Friday, July 20, 2012

Exercising with Kids: Make it possible!

I know what you're thinking.  Trying to get a workout in when kids are in the picture can be quite a hurdle to jump over.  Throw one baby into the mix and it is nearly impossible to entertain them while exercising.  I've never had a baby who enjoyed watching me exercise.  I don't blame them.  Having to sit and watch myself huff and puff like the big, bad wolf would make me want to cry too.  Throw any more kids into the mix and they fight with each other, or pull on you, or will do anything to get you to stop doing all those weird super-hero moves and pay attention to them.   So with nearly 5 years of motherhood and three kids under my belt, I have come up with several solutions to this challenge.  Not to say that it still isn't a challenge for me.  It still is the biggest challenge I face in regards to fitness.  That's right.  Even more challenging than pikes on the exercise ball or plank jacks.  So, if you are finding that kids and exercise don't mix, here is the scoop:

-Tag team it.  Have your spouse/friend/co-worker/neighbor/mother/sister/brother who has the same fitness goal as you, whether they have kids or not, join in your efforts to get fit.  Have them watch your kid(s) while you workout, and then switch.  If the person has kids, its an even sweet deal because they get a kid-free workout out of it too.  Make sure, of course, that you exercise in another room---where the kids aren't!
-Exercise while the kid(s) nap, before they get up, or after they go to bed at night.  This is one I try to do, and sometimes get to.  But, I think Owen has a sixth-sense that can tell when I am up in the morning, even if I am on the other end of the house.
-If the kids are old enough, have them exercise with you.  They may loose interest in some parts, but my kids always find jumping jacks fun and will wait quietly in anticipation for that part of my workout. This encourages them to be proactive in their fitness at a young age!
-Use your kids as a exercise tools.  A push-up is a lot more challenging with a 40-lb preschooler on your back.  Below are some examples of exercises you can do with your kids.  BE CAREFUL, though, you don't want to hurt yourself or your kid in the process.  I wouldn't do much more than a push up or a plank with Jackson on my back because of his size.  It is easier to work with a 20-pounder or under.  If your child doesn't hold up his/her head yet, don't do this!  
-Put the kid(s) in a stroller and RUN!  They will enjoy the fresh air and the fast pace.  You'll get a good workout.  While they are still strapped in the stroller, you can finish up with 25 squats, 25 jump lunges, and 25 push-ups.  
-Put on a movie.  I know it's not the ideal thing to do with your kids.  It is only 30 minutes, though.  Getting your workout it will make your day and their day better, so it's worth it!
-Get a gym membership and GO!  Take advantage of the childcare, if you have the $$$!
-JUST DO IT.  Sorry Nike.  I stole that.  But seriously, folks, no matter how long it takes you and how frustrating it can be to exercise with kids interrupting, just get through it.  Sometimes it takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes for me to do a 35 minute workout.  Yes.  I get frustrated.  But, I NEVER regret continuing on and finishing the workout I started.

Just remember, your child's fitness starts with YOU.  If they see you exercise and eat right, they will mimic it.  They will want to be fit and healthy.  You are their example.  What a better way to teach them how they can give God the glory with the body He gave us?  With that said, have you worked out today?

 Push up with a child.  Do 10-20 of these depending on the weight of the child.  I honestly couldn't do many of these with this big boy on my back!  But, boy do I feel it!  
Push up with baby.  Place baby laying flat on floor.  Do a pushup over them, make a it goal to go down far enough to give them a kiss on the cheek each time you go down.  

Chest press with baby.  Lay on ground with legs bent and feet flat on ground.  Hold baby close to chest.  Push up all the way and bring child back down.  Make funny faces while doing it and your baby will be sure to be entertained!

Swing through with baby.  Hold OLDER baby under their arms.  Extend arms. Bend legs into a slight squat, making sure your knees don't go over your toes.  "Swing" baby slowly through legs and return to start position.  Do this for 12 reps.  Pause and repeat if baby is enjoying it.  Owen likes to hang his head back so he gets the "up-side down effect." You can also place one hand under your baby's bum and one under his neck and shoulders to support him if the baby is younger or your more comfortable with that position  (Pictured below).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Overall Fitness Update...The Hubby and I

It has been a couple weeks since Troy and I finished up the 30 Day Shred.  The day after we finished that up, we left for a 10 vacation to visit my brother and his family in the great state of Washington.  We stayed with my brother and he was kind enough to let us use his kitchen, so we only ate a total of 5 meals out!  That is incredible for a period of 10 days on vacation!!!  The rest of the meals were healthy and homemade.  We also had spinach & fruit smoothies (with whey protein and flax) every morning.  I am happy to report that neither of us gained weight.  We also worked out several times during our visit to WA.
My hubby and I on a date night in Spokane, WA.  We ate out at Jimmy John's that night.  Mmm!
When we got home, we started back up on my second round of Supreme 90 Day.  I have to say, that these workouts are still the most challenging for me.  No matter how strong I think I am, there is always a heavier weight I can use and I can always squat or lunge deeper.  There are always challenges to be had!  It feels so good to get back into this program!  And I love that Troy is doing it with me.  We had to buy him new shorts because his are falling off!  He is now down to 202 lbs.  That is down 16 lbs from his heaviest last year.  I'm so happy for him!  Counting his calories is certainly paying off, as is "Zig-Zagging" his calories.  Have you all heard of that?  I will explain how to do that and give a link to the calculator in a post ASAP.  The basic idea is to consume the same total weekly calories, but "zig-zag" the daily totals.    So, you could have 1200 calories one day, 1450 the next, and 1600 the next.  The theory behind it is to avoid plateaus because your body never gets used to what it's getting.  It seems to be working so far!

I'm not sure if it is my recent phenomenon of calorie zig-zagging or the fact that I weaned my twelve-month-old a couple weeks ago, but all of a sudden, I've lost three pounds...a half pound every few days.  This is the first time in my life that I can honestly say that I'm not trying!  I kept the same amount of calories as I did nursing because I hit my goal weight, therefore, I need to consume enough calories to maintain.  SO, I sure don't mind!!!  I am at 120 lbs now, and can't believe the scale!  (PS  I'm fitting into a size 2 now.  I have NEVER fit into a size 2 before, nor did I ever expect to!)

12 months post-pregnancy isn't all that bad!  :)
Lastly, but most importantly, I want to remind you all that the number one reason, as a follower of Christ, that I do this blog, my Facebook fit club, and get y'all into nutrition and exercise is because God made our bodies for more than just empty calories, high-frutose corn syrup, and the couch.  Let's all be good stewards of the bodies God gave us, whether you are trying to loose weight, bulk up, or just being fit.  There will be days of disappointment, whether it is in the way we ate that day, the fact that we couldn't get a workout in, or the because the scale didn't budge.  I've been there.  But, as long as you are moving and putting the right things in your body, you will feel good!  May God continue to bless your fitness endeavors!

30 Day Shred X 2

I am hear to tell you that I completed two rounds of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.  I am glad to say that Troy completed them with me as well.  I certainly notice a difference in my strength and endurance.  Those reverse lunges aren't so painful anymore.  I also noticed my abdominal muscles forming.  I seriously never thought that would happen.  At one point, I wasn't sure if I had a belly button anymore.  It is so encouraging to continue to see my body respond to these workouts!  After completing these two rounds of the shred, I got to 123 lbs, which was past my goal weight.  :)  Next up?  Another round the Supreme 90 Day!  Wooohooo!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Overall Fitness Update.

Our Facebook Fit Club's first walk/hike up Mt. Rubidoux
I'm on day 24 of my second round of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  I will soon be updating you with my stats for the whole 60 days.  I can tell you that I have lost a few more pounds and have now passed my goal weight of 125.  I weigh in at 123.6.  Seriously folks.  I have now lost a third of my body weight since I had my first child.  I am amazed at the strength God has given me!  He has also given me the desire to help others, and because I have very limited time, I have found a convenient way to do that.  Of course, this blog's goal is to inform and help others with their fitness goals.  But, more directly, I have started a "Fit Club" via Facebook for people in my church, or who are associated with my church somehow.  Folks at church were asking how I lost weight or how I was getting in shape and several of them started the Supreme 90 Day program because of my results.  The Facebook group was a way to support each other through our lifelong fitness journey!  I believe it is helping these individuals by encouraging to keep with it!

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

1/2 sweet onion (chopped)
1 zucchini (small, chopped)
3/4 cup tomatoes (canned, chopped)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
10-15 fresh basil leaves (minced)
2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
3/4 cup lentils (ready-made from Trader Joe's or your own cooked)
1/2 cup quinoa (cooked, cooled)
3 Mozzarella string cheese (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 large red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, halved lengthwise
Non-stick cooking spray
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Place bell peppers in the dish and set aside. In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients, except for cheese. Spoon the mixture in equal portions in the bell peppers. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bell pepper is tender. Turn on broiler in oven. Place cut string cheese sticks on top of bell peppers. Sprinkle with parmesan. Place in oven under broiler for 2 minutes, or until cheese has some golden brown spots. Serve with a bed of greens or fresh veggies. Enjoy!

Yield: Four Servings. About 270 Calories per serving and 400 Mg of Sodium

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Sausage Lettuce Tacos

This is a recipe I came up with last week in an effort to consume more vegetables. I have to be honest, I don't like chewing on carrot sticks and sometimes getting enough veggies seems like a burden, so recipes like these are helpful. My kids thought the lettuce wraps looked more like Tacos, hence the name! I can say that I really enjoyed eating much so that I made them for my lunch three times this week!

Chicken Sausage Lettuce Tacos

4 Chicken Sausage Links, chopped
8 Romaine Heart Lettuce Leaves
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped
2 Heads of Broccoli, chopped
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Cooking Spray

Coat skillet with cooking spray and heat. Place all chopped ingredients in skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the mixture until onions are transparent. The carrots and broccoli will still have a slight crunch to them. Rinse lettuce leaves and pat dry. Divide veggie-sausage mixture among the lettuce leaves and serve. Top with soy sauce, if desired. Serves 4.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crustless Quiche

I love eggs. I love them from my head down to my legs. Yes. I just said that! I would much rather have an egg than a piece of meat any day. So, in the search for a low-calorie basic quiche recipe, I tweaked a few, and came up with this recipe. They are simply delish! Enjoy!

Crustless Quiche

Preheat oven to 450 F.

1/4 c whole wheat flour (or almond flour if you are going gluten-free)
1 c low fat milk
1 c cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/4 c chopped of each- onion, spinach, broccoli, red bell pepper
1/4 c grated zucchini
3/4 c shredded reduced fat cheese
5 Amylu breakfast chicken sausage links, chopped (or any low fat chicken sausage)
3 T grated parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Put flour in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in 1/2 c milk until smooth. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Add cottage cheese and remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Set batter aside. Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high heat. Add veggies and sausage and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Add 1 T reduced fat cheese to each cup. Add 2 T veggie mix to each cup. Pour egg batter to fill each cup. Finish off by sprinkling with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until set and light golden brown. Makes 12 muffin-sized quiches.

I double recipe and freeze leftovers. They can be popped the the microwave for 20 seconds for a quick, healthy breakfast! Each quiche is about 95 calories.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How I did it.

As a result of posting my before/after photos on Facebook, I got a slew of wonderfully kind complements (thanks!) and a slew of "How DID you do it?" questions.  So, if you were wondering how I went from 185 lbs to 128 lbs, read on!

"Do what you can and don't think that you can't do it!"

I started this blog in the beginning of 2008.  I had several goals in mind regarding fitness.  Of course, the main goal was to loose weight.  I started at my postpartum weight of 185 lbs, but by January when I decided to start the blog, I got down to about 175.  I stayed there for a while until I started Weight Watchers in May of 2008.  I went on to loose 20 lbs on Weight Watchers that summer, and an additional 10 lbs the following fall.   By December of 2008, I was pregnant, and I had reached the weight of 155 lbs.  That was half the weight lost before my second pregnancy!  I went on to gain only 19 lbs in my second pregnancy (a HUGE contrast to the 60 lbs I gained with my first!).  That 19 lbs came off when I delivered my second.  I
 lost 10 more pounds before I got pregnant with my third, and  in at about 145 lbs.  I gained 20 lbs when my third pregnancy, and for some reason, that didn't all come off with the baby!  My scale seemed to be stuck at 151 lbs.  I cut out a lot of sugar and, once more, got serious about eating healthy.  I know how to eat healthy.  I've read books.  Taken classes.  The knowledge is there.   I just needed the discipline to apply it!  By the summer of 2011, a few months after having my third, I was able to drop 7 lbs VERY SLOWLY!  I knew I need a kick in the butt.  Physically.   workout DVDs were no longer challenging and I had a hunch that was problem.  I saw a write-up for a 20 buck program called Supreme 90 Day in Fitness Magazine, so I decided to go for it.  I committed and the rest, including that extra 16 lbs, is history.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries,
flaxseed, 1% milk, and egg w/ egg
white on the side.
There were two common habits I formed over that period of time in order to loose weight.  Number one:  STOP EATING CRUD!  God didn't make our bodies to digest weird concoctions of chemicals like high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogentated oils.  He also made the grains we grow perfect for our need to "enrich" them.  That brings me to need to choose your carbs wisely.  I don't eat enriched flours.  If the product says, "Whole Grain" or "Whole Wheat" on the label it doesn't mean it is actually whole grain or whole wheat.  CHECK THE LABEL!!!  The first ingredient must say "100 % whole wheat flour" or "whole wheat flour" or a list of the grains it includes.  If the ingredients say, "enriched flour" of any kind, that means that food is rubbish!  Essentially, the label is saying that they took all the good stuff out of the flour and added only four to five nutrients back in (iron, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine).  Hmmm...somehow I don't know how they get away with calling it "enriched."  I will tell you that I enjoy carbs.  And, thankfully, there are healthy carbs.  I LOVE oatmeal.  I love it in the morning and I love it as my last meal in the late evening.  I don't add sugar, though!  There is a pleasant nuttiness that I enjoy, especially to the steal cut variety.  I add 1/2 cup of blueberries or apples and 1 Tbsp of flaxseed and it is simply perfect!  (read about the benefits of Flaxseed here!) I also enjoy brown rice. Brown basmati or brown jasmine are very flavorful.   You need no butter.  Just boil, fluff, and enjoy. 

Lunch: Lots of  veggies topped with
chicken breast, cheese and Trader Joe's
Parmesan Ranch Dressing.
In addition to those "good" carbs, I have come to enjoy fruits and vegetables.  I have always devoured the sweeter fruits like grapes, peaches, nectarines, and plums.  I now eat apples, blueberries, and oranges regularly as well.  Fruit is a great food to "seal the meal" and it actually goes really well with cheese.  That pair makes a great snack.  Vegetables were not always my thing.  I ate salad and that's about it.  I have come to enjoy a variety of veggies now, and I would have to say that one of my favorite is broccoli.  I have to thank my kids for that.  They LOVE it and so we eat it a lot.  I can eat a whole cup of broccoli with no problem now!  

Mid weight loss journey, I read "Mastering My Metabolism" (read blog about that here) by Jillian Michaels, and read a whole lot of reasons why not to eat processed food.  To my frustration, 90% of the food in my kitchen at that a time was processed because that is what normal grocery stores sale.  I stopped couponing at this point because most of the foods sold by large companies who put out coupons were processed foods.  It does cost a little more money to eat "clean" as some call it, but it is well worth it!  Now, to top off the weight loss tips in regards to nutrition, I must say that keeping a food diary, and perhaps counting calories, helped me tremendously when it came to loosing weight.  I wasn't eating enough as a nursing mother, and that, to me, is very important.  Your body needs fuel to run.  If it doesn't get that fuel, your metabolism will go on a downward spiral.  

Oh.  One more thing.  Drink water.  Lots of it.  It helps things *ahem* along.

The second habit that helped me loose weight:  KEEP MOVING (challenge yourself)!  It is worth the thirty minutes a day to "sacrifice" for the results you get.  And I'm not only talking about the weight lose.  I am talking about the strength, energy, and endurance you gain.  I love being able to run after my kids, pick up my toddler, and still have energy at the end of the day.  God did not create us to be sedentary creatures.  We have been made to move, whether it be work or play!  I am the type of person who gets very bored very quickly with workouts.  I do it for a week, and then I am done with it.  For those of you who tend to do the same thing, I would recommend something like Supreme 90 Day or Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.  These workouts play off of "muscle confusion," which basically means mixing up the workouts so your body never gets used to them.  That way, you get the most out of your workout, as do your muscles.  I can tell you first hand that this approach worked for me.  Whatever your perfect workout may be, find something that will keep you motivated to keep on moving---and make sure that the way you are moving is challenging your body.  Huff and puff!  You were made to!

Alright, folks!  That is just a small tidbit of what I have learned through my weight loss journey.  I am still learning, devouring all the facts that come my way.  I enjoy being healthy and fit and I have to say that I am most thankful to God who had given me perseverance to get through this weight loss journey.  I strive to keep that perspective.  It is for Him that I do these things.  It is for His glory.

1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink,or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Supreme 90 Day Wrap-Up

Before: 144lbs                             After: 128lbs

(For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.)

I finally finished my Supreme 90 Day* workout program!  It took me more like 135 days, but whose counting anyway?  I lost 16 pounds and a whole lot of inches (see below).  I went from a size 11 to a size 3.  After 6 1/2 years of marriage and three kids, my wedding dress is TOO BIG!!! I have NEVER been this strong in my life!  I can do pushups...REAL pushups!  I am definitely going to do this program again, just after I finish the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day shred.  Although, I hope it doesn't take me 135 days the next time around.  I hear my bathing suit calling my name for the summer!  Here are the results in inches:

Before/After/Total Lost
Chest:  34.5" / 31.75" / 2.75"Waist:  32" / 28.25" / 3.75"
Navel: 36" / 30.75" / 5.25"
Hips:  38" / 33.75" / 4.25"
Arms:  11.5" / 10" / 1.5" (in each arm)
Thighs:  17.25" / 14.75" / 2.5" (in each thigh)
Calves:  13.5" / 12.5" / 1" (in each calf)
Total inches lost:  26" all over!!!

Before: 185 lbs                  After: 128 lbs
To top it all off, this final stint of my weight loss is the final chapter in loosing my baby weight.  Above are my "before/after" photos.  In the before photo, I was 185 lbs after my first child.  In the after photo, I was 128 lbs 9 months after having my third child.  I've lost 58 lbs!  Here is to staying healthy and KEEPING IT OFF!!!!

*You can buy Supreme 90 Day at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, or for around 20 bucks.  I saw it around Christmas time at Bed Bath & Beyond for 10.  Definitely worth the money!

Update June 2015:  This workout system is honestly the best I've tried, and I've tried a lot of the most popular (Insanity, 21 Day Fix, Jillian Michaels, BBL to name a few!).  After over three years of finishing this system for the first time, I always come back to these workouts.  They are the most effective for me!  If you want an amazing workout system that you will keep going back to, please click on the link below!  It is no longer available in stores!  Amazon seems to be one of the only ones carrying this GEM of a workout system.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Get Ready...

I am pretty much finished up with my Supreme 90 Day workout program.  So, I'm going to be posting my "after" photos up here within a few days.  Let me just say that I am pretty amazed with the results!  I have lost inches and inches!  I am in the best shape of my life...and that is after three kids!  I feel great and I've had to buy new clothes because most of my clothes were too big.  Oh, darn.  I would have posted more during photos, but my camera decided to go out on me! :(  See you in a couple of days!