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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Food {Sunday}

Breakfast {Oatmeal + Almond Butter + Strawberry Jam + 1/2 Banana}

Snack {Soymilk Chocolate Protein Powder Shake}

Lunch {Hummus Wrap + Chocolate Protein Shake}
I was at my parents' house with NO PLAN (gasp)! I made a whole wheat wrap with hummus, spinach, and 2 hard boiled eggs. The shake was soy milk and chocolate protein powder.

Snack {Sweet Potato}
This is how I eat sweet potatoes... Like a hot dog. To go. I'm weird. You are welcome for the visual treat below.

Dinner {Pasta + Broccoli}

Snack {Strawberry Cornbread}

Blog Challenge

My friend, Randi, is very passionate. When she asks me to do something, I say yes.  Not just because I feel some pressure, but mostly because she and I tend to get passionate about similar things.  I am really enjoying blogging.  I've tossed around the idea of writing about life before, but I worried that it would be an act of narcissism and a waste of time.  Those both might still be true.  I am okay with blogging about my diet and workout routines because I need accountability.  It was also requested that I explain how I lost weight in a blog. It's so hard to explain all of the things I do to guarantee weight loss in a 1-minute conversation. It's a day-in-and-day-out endeavor. So, my blog serves me and maybe one or two other people in a big way. That's enough for me.

I am breaking the fitness-only theme for Randi. Several of us work friends blog, but some of us don't blog very often. It's summer time. We are teachers. July is the perfect week to accept a blogging challenge, right? Here it is.  This woman blogged every day in May. We are blogging every day in July with the same prompts.

So get ready! July 1-July 31 I will post IN ADDITION TO my fitness posts.

Here are the other bloggers and my dear friends who are also involved in the challenge:


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Food {Saturday}

Breakfast {Greek Yogurt + Banana + Strawberry Cornbread}

Snack {Strawberry Flaxseed Smoothie}

Lunch {Green Beans + Chickpeas + Cheese}
This was a fridge clean out meal!

Snack {Crackers + Cheddar Cheese + Strawberry Jam}

Dinner {Catfish + Sweet Potato}

Friday, June 28, 2013

Workout {Legs + Cardio}

I'm going to quit this plan of running only then lifting only on certain days. I need to do a combination. I did my legs workout that I love.  It felt great!

Food {Friday}

Breakfast {Egg, Spinach, and Cheese Scramble Stuffed Pita}

Snack {Greek Yogurt + Apricots + Walnuts}

Lunch {On the Border: Citrus Chicken Salad (no dressing) + 5 Chips + Skinny Margarita}

Snack {White Beans + Cherry Tomatoes + EVOO}

Dinner {Spaghetti Squash & Spinach}

Cheat Snack {Strawberry Cornbread + Banana + Almond Butter}

Food {Thursday}

Breakfast {Strawberry Cornbread Parfait}

Snack {Papaya + Sunflower Seeds}

Lunch {Pork Rice + Apple + Hummus}

Snack {Pineapple + Walnuts}

Dinner {Spaghetti Squash Spinach}

Snack {Clif Bar}

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Workout {Distance Run}

With a hand on my hip and my pointer finger in the air, I announce that this run was BULLSHIT. Okay, enough with the profanity, but dammit, I'm pissed still really upset.

I set out to run 6 miles. No problem. I wasn't even worried about it. Last time I tried to run 5 I got a side cramp. I ate breakfast that morning before the run. This time, I didn't eat breakfast.  I got a HUGE side cramp. I still went 6 miles, but I had to slow my  pace extremely on Mile 3 and by Miles 5 & 6 I was walking.  I have GOT to figure out why this is happening.

Moving on.

90% Nutrition

This is what they say. Losing weight is 90% nutrition, i.e. what you put in your hole. According to my experience with weight loss, this is totally true.

Calories matter, but it's not the only thing that matters. If you eat clean calories, everything else is affected in a positive way (mood, skin, regular poop/pee, etc.).  If you try to hit 1200 calories by drinking diet pop, unclean cereal, small portions of lasagna, Special K bar snacks, flavored yogurt snacks, and Snack Wells cookies for dessert, you are seriously not going to make it.  You are eating a chemical shit storm and you are going to constantly crave and be unsatisfied.  You might lose weight. Temporarily.  If you stick to (about) 1200 calories, then you've worked the math right, but the lifestyle change won't be effective long term. So, eat clean and work on a calorie deficit and you will lose weight.

I used to be the person who worked out and ate whatever I wanted.  In college, I probably burned so many calories that my weight never became a problem.  However, I never learned to fuel myself correctly, so outside of college I spiraled out of control within 5 years.  Side note: I really wish I could go back to college as a clean eater. I would feel so much better. My workouts would have been stronger. I used to fuel for a game with a Gatorade and a Snickers. Ridiculous.  I figured out that you can't work off a bad diet.  In the fall of 2011, Colby and I joined the YMCA for the first time here in Topeka for 3 months on a special rate.  We attended Spin/Core classes about 3 times per week.  I enjoyed it. I lost 6 pounds (166 to 160). In the spring of 2012, I was running 20-25 miles per week in training for a half marathon. I was torching some calories.  However, I only lost 9 pounds (173 to 164) and then almost immediately put it back on.  I wasn't eating right. So, that's proof right there that you can't truly work out enough to eat whatever you want.  And when I say "whatever you want," I was constantly trying to be healthy. I just didn't know what I was doing.

Enter January 2013. I get a meal plan and I'm working out 6 days per week.  I take working out very seriously. I love it. But for the first time I was pairing it with a legit diet. The weight slowly melted off. For the record, I cringe when people try to attempt weight loss with diet only for three reasons.  First, you need to create a calorie deficit. If you work out, you could burn 500 calories per hour (depending on what you are doing). Most people won't work out for an hour, but 200 calories sure does help if you are doing it every day. If you burn 1700 just by living, you are eating 1200, and you are burning 500 calories in a workout, do the math. You are torching the fat away and building muscle at the same time.  As you probably noticed from my other posts, I'm the kind of person who wants to go all in when I'm doing something. I don't want to spend a year kind of dieting and kind of working out. I want to commit for 4 months. I want to diet and NOT CHEAT and I want to work out. Get results. Move on.  The second reason I cringe when people don't work out is that you are not working on your cardiovascular health. This is your internal health. This is about living longer. The third and final reason to work out is to tone up. You can lose the weight, but your physique will not be that nice without some nice muscular structure happening underneath.  Let me tell you. It takes 20 minutes to lift weights and get a nice tone. It's not hard. You just have to do it.  You don't want to lose 30 pounds to discover that you are just "skinny fat."

Enter March 2013. I injured my knee. I was doing sumo squats and lunges barefoot in my living room because I wanted to be home to watch The Bachelor. (Make fun of me!) I think the instability of being barefoot cause some strain on my knee and I strained my MCL and had some swelling.  I know that sounds minor, but it hurt very badly. I couldn't do anything leg related during my workouts.  I felt very frustrated to not be able to do cardio. Or lunges. Or squats. I was pissed. (To be clear, I did still work out a little bit each day.) I didn't want to waste my time. My trainer assured me that if I followed my diet plan, I would be fine. She was right. While I was hurt from Week 9 to Week 13, I lost 11 pounds (in 5 weeks). This is the moment when I believed that weight loss is 90% nutrition.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Workout {Abs + Light Legs + Walk}

Today was a mess.  I had planned to run with a friend in the morning, but I was up tossing and turning with cramps. (I don't think any boys read this blog, so I'll be honest.)  Then, when I was feeling better I planned to go to the Y for a double-class of Zumba Toning and then Spin.  I walked into the Zumba class and it was super packed. Like I would have had to dance in the hallway.  So, I went to the weight room and did some abs and some legs.  I left after 30 minutes.  I don't like it when my plan does not work out.

Stability ball crunches 3 x 10
Plank 3 x 1 min
Side plank with hip lift 3 x 10 x 10
Regular crunches 3 x 40
Reverse crunches 3 x 40
Bicycle crunches 3 x 40
Heel clicks 3 x 20
Standing oblique crunches 3 x 10 x 10

Light legs
Sumo squats 3 x 10 x 30
Donkey kicks 3 x 10 each leg

I walked the dogs around the block for about 15 minutes. Lame.  I will be running tomorrow!

Food {Wednesday}

Breakfast {Waffle + Almond Butter + Honeydew + Almond Milk}

Snack {Strawberry Cornbread}

Lunch {Almond Butter, Strawberry Jam, and Flaxseeds Inside a Whole Wheat Pita + Carrots}

Snack {Hardboiled Egg + Crackers}

Dinner {Pork Rice + Grapes}
This has a definite pasta feel. Very yummy even though it seemed strange to serve it over brown rice.

AMA Declares Obesity a Disease

You would have to be living under a rock to not know this. When I first hear of things like this, I feel like I am stupid if I don't have an immediate opinion.  Do you know what I mean? I heard about this headline and I wasn't sure what to think.  And I felt I should already have a stance on the topic because if my background knowledge.  (Not that I'm an expert, but I've been doing some research.) So, I read this article that my mom sent me via email and then formed somewhat of an opinion.

To summarize the article (without looking at it), obesity has now been declared a disease so that the medical community will pay more attention to it. The potential health problems that obesity causes are so staggering that we all need to be treating it very seriously.  Declaring obesity a disease will allow doctors more ability to discuss treatment options and medication with patients. It will allow businesses and insurances to treat obesity with importance.  It will also (hopefully) help all of us talk more openly about obesity in the doctor's office instead of worrying about being rude.

My first reaction is that I don't know if a "disease" is the correct term to use. It seems to lump obesity in with a lot of other illnesses that are uncontrollable.  I feel like the English language needs a new term for behavior-caused health issues that is equal to, but different than the term "disease."  I don't know. Just a wild thought.

My assumption is that this is a nation-wide, blanket solution that will not really have the benefits that it intends to have. Having said that, after reading the LA Times article, I think this might be a move in the right direction. I am glad that this will open up the conversation for doctors and insurance companies to discuss this problem with patients.  Not only because they should, but they have a legal responsibility to talk about it now. Before, they could ignore it if they wanted to and then just prescribe medicine for the high blood pressure or the diabetes. Doctors can no longer ignore it because it's an uncomfortable topic.  I think that's a good thing.

It would be a bad thing if doctors just use the label as a way to prescribe medicine to treat it.  The "medicine" should be nutrition.  And I don't mean pills or Slimfast shakes.  I mean spinach.

I think the real power in changing the problem will really come from the bottom up...not the top down.  I say that because I think obese Americans already know that being obese can lead to health problems.  Some may already have doctors who are treating their weight condition seriously. I think every single obese American would totally want to NOT be obese.  So where does that leave us?

I really think that the people who are doing it right need to be more vocal for their friends and family. What if we would talk about weight with our LOVED ONES without worrying about being rude or insensitive. What if obesity wasn't an off-limits topic? I'm NOT trying to toot my own horn here, but I think I can count about 4 people who have changed the way they think and the way they eat because of me.  Colby. Alexandria. Mom. Dad.  These people have told me that because of me they are changing. Christa and I can both equally claim Mom & Dad. ;)  Then I have my friends who are changing the way they eat and/or think about health and I MIGHT have a small part in it? I won't name names, but I can count 7.  Now, you can see that one person is creating a web of influence.  If you go backward, I got my inspiration to start getting fit from my sister, Christa.  She probably has an entire list of people she has inspired.  My bestie, Jen, and I started at the same exact time. She probably has an entire web of people she has influenced to be more healthy. This kind of influence is a 2-way street.  Fit people cannot beat people over the head with it.  People need to ask questions. Talk about health, food, and fitness. Then turn those talks into actions. Think about the power of that. If every one person took action and got healthy then turned that action into inspiration for 10 others who also make changes.  That is when we change the health of the country.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I made a Twitter account back in 2010. You can request to follow me. My username is @ChelseaWilliams.  I didn't know how I really wanted to use twitter at first.  My friends weren't using it as a social forum. They still don't, really. I had been "Liking" favorite businesses and organizations on Facebook, but I was becoming annoyed with how their information was always showing up on my feed. When I was on Facebook, I wanted to connect with friends...not ads.  So, I "Unliked" a lot of those businesses on Facebook and if I still had an interest, I followed the business on Twitter. I also followed celebrities and other local organization or personal interest accounts.

Enter diet time.  As I've mentioned before, I thought I knew what healthy eating was before 2013. I got a meal plan from my trainer, Jacqueline, on FitOrbit.  I quickly realized that I was buying more produce than ever before. I was buying PLAIN oatmeal. PLAIN yogurt, etc. I wasn't just going for low-calorie. I realized after some research that I was eating "clean." I've explained this before.

Part of that realization came from Twitter feeds that I began to follow.  I started to see posts from fitness-related people on Twitter and I began to see connections between what they already knew and were promoting and what I was eating on my meal plan or what I was doing in my workouts. Here is a list of fitness-related people that I follow on Twitter:  (You can also look at who I'm "Following" on my Twitter account and just hit the "Follow" button to also follow them.)


Some of these people are doctors. Some are authors. Some are chefs. Some are personal trainers (even celebrity ones). Some are magazines. Some are public health accounts. Some are regular girls like you & me who have completed her own weight loss journey and is now RIPPED. :)

Example tweet:

I think the magic in this for me is that I am surrounding myself with like minds.  Sure, I have some friends who are moderately healthy or who at least think about health, but I like that these Twitter accounts are promoting health in a way that is BETTER than me.  It gives me something to aspire to.  From January-May when I was in the thick of "dieting," I would find the Tweets from the above mentioned accounts to be VERY motivating. It's an entire culture--a mindset--that I can enter into whenever I needed to.  I am pretty self-motivated. It's not like I relied on these messages too much, but I do remember one night when I had all but resolved to not work out that night because I was "too tired."  But I read a tweet that said "Someone who is busier than you is running right now."  And I went to the damn gym.  Sometimes even the strongest of minds need a push. Or just an affirmation that they are doing the right thing--as hard as it is.  So, I found Twitter to be a very good resource for my weight loss experience and I continue to get ideas for nutrition and exercise from these Twitterers.  Sometimes I "Favorite" tweets that I find especially helpful for future reference.

Do you use Twitter or another site to "follow" messages from fitness experts?  Would you ever consider joining Twitter for the purpose of anonymously being a part of a fitness community?

Food {Tuesday}

Breakfast {Strawberry Cornbread + Banana + Orange}
As seen in the Recipe Spotlight post.

Snack {2 Apricots + Sunflower Seeds}

Lunch {Salmon + Spinach Salad}

Snack {Soymilk & Chocolate Protein Powder Shake}

Dinner {Cottage Cheese + Honeydew Melon + Walnuts + Cinnamon}
This was supposed to be a morning snack yesterday, but I didn't get to it.  The dinner for today is a "Lemony Catfish Kabob on Wild Rice."  I didn't want to make the recipe, so I decided to wing it.  I thought the cottage cheese snack would be perfect to pop in.

Cheat Snack {Barbeque Potato Popchips + Cacao Chips}

Recipe Spotlight {Strawberry Cornbread}

I am so excited about this recipe! When finding the ingredients, I couldn't get corn flour, so I used whole wheat flour instead. Also, I used fresh strawberries instead of frozen and I used corn on the cob instead of frozen.

This is from a week-long meal plan.  This cornbread will be used in several different ways over the next couple of days. The last picture is the first meal. Breakfast! I added a banana and an orange. You will see the cornbread in my Food posts on later dates.  And for the record. It's really good!

Workout {Arms}

I went to the Y and lifted weights. This took me about 25 minutes. In & out. I spent a LOT of time working out yesterday, so I wanted to keep this productive, but quick.

Bench press 3 x 10 x 45
Shoulder program (front raise, lateral raise, side raise) 1 x 10 x 5
Shoulder press 3 x 10 x 15
Lateral pull-down 3 x 10 x 40
Tricep dips 3 x 10 x 10
Bicep curls 3 x 10 x 10
Tricep press 3 x 10 x 10

Monday, June 24, 2013

Food {Monday}

Breakfast {2 Waffles + Almond Butter + Syrup + Almond Milk}
All organic & clean!

Lunch {Boca Café: Chicken Luau Sandwich + Roman Salad}
I ate about 3/4 of the sandwich. Of course, Colby finished the rest.

Snack: {Pineapple + Pine Nuts}

Dinner {Salmon with Pesto + Whole Wheat Pasta + Spinach}

Snack {n/a}
I was supposed to have another snack today, but I couldn't eat it. I'm not feeling all that great today. I'm still recovering from my weekend and my appetite seems off.  Moving on.

Workout {Zumba + Run}

This time I joined Mom at Zumba and let me tell you it was a dance party. For an hour. Next time I'm getting drunk before I go.

Then, I met friends (3 old and 1 new) at Shunga trail for a group run. Here are the stats:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Food {Sunday}

I'm still umpiring today, so I am eating pre-packed food. Except for lunch & dinner. That is what I bought. 

Breakfast {2 Toast + 2 Eggs + Cherry Tomatoes}

Snack {Kiwi + Cheese}

Lunch {Panera Bread: Fuji Apple Salad with chicken}

Snack {Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza}

Dinner {3 Candy Bars}
I'm not going to lie to you people. I wanted candy. This follows the 80/20 rule. And it was SO good. Unreal Peanut Butter cups are seriously so good. ... It's unreal. Haha

Friday, June 21, 2013

Taco Bell's "Nutrition" Push

My mom sent me and my sister, Christa, and email that contained a link to this article published by The Kansas City Star.  Basically, Taco Bell isn't changing its entire image.  However, it is going to pilot a "Power Protein" menu to try and target men (especially men) and women in their 20s and 30s who care more about nutrition.  On this menu, the burritos or bowls will have double meat (chicken or beef) as well as such toppings as corn, guacamole, and reduced fat sour cream.  I am not a nutritionist. I don't claim to be any kind of expert.  I think my opinion is valid though because most people consuming these "nutritional" items are regular people like you and me.  My first and foremost concern about this Power Protein menu is the QUALITY of ingredients.  You want double meat? Great. It's probably meat that is pumped with hormones and antibiotics. I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.  Moving on. 

NOTE: This menu will be piloted in Ohio. It MAY reach the menu in 2014.

I went a step further to be sure that I was thinking correctly.  I went to Taco Bell's website (which thankfully has a "Nutrition" link on the homepage).  Click on this.  It takes you to the nutrition page.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES.  Under the heading "Ingredient Statement" is says, "Each and every item contains high-quality ingredients."  I called bullshit on that before I even clicked.  Please look at the ingredient list for Taco Bell. It will make you never want to take your child OR YOURSELF to Taco Bell again!!!!

To tie this back to the Power Protein menu, look at this ingredient list for USDA Select Marinated Grilled Steak.
Beef, Water, Seasoning [Modified Potato and Corn Starch, Salt, Tomato Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Green Bell Pepper Powder, Onion Powder, Carrageenan, Spices, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Maltodextrin (Corn, Potato, Tapioca), Dehydrated Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Carmel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Citric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Trehalose, Natural Flavors, Inactivated Yeast, And Less Than 2% Soybean Oil, And Silicon Dioxide Added As Processing Aids], Potassium Phosphates, Sodium Phosphates, Bromelin-Salt Blend (Salt, Bromelin, Propylene Glycol As Anti-dusting Agent). Sauce: Water, Seasoning [Tomato Powder, Caramel Color, Green Bell Pepper Powder, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin (Corn, Potato, Tapioca), Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Salt, Soybean Oil, Spices, Dehydrated Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Citric Acid, Trehalose, Natural Flavors, Inactivated Yeast, And Less Than 2% Silicon Dioxide Added As A Processing Aid].
Are you kidding me.?  This is not okay.  So, I was right. It's the ingredients that are the real problem. Nice try, Taco Bell.  Too bad you and other fast food places will continue to sell a lot of food because we Americans are idiots.  But I'm not.
Back to the men and women in their 20s and 30s who care more about their nutrition....These are pseudo health nuts.  The real healthy people know not to eat anything off of your menu.

Food {Saturday}

I'm umpiring all day today. I have packed all of my food and prepped it in advance.

Breakfast {Oatmeal + Almond Butter + Strawberries}

Snack {Greek Yogurt + Banana + Sunflower Seeds}

Lunch {Panera Bread: Fuji chicken apple salad + bread}
Total splurge on the bread. Whoops.

Snack {carrots + cheese}

Dinner {Roast Beef Sandwich}

Food {Friday}

Breakfast {2 Eggs + Arugula + Toast}

Snack {Unreal Candy Bar}

Lunch {Chicken + Pistachios + Cheese + Clif Bar}

Snack {Carrots + Banana}

Dinner {Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza}

Food {Thursday}

Breakfast {Raspberry Choco Smoothie}

Snack {Raspberry Choco Smoothie}

Lunch {2 Servings Asparagus Soup with Chickpeas + Toast}

Snack {Cherry Tomatoes + Cheese}

Dinner {Pepper Steak + Grapes}

Cheat {Unreal Bar + Pistachios}
The Unreal candy bar is a new product that my friend, Jen, told me about and Jillian Michaels mentioned when I went to her Maximize Your Life tour. I absolutely loved it. Here in Topeka it's available at CVS and Target. This is a candy bar, people. It's not health food. The idea is that it's a clean candy bar. "Unjunked" as they call it. It has not artificial ingredients, GMOs, etc. Jen says it tastes like a protein bar, but I think the Snickers-type bar that I got was absolutely delicious. I know what I'll be handing out next Halloween! Check them out and comment below if you do!

Workout {Zumba Class}

My mom invited me to this one. I make Alex do something active each day, so she joined me. Hubby did too. I like a man who will take a damn zumba class because he doesn't give a shit what other people think and he likes spending time with the wife & kid (and mother-in-law).

Okay, so we all showed up. Per the instructor's request we set up a bench, a mat, and got two sets of weights (one heavy--I grabbed 10s--and one light--I grabbed 6s).  I was already wondering what kind of Zumba-ing we would be doing today.  We started to do squats, lunges, abs, chest press bicep curls, etc.  I loved every minute of it. It was a fast-paced weight lifting class that hit almost every muscle group.  Of course, Alex was thinking, When do I get to shimmy and shake?! So, the grasshopper got her first exposure to weight lifting. I think it was great. I asked the instructor what the situation was since the schedule said the class was Zumba. She said they switched it and that we just did Body Blast. I said the switch didn't bother me at all and I loved it!  All in all a great workout for the whole family. I love it when someone tells me what to do (when it comes to working out only.. haha)!

Food Charmers: I'm not alone!

I stumbled upon this article from TheLunchTray.  The author, Bettina Elias Siegel, calls it grandparent sabotage.  Offering "treat" food is about love seeking and popularity. Why can't we focus on quality time and activities?!  The world needs a wake-up call.  Great article, Bettina!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Food {Wednesday}

Breakfast {Raspberry Choco Vanilla Smoothie}

Snack {Grapes + Mozzarella}

Lunch {Chicken Waldorf Salad + 2 Brown Rice Cakes}

Snack {3 Hard Boiled Eggs}

Dinner {Chicken Topped with Pesto + Sweet Potato + Asparagus}
This is like old times.,,

Cheat {Pistachios + Chocolate Chips}

Workout {Run}

I took the pups to Shunga trail. I got a side stitch on Mile 5, so I jog/walked that one. All in all a good endeavor. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Food Charmers

I've probably touched on this before at some point, but I'm going to devote an entire post to it now. Forgive me if I'm repetitive.  For me, the principles of this post are make-or-break.

When I started "dieting" (I use that term loosely because it's more than a diet; it's a lifestyle.), I had my meal plan, I had my workout plan, and I knew what to do when I was in control and it was just me and the food or me and the gym.  However, I had to get some major coaching from my sister, Christa, about how to deal with social food situations.  She was training for bikini fitness competitions at the time and was on an even stricter plan that I was. I will get to her tips in a moment, but I want to talk about social food situations.

When I lived to eat (my fatty-fat-fat days), I looked forward to going out to eat, birthday parties, baby showers, WEDDINGS, meeting a friend for lunch, etc. I would think I wonder what will be served. YAY! However, when I eat to live, I realize Holy shit, does every single social event have to revolve around a meal!?  It is a part of American culture to celebrate with food.  I realize that this dates back a long way in human existence and it is a part of other cultures as well, but I'll focus on what I really have experienced.  We Americans in 2013 celebrate, gather, and connect with food. Think about it. It's true. Early on in my weight loss experience, I started to notice that my family and friends used these opportunities to "indulge a little" or to "live life." I started to develop the mindset that I don't need to order a steak, baked potato, and macaroni and cheese in order to "live life." That's ridiculous. I was teetering between this person I used to be who would order or eat the best tasting stuff in order to maximize my experience in a social situation and this person I was discovering who would realize I am here to spend time with people and what I put in my mouth does NOT indicate how much I care about the event at hand.

It was January and I was realizing that while food is automatically involved in our social gatherings, that doesn't mean there is an emotional connection to the food. There should be an emotional connection to the PEOPLE I am there to spend time with or celebrate.

The hard part is, our mothers, grandmothers, uncles, etc. will probably think you are a FREAK if you don't eat at these events. I'll get to these "Food Charmers" at the end.

If someone is dieting to lose weight, they have a meal plan. They have a workout plan. It is my opinion and has been my experience that you CANNOT AFFORD TO CHEAT IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS. If you are maintaining your weight, then you can plan on these social events and work them into the overall game plan of 80% clean 20% cheat. Okay, fine. But if you are someone who is working to lose weight, you cannot cheat.  Period.  I really do think that when you are losing 1-2 pounds per week (which is how it's supposed to be done), you are not going to be able to cheat 1-3 times per week and lose that weight. You will start to slow down on your progress. You will get frustrated with all of the "dieting" you are doing with little-to-no results and you will quit.  That is my personal experience and what I have observed in my own family and friends.

Christa's tip to navigate a restaurant:
Research the menu beforehand. Most restaurants have a great option that you can eat. Plan ahead and order what you planned to order. It's not emotional.

Christa's tip to navigate a shower or small home party with snackies/dessert:
Pack snacks.  Eat a small snack beforehand (half a banana, some nuts, etc.). That way if there is NOTHING for you to eat there, you are okay. Drink water, and connect with the humans.  Have a snack in the car to eat when you leave the party. That will keep you from driving through fast food on the way home. You can survive a couple hours without food.  Food Charmer present? Read on.

Christa's tip to navigate a family-cooked meal:
Food Charmer alert.  A family member prepared this and will freak if you don't eat it. More on FCs later. Find out what is served, if you can. If you cannot eat it, follow the tip above. Eat before and after. Work the Food Charmer. Another option is to inform the hostess that you are on a nutrition plan and ask if you can bring a dish on the side that you can enjoy and others can try (a quinoa salad? a chicken salad?). A third option is if the hostess is serving something you CAN eat, great. Control your portions and thank your lucky stars!

If any of the above tasks sound impossible, I really just think that you might have a serious emotional attachment to food that needs further work. Therapy? More close friend support? Someone to lead by example?  Just being honest... I really think if you can't look at a menu beforehand and stick to a meal that is smart for your fitness goals, then there is more of an issue that I don't know how to advise.

Tips to navigate the Food Charmer:
Now we have come to what this post is all about. I feel like I could control my meal plan when it's just me and the food. I feel like I can pick out a meal on a menu. However, it becomes difficult when you are not eating OR you are eating an alternate meal around a Food Charmer.  Here is the definition for a term that I made up..

Food Charmer n. Usually a host or hostess who is responsible for supplying a meal for a social event (big or small) and associates an attendee's food consumption with health and/or happiness.

Hypothetical example: Your grandmother prepares a Sunday dinner for the family and if you act finicky about eating the food, she spends a lot of time and energy making sure you are eating and if you don't eat what she wants, her feelings are hurt. Usually, Food Charmers are women. It is like a love language for them to feed you food. This is how they show their love. I can relate. I do this for my family. I want to make them a kick-ass meal; I want them all to eat it; I want them to rub their tummies, say "yum" and request it again. Duh. It makes us feel good. It's a primal nurturing technique. The thing is, like I said, if you are striving for significant weight loss, you cannot afford to indulge Grandma. You can't. You can say that I'm is a matter of opinion. But I lost 33 pounds in 18 weeks. I put my money where my mouth is. Pun intended. What you can do with a Food Charmer is always call him/her before the event to explain that you are on a nutrition plan. Explain your healthy meal plan concept and that you are investing a lot of time and energy into eating well all week long and so you just can't afford to have your favorite his/her lasagna this time. Explain that your goal is to lose x pounds in x weeks and after, say, October, you will be x pounds thinner and you will be able to plan on indulging in all of the lovely food when you are coming over. It's about forewarning and communication. It would be a 5-minute phone call. Honestly, your Food Charmer is probably overweight themselves and should be able to respect the idea that you don't want to live this way. (Don't point that out to them, but I think it's a valid thing to point out.)  If you have communicated and you actually follow through on your discipline at the "event," and the Food Charmer respects you and doesn't give you a hard time, great. If you have communicated and the Food Charmer DOESN'T respect you, I have major concerns about THEM. (If your FC gives you a hard time, ask yourself if you communicated clearly and in advance. If you didn't, it's your fault. If you DID communicate but then went to Grandma's house and ate a little of this and a little of that that you said you wouldn't have, Grandma doesn't believe your intentions and you have opened the door for Grandma to pressure you with some enchiladas.) It will be uncomfortable, but stand your ground. You control what you put in your mouth. Be loving, but be focused. You might end up on the porch a 30-year-old. Fine. I really think it's worth navigating these waters. What is more important: Avoiding social discomfort for 30 minutes or meeting your weight loss goal? As I've said before, you are making a choice. If you can't handle the Food Charmer, it is because of YOU.

Honestly, the strongest tool you have is to SHOW your success. There is no way Grandma can feel hurt or can make snide comments if you are ACTUALLY LOSING YOUR ASS. You will gain Grandma's respect. You just have to be about action....not just talk a big game.

In my personal experience, my family very much respected what I was doing and NEVER gave me grief. My friends were curious at first...never mean at all...and once I started losing weight, they respected the way I ate in social situations. I became a symbol of strength and success.  My mother-in-law had an episode where we were deciding where to go for dinner and she kept asking me to pick a place that I could eat at. I appreciated that, but I knew that the family wanted Longhorn Steakhouse. I researched. They have a Fabulous Under 500 menu. But MIL went on and on about "Are you really going to eat?!" I got grumpy. I clammed up. I disengaged. Hubby to the rescue. He straightened her out. If you know Colby, he was nice and told her to go to the restaurant and it would all be fine. :)

I hope your experiences are as smooth as mine were. Are yours more difficult? Any other situations? I really hope this post helps SOMEONE!

Food {Tuesday}

If you want recipes, leave a comment below!

Breakfast {2 Slices of Toast + Pear + Maple Syrup + Almond Milk}
This was supposed to be an oatmeal bowl with pear, milk, & maple mixed in. I ran out of oatmeal. I substituted toast instead. A complex carb for a complex carb.

Snack {Kiwi + Pistachios}
A very green snack! :)

Lunch {2 Servings Creamy Asparagus Soup}

Snack {Apple + Almond Butter}

Dinner {Burger with white cheddar + 1C Skinnygirl White Peach Margarita}
A cheat! I had a $10 gift card to The Burger Stand (a gourmet grill in Topeka). So, I strategically planned to eat a cheat meal. I'm shooting for 80% clean & mean...20% cheateroonies.  I was clean all day yesterday and for the first 4 meals today. So, I cheat! It's a great life.  I did omit half of the bun on the burger. I had water and NO FRIES! If you've been to The Burger Stand, you know how huge it is to skip out on the gourmet fries and accompanying sauces. However, a fit lifestyle means you can have it all, just not all at once. My weight and physique won't fluctuate, but I was still able to have a burger and a marg. What whaaatt!

Workout {Legs + Abs}

5 min walk (warm-up)

Plie Squats 3 x 15 x 30
Box step-ups 3 x 1 min
Walking lunges with leg lift 3 x 20 x 10
Curtsy lunges 3 x 12 x 10
Fire hydrants 3 x 20
Hip lifts 3 x 15
Side plank with hip lifts 3 x 30 seconds each side
Crunches 3 x 30
Reverse crunches 3 x 30

Workout {Run}

Today is cardio day. I went about 2.3 miles with the puppies and the hubby. Then I finished with the puppies. :)  They were much better running buddies this time!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Food {Monday}

Breakfast {Oatmeal + Banana + Walnuts}

Snack {Cheese + Grape Tomatoes + Carrots}

Lunch {Almond Butter Chicken Salad + Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Bar}

Snack {Greek yogurt + Pureed Raspberries}

Dinner {Creamy Asparagus Soup + Baked Sweet Potato}

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Food {Saturday}

My only regret is having the two Clif Bars with dinner..

Breakfast {Clif Bar + Almonds + Dried Cranberries}

Snack {Carrots + Hummus}

Lunch {Whole Foods Market: 2 Slices Veggie Pizza + Balsamic Roasted Beets + Clif Bar}

Snack {Grapes + Rice Cakes + Cashew Butter}

Dinner {Whole Foods Market: Blackened Chicken Salad + 2 Clif Bars}

Snack {70% Cacao Chocolate Chips}

Friday, June 14, 2013

Food {Friday}

Today is a hot mess because I had to umpire. I feel like I did pretty well with my packed food. I just grabbed random stuff from my pantry. 

Breakfast {Oatmeal + Banana + Walnuts}

Snack {Tortilla Chips + Pineapple Salsa + Chocolate Chips}

Lunch {Almond Butter Sandwich}

Snack {Clif Bar + Grapes}

Snack {Rice Cakes + Cashew Butter}

Dinner {Whole Foods Buffet: Veggie Pizza + Cranberry Quinoa Salad}

Workout {Arms + Back}

Dumbbell shoulder press
3 x 10 x 15lbs

Lateral dumbbell raise
3 x 10 x 8lbs

Tricep dips
3 x 10 x 15 lbs

Bicep curls
3 x 10 x 12lbs

Dumbbell deadlift
3 x 10 x 30lbs

Food {Thursday}

Pre-workout Snack {1/3 Banana}

Breakfast {Omelet + Toast}

Cheat {20 Tortilla Chips + 3 Handfuls Chocolate Chips}
I had a total moment of weakness here. I guess this is what I'll cheat with when cereal is not an option.

Lunch {Almond Butter & Banana Sandwich}

Dinner {Steak + Sweet Potato + Bulgur with Feta}

Dessert {Handful of 70% Cacao Chips}

Workout {Spin/Core Class}

I went to a 5:30/6:30 class. We did spin for 40 minutes and abs for 20. Loved it because someone told me what to do!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Food {Wednesday}

If you want recipes, leave a comment!

Breakfast {Eggs + Hummus Filled Pita + Pineapple}

Cheat {8oz Iced Honey Lavender Espresso}
This is a specialty drink from PT's Coffee on College Hill. YUM.

Lunch {Almond butter & Banana Sandwich + Chocolate Chips}

Snack {Smoothie}

Dinner {Salmon + Feta Bulgur + Feta Salad}

Workout {Walk/Jog}

Worst. Run. Ever. I headed to the Washburn campus planning to run a solid 4 miles. I took the yellows.

Two things went wrong. 1. Chloe is a good girl, but Cody is a hot mess. She pulls me down the street. When I put on her gentle leader, she scrapes her face on the sidewalk to get it off. I kick her. We move on. She does it again. We stop to sniff. We jolt forward to run. It's a mess. It's all my fault because when she was a pup we primarily took her places where she would roam without a leash on. Now, she's a mess. 2. I ate a full breakfast 45 minutes before and it was a brick in my stomach. It made me totally sore. So, I allowed a stressful slow jog to start and ended up walking as needed because it was obvious that I wasn't getting much out of this run. I still went 3 miles. You can see from my time that this was a much slower version of cardio than I usually do. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. It was a beautiful morning and my pups got some exercise. Not a waste at all.  Moving on.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Food {Tuesday}

If you want recipes, leave a comment!

Breakfast {Greek Yogurt + Strawberries + Granola}

Snack {Cottage Cheese + Strawberries + Walnuts}

Lunch {Veggie Burger + Grilled Squash}

Snack {Granola}

Dinner {Maple Balsamic Chicken Flatbread}
This is so amazing.

Cheat {5 Tortilla Chips + 20 Cacao Chips}
I started making dinner late, so I snacked while I cooked. That resulted in me being stuffed!

Workout {Kettlebell, Etc.}

I did the following with a 15 lb kettlebell.

Around the body pass 10 times each way
Bent row 10 reps each side
Squat 10 reps
Figure 8 10 reps each way
5 Turkish get-ups on each side
Swing 15 reps
Squat 10 reps
Windmill 5 reps each side

I did that once through. Then I did abs:
Crunches 3 sets of 40
Reverse crunches 3 sets of 40

Then I did one set of lateral dumbbell raises (10 reps; 8 lbs).

Food {Monday}

Want recipes? Leave a comment!

Breakfast {Plain Oatmeal + Banana}

Snack {Larabar}

Lunch {On the Border Salmon + Veggies + Black Beans}

Lunch date with hubby. I had one sip of the watermelon margarita. According to OTB, my meal was 590 calories. I asked for the BBQ sauce on the side (and didn't end up eating it), so I figure I was right around 500. Success!

Snack {2 Rice Cakes + Hummus}

Dinner {Gourmet Burger + Grilled Squash}

Workout {Run}

Today is hard cardio only. I ran the neighborhood. I wanted to get an actual good run in, so I didn't take the puppies. It was so much easier!!

Later that night I went to the gym with my mom for moral support (and to hold her accountable). I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Then I did 2 sets of 10 deadlifts, 2 sets of 10 plié squats, and 2 sets of 10 calf raises. That was Mom's workout. Then, we went in an outdoor walk for about 20 minutes. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Game Plan Change

This is not a major change, but I want to document it nonetheless.  I am no longer going to have cereal in my house. Not even the organic kind. It is way to easy to throw together and I don't measure it in my moments of weakness. So, I'm done with it. It's so weird to me that there has been a stash of chocolate in the house (Snickers, Reese's, etc.) and I haven't touched it or even thought about it, really.  However, I "cheat" with that organic cereal and almond milk and I tell myself that it's okay. It's all relative, and most of you would laugh at my weakness for this cereal.  However, it's what I'm using to cheat, so it has to go. Also, if we're being completely honest, the cereal is processed. There is sugar involved. It's probably not really the way to go even if it is organic. Ideally, I would have cereal for breakfast once per week. But I can't limit myself like that. I miss eggs for breakfast. I miss bananas. I miss oatmeal. That is stuff I won't grab for a cheat. So, it's final. No cereal in the house.

As far as workouts go, I'm struggling to find a balance between strength training and cardio. I've been planning to do some weights and then some cardio every day. However, my cardio usually gets shortchanged because I've already been at the gym for 45+ minutes and I don't want to run for an hour at that point. Also, it's awkward to plan time at the gym and then drive somewhere to run outside. Or I come home from the gym to run in my neighborhood, but I don't feel inspired to go far because I'm at home! So, I got the idea from Sugar Nation to work out 5 days a week alternating hard cardio days with hard strength training days.  I'm loving that plan. I just want to stay toned and healthy. I'm not training for anything serious. Also, I've noticed that days off from running and strength helps my running days.  This new plan seems perfect.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Food {Sunday}

Today I'm living out of my car. I'm umpiring 5 ballgames from 8:00am-7:00pm. So, I'm all packed!

Breakfast {Plain Oatmeal + Banana + Peanuts}
I know that's weird, but I was out of walnuts. It actually tasted fine.

Snack {2 Hardboiled Eggs}

Lunch {Springtime Primavera Pasta}

Snack {1/2 Sweet Potato + Green Beans + 1/2 Orange + String Cheese}
I know that's really random, but I was hungry and that is all that I brought!

Dinner {Fuji Apple Salad + Bread}
I didn't eat any dressing. I had the white bread (Oh, the shame!).

Book {Sugar Nation}

I partly read and partly skimmed Sugar Nation: the hidden truth behind America's deadliest habit and the simple way to beat it.  I heard about this book because I stumbled upon a Sugar Nation feed on Twitter (@sugar_nation).  I love Sugar Nation's tweets! They post a lot of informative and encouraging words about what you put in your mouth. Then I realized Sugar Nation is a book!

So, I picked it up at my local library. It was published in 2010 by Jeff O'Connell. He is a Men's Health writer who got a big wake-up call when his estranged father ended up with type 2 diabetes. Now, Jeff is a tall skinny man, so there is not a weight loss issue for him. However, with his father on his death bed, Jeff decided to go to a doctor and get checked out for signs of any health problems. What do you know, turns out he was pre-diabetic.  I read the first 50 pages solid about Jeff's doctor visit and the subsequent chapters about what diabetes is and what it does to your body. I'm not really interested in details about the disease, but I knew that I would get some good morsels about using food for health.  Here are the main points from this book that anyone should write on a stone tablet and erect over their mantle think about.
  • Doctors use pills for nutrition-based illnesses when they should be using nutrition.
  • Nutrition can treat and even reverse diseases like diabetes.
  • Doctors are not well educated about nutrition.
  • Sugar is the devil.
  • Processed food is the devil.
  • "Sugar" products are found in many, many foods.
  • Nutrition and exercise should be 95% of your treatment plan. It should have the same dedication and importance as popping a pill that your life depends on.
  • You don't have to be fat to have health/nutrition problems.
This book is extremely informative. I won't go into detail here. If you are interested, you should read it yourself.  If you have a family member or friend in need of nutritional help, they need this book. If you are interested in nutrition and want to do your research (like me), read it. It's very focused around diabetes, but you will find that there are common denominators that every book or documentary about food-based health will all repeat over and over and over.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food {Saturday}

Breakfast {Power Smoothie}

Snack {Cottage Cheese + Grapes}

Lunch {Grilled Chicken + Springtime Pasta Primavera + Fruit}

Snack {Banana + Almond Butter}

Dinner {Salad + Clif Bar + Banana}
I went to a wedding tonight. I packed snacks. They served a BBQ buffet, so I went through and got a salad. The rest is what I brought in my purse.  This is how you do it, people!

Documentary {Hungry for Change}

This is the first documentary I have watched that wasn't recommended to me. On Netflix, if you watch something, similar titles are recommended to you. Apparently, there is an entire list of food-related documentaries. This is the first one on the list.

Hungry for Change

Basic Summary:
Dieting is a vicious cycle because it's temporary. It's not a lifestyle change. Twenty to thirty percent of all Americans are on a diet. We are in a world of abundance. We have a TON of food. Our food is not real food. It's food-like products.  If you diet the wrong way or in a temporary way, it is very likely that you will gain the weight back, plus some more.  Many experts come on to talk about their personal realization that they are fat and/or sick. Sugar is the cocaine of the food world.  It's in everything. People can consume a LOT of calories, but their bodies are still starving for nutrition. That's why people eat a lot but still get hunger pangs, they are tired, they don't feel well.

The film talks a lot about how our human body works in terms of ancestry. Thousands of years ago, our bodies hunted and gathered. Fat/sugar was survival. We are eating to survive a famine, a hard winter, or stress.  Now, we have the wrong food and we feast on it, but there is no famine.  People are overfed but are starving to death.

Food is becoming an addiction. People eat because they love it, they enjoy it. However, people go to bed at night praying to wake up thin with better health. It's a trap. Food companies engineer addictions into the food. MSG and free glutamates are used to enhance 80% of all processed food. You don't know where it is on the label because it had 50 different names.  It is protocol to make a mouse fat by using MSG. Every scientist knows that MSG makes bodies fat. It's not a secret. Nothing tricks your mind like a diet cola. There is aspartame and caffeine that creates an excitement toxin or a buzz. So, people drink a lot of pop for a buzz. A lot of women use diet pop to keep their weight under control.  Aspartame is some scary stuff. Artificial sweeteners cause carbohydrate cravings.  Manufacturers of these foods fund research to get studies to say that aspartame and artificial sweeteners are basically okay. Independent research shows a much different story.  This is all about making money. Sell an addictive food and you make a lot of money off of one person in their lifetime.  Marketing of these products is a lie. They sell sexiness and happiness. They don't talk about what is in it. In reality, people are sick, fat, and miserable.

Food packaging and marketing is a huge lie.  For example, there is a Total cereal that is called Blueberry Pomegranate.  There isn't blueberry or pomegranate in the cereal at all.  If packaging says "sugar free" or "fat free" or something to that effect, it is a chemical storm. It's a false food. Don't eat it.  We went on a fat free fad. The fat was replaced by carbohydrates or sugar. That created a fat problem.

You can't negate one side of nutritional balance. You can't go low fat or low carb. Your body will be starving nutritionally. Your body needs good fats and good carbs. Avocados, chia seeds, wild caught salmon...those are good fats.

High fructose corn syrup is terrible. It's not natural at all. It's a chemically-manipulated component of corn.  An analogy is how cocaine is created from the coco plant. Fructose is highly addictive. Your definition of what sugar is really needs to expand. It's bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, corn, potatoes, etc. We are comfortable with calling alcohol and cocaine and nicotine addictive drugs. People need to become very comfortable calling sugar a drug.

Food kills more people than all drugs on earth combined.  Why don't  people stop? Because they don't understand the interworkings of what we are really eating.

Diets don't work. They deprive us of a group of nutrients or they are overly processed crap that provides a quick fix.

What's the solution? Go to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Think about what you CAN have. Eventually, you will feel so much better that the bad food will not have a place in your life.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Documentary {Forks Over Knives}

I first heard about this documentary when my dad called to chat and it came up that he is no longer eating meat. WHAT?!

I'll give you some background information on my dad. He has been a pilot for 30+ years. He is pretty health/fitness conscious. He has competed in triathlons, marathons, and even an Ironman. He's also takes his competitiveness to motorcycle racing, car racing, and the like. He's your classic traveler, adventurer, and competitor. He is 63 and acts like a 30-year-old--in a good way. He's constantly listening and becoming educated on how to be good at something.

So, back to our phone conversation, I asked Dad why he's decided to take meat out of his diet. It's been over a month since this conversation happened, so I'm missing some figures. He told me that he was flying with a man from another country (I don't remember which one.) and this guy said that he recently lost a lot of weight (I don't remember how much.). My dad asked him how he did it and the guy said that he watched Forks Over Knives and that was it. He was done with meat. It was that powerful. Subsequently, he lost a lot of weight. Dad says that he then watched it and came to the same conclusion. No more meat.  Note: My dad doesn't really need to lose weight at all. Maybe 10 pounds tops (which isn't much). Dad is looking at this more from a health standpoint, I think.

I will add my own perceptions to this. I know that my dad can be very critical, so if some guy said a film was powerful, my dad isn't just automatically going to agree and do what this other guy did. So, I knew there might be something to this Forks Over Knives business. I mean, meat is a pretty serious thing to cut from a diet. I don't think you do that as a temporary fad or a quick fix. Dad is serious that he's done with meat. Mom is also not eating meat now. Okay, I had to watch this.

Now, if you've read my blog or you know me in person, you know I'm on a "clean" eating plan. I've learned through my weight loss that whole, natural food is the way to go. I've watched Food, Inc. and I'm only eating organic meat now. Okay, so let's see how Forks Over Knives applies to what I'm doing or if I need to again make more adjustments to my diet.

Note: I watched this via Netflix.

A skimming of Forks Over Knives

Our history is showing us that our health problems are skyrocketing. What correlates with that is our diet. We are eating differently than we used to. We are sicker than ever. One of 3 people born today will develop diabetes.  We are hyped on energy drinks and coffee that mask our fatigue. This film shows that the answer isn't pills. The answer is a whole-foods, plant-based diet.  The answer is spinach.

Case study #1:
There is a man who has horrible eating habits and a lot of medical problems. He visits two doctors who preform a preliminary checkup on him. The results are a wakeup call. They made a list of concerns and a list of goals. Then, the guy went on a whole-foods, plant-based diet for 12 weeks.

Nutrition should be used as medicine more.  We are prescribing pills too much. Our intake of dairy is unnatural and unnecessary.  (Dairy is an animal-based food.) Burger joints and supermarkets of the 1950s promoted convenience food that started the processing of food that has very poor nutritional qualities.  Protein became known as the most important thing to eat. If you ask anyone why we need to eat meat, the answer will be protein.  However, plants also have protein. If you eat plant-based protein, you will never be protein deficient. This is a huge misconception.

Case Study #2:
A man takes 5 pills for diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure as well as an injection.  He hates taking them. They make him have insomnia and he doesn't feel well.

The doctors studying plant-based food found a situation in the Philippines here affluent families were the only ones who ate meat, but they were the ones getting sick.  They also found a few cases where cancer was less prevalent in certain countries who don't eat meat.  Another case found that heart disease was huge in America, but not in China. The connection is that in China, they don't eat meat & dairy. (Or at least they didn't in the '50s.)  They've also done generation studies. The grandparents were healthier than the children and grandchildren. The difference is diet.

A whole-foods, plant based diet consists of natural, whole foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Avoid animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs. Also avoid processed food.

Case study #2:
The man visits the same doctors as Case study #1. They do a preliminary checkup and make a list of concerns and goals.

Less affluent sections of our population have trouble making good nutritional decisions. Poor people are poor in many ways. They are poor in money, information, time, and food-based decisions.

Case study #1:
Hi family says that he is doing very well, has lost weight, and feels better.

There are several people who come on say that they eat a plant-based diet for various reasons and they love it. One of which is a boxer who says that he used to eat all kinds of meat for protein, but he stopped and went to a dairy-less diet because he had an ear, nose, and throat allergy to dairy and eventually he dropped the meat too--which made him a vegan.  It's a stereotype that a vegan is a skinny hippy. That's not the case. He's a serious athlete who feels better by eating vegan.

Meat & dairy had been knows as nature's most perfect food. Now, that is known as a total myth.

The food pyramid is a mess.  Getting a school lunch is horrible for your nutrition.

Case study #2:
His blood pressure is normal. He feels much better. His cholesterol is much better. He is saving $200/month of medication.

Case study #1:
Lost 20 pounds in 12 weeks. Much lower blood pressure. Resting pulse is down to 60. Cholesterol went from 241 down to 154. LDL (bad cholesterol) when from 157 down to 80.

These successes came from nutrition...not pills.

My takeaway:
I am doing the right thing. Could I cut crackers and cereal from my diet? Yep, they are processed. (Even though I buy organic.) I don't feel the need to do that because 80% of what I eat is straight up natural. Seeds, fruit, nuts, veggies.  Could I cut meat, dairy, and eggs from my diet? Sure. My only issue is that I didn't get a good answer about what happens in the body when I eat meat that is so bad.  I don't drink cows' milk, so that solves that. I drink almond milk. I eat 2-4 eggs per week. I have about 1 meal per day that uses 3-4 oz of meat. I think a lot of these case study successes might have been similar on a "clean eating" diet like mine. Sounds like they just ate better in general. So, I think if I buy my meat organic (as I learned from Food, Inc.) and I eat "clean," I'm doing really well. I would need more substantial evidence to feel like I need to give up my 3-4 oz of organic meat per day.

I DO RECOMMEND THAT YOU WATCH THIS! It has a lot of information and statistics about health and nutrition in general that is absolutely important to see.  It will support a healthy lifestyle. You will never want to eat fast food or highly processed food after watching!

Food {Friday}

If you would like recipes for anything, leave a comment!

Breakfast {Kashi Cereal + Strawberries + Almond Milk}

Snack {Kiwi + Almonds}

Cheat {5 Crackers}

Lunch {Italian Turkey Salad + Crackers + Hummus}

Snack {Grape Parfait}

Dinner {Paisano's Ristorante in Lawrence, KS}
This makes me nervous. I looked on the menu beforehand and the only thing I could find is a build-your-own pasta. They have whole wheat noodles. Then you can add any sauce and veggies from a list.  This meal is a celebration after a wedding rehearsal for the funnest couple ever, Jeremy and Jess. At rehearsal, Jeremy mentioned that the dinner would be a buffet setup, so I prayed for a salad... Maybe some veggies...

OMG. I wish I could have taken pictures, but that would have been totally awkward!!! First of all, I was prepared to "cheat" a little bit tonight. You know, eat the healthiest option, but still eat it. Maybe even have an alcoholic bev or a dessert. Well, first we got served salad (the gross kind with white lettuce). But, it's a salad, so we were off to a good start. I had two small plates of salad while dipping my fork into the dressing.  Which is basically no calories. Maybe I consumed 30-50, tops. Breadsticks came. I didn't touch them. I was preparing for the cheat dinner. I had water only. I even thought about a Diet Pepsi, but decided I didn't even care to order it. Anyway, the buffet line happened.  My choices were all horribly covered in cheese and oil. Not to mention that white pasta was in all options. I seriously wish I could have snapped pics. So, I thought about grabbing a slice or two of chicken breast off of the top of the chicken alfredo and then asking my server for a dish of marinara.  But that didn't even seem worth it. Plus, I'd be the girl taking all the chicken! All of these dishes were just dense, cheese-packed blocks of lard. That's all they looked like to me. I surprised myself and decided not to eat there at all. So, I sat down while others ate their food. I offered no apologies. I offered no explanation. No one asked.  If they had, I would have told them the truth. I work out and eat well. This stuff isn't really on my plan! Side note: The woman next to me is allergic to soy, so she ordered a salmon and asparagus for herself.  I totally could have done that too, but why pay $12 for a meal when I can go to Panera Bread later and get something for $6?

And that's what I did.

We left shortly after. I felt great. We went to Panera Bread and I got my favorite acai berry tea and a strawberry poppyseed chicken salad. I tried to eat it with the dressing, but it was too much sweetness. The salad had pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. That was flavor enough!

Cheat {Granola + Honey}
I had a sweet tooth after dinner (still). I settled on this as a cheat dessert. YUM!

Workout {Quick Abs}

I woke up this morning and everything was slightly sore. I really did do a lot yesterday. I had planned to go to the Y and do a quick 30 minutes of abs and maybe run a mile or two, but on second thought, I figured Why go to the Y when I can do that at home?!  Oh, and I didn't run.

So, I did this:

6 sets of regular crunches (40) and reverse crunches (40)

That's 480 crunches total. It took me 15 minutes.

Food {Thursday}

Breakfast {2 Eggs + 2 Toast + Fruit}

Snack {Walnuts}

Lunch {Asian-style Beef Soup + Open-face Turkey Burger}

Snack {2 Rice Cakes + Almond Butter}

Dinner {Parmesan-crusted Pork + Green Beans + Sweet Potato}

Cheat {2 Bowls of Cereal + Almond Milk}

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Workout {Kettlebells, Etc. + Run}

This morning I had planned to go to the Y and lift weights followed by a run. However, Wednesday night a friend texted me asking to meet up at the middle school (our work) and join in a summer workout program. Of course, I was game. So, this morning we spent an hour and a half, and did this (approximately):

20 one-handed kettlebell cleans (each side) with 15 lbs
4 Turkish get-ups (each side) with 15 lbs
30 rope waves
30 rope drummers
20(?) shoulder presses with 18 lbs barbell
20 (?) bicep curls with 18 lbs barbell
figure 8 farmer's walk with 55 lbs kettlebell
figure 8 farmer's walk with 25 lbs kettlebell
10 wall ball throws 8 lbs ball
10 side wall ball throws (each side) 8 lbs ball

I know I did more once the middle school kids showed up, but I did 2 sets of the above plus some other exercises.

Later that day, Alex had a swim party, so I took the dogs and went for a run while she swam.  Mommies, if you spend time sitting at a sports practice for your kid, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to workout. GO FOR A RUN!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Food {Wednesday}

I was a big cheater last night. A full day of meals and then pizza and alcohol.  I love that I can eat that stuff and still be fit, but it's a slippery slope. I have to go back to discipline immediately. I can't constantly graze and snack and cheat. That's how 5 pounds happens. 10 pounds. and so on. And that is how I gain weight. Slowly and steadily. So, today was a discipline day. I didn't cheat at all and I had a solid cardio session. Felt good to get back on track.

If you would like any recipes, let me know!

Breakfast {Creamy Banana Parfait}
This is so yummy!

Snack {Larabar}

Lunch {2 Servings Asian-Style Beef Soup + Cantaloupe + Tortilla Chips}
This Asian soup is delicious! In the Clean Eating meal plans, the recipes are all really simple except for 2 per week where they send you to a full-page recipe that usually makes 8-12 servings. That is what this recipe is. It makes 12 servings. Colby loved it! Alex will try it tomorrow..

Snack {Strawberries + String Cheese}

Dinner {Turkey Burger + 3 Graham Crackers}