Sunday, January 31, 2010

Soup for your Soul...

Not Chicken soup, but homemade turkey soup. Here's the long story....

It was a balmy 15 degrees here today, but once you factor in the wind you are looking at single digits- maybe even below zero. It's a good thing that soup was on the meal plan for tonight.

Last Sunday Matt made a turkey, so on Tuesday I put the bones in the crock pot with water and some seasonings- to begin creating a homemade turkey soup for this week's meal plan. (See I told you I plan ahead.) After the bones were done "cooking", I strained the whole mixture to save the broth, then picked all the meat out. The broth went in the fridge so I could skim off the fat, and the meat into the freeze so it didn't go bad.

Then Saturday morning I skimmed the fat from the broth, and put it back in the crock pot. Then I added chopped onions, chopped carrots, chopped celery, and chopped rutabaga. (The rutabaga wasn't planned, but I had one so I figured why not- it actually is really good too.) In the afternoon I added some wild rice, otherwise I just let the crock pot do it's thing on low all day. It creates a great aroma in the house.

So this is what it looks like...

My picture taking isn't getting any better, but Matt said the soup was awesome. Which is pretty good considering he normally won't go near celery.

Coming Soon...
The weekly half-marathon post will be up tomorrow night, and I'll hopefully be reviewing a movie for you this coming week.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Business Trip

I get to go out of town for training in March, yes I know that seems far away- but I plan ahead. I like business trips because it give me a little variation to my normal schedule. This time I'm headed to Philadelphia for 9 days. Business trips provide variation but they are provide a challenge.

What challenge? Staying on track with my health and fitness goals. Typically during training sessions people have very few options to prepare their own meals, and rely on the federal building cafeteria and local restaurants. Which means that each night people break off into little 'groups' and go out in search of food.

It may sound bad but I try not to become part of these groups, they probably think I'm being anti-social but really I'm just trying to maintain what I've worked so hard for. So I typically return to the hotel and do some sort of workout, depending on the gym provided. I try to keep things similar to I normally go about my day, plus I don't like to eat dinner until after I work out. During previous trainings for my job, I actually had a co-worker who knew that I wanted to get a gym workout in each night and knew that foods options should be generally healthy, and she would wait for me before going to dinner. She won't be there this time.

So I'll go it alone. I already know where the local Whole Foods store is and where the indoor market is, so I will just have to do my best. I will certainly get lots of walking in as I travel to these places. And hey, maybe someone else at training will be health-minded too!

More to come related to how I plan to stick with my plan despite not having a fridge or stove available. I've got some time to plan it out, maybe it will even help you when you have to head out of town for business or pleasure.

Do you have any ideas you want to share?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Biggest Loser

Can you say drama?

Don't get me wrong, I like the show but it is hard to see the inspiration when there is so much arguing. Yes, the show is essentially a game being played for money- but the bigger picture is these people are playing for their life. With each new season the contestants get bigger and bigger, and the drama grows at the same time.

For those of you who don't follow the show, one of the contestants has had immunity (can't be sent home) and over two weeks has lost only ONE pound. The contestant claims that she did not throw the weigh in, but in comparison to people who are typically losing anywhere from 4 to 15 pounds in one week -it makes you wonder.

But then there are contestant who get it, who know they have been given an unbelievable opportunity- that even a slightly overweight person would love. A chance to focus solely on the goal of becoming a stronger, healthier person minus all the distractions of everyday life. A chance to save themselves. Wouldn't it be nice to get up in the morning knowing your purpose is to focus on eating right and following the orders of your two personal trainers? Sometimes I wonder if some of the contestants actually realize what has been given to them.

Alright, I'll stop rambling...going to go see how it works out.

Oh wait, this just in:
The girl who lost one pound over two weeks- just lost eleven pounds in one week.
Odd...don't you think?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Start

So far today my meals have been great, I think this week's meal plan is going to be the best so far...

Breakfast: Egg Whites w/ mixed veggies(No picture)

Mid-Morning: Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

Lunch: Eggplant Parmesan

(Sorry the picture is weird...I can't figure out how to turn it.)

Afternoon Snack: 2 clementines and Almonds (no picture)

Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Squash Casserole and Side Salad

And it is so nice splitting the cooking responsibilities, it makes it easy. You can almost say it's like have your meals delivery- Meals on Wheels! Yeah!

Thanks for being patient with my picture taking, the camera isn't the best and I'm not the most skilled. I try!

Half Marathon Weekly

Half-Marathon Weekly
To help motivate, inspire, and get your week started…

"Ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to run, All I’m ready to do is have some fun….”
-Dixie Chicks

This week’s workouts:
Jan 18: Monday- 3 miles
Jan 19: Tuesday- cross train/strength train
Jan 20: Wednesday- 3 miles
Jan 21: Thursday-cross train/strength train
Jan 22: Friday- 2 miles
Jan 23: Saturday- Rest
Jan 24: Sunday- 4 miles


The one important 'step' to avoiding potential running injuries is to make sure you have the appropriate footwear. The shoes you wear provide stability and shock absorption, but over time shoes will wear out. So it is important to consider how far you’ve traveled in your shoes so that you don’t put yourself at risk of injury.

How far should you travel? Well, according to many internet sources the suggested mileage per pair of shoes is 350 to 550 miles. I good suggestion is to add a second pair of shoes into your running activities around 350 miles so that when your old ones are worn out, the new ones are broken in. Depending on the shoe model you choose, you might need to replace sooner or later so make sure you look at your shoes and pay attention to how they feel.

Where should you buy shoes? The best place is a running store, a place specializing in assessing how you run specifically. Everyone has a different pronation, which is the natural inward roll of the foot. You are in one of three categories: overpronate, natural pronate, and under pronate. You can find out more about your specific stride by seeing the professional. Some good store will even have your walk/jog on a treadmill so they can get an idea of the best way to fit you.

How much is this going to cost you? Chances are it will cost you at least $100 to find a pair of shoes that will satisfy your running needs. Yes I know you can get sneakers on sale or from a discount retailer, but the question you have to ask yourself is if saving $40 to $50 is worth a potential injury. For me it isn’t.

And just one last thought, we will be covering just over 400 miles during the half-marathon training so if your shoes are older or only cost you $50- you might want to consider breaking in a new pair so you can avoid some potential injuries over the next four months. This will no guarantee no injuries, but will help avoid some potential injuries.

The Penguin Run (5K) is on January 31st at 11 am. It is forecasted to be a balmy 2degrees here in Buffalo, any takers???

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One more thing..

Just a heads up:

Tonight's Extreme Home Makeover is featuring Buffalo! The home being re-built is located on the West Side of Buffalo, not too far from where I work. Not only will the show cover the remodel of the one family home, but there were so many people willing to help that they were able to help many people in the neighborhood. That's just Buffalo...City of Good Neighbors!

Hope you enjoy the show! This will be our first view inside the house too!

Hitting the Pavement

Today a four mile run, and since it was unseasonably warm here today (40 degrees) Sabrina and I decided to head outside together and conquer 4 miles. By conquer I mean, this was the first time we were running 4 miles and there would be no treadmill there to propel us forward at specific pace.

I downloaded a new app on the iPhone last night to help us track our distance, and it even told us our average pace. We stayed together the whole run, completed 4 miles, and had an 12 minute mile average. While this isn't fabulous for experienced runners- it made us happy. We can only improve from here, right?

How did everyone else run/walk go today? Are you finding that it is getting easier?

Alright off to finish preparing this weeks's going to be a tasty week.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Matt's Birthday

It was Matt's Birthday Yesterday!!!

So in celebration I had little gifts and clues for him to find all day, ending with a clue of where to meet me after work. I had to do some planning to get all the gifts and clues hidden in his car or lunch bag.

For dinner I gave him the clue needed to lead him to SAMPLE! If you're not from Buffalo, it is a small restaurant in Allentown that is based around serving miniture sized foods to give you a sample of many tastes. We got the Chef's choice, which means we got a taste of the specialities on the menu served in small courses. The food is small but when eaten over a span of time it is definitely filling. Here are some pictures we took:

First a picture of the Birthday Boy!

Our Main Entrees:

Clearing the plates was not an issue!

This was our dessert sampler:

Alright off to the gym for our Friday lifting and a 2 mile run! Maybe I'll be inspired later and write another post- we'll see!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First off let's start with dinner. If you know me you know I love anything that resembles something Mexican, I'd honestly eat tacos every night. So tonight's meal was a combination of something I saw Rachel Ray make with some easy to make protein.

Taco Bowl
I'm not sure if you can see from the picture but it is green rice topped with ground turkey, black beans, Greek yogurt and some scallions.

So you're thinking what is green rice, right? Well let's just say it is amazing. I cooked some regular brown rice per normal instructions, then in the food processor I combined lots spinach with some jalapenos, scallions, and a little chicken broth. Then I mixed it into the rice- it was that easy. I topped it with some ground turkey flavored with a little taco seasoning and mixed with black beans. It could not have been easier to make, or better tasting. I think I'm going to include green rice whenever possible in dishes- it is just so full of flavor and is good for you too. By the way, the green rice is something Rachel Ray made for one of her dishes- so I borrowed the idea from her. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you made some too!

Mental Endurance
Prior to dinner I had a good lifting session and a three mile run, keeping up my 5.0 pace. It feels good to test my endurance as I prepare to reach 13.1 miles in just over 4 months from now. I'm finding that is not just about my physical endurance and more so about my mental endurance. I've recently added some new techniques to help me improve my mental endurance:

1. Music: For the last week or so I've been listening to my iPod on the treadmill. It allows me to focus my attention on the words and the beat, instead of the minutes and distance. I have a playlist that covers just over the time I take to do 4 miles, and I plan to add to the playlist as my mileage increases. My the end I'll have over 13 miles of music on the playlist.

2. A Magazine: Not for reading, but for covering up the mile and time display. I figure when the weather warms up and I'm running outside, there will be no digital display staring me in the face.

3. Wandering: Not physically but just allowing my thoughts to flow. Sometimes that involves looking around at the people around me, thinking about what I need to do when I get home, or just day dreaming.

4. Form: I've also recently started periodically thinking about my running form. Making sure my shoulders are back, I'm keeping an even stride, I'm breathing regularly and that I'm not feeling pain. I think this will help when I get to running outside and there is no belt to keep me on pace.

Experts say:
Well I did a few google searches and found suggestions from experienced runners such as:
-Repeat a mantra like, 'Pain is temporary, quitting is final.'
-Visualize your success
-Read the book 'Running Within'
-Set mini goals along the way, when you meet the goal- set a new one. Before you know it you'll have accomplished your overall goal for the day.

What do you do to help improve your mental endurance as your physical endurance grows?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 3

Can't believe we are on week 3 already! Hope everyone is doing well. Some of you have had trouble opening the weekly document through the email attachement, so just check here each Monday and it will be posted. Enjoy! Feedback welcome, just send me an email.

Half-Marathon Weekly
To help motivate, inspire, and get your week started…

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”

This week’s workouts:
Jan 18: Monday- 2 miles
Jan 19: Tuesday- cross train/strength train
Jan 20: Wednesday- 3 miles
Jan 21: Thursday-cross train/strength train
Jan 22: Friday- 2 miles
Jan 23: Saturday- Rest
Jan 24: Sunday- 4 miles

Top 5 Hydration Mistakes (
Number 5: Not drinking enough or drinking too much - Most people need between 20-33 ounces of water per hour during exercise. Less than that amount can lead to dehydration, but also more than that amount can lead to overly diluted blood sodium levels.

Number 4: Drinking water only and little or no electrolytes - A water only hydration strategy will only dilute your blood sodium levels as mentioned above. Having the proper balance in your blood of water and electrolytes will help you avoid all sorts of problems.

Number 3: Using a simple sugar fuel - Simple sugars are used in most popular sports drinks for taste, however, simple sugar fuels must be mixed in weak 6-8% solutions or they will sit undigested in the stomach.

Number 2: Lack of a hydration plan - Some athletes will approach training workouts and racing without a real plan for hydration and just use the "wait until I'm thirsty" approach. By that time you are thirsty, generally its too late to effectively battle your sweat losses. It is better to sip small amounts of fluid over the entire hour versus one or two big gulps.

Number 1: Not practicing proper hydration during training or doing something completely different on race day - The best way to fine tune your hydration plan is practice, practice, practice. Knowing how your body reacts to the proper fuels, fluids and electrolytes will be the key to your best performance on race day or in a given workout.

One more motivational reason on why hydration is so important, in the format of a popular commercial:
Race entry fee for half marathon: $45
Ride in an ambulance to local hospital: $250
IV's, emergency room, doctor's fee: $1500
Overnight stay for observation: $800
Finishing your race without going to the medical tent: priceless

Who’s up for the Penguin Run (5K) on January 31st at 11 am? Let me know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Recap


We had a great time skiing! We spent 4 hours on the slopes and made our way down pretty much every run that was open. The sun was out for most of the day, so it very enjoyable. Then we came home and got most of our grocery shopping done.

Then it was movie time since Saturday TV is not so great. We decided on 'The Proposal' with Sandra Bullock. It was actually really good, and I'd definitely recommend it. If you watch it, the scene around the fire is hilarious. (Well, I got a kick out of it anyways.)


I got up bright and early to get my 3 mile run in, and it went really well. It was one of the first times I used the iPOD in a while, and it helped keep me running. Then it was home for food and a shower before church and the remaining errands.

Also, spent most of the afternoon/evening prepping foods for the week ahead. It's a lot of work to prepare almost all 5 days of meals, but it does pay off during the week when there are just a few things to when meal time rolls around. This week includes some new recipes, some look tasty and others need modification next time. It is all about trial and error, it's all edible though. Look for posts coming this week with some new recipes!

Hope you are all ready for the week ahead!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Live Actively...

Most week nights Matt and I stay close to home because by the time we get home from work/gym and make dinner it's late. Usually there is just enough time to relax for a little bi then it's off to bed for the night. So during the weekend, the goal is to get out and do something active.

I'm not talking about hitting the gym, we do that three to four times a week. Plus right now it is too busy there. So we are going to be hitting the slopes as part of being active. Tomorrow is the second time we will get to ski this season, and another chance to break in our new gear.

Personally I'm still mastering my ski techniques, but I try and I manage to get down the hill successfully. When in doubt I go into the beginner 'pie' mode where you put your tips together, and push the backs out to slow down.

So wish us luck as we take part of the day to get out and enjoy the warm up here. It will be almost 40 degrees...yeah!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eat Frequently

So I said the other day that you should be aiming to eat every 3-4 hours. I learned this from one sources or another, but in reality it is probably something my body has been trying to tell me forever.

The reality of it is even when you are just planning for three meals a day, you probably still are having 5 to 6 meals. If I think back to when I was in school- there was breakfast before class, lunch somewhere in the middle, and then obviously dinner. Then there are those things you eat that you don't even think about because you just grab them as you go along. So I've been eating 5-6 meals for a long as I can remember.

As all through high school, college, and the few years after college I was overweight from all this eating that I wasn't even thinking about- I was just do it. Now the much wiser Jen, for the last year and a half anyways, as been purposely planning 5-6 meals for each day.

At first I used examples I found on health websites or health magazines to guide how to set up an appropriate meal plan for my goal of losing weight. Now I've gained a better idea of what to include so I do most just considering the food in the house or what I'm craving. Yes, I said it I can still incorporate cravings as part of my meals because I don't just eat a salad- actually I rarely eat just a salad.

The weekend is just one day away (Yeah!), and that's a good time to give this a try. Before you do you're grocery shopping this weekend, sit down and think about what you're going to eat. I don't just mean for dinner, think about each meal and snack. I have created a spreadsheet that is basically a blank grid that I complete listing each day of the week (Sunday- Saturday) and each meal. The meals are typically as follows: Breakfast, Mid-Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, and post-workout.

Don't be afraid to have repetitive breakfasts, snacks, or lunches- make sure it's food you enjoy and that is healthy for you. Then create a shopping list and hit the store. It actually makes life really easy during the week because you don't need to worry about whether you'll have enough food. If you need an idea of where to begin just let me know and I'd be happy to send you my plan for the week.

Tonight's Dinner

Tilapia with acorn squash. Originally I had planned to eat a sweet potato but I had to switch that to lunch because I need a stove to cook the squash. So next time I need to plan ahead and roast the squash the night before. Either way super yummy!

You might have also noticed when seeing my dinners I haven't been including the typical carb, I probably once thought was unavoidable. Well the reasoning behind that has been Cooler 1, but it also helps me to realize I don't really need a carb to complete the meal. If I am going to eat a carb it will only be on a workout night, when my body is working to repair my muscles.

Have a good night!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cheating, Splurging, Rewarding...

No matter what you call it, you know exactly what I'm referring to. You decided to follow a specific food plan, and somewhere along the way you got it in your head that it means you'll never have chocolate, or a french fry, or a piece of candy ever again. If you have that willpower, you deserve some sort of medal! I on the other hand, I am happy to live a healthy lifestyle 95% of the time- leaving me 5% for foods that aren't exactly healthy, but that I enjoy.

Here are some suggestions of ways I use to handle this 5% of eating:

1. Eating exactly what I am craving, I don't try to substitute. For example, if I want a peanut butter cup I don't eat a Kit Kat because it won't satisfy me.

2. Eat in moderation. I look at the nutritional label and determine what one serving is, and limit myself to one serving. Some servings may be larger, so I can eat 1/2 a serving and still be content.

3. If your friends are eating dessert it doesn't mean you have to. Only eat if you love it, and then limit your self to three norm bites.

4. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you are going to eat something unhealthy that you have been craving, then enjoy it. After you've enjoyed your one serving continue on with your healthy eating.

5. And sometimes, you're not really craving anything- you're just thinking about food. If it is within an hour or so of your next meal, find something to do to get your mind off of food until it is time to eat your next meal. (You should eat every 3-4 hours by the way.)

Does that sounds like something you can try next time the urge strikes??? Do you have tips to share with others? Leave a comment.


Stuffed Acorn Squash

The acorn squash was baked upside down until soft (approx. 40 minutes), then I stuffed it with ground turkey I had cooked with onions, garlic, spinach, and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt. Absolutely yummy!

And tonight I also scooted off to the gym to get in the 2 mile run I missed yesterday due to the cold that I am fighting. It felt good to get it done, and I'm ready for tomorrow's 3 miles.

The gym is so packed with the resolution group and the main thing they want to use is some kind of cardio machine- usually they don't even care which type. I want to tell them to hit the weights, but why would they listen to a stranger? Some will figure out, some won't- it took me a while too!

My new book to read:
I've seen many other people mention it, and I was thinking about reading. Then I decided it would be good information to read in a new format. Matt has given me the opportunity to learn how lifting it more important than cardio by sharing his readings with me, but I thought it couldn't hurt reading something directed at women that reviews the same concepts.

If you are someone who thinks the cardio will help you lose more weight than lifting ever could, then you probably should get this book too. I've lost 60 pounds myself, and it didn't start to come off until I focused on the weight lifting.

Cardio is good for endurance, but cannot help you lose large amounts of weight. Think about it, google it, or just read about it. Take advantage of your resolution this year and make it come true.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week 2

This weeks edition of 'Half-Marathon Weekly'...

Half-Marathon Weekly
To help motivate, inspire, and get your week started…

“When the world says ‘give up‘, hope whispers ‘try it one more time‘”

This week’s workouts:
Jan 11: Monday- 2 miles
Jan 12: Tuesday- cross train/strength train
Jan 13: Wednesday- 3 miles
Jan 14: Thursday-cross train/strength train
Jan 15: Friday- 2 miles
Jan 16: Saturday- Rest
Jan 17: Sunday- 3 miles

Watch your form:

1. PUMP IT- Moving arms forward and back (not across your chest) in a fluid motion improves balance and coordination, which makes increasing pace easier. Hold arms at a 90-degree angle, hands right around hip level.
2. KEEP A LEVEL HEAD: Resist the urge to watch the gym-ceiling TV. Staring up will move your torso back, taking your weight behind your hips…which makes it harder to go forward.
3. TILT A TAD: Stand tall as your run, but deliberately lean your whole body slightly forward from the ankles. This slant to your stance will allow gravity to propel you ahead with each step. You will be able to increase your speed with minimal effort.
4. FIND YOUR RHYTHM: To get seriously speedy, fast-track footwork by shortening your stride. Count the number of times your right foot makes contact: Aim for 46 to 48 strikes in 30 seconds. At first it may seem like baby steps ,but once you adapt it will seem natural.
5. GO FOR THE MIDDLE GROUND: Heal striking (leading with and landing on your heel) can be tough on knees. Make the motion more efficient and smooth by landing on the middle of each foot and then rolling onto the balls of your feet. Steps will feel easier so you can go farther.
6. BE INCLINED: Pounding on the pavement can be 10 to 15 percent more challenging than jogs in the gym because outside you battle hills, wind resistance, and uneven terrain. Compensate indoors by setting your treadmill at a 1 percent incline.
7. CENTER YOURSELF: Position your steps to land in the middle of the treadmill band for safe runs. Running too close to the control panel causes most joggers to raise their arms higher than necessary, causing stress on the neck and shoulder and wastes energy.

Note: These are just suggestions found in ‘Self Magazine’ to help achieve better form, but you should also listen to your own body. If it hurts, don’t do it that way.

Monthly Goal
What: 5K Penguin Run
When: Sunday, January 31st at 11am

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short and Sweet...

Tonight's post is short because it has been a busy day, and I'm tired. I have some kind of congestion too- so I just want a hot shower and my bed.

I wanted to share with you that our new curtains for the new windows are finally up. We found great deals between $5 sheers at Christmas Tree and 50% off at JCP. So excited to have curtains that are the same length, and not faded from the intense sun. (Yes, sun in Buffalo- can you believe it? I think it is the worse when the snow is on the ground- so reflective!) We made sure to get lined curtains this time around to hopefully avoid the color fading. We're pretty pleased with how they came out, what do you think?

Look for the next 'Half-Marathon Weekly' coming tomorrow. If you've decided to join the challenge, welcome to the fun! It will be hard, but we can do it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shop 'til We Drop

Oh Saturday, full of getting ready for another busy week! This morning I spent time finalizing our meal plans for the week. Yes that was plural- planS. Matt and I currently have different goals as far bulking versus losing weight. Obviously, Matt is the one interested in gaining the muscle mass. So this will be the first week we will be eating completely different things for our 6-7 meals. It should make for an interesting week in our tiny kitchen.

Today we also got a chance to get out to store and do some stock up type shopping. Even got some curtains for our new front window at 50% off, gotta love a bargain. Also, Old Navy had some shirts for like $3...what a deal. So we walked through the mall, store, and did grocery shopping for a few hours so now home to rest. We're going to watch the latest Star Trek Movie (Matt's pick).

Tomorrow's run....3 MILES! The goal is to maintain the 5mph pace, so let's hope for some good music on my Pandora and some quality people watching.

Forecast for the day

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Last night we rented this movie from Red Box. The movie is actually based on a children's book, which I'll have to look for. It was a cute movie with a good message, some thoughts you can take from it include:

1. Be yourself, don't worry about what others think of you. Being true to yourself is the most important thing, being anything else will deprive you of your deserved happiness.

2. Food is might taste good, but it is our individual responsibility to know what we are eating. In our society, we like to blame the convenience food we find everywhere for our weight gain- when really nobody can make you spend your money at a drive-thru, it's your choice.

3. Greed gets you nowhere, you have to be willing to give something back. Everyone has something to offer- you just need to figure out what you have to offer.

4. Don't be afraid to tell someone that you're proud of them, that you love, or that you care. Just because you feel that way doesn't mean the person knows it, you might just make their day by letting them know.

Well, those are my thoughts. Did you see the movie? What did you think?

So while watching the movie, we enjoyed our dinner.

Grilled Flank Steak over sauteed onions and peppers, with baked sweet potato fries.


Friday, January 8, 2010

To be Continued...

It's been a long day! I'm tired and need a shower so tomorrow morning I will fill you in on our dinner (so fabulously prepared by Matt), and I'll give you my review of 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'.

To be continued.....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The big 'D'


What is it?

Per Webster:
1. food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.

2. a particular selection of food, esp. as designed or prescribed to improve a person's physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.

3. such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I'm on a diet.

4. the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group: The native diet consists of fish and fruit.

5. food or feed habitually eaten or provided: The rabbits were fed a diet of carrots and lettuce.

So by reading the five different definitions of diet above you notice it is basically just the foods that we eat. So I propose we move away from the bad thoughts and try to remember that diet just means the lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves.

Prior to my new healthy lifestyle based diet, my diet was based on foods considered to be quick, comfortable, and loaded with fat. Pizzas, pastas, fried foods, baked goods, chocolate, beer, soda, wine, cream filled coffee, basically you name it I would likely eat it. Another contributor to my weight issues related to serving size, I typically would eat a similar/same amount to Matt. I don't know why I thought that was right?!?!

Well all that is changed now and I've cut out a lot of the bad stuff, and found ways to make my favorites healthier. What are your favorite foods? Have you found a healthy version? If you want help let me know, I'm always up for a challenge.

Tonight's dinner:

It was a real simple meal, healthy can be quick too. I used some chicken I cooked few days ago, placed on top of some sauteed spinach, and served it with some sweet potatoes. Cooler 1 is limiting the amount of options I have right now, but don't worry in 10 days I'm going to start with some new clean eating recipes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cooler 1

So I'm doing what Tosca Reno's book calls the Cooler 1 plan for two weeks. Basically it is very specific clean eating plan to assist you in jumpstarting your body to break through a plateau. I've been hovering within the same weight range since the beginning of the holidays. Hovering is good because that means I didn't pack on any holdiay pounds, but I'm ready it get it going again as I strive for my healthy weight.

I started Cooler 1 on Monday, but today ready for a little variation for myself so I created this version of 'spaghetti'.

It is actually made with an awesome vegetable called spaghetti squash. You bake it then you run a fork through to make it look like spaghetti. Then I made a sauce with plain tomato sauce, garlic, spinach, and 97% lean beef. Veggies and lean protein, keeping it clean. Yummy!

Seriously if you were eating with your eyes closed you really wouldn't know the difference.

Also, tonight was a gym night so I'm a calorie burning machine right now. We did our traditional weightlifting 5x5 routine, then I did my 2 miles on the treadmill. I'm currently running at 5.0mph with a 1% incline. Currently I'm runnning for 12 minutes, walking at 4.0 for 1 minute, then running for 12 minutes. The goal is to build up my mileage while keeping up this pace, if I can do it I hope to be able to finish the half-marathon just under 3 hours. If you're an experienced runner you probably can run the whole marathon in 3 hours, but I'm a beginner here. I'm really happy to be moving at the rate I am. So cheer me on!

Goodnight all!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Clean Eating: What is it?

A few months ago I came across the concept of 'clean eating.' I did some research and found Tosca Reno's series of books the detail clean eating and living techniques. I even found a magazine devoted to the concept- Clean Eating Magazine. needless to say I was hooked and began trying to take it all in.

So what is you ask? It's not a diet, but a lifestyle (though the word diet does appear on the book). In adapting to this lifestyle, the choice is made to have knowledge of what is in your food. Two basic questions are: Does my food have a mother? Does my food come from the earth? At first, it may seem like this lifestyle would be difficult to adapt to, but it really isn't. You'll be especially happy to know food tastes really good without all the chemicals in it.

If you look in Tosca Reno's books you will see pictures of each recipe, so you'll easily be able to see the food looks just like what you've been eating anyways. Still not convinced? What if I said you're expected to eat six times a day!?! I'm not talking about a buffet at every meal, but you certainly won't go hungry especially if you follow the concept and combine proteins with healthy carbs. Yes I said it- CARBS! Even further proof that this lifestyle isn't a fad, it actually encourages consumption of a carb with your protein. Not all carbs are bad for you.

So check out Tosca Reno's 'Eat-Clean Diet' first to get a handle on the basics of the lifestyle concept. The book even includes meal plan suggestion so you don't have to work too hard. Then you an pick up her cookbooks too! You can also make you own combinations, but it will help to have a guide the first few times. Once you get the hang of it you'll find ways to create your favorite food in a cleaner, healthier way.

Keep posted hear as I cook Tosca's recipes and invent my own clean versions of our favorite foods. Enjoy! Feel free to let me know your favorite recipe from Tosca!

Half- Marathon Weekly

I can't remember if I mentioned it yet, but I'm planning to complete a half-marathon with my friends, Sabrina and Brenda. It is in Buffalo on May 30, so in preparation we have given ourselves 21 weeks to prepare. We have a schedule of workouts and we are determined. So as a form of inspiration, I've created a weekly 'newsletter' to send to the girls that contains the week's workouts, an inspirational quote, running tips I find in my reading, and a monthly goal. See below for a might enjoy it too!

Half-Marathon Weekly
To help motivate, inspire, and get your week started…

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

This week’s workouts:
Jan 4: Monday- 2 miles
Jan 5: Tuesday- cross train/strength train
Jan 6: Wednesday- 2 miles
Jan 7: Thursday-cross train/strength train
Jan 8: Friday- 2 miles
Jan 9: Saturday- Rest
Jan 10: Sunday- 3 miles

Motivation Tips:

1. Sign up for a race as soon as you feel up to it. It helps make you accountable.
2. Get a committed running partner. It will be much harder to skip a run when you think of your partners completing the same runs.
3. Remember that you will have plateaus in your progress and tough days along the way. Just keep focused on the half-marathon goal.
4. It gets easier.
5. Accept and appreciate the fact that not every single run can be a good one,
but each run will help you grow stronger both physically and mentally.
6. Be prepared to remove the words “can’t” and “never” from your vocabulary.
7. Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first.
Don’t run for a time on the clock, but instead do it for yourself.
8. Don’t expect every run to be better than the last one; some of them will hurt.
9. Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it. Take it one step at a time.
10. Even a bad run is better then no run at all.
11. If you normally run with music try skipping it and listening to your feet to
hear your pace and your heartbeat. You’ll feel connected to how powerful you
really are.
12. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience weight loss immediately. Your body and you need time to adjust the increasing cardio.
13. Start a running blog and read other running blogs regularly.
14. Running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts because runners gain weight too. If you are looking to see some weight loss, you need to eat healthy, wholesome foods.

Monthly Goal
What: 5K Penguin Run
When: Sunday, January 31st at 11am
How Much: $20 registration fee

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's a new year, so I figured I'd start it by starting a blog. Currently I see the blog as an opportunity to share my thoughts as I begin a year of further focus on health and focus.

Last year, Matt (my husband) and I made great strides to living a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. Matt was able to drop 70 pounds, and I dropped 60 pounds- all through hardwork, conscience eating, and teamwork. So this year we obviously plan to continue on our pursuit of health.

For our nutrition: We are incorporating the concept of Clean Eating, which I'll explain more about soon. We also have been making several protein/health bars over the last couple months so we want to continue with that. We hope to add a dehydrator to our cooking tools within the next couple months.

For physical health: Matt will continue to focus on growing stronger muscles and maintaining a low body fat. And I have set a personal goal of completing a half-marathon on May 30th in Buffalo, while still maintaining the muscles I've worked so hard for.

Alright well that is a good start for now. The goal will be to post at during weekdays, and weekends when possible. Hope you enjoy!

Welcome to the Canoe of Life!

This is blog that is being started to share the story of our life as we make our way down the river of life. The canoe is an anology fror the way we move from one place in life to the next, it came about as an inside joke with my husband and just stuck.

I am Jen and my husband is Matt. We are living our lives in Buffalo, which just happens to be snowy now- but I swear the snow does melt. We have been working toward living healthier over the last year and a half, and have made great strides.

I thought I'd begin a blog so we'll be able to record the steps we're taking to make our lives even healthier. It will also give our families the opportunity to keep up with what we are up to! So hope you enjoy!