Archive | August 2012

Yoga is not for sissy la la’s

Some of you may think that yoga is just a bunch of breathing and silly poses but I am here to tell you it is not! As my husband said after only 10 minutes “This yoga s**t is no joke.”  Several of the poses incorporate your entire body in order to hold the pose and not fall over. When I first started yoga many moons ago I was surprised at how hard it was and felt like I had gotten a great workout.

I was lucky enough to find a great teacher who taught me the most important part of yoga is the breathing. You need to really focus on the inhale and exhale to get the full benefits. If you are having trouble breathing then you need to ease up on the pose. She took great care to explain the poses and to direct you when to inhale and exhale. Sadly (for me, happy for her) she was pregnant and left on maternity leave shortly after I started yoga.

Unfortunatly, I have found that many people who teach yoga do not take the time to teach you to breath. I swear some only know 2-3 poses and make you do them over and over again. If you don’t like yoga the first time, try another class or teacher. You will feel awkward and out of shape at first but I promise if you do a little every day, in a week you will start to see vast improvement.

As part of my new healthy lifestyle fitness goals I have been trying to do yoga for at least 10 minutes a day. More if there is time. This goal was even harder than giving up soda and fast food because I am so not a morning person and will make any excuse to sleep in an extra 30 seconds.

I wanted to do my yoga in the morning as a way to help me wake up and to energize myself for the day. The the plan was to then go for a walk or hit the gym in the evening.  Since I am too lazy to get up extra early for a morning class I decided to just use the internet to find some good videos that will walk me through some basic poses.

I found a great video on called Yoga Zone – Introduction to Yoga This video is an hour long but I only do the first 10-20 minutes in the morning. The first few minutes are a great wake up as you are taught to breath. I love this part because it allows me to slowly wake up before jumping right into something. The first poses, potted palm, have done wonders for my back. The video talks about ways to modify the poses to help those who are not as flexible.  I love listing to Alan finger as he reminds me to inhale and exhale but at times his voice can get a bit creepy. His descriptions of the poses are very clear and easy to understand, he also talks about ways to modify the poses if you are not as strong or flexible.

They have several other yoga videos that include morning and evening workouts, fat burning and back strengthening workouts just to name a few.  I suggest you start with the introduction try it a few times to get the breathing and basic poses down, then try the other videos.

I go to work, feeling more energetic and awake when I take 10 minutes to do this work out.  The only drawback with watching it on Hulu is that there are commercials. When they come on they tend to break my concentration and the mood but I can’t complain because it is free. If you like the workout you can purchase the DVD’s through Amazon, just click on the link – Yoga Zone – Introduction to Yoga


Family Dinner Night – Healthy Tomato non-Vodka Sauce

I just love family dinner night. I love how over the years our family has grown to include aunts, uncles, cousins and grandchildren. Soon I expect great grandchildren to join in but not too soon I hope.

Last Saturday we all got together at Grandpa’s house for family dinner. I also love the opportunity to cook for my family and that our mom, Wendy, does all the dishes.

I decided to cook something healthy so I made a Mock Vodka Sauce served over spaghetti squash. The recipe is inspired by Penne Alla “Not-ka” from  “Cook Yourself Thin”  I find the original recipe is never enough so I always double it and we usually have tasty left overs for lunch but not this time.

Healthy Tomato non-Vodka Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1 cup chopped red onion (1 medium red onion)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 14-ounce cans fire roasted chopped tomatoes (Can substitute regular but fire roasted is better)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Top with grated Parmesan cheese and shredded fresh basil


  1. In a large sauce pan heat the oil then add onion and salt. Sauté until slightly caramelized, add garlic and red pepper flakes cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes with juice and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer very gently 10 minutes.
  3. If you want a more creamy sauce puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor before adding to the pan, or blend with a stick blender.
  4. Add milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not put the lid on.
  5. Serve over spaghetti sauce out other pasta.

My father also cooked up some halibut and my brothers loved eating that with the sauce.

Nutritional information below from  based on serving size ov 1/2 cup sauce and 1 cup of spaghetti squash.

Official Dinner plate – Not so healthy Garlic bread, Pasta and sauce, ahlibut, and yes a family dinner would not be complete without a Joe Josts Pickled Egg.









Some more pictures from family dinner night.

Big Brother Mike (Mr. Evil) and me sampling the garlic bread.

Mama Wendy and Michelle (Girlfriend-in-law) throwing some gang signs.

Nephew Christian and baby brother Anthony enjoying the sauce over fresh Alaskan halibut cooked to perfection by Grandpa Don.


There is no right way to work out

When I first started to get back into shape about three years ago (Then fell of the wagon) I started to do a lot of research on the best way to work out to get optimal results. What I found was a lot of conflicting information and ultimately I came to the conclusion that there is no right way to work out. There are several wrong ways such as pushing too hard and causing damage. While I say there is no right way, I will admit there are better ways but what works for one person may not work for you.

Your friends may have gotten great results doing heavy weights, muscle isolations, heavy cardio, or circuit training but you need to consider that genetics, body type, metabolism, gender (and ultimately diet) all play a part in how you lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle.

What works for one person may not work for you. You need to experiment and try new things. Find out what works for you. In order to get the most from your workout you need to push yourself, mix it up, and do something you enjoy so that you keep at it and stay with it. You need to be active and keep moving. If you don’t like what you are doing then try something else.

Personally, I love to go for long walks. With my knees and back I can’t run but I can walk fast and push myself to go farther and faster. I enjoy doing free weights because I feel I getter an entire body workout. I love to mix it up with the cardio machines because I get bored after 10 minutes.

Don’t let negative ninnies tell you that you are not working out right, they can offer you advice but ultimately you are the only one who can judge if you are working out enough and pushing yourself. Next educate yourself, see what the experts say be careful to check your source when you search the internet to make sure it is reliable. Remember the important thing about working out is that you are active and keep at it.

Thousand Island Chicken and Broccoli

Chris and I decided that to help improve our healthy lifestyle and to save money that we would each take a turn cooking. We each agreed to cook at least one meal a week. We then make enough to pack up for 2-4 lunches so we don’t have to eat fast food. This has been working out great but I learned that if I do the prep work Chris will be more likely to cook something.

I was working on a meal that involved chicken and discovered that I had defrosted too much I didn’t want to put it in the freezer so I looked in my fridge and found a bottle of thousand island dressing that was about 1/3 full. I was then inspired to come up with this dish. The measurements are approximate.

Thousand Island Chicken and Broccoli

  • ½ cup thousand island dressing
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of broccoli

Put all the ingredients in a bag, shake and let marinate for 1 hour, better if it is over night. Place the chicken and broccoli on the grill. I used the water to help get all the dressing out of the bottle.

In order to keep the broccoli from falling through the grill we placed it on a metal cooling rack that I bought for baking cookies but never used. If you don’t have this just use a piece of foil placed on the grill. The broccoli cooks fast so start the chicken first.  Just cook the broccoli so it gets a quick char and the sugar in the dressing caramelizes. About 5-10 minutes.

The broccoli was still crunchy and had a nice sweet flavor without being overpowering. The chicken was tender and juicy. Definitely a keeper!

That’s it! So easy even a man can do it!

Do new things, don’t’ stop because it’s hard.

The first time I tried the elliptical machine at my gym, I found it awkward and difficult. I didn’t like it so I avoided the machine for a long time. I think the first time I only gave it 2 minutes before I decided I didn’t like it. In reality it was too difficult and made me feel awkward. I was self conscious and afraid of failing, so I didn’t try.

I tried out a few classes when I first joined a gym and I hated them. Everyone moved so fast, I felt that I couldn’t keep up. I thought people were laughing at the awkward white girl with no rhythm. Then I thought of advice I often told my students when I was trying to teach them a new skill and they got upset that they couldn’t do it as well or as easily as I did. I told them that I had been doing this for several years and had a lot of practice. I told them to think of a young child learning to walk or ride a bike. They stumble and fall several times but soon you are racing to keep up with them.  I went back to the classes and I started to not just watch the teacher but to watch the people around me. I saw that not all of them did the moves perfectly but that they kept moving and tried. I learned to adjust some of the moves to align with my fitness and beginner level. Then I started to enjoy myself.

Don’t be afraid to try new things but make sure you really give them chance before you give up. Don’t try something half-a**ed for 2 minutes then give up or decide you don’t like it because it is too hard. Life is hard, getting into shape is hard. But once you are there it will all be worth it.

Push yourself; learn to modify a workout if needed. Realize it won’t be perfect the first time but eventually it will get easier and better. The first time I got a gym membership, I would just play on the machines, I didn’t push myself, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just playing around, then I got frustrated because I didn’t get any results. Hmmm wonder why.

Eventually I went back to the elliptical and decided that I wasn’t going to let it win. I tried it again and this time did 5 minutes, the next day I did 7 and so on, my top record is 60 minutes 650 calories. I kicked that machines behind!!!  I realized that when I said I didn’t like a machine or exercise it really meant that I needed to do it and work on it till I had mastered it.

When I really got serious about getting into shape and working out, I learned that I had failed so many times because I just gave up or I didn’t push myself. I had to learn to push myself and experiment. Find exercises that I enjoyed but be willing to experiment. Over the last three years I have learned I love to Zumba, Body Pump is  a great class. I enjoy step class but it is hard on my joints. Hiking is one of my favorites even if I am slow at it. I like free weights and the kettle ball over the weight machines but use them when I am feeling lazy. I would rather walk than ride a bike. I do better in classes than I do watching a video at home.

There is so much more, so tomorrow go out and try something new, do something different, leave me a comment below and let me know what you enjoy doing.

I need a good swift kick in the butt!

I was off to a good start with fitness month but I am starting to lose steam and motivation.  

This morning I slept in instead of getting off my big fat asset and do my morning yoga.  I went to work and was feeling sluggish and tired so I succumbed to a Monster energy drink instead of my delicious chai tea late. I have been keeping up with my afternoon walks but not the gym.

So I ask how do you keep motivated?

I am getting those usual self doubt, victim thoughts that cause so many of us to give up. I am slowly slipping back to old habits. I need to snap out of it, give my self a good kick in the rear and get moving. By the way giving oneself a good swift kick in the rear can actually be a good workout. Perhaps I can start a new exercise fad?

OK, Time to get off the computer, stop messing around and get back to it!

One step at a time, one day at a time, one pound at a time, eventually it will come off. I just need to stick to it.

Them’s Fighten words- Portion Control and Moderation

Don’t you just hate when you hear those words?  Said in a whinny nagging tone “Losing weight is all about portion control and moderation”. Yeah, Yeah.  Blah Blah.

I know, I know, you have heard it all before and I am here to say it again. I hate the idea of portion control and moderation. I want to eat what I want, when I want and how I want, but I don’t want to suffer the consequences so this is something I must learn.

I am not here to tell you to weigh and measure everything you eat, that is just too much work for me. I am not here to tell you that you need to be strong and have willpower. Heck if you want a cookie, have a dang cookie, just don’t eat half the package in one sitting.  If you want a bowl of ice cream, have one but consider using a smaller bowl. If you want more go get more but don’t eat the whole carton.

When there is some sort of sweet treat in front of me I have very little self-control. I am the one who licks the chocolaty goodness off of the plate or wrapper so that none is wasted. I have been known to eat 2-3 packages of mini Oreos with milk like I am eating cereal and call it dinner. Strangely if you put a bowl of steamed broccoli in front of me I have no problem obtaining. I think Oreos must have some magical hypnotic power that sends out subliminal messages that say “eat me”.

I saw a interesting gadget on pinterest called a Portion Control Plate. I thought it was an interesting idea but I tried to think of something better.

Then one day while shopping at Wal-mart I noticed some Ziploc plastic containers that came in 1, 2, and 4 cup sizes.  Then the brilliant idea hit me “Why not use smaller containers to help portion and store my food?”

When I want a snack I fill up the one cup size with nuts, crackers, or dry cereal. While I eat my snack I take several good sips of water and find that one cup is enough to fill me up and satisfy any cravings. I use the 2 cup size to package leftovers for lunch and find this is the perfect amount. The 4 cup size I use to store larger amounts in the freezer, salads, or items like fruit.  By doing this I have noticed that I have greatly cut down the amount of food I eat.