Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 12 Update! And, down to the wire!

12 more days to the photo shoot!


Just Lift (50 minutes)

8:00am Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie
12:00pm 4oz chunk lite tuna in water, spinach, ½ tbsp balsamic vinaigrette, ½ banana
3:30pm Shrimp and Veggies Stir Fry (shrimp sautéed in ½ tbsp of EVOO with minced garlic, onions, red peppers, green peppers, broccoli crowns) and ½ banana
5:00pm Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie
7:15pm Shrimp and Veggies Stir Fry w/ ½ cup cooked spinach

128oz h2o
¾ cup almond milk

Ok, its down to the wire! What I have learned most throughout this process is that 1) you have to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. The sad, but true fact is that nutritional information is so misleading these days. You can't trust manufacturers to tell you the truth, so you have to FIND THE TRUTH through research. 2) As you do your own research, you have to CHANGE to incorporate the new knowledge you have gained. So, in evaluating what I have been doing over the past 18 or so days, I realize I need to change some things. So, for the next 11 days, here is what I am going to do differently:

ONE MORE MEAL On average, I’ve only been getting five meals in a day (for around 1200 calories—way too low for my weight) but I really want to get six meals in a day and get closer to 1400-1500 calories. Interestingly, I am not adding an additional meal because I feel hungry. Recently I started seriously tracking my food in an online journal as part of a nutrition program at my gym. Because, as I mentioned in my post on eating, I normally don't count calories, I would have thought I was ok (if going by hunger). What I realized is that I am eating lots of veggies, but their caloric load is very low. Additionally, the amount of h2o I drink keeps me from feeling hungry. However, because I know my body needs the fuel, I am going to try to get within the 1400-1500 range. In order to do this, I can not eat every 3-4 hours as I currently do. Eating every 3-4 hours puts my last meal after 8pm, and I really don’t want to be eating after 6-7pm if I can help it. Therefore, I am going eat consistently every 2.5 hours and add a meal. Hopefully, this will bring my calorie count up!

ADD DAIRY In increasing to six meals a day, I need more options. I will add one serving of nonfat greek yogurt and consume it midday. Although I have a slight lactose intolerance, I hope my stomach doesn’t hate me for this. Also, I know dairy sometimes make you bloated, we'll see. If I start seeing adverse effects, back to no dairy.

NO BARS I am quitting with the bars. I was using them as an “easy way out.” I found out that though “Think Thin” bars have no sugar, they are sweetened with SUGAR ALCOHOLS—up to 10-15 grams per bar. Sugar alcohols cause diarrhea and bloating, if eaten excessively. Up to two bars a day is a bit excessive to me, so, I am giving up the bars. It’s too much of a headache. Besides, the Think Thin bars were not favorite tasting thing anyway. Information from the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

BASIC FOOD SCHEDULE So this is going to be my basic food schedule:
  • 5:30am Protein smoothie
  • 8:00am Egg white omelet with veggies
  • 10:30am Greek yogurt and berries
  • 1:00pm Lean meat and veggies
  • 3:30pm Lean meat and veggies
  • 6:00pm Protein smoothie
  • The 10:30am, 1:00pm, and 3:30pm meals are interchangeable.

So, yes, this month has been a month of experimentation. Though I have lost a significant amount of weight, I am still trying to find the best nutritional choices for the body I currently have. What worked when I was near 300lbs trying to lose weight still works, but as I get closer to my goal weight, I have to tweak some things! I'm going to get it close to right, soon! :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 13 Update! And, I'm sleeping in tomorrow!

13 days until the photo shoot!  Yippee! :)

P90X cardio (45 minutes)

5:30am: 1 cup Crystal's Turkey Chili w/Black Beans
9:30am: Think Thin Chocolate Covered Strawberries Bar
1:15pm: 1 cup Crystal's Turkey Chili w/Black Beans
5:00pm: 1 cup Crystal's Turkey Chili w/Black Beans
8:45pm: 3.5 oz chicken breast, cooked spinach, 2oz Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight

128 oz h2o
16 oz herbal tea sweetened with 1/2 tsp stevia

If you have been reading this blog, you probably realized that I get up at 5am everyday. Well, tomorrow I am sleeping in!

Usually,  I get up at 5am to get ready for my 6am workout.  However, tomorrow I am excited because I will be starting a new class offered by my gym.  This class happens to be offered at 5:30PM instead of in the morning.  The class is an all weight lifting class--Just Lift.  I am supremely excited about this class because I am so pumped to continue developing my muscles, especially in my arms and shoulders.  On Friday I was hanging out with my Mom, and she saw my arms and stated, "Wow, your arms have gotten smaller. There is a noticeable difference."  I shrugged it off because I know I have more work to do [I'm still working on accepting compliments :)], but let me tell you, I was looking at my arms the other day and I CAN SEE bicep and tricep definition where all I used to see before was cellulite.  So, coupled with my cardio workouts each week, I am going to do Just Lift.  In the past, on Mondays, I would do Kettlebell Bootcamp, which combines cardio and weight lifting, but I am going to try Just Lift and see how I feel.  If feel like I need more cardio, I will add it back in. 

So, that's it for today--short and sweet.  As you can see, I ate chili a lot today--probably not the best idea, but I was being lazy and didn't feel like cooking. :(  Also, I'm still not quite feeling the Think Thin bars--three more to go.  I had Chocolate Covered Strawberry today and could probably get used to that one if I really concentrated...LOL We'll see! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

TWO MORE WEEKS!!!! And, a nutritional resource you can use!


Pilates (25 minutes)
Zumba! (50 minutes)

9:00am Egg White Omelet w/Tri-Color Peppers, 5oz orange
12:30pm Think Thin Brownie Crunch Bar
3:25pm Easy Fajitas (only 1 corn tortilla), lettuce with 1tbsp balsamic vinaigrette, and orange
6:07pm 4.5oz Tilapia, 2/3 cup cooked spinach, 2oz Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight
8:40pm 1 cup Crystal's Turkey Chili w/Black Beans 

128oz h2o

I can hardly believe there are only 14 more days--a short two weeks--until the photo shoot!  This time has really flown!!!! Everyday, I have really looked forward to achieving the goals I have set for myself and sharing them with you, through this blog.  Today, I don't have much to share, but I did want to let you know about a tremendously helpful resource I found.  

Before I get to talking about this resource, I should let you know what I think about the "Think Thin" bar I had today, as promised.  Honestly, I am not in love with them.  I think its the consistency... With the Zone Bar, I liked them so much because they were crunchy and it was like I was eating a crisped rice bar.  The "Think Thin" bar was similar in consistency to the Fuco Protein bar I had yesterday, but wasn't as rich.  I'm not sure if I can get used to this.  I have 4 more bars to try.  If after the remaining bars I am still not satisfied, I will continue my search. :( 

Part of the challenge for me during these 30 days was to not go out to eat, which really means not to consume any prepared foods that I didn't cook myself.  As  a result, what this has translated into is me eating meals with nutritional values that are pretty easy to compute.  For example, most days I have 3oz of chicken, some spinach and some sweet potatoes as one of my meals.  Based on the serving size and portion of food I consume (I have an electronic kitchen scale), I can compute how much protein, carbs, and fat I consumed pretty easily.  Today, however, I wanted to cook a pot of chili.  But, how does one compute nutritional value from a recipe with tons of ingredients and multiple servings?  Of course, I did some research on trusty old google and found an EXCELLENT recipe nutrition calculator.  All I had to do was input each of the ingredients, the quantity I used and the number of servings yielded from the recipe.

Today, I made Turkey Chili with Black Beans. The ingredients I used are below with their corresponding carb, fat, and protein count.  What is wonderful about the calculator is that it has a database of common foods (and brands) that you can search with all the nutritional info preloaded.  It's makes this tool so simple to use.

With all these ingredients, I yielded 6 one cup servings of chili.  Using the calculator, this came out to each serving having 247 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat, and 22 grams of protein.  My chili is pretty healthy, huh?!  Yep!   So, try the calculator (and the chili recipe!) It's pretty cool. :)

For the chili, brown and drain the meat, then add all of the other ingredients, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes.  If you like spicier chili, add cayenne pepper.  Makes 6 servings.  Because I like things really spicy sometimes, in the bowl I had today, I added a few red pepper flakes for an extra burst of heat! :)

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Jennie-O Turkey Store - Lean 93/7 Ground Turkey, 16 Oz. (112 g) 680 0 32 84
Great Value - Canned Black Beans, 1 3/4 cup 385 67 4 25
Ortega - Diced Green Chiles, 6 tbsp 15 3 0 3
Del Monte - Diced Tomatoes, No Salt Added, 1 3/4 cup 88 21 0 4
Great Value - Tomato Paste, 10 tablespoon 175 30 0 10
Chef's Cupboard - Beef Broth All Natural No Msg* & Fat Free, 2 cup 20 0 0 4
Mccormick - Chili Seasoning Mix 30% Less Sodium, 4 tbsp. dry mix 120 20 2 4
Add Ingredient
Total:                                                                                          1483      141  38   134
Per Serving:                                                                                           247       24   6     22

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 15 Update! And, No Longer In the "Zone"!

Only 15 days until the photo shoot!

Bootcamp (50 minutes)

5:30am Zone Bar (my last one ever!)
8:30am Spinach and Egg White Omelet with oranges
1:45pm Easy Fajitas
4:45pm Fuco Protein Bar
7:15pm Shrimp and Tomatoes with Lettuce Salad and 1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinaigrette

128 oz h2o

So, as you saw from the little note on yesterday's post, I am no longer eating Zone Bars.  I originally thought these were alright to eat because their label said "natural nutrition bar," but after doing a little more research, I found that that though they are very high in certain vitamins and minerals, they are also very high in fake sugar! BAD NEWS!  No wonder they tasted so darn good.

Now, I am on a search for a replacement protein/meal bar.  I like eating the bars because sometimes I am out and can't put together a meal. And, most recently, I just don't desire chicken, fruit/vegetable, and almonds (nuts) for a snack. A "good" protein/meal replacement bar would have about 200-230 calories, high protein (14grams and up), and very little to no fake sugar. Also, it would be low in fat. 

Today, I received a suggestion to try "Think Thin" bars.  While I am not in love with the name of the bars, their nutritional make-up seems to be very good.  They have 0grams of fake sugar and are high in protein, at least 15-20grams in each bar.  They are currently on sale at Whole Foods.  While at Whole Foods, I saw another bar that I thought might be worth trying-- the Garden of Life Fuco Protein Bar. 

The Fuco Protein Bar is made by the same company that makes my Organic Raw Protein, Garden of Life.  I bought the Fuco Protein Bar because it was Gluten Free and sweetened with organic honey.  Additionally, one bar has about 210 calories with 14grams of protein, 5grams of fat, and 28grams of carbs.  I thought that was a little high on the carb side, but I tried it anyway because it also contains Fucoxanthin, which is a natural thermogenic fat burner found in vegetables (like edible seaweed). I got the Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts bar.  While the bar wasn't bad, I found it to be too rich for my taste and the consistency was like that of a very thick brownie.  It took a lot for me to eat the entire bar.  I was grateful for the 16oz bottle of water I had with me.  Also, the bar was a bit too expensive for me to want to eat reguarly, $2.99/bar.  So, in sum, while the bar was ok, it wasn't great enough for me to add to my regimen.

Tomorrow, I will try one of the Think Thin bars I bought. I bought White Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate, Brownie Crunch, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry.  The bars are currently on sale at Whole Foods 3 for $4.  That's a good price because usually they are $1.99/bar.  The sale lasts until February 15, 2011. 

So, I'll let you know what I think about the Think Thin bars. In the meantime, so long, Zone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 16 Update! And, the 6Ps!

Only 16 Days until the Photo Shoot!

Bootcamp (50 minutes)
Glutes and Leg Burn (50 minutes)
Billy Blank's Boot Camp (55 minutes)

5:35am Zone Bar*
8:38am Spinach Omelet with oranges
12:20pm Zone Bar*
3:45pm 3.5oz chicken, spinach, and Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight
8:25pm Shrimp and Tomatoes and Lettuce Salad with 1/2 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinaigrette

*A sad note on my beloved Zone Bars---I will stop eating them come tomorrow am.  They claim to be "natural nutrition bars" but are full of all sorts of fakeness. I was duped. You live and you learn.  I'm on the search for a truly natural protein/meal replacement bar that TASTES GOOD!  I'll let you know what I find! :) 

160oz h2o

How I feel today:
I will say that since I have been eating 5-6 small meals a day @250 calories a piece, I am NEVER starving.  Sometimes I get very hungry if I eat after my four hour limit, but I never enter the full starvation mode.  This is a good thing.

So, in yesterday's post I shared that I have been able to achieve my health and fitness goals due to my decision to remain consistent in my actions regarding eating, drinking, and exercise.  Today, I'd like to share with you what allows me to stay consistent:


Many of you may not know, but in high school, I was a member of the NJROTC.  A favorite mantra of one of my master chief petty officers was the 6Ps:

"Prior prudent PLANNING prevents poor performance!"

Additionally, many of us have heard several variations of this such as "Fail to plan, plan to fail." I can not understate the importance of planning when it comes to making consistent, healthy choices. It is paramount.

I am a planner.  I am always planning my next move, thinking about where I am going to be tomorrow, next week, and next year, AND how I am going to get there.  Although I spent so much time thinking and planning every other aspect of my life, before my lifestyle change I never gave much thought to planning my meals or exercise, more than the day before or, in some cases, the day of.  However, now, if I want to stay on track, I can not afford not to plan.  I can not just wake up and expect things to fall into place.  Sometimes you have a day like that, but that's rare.  Everything that happens today is a result of what you did yesterday and in most cases, what you did long before yesterday.   Why not apply this same principle to your nutritional life?

Now, I plan my eating, exercise, and drinking at least a week in advance.  I think about what I want to eat, drink, and exercise and then I ACT to make my desires happen.  Specifically, I put together meals I would like to eat, write grocery lists, and go grocery shopping so I have everything I need on hand.  Additionally, the way my gym works, although I can take up to 10 classes a week, I have to pre-register for them.  This means that I have to, again, think about what classes I want to take beforehand and sign up well enough in advance so that I register before the popular classes get full.  Again, this requires planning and advance action.  Since I am a planner, I relish in this.  And, this planning has helped me prevent "poor performance."

Another part of my planning process is thinking about and planning for (not trying to avoid) possible moments when my plans go astray--as they sometimes will.  For example, this past weekend I was out.  I brought one meal/snack to eat and thought I would be home in time enough for the next.  When the snack/meal time came, I knew then that I would not be home in time enough for the next meal.  I decided to split my meal/snack in half so that I wasn't completely empty-handed.  By the time I got home, I was hungry but I did not stop and buy anything nor did I overeat at my next meal.  So, while I had planned to be home, something prohibited me from being home BUT because I thought ahead, I was ok and not forced into "poor performance."

So, if you want to be consistent with your eating, drinking, and working out, don't leave it chance! Make plans and carry them out!  Don't use "busyness" as an excuse not to plan. In fact, the busier you are, the MORE YOU NEED TO PLAN! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


17 more days until the photo shoot!

Kettlebell Muscle Power (50 minutes)

5:30am Zone Bar
8:15am Egg White and Spinach Omelet with 5oz orange
12:25pm Salad 3oz chicken with spinach, onions, walnuts, tossed in 1tbsp balsamic vinaigrette and 4oz orange
3:25pm Zone Bar
6:32pm Shrimp and Tomatoes with sauteed spinach
9:30pm Herbal tea with Gelatin, sweetened with 1 tsp of stevia

160 oz h20
10oz herbal tea

And, on to today's topic! So, in yesterday's post I stated that as of late I have been chatting with lots of friends and giving them tips about transitioning from their current lifestyle to a more healthier one. Specifically, I said "there is one tip that keeps coming up, that I think is truly the key to my success (beyond my big three: eating, drinking, and exercising)." In thinking about this statement, I need to revise it. The key to my success has been changing my lifestyle (exercising, eating, and drinking), but what has actually TURNED THE KEY and UNLOCKED THE DOOR to my new healthier lifestyle is:


That's it folks! Not magic, but simply, being consistent. That has been the BIGGEST difference in why I have succeeded in my goals and why others have not. Being consistent can be defined as "of a regularly occurring, dependable nature." Because I don't see my lifestyle changes as a simple "diet," I have been able to commit to CONSISTENTLY making good choices when it comes to my eating, drinking, and exercising.

In addition to being "consistent" and committed to the choices I have decided to make, another important component of the equation, which is also a variation of consistent, is "consistency." When we talk about "consistency" we talk about the make-up or nature of something. Something with a perfect consistency can be defined as having "a harmonious uniformity or agreement among things or parts." This is supremely relevant, especially in thinking about the nature or the make-up of my lifestyle choices. Again, I am not on a fad diet with crazy restrictions like no carbs or low fat only, etc. Additionally, although some may consider my exercising a bit extreme, actually its recommended most Americans exercise 3-5 times a week, moderately, for 30 minutes. Also, its the combination of healthy choices in eating, exercising, and drinking that creates the "harmonious uniformity" that is my current lifestyle. I don't go out and eat Harold's Chicken for lunch and dinner then expect to work off the 2,000 calories I just consumed on the treadmill. No, I eat sensibly and if and when I decide to have Harold's, I think about the impact of this, not just in that current moment of desire, but after the moment subsides. In sum, the consistency of my choices are in agreement. None overbalances the other--they work together harmoniously and have improved my health on so many levels.

Most people say the biggest obstacle that keeps them from turning the key and opening the door to a healthy lifestyle is lack of willpower. I am here to tell you that this can only be an EXCUSE if you let it be. Just to be honest, many confuse lack of willpower with laziness, fear, and cowardly behavior. We desperately want to change but we just can't seem to take the first step because it seems like there are so many steps after that first one. That's what made me immobile for so many years--the changes I needed to make seemed insurmountable. Little did I know was that every time I refused to take the first step, I was adding M O R E distance between myself and a healthier lifestyle.

Lack of willpower means lack of self control. It means the INABILITY TO CARRY OUT YOUR OWN DESIRES AND WISHES. When I think about this definition, I begin to realize some scary things about myself. In other areas of my life I exercised tons of discipline and self-control but in the area of healthy living, all of sudden, I had no willpower? I was telling myself a lie. It wasn't willpower I lacked, I had plenty of that. What I lacked was the courage and strength to put that willpower to the test. I was being lazy and a coward, and that decision almost led me to an early grave.

We all have dreams and goals. We all see ourselves in the future better than we are today. I am here to tell you that being consistent--constantly making healthy choices--is the only way your life will change. If you consistently choose the apple over the donut, you will achieve your goals AND TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE IN THE PROCESS. However, if you keep short-cutting and short-changing yourself, you will continually have to start over. Although there is great joy and anticipation in new beginnings, starting the same thing over and over becomes boring and intolerable. Why not experience a true new beginning, one that comes from finishing one level and moving on to the next? That's what I look forward to--moving to higher levels as well as new and better beginnings. I hope to see YOU there. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 18 Update! And, Sore muscles? Try a warm soak instead of a hot soak!

Only 18 more days until the photo shoot! :)


Sweatbox with Jump Rope Circuit (50 minutes)
Abs and Arms (25 minutes)
Zumba (25 minutes)

5:30am Zone Bar
8:30am Egg white omelet with spinach and green onions
12:30pm Zone Bar
5:15pm 3oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup cooked spinach, and 3oz Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight
9:15pm 3 oz Chicken, green onion, and spinach tossed in 1T of Balsamic Vinaigrette

160oz h20

How I feel today?
I didn't do so hot on the eating today, in terms of my intervals. There was definitely too much time between meal 3 and 4, and this caused me to have meal 5 too late. (I had to eat it because I was only at 942 calories for the day w/o it.) I never want to eat that late at night because I am usually in bed by 10pm in order to get up by 5am. Additionally, I ended the day too low in calories--1,118. My high goal is 1,500; low goal is 1,200. I have to do better tomorrow and get that 6th meal in no later than 7pm. Since I ate so late today, I'll be going to bed a little later--probably by 10:30pm. Good thing I have laundry to fold and a book to read! Maybe I'll take a BUBBLE BATH and soak my muscles, but not in HOT WATER!

A couple of weeks ago some friends (and workout buddies) of mine were telling me the adverse effects of soaking tired muscles in hot water. Basically, the hot water dilates the blood vessels in your muscles, which allows lactic acid and other waste products to accumulate, which causes the soreness. Colder temperatures constrict the vessels and limits the amount of waste that can accumulate. Therefore, colder baths are best and warm baths are good for soaking sore muscles. While the hot bath feels GREAT while you are in it, once you get out, you find yourself still sore.

Lately, a few of my friends have been contacting me for advice about changing their lifestyles to more healthier ones. While I have given them many tips (most found on the pages of this blog), there is one tip that keeps coming up, that I think is truly the key to my success (beyond my big three: eating, drinking, and exercising). I'll talk about this key tomorrow, so check it out! :) Maybe it's what you need to unlock the door to a more healthy future.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 19 Update! And, the health benefits of sweet potato!

19 days until the Photo Shoot!

Kettlbell Bootcamp (50 minutes)

5:30am Zone Bar
8:00am Egg white and vegetable omelet
11:00am Zone Bar
2:00pm Easy Fajitas
6:00pm Easy Fajitas
8:30pm Fresh Squeezed OJ with gelatin and 12 almonds


128oz h20
10 oz herbal tea
6oz OJ

If you have been reading my food journal for the last week or so, you can see that I have been on a sweet potato kick! Growing up, I have always loved sweet potatoes, especially when my uncle made his candied yams version which had lots of sugar, butter, and cinnamon! YUMMY! As I've gotten older, sweet potatoes are still one of my favorite side dishes during holiday time, but recently I realized it doesn't have to be Christmas or Thanksgiving for me to enjoy the awesomeness of this tuberous crop. As you noticed, I can eat them, days on end, mashed or oven "fried", and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. They taste great AND they are good for you! But, don't take my word for it--here are some health benefits of sweet potatoes I found on a combination of trustworthy web sites. LOL

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A (betacarotene) and Vitamin C. Both Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to remove free radicals, this free radicals are chemicals that damage cells.
  • Sweet potatoes are good for stomach ulcers and inflamed conditions of the colon.
  • They are beneficial for low blood pressure.
  • May be helpful for hemorrhoids because of its high fiber content.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good food for people involved in heavy muscular work, since this food is high in vitamins and minerals.
  • Sweet potatoes may help prevent cancer in glands and organs with epithelial tissue due to its high Vitamin A content.
  • Sweet potato are a good food for diabetics, because it helped stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm. Vitamin A : 7,700 I.U. Vitamin B : Thiamine .09 mg.;Riboflavin : .05 mg. Niacin : .6 mg. Vitamin C : 22 mg. Calcium : 30 mg. Iron : .7 mg. Phosphorus : 49 mg. Potassium : 300 mg. Fat : .7 gm. Carbohydrates : 27.9 gm. Protein : 1.8 gm. Calories : 123

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 20 Update! And, change...what are you waiting for?


Rooting for the Bears!!! :) LOL, its my day of rest!

5:30am Egg white omelet with spinach, green, red, and yellow peppers, and onions, and 12 almonds
9:30am Fudge Graham Zone bar (first time trying this flavor--it was DELICIOUS!)
12:30pm Easy Fajitas
3:30pm 3 oz baked chicken, Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight with 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
6:30pm Baked Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries (cut sweet potatoes up into shoestring pieces, place in plastic ziploc storage bag, add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, shake to coat, sprinkle cinnamon, shake to coat, bake in oven 375 until desired crispness) [this was basically the same meal as the 3:30pm meal...LOL]
9:00pm Strawberry-Blueberry Smoothie (1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 4 strawberries, 10oz almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder)


128oz h20
10 oz almond milk

How I feel today:
I feel encouraged and blessed, especially from church (Jennifer Holliday, think original DREAM GIRL, came and sang at my church today!) and from a devotion I received via e-mail today. The devotion was about change. What struck me most is that many of us say its so difficult for us to change our habits, especially unhealthy ones. Really, the first step is wanting to change these habits. So many of us are defeated because we don't really want to change in the first place. We pay lip service because though these habits are bad for us, they make us feel really good--in the short term. Let's be honest, we know we need to change. We know change is hard and it hurts. We also know that many of our bad habits will hurt worse, in the long run, if we continue them. Despite this, its so hard to take the first step towards transformation. But, we can do it.

So, here's the devotion that blessed me. It was written by Jon Walker of Purpose Driven Church. If you like it, you can sign up and receive daily devotions to your own inbox, just like me! Just click on the title of the devotion and it will take you to the web site and you can sign up.

We should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:6–7 (NIV)

"You are free, no longer a slave to unhealthy choices. You can choose to let God transform your life and be confident that he will."

There’s an amusing story of a businessman who, at the end of a long day of travel, climbs into bed at a hotel. As he begins to nod off, he feels something crawling up his legs.

Leaping up and fumbling with the light, he throws back the sheets to discover the bed is full of bugs.

Changing rooms is not enough to satisfy the man’s disgust. When he gets home, he writes a letter of complaint to the hotel’s corporate headquarters.

Weeks later, he receives a reply directly from the president of the company:

“We are absolutely appalled that a man of your position and reputation should have had such an experience in one of our hotels. We are deeply embarrassed, and we assure you that we are working diligently to correct this problem. It will never happen again.”

As he reads the reply, the businessman feels great! The hotel management has heard him; they’re committed to making a change; and now every customer will benefit from his initiative.

But when he folds the letter back into the envelope, a small Post-It note falls to the floor. Picking it up, the man sees in a hand-written scrawl, “Send this guy the bug letter.”

This week Pastor Rick showed me I’ve been sending “bug letters” to God. In other words, I’ve developed some standard responses related to God’s commands and directions.

It’s easy to say I’ll get serious about my health, to say I’ll press on to God’s goals, to say I’ll make the changes necessary to follow Jesus toward my destiny, but the hard part is actually following through on those commitments.

Are you with me here? We tell God we can’t change, but what we really mean is we won’t take our health seriously, we won’t stop overeating, we won’t follow Jesus toward our destiny. So we pull out our form letters – our standard responses that allow us to appear sincere when, in truth, we have no intention of changing.

Do you believe God can’t change you or do you just not want to change? You are free, no longer a slave to unhealthy choices. You can choose to let God transform your life and be confident that he will.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 21 Update! And, FAMISHED at the grocery store--uh-oh!

21 Days to the Photo Shoot!

Pilates (25 minutes)
Zumba! (50 minutes)

8am 2 boiled eggs, 1 apple, 15 grape tomatoes
11am 1/2 apple, 6 almonds
1pm 1/2 apple, 6 almonds
4pm Easy Fajitas (3 oz chicken sauteed with frozen red and green peppers and onions, seasoned with chili pepper and garlic powder), 1 tbsp organic sugar-free salsa, 1 oz avocado, 1.5 cups lettuce
7pm Strawberry-Blueberry Smoothie 1/2 cup blueberries, 4 frozen strawberries, 1.25 cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (18g protein), ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

128 oz h20
1.25 cup almond milk

How I feel today:
I absolutely did not bring enough to snack on. I had class at 11am and had to stay at the gym until 2:30 or so for a meeting with my trainer. Therefore, I had to split the meal I had planned for 11am in half. I had half at 11am, before class, and at about 1pm, I had the other half. This was not enough at all. By the time 4pm came, I was FAMISHED! The meeting was over by 2:30pm but I could not go home immediately because I needed to get a few things at the grocery store. I am glad I was determined to get what I needed and go home because everybody knows you are not supposed to go grocery shopping when you are hungry!

At the store I bought lettuce, green peppers, navel oranges, blueberries, avocado, spinach, organic, sugar-free salsa, corn tortillas, frozen tri-color peppers, egg whites, and zone bars. I'm preparing for next week. One thing I forgot was sweet potatoes. I think I will make baked sweet potato fries with cinnamon next week.

Beyond not bringing enough to eat, my day went very well. Though I was hungry, I did not succumb to eating out or filling my grocery basket with junk. Yay me! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 22 Update! And, its not about me...

22 Days until the photo shoot!

Boot camp (50 minutes)

5:30am Pre-workout energy boost ½ cup fresh squeezed OJ, 2 TBSP of Gelatin, ½ cup h2o
7:30am 1/2 frozen banana, 4 strawberries, ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (18g protein), ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
11:30 am Green Salad and Mary's Shrimp and Tomatoes
2:00pm Banana and almonds
5:00pm Green salad grape tomatoes, onions, and drizzle of EVOO and red wine vinegar, 1 cup Turkey Chili (with black beans)
8:30pm 3 oz baked chicken breast and 1/2 cup of Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight

144 oz h20
1 cup fresh squeezed oj
3/4 cup almond milk

How I feel today:
Today I had a good moment in boot camp and I realize, more than ever, that its not about me. I was able to encourage someone else to keep going. There is a new lady who attends boot camp and today we were paired as partners. I saw my old self in her: determined to transform her life but going through the initial pain of a new start. Several times throughout the 50 minute session she wanted to quit, but we (the other boot campers and I) would not let her quit and go to the side. At the end of our session, we all encouraged her and I told her "when I started I couldn't do a burpee. Although I hate burpees, I can do about 20 now." We told her you will get stronger and the amazing thing is that you will see it. You will look back a month or three months from now and be amazed at what you can do. She left encouraged, so I know I'll be seeing her again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 23 Update! And, On choosing not to "bolt"...

23 Days until the Photo Shoot!

Boot camp (weights with jump rope circuits) (50 minutes)
Glutes and Leg Burn (25 minutes)
P90X Kenpo

5:30am Pre-workout energy boost ½ cup fresh squeezed OJ, 2 TBSP of Gelatin, ½ cup h2o
8:00am 1/2 frozen banana, 4 strawberries, ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (18g protein), ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
10:30am 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 9 almonds
1:00pm Green salad with green onion, avocado, grape tomatoes, drizzle of EVOO and red wine vinegar, 1 cup Turkey Chili (with black beans)
3:00pm Banana and 10 almonds
6:00pm 1 cup Mary's Shrimp and Tomatoes w/ some modification (saute green pepper, onion, and minced garlic in 1.5 tbsp of EVOO, add tomatoes, add Sazon packets [2 or to taste, let simmer), Green salad with EVOO and red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight

128 oz h20
3/4 cup almond milk

How I feel today:

It's been a week since I began this 30 day challenge! Wow, time flies when you are having fun! :)

I feel grateful, also, for all of the support and encouragement I have received.

For the past couple of days I have been thinking about how to write about the emotional journey of this period in my life. Though I wrote a blog post on some of the things I have been feeling as of late, I am still turning over in my mind how it feels to be me, Crystal, in this moment. I think the best word to describe how I feel is "uncomfortable." In so many ways, I am so out of my comfort zone. Though I have many friends, I am not used to being this open and having this much accountability.

Recently, I started reading a book Women, Food, and God. This book explores the connections between compulsive eating and spirituality. While the book centers on women and food, the main argument of the book could apply to any person dealing with a compulsion or addiction. The author posits that our addictions and compulsions are a direct reflection of our relationship and belief about ourselves and God. Roth, the author, states people

turn to food
[I posit, any addiction] when they are hungry for something they can't name: a connection to what is beyond the concerns of daily life. Something deathless, something sacred. But replacing the hunger for divine connection with Double Stuft Oreos [or shopping] is like giving a glass of sand to a person dying of thirst. It creates more thirst, more panic. (32)

Our addiction is really a symptom of a larger desire to connect with God.

Additionally, we use our addictions and compulsions to "bolt" or take us out of the reality of the present moment. We "bolt" because we are afraid to deal with the real issue at hand. For example, sometimes we get stressed or are afraid to be hurt, so we may resort to our addiction. Focusing on the addiction, we think, helps alleviate the stress, but really it just diverts our attention. For me, the idea of "bolting" manifested in two forms: eating out and shopping. My compulsive behavior stemmed from my inability to really trust and believe in the promises of God. Instead of dealing with the very real fears that come with areas of uncertainty in my life, I "bolted"--and as I "bolted" over and over, my waist expanded and so did my closet.

Today, I am learning not to "bolt." I am learning that it's ok to be afraid. I am also reminding myself of how faithful God has been to me. Time and time again, when I didn't know how things were going to work out, God faithfully provided. And, the truth is, I can hear God, now more than ever, saying "how many times do I have to prove to you that I am here, that I won't leave you, and that I have awesome plans for you?" My actions say, "every second of every day." God lovingly responds, "Ok." I am working on not making God work so hard (LOL), knowing that I can face any fear and uncertainty, if instead of "bolting," and running to food or shopping, I turn to God.

From what reality are you bolting? Is there an addiction tied to this behavior? If you allowed yourself to feel whatever emotion you were avoiding or face the possible outcomes, would it really kill you? Or make you stronger? Your choice.

I choose not to "bolt."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 24 Update! And, On Getting Stronger and Zumba Mami! :)

24 days until the photo shoot!

Kettlebell Muscle Power (50 minutes, all weight lifting, no cardio)

5:30am Pre-workout energy boost ½ cup fresh squeezed OJ, 2 TBSP of Gelatin, ½ cup h2o
8:30am ¾ frozen banana, ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (18g protein), ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
12:15pm Green salad with 3 oz chicken, red peppers, green peppers, green onion, avocado, grape tomatoes, drizzle of EVOO and red wine vinegar
4:00pm Melon and 12 almonds
7:45pm Turkey Chili (with black beans) topped with green onions, ½ cup of Crystal’s Sweet Potato Delight, ten corn tortilla chips with 1.5 tbsp salsa

150oz h2o
¾ cup almond milk
16 oz herbal tea, unsweetened
10 oz herbal tea, sweetened 1/2 tsp stevia

How I feel today:

First, the smoothie with the organic raw protein was 10x better with the banana and the hint of vanilla extract! What a relief! I hate wasting $. Honestly, I would have drunk it anyway for the next month. These days, nutritional value outranks taste in most circumstances!

Second, on getting stronger...these muscles are getting stronger, y'all! Today I went to kettlebell muscle power, which is basically a weight lifting class. We work all of the major muscle groups using kettlebells. During today's class, I told myself, I am going to go a little harder today. Usually, I get 10 lb and 15 lb kettlebells, switching off depending on the exercise. Today, I said, I will get 10, 15, AND 20lb kettlebells. Let's just say, the 10 lb-ers collected DUST today! :) And, while doing chest presses, I went up to 25lbs! Boo-ya! Lastly, I was really proud of my ability to do renegade rows (see picture) with no KNEE modification, on my toes the entire time. I did these with 15lb bells and can't wait to get up to 20lbs! Getting stronger, day-by-day! :)

Third, like I stated in my post on exercise, what makes me workout everyday is the fact that I genuinely like what I’m doing. A few months after I started D3, my trainer began offering Zumba!!! Now, I am not a “dancer,” but I do have a little rhythm and learn dance moves pretty quickly because of dance training I had when I was a child. Therefore, when Zumba appeared on the schedule, I signed right up! Zumba is so much fun. You get a good cardio workout (depends on how hard you go!) and you learn a few dance moves. Each instructor choreographs and personalizes his/her own set of dances based on stock Zumba moves. Personalization is key! Usually, in the 25 minutes Zumba class, we might learn one new dance and do it 4-5 times. In the 50-minute session we will review the dance we learned and do 5-7 other dances a couple of times each. Once we have “perfected” (that’s relative, y’all, because none of us our dancers in real life! LOL) the dance, it is taped and usually posted on youtube/fb. LOL So, today, I want to share with you a dance we learned and worked on last Saturday. If you see me, try not to laugh too hard! It’s all about FITNESS and FUN, y’all! Check out Zumba Mami! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 25 Update! And...Organic Raw Protein?

25 days until the photo shoot!


Sweatbox (step box) Circuit with Jump Rope Intervals (50 minutes)
Abs and Arms (25 minutes)
Zumba (25 minutes)

5:30am Banana and 12 almonds
8:00am ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop of protein (18 g), and 5 frozen strawberries
11:00am Green salad with baked chicken, red peppers, green peppers, green onions, grape tomatoes, avocado, drizzle of EVOO and Red Wine Vinegar
2:30pm Grape tomatoes, 9 almonds, 1 oz chicken breast
6:00pm 3 oz baked chicken, 1/2 cup of Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight!, green salad (everything above minus avocado)

144 oz h20
¾ cup almond milk

How I feel:
I feel so-so. Maybe it’s the weather and the fact that it’s SNOWING again! Sigh, it is winter so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

In other news, I am trying another protein power: Organic Raw Protein made by Garden of Life. I decided to try this because the whey protein I usually use has dairy in it. I don't experience any side effects, but I wanted to see if changing to a non-dairy protein powder would make any difference. I have enough to last about a month, so I will let you know what I think of it, in comparison to the Whey Protein I usually use. This Organic Raw Protein is dairy and gluten free. I will try this for one month (really 27 more days) and if after that, I don't like it, I will switch back to the Whey (with dairy) that I usually use.

I am still experimenting with mix-in options. Today, I just mixed in frozen strawberries, as usual, but the strawberries alone didn’t quite hit it—still a chalky, cardboardy taste. Tomorrow I am going to add 3 frozen strawberries and half a banana and see what happens.

Here’s the description of the protein from Garden of Life:

"Offering high quality, plant-based protein plus live probiotics and enzymes, fat-soluble vitamins and nutrient Code Factors™ such as Beta-glucans, SOD, glutathione and CoQ10 for overall health and vitality,† RAW Protein provides the following benefits:

  • Provides RAW organic sprouted protein and live probiotics and enzymes
  • Excellent source of protein – 18 grams and 35% Daily Value
  • Contains Vitamin Code RAW Food-Created Nutrients™ with their unique Code Factors™ intact, enabling natural recognition by your body
  • Increases the protein content of meals – just add to food or beverages
  • Suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets
  • Good for those on low carbohydrate diets
  • Alternative to soy and animal protein powders
  • Good for those with gastrointestinal sensitivities to milk, whey, soy and other protein sources
  • Easily digested – supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes†
  • Mixes well – great in shakes, smoothies and other beverages

It’s not only what RAW Protein contains, it’s also about what it doesn’t contain – there are no fillers, no artificial flavors and no synthetic ingredients. It is gluten-free and dairy-free and contains no soy allergens."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 26 Update! And, Social Justice Activism REQUIRES spiritual, mental, and PHYSICAL efficiency!

26 days until the photo-shoot! :)


Kettle Bell Boot Camp (50 minutes)

5:30am ¾ cup freshly squeezed OJ, ¼ cup h20, 2 tbsp gelatin
7:45am ¾ cup almond milk, ¼ cup h20, 1 scoop protein powder (24 grams protein), 5 frozen strawberries
11:45am Melon and 12 almonds
4:00pm 2 oz baked chicken, 10 almonds, and 12 grape tomatoes
7:00pm 3 oz baked chicken, 1/2 cup of Crystal's Sweet Potato Delight! [boil 6 sweet potatoes, peel, add cinnamon and nutmeg to your liking (I love NUTMEG), 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp of stevia, 2-3 splashes of almond milk for consistency, mash], green salad

142 oz h20
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup fresh squeezed oj

How I feel:
It terms of eating, definitely too much time between meals 2 and 3 and 3 and 4. Four hours is usually the upper end of how long I want to go before eating again. 3-3.5 is a good range for me.

OooWeee, today’s workout was a DOUSY, y’all! It was a kettle bell, cardio, marathon! Oh so hard during, but felt so good after! Just a little description: Teams of two, 6 kettle bells per team (two 20lbs; two 15lbs; two 10lbs). Start at opposite ends of a long room, all kettle bells on one side with one partner. One partner starts with one kettle bell, both partners race to the middle of the room, kettle bell is exchanged. Both partners race back. Repeat until all kettle bells are on opposite side of the room. Do that for three rounds, as many times as you can in each round (one 5 minute round, one 4 minute round, one 2 minute round) WITH stair climbing (up and down 2 flights 3x) in between and what do you get: PURE MADNESS! Who gets up, willingly, at 5am, to do this? Uh, that’d be me. I’m officially crazy. It’s ok.

Today’s class, because of the celebration of the MLK Holiday was small. 9 of us in a class that’s usually nearly 30. My trainer jokingly said, “Dr. King would have wanted y’all to be working out!” Though she was joking, there is some truth to what she said. As a historian who studies civil rights movement history, I KNOW social justice activism is not for the weak—you have to be strong spiritually, mentally, and PHYSICALLY. In a biography of one of my favorite activists, Chana Kai Lee recounts the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader in the Mississippi freedom struggle. Many know Hamer’s famous line: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Hamer worked 40 years on a plantation before joining SNCC when they came to her town in the 1960s. For nearly 20 years, she worked tirelessly on behalf of poor people in Mississippi—at the expense of her health. Her life is an example of how this country NEGLECTS those who need them most—she couldn’t afford health care. There was no HMO for civil rights activists. Additionally, our health care system proved just how valuable African-American life was by sterilizing her against her will. Towards the end of her life, she decided to organize a farm, what she hoped to be a self-sustaining farm, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. Hamer passed away from breast cancer in 1977.

All that to say—social justice work takes a toll on you on many levels. This fact, coupled with the health care system we have in the United States, can make for a very lethal combination. So, on this MLK day, let’s not just recognize AND DO what we can do to make this society a better place for our children’s children, let’s try to make it a healthier place for us, too, WHILE we are living. The work is hard, no doubt, but who said sustaining a revolution would be easy?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 27 Update! And, Potluck vs. Me? Who Won????

Day 27 Update! And, Potluck vs. Me? Who Won???

Waking up, getting out of bed, and putting my clothes on! LOL—Sunday’s my day of rest.

6:33am ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (24 grams protein), 5 frozen strawberries
10:45 am 2 egg spinach and green onion omelet
1:15pm melon and 12 almonds
4:30pm Chicken veggie soup, salad with peppers, onions, tomatoes and 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (homemade)
5:30pm More salad (above), 3 bean chili (2 tbsp), and pear walnut gorgonzola salad (I hope I don’t get the bubble guts! LOL I think only two small pieces of gorgonzola ended up in the serving I had.)

128oz h20
3/4 cup almond milk

How do I feel?
Today, I went to a POTLUCK, y’all! Potlucks, to me, are usually synonymous with starchy carbohydrate overload! To prepare, I actually ate a small meal before the potluck and drank 16oz of H2O. At the potluck, to be quite honest, there were very few items that appealed to me enough to venture out although I was intrigued by the pear walnut gorgonzola salad and did have some. Of course, there was an over abundance of dips, chips, and desserts, but those really didn’t tempt me. I was a little nervous about the potluck and thought it would take me down, but it was actually o.k. Hehehee! I WON!


So after three days of an overflow of info, here's my plan, pint-size edition:
1) exercise—vary it up and make sure there is a good mix of cardio, weight training, core work, and stretching
2) eat—close to the source. Lean meats and veggies. Protein + carb + fat=fuel
3) drink—all-you-can drink h 2 da izzo fest!

Now, that you understand the three components of my strategy, I want you to understand one last thing. If I lose no weight or any inches, I am ok with that! I published my stats because if the numbers do change, that’s great, but that is not my sole intention. For me, this is about the journey. Also, I wanted to challenge myself to go a little higher/harder with my efforts. In the grand scheme of things, I only added one additional day of exercise and am COMMITTING to water intake and NOT EATING OUT. So, really no biggie, right? Right! LOL Let’s see what happens! Thanks for coming with me on this journey!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 28 Update! And, the Importance of H 2 da izzO!

28 Days until the photo shoot!

I need to apologize for the diarrhea of the mouth I experienced in the last two posts! Once I got started, I couldn’t stop! Today’s post is shorter. And, I decided to put the update FIRST so you don’t have to read the entire post (if you don't want to).

Day 28 Update

Pilates—25 minutes (core work)
Zumba —50 minutes (cardio dance class)

7:45am—Sautéed spinach and green onions in a two-egg omelet, 12oz herbal tea, ¼ tsp stevia
10:45—1/2 cup melon, 12 almonds
1:30pm— ¾ cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (24 grams protein), 5 frozen strawberries
3:45pm—15 grape tomatoes, 12 almonds
8:45pm—2 Chicken Lettuce Wraps (lettuce wrapped around 3 oz baked chicken breast [about 1.5 oz of chicken in each wrap], cucumbers, red peppers, green peppers, green onion, avocado, cilantro with a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and garlic powder)

128 oz h20
12 oz herbal tea
¾ cup almond milk

How do I feel?
Zumba was so much fun today! My trainer takes it really seriously--like we're in a dance class! She tapes the dances and posts them on youtube/FB. LOL In an upcoming post, probably Tuesday's, I will share with you one of the videos she has uploaded. It is pure cardio comedy! Other than that, I feel good, y'all! My body has come to expect to eat every 2.5/3 hours, so that's great. It can also so be not-so-great! This afternoon, I went out fully expecting to be home by dinner time, but you know what happens when a girl goes to a mall...Uh-oh. Though I packed my afternoon snack, I spent way to much time in the mall and as such, ending up having to eat a later dinner. On the bright side, I can now add another store to my "new-found favorites" list: EXPRESS! This was my first time EVER buying something out of Express that I could actually WEAR and that wasn't a purse. LOL Now, though I was ravenous, that made me feel good. Go Me! :) Oh, and I have to admit, because I was hungry, my sense of smell was heightened but I was never tempted to eat mall food. Interestingly, all I could think of was getting home and eating my chicken lettuce wraps. :)

Also, I have already planned AND went shopping for my meals next week. I will be eating chili (no beans), sweet potatoes, and chicken lettuce wraps, as well as oranges, bananas, and melon. Can you tell I really like the chicken lettuce wraps? They are so EASY and TASTY! I think its the cilantro, which is my FAVORITE herb. Also, I tried the almond milk in my smoothie today and it was alright. There was a sharp after bite from the almonds that I wasn't expecting, however it wasn't too bad.

On to today's topic: The Importance of H 2 da izzO!
Today, I will discuss the last part of my strategy to get “photo-shoot ready”: drinking--which is basically an "all-you-can-drink" water fest! Why so much water? I'm glad you asked! First, my general plan for liquid intake:

Drinking Plan
128oz of H2O (required)
Herbal Tea
Milk (now, Almond Milk)
Juice (Because I’m human, I’m changing the rules and allowing myself the option of ½ cup of fresh squeezed juice for my pre-workout energy blast. I FOUND a juicer, so I can juice my own oranges and not have to worry about additives like sugar, etc.)

No pop, kool-aid, or alcohol. Why? They = artificial sugar. Artificial sugar is a no-no. See my post on eating.

Why so much H2O?
“The body's need for water is second in importance only to the need for oxygen. In fact, humans survive longer without food than water.” From “The Importance of Drinking Water

"A good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you exercise, you should drink another eight-ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. If you drink alcohol, you should drink at least an equal amount of water." From “Drinking Enough Water

Using the procedure above, I should be drinking:
½ my body weight—99.5 oz (I’ll round up to 100oz)
8oz for every 20 min exercise (I exercise about 70 minutes a day, on average)—28oz =128oz!

I plugged in my info into a water calculator, and got the following: 122 oz (taking into account the weather is extremely cold in Chi-Town and because of this, we need less water?) Also, got this “If you eat a healthy diet, about 20 percent of your water may come from the foods you eat. If you eat a healthy diet you can drink 98 ounces of water today, or 2.9 liters.” I’ll stick to 128oz, though! What’s an extra 6oz?


Gelatin—Gelatin is a protein source, which comes from collagen. The collagen is purified and what results is a soluble, flavorless powder that can be mixed in drinks, soups, etc., to give an extra protein boost. Gelatin is also proven to help with osteoarthritis—helping to rebuild cartilage that has been worn away, causing joint on joint contact. This product is NOT FOR VEGETARIANS as the gelatin is an animal product. I order gelatin from a company in Illinois, Gelatin Innovations. I use gelatin in my pre-workout energy blast drink as well as in tea when I need more substantial energy and when I buy store-bought soup, which usually doesn't have enough protein.

Protein Powder—After working out, you need to help the muscles you just used heal. Protein in an isolated form helps them heal and grow. There are vegetarian-friendly alternatives to try. I buy protein powder from GNC. I buy Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein (Isolated Whey Protein) which has 24 grams of protein per serving and very few carbs. It does have some artificial sugar—1 gram per serving. An even better alternative to the brands sold by GNC is offered by a company called pro/grade.

Stevia in the Raw—This is a natural alternative to sugar that comes from a plant. It has no carbohydrates, calories, and is extracted from the leaves of the stevia (rebiana) plant. I don’t usually sweeten things, but sometimes I do like to add ¼ tsp (this is about 10x as sweet as sugar) of stevia to tea.

So, that's it, folks! If you decide to drink as much water as you need to, please be aware that it WILL result in you going to the bathroom A LOT more. Do yourself a favor and don't drink 32oz of h20 right before going to bed. You'll be up all night. Trust me on that one, folks. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 29 Update! And, re-thinking my relationship with food!

29 days until the photo shoot, but who’s counting??? LOL

Today, I want to spend a little time talking about another piece of the strategy I am using to get “photo-shoot ready”: EATING!

First things first, I AM NOT ON A DIET! I can eat ANYTHING I WANT, ANYTIME! However, I CHOOSE to eat what is good for me and what will, ultimately, help me live longer. It took a long time to get to where I am, but the habits I have developed are sustainable for the long-run.

While beginning an exercise program brought me to the start line, it was changing my eating habits that have actually given me the strength to START and CONTINUE the race! However, for some of us, and for me in the past, my eating habits disqualified me before I even got to the start line. Before I committed to healthy eating as a LIFESTYLE, I would try to work out everyday at the gym but still go out to eat and rationalize it with, “well, I just worked out or I will work out, so that balances things out.” WRONG APPROACH! Also, I ate out way too much. Even if I chose healthy options, I was still eating out A LOT, using the excuse that I was too busy to cook. I had to TOTALLY RE-VAMP my relationship with and understanding of food. For me, food was eaten to satisfy a craving, to have some enjoyment, or to treat myself. While this is ok, every once in a while, it is this relationship that leads to overindulgence. Because, why should a hard worker such as myself not treat myself? I had to learn that food is FUEL—no more, no less. When I began to understand and ingest this concept, my relationship with food changed.

I need to eat. I need food. Why? Because I need energy. And, I need lasting energy so that my body can function properly as well as fight the toxins in this polluted environment we live in. I don’t want to go into a long dissertation on the kind of food that is best. Fact of the matter is that WE ALL KNOW what we should be eating. I didn’t lose 80lbs by eating potato chips and twinkies. I lost 80lbs by eating fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, and whole grains—all in moderation. I don’t put restrictions on myself, either. If I want a piece of chocolate, I have it. If I want some fried chicken, I have it. The thing is, before, I used to crave these things, now I don’t, so it is a rare occasion when I feel like I HAVE TO HAVE a certain food. The only thing I feel like I HAVE TO HAVE is FUEL!

And, fuel for me can come in some weird and wacky combos because I have come to understand that in order to be fueled properly, I need the correct combination of macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Consuming these in the correct combination stabilizes my blood sugar, slows digestion (so I’m not hungry two seconds later), and provides me with the energy I need to LIVE! When I first began Fit Fun Boot Camp in January 2010, we were provided with a food plan that I have pretty much stuck to, with a few modifications. I do not count calories, instead, I count grams of protein, carbs, and fat and go by this general rule for daily totals: Total Carbs = 126 grams (Starch = 60 grams) Protein = 130 grams Fat= 40 grams. Another rule I live by: no starchy carbs after lunch (Starchy Carbs are the ultimate fuel and if they are not burned off, they turn into fat. Unless I plan an evening workout, I usually stay away from starchy carbs after lunch).

When I started. I measured EVERYTHING! Now, I know what I like and have memorized the nutritional value for various food items. For example, I know that 1 oz chicken breast has about 9 grams of protein. If I want about 26 grams of protein, I eat about 3 oz of chicken breast. Also, one regular size orange or apple, has about 12-15 grams of carbohydrates. 12 almonds has about 8 grams of fat. 1 tbsp of olive oil has about 14 grams of fat. I memorize these things and the correct quantities. When its all said and done, I try to get at least 25 grams of protein, 12-15 grams of fruit/veggie carbs, and 10-15 grams of fat in each meal—which usually totals to about 300 calories a meal, about 1500-1800 calories a day.

But for me, that gets to be too much math, so I like I said, I memorize things and just know that generally, my plate needs to be filled with more veggies (and fruit) than meat and that I can’t forget my good fat. If foods get too complicated, I don’t go for it, especially since I cook everything now.

Also, I have been gluten-free and dairy-free (mostly) since November, 2010. This means that I don’t do wheat products and I don’t do milk, cheese, and yogurt anymore (I used to LOVE GREEK YOGURT so this was especially hard.) Sometimes I will have yogurt or something with gluten and I will get bloated and feel icky inside. To remedy this, I just go back to gluten-dairy free and feel MUCH better. Prior to going gluten and dairy free, I had a good time at Trader Joes. They have the CHEAPEST 16oz container of greek yogurt and the BEST sprouted wheat bread that has only 7 grams of carbs a slice! Also, they have a wonderful low fat sliced white cheddar cheese –didn’t taste low-fat at all.

Things I avoid like the plague: SALT, SUGAR, AND FLOUR! I avoid salt because I have a history with hypertension and my doctor cleared me in October, 2010 to stop taking medication for this. I avoid sugar because really, who needs it? Fruit is naturally sweet and I’ve never had a sweet tooth really (although I LOVE BAKING, go figure!). Also, it leads to other bad habits. Processed white flour is a no-no as well. IF I HAVE RICE, it’s brown. And, since I am gluten-free, I don’t do whole wheat pasta, although I do understand there are awesome gluten-free pastas that, maybe, I will try one day, maybe.

Because, food is fuel, I eat about 5-6 small, no more than 300 calorie, meals a day. I try to eat high quality, non-processed foods. This may sound difficult and like I am restricting myself but really, I don’t feel that way. Also, though I am a person who abhors leftovers, I can eat the same combo of food everyday, as long as it’s prepared fresh that day. Something about reheating food (except for soup/chili) grosses me out. When I reheat, I like to re-heat in the oven.

So, that’s my “eating” in a nutshell (LOL, big nut, huh?) I feel like I left tons out and could go on forever, but I’ll stop here.

On to the daily update!!!!

Day 29

Exercise: Boot camp (50 minutes)

5:30am Pre-workout energy boost: ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, ¾ cup h2o, 2 tbsp gelatin (11 grams protein)
7:45am After workout breakfast shake: ¼ cup soy milk, ¾ cup h2o, 1 scoop protein powder (24 grams protein), 5 frozen strawberries, 9 almonds (not blended in shake)
10:45am Banana, 12 almonds
1:45pm Homemade Chicken Veggie Soup
3:45 pm 1 orange (This was not substantial enough because I was hungry a little while later. I was out and forgot to pack some almonds.)
5:45pm 2 Chicken Lettuce Wraps (lettuce wrapped around 3 oz baked chicken breast [about 1.5 oz of chicken in each wrap], cucumbers, red peppers, green peppers, green onion, avocado, cilantro with a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and garlic powder)

128 oz h2o
¼ cup soy milk
12 oz herbal tea sweetened with 1/4 tsp stevia in the raw