Friday, January 29, 2010

Eat better and exercise smarter.

On Wednesday I mentioned a new fitness class I was attending. I’ve considered classes before, especially when I was shopping for a gym to join, but I’ve never been sure about joining a class because I was afraid I would fall behind the rest of the class. I feared my current size, shape and weight would keep me from “fitting in.” Frankly I was afraid I couldn’t do it. In the end, I decided to join a gym with a less expensive monthly fee that only offered cardio machines & weights.

Then a friend of mine at work came up to me and showed me a catalogue from a local community college. The college was offering eight week fitness classes through various gyms in our area for a price considerably less than a two month membership. After looking through our options, we decided to go for it and joined a Tuesday/Thursday class of Body Attack™ that began this past Tuesday. I have to say I was right about some things, but wrong about a lot. I was right to expect to find a lot of thin, athletic bodies in the class. I was wrong to think I couldn’t keep up. And sure, I felt a little out of place, but I found that you hardly have time to look around and notice the other people in the class because you’re working so hard. The first night, the challenge was learning the moves. When I got done (and more importantly when I woke up the next day) I didn’t feel that tired or sore. I realized I hadn’t pushed myself as hard as I might have, using the excuse that I was overweight and couldn’t handle it. But last night, I didn’t stop until I couldn’t push anymore. Even then I made sure to carry out all of the low impact/low intensity moves with conviction. I wanted to keep my heart rate up, I wanted to reap the benefits this class was promising! I know each time I go back it’s just going to get better.

So… imagine my defeat when I stumbled across this article this morning: Exercise is NOT the Key to Weight Loss by Jon Herring.  After reading this I went in search of more supporting evidence I traveled over to WebMD and found Exercise and Weight Loss: 5 Truths by Miranda Hitti.

Seems to me it still comes down to calories in vs. calories out. As explained by,

Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Exercise along with cutting calories helps boost your weight loss. Exercise is also important for maintaining your weight and not regaining weight. (click here for article

Personally, I use the POINTS™ system from Weight Watchers to track the amount of points I earn through physical activity and the amount of points I’ve consumed. It helps me see what I’ve worked for and then make a conscientious decision about whether or not I should eat those points or leave them. At least now I know why I crave Dill Pickle Potato Chips after Body Attack class!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A new addition to the house

Even though I have always been against having a bathroom scale in my home in the past, I’ve begun to reconsider. I haven’t been attending Weight Watchers meetings that regularly and I’m even considering switching to WW Online. The problem lies in the fact that I have no good way to measure my progress at home, and don’t especially like the doctor’s office/push the weight across the scale until it balances kind they have at the gym. Other benefits to having one at home include:

• Weighing myself at the same time each week (Saturday morning thank you)

• Not having to worry about what I’m wearing and “how much more do these jeans & sweater weigh than that jersey knit dress I wore last week?”

• Merv can also track his weight loss

• The wrestler in the family can keep a closer eye on his weight

So as you can see, it’s not a completely selfish decision.

The timing is great too because I just found a coupon for $5 off a Weight Watchers Scale.

Click image to print from Go to Personal Care, I found it on page 2.

On another note, I started a new fitness class last night but want to wait until I get one more dose of it on Thursday to report on it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Surviving the Super Bowl (in so many ways)

Good day sunshine! We finally have a sunny day here in eastern Iowa. The wind is still blowing around the bit of snow we received yesterday, and at last check the wind chill was below 0, but seeing that lemon-yellow ball in the sky makes it all more tolerable.
I had a great week last week staying on track. I even allowed myself to have some fun with the girls for a late evening get together where I shared some chips & salsa and light beer. Then the weekend came…

We’re a Vikings house. I don’t know if you heard, but there was a pretty big game for the Vikings over the weekend. Now I’m not here to talk about the disappointing performance (but if we hadn’t had 5 turnovers, and if the O-line hadn’t let Farve get hit something like 15 times, I think I’d be planning a Super Bowl Party), but I am here to talk about the food, drinks and full afternoon of couch potato state that I faced on Sunday. Basically, I’m talking about a Football Party gone wrong halfway right actually.

I had a variety of food that I prepared myself so I could keep track of the Points™ Value more accurately. Included in the fare were Chicken Drumsticks (in place of wings), homemade meatballs in BBQ sauce, Tortilla Chips (both baked and regular) with homemade salsa, make your own sandwiches, a vegetable platter and both Rice-Krispy treats and scotcharoos. I avoided snacking while cooking by sipping a glass of red wine and then water all afternoon. During the game, I alternated my light beer with water again, and stuck to the chicken, chips & salsa and veggies.

I’d like to share a couple of the recipes I used, including one of the dipping sauces for the chicken (the others were store bought BBQ & Hot Wing Sauce)

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
Serves 4
Taken from the a recipe for Honey-Mustard Roasted Salmon Weight Watchers subscribers only)
POINTS™ Value: 1
1/4 cup(s) Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard, hot-variety
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Whisk together all ingredients and serve over fish, chicken or pork or as a dipping sauce on the side.

(Light and) Tasty Baked MeatballsServes 6
Original recipe from
Original POINTS™:16
Lightened POINTS™:12

3 pounds extra-lean ground beef or turkey
1 1/2 cups Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 (10.5 ounce) can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
3 eggs whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix


1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
2. Mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, cream of mushroom soup, egg white, Parmesan cheese, and onion soup mix. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Yeilds approx. 36 meatballs.

I lightened the original recipe by using 93% lean or higher ground beef, reduced fat soup and egg whites over whole eggs. This recipe freezes well, so make a bunch. I thought I’d have some to freeze when I made over 100 meatballs, but we were left with just enough to fill a 2 cup container for leftovers this week (sandwiches boys!)
Finally, I’ve dug around my archives and found someone else’s advice on getting through big game days. I’m sure all of you who actually plan to celebrate the Super Bowl will find the information useful. I, on the other hand, will still be watching for the commercials so even though I may be less glued to the couch/television, I still may need a few tips of my own:

I like the tips for those hosting here: AssociatedContent and here: Fitness Magazine and for the guest here: There’s a great selection of more recipes here:
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