Monday, February 28, 2011

Veggies for breakfast

We're into the second week of our 10-week fitness challenge at The Pilates Place. Results to date...I'm in the bathroom a lot more! Why? Extra water and extra veggies! Because I'm larger than life, I get to drink more water and eat more veggies. I'm having to get creative to get in enough vegetables in a day.

I discovered yesterday that if I don't get in at least three servings of veggies in the morning, I'm way behind by nightfall, and not really hungry at that time. As a result, I only got in six servings of veggies. Today is a new day, so I thought I'd list a few ways one could add veggies into breakfast.

Savory vegetable, not adding pureed veggies to pancake batter, although one could substitute eggs with pureed sweet potato, winter squash or apple. I'm talking shredded veggies mixed with beaten egg and cooked in small patties, like egg foo young, You could also add bits of chopped chicken, turkey bacon, Canadian bacon. Veggies to shred - zucchini or any summer squash. Finely chop some spring onions to toss in the mix. You could even add some mung bean sprouts.

Along the same lines as the veggie pancakes, how about some veggie hashbrowns...shredded jicama, carrots and beets, sauteed in a little oil and butter. They're colorful, crispy and delicious!

I often like to lay a melange of stir-fried veggies as a bed for my poached eggs, instead of using an English muffin. Any chopped veggies will do...summer squashes, tomato, onions, broccoli, asparagus,etc. Greens are great with eggs too! Spinach, kale, fact, braised southern greens (collard, mustard and turnip) cooked with a spicy chopped chicken andouille sausage and some garlic is pretty fabulous.

When I lived in Indonesia, my cook would make us nasi soto ayam for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. It's a layered soup with a base of rice porridge, then shredded chicken, then topped with mung beans, shallots, cilantro, chili sauce, and finally, a ladle of hot chicken broth over the top and a squeeze of lime juice. I've been making my own versions. I use either toasted Scottish oats or brown rice as my base. I'll add shredded chicken or turkey, then julienne asparagus, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, spinach or other sauteed greens. I still pour a ladle of broth over everything, and squeeze some lemon juice on top. And sometimes, if I'm feeling like having a little extra, I'll float a poached egg on top of all that. Yum!

If you want to really slam those servings of veggies down, then the best way to go is to get that Champion Juicer they carry at Sheri's Sonshine Nutrition and juice those massive quantities of veggies into a glass. Good breakfast juice combinations: celery, fennel and cucumber is nice and light, plus easier to tolerate for a novice juicer. After that, green leafy vegetable combinations, like spinach, endive, romaine and red leaf or kale, collard, dandelion and mustard greens for a more vigorous veggie breakfast. Adding carrots or beets or even apple helps sweeten the juices. Don't forget to stir the pulp back into your juices. It's necessary fiber that you'd be missing if you tossed it all out.

Okay, that's enough about breakfast veggies. I need to get dressed to go to Pilates!

11:05 a.m.  Just back from Pilates. I feel fabulous now! Thank you, Lori!

Lori talked about her famous egg white and veggie omelets this morning. Any vegetables can go in there...mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, artichoke hearts, spinach and any greens, peppers, fresh herbs, the leaves from young fava bean plants. Oh yeah, you can eat those, and they're delicious in salads too!  Al those veggies are great in fritatta as well, which is a crustless quiche baked in the oven.

And don't forget to use veggies as sauces and condiments too. Salsa on your eggs and toast. Red pepper puree cooked down and poach an egg in that too. Broccoli puree Hollandaise, with lemon juice. And on cold mornings, any veggie soup warms you up and starts your day right. The point is to experiment and expand your repertoire of recipes. Get in that kitchen and play!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend indulences

Both my sons have been sick all weekend. Why must they always get sick when I have a chore list for them! Instead I had to do all the laundry by myself, and clean the kitchen, after cooking various cold-busting home remedies. I also had serious cramps and felt exhausted part of the's all a recipe for self-indulgence!

I didn't go off-track too badly. No exercise over the weekend, but there was a lot of trotting back and forth with heavy baskets of laundry. Does that count for interval training? I did drink all my water every day. I stayed on track with diet, with regards to content. Quantity...different story! I overate during a few meals, and last night I kept snacking, not because I was hungry, but because I was looking for something to satiate my sweet/fat tooth. I wanted comforting and don't really know how to do that for myself very well. I eventually caved and made myself some coconut flan. About 450 calories later, I finally settled down to go to sleep.

I don't know what to do with those cravings. I actually knew what I wanted much earlier in the evening, but tried to ignore it. Made different choices, like having an orange, a bit of cheese, hot tea. I wasn't even hungry when I finally got to the flan. But it didn't seem to matter. I don't have these sorts of cravings normally, or rather, I haven't in quite some time. I wasn't feeling emotionally edgy. In fact, I felt pretty good for having accomplished so much.

There are two more servings of the flan in the refrigerator. My kids won't eat them. I don't feel any desire to eat them either. Maybe I'm back on track. Despite my dip into the flan, and the occasions of overeating, I lost two pounds over the weekend. Hmmmm.

Gosh darn it! Look at the time! 9:22! Pilates started seven minutes ago! I swear, when I get on this computer, I get sucked into a wormhole and lose all track of time! Okay, I'll get on the treadmill for an hour plus pump some weights and do a little Pilates on my own in the living room. Not the same as getting coached, but a good start to my day nevertheless. And another star by my name on the 10-week challenge chart!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 1 of the 10-week challenge

Lori said to drink 16 oz. water before my feet touch the floor in the morning, and another 16 oz. by breakfast...what if I sleep in?

Okay, I learned from my time in Vermont that black and white thinking never did me any good when it comes diet and exercise. So, I'm not judging myself for not having had enough water earlier in my day today. I can catch up plus make plans and get it right later. The point is to drink water, a lot more water than I've been drinking.

(I bought a lot of toilet paper last night, one of those 9-roll packages. We'll see how my 50-year-old bladder is going to fare today. Or rather, those pelvic floor muscles. It seems that no matter how much I exercise them in class, I still need a Poise pad in place when I sneeze!)

So, am I supposed to be drinking 20 8-oz. glasses of water a day, because of my size? I've never had more than 14, and probably usually drink 8-12 a day. I decided to quit at 14. I was eating a lot of food with more water in it (that's what I'd tell myself). And why can't I just trust my thirst mechanism? Well, the thirst mechanism was working fine. I was just confusing it with the hunger mechanism, I guess. Maybe when my back teeth are floating it'll be easier to cut calories to 1500.

Talked with Lori about the source of my visceral fat. Elevated levels of blood sugar. Damn that type 2 diabetes! Those fat cells in the abdomen are the ones that produce the hormones affecting insulin resistance. MUST BE RID OF THEM! It's my number 1 goal for the year!

(Forgive me for being redundant about the belly fat, but I'm psyching myself up to get this done!)

My plan of attack:
  1. Moderate-intensity exercise...walking on the treadmill every day, (Lori says) 40 minutes a day. I'm doing a modified interval training on the treadmill. Not too intense, so my knees are safe.
  2. Weight training...twice a week, for now. Biceps and triceps. No lateral raises, because it doesn't help my shoulder.
  3. Pilates...five days a week. That takes care of all the abs, plus strengthening the shoulders and knees.
  4. Diet...keeping the carb sources complex and eating the right fats. Half the plate is vegetables at every meal. Keep away from bread, potatoes, rice and pasta, even if they're whole grain, for now. No legumes either! Plus, sticking with monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Okay, I gotta go...rented water coming through!

PS) Almost midnight. Not a good time of the day to be awake. Have had the munchies since 10 pm and I ate my way through a few hundred calories. So, drinking extra water didn't make me less hungry today. I also flaked on exercise today. Or rather, Pilates. I did use the treadmill. Maybe that's why I'm still up and why I had the munchies. Because any sort of cardio keeps me up later at night. Messes with my circadian rhythms.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's 3 AM...the 10-week challenge starts today

I'm kinda nervous...never have done anything like this before. We're earning stickers with every achievement (oh, and of course, getting fitter). I don't tend to stick with things, but to date, other than the consistent body aches from exercising so much, that Lori-the-wonder-trainer hasn't steered me wrong. I'll post my stats here later. Maybe my picture too. Then we'll see where the challenge takes me...

I really hope that my body is ready to attack that visceral fat in my belly! Dr. Oz says my waist measurement is supposed to be half my height or less. That's 36". When I suck in my stomach, my waist measurement is 48". When I tighten my abs and then push my fingers into them, there's not a lot of subcutaneous fat over the top of my abs. It's all inside, deep down. The tough, stubborn fat layers between my abs and organs. I am really well marbled! I noticed this week that my belly apron is hanging down a little lower than usual. That means I'm finally deflating a bit through the midsection. FINALLY! The minute my waist measurement hits 36". I'm going to consult a plastic surgeon about having a tummy tuck! And my kimono arms too!

So I'm reading that visceral fat melts away with simple exercise like walking, plus eating polyunsaturated fats. Sources for that are vegetable oils like corn, soy and safflower oils, plus fatty fish and nuts. Since watching the documentary King Corn, I've been staying away from the corn oil. Avoiding the soy due to the allergy. I mostly used olive oil, which is high in monosaturated fat, but I do have a bottle of the organic safflower oil that I haven't really been using. I guess I need to dress more salads with that. Other sources I'm getting my polyunsaturated fats from are the Vital Choice wild caught sardines in olive oil and wild caught salmon, at least twice a week. I could get back to eating nuts like macadamia and pecan. I have been eating some halvah on occasion, which is made from ground up sesame seeds (also a good source). It's the one sweet I like to have once a week.

Something funny I noticed yesterday...I did my taxes and filed electronically. It's the first time I've done my taxes in 31 years. And the first time I've done them with alimony as my main income. Didn't realize I was supposed to pay my taxes quarterly. So by April 18, I'm supposed to come up with federal and state taxes for 2010, plus my first quarter taxes for 2011. That's a lot of money! I don't have a regular job! I only have two web design clients! And I only recently finished paying off the cost of my divorce, so I have no savings. My credit cards are all going to get involved in paying the government this year. And I started to cut out certain indulgences, as of yesterday. Merry Maids, cable TV, bass guitar lessons for my son, Netflix, GoWearFit account, and the best thing to go...the IRS helped me kick my family's habit of eating out. I'm not even going to get a coffee at Starbucks until all the bills are paid! So, I'm grateful to the IRS for helping me with this!

Not letting go of the Pilates classes. NOT HAPPENING!!!

By the way, when you click on the advertisers' links on this web page, I get paid a little money. The more click, the more money. And if you see a product listed here from Amazon, and you buy it through the link, I get money from them too. Tell your friends about this blog! Help me pay my taxes this year!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Swearing off food porn

I had a lovely breakfast this morning...a whole medium Haas avocado (yum!) and 5 oz. of sirloin steak tips. Today I'm feeding my muscles. Yesterday I fed my need to clean out the pipes. I ate 70 gm of fiber! Avocado, spinach and a few vegetarian beans. Plus lots of water. It worked.

Yesterday on Food Network, I watched Giada De Laurentis make a beautiful dish of cheese ravioli with a sauce of sauteed pancetta and arugula. So, first she cooks the pancetta to render the fat, then she scoops that out of the pan, throws in some olive oil and a knob of butter and the arugula. Once the arugula cooks down, she adds another knob of butter to finish the sauce and make it all shiny. How is this woman so thin!!!!!!?????? This is a prime example of taking beautiful, healthy vegetables and ruining their effect on a healthy life. It's how I got fat and developed type 2 diabetes, on perfectly healthy, organic choices, with extra whole-grain carbs, cheese and butter on the side. Over-indulgences, even on healthy choices, produce poor effects.

Today I decided to reduce my cable TV to basic more food porn! It's like hanging out with the wrong crowd. I do loves me some TV, so cutting that back and replacing it with something that supports my efforts is going to be like finding new friends that don't drag me back to where I used to be, a lethargic couch potato. I think it's time to crack open some books for recreational purposes.

I have been on the computer a lot the last few days, for work (I'm a web designer and content writer). So absorbed in what I was doing that I forgot to do the laundry all weekend and I didn't have anything to wear to Pilates this morning! What a lame excuse! So, the laundry is getting done now, and I will be doing some Pilates and walking on the treadmill at home today. Plus, I feel the need to pump some iron, but no lateral raises. Those are bothering my shoulders.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cool articles on the web

I'm sitting in front of my the moment...ugh...doing a little morning research on why...OY VEY!...I'm so achy this morning. Even my hands ache! I worked out for two hours yesterday...two hours of Pilates. I'm about to have a Motrin omelet for breakfast.

So I was surfing the Net about post-workout soreness and came across some interesting reads. Thought I'd just share them this morning. Because I'm too sore to get out of my chair to go get the Motrin...

Managing Muscle Soreness
Exercise and Weight Gain: Success and Failure
Exercise = Weight Loss, Except When It Doesn't
Your Target Heart Rate

If you have any good informational fitness/health articles, please share. I may be here awhile and I need fresh reading material.

One week till I start my 10-week fitness challenge (five 60-minute workouts a week for 10 weeks). My plan is to attend Pilates every week day, but I also want to amp up my fat-burning, so I'll hit the treadmill as well, but keep the heart rate in my fat-burning heart rate zone of 130 for an hour. Eventually I'll be able to work at improving my endurance in cardio, but that's for later. For now, build muscle and burn fat.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Finally, a smaller size!

I've been off Pilates for the last week. My father passed away on Tuesday, so I've been busy with funeral and familial concerns. Most of that is done now, except for my Mom, who seems to still need me everyday, even more than before. I'm spending nights at her house, for now. Not getting a good night's sleep. Her little guest bed is so hard! I'm going to Target in a little bit to buy a foam pad and new sheets. Maybe tonight will be a little more comfortable.

So, anyway, I had to go shopping for some clothes appropriate to wear to a funeral. Everything that I own that's black requires bling, a good cleavage-making bra and a cocktail in hand. Not what I wanted to wear at 9 a.m. on a cold February morning to a graveside service. So I headed over to The Avenue on Thursday and found myself buying a size 26 pair of slacks. I've been a size 28 to 32 since my oldest son was born, nearly 19 years ago. I actually got my glasses out to make sure I was right about the slacks. They even fit me just a little loosely. That was such a wonderful feeling!

Buying a top was a very different story. I've been a 26/28 due to the size of my upper arms and the padding around back. But this time, the tops fit nicely through the back. The upper arms were looser around the armscye, but no different through the bicep. And that was because the flesh is now drooping because some of the fat layers are gone. Despite all this lovely progress, I still had to buy the 26/28 top, because I now have lovely, prominent shoulders that are actually filling in the tops.

Not getting on the scale till Wednesday, when the 50-day challenge starts at The Pilates Place. We're getting measured and my body fat percentage is going to be determined. In the meantime, I'm going to stay on track with the reduction in calories. I'm holding my own at 1660 calories. It seems to be the magic number at which I am able to lose weight.

I got back to Pilates this morning. It felt great. I can tell the difference between the two kinds of achiness I experience. Aches due to not moving my body depress me. Alternately, aches due to a good workout make me feel proud. I love how achy my quads are feeling right now. I did some great bridge work today, plus I got back into the full planks and side planks. I really want to conquer those back planks. I fear those will only happen after the weight has dropped off my trunk substantially. My arms just aren't strong enough to support the rest of my body. I wish there were exercises to tighten up the skin. Lori and I are going to work on that this week!