Friday 12/2 Workout: I'm back! Work B*tch!

So, I took 2 days off from working out because it was that time of the month and I was tired and didn't feel like reenacting that scene from The Shining:

But, I'm ready to get back on track with my workouts because I miss them! I also think I need them, frankly. Between my new scale, my time of the month, and my insatiable desire to eat everything in the house (which was really just 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread at 10 pm last night...with butter), I need the workouts to get that scale moving! I can't wait to get my new workout clothes I ordered! 

This song, best known for the Mannequin Challenge, made a good warmup!

This was a super fun routine, but the moves are hard in the middle!

This is one of my repeat videos. I just like doing it! It's a fun workout! I did this one twice because I taped myself doing it the second time, but it's still too much of an exerstruggle! 

This was such a fun one and it's not that hard! I did this one twice and you can see the results below! Yes, I'm being brave and posting me working out. Being honest about my body and my out-of-shapeness is important to me because it's something I need to come to terms with...that it's okay to have a fuller figure, that it's okay to be out of shape, but trying. As someone who lost a lot of weight years ago, I always felt that extra pressure to stay in shape because people looked at you as a "success" so when the weight came back on, it was hard to face that because you feel like you failed not only yourself, but people who looked up to you. It's that same fear that has kept me out of a gym for so long. I don't want to be the fuller figure, out of shape person at the gym, but how are you to ever get in shape if you're afraid of putting yourself out there. Seeing myself exerstruggling is hard for me (I was on cheerleading and dance team almost three decades ago), but necessary because it's the first step in getting out there moving and getting in shape. If seeing me doing these workouts is enough to get someone else moving, then it's worth it to me to put this hot mess out there! If I can do it, so can you!

Review: Daily Harvest Mushroom and Miso Soup

I finally got the soups from Daily Harvest to try out! Today's soup was mushroom and miso. Just like the smoothies, it comes frozen in a cup. You add water or broth and microwave or heat up in a saucepan. Ideally, I would have done the saucepan method, but I'm lazy so I microwaved the cup. I did put the cup in a bowl in case of overflow because it called for 5 minutes of microwaving time, which seems to cause boil overs in my humble experience. It only boiled over a tiny bit, but I was glad I'd had the bowl there so I recommend you do the same if you are microwaving! 

The soup contains butternut squash noodles, red miso, shitake and crimini mushrooms, spinach, tamari, ginger, dulse seaweed, scallion, reishi mushroom, cordyceps mushroom, chaga mushroom, and hijiki seaweed. I would never in a million years make a soup with this many odd ingredients on my own (and would probably require multiple trips to multiple stores to even find them). The flavor is very much like miso soup I've had before, but if you don't like the taste of miso (or have an aversion to mushroom or seaweed), you may not like this one. The squash noodles reminded me of spaghetti squash! It was very pleasant and did taste healthy. I wasn't shouting from the rooftops, but it's a decent soup. I can't wait to try the other two and see what they're like! 

Nutrition Facts (for a full cup - 2 servings):

  • Cals: 120
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 20g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 8g protein

(I used bone broth so that adds approx 50 cals and 9g protein to this number)

Staying on Track!

I'm doing good overall! I'm still mad that my new scale came with a few extra pounds LOL. But I'm almost back to what the old scale was weighing me at so I'm excited to get back to showing lower numbers on the scale!

Today, I had the SmartOnes Ham and cheese scramble for breakfast. Everyone at work was curious because it apparently smells yummy (and it tastes pretty yummy, too)! Lunch was my same old grocery store Caesar salad. It's a solid choice for lunch and seems to fill me up, which is good because I had a snack crisis! I don't know what happened to my protein shake but I opened it up and it was practically a solid. I'm not sure if it went bad or what, but I did NOT drink it! Thankfully, I didn't need it anyway.

Dinner was a Chipotle chicken bowl (no rice or beans) with peppers, salsa, cheese, guac, and lettuce. For a snack tonight, I'll probably have my strawberry smoothie (even though the sunflower butter makes cleanup for tedious)!

I've been giving myself some non-food rewards and today my Kylie Christmas haul arrived. I love her stuff and got two cream eyeshadows and a lipstick from her Christmas collection! My niece will be getting the Burgundy palette (and some more stuff if it comes back in stock!). I'm jealous.

My latest batch of Daily Harvest showed up! I can't wait to try the soups and the three smoothie flavors I haven't tried yet! It's amazing how the smoothies have become such a part of my day! I'll have a new review up tomorrow!

No Workout Today But I Got My New Scale

Today has just been one of those days. I woke up in the middle of the night, startling awake. I felt something pull at my nose and then when I checked, my nose ring was gone! I freaked (as much as you can freak at 3 am). I couldn't find it anywhere in my sheets so I put my starter nose ring in and was thankful the hole hadn't closed up. I think it must have snagged on the comforter or something. I was going to look for it in the morning, but I couldn't stop wondering where it went so I turned all the bedroom lights on and started the hunt. I found it in the carpet in about 5 minutes. So, I switched out the old nose ring for the new one again and went to bed. Then, I forgot my hoodie and it was pouring rain so I stopped at Walmart to buy a cheap one on my way in to the office. The rest of my day was super busy! 

I have the worst luck with scales or maybe scales just lose their accuracy over time. They all seem to get to that point where you can step on it 5 times and get 5 different readings! I decided to upgrade to a new one that got good reviews on Amazon. The problem with a new highly accurate scale is that it never seems to work out in my favor! Either it's my time of the month causing bloating or the new scale is ever so accurately accounting for a few more pounds than my old one! I'm trying not to let it get me down because it really could be my time of the month causing the gain! However, it's early enough in my weight loss journey that I'd rather reset to a slightly higher weight now and have more accurate weigh-ins in the long run. The company has really good customer service!

Because of the aforementioned time of the month, I skipped the workout today. I was due for a day off anyway. I feel like I had a good meal day:

Breakfast: Special K Ham and Cheese Quiche

Lunch: SmartMade Frozen Meal

Snack: EAS Protein Shake 100 Cal

Dinner: Cobb Salad from Grocery Store

Snack: Strawberry/Banana/Hemp Milk/Sunflower Seed Butter Smoothie, spicy sunflower seeds

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Still Full of Skinny Girls

I always find it ironic that the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is usually one skinny chick after another. Let's get some variety up in there! Show us some curves! There were some really pretty looks like the one above on Maria Borges, but I'm a bit meh about the rest of it.

I'm not a fan of the hip skirt thing they slapped on Kendall Jenner, but the buttoned-up neck is interesting.

Kelly Gale certainly brought some curves up top, but VS seems to still be the domain of the leggy lithe ones! 

I found this look on Gigi Hadid too busy! This has a Desigual vibe to it but the actual bra and panties are just your basic lace. This other look was better.

And I don't know what was up with Bella Hadid, but she looked almost frightened in a lot of the pictures. Maybe because ex-boyfriend The Weeknd was performing but it seemed sort of awkward! 

Edited to add: I'll give Victoria's Secret a few bonus points for using a reportedly pregnant Irina Shayk in the fashion show although I would have liked to see the outfits unbelted.

Grabby Hands: Victoria's Secret Cosmic Print Workout Gear

There were some good sale prices on VS stuff over the holidays and on Cyber Monday, however, they were sold out of all the cool prints, especially the cosmic print! I fell in love with the Cosmic print leggings, but alas, all gone. Then, I found one of the cosmic print sports bras on ebay for cheap, but lost out by $1 - doh! But then I saw this cute bra and legging combo and had to snatch it up! This is my reward for actually keeping up with my workouts. I'll post a pic when I get them!

Tuesday 11/29 Workout: Zumba Attempt

I wanted a 20 minute workout and I had never tried Zumba so after a quick peek, I tried this video. I can't totally recommend it and here's why. I think if you are going to lead a class, you need strongly defined movements so that the moves are clear. Unfortunately, the blonde that leads parts of this video is hesitant in some of her moves and robotic in others. I'm not sure if she's newer or what the deal was, but it made it hard to follow. She was off the beat in a few spots, which made it even harder. Thankfully, the brunette leads some dances as well and she's much more clear. One thing I noticed is that Zumba has its own sign language. They make all these hand signals and people seem to know what that means. I picked it up after a bit and actually sort of enjoyed that. It made it easier to know what was next. BUT, a major problem with this video is that the music is gone for one of the songs. I'm sure YouTube pulled the sound, but it makes for a very awkward few minutes as you struggle to keep up with no beat to follow. 

Ironically, the most fun part of the video is the dude at the end who I thought was joking at first. He is the best part of this video. He had strong cues and most importantly, made it fun! I think my problem with this video (and a few of the "dance class" videos I've seen) is that everyone seems like drones. There's no fun or joy to it - it seems to be people doing rote movements, which isn't what I like in a video. That's why I keep going back to the Fitness Marshall because he at least seems to enjoy what he's doing and is having fun with it!

Anyways, I did get a good workout. My legs were getting tired at the end! So, it's not all bad. But, it's the first time I've been a bit "whomp whomp" about a workout video.

My Day of Food So Far - Meal Plan in Pictures

Today was a struggle day. I was busy, it's raining, I'm about to get my period at any moment. But, I stayed on track with my food. 

Breakfast was a Special K Crustless Quiche in the Ham, Cheese & Quinoa flavor. It was decent. I like the portabello flavor better. But it continues to be a tasty breakfast that is easy to throw in my bag for work and keeps me full.

140 cals, 9g fat, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 11g protein

Lunch was another SmartMade meal. Thank god I didn't really eat turkey on Thanksgiving! This roast turkey with sweet potatoes meal was definitely okay. It has a sweet sort of flavor, which I'm not sure I am really into, but it's better than the last few I've had. I will say this one kept me super full. I forgot to have my afternoon snack because I was busy and I wasn't starving like I usually am at that time. This meal looked most like the picture on the box LOL!

240 cals, 2.5g fat, 36g carbs, 3g fiber, 20g protein

For dinner, I really wanted a salad, but my grocery store only had 3 salad almost expired pre-made salads, so I hit the salad bar. Usually, I prefer to get the pre-made ones because it's all portioned out, but I was desperate at this point so I tried to go easy on the carby add-ins. For dessert, I had my banana-cucumber-kale smoothie. I've really come to enjoy the smoothies and I get excited for them! I've gone from fruit hater to fruit lover! 

I'll probably have some sunflower seeds for a snack later and maybe some bone broth. I've had a rough day and need comfort foods but that's the best we're gonna get tonight! 

Monday 11/28 Workout: Lots of Booty Shakin' Goin' On!

I tried to pick a bunch of new workouts that I hadn't done yet. I'm either getting better at this or these workouts didn't kill me! I also was going easy on the knees so I didn't drop it down during Fergie! This workout has a lot of booty shaking going on so get your booties ready!

Warmin it up with some Fergie! 

This one was super fun! 

Omg so I pretty much sucked at the hand movements in this one! Will need to practice this one! I felt even worse because there are little kids on the internet that can do this! Please!

Anaconda was fun! Much twerkin' goin' on! This was totally me:

If U Seek Amy was a good cool down! 

Review: SmartMade Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl

So, I must have really picked wisely early on because my last few SmartMade meals have been clunkers. They aren't terrible though. Even on their worst day, they still taste better than a lot of other frozen meals, but my standards were set so high early on that these last few mediocre ones have dragged me down! 

SmartMade seems to pretty consistently put 3 medium chicken chunk pieces in their bowls. It's a small portion, but made up for with the "carb" in the bowl. This one has grilled white meat chicken with broccoli, snap peas and roasted red peppers over quinoa lightly tossed in an orange sesame sauce. My problem is that there are other frozen meals that do this particular flavor combo better. Healthy Choice Steamers has both an Orange Chicken option and a Sesame Chicken option that taste better than the SmartMade one. Lean Cuisine has a sesame chicken that is very tasty (although a pretty small portion). 

I'm not sure I'd buy this flavor again. There are too many other ones that taste better, but it's not horrible. I just wasn't very satisfied after eating it and ending up eating one of the Perdue Encrusted chicken breasts with tomato sauce! 

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Carbs: 30g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 21g

Fit Celebs: Liam Payne Shows Off Fit Physique at the I Am Bolt Premiere

Splash/Jon Furniss

Splash/Jon Furniss

Liam Payne looks like he's been logging lots of gym time while on hiatus from One Direction. In between working on solo tracks, it looks like he's been working out! Liam was spotted on the red carpet of the I Am Bolt premiere looking rather dapper in all black.

He recently shared a gym selfie to show off that six pack. Good work, Liam!

Victoria's Secret Train Like An Angel: Adriana Lima

Victoria's Secret is really promoting their fitness line! They have a whole area of their web site emphasizing how the Angels get in shape for the VS Fashion Show called Train Like An Angel. They've also released a bunch of pictures of Adriana Lima putting the workout clothes to the test. I hadn't realized how much VS had expanded their fitness wear. They've got some decent sales going on right now as well! They've actually got some sports bras that look nice and the price is right so I may have to stock up!

Review: SmartMade Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl

So, the SmartMade Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl was not my favorite of the bunch. It's not bad. In fact, it's still better than most frozen meals I've had. But, of the SmartMade ones I've tried so far, this was my least favorite. It includes grilled white meat chicken, chickpeas, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted vegetables over quinoa and topped with feta cheese. Just by that description, it sounds like it would be all sorts of yum. It just was sort of uneven flavor-wise. The bites with the sun-dried tomato were flavorful, but other bites were just sort of meh. There is a lot of quinoa so it was pretty satisfying. 

I'm really enjoying trying all the different flavors and this is probably my new favorite line of frozen meals! 

Nutritional Facts:

  • Calories: 260
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 19g

6 Pounds Down!

I'm officially down 6 pounds so far. Six pounds in 9 days is not bad at all! I'll take it, especially since this was Thanksgiving time! My menus this weekend have been about the same every day:

  • Breakfast: eggs of some kind
  • Lunch: Caesar Salad
  • Snack: Smoothie
  • Dinner: SmartMade frozen meal
  • Snack: Chicken breast with tomato sauce or spicy sunflower seeds or smoothie

I made my favorite smoothie today...twice! I made it as my afternoon snack and I was craving it again tonight. It's approximately 1 c frozen strawberries, 1/2 banana (I didn't add this for my afternoon one but it's better with it!), 1 c hemp milk, and 1 TB sunflower butter. It is to die for. It's like a sundae that's gone sort of melty. 

I finally feel like I got my "system" down. I do best when I have a template that I can use to guide my meals and just change up flavors for variety. I'm also super impressed that I'm still exercising. My goal is to just move every day somehow. It doesn't matter how. I'm letting how I feel at that particular moment guide what kind of workout I do. Some days I have more energy than others, but it's working so far! 

Sunday 11/27 Workout: 20 Minute Workout from the 80s!

I have such fond memories of the 20 Minute Workout. I'm pretty sure I probably asked my hairdresser for their hair styles. The 20 Minute Workout used to air on TV in the 80s at the  height of the aerobics craze. It was known for its ladies in skimpy workout gear and the geometric shapes their bodies would make as the camera spun around. I was feeling nostalgic when I saw this on YouTube. My dad used to call the main lady in this video the "Four More" lady because she always counts down "four more and three more and two more..."

My knees and ankles aren't what they used to be so I modified this to be a bit more low impact by marching in place or doing step touches instead of bouncing around. Even then, I still need to invest in a good sports bra. My bra rolled up like a window shade at one point. Good times. Overall, I got a decent workout. I wasn't dying at the end, but I did have a good sweat going and this video actually had some good stretches that I can feel. I think there were twins (or at least two girls that looked almost the same). I'll have to find that one! 

What To Do With Kale

Yesterday, someone asked me for advice on what to do with a whole lotta kale. Their kale harvest was a little TOO abundant. I love kale so I would have no problem using it up, but here's some ideas on what to do with kale!

Banana Kale Smoothie

Of course I'm going to have a smoothie recipe for you! This is a simple 3-ingredient smoothie that includes kale as the "green". I buy a bunch of bananas, peel them, and put them in containers in the freezer so they're ready to go when I need them! 

  • 1 peeled frozen banana
  • 1 cup kale (or 1/2 c frozen kale)
  • 1/2 c coconut water

Blend together! 

Kale Chips

Kale chips are a great way to use up lots of kale because the cooking process shrinks them way down. The key is low and slow, but keep an eye on them towards the end so they don't burn. The cute animated video I made above breaks down the steps in a really simple way! 

Preheat oven to 350F. Get a bunch of kale. Make sure it's washed and dry. Toss it with a little olive oil. You don't want to soak it with oil, but you don't want it completely bare either. Add seasonings - really anything you prefer. I like Montreal Chicken Seasoning, but just salt works too! Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 10 minutes. Let them sit  a bit before chowing down. Oh She Glows has a good recipe and tips on Kale Chips.

Kale Salad

Here's a super easy recipe from the NY Times:

  • 4 c kale (chopped fine)
  • 2 TB toasted almonds chopped
  • 1 sweet apple (Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady) diced
  • 1 oz charp cheddar diced
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove pureed
  • 5 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB parmesan
  • salt to taste

Combine the kale, almonds, apple and Cheddar in a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and olive oil. Add dressing to the salad, and toss well. Add Parmesan on top, and serve.

Sauteed Kale

I found a bunch of recipes for sauteed kale and they all seem to follow this basic outline (seriously, Bobby Flay, NY Times, and Food.com all had this same recipe variant):

  • 1 12 lbs kale, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 12 cup vegetable stock or 12 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add crushed red pepper flakes and let sizzle in the oil (or skip this step if you don't want spicy). Add garlic and cook until soft, but not browned. Raise heat to high, add stock and kale, and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

Review: Special K Crustless Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago, & Kale Quiche

I'm so glad stores are making crustless quiche a thing. Frozen quiches have been around for awhile, but they always had the annoying crust, which adds needless carbs and cals. That's why I was so happy to see Special K Crustless Quiches! I tried the Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago, & Kale flavor and I'm happy to report - it's awesome. Quinoa in a quiche is something I never would have thought of, but it's a nice addition! The flavor was super good - you can taste all the elements and the quiche itself was the perfect consistency - not too dry, not too wet - surprising given that it's a microwaveable meal!

The portion size is small. That plate up there in the picture is a saucer for a coffee cup so be prepared! One thing all this healthy eating is doing is making me adjust my expectations of what a portion is. With all the super sized meals out there, it can be pretty easy to get it twisted. I will definitely be trying other flavors of these crustless quiches! 

These are also available in ham, cheese, quinoa and peppers as well as sausage, quinoa, peppers, mozzarella, and asiago!

Nutrition Facts (for one quiche):

  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 8g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 10g

Saturday 11/26 Workout: Belly Dance Fitness for Beginners

I guess because this is the holiday weekend, I've been not as motivated to do my workouts. So, today I changed it up and found a belly dancing fitness video. I took a belly dancing class almost 20 years ago and I really enjoyed it. This video is a nice moderate workout that isn't too hard. I still struggled with some of the isolations. After all these years, I was a bit rusty!

This is a low impact workout and was surprising hard on my arms (I'm suck a weakling though!). Also, they do a tiny bit of floor work at the end so you may want to have a mat handy. I was totally unprepared and grabbed my dog's blanket to stick under me for that part - eww. 

Review: SmartMade Chicken with Spinach Fettuccine

I liked the SmartMade Mexican Chicken Bowl I ate yesterday so much that I bought a few more flavors at the store today. Tonight, I had the Chicken with Spinach Fettuccine. It is grilled white meat chicken with roasted tomatoes & spinach over spinach fettuccine tossed in a creamy ricotta & white bean puree sauce. The white bean puree helps keep the calories and fat down and no, you can't taste the beans! It tasted just like fettuccine sauce! 

The portion is small. Like teeny tiny. This is probably 1 to 1.5 cups of food total even with the spinach fettucine noodles. Hungry Man dinners these are not. But, the flavor is really good. It's well-seasoned and tastes "real". A lot of frozen meals have a "fake" taste and this one does not. Everything was very tasty, especially the spinach fettuccine noodles. I was satisfied with the meal, but I had a smoothie a few hours before and will probably have a snack a few hours after. But, I do appreciate the attempt at making a healthy frozen meal that tastes real. I would buy this again in a heartbeat.

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 19g

Review: Evol Scramble Cups - Uncured Bacon & Cheese with Bell Peppers & Potato

In my never-ending quest for portable, healthy breakfasts, I tried Evol's Scramble Cup in Uncured Bacon & Cheese with Bell Peppers & Potato. You just microwave the cup and tada - breakfast in a cup! The portion looked sort of small although it seems about right when I compare it to the scrambled eggs I get from McDonald's sometimes. And the Evol Scramble Cups have more stuff in them, so that is a win for me. The flavor was good. I added a bit of pepper and salt, but I could have eaten it without. I was reasonably full afterward although some people may want to add a bit more to the breakfast. 

They have several other flavors. My store only had this one and the Chicken Apple Sausage. There's also an egg white, veggies, and cheese one as well as an egg, basil pesto, potato, and cheese one, which sounds super yummy! I would definitely get this again. It reminds me of ziploc scrambled eggs I used to make (you put eggbeaters, veggies, and cheese in a ziploc to bring to work and then microwave it in a cup). I actually prefer this one to the ziploc eggs, which always felt like I was flirting with disaster and a leaky ziploc bag! 

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 200
  • Total fat: 11g
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 11g