Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feeling fine, oh so fine: Day 6

Day 6!  Almost a full week on the new morning routine, yea!  up, spark, workout.  Off  to work I go.  I didn't get an afternoon walk in today.  It was allergy shot day, which took up my lunch hour and  means I feel pretty punky the rest of the day.

Picked up M from grandma's and she had made a delicious soup that was completely 24 day challenge friendly.  Thank goodness because it was dance night and I packed nothing for dinner.  Usually a friend and I go out for drinks/apps while the girls are at dance.  Clearly that is so not 24 day challenge friendly and I was prepared to cope with that, I had will power on my side.  Turns out, it was watch week at Dance for M.  Sneak peak of their recital dance, these girls are just so darn cute!

I'm a little exhausted today, but that's pretty typical for shot day.  Kid off to bed, now its time for a little relax and book time, then up and at 'em again tomorrow.  Feeling fine, doing great.  I can do this!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow and Smoothies: Day 5

Day 5!  I think I'm getting the hang of this whole up and early, spark, workout thing!  I did it again. Melt 2 my good old bff Jodi was back for the adventure. I just can't say enough about the Can you 24 workout, I just love it.  Who would have thought that 24 minutes could make me feel like I'm getting a real workout. Although its still a bit rough actually crawling out of bed, once I'm awake and working out, I feel great.  Such a kickstart to my day.  I did get my distributor kit yesterday and decided to try a sample of Slam instead of spark this morning.  I liked it, lots of kick to it,  but to be honest I like the spark better, it makes me feel a peppiness that lasts all day long.  Maybe there really is some magic sparkle in my spark??

work work work, It was actually a pretty good day, just enough crazy to make the day go by quickly. I got super excited when it started snowing again around lunch, I ate my food and took a walk in the snow.  I only did about 25 minutes...after I set out in the beautiful white fluffy stuff, it quickly became very wet snow...me without a hat, I looked the part of a drowned rat when I got back.  I could have gone down to the basement and hit the gym like a good little girl, instead I socialized for the remainder of my time.  A girls gotta get her social on, yo.

M has been begging me for Smoothie King for a solid 2 weeks. every.single.night. I caved. I just didn't feel like cooking tonight so we swung by and had smoothies for dinner, they actually have some really healthy options if you delve deep enough into the menu, opting for the 'light' version of any smoothie (no added turbinado aka sugar)  and avoiding things like the Hulk...holy cats that has a lot of calories and fat!  I choose the high protein almond mocha, 266 calories, 9g fat and 30g protein,  oh YUM!

M has been on a workout kick lately, mind you a 7 year old's version.  I believe she is 'modeling' behaviors, yes that is psych 101 rearing its ugly head.  Anyway, she wanted to do one of my 24 videos so we did the core stretch and damn, girlfriend rocked it....she was up there most of the time with HER new bff, Sarah on level 3.  Who knows, maybe little miss will soon be my new workout buddy?

Bed, book, relax.  I did a little cooking tonight for lunch tomorrow.  no pics, sorry.  Roasted Asparagus with onion, grape tomato and herbs de provence over green lentils and garbanzos. It smelled amazing!!   mmm cannot wait for lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Surprise Guest, Willpower: Day 4

The alarm put up quite the fight this morning, but in the end I was victorious.  After a middle of the night awakening with a wheezy kiddo, I didn't get the greatest nights sleep, eh , parenting what're ya gonna do?  It was a little rough getting up today, but I did it! Up, spark and core stretch workout...this was a nice little change on my still sore, but improving, muscles.

The dreary, rainy start to the day seemed to put everyone in quite the  mood.  Crabby, argumentative people loomed everywhere.  Cranky pants weren't gonna get me down, I just trucked on.  Today was also a total test of will power.  
  1. A coworker stopped by and offered to buy me a coffee. So hard to resist.  I really do miss coffee.  like, A LOT! Apparently its very acidic and should be avoided, I keep telling myself, this will not be forever.  My vice is a grande americano, black..with a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon...excuse me while I pull myself together over here...
  2. A few coworkers later decided to order Thai food, ugh.  I LOVE Thai food, however after drooling over the menu, I stuck to my grounds and declined.  I did however accept an orphan summer roll, passing on the sauce later that day.  
  3. M just HAD to have mac n cheese for dinner.  It was everything I could do to not lick that spoon.  Its so delicious and ooey gooey cheesy.
  4. Made M's lunch for tomorrow while she was working hard on her AR book for the week (she got a 100% this week and is now super motivated, woohoo!)  while most of her lunch would be acceptable to nibble on, I did include half a nutella sandwich and welll....its just really really difficulty to not lick the knife. but haha nutella, you lose, I win.
  5. Ok, so probably not so much actual willpower involved in this one, but I was catching up on all my shows; Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory.  And I'll be damned if they were all decided to enjoy a nice glass of red wine in each episode.  argh.  It looked so good...but, all in good time...
While they seem like little accomplishment these are the baby steps that keep chugging me along.  I can say no to things I really want for a short time.  I can do this!  I also was able to get to the Y for about 30 minutes tonight  due to super cooperative little girl and kicked the arc trainers butt.  All and all Day 4 was a success.  20 more to go!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Girl vs. Alarm, Winner Makes Soup aka Day 3

Day 3!!  I knew the true challenge would be the dreaded Monday morning fight between the alarm and this girl.  That alarm didn't know what hit it, I was prepared to fight and win.  The morning went a little something like this..
5:20am: Alarm screeching at me...snooze (you didn't think I could give up snooze cold turkey, did you??)
5:30am: UP!  haha alarm, you lose!  sucker.   followed by a quick fruit punch spark and sculpt 1 on the 24 day workout.  My calves are still pretty sore so I was actually quite thankful that there was quite a bit of ab work and the dreaded push ups (I will learn to love them...) 
6:00am: breakfast, wake the kid up, who must have picked up on my perky vibes and got dressed without a fight (small victory!)  off for another day.
7:30am:  water water water. work work work. I kind of miss my morning coffee routine, might have to bring some tea to work to have something nice and warm to sip on.  or warm spark perhaps?? hmmm...
I even made sure I took a walk at lunch to get out of the office and get some extra calorie burn on.
4:30pm off, pick up the kid, drop off the friend that came home with the kid, homework, dinner, hangout time with kid, book, bed.  Side note, we started a new one tonight, Matilda.  

ok, ok, I didn't get to the gym but I did my workout in the am and took a 45 minute walk at lunch.  baby steps, people!!

As an added bonus I whipped up a new recipe and I'll even share it with you, its your lucky day.  This is loosely based on my sister, Melissa's recipe.  mostly from memory swapped the pasta for quinoa and added a few extras, asparagus, spinach and a little heat.

  

Quinoa Asparagus Minestrone


  • 5 cups water                                                          
  • 1Tbsp vegetable broth seasoning                                
  • 10 oz frozen spinach
  • 6 stalks asparagus (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can white kidney (cannelli) beans
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 med onion (yellow or red)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (dry) 
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper


  1. Sautee garlic, onion in olive oil until golden brown
  2. Add carrots and continue to sautee until slightly caramelized
  3. Add water, and broth seasoning, bring to boil
  4. Add quinoa and reduce to simmer
  5. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes
Makes Six 2 cup servings, these are hearty servings and you could half the serving easily  and have with a nice salad or sandwich.   

Nutrition:  Calories: 295  Fat: 3.8  Carbs: 51  Fiber 13.5  Protein 15 




                              Sunday, February 24, 2013

                              Wide awake and sore, oh so sore. Day 2

                              Day 2!!  I went to bed around 11 last night, I wasn't exhausted but, I figured it was time.  So after reading a couple of chapters of Water For Elephants (so good! I have it in epub if anyone wants it) I went to bed...then I woke up and it was still dark, I looked at the clock at it was 0600.  WTH??  I shut my eyes vowing not to be up before the sun on the weekend.  Its just not right, I argued with myself. I'm a sleeper. I don't get up early.  No way, no day.  I love sleeping in, its not unusual for me to sleep til 9 or later on a weekend, I refused to be awake at 6am!  I woke up again and there was the sunlight....it was barely 7am.  FINE.  I'll get up. I was wide awake and I was SORE.  Jeanette was not kidding, that 24 day workout is really effective.  Yes, yes, I did go to the Y yesterday and bike but I do that every Saturday and I am never sore from that. ever

                              I got my spark on, mandarin today, yum and did Shred 1 workout on the 24 day workout. It would have been so easy to just skip it being so sore, but I put on my big girl pants and powered through.  I even felt a little less sore afterwards, whats up with that??   I made a new friend, Level 2 Jodi...although due to my soreness (and inability to do big girl  push ups) I hung out a bit with Shawna on level 1 and we did our girly push ups, but hey...we still did it!

                              Additional goal:  Do big girl push ups.

                              Side note for Day 1, I wasn't hungry all the time...I figured I'd be starving constantly.  But I'm satisfied, I tracked my intake yesterday on sparkpeople and I ate about 1300 calories.  I don't know if the spark is helping to suppress my appetite or I'm just eating more protein and staying full, either way, I'm not complaining and I'll take it!

                              Saturday, February 23, 2013

                              Veggie City: Day 1.5

                               Day 1.5:  I talked to my bff/ Friday night wine buddy and my Mom/ Sunday night spaghetti buddy  to inform them the challenge has begun. I'm thrilled that my bff is going to take this journey with me, we are challenging each other.  I detect a hint of interest from my mom...we will work on her.  Its great to have people to support and encourage me in real life, yea!

                              I took an afternoon spark and headed out for my typical Saturday bike/elliptical combo.  Even after doing the 24 workout I had the energy for this, even more energy.  That felt great!  Stopped at Aldis to look for quinoa, no such luck but I got some killer produce and some almonds to make almond butter. Rocked out while cutting up all my veggies and fruit and put them away all nice, washed and ready to snack, made a big batch of hummus, made some spiced sweet potatoes and my almond butter.  So Yum.

                              I've also been using Sparkpeople to track my food intake, weight/ measurements and activity.  I've used this site off and on for years and  I always do better tracking. Plus using sparkpeople which SPARKing is just seems appropriate.  Unfortunately they don't have a free app which is a big fat bummer but, oh well guess I'll just have to do it the 'old fashioned way' and hop on the old lap top and key it all in.  It definitely helps me make sure I am getting enough protein, which as a veggiesaurs sometimes is a little harder, but I got this, noooo problemo.

                              If you Give a Girl a Spark. aka Day 1

                              Last night I tagged along with Jeanette and Tracey to learn more about this whole challenge thing and try some new things.  I sampled the watermelon spark and ohhh yum! Jeanette's husband won a 24 day challenge workout video, since they already had one she let me have it.  Score!   So I decided this morning since I had my box, a new work out video and woke up at 0700 on my own (no fake out alarm this morning) I'd bite the bullet and go for it.  So I sparked up and tried the video.  Its only 24 minutes and even gave; she who doesn't like much more than cardio' a good workout.  Loved that it has 3 fitness levels at one time you could follow.  I stayed most with the level 2 gal, we bonded a bit in our 24 minutes. Although some exercises (push ups!) I did level one and others (plank, et. al) I rocked out on level 3. Very happy with it.  Thanks, Jeanette!!

                              I figured if I can get in habit this weekend of wake up, spark, 24 minute workout I can carry it through the week.  I can handle an extra half hour in the morning, right?  (This is were you post encouraging comments, people)

                              I took the obligatory before and after pics after taking the spark, working out and eating. ( no meal replacement on the weekend, homemade all the way: scrambled eggs in coconut oil, green onions an orange and hibiscus tea oh...and the fiber drink not so yum but its fiber, it is what it is...)  It was a little like a scene out of if you give a mouse a cookie, you know those books right?  Where the kid gives the total ADD spaz mouse a cookie, then it sets off a whole chain of events?  Well if you give a girl a spark, she may decide to start a 24 day challenge and work out.  If she works out she might as well take before pictures.  If she takes before pictures, she has to clean her mirror (its rather dusty) if she cleans her mirror she should clean her floor too.  If  she cleans her floor she should shine it too (so it looks good in pictures) If she shines the floor she should clean up all the excess shoes so they aren't in the picture, and she should clean off the dresser too...you see where this is going...

                              I  took 2 sets of before pictures, which I am not ready to post yet, sorry folks. Set one was in an old (i.e. 30+ lbs ago workout outfit) and the second in current clothes.  I also measured waist, hips, thighs, arms and all that junk. heh da junk in da trunk.

                              I also added another measurement.  Calves.  I have huge calves.  I'm adding another goal...lose inches in my calves.  I have always wanted a pair of knee high boots or super cute cow boy girl boots,  but my calves are too big for them.  I promise you I will get a pair soon, maybe some skinny jeans and dress to go with them too.  Don't make me eat my words.

                              Friday, February 22, 2013

                              The package, it has arrived.

                              I get home from work with no time to spare before a friend picks me up for night out of infotainment with some other spark girls.  I chug down a nasty chalky protein shake. Have I mentioned that I have tried about every shake known to man and they are either like drinking chalk or taste good but full of fat, chemicals and who knows what?  I made a mad dash to throw on a pair of too tight jeans and a clean shirt, check the mail aaaaand...it has arrived!!!  After kicking myself for not checking the mail first as I could have had a yummy shake, I tear into the box.  I was supposed to start the challenge Monday, but now I'm getting excited and just may change my mind!

                              Goal One:  work on my photography skills.
                              Goal Two: Get HEALTHY, lose fat, gain muscle and increase energy.  I got this.


                              Wednesday, February 20, 2013

                              No glitter, just a little spark(le)

                              WOW!  So...I took my sample of spark this morning, then 30 minutes later had the protein  meal replacement shake.  Due to my extreme skepticism at the shakes, especially at chocolate shakes Jeanette gave me a sample, and damn it was good.  I mixed it just with cold water as not to mask any chalky or funky flavors.  And I'll be damned, it was yummy and kept me full all morning and didn't have a bunch of funky ingredients or fillers.  SOLD.   Actually another thing that sold me bigtime was this meal shake was designed by the same dude that  invented TPN!!  For you fellow medical folks you know how amazing this is, for you non medical folks TPN is IV nutrition that has saved millions of lives by providing nutrition at the cellular levels. (read more here) How freaking cool is that?!?

                              To my disappointment there was no glitter that sprung forth from the packet of spark much as I had anticipated.  But it did give me a nice energy, which felt awesome. I felt very spunky and I liked it.   Now anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge coffee fan.  Caffeine has basically no effect on me, I can drink a grande americano and go right to bed.  I never get a coffee buzz if spark is what coffee does to normal people, then I'm jealous!

                              Ok now I really can't wait for my package to come!

                              Tuesday, February 19, 2013

                              The Back Story, You Gotta Have a Back Story.

                              Its been almost a year since my shoulder injury, Brachial Plexus Impingement.  (I wouldn't recommend it, its sucks pretty hard)  Although its not an excuse, I've gained at least 20 pounds and lost a crapton of muscle strength since I've been unable to run. With the help of my super awesome friend/chiropractor I've regained use and sensation of my hand and arm and don't have constant pain anymore, which is pretty cool.  Its been a vicious cycle of pain, not working  out, not running (which I sooo miss) junk food, wine, stress and being just plain tired!  My good friend Tracey invited me to a 'Fitness Mixer' and gave me a sample of this stuff, 'Spark'(go ahead, click it, you know you want to.)  To be honest I was expecting lots of glitter and something pink...well, I was partly correct.  I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to lose some of this damn weight.  But...I was so tired. Every morning and all day.

                              6:00a hit snooze
                              6:10, hit snooze again.
                              6:20 listen to alarm and stare at ceiling wondering if its really Saturday and I forgot to turn off my alarm (no such luck, EVER)
                              6:25 drag myself out of bed fight with kid to get up and dressed, eat a crappy granola bar or chalky protein shake, gag and try not to vomit. 
                              7:00am off to drop kid  Exhausted.
                              7:30-4:30  lots of coffee, I mean, LOTS the workworkworkwork the rest of the day. With a few breaks and a lunch thrown in at some point.  I always  had good intentions every day of going to the gym but then around rolls.....
                              4:30p and its leave work, pick up kid, take kid home, kid is crabby, cranky, has homework, hungry.  Make dinner, BAM its 
                              7:30p, kid doesn't want to go to Y, I'm tired, kids tired, read a book, put kid to bed, where is my wine??
                              10:00.  out, exhausted, maybe I'll get up early and workout tomorrow...there is always tomorrow..

                              So...I bit the bullet and bought a 24 day Challenge.  I had done a similar challenge about 3 years ago and had awesome results, so I knew I could do it and rock it.  I had a little panic attack that moment when I entered my credit card info and hit send as any dirt broke single mom does on a daily basis.  

                              And then, we wait for the package to arrive...