About Me

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I am a former career girl and am now a stay-at-home-mom to 2 amazing little girls. Exercise and "dieting" have never been easy for me. But now more than ever, I am determined to adhere to a more active, healthy lifestyle. I am not dieting - just making smarter, more natural food choices. I want to set a great example for my girls. I starting running last year with the Couch-to-5K running program. I've lost over 35 pounds since last year and I want to lose 60 more. I completed my first race (a 5K) in October and I running a 10K by this summer. My long-term goal is ultimately to run a half-marathon in 2012. I've created this blog to put it all out there and most of all - to keep me honest. I include a tested recipe & inspiring workout song on each post. I am also hoping to inspire and be inspired by you! I would love for you to join me for this journey and become an official follower of this blog!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Losing Weight & Not Hungry (Really) - Part 1

I'm not starving right now as I'm writing this and I'm not starving myself with this change to my overall diet - honestly!

I am doing 5 things:
 1.Eating more natural, healthier foods
 2.Eating reasonable portions
 3.Eating well balanced meals
 4.Eating a variety of foods
 5.Only eating when I am hungry

And I've lost 9 pounds in two and a half weeks. I think that is more successful than any other previous "diet" I have been on. This is also NOT a diet. I am not counting calories and I am allowing myself things I like (like cheese and pine nuts on salads, red meat & even butter in recipes yikes!). I know the running program is also helping. For those not sure about starting it - that it might be too much of commitment... It is 3 days per week for 25 minutes or so - totally doable. I actually like to do it every other day. I find it easier that way - so technically for me it's 4 days per week. 

Here's some detail into the ways I have changed my diet.

1. Eating more natural/healthier foods:
- I've always made sure that my daughter has eaten this way when possible through the food I have made her since she started eating solid food- and at some point I realized - aren't I worth it too?
- Seeing Food Inc. when it first came out really opened my eyes to how bad certain foods really can be. 
- In order to do this I've had to start cooking more and planning ahead. I am more organized and the whole family is going to be better because of it. 
- I actually feel a lot better physically already from making this change. 

Tips- It is more expensive and takes a lot more time to eat this way. Going to your local farmers market this summer can help reduce costs.  I've also found that Trader Joe's has the best prices on a lot of the natural food items by far vs. natural food stores which are usually a rip off. In terms of time, I wash and cut things every few days and store in zip lock bags or containers for easy/quick access - so time can never be an excuse. If you feel like eating something you used to really like, try to find a healthier recipe for it online - that's what I've been doing.

2. Eating Reasonable Portions:
Let's face it... After being on probably 20 different types of diets over the span of my life thus far including weight watchers about 4 times - I know what a real portion size should be, however eating one has always been a problem. And eating the right size portion has been the hardest part for me so far. The food tastes good and most of the time I do want more than what I actually eat. Not because I am that hungry...mainly because I used to like the feeling of being pretty full.

Tips-Eat a reasonable portion. If you still feel like you are hungry have a cup of tea (green if it's early enough in the day or herbal. I like Celestial Seasonings sleepytime). If you still feel hungry 1/2 hour later, let your self eat something else that's less calories than another portion of what you are eating. Something different with protein/fat - like a mozzarella string cheese or I also like Sunrise Energy Bars (you can find them at Costco). Also if you are trying to break the old habit of ending a meal with something sweet (which I almost always did last time I was pregnant), try a flavored coffee with skim milk - it's worked for me.

So I don't make this post a novella... I am breaking it up into 2 separate posts. My next post will include details of the remaining 3 changes to my diet and how they've been successful for me this far - including tips that have worked for me!

On a side note... I want to be extremely honest... this giant change in my life feels good - especially the running part but it isn't easy and I don't want to pretend that it is. When I have a bad day or night - I really want to turn to food but I haven't and that's been hard. Hopefully some of these tips will help you out as much as they've helped me so far. 

Question for followers/blog viewers: Are you liking reading this blog so far (is there something you want more / less information about?)  Are there any songs that are really motivating you these days?

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Pump Up the Jam" Technotronic (old school i know!)
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Whole Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula and Roasted Tomatoes (adapted from Nancee Melin's recipe in August's Cooking Light)

Whole Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula and Roasted Tomatoes
What I like about this recipe is that it is vegetarian - and I think it is hard to find recipes that are vegetarian and filling. BUT I have to disclaim this recipe. It wasn't my husbands favorite - I think it was a little too natural for him (lol!). I don't know if it's because I cooked it so late that night for our dinner, but I actually liked it better cold the next day for lunch :). This is a recipe where you could definitely save money if you get the herbs etc. from the farmers market. ALSO - It's very important to hear to use high quality Parmigiano-Reggiano for flavor - without it, this dish would be pretty bland.
8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1.5 cups grape tomatoes roasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

1. Roast washed grape tomatos plain on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven until the skin looks crinkled (about 10 minutes or so) 2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. 
3. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add edamame to pan; cook 2 minutes or until edamame are thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Combine pasta and edamame in a large bowl. Stir in arugula and next 6 ingredients (through salt), tossing well. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Booze or Not to Booze... That is the Question.

There's a lot that happened this past week on my journey - it was hard to narrow it down to what to post about. But overall - this week - I think it's most important to talk about alcohol and how it affected my plans.  As a busy mom of 2, who will only rely on my parents to babysit my smallest one, to say "I don't get out much", is an understatement.  So when I was invited to a fabulous intimate outdoor party, along with a tent, band, catering and bar service with some of my closest friends (to celebrate a friend's anniversary).... I was raring to go.

I had the mindset going into this party that I was going to behave myself and limit my drinking and I did. I only drank light beer instead of the mixed drinks I normally would have drank on a rare night out like this. I also really watched what I ate. What I didn't factor into the equation was the amount of time I was out and the limited amount of food I ate compared to what I normally would have eaten.

I was definitely in control that night, but I didn't get a good night sleep. The next day I felt exhausted and slightly hungover. This affected what I ate that next day. Instead of making good food choices - I made bad ones thinking it would make me feel better physically. I also missed that day of running.

The next day when I ran it was A LOT harder - but I pushed through it. It was amazing how missing just one day set me back. Where I netted out that day is that drinking in excess is not worth it in any instance. It has taken me a long time to get there mentally and I hope I can stick to it. One or two beers / glasses of wine or ONE martini every once and awhile I think is fine and wouldn't hurt me - but even at a fabulous party I don't need to keep going - it's just not worth it on my quest for healthiness!

On the positive side - I really exhibited self control with food at the party. Sometimes I used to eat food when out at parties etc. not necessarily because I was hungry, but because I thought if I didn't - that I would be missing out. The "X" food was going to be too good to pass up etc. etc. But I've realized that it's not like that food is going to disappear - if I wanted it again sometime when I was hungry, or at a better weight - I could ask for the recipe and then I would really enjoy the food - not just eat it because of fear of missing out.

I officially finished week 2 of the running program yesterday and have also been making healthier eating choices for 2 weeks. As of this morning I've lost 6 pounds and am happy with that as a general guide to my progress. I am nervous to start week 3 of running tomorrow since the last day of week 2 was really hard - but I plan to push through it with the end goal in mind!

A question to my followers - do you prefer these longer more thoughtful weekly posts or would you prefer shorter more frequent posts? Please leave a comment with feedback. 

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Dirrty" Christina Aguilera
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Awesome Turkey Meatloaf (otherwise known as Mom's Turkey Meatloaf courtesy of Ellie Krieger)

Ellie Krieger is a nutritionist who had a food network show and has published a few cookbooks. I have both and they are great (see titles below). This Turkey Meatloaf recipe is really good - really moist - I think the oats make all the difference. My husband is a big red meat guy and he loves this recipe. And it is only 205 calories, 3.5 grams of fat per one inch slice which is a filling portion!!!! Also - it's easy - I made it this week and have included a picture.

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast       
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees.F.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trying is Planning to Fail

I recently overheard someone say "Trying is planning to fail." Although I don't think this statement can be an absolute, I think it holds true in most instances.

So many times previously I've approached either diets or particularly exercise routines as... "well, i'll try it for awhile" and then if I didn't get the immediate results I was after, or if things became too hard .... that's when I would quit.

If you "try" something you are automatically giving yourself an out. This time around I am not trying to become a runner. I am going to become a runner. I know it's going to be extremely challenging given the extra pounds I have to carry around while running, but I am up for the task (even if it means I look stupid doing it and am not as fast as most). I mean if people on The Biggest Loser can run, so can I! I started week 2 of the program yesterday, which included longer running intervals and lived to tell the tale. Running isn't going to kill me! :)

Besides taking the word "try" out of my vocabulary, this time around I'm also not going to let the scale dictate my success or mood. I am going to base my success on three things. 1. Making smart food choices the large majority of the time. 2. Sticking to an exercise regime. 3. How I feel in my own skin.

Will I use a scale as a general guide... yes! Will I be excited as the numbers decrease.... yes! But if they don't decrease as quickly as I want them too - again I'm not going to beat myself up about it or deem myself unsuccessful (in the past that's when I would quit). I plan to weigh myself once a week and will share the results.

I also plan to share 2 things with you on every post.
1. A song that really motivated me while running.
2. A healthy recipe that I like (hopefully usually with a picture of what it looks like when I cook it)
If there is a particular song that motivates you, or there is a healthy recipe that you would like to share... please do so. You could post in a comment below.

THIS WEEK'S SONG: "That's Not My Name" by the Ting Tings (thanks randi!)

THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Lemon Quinoa Salad and Wilted Spinach

I got this recipe from Cascadian Farm. I thought it was also good cold. You can find Quinoa at most stores now - I get it from Trader Joe's. It is a very healthy grain vs. brown rice etc. as it has more protein than most grains. Its also a good source of fiber and iron. 

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Feta and Wilted Spinach  

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh baby spinach
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa
¼ cup feta cheese
Juice and zest from one Meyer lemon
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the spinach and scallions. Cook over medium heat until spinach begins to wilt. Add garlic, toss and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the cooked quinoa and continue to sauté until quinoa is heated through. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over the salad, add zest and feta. Stir to combine and immediately remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 meal-sized servings or 4 sides.

I didn't take a picture of the recipe. Hopefully I will have a picture for the next post! :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Here we go!

Ok - let's start this out with complete honesty:
1. I've always hated "working out."
2. I love food (and drink for that matter - dirty martinis are my favorite).

I've decided I am at a turning point in my life and wanted to document it in some way. If I can just inspire or receive inspiration from just one person that is going through the same thing as me, how great would that be!

So here's a little about me... I'm 33 and I've always struggled with my weight - from 10 pounds to the largest now - 80 pounds overweight for my 5'4" frame. Again - love food, exercise .... not so much. I am married to a wonderful (most of the time) husband and have 2 beautiful girls - a toddler and an infant.

I decided a few weeks ago that I want to take control of my life and happiness. I am not dieting/following a specific program - like I've done so many times before (Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet, HMR shakes), nor am I counting calories. I am just making smarter choices, trying to eat as few processed foods as possible, and also trying to eat only when I am hungry.... what a concept!!!

And last night I started the Couch-t0-5K running plan. If you follow it correctly, it is supposed to get couch potatoes like me to be able to run a 5K in just 8 weeks. Personally - it's a little intimidating to me, but I just decided to finally dust off the ole' treadmill and DO IT. It was only the first day (week 1 day one, W1D1), but it was alot easier than I thought it was. And dare I say I actually enjoyed it?

I had the tunes blaring in my ears (station - Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" on Pandora is a good choice). And getting that 'alone' time where no one could bother me, where I was completely by myself and in-synch with myself was amazing and refreshing.

I didn't want to make this first post too long - in future posts I plan to share why I really wanted to take control of my body and health as well as share my accomplishments and struggles.

Also I do like to cook and come up with new healthy options that aren't just a grilled chicken salad.... so I plan to share some recipes and food ideas along the way!

Yes, I am chunky - but now I am also inspired.... so watch out!