Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Low-Cal Banana Bread

I found this recipe on 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet (so it HAS to be great, right?).  Once I try it, I'll let you know!

Ingredients (makes 16 small slices):

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
3 tbsp. Promise Light Buttery Spread
1/4 cup applesauce
2 medium mashed bananas (200g)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients :) You know the drill. I left my batter a little lumpy because I wanted to be able to see some banana chunks in the bread. Then I poured it into a greased springform pan and baked it at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes (depending on the oven). The bread should be a golden brown color and cooked around the edges.

Nutrition Information (per slice - 1 weight watchers point):

60 calories
1g fat
11g carbohydrates
1g fiber
2g protein

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Almost $500 Purse GIve-a-way

Remember how I wrote about the Recessionista Party website before?  Well, they're doing an amazing Thanksgiving give-a-way.  They're giving away a purse that costs almost $500!  I think it must be made of gold and probably too heavy to carry around, but I'm sure you could get creative about how to best make use of a bag like that, right? (Like sell it on E-bay and use the money to buy a new wardrobe, the make-up you've been dying to replenish but couldn't afford to, Christmas for your kids, a special trip home to visit, pay off a chunk of money on a credit card or make an extra house payment -- you could find something, I am sure!).

Anyway -- it's a free drawing, and that makes me happy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Problem SOLVED!

So - do you ever look at foods and think, "I can't eat that cuz I'm on a diet" or "I don't want to eat that because it will mess up my diet"?  I do.  All. The. Time.  But I was thinking this morning as I planned a slam-bam ending to this day that included baking a long-overdue pumpkin pie with my husband, "If I just knew the nutrition information for the whole pie, I could figure out how much I could eat while still maintaining my daily calorie goals." 

So I did a search online and found a few sites that I used today to figure up the nutrition information for 1/8 of a pumpkin pie -- the result, by the way, is just under 300 calories with 10 grams of fat and just over 2 grams of fiber.  If you are interested, here are the top sites I found:

1) Calorie Count -- Here you type in the recipe and then tell it to analyze the recipe.  It will tell you all the nutrition info. for the ingredients you typed in and will also tell you if there are some that it doesn't recognize or have in its system (like evaporated skim milk, for example; or 98% fat free cream of chicken soup).  It's really easy!  I really like this one!

2) Nutrition Data -- Here you type in the ingredients, choosing them one by one from a list, and then it calculates the nutrition info. for you. I had a hard time using this one.  I couldn't, for example, find generic sugar without searching through eight pages of items that came up when I typed in "sugar" -- and it didn't recognize "white sugar."  But maybe with practice on the key words for the search, I could figure it out. I also read online that you can type in your own nutrition information from labels for foods that aren't in their database -- but I haven't gotten into it enough yet to figure this out.

3) Spark Recipes -- This is basically the same as Nutrition Data.

4) Calorie King -- This is a good place to go to just look up the nutrition information for foods in general, though you have to sign up and pay to use their software for recipe building.

5) Fit Watch -- More of the same.

Although these next two sites don't have a recipe builder, I found a lot of useful information on there for general health/nutrition.

1) Web MD -- I LOVE this site!  So many great resources, and generally a source you can trust!

2) Diet Nation -- Just found this site.  Has great calculators for topics from how much water you should be drinking every day to how much protein and fat your body needs to how many calories you need to cut from your diet each day to reach your weight loss goals.  Good stuff!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I could use this word to describe a lot of things lately:
  1. My weak body, as duly noted after my gravity group class last week!  Seriously, I felt it ALL WEEKEND LONG, and today, my body just wasn't up to par during my run.  It took me FOR-E-VER to get my muscles and ligaments loosened up enough TO run this morning that I didn't have a lot of time to run.  I did a LOT of walking, though.  Am I actually moving forward here?  Not quite sure today.
  2. My resolve. Sunday is usually my day off, but yesterday, I felt like I went overboard.  Then tonight, even though I had almost eaten all of my calories for the day, I made Dave dinner at 8:00 at night and didn't have the resolve to NOT take a few bites.  It's so much easier to live within a money budget than a calorie budget sometimes!  But what I was really struggling with was keeping the goal to not eat after 5:30.  Seriously, folks. Seriously.
  3. My sweet tooth.  And know what was weakest of all here?  My sweet selection!  Raisins, apples, diet root beer, chewable Vitamin C.  Oh . . . oh . . . then I discovered the sugar-free hot chocolate!  SCORE!!!!  Yes, I had maxed out on calories for the day . . . but that sure was a GREAT cup of hot chocolate! ;-D

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I know I was a lot more detailed in my past journals, but let's be honest: this is all saved by date, so I don't need to number them, right?  Besides which, I can't really remember where I am in all of this.

I had a great week this week!  I have been tracking and recording EVERYTHING I am eating.  I have been drinking LOTS of water (like a gallon a day, religiously!).  I have been done eating between 5:30 and 6:00 almost every night.  I'm getting my fruits and veggies in, including my healthy fats, and enjoying my daily root beer float splurges.  Life is good!

I went running Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and today!  I generally went 4 1/2 miles, though today was slightly less because I wasn't feeling well this morning and got out of the house late and had to get back to let Dave go.  Plus, I ran -- literally -- into my friend Heidi O'Barr and found out that she is an avid half-marathon runner, actually ran one while pregnant with BOTH of her little boys, and she has also done ONE marathon, though she doesn't recommend it until after you're done having children, unless you are running at a lower elevation.  It was very enlightening and just great to visit with her for a bit . . . about running! ;-D

Anyway -- I am working on my goal for next week.  I think it's going to be vitamins, vitamins, vitamins.  We'll see!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pampering Mommy

Okay, let me first say that I am NOT one to accessorize, though I AM one to notice when other people do.  Why?  Well - it's expensive, for one; I don't really have the eye for it, for another.  HOWEVER, I am learning that with all the emphasis on losing weight, taking care of giving your body proper nutrition, etc., there is also the very important aspect of PAMPERING YOURSELF that will help you look and feel like you're on top of the world. 

And you know I'm right about this.  Think about how you feel when you get up, exercise, eat well, AND shower and put on makeup and do your hair for the day.  TOTALLY DIFFERENT WOMAN, right?  I know I feel like I can face the day a lot better and conquer the world if I actually take time to get ready and face the world armed and dangerous.

In lieu of that, I am actually following a blog called Recessionista.  My friend Amanda, who LOVES to accessorize in EVERYTHING, kind of tipped me towards checking it out.  Anyway - they are going to be giving away free prizes -- and they sell all their stuff for 50-75% off retail value.  Which helps my number one reason for NOT accessorizing IMMENSELY. 

If you want to join the craze, even if just in hopes that you might get something free to give you a place to start, check out this new blog find of mine.  You'll be amazed -- and it just might be perfect timing for the upcoming holiday season and the people on your list who already LOVE THEIR JEWELRY, SHOES, AND HANDBAGS.  My sister is JUST that type!  Too bad I have her name for Christmas NEXT year and not this year.  Which means I have a whole year to watch sales and shop . . . . . . !  :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Foods and Journal #3

Fox news has a slide show that my husband was looking at this morning.  It's a list of "bad foods" that some diets tell you to shy away from but that ACTUALLY help you LOSE weight.  Check it out!

Also, I went running this afternoon.  I cannot believe how WELL I did.  I started getting sick last night and didn't sleep very well/kind of laid around this morning (as much as you can with two one-year-olds on the loose).  Then I went running.  I walked for about seven minutes (twice the warm-up time I usually do) and then I decided to start running.  And I ran . . . and I ran . . . and I ran.  In fact, with each minute, I felt stronger, more determined to succeed.  I had visions of crossing the finish line, of fitting into my clothes again, of feeling more confident and that I can do something HARD, and of having a MUCH easier time recovering from my next pregnancy and enjoying my baby than I did this time.  I had images in my head of friends and family who struggle just like me, some who have overcome and some who have not.  I thought about my children -- Abby and Isaac as teenagers and loads of temptations and trials all around them, needing to find strength to do hard things.

And -- I ran nearly 26 minutes WITHOUT STOPPING.  I say nearly because I did need to stop twice to blow my nose (horrible drip machine that it is right now).  After I stopped, I walked for about six minutes and then ran again for 10 MORE MINUTES before cooling down, feeling GREAT about my progress; GREAT about my ability to be ready for this half-marathon; GREAT about how much Heavenly Father blesses me to accomplish the righteous goals.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Journal #2, Week #2, Day #2

Wow, that's a lot of 2's!  Well, I wanted to announce that my diet yesterday FLOPPED on some cookie dough and chocolate cookies and cream (albeit Fat Free, still not sugar- or calorie-free!).  HOWEVER . . . .

I went running/walking for 50 minutes and ran the last mile without stopping and did three sets of sprints after the mile, before calling it quits for the day.  So that was really exciting for me!  Still haven't made it out yet today, but my legs are FEELING it!  And with the first snow of the season falling AS WE SPEAK, it will be a challenging but beautiful run as soon as my husband gets home so I can get out! :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Journal #1 - Week #1 - Day #5

I am going to keep my food and activity journal here, that way I will be accountable to anyone who is reading along and will have an account of my progress for later goals/post-baby ambitions.

Today, I ate a yogurt with Fiber One for breakfast (1), a cup of dry Multi-Grain Cheerios (1) for a snack (we were out of milk at the time), a cup of oatmeal and pieces of my babies' grilled cheese sandwich and chicken meal for lunch (9), chips with salsa and cottage cheese and a Root Beer Float for a snack (4), a small handful of sunflower seeds for another snack (3), and 1/2 cup of white grape juice with breakfast that I forgot about (1).  I have five points left for the day and have yet to get in my veggies for the day.  So my goal for dinner is veggies and lean protein. I also haven't taken my multi-vitamins yet - so I need to fit that one in somewhere as well. 

I haven't exercised yet today, but this week has been centered around running and walking -- getting my body back into running mode in a simple, enjoyable way.  I actually plan on spending four weeks on this phase, building up to comfortably running for 30 minutes without stopping, before I start the ten-week Half-Marathon training.  So far, so good.  I love to run to Credence Clearwater's "New Vibration."  I follow the changes in rhythm and walk, jog, and sprint accordingly.  I've decided that the BEST time to get BACK into running mode is actually in the colder, sometimes rainy or snowy FALL weather. I am determined to BE A RUNNER before I get pregnant again and then keep on RUNNING!  I've looked at different Mommy Marathoner blogs and read articles and looked at people I know who have done it and am just amazed by them.  So I figure that if THIS is what I find inspiring and amazing, THIS must by MY thing to join in on and not let doubt, fear, inadequacies, weather, etc. hold me back.  And the half-marathon is my way of taking baby steps.  The marathon is coming, though -- don't you worry!

And, feel free to join in -- I'd love some cyberspace company in the training and track buddies on the run.  Dave isn't going to join me for this one, but I AM going to lasso him in for the next one.

Outlining SUCCESS!

I was reading on Brian Tracy's blog. He wrote The Miracle of Self-Discipline, which I actually have not read, but my friend Carrie has read it and applied it to her weight-loss goals and is experiencing incredible success. So, I checked it out online and found his blog and these great tips on making things happen for yourself:

1) Decide What You Want
Step number one, decide exactly what it is you want in each part of your life. Become a "meaningful specific" rather than a "wandering generality."
* I have done this before, but I am going to start over and do it again.  What I want is to wear by wedding dinner outfit on my anniversary on December 15.

2) Write it Down
Second, write it down, clearly and in detail. Always think on paper. A goal that is not in writing is not a goal at all. It is merely a wish and it has no energy behind it.
* I just did!  I'll do it again!  I want to wear my wedding dinner outfit on my anniversary on Dec. 15.

3) Set A Deadline
Third, set a deadline for your goal. A deadline acts as a "forcing system" in your subconscious mind. It motivates you to do the things necessary to make your goal come true. If it is a big enough goal, set sub-deadlines as well. Don’t leave this to chance.
* Cool - repetition is good, right?  December 15 -- my 2nd Anniversary!

4) Make A List
Fourth, make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. When you think of new tasks and activities, write them on your list until your list is complete.
* Exercise every day.
* Go to the gym and include weight training in my routine.
* Continue to cut back on calories by staying within my daily calorie range.
* Make extra sacrifices like cutting out sugar and not over-indulging when life makes it so easy.
* Drink a lot of water.
* Stop eating early so that I don't pack on extra calories in the late and often sedentary evening time and/or night time snacking.
* Get adequate sleep.
* Keep a food journal.
* Keep an exercise journal.

5) Organize Your List
Fifth, organize your list into a plan. Decide what you will have to do first and what you will have to do second. Decide what is more important and what is less important. And then write out your plan on paper, the same way you would develop a blueprint to build your dream house.
I think it's pretty organized.  Some particulars about the exercise/healthy eating portion:

* Exercise every day.
* Go to the gym and include weight training in my routine.
For these two, I am training to run a half-marathon in St. George, Utah on January 23.  That means running when the weather is bad and/or I don't feel like it; making my "rest" days work as much for me as my "run" days by doing weight-training exercises to strengthen and tone my muscles, eating well-balanced meals and taking a vitamin supplement, and staying positive about my ability to DO this and succeed.

6) Take Action
The sixth step is for you to take action on your plan. Do something. Do anything. But get busy. Get going.
*Already on it -- revisit this one if I am tempted to stop!

7) Do Something Every Day
Do something every single day that moves you in the direction of your most important goal at the moment. Develop the discipline of doing something 365 days each year that is moving you forward. You will be absolutely astonished at how much you accomplish when you utilize this formula in your life every single day.
* I think this one is going to have to be my focus on running a half-marathon in January.  Even rest days are work days towards your ultimate goal.  And keeping a journal of what I am eating/doing will help me look back and see how far I have come.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to put these ideas into action immediately.
1) Decide exactly what you want, write it down with a deadline, make a plan and take action - on at least one goal - today!

2) Determine the price you will have to pay to achieve this goal and then get busy paying that price - whatever it is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

25 Little Tips

I found this on the Weight Watchers Website and thought it was a great overview of some of the BABY steps you can start with to move yourself towards your post-BABY goals (or pre-baby, for that matter :-D).

The surest way to succeed is making small changes. Think in terms of manageable baby steps, like swapping the half-and-half in your morning coffee for fat-free or low-fat milk. There are lots of little changes you can make—in your food plan and daily routine—that will add up to a lot of weight loss over the long haul.

Take a look at our 25 tips below for eating healthfully, fitting exercise into your busy day and revamping your daily routine. Start by picking five changes that you're sure you can tackle and practice them this week. Then try another five next week (click the 'print' link above to print this out for easy reference).

Not every idea is right for everyone, so experiment and see what works for you. Lots of little changes can yield big weight-loss results—and a healthier new you!

1. Good things come in small packages.
Here's a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you're getting more than you actually are.

2. Get "water-wise."
Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high-fat snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. So drink up! Add some zest to your six to eight glasses a day with a twist of lemon or lime.

3. Herb it up.
Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window. Spices and herbs add fantastic flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.

4. Slim down your soup.
Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off the surface.

5. Doggie-bag that dinner.
At restaurants that you know serve large portions, ask the waiter to put half of your main course in a take-home box before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practice portion control.

6. Listen to your cravings.
If you're craving something sweet, eat something sweet—just opt for a healthier nosh (like fruit) instead of a high-calorie one like ice cream. The same goes for crunchy cravings—for example, try air-popped popcorn instead of high-fat chips. It's just smart substitution!

7. Ease your way into produce.
If you're new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile salad veggies into your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.

8. Look for high-fat hints.
Want an easy way to identify high-calorie meals? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.

9. Don't multi-task while you eat.
If you're working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's going into your mouth—and you won't be enjoying every bite. Today, every time you have a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavors and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.

10. Taste something new.
Broaden your food repertoire—you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had plantain, pak choi, starfruit or papaya?).

11. Leave something on your plate at every meal.
One bite of bagel, half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you still feel satisfied eating just a bit less.

12. Get to know your portion sizes.
It's easy to underestimate how much you're eating. Today, don't just estimate things—make sure. Ask how much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.

13. Don't give up dips.
If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't cut them out of your food plan completely. Just use low-fat soft cheese and mayo instead of the full fat stuff.

14. Make a healthy substitution.
Learn to swap healthier foods for their less-healthy counterparts. Today, find a substitution that works for you: Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk; try whole-wheat bread instead of white.

15. Bring lunch to work tomorrow.
Packing lunch will help you control your portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants and takeaways, where making healthy choices every day can be challenging (not to mention expensive).

16. Have some dessert.
You don't have to deny yourself all the time. Have a treat that brings you pleasure, but this time enjoy it guilt-free be—sure you're practicing portion control, and compensate for your indulgence by exercising a little more or by skipping your afternoon snack.

17. Ask for what you need.
Tell your mother-in-law you don't want seconds. Ask your other half to stop bringing you chocolates. Speak up for the place with great salads when your co-workers are picking a restaurant for lunch. Whatever you need to do to succeed at weight loss, ask for it—make yourself a priority and assert yourself.

18. Improve your treadmill technique.
When walking on a treadmill, don't grip the rails. It's fine to touch them for balance, but you shouldn't have to hold on. If you do, that might be a signal you should lower the intensity level.

19. Simon says... get fit.
Here's an easy way to fit in exercise with your kids: Buy a set of 1 lb weights and play a round of Simon Says—you do it with the weights, they do it without. They'll love it!

20. Make the most of your walks.
If your walking routine has become too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to spare.

21. Shop 'til you drop...pounds!
Add a workout to your shopping sessions by walking around the mall before your start spending. And try walking up the escalator—getting to your destination faster will be an added bonus.

22. Walk an extra 100 steps at work.
Adding even a little extra exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email or calling.

23. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack.
This will be a signal to your mouth—and your mind—that it's time to stop eating. Brushing will also give your mouth a nice fresh taste that you'll be disinclined to ruin with a random chip. At work, keep a toothbrush with a cover and toothpaste in your desk drawer.

24. Clean your closet.
First, it's great exercise. Second, it's an important step in changing your attitude. Get rid of all the clothes that make you look or feel bad. Throw out anything that's too big—don't give yourself the option of ever fitting into those clothes again. Move the smaller clothes up to the front to help motivate you. Soon, you'll be fitting into those too-tight jeans you couldn't bear to part with.

25. Take your measurements.
You might not like your stats now, but you'll be glad you wrote them down when you see how many inches you've lost. It's also another way to measure your success, instead of just looking at the scale. Sometimes even when the numbers on the scale aren't going down, the measurements on your body are.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Snack Attack!!!!

Ever need a healthy snack but just don't know where to turn? Oh, pick me . . . pick ME!!! I just discovered another great one (in addition to 94% fat free popcorn and carrots or my sugar-free root beer float). Ruffles makes a fat free potato chip -- that my husband can't distinguish from a regular potato chip. Pretty cool, eh . . . eh? So I LOVE to do chips and salsa . . . with a twist. I mix 1/2 cup cottage cheese with as much salsa as my heart desires and have . . . chips and creamy salsa. So much healthier than cream cheese and oh so yummy! If you can't find the chips, you can go to a LOT of work and make your own (thinly-sliced potatoes slowly baked until crispy but not burnt. I'll look for instruction -- if you want). BUT WHO HAS TIME, RIGHT? Try a low-fat or whole grain cracker (1 g of fiber or more per serving, less than 4 g of fat per serving -- and MEASURE OUT THAT SERVING). It'll still do the trick!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


One of the BIGGEST problems in today's world is the focus on eating out, fast food, finishing everything on your plate, and buying pre-packaged frozen meals. These are KILLING us through increased obesity in both adults and children.

Well - I have a new favorite site for all of my cooking needs. I'm calling this post Single Size Me because you can choose how many servings you want to prepare and it will calculate the ingredient list to match your selection. It also has nutrition information for every recipe in its database. For example, I wanted to make pizza the other day - individual pizzas for my husband and I. I didn't want a lot of extra dough (or a lot of extra work -- the temptation with pizza is to eat "just one more piece" until three pieces later, you've eaten your entire day's calories in one meal). SO, I found a whole wheat pizza crust recipe, typed in that I wanted to make two servings, followed the instructions, and VOILA!!! Perfect amount of food for a perfectly healthy and satisfying meal.

I think this can be especially helpful in the SWEET TOOTH arena. The problem I have is NOT that I eat sweets when I have a sweet tooth every now and then. The problem is that I make a whole batch of cookies, promising I will give away and get rid of all but one little cookie, and then I eat a bunch of the dough while making the cookies, a few fresh ones when they come out of the oven, one or two off the cooling rack, etc. -- YOU KNOW THE DRILL, RIGHT? So what I have found with this site is that I can make just the amount of servings I want and get rid of the temptation to munch on all the wonderfully sweet goodness in front of me at each stage of the creation process, not to mention left-overs that never quite make it out my door!

For example, my sister-in-law was over a few weekends ago, and I wanted to make cookies. I didn't have most of the ingredients for the kinds I really WANTED to make, and it was a Sunday afternoon so I couldn't go out and get the ones I needed. But I found a delicious recipe for NO BAKE COOKIES. PERFECT! I entered that I wanted to make six servings; it adjusted the recipe for me; I made the cookies; everyone got a little taste; and that was that. No extra temptations; no left-overs sitting on the counter; no need to sample in the baking process because I knew there was going to be just enough for everyone to have some.

Serving-size recipes: Thanks All!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is an amazing pizza dough crust for some FIVE STAR fun! Pizza is NO LONGER OFF LIMITS -- as long as you exercise some limits in portion control on the toppings.


* 1/2 tsp white sugar
* 1/2 cup + 1 Tbl & 2 tsp lukewarm water
* 1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
* 1-1/4 tsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup + 2 Tbl and 1 tsp whole wheat flour
* 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the all-purpose flour and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled (or Pam-sprayed) bowl and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
(I learned in my bread-making days that you can also turn the oven on to 150 for about 10 minutes and then turn it off and place your dough in there to rise -- cuts the rising time in half!)
3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 4 pieces for 4 individual pizzas, or leave whole to make one crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well-oiled pizza pan (or lightly-sprayed pizza stone or cast-iron ware). Top pizza with your favorite toppings.
5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Calories: 167
Total Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 236mg
Total Carbs: 33g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Protein: 6g

Last night we did this for Family Night and it was a HUGE success. Our toppings were garlic spaghetti sauce, grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes, pineapple, olives, spices, and cheese. Each person got to make their own pizza, which added an individual touch to each and some real family fun and fun discussions as we created our dinners and then enjoyed eating them together. I measured out serving sizes of each food to not go overboard, and it was PERFECT!!! Just the right amount of food for a satisfying dinner with NO temptations to eat just ONE MORE PIECE of pizza!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Week

I need somewhere to post a food plan for the week -- cuz I'm starting over yet again. My friend Carrie challenged me to not eat ANY sugar or after 7:00 PM. So I'm going to meet her on her challenge -- even with the ward campout this weekend.

So - I have 24 Weight Watchers points, and here's how I'm going to use them this week:
Wednesday --
B-fast @ 7:00 a.m.
Oatmeal (2 pts)
Egg with Salsa (2 pts)
Banana (2 pts)

Snack @ 10:00 a.m.
Yogurt and Fiber ONE (1 pt)
Cottage Cheese/tomato (2 pts)

Lunch @ 1:00 p.m.
Tuna Fish Sandwich (5 pts)
1 cup grapes (1 pt)
1 cup carrots (0 pts)

Snack @ 4:00 p.m.
Apple (1 pt)
LF Cheesestick (1 pt)

Zumba @ 5:30

Dinner @ 6:30
Ham (3 pts)
Baked Potato w/Parm Cheese (4 pts)
Steamed Green Beans (0 pts)

Snack @ 6:00
Apple/Cheesestick (2 pts)

Gravity Group at 6:30

Breakfast @ 9:00
Oatmeal/Egg (4 pts)

Snack @ 12:00
Yogurt/Fiber One/Banana (3 pts)

Lunch @ 3:00
Eng. Muffin/Laughing Cow Cheese/Turkey (3 pts)
Salad w/Cottage Cheese and olives (3 pts)
1 cup grapes (1 pt)

Dinner @ 6:30
Hawaiian Haystacks
Pineapple - 2 pts
Chicken - 3 pts.
Rice - 2 pts
Peas - 0 pts.
Olives - 1 pt.
Tomato - 0 pts.

Breakfast @ 7:00
Oatmeal/Egg (4 pts)

Snack @ 10:00
Yogurt/Fiber ONE/Banana (2 pts)

Lunch @ 2:00
Soup (3 pts)
Salad w/Cottage Cheese (2 pts)
Eng. Muffin/Cheese (3 pts)

Snack @ 4:00
Apple/Cheesestick (2)

Dinner @ 6:30
Chicken (3)
Potatoes (3)
Beans (0 pts)
Cheese (2)

Breakfast @ 7:00
Oatmeal/Egg (4 pts)

Snack @ 10:00
Yogurt/Fiber One/Banana (3 pts)

Gravity Group @ 11:30

Lunch @ 1:00
Black Bean Quesadillas (6 pts)
Grapes (1 pt)

Snack @ 4:00
Apple/Cheesestick (2)

Dinner @ 6:30
Spaghetti (6 pts)
Steamed Green Beans
Watermelon (2 pts)

Breakfast @ 7:00
Oatmeal/Egg (4 pts)

Snack @ 10:00
Yogurt/Fiber ONE/Banana (3)

Church from 11:00-2:00

Snack @ 2:00
Apple/Cheesestick (2)

Lunch @ 4:00
Sandwich (7)

Dinner @ 6:30
???? (8)

Monday Weigh-In Results:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Three Cheers

Are you having fun yet? We sure are!
Three cheers for Daddy's BIRTHDAY

Hip, hip -- hooray!
Hip hip -- Hoo-Ray!
Hip hip -- HOORAY!!!
Keep going!

Click Here to Continue with Your Virtual Birthday Card
Non-Dave Readers, Click Here and then return to this page and Click Here to finish up (this is because some of the blogs are for invited readers only, but I want you to be able to make it to the end).
Everyone, Click Here to Start Over

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Calories Per Hour

I just found this great site called "Calories Per Hour." It has a weight loss tutorial that is VERY thorough. I encourage ANYONE trying to lose weight to go through it. I will cover and spotlight some of the main points here from time to time. One thing I read today that I think is very interesting is about the number of calories we use every day, doing every day things. They also have an activity calculator you can use to determine how many calories you burn doing activities you love or even just walking or biking with your family or working out at the gym. The daily activity breakdown looks like this:

588 calories in 8 hr
Office Work - general
980 calories in 8 hr
Driving - light vehicle (e.g., car, pick-up)
163 calories in 1 hr
Food - preparing, at home
204 calories in 1 hr
Eating - sitting
122 calories in 1 hr
Taking a Shower
82 calories in 30 min
Cleaning - house or cabin, general
122 calories in 30 min
Shopping - groceries, with cart
94 calories in 30 min
Walking - with dog
122 calories in 30 min
Running - 6 mph
408 calories in 30 min
Dressing and Undressing
82 calories in 30 min
Watching - TV or movie
163 calories in 2 hr
So even things like watching television or working at the computer burn calories -- just because you are awake and doing things. However, some simple exchanges for the amount of time you spend doing these things might help you see why the weight goes on to begin with and what minor changes, implemented consistently over time, will help you lose and, more importantly, NOT gain back the excess weight.

Ironically, the more overweight you are, the less likely you are to do some of the more active and interactive things. It's a catch-22, huh? But as you lose weight, you gain the physical ability and increased desire to be more active, thus improving your overall health, well-being, and ultimately your entire life! ;-D

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiber Facts

First of all, what is fiber? Well, it's basically a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest, which is a good thing. Like we said before, fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Both types of fiber offer health benefits that we really can't afford to do without; so both types are good sources of fiber for our bodies. Some sources of insoluble fiber include vegetables, fruit skins, whole-wheat products, and nuts. Some sources of soluble fiber inclue oats, dried beans, flax seed, nuts, oranges and apples, and vegetables like carrots. You can see that some foods give us both fibers in one, making the nutritional benefits double.

Some of the specific benefits of fiber include relieving constipation, lowering cholesterol, protecting against diabetes, assisting with weight loss, protecting against some types of cancer (colon, for example), preventing the formation of gallstones and kidney stones, and preventing heart disease. Pretty cool, eh? I am sure that we all know people, perhaps even in our own families, that struggle with at least one of these things.

So, how much fiber do you need? Well, women should get aroun 20-25 grams of fiber a day; men should get 30-35. On average, men and women get between 10 and 15 grams a day. So we get about half. Pretty frightening when you consider all of the health benefits we aren't receiving and, consequently, some of the things we are struggling with.

The good news is that if we are eating the recommended amounts of food that we see in the Food Guide Pyramid -- namely five servings of fruits and vegetables and six servings of whole grains a day -- we will easily get the amount of fiber we need -- both types of fiber -- and enjoy the health benefits.

So where do we go wrong? Well, fruit and vegetables can be really expensive, especially if you are feeding a large family. So the tendency is to skimp on these foods because they don't fit into our budgets. It's good to stay in your budget; however, maybe we should consider cutting out more of the processed foods on our shopping lists and fill in with more fresh foods. Or maybe you can get frozen or canned vegetables and fill in with less expensive fruits like bananas and apples. You can also look for sales -- grapes for $.98 a pound or watermelon for $.20 to $.28 a pound. If you measure out serving sizes and give you children bags that are theirs to eat for the day (not to mention yourself and your spouse), they'll likely eat the entire thing and be tickled that they got their OWN bag. Also, avoid processed fruits, including dried and fruit juice. You loose the sources of fiber (the skins with most fruit) and also your body absorbs and uses these things differently, so you lose the benefits of eating "fruit."

Another place people go wrong. If you notice, most foods are marked with words like "whole grains" or "whole wheat." But have you ever looked at the nutrition information on those foods? For example, I saw a loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Bread the other day that only had 1 g of fiber per slice. The number two ingredient in that bread was high fructose corn syrup. So be careful when you are looking at and buying bread, cereal, and other foods to look at the nutrition information and see what you are actually getting behind the words on the labels. Whenever possible, make things yourself so you know what is in the food and avoid anything processed.

With beans -- buy a bag of dried beans and make it up yourself, or else you can also buy cans of beans and use those instead of refried beans or other substitutes and cut out some of the fat and calories while still getting the fiber. Not to mention it will most likely be helpful on your budget.

Again -- add color, add color, add color. And cook for yourself and as a family. The benefits of that alone are more than any nutrition label could ever explain.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

2 3/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup oil (I use olive)
1/2 cup honey (molasses or sugar work as well)
1 T salt
5 cups whole wheat flour, freshly ground (or combine wheat and white -- one wheat to two white)
1 1/2 T yeast

Put hot water, oil, honey, and salt into mixer. Add about 2-3 cups of the flour and mix to bring down water temperature to keep from killing the yeast (I still mix the yeast with about a cup of lukewarm water; I guess that's my mom in me). Add the yeast. Mix. Add more flour until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Knead in the machine 8-10 minutes on speed 1. Oil hands and counter (putting flour on the counter adds more flour than necessary and dries out the bread). Turn out of the bowl and form into loaves or rolls.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees for five minutes. Turn oven off and let bread rise in warm oven 25-30 minutes. Bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes. Remove bread from pans, brush tops with butter (optional), cool on baking racks, ENJOY!!!!

Yield: 2 Loaves (large ones)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I wanted to follow up here on my progress, mostly because I think we all do this: When someone starts to lose (or has just lost) weight -- be it from pregnancy or whatever else -- the thought runs through your mind (or leaves your mouth), "How did you DO it?" Obviously if you have ever struggled with weight loss, you just assume that it isn't possible for you and want to know how everyone else does it. You don't just want to hear "diet and exercise" -- you want SPECIFICS. DETAILS. You're expecting to hear, "I stopped eating sugar altogether" or "I work out at the gym for two hours a day" or "I stopped eating carbs and focus on lean proteins at every meal." And your ever-ready reaction is, "Well, I can't do THAT -- I guess I'll just have to be fat, cuz I'd rather not lose weight than give up sweets -- and I don't have two hours a day to go to the gym -- and I LOVE my carbs and don't even think that cutting them out is healthy." We've all been there -- myself included.

So - since I have full confidence that THIS time, I AM GOING TO SUCCEED (whatever that success might look like by my babies' first birthday or the end of the year) -- I am going to tell you step-by-step what I am "doing" to have success. I hope that this will give you encouragement and teach you that YOU CAN DO IT as well.

So I am just finishing week three of my quest. I'm a little behind because it has been a little discouraging at times and I found myself wondering if I really WAS going to succeed.

Week 1: Weight Loss -- Zero pounds, Zero ounces.
That's right, folks. You can imagine how heart-broken I was. I mean, the first few weeks are supposed to be the easiest and when you lose the most weight. Not me! I guess I already had some healthy practices in place or something because my body didn't change one bit.
What I did:
1) I cut back to the number of calories I found using the Basal Metabolic Rate calculations I posted in an earlier post. I noted EVERY bite I put in my mouth on my little calorie tracking calendar that I wrote about before. If I didn't know the nutrition information, I didn't eat it. PERIOD.
2) I made a rule that I would NOT eat out. The only exception to this is special occasions -- and besides my babies' first birthday, I only have my birthday, July 4, and my sister-in-laws wedding coming up between now and then. So -- special occasions will happen just three times. And I can plan on them and be ready. Other than that, NO eating out. I actually carry a high energy protein bar with me for just those times when I might be out on the run and didn't have time to pack a meal/healthy snacks or might be with my family and didn't have time to pack a meal. Then they can eat out, and I can stick to my goals.
3) I gave myself a free day -- SUNDAY. This is great because not only are my Sunday's really crazy with church and meetings and things but Sunday is a day that I hold sacred. I don't shop on Sunday. So I still have to plan -- to a certain extent -- my splurges. This is PERFECT for me. On the special occasions noted above, I'll just make those days my free day and calorie count on Sunday. This is also really great because it helps me have something to look forward to -- the day that I can eat a large slice of cheese or pizza or lasagna or a large spoonful or two of cookie dough -- WITHOUT the guilt I have felt before when I have set resolutions and FAILED. What happens on Sunday STAYS in Sunday. No guilt trips if I go WAY over the edge.
4) I drank at least 16 ounces of water before I ate ANYTHING. That helped me feel full even when I was struggling those first days of calorie cutting.

Week #2: Total Wight Loss -- 2.6 lbs.
What I did:
1) REJOICED that the scale had MOVED DOWN!!!!
2) After my lack of success the first week, I was filled with so many thoughts about what went wrong, worrying that my body was still so messed up from my pregnancy and dealing with hormone shifts and things that I would NEVER recover, wondering if I was still retaining a lot of water, etc. SO I TURNED MY THOUGHTS AROUND. I reminded myself that weight loss is simple: Calories in has to be less than calories out. I CUT 50 CALORIES A DAY from what I had eaten the previous week.
3) I got 8 hours of sleep TWO DAYS this week -- a new beginning for me in the sleep arena.
4) I exercised THREE DAYS this week. I took my niece on a "jog" around the city park and raced her on one side of the block for the four laps we did around it. I also tried a workout video my sister has and went on a bike ride with my kids behind me in a stroller.

Week #3: Total Weight Loss - 1.4 pounds, 4 pounds since I began
1) I rejoiced again! This weight loss changed the second digit in my weight, which is a number I haven't seen for a while. SO I WAS PRETTY EXCITED!!!!
2) I had sick babies and only got to exercise one day this week. So I need to do better in that arena.
3) I got 8 hours of sleep four days this week. That's pretty good.
4) I ate more veggies -- adding color to everything (tomatoes, green beans, frozen peas, spinach, carrots, whatever). I try to have at least TWO colors in every meal or snack besides breakfast. This also counts with fruit. And I splurged and bought some fresh fruit that I knew I would love, cutting it up and storing it in serving-size ziploc bags in the fridge to encourage me to STAY ON TRACK.

And that brings me to today. So I am going to enjoy this Sunday and making heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies with my niece. I enjoyed the piece of cheesy bread I ate with my daughter earlier (with extra cheese). I am going to enjoy whatever it is we decide to make for dinner WITHOUT worrying about eating JUST ONE PORTION. And I'm going to be more successful next week than I was this week.

The amazing thing is that, even though I write about making cookies and eating cheesey bread and eating a larger portion at dinner, I actually found myself NOT craving sweets, fatty foods, processed foods, etc. this week. I REALLY NOTICED A DIFFERENCE. That's not to say I WON'T eat the chocolate chip cookie dough before we make those heart-shaped cookies for our neighbors. But I am not craving it. And I'd really be okay if we didn't do it. That's a FIRST for me EVER. Not even kidding. And I'm actually STARTING to crave vegetables like you wouldn't believe.

My two-fold focus for week 4: 8 hours of sleep and exercise. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 5, 2009

From the Soapbox

This subject is stretching the theme of this blog a little, but the soapbox subject to which I am devoting my 1 day a week of fame as an author is the encouragement to eat as a family.

My mom was (and still is) an extremely devoted mother of seven and my dad is a farmer/rancher who started his days at 5:00 AM and ended them after sunset. However busy they were, dinner was a sacred time, never missed, when all nine of us met to eat and to talk.

This is the place where we talked about our lives, our successes, our questions, our beliefs and our failures. This is where we formed our opinions and learned to debate. This was the training ground where we learned to meet head on any challenges from peers, to question dogma thrown at us by teachers, and roll with teasing from siblings. This was a safe place where we could feel bold in expressing our opinions, secure in asking questions, and were not scarred by sarcasm and ridicule.

Hardly ever did we end a meal by immediately clearing the table. We pushed back our chairs and continued to talk.

There is not space here to extol the value of the practice of family dinners. Suffice it to say that it was probably the best bonding time we spent together, a place where our parents had more influence than they ever dreamed.

If this non-empirical evidence and my personal conviction of the importance of family dinners leaves you with any questions, you can find a lot of research in out there in support of family dinners. Here’s an interesting fact that I will leave you as I step off of my soapbox and away from the spotlight of my day of literary fame:

A child who gets through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so. And no one has more power to prevent kids from using substances than parents. There are no silver bullets; unfortunately, the tragedy of a child’s substance abuse can strike any family. But one factor that does more to reduce teens’ substance abuse risk than almost any other is parental engagement, and one of the simplest and most effective ways for parents to be engaged in teens’ lives is by having frequent family dinners.

Frequent family dining is associated with lower rates of teen smoking, drinking, illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse. Compared to teens who eat dinner frequently with their families (five or more family dinners per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are:
three and a half times likelier to have abused prescription drugs, three and a half times likelier to have used an illegal drug other than marijuana or prescription drugs, three times likelier to have used marijuana, more than two and a half times likelier to have used tobacco, and one and a half times likelier to have used alcohol.

Sugar, Sugar --- Oh Honey, Honey

One of our polls asked what was most difficult to change in your diet. The number one answer was cutting out sugar. So I thought I would post a few ideas and ask for your feedback.

1) Try switching to sugar free. I actually can't believe I just typed that, since I have been anti the taste of sugar free for YEARS!!! I could taste it in ANYTHING!!!! And it always left the most disgusting after-taste in my mouth. HOWEVER . . . . things have changed. Food scientists have come a long way with some things, and there are actually sugar-free products I prefer now to the regular stuff. Some of my favorites:
--- Bryer's No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream
--- A&W Diet Root Beer
--- First Two Comined for an AMAZING Root Beer Float
--- Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate
--- Cook and Serve Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding
--- Laughing Cow Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches
--- Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cups
--- Weight Watchers Oreo Ice Cream Bars
--- Dannon's 80 Calorie Yogurt cups with 1/4 cup of Fiber One

For the last few months I have had a REALLY hard time saying no to sweets -- I LOVE THEM TOO MUCH!!! But I have been surprised to see that when I allowed myself these few simple, sugar-free sweets every day, I felt less guilty. And slowly but surely, I find myself not really wanting them as much. That's FANTASTIC, right?

I think the trick here is to choose healthier options while waiting for my body to balance itself out. I'm still not to a point where I use Sugar Substitutes in things like Oatmeal or baking. That just ISN'T me. And, yes, some of these things are a little more pricey (which helps to not get them so much, right?). BUT, I allowed myself that splurge for a while to keep myself from feeling deprived and just giving up or binging on things that I wanted but couldn't have. And, as I said, I have been surprised to notice that I don't crave them as much.

2) Choose fruit first. You have to be a little careful with this one because you don't want to eat one thing when you are really craving another; you'll just have added calories from the first and over-indulge on the second. But if you can first eat fruit, you may find your post-meal sweet tooth is actually okay with it and doesn't need anything else.

3) Set small limitations. For example, you may not quit sweets cold-turkey. That probably won't lead to success for you. HOWEVER, you can start with small things like limiting yourself to one or two portions. Or maybe all you need to do is decide to look at the nutrition information of everything you eat BEFORE you eat it. That's a cup of ice water in my face sometimes; and the shock alone is enough to stop me when I think about how long I'd have to run to run off that tiny little splurge. Again, slow and steady wins the race. And you might just find yourself NOT craving sweets as much as you thought you would or have previously done.

4) Use portion sizes of sweeteners. For example, I eat oatmeal pretty much every morning, without fail. I used to add sugar to the point that it was like, "Do you want some oatmeal with that sugar?" Now I just add one tablespoon of brown sugar to my bowl of oatmeal and I'm just fine with it! I had to get to that point. But now that I'm there -- VIOLA!!! It's not even a question anymore.

5) Choose fresh over dried EVERY TIME. If you have a sweet tooth and are going to eat fruit, go for fresh fruit instead of dried fruit. Dried just doesn't have the same nutritional value and the sugar in it is so incredibly concentrated. Eating either one will give you that sweet taste in your mouth, so go for fresh.

6) If you don't make or buy it, you won't eat it! If you need help with this, call in the reserves: family, room-mates, friends, etc. Or if you want to make something because you are really craving it, call a friend and make it at their house. Make sure you have an alternate activity going on (like games or a movie or something outside), then you can eat just one and walk away to join the activity. OR you can take the plate of goodies TO the activity and steal one before serving everyone else. AND you can leave all the left-overs with them to find a way to dispose of them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting Back on Track: WINNING the RACE

Hello friends! So I am sure you have noticed that I kind of fell off the wagon, so to speak, in the last month or so. I think I just got so frustrated with everything, overwhelmed with life and sick babies and my husband's finals week and everything.

I am sure you have had many similar experiences. Then my babies turned 9 MONTHS OLD, and I realized that I am only THREE MONTHS AWAY from their ONE YEAR birthday. There are a lot of statistics out there about carrying around the pregnancy weight a year after your babies are born, but I NEVER thought I would be one of those women who was still struggling with it. I mean, how long does it take to lose 15 POUNDS anyway, right?

Well, as you can attest right along with me, SOMETIMES IT TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK. I have tried implementing everything I put on here, tried to fit exercise in even when I LOATHE INDOOR EXERCISE AND WORKOUT VIDEOS. I have slowly cut calories every week and even got to a point where I just dried up and couldn't breast feed anymore. But still, the WEIGHT HAS STAYED WITH ME.

So I decided the week after my babies turned 9 months old that I was going to kick it in gear and get back on track. I made a calendar, made a count-down chain (like you do for Christmas), made a calorie tracker to record everything I eat every day WITHOUT FAIL AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION, and I have been working like crazy to accomplish this ONE GOAL.

This is about more than weight for me at this point, though. This is about me feeling like I am still myself: someone who sets goals and accomplishes them; someone who can pull things together and make things happen instead of being pulled along by life and never really in control of anything; someone who succeeds at everything she does because FAILURE IS NEVER AN OPTION. Have you ever felt like your life was running in a different orbit than everything around you and just when you think you are back IN SYNC WITH EVERYTHING ELSE, someone sneezes and it spins you into a whole new galaxy? That's how I have felt these last nine months, and friends I feel that I need TO TAKE CONTROL.

So, I have YOU, my PEN and PAPER, my PAPER COUNTDOWN CHAIN, my RUNNING SHOES, my BIKE and JOGGING STROLLERS, my WEEKLY MENUS and expensive fresh fruits and veggies that I cannot live without, and just this one final thought:

"The will
to WIN
means nothing
without the will to
~Juma Ikangaa, quoted in Elaine Dalton,
"A Return to Virtue," Ensign, November 2008.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank You, Cicero

My uncle sent me this quote today:
"A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues." ~ Cicero

I looked Cicero up on Wikipedia and found this:
"Cicero is generally perceived to be one of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome. He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary, distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher. An impressive orator and successful lawyer, Cicero probably thought his political career his most important achievement. Today, he is appreciated primarily for his humanism and philosophical and political writings."

So not only was Cicero very wise in acknowledging the great value that is to be found in a grateful heart, he was also a dynamite man whose influence and popularity has transcended cultures and generations.

How does that apply to this blog on nutrition and taking care of you and your family's needs?

Well, I don't know about you, but I find myself becoming discouraged at times by how far I have to go and how hard it seems to get there. And I find myself falling into the popular trap of our society that connects what we look like with what we are worth. I didn't find a single mention in Wikipedia about Cicero's weight or eating habits, by the way.

I do know, however, that Cicero was Greek. And in the Greek culture, athleticism, physical activity, was a defining characteristic among those who were deemed worthy to be citizens and soldiers. Leadership in that citizenship meant that there was a certain mastery of all that was deemed important, including their physical aptitude.

I think that I often lose sight of the fact that physical exercise and health, though important, is not everything. It is one aspect, my weakest aspect at times, but still just one aspect.

So in all of your daily duties, all of the great and noble things you are doing each day to rear and lead those you associate with (spouse, children, co-workers, siblings, grandchildren, etc.), remember that the most important thing is to be well-rounded and balanced.

If you have lost focus of the other things that are so important and going so well in your life, the things that you hope to accomplish with your life's work and in the rearing of your children, take a minute to consider this quote from Cicero and make a list of all the things you are grateful for, all the things that are going abundantly well for you, all the things you have mastered throughout your life. Maybe take it a step further and write a gratitude list for the things you are doing well with your physical preparations and challenges. And then go forward, committed to do better while not losing sight of the things you are already doing so well and enjoying so much TODAY!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Omega 3

Need some Omega 3 in your diet, but you really aren't a fan of fish? Try adding a tablespoon or two of flax seed to your oatmeal or cereal in the morning. That will help! I even knew a woman who made chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour and flax seed. No, I'm not joking. And know what? They were DELICIOUS! Still not "good" for you, but at least a lot closer than regular chocolate chip cookies.

Go ahead, get creative! You have nothing to lose but bad health! ;-D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Foods to Avoid

I was reading on Oprah this morning and found "Bob Greene's Six Foods to Avoid." Thought I'd share! We have already covered a few of these in earlier posts, but it never hurts to brush up a bit; and we'll probably talk about a few of them again! See how you are doing with these. Try making just one change this week. Just one. That's totally possible, no matter how broke or how busy you are! And you may find that some of these are no-brainer, easy foods for you to cut (for example, I don't drink alcohol, and I don't buy anything but skim milk and non-fat cottage cheese and yogurt).

Food #1: Soft Drinks

Bob says that soda is one of the leading sources of empty calories in America. Instead, have plain or flavored water, herbal iced tea or skim milk. If you crave a sweet drink, limit yourself to one glass of fruit juice a day—better yet, cut it with seltzer water. If you feel diet sodas help you lose weight, drink them—but try to get down to one a day or you'll never lose your taste for super-sweet foods.

Food #2: Foods Containing Trans Fat

The biggest offenders are margarine and vegetable shortenings—although, there are trans fat-free versions of both now—and processed food such as frozen meals, crackers, ramen soups, cake mixes, chips and candy. To see if a product has trans fat, check the ingredients list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Don't go by the nutrition facts panel: By law, a product can contain up to 0.49 (nearly half a gram) of trans fat per serving but still read "0 g" on the label

Bob's favorite replacements are heart-healthy olive and canola oils.

Food #3: Fried Foods

Don't confuse foods made with trans fat with simple fried foods. There is a difference, but you should do your best to avoid both.

Even when they don't have trans fat, fried foods in restaurants are often cooked in oil that is reused. This can create by-products that have been linked to a variety of diseases. And fried foods are highly caloric. "The point is that [frying] causes a food to absorb more fat and calories," Bob says. "It's why I want you to replace it with some other alternatives."

One alternative you can try is oven-frying. Cut potatoes into strips, toss or spray with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook in a 400° oven until brown. And if you can't live without potato chips, choose baked varieties made without trans fat.

Food #4: White Bread

Don't panic—you can still have your carbs, they just have to be whole grain. Compared with refined white flour, whole grains are not only more nutritious, they also have lots of fiber that will keep you fuller longer.

To get truly "whole wheat" or "whole grain" bread, you need to be on your toes. Packaging can be misleading. Some brown "wheat" breads, for example, don't even contain whole wheat! To make sure you're getting a meaningful amount of whole grains, check that they show up at the beginning of the ingredients list. Bread should have at least two grams of fiber per slice.

Food #5: Alcohol

Alcohol and weight loss don't mix. Obviously, alcohol can add a lot of extra calories to your diet, and it's more caloric than other foods. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (carbohydrates and fat contain only 4 calories per gram; fat contains 9 calories per gram). But there are reasons besides the calories to skip sipping.

Alcohol, a depressant, can slow your metabolism. And, it's hard to make healthy eating decisions after you've had a few. Take a break for the first phase, and if you'd like to enjoy a drink on occasion, you can do so later on in the plan.

Food #6: High-Fat Milk and Yogurt

Although milk and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium and protein, there is no reason to have the full-fat version when so many lower-fat versions are available.

A cup of whole milk has 7.9 grams of fat—4.5 grams of it saturated—and 24 milligrams of cholesterol. Compare that to a cup of nonfat skim milk's 83 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 0.125 grams of saturated fat and 5 milligrams of cholesterol.

Bob recommends fat-free or one percent milk. As for cheese, opt for reduced-fat versions with no more than 5 grams of fat per ounce.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Protein Power

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I have been out of town for family reasons.

I have been thinking lately about the different categories on nutrition labels, all the things we should be making sure our body has and be keeping out of our bodies. Today I want to talk about PROTEINS.

The Center for Disease Control explains that

"Proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. These body proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced. The protein in the foods we eat is digested into amino acids that are later used to replace these proteins in our bodies.

Protein is found in the following foods:
  • meats, poultry, and fish
  • legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds
  • milk and milk products
  • grains, some vegetables, and some fruits (provide only small amounts of protein relative to other sources)

As we mentioned, most adults in the United States get more than enough protein to meet their needs. It's rare for someone who is healthy and eating a varied diet to not get enough protein."

CHECK! So we probably don't have to worry about getting ENOUGH protein. The thing we DO need to think about, however, is how to ensure we are getting the right KINDS of proteins. There are roughly 20 AMINO ACIDS that are found in various types of proteins. ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS are those that are essential for our bodies to function at their optimal level; however, they are also THOSE AMINO ACIDS THAT OUR BODIES DON'T PRODUCE ON THEIR OWN.

Proteins are often referred to as COMPLETE or INCOMPLETE. Have you ever heard someone say that rice and beans together make a complete protein and wondered WHAT IN THE WORLD THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT? I have. Hence the interest in this topic. Well, complete and incomplete refer back to the ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS found in the proteins of certain foods/food combinations. Again, I refer to the Center for Disease Control for the simplest explanation of what each of these labels identifies.

"In the diet, protein sources are labeled according to how many of the essential amino acids they provide:

  • A complete protein source is one that provides all of the essential amino acids. You may also hear these sources called high quality proteins. Animal-based foods; for example, meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are considered complete protein sources.
photo of various foods
  • An incomplete protein source is one that is low in one or more of the essential amino acids. Complementary proteins are two or more incomplete protein sources that together provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids.
photo of various foods

For example, rice contains low amounts of certain essential amino acids; however, these same essential amino acids are found in greater amounts in dry beans. Similarly, dry beans contain lower amounts of other essential amino acids that can be found in larger amounts in rice. Together, these two foods can provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids the body needs."

Pretty cool, eh? I think they understand this VERY WELL in South America because RICE AND BEANS are a pretty common meal there, as is the rice/chicken combination.

Like I said before, most people DO ACTUALLY GET ENOUGH PROTEIN in their diets every day. However, your food choices may be causing you to get TOO MUCH FAT from your proteins FOR WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS AND CAN USE on a daily basis.

Here are some ideas for MAKING WISER PROTEIN CHOICES to decrease the amount of fat while maintaining the amount of protein in your diet:

1) As we discussed earlier, choose low- or non-fat dairy products. This includes milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. The lower-fat options do not affect the amount of protein, calcium, etc. that you can get from these products.

2) Always choose lean cuts of meat. Your best options are poultry and fish. Though beef is high in protein, it is also high in fat. It is difficult to cut out fat from even the leanest cuts of meat. So you need to choose from the chicken/turkey/fish categories more often than you do the beef category. Whatever you choose, ALWAYS remove the skin! It's straight fat, and you don't need it. Also, look for preparation ideas that involve baking or roasting or BBQ-ing rather than frying.

3) BEANS, BEANS THE MAGICAL CHOICE -- because they don't have the fat that meat does! Men may balk at this suggestion, but try to substitute beans for meat in some of your favorite recipes. Or, if you can't stand the idea of substituting beans entirely, cut the meat amount in half and insert beans.

When I was growing up, my mom used to make Sloppy Joes with pinto beans and hamburger. I was shocked to leave home and find that Sloppy Joes were made with JUST MEAT almost everywhere else. For me, other Sloppy Joes tasted AWFUL!!!! I just thought the world was really missing out on tasting my mom's Sloppy Joes. A few years ago, I asked her to make "her" Sloppy Joes. She just used meat! I was like, "No, Mom, YOUR Sloppy Joes, the ones with beans in them." She laughed and said, "I only put beans in them because we were too poor to afford meat!" Who knew? To this day, most of my siblings prefer the meat/bean combination. And it is SOOOO much better for you, anyway!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Never Too Early

It seems there is a common theme to my thoughts on kids and nutrition: It's Never Too Early. It is interesting that research on food habits and moral teaching have almost the same time frame. The most effective teaching is EARLY!!

All of you who read this blog can smile and feel a great pride in your heart that this is important to you. You are on the RIGHT TRACK. You are great moms and are giving your kids such an advantage and a lifelong blessing of good health and fitness.

This is the research: Adults influence the development of children’s healthy habits beginning in their earliest years, from the variety of foods they try, to ideas about to how to keep their bodies active and healthy.

By the time a child is between two and four years old, their eating habits are largely shaped. If they reach the age of five without learning about healthy eating, the chances of her developing poor nutritional habits and attitudes are significantly increased.

Amazingly, this may be the first generation that may actually have a shorter lifespan than their parents, all due to issues around obesity or facts about nutrition and the amount of physical activity.

Fortunately, there’s a window of opportunity during a child’s preschool years in which thier early social environment can impact the development of healthy habits. Research shows that through repeated exposure and with the help of positive role models, preschoolers can learn to like wholesome foods and can develop good dietary practices.

So there you have it! Keep up the good work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

BMR Follow-up

Okay - now that you've figured out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), now what? You need to decide how many calories you want to cut and how many calories you want to burn through exercise. A few rules of thumb to guide your decisions:

1) ABSOLUTELY NEVER drop below 1200 calories a day.
2) Try to not drop below your BMR each day in your calorie intake. Instead, burn the extra calories through exercise and weight training.
3) Create an exercise plan that works for your lifestyle. Include both cardio and strength training and make sure you exercise AT LEAST 30 minutes a day (though 60 minutes is preferable for maximum results).
4) Start a food journal to track what you eat. You can find some online journal-type sites that will track your calorie intake for you OR you can just buy a small notebook and record everything you eat and start to keep track that way.
5) Go back to our rule from one of the first Mommy 15 posts -- look at where you are now and slowly cut out 250 calories a day from what you are eating (up until you reach your BMR calorie needs, then focus on exercise) and 250 through exercise. Once again, ONCE YOU REACH YOUR BMR IN CALORIE INTAKE, FOCUS ON LOSING WEIGHT THROUGH EXERCISE. If you do more than a 30-minute workout, you may need to add in a few calories to give your body enough energy via calories to keep up with the demands you are placing on it.
6) ABOVE ALL - Listen to your body! Track what you are eating and note how you are feeling from week to week. If you are getting the calories you need but still feel sluggish, consider the foods you are choosing to make up your daily calorie intake. Go back to the Food Guide Pyramid and see where you are slacking in the basic foods you need to function at maximum efficiency.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Got Milk?

I don't know if my post title is breaking copyright laws or something, but I found some information on milk that I wanted to pass along to you.

You may have heard that milk actually contributes to weight loss. Well, I think I may have found some sound reasoning as to why that is. The following is an excerpt from an article on fluids and weight loss at

Milk is important because milk is a "floo-id" which means that it is treated like a food (rather than a fluid) when you drink it and it is satiating. For this reason, milk has a special role to play in your weight management efforts. Milk also promotes bone health and it is important for lowering blood pressure.

We live in a country where people do not drink enough milk. Yet, because of advances in medicine and pharmacology, we are living longer and longer. That is why more and more people above the age of 60 have poor bone health and nearly all women (and many men) have osteoporosis in their last decade of life. To make matters worse, when people diet, they tend to drink even less milk.

A large, very important study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing how important it is to consume 3 servings of milk and other dairy products each day in addition to a diet rich in grains, fruits and vegetables.2 Such a diet was successful in lowering blood pressure in both normal people and in people who are prone to high blood pressure (which is most of us as we grow older). This type of dairy-rich diet also lowers blood pressure in people taking medication for high blood pressure, a finding that took researchers by surprise.

So - if your body recognizes and processes milk as a "food" instead of an empty fluid, you will feel full longer; it becomes a filling food instead of a liquid that simply passes through your body, leaving nothing but the added calories behind. Plus all that other good calcium-boosting information like strong bones and things. Minor benefit, right? ;-D

HOWEVER, the trick is in making smart choices with your dairy products. The basic rule, whether pregnant, breast-feeding, dieting, or just maintaining your weight as you are, is to drink LOW and NON-FAT milk and choose LOW and NON-FAT DAIRY products. (which I thought was a FANTASTIC site that I never knew existed until yesterday) used cream as an example to show how higher-fat creams (and milk would be included in that) pack on the calories.

For weight management, the big issue is not to eliminate dairy, but to eliminate the fat in dairy - because fat is where the calories are. Cream is really over the top, even light cream is 29 calories per tablespoon. Here are the facts:

  • Light cream is 464 calories per cup
  • Medium cream is 592 calories per cup
  • Heavy cream is a whopping 832 calories per cup (!)

Compared to those numbers, when you consider that skim milk is a mere 85 calories per cup, you realize how extravagant cream really is. Besides the calories, cream is loaded with saturated fat. All that fat is not good for your heart. Who needs cream in the 21st century when almost none of us are physically active on a regular basis? We say, skip it -- unless it is a really special occasion, like a birthday or a holiday, in which case, even we may indulge a little.

Adding dairy to breakfast, lunch, and dinner will give you your "three a day" that your body needs. If you are breastfeeding, you need five a day, so be sure (wherever possible) to cut out the fat. It adds up a lot faster than you think.

Take cheese, for example. A regular piece of cheese has about 110 calories and 9 grams of fat PER ONE OUNCE serving. ONE ounce. Low-fat cheese brings you down the scale to about 80 calories and six grams of fat PER ONE OUNCE SERVING. Fat-free -- well, I've never actually seen fat-free cheese in our grocery stores here, but I have seen what they call "light" mozarella cheesesticks, and those have 50 calories and 2.5 grams of fat PER ONE OUNCE serving.

Milk is very similar. 2% milk has 122 calories and 5 grams of fat PER ONE CUP serving. 1% milk brings you down to 102 calories and 2 grams of fat PER ONE CUP serving. Skim milk brings you down to 83 calories and no fat PER ONE CUP SERVING.

Let's look at yogurt, another popular dairy fill-in. Plain whole yogurt has 149 calories and 8 grams of fat PER ONE CUP serving. Plain, low-fat yogurt has 154 calories and 4 grams of fat PER ONE CUP serving. Plain, fat-free yogurt has 137 calories PER ONE CUP serving.

So - let's add it all up. Choosing low-fat over regular (one milk, one cheese, and one yogurt a day) gives you 336 calories and 12 grams of fat instead of 381 calories and 22 grams of fat. Skim and non-fat products bring you down to 270 calories and 2.5 grams of fat (in the cheese, since we don't have non-fat in my area). That's 120 calories and almost 20 grams of fat if you switch from regular to skim/non-fat! WOW!!! The fat difference alone makes my arteries feel a little less cluttered just from reading all of this great information!

How do you switch? One day at a time! Try cutting back for a month, even, if you need more time. Slowly switch out your regular for low-fat and then your low-fat for non-fat. In the long run, it will help you in more ways than you think. Just one more tid-bit from

A large, very important study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing how important it is to consume 3 servings of milk and other dairy products each day in addition to a diet rich in grains, fruits and vegetables.2 Such a diet was successful in lowering blood pressure in both normal people and in people who are prone to high blood pressure (which is most of us as we grow older). This type of dairy-rich diet also lowers blood pressure in people taking medication for high blood pressure, a finding that took researchers by surprise.

They don't say it here, but I don't imagine those people in the study were consuming the extra 20 grams of fat a day and getting those kinds of amazing reductions in their blood pressure, do you? Hmmm . . . . food for thought.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is YOUR Metabolic Rate?

Okay -- so I have been reading up a lot this last week on METABOLISM!!! Why? Well, cuz I'm kind of a dummy when it comes to all of these health terms I hear all the time and wanted to know what it is all about -- since it IS what everyone talks about when they are talking about weight loss. Then I thought maybe YOU all might want to know something about it as well, and maybe I even found something that you may have wondered about.

For this first post, let me just say that metabolism is essentially the rate at which your body processes and uses food (calories). Pretty simple, right? So if they say you have a slower metabolism, what they mean is that your body doesn't need as much food (as many calories) to sustain itself as the "average" (whatever THAT means) person. If you have a faster metabolism, then you need a few extra calories to meet your body's needs.

So, if you want to lose weight (or keep yourself from gaining weight as you get older, since your metabolism slows about 5% a decade after age 40) - you need to KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES YOUR BODY NEEDS TO SUSTAIN ITSELF. This is your METABOLIC RATE - how many calories you burn without doing ANYTHING at all. That's right -- if you were to just lay around all day long or sleep all day long (yeah. right. MOMS!!!!), the number of calories you would use for that is your BASAL METABOLIC RATE.

Once you figure out what your BASAL METABOLIC RATE is, you can look at how you need to tweak it in order to LOSE weight or MAINTAIN your weight if you are getting a little older or find yourself less "active" (which is ironic and nearly impossible for moms, right?).

So, I have looked at quite a few different calculators online and gotten a few different results. There are two basic formulas used to calculate your metabolic rate, though the one that is presumed to be the most accurate is the Mifflin-St Jeor equation (which is more reliable than the Harris-Benedict equation, or so "they" say).

Here is the formula. Grab a pen/pencil and paper and a calculator and figure out what YOUR METABOLIC RATE is:

1) Take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 and multiply that number by 9.99.
2) Take your height in inches, multiply it by 2.54 and multiply that number by 6.25.
3) Multiply your age by 4.92.
4) If you are female, add the answer for number one and the answer for number two, subtract the answer for number three and subtract 161. TADA!!! There you have it!
If you are male, add the answer for number one and the answer for number two, subtract the answer for number three and add five. TADA!!!! You're set!

My next post will be about what to do with your metabolic rate once you know it. But for today -- just have fun figuring out what it is and feeling just a tad bit smarter the next time you hear people throw around tidbits about metabolism and metabolic rate! And I'm going to go back to using my babies' naptime to figure out a few more things I can share with you to make sure you ARE just a little bit smarter and more confident about how YOUR body works!


1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti (cooked)
3 cups (about 1 pound) cubed cooked, skinless turkey breast
2 (10 3/4) cans reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted

1) Combine turkey, soup, cheese, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until well-heated. Add spaghetti noodles and mix well.

2) Spray 7x11 inch baking dish with non-stick spray (or use a 2-quart baking dish - like Pyrex) and put mixture in it.

3) Combine bread crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl; sprinkle over spaghetti mixture.

4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place casserole in it. Bake until the top is golden, 20-25 minutes.

Serves 8.

Note: Serve with steamed green beans or broccoli! Mmmmmm!

Nutrition per serving (1 cup): 261 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g fiber, 22 g protein

Warm Chocolate-Pudding Cake

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 Tbl. unsalted butter (melted)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 2/3 cup boiling water

1) Combine flour, granulated sugar, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Sift together. Make a well in the mix and pour in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir just until blended.

2) Spray 9x9 inch pan and pour batter into bottom.

3) Combine brown sugar and additional 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Slowly pour bowling water in a zig-zag pattern over the top (do not stir).

4) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until pudding is set (about 35 minutes). Allow to cool (on a rack) for about 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 9.

Extra tip: Serve with sugar-free vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt on top! It will be a HIT!

Nutrition per serving (without Ice Cream): 165 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stay Tuned

We've had some computer problems and are sharing a computer right now; and my husband has been gone a lot to work and school lately. HOWEVER, I have some great information I am excited to share and a FABULOUS recipe for this week. So I am hoping to get some computer time tomorrow to update this week's blog.

BUT -- even with this delay in information, articles, recipe, etc. this week, there is still a LOT to be implementing -- drinking enough water every day (remember, one to two glasses before every meal, snack, etc.); tracking what you eat on a daily basis and figuring out where you need to go next; going to the Food Guide Pyramid to figure out what the nutrition needs are FOR EACH MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY; trying new workouts out and figuring out what ENERGIZES and WORKS FOR YOU on the days that you can't get out and ride a bike or go for a walk/run with your friends, spouse, children, etc.

SO -- review where you are with the basics and STAY TUNED. We're still here, and we have some exciting additions that we will hopefully have in place next week with the WEEKLY MENU at our new site

Happy, healthy LIVING!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Incredible Egg...

Eggs. They are everywhere this time of year, so what's so great about them? I logged onto for the best answers. Sponsored by the American Egg Board, this site has all you ever needed to know.

1. Eggs have a high portion of nutrients to calories making it a naturally dense food.

2. Eggs have two nutrients (lutein and zeaxanthin) in small amounts which contribute to eye health and help prevent common causes of age related blindness.

3. Eggs provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they provide all the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near perfect pattern.

4. Egg yolks provide nearly 1/2 of the protein in an egg.

5. the high quality protein in eggs helps you feel full longer and stay energized which contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.

6. Eggs are an essential source of Choline, an essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects.

--for more information, and maybe a great family research project, visit the website and see what else you can learn about the incredible edible egg!

One final thought:
Celebrating the Easter holiday the old-fashioned way:

So, it is the day before Easter, and there are so many things going on in your life. If you have kids (or even if you don't) there is also probably candy floating around your house. So how do you try to keep the candy intake in check both for you and your kids?

One idea that I have had recently is to NOT buy filler eggs. Instead my family is focusing on spending quality time together and dyeing eggs instead. It is a great way to get your family together, and after the egg hunt there is no reason to not let your children (or yourself) indulge in a hard-boiled egg.

Just think, when your parents or grandparents were young, filler eggs didn't exist, so it can't be too bad to revert back to this old time tradition. By doing so you will not only raise a healthier family, but you will also save your pocketbook.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh the weather outside is frightfull...

Well, it's no secret that spring is in the air, but everyday is not picture perfect. Although most of us would enjoy being out side to exercise, either running, walking, or bike riding, sometimes mother nature just doesn't agree. It is in these moments that we make the vital decision...exercise or don't exercise? As easy as it is to tell yourself that the weather was yucky, so you COULDN'T exercise, it is much better to plan ahead and have an alternative.

For me, this alternative is 20-60 min. of quality time with my TV and DVD player...I live in SE Idaho, someplace where it is cold more than it is warm, so I had to have something, especially after giving birth, and my '6-week' recovery placed me in the middle of fall, which was more winter than summer.

My first encounter with a workout video was from my sister-in-law. She let me borrow her step, and Kathy Smith Basic Step Work-Out---this workout is AMAZING! It quickly gets your heart pumping, and your muscles burning. You are using a step, so it works your lower body, similar to climbing stairs, but at the same time Kathy also works your upper body by adding arm movements. There are different levels so you can keep going, or your body might be done for the day, either way, by the time you decided to be done, you have given yourself a great workout, and are ready for her cool down, weights, and abs sections-or you can just be done ;). I fell in love with the concept of the step so much that I bought my own and called it Christmas. I then went to work to find other videos so I could have variety in my work-outs...

Although Kathy Smith has her annoying traits, I knew right away that she knew her stuff, and knew how to give a productive workout, AND I enjoyed working out with her in my living room. I started here, my search still isn't over. I keep looking for something else to add variety, or another trainer that I like and enjoy working with, but for this post, I am focusing on Kathy and a few of her videos that keeps me moving.

There are so many Kathy work outs that I was really lost at first trying to find the ones that would help me get to where I wanted to be--back in shape, back to healthy. I recommend trainers websites (they usually have them separated into categories according to goals), amazon, youtube, and Netflix to anyone trying to find those perfect workouts to keep you motivated, and not get tired. Amazon has great reviews to let you know what others think of the video, youtube might just have a snip from the video, and Netflix will allow you to view and participate in a work-out with out financially committing.

To end, I am going to review a Kathy Smith DVD that I think is a perfect addition to any current workout program. Kathy Smith--Lift weights to Lose Weight. This is now offered in a 2-disk pack and includes 7 work-outs to compliment your cardio training. 2-uppper (20 min each), 2-lower (20 min each), 2-abs (10 min each), and one stability ball workout (20 min)--(I haven't done this one). This gives you disks that you can pop in after a run or a bike ride to give you strength training, and a well rounded work-out, it guides you through and doesn't leave you saying to yourself--well cardio is done, now what? In my ideal exercise routine, I run MWF, and add M-upper, W-lower, F-abs, so my week is complete. T, TH, Sat (if they exist) are focused more on plain cardio, or another DVD that combines cardio and strength training into a great workout. (something that isn't longer than 40 min, preferably closer to 20 min).

So, the secret is, find something that will work your entire body throughout your week, make sure it is something you enjoy, have multiple DVDs to add variety, and more than anything, JUST DO IT! Having all the DVDs in the world will not make a difference unless you use them, and some days the weather doesn't give us any other option.

Feel free to review your own DVDs in the comment area and let us know what works for you and what you enjoy, maybe it will work for us too.