Thursday, December 30, 2010

Metro Fitness Gets its Groupon

If you haven't heard, Metro Fitness is featured on Groupon TODAY (Thursday, December 30) with a special of $40 for a one month membership (usually $69 per month for a single). For those of you who do not know what Groupon is, go to their website at  They offer daily deals at your local area businesses (they just recently came to Montgomery) and you can sign up to get on their e-mail to receive an em-mail of their daily deals.  It's genius!

Some might think I am writing this as a PR move for Metro, and know I have a bias to the place since my mother is Metro's general manager.  Well this presumption is somewhat true, but I also have a love and loyalty for this place and WANT to toot its horn. And it felt like an appropriate time to do so.

My mother has been with Metro Fitness since it opened in 1999, which means I've been there for the same amount of time.  I've grown up there, and it's hard to imagine my life without it.  Aside from my family, Metro Fitness will be one of the main things I will miss when or IF I ever leave Montgomery.  It is not only a place to work out, but it is like a family-the staff and the members.  Great friendships have started here.  Relationships have sprung into marriage from this house of fitness.  It's more than just a place to come work out.

Instructors and Metro members gather for the Metro Christmas Party!

"Metro Fitness has some of the most talented staff and instructors in the country." I will swear by that statement! I have heard people who have been to gyms all over the country say that Metro is one of the greatest gyms they have ever been to.  Though we're not in a "big" city, I believe our classes are some of the most creative and challenging out there.  Every instructor and personal trainer strives to give you your money's worth for every class and give you the best work out possible. They are never satisfied with status quo and are constantly researching to find new work outs to mix it up.

Some of the fabulous instructors & staff!

Do you push yourself when you work out on your own? I know I let myself off the hook too easy when a work out I'm doing is challenging.  This is where instructors and personal trainers strive to push the member and clients, giving them the confidence to go further than they thought they could. This might mean an instructor will be hated during the class for pushing the members, but I assure you that she will be loved  afterwords when the results can be seen! Ok, maybe I'm saying this from personal experience :)

That's me having some Turboween fun! Every year for Halloween, instructors and members dress up for Halloween. 

I spoke with someone who just started coming to Metro and she said, "This place just feels homie to me, and I love that. There are so many classes throughout the day which is great for my schedule." Even though I do not work for Metro, I still felt a sense of pride when I heard that. 

With 2011 fast approaching, resolutions will be in full force with many of them including to "lose weight." Without sounding too cliche, Metro is a place where you can feel comfortable and develop not only healthy habits, but friendships as well.  I encourage anyone who is reading this and who is not a member to at least try it out. My New Year's resolution is to continue to get healthy and stick with it! I hope to see you at Metro Fitness!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Pilates intrigues me. It always has. As a person who follows celebrities entirely too closely, I noticed that most of them would answer the question of "how they stay in shape" with "pilates."  I also noticed many of the people who took pilates at Metro Fitness, and especially those who were pilates instructors, had these long, lean bodies that I was envious of!

One of my  mom's dear friends, Denise Swann, has always been in shape and had a great figure, but I noticed she was starting to get that long, lean look about her too.  Come to find out, she started doing pilates and raved about the Sweatilates class that Pam Carson taught at Metro Fitness on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Because it was pilates class and I didn't have to pay extra for the class,  I was all about trying it out!

What an experience that first class was!  Sweatilates really did make me sweat! As an onlooker, the pilates moves appear so easy.  Yet, my legs had never burned like they did in that first class. I was so sore the next day and decided I needed to keep going back for more! Give me that long, lean look, please!

Side Note: I have literally been trying to write this blog about Sweatilates for about 3 weeks now.  I kept trying to explain things through words, but felt it was boring and couldn't illustrate what we do only through my writing.  After tons of writing, erasing and re-writing, I decided to go with pictures and illustrations. Please also note that I do not know the names of any of these exercises, but try to explain them as best as possible :)

Here is an exercise that lifts your butt, works your core and gets those pesky inner thighs.  As you might notice, form is key! No matter what you do in pilates, you must always check that your shoulders are back and relaxed, you back is straight, and your tummy and butt are tucked. (This can be incorporated in other workouts and applied in your every day life ,whether you are sitting at your desk or putting up the dishes)

This exercise looks so simple, but it isn't! You must keep that tummy tucked to protect that lower back! This is another great move for your core, butt and inner thighs.  That standing leg (the one not off to the side) also gets a good work out.

Here we look like ballerinas.  The bar is there for our stability, but if you notice, this exercise is performed on our tippy toes, which really burns those quads and calves.  Even keeping your arms up in this exercise is challenging!

I love this move! It works on your stability as well as working your core (especially obliques), legs and especially those saddle bags!

Well there I am in all my glory with no make up at 5:30 a.m. We  use these 1 lbs. weights for working our upper body.  Don't let their tiny size fool you...when done with a lot of repititions, you can feel the burn! 
For this particular exercise, I simply keep my upper arms aligned with my shoulders and move the weights back and forth from underneath my arm pit and then make my arms straight (palms facing down).  This really works my shoulders and biceps.

This is another example of  a time when you must be aware of your posture. (back straight, core is tight, my shoulders are down and relaxed so not to hurt my neck). 

So you've seen a few shots from our Sweatilates class.  I love our little class, and I can see results in every single person who has taken this class.  We can complain at times, but Pam pushes us and we get the job done.  If you are looking for something different to do in your workout routine, I encourage you to try Pilates! It will not only help give you that long lean look, but it will help you in your other work outs and your posture.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Epiphany from Being Locked IN: No Excuses

As many of you saw on my Facebook status, I was locked IN my apartment this past Wednesday morning. And yes, that would be IN, not out (Do I see an inquisitive look on your face?) My roomie and I were having troubles with our doorknob, and we had called maintenance a couple of times to come to our apartment and fix it.  Well they didn't show up in time...

A Broken Door Knob...

I awoke at 5:15 a.m. and dragged myself out of bed to head to Cardio Knockout.  I had psyched myself up for this class and knew I had to go since I would not have time to go to the gym after work.  I headed for the door and gave a little smile when I looked at the clock and realized I was going to be a little early. (I am almost NEVER early to a 5:30 a.m. class) As I grabbed the door knob and unlocked it, nothing happened. The door knob simply turned, but the door did not open.  I continued to try for the next 10 minutes as my hands turned red and blisters emerged from the constant twisting.  It was official...I was locked IN my apartment. 

To Work Out or Not To Work Out: That is the Question

So I was stuck in my apartment. I had two options here: Either I would get a work out in that day or I would not.  With the amount of food I knew I would consume that day (office Christmas party) and the coming days of Christmas and lack of exercising, I knew I must get some form of work out in.  I decided to do my own form of Cardio Knockout in my room and add a few moves I learned in Sweatilates. 

I moved my bed to make room, put my iPod on and went to town.  I surprised myself with how much I could make myself sweat while just running in place! My cardio came from jumping jacks, mountain climbers and jumproping (without the rope). I did push-ups, wall sits, the Pilates sit-up, lunges and planks for my "toning" sections.  I even took some heavy candles and turned them into "free weights" to work my triceps, shoulders and lats. (All of these ideas came from the multiple classes I have taken at Metro Fitness)

The Epiphany:

After I did these moves for about 40 minutes, I was tired and sweaty.  It's amazing what can be done from your home! This made me realize that there should never be an excuse for not working out-even when I am traveling or the gym is closed, or in my case when you cannot get out of your apartment.  There is always a way to get some form of exercise, whether it be 10 minutes to an hour.  SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. 

I would like to say that this epiphany will make me do something every day, but it won't.  However, when I find myself making excuses to not work out, I will simply remember that morning of being forced to work out in my room and realize I must do something physical, whether it be at the gym, outside or in my house.

My Investments...

Since being locked in my house, there are a few things I've decided to invest in whenever I feel like working out from home...

1. Free Weights-These are easy to store and can be used for a variety of work outs.  You can even lift these while watching TV!
Small Free Weights (I will probably purchase 3 & 5 lbs. free weights)

2. Resistance Bands- These also are easy to store and can be used for more resistance work outs.  This can also be used while watching TV!

Bicep curls using resistance bands. (Hot shorts and camel toe, I know)
3. Push Ups- Ok I know this isn't something you can purchase, but I do think you should invest your time into these.  Push-ups can work every part of your body: your chest, shoulders, abs, back, legs, butt, etc.  If you are pushed for time, I would recommend to do a few sets of these. 
*I would challenge you to see how many "boy" push ups you can do before you start with the "girl" push ups.  My max when I first started was 15 in a row. Now I'm up to 25!

How the story ends....

After waking up my roomie at 6:30 a.m. and calling the 24-hour maintenance line, I talked to someone on the phone who taught me how to "jimmy rig" my door open.  It worked. We were free!  The maintenance man finally showed up about 15 minutes until I had to go to work.  We now have a new door knob and all is well at the Sims/Richards household!

Do you have any suggestions for anymore at home work outs?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feel Good Friday: Betty White Inspiration

This post has nothing to do with food, working out or losing weight. I do have some in the works though that I will be posting soon!

 Last night, the roomie (Miss Lucy Sims) and I curled up on the couch with our glass(es) of wine and leopard snuggie and watched Barbara Walter's Oprah interview and The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010.  What riveting television! :)

Through the two hours of intriguing celebrity interviews, Betty White stood out to me the most.  Now I am biased because I absolutely adore her and I love the Golden Girls. Can you believe she is 88 1/2 years old and still going strong?  How amazing is that!?

Thank you for being friend.

Side Note: As a little girl, I had to secretly watch The Golden Girls. My parents forbade me to watch the show because of the many sexual inuendos coming from Blanche Devereaux.  These sexual references went right over my head, and I still thought it was entertaining!

Sophia: By far one of the best characters.

In Betty's interview, Babs asked if she had a philosophy about life.  She responded, "Well I hate to be square, but I try to get the most out of what I'm living now.  My beloved mother and father always said 'I never want to hear you say oh that was so wonderful. I didn't appreciate it at the time.' Realize right now when it's special as it's happening."

When I heard her wonderful, yet simple philosphy, I started thinking about my life and those "I didn't appreciate it at the time" moments.  I realized that I quite often have these moments!  So often I catch myself saying, "Once I do this, things will get better..." or "If I can just get out of Montgomery, things will be better."  I also often look back at my days at Auburn and wish I would have realized how wonderful it was there. I wish I would have soaked in so much more than I did. 

I carry my purse like Sophia.

To learn from that, I've got to focus on the NOW. Right now, at 23, my life is not perfect.  I am at a beginner level in my job and still sometimes do the duties of an intern, yet I am working for a great company, learning a new industry and am so blessed to even have a job. I am still in Montgomery, though I said I would be long gone from this town after college. However, God has put me close to my family and with new friends that have truly blessed my life. I don't make as much money as I would like, but I still live comfortably and usually don't go without.

There is SO much to enjoy in my life at this time. This is probably the most care-free time of my life, and a time to take opportunities and truly enjoy what God has given me-the good AND the bad. 

My challenge to myself and to you is to enjoy the NOW, despite if this is a low time in your life or the happiest you have ever been.  The low times are when we look to God, dig deep and learn what we are truly made of. It will only make you stronger. In the highs, we realize how God truly blesses us, and we must remember to be thankful for them. 

Happy Friday to everyone!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FOOD TIPS: What I've Figure Out Along the Way

With me posting these "tips" the day before Thanksgiving, you're probably thinking it has something to do with tips of how to control yourself on the day known for stuffing our faces, and of course being thankful.'s not.  I honestly have no health tips for Thanksgiving except to pray for self-control.  I personally will be wearing pants with elastic in them for tomorrow's Turkey Day food and festivities.  Hey, a girl's got to be comfortable!

Some, if not all, of the tips I am sharing with you are probably things you have already heard.  That's fine.  Just ignore this post.  But here are some things I've picked up along the way thanks to Heather Hagan, my mom and things I've discovered on my own.

1. Vegetables: Add spices for flavor & few calories
-I love to add lemon pepper and cumin to my vegetables when I saute them.  Sometimes I even add goat cheese or Gorgonzola to them for an extra kick!

2. Frozen Fruit & Vegetables: Eat 'em & Cook 'em!
-I know it is usually better to buy fresh, but frozen fruits and vegetables weigh less on your checkbooks and provide most of the same nutrients. The frozen vegetables can be thrown in a steamer or sauteed on the stove to make for a quick side. I am also able to get the berries that I crave so often when they are not in season. 
*I add frozen blueberries to my yogurt for breakfast & use them as a snack by themselves or add a little dry cereal.

3. Plain Greek Yogurt: Replace this with your regular yogurt
-I will admit the consistency and taste of Greek yogurt is hard to get accustomed to--especially for all of us who are so accustomed to regular yogurt.  However, the benefit of this yogurt is you can ADD and CONTROL the amount of calories and sugar you put in.  Fage Total 0% Plain Greek Yogurt contains 90 calories, 7 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein! This leaves you room to add some things!
*For my Greek yogurt breakfast, I add 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup of Kashi Heart Healthy cereal, 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp. of Agave Nectar.

4. Agave Nectar: Use this in place of sugars and sweeteners
-I was introduced to this thanks to Heather.  I will admit, this one is a bit pricey, but it can be used in place of sugar and sweeteners.  I have only used it to sweeten my yogurt and oatmeal, but I know it can be used for a lot more things when cooking and baking!

5. When you eat a carb, pair it with a protein.
-This is another one I learned thanks to Heather! For example...I was eating a whole wheat "thin slice" (100 calories) only for a snack between breakfast and lunch.  Now I add 2 tbsp. of peanut butter for protein. 
*Some great, natural Peanut Butter I have found is Better N (100 cal./2 grams of fat per 2 tbsp.) and Peanut Butter & Co. (180 cal./14 grams of fat per 2 tbsp.) Peanut Butter & Co. has a variety of flavors as well! I personally like Cinnamon Raisin Swirl and White Chocolate Wonderful.

6. Be creative with your marinades
-I picked this up from my mother, Leigh Anne, who is the queen of creating delicious marinades for chicken and fish.  Sometimes, it is not necessary to go to the store and you can throw together whatever you have in your pantry.
*My marinade for salmon: 1/2 cup of Ken's Walnut Raspberry Vinaigrette, a few dashes of lemon juice, Worcester sauce, lemon pepper and Salmon seasoning.  Stir together, pour over salmon and add Gorgonzola cheese after marinade is poured.  (All of this came from what I had in my pantry)

I hope some of these are useful! Do you have any tips that you have discovered?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food for the Broken Hearted

I have not posted anything in about two weeks, and honestly I haven't felt much like writing--at least writing something for the public to read.  The last two weeks have been incredibly hard for me emotionally. There was an ending to a relationship, which brought a change in my life that I did not want, but knew needed to happen for the both of us.

 A broken heart and the many emotions that comes with it can reveal your addictions and your go-to crutch for handling stress.  My ultimate goal was to give it all to the Lord, however, the first thing I went to was food.  I believe that most girls who have endured heartbreaks feel entitled to binge on break up food: icrecream, chocolate, cookies, etc.  And I was one of those girls!

California Yogurt Kraze was my first stop after it happened.  I filled my cup up with macedamian nut cookie and birthday cake yogurt followed by a mound of Reese's pieces, cookie dough and cheese cake bites.  (This might sound disgusting put all together, but I promise it hit the spot) Knowing that I had an excuse to binge eat, I continued eating not necessarily all bad food, but a lot of semi-healthy food with some junk sprinkled in here and there. 

My tiramisu indulgence at La Madeleine.

At the end of the second day of what I called "eating my feelings," I allowed myself a big hunk of tiramisu from La Madeleine in Atlanta (totally worth the calories) and homemade nachos--like Mama G's does it! :) I then made up my mind that it was time to get a grip, get my will power back and put my energy into working out.  I thought I was such a strong woman who could take control of my emotions and feelings.  HA! I was so wrong...

By the week's end, I had indulged in a lot of red wine, sweets and fast food (I managed to eat Chick-fil-A AND Hardee's all within a 24-hour period). I realized that I just couldn't tell myself "you have two days to get over this" and that this was going to take time. 

I also had to figure out the healthy way to handle all that was going on in my life without going overboard one way or the other.  Believe me, it's still a work in progress! I'm trying to focus more on handing these overwhelming feelings over to God and know what I am doing now is making me a healthier person, mentally and physically.

"Consider if pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." James 1: 2-4

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Boyfriend Layer Bounce Back

With a weekend of food and fun with my man friend, I must admit that the healthiest thing I consumed the entire weekend was a banana smushed between peanut butter, honey and two pieces of bread (it was at least wheat bread!). In one day, I consumed a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits and hash rounds, fried wings, hot wings, beer, potato salad and a late night breakfast of biscuits, grits and sausage links.  My only excuse is that it was a great football watching day, and it was Halloween. Yes, when I do it bad, I go all out. 

Side Note: I did deny a paid offer for a McDonald's McFlurry while in McDonald's.  I opted for fat-free yogurt from California Yogurt Kraze.  That's got to count for something!

After he left Tuesday morning, I was exhausted and bloated.  I knew my lack of exercise and healthy eating was the cause my non-existent energy level.  My initial thoughts brought me back to the place where I've been so many times: experiencing defeat and disappointment. 

That Tuesday afternoon after work, it took all I had to get myself up to the gym.  As I dressed, I could feel the tightness of my tank top around my stomach..or as I like to refer to it at times, my "food baby." I kept looking at my bed thinking about the sleep I needed.  Despite my longing for the coziness of a down comforter and a mattress that feels like heaven, something in my head kept thinking about how I would feel AFTER my work out.  I knew from experience that after a work out that I have much more energy and feel better about myself.  The "after" thought pushed me to the gym.

With my mega indulgences this past weekend, I noticed my self control could not fully recover as the week went on.  I allowed myself to sneak leftover Halloween candy throughout the day and munch around on snacks.  However, slowly but surely, I am regaining my self control, cut back on indulgences and have been working out hard. 

Even though I complained about tighter tanks and a low energy level, I must admit that my indulges with my man friend were totally worth it.  It is NO fun when you are constantly fretting about what you are putting in your body or counting calories --especially for him.  Now, I'm looking ahead and concentrating on eating healthy and working out. Maybe the next time we spend a weekend together, I'll have a little more self control. :)

We had a good time as Charlie & Maverick (Top Gun) for Halloween!
 Does anybody else know what I'm going through with the boyfriend layer?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Boyfriend Layer

Almost everyone has heard of the boyfriend layer.  It's that extra layer of fat you seem to put on when you are in a relationship with someone.  I wanted to share this article that I found in Women's Health Magazine about relationships and weight gain-particularly in women.  Whether you're just starting to date someone or in love, the "boyfriend layer" seems to be inevitable.

This weekend might be my biggest challenge yet.  The challenge has to do with a boy...who I like... and have been dating long distance for about nine months now.  (We won't go into the complicated details, but you get the gist) On the few weekends we do get to see each other, one of the main things we do is EAT! And boy can we eat.  He has an appetite like I've never seen, and mine seems to almost keep up with his when he's around. The little will-power and healthy eating rules I have goes out the window when we are together.  For example....

 Yes, this is MY plate at Fox Bros. BBQ in Atlanta.  I ate about half of this and had to lay down the rest of the day because I was in a food coma.

Going out to eat is a fun way we connect and have a good time, and it seems like pigging out is even more fun when done together.  We're always looking for new restaurants to go to and see what kind of tastey food we can find. Whenever I'm confronted with an unhealthy food choice, I always think "Why not eat it? He's just going to be in town for a couple of days."  Then once he leaves, I'm left with feelings of food remorse and tighter pants.

I know cooking is always an option.  We've attempted to cook, but it always ends up being more of a hassel and takes time away from the little time we have together.  Maybe if we ever live in the same city it will be different...maybe.

Despite my recent change in eating habits, I'm still that hungry girl that loves junk food.  I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best this I think about the Indian food I'm going to indulge myself in tonight :)

I'll report back next week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's For Dinner? Homemade Potato Wedges

If you're like me, I love salt and I absolutely love fries.  However, since I have been doing Body ReBoot, I have cut fries out of my life.  The other night I was craving some fries and decided to make some myself.  What the heck...I had potatoes, and they were going to go to waste if I didn't eat them ASAP.

After making these, forget McDonald's fries! These homemade potato wedges are super easy to make AND delicous.  I found the recipe in Fitness Magazineback in May.  I know this isn't the best picture, but I promise they are a tastey treat and much better for you than fast food or restaurant fries.  Since I took this recipe from Fitness, just click on the link and follow the recipe!

*1 serving=8 wedges (155 calories, 4g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 6g fat (1.5g saturated), 3g fiber)

Can't beat that! Enjoy! :)

Seeing Results...Without Being Perfect

I have probably been a little obcessive of my eating and exercise routine the past couple of weeks.  I started to see results and feel better, and I did not want to lose my momentum.  Therefore, I strove for perfection in my eating as well as consistently working out..and working hard while there.  However, as you've noticed, I  had a few slips and indulgences.  But like Heather told me, I'm 23! I'm having fun! (Sometimes I forget how old..uhh..young I am).  As I've been reminded multiple times, it's about balance.  But back to my results...

I stepped on the scales on Monday and walked away, not wanting to know the results.  Heather e-mailed them to me the next day.  Boy was I in shock!

149.2 lbs
29.9% bf
52.2%  h2o
99.2 lbm

150 lbs
31.2% bf
51.2% h2o
98.0 lbm

148.8 lbs --> Lost 1.2 lbs.
27.3% bf --> 3.9% bf lost
54.2% h2o --> Increased h2o by 3%
102.6 lbm --> Gained 4.6 lbm

Yes, I am very excited about my progress!  I hope people don't take this at me tooting my own horn (which I kind of am), but I want to prove a point.  This may be more of me talking to myself more than anything, but there is still something to prove.  Despite my eating a piece of pizza late at night, eating another piece the following week, eating chips and drinking margaritas, I started fresh the next day and continued to exercise. Recovering from a bad day or night of eating has been my biggest downfall in years' past. I let myself down and I let my mistakes keep getting me down.  After multiple letdowns, I would continue on my bad eating streak and lose interest in working out as hard or even at all.

Just like everything in life, I am  a work in progress, and I can't expect all of my habits and routines to change instantly. I am motivated by my results, but feel a sense of relief that I can still enjoy some food (and indulge!) and still see results. My goal in this three month process is now not only seeing results in my body, but also in my drive to keep going, even when I fail and don't stand up to temptation.  I must keep going!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Indulgence Never Hurts

Let me reiterate again how much I love pizza, chips and margaritas.  It has been a while since my last post, and I know everyone who is reading this has been on the edge of their seat waiting to hear how I held up to temptation. J   Let me ease your suspense…
The dreaded pizza night came first.  After feverishly running around to get a workout in, I did all the cardio and weights I could in a 45 minute time span and zipped to LIFE group.  I knew post work out was the best time to eat “bad” food since my metabolism would be up.  As soon as I entered the house, I knew the pizza was there.  I wondered into the kitchen to see a large pepperoni and cheese pizza and cheesy bread! All I kept thinking was “come to mama.” 
I picked up my plate, charged forward and looked at the many small and large pieces of pepperoni pizza in front of me.   I shut the voice of the junk food lover out and listened to my get healthy voice.  I picked the smallest piece I could find and took one piece of cheesy bread.  I devoured the piece of pizza, but only allowed myself to eat half of the cheesy bread…boy was it cheesy!  We then started the study, and I knew I had survived the temptation.  Whew! One test of the will-power down, one to go!
The following day, I was almost guilt free from eating pizza the night before, but I knew that night was even a harder test of will power.  I ate a little lighter than normal as I prepared for my El Rey’s meal.  All of the girls I was supposed to go with bailed out, and I went with a male friend who of course could eat anything and not gain weight (no help from him with staying strong!).  We ordered chips and the trio (guacamole, salsa and cheese dip).  It was then time to order some adult beverages-margaritas! I politely asked for the “skinny” margarita, only to be shut down and told from the waitress that she had no idea what I was talking about. After discussing with her what I was looking for, I was told that I was thinking of a “scatch” margarita which consists of only tequila, lime juice and salt (optional).   Since I wanted chips and guacamole, I went with the scratch to save a few hundred calories!
The “scratch” actually wasn’t too bad, and I could not taste THAT much difference compared to the real thing.  While sipping my scratches (yes, scratches), I did not hold back on the chips and guac. Like the Pringles saying goes….once you pop, the fun don’t stop. In other words, there was not a lot of restraint on my part in chip eating.  However, I was very proud to say that I only had one dip of the cheese dip.  J That counts for something, right!?  I continued on to eat veggie quesadillas and chopped sweet potatoes.  I still walked away feeling bloated, but didn’t feel as guilty as I normally would have. 
Despite my indulgences in “bad” food over the weekend, I (for the most part) ate well the rest of the weekend and got some form of exercise in on Friday and Sunday.  Come Monday morning, I wasn’t feeling too bad about myself, and my side view check was not nearly as bad as I thought. (My side view check is merely turning to the side in the mirror to see if my stomach is completely bloated that morning).   That night, I had a Body Reboot meeting.  I was none too thrilled knowing I was going to be weighed and given my fat percentage the Monday after a bad weekend.  I kept thinking, “Why couldn’t I do this on Friday?” I knew I was going to be discouraged. 
Monday night I stepped on the scales, not even wanting to know my results.  The results all but shocked me…. (check in for the next post about my results from weighing)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fear of Food

Over the past two weeks, I have held a tight reign on what I have put into my body. I planned almost all of my meals ahead of time by cooking, and I knew what healthy options were available when I was unable to eat at home.  I was prepared. And I've seen a difference in myself beacuse of it! But what about those unexpected nights when you just don't have time to cook or you go somewhere that doesn't have any healthy options!? {Insert Kevin McAlister scream: AHHHHHHH!}

I have been in turmoil over the past day about my upcoming meals.  Tonight (Thursday), I always have my LIFE group where we always eat dinner together and then do our study.  I usually make it a priority to go home before and eat a protein rich snack so I will not be as hungry and eat less of the casserole that is offered.  (I'm sorry, but I just think it is just poor etiquette  not to eat something that is offered to you..especially when someone has spent their time and effort making it and giving it to you for free!) Pardon the rant...However instead of our normal casserole tonight, I found out we are ordering PIZZA. (Insert another Kevin McAlister scream). 

Like I've said in a previous post, pizza is my favorite food and the hardest thing for me to control with the amount I eat.  I can eat four pieces in one sitting like it is nothing. I know I am going to be super hungry when I arrive for dinner at LIFE group, especially when the pizza stares me in the face with all of its cheesey glory. Oh and did I mention I'm not going to be able to go home beforehand to get my protein rich snack? (I should have thought ahead and packed snacks!) What's a girl to do!?

I've also been fearing my trip to El Rey's this Friday night. It will be a great time with friends, but not a great time with food and beverages. Not only does El Ray's have some of the best food in Montgomery, but they also have the best margaritas! I'm just thinking about it....all of those chips, the cheese dip, guacamole..ALL OF THAT SALT! I'm getting bloated just thinking about it.

I can eat chips like they are going out of style, and I can drink their margaritas like water.  They go down so darn smooth!  I will sit there and talk and unknowingly shove 20 chips in my mouth (taking sips of a marg in between) and then look down only to notice that I have eaten more than half the basket.   Let's just say I usually have no self control when sat in front of chips and margaritas. 

Because I've done so well and seen progress in my first two weeks, I fear falling off the wagon and gaining back what little weight I have lost.  I  have not had to face much temptation yet when it comes to food, and I have felt "safe" in my kitchen with all of my healthy food and recipes. However, I'm 23 years old.  A girl's got to have fun and must enjoy some foods..just with more control. My hope is to enjoy one piece of pizza tonight and just a few chips with guacamole and "skinny" margarita tomorrow night.

I'll make sure to report back, and I promise I'll be honest. :) What are your temptations!?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's For Dinner? 30 Minutes Style

After a weekend of fun, little sleep and unhealthy eating, Monday was the day to get my bum back in gear! Still sluggish and struggling from the weekend, I forced myself to go to Turbo Kick to burn off all those extra calories.  Within an hour of kicks, punches and jumps, my Mary spirit was back! It was time to hit the grocery store and hit it hard.

I stocked up on all my healthy food options for snacks and for dinner.  I resisted the sweets section.  The idea is true for me...if it's not in the house, I won't eat it!  By the time I got home from the grocery store, it was a little past 7:30, and I was hungry!
Here is the meal:
The presentation wasn't great, but it sure was delicious!
Baked salmon|Sauteed Veggies over Quinoa with Blue Cheese Crumbles and Drizzled with Light Asian Sesame Vinaigrette

The 30 Minute Recipe:
1. Baked Salmon (from Winn Dixie)
*Ingredients for Marinade: Lemon Juice (1/4 cup), Worcestershire Sauce (about 6 dashes), Spicy Mustard (2 tbsp.) and Lemon Pepper (4 dashes) 
-Line casserole dish w/ aluminum foil and place salmon on foil
-Combine all ingredients into small bowl and pour over salmon
-Wrap foil over salmon
-Bake in oven on 350 for 20 min. (or longer if you like yours more done!)
2. Sauteed Veggies
-Need one large cooking pot (I use a wok) to heat over stove
-Pour EVOO or Canola Oil (I use this because it is cheaper & has the same health benefits as EVOO) in bowl
-Combine fresh or frozen broccoli, spinach, & sliced squash (and any other vegetable you want!) in pot
-Let veggies heat about 5 min., moving them around, and add a few dashes of Lemon Pepper (I use this with everything!)
3. Quinoa
-Boil 11/4 cup of water
-Pour in 1 cup Quinoa in boiling water
-Reduce heat and cover for about 10 min.
*To add some flavor to the veggies over quinoa, I add reduced sodium blue cheese crumbles and drizzle about 2 tbsp. of Light Asian Sesame Vinaigrette (This is a staple for me. I use it with everything!)

I started cooking at about 7:40 and literally sat down to eat at 8:10. It is so easy!

Please let me know if you try this and how it turns out.  I would love to hear feedback, good or bad! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Late Night Decisions

I have eagerly awaited this weekend.  I'm getting a free trip to the beach thanks for my friend's brother getting married! I knew it was going to be a fun weekend of parties celebrating with friends.  However, this past week, I've wondered how my healthy living habits would stand up to temptation.  I have done so well! Could I wreck my progess over the past two weeks?!

I left immediately after work to head to the beach. I had been in such a rush to get on the road that I had not even thought about dinner. I thought I was being good by bringing some snacks, but after a couple scoops of my new favorite Cinnamon Swirl Peanut Butter and chomping on non-salted almonds, I knew I needed a meal. I have been on such a regimented schedule of eating, and my body was telling me that I needed food ASAP.

In hopes of staying healthy, I bypassed all my fast food options and bought me a Kashi frozen meal when I got to the beach.  It was quick and easy, and for the most part, healthy.  I proceeded to the party where the open bar called my name.  Yet again, in the mind set to stay healthy, I resisted beer and had two vodka sodas with lime.  It was very good and very refreshing! But with such a light meal, I was feeling it after only two!

Then my group of friends advanced to someone's house.  It's after 11:00 PM at this point.  You know wise decisions will not be made after this time.I enjoyed a few brewskies despite the thought of extra calories and the possible beer belly I would have in the morning.  My appetite was revved up at this point.  They had a variety of snack (junk) food all around the kitchen.  Obviously from my link, you know I have a love and weakness for junk food. The cheeze-its would not stop staring at me!

Finally, I broke down and portioned out what I thought would be a cup of cheeze its. (If I was going to eat junk food, I might as well try to stick to portion sizes!) And wow, they tasted so delicious! The salt hit my tongue and I thought how much I had missed this taste. (It sounds like a drug!)

We proceeded to enjoy ourselves, and another smell permeated throughout the house.  A frozen pizza was cooking in the oven, ready to be devoured.  If you don't know this, pizza is my absolute favorite food. What little will power I had left at that point could not stand up to the smell and cheesey goodness that was in front of me.  So at too late of an hour, I indulged myself in a piece of pizza. 

I woke up this morning mad at myself for my decisions last night. I had been doing so well and I ruined it!  But then I have to think, you're not perfect and this is not going to be a perfect process. Like everything in life, there will be hiccups and mistakes.  This was my hiccup! Today is a new day and my healthy eating is back on track...for now.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Becoming a Martha

  Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42).

Today is Friday (Oct. 8).  Praise the Lord! I have now been doing the Body Reboot program for one week and four days. I have done well so far with my eating and working out. Since starting the program, I have only been out to eat once and tried to stay away from bad foods (sweets, meals with preservatives, etc.) Go me!

With my "healthy living," I must admit that I have noticed a tremendous difference in my energy level.  I now sit down less when I am at home and have an urge to clean and tidy up the apartment.  I now look at my room, living room and/or kitchen and think "This is awful. I can't stand how dirty this is. I must clean it now!" (Am I becoming my mother too?!) My laziness to doing housework has somewhat subsided!  I wish I could say I watch less of my trashy TV shows since I'm not sitting around as much, but unfortunately I still watch them while I am up and cleaning.  Fist pump anybody!? But I digress...

As I was puttering away in the kitchen yesterday morning, cleaning the counters and hand washing dirty cooking pots, I started wondering if I was becoming a Martha versus the Mary I have always identified with and accepted I always would be. Usually in the mornings, if I could tear myself away from the TV, I would sit, read my Bible or devotional and have quiet time.  However with all of this energy, I now cook my breakfast (steel oats & scrambled egg whites), put up any dishes from the dishwasher and clean the pots and pans that I used for cooking breakfast.  I then hurry along in just enough time to dress, do my make up and hair and I'm out the door.  I'm doing, doing, doing and not taking a small amount of time to sit down and pray or read just a few scriptures. I now feel like Martha!

All of my life, I related to Mary.  I thought if Jesus ever came to talk to me at my house, I would definitely be the one to sit and listen.  Anything to get out of cleaning and cooking...just kidding! In some ways, I'm excited to become more like Martha and thankful for this new found energy and desire to do more and be more active. However, I do hope I keep some of a Mary spirit.  Becoming Martha  reminds me of how the older you get, the busier life becomes and the easier it is to be sucked into the world of endless to do lists, commitments, work outs and responsibilites.  It's important to remember your Mary spirit and take a quiet second to reflect on the blessings God has given us.

A month down the road, I could be eating my words about all of this energy. But for now, I'll continue on my healthy routine and embrace this drive to be active.

This is Martha signing off...

Pumpkin Muffins (A Must Try Recipe!)


It is that time of year where the weather is starting to cool off (finally) and we are enjoying signs of autumn.  Fall decorations have been set out and new pumpkin scented candles are bought and lit to tantalize our nostrils with the scent of the season.

These pumpkin muffins remind me of fall...probably because they have to do with pumpkins. Go figure. :) My mom starting making these (and I don't know where she got the recipe) last year, and we have been hooked ever since.  They have no fat in them, they are so easy to make, and they are delicious! I'm currently trying to figure out how many calories are in each muffin.  Now here's the recipe:

-1 can pumpkin
-1 Box Spiced Cake Mix
-1 Cup of Oats
-3/4 Cup of Water
Mix this all together, pour into muffin dish and bake on 350 for about 20 min.  The time usually varies with the oven. Last time I made them, which was last week, it took about 30 min. 

If someone tries this recipe, let me know how it is! I would love your feedback!

Happy Eating! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Nitty Gritty

Ok let's get down to the nitty gritty....that is my actual weight and measurments. EEEEK!

I told you (and myself) that I was going to be honest for this blog. So here it goes.....

Week 1:
149.2 lbs
29.9 %bf
52.2 %h2o
99.2 lbm

My initial reaction focused mainly on my 29.9% body fat.  Really, I am made up of 30% fat?!!? Well I immediately rushed to find out if I was considered overweight and soon found out that I was in the "normal" range.  My weight was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be and I was pretty impressed that I was almost 100 pounds of muscle. 

I kept looking at the chart of what was "normal" and analyzed where I was in that range. I noticed that I was closer to the overweight side than the underweight side, and I did not like all.

I knew the time had come where I was going to have to step it up and gain back some will-power and motivation.  If I wanted to continue to be normal or average, I could stay content with my mediocre eating habits and exercise routine, but I am paying for this program and now held accountable for my actions, so I might as well give it 100%.

I know this all sounds cliche with my reaction, but I get super excited about something in the beginning, but like anything else, it fades quickly when the going gets tough.

I arrived at my apartment that night, still thinking about my weight and excited about what my body could possibly look like in three months.  With that thought in mind, I then thought that I needed a "before" shot so I could look back and think "you look so much better now than you did then!"

Thanks to my dear roommate, Lucy, she captured in all my glory w/ my bathing suit on in our living room.  And no, I will not be posting that picture! I've debated on whether to get it printed and hang it on my refrigerator to remind myself of my goals.  That hasn't happened yet-mainly because  I don't wantcompany to see my pastey self in a bathing suit when they walk into our kitchen.  But I'll keep you posted on that one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Love to Eat

I admit it. I love to eat. I have always dreamed of being one of those really skinny girls who could eat whatever she wanted and as much as she wanted. I actually used to be one of those skinny girls until this lovely thing known as a period came along.  It's all been downhill from there. Thanks a lot puberty.
So you might be thinking..."Is this another get fit and healthy blog?" Well yes and no. My goal for this blog is to be completely honest with everything I eat, good and bad, and my exercise routine, or lack-there-of.  Let me give you a little background...
Being raised by a mother whose life revolves around fitness and healthy eating habits, I was constantly exposed to the latest workout trends and ate an abundance of chicken, which of course was only baked or grilled.  The Studio Workout (shout out to the old Studio crew!) was my second home and most of my other "mothers" who helped take care of me were work out fiends and health nuts.  And I say that in the nicest way possible!  So it will not come to a surprise to you that one of my first outfits I sported as a toddler was a licra leotard with matching pink, shiney tights.  You could have called me a mini Jane Fonda.
Now on to the food...
The menu at the Richards household was very selective and healthy, but I was still exposed to the delicious indulgences of the Hardees chicken biscuit (no Chick-fil-a yet!), Krispy Kreme donuts and pizza of any kind.  However, these junk food indulgences were usually only a weekend treat as my mother cooked every night and made it a priority to sit down as a family and eat.  And I am so thankful for that today!  However, the older I got, the less food sheltered I was and my palet for "the good stuff" grew (Mexican, Chinese, etc.).  The older I have gotten, the less picky I have become. 
My love of sports... 
From day one, I knew I wanted to play sports. My dad put a basketball in my hand at three years old, and from then on, sports were constantly a part of my life. (I like to joke with him that I am the son he never had) With constantly honing my skills in a specific sport, I was usually active in something. However don't let me fool you.. I am not the type who constantly needs to be doing something and would consider myself a self-proclaimed couch potato on most days.
After years of constantly training for or playing a sport, it all came to an end with college, and I was left with a hardee appetite and little motivation to work out on my own. College and the freshman fifteen weighed heavily (literally) on my self-esteem and health. There was a lot of beer drinking, a lot of late-night Taco Bell runs, little sleep and little exercise.  My weight and exercise regime was about as consistent as Alabama weather; Great at some moments, terrible the rest.  
Fast forward to modern day where I now have a “big girl” job.  Where there once was up and down lifestyle, now there is a routine: Get up, (try) to work out, go to work, eat, sleep and start all over again the next day. Now, there is more sleep and and an occassional late-night party, a lot less beer drinking and I wish I could say NO Taco Bell runs, but we’ll just say there have been less of them as well. :) Still, with this routine lifestyle, I struggle daily with the drive to work out and motivation to eat healthy.
Getting to the point...
 I've now explained my entirely too long of a life story with food and exercise.  So why am I blogging about this now, you ask? Because of a program through Metro Fitness ( called Body Reboot, which is a fitness and exercise program to promote healthy living for life.
I will admit that I was very hesitant at first to start this program, and quite cocky.  I thought, "I know how to read food labels...I know what's healthy...I know I need to exercise...I am not giving up beer on game day weekends!" Against my stubborn, know-it-all mindset, I agreed to do the program and started Monday, September 27.
And off we go!