When you’re down, get up!

So, I have been a little down on myself lately, and I wanted to turn that negative thinking around and focus on some positives. So here is a list of things I like about myself, and things that make me happy.

I love my small ankles and wrists. It does not matter that they are attached to large hands and feet, because they are delicate and small. I can wear ankle strap shoes, or cropped pants because I don’t have cankles (calves that extend to the feet, making it look like there is no ankle).

I love my smile. I have a large mouth with big old full lips. Some women who have full lips don’t like to wear much lip color, but I embrace it! Bright red, mauves, sparkley rose-y pinks are all fantastic to me. I have a rather “gummy” smile, meaning a lot of my gum line shows when I smile, which sometimes bothers me. I love that I smile often.

I love that I have many talents and abilities which I have been blessed with. I love that my passion for doing hair has allowed me to find a career that makes me happy. I love that my patience and my desire to take care of people has transformed into my nanny job where each weekday I get to spend time with cool kids and perhaps make a difference in their lives.

I love that I have stuck to a new eating and exercise plan and it is really starting to show! Changing the foods I eat from mainly processed carbohydrates and sugars to the natural variety in fruits and vegetables, as well as bumping up my protein intake has made me so much more energetic, made me feel better, and is paying off big time in the 6 pounds I have lost already.

I love that I can finally run 3 miles straight. When I first started running 3 months ago, I had a hard time running more than 5 minutes, then a mile, and so on. Years ago when I was a “runner” I ran a mile at a time, and mainly did sprint and speed work as a short distance runner in track and on the soccer field. I never imagined that I could be running 5k distances 3 days a week consistently. It makes me feel good to have accomplished something like this. It’s no half marathon, but I have no desire to run 13 miles!

I love that I have meaningful relationships in my life. Billy is an amazing husband, and a great best friend who I have lots of fun with. I also am super blessed to have awesome best girlfriends- Sarah, Diane and Tiffany are caring, encouraging, supportive and fun. Even more so, I have super great close friends who are always willing to hang out, chat it up, and have fun with me. Having one friend is great, but having as many as I do is spectacular. I also love making new friends, which I get to do regularly through my job and experiences.

Come one, come all!

I enjoyed the comments on my last diet post, and it made me think that maybe, just maybe, you would be willing to be my “eat healthy and exercise” buddies, and would like more detailed info of what I am doing. The lost pound count is up to 4 pounds in 9 days, by the way, which I think is fantastic.  If you want a simple approach to changing your lifestyle for the better, and totally revamping you body in the process, this is for you. I must warn, it is not for the casual dieter, much like my previous self, who would looove nothing more than to eat cupcakes morning, noon and night, or someone who won’t make the lasting commitment to changing the way you eat.  I can say “my previous self”, because I am transformed, renewed and happy realizing that I am not suffering from chocolate and sugar cravings because my body is getting the fuel it really is asking for when you feel like something sweet. I’ve heard it before, you crave sugar when you need protein. Well, I am eating LOTS of protein, so I haven’t been craving sugar, funny how that works!

I used to get so angry reading articles in US Weekly, People, and all of the other tabloid magazines I love (hello, I work at a hair salon, we have tons of gossip rags to read anytime I feel like it!) of celebrities saying they don’t diet. Last night, I stumbled upon a new blog of a master trainer who put it bluntly; celebrities aren’t on diets because they eat clean and healthy EVERY DAY! It’s a lifestyle for them to eat lots of veggies and protein at every meal, so they wouldn’t consider the diet I am working with a real diet, but a way of life. I really like this post that Josh wrote about Lauren Conrad’s diet and exercise routine before her Shape cover shoots (I love Shape magazine, and have bought BOTH of the covers she has done with them). He also wrote an article about how sugar is only slightly less addictive than crack. Hmm, yeah sounds about right when you look at my old eating habits (cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, anyone?) He uses terminology like “eat like a rockstar, look like a rockstar” which immediately conjures images of Pink and Gwen Stephani with their amazing abs, see below, and “caveman carbs” that are unprocessed carbs like fruits and vegetables.

So here it is, in black and white, for anyone who wants to join me on this new adventure and see for yourself what a little will power can get ya!

Processed sugar and carbs are not good for you. When dealing with carbs in your diet, stay away from anything that comes in a box, a wrapper, or plastic, and rely instead on those aforementioned “caveman carbs” like fruit and veggies. If you are going to eat carbs, stick to whole grains. Some of the carbs I still eat are oatmeal, Thomas light English muffins, brown rice, and Orowheat whole wheat sandwich thins. I haven’t eaten much pasta lately, but I would recommend whole wheat if you do go there. For the amount of cardio I am doing, I DO need some carbs, so having one or two meals a day that incorporate one of the foods above is ok.

Protein should be in every meal. I am eating about 5 times a day, and trying to get protein into every meal. I have protein bars for pre-workout or afternoon snacks (I’m enjoying Pure Protein chocolate peanut butter bars which are 200 calories, 20g of protein, and only 2g of sugar), chocolate banana (sometimes peanut butter) protein shakes I make myself for breakfast or dessert, LOTS of solid white albacore canned tuna, tilapia, chicken breast, and thin sliced oven roasted turkey breast deli meat.

Fill up on veggies. I am eating more salad than I thought I ever would. I don’t typically like salads, I think they can be boring and I’m not a fan of lettuce “taste” but I’ve managed to turn my negative salad thoughts around and embraced this filler. I eat baby spinach and spring mix on a daily basis. I also eat lots of grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, bell pepper, avocado, zucchini and yellow squash, artichokes and asparagus. My dinner plate is mostly green. I have a BIG mixed salad, and steamed veggies along with my protein.

Nobody gets fat eating fruit. Tiffany said this to me when she was outlining this diet, and it made me crack up. Fruits are carbs and have natural sugar, but are low in calories. Stay away from mangoes, papaya and pineapple though, they have lots of sugar! Bananas have lots of sugar as well, and will count as 2 fruits, but I eat them every day because they are filling, make good protein shakes, and have potassium, which I need for rebuilding my muscles. I’ve been incorporating strawberries and apples into my salads for sweetness and crunch, and also eat them as a morning snack.

Enjoy a cheat meal once a week. This doesn’t mean you can gobble up the whole bread basket, eat your Cheesecake Factory portion of cheesy yummy pasta, share an appetizer and get dessert. It means enjoy a meal that you aren’t focused on the calorie count or what goes in it. I had my cheat meal at the Olive Garden this week. I ordered the Venetian apricot chicken which comes with asparagus, had a glass of muscato, 2 bread sticks, salad,and shared the black tie mousse cake with Billy. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and wasn’t too worried about the calories, because I know I still chose wisely from their menu. I usually obsess over food, thinking about the calories, the portion, how much is left over that I still want to eat, everything. Instead, I was happy knowing I had picked a lighter dish, and enjoyed myself. Josh the master trainer says that is how celebrities think of it also; you may make a mistake in your food, but enjoy it, and then get right back to eating healthy, don’t let that 1 slip up derail ALL of your progress.

Find an activity that is fun for you. Do it a lot. I haven’t mastered this one yet, but I am running 3-5 miles, 3 times a week, and I will be adding in a 20 minute simple strength training session once or twice a week. I love taking turbo kickboxing and cycling classes at 24 hour Fitness, but only go when I know someone is meeting me there hehe. If I had the money, I would start taking Krav Maga classes again. I took a few classes over a 2 week period last year and LOVED it. I sweated up a storm, got to punch and kick things, and learned techniques to help me deal with potential life threatening situations. It was empowering, it was fun, and it kicked my ass into shape in a very short amount of time. This is the kind of fun I am talking about. For some people it is Zumba (yikes!), road cycling, jiu jitsu, hiking, walking the dog, horse back riding, etc. you just find what is fun for you and do it.

Remember that diet is 80% of the weight loss game, so eat healthy, find an activity to do a few times a week, and you will lose weight. If I, the cupcake queen, can lose 4 pounds in 9 days, and eat salad twice a day, you can also!

new diet and a tasty tuna salad

My wonderful friend Tiffany is studying to become a personal trainer and a group exercise class instructor. She is super fit, healthy and completely my motivation to be a better me. One night while chatting about our latest fitness goals, and where she was at with her trainer certification, I broke down and only half jokingly implored her to take me on as a “client” in which she could dictate my diet, advise my exercise and generally make me healthier. She thought it was a good idea, and last week presented me with a diet and exercise challenge. Basically, I am on a low carbohydrate, no sugar, high protein diet. The sugar and carbs are hard for me to forsake in favor of lettuce and chicken breast, having a notoriously terrible sweet tooth, but I have risen to the challenge, I would like to think. In the last week I have lost 3 pounds following her guidelines, and I am thrilled enough to keep it going. As for exercise, she added a simple strength training interval program to my 3 days a week 3+ mile runs.  I get one “cheat meal” a week, and have been limiting my processed sugars and carbs by only eating processed foods with 10g or less of sugar, and only having 1 or 2 servings a day of bread, pasta or rice.  I generally have a light English muffin in the morning or some pasta or rice in a lean cuisine for lunch, and trying to avoid carbs at dinner. Tough, but doable. Thankfully I haven’t been craving sugary sweets, but the desire to still eat them is ever present, so I have to watch myself.

One of the recipes I have been relying on for my lunches is a less fatty take on tuna salad, which I happen to be eating now, and I thought I would share it for you, sans pictures. Ordinary tuna salad is mixed with mayo, relish and eaten as a sandwich, this recipe has no bread or mayo, and is actually a real salad, so there should be a different name, but it serves its purpose.

Adrian’s diet Tuna Salad for 1

You will need:

  • 1 cup mixed baby salad greens
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4 oz or 1/2 cup of solid white albacore tuna
  • 7 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 a sliced gala or pink lady apple
  • 2 tbsp light Italian dressing (I used Newman’s Own lighten up! Italian dressing)

In a shallow bowl, mix all ingredients together, and enjoy! It’s super simple, has lots of protein from the tuna, you get a few servings of vegetables, and you have sweetness and crunch from the apples.  Best of all, it’s only about 345 calories and you got a lot of food and flavor in that bowl. I personally like that the tuna isn’t a super prominent flavor due to the Italian dressing, so if tuna flavor bothers you, no fear!