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Friday, February 28, 2014

Free! Free! Free!

I was knocked out for two days by strep throat this week.  Ugh! Plus I’m out of town this weekend which always makes workouts difficult.  So I’m behind on my 12,000 steps a day and I have 2 days of the guns, buns and abs challenge to make up.  But the highlight of my week was getting some FREE SAMPLES in the mail.  Have you heard of Quest bars?  I hadn’t paid them much mind but my interest was piqued by a friend talking about protein bars that are basically candy bars because they are full of so much sugar and carbs.  For example Special K protein bars have 170 calories, 4.5 g fat, 26g carbs, 15g sugar and only 10g of protein.  It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that you’re getting more sugar than protein.  Fiber One Caramel Nut protein bars (yum!) have 130 calories, 6 g fat, 16g carbs, 7g sugar and only 7g of protein.  I mean, come on! You can get 4g of protein from a Snickers bar! Should Fiber one really be advertising as a “protein” bar?  Any hoo, back to the Quest bars.  They’re all the rage on and so I decided to check out their stats.  First of all, the main ingredient is actually protein, that’s a plus.  For example, the chocolate peanut butter bar has 160 calories, 5g fat, 21g carbs, 1g sugar and 20g of protein.  The draw back? These don’t taste like candy bars.  But they are pretty good.  You can check out the flavors they offer at  I went to their contact us tab and filled out a little email saying I would like to try their product. They promptly emailed me back asking which flavors and my address. They sent me on apple pie and one chocolate peanut butter, as well as their low carb spaghetti (which I haven’t tried yet).  I also went to Hyvee and bought a few more flavors and I’m going to give their peanut butter cups a try too.  Again, they don’t taste like candy bars but that’s the point. If you’re looking for a great snack that’s packed with protein, I would suggest getting a few samples and trying these out. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Ok, I don’t really have seasonal affective disorder but this snow and nasty winter is making me down right crabby! If I hear the word polar vortex one more time, I might lose my mind.  I long to walk around Gray’s lake, play outside with the boys and sniff the fresh spring air.  Our new house is right by the trails that run through town and I can’t wait to explore them. Why oh why are they still covered in snow and ice?

Last night the snow had me feeling restless.  I did my 2 miles at the Y, did Day 5 of my guns, buns and abs challenge and then did an arm workout during commercials watching The Voice.  I cleaned. I folded some laundry. I ran errands.  I couldn’t sit still. And I couldn’t sleep either.  It stunk watching the clock tick tock all night and only getting about 4 hours of sleep.  No wonder I have a massive headache today. 

I’ve been super excited to buy the new Fitbit Force.  Sunday morning I went online to order my newest fitness toy and found terrible news! Fitbit has recalled one of the most popular fitness gadgets on the market because it was causing rash and skin irritation on 1.7% of the people that wore it. What’s odd is the band is the same material, as far as I can tell, that the Fitbit Flex has and they haven’t recalled that.  So now my dilemma is do I go ahead and order the Flex or wait for them to fix/revamp the Force.  It could take months or longer and I’m not sure I can wait that long but I was really looking forward to the digital display on my wrist.  I think I will have to go with the Flex because I’m impatient and it will sync with my iphone so I can check that whenever I want. Plus it’s waterproof so you can wear it in the shower, doing dishes, etc. 

Speaking of Fitbit, I think it’s safe to say I straight up dominated last week! I have upped my steps again! My highest week ever in steps and miles.  It will take a lot of work to top this week but that’s what I will try to do for next week.  That’s the key.  Keep setting that bar high and when you reach it, set it a little higher again.  Complacency is the killer of healthy living. 
I have to give mad props to Kara for sticking with me in the guns, buns and abs challenge.  It's only day 5 but it's wicked hard and every night we check in with each other when we've completed it.  Great motivation. It's so important to surround yourself with positive people.  I saw this last night on Pinterest and it totally struck a cord with me so I thought I would share.  Have a super week! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mental meltdown

Good morning, everyone! How was your weekend?  Mine was pretty good! Got in some needed workouts, celebrated a birthday, chilled with my three favorite boys in the world around the house, received some shakeology samples in the mail from Jami and was able to catch up on some sleep and housework.  The weekend was going just dandy until yesterday.  Saturday I had to go buy new workout pants since the others were literally falling off.  I was able to buy pants smaller than I’ve had in years.  That was a great feeling.  Sunday I had to go shopping for jeans since those weren’t staying up either. I will save you the rant on the lack of universal sizes in women’s jeans and the torture that I find shopping to be but let’s just say I had a total meltdown after leaving the 3rd store and finding that, depending on the store, I range anywhere from Marilyn Monroe to what felt like Hungry Hippo.  I called my husband in a total tizzy, bawling my head off, saying I was ready to give up because it wasn’t worth it, I couldn’t do anything right and at least when I was fat, I had clothes that fit.  I told you, total meltdown.  He calmed me down and pointed out all the great progress I had made, the fact that I have muscles again in places that had been jiggling, my workout pants were a size I had been dreaming about, I’m working my butt off, literally, every single day, logging all my food and that it doesn’t matter if the numbers on the scale are coming off slower than I think they should or that my jean size isn’t single digits.  He told me to stop defining myself by numbers and instead the gallons of sweat that were pouring off my brow, the healthy foods I was making and how much more energy I had.  I knew he was right and I was being a big baby but I guess it was one of those days where I just needed to breakdown to build back up.  After I got home I went back to the Y with him for some basketball happy place, clearing of the head.  Then we went to the store and loaded up on seafood.  He grilled me shrimp, cod and asparagus, despite the fact it was 20 some degrees out.  While he cooked my dinner I did Day 4 of the guns, buns and abs challenge.  Then we enjoyed a delicious and healthy dinner and I found my calm and happy place again.  So here’s to a new week, not being obsessed with numbers whether they are on a scale or a clothes tag, making yourself better each day and my wonderful husband that always knows how to make me smile.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Guns, buns and abs

I started a 30 day challenge with a few friends yesterday. It’s called the guns, buns and abs challenge.  Looking at the post on Pinterest it didn’t seem like it would be that bad. 

After doing Day 1 last night, I can tell you right now Days 20-30 are going to suck! But I’m pretty confident it will do what it’s supposed to do, which is good since our friends we are going to Vegas with in June posted this countdown yesterday.  It will be here before we know it!

I didn’t get to walk with Melody at lunch because I worked from home in the afternoon since we were under a blizzard warning.  We haven’t finished my office at the new house yet so I work at the dining room table, which lead me to realize that I need a mansion. And in said mansion, my office will be at the opposite end and 3 floors above the kitchen in a sound proof room so that I can't hear the girl scout cookies whispering my name when I work from home. The name “thin mint” is totally contradictory.  Anyway, when I logged off work I headed to the Y in the sleet, snow and 60 mph winds. I shot hoops for an hour and then did 2 miles on the treadmill.  I went home and made my yummy chili lime salmon burger! Hooray for easy and delicious.  I did my guns, buns and abs Day 1 squats, push ups and leg lifts.  Rob went up to the Y to workout and again I heard those stupid little cookies whispering from the kitchen. But, to my surprise, instead of caving, I decided to go to the Y again.  I did a 20 minute strength and cardio workout with the Sworkit app.  It was different and super-fast paced but it did what I wanted it to do.  Then Rob, Lynn and I played basketball for 45 minutes after that.  By the time I got home I no longer had any desire to eat the cookies. I needed a snack so I made a peanut butter banana smoothie instead. It cured my sweet craving and filled me up before bed. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Last night was strength training night. I had went to the gym with the intention of doing a quick mile on the treadmill and then going to pool class.  I lost track of time and missed pool class but glad to say I got 3 miles in on the treadmill.  I was starving and headed home to eat, with every intention of going back to the gym after dinner.  But I didn’t. I tried to talk myself into it but it didn’t work.  BUT knowing I had to do some strength training, per my new workout calendar, I went to my handy dandy pinterest “fitness” board and found an arm workout I could do with my dumbbells at home.  It didn’t look too hard but after three reps my muscles were on fire!!! I don’t know what a dumbbell pullover is.  Anyone wanna educate me? So I did 15 hammer curls each arm instead of 5 and 10 overhead tricep extensions to make up for whatever that move was. 

I’ve been dreaming about a double double burger from In-N-Out lately with all our planning for the Vegas trip.  Last night I decided to try to make a healthified version of it and I have to say, I think I did a pretty dang good job.  So if you’re hungry for the delicious double double but would like to have half the calories and fat, check this out!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Gold

It's a new week! Hooray for that.  And it's supposed to be in the 40's a few days this week so double hooray for some sunshine and decent weather.  I hope you can get out and enjoy it.  I continue to do well in the step challenge. My fitbit stats were down slightly this week but still good.
I've been watching a lot of Olympics this week.  And it's helped my motivation.  No, I'll never snowboard a half pipe or attempt to break my leg by lacing up ice skates, but I love to watch these athletes. I think about all the sacrifice and dedication they have put in for years for these small moments in time and a chance at glory. It's magnificent and inspiring to me. I adore Lolo Jones. She is strong, real and resilient and a fighter with such heart and bravery. And if you follow her on Twitter, you know she's pretty dang funny too.  I realize Olympians train for this as a job but it really puts things into perspective as far as workouts go.  To hear someone say they can't find 30 or 60 minutes a day to workout, fight for their health and be the best that they can be is sad to me.  I hear it all too often how people don't have time.  Be honest when you make that statement: you don't MAKE time.  I know that sounds harsh but it is the cold hard truth. I've been there. There are plenty of days it would be easier to sit on the couch and watch TV. But I view TV as a luxury, not a necessity.  Once I have completed my tasks for the day- work, cleaning, workouts, errands, whatever it may be, then I will reward myself with some time to sit and relax.

Before you start making any other doesn't matter if you have a gym membership, walking outside is free.  Running stairs in your house, doing wall squats and shadowboxing is free. I know very few people that don't have a gaming system of some sort. There are plenty of workout games or at home DVD's or workout ideas on Pinterest and all over the internet you can do from the comfort of your living room. Just stop making excuses.
If you're not committed to being healthy, that's fine too. But admit that.  Don't fool yourself or others around you into thinking that this is important to you if it's not.  Just be honest. Don't waste your money on the gimmicks or your breath on excuses.  Some days will be easier than others. Some days will down right suck. But the feeling of accomplishment and pride once you have committed will carry you through the crappy days.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Inspiration on a mirror

I had already done an hour and a half of cardio at the gym last night. Went home, ate my salmon burger and listened to Michael and Rob get ready to go to the gym.  Rob has been on me about getting back to my strength training.  I haven’t done much of that for months. I thought about Scott being at basic training somewhere in the south and how he would want me to be lifting and sculpting and pushing myself harder.  So I trudged back to the gym last night at 8 pm and spent an hour doing lunges, crunches and circuit training. My thighs and butt are paying for it today but that’s a good thing.  It was funny as I was lunging across the room, I saw this written on the mirror.  “The amount you give will determine the amount you get back”.  I knew that was true. If I half-assed my strength training or cardio for that matter, I won’t get much back. If I push it, I will get more back. So I pushed and heaved, lunged and rowed until sweat poured off my brow and my muscles were burning. It would’ve been easy to say, I already had a workout today and stay in the warm confines of my home in front of the fireplace but that wasn’t going to give me much back now, was it? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hoop zen

Some people use yoga as their happy place to find their zen. That’s never worked for me.  I don’t like yoga.  It’s hard and uncomfortable and there is no relaxing involved as I am in too much pain and concentrating too hard to clear my mind. I’ve tried it.  I’ve wanted to like it.  But it doesn’t work for me. Bummer, right?  Some people may find it weird that the best place for me to turn off my brain and let go is with a basketball in my hand.  My favorite way to unwind is to put on headphones, shuffle my playlist, and just shoot hoops.  I could shoot baskets for hours. Some days I just shoot until my arms ache.  Sometimes I play games of around the world against myself.  Most days I do a shot challenge.  I will say, today I have to make 200 baskets.  It may take me 20 minutes, it may take me an hour but I won’t stop until I make it 200 times. It’s a great way to get my steps without thinking about it or the monotony of the treadmill.  I’m no Michael Jordan. I’m 5’7 if I stand up straight, Norwegian and have zero vertical leap. I mean, zero.  But I do have a sweet perimeter shot. Sometimes, when I’m feeling a wee bit crazy, I even attempt a lay-up or three pointer.  I’ve been known to get uber competitive and kick some serious butt in games of Horse.  But it’s the simple shot after shot that brings me joy and inner peace.  Sounds strange to some, but that’s my point. It doesn’t matter if you can’t master a downward dog or table top sunrise Buddha half back stance. Find what makes you happy. Find an activity that brings you peace and like our friend Nike demands, JUST DO IT! It doesn’t need to be something other people promote for relaxation.  It only has to suit you.  Maybe it’s a bike ride, walking through the park, jumping on a trampoline or dancing to Nelly in your bedroom while you fold laundry (guilty of that a million times over).  Find it, do it, love it.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lame class, Biggest Loser and a great step challenge week

So there I was, super excited that I could get back to my gym schedule because wrestling season is over for the boys.  I haven’t been to a Monday night swim class since October! I went to the Y, got my 2 miles of cardio on the treadmill then headed down to the pool.  I swam laps for 20 minutes in the warm rec pool before I headed over to the competitive pool for class.  I recognized the teacher and vaguely remembered that I thought her class was fun.  Well, it used to be fun.  When I first started up with pool class jump roping a noodle and sprinting across the pool was a workout.  But not anymore.  She didn’t do tabata, I didn’t break a sweat and it was freezing cold because we weren’t moving enough to keep warm.  There was only so much of this I could stand.  Half an hour into class I left.  It was a waste of my time and I had workouts at home that would be much more challenging.  I’m glad to see that my body and abilities have advanced but I was very disappointed.  I will remember not to go to that class again.  Luckily, I have Tuesday-Saturday classes that will keep my butt. 

I’ve heard a lot of rumblings about the Biggest Loser finale this week.  Did any of you watch it?  If not, I've linked to a picture. What was your opinion of the winner, Rachel?  I will admit, when she first walked out I gasped in horror.  I thought it was terrible, but mostly I thought it was sad.  I thought she looked like Karen Carpenter. I was sad for the way America was so quick to rip her apart for doing exactly what she was brought to the show to do; lose the most weight and take home $250,000.  She did that. I’m not condoning it or supporting it, just saying, she did her “job” and used the tools at hand.  What would you do to win a quarter of a million dollars?  I sincerely hope that she only did it to win and has not developed an eating disorder or anything else equally as tragic.  I hope that she puts on 20 pounds and tones up and lives a wonderfully healthy and beautiful life.  I hope she is happier than she’s ever been.  I hope she is strong enough to ignore the people that will never be satisfied and always looking for something to criticize.  She was too fat in America’s eyes when she started and she ended up being too skinny in the end.  I’m sure she feels like she just can’t win.

I did pretty well in the step challenge last week.  My numbers are up in every category.  Woo hoo! 87,914 steps! Over 38 miles walked for last week and 123 floors climbed. I got a new badge from fitbit that I’ve climbed over 4000 flights of stairs which is something about being as high as a 747 jumbo jet.  I didn’t really get it but I do love badges.  I’ve walked 107.68 in three weeks which would be the equivalent of walking to Coralville (109 miles) from Des Moines.  By the end of this week I should be past Iowa City and to my brothers in West Liberty.  Of course, if my goal for the year is to walk to Los Angeles, that would totally be heading the wrong direction.  J

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Steps, superbowl and upcoming events

Well, I won last week’s step challenge…barely! These ladies are really “stepping up” their game.  And I had two days where steps weren’t quite to 10,000.  When you’re in a car for 7 hours it’s tough to get steps! So far for this week I’m in 3rd place so I gotta get moving.  My 17,633 steps yesterday should’ve helped but I will have to keep my numbers high all week.  Only 3000 steps separate the three of us so it’s anybody’s game. 

Sunday night a bunch of our friends and kiddos came over to the watch the Superbowl.  Since that was a boring blowout we ended up talking in the dining room with the TV merely on for background noise. I had went to the gym in the morning because I knew it was going to be a crazy day. So thankful I did.  I barely cleared my 10,000 steps for the day.  And we spent part of our time walking back and forth in the kitchen to get our steps together.  Ha! I love my friends.  They are awesome.  Everyone else was looking at us like we were lunatics but, hey, that’s not breaking news at all.  Snacks and tempting food were abundant at the party.  I tried to be as good as I could but I did find myself grazing time and again.  Grr.  Although, it appears I could’ve just licked a salt block all night because man, was I swollen on Monday.  Still retaining some serious water today yet.  Yikes! At least all the birthday cake is finally out of the house! That should help.  Oh how I love me some Costco sheet cake.

I’m hoping the snow storm that has begun doesn’t end up cancelling pool class tonight.  Looking forward to some tabata in the pool and then kickboxing tabata when I get home.  A friend sent me an at home workout she tried that looks really interesting.  She did it up the ladder and back down.  1-12 and 12-1. Props to you, AW!! That’s awesome! I’m going to give it a try soon and thought I would share it in case anyone else is looking to shake things up a bit. 

Only 20 weeks until we go to Vegas and I will definitely be rocking a swimsuit at the pool at the end of June. Plus, my 20 year, no, that’s not a typo, my 20 year class reunion is this year as well.  Gulp.  When the hell did I get so old?  Anyway, two big events to keep me on track to my goals. Let’s shock the crap out of some people I haven’t seen in a while.