Monday, December 3, 2012

Elf for Health

The eating season has officially arrived and I think I have a pretty good plan for how to survive the holidays.

I definitely splurged this Thanksgiving, but I have done a lot worse in previous years and even got in a workout on Thursday and ran once will at my mom's. So, I'm calling it a win! Now onto the hard part...surviving the weeks of temptations leading up to Christmas!!

So, I have signed up for a healthy living challenge for that began on last week. Elf for Health is the brainchild of bloggers Nutritionella and Lean Green Bean. Everyone gets paired up with another "elf" to help support them during this season. If you are interested, I think signup opens back up for the last four weeks!

Last week's challenges:

Monday: Go meatless (Easy and did it Tuesday as well! One of my go dinners to take to work has become a burrito bowl with black beans, brown rice, veggies, salsa and sometimes guacamole.)
Tuesday: Send a handwritten note (Sending a note to my grandma.)
Wednesday: Try a new workout (While my husband was playing volleyball, I tried a tabata-like ab workout from Hard, but good!!)
Thursday: Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning (It was nice to take a few minutes to chill and stretch before my run.)
Friday: Make your food colorful (i.e. all different kinds of veggies... I did the best I could with what we had at home. Make a veggie-tastic salad with spinach, peppers, mushrooms, beans and tuna. I also worked in a banana in my oatmeal and apple as a snack.)

The weekend challenge was to clean out your closet. I have already done that since most of my clothes are too big for me now. I have finally hit my goal weight (58 pounds down!) and have moved on to maintaining now. Anyway, I have a bag of clothes set aside to give to family or a friend who can wear them.

So, far this week we have been focused on fiber... 42 grams on the docket today!! Click on the Elf for Health logo if you are interested in joining for the last two, two-week sessions.

Wishing everyone a healthy holiday season!!!

Beth :)

Pumpkin crazy

Baked oatmeal!!
So, I have been meaning to share my pumpkin baking adventures in several posts, but times has gotten away from me. I think pumpkin things are seasonal even through Christmas or you guys can at least get ideas for next Thanksgiving!!

Pumpkin baked oatmeal

I took a recipe I found via Pinterest and tried to make it lighter. I think I succeeded! The recipe was for Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal... yum! I eat lots of oatmeal for breakfast and I was looking for a way to try something new and pumpkiny.

I changed the recipe in a few ways:
• Used unsweetened applesauce
• Egg whites
• Light soy milk
• Reduced sugar craisins
• Cut it up into six servings

My only complaint is that it wasn't pumpkiny enough. It tasted just fine - and I ate it all week - but a tad on the bland side. The second day I ate it for breakfast I sprinkled some extra cinnamon and nutmeg on my serving that helped. I made the whole thing on a Sunday evening and just reheated a piece each morning to have a nice warm breakfast.
Click the link in the title for the recipe I used!

Pumpkin oat bars!

Pumpkin oat bars

Recently, I also made some pumpkin, oat bars from

Next time I will grind up the pumpkin seeds... they were two big and chewy. I may have gotten the wrong kind of seeds. The blogger used pumpkin seeds that were called pepitas and look smaller than what I got. Also, make sure to freeze what you may not eat in a week. Mine started to get a little moldy after a week. That is the price you pay when you are making things from scratch!


Pumpkin bread (Also from

Very simple and very tasty! Three ingredients: Spice cake mix, can of pumpkin and two egg whites. (Note: I buy the carton of liquid egg whites for baking and cooking.) The batter was quite sticky so be prepared for that. I baked it in a bundt pan instead of loaves and used the cake box instructions as a guideline for time. Be sure to check often you do that...mine was done early!

Not exactly health food, but it was tasty and hit the pumpkin spot. I think once a year I can handle that!!


No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake (

This turned out great! I had some pumpkin leftover from my other adventures and didn't want to let it go to waste. I had plans to make this for Thanksgiving, but that was three weeks away. So, I took a chance, made it and stuck in the freezer until I needed it. I think the crust was a little soggy due to the defrosting process, which is my only minor complaint. The taste was great though and the filling was very light... not sure if the texture would've been any different without freezing involved.

Happy baking!!

Beth :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

5K training

Before I ran the Wicked 10K, I registered for a 5K in December. Now I have a plan to help me get ready for my fourth race (third 5K). I am determined to have a good race and improve from my last 5K in May.

Mondays: Strength training (sometimes with cardio)
Tuesday: 1-hour spin class
Wednesday: 3-mile race pace run (ugh, not my favorite)
Thursday: Strength training plus V02 max training. V02 max training is basically high intensity interval workouts that help expand your cardio capacity. It should leave spent at the end of it. (Also not my favorite.) It usually involves jumping jacks, rowing machine, running sprints, burpees, etc.
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Speed work
Sunday: Longer runs (starting at 4.5 miles and topping out at 6.5 miles before the 5K)

Yoga as I can fit it in and the rest day gets changed some to fit my schedule!

What is your favorite workout?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Race recap: Stupid running

Me quite wind-blown post race.
I ran the Wicked 10K that I have training for since August. It was my first race that longer than a 5K.

I hear there is such a thing as having a good race or having a bad race. My first two 5Ks went relatively well... I finished them and my time improved pretty dramatically. This 10K was not like my previous two races. Let's just say I was asking my husband after the race why I actually paid to do that to myself. I definitely didn't feel like a runner afterward.

My goal was 1 hour and 15 was a little ambitious for me. I am not speedy runner, but I thought I could do it and maybe even be a little faster than that. Well, I didn't reach that goal. My time ended up being 1:21:55.

There were several things working against me:

Weather: I was worried about it raining, but we were actually spared a drenching. Hurricane Sandy was heading right toward us on the coast of Virginia. The one thing I didn't think about was how wind could affect my race. The 10K was at the oceanfront at Virginia Beach. The beach is already a windy place to be, but add Sandy to the mix and the winds were approaching 20 mph. Running into the wind was not fun. A few times I felt like I was running in place! The craziest thing was in between the hotels or on the boardwalk I felt my feet being pushed by the wind. And the stupid wind blew off my hat!!

Nerves: I was so nervous and I am not really sure why. I have run over a mile longer than the distance of the 6.2-mile race. But I couldn't stand still while waiting in my corral at the start line and my stomach was doing summersaults.

My medal!
My body: I was determined to not be dehydrated and to make sure I had enough water. Well, I think I had enough to drink. I had to waste about five minutes waiting in line for a port-a-potty between the 1-mile and 2-mile markers. That was a frustrating delay, but I did feel better afterward. But that feeling only lasted until about mile 4.5 to 5. The side stitch of all side stitches arrived. I tried to run through it, but it would not go away. The pain became so severe at the end that I ended up walking over the finish line.

Positives: I finished! I did complete the race. A year and 58 pounds ago I never thought I would be running a race let alone a 6.2 mile race. I did actually run most of it even when you count the walking I had to do toward the end of it. And I got race bling... my first medal!! Actually, my first medal for any athletic achievement.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall running

A fast 3-mile run for me!
I have had a pretty good running week. The awesome fall weather certainly hasn't hurt.

Sunday's weather wasn't as awesome. It was chilly, which was nice, but overcast. I was feeling great and running faster than I normally do. I was attempting to run 6.5 miles (the longest I have ever run) for the first time. About half way through the run, I heard the rain hit the trees first and then the bottom fell out. Not just sprinkling, but a full on downpour. I took a shortcut back to the house and figured I might as well continue running till I got back. I was soaked!!

On Tuesday, it was speed work day...which I am not a fan of. The fastest I have ever run 3 miles in a non-race setting is 36 minutes. I am not a speedy runner by any means, but I have gotten faster. This time my goal was 34 minutes...eek! I was a little apprehensive. My comfort zone is running slow and steady, if you will. But I finished in 34:19... woo hoo! Didn't beat my goal, but I came pretty darn close. I will count that as a win!

I still had that pesky 6.5 miles I needed to get done for my 10K training. So Wednesday, it was on again. It sprinkled again and I was afraid I was going to get drenched but the rain held off! My time goal was 1 hour and 30 minutes. The last half mile was definitely the hardest, but I finished in about 1 hour and 23 minutes. 6.5 miles... check!

Now my next long run is 7 miles (double eek!) and only two weeks until the 10K! I am accepting all thoughts, prayers, meditation, etc. as I go into unchartered running territory!

Beth :o)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Healthy tips

I have lost over 50 pounds now and have made some lifestyle changes to get to that point. I thought it might be good to share some of those changes with you guys.

Here's my top 10:

1. Limit my Starbucks addiction: This had financial and waistline benefits. I was good about getting nonfat or skinny lattes. I even got the tall (or small in Starbucks lingo), but it was things like a pumpkin scone that would drag me down nutritionally from time to time.

2. Make working out a priority: Wake up, eat, change clothes and then work out. That is how my mornings typically go. If I don't workout shortly after breakfast than there is a good chance it won't happen. The same thing happened when I worked a "normal" schedule. I packed a gym bag and went directly to the gym from work.

My food so far today.
3. Keep track of my food intake: It first started with just typing up my food diary for a personal trainer that I had for a couple months. Then my resolve to do it waned after I stopped paying for the trainer. Then I wanted to ramp up my weight loss and I knew I needed to fine tune my diet. So, I found a free app My Fitness Pal which also syncs with a website (click here). You can track your food, exercise and weight loss. It helps a lot... I still use it. It helps you figure out a calorie goal and I use it to plan my meals for the day.

4. Splurge: I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. Having a piece of cake every now and then won't hurt you, but the key is going back to eating healthy. Don't just say screw it and continue to eat badly because you have "screwed up" your diet for the day/week. I also say make sure your splurges are for a good reason or at least good quality. If you are craving a hamburger don't blow those calories at a fast food joint... make it worth it by getting a really good burger. Or I chose to eat a tasty mandarin orange cupcake with cream cheese frosting and eclair cake for my birthday (thanks Janet and mom!) made from scratch. I am not going to splurge on store bought sheet cake. I think splurging makes eating healthy feasible for a lifetime.

5. Healthy swaps: I eat brown rice, wheat pasta, light soy milk, ground lean turkey and use plain greek yogurt in lieu of mayo. Simple swaps in recipes make things healthier.
Overnight oatmeal!

6. Measure, measure, measure: Portion control is key - especially with calorie dense items like nuts. Almonds for instance can be a healthy snack option. I can eat several portions easily in one sitting and that is approaching 500 calories instead of the better 150 calories for a snack. Now, I break out the measuring cup every time.

7. Trying new things: My husband and I are somewhat picky eaters but we are trying our best!! I have seen recipes for overnight oats on several websites and have tried it out. I am a fan! We bought a box of Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) from Trader Joe's it is on our list to make soon.

8. Food quality not quantity: Go for whole, unprocessed foods when you can. Making it from scratch may take a little longer sometimes but it is so much better for you. And you can always make ahead and freeze to make it easier on work days.

My food for one evening at work.
9. Eat more often: I eat all of the time. I am sure my family and co-workers may think I am    
ridiculous. When I leave for work I pack one meal and 1-3 snacks. It is not unusual for me to eat at least two snacks (in addition to my three meals) a day. Sometimes three if I am hungry.

10. Drink water: I don't drink enough, actually. But I always have it with me in my re-usable water bottle. Water is also calorie free!! You can definitely torpedo an otherwise good diet with sugary drinks and soda. My next food goal is cut out my one diet soda a day.

I hope this tips hope those of you out there who are trying to eat healthier and just live a healthier lifestyle in general!!

Beth :o)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Overnight oats

Night before
 I have been following other healthy eating blogs over the last six months or so to get new food ideas and exercise motivation/tips. One thing I have seen in a couple of places (Fannetastic Food and Hungry Runner) is overnight oats. I was intrigued and finally decided to try it last week.

Overnight oats is basically oatmeal from scratch where you just mix it up the night before and put it in the fridge so the oats soak up the liquid. Some people just eat it cold the next morning, but that kind of weirds me out. So, I just heat it up in the microwave the next morning.

The key I have found is finding the right amount of liquid so it is the right consistency to your liking. I first did it with 1 cup of milk, but that was too much liquid and a little too milky. So I went with 1/2 cup soy milk and 1/4 cup water... pretty good. I have done this a couple times. I did make the mistake of doing it too early one night and the liquid had too much time to soak in (7-8 hours in the fridge is good).

The next morning!
I think it has turned out pretty well and without all the sugar that comes in instant oatmeal! I am looking forward to trying new combinations... the possibilities are endless!!

Here is what I have been doing:

1/2 cup of Silk's light vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup of rolled/quick oats
1/4 cup of water
1 ripe banana sliced
Healthy sprinkling of cinnamon
Little bit of nutmeg
1/8 cup of raisins
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Microwave for about 2 minutes in the morning and done!

Does anyone else have any tips or other good overnight oat combos?

Beth :o)