Sunday, February 24, 2013

Warrior Girl

So, we are on the road again. When I woke up in my hotel room this morning, I felt all "Warrior Girl" when I realized that I was going to have to go and hunt for my breakfast. Yes, I's a stretch, but I'm desperate, so at times, I flatter myself unnecessarily to keep myself motivated. "Warrior Girl". Don't judge. It works for me. But, I digress. There was no way that anything on the hotels breakfast bar was going into THIS body. Especially after reading the first few chapters of this new book:

I was already aware of most of the main points re. hormones and what you eat, but this book lays it out is such wonderful detail without getting so bogged down in the science-y parts that your eyes glaze over. Really, really wonderful book so far. So, after reading those first few chapters on the plane, the hotels breakfast bar looked more like a poisonous wasteland of pseudo foods just waiting to ruin my mood AND make me fat. Not this girl. Not "Warrior Girl". We will hunt for better food. Well, as it turns out there isn't much to choose from right here in this particular little town. Our choices were Cracker Barrel or the greasy spoon. So we ended up at Cracker Barrel, where they make you wait SO.LONG for your food, that you will pretty much scarf down whatever they slop down in front of you. I think they count on you being so wooed by the ambiance of the place that you will forget your gnawing hunger. "Oooo look! A fire." " Oooo listen! Country music!" "Oh cool! An old timey board game. Let's play!" <SO....HUNGRY...DYING>  Anyway, it was all good, we looked at crap-to-spend-money-on and eventually sat and ate.  I must say that I was surprised to find something on the menu that I felt decent about: Meat n' Eggs. It was 3 eggs, bacon or sausage, and sliced tomatoes (ditch the toast and add a side of fresh fruit). So, yay! For what we had to choose from, I felt like we made the best choice. My energy levels remained constant and I felt great all the way to lunch.
It reminds me that sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just have to make the best choices available to us at that time. There was a time in my life that we could not afford to buy organic vegetables or meats(umm... or anything, pretty much). But I learned to cook everything from scratch, started growing some food in our garden(which is a learning curve folks, don't let anyone fool you....we weren't canning all of our abundance those first several years. It was more like we all stood around rejoicing when ANYTHING grew! But we learned) and I fed my family a much healthier and cost efficient diet than take-out or pizza. My point is, that we educate ourselves and then we do what we can with what we have at the time.
And now, if you will excuse me "Warrior Girl" must go and hunt for her dinner.
Just Keep Going!
P.S. More on the book at Whole 30.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So, what the heck should I eat??

  I think with the scores and scores and mountains and mountains of information that has been written in our culture about dieting and nutrition in recent years, it has left some people confused as to what the heck they SHOULD be eating. I like to keep it simple. In a nutshell this is the way I eat:
 I would add more healthy fats (nuts and seed ARE healthy fats, but there are a lot more) to this list, but other than that this is pretty accurate to the way *I* eat. I do eat a bit of dairy in the form of some kind of fermented source like Kefir, or Chobani yogurt. I rarely eat grains. And by rarely, I mean maybe once a week. I find that I feel better.....LEANER, without the grains and the dairy in my diet. But I had to come to these conclusions for myself, through experimentation.
 If I have sugar, it is either in the form of wine or beer(rarely) or a treat at a celebratory family event. As a rule I don't eat any "sweet things" during my day. Not sweet tea, not sweetened coffees, not donuts (hard), not the occasional cookie or piece of candy. And I don't have these things in my house. I feel like, as a society, we have become all too comfortable with sugar. For me, I put sugar in that special, celebratory category, and I find that I enjoy it's flavor and taste so much more than I did before. It is a special "treat". And I think thats where it belongs.
 My plate is typically half full of some sort of vegetables, and then about one quarter full of some kind of meat or poultry or seafood.One or two meals a day I eat starches as well ( usually sweet potatoes or squash).
  I  get 2 servings of fruit a day. Once at breakfast (handful of blueberries, orange slices or 1/2 banana) and then again after I work out. After my work out I will throw in 1/2 banana or frozen berries into my protein shake.
  I eat every three hours after breakfast all the way till dinner. This has probably been the single change that has helped me the most. As soon as I started doing this I realized that my mood swings stopped and my energy levels went up and my cravings vanished! So, yeah. Everyone likes mom eating every 3 hours. :-)
  Nuts and seeds make great snacks, so I have them around all the time. And as I said before I get healthy fats throughout the day in the form of avocados, nuts and nut butters. And I cook everything in  liberal olive oil, grape seed oil, or coconut oil.
  The main things I steer clear of are processed foods of all kinds and processed sugar of all kinds. I don't do fast food or sodas at all.
  As I said earlier, I had to come to these conclusions about what made ME feel the best, through experimentation. Once I knew how much better I felt adding a lot more nutritious food into my diet and taking OUT a lot of junk, it was a no brainer. I LIKE feeling good and having energy.
  So my advice is to experiment for yourself. Go grain free and add in a whole ton of vegetables, eat more protein, cut out fast food and soda, drink more water. If you need help in the transition you can always try the Whole 30. These folks have gotten it down to a science. And it's free!
And of course, my online personal training program provides nutritional planning as well as work outs for you to do, that will fit into YOUR personal lifestyle, with what YOU have available. And  I will be there every step of the way to guide you, motivate you and cheer you on during this process. Just send me an "Im interested, Melissa!" email to and I will send you the information on how it works.
 It is a journey. And the beginning is tough. But it is one you will never regret having undertaken. So keep it simple. Concentrate on good meats,  lots of good vegetables, no junk, no sugar. Eat the foods that your body was DESIGNED to eat. Just keep going.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What works for me: Sunday food prep

While I am still reeling from the fact that I am actually 43 instead of 42, as I had thought, I had to set aside my train of "what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life" thoughts and press on. A new week ahead and we are much busier than I am comfortable with at the moment. One of the things that I do to help myself stay on track and not fall face first into the nearest bag of cookies, is to take about an hour on Sundays to plan out my meals for the week. I actually kind of like it, because I get a sense of satisfaction in preparedness. I usually cook dinner at home every night, so I will peruse Pinterest or just use my old tried and true recipes from memory. Our dinners consist of protein, 2 vegetables and sometimes a starch, sometimes not. Nothing fancy, and not hard to keep mental note of as I scan my fridge, freezers and cupboards for what I need at the store. Nothing too complicated there. Breakfast? Unless I have an unusual amount of time, it is pretty basic: eggs (scrambled, fried, poached) with whatever leftover vegetables we had from the night before. My youngest child is 15. He is somewhat feral in the morning and forages on his own for breakfast. (And no, there are no cereals, pop tarts, or breakfast bars here, so he typically will fix an everything bagel and an egg) When the children were smaller, I would fix everyone's breakfast at once, and if I remember correctly, I usually ate mine cold. :-) Again, nothing complicated. Pretty straight forward.
 But what about those in-between meals? Now THAT is where I can really get stuck. I eat every 3 hours from breakfast through dinner, and I feel SO MUCH better eating that way, but it was so difficult to find a way to remain consistent.
Enter: Sunday Food Prep. I go ahead and get things together for my week on Sunday. I boil a bunch of eggs, I steam some vegetables, I put together some salads, and I portion out my proteins and snacks. Here is what it looks like this week:

You can see from the picture my complex carbs are salads, broccoli and steamed carrots. My protein choices are baked chicken, sliced roast beef(pre-packaged), and salmon cakes made from canned salmon (cheap, but good!), Teras organic whey powder that I mix with unsweetened almond milk +1/2 banana(post work-out), almonds, and chobani yogurt (which also has fruit in it). My starches for lunch are sliced and roasted sweet potatoes. For healthy fats I ADORE the Wholly Guacamole, pre-made 100 calorie packs, Kens lite balsamic vinaigrette, and I always cook everything in coconut oil, olive oil or grape seed oil. If I get hungry (which I usually don't since I am eating every 3 hours) I will add in a spoonful of almond butter on an apple or munch on almonds.
 I just choose something from each grouping for my in-between meals. I don't worry much about serving sizes, I just always eat proteins and veggies first and I eat until I am full.I don't count calories. And I usually fix my teens something from this same pile o' food if they happen to be home.
Now  this week, we are going to be celebrating my mom's birthday!!! I am so excited to get together with the rest of my family. We have a tradition of going to a lovely little French restaurant in town and renting their private room and just having a wonderful time laughing, eating, drinking and just celebrating together. When we have special occasions, I enjoy them. I don't over think what I order and I eat pretty much what I want. I just enjoy the night and the special occasion and then I get right back to my clean eating the next morning as best I can when I am not at home.
So this is what works for me. It enables me to keep going and not really think about what I am eating all that much because it is already prepared for me.I can get on with my week and get all of the the other things done that must be done. It also keeps me from falling into the "quick and easy" trap, because I know it is there waiting for me if I am out away from home. 
So, maybe this is helpful for you. Or maybe you have another way that you have found to juggle eating healthy in your life, for your family. I would love to hear about it! 

P.S. I apologize for the layout here, I am still trying to figure out how to make this thing look like I want it to!! Thanks for bearing with me. :-)

Friday, February 15, 2013

My 42 (my mistake.....actually 43) year old gams.....

My legs after the work out I almost didn't do! Sometimes, you just have to turn off your brain and get started. I have been working hard on muscle building lately. And it comes really hard for my entire lower body, so I try to hit it at least twice a week. Right now, one day focuses on glutes and quads and the other leg day focuses a little more on hamstrings and calves. I have also started hiking our hills right after my work out, and I think that it is helping me to keep from being too stiff. Of course, if I don't eat right and get in all of my calories and protein, all my hard work in the gym just doesn't show up like I want it too, so I have to watch that part of the puzzle as well.

The work out:
Leg extensions- light weight 2 sets of 30
Wide stance bar Squats- light weight to failure, heavy weight to failure
Close stance Dumbbell squat- 3 sets 10 (25#)
Walking dumbbell lunge- 3sets 10 (20#)
Glute/ham raise with loaded bar- 3 sets of 10
Plie' dumbbell squat-3 sets of 10
Jump squats- 3 sets of 10
Leg extensions- Drop set
Hills hike

I am starting to see some results in my legs, so I am pretty happy with these 42 (edit: when I wrote this post, I forgot I am 43) year old legs right now. :-) Whooot!
Just. Keep. Going.
Edit: I am 43!!!! Not 42. When did THIS happen? Oh well, I guess I am even happier with my old legs. :-) This is what it's like to be me, folks. This.Is.What.It's.Like.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


People tell me all the time that they just can't get motivated to work out and they just don't know what to do. Now, a long time ago, when I would hear this, I would say to myself, "Ummm yeah? Well there's a word for that. It's called "lazy."" And then I would offer up some lame answer, pat myself on the back for being so good, and move on. (I KNOW, right? What the heck was my problem?) 
 Well, people still ask me about motivation a lot, but now I have a different answer. It's not that people aren't MOTIVATED so much as it is that people don't BELIEVE. Seriously, if I told you that I could guarantee that in one year you would lose X amount of pounds AND I could produce a picture of exactly what you would look like at the end of the year AND I could give you a little bottle of liquid that you could drink and it would give you a little taste of how awesome you would feel at the years end, you'd be motivated, Jack. (Sorry, Duck Dynasty reference)
  I think that most people who have trouble with their weight and have had a lifetime of dieting failures and starting and stopping with various exercise programs, just don't BELIEVE that what they are doing is actually going to make a difference. But it does. It DOES make a difference. It is a process and it takes time. But you just can't argue with science. If you move your body and eat good, clean, foods you will change the way you look and the way you feel.The changes that you CAN'T see usually come first: improved energy levels, better digestion, clearer thinking and a better mood. Then come the changes that you CAN see: clearer, brighter skin, improved muscle tone, better posture and of course, your shrinking size will eventually show up on the scale and the thinner you will need some new clothes in that closet!! Yes, it is hard at first.Yes, it feels like punishment at first. But it gets easier. And if you can just stick with it long enough to see those first results, you will be unstoppable. 
  I am motivated to work out and eat right because it is one of the few things that I actually have control over. I LOVE that I can actually manipulate to a great degree, what my body looks like and how I feel. And that is pretty awesome! So, keep going. Believe. It's working.
  Just keep going,