Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't fall for the dollar menu

The commercials are everywhere - and they are actually starting to get on my last healthy nerve. Fast food prices continue to drop and "good deals" are advertised constantly seeking to provide cheap meals to families during the troubled economy. As grocery bills, and especially the cost of produce, continues to rise, these "deals" may actually sound appealing to society.

My questions:

--Who can afford to buy a new (and bigger) wardrobe?
--Who can afford to buy medications or pay for medical bills as Combo #3 "supersized" messes with your health?

None of us! posted a great article about eating healthy during this economy. Check it out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I love it when you can change a man's mind...

I have been a sushi-lover for quite a while. You can't beat the health benefits! It's a filling, low-calorie meal that's high in protein, healthy fats and even has a bit of veggies.

Needless to say, if you like to go out to eat, it's a great option versus a bar and grill (our usual choice). But, turning my husband onto sushi has been quite difficult. He's very particular about fish in general, so raw fish is just that much worse. ("Is this salmon?" "It smells fishy." "Is this fresh fish?" "Are those scales?" "I think this will taste fishy.")

You get the picture. But, I've slowly turned him onto a few good sushi restaurants over the last couple of years, being sure to order him the "safe" sushi (read: no eel) and he has finally converted!

If you are new to sushi, here is a great reference. Most options are great, but as this article states, beware of those labeled "spicy" or "philly". These contain mayo or cream cheese, which adds extra fat you don't need. (Mind Over Mayo, remember?) Also, anything tempura means fried in oil! Stay away and opt for a California Roll!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

14-day Kickstart

I just finished my latest Boot Camp session, which once again kicked up my strength and endurance! I will be starting my third session on Sept. 8.

Until then, I needed to find something to keep me busy during my time "off". I don't want to lose everything I've gained. So, I found a great 14-day workout online that includes strength training, cardio/interval training and circuit training - all things I love to do!

I started day one yesterday and I am feeling it today! But, I'm off to the gym now to start day two. If you are looking for a kickstart or change-up to your workout plan, give this a try:

Monday, August 17, 2009

To cherish and protect

Do you ever get an invitation to one of those in-home "parties" and cringe? You know, the candle/food/makeup/jewelry or whatever product that your friends pedal out of their home. I cannot stand them! I always feel obligated to go and I end up buying an overpriced product that I don't want or need.

That said - and I can hardly believe my stubborn self is saying this - but, I believe I may have found a product that will change the tune I've been singing about home-based businesses. We went to a wine tasting the other day and they had several vendors there selling jewelry, crafts, lotions, etc. Usually, I browse these booths, but I'm never very interested in what they are selling. However, this time I found a great new product line that I will be integrating into my health and wellness routine. I cannot say enough about it - which is saying a lot for me! Like I said, I never get on board with these home-based businesses.

What do I love?
  • It's hometown-based (Twin Cities).
  • It's green. All products contain only plant-based, eco-friendly ingredients (no alcohol!).
  • Not animal tested.
  • They are anti-stress products that support my belief in health and wellness.

If you want to try it out, I highly recommend the purifying salt glow, which is what I purchased. It's AMAZING! And, my husband and I will be fighting over it because he loved it, too! It's $28 for about 80 applications. If you want to check out the entire product line, I recommend it! Again, I'm not a sales person for this company, but I cannot believe how amazing these products are!

Aihu: To cherish and protect

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tracking...a key to success

I get so many questions from people wondering how I've lost weight and kept it off. Or, how do I get back on track with weight loss after taking a break? Aside from actually wanting to lose weight, a significant factor is journaling or tracking what you eat, why you eat and tracking your activity level. Tracking can often be viewed as a chore. Try these tips if you want to get back to journaling, but you aren't sure how:

1) I show my journal to a friend every week, which gives me accountability.

2) If I lose weight for the week, I give myself a little reward each week. This is just a little something I wouldn't normally get for myself, but something I want like a new book or magazine, a new lipstick, etc.

3) This one is a little childish, but it works. If I have a good day, I put a sticker in my journal. This is silly, rewarding and allows me to go back and check out a good day if I'm struggling.

4) If I REALLY don't feel like tracking perfectly, I allow "guesstimates" for two meals a week. This way I don't feel deprived and knowing I don't have to be absolutely perfect every day actually takes the pressure off and makes it easier for me to stay on plan the other days of the week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

People think I'm crazy...

...but for the past several weeks I've been getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go to a boot camp class at my gym. It was very difficult at first because I have always done my workouts after my work day. However, now that I'm about two months into my morning routine, I really dig it. I've even gone to class on days that I have off from work!

Why I love it:

I see results!
It's always better to have someone train you to push you to your maximum. I would never push myself this much during my own workouts.

I'd rather get up to workout than get up for work.
Sad, but true. It's much more motivating to get up and start my day with a vigorous workout instead of meetings and emails. I always have better days at the office when I've had a great workout beforehand.

I'm burning more calories.
Studies show that morning workouts can jumpstart your metabolism and keep it going all day. The scale and measuring tape have proven that to me as well!

It's difficult to start the routine, but once you try it, you may like it! I challenge you to start off your Monday morning with a workout. Even if it's just a 10-minute pilates routine in your living room, I guarantee you'll be happy you did it and it will reward you throughout the day!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The easy choice vs. the good choice

Once again, it's the end of the week! Friday night and I'm ready to kick back! But,'s weigh in day tomorrow, so I still have to THINK. After a great week, I don't want to ruin all of my hard work. I need my reward on that scale tomorrow!

Today was especially difficult to make good choices. It was a long week, I was stressed at work and short on sleep. Been there? Even worse, I had some pressure from the family to make the EASY choice and order pizza tonight. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I absolutely adore pizza, however, that is a choice that must be planned! And, it's certainly not the right choice as my last meal before weigh-in.

Thankfully, I didn't let the fact that I was very tired and stressed get to me. It does happen, but not today. I knew that cooking wouldn't be in the plan, so I chose a turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway. I was completely satisfied and feeling healthy!

It's important to remember moments like these when you are feeling weak because the GOOD choice made day after day is very rewarding and will help you meet your long-term goals!

Alcohol Abuse

Friday nights are always tricky for me. It's the end of the week and I'm ready to relax. But, I can't relax too much because I weigh in on Saturday mornings. I don't want to screw up a week of good behavior! Sometimes it's not so easy.

We were outside in our yard Friday night, as were our neighbors. We got to chatting and soon the beers were cracked open. I really did not want this beer! Of course I wanted the beer, but it wasn't worth the damage it could possibly show on the scale the next morning. I took a few sips, but I tried to focus on the conversation instead of the drink I was holding. After the neighbors left, I promptly dumped the rest of the beer out! (If you know me personally, you KNOW this took substantial effort!)

It was worth it. The next morning I weighed in and reached my weight goal for the week! I truly believe that the BLTs count (bites-licks-tastes). Losing weight is directly related to calorie consumption and it shows.

Healthy or not?

I've been trying to focus on eating as many unprocessed foods as possible. It's pretty easy to do this time of year, but it gets a lot more difficult in winter with the decline in produce. There are so many pseudo-healthy foods out there now, so I've become a label-reader. Take pretzels, for instance. I used to eat them all the time because the package said "fat-free", so I thought they were healthy. However, pretzels lack fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Also, the sodium-level per serving will not do you any favors in the water-retention department. Even worse, after consuming these empty calories, you may end up being even more hungry than you were when you started snacking! When you're shopping this week, stick to the perimeter of the store and avoid the aisle with "fat-free" and "100 calorie" snacks.

Food recommendation of the week

I've been trying to bring my lunch to work everyday, yet I'm trying to stay away from deli and processed lunch meats. They are terribly high in sodium even though many are lean and low-fat meats. Instead, I'm trying to cook up chicken breast or lean pork on Sundays to use throughout the week in place of deli meat. This week I made chicken breast marinated in Litehouse Foods Sesame Ginger Dressing. Delicious! I don't love the sodium level, but if you only use a bit of it, it's not terrible. It's non-fat and only 35 calories per serving (two tablespoons). It gives my sandwiches a kick!

Today's Reward

I have to admit, I've been a bit off track lately. Time is even more short than usual due to work and life, which leaves me with less time to plan, less tolerance and more stress - which can lead to bad choices!

I started a new food/activity journal this week, treating it as "Day 1" (it's all mental, right?). I took my measurements, set some goals, and most importantly, REWARDS! My goals this week were to track my food intake carefully and lose weight. I journaled my food all week and I'm down in weight this week, so I am off to get a manicure and pedicure today! It was definitely worth the reward!

This week, my goals are to lose weight (again), continue to track my food intake honestly and get in more activity than I did last week. My reward is a new book, The Time Traveler's Wife, as recommended by Sadie!


Usually I don’t get into silly little sayings for motivation, but “stop” can actually be a pretty powerful word – especially when it comes to eating. If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you don’t eat just because you are hungry. I mean, of course we all eat when we are hungry. But, what about the times you eat when you are NOT hungry? Why are you eating? Bored, tired, angry, lonely, happy, frustrated, sad and the list goes on.

S – Specify the trigger. What is triggering you to eat?

T – Think of what will resolve the trigger? If it’s truly hunger – go for the food. If not, try to address the issue at hand. Overindulging in food will satisfy you for a minute, but then you’ll likely feel guilty – which could make matters worse.

O – Occupy yourself. If your standard go-to is food, find another one. Call a friend, do some stretches, find a project, etc. Keep yourself busy!

P – Praise yourself. It sounds silly, but always give yourself a little self-talk or even a (non-food) reward if you’ve done a good job. It will encourage you to keep going!

If you are food journaling, try also journaling the reasons why you are eating when you do so. Are you eating due to emotion, physical hunger or maybe because the clock says so? Tracking what you eat along with why you eat can help you be more successful at weight loss.

Is it easier or more difficult to lose weight during the summer?

My husband and I were discussing weight loss strategies yesterday and talking about what time of year it’s easiest to stay on track with losing weight. I should mention that this conversation happened as we finished our 12+ mile bike ride and stopped to have a beer (read: three beers) on the way home.

His argument was that it was easier to stay on track during the winter because we typically have a planned schedule at the gym and that whole New Year’s resolution thing going on. It’s expected that you cannot be outside to enjoy the weather, so he’s always prepared to hit the gym. Also, there aren’t the temptations summer brings – there’s nothing like a cold beer on a hot day (see above).

My argument is that I get very bored in winter, which leads me to a lot of snacking. I hate being inside all the time and grow tired of having to do all of my workouts indoors. I’m always looking for ways to get out of the house, which usually means going out to eat or drink something I shouldn’t be since there is really nothing else to do. In summer, I tend to shake things up with my workouts each day and crave fresh fruits and veggies. Plus, fewer clothes equals motivation. Sweaters hide flaws.

What are your thoughts?

The Healthiest Foods on Earth

I ran across this article this morning and I almost want to send a thank you note to the author. I am a firm believer that eating clean is the way to go! Eating tiny packaged processed meals filled with double your daily sodium intake is neither satisfying nor healthy. And, please don't even get me started on those 100 calorie packs. I mean, they do serve their purpose. I used to eat them myself when I first started "dieting" to satisfy the sugar craving that wouldn't go away and keep portions from one sleeve of cookies to this little package. However, in the long-term, these packaged items should be used for dire emergencies only (ie: your three children all have baseball games on different fields on the same night and you have five minutes to eat dinner.) Even in that instance, have a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread instead!

Take a read. If you are heading out to the store today, pick up a few items listed. My favorites and must-haves at all times in my fridge are blueberries, apples and salmon.

Sunshine Day!

My sister (and new mom!) has been in the hospital for five days - literally inside the hospital. This morning when I spoke with her, she sounded so depressed! Then, I educated her on the benefits of sunlight. Many people who live in Minnesota are partial to the cold and darkness, however I am a sun-lover. No matter where you live, you should get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure each day and here's why:

--Sun can improve your digestion and metabolism.

--Sun can increase the number of white blood cells in your blood, which improves your immunity.

--My favorite reason: sun will calm your nerves and bump up your mood! Production of endorphins and serotonin increases, which will make you feel great!

--Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which lowers cholesterol levels and helps you absorb calcium. I also recommend taking a vitamin D and calcium supplement each day because it's difficult to obtain enough through eating. A 200 IU dose of vitamin D and a calcium chew like Viactiv will work!

Be safe in the sun! Apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) about 20 minutes prior to going into the sun. Keep your exposure at a moderate level.


It was the last day of my first 6-week Boot Camp class at the gym. While I think I am MOST proud of the fact I got up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise before work, I did accomplish a few other things! Here are the big results:

--Push-ups: From 15 to 31

--Pull-ups: From 0 to 1 (doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is!)

--Plank: From 50 seconds to 1:48

--Wall Sit: From 1:00 to 2:34

--Laps completed in 20 minutes: 27 to 29 (13 laps is a mile)

I’m very happy with the progress. My next session of Boot Camp starts on July 27!

Why I do wall sits

I spent the last few days at my 12-year-old stepson's baseball tournaments - five games in three days! While they were all exciting games, there were several games going at once. Meaning several people - who spent multiple sweaty hours in the sun, eating cheap hot dogs from the concession among other high-fat nastiness that does not usually come out well on the other end.

Between drinking water all day and having a weak bladder, I had several unfortunate experiences where I was forced to visit the park restroom. Thank goodness I've been practicing my wall sits! I will spare you the in-depth description of my porcelain acrobatics, but I could hover like no other. I was so impressed (and thankful to avoid nasty germs) that I timed a wall sit this morning and managed to hold it for nearly three minutes.

My advice today - practice your wall sits! You will be glad you did next time you visit a public place!

How to do a proper wall sit:

1. Stand in front of a wall (about 2 feet in front of it) and lean against it.

2. Slide down until your knees are at about a 90-degree angle and hold, keeping the abs contracted.

3. To add intensity, hold weights or squeeze a ball between the knees.

The Reason

If you ever needed a great reminder why it's so important to stay healthy, this is it! Meet my nephew, Joshua, born this morning at 4:45 a.m. 8 pounds, 9 ounces and 22 inches - and very loved by his auntie!

This is me NOW!

Today I ran into a former co- worker at a restaurant. She knew me back in the ol' days of bagel breakfasts and fast food lunches. Even though I've been at my weight goal for a while now, it's still incredibly satisfying to see someone from the past and not want to run and hide! I remember so many times when I was uncomfortable in my own skin and would hide myself in a similar situation. Feeling great after all the hard work I've done is so much more rewarding - and it does wonders for my social life! Situations like these remind me that it's all worth it!

Sweet Dreams

It's the end of the week and I'm exhausted. Between work and working out, the days go quickly and I know I don't get as much sleep during the week as I should. I assume that most people don't.

Long gone are the days when I could hang out until all hours of the night on Fridays and Saturdays. I'm lucky if I make it until 10:00 on a Friday before hitting the sack. However, this is a GOOD thing for weight loss.

Don't fight it tonight when you're dozing off at an early hour. If you are working out, your muscles are repairing and building lean muscle while you sleep. Also, if you get the full eight hours you have coming to you, the more likely you'll be more active the next day. You won't feel fatigued or run down if you are well rested. This will give you more energy and contribute to weight loss.

Sweet dreams!

New recipe: Pork Fajita Casserole

I've been trying to make at least one new meal per week just to spice things up a bit. The salad/grilled chicken dinner can get a bit boring. If you haven't checked out Clean Eating magazine yet, give it a look. It's a fairly new publication, but I really like it.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am not a cook by any means. I just don't have the patience. My recipe requirements are typically: Must have 5 or less ingredients, it cannot take more than 15 minutes to prep and I always modify it a bit to fit my tastes. I broke the rules on this one a bit - 15 ingredients! But, they were all easy to prep.

  • 1 large red onion, halved, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into 1 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into 1 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil (I used EVOO)
  • 1 pound lean pork cutlet, sliced into 2 inch strips
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 medium low-fat whole wheat tortillas, divided (I used the LaTortilla Factory brand. If you haven't tried these, you must! Low calorie and high in fiber!)
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, divided
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 avocado, diced (I skipped the avocado and used salsa & fat-free sour cream instead.)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large skillet, saute onion and bell peppers in oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add pork, garlic, and seasonings. Cook for 8 minutes.
  • Prepare casserole: In an 8x8 inch clear glass dish, begin to layer ingredients. Place 1 tortilla on bottom and add 1/4 of pork-vegetable mixture, 5 ounce black beans, 1/4 cup tomatoes and 1/4 cup spinach.
  • Continue with the second tortilla, following the same order of ingredients and amounts. Sprinkle cheese over top layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is bubbly. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. When serving, top each piece with 2 teaspoons avocado.

My assessment: It was great! Very filling and it will be great for leftovers.

a cup of tar - java - brain juice - mud - mojo - a cup o' joe!

Do you ever find that you need just a bit of caffeinated relief in the afternoon? My long-time caffeinated vice of choice was Cherry Coke. I could go through a 2-liter in one day. ONE DAY! That’s 67.62 ounces of Cherry Coke, which equals 879 calories and 237 grams of sugar. Needless to say, part of the transformation to my healthy lifestyle included giving up soda in all forms with a few exceptions here and there. (I mean, sometimes you just NEED a Coke.)

My primary venue for caffeine is now coffee, which can provide you some health benefits if you drink it in moderation (one to three cups per day). It can lower your risk of Type-2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer by acting as an antioxidant. It can also help to speed up your metabolism.

What a relief it was to open my email this morning and find this wonderful coupon from Caribou Coffee!!!!! Bliss! Delicious caffeinated relief for only 100 calories!

"Everybody should believe in something. I believe I'll have another coffee." ~Author Unknown

Bikram Housework

After my weekend of fun, fireworks and dancing, I had quite a bit of housework to catch up on. The house was empty and I went to work! I cleaned the kitchen, floors and bathrooms and I was really sweating! Now, I was cleaning, however not deep cleaning. Yet, I was just SWEATING! I couldn't figure it out! It was warm outside, but not that warm.

I turned the air conditioning temperature a bit cooler and kept on cleaning. But, seriously - I was sweating like a whore in church. So, I just chalked it up to the fact that I must really be working hard and burning a lot of calories while cleaning - WOOHOO! (And, in clear denial of the possibility of the onset of early menopause!)

My husband came home later and mentioned how great the house looked and smelled. I said, "Well, that's because I worked REALLY hard to clean it. I was sweating!" Then, he mentioned that he had turned the air conditioner off before he left. However, he failed to open any windows!!! (Obviously, I failed to notice it when I turned the air conditioner down as well!)
I guess that explains it. I was not working that hard. I was just doing Bikram Housework (or so I'm calling it!). The good news is that Hatha Yoga (similar in to a slow walk as far as exertion) burns 175 calories an hour. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a room about 105 degrees (similar to my home yesterday) and burns about 630 per hour. Perhaps I can count the same for Bikram Housework?

Your mama don't dance...

When you think of exercising, do you think of getting on a treadmill or some other form of boring activity you’ll have to endure for 30 minutes or more just to burn off a couple hundred calories? It's no wonder people don’t make the time to exercise! If you don’t enjoy your activities, you certainly won’t do it on a consistent basis!

Last night the exercise found me! I went to the Taste of Minnesota , which as the title says, is a fair full of deep-fried and high-sugar foods. And, certainly not anything I should be indulging on when I’m trying to shed inches. However, I also went because Bret Michaels was playing! In high school, I was a bigger fan of Poison than I was of Aqua Net. I’m also a Rock of Love junkie, so I had to see him.

I managed to get VIP passes, which was even better! I had a great view of Bret and lots of room to DANCE! I figure I was dancing and going crazy for at least an hour. Steven Adler’s band opened for Bret and they played some great Guns n’ Roses classics. It was a great concert and I burned about 350 calories dancing around like a fool and having fun!

It’s easy to think of exercise as a chore, but there are so many fun ways to burn calories. If you are in your garden or doing another hobby, it still counts as exercise! You don’t have to walk monotonously on a treadmill to burn calories. Find your fun and do it!

Safety First

Yesterday we decided to go biking to White Bear Lake to grab some lunch. It’s about a 12-mile ride there and back. I’m feeling pretty good about commuting by bike or foot when possible. I was reading in Women's Health that 84 percent of Americans typically travel by car. Nine percent travel by bike and only one percent by foot. (Not sure about the other six percent?) The Swiss travel by car only 38 percent of the time, 30 percent by foot and 10 percent by bike. This explains several things: 1) Why Europeans are typically thin; 2) Why Americans are not; 3) Why I almost got hit by a pizza delivery guy on the way back from lunch.

I’m riding along and said pizza delivery guy, a “robust” fellow, is stopped at the corner. So, I think he sees me and I keep riding – but then he hits the gas. I scream and he stops literally an inch from me. What is the lesson here? Just as the article says – we typically travel by car and unfortunately have not fully-embraced the benefits – or even the recognition - of other modes of transportation. Another lesson: Safety first! Yes, I was wearing my bike helmet. Dorky, but at least it’s hot pink!

And, the worst lesson of all - the 12 miles of biking did not cancel out the calories I ate at lunch. Sad, but true. I burned 336 calories biking. For lunch I had a lovely Bell's Oberon (which tastes much better in the sun) for 170 calories, a turkey sandwich with sprouts and guacamole spread on multigrain bread for about 350 calories and 276 calories for about 10 onion rings. Total calories: 796! The battle continues!

Welcome to Mind Over Mayo!

Welcome to my health & wellness blog! I decided to start this blog for several reasons:

–I just reached my 3-year anniversary of staying at my weight goal, which proves to me that this IS my lifestyle now!

–Losing weight and getting healthy has changed my life for the better – significantly!

–I am committed to helping others make positive habit changes, so they may lead healthier, happier and more active lives!

–It can be done! I spent years in hopelessness thinking I would never be skinny again -that I was doomed to be fat forever. But, with support, perseverance and patience, I truly believe you can be successful.

–Losing weight is tough. Very tough. But, I hope to make that a bit easier for my audience with some good ideas and good humor.

Welcome and enjoy! I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with you!