Monday, December 31, 2012



I had a long "looking back" post planned, but I never got around to writing it.

37 pounds lost

So much gained...

A picture is worth 1,000 words anyway, right?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It ain't easy...

I've had several people these last few weeks say things to me that were something to the affect of "How do you do it?"

The short answer? In the words of Dolvett from The Biggest Loser: HARD WORK. DEDICATION.

That is the secret. I wish I had a magic pill. I wish I could tell you to read this book or watch this show or listen to this song and it would all just be easy. But it's not.

It takes consistency. It takes showing up every day whether you want to or not and just doing it. It takes climbing back on the wagon quickly when you do fall off.

The formula is simple: eat less, move more - repeat daily.

There are a million tips, tricks, and small details that can go along with it, but it really is that simple.

And the only one who can do it - is you. No amount of books, DVDs, podcasts, TV shows, magazines or motivational quotes are going to flip the switch for you until you decide you want to make the change.

It's not easy. It takes work. But it's the best thing I've ever done for myself!

It's almost a new year - are you making any healthy changes for 2013?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Presents

I've received some interesting edible Christmas gifts this year.
First, my mom sent me a box of fresh California Mandarins and the most delicious dates (also fresh from CA)! 
Then, my grandma sent me this box of over a dozen pears. There are 4 kinds of pears in there, and they're all delicious!

But the best of all, was this bag of kale.  Yes, that's right - I received a bag of kale for Christmas.  This was from one of my co-workers, who always gives me a hard time for the weird (healthy!) foods I bring for lunch.  The other gals on my team got giant Hershey's Kisses - but I got kale.  Which, I'm glad for - a giant block of chocolate doesn't exactly fit into my calorie count! 
I love that the adults in my life have gotten me gifts that fit with my healthy lifestyle.  It makes up for the candy, sweet breads, cookies, and sugared pecans I've received from my students!
It's been interesting this year to tackle those types of gifts.  In the past, I pretty much ate every morsel of sugary goodness in about 2 days and then promised myself that I'd eat healthy after the holidays.  This year, I haven't done that!  I've sampled the treats, and then given the rest away.  I cut up a sweet bread I received and shared it at a holiday party.  I've added chocolate to the communal candy jar in our school office.  I've given things to co-workers with larger families they can share with. 
My basic strategy has been this:  I've sampled the stuff I really wanted and then I've gotten rid of the rest.  Just because it's "the holidays" doesn't mean I should fill myself with crap.  I deserve better than that, and so do you!

P.S. Looking for a last minute gift to give?  Make a batch of these Granola Covered Nut Clusters.  They are amazing - seriously, I can't stop eating them.  Plus, they're gluten free and vegan!  (But seriously, I promise they are delicious.)  I wouldn't categorize them as a health food, but they're a healthier alternative to traditional sugared nuts.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jingle Bell Run

On Saturday, some of my running pals and I got together to run our local Jingle Bell Run.  The fun part of this run is that it is one where people dress up in fun Christmas themed attire.  Not wanting to be left out of this fun, our team decided to sport some fantastic looking tutus.  This was my final race day outfit:
You can't see it real well, but there are jingle bell hair ties on my ponytail and bells on my shoes too.  Luckily, I ran with headphones in so I didn't have to be annoyed with the sound of my own jingling.  Sorry to those around me who weren't so lucky!
This was a fun race!  The course was a lot tougher than the Turkey Troy, which is almost entirely flat.  This course was almost entirely NOT flat.  It was a lot of rolling hills.  My Trot time was 31:07, and my Jingle Bell time was 31:20 (on their chip, but my watch said 31:11).  I was really pleased with that time!  Given the amount of hills in this course, I was happy that my time was just a few seconds longer than in the Trot!
I'm not sure what the next race will be, but we're looking for something short in January. 
In the meantime, here are some pictures from the Jingle Bell fun!
Tutu Making!
It was a sea of tulle!


Team of Tutus - post run!

Almost at the finish!

Mindy warmed us up before we headed out!

Jingle Bell Run 2010 (47 minutes) and 2012 (60 pounds lighter, and 31 minutes!)


Friday, December 14, 2012

For when you think "I can't"...

I can't tell you the number of times people have complimented me on my fitness or weight loss achievements, and then followed it immediately with "I could never do that," or "I wish I had the discipline/willpower/time/energy/money/desire/etc to do that."  Sometimes, when I tell people I'm training for a half marathon, they say "I can't even run one mile, let alone 13! That's crazy!"
Well I'll let you in on a little secret:  I can't run 13 miles either!!  At least, not yet.  And when I started this journey?  I couldn't run 1 lap around the track.  I couldn't do one push-up or lift more than 5 pound dumbells or do reverse crunches.  But I can now. 
I think sometimes we get so focused on the "I can't" we have in our head, that we don't realize this one thing:  none of us can.  No one just walks out the door one morning and runs 5 miles.  You have to build up to it.  You don't just walk into the gym and start doing bicep curls with the 20 pound dumbell, you have to work up to it. 
So I can't run 13 miles right now.  But I can run 5.  And soon, I'll run 6.  Then it will be 7, and 8, and 9, and eventually - I'll run 13.1 miles.  But if I focused on the fact that right now, at this moment, I can't run that much at once - I'd never lace up my sneakers.  Instead, I choose to focus on the fact that I WILL be able to do it one day.  But I have to WORK HARD to get there. 
What's your "I can't"?  You might not be able to do it today, but what steps can you take to turn the "I can't" into "I just did" in the future?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Bake

This picture doesn't do justice to the flavor!  Sorry for my poor iPhone photography skills!
This recipe was inspired by this Italian Chicken recipe a friend found on Pinterest.  You should also make the Italian version, because it is AWESOME!!  I mean - seriously delicious, I ate it for a week straight kind of awesome.
Fiesta Chicken Bake
6 chicken breasts (4 oz. each)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp (or a few shakes) red pepper flakes
salt/pepper to taste
2 oz. shredded Mexican blend cheese
1. Place chicken breasts a greased baking dish.
2.  Mix beans, salsa, sour cream, flour and spices in a bowl.
3.  Pour bean mixture over chicken breasts, allowing the chicken to poke through.
4.  Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of chicken.
5.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
I've been eating it all week with a serving of Copycat Chipotle Rice!
Nutritional Info:
(I entered the recipe into MyFitnessPal and said 6 servings - so this is approximate for the chicken and bean mixture only)
Calories: 267
Fat: 4.8g
Carbs: 20.3g
Fiber: 5.7g
Protein: 33.4g

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


One morning last week I felt compelled to spend some time in Hebrews.  Specifically, Hebrews 12:1 - which I've adopted as my mantra for this half marathon training. 

There's one little word at the beginning of that verse - therefore.  Something a former pastor taught me, is that when a section of the Bible begins with that word, it means "because of all that" - and is referencing the verses that precede the passage.  Sometimes I look past this, because chapter 12 is a new chapter.  I forget that the chapters and verse references are things placed in the Bible by man so that we can find passages more easily. 

So, this morning I zoomed in on that word, and went back to the previous chapter.  Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the "Hall of Faith".  This is the chapter that says "By faith...." a bunch of times and references many famous people in the Bible whose faith serves as a model for us.  But, the part of the chapter that caught my attention was the end.  After all the specific people are listed, there's this:
"32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us."

I can picture Paul in my head, rattling off this list of things people suffered.  The last 2 verses catch my eye especially.  The "yet none of them received all that God had promised" part - that kind of makes you catch your breath. 

So it's all of that stuff that precedes this verse in chapter 12.  "Since we have such a great cloud of witnesses" is referring to these faithful folks.  Verse 12 is saying - all these people have gone before you and remained faithful.  Many of them were tortured and suffered greatly, and never saw in their earthly lives the promises of God fulfilled.  So you have to have faith.  You have to keep going. You might not see the earthly rewards, but they are there. 

Sometimes, I focus so much on the moment and so much on myself, that I lose sight of the fact that God is doing things in and through my story that I don't see.  That "hindsight is 20/20" cliche is so true in our faith walk, isn't it?  It's always easier to look back and say "Oh wow, look at all of those things God worked out." than it is to think - in the middle of your mess - "I bet God is doing something fantastic here" - but He is. Keep going. Run the race with endurance. Don't stop.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Salad in a Jar

Have you seen these jarred salads popping up on Pinterest?  I recently started taking salads for lunch and this idea intrigued me.  I shared a few months ago about how I prepare my lunches for the week on Sundays.  Well, prepping salads ahead of time is tough because the lettuce gets gross. 

These jar salads offered the perfect solution!  I packed a set last weekend and by Friday the lettuce was still fresh!  I just dumped the salad out into a plastic bowl and enjoyed!

For the salad in the picture, I layered:
-Mexican dressing
-grape tomatoes
-red pepper
-black beans
-hard boiled egg
-shredded carrots
The Mexican dressing was the juice of a lime, some salsa, guacamole, and olive oil liquified in the blender! (Found this idea here)
This week I have layered:
-Raspberry vinagrette
-grape tomatoes
-chick peas
- hard boiled egg
-a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
There are also a bunch of jar salad ideas on this blog!