Monday, December 29, 2008

My 2009 Resolutions

Goal #1 Get Fit
I have found that I really enjoy going to the gym. I will be adding more fitness time to my week. My goal is to get 30 - 45 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, and to add 45 minutes of strength training at least 3 times a week. I have some equipment here at home as well as the gym that is close by, so that is a very attainable goal.

Goal #2 to lose 10% of my current weight.
I will be challenging my TOPS group to join me in this challenge. 10% will be something different to each person depending on where they start. I think it is a good starting point for the beginning of the year. Maybe we will all get a shirt that says we have joined an exclusive club of Loser. I will have to be thinking about that. I love visual rewards for hard work. I will be talking to my TOPS group about that.

Goal #3 Completing the Beck Diet Solution Weight Loss Workbook
I will be journaling about that journey on this blogsite in January. If you have not read the book, by Judith Beck I highly recommend it. It is about training your brain to think like a thin person. I hope that some of you will join me on that journey.

I will be leaving for Florida next week. I hope that will be the last trip for awhile. It seems like we have been living out of a suitcase for three months now. I am looking forward to spending some time at home.

Please let me know if you find the information here helpful.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Try this at home

Improve Your Mood with This 2-Minute Exercise
By: Dean Anderson : 12/16/2008 12:09:25 PM : 206 comments

Would you be willing to spend two minutes doing a special exercise that could improve your mood and make your life a little (or a lot) easier?

No, this isn’t a gimmick that will get you off the hook for the kind of exercise that makes you breathe hard and sweat a lot. You’ll still have to do that. And it’s not going to make it a breeze to pass up temptations and stick to your food plan.

But this exercise might help you appreciate and enjoy these things–and the rest of your daily duties--a lot more, and avoid feeling sorry for yourself.

You don’t need an expert to tell you that a good mood is like money in the bank. It helps you let the many minor irritations and problems of your daily life roll off your back like water, and gives you the optimism, creativity, and stamina you need to handle whatever life throws at you.

But how do you get yourself into a good mood when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or so many little things are going wrong that you’d have to be unconscious or really snockered not to feel pretty anxious and upset?

The answer is simple: practice gratitude.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. And if you’re trying to go from feeling down about your situation to feeling good about it, the shortest path is to be grateful for what you’ve got.

I have to admit that, for many years, this kind of claim drove me crazy. I was stuck in a very long, deep, and unpleasant struggle with major depression and PTSD that had already wrecked my marriage, my business, and left me living on disability benefits with 3 kids to support. To have someone tell me that I should find something to be grateful for struck me as either ignorant or cruel.

Then one day I was sitting in the lobby at my therapist’s office, running through all the problems I wanted to talk with her about that session, when a another client came in. She was carrying a baby, had a toddler in hand, and asked me if I could watch them for a second while she got the other kids out of the car. She came back in with two more young kids, sat down and started crying a little bit while trying to get the kids interested in playing with a few toys. She apologized and explained that she and the kids had just lost their apartment and were living in the car, after her husband had gone to jail for child and spousal abuse.

Well, I’m sure you can guess the rest of the story. I ended up telling my therapist I felt pretty silly getting all caught up in my own worries after hearing about this woman’s troubles, and was feeling grateful that my life wasn’t really as difficult as it could be.

I can’t tell you that this single incident “cured” my problems with depression and anxiety, but it definitely did change my thinking about the power of gratitude, and gave me a great tool I still use whenever I’m starting to feel a little down.

It’s incredibly simple. Just sit down for two minutes and think about what you have to be grateful for today. Come up with 3-5 things that make your life better than it would otherwise be at that moment, and write them down. These don't have to be big things--in fact, this will probably work better if you focus on little things that change from day to day. Putting the same things on your list every time will make the exercise less effective. So you might include something like being grateful for not having a headache, or enjoying your morning coffee that day, or having a pleasant moment with a family member or friend.

If you have the time, think for a minute or two about how and why you have those things in your life, and how to keep them there. If what you’re grateful for is having certain other people in your life, think about how you can let them know how you feel.

If life is pretty hard right now, this may feel a little artificial, trivial, or phony at first. But do it at least once a week anyway–fake it until you make it, if you have to.

If life is really hard today, and things to be grateful for don’t spring to mind, go spend an hour volunteering at the local food bank, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter–or anyplace where you’re likely to find other people having a hard time. Or get on the message boards at Sparkpeople or another site you’re involved in, look for someone else having a hard time, and say something encouraging to them.

The distance between a bad mood and a good mood often isn’t nearly as far as we think it is, and the shortest route is often to practice a little gratitude for what you already have.

You don’t have to take my word for it–there is lots of scientific research supporting the practice of gratitude. And there is a pretty large and active community of gratitude practitioners on the SP message boards you can talk to about this.

Why not give it a try yourself, right here, right now.

What do you have to be grateful for today?

Monday, December 15, 2008

What to do when you overeat during the holidays.

So you are all in the swing of Holiday parities, baking and shopping and now you are finding it easy to over indulge. You must find time to get more exercise in. During commercials while watching TV is one way or you can do as I do and learn to love the morning exercise routine. I meet a friend at the gym two or three mornings a week around 9 AM. For the rest of this month I am going to try and get in even earlier exercise. I have a busy schedule and I need to make exercise a priority. I didn't weigh in last week and I know I overate while babysitting the grandsons last week, so I need to get myself moving even more. Here is another great article I found on Sparkpeople today. Think about it.

Top 5 Reasons to Love A.M. Exercise

Exercising early in the morning "jump starts" your metabolism, keeping it elevated for hours, sometimes for up to 24 hours! As a result, you'll be burning more calories all day long--just because you exercised in the morning.

Exercising in the morning energizes you for the day--not to mention that gratifying feeling of virtue you have knowing you've done something disciplined and good for you. (Much better than a worm!)

Studies have shown that exercise significantly increases mental acuity--a benefit that lasts four to ten hours after your workout ends. Exercising in the a.m. means you get to harness that brainpower, instead of wasting it while you're snoozing.

Assuming you make exercise a true priority, it shouldn't be a major problem to get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier--especially since regular exercise generally means a higher quality of sleep, which in turn means you'll probably require less sleep. (If getting up 30 to 60 minutes earlier each day seems too daunting, you can ease into it with 10 to 20 minutes at first.)

When you exercise at about the same time every morning--especially if you wake up regularly at about the same time--you're regulating your body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms. Your body learns that you do the same thing just about every day, and it begins to prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you actually open your eyes.
Exercise Extra: More than 90% of those who exercise consistently have a morning fitness routine. If you want to exercise on a regular basis, the odds are in your favor if you squeeze your workout into the a.m.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

30 calorie treats

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 11
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 29.8
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 54.5 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.0 g

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Bites
Submitted by WHATSEEDS

A great 30-calorie sweet treat!
2 Minutes to Prepare and Cook


Vanilla extract, imitation, alcohol, 0.5 tsp
Splenda, 1tbsp
Cream Cheese, Publix Fat Free, 5 tbsp
Hershey's Cocoa, Special Dark, .5-1 tbsp
Great Value Light Whipped Topping, 16 tbsp (1 cup)
Chocolate Chips, Publix Mini Semisweet, 1 tbsp


Mix coolwhip, cream cheese, vanilla, and splenda (using mixer, blender, or bowl and fork).
For chocolate cheesecake bites, add cocoa and stir in thorougly (to create swirl cheesecakes, divide batter in half and add the cocoa to half the batter - mix thoroughly, then recombine batter, swirling chocolate batter into plain batter).
Spoon into 10-15 slots of an ice cube tray.
Top each bite with 5-10 mini chocolate chips, one teaspoon sugar free chocolate syrup, or smucker's sugar free fruit preserves (rasberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc - 3 calories per teaspoon).
Freeze for 2 hrs. After fully freezing, they should pop right out, or you might need to run water over the bottom of the tray to help them come out.

Number of Servings: 11

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exercise Tips

SparkPeople Experts Answer Your Fitness Questions

Question: I read that weight training is a lot more effective at burning fat than cardio, and if you could only do one of the two, you should weight train. Is this true?

Expert Answer:
Weight training is important for a couple of reasons. First, the more muscle you have, the higher your base metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn even at rest. But the actual numbers involved in a whole day of "extra" calorie burning due to extra muscle are relatively small compared to the number of calories you can burn during an hour of cardio exercise.

The second reason is more important. Whenever you lose weight, you will lose some muscle along with the fat. If you don't exercise and do some strength training, up to 30% of the weight you lose can come from muscle loss, and that isn't likely to be healthy over the long haul. Good strength and muscle tone are essential for functional living and health. You can hold your muscle loss down to 3-5% of total weight loss with moderate strength training. Likewise, strength training helps to preserve bone density, balance, and many other important things.

So, strength train each muscle group at least twice a week--this really only takes about 30-45 minutes per workout. Better yet, try circuit training, where you lift weights without resting between sets. This method meets both cardio and strength requirements because you keep your heart rate elevated throughout your workout, increasing the amount of calories you burn per workout.

After you've met your 2 strength sessions per week, focus on cardio if your goal is weight loss. You need the cardio for the calorie burning, and also to build and maintain your cardiovascular fitness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Spark People Today

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day
Tricks for Healthy Treats
-- By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer
"Eat your fruits and vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives. If only it were so simple.

Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we'd survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks

Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Here is another Sparkpeople article

Calories Are Coming to Town
You Better Watch Out!
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Is your holiday eating already in full swing? Have you sampled the foil-wrapped chocolate at the bank, dunked the office Christmas cookies in your morning coffee, or taken your famous dessert to the neighborhood gathering?

Among the most cherished of holiday traditions is sharing special foods—especially desserts and sweets. While many of these favorites are heavy on sugar and fat, you don’t have to feel guilty about splurging. You can still enjoy those special dessert recipes by following these tips.

Healthy Holiday Substitutions:

Use canned applesauce or plums in cake and pie recipes as a healthier alternative to butter, margarine, or oil.
When muffin and quick bread recipes call for fat (such as oil), try reducing it by one-third to one-half. You won’t even miss it.
In ice cream desserts, use ice milk or low-fat frozen yogurt.
Save the fat by using cocoa powder instead of chocolate. Substitute three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate in baked goods such as cakes or cookies. For chocolate fillings, you may need to add one or two teaspoons of oil in addition to the cocoa.
Replace heavy cream in puddings, cheesecakes, and cream pies with evaporated skim milk.
Use nonfat yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. Two egg whites can be substituted for each whole egg in many baked recipes.
Since much of the fat in cake comes from the frosting, try topping cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar.
Use Splenda brand sweetener in place of all or part of the sugar in baked goodies. It works great in pie fillings and puddings too. Follow the baking tips on the box and visit for ideas.
Decrease the amount of nuts used in a recipe by half, substituting it with Grape-Nuts cereal to keep the crunch and texture.
Reduce the amount of chocolate chips or nuts in a recipe by one-fourth. No one will even notice!
Use fat-free whipped cream in place of regular whipped cream.
Substitute skim milk for regular milk.
Cut Even More Calories by Cutting Down On Size:
Cut pies into 10 slices (instead of the standard 6-8 slices).
Cut cakes and brownies into bite size pieces.
Bake bite-size cookies and muffins.
To savor the flavor of every bite, slow down and enjoy your dessert with a cup of herbal tea, flavored coffee, or low-fat, sugar-free cocoa. Enhance the flavor by using fat-free half and half, fat-free whipped cream, colored sugars, and sugar-free sweeteners. Yummy! Now that’s a taste of heaven!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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