Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - "Yumstick Drumsticks"

I originally found this recipe online and these drumsticks are easy to make and are really, really yummy. They're also really moist thanks to the yogurt and the meat just falls off the bone! I like to use vanilla yogurt for taste but plain yogurt is good too! I also make a large amount and save some for later because they also taste great cold.

Also, I don't use the entire container of yogurt but I dip the chicken into the yogurt container to coat it so most gets used up and there's usually some of the breadcrumb/cheese mixture left over as well. I only use what I need. Eventually I'll figure out exactly how much I need and stop having things left over to go to waste but I haven't done that yet.

1 cup plain, toasted breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan and romano cheese mix
14 chicken drumsticks
9 oz Original 99% Fat Free Vanilla yogurt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, Italian seasoning, onion and  garlic powder in a deep dish.
3. Dip each drumstick into the yogurt container (or put yogurt into bowl and dip from there).
4. Roll the yogurt covered chicken drumsticks in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 45- 55 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced by a fork.

Makes fourteen servings (1 drumstick per serving)

Nutritional Facts:
1 drumstick equals 213 calories, 8 g fat, 222 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 24 g protein.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Color Gauntlet" Wrestling 5K Color Fun Run/Walk

The 5K was a lot of fun, I didn't come in last (almost though) and I made better time than I expected! I also learned some important things for next year but here's basically how it went...

The day started off cool and foggy which I actually loved because I'm more sensitive to heatstroke and sunburn thanks to one of my meds.

We got there by 8-ish and I really, really wish I'd gotten some coffee first but I didn't want to deal with needing a bathroom break during the walk but I wasn't exactly awake here lol. At one point in time, while staring at my phone that had the time right where I was looking, I asked Charles what time it was lol.

So anyway, we signed in, grabbed our shirts (I guess I ordered one that was big enough because it stretched down to my knees and the sleeves came down over my elbows but I like huge shirts so I was happy) and I grabbed some photos of the set up.

I wanted to make sure I got "before" and "after" photos of both just me and of myself and Charles and we were able to do that easily. I also knew that I had to ziplock bag my phone so whatever photos I wanted had to be taken before the walk started.

I am ready!!

Wow, white is not a good color for me ;)

A lot of people were grabbing their packets of color and throwing them at each other but we kind of avoided that. I really didn't want it on my glasses and we knew more color would come and then we got started. I'm really glad I remembered to start the fitbit timer thing because I wanted my walk info for later.

The bike path is beautiful and scenic so it was a great place to walk. We held back so the runners could take off first and were mostly toward the back. I tried to keep a reasonable pace but had to stop and stretch a little while into it which means I didn't stretch enough when I got started.

The whole time we were towards the back of the pack which I expected so I was okay with it. It was still cool and foggy which I was thrilled with but I think Charles wanted the sun because he's used to walking out in the heat (hence the hat).

It was a little strange to be walking without music because I try to match my walks on the treadmill to the rhythm of whatever song I'm listening too but it was also nice to listen to the birds and an occasional squirrel and to the cars that honked at us as they drove by. There were several "color stations" and they did a great job of not hitting me in the face since I would say "not the face" every time I passed one lol. 

I actually hit my groove like I do on the treadmill about 20-25 minutes in? I didn't check the time at all as I walked, not on the fitbit or the Iphone, and I'm not sure if that helped me or not. It was probably the smarter thing to do because if I saw whatever time it was and felt I had to go faster it wouldn't have been good for my feet.

I know my calves hurt pretty badly almost right away, then the ankles and knees kicked in but it wasn't a massive pain. It was the kind of pain that would make me slow down on the treadmill and drop my incline amount but I didn't have treadmill info to rely on which was actually kind of weird.

At some points during the walk I felt good and like I can really do this and at other times my mantra was something like "ow, ow, ow.... these shoes suck... my feet hurt so bad....oh my calves... ow, ow, ow..." You get the idea lol but I knew I was going to keep going no matter what (well, barring any emergencies) and I did. 

There was a 1-mile sign along the way, the sun came out, we walked down a part of the path I'd never been on before and the place where we turned around had water. People were also very encouraging and we yelled encouragement at the runners and eventually the faster walkers as they passed as going back as we were still going forward.

I actually grabbed a photo on the way back of the scenic waterfall area but that only held me up by half a minute (probably why it's kind of blurry).

So, the way back people passed us and passed us and eventually there were only two people behind us :/ I wasn't worried about it too much because the "ow, ow, ow" mantra was getting louder and the ankle and knee pain was kicking in. It was pretty much just "keep can do this...just keep going...just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." ;) Also, my left foot fell asleep as I walking. How the heck do your feet fall asleep during a walk?? It's done that on the treadmill too so I guess I should ask my trainer or my doctor or someone about that sometime.

I was hoping I wasn't holding Charles back (I probably was) but he stuck with me which was really nice and we got to just walk and chat and have a great morning! We did eventually make it back, dragging a little, and came in a little ahead of the people behind us. I didn't realize the walk part was timed to be an hour long or I probably would have gone faster :/.

When I turned off my fitbit and saw that my time was 1.15 I was shocked! That's way faster than I ever did on the treadmill so I was thrilled. Then I had a little time to stretch and then people were being gathered to take a giant group photo and after that we got our own "after" pic. Also, I had to drag Charles into the group photo but eventually he went lol!

Woooo!!! I finished with a good time and I wasn't last!!!!

Afterwards there was a group of musicians (Jon Farnham and friend) and a food truck (The Silver Bullet) with lots and lots of people tossing color around... 

and then a big group got together to throw the color on the count of five which I got the most awesome photo of...


And then I basically just wanted to go and get some coffee!!! And maybe some ice cream so we took off (we rinsed off outside with the hose once we got home).

Right now I have blisters and sore knees and ankles. About an hour after getting home I realized that I was freezing cold (is that normal?) so I crawled under a blanket and took a nice, well deserved nap! 

I'm actually already looking forward to next year (and being able to compare photos and definitely seeing some huge differences)!

So, what would I have done differently or will do differently next time?

1) Wear better shoes!!! I grabbed a pair of sneakers I had laying around that I haven't work in ages because I didn't want the color powder on my every day sandals and I definitely didn't want it on my gym sneakers. So I either need to get my feet used to the other sneakers next time or be ready to wash my more comfortable shoes. I wouldn't have gotten blisters if I were wearing my sandals.

2) Drink my coffee beforehand because coffee makes everything better lol.

3) Get a better case for my phone so I can use it during the walk and not have to worry about the powder getting into it. There's a couple of places I would have like to take pics but I wasn't willing to risk the phone.

4) Know where the turn around point is because it would have been less stressful not wondering where we're supposed to turn or how far away it is.

5) Ask if there's an actual time limit on the walk portion. The entire activity time was 9-1 so I didn't realize the walk part was planned to be from 9-10.

6) Prepare more. Even though I only walked, I definitely could have trained for it more and walked it faster.

7) Wear a hat. There were a lot of areas with no shade when the sun finally came out and that's not good for me (I did remember the sunscreen though!)

8) Wear my Velcro ankle supports. I think they would have helped a lot and I didn't realize I didn't have them until after we started walking... go figure!

Other than that I loved it. It felt great to participate in a sport event, even walking it, and to be able to do something fun with Charles! I think it was a really good turnout and just generally something new for us to do. I can't wait until the next one!!

Fitbit info:
time: 1 hour 15 minutes, distance: 3.18 miles, steps: 7,731 calories burned: 489

Friday, August 28, 2015

Preparing for "The Color Gauntlet" Wrestling 5K Color Fun Run/Walk" Tomorrow

Okay, so I'm getting ready for the 5K that I will be walking tomorrow. I just want to clarify that I am NOT running or jogging or sprinting or any of that good stuff. I'm walking. probably limping and hopefully not crawling because today's pain day is really, really bad! Today my lower back has screamed at me while both of my knees feel like they have knives going through them. Basically, it sucks.

The plan for the rest of today is to ice the knees and prepare for tomorrow because I AM going and I AM finishing this! Yes, I know, it's not a marathon or anything and I'm not running it but it's my first group-K-anything so it's big to me.

The packet pick-up starts at 7:30 but the run/walk itself isn't until 9:00 so I think we're getting there around 8:00. We get t-shirts and sunglasses and powder, I think. Then it's 3.1 miles along the bike path which is very even, very scenic and very familiar to me as I've walked it many times before.

I'm really looking forward to this (except maybe the powder part... does it stain your hair? Glasses? Shoes?)... and Charles is doing this with me so maybe it'll be like a 'couple-y" thing. Of course if he wants to go ahead of me because he's way faster and not being dragged down by crappy knees, he's more than welcome too. I won't get upset.

So, let's get ready...

1) Workout clothes - check
2) ID - check
3) Iphone (mostly for pictures!) - check of course (never leave home without it!)
4) Water bottle- check
5) My Velcro ankle braces - probably a good idea
6) Money for coffee afterwards - um, maybe Charles has some?
7) Advil - check, check and check - never leave home without that either!
8) Determination - absolutely!

edited to add:

9) Iphone - - uncheck and save for after because I don't want powder to get into it
10) Sneakers and shorts I don't care about just in case - check
11) Sunscreen - check
12) Towels to sit on it the car afterwards - check
13) Hair thingie to put hair up - check
13) Have fun!! - check!

Am I forgetting anything now?

Be ready for tomorrow, there will be tons of photos on here and on my Instagram and a nice, long blog post about the walk itself later tomorrow evening!

Off to ice my knees now!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Week Five - Thursday Check-In

Week Five weigh-in:
08/27/2015:        - 0 pound
Total lost:           6.6 pounds
Current Weight: 223.4 pounds

There was no weight loss this week but I can live with that. I won't lose every week and I'm happy not to have a gain.

This week has been a really bad one in terms of health and pain (and today is a really, really, really high pain day) so not many of my goals were accomplished. I've learned that hard way that I can not eat Quest products and that maybe I should get off the treadmill when my knee starts to click and pop with every step. But did I get off the treadmill? No, of course not, why would I listen to common sense? I did slow down but I didn't stop and I'm paying for it today!

I only made it to the gym twice this week, once for strength training and cardio and yesterday just for the treadmill but, like I posted above, yesterday may have been a mistake because my knee hurts twice as badly now.

I still don't have the "before" pictures (I WILL get them done this week!!) that I want but I did track my calories almost every day so that's something.

This coming week there are a lot of appointments between myself and my parents so my goal for the gym is to get there 3 days this week and go from there.

I have the cardiologist on Monday and it'll be interesting to see if they give me the heads up to be able to let my heart rate get higher during workouts. Then my parents have stuff on Tuesday (I drive everyone) and more parent stuff on Thursday.

Right now, thanks to school starting again, the most sensible gym schedule seems to be strength training for an hour on Tuesday and Thursday and cardio for the rest but we'll see how it goes. I'm going to sit down at the start of every week and plan the gym around the other appointments so that should help a lot!

I also have the 5K color run/walk this Saturday and I need my knee to be okay for that! If I have to I'll wear the knee brace but I am NOT skipping it!! My goal for the Color Walk (because I am walking, there's no running involved over here) is to not hurt myself, to have fun and to (please!!!) not come in last! I know that last part shouldn't matter as much as it does but, well, it does!

I think this is all I have for now but stay tuned for lots of other posts this coming week including a review of something tomorrow (I haven't decided what yet so if you have any requests let me know... it could be a DVD workout from the list that I own or a diet/weight loss memoir book from the same list, just let me know).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 26th Workout

Today I finally did 1 hour on the treadmill again.

I had to go slower than normal because my knee decided to act up. Tomorrow I'm shooting for push & leg day and treadmill!

65 minutes, distance: 2.66 miles, steps: 6,472,  speed between 2.0 - 2.8 mph, incline 0.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not the Best Week

I'm not having the best week so far. Sunday was great... we met Sarah and her boys at the Holyoke Mall (I actually had all of my boys with me!) and just hung out and had fun but I learned the hard way that my body apparently can't handle fried foods well anymore despite how careful I was to save calories for it.

Monday and Today have been pretty bad in terms of stomach stuff and headaches and I've yet to make it to the gym this week.

I did email with my trainer and she said that as long as I go slowly and safely I can combine push day and leg day into one which will definitely let me organize my schedule better so for this week the plan is push/leg day tomorrow, treadmill Thursday and pull day Friday and then we have the 5K Color Walk/Run Saturday morning.

Because school starts for Gabriel tomorrow (Andy is on Thursday) I won't be able to go right to the gym after work anymore (not on school days anyway). I'll have go get Gabriel, then wait about 45 minutes and then get Charles and THEN I can go to the gym so that's the current plan but it's a pain and I'm really going to miss the after work gym time because it was so nice and quiet and empty then. I think that in terms of gym scheduling I pretty much have to take it one week (or even half a week) at a time.

My head is really acting up again so this is out for now. Hope you're all having a better week than I am!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Cappuccino Muffins

I came across this recipe years and years ago (at least 10) in a Taste of Home magazine. It is wonderful, especially when eaten hot with a nice, cold glass of milk. It originally had an espresso spread that went with it but I never got around to making that.

Just as a warning, these are addictive and go fast! Every time I've made them for a bake sale, they've sold like crazy!

Hope you enjoy!

Cappuccino Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter -- melted and cooled
1 egg -- beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease up 12 cups. Combine dry ingredients. Stir moist ingredients until blended, fold into dry just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin cups, filling cups about 2/3 full. B

Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. 

Serve warm.

Nutritional Facts
1 muffin equals 276 calories, 13 g fat, 173 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fit Friday Review - Keen Sandals Women's Newport H2

I'm writing this review because I love the shoes and I want to get better at writing reviews. No one is paying me or giving me anything to write this :)

I have been wearing Keen Sandals Newport H2 since mid-July and I have to say that they are by far the most comfortable and supportive sandals I have ever worn.

I don't normally pay attention to the sandals I wear. I grab some cute pair for about $20.00 at the start of the summer at whatever store I happen to be in and go until they fall apart. All of this changed when I first met with my gym trainer. She took one look at my cute black sandals and asked why I was wearing them. My answer... "um... I don't know. They're all I own."

"Are the supportive?"

"No, not really."

"Are they comfortable?"

"Well, as long as I don't walk too far."

"So why are you wearing them?"

"Um, because it never crossed my mind to get anything better?"

"Okay, I want you to go home, find a place to buy Keen sandals and never, ever wear those shoes again."

Did I mention that I love my trainer?

Anyway, back to the sandals. I did some research and found a few stores that carried Keen sandals. I specifically focused on Keen because that's what the trainer said to get. After finding out that Dick's Sporting Goods only carried the ones for men I turned to a smaller store that I constantly heard advertised on the radio: Ted's Shoe and Sports, and I have to say that the service we got there was outstanding. The person was very friendly, helped me figure out my shoe size and worked with me to find just the right shoe. I've never actually bought sports shoes before but I will definitely be going back to Ted's the next time I need some.

Ted's only had two pairs of Keen's for women (but many, many other brand choices) which made my choice fairly easy. I could have bought the shoes online but I wanted the perfect fit because if I was going to spend big money on shoes (anything over $20.00 is big money to me) then I wanted shoes that would be comfortable and last me a long time.

I do recommend trying on several different kinds of Keen's if you can because the fit does change. The shoes that I bought, Newport H2, fit me very well but the other pair that I tried on didn't fit as well and my pinkie toe ended up right between the side straps and felt very uncomfortable so I went with the H2.

These shoes are incredibly comfortable, hugging my foot and offering full support with plenty of space for all of my toes. They also feel well padded at the bottom so my feet don't hurt when wearing them even while walking long distances. The straps don't rub against my skin at all and I've yet to get a blister or be uncomfortable in them. They're padded for toe protection which I find very useful since I stub my toes a lot. They also have great traction and I've had no problems walking through puddles, dirt or gravel in them.

These shoes are very easy to tighten and loosen, using the short strap at the top. You hook the bottom black part into the last straps on the shoe and use the top "slider" to move along the strap in order to tighten or loosen the shoe. It took me a couple of days to find just the right amount of tightness but I haven't had to adjust it again since I found the right one for me.

The shoes are waterproof and can be used for general walking or exercising such as walking, hiking or even water sports. They are also machine washable.

These are not cheap shoes but they are definitely worth the money I spent on them.

You can read more about these sandals and many others made by Keen of their Keen Footwear website.

I highly recommend this shoe, will definitely buy more shoes by this brand and can't see myself switching to another sandal without good reason. I'll be very sorry to put them away once the cold weather gets here!

Friday, August 21st Workout

August 21st Workout:

Treadmill: 65 min, 2.84 distance, 6,913 steps, speed between 1.5 - 3.0 (almost all between 2.8-2.9) mph, incline between 0 -.5.

Pull Day: 1 hour:

Lat Pull Down Machine: (I need to up the weights on this machine because it was too easy)
                                         30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                         40 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                         30 lbs (1 set x 30 reps going fast until failure)

Donkey Kick on Machine: 10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                            15 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                            10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Chest Supported Arm Row: 10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                              15 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                              10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Standing Band Pull - Blue Band:  3 sets x 15 reps

Standing Band Row - Blue Band: 3 sets x 15 reps

Bench Squat: 3 sets x 10 reps holding 10 pound weight plate (need to up the weight)

Bosu Ball Basic Balance: 3 sets x 30 seconds           

Bosu One-Leg Balance: 3 sets x 20 seconds                        

Bosu Mini-Squats: 3 sets x 20 seconds   

Birddog: 2 sets x 10 reps

Basic Crunch: 3 sets x 10 reps

Oblique Leg-Up Twist: 3 sets x 10 reps

Flutter Kicks: 4 sets x 5 seconds

Full Body Stretch

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Week Four - Thursday (new day) Check-In

Week Four weigh-in:
08/20/2015:        - 1 pound
Total lost:           6.6 pounds
Current Weight: 223.4 pounds

You may have noticed that I moved my weigh-in back by a day to Thursdays. Thursday just works better for me and seems to be averaging out to be my most "stable" weight day so that's what I'm going with now.

Also, I'm down another pound this week so woohoo!! And I worked really hard for that pound so I'm happy with it. Now I just need to keep going!

I'm taking a rest day from the gym today (unless I suddenly decide to go this evening like I did on Monday) because my body is tired and I don't want to overdo it and hurt myself. I still need to do "pull" day this week so I'm shooting for tomorrow after work. It's my longest workout day but it should be fine as long as Charles has either a ride home or something to do until I'm done working out.

This working out after work thing is going to have to change next week when school starts because Gabriel will need to be picked up right in the middle of my workout time but I can still find ways to fit them in. It's all about being flexible.

So what did I accomplish from last week's plans? Well, I've been to the gym 3 days out of 7 so far and will definitely do 4 before the week is up, I've tracked calories for 5 days out of 7 and I've definitely been blogging and using social media. The only thing that didn't get done off my list is to get "before" pictures taken with just a sports bra and short so that goes back on the list for this week.

Actually, the list for this week looks almost the same as last week's:

1) 5 days at the gym out of 7
2) get "before" pictures taken in a workout bra and shorts
3) continue blogging and using other social media
4) track calories 5 days out of 7

We also have the Color Walk/Run 5K coming up in just over a week so I'm going to keep working on my treadmill speed to prepare for that!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Thoughts and Workout

So I've been using Instagram and Twitter along with this blog for a week now and I'm finding that I'm enjoying it. It's very helpful and inspirational for me to follow people on Instagram who have lost a lot of weight, especially if they did it with calorie counting and exercise which is how I'm doing it.

I'm also following people who do low-carb, Weight Watchers, Advocare, Herbalife, Beachbody (the last three have shakes), some kind of wraps to lose inches and all sorts of things. I have no problems with anyone using those things and anything else they feel like using... hey, whatever works! There's so many different options out there and different things work for different people.  It helps me so much to see people's transformations whichever way they got there (or are getting there) and to know that it IS possible and I can be one of those transformations one day!

I'm also learning to take pictures of myself and not hate them. Yeah, I look like I just ran 100 miles, am covered in sweat and bright red but that just means I worked out! I've always hated pictures of myself and especially sharing those pictures so this whole Instagram thing is helping me with that aspect of myself.

So basically, I'm having fun and it's helping me work harder. Knowing other people will be reading how and when I worked out, seeing photos of my weight on the scale, interacting with me on weight loss and life in general, it just makes me want to push myself harder and I can't wait to see where all this takes me!

August 19th Workout:

Today was my best day on the treadmill yet! I could have gone faster and at a higher incline but I had to keep my heart at 140 and under and I kept going over which caused me to keep scaling back which was very frustrating but at least I'm making progress!

Treadmill: 65 min, 2.79 distance, 6,797 steps, speed between 2.0 - 2.8 (almost all between 2.6-2.8) mph, incline between 0 -.5.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Daily Weight-Ins and Today's Workout

"How stepping on the scales once a day helps dieters shed more pounds."

I read this article back in December and it makes a lot of sense to me. I did try weighing in every day last year but eventually it became an obsession and I had to break the habit.

Like I posted a few days ago, I'm back to daily weigh-ins but right now it's not an obsession at all, it's more of an experiment to track how exercise and various foods affect my daily weight.

It also helps me keep track of what my actual weight is. Some days there's a really huge jump and if I were weighing in once a week and happened to land on those "jump" days I would be really confused. This was I can keep watching the jumps and see if it evens out or not. So that's my plan with the scale as long as I don't get obsessed again. If I do I'll have to do something different.

In other news, I made it to the gym much earlier today and did "leg" day and another 35 minutes on the treadmill. Tomorrow will be just treadmill day after work and then "pull" day on Thursday. I'm not sure that going in the evenings is a good idea because I was totally wired last night and didn't get to sleep until after midnight but it's nice knowing the evening option is there if I don't make it earlier in the day.

August 18th Workout:

Leg Day:

Seated Leg Extension: 20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                     30 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Seated Leg Curl:  20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                              30 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                              20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Inner Thigh Adductor: level  5 (37 lbs 1 set x 10 reps)
                                     level 6  (45 lbs  3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     level  5 (37 lbs 1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Outer Thigh Abductor: level  5 (28 lbs 1 set x 10 reps)
                                     level 6  (34 lbs  3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     level  5 (28 lbs 1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Treadmill: 35 min, 1.48 distance, 3,593 steps, speed between 2.0 - 2.6 mph, incline 0.

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17th Workout and Some Thoughts

You know you got a great workout when you come home and your clothes are soaking wet!

I didn't make to the gym until after 7:00 pm but it turns out that was a good time to go. It was quiet, with just a few people, all the machines I needed were free and there was some interesting stuff on tv.

I also discovered that if I warm up and do my strength training workout first I have way more energy for the treadmill. I could have done an extra half hour but the gym was getting ready to close so I'm saving it for tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I'm going in the morning tomorrow but time will tell!

August 17th Workout:

Push Day:

Seated Bench Press Machine: 30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                                50 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                                30 lbs (1 set x 20 reps going fast until failure)

Tricep Row Pushdown on Cable Machine: 15 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                                                     20 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                                                   15 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until f)

Pec Fly Machine:  30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                              40 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)

                              30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Crunch with 8lb Ball Extension: 3 sets x 10 reps

Flutter Kicks: 4 sets x 5 seconds

Treadmill: 35 min, 1.45 distance, 3,524 steps, speed between 2.0 - 2.6 mph, incline between 0.

Motivational Monday

I have at least eight of the issues listed if not more. This is why I need to change my body, my food and my exercise habits!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - My Epic Salad

I love this salad and it's also very filling. You can always add or subtract things or switch them out. For example, I used to use a 50/50 mix for my lettuce but something in that mix made things taste bitter so just recently I switched to just spinach leaves. Plus you can use whatever dressing you like and pretty much do whatever you want with this salad but this is how I like to eat it!

Also, when I make this salad I like to make about four measured out salads and then I can just grab one and eat for four meals.

This may not be the healthiest salad but it's really good and filling!

My Epic Salad
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup rainbow slaw (includes raw broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and red cabbage)
1/2 cup shredded or baby carrots
4 cut up orange/yellow cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup Shredded White Italian Style 6 Cheese Blend
1 serving Perdue Shortcuts Honey Roasted chicken breast
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds
1/8 cup Ocean Spray original craisins
1 tablespoon Oscar Meyer real bacon bits

Mix everything together, pour the dressing of your choice over the salad and enjoy!'

Nutritional Facts:
1 salad equals 394 calories, 14 g fat, 886 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 33 g protein.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Week Three - Friday Check-In

Week Three weigh-in:
08/14/2015:        - 1.1 pounds
Total lost:           5.6 pounds
Current Weight: 224.4 pounds

Yes! Finally some weight loss! Now if that can just keep happening I would be very happy.

I definitely did not accomplish all the goals I set for myself last week but it's a new week and I'm going to try a lot harder. I only made it to the gym one day this past week and no outdoor walks at all. This past week had a lot of pain days which screwed me up. I also didn't make any homemade meals and I got on the scale almost every day but that's another blog post. I did finally get my measurements and I did track calories and weigh portions so that's something. I also got this blog a "real" name, made Instagram and Twitter accounts to go along with the blog and got my new dog portrait drawing started.

So what am I doing this coming week?

1) 4 days at the gym out of 7
2) get "before" pictures taken in a workout bra and shorts
3) continue blogging and using other social media
4) track calories 5 days out of 7

I'm keeping it simple and basic this week and once I hit all of my goals I can add more. Like I said, I'm getting on the scale daily now and it's not because I'm obsessed with it, it's because I'm finding it easier to track my progress by seeing the various shifts in weight and how the foods and exercise I choose affect those shifts.

I'm also doing a major thing to keep myself accountable by posting a photo of the weight on the scale when I weigh-in on Fridays on Instagram. Whether there's a gain or a loss, that photo will be posted every Friday and knowing everyone who wants to can see that number will absolutely help me stay on track!

I'm really looking forward to getting back to the gym and getting my weight days done this week and I'll be posting about those as I do them.

I think that's all I have for now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Let's Talk About Food and Today's Workout

First, I would like to say that I now have Instagram and Twitter accounts and you can find the links to those on the side of my blog. I'd like to get this blog to a bigger audience and maybe encourage some people along the way (including myself) so I'm opening up my social media lifestyle lol.

Now, on to food. My greatest goal right now is to lose the weight and get healthy and strong. I'm doing that by counting calories and keeping an eye on macros. I'm not doing low carb. I'm not "eating clean." I'm not getting obsessed with protein vs carbs vs sugar vs whatever. I'm not giving up most types of food. I'd like to think that everything is possible in moderation and it's the moderation that's so hard for me.

Yes, I do want to clean up my diet eventually. Despite the fact that a lot of my food comes from a box or from the freezer, I am paying attention to the labels and nutrients. I try not to buy anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and the smaller the amount of ingredients the better, but I'm not ready to take a giant leap and change everything about how I eat. I need to take this one step at a time. I plan on posting photos of some of my meals (hence the Instagram) and I'm not going to pretend that all my food is fresh and clean just to get better responses and comments.

My biggest issue right now is staying within my calories and portion control. Once those two things are more on track I can look at the next step. It took me all of Lent to not want chips anymore, then another month or two to give up pints of ice cream (which will still get eaten if they find their way into the house) and only a couple of weeks to give up those big, delicious grocery store bakery muffins. And, like all moderation, if I want some chips I can have them as long as they fit into the calories. The best (and weirdest) part is that I really don't want them anymore.

I'm not sure what's next on the chopping block. Probably the frequency of my beloved Dunkin Donuts but we'll see. I also need to introduce more fruits and veggies into my meal plans. They might be frozen veggies but that will be better than nothing. Maybe the best thing to do is look at what to add rather than what to subtract.

Charles is a great influence on me when considering eating cleaner and better. Almost all his food is fresh, clean and simply made (yes, we eat separate meals) and just about all of it comes from the coop so I know he'll happily help me along the way. In fact, we're going to choose one meal tonight to make from scratch this coming week. Eventually I'd like to have homemade meals for most of the week but, once again, that will come in time.

So basically, right now it's calorie counting and everything in moderation. I have a long, long way to go on this weight loss journey and I have to do it one step, one week, and one meal at a time.

August 12th Workout:
I forgot to turn on the Fitbit to track the actual workout so the info here is according to the treadmill and this was the first day I was actually able to go an entire hour! The first 26 minutes were really hard, then I hit my "groove" and it became better, then the stupid ear buds stopped working in one ear and it became hard again and then I hit the "groove" again for the last 15 minutes.

Treadmill: 65 minutes, 2.58 distance, speed between 1.6 - 2.6 mph, incline between 0 - 1.0. calories burned: 213

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mortality - Warning - This Entry Contains Discussion of Dying and Death

This is an entry that talks out death, dying and descriptions of what happened at the gym on Friday afternoon. I didn't want to post this until I had all the information and until I knew that this man's friends and family knew what happened. I didn't want them to accidentally read this online. 

Please read this at your own discretion...

A man passed away at the gym on Friday afternoon while I was there. He was a familiar face, I saw him almost every time I worked out going back to when I first joined the gym over seven years ago. We never spoke, just nodded and smiled at each other while walking by. I never even knew his name until this morning when I read his obituary. It was Don. His name was Don.

It was such a normal day. A Friday afternoon. A few people working out, no trainers that day, just a couple of regular people, the girl at the desk and the lifeguard downstairs. Just a normal, regular day. I was on the treadmill and he was on the recumbent bike like normal. Then he was done and walked past me to the machines which were behind me. Just like the days before. Just like always.

I had my ear buds in and my music loud to keep me motivated. I didn't even know something was wrong until the girl from the desk tapped me on the shoulder and told me there was a medical emergency and we had to leave.

He was laying by the machines. The lifeguard was with him and the paramedics were coming into the room. He was laying there... but he wasn't there anymore. The other gym goers were standing back out of the way before they herded us downstairs. The lifeguard was right there beside him. He wasn't alone. I think that's important to say. He wasn't alone. Someone comforting was with him, even if he was gone.

We got downstairs, things were a little crazy; the gym goers gathered by the desk unsure of what to do... do we leave? Do we stay? Do we wait? The girl at the desk making call after call. The paramedics streaming through the doors and being told to go upstairs. I know they were working on him. I know they were fighting for him. No one was giving up.

I asked if we should leave and the girl at the desk said "yes." New people were coming in not knowing what was going on. Outside, the ambulance and police car lights and sirens were blaring. People were being asked to go home. I think some stayed. I left. I had to pick up Charles from work. The paramedics were still working on him. They were still trying...

He passed away.

I thought I was okay until I got home and then things got emotional. I didn't know if he had made it and I spent the weekend refreshing every online page I could think of that might have info. I finally got information on Monday and saw his obituary today. From what I heard he didn't suffer. It was sudden and it was fast and he was in a place he enjoyed being in.

I've always had a problem dealing with the concept of death and this didn't make it any easier. How could he be here on moment and gone the next? I mean, he was there. He was just there on the bike. He just walked past me like every other time. He was right there! I could have reached out and touched him. He was right there.... and then he wasn't. How does that make any sense? How can you just be gone in a moment? And how does that moment choose you?

I don't understand. I normally try not to think about it because it sets of my anxiety but I didn't have a choice this time. Mortality slapped me hard across the face and I can't stop thinking about it. About him. About life and death and the chances you get and the chances that get taken from you. He was living life to the fullest. Am I?

Am I taking everything that is being given to me or am I wasting it in front of my laptop. Am I working to make myself healthy and strong to hopefully have a longer life or am I wallowing in my obesity and my issues and throwing away the time that I have? Am I living my life or am I watching it go by?

There's so much going on in my head right now. I know I've started to make the changes I need to make to how I life my life and this just pushed them all to the full front. When I am gone, will people say I lived my life to fullest? Will I know I did all I could to show love to those around me? Will my friends and family know how much they mean to me? Will I leave my mark on the world?

Maybe I haven't accomplished this so far but I'll be damned if I don't start doing it now. Because now is all we are guaranteed.

Rest in peace Don. May your memory be eternal.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Mashed Sweet Potato for One

This is basic, simple and really yummy. You can use more or less of the milk and butter as well as seasonings, it all depends on your tastes.

Obviously whole milk adds more calories and fat than most people would like but it's what we have in the house because that's what the boys drink so the nutrient info is based on that. I might buy a small container of skim milk sometime but lately I've been on a kick of more whole foods which may have more calories than "low-fat" foods which may be less healthy so they choice is all yours.

Also, if you want to be more exact with calories and macros it would be better to weigh the potato on a food scale instead of guessing what exactly is a "medium" potato.

1 medium size sweet potato
1 tablespoons whole milk (use whatever kind you have)
1/2 tablespoon butter
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Peel and cut the sweet potato into pieces. Cook in medium size pot uncovered on high until the water boils. Lower the heat to low/medium, cover the pot and cook for about 30-40 minutes. You know the potato is ready when a butter knife easily slides through the pieces. Drain the water and mash the potato. Add milk, butter and seasonings. Eat!

This makes one serving or two if you want to break it up. The first time I made it I ate it as one serving but I was really, really hungry and had the available calories/macros to use on it. In the future I may break it up into two servings depending on what else I'm eating with it.

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 247 calories, 7 g fat, 124 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Week Two - Friday Check-In and Workout

Week Two weigh-in: 
08/07/2015:        + 0.5 pounds
Total lost:           4.5 pounds  
Current Weight: 225.5 pounds

Okay, well, let's talk about why a weight gain happens when you start a major workout routine because this sucks, especially as this "new" blog is now two weeks old and all I've had was a gain.
I did some googling and this was the most clear and simple information I could find. This comes from an article on

"The temporary weight gain explained:
When someone starts a new exercise program, they often experience muscle soreness. The more intense and "unfamiliar" the program, the more intense the muscle soreness. This soreness is most prevalent 24 to 48 hours after each workout. In the first few weeks of a new program, soreness is the body trying to "protect and defend" the effected or targeted tissue. Exercise physiologists refer to this as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

This type of soreness is thought to be caused by tissue breakdown or microscopic tears in muscle tissue. When this happens, the body protects the tissue. The muscle becomes inflamed and slightly swollen due to fluid retention. This temporary retention of fluid can result in a 3- to 4-pound weight gain within a few weeks of a new program. Keep in mind that muscle soreness is not necessarily a reflection of how hard you worked. In fact, some people feel no signs of muscle soreness, yet will experience the muscle protection mechanisms of water retention and slight swelling."

So, while this gain makes me want to crumble to floor sobbing and wailing "it's not faiiiiiirrrrr!!!!" (not that I'm dramatic or anything), I'm going to have to suck it up and deal with it.

On the plus side, I did accomplish quiet a bit this week. Out of my goals for last week I met all but two of them: the complete homemade dinner and the body measurements (which I'm doing this weekend).

This weeks goals are...

1) make it to the gym 5 days out of 7 and hit all three weight training days
2) continue with a lot of walking to prepare for the 5K.
5) continue sticking with this coming month's step challenge.
6) get new body measurements by Sunday.
7) take at least two outdoor walks during the week
8) only get on the scale twice this week
9) schedule this coming week's workouts into the calendar

Also, here's the breakdown of my workout week so far...

Day 1: OMG just let me get home so I can collapse on the floor and whimper in pain
Day 2: Huh, I thought I'd be way more sore than this
Day 3: Holy crap, there's the soreness... owwwww... just going to shuffle to bed by 9pm
Day 4: ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow....
Day 5: not there yet but will keep you guys updated lol

August 7th Workout:

Treadmill: 39 minutes, 1.65 distance, 4,008 steps, speed between 1.2 - 2.7 mph, incline between 0 - 1.5.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fun Times at the Gym And Today's Workout

Today was "pull" day which is my longest workout day due to the amount of strength training exercises. While "push" day has five exercises and "leg" day has four, "pull" day has eleven (or more depending on how I break down the bosu ball workout - in the list below it's broken up into 3 separate ones but really it's more of a combo exercise).

It also didn't help the amount of time that I was there when the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building. The worst part was that I was in the middle of donkey kicks one leg at a time and only one leg got done before we had to leave. I have OCD tendencies and that really, really, really bothered me. Luckily there was no fire so we were able to go back in but it cut into my workout time so I had to finish some of the abs and stretches at home.

Then, just my luck - TMI Warning... workout bra decided to pop open in the middle of my abs workout (yes, I was wearing a shirt over it) and there wasn't anywhere I could fix it between the large mirrors and the guy that was right there so I just called it a day and finished up at home. I think I need a bigger bra :/

On the plus side I was able to go faster on the treadmill though, by a little but, which made me happy because, yay, progress!

Tomorrow is just a treadmill day and then Saturday is push day and then I get a break! Woohoo!

August 6th Workout:

Pull Day:

Treadmill: 30 min, 1.2 distance, 2,921 steps, speed between 1.2 - 2.8 mph, incline between 0 - 2.0.

Lat Pull Down Machine: 30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                         40 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                         30 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Donkey Kick on Machine: 10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                            15 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                            10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Chest Supported Arm Row: 10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                              15 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                              10 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Standing Band Pull - Blue Band:  3 sets x 15 reps

Standing Band Row - Blue Band: 3 sets x 15 reps

Bench Squat: 3 sets x 10 reps

Bosu Ball Basic Balance: 3 sets x 15 seconds          

Bosu One-Leg Balance: 3 sets x 15 seconds                       

Bosu Mini-Squats: 3 sets x 15 seconds  

Birddog: 2 sets x 10 reps

Basic Crunch: 3 sets x 10 reps

Oblique Leg-Up Twist: 3 sets x 10 reps

Flutter Kicks: 4 sets x 5 seconds

Full Body Stretch

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday, August 5th Workout and Some Stuff

Treadmill: 46 minutes, 1.66 distance, 4,046 steps, speed between 1.2 - 2.3 mph, incline between 1 - 2.5.

I wanted to do an hour on the treadmill but my ankle started acting up towards the end of and it was smarter to slow down and then stop than to hurt it. Tomorrow I'm going to wear my ankle braces for more support.

I've organized my calendar so that all my workouts are entered as appointments this week (I'm going week to week depending on what's going on that week) and I prepared today by bringing my gym back with my clothes and shoes to work with me so I could change there and head straight to the gym which gave me an hour to workout before having to pick up Charles from work.

My plan is to do the weights/cardio days on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays (those are my freest days) and just cardio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (or maybe have an additional day off depending on the week). This allows me to fit things in. Of course there will be weeks when things need to be rearranged but that's the basic plan.

Once school starts I won't be able to go from work to gym because Gabriel will need to be picked up right in the middle of that time so Wednesdays and Fridays the gym will have to be in the evenings but I can live with that.

Tomorrow will be pull day (the day with the most amount of exercises) plus some cardio. On weight days I'm keeping cardio at 30 minutes for now but we'll see how it evolves.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Some Updates

Today I saw my doctor so I could get some heart rate parameters for my workouts as my trainer requested. I'm on meds for tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and have to be careful with how high my heart rate gets, especially during workouts. The last two times I did a warm up with my trainer my heart rate got to 146 the first time in 6 minutes and then 158 the second time (doing the heavy ropes) in 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, according to my doctor, I have to keep my heart rate between 90 - 140 while working out which means I need to work out slower and at a lower intensity but for longer amounts of time in order to get anywhere. My trainer told me that I need to plan for an hour and a half a day five days a week at the gym and maybe take some walks outside on gym days as well.

I'm also being sent to a cardiologist to be on the safe side and I'll talk to them about the heart rate and exercise thing too. Obviously my heart and the rest of my body and health will improve with exercise and weight loss but it'll take me a while to get there.

I'm okay with this time span and the time I need to spend at the gym, the hard thing is finding good times to fit it in. For example, today about half way through my workout about seven guys wearing army/navy and marine shirts showed up and took over the gym with their muscles and their crew cuts and their rope jumping and bag punching and, basically, I felt really out of place and crowded. I realize that's my issue and it's not like they bothered me or got in my way, but I prefer the gym when it has less people in it. I think I'll have to plan it out week by week though because we only have one car and between appointments and driving people around my day gets split up pretty badly, especially Wednesdays and Fridays when I work.

Today, as I posted in my workout day post, I did leg day. OMG my legs felt like jello when I was done and I know they're going to hurt tomorrow. Yeah, it'll be a "good" hurt but a hurt nonetheless. I'm planning for "pull" day on Thursday and "push" day on Saturday since I have to leave a day to rest in between, so tomorrow the goal is an hour of cardio. I also found an app for my phone which will tell me what my heart rate is which makes tracking it during workouts much easier!

So, basically, everything is organized, planned and set to go. All I need to do is get off my butt and actually do it!

Tuesday, August 4th Workout

Leg Day:

Seated Leg Extension: 20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                                     30 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Seated Leg Press: 20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps)
                              30 lbs ( 3 sets x 10 reps)
                              20 lbs (1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Inner Thigh Adductor: level  5 (37 lbs 1 set x 10 reps)
                                     level 6  (45 lbs  3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     level  5 (37 lbs 1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Outer Thigh Abductor: level  5 (28 lbs 1 set x 10 reps)
                                     level 6  (34 lbs  3 sets x 10 reps)
                                     level  5 (28 lbs 1 set x 10 reps going fast until failure)

Treadmill: 30 minutes, 0.89 distance, varying speed and incline

Full Body Stretch