Good Old Fashioned Diet & Exercise

Photo Source:  Grosvenor and Smolin; Visualizing Nutrition.  

I'm a big one for TV munching!! Behavior modification is ongoing

Isn't it funny how we know exactly what we should do but often find it so hard to do it? The formula is simple and yet we search for all kinds of gimmicks, extreme diets and other ways to get out of it.  Eat less, exercise more.  Eat anything in moderation.  Do not overindulge in high sugar and high fat foods.   That's it.  That pic is from my Nutrition book but it doesn't take a nutrition class to figure this out.

Mj lost 20 lbs in 90 days on his Beach Body Challenge doing just that.  Plain old fashioned diet and exercise.  The first three months it was mainly about eating healthy, drinking Shakeology for breakfast and doing P90X2.   There were times when he was so exhausted and sore but he kept up with his work out plan.  I felt bad because I didn't really notice the results so much; probably because I see him everyday.  I couldn't figure out where this 20 lbs even came from because I didn't think he needed to lose any weight in the first place.  Then he showed me his before and after pics.  I was shocked!!  How did this happen right before my eyes without me noticing?  Bad wife.  He lost inches all over his body but the most improved area is his chest, stomach and upper body.    He looks great but he wants to keep going.  I thought he'd about lost his mind when he decided to do another cycle for 60 days.  He had a splurge week after his first 90 days but then he started right back in on his regimen.  Now that he's just trying to maintain and continue toning he's started mixing in other exercise with the P90X2.  He is increasing his protein intake and he does allow himself more splurges then before.  I'm so proud of him for sticking to it.  He's busy going to school full time and working but he made time for this and didn't make any excuses.  Loosing weight is hard but he set his mind to it and he did it.  My husband was already hot but now he's even hotter!  Lucky me.

I've been sticking with my work outs too.  I discovered that (surprise surprise) I can actually live without carbs when I experimented with an extreme Low Carb Diet.   It made me more aware of just how much carbs and sugar I typically eat and I've actually cut down on both a lot.  Not that I'm ever gonna give 'em up altogether.  No way.

It's so much easier to work on being fit and healthy when both partners are on board.  There are times when I don't really plan on going to the gym but Mj will get up and go on one of his 8:30am 40 mile bike rides on Saturday or go play basketball Sunday morning.  I'll just be laying there in bed not doing much of anything except feeling like a lazy slug so I think to myself; I might as well go to the gym or do a work out video.  When he's good, he's very good but when he's bad he's very, very bad and he corrupts me with donuts and pizza when I'm trying to be good but for the most part we are both really into eating healthy.  We've been eating chicken breast and veggies for dinner like it's going out of style and we haven't cooked any dinners at home involving pasta all year.  If I constantly had someone waving fast food french fries or cookies in front of my face all the time and laying around on the couch all day it would make it so much harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I was so stubborn before.  I refused to work out.  I didn't need to lose weight and I watch what I eat so I felt like I could get away with it but our bodies always need exercise.  Fitting exercise into my life felt impossible and I didn't have the motivation to even try but I'm so glad I changed my ways so we can be fit and healthy together.  It's important that we do it for ourselves AND each other.

Our Fridge is Outta Control

Our refrigerator had gotten out of control.  Mj is basically unstoppable when it comes to the way he throws things back in the fridge without regard to where they came from after he takes them out.  Accordingly, I gave up on asking him to try to put stuff back where he found it.  The freezer is fine because stuff that comes out of there usually stays out.  Turns out there is a reason for putting the cheese, lunch meat and the vegetables back where you found them and it wasn't just me being an OCD naggy wife.  After a while I couldn't find anything.  I'd open the doors to look and then say forget it and just ask Mj if he knew if we had anymore egg beaters or whatever else I was looking for because I'd given up on trying to dig through the mess that had become our fridge.  Nothing seemed to fit and everything was crammed everywhere into every nook and cranny.   
After a good cleaning and organization

I got really annoyed every time I needed to get something and told Mj he needs to organize this fridge.  Not because I didn't want to.  I've done it before...and look how that turned out.  I just thought it might be something that he'd maintain if it was his project and he did it himself.  Well, not surprisingly that didn't happen and I finally had enough.  I got tired of cramming things in, wrenching things out and digging around whenever I needed something.  Our refrigerator is a good size, we don't even have THAT much food and there is no reason that everything shouldn't fit.  I announced that I was fed up and couldn't take it anymore. Not only was this refrigerator getting re organized but it's dirty and it needs a good cleaning.  I took everything out including the one removable shelf and the drawers.  Mj washed those out while I went about scrubbing down the shelves.  One by one I put every single item back and a miracle happened.  Everything fit with room to spare.  We'd only removed a few items and trashed them so basically the same amount of food that was crammed in there before now fit with no problem.

That very night Mj threw an onion in the door after he used it.  "Why did you do that?"  I asked.  "I don't know."  He moved it.  Then, he caught himself as he was about to put the lunch meat in some random place.  Progress.  I'm hoping that actually seeing how non functional our refrigerator had become will get him to see how the simple act of putting stuff back where you got it can make a big difference over the long term.  I can always hope right?

Low Carb Diet Experiment

Pizza is my favorite food in the whole wide world, I'm a calorie tracker, I have a sweet tooth and I rarely taste a bread I don't like.  I watch my calories and fat so as long as I stay where I want there I don't worry about the rest of it so much.  I have pretty much accepted that I am powerless when it comes to carbs. Being a fat and calorie counting carbohydrate junkie is totally at odds with a low carb diet.  Which is why I never ever considered in a million years ever ever trying it.  EVER.  You want me to give up carbs for even one single day?  I simply can't do it.  My daily breakfast alone has about 30 and I like it that way.  I'm very stubborn about what I like to eat and Carbs are in darn near everything so it didn't seem possible.  Mj decided to try the low carb thing last week and at first I didn't even think about it but I changed my mind.  I always wondered what the heck I was supposed to eat on a low carb diet so for three days I found out.

Day 1 Breakfast:  Egg Beaters with Jack Cheese and Bacon (0 carbs)

Day 1 Lunch:  Almonds (6 carbs), Cheese (0)

Day 1 Dinner:  Lo Sodium Ham (1 carb) , lettuce (8), Cabbage (1) and Cheese (0)

What I Ate
When some people think of cutting carbs they think about cutting out bread and pasta.  But on an extreme low carb diet of 50 grams per day you quickly realize that actually won't cut it because just about everything has carbs.   Even a nice low calorie healthy Yoplait yogurt or an Apple might not really be an option because 23 carbs is a lot when you can only have 50 in a day.  Incidentally, that yogurt is more then my double fiber bread which is 19.  Go figure.  For breakfast I did egg beaters or a hard boiled egg.  I microwaved the egg beaters in a mug at work and with a slice of bacon mixed in it was really good.  For the eggs I'd eat one whole hard boiled and only the egg whites of the second to avoid all that cholesterol.  I still wanted my morning coffee and I need my creamer so I had to give up 5 precious carbs for that.  For lunch it was string cheese, almonds or a pickle.  Dinner was lunch meat (ham), cheese and lettuce wraps and roasted cabbage and snack time was more cheese.   And another slice of ham if I felt my stomach grumbling.  It was cool to realize that I really didn't miss the bread all that much when I ate the lettuce wraps.  I never ever thought I'd say that.  We have a bi weekly meeting that we order cookies for and I have never ever NOT eaten one, or two, or three.  But on day two I simply couldn't spend 19 calories on a cookie so as delicious as they looked and smelled I had to pass.  On Day 3 I managed to limit my carbs to just 8 during the work day so I could come home and eat two Carne Asada Tacos from one of our favorite Mexican Food Restaurants. The very thought of those tacos is what literally kept me going all day. 
Day 3 Breakfast:  Hard Boiled Eggs (1 carb)

[Not Pictured because I was so darn hungry I forgot to take a pic]
Day 3 Lunch:  Pickle (2 carbs), string cheese (0)

Day 3 Dinner:  Carne Asada Tacos with Corn Tortilla (46 carbs)
Pros and Cons
The best thing about eating low carbs is that it lowered my Sugar intake.  I just couldn't waste carbs on sweets at 19-20 carbs a pop.   If  I can't eat sweets then I gotta have something and that something was cheese which I love just about as much as I love carbs.  Eating cheese with abandon was the second best part.  The bad part about the diet is that it raised my Calories, Fat, Sodium and Cholesterol intake which is definitely not good for the long term.  Anything high in protein is typically going to be low in carbs so I could eat it but high protein often means high sodium and high cholesterol.  I can't believe how much sodium cheese has.  I kind of did this on the fly but if I'd been more prepared and not too lazy to cook I would have eaten chicken breast to add variety and beef up my skimpy lunches.  It would also keep my sodium intake down because even the low sodium lunch meat is higher then regular meat.  Fiber intake suffers too because you can't eat breads or grains.  On Day 1 I tried to still get my usual 1/2 cup of Fiber 1 cereal in and it used up 25 carbs which didn't seem worth it when I could eat cheese instead for 0 so I ditched it on day 2 and 3. I also missed eating fruit.

Nutrients:  Typical Diet Day
Saturated Fat8g
Nutrients:  Low Carb Diet Day
Saturated Fat23g

This diet had me running to the bathroom all day.  When you restrict your carbs to less then 50 grams your body goes into ketosis when it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrate reserves.  This produces ketones in the body some of which are eliminated in urine.  I was just fine on Day 1-2 but by the end of the night on day 3 I did have a slight headache.  Even after the tacos I still felt hungry and there just wasn't anything else for me to snack on.  I should have gotten pork rinds.  I love those but never let myself eat them so this would have been my chance; they are 0 carbs.  I lost 3.5 lbs in 3 days.  I did gain back 1 pound of it.  They say you actually lose water weight first so I can only imagine if I'd kept it up.  I'm stubborn and tend to think that calorie count is the end all be all so I guess I really didn't want to believe it but not all calories are created equal.  Duh.  Cutting carbs really does work.  I felt like some kind of science experiment as I read about the side effects I was experiencing and why it was happening.

 Focusing on carbs totally changed what I eat.  I discovered I really like sandwiches with no bread aka lettuce wraps and I'll probably start mixing egg beaters in with my usual morning breakfast.  Turns out that I am not totally powerless when it comes to carbs; it's just so much easier to give in.  I don't see it as a long term lifestyle diet for me.  Fifty is just way to extreme to stick with and I find it way harder to eat low carb then low cal.   I'd probably get better at figuring out what to eat to keep the Fat and Sodium levels down but overall I just think it would be too hard to maintain and keep those numbers low enough to not be bad for my heart.  Plus, I'd be pretty darn miserable.  I could see limiting them to 100 if I've overindulged and want to cut back but 50 may not ever happen again.  It's interesting to see how focusing on a different number dictates a whole different diet. And that's just the thing.  You can't focus on just carbs or just calories and fat because the body actually needs it all.

You Are Enough

I didn't realize how much it would mean or that I even needed to hear it at all until I did.  As I sat in my car outside work and finished listening these powerful words brought tears to my eyes and touched a place deep within my heart.
You are beautiful.  You are enough.  The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough.  You are not thin enough.  You are not tan enough.  You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough.  Your teeth are not white enough.  Your legs are not long enough.  Your clothes are not stylish enough.  You are not educated enough.  You don’t have enough experience.  You are not creative enough.

There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, (and most unfortunately) a pornography industry: and all of these have unique ways of communicating to bright young women: you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough.

You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. None of it.

You were created for a purpose, exactly so.  You have innate value.  You are loved more than you could ever comprehend; it is mind-boggling how much you are adored.  There has never been, and there will never be another you.  Therefore, you have unique thoughts to offer the world.  They are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them.

You are beautiful.  You are valuable.  You are enough.

I'm smiling up at my husband
I know how it feels to be that girl who feels worthless and does not believe she is good enough.  I never believed in myself and felt I had nothing to offer.  I've come such a long way towards accepting and finding the good in myself after spending so many years tearing myself down.  I am not the same person I was in my teens and 20's and that's a good thing. Some measure of peace and acceptance has come with age, life experiences and a wonderful husband and for that I am grateful.  Had I heard these same words back then they would have made me cry but I probably wouldn't have believed them for even a second.  Today they not only made me cry but I actually believe them to be true.  I cried for the sad and depressed teenage girl I used to be but then I smiled at the more confident and happy woman I have become.

This is #10.  You can find the rest of Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls on Kate Connor's blog Lilly Pads.  Thank you Kate for writing this and thank you AJ of from Star 94.1 for seeing the value in this and sharing it on the radio.  I'm sure I'm not the only girl who needed to hear it.  I'm not a teenager anymore but I can still relate.  It applies to women of all ages.

Wine Tasting and a Picnic

Friday I had the day off.  I spent the morning running errands then my big sister and nephew came down and we met some friends for lunch.  We stayed up late watching a movie and had a great time.  I love spending time with her. 

It was so cool to wake up Saturday morning after having such a great day off Friday and still have my whole weekend to look forward to.  Aren't three day weekends the best?  We live just a little over an hour away from wine country but I've never ever been.  For Christmas my mom got Mj and I a Living Social Deal for Wine Tasting at Danza Del Sol Winery so we finally made it up there.  I was so worried about the weather spoiling our outing.  It has been a little chilly and rainy lately but this day could not have been more perfect.  It was a balmy 81 degrees.  The winery grounds were really green and beautiful.  We got a 20 minute tour, six tastings and a bottle of wine of our choice to take home.  They had some really tasty sweet wines.  We also used our 10% off for the day to buy an extra one.  It was fun.  I managed to get a little tipsy off of my tastings so Mj had to drive us to our next stop. 

Turns out that the winery didn't have a grassy area for a picnic so we went to a nearby park called Lake Skinner.  It was so pretty and peaceful out there.   It's been a while since we had a picnic.  We do it pretty simple.  Just wine, cheese, crackers, Olive Bruschetta, Naan Bread, lunch meat and grapes.  We ate and enjoyed the scenery and then fell asleep.  I love a good afternoon nap and one at the park is even better.  I drifted off to sleep with the feel the warm breeze on my face and the sounds of birds and people laughing in the distance.  It was so soothing and relaxing.  We spent three hours there on that blanket under a tree just chillin'.
What a great weekend it was.  Too bad it goes by so fast.  Monday morning will be a rude awakening.

Birthday Spoils

A night out downtown

Basil, Ricotta and Mozzarella Cheese Pizza.  Their Pizza is sooooo good.
Yes, I'm an April Fool's Day Baby.  My Birthday was on Sunday but I actually started celebrating last weekend.  It's a big one.  Why not?  Mj and I met up with a bunch of his friends downtown at a cool loft like urban bar called Basic that basically only serves Pizza and salad.  They provide paper plates to eat it on.  You know, Basic.  But their Pizza is anything but.  Who knew that Mashed Potato Pizza would actually taste good?   We ordered three different kinds and each one was just as tasty as the one before it.  Every time they brought a pie out it was literally gone in minutes because we snatched them up so fast.  Afterward we went dancing downtown where all the hoochie mama's in their tight short dresses made me feel ancient.  I swear, I was never THAT bad!  I personally am too old to freeze my ass off in my cute LBD that I bought a while ago and still haven't had a chance to wear so I stuck with my standard leggings and boots.  We stayed out later then we have in a long time.  We were party animals!  We didn't get home until about 1:30am.

Friday night I met up with a bunch of my girlfriends and one of our favorite happy hour spots.  It's cheap, low key and we all love to go there.  We've been going there for years.  Not much has changed and that's how I like it.   They have free cheese, tortilla chips, veggies, ranch and salsa out back.  What more could I ever want?  I don't even order food when I go there.  I can get a glass of wine for $3.00 and then after that I can get it for $5.00.  It makes for a fun cheap night out.

I got a free ice cream scoop
Saturday afternoon I met up with my mom at a little mall at the half way point between where we live for some mother daughter bonding time.  She took me shopping!  I found two really cute tops and then we stopped for coffee before heading over to Spa Gregorie's.  This place is so nice.  I normally just get my pedicures at the strip mall nail shop down the street.  Those places are mills.  There is no ambiance and they massage your feet for about 2 minutes if you are lucky.  Well, when you go to a spa it's totally different.  My pedicure took one full hour which included a full on foot massage and relaxing music.  It was heaven.  They definitely charge more but like everything else you usually get what you pay for.  Mj (the sweetheart that he is) bought us both Spa Gregorie's Groupon's so we'll definitely be going back.  After that we walked over to a really nice restaurant in that same mall and had a nice dinner at Paradise Grill.  I'm in their Club so I got a free entree coupon for by Birthday.  It was such a nice day out with mom.  Oh my goodness did I ever feel spoiled; and there was more of it to come the next day.
My big sis and her husband

I love their Lasagna!! I've heard it's frozen but I don't care.

My new fav wine

I asked my family to come to us so I wouldn't have to travel anywhere for the day.  I woke up pretty early and did an exercise video.  Then I took a shower and put my robe on and watched some TV.  I got sleepy so then I took a  nap and woke up just in time to get dressed and ready.  It was a perfect relaxing start to my Birthday and then before too long it was time to chow down because I wanted us to do an early dinner.  I haven't been to Olive Garden in forever so that's the spot I chose for my Birthday dinner.  Oh Lasagna Classico how I adore you... it was just as good as I remembered.  I found my new favorite wine too.  It's called Roscato and it's basically the perfect wine for me.  It's sweet, fruity and I had my fill of it because we got a bottle for the table.  We came back to my house and lounged around a bit and then it was time for Cake.  Or should I say Cupcakes.

My nephew couldn't wait to get his hands on 'em

Mom, Dad and Nephew

Mj surprised me by making four different kinds of cupcakes from scratch three of which had Peanut Butter Frosting which he knows is my favorite.  The funny thing is that I didn't even notice that he made them.  He made Cinnamon Pound cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and Strawberry Jelly cup cakes.  I ate the Peanut Butter Cup and it was so delicious.  We each brought some to work but still I'll be eating cupcakes for days!!  Then, it was time for presents.  My little sis sent me a pretty necklace with a little wishbone on it.  My older sis got me a Pink water bottle and Pink ear buds for the gym.  Mj got me the perfect pink and black work out bag. It's so cute and stylish.  He knew I didn't want a boxy old gym bag and picked out the perfect one with plenty of extra pockets.  He also got me Under Armour work out gear and pink work out socks.  I go to the gym enough now that people actually by me work out related gifts...and I actually want them!  I was tired as heck after work but actually excited about going so I could show off use my new stuff.
Can you guess what my favorite color is? Right down to the toe nails.
I'm normally not into making much to do about by Birthday.  Half the time I beg Mj not to buy me anything and I'll often look for the cheapest place for dinner so no one has to spend too much money on my account but I must say it was nice to feel totally spoiled.  Overall I'd have to say that the agony of turning 35 was well worth it.