Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Snacks in the house

I am roaming the cabinets again...

  I have been wandering around my kitchen aimlessly. I've gotten up to look in the cupboards every 30min. like clockwork. I keep expecting to discover something new or different, but no... just the things I bought from the grocery store. All of my healthy snacks and nutritional items... a good thing without a doubt, but I am craving something "bad" and looking for my fix. I want something salty and crunchy.

I said I wasn't going to keep snacks in the house, but dammit....I want a snack. I feel like a child again for an instant. You know that feeling when you just want what you want, no questions. Well, my grownup self had to intervene with this tantrum. Last time in the kitchen, what is it going to be?

  The thing is, if I had a bag of chips in the cabinet I probably wouldn't really want it, I would just eat it because it was there and it was easy to get to. I know that a handful of almonds or a grapefruit will curb the craving for something else, but I've had that already. I want something warm and good, Something that will last for a while, and will not leave me counting the minutes until my next meal...


I just spotted some kernels in the cabinet. PS- they aren't Orville Redenbacher kernels, and they are just as delicious. I've been using "Deerfield Farms" brand. I'm not endorsing them, just letting you know that they are cheaper than almost $7 a container.

  Oh my gosh, Popcorn is really the perfect snack. My family LOVES popcorn, if we could have it everyday we would. Whether it be made at home (air popped or stove top), from the movies, Target, or a carnival, send popcorn our way and we will take it. Popcorn is really the perfect snack (among others that I'll share later). Its FULL of fiber which keeps you feeling full, its a whole grain just like brown rice and oatmeal, its satisfying and full of iron, protein and minerals, and last: it's soo good.

  Popcorn in its pure popped form is not the issue, its when we add too much butter, salt, seasoning etc. that things can go over board. I am not saying don't spice up a snack and enjoy it the way you like it, I am saying: if you have a goal, train yourself to reach it by doing whats best for your body and not overindulging on the fixin's.

  If you must add something to your popcorn, and a touch of salt and/or butter or try some of these additions: -almonds -chopped dried fruit - pretzels - pumpkin seeds - a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese - soy nuts. Those additions are great ways to combine the crunch of popcorn with a small dose of sweet, salty or chewy. Remember, don't over do it. 3 cups of popcorn is a healthy serving!

Treat yourself, I am right now!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moving into our 30's and things are shifting

  No more waking up to a perfect body with no cares in the world and not even realizing it. We were so dramatic in our 20's, little did we know we had it made in the shade. All the time we needed to "figure things out" was really just us stalling. Don't get me wrong, that is not a bad thing. Those time were very necessary in order for us to be where we are today and to have fun at whatever age bracket we may fall into or out of.
  Those days aren't completely gone either. There is still alot of "stalling time" that takes place and is needed in order to get our bearings, but as we start to settle into who we are and into our lives, we quickly realize... Oh my gosh, I am not getting any younger!!!
  I don't know about you, but my body is starting to settle with gravity and its time I start putting things in check. This über laid back lifestyle approach isn't really working for me. I'm talking about " Eb, you don't have to work out today, you're just fine." Umm...hello, when you say that 10,12,14 days in a row, no you're not fine. Your body begins to recognize and quickly adapt to its new sedentary lifestyle. Meaning sedentary organs, muscles, and body shape.
Which means...not cute. 
  I have enough life experience to know that nothing you really want is going to come waltzing into your life the way you might imagine. It's about GETting UP and GOing AFTER IT, whatever it may be (love, a job, a healthy lifestyle etc.) No more "life keeps happening to me" for the good or bad, I'm taking as much control of me as I can. Best believe I am starting with my health and body. I recognize that more than the aesthetics of it all, I want to set myself up for living and experiencing as much of this life as possible in as many age brackets as I can fit into.

Friday, July 23, 2010

More Flat Abs

By now, you're an expert on the medicine ball crunch. Ready to add variety to your weekly workout? Here are a few exercises to add to your Flat Abs routine that are from my "Belly Blast Class".

This is the Mecca of Abs. It will help to retrain your core to be on your side and to be flat!

Beginning on all fours, walk your hands out until your palms are directly under your shoulders, then walk your feet out until your body forms a "plank" position (pictured below) or what is recognized as the beginning of a push up.

Your goal is to hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Allow your arms, abdominals, and legs to contract and get stronger. Your body may begin to quiver...that's a GOOD sign, don't come out of it yet, hold on a little longer until you've reached the goal.

Remember your form in this move:
Try to keep your head relaxed looking down towards the floor. Your body should be straight, no sagging in the middle (if anything think of lifting your hips slightly up towards the ceiling). Most important: Pull your belly button in towards your spine to maximize your results. 

Picture 1/Full Plank position
 Work up to holding this plank up to 30, 40, 60 seconds at a time.

Plank with yoga ball:
Try your plank on the yoga ball. This is advanced and should only be done once the plank on a flat surface can be held for at least 35 seconds. The same form should apply to this position. Remember no sagging those hips down towards the floor and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Have Fun!

Picture 2/Yoga Ball Plank position

For an added blast:
Not ready for the "yoga ball plank", but ready to step your plank up to the next level? 

Forearm Plank:
Begin in your Full Plank position (picture 1), but this time come down to your forearms. You can interlace your fingers or keep palms flat on the ground as pictured.

Picture 3/ Forearm Plank
Picture 4/ Knees bent hovering over floor

Do 10 knees bends after a 10 second plank. Repeat for 2-3 sets

To execute this movement, you will hold your forearm plank for 10 seconds, then bend and straighten your knees just enough that your knees are hovering above the floor/mat. *Your knees never touch the mat in this exercise*

Picture 3/Forearm Plank
Picture 6/ Leg Raise

Do 10-14 leg raises total (5-7 each leg) after holding your plank for 10 seconds

Begin in your forearm plank (picture 3). Slowly raise one leg in the air while keeping everything else stable. Take 2 counts up and two counts down. Take your time and focus on your form in this exercise. Feel the burn!!

Recommended Playlist:
Don't forget your music, it helps ease you through a workout

Usher, O.M.G.  OMG  Omg
  B.o.B feat. Haley Williams of Paramore, Airplanes  Airplanes  Airplanes [Feat. Hayley Williams Of Paramore] (Explicit Album Version)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Green Peach Smoothie

"Green" Peach 
 Having a "green" smoothie can help improve your energy, focus, and digestion

2 cups peaches, frozen or freshly cut and pitted
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1 small apple diced
3/4 - 1 cup soy milk/orange juice (substitute any liquid that suits your dietary needs)
1/2 cup ice
Blend the fruit first using half of the liquid. Once combined, add the spinach. Blend until the consistency is smooth. Enjoy!

*Remember, there are no rules or limits to your creativity. Don't fancy spinach? Try arugula, dandelion greens, or kale. Different vegetables take on different flavors and levels of bitterness and vitamins. Try this recipe out and stay tuned for other flavorful combinations of healthy snacks to enjoy during your day!

TIP: Hey moms: Kids love the taste of this green smoothie. It's easy to drink, its refreshing, and it doesn't taste like vegetables!

A normal blender should work just fine for these ingredients or for any other soft items called for in a recipe, but for a smooth consistency and quick results you may want to try a Vita-Mix. Having a good blender will result in better smoothies.

Vita-Mix 1300 TurboBlend 4500

The Vita-Mix machine is really powerful and allows you to puree` alot of items in an instant: smoothies, soups, baby food, nuts, sauces, etc. It handles hot and cold items and is a cinch to clean! Yes, this machine is expensive but if you use it multiple times in a day it can be worth it. I can't live without it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flat Abs

Crunches (with Medicine Ball):
Laying flat on your back hold medicine ball past your head. (Be sure the ball is not too heavy and doesn't strain your shoulders. Start off with a 2-5 lb. ball) Roll your upper body up towards your knees while bringing the medicine ball towards your chins. *Medicine ball is optional

Repeat 10-15 times and do 3 sets total

Try not to rest in between, our goal is to overload the muscle and then stretch afterwards. By overloading the muscle we will increase the size and strength of the muscles being used, helping the body to burn more calories and use more of its fat stores for energy during rest.

For an added blast:
At the end of each set, stay up in a crunched position (Picture #2) and while holding the ball with both hands tap the ball on the floor in front of your right thigh and then your left (refer to pictures of added blast below). Keep this alternating and twisting motion going for 10-16 taps.

Remember your form in this move:
Allow your body to move as one unit. Upper body and legs work to move together.


TIP: Pull your abdominals in towards your spine the entire length of this exercise. This will activate your upper and lower abdominals forming flat abs, not a protruding muscle wall.

Added Blast:
Alternate right to left for 10-16 taps 

Don't forget to stretch after your entire Flat Abs workout. Here are a few positions that can help to release your muscles:


Recommended Playlist:
This will help you take your mind off of the work so you can just have fun!

Janelle Monáe, Tightrope
Tightrope [Feat. Big Boi] (Album Version)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Plan

Try to eat 6 small-medium sized portions a day and incorporate at least 15 minutes of exercise into each day.
1. Eat breakfast which includes a whole grain,fruit, and vegetable
2. Snack on a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit (peaches are in season, and sooo... good!!)
3. Smoothie or Vegetable Juice
4. Enjoy a real meal here: Salmon or Chicken breast, a whole grain w/ side of veggies (ex.asparagus)
5. Yogurt with fruit or granola
6. Complex Carbohydrate (ex. a piece of whole wheat toast or a bowl of cereal), tea or wine (this meal will be similar to your breakfast meal but lighter)

All of these meal ideas are interchangeable and can be swapped for anything that fits into the categories of: whole grain, protein, fruit, or vegetable. Make sure to AVOID processed foods as much as possible. These are only suggestions, so feel free to substitute different recipes as they are posted. Take liberties and enjoy your favorite meals, but REMEMBER everything you put in will remain unless you work to change it into energy through exercise.  

Tip: If you have to order out, be smart and think before you act. Whatever you put in, will manifest somewhere on your body. So, go ahead with ordering a combo meal, but get a salad or veggies instead of fries. You'll be glad you did.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday: Getting older...aren't we all?!

Happy Birthday to all my fellow Cancers out there and to those of you whose birthdays have passed or are yet to come!! Birthdays are a strange thing. We tend to be happier to have experienced another year in the life. We celebrate the lessons learned and the evidence of growth. Somehow though as we get older things start to shift in our bodies. Things (our tummies and arms) are slower to bounce back, we notice cellulite in places we thought were "safe zones", our joints ache a little more than they did a couple of years ago, and those extra pounds don't seem to disappear, in fact they stand their ground and try to pack friends along for the ride. Let me stop saying "we" and own up to what's happening in my body. I have cellulite that I've never noticed before, I can even see it in some of my workout gear. My body is beginning to store more fat around my mid-section and legs, and my knees ache if they stay bent for too long. What is happening?! This is a sign as clear as day. I need to start revamping my life NOW, taking the necessary steps to stay on the youthful side of the spectrum. I am on a mission to preserve my sexy and I think no matter what stage of life you are in, you can preserve, rehabilitate, or create your sexy. ** I am practicing self-control, portion control, proper snacking, and exercising at least 15 min. a day** I will guide you through this as well, one step at a time. We'll start with a proper snack or breakfast meal and some exercises to add to your day. This is completely possible. It takes willpower and a plan.

Stay tuned for "The Plan" ...