Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Eve

Wooohoo! Day off! Woot woot!

Can you tell I'm a happy camper? :-D  Today began late... we actually slept in! What??? I know! Crazy talk there! It was awesome! The new fitness and nutrition plans went out to our Case Study gals of Group 2. It's hard to believe we're halfway through the Study! I'm so proud of how hard they're all working, and what they're achieving. These seven women are awesome!

Today is full of errands and appointments. Some of those appointments might be fun-related ;-) Woot! I believe a pedicure and girl-time is in order, hehe. I'm also laying out my 2012 goals. 2011 was an incredible year for me - I beat the odds and recovered ahead of schedule (and far more than anyone anticipated) from my knee surgery,  I attended the Arnold Sports Festival as an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador, I was signed as a sponsored athlete by Champion Nutrition and continue to write weekly recipes for them, I was signed by World Physique Women Magazine as a recipe writer, I was featured in my 3rd magazine (Oxygen Magazine), I trained for my first Figure Competition and came home with hardware, I turned 41, launched a new business with my best friend (www.RecipeForFitness.com), have 7 incredible women in our first Case Study, along with having an absolutely amazing family.

As I look to 2012, I know it's going to be just as incredible as this last year.

How about you? What are  you grateful for? What did you achieve this year? What are your plans for next year? How will you go about achieving them? Let's ROCK 2012. Let's rock it together!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Review...

It was a fabulous holiday! My kids were all home, we had a great time, and Bill and I got to prank the kids throughout the "gifts" session. Hahaha!  Ya'll remember the cat-gut story, right? The kids insist that I fed them cat-gut (it was really Miracle Noodles)... this was years and years ago, but they still meow and tell their friends about it. Well... Bill and I wrote our own version of the night-before-Christmas, and it was all about.... you guessed it! Cat-Gut Noodles! I even bought a pack of them, and created my own label. The joke about cats & Mexico is that whenever we've gone to Rocky Point, we've never seen a cat. Ever. Hence the connection with the Miracle Noodles. (No disrespect to the Actual Miracle Noodles, this is just our little family joke).

It was awesome! We wrapped it up all pretty, with the poem attached, made the kids read the poem then open it, and...

They definitely got the joke. It was a riot!!! Then, we had other gag-gifts for them, interspersed with the "real" stuff...

Ariel is known as the "Bread Monster" in our house. 

Bethany LOVES honey sticks ;-)

Joey can't keep his paws out of my Pop Chips, LOL!

Shiloh is under the impression that Spaghetti is what's for dinner every night, LOL!

Even Nakki was wondering what the heck was going on....

It was an absolute blast. Truly so much fun! Plus it made the morning last longer :-)
We then spent the rest of the day playing around in our pajamas (yes, I was wearing my Darth Vader jammies), then enjoyed a relaxed dinner, and a quiet evening.

The day after Christmas, I hit the gym at 9am for Tabitha's Total Body Conditioning Class... OMG. BRUTAL doesn't cover that one. Then I did it again at 5:30pm!! Ha!! Needless to say, my legs are quite perturbed with me today. I am very glad I have a rest day between those two classes and the next one (Wednesday pm).

Today, my cooler page is updated, I'm nearly ready to post my January workout lists, and I'm looking forward to a short week and another long weekend, lol! Woot for the holidays!

How was your holiday?

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Chicken & Spaghetti Squash

Chicken is a staple food... we bulk cook it, we eat it cold out of baggies, we eat it until we feel we could grow feathers and cluck. Here's a new way to use an old protein source and make it tasty. I crockpot chicken each week - just toss several whole breasts in with some low-sodium chicken broth and Mrs Dash. When it's done, I shred some of it for use in recipes like this one...

Chelle's Chicken & Spaghetti Squash 

Ingredients:
● 1 Spaghetti Squash
● 1 Crown of Broccoli - about 2 cups chopped
● 1 Crown of Cauliflower (colored cauliflower makes a great addition if you can find it!) - about 2 cups chopped
● 2 Cups Shredded Chicken Breast (increase for more protein)
● 1 Cup Serrano Cilantro Salsa (or any green salsa)
● 1/8 to 1/4 Cup shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
●  
Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, place in a microwave safe bowl open side down and cover with plastic wrap. 
●  Microwave for 7-10 minutes (the longer you cook it the softer - more pasta-like - the "strands" become). 
●  Allow to cool slightly (so you don't burn yourself when you touch it). 
●  Chop Broccoli and Cauliflower. 
●  Place in Large Ziploc Steamer Bag
●  Add some Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb (or whichever flavor you prefer). 
●  Microwave for the time specified on bag. 
●  Reheat shredded chicken. 
●  Shred the squash with a fork (forming spaghetti-like strands). 
●  Scoop into a bowl. 
●  Add the broccoli and cauliflower. 
●  Add Chicken. 
●  Add salsa and mix it up. 
●  Top with a sprinkling of cheese. 


Makes 4 standard size servings: 205 calories, 25g protein, 16g carbs, 5g fat. 



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve! Woot!!

It's Christmas Eve!! Yay for holidays! :-) This is the time of year when I let my geekdom reign supreme. I am a geek, and a dweeb, all year long, but for the Yule season? Oh yeah, it's on!

Tabitha and I did some last minute shopping yesterday. We met at Kohls and transformed into the shopping fiends we are. There might have been some scrambling over the sweaters (I saw it first, but it fit her better - dagnabbit!), then we hit the men's dept. I was looking for these awesome pajama pants Tab has - little skulls and crossbones all over the fuzzy pants - totally awesome. Well, they didn't have them, but what did I spy in the back of the department in a display that looked to have been ravaged by manic elves? Ha! MINE!

I flew to the back, grabbed them from the rack and yelled, "LOOK!!!" Tab rushed to my side and grabbed the other set - the only two they had, and we discovered I was holding a Men's medium, she the small. What was this wondrous apparel we'd found? Star Wars fuzzy pajamas, of course!! With huge holiday spirit (and a grimace), Tabitha handed me the small. YAY!!! That, my dear ones, is true friendship! I am now wearing my awesome Darth Vader pj's as I type this post. I may or may not have run around last night breathing, "Luke, I am your father" and "I find your lack of faith disturbing". hehehe.

After Kohls, we headed to the mecca of all shopping - Fashion Square. We had a blast!! Though the crowds were intense, and the lines long, we made it out with our lists fully checked off. On to Target, then dinner with our men, then I drug Bill out to another Target (better selection) and picked up a few last minute gifts, then home to my Vader pj's.  I fell asleep to Gold Rush (Bill loves that show, frankly, they just annoy me, lol), and here I sit this bright shiny Christmas Eve morning sipping my coffee and typing.  I'm about to get dressed and head to the gym - Killer holiday workout in store! Tabitha's Total Body Conditioning is a calorie annihilation fest!

The rest of the day will be wrapping the last of the gifts and preparing for the big poker party tonight :-) Woot!!

How are you spending this holiday?
Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Countdown & A Chocolate Recipe! Woot!

It's almost Christmas! Around my house, we're looking forward to Christmas Eve - our annual poker fest. Bill and the kids play Texas Hold'em until the wee hours, while I finish the final Christmas day food prep. It's also their day to sneak in all the junk food I don't allow throughout the year, LOL. My "where'd that come from" questions are met with falsely innocent faces. Uh-huh. Right. This year I have a feeling the house will be full - with all the kids friends/boyfriends, we'll definitely be packed. It's going to be a blast.

This morning started late. I actually slept in! Crazy, I know! Lol. As I worked this morning, I had a bit of company...

Winnie decided to snuggle while I worked on food plans and sucked down coffee. Nakki, however, decided we were nuts to be outside (it was awesome! clear blue skies!) and she was curled up on the couch inside. LOL.

I packed up my cooler and dashed out the door... got to work and discovered I had forgotten breakfast!! What???? Oy! Thank goodness for my stash! I had a packet of plain oatmeal and a single serving of almond butter but I must have used my emergency packet of protein powder (drat!). So I'm protein low this morning, but if that's as bad as it gets, I'm solid. After work, I have Tab's class. I am sooooo sore from Monday's class! OMG! My consolation is that so is she, haha! Today's class is 15 minutes of Abs, followed by 45 minutes of Muscle - woot! Then Saturday (yep, Christmas Eve!) is another Total Body Conditioning class. Awesome way to start the holiday!

Speaking of holiday... how about a fantabulous holiday treat that won't break you?! Woot!

Chocolate Mousse Pie
The original recipe was by Silvana, tweaked by Elana (www.ElanasPantry.com) and further tweaked by yours truly ;-)
gluten-free chocolate fudge mousse pie recipe
Shown with crust - mine is without a crust - trust me, it doesn't need it. It's all about the chocolate!



If you love dark chocolate - you absolutely MUST try this! It's super easy to put together, and it is incredible!! This is soooo unbelievably good! When I made it, I nearly stopped before folding in the egg whites because the fudgey mixture was beyond words... I'm glad though, that I finished, because the mousse pie is a gift from the gods! It's that good! Though, next time, I might make a batch of just the fudgey part along with the pie :-)

Recipe Makes 16 servings (see nutrition data below)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
6 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon agave nectar
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preparation
• In a small pot, melt chocolate over very low heat; remove from heat
• In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with agave for 1 minute with a hand blender
• In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld blender until stiff peaks form
• Stir egg yolk mixture into pot of warm chocolate
• Mix chocolate and yolks until combined; mixture will be slightly thickened, shiny and beautiful
• Stir salt into chocolate mixture
• Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture
• Refrigerate for 3 hours
• Serve

 
Click here to view all the nutritional information.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Mini Chicken Loaves

Need something new to do with all that chicken? Go Ground! This is an easily portable food :-) I've seen recipes for mini meat-muffins/loaves all over the internet for years, but have never really found one I like. Then came competition diet, and I really needed something that was easy to make, eat, and didn't knock me off track with carbs. Most recipes include bread crumbs or quinoa, rice or other starchy carb. I needed a solution without those extra carbs... I utilized my free foods to fill out the recipe and add flavor (mushrooms, onion, garlic), then added shredded zucchini and diced pepper for a veggie boost, plus the egg both to hold it all together as well as provide a healthy source of fat. The result was an incredibly tasty mini loaf! The hubby even loves these! Just add a side (sweet potato, quinoa, rice, etc) and a veggie and you've got a full meal for the family (or yourself!).



  • Chicken Mini Loaves
    Recipe by Chelle Stafford
    Makes 8 loaves
    Ingredients:
    ●  2 lbs ground chicken breast
    ●  1 cup finely minced crimini (brown) mushrooms
    ●  1 cup shredded zucchini (usually this is about 1 medium sized zucchini)
    ●  1/2 cup diced onion
    ●  1/2 cup diced pepper (green, yellow, orange, red, whatever!)
    ●  2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
    ●  1 whole egg
    ●  1/3 cup salsa (try this with different kinds each time!)
    ●  2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

    Directions:
    ●  Spray Muffin Tin or Mini Loaf pan with oil.
    ●  Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
    ●  Mix all ingredients
    ●  Divide among 8 muffins or loaves.
    ●  Bake 20-30 minutes, draining pan at about 20 minutes.
    ●  When done, serve immediately, or cool on wire wrack and individually wrap for snacks/meals.
















Nutrition Information:
 
Nutrition data is per loaf:  152 calories, 26 g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 2g fat. 146 mg sodium.

 

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Mini Chicken Loaves

Need something new to do with all that chicken? Go Ground! This is an easily portable food :-) I've seen recipes for mini meat-muffins/loaves all over the internet for years, but have never really found one I like. Then came competition diet, and I really needed something that was easy to make, eat, and didn't knock me off track with carbs. Most recipes include bread crumbs or quinoa, rice or other starchy carb. I needed a solution without those extra carbs... I utilized my free foods to fill out the recipe and add flavor (mushrooms, onion, garlic), then added shredded zucchini and diced pepper for a veggie boost, plus the egg both to hold it all together as well as provide a healthy source of fat. The result was an incredibly tasty mini loaf! The hubby even loves these! Just add a side (sweet potato, quinoa, rice, etc) and a veggie and you've got a full meal for the family (or yourself!).



  • Chicken Mini LoavesRecipe by Chelle Stafford
    Makes 8 loaves
    Ingredients:
    ●  2 lbs ground chicken breast
    ●  1 cup finely minced crimini (brown) mushrooms
    ●  1 cup shredded zucchini (usually this is about 1 medium sized zucchini)
    ●  1/2 cup diced onion
    ●  1/2 cup diced pepper (green, yellow, orange, red, whatever!)
    ●  2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
    ●  1 whole egg
    ●  1/3 cup salsa (try this with different kinds each time!)
    ●  2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

    Directions:
    ●  Spray Muffin Tin or Mini Loaf pan with oil.
    ●  Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
    ●  Mix all ingredients
    ●  Divide among 8 muffins or loaves.
    ●  Bake 20-30 minutes, draining pan at about 20 minutes.
    ●  When done, serve immediately, or cool on wire wrack and individually wrap for snacks/meals.
















Nutrition Information:
 
Nutrition data is per loaf:  152 calories, 26 g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 2g fat. 146 mg sodium.

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Protein Powder Ice Cream Recipes, Part II

While we await the completion of the RecipeForFitness website Recipe section, I thought it might be helpful to put all my protein powder ice cream recipes on one page.  ;-)



Protein Powder Ice Cream
All Recipes by Chelle Stafford

There are two ways to make this... the first is in an ice-cream maker, the second in ziploc bags.

ICE CREAM MAKER INSTRUCTIONS: I use a  Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker I just blend my ingredients, turn on the machine, pour it in, and 20 minutes later I have ice-cream!

ZIPLOC INSTRUCTIONS:
Back in junior-high, we made ziploc ice-cream... where you put ice and salt in a big bag, and your ice cream ingredients in a smaller bag, then the small bag goes in the big bag (sealed of course), and you shake... voila! ice cream!

  • Fill a gallon size ziploc bag about 2/3 full of ice.
  • Add 1/2 cup table salt (don't waste good sea-salt on this, use the cheap iodized stuff, it's only to make the ice colder).
  • Pour your ice cream mix into a sandwich size ziploc bag & seal it. 
  • Place the ice-cream bag into the larger bag. Seal. 
  • Shake for about 5 minutes or until ice-cream reaches the consistency you prefer. 
  • Remove the inner bag and quickly rinse it off (so you don't get salt in your ice cream when you open the bag). 
  • Dump ice-cream into a bowl and enjoy!



BLEND your ingredients before putting in the ziploc or the ice-cream maker.

SCOOP SIZE... 
My protein scoop = 1/3 cup. Measure yours, as volume will matter in these recipes.

Nutrition data will be dependent on your protein powder & ingredients. Any numbers listed here reflect my protein powder/ingredients. You can use NutritionData.com to run your own numbers (it's free!).

**Note... you can sub water for the almond milk (or coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc) if you need to. 





Apple Harvest Protein Ice Cream
recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup apple cider 
  • 1.5 serving vanilla protein powder (my scoop is = 1/3 cup, I used 1 1/2 scoops)
  • 1/2 cup 0% Chobani plain greek yogurt

Blend all ingredients well (I used a Magic Bullet), then pour into ice cream maker and run for about 20 minutes.

YUM!! The strength of the apple cider flavor was awesome and when I added caramel, even better!

TIPS... Add sugar free caramel syrup! After you've put it in the machine, let it run about 10 minutes then add 2 Tbsp caramel syrup to the mix an let it go. And/or drizzle caramel over the top!









Dreamsicle Protein Ice Creamrecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 cup almond milk (vanilla, unsweetened).


Blend together, then pour into a sandwich size ziploc & seal.  In a gallon size ziploc, add ice and half cup of salt. Place small baggie in the big baggie, seal and shake about 5 minutes.


Calories: 182; protein: 21 g; carbs: 7g; fat: 7g; sodium: 350 mg; sugars 2g; fiber 2g.







Purple Ice Cream!
recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

Sorry about the melty photo...
I forgot to grab my camera right away! Oops!
For the blueberries....
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla (pure) extract.

Directions:
Place blueberries in a sauce pan with the water and cook over medium heat until reduced down to a "syrup" (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and add vanilla (pure) extract.
Stir, and set aside or refrigerate until needed.

For the Ice Cream...

1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 1/2 scoops Chocolate protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
1 Tbsp natural almond butter
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt

Directions:
Blend all ingredients.
Add about half of the blueberry sauce, reserving the rest for topping. 
Blend again, just until the color spreads through the mixture.
Add to ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions. Mine takes about 20 minutes.
Scoop ice cream into a bowl, top with reserved fruit syrup and enjoy!

FYI... you can do this with any fruit! Sub out the blueberries for whatever is in season or handy!

Nutrition: 246 calories. 24 g protein, 19 g carbs, 9 g fat.





BASIC:recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (chocolate or vanilla unsweetened)
1.5 scoop protein powder (chocolate or vanilla to match the almond milk)
6-8 drops liquid Stevia (**optional**)
Blend.

DREAMSICLE (orange/vanilla): recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
1/4 tsp orange extract 1 cup almond milk (vanilla, unsweetened).
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.
Calories: 182; protein: 21 g; carbs: 7g; fat: 7g; sodium: 350 mg; sugars 2g; fiber 2g.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER
recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.5 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter.
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

MINT CHOCOLATErecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1/4 tsp mint extract
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIPrecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.25 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 tsp mint extract
2-3 Tbsp chocolate chips
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

MOCHArecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk - vanilla or chocolate
1 tsp decaf instant coffee crystals.
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

STRAWBERRYrecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

BANANA
recipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1/2 cup mashed banana (frozen or fresh)
1.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIErecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.5 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup chocolate unsweetened almond milk
8-10 drops Capella's Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor drops (or other flavor drops)
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.
CINNAMON SPICErecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Nutmeg
Sprinkle of Cardamom (*optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla (pure)
Blend well, then prepare in either ice cream maker or ziploc method.

APPLE PIErecipe by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

1.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1 green apple, peeled & diced
1 tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Sprinkle of Cardamom (*optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla (pure)
1 Tbsp butter
  • In a bowl, combine the diced apple, butter, vanilla & spices. Microwave in 30 second increments until apples are soft. Stir.
  • In a blender, combine protein powder & almond milk (and stevia if using). Blend Well.
  • Mix protein powder/almond milk with apples and stir.
  • Add to ice cream maker or prepare with ziploc method.
     **DO NOT BLEND THE APPLE MIXTURE**


Super-Chocolaty Protein Ice Creamrecipe by Chelle Stafford
makes 2 servings, or 1 very large, very tasty serving :-)

  • 3 scoops (1.5 servings) Champion Nutrition Pro-Score 100 Chocolate protein powder (roughly half a cup of powder)
  • 1/2 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond butter

Blend well (I used a Magic Bullet), then pour into ice cream maker. Let it run about 20 minutes, then serve! I added sliced banana and sugar-free caramel syrup. You could add some instant coffee crystals to your mix for a mocha flavor, too!
Nutrition:  (just the ice cream) per serving: 183 calories; 29 g protein, 6g carbs, 5g fat, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 259 mg sodium.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Little Piece of Peace

The days seem to get shorter, the To-Do list longer, and my patience thinner. I'm using the horn on my car more often, I'm a wee bit grumpy, and a lot manic. I just need more hours in the day, I often whine. As the holiday approaches, my usual seasonal routines are missing, as I juggle my full time job, the Case Study, blogging, and my family. Personally, I've been a tad (yes, it's an understatement) upset over my oldest not being here for Christmas this year, as he's moving to California, and that has put a damper on my holiday spirit. For years, the kids alternated holidays with us per the visitation arrangement, so it wasn't that he wouldn't be here, it was that it was going to be our last "family" Christmas. I know they're growing up and away, I'm proud of all my kids, but it's hard to see the nest empty. And then I got my little miracle :-) The job he's been working has been adjusted, and he's here for Christmas! He has to leave the next day back to Houston to finish the job, and then he'll be back to finish packing and move :-(  But he's here for Christmas! All my kids are here! Yay! Happy Mommy!

While I've celebrated this, I've been spastic about trying to get everything done. Friday's are especially busy, as new nutrition & fitness plans go out to our Study participants. This last friday was insane. No. The day was busy, I was insane. Technology was not my friend. I fought with programs, with computers, with anything electronic it seemed, and as the day neared evening, I was becoming more and more frantic. Bill and I were to see a movie that night with Tabitha and her husband, and I wasn't seeing how it could happen... I wasn't done working! At one point, Bill came home and might have gotten his head snapped off. Maybe. He described it later as walking into a buzz saw.

Hmm. Might be I needed to calm a bit, yes? The plans were finally packaged and sent out - and everyone got their own (my own small victory, lol), and then if I moved really, really fast, we could make the movie. I moved fast.


The evening was great. The movie fantastic (Sherlock Holmes), and the company even better. It was the perfect way to unwind.

And then came Saturday. And the whirlwind began again. How the hell am I going to get it all done??? Here's how it went... a.m.: work, work, work. Noon, run out with Bill to christmas shop (remember I said my usual holiday routines are missing? that includes shopping!). We ran from store to store to mall to store. Then he had a meeting, so he dropped me back at home, where I immediately got into my car and Joey dropped me off at the salon to get my (waaay overdue) manicure. Tabitha was able to join me for a pedi (awww girl-time! Yay!), then it was back to the rush. Bill picked me up and off we went to finish the shopping. A few hours later, we hit up the grocery for some cheese, salami and crackers then home to wrap. And wrap. And wrap.

Let me rephrase. I wrapped. Bill watched me wrap. LOL. And as I frantically packaged up gifts, I realized I was doing it again. Focusing on the minute details and missing the big picture. It's Christmas. Where was my joy? I took a break, took a breath, and rebooted my brain. Time to have fun. We picked out our favorite Christmas movies and headed back upstairs to wrap. And had a ball. We had so much fun! Serious fun! It was great! We finished all our tasks at 4:30 am. No, it's not a typo. We didn't have a gazillion gifts, but we had some extra fun (a-la Jimmy Kimmel haha) so there were extra "things" to put together and wrap. Can't wait for Christmas day!!!!

We woke today, refreshed, even after just a few hours of sleep, and my food prep is done, two new recipes completed development, and we're ready for the week. I feel more in tune with the holiday. I've adjusted our usual Christmas Eve and Christmas day food traditions to reduce stress, and I'm looking forward to family time. I guess I just needed to exhale. Now I can enjoy my little piece of Peace.

Wondering about those movies? Our favorite Christmas movies? Mine is The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Bill's is Die Hard. Yep. We're twisted! :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Transformations in Progress...

It's absolutely incredible to watch our ladies transform (check out Tabitha's blog today!). We have, truly, the most dedicated, determined, and just wonderful women taking our Fitness & Nutrition program for a spin - through the toughest season of the year - the holidays. And they're ROCKING it!! It's hard to make a lifestyle change - it's harder to do it in a "crash course", and then you add in the holidays? People said we were crazy. People said they could never do it.

People were WRONG. Look at our gals go! If you haven't yet, please check out the Transformation page, and their individual pages to see how well they're doing. Each week, they post about their experience, struggles and victories - and let me tell you, these women are experiencing victory - regularly!

Tabitha and I are many things - and many personalities. Lucy & Ethel, Pinky & The Brain, but at the end of the day, we are these women's Coaches - their Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. And while our emails and Skype sessions are often filled with laughter and fun, as Fitness professionals, all joking aside, what we're doing, and spending hours each week doing, is dedicated to these women on our plan... and we are so damn proud of what they're doing.

When you make a lifestyle change, it's typical to do it in baby-steps. Change one thing each week, for example. Our Transformation women have embraced our system - they're not changing little things here and there, they've changed EVERYTHING - overnight! It's not easy, there's a learning curve, and life is constantly throwing challenges at all of us, but they are charging forward and conquering! It's absolutely incredible.

What are some of these challenges? "It's too much food!" "Why can't I eat... (name a normally healthy and acceptable food)?" "I don't have time for food prep." Let's take these one at a time... and I'm going to address them from the Nutrition angle (maybe Tabitha will address them from the Fitness angle in a future blog).

It's Too Much Food. It seems counter-intuitive to eat "a lot" when you're trying to cut weight. It's incredibly difficult to change your mindset when you're used to "dieting" to being ok with full portions 6 times a day. Your mind fights you, tells you that you're not hungry, you couldn't possibly eat all this, you're going to gain weight. The reality, though, is that your body is screaming for sufficient fuel and really wants your  mind to shut the hell up. This isn't a diet of twinkies and cupcakes 6x/day. This is a well-thought-out and carefully strategized meal plan that will ignite the metabolism, build lean muscle, burn body fat, and provide energy and good health. When meals or snacks are skipped, that strategy is jeopardized. Sure you might lose a couple pounds by shaving off snacks, but the reality is that had you stayed on track you may have lost a couple MORE pounds that week - of body fat.

Why Can't I Eat...  There are many things that are welcome in a clean-eating lifestyle. Foods that are nutritious, I'm not talking about treats here, but things like certain fruits, shakes, and veggies. So why aren't they allowed on the plan? I'll hit just a couple of reasons - the first,  GI. Gut? Nope, Glycemic Index. When you're losing weight, sugar is the enemy. The Glycemic Index is a tool that helps you understand the blood-sugar impact of food. Some foods dump more sugar into the bloodstream than others. While it's important to maintain a stable blood-sugar (or blood-glucose) level, when losing weight, it must be tightly controlled. Fruits and Vegetables that are higher in sugar (yes, natural sugar) are limited in quantity and timing, or simply eliminated from the diet - temporarily. They can and will be reintroduced. FYI, this is why on so many "cutting" diets you do not see fruit. While we don't hold with blanket elimination of food groups, we are careful in how we include (or don't include) specific foods because successful weight loss is the goal.

Now let me address shakes for a moment... Not all powders are equal. If you check out the nutritional labels, you'll note drastic divergences - some have 20 g of protein, others 32, others as low as 7g per serving. Why is this? The simple answer is that they're not all PROTEIN powders. Many are meal replacements. When we utilize protein powder, we are using an alternative source of protein. We don't need to boost carbs or sugar, because we're already accounting for those - it's the protein we're after. Therefore, in my recipes that include protein powder, substituting a powder that isn't a true protein source, is counter-productive. That said, protein powder is a convenience. It is NOT necessary.

I Don't Have Time for Food Prep.  As the self-crowned Queen of Sunday Food Prep, you might imagine I have some things to say about this one, haha. And I do. But. What I will say here, is that quite frankly, you don't have time to NOT do food prep. Having clean eats ready to go is crucial to your success (and the speed of your success).  I cannot stress this enough. If you need pointers on how to set up a single-day food prep system, please check out the Food Plan section of the website... it's all there to help you get organized and succeed.

In closing, I just want to reiterate how incredibly proud we are of the women in our Transformation Case Study. They're doing it! They're making it work! And it's SHOWING! Pounds lost, inches shaved, mental barriers broken. It's happening! Woohooo!!!!