Weekly Meal Plan – 9/2

This is not a usual week with the holiday weekend and a mid-week date night, but this is life.

Here’s my weekly dinner plan for the family:
Monday – Free day holiday, Casa Bonita. Not exactly worth it for a free day…except for the sopapillas! yes I had 3.
Tuesday – Date night! (chef’s table dinner = free dinner) kids have a sitter so I’ll hook them up with pizza or leftovers.
Wednesday – Curried rice with shrimp, basil and carrots click here for the recipe from Real Simple
ThursdayTurkey spaghetti with steamed broccoli
Friday – steelhead trout with brown rice and green beans
Saturday – leftovers
Sunday – Free day (We follow the eating plan from Body for Life by Bill Phillips which means we have 6 days of clean and healthy eating and 1 day where you are free to eat whatever you choose)

If you have healthy recipes your family loves, head over to my Facebook page and share them!


Back to School Motivation

back_to_schoolI talk plenty of talk about being consistent with exercise in order to get or stay fit and healthy and I believe it’s important to also ‘walk the walk.’  Even as a fitness professional, I need plenty of motivation to stay consistent.  (For a little window into my world, the more I post about it, the more I need it myself :P)

I use a tracking calendar. Over the summer, my consistency was fair at best. I stayed active and had plenty of fun enjoying the beautiful Colorado summer with my family however, where I was lacking was my strength training and any version of intense workouts.

So here we are at back to school time. I have 2 school age kids and one in pre-K 3 times a week.  They have a consistent schedule (consistently busy when football and gymnastics are in the picture) so I need a more consistent commitment.  My goal is to increase my strength and intensity workouts and to work for 4-5 stickers on my calendar per week.

Feel free to join me as I plan on posting my workouts AND weekly dinner plans.


What is Helathy Eating?

When I wrote about Tightening the Reins, my nutrition was obviously veering off course, hence the tight jeans.  The good thing about being in the fitness industry is that I have the education, and the experience, to know what works for ME and MY BODY.  I am not a registered dietitian nor with enough knowledge to speak about specific dietary needs or allergies.  However, there are general guidelines that work for most regarding weight loss.  And when it comes down to finding a visible six-pack or losing the last 5 pounds, the main thing to remember is every BODY is different.  You need to find out what works best for you.

When it comes to a healthy diet, I wave the flag of “Everything in Moderation.”  There are too many special diets and extreme ways of eating to keep track of, and pulling them off with kids and husbands is often impossible.  Plus, there is really tasty food out there and if I go too long without a donut or a margarita my personality changes, and not in a good way.

My definition of healthy eating is fairly simple.  First, portion control; don’t think eating a full size bag of fat free pretzels is healthy eating because all calories matter.  Next, is making sure you eat enough protein.  Protein helps build muscle and increasing muscle mass helps increase the metabolism.  So I make sure protein is a main component in my major meals AND my snacks.  Finally, eat plenty of vegetables and throw in some fruit here and there.  Vegetables of all colors provide many benefits as do fruits, however it is important to watch the fruit intake because of the sugar calories.

So far this week I have gotten back on track with my eating quite well.  The main distractions are the bags of Halloween candy my kids have.  I am such a sweet tooth!   But to give you a window into my healthy eating, here are some of my ‘go-to’ meals and snacks.  I am a creature of habit when I put my mind to it.

Breakfast: choose one

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal (great protein & fiber) with skim milk and frozen raspberries or blueberries
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal (measured dry) with skim milk and a few raisins, or
  • 2 eggs + 1 white over wheat toast or English muffin.


  • ½ can solid white tuna on wheat bread (sometimes I add pepper jack cheese slice)
  • Sliced turkey or pastrami (costco’s is yummy) on wheat bread with pepper jack cheese & lettuce


  • Shredded Mini Wheats with 2% milk (the only cereals I have to have 2% with…weird huh?)
  • Muscle Milk Light premade protein shake
  • Protein smoothie – skim milk or lite cranberry juice with 1/3 cup frozen fruit and portion protein powder
  • Apple and a string cheese


The general rule I follow is to have a lean protein with a starch and a vegetable that all fits on a salad plate.  If you search this blog for recipes, I have posted some favorites.  Or feel free to request a new recipe post.

There are many tasty recipes from the Eating for Life cookbook.  I have adapted some of them to include fresher ingredients since my cooking skills have improved.

Do you have a great healthy snack that includes protein?  Feel free to share!

Tightening the Reins

Well it seems that it is time for a little reworking of my diet and exercise routine.  I lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, but I like to eat as much as anyone and I often choose extra sleep over an early workout.  Sometimes I am consistent with exercise and sometimes I am consistent with healthy eating.  Every now and then they actually match up the two and I consistently feel great.

Lately though, there is a suspicious tightening of my jeans.  There is extra body stiffness in the mornings.  And I just so happen to be fighting off a head cold.  These three things occurring at once can only mean that I have let my routine slip.

This is a strangely predictable cycle for me.  I sort of like it though.  It keeps me from getting bored with my routine and I search out new and different ways to stay fit.  On the unhealthy side of this cycle I search out new and excellent baking recipes.

So here I am tightening the reins of my fitness routine.  My goal is to be more consistent with workouts, both strength and cardio.  I will also get back to a more strict 6 days of clean eating while always maintaining a free eating day.    I’m sure there might be someone else out there that cycles in and out of fitness like I do, so if you would like, please join me.  I will be sharing where I make changes and what I am eating.  Partly, I share this to make me accountable for my workouts and mostly because when I (and anyone for that matter) record what I am eating, I tend to not cheat as much.

Please feel free to share your workouts and healthy meals.  Even share with me as we backtrack a bit; reality happens.  And we’re off!

The Egg Nutriton – Deconstructed

I found this article from LIVESTRONG.com.  It helped clear up some confusion about the nutritional value of egg yolks versus egg whites.

Eggs are often referred to as super-foods, and with good reason. They provide an inexpensive source of protein and other nutrients. Separately, the yolk and white of an egg each have their own benefits.

White & Yolk Combined

Though some recipes call for eggs that have had their yolks and whites separated, most dishes contain the entire egg. Nutritionally, a whole, raw, fresh egg has more nutrients than either of its individual components. However, you also get the “bad” with the “good” when using both yolk and whites.

The yellow yolks of eggs are the real powerhouse of nutrition. The yolk contains all of the nutrients listed by the American Egg Board using the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference and by the Egg Nutrition Center. Those nutrients range from vitamins A, D, E, several B vitamins and choline to minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium. Additionally, egg yolks are high in protein and carbohydrates, making them an ideal food for energy needs. Carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help maintain eye health, are found only in the egg yolk.

Yolk Disadvantages

The yolk of an egg contains more than half of the entire egg’s calories and all of the fats, including the beneficial — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated — and harmful types — saturated and trans fats, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, all of the cholesterol in an egg is in the yolk.

Egg Whites

When word spread about cholesterol in egg yolks, a flurry of recipes using only egg whites were promoted, in addition to egg-substitute products. Egg whites do contain most of an egg’s protein, as well as fewer calories and none of the fat of egg yolk. Whites are also higher in potassium and magnesium than yolks.

Egg White Disadvantages

Of all of the vitamins in an egg, only B12, folate and riboflavin are in the egg white. They are also considerably higher in sodium, according to USDA charts available online. Egg whites contain no lutein or zeaxanthin.

Nutritionally Enhanced Eggs

Eggs from chickens that are fed special diets have additional nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and increased amounts of some nutrients like vitamin E and lutein, according to the Egg Nutrition Center.

Crunching the Numbers

The white of a large egg, or about 1-1/4 ounces, has 16 calories, 3 g of protein, 2 mg of calcium, 4 mg of phosphorus, 55 mg of sodium, 45 mg of potassium, the weensiest little bit of riboflavin, and no fat, cholesterol, or carbohydrates.
The yolk of that egg weighs about 2/3 of an ounce, and has 59 calories, 3 g of protein, 5 g of fat (2 of which are saturated), 212 mg of cholesterol, 23 mg of calcium, 81 mg of phosphorus, 7 mg of sodium, 16 mg of potassium, very small amounts of iron, thiamin, and riboflavin, and no carbohydrates

Training the Trainer- Bulky Before Beautiful

OK, I am officially in my “bulking up” phase (or so I hope).  My pants and jeans are tighter and my skinny jeans don’t fit all of the sudden.  However, because I have been consistent with my workouts AND my eating intake, I can make the reasonable conclusion that I am building my lower body muscles back.  I have had sessions 5 & 6 with Ryan and I can tell I have more control and balance with my exercises.

EXCELLENT!  And at the same time really frustruating. 

This is why there are so many women out there that won’t lift weights.  We must be patient!  When gaining strength, you will gain muscle.  The body gains muscle THEN adjusts it’s metabolism and burns off the excess fat.  So initially, you get “bulky” but eventually the body slims and firms adjusting to the new added muscle mass.  For me, in the past, it takes about 2 weeks for my body to adjust to the new muscle.  Here’s hoping that is still the case.

starting position flattening back into the floor
holding pelvis steady, lower legs & return to start

Ryan is still helping me through the process of making my abdominals fully functional while they shorten from baby #3.  The above exercise is a nice transition from a simple contract & hold to adding some movement.

Is Weight Watchers Right for You?

The Balance Guru’s Weight Watchers Online Review

Back in the summer of 2008, we were staying with my mother-in-law and helping her through her chemo treatments. One of her problems was keeping her weight on, so I began baking and cooking up a storm. Unfortunately for me, I had no problem gaining weight.

I ended up with a need to loose about 10 pounds and I had recieved an email promoting WeightWatchersOnline. I like to try out weight loss programs myself in order to give my clients the most detailed information, so I signed up for the monthly “Momentum” program. I chose this program because it did NOT use the Weight Watchers (WW) food, it was instead based on my own foods I make/buy and creating Points values for them. I was given a goal of 25 Points per day based on my height, weight, age, goal weight, and daily activity. I also had 25 weekly Points as a sort-of cushion or savings.

For me, the WWonline program was a lot like an online food and exercise journal. Since I am a creature of habit with my nutrition, once I saved my usual eats as “Favorites” the tracking was easy. With my nutrition background, I had the knowledge of what ratios of carbs : protein : fat worked for me so it was simply a matter of spending time each day to record everything. For those who have yet to find a successful ratio for them, the WW website had tons of information.


• the HUGE database of food – fresh, frozen, store bought, & restaurants
• the ability to save my own recipes online and determine Points values per person
• the iPhone app that made recording super easy. also the drag & drop feature online
• I was more aware of portions from the Points values


• the over emphasis on scale weight (I tracked my body measurements on my own)
• the “grey area” with the Activity Tracker i.e. power yoga and restorative yoga had the same value
• I would have liked to track my protein each day

All in all, the WeightWatchers Online plan worked for me. I lost 10 pounds in about 10 weeks. It was a plan where I could make adjustments to portions of everyday regular food and it did not interrupt how I fed my kids or my husband (unlike Nutrisystem). I would recommend it to those Type A conformists like myself who like to know every little detail in order to create more control over weight loss. For others, it might be a challenge to continually check in and record all the details, but that is why they made the WW application for your mobile device.

The main goal of Weight Watchers is to change eating habits and not to guide someone through a detailed workout program. So if you also need guidance on exercise, your best bet is to develop a workout plan with a Personal Trainer who can work with your body’s individual needs.

Tell me what you think. Do you use Weight Watchers? Have you found success with something else?

Bikini Body Plan: 2 week countdown

I Lost 3 pounds!
Oh happy day when the scale finally gives me results of my hard work.  I also lost another 1/2″ in my waist & hips.  I feel giddy as a schoolgirl – thus the photo.
It is so easy to get frustrated and want to throw in the towel when trying to loose weight and/or make body changes.  Finding the right motivation is key.  As with most things in life, there are ups and downs.  When you can find what drives you to keep pushing through, then you will find success.
For me, I have different motivating factors.  Vanity, function & health.  Selfishly at the moment, vanity takes front seat.  When preparing for a trip somewhere tropical is dificult to avoid wanting to look good in a bikini. 
Second is function.  I don’t like to feel weak, unstable or out of balance.  I enjoy being able to play sports & games with my kids.  I love being able to tackle an advanced step class without tripping over myself.  And it is especially helpful to be strong enough to move my furniture as we have moved so often & I end up rearranging it multiple times a year :).
Lastly is health.  Consistent exercise has numerous health benefits and I attribute our infrequent illness to a healthy active lifestyle.  Yes I am getting older, and recently I am noticing it more.  I want to avoid the hip replacements both my parents and grandparents had.  I want to be an example for my clients and my children.  I want to explore and experience different paths of fitness, weight loss and health because it helps me understand my clients better when I have been through it myself.
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Bikini Body Motivation

The Scale is the Enemy

I need to vent.  I think all women have a love/hate relationship with the scale. Lately, mine is my enemy.  I have gotten so frustrated that I haven’t lost ANY weight in 5 weeks! 

I was feeling “skinny” in the morning yesterday to I thought I should go weigh myself.  Plus I got the little pop-up from Weight Watchers online that “It’s time to record your weight for this week”…ugh.
I stripped down and set out my digital scale (because even a .2lb loss would bring some satisfaction), I took a deep breath and slowly stepped on.  I never look while it is calculating because that usually ends up in an emotional roller coaster while it jumps low to high.  After my ususal 5 second count, I look with anticipation wanting this to be the week where my metabolism has finally adjusted and the pounds will just fall off me…NOT!  My weight is the same.  Even to the tenth of a pound, are you kidding me?  So I step off and try again…same.  I step off and back on with the other foot first…same.  I step off and back on from the side…same.  I even step on backwards…same.  This is how my brain works, it must be the scale right?  Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?  But I’m changing my mount and dismount technique so it should show me something different.  No such luck.

Shallow Frustration

Let me now say yes, I fully realize I am being shallow and vain in my expectations of having a bikini-ready body on our trip to Cancun this year.  I am a personal trainer who trains my clients for function and not image.  If someone comes to me asking for help getting a six pack, I tell them to go elsewhere. But I justify my high expectations by reviewing my past photos.
Here I am in 2005 with my son (almost 2).  My husband and I did the Body for Life program.
Here I am in 2008 with my daughter (almost 2).  I started the 1st Bikini Body Plan and followed the Body for Life principles again.
So I am now 3 weeks away from our Cancun trip and there is one MAJOR difference this year…
THIS little cutie who will be 14 weeks come vacation time! 
So yes I am breastfeeding, and yes my body 14 weeks out is totally different than almost 2 years out.  In the end, it is all about being comfortable where you’re at and the body you have while working towards the goal. 
So I keep on keepin’on.

The Trap of "What’s for Dinner?"

In order to ensure you do not get caught in the “What’s for dinner?, ummmm…” trap, plan ahead.

Write out the week’s menu ahead of time and then grocery shop for your meals.  **It is an extra bonus to know which meals are faster than others so that if someone gets stuck in traffic or practice runs late, you have healthy options without resorting to fast food pick up or pizza delivery.  This way, you are prepared for dinner throughout the week and you waste less food therefore saving yourself money.

My Menu:
Jerk Chicken Breast with Rice & Black Beans
Shrimp Enchiladas
Bun-less Turkey Burgers with Baked Potato Fries & Broccoli
Scallop Stir Fry with Udon Noodles
BBQ Chicken Breast with Artichokes
Halibut with Zucchini & White Beans

Only 6 dinners planned if you are on the Bikini Body Plan with a FREE Day!

*FREE Day Tip* 
Our FREE days usually end up with at least 2 meals out.  This makes for more running around and sometimes more cost, but it is dangerous on our will power to buy FREE day treats at the store and keep them in the house.
If you are one of the few that have super hero will power then by all means, you can save money and time by hiding treats in your house.  This however is not my m.o.