Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh I Hate You!

So I have become a very mindful eater I believe. That's not to say I always make the best choice, but when I am not making it, I know that also. I spend about an hour each day thinking about my plan for the day, logging it, and executing the plan (aka- making the food). All in all, that's not bad. I mean most of us probably spend near that doing mindless eating, so why not make educated choices, right?

Here is my constant failure... salt. I HATE salt. Actually, I love the taste of salt, as most of us do. Salt could probably make crap taste good. Well, actually that's what fast food is I guess. (Don't get me wrong, not a fast food hater. Just a salt hater today!), I digress. Salt is bad for your heart. Salt sensitive people are more prone to have high blood pressure. It causes you to gain water weight. In general, I can't find a lot of positive reasons to have much sodium at all other than to balance your bodily fluid levels.

Back to salt hate... So like I said I spend some time each day logging the foods I eat into this website. It is an AMAZING and FREE website, and if you truly want to be in control of your health, try it. Even if you are not overweight, it will teach you something. Here's my lesson:

After all of my foods are logged for the day, there is a little analysis button that you can click on. It gives you a total of all of your intakes for the day. It also gives you a recommended range to be within. I can be sure I am staying in an appropriate range for fat, carbs, protein, potassium, calcium, etc. If I get a GREEN box, I did good. A RED box, well, you get it. So most days I end up with a combo, but I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get a red box for sodium intake.

Calorie count is recommending that I intake no more than 2400mg of sodium per day. I can't do it. I can't say I sit there and add up items before I eat them to keep my sodium count down, but I am eating REALLY HEALTHY foods, and I can't win.

It seems like in each meal there is a sodium bomb that I eat... canadian bacon, 60 calorie sodium bomb, cottage cheese, 90 calorie sodium bomb, going to have a healthy Subway Sodium Sandwich bomb? See what I mean? I eat a lot of foods that "grandma would eat" and I shop on the outside of the supermarket, but I am so frustrated. I wish I could make everything from scratch to control it, but I don't have the time to slow cook my oatmeal, or prepare homemade spaghetti sauce. I know I eat things off the "list" of bad sodium foods.

Do any of you struggle with sodium intake?
How do you lower your sodium levels?
What do you think an appropriate amount of sodium is?

I would really love some advice here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Breakfast Bagel

I have a new morning LOVE! This breakfast bagel makes me so happy, I will forever eat it instead of going through a drive through for something like it, and I can probably make it as fast as any restaurant can. I don't usually do step by step directions, but I wanted you to see how I cook the eggs for this. It is fast, and works well.

What you will need:
1 Thomas Whole Wheat Bagel Thin
1 Slice of Sargento Reduced Sodium Colby Jack Cheese
Spray Butter
1/2 cup egg beaters
3 thin slices of Canadian Bacon

I put 1/2 cup egg beaters into a baking ramekin that has some Pam spray in it, then I microwave them for 2 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Egg Beaters blow up like a balloon in the microwave- they look CraZY!, so at 2 minutes, open the microwave, and let them deflate. Push them back into the ramekin while they are lowering, and then microwave about 1 minute longer. Again, you will have to deflate, and push them back in.

While the eggs are cooking, I put some spray butter on a Bagel Thin, and grill it in a pan. In the same pan I brown the slices of Canadian Bacon. While the Bagel is warm, I put my slice of cheese on the bagel, layer on the bacon and egg...

Enjoy! It is soooo good, you really must try it once.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 300
Fat: 8.5g
Carbs: 27g
Protein: 31g

Monday, October 18, 2010

100 Calorie Snacks

You know we all have moments when we are hungry, and it's not meal time. This is an ok feeling, and in the "dieting" world really very good for you. You see, it's often encouraged that you eat 3 small meals, and 2-3 small snacks each day. This keeps your metabolism high.

I prefer to have 500 or so calorie meals which leaves me room for a snack each day. I generally need this snack in the afternoon. Often, we don't eat dinner until 7:00 (after our workout), which leaves a 6 hour gap between meals... too long! This is when I am constantly left wondering... what can I have that won't blow my calories out of the roof, won't leave me hungry in 10 minutes, and will satisfy me.

Here are some options.
**Disclaimer: not all snacks will be 100 calories even, but the first number in the calorie count will be no larger than 100 : ) **

* A Light Yogurt, 100 calories. Yoplait offers TONS of flavors. If you can spare a few more calories, sprinkle on some granola for crunch.

* Fruit dipped in a Jello Pudding Snack, 60 calories, plus the value of the fruit. I love dipping either a banana (90 calories) or strawberries (50 calories) in the chocolate flavored pudding, yum!

* A thin bagel with 1 serving of low fat cream cheese, 180 calories.

* A bag of mini popcorn, 165 calories. I am sure you can do this for less calories, but I must confess that I cannot give up the "butter" flavor. I don't walk on water!

* Sugar free jello, 10 calories. Eat the whole 6 pack!

* A Kashi fruit and grain bar, 120 calories. If you have not tried one of these, they are WONDERFUL! I have had the chocolate raspberry, and the pumpkin one. It's like eating a candy bar, or pumpkin pie with true health benefits.

* A small salad. As long as you stick with 1 serving of a low fat dressing, and don't put anything other than veggies in your salad... (i.e., skip the croutons and cheese), you should come in well under 200 calories

* A cheese stick, 80 calories.

* A slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 150 calories. Have you had warm peanut butter, oh my! Be sure to measure your peanut butter, it's a calorie bomb, and smearing it on will rack the points up quickly.

* This apple snack, 89 calories. Apples pack great fiber, so they will keep you full.

* Litehouse Ranch dip, 60 calories, plus as many raw veggies as you can eat.

* 1/2 cup 2% Lowfat Cottage Cheese, 90 calories. You can put this with tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pineapple, whatever. Be creative.

* 3 or 4 slices of deli meat (ham, turkey, roast beef) on whole wheat bread, with fat free mayo, 170 calories.

* 2 tbsp red pepper hummus with 1 oz pretzels, 150 calories.

* 1 oz black bean chips with 1/4 cup salsa, 170 calories.

I think this goes to show that most anything can be a snack if you keep your portions right. Always measure your foods, and stick to it. This is not a meal, just something to tide you over for a couple of hours. Snack time is a great time to sneak in extra fruits and veggies for the day, and I really can't think of one that would be out of the calorie range.

Be sure that when you have a snack that you are packing either fiber, protein, or both into the snack, as these are the items that will keep you full. Also, drink a glass of water with your snack. Often dehydration and hunger are confused, so cover your bases and stay hydrated.

I would love to hear if you have a great snack to share!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Going The Distance

So this weekend was the start of something great. I finished my first half marathon on Sunday, 10-10-10, and I couldn't be happier! I wanted to share some of the details of the events.

Saturday, Brian and I had a great day together. I wasn't feeling great, so a good friend offered to watch the kiddos so we would have one less thing to do that day. We ran to the Fitness Expo to pick up my registration packet, then headed out for lunch.

That afternoon Brian let me take a nap, then we got ready for the fun to begin. We had lots of friends and family over Saturday evening to celebrate with a carb up dinner. We fixed 2 kinds of pasta, sauces, meatballs, grilled chicken, bread sticks, and salad to munch on.

While dinner was finishing up, the party drove the race route to see where Sara and I would be running the next morning. When we arrived at the Hyatt, the race tents and markers were already set up, so we took advantage of a photo op. I love what this picture said...

That really was my goal of this half marathon. I wanted to run the entire race without stopping to walk, but mostly I wanted to finish!
After dinner, everyone made posters to hold up so they would be easier to spot in the crowds.
Rest is not something I got much of Saturday night. I hope that is eventually something I can overcome, but after a lights out of 12:30, and kiddos waking me up 4 different times, I finally rolled out of bed at 5:15, and my little sis picked me up for Race Day Breakfast!
We opened our neighborhood Starbucks, and powered up.

It really was fun to just sit there and chat before the race. We went early so there would be plenty of time to relax. I hope this is a new race day tradition... (and yes, this is as good as it gets at 5:30 a.m.)

I got back home around 6:15, and took a hot shower and got ready to run. My smiley boys are always ready to go, no matter how early.

**Photo disclaimer: My tattoo on my face says 13.1- not 3.1, and no, I am not wearing lipstick, the chapstick I put on just made it look that way!

I LOVE THIS PHOTO! It is so blurry, but we were SOOO wired that morning. Erin had already had 3 cups of coffee, and I was just high on adrenaline! The boys weren't so amused.

The race took off at 8:00. This is such a beautiful picture of our city and racers.

The race took us from the downtown streets to the College Hill neighborhood. Erin had been following me in her car, but this was my first chance to see my other friends and family.

I took a quick moment and kissed each of the boys before running on. It was well worth the time wasted. Brian was there each time I ran by to offer me whatever I needed. I love those 3 more than anything in the world.

Here were a few of my favorite fans! They are always there to cheer me on. I am so lucky.

The miles were going by quickly, and I felt really good. I struggled a little with the brick roads, but nothing I couldn't get past. They felt like I was running in grass, or sand. It was just hard to get good footing. I was relieved to hit the pavement again at mile 6.5, and head back downtown.

This sign says it all...

The trip took us back down Douglas. My family actually drove by me on the opposite side of the road honking a screaming. That was a pick me up. I was also passed around mile 8 by the full marathon leader. So stinkin' fast!

After a quick trip back down Douglas, we had some twists and turns to run.

At mile 10 I hit my first major hiccup. I was having BAD cramping in both of my calves. I had charlie horses in both legs, and could no longer fully straighten them. Brian took this pic of me before he realized how much pain I was in.

When I made it to him, I was hollering for water, but no one had any. Brian ran next to me for a block or so giving me encouraging words. Spectators were hollering that there was a water station around the corner. I took advantage, and downed a cup of Gatorade and a cup of water.

The cramping subsided, and I pressed on. If ever there had been a moment to stop, it was now, but I was not giving up on my plans of RUNNING THE ENTIRE RACE.

I hit another wall around mile 12. I was just exhausted. I felt like I was running backwards, and the race would never end. People around me were stopping to walk. I decided that no matter what, I was going to press on. It felt really good to pass people, one at a time, I just kept going...

To the finish. At the very end, (like literally within 500 feet of the finish line) I was struck with the leg cramps again. Worse this time. I could see the finish line. At this point I was not able to put full pressure on my right leg for fear of severely injuring it while it was cramped up, so with a grimace on my face, and a limp in my stride I ran to the finish. I did it!

I was so relieved. The goal was met, and my race was run. The clock says 2:38:12, but my official time was 2:36:12 based upon the time chip in my bib. I was thrilled with that.

Here's a pic of Sara and I at the end!

And quite possibly my favorite moment of all... These are the friends and family that were there at the end to cheer me. Do you see the smile on my face. I will do it again.

This is a map of the race route, and I have added my times and a couple of notes about the race. Sorry it did not come out more clear.

All in all this was a great experience. I had such an amazing time with loved ones, and look forward to doing it again.

Finish time: 2:36:12
Pace 11:55

Favorite memory: I think what will stand out the most is just finishing this one. I will also remember the Armour family being EVERYWHERE. They were always just a couple of minutes ahead of me, and ready to cheer me on! I was so thankful for that.

Worst memory: I hope to never suffer leg cramps like that again.

What I will do the same: I will always go back to First Gear for running shoes. Running without foot pain is worth every dime.

What I will do different: I was actually scared of over hydrating myself (and needing to pee during the race), but next time I think I will forgo that possibility, and drink, drink, drink.

What made me laugh: The W-O clan driving down Douglas with their van doors open screaming at me.

What made me cry: I cried on the way downtown when I saw police cars starting to block the roads for the racers. At that moment it felt real.
Turkey Trot, here I come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Sweet!

So my family surprised me this week to tell me how proud they are of what I have done. I needed to brag on them for a second, and share my new goodies...

Monday night Brian, Cole, Carter, Erin, Chris, Felix, and Kaiser gave me this:
I have been drooling over the new nano for weeks. Come to find out, the colored ones won't be in stores for a couple more weeks, so they had to order this one, and pay express shipping. I love what the inscribed on it. I don't have to wear a band to hold it on, and it holds twice as much music as my old one. Sweet!

Then, this morning, JR Koontz showed up on my doorstep with these: (yes, 2 arrangements!) Flowers do make you feel loved. Two bouquets, well, I don't deserve them.

I know my family loves me, and stands behind me in all I do. This was just a bonus from a really thoughtful bunch.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm Glad You're Back!

I am so glad that one of my f.a.v.o.r.i.♥ Biggest Loser.t.e shows is back for a 10th season!!!!! I know it's been on for a couple of weeks now, but I just haven't had time to post about it.

This shows hits close to home obviously. Each season, there is a female on the show that weighs almost exactly what I did when I started this. It is such a constant reminder and eye opener for me as to why I did this. The young contestant that lost his 51 year old mother to obesity complications, the SAHM who has 5 kids and can't find time for herself... me.

I very literally have Bob and Jillian's chomping and yelling in my head sometimes at the gym. Sometimes it is the things they have said to other contestants that motivate me to move ahead. They may be hard asses, but what they make those contestants and others like me realize is that our bodies are usually stronger than our minds allow them to be. Exercise hurts. It probably always will. Maybe not always so bad, but if it were comfortable to exercise, we'd all be a size 2, right?

Each season the contestants come on the show and commit to change, and many of them do. Each season, I renew my commitment to the change I have made.

My only desire for the Biggest Loser would be for them to offer more education to the public. I mean they constantly talk about "what (they) learned on the ranch"... is it a secret? Why not tell everyone some of the things that are being learned on the ranch...

What does an average day of workouts look like?
How many calories should people consume?
Are there good resources out there?
What is the best piece of equipment to own?
Healthy recipes?

I don't mean to gripe, and I know that with some appropriate research, all of the questions can be answered on our own, but come on, we're talking about millions of viewers who are open books, ready to be written in, and the best you can come up with is a smoothie commercial, really?

All in all, I love BL. The contestants, the trainers, the change that is made, and I am GLAD it is back, and am looking forward to another big season. Do you watch BL? Do you have a favorite yet? Weigh in (no pun intended!)!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Has Been a Journey

A runner. Not someone I define myself as. "It's not my thing." I often hear, oh how those words ring through my ears, and I think... "do I look like a runner, does it look like my thing?"

But here I am only 4 days out from the Prairie Fire Wichita Half Marathon, and I am excited. Slowly, I am making myself a runner. While on my 11 mile run Sunday night, I had time to ponder my running journey a bit, and I wanted to document some things that I remember... milestones if you will.

First I thought back to the start of running. It happened late on a Wednesday evening at the Y. I got on the treadmill only with intentions of walking, but I had read about Couch to 5K, and decided I would give it a small chance. I mean, there were only about 5 people left in the building, so falling off the treadmill would lead to minimal embarrassment. The process was to run 30 seconds, then walk a couple of minutes to recover. I nearly died. It was awful. 30 seconds NEVER lasted so long, but my personal trainer came over to tell me that she noticed that I had started running. I decided to keep trying.

Fast forward a few weeks...

I continued to putter through 30 seconds, a minute, a lap, a mile, until I started to feel confident about the fact that I could at least put one foot in front of the other without humiliating myself. Then one day out of pure frustration, I did this (it's the 3rd part of the post).

That lead to races. Some failures while others lead to pure joy.

And now the biggest hill of them all.

I have trained hard for this. Putting in sweat and tears (no blood to date, although I almost bit it hard in the dark the other night. There would have been blood.), and lots of miles.

I am so appreciative of those who have supported this goal. Brian and the boys have always allowed me to take the time I need to accomplish my goals. I come home from long runs to bathed babies and a clean house. I pray that everyone could have such a supportive partner.

My sister has literally driven next to me at top speeds of 6 mph to make sure cars see me. She turns up the radio loud, and carries on one-sided conversations to help me blur out the pain, and finish.

My brother-in-law, Chris, picks up late in the evening, in the COLD, to run my last 2 miles with me because it's dark, I'm tired, and it's not safe to go it alone.

The W-O's will watch my kiddos for hours so that I can get my run in for the day. I am so blessed to have so many loving friends and family in my life, who care about this with me.

On Sunday, I will set out. I have done what I can. I have run 131 miles training for this. I have bought new shoes and socks to prevent foot injuries (I still have 10 toenails... It's a miracle!) I have added hours worth of new music to my IPOD, and it's time... to set one foot in front of the next, to the finish of this journey, and to press on to the next.