Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Overweight Becomes a Lean and Mean Mom of 3

I may not have introduced myself.  Some of you know me, some of you don’t…  some of you I have been friends with for YEARS and some we’ve never met but have only connected online.  I don’t like to post pictures of the kiddos and I’m not all about the selfies as much as others, but you may be able to relate better knowing that I’m a single Mom of 3 and they are my world.  We are just as busy as you and we still make the time to work out.  I keep the kids in sports to make sure they stay busy and aren’t home creating unhealthy habits.  I post a lot about fitness and nutrition but have you ever wondered why I do what I do?

Examples

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

Have you ever wondered what exactly I do as a fitness coach?  Have you wondered how I got here?  Have I always been  shape?  (uhhhh no – I haven’t.)  How did a stay at home Mom turn working Mom with a fitness business?

I haven’t always been into fitness.  But I have always been an athlete.  I lived and breathed gymnastics until I was about 14, then I wanted to do team sports for my school (soccer, tennis, volleyball).   I was in shape but working out was not the fun part of my day.   I used to hate running.  I would do it because a lot of sports needed the cardio conditioning but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t eat right, etc.

Before kids, I could eat whatever I wanted just like when I was a teenager and not gain a pound!  But now, that’s not so much the case.  Once I had my first child, Kaitlyn (with whom I gained 64 pounds!), I could not lose that weight.  I tried every diet under the sun, got a gym membership thinking that would help, etc.

Pregnant but still overweight

Pregnant but still overweight

But I didn’t stick with it.  My husband at the time could still eat whatever he wanted and the scale would not be affected so I would gradually go back to eating like he and I always did.  Then 7 months after giving birth we were pregnant again.  It was what we wanted because I always wanted to have my kids close in age and we knew we weren’t done, HOWEVER, I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight first.

With baby #2, I was determined not to gain another 64 lbs!  (BTW, this before pic ——–>      was really hard to post!) I did a little working out while I was pregnant with her and I ate a lot better.  Not good, like I do now but better.  I only gained 24 lbs with Britney.

After she was born was right around the time that low carb diets were the thing.  And I was sold when I read that I didn’t need to work out, I could just eat low carb.  HA!  I dropped all the baby weight and then some!  Then it became that the only time I would work out was when I ate really bad the day before.  So now that I knew I could just eat low carb whenever I had some weight to lose I went back to eating atrociously!  Then I would work out twice a week if that.

Well as the girls were getting older, I decided to start cooking and making more home cooked meals at home.  I was a huge advocate for nursing since formulas were getting so much criticism for their ingredients and I was reading more and more about baby foods and how easy it was to make at home AND this way you knew what was going in to your child’s mouth.

That lead me to start watching and learning about the foods I was eating.  All the crap sold in the supermarket were 90% chemicals!  I started trading in the commercialized grocery stores for farmers markets and Trader Joe’s (Whole Foods wasn’t in Phoenix yet).  I also started buying organic whenever we could afford to.  I started with vegetables that grew in the ground and then meats was next.

After seeing and FEELING the results of just eating right it motivated me to want to get toned and in shape especially since I knew how to eat now!  Food was fuel now, not comfort.

Now comes the year 2007, I was in better shape then I was when I was a teenager, even had more energy then I did then.  We were running, biking, I had a gym membership where I would do spin class 2- 3 times a week, my girls and my ex and I all belonged to a dojo where we were all there at least 3 times a week.  I even taught yoga there for a while for some of the moms that had kids in the karate classes.  In June I found out that I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with Baby # 3, my son Frankie!  He was due in December!   So I had 4 short months to plan to have a baby!  But I didn’t want to stop working out.  I was mostly doing cardio anyways:  running, hiking, rollerblading, spin class, kickboxing and yoga at the dojo.

Frankie was born and I ended up only gaining 22 lbs.  My doctor towards the end was concerned that I hadn’t gained enough weight.

Then I started to want to help other Moms!  My girls started cheer and would have regular practices in a park, their Coach asked me if I would be the squad’s conditioning coach so now I started doing that every Tuesday and Thursday.  Soon after, some of the Moms of the girls recommended I do a fitness bootcamp where they could come work out.  We did and soon more and more moms showed up.  I would get the girls warmed up for cheer and then I would move over to the Moms!  It was fun.  We all created a close bond and I even helped some of them get ready to run their first marathons.

I started a blog, THIS ONE, hence why its name is Mom-related and not fitness related.  🙂  When I first created it, I started talking about tips to help breastfeeding Moms and nutrition was one of the most common posts because the questions were all closely related to the Mom being able to produce enough milk for a growing baby, etc. and then it started connecting me with women who were likeminded all across the country.

2008It was about this time that my neighbor introduced me to P90X.  Frankie was not even 2, Britney was 7 and Kaitlyn was 8 1/2.  My hands were full.  I was in shape but not getting toned.  I was still doing a ton of cardio.  P90X had weights and I knew I had to add that in.  I was always afraid of weights, always thought I would like a man, etc.  I was ready for a change.  I always wanted a personal trainer and now I had my own in MY HOUSE!!  It was amazing.

1st round of P90X

1st round of P90X

 

This was me in Cabo after the 1st round P90X.  I did the lean program and I refused to eat the P90X way.  I thought I knew more about what my body needed than this nutrition ‘guide’ telling me to eat 100 carbs a day!  At that point, I would barely eat 100 carbs in 4 days!!  I thought I had this whole fitness thing down and all I needed was to add weights.  HAHA.  I would be exhausted half way into the workout, or getting really bad headaches right after.  So I knew something was wrong.

 

 

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

The lack of carbs is why my first round didn’t get me the results I anticipated.   I added a little muscle but nowhere near everyone else’s 90 day results.  This got me so mad!  So then right away, I started the classic program and I ate exactly how it told me to, even bought Shakeology.  I was posting my results pics on Facebook and friends and family were the first to notice.  Then I started helping other people get through their first round of P90X.

After 3 rounds of P90X, I decided to switch it up with Insanity.  I loved Insanity because it was a more intense version of P90X’s cardio days and guess what I started thinking P90X was too EASY!!  On the P90X cardio days, (Tuesdays and Saturdays) I would do the Max Cardio Circuit from Insanity instead of PlyoX.

I started connecting with people on the Facebook P90X message boards and through my blog.  I was helping people get through the programs but not getting paid for it!  And then Tony Horton shared my blog post of How you know You’re Addicted to P90X.

I knew I could help other Moms too… and realize everyone can do this too.   Being a Coach has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  It got me in the best shape of my life, I have a healthy relationship with food, I have spent more time learning about myself, learning about others, and learning ways to better help YOU.

You do not have to be a fitness expert or nutritionist to be a successful Coach.  All you need is the desire in your heart to help others.  Beachbody is all about helping others.  They provide the tools you need to change your body, the nutrition your body is craving, a Coach who is always there for you… (ME!) and the network of likeminded people that you can connect with on Team Beachbody.

If you are interested on learning more please contact me.   We do a very brief 15-20 min webinar once a week and you will see how it easy it is to do the same thing I do!

Let’s get in touch and work on You together!  What do you have to lose??  You never know, it could be supplemental income for you too OR even become your main source of income!

 

Send me an email:  at CoachChristysElementsofFitness@gmail.com

OR an Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life

November 16, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Divorce, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Family, Insanity, Me, My Low Carb Recipes, Nursing, Nutrition, P90X, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Phoenix AZ, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Summer! Are You Bikini Ready?

This used to be a dreaded time of year for me.  It starts to get warm and you don’t realize how out of shape you are until you go try on bathing suits!  You start to remember all the holiday parties, Super Bowl parties, St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, food you ate off your kids’ plate because they were full (I’m guilty!!), and every other party that put those extra pounds on.  If that sounds like where you’re at it’s not too late to make a change.

1401294166939

The first day of summer is June 21st!   The only motivation you need is knowing that being fit feels better than any piece of junk food or soda you’re craving!!  Do you want to look better?  Are you tired of feeling sick and tired??

For me, this is the 4th year in a row I have been able to buy a bikini for the summer season… and I’ve had 3 children so that’s a huge accomplishment for me.   I also gained 60 lbs with my first and didnt lose it til after my 2nd was born so… there’s no excuse!  You can do it too.  Women tend to believe their bodies deteriorate after giving birth and that’s JUST NOT THE CASE!    It can… but ONLY if you let it happen!

If you are overweight or even if you’re just struggling with 10-15 pounds I highly recommend The Shakeology 3 Day Cleanse along with P90x, Insanity or any other program you can stick to at least 3-4 times a week.

I’ve done both P90X and Insanity and now instead of P90X cardio days I do Insanity workouts.  The hybrid of the two give phenomenal results.

Your 6 pack is there too!  It’s just hiding.   It’s 70% nutrition and 30% exercise.  Staying away from white sugar, white flour, junk food, dairy products, carbonated drinks and alcohol all help get you those abs.  If you want more ways to do that look the right and click on Nutrition for my Recipes or you can visit me at Team Beachbody, Facebook or Instagram (@FitnessElements4Life).  I share tips, tricks and new recipes for stuffed peppers or this delicious “pot roast” made with turkey instead of beef!!

IMG_20140323_121501[1]

 

I also write daily meal plans for those that have a hard time putting together grocery lists, let alone their meals.  Contact me today  for more information.  The meal plans I write are customized to you and your taste buds and they are only $25-$40 depending on how much guidance you need.  We also will have you keep a food diary and they adjust your meal plans each month.

It all takes time and hard work, just as any venture does.   Holler at me and lets get moving!

 

IMG_20140514_232616[1]

Come check out my blog:  www.amothersmemoir.com

or Instagram at @FitnessElements4Life

 

 

 

 

May 28, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Exercise, Insanity, P90X, Products That Work, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some of My Favorite Clean Eating Recipes

Kids in the fallBeing a Mom in the fitness and nutrition industry, the 2 most common questions I get asked are to share my recipes and “what diet should I be on?”.   A very close third is “how many grams of protein should I eat?”. 

I’ve already given my theory on ‘diets’ and what people should choose based on their lifestyle.  So I’ve decided to compile a few recipes that my kids love (and request often) that are also high in protein. 

So, what better time to share recipes then this time of year!  We live in Arizona, so the summer I am usually not found slaving away over a stove!   It’s finally starting to cool off which means also means more baking and cooking.  Our summers here in Arizona are not good for baking and slaving over a stove.  So, when fall arrives, thats when I start cooking!

No matter what your fitness goals are, eating a high protein diet will help you burn fat and lose weight.   When most people think of high protein diets,  they also equate that with lacking carbs.   While I tend to scale back on the carbs after 2-3pm, I don’t make my kids do the same.  

We do good carbs.  Carbs from vegetables or brown rice.  P.S.  I have gotten my kiddos to eat brown rice just by throwing in black beans or kidney beans with some cilantro (find that recipe here under Spice Up Your Rice).

lean proteinThe best sources for protein are typically lean meats, but surprisingly they also include plant sources such as tofu, beans, nuts and quinoa.  For animal protein sources I always suggest chicken breast, lean fish such as Tuna, ‘fatty’ Omega-3 fish such as salmon, egg whites, turkey, skim dairy products, shrimp, veal or lean cuts of pork.  Depending on your dietary preferences you might decide to eat only a few of these options, but all will provide you with healthy servings of protein!  

However, not all sources of protein are equal. Here’s a list from the United States Department of Agriculture describing the differences in amounts for some of the foods listed above.

Protein Source

Grams of Protein

1 ounce meat, fish, poultry

7

1 large egg

6

4 ounces milk

4

4 ounces low-fat yogurt

6

4 ounces soy milk

5

3 ounces tofu, firm

13

1 ounce cheese

7

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

14

1/2 cup cooked kidney beans

7

1/2 cup lentils

9

1 ounce nuts

7

2 tablespoons peanut butter

8

1/2 cup vegetables

2

1 slice bread

2

1/2 cup of most grains/pastas

2

Here are a few healthy, high protein, lowfat chicken recipes:

Chicken Dijon

Chicken Dijon

 Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 six-ounce chicken breasts

Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a rack on top and spray with cooking spray.

-Combine honey, mustard, oil, curry powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush chicken pieces all over with the honey mustard mixture, then place chicken breasts on the rack.

-Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning half way through. Baste every 10 minutes or so with the remaining honey mustard glaze.

Per serving: Calories 268, Total Fat  approx 5.9g Carbohydrate 21g,  Protein 32.9g

 

Basil Chicken

Ingredients: 

  • 4 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ounce basil, slivered
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes

Preparation:

Basil Chicken-Preheat broiler and spray pan with cooking spray and place chicken breats on broiler pan

-Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic together

-Brush half of vinaigrette on to chicken breasts, and sprinkle half the slivered basil on top of chicken.

-Broil 5-6 minutes, then turn over. Brush second side with remaining vinaigrette and sprinkle remaining basil.

-Add tomatoes to broiler pan, surrounding chicken.

-Broil for 5-6 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serving: Calories 198, Total Fat 5.4g, Carbohydrate 4g, Protein 33.5g 

 

Chicken & Wild Rice

CHicken and RiceIngredients: 

  • (4) 5-6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped (1/2 a six-ounce bag)

Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Place chicken breasts in a single layer in baking dish that can accommodate the chicken in one layer.

-Combine uncooked rice, chicken broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic and oregano in a medium bowl. Stir in chopped spinach. Spoon mixture over chicken. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35-40-minutes, until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender.

Serves 4.

Per Serving: Calories 372, Total Fat 2.5g, Carbohydrate 48.3g, Protein 38.9g

 

Here are some High Protein Vegetarian Recipes

 

Mexican Vegetarian Casserole

mexican casseroleIngredients: 

  • 2 cups chopped onion, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red pepper, fresh or frozen
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 15.8 ounce cans black beans, drained
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese shredded
  • 3 tomatoes chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives and/or chives (optional)

Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Combine onion pepper, garlic, salsa, cumin and black beans in a large skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.

-Arrange 6 tortillas in bottom of 9″ x 13″ baking dish overlapping them as necessary. -Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layering process with remaining tortillas, bean mixture and cheese.

-Cover dish with foil and bake 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and serve warm.

-Garnish with tomatoes, sour cream, olives and chives.

Nutritional Information per Serving excluding the optional ingredients: (*you can save the calories by using less cheese*)
Calories: 605*,  Fat: 11.5g, Protein: 35g

 

Easy Whole Wheat Vegetarian Lasagna

wholewheatlasagnaIngredients: 

  • 1 8 ounce package whole wheat lasagne noodles, cooked slightly (al dente)
  • 1 9 ounce package frozen raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 cups pre-made or store-bought pasta sauce
  • 3 cups grated low-moisture part skim mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

-Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

-In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs; add cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Spray a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

-Put one layer of slightly cooked lasagna noodles flat across the bottom of the baking dish. Add 1/2 the leaf spinach, pressing down lightly and evenly over noodles. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Top this layer of noodles with the cottage cheese mixture; add the remaining spinach. Then add the last of the lasagna noodles laid evenly on top of spinach. Spread pasta sauce evenly over the top; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Press down lightly.

-Cover baking dish with foil, using foil sprayed with cooking spray and keeping foil off the center of the lasagna. Secure sides tightly over baking dish.

-Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes in oven. To lightly brown the top, remove foil for a few minutes at the end of baking time.

-Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Servings: Provides 10 servings

Nutrition Per Serving:  Calories: 373, Protein: 33g,  Carbohydrates:  33, 12 g fat

 

Try some of these recipes yourself and tell me what you and YOUR family thinks!  And please share with your friends anf family!

 

Macro Nutrients are approximate based on the brand you choose and how you choose to measure ingredients.

 

September 27, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Morning Workouts More Effective?

I have to say this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.

  • Should you workout in the morning in a fasted state?
  • Should you workout in the morning after eating something to have more energy?
  • Or should you workout later in the day for the best results?
  • What about for different goals… fat loss vs muscle, for example?

insta back picMy answer?  ‘IT DEPENDS’.  Why the vague answer?  Because there is no ONE way that works for everyone.   As with anything, it’s about weighing the PROS and CONS and using common sense.

You’ve probably heard many times that morning workouts on an empty stomach is the fastest and most effective way to lose weight.  And while it IS true, that training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown to increase fat burning by 300%, the problem is, you also increase the potential for burning up muscle at the same time.

The reason fat loss is increased at that time of day is due to blood sugar.  Your blood sugar is at it’s very lowest (after fasting all night), the theory is training at this time will force your body to rely more on bodyfat than on blood sugar to fuel activity.

This is true, but the problem is protein (as is found in muscles) can be converted into glucose to fuel activity as well. So the question then becomes, is the extra fat burning you get worth the potential loss of muscle protein?

CONFUSED YET?  Because another thing to consider is Growth Hormone. When you train on low-blood sugar conditions, your body releases increased amounts of GH. It sees these conditions as an emergency and responds with GH and GH is not secreted in response to low-intensity activity – it’s only significantly released by high intensity activity.

So, in theory, training with high intensity on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can result in increased GH secretion, which means greater fat loss and reduced loss of muscle mass. This directly contradicts the theory of training burning up your muscle tissue if you don’t eat.

READY FOR ANOTHER VARIABLE?  Cortisol.  Your cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning, simply because you’ve
been fasting during the whole time you’ve been sleeping.  Cortisol burns up muscle tissue and promotes fat storage.

And lastly, it’s really hard to get an intense workout first thing in the morning!   Being a fitness trainer I always encourage people to do high intensity INTERVAL TRAINING and if you’re not a morning person (which I AM NOT!) it will be TOUGH to do cardio with enough intensity to take full advantage of the GH release!

SOLUTION:

If your primary goal is fat loss and you aren’t too worried about losing a
little muscle, go with empty stomach, moderate-to-high-intensity cardio training
first thing in the morning. You will probably see increased fat loss, though you
may lose a little muscle from it. Train with weights, and it probably won’t be
much muscle loss at all.

If your goal is fat loss while preserving muscle as much as possible, take a small protein shake right after you wake up (a low-carb protein shake so you don’t increase blood sugar too much) and THEN go do your cardio training. The protein will help spare your muscle tissue while not raising your blood sugar significantly enough to cause a
problem.

AND

If you can’t do your cardio with intensity first thing in the morning, do it later in the day.

side profileBecause truly, the absolute best time to do cardio is when you’re energetic enough and alert enough to give it your best effort.  THAT is when you’ll really see results. Doesn’t really matter what time of day that is.
When you get right down to it, getting the most from your training, whether it be cardio or weights, is not about worry about the details that won’t make a difference in the long run. It’s about digging in with intensity and consistency.

Now, if you’re interested in a fat-loss program that has a primary goal of preserving muscle mass while dropping fat, I’d definitely recommend trying out my CHALLENGE GROUP!  Right now we are getting ready to start Shaun T’s FocusT25 in combination with Shakeology.   We are all excited.  We keep each other motivated, and share recipes, or ideas on how we modify exercises if they can’t do the higher intensity ones right away.

group photo

FocusT25 is just like Insanity except its only 25 minutes for 5 days a week!  So more people are wanting to do it over Insanity to save time!   It also comes with a workout calendar, nutrition guide and then I have also been writing people a daily meal plan for people if they want it.  Here’s a short clip on T25!

If you want to join us – get YOURS today here!  And then send me a message on Facebook so I can add you to our group!

SEE YOU SOON!

July 13, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Body Beast, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Insanity, Products That Work, Shakeology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

52 Easy Ways To Shred Inches Off Your Belly With Very Little Effort

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

With 52 different ideas to try, you can implement one a week, and I guarantee you will look healthier and be shredding inches before the end of the year without even realizing it!  You may already be doing some of these small things.   But put them all together and they will work wonders!

 

 

 

BREAKFAST

ADD CHEESE TO BREAKFAST

Grate hard, flavorful cheese, such as fresh parmesan, on eggs and oatmeal for added protein and flavor.  The key is to add protein to all meals, as it fills you up faster and helps you burn more calories.  Fresh parmesan cheese is almost fat free, has more protein and very little calories.  Mozzarella made with skim milk is also a good substitute instead of cheddar.

GIVE YOUR PANCAKES A NUTRITIONAL BOOST

Next time you make pancakes, replace 1⁄4 cup of whole wheat flour with 1⁄4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder.  I even tried this idea with mixing my Vanilla Shakeology with this trick this morning and my little guy was mad that I didnt make more!!  Just this one little substitute adds lots of protein, fiber, along with great texture to an otherwise nutritionally vacant breakfast.

MAKE COWS HAPPY

Try milk alternatives.  It took a while but my kids don’t even miss cow’s milk anymore.  I buy almond milk.   Unsweetened for the kids and for my protein shakes and Whole Foods also carries the chocolate almond milk which can hardly last a day in our fridge!   Almond milk has less calories than cow’s milk and its more easily digestible.  It’s also good for protein shakes and makes cereal a bit healthier!  And we all love a bowl of cereal from time to time.   To get all the vitamins out of your cereal, drink the milk left in the bowl. You’ve admirably resisted the Frosted Flakes in favor of a less sugary breakfast cereal that’s fortified with vitamins, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting all the nutrients listed on the side of the box. Up to 40 percent of the vitamins in your cereal dissolve into that orphaned puddle of milk.

FREEZE YOUR BANANAS

That way they will always be on hand for use in a smoothie. And because they are naturally sweet, you won’t need any sugar.

SNACKS and SIDES

MAKE LEANER BUFFALO WINGS

Cook up some spicy low-fat buffalo wings. Instead of using chicken wings, make them with skinless chicken-breast tenders. Marinate them overnight in a mixture of Louisiana hot sauce or sriracha, olive oil, lots of garlic powder, and red wine vinegar. (Experiment with the amounts to suit your taste.) Then roast the chicken “wings” at 400°F for 15 minutes.

GIVE IN TO CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS

You don’t have to deprive yourself of the sweet stuff.  Every day I “indulge” in a dark chocolatey treat.  It’s dark chocolate peanutPeanut-Butter-And-Co-Dark-Chocolate-Dreams-851087000069 butter.  OR if that doesn’t sound appetizing, try shaving dark chocolate into savory dishes like chili and barbecue sauces—you’ll add a rich flavor along with anti-oxidants. They can lower your risk of heart disease and keep your cholesterol in check. And shaving ensures you don’t go overboard on the dark. Or try this for a nighttime snack: Melt 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips in the microwave and swirl that into 4 ounces of plain greek vanilla yogurt. Top with a tablespoon of slivered almonds.

CREATE YOUR OWN DIPS

Make dips healthier by using fat-free sour cream or greek plain yogurt. Mix in an equal part of salsa, the hotter the better. Jazz it up with lemon, dried herbs, etc.

CHOOSE THE BLUES

Use blue corn tortillas in your next batch of nachos, fajitas, or quesadillas for more effective weight loss.  Tortillas made from blue corn have a lower glycemic load than white corn tortillas do, so they won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly. The blue variety also has more protein and less starch.

SHELL YOUR NUTS

Buy nuts in their shells. More time shelling equals less time shoveling handfuls into your mouth.

…BUT TRY BOILING THEM FIRST

Boil your peanuts (in their shells) for about 3 hours. Researchers at Alabama A&M University found that boiled peanuts—a popular snack food in China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the southern United States—have up to four times more antioxidants than raw, dry, or roasted peanuts.

TOP A TATER

If you love baked potatoes, you don’t have to give them up just because of their high glycemic load rating. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced by adding a topping, such as Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, broccoli, or spinach.   Try to exchange the red or brown potatoes for sweet potatoes.  They’re healthier and you can top them too with your faves to make them just as delicious too.

RINSE YOUR BEANS

Canned beans—kidney, black, cannellini, chickpeas—are a quick and easy way to add protein and fiber to your meals. But they can also spike your daily sodium intake, increasing your risk of stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Simply rinsing them, however, will shed one-third of their sodium.

CREATE THE BEST STEAM ROOM FOR YOUR BROCCOLI

For perfectly cooked and nutrient-rich vegetables, rinse them first and then throw them in a sealed container, and microwave for 3 or 4 minutes. Boiling, blanching, or oversteaming zaps vegetables of their nutrients—the only water you need is the drops that cling after rinsing.

 SPICE YOUR RICE

Don’t buy white rice.  Buy brown rice.  And to add a ton of flavor to brown rice, just add a can of black beans or dark red kidney beans and some fresh cilantro.  If you like spicy then mix in some hot sauce.  The beans will lessen the effect that the starchy rice will have on your blood sugar and the hot sauce increases your metabolism.

THICKEN YOUR SIDE DISHES

Replace the milk in your mashed potatoes with evaporated fat-free milk (or almond milk).  It’s lower in fat and higher in calcium per cup, and still manages to add richness to your mash.

AT WORK DURING THE DAY

START A MEAL WITH A WATER APPETIZER

Drink two glasses of water before every meal. This will keep you hydrated and make you feel less hungry, while reducing your food intake and aiding weight loss.

GO HALFSIES

Here’s a simple rule for buffet eating at a party that’ll help you keep your meal balanced for weight loss: Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Fill the rest of your plate with equal amounts of whole grains and other high-fiber carbs, and lean protein.

SHAKE ON OREGANO

One tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same antioxidant power as an entire apple!  Mexican oregano has the highest count, but Italian oregano and Greek mountain oregano trail closely behind. One of the most versatile herbs, oregano can be added to anything from noodles to meats to salad dressings.

BRING THE HEAT

Scientists at the University of Tasmania Australia found that overweight people are more likely to slim down after consuming a meal that contains chile peppers than after one that isn’t on fire. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chiles hot, may help the liver clear insulin—the hormone that tells your body to store fat—from the bloodstream after a meal.

KEEP YOUR ABS HARD WITH SOFT CHEESE

Use softer cheeses like goat, feta, and ricotta on pizzas and sandwiches because they’re naturally about a third lower in fat and calories than harder cheeses. And when you need the full-fat cheeses, go for strong flavors like Parmesan, blue, and extra-sharp Cheddar—you’ll get the same great taste with less cheese.

PREVENT BLOOD SUGAR SPIKES WITH VINEGAR

Start a meal with a salad or vegetables drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. Arizona State University nutritionists believe that the acetic acid in vinegar interferes with enzymes that break down carbohydrates. A few teaspoons of vinegar per meal can keep blood sugar levels from rising quickly.

KEEP A LITTLE SHRIMP ON HAND

For an easy way to add lean protein to your meals, stock up on frozen shrimp. It defrosts in just 15 minutes under cold running water. And with the cooked variety, you have an instant healthy snack. If uncooked, throw it into your pasta sauces, stir-fries, or noodle soups in the last 5 minutes.

PUT THE SODA DOWN 

Eliminate SODA including ALL caffeinated beverages like energy drinks from your diet.  They bloat your stomach with all that carbonation (AIR!) and soda literally depletes your bones of the ability to absorb calcium, not to mention they have NO nutritional value whatsoever.  Drink ice cold water and add sliced cucumbers or lemons.

DINNER

STOP ADDING BUTTER

Instead of sauteeing with butter, try flavored olive oils.   Specialty stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts carry these delicious olive oils such as garlic and chile or cilantro lime.  They are a great way to add some flavor from the get go and there’s no need for the fattening butter!

STIR FRY RIGHT

With the idea above, if you don’t have those flavored oils yet, you can add a few drops of regular extra virgin olive oil to start, and then use water rather than more oil as you’re stir-frying.

WARM UP YOUR OIL

Remember to heat your skillet before adding oil.  This way, less fat will be absorbed by the food.  Warm oil cooks more efficiently; cold oil tends to soak into meats and vegetables.

SLICE YOUR STEAK, EAT LESS

Slicing thinly will make your portions seem bigger and more satisfying.   When you believe you’re eating a larger portion of food, you may trick yourself into feeling more satisfied with fewer calories.

EMBARGO THE OIL

When grilling chicken, try this oil-free marinade: Combine 3 cups of apple juice and two cloves of pressed garlic with 1 cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce.

STUFF YOUR BURGERS

Scoop a hole in the middle of your burger before grilling, and fill it with olives, mushrooms, or any vegetable you like. This makes the recommended serving of beef (3 ounces) look and feel like a massive hunk of burger, when it’s much leaner than that.

CATCH UP ON YOUR LYCOPENE

Squirt some organic ketchup on that bun.  Organic ketchups have about twice as much cancer-fighting lycopene as the regular varieties. A simple visual clue you’ve got the correct ketchup? Organic ones are a slightly darker shade of red than regular ketchups.

CURRY FAVOR WITH YOGURT

Replace the high-fat coconut milk in your curries with low-fat plain yogurt. The yogurt adds that creamy texture without the extra fat from the coconut.

BUILD A BETTER PIZZA

Can’t resist pepperoni?  Go for it, but help offset the damage by ordering two or more vegetable toppings for every meat topping. Since the carcinogens in processed meats such as pepperoni and sausage increase your cancer risk with every serving, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, load on a variety of vegetables–green peppers, onions–that can help protect against cancer.

BULK UP YOUR MEATBALLS

Grate carrots, squash, or zucchini into any meatball mixture. They add bulk, moisture, and vitamins but don’t alter that meaty flavor you’re after.

SWAP RED MEAT FOR RED LENTILS

To make a low-fat, antioxidant-packed lasagna, use half the usual amount of ground meat and make up the difference with red lentils. They’re still protein packed, but lentils are fat-free and high in fiber, making them more filling, too. And since red lentils have a neutral taste, they’ll simply soak up the flavors in your sauce. You won’t even notice them. Promise.

TRADE CRACKERS FOR OATS

In any meat recipe that calls for crackers or bread crumbs, use an equal amount of rolled oats instead. This ramps up your soluble fiber intake, which can help lower your cholesterol. Use the quick-cooking variety of oatmeal, because it retains moisture well and doesn’t alter the meaty taste.

GO FRY A COD

Buy fillets or loins of white fish such as haddock or cod, and cut into strips.  Make a light tempura-like batter by mixing iced sparkling water with self-rising flour.  Dust the fish strips with self-rising flour and roll in the tempura batter.   Shallow fry the strips in hot canola oil, which is loaded with good fats.   Fill one-third of your pan with oil and heat it to about 350 degrees F. (Use a thermometer!) and fry the fish until crispy.   For chips with your fish: Cut sweet potatoes into your preferred size and toss them in to the remaining oil in the pan.  If no remaining oil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil with salt, herbs, garlic—anything you want, really.  Then put them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

EAT THE CRUMBS

If you’re baking something with a topping of grated cheese, cut fat by halving the cheese and replacing it with whole-wheat bread crumbs. This mimics the crispy texture of baked cheese and adds fiber.

KNOW YOUR DELI MEATS

Sandwiches are the architecture of the common lunch-eater, but you need to start with a solid foundation.

  1. – The hierarchy of health, in descending order:
  2. – Turkey and chicken
  3. – Roast beef- Ham
  4. – Weird processed things like salami and olive loaf

For example, instead of an Italian submarine sandwich with cheese and mixed cold cuts like salami and bologna, choose turkey or even roast beef and you can trim your fat intake by up to 30 percent.

DON’T RUIN A TUNA

Mayonnaise will turn your tuna sandwich into a fatty disaster. Instead of mixing in a lot of mayo, add balsamic vinaigrette, cracked pepper, hot sauce, and some fresh lemon juice to your tuna. It tastes great.

GET GRATER TASTE FROM LESS CHEESE

Buy yourself a good grater. Use it to grate a piece of Parmesan or other hard cheese on your sandwich, and you’ll save a lot of calories of fat compared with standard sliced fare, as long as you add a sprinkling for flavor rather than an avalanche of grated cheese.

MAKE IT MEATLESS

Next time you’re hankering for a spicy italian sandwich with all the fixins, try this vegetarian hot Italian sub. Brown some cubed eggplant pieces under a broiler with a little olive oil. Then mix with tomato sauce and capers. Place in a kaiser roll. Top with grated Parmesan. Fat serving SAVINGS: 28 grams!!!

SQUASH THE FAT

Replace half of the Cheddar in quesadillas, mac ‘n’ cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches with pureed butternut squash. This significantly lowers the fat and calorie counts, won’t compromise the taste, and gives you a slew of added vitamins and heart-healthy potassium.

PACK A PITA

Add extra vegetables to your next sandwich by packing them in a whole-wheat pita pocket rather than between conventional slices of bread. Pitas simply hold more.

WRAP MEATS IN GREENS

To cut carbs, ditch the sandwich bread and do as the Koreans do: Wrap spicy cooked beef or chicken with leafy greens. Try Chinese cabbage, bok choy, or romaine lettuce. Replacing two slices of bread with one large lettuce leaf saves you about 30 grams of carbohydrate.

BE SLICK WITH YOUR OIL

Who knew there was so much behind oil?!   Avoid splashing ‘light’ olive oils over your salads—light varieties have fewer cancer-fighting antioxidants than the extra-virgin kind, plus they have a less intense flavor. Not sure if your oil’s up to snuff?  Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil should have a fruity, peppery, slightly bitter taste and leave a faint burning sensation on the throat.

TURN YOUR SANDWICHES GREEN

Replace mayo with a spread of ripe avocado to moisten a dry sandwich. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated (good) fat to help lower your cholesterol. Plus, avocados are said to prevent a variety of cancers.

TRY THIS SPIN ON A GYRO

For a low-fat gyro, mix some fat-free yogurt with chopped or sliced cucumbers, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and pour over a pita stuffed with grilled chicken or beef strips.

REVISE YOUR REUBEN

Simulate a cheese Reuben by replacing fatty corned beef with turkey and topping it with low-fat mozzarella, mustard, spicy shredded cabbage, and pickles. Slap all that on traditional rye bread and broil until the cheese melts. Fat savings: 10 grams.

SLIM YOUR CHICKEN SALAD

Use thick, Greek-style plain yogurt to cut down on the amount of mayo you need to make chicken, tuna, or egg salad sandwiches.

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

We all have different ideas on how to prepare cook things… but following these tricks will make some of your traditional meals healthier and shred inches without you even realizing it!   It may even make you realize one small step in your preparation of meals that you didn’t think of like rinsing canned beans before cooking them… read more below.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, P90X Recipes, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Autumn: the Symbol of Change

I’m not sure what it is about fall that makes me reflect and evaluate all aspects of my life.   It could be an instilled association from childhood that when summer’s over it’s time to focus on school.  Or maybe, as an adult, it’s more of a last minute chance to find success in something before the year comes to a close.

Whatever reason it may be, I am grateful.  Grateful because it gives me a refreshed focus.  A determination.  And a desire to want a change.

I get a lot of heat from family and friends because I talk so much about eating healthy and living a fit and healthy life, yet on Facebook I only ever seem to be having fun travelling and hanging out with friends.

But for me, September thru May is my time to focus.  Mostly because the children are in school so we absolutely have to be regimented and structured.  If not, our schedule goes awry and then everything falls apart.  I am an all or nothing type of person so I can’t be one foot in and one foot out in regards to anything.  It just doesn’t work for me.

Summer, for me, means kids don’t have to be in bed at a certain time, and we can stay up later without paying the exhausting consequences in the morning.  It means I can sleep in a little more and only be concerned with getting myself to work.

Summers ARE ABOUT travelling, maybe escaping the summer heat to go camping and making s’mores with the kids and enjoy laughs and a drink or two around the campfire with friends.  It could be barbecuing with friends and sitting by the pool.  Here in Phoenix, sitting by the pool is necessary when it’s 115 degrees.  This also means that a blender with a nice, refreshing frozen concoction isn’t too far out of reach!  My friends know that I mix up some delicious margaritas!

For the most part, I understand what people say about my status updates and pictures posted of travels to Vegas for friend’s birthdays, or drinking mai tai’s on the beach and going out to restaurants and work functions.  However, I know my body.  I know what I can and can’t handle.  I also know that if I gain 5-8 pounds that I know what I need to do to lose those 5-8 pounds!  But, albeit maybe as a Coach and a motivator I should probably refrain from posting those indulgences.

Anyways, this explains why I lose a little grip of my fitness level.  I eat right, maintain a low body fat percentage and barely miss a workout from September to May.  And I KNOW… it’s completely backwards!  Most people work hard to get in shape for summer so they can wear a bikini, which I do too, but then I lose the bikini body by the end of June!  It’s like athletes that train religiously for their sport during the off season and during the regular season they are seen living it up like rock stars.

As the seasons change for you what do you see are your areas of opportunity?  Do your goals shift focus too?  Think about where you started at the beginning of 2012 and the direction you’re going now.  The good, the bad, the what, where, and why’s.  Will you have the same goals for 2013 that you had for 2012 or are you going to bring those to life through execution to make way for new and better goals?

Cheers,
Christy

P.S.  Whether you’re like me and get off track or not, I can help you.  It’s not just about calories in and calories out that we’ve all been taught for years.  It’s the “right” calories in and “track” your calories out.  Follow me here to learn more.

September 13, 2012 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Discipline, Eating Clean, Exercise, Nutrition, Traveling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Want to Get in Shape But Don’t Know Where to Start?

Does getting healthy and fit seem like a jigsaw puzzle that has you stumped?  Are you wanting to do something but don’t know where to start?  If you’re still reading this then you know you want to do something and that’s the very first step!  The second step is deciding if you have the commitment it will take to see it through.

As you might know already, I started P90X in October of last year and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really put the focus on it from the beginning.  My plan at the time was just to incorporate it into what I was doing already.  I was running, attending spin classes and doing a few push-ups, lunges and crunches right after cardio.  That alone made me lose 10 pounds of my goal.  I weighed about 145 after a year of breastfeeding (A Secret To Weight Loss That Men Don’t Possess) and I wanted to get back to where I was before I had kids which was 125.  I’m only 5’5 but I thought if I got down to 120 I’d have a 5 pound cushion to play with.  So my exercise routine got me down to 135 but I couldn’t seem to break that mark and it started to really annoy me.

So then, I realized I had to start making some real changes.  I started keeping a log of what I ate every day to give me an idea of where I could change things.  I also got 2 metabolic tests done at my gym that determined my resting metabolic rate and my metabolic rate after I had been running for 15 minutes to figure out where I burned fat most efficiently.  That right there was the missing piece of the puzzle that I needed to start making seeing changes.  I found out that all those days at the gym without a heart rate monitor really held me back from attaining my goal.  I wasn’t ever getting into my fat burning zone, not to mention, prior to these tests I had no idea what my fat burning zone was.  At the time (September 09) the zone I needed to be in the majority of my workout was 160-168 beats per minute.  Wow, what a difference that has made.  It turns out, I was hardly working my body to the degree I need to in order to see results.  I was also doing very light resistance work and only about 15 minutes of it.  Not good enough to see the changes I wanted.   The other key piece of these tests gives you your caloric intake for the day on days you work out and the days you don’t.   On days I don’t work out my caloric intake is 1100 calories.  On the days I do work out it’s about 1400-1500 calories depending on the workout.  This astounded me because I was eating 1800 calories.  I thought that was where my intake should be, being a female.  Wow, was I way off?!  Everyone is different.

Since I didn’t take P90X seriously at first I have no formal before and after pictures.   But here’s a picture of me in Hawaii last July.  I’m not very proud of this but hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

And here’s picture of me taken a week ago….

I also made huge changes in my diet.   I cut down my coffee from 3 or more cups to just 1 and started using sugar free liquid creamer (not powder) and 1 tiny teaspoon of Splenda (but I hear Stevia is better for you).  The other significant change I made was cutting out alcohol.  I now only drink on a Friday or Saturday night and only if we’re going out to dinner or hanging with friends, and even then I try to only have one drink.  Below is a sample menu of what I eat every day.  If you can handle this, then start doing it!  The hardest part is making yourself eat every 2 hours.  You will see the results and I’ll be here to help coach you along the way!

My Sample Menu

Breakfast (eat breakfast within an hour of waking up)
– cup of coffee (with my sugar free hazelnut CoffeeMate creamer)
– 3/4 cup oatmeal w/ 1 tsp of Splenda (Quaker Oats not the processed sugary oatmeal)
– 1/2 of a banana (I give the other half to my 2 year old)

Snack (2 hours later)
– 1 small apple with 2 TBL of organic peanut butter (I share this also with my 2 year old)

Lunch (2 hours after snack)
– a sandwich with Light whole grain bread, 2-3 fresh slices of low sodium turkey from the deli and a thin slice of pepperjack cheese,
 I use light mayonnaise on 1 piece of bread and regular on the other
– a side salad (romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes and 1 TBL of light champagne dressing (Girard’s brand)

Recovery Drink (after I work out)
– protein shake with glutamine (P90X recovery drink or Hi-Health’s brand).  the Hi-Health protein shake I use is 120 calories, 24 g protein, 1 g fat and 4 carbs.  I also will have another shake right before bed at night if I feel so hungry that I might not be able to sleep.  This is the best thing to eat if you HAVE to eat before bed.

Snack (at least an hour after snack)
– a 6oz yogurt (Light and Fit -strawberry or strawberry cheesecake) or I’ll opt for a granola bar (Nature Made Oats and Honey)
– a baby-size handful of raisins (I won’t do this if I choose to have the granola bar)

Dinner (2 hours after snack)
– grilled, baked or sauteed chicken, fish, or turkey
– 1/2 cup brown rice
– favorite veggies (my fave is the Steamers broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts)

….. and of course WATER!  I drink about 90 ounces of water or more (on workout days) EVERY DAY!

Is this seems feasible for you then do it with me.  We can do this together.  As an Independent BeachBody Coach (creators of P90X, Insanity, ChaLean Extreme, etc.) I can help you reach your goals, just as I did.   I coach many others every day.  I am primarily on Facebook where I can interact with you and give tips, tricks and links.

Now, I must be going.  It’s Thursday, time for Yoga… X Style.  Come on Tony, let’s go! 

 

March 11, 2010 Posted by | About Me, Diet and Exercise, Exercise, Me, Nutrition, P90X, Products That Work | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

P90X Changed My Life Forever

Ok I haven’t blogged in a very long time.   My apologies.  Lots of things happened… some good, some bad.   I’ll save that for another time.

Right now, I am obsessed with P90X and I have to share it with everyone!  No, I didn’t just start the program.  I didn’t want to go crazy talking about it until I finished the 90 days.  I started it in October, you know, after a night that I crashed on the couch and woke up to Comedy Central’s infomercial hour.   I saw this crazy, funny (not to mention very easy on the eyes) guy trying to sell me on becoming lean and tone within 90 days!  I saw the workouts and remember thinking (albeit at 4am) “I could do that!”

SOLD!

30 days later I gave up my low carb diet that my readers know I religiously swore by.  90 days later I lost 5 pounds, 2 dress sizes and 5% body fat!  Guess what:  I was able to do it!  And even now I’m still doing it.  I’m about to start Round 2 week 5 next week and every day I look forward to it.  Never before in my life have I actually looked forward to my workout. 

Now I talk about it all the time and tell all my friends they should really consider giving it a try!  For those of you who have seen this and are on the fence about whether to order this, consider this:  dig down deep and do something awesome for yourself.  In every video there are modified moves and/or 3 or 4 different versions of the same exercise.  It is an incredibly rewarding experience to push your body to it’s limits and succeed at it.  You walk away wanting more and more. 

For all of you who are already P90x’ers, here’s a laugh for you:

Top 10 Ways You Know You’re Obsessed With P90X
1.   on Thursday your child asks you what day it is and you say “Yoga”
2.   you go to a Mexican restaurant and order a “chaturanga”
3.   you say “BRING IT”  in any motivational setting you find yourself in
4.   you tell yourself to “get sexy with it” when trying to wiggle into the frog
5.   When you put on your resume that you have a degree in “PLYOMETRICS”
6.   after 30 minutes or more of sexual activity you have a recovery drink
7.   before starting anything, you have to do at least 5 min of   static/ ballistic stretching
8.   when Tony says “Superman” your 2 year old replies with … “banana”
9.   you REALLY expect (and anticipate) Tony Horton to come to your house if you do 26 side tri-rises or MORE!
10.   you tell your dog to “Namaste”

P.S.  Here’s me in crane pose.  Couldn’t do this at all in October!

Facebook me here!  I love hearing from fellow P90x’ers!

February 20, 2010 Posted by | About Me, Diet and Exercise, Exercise, Nutrition, P90X, Products That Work, The Critic, Things To Do, Women's Health | , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Low Carb vs. Lower Carb. What’s Right?

Nobody seems to agree on what “low carb” really means.  I mention it a lot on my blog so I thought I should clarify what low carb means to me.  To me, it means 25 carbs a day filled with healthy, unprocessed meats, cheeses and veggies and organic whenever possible. 

low carb food pyramid

Yes, I am an Atkins follower, however, I do not eat fatty meats, nitrate filled bacon and sausage or processed foods all day.  When Dr. Atkins wrote his first book he states that induction should be at least 2 weeks long.  This 2 week period is just to switch your body to burning fat instead of carbs for energy.  That’s it!  The problem here is not many people hang in there long enough to graduate to the next phases of Atkins.  So please take every negative thing you’ve heard about the “Atkin’s Diet” and realize that for someone who has been eating a high carb/sugar unhealthy diet that the 2 week adjustment period is much needed.  It basically gives the body a much-needed shock.  It’s not a long term committment. 

There are others, such as bodybuilders, who believe low carb is 40% of their daily calories should come from carbs instead of the traditionally recommended 55% to 60%.   But this really isn’t low carb at all because the majority of the calories are coming from carbs…yet some people do call it that.

There is a different carbohydrate intake number for everyone.  Not everyone can lose weight on 40, 50 or 60 grams of carbs a day.  It took me a long time to figure out that 25 carbs a day is where I need to be to lose weight.  And sure, I go over that number occasionally but it’s what I stick to as my guide.  Frank’s number is 55.  I envy him for that but he’s also a guy with a very muscular build so I get it.

But for anyone, the most important aspect to your success is to burn more than you eat.  But where carb intake becomes important is in how it affects hormone and blood sugar levels.   That’s why you can’t even cheat here and there ‘just a little’.  Because that tiny bite of Ben N Jerry’s ice cream will send your blood sugar levels way off kilter and make you crave more sugar.

My typical low carb dinner is a protein and a veggie (no carbs except what’s naturally in the vegetables).  This meal is quite filling and will last me until breakfast the next day.   But if I eat a pasta dinner from, let’s say, Olive Garden I will want seconds and possibly dessert at the end!  Because that’s what carbs do – they stimulate cravings and make you want more of them!  Why?  Because your body is not getting what it truly needs.  It doesn’t need all those carbs to  survive.  When you ingest too many carbs at one meal your body makes you keep eating more carbs in hopes that you’ll finally feed it something nutritionally abundant.

Think of it this way, go back to basics.  Eat the way our ancient ancestors did:  an all natural diet filled with meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. 

Happy Low Carbing!

Here’s a link to my most popular low carb recipes:

Low Carb Shrimp Fettuccine
Grilled Cheese
Low Carb Tuna Noodle Casserole

July 2, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Low Carb, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To My Dad for Father’s Day

Every year at this time, I always want to get my Dad something better than the year before.  It’s so hard to buy anything for someone who is so distinguished.  He has everything already.  What could I possibly get him that he really wants and doesn’t already have?   Well, Dad I am about to try…

Dear Dad,

I love you more than words can say.  You have always been the world to me.  When I was little and would put my hands in yours I trusted you to show me the way.  And never wavering, you always would.  All my life you were there whenever I needed you.   You are a wonderful teacher with the utmost patience and you possess a kind-hearted spirit that makes me strive to be more like you every day. 

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful Dad in you.  Too many people I have met throughout the years either lost their father at a young age or worse, never even met their father.  I couldn’t imagine either one or anything in between.  You have been such an inspiration to me. 

You taught me right from wrong, good and evil, how important it is to believe in God and most of all to cherish life and all it has to offer.  All the while instilling in me so many life lessons.  You told me early on that “priority #1 is always Numero Uno” – that health is the most important thing because if you don’t have your health you will experience nothing.  You taught me as a teenager that “life isn’t always fair” and the soonest I believe that the less disappointments I would feel. 

You’ve always had a way of bringing the most mundane of things to life.  A boring drive would turn into fun and excitement.  We would guess what the people in cars in front of us looked like just by their bumper stickers, license plates or where they bought their car.  Or teaching me about how a car engine works by drawing a diagram and showing pistons, rods, the crank shaft and side block. 

I remember when we went up north to find a Christmas tree and we made a day of it.  We stopped and played in the snow, made snowmen and snow angels and had snowball fights.  We picked the most beautiful tree we could find and then lost it on I-17 just 30 minutes before we got home.  It was one of the best days ever!  We laughed so hard and then on the way home we picked up a tree on a street corner a minute away from our house!  

I remember spontaneous road trips like when you drove us up to the top of the Four Peaks and we actually drove through the clouds. 

The Four Peaks

I remember telling my friends that and them thinking you had magical powers.  And I would tell them that I really thought you did have magic powers because who can drive through clouds?

 I remember all the bike rides where we would ride and talk.  Then, we’d come home and jump in the pool because we were so hot!   Oh and lets not forget my sweet 16 birthday.  It was time to drive but first you had me change a tire.   You didn’t lift a finger – you only gave instructions.  

Dad and the girls

These days it seems we don’t have enough time to be with each other like we used to.  When we do, I get to see you in your role as Grandpa.  It’s there where I get to relive your goofiness and marvel in all the things I loved about you when I was a kid.   I see the kids light up when you play with them and it brings me such joy inside. 

You are not just a wonderful father.  You are a wonderful son, husband, grandfather, a friend to many, an inspiration to all that know you and a blessing to all that share your love. 

Thank you for being you!  Happy Father’s Day!

Love Always,
“Peanuts”

(no, no one else is allowed to call me that… besides Mom and thankfully she never does!)

— The song above is mine and my Dad’s favorite father-daughter song. —
                                                       Enjoy!

June 19, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Family, Me | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

%d bloggers like this: