A Morning Glory Reminder

IMG_20140827_115047A change for me lately, I was up and outside early this morning, taking one of the dogs out. I was thrilled to see the first morning glory of the season, a beautiful pink bloom atop one the bird feeders. It was nearly four years ago that I was introduced to Doctors Wellness Center and started my journey to good health through fitness and clean eating, and that first few months, the morning glories were a bright spot during a rough time. I share this story every year, but it’s always worth repeating: http://leangreenmp.com/joy-cometh-in-the-morning/.

July 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. When the City’s updated building security locked me out of the stairways at City Hall and Washington Square, I requested (and received) special access so that I could by-pass the elevator and take the stairs.
  2. Fastened my bra one more notch over this a.m
  3. Packed a lunch for FEMA class today; the only option in Pine Ridge is fast food.
  4. Trained in the afternoon since I had to be in Pine Ridge so early. It was a trainer I haven’t worked with, and it was a really good workout.
  5. The gym was closed, but I did a workout at our local park instead
  6. Really didn’t want anything healthy we had at the house, but had it anyway. Deflected a major craving for Village Idiot pizza.
  7. Someone at work told me that I looked like I was losing weight.
  8. Wore shorts to the gym and didn’t get laughed out of the place.
  9. Lately, if I oversleep, I make up the workout that night instead of just adding another rest day. And I’m rather enjoying some of the evening workouts.
  10. Accidentally pulled out some black pants that had gotten too tight, but they fit well enough to wear
  11. My old “stand-by” black pants are starting to get looser, even right out of the dryer
  12. Completed a full work week of exercising every day – three days cardio, two days training.
  13. Comfortably wore a pair of shorts that I’d put away in April because they were too tight.
  14. An evening event was canceled, but I was able to work out instead thanks to having my gym bag in the car.
  15. My “Sisters” ring is getting loose.
  16. Took advantage of a free kayak trip tonight, something I would’ve never done before I lost weight.
  17. I wasn’t even sore after last night’s one hour kayak trip.
  18. I’m back into a smaller pair of jeans. They’re a little tight, but I’m back in them!
  19. Worked out outside at the park – walked laps, did three sets of exercises, even jogged one lap
  20. 10,000 steps
  21. Kicked up treadmill to 3.5 mph with no hip pain, even jogged at 4 mph for one minute
  22. Comfortably wore a dress that had gotten a tad tight
  23. Considered skipping after work cardio because I had so much to do, but actually wanted to go
  24. 10,000 steps
  25. My regular Walgreen’s cashier said that it looked like I was losing weight again
  26. Worked out every weekday this week, including two training sessions
  27. Did battle rope slams for the first time this week
  28. 12,748 steps
  29. 13,475 steps
  30. Made some yummy and clean protein bars
  31. Morning work out in the conference hotel gym

A Sea Change to My Exercise Routine

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts

happyhourEarly morning exercise: I’ve blogged about it, praised it and lived it. But after three and half years of working out three to five days a week at 5:00 in the morning, my body has had enough. A few weeks ago, I switched my morning workouts to the afternoon to accommodate an early morning FEMA training workshop, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve been going to the gym after work ever since.

Morning exercise has lots of benefits, and the first few days, I actually felt a little guilty for missing it, even though I was getting it in after work. So before I permanently switched off my 4:17 a.m. alarm, I did a little research about morning exercise vs. evening exercise.

                           Pros                            Cons
  • Increases daily calorie burn
  • Produces endorphins that starts the day on a positive note
  • Creates time for exercise with few to no conflicts
  • Increases daily energy levels
  • Improves your mental sharpness
  • Less than optimal energy levels
  • Cold, stiff muscles are more prone to injury
  • Hard to do for non-morning people
  • Early bedtimes and/or reduced amounts of sleep


  • Lower perceived exertion
  • Can help regulate evening eating
  • Can promote better sleep
  • Body temperature is ideal and muscles are at peak strength
  • Relieve the stress that has accumulated during the day
  • Evening conflicts
  • Limited access to equipment (after work is the busiest time for most gyms)
  • Can make it more difficult to fall asleep
  • Can increase evening hunger

The bottom line? The best time to work out depends on the best time for you.

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” says Russell Pate, M.D., professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

When I first started working out, I deliberately chose early mornings. I knew that incorporating exercise into my day would be a big enough challenge without having to juggle it with after work meetings and social activities. There are no conflicts at 5 in the morning. I gave up some evening activities so I could get to bed earlier, and I often got less sleep, but establishing the habit of working out was most important to me. I also really enjoyed the energy surge and extra time I had after my early morning workout.

Now that I have established the habit of working out and have improved my health significantly, I find that I need more than six hours of sleep. I’m also feel like I’m missing out when I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. Now I can do some things around the house, enjoy evening activities and spend more time with my family and friends. Working with a new trainer provides me with a challenge, and I’ve enjoyed seeing some new and different faces at the gym.

I’m not sure how long this new phase will last; it could go away as quickly as it came. But for now, I’m not questioning it. Instead, like Watts said, I’m plunging into and moving with it. And just in the nick of time, I loved this post from Women’s Health: 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Hit the Gym After Work.

Do you have a preferred time to exercise? If so, why does that time of the day work best for you?



Averting a Diet Disaster at the Movies

jersey-boysFrom Fooducate, a timely message about averting disaster at the movie concession stand.  Over the weekend, we went to see Jersey Boys, and these tips came in handy. Sister and I both brought healthier snacks of our own. If you go to the movies a lot, you’ll enjoy the information below. (I generally prefer to link to a post, but I wasn’t able to find a post of this message, which was sent via email. I give full credit to Fooducate for the article below.)

As for Jersey Boys, it was entertaining. I’ve seen the show on Broadway, and it presented the story in a more compelling way. But no matter where you see it, the music is great! 

Averting a Diet Disaster at the Movies

One of the great pleasures of summer is going to the movies and enjoying a Hollywood blockbuster with family and friends. For many of us, the experience isn’t complete without the munching and slurping that accompany the on-screen action.

Sadly, many of the concessions sold at movie theaters are nutrition minefields that can seriously derail your weight management plan. Besides the fact that almost all the foods and beverages offered are calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, portions are gargantuan. For example, a large popcorn can contain over 1200 calories and over a day’s worth of saturated fat!

The smallest soda is 32 fluid ounces, the equivalent of 4 cups. It has 26 teaspoons of sugar! That’s as much sugar as in 4 Snickers bars! It’s the same as filling half a cup with just sugar, adding water and drinking it!

Watching the movie with food in your hands and nowhere to go, you are assured to finish off whatever you bought, to the detriment of your waistline.

Here are some strategies to fight back:

  1. If you’re doing dinner and a movie, eat first. In fact, always come to the movies after eating. It will substantially decrease your temptation to buy anything besides the tickets.
  2. BYO (bring your own) snacks . If the theater won’t serve sliced fruit, nuts, or trail mix, why not bring your own? Note that some theaters do not allow you to bring your own food. It’s relatively easy to sneak things in, but there are ethical and moral ramifications here. Movie theaters rarely make money from selling tickets. It’s the ads and the concessions that keep them in business.
  3. Chew gum. A cheap and compact solution to keep your mouth busy for just 5 calories.
  4. Opt for the least unhealthy snacks. Most movie theaters today offer bottled water and some variation of a granola bar. There are some juice options too. While none of these are the healthiest brands, compared to the other options.
  5. If you’re intent on the classic cola-popcorn combo, choose the smallest portion available.


I Shouldn’t Have Looked. I Just Shouldn’t Have Looked.

scales cryThis weekend, I was planning to write a post about how good things seem now. In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten to a very good place. I’m working out regularly five times a week. I’ve been journaling my food for two months straight. My eating is on an even keel with an occasional treat, but few total derailments. My clothes are even getting looser, and I feel great.

This morning, I woke up with a rash on my eyelid, so I made an unplanned visit to the City’s health clinic. And though I was only there for a rash, on my eyelid, they weighed me. I panicked. I finally gave up the scales in April, and it’s been a very healthy thing for me. But today, they wanted to weigh me. I should’ve closed my eyes, but truth was, I was a little curious. So I looked. My heart dropped when I saw that my weight was actually up five pounds since my last weigh in.

I’ve tried since I saw that number to rationalize it. First of all, I was fully dressed and had breakfast, water and two coffees under my belt. I figure that all things considered, I’m probably right about where I was the last time I weighed. Secondly, it’s only been about two months since everything has kind of come together. In that interim month, my weight may have gone up. Today’s weigh in could’ve actually reflected a loss. But all I know is that I am no closer to MP-30 pounds that I was in April, and that stings.

Realistically, I know that today is no different than yesterday. I am either toning up or coming back down. I am at a great place with my eating and work outs, and that is a good thing. Nothing is different except that dang number on the scales.

Today’s challenge is to keep my chin up, NOT to give in to a food-fueled pity party and continue to keep the faith. Much easier said than done, and while my head is feeling it, my heart is not. And it’s only lunchtime. Sigh.

Worst Workout Side Effects

I loved this article from Greatist: 20 Unfortunate, But Unavoidable Side Effects of Working Out.

I can particularly relate to the following from the list, and the solutions they provided were helpful:

  • You often wake up while it’s still dark out.
  • You need to do laundry more often.
  • You’re all sorts of hungry.
  • You can’t even drown your stinky sorrows in sweet lullabies because your headphones shorted out.

I would add the following to the list, too:

  • You have to go all of the time, #1. I regularly drink at least 64 oz. of water with each training session, sometimes more. I’m ready for a pit stop as soon as I get to the office, usually just when the janitor is in the middle of cleaning. After work, it’s worse; I’m up and down all night long.
  • You don’t recognize your gym peeps outside of the gym, nor do they recognize you.  Especially true if you work out early in the morning. We early birds roll out of bed, brush our teeth and head over to the gym – we gave  up  worrying about bed head and sleep in our eyes a long time ago. Once showered, dressed and made up, we don’t even recognize ourselves, much less each other. (And when you do, don’t be surprised to hear someone say, “I didn’t recognize you with clothes on.” )
  • You know a lot about the people you work out with, but don’t always know their names.  I can tell you a lot about the folks I work out with regularly, from the number of kids they have to the number of reps they do. I know the brand of shoes they wear, what they drive and what they drink to rehydrate. But unless I already know them outside of the gym or chat a lot in between sets, I don’t always know their name. And if I’m lucky enough to recognize them outside of the gym, I’m hard-pressed to introduce them properly.

So, what’s the worst workout side effect that YOU face?




Graze: Snacking Reinvented

Don’t you just love it with things come together just right? A while back, I posted information about my favorite subscription box from Greatist. Sadly, the subscription box service was recently discontinued. In a seemingly unrelated matter, I experienced a new challenge in my ongoing quest to eat clean and healthy: a lack of good, healthy and low-calorie snacks. Then faster than you could say “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” comes Graze, a new subscription box that features healthy snacks and solves both of my problems!

Quite simply, Graze delivers tasty, healthy snacks by mail for just $6 a box. Here’s how it works:

  1. ChooMy Graze Boxse the foods you want. You check out the selection of foods that could appear in your box and rate them as trash, try, like or love. With the Nibble Box, there are over 90 choices; with the Calorie Counter Box, which features snacks with 150 calories or less, there are over 50 choices.
  2. Tell Graze where to send your box. Since I have a hard time finding and/or packing good snacks for the work week, I have mine sent to the office.
  3. Graze mails your box via USPS weekly or every other week, a choice you make when you sign up. I chose weekly because I need snacks on a weekly basis, and $6 for healthy, portion controlled snacks is a deal and a half!
  4. You enjoy your snacks! Graze promises that their snacks contain no genetically modified ingredients, artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup or trans fats.

I’m a couple of weeks into my Graze subscription, and I love it! It’s convenient, inexpensive and delicious. And every box I receive is a special treat especially for me!

Interested? There’s a special offer just for LeanGreenMP readers: your first and fifth box free with a subscription.

Commitment shy? You can try a one-time box without having a subscription. And if you subscribe and find it’s not for you, you can cancel with no penalty.

June 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. A 27,000 step day (steps are easier at the beach!)
  2. Splurged for brunch, but still didn’t even come close to eating as much as I used to. I get full much faster now, and I also limit what I indulge on.
  3. Made myself drink another 20 oz. of water before having an afternoon snack
  4. With some assistance from the updated My Fitness Pal, I’m working to eat a more nutritionally balanced meal, i.e. limiting carbs, getting more protein, etc. Mainly, I’m just trying to stay within the guidelines, not do anything funky.
  5. Good news? I got nine hours of sleep. Bad news? Missed my morning workout. Chalking it up to “listening to my body” this time.
  6. Resisted the bowl of candy in front of me at a boring meeting.
  7. Planned a treat; by eating light and pre-planning dinner, I was able to enjoy birthday cake AND stay under my calorie goal.
  8. Got into one size smaller dress than I expected.
  9. Got back in the training mode today after missing last week due to vacay and a sunburn that prevented me from wearing a sports bra.
  10. Tried something new and really outside of the norm – The Good Life Cafe. Not the biggest fan, but I tried several new things, and that is good.
  11. Survived Danny’s Wednesday whipping!
  12. My meal plan got turned upside down, but I still rose to the challenge. Took my “plan B” lunch to APWA meeting, while the others had Honeybaked Ham boxed lunches.
  13. Allowed myself a sweet treat, but didn’t totally blow the rest of the day.
  14. Tried something new when dining out: black eyed pea hummus. Pretty darn good.
  15. Tried a new recipe today – cauliflower fettuccine alfredo – and it was delish!
  16. Crazy busy week ahead, so planned and prepped all meals.
  17. Realizing that when I limit my sugar intake (natural and otherwise), I have far fewer cravings and wild hunger pains. Getting better at eating more nutritionally balanced meals.
  18. Missed my a.m. workout, so I went this evening. (That’s a big one – really dislike evening cardio!)
  19. Two days in a row, packed a healthy lunch to take to a professional development workshop. One day, I was coincidentally eating Cauliflower Alfredo while the others had whole fat and who knows what else regular Alfredo Fettuccine.
  20. REALLY wanted a Chick-Fil-A today, but ate my naked Taco Bake instead.
  21. Twice in 24 hours, resisted buying my favorite ice creams, both on sale and one very hard to find.
  22. Not only did Friday evening cardio, even strength trained!
  23. DWC trainer told me it looked like I was slimming down. He also later said that I am “one fit lady.”
  24. Took a long evening walk to hit 10,000 steps even though it was hot. I didn’t die, and I hit 10k steps.
  25. Threw away an unopened, expired carton of chocolate almond milk.
  26. Starting to see some small changes that point to weight loss: clothes fitting a little better, shoulders looking stronger, hip bones feeling a little sharper.
  27. Slept in this morning, worked out tonight.
  28. Trained myself since I’d only worked with Danny once this week.
  29. Trained myself yesterday and was sore today!
  30. A sixteen-year-old asked for one of my recipes.

Snack Portion Control Made Easy

I found these this weekend at Kroger. I understand Wal-Mart also has them. Game changer when it comes to snacking. I bought two boxes.

2014-06-29 15.16.36


Cauliflower Alfredo: How’s THAT for Change?

OK, it’s technically Cauliflower Linguine because I couldn’t find whole wheat fettuccine, but it was delish nonetheless!

A few days ago, my boss and I were coming back from a lunch meeting when he chimed in about change.

“Nobody wants change. They all want to keep doing things the way they’ve always done them,” he said. “I give you credit for changing from an iPhone to an Android, but you don’t much like change either.”

Hold the phone! Granted, my boss only sees me at work, but I would say that I, especially over the past few years, have embraced change. I’ve changed my entire lifestyle to add early and regular exercise to my life. I’ve all but given up processed and fast food, and I’ve learned how to cook clean and healthy. And even now that I’ve “taken the leap,” I continue to experiment with new foods, recipes and healthy changes.

Speaking of change, this weekend I tried a great new recipe from one of my favorite blogs Oh She Glows: vegan Cauli-Power Fettuccine Alfredo. The base of the sauce is cauliflower, and it was delicious. I highly recommend it! Its a change you’ll love to try!