Tag Archives: weight

My Diet Pit Fall…almost.

 

Apple Dip

= DELICIOUS!

 

 

I recently fell victim to a not so healthy caramel apple dip.  It’s advertised as “low-fat” and tastes great!  But unfortunately the calories are 150 per tablespoon.  For someone who slathers her apples in the dip, I need something that allows for a little more wiggle room in terms of calories.  I probably have that one tablespoon after eating only two apple chunks.  This would have been a diet disaster if I hadn’t caught that on the nutrition label! Yikes!

A healthy alternative which I have been munching on is made with either non-fat yogurt or reduced-fat cottage cheese.

Directions:

Take about 1/3 cup of either the yogurt or cottage cheese

Add 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar

Add cinnamon to taste.  Also could add nutmeg if you like that extra flavor.

Now, I am not positive about what this equals in terms of calories per serving.  I just stumbled across this recipe on a random website and decided to give it a whirl.  I know for sure that even if the calories are similar to that of the caramel dip I am replacing, there are a ton of added health benefits that you get from eating the non-fat yogurt like calcium and protein.  The same can be said for the reduced fat cottage cheese.  Also, the light brown sugar is about 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon.  So if you add two table spoons, that would be 8 grams of sugar.  Still not too bad, especially if you don’t eat the whole thing of dip at one time or all to yourself!  Most yogurts that advertise having “fruit” in them also contain a ton of sugar anyways, so this is still not as much as you would be having otherwise.

Most importantly!! You are eating a healthy fruit full of fiber! Leave the skin on the apple for added nutrients.  This is actually a filling snack and will keep you from munching on crap the rest of the day.  I even eat this for dessert after dinner if I’m craving something sweet.

Lighter Everyday Mac and Cheese

I was looking for a healthy version of a favorite comfort food that I could make for dinner and not feel guilty about chowing down on a bowl.  I haven’t tried this yet, but it will be tonight’s dinner of choice.  I’ll be using whole wheat elbow noodles and may end up adding some ground flax for added nutrition.

Lighter Mac and Cheese

Lighter Mac and Cheese

 

Everyday Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 5

According to the recipe, don’t be tempted to use either preshredded or nonfat cheddar cheese in this dish—the texture and flavor of the mac and cheese will suffer substantially. For best results, choose a low-fat cheddar cheese that is sold in block form and has roughly 50 percent of the fat and calories of regular cheese (we like Cabot brand).

Salt
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
1 (12-ounce) can reduced-fat evaporated milk
3/4 cup 2 percent milk
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or celery salt (optional)
Pinch cayenne
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.
2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes, before serving.

Per serving: Cal 360; Fat 10 g; Sat fat 6 g; Chol 40 mg; Carb 45 g; Protein 24 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 720 mg

Variation: Everyday Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Peas

Follow the recipe for Everyday Macaroni and Cheese, adding 2 ounces deli-style baked ham, cut into 1/3-inch pieces, and 3/4 cup frozen peas with the macaroni in step 3.

Per serving: Cal 390; Fat 10 g; Sat fat 6 g; Chol 45 mg; Carb 49 g; Protein 28 g; Fiber 3 g; Sodium 880 mg.

Thanks to the Early Show website for this recipe!

My Favorite P90x Moves

It took me forever to finally break down and buy the P90x system.  The price was the absolute biggest factor.  I couldn’t get myself to pay $120 dollars for a workout dvd.  Then I realized that most people pay at least that much going to a gym, so I found it to be more of an investment that anything.  Plus, even if I wasn’t the perfect P90x-er, I was still going to get a great workout.  In the end, I went on Amazon.com and found the system for $80 used.  I couldn’t say no to that price!

So I’m going to share with you my favorite moves from the workout dvd’s.  Now you can try these at home or at your gym and see if they work for you.  At the very least, you’ll see what I’ve been doing these past few weeks! I’ll try to explain them as best as possible. I’d much rather demonstrate them, but I supplied pictures to help you see what I am saying in my description of each move.

Here are my Top 5 Exercises

5) Balance Lunges

Balance Lunges

Balance Lunge

This move belongs to the Legs and Back series of exercises.  I love this move and was doing them even before P90x.

Place top of foot (or tiptoes) on chair. Lunge outward with other leg. Be sure to keep knee over ankle.  Dip down without allowing your knee to move past ankle. If necessary, modify by placing top of foot on chair. To intensify: Add light weights and increase range of motion.

4) Dive Bombers

Dive Bomber

Dive Bomber

The dive bomber is awesome.  I can usually only do 8-10 because my arms literally collapse.  This is part of the Chest and Back workout.

Begin in a “downward facing dog”-like position but with wider feet and arms.

Lower your head to the ground as you arch your bad – pretend there is a fence and you are going to go underneath it.  Stay on your toes as you do this move.

Finish by pushing yourself upwards.  Your back will be arched.  Your chest should be up with straight arms – this is like an “upward dog” pose in yoga.  You should still be kind of on your toes, your knees shouldn’t be touching the ground.

To go into the next move, either push back into a downward dog or do the move in reverse by lowering back into the second part of the exercise and again back into the downward facing position.  Either will work, but doing the move in reverse will be harder.

3) Right Angle Pose and Extended Right Angle Pose

 

Extended Right Angle Pose

Extended Right Angle Pose

This one is kind of tricky to explain, but I’ll do my best.  This is my favorite move from the Yoga series.  Begin in a deep lunge, don’t allow your knee to extend over your ankle in the process.  Next, raise your arm over your head.  Your other hand can balance on the ground nearest your front foot for now.

Next, bring your raised arm back behind you.  Use the other arm to reach under your front thigh and grab your wrist.  Hold this pose for 30 seconds or so.  Then do the other side with the opposite leg in front and the opposite arm reaching behind and underneath you.

2) Jump Knee Tuck

 

Jump Knee Tuck

Jump Knee Tuck

This is fairly straight forward.  The jump knee tuck exercise is part of the Plyometrics workout.  Basically, you’ll want comfortable shoes for this one and a cushy mat under you.  You’re going to spring off the ground and tuck your knees into your chest then land on your toes.  Try to make sure you don’t come booming down to the ground – you should land relatively quietly if you’re landing on the balls of your feet.  Do this multiple times for at least 30 seconds.  The last 10 seconds, pick up the pace and do as many as you can very fast.

1) The Push-Up

 

Push Up

Push Up

Surprise!  Anyone who has read through my blog knows I am a stickler for push-ups.  They really are the best exercise that hits all the best places on your body.  You’ll work your chest, butt, arms and abs.  No more saggy anything with this move.  Heck, if it’s good enough for those tough army soldiers, it’s good enough for me!

Now, start in the plank position.  Lower yourself, keeping your back straight (not saggy and don’t allow your butt to stick out in the air).  Keep lowering your body until your arms form a 90 degree angle.

Next push back up onto your hands, keeping proper form and then repeat the exercise.

Your wrists may hurt, so try getting the push up bars as these will keep your wrists from straining and will also extend your range of motion.

So there is just a taste of my daily burn.  I’ll post more exercises as I go.  I hope this helped anyone who was curious as to what the P90x program entails.  Obviously there is a LOT more exercises, these are just my favorites that I look forward to sweating through.

P90x Update Part 2

So it’s been a while since I posted an update, but after the holidays I decided to sort of start the program over. I had missed too many days and I didn’t feel like I was doing myself any favors by pretending my slacking wouldn’t matter.

This time I’m not using the same recipes that is recommended in the P90x nutrition manual; however, I am cooking healthy meals for myself. I am mainly using my Taste of Home cookbook, which has a whole section dedicated to 30 minute healthy meals. I haven’t had a flop yet and even my husband agrees that they taste delicious. The P90x meal plan was fine, but it required a lot of random ingredients that may only be used for one recipe. Overall though, their nutrition plan is probably good, but I find my healthy cookbooks and allrecipes.com to be my personal favorites.

I’ve been strict on getting my workout in every morning. I’ve noticed that the more I do it, the easier it is to wake up and do it again. My body is sore the next day, but I’m sure that’s because of the long holiday hiatus I embarked upon and will get better as I go.

The good news is I have lost 3-4 pounds and it is staying off. I weigh myself consistently first thing in the morning and before breakfast. This makes it more accurate of a measurement of my progress.

I will post a before and after picture for all in the next couple days!

Rehabbing with the Troops

Wedding Day Bliss

Wedding Day Bliss

For those of you who don’t know, my husband was a combat medic stationed in Afghanistan.  We actually met while he was overseas.  I was working in another library and had heard that they needed care packages sent to help boost troop morale.  I put together a box full of books and snacks and hygiene products, but I didn’t want to send it anonymously.  My friend had been in Iraq and mentioned that they didn’t take anonymous mail seriously.  So, I randomly came across my now husband’s name online and sent the package to him.  He wrote back thanking me and we kept in constant contact for the next 6 months or so.  When he was finally sent back to the states he immediately flew to Wisconsin to meet me and my family.  We’ve been together ever since.

At Work in Afghanistan

At Work in Afghanistan

When he got back from being deployed, he was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury.  The right side of his body doesn’t work properly and for a while he couldn’t write his name.  From the outside you can’t really tell, but every now and then some symptom shows itself.  He wasn’t allowed to workout for the rest of the time he was in the Army because they felt that it might worsen the symptoms of the TBI.  He ended up putting on some extra weight and hasn’t been able to find the motivation to lose it.  We’ve bought all the workout equipment and every now and then he’ll get a boost of energy, but overall he just needs that team-like feel and extra support that he got while in the Army.

So just recently he was accepted into a program called Rehabbing with the Troops.  He has to do certain workouts and challenges along with other veterans while posting videos and blogging about the experience.  I’m very happy for him because he now has that brotherhood of support that was lacking and he’s truly excited about starting the program and getting in shape!

I’ll keep you posted on his progress as he goes!

Make It Through the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

Healthy Holidays

 

Healthy Holidays!

How do people make it to January without weighing 10 pounds more than they did before the festivities began? Here are a few tips that I plan on putting into practice myself and you may want to as well!

Eat! Yes, eat breakfast, have healthy snacks readily available and always, always, always… Eat before going to a holiday party. Don’t feast, but have a light meal so you don’t show up starving and ready to polish off that cheese dip.

Don’t worry about saving room for dessert because half the time it’s not a diet friendly dessert anyways! Instead, fill your plate with a lot of healthy lean meat and veggies. For example, this would be turkey breast without skin and salad. Eat the healthy stuff first, then have a tiny sample of one or two other things you can’t live without.

When it comes time for dessert… If you must have it – split it with someone! Or better yet, bake your own healthy dessert and bring it to share! Then you are being healthy and a good guest! (See recipe for Baby Tiramisu at end of article)

Another tip? Don’t fill up on alcohol! Its a calorie black hole and may also have a lot of sugar. Plus you end up snacking in the process. Better to have one glass of wine or one light beer. Avoid margaritas and pina coladas unless you plan on skipping that piece of pecan pie!

And of course… Keep moving! No slacking on exercise! Try to get in something everyday! Shoot for 20-30 minutes. If you can’t go long – go hard!

Baby Tiramisu

Baby Tiramisu
Thanks to EatingWell for this recipe!

6 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45

Ingredients

1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese, (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 ladyfingers, (about 1 3/4 ounces)

4 tablespoons brewed espresso, or strong coffee, divided

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)

Preparation

Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Place 6 ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Notes

Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

Nutrition
Per serving:

107 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 125 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium.

1 Carbohydrate Serving

 

NO MORE CABIN FEVER!!!!!

It seems the older I get, the more I hate winter.  I love snow, but I hate driving in it and it gets dark so freakin early that you miss those happy sunshine-y days.  This winter, I’ve got a game plan and I’m not going to end up stuck inside, bored and munching on a plate of Christmas cookies.
What’s my secret?  I’m going to embrace the cold.  There are so many activities to keep you busy even with snow on the ground, there’s just no excuse to be a winter bum.  The nice thing is that most of these activities end up being a workout in and of themselves, which is great especially if you can’t stomach running on a treadmill all winter long.

 

 

Snowshoeing Workout

Snowshoeing is probably going to be the number one thing I get into this season.  I live around many parks and nature preserves that allow for great hiking, but obviously deep snow can provide numerous challenges.  Snowshoes are the perfect winter hiking accessory.  They allow for more stability while walking in snow and ice, but also they are huge calorie burners!!!  We’re talking 480 calories an hour just going at a walking pace.  Not only that, but they are easy, easy, easy to use!  If you can walk, you can snowshoe.  It is also low impact, so if you have knee problems or other health issues this is a great option!  There is little equipment required.  Snowshoes, boots of any kind and warm clothes!  Just remember to wear layers that you can peel off or put back on as needed.  For those runners who want to trail run in the winter, snowshoes allow for running in the snow as well.  It’s a great activity to get you out in nature and mixes up your typical workout day.

 

 

 

Snowboarding

Snowboarding and skiing are two other winter activities that, although more expensive, are a ton of fun!  The amount of calories you burn depends on how hard you push yourself.  Still, you are strengthening your legs and ab muscles while going down the hill, especially if you are carving down the mounting.  There is equipment involved, boots, skis or board and winter clothing.  Plus you’ll need a lift ticket, which at a lot of places is expensive.  BUT there are ways to keep the expense at a minimum.  Don’t go out and buy this stuff before you’ve at least tried it to see if you like it.  Most ski hills offer rentals for the boots and board/skis so there isn’t a need to purchase these things right away.  Also, find out if your ski hill has discount days.  If you are really ambitious, get a part time job at the ski hill.  My mom did that for my brother and I as kids so that we could get family passes, for free!

 

 

Ice Skate Date

 

 

Ice skating is another fun winter activity.  This is much more economical than snowboarding and skiing because most ice skating rinks offer rentals and are less expensive in terms of fees to get in.  On average, a 150 pound person can burn almost 400 calories ice skating at about 9 mph.  Plus, it’s great for date nights or family activities!  What better way to mix up the winter boredom than to go ice skating?  You get a workout it, you have fun and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.  Even if you fall down, you just laugh it off and keep going.  If your town doesn’t have an actual indoor rink, many cities will flood the parks in the winter so that people can ice skate on it.

 

So these are just a few ways to avoid the boredom and monotony that the winter season so often brings.  I’m actually looking forward to winter now that I know I have other options than just sitting inside with the boob tube.

Packing On the Liquid Pounds

Packing on the Liquid Pounds

Packing on the Liquid Pounds

Frappacinos, lattes, milkshakes, soda, energy drinks and the list goes on and on and on.  All of these liquid caloric black holes that suck us in with their deliciousness. We drink them without even thinking about it. Even when we are trying to be healthy, we focus too much on what we are chewing and not enough on what we are drinking.  When we are on the go, we reach for smoothies to tide us over instead of actual food.  Sure, they are easy to prepare and portable.  Still, none of these are healthy choices or choices that you should substitute for a meal.

Why aren’t these beverages a good choice for someone who is trying to watch their caloric intake? First off, these drinks aren’t full of nutrients.  Most are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  According to CNN, a seemingly healthy smoothy can pack 300 calories into your body.  That’s quite a bit, especially if it accompanies a regular full calories lunch.  And even on its own, most smoothies you get are not full of nutrients that you need to keep you feeling full.  So yes, maybe you’ll drink that smoothie and on its own it seems ok.  But by 2:30 in the afternoon you’re hungry again and reaching for more and more food.

The fact of the matter is drinking your calories isn’t even a satisfying way to get your nutrition.  According to scientists, there isn’t the same psychological cue associated with drinking as there is with eating.  Which is why you are still hungry after drinking that full-fat latte.

Here is some information from CNN.com

A Meal in Itself

Just Say No

75 percent of U.S. adults are projected to be overweight or obese by 2015, according to researchers. Americans consume anywhere from 150 to 300 more calories than they did three decades ago and half of those calories come from liquid. A new study out of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that reducing liquid calories, especially from sugar-sweetened drinks such as punches, fruit juices and sodas, helps people lose weight and keep it off.

So instead of having a soda, drink water.  Water has no calories and keeps you hydrated without added sugar.  If you are hungry, have a nutritional snack like a piece of string cheese or a handful of almonds.  Have a healthy lunch instead of a smoothie.  If you are going to make smoothies anyways, make them at home with little to no sugar. Use real or frozen fruit and plain non-fat yogurt. Add healthy nutrients like protein powder and flax seed meal.  These will keep you full and will add healthy calories instead of empty calories into your diet.  Still, it’s always better to have a meal than drink your calories for the day in one beverage.

Healthy Smoothie Recipe

Try One of These Instead

Banana-Strawberry Fruit Smoothie Recipe
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 6 strawberries, frozen
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. skim milk powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp. high- quality protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. flax oil (optional)

In a blender, process all the ingredients until thoroughly mixed and serve.

P90x Update!

So I’ve completed a little over a week of the program and today, my muscles are aching! I love the burn, so to me it’s just a sign that my body is actually getting something out of this whole thing.

Now I’ve been loosely following the diet. Mainly, I use the breakfast and dinner recipes and try to avoid as much junk food as possible.

All the hard work is paying off! I have some abs going. I’ve lost a healthy 2.5 pounds (which is great for me because I’m already at a healthy weight). My back is super strong, but not manly looking. All in all, I’m enjoying the program. The hardest part is the time commitment and dragging my butt out of bed early enough to fit in the workout.

I like Tony’s instruction and his tips that he gives. He clarifies proper form very well and it comes at just the right moment when I’m about to make a mistake.

The recipes taste great! My husband was afraid to try the Island Pork Tenderloin. He was seriously planning on getting take out if it was a dud. It ended up being his favorite meal that I’ve cooked lately! It was super easy to throw together too.

All in all, I’m loving it and looking forward to pressing play and bringing it some more!