Saturday, July 30, 2011

What in the Rooster???

Good Saturday Morning!  I hope your day has been going well.  I had quite the surprise this morning:

Mr. Rooster was in my neighbor's yard across the street!  What?!  I have always been able to hear the  and the rooster in the distance but he has always sounded further away.  This morning, Alex went out to take some recycling out and the cock-a-doodle-doo was much louder.  He started looking around and there the rooster was in the neighbor's yard.  You can't just have a rooster running around on the loose, right????  I called animal control but apparently they don't work on the weekends.  I was told I could capture the rooster myself and they would send someone to pick him up.  No, thanks.

Instead of catching myself a rooster, I made myself some breakfast instead.

It was time to clean out the veggie drawer so it was a veggie loaded omlet.  I put in spinach (of course), mushrooms, peppers, onions, parsley, and tomatoes.  I mixed in a slice of ham plus flax seed and topped it all off with some goat cheese.  It was perfection!

I received something else that was very exciting today:

I bought these with my workout reward money :)  I bought the original Biggest Loser cookbook many years ago and I have always loved their recipes.  They are always really flavorful and different from what I usually imagine healthy food to be. 

I bought these from and didn't pay much.  In total, I paid $30 for all three, including shipping!  I'm most excited for the flavors of the world book.  I'm so excited to plan my meals this week using these cookbooks :)  As always, I'll let you know what I make and how it tastes!

Do you have a favorite cookbook?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hello, dear readers :)  Here I am again and I still have concerns about the progress that I am making in my health goals.  I have really been trying to keep the focus on my physical abilities and how my clothes fit but alas, I still love my scale and want to see smaller numbers each time I step onto it. 

I'm sure it's not a surprise to anyone if I admit that I am an emotional eater.  I love that we even have a term for this!  So anyway, the scale was not moving and I was not seeing any difference in the way I looked or how my clothes fit.  Frustrating.  What do I do when I am stressed and frustrated???  Eat! 

I will give myself credit.  My goal each day has been 1200-1550 calories and over the past week I have consistently had between 1700 and 1950 calories.  I was considerably reserved in my stress-eating compared to previous damage I have done, haha.  And you know what?  I lost a pound :)  So this got me to thinking about the changes I made.  Unfortunately, this is no where near a scientific study and there is no way that I can conclude that eating more calories caused me to lose weight.  It did however cause me to wonder how spark people came up with my caloric goal and whether or not they could be wrong.

So I tried to do some research about the number of calories I should be eating per day.  Almost every site I found talked about BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate.  Esentially, this is how many calories your body would use if you did nothing all day.  My BMR is 1646. 

Next, you multiply your BMR by an "activity factor" which I chose moderately active (1646 * 1.55 = 2551.3 calories).  Now according to this website , you should cut your calories but at least 500 but no more than 1000 calories per day from your BMR for weightloss.  That would put me between 1551 to 2051 calories.  I have gone to several different sites and put in my information;  here are some of my results:  1520 calories, 2023 calories, and 2057 calories.  If you recall, I have been eating only 1200 to 1550 calories :(

So anyway, I'm thinking that maybe I need to bump up the food intake a little bit in order to feed my body appropriately so it doesn't freak out about eating away at the fat reserves.  Maybe I should just try the BOD POD and get the final say so that way??

How do you figure out your caloric needs?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attention Farmvillers: Patty Pan Squash!

Hello!  I hope you guys had a great day.  I had a very lazy day since I have been feeling under the weather :(  I was feeling icky yesterday but decided to workout with Patrice last night anyway.  Bad choice.  It definitely put me in a worse spot than earlier in the day. 

Anyway, I tried a new vegetable that I wanted to tell you about:  Patty Pan Squash!  That's right, the stuff you plant in Farmville. 

My boss at work has a little farm plot and brings in vegetables to share with the office.  This was one of her veggies.  I am usually a fan of squash so I thought I would give it a try.

I cut off the top and the bottom of the squash and cut the rest into cubes.  Next, I lightly tossed the pieces in olive oil with some salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven.

The squash did not have a very strong flavor and was slightly sweet.  I would eat it again.  I would definitely like to try some different spices and flavor combinations.  I even think if I roasted it without any spices and chilled the pieces, it could even be suitable in a smoothie....too weird?

One cup of Patty Pan Squash only has 30 calories!  Gotta love those veggies :)  Lots of fill without a lot of calories!

What's your favorite lesser known veggie?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Frosted Fig

Good Evening All!  This past weekend, as many of you know, I began running again.  After a run in the heat, I have little to no desire to eat anything.  My breakfast all weekend was smoothies :)  Now, some of you may remember that when I decide to try a new food, I often buy it in bulk from Costco.  This is true of figs.

A coworker convinced me that figs were delicious and that I should try them.  The next day I came home from Costco with twenty-four fresh figs.  I had no idea how to eat figs so naturally I googled it.  Turns out you just bite in :)  My google search also informed me that fresh figs start to rot very quickly.  I had approximately 3 days to eat twenty-four figs.  EEK!

As you know from my Personal Chef :) post, Alex was wonderful and made some delicious chicken that used some of the figs but there were still many remaining.  Alex is not one to support the waste of food or money, so he looked up online and found that fresh figs freeze very well.  So into the freezer they went!

After my ridiculous runs in code red heat, I had little to no desire to cook or eat anything.   Smoothies were the very natural choice to get some protein and cool off.  This was the perfect opportunity to use my frozen figs! 

I put one scoop of protein powder, 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 frozen figs, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1 packet of splenda.  It was delicious!  I have no doubt that I will be able to use all of these figs :)

What do you put in your smoothies?


Monday, July 25, 2011

Tortoise VS Hare

Good Evening!  During this stifling heatwave, I have decided to renew my running routine.  I went for two runs; one on Saturday and another on Sunday.  On Saturday, I started my run at 8:30 am, which was not a great idea.  The wall of humidity was already thick and sticky and it felt like water jogging, except less enjoyable.  I ended up running three miles.  I have my ipod to thank for that because to run in such oppressive conditions requires mental distraction. 

I was proud of myself for running in uncharted territory (for me anyway).  I'm very much a creature of habit and familiarity.  When I lived with my parents, I would only run on routes that my dad had run with me.  I knew the approximate mileage of the route and the route was familiar (no chance of getting lost) and that was very comforting.  On Saturday, I was vaguely familiar with the neighborhood that I was running through but not enough to know every side street.  I got a little lost but still made it back to my home.  Small victory for Andrea :)

Sunday's run was more scenic.  My dad came and picked me up at 7:00am and we drove to Prince William Forest Park.  Let me tell you, just starting an hour earlier made all the difference in the temperature!  The route through the park only had a few rolling hills and was a very nice run. We ran four miles at a very leisurely pace (11 min/mile).  The important thing is that we got out there and moved our legs ;)

With these runs, I'm having a difficult time deciding on what I should focus on.  Distance or speed?  I have always considered myself a distance runner over a fast runner.  I have begun to question whether this is because of my anatomy and natural talent or is this due to not pushing myself hard enough (read: lazy)? 

In the past, I have focused on increasing my mileage as a show of my progress as a runner.  The longest run I completed was a half marathon last October 2010.  During the training for that run, I experienced some pain in my right shin.  There was never an official diagnosis.  The orthopedic surgeon told me we could inject me with radioactive fluid to determine if it was a stress fracture but the end result would be to stop running while it healed.  I decided to leave the radioactive fluids out of my body and just rest until I felt better. 

Ever since that injury, I have second guessed my need to complete longer runs.  Maybe it's not good for my body?  I have thought about signing up for a 5k and try for a PR (personal record).  I don't think it would be very difficult to beat my past 5k times. 

So runners, what are you thoughts?  Tortoise or Hare?



Good Afternoon!  I hope you are having a great day :)  So in my previous posts, I have talked about counting my calories and many of you have suggested different sites to me.  I have finally decided on Spark People.  It's a little like the Facebook of weight loss.  I have really enjoyed recording my progress on their website.  It's really centered around rewarding positive achievements and creating a social support for your weight loss journey.  So far it's been kind of fun :)

One of the things I like most, is that you can add friends to your profile/page.  You can find people with similar goals and become "weight loss buddies."  I have encouraged my parents to join so we can help each other. 

So far, I have been tracking my food, workouts, and re-posting some of my blogs there.  It's encouraging to see my weight ticker moving towards my goal and my fitness minutes increase with each workout.  I have a bit of a nerd streak that loves to analyze numbers and graphs :)  Here is a link for my page if you want to check it out

After all this talk of encouragement, I have to admit that for the past week or so I have been very DIScouraged.  I will confess I have been committing a cardinal sin in weight loss.  I have been weighing myself everyday and it has been reading the same weight now for about two weeks or so.  UGH.

I wouldn't be as discouraged if I felt that I was seeing a difference in the way my clothes fit or the way my body looks.  Maybe the discouragement is clouding my vision and perception.  Maybe not. 

Any suggestions on how to keep my motivation?  Any suggestions on how to break this plateau??


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pay Day

Good Evening!  I hope you had a great day!  I had the day off of work and it was sooo enjoyable :)  I started the morning off with breakfast with Julia, which I feel like I haven't done in forever.  She had some light vanilla yogurt with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries topped with some whole grain granola.  I made one of my favorites:

Spinach, tomatoes, ground flax seed, one egg and two egg whites topped with hot sauce.  So delicious.  I have renewed my love of cherry tomatoes this summer.  They were my favorite veggie (ok, ok fruit) growing up because they taste like sunshine.  There is just something about having the tomato explode in your mouth that makes me happy :)

Lunch wasn't anything too exciting.  I sampled some potato salad and had a veggie burger.  Like I said, not very exciting. 

Dinner was much more satisfying.  We had our friends Jess and Mike and their son James over for dinner so we tried to make some tasty stuff.  With tasty comes calories.  We had bacon-wrapped fillet mignons, potato and ham salad, green salad and lemon cheesecake with fresh summer berries.  Mmmmmm.  So I didn't eat much of the bacon and only had half of my fillet so that I could indulge in the cheesecake.  I'm pretty sure the meal was far from healthy still but I felt good cutting back on part of the meal so that I could have my dessert.

In other news, I'm not sure if you guys remember or not, but I have been paying myself to workout.  I give myself one dollar for every fifteen minutes and then use that money to reward myself with nonfood items.  I used some of my money!

Workout Clothes!  Dick's Sporting Goods was having a clearance sale and I snagged both of these shorts for ten dollars a piece.  Score :)  The picture is a little dark but the pair on the right are yellow and purple.....Go Dukes!  I wore the light blue ones to work out with Patrice and they were wonderful.  They have a four inch inseam so I could check out my massive leg muscles while I did my lunges (haha) but long enough to not worry about tugging them down all the time.  I'm very happy with my purchase.

How do you reward yourself?


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Skinny is as Skinny thinks?

I can see the eye rolls now!  But seriously, I think this idea has some merit to it.  All my life, I have branded myself the fat girl.  I have proudly proclaimed that I could win any eating contest when given any opponent.  The negative self-speak was not only for my precious inner thoughts but also thoughts I shared with others (I'm sure making them very uncomfortable).  I thought and acted like a fat girl.

As most of you know, I have been reading Jackie Warner's book This is why you are fat (and how to get thin forever).  She has a really interesting chapter entitled "Metaphysiques" which discusses the mind-body connection in conjunction with health.  She stresses that thinking positively about yourself and your actions will help you to shed pounds and achieve overall good health. 

So back to thinking about myself as a "fat girl."  This type of thinking gave me the permission to eat what I wanted, in any quantity that I wanted and to simply blame it all on "that's just the way I am."  I used to constantly remind myself that I have no will power and I will never have the body that I wanted.  I was completely right!  My momma always taught me to believe that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to and I had set my mind to being helpless and fat.

Now before you get your panties into a royal wad, I'm not saying that genetics and disease don't play a part in the grand scheme of things.  I know they do.  I have taken thyroid medication for hypothyroidism but we tend to use those conditions as a crutch to keep us in our current state. 

I really do believe that to have an effective change in your diet and exercise habits, you will also have to have a healthy change in your the way you think about yourself and your actions.

Yes, that's may even want to try some positive affirmations!  During your healthy lifestyle journey, focus on what you are doing right because the small accomplishments are the building blocks to achieving big goals.
  • I ate fresh fruit instead of cupcakes
  • I parked at the back of the parking lot
  • I took the stairs at work
  • I took the dog for a long walk
When you acknowledge what you are doing right, you will be more encouraged to continue to make those decisions.  When you dwell on what you have done wrong, then you will be more encouraged to give up.

Do you think your overall health could be affected by how you perceive yourself?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Personal Chef :)

Tonight was a very special night :)  Alex let me have the night off and cooked me a gourmet dinner!  It was very delicious.  I even joked with him that I bought a bunch figs that needed to be used so he should make something with them.  He's the greatest and found a great recipe that used figs.

He chose....dah dah dah dah.... Rachel Ray's Montalcino Chicken with Figs and Buttered Gnocchi with Pancetta and Nutmeg :)  Delicious!


Sooo good :)  I have to admit, he's the best chef I have ever dated!  I'm one lucky gal!

Have a good night!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Orange Julias

Hello!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was very satisfying :)  On Saturday, I jumped into being a runner again and it felt wonderful!  So it was kind of funny how I came to decide to jump into the running game again.  I had been driving on "E" for a couple days and I didn't want to fill it up anywhere but Costco.  So I had Alex drive me over to his house and ran back to my house.

I have to admit that Dale Blvd is a little more hilly than I thought it was.  The total distance between our houses is 4.24 miles according to mapquest.  I haven't been running outside for a very long time (February?) so I thought it was great that I did it at all :)  I'm really thinking that I want to find some fun runs to sign up for and work on my speed a little bit.  After what happened last year with my shin, I think I will be staying away from long distances and focus on increasing my speed instead. 

And you know what?  After running from Alex's house two days in a row, I ended up filling my car up at Sheetz.  Haha.

For lunch today, we had a thin crust margherita pizza with salad.  I've decided that I really love thin crust pizza.  It definitely has less calories than other types of crust.  It's also a vegetarian meal that Alex seems to enjoy as well.  After lunch, we made a special treat.....Orange Julias!

Orange Julias

1 can frozen orange juice
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
10-12 ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients in blender, blend until smooth, and ENJOY!

It's a recipe that I got from my mom.   Not sure where she got it from but it's an at home version of the Orange Julius shakes.  My sister and I used to make them all the time when we were younger.  It's not a very healthy treat but after running 8.5 miles over the past two days, I felt like I deserved a treat :)

On a different note, Julia made me a very proud momma today.  She devoured a ton of peas!  Now I'm not very pleased about they way she chose to eat them but the important part is that she ate them.

That's right folks, she was putting them on the table and then sucking them up like she was a vaccuum cleaner.  Haha!  She definintely had fun eating her veggies that way.  It's all fun and games until someone chokes on a pea :-/

How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Good Evening All!  I have a lovely coworker of mine that has introduced me to something new that I want to share with you.  Chia seeds.  Yes, that's right the kind that you spread on a terracotta cow and it grows into grass :)  Please do not eat the seeds that come in those packages; buy them at a food store.

So basically, these little seeds are pretty awesome when it comes to health and weight loss.  They are able to absorb tons of liquid so they are really great for thickening up smoothies/oatmeal and help with hydration.  On Tuesday night after my training session with Patrice, I made a smoothie with protein powder, almond milk, blueberries, strawberries and chia seeds.  I was pretty amazed at the way it thickened up the smoothie so it almost had the same texture as a milkshake.  It was very enjoyable.  It also made me feel very full :)

After such a good experience with them in my smoothie, I decided to make overnight oats and include them.  This is one way my coworker has used them so I decided it would be a safe choice.  I usually make my overnight oats with 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1 cup milk, which makes it very soupy (but I like it).  With the chia seeds added to it, the mixture was much thicker and even pudding-like. 

Anyway, I have really enjoyed the ch-ch-ch-Chia seeds so far.  I'm really glad that my coworker gave me some to try!  I will definitely make the investment in a supply of my own :)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Hello!  Tonight I had a great workout with Patrice.  She definitely works me hard and I love every minute of it :)  She gave me my measurements and my beginning strength benchmarks.  I thought for kicks and giggles I would share those in this public forum so I can be motivated to make progress.

So here it is:

Cardiovascular Heart Rate (after 3 minute step test) 114 bpm
One time maximum Bench Press 105 lbs
One time maximum Leg Press 410 lbs (this was my best area)
Sit-ups (one minute) 36
Push-ups (one minute) 23 (modified)
V-sit-and-reach 21.25 inches
Body Composition 36.9%

It turns out that my bench press results were rated as "poor" because it is done as a ratio to your body weight.  I'm still happy with my initial benchmark because I did more than I thought I could. 

The thing that is most disappointing (but not surprising) is the body composition.  It is rated as "very poor" and the range for "very poor" is 27.2 - 38.9% so basically I will have to lose 10% body fat to even make it into the "poor" range.  Sigh. 

I just need to keep with it.   I have been exercising at least three times a week and have been tracking my calories during the week and allowing some wiggle room on the weekends.  It have steadily been losing weight and feeling more energetic and peaceful. 

So here are my goals for the next 15 sessions with Patrice:

Cardiovascular Heart Rate (after 3 minute step test) 112 bpm
One time maximum Bench Press 125 lbs
One time maximum Leg Press 425 lbs
Sit-ups (one minute) 46
Push-ups (one minute) 30 (modified)
V-sit-and-reach 22.25 inches
Body Composition 32%

Wish me luck!


Monday, July 11, 2011

I heart Costco

Today was day two of Jackie Warner's 20-minute cardio and it was another intense, sweaty 20 minutes!  I did make a mistake that I will not repeat again.  On the last two-minute 12% incline segment, I decided to do a slow jog instead of walking it.  My quads were so tight that it was twice as difficult to continue to the running part after that!  Lesson learned.

After my workout, I had a quick protein shake with almond milk.  It was not very delicious.  I have the worst protein powder EVER!  The powder refuses to mix in so I pretty much had to chew and swallow the shake.  I have been eyeing some protein powder at Costco.  The price is steep ($35) but just because of the quantity you are getting.  I just don't know if I will like or not.  It's EAS Muscle Milk.  They have both vanilla and chocolate.  Has anyone tried this before?  Would you recommend it?

I feel like the price alone makes it a good buy; plus it is a whey protein, which Jackie Warner recommends.   Costco hasn't steered me wrong on the health food purchases so far, so maybe I should just take the plunge.  Speaking of health food finds at Costco, here are some of my recent finds:

These veggie burgers are pretty amazing.  I don't get the "burger" flavor from them at all but they are a nice substitute for raw veggies.  I really love that they have sunflower seeds in them.  It gives it a great taste and an unexpected crunch.  Here's their nutrition information.

Next up, Nature's Path Ancient Grains Granola with Almonds :)
This cereal has some pretty crazy grains (spelt and amaranth) that I haven't even heard of before and it's pretty delicious :)  A serving size is 3/4 cup and it has 9 grams of sugar, which isn't too bad.  I had some this morning as my mid-morning snack and it kept me pretty full for a while.  Costco also has pumpkin granola from Nature's Path, which I also love.  Julia loves these cereals too.  She even chose this one as her cereal.
Tomorrow is another session with Patrice!  I will be meeting with her tomorrow and Thursday and maybe Saturday too.  It's official butt-kickin' week :)

Have a good one!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Compact Cardio

Good weekend everyone!  I hope you had an enjoyable one :)  Mine was wonderful.  I went to a friend's wedding, spent lots of time with Alex and Julia came home from her two weeks with her dad.  I am a happy lady!

Before we set out on our journey to PA, I snuck in a workout :)  My friend Jess is lending me Jackie Warner's This is why you're fat (and how to get thin forever).  It has some pretty interesting points and a different perspective. 

We were (or read: I was) running late so I decided to Jackie Warner's workout.  She says that you only need to do twenty minutes of cardio, as long as it is with enough intensity.  It was a pretty good workout!

Here's what the workout consisted of:

Treadmill incline 12%, speed 3.5, two minutes
Lower incline 1%, speed 5.0, two minutes
Keep incline 1%, speed 3.5, one minute
Repeat three more times for a twenty minute workout

Jackie's promise is that if you do this workout five times a week for two weeks, you will see a difference.  Since the workout proved to be intense and got me sweating, I'm willing to give it a try for the next two weeks.  I am also looking forward at sleeping in a little bit more since my workout time will be shorter :)

As always, I'll keep you posted and how it goes!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Veg Out :)

So this morning, four o'clock came and went and somehow I was still in bed.  I remained in bed until six o'clock!!!  I have no idea when I turned off my alarm or why I miraculously woke up.  I usually go to the bus stop between six-thirty and six-forty so it was a race against the clock to get ready for work.

Needless to say, there was no workout this morning.  I felt amazingly rested and refreshed though!  Oh well, I have been working out with Patrice, going for walks with Jess and climbing stairs on my fifteen minute breaks so I think a rest day was needed. 

That was dinner :)  It was a "clean out the veggie drawer" dinner.  It was a mix of sweet peppers, spinach, mushrooms, onions, green beans and chicken.  I sauteed it with a little Worcestershire sauce and garlic.  It was pretty tasty!  I have become very bored with my raw veggies so it was really refreshing to eat them cooked.

Tomorrow for breakfast, I'm going to make this delicious meal:

Mmmm, eggs with ground flax seed, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.  I really love breakfast foods and the weekends are my favorite because I actually have time to sit down and make a decent breakfast.

Tomorrow Alex and I are off to Melissa and Jake's wedding up in PA.  I will need to make sure that I pack lots of healthy snacks for the ride up there.  The rumor is that the drive is about four hours :( 

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello Again!

What a long time it has been since I last posted...Yikes! I have been busy meeting with Patrice and doing lots of holiday activities so I have been pretty busy.

So far, I have not been disappointed with the investment in personal training. Patrice really works me hard and I am sweating buckets and breathing hard through every workout. I keep thinking that I need to be writing down these workouts so I can duplicate them once my time with Patrice is done. ***mental note to self***

I haven't seen any dramatic progress so far in the way my body looks but it does seem as though some of my clothing is fitting a little looser. I just keep reminding myself that gradual progress is more likely to be permanent results. If you get results too quickly, it's likely they will leave just as quickly!

Yesterday Julia came home for a day after being with her father for a week and a half :) It was soo good to see her again. I have missed my little girl! In the afternoon, I made us a smoothie of almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. YUM! It was a healthy treat that was very satisfying.

After dinner, the whole family went out for a bike ride around the block. G-pa has an attachment for Julia that makes his bike a tandem. She loves to ride it! It is about a mile around the block so it was a good bit of exercise too.

That's all for now!