Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Man of the Hour

Growing up in the 80s, there were a lot of health and exercise gurus who supposedly inspired us to get up and get moving... Jane Fonda, Cindy Crawford, etc. But it's only one man who truly inspires me: Richard Simmons. Okay, don't laugh. Have you actually ever done a Sweating to the Oldies tape? I HAVE. I bought it off Ebay as kind of a gag gift to myself a few years ago. I didn't get around to trying it until this past fall. All I can say is... don't knock it until you try it. Sweatin' to the Oldies (the original, not its sequels) actually gets you moving AND sweating. Now, I'm not saying that I get a visit from Richard everyday. He's saved for special times when I'm feeling down or it's gloomy out, because, let's face it. Who can watch Richard Simmons with a straight face? I know I can't. I smile just thinking about his crazy antics, his sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzling moves, and his sincere encouragement. If you don't know anything about him, he's an FSU grad like myself (!!) and has battled a weight problem since he was a young man. I admire him because he doesn't look at overweight people as failures or hopeless cases. And sometimes, while working out, you just need to smile and remember why you're doing this: to be HEALTHY. Thanks Richard :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

I am uncoordinated :(

Part of my reinvigoration after my week of losing nothing is to try some different types of cardio, along with the Biggest Loser workout. So, on Saturday, I went to Sam's to get some dryer sheets and decided to look at their videos. I settled on a three pack of Prevention videos. The one that sucked me into that particular grouping was the dance workout. I love dance, and I used to take dance lessons when I was younger up until my senior year in high school.

I guess sometimes I like to forget that my senior year in high school was 11 years ago.

After doing my squats and lunges with Bob, I put in the new dance video... and proceeded to trip over my feet and twist my knee in ways that it shouldn't be twisted. I've come to the conclusion that I need to change out of my bulky New Balances into my nice sleek Pumas (or even barefoot!) when I do these exercises. If you've ever taken hip hop or jazz, you know that you're going to be wearing these sleek leather "shoes" that weigh next to nothing. Not New Balances that were designed for running or walking!! So, maybe I'm not uncoordinated. My shoes just make me that way :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Maintainence Crew

It was a slow week... I didn't lose an ounce, but I didn't gain one either. For that I'm grateful. This week seems to have flown by in a cloud of work and stress. Although I have been dedicated to keeping my workout schedule, one thing I haven't been doing is eating my veggies. (I've been keeping a food diary, and therefore, it allows me to go back and look at what I did last week to lose weight, and what I didn't do this week to achieve the same results). This week, I've taken a salad as my work lunch each day. I thought this would be one way that I would definitely get my veggie intake up. However, at the end of the day, my dinner was virtually veggie free. Veggies are not just important for the vitamins and minerals they provide us, but also they help to fill us up. They're full of fiber, which help to regulate our bodies intake/outake valve. And, at the end of the day, if we're trying to learn how to eat better, it isn't about counting points and seeing where you can sneak in a hot chocolate or a couple glasses of wine. It's about eating better and feeling healthier. I'm not discouraged... I know where I went wrong this week. Let's see if I can remedy it in time for next week's weigh in :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

If you like pina coladas...

and getting caught in the rain... One of my favorite songs is on the radio right now, and it reminded me of an article I read on the most fattening drinks. I know, it's the weekend, and chances are that you're going to either head over to someone's house for a party or eat out. But sometimes we need a night out for margaritas with the girls! Well, if you choose to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, remember that mixed drinks are the ones highest in calorie and fat content. So that yummy pina colada or strawberry margarita may be packing in close to 600 calories, similar to that of a grande white mocha at Starbucks! Your best bet is to indulge in a glass of white wine or a light beer, and stay away from fruity, thick mixed drinks. Remember that as you celebrate TGIF :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cooking Creations: Chicken ala Artichoke

I was bored the other night, and decided to make something new, well, at least for me. And it turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd share.

Chicken ala Artichoke

I cut a boneless, skinless chicken breast into one-inch squares (it cooks a lot faster that way!). Then, I sauteed the chicken in a small skillet with one teaspoon of olive oil. After about five to six minutes of cooking, I placed the chicken in a bowl to keep warm. Please be sure that your chicken is cooked thoroughly!!!

I added another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and sauteed one clove of garlic (smashed using my press). When the garlic was browned, I added three artichoke hearts, which I had quartered. I continued to saute the artichoke hearts in the oil for about two to three minutes, or until the edges were browned. When this happened, I added the chicken back to the pan to reheat, for about a minute.

This could taste good by itself. I served it mixed with some pasta. With the pasta, this came to eight WW points. Without, it's five points. Be sure to watch your servings. One serving of B-S chicken breast is three points, but it's about half a regular breast. Bon appetit!!

On a personal note, my aunts are doing much better. My aunt in Canada is making good progress, as of last night, much better than what she was doing over the weekend. My aunt with the knee replacement is recooperating, and is starting physical therapy today. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

I have to say the Biggest Loser episode from last night was probably one of the best of this season. I do have to wonder how all the other teams came to the conclusion that the Yellow Team was their biggest competitors. If it was me, I would have voted for the Black Team. But, as the Pink Team forshadowed, that would have been "strictly strategy." So, the plurality of votes went to the Yellow Team, which ticked big angry man off even more.

That was the point where he whipped out his old KUNG FU jacket (and about the time where, sitting at my table, eating my dinner, I started chuckling to myself). You could just tell at this point that his ex was like, oh geez NOT on TV. Paul started spouting Chinese wisdom about meek tigers tearing people apart for the fun of it. Um, and I'm supposed to believe you are a meek tiger? Yeah. Even Jillian almost peed her pants when she saw him in that jacket.

But WOW... the Yellow Team pulled it off. Not only did they win the Challenge, but they also won the weigh-in. Did the Blue and Orange Team help them pull it off? Maybe... but if I was them, I'd be mighty mad that I threw my weigh in to help the Pink Team get kicked off. All those niceties that the Yellow Team did for their competitors (the pictures and letters) will be forgotten next week because the Black Team is still there. What angers me is that Big Angry Man (Paul) is the one running the Yellow Team show. He doesn't treat his ex as a teammate, he makes all the decisions, and he royally screwed her for the next time they are on the chopping block.

On another note.... I'd like you to keep two of my aunts in your prayers or thoughts during the next few days. One of my aunts is recovering from majorly invasive surgery in Toronto right now, and another of my aunts is getting a knee replacement this morning. It's a hard time for my family so any good vibes coming our way will help. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sweetness... gone

If you know anything about me, it's that I enjoy sweet things. Ever since my grandmother developed diabetes over a decade ago (more like 15 years ago) I incorporated Equal into my drinks, whether iced tea, coffee, or whatever. However, I've been reading more and more about the bad effects that these artificial sweeteners could have on your body. That's why I've cut my Equal per coffee cup. The women on my health and fitness board have encouraged us to just drink coffee black, but I can't do it. And I tried! So I've gone from four packets of Equal down to two. And you know what? Coffee doesn't taste that bad.

Have you tried ultra-skim milk yet? I grew up on whole milk. My family came from a farm in Italy before they moved to the US in the 1960s. To quote my mom, skim milk is water. It's what my grandfather used to throw away after he made cheese. After I moved on my own, I've weaned myself down from whole to 2%, 2% to 1%... but I couldn't make that jump to skim, because, to me, it DID taste like water. Sometimes, I like to drink a glass of milk, and I couldn't do that with skim. One of my coworkers mentioned the idea of "ultra skim" milk. I haven't found this anywhere else but at Walmart, but the ultra skim TASTES like 2%. It's amazing.

Tonight's Biggest Loser Tuesday... and since I don't have my business dinner anymore, I'll be able to tune into the whole two hours.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Emotional Eating

According to the weather report, it didn't get above 13 degrees today, and at 7AM tomorrow, when I wake up, it will be 3 degrees. When did I move to the Artic???

Today, I read a post on my health and fitness board about emotional eating. This is a touchy subject for me, especially since I *think* I am an emotional eater. Granted, sometimes I think I eat because I'm bored. For instance, if I buy a bag of chips or cheetos (a big weakness of mine!!), I will easily eat the whole bag in a matter of days. The ironic thing is that in buying that bag of cheetos at the store, I will make a mental note that they are "natural" and that in one serving, I should only have 27 cheetos. Then, I'll go home and eat half of the bag. Argh.

Recently, I bought a tray of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. There were six of them in the tray. Twice, I ate two of them in one night. Why? Was I upset? No. Was I hungry? Not particularly. Was I bored? Probably.... and I recognize this is a problem. It's especially a problem when I have a refrigerator FULL of healthy alternatives, like oranges, pickles, carrots, grapes, or even sugar free Jello.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to treat myself like any addict and cut myself off cold turkey. Compulsive eating is like smoking... if you're trying to quit, keeping a pack of "lites" around the house for the occasional smoke isn't going to help you quit. Instead, you'll find yourself lighting up more, because you're rationalizing that because they are "lites" it's okay for you to smoke them. Just like it's not okay to have two Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches because it says "Skinny Cow" on the label.

This week, I'm sticking to healthy alternatives. If I'm going to have a treat (which I'm planning on doing on Tuesday night when I go to a job-related dinner), I'll enjoy it there, away from my house, which is a bad-snack free zone :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

3.4 pounds!

That's how much weight I lost this week. It isn't a heck of a lot, but considering that I gained about five pounds over Christmas, that's great. Maybe something that is bringing me down a bit is the fact that my friend who started WW last week lost over 5 pounds. I know when you start a new diet, you lose faster, but at the same time, I am a bit green over her numbers.

It doesn't help that I met a friend for wings yesterday. This was something that the X and I used to do all the time: wings and beer. It had been about six months since I've done this, just before X and I split. I ordered eight wings and a small order of onion rings and a coke. I really should have went with a diet Coke, but I wasn't thinking. Actually, I was. I thought to myself, f this. I haven't had wings in FOREVER. I really really want them. And you know what? They were great. I ate about five of my eight wings, the onion rings, and about half of my coke. Sometimes you do need to splurge. But I can't help looking at that 3.4 pound weight loss and wondering if it could have been higher had I not eaten crazy yesterday.

Yesterday, I did the Biggest Loser Vol. 1 boot camp workout... oh geez! It was a complete butt kicker. My arms are still sore from all the work that I did. However, it was a great workout, and it seemed like it was over before it even began (except for when we were holding the weights out to the side! I'm really loving this Biggest Loser workout DVD. I think Bob is a great motivator, and what I like most is the fact that the contestants who have lost weight still look like NORMAL people... not the super skinny models that are used on usual workout DVDs.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ug... my tummy

I haven't been feeling well over the past few days. Namely, I've woken up NOT hungry and have had a hard time eating all day. I have been keeping up with my exercise schedule, but when it comes to food, I find it revolting and a bit nauseating. Please don't let me get sick this weekend :)

I've started week two of the Biggest Loser exercise DVD. Sometimes I think Bob is on crack. If this is the high intensity workout out, why am I not sweating more than the low intensity workout?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Buh-bye White Team!

I admit to missing the first 45 minutes of the Biggest Loser last night (it was my mom's birthday, so I was on the phone...). What the heck was up with that challenge? Not knowing what was going on, it looked a lot like each team had to bring another team a ball... I didn't get it. But the weigh in: what a surprise! I can't believe the Yellow Team bounced back like that! To beat the Orange Team (who are one of my favorites)!!

As for the two bottom teams, I kind of feel sorry for the Purple Team. I seem to lose weight at a slow pace. When I went to WW meetings, I was the person losing 2 pounds when everyone else was losing 6. It was really frustrating, and I felt like I was doing everything right. After weeks of that, I just gave up. I hope the Purple Girls don't get like that.

As for the White Team... oy. Neill is such a slacker. Dude, do you realize that if you had put your mind to it, you had a good chance of winning a quarter of a million dollars? Even if you are lazy, think of that. The best was when they were at the table and he said his wife could turn on the tears. I wondered if anyone who had voted for the Purple Team at that point wanted to take out a pen and scribble in Neill and Amanda. But, the way it looked, I don't think that anyone did vote for the Purple Team.

And next week? What is up with that? All the teams against one? And why would they choose the Yellow Team, which is what we are led to believe in the previews? Why not the Black Team, since they seem like the ones to beat? Sneaky sneaky NBC... I bet it's not the Yellow Team at all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Snow snow go away...

I woke up this morning to find two inches of snow on the ground. Grr... I'm not much of a snow driver. I lived in Florida for five years, and before that, I didn't have a car for four, so I never really learned how to drive in snow. Trial by fire for me later today!

I found a really good, low-WW points snack that I adore: 2 tablespoons of hummus (one point), one mini pita (another point), and six Sicilian cracked olives (one more point). I love ethnic foods, and this is a good energy pick me up in the middle of the afternoon. Yesterday, I actually had this for lunch, and had my lunch as a snack!

Last night, E and I went to see Juno. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it! Unfortunately, between school and vegging when I got home, that means that I didn't exercise yesterday. I made up for it by sneaking in a bottle of water in my purse, and only indulging in a few Sour Patch Kids. Tonight, if I survive my first day of classes, I'll be back to my cardio with Trainer Bob.

Ooh, Biggest Loser is on tonight! I really hope that the Yellow Team gets voted off. There's just something about the guy on that team that irks me... maybe it's because he's a little too touchy feely with his ex-wife. Makes me think, dude, if she left you, it must have been for a real reason!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I just wanna start again....

This is my first blog post... well, not ever, but at least on this blog :) In the past six months, I've decided to make some major changes in order to lead a happier life. One of these changes was moving back to Motown on my own. I thought that being part of a duo was something that I was destined for. I couldn't imagine my life without X being a part of it, since that's what I had gotten used to over the past six years. Surprisingly enough, living on my own is fabulous. I've had a great semester just being me and making new friends.

Another change that I'm making in my life is losing weight. At first, my weight loss began when I decided to move back to Motown, and really didn't have much of an appetite after making such a huge change. However, once I started eating again, I decided that there was no reason for me to continue being a 27 year old woman, who at 5'1 was obese. I hate that word, obese... it has all sorts of nasty connotations. But at the same time, I want to change for me. I want to learn how to cook healthy for myself, I want to learn how to enjoy exercise, and I want to be able to live a life without worrying about the sicknesses that come with obesity. I've been lucky so far in that I have not dealt with any of these sicknesses, but our bodies can only take so much. It is only a matter of time before it catches up with me.

So far, I've lost 22 pounds. I have to admit that I had lost more weight previous to the holidays, but my Italian family makes food too well for me not to indulge at home! All the nut tussies and amaretto cookies that my mom made has finally caught up with me. I was on Weight Watchers in 2004, and I lost 20 pounds on that before I gave up. This year, I've decided to try WW on my own. My budget is a bit tight, so I can't indulge in weekly meetings. However, I've started keeping a food journal, similar to what I used in WW. That will help keep track of my eating habits and what I need to change to move on to lose more weight.

I plan on doing weekly weigh-ins, as it is very easy for me to become obsessed with numbers. I don't want to become one of those women who weighs herself every morning and freaks out over a .4 lb gain. So, I've hidden my scale in my closet, only to be taken out on Saturday mornings.

In this blog, I plan on sharing my thoughts on exercise, losing weight, healthy recipes I've tried out, and, of course, commentary on The Biggest Loser, which has quickly become one of my favorite reality shows. And I look forward to sharing this journey with you!!