Pay It Forward

Inspirational Sunday: Pay It Forward

Hello People!

Happy Easter Eve if you celebrate it.  I was thinking of posting a few thoughts I have on why I started this blog.  You see, it all started with a certain 16-year-old that I’ve never met before, and probably never will.

I really love to watch YouTube if you haven’t noticed.  I am a real junkie and don’t even watch T.V. anymore because of it and Netflix.  Anyways, I was on YouTube looking for dance workouts, specifically ballet, and came across a channel that featured the workouts designed by the people who trained Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Those were rigorous training circuits she went through to achieve a “dancer’s body” in such a short period of time. I knew that one could buy the program, but it is super expensive.  Then, lo and behold, there it was on a certain YouTube channel, uploaded by a sweet unassuming teenager. (If you know anything about uploading to YouTube, you are strictly forbidden to upload anything that you did not create yourself 100%).  She got away with it mostly because the workouts are awesome and she was demonstrating them herself; actually doing them in real time.  The workouts were brutal, but just what I wanted.

In the description box she had listed her blog link.  Now I had been reading a few blogs at this time.  Mostly they centered around fashion and makeup, but I wanted to check out her blog to see what else she had up her sleeve in regards to exercise and nutrition. I clicked on it and immediately was taken to a site that flashed high-def pictures of super models, one right after the other at the top of the blog page.  All of the pictures were of the same body types -very tall, and THIN-THIN-THIN! No muscle tone or workout gear involved.  Just a bunch of thin twigs standing around (no faces, interestingly).

As I read through her description page and started reading her posts, I realized that she was after the model-thin physique and would do anything to get it.  She talked about models she obsessed over, models she had zillions of pictures of, and models that had her “ideal body shape.” She also addressed the critics and said that this was her goal and if you don’t like it, you can take your comments elsewhere.  She herself was not an overweight person. She was average build, average height (taller than me), and pretty “thin” for my standards.  To think that she wanted to thin down even more made me a bit queazy.  I also noticed in her tag lines, the words “thinspo, thinspiration, pro-ana, and anorexia” appeared, despite many posts written insisting that her hopes were to inspire girls her age to eat healthfully and exercise appropriately. Her mantra was to get thin the healthy way not resorting to “extreme diets or anorexia.”  She posted pictures of food she ate, and it looked well balanced and healthy, just like she was pro-porting.  Her exercise routines, however, were rigorous at least, grueling at worst, again at least by my standards. Her tone was upbeat and extremely positive.  You should have seen her responses to her subs.  Always so supportive and encouraging. She had hundreds of subscribers, all very vocal and grateful.  They told her that she was their inspiration and how happy she was there to post almost everyday to keep them on track.

When I stumbled upon this blog, it was about late October of last year (2012). I had noticed that she posted a flurry of posts, sometimes 4 in day in  June and July, when it started; almost everyday in August, and only about 5 in Sept.  Then, nothing.  Also, her YouTube videos suddenly vanished with that irritating unhappy face looking at you when you want to watch a video and it has been yanked off the airwaves.  Who knows what happened. I kept checking her channel and her blog everyday to see if she had updated about anything and it was a complete void. A bit disappointing, I must say since I had just discovered it and they were both in some odd way inspirational to me too, but also intriguing.

It got me thinking, how desperate people are for inspiration to keep their goals going (specifically me).  I started looking around for other blogs like hers or in-the-vein-of, but wasn’t really coming up with anything I liked.  Most of the blogs I read were of people who had already accomplished their goals 3 years ago and were just hanging on continuing to write because of their 50,000 subs paying their bills for the rest of their life. (Not bitter, no, not me.) Or the blogs were pathetic and ridiculously un-inspirational. So, what does one do when you can’t find what you are looking for? You make it yourself and you do the best job you know how to do.  That was my intention and it will continue to be so.  Wherever 16seekingskinny is, I hope she is well and not doing anything damaging to herself; because despite her short stint on the blog scene, she did inspire at least one person to keep going and giving back to also help others just like her.

The Saturday Weigh-In: 8

Hey People!

So….my computer internet connection has been crap all day and I’m too tired to do the post I normally do.  Sorry!  I can tell you that I lost a pound this week, but had many obstacles to jump through such as going to a brunch (in my honor!) where there were limited healthy options (and I mean limited), and I went to tea with a friend. If you’ve ever been to a tea, you know that most of the options are sugar/carb loaded. So, all in all, I think I did a good job navigating those issues. I must also admit that I wasn’t the best food tracker this week as in, I kept forgetting to write down what I ate each day.  So, even if I did list all of my weekly food/exercise endeavors, it would have been splotchy and not entirely truthful.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I am going to dinner in someone’s home.  I can only control what food I bring to the party, so I’m bringing something healthy and that will fill me up (it’s a buffet, so everyone can enjoy it too). Of course I’ll have some of what is being offered, but I will be cautious about my choices. I also have given been attempting to give up gluten; so avoiding those options will also be important. I don’t want to offend people who prepare meals for me, but my health is more important than protecting feelings over a casserole.  I hope that you can do the same.

Cardio Ideas: Beginning Running

Exercise Monday: Walk/Jog/Run Plan (Beginners)

Hello People!

Hope wherever you are the signs of Spring are showing up.  Take time to appreciate at least 5 things around you everyday.  It will make things more tolerable and give you more determination.

Taking advantage of the warmer weather (I live in SoCal, so that’s not saying much), I decided to give my “Running” Program another go.  The last time I did this was Summer 2012 and didn’t enjoy it.  Perhaps it was because I wasn’t as fit cardiovascularly as I am now.  Now, ALL of my workouts are high intensity and burn tons of calories.  This program isn’t so challenging this time around.  If you would like to give it a go here is the gist:

The Saturday Weigh-In: 7

(Posted on a Sunday!)

Hello People!

It is time for another installment of my weight loss progress.  This week was successful, and I have to think that maybe it had something to do with drinking my green smoothies and cutting back on the gluten.  It is interesting to note that once I did this, I was releasing tons of water out of my system. Now the weight that I lost this week is purely water weight for sure, and I don’t expect to see these kind of numbers again, but this way of eating is going to be a part of the plan until it doesn’t work anymore (which I think won’t ever happen, meaning, it is worth keeping and using).  You can see my video on what my dietary changes are HERE. Note the subtle diet changes starting on Sunday…

 

Current Weight: 140      Weight Lost: 3 Pounds

SATURDAY

Breakfast: Tea w/ 1 Tbsp 1% Milk, Rye Toast (homemade) w/ Peanut Butter & Fruit Spread

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Apple w/1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

Snack: 1 oz. Mixed Nuts, Lara Bar (Apple Pie)

Dinner: Out to Restaurant-4.5 oz. Grilled Sea Bass, Baked Potato, 2 Tbsp Butter, Grilled Vegetables, Salad w/ Olive Oil Dressing, 4 small cookies

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: ??? Too Many

 

SUNDAY

B: Tea w/1 Tbsp 1% Milk, Rye Toast w/ P.B. & Fruit Spread

L: huge Green Salad w/ 1 Chix Thigh (boneless, cooked in Olive Oil), Bell Peppers, Avocado, Tomatoes, Olive Oil Dressing, 1 cup Strawberries

S: Green Smoothie – 1/3 Water, 1/3 Dark Leafy Greens (Swiss Chard & Spinach), 1/3 Fruit (Blueberries, Banana)

D: 3 oz. Corned Beef, Boiled Cabbage and Carrots, 2 small New Potoatoes

S: Orange

Treat: Hot Chocolate w/ Coffee

Exercise: Tae Bo ( (350 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1000

 

MONDAY

B: Tea, Rye Toast w/ 1 1/2 Tbsp P.B., 1/2 Banana, 1 Tbsp Honey

S: 1/2 oz. Mixed Nuts

L: Chicken Sandwich – 1 slice Sourdough, 1 oz. Deli Chicken, Spinach, Mustard; Apple

S: Green Smoothie; 1 oz. Nuts

D: 1/2 cup Brown Rice, 2 oz. Ground Pork, Mixed Veg, 1 Tbsp Curry Paste

T: 2 small Chocolate

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: 1440

 

TUESDAY

B: Rye Toast w/ 1 Egg cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Butter, 1/2 oz. Ground Pork, 1/2 oz. Cheddar Cheese

L: Same except sub Chix Thigh for Ground Pork

S: 1 oz. Almonds, 1 Orange

D: Soup – Beef w/ Veg; Croutons

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: 1245

 

WEDNESDAY

B: Same as Tuesday

S: 1 oz. Almonds

L: Same as Tuesday plus 1 Orange

S: Spirulina Chips

D: Corn Tortilla Chips (homemade) w/ Salsa; 1 oz. Corned Beef

T: 2 small Chocolates

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: 1255

 

THURSDAY

B: Tea w/ 1 Tbsp H&H; Green Smoothie; 1 cup Oatmeal w/ 1/3 cup Blueberries, 1 oz. Almonds, 1 Tbsp. H&H

L: Black Bean Soup; 1 oz. Corned Beef; 1/4 cup Basmati Rice

D: Mary’s Gone Crackers (Rice Crackers), 1 1/2 Tbsp Hummus; 1 Orange; Tomato & Cucumber Salad w/ Dressing

T: 3 small Chocolates

Exercise: ZWOW #7 (225 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1180

 

FRIDAY

B: Tea; Green Smoothie; 1 oz. Almonds; Rye Toast w/ 1 Tbsp Hummus, 1 Tbsp Pesto; 1 hard-boiled Egg

L: Rye Toast w/ 1 1/2 oz. Cheddar Cheese & Prosciutto

D: Out to Restaurant – 1/4 serving Fried Mozzarella, 3 oz. Breaded Tilapia, 1/2 cup Orzo Pasta w/ Veg & Butter; Red Wine, 2 bites Chocolate Cake

Exercise:  Walked Dog; Walk/Jog Program (525 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1350

The Great Gluten-Free Debate: 1

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Foodie Friday: Gluten-Free Thoughts

Hello People!

It is I, Heather, asking if any of you have ever wondered about the so-called benefits of being G-free?  I’m not speaking to those who have celiac disease and couldn’t eat wheat if their life depended on it (actually, their life depends on them not to eat it, but whatever).  Of course these types of individuals have a perfect right to not eat the bready stuff.  But what about those who choose to live this lifestyle because, gasp, they think it is healthier? And they have personal proof to prove it.

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“How can that be?”, one may ask.  “100% Whole Wheat Bread is supposed to be full of fiber and great nutrition.  It is also in everything – nearly, and would completely mess up my life to stop eating it!!!  AAAHHHH, NOOOOO”  These are perhaps the thoughts of one who is contemplating this issue for the first time. And I’m not even talking about the white stuff.  I’m speaking of the supposed lower-glycemic versions; even sprouted wheat bread.

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Well, in case you haven’t already guessed it, this person, that is – me, is contemplating this issue.  Why in the hell would I ever want to give up forever: bread/pasta/cookies/pizza/crackers/croutons/etc/etc/etc…?  Because of my blood sugar problems/skin problems/sleep problems/energy problems.  Fixing these things has become more important to me than having pancakes on Saturday mornings.  I think it is the root of all of those problems listed (still researching, so no ultimate conclusions yet); though I may not be a celiac disease candidate, the gluten in wheat/barley/rye may just be making my life difficult and I am fed up with it; especially in the losing weight department.

It is interesting to note that there are virtually no absolute concrete scientific studies on this subject. Gluten free has been promoted by the Paleo Diet crowd mostly, but is catching on in other groups due to the effects that people are feeling when they go off of it.  This is called “broscience.” Taking the word of those who live it and believe in it’s effects, versus trusting science despite the fact that it may prove the opposite.

To be continued…

Update: Current

Think It Through Thursday: Changing Gears

Hello People!

Today I have another video for you all. It is a current update on my weight loss endeavors.  It has been a frustrating battle, and I wanted to vent about that and also let you know what I’m going to do about it.  The journey isn’t over….it’s just beginning….again.

The Saturday Weigh-In: 6

Hello People!

Bad news friends, the “diet” has failed. Apparently I ate a surplus of 7,000 calories this week while I was sleep-walking.  That’s the only thing I can figure; oh, and that it is that time of the month.  I am so frustrated I could scream, cry, and pull my hair out!!! These are also symptoms of wonderful Mother Nature’s monthly visit. !@@$ her.

 

For the week of March 9 -15, 2013

Current Weight: 143       Weight Lost: 0 (???)

Measurements: I’m on vacation and don’t have a measuring tape this week, BUT I was wearing a skirt and it was very loose around the waist band.

 

SATURDAY

Breakfast: 1 slice Rye Bread (homemade), 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter & Apricot Jam, Tea w/ 1 Tbsp Coconut Syrup and 1 Tbsp H&H

Snack: Tea w/ 2 tsp Sugar & 1 Tbsp H&H, 1/2 oz. homemade Kale Chips

Lunch: Cod Fish Sandwich w/ 1 Bun & 1/2 cup homemade Coleslaw, 1 oz.Black Bean & Rice Chips

Snack:1 oz. Almonds

Dinner: Salad w/ 2 Tbsp Ceasar Dressing, Flatbread Pizza (Trader Joe’s)

Treat: 2 small Chocolates

Exercise: The Firm DVD – Upper Body Split ( 265 cals burned), Tae Bo (350 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1010

 

SUNDAY

B: Tea w/ 1/2 Tbsp Honey, 1 slice Sourdough Toast, 1/2 small Avocado, 1 Egg cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Butter, 2 slices Canadian Bacon

S: 1 oz. Almonds

L: 2 homemade Fish Tacos, 1 small bag Chips

S: 1/4 oz. Kale Chips

D: Denny’s Grand Slam w/ 2 Scrambled Eggs, 2 slices Bacon, 2 Pancakes (no butter), 1/2 cup Fruit Bowl

Treat: 1 medium Chocolate

Exercise: Long Walk (725 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1330

 

MONDAY

B: Tea (no sweetener!), 1 slice Rye Toast, 2 Scrambled Eggs cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Butter, 1/2 oz. Cheddar Cheese

L: 2  grilled Shrimp Tacos (bought), Iced Tea w/ 1/2 cup Sprite added

S: 1 oz. Almonds

D: 3 oz. Steak cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil, sauteed Spinach w/ Sundried Tomatoes and 1 Tbsp Raisins, 1 small Sweet Potato w/ 1 Tbsp Whipped Butter

T: Acai Spritzer, 3 small Chocolates

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: 1650

 

TUESDAY

B: Tea, 1 slice Rye Toast w/ 1 Tbsp Apricot Jam and P.B.

S: 1 oz. Almonds

L: Flatbread Pizza (Trader Joe’s), Salad w/ 1 Tbsp Dressing (homemade)

S: 3 baked Corn Tortillas, 1/2 cup Tomato Salsa, 1 oz. Black Bean & Rice Chips

D: 3 oz. Steak cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1/2 cup Brown Rice w/ 1 Tbsp Whipped Butter, sauteed Spinach w/ 1 Tbsp Raisins

T: Acai Spritzer (non-alchoholic), 3 small Chocolates

Exercise: Kettle Bell Workout, Run/Walk Program ( 750 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1245

 

WEDNESDAY

B: Tea, Chocolate Peanut-Butter “Shake” w/ 8 oz. Almond Milk, 1 scoop Protein Powder, 1 tsp Almond Extract, Ice, 1 Tbsp P.B., 1.5 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder, 1 tsp Instant Coffee, 1/2 frozen Banana

S: Crackers (Triscuit) & 2 Tbsp Hummus

L: 1/2 serving Spirulina Chips, 1 oz. Kale Chips, 1 oz. Rice & Bean Chips, 1/2 Plum Tomato, 1 Lara Bar

D: Chicken Curry w/ 1/2 cup Brown Rice

T: 2 small homemade Snickerdoodle Cookies

Exercise: N/A

Total Calories: 1330

 

THURSDAY

B: Tea w/ Stevia (liquid), 1 slice Rye Toast w/ 1 Tbsp P.B. & homemade Orange Marmalade

S: 1 Pear, 1 oz. mixed Nuts

L: grilled Chicken Sandwich (bought), 1/2 cup Coleslaw, 1 Light Beer

D: 2/5 oz. grilled Chicken (leftover from sandwich @ lunch), 1 slice Bacon, 1/2 cup plain Brown Rice, 1 cup Slaw “Salad”, 1/4 cup Potato Casserole

T: 2 Snickerdoodle Cookies

Exercise: Tae Bo & Lite Kettle Bell (450 cals burned)

Total Calories: 1115

 

FRIDAY

B: Black Tea w/ 2 Tbsp 1% Milk & Stevia, 1 slice Sourdough Toast w/ 1/2 small Avocado, 2 slices Canadian Bacon, 1 Tbsp Pesto Sauce, 1 Egg cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Butter

S: 3 Cookies,  1 cup Lite Lemonade

L: 3 oz. Turkey cooked in 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil w/ 1/2 small zucchini, 1/4 cup Red Onion, 1 Tbsp Curry Paste, 1 cup plain Brown Rice

S: Lite Cocoa mixed w/ Coffee

D: 2 grilled Fish Tacos (bought)

Exercise: Long Walk (420 cals burned)

Total Cals: 1245

 

Side Note: On closer inspection after listing this, I can see where I may have underestimated caloric values.  For example: When eating out, it may be a good idea to over-estimate the calories by maybe 100 just to be safe such as: Fish Tacos listed in the Calorie King as being 480 calories for two, should be estimated as being worth more like 600 calories.  These small things can add up over a week of time.  While 80% of my food was home prepared, I did eat out much more this week due to visiting my parents on Spring Break.  This always makes things more complicated.  A very good reason to learn to cook; you can control calories better!

 

Superfood: Spirulina

Foodie Friday: Spirulina Supplements

Hello People!

I just bought my first bottle of Spirulina the other day.  My feelings about it have been mixed.  It isn’t really a food, it isn’t really a snack, it isn’t really a treat: it’s a supplement.  I think supplements are nice, but……not entirely necessary.  They are meant to supplement an already healthy life style and just give your system a healthy kick in the pants.  I also see supplements as a sort of insurance policy against the environment and genetic pre-dispositions.  They can help ward off illness and sicknesses that you may be prone to getting without them.

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So what exactly is Spirulina and why would I want to ingest such an odd thing?  First off, let me say that my source of info is from an app I bought for my iPad called “Superfood HD”.  It has come in handy for several things and I think it tells the truth.  If you don’t believe the claims that I list here, you are always welcome to research them yourself and let me know if you find anything different. I would really want to know!  So far, I trust this source. Here are the claims:

SPIRULINA

  • It packs more concentrated vegetable nutrition than any other whole food known
  • It has the most complete assortment of nutrients and health promoting properties of any food known to man
  • Was used as a food source for the Aztecs until the 16th century
  • Has been used in the country of Chad as far back as the 9th century
  • It contains 60% protein
  • It is a complete protein in that it contains all essential amino acids, making it superior to typical plant protein
  • It has the potential to reverse the advance of viral infections, herpes in particular
  • It stimulates the immune system to increase the number of natural killer cells, macrophages, and T-cells; all of these cells work to specifically pinpoint and eradicate foreign pathogens and viruses
  • Purifies the blood by increasing the oxygen carrying capabilities of the blood due to a high concentration of phycocyanin and chlorophyll
  • Has a powerful source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), a long-chain Omega-6 fatty acid, which the body uses to reduce inflammation associated w/ pain in the joints, to grow lush, thick hair, build stronger nails and beautiful supple skin
  • Is very high in the amino acids (sulphur based) Cysteine and Methionine. These are protein building blocks that help the liver and nervous system remove toxins from the body quickly and without further damage.
  • It can cleanse and create a detoxification of our bodies from causes of stress
  • Best source of vitamin B-12 *
  • Contains 10 times more beta-carotene than carrots
  • Easy to digest **

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* I have heard that this form of B-12 is unavailable to our bodies because in its form in the algae it cannot be broken down in our bodies, therefore de-bunking the myth that vegans and vegetarians hold for getting this essential vitamin without the need for eating animal products (the only source of B-12 that our bodies can digest and use and is essential for life; without it the side-effects are nasty and usually develop over time after many years of depletion).

** From what I have experienced, I would not recommend taking the dose recommended on the package at first.  Build up to it over time.  There is a bit of bowel grumbling and gas in the beginning, but supposedly wears off over time.  It also can make a person constipated – EW!

So, I have a bottle and it says to take 6 tablets a day.  It doesn’t indicate all at once or in 2 tablet increments.  I am only on 1 a day and will work from there.  With all of those claims listed above, it seems a shame not take advantage of something so powerfully amazing.  One more claim, I also heard that it was used in the treatment of burn and explosion victims in Chernobyl. Enough said.

Accountability

Think It Through Thursday: Accountability

Hello People!

I wanted to talk about being accountable to your weight loss goals (or any goals for that matter).  When one sets out to accomplish a big goal like losing a ton of weight, it becomes necessary to get a little help when the going gets tough.  One of the ways of avoiding the inevitable quick-sand of getting off track is to have an arsenal of folks around you, from the very beginning of the goal, cheering and coaching you to keep going or even to pull you out of mire when it may be needed.  Now I know some of you think you can do this all by yourself (I am one of them!).  You don’t need anyone’s help or even want anyone to know what you are up to.  That’s none of their business! But statistics say, time and again, that getting the assistance of others to help you achieve your weight loss goals will get them accomplished a lot better than if you went solo. Here’s a short video I made this week talking about this subject:

Kettle Bells: Beginner

Exercise Monday: Kettle Bells: Beginner

Hello People!

Today I thought I would break out my new Kettle Bell I bought a few months ago and see if it really is worth all the hype.  I often give in to hype and usually it ends in disastrous results (just ask me about my niacin and 5-HTP experiments!).  I am a sensitive sort, you see.  What works for the masses doesn’t necessarily translate to me.  However, I am always curious and want to expand my horizons no matter how off the beaten track a new idea may be.  One thing that I am slightly concerned about, however, is my right hand wrist.  Since acquiring my Master’s Degree, I have carpel tunnel in it from holding the mouse for hours on end (I got my degree 100% online), and it makes things very difficult for me when I must use the wrist for most of the work (think: Push-Ups, Planks, T-Stands, etc.) I usually just put that hand into a fist to support the excess pressure, but with the Kettle Bell, that will not work.  We’ll see.

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“Like” this post if you work out with Kettle Bells!

Here is the work-out I want to experiment with: