Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally Found It

I'm sure you've heard the advice that you have to find a physical activity you love to stick with working out. A close friend of mine found running and lost and maintains a large weight loss. Nubian Fitness Goddess found a love of running as well, and Synchronicity added swimming to his love of running. I tried, and well, running and only have a lukewarm chemistry, so I continued to look, wondering if I would ever find that true love (wait--this is starting to sound like my love live, lol).

Recently, I've discovered that I really love step class! I've taken it a couple of times in the past, but lately I have taken it consistently, and once I learned the moves I was hooked. I've been fortunate enough to have good instructors with good musical taste, and that truly makes all of the difference (I went to one step class with a horrible instructor who was constantly forgetting his routine and calling out the steps off beat). With step, I get 45 minutes of a strenuous workout with ab work at the end, but I feel like I am just dancing, and I love to dance. It also keeps me engaged mentally because the instructor is constantly calling out steps, and I have to keep up and remember the steps and calls. The best part is that you can really add your own style and pump up or lower the intensity on your own by moving your arms, adding a bounce, or adding risers. I have yet to leave a class not drenched in sweat.

Step may not be for the rhythmic or choreographically challenged. You also have to have the ability to laugh at yourself. I had to take at least 6 basic classes and about 4 advanced classes until I REALLY got it. Now I find myself scrambling to get to "my" step class. It definitely gets me to the gym.

My next goal is to get involved in some type of sport. I've never played a group sport before, but I am willing to try. Any suggestions? I am considering kickball (childhood favorite), flag football (cute men play...), soccer (foot eye coordination = fear), or tennis (too expensive / too much coordination but lots of locations to play and cute outfits).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Baby

Although I've known about him for a while, I met him only a few weeks ago. I've always believed that a good relationship is one that makes you a better person, and so it is with my new love.

It took me a while to get accustomed to him and his ways which were exciting yet accompanied by a steep learning curve. Despite a few glitches, he has made me a better communicator, time manager, and has provided endless hours of entertainment. He is also helping me with my fitness goals. *Swoon*

Who is this person? Well, I may have deceived you a bit: he is an it, and it is my new blackberry from which I have typed the last few posts.

Not only that, but now I have a snazzy new calorie and exercise tracking program from Livestrong/Daily Plate that is user and cost friendly($2.99). In the past, I've tried Weight Watchers Online (too expensive), and SparkPeople (free -but the food database is not as comprehensive nor is the mobile interface as user friendly as Daily Plate). I know that the easier it is for me to count calories the longer I will stick with it.

Calorie counting has always been a chore for me: logging onto the PC is not always convenient, carrying a notebook around is bothersome and laborious when it comes to calculations, and keeping track in my head is just ridiculous and a waste of brain space. Now that I have found the one, I don't know why I wasted time with all the others. What method do you use to track you food and exercise?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ooook. So why didn't anyone tell me that all of the attractive black men go to the gym at around 6-ish? Well, if I needed inspiration, I got it now. There is nothing like seeing muscular, sweaty black men of all complexions and stature exerting physical effort. Damn. If the allure of eye candy wasn't enough, the goal of getting tight for the summer was signed and sealed with every glance at each ebony glistening bicep. Lol, I will stop now. I'm starting to sound like a ghetto Harlequin novel...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Guess Who's Back

Wow, it has been almost 3 months since I've last posted. It's always easier to post when you are on your grind. The frequency of my posts tend to reflect the frequency of my workouts. I tend to get writer's block, well, writer's guilt and shame might be more appropriate. I guess I don't want every entry to look like this: I didn't work out today...again...ate bad food...damn....James.

It' much easier to record accomplishments. Hence today's reappearance! Today, the stars aligned, and I worked out after work. I can not tell you the last time that happened. In the past, if I didn't work out in the morning, it didn't happen because I was SO exhausted after work. It always amazed me how some people could go to the gym after putting in 8+ hours. "They must have a desk job," I told myself.

So, after taking a quick nap at home, I went to the local gym and ran/jog/walked on the treadmill. Every minute felt like I was playing "uncle" with my bones, each one screaming for mercy. It is amazing how out of shape you can get in month (or two) of little to no exercise. However, I got through it and I feel accomplished. More to come later....

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Recipe - Veggie Quiche

Weekends are the devil. I always seem to go way off track when Saturday comes. This weekend was no different, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

Instead, I'll share a successful recipe. I found a quiche recipe on Safeway's website and it turned out pretty well. Easy recipe, but even with all of the calorie cutting, it still isn't exactly lowfat.

However, it is high in protein and vegetables. Aside from the ease in preparation, I like this recipe because it can be easily altered. The base is just the milk, eggs, and mayo, but the accesories are limitless - like pizza! For example a local cafe has many different types of appealing quiches - feta and spinach, bacon and gruyere, pear and cheese, chorizo and pepperjack, I'm sure I can recreate all of this at home.

In this recipe I forgot to add the second cup of cheese, so I threw it on top; therefore, the quiche looks a little burnt, but it was tasty. Today I had it for breakfast with a veggie sausage patty (80 cal / 3g fat / 1g fib / 10g protein) and apple slices (70 cal / 0g fat / 3 g fiber / 0 prot).

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup 2% milk
4 "eggs", (use egg substitute)
8 ounces shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish frozen pie shell

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Line a cookie sheet with foil.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs. Season at your discretion.
Layer spinach, cheese, and peppers in pie shell, making several layers of each.
Pour in egg mixture.
Place quiche on prepared cookie sheet.
Cover quiche with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Remove cover, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and filling is set.

Nutritional Content - SparkRecipes analyzed the content for me. I don't know why the fiber is so low since it is a veggie quiche, but I will take their word for it. I am strongly considering making it crustless or finding a lowfat / whole wheat crust. The crust accounts for most of the calories and fat.

Per Slice (8 slices) -
Calories - 250.5
Total Fat - 15.3 g
Saturated Fat - 6.2 g
Poly/monounsaturated Fat - 0.0 g
Cholesterol - 14.0 mg
Sodium - 409.9 mg
Potassium - 94.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate - 18.4 g
Dietary Fiber - 0.5 g
Sugars - 3.5 g
Protein - 9.5 g
Calcium - 22.4 %

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Can I just admit that part of my drive for losing weight is to attract better looking men? I mean, not that I think Michael Ealy is gonna come knocking on my door once I hit my goal weight, and women can't tell me that doesn't run across their mind when getting fit. Just saying...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reworking the Plan

After not seeing the scale move, actually watching it go up a couple of pounds. I had to be honest with myself: exercise alone was NOT going to cut it. Some of you may be saying, "No sh*t!" But it is amazing what you can convince yourself of when you are determined to do something, or NOT to do something. Although I know it works, I viewed calorie counting as restrictive, confining, not living, and I am a FREEDOM loving person in every sense of the word. However, as the amount clothes I am able to fit slowly decreases, I decided my weight was more important. So I decided to rework the plan...
  • No alcohol during the week - Giving up the daily glass of wine (200 cals a day for an 8 oz glass = 1,000 a week. No wonder I gained!) wasn't as hard once I replaced it with a gourmet tea.
  • Record food at Spark - My new favorite thing
  • Keep calories under 1700

After two weeks of calorie counting I lost 3 pounds! Calorie counting isn't new to me, but it always amazes me just how many calories a person can consume in a day without realizing it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baby Steps - Meal Planning

I have successfully planned and prepared 75% of my meals and snacks for the week:

  • I made Indian Spiced Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup. This soup is so cheap and easy to make. It's one of those healthy meals that make you wonder if you are cheating because it tastes so good. Three different people have tried it and loved it. Of course I had to add my twist, so I add fresh chopped cilantro and parsley, more fresh garlic, garlic powder, and some garam masala. I also grind the chickpeas coarsely for texture as well as blend a couple of cups of the soup to make it thicker. This will be lunch along with pita chips and baby carrots.

  • I made five baggies of strawberries, grapes, and cherries.

  • I have greek yogurt for my 3 pm snacks. I plan on topping it with fresh blueberries and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

  • I also made oatmeal with golden raisins and dried cranberries. I added vanilla soymilk, maple syrup (1 tb), brown sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla protein powder.

I am so proud of myself! This was inspired by Bicycle Girl's Facebook suggestion to pack healthy snacks for the week. When I read that, along with her weight loss success, I thought to myself "Well that's easy, at least I can do that." I took it a step further and added the lunch and breakfast.

I also read an interesting quote from SparkPeople that inspired me:

"Millions of people hope to lose weight. Only a few actually prepare for it. They treat it like a treasure hunt, setting off on a quest and hoping it'll all work out. No wonder the dieting failure rate hovers near 95%. Any time you've reached a meaningful goal, it was because you were ready for it…"

In readiness is much preparation. This reinforced the importance of planning my meals in advance. Part of the reason I've gained weight in the past is because I routinely made poor food choices. I now know that if I leave my meals up to chance, I'll most likely choose something horrible. However, if I put in the effort to plan healthy meals for the week, meals that I know I will eat and that taste good, I will have more of a chance of success.

For example, I buy a lot of food that I feel I should buy because they are good for me or because they are good diet foods. Apples are the perfect example - fiber / apple a day / chewing / cheap / variety / blah blah blah. But I don't always eat them because they aren't always appealing to me. Apples are cool; I don't dislike them, but I don't LOVE them. This week I reached for the apples out of habit, but I thought to myself, what kind of fruit do I LOVE? I love berries and grapes, but I usually don't buy them b/c they are expensive in relation to other fruit. So do I waste the cheap fruit or buy and eat the expensive fruit? I ended up buying cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. I KNOW I will eat those...and they're so damn pretty (I'm such a visual person, lol).

I am still sticking with my basic goal of exercising 30 minutes at least 3x a week (for the past month I've done way more than that). Now I am adding meal planning. Every Sunday (or Saturday) I will prepare healthy snacks and cook one dish for the week.