Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting Back Up - After Falling Down

I have a confession to make. I have fallen off the wagon with my diet and fitness activities.

Latley I eat more fat than I would like too. Sometimes I eat foods that don't make me feel great. Sometimes I end up being sedentary for a little while.

I'm facing the fact that 9 months of 100% focus has committed me to 100% free range falling off the wagon. But I believe my ability to succeed can be measured by my determination and focus, as well as an ability to learn from your “mistakes”, as well as reflecting on what is working well during this short "off time".

So - Whats the Plan?

1. Recommit - Commitment is very important. It just means that you're willing to do whatever it takes to get to where you want to go.

2. Plan Restart -  I am going to write down everything I eat, drink and enjoy. No matter now good or bad it is. Having an overview on what i'm eating and doing wrong will not only give me a better idea of what i'm doing wrong, but also the times of day that i'm hungry. What's triggering me, and how I can make better choices.

3. Put Your Sneakers On And Move - I need to get back to what I love. ZUMBA! Getting back on track and in the gym will not only improve my body, but also my mood, sleep and how I feel about the food I eat.

That's the plan. Now i'm getting on it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gluten-Free Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

I have been obsessed with playing with different flours and making tarts and galette's. They are an unbelievably good, easy-to-make and visually impressive meal for anytime of day. They have a wonderful make-ahead quality and are an easy-to-reheat and adapt for the veggies you have in your fridge.

For the pastry:
1 cup buckwheat flour & 1/4 cup of brown rice flour chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (i love mixing up colors)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
cut Parmesan cheese to layer in between zucchini layers

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, alternating zucchini and Parmesan cheese starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick, Fresh and Delish - Easy Healthy Pasta Dish

I have a confession. I love pasta. My inner Italian yearns for it on a weekly basis. When I joined WW I knew that pasta was going to continue to be a part of my life, but I had to find a way to control myself around it. Meet pasta nests - these pre-portioned fast and easy to cook nests make portion sizing easy! For me 2 small frozen pasta nests = 1 cup of pasta at a 5 pp value, that cooked in 3 minutes!  Have dinner on the table in 10 minutes - with this simple, fast and delicious pasta dinner.
What you'll need:
2 Cup of Linguine (serves 2) - I used 4 fresh-frozen pasta nests (but you can find them in the dry goods at the grocery store).
1 cup of fresh tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of zucchini
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 (about a cup and 1/2) of artichoke hearts (cut them in half if they are full)
capers (to your liking)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 slice of lemon (a small squeeze at the end)

What to Do:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add salt to pot (pasta water should be as salty as the ocean) drop pasta and set a timer for 2/3 min (so you don't over cook it). In a small pan, place the olive oil in the pan on low heat.  Simmer sliced garlic in the pan, as it becomes fragrant add your tomatoes,  zucchini, and capers to taste. As your pasta timer goes off turn your heat off on both pan/pot and grab some tongs.  Pull pasta straight from the boiling water and into the pan. The small amount of extra starchy pasta water clinging to the noodles will add to the sauce of your dish and will help you use less oil. Lightly toss pasta in your olive oil mixture until its coated evenly, and add in your artichoke hearts. Plate your pasta and squeeze a little fresh lemon over the top.  Viola! An easy-guilt free -fast -filling pasta dinner. enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gluten Free Savory Buckwheat Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast time! Recently I have been experimenting with different kinds of flours to give myself a boost of protein and a change in my carb routine. Try these easy make ahead - gluten free breakfast muffins. They are high in protein and give you a chance to change up your blah breakfast routine.

yeild - 1 dozen muffins
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

What you need:
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup brown-rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups of milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/3 cup of non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, (about 1 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup diced Canadian bacon, (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 of grated Zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted almonds to top

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Combine buckwheat flour, brown-rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, yogurt (or sour cream) oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full). Sprinkle Almonds to the tops each muffin.
  4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Calories Per muffin: 217 calories; 9 g fat ( 3 g sat , 4 g mono ); 50 mg carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 14 g. 5PP per muffin.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer (or anytime) Veggie Tian

Recently I hosted a small dinner party for a group of friends. Being the ever health-conscious host I wanted a dish that looked impressive but feed my low cal veggie soul. Enter the veggie tian. Its low in calories, full of flavor, not to mention color and brings out oohs and ahhs from guest and guilt free conscious. This dish is also a lovely "fridge clearer" getting lots of veggies out of your fridge that maybe at the end of their lives. Enjoy!

What you'll need: 
  • 2 similarly sized Squash or Zucchini (i used yellow and green) cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 1 Large Tomato of simular width (about 1lb); cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 1 Fennel Bulb sliced into 1/4 slices
  • 1 lb sweet potatoe; cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 4 cloves Garlic; finely minced
  • 1 Onion; halved and thinly sliced (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan Romano Cheese
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt (to taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh Herbs - whatever you like (finely cut - i used rosemary)  
  • Some sort of casserole or pie pan (i used a pie pan)
What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Assemble sliced veggies and onions in a casserole dish, layering them in an alternating pattern if desired, or tossing them in helter-skelter style
  • Sprinkle veggies evenly with minced garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, salt and pepper
  • Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender
  • Remove foil, and sprinkle with romano cheese
  • Place Tian under broiler until cheese is browned

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Workout Inspiration: The Top 10 Winter Workout Songs

Need a little musical inspiration to get you through your workouts? - head over to where you can find a variety of mixes that will keep your heart racing and your feet moving.

Here is the RunHundred best workout songs for Winter
Tim Berg - Seek Bromance (Avicii Vocal Edit) - 127 BPM
Katy Perry - The One That Got Away - 135 BPM

Alexandra Stan - Mr. Saxobeat (Maan Studio Remix) - 126 BPM
Flo Rida - Good Feeling - 129 BPM

Wolfgang Gartner & Will.I.Am - Forever - 128 BPM
Hot Chelle Rae - Tonight Tonight (Goldstein Remix) - 118 BPM
Taio Cruz & Flo Rida - Hangover - 129 BPM
Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull & The WAV.s - I Like How It Feels - 129 BPM
Kaskade & Skrillex - Lick It - 128 BPM
Kelly Clarkson - What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger) - 117 BPM

New App Will Work at your Pace
What a great idea - an app that you can control the cadence of the music. Its like having a DJ following you around while you run/elliptical/bike. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cooking Light & Getting Creative In the Kitchen

Cooking light is one of the keys to developing a healthy lifestyle. Healthy cooking is a crucial component in accomplishing any diet and fitness goal. Easier said that done right? Below are some healthy tips to lighten your meals, get more creative and feel more satisfied.

Switch it up Tapa's Style! Cut back your portion, by using small plates and bowls. One trick for eating anything you like is to try tapas-style small plates, tastes and bites, as opposed to full-on meals. Not only will you feel satisfied faster, but you'll try new things, share food with friends.

Leave the scene! Once you've served yourself in the kitchen, get out of it, and away from the family style buffet. You'll be able to track easier, and eat less. Just remember no one is going to take the food away from you so If you use a small plate and want to go back for seconds, go for it, just don't forget to track it.

Just add veggies! Whether it's starting your meal with a salad, adding a side of roasted veggies, broccoli, zucchini or carrot to a main dish like pasta. Look at every recipe like a detective, asking yourself, "How can I add more veggies to this dish?" Add shredded vegetables like carrots and zucchini to dishes they can “hide” in, like spaghetti sauces. The vegetables will cook down and add extra fiber and nutrition to the dish. In the world of weight loss, fiber is a good thing because it adds bulk and helps keep hunger pangs at bay.You'll be surprised how much bulk your gaining in your dishes with out add bulk to your waistline.

Substitute! Substitutions are one of the best ways to lighten any recipe. If it calls for sour cream, substitute plain nonfat Greek yogurt. It the recipe wants full-fat cheese, try a low-fat version, or cut the portion in half. Making something with white flour? Sub in whole-wheat flour, or rice flour.

Measure! Always measure the oil you put in the pan with the appropriate tool. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of oil, use a tablespoon to measure. If it calls for ¼ cup, use a measuring cup. One tablespoon of olive oil has 119 calories and 13.5g of fat. That’s not bad if you only use 1 – 2 tablespoons in a dish, but if you free pour oil it’s likely to double the oil the recipe requires. This can potentially add another 240 calories to your dish and 27g of fat!

Broths are your friend! Sauté foods by using half the amount of fat called for in a recipe, then as the pan begins to dry, add a tablespoon or two of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. Don’t add too much, or you will steam your food and not sauté it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions - only 3 PP per slice!

I love pizza & I love flatbreads. But the caloric devastation of some of the dining out options leaves me steering clear from them. With a few tweaks i've made this recipe a must have. They're so easy, fast tasty and good. You can cut them into small pieces for a party or eat one on your own for dinner. Feel free to use less fancy ingredients to make its as kid friendly as you like.

Flatbreads with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions - (makes 2 flat breads or 1 medium pizza)

5 sprays of olive oil
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 of a cup of balsamic vinegar
1 sprinkle of salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon splenda
1 can reduced fat pillsbury crescent dough
3 ounces goat cheese
3 ounces of low fat mozzarella cheese
(a splash of flour is great to dust the dough to keep it from sticking)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil, (for easy clean up) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

De-can your reduced fat pillsbury crescent dough and smash it into a ball. (This part needs a little elbow grease). Then roll the dough into either 2 smaller flatbreads or 1 larger pizza, be patient and dust with a little bit of flour if needed, this is the hardest part. Once dough is layed out, set it aside.

Cut your onion into strips, and saute in a low pan with a light spray of olive oil, on medium. Once they become glossy add in your balsamic vinegar and splenda. Once your onions are nice and soft set them aside.

Lighlty spray your pizza with a little bit of olive oil and add your garlic evenly around the center. Then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Spread the caramelized onions over the pizza and sprinkle the remainder of your mozzarella cheese, and goat cheese over the top

Bake for 12-15 minutes and vioa la - flatbread time!

6 slices
Calories: 100 Per Slice
WW PP: 3PP per slice

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New! WW Barcode Scanner

No more excuses for tracking! WW has released a new app that allows you to scan your foods and it auto-tracks to your food tracker. How cool! You can now walk around the grocery store, scanning and comparing your Points Plus Values with all kinds of foods.

Here's how it works: I think Jennifer from "It Sux To Be Fat" Explains it best: All you have to do is be an e-tools subscriber or an online member and it links with your e-tools so they can “talk!”  Here’s how it works:
  • Download the app from the app store.
  • Put in your e-tools subscriber information.
  • Load the app and automatically the barcode scanner pops up.  You can either scan the barcode off the product you are looking at or you can enter the barcode manually.  There is even a light button in case you are somewhere dark.
  • It will vibrate to let you know the scan took and then it will either give you a “Cha-ching” to let you know the product is in their database or it will tell you the product was not found and ask if you want to go to the calculator or continue scanning.
  • If the product is found successfully, it will pop up in the bottom of your screen.
  • Click on the product and it gives you all the information you need including serving size and how many points plus it is.
  • Then, just click add to tracker and keep on scanning.
  • When you finish, load the regular Weight Watchers app and all the items you scanned will be in your tracker already.
The app can also be used offline to compare previously scanned items, access your personal shopping history and utilize the PointsPlus calculator. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Weight watchers just simplified our lives for food tracking in every way possible.  Give it a try!

Get it for free in iTunes Store

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fitbit Review

Since Christmas, I wrote about the new tool I received called a fitbit (read about it here). Fitbit and I have been attached at the hip (literally), I wear it to work, bed, going out - and I talk about it to anyone who is willing to listen. I LOVE my fitbit.

The Fitbit accurately has been tracking my physical activity, steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and my overall sleep quality. The overall goal of the Fitbit is to make you more aware of your daily activity and promote you to live a more active lifestyle resulting in a healthier you, it certainly has. I now try to go for walks during lunch, take the stairs more often, and I get fired up at a zumba class to put in an extra jump or walk to get my steps up in a day. I'm not perfect everyday, but at least the fitbit reminds me how my body is doing, and takes away the "assumption" of activity and makes it worth it.
My 30 Days With Fitbit, Tracking and Graphing
Tracking: One of my favorite parts of the fitbit, is the website/app food tracking. While tracking on the fitbit and the weight watchers site can be a bit of a pain, the wonderful thing is it creates graphs in real time about my imput vs output in food intake. If i've been working out - I really try up my food intake, and the same if i've been more sedentary during the day. Your intake allotment will also increase with your activity, meaning the more active I am in a day to more I can eat.

Setting Goals The fitbit system also allows you to make goals for yourself. If you want to loose 20lbs by summer, the fitbit system will tell you how many calories you need to take-in & burn during the day. Then it will plot your progress onto a graph to track your progress. This along with my WW points plus plan really helps me stay motivated and on track. For example: While WW counts a banana as free, fitbit doesn't you've now added 118calories to your count. This basically means I pay more attention to what i'm eating even though they maybe "free", it also means not all calories are created equal. I will reach for a banana over an equal amount of chips, because of the fiber and sodium differences.

Setting Goals, the fit bit will self adjust my calorie amount with how active i'm being.

Weekly Progress Reports - Your week resets on Sunday night (you can control this) and seemingly it feels like all of you hard work and data has reset and disappeared. However - fitbit emails you a weekly progress report with a a tally of all of your calories, weight-loss, steps taken, floors climbed, etc. They also will share with you the badges you have earned, and how you compare to yourself (or your friends).

My weekly progress report for 01/09 - 01/15 (i've hidden my weight)

Getting More Sleep -  The "bonus" feature to me, is about the amount and quality of rest I get each night. I've had sleep issues for years, and just learned to live with being a little sleepy and relying on coffee and sugar free red bulls to get me through a long day. But actually seeing my sleep reports, and learning how much sleep I was really getting was jarring. I vowed to work on getting more sleep during the week. I went to bed earlier, and gave myself a chance to "settle down" with a book or a glass of water before bed. If I really feel like I cant go to sleep I will take a melatonin supplement and gradually send myself to sleep-land. Overall I feel like the quality of sleep I get is better, I'm tossing and turning less, and I can see patterns of disruption in my sleep (wine disrupting your sleep? unfortunate but true) and I have more energy during the day.
I did'nt think sleep was so important until I realized
I was'nt getting enough and it was affecting my weight loss goals!
In conclusion - get one! Or at least sign up for free tracking on their website (you will have to do things manually, but you still get all of the great graphs. What the fitbit really does is it helps me get an overall better picture of my health and activity. Its hard data, that shows a direct relationship to input and output. I can look at it through out the day and feel motivated, get the real time ability to make adjustments to my calorie intake as the day progresses.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Stubborn Payoff - DOWN 4.8lbs!

For some of you, being stubborn is part of your nature. When it comes weight-loss it certainly wasn't part of mine. I used to hit a plateau and give up - then gain double the weight back. Finally I was stubborn - and stuck to it and when I weighed in today I lost 4.8lbs!!!!

The Plateau- If you've been reading my blog for the past few weeks you will notice i've been stubbornly struggling through a plateau. I tried everything, eating more, eating less, tracking, crying, working out more, working out less, when finally I hit a wall and said to myself - "You are doing everything right, your body will catch up with your head - just keep it up."

With a little bit of self-reflection  in "Breaking My Rules & Paying the Price" I put my mouth where my words were and got more sleep, drank more water, and watched my alcohol intake. That does'nt mean I did'nt drink, eat and have fun, I did - I just had more water in between. Kept my workouts going and did'nt give up on myself.

STICK WITH IT & meet Dr. Google! - When I hit this plateau I went into researcher/detective mode, trying to uncover all of the things that i've been doing wrong in my diet.  I felt very alone - then I read this article in Women's Health Magazine

"It's tempting to change tactics completely. But busting through a weight-loss plateau is all about tweaking the diet you're on, not launching a whole new one. When Tufts University researchers recently tested the effectiveness of four different weight-loss plans on 160 people, they found that the diet didn't matter so much as your ability to stick with it. Of the 25 percent who lasted a year, all lost at least 5 percent of their total body weight..."

Finding help in "Dr. Google" can really help you stick to your diet plan, because you realize your not alone - even if you feel your doing everything right and its not working.  In every weight-loss chat room, blog or food tracker site you will find people chatting away about plateaus.

Ultimately - What I learned in my research is weightloss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent sweat, and 10% - (to give it an extra 110%) perseverance.
Spending "quality" time with carbs.  I love pasta, bread, rice, flour, beans, sugar - basically I have never met a carbohydrate I did'nt like LOVE. The only other diet plan I had ever tried with any success was the Akins diet.  I lost around 60lbs and banned my love for food, it then gave me a complex about eating,  then made me gain weight back the minute I ate one morsel of sugar.

The truth is, if your physically active - you need carbohydrates to sustain your energy levels, and you need protein to build muscle. Its not so much about what carbohydrates your eating as WHEN your eating them. I stick to whole grains, and brown rice, but instead of loading them after a work out - I eat them for breakfast or lunch to turn that sugar into energy to pull through my evening workouts. Then at night I load up on lots of veggies (meet my new friend kale chips) and lean protein such as chicken, lean cuts of steak and lean cuts of pork chops.

If I do an early morning workout on the weekends, I will end that workout with a 3 egg white omelet, with feta cheese, tomatoes, and spinach. I'll also pair that with some pumpernickel/rye or wheat toast, for a lean protein boost, with complex carbohydrates to pull me through the rest of the day.

Drinking more water - read what you write. I started this blog to not only share my struggles, but also to share what works. In my post - more water please I had plenty to say about drinking loads of water and seeing the benefits - "drinking water has lots of benefits. Clear skin, weight-loss, a clear knowledge of fullness (a great thing when you like to nibble on snacks when you think your hungry but in reality your really thirsty)." After re-reading this entry, I upped my water intake threefold. I realize I'm less hungry, I feel better, and yes my skin is clearer.

Being stubborn through a plateau is not easy. In fact it is the hardest emotional portion of my weightloss journey. But i'm learning, if I practice to what I preach and stick to the plan.
I will change my life - for the better.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Craving French Fries??? Try Kale chips!

They rock!!!  I put a bit of kosher on them to make them kind of salty like fries/chips. They really were like thin potato chips! You can also sprinkle a little bit of wasbi powder or parmesan cheese on them to make them even more delightful. Once you eat these you'll want to eat then entire bag, and you can! - at only 155Calories for the entire pan you can have your chips and eat them to. Best of all - Its easy,  healthy, yummy and fast.

Preheat oven to about 375*

-4 Cups of Kale (which was a stuffed grocery store veggie bag). Tear the leaves off the thick stems into bite size pieces. Spread onto cookie sheets
- Spray with Pam cooking spray, about 5-7 sprays to lightly
- Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for about 12/15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.
Optional: Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago, wasabi or your seasonings of choice.

Servings: 4 at 1PP/ or 39 Calories for the lightly salted version ( it would go up if you added parmesan or asiago)

If your like me and you love these, you can eat the ENTIRE pan of these chips, (and you will want to) it's only 5PP or 155Calories.

If you craving a salty snack, give these a try, you wont regret it. Enjoy! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Breaking My Rules & Paying the Price

Time for a reality check : Am I REALLY doing everything that I could be doing to break the weight loss plateau & slump i've been in for the last few weeks. I'm working out more, tracking everything I eat, but to no avail, the scale is'nt budging. So I thought I would get honest with myself (and my readers), and pick apart the things that could be self-sabotaging.

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” 
When I come home from work, or the gym - I whip open the fridge and fill myself with the contents of it. While yes its mostly veggies, fruit, and healthy snacks. The key to healthy living and weight loss is to fuel your body with food during the day, starting with breakfast and have a lighter dinner. This week i'm going to focus on “protein and produce” at dinner. Swapping my light lunch salad or soup for a light lunch salad or soup for dinner. This should also help fuel my evening workouts with a boost of carbs and proteins from lunch.

Controlling Alcohol Intake – This is so hard! I've given up drinking for the weekends but its also the number 1 behavior I see in myself when the scale sits at a stand still. When I think about weekends, with friends I can take in 2-5 drinks on a Friday or Saturday night. That adds up to over 800 extra calories that i'm not getting from food.  This week, we are going to limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks twice a week.

Getting More Beauty Sleep. According to researchers at Stanford, people with short sleep (5 hours a night) have reduced leptin (thin hormone) and elevated ghrelin (hunger hormone). Based on what the hormones do in the body, the researchers claimed the differences in leptin and ghrelin are likely to increase appetite, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration.  

Sleep allows you to recover from your workouts. Which means you have to get sleep if you want to lose weight. With my new fitbit (click here to learn more about it) i've been able to track my sleep patterns into some sleek sleep graphs.
From these graphs i'm learning that I average 6hours and 34mins of sleep at night. For my age, it is recommended that i get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, and i get 26 min less of sleep a night. Another interesting fact is to see how sleep effects your sleep cycle.
See Sunday night, when I went out with some friends, for a little "girls night out" . We had been drinking, and while it only took me 5 minutes to fall asleep,  I tossed and turned and "awakened" 11 times that night and only got 5 hours of sleep, on a weekend! Ouch, its time for bed!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One-Pot Spicy Chicken Peanut Soup

This is my new favorite winter soup. Easy to make, PACKED with lean protein, low in calories (only 5ppl per serving, about 200 calories for 2 cups) and a quick 1 pot wonder! This is also a great "fridge clearer" because you can use the base of this recipe (chickpeas, peanut butter, red pepper flakes, and chicken/vegetable stock) and add any combination of veggies to get your own unique and delicious results. Enjoy!

What you will need:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (4-8 oz) chicken breast, diced
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 1½ tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp of PB2 or ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 15.5 oz can chickpeas
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
What your doing:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium pot on medium-high heat
  2. Add garlic and onions and sauté for about 30-60 seconds
  3. Add chicken and sauté about 5 minutes more, until chicken is cooked and onions soft
  4. Stir in coriander, red pepper chili flakes and cumin
  5. To a food processor, add PB2 and about 15-20 of the canned chickpeas with about a tablespoon of the chickpea can juice(reserving the remaining chickpeas). Add the chicken broth in two stages, and blend until desired consistency
  6. Add the peanut butter/broth mixture to the pot of simmering onions, garlic and chicken
  7. Add remaining chickpeas, cabbage, the grape tomatoes and simmer (low boil) for about 5 minutes
  8. Stir in the spinach. Check flavor and add salt and pepper to taste (if needed). Once spinach has wilted, about 30 seconds, the soup is ready to serve
See my recipe inspiration on how2heroes!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Inspiration

The Difference a Year Makes
(on the left: New Years Eve 2011 - on the right New Years Eve 2012)
Its a New Year! Which means - Resolution Time! If you are a member of a weight-loss program and you already work out, these next few "resolution months" make for a busy new year. In honor of the excitement of new people into the gym and on program, I thought I would feed off of some of their excited weight loss energy, and share some inspiration to kick this new year off right.

Looking Back to Look Forward
I've never taken two photos of myself (see above, before and after) and really looked at them side by side. Since New Years 2011 gave me the motivation to start loosing weight .  I thought I would put a before and after next to each other to put my weight loss into perspective. Wow what a difference a year makes!
A Dose of My Own Medicine
Part of writing this blog for me is a reflection of the choices I have made that have worked and what has not. In my post "When Going Extreeme Does'nt Result in a Loss," I wrote about how emotionally tolling a vigorous workout and food schedule can take a toll on your emotions when you don't see your hard work pay off on the scale. Having just experienced another week of 0.0 weight loss on the scale, and earning 90 - YES 90 activity points, and staying at least 2-3 points under my daily target, everyday. I'm taking a dose of my own medicine and learning from my mistakes. Again.

Upping my Caloric intake along with my fitness regimen should hopefully turn my metabolism around. But most importantly I need to find what works for me and my body.

Small Goals to Get Big Results.

Fitness Goal
I recently received a fitbit (read about it here), and decided to set myself a weekly goal of 10,000 steps a day and 70,000 steps a week. Doing Zumba weekly and also enjoying hip hop classes and other forms of exercise.

Date Goal: The Skinny Valentine - i'm looking to loose 10lbs by Feb 14th! This is going to be a challenge as i've noticed i've hit a plateau lately. I've worked hard to loose 2.8lbs over the holiday season. While its in the right direction - its not enough to help me hit my goals.

Community: Meetings are an excellent way to check in with other people who can relate to your weight loss journey. If your like me, once a week is a great way to say hello and set myself up with a weekly goal and reality check. However there is an entire community of bloggers, youtube-ers, and social networks to help you through this weight-journey. Below are a few links that I find helpful: