A healthy lifestyle blog by ACE Certified Group Exercise Trainer.

Overcoming comparison, competition, and jealousy

I wanted to touch base on a topic that isn't talked about much - how do women deal with issues of competing or comparing bodies, physique, successes, etc? 

I was thinking about this topic as I watched the Victorias Secret fashion show. I was jealous of their flat tummies, long lean legs and perky chests. And then I had a reality check: that is their job. Many of them were genetically born with those body types or work several hours a day with professionals to keep it that way. They aren't perfect- many in fact would say they are too skinny. But they get paid the big bucks to look like that and if we all could look that way we'd all be VS models. But we aren't.

We are all guilty of this at some point. You see a perfectly trim celeb in a magazine, the fit gym rat with perfect muscle tone, the skinny mom in her skinny jeans at the mall....and the thoughts creep in. "I wish I was 10 lbs lighter," or "I wish I had her thighs" "Why can't my tummy be flat..." 

It happens. We all get envious of other women in our lives at some point. Some of these women we will never meet, and some might be our sisters, best friends, co-workers, or trainers. The important thing is to recognize when this is happening and combat it with positive thoughts.

We are each on our own journey and we each have our own struggles. That woman with the perfect thighs might be so unhappy with her chest size. Or the woman who looks so "skinny" might have a hard time gaining weight and is very self conscious about it. The perfect fit looking gym goer might struggle with food issues. So we really can't assume someone has a perfect life based on their looks or lifestyle.

Every now and then this happens to me and I start to get down on myself. I just simply remind myself that my life is good, I have many great features and things to be thankful for. Everyone is fighting their own battles.

Say it out loud: I am beautiful in my own skin. I work hard to take care of myself. I have no reason to be jealous or compare myself to other women. I am just doing the best I can do!

The Breakfast Debate

Most health, diet, and fitness books and websites will all recommend eating a healthy breakfast to support weight loss. Depending on who you ask, there are conflicting opinions and studies on this. (Read this article for a quick synopsis). Other studies have determined that eating breakfast has no effect on weight loss and may in fact cause weight gain. So, what's a person to do?

My personal opinion is this- I recommend that most people eat a healthy breakfast as part of their daily routine.

Why? Your body has been fasting for 8 -10 hours overnight, sending your metabolism to a nice slow pace for conservation. Several people wake up hungry and eating a healthy breakfast with a balance of protein, carbs, fat (and don't forget fiber) can set the mood for healthy eating and curb starvation pangs for the rest of the day. 

Now some people argue eating breakfast makes them hungrier for the day. Well, yeah, if you eat cereal chock-full of 20g of sugar like Raisin Bran (yes, this cereal is bad for you!), you will feel hungrier an hour later. But if you eat an egg, piece of plain whole grain toast,plain oatmeal, or low sugar cereal with unsweetened milk, you probably won't experience that annoying blood sugar spike. Making sure you have fiber also helps feel fuller longer. Eating a muffin the size of your head will indeed result in hunger pangs an hour later as well. It's all about what you choose to eat!

There are some folks that are adamant about NOT eating breakfast. Lets say for example, you are one of those people who hate eating breakfast, so you typically don't. Or perhaps you are someone who ate a ginormous dinner the night before and you simply don't "feel hungry" for breakfast. So this describes you and you typically skip breakfast, do you find yourself starving at midmorning or lunch time? Does this sudden hunger attack lead to stuffing yourself?

If so, you should probably reconsider eating breakfast. If you end up reaching for donuts in the break room, downing half a jug of coffee creamer, or consuming a 1,000 calorie lunch, you probably aren't coming out ahead by not eating breakfast (even if you think you are!).

On the other hand, if you find that you can still stay on track with your personal calorie targets and healthy meal habits for the entire day, despite not eating breakfast, than by all means do your thing!

It's just that there is typically an association of behaviors - typically people who don't eat breakfast are more overweight. Typically people who do eat breakfast are at healthier weights. This doesn't mean one causes another but the behaviors are associated. Something to think about! 

My fav breakfasts:

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (sweetened with stevia or fruit) with chia seeds
  • Egg white scramble (spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, egg whites)
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter
  • Plain Oatmeal with half apple cut in chunks and cinnamon (all microwaved together to cook apple)
  • High protein/fiber cereal w unsweetened almond milk
  • Nonfat cottage cheese w a tbsp no sugar added jam

Foodie Friday: Pork, White Bean and Kale Soup

I tried this recipe and it is really yummy! I like it with a little tabasco/hot sauce in it as well. I simmered a little longer than recommended because I felt like the wine still seemed pretty strong, but other than that, I made as is. Hope you like it!

PS. A lot of people have never tried Kale. It looks like extra crinkly lettuce in the produce section. Some find it "bitter" but if you remove the veins, that seems to help.

Here's the recipe from Eatingwell.com.

6 servings, about 1 2/3 cups each Active Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, preferably smoked
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped (about 8 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed (see Tip)


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring once or twice, until no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs, leaving juices in the pot.
  2. Add onion to the pot and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and tomatoes, increase heat to high and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Add kale and stir just until it wilts. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in beans, the reserved pork and any accumulated juices; simmer until the beans and pork are heated through, about 2 minutes.


Per serving : 262 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 45 mg Cholesterol; 26 g Carbohydrates; 25 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 627 mg Sodium; 1024 mg Potassium
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 lean meat

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: While we love the convenience of canned beans, they tend to be high in sodium. Give them a good rinse before adding to a recipe to rid them of some of their sodium (up to 35 percent) or opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties. (Our recipes are analyzed with rinsed, regular canned beans.) Or, if you have the time, cook your own beans from scratch.

Why Barre Workouts ROCK

Barre workouts are basically ballet-inspired toning routines (but don't be fooled, you won't be prancing in a tutu- these workouts are HARD).

These workouts are designed to give you a long, lean dancer-like physique (without having dance experience), and are becoming quite popular these days. While all barre workouts differ slightly in structure, most methods incorporate exercises done at a ballet barre (you can use the back of a chair at home) combined with elements of ballet, Pilates, and yoga.  Barre exercises rely mainly upon one's bodyweight for resistance, and the moves challenge your core stability and balance. The nice thing about these exercises is that it's a low-impact option to get a little cardio and sculpting all in the same hour.

I am excited to start teaching Barre classes with Brenda Curtright, owner of The Dance Center, here in Grants. Brenda teaches Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 - 7:30 pm and I will be teaching Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30 - 10:30 am, beginning on Oct. 29. We also offer a Saturday morning class at 8-9 am.

For a Barre class, all you need is yourself in comfortable clothes, a pair of LIGHT handweights (think 2 - 5 lbs) and a yoga mat. Workouts are done without shoes. You may buy special barre socks, but they aren't required.

If you are interested in trying it out, let me know! Our first evening class has a wait list, but get your name on there soon to get in!

Goal Setting and Reflection

I am currently in week 3 of my Fall 8 Week Tabata Bootcamp for women. My participants are doing really, really well - majority are making it to classes and doing their at home workouts. So I thought what better time than now to make sure we all have specific goals in mind and that we are staying on track to meet those goals.

So for my Bootcamp Girls or anyone else who may be on the path towards a healthier fit self, I challenge you to complete the homework below:

(Visit Maria Kang's website for her "No Excuse Program" and more info on goal setting)
  1. Find a journal, notebook or something to write down some goals.
  2. Write 3 very specific goals. Nothing vague, like "I want to get fit." Goals should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and include a Time frame. Examples: I want to fit into old jeans, I want to run a 5k, I want to lose 20 lbs or 10 inches. 
  3. Tape these goals to your mirror on your vanity or bathroom or tape somewhere in your closet where you will see it everyday.
  4. Set a date that you want to reach these goals. A birthday, a trip, upcoming event, etc. If you don't already have a special date in mind, you can create one. For example reward yourself with a boudoir photo shoot or a pamper day if you meet your goals. This date should be around 8-12 weeks from now.
  5. Write positive affirmations, quotes, photos, or create a moodboard (See my example below). Place these random places - screensaver on your phone/computer, your mirror, the fridge, your car, etc. Stay positive!
  6. Weigh yourself/measure every week or every other week. You won't know if you are on track to meet your goals unless you measure periodically.
  7. Make a habit of posting your thoughts/progress/inspiration on your favorite social networks - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The more open you are about your fitness goals, and the more people who know about it, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable. If you are the type of person who really prefers privacy, join my private Tabata Bootcamp Facebook group where the posts are only visible to other women in the program with similar goals.

Fall Favorites

With the Fall Season in full swing, I thought I'd highlight what I'm loving most these days!

Old Navy Active Wear - I purchased some running tights, cold weather running top, and compression top. Love, love love!

I also ordered two pairs of Nike sweatpants from Thredup.com, a gently used clothing site. These were only $11 each and I had a $10 credit.

On the fashion front, I have been enjoying my new Miche shell, the Misty, with navy canvas, camel leather. I also bought some Kardashian mascara from Ulta for only $9 and love it! No clumping and great coverage.

If you get a chance, stop by Sonic and try their Red Button coffee. Sooooo good! Links for all items below!

Fall Favorites

Beware of the Restaurant Salad

When you are out at a restaurant or even a fast-food place you may be tempted to order a salad off of the menu, thinking it must be a healthier option than the sandwhich or burger or steak, etc. This is not always the case, and in fact many salads at restaurants contain over 1200 calories!!! If that's the case you might as well go for the burger!

Most of the danger in salads lies in the dressing - they are often packed with calories and fat, and many have more than 1500 g sodium, which is the max one should have in the entire day! You must also beware of the toppings.


Here's some things to look out for when ordering a salad:

Crispy vs. Grilled - Always go for the grilled chicken instead of crispy. It will save you calories and fat grams

Croutons & Bacon Bits & Tortilla Chips - These add calories to your salad but no nutrition. Bacon bits are artificial too. Just opt to keep these off your salad. If you want a crunch, try adding a tbsp of raw nuts (not the candied kind!). Nuts have fat, but a healthy kind of fat.

Too Much Cheese - Don't smother your salad in cheese. If you must have some, try just a tablespoon of low-fat cheese sprinkled on top. A little goes a long way. Feta cheese can be a great flavor boost on a salad, but make sure you use just a bit.

Dressings - Many places list the calories of their salads without the dressing. Try and pick a dressing that is less cream-based and more oil based. I try and go for vinaigrette instead of Caesar or ranch. The dressing alone can add 200+ calories to your salad. You should always ask for it on the side. You can also try dipping your fork in the dressing, then picking up salad and eating it (versus pouring the dressing over top of the salad). This helps you eat less dressing and still get the flavor.

Processed Meat - Salami or similar processed deli meat can add a lot of fat and preservatives to your salad. Shrimp/seafood is also a high-fat meat and should be used in moderation.

Candied nuts and dried fruit - Both of these seem healthy, but candied pecans, walnuts, almonds, have a lot of sugar, as do dried cranberries. Go for raw nuts instead and only a tablespoon. A little goes a long way!

Iceberg Lettuce - This type of lettuce is not nutrient dense like other dark leafy greens. Choose spinach, romaine, kale or other dark green lettuce over iceberg.

Salads to Stay Away from (Salads with over 500 calories or more than 9 g fat):

  • Chili's Southwestern Cobb Salad - Has 1080 calories (and that's before you add dressing!).
  • Wendy's BLT Cobb Salad - Has 50 grams of fat or the equivalent of two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers
  • Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad - Has over 1300 calories and 90 grams of fat!!! YIKES!
  • Taco Bell's Chipotle Steak Salad - Deep frying a tortilla and using it as a salad bowl defeats the purpose. You are better off ordering hard shell tacos.
  • Applebee's Grilled Shrimp & Spinach Salad - Over 1,000 calories! Order the Weightwatchers Salad instead.
  • Olive Garden Grilled Chicken Salad - 850 calories and 64 g fat
  • Sonic Crispy Chicken Salad with Ranch - 40 g fat and lots of sodium
  • McDonalds Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken and Ranch - 600 calories and 40 g fat.
Other ways to be prepared
  • Download a calorie counter app like My Fitness Pal and you can look up nutritional info on a menu item for many restaurants. Do this in the car on the way to the restaurant or before you go, so you already know what you will be avoiding or ordering.
  • When in doubt, stay away from: Caesar Salads, Anything with the word Crispy in it, Bacon Salads, Seafood Salads, Creamy Dressings, Southwestern Salads. All of these are typically unhealthy.
  • Order dressing on the side. Always.
  • Opt for plain old olive oil or ask for a lemon to squeeze over your salad instead of dressing.
  • Only use half the dressing they provide.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Not having a plan for lunch is like a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. Before you know it, that unsatiable hunger has set in and you are in the drive thru at the McDonalds attempting to order a semi-healthy wrap only to find out the sauces and crispy chicken result in a 600 calorie meal anyway. So what's a busy girl to do?

The best option for success during lunch time is to plan your meals ahead. Know what you will be having every. single. day. 

I will share some of my go-to recipes for lunch. Of course dinner left-overs are always an option, but for our family we rarely have leftovers, and if we do my husband takes them to work, so I am always scrambling for quick healthy lunch ideas!

Rachel Beller
12 hard-boiled egg whites
3 hard-boiled egg yolks
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise (canola/olive oil-based preferred)
1 tablespoon deli mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Optional: 1/2 cup fresh chopped red onion or Chives
Grate eggs into a bowl. Mix in light mayonnaise, mustard and optional onions/ chives. Top with paprika. Enjoy!

Lunch: 3/4 cup (160 calories, 17 grams of protein) OR 1 cup (214 calories, 22 grams of protein) 

Snack: 1/4 cup (53.5 calories, 5.5 grams of protein)

Skinny Mom's Kitchen
Mason Jar Salads (from Skinny Mom's Kitchen Blog)
The key to mason jar salads is in the assembly of the ingredients. To keep the lettuce crisp you have to keep it separate from the dressing or other liquid. Also, you need to make sure the jar is completely dry before you start filling them. I add this tip because more than likely you will wash your jars or ingredients prior to using so there might be a chance of moisture. Give the jar a quick wipe with a paper towel and completely dry all ingredients before you start to assembly.
Layers should go like this.
  1. Bottom layer is dressing or other wet ingredient. Again, this is key. You need to keep the dressing away from the lettuce to keep it from getting soggy.
  2. Second layer needs to be a hearty vegetable like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. Think about veggies that would taste good marinated in dressing. You will need a good amount of these vegetables to keep the dressing and lettuce separate.
  3. Third layer is proteins or grains. This could be eggs, beans, rice, quinoa, pasta, etc. Next add the lettuce or greens.

Last you would add seeds or nuts. Sample Salad- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar dressing, grape tomatoes (sliced in half), hard-boiled egg, crumbled bacon, sunflower seeds, and baby spinach.

From Clean & Delicious Blog
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Jamie Eason's recipe and one of my go-to favorites. These can be made ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen. Heat them up, or eat cold. Eat them on top of a salad or alone. Truly an easy way to get quick protein.

2 lbs. ground turkey 90/10 or better
3 egg whites
1 cup quick cooking oats
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dry yellow mustard
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chipotle pepper spice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp garic powder
1 diced onion
2 diced celery stalks


Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin pay with some cooking spray (or coat with a little olive oil). Mix all the ingredients in one large bowl until well combined.  Roll the mixture into balls and place each one in the muffin pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 12 muffins.


Chicken Salad- Calories: 369; Carbs: 24; Fat: 13; Protein: 38; Sodium: 756; Sugar: 15
3 oz cooked chicken breast, 2 tbsp nayonaisse or greek yogurt, ¼ c celery, served on lettuce of your choice 1 c. melon or grapes, 10 almonds

Soup & Salad – Cal 109; Carb 22; Fat 0; Prot 4; Sodium 681; Sug 12
2 cups low sodium, broth-based veggie soup with a tossed salad (2 c greens, 5 cherry tomatoes, 1 tbs dressing)

Mexican Chickpea Salad (serves 3) - Cal 213; Carb 22; Fat 11; Sod 389; Sug 2
Dice up a Roma tomato, some cilantro, 1/4 red onion if you like, add some lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and a can of chickpeas.

Tone it Up Chickpea Spinach salad – Cal 288; Carb 33; Fat 15; Prot 8 Sod 406; Sug 1
Half can of chickpeas, 2 cups spinach, and a lemon juice/olive oil dressing.

Pizza QuesadillaCal 239; Carb 17; Fat 12; Prot 22; Sod 1038; Sug 1
A low carb tortilla or wrap, add 1/4 c of tomato or pizza sauce (I just use Hunts Pasta sauce from can), 1/4 c low fat mozzarella shredded, about 6-10 turkey pepperoni, and spinach if you like.

Peanut Butter Banana roll up – Calories: 250; Carbs: 50; Fat: 2; Protein: 11; Sodium: 445; Sugar: 25
Low carb wrap, 1/2 banana slices, and drizzle with agave. Add a few dark chocolate chips.

Avocado, cottage cheese, tomato – Cal: 428; Carbs 29; Fat 39; Protein: 20; Sodium: 413; Sugar: 4
Half an avocado sliced, add 1/4-1/2 c low fat cottage cheese, tomatoes, and salt & pepper. I add a bit of lime or lemon juice to keep the avocado from turning and give it a little kick.

Open Face Tuna Melt- Cal 362; Carb 18; Fat 8; Prot 49; Sod 806; Sug 1
Mix can tuna in water with low fat or olive oil mayo, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Top on a slice of wheat, add a slice of skinny 40 calorie cheese and a tomato slice. Heat on skillet. Yummy.

Greek Salad – Calories: 342; Carbs: 24; Fat: 24; Protein 10; Sodium 600; Sugar: 13
Mix a cucumber sliced, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper diced, with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper, top with feta. Eat on top of bed of lettuce or put in a wrap or pita pocket.

Deli Turkey salad- Calories: 406; Carbs: 29; Fat: 25; Protein: 12; Sodium: 744; Sugar: 18
Add a few slices of turkey, some sliced apples, berries if you have them, and walnuts or pecans to a bed of lettuce. Serve with a raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Spring Rolls- Calories: 372; Carbs: 50; Fat: 2; Protein: 36; Sodium 975; Sugar: 6
Cook up 2-3 oz tofu or frozen cooked chicken. Get rice paper wrap, and dip on a plate of water. Set aside. Add lettuce or spinach, veggies of your choice (cucumbers, cabbage, carrots). Top with tofu or chicken, 1 squirt sriracha chili sauce or tabasco, and roll. Dip in soy sauce or sriracha. Make 2-3 rolls for lunch.

Salmon Salad Open faced SandwichCal 270; Carb 28; Fat 6; Prot 28; Sod 613; Sug 10
3 oz. canned salmon, 1 tsp. light mayo, 2 tsp. lemon juice, ½ chopped celery, ½ cup chopped bell peppers, 1 slice whole-wheat bread, arugula, red onion. Mix salmon and; add the rest. Place salmon mixture on bread for an open-faced sandwich; top with arugula and red onion.

Why are we sitting around so much?

Here's how many of our typical days as a working woman or even stay at home mom goes:

Morning - Wake up, shower, eat, drive to work or drive kids to school
8 - 10 am - Sit at a desk at work (or sit on the couch at home)
10-10:15 am - Walk to the bathroom and back to desk
10:15 - 12:00 pm - Sit at desk some more
12:00 - 1:00 pm - Walk to the breakroom, or drive home and sit for lunch
1:00 - 3:00 pm - Sit at desk some more
3:00 - 3:15 pm - Walk to bathroom
3:15 - 5:00 pm - Sit some more at work or sitting in the car driving to pick up kids, sitting at their after-school activities
5:00 - 6:00 pm - Make and eat dinner
6:00 - 10 PM - Sit around at home and watch TV

This is just an example, but it does highlight how many of us do a whole lot of sitting around. Unless we have a certain career that involves a lot of movement, many of us sit at a desk or on our couch for a large portion of our day.

Too much sitting can be linked to cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and even cancers. The good news is that there is also a mountain of evidence that shows injecting short activities in your day can have a big impact on improving your health.

As a Tabata Bootcamp trainer, we are taught about doing "Metabolic Makeovers" with our clients.

So here are some ideas to inject some movement into your day:

  1. Always do your 6 minute tabata workout or other quick workout to start your morning.
  2. Park as far away from the door as possible at work, grocery store, etc. If you live close enough and the weather is nice, try walking to run your errands. I try to always walk to my Redbox to return movies. I walk my daughter to daycare if the weather is decent.
  3. If you work at a desk, set your outlook alarm every 30 minutes to remind you to get up. Walk around. Stretch. 
  4. Every time you answer your phone stand up and pace by your desk. This forces you to get out of your chair.
  5. Increase your water intake. This will ensure you have to get up to go to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes.
  6. If you have an hour long lunch, try eating for 20 minutes, walking the remainder 30-40 minutes. Take your ipod with a book on tape or your favorite music, or take a coworker with you!
  7. On the hour at work or at home, do 10 pushups or tricep dips.
  8. If your kids have activities like soccer, band practice, dance class, etc., don't sit while they are doing their activity. If you can walk around the field, building, parking lot, etc. while you wait.
  9. After you eat dinner, make everyone in the whole family go for a quick walk around the neighborhood. If it's getting dark too soon, do the walk before dinner.
  10. Instead of watching TV just sitting, try doing a TV workout - during every commercial do jumping jacks, jog in place, etc.
Here's some additional ways to incorporate exercise:

Denise Austin's Office Workout


Healthy Pumpkin Protein Bars

I made these pumpkin protein bars from Jamie Eason's Live Fit Series on Bodybuilding.com. They are super good!

With this fall weather moving in and Starbucks serving up pumpkin spice latte's I'm in the mood for pumpkin goodies.

These bars are packed with protein. I ground up my own oatmeal for the oat flour (since they don't sell it where I live). I added the walnuts like Jamie suggested and sure enough, they were delish!

Image: bodybuilding.com

For the full recipe and menu plan visit the site. I am thinking about trying her Live Fit plan. Has anyone else done it? If so what did you think? 

Why Starvation Diets Don't Work and My Review of the Seven Day Slim Down

I purchased the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan a few months ago and I've been using some of their recipes and tips, but not following it to a T. Then I got this wild hair to try the 7 Day Slim Down (7DSD) that is one of the main components of their nutrition plan. I thought, "Hey, let me give this a go and see what's up!"

I completed only 4 days of the 7 day slim down and then I had to adjust the plan and I will explain why. The premise of the plan is mostly lean protein and dense green veggies, some fruit, and a bit of dairy the first 2 days. No starchy carbs. No bread/cookies/crackers/pasta/potatoes/etc.

Days 1-3 I followed the plan strictly. I felt a bit hungry on days 1-3 but nothing unbearable. On Day 3 I woke up 3 lbs lighter, not bloated at all, flat tummy. It felt amazing! By the end of Day 3 I wanted the yogurt I'd been eating after dinner on days 1 & 2 but didn't cave. I got most of my workouts in on all 3 days.

On day 4, I woke up cranky. Like seriously cranky. And hungry. I followed the plan until dinner but I was craving carbs so insanely bad. I couldn't work out, I felt weak. By 5 pm we decided to go out to dinner and I caved in. I had 5 tortilla chips and ranch dressing on my salad. I had lean pork tenderloin and roasted veggies (not a bad choice!). I went home from dinner feeling guilty for "cheating" but to be honest, my body felt SOOO good. Like heaven. So I thought to myself, "I wonder how many calories this 7DSD comes out to per day???" I googled a few things and found this video.

Needless to say, it peaked my curiosity. Enter Myfitnesspal app. I plugged in everything I ate from day 2. It came out to about 1300 calories. Not bad, considering 1200 is the lowest possible recommended amount. BUT if you calculate the TWO 30 minute Cardio Sessions they recommend, you'd burn around 300 minimum, maybe even more, and be down to 1000 calories. That's called starvation. Not good.

Then I decided to calculate day 6/7 calories (even though I hadn't gotten there yet) just to see... It came out to a whopping 689 calories without exercise. That is not ok. That is not healthy.
Let me explain why this is not good. If you restrict your calories so much you will trick your body into thinking you are starving. Your body is thinking, "What the heck is going on here? I guess I better hold on to every last calorie that makes in this place since it might be my last." That really messes up your metabolism. I am not a dietitian or doctor so I don't know how many days of starving it takes to really take a toll on your body, but I don't want to take that chance. It's not worth it. I can do the cutting starchy processed carbs, maybe even limiting dairy to 1 serving a day, but I do not condone getting less than 1200 net calories a day. That's crazy. Even on the week before you get married or do boudoir photos for your hubby. That's just crazy.

So let me also say that I really like the Tone it Up girls, I'm not downing their programs completely. I really like the workouts, the recipes, the community, etc. I just don't like the 7DSD. I do however think that you can modify it to make it work better for you.

I like the idea of no starchy carbs for a few days, especially if you want to see bloating cut down (before a wedding or big event, photo shoot, etc.). Carbs hold water, so get rid of them and you won't be walking around with as much water weight. I don't think you can live on 1000 or 700 calories per day. But what you can do (and what I did) is: add extra servings of protein and veggies at lunch and dinner, add nuts or beans if you are hungry, add healthy fats like olive oil/avocado, etc. Don't run and grab a bag of chips or fries, but add extra calories via the healthy stuff!

So I won't be doing a 7DSD exactly like the TIU one again, but there are good things that you can take from it and use to your benefit to create a quick pre-event slim down that's safe and healthy and look your best.

Color Run Fun

Had a blast at the Color Run in Albuquerque this weekend. I took Jenna and jogged it with the jogging stroller.

There's no better feeling than passing cute 20 year old girls with my jogging stroller! A good time was had by all.


Me and my sweetheart
At the starting line

Pre-race jitters!

Post race & colored! 
"You want some pink on your face?"

Can you tell which color was her fav?

Nana & J
Post-Race (Me & My girl)

The Dangers of Your Coffee Creamer

One of the hardest things for me to let go of when transitioning to eating "cleaner" was my beloved Coffee-Mate creamers. Even just thinking about it has me salivating! Liquid gold, I tell you! But these liquid and powdered creamers you find at the grocery store are basically just a crap storm of oil and chemicals...yummy.

Not to mention, most people use way more than the recommended serving size of a tablespoon of liquid or  2-4 teaspoons of powder. The calories and fat content in creamers add up quickly, sabotaging your diet for the day!

Let's talk ingredients. Here's an image of the nutritional info for one of my favorite liquid creamers, Thin Mint. First unknown ingredient on the list is.... Partially hydrogenated soybean oil. What is this, you ask? Just a fancy name for Trans Fats. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol. Can you say heart-attack?

As quoted by the Mayo Clinic, "Scientists aren't sure exactly why, but the addition of hydrogen to oil increases your cholesterol more than do other types of fats. It's thought that adding hydrogen to oil makes the oil more difficult to digest, and your body recognizes trans fats as saturated fats."

That's comforting!

Not all fats are "bad" for you, and you really do need the "good" kind of fat in your diet. A great article explaining fats is on the Harvard School of Public Health page. But medical groups across the board agree on limiting out intake of trans fats is important for heart health and cholesterol. Very important. Especially for women - heart disease is still the #1 killer!

Next on the list we have mono and diglycerides. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are food additives commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don't ordinarily combine well. Food manufacturers typically use them to extend a product's shelf life. Made in part of fatty acids, they are similar to triglycerides, the predominant fat in food according to the Harvard School of Public Health, except they are classified as emulsifiers rather than lipids. No studies found that they are harmful to people, but still it's another chemical that we are ingesting which is not in line with clean eating principles.

Then we have a few more ingredients we can't pronounce: Dipotassium phosphate is a chemical used as an ingredient in foods to control acidity and prevent coagulation. It is most commonly used in the production of cheeses and non-dairy creamers, not to mention fertilizers. Yep, fertilizers. 

Lastly, we have good ole' carrageenan. This stuff is a derivative of Irish moss, a type of seaweed found along the west coast of Ireland and the east coast of North America. It is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer in many foods and drinks.  Researchers debate the safety of carrageenan, and several studies link it to malignancies and digestive problems. Bottom line, is that there are researchers who think this is bad for you. Eat at your own risk.

So lets think about this for a minute....in order to make coffee creamer last a long time, mix well with our coffee and not clump up, and maintain a thick consistency, we have to add a bunch of processes chemicals. And if you think the powdered kind is better, it's not! One of the ingredients in powdered creamer is even flammable

Don't worry, you do have a few alternatives! Plain old half-and-half, milk, or cream. Sure you are getting a small dose of animal fats, but at least no sugar or transfats or processed chemicals. And we do need some fats in our diet.

Or you could go for coconut milk/cream, almond or rice milk. Both can be quite flavorful. One thing to remember is that even healthy almond milk or rice/coconut milks can contain the chemical additives to extend their shelf lives. So look at labels and decide for yourself. Maybe you can find an almond milk that doesn't have the carrageenan, but it might have the dipotassium phosphate and the mono/diglycerides, but it's a healthier trade-off. It's up to you, but make informed choices!

Need some sweetness added to your cup o joe? I prefer the natural sweetener stevia, or even just plain sugar. One sugar packet is only 15 calories. I say 15-30 calories is better than eating cancer causing sweet'n'low. Skip artificial sweeteners or syrups they are just plain bad for you. They are also linked to making people feel more hungry after eating them, which defeats the purpose!

*Note- I am not a dietician or nutritionist. Always consult your physician when making changes to your diet/exercise plan. This blog provides opinions for informational purposes only.

The Adventures of Designing Stroller Classes!

I thought it was going to be a piece of cake working up my stroller fitness classes. Boy was I wrong! It's been an ongoing process figuring out what works...and I am still trying to figure it out.

My original plan was to hold them at a park here in Grants, Truman Park. It's not the nicest park (there's some grafitti,etc.), but it has a walking path that goes around and plenty of shade. I took the girls there to "test" out a class.

This park was a bad idea. There are NO bathrooms. No port-a-potties, nothing! It's kinda crazy. Even if you make your little ones go before you leave the house, inevitably there will be a need for a potty at some point. So that location was OUT! I found out the hard way and ended up sprinting to my house.

Next obstacle was the battling the complex mind of a toddler. When we got to the park, my kids did NOT want to be in the stroller. They saw the playground equipment and had to make use of it. So I thought, "I'll let them play while I push my stroller around sans-kids and try out my class format." That was a big FAIL too because my little ladies wanted me to play with them! My youngest kept chasing me crying while I was going around the park, "Mamamamama!!!" INSERT CROCODILE TEARS.

So I have come to the conclusion that this camp will be an evolving class. We will try things. Things may not work. Kids may not like some stuff. We may have to adapt. But we'll figure it out and get a workout in regardless!

So for any moms out there interested in exploring the unpredictable world of Stroller Fitness, come try it out with me! We're starting September 9, Mondays & Fridays, 10 am - 10:45 am.

Bring a stroller, water/snacks for the kids, a blanket or mat or towel to put on the grass, and appropriate clothing for mom & kiddos.

Image Credit

Let's bet on losing weight

So one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Cassey Ho from Blogilates, is hosting a diet bet for the month of  September or "Sweatember". Join us and win money for losing weight! http://diet.bt/1752exZ

Click the link for more info! It's gonna be fun! 

The Importance of Strength Training

As women, sometimes we think it's all about Cardio. We make sure to get in a walk, jog, bike, Zumba, or dance class, but we don't always make time for lifting weights or working with resistance bands.

I think there are several reasons that a lot of women don't get in enough strength training:

  1. Gyms are intimidating. I think it can be scary to go to a gym, and try to figure out the equipment. Most of us are embarrassed to ask someone or don't want to pay an extra fee for a personal trainer to show us. We are worried that gyms are for hard bodied fitness addicts. 
  2. We think we need to focus on cardio to lose weight. Yes, cardio is extremely important in your fitness routine, but it's not the ONLY important type of training. Numerous studies show that cross-training (doing a variation of exercise activities) promotes better results in weight loss. 
  3. We are pressed for time, so we end up doing mostly cardio and very little weights. This can be especially true for moms or those with busy work schedules. If you know that you only have 45 minutes a day to get in a workout, you might opt for the cardio to burn calories.
  4. We don't have the right equipment. Weights can be expensive, especially if you are going for the adjustable dumbbells or similar at-home-gym equipment.

Why we as women, REALLY need strength training:
  1. Muscle burns fat. Again, let me repeat that. Muscle burns fat. It's a proven fact. Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. That's what I call WINNING!
  2. You will burn more calories if you have more muscle on you! Muscle increases your resting metabolism. So for every pound of muscle you gain, you will burn 30-50 more calories each day.
  3. Strong bones. Coupled with calcium supplements, weight lifting is your best defense against osteoporosis.
  4. A pound of muscle looks better than a pound of fat. 

Ways to incorporate strength training:
  1. Low on cash or afraid to join a gym? Do some YouTube Videos at home. (Of course at your own risk!). I recommend FitnessBlender.com for beginners. 
  2. Don't have weights? Use a resistance band! You can find these at Walmart or Amazon. There are lots of videos with ideas for exercises. You can also use your own body weight (think pushups/planks).
  3. Do some type of strength training at least 3x per week. You don't want to work the same set of muscles back to back. For example, if Monday you work legs, Tuesday you can do Arms, or skip a day and work a different muscle group on Wednesday.
  4. Join a group fitness class that focuses on strength (like my Tabata Bootcamp!). Also classes focusing on "body sculpting" or "toning" typically include weight or resistance exercises.

If you are interested in learning more about incorporating muscle building workouts into your routine, contact me and we can talk about some ideas that might work for you!

My Weekly Menu - Aug 26

Here's what's on my menu for the week!

*From Self Magazine Drop 10, 7 Day Detox


Monday- Oven Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken with Salad

Tuesday- Baked Teriyaki Glazed Salmon with sautéed squash and mushrooms (From Rachel Beller's book)

Wednesday- Spanish Pork Tenderloin with Apple Salsa, Sauteed spinach and quinoa

Thursday- Whole wheat penne in low sodium marinara, grilled chicken, sprinkle of cheese and steamed spinach

Friday- leftovers or eat out

Saturday- Lean hamburgers wrapped in lettuce or on wheat bun with roasted Parmesan broccoli


Mon/Tues- Tuna Waldorf Salad in a Pita from Self Magazine's Drop 10 Detox

Wednesday- Lunch Playdate with Friends

Thurs/Fri- Easy Quinoa Salad

Sat/Sun- Deli turkey slices with salad or leftovers

Cucumbers, pita & lemon garlic yogurt from Self Magazine
Celery & Peanut Butter
Nonfat Greek yogurt with stevia and cinnamon
Cantaloupe and nuts

Weekly Workout Schedule Aug 25

Here's your Weekly Workout Schedule for August 25 - 31!

Sunday (Steady State Cardio)- 
8 mile Run (or 1 hour of walking/jogging/running/etc)
Monday (HIIT) -

30 Min Walk or Jog in the evening

Tuesday (Lower Body)-
AM: 30 Min Walk/Jog - Aim for 2-3 miles
PM: 45 Min Lower Body Tabata Bootcamp Class OR 32 Minute Ultimate Butt/Thigh Workout Video

Wednesday (HIIT Cardio/Abs) -
AM: Itty Bitty Cardio Routine from TIU

Thursday (Upper body)-
AM: 45 Min Walk/Jog (Aim for 3-5 miles)
PM: 45 Min Upper Body Tabata Bootcamp Class 

Friday (Total Body Toning) -

Saturday (Your Choice) -
Whatever you want! Hike, yard work, house cleaning, Zumba, Yoga, etc!

What to do when something hurts

We've all been there at one point or another - maybe you were jogging and your knee started aching or maybe you were lifting weights and felt a pull in your shoulder. Facing a workout injury can be challenging and discouraging, but remember to avoid ignoring your aches and pains.
Preventing Injury:
  1. Warm up! Don't skip this step. Make sure to get those muscles going.
  2. Add variety. Don't do the same muscle exercises, day in and day out. Mixing it up can help prevent overworking.
  3. Don't overdo it. You might be trying to keep up with the person next to you in aerobics class, but make sure to only do what feels right for YOU.
  4. Invest in good shoes. Get fitted for athletic shoes as specialty running/fitness stores. They can help evaluate your arch, width, etc. Having proper shoes can prevent so many ankle/knee injuries.
  5. Don't ignore pain. If something is bothering you, rest it and resist the urge to keep going with an exercise.
What to do if something hurts:
Injuries can happen, no matter how careful you are. If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:
R: rest the injury
I: ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation
C: apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling
E: elevate the injury to reduce swelling
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can be taken to ease pain and inflammation from the injury.
Most workout injuries will heal on their own in four weeks or less. If the injury has not improved within a week, or if it gets worse, seek medical care. And always use common sense. If you're concerned about the injury, it's best to seek medical advice.
Until you are fully healed, avoid doing the activity that triggered the injury. And avoid any activity that puts strain on the injured area.
You can still be active as long as you don't stress the injury. Staying active may help you heal quicker than if you take to the couch. Try a new workout while your injury heals. For example, if you sprain your ankle, exercise your arms instead. If you hurt your shoulder, work out your legs by walking.
After you have fully recovered from your injury -- pain-free for more than a week -- start back slowly. Don't try to work out with the same fervor you did before your injury. You will need to rebuild your muscle strength and endurance. It may take three weeks of regular exercise to regain your pre-injury fitness level. If you push too hard and too fast, you may injure yourself again. Source