Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's a Hard-Knock Life

Gotcha singing it now don't I...well if not, I've got that song going over and over again in my head, enough for everyone. It has been a hard-knock life lately and I'm not even talking the economy. Health wise, I've been doing terribly...since Thanksgiving I've been suffering from weird aches and pains. Granted I am the type to over work, over indulge and over do everything, it's not surprising that my bod doesn't want to keep up. I guess one cannot function on 5 hours of sleep a night for 3 months running...who knew? I guess I'm really not nineteen anymore and I just don't recover like a teenager...but I don't think I was ever able to function well on that little of sleep before, I would just get sick instead and be forced to stay in bed! Forgive if this blog seems a bit ramble-y...but I'm still functioning on less than idea sleep and my brain has been foggy for the last month. The positive is that I haven't caught a cold or flu yet this season (or that I can remember), the negative, I'm being effected in other ways. My bones and joints have been really achy and my muscles feel tight and sore (and sadly I haven't been to the gym in a month or so). I have 2 different doc appointments set up and have spoken with a nutritionist/trainer. Her advice was to of course get more sleep, but to also try coconut water (not milk) to help give my bod some natural potassium and magnesium that it might be needing, not to mention help to hydrate it as well. So I did that and have noticed some improvement. Over all, I know the answer...I am suffering from pure sloth and gluttony!...There's a reason they're counted in the seven deadly sins. I've gone completely off my healthy eating and exercise plan...and have indulged way beyond normal human consumption. I've eaten the cookies and the stuffing and the left-overs and haven't done one damn thing in the gym to counteract the effects. Is my own fault for not taking care of myself...and I've dragged my friends down with me...particularly the poor Maestro. He held off as long as he could but all the crap I brought home, eventually got to him and he caved, and thus the vicious cycle began. Seriously, sugar and carbs are like crack (in fact that's what we call it in our household)...and thus we've consumed the empty crap and it has drained us of all nutrients and gumption, thus leaving us puddled shells of the people we once were...just reaching for the remote and another handful of crack.

Well, it stops here! We're going back to our old, healthy ways. I've rejoined the gym (actually that was 2 months ago) and we've thrown out all the crap/crack in the house. You can't eat it if it's not there! AND I'm scheduling actual sleep time where I can get my 8 hours.

Yeah, Yeah, I know...it's a bit cheesy to jump on the New Years Resolution bandwagon (which I generally don't), but hey, it's a necessary evil...Lord knows I need Resolve! I can also understand why people choose to do it at this time of year...they need to recover from the previous feasting holidays of the past couple months...wow, can they cause damage.

So the plan:

The Maestro and I have decided to go ultra-clean...that's right kids, we're giving up the chemicals! This is very hard, due to the fact that we're both addicted to diet sodas and artificial sweeteners in our coffee. Not to mention all the hidden chemicals in your everyday foods. So we're gonna make it simple! Lots of wholesome veggies (organic if available), grilled meats, organic/low-fat dairy, legumes and some low-glycemic fruits (diabetes runs in the fam.) We're avoiding all "white" foods and introducing whole grains back into the diet after two weeks. This too will be interesting, because we have to look again for the hidden sugar & chemicals. As I stated earlier, we're leaving the artificial sweeteners behind, and opting for natural, lo-cal ones...thus hello stevia...is agave also lo-cal? Time to do my research. We're also using several of our gift cards and treating ourselves to some new kitchen appliances, namely: A steamer (for veggies), a new coffee maker, some good knives, and maybe even a food processor (for fun new recipes).

We're also introducing our bodies back to an active lifestyle...so now it's back to the Shred, the yoga, the elliptical, the long walks, the nice jogs (for the Maestro, my knees can't keep up) and finally the free weights (this will be a revisit for me, but new to the Maestro, as he's been mostly a cardio man all his life...yet he has the genetic make up to build something quite extraordinary.)

I'm really excited to have a partner in this venture and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish. Funny thing is, this happened not by vain longings, but the grand desire to be ultra healthy. We want to live long, healthy, happy lives no matter what age, and we want to do it before we're 60 and asking what happened to our youth? There's no time like the present to get in great shape and feel alive. I want to be a well-oiled machine...and be one of those hot 70 year-olds that look 20years younger than you'd guess...granted I've got a long way to 70...heck I've got a long way to 50 or even 40 for that matter, but its time to start taking care of myself so I can enjoy life at any age.

Start your engines Ladies and Gentlemen...we'er off!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Remember to Breathe

Wow, that statement can trigger a whole slew of thoughts...when working out, when stressed, when angry, when holding your breath for a long time...you know...just remember to breathe.

In this case, it's regarding making choices...those little decisions that can effect the next minute, the rest of the day, the rest of the month. The decision to order the eggwhites with turkey bacon on multi-grain toast, instead of the bacon, egg and cheese on a roll (or an everything bagel)...the split decision that allows you to reach for that Christmas cookies or perhaps opt for the nuts instead. So I tell myself, "Breathe" when currently confronted with the new front of decisions that come with the holidays...I've had to do it this morning especially. Reading Jillian Michael's daily rant about the Tortoise & the Hare is a lovely reminder that slow and steady wins the race. This rings so true during this festive season of eating and partying. Just a slow and steady resolve to remind us that we don't have to be perfect, but it's good to remember to take it one choice at a time and keep on trying.

I've found that my choices are light years better than they were 10 years ago...I didn't change overnight...I flubbed alot...but I always kept the inspiration in my mind that you can never fail if you never stop trying...so you have a bad day, week, or month, but isn't your intention always to get back on track? Well then get back on track...take a deep breath, and ease back into it. You'll be proud with all the little successes throughout the day that add up to make one big success...and before you know it, you're light years ahead of where you were. We work so hard to keep ourselves healthy, why let one little flub derail the whole program. I like being an all or nothing kind of girl, don't get me wrong...it feeds my OCD tendencies sooo well and I love to chart my success...however, that only works when you have the all...but one screw up makes me want to do nothing, and before I know it, I've got a new amount of weight to lose...Not good. Apparently that method doesn't work...so now a new approach. Breathe and take one thing at a time. One good choice after another. Do I really want that pound of Godiva? PMS me says yes, but I've done so well so far, I think I can live with out it at the moment. Besides, I'm still full from that delicious Eggwhite, Turkey Bacon on Multi-Grain Toast sandwich I had not 2 hours ago...The moral of the story is: You can plan a good program, but if you find yourself faced with temptation and/or difficult choices, stop, take a deep breath and try, try again.

Have a great day,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tis the Season...To be Tempted

Or just gain an unwanted 5, 10, 15 lbs.? You spend all that hard work and time to lose weight and then the Holiday's come and moderation gets a new meaning. Why must we be bombarded with high sugar / high fat foods? Our office is a mine field of such gooey treats that you can't walk 5 feet without stepping on something bad! And not to mention all the parties and events one is subjected to this time of year...especially if you're a social butterfly like me...a girl just can't help be popular ;) Seriously...why is it so hard to get those 10 lbs. off? It takes something like 3 months to drop the poundage, but why does it seem to only take 2 days to gain it all back? Curses!

So the plan? We can continue to work-out (maybe even up the time at the gym) but generally most people are EXHAUSTED during this time of the year.)...We can avoid all those bad foods (who are we kidding, it's the Holidays, and besides it's ok to indulge a little...but make sure it's a little)...OR we can set a new plan of action and way of thinking. Let's approach this in a better way:

Continue to work-out, and instead of adding hours to the treadmill, maybe consider adding in a yoga class here and there this season...a nice Spa experience for the body. No really...I feel better after a Yoga class than I do after a massage. Both for me are just as relaxing; but with Yoga, I'm burning calories, stretching my muscles, taking much needed cleansing breaths, clearing my stressed mind and come out of the whole thing in a much improved mood. They have so many types & levels available nowadays, there's no excuse to not take advantage.

Have a lovely Holiday filled with lovely Holiday Treats! WHAT? That's right, but make them yourself with the many healthier version-ed recipes out there. Come on, if you found my blog, you can google recipe alternatives for your favorite treat, or even better, get inventive. Let me get you started, here are some lovely alternatives to some Holiday favorites:

Holiday Food Makeover:


If you can't imagine the holidays without eggnog, you're in luck! With a few simple modifications, you can start enjoying this traditional holiday drink. This version uses artificial sweetener in place of sugar and replaces the full-fat dairy products with their low-fat counterparts. It also calls for an egg substitute rather than raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella poisoning.

Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups egg substitute
2 tablespoons artificial sweetener
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated skim milk
3 cups fat-free half-and-half
1 tablespoon brandy extract

Pour 1 1/2 cups egg substitute into a bowl. Add artificial sweetener and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in vanilla, evaporated skim milk, fat-free half-and-half, and brandy extract.

Chill for 24 hours to allow flavors to blend. To serve, stir well and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Nutritional information
181 calories
0 g fat
3 g cholesterol
22 g carbohydrate
15 g protein
0 g fiber
299 mg sodium

or if Eggnog's not your thing how about:

Hot Mulled Apple Cider (Wassail)

Everyone loves a warm cup of cider (known to many as wassail) during the holidays. This recipe gets a boost of flavor from oranges.

Makes 4 servings

Sugar-free apple cider drink mix
1 quart (4 cups) water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 oranges
2 teaspoons cloves, whole

Following the directions on the package, combine the appropriate amount of sugar-free apple-cider drink mix with 4 cups of water in a large, heavy saucepan.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Keep the oranges whole and leave the peel on. Press 1 teaspoon of cloves into each orange and add them to the pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat; let steep 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out oranges and discard.

Nutritional information
2 calories
0 g fat
0 mg cholesterol
0 g carbohydrate
0 g protein
0 g fiber
5 mg sodium

Enjoy...and if you're looking for more great recipe ideas, check out Kalyn's Kitchen in the blogroll...I've found her South Beach recipes are good for most dietary needs AND they're delish!!!

Have a great day,