Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What is it?

A lot of people ask me what I am doing to loose weight.  I tell people it's 20% exercise & 80% nutrition.  Yes, I 'check in' and log/brag about how many calories I burned at the gym, but all that wouldn't matter if I ate like crap.  This is where I got introduced to clean eating.  Instead of taking diet pills/shots and switching to a diet I knew I couldn't maintain, I did a little research about clean eating before I made the switch.  A friend of mine told me to check out The Gracious Pantry, and I am so glad that I did.  Her site is so amazing and the information she gives is a clear understanding that "Clean Eating" can be customized to your daily life. 

For me, Clean Eating, is cutting out all processed foods and take-out.  I actually read the labels on everything I buy and try to stick with organic foods where I can actually pronounce the names of ingredients that are in my food.  I also eat 5-6 times a day.  So instead of eating 3 big meals a day I eat 5-6 small meals that are jam packed with protein, grain, vegetables, & fruit.  I hardly eat at restaurants anymore.  I can't tell you how much better I feel physically, mentally, & financially. 

There are different Clean Eating Methods that she shares on her site and here are just a few:

There are many people simply looking to remove the chemicals from their diets and bodies, and therefore eat clean. Their focus is NOT on losing weight, but on general health.They avoid processed foods of all kinds, yet eat only when the need arises or three times per day.

(I believe this is the most common/popular method at the moment)
  1. Eat Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
  2. Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
  3. Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.
  4. Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.
  6. Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!
There is also another method of eating 3 regular meals and squeezing in 1 snack for a total of 4 meals. You eat every four hours instead of every 2-3. This concept is from Jillian Michaels and the theory behind it is that if you eat every 2-3 hours, your insulin stays continuously spiked and you end up with a higher chance of diabetes.

So if you are reading this and say "I do all this", then you are eating clean!!!  If you want to start eating clean, you can start off slow by replacing one meal a day to something totally clean.  Another thing The Gracious Pantry offers, is RECIPES :)

My meal plan

I am a clean eater! Meaning that I try NOT to eat processed foods, I eat 5-6 times a day, and eat lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and complex carbs. Here is just an example of what a day is like:

Breakfast: egg whites (HEB Egg Whites) 1/4 cup, 2 slices of Turkey Bacon (Butterball), whole wheat tortilla, salsa
Snack: Protein Shake after workout
Lunch: Grilled Chicken breast, roasted veggies (carrots, zzucchini, onion, & garlic), brown rice
Snack: Stove Top Pop Corn
Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice, & Salsa
Snack: Rice Cake & Nutella

This will give me a daily intake of 42% Carbs, 34% Protein, and 24% fat. I try to keep the Carbs and Protein very close together in percentage because protein helps with muscle recovery since I lift weights and carbs will give you energy through out the day.
I also take Amino Energy in the morning as my pre-workout drink. I TRY to drink a gallon of water a day but sometimes I can't always get it all in.
So if you want to start eating clean, this is just an example of what you can buy & eat. I usually season with No Salt Added Tex-Joy because well... WE live in Texas!!!
PROTEIN = Handful size
COMPLEX CARB = Fist size
VEGGIE = Two handfuls
FATS = Small palm size

Extra Lean Ground Turkey- JennieO Brand
Chicken- I bake or grill it
Fish- Tilapia or Mahi- bake or grill
Egg Whites

COMPLEX CARBS : I usually eat a smaller portion of complex carbs at my last two meals since I am not as active.
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Bread of Ezekial bread
Corn or Wheat Tortillas
Low Sodium Rice Cakes

Green Beans
Salad- with fat free dressing

Avacado- 2 slices Olive Oil- 1 tablespoon Almonds, cashews or walnuts- A small palm size (8-10 nuts) Natural Peanut Butter- 1 tablespoon

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taco Dilemma

I had the most amazing weekend. I got to spend it with my friends and my family but it took a toll on me. For 16 weeks I've done nothing but eat sleep and drink healthy and worked out. Even on my off days I've done pretty well. This weekend we joined a good friend of mine for her birthday. Dinner and dancing... Why not?! Sounds like a great idea plus by dancing I'll be able to burn those extra calories off. Well fast forward to today. It took everything in my being to get on that elliptical and pump through 45 minutes on a level that I am very much use too. But I didn't stop, I kept going trying very hard not to look at the time I had remaining. I'm focused on the tv to get my mind of how bad I'm sucking on this machine. Where the hell is my drive?! And then in that moment a Taco bell commercial appears on the screen. "Oh my! Tacos"!!! They looked so good! I see that I've burned a pretty good amount of calories already so really one taco from Taco bell won't hurt, right?! I snap myself out of this taco haze... What the hell was I doing?! I've worked this hard and the one thing I can see after this workout is a freaking taco?!? But I really really want a taco bad!

Finally done with my cardio and drooling over yet another Taco Bell commercial I decide that I will have my tacos but a cleaner and healthier version. To the store I head, on a mission, a taco mission!

I'm standing in front of dozens of tortilla options and start pondering "soft or crunchy taco... CRUNCHY"! Not only does H-E-B have their corn tortillas on sale, but they are only 80 calories a piece versus 120 for flour tortillas. I head to the meat department and of course I get the ground turkey. Red meat & I don't get along whats-so-ever so I always choose white meat instead. Now you can't have tacos with bland meat so I head to the instant seasoning in a package. Wait? Whoa? What? Pre-packaged seasoning, that's not very clean? Don't fret y'all, I just scoped out the seasoning that were in the package. Most of them I already had at home except the oregano and paprika. You can't have tacos without cheese, so I get the 2% Mexican shredded cheese. These tacos were much much better than Taco Bell and fewer calories.

Taco Seasoning:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper

You can probably add salt to this recipe but I don't use salt so that's why it's not up there.

Turn a muffin pan upside down and place your tortilla shells in-between to slat to form a taco or a taco bowl. Heat the oven to 350 and cook or about 15 minutes.

Brown your turkey, make sure there is no pink left. Add about 1 cup of water and the seasoning. Stir together and let simmer til sauce thickens.

Now I also sautéed some bell peppers and onion because I love the flavor. Time to assemble your tacos! I also added a little salsa on top of mine. For tacos like mine, the caloric intake is about 195 calories. Just remember if you add more condiments, add those calories to it! My tacos 195 calories, a supreme taco from Taco Bell 220 calories.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Pizzas

Here recently my daughters have gotten on a pizza kick. Instead of spending money on a carry out pizza from our local pizza chain, I decided to make my own. I knew my husband made pizzas once on a camping trip and I was going to try and re-create it. All I needed was the unsliced pita bread. I headed to my local grocery store. I wandered the bread aisle, frozen food section, and even bakery but pitas were no where in site. That got me thinking, what else could I use as a base, the very foundation of a pizza but without the tedious process of making pizza dough. I wanted something small enough that my girls could handle. Back to the bread aisle I went. Looking at the many round options I had, tortillas, sandwich bread rounds, bagels, and English muffins. So let's start narrowing down our options. Tortillas... Big NO! That would not work, the tortilla would burn before the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni would melt into a ooey gooey goodness. Sandwich rounds... Eh maybe but again I didn't want the bread to burn before it all heated up. Bagel... Yes, eh maybe but it would be too hard after toasting and my girls would have a hard time biting through it much less chewing it. English muffin... YES!! That would be perfect. So I looked around at my options on the bread aisle and saw the prices... Who wants to spend $3-$7 on four English muffins. I knew I had to come up with something else. I wandered over to the pop-can biscuits and next to them at the very bottom I see the grocery store brand of sourdough English muffins for... $.99 for SIX!!! SCORE!!! I got the other few items I needed to make this lunch and headed home.

So let the assembly begin, I slice the English muffin in half, spread 1Tbs of pizza sauce on it, layered my cheese, and popped on three pepperoni because that's all I could really fit on there. I ventured outside to hit up our propane gas grill. Once it was warned up, those little round pizza goodness were placed on the grill that was set to low. I let them cook/warm up for about 10 minutes. You can probably do this in the oven but I wanted the taste of the grill in the pizza. The bottom of the English muffin gets crunchy while the middle stays nice and soft. Needless to say, the mini pizzas are a hit and are made at least once a week.

For those of you moms that want the caloric value of these mini pizzas, you are looking at about 575 for two slices (one whole English muffin).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What motivates people?

As I'm pounding out my 45 minutes of cardio, I can't help but wonder what the people around me are thinking. Are they thinking about chores at home that need to be done? Kids starting school soon? Or are they thinking what I'm thinking "come on! Get to 300 calories"!

When I get in the gym there is nothing else in my head than what I am doing at that moment. There is no one except me to cheer me on and push me through my next set. I don't have to worry about chores or kids, it my mommy time. I get to push everything out of my head and focus at the task in hand. My greatest motivation is not to be skinny minnie, it's to get those calories burned. I have goals I set for myself every time I enter that gym. Push harder, lift heavier, burn more! I see ladies gossiping it up with their girlfriends and think, is this their social hour? Are they not serious about working out? The old men lift a few weighs an then sit around a drink coffee. I don't see anyone in the gym really pushing themselves. This bothers me. Here I am working my butt off and these skinny snobby ladies just trot their way through their workout with no real effort. I begin to question why they are even here. Then I see a larger woman come in and get on the elliptical next to me. She starts pushing through and I can't help but look over to see what level she is on. I secretly cheer for her in my head and want so badly to give her a high five for being focused and push through. Then a younger guy get on the other machine next to me and yes again I look over to see what level he's picked. Part of me wants to say to him "Oh come on!!! I'm 5 levels up from you, add another 2"! I don't know why I feel the need to cheer and push these people on, and then it hits me that maybe that's what I need. The few times that my friend and I get a chance to workout, I push and cheer her on like I would like someone to do or me. As I finish my 45 minutes of cardio and get off the machine, I see my calories burned and think, I can do better than that. Instead of jumping back on, I continue to the weights. I check my stats from last week and decide, it's time to up it! Push harder, lift heavier, burn more!!! I test the weight out and realize, I can go heavier, and as I near the end of my reps I know this is a good workout. I'm struggling to push that last rep, and in my head I'm telling myself "I can & I will"! I finish my workout with a smile on my face and sweat rolling down my body. It's then I realize it's about me in this gym. Who cares about the skinny snobby ladies that talk on their phones or the old men that drink coffee. What matters is how I push myself.

As I walk into the daycare center and see my girls running to me and calling for mommy, it hits me, THEY are my motivation. They are the ones that push me every day. They wake up at 6:15 on the dot and you better believe they are running in our room to wake us up. As soon as I get them fed, they are immediately asking to go to the gym. They never tell me No they don't want to go, they beg to go. As we drive to the gym, they are in the backseat dancing and in great spirits. When we round that corner and they see the colorful exterior they start chanting "Gym Gym Gym"!!! Yep, it's them that motivate me and push me to be my best every day.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Workout Blues

Oh it's days like today that I get the workout blues.  I know that during every weight loss/fitness journey you will have ups and downs and even plateaus, let the record show that I HATE PLATEAUS!  Today is one of those days that I just feel blah about this journey and once again feel like I am going to be this size forever.  It's really hard trying to visualize the future me and how I will look because all that I keep seeing is the same size.  Monday, I hit a personal best on the elliptical at 585 calories in 45 minutes, then Tuesday had a killer leg & butt workout.  I'm still having trouble getting up and down out of chairs or bending down to pick something up.  Today, I beat my Monday cardio and was able to burn 632 in 45 minutes.  As much as I should be proud of myself and feeling the results, I just don't.  I usually only weigh myself once every 2 weeks and today I made the mistake of weighing... I gained 1.5lbs!  Yes I know I shouldn't be concerned with the number but I am a woman and what woman isn't effected by that number on the scale?!  I wonder if me weighing myself early is what's making me feel this blah today or am I really going to be this size forever.  If I could stay all day at the gym today, I would, because I need to feel results.  I have even been doing really well with my clean eating and has had an awesome eating week so far.  I'm seriously debating on going back to the gym this afternoon to make sure I feel the soreness that I usually feel the day after a workout.  I do believe Chest & Tri days are my worse and most stubborn areas.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Little Imagination

As the weeks are going by, I am almost baffaled by how big of an imagination my girls have.  They are always play cooking and taking care of baby.  This week Ashley did something that just made me fall in love with her all over again.  I was fixing breakfast in the kitchen and I heard her tell Emily that she had to go to work.  I didn't really check in on them because they were still making noise so I continued cooking.  I hear one of their chairs move and then complete silence.  Any mother knows that when there is complete silence and kids, it's not a good thing.  I peeked around the corner and to much of my surprise, Ashley was sitting in her chair in her play kitchen facing the sink.  She kept looking at her fingers and looking up.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures before she even realized it.  Finally, I asked her what she was doing and she said, "I'm working, see 'puter'."  My little girl was acting like she was typing on a computer. 
Friday we went over to visit with our good friends that just had a new baby.  I call Kristi my cousin because I have known her since I was a baby.  We actually have baby pictures taken together.  She married one of Chris' really good friends and they just welcomed their first child into the world.  I can not wait to take his offical newborn pictures but until then, I had a little practice since I had my phone and backdrop in my car.  I think it turned out pretty well, what do you think?...
The girls had so much fun hanging out with Baby Ethan and they loved his soft hair.  Chris got a few snaps of the girls as they played as well as me...excuse my messy appearance...
Emily loves hanging upside down and doing anything dangerous. 

We had a great day Friday and hope you did too :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Family Day

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  Chris and I decided that we needed to use one of his vacation days to actually do something fun and family oriented.  So what did we decide to do?... Take the girls on an adventure!
We started the day with a trip down to the beach.  We had the t-top down on the jeep and even though it was hotter than hell, we survived!  The girls slept most of the way down to the beach but once we got on the beach they woke up and were pleasently surprised where we were.  They kept saying "Beach mommy beach!"

They loved seeing all the seagulls and seeing the waves hit the shore.  Too bad Ashley had an ear infection or we would have totally let them out on the beach to play.  The last time they were on a beach was also the first time they were on a beach.  Maybe next trip we can let them play. 

From the beach we decided that we should take a ride on a BIG boat.  The girls were totally excited about that and were very anxious to get on the boat.  This was their first time on the ferry so of course we had to take pictures...

Oh how they enjoyed the boat ride and we got to see dolphins. 

We then made our way to the Railroad Musuem in Galveston on 25th street near the cruise terminal.  They really really enjoyed the train musuem.  They played with all the extra gadgets they had on display and just squealed with excitement. 

We now know what to get them for Christmas...

...and by them I mean Chris!!

We then road to Kemah and suprised them with an actual train ride that they have on the boardwalk.  They were so very surprised and excited to ride on a choo-choo train.

and that was the end of our day!  They slept pretty much the entire way home and are still talking about boats, and trains today.  I am so glad we got to take them to see something they really enjoy.  I've already started looking up party decorations for a train party come January.  I wonder where we can rent a trackless train for possible train rides?!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Next TEN pounds

I guess when facebook sees that you are posting about eating right and working out, it automatically post ads for weight loss pills, diet, and other weight loss miracles.  It's kinda irritating to see stories/ads that suggest that these "models" have lost 20lbs in just 2 weeks.  How is that even possible?  And who are the people that are actually believing such crap? 

I've done the "crash dieting" and the pills and the shots and the wraps, anything that I thought would give me results the quick and easy way.  Even though most of them did give me quick results, the gratification was fleeting and the weight came right back on.   

Almost 8 weeks ago I made a decision that I was tired of being 175+ pounds and tired of just being tired all the time.  I want to be the active mom that can keep up with her kids on the play ground rather than the mom that just sits on the bench and watches her kids play.  I want to live a long a healthy life and show my girls that you can do anything you set your mind too.  Eight weeks ago, I saw an ad on Facebook that my dear friend Derek posted, Exygon was having their 99 days for $99, and I had extra money burning a hole in my pocket.  So why not do something that was going to teach me dedication, hard work, and show me good healthy results in the end. 

It's been a long 8 weeks but I am happy to say that changing the way I eat and getting active, has proved to work.  Yes, I crave those Buster Bar Blizzards from Dairy Queen, and yes I crave those Mexican Pizza's from Taco Bell, and even though I hate to admit it, I did LOVE those chicken nuggets from McDonald's.  I look at that food now and even though it smells good and I know it will taste good, all I see are those calories I just spent 1-1/2 hours at the gym, working my butt off to loose.  I do have days that I slip up and share a small blizzard with my girls, but I feel so extremely guilty afterwards.

I am so very excited that I have lost my first 10lbs on my weight loss journey to get to my desired weight.  Now I just have 40 more to go but I will be taking it 10lbs at a time.  I am going to start posting some low-cal recipes that I just love and what my girls have ended up liking as well.

Have a blessed Tuesday everyone!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

They are growing like weeds.

I really need to try and keep up with my blog more.  I didn't realize how fast time has gone by and how much the girls have grown.  They are keeping me busy and I am slacking on taking pictures of them.  Between shooting clients, taking care of them, and working on my fitness journey, I haven't made time to take really good pictures of them.  What's really bad is that Chris and I have been married for going on 4 years and we have YET to get family pictures taken.  Maybe that is something I can ask for this year for our anniversary. 

This past month has been a really hard one for me and for my little family.  I came to realize that someone I thought was a really good friend, turned out to be someone I never really knew.  I trusted this person and thought I saw who she really was but she had the wool pulled down very tightly over my eyes.  It is heart wrenching to loose someone you thought was a really good person but in the same way very liberating to get such an evil person out of my life.  Meanwhile, our outside cat, Honey, decided to have kittens... 6 of them, so we thought.  Then on May 25th, our sweet sweet dog, Buster, passed away unexpectedly.  We have no idea why or even how he passed away but he passed away during his mid-morning nap.  We buried him under the tree and he now has a beautiful cross laying across his grave.  We are going to put the cross on a stake and put it in the ground.  To this day, the girls still ask about Buster and it breaks my heart.  His kennel is still up and even though I want it taken down, I think it will be really hard on Chris to actually take it apart.  

Then a couple weeks after Buster passing, I was backing out of the driveway and thought all the kittens were moved out of the way and I was wrong.  It broke my heart that I could even do that.  Like why didn't I double and triple check to make sure they had all moved.  Breaks my heart still because I had to watch him pass away, and then had to bury him.  What's even worse is last week, another kitten got hit and Chris had to bury that one as well.  So this month has not been the most wonderful month at all.  Then to add another layer on our horrible pet month, Chris' 10 year old cat, Brooke, has come up missing.  We have been looking for her for 2 days now and calling for her everytime we are outside.  I just hope she turns up somewhere and is fine.  This has just been a horrible pet month for us. 

Now onto the girls!  They are almost 2-1/2 years old and YES! they do have their terrible two moments but they keep me laughing.  They are talking so much and developing such cute personalities. 
We switched them to "big girl" beds and it has been taking some getting use too because they now can get out of their room and come wake up mommy and daddy.... at all hours of the night.  I feel like I have newborns!  The summer is starting off great and the girls are in love with the water.  Every day they ask me to go swimming.  I walked them down to the spray park in the neighborhood and they are now hooked. 
They even call their bath time, Swimming.  It's so cute but so bad when it's raining and they are demanding that I take them swimming.

This month they are loving anything that has to do with noodles.  They love slurpping them down and making a mess.  They also love "chocolate" toast which is just nutella, but somehow they manage to get it all over their face.

Now for me... I was on facebook one day and saw that Exygon had a special going on: 99 days for $99 and I just so happened to have some extra cash on hand.  I notified Diana of the special and later on that day we were both at the gym signing up for a membership.  It was one of the best spontaneous decision I have ever made.  We have been going to the gym 4-6 days out of the week 1-2 hours a day and 6 weeks I am down almost 10 pounds and have lost over 10 inches off my body.  I have a new found evergy and really enjoy going to the gym.  The girls LOVE it too, so much they sing "I secy know it, I work out" as we are heading to the gym and they make me replay the song over and over again.  They get so excited when they hear we are going to the gym and that just pumps me up even more.  Everyone says that in 4 weeks of working out and dieting you can see a difference in yourself, so this is my 4 week progress pictures...
So that's what has been going on in my life the last couple of months.  Be on the lookout for some more blogs here soon. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pushing Pause

Over two years ago, when I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon ecstatic.  We have tons and I do mean tons of pictures of the girls so far but only a few family portraits. 

Today I saw a post on facebook about a letter that was left on the doorstep of a photographer.  It was a heart wrenching letter from a lady that cancelled her session with the photographer because she just couldn't see spending that much money on prints.  Instead she spent the money on other material items.  Days went by and she got some unsettling new from her doctors that she had cancer and that she didn't have much time to live.  She will be leaving behind a husband and two kids. 

That letter hit real close to home...

Right before thanksgiving we got some news about my grandmother. She has been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and luekemia. She is doing great with treatments and has 6 more to go. Me, being the photographer I am, brought my camera with on Christmas morning. It was then I noticed my grandmothers hair thinning and how much weight she has lost. She has gotten weaker and the twinkle in her eyes are dim. It was at that moment that I knew we needed a family picture. I am so glad we got them all together because it's the only family picture I have with all my family including my two year old twins.  Even though it's not the best picture in the world, it's one that I will forever cherish.  Pushing that little shutter button on my camera is so much more than that, it's pressing pause in our busy lives to remember what we have.