Friday, November 1, 2013

Wrote this post...but forgot to publish it!

I can't believe my first marathon is in 2 days!!  This month has been CRAZY leading up to this monumental event in my life! I didn't set out to run a marathon in 2013...but I'm so glad that I made the decision to go for it and follow a training plan!

I got off my training plan due to traveling for 5 days and getting sick with a head cold at the same time!! :( It took me about 8 days to fully recover before I could even have the strength to run again. Even after I started to run again, I still was battling with a stuffy nose and plugged ears for the last 2 weeks.  This week, only days before my big race, I'm finally over the head cold and stuffy nose and feeling energized and nervous all at the same time!!  The Rock 'N' Roll Marathon is taking place in Denver, CO, so I'll be leaving on Saturday to head up to Denver.  They are having a huge EXPO in the downtown convention center, which is where I have to go to pick up my Race Packet.  I'm hoping to sign up with an official "Pacing Team" to finish the race in under 5 hours.  My and my family are staying in a hotel in downtown Denver, just blocks from the START and FINISH line!!  I've been slowly packing my bag all week...just trying to make sure I remember all of my running & race gear for the big day!!

This week, I've been eating the white stuff to "carb-load" for this race.  I had a burrito from Q-Doba loaded with rice, chicken, fajita veggies and was delicious! I usually eat a "naked burrito" with no rice! Later today, I'm planning to make Linguine with Pesto sauce and a Quinoa Salad with shredded chicken, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to bring on the road with me tomorrow!!  It's easy to get off track and eat unhealthy when carb-loading, but I know that if I stay focused and still eat will help me that much more on race day.

My recovery plan:  I plan to eat very CLEAN to make sure I drop the few extra pounds that I've gained this past month (about 4 lbs)!! Eating lots of fruits, veggies and lean protein is always the best for your body! I plan to continue running a few times a week, but I don't get outside much now that the days are getting shorter and winter is here.  I'll stick with "Tabata" interval running on the treadmill, and I also want to get back into doing my HIIT routines at home or at the gym. I see the best results with my body when I stick to HIIT workouts!! They really work your muscles hard and shed the extra inches off your waist, arms and legs.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Healthy Snacking!

Healthy snacking is important when trying to lose weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It's important to plan ahead and bring snacks with you when you go to work, or if you're going to a place where healthy snacks are not available to buy (i.e., park, sports games, etc.).  If you don't have a healthy snack with you, then you might opt for the unhealthy snack/food that's available like chips, candy, soda, etc. 

I always eat a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.  If I skip it, my stomach growls like crazy!!  Remember....your body needs food to keep your metabolism going...don't starve it...or it will slow your metabolism down and you'll stop burning calories.

My favorite snack is fruit!!  I don't think you can ever eat too much fruit...but with everything you eat, you still have to eat in moderation.  Fruit has natural fiber...and fiber keeps you satisfied and feeling full for a longer period of time.

Fruits that I love, and when I like to eat it:
  • Banana - Sliced with Oatmeal; top with Cinnamon & Natural Honey (DELICIOUS!!)
  • Gala Apples - Sliced; dip it in 2 TBSP of Almond Butter or Creamy all-natural Peanut Butter
  • Frozen Blueberries (no sugar added) - with Oatmeal (if I don't have a banana)
  • Frozen Strawberries (no sugar added) - with Protein Shakes and blend into a Smoothie
  • Cantaloupe - Snack or with a meal
  • Watermelon - Snack or with a meal
  • Red/Green Grapes - Try them frozen...feels like a special treat!
  • Blackberries/Raspberries - Great in smoothies or with strawberries
My "comfort" food is Mexican! My other favorite snack is Chips with Salsa or fresh Guacamole.  My favorite brand of chips is made by La Favorita and has only 60 calories per serving (1 serving = 10 chips); 2.5 g/Fat and 9g/Carbs (no sugar).  Great STATS for tortilla chips, don't you think??!! My favorite salsa is La Victoria Thick 'n Chunky Salsa Verde (it's a green chili good!!)
My caution to you:  Avoid buying the pre-packaged light or sugar-free snacks.  These are processed foods and don't hold any nutritional value.  I don't eat a lot of crackers, but one of my favorites to buy is Wheat Thin Crisps. I'm not much of a "nuts" eater, but I know that Almonds are one of the best options for snacking on...but you have to watch the portion amount. 

Chime in.....What is your favorite healthy snack?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Skinny Rule #8 - Learn to Read Food Labels

When it comes to a maintaining a healthy lifestyle and losing weight, you have to learn how to read food labels.  When I first began my journey of losing weight, I read the nutrition label all the time because I had to calculate WW I only looked at the Calories, Fat and Fiber content.  Now that I don't count calories or points (because I follow the Clean-Eating plan, I look more at the SUGAR content per serving more than calories and fat.  I've learned not to believe everything you read on a label is "good for you" even if it says low-fat, light or sugar-free.  Early on in my journey of losing weight and counting WW points, I ate a ton of sugar-free items/drinks because the point value was low....but I didn't realize how bad it really was for me.  Eating clean has taught me this:  The less ingredients a food item has, the better it is for you! 

One example that I want to highlight today is Salad Dressings. There are tons of dressings that are Non-Fat or Light, but they are high in sugar and loaded with preservatives and other chemicals.  My personal preference is to buy salad dressings that may have a higher calorie and/or fat content, but are low in sugar (carbs).  As long as you watch the portion amount, you aren't going to sabotage your healthy eating plan with a higher calorie, all-natural salad dressing.
Some of my favorite dressings are: Drew's Smoked Tomato Dressing and Bolthouse Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil Vinaigrette Chunky Blue Cheese.  One of my favorite sandwiches is an Albacore Tuna sandwich on toasted 100% whole grain bread with tomatoes, avocado and lettuce.  I'll mix the Smoked Tomato dressing in with the tuna instead of's super delicious and adds a ton of flavor to your sandwich!

Do you love the "Wedge Salad" that is really popular at restaurants loaded with bacon and blue cheese? Make your own Wedge Salad at home by using Turkey Bacon and the Bolthouse Farms EVOO Vinaigrette Chunky Blue Cheese....add some chopped tomatoes and fresh avocado...and you have a delicious salad!!

Here is a great video by Jillian Michaels about Food Labels:

Highlights from her video:
  • Gluten Free - Just because it's gluten-free, doesn't mean that it's good for you.  A lot of processed/packaged gluten-free items are typically higher in fat and calories
  • Hydrogenated - If you see this on the food label (found in margarine, creamers, etc.) DON'T EAT IT!!
  • Whole Grain  - Must say 100% Whole Grain...if it doesn't then it's not nutritionally the best option for you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Love Butter? Make a healthy switch to Melt® Organic

I was shopping this past weekend and bought a (new to me) butter spread called Melt® Organic. Not sure how long this has been on store shelves, but I love it!! It's really creamy and smooth!

Melt® Organic has the perfect blend of ingredients made from natural, fruit-based and plant-based organic oils: virgin coconut, palm fruit, flaxseed, sunflower and canola. Each serving is a rich source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (the “good” fats) that your body burns as energy instead of storing as fat, thereby boosting metabolism.

TOP Reasons to Buy Melt® Organic:
•Certified Non-GMO Project Verified
•Absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
•Trans Fat Free
•Gluten Free
•Soy Free
•Lactose and Casein Free
•No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
•Certified Organic and Kosher

Unlike most margarine and other butter substitutes, Melt® Organic has the same cooking and baking properties as real cream butter.

Click here for great tasting ways to cook with Melt® Organic, or just substitute Melt® Organic for butter in your own favorite recipes.

Coupons for Melt Organic

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How Many Calories Do You Drink?

Skinny Rule #2 - Don't Drink Your Calories
To me, this rule is very basic and obvious....but you may not realize how many calories you're consuming throughout the day from basic beverages (i.e., milk, sweetened iced tea, soda, alcohol, etc.).  If you're not a water drinker throughout the day, I recommend that you journal or track your drinks along with the food you eat. It may be an eye-opener for you.

A few changes that I have recently made this last year is watching the beverages I consume with artificial sweeteners, like in Diet Soda, Sugar-Free "Diet" Juice or using Splenda in Iced Tea.  Eliminating no calorie drinks with artificial sweeteners will have an impact on your weight loss. It falls in line with "Clean Eating"....think of it as "Clean Drinking"....LOL! Yes...I crave a diet soda every now and then, but when I stick to drinking water or Iced Tea/Green Tea without it, I feel great that I made the better choice!  Pure Natural Stevia is a good substitute to Splenda, but I think that you still need to watch the amount you consume throughout the day...especially if you enjoy iced tea or coffee.   In the winter, I enjoy hot green tea with a tsp of natural honey.

Serving Size
12 ounces
Diet soda
12 ounces
Bottled sweet tea
12 ounces
Brewed tea, unsweet
12 ounces
Orange juice, unsweetened
12 ounces
Apple juice, unsweetened
12 ounces
Tomato/Vegetable juice
12 ounces
Cranberry juice cocktail
12 ounces
Whole Milk
12 ounces
2% low-fat milk
12 ounces
1% low-fat milk
12 ounces
Nonfat milk
12 ounces
Soy milk
12 ounces
Coffee, black
12 ounces
Coffee with cream (2 tablespoons
half and half)
12 ounces
Coffee with whipped cream (2
tablespoons from can)
12 ounces
Coffee with heavy whipping cream
(2 tablespoons)
12 ounces
Caffe Latte, whole milk (Starbucks)
12 ounces
Caffe Latte, nonfat (Starbucks)
12 ounces
Sports drink (like Gatorade)
12 ounces
Energy drink (like Red Bull)
12 ounces
12 ounces
Red wine
5 ounces
White wine
5 ounces
Hard liquor (vodka, rum, whiskey,
gin; 80 proof)
1.5 ounces

Monday, August 5, 2013

Benefits of Drinking More Water

This week, I'm going to break down each skinny rule from Bob Harper's book, "The Skinny Rules" and share my own insight and information related to why we should incorporate each rule (as best as possible) into our daily, healthy lifestyle.  I will admit up front that I don't follow every rule to the "exact," and that's what I will be sharing with you based on my own opinion and results of the ones I have tried to follow closely.  

"Skinny Rule" #1 - Drink a large glass of water before every meal - No Excuses
This is a great rule to follow...mainly because drinking more water has many benefits.  But, it does help keep hunger at bay.  I need to follow this rule more consistently in the may start my day off a lot better!!  If I go running in the mornings, I drink multiple glasses of water to replenish my body of hydration before I eat breakfast.  Otherwise, I do drink a lot of water throughout the day leading up to lunch.  When I workout in the late afternoons when I get off of work, I will drink a lot of water during and after my workout, which is right before dinner.  I always try to bring my water cup with me to my bedroom when I'm settling in for the night.  If I wake up with a dry mouth or just thirsty, it's right there!!

The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on body size.  2/3 of the body consists of water, and it is the main component of human body. Did you know that your tissues and organs are mainly made up of water? Here is the %:
        * Muscle consists of 75% water
        * Brain consists of 90% of water
        * Bone consists of 22% of water
        * Blood consists of 83% water

The functions of water in human body are vital!!

The water:
       * Transports nutrients and oxygen into cells
       * Moisturizes the air in lungs
       * Helps with metabolism
       * Protects our vital organ
       * Helps our organs to absorb nutrients better
       * Regulates body temperature
       * Detoxifies
       * Protects and moisturizes our joints

Every cell in your body needs water from head to toe. That is why it is so important to drink enough fluid. Take for example, the brain consists of 90% of water....if you do not supply enough water to your body, your brain cannot function well, and you will get headache or migraine.  Hence, the next time you feel fatigued or have a headache, it may be the sign of dehydration.  (Note: I've taken this information from the following website.)

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Now there's no excuses.......DRINK UP!!!!  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Skinny Rules to Follow

Over a year ago, I heard about Bob Harper's new book called "The Skinny Rules."  I never did buy the book, but I read through his 20 Skinny Rules...and loved them!!  This month, I'm going to talk more about the skinny rules, and share my own thoughts on how I've incorporated them in my daily routine of eating healthier.

If you follow these Skinny Rules, it will keep you on track to losing weight and living a wonderful, healthy life!  The KEY is to stick with them...this is a lifestyle change...not a temporary quick fix to lose the weight fast...then go back to your old eating habits.  It doesn't won't work...and you'll gain the weight back...I guarantee it!!

So all of  2012, I had been stuck!  I had been at the same weight (hit a plateau) for over a year.  No matter how much I exercised in the week, my eating habits weren't the best at times, and I couldn't lose any more weight.

At the beginning of 2013, I got more serious about eating CLEAN foods, (eating minimal processed foods), and began to faithfully follow the majority of these skinny rules!!

ONE rule that has made a huge impact on my weight loss in just the past 6 months...has helped me break the longest plateau I had been on...and helped me in losing about 14 lbs is: 

 ***  RULE #7  ***

Is this a hard rule to follow?  YES, at first..but don't give up!!! It WORKS and is KEY to breaking through a plateau if you're experiencing that like I was.  Or, if you're close to your goal weight, it will help you achieve that sooner than later! If you have a lot of weight to lose, you will see the pounds and inches DROP like crazy!! The more consistent you are with following this rule and the other will be successful!!

What I LOVE about this rule is that you can still enjoy complex carbohydrates (whole grain bread, oatmeal, pasta, etc.) for breakfast AND lunch.  It's important for your body to have complex stores them for long term energy, and the fiber keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.  But, it takes longer for your body to digest and burn off complex carbs...which is why you need to stop eating them in the late afternoon/evening.  I'm sure Bob Harper has a better explanation in his book than I do, but if you think about really does makes sense!!  When you stick to just eating lean protein and veggies in the evenings, you wake up in the mornings feeling better and not bloated from a heavy meal the night before.  I challenge you to just try it for one week and journal about how you're feeling in the mornings and if you lose any weight.

Please leave a comment on your thoughts about the "Skinny Rules" and if you have any questions...I would love to try and help you any way that I can.