Thursday, August 30, 2012

Food is not a bandaid

This has been a tough week for me. The No Crap challenge has been tough to keep when there's so much crap going on.
I've always been an emotional eater. When things are good I celebrate with a milkshake. When things are rotten, I devour a cake.  It's taken a conscious effort to break that cycle.
 And I'm not going to lie. Sometimes that first bite still makes it to my mouth. And then I think, "Betsy what are you doing? Is this going to make you feel better? No. You will only feel worse because you let yourself down and you'll regret it. So stop."

Food is not a bandaid. It can not make the pain go away. I might cover it in chocolaty goodness for a second. But then the guilt will kick in and you'll feel worse. If you really want to feel better, go for a run, or a walk, or a dance. Get those endorphins pumping and give your brain a pick-me-up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snack Smart: Read the label, not just the bold print

Here's a little lesson for ya. I was in Costco today, buying protein powder. The muscle milk mix had in bold face on the front 32 grams protein per serving. The cytosport mix said 27 grams per serving.

Duh, I grabbed the muscle milk. While pushing around the cart, I took a closer look. Apparently, muscle milk's had two serving possibilities listed. One scoop was 155 calories. 2 scoops was 310 calories. Guess which one they were touting on the front. That's right 32 grams equals 310 calories.

I went back to check on the cytosport They were only one scoop equaling 140 calories with 27 g protein. Why the huge discrepancy? Because muscle milk puts more 'stuff' in their mix to improve the taste. But it doubles the calories. If they had put the single scoop count on the front, they wouldn't compare and they would lose the advertising game.

Make no mistake, the food industry is playing a big game for your dollars. Pay attention and read the labels. Don't let yourself be fooled by a tricky marketing ploy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fitness Tip: Cross Training

Having a sport or activity that you like to do is good. But it's important to branch out and cross train too. Think about it. If all I ever did for exercise was run, my running muscles would get over worked, while my non running muscles would atrophy. So runners should cycle, and vice versa.

Cross training is an excellent chance to give your primary working muscles a break, but still make sure you meet you caloric burn goal for the day. My favorites are the classes at the gym. Like Zumba or insanity. Maybe pick up a tennis racket or go for a swim. You might feel like the literal or proverbial fish out of water when you do something different for a change. But that's okay. Your body will thank you and become more evenly 'un-rounded' as a result.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Crap Challenge

I'm down to goal weight again. But I still feel like crap. In talking to my friend, she implied it's probably because of the crap food I use to fuel my body. You are what you eat and all that.

So on Monday, I invented the No Crap Challenge. It's 30 days with no fried foods. No refined sugar. And no enriched white flour.

As of today I am 4 days crap clean. Suprisingly, I am less hungry than I've been in weeks. The cravings have subsided mostly. Amazingly, I even resisted the cinnamon roll my friends shoved under my nose. (They are my kryptonite)

I'll keep you updated. Just to be clear, my calorie budget hasn't changed. I'm not trying to lose any more weight. Just fuel my machine like a high end Ferrari instead of a POS Pinto.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Snack Smart: Healthy chicken nuggets and fries

My kids eat utter crap. It's totally my fault. Well I'm trying to fix that. Their fave food is Dino nuggets and fries. They tend to turn their nose up at anything else. So here was my attempt from this weekend.

The chicken isn't dried or blackened, so you can tell my husband cooked it :)

Of course me kids wouldn't eat it... At first. I told them daddy made healthy chicken nuggets and fries. The nuggets were naked and the fries were squished. Behold, 10 minutes later the plates were empty.

Have figured out any healthy ways to remake the classics or your faves?

Park City Half Marathon and the Philosophy of Finishing

So yesterday was the Park City Half. Nothing particularly worth noting about the race itself. My knee hurt when I started, it hurt worse when I finished.

What I thought about while I ran was more than the beautiful scenery, even though Park City is a gorgeous race. It was more than, "Wow I really hate these hills".  I was thinking about how exactly one year ago, I reached my goal weight and my goal of running a full marathon here in Park City. And that in the one year since, I have kept the weight off and kept running. This race gives me my 6th finisher's medal. They are a constant reminder to me of my Philosophy of Finishing, "Not everyone can win the race, but everyone can finish."

My husband was there with me last year and ran the marathon as well. He hasn't run a step since, but he was waiting for me at the finish line. Because he also believes in the power of the finish. It's not just about fitness or weight goals. Finishing should be applied to any aspect of your life. He really set this to work by going back to college after he quit 10 years ago. Now he's ripping through all the classes he needs to get a degree in Biology with a Computer Science minor.

So I want to take this moment and tell you, the reader, that whatever you have left undone in your life --  you can finish it. It doesn't matter if you're not the fastest, or a spring chick any more. Just get it done. Get that finisher's medal around your neck - either real or metaphorical - and you will find that the weight of your accomplishment will lift a weight that has burdening your spirit.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Do You Tell a Loved One They're Fat?

poking the stomach fat
If they are truly overweight, I guarantee you they already know.

Parents, if your kids are overweight, don't sit them down and tell them so. I had that done to me and it scarred me for life. You are the parent, lead by example. Make healthy changes without making it a body image issue.  If your kid comes to you with a concern, then you can address it. Lovingly and without judgement. You can give them ideas to improve their lifestyle, not how to fit into smaller jeans.

Spouses... beware. Trust is a delicate issue. Never tell them unsolicited that they have a weight problem. Don't lie if asked either. Once again, subtly lead by example and work together to have a healthier lifestyle. I promise that you will create a world of issues about rejection if you start hinting about your partner's pudge.

Friends... Oh boy. Depending on your relationship, you might have more latitude. I only offer advice if asked. But I will full on tell you if those jeans make your butt look big. But only if you ask me. Or if it would be a crime against humanity to let my bud go outside and be seen in public.

In case you didn't catch the common theme, don't point out other people's flaws unasked. Work on your own. If you are asked, offer support and honesty. Find solutions, not problems.

free image courtesy of

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Snack Smart: The Road Trip

Ah, the dreaded road trip. The bane of any dieter's existence. The cure? Plan ahead!!

If you know you are going to be driving for umpteen hours, bring your own snacks. Don't rely on gas station stops. You will end up getting the Twix or something equally not good for your. Pack your own dehydrated fruit. Or nuts. Pre-portion them out like I showed in Portion Control Made Easy. That way you are not eating the whole bag of trail mix. (Has more calories than you might think. Good for you though)

Plan ahead what you are going to eat if you stop at fast food along the way. Or use a smart phone app that tracks calories. That way you can make a good informed choice if you have to eat at those golden arches.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fitness Tips: Marathon Training Tips

Sometimes the best thing I can do is point you to some super info that someone else has posted.
Here's a great article run by Shape magazine last week. 25 Marathon tips to get you across the finish line.
Preparing for a Marathon

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Setting an Example

Do you ever feel like you're being watched?

If you are a mom, then you know exactly what I mean. Children have an amazing capacity to soak up behaviors like little sponges. So what are you giving them to learn?

It is an established fact that overweight and obese parents are more likely to have overweight and obese children. Why do you think that is? Genetics. Maybe a little. But more importantly, we share eating habits as a family. If mom has dessert after every meal, the kids will grow up and expect that dessert is an essential part of dinner rather just a treat. 

What about exercise? My family growing up did a lot of wonderful things together. Not one of them was active. Lots of learning, reading, playing an instrument, etc. No sports, no hiking or biking. So as an adult, I didn't have any of these things in my repertoire. 

free image courtesy of

You don't have to shove your kid on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day (That was done to me. Don't do it!) Lead by example and family fun. Show your kids now how to lead a healthy HAPPY active lifestyle. If I complain constantly about working out and being on a diet, I guarantee my little girls will grow up having issues too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Full Body: Get Over It

This last week I went to REI for a new pair of pants to hike in. I tried on a pair. It fit perfectly around the waist.  Not so much around the thighs. Yikes.
I'm long waisted, so my sides dart in a good bit. That part's nice. But I have tree trunk legs. They drive me nuts when I try stuff on.

I complained to my husband who promptly said, "Get over it." He then told me that I looked great and so what if THOSE pants wouldn't fit right.

Upon further reflection, I think we often take a very micro look at our flaws or instances where one article of clothing or one photo doesn't look right. So what? Is that the whole of our image? That one photo? That one body part?

So I will keep trying to "Get over it" and focus on the whole presentation. I suggest you do the same.
Free image courtesy of

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Snack Smart: Add Some Caliente

A little heat can go a long way. It also serves as stopper from eating to much. This week I made Huancaina sauce (Peruvian cheese sauce) for a class presentation. It has a lot of cheese, but it also has aji amarillo, yellow chile paste. It really keeps you from using way to much, but it's so flavorful. Traditionally it's served on potatoes, but you can use it as a dip for veggies too.

I don't use a recipe per se, its largely to taste. But this is how I made it

Mix together equal parts cream cheese, cottage cheese, and queso fresco.
Add evaportated milk to make the mixture sauce like.
Add seasoning: Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
Add the aji amarillo paste a spoonful at a time until you reach your desired spiciness.

Blend together until a thick and creamy. If it's too thick, add more milk. Too liquidy, add more cream cheese.
Tada! So easy, even I can do it.

Bien Proveche

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fitness Tip: Don't Overlook Yoga

In an effort to burn the most calories in our workouts, yoga and other stretching often gets overlooked. It's true, that unless you do hot yoga, or power yoga, you won't burn a lot of calories in an hour. But physical fitness needs to go beyond the calorie count. Yoga is great for body and mind. It improves flexibility and aids in injury prevention.

One thing I hear a lot of is, "I can't do yoga. I'm just not very flexible." Well, duh. That's why you go to yoga. It's not about putting your feet behind your ears. It's about being in tune with your muscles and making progress. Egos get left at the door. I teach yoga and I can't reach my toes in forward fold with a flat back. It's all about the process.

So keep in mind that while yoga is low calorie burn, it creates those long and lean beautiful muscles we all want.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Plight of the Scale

The weight was dropping off. I had just dipped below the 148 mark. Then the scale read 160 the next day. Then 5 minutes later 135. then 170 on the third try. Finally it gave up the ghost and read Err.

I was freaking out. Which number was right? I was hoping it was closer to the second try, but I knew that couldn't be right. The scale was busted, I mean how you feel if someone stood on you day in and day out, asking if they were fat.  The poor scale. It has deserved its rest.

In the meantime, I have an opportunity to gain perspective. How easy is it to depend, even obsess on those little blinking numbers? It is a decent way to track your weight, but it can't tell us how we feel. Have you ever woken, feeling great in you skinny jeans, ready to conquer the world. Then you hop on the scale and find out that you have an extra pound or two of water weight today. Suddenly, you feel like a schlump.

The scale is a tool to be used sparingly. Not five times a day, or even once every day. Today, say thank you for your scale's service and give it a vacation. Focus on getting more in tune with how your body is feeling so you can let that be your barometer.


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