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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ashley's Story: Week 6 - Mojo Rising

I got back from the Land of Fried Chicken late Monday night. I loved seeing my family, but as I'm sure you could tell from my last post, I was a little stressed. Feeling stressed does not equate to doing well with eating or exercising for me. In fact, I gained about nine pounds while I was there. I did come back with something else than those pounds though; I learned some great lessons about myself and food.

1. I felt horrible! I know that it was because of the way I was eating. It was obvious that my poor diet was affecting the way I felt.

2. To my mother, food equals love. It always has. It's one of the reasons that I struggle with my relationship with food now. I watched her try to give my daughter so much junk food just to make her happy. There was lots that I put my foot down on, but when my daughter was in bed, I found myself eating the same things that I had told my mother to not give my daughter. How does that make any sense? If I don't think it's good enough for my child to put in her body, then why is it good enough for me to put in mine?

3. I turn to fast food as a crutch when I feel rushed, but really it's not any faster than making something that's already in my kitchen.

4. I realized that even though I completed a tri last summer, I didn't really try my hardest. I went to my weekly bootcamp and my weekly tri training, but that was it. I didn't change my diet. I didn't work out at home. While I finished my race, I know that I could've done so much better.

When I got back to Cali, I felt like I was ready to try harder, to do better. So, before I went grocery shopping to fill my empty fridge, I sat down and planned out every meal and snack that I was shopping for. Sounds a little OCD, I know, but it's something that Lorri Ann has been suggesting to me for a long time. It took some time to do, so I did it while I watched TV one evening. I made sure I was getting all of my fruits and veggies. I also made sure I was depriving myself of things that I really love, but getting them in smart portions.

It has been worth every minute. This week, it's been so much easier to stay on track. I pick a day out by what we feel like having for dinner and then just follow the plan I've laid out for myself. Instead of grabbing fast food when I'm starving, I can just look at my menu and know for certain that I have the ingredients in my house and ready to go.

I really feel like I'm starting to get my mojo and my motivation back. It feels good!

Weekly Challenge #18: Express Workout

Think you don't have time to exercise? Guess again! In just 10 to 20 minutes, you can get an excellent full body workout. Its called the Express Workout, and you can do it wherever you are, whenever you want!

For a quick workout at home, on vacation, or even in the office, try this circuit (repetitions in parenthesis are for beginner, intermediate and advanced, respectively:

Pushups - box-style, on your knees or on your toes (20, 25, 30)
Dips (20,25,30)
Butt Bumps (20, 25, 30)
Wall Sit (60 seconds for all levels)
Flutter Kick Hold 10 kick, 10 hold (3 sets, 3 sets, 4 sets)

Repeat entire circuit 3 or 4 times.

Need a refresher on some of the moves? Here's Lorri Ann to show you how to do it!

Your challenge this week: Do your express workout at least three times this week. Your body will love you for it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekly Challenge #17: Stop Sleepwalking through Life!

Let's talk sleep. Not "does your baby sleep through the night?" and not "what is your kids' bedtime?" but YOUR sleep. Are you getting enough? My guess is the answer is a resounding NO.

Sleep deprivation makes you less productive. It increases your stress and irritability. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to depression. There are other repercussions as well: If we sleep less than our body needs to feel refreshed and don’t catch up we might experience:

•Daytime sleepiness
•Difficulty concentrating
•Poor thinking
•Increased risk of accidents
•Other health complications (i.e., weight gain)

Did I catch you with that last one? Yep, that's right - not getting enough sleep can lead to WEIGHT GAIN.

We sleep as much as one-quarter less than our ancestors did, with average total sleep time decreasing from 9 hours in 1900 to less than 7 hours over the past 10 years. In 2001, researchers found that sleeping less than 6 hours per night and remaining awake past midnight increased the likelihood of obesity. In 2002, a study of 1.1 million people found that increasing body mass index (BMI) occurred when habitual sleep amounts fell below 7 to 8 hours.

A study done in Virginia in 2005 showed that overweight and obese individuals slept less than subjects of normal weight. Another study in Wisconsin in 2004 showed that when sleeping less than 8 hours, the increase in BMI was proportional to the amount of decreased sleep.

This week's challenge: Get enough SLEEP!

How much is enough? It is different for every person, but the average adult needs an average of 8 hours of sleep every day. You might need a little more, but you probably can't easily get by on less.

Take a minute right now to look at your calendar for a week, and be sure you arrange it to allow yourself some sleep. Your mind and body (and maybe your boss, family and friends!) will love you for it.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekly Challenge #16: An Apple a Day!

You know that old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" Turns out it might be more true than you thought!

Apples are the perfect snack food. They are crunchy, sweet (but not too sweet) and delicious and also chock full of nutrition. Apples are low on the glycemic index which helps stabilize your blood sugar. They are also high in fiber which is not only good for your digestive system, but also helps you feel satisfied. As an extra bonus, apples don't need to be refrigerated and come in their own "wrapping" making them the epitome of a "grab and go" snack.

Your challenge: Eat an apple a day. When you do your grocery shopping, branch otu and try more than one variety of apple. Pay attention to what your favorites are, and make this challenge a part of your regular eating routine throughout the year. Be sure to come back to the blog and post a comment letting us all know what your favorites are so we can all try them too!

Have a great week, and remember: An apple a day DOES keep the doctor away, and so much more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ashley Story: Week 4 - Letting Life Get the Best of You

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I would be traveling home to visit family. I've been here since the 5th without my husband, but with my two children. It's been wonderful to see my family, but I've really failed as far as taking care of myself. Life as a quasi single mother is tough. I give HUGE props to women who do this all the time. You are heroes.

I wish that I could write and say that I haven't let temptation get the best of me, but I have. I'm tired and emotionally drained. Last night was the first day since I've arrived that my kids have been in bed before 10 pm (granted we're all stuck somewhere between East Coast and West Coast time). I guess I forgot when I planned my three-week adventure home that everyone here would be living their normal lives and not on vacation with me. So, instead of all of the extra help I had been fantasizing about, I've really made more work for myself.

Since I'm an emotional/stress eater who is visiting a place full of horrible foods that I grew up loving and eating, I've found myself digging in and eating out a lot. I've also missed most of my workouts and not taken much time for myself. I feel like I'm typing out a laundry list of excuses here, but I think I'm more exhausted right now than I was during the first two weeks of my son's life.

So, what am I going to do about all of this?

Well, my husband arrives on Monday. I'll have a week here with him here to help with the kids. We'll also be moving from my sister's house to my mother's house next week, so I'll finally be sleeping in a room without the kids. That extra sleep should make a big difference in how I feel. So my goal for the next week is to try my hardest to get back on track. I came here with the best intentions. Now, it's time to follow through and stop making excuses. I'm ready for this, so why am I fighting against it with everything I have?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekly Challenge #15: STRETCH!

Taking care of your body is an essential part of any exercise program. And yet it is one of the things we are most likely to skip. Everyone knows they should stretch before and/or after exercise, and that it is a good habit to have just as a part of daily living. But really...how often do YOU do it?

Stretching keeps you flexible, prepares your muscles for exercise and helps your body heal after a tough workout. Besides being good for you, it has the extra benefit of feeling GOOD (usually).

Don't know how to start? Start by taking a look at the stretch chart in your Mama Bootcamp binder, and look for the ones that stretch the areas on your body that are tight or sore.

Want some more stretches? Here's Lorri Ann with a few suggestions:

Your challenge this week: Spend 5 minutes at the end of your day stretching.

Pick a few stretches that target your "problem" spots (sore, tight, etc.) and do them. Hold each stretch to your comfort level, but shoot for about 30 seconds. If you're up for even more of a challenge, try to incorporate some body care into your entire day by taking a couple of minutes every hour or so to stretch. Your body will love you for it!

Have a GREAT week!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How does Lorri Ann do it?

Ever wonder what Lorri Ann eats, or how she manages to eat every 2 to 4 hours even with her super busy schedule?

Watch the video below to see how she does it, and you might discover some new food ideas, too!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekly Challenge #14: Veggie Bags!

Even if you only just started Mama Bootcamp, you know that one of the cornerstones in our nutrition training is eating veggies. Lots and lots and lots of veggies.

You'd have to have been living under a rock to NOT know that a healthy diet must include lots of vegetables. But let's get real - even though we all KNOW it, we don't all DO it every day. For me, a big factor is the time - those veggies have to be washed, and dried, and cut before I can eat them!

The small time investment is more than made up by the benefit. By eating your veggies, you are not only loading yourself up with vitamins and minerals that are essential to healthy living, you are giving yourself so much more. Veggies not only help your body function better, but they can help you lose weight, look younger and even help prevent cancer. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Your challenge this week looks (and sounds familiar): Eat your veggies! But this week, let's work on making it part of your regular routine and making it EASY (and fast, too!). You should be eating 7-9 servings of veggies every single day. With one serving the equivalent of .5 cups, you can fit a whole day's worth of these health-making beauties into one quart-size plastic bag.

Your challenge: Make your Grab-n-Go Veggie bags. By 7pm on Sunday, have your veggie bags for the week ready to go. Pick out several different veggies, and try to be sure to cover as many "colors" as you can. Dark green, light green and red are my favorites, with a little white thrown in, too. Chop them up into the size you like best, and fill up your quart-sized bags. Put them in the fridge so they're ready to go (maybe pair them up with your favorite dip - hummus is mine).

With just a small time investment, the "work" is done for the whole week! On your way out door every morning this week you can grab a bag full of yum! Snack on it all day long, and enjoy the awesome results.

One of my favorite quotes is: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Veggies bags are a perfect example of planning to meet your goal of eating 7 to 9 servings of veggies a day. Have a fantastic week!

PS: Come back tomorrow to see how Lorri Ann packs HER grab-n-gos and fuels her very busy days.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ashley's Story: Week 2 - Old Habits Die Hard

My alarm (the baby) goes off in the morning and I start the day with the best of intentions. I tell myself, "Self, you can do this. You can eat delicious, fresh, healthy food today. You know how good it will make you feel. Today is a new start." Then I get out of bed and the cravings start. Then the day gets hectic. My son needs to be fed or my daughter needs to play. I put myself on the back burner and suddenly, I've been awake for several hours and haven't eaten a thing. I don't realize it until we're on our way to an appointment or playdate and I'm starving. So, I hit a drive thru. And this might not be the only drive thru that I go through in one day. The people at Chic-fil-a recognize me. That's not a joke.

I feed myself things that I would never feed my children. I put my kids to bed at night and then more often than not, sit down with my friends Ben and Jerry. And I don't say goodnight to them until the whole pint is gone. I pump my body full of sugar, fat and sodium. I admit it; I'm addicted to junk and sweets. I happily eat them with people. I secretly eat them alone. I hide evidence of my junk food runs so that my husband won't know how much I've eaten in a day. I didn't keep a food log this week because I was so ashamed of what I had eaten.

Here's the thing though: just because I didn't write it down or I threw the bag away does mean I didn't eat it. Just because I didn't tell Lorri Ann, it's not as if those calories suddenly don't count. So why do I do it? It's a question I've been trying to answer for a long time. I don't think it's going to come to me suddenly and maybe the answer will never come, but I have to start working adopting some new habits with food. These old ones are going to kill me, literally.

Weekly Goal
I'm going to start out simple. I'm not expecting things to change over night, but I can at least keep myself accountable. I will write down everything I eat this week on my food logs and turn them in. If nothing else, then seeing the caloric damage at the end of the day will help me to reign in these old, bad habits.

My Challenge
Next week, I leave for the place I lovingly call "The Land of Fried Chicken" - the Deep South, where I was born and raised. (Now you know why Chic-fil-a is my drive thru of choice.) I'll be there for three weeks visiting my family with my kids. For me, this is the ultimate challenge. If old habits die hard, then they turn into zombies when you're facing them in the place where they developed.

Each time I've visited South Carolina since moving to California, I've gained 10 pounds in the time I've been there. Those visits were only a week long. I cannot afford to gain 30 pounds in the next three weeks. In fact, I'd like to come back lighter than when I left. So, there's my challenge to myself this month.

Now, I need to ask you a favor. Please, leave me comments on this blog. Lorri Ann has told me about several people who have mentioned my last post to her. I'd love to hear your comments and even be able to comment back. You can leave your comment anonymously if you don't want to be known, but I'd really like to know that I'm not all alone on this journey. What's your biggest challenge? What habit are you having a hard time kicking? Anyone else have their own "Land of Fried Chicken" that they have to face?