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healthy eating

one day

It has been birthday party season in my daughter’s group of friends.  Four parties all within two weeks, which undoubtably meant cake, cupcakes and icing.  Just plain ol’ sugar.

A few weeks ago, I seriously committed to eliminating sugar from my diet.  I stopped snacking on fruit bars and tried to keep my peanut butter and jelly thievery down to one or two bites.  And amazingly enough, I stopped buying my coveted chocolate chip cookies.  I was honest with myself and knew I would need an evening treat, so I started making chick pea peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  They are super delicious, filling and made of three REAL ingredients.  You guessed it: chick peas, peanut butter, dark chocolate chips and the missing link, honey.

Birthday party number one.  Cupcakes.  Loaded with icing.  I’ve always removed most of the icing for my daughter because that is usually the only thing she eats.  Yuck.  And I’ve found that if I take it off, she’s more likely to walk away from the cupcake or cake.  Which is exactly what happened this time and she left me alone with her plate of fallen apart chocolate cupcake.  My willpower failed and I ate it.

At least it was only half?!

Even though I didn’t want to eat the treat, I was happy that I hadn’t grabbed one for myself as well as polishing off hers.  Small victories.

Next party.  Cake.  Covered with fondant.  I stood my ground at this party.  Again, I removed as much fondant as my protesting daughter would allow and she abandoned ship pretty quickly.  Plate of cake….again.  I walked away and hovered over the fruit, eating watermelon every time I felt an urge to try a piece.  SUCCESS!

After buckling my daughter up in the car, I feverishly texted my diet texting buddy and told her about my victory.  I was so proud of myself.  And I even stuck to my Paleo diet by only eating the chicken and fruit.  Happy dance – begin now.

Okay, done.

Third birthday party.  Cupcakes.  Same procedure as the last two.  Remove icing and my daughter walked away.  Unfortunately, my son wanted some this time and I was forced to touch the cupcake, which ultimately led to me having a bite or two.

And then I realized something at this party.  That all three of us could eat just one piece of cake or cupcake.  My daughter seems to always loose interest once the ever so exciting icing is gone and it’s easier to restrict a 17 month olds consumption and I don’t need more than a bite or two myself.  Brilliant I say!

Last party.  Also known as, the demise of me and my will power.

I think it’s safe to say I ate about four to five healthy sized pieces of cake.  And as I kept eating them, I was thinking “why am I not feeling full or tasting how much sugar is in this?”  I ate my piece.  Finished my daughters.  Went back for a small third and fourth piece, oh and I brought two more pieces home, which I ate most of all by myself on the couch that night cause my husband had to go in for a work related emergency.  Therefore, I blame him!

Monday morning.  First thing I did was throw out the left over cake.  Peace out cake slice.  About an hour later, my stomach did not feel good at all.  And within 45 minutes, it was official – I was sick.  So sick that my husband had to come home to watch our two little people while I was incapacitated.  And for 14 hours, I was either in bed and sorry to over share, or in the bathroom.

I don’t think I’ve ever received a bodily message more loudly and clearly – TOO MUCH SUGAR!

It has been almost four weeks that I had seriously cut back my refined sugar intake and it’s amazing how quickly my body started adjusting to the change.  I had even omitted baking with white flour and was using almond flour instead.  Most of my sugar came from fruit or honey or the 1/2 cup of organic dark chocolate chips in my chick pea peanut butter cookies.  I never felt like I was depriving myself of sweets, just not five huge pieces of cake worth.

Despite all the discomfort and pain I suffered through Monday, Tuesday I woke up feeling great.  And six pounds lighter.  Even though that does sound exciting, it’s all water weight and I knew I was serious dehydrated.  Water.  Water.  Water.  I even went to my usual Kettle Bell class and felt pretty strong.

I’m now starting to realize how important it is to properly feed your body.  This is something I think everybody knows, but it is hard to always follow through.  Myself included.  And after an experience like Monday, I have not looked at treats the same way.  I even skipped over cookies a friend of mine baked the other night and stuck with just watermelon, and gladly too.

Maybe one day, I will train my taste buds into loving real sugars like fruit and honey more then cupcakes and cookies.  Maybe one day, I will no longer see cake and yearn for it, but happily think “No thank you!”  Maybe one day, I won’t struggle to pass the plate of home made cookies or better yet, just be able to have one and be satisfied with that ONE.

One day.

chocolate zucchini muffins

This morning I decided to make one of the four different paleo recipes I left tagged on my computer.  While clicking through them, my husband comes by and spots the chocolate zucchini bread and excitedly asks, “You’re making zucchini bread?”

Sure, why not.

My daughter instantly drags the kitchen chair over the island, hops up and states, “I want to help.”

Sure, why not.

The recipe is originally for a bread loaf, but I went with the cupcake tin.  I find it’s easier to control how much I am eating of such deliciousness if the portion is already predetermined.  The batter made 11 cupcakes and baked for 20 minutes.

chocolate zucchini batter

I swapped out the sun butter for 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup almond butter.  I also used a

lmond flour instead of coconut flour cause that is what I had on hand.

While mixing all the ingredients together, my daughter was thrilled to see  we were making “cupcakes!”  And chocolatey nut buttery goodness they were!

I had two for breakfast.  Guilty.

With my ingredient substitutions, I calculated that each muffin, or cupcake according to my daughter, had about 160 calories.

On second thought, these would make excellent birthday cupcakes.  Just throw some icing on top, finely grate the zucchini and I doubt the kids would notice they are eating something healthy. 

I hope you get the chance to bake and enjoy these!  Cause I know, they aren’t lasting long in my house.

Here is the link for the recipe I followed:  http://paleomg.com/moist-chocolate-zucchini-bread/

4:30am

True story.  Both of my kids were awake at 4:30 this morning.  And were back in bed by 8:30am, fed, bathed and freshly dressed for nap time.  I was tired and frustrated that one, they woke up so early.  What’s wrong with them!  And two, they were both incredibly cranky because they had decided to wake up at such an unreasonable hour.  Myself included because well, they obviously woke me up and I could have used at least one more hour of zzzzzz’s.

It was quiet in my house by 8:45am and I was lying in bed reading a chapter in my current book entitled “Emotional Eating.”  Ha.  If you happened to be reading my posts, my last one was about emotional eating and how negative feelings such as frustration and stress lead me to cookies.

Can you see where my morning was leading me?

You got it right – cookies.  I closed the book out of annoyance that someone was trying to help me work through these feelings and show me better ways to deal with my emotions.  I have already have a great way to deal with them – cookies!  So I jumped out of bed.  Went to the kitchen.  Poured milk into the 1 cup measure cup that was sitting on the counter from breakfast (I used it to measure my spinach for my omelet) and proceeded to dunk cookie after cookie into it.

Such fleeting happiness.

I went back to bed, still tired and frustrated by the morning.  Between struggling to get everyone to eat some breakfast and control the splashing contest during bath time and pick up every last tiny bit of play dough my 16 month old son threw around the kitchen this morning, I was already spent and now 650 calories invested in cookies.  Side note, my son does have a pretty good arm!  Baseball?

I set my alarm so I could wake up with enough time to get ready to head to the gym for my usual kettle bell class and I remembered something a friend of mine said after readying my emotional eating post.  Make hurtles for yourself before you are allowed to eat what your emotions are driving you to crave.  So brilliant!

Okay.  I decided on a few hurtles to try out and see how it helps next time.

One: drink a large cup of water.  Not only is just good hydration practice, but it will hopefully filly my belly up and discourage the cookie monster within.

Two: throw on a sports bra and do 5 minutes of jumping jacks.  This is only possible when I’m home already but worth a try.  Maybe the quick exercise will be enough to boost my seratonin levels to change my mood.  And promote healthy thoughts of “reach for an apple” instead.

Three: I’ll have to think of a good one when I am out and about.  Maybe inclined pushups on the car?  Or drink a whole bottle of water that I keep warming in the trunk?

Now, I am dressed (kids are still napping!) and ready to go to the gym for class.  I am determined to burn at least 700 calories today as punishment for my weakness this morning.  But, it’s not really “punishment” cause I love my class and I have started to embrace the elliptical machine.  At the ripe old age of 27, my knees are shot and the treadmill hasn’t been my friend lately.  But, I do notice I push myself to keep my heart rate high on the elliptical enough that it’s a great cardio work out.

It’s never too late to change your day and away I go to make it better

it’s hot & i want a cookie.

Summer has arrived and so has the heat.  We don’t have AC so you can just imagine how 3 o’clock in the afternoon feels inside the house – about 85 degrees actually.

Therefore, I spent the past two days sticky and sweaty, which caused a serious case of laziness and boredom and all I wanted to help “fix” the day was cookies.  In my mind, there was an obvious connection that made a treat a sensible solution.  But, what was it exactly?

I was uncomfortable, which led to feeling cranky.  I was annoyed by the heat and more importantly, that I couldn’t escape it.  Then I started getting frustrated that we hadn’t finished cleaning and repainting the basement so I could at least hide down there.

I was clearly dealing with a ton of emotions.  Negative emotions that drove me to crave a sugary fix.

Once my son woke up from his nap (drenched in sweat), we left the house to run a few errands.  While driving, with the AC on full blast freezing my brain, I was scheming on how to get cookies without having to drag my two little ones in and out of the car.  Especially since I didn’t want my oldest to see them and start begging for one.  Even while plotting out my purchase, I was becoming more annoyed by all it’s potential failures.

More negative emotions that were leading me down the cookie road.

Well don’t fret, this story ends happily, in a way.  Once my children had gone to bed, I was sitting on the couch holding a package of cookies and dipping them into milk as quickly as possible.  Bliss.  It was about half way through my last cookie when I realized, I’m such an emotional eater!

All day long, I was trying to find comfort inside these delicious chocolate chip cookies.  But where was it?  Cause I couldn’t find it.  They must have left it out during the manufacturing process so I’d like my money back please.

I’ve recognized this pattern in the past.  Either I’m tired or having an off day, and I turn to cookies like they have some magical powers to make everything ALL BETTER.  And they don’t and it is always a let down.

So, I did some research and there are some helpful steps to avoid emotional eating.  There are tons of triggers, not just feeling down in the dumps, so step number one says to identify your trigger.  Mine is usually the overall not feeling my perky, chipper self.

Second, find alternative ways to “feed” your feelings.  How about read a book?  Or take some deep breathes?  Or lock yourself in a closet until your children stop yelling?  Whatever works.

Next, take a five minute break when a craving hits.  Typically cravings will pass within that time.  Or if you’re like me, they will haunt you for the rest of the day.  But I will try my hardest next time to forget about the cookies.

Lastly, support yourself with healthy habits to help promote an overall healthier lifestyle.  For example, work out, maintain healthy relationships, sleep and relax.  Mmmm, ok.  I work out five times a week for almost two hours a day.  I think I have great relationships with the people in my life.  Sleep, did I mention I have two children?  And relax, did I still not mention I have two children?  Because I have two children.

Well, now we all know the steps to help stop us from reaching for the chips or ice cream or cookies when we’re tired, upset, bored, stressed, anxious or even happy and excited.

Good luck the next time these feelings start creeping up and hopefully those few deep breathes or a quick read will help you pass up on those tempting treats.

to mimi’s house we go

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT go to my mother’s house when you decide to start eating healthy.

I drove to New York for my sister’s high school graduation.  And not only was I greeted by the soon to be graduate, but a beautiful box of Italian rainbow cookies.  Know the kind I’m taking about?  Multi-colored cookie with layers of jelly filling surrounded by chocolate.  Ringing a bell?  They are my absolute favorite!  My determination to stick to my diet instantly disappeared and was replaced with the urge to rip the package open and start chowing down on them .  At 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  Who needs to wait until desert time?!

I did manage to walk away and funny enough, a few minutes later my mother decided to hide them from my brother who was expected soon, another sweet tooth in the family.  But don’t worry about me and my wee little shred of will power.

On the upside, I had started the day of great.  My new fitness planned called for 60 minutes of cardio and I wasn’t going to miss that.  The car was packed with all things necessary for our overnight stay and we went straight to the gym.  After 30 minutes on the treadmill my knees started to give out so I switched to the elliptical for the remaining 30 minutes.  After a quick shower, my and my two kiddies started our journey North.

I knew we would be traveling for snack and lunch time so I filled the car with healthy options from apples to hard boiled eggs to greek yogurt.  I even brought left overs of tuna and baked soybeans to have for lunch, which I’d like to proudly announce, I did eat while driving.  Everything was going wonderfully and healthfully until the dreaded cookies were spotted.  By dinner time at 8 pm, three hours past my usual dinner time, I was defeated.  The half of a cheeseburger and half of a hot dog went down with some regret, but those 10 or so rainbow cookies were simply amazing.  Oops.

I’m home now, a cookie free home, and tonight will be half a grapefruit for dessert.

Traveling long distances or even just driving down the street can be so challenging when you’ve decided to eat healthy.  Rest stops and restaurants make it impossible to make healthy choices.  Why eat one of the four salad options when you can try one of the 17 different burger combos?  Grilled onions with extra BBQ sauce, I’m in.

So, do we dare cross the threshold of our front door hungry or so near to our afternoon snack time?  I’m learning that it’s not a good idea but if you have to, go prepared.  Throw some almonds in a baggie.  Grab an apple.  Or even carrots sticks.  As tempting as those chocolate bars are at the check out lane, you’re more likely to feel better about the fruit you just ate 10 minutes later instead of the sugar crash 20 minutes later.

Chocolate bliss is so fleeting.  Remember that.

Back on the diet track I go with a couple lessons learned.  One: always expect to get hungry while out of your house so pack a smart snack.  Two: inform your friends and family of your new diet plans so they can be supportive and not unknowingly ruin your hard work.  Three: temptations exist everywhere, so you better work on your will power.

tackling the day

HELLO MONDAY!

I sat on the couch last night dreading the coming morning.  Would I be able to resist eating cereal?  Or the left over pastries from this weekend?  And guess what, I did!  My husband offered me a bite of his apple fritter and I said, “Nope, I’m done.”  And he responded, “So that’s it?”  “Yes.”

It was an empowering little conversation and I continued to exercise my sad excuse for will power when it came time to pour cereal.  Second morning victory!  I scrambled three eggs instead of two cause if your meal time is anything like mine, my kids come running to eat whatever I have just made for myself.  Therefore, in order to ensure I had the opportunity to consume close to two eggs, I threw in an extra.

And good thing I did.

I sat down and my son starts with his “Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma,” which I am unsure if that is “mommy” or “more” these days.  And my daughter began scooting down the bench to hover over my plate, “Can I have some?”  Well, I shouldn’t be too upset they want to share my food cause hey, it’s healthy and good for them.  Just wish they would eat the eggs when I cooked ‘em for THEM!

Soon I will be heading out for my first session with my old personal trainer.  I am expecting to have my butt kicked and needless to say, I am pumped!

Until tonight….

First, I would like to state that I have officially stuck to my new diet plan.  All day.  Not one single crumb of granola bar or chunk of thrown onto the floor peanut butter and jelly sandwich made it into my mouth!  And as a mom, I am constantly cleaning up all these left over pieces, which can be very tempting to just eat it.  But not today!  My daughter was even lovingly offering me the crusts from her sandwich but I was able to resist.

GO ME!

Second, training went great.  But I need to preface my workout with: I’m not a pusher on the treadmill.  I’m super comfortable at a 6.0 speed, taking it easy and watching whatever show E! has to offer.  My heart rate stays in the mid 150s and I tend to burn a decent amount of calories.  Too bad my trainer doesn’t care about what makes me comfortable.  In fact, she loves the complete opposite and started me off at 7.5 for a quarter mile run followed by a couple other exercises for four rounds total.  And because I didn’t look like I was struggling on the treadmill, she amped me up to 8.0.  (p.s. my HR nearly reached 180)

Lesson learned: work on my “working hard” face!

I left tired and nearly sick to my stomach.  Walking the little people to the car was exhausting and I was relieved to sit and eat an apple.  Phew.  I finally checked my heart rate monitor and I burned 458 calories in 30 minutes.  I was impressed.  Impressed with how far I have come when I started training a year ago after having my son.  Impressed with my determination to accomplish every thruster and pull up as strong as possible.  And impressed we all made it back to the car!

So there, I did it.  This one day was a huge step in the amazing direction I needed.  Knowing that I am capable of actually making conscientious decisions about what I eat and more importantly, do not eat is, well, a relief.

I guess we all just need that one day, hour or moment when we decide to finally stick with it and succeed.

Now, tomorrow doesn’t seem so scary.

set some goals.

Today is the day to figure out what your goals are.  Are they fitness or nutrition related?  Overall health related?  Or maybe you just want to be a nicer person?  No matter what you decide you want to work on, write it down or print it out or set it as your phone background so you can see it every day.  Once you identify your goal, do some more thinking to figure out what motivates you.  Mmmmmm….   

I would say my goals are to lean out and spend ONE entire day eating according to my nutrition plan.  And my motivations would be to continue feeling strong and to feel more confident in my clothes.

In order to achieve my goals, I needed a new fitness routine as well as a healthier diet plan.  So yesterday I met with my trainer and she helped me figure out the first steps to help me get things going.  Here they are…

Diet 

NO more bananas.  NO more protein powder.  only HALF a grapefruit for a treat like snack at night time. And lots of WATER.

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs & green tea

Snack: Greek yogurt

Lunch: Fresh fish (either tuna or salmon) with veggies

Snack: Spinach, fruit & almond milk smoothie

Dinner: Chicken with veggies

Treat: Half a grapefruit

Fitness

Add multiple days of running, yoga and interval training.

Monday: Interval training

Tuesday: Kettle Bell class & 40 minute run

Wednesday: 60 minute run

Thursday: Kettle Bell class & yoga

Friday: Intense Interval Training class & 30 minute run

Saturday & Sunday: rest days

This new routine will be nearly doubling my time at the gym.  I am currently going three days a week for the above mentioned classes with an occasional run afterwards.  But as a mom, I struggle trying to determine how my time is better spent at the gym.  Since child care is only two hours long, do I work out more after a class or do I take a quiet ALONE shower before heading home?  Usually I’ve forgotten my towel and clean clothes so I rush home for my son’s nap time and hope the shower doesn’t attract the attention of my daughter.  Good luck to me.   

So now that I have this new plan of attack, when should I begin?  Immediately of course but I always think that one more night of cookies is in order before I can give them up.  Or that we should go out for burgers one last time before I totally give up carbs.  And here I am again, failing before I’ve even started.  So how about NOW?!  Maybe, but not likely.  Saturday and Sundays are my rests days anyway, right?  

Therefore, I will sit on the couch today and eat the pizza my daughter helped me make for lunch.  And I will ask my husband if he wants to go get some local, freshly made ice cream tonight cause it’s a beautiful day.  And it is likely for Father’s Day tomorrow we will BBQ some ground beef and hot dogs, which brings us to Monday morning.  Scrambled eggs – I promise!  Greek yogurt, you bet! Freshly made fish, how about tuna in water in a can?  Okay, fine.  My spinach smoothie will be a welcomed sweet drink.  But by 5 pm, let’s hope I have enough energy to make some chicken for dinner.  Two kids can be draining sometimes, which brings me to after they go to bed and I’m rummaging the kitchen for a treat.  Half a grapefruit remember?  I’ll do my best!

And that’s all we can do.  Our best.  Monday night is likely to be a huge struggle and I’ll probably follow my husband around the house asking him for “permission” to eat the chocolate in the freezer and hopefully he has more will power then me!  I should wrap those chocolates up and put a note on them…

“my goal: spend ONE entire day eating according to my nutrition plan”perfect time

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