Food and Drink

Not What I Used to Be

The conditioned air of the locker room, calmed my heated skin as I left the sauna. I, usually, sit in the sauna after my weightlifting class. It is a combination of cardio and weights - emphasis on the weights. I love the class because it is tough. Just when I am about to pass out, I glance at the clock to see if I am close to relief. I am usually just about 15 minutes in. lol. I bear down and grind through. 

The sauna is my reprieve. The heat melts away the soreness in my muscles and the stress in my brain. Barring the the sound effect producing woman who seems to think that grunting while sweating burns more calories, I enjoy my time here. 

The orange glow of the sauna light reminds me of hot summer nights in Chicago.  Street lights in the city produce an unnatural orange-slice phosphorescence so bright it coats the sky and hides the stars. We kids would run down the street, circle the street light, and race back to the porch in a game of 'it'.  The goal was to make it safely to the steps without being touched by the child in hot pursuit. I would run until my breath was lost, only stopping when I had reached the safety of my front porch. My skin glimmered tangerine and wet with sweat. I would sit on my porch steps exhausted and happy. 

Sweating makes me happy. I know that it is the result of hard work that will pay in results given time. I happily left the sauna that day feeling accomplished. I passed by the successive mirror panels and that is when I noticed it. Visible on my form where the lines of muscle definition. I turned to the left side and then to the right - selfies ensued. 

GetFitWFe

Although, I am not where I want to be in my fitness journey, thank God, I am not where I used to be. If I keep running, keep sweating, I will make it to my destination and rest safely there. 


Weight Loss Is Simply Mathematics

After  many diets, books and fads, I had to face the simple truth. I am overweight because I consume more calories than I expend. Inversely, to lose weight, I must expend more calories than I intake.

Point. . . Blank. . . and the period.

Sure there are extenuating circumstances but nothing changes that fundamental truth. Slow metabolism? Expend more calories than you intake. Hate exercising? Expend more calories than you intake. Lost your dog? Expend more calories than you intake.

Well, you catch my drift.

I remember going to the doctor for my annual exam. He told me straight up that in order to lose the amount of weight that I needed to, I would have to exercise (walk specifically) 90 minutes 4 times a week. I remember thinking, how in the heck can i do that? I was barely able to walk 30 minutes at a time. I started slowly and gradually increased my stamina to 45 minutes. Good but half the mark.

At the size I was, walking 90 minutes at a speed of 3 mph would burn 797 calories. I started cardio dance class. One hour burned about 800 calories. So, cool. I can dance 4 times a week and be good. I was doing fantastic and then the stupid gym cancelled my class!!!!

One more excuse added and my workouts waned. I resolved dance class or no, I have to get it in. I started Get Fit with Fe, an accountability group. We complete challenges and post our daily workouts. I am a lot stronger now and can do a lot more than walk. I alternate between walking(trail or treadmill), Insanity, and Shaun T's dance dvds. I have also found some great free YouTube workouts. 

As for diet, it is all mathematics. Caloric intake 1500-1800 per day. Exercising adds numbers to my daily caloric intake. As long as I end the day in the positive, I am good. 

I achieve by lean protein, fruits and veggies. I keep food natural and preservative-free and cook my own meals. No junk food. Afterall, I am not a garbage dump.

How am I doing? Today, I put on capris straight from the dryer that I would have to hold my breath to fasten and they are literally falling off. I would say that that's fantastic mathematics.

 

This is an excerpt from Love Rain Down by Jill Scott and Mos Def. It is more accurately an excerpt from Mos Def's verse on the song:

 

"I said, “You are the beautiful, distress of mathematics.”
I said, “For you, I would peel open the clouds like new fruit.”
And give you lightning and thunder as dowry
I would make the sky shed all of its stars like rain
And I would clasp the constellations across your waist
And I would make the heavens your cape
And they would be please to cover you
They would be pleased to cover you
May I please cover you, please."

 

This verse makes me feel as pretty and good as eating right and exercise does. How is your journey coming along?

  

 


I Wanna Be Your Motivation - Weight Loss

I always liken losing weight to a fitness journey. It is a path you chose to take and will be on for life. Daily you take steps toward your goals - plural. The destination is a constantly moving goal line. There will be obstacles and pitfalls. Knowing this going in will better prepare you to handle the challenges along the way. 

I have a pair of jeans that I wear regularly that, once upon a time, hung in my closet for YEARS! Yes, you read that correctly, years. I made my goal to fit into those jeans. To meet that goal I took steps toward it - literally. I began walking. I started walking around my apartment complex. I became stronger, faster, and bored-er. lol I had to up the ante. I found a cool trail with hills, dips, a pond. I started to incorporate jogging. Those pants became to big and had to be worn with a belt. 

Cheers, yeahs!! Right?? 

No. I still have about 50 lbs to lose. I have reached the dreaded plateau. I  began falling back into bad habits - laziness, emotional eating. On top of that, I got a really bad sinus infection, a first in years! I put on those jeans and the his were not as loose as they had once been. 

STOP THE FREAKING PRESSES. Failing to remain consistent - for whatever reason - causes you to lose momentum and even regression. I knew I had to get back to the basics that helped me get into those jeans. I needed to rev up my fitness effort. 

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RRRev - Reinforcement, Repetition, Reaching Goals. 

I have a lot going on - book launch, 9 to 5, praise and worship leader, and life navigator. There are a million things that vie for my attention and energy. I am learning that working out, meal prep, and being healthy CANNOT be placed on the back burner. 

Reinforcement - 

I need constant reminders - daily affirmations and inspiration. (re-read prior paragraph). I actual love my scale, some disagree. It is a daily reminder to make smarter choices. I operate a Facebook accountability group, Get Fit with Fe. There have been so many days that I did not feel like working out and the thought of the group compelled me to get off my butt and do the work. 

Repetition - 

 I heard a preacher state, "Success comes from doing what you know is right regardless of how you feel." I would like to add that doing what you know is right over and over and over again, yields results. 

Repetition  is how you build muscle and stamina. Step-by-step and rep-by-rep, my body has changed. This also works in reverse. Chip after chip will get you wider hips. 

Reaching Goals - 

After I got into those jeans, which are kind of out of style now, I needed to set new goals. I had a trainer for a few months. The experience was ambivalent. The trainer did assist me with proper form and how to safely push past my limitations. That became my new goal - workout past the point of discomfort and past the point of exhaustion. As a result, I can run longer, workout harder, and do more. I have built some good muscle definition, too. 

My goal now is not to fit into a pair of jeans. My goal is to be that fit chick who loves working out. I want to be the girl who gets excited about new green smoothie recipes. My goal is a metamorphosis all documented on this blog.

Please share this blog with some one who needs a little motivation. 


Meal Prep My Way

I have a confession. I have a character flaw. It is jealousy. You see, I am single and cook for myself. 

Correction. 

I eat alone most of the time. As a result, I developed the bad habit of eating out or buying microwavable meals. I never really cooked. I felt when I cooked, I made too much food which ended up being discarded a week later. In the interest of full-disclosure, I kinda sucked at cooking. There take much skill to bray and egg lol

I started this weight loss journey a few year ago and discovered that most successful weight loss included some form of meal prepping. A few Get Fit with Fe members posted their meal prep containers filled with perfectly proportioned chicken breast, veggies and snacks. 

Boom. Boom. Pow. That green-eyed monster known as jealousy appeared. 

I had tried - and failed - at meal prepping. My chicken tasted like cardboard,  I always ran out of containers, and by the end of the week, I could not bring myself to eat something I had made a week ago. I just could not do it. I need variety

This week, I decided to give it another go. I went on a 3-day Daniel Fast and felt so much better ( no acid-reflux) that I decided to build my meal plan based on clean-eating versus the protein/veggies model. 

I spent Sunday evening washing fruit, preparing smoothie bags for freezing, cooking stew and packing it all in containers. 

I opt to make pack and store the dish. Each morning I prepare my lunch. This allows me variety while also ensuring I eat only the food I have cooked. I know exactly what is in it. 

Take a look and tell me what do you think. 

Grapes
Washing and Preppng Fruits and Veggies
Stew
Stew

 

GlutenFreePizza
Gluten Free Pizza
Meal prep
Meal Prep




100 Days of Clean Eating

My Get Fit With Fe crew and I are starting 100 days of eating clean. Clean eating is eating food as close to natue as possible sans chemicals, preservatives, or artificial sweetners. This does not have to be complicated as it may intially appear. As a general rule - the fewer ingredients, the more clean it is.

Some reservations some people have about Clean Eating:

1. It's too expensive - 

This is only true if you are shopping at an expensive 'organic' specialty shop. I buy frozen fruit and veggies. Bags of rice and beans. 

2. What about snacks - 

Make your own. When I was doing the Daniel Fast, I got creative. I would make baggies of trail mix - raisins, nuts, cinnamon. You can freeze grapes. Got a sweet tooth, eat fruit. Salt cravings - try a sour apple. I eat 'golden delicious' apples with almond butter as a snack. It satisfies my salt craving and I feel really full afterwards. You can also pop old-fashioned popcorn. 

3. How do I shop? What do I buy?

- As a rule, shop the outer edge of the grocery store. The inner aisles contain boxed and canned foods, i.e., processed foods. 

- Do not buy meats in a bag or box. These usually have added chemicals/preservatives. If you can find it on sale, buy organic meats. 

- Dairy - buy organic. If you buy cheese, buy it in block form. The cheese in bags has more ingredients which means more chemicals and additives. 

- Drink water or tea.  

Grocery List -

Vegetables -

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Mixed Veggies

Meats/Seafood

  • Chicken
  • Steak/Beef
  • Poultry
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey (if ground, look at ingredients)

Dairy

  • Organic Milk (I drink Almond Milk)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (on the block and grate it at home).
  • Yogurt - plain and add fruit to it.

Grains

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Nuts

Fruits

  • Frozen fruit (I make smoothies!)
  • Apples, bananas, grapes, lemons, whatever you like
  • Dried fruit
  • Avocados

Seasonings

  • Salt, pepper, dried spices.
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt usually has MSG. Try to avoid MSG. 

 Here is sample list from Successfully Fit:

  Clean Eating Grocer List


Confession: I Need More Discipline

Discipline is the difference between starting a goal and crossing the finish line. It is the putting of one foot in front of the other no matter the time it takes. It is the mechanism that allows you to do what you need to do regardless of how you feel.

The word discipline probably conjures up some childhood memories of punishment or deprivation. When I see the word discipline, I have the sudden urge to hide all of the belts in the house. A less harsh word is consistency. To get the physique you want, the health you want, you must eat healthy and exercise consistently.

Back in undergrad, 3 friends decided to do Jenny Craig together. They ate their pre-packaged meals and exercised consistently. Each lost significant weight. Those boxed meals for college students were not cheap. When they stopped eating out of those pre-packaged boxes, the weight came back plus some.

I myself have played the weight loss yo-yo game. Even now, I have gained and loss the same 5 lbs. Why? Not being disciplined, um, consistent. I can work out until the cows come home. My discipline issue is diet. I MUST MEAL PLAN. If I fail to plan, that is the week, I have planned to fail. If I do not, I fall back to those bad food habits. My Achilles being snacking.

Sophiapetrillo

Picture this - in my Sophia Petrillo voice - I come in from a hard day at work and stifling traffic. After, I change from my work clothes and settle in, I am looking for nourishment. The choice – find food, prep, cook, and then eat or grab a bag of chips and crash on the sofa. I was a bag of chips/sofa kind of chick for a minute. I would tell myself that I am working out and that would counter the caloric count of whatever snack I was substituting for dinner. I would even eat less for breakfast and lunch to accommodate such a diet. There was only one problem – I never lost more weight. I was stuck in this 5lbs yo-yo for months until I realized that I had to break up with the junk. To do this required me to use some good old-fashioned discipline. Going to the grocery store and buying fresh/frozen produce and not buying overly-processed foods. I also had to cook and EAT my own meals. I do this on the weekends to and store in containers in the fridge.  

One of my Recipes - Gluten Free Enchiladas

 

Following that line of discipline for just a few days rid me of those 5lbs I had been struggling to lose. Doing the right thing on a consistent basis led to success. Conversely, the lack of discipline is the precursor to failure. This goes beyond diet. Having discipline in life is necessary to finish college, save for a house, give up smoking, or become a better version of you.

In what area of your life do you need more discipline?


Is That Nugget Really Chicken? Hey, It's Cheap.

I am typing this as I am getting over a stomach bug. This all started with a catered lunch at work. This marks the second time that work food has wreaked havoc on my body. Why did I do it? It was free. Why did I do it? It was fatty sandwiches, chips and cookies. Why did I do it? I did it for the vine lol. 

 

 

I am sticking to my own home cooked meals from now on. I am cooking and listening to the History Channel. I hear something in a commercial that strikes a chord in me. Burger King is advertising 10 ‘Chicken’ Nuggets for $1.49. Um, really?

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of August 2014, the average price of a pound of chicken breast is $3.53. The weight of 10 Burger King chicken nuggets is about 175 grams, or for you English imperialists 6.2 ounces, slightly less that is ½ pound (37.5% exactly). The cost of 10 chicken nuggets should be about $1.32 cent (someone check my math). Add on overhead, seasonings, tax and you are telling me that Burger King can make a profit charging $1.49 for 10 chicken nuggets? 

Unless of course, those nuggets are not 100% chicken breast. *insert audible gasp* According to an article in NPR some chicken nuggets are less than 50% chicken. In an informal study conducted by Dr. Richard deShazo, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, DeShazo found that:

“"The predominate component is not healthy, lean chicken meat, a great source of healthy protein," he says, "but an adulterated chicken product containing 50 percent or less chicken meat, with other chicken components, in a suspension of unknown carrier material."

Yum. Yum. 

Chicken nugget

I used to eat Burger King all of the time back in undergrad. I particularly loved the chicken sandwich. Now I cannot fathom eating a chicken sandwich which reminds me of a giant chicken nugget.   As I have started this Get Fit With Fe Journey, I have incorporated elements of clean eating into my diet. I have read books, blogs and posts galore. The more I learn, the cleaner I eat. The cleaner I eat, the healthier I become. There is yet always this food nostalgia that causes me to grab something that used to taste great to me. I end up regretting it soon after feeling bloated, gassy and sick to my stomach. My body is actually rejecting bad food. If I know this intellectually, why do I still crave those things which are unhealthy? Addiction, Bliss Points? We will discuss all of these topics here. This is just my first article but I have so much good stuff in store. Just keep reading.