Monday, December 3, 2012
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 Nutritionella.com. 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!!!
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 Greenlitebites.com.
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 Greenlitebites.com)
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 (Skinnytaste.com)
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.
Monday, November 26, 2012
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.
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
|Me quite wind-blown post race.|
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 minutes...it 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.
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
|A fast 3-mile run for me!|
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!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
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.|
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.
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.|
Friday, September 28, 2012
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!|
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?
Thursday, September 27, 2012
|I am happy to be done running!!|
I struggled a little bit...more than I thought after being sidelined for a week and a half. My cardio capacity was fine, but my legs were tired and knees ached. I think my legs just aren't used to running and I have lost my comfortable running pace. I had gotten used to doing a sort of running shuffle that took some of the pressure off my knees and didn't use my calves as much.
Rest tomorrow and running 6 miles on Saturday. I have to keep preparing for my 10K on Oct. 27!!! My husband is running 17.5 (holy crap!) on Saturday in preparation for a November marathon... I think we will both have earned a relaxing Saturday!! :o)
Friday, September 21, 2012
Day 1: Does getting around the house and in/out of cars count as exercise? I decided to let things heal some before I try to start walking. Splurged on a iced latte with a birthday gift card (thanks Janet!)... at least it was sugar free! ;o)
Day 2: Slightly less than a mile walk (1 small loop) around the neighborhood. Not bad... better than I thought actually. My husband and dog, Lucy, walked with me. And my mother-in-law made me crab cakes for my birthday... sweet!
Day 3: 4.5 miles!! (3 bigger loops around the neighborhood) It went pretty well. My knee started hurting a little, but I think the joint just might have been stiff from lack of movement. I had hubby and puppy for company again. I think I made pretty good food choices.
Day 4: 4.5 miles on the treadmill. I started out slow and increased the speed somewhat slowly. I topped out at 3.4 speed. I tried 3.5 for a bit, but then my leg started to hurt. Packed snacks and dinner for work, but fell victim to a mini cupcake. At least I didn't also try the chocolate frosting covered brownies in the break room!
Day 5: 4.5 miles around the neighborhood... part of the time with the hubby and puppy. Legs felt pretty good. It was nice to enjoy the cooler weather... it almost felt like fall!! A Clif bar snack and pasta with dinner may not have been the best decision for keeping my carbs on the low side... oh well. The rest of the day was pretty good nutritionally.
Day 6: 30 minutes (1.5ish miles) on the treadmill a little faster than I did earlier this week. And I added 30 minutes on the elliptical... it was a nice change of pace and I actually got a little sweaty!! My leg feels fine. Making my own caprese salad for lunch...yum!
Day 7: 31 minutes (1.8ish miles) on the treadmill and 31 minutes on the elliptical. I went a little faster this time. Fixed a salad for dinner. Very excited to get the stitches out on Monday!!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
My healthy living goals got a little sidelined this past Friday. Just after I got out of the shower, I felt overheated. I was already feeling a little dehydrated (gotta drink more water!). I went to leave the bathroom with a glass of water in my hand and I blacked out for a few seconds. (Note to self: No more glassware in the bathroom!!)
I woke up to my husband at the bathroom door asking if I was OK. I apparently fell, hit my head and the glass broke cutting me in a bunch of places. A bump on my head, a bruised ego and 12 stitches later I am healing. Friday was actually my birthday... not the best way to start off my 31st year!!
And apparently, running is frowned upon when you have stitches on your leg. Weights apparently also not a good idea when your other stitches are on your shoulder. Hmm... sidelined for 10 days. I never thought I would be upset by not being able to work out!!
So here's my plan: Walking as much as I can and make sure my eating is on point this week. I don't want to lose muscle or gain any weight if I can help it!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I hate the heat. The hottest July on record does not help either. I am so looking forward to fall's cooler temperatures and lower humidity. We may be past the worst of it, but unfortunately those fall temps are probably still a couple months away for me.
I just came back from a three-miler and I am soaked with sweat. It wasn't that hot, even a breeze every now and then, but it was quite humid. Humidity is like a straight pin popping a balloon... it seems to take all the air out of a run. I am slower, crankier and sweatier (which I didn't think was possible.) Running definitely does not come naturally to me and humidity just makes it harder.
But I don't think there is much I can do about it - with the exception of leaving the United States' sauna... a.k.a the South.
I hear about dedicated runners getting up at 5 a.m. or before to beat the heat/humidity. This is so not happening. Besides the fact that I am not a morning person, my work schedule does not allow for me to be up that early. I get home from work about 11 p.m. every night and about the earliest I can get up is around 7 a.m. And then I always eat breakfast, have a cup of coffee, etc. before I run. Usually it is about 9 a.m. before I get on the road, but hey at least I am doing it!
Well, there is my rant/whine about the heat and humidity. Any runners with any summer running tips?
Friday, July 20, 2012
I am the lightest I have been in my adult life and probably in the best shape I have ever been in. I am also almost at the 50-pound weight loss mark. Hard to believe I have come this far. It has taken a lot of work and dedication. It does help quite a bit that my husband has been a huge supporter and going along the journey with me. He has lost almost 100 pounds now!!
|Our before picture... April 2011.|
Friday, July 13, 2012
I didn't run at all last week. I didn't want to risk it in triple-digit heat and running on treadmills doesn't agree with my knees.
But then there was rain, rain and more rain. I can't win!! But finally, Thursday after almost two weeks since my last run, I had an opportunity and I grabbed it. The weather was not too hot and finally no rain.
It was actually a good run. I ran two big loops around the neighborhood for about 3 miles. I even had a little milestone. I actually ran 1.5 miles without taking a walking break! I know that is not much for some of you serious runners out there, but it was huge for me. I am sure I could have done it previously, but I think my brain has finally gotten caught up with my physical abilities. I am sure my extra spin classes and elliptical time have helped my cardio capacity as well.
Anyway, it was nice to get back to running and to have a good run at the same time. I actually don't hate running any more... hard to believe, I know!! Hopefully, the heat this summer won't keep me from running.
Happy running everyone!!
Sidenote: Even after losing almost 50 pounds, I hate bathing suit shopping. I tried on quite a few. I am convinced that none of the cute ones are made for anyone over the age of 20 or bigger than a size 6. Boo on that!! I found something that I think will work, but not before getting annoyed in the process!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I am not really one for experimenting when it comes to cooking. I have certain things that I know how to make and family recipes that I have written down. The problem with some of the recipes I know and love is that they are not all that healthy. I decided last week to try out a healthier recipe for pasta salad via one of my favorite healthy eating blogs, SkinnyTaste.
I took the opportunity to try it out on my in-laws and I think it turned out pretty well. A serving is only supposed to be about 115 calories, so that sounded great to me.
I did make some adjustments to the recipe and have ideas for what I want to do next time. I bought all of the ingredients according to the recipe except I used rotini wheat pasta which we already had at the house. I think the wheat pasta worked great in it.
The recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I think next time I will use balsamic vinegar to add a little more of a punch to it. I always have that around (had to buy the red wine vinegar). And I think less mayo and more greek yogurt would taste just fine.
We had it as a side for pork, but I think it would great for a cookout as well. Leftovers were just as tasty - if not more - and I made it a whole meal out of it by adding a pouch of Starkist tuna one day for lunch.
I count this experiment a success!!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I just hate the sticky feeling while running. I sweat a lot... kinda like a large, hairy man. The super hot N.C/Va. summers do not help. My clothing - and hair - gets soaked and I end up sweating into my eyes. Not fun people! I came back from a run the other week and my father-in-law asked if I had jumped in the shower with my clothes on... sigh.
This week, however, I have gotten a reprieve. Typically, I have been doing two short runs (3 miles) and one long run (6 miles) a week. Keep in mind my "runs" do involve some walking breaks... I am not quite up to running the whole time yet. We have been lucky to have two days with only highs in the 80s and I have taken advantage by running two days in a row. This weekend, however, looks like the triple digits will keep me from running my long run. Guess, I will have to stick to finding ways inside the gym (i.e. spin) to get my cardio time in.
Any tips to running in the heat? I have been trying to wear cool clothing, sunscreen and making water available. I really could use some sort of headband to keep try to keep sweat out of my eyes.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
I am slightly obsessed with hummus. Some people (i.e. my hubby) might even say I have a problem!
There are much worse foods I could be stuck on. Chickpeas are good, but the tahini does add quite a bit of fat to the dish. But my main problem is what I like to dip in the hummus. These little things called Pretzel Crisps. All well and good if you can stick to the serving size - which I can do, sometimes. I think they are part wheat and part crack! ;)
One thing in my diet that I need to work on is more whole foods like veggies/fruit and less Pretzel Crisps. Maybe my hummus problem wouldn't be that bad if I was dipping cukes or green pepper strips in that hummus (I am partial to the roasted red pepper variety.).
This post is making me hungry! Off to go find some food...
Running is not easy for me. Never has been. I can't run for more than a mile without a walking break. I have been doing run/walk intervals when I run. For the longest time, I have been stuck at running for three minutes and walking for two. Part of it is mental, I think. Going up to that four minutes of running just seemed so hard - and my calves burned a lot.
My husband (who is a trainer and soon-to-be marathoner) suggested I change my gait. I had him watch me run and we talked about the running shuffle. Basically, not making my stride so long...it is apparently more efficient and more of the strain is on bigger muscles like the quads and hamstrings.
So far, I would say it has worked great! Although it has initially slowed my running down a little, I can run for a lot longer distance. My first "shuffling" run I ran for 10 minutes straight!! That may not seem like much to some natural runners, but it was a huge milestone for me!!.
I think I will keep shuffling along!! ;)
Friday, June 1, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
I don't love the process of moving. There is still stuff to be moved, but I am starting to get settled in the new job with a new routine. It has been a little hard adjusting since I had been at the same employer for eight years.
Moving didn't really help with my 5K training. But I made it through and the 5K went great! (Race recap and pictures to come.) Somehow my weight has still gone down (not much, but still!) throughout the moving process and I am figuring out a workout routine at my new gym.
Update: Running in shorts is not for me, yet. I tried it and they started riding up within 30 seconds of running on the treadmill... sigh.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On Sunday, I had the first opportunity to use the water belt. My husband and I went to a canal trail for our workout. He ran 10(!) miles while I was just focusing on time. I am doing running/walking intervals and trying to increase my running times ever so slowly.
I was even somewhat color coordinated (actually unintentional!). Note the shirt, it is a somewhat slick workout shirt material. Bad move to use this with the belt. Also, note where on my hips the water belt started.
My first two running bursts I wanted to rip the belt off and throw it in the woods. It kept sliding up and spinning around. The belt would end up about where old men put theirs and the water bottle ended up somewhere unreachable. I tried tightening it twice. Finally I gave up and tightened it as much as could around the smallest part of my waist. Maybe not cute, but it was bearable. The water bottle/holster still slid to the back, but that was ok... since it was so high my arms would have knocked into it otherwise. And there was the swishing sound every time I ran...
But, the belt and I reached some sort of equilibrium and I was grateful to have the water.
Any suggestions for hydration while running?!
Friday, May 4, 2012
My 5K in a couple of weeks has the potential to be a quite humid and hot N.C. evening and I figured shorts might be in order.
But, there is no way I am wearing shorts for the 5K without first trying them out. I don't want to be miserable midway through the race. For all you ladies, I am sure you have experienced the annoying shorts that ride up. It doesn't help either if your thighs are rubbing together and there is chafing involved!!
Test 1: Walking on treadmill, elliptical and arc trainer all good. No riding up or anything. (Note: No shorts on spin bikes!!)
Next week I will try them out actually running!
I always thought it was just me who struggled with these things. It takes a lot for me to stick to my training schedule and I am not even running the whole time.
A lot of regular runners just make it look easy... they are just glowing and bounding along. I always feel like I look like I am on death's door — dripping sweat, out of breath, annoyed and just want to stop.
Apparently, I am not the only one feels this way about running. I have talked about trying to convince myself to run to that next mailbox or finish the block. A couple of people have said to me, "That's running." I guess it is not just me.
I don't think my brain has caught up to what my body can do. That is going to take some adjusting. That is part of the reason I am slowing down my training slightly. I hope my brain will hurry and catch up to the rest of me!
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Oh yeah, and just stress in general.
I am determined to get back on track and not let one blah week get in my way!
So, this week I am making a bit of a tweak to my training schedule. To get myself mentally and physically back on track, I am re-doing last week's running plan. Basically I am sticking to my run 3 minutes and walk 2 minutes intervals. If I feel up to it, I will go to 4 minutes running.
Today, I did Zumba, weights and 30 minutes of extra cardio. I am getting in some running tomorrow along with some Turbo Kick... wish me luck!!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Shoes are probably the most important, but having the wrong clothing can be quite annoying.
As I have lost weight and started running, I have picked up some new workout capris that are more fitted and a few new tops. The bottoms I have gotten have turned out great... no problems there. The tops, on the other hand have given me some issues.
Then, I ran intervals in my new top. Every time I ran, up rode the top and I would have to pull it down every time I walked. It got quite annoying after 30 minutes of that. I decided try out the top in Zumba and then Turbokick. Unfortunately, jumping of any kind produced the same results.
I guess that shirt is resigned to the elliptical machine and other tame workouts. Sigh.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I have never been a runner. I dreaded P.E. growing up and was that kid picked last for teams. One thing I don't come to naturally - among many things - is athletic ability.
My weight has fluctuated over the years and my husband I decided to start getting healthy in August 2011. It has been a struggle, but I have lost more than 40 pounds now and am just shy of reaching my goal weight.
Training and running races has become a major motivator for my husband. I decided, despite my distaste for running, to give it a try. Around Thanksgiving, I ran an informal Turkey Trot 5K. Finish time was 43ish minutes. Next was the Cupid Crawl in February. Finish time of 39:47!! A good improvement and no actual training beyond my normal workouts.
This time, I have a training regimen. On May 19 I will be running the Bright Night 5K. My hope is to improve my time to around 35 minutes. Week two of training and so far, so good!