Sunday, June 13, 2010

What A Whirlwind Weekend

Even though it's only Sunday, it's been a very busy weekend. Yesterday I helped set up for a wedding at the beautiful Castle Hill in Ipswich for a wedding planner I used to intern for. I'm really glad that I came prepared with snacks and everything because I was so "go, go, go" that when I finally stopped at 5:00 (I hadn't eaten lunch since about 12:30!) I realized I was hungry. I didn't want to be tempted by the very delicious, fattening (and probably unclean) guest food. So I was happy to have a protein bar and an apple.

The only thing I didn't like about the day was that my eating was off. Even though I had a snack at 5:00, I was still hungry from running around, but I didn't get home for dinner until 9:30 at night. I ended up having whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage and red sauce, but having all those carbs late a night was NOT a good idea (even though I was having a super sugar low). And not only that, even though I was full on pasta, I had a clean eating magazine dessert that I started to eat and realized I didn't like it because of the mushy texture... but I still finished it! Basically I am unhappy with myself for carbo loading, eating past my satiety point so late at night, and continuing to eat something just because.

The moral of the story is that I have to learn to still eat on my usual plan, even if I am busy or whatever because bad things like this happen. Obviously in the grand scheme of things one time isn't horrible, but I don't want to get into that habit of erratic eating, which something like this can lead to.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Finally Did It!

Yesterday I went to the gym to try one of those free training sessions that have been posted all over the locker room for the past month. When I got there the fitness director took me into her office to ask me questions about my health and goals. Then she told me to warm up on a cardio machine for a few minutes. I was expecting to at least get a generic workout of a few weight training exercises, but instead she addressed working out my back and techniques for good posture (both are needed by this girl)... and that was it. That was my free training session. Very disappointing.

However, that was not the end. She took me into her office to sign me up for paid training sessions, which I knew was coming, but I thought would come after a better workout. I did see through their "marketing strategy", as I am very educated in consumer marketing. I understand that they don't want to give away any "secrets" for free... they have to make money somehow! Despite all this, and even though I could see through their marketing ploy, I signed up for 3 months of training sessions with a guy named Tony. For the past 3 years I've been talking about purchasing a few training sessions, but never actually did it.

I think I was able to finally "bite the bullet" because I am at an ideal mental state. I am at a healthy weight for the first time in the my very short life (remember, my heaviest was 163 lbs in middle school), and mentally I am prepared to take my fitness to the next level. I don't want to keep going through new workouts that aren't giving me the results that I want... I don't want to keep doing that for the rest of my life. I want to spend my life enjoying the physique that I want and finally reach my goals. I am hopeful that Tony can get me to my goal.

My sessions start in July, so I will post progress and thoughts when I begin!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hidden Sugars

I am a former sugar addict. I still crave those delectable sweets, but I try to satisfy any crazy cravings with fruit. While I have come a long way (I allow myself one reasonably portioned "dessert" dessert per week), I find that some of the clean foods I've been eating have added sugars. For someone who is trying to combat a genetic history of heart disease, high cholesterol, and spare tires, any way that I can avoid added sugars is desirable. Not only do added sugars pack on the pounds, but the more you eat the more you crave it (not good when you're a former addict). So what is a girl to do? Well, I did a little research and compiled a list of foods to watch out for because they contain hidden sugars, even in their organic state. I also added list that will help you decipher the names and forms sugar can take...

Sneaky Foods
  • protein bars
  • flavored yogurt/ greek yogurt
  • certain breads (watch out for raisin breads and honey wheat breads)
  • low fat salad dressing (they take out the fat, but add sugar for taste)
  • ketchup
  • spaghetti sauce
  • peanut butter
Sugar Names  
Natural Sugar Sources
  • sucrose (table sugar)
  • cane sugar
  • maltose
  • fructose
  • dextrose
  • lactose
  • honey
  • agave nectar
  • Stevia extract (considered a sugar substitute, but research so far has shown that it is not chemically processed)
  • sucanat
  • sugar beet syrup
  • barley malt syrup
*please note that fructose and lactose are natural sugars from fruits and milk products, respectively

Artificial Sugars (chemically processed and to be avoided at all costs)
  • saccharin
  • aspartame
  • sucralose (not to be confused with sucrose)
  • neotame
  • acesulfame potassium
  • sorbitol
  • xylitol
  • corn syrup
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • isomalt
There are many more sources of sugar that are out there, but I chose the most common that I see on labels.Also please feel free to correct me as I am not an expert and could always use the guidance of an expert!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Smoothie Time!

One afternoon I just needed a coffee boost to go with my snack, so I decided to concoct a protein smoothie with a caffeine boost (I wouldn't recommend having coffee past about 1pm because you may not be able to sleep, but once in awhile is okay). Here is what I made:

1 scoop unflavored protein powder
about 10 oz unsweetened chocolate almond milk
about 4 oz coffee
a little bit of water
2 stevia packets

Pour this mixture over ice and you have a great coffee treat! Maybe I'll try it in the morning...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good Form for Weight Lifting

One wrong move and you'll feel it for days... yesterday I was doing some weight training circuits and lost my balance while doing traveling lunges with 15 pound weights. I should have taken the time to set up and follow through with good form because I woke up this morning with a minor foot injury. In that small window of losing my balance I must have twisted my ankle and foot alignment enough to cause injury.

What happened to me is a great example as to why you need to use good form and concentration. Here are some tips to making sure you avoid injury and get the most out of your workout:
  • Always warm up with stretching and add 5 minutes of cardio if possible
  • Slow down and don't rush your moves. That's when you fall out of alignment and risk injury (who wants to miss a workout due to your own laziness?). If you can have a spotter or trainer help you to make sure you are in proper form.
  • Use a lighter weight. When you use weights that are too heavy to control you tend to swing the weights and use momentum and could possibly end up with a lot of joint pain. You'll know when you are able to move up in weight (example: if you usually aim for 8-10 reps, but you can do more than 10 with your weight then it's time to move up!).
  • Use the targeted muscle to pull the weight, not your back, neck, etc. For example, when doing a bicep curl make sure your arms are at a 90 degree angle, your back is aligned, and your knees are not locked. If you don't you employ upper back muscles and neck muscles... places that aren't intended to be worked during this move and could be strained.
  • Most importantly, train to your capacity, not your goals! Everything takes time and you have to build up the proper strength and muscle. Even when getting workouts from a magazine or website if you can't complete the workout by their guidelines modify it to fit your needs. Eventually, you will be able to train at your goals, but until then be patient and do what matches your ability.

These are basic tips that sometimes people forget about. Do you have any tips that I missed? Comment and let me know!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mmm... Smoothie Time!

I have finally created a smoothie that is both enjoyable and is packed with protein. I am not a big lunch person, for example, if I could go between breakfast and my afternoon snack without being ravishingly hungry and do damage to my metabolism then I would skip lunch altogether. don't get me wrong, I love a good salad or something but I never feel like making something like that for myself. I also don't like sandwiches and eating leftovers is a bore.

Now that it's summer I've dusted off my blender, so I could make delicious lunch smoothies. In the past, I sampled Shakeology from Beachbody, and while the chocolate was divine with a dollop of peanut butter and banana, the product is too expensive for someone who's income depends on babysitting. I've tried less expensive combinations, but they literally tasted like grass and dirt (I'm a foodie... if it doesn't taste good I don't eat it even if it is good for me). I researched chocolate protein powders and came to dead end because all of them are sweetened with sucralose or Splenda, which, in all honesty, agitates my bladder. To keep a long story short, I got an idea from a recipe site to use unsweetened chocolate almond milk, which I did and it came out delicious! Here is what I used:

1 scoop unflavored protein powder (doesn't have added sweeteners)
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 medium banana
1 spoonful of peanut butter (use more or less depending on how much PB taste you want)
About 1/4 cup water
About 6-8 ice cubes

Blend these together and you have a delicious lunch smoothie! I'm just sad that I drank all of mine...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Margarita Cheesecake
1/4 cup honey
1 cup organic vanilla wafers
2 packages Neufchatel cheese
1 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
3 TBSP Grand Marnier
3 TBSP gold tequila
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/2 cup egg whites
2 TSP lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble wafers, then add honey and combine thoroughly. Pack crust mixture into spring pan and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, but soft to the touch immediately after taking out of oven.
Thoroughly mix Neufchatel cheese and greek yogurt together. Then, add sugar, lime juice, Grand Marnier, and tequila to mixture. When evenly combined slowly add in egg whites. After egg whites are mixed in add in zest.
Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Put filling in crust and spread evenly. Tap pan on counter to make sure there is no bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes. While keeping cheesecake in oven, increase temperature to 325 degrees and bake for between 17-20 minutes. After taking out of oven let cheesecake cool completely, then refridgerate.

Makes 12 servings.

About 250 calories, 7g fat, 48 carbohydrates, 5g protein.