Friday, November 8, 2013

Cauliflower Rice......Believe the Hype

Well, you definitely did not hear it here FIRST, but you can say that you heard it here......eventually. It has been blogged about, posted to FB, tweeted, Pinned, and Instagrammed in countless Paleo recipes. "It will never fill them up", I said. "It will take too long to make", I said. "I'm too lazy to make that," I said. Actually, that last one was true..
 So I am a little late to the cauliflower-rice party, but now I'm all dolled up and ready to dance.
 Oh.My.Gosh. I was so wrong! We may never go back to rice! I am an idiot. What the heck is my problem? This was so freakin' easy to make, and it was delicious.
Oh- and you know how brown rice has to cook for like.....oh, I don't know....10 days? This was an absolute snap to make from the chopping to the bowl.

  And guess what? 
I have a confession: I don't have a food processor. Your gasp was audible.

I know, right? What am I even DOING in the kitchen?? (I'm such a poser.) In fact, when the Food Network finally calls me and begs me to do a show, that is what we will call it. Posers Kitchen.
But I digress.
 I made this WITHOUT the food processor. It took a few more minutes to chop, but the cauliflower lends itself to crumbling pretty readily, and after just a few minutes of constant chopping, I was using my Julia Child voice, and feeling quite pleased with how funny I am. My husband is so lucky. Good times, here in my kitchen. Good times. 
But if you have a food processor, or if you want to buy ME a food processor, this dish would take , like, 2 seconds. Maybe longer, but you get my drift. 
So, my cauliflower rice didn't win any visual awards because as much as I chopped it, it still resembled a kind of lumpier rice. But that didn't affect the flavor at all. Even the rice-lovers in this house really loved it and to my surprise, these man-children were not prowling about ravenously later in the evening. Win-WIn. Next time I will remember to take a picture.
 I will definitely be making this again. And again. And I will probably try to be legit and buy myself a food processor. Ooooo look at me,.... miss fancy pants in the kitchen.
 So, what we have learned here today,(and I am summarizing) is that imitating the voice of a famous chef, makes the chopping more fun and makes you feel better about yourself. And that sometimes peer pressure is good and you should just cave and make the damned stuff everyone is raving about. You can thank me later.

So, here is the recipe from Nom Nom Paleo for the cauliflower rice. And below is the super-easy recipe for how we made our Mexican Chicken Bowls, using it.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Bowls
Enough boneless chicken thighs to feed our family (rinsed and trimmed of excess fat).
1/2 jar of your favorite organic salsa (to make it easy, I use a spicy one and I don't add any other seasonings)
Roasted green chili peppers, chopped.
1-2 Tomatoes-chopped
1-2 Avocado-cubed
1 large Onions-chopped
Shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese

Rinse and trim the chicken, and place in crockpot.
Add 1/2 jar of salsa
Literally, you could just about any other vegetables and seasonings into the crock pot that you wanted to at this point.
Close lid and cook about 6 hours on high, or until the chicken easily shreds
Make Cauliflower rice (This can be easily re-heated, so it doesn't really matter when you make it.)
In each bowl, place cauliflower rice, then top with the shredded chicken. 
Add chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado and a TBS of shredded cheddar cheese if you desire.

And lastly, here is a picture of where I ran yesterday. It has nothing to do with this post, but I think a blog post looks sad without a picture.

Just Keep Going!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


My family has always enjoyed our trip to the beach each year. We have been going to the same beach since I was a little girl and the tradition has continued with our growing families. There are now 15 of us all together! Everyone in my family cooks really well, so we all share and take turns with the big family meals at night and those who don't have cook-duty, have kitchen duty. It all gets done rather painlessly and the delicious dinners that get turned out of that kitchen each evening are truly amazing! I am always so thankful that my parents taught us how to truly enjoy spending time with one another. It is a gift that I hope I am cultivating in my own children.
 So, being at the beach, there has been a lot of laying around in the sun, fishing, walking, looking for shells, etc. But I came prepared with a beach work out for this week and so far, I have been sticking right to it. It is really fast, requires no equipment and extremely effective. Here it is:
3 days a week: run intervals for 30 minutes (run fast 2 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, repeat)
3 days a week:
50 squats
50 lunges
50 ab exercises
50 push-ups
I did the body weight circuit today, and I noticed a few things. #1. Ummm...ow. I did the exercises in the order listed, and my legs were shaking like crazy! I am hoping a dip into the cold, oceanside pool, will help to stave off the kind of soreness that makes me accidentally hurl myself down a flight of stairs. This vacation house has a LOT of stairs. We shall see.
And #2. I had planned to do V-ups for my abs, but I didn't take into account how absolutely DEAD my legs would be! I laid on my back, and then could.not.lift. my legs!Seriously. I just laid there. My mind was saying "lift" but my legs were saying "no way." So, I opted for crunches and leg lifts....25 of each.
The whole work out took about 15 minutes, start to finish. Not too shabby. The cocktail with dinner will taste EXTRA good tonight. Hey-no judging......I'm on vacation, after all. :-)
Next up, I'll be dishing about vacation eats. No need to totally TRASH your clean eating just because you are on vacation! Who wants to go home with a big ole' gut full of processed food?
There are LOADS of delicious foods you can be consuming while living it up on your vacation! I'll be blogging about our special brand of vacation cooking and eating.

Friday, July 26, 2013

“Never, never, never give up” – Winston Churchill

I have asked my friend Sarah to share her story with you. Sarah's story is such an encouraging, inspiring and yet sobering reminder of WHY we do what we do. Why chasing after health and fitness is a worthy endeavor. I really appreciate her candor and openness during what is still such a difficult and painful process. I wish her the very, very BEST in her recovery and in finding a new level of health and fitness as she goes. No doubt she will need a lot of patience, but her attitude just can't be beat and I hope that she will keep us updated on her progress. She has included her email if you would like to ask her any questions or just send/need a note of encouragement! She's awesome like that. :-)
Take it away Sarah!

My story is a long one—but there are points along the way if you’ll stick with me. I am 50 years old and healthier than I have been since age 22.  Here’s the scoop.  I was a performance major in college, a singer who spent hours rehearsing in dance studios, having to dance and sing at the same time in full voice to play leads in musical theater—I invite you to try that 14-hour physical day if you don’t think it’s a workout.  I was in great shape.  And in those days, I ate ‘”clean” for the wrong reason---if you don’t fit into the cute little costume, you don’t get the part.  (at least a fortunate side effect was good health)  After college, I got married and kept it strong,  being nationally certified to teach full-out jump-up-and-down aerobics back when we thought that was healthy.  One day, God blessed me with a pregnancy.  Then...after teaching 11 aerobic classes one week, I was strangely unable to get out of bed one day.  With the pregnancy (and who knows what other reason), my digestive system went awry, and I spent those nine months trying to save the baby.  He was a healthy boy (you’ll hear about him later), and I was an unhealthy post-pregnancy mom.  I was never “right” again, and could never eat well without major nausea issues, anemia, some level of malnutrition.  Though the docs said I would be unlikely to have another successful pregnancy, God blessed me again, boy number 2.  When these boys were 10 and 7 years old, I was pretty fed up with bad health, and had visited many physicians, none of whom had good answers for me.  (I will mention here that my husband is a physician, and I have great faith in the medical community, and have had access to some of the best along the way—no knocking docs here,I was just a tough case).  Finally in 2001, a gastric surgeon at UVA suggested we take a drastic approach, as he felt the problem was with the way food moved through my intestine.  Thus, I had what the general pubic regards as gastric bypass surgery—yes, the kind of surgery that you read about 300-400 pound folks having, but not for weight loss in my case, for re-routing my digestive system.  I was indeed overweight, like 99% of our population, though we had trouble reasoning why, since I ate so little and was sick so much.  However, apparently this surgery was truly it.  In 2001, I got my life back.  The surgery was a success—I was able to once again live like a “normal” person, to eat (with dietary restrictions and nutritional concerns due to my different anatomy) and have faith that food was not going to be my daily enemy.  This was when I began coming back to life with a passion for nutrition like never before.   I had no choice—I HAD to get enough protein in every day, I HAD to look at every calorie as fuel, I HAD to stay hydrated, but it became a positive challenge to do so, and I loved it, I have to say.  I won’t lie, it made it a little easier that, say, ice cream actually makes me sick...but what a feeling of power to be able to choose something else and know it was good for me, AND also to know that, with my belief that “everything in moderation” can be viable, it IS okay to have 1 tablespoon of ice cream every so often.  If all of America only ate 1 tablespoon of ice cream, guess what?  Ice cream would still be delicious, we would still enjoy it and we could still be healthy.  There’s the rub.  We’re not eating 1 TBSP of ice cream... okay back to the story:

About 5 years after my surgery,  I was ready for the next phase, to get back to that feeling of physical strength that at that point seemed so far away in the past.  I know five years seems like a long time, but I am honest in saying it took me a while to get over “losing” 10 years of my life to feeling crappy 24/7.   Not that I never exercised, but I never seemed to gain anything from it other than the natural feel-good pheromones that are nice, but nothing permanent.  A couple of friends who were already way ahead in the strength game (you may know them...) encouraged me to challenge myself to a 6-week boot camp they would put me through.  They about killed me, and I smiled all the way through gritted teeth.  I told them every day, “I will never be your fittest, strongest candidate, but I WILL NOT GIVE UP.”  I distinctly remember one day, running on the treadmill with Trainer Man (our beloved Johnny BadAss) standing over me, dialing up the speed.  I kept saying, “I’m gonna fall! I’m gonna fall!”  and he just smiled at me, turned it up higher and said, “and the ground is right there under you, and you’ll get back up”—and I didn’t fall.  On my last day, when he made me bearcrawl around the track field for an hour in the rain, I knew it was only the beginning. 

From there, I started taking yoga classes, thinking my dance background would play in and help with some toning.   Little did I know where that road would take me.  The type of yoga I practice (and now teach) is based on 3 major principles:  strength, balance and flexibility, along with proper spinal alignment.   I have certainly spent my time lifting weights, but never have I felt so challenged as to lift my own body weight (I am not a teeny tiny yoga chick) and hold it in any number of strengthening poses—somehow to me, this was more real than lifting a barbell.  I think this is something every person has to define for himself—how most effectively one can do “weight work”, and my best recommendation would be to try some different things and find what YOU find is your most intriguing challenge that you can keep mounting.  When you get to that point of feeling not just “okay, I did my reps/laps/push-ups for today , so I’m done”, but rather, “Yeah, I killed that!  What can I do tomorrow??!!”, THAT’s when you’ve found the workout that you’re gonna keep doing and LOVING.   So, long story short on the yoga thing, my quads, my abs, my arms, my upper back, my core front and back (and it IS front AND back people, not just abs!) are stronger than they have ever been in my life.  I will likely never have the strength that your favorite trainer has—she’s a beast!!  BUT, I will brag that I continue to amaze my own boys (now very large and strong 21 and 24 years old men) with what I can do though they are almost a  foot taller than I am.  What 50-year-old mom doesn’t love THAT???  And who knew that even with the the old lady arm flab, I actually have a visible bicep!!   I will say that even since the old aerobic days, I still also believe in strong cardio work.  My settled-in program consists of a few days a week alternating a 5k fast walk/jog and a certain set up steps that I like to lap to total just under 3,000 steps per 45-min workout.  Okay, now, I have to throw this in here just for good measure, and yes, to brag...whenever I run into a friend I haven’t seen for a few months, they undoubtedly say, “OMG, what are you doing with yourself, you look like a million bucks and you are glowing!”  No lie, I hear it all the time, and while that is NOT my purpose here, ain’t gonna lie, it’s nice to hear----but better to FEEL!!

Okay now comes the clincher.     Remember that baby boy that started all this mess?  He was getting married on July 20, 2013, 10 hours away from my home.  For a year, I have been the most excited mom around, and any mom can understand.  So, Sunday night, July 7, after a couple of days of feeling rather strange, I was attacked by my intestines once again.  6am Monday July 8 my husband has me in the ER, and after several tests, they decide they have to do emergency surgery.  Somehow, part of my intestine had twisted, incarcerated itself, and died.  I was on the edge of being in a septic situation that would have been hard to come back from.  So the surgeons went in quickly and removed what had to come out, which indeed saved my life.   However, here at the local hospital, we have excellent GI surgeons, but they are not bariatric surgeons, such as my guy at UVA, who can rearrange the plumbing—so they really couldn’t put me back together.  I was going to have to be transferred by ambulance that night to UVA with a surgical wound left open, for my original surgeon to be able to try to fix me.  Unfortunately one of the major issues is that my body does not react well to narcotics.  As they dosed me to load me up, the narcotic they gave me put me into respiratory failure; I stopped breathing for a full minute and then breathed only 4 times the second minute.  They were able to give me two shots of another medication to counteract the narcotics (this is what they do to try to save overdose patients who mostly die of respiratory failure).   HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR IN THIS PART OF THE STORY:  The doctors, including my husband told me right then and there that if my heart were not as strong as it is, that respiratory arrest would have quickly become cardiac arrest and then...IF MY HEART WERE NOT AS STRONG AS IT IS, PEOPLE.    5 years ago I would have died on that table.  Incidentally the docs told  me afterwards that including kidney stones, childbirth, and heart attack, studies have shown that incarcerated bowel is indeed the worst pain humans experience (other than major wounds) and that folks often cannot retain consciousness through it.  I wonder if I had not spent so much time pushing myself and learning to go that extra mile, how I would have handled that....note to self.  Stamina ain’t nothing to sneeze at, and there’s only one way to get it.   

Move on to UVA, next day, surgery #2.  Long story short, my hero surgeon put me back together, God bless him.  However, we’re talking a vertical incision from breastbone to pubic bone through every abdominal muscle.  Let me remind you that it is now July 10, and I have a 10-hour trip to my son’s wedding in less than 10 days.  Let me also remind you that I cannot take any narcotic pain medication, in fact nothing stronger than Tylenol.  Throw in that I also didn’t react well to all the anesthesia of two surgeries (result major weakness and nausea) and I was rather a hurtin pup.  Finally add on that my blood pressure was highly elevated with no clear cause, and nothing seemed to be bringing it down.   HERE’S THE NEXT THING YOU NEED TO HEAR:  My surgeon kept coming in and saying “Im not worried about your blood pressure---your heart is amazingly strong and you can take a couple days of this no problem.”   Once again, a heart attack trying its best to happen but my heart wouldn’t have it!!  NEXT BIG MESSAGE RIGHT HERE:  In pain, with no abs to use, how in the world was I going go be able to get up, walk, keep from getting pneumonia, and above all, GET TO THAT WEDDING?   I’ll tell you how---remember those strong quads, that strong back body, strong arms, strong upper back.  This is what enabled me to even stand,  to pull myself up, and to hold myself erect and walk.  I know that sounds like no big deal—try lying flat in a bed, rolling over, sitting up, and then come to standing with NO use of your abs (and that’s not even including pain).  You won’t be able to try this, because you can’t disengage your abs—but trust me, it ain’t easy.  And without the strength of ALL these other muscles, it just  wouldn’t happen. 

Please hear me.  It’s not about how much weight you can lift vs. your gym partner. It’s not about what the scale says (I have no clue what my weight is, and I don’t care).  It’s not about what number is on the tag in your clothes.  It’s not about how many compliments or dates or wolf whistles you get. I will even go so far as to say it’s not about how good you feel when you eat right and exercise.  It is about being the strongest person YOU can be.    IT IS YOUR VERY LIFE.   If and when you face a serious challenge to your health—as can happen to anyone, especially as we all age, what’s going to save you?  your size 2 dress?  Your weight on the scale?  The attention you have gotten from others?   how many marathons you’ve completed?   No.  It is simpler than all that.  STRENGTH, NUTRITION, HEART HEALTH, STAMINA as best YOU can pursue them.   You can only improve in every way—where could the down side possibly be in that?   I could have lost my life, and I am on my knees thankful to God that He watched over me every second.  But the bottom line is, God gives you your life, and it’s up to YOU what road you choose to take it down.     Never, Never, Never give up!!

I danced with my son at his wedding.  Best day ever.

Sarah Pelfrey

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What it looks like

So this is what it looked like on Monday. This is what I ate. Starting with the top left, my breakfast was 2 eggs+egg whites with sautéed spinach, tomatoes and onions. Meal #2 was cubed chicken on spinach topped with salsa. Meal #3 (after my work out) was a whey protein shake with almond milk, a banana and super green food powder (sneaking in vegetables here!), Meal #4 was tuna with a dab of olive oil, tomatoes and olives and meal #5 was lamb meatballs in organice tomato sauce w/ Moroccan seasoning, steamed broccoli with rice wine vinegar, a side salad and a glass of red wine.

Because of prepping most of the food on Sunday, the only thing that took me more than a few minutes was dinner. So, planning really is the key to sticking to clean eating. Chop your vegetables, separate your salads, boil your eggs, and have some "go to" meats already cooked. Buy some good, organic salsa and some organic spaghetti sauce. Don't keep junk food in your house and you won't eat junk food. If you want something sweet, eat fresh fruits and some good quality dark chocolate. It isn't about's about not putting crap into your body. If you are working out and you aren't losing weight........look no further than your plate. Don't go around hungry! Eat good, fresh foods and exercise.

Mondays I get in a short mile run in the a.m, then a good 45 min weight work out in the afternoon and  I take a walk in the pm either before or after dinner. I always find meal #4 to be the one that I can really take or leave. I'm not actually HUNGRY yet, but if I don't eat it, I will be ravenous by dinner and then I am much more likely to eat something that wouldn't be optimal for my goals. My focus is on building muscle right now, so that is the way I am eating and training.
Today I have a much harder cardio circuit to get through this afternoon, so my day will include more carbs, but still I'll end up with about the same # of calories at the end of the day.
Top right: breakfast was a toasted "Everything" bagel half topped with a fried egg and salsa, along with a greek yogurt, Meal 2: steamed leftover broccoli and leftover lamb meatballs, Meal 3:(after work-out) whey protein shake with a banana, almond milk and "super green food" powder and Meal 4 was london broil, on brown rice , topped with sautéed onions and a side salad (and a glass of red wine).

I have had a question recently about how to deal with food for those who are away from home all day. Leaving at 4:30 am and not returning until after dinner, commuting, etc. This does make it much more challenging to eat well, but I am working on a "plan" or guidelines to help those who simply aren't ever home and are sadly eating too many meals from their dashboard. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

I hope that all of this tedious talk about food, is helping those of you who just don't seem to be able to conquer that part of a healthy lifestyle yet. Please know that I am actually much more interesting in real life, and I don't share pictures of my dinner to my friends!:-D  But this is such a key component in getting fit and healthy and feeling good and it is the number 1 thing that I am asked about the most, so hopefully.......this helps. 

Oh- and BTW.....those 2 pounds on the scale? They're gone. And I can tell you for absolute certain that I did not burn 2 pounds of fat in a day. See what I mean? Throw out your scale! :-)

Just keep going!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A slice of I eat, how I live.

I get a lot of questions about what I eat. I thought that I would share my recent slice o' life with you to try to shed some light on what has become a much too complicated subject.
 I was back in VA visiting family and friends for two weeks. I got in a few (umm, like 2)work outs, stayed active outdoors with some kayaking and lots of walking. I ate things that I wouldn't typically eat on any sort of regular basis. For instance, my dad made homemade rosemary bread and was pulling it out of the oven when I came in. It was heavenly!! On Fathers Day, my nephew made a homemade german chocolate cake, and there was just NO WAY that I would pass that up! My nephew is 12 and he is proving to be quite the chef! Also there were were plenty of cocktails in those 2 weeks.....and some pizza.  It was a great time and I was definitely eating, drinking and being merry! I completely enjoyed myself and my family and friends and I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe that pizza, which sat like a rock in my stomach!)
 Now I am back in Colorado and it is time to get back to business. Let me share with you a few side effects that I am experiencing (and maybe you have too) since my little hiatus from clean eating and exercise: 1.A distended stomach. Sexy, right? But my stomach is actually slightly bloated. 2.Water retention. I am puffy. For me that puffiness always shows up worst, right around my waist. 3. the scale shows that I am up 2 lbs. and 4. I am dehydrated. From not drinking enough water, all of the travel, the cocktails and then getting back to this super dry climate. This shows up in my skin.....particularly around my eyes and forehead and also gives my muscles a "flat" appearance.

So what am I going to do???
I do not operate on a system of restriction and rewards so there is no ridiculous guilt. I enjoy food, I enjoy my life and thats that. I do not "throw in the towel" because I had a few weeks of less than optimal eating. No WAY!!
I do not look at the scale and say "Oh, well now I've gained 2 pounds. I may as well just quit. Whats the use?" Ridiculous!!
 ** A word on the scale numbers: RELAX. It takes an EXCESS of 3,500 calories to gain a pound of FAT. So unless you are eating like a sumo wrestler, you haven't gained actual body fat in a few days!**
  I don't like the side effects that I experience when I don't eat well. I don't FEEL good. My energy levels lag and I really don't feel like working out or doing much of anything after awhile. I know how good my body CAN and WILL feel as soon as I get back to my proper fuel and exercise. So, when I am ready to do that, I don't cut myself much slack for a few weeks. I make out my plan and I stick to it! For my body weight (regularly 120) it takes about 14-1500 calories to maintain that weight and to support my work outs. When I first started working out and really trying to get FIT, I had to do some calculating to figure out what kind of foods were going to give me the results that I waas looking for. These days, I can eyeball it and always fall right around that calorie target without trying. I just keep it simple and use proper portions of whole food. I will be strict for 2 weeks, in order to get back on track eating right and to get rid of any cravings. I prep food on Sunday to give myself (and my family), easy, good, fresh meals that are quick to prepare. There are no processed cookies, crackers, etc in our house. They aren't good for us, so we don't buy them and they don't tempt us. This is from today:
 It took me about 45 minutes to chop the veggies, cook the chicken breast, boil a dozen eggs,roast sweet potatoes, make salmon cakes etc. This is all in the fridge and ready to go. This is what my meal/fitness plan will look like this week:

Run in the am (short run)
Breakfast: 2 eggs+ 1 cup egg whites w/ spinach and tomatoes, coffee

Meal 2: cubed chicken w/ guacamole, steamed broccoli or salad (my sister showed me a delicious dressing for the broccoli using just mustard and vinegar.)

*work out*

Meal 3: protein shake with almond milk, banana and green superfood powder + roasted sweet potatoes

Meal 4: salmon cake + guacamole and/or salad

Meal 5: Dinner (always red meat, poultry or seafood +2 vegetables and red wine)

Walk in the pm
I drink 2 cups of coffee a day, water, red wine with dinner and sometimes hot tea.

I will stick to this pretty strictly for about 2 weeks. A few substitutions would be greek yogurt, another serving of fruit, some different vegetables etc. It isn't the fanciest meal plan, and I don't offer it up as perfect but doing this for two weeks, gets me back on track, gets rid of all of those side effects, gets me feeling great again and is certainly good for my body. I try to load up on lean protein and a variety of vegetables because this is what works best for me. Muscle is SO HARD to come by and upping my protein really makes a difference in the results that I get in my work outs.
After the 2 weeks, I always find that I am on a roll, all my cravings are gone and my energy levels are restored. I don't concentrate on "no carb" or even "low carb", I just keep it simple and eat more carbs on my toughest work out days and always load up on proteins, and vegetables. Between cooking my foods in coconut oil & olive oil and eating guacamole, avocados and whole eggs, I find that my fat intake stays right where I like it as well.
When I go out to eat with my husband or the rest of my family, I enjoy my meal completely, but still try to make good choices :salmon w/ vegetables or filet mignon w/ vegetables is pretty much on every restaurant menu! If I want dessert(rarely), I order it.
I guess what I am getting at is that you really SHOULD enjoy your food. There is little that is more satisfying in life than delicious food and good fellowship! But YOU decide what goes into your mouth and how much it will be. Will it be a bag of Doritos or a few slices of warm, fresh baked rosemary bread baked by a loved one? YOU decide. If you are trying to lose weight and get fit, be purposeful in your choices and your decisions....... take control of what goes into your mouth and into your body.
 Let me know if you have any questions about meal planning or meal prepping. I love to talk healthy food!!
Just Keep Going!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Crossfit nemesis

So, I gave up my gym membership. I miss my basement gym back in Virginia! While I loved having access to so many different weight machines, I actually realized that I don't actually use many weight machines! I'm pretty much a free weights kinda gal, and I would always rather get my cardio done outside rather than on a treadmill. So I talked with my husband and we decided to just start slowly adding pieces to our basement here. Our first purchase? Crossfit rings. Have you used these before? They are a mean and nasty piece of equipment that will put you to shame, no matter how fit you are, if you haven't used them regularly. When I first start back to using them, I basically feel like I am just thrashing around up there a lot. It's embarrassing, and I can feel BOB's eyes on me from over in the corner. But having used them in the past, I know that you have to just keep going, and eventually you will feel yourself getting stronger and there is less thrashing and more strong movement and there is very little that will target your abdominals and your back and shoulders, like these rings will. Talk about SORE!!!
 We also purchased some bands to help me to get in more exercises while I am still working on my strength. You can see the green band hanging in this picture, on one of the rings. (BOB looks so smug there in the background.)

 I use these to assist my pull ups and while I am trying to get strong enough to kip up into the transition phase of a muscle up.(BIG goals, people.......I'm aiming high!) I am actually using the purple band in this picture, which gives less help........and I was feeling it.

I have a long way to go, but I am somewhat encouraged by my pink jumprope. Guess what? I'm jumping rope! Yay me! It is no longer getting tangled in my ponytail and I am actually able to do a "double under" once in awhile (granted, it is usually by accident, but I'm doing it nonetheless, so I am claiming it as a small victory. Sue me.) For our next gym purchase, we are trying to decide between a wall ball and a jump box. Baby steps. :-)
  These days my work outs contain less heavy lifting and more body weight exercises, kettlebells, jump rope, and the rings, done in circuits.  I am back on track with my eating, taking my vitamins and my water intake. It feels really good.
  If you have gotten off track, do whatever is necessary to get back to eating good foods and exercising. Maybe you will have to make some adjustments. Maybe your schedule needs some work or you need to re-think your work outs. Plan your meals and don't get caught off guard. Consistent effort will pay off big time for you. Not just aesthetically, but mentally. Eating right and exercising enables you to deal with the stresses of life in a more balanced and consistent manner.(And if you are going to read the news these days, you NEED to work-out!) It helps you to sleep better and gives you more energy throughout the day. Don't let another day go by. Take action and even if you are just going through the motions at first, just do it anyway, I guarantee you will be pushing yourself before the end of that work out! You can do this. It isn't magic, but it really works. Be patient and just keep going. And as always if you have any questions or need help with where to start, feel free to ask me here in the comments or on Facebook at Train With Melissa , or email me at

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Confession

  We are finally settling in a bit out here in Colorado. I have started getting the family "plugged in" a little more around the area, the house is finally in order and it seems that daily I tackle a new pile of "the-government-says-you-need-to-fill-this-out-because-you-moved" forms. Amidst all of this, our oldest son is looking for a job and has applied to CSU and our daughter is planning a trip to Africa (wimper). My youngest sons school plans are finally starting to come together and he starts drivers ed on Monday (gulp). My husband has been working out here since last year, so we have had his co workers and friends over for dinner quite a bit...... and we JUST got a dining room table last week! Of course, I am still working as a personal trainer to my wonderful clients. And we have actually managed to get out and see a little of this gorgeous state.
This is a picture taken from the top of Manitou Springs Incline. Holy Cow is THAT a leg work-out! Can't wait to try it again!

  Now, I know what your thinking. I can hear the trepidation in your voices as you cry, "But Melissa! What have YOU been doing about exercise? How have you been able to keep your healthy eating habits up with all of this chaos around you?" And do you know what my answer is? "I HAVEN'T." That's right. Little by little, life has been creeping in on my once-awesome routine and schedule and it has slowly eaten away at my healthy lifestyle, little by little, without me even being aware of it. Now, I don't want you to think I have been eating at fast food dives or suddenly buying cheetos and coke or anything. I hadn't given up, I had just let my healthy habits slip and slide away as I tried to bring some order to all the craziness around me.I wasn't sleeping well, I am having trouble drinking this filtered, county water (we have always had delicious well-water!), I had begun eating more quick-carbs and bread and fewer vegetables because they take longer to prepare. I was getting my work outs in, but my regular cardio had been anything but regular.

 My thought process over the past few months has gone something like this: "If I can just get things together for _________ and ___________, and if I can just get this whole _____________ organized, THEN things will run more smoothly and I can devote the time I need to my own health again." Sound familiar? It might.

 It all sounded perfectly rational. And then I got sick. <sound of car screeching> I am rarely EVER sick (see healthy eating habits referred to above). Now, I have no way of knowing if my illness was directly tied to my slacking off in looking after my health, but I will tell you this, as I laid on my back in the bed, sipping herbal tea like it was the elixer of life for a few days, it gave me some time to really THINK about the things that I had let go and I began to jot them down. If you flip past all of the "to-do" pages in my cute little notebook, you will find this little list: drinking water, taking vitamins, REGULAR cardio, food journal, more vegetables, sleep,Bible reading, yoga.......HOLY SMOKES! I had made it a point to do all of these things on a habitual and regular basis for years, and now I wasn't doing any of them with great consistency. No WONDER I had been feeling like crap!

   My point is that life is like that. You get thrown into the whirlwind and you busy yourself trying to find "order" again, when really, you should look after YOURSELF first, so that you are able to take care of those around you. When I am doing all of those things in the above list, I feel great. I handle things better. I am not "crazy-stressed-lady-whom-everyone-avoids", I am "calm-I-can-handle-this-with-grace-and-balance-lady-whom everyone-is-happy-to-see".

  So, this week I am back to a strict schedule until I can find my routine again. I work well with lists and  routines, so that is how I get back to it. I have ordered all of my vitamins and supplements and I am planning out my work outs AND cardio for the week. I have a food journal ready to write out my food intake each day to be sure that I am getting enough calories and it helps me to stay on track with good, whole foods.AND I am doing food PLANNING tomorrow, for the week ahead. Winging it-is for the birds!

 The blessing, to me, is that I have felt really great for a long enough time to realize that I am feeling lousy right now! So many people truly don't know how great they COULD feel. And once you've experienced it, you certainly don't want to go back!

 Can you relate to this? Has the chaos of life caused you to put your own health on the back burner while you "get things organized"? You may not work well with strict lists like I do, but I am sure that there is SOMETHING that you have used int the past to keep yourself accountable in some area of your life. Go back and use what works for YOU. I would encourage you to make your own health and well being a priority. It doesn't mean that you have to throw the fam to the curb, drag them with you! It's good for them too! Whatever you have to do, squeeze in time for yourself to MOVE and sweat every day. Just 20 minutes a day can be life-changing. Be mindful of the food that you eat, is it helping you or hurting you? Enjoy your treats here and there, but  CHOOSE to enjoy them and be mindful of what goes into YOUR body. It will help you handle all the other chaos of life around you and it will keep you from being "crazy-stressed-lady-whom-everyone-avoids", like I was. :-)

 Now, I have some new Crossfit rings to install in our basement and a brand new Again Faster jump rope to try out this week!( I really suck at both of these things, so this should be interesting. Preparing for super-soreness!) I am soooooo looking forward to the comfort of my routine. :-) Let me know what works for you, and be sure to check out my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or just share this blog! As always, I will be posting more recipes, as well as my trials, successes and failures as I go along. We're all in this thing together!
~Just Keep Going