Saturday, November 07, 2009

2009 Dam Challenge

The 4th Annual Kickapoo Dam Challenge was the best yet. Each year I get a new partner and we keep improving our time. It's one of my favorite races to do because it combines the canoe, biking, and running. It was a little soggy this year but it didn't take away from the fun. Tom's sister Kelly was my partner in crime this year plus she's a kayaker so I knew we'd have a leg up this year. I decided to do the run this year since I biked it last year and I'm glad I did it was so pretty running through the fields.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

As Dorothy once said "there's no place like home" and I couldn't agree more but Dorothy wasn't trying to loose weight on her way back to Kansas.  

I was home for my mom's 70th birthday and it was a food fest weekend.  It started with Pizza on Thursday night, steaks on Friday night, chili on Saturday night and the pinnacle was the birthday party.  We had pork sandwiches, you know the other white meat, served with cheesy hash brown potatoes, creamy macaroni salad, some pudding and whipped cream cookie mix that I know was packed with thousands of calories.  The ultimate was the b-day cake which was so yummy you couldn't have just one piece.  Oh and I forgot the nuts and candy corn combo on each table which my fingers made their way to several times.  

I stopped trying to count the calories and points and just let myself enjoy because of the special occasion.  I did do extra workouts that day knowing what was on the menu.  I can happily report after a high calorie weekend I maintained my weight.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who loves bread?

Bread is always a weakness especially when they drop a basket off at your table before you even order.  I like to have toast in the morning or make a turkey sandwich but hate to waste the points on carbs.  I recently heard of Ezekiel bread which I found at Trader Joes.  It's made by a company called  I picked up the cinnamon raisin and used it as french toast in the morning just adding sliced banana, Smucker's Sugar free breakfast syrup.  YUMMY and the whole thing was 4pts.

Snack Attack

I'm always on the hunt for new snacks and I found a good one at Costco the other day.  I have a huge weakness for cheese and crackers.  I usually stick to Triscuts and Wheat thins or flat bread crackers.  I was walking through the Costco aisle when I came across Pita Bites by a company called  The best part is 1 serving = 9 crackers (2pts).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Woman's Week at the Gym

If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into aregular workout routine.

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my Husband (the dear) purchased a week ofpersonal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school footballcheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go aheadand give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer namedChristo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor andmodel for athletic clothing and swim wear. My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it waswell worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting forme. He is something of a Greek god - with blond hair, dancing eyes and adazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watchingthe skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workouttoday. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was alreadyaching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going tobe a FANTASTIC week-!!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door.Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then heput weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I madethe full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT-!!It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on thecounter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop.I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other clubmembers. His voice is a little to perky for that early in the morning andwhen he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on thestair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activityrendered obsolete by Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.

THURSDAY: Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as histhin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being ahalf an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ranand hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated anyother human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic,anorexic little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body Icould move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! Andif you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutritionteacher .Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or thechoir director?

SATURDAY: Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voicewondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made mewant to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to evenuse the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of theWeather Channel.

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go andthank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year myhusband will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he wouldhave sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!! Send this to a friend who needs to laugh. We all need a good laugh

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cereal Obsession

Ok, awhile back I told you about my love of Fiber One Carmel Delight. Since then I've found some new cereals to share. I'm some of these are not new to you but for me I've just become acquainted. Puffins by Barbara's Bakery are yummy! There are four different flavors, Cinnamon being my favorite. Best part is for 1 cup it's only 1pt!

The other new find is from Mother's Natural all natural cereals. If you liked Cocoa Puffs as a kid you'll love this plus they have one called Graham Cracker. I haven't broken into that box yet, but can only imagine how yummy!

I did it! My 1st Half Marathon

On August 2nd I ran my first half marathon in the Chicago Rock n' Roll Half Marathon and it was a great experience. I'd been thinking about doing it for a few months but when I finally decided to commit to running the race had sold out. I went to Craigslist to see if I could find one to purchase and finally two days before the race I got a bib.

Since I got the bib last minute I didn't really have any expectations and hadn't trained expect for my occassional runs and bootcamp. The day before the race I decided to head to Fleet Feet to get fitted for some new running shoes, I know the wrong thing to do but I decided to take my chance. I did run in my new Nike Zoom's, they are like running on clouds, and they did me well no blisters. Of course I had to buy some new running gear so $250 later I was hooked up with shorts, shoes, top, socks, and my new gadget the Nike Sports band. I love it! The morning of the race I was feeling very excited I was up early and headed downtown to Grant Park around 6:00am and met a friend from bootcamp that was running her first marathon as well. There was over 18,000 people registered so they had a tiered start which made it much easier to get going.

I got my iPod all set, oh did I forget to mention I bought a new iPod Nano as well with the running strap of course. I'm finding running is becoming an expensive addiction. Anyway it was a perfectly gorgeous day for running, blue sky and moderate temp. The first half of the race weaved through several downtown neighborhoods and then moved down the lakefront past Soldier Field. Scattered throughout the race were various rock bands which gave me something to look forward to every few miles. The best spot was at the 10 mile turn when we started back along the lake. When we made the turn it was the most spectacular view of the city and just made me appreciate why I live in Chicago.

As I came around the Aquarium, another great spot, I felt like the last mile was the longest. I was feeling really good and decided to make it a strong finish. When I came down Columbus Ave with hundreds of people cheering on all sides I felt like a rock star. I finished in 2hr 19min which for a first timer was pretty good from what I was told.

Well, now I've got the bug and have signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon in September and thinking about doing another Rock n' Roll race in Las Vegas and New Orleans. I never thought when I started this journey I would have every run a half marathon but I'm so proud of myself for accomplishing and encourge anyone to set a goal and go for it!

Snack Attack

Some great new snacks to share that can help curve the sweet tooth. Frito Lay the makes of those yummy chips has now come out with a new line called Smart Food Popcorn Clusters. They have four different flavors 1 pkg is only 2pts. I found them at Walgreens but I'm sure you can find that all major grocers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What a difference a year makes

Last weekend I ran in the Hobo Run 10K in my hometown of Britt, Iowa. Now you wouldn't think it would mean that much but it was actually very signifigant to me. It was a year ago that I first began running and it was actually when I was home visiting my parents that I decided to try running. I ran in high school when I was in sports but it had been many years since so I wasn't sure if I'd make it past the high school just a couple blocks away.

I set out to run the same path we did in gym class which was out towards, what we called the "T" intersection about a mile away. I made it out there and thought to myself "I made it and I didn't die" so I decided to keep going to see how far I could go and to my surprise I made it almost another mile. When I came up on that next intersection I felt like I'd won the Boston Marathon. I had the biggest smile on my face and when I got back to the house I called my best friend to tell her of my achievement.

It's now a year later and I've run not only a 10K, two in fact but I just did my first half marathon. When I tell people that I started running they always tell me there's no way they could run. I just think back to that day I ran to the "T" and smile because I didn't think I could make it either but I did!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snack Attack - Chex Mix Bars

I was having a mid afternoon snack attack so I walked over to 7 Eleven and I was being called to the bad snack aisle. I was scanning the freezer for ice scream, then over to the snack cakes and finally I picked up a bag of Chex Mix Snack Mix - Turtle. Of course I knew I eat the whole thing but I need my chocolate fix. Just before checking out I swung by the health bar aisle to see if they had any fiber one bars(2pts) when I spotted Chex Mix Bars. So basically the big bag in my hand compacted into a bar....LOVE IT! I rushed back to my office jumped on line to check the nutritional value and points and it's only 2pts!!!!!! Thank you General Mills for making something ooey gooey delicious and healthy! Enjoy and tell me what you think.

Beer 101 from WW

29 facts and tips to savor with your favorite malt beverage.

Your typical 12-ounce beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) contains 3 POINTS® values.

The typical 16-ounce draft pint contains 4 POINTS values.

Most 12-ounce light beers are about 2POINTS values.

A 1-pint draft of light beer is 3 POINTSvalues.

Beer bellies, the traditional male malady, are enough to put either sex off downing a cold one. But they're a myth, says Charlie Bamforth, PhD, chair and professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis and author of Beer: Health and Nutrition. "This is a silly myth. If folks get fat from drinking beer it's because their total calorie intake is too high and they are not working it off."

What’ll ya have?

There are thousands of different beers. Here’s a selection of a dozen popular brews. Some are smarter grabs that save POINTS® values. All are 12 ounces.

Beers with 1 POINTS Values

Miller Genuine Draft Light 64 (MGD 64) 
Becks Premier Light

Beers with 2 POINTS Values

Amstel Light 
Guinness Draft (bottle) 
Aspen Edge 
Samuel Adams Light 
Bud Select

Beers with More POINTS Values

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 
Coors Blue Moon 
Red Hook IPA 
Molson Golden
The good news
Beer includes some minerals as well as:
  • NO cholesterol
  • NO fat
  • Very little sugar

The bad news
While experts may pooh-pooh beer bellies, the fact remains that alcohol is one calorie-dense nectar, packing seven calories per gram. That's almost as much as fat, which has nine calories per gram. Don't blame the malt. "The most significant source of calories in beer is the alcohol itself," says Bamforth, "The stronger the beer, the more calories."

  • Most 12-ounce beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume contains POINTS values.

  • The typical 16-ounce draft pint contains POINTS values.

  • Most 12-ounce "light" beers arePOINTS values.

  • 1-pint draft of light beer is 3POINTS values.

  • 12-ounce non-alcoholic beer isPOINTS value.

  • You can now buy beer with 1POINTS values; they are the lowest in alcohol, at about 3 percent by volume.
Can it improve your health?
Some studies show that moderate drinking may help lower risk of heart disease, particularly in women over 55 and men over 45. But what is moderate? For women, it's no more than one drink per day. For men, it's no more than two. Exceed your quota, and the risk of heart and liver disease, stroke and accidents negate any perks. 

Don't follow the lite
The terms "light" and "lite" (or any other cutesy variation) have no legal definition. They could mean the beer is light in color or lighter than lead — or anything else the staff at the brewery decided. 

Watch your low-carb language
If the labels reads "low carbohydrate," the beer must have no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving. But any beer can tout "reduced carbohydrates" or "lower carbohydrates" on its label, just so long as the brewery makes a more carb-heavy beer. Shifty, eh? 

Do suds wine-style
A tip that adds civility and can shave POINTS values: "There's nothing wrong with pouring a beer into two glasses at dinner like you would with wine," says George F. Reisch, brewmaster for Anheiser Busch, Inc. Yes, you read correctly. One of the guys who makes Budweiser takes his Bud in a white-wine glass. "I actually think people should share beers more," Reisch adds. "It's smart and your last sip will still be cold." 

Nix the nuts
Those robotic grabs of peanuts or cheddar fish can add up to triple the calories and POINTS values of the beer you drink. Be prepared: Drinking can lead to snacking, so keep the right stuff on hand — or see if you can charm the bartender into stocking better choices. Instead of party mix, try: 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Snack Attack only 1pt

Over the weekend I found a new snack you have to try, it's Barbra's Bakery Puffins cereal(original). It's 1pt for 3/4 cup.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

20 - Minute, Glute Sculpting Treadmill Workout

If there is one thing I could change on my body it would be to have a JLO or Beyonce booty! I found a workout that kicks your butt in 20 minutes so if you don't have much time try this treadmill workout.

Recommended speed is 4 rpm, however you can adjust for your fitness level

Minutes /Incline

0:00-5:00 / 3-3.5

5:00-7:00 / 8-10

7:00-8:00 / 4-6

8:00-10:00 / 10

10:00-11:00 / 5-7

11:00-13:00 / 12

13:00-14:00 / 10

14:00-15:00 / 12

15:00-20:00 2-4

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Boot Camp

I'm getting excited for the next round of boot camp. I found Windy City Adventure Boot Camp last fall and fell in love. I was surprised to find myself getting excited to get up at 5:00am to ride my bike to the park four days a week to workout. Whenever I tell people about boot camp I can tell they start to get visions of a big, mean, military guy barking orders. It's actually nothing like that it's more like a fitness camp. We do an hours of cardio drills and usually end with an ab workout. For those of us with workout ADD it's perfect. I describe it to people who played sports in high school it's like going to volleyball or basketball practice. The only difference is your paying this coach to tell you to move your ass! I like it because we always do something different and we're using our body throughout the workout no machines and it's all outdoors. The only bad part it's at 5:30am in the morning, but at least I get it out of the way. If interested in boot camp in Chicago check out or one near you go to

The only reason I'm endorsing so strongly is because I think it's been one of the instrumental things that's helped get my body in shape.

Good luck!

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors
I had a great 4th of July holiday in Montana. I went to visit my best friends who are stationed at the Air Force base in Great Falls. Over the holiday we went camping in Glacier National Park. Ever since they've moved to Montana I've wanted to go and my whole goal was to find bear. Unfotunately the bears kept their distance so the hunt is still on.

Ok, so I was on vacation which meant I slacked on my workouts and watching what I eat but were entitled every once in a while. During my trip we hiked over 20 miles so I thought for sure when I got home I would have dropped a pound or two, but nothing! I was so frustrated but then again I'm sure the beers and smores didn't help the cause. I've had trouble getting back on the workout plan but I'm headed back to boot camp in a week which I can't wait for plus working out with Paul the trainer twice a week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Healthy Snack Mix

I LOVE this snack mix recipe I found in the Hungry Girl cookbook. I modified some of the ingredients

2 cups Cheerios(or puffed corn cereal)
1/4 cup Fiber One Carmel Delight(this is so yummy!)
1 cup pretzel thins(The Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps are the best and lower in calorie)
1/2 cup almonds
3 tblsp Splenda No Calorie Sweetner(granulated)
1 1/2 tblsp light whipped butter or light buttery spread
1 tblsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Since this is a quickie recipe, it's best to have all ingredients measured out and ready t go before starting, in order to avoid burning. Begin by setting out a large piece of foil for the recipe to cool on after it's prepared.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, Splenda, corn syrup, and cinnamon. Stir while cooking over low heat. Once mixture is thoroughly blended and bubbling, stir in both cereals and coat them with the mixture. Continuously stir for about 2/12 minutes, until cereal mix looks well coated and toasty. Spread mixture out on foil until cool.

WW 2pts. per cup

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cereal Obsession

As a kid I grew up with a mom who did not allow us to have sugar cereals. Occasionally our whining paid off at the grocery store and we broke her down to buy us Lucky Charms, Trix, or Coco Puffs. I found a cereal that rivals all the others and is healthy for you....Fiber One Carmel Delight. I love, love, love, this cereal so much that I eat it without milk. I definitely suggest trying it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chocolate Fix

If you're like me there are those certain foods that if put in front of you or are even in close range you will devour. Well, mine is Oreos and I can't just have one so they are completely banned from my house. I recently had friends in town and they had brought a package with them but left in the van. I tried so hard to not look at them but they just kept calling my name so I indulged thank goodness there wasn't many left.

Anyway one of the best recipes I found to satisfy my Chocolate fix is from the Hungry Girl cookbook(the original book) and it's the easiest recipe.

Yum Yum Brownie Muffins - Hungry Girl recipe
1 box devil's food cake mix(18 oz)
One 15 oz. can pure pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, like eggs, oil, or water. The mixture will be very thick, so you might be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. Do not do this! One thing I do add is some chocolate chips or buy the brownie mix with chocolate chunks.

Place batter into a 12 cup muffin pan lined with baking cups or sprayed with nonstick spray. Place pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. If you use the large muffin pans each muffin is 4 WW pts.. I use a mini muffin pan which makes them only 2 WW pts..

You'll LOVE these!!

300 Calorie Pancakes

I love pancakes and I found this recipe in Fitness Magazine.

Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes
1/2 small banana, chopped(I use the whole banana)
2 tsp peanut butter
1/3 cup prepared whole-grain pancake batter(I use Heart Smart Bisquick)

Add banana and peanut butter to batter. Cook pancakes and serve. You can use honey to drizzle on top. I prefer Smuckers Sugar Free Breakfast Syrup(0 points and so yummy can tell the difference from the real stuff).

Just Say "Thank You"

I know many of us hesitate to accept compliments about ourselves. We do everything we can to outright deflect or reject them. Yet taking the compliment or acknowledging our successes can feel so good. It can help us feel better about ourselves, improve our self-image and self-confidence, and help us feel happiness or joy.

This is definitely true during weight loss as I continue to drop the weight people are very complimentary and gracious about telling me how great I look and what an inspiration I am to them to make a change. It’s taken a while but I’m learning to accept the compliments and turn them into motivation to keep achieving my goals.

The best compliment came the other day from a store clerk downtown and she didn’t even realize she’d just given me the biggest compliment of my life. I had seen a cute summer dress in a fashion magazine and as I walked by the store I thought I’d stop in to see if they had it available. The woman greeted me at the front of the store and asked if she could assist and I told about the dress….now here’s the good part. She said “you need the regular sizes and that store is down the street” the store I was in was for plus size. I could have hugged her right there. I walked out of the store with the biggest smile on my face.

The morale of the story is to learn to accept the compliments no matter why it’s given you deserve it!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Meta Meat Loaf

I'm not a big meatloaf fan but I found this recipe in a book called "The Metabolism Advantage". It's packed with flavor, high in protein, and low in WW points. You'll have to calculate yourself depending on what you use meat wise and the type of pan.

1 lb extra lean(96%) ground beef or ground turkey
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 omega-3 egg, beaten
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup oat bran (could probably substitute with Fiber one cereal crushed)
1/4 cup chopped seeded green bell pepper
2 tablespoons whole flaxseed or 4 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 350'F. Coat a 9"x5" loaf pan with olive oil cooking spray.(I used a loaf pan). In a large bowl, combine the beef, celery, egg, onion, garlic, cottage cheese, bran, bell pepper, flaxseed, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes. It was more like an hour.

The recipe says it makes 2 servings but I got at least 6 servings out of it.
Per Serving: 548 calories, 69g protein, 32g carbs, 9g fiber, 8g sugar, 19g fat.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Biggest Looser Mini Blueberry Bran Muffins

I was thumbing through the Biggest Looser 30 - Day Jumpstart book at Target and found this recipe and came home and googled and found it on-line. Just made them last night and already a fan. The best part is they are only 1 point.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups unprocessed wheat bran or oat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup honey
1 ripe medium banana, mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries or other berries

Instructions: Makes 24 (1 Muffin) Servings

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat 2 nonstick miniature muffin pans (12 mini-muffin tins per pan) with olive oil cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the bran, flour, flaxseed, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In another medium bowl or a blender, combine the milk, honey, banana, egg, olive oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in one third of the liquid mixture. Using a spoon, stir until smooth. Add the remaining liquid mixture and stir until well combined. Add the blueberries and stir again, but don't overmix.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the centers. Do not overBake. Cool the muffins int he pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm, or allow them to cool completely on the rack.

Per Serving(makes 24):
70 calories; 2 g protein; 13 g carbohydrates (6 g sugars); 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 3 g fiber; 85 mg sodium.
WW = 1pt

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Who new cauliflower was such a versatile vegetable. I'm working on getting more veggies into my daily menu and I picked up a couple heads of cauliflower. I made macaroni & cheese out of one today and the other I was going to make mashed potatoes. I just found a video on line showing how you can also turn it into rice. Check it out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Get n Gear 10K

On Saturday April 25 I completed my first 10K race in 1:02:01. The group met at Kaleigh and Tom's in the morning. The day started out windy and chilly but by the time we took to the start the wind died down the sun came out and it was a good day for a run. I wasn't nervous about finishing my goal was to try and come in under and hour. I was close!

around mile 5......I can see the finish line


April 2007

A year later......

May 2007

A year later.....

September 2007

A year later.......

October 2007

A year later......

February 2007

A year later...........

January 2008

A year later......

January 2009

Ah Hah moment

September 2007
Size 24/26
My heaviest weight! I recently found this picture and was shocked.
A year later