Thursday, December 22, 2011


SO much has happened this past month and I have been a bad blogger. But then again, it IS Christmas time and time is short! Especially when you are moving! Yep, we are moving in a few weeks (horrible time of year to do so I might add) but it's for a VERY good reason.

No time to go into details now, but in a nutshell:

  • I'm heavier than I would like to be.  Current photos likely resemble my "before" pictures. :( 
  • We are moving to be closer to our children's new school and hubby's work and we will now have sidewalks and parks and people to walk with. Big plans for a more healthy lifestyle for the whole family.
  • I plan to start the year with more activity on this blog with more health info/exercise/recipes that will make an unforgettable and effective journey for this gal.

Merry Christmas to all and see you in 2012!!  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fit2Fat2Fit - Chinese Fried "Rice" Recipe

I think this looks wonderful!! Can't wait to get to the store so I can make it! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day one of Drew Manning's journey back to fit.

Be sure to watch his progress on his blog: Fit2Fat2Fit.com

I'm very excited to watch his journey. He's truly living a life of an overweight person, food cravings and everything. But it's only been 6 months since he was a picture of health and it's going to be interesting to watch his journey back.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Favorite Blog To Follow

About a week or so ago, I stumbled across a tweet on Twitter about a personal trainer who purposefully gained wait so he could better sympathize with his clients. Of COURSE this caught my attention and I checked out his site. I was IMMEDIATELY sucked in. Why? Because it only took a few weeks for him to change, and I'm not just talking about his size.

Just reading his blog makes my heart ache and jump at the same time.  It's sad to see how someone is effected by their health, but I was excited to see that it's not just me.  The feelings I get when overweight make be feel so alone.  Know the feeling? The negative habits and self talk can really make a gal nose dive into the dumps. Reading his feelings just validated my own.  When overweight, all the feelings that come with it; physcially, emotional, spiritual as well as every other aspect, are actually symptoms of a lifestyle, not the person.

Just turning my thoughts around, to realize it's not me but the choices I make, the lifestyle I'm choosing to live, makes me feel more in control.  I instantly want to make better choices, to live a different lifestyle, to create a different reality for myself.

On November 5th, Drew Manning is going to be starting his journey back to health and I'm so excited to be able to follow along.  Be sure to check out his site at www.fit2fat2fit.com and his most recent YOUTUBE video. His blog is as insightful as it is entertaining.

GO DREW!! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Skeleton Lake is out TODAY!

Want to read a chilling book, perfect for Halloween? This would be the book.  It's my dear friend and critique partner, Angela Kulig's first book and it's out TODAY!! 

You can grab it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99

Also, head on over to another dear friend's blog: Ali Cross.  You can read Angela's guest post there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Skeleton Lake

First and foremost, my critique partner, Angela Kulig, has her very first book coming out this week!! I am so incredibly excited and proud of her!!  Want to check out her book? Yes? YAY! Click on the cover and it'll direct you to her blog where you can read the first chapter!  :) 

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm NOT dead, just busy!

I knew it's been awhile since I posted on my blog, but I had no idea until I looked at the date today.


Eek! That's something to be frightened about!

I'll do a quick update--like bullet point quick.

  • School started.
  • Adjusting to different homeschool program.
  • Garden decided to go into full production. (Picking, cooking, picking, cooking, dehydrating, picking, canning, etc.)
  • Time to plant a winter garden (Plant, water, water, plant, water, transplant, water)
  • Organizing and preparing for a new Sunday school year (As president, I'm in charge of this)
  • Adjusting to hubby's new job schedule. (This is a YAY, of course)
  • 3 kids started taking piano lessons. 
  • Boy Scouts (Son is working towards his Eagle & hubby is now the Scoutmaster)  
  • One week into supporting hubby's BIGGEST LOSER challenge at work.
  • Kinda got sucked into Dr. Who on Netflix--and watched every episode of the new series. Yeah, I typically don't watch TV, but I somehow managed to watch 5 seasons of this show in less than a month. It was that good. What? I watched it mostly with the family. ;) The 10th Doctor is the best! 
Oh, I have so much to write about, yet I've had to make a list of priorities and blogging, I'm afraid, isn't high on the list.  I AM trying to go entirely paperless in my life scheduling, which is, ironically, killing me. I'm very much a notebook type of gal, I LOVE sticky notes, but even that system hasn't been the most efficient. (I've kinda run out of room to post sticky notes) 

So, I've uploaded EVERNOTE to my PC and phone and I'm hoping that it and Google Calendar will help me get back on top of life so I have more time for the fun stuff, like blogging and social media.  

Also, have you seen the new iPhone 4S?  Yeah, the ad had me at the jogging guy.  Yeah, I need that. My life needs that.  ;) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 3 on the Juice/Veggie Diet

Eating this way feels GREAT!! After three days of veggies, I don't have cravings, I'm not hungry and the only discomfort I find is that I'm thirsty. You would think with juice, you wouldn't have to drink water, but you do. In fact, juice doesn't replace water at all! So, I'm probably a little on the dehydrated side.
We bought a few bottles of Odwalla juice to get started so we didn't have to personally juice at every meal. Our favorites are the Original SUPERFOOD and Mango Tango We bought them at our local grocery store for about $8. Which seems like a crazy amount for juice, but it's lasted us for several servings.  We've also tried a few juice recipes here.

I know my body, and just juice wouldn't swing, so I've been putting a tablespoon of Chia seeds in each glass and it's been no problem.  The added protein, Omegas and fiber help balance out the carbohydrates.  It truely is a blanced meal.

I have also been making my current favorite dish every night. (recipe below) No one is getting sick of it either so I'll probably make it again tomorrow night, or until we get through this pile of eggplant.

Spicy Thai Eggplant

Cook the following in 1 Tbs. olive oil until soft and nearly cooked through:

8-10 Japanese Eggplant
1 onion
3-4 Jalapenos, seeded and demembraned

Wait on the garlic until the end or it could burn.
1 -2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sugar (optional) <--I've skipped this
3-4 sliced garlic cloves

Finish cooking.
A BIG handful of basil leaves.
Stir through and turn off heat.
Let sit for a few minutes so the basil leaves wilt.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Juice Fast, Spirulina & Chia Seeds

Please forgive my shoddy video quality. I decided last minute to vlog and I failed at making sure the background was right and that the lighting was pointing in the right direction OUT OF VIEW. If can you can ignore the obvious, I have some great links to look at! :)

Another Thought-Provoking Documentary

My cousin has been recommending these wonderful gems on NetFlix and I thought I'd share with you too! :) 

The information coorelates with my studies in Holistic Nutrition.  I like how they presented and explained nutrients and how they need to be the focus with disease, not medicine.  It's true, our society doesn't support this sort of thinking because, after all, there is no money to be made with health.

I've actually heard Charlotte Gerson speak before. She's amazing and so youthful, an excellent example of healthy living.  I'm always inspired after hearing her wisdom.

For me, I think the most difficult thing for me to work through is getting enough fruits and veggies on days where we aren't home.  I feel a differece when I am getting them, yet they aren't the easiest to grab when on the go.  (And apples wrapped in celophane at the golden arches isn't going to cut it.)

Official Site

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interesting Documentary

Recently, my cousin sent me an email about a documentary she had seen titled, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead." I'm always interested in nutrition and how others find success, so I sat down with my hubby and watched it. Instead of reiterating what I watched, I decided to post a video from the official site.

My husband and I planning on doing a juice fast to jump start our health efforts.  I know the hydration and nutrients will give my body the boost it currently needs.  I am a little hesitent since there can be a bit of a detox period, but considering how I've felt recently, I'm willing to try something I haven't done before.  You never know if an action of health is what you've been needing until you try it.

Recently, I've noticed if I eat--or don't eat--certain foods, my neck and shoulders are stiff by the end of the day.  On the days I have plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables, I don't have stiffness, but on those busy days where it feels I'm running all over the place, I tend to neglect my eating and my body reminds me.

I look forward to bloggin/vlogging the progress of this fast.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 180: Never underestimate the power one week can bring.

This past week I cut out a few items in my diet: salt, man-made carbohydrates and sugar. It always surprises me how quickly my body changes if I'm persistent, even for a short period of time.

Salt: the first day I didn't add salt to my cooking, I felt like I was sacrificing a lot and was surprised that it's easier to give up sugar than salt.  Everything I ate tasted bland, and I had to actually put some mental effort not to grab the salt shaker--at one point, I noticed I reached for the shaker without thinking.  I had no idea I had become such a salt fiend.
Surprise: After a day or two, I started to discover the flavor of foods. Things tasted differently to the point that I didn't even miss salt.  Scrambled eggs, homemade salad dressing and sweet potatoes taste fine without salt.  I'm shocked that I noticed a difference after a day and am considering putting the salt shaker back with the rest of the spices in the cupboard.

Man-made Carbs: At the beginning of the week I had a bit of a challenge wrapping my head around finding carbs that were not man made and gluten free.  Bread, we take that for granted.  It's super hard to find gluten free bread that doesn't look dry and cardboard tasting. I plan on making some with rice flour one day soon.  (Note: gluten free is only for a few months to rule out a gluten sensitivity.)
Surprise:By the end of the week, I found that I needed heavier carbs for my energy.  Not being able to grab bread or tortillas or a bun, I noticed that fruit alone wasn't enough carbohydrate load for my body's need.  Adding sweet potatoes, beans and brown rice did the trick.

Sugar:  This is a no brainer.  When is sugar ever a good thing to put in our body?  Sure, it does so much for the soul, but really, we can live healthy without it.  At the beginning of the week, I noticed I did have cravings and I actually took a bite of something the kids were eating, but that was it.  (I won't spend much time on this since I have oodles of other posts on my thoughts and struggles with sugar.)
Surprise: By the end of the week, I once again found the strength to be stronger than the cookie.  We went to a Arrow of Light Cub Scout Ceremony last night and there were some wonderful desserts I would have liked to have a plate of.  I was shocked that I didn't look twice.  (Okay, I'll be honest, I did.) I was ecstatic that I actually took a moment to visualize what I would feel like if I indulged.  I thought about the sugar coated throat I will feel after eating my weights-worth, and I found that a simple whiff of the gooey goodness of Smore brownies was enough to satisfy me.

I feel good.  I feel empowered.  A week ago I felt a bit out of control, like I couldn't say no to the things I loved and that brought comfort.  I honestly started this hormone balancing program with severe doubts since the first month is a bit strict, for obvious reasons.  In weight loss, it's not just about your brain making the decision, it's the way your body reacts to the food you feed it.  Just removing three things from my diet, I can feel my body responding, and this helps when my brain is weak. I am honestly surprised that I feel strong enough to make changes that are going to better my health, only after a week.  Never underestimate the power one week can bring.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 176: Programs vs Pills

I don't like programs. As much as they have worked for me, even more have failed and left me frustrated.  I'm a black/white thinker and a perfectionist, and  it can help or hurt me when doing a program. It can be ugly at times since I can sabotage my efforts with, "Since I messed up on lunch, I may as well blow the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow."  
I was very successful when I did Weight Watchers after my second child. I hit Lifetime (at the highest weight I could be to qualify) and I maintained until I was pregnant again a year later.  But after my third, the program no longer work for me.  Circumstances in my life had changed (husband's shift changed, favorite leader wasn't there, gym got expensive, etc. etc. etc.)  What was there for me to make it successful the first time, wasn't there for me the second time.  I failed. I kept sabotaging my efforts, because I could.  For me, I got into the habit of thinking, "What's the most amount of food I can have for the least amount of points?" Answer: Heaps of fake food. With fat-free this and sugar-free that, it's amazing what you can eat for low points. 

But what's missing in this type of thinking? Nutrition. Nutrition is everything.  It's the whole reason for eating in the first place, to fuel the body so it can work effectively.  This is why I don't like programs.  They often have me thinking about everything except what I should be focusing on.

After my last child I made the decision: no programs, just nutrition and healthy habits. I was successful. I firmly believe the more pure a person's diet is, the better they will feel and the better their body will work for them instead of against them.

Avoiding chemicals gives a body a better chance to stabilize and balance itself.  I try to use natural remedies first.  Often they work, but when they don't I will take the medicine that is needed.  Bodies are a miraculous thing. Have you ever really thought about the healing process?  Ever heard of homeostasis? <--I already looked it up for you. :) It just makes sense.

So what is this post all about? Well, I'm on a new program. Now wait.  Before you start thinking I'm a total hypocrite, please let me explain. ;)

I have PCOS  and I'm just starting to get symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Science doesn't know how or why a woman gets these ailments, so they simply treat the symptoms. There is a prescription for every symptom and if I used them for each one I have, I'd have a cabinet full of little orange bottles.  I'm also the lucky one.  I don't need any meds for my heart or blood sugar at this time, but many who have these ailments do.  If I don't get this weight off and balance my hormones,  I'll have to use medication in the future just to avoid a heart attack or deal with type 2 diabetes. 

So, I have two choices.  Follow a program for a few months in hopes to balance my metabolism and endocrine system naturally through food & lifestyle changes or take necessary medication in the future.  Since I prefer to be natural in all things, I'm going with the healing program. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 166: WTHeck is going on?

I LOVE donating blood.  I've been doing it for years and try to do it whenever I can.  I'm nearly to the two gallon mark--maybe I've passed it already? I need to remember to check so I can get my license plate holder saying, "I'm a 2 gallon donor."  Call me a weirdo, but I like having that on my car.

Needless to say, I've never had an issue when donating.  Actually, I take that back.  When I was in college, I had an incomplete donation.  Turns out, if it's hot and you are a little low on water before going in, your blood can be too thick and stop flowing...right in the middle of a donation.  Yeah, that happened once, but I've never been turned away...until today.

I sat down behind the private curtains with the lady and she checked all my vitals.  Blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, all normal, and then she pricked my finger.  Normally, the tech has to squeeze hard to get a big enough drop to fill up the glass vile.  Not this time.  I noticed she was sucking it up as the blood drop slid down my finger. That caught my attention, but I didn't think it was a big deal.

"Do you usually have a problem with this?" she asked, as the little ball of blood didn't sink in the blue liquid.

"Not usually, but it usually hovers for a sec until in falls to the bottom.  Why?"

She walked over to a machine that was out of my sight, I heard it whirl behind me as I waited.  Soon, it beeped and the tech came back and told me I couldn't donate today but that I could come back in three weeks and try again.

This has never happened to me before and I'm a little frustrated with my body right now as it's freaking out on me.  I have noticed that I've been extra tired lately, I just thought it was the heat and my hubby's snoring.  Guess it was something more.  I've also been a bit more stiff and sore than usual too, I need to research Fibromyalgia more thoroughly.  I'm SO grateful I have the habit of working out every day or who know how I'd be feeling like right now.

Now more than ever, I really need to be stepping it up.  I need to be more balanced in my eating and adding more to my exercise regimen.  It's a reminder to never get complacent.  Health is ongoing and how we take care of our body needs to adjust as our needs do.  It's my journey and I now have an unexpected detour. No worries though, it's all a lesson on adjusting to the unexpected.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 162: Hormones

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned I was reading books by Diana Schwarzbein and that I would share things that were interesting?  Well, here's the first post regarding my reading.

In my last post I talked about my youth and how my eating habits in high school, namely low fat/protein eating  caused problems.  In my reading today, it totally talked about it.

"Your hormones are the messengers between the different cells and systems of your body...for you to remain healthy, you need to keep your hormones balanced so they can communicate effectively with each other and with your cells, thereby keeping your metabolism working efficiently.

"In order to produce new hormones, you have to eat food that has the necessary material for your body to make them.  Because hormones are mainly made from proteins, cholesterol and essential fats, eating a balanced diet that includes these nutrients is essential for life balance."

Is it any wonder why a low fat/protein diet is so damaging? I'm of course not advocating a high fat or high protein diet. No way!  It's all about BALANCE!! You can't eat imbalanced portions of the macro-nutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and expect to be healthy.  It's impossible.  Sure, you might lose some weight, but at what cost? If you damage your metabolism, it will come back to bit you in the bum. Literally.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 160: Why is just as important as what.

Photo Credit
As I laid in bed this morning thinking about my current state of health and how frustrated I was, a thought occurred to me.  The same thing that is happening now, happened in my early twenties, nearly twenty years ago. (Yes, I just leaked my age, oh well...I tend to be an open book) Yep, at one point, I gained 40 pounds in 6 months during a time I was the most active in my life.  Noticing the similarities, I continued to analyse the timeline of my life.

I was a teen in the 90's.  I remember the HUGE craze then was a low-fat, high-carb diet.  I was in high school and I was very rigid with my eating.  I was also a size 6 who felt like I was a size 26. (If I could go back in time and kick myself, I would.) I remember eating very little fat, if any, and a whole bunch of carbs and Diet Pepsi. I remember my cycle was messed up and the Dr. gave me medication to fix it.  So during a time where my endocrine system and metabolism was developing, I was doing everything to work against it.

A body needs good fats to help build and strengthen every system needed to be alive and healthy.  I gave my body none, or at least I didn't give it the healthy kind when I had treats or a snack.  I also flooded my body with chemicals from soda and medicine.  What's sad is if I had been eating a balanced and healthy diet, I wouldn't have needed the medication to begin with. No wonder my body rebelled when I was 20, my endocrine system and metabolism were toast.  I had abused it without even knowing and it was ticked.

Now, twenty years later, I'm still dealing with the damage I incurred while I was developing in my youth.  I'm grateful that now I know better health habits so I can teach my children not just to eat better but why they would want to eat better.  I personally think the why is just as important as the what. You need to know what to put in your body so you can be healthy, but if you don't understand or know why, it's easy to make excuses.

I'm tired. * I don't feel good. *  Just this time. * It's a special day. * Tomorrow I'll do better. * Monday.

For me, when I know the why, the why will squash the excuses and reveal how lame and flimsy they really are, giving me a better chance of winning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 159: Catching up after a few weeks.

Hello! Just thought I would pop in real quick and catch up with my blog.  I feel like it's been months since we've connected. ;)

During the last few weeks things have been crazy.  My husband's mom lost her battle with cancer and we had a quick trip to Utah for the funeral.  It was a sad time, but also a happy one as family from all over the states gathered together and had a few days to catch up.

As for me personally, I am uber frustrated with my body.  I feel like it's waged war against me! I'm very grateful for the ability to workout every day with my elliptical and I fear what I would look/feel like if I wasn't.  As I mentioned in the last post, I have had PCOS for most of my life.  When I was first diagnosed, the biggest concern was that I would never be able to have children.  Now looking back as a mother of four children, I know it was through my diet and a little help from the medical world with progesterone, I was able to get pregnant after a year of effort.

One thing I learned from my OB/GYN was that PCOS disappears while pregnant. Over the last 12 years, I was pregnant about every three years and I didn't really see a lot of my PCOS symptoms. It was actually easy for me to lose weight, especially when I was breastfeeding.

Our youngest is 2 1/2, in the past, this would be the time I would typically be having another baby, but since I'm not, something else is happening.  My PCOS is coming back in full force!  According to the scale, I'm up 7 pounds from last week.  SEVEN POUNDS in a WEEK???? The sad thing is that I didn't do anything to bring this on! No binge, no buffet, nothing but regular eating and exercising.  Part of me wants to curl up and actually do the binging I've already gained the poundage for, but I'm not.  *tempted* But I'm not.

So what's the plan? I am going to wear sun dresses now that it's warm. I refuse to go out and buy larger sized clothes, it's depressing.  My current clothes are snug and the way it feels makes me want to eat to comfort myself, which isn't good since I'm already tempted. (see above)  Sun dresses are cute and comfortable.  I don't know how I'll look, but at least I can feel comfortable while I make some tweaks to my lifestyle.

I've read a few chapters of my Schwarzbein and the science always fascinates me and supports my own thinking of health.  No chemicals, all natural, nourish your body and eat WHOLE foods.  The reason I LOVE to read these books is because of the science.  Over time, I forget the details of the science that shows me WHY I want to eat/live this way.  (For instance, I forgot just HOW important stress reduction and adiquate sleep was to endocrine system health--oops!)  Dr. Laura Schwarzbein is also an endocrinologist which means she has specific suggestions to help with endocrine issues, which PCOS is.

Weight loss and total health is a journey! Right now, I've hit one of the bumps and that's okay.  If it weren't for the rough spots, the happy times wouldn't be as exciting. :D

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 139: The Schwarzbein Principle

I think about blogging all the time, but as you can see by the dates, I dont quite make it to Blogger to post  these thoughts. I'm not going to promise to do better, because I don't make promises that I might not be able to keep and right now, I know I can't keep that promise if I made it.

Lately, my body is doing something weird. I'm still working out everyday and my eating hasn't changed (it's kept me maintaining for over a year) but something isn't right.  In the last month, I've started to gain weight.  Last time this happened I was binging a lot at night, so understanably, I gained weight rapidly.  But this time, there is no logical explanation that I know of.  I contribute it to two possible things:

1. I've reached that age where my metabolism takes a dump since I'm on the downside of 30.
2. My PCOS has decided to wage a greater war against me due to the extra stress I've been under.

As I write this, I'm thinking it's probably a combination between the two.

What's the plan? Several years ago, I read The Schwarzbein Principle.  It's a series of books I highly recommend if you have PCOS.  The author, Diana Schwarzbein, had PCOS when she was younger and she reversed it through a healthy, non chemical, real food diet.  I read the whole series, I even got the cookbook, but I never really had a chance to try it out for weight loss because I got pregnant about a month after I changed my eating habits. 

Needless to say, it's been two babies since I read the books and I need a refresher.  I'm going to brush up on the details so I can fine tune my eating to tackle my current issue. I'm not promising, but I'll probably naturally blog more often because I'll want to share what I'm reading.  (I tend to do that when I'm excited about something.) Especially since I know many of my readers have PCOS too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Baked Swiss Chard - An Experiment

A few months ago I talked about baked Brussel`s Sprouts and how surprisingly yummy they were.  Since then, we've discovered something even better--the leaves.

On the first batch, I removed all the loose leaves that fell off when I cut them in half assuming they would burn. By the second batch, I was in a rush and tossed everything on the pan, loose leaves and all.  To our surprise, the little leaves didn`t burn, they got crispy and tasted as good as chips!! 

When I make them now, I actually peel the outermost leaves from all of the sprouts so I can maximize the crispiness of the batch.  The youngest kids who are still not impressed with baked sprouts actually beg for the "crispy leaves." Little do they know they also pack nutrition. *snickers*  But who am I kidding? We all fight over them!!

This past week I saw a recipe for, "Baked Kale Chips." It looked super yummy based on my experience with the baked sprout leaves.  Not having any Kale around though, I decided I would substitute Swiss Chard since I have pounds of it growing outside in our garden.  I also omitted the seasoning packet since they often include MSG and other noxious chemicals. 

The experiment:
Swiss Chard with the ribs removed, chopped coarsely,
covered with olive oil, salt & pepper. (Approx 8 cups)
Bake at 300' for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. 
Crispy like a chip but packed full of nutrition.  The kids gobbled them up.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A little about PCOS.

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and it effects 1 in 15 women. I personally was diagnosed with this seventeen years ago and also know several ladies who have this. It's so common, chances are you or someone you know has it too.

Woman can have one or all of the following symptoms:
  • Acne
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods.  Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year.  Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems.  Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression
List from WebMD

It's not the worst thing to be diagnosed with, but it is time consuming to deal with.  Doctors don't understand why a woman gets this syndrome and they know even less about treating it so they prescribe drugs to manage each symptom.  At 20, my medicine cabinet resembled that of a grandparent. Little orange bottles of various sizes lined the shelves and it was overwhelming to not only look at but to keep track of when to take those little pills.

One day I looked at my future and I realized that the various medicines I had perscribed to me were for asthetic purposes.  At that time, I decided I would spare my liver and spend more time either in front of the mirror plucking or finding the right cleanser to control my acne.

Nearly two decades later and I still don't take anything for my crazy symptoms since they have remained topical. I am grateful for this since women with PCOS are likely to have heart and diabetic issues. I hope to continue to avoid such health issues by paying attention to my body now.

As for weight loss, PCOS does make it more challenging, but it doesn't make it impossible. Weight loss efforts can be effective if I put the focus on my exercise and eating and understand there is no wiggle room.  Gone are the days where weight just "accidently" disappeared because I was too busy to eat. I know if I eat a chemical free diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep, my body will respond as I expect it to whether I have PCOS or not.

*I plan on discussing further in future posts. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life is precious

I have a friend whose diet was impeccable and taught yoga.  She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, always fashionable with a bright smile.  Her lifestyle was the epitome of health and someone I looked up to as an example.  You can imagine my surprise when she unexpectedly passed away this week at  age 49 from cancer.  She was by far, the healthiest woman I know and now she's gone.

A question that crossed my mind was, "Why put forth all the efforts to be healthy if you could die early anyway?"   I mean, if you are going to get a life threatening illness young, why spend all that time checking labels, chopping produce and searching for tasty and healthy recipes so you can live longer? I felt a little guilty when I entertained that thought for a few moments longer than I should, but after talking to others, I found that it was a pretty common thought.

So what is the answer? It's simple. If I was currently diagnosed with a life threatening illness, I would beat myself up. "Why didn't I eat better? Why didn't I workout harder? Why didn't I just DO better? I do pretty good, but I admit I could do a whole lot better! As for my friend, I really doubt if she berated herself with such questions. What peace that would be, knowing I did everything on my end, in the face of such heart breaking news.

I know everything in life happens for a reason, I honestly do.  I also know that there are consequences for every action taken.  More often than not, our lifestyles determine the quality of life we live and if we do our best in our health efforts, we will be rewarded.  Even with heart breaking news, if a life is lived to the best of our ability, we can still have peace.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Latest Distraction

Lately, my workouts haven't been what I would like them to be.  When I go for 30 minutes, I get an awesome sweat going and I feel accomplished. I typically try for that time, but sometimes, I just don't make it. This usually happens when I get on the machine late and I'm tired.

pvz300A week or so ago, my kids were telling me about a new game they found on the computer.  It's called Plants verses Zombies. The name sounded ridiculous to me, but they were having so much fun and kept telling me I needed to look at it.  So I thought I would try it.  As it would so happen, I enjoyed the game.

When I hopped onto the elliptical earlier this week, I just didn't feel like reading or tweeting or doing what I usually do while exercising. I admit, I get bored sometimes... many times.  Sooo, what better time than to upload the game to my phone and play a few rounds. After what seemed like 10 minutes, the machine beeped that I was done with my 30 minute workout. I was shocked, but I wasn't done with the round, so I kept going.  15 minutes later, after all the zombies were dead, I hopped off feeling accomplished. I was dripping sweat and had finished a 45 minute workout that only felt like 10. :)

Find something you enjoy when you exercise, find a few things actually and switch it up.  Keep yourself entertained and you'll get a great workout every time!

You can play a few rounds of Plants vs Zombies online for free. Try not to get hooked...unless you can keep it for workout time. ;)  iPhone app: Plants vs Zombies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 100

Although I've been working out for 100 days straight, I don't have anything outward to show. My weight has pretty much remained the same since the beginning of the year--I've been up and down the same five pounds on the scale. No great losses, no dress sizes smaller, no inches lost. Nothing really. But that's okay.

It's been a rough year. It seems like everyone is going through something, and for me, it's dealing with unemployment. My husband lost his job just about a year ago and it's been hard getting used to a schedule where he's home all the time and to live on a fraction of his old income. It's been disheartening to see him post resume after resume only to end up with nothing. No interviews. No interest. Nada. He has his MBA, a ton of experience, and it's still not enough to get a job during this economy.

I'm a stay at home mom who homeschools our kids. I have to admit, the thought has crossed my mind to enroll the kids in school and find a job. But would the gain of a job make up for the loss of what I currently have? Considering I haven't been in the work force for over 12 years, and none of my children have ever stepped into a school except for my oldest when he was enrolled in Kindergarten, I'm going to have to say, NO. The benefits of working are not greater for the things I would lose.

I'm an emotional eater. I admit, I have NOT been eating as well as I should. I know better, my degree is in Nutrition, but I traditionally deal with the difficult things in life through food. I'm so much better than I used to be, but I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be. I am thrilled to say that although I haven't been eating as well as I should, I haven't binged like I have in the past. Considering my personal stress levels, I could have easily packed on 50 pounds the past 12 months--trust me--but I haven't, and I contribute this to the fact that I have a goal that has nothing to do with eating, or the scale, or what size jeans I wear.

Being successful with a goal that has nothing to do with eating gives me validation. It reminds me that even though I may not have complete control over what I'm eating, I can still feel like I'm accomplishing something with my workouts. For me this is huge, it's helping me maintain during a time I could easily be out of control.

I'm hoping that during the next 100 days I will be able to make better choices in my eating so I can maximize the benefits of the exercise I do each day. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Small Favor...

In a previous post I mentioned an author by the name of Kaleb Nation. He's a huge inspiration in my life when it comes to writing and if there is an opportunity to return the favor, or to at least help him some way, I'm going to do what I can. :)

For the next seven days he's in the YouTube NextUp contest. (He's also a YouTuber when he's not busy writing books) 25 YouTubers will win $35,000 to help them in their YouTube careers. I can't think of anyone more deserving than Kaleb and I ask only a minute of your time to help him out.

For me, he helped me in the life changing moment when I realized I loved to write and wanted to pursue it more seriously. Now I'm trying to help out so he can have a life changing moment in his.

Watch the video--it explains more about the contest.
Simply go and vote by clicking HERE(You can vote every day through the 8th)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Writing Blog

In case you haven't noticed, there is a new tab at the top of this blog labeled, writing.  Yes, I started a new blog specific for my writing journey: http://karenmariehansen.blogspot.com/  :)

Day 88: Portion Control

Portion control is a must for weight control when eating the things you really enjoy.  Honestly, you can eat anything if you keep the portions small.  I know, I've done it.

Take for instance these mini meatloaves, they are sitting in oil from the cheese and ground meat, which is normally a diet no-no. (Luckily, they aren't as oily as the picture looks.)  I don't know how many calories there are in one--I don't have time to figure it out--but I only eat one which is 1/8 of a pound of ground meat and a few tablespoons of grated cheese.  With a few baked potato wedges and a hearty serving of veggies, the meal is filling without being heavy on calories.

It's such a freedom to be able to eat what you enjoy while maintaining/losing weight. In the past, whenever I did a program in the past, the restrictions and things I had to do to stay on program would mess with my head. I often found myself obsessed with the process and often I would sabotage my efforts, because I could.

I'm currently going through some stressful times--as I know many of you are too--and counting calories/measuring foods is not something I have time for or even care to do. Normally, I would just say forget it and binge until I no longer could remember what was bothering me, but that only makes matters worse. Going through tough times with tight or no clothes in a body you can't stand is depressing. It's a downward cycle that gets harder to turn around as time progresses.

For me, eating real food, I not only feel full, I don't feel deprived and I haven't spent a ton of time measuring and counting. I actually feel empowered, in control, and that feeling helps me to stay focused on my goals.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 80: Crazy, insane virus that's going around.

About a month ago I saw some posts on Facebook from friends that their families had been knocked out by a virus.  It certainly happens, especially when you have a handful of kids. What caught my attention though, was that the illness came in waves.  I knocked on wood and hoped my family would be spared.

Wishful thinking.

Two weeks ago, the youngest and my husband started to show signs of illness. Nothing major, just mild fevers and a cough.  Nearly a week went by and no one else had symptoms. I was feeling quite hopeful the virus was contained to them.  Of course, they got worse just as my daughters and I started to feel under the weather.  Knowing it was likely the virus I had heard about earlier, I didn't push through my symptoms like I typically would. I took the opportunity to take it easy and get caught up on my reading and cuddle with the sickies since we all had the same thing. After a couple of days of not feeling so hot I started to feel better, figured my time had passed.

Then it hit.

I had a fever of 103.6 at bedtime that night.  I don't remember the last time I had a fever so high.  My ears were ringing so loudly, I had a hard time going to sleep that night. The next day and for the remainder of the week, I felt like I did when I had mono.  No joke.  Even now, a week later after the fever, I still feel pretty fatigued.

I am happy to say that despite my disease, I worked out every day and I didn't let the virus keep me from my efforts. Of course I lightened up the routine, I didn't want to kill myself! I also learned that one of the best way to get rid of the chills is to exercise for five minutes.  Of course I felt like I got hit my a truck, but I was warm and toasty.  It's been a slow road back to the workout I was doing before I got sick, but with a little effort, I'll be back there in no time.

The most important thing about taking care of yourself is listening to your body. I know the last few days I wouldn't have been able to do a full workout, so I haven't. But that's the beauty of this goal, by working out everyday, it gets easy to read your body. There are days I feel I can do more then my usual routine, and I will endulge.  But other days, I feel like I need to pull back, and I listen.

Take care of yourself, the virus that's going around...it's a doozy. ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 68: The goal is still alive!

Hello!!  I've been one bad blogger!! It's not that I've forgotten to do it, I just haven't. Life is a little insane right now, and by the end of the day, I'm getting my workout in and reading/writing with the last few moments before I crash.

But I thought I would check in and let you all know I'm still working out everyday! I've been maintaining and it feels good to be working towards my goal of 365 days.  When things settle down, I would like to blog more about food choices and an eating plan.

I can tell my body is transitioning. My muscles are getting firm, even though the scale hasn't changed much in the last several weeks.  This tells me that my weight distribution is changing--greater muscle mass and less fat. Just need to press forward despite what the scale and my pants say. The goal is about daily workouts, nothing more.  Everything else is just a perk to the goal.

I hope to be blogging more frequently, but life is crazy.  Just when things slow down, they tend to speed up.
If you follow me on Twitter, I'm always popping up there.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 43: Last night I vlogged about a few things...

I mostly blog about my weight loss efforts here, but sometimes I like to talk about the things going on in my life. I made a vlog last night about a few things I've been busy with. I thought I would share here since it's part of my journey. My natural reaction to stressful things is eat, but when I started to write, I found the substitution I needed so I wouldn't be eating my stress. Writing has been a wonderful outlet for me, and has saved me many calories. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

49/365: Dinner on a Budget: Easy Chili

I love to cook and I especially love swapping tried and true recipes.  You know, the kind of recipes that always turn out, instantly satisfy and most of all, are easy. My favorite recipes are those that take a little while to cook so you have time to clean the kitchen while it's doing it's thing.  Nothing is more refreshing to the busy mom's soul than to have a clean kitchen after everyone leaves the table.  I'm instantly happy when it takes all of five minutes for everyone to participate in dinner clean up. 

Right now we are tightening up our budget and I'm on the hunt for meals that aren't only quick, easy and healthy, but are also cheap. It's pretty easy to find fast recipes, but if it involves cheese whiz, Velveeta or any other highly processed foods, I don't consider that reasonable to feed my family. Actually, I don't even consider that stuff food. It's a challenge to satisfy all four of my requirements, but even with a budget, I have standards.

This recipe was given to me from my dear friend, Staci. She and I share similar palettes, so I always get wonderful recipes from her. Here is one our favorite meals when it's chilly outside. ;)

Did I mention it's also low calories if you don't add any toppings? (I always enjoy the toppings though, I use a light hand when applying.) Yep, super filling and great for the weight loss efforts.

(I forgot to take a picture the other night--but it basically looks like...chili.)

1 lb. ground beef, lean
1 lg onion, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves
2-3 Tbs. dried basil
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1-15oz can tomato sauce
1-14 1/2 can diced tomatoes (seasoned or zesty are best)
1-6oz can tomato paste
>1oz chili powder (about 1/3 of a 2.5oz sized bottle)
2 Tbs sugar
2-3 jalapeƱo, chopped *optional
salt, pepper, garlic salt, to taste

-Brown beef, onion and garlic together is olive oil.
-Add remaining ingredients and cook on stove top, covered, for 1-2 hours on low.
-Top with:
  grated cheese
  green onions <--favorite part
  sour cream
  Fritos chips

Thursday, February 10, 2011

41/365 - Delicious Brussel Sprouts. Yes! Delicious

I am not a big fan of Brussel Sprouts. Neither is my family. But it's the benefit they offer to our bodies that gives me reason to buy them. 

I thought I was doing pretty good with the new Beef Soup recipe that included Brussel Sprouts I posted a few weeks ago. But I've found something better, Roasted Brussel Sprouts.  I know, that doesn't sound too spectacular, but it is.  

I first put them into the oven on faith.  My mom had told me how wonderful they were when she made them.  I believed her.  When I put them into the oven, I had hoped I didn't just ruin a package of sprouts. (I originally bought them to make the soup)

While the little, green orbs were baking, I admit, the scent was a bit confusing.  When my hubby walked into the kitchen, he took a whiff, and gave a look. I told him, "No opinions until after you try them." At that time, I hoped I didn't have to eat those words.  Secretly, I agreed with him and was only sharing the same thoughts I was telling myself.

When I took them out, I wasn't impressed.  They looked like burnt Brussel Sprouts. MMmmm...... *not*

After they cooled enough so I could taste without scalding myself, I gave one a try.  To my surprise, it was one of the most delicious green things I have ever eaten!! I piled up a plateful and dug in.  Hey, the family wasn't interested so I had my fill. 

Then my oldest walks in and inspects the tray I had cooling on the oven.  He says, "They looked burnt." I smiled. He goes in for a sniff and says, "These don't smell so good." He pokes one with his finger and licks it. He looks to me and asks if I liked them. I told him I thought they were really good. I assumed he'd walk away and be done.  But he didn't.  He grabbed a plate and served himself.  While he was eating he told me, "Mom, if you ever make Brussel Sprouts again, you have to do them like this." WIN.

Just cut off the brown ends, wash, dry, and cut in half-lengthwise.

Toss well in olive oil on a cookie sheet. 

Spread to single layer and sprinkle with salt/pepper.

Bake at 375-400 for about 30 min. or until edges are browned and crispy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

35/365 - Workout Plan for the Year

When I started this year, I claimed that the best workout is the one you can stick with, and it's true! In order to achieve this, I made a goal that was easy to do and to pick a time and level that would be simple.  I decided I would start with 15 minutes at level 10.

After the first few workouts I realized that I shouldn't have started at a level 10. It's what I was doing before my little hiatus, but I fell out of shape quickly and level 10 straight out actually hurt.  Luckily, my body got used to the level after about a week, so I stuck with it.

Now that it's February, I increased the time by 5 minutes so the total time is now 20 minutes.  I will keep adding 5 minutes each month until I end up doing 30 minute workouts. I also plan on adding push-ups, a kettle bell and whatever else I can find to spice things up.

I know I have a pretty good habit formed, but I'm keeping with the simplicity idea so I can easily keep going.

Monday, January 31, 2011

31/365 - Upcoming Event: Mormon Helping Hands 4/30/11

Last year was the first time our entire state participated in a huge park clean-up event. We wanted to use twitter to spread the word, but the whole concept was entirely new to those putting the event together in our area.  They asked if I could help out with an explanation and a video was made. I just saw the video for the first time today and I thought I would share.

This year, on April 30th, we'll be doing another project throughout the state. I'm looking forward in participating.

Friday, January 28, 2011

28/365 - Focus is Key

I am so grateful that my goal is on my daily workout and nothing else. If my focus was on the scale, I would be discouraged. If my success was based on how my pants feel, I would have already fallen off the wagon. But since I'm not focusing on anything but the workout, I feel GREAT!!

Yesterday I put on some pants that were a little looser when I first put them on last summer. Yes, it was before they were first washed, but that's beside the point. It doesn't matter, if you put on snug clothes that were once loose, it always messes with your head.

If you've been following since the beginning of the year, you know that I haven't been focusing too closely on my eating.  I haven't been porking, but I haven't been careful either. Considering my day yesterday, I would have thrown all weight loss efforts out and binged.  But I didn't. Why? Because I reminded myself of the goal: daily workouts for 365 days in a row.  Have I been doing it? OH YEAH, every night!! Suddenly all the guilt and frustration and crud that fills your head when you feel UGG instantly left.  Hope returned and the scale and lovely pant issues faded into the back of my mind. I love my goal! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

26/365 - Easy Lunch Idea

Sometimes I get so intensely focused on what I'm doing I forget to eat. No, it doesn't happen often, but occasionally, it does. For instance, yesterday was the last day of my kids' semester.  My middle school aged son had a few things due that weren't done and we were cramming to finish. It was two o'clock and I noticed my stomach felt off.

I searched the refrigerator, no left overs were found. The cupboards didn't have anything either. (At this point in my search, I realized I needed to go shopping) So I went to the pantry.  You can always find something in the pantry. I saw a can of soup and grabbed it. 

This soup is my go to lunch when I don't have much time but need to be filled. It's certainly not a pretty soup, it's actually quite ugly.  But shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream can change that. 

Here is a link to a tasty line of soups: http://www.amys.com/ 

Monday, January 24, 2011

24/365 - Emotional eating and how I deal.

Right now, writing and working out in the evenings are the best way for me to avoid emotional eating. It's when I don't have substitutions for the behavior that I find myself doing it.  I talk about my feelings below:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

20/365 - My FAVORITE Soup of the Day

A few weeks ago, I went to my go-to Betty Crocker Cookbook searching for a new soup to add to my winter arsenal.  This cookbook has always been my favorite--obvious because it's falling apart.  I probably should go on eBay and try to replace it, but then I would have to transfer all my notes. Not fun. So, I guess I will milk out as much life as I can from it.

The following recipe was first introduced to our family about a month ago and so far, we've made this soup three times.  I double the recipe so we have enough for left overs the next day because it's just as yummy reheated.

Best part of this soup is it's low in calories, inexpensive and makes a not-so-kid-friendly, powerhouse vegetable delicious.  My hubby and I aren't big fans of Brussels sprouts either, but we both agree they are fantastic here.  The key point to remember, DO NOT OVER COOK THEM.

Throw the sprouts in at the end, just before serving. Turn off the boil, toss them in, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes.  They should be bright green.  Who going to eat  dark, mushy, ugly and over done Brussels sprouts anyway?


1 pound beef boneless sirloin steak, 1 in thick. (Stew meat works fine here)
2 cans (14 1/2 oz ea) beef broth
1/4 tea. pepper
1 cup Brussels sprouts, cut lengthwise in half
1 cup sliced shiitake or domestic mushrooms (Go with the shittake)
2 med carrots, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 lg sweet potato, cubed (about 1 cup) (We've been substituting bottleneck squash)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tea chopped fresh or 1/2 tea dried marjoram leaves
1 tea chopped fresh or 1/2 tea dried thyme leaves

Trim excess fat from beef.  Cut steak into 1in pieces. (Unless you bought stew meat) Cook beef steak in 3 qt saucepan over medium-high heat about 10 minutes, stirring several times, until brown.  Add beef broth and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until beef is tender.

Add remaining ingredients. (Remember what I said about the sprouts)  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Monday, January 17, 2011

17/365 - Junk Food Day AKA Birthday Celebrations

This past weekend we celebrated our oldest daughter's birthday.  Part of our family's birthday tradition is that we let the kids choose the food menu for the entire day.  Each child has his own original palate they enjoy satisfying and it's fun to see what they come up with.  Unfortunately, it's rarely healthy.  

Breakfast: Chocolate donuts and Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Lunch: Sub sandwich with chips

Snack: Bell pepper with Ranch dipping sauce. (I may have asked the question, "Would you like to include something healthy in your day?")

Dinner: Pepperoni Pizza

Cake and Ice Cream

What was my game plan? It would be easy to eat my own special foods for the day, but that would be insulting for the kids.  They enjoy picking out the menu for the whole family and it's fun for them to eat it as a family. So to keep the peace and the spirits high, I decided to eat small portions. 

I had one donut for breakfast and I was surprised how lousy I felt. If it had been a big ol' cream filled donut, I would have understood why I felt like throwing up thirty minutes after I ate it, but it was just a small old-fashioned chocolate. Ever notice that when you've been eating healthier, your body suddenly reacts to junk food? It's also scary because junk food doesn't effect me when I'm eating a lot of it.  It's like my body gets used to it and I can rationalize it's not "so bad" because I don't feel "horrible." Substandard food trickery.

Lunch was actually pretty good.  We put a ton of lettuce in the sandwich, she said she wanted a little, so we ran with the opportunity.  A serving of chips isn't a bad thing, if you can keep from going back for seconds.

For dinner, I was running around making sure five little girls and the rest of our kids had everything they needed.  I ate two pieces and a big glass of water when everyone was settled. By the time we had cake and ice cream I was too tired for more than a sliver.

I've found that a day full of junk isn't the worst thing that can happen to your health efforts if you simply eat small portions, exercise sometime that day, and get back to healthy habits the next day. One day doesn't cause damage, it's repeating the junk food day over and over that does.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12/365 - I'm down!!

Photo Credit
Just had to report some good news! Something I certainly wasn't expecting, but exciting none-the-less!!

Today is day 12. Up to this point, I've only focused on the exercise, not on my food intake. I also haven't been weighing myself because I don't expect a change until I tighten up my eating a bit more--no reason to cause unnecessary distress, right? But this morning, I thought I'd check it out. I was curious.

When I first looked at the results, I thought I was up 3 pounds.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed, but not terribly surprised. I've been doing the same workout since January 1st, and it's a ton easier now, I know I've built muscle. Cue the mantra: Muscle weighs more than fat. Then I realized the number in the tens column changed too. (I was only looking at the ones column) As of today, I'm down 7 pounds! A very pleasant surprise indeed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

10/365 - Sleep

yawnI am SO tired. Maybe with the freezing temperatures lately, my body is trying to hibernate after all the holiday busyness? Yesterday after church I was freezing so I curled up with a blanket and just after I reached a nice level of toastiness, I conked out for about 30 minutes.

If you know me, I don't take naps. I just don't. First, I have four children and the opportunity rarely presents itself. Second, I don't feel good after taking them and third, I have a hard time getting to sleep at night if I do.  Naps aren't appealing to me, I would rather read.

So last night, it was really weird for me to be exhausted at 9pm.  I could have crashed the moment my head hit the pillow but I had things I wanted to do before retiring for the night.  I ended up falling asleep at 11, which is still "early" for me. You can imagine my surprise when 9am rolls around this morning and I am still exhausted.  I had to pry myself out of bed I was so tired. Tired after 10 hours of sleep?!?!?

All this sleepiness got me thinking.  It's been MONTHS since I've had a regular sleep pattern.  For the last six months I've been busy writing and editing and revising and revising all while taking the crash course approach in learning about the craft.  Very rarely do I get to bed when I should--actually, it's never--and every morning at least one child wakes me up at 7 by bouncing on me or some part of my bed.  I think I am feeling a bit of the repercussions of not keeping a regular sleep schedule.

Sleep. It's just as important as food and water to our bodies and yet it's the one thing we most tend to neglect.  We live in busy times and it's easy to put off that hour of sleep so we can get more done in a day. It's okay to do once in a while when there is a deadline or something important.  But to do it on a constant basis is just abusing your body and since our body is a living organism, it will fight back.

When trying to get healthy, sleep has to be as important as exercise and eating the right foods.  Of course, if our bodies aren't getting the right nutrients, it's not going to function properly.  It also won't work right if it's lacking sleep.  A body that gets everything it needs, will work the way it was intended to.  Having a body that is working against your efforts is futile and pointless.  Take care of the body and it will take care of you.

I've learned that if I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, my Circadian Rhythm will work with me.  I'll get the sleep I need and I will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.  The challenge is to do it, to get into a routine. I'm going to try to work on being regular over the next few weeks. Waking up to a day that's kicking my bum has to end. It never feels good to wake up tired. Never.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

9/365 Not sure what to do about Sundays

I'm not sure what to do with my postings.  I'm thinking that I might take Sundays off from blogging, it's probably one of the most busy day of the week for me.  Sometimes I don't even turn on the computer. 

So for now, I think I'm going to be a no show on Sundays. Just because you don't see me, doesn't mean I'm not keeping up with the challenge.  :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8/365 - Eating Habits

At the end of the old year, I always feel the need to eat all sorts of naughties so I can start the year off fresh-- only to crash and burn a week or two later.  I know this about me and I learned long ago not to fool myself into believing "This is the year."  So I don't make that as a goal for obvious reasons.

Last time I did a 365 day challenge, it wasn't until the end of February that I decided to change my eating habits.  Often times I would walk off the machine only to make myself a chocolate sundae or a huge mug of hot chocolate. (We have two birthdays to celebrate in January so there is always ice cream left over) After 50 or so workouts I finally felt motivated to work on my food choices and I started to see a change in my body shortly after.

This time I feel different. It's the end of week one and I'm feeling good. Food doesn't have a hold on me like it did during the holidays and I feel strong enough to make better food choices.  How do I know? Because I have several sources of chocolate in my house and I don't feel compelled to attack them. When I'm having a hard time with eating, no source of goodies--especially chocolate--has a chance of survival over a 24 hour period. Since the lifespan of my chocolate is two weeks strong, it says a lot about my will power.  The fact that I want to make dietary changes earlier this time means the habits I used to have aren't far off and are easily returning, like riding a bike I suppose.  Certainly motivation for creating a solid habit in hopes that one day it will be easier to stay on the road of health then to slide back into negative habits.

Now I have to admit, I haven't been chocolate free, just able to consume in rational portions. You can lose weight eating chocolate if you keep the amounts small. I've done it before and I'll do it again as I practice moderation.  To swear off chocolate entirely would be crazy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

7/365 - Keeping my perspective.

It's been seven days since I started my challenge. One week exactly. I was pondering this today and my thoughts began to go deep.

Seven days is nothing when you think that you still have 358 days left of the year.  It's also insignificant when you clump up the days, call it a week, and count 51 more weeks.  How depressing is this type of math?


I then saw someone tweet me something along the lines of, "Yay for a week of exercise" and my perspective changed.  I remember when I would make short term goals, say I was going to work out Monday through Friday and then I only got to Wednesday...and that was considered a good week too.

Perspective is funny like that. It can take a simple action and make it look one of two ways:

1. It can look hard, unattainable or impossible.
2. It can appear to be easy, highly likable or absolutely doable.

So it got me thinking.  If every goal we make for ourselves has the ability to be looked at either way, as something we can or can't do, it leaves us with a choice. Can we do it or not? Often times, I feel I don't have a choice because of circumstances. But really, if it's all about perspective, which we are entirely in control of, why not choose to see everything as doable and then go out and do it?

I choose to see 365 days as doable and my after picture as obtainable.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

6/365 - Dinner Idea

I love to cook. I also love to eat.

No new news there.

I also love getting and sharing tasty and easy meals.

Tonight we had a steak salad that was delicious and super filling. It was even low-carb.  Seasoned, seared steak, gorganzola cheese, green onions and cucumbers happily sat on a bed of lettuce.  With an abundance of flavor already present, it only needed a drizzle of real (No chemicals and fillers) Ranch dressing before I attacked it with a fork.

My husband is eating low carbs right now and since he was making dinner, we had a low carb meal.  It works well for him, so he enjoys eating this way.  In the past I've tried to eat low carb, but it just doesn't work for me, my body rebels.  I have learned that I need fewer than the mega carbs I typically eat, but enough so I can clearly think and have an energy level necessary for my lifestyle.  When I don't eat enough healthy carbohydrates, I don't function well.

I also don't think it's okay to avoid a whole macro-nutrient in our diets.  There is a reason our bodies are designed to function well when we have the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Now when I say healthy carbohydrates, I'm talking whole wheat or naturally occurring carbohydrates like those found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Not the processed, nutrient-less kind so easily found in our food chain.

This salad was heavy enough to keep me full even though it was low on carbs.  I had energy for my workout and I had no desire to snack when I stepped off the elliptical. Eating low carb for a meal is good now and then, I just can't do it daily.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

5/365 - How I like to pass time on the elliptical

I used to watch TV while I exercised on the elliptical trainer. It was exciting to catch up on various shows without the guilt that I was wasting time.

Then I got bored with it.

Unlike other fitness machines, you aren't bouncing all over with the elliptical trainer, your head stays study and it makes reading a wonderful option.  Of course if I'm going fast, reading isn't going to work.  But most of the time I up the resistance and go at a slower pace.  I have read many a pages while burning calories. I have come to cherish my elliptical reading time.

I just started a new book last night, If I stay by Gayle Forman. So far it's riveting because it's a graphic account of one of my worst nightmares: a car accident.

A friend of mine did an amazing review of the book.  It's the main reason I decided to pick it up in the first place. If the book is half as good as his review, I'll be satisfied.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

4/365 The salty lies of our scales.

It felt good climbing up on the machine. I'm not as sore or stiff and the time didn't seem to drag like it did. I know it's only been four days, but it's amazing how quick my body responds to exercise.

Photo Credit
I already notice my muscles feel firmer, just a hint. But the thing for me to remember is I tend to firm up easier than I drop weight--which can be discouraging.  Why? Even if I gain muscle and loose fat at the exact same rate, the scale will go up at first because muscle is heavier than fat. 

I have a friend diligently going to the gym for an hour workout on a regular basis. The scale hasn't budged in over a week and she wants to quit. For some psychological reason we are attached to our scales. It's important to remember they don't tell the whole story and it's easy to psych ourselves out because of it. 

This is what I love about this goal, it has nothing to do with the scale or how my clothes feel.  It doesn't even consider my eating habits. Right now, my biggest and only concern is that daily workout.  As I work to change habits, I don't feel guilt if I over eat or feel a tightness in my waistband because at the end of the day, I feel good I'm building a workout habit and hitting my daily goal. For now, this is what I need, that sense of accomplishment. As time progresses, I'll be able to better focus on the other important changes I need to make with the confidence needed to make them.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2/365 - Surprised!

I'm amazed at how quickly my body got out of shape. I swear I just worked out a few weeks ago and I didn't notice anything different from the norm. Last night when I hopped onto the elliptical I did a shorter and lower resistance workout than I'm used to. The workout didn't feel bad, but I could tell it didn't feel as easy either.

By the time I finished 15 minutes, I was sweaty and breathing heavy--certainly not how I used to feel walking off the machine.  I admit, I was a bit surprised. (I mentioned I lightened the workout since it has been a bit since I last did it, right?)

Although I was surprised walking off the machine, you can imagine my shock when I started to feel sore a few hours later. Seriously? I cannot believe I got out of shape as quickly or as badly as I did.  I'm relearning that taking care of your health is a daily thing, not just when you "have a goal" or when it's convenient.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1/365 - Happy New Year 2011

As I sit here ready for the new year to begin, there are many thoughts floating around my head.

Excitement. Trepidation. Hope. Fear.

I've had weight loss successes before. I went to Diet Center (A local weight loss clinic in town) while I was in Jr. High and lost 20 pounds. I was a size 6 afterwards. After my second baby, I lost 50 pounds with Weight Watchers. I was a size 8 when I hit goal.  I have had my moment to shine and feel triumphant.  I also know it was because of a program I lost it.  As soon as I was done with the program, it slowly came back. Every time. I have learned since, that programs, for me, don't work in the long term.

In 2009, for the first time in my life, I lost weight on my own. 40 pounds of weight was gone because of my efforts. No program. No help. Just me. Success has never been so sweet. Without making an official "weight loss" goal, I finished the year pretty close to where I need to be to have a healthy BMI. I was a size 10/12 and I was happy with my body for the first time in my life.

2010 wasn't so sweet.  I started the year out strong, but slowly lost momentum. I thought about doing a 720 days of workout challenge, but decided to take Sundays completely off. It was for good reason, Sundays are a special day for me. Unfortunately, once you miss a day in a long streak, it's easy to make it two. The cycle then begins. I thought about doing another 365 day goal starting mid-year, but that didn't work. (Refer to my recent vlog where I discuss why) For me, I need to be a bit OCD with my goals or its easy for me to sabotage my efforts. I've learned this. It's how I roll.

I now end 2010 feeling like I never had a success at all. I had a very rough year, probably the toughest in my life and I took it out on myself.  Writing was a wonderful, creative escape but I stopped working out when I started to write. Sometimes it was because I didn't want to take a break from writing, but mostly it's because I forgot to workout until it was midnight and too late to do it.  (My husband needs to be up early and the elliptical is in our bedroom)  Over time, poor eating habits returned and a few pounds were found before the holiday season began.  By the time December came, I was in full blown binge mode. Right now I feel like I never made a change to begin with.

Weight loss efforts has such an ugly side. When making positive choices we are moving forward, learning, becoming better, it feels great. But once you have a weight problem caused by bad habits, those habits can so easily be found no matter how long time has elapsed. Especially when life gets challenging.  I chose to put "Journey" in the name of this blog because that is exactly what it is.  There really is no end. Constant vigilance needs to be there or we'll find ourselves in a place we don't want to be.  That dark ugly place that is so familiar.

As I sit here, my pants feel tight and my body feels flabby. I can literally feel the newly formed fat on my legs.The thought of eating any sweets right now makes my stomach turn because the over-sugared, over-fill feeling is nauseating. I'm so sick of eating right now--the idea of a week long fast sounds inviting. Actually, my body would probably benefit from a good fast too.

I'm excited for 2011. It holds promise. I also start it somewhat ticked off at myself and determined to do better. I know I can do it, I've done it before. But there is always a fear in the back of my head. What if? I'm happy to say that I have pushed my what ifs to the back of my brain and ignoring them. I plan on getting up tomorrow and ending the day on the elliptical, doing my workout. I'm not going to focus on all the things I should do better like getting up earlier, eating better, planning better, spending less time on the computer, being outside more, etc. I'm only going to focus on one thing, my work outs. I know me. If I try to do too many changes at once, I will fail. Guaranteed. But if I focus on one thing, I know I can do it.  Keep things simple and it's easier to make changes. That's my plan.