I Tabata, You Tabata, We All Tabata Too!

I know everyone at some point in their weight loss journey, sees a plateau.  As it stands right now, I have no idea if I am even in a plateau or not but I am up again this week.  Mind you, it was only 0.4 lbs but it was still a gain.  I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize since I only have 20 lbs to go and keep reminding myself of the bigger picture that I have lost 122 lbs to date! I have inspired my husband to start working out and eating better and he has actually stuck with it for more than a few weeks! My clothes are continuing to get bigger on me and I actually fit into a smaller size today.  A size 13 skirt! I don't ever remember wearing a size 13 growing up and I definitely know I haven't as an adult. Yay! That definitely tells me that the inches are still coming off even though the scale isn't moving much.

And yesterday came the latest NSV in our house.  My daughters (ages 5.5 and 3.5) wanted to go for a walk, even after being outside all afternoon, after dinner to a local park.  They "jogged" the whole way there, like mom has started doing on a semi regular basis. 
And as my 5 year old is starting to fall asleep in bed, she tells me that the jogging made her tired.  I told her that I knew and that it was ok to be tired after jogging.  That it was a good tired. I hope they want to do it more! Its all Anya could do to keep up to Natalia (and even myself walking LOL) but she did it and did it on the way home too!

Friday I decided to amp up my workouts and started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Not feeling too bad today after doing it three times now but I am sure feeling it in my chest muscles and my biceps.  They are sore but in a good way!  I also came across a form of training called the Tabata method.  It is known as High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. 

From Wikipedia

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprint interval training is an exercise strategy that is intended to improve performance with short training sessions. HIIT is a form of cardio which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. The original protocol set a 2:1 ratio for work to recovery periods. For example, a runner would alternate 15-20 seconds of hard sprinting with 10 seconds of jogging or walking.

It has me intrigued enough that I am going to try it on a couple of areas that I know I need extra help with.  My triceps, thighs and abs have been neglected a bit and I am going to show them some love by incorporating some Tabata into my workouts. I am in the process of researching the best moves for those areas to get them toned.

I have a potluck dinner to go to tomorrow night for a year end celebration for some Guide leaders.  I volunteered to bring some dessert (hey that way I KNOW I will be able to eat some) so I am going to share the recipe here. I haven't tried it yet but I hear it is fabulous!

Orange Dream Cheesecake

1/3 cup honeymaid graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup boiling water
1 pkg Jello no sugar orange jelly powder
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 pkg (250 g) Philidelphia light cream cheese
1 1/3 cups thawed cool whip

Sprinkle crumbs into 9" springform pan
Add boiling water to jello, disolve.  Cool 5 min Pour into blender. Add cottage and cream cheese. Blend. Pour into large bowl. 
Gently stir in cool whip. Pour into pan.
Refridgerate 4 hours.
12 servings @ 2 pts each.

Any flavour of jelly powder would work for this.

And a bonus recipe that was shared at my last Weight Watchers meeting.

Carrot muffins

3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 egg whites
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat milk, syrup, oil and egg whites til smooth. Stir in carrot and apple. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into milk mixture. Bake at 375* for 18 - 20 mins.

Yields 12 muffins at 2 pts each.

Strawberry Time

Strawberries... who could think that something so small could taste so good and be so versatile and oh so healthy for you! June is typically the month that strawberries come to fruition. And other than if you are allergic to them, who doesn't like them?! So, this post, I dedicate to those little, red, luscious berries.

Weight Watchers Fresh Crustless Strawberry Pie recipe
From ww-recipes.net
Makes 6 servings
4 cups strawberries
1 (5/8 ounce) box sugar-free strawberry gelatin
1 (1 1/3 ounce) box sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
2 cups water
1. Mix together the water and sugar-free pudding mix.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Remove from the heat and mix in the jello crystals.
4. Place the strawberries in a pie pan.
5. Pour the pudding/gelatin mixture over the strawberries and chill for at least an hour before serving.
WW POINTS per serving: 0
Nutritional information per serving: 38 calories, 0.3g fat, 1.9g fiber

We tried this recipe several weeks ago since I had some strawberries that were going fast. I found it way too sweet and next time I might try and mix some fat free Cool Whip in with it to make it lighter so to speak.

Weight Watchers Low Fat Stuffed Strawberries recipe
From ww-recipes.net
Makes 12 servings
1 lb fresh strawberries
2 1/2 teaspoons Splenda sugar substitute
4 ounces fat free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Clean the strawberries and cut off the tops so that they are flat. Place them on a plate.
2. Make a hole at the bottom of the strawberries with a small knife.
3. Using a mixer, blend the cream cheese with the vanilla and Splenda.
4. Using a small spoon, put little dollops of the cream cheese in the holes in the strawberries.
5. Chill until ready to serve.
WW POINTS per serving: 0
Nutritional information per serving: 21 calories, 0.2g fat, 0.8g fiber

I haven't tried these ones yet but would definitely do them up for a picnic or BBQ.

Stuffed French Toast Recipe
From laaloosh.com
- 1 16 oz. loaf of French or Italian bread, cut into 20 slices
- 1 8oz package Fat Free Cream Cheese, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
- 3 cups egg substitute or egg whites
- 2 cups fat free milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp sugar free strawberry preserves
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries
- 1/3 cup Sugar Free Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a butter flavored non-fat cooking spray. Layer 10 slices of bread in the bottom of the baking dish (You may need to trim to fit). Lightly spray the bread with an even coat of the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray. Then, top the bread with cream cheese slices, spaced out evenly. Spread the strawberry preserves evenly over the cream cheese slices. Then layer on the fresh strawberry slices. Finally, place the remaining bread slices on top.
In a large bowl, wish together the egg substitute, milk, vanilla, syrup and cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the bread to evenly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake for 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed and the French toast is set in the center. Slice into 9 evenly sized pieces.

Entire Recipe makes 9 servings
Serving size is 1 slice
Each serving = 5 Point Total

All I can say for this one is YUM!

Strawberry Soup
From sparkpeople.com
A light summery fruit soup.


2 pints strawberries
2 cups plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 dash ground ginger
1 dash allspice
fresh mint, if you like (to garnish)


Reserve 8 strawberries, sliced.
In a blender, combine the strawberries, yogurt, orange juice, sugar, water and spices.
Puree until well mixed. Chill and serve.
Garnish with strawberry slices and fresh mint.
Number of Servings: 8

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user JULZ654.

I am going to try this one soon too since it looks interesting!

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Low Fat Poppy Seed Dressing
From tastebook.com
Sweet and tangy poppy seed dressing works with any salad but is especially good with summer ripe strawberries and nutrient-packed spinach. Ideal for an outdoor summer or late spring brunch.
1/4 cup low fat yogurt, preferably Greek drained yogurt
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1 pound baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, quartered
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Prepare the dressing. Combine yogurt, zest, lemon, sugar or sugar substitute, poppy seeds, and salt, mix well. Stir in olive oil and chill.
Place spinach and strawberries in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Sprinkle with almonds and serve immediately.

Another on my to try list! Yum!

Now of course, I can go on and on with recipes for strawberries. There seems to be as many different recipes for strawberries as there are strawberries growing in the world. What yummy things have you done with strawberries? I would definitely love to hear about them!

Rewarding Yourself

A recent article at Sparkpeople.com had me thinking about rewards.
Oftentimes, we go through weight loss as a means to punish ourselves, likely for gaining the weight in the first place so we don't think to reward ourselves for the hard work we have done to get where we are.
When I started my weight loss journey, I was looking at a 150 lb goal. I knew that if I kept that kind of goal in my mind, I was setting myself up to fail. I was needing to lose half of myself! How would I manage with such a high amount of weight to lose?! I kept my sight on smaller goals. First, I started with losing my first 5 lbs and then 10 lbs and then 25 lbs and then 10%. From there, I kept changing my goals accordingly. 50 lbs...75 lbs...100 lbs...no longer obese BMI.... At the moment, I am 2.6 lbs away from my next goal 125 lbs loss.
Up to this point, I haven't exactly been able to afford to give myself physical rewards. At 100 lbs lost, I did get my hair cut and I coloured it myself at home. And even though I haven't been rewarding myself with things I can buy, I am still rewarding myself. Sometimes without even realizing it. I started using facial cream in the morning and at night (the whole reason why I noticed I no longer had a double chin!) I started using makeup on a daily basis and have only missed a couple of days, where I didn't leave the house at all! LOL And chances are, because I am feeling so much better about myself, I am making steps to make myself look better. My self esteem is through the roof compared to where it was. I wear my clothes so differently now. Tighter, showing off my girlie curves! I may be a stay at home mom, but I certainly don't have to look like one!
I have started thinking in terms of when can I start doing that when thinking of a new sport or fitness activity to try. Tennis is the new one that my friend and I will be starting soon.
I will be getting a pedicure and manicure soon. I am giving myself a vacation this year. It may be only a couple of days away camping, but it is something I do enjoy doing! My final reward? A new tattoo signifying my transformation. The design is still in the works.

From the article:

Here’s how to set up a good rewards system:

* Choose some benchmarks and reward levels. You can also reward yourself for levels of consistency.
* Make the reward meaningful to you. As a reward, a new pair of shoes may not hold as much motivation as a simple night alone with a book. Then again, it might.
* Choose two or three options from the Reward Roster below or come up with a few reward options of your own. It doesn’t take much. Sometimes, the best rewards are those you can’t buy.
* A lot of small rewards, used for meeting smaller goals, are more effective than relying solely on the bigger rewards that require more work and more time.
* Don’t use food as a reward. Even good food. It’s just too much of a slippery slope. Don’t even mess with it.
* Plan to celebrate. Figure out now how you’re going to celebrate reaching your health, fitness or nutrition goal. Involve other people, tell them about it. Create a celebration that you can anticipate and then keep it within sight all the time.
* Be honest with yourself. Fudging the numbers mentally, or "borrowing" against the next reward hurts the cause of building a lifetime habit. Remember to keep your focus on building a habit, not just figuring out how to get the reward.


* Compliment yourself. Write down what you would say to anyone else who accomplished what you did.
* Create an actual plaque or trophy.
* Give yourself badges of honor for different levels of accomplishment.
* Take a vacation or weekend getaway.
* Take a day off from any goal activities.
* Put $1 in a jar every time you meet a goal. When it gets to $50, treat yourself.
* Create a Trophy Scrapbook, where you keep mementos from your accomplishments.
* See a movie.
* Make a grab bag of little prizes. When you reach a significant goal, reach in and get your reward!
* Go for a spa treatment or massage.
* Buy yourself a gift certificate.
* Take a limo ride.
* Subscribe to a magazine you always wanted.
* Go canoeing or do something outdoorsy.
* Watch your favorite TV show.
* Buy something for your hobby.
* Read a funny book.
* Celebrate "100% Days". If you reach 100% of your goals that day, choose two rewards.
* Find some time to be by yourself.
* Pay someone to do the yardwork or house cleaning this week.
* Fly a kite.

How many of these have you done? What do you do to reward yourself? Have any different ideas than these? I know I will be taking a couple of these ideas and implementing them!

Being a woman, oh how I hate thee...... Sometimes!

After rocking the scale 2 weeks ago, (of which now I think I jinxed myself!) I was up. One of the rare occasions where I saw the scale go in the wrong direction. And of course, it had to do with being a woman! Started my weigh in day of all days! lol. Oh the timing!

This week was a better week. I ended up losing the 2 lbs I gained last week and 0.2 lbs more for a grand total of 122.4 lbs gone.

Last weeks meeting was about Why are you exercising?

According to http://www.mayoclinic.com,

1. Exercise improves your mood.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down.

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Regular physical activity can even help prevent depression.

2. Exercise combats chronic diseases.

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Physical activity might be the ticket.

Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.

And there's more. Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.

3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.

Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities.

This one's a no-brainer. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don't even need to set aside major chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but physical activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories,

4. Exercise boosts your energy level.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Don't throw in the towel. Regular physical activity can leave you breathing easier.

Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Struggling to fall asleep? Or stay asleep? It might help to boost your physical activity during the day.

A good night's sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And you guessed it — physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. There's a caveat, however. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energized to fall asleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to exercise earlier in the day.
6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.

Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Physical activity to the rescue.

Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there's more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women, and men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise — especially as they get older.
7. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!

Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Looking for an activity that suits the entire family? Get physical!

Physical activity doesn't have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you're moving, it counts!

If that isn't enough of a reason to get out there and exercise, the guys over at Fat2FitRadio had a podcast in April where they went through 125 reasons why you should exercise. #122 alone should be reason enough!!

1 Increase your self confidence and your self-esteem
2 Improves your digestion
3 Helps you sleep better
4 Gives you more energy
5 Adds a healthy glow to your complexion
6 strengthens your immune system
7 improves your body shape
8 burns up extra calories
9 tones and firms your muscles
10 provides more muscle definition
11 improves circulation and helps lower blood pressure
12 lifts your spirits
13 reduces tension and stress
14 helps you to lose weight and keeps you at your right body weight
15 makes you limber/flexible
16 builds strength
17 improves endurance
18 increases lean muscle tissue in your body
19 improves your appetite for healthy food
20 alleviates menstrual cramps
21 alters and improves muscle chemistry
22 increases your metabolic rate
23 improves coordination and balance
24 improves your posture
25 eases and may eliminate back problems and pain
26 alters the way that your body uses calories
27 lowers your resting heart rate
28 increases muscle size by increasing muscle fibers
29 improves storage of glycogen
30 enables your body to use nutrients more effectively
31 increases the enzymes in the body that burn fat
32 increases the number and size of mitochondria in each muscle cell
33 strengthens your bones
34 increases the concentration of myoglobin, which carries oxygen , in the skeletal muscles
35 enhances oxygen transport throughout the body
36 improves liver function
37 increases the speed of muscle contraction and therefor reaction time
38 enhances feedback through the nervous system
39 strengthens the heart
40 improves blood flow through the body
41 helps alleviate varicose veins
42 increases maximum cardiac output because of an increase in stroke volume
43 increases contractility of the heart's ventricles
44 increases the weight of the heart
45 increases heart size
46 improves contractile function of the whole heart
47 makes calcium transport in the heart and the entire body more efficient
48 helps prevent heart disease
49 increases the level of HDL (hight density lipoprotein)
50 decreases LDLK (low-density lipoprotein)
51 decreases cholesterol
52 decreases triglycerides
53 increases total hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the red blood cells
54 increases the blood's alkaline reserve (buffering capacity)
55 improves the body's ability to remove lactic acid
56 improves the body's ability to decrease heart rate after exercise
57 increases the number of capillaries that are open during exercise as opposed to when at rest
58 improves blood flow to the active muscles at the peak of training
59 enhances the function of the casrdiovascular system
60 enhances the function of the cardio-respiratory system
61 improves efficiency in breathing
62 increases respiratory capacity
63 improves ventilation of the alveoli for greater oxygen comsumption
64 lessens sensitivity tot he buildup of CO2
65 improves breathing, in that less ventilation is required per liter of O2 Consumption
66 improves bone metabolism
67 decreases the chances of developing osteoporosis
68 improves the development and strength of connective tissue
69 lowers your risk of death from cancer
70 improves resistance to infectious diseases
71 enhances neuromuscular relaxation
72 enables you to relax more quickly and completely
73 alleviates depression
74 improves emotional stability
75 enhances clarity of the mind
76 makes you feel good
77 increases the efficiency of your sweat glands
78 enables you to stay warmer in colder environments
79 helps you respond more effectively to heat, since sweating begins at a lower body temp
80 improves your body's overall composition
81 increases body density
82 decreases fat tissue more easily
83 helps you make your body more agile
84 increases your positive attitude about yourself and your life
85 increases the level of the hormone nor-epinephrine, which boosts the spirits
86 stimulates release of hormones that alleviate pain
87 alleviates constipation
88 increases the efficiency with which adrenalin is used, resulting in more energy
89 enables you to meet new friends and develop fulfilling relationships
90 enables you to socialize at the same time that you are getting into shape
91 helps you move past self-imposed limitations
92 gives you a greater appreciation for life because you feel better about yourself
93 enables you to enjoy all types of physical activities more
94 makes your clothes look better on you
95 makes it easier to exercise consistently because you like the way you look and feel and don't want to lose it
96 gives you a greater desire to participate 100 percent in life - to take more risks - as a result of increased confidence and self-esteem
97 improves athletic performance
98 enhances sexual performance
99 improve the whole quality of your life
100 helps you live longer and better, giving you an extra hour of life for every hour of exercise
101 is the greatest tune-up for the body
102 reduces joint discomfort
103 increases your range of motion
104 give you a feeling of control or mastery over your life and the belief they you can create any reality that you want
105 stimulates and improves concentration
106 brings color to your cheeks
107 decreases appetite when you work out for 20 minutes to an hour
108 gets your mind off irritations
109 stimulates a feeling of well-being and accomplishment
110 invigorates the body and mind
111 is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and the great outdoors
112 increases the body's awareness of itself
113 reduces or prevents boredom
114 increases your awareness of your gait
115 enables you to move from left-brain to right-brain thinking
116 can change the electrical activity in the brain from beta to alpha waves
117 increase your ability to solve problems more easily, and often effortlessly
118 gives you a clearer perspective on ideas, issues, problems, and challenges
119 releases blockages and limitations in thinking
120 affords you the opportunity to experience your fullest potential
121 reduces illness
122 helps you live longer
123 makes you feel better each and every day
124 makes you feel more alive in your spirit
125 makes people look at you and say, wow you look great

Between now and when fall starts in September, my goal is to be 15 lbs lighter from trying a new activity at least once a week, preferably outside. If I get my daughters and my friends to try them to, that will be a bonus! I totally think that in 15 weeks, I should be able to lose 15 lbs. I am hoping for more but will be happy with 15 lbs. I will then be 5 lbs away from my Weight Watchers goal and 15 lbs away from my ultimate goal! I can do this!
What are your goals for the summer?

I now leave you with a yummy recipe my Weight Watchers leader posted for us to try. I haven't given them a try yet but hope to soon! What yummy things have you tried lately?

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1 cup apple sauce unsweetened
2 cups Splenda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 cups grated zucchini
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tbsp cocoa

Mix dry ingredients & add to wet ingredients 1 cup at a time. Bake in a 350* oven for 18-20 min.
Yields 16 muffins @ 2 pts each.