the The New Rules of Lifting for Womenprogram, I started counting my calories and protein. That's because I need to eat more on the days I train. But counting calories for me now, 18 months into my healthy lifestyle, isn't going to freak me out and cause a backslide because I've worked up to this point gradually.

With that all said, just how much should you be eating? Probably more than you think. Knowing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is very useful information. Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest every single day. You should be eating no less than the amount of calories suggested by your BMR! And more if you have a very active lifestyle. My current BMR 1554, that means I should be eating no less than 1554 calories per day. I eat at a higher level than that because I'm training but about 1600 calories a day of nutritious and delicious, whole foods is plenty to keep me satisfied!

Here are a couple of good sites to do your calculations.

BMR Formula
BMR on Fat2Fit Radio
Spark People is an amazing site for tracking daily calories.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sandra's Journey

Reader Sandra was the first to respond to my "Show me your picture" post. Here is Sandra's journey toward health and fitness...

Hi, my name is Sandra, I'm going to be fifty in a couple of years and really wanted to get into the best health and shape of my life. When I first saw the Clean Eating book by Tosca Reno and how fit and healthy she was at 50, I thought I could be too. It's never too late in life to make good changes.
I've been overweight all my adult life. I've yo-yo'd up and down many many times and quite sure I have done some damage. In 1999 I tried the Body For Life program and I did really well and lost 50lbs. Then I lost my Mom to cancer in 2001 and I just ballooned back up again. At my heaviest I weighed in at 230lbs and for someone who is only 5'1", that type of weight doesn't show well. Back then, at my highest, I had tried the Master Cleanse to jump start my dieting and I lasted 10 days and lost 18lbs. I bought a juicer and juiced some veggies for about a week after but soon got right back into my bad eating/drinking habits. I am an emotional eater and my marriage was not doing so good then so I ate/drank my way through the emotions.

I fluctuated between 215 and 220 up until 2008 where I saw a picture of me taken in Vegas. I think I was around 215 then and it is also about when I found the Clean Eating book. So I started eating cleaner and got on my treadmill. Before the end of November 2008 I had gone below the 200lb mark - I reached Onderland.

Then I discovered the world of blogging. What a fantastic place this is, you meet (virtually) an huge amount of fantastic people that are going through or have been through the same struggles you are facing and you are no longer alone. I came across Andra's website one day and read about how she juices every morning and that reminded me that I had that old juicer from 2003 and how much better I felt. It took me a couple of months, but for the last 3 months, I have been growing my own wheat grass, and getting organic vegetables delivered to my home and I juice one ounce of wheat grass and 12 oz of all sorts of veggies every single morning. My skin alone shows the benefits.

So along came 2010 and for some reason I am more determined than ever to get this weight off. I weigh 184lbs (as of Friday Jan 15th..l have a self challenge of only weighing once a week) and I would love to get down at least another 45lbs. I will know when I get there when I am at the perfect weight. Through my new love of Hot Yoga, walk/Jogging and weightlifting I am where I am today and it will only get better.

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing your story and photos with us! I was so excited when I saw the photo of your juicer. You look great!

If you'd like to participate, please leave a comment with your e-mail address in it so I may contact you. E-mails address will be kept private.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

At a Loose End

The staffing coordinator phoned this afternoon to cancel my shift for this evening. I was a bit disappointed but then found myself with a block of time and not sure how to fill it. Should I sit down and watch TV? Would get bored and start to snack? No and no! I decided to get a head start on my cleaning project. I cleaned out the closet, my chest of drawers and did all the bathroom cupboards, which are so neat and organized now that I can't even believe it.

I was rewarded by finding a couple of things at the back of the closet, a lovely size large Tinkerbell sweater that my sister had given me which didn't fit and a pretty size large light blue warm up jacket that I had bought on clearance at Target a million years ago that didn't fit. Do you do that? Find clothes that are too small on clearance that you just love and have to have thinking "someday." I was the queen of "someday." It turns out that "someday" is today, I tried them on and they fit. Perfectly! I'm so excited, it was like a little reward from the Universe for not squandering my time. And I get to have dinner with my husband this evening. Bonus!

So, what do you do when you find yourself at a loose end?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Wee Bit of Food Porn

Reader Jamie likes to know what I'm eating so I've made an effort to photograph more of my meals. I'm going to start taking long shots as well as close ups to give a better idea of portion size. These photos look like I'm eating gigantic piles of food when it's really just an extreme macro-close up of slightly more than the recommended serving size according to the recipe. As always, click on the photo for more detail.

Southeast Asian Fried Rice from Cooking Light.

This was Saturday evening's make your own take out meal. There is no way I'm spending money, calories and sodium on Chinese take-away, not this soon after the holidays anyway. Rob and I made this dish together. Lots of steps but it wasn't hard, prepping everything before we started cooking helped. Definitely worth the effort, quite delicious and authentic tasting but without the dry mouth and indigestion that almost always accompanies a take-away.

This chili was so good and so hot, just the way we like it. I added two cans of beans to up the fiber and stretch the recipe a little. I used two huge jalapenos as well as my own seasoning blend instead of what the recipe called for. I don't like cumin in my chili so I used smoked chipotle powder, hot chili powder, cayenne pepper, dry mustard and a blob of Trader Joe's barbecue sauce. The white mound is a heaping tablespoon of 0% Greek yogurt, which is my go to instead of sour cream. Don't forget the lime and cilantro!

Another winner! This is a must try. I cooked it a bit longer than the recipe states because I like my chickpeas very tender and also used Patak's mild curry paste instead of curry powder which is so boring. I served this with steamed broccoli and warm naan bread instead of rice. Rob and I split one large naan (which is two servings per piece.) I get 1/3 and he gets the rest. I have an unholy love for naan bread and could eat piles of it and tend to do so if we're at a curry house. But when we're at home, using portion control allows me to enjoy one of my favorite things without feeling too full and bloated from over doing.

So that's what I've been eating. Tonight is going to be cod fish with a mango, arugula and pickled red onion salad. Have you been trying new recipes to keep your nutritious and delicious eating plan interesting?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding the Time

Finding the time to eat right and exercise can be challenging. Reader Julie wrote in asking for advice on finding the time. Julie wrote...

I love your posts and your journey and have been so inspired. My personal issue for not doing my best with a healthy lifestyle is that I am a full-time working mother with a husband who is in retail, which means crazy hours, including all Saturdays. By the time my son is in bed, after getting two full hours of playtime and his dinner in, dad comes in to join in the play, then it is bath and bedtime for our son and we are left looking at each other at 8-8:30pm trying to figure out dinner and quality time before crashing out for the night. Our lives are fast and blessed but there is little to no "me" time. If that time is spent exercising then it is impossible to do other things like scrap booking. What do you do when your time is so stretched?

I can't make any judgment on how busy another person's life is. I know how busy I get with no kids and a part-time job, I imagine someone with kids and full-time work can get pretty stretched. But I'm going to give some of the tough love I gave myself when starting my journey. How busy are you really? I was the queen of finding excuses of why I was "too busy" to take care of my health. I wasted a lot of time doing anything other than exercising and preparing healthy meals but turns out being "busy" was just another of my many excuses. It turns out that it was less about finding the time and more about making the time.

Be honest with yourself. Look at a typical day or week and jot down exactly what you're doing when you're not sleeping, at work, commuting or spending actual hands-on time with your child. Is there a block of 30 minutes, 3-5 a week when you can take a walk around the block with your child or do a workout video in your living room? There are other things you can do, too. Are there stairs at work you can walk up instead of using the elevator? Can you park a bit further from your office to get in a morning walk? Making time to exercise and/or developing a positive attitude toward health and fitness will rub off on your child and have a positive impact on his life, too!

Healthy eating is another part of the equation. Batch cooking is a great way to have healthy meals at the ready. Your husband works on Saturdays, can you carve out a block of a few hours to prep some healthy meals like pots of soup, marinated chicken, prepare veggies for quick cooking later in the week? There are many quick and healthy recipes available right here on the Internet. Utilize your freezer. I've found that there isn't much that doesn't freeze well and reheat beautifully in the oven, microwave at work or on the stove top. Healthy make ahead meals on Google search. Everyday Food magazine is an amazing resource of fast meals that are nutritious and delicious and really good leftover. And they include the nutritional information for each serving, too!

I saw where my life was headed if I didn't make changes and frankly, it scared me. But now I have a new attitude toward healthy living. I welcome it! I feel great, I'm happier in my own skin, happier in my relationships, I even enjoy my job more. Exercise and preparing healthy meals isn't punishment to take you away from your favorite things, like scrap booking and spending time with your husband and child, it's something that can add years to your life to spend with them. Vibrant, energetic years!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just One Thing: Slow Down and Savor

If you've ever had a problem with emotional overeating, you sit down anywhere other than the dining table (tv, computer, desk at work, car) with a large amount of food and start to shovel and 5 minutes later the food is gone. I did this more times than I care to think about. Put the food on a pretty plate, sit at the table, focus on what you're about to eat. Take a few moments to enjoy the aroma and how lovely it looks. Take small bites and chew at least 20 times. Taste it, enjoy it. Slow down and savor each bite. You are worth it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Weigh-In and Show Me Your Picture!

Well that last half a pound I put on over the holidays is gone, baby, gone. Back down to 183 and my next mini-goal is to hit triple digits of weight lost. Don't know if I'll make it before I leave for Boston on March 3rd, but I'll keep working it. I completed my second New Rules workout at the gym this morning, not as bad as I thought since I was so very sore from Wednesday. I may be incapacitated tomorrow, but hopefully feeling sprightly enough for a nice long nature walk with my husband on Sunday (weather permitting.)

Now for something completely different and hopefully it will go over better than a lead balloon. I would love to get to know you, the reader, better and make some posts that get you involved. Do you have "before and after" pics attributed to living a healthy lifestyle? Do you have a photo of you doing your favorite healthy activity? I'd love to post them with a little blurb about you. Are you interested? If so, please reply to this post in a comment that includes your e-mail address (the comments that include the e-mail address won't be posted publicly, your privacy will be safeguarded) and I will get in touch with you.

Just the bags from Trader Joe's and some tidying up stands between me and a long hot shower. I better get to it. I hope you have a beautiful Friday and that your weekend is full of fun!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You Can Help

You've all heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Port Au Prince, Haiti on January 12. Our hearts and prayers go out to the multitude of people who have been effected by this tragedy. If you want to help please check out the following links.

American Red Cross International Response Fund


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab will be donating proceeds from all of January’s Port-Au-Prince and Orisha blends (in the Excolo category) sales to the Red Cross, and Black Phoenix Trading Post will be donating proceeds from all general catalogue bath oil sales to UNICEF.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Food, Inc.

I'm home from the gym having completed stage 1/workout a of New Rules. It's a deceptively challenging workout, I was sore this morning after doing the practice run through yesterday. It went really well, I completed the full sets and reps as indicated and on my second set of the seated row move I increased the weights from 48 to 60 pounds. I'm not going to be posting training logs here but I will write about my progress as I go along. If you want more information or details on the New Rules training program, feel free to contact me here or check out the JP Fitness forum, there is an entire section dedicated to the book.

I just brewed a cup of the genmai-cha tea I bought yesterday and I urge you to try it. It's really tasty, the rice gives it such a unique, almost sweet flavor that really rounds out that green tea bite. Green tea has loads of health benefits but I just love the way it tastes and that gentle green tea buzz is heaven!

Last night Rob and I watched the documentary Food, Inc. It really cemented the reasons why I've become interested in knowing what is in the food I put in my body and where it came from. It's a powerful film with many disturbing images. It may seem that making a change in the food system is insurmountable, but each time you read a label in order to make a better choice, choose something healthy over processed junk, choose not to buy from stores or corporations who value greed more than the health of its consumers, choose local goods over those which have traveled thousands of miles, say no to fast food, choose to shop at farmer's markets whenever possible you are making a change. You are speaking with your wallet and no matter how small that choice may seem at the time, it can still make a difference.

To anyone who reads this post, please watch Food, Inc and take a moment to read the 10 simple things you can do to help make changes to our food system.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Workout and Food Shopping

Lisa made it back safely from England after being delayed due to the uncharacteristically heavy snow that the north of England has had this season. We met at the gym this morning for some cardio and a practice session to prepare for Stage 1, workouts A and B of New Rules. I wanted to make sure I could safely perform all the moves before I got started. I completely surprised myself by being able to deadlift the 7 foot long, 45 pound bar and do prone jack knives on a Swiss ball. Yay!

From the gym, I headed straight to Harry's to food shop. The larder was getting bare and I was completely out of juice produce. $154 (ouch) later...

Oh, look at all that lovely produce! There's a mango and 4 huge pomegranates, some Meyer lemons, avocado, fresh, local turnip greens, purple cabbage, asparagus, shangai bok choy, spinach and the most amazing bunch of local collards I've ever seen. Those are getting cooked up tonight.

Deal on the eggs, around $3 for 18 local, hand gathered, cage free/antibiotic free. And the milk, oh how I love the Sparkman's cream valley milk from Georgia. It's expensive but it's the most delicious milk. I use it only to cream my coffee and Yorkshire tea but Rob loves it in his Weetabix. They don't always have it so when they do I have to have it. I also got some meat, a bit of chicken, pork tenderloin and a small beef chuck roast for chili. Greek Gods yogurt for my pomegranate parfaits!

For the dry goods, there's beans, tomatoes, whole wheat flour and oat bran for bread, Newcastle Brown for the chili and two types of loose leaf tea, Yamamotoyama Sencha and Genmai Cha. Those two big bags cost less than $7 total! I'd love to brew a pot right now but it's a little late for the caffeine and I'm still high from the workout endorphins.

I got all the stuff put away and the produce for the juice packs is soaking. I'm making braised collards with black eyed peas and tomatoes for dinner, I'll serve it with a bit of brown rice to round out the meal. Other menus I have planned are spicy beef and pinto bean chili, Asian chicken fried rice from this month's Cooking Light magazine, roast pork with Swiss chard and polenta, seared tilapia with mango and watercress salad, chickpea curry and some batch soup (spicy tomato, turnip green and potato soup.)

That's my Tuesday! I hope you're all having a fantastic start to the week and I'll see you tomorrow with the details of my first New Rules workout.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guest Post on Juice Fasting and Self-Care

I was thrilled to read your comments about juicing and how you've been inspired to embrace juicing, pull your juicers out of storage or to start the New Year with a juice fast. I look forward to hearing your experiences with juice fasting, as well.

I wouldn't recommend a fast longer than three days but a one to three day juice fast, when done properly, can be a safe and effective way to detoxify after holidays and vacations when healthy eating is sporadic and gets peppered with rich foods, sweets, wine and cocktails.

Reader Michele had made a very interesting comment about fasting and self-care and nurturing. I didn't publish her comment because I really wanted to read more so I asked her to expand her comment into something longer for me to share with you. It's a beautifully written article, thank you so much Michele!

Let me start off by saying--I'm so honored that Andra asked me to Guest post on Love to Eat, Hate to Exercise! It's great to be here. :) My name is Michele, and I've been reading (& inspired by) Andra's blog for a while now. I'm a Reiki Master and soon-to-be Yoga Teacher (I recently completed a 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training). Basically, I'm just living, loving, and learning Life--trying to be the healthiest version of me that I can be.

Throughout the duration of my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), I had the opportunity to participate in a juice fast a couple times, in a very safe, supportive environment-my community of other teachers in training. I was nervous, having only tried fasting a couple times before-but I was up for the challenge. Based on my experiences juice fasting (first for 24hrs, and then later for a longer, 72hr fast), I have the following words of advice:


  • Embrace what you're feeling before you fast. It's perfectly OK to feel nervous, scared, or any other emotion before fasting. I was nervous for the first fast, but found myself looking forward to the second, longer fast. Just take note of where you are physically & emotionally before embarking on this journey-just notice, without judgement.
  • Prepare your body for the fast by giving up caffeine & eat as clean as possible. This will make symptoms of withdrawal (headaches) much less.
  • Prepare your environment/living space for the fast. Make sure that you have all of the things that you will need to be comfortable. For me, this meant clearing my house of any clutter. Putting away the foods that would be "off-limits" for the next couple of days. Making sure that the bed was made with fresh sheets, the bathroom was stocked up with some nice "smellies" (aka bath salts, bubble bath, body lotions/oils, nice smelling soaps, essential oils, etc.), and making sure that my favorite pair of pajamas were clean and ready for me! Have a good book & favorite movie to watch, and a journal to write down your thoughts.
  • Shop for your fast. For me, this included: lots of bottled water (an indulgence for me, as I usually carry a recycle-able bottle with me everywhere--but I wanted something with electrolytes to really help flush out the toxins), lots of different varieties of herbal teas, lots of fresh produce for juicing, cold-pressed apple juice or apple cider, & vegetable broth. More on how each of these items comes into play during the fast later.
  • Let your family, friends & co-workers know your intention. It's good to let people know that you'll be essentially "unavailable" for the next couple of days, while you take care of yourself. Since I didn't get to pick the days that I was going to fast, I let my co-workers and friends know about my fasting days-so that they could be a little more understanding during that time.

On Fasting:

  • Plan to juice when you would normally eat a meal-three times a day.
  • Drink LOTS of water. Water is key, not only to avoid dehydration & stave off headaches-but to help aid the cleansing/detox process. Water helps flush the toxins out of the body. Your body needs the water, in addition to the juice/tea. Because I was fasting in the fall, sometimes I drank hot water to warm my body.
  • Drink as much herbal tea as you would like! All herbal, nothing with caffeine (unless you really need it, ie. coffee drinkers). The Yogi teas are good-anything that says Cleansing/Detox/Fasting. When I was on my residential weekend retreat where we fasted, we opened up all the boxes of tea and put them in a big beautiful bowl on the counter top, next to a big pot of constantly boiling water. It was such a treat to go into the kitchen and pick out a tea for my mood. Sometimes it was Calming tea (at night), other times when I felt pretty good, it was the Fasting/Cleansing tea. As a bonus, each Yogi tea bag comes with a little quote for inspiration.
  • Warm vegetable broth is divine. Save it for when you're feeling like you need something a little more. We drank some warm vegetable broth at the end of day 2 during our longer fast, and I can still remember how good it tasted. And any hunger pains I was feeling completely dissipated.
  • 1/2 & 1/2 (apple juice & iced tea) for a little spice. During each of my fasts, I was also practicing yoga multiple times a day. For these times, I brewed about 4-6 lemon & raspberry zinger teas (or your favorite flavored herbal tea of choice) and let steep until cool. Then add equal parts cold-pressed apple juice and enjoy! I emptied several of the bottles of water I bought into a jug, and filled them with this home-brewed 1/2 & 1/2 mixture to take with me to drink during my practice.

Self-care & Nurturing

The thing with fasting is, you have so much more time to focus on you when you're not busy thinking about food, preparing food, etc.. What to do with all of that extra time? I've got some suggestions!

  • Take a break & break your routine! Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, see the world through "fasting" eyes. Take a shower in the middle of the day (you are detoxing, and sweating out lots of toxins!), enjoy light physical activity.
  • Journal. Writing down my thoughts helped me to take note of how I was feeling throughout my fast. It also helped me to capture some really important thoughts. I had some real moments of clarity throughout my fast, and writing them down was key to remembering and revisiting these thoughts later.
  • Indulge! Take a bath. For me, a bath is a daily ritual-as a bath with sea salts helps pull toxins out of the body. Definitely take the time to draw a perfect bath, using your favorite products. Light candles, put on your favorite music. Soak away!
  • Take a media fast too. Read a book, or magazine, but avoid anything with an "ON" button or remote.
  • Find ways to love yourself that don't involve food. Similarly, find ways to love those around that don't involve food. Maybe your weekend routine involves curling up with a big bowl of popcorn to watch a movie, or going out for ice cream/dessert, etc.. I took a walk with my husband around the neighborhood in the moonlight in August, we held hands and talked--and it was pretty special memory.
  • Honor your body. Do only what feels right to you. I practiced yoga throughout both of my fasts. I also went to bed earlier-way earlier than usual.

The important thing is to just do it. Do what feels good to you. Follow your heart, listen to your body.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hot Grilled Deliciousness

I have been wanting a panini grill for some time now but really don't need another appliance in my kitchen. I was looking at a particular model in a magazine and it reminded me that I have a small George Foreman grill put up in a cabinet collecting dust. OMG! That little grill is makes amazing hot, grilled sandwiches. I'm so excited!

For yesterday's lunch I sliced homemade whole wheat bread into 1/4 inch thick slices (my homemade bread is quite a bit more dense than that fluffy package stuff) and lightly spread the outside with unsalted butter (no more than 2 teaspoons total for 4 pieces of bread.) For each sandwich I layered one slice of bread with one slice of light Lorraine cheese, brown and spicy mustard on mine, light mayo on Rob's, Trader Joe's roasted piquillo peppers (you must try these,) 2 slices of rosemary ham, a nice thick layer of whole leaf spinach, 2 slices of pastrami, topped with the second slice of bread. Making sure the butter layers are facing out, I grilled each sandwich until it was golden brown, warm and toasty, about 3-5 minutes.

I promise some food porn next time I make them because those beauties were gone before I even thought about where my camera was.

I can see that old grill getting lots of use to transform the daily sandwich into something super delicious. I bet it would be great to grill wraps, too. Just think, a homemade, healthy version of the infamous "grilled stuffed burrito!" Oh, the possibilities.

What are your favorite sandwich fixin's?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reader Question to Just One Thing: Hunger

Reader Tamara had a great question in response to this morning's "Just One Thing" that I want to address straight away. Tamara wrote...

This is great advice, and something I am going to try and implement. I have a desk job, and notice myself snacking out of boredom or stress so often. It's a great idea to stop and ask yourself what's causing that feeling, rather than just turning to stuff something into your mouth. I also find myself, when stressed, feeding myself negative thoughts like, "I deserve to eat this because _______ happened." or "It's not going to hurt if I have just a few." and before you know it, half the bag of chips is gone. I know you have addressed this kind of unproductive self-talk before. What do you find is the best way to get through those moments?

This is where accountability really comes into play. Instead of saying "I deserve to eat this because _______ happened." Ask yourself, "How will this food choice help me reach my goal of being fit, strong and healthy?" It's not easy but after a while you'll find that you don't need to reward negative thoughts with food.

While you are learning new behaviors, it helps to be prepared. If you really need to partake in a bit of stress eating to get you through, make sure you have healthy choices available for when these munchies hit. This will keep you away from the vending machine. Pack a healthy snack or two when you pack your lunch. A handful of toasted pistachios or a sweet, crispy apple or baby carrots and spicy hummus can satisfy a stress hunger craving and add fiber and nutrients to your body.

A strong, healthy body is what you'll get in return for treating yourself with nourishment and respect. That's truly a reward worth having.

Just One Thing: Hunger

This is the first of my "just one thing" reminders. It's like a quick strategy review. I hope you find them useful!

I can't remember where I read this but it stuck with me. How can you tell if you're truly hungry? If you're hungry enough to eat a small apple or a handful of baby carrots then you are hungry. If not, it may be boredom or something else. If it's hunger, then by all means, eat something delicious and nutritious. If it's not, find out what it is and provide it. Call a friend, hug your child or pet, go to the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful, put on your favorite song and dance, watch your favorite movie, give yourself a facial, contact me and I'll give you a pep talk.

Food is not the answer to any other question than a rumbling tummy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Weigh-In

We had a "snow storm" and surprise, surprise, the state of Georgia is ill equipped to handle one centimeter of frozen precipitation. I'm so happy that I got home safely from work as the roads were like a skating rink and people around here have absolutely no clue how to handle themselves during inclement weather. I'm really not looking forward to doing it all over again tonight as everything is still frozen over and it's not going to get above 25 degrees. Oy!

I'm still a little weak from the fast and eating very light yesterday, so I'm going to lay low until I'm back up to my normal calories and up the protein. Work and that drive home really took it out of me. But the fast did its job of getting rid of the bloat and I'm back down to 183.5 and my stomach feels really nice, I'm hesitant to say flat when you have the flabby skin that I do, but it feels like it should. And I officially weigh less than my husband! It may be by just half a pound but I am thrilled.

I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to the weekend. It's going to be cold and icy so outdoor exercise is off the table. I think I may have to get out my Leslie Sansone DVD and walk at home this weekend. Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and safe!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breaking the Fast

Oh man, did that pomegranate parfait taste wonderful! I survived the two day fast, I still have the vague headache but that should go as I continue to drink water throughout the day. Other than that, I feel really good, alert and light. I also feel warm for the first time in two days. Juice fasting leaves you feeling cold because calories and digestion is what generates heat in the body.

I picked up a shift today, so I'm back at work this afternoon. I've got a loaf of heavenly whole wheat bread working in the machine so Rob has fresh bread for dinner when he returns home this evening. I do miss him when he travels but I needed the me time.

Tomorrow is the weigh-in and my first day back at the gym. We're supposed to get snow but even if we don't it will be too cold for any outdoor activities. I hope it warms up a wee bit this weekend because I'm itching to get back out on a trail. I'm going to go back through the New Rules book and make my work sheets so I can get started on that. I'm nervous and excited. It's an intense program but I know I can do it if I'm careful and take it slow. I will keep you all posted on this project as it unfolds.

Have a great day, everyone. Be safe!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day Two

I forgot to mention in this morning's post that when I woke up and my ugly red chin pimple was gone! Juice fasting is really good for the skin. I had much less energy today then yesterday but I'll feel so much better overall for having done the fast. I'm actually quite looking forward to getting on the scale as well as getting back to the gym Friday morning.

I've tried to keep busy today even though I didn't have the attention span or energy for anything too involved. Here's the exciting details of my day...

Watched morning television, which I never do. I'll never get those brain cells back.

I booked my ticket to Boston! I'm going to watch the Oscars with my sister, hug my Mom and Auntie, play with my nephews and reconnect with some old friends. I'm so excited.

Stripped and laundered the master bedding and made the bed. I love getting into bed that has fresh, clean sheets! Have you tried Downy's new scent called spice blossom dare? Oh my, it smells so good. I've done really well at going green with all my household products but I can't give up my Downy and blue Suavitel. Can't, I tell you!

Watched Bridget Jones's Diary (Colin Firth's dimples again and my second favorite Brit of all time, Hugh Grant!)

Gave myself a manicure with Nubar Reclaim. It's a gorgeous green polish that Donna gave me for Christmas along with two other lovely colors. The holographic effect of this polish really takes you by surprise. Thanks Suga-Mama!

Watched 17Again, which was so cute. Is it bad that I want to make cougar tracks up one side of Zac Efron and down the other?

By 4:30 I was so hungry I juiced my pineapple and made my smoothie which made me so cold, I dove into a steaming hot bubble bath filled with LUSH goodies. Have you ever tried LUSH bath bombs and bubble bars? I used the vanilla fountain bath bomb with half of a bubble bar that looks like an elf. The name escapes me but the water was so soft and fragrant and bubbly I could have stayed all night. I then applied one of my favorite Black Phoenix perfume oils. I'm so blissed out right now, I can't even think straight.

I'm sipping on my last juice of the day. It will be so nice to enjoy egg on toast and a fruit parfait tomorrow. I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch American Pie 2. Thanks for joining me on my juice fast. I hope you'll try it sometime.

Juice Chat

Good morning! I went to bed with a thumping head last night. I really wanted a mug of Sleepytime tea but I stopped all fluids other than sips of water at about 7pm and it's a good thing I did because I was only up once in the night for a bathroom visit. My headache is gone this morning but it will probably be back later. I just had my first juice of the day, more on that in a bit.

Some of you wanted to know about juicing recipes. Here's a link to all my posts about juicing. There are links to juicing information and recipes including in some of the posts. I hope you'll find them helpful.

I don't really follow recipes as such. Because I do my juice packs for a week at a time, I buy my produce in bulk. I use my base recipe (carrots, celery, ginger, lemon, apple, spinach) and alternate the add-ins (kale, beet root and greens, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel) week by week based on my mood or what's available and looking good.

I used some different things during this juice fast to keep it interesting. This is what I just ran through the juicer...

2 large carrots
1 whole green pear
2 cups of whole leaf spinach
2 chunks of ginger
10 asparagus spears
1/2 sweet potato
whole grapefruit, peeled but with some of the pith left on
1 lemon (which is very important for neutralizing acid in the body, I'll talk more about this in another post but if you're interested here's quite a good article on the subject.)

This made about 32 ounces of juice. I drank half and put the other half in a covered mason jar in the fridge for a bit later. It was tart but refreshing. I have a different combination for this afternoon with celery, apples, ginger, a whole orange, a whole red pepper and lots more spinach.

Other than cabbage, I can honestly say I haven't found a juice combination that I haven't enjoyed drinking. But I'm doing this more for my health than my taste buds. If 16 ounces of juice a day helps get me there, it's so worth it.

Congratulations to those of you who have embraced juicing or got inspired to get back into it! It thrills me to no end to know that you're out there juicing and enjoying it. I'm off to drink my herbal tea and relax a bit. I'll be back a bit later with the day two wrap up.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day One

I figured that I'd be gnawing on my fingers due to maniacal hunger by now, but I didn't really even feel hungry until about an hour ago when I made the mistake of putting on Food Network. It's been a pleasant day so far and much more productive than I thought. I kept getting burst of energy after each juice meal and made the best of them. What did I do today?

Watched Dirty Dancing and cried.

Washed, dried and put away the towels. Don't you just love the smell and feel of fresh laundry?

Got all the produce washed, divided and put up in the fridge.

Watched Mamma Mia! and cried (not just because of Pierce Brosnan's singing, musicals are my weakness) and swooned (HELLO Colin Firth's dimples and Dominic Cooper's chest!)

Drank tea. And juice. And water. And more juice.

Swiffer-vac'd the downstairs, washed the kitchen and downstairs bathroom floors, dusted and wiped down all the kitchen surfaces.

Completed the New Rules book! It will require a second going-over for sure, as well as transferring all the pertinent data into a workbook to take to the gym with me. I think the author would have made a fortune had he completed a small workbook complete with diagrams to sell as a companion to the book.

Visited the bathroom. A lot.

Some of the things I juiced today...
red bell pepper
red grapefruit
sweet potato
root ginger

I just had my final juice meal. A little later for "dessert" I will juice half a fresh pineapple and whirl in the the blender with one small banana. Too bad I don't have any rum in the house. ;) I'm going to watch The Biggest Loser season premier tonight. I just can't help myself. I'm sure I'll have an up and down to the bathroom sort of night but that's to be expected. But overall it's been a really good day!

Speaking of Mamma Mia! I am so amazed by how fit and lively Meryl Streep is. I mean, she's going to be 61 in June and she was bouncing around with the energy of a kid. That's why I want to take care of my health, get fit and stay fit. I want to enjoy life with a vibrant energy into my 60's and 70's and beyond.

Me and My Juicer

2010! I'm still not tired of thinking about it. A whole new year, a clean slate of possibilities. The fridge is empty and any leftover goodies are tucked away in the freezer or up on a high shelf that I can't even reach with the step ladder. Sweets were not my downfall during the holidays but salty things like the gourmet salame from Williams-Sonoma that my dad sent (face palm,) cheese and truffle flat bread really got to me. Though I've gotten back to basics the last three days, the holiday bacchanalia coupled with my period has me feeling bloated and a little under the weather with a lovely red pimple on my chin.

So like last year, I'm doing a juice fast. For the next two days, my juicer and I are going to be best friends. I was at the market bright and early this morning where I stocked the cart with fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow. I'm going to drink lots of herbal tea and lemon water to banish the bloat and cleanse my palate, which I must admit is still dreaming of lovely, salty foodstuffs.

The conditions for a fast are optimal, my next shift isn't until Friday and Rob left this morning on business. He will be back on Thursday afternoon so I won't have to take on any meal preparations until he returns. I have lofty visions of using my time productively, like starting my office project and doing some cleaning and general tidying and organizing. But since I'll probably get very cranky along with a thumping headache, I give myself permission to completely goof off on the Internet, take naps and bubble baths and watch my new Snow White blu-ray. Two things are certain, though. I will definitely get more, if not all, of the New Rules book read and no workouts until the fast is over.

I'll be back tomorrow, if not later today, to let you know how I'm getting on. Have a fabulous day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So You Made Your New Year's Resolutions, Now What?

Making a New Year's Resolution is pretty easy on December 31st when you're merry on Champagne, joyful with the sounds of fireworks in the background. But it's January 2nd, how do you reach your goals without setting yourself up for failure?

1. Don't bite off more than you can chew.
Set small, manageable goals. Achievable goals. Lose 80 pounds in 6 months is not a small or manageable goal. A goal of 1 pound a week doesn't sound like much, but the success you will feel when you achieve that goal will snowball into greater things!

2. Make a plan, write it down.
Sure, saying you want to get fit in 2010 is easy, but how will you do it? Make a plan and write it down. Put your workout days on your calendar. Use a brightly colored marker to check off the days you successfully completed your workout plan. You'll be able to see what you've accomplished.

3. Track your progress and reward yourself along the way.
No matter what your goals are, revisit them weekly. If you find yourself slipping into old habits or slacking off, a self check-up can help get you back on track. Small rewards can be a great motivator. Write them down as well. Cutting back on soda and fast food? Put that money in the bank and after a month of success, treat yourself to pretty new top or a manicure, whatever you like!

4. Fake it 'til you make it.
That may sound a bit dodgy, but it really works. Making changes can be tough but changes to improve your health and your life have long term benefits. During the tough times, just stick with it and think long-term. After awhile you will feel the joy and that joy will carry you to your goals and beyond. Think you can do it, know you can do it and you'll do it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions and Renewals

Happy New Year! It's 2010, not only a whole new year but a whole new decade. A clean slate to put down old demons, face new challenges and conquer them! Like last year, I'm going to mark my resolutions and renewals here so I can track my progress as 2010 unfolds.


1. Clean out and organize my office!
I pride myself on my organizational skills, I can't live in a house that is untidy and disorganized. I don't know how I allowed the office has become a dumping ground for every bit of paper and chachki that didn't have a home anywhere else. I'm going to strip it naked, keep the essentials and chuck the rest. Rob is going to make new shelves in the closet for me. I'm also going to tidy under the bathroom cupboards, but that's not nearly as bad as the office.

2. Read The New Rules for Lifting for Women and work the program.
I'm going to complete the book and get going on the program. I want to build muscle this year which will help me burn fat and help me reach my goal. I'd love to get to 150 pounds to see how I look and feel at that weight, but since I'm not hanging it all on scale numbers, I'd love to be a med-large in tops and a size 10 jeans. I will outline my lifting plan and progress here. I'm nervous and excited!

3. Count my blessings more often.
Like everyone else, I get caught up in bitching about small things and dwell on negative thoughts sometimes. This is one bad habit I want to conquer this year. I'm so fortunate in so many ways that I have absolutely no reason to feel sorry for myself, especially when there are so many people out there struggling. I'm going to focus on the positive, count my blessings and pass that attitude on to others whenever I can.


1. Renew my commitment to living this healthy lifestyle.
Taking care of my health truly is a lifelong commitment. I never want to lose sight of that. While I will never make a New Year's resolution that that effect ever again, I think it's a great idea to renew that commitment every so often.

2. Eat colorful at every meal!
Vegetables are beautiful and delicious, I'm going to make sure our plates look like a colorful work of art at mealtime.

3. Continue to deal with stressors in a non-food way.

Food is glorious and cooking is my favorite hobby and my passion but food isn't a drug, it isn't a companion, it isn't a therapist and eating isn't something to do just for the sake of doing it. It took me a long time to learn how to use food in a healthy way and I'm going to continue to do so. I'm going to keep listening to my body. If it needs food, then it will get the most delicious and nutritious of things in the appropriate amounts. If it needs a hug, love or something else, then I will figure out what that is and provide it.

What are your goals, what are you hoping to accomplish in 2010?