Push Through or Sit It Out


     With the old ankle injury acting up I’ve been left wondering at what point I  push through the pain and when it’s likely to cause greater injury. I don’t mind hard work or discomfort, but I don’t want to cause further damage or put myself in a position to be benched completely. I asked my trainer this morning for some advice and he cautioned me that if it hurts to take a step, it’s unquestionably time to alter the plan. Pushing through could cause injury to other areas as well as greater damage to the ankle and could even lead to stress fractures which would have the doctors telling me it was time to return to the couch. With this in mind I won’t jog this week. My trainer said opting for the stationary bike or elliptical might be a good alternative, and stressed that limiting ankle bending  would be preferable.  I may try some speed walking but will keep an eye on the pain levels. If you’re looking for guidelines on how to handle injury check out the about.com article When Should I Run Through Pain?

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I’m always up for trying fun new things, especially if they help me stay fit and burn a few calories. This morning I am excited to be heading out to the lake to canoe with my handsome hubby.  Canoeing at a leisurely pace burns about 240 calories per hour and will help strengthen the arms as well.  Kayaking at a moderate effort burns almost twice that at 400 calories an hour. Maybe that will be an adventure for us to take on soon as well. Consider having some “on the water” fun yourself, even paddle boating burns calories!

Stepping Stones Week 31 and Week 30 in Review


Week 30 was not as strong as I would have liked. I faced several challenges. Time was limited, celebrations were attended, allergies were acting up, and my “trick ankle” has been particularly tricky. To put it in a word, it has been a “weak” week. I have felt weak in every way. Early on when I went for the 1st outdoor run, my breathing became almost asthmatic in nature. It was shallow, fast, and very raspy. I did not make it through the entire mile without walking. I ended up taking allergy medicine most evenings which made for deep sleep but left me feeling tired all day. Even with the indoor running it seemed like all I could do to get in each mile.  I’m not sure if it was the allergies, the medication, or some combination thereof but I just wanted to sleep more than anything. Even the gym sessions took so much more to get through.  By the end of my Thursday session my trainer was noticing that I was treating my “bad leg” differently, not trusting it. I hadn’t noticed really, but it was a little uncomfortable as it often is.  By the time I tried to run Thursday afternoon, there was no question I had aggravated the old injury. I still ran, but it wasn’t very pleasant and I did not run any more last week. I only got in 4 of my planned 10 miles. My weight was up each morning when I weighed and the energy kept going down, so it was hard to get motivated to try to compensate. I did not watch calories closely either, just kind of making it through. Somehow, even though I should totally know better, my water consumption went down taking in a lot of coffee and even splenda sweetened cola to prop up and not fall asleep at work. Housework, workouts, and psyche all suffered. I hate energy slumps. To make things worse I had run out of the raspberry ketone and metabolism boosting multivitamins and went without them for several days. My weight on the weight tracker is now higher than it needs to be to stay on track to meet my goal weight by 12/31/2012. I can’t afford to just sit around and wait for the energy to return.

In assessing last week’s efforts I see lots of areas that need to be fixed as I go into next week. I tried to honestly view all that wasn’t working this week. I need to be on track with suppliments, be more dilligent in food journaling, drink more water, and re-think my exercise in a way that I will get everything in even if the pain and energy slump continue. Next week is PMS week, so there are likely to be some energy issues even with the other things aside. I also have to make up for lost ground so I need to up my cardio. An equation that has always worked for me is 4 miles of cardio per day plus less than 1500 calories = weight loss. As long as I diligently stick to that, I lose weight. With this in mind I have decided to set my cardio goal at 20 miles but not dictating type. If the ankle or alergies give me trouble, I can do stationary biking or eliptical training in the air conditioned gym. If I am feeling low on energy I can get it done in bits, a mile in the morning, a mile at noon, and a couple of miles in the evening.  I do hope the supliments, the water, and maybe a change in allergy medication will help with the energy though.  I wish energy and success for you too!

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Stepping Stones for Success – Week 31


Goal:  “To weigh 135 lbs by 12/31/2012. (That is a loss of approximately 40 lb in 1 year).

Action Steps: I will limit my calorie intake to 1400 calories a day, continuing to focus on good nutrition in my choices. I put in 20 miles of cardio exercise.  I will also do two 30 minute weight training sessions.  I will officially weigh in once this week, marking my progress on the Weight Tracker tool.”

To-Do List:

1. Plan Weekly Menu (See Plan To Eat Fabulous Foods.)

2. Grocery Shop (See Stocking The “New Me” Pantry.)

3. Refill Snack Basket (See The Real Food Fight .)

4. Weigh In (See Weigh In Wednesday.)

5. Organize Outfits and Gear (See Get Your Rear In Gear.)

6. 20 miles of cardio

7.  2 or more  Weight Training Sessions  (10 Ways to Increase Your Metabolism)

8. Give myself 3 “Get Out Of Diet Guilt Free Cards” or one Splurge Meal.

9. Enjoy a Rest Day. (See Balance.)

10. Grade Last Weeks Efforts (See A for Effort.)

11. Assess Past Week’s Efforts (See Assess for Success.)

12. Create next Stepping Stones Sheet

Date: ________

Daily Log

Morning Weight: ______           Evening Weight: ______

    Raspberry Ketone? ___   Vitamine B? ___ Vitamin D? ___

Gram of Fiber? ____

    Servings of Water: ____

Affirmations? Yes / No

Bedtime:  ——————               Wake Up Time:  ———————

Did You Eat Frequently (Approximately Every Two Hours Until After Dinner)? __________


Jogging –   Miles:  ____ Minutes: _____

  Weight Training? _______

Other Exercise? ________

Foods Eaten








Total Calories Consumed:_________     Total Calories Burned: __________

Advice from the Olympians

     I’ve struggled with energy deficits, self-control, and injury this week, so when I found an article from Fitness Magazine with healthy secrets and tips from Olympic athletes it sparked my attention. Here are some people who should really know how to keep the energy flowing and be able to keep going no matter what. Check out these valuable suggestions in the online article entitled  Healthy Eating Secrets and Motivation Tips from Olympic Athletes.


Natasha Hastings

Dr. Oz’s 100 Weight Loss Tips


     Looking for some simple weight loss tips, written in plain english and not bogged down within 100’s of pages of a book? Check out Dr. Oz’s 100 weight loss tips!

  • Automate your eating by planning your meals ahead of time. That way you’re less likely to make an unhealthy last-minute food choice.
  • Oats are your friends! Eating a cup of oatmeal in the morning will prevent you from gorging in the afternoon.
  • Foods with healthy fats such as olives, salmon and walnuts help you feel satisfied.
  • Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories.
  • Got nuts with nuts. Eating a handful of nuts will help you stay full. Try soaking them in water for a different texture.
  • Use meditation to help you cope with chronic stress, which can lead you to crave feel-good carbs.
  • You may be used to fried foods but there are other, sometimes healthier, ways to cook including: roasting, steaming, poaching, baking, braising and broiling.
  • Do your grocery shopping with a list and a time limit; that way, you’re less likely to stray into the processed foods section.
  • Don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Drink a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that’s what you’re really craving.
  • When out at a restaurant, ask the server to hold the bread, snack mix or chips and salsa that might come before the meal. If you’re hungry, you’ll be tempted.
  • Tired of eating your salad on a plate? Fill a whole wheat pita with salad and a splash of lemon for a twist.
  • You might do better to replace an occasional dinner with a nice roll in the hay. Healthy sex may help control the amount of food you eat and it’s great exercise.
  • Create emergency packs filled with healthy foods such as nuts, fruits or sliced vegetables to help you avoid unhealthy temptations.
  • Add red pepper flakes to your pantry. When eaten early in the day, red pepper lowers the amount of food you’ll eat later.
  • Odds are you’re eating too fast. Try holding a conversation while having a meal so you’re not gulping down more than you need to feel full.
  • Take a brisk walk before lunch or dinner. Not only will you get in some exercise, you’re less likely to choose something unhealthy after a little movement.
  • Looking for the benefits of salmon but you don’t feel comfortable cooking fish? Try canned salmon as a simple and affordable alternative.
  • Are your dishes too big? A healthy dinner should fit on a 9-inch plate. You may find that kid-sized plates are more appropriately sized to feed an adult!
  • Never eat any snack food out of the box, carton or bag it came in. You’re less likely to overeat if you separate snacks into appropriate fist-sized servings.
  • Boost your metabolism with some green tea or chili peppers.
  • Get your Zzzzzs. Sleep deprivation alters levels of hormones in the body that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite.
  • Muscle burns at least four times as many calories as fat does, so try twenty minutes of strength straining two to three times a week.
  • Decaf coffee is a great low-calorie fluid when you’re having cravings (and a great source of antioxidants).
  • Eating liquid-based foods such as natural smoothies and low-sodium soup can help you cut back on calories yet feel full.
  • A pedometer can help keep track of your steps. If you’re not getting 10,000 steps a day, you’re not moving enough.
    • Natural applesauce is an excellent dip for fruits such as bananas and melons.
    • Take every opportunity to move around, even in small ways. Studies show fidgety people tend to be skinnier.
    • Identify the emotional triggers that lead you to seek unhealthy comfort food. Picture your goal weight the next time a trigger strikes to help you resist temptation.
    • Use a vegetable bean dip such as hummus instead of ranch dressing or a fatty cream-based dip.
    • People who regularly weigh themselves and keep track of their progress in a journal are more likely to lose weight.
    • Use a dash of cinnamon to give fruits such as bananas and melons a richer dessert feel without the sugar.
    • Give your protein extra low-calorie flavor by adding a salsa or chutney instead of a gooey cream sauce.
    • Distracted dining will get you in trouble. Avoid eating in front of a television or in a movie theater, as you’re bound to consume more calories.
    • Pass on pop. You’ll be amazed by how much weight you drop by simply switching to water.
    • Beware of “fat-free” or “zero trans fats” foods as you could be trading fats for huge amounts of sugar or sodium.
    • Try drinking skim milk at breakfast instead of juice. Overweight people who drank skim milk for breakfast ate fewer calories
    • Sugarless chewing gum can suppress your appetite in a pinch.
    • Snack attack! Puree peaches, berries or pears for a sweet spread to go on pita chips.
    • If you’re having trouble getting started, make a small move such as starting an eating log or buying walking shoes. You’re three times more likely to follow through if you start with small gestures such as these.
    • Always have vegetables on hand. Saute a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables in olive oil and garlic. Add some red pepper or turmeric for additional flavor and separate into portion-sized containers for the fridge.
    • Edamame (soy beans) are a great low-cost snack. Look for them in the frozen foods section.
    • Soups can be both filling and comforting. Try making a garden or bean soup with low-salt broth and store in portion-sized cups for later.
    • Save time and money during the week by buying lean protein such as chicken breasts in bulk and cooking a week’s worth on Sunday night.
    • Save the kitchen and the dining room table for cooking and eating. Try not to use it as a place to do work or other activities, or you may be tempted to eat more.
    • If food was your only source of pleasure, make sure to reconnect with other things you enjoy — music, sports, volunteer work or movies, for example.
    • Try to have a little lean protein with each meal, as protein tends to be more satisfying than carbs or fats.
    • Think ahead to how you’ll eat and exercise on the weekends. It’s easy to get too relaxed on Saturdays and Sundays, but healthy living is a 7-day-a-week endeavor.
    • Dump the junk food. If you want to avoid temptation, make sure you clean out the fridge and the pantry
    • When you eat calorie-friendly fruits and vegetables that are in season, they tend to taste better and you’re more likely to enjoy them.
    • People who eat breakfast have a better shot at losing and maintaining weight loss.
      • Replace your scale with a tape measure. Aim for 32 1/2 inches or less for women and 35 inches or less for men.
      • Make sure you check food labels and avoid anything with more than 4 grams of sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, per serving.
      • Eat a fiber-filled apple before a meal to help you feel full faster.
      • Opt for peanut butter or almond butter spreads instead of cream cheese or butter.
      • Remember these five essential smoothie ingredients: frozen berries, a banana, skim milk, a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of psyllium seed husks.
      • Researchers found that dieters who ate eggs in the morning were less hungry than those who ate carb-heavy meals.
      • The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may dial up your body’s ability to burn fat, especially if you add some exercise.
      • A Mediterranean diet not only comes with heart benefits, studies show it leads to more weight loss than low-fat diets.
      • Replace your regular pasta noodles with whole wheat pasta for a more filling meal.
      • When eating out, ask your server to point out the healthiest options on the menu.
      • You don’t have to make a three-digit number your weight loss goal. Aim for a certain dress size or waist measurement.
      • Go lean with bean protein. Beans are an affordable and healthy alternative to meats and are wonderfully filling.
      • Energize plain-tasting proteins such as eggs or chicken with metabolism-boosting chili pepper sauce.
      • Try a plain Greek yogurt with frozen berries for a pre-workout boost.
      • Turn dinner into a healthy lunch the next day by wrapping your lean leftovers in a whole wheat wrap. Add a little Dijon mustard or curry powder for added flavor.
      • Eat a rainbow of colors. Have at least one brightly colored fruit or vegetable in each meal, and, if appropriate, eat the skins — that’s where you’ll find a powerhouse of antioxidants.
      • Make an office snack box of your own so you’re not tempted by your colleague’s candy bowl. Fill it with small individually packaged portions of soy chips, almonds and dried fruit.
      • Make an office snack box of your own so you’re not tempted by your colleague’s candy bowl. Fill it with small individually packaged portions of soy chips, almonds and dried fruit.
      • If you’re ‘cooking’ food in the microwave, chances are you’re eating unhealthy packaged foods. If you must microwave, consider soy chicken patties, veggie burgers or steamer vegetables and brown rice.
      • Make your wardrobe match your goals. As you lose weight donate the clothes that no longer fit you as an incentive to stay on track.
      • Pick up a 5- or 10-pound weight at the gym and visualize that weight coming off. Holding the weight in your hands helps bring home just how heavy even 5 pounds of extra fat can be.
      • If you find yourself at a weight loss plateau, up the duration of your exercise routine by five minutes.
      • Pounding out your meat will help healthier portions go a longer way visually, and it’s good stress relief.
      • Silken tofu makes a wonderful replacement for cream in some recipes.
      • Save 85 calories just by swapping mustard for mayonnaise in a sandwich.
        • Do your best to ensure you’re not eating after 7 o’clock at night. You’re more likely to make unhealthy choices and less likely to sleep as well after a late meal.
        • Try a pasta-less spaghetti by mixing shredded zucchini, veggie meatballs and raw tomato sauce seasoned with a dash of zesty oregano.
        • Fresh herbs can really zing up a healthy meal. Try growing some in the kitchen using a strawberry pot. Preserve the flavor by adding fresh herbs at the end of the cooking process
        • Fast food is salty food. If you cut back on the salt, in a few weeks you’ll be able to better taste the natural salts in food and may not crave the junk as much as you used to.
        • The rub on ground turkey is that it’s dry. Add some olive oil and finely blended onions to a turkey burger or turkey meatball to enhance its juiciness.
        • If you’re trying to lose weight with your significant other, pack each other’s lunches. The lunchbox surprises will keep the both of you motivated.
        • If you’re eating out, make salad the appetizer. Most starters are fried and come with unhealthy dips or sauces.
        • Savory ‘umami’ ingredients such as mushrooms, low-sodium soy, asparagus and olives can help you feel full and add an earthy, home-y quality to your healthy-dishes.
        • Make it a point to use the steps whenever possible. Use the bathroom on a different floor at work, take the stairs at the bus station, the airport or the mall.
        • Try baking apple slices as a healthy alternative to potato chips.
        • Eating water-rich foods such as melons, tomatoes and celery can help fill you up without adding too many calories to your day.
        • Avocados can be your secret weight loss partners. They’re high in fiber and healthy fats, giving you a meaty-tasting meat alternative.
        • A handful of unsalted pumpkin seeds make for a healthy mid-day snack. They’re rich in magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure.
        • Keeping good posture will not only strengthen your core, but will also add a small extra-calorie burn, because you’re working slightly harder to maintain the position.
        • Cravings can sneak up on you when you’re tired. Try taking a nap if you feel yourself wanting some junk food.
        • Share your weight loss goals with your friends and family. Make it a positive life change and ask for their encouragement.
        • Take a photo of yourself each week so you can see your physical transformation.
        • Store-bought salad dressings can be packed with calories. Make your own vinaigrette and store it in a small spray bottle to coat your greens without over-dressing them.
        • Yoga may be relaxing but you can also get a good workout. An hour of yoga can burn up to 350 calories.
        • Get familiar with quinoa — a wonderful grain that’s easy to cook and goes great with sauteed vegetables or mushrooms.
        • Ditch the mayo, cheese and top bun if you want to scrape off 250 calories from a restaurant sandwich.
        • Resistance bands are a comfortable and affordable at-home exercise option for strength straining.
        • Use the freezer to add some extra oomph to summer foods. Freeze grapes for some bite-sized delights. Or get a popsicle mold and freeze some Greek yogurt with berries.
        • Wrap up any extra food you’ve cooked before you sit down to a meal so you’re not tempted to get seconds.
        • Take a 30-second break in the middle of your meal. Evaluate just how hungry you still are before getting back to your food.


Become A Morning Exerciser


      I was a “night person” most of my life. I hated the alarm clock and all it represented. I would beg myself for 5 more minutes and even opted for jobs that started later in the day than the typical 9-5. However, if you had asked me about the “ideal me” I would have told you that she got up early to run every morning and then was able to spend her evenings relaxing with her dearest love. This year I decided it was time for the ideal me to take over and I’ve made real progress.

     My work day now begins at 7 a.m. and at least two days a week I am at the gym by 5:20. I will soon be making that 4 days a week at 5 a.m. and plan to fit my daily jog in before work each day.

     Have you dreamed of being a morning exerciser but are not sure where to start? Check out Shape Magazine’s 7 Steps To Becoming A morning Exerciser for some great tips to get you up and out the door early.

Weigh-In Wednesday – David’s Story

     On Wednesdays,  if the scales aren’t showing me something that inspires me I seek out weight loss success stories to keep me focused. This morning my weight is up. Having already lost 80 pounds I know I can reach my goal, but it’s nice to be reminded that people do loose 100 pounds and even more. To feel inspired to move on with conviction I decided to watch the story of someone who lost more that I am even attempting. Today I found David’s story. I hope David’s 159 pound  loss inspires you too!

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