Before and after

Before and after
Before...eating junk, no exercise and feeling terrible. After...eating "clean", weight training, cardio and feeling amazing 19 years later.

30 years ago I was in the path of an unhealthy future due to my poor food choices and no exercise. Eating Clean cleansed the inside of my body and I sculpted the outside with weight training. Now 48 years old, I'm in the best shape of my life. It's never too late to change your body and your life!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Her hard work paid off!

Congratulations to Ava Cowan...winner of the 2011 IFBB Europa Super Show - Dallas - Pro Figure!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

See what it takes...

As most of you know from my earlier posts, I've always admired Ava Cowan.  I used her as my vision in how I wanted to shape my own body.  Even though it's never been my goal to compete, I knew how I wanted to transform my body just for my own personal satisfaction.  Will I ever have Ava's body?  No, but I can get mine to look the best that it can be and use her as my inspiration which what I still try to do.  I read her blog entries on a regular basis and was totally blown away by this one.  The commitment that she has to do what she does is incredible.  I thought I would pass it along to you so you can see what it takes to compete and be a professional at her level. 
Ava Cowan - Blog
One Week Out!
08/05/2011
Today marks the one week out from my contest.  I had a cup of coffee, my treat, and wanted to rub a few brain cells together to give you my update.

Getting ready for a contest, for me anyway, takes every ounce my soul has to give in order to be fully ready.  Fully ready meaning getting lean enough.  Just so you know, it never gets easier to do.  There are ways that you learn to have more balance and find certain things more tolerable, but I have never gotten more comfortable with the hunger aspect of this sport.  I use mental tricks to get through the rough times, such as cardio 3 times a day when I am on less than 50 grams of carbs per day.  I have been asked recently on Twitter how I am able to committ to getting to the gym 3 times a day to do my cardio.  I an nutshell, I picture any area that I am not 100% satisfied with, and that image alone makes me get up and go.  No matter what.
Speaking of nutshell, I also remove all food that I know I could "sleep walk" to and eat.  More specifically any nuts or peanut/almond butter.  I am required to eat very small amounts of healthy fats that are derived from nut sources, but I literally have to make it extremely tough to get to this close to a show.  I actually have to go and buy my raw unsalted almonds everyday so that I don't have them here in my house.  I will eat them, I am addicted and I have no defense.  Mark even has to hide his almond butter!  LOL, he knows I will sneak in and get some in the middle of the night.  And those calories add up quickly!  You have to know what you can and cannot handle, and I personally cannot be around anything that could ruin my prep.  It helps to get honest with yourself, and just eliminate anything that can come between you and the goal.
As for today, I have one more 35 minute cardio session that I will do here in the small gym.  It should be empty in there as it's Friday night.  Nothing worse than when you have to get some work done, and the good machine is taken by someone.  So after my 9 PM meal, I will head over there to knock this out.
I have really 2 solid cardio days before my schedule gets filled with hair, nail and other various appointments as well as packing for my trip.  I will start working on that on Monday.  I hold onto knowing that the hardest part is almost over.  Another thing I think about that motivates me is that I will already be ready for the Olympia.  I don't have to kill myself getting ready for the biggest show of my life.  I can relax a bit and maintain my physique for another month.
I do have 3 photoshoots lined up, that are for my portfolio, and I am pretty excited to shoot some new images.  I love the creative aspect of modeling, and it is very important to document these incredibly amazing moments in my life.
I will let you in on something that is on my mind lately along the lines of fitness modeling.  I still have the goal of being on the cover of Oxygen and Muscle & Fitness Hers.  Maybe you can send some positive  thoughts or suggestions to help make this a reality.  I do appreciate it!  And you know I will not give up trying.
I will Tweet, Blog and Facebook my Dallas results.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking back...



29 months have gone by since the start of my fit and healthy journey through clean eating and weight training.  As I reflect on the first few months, I realize how important it was for me NOT to have given up after not seeing “overnight” results.  I’m even more proud of myself now because I had a vision and just kept going, pushing, doing, and propelling myself to my goal which was to look and feel better than I ever had. 

For those of you who have just started on your own journey, I can’t stress how important it is to get your routine going and stay on that new routine.  Consider it your new job until it feels like it’s just “part” of your life.  It’s amazing how fast you will feel “off” if your plan is disrupted.  It’s important not to focus on the scale too much even though you’ll want to in the beginning.  It can be discouraging if you’re not seeing “immediate” results like you assume you will.  Transforming your body takes time and the commitment to keep moving forward through this slow, gradual, and rewarding change. 

Make your plan for clean eating and weight training, have a vision of how you want to look and feel, and don’t deviate from that plan and vision.  You will make it happen because YOU are in charge of your body and how it looks…you.  Never give up and keep pushing on.  Then you, like me, will be thanking yourself and be so glad that you did.  :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Same 'ol, same 'ol...?


Fortunately, I’ve met a lot a nice people at the gym.  For the most part, everyone takes their workouts pretty seriously and there’s not a ton of chatter.  Most people are hard at work sweating it out and making the time that they have count. 

Unfortunately, I’ve also noticed several of the same people on the same treadmills and elliptical machines doing the same thing every day and always looking exactly the SAME!?  What gives?  These people are taking time out of their busy day to come workout, but there’s never a real noticeable difference in their appearance.  After many months of monitoring this, I’ve come to the one conclusion that I know is true…it’s their diets! 

Yes, you should be working out...yes, you should be sweating...and yes, it’s great that you’re motivated enough to actually make it to the gym and put in the hard work!  But, why make it harder on yourself by not eating healthy (clean, non-processed foods & NO sugar) all the time?  

Who wants to waste time dogging it out on a treadmill every single day with no real results?  Don’t keep doing the same old thing by eating cruddy and then trying to make up for it with cardio.  If you eat clean, that’s 80% of the battle right there! The next 20% can be spent on weight training.

In a recent study from the University of Southern Maine, it showed that weight training offered more bang for your buck in the calorie-burning department than cardio.  Participants burned as many calories in 30 minutes of weight training as they did going for a 30-minute run at a lightening fast six-minute-per-mile pace.  So, if you're looking to burn calories, weight training is your best bet!

If you want to look the same…do the same.  If you want to look different, then do something different…EAT CLEAN & LIFT WEIGHTS!  J  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Suck it in or suck it up?

Last night I went out to a local club.  It was something that was not planned and the invitation came very unexpectedly.  No big deal right?  Well, for those of us that have had weight issues in the past, it can be a bid deal and an emergency/freak-out situation!  You think… ~Oh geez, how do I hide the pooch…Do I have a big jacket…I look too fat in this…Oh god, I don’t have anything to wear…I look terrible…I’m just staying home.~  We’ve all done it.  Most of us have “skinny” clothes that we hope to fit into and “fat” clothes that we wear because they fit. 

As I reached into my closet and pulled out a couple of choices of what to wear, it hit me…everything fits, I’m not in panic mode and I “know” that I will look and feel great in the clothes that I decide to wear.  There was no sucking in and folding over flabs of skin as I buttoned, hooked, and zipped things up.  There were no girdle type undergarments needed for any pooch and there were no back boobs bulging out.  I cannot tell you how great it feels after putting in all of the work on my body to not have to worry about all of that “extra baggage” and how to hide it! 

Face the facts…undergarments, like the one above, are out there for everyone trying to conceal the pooches, flab, and folds that we know we need to get rid of for good.  Besides being very hot and very uncomfortable, they're just hiding the truth…the truth of knowing what needs to be done to rid your body of fat.  You can continue to keep “sucking it in” for last minute plans, photos, skinny clothes, and the mirror, but eventually you have to let it out.  If you want to get rid of those “fat” clothes for good, do what it takes, don’t deviate from your plan, and MAKE IT HAPPEN to shape your new body.  You’ll be ready for any unexpected plans with no “freak-out”.  Suck it up now and do what needs to be done so you won’t have to keep sucking it in!     

Friday, May 27, 2011

Who's got the secret?

Everyone wants to know the secret to losing weight and getting fit.  Or do they?  Don’t we all truly know how it’s done?  Burn more calories then you take in to lose the weight - lift weights and eat protein to build muscle, right?  Well, because we all “really” do know the answer, everyone wants to hear something different like, take this pill or eat this cookie and you won’t be hungry and will lose weight.  No one wants to hear the truth…sweat, huff & puff, grunt, run like hell, and push as hard as you can.  We want the easy and simple, painless, great tasting answers that are just not a reality. 

Reality is first making a commitment and becoming totally honest with yourself about what you’re doing to your body from the food you eat to your lack of exercise.  To me, that’s the most important step you can take.  It’s hard to be honest with yourself about what you actually put into your mouth 24/7/365 and how much you’re not moving your body. 

Reality is also about actually doing it…getting your workouts in, shopping smart, planning ahead, eating clean, and continuing to do it every day.  Yes, it sucks sometimes when you’re out of breath and you feel like your legs are going to fall off on the treadmill.  Yes, it sucks to get up early and head to the gym.  Yes, cheesecake and cookies taste fantastic, but this is the only way to get from point A (your before) to point B (your after). 

That is the answer…there is no easy solution.  You make it happen.  You are the only one that can get off of the diet roller coaster and you are the only one that can put in the hard work to do what it takes to look and feel how you want to.  No one else can do it for you…not a trainer, not your spouse, not your wishful thinking or good intentions.  It’s your hard work, your commitment, your efforts, and your drive to make it happen...it’s YOU.  That’s the “secret”.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The true cost of eating clean?


Any time that I discuss eating clean with people that inquire about my physique, I usually get the same response, ”That’s really expensive to eat like that.”  I used to think the same thing in the beginning.

In today’s world, we can get great deals on anything…fast and junk food is no exception.  You can get 99-cent tacos, burgers, sandwich, and drink deals everywhere you look.  You can grab just about any kind candy, chips, caramel corn, and cookies for under a dollar at grocery, convenience, and discount stores.  Not only is it a great deal, it tastes good too.  Even the word snack sounds fun…let’s have a SNACK! 

After learning HOW to actually shop for the right food from Tosca in The Eat Clean Diet, it opened my eyes to how blind I had been in the grocery store.  Initially, you may think that you’re paying more because you’re buying a lot of fresh food.  If you haven’t shopped in the produce section and are not familiar with buying fresh poultry or fish, it can be jolting at first.  If you really want to do it, just learn to make adjustments and make it work.  There are plenty of good healthy choices that won't break the bank.  Not only are you saving your health by eating clean; you really ARE saving money in the long run. 

Make a wise choice and spend a little more now on the RIGHT food, or you can spend it later on medical and hospital bills…your choice.

Heart attack                                        $760,000
Stroke                                                    $140,04
Diabetes per year                               $13,243
High cholesterol meds                        $2,400
Eating clean                                         Priceless

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Girls can play with big boy toys too!


As many of you know, until recently I worked out in the basement of my home in my “makeshift” gym.  I had Bowflex dumbbells, a treadmill, flat bench, roman chair, and a few other things.  I made it work with what I had.  I recently joined a gym because I felt that I needed to focus on certain areas with machines that I could only find in a “real” gym.  

Even though I’m more confident that I’ve ever been with my body, it was still very intimidating walking into the gym (especially the free weight area) in front of a bunch of men…men that are grunting, breathing heavy, sweating profusely, and standing around.  That might be over exaggerated, but you get my point.  It’s a strange feeling in the beginning.

Now, I feel at home with my new gym and it really doesn’t matter who is there, or not there, when I’m working out.  I focus on my workout and what I need to do in the time I have.  It’s become very therapeutic for me.  My only problem now is that my workout gets a little stalled because of those same “men” asking me questions about how I got so lean, do I compete, etc., but I take it as a compliment because I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. 

If you happen to be a female newbie at the gym and feel a little overwhelmed from the machines and the men, you might consider checking it out when it’s the least crowded (Sat or Sun late afternoon) and map out your plan of attack.  This way you will know where everything is, how it works, and you’ll feel confident beginning your workout no matter who is around you.  Don’t let other people at the gym intimidate you…pretty soon they will be glancing at you because of how incredible you look!  It really is ok for girls to play with the “big boy toys”.   J

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's your maintenance plan?


As I sit here waiting for the oil to be changed in my car, it makes me notice how some people are conscious about the maintenance and care of their vehicle, but not their own bodies.  An oil change…they flush out the old gunky oil that’s black and thick so they can add fresh clean new oil that’s pumped through the engine and makes your car run more effectively and efficiently.  That can be compared to our blood.  We want our bodies to run the same way, right?

I never really understood why oatmeal has anything to do with our blood and lowering cholesterol, but after researching it (Google search, of course), here’s what I found:

Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan, found to be especially effective in lowering cholesterol, and providing antioxidants that help protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol. Oats rarely have their bran and germ removed in processing. Steel-cut oats, sometimes called Scottish or Irish oats, have a nutty flavor, and consist of the entire oat kernel (similar in look to a grain of rice). The oats are sliced once or twice into smaller pieces to help water penetrate and cook the grain.

I have also been making a lot of barley.  Here’s another interesting tidbit about barley:

Barley may lower cholesterol even more effectively than oat fiber, according to some research. A 2009 analysis of studies from the University of Connecticut shows that people who eat barley regularly have reduced levels of LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides, but not high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or "good" cholesterol), compared to people who do not eat barley. Hulled barley, available at health food stores, is higher in whole-grain nutrients but is very slow-cooking. New varieties of hull-less barley are becoming available. Lightly pearled barley is partially refined, missing small amounts of the bran, but still rich in fiber.

I have to say that my favorite is quinoa.  I use it as a side and in salads. 

Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn.
Studies have shown that quinoa has documented health benefits too!
Quinoa, in its whole grain form, may be effective in preventing and treating artherosclerosis, breast cancer, diabetes, & insulin resistance
Researchers attribute the health benefits of quinoa to its complete nutritional makeup.
http://bodyecology.com/articles/quinoa_benefits_guide.php

Since I started eating clean, I have cooked and eaten things that were once very foreign to me.  I since have adopted new ways to give bland grains more flavor with garlic, salt-free seasonings, salsa, low sodium chicken stock or broth, ground sun-dried tomatoes, etc.  I encourage you to look at grains in a whole new light. 
Keep your maintenance up and “change your oil” frequently so you can keep on running.  J

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Get Noticed!!



(Ava Cowan photo credit - Eva Simon Photography)
Disclaimer:  I'm in NO way saying that I look even close to Ava Cowan.  I've always admired her body and she has always inspired me.  This post is not meant to sound arrogant or egotistical, just my observation and experiences of living with a new lean and muscular body.  I want this to be motivation for everyone who was just like me that hasn’t crossed over “yet”.

Today, I have the body I’ve always wanted and dreamed of having because of my hard work and commitment to eating clean and working out every day for the past 26 months.  I sometimes don’t even recognize myself in a reflection.  I think, wow…I’m ripped!  In the past week, I’ve had at least a dozen people either stop me in a store, get out of their car and approach me, or flat out stop their workout and walk over to me to ask questions or comment on my body.  Now it’s not just me noticing a difference in myself, I’m starting to get stares from people everywhere.  I’m starting to think…ok, do I look like a freak?  Everyone that I talk to always asks, “How do you get like that…what do you eat…do you workout every day?”…etc.  I’m to the point now that I have pretty much a standard answer and guide them to The Eat Clean Diet and Body for Life if they want to get better educated on proper nutrition and weight training. 

I’ve never had reactions like this to my body or myself.  I have to say that it feels fantastic!  I know that I have done what so many people “wish” they could do, but never think it’s possible.  I thought the same thing only a few short years ago.  For those of you who do make it to the other side like I did, enjoy every second that you get noticed.  All of your hard work does pay off by making yourself healthy, fit, lean, and strong.  You will discover that you are in the minority.  People will stare at you, come up and feel your arms and ask to see your abs.  I actually do like the questions and comments because I sculpt my body to make it look this way every day.  Most people see pictures of great bodies, but hardly ever see anyone in person with one, so I understand the stares. 

All the reactions are 110 percent totally worth all the hard work and dedication that I have put into my body.  It’s definitely a good thing and makes my day every time I get approached.  Yes, the grass is greener on the other side of this fence and I’m stayin’ here!   

For those of you that either haven’t made the real commitment to change your life by taking charge of what you put into your mouth, or you’re not quite to your weight loss finish line yet…keep charging ahead.  You have no idea until you get here how good you will feel about yourself, your body, your mind, and your accomplishment of achieving the goal of having a fabulous new body.  It’s the best feeling in the world and it’s waiting for you.  You WILL stand out in a crowd and "get noticed"... (in a good way!) J

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Never give up!


I’ve said this many times, but the power of your mind is the sole conductor of your own train.  You tell your body what to do, good or bad.  How you control your thinking is the key to weight loss and becoming healthy and fit…yes, the power of the mind.  No one said it’s easy, but it definitely can be done.  I know from my own experiences over the last two years. 

The same can be said in other areas of your personal and professional life.  Keep a positive mindset, stay focused on the big picture, and never give up.  Sometimes it’s easy to say, but not so easy to do.  I have gone through a career related roller coaster in the last few years and always wondered if I would ever find my professional sweet spot again.  I decided to treat my job search like my own body transformation.  I tried (super hard) to stay positive; I stayed focused on the big picture which is the career that I used to have and wanted back so badly again; and I was persistent and never gave up my continuous hunt for it.  I’m happy to say that it’s finally paid off and I just got hired back in the broadcasting industry.  I’m over the moon with excitement and gratefulness.  Once you’re out of that field for a while, it’s really hard to get back into, but I was in a relentless pursuit to find the right fit for me again and never gave up.    

Because of my body transformation, I know that I can do anything that I set my mind to.  You can too.  Keep your focus and decide that YOU are the one in control of your own destiny…YOU.  Never let this world or your surroundings dictate what your future will be.  You can mold the direction of your future by your own thoughts, your own actions, and NEVER give up on yourself…never.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

A State of Mind


I just returned from a trip to Texas.  (Yes, it is bigger!)  Not only did I thoroughly enjoy my visit and love the DFW area, but I’m seriously considering relocating there.  That’s another story.  For now I want to reflect on thoughts during my trip.

As I sat at the airport, I noticed how busy it was with spring breakers.  Pretty soon summer vacations will be in full swing as well.  People will be dispersing all over the country and the world to see things that they have never seen before, done before, or just try to relax and forget about the day-to-day grind.  No matter what your plans are or will be, plan for your healthiness on your trip as well.  I know, it doesn’t sound as fun as having margaritas and mai-tais on the beach, ship, or by the pool.  But, just because you’re in a different location doesn’t mean that you need to freak out and forget everything that you’ve learned and worked so hard for.  You’re still going to be in that same body when you return home.

Because of my new healthy mind, that’s my first priority when planning a trip.  Some of the things I consider are…does the hotel have a gym or gym close by?  Does my room have a refrigerator or microwave in it?  Are there grocery stores within close proximity of the hotel?  What’s the restaurant situation?  All of these things are critical when you are choosing what to put into your body and choosing how you would like to look and feel for the rest of your life.  Sometimes I do look like part of the Beverly Hillbillies clan coming back to my hotel with giant bags and bottles from the store, but I’m the one in charge of this body, so who cares!

Before you pack your bags this year, make a mental note of how you can give yourself a healthy vacation so you can have many more in the years to come.  Try not to completely lose your mind and focus when you’re in a different environment and think that your body doesn't matter anymore.  Living healthy and fit truly is a state of mind...continue to live that lifestyle no matter where you are in this big world.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My teacher, my motivator, & my inspiration.






Since celebrating my two year anniversary of my transformation, I thought it would be appropriate (and fun) to see the person that was responsible for motivating, inspiring, and teaching me how to transform my body…Tosca Reno, the author of The Eat Clean Diet book (among several others).  I met her last year at The Arnold Classic in Columbus and knew I had to see her again in person at this year’s show. 

I took a revised copy of my success story and my Eat Clean Diet Cookbook for her to sign.  I waited in line to see her at her booth and thought that I would just give her a quick hello and another “thank you”.  I began telling her how much she has helped change my life, but it suddenly became very emotional and I was overcome with tears.  I’m not a pretty cryer, so I tried really hard to quickly compose myself.  I told her what her book has done for me, and how much my life has changed because of her powerful words.  She was so sweet and kind listening to me, that I felt like I was the ONLY one there with her at a convention center filled with thousands of bodybuilders and athletes.  Tosca is a class act all the way.

One might think just changing what you eat is no big deal, but it is.  I committed myself to a new life the day that I read her book.  She has taught me so much more than just what to eat, but how to live fit and healthy for the rest of my life.  I will be forever grateful to her for that.  J


Sunday, February 27, 2011

This = that...hello!!


I went to see a matinee yesterday afternoon.  I like going to the theater to see movies because it’s a whole different feeling watching it on the big screen rather than watching it at home with distractions.  Plus, I love smelling the buttered popcorn when I walk in.  (Key word – “smelling”.)

This visit to the theater was SO disturbing for me.  I have NEVER witnessed such obese people in my life!  Most of them were waddling from side to side, limping around, scooting their feet, riding a scooter, or dragging an oxygen tank behind them!  No, this was not a Wal-Mart, but a regular movie theater in the Midwest.  God forbid any of them forgot to buy the BUTTERED POPCORN, CANDY, and a COKE!  Oh yes, they definitely had armfuls of that.

Now, let me clarify…I used to eat all of that.  Yes, the popcorn, candy, and a “diet” coke (?).  I finally woke up!  I understand now that the buttered popcorn, candy, and sodas = FAT!!!!  Pure FAT!!!  I choose not to have that become part of my body.  People spend multi-billions of dollars on diet and weight loss programs.  How about NOT spending a penny by NOT buying crap food so the FAT won’t be inside of you?

This may sound super harsh, but it made me mad and sad for people who just don’t get it and don’t care about themselves or us.  “WE” pay over $270 BILLION per YEAR from the effects of obese Americans.  Yes, we live in a free country and we all have free will, but come on!  Let’s make the correlation and be honest with ourselves…EATING FAT = BEING FAT!!!

Rant over…have a nice day!


   


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where's The Easy Button?

I had the privilege of staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis over the weekend as I returned home for a good friend’s wedding.  I was excited to use their incredible fitness center that included all the bells and whistles.  I had a fantastic workout and used almost every machine there, including the dumbbells.  Ok, I think I might have overdone it a little bit, but I took full advantage of their fantastic facilities while I was there.

There were about six other people working out at the same time I was there.  Unfortunately, there was a common theme.  NONE of them were putting in much effort into their workouts.  A couple of people were sort of just dogging it out on the treadmill; one guy was reading a newspaper as he slowly pedaled a recumbent bike; and one woman would do a leg extension, slowly flip through 3-4 pages in her magazine, then quickly do another one, flip pages, repeat…  That was the same woman who was yelling at her slow moving husband about why they needed to be there working out.  Another man whipped through every machine in only about 10 minutes.

I used to be guilty of this too.  I was just going through the motions and calling it a “workout”.  Not any more.  Now, I make every second of my workouts count.  Who has time to waste?  You need to break a sweat, grunt, scream, push hard, do whatever it takes to maximize your efforts.  You absolutely get out of it what you put into it.  Make it hard and make it count…go big or stay home.  It’s brutal, but honest!  There is no easy button in the gym.  What will be easy is looking at your results in the mirror.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sleep...Overrated?


Coffee has become my new best friend in the morning because I have a new love-hate relationship with sleep.  I love it when I get enough of it and appreciate it after I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start a new day.  I can think clearly, I look better, and I’m ready to burn some new energy with my morning workout.  Most importantly, it puts me in a good mood!  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often enough.  
I hate the fact that our bodies HAVE to have sleep to function!  We physically have to shut our bodies down, go limp, and put ourselves into a coma just to recharge ourselves.  Not having it, or enough of it, causes me to be crabby, stressed out, unmotivated, crappy-looking, lifeless, lazy, and depressed!  I feel like I’m going insane without it.  For god’s sake, Michael Jackson is dead because he was just trying to get some freaking sleep!  
This past year has been a real struggle for me trying to get enough sleep.  For some reason, I can’t get a solid 7-8 hours because I’m wide awake every 2 hours!  It’s been exhausting and has caused me a lot of extra stress.  I’ve taken Ambien for a year and have been trying to wean myself off of it.  Not only did it quit working, but I think it's addicting!
If you can get sleep, get it.  Feel lucky that you CAN do it when you get the chance.  Sleep is NOT overrated...we need it, we want it, and our bodies and minds HAVE to have it.  Now go get some ZZZs!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cuckoo for Coconuts!

        

Coconut oil, that is.  It’s not just for cookin’ anymore!  Let’s face it, this winter has been a booger so far and has taken a toll on everything, including my skin.  I’ve newly discovered the ingredient to getting super soft and smooth skin…organic coconut oil!  Who knew?  I’ve searched for the right lotions for years.  I even went so far as to go to bed lathered in baby oil, vaseline, and “extra healing” expensive skin fixers that I’ve purchased…all not recommended.  It comes solidified, but becomes liquefied from the heat of your hands and skin once you rub it in.  It’s fantastic for all your girlie and guy “parts” and I’m even tempted to use it as a deep conditioning treatment for my hair. 

According to the Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil - It can help bring back a youthful appearance and aids in removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin will become more evenly textured with a healthy "shine".  While doing, this the coconut oil will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthen the underlying tissues.  Coconut oil will not only bring temporary relief to the skin, but it will aid in healing and repairing.  It will have lasting benefits, unlike most lotions. 

An added bonus is the smell!  I feel like I’m on vacation every time I put it on.  I love it…and now I’m cuckoo for it...among other things!  J  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 2 Years to Me!


It’s obviously not my real birthday, but it is my 2-year birthday for my “new” body and life.  I could call it my anniversary, but I feel like I have been reborn into a new body that I re-created from hard work and a new mindset.  I give all the credit to eating clean, weight training, and my determination to achieve a goal and live a new lifestyle.  Trust me, at 46 years old, I’m trying to forget about real birthdays, but this is one that I will never forget!  I will continue renewing the commitment that I made to myself two years ago when I felt and looked terrible due to my own actions, or non-actions.  Knowing that I have cleansed my interior by eating clean and sculpted a strong new body is absolutely the icing on the cake for this old toddler!

(Minus the icing and the cake, of course.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Watchoo talkin' bout??

Check out my interview with Joey Atlas about my personal transformation.

http://joeyatlas.com/

My apologies in advance for all the times I say "ya know" and "umm".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Take Note!


This may look like gibberish to others, but this over a year of my life of daily workouts.  Yes, I’m definitely “old school” and actually write!  I started tracking my weight training and cardio so I could plan ahead and look back at my progress, or any lack of…  It’s interesting to look back through the year as well.
I also have a food journal that I update daily.  This may sound absolutely crazy and obsessive to some, but it’s truly helped me stay on the right path of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.  I never did it before my transformation, and obviously it showed.  I could deny some of the things that I was eating because I never saw it in writing.  The only numbers I associated with my body were from the scale, which I tried to ignore and forget. 
As I’ve said before, plan, plan, plan!  Not matter what you use, old-school pen and paper, I - Phone-Touch-Pad, Smartphone, or your PC, track your progress and guide yourself into a beautiful new and healthy body.

Note taken?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Something smells good...

These are two of my favorite recipes and I make them often.  They’re super easy and taste great! 

Root Vegetable & Chicken Soup

Ingredients
2 large parsnips, peeled, diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
1 small yellow onion, peeled, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled, minced
1 Tbls olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
4 C chicken broth
3 cooked chicken breasts - shredded
1/4 C chives
1 C plain greek yogurt
Sea salt (pinch) and pepper, to taste

Preparation
Peel and small dice all root vegetables. Heat large soup pot over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil, sauté root vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry powder, fresh ginger, onions and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of broth, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Add cooked shredded chicken breasts to soup and let simmer until vegetables are tender. Finely chop chives and add to soup. Add greek yogurt and stir. Bring back to simmer and serve warm.  Yummy!
Nutrition Information: Calories 247, Fat 8g, Sat Fat 1g, Protein 25g, Carbohydrate 22.5g, Fiber 4.5g, Sodium 500mg


TURKEY - LOAF



INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

4 egg whites

1 cup salsa
1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, onion, egg whites, salsa, oats, soup mix and black pepper. Press mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 60 minutes.
Serve with a sweet potato, couscous, quinoa, or farro and a vegetable.
(This is not 100% "clean" because of the soup mix, but you can check the ingredients and replace with other seasonings.)

Enjoy!




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Set the Stage!

What you’re doing now (today) sets the stage for everything else that follows in the next 11 months.  This includes your workout routines, eating habits, and your motivation.  If you set a strong foundation now, you can build on it the rest of the year and accomplish your fit and healthy goals toward a new body.
  •  For your workouts, make them part of your everyday routine.  Schedule them as you would a job or an appointment that you cannot miss.  I journal my workouts every day so I can track weights, times, and progress.
  • Make your eating (habits) routine as well.  After I started writing everything down in a journal, I have the ability now to look back at my progress and/or ways to improve, etc.  I write down the time (I eat every 2-3 hours), what I eat, and the protein grams.  I always try to eat my weight in protein.  I’m not concerned with calories because I eat clean which means no added bad fat or sugar.  (Everything in moderation, of course.)
  • Motivation.  What can I say?  This seems to be the biggest problem for everyone after a while.  A lot of people ask me how I stayed motivated through my transformation.  Honestly, I just kept doing it and when I started seeing actual changes in the mirror, it forced my motivation to a new level and propelled it forward.  If you can just get to that point, you will see what I’m talking about. 

MO = Make the most of an Opportunity to work out…
TI = Try not Ignore this decision that you’ve made…
VA = Validate what you wish to Achieve
TION = Take Initiative On a New way of life.

This time next year when the curtain opens, you will be so thankful that YOU took charge, that YOU made it happen, that YOU were in control of your body, and that YOU set the stage in January.  Do it now!  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Get Stealthy!

Full blown winter is here!  Curling up on a warm cozy couch in the evening is what’s happening in millions of American homes now and for several more months.  Comfort foods, hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, snacks…you know how it goes.  Before you know it, your New Year’s resolution of losing weight and getting in shape was just a faded wish that you had the last night of 2010.  Year after year it’s the same old story.  

Think ahead to the beginning of May.  If you get a jump-start now, you have time to get that spring and summer body that you’ve always wanted.  While everyone else is getting more “plump” on the couch, you can be silently working your butt off (literally).  When it’s time for those shorts, sleeveless shirts, and swimsuits, you will swoop in undetected like a Stealth Bomber and…BAM!  There you are with your hot, fit, and healthy body!    

Don’t wait…do it now…today…this minute!  Make your plan and execute it.  Fly under the radar while no one is looking now, and in a few months, you WILL show up on everyone’s radar.  Get Stealthy! J