Progress pictures

Progress pictures!

3/4 of the way to my initial goal weight, 149lbs. I am now fitting comfortably at a size 8 (I started at a size 14 at 176lbs) The jeans I’m wearing in this picture are a size 12 (and too large on me)Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.36 AM #4 Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.36 AM Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.36 AM #2 Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.36 AM #3 Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.38 AM Photo on 3-29-13 at 7.38 AM #3

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March Recap!

Hello Friends!

I apologize for my leave of absence. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Let me fill you in on some of the highlights.

I completed Insanity!

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I got weights for home workouts!

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I started Chalean Extreme (the weights were purchased to go with this program). I’m only on the first week, but I’m really liking it so far. It’s mostly strength training and definitely different from Insanity, but I think it was the perfect choice for a post-Insanity workout.

I also purchased a Groupon for 20 outdoor bootcamp classes with Brooklyn Bad Ass Fitness. I bought Mike 10 classes so he can go with me on Saturdays. Here’s a link to the groupon if anyone is interested in purchasing it! The deal is still on! Bad Ass Brooklyn Fitness Groupon

April is the last month of the health and fitness contest I’m in, so I’m kicking it into high gear! I’m doing Chalean Extreme (5 workouts a week), 2 bootcamp classes a week (my first one will be this Saturday), and Insanity Core Cardio and Balance once a week (although I might change it for a month one Insanity exercise occasionally, just to switch things up). Here’s a peak at my calendar for April:

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I hit 3/4  of the way to my goal weight! (149lbs) Which means so far, I’ve lost 27lbs and have 9 more to go to get to my initial goal weight. I hit it last Thursday, but I was fluctuating back and forth between 149 and 150 so I wanted to wait for it to settle. I will be taking progress pictures tomorrow morning and will post them soon after.

I tried new things!

Sun Butter – very interesting nut butter (made out of sunflower seeds). I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up from Trader Joe’s, probably because I’ve never even had sunflower seeds! It was sweeter than I expected. I tried some on a slice of toast with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Granny Smith apple slices. It’s a great alternative to peanut butter for people who have nut allergies. I also tried it in this Sunflower Seed Butter Granola Bar Recipe.

Sindhri Mango

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My boyfriend picked some of these guys up from a fruit stand in China town. Delicious! They’re tangier than regular mangoes and I quite enjoyed them.

Vanilla Cultured Coconut Milk

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Another purchase from Trader Joe’s. Really yummy dairy-free alternative to yogurt. A bit expensive at 1.40 per cup, but something I’ll definitely indulge in once in a while. I actually had some with my INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS breakfast this morning. Looked a little something like this:

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Slice of whole wheat toast with raw almond butter. I took strawberries and blueberries and cooked them in a pan with honey. Put some on top of the toast and some in with the cultured coconut milk with a few multi-grain o’s.

My dad got married! It was a very small event. My dad got engaged about a year and a half ago to his lovely new wife. The ceremony included only very close friends and family followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant. Here I am sandwiched between 2 of my favorite people ever: my grandmother and my aunt.

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I unfortunately quit my job at the coffee shop. I had some personal short comings with the owners and the scheduling, so I needed to do what was best for my sanity. I had a music business related job interview last week. I got called back for a trial that happened earlier this week. I think it went well, but I know there are a lot of candidates up for the position. Keeping my fingers crossed, but not getting my hopes up. Still actively sending out my resume and trying hard to find a real full time job.

Overall, can’t complain too much. After finishing Insanity, I took it easy for a few days. I did veer off track from my diet a bit to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day and my dad’s wedding, but I’m back on now! I’ve been solid all week and plan to rock the end of this competition by doing extremely well in my diet and exercise for all of April. It will be just in time for my trips in May to New Orleans and to the Gulf Shores in Alabama for the Hang Out Music Festival. I have short shorts and bathing suits to prepare for!

Hope everyone else has been well! I promise to post progress pictures tomorrow and I also have to post recipes for veggie chilli and a roasted eggplant, tomato, pepper dish I whipped up the other day!

Wheatless Week!

As promised, I’ve decided to make a goal for myself this week. The goal is to go the week without wheat and grains!

On Monday, after my morning workout, I made myself a smoothie rather than cereal, oatmeal, or toast that I normally go for. I’ve been pretty good about cutting back on my grain consumption, but I noticed a trend of grain every morning. Not that I think it’s a bad thing to have grain in the morning, I just figured I’d challenge myself to try something different. That one meal change made me think, hey, why not go the whole day without grain? Then I followed suit on Tuesday. At this point, might as well make a whole week of it!

My purpose in making goals such as eliminating wheat/grains from my diet for a week is to be conscious of what I’m eating. What made me aware of my daily morning grain consumption was the food diary that I’m keeping for the contest I’m in. I’ve been keeping track of my meals with pictures in a word document which made it very easy to see that just about every morning started off with some type of grain. I would wake up and make myself some cereal without really thinking about it. Sure, I like how cereal tastes, and it’s convenient, but I want to have variety and discover healthy alternatives to foods, dishes, and meals that I’ve become accustomed.

This whole process of healthy eating and exercise is truly is a perpetual journey. I find that every week brings me opportunities to improve my diet and to try new things. I wanted to share some tips that I feel are useful, particularly when you’re new to healthy eating.

Take Baby Steps: Today, one of my favorite dinners is a nice bowl of roasted veggies. 4 months ago, I wouldn’t have considered that a proper meal. Before I started eating well and exercising, I was doing the exact opposite: Eating poorly and not exercising. I consumed tons of junk food, ate out often, mostly at places that served greasy and fatty foods. Whatever I felt like eating, be it pizza, a burger, pasta, I would. It would have been a mistake if I jumped right into eating what I do now, which is a mostly vegetarian clean diet. I probably would have been overwhelmed and reverted back to my old eating habits. I think it’s a mistake many people make. People want to make a change, but go from one end of the spectrum to the other, and then get frustrated and give up. Take tiny steps that won’t overwhelm you and that will ultimately lead to a healthier result. For example, maybe instead of eating regular peanut butter, switch to reduced fat. Once you’re comfortable with reduced fat, switch to natural. Same for milk. If you’re starting at whole milk, try and switch to 2%, then to skim, and then possibly to soy or almond. If you like to have a turkey sandwich with cheese and mayo, maybe switch out the mayo to mustard or vinegar. Try going without the cheese. Maybe down the line try a salad with turkey slices and cheese instead. Then switch the cheese for avocado and the turkey for veggies. Move at your own pace.

Be Mindful of What You’re Eating: This can be a tough one. Ask yourself the question, “Why am I eating this?” or “Why am I adding this ingredient to this meal?” I found that a lot of times I would add salt to things that didn’t need to be salted or cheese to things that tasted fine without it. I would eat pasta dishes that taste just as good by replacing pasta with spinach because I was used to having pasta as a dinner meal. I think keeping a food diary and taking pictures of what you’re eating can really help when you’re starting off to give yourself a better visual representation of what you’re putting into your body. Often we eat, forget, and just move on. It can be hard to make healthy changes if you’re eating this way.

Smaller Portions: If you’re not ready to give up some of your favorite meals, try to first cut them down. Instead of a whole serving, do half, and replace the other half of what you’d normally be eating for a fruit or vegetable. Smaller portions, in general, are a good thing. I’ve been finding that having smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day keep me more satisfied. When you go hours between meals, get busy, forget to eat, and then finally have the time to eat, you’re starving and it’s easy to over eat or to make unhealthy choices at that point. One healthy decision leads to another. If you eat healthy snacks, most likely, you’ll crave a healthy meal. You’ll also be full enough to take the time to prepare a healthy meal.

Have Healthy Foods and Snacks Easily Accessible: One of the best things I’ve been doing lately is making large portions of meals in order to have plenty of leftovers that are ready for me when I need them. This also helps me save a lot of money by packing lunch instead of having to order it. It eases my mind to have something already prepared rather than stressing out over what I should eat for lunch because I’m often indecisive and it can take me hours to finally make a decision, at which point, the decision might not be a good one. Last night, I got home and was hungry for dinner. I didn’t want to take an hour to make myself something so I heated up some leftover steamed veggies, threw a veggie burger in a pan, and sliced some avocado. I ate and was satisfied, and was then able to sautee myself some brussel sprouts for lunch. It’s much easier to prepare a meal when you aren’t starving. The opposite rule should also go into effect: Remove any unhealthy temptations from your kitchen. I know that I hate wasting food, so the thought of getting rid of the ice cream in your freezer can be tough. You might keep chips in your pantry and think “it’s okay, I won’t eat these, or maybe I’ll just have a tiny bit once in a while.” For me personally, if junk food is stored in the house, ultimately, it will be consumed. It will probably be at a time when you’re looking for a quick food fix and consume more than you should. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to treat yourself occasionally, but when you do, again, make it a conscious decision. Try not to consume junk food at any given whim. The longer you go without junk food, the less often you crave it. I try to fight through any cravings I may have and save my rare indulgence for a time a really need it. Don’t have a piece of cake just because it’s in front of you or offered to you, have it when you’ve really thought about it and have concluded that you do in fact want it and won’t immediately regret it. Maybe make a rule that if you’re going to eat something unhealthy, you eat it out of the house. Or only have enough for one serving rather than an entire bag of Doritos. Find healthy alternatives to snacks you crave, even if it’s something as simple as having a piece of dark chocolate instead of a Hershey’s Bar. If you have a lot of unhealthy foods stored up, collect them and make a food donation. You won’t have them in your house anymore, and they also won’t be going to waste.

Try New Things: This one is really important. We get so used to sticking to what we’re comfortable with that we may be missing out on something much healthier and that we much prefer. There are dozens of foods that are staples in my diet that I only tried for the first time within the past 2 years. I plan on posting more in depth on this topic in the near future, but do yourself a favor and try new things. Not only that, revisit old things you might have tried and didn’t like, and continue to try them. Many foods take a while to grow on you, but you’ll be glad they did.

Later I promise to post some of my wheatless/grainless meals from the past few days. Hope everyone is doing well!

New Shoes, Insanity, Crop Tops, and Good Food!

Hello Comrades!

I hope you all had a lovely past week. Mine was pretty eventful.

On Wednesday, I made the voyage to NJ in preparation for my return to Insanity the following day. I needed to buy new shoes and it was suggested that I go and get my feet fitted at Fleet Feet in Montclair. And what a wonderful suggestion it was!Image

The staff is super friendly and informative. I had my feet measured and tried on 3 different types of shoes in different sizes based on my foot shape. I ended up investing in this lovely pair:

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A much welcomed improvement from what I was previously using:

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I’m honestly embarrassed that it took me so long to get a new pair of sneakers, but I’m glad I have them now. No way I’ll be making that mistake again!

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When I did my first Insanity workout on Thursday, the positive impact my new shoes had on my workout was incredible. My old ones were much too small  and probably contributed greatly to pulling my calf. But, you live and you learn!

On Friday, I was in the mood for a healthy dessert, so I whipped these lovely apples up!

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Baked Apples with Blueberries and Granola

So simple: Set the oven to 400 degrees. Core and slice 3 apples. Drizzle with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, and granola on top. Keep in the oven for about 30 minutes, and that’s it! Tasted like apple pie.

I liked this recipe so much that I made it for breakfast this morning, except I left out the granola, did one apple each for Mike and I, and we put it in with our oatmeal. Looked like this:

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Today, Mike and I went to Target to get some new pillows, salad bowls, and large mugs. While we were out, I went to Marshall’s just to try on some things. So many cute spring and summer stuff out! I had to resist purchasing a bunch. I don’t really have the money to buy things right now, but I also want to wait a little longer before investing in new clothes because I’m still in the process of losing. I now fit comfortably into size 8 pants (started at size 14 in November). Feels good to be in the single digits 🙂 Can’t believe I’m on my way to size 6! I did purchase this denim crop top that I plan on wearing when we are on the beach in May for the Hang Out Music Festival on the Alabama Gulf Shores. (I didn’t plan on posting this picture online, but Mike suggested that I should to show my progress)

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I held off on buying those denim and lace shorts though, for the previously mentioned reasons.

After Target and Marshall’s, we went to get us some fruits and veggies.

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Mike is chopping things up as I write this in preparation for roasted veggies and for an eggplant, tomato, pepper crock pot recipe that I will post about after we make it.

I’ll finish up for now with a highlight on some of my favorite meals from this past week. I’m also going to promise to write a post this week on why you should try new foods (I’m writing this here to ensure that I do it!)

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Roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, zucchini with sauteed kale and spinach and some chopped Trader Joe’s sun dried tomato chicken sausage (It was one of the rare days that I was in the mood for a tiny bit of meat, but I would definitely eat this meal without the chicken sausage as well, or maybe substitute it with some Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs).

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Smoothie with banana, strawberry, pineapple, natural peanut butter, granola, soy milk. 1/4 cup cheerio’s and 1/4 cup multi grain o’s w/freeze dried raspberries and soy milk.

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One piece of whole wheat toast (Trader Joe’s low fat sprouted fiber bread), half with natural almond butter and strawberries, and half with natural peanut butter and banana.

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Dr. Praeger’s Veggie burger with sauteed brussel sprouts.