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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh me, oh my!

First of all, congratulations to the world’s best trainer and his awesome wife!  Scott and Amy had a beautiful baby girl Tuesday evening!! 

This weekend was a rough one.  We went home for Memorial Day to celebrate the high school graduation of two of my cousins.  I knew that food and workouts were going to be an issue and I tried to prepare as best I could.  We’re going to chalk this one up to an epic fail.  No lie, I bet I ate about a dozen of my mom’s chocolate chip cookies over the course of three days.  They are like crack to me. I just can’t stop once the sweet goodness touches my lips.  Saturday I walked with Sissy and Jake but that was the extent of my workouts.  Unless you count playing bags for 8 hours on Sunday while drinking with the family a “workout”.  It’s not even that I ate a ton of terrible food or gorged out (besides the cookies).  I just didn’t make good food choices.  Chips and dip?  Yes, please.  Pizza?  Okay.  I woke up Monday morning feeling like an overly inflated balloon.  Besides that, I could tell my body was angry because my workouts this week have been crappy.  I didn’t have the right fuel in me to really kick it into high gear.  I’ve been slowly climbing back on track, just in time for another weekend to set in.  I’m glad that we will be home this weekend so that I can stay focused, prepare my meals and kick my butt all over the gym.  I may even start my triathlon training if I get the bike up and ready to roll.  LeMars is just 14 weeks away.  Not to mention I have the Alive & Running 5K on Saturday, June 16th.  Need to get off the treadmill and out on the road so that I can rock it out in memory of Kirk.  Only 10 weeks until Sissy’s wedding.  Yes, the dress zips up since my return from Biggest Loser resort but it’s not conducive to breathing well yet.  So I need to remind myself that if I want to boogie at the dance or be able to eat at the reception, there is still work to be done.  Plus, I’m just a few pounds away from hitting the 100’s and that needs to happen before my birthday in June.  So, it’s time to get back on track.  There are no vacations when it comes to healthy living.  Each day I need to focus and keep my eye on the prize.

I did have a fun moment at my parents’ house though that I would like to share.  I mean, the entire weekend was awesome fun but this one actually pertains to the task at hand.  I didn’t weigh myself much when I was in high school.  Denial is a city of which I am the mayor, remember?  I’ve talked to my mom about it and we think I weighed around 215 pounds or so when I graduated but that’s a best guess.  I’ve said repeatedly that I’m smaller now than I have been in the (gulp), 18 years since I graduated high school.  Well, Saturday night, there was proof.  The theme for my sisters bachelorette party is throw back prom so we were talking about old dresses we wore and it led me to the basement were I found my wedding dress from my first marriage.  I married my high school boyfriend two months after graduation in, what I thought at the time, was a beautiful white gown.  Holy cow the styles have changed in 18 years.  Ha!  And luckily, so has my body!  The dress was WAY too big for me.  It kind of hung like a sequined, satin tarp with too many bows on the body of Lyndee 2.0.  How many people can say that they are smaller at 35 than they were at 18?  Hooray for that little victory.  As I sit here and write this, I think it will definitely go in my arsenal of inspiration for the month.  It’s ironic how Molly and I started this as a “quest for the dress” and two years later I’m on a quest to rock out my hot mama watermelon colored maid of honor dress in August.  And rock it, I will!! 

The dress

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Due date

Hooray! The online link for the article about me in Q Magazine is up! 

It’s Tuesday which means training with Scott and Molly…that is if Scott and his wife don’t go into labor today.  This is the due date.  Cannot wait to meet little baby girl K! I know she will be so stinking adorable and have her daddy wrapped around her little finger.  In fact, he already is. Here’s hoping for a speedy and healthy delivery.  Fingers crossed we get to meet her soon.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Turkey in the tummy

Oh, if only the camera did a better job at showing the bruises all over my arms you could all feel my pain.  Ha! Molly and I hung pretty well with the boys in the backyard crossfit/farm boy workout on Saturday.  Let me tell you though, flipping a 125 pound tractor tire is no joke when you hit the 5th set.  Holy cow.  There were tire flips, jumps through the tire (or leaping in my case since I don’t have jumping coordination), pounding the tire with a sledgehammer, pushups, farmer carries with a 53 pound kettle bell and medicine ball throws.  I can’t wait for the next one in two weeks.  We are going to add a few more stations so there is less down time between sets and hopefully get some more people to join us as well.  It should be a rocking good time.  And does anyone know where I could find a battle rope or agility ladder?  Would love to add those stations!

I wanted to share the turkey recipe that I’ve been using since my return from Biggest Loser Resort.  It’s been cause of some serious drooling from my co-workers during lunch time.  You can eat this a variety of ways.  Patty it up for a burger, bake it in a pan for meatloaf, roll it into meatballs and add marina for a meatball sandwich, brown and mix into a box of fiber gourmet mac and cheese...get creative!!  I make this recipe but I do not include the rice all the time.  I’ve found at our house the favorite way to eat this is over brown rice.  So I make the recipe without the rice in it, then mix it with brown rice, a tablespoon of feta cheese and some Sweet Baby Ray’s sweet and spicy barbeque sauce for a delicious, healthy and filling meal.  Some days I add the sundried tomatoes and some I don’t.  Make sure if you do, you chop them up REALLY well, like in a food processor.  If you can think of other ways to use this make sure to share!

My phillyburbs article is up for the reading.  Haven’t gotten the web link to Q Magazine yet but I promise to share as soon as I do.  Have a super Monday! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Heck to the yes!

It’s a beautiful day here in Des Moines this morning, for so many reasons other than the weather.  I’ve been trying with all my might to keep my momentum from Biggest Loser resort going since my return from Malibu.  If only there were more hours in the day and a chef in my kitchen I know I would easily be able to keep dropping big numbers.  But alas, there is not.  So I have been busting my butt in reality juggling work, home, workouts and everyday life the best that I can.  I am so happy and proud to announce that I’m figuring it out just fine. This morning my scale read 205.4! I have passed my 100 pounds lost.  A lot of family and friends see pictures of me from when I was 306 pounds and say “I don’t remember you being that big” or that they didn’t notice how extreme my problem was when I was at that size.  It’s funny, I don’t remember being that big either most days.  So I’m attaching a picture to show the difference.  It’s pretty amazing if you ask me.  Especially if you compare it to the Q Magazine cover that I’m on today.  Those photos, coupled with the scale, are hard evidence that I have worked my butt off, literally and figuratively the last two years.  And you know what?  Today I am really proud of myself!!  I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life and done a lot of things I’m not proud of but this journey to a healthier Lyndee 2.0 brings me great pride and that’s an incredible feeling.  Yes, I made this happen but I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of so many amazing people in my life that kept pushing me every time I wanted to quit.  A million thank you’s would never be enough to express my gratitude.  It works out perfectly that I’m getting my massage (thanks to my awesome FSA team at Principal) after work today. I can’t think of a better way to reward myself for 100 pounds gone and never to return.  Next stop on the scale for me, ONE-derland!!!  Have a wonderful weekend!! Be spectacular and brilliant and don’t quit.  You are worth it. 

Me at 306

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tread away with me

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  The weekend is knocking on the door and I’m really looking forward to Friday. I mean, I’m always excited for Friday but tomorrow will be fun for a few reasons.  One, I’m looking to hit a pretty HUGE milestone on the scale and I’m hoping it will be tomorrow morning.  Don’t worry, of course I will share it with you.  Two, the May issue of Q magazine will be distributed with the Des Moines Register in the morning.  And guess who’s being featured in that?  Yep, this girl!  Remember that photo shoot I talked about a few weeks ago for a magazine cover?  Here’s hoping it turns out well.  I’m pretty nervous about it!  The third reason I’m pumped for tomorrow?  I’m using the gift card my team got me for my massage.  Ahhh…I can feel the relaxation already.  

Saturday I’m going to try to hang with the big boys, literally.  My husband and his friends do this farm boy meets crossfit workout in our backyard every other Saturday which includes tire flips, sledgehammer slams, sled pulls, throwing cinder blocks, sprinting, jumping, you name it.  This week, Molly and I are going to join them in the, uh, fun.  Rob and I have been brainstorming stations that we can add and I’m really excited to see what I’m capable of.  I figure, if I can survive last chance workouts at Biggest Loser Resort, I can survive a workout in my backyard with a bunch of beefy dudes. 

My new Thursday regiment is treading and Cameron’s circuit; two of my favorite classes from Biggest Loser Resort.  Scott always preaches to find ways to make the workouts fun and this dynamic duo worked great for Molly and I last week so we’ve made it our Thursday to-do.  I know my Biggest Loser Resort girls will be treading away on Thursday so it only seems right that I do it “with” them, across the miles.  I’m posting it for you if you want to tread away with me. I double dog dare you. I promise it’s really fun. I listed out the stations we used at the resort and that are available to Molly and I at Aspen but yours don’t have to be the exact same!  Use what your gym has to offer or whatever you have around the house.  If you’re stumped for ideas let me know and I will give you some suggestions.  The main goal is to try and focus on it being a full body workout, not just legs or arms or abs.  Engage it all.  Find those muscles that have been hiding.  Turn on the music and sweat out some liquid awesome.

Circuit Training-2 minutes per machine
-45 seconds on machine of station
-30 seconds cardio (dance, jumping jacks, high knees, run in place, sprint, shadowbox, stairs…whatever you like that gets your heart rate jumping)
-45 seconds on machine

Core (planks, sit ups, twists, etc)
Tricep pull down
Bicep curl
Chest press on bench
Squats with weighted bar
Bosu ball balance
Row machine
Hip abductor machine
Hip other direction machine
Back extension machine
Ab machine
Ab twist machine
Calf raises machine
Leg curl
Leg press
Chest press
Shoulder press
Leg curl machine other direction

Treading (treadmill, elliptical or bike)
5 minute warm up at baseline
5 minute high intensity (via speed or incline)
4 minute recovery at baseline
4 minute higher intensity than 5 (via speed or incline)
3 minute recovery at baseline
3 minute higher intensity than 4 (via speed or incline)
2 minute recovery at baseline
2 minute higher intensity than 3 (via speed or incline)
1 minute recovery at baseline
1 minute full sprint
30 second recovery at baseline
30 second sprint even faster than your 1 minute sprint
5 minute cool down at baseline

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teamwork wins

I know I’ve talked on here before about how much I love working for The Principal Financial Group.  I seriously have the best co-workers on the planet.  It’s the little things that make your job special and bring happiness.  While I was gone I received many cards and letters of encouragement from my department.  It was great to help me get through the long days of workouts and lonely nights in my cabin.  But the support has not stopped just because I’ve returned to reality.  My first day back I found my cubicle decorated, carrots and celery on the snack table, a giant white board with tons of encouraging messages for me next to my desk and a card and gift certificate for a massage on my keyboard.  Can you say amazing?  Yep!  Those gestures were not at all necessary but so heartwarming.  In a team meeting we discussed our team outing for this summer.  Instead of doing a lunch or a food day like so many times before, my team decided we should do something active in support of my journey.  Some ideas brought to the table were a bike ride/treasure hunt through downtown, canoeing and heading out to Sleepy Hollow for sand volleyball, go karts and mini golf.  It made me so happy to see these options and know that we can be active and have a great team building experience that isn’t centered around food. 

Yesterday I had the honor of helping lead one of the groups for the monthly run/walks that Principal has set up for its employees as part of the road race challenge.  It was a perfect day and we had a lot of employees show up for our first outing.  There were two groups that ran three miles and then a large group of walkers that did a mile and a half.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a lunch on a gorgeous spring day.  I’m looking forward to helping with these each month.  The thing is, you don’t have to wait for your company to organize events like this.  I mean, certainly bring up your ideas to them and see if they will support your fitness goals but do not be discouraged if they don’t.  Make your own! Gather a few friends and start your own daily or weekly walk groups!  Enjoy the fresh air, some good conversation, activity and unchain yourself from your desk for a little bit to break up your day.  I promise it will feel great.  If a food day is around the corner, pow wow some healthy ideas with co-workers so that you can still feel like you’re participating but not blow your daily calories away.  If you need ideas let me know and I will send them to you! If your company offers a gym, utilize it! I’m a huge fan of group fitness classes and I love doing Zumba over lunch.  Your workouts can and should be fun! 
Speaking of fun…there’s a blog that the Biggest Loser faithful follow on that talks about all things Biggest Loser.  Since there isn’t going to be a fall season this year, the writer, Jen, decided to feature some inspirational stories of people losing it at home on their own.  Today’s article is about my best friend and workout buddy for life, Molly!!!  Go check it out and show her some love.  I am so proud of and inspired by her every single day.  Motivate, dominate, destroy, my friend. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cooking with Chef 101

I’m finally compiling what I learned in the Easter Sunday cooking lesson with Chef at Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu.  Obviously I don’t have time to recap the entire 2 ½ hour session but I did take good notes of my favorite tips, tricks and recipes he made that day.  Someone who does a lot of organic cooking may already know these things but to a processed food princess like me, there was so much great stuff to learn. 

Soup was a huge part of our meal plan at the resort.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the beet or parsnip but the others were pretty tasty!  Chef uses a standard made from scratch vegetable stock in all of his soups.  He started with a huge pot of water and added carrots, chunks of onion (including the skins) and celery.  You can add any extra veggies you have in the fridge that you like.  Some that he suggested were peppers, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. Then herbs like basil and thyme.  Let this simmer together for at least two hours.  Strain out the veggies but don’t throw them away.  Use them as compost for the garden.  Your broth can be frozen in small containers so that you have them on hand to pull out for all soups in the cookbook.  Brilliant, yes? 

Here are a few random tips I picked up:
-Roma tomatoes are best for sauces, soup and pico de gallo
-Always have basil, thyme, garlic and onion on hand (preferably fresh)
-When you cook lasagna, put plastic wrap over the top and then tinfoil to preserve the flavor.  Chef promises the plastic wrap will not melt onto your food
-Always add salt at the end of the recipe when cooking beans
-Make a delicious chili seasoning at home with paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and chili powder
-To achieve the fancy presentation of diamond grill marks on your veggies, think of your grill as a clock.  Place them facing 10 until the desired marks are achieved and then turn them slightly to 2 o’clock. 
-To roast peppers char them black on the grill.  Steam using a microwave bag or by setting them in a bowl and covering in plastic wrap for 30 minutes.  Once they have finished steaming the skin will peel off very easily.  Cut the top core out, de-seed, chop and enjoy!

Are you craving chocolate and want a sweet dessert that won’t break your calorie bank?  I love this one! Take half a banana, cut lengthwise and lay on dessert plate.  Slice one large strawberry and half one pineapple ring or use two medium size chunks.  Melt ¼ ounce of Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Drizzle over the fruit plate and refrigerate for a little while until chocolate hardens.  


One of my favorite parts of the cooking class was super simple fish marinades that could also be used as dressing.  And remember, if I say simple, you know they are because I’m not a made from scratch kind of girl.  I will give you the recipe for the marinades but the great part about them, if you want to turn them into a super easy summer dressing to put over mixed greens, veggies or fruit, just add a little bit of Xanthan Gum (such as Bob’s Red Mill).  Did I mention it is gluten free?  Just another perk, people.  Oh, and make sure, if you are going to use the lemon one as a dressing, strain the seeds when you juice it but that’s not required for the marinade. 

Chef made two marinades in our class. One was an orange that we used on salmon and the other lemon that we used on tilapia or shrimp. This tiny recipe will marinate 5 pounds of fish because the flavor is so awesome.

Orange Marinade

Zest one large orange.  Squeeze juice into a bowl.  Add thyme, garlic powder, onion powder and a little seat salt.  Mix together.  While stirring, slowly add 1 ounce of olive oil or less.  Add the zest.  Whisk again.  Add salmon to the bowl and make sure completely coated.
Lemon Marinade

Zest one lemon.  Squeeze juice into bowl.  Add fresh or dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder and a little seat salt.  While stirring, slowly add 1 ounce of olive oil or less.  Add the zest.  Whisk again.  Add tilapia, another white fish or shrimp and make sure the fish is completely coated.

Marinate the fish for 1 hour.  Also, you could substitute lime for the lemon if you want a little more zing.  If you want to get crazy with the lemon marinade you could use a very little rosemary instead of the dill.  Is anyone else totally drooling thinking about some grilled salmon now or is it just me? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Never did I imagine...

It’s Thursday.  I’ve almost survived my first week back from the resort. It has definitely been a bit of overload and adjustments.  I’ve been staying busy with the kid’s activities, coming back to work, trying to make sure my meals are nutritious and just getting back into my normal routine.  I’m finding it hard to fit in as many workouts as I would like but I have total faith I will be back in full swing soon.  I just have so much to do right now I don’t know how or when I will get it all done.  My body is longing to be pushed to the brink again though.  Tonight I will do the treading class that we had on Thursdays at the resort on my own at Aspen.  It’s a wonderful cardio workout and I know some of my friends will be doing it as well wherever they are so I can pretend we’re doing it together.  This weekend my plan is to do nothing but workout, unpack, go through clothes and relax with the family.  Oh and hopefully catch up on some sleep! I can’t wait!

Experienced another first last night.  A week ago while on a hike, I received an email asking me if I would be interested in doing a photo shoot to be on the cover and featured in the weight-loss profile of Q Magazine for May.  Needless to say, I was pretty blown away.  Not sure what Q Magazine is?  It’s put out by the Des Moines Register, looks similar to Juice, but the Q stands for quality of life through health.  I never imagined I’d be on the cover of anything and certainly not something that featured health and fitness, unless they needed an example of what not to do.  It’s another amazing testament to how much my life has changed in the last two years. 

I was pretty nervous when I arrived.  They had a stylist come in and do my hair and make-up.  As a woman, I will never turn down being pampered so this was awesome.  Luckily, Patt, the super cool reporter that did the piece on Molly & I for the Register in March came in and chatted with me while the stylist worked her magic.  It helped tremendously to put my nerves at ease and it was great to catch up with her.  I changed into my first outfit and the photographer and I got started.  I felt so silly posing and trying to look “natural”.  Photo shoot plus Lyndee is not a natural occurrence.  Luckily, the guy was great, the urge to vomit subsided and I was able to smile.  By the time I changed into my second outfit I was actually having a lot of fun with it.  Hopefully they got a few shots that they can use.  Tonight is my interview for the piece and the issue will come out on Friday, May 18th.  It will be inside the Des Moines Register paper that day, or you can find it online at the link below.  Chalk it up to another magical experience for Lyndee.

It has rained every day since I returned to Iowa. I get that its spring but I’m really hoping it clears off this weekend so I can get outside and get moving!  Plus, I want Molly to have some great weather for her first sprint triathlon of the year.  Rock it out, Molly. Motivate! Dominate! Destroy!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love your reality

The best part about spending four weeks in a dream is realizing how much you love your reality.  I am back in Iowa after an incredible 27 day stay at Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge.  It was better than I ever dreamed it would be, and harder too!  It flew by in an instant but changed my life forever.  I will forever be grateful at the opportunity Amanda and the people at Fitness Ridge gave me.  I made wonderful friends, found an inner strength that had long been forgotten and came back feeling like I hold the world in my hand.  I also came back with an appreciation of how much I love my life.  I am very blessed in many ways and it’s so nice to be able to focus on that joy rather than negativity and pity.  The little things like sleeping in my own bed, being able to drive my car and seeing the green of an Iowa spring brought me tremendous joy.  Being back in the arms of my loved ones brought tears to my eyes and overwhelmed my heart.  Being back in the gym with Scott and Molly brought soreness to my shoulders and thighs but a huge smile to my face.

While at the resort I lost 18 pounds, 14 inches and 3.2% body fat!! I’m smaller than I have been since junior high school which was many, many moons ago.  I bought a dress to wear to my big reveal that was half the size of the clothes I was wearing when Molly and I began our journey.  I’ve discovered muscles on my body I never knew existed.  I have gained an appreciation for life which has resulted in an attitude overhaul and the power of positivity. 

But possibly the most important thing I found while at the resort was forgiveness.  As much as I am excited by the physical changes I made while I was away, it was the emotional baggage I lost which made me feel so much lighter.  I’ve thought hard about the things that have hurt me in the past and lead to my emotional eating, self-loathing and pain.  I’ve thought about those people that have wronged me.  I thought about mistakes that I have made or regrets that I was harboring.  And then one day as I choked back tears on the elliptical while I listened to Katina encourage forgiveness I did the most amazing thing…I let it all go.  Why was I carrying around negative things I could not go back and change no matter how hard I tried? Why was I letting that weigh me down?  I will not forget that pain and some of the lessons I have learned the hard way in life but I have forgiven and it is the most liberating thing I have ever felt.  I love the fact that my body continues to get lighter each week and finally, my heart and brain have caught up as well. 

Numerous people have asked me for advice and as I am not certified in anything I am sometimes leery to make recommendations.  I can only tell you what has worked for me on my journey and I have broken it down as simply as I can…Smile.  Love completely (this includes loving yourself).  Release your pain.  Move more.  Eat less.  Find balance and moderation in food, work and life in general.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help.  Lend an ear.  Stop worrying about what you don’t have and appreciate what you do.  Make time for you.  Be fearless. 

My journey is far from over but each day I get closer to new milestones and I am so excited to continue to share those with all of you! I will wrap this up with one of my favorite quotes.  I kept it on my nightstand while I was away and I encourage you to shine, every day a little more than the last.  

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  It's not just in some of us: it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  Marianne Williamson