Friday, May 31, 2013

June Challenge

I made something delicious, again. I made a recipe that can be found in the recipe tab at the top of this page.

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken. Hands-down amazing! You have, have, have to try this sometime! You won't regret it, I promise!

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Since today is the last day of May, and I have yet to break in to the 220's, I am going to make a new action plan for June. I'm going to create a new challenge for myself. Since I'm not feeling super creative right now, I will just call this the "June Challenge".


Sometimes it helps to take a step back and evaluate what may be keeping you from reaching your weight-loss goals. I'm going to spend some time thinking about this tonight and tomorrow. Something that sticks out to me immediately is that I have been drinking more socially this year. I've been going out with friends and attending more events that include beer, wine, and alcohol. These are "empty calories" that I would like to give up for the entire month of June. I'm not a big advocate for "giving things up" in order to lose weight, however; giving up drinking is something I can definitely agree with, especially for just a month.

Another thing I would like to work on is sticking to my meal plans and exercise plans. Making the plans is the first step, and I seem to have that part down; sticking to those plans is what I'll be focusing on this month!

I'm also going to make it a goal to plan my lunches ahead for the week. This is something new that I haven't done in a challenge before! It may take a little more effort at first, but I feel like it will pay off in the end.

Any other suggestions for my June Challenge? Will you be doing a June Challenge of your own?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Guest Post: Use Smart Goals

I was recently contacted by Michelle Pino. Michelle has recently taken an interest in what inspires others to live a healthy lifestyle.  With her knowledge of health and wellness, people tend to ask her what she does to stay healthy, so she figured a guest post on my blog would be a great opportunity to share her knowledge with others. 
 
To Michelle, the daily stresses and life’s challenges make it so important to make health a priority and inspire us to treat our body right. That motivation morphed into habit once she knew how great taking care of herself felt! Here are some tips she would like to share with you:
 
Use SMART Goals To Get Healthy

In these contemporary times, the health industries are booming as more and more people seek out products and services that will help them optimize wellness. Despite this fact, however, many people find themselves falling into health ruts that preclude them from quitting bad habits or maintaining their health and fitness regimens. Some of the challenges people in health ruts may face are a fear of failure, difficulty adjusting to lifestyle changes, and lowered self-esteem resulting from an inability to meet goals. In order to overcome these challenges, you can greatly benefit from creating the SMART goal outlined below:  

Specific
This first word emphasizes your need to ensure that your goal is clear. To make your goal clear or specific, make sure that it addresses questions like: "What am I trying to accomplish?" and "Where will I complete it?"

Measurable
This second word represents your need to develop clear criteria that enables you to measure your progress as you work towards your goal. The thought behind establishing a measurable goal is simple: If your goal is not measurable, you have no objective criteria through which to determine whether your current activity is contributing to or detracting from you accomplishing the goal. To determine whether your goal is measurable, ask yourself if it answers questions like How much? and How will I know when it is accomplished?  

Attainable
This third word represents the importance of ensuring that your goal is realistic. This does not mean that the goal doesn't involve work. Indeed, it can require that you work hard to achieve it. At the same time, however, it should not be too extreme. Once you establish an attainable goal, you enable yourself to cultivate the abilities, financial stability, skills, and attitudes necessary to accomplish it.

Relevant
The fourth word highlights the fact that your goal has to matter. An example of a goal that couldn't meet this criteria when one is trying to lose ten pounds would be "I'm going to study three hours each week to bring up my Chemistry grade." While this goal is specific, measurable, and attainable, it is at best only tangentially related to the task of losing ten pounds. To determine the relevance of your goal, make sure that it can answer yes to questions like "Does this seem worthwhile?" and "Is this the right time?"

Time-bound
The fifth word emphasizes the importance of giving your goal a target date. For example, if you decide to eliminate french fries from your diet, will you begin abstaining from the food in one week or will you gradually decrease your consumption of the nutritionally void item over the course of a month? Making your goal time-bound is important and effective because doing so enables you to focus on completing the goal either before or on the established due date.


Although many people have challenges establishing and completing health-related goals, using the SMART goal guide can help turn your dream of being healthy into reality.

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, which makes for a great time to get out and get motivated! Try creating your own inspiration board to help get on track. Use images and quotes that inspire you to live a healthier, better life.


Photos:
1.) Yoga focuses the mind and body, teaching ourselves to find a spiritual balance.  I also love that yoga can be done anywhere, even the beach! The beach is so relaxing, a great place for yoga or walking. (Source: Yoga Class)
2.) Love this quote; so simple but so true! Source: Eatthewords
3.) Last spring I started learning more about gardening.  I enjoy the being in the garden and watching blooms take life as the warmer weather approached. Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers, plus the smell wonderful! (Source: Lilac Flowers)
4.) I’ve started to golf as a way to spend more time outdoors. The resort near my work is a great option because I go with a big group, half of us can do nine holes and then go grab a bite at one of restaurants of the resort, and the rest of the group can golf the full eighteen holes. (Source: Turning Stone Resort)
5.) Eating poorly is taking an effect on my energy levels during the day. I’m looking to experiment with healthy recipes and swapping bad snacks for healthier options. There was a short article on which gave some great options for healthy snacks. (Source: Real Simple)

As you move towards your target, your goals may change or expand.  Take time to update your fitspiration board whenever it feels out of alignment with your aspirations.  Make sure what is on the board is what you really want.  Taking the time to create and maintain a fitspiration board is a fun yet powerful way to keep you motivated on the path towards the fit lifestyle you’re yearning for.  

Thank you, Michelle for sharing these tips! If you would like to contact Michelle personally, you may do so by emailing her at PinoMichM@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Family Pictures and Struggling

I enjoy taking pictures as a hobby. I've taken pictures for wedding, engagements and families. Tonight, I took family pictures for my in-laws. It was a tricky task since I was to be in the pictures. My sister came over and snapped the pictures after I set them up, which was a big help!


I think the pictures turned out great. Our backyard is so green right now, I love it! The pond was a good backdrop for some photos, as well.


I had to be a little different, I guess, in that I wore a red dress. It was 80 degrees out and humid. There was just no way I was going to make it through that shoot in jeans!


Family pictures were a success! I have finished editing them already, too. Just in time for bed...

I am hoping to make more time for myself the rest of the week to stick to my mini-goals. So far, I have been struggling with fitting in the time for my runs and walks. Tomorrow I will make myself a priority and I will get my mini goal done!

Is "putting yourself first" a challenge for anyone else out there, at times?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mini Goals for the Week

How was your Memorial Day Weekend? We had a blast! More about our Memorial Day party, tomorrow (when I can post pictures).

I went a little overboard at our own picnic on Sunday and I am ready to get back on track for the week! Last night, as I laid in bed, I made sure to make a list of meals I would like to make for dinners this week and a plan for workouts this week.


We are going to have subs for dinner tonight because Subway is right next to the place where we buy our groceries, and we have a lot of grocery shopping to do after work tonight!

Since it is rainy outside, I am going to run a mile on Nordi (my treadmill) tonight. I am actually looking forward to it! I was eating leftovers from our picnic all day yesterday. I could really use a good run!

I am going to try to stick with some mini-goals for this week, just as I did last week.

Mini-Goals for this week:

1. Drink 64 oz. water each day
2. Follow meal plans
3. Follow exercise plans
4. Get 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night

Each mini-goal is just as important as the other. I'm going to start tracking these mini-goals today.

Do you have any mini-goals for yourself this week?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Party Weekend

This is party weekend!

We had a birthday party for my cousin on Friday, a birthday party for my friends son on Saturday and today, we are hosting a Memorial Day party. We were actually invited to another party for tomorrow, but I had to decline. I am going to be partied out after today!


The party yesterday for my friends son was so cute! Christopher turned one. I can't believe it myself!


I was good at the party, with on eating half of a cupcake and not going overboard with the picnic food.


I'm hoping I will be too busy to go overboard with the food at our party today. So far, my workouts for the week and my efforts toward staying within my nutritional ranges have paid off! I'm back down to 231.8 lbs. That's a nice loss, especially during Party Weekend!

Do you have any parties planned for this weekend?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good Intentions

I was going to skip running tonight, but I didn't.

Whenever I got home from work, I put chicken and carrots in the oven. I changed in to my running clothes and before I knew it, I was on the treadmill. As I started my run, I realized that I forgot to grab both my phone (for music) and my laptop (for Netflix). I haven't run on Nordi (my treadmill) without either one of those items, to date. I was too lazy to go downstairs and get these items, so I just continued to run. Yes, you read that right. I was too lazy to walk down stairs, but I voluntarily ran a mile tonight.



This run was boring; it was just me and the treadmill for 14-some minutes. What did people do before the wonderful distraction of music and Netflix during treadmill runs? I can tell you what I do without it; I do math. It's funny because I don't even like math. Come to think of it, I don't like running very much either. It's a love/hate kind of thing. I enjoy running most when I'm finished. The feeling after running is what makes me run again. That, and the joy of beating a previous personal record. I can be kind of competitive against myself. Anyways, back to the math. I don't do algebra or anything like that, I just simply count the seconds, minutes, distance, etc. before I'll be finished running. If I bump the speed up a bit, that changes everything and I need to re-calculate. Trying (and usually failing at) math during my run, held my attention for a majority of the time.

Something else that caught my attention toward the end, was my husband pulling up the driveway. Tonight was his last night of class for the school year! I was on my last lap whenever he pulled up. When I saw him pull in, I smiled and bumped up my speed so I could go see him. I watched him get out of his work van with a pizza box in his hand. At that time, I remembered it was his last night of class, so he must have brought home pizza from their party.


I probably would have happily eaten two four pieces of pizza for dinner, if I hadn't just run a mile. It also helped that I already had chicken and carrots in the oven, and that the timer on the oven had just gone off. I still opened the pizza box, took this picture and contemplated eating a piece of pepperoni before closing the box and putting it in the fridge. Skipping over this pizza to eat chicken and carrots for dinner is a big accomplishment for me.


The lesson I learned from tonight is that half the battle is starting with good intentions. I started my night off with good intentions of eating well and exercising. These good intentions helped me say "no" to something less-than-healthy, and stay "on track".

What have your good intentions helped you to avoid?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Smoothie and Spaghetti

This morning I made myself a smoothie for breakfast!


It was a peanut butter smoothie. It was low calorie and tasty! I used 1/2 cup of skim milk, 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter and a tall glass of crushed ice. Mix well and there you have it!


Since I didn't have a lot going on, I took advantage of my time after work by laying out with my dogs. I had a small salad, then decided to go to my moms house to visit my brother and sister. We went to Walmart, and I bought a new shirt. Very exciting, I know.


My mom made spaghetti with butter mushrooms for dinner. I had a couple bowls of that and managed to stay within my calories for the day. Success!

What was your success for today?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nothing Could Have Tasted Better

Last night my mother and father-in-law stopped by!

They came just in time for dessert and brought with them two ice cold coffee's from McDonalds. I don't know if they know it, but the best in-law award goes to them! Nothing could have tasted better at that very moment. It was warm last night (85 degrees) and those iced coffee's really hit the spot!

On Sunday, I made some mini-goals for the week. It's now Tuesday and I'm happy to say, so far, so good!

~ Mini-Goals: May 20th - May 24th ~

1. Drink 8 cups of water a day (2/5 days done!)
2. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each day (2/5 day done!)
3. Eat within my nutritional ranges as provided by Sparkpeople.com (2/5 days done!)
4. Exercise at least three times this week (1/3 days done!)



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I'm proud for staying within my nutritional ranges today. It was definitely a challenge! I worked over today at work and didn't get home until 7:30 p.m. I was starving by that time and wanted to eat everything in sight. I refrained, however, and made myself a couple BLT's for dinner.


I must have been hungry, or maybe I was tired; I bet it was a little of both because I forgot to add the lettuce to my "BLT" before taking this picture and before eating both sandwiches in a matter of two minutes. Since I choose to eat two sandwiches, dinner ended up being about 540 calories. Considering I was too busy at work today to even think about food, that was a good amount of calories to compensate for the date. Let me rephrase that... I had less time to think about food at work; of course I still thought about it!

What did you have for dinner, tonight?

Are you a fan of BLT's? (I love them, even more so when I remember the lettuce!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Heebie-Jeebies and a Painful Run

I've got the heebie-jeebies.

Ever since my husband told me that he saw a HUGE spider outside on the patio, I've been a little freaked out about everything that touches me. "Spiders" have been attacking me ever since. A spider, I mean a leaf, blew in to my hair; I had a mild heart attack. The spider, I mean the sweat rolling down my back after my run tonight made me nearly jump out of my skin. It's been a tense evening.

Speaking of my run, I did it. That's about all there is to say about it. Nothing special, except -- I finally ran on Nordi, again. It's been weeks, maybe even a month, since the last time I ran on Nordi (my treadmill).

 
Nothing against Nordi, it has just been so nice outside lately. Since it was about 9:30 p.m. when I decided to go for a run tonight, I thought it would be a nice time to catch back up with my old pal, Nordi. I wasn't really feeling a run as much as I just wanted to get my legs moving a little. No records, here; just a nice run/walk.

An intense side cramp may have had something to do with my lack of interest while running. It was quite painful. I guess that's why you aren't suppose to drink a glass of water and then decide to go running. Don't ever do that; ever. It's not good!



Something that is good though would be our bacon-chicken-ranch salads we had for dinner. I bought a huge container (16 oz.) of baby lettuce and we have been using it a lot. Lunches, dinners... yep and yep! It seems to stay very fresh in the container, however, I only give it until about Wednesday before it's all gone. We kind of love it!

Have you ever had the heebie-jeebies?

Bags of lettuce or containers of lettuce? (I think you know where I stand.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back to Reality and Mini Goals

Since I spent last weekend in Virginia Beach, and the entire last week reliving that vacation through pictures, I guess it would be time to get back to reality and back to working toward my goal of losing weight.


"Peace out" Virginia Beach, back to reality!


The reality is that I'm a little overwhelmed. I get anxious when I look at my calendar because it's so full. It's full of work meetings, business trips, and many fun events, too. I tried to schedule a couple "open" weekends for us, but have been finding that doesn't work very well. If somebody plans something big on our "open" weekend, say a graduation party, I just can't say no for the sake of having an "open" weekend. I would feel too guilty. Therefore, time to ourselves is limited; which is just another reason why I really enjoyed our time together in Virginia Beach.

I finally stepped on a scale since my vacation, and I am up a few pounds. I weighed in at 233.4 to be exact. This is a little disappointing since I was down to 230 lbs. right before the trip. This extra weight is temporary, though and I will push on!

I am going to try something a little different this week, as I strive to get refocused. I am going to set some "mini-goals" to accomplish for myself this week. I have found in the past that by setting and reaching mini-goals, it only gets you closer to your larger goals in life. It's so true that "every little bit helps".

~ Mini Goals ~

1. Drink 8 cups of water a day
2. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each day
3. Eat within my nutritional ranges as provided by Sparkpeople.com
4. Exercise at least three times this week

Those are my basic mini-goals; the ones that have helped me to lose 35 pounds thus far. I can always turn back to monitoring those four things for results. It just takes focus, something I will not let myself lose this week!

What are your goals for the week?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Virginia Beach - Day Three

I am having fun stretching out the recap of our vacation! Our final day was very fun!


We spent the morning walking the boardwalk. It was a beautiful day! A lady offered to take a couple pictures of us, which was nice!


That afternoon, we drove about 5 minutes away to visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse. It was $5/per person, and it was a nice adventure!









After the lighthouse we went back home... I mean, back to the hotel. It definitely felt like home to us!


It was around dinner time when we took one of our last walks on the boardwalk. We found a cute outdoor restaurant to eat dinner at, called Johnny Manana's.


We got the "best seat in the house".



I'm not big in to mexican food, but my husband loves it!


I ordered chicken tenders and my husband got their enchiladas. Both were very good!


After dinner, we walked the beach. We were laughing, holding hands, and just enjoying the world around us.





We sat down by the pier and played in the sand for literally an hour before going back to the hotel. 


This is where I get sad. We spent our last hours on the balcony, before leaving for home that night.


It was really hard to say goodbye to that view, but we missed our dogs.



Next time we go (because there will be a next time) we are considering bringing our dogs and family. I really missed them while we were on vacation.

Then again, if we brought them, it would be even harder to come back home. We LOVED this vacation to Virginia Beach. Our first trip there was a success!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Virginia Beach - Day Two

Day two at Virginia Beach was a lot of fun!


We woke up early and went down to the beach. There weren't very many people out as the sun rose over the ocean that morning.


It was very peaceful. We spent some time on the beach, and some time of the balcony that morning. Just watching the waves.


The picture above is taken right outside the back door of the hotel we stayed at. Very convenient!







As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we were completely thrilled with the hotel room that we got. The oceanfront balcony was just wonderful!






After eating our (complimentary) breakfast, we explored the town some more.



We found a truck show on the beach, therefore my husband was officially in heaven.





It was a hot day at 84 degrees. We stayed on the beach for only an hour before we got burnt.


After spending some time on the beach, we explored the town even more (it was a big town).


I was very excited when we found a Sweet Frog, it just like Menchies, and I love Menchies.






We definitely got our share of exercise from all of the walking we did that day!