Monday, November 30, 2009

GMST Challenge-Day 3

So far so good!

I made it to bed at a decent hour and was able to get up by 6:30. Not too bad.
Good. I was tempted to hit the vending machine around 3:30 but had some water and made myself busy. The urge passed.
2.5 mile jog/walk
Self Care:
Tonight I volunteered at a church serving meals to over 200 people in need. It was chaotic but made me feel warm and fuzzy inside :) If you are interested in volunteer work and live in NY check out the NY Cares website.

My December newsletter is coming out tomorrow. Sign-up now so you don't miss out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

GMST Challenge-Day 2

I made it through 2 days of my challenge! Here's how I did today:

Good, went to bed a little later than I should have but managed to get up to go to yoga.
Food: junk food or crazy eating.
Made it to yoga at 8:30AM on a Sunday!!!
Walked 2.9 miles and did this ab workout I found on another blog site. I did everything but the plank rotation.
Self Care:
Nothing particular but did eat well and worked out.

I have to say, I feel lighter. Obviously I didn't lose weight, as in pounds, in 2 days but I still feel lighter. My head is a little clearer and my mood feels a bit uplifted. Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time to Get My Shit Together!

If you know me, you know my story. For those who don't, here's a quick overview.

I went to college weighing in at about 135 and a size 6. I was healthy, worked out and generally watched what I ate. Fast forward 6 yrs to graduation weighing in at around 230. I moved to NY about at week after I graduated (August 1998). I started eating healthier and exercising, even joined a gym, and found myself losing about 60 or so pounds. Fast forward to a new job, became a manager, stress, money forward to Spring weighing in at 252!!! (Picture is from January 2005)

I knew had to make a change. I joined Jenny Craig and for the first month all I did was follow the meal plan. I bought their meals and supplemented with fruits and vegetables. I lost about 7-10 lbs the first month and then decided to add in exercise. I started walking. After more of the weight came off I went back to the gym and hired a personal trainer. Fast forward to Fall 2007...was down 102 lbs, size 4 with about 20-25 lbs of muscle. I was also a gym going, calorie counting freak!! I knew how long I would need to work off almost everything I ate. People at work would ask me the calories in a certain food and I would know. I was working out twice a day most days of the week and only eating about 1200 calories a day. It was insane and not very realistic to maintain. (Picture is from November 2007)

About this time several things changed in my life and eventually the stress and anxiety came back. I ate my feelings rather than dealing with my problems and slowly put some of the weight back on. Now here we are, Winter 2009 and I cannot seem to get it together. I have learned a lot about health, emotional eating and weight loss and I even counsel people on their health. So why can't I get it together?

I honestly do not know but it's time I stop the excuses and get back to work. I have worked too hard for my own health and happiness and I will not throw it all away. So, what do I have in mind? A 30-day "Get My Shit Together" challenge. (GMST Challenge)

What does this mean? It means no more excuses to stay up late. No more hitting the snooze for hours and then running around barely making it to work on time. No more lazy workouts. No more fast food, junk food and foods that hurt rather than help me. It means doing more yoga, making my workouts count, self care and cooking nourishing foods for myself even when I feel overwhelmed and stressed out. It means putting me first!

Ok, so here's how I did today.
No problem, it's the weekend!
Pretty good so far. No random eating or junk food.
30 second plank 3 times
3 sets of lunges, 10 on each side per set
50 girl push-ups
80 jumping jacks in between sets
3.6 miles alternating jogging and walking
Self Care:
Did my toes Kangarooby Red!

Stayed tuned for updates and wish me luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

What a lovely day. The weather was great. I got up early and went to the Macy's parade across town. It was super crowded but fun. I am glad I went this year.

Went I got home I was famished. I made Trader Joe's pumpkin pancakes and coffee. Yum! After breakfast I did a little house cleaning and then it was time to cook.

Stuffed Acorn Squash-This was so easy to make and very tasty. I loved it and so did my picky eater friend who joined me for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto- OMG, this was so rich and creamy but time consuming to make.

And of course...pie!!! Found this Sweet Potato Pie recipe and knew I had to try it out. It was fabulous. Definitely the best part of the meal.

Needless to say, there were a ton of leftovers. This morning I wasn't feeling like my usual oats. I had leftover quinoa so I threw it in a bowl with a little almond milk, maple syrup and a slice of leftover pie. Oh how delicious!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday randomness

I got up at a reasonable time this morning and was able to make my breakfast and eat it at home with a cup of coffee. Usually I make it and bring it to work to eat. It's not very satisfying that way.

Since the weather turned colder I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast. For a little variety, I decided to use leftover coconut milk to cook my oats this morning. I used 1/3c oats in 2/3c coconut milk. I added a tbsp each of ground flax and wheat germ. When it was done cooking I added a mashed up banana and placed it in a bowl and then sprinkled a little granola on top. It was so yummy and satisfying.

For my lunch hour I went to the gym as usual. Today was a running (jogging really) day for me. As mentioned in a previous post, I want to do the Country Music 1/2 Marathon in April but am finding it a struggle to run even a 1/4 of a mile. Today I alternated jogging and walking for 2.4 miles. I was able to keep my heart rate under 150 which is really good for me. The last few times my heart rate went sky high the minute I started to jog so I am happy that my body is getting use to the activity again.

I have decided to cook for Thanksgiving this year. I am not making a turkey but will be making a few dishes that I have wanted to try such as Stuffed Roasted Acorn, Pumpkin Risotto and a healthier version of Sweet Potato Pie. I will let you know how it turns out.

What I will not do this holiday season is stress about what I eat. It's a holiday and I plan to eat whatever I want within reason. And if I decide to have 2 slices of sweet potato pie then I will not punish myself or feel bad about it. So there! :)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water. Getting our daily dose of water helps our organs perform their functions, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all the water our bodies deserve daily. Those who are not drinking enough may experience poor digestion, sluggish thinking, skin breakouts, headaches, bad breath and general fatigue.

To start your day right, drink a glass of water when you wake up. Drinking water first thing in the morning pulls out toxins from the previous day and freshens your system for the day ahead. Keep a bottle of water accessible throughout the day, whether you are on the go or at a desk. If you drink most of your daily water before early evening, you most likely will not be thirsty before bed. This is good, because drinking before bed and then waking to use the bathroom disturbs your peaceful night's sleep.

What about quality? Some people like bottled water, while others prefer filtered water. The key is to like the taste of the water you are drinking, and the water should agree with your body. If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment to see how you can make it tasty and drinkable. Try adding a few mint leaves, a wedge of lemon, a sprig of parsley, slices of cucumber, a twist of lime or a squeeze of orange to make water more tempting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Root Vegetables

The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.

Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings.

Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes (Cooking times vary. It may take 45-60 minutes depending on your oven, pan size and how full the pan is.)
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 sweet potato
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like squash)
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
3. Place in a large baking dish with sides.
4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
6. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.

Note: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Food Obsessed

I often get asked if I keep a food journal or count calories. Generally, I do not. I have spent most of my life obsessing over food and I feel that journaling and calorie counting keeps me stuck in the obsessive cycle.

This doesn't mean that I never journal or count calories. Recently I have been experiencing swelling in my legs and feet. I started writing down what I was eating so I could see how much salt and processed foods I was consuming. I did this for a few days and then adjusted my diet as needed. It turns out the swelling is most likely not related to my diet but it was good to check in and see how I was doing.

I occasionally count calories as well. If I feel stuck in my weight loss I may count calories for a few days to see where I am. Two weeks ago I tracked my calories for a day (that's all I could tolerate!) and discovered that my breakfast was way too high in calories. I have been cutting back on my portions at breakfast and still feel satisfied. Although I eat plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains it doesn't mean I can overindulge. Healthy foods still need to be eaten in moderate portions.

Checking in with yourself is a good way to stay on track. You don't need to obsess about food. It's not healthy and will drive you mad. Try to eat foods that you like, that satisfy you and make you happy. Making small adjustments to your diet and lifestyle will equal big changes in the long run. Stop obsessing and start enjoying food!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Visit to the Doctor

I went to the doctor Wednesday because my legs and feet have been swelling several times a week. My doctor happens to be out on maternity leave but I was able to see someone else in the same office. The visit took all of 10 minutes. She felt up my legs a little bit, asked a few general questions and then excused herself so she could think about it. On her return her only suggestion was to try compression stockings. She didn't ask about my diet or if I exercised. She did ask if I walk a lot which is a foolish question since I live in NYC but I told her that yes, I do walk a lot. She didn't take blood which I fully expected her to do. Needless to say I was rather disappointed with the overall lack of thoroughness she provided.

That same night I took a Pilates private lesson with a woman who is studying to be a physical therapist. She suggested I stick my legs up the wall to balance the blood flow. This yoga move called Viparit Karni did the trick. I got home late Thursday and my legs were swollen. I put them up the wall for about 10 minutes. My legs immediately felt and looked better and today there was little to no swelling. Could this be a coincidence? Yes, but I will keep trying it because the thought of wearing compression stockings is not appealing! Here's a video showing you how to get in and out of the pose.

Some of the benefits of Viparit Karni are:

  • Redirects the flow of blood from feet to heart with pull of gravity for detoxification.
  • Relieve the varicose veins, edema, and elephantiasis.
  • Massages the abdominal organs with blood circulation & tones up the abdomen.
  • Relieves constipation.
  • Increases the cardiac output and strengthens the wall of the heart & cardiac muscles.
  • Activates the thyroid & parathyroid glands.
  • Balances the metabolism of the body & rekindles the gastric fire.
  • Activates the synthesis of protein and vitamin.
  • Reverse the aging process.
  • Helps absorb the nutrients from the food consumed.
  • Activates the mind by reducing mental sluggishness & lethargy.
  • Diverts the flow of blood to the brain.
  • Increases the efficiency of sensory organs