Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Is it really Tuesday already?!?!? 'Cause it really feels like a Monday! It's been a rough day here. Struggles of today included, but are not limited to the following: No workout, Dishes piled in sink when I walked into the kitchen this morning, Water dumped into purse which contained my cell phone and brand new camera, Fussy child, Broken dryer, Messy house... I could go on but really, would you want me to do so?

Due to the madness, Tuesday's Tip is a short one:


That is all. Thank you for your time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What would you do....

for results like this.....


Huge congratulations to Olivia!!!!! Not surprisingly, I am a big fan of The Biggest Loser. Not only is it inspiring to watch people change their lives but it is also a great way to learn some exercise routines and tips for healthy eating.

What happens on the Biggest Loser ranch is truly amazing. Extreme? Definitely. BUT, it IS attainable for everyone out there. Reality check. It WILL take longer than 3 months. You won't get a quarter of a million dollars at the end. And it won't be easy.

When (not if) you do it, you will be so glad you did. So, what you YOU do for a transformation????

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Eat HEALTHY on a budget.

Three years ago, I took on the task of our family's budget, and I was shocked by how much we were spending on groceries. Adding up the totals for the month, Giant Eagle was getting about a thousand dollars of our hard earned money. Not cool. At all. So, I decided to use coupons when I could and go to Aldi for the majority of our food. Right away, I got that total down to about $700 a month. Yay me.

I was really proud of myself for learning how to save some of our money. We lived that way for awhile and then I started learning more about reading labels and the importance of that. Again, I was shocked but this time it was over how many fat and sugar grams we were consuming. I needed to find a way to strike a balance between saving money and eating healthy.

Enter Meal Planning which I discussed in more detail in a prior blog post. I started to buy my groceries according to what my family would eat each week. And I started to pay more attention to prices and how they fluctuate. I buy when a price is low and can be combined with a coupon. I plan out what we will eat based on the sales and utilize the Farmer's Markets around the area whenever possible. And we are finally down to about $500 a month in groceries. For a family of 5. Not bad, eh?

For this blog post, I decided I would share one of my favorite budget friendly meals that will feed a family of my size, keeping in mind that my younger two don't eat much so this is probably the equivalent of 4 people.

1 pound of Nature's Basket Chicken tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked with Pam Olive Oil spray in a pan. In a separate pan, I sauteed broccoli, baby carrots, 1 oz green pepper, .5 oz red pepper, 1 oz yellow pepper, and 1/2 cup of Glen Muir Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. I sprinkled in some dried basil and rosemary for a little extra flavor. I'm not usually a fan of boxed potatoes but I got such a great deal on these Betty Crocker garlic mashed potatoes that I couldn't resist. I served this with 1 individual size of Giant Eagle's health diced pears in juice.


The chicken (which is organic and 99% fat free) was on sale for $4.99/ lb. $5.00
The peppers were bought at Aldi. They have a pack of red, green, and yellow peppers for 99 cents and I didn't even use a full one of each. $0.50
The baby carrots were on sale for $2.00 a bag and I used 1/8 of the bag. $0.25
The Glen Muir tomatoes were on sale for $2.00 a can and I had a coupon which then doubled making it $1.00 a can. I used 1/4 of the can. $0.25
For the pears, I bought the individual servings because it's a lot easier to take them to the park or on an outing (would be even less expensive if you bought a large can). $2.00
 The potatoes were on sale for $1.00 a box (which contains 2 packets) and I had a coupon for $1.00 off when you buy 2 boxes, so each packet ended up being so cheap. $0.25

 For $8.25, I fed my entire family a wonderful dinner! 
Calorie count per plate was 429 calories.

Feeding a family on a budget is much easier than I originally thought it would be and my only wish now is that I had started this sooner...


Don't forget to vote for me here. You can vote once every 24 hours. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do you run?

Most of you know that running is what started me on this path to overall wellness. To go from being a couch potato to running a 5K is a daunting task but I found the Couch to 5K program to be extremely effective. I started off much like most of you, hating running and saying I would never be able to complete a 5K race. After mastering muddling through the Couch to 5K plan, I conquered the 5K and then over the next year, the 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon. I never thought that *I* could run a mile, and I ran over 26 miles consecutively. Just wanted to throw this plan out there. If you decide to do, check in with me anytime and I'd be happy to answer any questions for you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday's Tip of the Day

Train your body evenly.

Looking around at the gym, I have noticed that most women spend more time at the machines that target the inner thighs, hips or butt. It seems that other body parts are not as important to them. Unfortunately, this approach is not a good idea. Trying to "spot lose", by just training the body parts that bother you, can cause muscle imbalances. This can lead to injury, poor posture, and a worse physique. Just as you train equally on your left and right sides, train equally in the front and the back to see the best results and to keep your body trim, healthy, and strong.

Good luck and as always, let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Practice good portion control.

In order to learn portion control, you need to understand how much a serving size is and how many calories a serving contains. I, for one, use a kitchen scale but if I am out somewhere, I use visual references to help me figure out how much I am consuming. For example, one ounce of cheese is approximately the size of 4 dice. Here is a great guide to help you decipher it too.

Something that has really helped me was to think about my plate in sections. You can buy specific plates for this purpose but honestly, my family already thinks my "Food Nazi" behavior is a bit nutty so I am not sure this would go over really well here. Instead, I use this as a guideline and start by filling up half of my plate with veggies. Then, I add one serving of a protein and one serving of a starch food, such as potatoes or bread. Often, I will also add one serving of fruit to the side of the plate. 

 Here is an example taken from my food journal. April 27th Dinner:

This meal is a 3 ounce pork chop with 1 tsp low fat ranch dressing and 1/8 cup of cheese on top, 1.5 servings of steamed veggies, and one serving of applesauce. After this hearty meal, I was full for hours. (442 calories for the record...)

Portion size and serving size ARE NOT the same thing, especially in a restaurant. As a practice, I ask for half of my restaurant meal to be wrapped up before it even hits the table. When at home, take a look at the label on each item to see what a "serving" is considered to be. More than likely, it's less than what you would want to eat. A year or so ago, I was trying to control my need for sweet by having a handful of chocolate chips after a meal. Then, one day, I took a look at the serving size. It was ONE TABLESPOON! I was easily throwing 2-3 servings into my body at one time. That's 140-210 calories down in a matter of 20 seconds.

Here are my top 5 tips for helping you to learn portion control:

1. Store leftovers in portioned out containers. When you reach into the fridge to get something from last night's dinner to reheat, you will be less inclined to eat more than a portion of it if it's already been done ahead of time.

2. Fill your plate before you sit and keep your seconds out of sight. I can't tell you how many times I used to reach for another portion of food, just because it was sitting in front of me.

3. Learn to eyeball portion sizes. Use that website listed above or get a scale and measure things out. After awhile you won't need the scale anymore.

4. Start with a salad. If you fill up with a salad before you eat, the fiber in it will give you the feeling of being full.

5. And best of all, treat yourself every once in awhile.  Deprivation can easily lead to a binge so keep the cravings at bay by indulging in a small treat.

I hope this blog will help you learn how to control your portions which is one of the many steps you will need to take in order to become a healthier eater. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Create a mantra.

There's a lot to be said about the power of suggestion. We all have those days where we are having trouble focusing and we just can't pull it together. What do you do if that focus is being lost when it comes to your workout? That's where a mantra comes in to save the day!

The word "mantra" is derived from two Sanskrit words. The first is "manas" or "mind," which provides the "man" syllable. The second syllable is drawn from the Sanskrit word "trai" meaning to "protect" or to "free from." Therefore, the word mantra in its most literal sense means "to free from the mind." Mantra is, at its core, a tool used by the mind. But, no worries, I'm not preaching some religious nonsense. A mantra doesn't have to be used only in a Buddhist temple - it can be used anytime you are feeling less than wonderful and can be used anywhere, a grocery store, the bank, in your home, at the gym...

For the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on a workout mantra. This is something you say, in your head, when things are getting tough. The trick to creating a mantra is to have a conversation with yourself about what motivates you. The real ones. Not the motivators that you tell people. Most women say they work out for "health" when in fact, most work out to fit into a pair of skinny jeans. So think about a few things that motivate you into fitness and build your mantra from there.

For instance, when I was a working Mom, I was trying really hard to fit into the mold of the young sales professional at the company where I was employed. Knowing that sales incentive trips would be coming up, my mantra was "Size 4. Size 4. Size 4. Size 4. Bikini and a tan" I would repeat that over and over in my head and it would keep me going. I know that sounds shallow and I hesitated writing it here, but I need you to know that YOUR motivators can be whatever you want them to be. Don't worry about having them be socially acceptable.

Think about your motivators and what will help you get through or even get to your workout and give a mantra a try. The Little Engine That Could did it and so can you!