Monday, April 30, 2012

Motivation Monday: Just Dance, It'll be Okay

Lady Gaga has it right...I used to dance a lot-Ballet lessons since I was 4, moved into Jazz and Tap a few years later...made the dance team in high school...all those parties in college...Since dance was such a constant for me for so many years, it took a while for me after I stopped regularly doing any dancing to realize how much fun it really was.  I am by no means a good dancer at all, but I will always have a blast dancing.  I recently started Zumba which, besides that time I fell and busted my ankle, has been so much fun.  It's all about moving; not about focusing on the right movements.  Last weekend while in Vegas with my high school friends, I did a lot of going out and partying.  For me, the focus was not on how trashed i could get, but how much fun I could have.  My friends and I got up on tables and bars and danced the nights (and days) away.  We had such a blast with each other and I felt so great.  Maybe my Vegas trips haven't been kind to my mission to lose weight, but knowing that I was up there partying, drinking MAYBE 2 drinks a night felt really good.  I was so happy to be having this great time with my friends that no one and nothing else really mattered.  I'll be taking more zumba classes (and fixing my eating, obviously) when I get back home.  Dancing has a great side affect of making me feel strong and sexy, whether it's dancing at a club, in Zumba, or just in my bathroom while I get ready in the mornings.  I love feeling my muscles work in an unconventional way and being silly at the same time.  It's hard to really get into a full on bad mood when you've got good music and room to move at your fingertips.

Lemonade Day Houston

Just a quick reminder to all of you living in or around Houston, TX! Pappasito's is having their annual Lemonade Day this week (April 30-May 6, 2012).  When you order a lemonade at Pappasito's this week, you are helping to support a program called Lemonade Day.  Lemonade Day is a community program that is designed to teach young students about entrepreneurship.  There are tons of other events that you can participate in, so check out their website here.  For the addresses and menu of all Pappasito's restaurants and more information on how your lemonade will contribute to Lemonade Day, visit their website here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take a Trip Thursday: Travel Must Haves

As I'm sitting here in Denver for a layover, since it IS Thursday, I decided that I'd share my travel must haves with all of you.

  1. Water: Yes, I am that crazy person who buys those gigantic bottles of water from Hudson News...airplanes are so dehydrating and it's so unnecessary...Those small cups of water that they serve you on flights do nothing and that water honestly tastes nasty....If you don't want to shell out $3-$5 for a bottle of water, try my new obsession...the Camelbak Groove Filtered water bottle...if you're traveling a lot, or even at the gym a lot...well or anywhere that you have to drink out of a water fountain, I'd suggest investing in this water bottle...I got mine on sale at Target (still on sale until Sunday!) for about $25...the filter lasts for 3 months...just fill it once you get through security and you're actually makes swampy water fountain water taste decent.
  2. Snacks: Usually I try to bring a Fiber One bar to tide me over for my shorter flights...On the long ones, I usually go for one of those spicy mixes, or animal crackers and cherry twizzler bites.  As long as you keep portions controlled, neither of these will make you feel too full, but will keep you satisfied.
  3. Chapstick: Which I actually forgot today; again, planes are so dehydrating and cracked lips are definitely not what you want to step off the plane with
  4.  Neck Pillow: I know these look dorky, but they really do help support your head when you're sleeping so that your neck is not sore and tight when you wake up.
  5. Tom's, Sperry's, Van's, UGGs or any type of slip on, laceless shoe: Since we still have to take off our shoes for security, I hate being that girl who hold everyone up because I wore the tight zipper boots or the cute strappy sandals.  These shoes pretty much don't even require two hands to put back on.  Also, it's easier to rush through the airport in these than your heels and wedges...even if you wear heels and wedges daily like me.
  6. Airline Apps: I have had instances where my gate has changed or I've misplaced or dropped my ticket while at the airport.  Most of the time, you are able to pull up your flight reservations on your smartphone to double triple check your gate.  Your ticket should also pull up with a barcode or QR code that an agent can scan as you get ready to board the plane.
  7.  Gum: Airplane breath is gross-even if you don't sleep...keep some gum in your bag for extra flavor and fresh breath
  8. Phone/computer/iPod charger: keep these in your carry on, you never know when you're going to get stuck in an airport and run down your battery
  9. Books or Magazines: Paying for wifi at airports is overrated; bring something to entertain yourself, especially if you don't have an unlimited data plan on your smartphone
  10. Comfy Sweatshirt: Some people like to bring blankets, but I have this thing about the floors at airports and on planes, it kind of grosses me out and blankets seem like they'd pick everything up and get that nastiness all over you.  A comfy sweatshirt does the same job and you don't have to carry an extra thing that you need to fold up or worry about falling or dragging.
  11. Hair elastic: Temperatures in cities, planes, and airports can change drastically, even when going from one terminal to another or just from gate to plane.  Sometimes you get the misfortune of a sitting in the seat on the plane where the air conditioning doesn't want to work.  Save yourself and bring a hair elastic just in case.
Happy travels to all of you! I'll share some of my adventures more often; I believe I still need to finish Israel and that trip was a year ago!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motivation Monday: Just keep Spinning

It's so easy for me to just tune out and do the elliptical for 45 minutes, but lately I've been seeing that yeah, it burns tons of calories, but I'm not challenging myself.  In spite of an awful headache, I decided to change it up today and go back to my old Spin class.  I absolutely love the Monday instructor; her class is super challenging, but so worth it.  Spinning is huge for me because I can't ride a bike-I tried, I rode up a tree when I was 9...the end.  I also for some reason always slip off of the similar bikes at the gym...and my legs are too short or something-they just don't work for me....So I went back to Spin class and it felt great...and somehow it magically got rid of my headache as well.  I definitely need to add Spin classes in on a more regular basis...switch that out with one of my normal cardio days every few weeks or so to mix things up and challenge my body.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday: Easy Roasted Vegetables

This is my new dinner obsession; as I mentioned before, I am really into recipes that will cook while I shower or do other things that I need to do. My friend, Sarah and I were talking about roasting vegetables in the oven-obviously not something new and exciting, but something that I had forgotten about doing. Since I am really limited on time in the evenings (okay, let's be real here, the earliest I get home after all is said and done is 8:15), I decided that roasting my vegetables instead of microwaving them actually works better for timing and maintenance.

So far, I've roasted (fresh and frozen) cauliflower, (fresh and frozen) broccoli, potatoes, and fresh asparagus. It's super easy and delicious. I've even started baking my chicken on the same baking pan as well.

First step is to preheat your oven to 425*F

Then, cut your vegetables if needed and put in a bowl.

Next, you drizzle some olive oil onto the vegetables (not too much! I actually add lemon juice for flavor and to keep the oil to a minimum) Sprinkle on spices of your choice.

Mix the vegetables and oil and seasoning together to coat (I just use my hands..easier and faster)

Place coated vegetables on foil on top of the baking pan (I spray the foil too)

Bake for 20-25 minutes...sometimes I will turn the oven off after this and leave it in for a few more minutes if they need more bake time....GET STUFF DONE

Take out of the oven, fill your plate and enjoy!

Calories and fat will depend on which vegetables you use and how much Olive Oil you use. Keep it light and you can enjoy a serving for under 80 calories.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motivation Monday: Dress Me Up

Last weekend, I went to Vegas to celebrate my step sisters' 21st and 22nd birthday. I'll be going again in a few weekends with my friends. It was hard for me to look forward to the trip knowing that I'd need to get dressed up, trendy, and sexy at the same time. This is usually a mess for me because things never end up fitting me right or looking right. Part of it has to do with me looking a whole lot younger than I am, and the other part is body. I was dreading trying on clothes so much that the thought of going into shops and trying things on made me nauseous. By some stroke of luck, I ended up with 4 great dresses, ordered online. All of them fit and I am still in disbelief. Some better than others, but I went down a size in dresses. The last time I had to think about buying a new dress was for my cousin's Bar Mitzvah almost exactly a year ago. I ended up going with a dress that I already had so that I did not have to go through the torture of trying on dresses that didn't fit. Dresses aside, take a look at the difference between last year and this year. Granted most of this happened between December and now, it's still cool to see. I chose the dress from last year because i knew it would hide what I didn't want to show...I chose the dress this year because it was the most amazing feeling to find a sexy and trendy dress that fit and flattered me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday: Passover Trail Mix

As it is Passover, my choices for a carb and protein refill before the gym are very slim. I usually stick with the 90 calorie Fiber One Bars since they aren't heavy and taste so so good. Anyway, back to cooking and Passover: every year, my mom makes a Passover trail mix and sends it to wherever I happen to be living. I'm not sure why I never thought of this, but this trail mix is actually a great snack and perfect to eat before I go to the gym. It's a little higher in calories than the fiber one bar, but it's not too bad, especially as far as Passover snacks go.

Kosher for Passover Trail Mix

Serves 6 (1/3ish cup servings)
Per Serving: 154 calories, 23 g carbs 6 g fat 2 g protein

1 cup (2 ounces) matzo farfel
1/4 cup each dark and golden raisins
1 ounce pecans, shelled, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl combine matzo farfel, raisins, and nuts; set aside.

In metal 1/4 cup measure or other small flameproof container, combine oil and honey (I use a glass dish in a microwave). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until honey is melted. Pour over matzo mixture and using wooden spoon, toss to coat.

Transfer to nonstick baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and let stand until mixture is cool and dry, about 10 minutes.

You can actually modify this and take out the Matzah Farfel; that would decrease the carb intake and take the passover aspect out of it if you don't do Passover or simply don't want it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Motivation Monday: Get into the Groove

So the other day, I went to the gym to have a nice work out so I could try to work off everything that I ate at Passover Seder the night before. I soon realized that I was a victim to one of the worst things to happen to a work out: my iPod was dead. I couldn't wimp out of working out, so I forged on, bored to tears on the elliptical and forced to concentrate on how much I didn't want to be there instead of distracting myself with music. Am I the only one whose work outs improve 300% by just listening to music? I was seriously miserable, but then today when I went to the gym with a fully charged iPod, I completed a tougher work out without any real issue.

If you claim to hate working out, but don't listen to music, you might give it a try...create a high energy playlist, get it on your ipod, a CD, whatever, and then try to get a work out really does make all the difference

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday: Hungry Girl's Jump for Choy Fish Pack

This is probably one of the easiest and low maintenance recipes that I have ever made. It's delicious and super healthy. I love this meal because it has a great mix of lean protein and green vegetables with just a little savory sweetness from the sauce. Though Hungry Girl says that a serving is a half of the recipe, I go by the I used 3 fillets, each 4 my serving was 1/3 of the recipe...

Jump for Choy! Fish Pack

PER SERVING (1/2 of recipe): 232 calories, 2g fat, 908mg sodium, 19g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g sugars, 35g protein -- PointsPlus® value 6*

Words cannot express how amazing this citrus-teriyaki, Asian-style meal is. Try it and see...

16 oz. (about 4 heads) baby bok choy, ends removed, separated into leaves
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
12 oz. raw cod (two 6-oz. fillets or four 3-oz. fillets)
1/8 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or more to taste
2 tbsp. thick teriyaki marinade or sauce
2 tbsp. low-sugar or sugar-free orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay an extra-large piece of heavy-duty foil on an extra-large baking sheet, and spray with nonstick spray.

Lay bok choy leaves in the center of the foil, and evenly top with zucchini. Lay cod fillets in a single layer over the veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine teriyaki marinade or sauce with orange marmalade. Mix thoroughly. Evenly spoon mixture over the cod and veggies.

Place another extra-large piece of foil evenly over the baking sheet. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cod is fully cooked and veggies are tender.

Allow packet to cool for a few minutes, and then cut to release steam before opening it entirely. (Careful -- steam will be hot.)

Serve cod and veggies with extra sauce from the foil pack. If you like, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Eat up!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Motivation Monday: Run Baby Run

I decided last week that I want to use my effort to get in shape to help others...obviously I'm talking 5K's here. In order to keep myself in check and raise money for those who may not be able to walk or run, I have decided to do (at least) 1 5K every month...I'm not focusing on the money going into it, I'm focusing on what I will get out of it and who I am helping. This month, I have actually run in 3 5K's (okay, I had to make up for February, take care of March and get April done since I am booked to the max). Each 5K benefitted a different and well deserved cause and charity.

I guess you could say that I'm a runner because I do run, but I'm going to be honest and say that I have yet to run a complete 5K. On March 24, I ran 2 miles...on Saturday, I ran 2.25 in the morning 5K and 2.3 miles of the evening one. My plan is to progress enough to finally hit that 5K mark...Once I hit that, I'll start working on my speed. With that said, speed and distance are not the reasons that I run these. The true reason that I register and attend-even if I walk the whole thing-is to give attention and help to a cause that I care about...It's an all around great feeling to reach the finish line and know that you've done something good for yourself and that you've helped out a great cause at the same time.

You don't have to be a serious runner to run 5K' don't even have to be able to run the whole thing...find a cause that you care about, or an event that looks fun and go for it! It will give you something to practice for and train for....a reason for all of your trips to the gym. Sign up with your friends; yeah, the events usually are early, but they're worth it...for you and for the overall cause.

I also added a page to the side of my blog called "Healthy and Unstoppable" I'll list any weight loss progress, upcoming 5Ks, and completed 5K's in this page. Feel free to check it out if you're interested.