Monday, September 28, 2009

Workin 9 to 5

In a perfect world there is ample time and energy to work out. Unfortunately for a lot of us, we live in the far from perfect world. Long stressful days filled with work (beit in the home or in the office) can leave you feeling less than energized.
I have a darling friend who happens to be one of my running idols. She runs like a maniac, and she even raises money whist doing it. Aside from baking miraculously, being extremely fashionably savvy, and being incredibly gorgeous; She just entered into the big time business world in San Francisco.
A few days ago, (sorry for the delay my dear), she texted me with a concern that I'm sure she's not alone in. Her question..."How does a full time working woman avoid putting on the desk job lbs?"
A VERY legit concern. One that I'm sure that many of you share. Sitting behind a desk can mean inactivity, which means lower calorie burn, which can be dangerous.

So what does a workin' girl do?
Here are my suggestions...

1. Make a plan. Before your work week begins sit down and map out your schedule. Figure out windows in your day that you might be able to get in some physical activity. If at all possible try to get your workout in before you go to work in the morning. After coming home from a long hard day of working, exercising can seem like the last thing you want to do. If you can't fit your workout in before or after work, go for a walk during your lunch brake, or run up and down the stairs if weather isn't permitting.

2. Journalize. If you can't get in the workouts you want, you have to be more particular with your food. You want to make sure you are burning more calories than you are taking in. Click here for an estimate of what your calorie burn. Subtract 500 from that, and you'll have a pretty good ball park of what you should be eating in a day, calorie-wise.

3. Pack your bags. If your plan is to workout after work, pack your gym bag and bring it with you to work. Go straight from work to the gym. If you allow yourself the option of going home to rest, you might talk yourself out of it.

4. Find a workout buddy to meet you when you have time to work out. If you have someone waiting for you your chances of making it happen will increase.

5. Take mini breaks. Every hour get up and do a lap around the office. Do 10 squats. Go up and down the stairs. Do something to get yourself moving.

6. Replace your office chair with a Physioball. This will help you keep your core tight, and increase your ab strength. It will also improve your posture.

7. Avoid the breakroom/vending machines/birthday platters...etc. etc. etc.. This goes back to having a plan. Have a food plan as well. If you plan ahead and know what you're eating, you won't be stuck making crunch time/starving unconscious decisions. If you know you are having company lunches find out before time what is on the menu, so you know how to best fit it to your situation.

8. Don't be a succor to the "this is just the way it is...I'm going to have to accept it" ploy. YOU have the ability to become whatever you want to be regardless of your circumstances. Work hard for what you want. You'll get it. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Advantage of the Harvest

You know what I love? Driving past all of the fresh fruit stands selling the spoils of the harvest. Fall definitely brings in the garden bounty. Nothing is better than fresh produce, except for local fresh produce, of course.
Fresh Tomatoes
Melons...etc. etc. etc. All SO so SO good.
Use all this freshness to your benefit!

One of my FAVORITE ways to eat fruit is SUPER easy.

Fruity Fiberlicious Parfait

- Cut up whatever fresh fruit you like/have on hand
(cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, peaches, blueberries, bananas, etc.)
- mix cut up fruit with fat free strawberry or raspberry yogurt
- layer with Fiber One Cereal (the original kind)

This is a great quick meal that is filling, high in fiber, protein, and low in fat. Try it out. I promise you'll love it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beware of the buffet...

"Warning: Your eyes are Bigger than your stomach." I think this disclaimer should be posted nearby for any sort of food served buffet style. We've all been there. You go to an event or dinner party where the first thing you see is the 8 foot card table lined with a crisp white linen, and more menu items than The Cheesecake Factory.
You grab yourself a sturdy piece of Chinette paper dishware and forge ahead.
With so many of your "favorites" all in one location, a "little bit" of everything is clearly the way to go.

{...inner monologue...}
I'll take a scoop of that artichoke dip.
The black bean salsa can't be passed up, with the restaurant style tortilla chips; a must.
I'll snag one of those chicken salad sandwich croissants, but just so I can have a taste, and then I'll trash the rest, of course.
I'll load up on the veggies from the veggie tray, cause I'm super healthy. {While slathering them in ranch dip.}
Fresh chocolate chip cookies? Must have one of those.
A rice crispie treat...only for a bite.
Costco cream puffs. Check.
etc. etc. etc.

We all have the best of intentions. "I'll just try a little bit of each of these"...that is what we tell ourselves.
Problem #1: Turns out a lot of the food is usually REAL good. Our "bites" turn in to seconds.
Problem #2: Portion control is thrown directly out the window, and into some deep dark hole for that matter.
Problem #3: We talk...and talk, and talk, and TALK. What do we do while we talk? We munch...and munch, and refill our plates, and munch and graze...and talk and steal 1/2 a cookie...and talk, and go back for the second half...and munch some more.
Problem #4: For the most part, these "buffet style" foods aren't super filling. So, the grazing just keeps on keepin' on. While the calories pile up one by one.


So, what's a party hoppin' girl (or guy) to do?
If you know it's going to be a graze fest of unhealthy foods eat before you go. If you go full you will not graze all night trying to fill your hungry void. Choose ONE dessert, and don't go back for more. It's all about self control here people. In a normal setting one dessert is enough. For some reason when we have a table filled with 10 delicious choices we feel cheated at one. It's allll mental.
If you can't eat before you go, look at your options and pick three things. One of these should be a fruit or a veggie, (sans fatty dipping sauce). Pick your three and don't go back for seconds. Remember to ask yourself if you are full. Don't be a mindless grazer! Again, choose ONE dessert.
It's only when we stop thinking about the food choices that we are making that the calories start to pile up! Be smart. Beat the system!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guess who's back??

Sooo...season 8 of my favorite show premieres tonight, and I couldn't be happier.
I LOVE The Biggest Loser. I think it's so inspirational. I may even shed a tear every now and again...and by that I mean usually every episode. Admit it. You do the same! LOVE IT...get excited. I know I am.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Phyllo Pizza with Feta, Basil, and Tomatoes

Sometimes I wander over to when I'm hungry. It just so happened that they had their most popular recipes of 2009 listed. It just so happened that I think this one looks DELIGHTFUL. I have cooked with Phyllo Dough before, and it's kinda fun! For two slices of this light and crispy pizza it's only 195 calories. Kind of amazing when you compare that to the 250-300 calories you are getting for ONE slice of regular pizza. I'm wanting to try this recipe out for SURE.
(Photo from


  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 (18 x 14–inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups thinly sliced plum tomato
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

3. Cut phyllo sheets in half crosswise. Working with 1 phyllo sheet half at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), place phyllo sheet on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat phyllo sheet with cooking spray. Repeat with 2 more layers of phyllo. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture. Repeat layers 5 times, ending with 2 phyllo sheets. Coat top phyllo sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture. Pat tomato slices with a paper towel. Arrange tomato slices on top of cheese, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with onions and the remaining 6 tablespoons cheese mixture. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with basil leaves.

Nutritional Information

Fat:6.7g (sat 3.2g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.5g)
Calcium: 158mg
Joanne Weir, Cooking Light, JULY 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kick the sugar to the curb!

Let me start by saying I am a sweet tooth by birth. I've told you all that before. I LOVE candy. I love treats. I love sweet delightful sugary goodness. I could give you a very long list of all my favorite weaknesses...Red Vines, Mike n' Ikes, Peanut M&M's, Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears, Caramel Popcorn...etc. etc. etc. (FYI: That is barely scratching the surface. I could go on and on.)
So, my habit of cutting sugar out of my diet wasn't an easy change for me. It wasn't something that I thought would be fun and easy, believe you me. HOWEVER, I was frustrated. I was working out like a mad woman, and not seeing the results I felt like I should be seeing. I began to study up more on nutrition, and ways to see a difference. Every where I went I read about changing your diet; eating foods as close to their natural form as possible, avoiding processed flours and sugars, and increasing fresh fruits and veggies. I took this to heart. I decided to ditch the crap.
NO candy, treats, desserts, and as little processed white flour as possible. SCARY. I didn't know if I could do it.
But, I have.
DISCLAIMER: I am a FULL believer in moderation in all things. If you are the type that can have a little bit of a treat, and then feel satisfied and walk away this may not seem necessary to you. I however am not. I stick my hand in the bowl of caramel popcorn, feel like since I've had a little bit I've already botched my good eating and suddenly the bowl is empty and my sticky hands feel as gross as my sugar coated tummy.

Let me throw in another side note. I decided in the beginning I had to have some sort of "treat." So, I allow myself to have some fat free frozen yogurt every now and again. (nobody's perfect folks.)

Have I seen results? Yes. I increased the amount of cardio I was doing when I started the regimen and I have definitely seen results. I can see more muscle tone. I have lost weight, and my body fat percentage has dropped.
Has it been difficult? Yes and No. It was hard in the beginning, but it has since been a lot easier. I notice how many excess calories I don't take in by the little treats and candy that surround me!
How else has it affected me? I think I just feel better all around. I sleep better. I have more energy.

I think the key idea here is. Almost always, when you are consuming foods high in sugar it's an "extra." It's not the main part of a meal. It's the candy bar you're snacking on, or the dessert you're eating after you've already had your dinner. This "extra" simply means extra calories. In order to lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit. When you're adding in "extra" calories all over the place this is less likely to happen.

So my challenge to you? Give it a shot. See if you can hack it. Try it for a week or a month. See if you can feel the change in your body. I think you just may :)

The Flat Out Wraps I mentioned in my last post can be purchased at almost any grocery store. They can be hard to find so don't be afraid to ask at the Deli Counter if they have them. They are usually located in the Deli section on stands in front of the meat counter. I have yet to find a grocery store that doesn't carry these. You just have to look for them.

The La Tortilla Factory Tortillas are a little harder to find. Click HERE to go to their store locator. You'll be able to put in your Zip code and find the closest location to your house. If you are a Utahn I have only found them at Albertsons and Good Earth.

My favorite Protien bars?
I love the Zone Perfect Bars. They have a great consistency and thier stats are pretty comparable. They have 210 calories and 15 grams of protien which is great. They are a little higher in sugar than I like to see, but if you have a hard time getitng your protien in these are a great way to go. You can find these almost anywhere. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Bun, Fudge Graham, and Chocolatey Caramel Cluster.
Disclaimer: You might get addicted to the Chocolate Mint. It tastes like Girl Scout cookies..YUM!

I also like the Balance Bars. These are similar in stats to the Zone perfect bars, but have a different consistancy. More nougat-y, if that makes any sense. I like the Peanut Butter and the Caramel Nut Blast.

*I'll do a post later with more of a variety of different protien bars and why they are good/not so great...but for now those are my faves. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

That's a Wrap!

I have mentioned before my love for Peanut Butter. It's just SO good. I seriously could eat it straight out of the jar...and sometimes I do. My favorite kind is the Skippy Natural Peanut Butter. SO good. Yum, yum, yum.
Another thing I love? Flat Out Wraps. I was introduced to these a few years ago, and they quickly became a favorite of mine. Their stats are awesome: 90 calories, 9 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and only 2.5 grams of fat. AWESOME.

So, what better to do to combine my favorite things? I've been combining a Flat Out Wrap, about 1 TBS of natural peanut butter and a sliced up banana. It is, so easy, and SO good. I crave them.