Archive | November 2012

Break the Fast

Have you heard people say: “I eat pretty healthy all day, but I’m not a breakfast eater.  I just drink my morning coffee.”  Or “I don’t have time for breakfast.”  Well, let me just clarify this for your – they weren’t lying when they said, “Breakfast is the MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day!”

Skipping out on breakfast can have short term effects such as moodiness, poor focusing ability, and low energy levels.  But it can also have horrible long-term effects on your body.  Did you know that skipping out on breakfast can lead to obesity which in turns leads itself to cardiovascular disease, joint pain, labored breathing which prohibits oxygenated blood to get to your brain and extremities, sometimes diabetes, and some types of cancer.  So you see – eating breakfast is pretty important.

Let me get elementary school teacher on you for just moment and let’s break down the word breakfast.  Breakfast is made up of two words: break and fast.  Simply meaning, breakfast is breaking the fast.  Think about it – you just got done sleeping for 6-8 hours, you probably ate dinner and hour or 2 before that.  So let’s assume you’ve just gone 8+ hours WITHOUT eating.  Your body is SCREAMING for fuel.

Eating breakfast in the morning ramps up your metabolism for extra fat burning throughout the day.  It also gives you energy, helps you focus, and let’s face it, we’re always in a better mood when we are not hungry.  When you eat breakfast, you are less likely to snack on candy bars, cookies, and other unhealthy snack choices that simply sound better when you are starving.  You are also less likely to binge during your lunch hour on not so healthy options as well.  I mean whoever says, “Man, I’m starving!  I am really craving a garden salad with light balsamic dressing.”  NO ONE.  When you are starving you want the burger and fries (and speaking from experience – your belly and waistline, not to mention your energy levels will be paying the price later).  So it’s extremely important to fuel your body in the morning so it doesn’t come to this.

Now that we’ve gotten the why squared away, we need to talk about the what – meaning: What should I be putting into my body?  You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I don’t have time to get up and make breakfast, so I’ll just run through the drive-through on my way to work.”  While that is better than skipping breakfast, eating fast food every day is not a good idea.  Not only will eating fast food breakfasts every day cause you to gain weight (no – just because you are ramping up your metabolism doesn’t mean it will burn off that 900 calorie breakfast sandwich you just put down), the fat and sodium that are packed into these delicious drive-through goodies can have adverse affects on your health. Namely: high blood pressure, heart attack & stroke (due to blocked/clogged arteries), and even a risk for dementia.  Mmmm – McDonald’s anyone???

So yea – we get it that fast food isn’t good for you, especially on a daily basis.  Ideally, egg white omelettes with fresh veggies are probably your best bet.  But if you are anything like me, I would have to get up an hour earlier than I already do in order to cook my breakfast, eat it, and wash the dishes, and I’m sorry but my butt isn’t getting out of bed at 4 AM just to eat breakfast.  So what are some alternatives?

Oatmeal – They make oatmeal to go, just add water in the container, microwave, and eat it in the car.  Oatmeal is a great source of whole grains and it’s chock full of fiber.  Fiber is great for weight-loss and for keeping you full longer.  Whole grains are also said to lower your bad cholesterol and therefore heart-healthy.

Overnight Oatmeal – This is a simple recipe, but it must be made the night before – hence Overnight Oatmeal. This is a simple concoction of greek yogurt, old-fashioned oats, flaxseed meal, and any sort of add-ins you like.  It makes a porridge like substance and it is eaten cold, right out of the container.  The benefit of this breakfast is that it has protein from the greek yogurt, fiber from the oats and flaxseed meal, and it has healthy omegas added in from the flaxseed.  I ate it for a while, but quickly got bored with the flavors and if you don’t rinse out your container right away, it gets pretty nasty.

Eggs to go – You can use Egg Beaters or Scrambled eggs, but simply pour them into a muffin tin that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, add in your favorite fresh ingredients (veggies not bacon – sorry!) and whatever seasonings you like.  Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees until the eggs are set.  Put them in a tupperware and refrigerate them until you are ready to use.  Pop them into the microwave, eat as is, or put them on toast for an at home breakfast sandwich alternative.  Making this at home saves you on money and you know exactly what ingredients are being used.

Vi-Shape Shake – This is my personal favorite because it is what I drink every morning.  I don’t always drink the same flavor so it allows me to mix it up a bit so I don’t get bored.  But I absolute favorite thing about drinking a shake is that I pour 12 oz. of light soy milk into a shaker bottle, dump 2 scoops of Vi-Shape protein in it, and take it in the car.  I literally will be shaking up my breakfast while I’m pulling out of my driveway.  This is by far THE FASTEST breakfast I’ve ever made.  And you are probably thinking that it won’t keep me full – and that’s where you’d be wrong.  The Vi-Shape protein shake has a full serving of fiber which keeps things moving (important for weight-loss) and it keeps you full because it takes longer to digest.  It also has 12 grams of protein (17g when using 12 oz. of soy milk) which aides in the breakdown of fat and promotes the production of lean muscle.  What I love about the Vi-Shape shake is that it has a unique blend of proteins that you can’t get from any other protein powder that you can get at GNC or GNC like stores.  Also – it has less than 2 grams of sugar and virtually no fat (except for what you mix it in) and for all you Weight Watcher folks out there, it is only 2 POINTS on the Weight Watchers scale.  Yup – so you can start out your day knowing you are putting good fuel into your body.

The take-away from this article – EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST.  You’re body will thank you for it and it will boost your fitness/weight-loss goals.

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Active Challenge – Week 1 Update

First week completed and boy, was that rough!  It probably wasn’t the best week to start my challenge, but we all have to start somewhere right?  And if we keep making excuses why this week or this day isn’t a good day to start, we will continue to find excuses to NEVER start getting our health and nutrition back on track.

So here I was starting my new active challenge knowing that I had Bible study for 2 1/2 hours after work on Monday, Election Day on Tuesday, Wednesday was a 3 1/2 meeting for work after school, Thursday I got sick (unexpected), Friday I had GNO planned, Saturday I was going out of town and then had a birthday party that evening, and Sunday was church and a Challenge Party.  WHEW!  If that isn’t a reason to not start an active challenge, I’m not sure what is!  But – I did start it and I did not give up.

Was I able to go to the gym every day like I had hoped?  Nope – sometimes life, job, husband, and social gatherings get in the way.  However, there is always time to fit things in here and there at home.  For example, on Wednesday, I didn’t have time to get to the gym before heading over to my meeting at 6:00 PM.  So instead – I walked my dog around the neighborhood, turned on On Demand, selected a workout program and pressed play.  Was it the best workout I ever had?  Not by any means, however, it was better than sitting on my butt and watching TV for 30-minutes.  Other days I simply had to complete push-ups and sit-ups in my house to get SOMETHING in.  But like I always say, something is better than nothing.

My take-away for the week: It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it.  If we are always waiting for just the right time or the perfect opportunity, we will never do anything because in truth there is no such thing as just the right time or the perfect opportunity because life isn’t perfect.  So we look at our schedule and we plan accordingly.  If something comes up, because it will, you must be flexible.  Traffic caused you to miss your favorite group fitness class.  Do you just skip the gym altogether?  No – you go anyway and do something else.  You forgot your gym shoes at home.  Do you just go home and call it day?  No – go home and grab your shoes and go for a walk or do an at home workout if you don’t want to drive back to the gym.  Make it happen.

The only thing standing in the way of your weight-loss/active/fitness goal is you.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

This morning I woke up feeling like crap sick: clogged nose, burning eyes, sneezing, coughing, the works.  You know that commercial where the guy’s head looks like a giant nose?  Yea – that’s me.  I felt it coming on two days after I started my new 90-Day Challenge.  I decided to put my big girl pants on muster up enough energy to complete an On Demand workout video at home on Wednesday because I was determined to keep up with my challenge.

Yesterday though, I woke up feeling icky under the weather.  But being the professional person that I am, I made myself presentable for work (although I really, really wanted to stay home) and headed off to school.   All throughout the day I was having a discussion mental war with myself.  First, I would tell myself that I needed to teach Zumba because people depended on me.  They looked forward to coming to my class.  Plus, I was only two days into my challenge and I couldn’t be skipping out on workouts already.  Then my practical side would chime in and say that I needed to rest my body so I could get better.  I would never get as much out of my workout being sick so I should just rest.  As you can see, it was a mentally exhausting day!  On my way to tutoring, I talked with my best friend who so wonderfully volunteered to sub for me should I need it.  I told her I was going to try to suck it up stick it out and make it to class, but I would text her after to let her know either way.

As I sat through tutoring, I could feel myself becoming tired, exhausted, achy,weak,  run-down.  There was no way I was in any shape or form to be hopping and bopping or grooving getting down on the group fitness floor.  I texted my friend and let her know I needed her to step in.  I am so thankful for her.

Sometimes you just need to listen to your body.  Rest is often the best medicine you need.  We get sick because our immune system has been compromised.  How do our immune systems get compromised? Lack of sleep, poor eating habits, not washing your hands, and stress.  Well – I could show you my poor chapped and dry hands to prove that I probably OVER WASH my hands, but I haven’t been sleeping well this past week and I’m always super stressed.  Obviously not a good combination and something I need to work on.  Who has time to be sick?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So – I’m four days into my challenge and I’ve already missed 2 days of physical exercise.  Does this mean I just throw in the towel and give up?  NO!  I rest, take my Vi-Pak and Vimmunity, and get better!  Once I’m feeling better, I plan on jumping right back into my challenge with more vigor and tenacity.  Something like a cold is not going to keep me from hitting my goal even if I have to tack on two extra days to ensure 90 days of physical activity.

Ladders

On October 23rd I recommended a blog on how to shake up your workout.  Well tonight – I finally had the chance to try it out.  Tonight I performed the ladder technique.  What is the ladder technique you might ask?  You complete two sets of exercises (a superset if you will) back-to-back.  For example, I did burpees with push-ups and kettlebell swings.  You begin with 10 reps of each, then 9 reps, followed by 8 and you get the drift.  So tonight was finally the night that I completed it.

I thought to myself – this can’t be too bad.  I’ll be in and out in no time.  Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.  I gave myself a five-minute warm-up on the elliptical trainer, stretched for a few minutes, grabbed a 20-pound kettlebell and went to work.

First set – started out strong, completing my burpee and push ups on my toes followed by an explosive jump to the top.  As soon as I was finished with my 10 burpees, I immediately grabbed my kettlebell and started squatting and swinging.  Ten swings completed and onto set number two.  However, this second set was a little bit harder than the first.  I could barely jump up after my second burpee which led me to just standing and reaching up instead of jumping.  About halfway through my second set, my push ups went to my knees.  I didn’t realize how tired my legs would get just from jumping in and out and standing up.  My heart was pumping hard as I moved to complete my second set of kettlebell swings.

Once finished – there was NO WAY I was able to complete my next set of 8 burpees and kettlebell swings, so I moved over to the decline bench and busted out 25 sit-ups to give my weary legs a rest.  Then I moved right back into completing my sets of 8 and 7 reps.  Again, needed a break.  So I moved to the floor and did 25 crunches to bring down my heart rate just a tad.  With that quick break, I was able to muster up enough energy to get back and finish up my next two sets.  I did a quick lap around the gym floor (walking) and was ready to get this done!

I saw the end and so I sucked it up and completed my last four sets to complete a total of 55 burpees with push-ups, 55 20-pound kettlebell swings, and 50 crunches.  I was stinking tired!  I went over and hopped on the treadmill and walked a 5 minute cooldown at a 3.5 speed.  I will tell you this – I was glad that this workout was over.

I was hoping to complete this set of ladders without breaks, obviously I was a little over-zealous.  My goal is to continue to incorporate this workout into my fitness schedule and eventually I will be able to complete this ladder start to finish with no breaks.  Stay tuned!

Active Challenge – Day 1 Update

I wake up from a restful night’s sleep, roll over and look at my phone and what does it say?  7:40 AM?!  WTH?!  I am supposed to be AT WORK AT 7:40 AM not wake up then!  Needless to say that was NOT how I wanted to start my first day of my 90 Day Challenge.  Did I let this stop me though?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  I seriously got ready in 20 minutes (a record time for I think), I threw my AM Vi-pak, 2 nutra-cookies, 2 shaker cups, my Vi-Shape protein mix, and a half gallon of light vanilla soy milk in my bag.  Yes, you read that right, a half gallon of soy milk went into my teacher bag this morning.  I was not going to let this minor set back deter me of my goals.  There was no going through a fast food drive through simply because I couldn’t blend a fancy shake this morning.  I was going old school – straight up milk and protein.

I had my 12-oz. breakfast shake as I sped along to work (in between hysteric sobs and a phone call to my dad crying about how I was late for school).  I am happy to say that this seriously kept me full until lunch at noon in which I shook up another shake.  All the while, this mountain of candy corn was staring me in the face as it sat upon my desk begging me to eat it.  I stayed strong and did not succumb to the temptations of the candy corn.

At the end of the day I had a staff meeting.  Staff meetings are great because there are a plethora of snacks just waiting for us to indulge: cookies, pretzels, brownies, fruit and dip, veggies and dip, soda, and candy galore.  Did I partake in this joyful eating of crap?  No!  I shook up a Vi-Defy drink and came down with a chocolate chip nutra-cookie so I could also eat a cookie with my fellow teachers.  However, my cookie had 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of fat.  I’m sure the gooey chocolate brownies and cookies they were munching on didn’t have all that good for you bonus stuff in it.  By 4:00 PM I was feeling good about my choices.

Came home, changed, and new I had about an hour of free time before I had to get to my household duties.  So instead of sitting in front of the TV to relax, I grabbed another nutra-cookie, laced up my shoes, and took the dog for a mile walk around the neighborhood.  Once I dropped him off at the house, I ran back out for another 2 mile run on my own, and finished up my exercise with 50 crunches.

Although I had a minor hiccup to the start of my day, all in all it was a great first day on my new Active Challenge.

Breakfast – 12-oz. Light Vanilla Soy milk Vi-Shape Protein Shake & AM Vi-Pak
Lunch – 12-oz. Light Vanilla Soy milk Vi-Shape Protein Shake
Snack – Chocolate Chip Nutra-Cookie & Vi-Defy Drink Mix
Snack – Chocolate Chip Nutra-Cookie
Dinner – Wild Rice and Chicken Soup & PM Vi-Pak
60 Minute Activity – 1 mile walk, 2 mile run, 50 crunches

NEW CHALLENGE

I started my first 90 day Challenge about 50 days go… instead of celebrating my halfway point, I’m starting over.  If I can be real transparent with you, I didn’t take my first challenge seriously.  I didn’t follow through with what I was supposed to do.  I was lax with my eating, I didn’t always make my shakes, I ate TONS of candy.  And what was my result?  I’ve gained 3 pounds, I’ve increased my body fat percentage, and I’m just extremely disappointed with myself.  How did I fool myself into thinking eating 3 fun-sized skittle packets every day was okay?  How did I justify eating multiple bags of boy scout popcorn after school every day?  How did I let myself eat KFC original chicken, 2 biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, and potato wedges?  It was easy – I just told myself I was healthy, that I worked out, and I could eat what I wanted.  Well needless to say, I lied to myself.

After attending the ViSalus National Sales Training in St. Louis this weekend, I was inspired.  It used to be that people enrolled in a 90-Day Weight loss Challenge.  You had 90 days to change your life and lose the weight you’ve always wanted to lose.  In doing so, you could win $500 cash and $25,000 worth of products in form of a professional makeover and photo shoot, your photo featured in a national publication, you would be the new FACE of ViSalus, and your life would be forever changed.  Well to be frank, I don’t need to lose weight and this is partly why I didn’t take my challenge so seriously.  Well it just so happens that ViSalus realized that this was the case for many and so they’ve rolled out the TriplePlay.  Which means you can enroll in your own personal 90-Day Challenge: Weight Loss, Active, and Fitness.  There is a Challenge for EVERYONE!  This is exciting!  Not only will there be a male and female winner FOR EACH category, there are also couple challenges, family challenges, and team challenges.  This means that 6 individuals and 3 groups of people have the chance to WIN BIG!  I don’t know if you can feel my excitement over the computer but I’m certainly typing with enthusiasm and vigor!  ViSalus is literally giving away money hand over fist simply because people take the Challenge.  Say you don’t want to enter the challenge – well guess what?  I WATCHED IN PERSON ViSalus give away free money because people were losing 100 pounds and 200 pounds.  It was incredible!  I’ve never seen companies GIVE AWAY money just for losing weight.

The thing is – this product works.  It is the real deal. I was able to witness this first hand, shake the hands of these amazing people who worked their butts off (literally) to take back control of their lives.  I saw them get off their anti-depressent medication, get off their blood pressure medication, and were no longer diabetic.  That is LIFE CHANGING.

And so I’ve become renewed, inspired, reVItalized if you will to re-start my challenge.  I am publicly declaring my 90-Day ACTIVE Challenge.  I plan on completing some sort of physical activity every day for the next 90 days.  I will be giving you weekly updates, weigh ins, and check ins to let you know how I am doing.  No holding back – honest about everything.

If you are interested in joining me on this life changing event – click on one of the links to the right.  I am ready to take the Challenge – are you?