Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Reasons Why

Today I weighed myself at the gym and I was at my high school weight...which is fine. Hooray for me. But it made me pause and think. In particular, about why I've participated in the HWHL challenges when weight loss is not one of my goals (except after Christmas cookie season.) And I wanted to share those thoughts with you because, as we all know, being your ideal weight is not the same as being healthy.

Here are some of my motivations:

JOINT health: If I don't exercise, my body creaks when I step out of bed even more than the 50 year old hard wood floors in our house.

MUSCLE health: If I don't exercise, my back muscles will go out on me without warning and I'll crawl around the house for a few days in agony.

POSTURE: Having muscles helps me stand up straighter.

BONE health: I'm a candidate for osteoarthritus and osteoporosis; if I don't strengthen my bones, my chances of winning that election go up.

EMOTIONAL STAMINA: My ability to deal with the daily frustrations of life is much stronger when my brain chemicals have been stoked by a good work out. I'm more even keel.

HORMONE THERAPY: During that time of the month, exercise is a better stabilizer than any drug on the market.

SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: As a stay-at home mom, I need daily tangible goals. Making a healthy meal for my family or getting my exercise in are regular goals that provide me with immediate gratification: a sense of pride and accomplishment (coupled with those yummy endorphins).

LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Who will teach my kids how to eat a balanced meal or incorporate exercise into their lives if not me? I'm the parent in my family who has the time and motivation to do this on a daily basis and I know that, in countless ways, they're watching me, learning by what I do, even more than by what I say.

HAPPINESS: My perception of happiness increases exponentially. That is, I feel happy and fulfilled more often: with myself, my family, my friends and my circumstances.

Just had to share those with you! And a picture of me at 85. Check out my muscles!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Forget The Protein

Every day we use our muscles. Right now all my muscles are firing but for some reason I can't move this boulder. Look below, see all those muscles you're using.

Regardless of how much exercise you do it's very important you get enough food including protein. If not, you're body uses it's own muscles to feed itself.
This past May I read a reinforcing article in Bicycling Magazine.
Skimp on protein, and your body borrows from muscle to meets its needs-undermining the fitness you've worked so hard to achieve. "Getting enough protein protects your lean mass, " says Roberta Anding, RD, a sports dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "And that's where the power in your ride (or any exercise) comes from."

Because protein slows digestion and lowers a food's rating on the glycemic index, it prevents high-energy cards from sending your blood sugar soaring, then crashing.

Here are some other interesting points of this article.

*The amino acids in protein act like recovery agents that refresh your body for the next go-round.

*Protein rebuilds tissues and prepares them for more.

*Roberta Anding, RD recommends consuming a daily dose of .5 to .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight-that's about 85 grams for a 170-pound exercisers.

*High quality protein offer more muscle-building amino acids than others. "Eggs and dairy products are incredibly high quality sources," says Anding. Such proteins are considered "complete" because they contain enough of all the essential amino acids needed to rebuild cells. Milk is particularly high in branched-chain amino acids, including leucine, which has bound to trigger muscle recovery."

*Proteins are absorbed at different rates (similar to fast-and slow-release carbs or simple vs. complex) Whey, a milk protein, is digested quickly-which is why it's preferred in recovery beverages. But other milk protein, casein, is slowly digested, so it's ideal for minimizing blood-sugar spikes throughout the day.

*Double Up Choose protein sources that are also high in other valuable nutrients. Lean beef and dark meat chicken contain high-quality protein and IRON, which helps deliver oxygen to working muscles. Cold water fish such as cod or salmon pair with omega-3 fatty acids-anti-inflammatory agents that ease acing joints and overworked muscles. Many low-fat dairy products pair with calcium, which stimulates muscle contraction and keeps muscles firing.

UMMMM, I think the three glass a day Milk campaign has some real validity.

So check out how much you should be eating and track it for a few days and see if you're getting enough. IF YOU'RE NOT, IT MAY BE THE REASON YOU'RE SO TIRED ALL THE TIME.

Gut bustin' move

Here's a move we do at my twice a week exercise class that gets me every time. The idea is to raise and lower your straight legs without lowering them to the floor. I feel the muscles churning away. And I'm never quite sure if I can do the last few and survive.

There's the traditional version without a ball (I usually place my hands beneath my lower back for added support) and then there's the fancier version with the exercise ball. If you're using the ball, you can extend your arms as well and alternate between the ball in your hands and the ball in between your ankles. Two sets of twenty will bust your gut, I'm tellin' ya. What exercise move gets you every time?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Favorites

Do you have a Sunflower Market in your neighborhood. A friend of mine introduced me to this place and I am hooked. All of the produce is locally grown (correct me if I am wrong?) and the prices on produce can be super cheap. Wednesday is their double sale days. Everything from last week and this week is on sale together. I stuffed my fridge for $30. Literally stuffed. There is not room for one more thing.

This was also on sale, and my friend said it was a must try. Oh my, I am hooked. If there was ever such a thing as healthy Cheetos, this is it! I can put this in my kids lunches without one bit of guilt. It's oven baked, all natural, no preservatives, gluten and trans fat free, low in sugar, and calories. The best part is, not only can I pronounce all six ingredients, I also know what they all are! I know in the supermarket, these can be close to $5 a bag. OUCH! But it was on sale at Sunflower Market for 3 for $5. That's a little more like it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Being Tired and Braindead Makes Me Hungry

It's all about the peanut butter, and of course, the overwhelming convenience.

Man, it's just one of those days today. I was up late last night, until midnight, catching up my eBay paperwork and email, and then catching up my Battle blog. Then the baby woke up at 3:30am (his teenage brother put him to bed when I was at book club, but he forgot to check the diaper,) and then again at 6:00am. He's just an early riser, usually getting up bright-eye-and-bushy-tailed at 5 to 5:30 am every day. It's totally annoying. I LOVE to stay up after I get all the kids in bed. It's my private time, my time to unwind and revel in the complete silence, knowing no one is going to need anything for at least another eight hours. It's hard to give up that time, so I can get enough sleep. But I'm trying harder.

Anyway, I was just dragging my tail this morning, catching little catnaps in between all the kids' needs, and my brain has been mush all day. I've powered through, making myself go through the neglected stack of mail, but also wasting too much time on the computer. When I get tired, but I still have to stay awake for the kids, I get really snacky. I tried to make healthy snack choices today, and I still came in under my weight maintenance level, but it was so hard. Things I thought about eating, but didn't:

1. Cereal all day, especially the heavily sugared, low-nutrition kind.
2. The whole box of ice cream sandwiches (I only ate one)
3. A whole box of Austin sandwich crackers (I know, they are not much of an improvement over cardboard, but I find them so addictive anyway!) It's 190 calories for a little pack of 6 sandwich crackers, and a whole box has 12 packs. That's 2280 calories. Yikes!!!
4. Nearly any box of ice cream. It's all good.
5. Donuts, cookies, cake, etc. If there'd been Georgetown Cupcakes in the house, I would have eaten every one of them.
6. Chips and salsa, and really, any kind of Mexican food.
7. Any pasta.
8. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I was at Wal-Mart today working my way through my shopping list and I bought a bag of Snickers for Zen because he wanted a snack bag of chocolate for working out in the oil field. I didn't eat one, nope not one, but you can bet I thought about it.
9. An extra helping of curry for dinner.
10. Two or three BIG bowls of the Peach Crisp plus ice cream (see my blog.)

See, I'm even too tired to remember everything I wanted to eat today. So, I'm getting myself in bed, which is another way of hitting the reset button on your brain. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

I'm dying!!!!! (good dying)

Guys, I am so excited and I can't get a hold of anyone on the phone to tell, so I am telling you...

I just found out that I came in 11th place in my trail run!!! I was just worried about completing the run...what a nice surprise to discover that I was just 7 minutes behind the 5th place girl. Next year I am doing it again, and I'm going for that 5th place time. I think I could shave 7 minutes off my time. That's not too tricky, huh?

Thanks for letting me shout this to ya'll. I was just way to excited to keep it in!!!!

Exercise therapy

I started the day with a rough morning.

The plan: a Bible study with kids in child care. The 5 year old boy was not hip to the plan. And made sure his child care provider knew it. Soon I knew it too. And back home we went.

Getting pulled out of a worship setting is a good thing when you're an angry, spiritually-drained mom because the setting reminds you to stay calm, ruminate and redirect the negative energy into something positive like two loads of laundry. Then you force yourself to the gym despite your mood [indeed] because of your mood. And then exercise therapy begins. You work it all off and out and you're feeling positive and energized and capable of handling and loving your child again. And of course who should you run into at the gym but the coordinator of the Bible study herself who assures you that it will all work out and you should pray about it.

"Funny thing is" I told her "I already have and was sent to the gym to work it out and meet with her again." Did you know that God's at the gym?

Love Me Some......

Here is my favorite fast food meal, the Southwestern Charbroiled Chicken salad from Chick-fil-A ,with a total of 280 carlories if you use only 2 tablespoons of their Italian Lite dressing. I could eat this salad 7 days a week although it might make me start clucking. It's yummy and very filling in case you haven't tried it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It's IMPORTANT take a free day. I have very strong feelings about this. Today just happened to be one of those days. I indulged in 1 cup of yummy granola instead of cheerios or a protein shake but that was just a prelude to the days events.

Every girl needs a little fun with her friends and it's always great when there is some yummy food involved. Some of you may have noticed that there is a boom in cupcake specialty stores across the country. AND two of my favorite shows to watch are DC Cupcakes on TLC and Cupcake Wars on Food Network.

So today a few of us girls took our sweet tooth's to Georgetown Cupcake where DC Cupcakes is filmed and can I tell you it did not let us down.
It was really hard to pick flavors! They have everyday flavors, daily specials, and a seasonal choice. Today I was also lucky enough to get a FREE SECRET CUPCAKE. One of the flavors I requested was the Salted Caramel. The FREE Secret cupcake of the day was a Chocolate Salted Caramel. And can I tell you it was by far my favorite and I'm sure that I entertained everyone with my facial expressions and moaning sounds.
These are the 6 that I brought home. One for a friend who was unable to join us one for each of the boys and the rest for Chris and I.
The place is small but adorable. We went at about 11am to beat the rush. They said they are really crazy between 12 and 2pm. They even had a side window in the back so you could see them frost and decorate cupcakes.
We followed this yummy stop up with a walk along the river and lunch at the The Tackle Box where I enjoyed some grill blue fish and a side salad.

Life is good, especially when you're eating cupcakes. I have to admit that I've been perusing the menu trying to decide which day would be a good day when I decide to go back....but that' won't be TOO soon.

Sisters, Birthdays, Helga's...Oh JOY, it Must Be September!

Nelson Sister's Reunion 2010

My September always includes Sisters, Birthdays (7) and often Helga's which translates into CALORIES.

I just recently returned from am 11 day visit to the Denver, Colorado area. Four days of my visit were spent with my sisters for our annual sister's reunion, while the other seven days were spent with Mindelicous and family.

During my visit the calorie counting pretty much went out the window; although I really was trying to kind of keep track of it in my mind. My youngest sister always brings homemade carmel popcorn and dozens of yummy cookies. I brought my popcorn home to the Colorado grand daughters but ate my share of the cookies. We ended our sister's reunion on Sunday morning after eating a breakfast of Danish Ebelskivers, yep I ate more than my share of those and that evening Mindilicious made a brinner of Fried Puffed up French Toast. (Sunday I'm sure was a heavenly 3000 calorie day)

Four days before returning home we celebrated my birthday at Helga's (the best German restaurant in the USA) where I ate a huge plate filled with schnitzel, noodles, gravy and red cabbage.

The sum total of my exercise for the eleven day visit was a four mile walk/run with Mindicioius. In my mind I thought I would pull off walking every day but it didn't happen.

Did I feel guilty about all the calories eaten and exercise not done, NO...okay maybe a teeny tiny bit! BUT, I knew when I got back home that I could jump into the challenge again and get back to the gym. I've been eating really healthy and exercising for the past six months and so was will prepared to let go and enjoy this little vacation. It's called LIVING and we all have to keep doing it and doing it with JOY.

Trust me, I enJOYed every bite of those Ebelskivers!

Snack happy

Try as I might to retrain my brain, the word "snack" still tends to conjure up visions of junk food and/or the traditional milk and cookies after school. But there is an exception. One that I've never had to alter at all. You know it. It's popcorn. Don't you love snacks that involve eating air? Old blue eyes (aka Paul Newman) is serving up 3.5 cups here at 120 calories. And my kids love it too. One throws the popped pieces to the other who pretends she's a dog begging for treats. I promise you that if you play the dog with her, it takes a very long time to make your way through 3.5 cups.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Way To Go Audrey!

I kept looking for the post congratulating our new winner and then noticed Audrey's picture is posted on the side without further congratulations. I know, it's hard to do a post on "Yay, I am the winner", so I thought I'd do it for her. Congratulations Audrey! You did an awesome job this round and just stepped things up a notch!

"I CAN Do Hard Things"

We had an amazing weekend. We went to Zions National Park and hiked Orderville Canyon. It was an 11 mile hike through slot canyons, obstacles, and water. The pictures below don't even do it justice.

I will admit, I was nervous for this hike. I haven't been great about exercising, and didn't know how my body would hold up. Before we left, I tried to think of excuses as to why I shouldn't go. And then, something dawned on me... for so long I have been holding back. For so long, my weight has been an excuse. I don't allow myself to do the things I love because I let my weight stop me. And before I left, I said to myself, "I will no longer let my weight get in the way. I can do hard things." As we were hiking through this amazing canyon, my husband mentioned how there were so many other places we needed to go see. That's when I came to the realization...I want to have these experiences. I want to grow old with my husband, being able to enjoy these things. I need to exercise and keep my body healthy, so I can enjoy these things.
6 AM came rather early this morning!

Fixin' the leeks

Here's the new veggie this week: leeks. I'm kind of scared of them to be honest. But I've been a glutton for soup this week and figured I could whip up a leek and potato lunch soup and then check "leeks" off my veggie list. I have no idea what to do with kohlrabi people, somebody throw me a line!

trail tales

What a wonderful experience!
Saturday I ran the craziest run I have ever done in my far. (wink)

My dear friend Natalie ran with me. Friends are such good moral support!

I signed up for this race months ago, mostly because I wanted to do a half marathon. My two requirements when looking for a half were first, that it wasn't on a Sunday, and second, that we could make a weekend out of it and stay at a hotel.
I just love hotels.
We found this half, 3 hours away, and it was a trail run, on a Saturday. We signed up right away, not really looking into the terrain or course.

Three days before race day I got an email explaining that within the first 3 miles, we would be climbing almost 3,000 vertical feet of trails. Gasp! I was not really prepared for that. It felt so good to push my legs and lungs though, and the race really went by fast, probably because I had to focus so much on where to place my feet that I didn't notice how the miles were flying by. I felt my legs get really tired around 11 miles, but with only 2 and a half to go, I chanted "come on legs" and ran hard through the finish line.

I want to report that the race was awesome, wonderful, and so hard. Next year I'll be signing up again! It was such a satisfying challenge, so much that I had to restrain tears as I saw the finish line in the distance. I loved every minute of it, and still can't believe it's over and that I survived it.

My sweet husband and children met me at every stop they could to cheer me on. Just the boost I needed along the trail.

I think I am addicted!

I just have to add that there were a small handful of people that ran the marathon, which is two laps of the half. Even crazier, there were about 20 people who ran the ultra marathon, which is three laps of the half course. CRAZY! I couldn't even fathom how in the world they could do that. Watching them run was amazing!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


It's time to post those points for all you hard working challenge participants. I have a feeling it's going to be a tight race. Please try to do this today so we can get our new winner up before the next challenge starts. I can't wait to see who it's going to be....could it be me?

We start again TOMORROW! I don't want to let this ball slow down to much.
It will be our last two week challenge before we start up another three week round.

Thank you Becky for putting up an incentive to get us all jump started again!
You've been a great example for all of us and we are all so proud and excited for you to be reaching your goals.