Monday, July 5, 2010

My website has a new look!

My website has been updated to include more articles, videos and a store with my favorite weight loss tools. What do you think?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Are you in a weight loss plateau?

Check out my tips at

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I need to be accountable

I've really been struggling lately. (Lately, meaning the past year.) I've been messing around with these same five pounds for about a year now. It's very frustrating for me because I KNOW I can do this. I KNOW I can stay at/under my weight goal. However, here I am again - back up 3-4 pounds over it.

It doesn't sound like a lot of weight, but when I set my original weight goal, that was more of a limit than my actual goal. Like - don't go over this number or the demise will begin! I have been trying to "trick" myself into losing weight. For example, I get a "reward" each week I lose weight. I bought a pair of jeans that require a 5+ pound loss prior to wearing in public. I am food journaling. It's not working for some reason.

Here are the reasons:

--I am giving myself food (and let's be completely honest) alcohol rewards
--I gave myself two weeks off of food journaling over the last month and a half
--I went on vacation
--I have not gone to a Weight Watchers meeting since February
--I am giving myself permission because "I worked out"


Anyone else struggling? I'm getting this all down as a hope to begin some better accountability. Telling myself is not working. Time to put it all out there and get into those damn jeans.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are you working too hard or hardly working?

After months of hearing my spin class instructors talk about the benefits of using a heart rate monitor, I finally bought one for myself! For as much time as I spend at the gym, this purchase was well worth it. Because I can track my calories burned and heart rate, I can easily determine how hard I'm working (or not working!)

I learned that my maximum heart rate is 184, my 70% target is 129, my low end is 124 and my resting heart rate is 65. Knowing this information is very valuable because I've learned that I'm burning more calories than I thought during my spinning workouts (good news) and that I sometimes tend to have a heart rate over 184, which means I'm working too hard. Also, during my step/kickboxing class yesterday, I learned that I was not working hard enough. I was able to do some of the advanced moves and use my arms more to get my heart rate up where it should be.

Get one! I found mine at Target for $49.49!

Tasty and simple recipe from Clean Eating

My latest favorite magazine is Clean Eating magazine. I am not much of a cook, but even I can handle many of the recipes and tips they offer. I highly recommend subscribing! We tried this recipe last week and it tasted great and provided leftovers for lunch!

Turkey Sausage Ragu
Serves 4
(I did some substitutes that are in parentheses)
477 Calories/17.5 Fat/11 Fiber Per Serving

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
8 oz spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings discarded (I used 12 oz)
1/4 tsp chile flakes
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (Good excuse to have wine with dinner! I used Rosemount Shiraz.)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, torn (I used dried)
1 large bunch kale, cleaned and stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
8oz whole wheat pappardelle, fettucine, or tagliatelle pasta (I used 12 oz whole wheat egg noodles)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (I didn't add this)
Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish (I used low fat grated parmesan)

1. Set a pot of salted water over medium heat to begin boiling for the pasta while you prep the rest.

2. Add 1 tbsp oil, onion, and thyme to a separate large pot over medium heat. Stir well, cover, and cook until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add sausage, chile flakes, and garlic. Continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Off the heat, deglaze the pan by adding the wine. Return to heat and allow to reduce for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, and kale. Stir well, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Stir in additional 2 tbsp oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. When the sauce is almost finished (when 10min remain), add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain well and toss with sausage mixture. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and grated cheese.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fat blast

I'm heading south for a few days in March so I can get out of this cold weather. Warm sun means less clothes, so I've been putting a bit more effort toward my food tracking and exercise routine. I'm not a believer in crash diets, but there are a few things I've been doing like cutting sodium and drinking a lot of water. I've also been changing up my workouts to help burn more fat:

Body shock
Overloading muscles can keep your body guessing. Instead of resting in between my sets while weightlifting, I've been doing all sets in a circuit without rest. Also, instead of three sets of each exercise, I've been doing four.

Mix it up with cardio
Instead of supersetting, incorporate cardio between lifting sets. This can burn a higher percentage of calories from fat. Try jogging in place or jumping rope for 30 seconds in between sets.

Plyometrics (jumping or skipping) can burn calories quickly and build muscle because you're working against gravity. Exercises like Box Jumps work well and I also recommend Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD if you want to incorporate this practice into your workouts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ideas for exercising at home

It's the time of year when finding the energy to bundle up and deal with the winter weather is difficult. Couple that endeavor with finding energy to go to the gym and your workout may likely never happen.

Here are some ideas to continue your activity at home without the hassle of going to the gym:
--Invest in a Swiss ball and try some of these exercises.

--Workout videos can be hit or miss, but I have found success with Ellen Barrett's Crunch videos. This one is my favorite.

--The old stand-bys: Pushups, situps, lunges, squats and plank. These can be done during commercials while watching TV and provide great results over time. While these exercises may seem elementary, make sure you are doing them properly. If you don't know how to do these exercises properly, check out for instructions.

--If you need some cardio, climb your stairs, jump rope (or just jumping period), or try some kickboxing moves.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fruit and Veggie Abyss

I am in the abyss. Or, at least that's what I call the time period from which football ends, yet I still have weeks to wait until I can enjoy the outdoors once again. This time also means that I struggle with comfort food cravings and cannot find a decent fresh fruit or vegetable. I went to the grocery store yesterday and the apples were bruised, the green peppers were shriveled and I was at a loss in produce. I KNOW I need to have healthy foods at hand to snack on, but there were no appetizing items in site.

I decided that I needed to stay away from the 100 calorie pack aisle and get creative. So, I bought some dried figs. I could eat a sleeve of Fig Newtons in one sitting, so I thought I might like the fruit. Here's the quick and dirty:

--They are delicious!
--Figs are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.
--1 fig is about 20 calories with 1 gram of fiber.
--A 1/4 cup serving provides 244 mg of potassium (7% of the DV), 53 mg of calcium (6% of the DV) and 1.2 mg of iron (6% of the DV).
--Figs are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. (WOOT!)

Now I'm on a mission to find more get-me-through-the-abyss fruits and veggies. Ideas?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Get out of your chair!

If you have a desk job and you are still spending 8+ hours per day in one of those crappy chairs your office provides, what are you waiting for? It's time to upgrade your seat and have some fun. Time to buy an exercise ball!

I've been sitting on an exercise ball at my desk at work for over a year now. I rarely use my desk chair because a) the ball is fun, and b) the back pain/stress I was experiencing due to bad posture is gone! I find myself getting up and around more instead of staying seated all day. I've also started a trend around the office!

Check out this article for more benefits, then head to Target and buy yourself a ball!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Step away from the kitchen!

It's 6:00 p.m. You walk in the door exhausted from the work day - and famished! You walk in the kitchen because it seems like a good place to go to unwind. You open the fridge, the freezer and the cupboards, grabbing and munching mindlessly. Sound familiar? The last thing you want to do or think about is spending 30-60 minutes cooking a healthy dinner after you've had a long day.

1) The best way to resolve this (as you know) is you plan ahead. Cook and freeze your meals on Sundays, find a 15-minute meals cookbook, use your slow cooker or stop at Subway instead of McDonalds.

2) Make sure you're eating snacks throughout the day. Have an apple at 4:00 to help hold you over until dinner. Also, keep up with your water drinking. You should drink half of your weight in ounces per day.

3) If you have tendencies to wander to the pantry before dinner (or after!), find a go-to instead. Make a list of things you enjoy doing that will satisfy you the same way food does. Call a friend, read a book/magazine, work on a hobby such as knitting, learn an instrument or new language or exercise! Refer to this list and use it when you are struggling with your willpower.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pot of Pizza

Great recipe I tried this week! If you love pizza, you'll love this. My husband liked it as well and it's great for leftovers!

8 oz ground turkey
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
2.5 oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
15 oz. pizza sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. Splenda
3 cups cooked whole wheat egg noodles
1/4 c. reduced fat shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 c. reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray large skillet with olive-oil flavored cooking spray. Brown meat, onion and green pepper. Stir in mushrooms, pizza sauce, Italian seasoning and Splenda. Pour mixture into slow cooker. Spread noodles over meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and layer mozzarella over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Mix well before serving.

My thoughts on the recipe:
-I added more mushrooms and I may add olives or more veggies next time. If you do this, add more sauce or it will dry out.
-You may want to stir in the cheese before it cooks because it mixes better that way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gym Wars

This is the time of year I really dread going to the gym. For one, I really love to get my workouts done outdoors, but HELLO, I live in Minnesota. That isn't happening for at least three more months. Secondly, my gym is packed. If you are a regular gym rat, I'm sure you've noticed the same thing this week. While I can certainly respect someone wanting to get into the swing of things for the New Year, I think we can categorize the patrons as such:

1) Year-rounders. This is me, thankfully! These are the dedicated folks you see several times each week - even on New Years Eve morning.

2) New Year's resolutioners who are ready. This was me on January 1, 2004. I was ready! My head was right, I had a food plan, a workout plan and a mental plan. This was going to work because I was ready to do it. And, it worked! Next year, these folks will move into the above category!

3) New Year's resolutioners who are not ready. This was me on January 1, 2003...and just about every other January before that. These people know they should get healthy, but either don't have motivation, a plan, a support system or haven't chosen realistic goals. These people will be gone by Valentine's Day.

4) All show, no go! You know these people and I believe we can break this down even further. You know the gal who is there with full make-up, hair done up and spends more time looking in the mirrors than actual working out. And, you likely know the guy that comes to the gym in jeans rather than workout clothes. He is not in shape at all, so you wonder why he is at the gym in the first place. The worst part - he doesn't wipe the machines. Lastly, let's not forget the socialites. They are there to hang out on the machines while talking, but not to actually exercise.

If you are currently not in categories 1 or 2, continue to read this blog and I will get you there! Support and encouragement is key!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If TNT works, I'll look DY-NO-MITE!

By now, hopefully we are all back in full swing with our workout routines. Even I decided to take a break from my almost-daily workout routine to give my body some rest over the holidays. And, it shows since I'm terribly sore today!

I've decided to go back to a workout routine I tried a couple of years ago called the TNT Get Back In Shape workout. It's a 12-week workout, quick and easy to follow. I have read the book as well, but I don't follow the diet plan (which I closely relate to the Body for Life or South Beach Diet). I think the diet plan could work for some, but I'm more of a Weight Watchers girl.

If you are looking for a new workout plan for 2010, give it a try. Personally, I like the Men's Health workouts better than those I find in Women's Health. If you like to lift weights, it's much more challenging. Keep up a healthy diet and you will see results!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to Basics

There is something to be said for having a routine in place. As boring as it may be, it really does help me to have a routine so I can maintain a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t easy, but I started my day at 5:00 and made it to the gym before they even opened the doors. WOOT! I did a three-mile run (effortlessly, of course…ha ha ha…). I had healthy meals and snacks packed for my workday and it was great not having temptations nearby.

This day was a far cry from how I spent the last 11 days: Talking myself out of going the gym (though I did go a few times), having 11 “last suppers” along with some last breakfasts, lunches and snacks in there, and let’s just put it out there – I took advantage of my free reign of the kitchen. You cannot keep high-end dark chocolate, boxes of snack crackers and REAL cheese in the house and expect me not to touch any of it! The kicker is that I ate many of these treats while catching up on last season’s Biggest Loser on DVR.

While it’s kind of fun to revert back to my old ways of carefree calories, I have had enough of sugary foods and lack of exercise weighing me down. This is proof that I really have made a permanent change committing to an overall healthy lifestyle. I did a full kitchen clean-out yesterday and restocked with healthy foods again. I had a great healthy dinner tonight with leftovers for tomorrow – Jenni-O turkey kielbasa, grilled veggies and brown rice – YUM!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where to start?

It's a new year and like most everyone, you probably want to shed some holiday pounds, if not more. This task can be extremely overwhelming, so it's important to know how to start and what to take on. Your method of weight loss, whatever it may be, should have these components:

1) Be realistic - If you say you'll exercise for one hour everyday and you are inactive right now, that is not likely. Make this something that you'll really be able to change. Baby steps!

2) Be specific - How do you see yourself at your goal? "I want to fit into my red dress on my birthday in April."

3) Be positive - Don't write your goals in the negative. "I don't want to have a badunkadunk butt anymore" is not a goal!

4) Be yourself - No one can do this for you! Write goals that you have control over for yourself, not goals others have for you or that you have for others.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What is your theme this year?

I think my 2010 theme will be...................................


There are a lot of things I'd like to change this year - or at least improve upon - so I thought that would be a good theme. I want to make some bigger changes, like potentially a job/career change. But, I'd also like to stick to some small daily goals like making exercise and a healthy diet a priority. This means a lot of planning ahead and journaling.

My husband and I typically write out our goals each New Year's to help get re-focused. This year I'm using this template, so I thought I'd share.

Have a safe and happy 2010!