Monthly Archives: February 2013

Faulty Friday: Fallen Off the Wagon?

Nows the time. January is over, you’re vacationing for entire weekends. You’re eating whatever the heck you want and not exercising. It doesn’t matter if you had a New Years Resolution or not, you’re starting to pack on the pounds. I’ve heard this from several patients over the last few days so let me ask you a few questions…maybe they will help you jump back on the wagon.

WeightGain

1. Weekly Vacation Days: When do you allow yourself the freedom to entertain all those cravings? Is it whenever you crumble under the pressure (which is getting more and more often)? Or is it a designated day of the week in which you except that you will be bloated and feel crappy?

It should be the second option. Pick a day each week that you feed on your cravings. On that day, eat whatever the heck you want. Personally, I have half a large Dominos pizza and half a box of cinnasticks. I love those foods but man they’re bad for me. So I eat them once a week and pay the price for 24 hours afterward.

The awesome thing is that, if you eat healthy the rest of the week, your body recognizes a problem with the pizza and voids it pretty quick. As in, you’ll be on the toilet a lot the next day. But isn’t that cool? You’re body will learn how to purge a bad thing?

2. Write It Down: When are you binge eating? When are you ditching your workout? Pinpoint your problem areas and write down your plan for them. For instance, I have terrible trouble limiting my evening eating when I’m at home. I just pile snacks into my mouth like the world is ending.

However! When I go through periods when this is especially bad, I write it all down. Before I start eating, I write down (on a list in my phone) all the food and amounts I’m allowed that night. I give myself some leeway and add in small desserts like 2 gluten-free cookies and some dried apricots, or several squares of dark chocolate. I’m just limited enough that I can pace myself throughout the night and still feel satisfied when I go to bed.

So plan through your worst habits and pull yourself out of them.

3. When on Holiday, Be on Holiday: When you’re away from home and eating out for most meals, do you feel guilty? Do you look at the meal in the beginning and giggle with joy, then look at the empty plate you devoured and feel like a beached whale? Stop it! Take your holiday as an extended Vacation Day (see #1) and enjoy your food! If you do this though, you just have to accept the reality that there might be a few extra pounds on your belly. You’ll have to be VERY good when you’re back home.

A good way to make less of an impact on your waistline is to bring with you a standard meal. I bring along a sandwich bag of my Grainless Granola and grab some milk at a convenience store wherever I’m going. Try to make sure you eat healthy for at least one meal a day.

Also, when you are eating out, eat the veggies instead of the fries. Try to incorporate veggies into every plate of food. It will fill you up with the good stuff and will provide some much-needed support for your digestion and  immune system.

Confession: I will admit that I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit in the last 2 or 3 weeks. But this happens to healthy people! We can’t have rockin’ bods every day of the year. So I will be living by these rules and trimming back that waistline until I’m happy looking in the mirror again.

I hope you’re all having wonderful Fridays. The weekend is here! And today I will be traveling up to Chicago to meet my best friend for a weekend of shenanigans. 😀

 

I Have A Happy Heart

Heart

Mom and Dad,
Nicola, Makenna, and Cam.
Has there ever been a time,
When we haven’t been an awesome fam?

Vegas was epic,
Just like all our holidays.
We manage to break the rules,
And have fun in our weirdo ways.

Seven years
Is WAY too many days.
Navigating life without you around,
Is like finding my way out of the toughest maze.

So on this day,
When I can’t see all your gorgeous faces,
I’ll think of the next time,
We can eat, drink, and laugh in crazy places.

ps.
This ode should include,
Some love for my Gran and Chuck,
Without your unwavering support,
I’d be s**t out of luck.

Gran’s weekly phone calls,
Chuck’s endless flattery,
Pulls down my walls,
And keeps me going like an Energizer battery.

I love ALL of you. My readers, my family, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my new family (the Farrar’s!), my coworkers, and my closest friends.

Whether you’re single or taken, just make sure you give at least one person a hug today 🙂

 

Workout Wednesday: Simple Tools

These workouts I post are amazing. I have to be a little conceited in this because I’m making them for other people. You! They are literally 12 minute workouts that can build muscle and burn fat for at least 24 hours (more like 48). I thought it was a crock of you-know-what until I actually factored them into my workout schedule. And now I can tell you from experience, THEY WORK.

The best part is that you don’t need a gym. Or weights, or resistance bands, or a fitness ball. You just need a timer and a clear spot on the floor (and maybe a yoga mat if you have hardwood). Oh yeah, and you need some will power.

A patient did ask me the other day what I use to time my workouts. Why an interval timer of course! You can find free ones on the internet and run it off your computer or, if you have a smart phone, there’s an app for that. Just search “interval timer” and voila! It should be free or at most $1. So worth it.

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

Side Hops

1. side hop (jump fast and high)

GoodMornings

2. good mornings

LegLift

3. leg lower (lose the ball on this one)

Swimmers

4. swimmers

DiamondPushup

5. diamond pushup (do this on your feet, knees, or standing against a wall)

SitAndPray

6. sit & pray (get low and put your weight in your heels)

How did it go?

 

Thankful Tuesday: Back to Real Life

WineforDinner

I had an incredible weekend. It was full of family and friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. But also lots of rugby, gambling, no exercise, and eating and drinking whatever my heart desires. Mike and I went to Las Vegas for 3 days to meet my family and watch the Rugby Sevens tournament. I went last year too and plan on continuing the tradition for as long as possible.

When I go on vacation, I go all out (yep, wine for dinner was a reality this weekend). It gets all the bad habits out of my system and lets me return to real life thoroughly exhausted and ready to be 100% healthy again.

So obviously I don’t have a new recipe for today since every meal I ate for the last 4 days was from a restaurant but I would like to bring back Thankful Tuesdays.

So on this lovely day in February, I am thankful for:

  1. A job that earns me enough money to travel to places like Vegas for the weekend but also gives me the flexible schedule to do it.

Vegas22. The family that makes a priority out of traveling to meet each other and party.

Vegas3

3. The boyfriend that comes with me and makes it all even more fun.

Instead of having holiday blues, maybe I’ll try to remember how amazing it is that I have these experiences in the first place. You think?

What are you thankful for today?

Gossip Ruins People

Gossip

If you don’t have something nice to say, just zip that trap. We all heard that line (or some variation of it) when we were little. Every one of us has been the subject of gossip at some point in their lives. You know how much it hurts. So here’s the big questions:

WHY DO WE STILL DO IT?

I laid awake for much of the night wondering that. Just before I fell asleep, I found out that there are people who I barely know, in this brand new town of mine, gossiping about me. Rash, hurtful words that pinned me at my most vulnerable point.

Gossip Law #1: Even for me, strong, capable, confident me, words DO hurt. I learned this long ago in middle school and, ever since, I’ve realized that I don’t want to cause that pain to anyone else. It doesn’t matter how much I criticize them internally, everyone has weaknesses just like me, and I never want to make someone feel that that’s all I see.

Gossip Law #2: As much as we whisper and make people promise not to tell, the words ALWAYS get back to the person. This most recent gossip about me started in September. September! I heard it two night ago from a well-intentioned friend that was trying to help me become a better person. He was trying to help me and the fact that people talked STILL hurt.

Gossip Law #3: It doesn’t stop when we turn 16 years old, or 20, or even 35. It never just stops. It’s natural for people to talk negatively about others. It makes them feel powerful, like they have an advantage on you. Like they’re better than you. It’s natural, but it sucks and it can be stopped.

Gossip Law #4: It comes in all forms. Gossip doesn’t just have to be a woman whispering trash into another woman’s ear. As I’ve tried to cut it out of my life, I realize that gossip is any negative statement that emerges from your mouth about another person. Anything that, when you really think about it, could potentially hurt that person.

LISTEN UP. This is the most important one . . .

Gossip Law #5: It CAN be stopped. The only way to stop gossip is by filtering your own words. I have a best friend. My heterosexual life partner. She is the only person that I turn off the filter with. She does the same with me. We gossip to each other until kingdom come. But that is because we KNOW that it will never leave that conversation. With everyone else, my negative words are on lockdown. I don’t participate in negative conversations and will even try to stop them if they become about someone I love.

Everyone can do this. It only took me a few months to recognize and learn. So just try it, please. For the sake of all those people who you have yet to hurt.

Now off with you, have a wonderful, gossip-free weekend! I will be in Vegas with my family and friends through Monday so blogs will start back up on Tuesday. I will miss you all until then. But just remember:

KEEP CONVERSATION POSITIVE 🙂

 

Thriving Thursday: Chia Seeds?

There has been a buzz about chia seeds lately. It started in the nutrition/health world and is now spreading mainstream. It became more than a buzz, for me, when a patient recently asked, “so, chia seeds, are they worth the time?” I had to reply that although I’d cooked with them a couple of times, I honestly had no concrete idea of the benefits. So began my research…

ChiaMrT

Background: Chia seeds were a staple in Aztec diets. To quote the bottle I have in my cabinet “Aztec Warriors subsisted on chia seeds during their battles and hunting expeditions, eating as little as a small handful in 24 hours.” What?? They also promote saliva production and were fed to thirsty nomads. Then they came to the US and were used to grow plants that looked like hair on terra-cotta forms like the one seen above. What a downgrade (except for the Mr. T one, that’s just awesome).

It turns out that, because it’s so new to the nutrition world (it’s been around for decades in the form of chia pets) there have been very few studies to test it’s benefits. There was one study done on women which I will share with you later.

ChiaNutrition

Without lots of research done on human absorption, all we can really do is look at the nutrition profile of chia seeds. According to this label and some of my other reading, chia seeds are:

  • Source of healthy fats which very few people get from the Standard Westernized Diet.
  • Perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega 3 and 6 which helps protect the liver and heart.
  • High in fiber which promotes healthy digestion.
  • Relatively high in protein which is necessary for properly functioning and rebuilding muscles.
  • Zero sugar so it doesn’t spike your insulin levels.
  • Absorbs water like a sponge so, when mixed with liquid and consumed, it slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and further hinders sugar spikes.
  • Because they absorb liquid, when eaten dry, they expand in your stomach and give you the feeling of being full.
  • High in IRON, CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM, and ZINC – essential nutrients for a healthy body.

There was a study done on a small selection postmenopausal women to see if it would increase the production of the essential fatty acids, ALA (omega 3) and EPA. It did, but because scientists know very little about absorption of the fatty acids after they are produced, it is unknown if they increase heart, liver, and neuro protection.

Although the results of the few studies done are pretty much inconclusive, I’m going to call chia seeds a win. I’m a proponent of getting all the nutrients you can from your food and only taking supplements when absolutely necessary (like in the case of Vitamin D and a few other vitamins and minerals). If I can get extra healthy fat, omegas, fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc just from a sprinkling of the tasteless chia seeds, count me in!

The fad: Obviously everything that becomes universally popular is a huge fad somewhere. Apparently, Wall Streeters have started to tout chia seeds as the natural energy booster. A Bloomberg article compared it to coffee, cocaine, and 5-hour Energy Drink. “Natural” food producers have started making chia bars and juices, among other things.

How to eat it: Be careful. As with any health fad, not all chia seeds or products are made equal. Be sure to avoid anything with added sugar. Also, stick to organic or NSRI approved. Now that they’ve gotten big, farmers will start doing anything to produce them in huge quantities. You can eat them milled or whole. Sprinkled on top of granola, in your smoothie, on a salad, or just with water. They’re pretty much tasteless so they go with anything.

Well, on that note, I’m going to go make myself a Green Machine smoothie with chia seeds and protein!

Any questions? Just comment and ask. I’ll be happy to answer. I hope you’re having a happy Thursday 🙂

Sources:

 

 

Workout Wednesday: Strength in Numbers

Last night’s class was awesome. We had our largest number of people there (20!) because patients are starting to bring along their friends and family. The room was full to overflowing and the energy in there was incredible. It made me realize…while working out, there is power in numbers. 

If you can find two or three people who are as committed to health as you are, workout with them! Not everyone has to be available for all workouts but if you can find a couple people to help motivate you when your will power is all dried up, it’s like having extra ammo in the tank. You’ll see better results and develop stronger, healthier relationships. Encouragement is not something that needs to come only from yourself.

So, without any further ado, here’s today’s workout:

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Tip: As always, you’re the only one who can make this exercise hard. It’s only 12/16 minutes so just grin and bear it, push yourself to fatigue, it will all be over soon.

Exercises

ToeTaps < beginner

ToeTaps(High) < advanced

1) toe taps

SideLunge

2) side lunge

TriDip

3) tri dips (advanced- keep legs straight)

LowJacks2 LowJacks1

4) low jacks (jumping jacks with bent legs)

hipraise

5) hip raise

calfjump

6) calf jumps

Are you sweating yet? Let me know how it goes 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

In honor of the Superbowl and the end of my strict January diet, I decided I would treat Mike and I to one of my favorite bite-sized morsels: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates. I copied these from a delicious restaurant in Boston: The Regal Beagle.  I visited a couple of years back with some good friends of mine and fell in love.

These violate my “no cow diary” rule but the dates are good for you and the organic turkey bacon is too! And holy bajolies they are tasty. The blue cheese gets kind of muted when you cook it so it doesn’t have the bitter after taste, all you get is the sweet of the date and salty of the bacon. YUM.

BaconDates-Unpublished

Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

Ingredients (2 or 3 servings)

  • 10 organic medjool dates, sliced open and pitted
  • .15 lbs blue cheese
  • 5 strips organic turkey bacon
  • toothpicks or cupcake baking pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Stuff blue cheese inside the cut dates. Only enough so that the dates can still close.
  3. Cut the bacon in half and wrap it around the dates.
  4. Pin each roll with a toothpick or set it in a cupcake pan to hold it together
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bacon is done.
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

DIY Monday: Happy Couch Pillows :)

Happy Monday Ya’ll! I am so happy January is over. That was a tough month for me. It’s always kind of shaky getting back on your feet after the holidays. Combine that with some harsh weather and you get a very sad, cooped up kind of life. But only for January! And now it’s February and spring is a whole month closer!

So this weekend I got Saturday off at the very last minute and I got TWO whole days off in a row. Woohoo! I took complete advantage of it by snuggling in for some terrible TV for pretty much the whole two days. I also decided it was time to break out the new sewing machine I got from my parents for Christmas.

It is unbelievably cool. They’ve invented so much neat stuff since the last time I sewed (about 10 years ago?) So I got the requisite pant and shirt sleeve hemming out of the way. And then I began on our new couch pillows!

photo 3

photo 5 photo 4

Some old (18″x18″) pillows from Goodwill, simple cotton fabric, and about two hours of machine time and I had these babies! I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest but I needed to make some that wasn’t too girly (in consideration for the man I share a house with) but was also kinda funky and cute. I love them.

I used this awesome guide for fold over pillows.

TIME: 2 hours sewing time

COST: about $10 each

LEVEL: beginner – pillows are SO easy. The hardest part was sewing in circles for the eyes.

photo 2

What do you think?

Happy February! 🙂

Fun Times Friday: Lunch Date and Line Dancing!

Happy Friday everyone! You made it. Since you’re coming up on some blissful rest days, I thought I’d give you a few ideas for a day out. Here in Illinois, it’s bitterly cold; last Saturday we had a heat wave when it got up to 45°F. Mike and I are beginning to get cabin fever couped up inside all day long. So since, it was my date day last Saturday, I got us out and around town as much as possible. All while staying under a budget.

First we picked up lunch from a wonderful little bakery/caterer/deli in Peoria. It’s called the Cracked Pepper and they had pepper grinders everywhere!

CrackedPepper1

CrackedPepper2

These were my favorites. Isn’t the gold so pretty?

Riverfront

Then, because the sun was out, we drove down to the Peoria waterfront and ate our lunch on a bench outside. We bundled up so we wouldn’t freeze and it was so wonderful to just sit in the sun. And cheap!

Then, ever the scavengers for cheap activities, we headed to the Caterpillar Visitors Museum to check out all the big machines Mike helps build. He gets in for free and I only cost $7. Sweet! Keep a lookout for student, senior, employee deals in your area to save yourself some dough. You can find out events and discounts in local (free) papers and handouts in newspaper stands.

Catmuseum2

I lost track of what all the machines were called… But they’re cool! And Mike helps make them 🙂

CatMuseum1

This is the WHEEL of the biggest truck made, ever, in the world. It’s used for mining and the bed of it is 35 feet wide. In the museum, they fit a movie theater in it. So sweet.

Catmuseum3

The simulator driver things. I had really wanted to get my operators license until I tried this thing. Mike was awesome. Me, not so good. Lol.

Then that night…drumroll please…we went line dancing! What?? I never really thought about it but, of course, line dancing in the midwest is the real deal. It was about 20 minutes from our house in a real barn called Stone Country Saloon. There was a massive dance floor and tons of locals (none of them wearing plaid oddly enough). It turns out that when I get a couple beers in me, I’m really pretty good at line dancing. I pick up the moves like a champ. By the end, I had people coming up and teaching me the steps. I guess that’s normal in these places but I felt privileged.

Linedancing2

Mike stayed at the bar to watch most of the time but jumped in when he felt he could do it. Isn’t it weird how much more nervous to mess up men are when it comes to dancing? Maybe it’s their lack of hips. I don’t know.

Linedancing1

But I’m in love. I’m going back this weekend. I want to get to know the patrons there. And the awesome saloon owner, Dan. And I WILL get good at line dancing before leaving the midwest.

On top of all this wonderfulness, the cover on a Saturday is $7 (a little steep) but the beers were $3 (makes everything ok).

What are some sweet deals you’ve found in your area? I hope you have a fantastic weekend!