March 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. First Saturday visit to the gym (and subsequent 12,000+ step day) in months
  2. Tried three new healthy recipes, two of which were keepers
  3. Have made Monday morning training three weeks in a row. And today, was there before the gym opened!
  4. 8000 steps before 8 a.m.
  5. Have been wearing one of my smaller sized rings for over a week now
  6. Just completed a third week of working out every weekday!
  7. Took my meals to the SC Environmental Justice event and was surprised to see that someone else brought their meals, too. She said that I’d inspired her to do it, that she hated “making do” at overnight events.
  8. 10,000 steps on a Saturday – and they were mostly beach steps!
  9. Had a Cadbury egg in my hand at Walgreen’s – I have to have one during the Easter season – but put it back.
  10. Have made Monday morning training three weeks in a row.
  11. 10,000 steps before 11:00 a.m.
  12. I did some bad ass moves in strength training today, including a bench press that included chains!
  13. My pants that were getting a little snug now fit fine, even right out of the dryer.
  14. Just completed fourth week of working out every week day!
  15. Overindulged a little, but recorded every nibble.
  16. Made two new healthy recipes: Amazeballs and Pizza Hummus.
  17. Workout pants getting looser in the tummy area.
  18. Did 3.5 mph on the treadmill for only the first and second time since my hip injury over a year ago.
  19. Comfortably wearing a bra that had gotten a little too snug for comfort.
  20. Did a strength training workout that I didn’t think I would be able to do, especially the 3 x 500 strides on the ATM without holding on.
  21. Wore a fitted workout tee that I hadn’t been able to wear in a while.
  22. Treated myself to a Smashburger lunch w/o blowing the rest of the day or weekend.
  23. Busted it at 7:30 p.m. to get those last 1,500 steps to hit 10,000.
  24. Wearing a size six ring again – unable to wear at Christmas, but wearing it today!
  25. Guy at the gym commended me for my workout, which included 30+ minutes on the treadmill and about the same on the AMT.
  26. Did 15 minutes of 3.5 mph on the treadmill – first time I was able to go that long at that speed since my injury a year ago.
  27. Tried a new AMT workout for 45 minutes, 5000 steps
  28. This is kinda scale-related, but a victory nonetheless: I made my scales very inaccessible for drive-by weigh-ins. It’s down in the basement on a shelf that I can get to only by having to crawl over a lot of stuff.
  29. An acquaintance who has lost 70 lbs. recently told me that I gave her the motivation to start her weight loss efforts.
  30. Tried two new cauliflower recipes and liked them both. (Even LOVED one of them!)
  31. Fellow early morning exerciser said this to me – totally unsolicited – this a.m.: “Every time I see you, you’re getting smaller.” Made my day, especially since the scales aren’t moving.

Pizza Hummus: My Fave New Snack

Check it out: Pizza Hummus recipe.recipe_image

Delicious + easy = great recipe!


February 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. Bought a rice cooker.
  2. Tried two new recipes, one of which involved black beans.
  3. Was in Kroger this a.m. and saw someone who knows my story. I didn’t recognize her, but she approached me and told me how good I looked and how proud she was of me. Nice to hear on a Monday morning.
  4. Instead of my usual 10-15 minute cardio workout before strength training, I did 30 minutes.
  5. Someone who hadn’t seen the thinner me in person saw me and said that my body finally matched my personality.
  6. My dentist wants to set me up with someone. No one ever mentioned setting the heavy me up with anyone.
  7. Resisted the very serious lure of Chocolate Cookie Quarry frozen yogurt at Publix.
  8. Tried something new: balsamic vinegar on fruit. Delightful new taste.
  9. Tried something new: flavored white balsamic vinegar (honey-ginger). Really upgraded the taste of my Glazed Tofu.
  10. Reduced artificial sweetener in my morning oatmeal from one to two, not because I’m trying to cut back on it, but because it was just too much. Getting used to less sweet things, I suppose.
  11. Took my own food when I worked the City’s Emergency Operation Center.
  12. I am repulsed by the thought of processed deli meat. Absolutely no desire, even when it is what is for a free lunch.
  13. Resisted buying one of my favorite ice creams, even though it is hard to find these days.
  14. Didn’t buy the “healthy” chips from Whole Foods because 1) I knew they weren’t really healthy, just healthier than regular chips; and 2) I knew I likely wouldn’t stop at a handful
  15. Threw out something tempting instead of eating it. (It was given to me, so I didn’t feel too bad doing it!)
  16. Didn’t even go down the aisle of 50% off Valentine’s Day candy.
  17. Made my first Monday a.m. training in a week.
  18. Didn’t turn on iPhone this morning. And that is HUGE.
  19. Two workouts in a row – this week is looking up!
  20. 40 minutes on the AMT for the first time in several months.
  21. Woke up quite sore, and almost used that as an excuse to sleep in. I figured, though, it would help to move. I not only made it to the gym, but did 40 minutes on the AMT.
  22. Worked out all five days of the work week. And can I ever tell; I feel so good.
  23. For the first time in a while, I feel really confident that I can really lose the 30 lbs. I’ve gained.
  24. Threw away a Whole Foods cupcake of Sister’s that she hadn’t eaten. And it was a Whole Foods cupcake, my favorite.
  25. Second Monday a.m. training in the books.
  26. Made appointment for therapeutic hip massage
  27. 45 minutes on the AMT
  28. Second full week of doing workouts every weekday


Why I Just Say No to Deli Meats

Of all of the changes I’ve made in the last few years, one of the most hard-and-fast is banishing deli meat from my diet. Not only is it not a healthy option, but it truly turns my stomach. I have to be pretty darn hungry with no other option to even consider it.

 I wanted to share this information about deli meat from Fooducate. I usually prefer to link directly to the article, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their site. (It was sent in an email this morning.)

Deli Meats – Making the Right Choice

In many a lunchtime sandwich across the nation, deli meats are a standard. Subway has built its fortune on the sale of deli meat sandwiches. And Oscar Mayer has been a beloved namesake for generation of lunch packing moms. There’??s no doubt Americans love their bologna. Can these meats be a part of a healthy diet?

The term “deli meat” refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. In most cases, red meat is used – pork and beef. As tasty as they are, deli meats are not a health food. Multiple studies have shown that increased consumption may lead to heart disease and cancer.

Among the problems associated with these cold cuts are high levels of unhealthy fats, high levels of sodium, nitrates, and other additives.

Saturated Fats. Not all fats are created equal. The saturated fats in processed meats may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sodium. Salt is a natural preservative that has been used for ages to preserve meat. Unfortunately, the average American consumes almost twice as much salt as prescribed by national health guidelines. This can result in high blood pressure.

Nitrates. Sodium Nitrite and its closely related Sodium Nitrate are food preservatives that help preserve the pinkish red color of the meat, which would otherwise look unappetizingly gray. Unfortunately, when cooked or broken down in the stomach, nitrites form nitrosamines (also called N-Nitroso Compound), which can cause cancer in young children and pregnant women. Adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to the food product greatly reduces the formation of nitrosamines. USDA Meat Inspection Regulations have limited the use of nitrite to 200 part per million. Nitrates are naturally present in spinach, beets, lettuce, celery, parsley, and cabbage. Don’t stop eating these veggies, many of them also contain vitamin C, naturally limiting the formation of the toxic nitrosamines.

Other additives. Lunch meats are made from low quality meat cuts. Often they taste bland and look unappealing. The role of the additives is to mask these inherent problems.

Here is an example of a poor choice. Oscar Mayer Bologna lists these ingredients: Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Sodium Lactate, Flavor, Sodium Phosphates, Autolyzed Yeast, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Dextrose, Extractives of Paprika, Potassium Phosphate, Sugar, Potassium Chloride

A better choice would be Applegate Roasted Turkey Breast: Turkey Breast (Turkey Never Administered Antibiotics or Animal By-Products. Vegetarian Grain-Fed), Water, Contains Less than 2% of the Following: Sodium Lactate (from Beets), Salt, Carrageenan (from Seaweed)

Bottom Line
Deli meats are not a healthy option for daily consumption.

Supermarket tips
  • When possible choose chicken or turkey meats instead of pork or beef.
  • Try non-meat options such as tuna or hummus.
  • Make your own. Roast a whole turkey breast and slice it up for sandwiches.

How to Clean Your Blender

In the “why didn’t I think of this” category, PureWow shows how to clean your blender. Ingenious; I’ll try it after making tomorrow morning’s smoothie.

January 2014 Non-Scale Victories

  1. No “already blown it” or “I’ll just start over tomorrow” slip ups in over a week.
  2. Paid off my Lowe’s credit card!
  3. Ate a couple of mini Reese’s PNB cups without totally pigging out the rest of the day
  4. Accidentally bought diced tomatoes instead of petite diced tomatoes, but used them anyway. May not seem like a big deal, but it is for me. I like my veggies in small, small bites.
  5. First green smoothie for the first time in quite a while.
  6. Two servings of green veggies for the first time in a while.
  7. Cooked dried beans in the crock pot. Less expensive and SOOOO much tastier!
  8. First day back at the gym since 12/20.
  9. Did evening cardio since I overslept this a.m.
  10. Did some pre-cooking prep tonight.
  11. Cooked something new with beans today.
  12. Cooked all day, including several new recipes.
  13. Made it to my first Monday a.m. strength training of 2014. (Monday mornings are always tough, but especially after the holidays.)
  14. Chose low-salt nuts over a processed energy bar for an afternoon snack.
  15. Only had one diet drink today, and it was one of those “mini” cans.
  16. Threw away some ice cream that was tempting me
  17. Wearing a size smaller ring size today, not necessarily from weight loss, but eating cleaner has reduced water retention.
  18. Set up automatic payments to “house account” and personal savings account today.
  19. Set up automatic payments for a bill I always seem to forget about.
  20. Started back on MyFitnessPal. It is much easier than writing it or even using my iPhone data base. I just need to be mindful not to get too caught up in the calories.
  21. Took time to enjoy a movie with Mom and Beth; I decided that making soup could wait one more day. I’m really trying to work on 1) getting out more, and 2) giving myself more space in terms of my stringent to do list. A majority of stresses and deadlines are self-imposed; I can control them.
  22. This
  23. Cooked and prepped meals to take to the SC Environmental Justice Forum in Georgetown.
  24. Took my meals and snacks to the Forum, where I was never tempted to stray for conference food.
  25. Because it was 12 degrees, nearly everyone at the forum drove from the cabin to the conference center, an easy distance that we all usually walk. Knowing that I would be sitting most of the day, driving the rest, I walked over.
  26. Also walked outside during our longer breaks (and thank goodness it was warmer).
  27. My kale chips caused quite a stir at the Forum, and many people tried them.
  28. Instigated a group yoga class for our next Forum in March.
  29. Missed morning workout due to headache, but got up and made soup so I wouldn’t have an excuse not to do evening cardio. I made it to evening cardio AND had soup for dinner.
  30. Got a group together to go to a benefit dinner at a healthy restaurant.
  31. That healthy restaurant was one that I’d never been to, but turned out loving! Good to get out of my box and have a new place to eat!

The Secret to the Perfect Smoothie? 650 Watts

Despite my best attempts to eat vegetables, it’s still easier for me to drink them in smoothies. And after three years of dealing with chunks of ice in the bottom of my smoothies, I recently decided to upgrade my blender to one that processes ice.

If you’re flush with funds, buying a blender isn’t hard at all; there are a lot of powerful blenders out there that promise icy smoothies. Being a budget shopper, however, I was a little concerned about finding something that worked well for my under $100 (and the more under, the better) price range.

I did a lot of research via Google, and somewhere, I saw a great tip: to best process ice, buy a blender with at a motor of at least 650 watts.

Armed with this information, I found a Black and Decker BL2500S 12-speed blender, complete with a 700 watt motor blender, for $39.99. I read the box. I checked it out. I compared it to the pricier, sexier models. And reluctantly, I purchased it. I really doubted this blender would work. I’ve heard so much about Breville and Vitamix that I couldn’t imagine a plain Jane blender doing the job.

Imagine my surprise when I put my $39.99 blender to the test, and it worked like a champ! My post-workout smoothies are now like milk shakes. They’re more filling, colder and don’t have ice chunks in the bottom. And even better, I didn’t have to spend a fortune.

In closing, I’ll share my favorite smoothie, one I call the ChocoNanaSpin.

Serves Two


  • 2.5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 medium banana
  • 3/4 cup milk (skim, light almond or light soy – your choice)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Six to eight ice cubes

Put all ingredients except ice into blender and blend. Add ice and blend until smooth.

Subscription Boxes: Like Your Birthday, Every Single Month

Like to try new products, but don’t have time to walk the aisles of your favorite stores? Do you sigh in disappointment with each trip to the mailbox brings only bills and solicitations? Do you like to treat yourself every once in a while? If you answered “yes, please” to at least one of these questions, you’ll want to check out subscription boxes, the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Subscription boxes contain an assortment of products usually related to a common theme or interest. They are typically sent out once a month, and prices generally range from $10 to $40 per box. Most boxes provide full-sized sample products, not usually the small freebies you get at the counter. The number of products in each box varies with each subscription box service, but the most feature four to seven products per box.

parcelI recently joined the subscription box scene with Parcel, a box from the people at Greatist: the leading, trusted source for all things fitness, health, and happiness.  Parcel is like Greatist all wrapped into a neat little package and delivered to my doorstep monthly for only $20 a month. Instead of spending hours and tons of money searching through products at health and fitness stores, I open my Parcel box and BAM – it’s like my birthday. Every. Single. Month.

Resolve to treat yourself with a subscription box service is the New Year! These days, there’s a subscription box for just about everyone, from dog lovers and health nuts to make-up mavens and fitness fanatics. Your perfect subscription box is just a Google search away.

If subscription boxes are a new concept to you, what questions do you have? Currently subscribe to a box? Share which one(s) you get and why you love receiving it. If you could design a box just for you, what types of products would it include?

December 2013 Non-Scale Victories

  1. Made TWO new recipes with vegetables today: one with cauliflower, the other with green beans.
  2. Graduated to the black battle rope during this morning’s training.
  3. Did 15 pain-free minutes on the treadmill for the first time since my 5k hip injury in May.
  4. Increased my bench press reps today.
  5. Squeezed in an evening workout against all odds.
  6. Packed healthy food for my two-day environmental justice retreat.
  7. Despite a two and a half hour road trip and six hour afternoon workshop, I still got 12,000+ steps.
  8. Went to a Christmas party at a restaurant without many healthy choices, so I drank water and ate healthy at home.
  9. Buying for our adopted family, I shopped in the plus size section today for the first time in years. And you know what? I haven’t missed it at all!
  10. Cooked on a Tuesday night since I wasn’t able to do so over the weekend.
  11. Sister commented on how toned my calves looked. And all of Sister’s compliments are NSVs because they are very sincere.
  12. Won a Chili’s gift card at the employee luncheon, but nicely exchanged it, explaining that I didn’t eat out much now that I am eating healthier.
  13. Several people commented on how good I was looking. (The little bit I’ve gained back clouds my judgment.)
  14. Even though I didn’t use the right settings, technically made the AMT Challenge Board this a.m.
  15. Legitimately made the AMT Challenge Board!
  16. Completed both the AMT Challenge and strength training after 1) staying out late at a Christmas party, 2) drinking a couple glasses of wine; and 3) not sleeping well.
  17. Went the entire day without a piece of chocolate, which with all of it in our office these days, is a feat.
  18. Pushed myself on the ATM today.
  19. Bought an oh-so-small container of peppermint bark, but only had one piece. Shared the rest with the office.
  20. Sister commented that I had thin ankles See #11 for explanation of Sister compliments. They are worth at least three NSVs. (Smile.)
  21. I saw a picture of me in the swimming pool, and not only did I not totally cringe, the visible parts didn’t look like “fat girl” parts./
  22. Swam laps at the resort pool.
  23. I gave away some of my Christmas candy (which I received despite my requests for none) and “hid” the dark chocolate from plain sight.
  24. Cooked clean meals for the freezer while home dealing with washer repairs.
  25. Resisted the remaining white chocolate peppermint bark at work.

I am six NSVs short for December, and I’m lucky that’s all that I am short. I truly enjoyed the holidays. And that’s okay. But there were a few days without discernible NSVs. Here’s to 2014.

How a Deck of Cards, Dice and Dominoes Can Help Keep Your Eating in Check

On first glance, a deck of cards, dice and dominoes may seem more suitable in a casino than your pantry. Now thanks to a recent feature on, you can use these and other everyday items to picture proper portion sizes.

You may be eating better, but if you’re not controlling portions, you could be sabotaging your weight-loss and healthy eating efforts. But because no one wants to use measuring cups and scales for every little thing, the real trick to portion control is learning to eyeball portion sizes of common foods. Here, features a handy guide to keep you on track.

To summarize the feature, here’s how you can use everyday items to help picture proper portion sizes:

Food Portion Everyday Item
 Meat  Three ounces  Deck of cards
 Rice  Half-cup  Cupcake wrapper
 Pasta  Half-cup  Rounded handful
 Fruit  Half-cup  Baseball or incandescent light bulb
 Veggies  Half-cup  Tennis ball
 Baked potato  Small  Woman’s Fist
 Cheese  Half-cup  Four dice or two dominoes
 Red wine  Four ounces  Teacup
 Chocolate  One ounce  Pack of dental floss

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

I also found a neat infographic with similar information: