Monday, January 31, 2011


I have a confession to make. I have not been watching my diet and have indulged in a few too many treats lately. Enough to where it is showing on the scale.

Take last weekend for instance: my husband and I hosted our friends for a game night. My brilliant idea was to have an appetizer party where everyone brought their favorite bite-sized treat. We had spinach dip, baked brie, spanakopita, guacamole, pizza bread...yummy. Oh, and did I mention the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting? (sigh) It was divine. Of course there was wine, beer and a bit of whisky being poured as well. Not exactly a low calorie night. But, the bad part is not the night itself, it's the left overs! I found myself the next day, fork in hand, eating cake right off the serving platter! I didn't even take the time to cut a piece and put it on the plate!

So, what did I do to remedy this problem? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, I dumped the cake, brie, dip, and any other offending food item in the trash and took it outside. I then went to the grocery store and stocked up on all of our favorite healthy things, you know, like vegetables... and chicken.

We still have goodies in the house so we don't feel deprived ( I am in love with the slow churned ice cream), but we are just going to watch our portion sizes and stop baking cakes! I have to say that I feel much better eating food that is good for me.

So, the moral of the story is that you can have fun and eat yummy treats, you just have to get back to the healthy stuff to make up for it. And really, the healthy stuff tastes pretty good too!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An ode to yoga...

I love yoga.

I love the way it makes me feel, I love the way it makes me look, I love the way it clears my head... I could go on and on.

If you have never taken a yoga class, you should give it a try. It is appropriate for all fitness levels because the poses can be modified. There are different types of yoga, and each has a different emphasis.

Hatha yoga is very popular for beginners or for those that want a relaxing yoga session. This type of yoga moves slowly through different poses and focuses on breathing and stretching the muscles.

Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga. I have never tried this type before, but from what I understand it is practiced in a hot room to encourage sweating and loosening the muscles. I think it is appropriate to check with a physician if you have any health problems before trying bikram yoga.

Ashtanga yoga, or power yoga is my personal favorite. This practice is designed to improve strength and endurance. It is a more aggressive approach to yoga that has you moving quickly from one pose to the next. I love the feeling of a challenging workout, and ashtanga yoga gives that to me.

You can find yoga workouts at local fitness centers, yoga studios, or go pick up a dvd. There are some great ones out there.

Give it a try and let me know what you think, but please remember to be safe while working out and check with a physician if you have any reservations about your health.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

At the park

Today was so fun! We bundled the kiddos up and took them to the park to play. They have those funny little hats with the three pom poms on the top, so cute! We decided to go despite the 45 degree temperature because we were getting stir crazy being cooped up in the house. My kids need to exercise as much as I do. And boy was it ever a workout! I wonder how many calories my hubby and I burned climbing up ladders and sliding down slides? This isn't even taking into account that we had to run from one playground apparatus to the next. Apparently when you are 18 months old you need to go everywhere at a full sprint.

While we were there I looked around at all of the other park-goers and was thrilled to see so many people out being active. There were runners, walkers, bikers, and even a dad pulling a bike trailer with his two little girls in to to the playground so they could run and play.

This morning was a great reminder that going to the gym or on a run by yourself is not the only way to stay fit and healthy. Taking the kids to the park not only gave my husband and I some extra exercise, it also helped to teach our kids that being active is fun! And now they are so exhausted they are taking fabulous naps! A win-win if you ask me!

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Trail Mix

I had a moment of panic the other day...I was out of snacks for the kiddos! As any Mommy knows, snacks are VERY IMPORTANT to a toddler. Usually I have graham crackers or fruit snacks, but I was waiting for the weekend to go grocery shopping so the pantry was out of stock. (gasp) As I was frantically foraging for anything the kids could carry around in their little snack bowls, I came across a box of multi grain cheerios and a bag of marshmallows...hmmmm. A little more rummaging produced a bag of raisins, and presto, baby trail mix! It's pretty nutritionally sound also with the multi grain cheerios and the really healthy raisins. The marshmallows are there just to entice the kids to eat it. Of course my daughter picks those out first and once they are gone will suffer with the healthy stuff. You want to know the best part though?  It is really easy to vacuum up off of the floor! It is quickly becoming a favorite around my house for several reasons.

Do you have any other snack ideas that have helped out in a pinch?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lighting your fitness fire

How many times have you said "I'm going to exercising" and only made one workout? Being in the fitness world, I have heard every excuse in the book for not exercising. I don't have time, my foot hurts, I don't want to have to take another shower, I hate running, exercise doesn't work for me...I could go on and on. I've even used some of these myself. Hey, no one is perfect. But I think what it all boils down to is motivation. If you are motivated to get something done, you generally find a way to do it. This is not a statement I make lightly. I realize that exercise is not everyone's favorite thing to do, but unfortunately it is a necessary evil to staying healthy.

Health is my main motivation. I have the opportunity to be healthy. What do I mean by the opportunity? Well, my Uncle recently passed away from melanoma. It is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and he fought it for 2 years. He was only 49 years old when he passed. This is a man who lived life to the fullest. He was a successful business man, a pilot, went sky diving and jet skiing, was all together very active. He led a healthy lifestyle and was beaten by what started as a small sore on the side of his face. During the last 2 years of his life he would have given anything to be able to step outside and go for a run, to have control over his body and his health.

I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to be healthy that I can't pass on my workout. I can't stop before I've met my mileage goal. I don't mean to get preachy, but I'm pretty passionate about some things...

This is what works for me, it may be something different that lights your fitness fire. Skinny jeans? Running a 5k? Upcoming event that you want to look amazing for? Getting off medications? Inspiring your family?

What keeps you motivated??

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stress Relief

I need a mental health day... I'm sure there are other Moms out there who get to a point where they don't know what to do with all of the stress and consider running for the hills. I am there today, and while running for the hills isn't really an option, I am on the right track.

Exercise is a great stress reliever. I just read an article from the Mayo Clinic that explains the mental health benefits of exercise. First of all, the activity increases your endorphins which are feel-good chemicals in your body. So, instant mood lifter!

The article goes on to mention that focusing on the activity you are performing will help to take your mind off of what is bothering you and provide a bit of clarity to the situation. I can definitely see where this works. When I go on a run I put my headphones on and listen to my own music and get lost in my thoughts. Most of the time when I'm finished running I have come up with another way to address the problem of the day.

The last thing the article talks about is that exercise helps improve your confidence and self image and is therefore an overall mood lifter. I'm going to take this a step further, I think exercise is also something you can control for yourself. As a Mom, I feel that most of my life is spent reacting to the needs of others, my kids, my husband, the dog... But, when I'm working out, I'm spending time devoted just to me. And, taking that little bit of the day for myself makes me a better wife and mommy.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of life, take a walk, pop in a yoga dvd, or even do some push-ups or crunches, anything to get the blood flowing. You will be much happier for it!
I'm headed for the treadmill, catch you later!

Monday, January 10, 2011


I am the worst patient! I never listen to my own advice. Here's what happened:
Last Tuesday I noticed a little soreness in my upper back, under my right shoulder blade. I thought nothing of it and pressed on. Wednesday it was a little worse, but my husband went out of town for work so I had to pick up the kids because I was the only one home. Mind you, my son is now about 27 pounds. By the time Thursday rolled around I realized I had a problem, but again, being the only parent at home I had to do all the kid-lifting. Enter Friday morning...I could not raise my right arm or turn my head, and still, I was the only kid-picker-upper in the house. My husband returned home at about midnight on Friday and found me whimpering on the couch , unable to turn my head to give him a kiss hello.

At this point, a smart person would've let my hubby do all of the heavy lifting until the pain got better, but I just can't resist when my kiddos reach their little arms up and say "meese." (That is kid-speak for please) I also decided it would be a good idea to move some furniture around in the house this weekend. So, needless to say, I am still having pain today.

So, what should I have done? I had no choice but to take care of the kiddos while my hubby was gone, but I could've done more of it while sitting down. I also should've used ice packs on the painful area for 20 minutes a a time, 4 times per day. After the third day of pain I could've also added in a heating pad for 15 minutes at a time 3 to 4 times per day. Mix this in with some slow stretching and maybe a massage, and I would probably be pain free today. Oh, and I probably could've left the furniture moving for next weekend.

So, this is a classic case of "do as I say, not as I do." And, if it is not showing improvement by tomorrow, I'm going to see a doctor. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

Stay healthy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Happy New Year!

I was doing a little Internet research and found that 40 to 45% of Americans make new years resolutions each year. That is an interesting statistic. I'm sure that the percentage of those who keep their resolutions is much lower.

So, how do we stick to our resolution? I see a resolution much like a goal, so it would stand to reason that the same techniques used to accomplish a goal can be applied to a resolution. In the fitness world we teach all kinds of strategies for goal setting and achieving. Here are a few that I have found work well:

1. Be realistic. Set achievable goals. If weight loss is your resolution, for example, saying "I want to lose 150 pounds in 6 months" is not realistic. A better resolution would be "I am going to lose at least 5 pounds per month." This is an achievable task and you will not be stopped by the disappointment of not accomplishing it. And if you exceed your goal, awesome!

2. Set Short term and long term goals. Using the weight loss example, the long term goal is to lose at least 5 pounds per month. A short term goal for this scenario is to go to the gym 4 times a week for 2 weeks or to record all of your meals in a food journal for 3 days. These short term goals will help you reach your ultimate resolution of weight loss and not make it seem like such a daunting task.

3. Celebrate the small victories. Reward yourself! positive reinforcement is a great way to stay on task. If you accomplished going to the gym 4 times a week for 2 weeks, treat yourself to a new workout outfit, or go get a massage for those aching muscles, you deserve it! I have found that people are far more successful when they reward themselves for accomplishments rather than punishing themselves for slip-ups.

4. Shake it off. If you slip up and eat an enormous piece of chocolate cake at a birthday party, oh well. Just get back on it tomorrow. This is real life, things happen, so don't let it stop all of your forward momentum.

All of this talk about resolutions, I suppose I should share mine, so here they are:

- I resolve to do a concentrated fitness activity of some sort at least 4 days per week.
- I resolve to update this blog at least 3 times per week
- I resolve to schedule time just for myself at least once a month. (this will not be easy with a husband and 2 toddlers, but I will be happier for it)

What are your resolutions?