Monday, March 31, 2008

Food Plan

2  cup black coffee 0
1  cup fat-free skim milk 2
1  cup cooked oatmeal 2
Subtotal 4
1/2 cup cooked green beans 0
1/2 cup cooked macaroni 2
1  cooked chicken fillet 3
Subtotal 5
1  cup cooked corn kernels 2
1/2 cup mashed potatoes 2
2  oz cooked extra lean ground beef 2
Subtotal 6
6  Tbsp Planters Trail Mix Nut & Chocolate Trial Mix 8
Subtotal 8
Food POINTS values total used 23
Food POINTS values Balance 2

Lift Weights, Lose Fat

Lift Weights, Lose Fat

For years, the common knowledge has been that if you want to lose fat, you have to do aerobic exercise. But while it is in part true, that belief unfortunately led many women to think that they could skip strength training. A study changed that way of thinking.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics recently found that strength training — or weight lifting — plays a key role in controlling a woman's weight. They discovered that women who lifted weights just twice a week were able to avoid the slow, one to two pound weight gain per year that's so common in middle age. While that might not sound like a lot, over the years it can really add up. Another plus? Women who lifted weights had healthier hearts.

So how does lifting weights help keep you slim? It's simple — strength training builds muscle, and muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, 24 hours a day — even when you are asleep! So if you aren't already, make strength training a part of your fitness program. Your efforts will pay off for years to come! Please click here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Open Invitation

April Fatties bring May Hotties

Are you in a weight loss slump? Did you start the year all gung ho but now your suffering from diet fatigue? Well, come on in & sit a spell ... get rid of the diet fatigue with fun daily challenges & sometimes comicical conversation. What have you got to lose but some weight?

This challenge starts April 1st & runs until April 30th. Good luck in the challenge & may the biggest loser win.

1. You must check in no less than once a week.
2. You must post your weight each Friday. Photo prefered but not required!
3. If you chose to drop out of the challenge you will not be eligible for the prize.
4. After the challenge starts you can join in the challenge but you won't be eligible for a prize.
5. You must be willing to send me your snail mail if you win the challenge so I can send you your prize.

Group Rules that must be followed or your membership will be terminated without advance knowledge.

1. NO DRAMA!!! If you have a problem with someone in the group e-mail the founder privately, DO NOT address the group as a whole! (founder address can be found on the main Thin Chicks page).
2. This is a group for support so to get it you must also give it.
3. You must check in no less than once a week.
4. You are not permitted to change your e-mail delivery to special notice only. Daily Digest is acceptable however it is discourage because any photos that may come through the group will not be shown on daily digest.
Click here to join thinchicks
Click to join thinchicks

Weigh In

Ok ... so it's obvious that I can't do this weight loss thingy without a plan. I stopped WW (sort of) cause I was sick of counting points & forcing myself to eat 5-7 fruits a veggies a day. I think my body actually needs it to lose weight. At least I think so! I was 196.8 this morning which means I gained about 3 pounds for the month of March. I'm lighting a fire under my ThinChicks cause all but 2 of the ladies (myself included) have gained weight.

We're back to daily check ins ... challenges ... and fully supporting one another. We've all found that taking the easy way out isn't what we need if we're truly serious about this weight loss we're always striving for. So if your reading this ... I hope your prepared to lose some weight with us.

Food plan of the day ... I'm hoping I will be able to keep up with the WW points come Tuesday. I'm letting my membership expire for WW online ... it's to much for a retiring family who has two children in different sports.

1  Tbsp fat-free creamer 0
2  cup black coffee 0
1  slices cooked bacon 1.5
1/2 item egg 1
1  small biscuit made from refrigerated dough 2
1  Tbsp apple butter 1
Subtotal 5.5
1  package 100 calorie packs snack mix 2
1  cup fat-free skim milk 2
1  serving south beach sesame chicken wrap 4
Subtotal 8
1  piece cornbread 3
1  cup Red Beans - Louisiana Style 2.5
Subtotal 5.5
2  small pear(s) 2.5
3  cups plain air-popped popcorn 1
2  Tbsp fat-free ranch salad dressing 1
10  medium baby carrots 0.5
1  small apple(s) 1
Subtotal 6
Food POINTS values total used 25
Food POINTS values remaining 0

10 minute Pilates: Hips & Thighs

About This Workout

This workout will help you strengthen (and stretch) your hips, glutes and thighs—without any equipment. Coach Nicole will take you through one short set of 6 Pilates exercises (plus stretches).  If you're new to Pilates, we recommend that you watch our short Intro to Pilates video first.
  • Length: 10 minutes
  • Equipment: Body weight, mat (optional, for cushioning)
  • Type of Workout: Strength training (toning) & flexibility
  • Muscles Worked: Lower body (hips, outer thighs, inner thighs, glutes)
  • Fitness Level: Beginning to advanced; since this workout has few transitions, it may also be suitable for individuals with limited mobility.
  • Impact: No (low) impact
  • Safety Precautions: A mat will help cushion your body while lying on the floor. Shoes are optional during this Pilates workout. Always work at your own pace and level, using modifications whenever necessary.
  • Tracking Your Workout: If you'd like to add this video to the Strength Training section of your Fitness Tracker, you can add it as a "user-entered" exercise. Simply list the video name as the name of your new exercise, and click to "add" it to your tracker. 
  • Extra Tip: Only complete as many exercises as you can using good form, taking a break as needed. As you progress, try to finish the entire video.
Viewing Tips
  • You can pause or rewind the video at any time if you need a break or need to watch for closer instructions. We suggest watching the video one time through before attempting the workout.
  • While this workout will take you through just one set (4-10 repetitions) of each exercise, they all focus on the same muscle groups. Doing multiple sets of this video is not necessary, especially since Pilates exercises are not designed to work muscles to complete fatigue. 
  • This video does not include music, but you can play a stereo or CD in the background as you workout. Just make sure you can still hear the instructions.
  • To play the video, simply click on the Play button (bottom left corner) to start. Below the video screen, you'll find buttons for Pause, Stop, and volume control.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

25 Ways to get back on track Today

Not long ago, you were energetic and determined to start your healthy lifestyle. Starting with enthusiasm and hope, you watched your food intake diligently, exercised like it was going out of style, and even avoided the temptation that seemed to lurk around every corner. You were confident that you were going to reach your goals once and for all!

Then certain tragedy struck! You ate an extra piece of birthday cake. Realizing you had “blown” your diet, you ate another and another and couldn’t get it together the next day either. Or worse, you missed one workout, and that turned into a whole week away from the gym. After that, your momentum to start over again was gone, and your gym bag hasn’t left the closet since.

Every time you misstep on your healthy journey, you have two choices: to keep walking backwards, which will surely take you even further away from your goals; or to accept your lack of perfection as normal and forgivable, and take not one, but two positive steps down the path that brings your closer to the future you want.

If you’re reading this, you might have been walking backwards for a while. But instead of waiting for the next day, week, month or even year to overhaul your habits, start TODAY. And start small. You can’t go from the recliner to running or from burgers to Brussels sprouts in an afternoon. But you can do one, two or even a handful of small things that will help you regain your momentum for healthy living.

When you feel like getting back on track is overwhelming, try one (or more) of these small steps each day.

1. Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. For ideas browse our video library or workout generator.

2. Try a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right! Get lots of breakfast ideas here.

4. Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!

5. Look at Motivational SparkPages. Seeing how others overcome similar struggles and obstacles can be a great source of motivation.

6. Track your food today. No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it.

7. Update your SparkPage. It’s a visual way to track your ups and downs, but also your progress.

8. Share your goals. Whether you post them on the Message Boards or share them with a friend, you’ll be more accountable.

9. Exercise for 10 minutes. Jump rope, march in place, or do some crunches. Small amounts do add up to something big!

10. Find a buddy. Get support from friends, whether you need someone to listen or a mentor to give you ideas and encouragement.

11. Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!

12. Create a motivational collage. Include pictures of your goal and reasons why you want to get there.

13. Go shopping for some healthy foods. Use this shopping list for ideas.

14. Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat. That way, you can make an informed choice.

15. Ride your bike. Even a leisurely ride has benefits for your body and mind.

16. Work in the yard. Gardening and yard work is a great way to add activity to your day.

17. Take the stairs. Even if this is the only thing you do all day, you’ll feel stronger for it.

18. Rack up those SparkPoints! You earn them for every healthy task you do on the site—talk about motivating! Aim for a certain milestone, such as 100 points, and then reward yourself with a SparkGoodie!

19. Listen to an inspirational song. Better yet, make a playlist of them so you can turn to it whenever you need a boost.

20. Re-start your SparkPeople program. Sometimes it’s easier to get back on track when you have a clean slate.

21. Measure your portions. It’s a simple way to learn how much you’re eating.

22. Eat a piece of fruit. Even if 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables sounds impossible to you, one is doable.

23. Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy your meal.

24. Play! What kids call “play,” we often call “exercise.” Play a sport, a game, or use the playground equipment to bring the fun back into fitness.

25. Learn something new. Sometimes simply taking a quiz or reading an article about nutrition, fitness, or health can change your mindset and get you back on track.

In tennis, losing one point isn’t the end of the world. It happens to the best of them. In fact, if you can consistently win a few more points that you lose, you may end up in the hall of fame. With healthy eating and exercising, as long as you’re consistently out-stepping your steps back, you’re ahead of the game. If you expect perfection (and many of us do), you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and guilt.

You CAN get back on track today. Even if you’re moving slowly, you’ll be moving in the right direction!

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Workout Video

It's been a couple of weeks since I bought a workout video & this one I just couldn't pass up cause it was only $5 and Leslie Sansone videos are never that cheap.

Product Image I just love this video. It's called Walk Away the Pounds Walk & Kick. Leslie shows you how you can kick your fitness routine up a notch with kickboxing moves. Of course there's still walking like in all her other videos but this time it's intervall training. A couple minutes walking then a couple minutes kicking or punching. It's easy enough for kids to do it (mine were right by my side this morning) yet challenging enough for the advanced exerciser. You should know that kickboxing really burns the butter so this is better then her standard walking or even jogging videos. Do you have 30 minutes to spare? Don't say you don't cause I'm sure that you do somewhere. Watch tv at night? Yup ... you have time to workout! =P There are no excuses when it comes to our health ... we are worth it! So what are you waiting for? Get up & move ... take your water with ya!



So what's a woman's worst day? The first day that TOM comes knocking on her door each month. Thanks to Christina a.k.a. Evil, I think there is a cure. he he he I have to go exercise to relieve some of my pain ... I really hate TOM, he's a flipping bass-turd =p

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

easter chicks Just wanted to drop in real quick before the family starts showing to up ... wanted to wish you all a very blessed Easter. Hope your day is full of blessings.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweet drinks do pack on the Pounds

It's a long-debated issue: Are sodas and other sweet drinks the smoking gun in the case of childhood obesity? Those who advocate that schools and other public institutions remove soda vending machines from their grounds certainly think so, but industry insiders say it isn't so. So what's the verdict? A study by the Children's Hospital Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health says it is true — children who consume more sugary drinks have higher body weights. In fact, the researchers found that average weight increased with every daily serving!

How could a soda cause so much trouble? Previous studies suggest the brain doesn't "register" calories from beverages in the overall daily intake. So because of these sugary drinks, children can easily consume 500 to 1,000 extra calories per day in liquid form — on top of their normal daily intake. Do your kids a favor: Stock the fridge with bottled water instead of soda and artificial fruit drinks, and explain to them how those empty calories add up to extra pounds and health risks. The sooner they can break the sugar habit, the better!

They may throw little fits at first ... my DS sure puts up a fight but in the end I know I'm bettering his & my health for it so all the whinning is worth it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

VIDEO: Intro to Exercising with Resistance Bands

Tips to Use Bands Safely and Effectively -- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness InstructorIn this short video, Coach Nicole gives you an introduction to using resistance bands for fitness. Learn about the benefits of resistance bands, how to choose the right level of resistance for you, and how to use them safely and effectively.

Help us Spread the Spark by sending this video to your friends (click "Send this Article to a Friend" at the bottom of the page)! You can also rate it, leave comments, or mark it as a favorite on so that others are more likely to find it. Thanks for supporting SparkPeople!

Viewing Tip
To play the video, simply click on the Play button (bottom left corner) to start. Below the video screen, you'll find buttons for Pause, Stop, and volume control. If you have a slower internet connection, click play, wait a few seconds, then click pause. Wait until the video downloads (the red bar will move left to right) before playing.

Walk for your Brain

Many of us live in fear of mental decline in our older years, but now there may be something you can do to help! What happens to our minds as we age isn't just a matter of genetics or bad luck. Exercise — or the lack thereof — also plays a key role, according to two studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In one study, researchers followed more than 2,200 people aged 71 to 93 for seven years. They found that those who walked less than one-quarter mile a day had twice the risk of dementia than did those who walked at least two miles a day.

In the second study, researchers tracked more than 19,000 women for nine years and found that those who exercised the most cut their risk of memory problems by 20 percent. Those who walked at least an hour and a half a week also scored significantly higher on memory, attention, and other mental acuity tests than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week. So get walking! Every step will not only be good for your body, it'll also be sharpening your mind!

With that said ... I just finished a 3 mile walk this morning. The last mile of it I grabbed my 3 pound weights & worked a few muscle groups. I noticed that my abs are sore from the workout I did yesterday ... I could really tell that I hadn't been working out for 3 weeks. I'm feeling much better today so I'm hoping my sinus problems won't come back. Who knows with all the pollen in the air though. Thankfully it's raining today so it doesn't feel so bad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

4 signs that you need to lift more weights

When I was a Wellness Director for a YMCA I overheard a member ask my fellow director to help him adjust his workout regimen. He just “wasn’t getting anywhere” despite being very committed and diligent to his workouts. This was a very normal request from a member so my friend thought nothing about it and scheduled an appointment.

When they finally met, the member brought along with him a thick stack of stapled workout charts, which he had used for the past three years. (As I said, he was diligent, but also highly organized!) The director was shocked, not because of the years of detail, but because this member had never increased the weight or number of repetitions he lifted since his first introduction to the fitness center equipment. For over three years, he had done the same exercises, lifted the same weight, and performed the same number of repetitions day after day.

The fact that he wasn’t seeing results wasn’t entirely his fault, although the reasons were obvious to the director. The member simply did as he was instructed on day one, and no one had taught him the importance of progression in his strength training program. Are you stuck in a strength training rut too? Find out!

4 Signs You Need to Increase Your Resistance
Strength training is about building and maintaining a certain level of strength. You might not be lifting enough weight during one or many of your exercises if:
  1. The current weight you are lifting isn’t a challenge. Strength training is meant to be challenging, because the whole point is to “overload” your muscles so they get stronger. If the weight you are lifting isn’t as challenging as it used to be (or isn’t challenging at all!), then it is time to increase the resistance.

  2. You could go forever. Each strength training exercise you do should cause you to feel muscle “fatigue” within 15 repetitions (or fewer). Muscle fatigue feels like you couldn’t possibly do another repetition in good form. If you can do more than 15 reps in good form, or if you literally feel like you could go on forever because the resistance you’re using is so easy, then it’s time to take it up a notch.

  3. You have never increased the weight you lift. When you first started strength training, then the weight you lifted was a starting weight. Continuing to progress in strength training is essential to getting the most out of your workouts—that means lifting more weight as you get stronger over time.

  4. The progress has come to a stop. Without making your muscles work harder than they’re accustomed to, they won’t get stronger. As you train, your muscles will grow stronger in order to meet the demands you are placing on them. So if you keep offering them the same workload, they will keep working the same amount, and progression comes to a grinding halt.
Recognize if you are experiencing any of the 4 signs above, taking time to pay attention to the level of difficulty and challenge of each of your exercises during your workouts. If you experience any of these signs (or if it sounds like I have been watching you workout based on what you read), then it is time to increase the resistance! Use the 3-step process below to do it safely and effectively.

How to Increase Your Resistance

Step 1: Increase the resistance by no more than 10%. For example, if you’re currently lifting 50 pounds, you’d increase that by 5 pounds (10% of 50 pounds = 5 pounds) to lift 55 pounds. This should automatically feel more challenging to you, but even if it’s not noticeably more difficult, 10% is a pretty safe place to start. Increasing the weight more than 10% at a time increases the likelihood of injury, so progress slowly. Tip: When using free weights and machines, an exact 10% increase isn’t always possible (sometimes 10% results in weird fractions or levels of weight that don’t exist at the gym). In those cases, round down to the closest weight available instead of rounding up to the closest weight.

Step 2: With your newly adjusted weight, aim for 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions. With your 10% increase, you’ll be working harder than usual.

Step 3: Once you can complete 2-3 sets of 15 reps in good form, whether it takes you just a few workouts or even a few months, it’s time to go back to Step 1 and increase your weight by 10% again.

A Note on Reps and Sets
Remember that the goal in strength training is first and foremost to fatigue the muscles. Completing the exact number of reps is secondary, but all too often people become too focused on reaching a certain number of reps without paying attention to the weight itself or how it feels. Instead of absolutes (i.e. 10 reps), give yourself a range to work with (i.e. 8-15 reps). This way you can choose a weight that allows you to do “at least” a minimum number of reps (a sign that the weight isn’t too challenging) and “no more” than a maximum number of reps (a sign that the weight isn’t too easy). As long as you reach fatigue (but keep good form) within that range of repetitions, you’re doing great.

Lastly, accept the fact that you will have good days and bad days. Sometimes you will feel like the Incredible Hulk, where the weight you lift is light as a feather, and other days you will feel like Pee Wee Herman, when what was easy two days ago feels like a ton today! Take it as it comes and adjust accordingly. Commit yourself to work hard when it is time to workout and you won’t regret that time well spent.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Slim Down St. Patty's Day







The Irish and non-Irish alike look forward to this one day a year when the beer turns green, slow cookers are filled with corned beef and kissing is a national pastime. But just because St. Patrick's Day has the potential to be calorie-packed, you don't have to let it ruin your plans for weight loss.

Here are 10 fun tips for getting through the day without over-the-rainbow POINTS® values.

Everyone loves a parade.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines, get involved. Either join a group that's walking or march to your own beat.

Seeing Green
Ironically, green is bad luck in Ireland, so start your own tradition. Every time someone around you mentions green, tack on an additional push-up or an extra minute of cardio to the next day's workout.

Corned Beef Done Right
Try this low POINTS value Corned Beef and Cabbage Strudel, made with a phyllo dough crust.

Find the true green.
Taking a hike in the spring weather can be an excellent way to see some natural greens. Pack a lunch and hit the trails.

Pass the green tea, please.
Besides all of the added health benefits that green tea can provide, drinking this green beverage puts you in your own holiday spirit—a relaxed one.

Eat your greens.
Celebrate by eating all the verdant veggies you can get your hands on: spinach, broccoli, green beans, lettuce.

Plan a picnic.
Weather permitting, get outside and into the grass to hunt forfour-leaf clovers.

Throw a party!
Invite friends to your place and require that each bring a healthy dish. With you in control of the food and the drink, it won't take any luck to get you through the holiday.

Get creative with food coloring.
Use green food-coloring to make healthy and festive snacks for you or your kids. Low POINTS value green milkshakes, anyone?

Make yourself a personal pot of gold.
Write your accomplishments on slips of paper and keep them together in a little black pot. One day, that pot of success will make you feel rich.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Want Some Chocolate?

Here's a good reason to treat yourself to a little taste of dark chocolate now and then — it's good for your heart! Dark chocolate may protect your arteries from hardening, according to a study conducted at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Swiss research team compared two groups: those who ate white chocolate, and those who ate dark chocolate. All the participants also smoked, a habit known to hasten hardening of the arteries. Blood tests and ultrasounds revealed that the arteries of those who ate dark chocolate became softer two hours after eating 1.5 ounces, and the effect continued for more than eight hours. The white-chocolate group did not have the same results.

Buyer beware, though! There's reason to be attentive of the type of dark chocolate you eat. The rationale behind eating dark chocolate is that it contains antioxidants called flavanols. When the natural cocoa solid is formed into a consumer chocolate bar, sometimes the flavanols (which often are bitter) are removed for a better taste, and the chocolate can just be darkened to mislead. The outside wrapper probably doesn't tell you this information either! So if you want to be in the know, check the labeling for the percentage of cacao (the bean that chocolate is made from) — the higher the percentage, the more flavanols!

Additionally, researchers are quick to warn that chocolate's beneficial effect shouldn't become an excuse to binge on it (or to keep smoking, for that matter!). But it does seem to suggest that the antioxidants found in truly dark chocolate can protect your heart. Just remember, chocolate is also loaded with fat and calories, so eat it in moderation! Want to protect your heart without worrying about weight gain? Try having some tea, onions, or apples — they're all rich in flavonoids, too

Thursday, March 13, 2008

7 Comfort Foods that are Good for You

Comfort – A condition or feeling of pleasurable ease, well-being, and contentment.

Food – A substance you consume to produce energy, stimulate growth, and provide nourishment.

Put these two words together and people dream of fudge sundaes, turn to pot pie for pick-me-ups and fall prey to many other kinds of eating rituals. This is the power comfort foods hold. Unfortunately, it seems that most comfort foods console us with extra fat, calories and other ingredients that lack great nutritional value. But not all comfort foods are made this way. Here are 7 Comfort Foods that are actually good for you. Check ’em out.

Yogurt (with fruit)
The frozen variety tastes pretty similar to its ice cream counterpart, only with less fat. By adding fruit, you’re only adding more minerals and vitamins. Cool and soothing, this comfort food is a perfect snack, yet tastes sweet enough to ease your pain.

Fruit smoothie
This is the perfect cure for anyone with a sweet tooth. Amazingly, even if you don’t normally like fruit, you will probably still enjoy this blend of fruit, juice and yogurt. It only takes a few minutes to whip up in your blender and is a cool and refreshing treat during a hot, summer day.

Chicken noodle soup
Would you rather have anything else when you’re sick? This blend of noodles, chicken chunks and veggies in a steaming hot bowl will take you back to your childhood. Remember to buy a brand with low sodium, or make your own at home. Here is our own chicken noodle recipe.

Angel food cake
Sometimes, we all love a slice of cake. Warm and fluffy, every bite is better than the previous one. With angel food cake, you can enjoy a slice without feeling guilty about it later. Pretend it’s your birthday and have a slice, maybe even with some fat-free whipped cream. Why not try our angel food cake tonight?

Forget caffeine-charged coffee; oatmeal is all you need for a hot breakfast that will leave you energized for hours to come. Packed with complex carbs, oatmeal is easy to make and much healthier than a sugary cereal you might otherwise eat. A steaming bowl of oatmeal will make mornings your favorite part of the day. Toss in some fresh fruit to get that sweetness you crave.

Vegetable juice
Sometimes you need that kick. Vegetable juices, such as V8 and others, have enough kick to play in soccer’s World Cup. A blend of many vegetables, including tomatoes, it’s great when you’re not very hungry or when you're on the go.

Crock pot creations (anything that’s healthy, anyway)
One of the greatest food inventions of the 20th century, a crock pot can seemingly take any combination of ingredients and turn them into a great meal. Slowly cooked, whatever comes out is hot and tastes great. Throw in healthy meats and a bunch of veggies to make this comfort food good for you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

VIDEO: 5-Minute Booty Workout with Ball

Target Your Glutes and Thighs in Just Minutes! -- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness InstructorFor more information about this video, please scroll down to read the text below the video player.

About This Workout
Use this short workout to tone your butt and thighs without lunges or squats!  These exercises target the gluteus maximus to retain strength and muscle tone and the biceps femoris (hamstrings).  After just five minutes, you WILL feel the burn and notice tighter and firmer muscles over time.
  • Length: 5 minutes
  • Equipment: Stability ball and mat (optional, for cushioning)
  • Type of Workout: Strength training (toning) & flexibility
  • Muscles Worked: Glutes and hamstrings
  • Fitness Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Impact: Low-impact
  • Safety Precautions: A mat will help cushion your body on the floor. Since this video will work your muscles to fatigue, rest at least 1-2 days before doing additional gluteal exercises.
  • Tracking Your Workout: If you'd like to add this video to the Strength Training section of your Fitness Tracker, you can add it as a "user-entered" exercise. Simply list the video name as the name of your new exercise, and click to "add" it to your tracker.
  • Extra Tip: These bridging exercises can also be done without a ball--simply place your feet flat on the floor. This option is easier than using the ball too.  
Viewing Tips
  • You can pause or rewind the video at any time if you need a break or need to watch for closer instructions. We suggest watching the video one time through before attempting the workout.
  • While this workout will take you through just one set (8-16 repetitions) of each exercise, they all focus on the same muscle group. Doing multiple sets of this video is not necessary. However, if you choose to do more sets, simply replay the video until you finish 2-3 sets.
  • This video does not include music, but you can play a stereo or CD in the background as you workout. Just make sure you can still hear the instructions.
  • To play the video, simply click on the Play button (bottom left corner) to start. Below the video screen, you'll find buttons for Pause, Stop, and volume control.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tips for a Heathy Weekend

Keep it up. Your healthy habits, that is.

We all tend to relax – or be lax – on weekends; that’s what they’re for, right? But loosening our grips on a healthy lifestyle, even just for the weekend, can sabotage our efforts to reach health and fitness goals.

Recent studies indicate that we tend to take in more calories on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The exact number varies from an average of 85 calories per weekend day to 115, and while that may not seem like much, it adds up. A pound is 3,500 calories, so 345 extra calories a week will lead to nearly a pound after 10 weeks — or an extra five pounds over a year.

You may think, "So I eat a little more on Saturday night, I’ll exercise that off on Sunday." Sunday arrives, yet you find excuses not to exercise.
  • Church starts at 9 a.m.? Then get up at 7 a.m. and walk a few miles. You rise early to workout on weekdays, why not now?
  • Not a morning exerciser and you can’t miss 60 Minutes or Alias on Sunday evening? Tape or TiVo it and hit the gym.
  • Your wife wants your help in the garden? Good news – the experts deem yard work real exercise.
  • Watching your kids’ baseball games all day? Stand up while you watch: standing burns more calories than sitting. Or take a walk between games.
  • Do you just not feel like working out because, after all, weekends are for relaxing? Just a few minutes of exercise is better than none. Keeping up with your exercise routine will help you reach your fitness goals that much faster, and once you get into the groove of working out, you’ll crave it. Promise.

And it doesn’t stop with fitness. While it’s easy to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day when you have a water bottle sitting on your desk at work, where you’re stuck for half your waking hours, weekends are different. You’re watching your kids’ soccer games or shopping or doing yard work or visiting the craft booths at the local art fair. Carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go just doesn’t seem feasible.

Introducing the fanny pack. A fanny pack holds one or two water bottles, and it can go with you anywhere. Just remember to fill the bottles up after you drink them dry. Keep your eye on the prize: a healthier you. Be conscious of what you eat during the weekends, stick to your healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising just like you do during the week. If you need to reward yourself for the hard work (or the diligence you’ve kept to your diet) through the week, see a movie or get a massage. DON’T get the cheesy fries appetizer or order an extra margarita – the study mentioned in the third paragraph shows that the additional weekend calories come from fat and alcohol.

On weekends, give yourself a break, but make it a healthy one.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Special Note

Thank you Sherry for thinking of all of us when it's you who is about to go into the hospital. Your unwavering friendship to all of us is why we all love you so very much. Hugs my friend. May your time in the hospital be short & eventful. We can't live long without you.

Make the Most of Your Seafood Catch

Selecting, Cooking, Freezing, and Storing

Someone once said, “Show me a fish-hater, and I’ll show you a person who has never tasted properly cooked fish.” Whether you made a real catch, or just caught a deal at the grocery, follow these tips to make the most of your seafood. 

Seafood Selection
There are many varieties of fish that offer both great taste and versatility to your meal. Seafood is a general term that includes both finfish and shellfish. There are many finfish, including catfish, cod, haddock, flounder, mahi mahi, snapper, tuna, and trout; shellfish include crustaceans (crab, crayfish, lobster, and shrimp) and mollusks (clam, mussel, oyster, scallop, octopus, squid, abalone, conch, and snail). Here’s how to select the best:
  • Choose seafood that is properly iced, well-refrigerated, in clean display cases, and wrapped separately in leak-proof packaging.
  • Always buy from a reputable source.
  • Check the sell by date (not all seafood will have this).
  • If frozen, the fish should be solid, mild in odor, and free of both ice crystals and freezer burn. Do not select a damaged or water-stained package.
  • Whole finfish should have a fresh scent, shiny skin, pink or red gills, and clear eyes.
  • Fish fillets or steaks should have a mild scent, moist flesh, and translucent appearance, with no browning around the edges.   
Handle With Care
Seafood spoils more rapidly than almost any other food! To avoid that “fishy” taste and smell:
  • Clean and gill fresh-caught fish quickly to preserve freshness and eliminate bacterial contamination.
  • Remove butcher wrap and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will hold in moisture and limit exposure to the air, which can alter flavor. Fish sold in plastic wrap may be left in this style wrapping.
  • Refrigerate fresh fish at 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit, and enjoy it within 2-3 days.
  • Store cooked seafood in the refrigerator no longer than 2-3 days.
  • Store canned seafood in a cool, dry place for no longer than one year.
Freezing Fish
Since fish is highly perishable, freezing is often required. Follow these easy steps for the perfect freeze:
  1. Cut whole, cleaned fish into the form in which it will be used (filets, steaks, etc.).
  2. Carefully wrap the fish in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or freezer paper to protect the fish from air and freezer burn.
  3. Store frozen fish between 0 degrees to –10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. For best flavor and texture, limit freezer storage to one month.

Fish can also be frozen by “glazing.” Freeze it first uncovered on a tray, then dip frozen pieces in ice water and return to freezer. Repeat this dipping process several times to form a protective ice glaze. Finish by wrapping the fish tightly in aluminum foil and storing in the freezer. 

Thawing Fish
Thawing fish at room temperature or in warm water can be dangerous and promote food poisoning; it can also cause moisture loss, flavor loss, and a mushy texture. To prevent these unwanted effects: 
  • Thaw in the refrigerator (allowing 18-24 hours per pound), or place wrapped fish under cold running water (for ½ hour for per pound of fish).
  • Do not refreeze thawed fish.
Cooking Fish
When preparing a meal, save fish preparation until last to avoid overcooking, which can destroy the flavor and appeal of fish. Also remember to:
  • Cook fresh fish 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness in the oven or in a pan.
  • If cooking fish while still frozen, double the cooking time.
  • As fish cooks, it loses its normal translucent appearance and becomes opaque. Fish is done when it is completely opaque and its outer surface flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Vitamin E Don't!

A Vitamin E Don't!

Can you get too much of a good thing? A study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University says yes, at least when it comes to vitamin E! The researchers found a 6 percent increase in the risk of early death among those who took a daily dose of 400 IU (international units) or more of vitamin E a day. That's a lot of E! The average daily intake from foods is 10 IU, and most multivitamins contain between 30 and 60 IU! The recommended daily intake is only 15 milligrams (roughly 22 IU from food sources, or 33 IU from a synthetic source).

So why were people taking so much? They mistakenly believed that taking more would super-size vitamin E's heart-protecting benefits, the experts say. Other researchers have found similar results in trials that looked at megadosing with other antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C.

The bottom line? The experts aren't saying you shouldn't take vitamins at all — in fact, a daily multivitamin can help cover the bases your diet doesn't — but there's no need to take hundreds of times the recommended daily allowance! More isn't better! Check a vitamin's label before you buy it, to make sure you're getting what you need — and not a whole lot more. Everything in moderation!

Measure Progress without the Scale

An Arsenal of Tools for Your Motivation -- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer
Frustrated. Disappointed. Hopeless. Skeptical.
Whichever you choose, these emotions are enemies of people trying to lose weight—especially when you feel like you have done everything right. For many trying to shed pounds, the elation from that initial weight loss is brought to a screeching halt when the scale stops moving. But, instead of viewing this as a setback, look for other ways to measure your progress besides the scale. After all, good health isn’t always measured in pounds.
Losing weight usually involves a relatively simple calorie equation: burn off more calories with daily activity than you consume through food. So what happens when these numbers indicate progress, but the scale doesn’t? Before the aggravation sets in, consider why this might be the case. If you’ve been hitting the gym on a regular basis, participating in both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, then chances are good that you have shed some fat. But the scale might not indicate this because you have also been building lean muscle. Since muscle is dense (a small volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat), the scale might not reflect your hard work. 
Non-Scale Signs of Progress
  1. See results by taking a trip to your very own closet. Take out a pair of pants that fit snugly before you began your new, healthy habits. Are you able to ease into them, when before you had to sit (or lie) down and yank them up your legs? This is a sure sign of progress toward a leaner you! What about an old shirt? Is it now a little loose around your waist or arms? Also look for improved muscle definition when you check out your body in the mirror. There are many everyday indicators that you are firming up your body, from how your clothes fit to sitting more comfortably in a booth or small chair.

  2. Aside from weight, use other numerical signs of progress. When you first start your program, take measurements of your waist, arms, neck and hips. Even if you are not losing pounds, you very well may be losing inches all over your body as your figure slims down and tones up with muscles. Measuring your body is more reliable than the scale alone. Other numerical indicators include a reduction of blood pressure or cholesterol, BMI, and body fat percentage.

  3. Monitor how a healthy diet and regular exercise affects your energy levels. Not only will you be able to work out for longer intervals of time, but everyday chores will also become easier. Whether cutting the grass or simply walking up the stairs, these behaviors will come effortlessly. Think of all the daily activities you could use more energy for—grocery shopping, house cleaning, playing with your kids, and more. Pretty soon you’ll be training for your first 5K!

  4. Lastly, be conscious of how you feel emotionally.   You’ve been working hard to reach your goals. Hopefully, the hard work will come with a boost in self-esteem, confidence, and happiness. Are you beginning to feel more comfortable in your own body? Work to build a positive vocabulary to stay motivated.
Just because the scale has stopped moving doesn’t mean that you’ve hit a plateau in reaching your goals. Don’t give up out of frustration—all healthy behaviors are well worth the effort. Whether it’s better sleep at night or more energy throughout the day, start listening to the signs your body gives you that all of your hard work is payingoff!

Lower Body Stretching Routine

Stretch Your Legs While Standing Up -- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness InstructorFor more information about this video, please scroll down to read the text below the video player.

About This Video

This video will help you stretch your lower body without any equipment. Coach Nicole will take you through one short set of 6 different stretches that target your thighs (quads, hamstrings, inner thighs) and calves. You can perform these stretches when standing up or seated in a chair—just make sure your muscles are warmed up first!
  • Length: 4 minutes
  • Equipment: None
  • Type of Workout: Flexibility (stretching)
  • Muscles Worked: Lower body (quads, hamstrings, calves, inner thighs)
  • Fitness Level: Beginning to advanced; since this routine takes place in a standing position, it may also be suitable for individuals with limited mobility.
  • Impact: None
  • Safety Precautions: Perform this routine only after your muscles are warm, such as after your warm up or after your workout. Always stretch through your own range of motion, never to the point of pain. Avoid bouncing.
Viewing Tips
  • You can pause or rewind the video at any time if you need a break or need to watch for closer instructions. We suggest watching the video one time through before attempting the routine.
  • While this workout will take you through just one set of each stretch, you can replay the video one or two more times if you wish.
  • This video does not include music, but you can play a stereo or CD in the background as you workout. Just make sure you can still hear the instructions.
  • To play the video, simply click on the Play button (bottom left corner) to start. Below the video screen, you'll find buttons for Pause, Stop, and volume control.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fitness Equipment

I got something new ... not another video tape but a mini stair stepper.

9629 Stair Stepper - Fitness Essentials Mini Stepper - Exercise Equipment This little thing is wearing my ars out & believe it or not it's getting my heart rate way up into the 80% which is so NOT the norm for me. This little machine is a hydrolic like at Curves so the faster I move the more weight it adds to the workout thus the more calories I burn. Yesterday I couldn't make it past 13 minutes but today I was determined to get a great workout in. I put exercise on demand on, found a walk routine, stepped up on my machine & went with then step for step. A lot of leg burn but I mad eit 30 inutes today. Figure if I do it every day I will be up to 45 minutes sometime next week.


Nutrition Monday I have to go back to the dietician & I swear ... if I haven't lost any weight then I'm gonna be super mad. I'll be even more upset if I haven't gained more lean mass. If one of the two numbers don't change for the better then I'm not going back to her cause to me that means she isn't effecient at her job or there is something seriously wrong with me that my doctor needs to check out. I'm gonna take my friend Sharons advice & ask for a sonogram for my thyroids. The last time I mentioned it she felt the side of my neck & said she didn't believe that would be necessary since my blood work came back normal. I'm actually wondering what the number is because it seems like every magazine I open lately talks about how 1 in 7 women are not diagnosed with thyroid problems cause their numbers fall in the "could be ok" range. Their (dr.'s) believe that if you have a mild case & you treat it for a full blown problem then it will cause the body to have a bigger problem. I don't know ... all I do know is I'm really frustrated with not seeing results while I try to lose. I have to admit though ... because of my sinus infection I hadn't worked out in 1.5 weeks ... I did eat pretty good though. Hoping eating right helped make a small difference.

 Ok ... I'm off for a while. Gotta shower my stinky self & take Lily Grace to see one of DH's co-workers. She has 2 daschunds that she loves like children & wants to see how my mix compares with hers. =P ... hate to say it but MINES CUTER!!!!!! he he he

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pay it Forward

I got this idea from over at Jeanne's Joyful Journey I love it so I am going to do it here too!  

I would like you to nomimate someone you care about here in J-Land ...!  The first 2 people nominated will get something from me. (this entry is in all 3 of my journals so I will send something special to 6 people).


Here are the rules!

1.~Leave a comment on my blog that says you want to play. Nominate someone that you think needs a little "pick me up" in their lives. 

First two nominations wins! Those two nominations will get some sort of an anonymous suprise from me at some point during the next few weeks....probably when they least expect it!. Please be sure to email me their address in case I don't have it! 

 2.~Do the same thing on your blog!

Sounds like fun to me!  Let's pass around some joy to other JLanders.  There's so much heartache and sadness and stress and sickness and YUCK in the world....lets send some love instead!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Benefits of Eating Together

The Benefits of Eating Together

"Come and get it!" It may be dinnertime, but when was the last time your family sat down and enjoyed dinner together? With music lessons, ball practice, play rehearsal, and work schedules, it can be tough. Rounding up the troop for an evening meal can be almost impossible! However, research is beginning to show that eating as a family has great benefits for your children and teenagers. Here's another reason why you should try to sit down together 5-6 times a week, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Prevent Destructive Behaviors
Research shows that frequent family dinners (five or more a week), are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in pre-teens and teenagers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week. Even as older children's schedules get more complicated, it is important to make an effort to eat meals together. Scheduling is a must.

It is time to bring the "family" back to the dinner table. Sharing dinner together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can help ease day-to-day conflicts, as well as establish traditions and memories that can last a lifetime.

Monday, March 3, 2008

No More Pain

I haven't exercised in over a week due to my sinus infection. I can't take the headaches anymore so DH set an appointment for later this afternoon. I already know what their going to say ... it's alergies. This happens at the beginning of every season. They have put me on Alegra, Flonase, Claritin ... I took some of DH's singular the other day ... that stuff doesn't do anything for it. I know it's sinus problems cause if I bend over I have extreme pressure in my forhead, eyes, & nose. I was taking sudafed the last 2 days & it did seem to work great but this morning it's not really working for very long. Uggg ... I have to go to a different doctor in order to be seen today. Sucks but at this point I don't really care.

For those of you who don't read what Chaps My Ass I would like to introduce you to my new baby. We picked her up yesterday ... meet Lily Grace;

 She's a chihuahua/daschund mix and just the sweetest most playful little thing we have had in some time. Harley ... my little boy chi was never this playful. He's the strong silent type ... ha ... more like a sally tea cup mamma's boy. I love him dearly though. All the dogs seem to be welcoming her into the family. Our oldest is sitting in the background just trying to figure out what she is or why on earth I felt the need to have another baby around. I don't know ... I see certain dogs & I feel like I can just see their souls. I've always chosen my dogs that way too. I always pick them up & look into their eyes first. If I feel something there ...their mine, if not I move on. I love beautiful eyes & Lily has those beautiful blue eyes ... even bluer than Fancy (my blue chihuahua).

Ok, I'm off to eat lunch & get cleaned up for the dr. I go a little after lunch. Just what I need ... lunch to make my weight even higher then the last visit. Oh well ... just something to complain to my dr. about. Except for this headach I actually don't feel guilty about the lack of exercise. I'm just been listening to my body ... when it's hungry I feed it when it's full I stop. I'm noticing I not only eat less food each meal but I'm not seeing a need for all the snacks that I have grown accustomed to. Hmmmm ... I like it! Ok, I'm outa here.


OMG, what is it with me & Dr.'s? I can not seem to find one outside of my regular dr. that I like. The doctor today was about 30 minutes late for my appointment which wasn't as bad as it could have/has been. He walks in, introduces himself & says so what's the problem. I tell him I think I may possibly have a sinus infection due to the fact if I lean over at all I have a HUGE amount of pressure on my forhead, nose & eyes. He asked if this happens alot & I said around season change it's at it's worst. I told him I have been on alergy meds in the past but they never seem to help much. He looks at my throat & says my tonsils are extremely swollen ... gee, guess that's why it hurts to swallow. Looks at my chart & says have you been running a fever ... yup ... slight one since last Monday. He taps on my forhead ... taps under my eyes & says ... at least I think he said "ah yes, I can feel the pressue build up". I say I think cause in all honestly he was not a native speaker & his accent was so heavy I barely understood what he was saying. Anyway ... what I think he was saying is people who are prone to allergies (which I am) tend to get sinus infections easily. Great for me! He prescribed a nasal spray ... since I have had problems in the past with sprays & nose bleeds I asked him about it. I said I took flonase before which caused bad nose bleeds ... is this something I should expect again. "oh yes, for sure expect this." Another big yeah for me. Then he put me on Augmentin which is just another name for Amoxicillin ... this is to kill the infection. Then he was out the door. I bet he was only in the room 5 minutes tops. I can't wait to go back to my regular doctor cause I just don't like people who are responsible for my care but I can't understand much if anything of what their saying. It's so frustrating. I hate asking them to repeat theirselves ...

Oh, got the letter today from the clinic & both of the kids were approved to change their doctors over to mine. I'm so happy. Usually there is no problem but sometimes the doctor has to many patients so they will choose one for you.

Ok, so my head is killing me from all the bright lights & of couse the sinus infection so I;m gonna go lay down for awhile. Hopefully the meds will make me feel better, I hate feeling so sick that I don't want to do anything.

Yummy Recipe

Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Serves: 8

Your grill just got more exciting. Try this vitamin-packed dish!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 apples, cored and cut into 1" pieces
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 peaches, pitted and cut into 1" pieces
4 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
1 can pineapple chunks
16 strawberries, washed and hulled

1. Prepare grill.
2. In a small bowl, combine oil, sugar, lime juice, cinnamon and mint. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for about 10 minutes to prevent from scorching. Alternate fruit pieces and thread onto skewers.
4. Brush kebabs with the sugar mixture then place on grill.
5. Grill kebabs for about 6-8 minutes, turning frequently until fruit starts to brown and is heated through.

Calories: 171
Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Protein: 1 g