Stop When You’re Done

This past weekend was the first time that I skipped more than one day of exercise since I began my training. Boy, did I regret it.

I always workout 5 days a week, typically with a break on Wednesday and another on Sunday. Well, I was out of town for the long weekend and ended up going THREE whole days without exercise…

I thought I was going to have a meltdown.

A long weekend off may not sound too terrible to some, but for me it was awful. I felt disgusting and miserable by day 2, let alone day 3! My body has become so used to getting it’s fix of endorphins that having such a long “break” made me feel all sorts of wrong.

I was finally able to workout on Tuesday and let me tell you, it was MUCH needed. I probably skipped my way into the gym, knocking people out of my way as I headed toward the locker room.

However, my workout was BEYOND tiring and I think that it can be attributed to my inconsistency over the weekend. I did increase my weight on some of my lifts, but I do that often enough that I did not recognize this tired feeling as a result of that.

My workout consisted of front raises, the shoulder burner machine (I don’t know if that’s actually the name), side lateral raises, military presses, some ab workouts and a tough bike ride to cool down. The only change I had made was increasing my weight for the front raises. I had been doing them with 15lb dumbbells but decided to up it to a 25lb plate – a) more of a challenge, b) plates are more comfortable to hold for that lift.

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Was it hard? Yes. Did I complete my sets? Yes. Did I want to quit? Absolutely. Overall, I felt weak and exhausted. Part of me did not want to even finish when I was halfway through my routine because I had this yucky, “you’re a bad girl for not working out all weekend” feeling.

Regardless, I pushed through until my whole workout was complete, rather than quitting when I initially wanted to.

Skipping a workout really is not worth it!

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A Great Confidence Booster

During weight-loss, it’s great to see the numbers drop on the scale and everything, but there is just something awesome about pictures. Pictures speak a thousand words and in my case, they have been a confidence booster.

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The top two shots in this picture are the same ones that I posted when I was two months into my training and the bottom one is the most recent.

Picture 1 – April 6th

Picture 2 – April 25th

Picture 3 – May 18th

What I love about seeing “before and after” shots is that even when I am at a bit of a stand-still on the scale, I can still see that my hard work is showing. For example, I may have only lost a couple of pounds between two photos, but the definition is there and that makes me happy to see.

Maybe one day I will get the confidence to post my full body shot comparisons! Until then… I give you my arms, ladies and gentlemen.

Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

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ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS

I am crazy for these things! They are so flavorful and addictive, I could eat them every week. Using large lettuce leaves as your wraps instead of tortillas, and cooking with ground turkey instead of beef makes this a nice and healthy meal! If you are cooking for more than 3-4 people, or if you are like me and enjoy packing leftovers for lunch the next day, I would suggest doubling the batch.

Ingredients

Boston Lettuce

1lb ground turkey (or beef)

1 large onion

1 bunch of scallions

2-4 garlic cloves (I am obsessed with garlic so I tend to eyeball it until it looks like enough to meet my needs. I would suggest 2 if you aren’t as big of a fan)

2 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 can (8oz) water chestnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup hoisin sauce (this is another one that I eyeball. I usually end up adding a little more than 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

Asian chile pepper sauce (optional, but recommended for the spice!)

Peanuts, halved

Carrots, shredded

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First things first: chop, shred and process everything that needs chopping, shredding and processing! This will make your life easier once the skillet is hot. I chopped my onions and scallions, drained and chopped the water chestnuts, shredded the carrots, and used a food processor on the garlic and ginger. Also, take WHOLE lettuce leaves from your bunch and rinse and pat dry for later.

Over high heat, warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the ground turkey (or beef), stirring often. Drain, remove from the pan and set aside for later.

Using the same pan (without wiping out any leftover juice from the meat) cook your onions over medium heat until slightly brown. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and chili pepper sauce (optional), and stir. Reduce heat if necessary.

20130523-100021.jpgMix in your chopped scallions, water chestnuts, and sesame oil. Your mixture should look like the image to the right. Nice and saucy!

Next, add your shredded carrots and peanuts before finally mixing in the cooked ground turkey or beef. Stir until evenly coated.

This is when I get a little wild and throw in a little more here and a little more there. I tend to drizzle in more hoisin and chili pepper sauce for the texture, flavor and color. This, of course, is based on preference. I prefer a little bit of a spicy kick. If you don’t, stay away from the chili pepper sauce!

While this steeps for a few minutes on low heat, arrange your lettuce leaves on a plate. Pile large spoonfuls of the meat mixture in the center for presentation and you’re ready to eat!

Yummy Banana Bread Recipe

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I LOVE BANANA BREAD! Yum yum yum.

Banana bread is pretty low cal and totally delicious. Have some especially brown and ripe bananas that you are thinking of throwing away? Don’t! Save your money and make something out of them!

Ingredients

– 4-5 ripe bananas, mashed

– 1/3 cup melted butter

– 3/4 cup sugar (many recipes call for 1+ cup but this is not necessary)

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 egg, beaten

– Salt

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute whole wheat flour if preferred)

– Chopped walnuts (optional but DEFINITELY recommended)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a wooden spoon or a potato masher (easier), mash the bananas until goopy (sorry but that is the only way to describe the texture).

Mix MELTED butter with mashed banana in a mixing bowl. It is very important that the butter is melted! Next, add your sugar, vanilla extract and egg to the mixture. Once combined, evenly sprinkle the salt (just a pinch or so) and baking soda and mix. Add your all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour) and combine until your mixture is creamy. If there are a few small chunks here and there, that is ok!

Mix about 2/3 – 3/4 of your chopped walnuts into the mixture before pouring it into a 4 x 8 loaf pan. I suggest lightly coating the pan with crisco or butter, and sprinkling a little bit of flour on it to prime the pan. This will make it easier to remove the loaf later. Top the mixture with the rest of your chopped walnuts.

Bake for about 1 hour and let cool before serving to avoid crumbling.

I like to slice and toast my banana bread for the extra crispiness. It’s good plain, with a little bit of butter or even cream cheese on top!

Another plus? Your house will smell AMAZING.

Bon Appétit!

Let’s go to the gym and take pictures of ourselves!

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Nothing drives me more crazy at the gym than people who are NOT there to workout, but to make sure that their friends know that they paid a visit.

I got to the gym on Monday evening, and blocking the entrance to the locker room was a teenage girl. She was dressed in skinny jeans, Timberland boots, a see-through lace tank top and ENORMOUS hoop earrings and was taking pictures of herself in the mirror. She didn’t bother to move out of the way when I entered, so I carefully eased myself by her to avoid a photo-bomb. Wouldn’t want to ruin her new Facebook profile picture.

A few minutes later I am on an elliptical warming up and I notice the same girl on one of the treadmills in front of me. She is walking – in the same outfit, boots and all – with her hands on her hips and making a kissy face over her shoulder. To her right is a girl in similar attire taking her picture. What?

I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing and realized that I was one of many people watching this ridiculousness. Who goes to the gym simply to take pictures of themselves “working out”..?

This goes on for a few minutes until all of a sudden, as she is popping her booty out and striking a pose, she goes FLYING off of the treadmill.

……….. I DIED. On the inside.

Sorry hunny, you deserved that one!!

YOU CHOOSE

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I have not skipped a single workout since I made the change. That is 5 days of exercise every week for the past (almost) 11 weeks!

I will admit that there were a small handful of days where I didn’t feel like going to the gym. But once I got there I was happy I didn’t skip. Overall, to my surprise, making the commitment to fitness has not been all that hard. I daydream about it. I wake up and immediately look forward to my fix of endorphins after work. I feel like crap when it’s a “break” day. The days that I have to work late and make up for it on another day are miserable, but I always arrange my schedule so that I am still getting my 5-days in.

Today I almost had to not go to the gym. My (not-so) little brothers are going to the prom tonight (eeeek!), and I was worried that if I went to the gym I wouldn’t make it home in time to see them off! They couldn’t care less, but I’m the big sis! I have to take photos and embarrass them a little, obviously!

SO, a quick gym trip it shall be, but at least it’s something! If I skipped today I wouldn’t be able to say that I have completed 11 weeks of my 5-day gym streak. A little is better than nothing! I would rather feel sore tomorrow, than sorry. You’ve just got to make the time for it!