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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekly Weigh In


Nicole:

Motivation. It is one of the key ingredients to reaching any goal. Actually, it’s the threshold ingredient. You have to want it and that has to get you up off the couch and into action. But you know all of that. I know it too, so why am I going on about it today? Because I’m hoping I can find it through talking about it. Yep. I’ve lost a bit of my motivation. I don’t know why.  I got to a good spot then had an off week to rest a bit (aches, pains, etc.). In that week, I gained two pounds.

I’ve been back in the gym since then and I shed the two pounds but I haven’t lost anything additional. I can feel my motivation to go the extra mile waning. Sure, I’m doing plyometrics but a month ago, I’d have finished a 20-30 minute plyometric workout and headed to another area of the gym for some circuit training. My eating was also highly regimented. I refused to go over my calorie allotment except on cheat days (Friday/Saturday). It worked.



Now, I get through about an hour of cardio (classes) or a shorter high intensity workout and I head home. Then, after dinner, I get snacky and let myself indulge. The problem is instead of reaching for a nutrition bar, I reach for Snicker’s and Milky Way minis left over from Easter. Not good. Sure, 4 minis are only 170 calories but it’s the point. It starts with rationalizing the minis on a non-cheat day ad that turns into 4 minis every day and more on cheat days. Before you know it, I’m down the slippery slope and saying, “Well, it’s just two pounds. I’ll tackle it next week.” Before you know it, I’m back at square one.

And who wants that! So what am I doing about it except whining to you? I’m going to boot camp (that’s the featured workout of the week). It has been the one class I’ve avoided since joining the gym. In the beginning, I wasn’t physically ready for it. My fitness level was at zero. When I got stronger and started doing high intensity exercises, I peeked in on a class and saw someone vomit from the intensity of the workout. Again, I turned away.  Last night, a friend of mine who has been taking the boot camp classes encouraged me to try. Then, Ash (who knows the instructor) encouraged me further. It was a regular Béla KárolyiYOU CAN DO IT!” moment. So, I’m going for it. Of course, I’ll let you know how it goes. If you’re not a member at a gym or your gym doesn’t have boot camp classes, there’s an option below but you can find lots of options on YouTube.

           

As for food, snickers minis are what should be on here considering how many I’ve eaten over the past week but I’m not going there. Instead, I’ll share some sweet treats that are lighter on calories and even have a good dose of protein. Check out recipes for Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops, Peanut Butter Mousse and Chia Seed Pudding

Robyn took off this week but will be back to fill you at the next weigh in. Stay strong this week and if you are über motivated, please share some of your tips for staying that way!! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Quotable


We watch a lot of basketball in my house. This weekend's playoff coverage was less about the games and more about the comments made by L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The NBA is still investigating the comments and the circumstances behind them but this is not the first time Sterling has been accused of racism. While due process plays out, an important conversation continues. As productive as the conversation is, I'm just exhausted. It is mentally draining to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In looking for today's quote, I came across a few others. One of them was:

"I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust...We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better." -Thurgood Marshall

That quote is 22 years old and said after a lifetime of fighting for civil rights/equality. There were so many more quotes just like it. And yet, here we are...and so it goes. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Playlist


This week's playlist is filled with songs that get me hyped and ready to go out. This week, I'm in a hip hop kind of mood so this will be the pre-date night prep playlist tonight. Hope it makes you move. Cheers and Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love List


1. Crowd sourced fashion? Yep. Carte Blanche is trying to bring it to the masses through a line of dresses that you will decide. Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

2. I really liked this post on by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller for its honesty. It has sparked a lot of conversation (and my post from yesterday). No matter where you come out on makeup, you will appreciate Leandra's honesty and admire her love for herself.

3.  I have yet to hear a Postmodern Jukebox cover I don't like. If you haven't heard of them, check out their videos here.

4. I recently started using Shea Moisture's Thickening Moisture Mist. It's on this list so obviously I love it. It does what it says and it has a light scent, which is a nice change from most hair products. I also like that it is sulfate free.

5. Taste Savant is a new restaurant review site/app. It has a user friendly interface and I welcome anything that allows me to find a restaurant, read reviews, make reservations or place orders for delivery. I'm all about it. Right now, it is only available for New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago but may expand soon.

6. Elle's portion control chart is helpful for estimating portions if you can't get to your food scale/measuring cups (or you don't have one/either).

7. I love this little Polly skirt by Alice + Olivia. It's all flowy and pastel but has a hard edge with the edition of the leather waistband. It would be perfect paired with a simple tee and heels for Spring or Summer. It recently sold out but you can find similar ones here.

8. I like cute little home accessories. Coastermatic allows you to transform your Instagram pics into coasters for just $25. Get your own set here

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#IWokeUpLikeThis

Though it’s nothing new, the whole makeup vs. natural beauty debate is bubbling up again. Perhaps, it’s because of the #NoFilter #NoMakeup #MakeupFreeMonday #IWokeUpLikeThis  Insta-craze.

When I first heard of Makeup Free Monday and the sentiment behind it, I was super supportive. The movement is supposed to be all about recognizing inner beauty and celebrating the natural beauty of women. In an age where “candid” Instagram photos are as retouched as those on the cover of Vogue, it was nice to see people celebrating the beauty that usually hides under the makeup.  Candidly, I also welcomed the chance to give my skin a break from all the products (primer, BB Cream, bronzer, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner) I use every day.

But, eventually, participation in the routine took a bit of a turn and the makeup free posts became more of humble-bragging than a fist up in favor of female empowerment. Then, people started shaming those who were on the opposite side of the compact.  Now, makeup lovers are talking trash about women who choose not to go glam and vice versa. Then, there are the men*(some, not all) with their image of beauty stuck on perfect makeup and perfectly coiffed (long) hair.  At some point, it all becomes too much.

Ultimately, a cliché rules. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You may like your face makeup free. You may like to look like you just had a makeover at the MAC counter. No matter what you like, it’s your right to do so. It’s your face/your image after all.

So, if you’re going to do Makeup Free Monday (or every day) make sure it’s for the right reason.  In my opinion, there is only one. Though it may empower your sisters, little girls who see your image, etc., it is really about empowering that woman who looks back at you from the mirror. And girl, it has nothing to do with shaming other people for not being on board with a #MakeupFree #Beauty #Glowing when you know you’re wearing a tinted moisturizer and some mascara.  

Also, if you’ve got your mind set on new cosmetics (like the new BareSkin foundation by Bare Minerals for example) even as you read this, that’s ok too. You should do what makes you feel best. Everything else (especially when it comes to something as small as makeup) really doesn’t matter.

* The photos above are of me. The one on the left is right after I woke up. The photo in the middle is with every day makeup, which is pretty subtle (#CorporateDress). The picture on the right is right before date night a couple of months back. I wear a little more makeup on date night but I tend to keep it pretty natural looking (neutral tones) most of the time thanks to D.J. Tanner. If you don't get that reference, check out the video below.

What's your take on the makeup debate?

                         

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekly Weigh In

Robyn: 

Well, hello people and happy Spring!  It does seem like Spring has finally sprung.  I am happy to report I did not gain or lose this week.  As I have noted before, for me the weight loss plan is “slow and steady.”  I am unwilling to give up some of the things I love (can you say wine?).  And given the Passover holidays, I am just happy I did not gain weight.
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On my way to work this morning, I ran into a friend from my building.  He showed me his FitBit.  I looked into it in the past but now I am sold – so much so that I really want to go buy one today. I am hoping this will help me keep up with the walking and get me back on track to do that next 5K.  I will keep you posted on my progress.  Also, with the weather improving, I can finally get outside and move some more!!  Passover is now behind me (as it was last Friday when I had Thai food) and now back to eating healthy again.  I am hopeful for a loss next week.

This week I do not really have a recipe but I do have a tip.  This is a shortcut for those busy weeknights when you just do not feel like cooking anything.  A hearty, full and delicious addition to plain old chicken is shake ‘n bake.  I know it sounds right out of 1974, but it does add taste to otherwise boring chicken. Shake, bake, and serve with brown rice. Does not get any easier than that! One more quick tip: Trader Joe’s sells the best frozen brown rice.  It literally takes 3 minutes to cook in the microwave.  And they offer organic, regular brown rice and Jasmine rice. For those late nights, this is an easy, healthy meal to get done rather quickly!!

Nicole: 

I did as promised and jumped back on the exercise wagon last week. I stayed within my calorie allotment (up until the weekend). Result? I lost the 2.3 pounds I put on in the “break” week.

The weekend bought a baby shower and Easter. My calorie count was tipped towards heavy because I didn’t pre-plan. I know I’ve talked about using pre-planning as a strategy before but you can’t always pre-plan menus you don’t prepare, which brings me to this week’s focus.

If you’re at an event or a family member/friend’s dinner table for a holiday, you can’t always guarantee there will be something diet friendly on the menu…and sometimes you don’t want there to be. What’s After all, what is Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes or mac and cheese? Wrong, that’s what.  

There are many strategies for overcoming calorie wrecking special occasion grub. I’ve tried a lot of them. They include:


  • Offer to host the celebration so you can set the menu. This one is tricky. It can go one of two ways. You can make something for everyone…even the stuff you want to avoid or you can choose a completely healthy menu. I've used the first option successfully. People kinda glared at my vegan food (my family members are Southern American and Trinidadian...people expect meat) but they were happy with the traditional food I made. The second option quickly becomes selfish if your family/friends come hungry expecting traditional fare. You start bringing out lentil stuffed Portobello mushrooms, mashed cauliflower and vegan mac and cheese.  There is uncomfortable laughter as someone says “Ok. Ok you got us. Now where’s the turkey and stuffing?” You innocently quip that meat is murder and explain the benefits of veganism. Suddenly someone is trying to stab you with their generations old carving knife. Epic fail. 

  • Offer to bring a couple of dishes so you ensure you have something to eat. You may get a couple of people saying, “It’s Christmas! You can cheat a little” or a little veiled guilt that comes out as hater speech “Nicole thinks she’s better than everyone with her roasted asparagus. She knows she misses these loaded potatoes!” (True, true). Inevitably though, you’ll also get a lot of support and everyone, including you, can eat what they want. I've done this at a barbeque and it worked out well. 

  • Get your workout on. You know how runners carb load before a race? Well, this is the opposite. Workout before to create a calorie deficit and eat what you burned. FYI, this is only going to work if you eat small portions...and I mean Smurf small. Do you know how big a deficit you’d have to create for a spoonful of creamy, cheesy mac and cheese? Yeah…you’d be running during dinner. What you can do instead is eat in moderation. I know, I know. There’s that word again but it truly is your best friend for holiday events. All jokes aside, little portions of everything you want and a heaping side of will power will get you through without too much damage. If you miss your calorie target, sweat it. No that’s not a typo. I intentionally left the “don’t” out. By “sweat it,” I mean get your butt to the gym...regularly (not just on a big meal day)!
Speaking of the gym, this week’s workout is the Wonder Woman workout by Neila Rey, because who can resist a workout named after a super hero? I mean, the point of this is to gain strength, right? I’m into it.


As for food, we had a cold snap last week (it literally snowed) and it put me in the mood for one more go at a big bowl of hearty soup. This time, I went for a stew that I featured a couple of years ago. You can find it here.  

Can You Give Up Complaining?


I was reading Clementine Daily last Friday when I came across their No Complaints challenge.  For one week, they are throwing all complaints out the door. That includes complaints about the weather, traffic, work, having to do dishes, etc.

I must have been feeling quite zen that day because I decided I was up for it…and that I needed it mentally. I welcome any chance to clear out the negativity cobwebs hiding in the dark corners of my life. I also decided not to go it alone. I needed someone to hold me accountable. Ash was the natural choice because he’s with me more than anyone else. To add some more incentive, we decided to impose a complaint tax. Every time we complain, we have to drop a dollar into our loose change jar.

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Day one of the challenge was yesterday. I owed the jar two dollars before I got dressed. It was freezing in our bedroom and I complained about it. Then, I came down on myself for pressing snooze that last time and making myself late. Boom. Two dollars out the door. I finished getting ready for work and thought about how hard it would be to get through the challenge. In that moment, I realized I do that kind of complaining every morning.  Yet, I don’t vary my routine. That incentivized me to start working on my morning routine so I don’t set myself up for a complaint-filled morning.

By the end of the day, I’d complained about how cold it was in my office, aches and pains from an old injury, and the unrealistic writing on what used to be a favorite TV show.  Ash was in the same boat. We agreed to start over today.

This morning, I was more careful. I tried focusing on what I was happy about and made a mental gratitude list instead.  By the time I got in the shower, I’d thanked God for so many things I didn’t have time to think about anything else. I did find myself frowning at some misogynistic song lyrics in the car but instead of dwelling on it, I just changed the station. Simple fix.  I’m hoping by the end of the challenge, I’ve altered my mindset a bit. Ultimately, it will be a good thing. If all I do is dwell on complaints, all I will attract into my life is more things to complain about. Who wants that?


Is complaining one of your vices? Wanna join the challenge? If you do, and write about it in social media, be sure to include #ClementineChallenge. Gotta give credit where its due. Happy Tuesday! 

*Header photo credit via Google Images

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Quotable


I talk (and blog) a lot about choosing to be happy. That said, I realize that it can be hard to choose happiness when outside sources are dragging you down. You could be drifting along through a happy day and all of a sudden, a piece of bad news, an offhand comment, a mistake at work, a run in with an annoying co-worker or [insert your least favorite mood altering occurrence here] blows up your day. It sucks but most times, it is well beyond our control. People lash out when they’re in a bad mood. Sometimes, you’re in their cross hairs. The good and bad news is there is nothing you can do about life events or the behavior of the people in your life. All you can control is your thoughts/reaction. You get to choose how to react and “Fake it ‘til you make it” is an option. What do I mean by that? Even if you want to burst into tears, engage in a screaming match, or run and hide, you don’t have to. You can take in the bad news/experiences and give a strong “I rise above this madness” response. Lick your wounds later. You can also allow yourself to sit in the sadness/anger/pity for a moment. In the end, it's a choice and it is all yours to make. There is a comfort in that-at least for me. What about you? 

p/s Happy Monday! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Playlist


Weekend One of Coachella was last weekend and the fun continues this weekend. I thought this was the perfect time to shine the spotlight on some of my favorite artists from this year's lineup. I hope you enjoy it. Remember, you can stream weekend two of the festival live through axs tv or Youtube. Happy Friday and if you celebrate Easter, have one filled with gratitude and joy for all the blessings this life has afforded you.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekly Weigh In





Robyn: 


Hello everyone.  So I am down .2.  that said, down 3.2 overall.  Well, I am actually down more than that now (since I weigh myself every day – not recommended), but I will keep it honest and go with the weekly weigh in from Saturday.  

Last night started Passover.  So this should be an interesting week.  No pasta or bread – but tons of matzoh and Manischewitz…..  Not the most nutritious of foods.  I guess it does beat the yummy Easter candy that is coming up for most people.

I still have not been able to get with the Weight Watchers tracking program.  I guess I really need to.  That said, I have been watching my diet more and frankly, eating less.  I have also tried to be a bit more active.  Even if I am not going to the gym, at night I try to get up and move around – even if that means doing more laundry than I have to.  I also started walking a bit more.  Like I said last week – I think this all adds up.
Image of haroset
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This week’s recipe is for all those celebrating Passover.  Its not necessarily healthy, but it is endorsed by Weight Watchers and take it from me, it is DELICIOUS. You can find the recipe for Haroset here

Nicole: 


This week was a little off for me. My body was a little sore. It could be because of sleeping wrong or it could be from going a little too hard in the gym. Either way, I needed to take it easy. It was weird to slack off on exercising…especially in a week when pizza and an apple cinnamon dutch baby were on the menu. Ultimately, it resulted in my gaining two pounds (2.3 to be exact) even though I planned ahead to accommodate indulgent choices. Argh.  There was a tiny triumph this week. I bought a dress for summer vacation (I know it’s early, I can’t wait…and apparently, I can’t resist a sale).  You must be asking how buying a dress is a weight loss triumph. Well, I ordered it a size too small because I plan to be another size down by the time summer rolls around. Last night, I tried it on to check progress and it already fits! Like I said, it was a tiny triumph but in a "gain week," I’ll take a win where I can get it…so, shout out to Weight Watchers, Fitbit and my new green dress.

This week is about getting back on track. And my "back on track," I mean back to the high intensity routines.

Yippie.

I mean, YIPPIE!! I’m excited…really. Ok, let’s get to it.

This week, it’s all about plyometrics. I featured a plyometric workout by XHIT a few weeks ago. I liked the workout a lot so I looked for more. I found this week's workout by JamCore Training and tucked it away. It is intense and I wasn't ready. I think I am now. Plus, I have to keep ratcheting up the sweat factor so my body doesn’t get bored and hit another plateau.  

           

I am also including a shorter workout targeting the back. When I circuit train, I try to focus on one body part each time. For instance, on Mondays, I do yoga and then an arm circuit. I’ve been neglecting my back so this week, it will be a focus. Whittling my waist down is going to take cardio and workouts that target my abs and my back. I hope you’ll try these workouts with me this week!

           

For today’s recipe, we’re going to opposite ends of the spectrum. 


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On one side is a detox water recipe. I featured the AquaZinger on a Love List a while back (here) and it is perfect for this. If you don't have one, you can always use an infusion bottle or just a plain old pitcher. 


My dutch baby results. Didn't puff up as much as I'd like. Next time, I'll cook the apples separately. 
On the other side is an apple cinnamon dutch baby. It’s not exactly healthy but its not horrible if you have one slice with some and a side of fresh fruit.  You can get the water recipe here and the dutch baby here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Quotable


Adopting the spirit behind today's quote helped reshape my life. I used to let the smallest things throw me off course. I'd worry and obsess over the seeming chaos of my life and stress myself right out of sleep, health and happiness. When I was diagnosed with lupus, my life was in a volatile place. I hated where I was in my career and I was spiraling fast. I was in a relationship (with Ash) but even that was in a bad place because I kept pushing him away...when I could stay up long enough to have a conversation.* Eventually, things in my relationship got better (I learned to accept that true love doesn't feel burdened by a health crisis) but the work battles remained until suddenly, they were gone.

It was then that I was hungry...desperate for something to quiet the chaos. I needed to slow everything down so I could think about my next step. I developed an insatiable hunger for self help tools. I read everything from parts of A Course in Miracles to What You Think of Me is None of My Business as I grappled to find peace with my situation and strength to start over.

Eventually, I found it in prayer, meditation and constant reflection to give myself some perspective. I stopped stressing about things that wouldn't matter in a month. Lately, however, I've been sliding back into stress. It goes back to the whole stuck thing I was grappling with a few weeks ago. Rather than giving in, I'm ramping up my yoga and trying to quiet my mind enough to meditate. Lucky me, today marks the start of another Deepak and Oprah free meditation collaboration. This one is aimed at finding your flow? Find out more here and consider going through the 21 day guided meditation. Happy Monday! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Playlist


This week's playlist is a bit of a mish mosh of different artists I've been feeling lately. This will be the playlist that drives my weekend. It's laid back but still makes you want to get up and move. The artists that made the cut this week are: Diafrix (Australia), Ed Sheeran (UK), Quadron (Denmark), Sam Smith (UK) and Naughty Boy (UK). If any of them are new to you, I hope you'll check out more of their music. Enjoy and Happy Friday!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Love List


1. These little state charm necklaces by Fifth & Mae let you take a little piece of home (or a memorable place) with you wherever you go. If the states aren't for you, they make initials and a host of other lovely things.

2. These portable, single-serve glasses of wine by Zipz are perfect for summer picnics or outside events. You don't have to worry about breakage or cleanup. Just sip and toss.

3. I do not like to clean. I'm not a messy person but I have trouble letting go of things. We did spring cleaning earlier in the year but there are some things that remain undone...I mean, who likes to scrub baseboards. Anyway, we're doing some purging and sprucing this weekend and these cleaning tips curated by Apartment Therapy are just what I need. Hey, at least I'll burn some calories.

4. Every time Apple comes out with a new OS for my mobile devices, I cringe. Why? I know I will have to start deleting things left and right to make room for it. This guide provides a few tips to help you free up space quickly.

5. NBC is having a contest aimed at launching a new comedy series. Are you funny? Always thought your life would make a great sitcom? Consider submitting a pitch. What do you have to lose?

6. Ever wonder how much of your life is spent in front of the TV? Try entering your favorite TV shows into the tiii.me calculator. I stopped logging in shows after finding out I'd spend over 45 days just sitting and watching. And over my life, that's just the tip of the iceberg. I gotta get out more.

7. Elle's 30 Fitness Commandments cracked me up.

8. Season 2 of Morgan Spurlock's Inside Man premiers on CNN this Sunday (4/13) at 10:00 pm Eastern. I've loved him since Super Size Me so I can't wait for it to start.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top 10 Cities To Move To and From

Periodically, lists of the happiest/best/most environmentally friendly/most economically reasonable, etc., etc. places to live are published. Each time, I check them out and think about where else I might want to live--especially during the winter months. Last week, I came North Star Moving's Top Ten Cities Americans Move To and From. Of course, NYC was on the list of places people leave. I can testify that it is a tough city to live in. That said, it's also a tough one to leave. I feel like you miss the energy (even if you don't miss the cursing cabbies and filthy subway stations).  Because of that, I feel like my next move must either be back near family or in a completely different country. Who doesn't want to relocate to Paris? Positano? Sydney? Cape Town? Providenciales?

Anyway, I thought I'd share.Of the "move to" list, I wouldn't mind relocating to D.C., Atlanta, San Diego or Chicago. L.A. wouldn't be too terrible but I'd probably be more L.A. adjacent (Santa Monica or Malibu). What about you? Where would you move if given the chance?

p/s Mom, it is not lost on me that NYC is on the "move from" list and Atlanta is on the "move to" list. One more point for you. (wink, wink). 

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weekly Weigh In


Happy Tuesday! Robyn's back this week (yay!). Let's hop right in. 

Robyn: 

Well, I am back.  Better than before – well, that is questionable.  I am down 1 pounds since we last met. So, I am basically down 3 pounds from my  heaviest.  Let’s just attribute that to stress loss and move on.  In any event, I am trying (yet again) to refocus my energies. Today is the first day that the sun is out. I am hoping with spring upon us, I will get back out and back on the couch to 5K track (yes, 5K..not 10K)….

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I am finding it difficult to stay on track these days.  I will say this—I have not gone food shopping in weeks. So my apartment is basically void of any food.  Which, in the end, is probably a good thing.  It keeps me from snacking. So instead of going home, snacking, cooking dinner and then snacking, I am able to just have a fulsome dinner and that’s it.  I have also learned a great lesson the past couple of weeks – no reason to lose weight for an “event.”  Its just too much pressure.  Instead, focus on losing slowly and steadily in a manner that works for you….

My goal this week is to get back to counting points, get some walk time outside, and to keep up with the blogging!!!  I have been doing small things – like just getting off the bus one stop earlier, walking to a further bus stop, going to the mall just so I am walking instead of sitting on a couch.  These things do seem to add up and help.

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My recipe this week is Zucchini Noodles Zoodles with Lemon Garlic Spicy Shrimp from Gina's Skinny Recipes (or Skinnytaste) again.  It looks delicious. I have not tried it and I need to buy a spiralizer to do so (Nicole mentioned it a couple a weeks ago), but I plan to make this in the near future.

Nicole: 

As of today, I am down a total of 17.6 pounds. I am really seeing results now and I have to say, it feels good. Really good. Like happy dance good!


excited baby
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It has been a long time since I set a weight loss goal and made this kind of progress. A good 8 years to be exact. I should explain so you don’t think I’ve been on a food bender since 2006 (though I have been at times). 

If you’ve been keeping up with the Weekly Weigh In, you know a lot of my weight gain/loss story. Before I joined Weight Watchers the first time, I’d packed on about 60 pounds over the course of 10 years. I have college, law school and a few years working crazy hours (coupled with a lack of discipline when it comes to ordering takeout) to blame for that. In that time, I had some spurts of weight loss but it was always back to the set point eventually. For example, I got really into the gym my last year of law school to battle stress. Then I sat still for the summer while studying for the bar exam. I popped right back to heavy land.  

        

Finally, I got fed up (I’m sure I saw an unflattering photo of myself) and joined Weight Watchers with some of my colleagues.  It worked well (albeit slowly). I was in the maintenance phase when I got really sick (thanks Lupus) and dropped to an unhealthy weight (about 30 pounds under my goal weight) and turned into a brittle, gaunt version of myself.  

I was determined to put on weight and started eating like an animal. I had burgers for lunch a few times a week and ate huge amounts of pasta for dinner. Eventually, I got on the right meds and went back to my healthy weight…and then, right past it because of how comfortable I’d gotten with eating crappy processed food on the regular. It didn’t help that my cooking skills left something to be desired (mainly edibility). Before I knew it, I was 30 pounds over my goal weight and 30 pounds away from heaviest weight.  I was fed up with myself.

It was because of being fed up that I tried going vegan for 21 days at the start of 2010. It did a number on me in a great way. I’d never felt better. I didn’t lose much weight but I was still on board with the change.  Now, as you know, I’m vegetarian. At the start of this year, I felt like I was doing some things for my overall health, but it was finally time to shed the excess pounds. There’s no doubt extra weight is weighing (literally) on my already stressed body. I went back to Weight Watchers and the rest is (recent) history. So what’s different?

* I am not in it for appearances this time. It’s nice to look good in clothes but my clothes fit well now (they may not be in the size I’d like-lol-but they do fit). This time, I am in it because I want to feel strong. I’m excited about having more stamina…about being able to do increasingly complicated yoga moves, about lifting weights and doing boxing drills with Ash. Maybe it’s because illness has weakened me over the last several years.  This is like my “F Off” to sickness. It feels like a new start.

* I don’t look at each day as a new start. Let’s say I have pizza for dinner (like last night during the NCAA Men’s Finals). Back in the day (like December of last year), I would write off the entire night and go for a few slices, some cookies and some wine. Now, I pre-plan and try to budget for the little indulgences I refuse to deprive myself of. So, in a night where pizza is on the menu, I budget for a slice or two and fill the rest of the plate with salad so I'm not jonesing for a third slice. 

* I have a fitness buff in my house...and he let's me go at my own pace...and doesn't shame me for eating pizza. He is there as a resource when I have questions and a motivator when I need a little push to go to the gym. And when I flex my tiny biceps, he doesn't laugh. He just says he's proud of me. 

* It feels like a life shift rather than a fad. This is not "I'll lose 30 pounds for my trip to the beach and then go for a huge ice cream sundae." It's get it right and keep it that way. In other words, it feels like a habit and while I don't miss the gym when I skip a day, I do jump right back into the swing of things. 

         

This week's workout uses a medicine ball. It's a fun way to vary your routine and still use weight. What's your favorite weight training tool? Do you go for traditional machines and free weights or do you reach for kettle bells, medicine balls and bands? 

Healthified Kale and Portobello Lasagna
Credit
Finally, today's recipe is one that you actually have to cook (I figured I'd give you a little break from the raw recipes) AND, there's cheese. I see you smiling. You can check out the recipe for Kale and Portobello Lasagna courtesy of Food Network here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Quotable


A long time ago, on a Oprah show far, far away, Oprah made a statement about listening to your inner voice. Today's quotable is a summary of that. From what I remember, on the show, the lesson was stated this way:

The Universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers.
And a whisper in your life usually feels like…

"Hmm, that's odd."
Or, "hmm, that doesn't make any sense."
Or, "hmm, is that right?"

It's that subtle. And if you don't pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder.

It's like getting thumped upside the head.
If you don't pay attention to that, it's like getting a brick upside your head.
You don't pay attention to that, the brick wall falls down.

That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people's lives.
I'm not sure I need to add to today's quotable outside of that. It just spoke to me because I've had a few moments lately where I heard whisperings to do one thing and I did the opposite for convenience. Every time, without fail, it was the wrong decision. I live my life under the mantra that "Everything happens for a reason." Sometimes, that reason is that you're (and by you, I mean me) dumb and actively ignoring that needling inner voice telling you the right thing to do. I need to train myself to listen more closely to that inner voice. I'm getting pretty tired of brick walls. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Playlist


I've heard Sia on features for many years but I first came to know her through her writing for some of my favorite artists. She's never created a song I didn't like (that I know of) but it wasn't until I heard Chandelier on the radio a couple of weeks ago that I got a little obsessed. I started out having just the song on an eclectic playlist but I decided to do a Sia feature instead. Enjoy and happy Friday!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love List


1. I've used Downy wrinkle release for years. I am not a girl who loves an iron. I own one but I can't tell you the last time I actually used it. Anyway, lately, I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I'd reconciled myself to throwing things in the dryer for a few minutes to shake out wrinkles when I came across this DIY. Its a lifesaver when you're traveling.

2. There are tons of apps that allow you to send the pictures in your smartphone out for printing. Groovebook is the latest. The think that separates them is you get a little book of your pics each month (or every time your order) for just $2.99.

3. You know from yesterday's Weekly Weigh In that I have a sweet tooth and have been looking for healthy alternatives that still satisfy. This popsicle maker by Zoku helps that process along and I can make whatever I'm craving in about 7 minutes.

4. I love Lorde for calling out photoshopped pix and saying flaws are ok. It's great to pepper a little honesty into the picture perfect world of the glamourati.

5. A lot of the swaps on this list are easy to incorporate into your life. If you can go for the healthier option without too much trouble, why not go for it?

6. The thought of making bread never really appealed to me until I saw a post on 300 sandwiches about how easy it is (at least while using this recipe by Jim Lahey). Let me get my apron (and by apron, I mean clothes I don't care about getting flour on).  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Look Up!

“The world is a beautiful place and of all the things you can look at, the floor is usually the ugliest.”

Last night, we were out running errands and stopped in a shoe store (Ash is a sneaker head and has issues passing by a shoe store with a SALE sign in the door). As we went up to the cash register (I told you it was an issue), the sales clerk was trying to sell him a few more things. Ash said he was fine and the guy said ok but lingered and kept talking. As Ash was paying for his shoes and focused on the checkout process, I was left to make small talk. Have I mentioned I don’t love small talk?

My normal tactic when I want to be left alone is to keep the talk to a minimum and look away or look at my phone. I tried to do that but they guy was persistent. I started to get a little annoyed about the invasion of my space when he leaned down under my gaze and made the statement that started this post.

First, I was incensed that he called me out.  Then, I felt a little guilty for not being up for social interaction.  I made an excuse about looking away being a habit and looked over to Ash who was being checked out by the slowest cashier in the world. Having nowhere to go, I dropped my guard, lifted my fact and fell into a conversation.

His chosen topic was how phones and social media have turned us into a population of socially awkward people who don’t know how to talk to each other.  Exhibit A? Me, apparently.

I acknowledge that I live a large part of my life online between work and blogging. I love (and I mean LOVE) to talk but only with the people I love.  Social media, e-mail and text messaging have allowed me to replace small talk and the slight discomfort that comes with it…but has it made me a better person? Probably not. I can’t say “social media is the downfall of mankind” but I can say lots of things get lost in translation and you never feel as good about texting as you do after a night out with people you love. Seriously, who finishes texting and says, “I just had the best time catching up with Nicole over text. We exchanged laughing emojis and toasted martini emojis. It was awesome!” Truly…No.  One. Ever.















Why am I sharing this? Well, guidance comes in the strangest forms but it comes nevertheless.  As annoying as the store salesman was in the moment, he was right and it challenged me. So, this month my goal is to put down the phone and interact with people more. Happy Wednesday!