Category Archives: Diet Tips

Sat, 2/16 – Paleo is my new best friend & Muscle-up attempts!

Paleo is my new pal. I’m enjoying all the benefits of the caveman diet, without the usual stresses of other diets. Trying new diets for me was a way to make nutrition fit me and my lifestyle. I was never a big fan of breads…or milk…or cheese…so why was it part of my usual diet when 1) I didn’t like it enough to want to eat it, but I still made recipes that had it, 2) I always connected it to the chronic problems, and lastly, without those ingredients, cooking has been so easy!

My meals are 50/50 meat and veggies. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I even bring a pitcher of water to the dining table, because as I am eating this delicious paleo meal, I am also consuming 2 to 3 glasses of water in one sitting. It’s like a snowball effect of good healthy eating habits. I’m eating more veggies, more lean proteins, and more water.

Other diets made me hungry all the time. I read from that “Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables represent the main carbohydrate source and will provide for 35-45 % of your daily calories. Almost all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.” My husband, who is in the medical field, explained to me that the your brain can only use sugars as it primary nutrient source, so when you constantly provide your body sugars for it to use, it will never use the proteins or fat consumed thus causes you to hold onto those nutrients, turn them into fat and only burn the sugars. But when your body is used to always receiving a high level of sugars, you will feel lethargic every time your levels dip. A.K.A. sugar crashes. You still need sugars, obviously, but you can get them from fruits and vegetables instead.

Paleo diet focuses on energy sustaining nutrients like proteins and fats. You’d be surprised how much more fats you consume than other diets, however, you are still losing weight because the typical carb consumption significantly decreases. It’s incredible to see fat from parts of my body that I’ve been holding on to for pretty much all my life is starting to come off.

I can’t follow Paleo 100%. It’s just not possible, but I’d like to try it when I can. Sometimes, I need to use salt or sugar when I cook. Sometimes, I can’t avoid peanut butter. There are strict rules to Paleo, but I try my best and I’m still seeing results. I have the occasional ice cream cone, the occasional bite of a food item with bread, or some rice. But the idea for me is to try my best.

So far, I am 16 days into paleo. I have trimmed up around my belly and back, and also my tricep areas! Woohoo! I can’t wait to make my 1 year anniversary post.

On to my Muscle-Ups! Well, I haven’t been able to do one yet. But I’m working on it. I attempted several times to just get one. I even moved to different pull bars to try this seemingly easy thing.

I can’t figure out what muscles I need to strengthen to be able to do one, but I’ve been told that I need stronger back muscles, also to work on explosiveness because that’s what you need to power yourself up.

This video shows what it’s supposed to look like:

My Saturday Morning Workout

30 mins of Zumba

8 Lat raise
8 Upright row
8 Shoulder press
4 chest fly at 95lbs
10 pull-ups
10 attempts at muscle ups
5 pike push-ups
20 tricep press

8 min ab set
20/10 tabata 16 rounds
Plank shoulder slaps
Suicide planks
Top hat
Elbow to knee each side
Downward dog
Back stretch
Side plank
Other side plank
Leg raise
Elevated crunch

Bfast – 2 eggs over easy on top of a bed of sauteed onions, spinach, and garlic. super yum!

Snack – Banana and navel orange

Lunch – Cilantro Chicken with Portobello Mushroom and Spinach Sautee

Dinner – Leftover Cilantro chicken and Paleo Pancakes


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10 Things I learned to help me not SABOTAGE my new diet.

I travel quite a bit. Personally and professionally. I’m a routine person who can adapt well to situations. But I’ve gotten pretty good at creating routines in my travels so that not much is a surprise.

I get up at the same time each morning. I try to go to bed around the same hour each night. These routines aren’t just routines – they are proactive measures that allow me to keep control of each moment so that I don’t get blindsided by inconveniences that sabotage goals and plans.

I used to live my life by the seat of my pants and let whatever happen, happen. Didn’t prepare each day. If I was late to work, I was just late to work. That life left me broke each week, made me unreliable, and quite frankly, emotionally and physically, drained and unhappy.

Don’t allow unplanned inconveniences sabotage your dieting goals. I’m not dieting just to diet or lose weight. I’m trying new types of “diets” to see which one works for me.


What I have learned these past few weeks between my travels, is that:

1) When I need to eat, I HAVE TO EAT. And if I don’t eat, it’s going to be bad until I eat.

2) As long as I can “control” breakfast, I can “deal” with modifications to lunch or dinner.

3) Pack breakfast and snacks – even if I have to get on a 5 hour flight, I will bring bananas and packs of peanut butter. If you are a protein person, pack your powder and make sure you have enough for the length of time you are there.

4) Pack a water bottle – I consume 3 times as much water than I normally would if a water bottle was handy every time I needed a sip.

5) If I snack when I’m hungry, I can ward off manic hunger when the right food is not available. Short story – I was driving all night long trying to get some good time on the road in, next thing I knew it was 9:30pm. In small rural towns, most restaurants are closed even chain restaurants. I was so pissed off that it got so late (11:30pm!) and I got manic hungry (by this hour), that the ONLY place open was TACO HELL. I was livid that I passed exit after exit and ended up eating a disgusting (but tasty!) chalupa and nachos. Then the next day, I was bloated, gassy, had acid reflux, gall bladder trouble, and a sour stomach for probably 2 days. NEVER AGAIN.

6) Eat HUNGER SUSTAINING FOODS – like nuts, meats, eggs, etc. because they are filled with proteins that take awhile for your body to burn through. Carbs will make you hungry all day long and quite frankly, I HATE being hungry all the time because it’s a nuisance to get MANIC HUNGRY every couple of hours and NEED to feed myself. And that’s what sugar and carbs will do to you. It gives you overwhelming pleasure and satisfaction, yet it doesn’t last except in your thunder thighs, muffin top and love handles. 😉

7) Clean eats mean – No processed anything. If someone had to put it together in a pretty package, it’s probably not that clean. So when you are at the gas station and looking for a snack…head directly to the fresh fruit stand, and grab a banana.

8) Staying at a hotel with a continental breakfast? 🙂 Last hotel I stayed at, I stole 4 bananas, 6 packets of peanut butter, and 6 plastic knives.

9) Don’t put up with bad food. Just because it’s FREE doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I hate wasting good food, but if it’s not good for me, I will chuck it without hesitation.

10) You are not a DOG. So don’t “treat” yourself with food. Rewards should be complementary. For example, I got myself a day at the salon about 3 weeks into January’s 30 Day Challenge. I also buy new gym clothes for the winter season, and my husband bought me a pair of Nike FREE cross-training shoes for my birthday.


Overall, the theme is to plan your meals in some sort of fashion when traveling. I pack bananas in my suitcase. I also pack a jar of nut butter, sometimes I’ll even pack full on prepared meals in a cooler…but I’ll do anything to avoid manic hunger.

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It’s still [PROCESSED] – Skinny Cow Dairy

I caved in today because my lunch was just not tasty (I had a romaine lettuce salad with mushrooms, steak meat and no dressing. We were at a pizza place and I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else, so I got a bland salad to make sure I didn’t eat the other crap) but…BUT…I “allowed” myself to eat this Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich because, heh, I feel pretty good, and I was not satisfied after lunch….soooo…..why not? Well, for about 5 minutes of deliciousness, I started having [literally] a sour stomach, as if all of the plumbing and pistons decided to work a little harder and faster than usual…

So lesson learned…even if it’s disguised with good numbers, a good name [Skinny], it’s still PROCESSED JUNK.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Sandwich
Servings Per Container: *Not Given*
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140 Calories from Fat 15
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1.5g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Trans Fat [need value] [need value]%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 135mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3%
Sugars 15g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C %
Calcium 20%
Iron 4%
vanilla sandwich [skim milk, wafer (bleached wheat flour, sugar, caramel color, dextrose, palm oil, corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, baking soda, modified corn starch, salt, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, cocoa), sugar, corn syrup, polydextrose, whey protein, cream, calcium carbonate, Inulin (Dietary Fiber), natural flavor, propylene glycol monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, guar gum, monoglycerides, sorbitol, carob bean gum, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, carrageenan, salt], chocolate sandwich [skim milk, wafer (bleached wheat flour, sugar, caramel color, dextrose, palm oil, corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, baking soda, modified corn starch, salt, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, cocoa), sugar, corn syrup, polydextrose, cocoa processed with alkali, whey protein, calcium carbonate, cream, Inulin (Dietary Fiber), natural flavor, propylene glycol monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, guar gum, monoglycerides, carob bean gum, sorbitol, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, carrageenan, salt]Does not Contain Nuts, Kosher, Low FatLow Fat Ice Cream, 97% Fat Free. 140 Calories. 3 grams Fiber. 0 Trans Fat.
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.Please be sure to check the actual product label since the information contained here may have changed.

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Binge Eating: We all do it, but why?


Binge eating is uncontrollable emotional eating. Yea, we eventually stop, but making sure we get every bite of the cheesecake, or last french fry has a strange pleasurable emotional satisfaction.

At a very young age, we were taught to finish our meals, make sure we eat every last pea or carrot. Til this day, we continue the tradition, however with calorie intense meals and huge portions, this learned lesson has made us very unhealthy.

I want to make clear what binging is: Binge eating is uncontrollable emotional eating that doesn’t satisfy the physical fact that food is fuel, yet satisfies the mental pleasure-pathways to some underlying problem. Granted, most of us are not “truly” binge eating. We are simply just eating A LOT, which has close to the same effects of binge eating.

There’s not much difference in true binge eating and bored eating. How many times have you walked around the house picking up random high-carb foods like a handful of trailmix,  a few wheat thins, then making yourself a pbj sandwich and finishing it off with a glass of milk?

Lets break this habit down.

Handful of trail mix:  2oz 262 cals
Glass of 2% milk: 1 cup 122 cals
1 Serving of Wheat Thins: 12 crackers 90 cals
PBJ sandwich: 2pcs whole wheat bread 200 cals, 2 tbsp creamy peanutbutter 190 cals, 1 tbsp jelly 50 cals = 440 cals

Total calories in this quick snack:   914 cals

This quick rummage through the pantry cost us half of our daily caloric intake based on a normal 2000 calorie diet. Were you eating for pleasure? Not really, plenty of other foods that would have been more pleasurable. Were you eating because you were hungry? No, because you didn’t stop at the trailmix. Were you eating because there was nothing else to do and food was laying around? Yes. What’s the difference between eating a whole lot in one sitting and eating for no reason throughout the day? You consume the same amount of calories, feel the same lethargic guilt, and got nothing constructive done throughout the day.

These bad habits will ruin anything you set your mind to in fitness and health. You could exercise 6 days a week, burn tons of calories, but you will not be healthy if you unconsciously consume junk food, bad carbs, and eating for no reason. You’ll never achieve that body you set out to get. You simply can not out-exercise a bad diet.


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Need a lite workout? Here’s a HiitLite from BodyRock that will show you step by step some new simple exercises to try

This is a great “light” workout for beginners who are wanting to ease into HIIT training.

I remember when I first learned of HIIT workouts, I was interested but it was a little too weird for me, and when I finally had the nerve to try it, I was completely uncoordinated and then completely discouraged. I didn’t try it again for a year. It took an entire year of learning “how to exercise” before I can do a “workout” on my own without help. So if you feel discouraged, because you can’t keep up, or going too slow, just remember that your body is not used to this new thing, and it has to get a chance to get coordinated. But muscle memory is amazing, because once you’ve done it once, you’ll automatically be a lot better the next time you try that same move.

I follow the BodyRock workouts because they are simplified – and most of the time, simple is all you need to get a great workout in. A big part of a healthy lifestyle is to rewire our body and mind to these new movements, because it feels great to be able to do “normal” things without breaking a sweat.

If you are interested in learning how to get a 20 minute workout in each day by doing very simple but calorie-torching exercises, then give it a try. I do similar exercises almost every day, and I can always attest to how a 15 to 20 minute HIIT workout is far more effective than an hour on the treadmill.

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CARBS are the DEVIL! Disguised in delicious foods like breads, rice, oatmeal, etc…..  GRRRR….this has been totally impeding my weight loss. I’m thinking I’m probably consuming anywhere from 150-200g of carbs per day! So all that exercising and “eating” healthy is still not enough! I need to watch my carb intake – so my new mission for the rest of this month is to watch my carb intake.

I found this article titled “How many carbs should I eat each day?” from Mark’s Daily Apple. It’s very enlightening!

300 or more grams/day Danger Zone!

Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).

150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain

Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.

100-150 grams/dayPrimal Blueprint Maintenance Range

This range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with Primal exercises, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.

50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss

Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.

0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning

Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. May be ideal for many diabetics. Not necessarily recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.

Another great article from – Daily Carb Intake For Weight Loss


You can divide your carbohydrates into three categories: whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Whole grains and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates, while fruits give you simple sugars. Whole grains include foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice. Along with potatoes, these foods are often called white, or starchy, vegetables. Plants that grown on vines, above ground, such as tomatoes, squash, zucchini and pumpkins, are actually fruits.


As you plan your diet, consider any health issues you have, such as high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, diabetes or risk of heart disease. Different carbohydrates provide different amounts of vitamins and minerals, and you should choose your carbs based on the nutrients they provide you.

Carb Amounts by Type

The USDA recommends that whole grains make up the base of your daily calories, followed by fruits and vegetables, while the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight pyramid recommends you eat more fruits and vegetables than whole grains. The South Beach Diet also recommends eating fewer starchy carbohydrates and more fruits and vegetables as part of its weight-loss plan. No peer-reviewed medical research has shown that high-protein diets offer more weight-loss than diets that recommend more carbohydrates.

Carb Servings

The USDA recommends six to 11 servings daily of whole grains, while the Mayo Clinic pyramid recommends four to eight servings. The USDA recommends three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit, while suggests a minimum of three servings of fruit each day and four servings of vegetables. The USDA pyramid recommends three to seven servings of protein from sources such as nuts, beans, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, while recommends four to six servings. The USDA suggests you eat fats sparingly, while recommends three to five servings of fats daily. Most of your fats should come in the form of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that come from sources, such as olive oil, nuts and fish.

Weight Loss

To lose 1 lb. of weight, you’ll need to burn 3,500 calories. This translates into burning 500 calories more per day than you eat. If you wish to decrease your calories as your only means of weight loss, or use a combination of fewer calories and more exercise, spread your calorie reduction evenly among carbohydrates, proteins and fats to ensure you receive the correct balance of vitamins and minerals you need for good health each day.

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NO JUNK FOOD! Pack healthy snacks in your car, office, desk, gym bag, etc.


It’s only week 2, and I’m getting pretty tired of counting calories, and “consciously” eating all the time. It’s a lot of work to remember, write down, put effort into consciously recognizing what I’m eating. I’m starting to feel deprived even though I know I’m not. But I know that if I get in the habit of “Eyeballing” calories, and consciously learning caloric content of foods, then eating healthy will become an effortless subconscious act I do every day.

I have felt so good in the past 10 days between eating good, healthy food, my mood swings have incredibly reduced, I don’t feel toxic and I have so much more energy. But back to my willpower post, feelings of deprivation is very ineffective when you have an emotional attachment to certain foods. I am starting to feel as though I have really deprived myself of my sugar cravings. However, I’ve given in to ice cream on days that I am under in calories, I have been eating “Gummy” candy, and I have had 2 pieces of dove chocolates.

I can’t allow myself to submit to my sugar cravings, because I know myself, and I mindlessly eat sugary foods. I have to manipulate my environment to prevent myself from eating junk food.

Today, I realized that I have been chipping away at a massive bag of gummy candy on my desk.

I’m only eating it because it’s laying around. If I don’t leave junk food in plain view, it probably would never dawn on me to look for that type of food. So I put the entire bag inside my drawer, and tomorrow morning, I am going to bring snacks I made, and healthy power bars.

I’m going to pack my office drawers with healthy snacks so when the hunger strikes, I’m not sifting through candy and junk food, or worse, succumbing to anything that is laying around. I used to always have a small candy bar in my purse – I’m throwing that junk out and replacing it with a power bar!



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What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.” It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. (

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

Anaerobic Energy System

Anaerobic literally means “Without oxygen.” The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete’s muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

Aerobic Energy System

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

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Don’t force willpower

“Willpower is important, but it needs to be practiced, not forced. The more we force ourselves to do too many things that don’t feel easy (all at once), the more likely we are to fail. Feelings of deprivation leads to binging. Even thinking about depriving ourselves leads to compensatory eating reactions. That’s how powerful willpower is.”

I read this on a fitness bloggers site and find a lot of truth in it. It’s a strange coincidence when the more you try to not eat the piece of cake that all you think about is eating it. And while you are not eating it your eating things like it and while depriving yourself from it it begins to consume your thoughts and you ultimately give in and usually in a bad way.

Failing is part of changing and adopting this lifestyle. Moderately easing into this lifestyle or any new changes has the highest level of effectiveness.

Some things I can do cold turkey like I quit drinking regular sodas one day and never went back. I stopped eating pizza on a regular basis. I stopped eating McDonald’s cold turkey in December of 2010.

But if its things you love that you know is not good for you, it’s hard to let it go completely. I still treat myself to a cup of ice cream or a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza. There no reason to completely remove it from your life. But there’s no balance if you are constantly binging on Chinese food more than once a week.

Willpower should definitely be practiced and saying no now doesn’t mean you always have to say no.

The idea is to not want those things as bad as you do now. I LOVE ICE CREAM. I could eat a half gallon for dinner. But that’s the kind of behavior we are trying to reduce and avoid.

There’s a perfect balance we are trying to achieve so we can have our cake and eat it too.

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Metabolism Boosting Foods

Try a handful of almonds instead of a candy bar for a boost.

Your best friend should be water not chocolate.

Spinach is amazing for breakfast!

I sauté everything in garlic!


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