Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
I decided to make gifts this year, so I made little gift bags of sugar-free, low carb, low-cal. Spiced Chai mix to enjoy with Hot Water or Milk...hopefully my friends and colleagues will appreciate this...I'm giving them a warm, soothing gift that they can enjoy without adding to their waistlines...it seems a bit chintzy, but it was made with love and consideration. I personally enjoyed a cup last night w/some splenda added...it was delish.
So now off to finish some "work" and prepare myself for a nice Holiday of reclusiveness and rest (if possible).
Happy Holidays to All!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I went to the gym today and took a 45 minute circuit training class (which kicked my @$$ - I'm probably going to be way sore tomorrow) and I've stuck to my eating plan so far...Now to keep it going and continue to lose unwanted fat and gain much needed definition. I don't think I've been to the gym in 2 or 3 weeks since I caught that cold which lingered forever and I definitely wasn't eating all that great with my family in town...but now that is all over and I can concentrate on ME...Yeah, I know it sounds selfish, but believe me, it's self-preservation! Survival of the fittest and all that rot...you know proper upkeep is essential.
That said, I got the DVD of my latest opera and I watched a bit...I didn't look half bad, but I do see the areas I want to concentrate on and it just gives me extra incentive to keep going. I'll post some pics once I get a disk from the photographer.
Remember moderation during the rest of this holiday season...and make sure you get lots of rest if possible!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
It seems that I've gotten everyone sick with whatever it is I had the past couple of weeks...including the Maestro of my past and current show...I hope everyone remembers to rest and take their vitamins (and of course get better soon)...
Other than that, I'm finding it hard to get back on my diet...I just want to eat whatever...not sweets necessarily, but things like bread and rice which are a big no no on Phase I. I may allow myself to eat those things in a healthy modified version and wait to cut them out until next week...like I said, I just have to get through the 15th, so I'll get completely well and then restrict my diet again starting on Monday...now to just make myself go to the gym and work out...ugh! Wow...I'm such a whiny B!+ch today.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wish me "Break-a-Leg"
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
More damage to report on the physical front. On Wednesday, I thought I'd treat myself to a nice long work-out since we were excused from work at 3pm that day. So I took myself to the gym and did a nice 30 minute treadmill excursion on a 10 incline at a 4.0 speed and really burned some calories...then I got really ambitious and took a 60 minute yoga class. I haven't taken yoga in a while, due to a shoulder injury that happened while practicing a year ago and I was doing pretty well, my body settled right back into the poses. I was able to go deep into the stretches and keep my balance throughout. My breathing wasn't labored and I easily moved from one pose to the next...but then....the teacher got even more ambitious....she asked us to do a handstand. A WHAT...a handstand...but I just learned how to perfect my shoulder stand and stand on my head...you want me to do a handstand? My gut said this was a BAD thing, but I didn't know if it was because I was unsure and insecure about trying something new that I wasn't good at, or was it because my body knew it was dumb to try something so ambitious since I've been out of practice for so long? The answer was both! And sure enough, as soon as I tried to put my legs up from my downward dog stance, my shoulder popped and I was done for. No inversion happened, and I was stuck holding my arm/shoulder for the next minute. I did finish my practice and had a nice few minutes of meditation at the end, but my shoulder was sore for the next 4 days and still isn't quite up to snuff yet. Other than the shoulder thing, I felt good and energized from my work-out...sadly that feeling didn't last into the next day when I woke up a bit sore...and the next 2 days after that, I could barely walk...Talk about damage...Boy am I out of shape. It's time to really get back into the swing of things. I need to start doing more yoga and pilates, to get my whole body involved. Cardio & a few calisthenics are not enough to keep me progressing. It's time to up the ante.
So the goal: Lose 7 lbs. before New Years, add in more yoga & pilates, work-out at least 5 days a week, and eat really clean and lean. I can do this!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
I think I'll reward myself with something positive...maybe a nice night out with my man or a massage...who knows, but I definitely need to reinforce the good I'm doing for myself.
Oh and I'm totally having a nice skinny day, you know when you feel just lean and svelte and nothing can detour your confidence...Yeah...That kind of day :)
Thursday, November 8, 2007
My first rehearsal for The Impresario was last night and I have to say it went pretty well. I felt well prepared and in good voice. So my confidence is way up concerning the outcome of my performances in this role...it should really be a HOOT! The little criticism I got from the Maestro, I found actually constructive and encouraging. I was accused of singing too big and loud...me, a lyric coloratura too big and loud?...is there truly such a thing?...Joan Sutherland would be proud!...and so will my voice teacher. It's nice to be told to back-off for once in the realm of opera singing...I never dreamed I'd hear that from anyone...lol...it really tickles me and makes me realize that I truly am progressing vocally...nice to know I'm finding the power in my voice. I should be heard nicely in the theatre I think...I'm really excited about this opportunity and showing my all...lol...literally. (of course I'm referring to my acting & singing abilities *wink, wink*)
Ok, kids I'm off to lunch. This is where it gets hard...going out to a restaurant and finding something that's on your diet...it usually takes some tweaking when you order, but they're usually obliging. Thursdays I usually do lunch with a friend, it's the only day I don't work out at lunch...so that means finding time elsewhere in my day. I can make it happen...there's nothing I can't do if I put my mind to it! Hey as Mike Ditka would say:
You're never a loser until you quit trying.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
The word origins of jump on the bandwagon and on the wagon are two more commonly used phrases. To be "on the wagon" means someone has given up drinking alcohol. Before paved roads were created, water wagons went around spraying the roads in order to prevent dust clouds from forming from the passing traffic. The only drink other than alcohol in those days was water. Therefore, if someone was to be drinking large amounts of water rather than alcohol, that person "climbed aboard the water wagon," which was shortened to "on the wagon."
Unfortunately I fell off the wagon last night. I didn't stick to my eating plan and ended up having some majorly unauthorized carbs. Note: 1 glass red wine (not too bad, but not allowed until Phase III), cheese & crackers (mmm...bree, absolutely terrible, high in fat and the crackers are full of empty carbs) and finally little puffed pastries w/spinach and assorted meat stuffing (Really awful...not only empty carbs, but lots of lard hiding in those flaky layers). I didn't over do it in quantity however, and I still lost a pound according to this morning's weigh-in. Back on today and you know what cheating means?...that's right...2 more weeks of Phase I. I did it to myself! So, now I have to count today as Day 1 for the next 2 weeks...OK, discipline and perseverance will get me through. I can totally do this. And heck, it could have been worse...
I did have a great time last night. The event was fun, NYC children were helped, and Jennifer Holliday was amazing! Yes, she did sing "And I'm telling you" as the final selection of the night and it was everything you could want...absolutely fantastic. And coming from an opera singer, that's a big complement. I took a fellow opera singer friend of mine and he too thought it was a fun night and a great treat to see Ms. Holliday belt it out as only she can.
Luckily I had good train-karma and got home within 20 minutes from the event and still managed to get 8 hours of sleep, so I'm ready for tonight's FIRST rehearsal of The Impresario. I feel good and as prepared as I can be going into an unknown rewritten show...yet I know it'll all work out fine, it always does...that's the magic of the theatre.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
I got a great comment about supplements. It's so true, if you're going to be dieting, heck even if not, we all need vitamins and minerals added to our diet. There's just no way to get all that the body truly needs unless you supplement it into your diet...even then the body doesn't necessarily absorb it all. However, I definitely recommend getting something as simple as a multi-vitamin if nothing else. My grandmother who is 84 and still lives alone and is VERY active, has always taken a daily regiment of vitamins and has eaten well balanced meals since her young adulthood...she's in great shape, both physically & mentally...heck she's still got a very active social & dating life...yeah, she rocks! So the moral of the story is, get your vitamins so you can stay on the healthy track. Currently I'm taking a Multi-Vitamin for Women, Vitamin C, Calcium w/D, B-100's, & Flaxseed Oil (I'm allergic to fish, so no fish oil for me). I definitely think I haven't gotten fully fledged sick thanks to the supplements added to my diet.
As for progress...I'm down 2 lbs. this week and have eaten clean every day so far. We are currently on day 5 of the detox phase and so far so good. I really do feel lean and Jake has even commented that I look and feel leaner too...weird how the progress happens so quickly on this particular diet & exercise program.
Have a great weekend! And I'll be back blogging on Monday.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
On the bright side, I've avoided temptation thus far this week and have really kept up with my diet. I've gotten in exercise as well and have a good nights sleep ahead of me tonight (well assuming I can make my mind stop and rest.)
I actually got up and made myself breakfast this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really do love eggs & Canadian bacon...so yummy! And today for lunch a friend of mine took me out and I had the Taco salad, sans the sour cream and shell, and made with fajita beef instead of ground...it was delish and very satisfying. I've already had two snacks as well and plan on my 3rd around 6pm before my coaching tonight. Wow...I wonder how much I can actually fit into a 24 hour day? If I could I'd sing for at least 4 hours a day and dance for 2 hours on top of that...However holding a full-time day job, singing with the Opera nights & weekends, coachings, voice lessons, the gym and auditioning doesn't really allow for much more openings in my schedule. No wonder Jake & I have a hard time getting together...
This weekend (starting tomorrow) I'm helping a friend of mine pack to move out of her apartment of 6 years...that gives one time to accumulate much, so I won't be surprised if I'll be there from night into the morning...but I don't mind, she IS one of my best friends in the world and she would do the same for me...in fact she has for the past 3 times I've moved...I really owe her.
So that's the deal for this coming weekend...and I'm REALLY looking forward to my brunch date that I have with Jake & my cousin every weekend. There's this place we go to that make the most incredible mushroom, scallion and goat cheese omelet and it comes with the perfect medley of mixed greens in a lemon vinaigrette...and it's on my diet! YAY...we Love That!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Oh well...bye bye soda.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
V came and had lunch with me yesterday and I truly enjoyed my black bean soup & lamb kabob w/hummus, grilled veggies & salad. It was so much food that I ate the other half of the meal 3 hours later...and it was still delicious. It's so nice to have her doing this diet with me. It makes it so much easier when the person you dine with has the same dietary needs as you. Of course that's not always the case, but I've got such a great support group of friends and they generally let me pick the location so that I can stay on my diet.
I have some favorite meals & snacks I'd like to share that help me stay on this diet...sure you can have salad...but one does get tired of the same ol' grilled chicken on a bed of mixed greens thing (or at least I do.)
7:30 am: 2 eggs (or egg whites) w/Canadian bacon or Morningstar veggie sausage (I happily can eat breakfast anytime...mmm)
10:30 am: 2% String Cheese (so easy to grab & go)
1:30 pm: Fat-free "refried" beans w/fat-free cheddar (just a sprinkle), diced onions, and salsa (make sure it's low in sugar).
4:30 pm: Nuts - 15 Almonds, 30 Pistachios, or 3 tbl spns Pumpkin Seeds...another quick and handy snack.
7:30 pm: Turkey Kielbasa w/onion & cabbage (sauteed in Smartbalance "butter")
Usually I'm done eating by this time, but if I want one more snack, I'll take some whey protein & blend it with skim milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and Ice for a nice smoothie/vanilla protein shake, or just have some sugar-free jello...oh and 2% or 0% Fage yogurt w/a package of Splenda mixed in is always a nice treat too (so thick & creamy).
So that's generally what a day in the life on this diet consists of during Phase 1. Not bad and a lot of food...The cabbage was delish last night by the way :)
Ok kids, I'm off to the gym!
Monday, October 29, 2007
"regular food," c.1225, from O.Fr. diete, from M.L. dieta "parliamentary assembly," also "a day's work, diet, daily food allowance," from L. diaeta "prescribed way of life," from Gk. diaita, originally "way of life, regimen, dwelling," from diaitasthai "lead one's life," and from diaitan, originally "separate, select" (food and drink), freq. of *diainysthai "take apart," from dia- "apart" + ainysthai "take," from PIE base *ai- "to give, allot." Often with a sense of restriction since 14c.; hence put (someone) on a diet (c.1440). The verb meaning "to regulate oneself as to food" (especially against fatness) is from 1660. An obsolete word for this is banting (q.v.). The adj. in this sense (Diet Coke, etc.) is from 1963, originally Amer.Eng.
That's what I plan to do; EAT "regular food" in small to moderate portions, 5 to 6 times a day. No pills, potions, packaged or processed foods...whole foods, organic if I can get them. I'm just cutting out the crap and letting the body detox & re-balance itself. No sugars, flours, hydrogenated or high-fructose anything. Lean proteins, green & colorful veggies, with some low-fat dairy thrown in for the next two weeks. After those couple of weeks are over, then I'll slowly start adding in the complex carbohydrates, like a piece of fruit with dinner. Why the slow add pace? To see how much insulin MY body can truly process before it stores it on my hips or around my waist.
I'm also starting the resistance training this week. Jake will be back today from sunny Florida (I did miss him terribly). He kindly called me on Saturday while laying on the beach to let me know that I'll see him tonight around 8 pm, so perhaps we'll get in some weight training after-all? Just a note: While he was laying on the sunny beach, I was riding on a bus in the cold & damp northeast *sigh*. It's all right, I had fun anyway (I always do!) And looks like I'll be having fun tonight too...YAY working-out, I just LOVE working-out (keep telling yourself that and someday you'll believe it).
So now you know the plan and the goals. I'll be doing it in 12 week increments, so this is now Day 1 of Week 1 of Phase 1...lol..We're #1...sorry couldn't help it...I'm still very groggy from the LONG weekend and way too many hours on a tour bus.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The plan....have Brunch with my cousin Philip and then get on the fancy schmancy bus and watch dvd's until we arrive in good ol' Mass. 5 hours later. Note to self: don't drink too much coffee, you've got a long road ahead of you! Granted there's a bathroom on the bus...but they always creep me out a bit...and this coming from a women who lives in NYC. Oooh...maybe I'll nap, that's always nice (unfortunately, I've never been one to be able to sleep while traveling...oh well).
So I'm off kids and will be back blogging on Monday...
Friday, October 26, 2007
So, Jake (the personal trainer boyfriend) flew off to sunny Florida at 5 am this morning...yeah you guessed it South Beach, Florida. Isn't that a funny coincidence he's in South Beach, Florida at the same time I'm about to start Phase I of the South Beach Diet...However, I think he's currently getting the better end of the deal here. So while he's on the beach, soaking in the sun and catching some waves (do they do that in Florida?) I'll be going off to Massachusetts on tour with the National Lyric Opera. I'm not complaining...I love going on tour and I think Cape Cod is fabulous...I just want to point out that the North East is a bit nippy in late October...so I don't think I'll be doing much sun and wave catching action, but at least it's pretty :)
Good thing I start Phase I on Monday (doing that restrictive part of the diet would have been pretty difficult on tour over the weekend...they always feed us pasta on the road or chips & sandwiches.) But I'll be back late Sunday night / early Monday morning and ready to hit the detox trail. Oh and hopefully my program will be ready from PT Jake so that I can get a good start to the week...actually he doesn't arrive back to the City until Monday night, so I'll more than likely do cardio and calisthenics and then Tuesday start his training program...kettle bells?...boxing?...who knows, but I can't wait! Really...I'm ready to get seriously lean & healthy!
Oh, I just remembered...to celebrate the start of Phase I on the SB Diet, V and I are going to get together and either eat an authorized meal together for Lunch or we're going to work-out during the Lunching hour...either way, it's a win/win situation. It's good to have a buddy on this journey...we just love her! (yeah, I do occasionally break-out the "royal" WE...I AM a bit of a Diva).
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Let me be honest with you folks. As you know, I once weighed 186 lbs. My drop to 140 lb-land didn't happen overnight, nor even in a year. It's taken me almost a decade to whittle it down...Yeah I know...soooo encouraging, but I've had a lot to learn about the whole eating healthy and working out thing. I actually lived on fast food & Dr. Pepper during college (never a good idea)...I was seriously addicted too...I'm not kidding. Some people smoke, or drink, or take recreational drugs, but my addiction IS food, especially fast food. I love me some Taco Bell.
Now on to the positive. I've changed my approach, thoughts, way of eating AND am much more active in my lifestyle...I live in NYC for "Godsake", it's a hard City to sit still in. So I'm on the right track and my weight has been the better for it.
Just recently (the past 4-6 months) I've lost 20 lbs. doing the South Beach diet. No I'm not talking about eating the marketed "South Beach" products...I'm talking about detoxing the body and re-balancing it with good healthy foods. This "diet" was actually designed by a doctor in South Beach, Florida for his diabetes and heart patients. It was created in order to help increase their health and gage how much insulin their body could process. The weight loss was just a bonus side effect to their new way of eating. What got me to try it, was my own sensitivities to insulin and my family history of diabetes & heart disease. I figured "might as well nip it in the bud before it grows into an actual problem." Not to mention, I'd drop some unwanted pounds in the process. So I finally found what works for me, and when I cheat (WHICH has been as of late) I feel crappy and find that my body really can't handle processed sugars and carbs.
So the plan: My friend V and I are starting Phase I of South Beach again THIS coming Monday Oct. 29th. We will detox on this phase for the next two weeks and re-balance our body's insulin levels. Then I will slowly add back one serving per day of complex carbs and then another serving per day the following week and so on and so on...until I find out how much insulin/carbs my body can handle. If I cheat, then I have to do Phase I again in order to re-balance the body chemistry...so I'll do my best not to cheat...cuz Phase I ain't no picnic. Sorry, sometimes I'm soooo "country."
*Oh...and as you know, I will also be working out with the goal to change my body composition to a much leaner body fat percentage. Nice side note huh?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Day 1: The goal to eat well (healthy) and get at least 30 minutes of exercise.
8:30 am - 1/2 a blueberry muffin and a decaf coffee w/half & half.
*Note: That's soooo not healthy, let's try some eggs or something tomorrow morning instead...my body doesn't handle sugar very well.
11:30 am - 15 almonds and a cup of chai tea (redundant)
*That's better (yay vitamin E)
More times and foods later as the day progresses.
Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio
(Treadmill - 4.0 speed, 10 incline, 314 cals. 3 miles)
Weight: 140 lbs. (not terrible)
Body Fat %: 35% (oye! are we kidding...how did this happen?)
*Note: The Goal...I really want to be 18%...whew, now you know.
At my heaviest I weighed 186 lbs., not good on my 5'4 frame, and just recently I lost 20 lbs. on the SouthBeach diet. However, I don't think my Body Fat % has ever been so high. It was only 30% when I was at 186 lbs. and then it was 26 % when I was in the middle of loss at 168 lbs. I've definitely done something wrong, or at least I haven't done enough right. Dieting is just not enough, nor is just Cardio. I have to do resistance training...not only for my bod to tighten up and look good in a bikini ;) but for my well-being, and bone density...hello, I'm not getting any younger AND osteoporosis is another lovely affliction that runs in the fam. So, I've got to visit the dreaded weight section of the gym and really do something in there.
Pro: The boyfriend, Jake, is a personal trainer and a good one at that. All his clients see results and are very happy.
Con: Our schedules are crazy, and we hardly see each other, except to say good morning and good night...how do I utilize him?
Pro: He has volunteered to help me (how nice)...and create a program for me to follow.
Con: I'm such a stubborn, pig-headed person and I suck at taking advice...I want to do it my way and take all the credit (This is definitely one of those times to suck-it-up, shut-up and listen to what others have to offer...especially if they know what they're doing)
Pro: I'm learning, even as I type this (hmmm...somebody IS home)
Con: Now I have to STICK WITH IT! Did I mention Stubborn & Pig-Headed?
So I guess the moral of the story is: Be big enough to accept help and listen to what others have to offer. Not brain surgery is it?
Addition: I'm inserting a page of what my fitness & nutrition log looks like, not the most legible...I'll do my best to insert a better pic.
Now, to get started. My reasoning is to keep myself honest and accountable for my actions. Mainly in the realm of diet and exercise, thus the name of the blog, Not a Fat Opera Singer. That's really the goal, to no longer be nor to become the stereotype that has been long associated with the world of Opera and it's singers. You know what I mean. If you're not really involved in this world, what image comes to mind when someone says Opera Singer? Is it the large, buxom woman with viking horns on her head? Unfortunately, that seems to be a widely shared thought of how we opera singers are viewed. Oh what I wouldn't give to wear that horned hat and seriously sing Wagner, however, I'm just a lyric coloratura soprano trying to make it in the world.
The Opera World is-a-changin' however. Have you seen all the press on Dramatic Soprano, Deborah Voigt and her gastric bypass surgery? Or the Vogue spread of Anna Netrebko? The craft of Opera must survive in a multi-media world and to do that, it must present the whole package for the audience to enjoy...at least that's what we're being told. It's no longer just about the voice, but the acting and the believability of the character. I personally have always been on-board for good acting and believability...but in this endeavor let's not lose the beauty of voice. Alright, so now all I have to do is sing great, act great and LOOK great (not to mention have some nice networking on the side) in order to get the job.
But let me make one thing clear: This is not just about my career in the arts, this truly is an endeavor to be HEALTHY. Diabetes and heart problems run rampant on both sides of my family, and I don't want to suffer as many members of my family have and still are. I don't want to die of a heart attack or stroke by the age of 50, nor do I want my legs amputated from diabetes. It happens, it has happened to my loved ones, and if I can eat right and exercise my way to having a long and healthy existence, THEN LET'S DO THIS THING!