Friday, December 31, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: New Years Drinks

My Life's Biggest Project: New Years Drinks: "One thing about this time of year is the constant celebration and for most people celebrating means throwing a few back. If you are old enou..."

New Years Drinks

One thing about this time of year is the constant celebration and for most people celebrating means throwing a few back. If you are old enough to do so and are responsible I see no problem with this, but the thing about it is that if you are trying to lose weight alchohol can certainly hold you back. Why you may ask? Well simply put most drinks are packed with tons of empty calories. Also when most people go out for an evening on the town they don't just limit themselves to one drink they normally have a few and before you know it you have consumed your daily allotment of calories and if you haven't eaten anything and the booze is the calories you have consumed chances are high you are also about to get pretty sick.

I'm not here to tell you not to drink because in all honesty I would be pretty sad if I didn't get to have a glass of champagne for New Years, but I am here to tell you that there are healthier options. A few weeks ago I posted a blog about low calorie cocktails and you should feel free to refer to that for recipes, but if you want some new one's to ring in the New Year with I am posting four more that you can tryo out. After you have triede these out please tell me which ones you suggest and which one's you do not.

I hope you all have a fun and safe New Years. How exciting is the New Year? It is a perfect time to forget about the things in the past that have held you back and simply start anew. I don't just mean this in terms of health and fitness. The previous statement can be applied to all aspects of one's life.

Everything that I have read says to limit one's alcohol intake to celebrations only and I think there is nothing better to celebrate than ringing in the New Year so feel free to try out these healthier drink options when you do!

Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri
servings: 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each
prep: 10 mins
total: 10 mins
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries, (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 talblespoons of lime juicce
3 cups of ice cubes
3/4 cups coconut-flavored rum, such as Malibu
Directions:
Combine strawberries, sugar and lime juice together in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and rum and blend until frothy. Transfer mixture to a pitcher and serve.
Nutritition Facts
Calories 112, Sodium 3 mg, Carbohydrate 12 g, 1 g, Potassium 113 mg, Daily Values: Vitamin C 70%

Salty Chihuahua
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Ingredients
Coarse salt (optional)
4 ounces of tequilla
2 ounces of orange flavored liqueur
3 cups of  grapefruit juice
4 grapefruit slices for a garnish
Directions
Wet the rim of 4 glasses with coarse salt if you want, fill the glasses with ice. Pour 1 ounce tequilla and 1/2  ouce liqueur into each. Top each with 3/4 cup grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with a slice of gragefruit.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 188, Sodium 3 mg, Carbohydrate 23 g. Protein 1 g, Potassium 303 mg, Daily Values: Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 120%

Pomegranate Cosmos
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Ingredients
2 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
2 1/4 cups of vodka
1 cup of lime juice
3/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1/4 cup ginger juice
2 tablespoons of sugar, preferably superfine bar sugar, plus more for the rims of the glasses. You will also need strips of lime zest for garnish.
Directions
1. Mix pomegranate juice, vodka, lime juice, Cointreau or Grand Marrnier (whichever you've selected), ginger juice and sugar in a large pitcher.
2. For each drink, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, add 1/2 cup Cosmo mix and shake until the shaker turns frosty and cold. Dip thr rim of the martini glass into water and then in sugar. Strain the drink into the martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lime zest.
Tips:
Note, we use bottled ginger juice to add the taste of fresh ginger without the work of mincing or grating. Use it to flavor drinks, stir-fries, marinades or anywhere else you'd use fresh ginger. Find it in speciatly stores or online at gingerpeople.com
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 188, Sodium 4 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Potassium 107 mg.

Bloody Mary with Shrimp
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Ingredients
22 ounces of reduced sodium V8
1 teaspoon of horseradish
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
3 ounces of vodka
ice cubes
4 cooked shrimp
Directions
Shake V8, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tabasco, pepper and vodka if using in a large glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Fill two tall galsses with ice and divide the Bloody Mary between teh glasses. Garnish each drink with 2 shrimp.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 78, Sodium 284 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 2 g, Potassium 681 mg.

All (percent daily values) drinks are based off of a 2,000 calorie diet.

Happy New Year to you all :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Death and Beauty

My Life's Biggest Project: Death and Beauty: "I was watching Fox News this morning and they were talking about how every year people talk about losing weight as their New Year resolution..."

Death and Beauty

I was watching Fox News this morning and they were talking about how every year people talk about losing weight as their New Year resolution. As a result they had a personal trainer named Michael Watkins on to talk about how you an do some real quick workouts in your house or apartment. The point to this story was that you don't need to go to the gym to stay in shape. He talked about getting a medicine ball to do crunches, do push ups, and squats. He said if you only do a few minutes per exercise you can end up doing a 20 minute workout and never having to leave the house.

The anchor, Ann Sterling then asked what one should do when you get in a rut and just don't feel like working out. Watkins suggests finding a buddy to workout with beacuse that causes you to be accountable. Since people hate disapointing their friends you will be much more likely to show up for the workout. The other suggestion he gave was to be realistic about your goals. That way you will not beome overwhelmed.

Realistic goals are important. Not only when it comes to working out, but also when it comes to eating. Another story that made headlines today was the death of French actress and model Isabelle Caro who died at the age of 28. Caro had been the international symbol for her struggle with anorexia nervosa, more commonly known as anorexia.

Caro's skeletal and controversial billboard advertisement.
Caro was well known for being featured naked in what was considered a "shocking 2007 campaign to highlight the ailment", according to an article on aol.com. Caro was featured on Jessica Simpson's television documentary series called The Price of Beauty. Caro's story apparently brought Simpson to tears.

The billboard campaign that Caro was a part of was endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Health and was shot by photographer Olivero Toscani. The billboard ran in Milan during Fashion Week. At the time that the photo was taken for the billboard Caro was reported to weigh only 68 pounds and was 5ft 4in in height. The intent of the billboard was to raise awareness within the fashion industry about eating disorders. Fashion designers were not happy about the billboard, thus the controversy.

Among some of the big names to raise an uproar about Caro's photo was Giorgio Armani who challenged that their is not a connection between anorexia and the fashion industry.

"Even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic," said Armani.

Some more big names that had something to say about the billboard was Designers Dolce and Gabanna, they blame eating disorders on a "psychological ailment" and claim that anorexia has "nothing to do with fashion."

No matter what side of the fence you stand on in regard to fashion and anorexia, the one thing that can not be denied is how serious of a problem it is. I know being thin and comfortable in your own skin is important, but it is not worth risking your life. Please make healthy decisions. It's not about getting skinny, it should be about getting healthy. Anorexia and eating disorders are a disease and anything, but healthy. Caro was only 28 and that is very young. She had a whole life ahead of her. I turn 24 in just a few days and I can't imagine being dead in four years. It's really sad :(

Reports of Caro's death was announced yesterday, but according to her acting coach she actually died due to her eating disorder on Nov. 17 while she was working in Tokyo.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Going Under the Knife

My Life's Biggest Project: Going Under the Knife: "Now I know what you're thinking and you are wrong. No I'm not having another surgery and I am not surgery obsessed either, but I did come ac..."

Going Under the Knife

Now I know what you're thinking and you are wrong. No I'm not having another surgery and I am not surgery obsessed either, but I did come across a few very intersting articles regarding weight loss surgery today. One of which talks about how the FDA is going to lower its standards for who is approved to undergo the lap band surgery. In the past this particular surgery was only available to those who were considered morbidly obese, but if the FDA passes the proposal then the procedure would then be available to those were were considered less obese.

This surgery was considered a less evasive way to lose weight than gastric bypass. In fact it was created as a non permanent alternative to do the exact same thing. In detail it is a ring is placed over the top of the stomach and inflated with saline to tighten it and restrict how much food can enter and pass through the stomach. This procedure has been available in the U.S. since 2001, but has been available in Europe and Australia much longer and is also more dominant in those countries.
To be a canidate for the Lap Band procedure under current standards one must have  body mass index of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher if the person suffers from a weight-related medical problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure according to the article posted on aol.com. Approximentley 15 million Americans currently meet this criteria. However if the proposal is adopted then it would lower the requirements for eligibility to a BMI of 35 or higher, or as low as 30 with one of the related health problems. By cutting it down this much it would increase the number of those eligible to have the procedure to 27 million, according to federal health data.

The problem then falls into cost. Most insurance companies will not pay for this procedure, and even the ones that do still require a co-pay that is often times several thousand dollars still. With the economy in its current situation plastic surgery has certainly gone down in the last year and it is thought that if the standards lower for those who are eligible to undergo this procedure less insurers will cover it. This is essentially one of those cases where you win some and lose some. the procedure can range from $14,000 to $20,000. The device itself costs $3,000.

This procedure is created to assist in weight loss, but will not take it all away. If I've said it once I'll say it a million more times there also (even after surgery) needs to be a lifestyle change. Having this procedure done would certainly speed up the process, but maintaining it would be completely up to the individual. I see the pros and cons to this for sure. One pro though is that it would speed up the process.

Often times people fail at diets because they are not seeing results quicly enough. With this procedure you would. One of the obvious cons to this procedure is that it is a surgery which means a healing period, which also means that something foreign is being placed in the body. Another downside to this is that if you don't change your ways you may be out thousands of dollars and for nothing.

What do you think about weight loss surgery? Do you feel like it is a good option? Me myself I am kind of sitting on the fence when it comes to this topic. Please let me know what you think or if you know of anyone who has undergone a procedure. I would love to hear their stories.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Merry Christmas to All

My Life's Biggest Project: Merry Christmas to All: "I hope that everyone is able to spend today with family friends and loved ones of all kinds. My family celebrated Christmas Eve last night. ..."

My Life's Biggest Project: Total Recall

My Life's Biggest Project: Total Recall: "It seems like often times in the news we hear about recalls and certain foods from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). We try and try to..."

Total Recall

It seems like often times in the news we hear about recalls and certain foods from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). We try and try to eat things that are good for us then we find out that there is some kind of salmonella or something contamination on the what we thought was healthy food that we are trying to consume. Guess what there is a new recall and it is on parsley and cilantro this time.

Let's recap shall we on the recalls that have occured in the last few years. Now I don't necessarily remember the exact order in which the food was recalled, but I do remember it happening. The first thing that I remember was the peanut butter recall. This one wasn't such a big deal in terms of health for people trying to be fit because peanut butter is jam packed with calories, but how many children consume peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily? Big scare for people with children. Not to mention that I'm sure that this would be torture on one of my friends who is on OU's rowing team because that girl trains so hard all the time that peanut butter is definitely part of her diet for protein purposes.

After the peanut butter I remember tomatoes being recalled which was horrible to think of for me because I love me some tomatoes. I can eat those things like an apple. I simply slice them up, throw on some salt and pepper and I have a wonderful mid day snack. Then it was spinach. This was horrible to hear about. I for one love spinach. When I go to Subway for example I always have them put spinach on my sandwich instead of lettuce if they offer it. Also if I go to a salad bar and I see that they have romain lettuce or spinach I use that instead of iceberg too. Not just because they contain vitamins, but because they just taste better. Another reason I think is more of an aesthetic, but to me a salad should be bright green, not white.

Now we come to today's headlines and I see that parsley and cilantro is big in the news for a recall. According to the Associated Press (AP) a produce company out of Edinburg, Texas called J&D produce has confirmed a positive test for salmonella on curly parsley in Quebec and on cilantro in Detroit. The voluntary recall is on items packed on Nov. 30 and Dec. 6 (scary because that means they've probably been on shelves for a while now). There is more produce that runs on the same packaging lines and those items include the following: arugula, leek, collards, curly mustard, gold beet, kale, green swiss chard, plain mustard, plain parsley, kohlarbi, rainbow swiss chard, mint, methileaf, beets, daikon, red swiss chard, turnip greens and dill.

All of these products were packaged by the Little Bear brand and if you are a consumer with questions regarding this please feel free to call 1-956-380-0353. That company is open and available to take calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

It's scary that things like this happen all the time, but the news speaks for it self. One way to avoid this is to purchase your produce from organically grown farmers markets for example. It may be a little less convenient or a little more pricey, but face it all fresh produce is a littel on the expensive side. Plus you and your families health may be on the line and of course this is one of the things that should be on the top of your priority list to protect.

If you have any comments or questions regarding today's post, please let me know. Also if I missed any of the recall's from the past that you know of or that affected you please feel free to share your story with me. I always love to hear what you have to say. I hope that you all have a safe and wonderful day and that you are prepairing for an amazing new years! It will be here sooner than you know!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Fit People Have Secrets

My Life's Biggest Project: Fit People Have Secrets: "As promised earlier I am posting my second blog of the day since I will not be able to post one tomorrow! I hope that this little list helps..."

Fit People Have Secrets

As promised earlier I am posting my second blog of the day since I will not be able to post one tomorrow! I hope that this little list helps encourage you to make the right choices too! I've been doing my best to try to have this mindset!

In my handy dandy P90X Newsletter I got one of the articles is entitled 20 Secrets of Very Fit People, written by Chalean Johnson (creator of Turbo Jam, another Beachbody creation, Beachbody is who endorses P90X). Anyway I thought it was very interesting so I figured I would share it with you. So here goes Johnson’s list:

1.      High Quality H2O- “Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often,” said Johnson. “Water is the drink of choice, but if you don't enjoy plain water, than liven it up! Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to your water bottle. You can also drink Propel Fit Water®, VitaminWater®, or some other form of healthy enhanced beverage with zero or very few calories, but remember: pure water is best.”
2.      Be Pumped About Your Workout- The Jersey Shore kids are crazy obsessed with GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry), but notice the first thing is GYM…be crazy excited that you can do it ( I promise this is one of the only positive things I will say about that show, other than I now have a love for fist pumping…hahaha). Johnson says, “Look at exercise as a pleasure and privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will bring about in your body and your life. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!”
3.      Watch what you put in your mouth. Eat well balanced healthy foods that work for you and not against you. Extra calories mean extra weight. Keep track of your caloric intake.
4.      Be sure to watch out how much caffeine you are consuming (working against you) and how much smoke you are around (this includes second-hand).
5.      Live in the now! “Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise,” said Johnson.
6.      Keep a log of what you eat. This will help you keep track of your calories. Be sure you keep track of every little snack. In the end you aren’t cheating anyone but yourself and there is no need for self sabotage.
7.      Once a week give yourself an unhealthy treat, but only once a week!
8.      Have an accountability buddy (this totally works). Be a positive influence and by making it a team thing you will be more likely to keep with it.
9.      Change it up. Johnson says, “Avoid monotony by introducing new forms of exercise to your routine—in addition to your regular workout, try biking, hiking, swimming, or rollerblading to keep you motivated and inspired.”
10.  Read. Johnson suggests subscribing to a fitness magazine (or you can read my blog ;). She believes this will keep you focused on health and see it as a way of life.
11.  “Invest in the right tools,” said Johnson. Be sure you have great workout shoes, awesome tunes to keep you pumped on your iPod, proper fitness equipment, etc...
12.  Working out needs to be a part of your lifestyle. “Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 6 or 7 days a week,” said Johnson. “If some days you exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, even better! If you're eating right, exercise will fuel your energy level!”
13.  We can’t all look like a Victoria Secret model. Be sure you are not comparing yourself to someone else. Try to be the best that you can be.
14.  Balance your diet, if it’s off, fix it. Also be sure to “take vitamins and mineral supplements” to obtain “total health”.
15.  Keep bringing it, even if you think it has already been broughten (not a word I know, but oh so funny if you get my reference…lol). Your goal should always be to keep intensity levels of your workouts up.
16.  Don’t make excuses about time, make time. Everyone has time to workout. To ensure that you will create a schedule the day before that way you aren’t just chancing that it will all work out.
17.  Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit and not some number on a scale,” said Johnson.
18.  Here is that lifestyle change thing I keep pounding away at. Johnson insists that you make eating plans that you can maintain the rest of your life. Too many calories means that you will never ever see the muscles that lie behind the fatty tissue in your body. You want to see results of course.
19.  Make sure you’re sleeping enough. Johnson reminds us in this article that those who regularly exercise not only fall asleep faster, but they also sleep more soundly than those who don’t.
20.  Finally Johnson suggest only boozing it up for special occasions (that does not mean waking up every morning being a special occasion, if that’s the case someone may have a problem beyond weight gain).

OK so here are the fun things I wanted to share with you. I hope it has been insightful. Johnson gives us lots of things to think about and my commentary hopefully made you laugh a time or two, which made you burn calories if you did. If that were the case I’m happy to have helped ;)

My Life's Biggest Project: Co-ed Gyms -vs.- All Women One's

Weigh in your vote. How do you feel about all girl gyms? Good or bad? Read more here: My Life's Biggest Project: Co-ed Gyms -vs.- All Women One's: "I have a ton of girl friends who say that they hate working out at the gym with a bunch of guys around because they feel like they're being ..."

Co-ed Gyms -vs.- All Women One's

I have a ton of girl friends who say that they hate working out at the gym with a bunch of guys around because they feel like they're being judged. Apparently this is a big enough problem that they have created gyms that exclusively for women. I must be odd because I personally would rather work out around guys than other girls. Allow me to explain why I feel this way...

I truly thing that guys judge less than girls. I read in an article in a Seventeen magazine when I was in like the fourth grade that women dress to impress other women as opposed for men because women are more judgemental of what other women look like. I guess this kind of stuck with me because, well first of all because I remember it and second of all because I really think women do.

I would rather work out next to some buff guy who thinks he's hot stuff than next to some buff girl who thinks that she is. The guy is probably assuming that since you are of the opposite sex you must be checking them out. The buff girl on the other hand is probably sizing you up because you don't look like them. I always assume they are less sympathetic because they don't understand why if they could do it you can't. Last spring I was sitting in class and I overheard one of the girls in the class talking to her friend. This girl was pretty and very fit looking. She was tall and had an athletic build. She was talking about how uncomfortable she was in the gym that morning because the girl next to her looked just like Meagan Fox.

I was happy to have overheard this because it justified everything I had ever thought...girls are sizing each other up at the gym and they are uncomfortable around other girls, not just guys! It's like the gynocologist, I unlike many other girls would much rather go to a male than a female. It's my personal feeling that just because you have the same equiptment as me that does not mean that you completely understand what I'm feeling because you aren't me.

Another thing that bothers me about this mentality of not working out around men is that really shouldn't be the reason you are at the gym. I do not go and think, wow I should really fix my hair or be sure to wear my waterproof mascara so that it doesn't run while I'm sweating. A work out should very much be about you, not about picking up a guy. This drives me crazy, and all of you who go to gyms know what I'm talking about because you've seen it. The girls that come in looking super cute in their short shorts and cleavage bearing tank tops. They are the girls walking the tred so as not to mess up their cute little bouncy updo. This is not a bar, these guys are not going to buy you a free drink based on how much you have popping out of your shirt! These girls drive me nuts.

Whenever you work out that is a great time to kind of get in your own zone. You can think about whatever you want. I think it is a great time to clear my head. I think sometimes we worry a little too much about what other people are thinking and not enough about ourselves. Let working out be your thing and let it be about you. In that hour or two you are at the gym don't worry about hitting on a guy or a guy hitting on you. In fact if that is the incentive you need (and for some boy crazy girls it is) put that same energy into your workout. When you don't think you can do those last few crunches in your rep remind yourself how cute you will look with that six pack and how many guys will hit on you then.

I know that I don't think the same way as everyone else and if you truly are uncomfortable working out around men then please feel free to utilize the all women gyms. I see that they can be beneficial and if it is better suited for you then please feel free to go there. That is why they exist. Now if you have looked into gyms and found one that is close to your house and has a less expensive membership, but you are iffy about going there becuase it is co-ed then please take into account what I've said. All you really need is a good pair of shoes and an ipod full of empowering music. Besides if you are supposed to meet your prince charming at the gym I really think he'll be more impressed with how hard you are working as opposed to how cute you are doing nothing. If the guy thinks that being fit is important and sees you with the same mentatlity you already have more in common. Food for thought ;)

How do you all feel about all women gyms vs. co-ed ones? Do you think it is more beneficial to work out with just women. I'm not pretending to be a pro, I've never been to one. Please tell me what you think!!!

OK so I'm going to go because my little cousin and I are going to have a girl day and go see Tangled. It should be a pretty exciting day. Today is also my little sisters birthday she's 22 today which is exciting because for the next nine days she and I are only a year apart. This use to be a big deal when we were younger because it upset me. However it is funny how the tide has changed the older we get, I remind her now when she says stuff about how old I'm getting that she is less than two years behind...lol. So basically what I'm saying is that I have a bid day ahead of me...lol. Another thing to let those of you reading this blog know is that I am going to stay with some of my friends tonight who live out in BFE. There is no Internet connection and since I'm staying there tonight and hanging out with them most of the day tomorrow I probably will not be able to post anything tomorrow so to make up for that I will post another blog this evening before I hit the road. I hope you're all having a wonderful post Christmas day :)  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

I hope that everyone is able to spend today with family friends and loved ones of all kinds. My family celebrated Christmas Eve last night. We went to my aunt and uncle's house. It was the first time in years that we were able to get everyone together. Both sets of aunts and uncle's were there, along with all of my cousins on my mom's side. My grandparents were there too along with my uncle's parents, brother and niece and nephew. It was pretty exciting to have everyone there. Even both of my siblings were there. So all in all it was a great evening :)

My Crazy Aunt Linda decided to put 
her "Ho-Ho" table decorations in my hair.
Instead of having a big meal for everyone to fill up on my aunt had snack type food. There were plenty of options, some were really good for you and some were really bad for you. I did good to fill my plate with mainly fruits and vegetables, getting only a few crackers with meat and cheese. I was really proud and then I saw the dessert table.

Lucky for me I'm not crazy about cookies (unlike my niece) so it was pretty easy for me to only have one sugar cookie (which was actually pretty amazing) and one little piece of peppermint candy. At the end of the evening I was so proud of myself for not eating all of the bad for you stuff that I felt pretty good with myself!

Overall this Christmas break I have been able to see some people I haven't seen in a long time, including one of my best friends who I hardly ever see because she is off on the east coast being a smarty in law school. One of the biggest problems with getting together with people is that, that normally consists of meeting someone for lunch or dinner. If there are enough people that you haven't seen in a long time you not only end up spending a ton of money, but you also end up packing back on the lb's that you've worked so hard to get rid of.

What I suggest is know the menu to where you're going to go that way you're prepaired to make a better decision before you get there. Eat an apple 15 minutes before you get there and don't be afraid to get a to-go box (heck it's the Christmas season, everyone's broke, so this isn't only smart for your figure it's also more economical). If it is going to be a big group go ahead and eat your meals as you normally do saving a few calories for a side salad or nothing at all (it's OK to just go and get something to drink, or split an appetizer with a friend). When your friends ask you why you're not eating simply explain to them that you have already eaten and you are there because you have missed them and wanted to go ahead and catch up. The important thing is to stand firm. Another great tip is to be sure to write down what it is that you ate and keep track of it in your calorie intake for the day. Everything I've read says to keep a food journal so everyone must not be wrong. There's probably something to it. If you are having a get together, prepare a healthier option so not only will you know that there will be something there for you to eat, but also so that you can share good things with your friends.

If you have any tips about how to avoid packing on extra pounds during the holiday season please feel free to tell me! Merry Merry Christmas to you all :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: New Book Finds That Obesity is Not One’s Fault

My Life's Biggest Project: New Book Finds That Obesity is Not One’s Fault: "I was scanning today’s medical news on medicalnewstoday.com and came across an article posted today about a new book written by award winnin..."

New Book Finds That Obesity is Not One’s Fault

I was scanning today’s medical news on medicalnewstoday.com and came across an article posted today about a new book written by award winning health authors Mannie Barling and Ashley Brooks. According to their statistics they found that two-thirds of American adults are in fact overweight. Barling and Brooks try to create a “sane approach for better healthy” by answering the biggest question for those who have dieted and failed. The question they attempt to answer is “Are you addicted to chemical food ingredients or is the addiction just in your mind?”

Obviously knowing the credibility of the authors is important and luckily for us the writer of this article gives us just that. I don’t know about you, but I like to know the legitimacy of the information I get. I’ll start by giving you a little background on Barling.

Emanuel Barling, Jr., is a retired lawyer, a businessman, obviously an author and a colocrectal cancer survivor. Crohn’s Disease and IBD. Just like those he is reaching out to in his book he too has suffered from weight and obesity caused by prescription drugs, food allergies and having issues with chemicals that are common and constantly found in food from the grocery store, restaurants and fast food places as well. The thing that I thought was really cool was that Barling has been researching information for this book for 13 years.

Ashley F. Brooks, is a R.N., actress/model and an author now. Brooks has survived third stage liver, kidney and pancreatic disease that was caused partially because of genetically modified ingredients and addictive chemicals commonly found in packaged foods. Brooks who has spent most of her life trying to control her weight because of her acting and modeling career has obviously been exposed and tried every possible fad diet. Due to her medical background Brooks has experience and knowledge in nutritional, holistic and environmental medicines. Dr. Theron Randolph, founder of environmental medicine was who Brooks studied under so she shares his expertise in this book.

Now that we know we can trust these writers and that they should know what they’re talking about I’ll tell you a little bit about the book (well at least what this article says because in all honesty I haven’t read the book).

This is there fourth book and it is entitled “It’s Not Your Fault, Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction. They describe the causes of food craving, overeating and food addiction. The authors also talk about dangerous and addictive chemicals that food manufacturers use. These chemicals cause the compulsive and even obsessive eating that is in fact the cause of today’s obesity statistics.

Overeating to the point of being obese is the leading addiction problem in the United States, that surpasses tobacco addictions and alcohol as well. America has the highest obesity rates in the entire world.

"Americans did not get fat overnight nor did some mosquito spread a deadly virus that causes obesity," said Barling and Brooks.

One person who has read this book said that they were able to lose a whopping 80 pounds and another person claims to have lost 20 pounds and they say they are still losing more.
"I'm having great fun already with the book. Fascinating read. And extremely informative. I'm appalled at the extent of my ignorance." - Barbara Paskin, BBC.

If you would like to read this article in its entirety you can do so by clicking on it here. Is this book something you would consider reading? Do you think that reading stuff like this helps you to lose weight or not? I read somewhere that when you are trying to lose weight you should read about it so that you are constantly thinking about it. In my case I’m writing a blog and researching health and weight loss everyday, so I guess I could certainly say from my POV (point of view) yes I think it helps, but I love to get your opinions on this. Let me know how you feel about it.

My family and I are doing our Christmas get together today and instead of doing a dinner or lunch they have decided to just have snack foods, which could be good because that means I can eat something healthy beforehand. The problem is that there is more than likely going to be lots of dessert around which I’ll have to try to stand firm to resist. Wish me luck lol!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Carb Crazed?

My Life's Biggest Project: Carb Crazed?: "Some people have what I consider a food kryptonite or a weakness when it comes to certain things in the kitchen. This is why dieting be..."

Carb Crazed?

Some people have what I consider a food kryptonite or a weakness when it comes to certain things in the kitchen. This is why dieting becomes an issue. The individual going through it feels like they are being deprived of something that is important to them and even end up being cranky. The effects are sometimes comparable to someone who is going through nicotine fits when they quit smoking. I know I've talked about this before in earlier posts, but hey guess what it still applies, which is good because that means that everything I've been posting is pretty legit (yay!!!!).

I came across something in my P90X newsletter written by Whitney Provost. Her article is entitled The Carb Lover's Diet: 4 Tips for Losing Weight without Losing Your Mind. Provost talks about how she is torn between wanting to be lean and fit and wanting to eat warm breads and cinnamon buns. It is possible to have both according to Provost and she gives the following 4 tips for just this!

Carbs are essential for the body, but like everything else they should be done in moderation. Carbs fuel muscles and cells in the body so that the body can function. Low carb diets are certainly a great way to jump start weight loss, but for some of us this is never going to be a great way for us to live (Provost and myself too would agree!). Provost says that when she goes low-carb she is "murderous within a week" and since we can't be having none of that this is what she suggests:

1.) Eat plenty of good carbs:


First, be sure that the majority of the carb intake consists of the "so-called good carbs", which would be things like oats, brown rice, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and beans (some of Provost's favorites). She also says that she eats "plenty of vegetables, and even fruit (OMG!)". These foods contain high ammounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein. They cause you to have a lot of energy because they are energy boosters! Thus making you feel full longer!

"I'll be the first to admit that I'm not immune to the lure of cookies and candy, but I've learned through a lot of trial and error that these things don't make me feel very good once the initial sugar rush wears off," said Provost.  "Since I'd rather be alert than snoozing at my desk in the afternoon, I just can't eat like that too often. Besides, too many treats and I don't fit into my pants. Not a bonus."

2.) Eat most carbs early in the day and around workouts- This is a great way to start one's day because they normally just make you feel better.

"When I start my day with some satisfying carbs and protein, I just feel better", said Provost. "Oatmeal with a little protein powder added at the end, and I'm off to a pretty good start. I also like to eat some carbs around my workouts. If I'm hungry, I'll eat a piece of fruit or some berries with fat-free Greek yogurt about an hour before I train. Afterward I'll have a whey protein shake with fruit. Dinnertime usually means chicken and a large salad, although I do love pasta with marinara sauce, or even cheese, crackers, and fruit. So whatever choice I make, I just eat it and enjoy it. The next day, I'll probably eat more vegetables and protein to balance things out a bit."

3.) If you feel like you have to eat it, then just do it!- What??? This is absolutely crazy right? Not according to Provost she talks about how if she is craving a hot fudge sundae then she eats it.

"I'm serious—when I decide I simply must have ice cream, I eat enough to be satisfied and then I move on. The difference is that I usually substitute that treat for whatever healthy meal I'd eat around the same time. So if the only suitable dinner choice is a hot-fudge sundae, so be it. (For obvious reasons, this cannot be a frequent occurrence. Besides, it tastes soooo much better when you really want it),"said Provost.

4.) Is it possible to eat what you want and still lose?- Of course it is so long as you are burning more than you are consuming. The only thing is like I've talked about in the past it is important to realize that certain foods assist you in your workouts and energy levels and some work against you so obviously you don't want to eat bad all the time because it's just not beneficial to you and your goals. Provost says in her article when she needs to lose weight she eats the same as before, just watches her portions. She says that way she still gets everything she desires without the feeling of deprivation. She said she also pumps up her workout so that she's burning more calories.

If you are bumping up your workouts it is beneficial for you to have consumed good goods and not just junk. Where I see what she is saying it is also important to know that if you are not following a good diet it will take longer to see results, but it may help you keep your sanity so it is important for you to figure out what works for you.

"If you're like me, you love to eat all kinds of carbs," said Provost. "But I know that in order to be as lean as I want, I need to make good choices most of the time and keep up with my workouts. As much as I'd love to eat bread and butter all day long, I wouldn't look or feel very good. I often stop and ask myself what's more important, this bowl of pasta or fitting into my skinny jeans again? One decadent meal will not derail a week's worth of healthy eating. It may slow down my progress, that's true, but I'll get where I want to be eventually. And even better, I'll be healthy, happy, and sane!"

How do you feel about Provosts ways of dieting? Do you think this is something you could do? Let me know.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Ice Cream Kills

My Life's Biggest Project: Ice Cream Kills: "This was the absolute worst news that I have ever come across. Today I was streaming through health headlines while searching BBC news and I..."

Ice Cream Kills

This was the absolute worst news that I have ever come across. Today I was streaming through health headlines while searching BBC news and I stumbled across an article posted six hours ago that talks about how older people who eat healthy diets 'lead longer lives'. The research that was found was done by the Journal of the American Dietic Association. They found that those who ate a low-fat diet that consisted mainly of fruit and veggies lowered thier risk of dying by approximently 10 whole years. This particular study consisted of 2,500 adults  between 70 and 79 years of age. And here is the real kicker, those who ate a higher fat diet that consisted mainly of ice cream, cheese and whole milk had the highest risk of death.

The study was broken down into six different groups. This groups were based off of how often these individuals ate certain foods. The groups were broken up accordingly; 1.) healthy foods; 2.) high-fat dairy products; 3.) meat; 4.) fried-foods and alcohol; 5.) breakfast cereal; 6.) refined grains and sweets and desserts.

Some of the stats found were as follows; The high fat dairy product group consisted of 332 people. Of these 332 people 109 of them died over a 10 year period. That would be 34 percent of the group studied. Those in the "sweets and desserts" group consisted of 339 people and of the 339 people 104 of them died over a 10 year period, which comes to 32 percent. Those who were in the healthy food group consisted of 374 people and after 10 years only 77 of them had died. That means that only 21 percent of those studied in the healthy food group died as opposed to the 34 percent from the high-fat dairy group. There were no significant differences found in death rates in those who were healthy food eaters, breakfast cereal eaters and refined grains eaters. The biggest difference was the ice cream eaters. This is a really sad fact!

The people considered to have a healthy diet ate much more low-fat dairy, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish and veggies. These people also tended to have better lifestyle choices too, which means that as a whole they smoked less and were more active. Another thing about this group is that they ate less meat, fried foods, sweets, high calorie drinks and added fats. 

A British dietician named Lucy Jones, spokesperson for the British Dietic Association, claims that trans fatty acid and saturated fats were the common factor for those that were considered higher risk for death.

So basically what I took from this article was that if I wanted to live longer than I would have to eat less high-fat dairy. The thing that really shocked me is that the high-fat dairy eaters were at a higher risk of death than those who consumed fried foods. In my head I have always considered fried foods to be the worst of the worst, but apparently they aren't. Don't get me wrong, they obviously are bad for you and shouldn't be consumed in large ammounts (which sucks for those of us who are from the south and that's the way that food is prepared). But it had never really dawned on me about milk, cheese or ice cream. Something to think about I suppose. If you have anything to add let me know. What did you think about this study?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Yahoo's Year in Review Finds "Weight Loss" to be t...

My Life's Biggest Project: Yahoo's Year in Review Finds "Weight Loss" to be t...: "Yahoo did a countdown of their top ten searches for 2010 and the number two search was “how to lose weight”. This of course is not uncommon ..."

Yahoo's Year in Review Finds "Weight Loss" to be the Number Two Most Searched

Yahoo did a countdown of their top ten searches for 2010 and the number two search was “how to lose weight”. This of course is not uncommon and things like “a fool-proof weight-loss scheme”, “how to lose weight fast”, and “lose weight fast” are all things that are constantly being searched, but in actuality there is no full-proof plan to make weight just fall off. A University of Melbourne study claimed, "surprisingly, and against current beliefs, that a fast drop is better than a slow one” -- at least when it comes to motivation, not for keeping the weight off.
One of the reasons that this is the one thing that is searched so much is because obesity levels are up 12 percent in searches up from last year. More than 72 million of American adults (26.7 percent) are obese. Statistics also tell us that one in six adults that lose weight will keep it off, what that means to us is that five in six of them will gain it all back. These are not the things we want to hear to motivate us.
The article I came across on yahoo talks about all of these things and if you would like to read it all more in more depth feel free to do so. I’ll link it later in today’s post. I realize that this is a very common thing and that even though American’s are constantly obsessed with the way that we look we are also very contradictory because we also seem to have a problem with super sizing everything and not fully comprehending the process that less is more.
One really interesting thing that I found in this article is that for the one in six that are successful it helps if the individual is female, single, diabetic, healthier overall, young and college-educated. This sparked interest in me for a couple of reasons. One thing the article says is that if one of these factors is off then the level of success is lowered and that makes sense. One of the things that stood out to me is that the article said diabetic and healthy overall. I personally do not think that being diabetic makes one “healthy overall” so to me it was a walking contradiction in its own.
The article goes on to talk about the importance of keeping a food diary, which is true. It also talks about how people search things like celebrity weight loss such as Kelly Osbourne, Kim Kardashian, and even Bill Clinton who apparently slimmed down for a wedding or something that he was a part of. Another thing brought up is the HCG diet and how this fad was searched much more than things that previously had been like the South Beach diet, Atkins, Acai Berry, cabbage soup diet and things like that which had been ranked highest in the past.
So basically in review of this article we find that as Americans we ourselves are a contradiction. We want things, but don’t want to work for them because we believe that there should be shortcuts to everything. This in itself should be motivation for all of us that what we really need is to believe in ourselves and get this stuff done. If you want to read the article you can find it at http://yearinreview.yahoo.com/2010/us_burning_questions#2how-to-lose-weight. If you have anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so. In the meantime I am going to pack up my stuff and start my Christmas break for the semester.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Servicemembers go to Unhealthy Extremes to "Make W...

My Life's Biggest Project: Servicemembers go to Unhealthy Extremes to "Make W...: "Those who serve our country are known for being the best of the best. They are our protectors and the military (all branches) makes them pas..."

Servicemembers go to Unhealthy Extremes to "Make Weight"

Those who serve our country are known for being the best of the best. They are our protectors and the military (all branches) makes them pass physical training tests, but sometimes even the most fit individuals do not pass because as we all know muscle weighs more than fat. This is when they bust out the tape measurer. This is what is known as making "making tape". This is where the circumference of the individuals neck and midsection is tape measured for body fat percentage.

Most of the time it is just a few pounds that the soldier is needing to drop in order to make weight, but as most of us know those last few pounds can be the hardest, so many resort to very unhealthy means to pass because for the American soldier it is not about vanity or aesthetics, it may be the make or break for their career. Starvation, laxitives and now even liposuction and other cosmetic surgeries are becoming a fad for the individual having problems dropping a couple of pounds.

The reason methods like laxitives and starvation are unhealthy is because the wreck havoc on the body. This being said, obviously there is a need for change if our servicepeople (men or women) are having to resort to becoming unhealthy to keep there jobs. I don't know about you, but I want those protecting me and my country to be in tip top condition, not run down because there body is in shock due to dehydration or starvation. Every time a soldier is deployed there body and mind is put to the test. This being the case why would be want to put any more pressure on them?

I remember when I was in third grade my family and I were about to move from Virginia where my father was stationed at Ft. Eustis to Wiesbaden Germany. PT tests (physical training tests) were always an issue for my father because he went from being extremely overweight to extrememly thin very quickly. He had excess body fat that he was told by physicians he would never get rid of without having a cosmetic procedure done. Right before the move I remember overhearing my parents talking about his PT test. He said he took a water pill to help him make weight. Obviously it worked because he left for Germany and we followed behind a few weeks later.

Being an Army brat for a big chunk of my life I have heard all kinds of stories about soldiers doing quick tricks to make weight and I have seen people drop massive ammounts of weight in short periods of time. While I was looking through the news today I came across a story on ABC news that talked about this very same thing. If you'd like to read it I have linked the story here on this post. It is entitled Liposuction, Laxatives: Military Struggles to Make Weight .

The story is essentially focused in the beginning on a Marine who has struggled to make weight because of his muscle mass. The reporter and writer Lara Salahi interviews U.S. Marine Corps, Gunnery Sgt. Torres, 34. Who says that it is great pressure because one's job depends on it.

"I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but I've been the best at almost anything I've done. Your career could be on the line if you don't make weight," said Torres, adding that he's always struggled to stay within the limits. "So you'll go through extremes if you don't make weight."

According to Salahi's story, a 2009 study by officers at the Naval Post Graduate School found that "nearly one in three Marines turned to excessive and at times unhealthy methods to meet the weight standards.
In fact, Torres is now considering liposuction, a procedure which is becoming an increasing trend in the military."

Salahi also interviewed a plastic surgeon in Hawaii named Dr. Robert Peterson. He estimated that approximently three-fourths of about 50 of the servicemembers he consults for liposuction say they want it specifically to make tape.

There's a lot more to the story so I strongly suggest reading it. It is interesting and arrises good points. Please feel free to read my post and the story linked and give me your feedback. There is an obvious need to change I am just curious when it will happen. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Combo of Old Pills Creates New Diet Pill

My Life's Biggest Project: Combo of Old Pills Creates New Diet Pill: "Diet pills have been a controversial thing for several years. Most of the time the company tries to get a celebrity to endorse them thus mak..."

Combo of Old Pills Creates New Diet Pill

Diet pills have been a controversial thing for several years. Most of the time the company tries to get a celebrity to endorse them thus making us all believe that they are good for us and inevitably we end up spending boo-koo's of money on something that really doesn't do much of anything. When I was in high school I remember watching the Trim Spa comercials with Anna Nicole Smith ("Trim Spa baby yeah", you guys remember what I'm talking about?). Well I also remember when she passed away adn many people were talking about the insane drug addictions she had. I was on the bus early my sophmore year of high school and I remember some kids talking about Trim Spa and they were basically alluding to the fact that sure we could look like Anna Nicole if the distributers were to put cocaine in the product because that was what was making her thin. I don't know whether any of that is true, but I do know one thing about diet pills and that is the one's you buy over the counter can be overwhelming because there is just too much.

Fen-phen was the ingredient in weight loss pills in the '90's that was supposed to cause amazing results. Well it may have helped with weight loss, but it also caused problems with heart valves, thus the FDA taking it away in 2007. This year like any other year, people have been trying to find a solution to growing obesity rates in medication. In 2010 alone two diet pills have been "nixed" according to health.com because of possible links to cancer. However a third drug has gotten approval from the FDA panel and its name is Contrave.

What makes this pill so different you may ask, well it seems that it is a combination of two different pills that are already approved. It is a combination of naltrexone, a medication prescribed to treat alcohol and cocaine addiction and bupropion, more comonley known as Welbutrin, a medication used to assist peopel when they quit smoking and an antidepressent.

"It's kind of a neat little approach. They've taken two drugs that have been around for a very long time with relatively good safety profiles and put them together, hoping that the combined action might be better at controlling eating," said Paul Kenny, PhD, associate professor of molecular therapeutics at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida. "It's a double whammy."

They may have found the key to assisting in the fight of obesity in America.

"Obesity is really a crisis," says Michael Aziz, MD, an internist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Two-thirds of the U.S. adult population is either overweight or obese while a growing number of adolescents are climbing into the danger range, many developing type 2 diabetes at younger and younger ages. The problem is not a pill but the way we live our lives."

Aziz is not alone in this thought process, Gene-Jack Wang, MD, a senior scientist with Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York agree's that a lifestyle change is really what is going to matter.

"I don't think any medication [will work] without behavior change," said Wang. "If you don't change your behavior, nothing will help you."

The FDA's advisory committee has given the tumbs up, but that doesn't mean that the FDA has to approve the new medication, however they normally follow the advice given by the panel. This was a fascinating story and if it is something that works than that would be fantastic, but no matter what remember that there is no miracle pill out there to make everything go away. Medication is mearly in existence in terms of weight loss to assist. A lot still lies on our own shoulders to make the right food and exercise decisions. What do you think about this new creation? Is this something you would try? Have any of you tried diet pills in the past? Do you know of any that have assisted you? Let me know!

To read the full article about this new medication that I learned all about on CNN. Feel free to click on the link to read in much more detail.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Detox Diet

My Life's Biggest Project: Detox Diet: "If you get on aol.com under trending now on the homepage this was one of the things that was trending, under Reese Witherspoon and ginger br..."

Detox Diet

If you get on aol.com under trending now on the homepage this was one of the things that was trending, under Reese Witherspoon and ginger bread cookies. I know a little bit about this particular diet and I figure I'll go ahead and share it with you. A lot of different things show up when I clicked on the link. This certainly was a fad diet that sprung because actress/singer Beyonce Knowles (Mrs. Jay-Z, you all know who she is) lost 20 pounds according to reports while prepping for her role in the movie Dream Girls. There are lots of different names for this particular diet. Detox Diet, Master Cleanse, Lemonaide Diet, and I'm sure there are more, but these are probably the most well known ones.
One of my sorority sisters did this and said that it wasn't so bad and that she lost weight doing it, but there are lots of studies out there according to thatsfit.com. That say that there are many dangers with doing it. Basically what this diet consists of is creating a drink concoction that one is supposed to drink for ten days. You are not allowed to eat anything, just drink this drink you mix up that consists of water, fresh lemon juice, cayyanne pepper and Grade-A organic maple syrup. The claims are that it gets all the built up gunk in your body out and causes you to no longer crave things that are bad for you.
Medical experts say that by removing nutrients from your system that creates havoc on your metabolism as well as the fact that there is no evidence that this age old detox really does what it says. If you are working out you need to be eating right or your body will not drop pounds. If you are essentially starving yourself then your body goes into shock mode and starts storing fat as opposed to burning fat. To read more about the hidden dangers of the detox diet click on this link and it will tell you all about it.
According to edetoxify.com people who have done a detox diet say that they have improved skin, energy levels are boosted, and increased concentration levels. The problem is that there is so much information out there it is hard to decipher what is the right information. Scientifically it makes sense to me that if you starve yourself you are going to gain weight, but with results like Beyonce's and all the great things that other Web sites and people say that live by detoxing it is hard to make up one's mind about what the right answer is. What do you think it is?
Webmd says that they are simply a myth and not good for the body. Have any of you tried this before? What are your thoughts pertaining to it? I began this particular diet over the summer. I got to day four and then was put on an antibiotic that required me to eat or I would be sick. If I was just going to throw up the medicine it obviously was doing me no good so I had to stop the diet (not saying that I made good food decisions when I started eating again). I can honestly say from personal experience (note that I only made it through day 4), but I didn't feel like I was starving, I also didn't feel any different at all. I have thought about trying it again, but hearing all of the negatives kind of scares me too. Any thoughts? Let me know what you think the right thing to do is. In the meantime I will not being doing it until I get some kind of feedback.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Post Op News

My Life's Biggest Project: Post Op News: "So I went to my first post op appointment yesterday and had my drain removed! I couldn’t be happier about that, however the stitches are sti..."

Post Op News

So I went to my first post op appointment yesterday and had my drain removed! I couldn’t be happier about that, however the stitches are still there. This part I was not so happy about, but the doctor said that everything is healing up nicely and that he wants to see me again for my next post op appointment in three weeks. That would be January 6 to be exact (2 days after my 24th birthday). What does this all mean? Well unfortunately for me it means that exercise is still going to be delayed.

This is the sixth time that I have had this same surgery done since I was 18 and I do not want to jeopardize the healing process in any kind of way, however I also am a little sad because this certainly makes meeting my own personal goals a lot harder. This couldn’t have come at a worse time, however if this is what it takes for me to get in tip top shape that’s what matters right? I mean what is the point if I’m not healthy because health is really the foundation to being in shape isn’t it?

I am trying to remain positive and will continue to do minimal exercise and watch what I’m eating. I’m not going to lie it has been tough just hanging around the house all day not being able to get out of bed most days and also reminding myself how much I don’t want to just pick something up that’s bad for me. That may be the easy route, but it isn’t the smart one. So I simply have to try to keep thinking in terms of my glass being half full and that this time will be the last time and that I can stop putting my life on pause and putting on a big fake smile that everything is OK. Everything has not been OK for me physically for a long time so I cross my fingers and pray that this time it will be.

I’m not faking it for myself anymore. I want to be healthy! In all aspects of my life which means there is a need for a lot of change. BIG changes! It’s not only got to be an outer body makeover, but an inner body one as well. This reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies Definitely Maybe. Ryan Reynolds says, “your shit is a mess” and that’s pretty accurate, my health has been just that because of these surgeries. I just need it to be known that no matter how dark it may seem some days I will come up on top! In the words of Tupac, “You gotta keep yo head up”.

I will. If anyone has ever had a polynidal cyst removed or knows of anyone else who has they know that the healing process is a long one. I myself like to think I’m so hardcore and I may have always just tried to bounce back to quick. If you can suggest or think of any workouts that will not be painful please let me know. I can’t squat or lift heavy things still, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes. Thank you all for reading and I’ll keep writing. I always love to hear what everyone else is thinking so keep your thoughts and ideas coming my way. To leave this on a high note, with all of the ups and downs of the last month I have still managed to lose 12 pounds since I began this project of mine. YAY!!! More to come in the next 24!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Get Your Drink On

My Life's Biggest Project: Get Your Drink On: "Some of you may look at this post and think it is funny that after posting something about being stressed I then write about drinks, even th..."

Get Your Drink On

Some of you may look at this post and think it is funny that after posting something about being stressed I then write about drinks, even though I suggest finding positive outlets. I want it to be known that I have not drank as a means of alleviating my stress this finals week. In fact I have not drank in months at this point because alcohol is simply empty calories and I've also been on antibiotics that insist not drinking while taking. I also however am very aware that 'tis the season for booze. Christmas parties, New Years and several of my friends (myself included) have birthday's and part of the going out process normally involves a drink or two. Thinking about this and trying to take that in to account I have come across low-calorie cocktails from http://www.fitness.com/. So here they are!

Bluberry-Lime Margarita's:
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Ingredients
2 cups  ice
1 cup  frozen blueberries
1 cup  blueberry nectar
1/4 cup  seltzer
2 tablespoons  frozen limeade
1 tablespoon  lime juice
3 ounces  tequila, optional
1   lime wedge
  Coarse salt
Directions
1. Combine ice, blueberries, blueberry nectar, seltzer, limeade, lime juice and tequila, if using, in a blender and blend until smooth. Rub rim of 2 glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses and serve.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 125, Total Fat 1 g, Sodium 14 mg, Carbohydrate 29 g, Fiber 2 g, Potassium 147 mg. Exchanges: Fruit 2.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 
Island Limeade
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 1 hr
Ingredients
3 cups  boiling water
1/3-1/2 cup  sugar
1 1/4 cups  freshly squeezed lime juice
6 ounces  dark rum
Directions
1. Combine boiling water and sugar to taste. Stir until the sugar dissolves; chill. Add the lime juice to make limeade. Fill 4 tall glasses with ice and divide the rum among the glasses. Top with the limeade. Non-alcoholic variation: Omit the rum.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 182, Sodium 7 mg, Carbohydrate 23 g, Potassium 93 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 38%. Exchanges: Other Carbohydrate 1.5.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 
Watermellon Gin Fizz
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 45 mins
Ingredients
5 cups  diced watermelon, divided
6 ounces  gin, divided
8 tablespoons  lime juice, divided
1 1/3 cups  ginger ale, divided
  Lime wedges, for garnish
Directions
1. Freeze 1 cup watermelon for garnish. Puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.
2. Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges. Non-alcoholic variation: Omit the gin.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 153, Sodium 4 mg, Carbohydrate 14 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 1 g, Potassium 180 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 17%, Vitamin C 25%. Exchanges: Fruit 1.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 
Blueberry Ginger Bellini
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Ingredients
1/2 cup  blueberries
1 tablespoon  minced ginger
1 tablespoon  sugar
  Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups  blueberry juice
1/2 cup  sparkling wine, divided
Directions
1. Mash blueberries with ginger, sugar and lemon juice. Add blueberry juice and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain; divide among 4 champagne flutes. Top each with 1/2 cup sparkling wine.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 185, Sodium 23 mg, Carbohydrate 25 g, Protein 1 g, Potassium 25 mg. Exchanges: Fruit 1.5.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 
Campari, Grapefruit & Pomegranate Cocktail
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups  grapefruit or orange juice
1 1/2 cups  pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cups  ice cubes, plus more for serving
3/4 cup  Campari
6 twists of  orange zest, or 6 thin slices of seedless orange
Directions
1. Combine grapefruit (or orange) juice, pomegranate juice and ice cubes in a blender. Blend until the ice is very finely chopped and the mixture is foamy and pale pink. Transfer to a pitcher and stir in Campari. Serve over ice, garnished with a twist or slice of orange.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 145, Sodium 5 mg, Carbohydrate 26 g, Potassium 213 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin C 38%. Exchanges: Fruit 1,Other Carbohydrate 1,Alcohol Equivalent 1.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Stressed!!!!

My Life's Biggest Project: Stressed!!!!: "As it is probably known from previous posts if you have been reading this, this is my finals week. Part of me is stoaked and part of me is b..."

Stressed!!!!

As it is probably known from previous posts if you have been reading this, this is my finals week. Part of me is stoaked and part of me is beyond stressed. I have my last final at 4:30 and depending on how I do on it will be very dependent on the grade I receive. I really really really want to make straight A’s this semester and if I rock this final than it may be a possibility, but if I don’t that is one goal that I will not accomplish.

Stress will ruin you. It can be family stress, emotional stress, physical stress and even things like taking finals (all of which have recently taken a toll on me). Whatever kind of stress it is that you have it is important to try to find a positive outlet for relieving it. Don’t feel like you are alone if you are feeling stressed out (hey I am too), because there are many others out there feeling the same thing. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, every two weeks, 5.4 percent of Americans 12 and older (or more than one in 20 Americans) are in fact stressed out at this very moment that you are reading these words. They also say that more than 19 million Americans suffer from stress. Obviously this is an issue.

Stress can cause weight gain obviously and push us to eat foods we don’t need to eat as a means of comfort, but we need to stand strong and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that whatever is causing the stress is situational. My best suggestion and outlet (since I can’t work out right now) is to talk about it and then you may see that it is not as big of a deal as you thought. Try to make a plan of how to fix whatever it is that has you stressed out, go for a walk and clear your head, take a break for a second to think, and also keep yourself surrounded with positive uplifting people. If you are in a stump they will be the one’s to bring you out of it. A few of my really good friends were there for me last night when I was stressed to the max (lots of stuff came up). They let me talk and then I felt a little bit better about that situation (it is better to be stressed about one thing at a time if you are going to be stressed). They also were funny and said things to make me feel better (this releases endorphins which are good for you).

The most important thing to remember is that no matter how dark things may look at the time and no matter how horrible a situation you are in, it will end. Believe in yourself and know that if God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it. I just wanted to wish anyone else going through finals this week the best of luck and anyone who is stressed out (which is a lot of people according to the statistics) just remember some of the suggestions I’ve given. I hope that they help. If you have anymore, please throw them my way J

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Life's Biggest Project: Madonna's Diet

My Life's Biggest Project: Madonna's Diet: "The former material girl and world renowned pop star has been in the media recently for things like her new clothing line that she and her d..."

Madonna's Diet

The former material girl and world renowned pop star has been in the media recently for things like her new clothing line that she and her daughter Lourdes have created called Material Girl. Madonna has also been featured on the Ellen Show for speaking out about her feelings of bullying and basically becoming an activist for those who are bullyed. Madonna talks about how her children are 14 and 10 and how she has open disucssion with them about this ongoing problem a lot. They know that intolerence will not be tolerated in her household. Most could argue that certain ideologies start in the house so the fact that Madonna is so strong on speaking with her children about this ongoing problem is wonderful and will probably keep them from being bullies. The information and education has to start somewhere and it is great that she is started it now.

Today's post is not about bullying and how bad it is (even though it is), it is actually about Madonna herself. I've seen her on interviews and other things on television and it amazes me that she is 52-years-old. Isn't that insane. The ever changing pop stars body is amazingly fit and she looks younger than ever. Curious about how it is that she has found the fountain of youth I stumbled upon a Web site that swears to have the answers to Madonna's Diet and fitness secrets. I'm not sure of the credibility of the site, but I would love to share it with you. If it is something you may be interested in trying please feel free to let me know if it works.

The site has several celebrities diets listed, but not all of them were really diets. Lindsay Lohan's was listed and basically said that her figure could be based on a combo of weight loss pills and narcotics. This isn't healthy and not what I would consider a diet, plus everyone knows that LiLo has a drug problem, cocaine will in fact make you thin. I'm not here to endorse a negative lifestyle so I figured sharing Madonna's with you was one of the healthiest options in terms of celebrity fitness. So here it goes.

The pop star has never been considered in bad shape, but the older she gets the more she seems to be extremely fit. This is because according to the Web site she has taken on a strict routing of Ashtanga Yoga, which is what is supposobly keeping her entire body in shape. Madonna also follows a healthy diet and barely ever is seen eating junk food (because she hardly ever touches the stuff).

Famous people have the luxury of having a personal trainer, health and diet coach and Madonna is no different. Madonna eats "an organic whole food diet, rich in lean proteins which comprises most of her macrobiotic diet." When Madonna was asked about going out to eat she said, "I don't really eat food in restaurants - you can never be sure what's in it, can you?"

Madonna's macrobiotic diet is "a new way of life based on the centuries old practice of listening to your inner compass when you eat. The contemporary guide to healthful living that offers a fresh twist on an age-old philosophy. Is is based on a diet filled with whole grains, beans, vegetables, and some meats and fish." The site offeres a guide to this Macrobiotic Diet and it is as follows: 

Guide to Macrobiotic Diet:
  • Introduce Whole Grains (daily if possible)
  • Use plant-based proteins over animal-based proteins
  • Indulge in natural sweeteners (rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup)
  • Re-think dairy food
  • Be patient with yourself
There are definetley things that are positive that one can take from Madonna and her fitness and healthy life style is one. You may not love her singing or her as an icon (I personally do), but one thing you can't deny is how amazing she looks. If you know of anything that she's doing please feel free to let me know or if you have any other awesome celebrity diet tricks that you want to share pass them my way too.