Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Very Quick Post About a Very Quick Guide

Interested in starting your own blog?  I am supposed to teach a workshop tomorrow to a group of teachers on tech skills that freshmen should already have when they enter college.  One component focuses on non-traditional written communication.  Many professors are now requiring their students to blog on specific topics.  I created a quick guide for getting started - just one page - for anyone who might be interested in starting their own soapbox!  It looks like inclement weather is going to prevent me from teaching the workshop, so I thought I would share the guide here.

Click here to download a copy.

Feeding the Fury!

I have been working out a lot lately - even more so than usual.  I turn "old" this year and I really want to slide into the big one looking good in a bikini.  Vanity, vanity, vanity - damn you!  Hey, it might be the last summer that I can pull it off, so I'm shooting for it.

I have changed my workout routine.  This is my schedule:
  • I'm still doing Pump on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays...followed by 15 minutes of intense cardio.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm doing 45 minutes on the eliptical, 15 minutes on the bike, and a 15-minute Pump ab video.  On Saturdays and Sundays, I am just doing cardio and basically trying to run outside for an hour, when this crazy Arkansas weather cooperates.
  • Now, I've added 20 minutes of walking during the day four days per week with a colleague - fun and easy, and a good opportunity to get out of the office since neither of us ever leaves for lunch.
  • I've also added the Combat series.  Yep, this one is killing me.  I am not coordinated enough for these fast-paced routines, but I am determined to get there.  I feel like giving up EVERY NIGHT and I have to MAKE MYSELF get off the couch and do them.  They are grueling, but I was not getting the results I wanted, so I have to keep pushing myself.
The point of this blog is really this: All of this working out is making me hungry.  I mean hungry like a man.  I want large servings of food.  I wake up hungry and I go to bed hungry.  And I want sweet stuff too, not just food-food, but something big and sweet.  I have "invented" a couple of recipes that incorporate two of my favorite treats, chocolate and peanut butter.  The recipes are below.  They are satisfying - don't expect delicious - crap! I'm on a diet!  But they do the trick when one is desperate. Let me know what you think if you try them.

Less-Than-A-Carb Cookies

2 eggs beaten
10 T PB2 peanut butter chocolate - available at Kroger
5 T unsweetened cocoa
1.5 cups Splenda
4 T Premier Protein shake (choc) - available at Sam's Club

Combine. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes.
PB2 Protein Shakes
1/2 cup of Premier Protein shake (vanilla or chocolate)
1/2 cup Fage Fat Free Greek Yogurt - available at Wal-Mart or Kroger
1/2 cup ice
2 T PB2
2 T Splenda
2 T Oat bran
Put everything in your Bullet or blender and pulse until completely smooth.  Any of the ingredients can be adjusted in quantity to suit your taste.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Dr. Dukan

I have been in a love/hate relationship with Dr. Dukan for almost two years.  We all heard about this miracle diet during the Royal Wedding because this diet was popular among the crowned heads of Europe and everyone in attendance at this much-publicized event seemed to attribute their slim physiques to Dr. Dukan's diet.

I decided to try it.  I had a few pounds that I wanted to shred and I was having a hard time getting it off.  A friend and I purchased the book (seen above) and the companion cookbook, spent a couple of days reading the first few chapters, and then got started.  The diet is not new.  It has been around for decades and was designed for morbidly obese people.  It is the most popular diet among the French - and we know they love to eat and drink!

Let me say that during the course of my life, I have tried a lot of different diets.  Mostly, I try to stick to just healthy eating, but sometimes, I need a jump-start diet to get me going.  The Adkins Diet did nothing for me.  I didn't cheat for an entire 30 days of induction and only lost 2 pounds.  The Dukan Diet is different.  You WILL lose weight on this diet.  You will not be hungry, but you will hate life...for a while...and then life will get better because you will realize that you have lost the some.

The diet works like this.  First, you go to the American Dukan Website, create an account, and then enter your "dimensions."  The Website will provide you with a basic course of action that includes the exact date when you can expect to achieve your "real weight."  You can also subscribe to coaching services and purchase food, if desired (not necessary unless you think you need that level of support).

The diet is comprised of four stages.  During the first two stages, your diet is made up mostly of lean proteins, fat free dairy, and non-starchy veggies.  The book provides a detailed list of foods that you can and can't have.  Each day, you drink a ton of water and eat 1-2 tablespoons of oat bran (which is a miracle food for stopping hunger pangs and for keeping one regular).  You don't have to exercise, but walking is highly encouraged.

During Stage 1, you can eat only lean proteins.  This stage only lasts for a few days for most of us.  Usually, just two days for women who want to shred 10-15 pounds.  You can expect to lose five or more pounds during the first week :)
During Stage 2, you alternate days of lean proteins with days of lean proteins and vegetables.  You continue doing this until you reach your "real weight."  Weight loss is rapid if you don't cheat.

In Stage 3, you gradually add back in other foods that were forbidden during the first two stages.  This is the slowest phase and you really have to be careful about introducing the foods.  You also maintain a "lean protein only" day once per week during this phase.

Stage 4 continues for the rest of your life.  You continue to adhere to the "lean protein only" day once per week to keep the weight off.

I must say that I have only made it through Stage 2.  Once I lose the weight, I slip back into my old eating habits and slowly gain the weight back.  However, I am in stage 2 right now and plan to make it all the way this time so I can maintain by "real weight."

This diet works.  It is not for everyone and you should consult your doctor before trying it.  I believe in it.  I've seen the results and I love them.  I just hate the restrictions.  I just keep telling myself that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.  Maybe I'll believe it one day :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Attention Cruise Virgins!

We weren't always into the cruise thing...until we added the little one to the family, that is.  Now, we've decided that cruises are probably the best way to vacation for people with small children.  Not only can adults have fun - doing adult things - but most cruiselines now have "kids clubs" that provide fun-filled itineraries for different age groups of kids.  You just sign your kid up, and then check them in through a secure system each time you want to do your own thing, then pick them up when you are finished.

Anyway, I've gone on a few cruises at this point and I think I'm getting pretty good at planning them.  For Spring Break, I organized a group cruise (serving as a "travel agent" - which I am not) and have assisted in advising those who signed up on the ins-and-outs of cruising.  I thought I would post a handout that I provided so anyone else out there who might be interested could access it.  Here is the link to my tips for cruise virgins :)

Les Mills Pump Review

I don't usually work out to videos.  I prefer to run outside and do free weights.  I am not very coordinated and have a hard time mimicking what others are doing on the TV screen and keeping up.  I used to go to the gym - religiously - but I really don't have the time to do that anymore.  I commute almost an hour each way so I have to get up early and work out if I want to exercise at all.

On February 16th last year (yep, right after eating all that Valentine's Day candy), I was working out of town and using the hotel's gym when a Les Mills infomercial came on.  Like I said, I never work out to videos, but this one appealed to me because it involved weight lifting.  I really needed to tone up and I thought this might be a solution for me.

I ordered it before I talked myself out of spending almost $100 on the video series and equipment and couldn't wait for it to arrive.  When it did, I started it almost immediately.  The Les Mills Pump kit includes six or seven videos that increase in intensity as your body improves.  It takes 90 days to complete the entire series.

I have to admit that I didn't think I was going to be able to do the videos.  Let me first say that they are EASY to follow.  How hard could it be to follow someone as they lift weights?  That was the easy part.  The hard part was just learning to use good form and building up my endurance.  The series is built around what they call "the rep effect."  You do hundreds of reps using low to moderate weights.  The system is intended to tone not to cause bulkiness.  This is what I liked about it.

My body: I have the best upper body that I've ever had.  I can do push-ups on my toes like a guy (this is a first for me).  Women usually don't have a lot of upper body strength.  I do now.  My arms, chest, shoulders, and back look very well toned.  My legs are also more tones and so are my abs.  Did I lose any weight?  No.  I might have even gained some muscle mass - which would have offset any fat loss that I did achieve.  BUT...I do look different...better...and I certainly FEEL better.

I recommend this series to anyone who wants to feel better and tone up a bit.  The videos are easy to follow and the soundtrack is awesome.  The trainers are funny and motivational. 

What prompted this post today (which falls under mobility: activity)? I received an email from BeachBody this morning with an ad for a new Les Mills video series.  This one is called Combat.  The reviews are pretty good.  I think I am going to order it today and see what happens.  It looks pretty scary but they all do when you first get them.  You have to stick with it if you want results!  I'll let you know how it's going when the set gets here!

Here's a link to the Combat series if anyone wants to join me :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mobility - Mom on the Move!

During the past month, I've had an opportunity to spend a great deal of time thinking about the importance of mobility.  My husband, Don, had his second back surgery (a three-vertebra fusion, this time) a few days into the new year and after a one-week stay in the hospital, he was confined to our home for four additional weeks.  Not only was his mobility limited during this time, the round-the-clock care that he needed required the entire family to stay at home, as well.

While we were at home, I spent a great amount of time contemplating my own mobility and how much it means to me.  As a result, I have decided to change the direction of this blog (to a certain extent) to reflect this theme. 

The word mobile is defined in a variety of ways. 
SPA City Race 2012 (Maddie and I both placed 2nd)
Mirriam-Webster defines the it like this: "capable of moving or being moved."  While my husband was bed/chair bound, I was afforded more time to focus on my personal fitness goals because we were all homebound.  Everyone who knows me knows that I am a health nut.  I work out seven days a week for a minimum of one hour and 15 minutes per day and I try to follow a nutritious diet (most days).  I want to spend more time writing about fitness and health and how important these topics are to women who are busy working and taking care of their families.  Busy women frequently fail to take care of themselves because they spend so much time focusing on others.  During the past month, my children also became ill with stomach bugs and colds.  I remained healthy.  I truly believe that the healthy lifestyle that I choose to follow helps me to better ward off illness and also keeps me mentally sane.  One of the threads for my future blogs will focus on the importance of being active!

SWOW Team (before Don's back surgery) defines the word mobile as, "digital technology; pertaining to or noting a cell phone, usually one with a computing ability, or a portable, wireless computing device used while held in the hand."  Don and I spend much of our time planning and providing technology-related professional development to educators in and around the State of Arkansas.  We have started our own organization, Schools Without Walls, which focuses specifically on mobile computing.  We do our best to stay abreast and keep others informed of the value of mobile computing and its application in the classroom.  The second thread within the theme of mobility will focus on this area.
The Temple of Zeus, Spring 2012
Finally, lists numerous synonyms for the word mobility, but one in particular is of special interest to me.  My undergraduate degree is in social studies with an emphasis on world geography.  There aren't many things that I love more than traveling to new places, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures.  I enjoy introducing students to these experiences as well and have had several opportunities to take students abroad.  Next month, I will be taking over 50 people to the Western Carribean on a cruise.  Many of them have never been out of the U.S.  Last spring, I took 44 students and faculty on a trip to Italy and Greece.  Next year, I am taking a group to Ireland and Scotland.  In addition, to student travel, I especially like the process that goes into planning a family vacation.  Right now, I am spending a lot of my free time planning an upcoming trip to the Mediterranean Sea that includes several days in Rome and then another cruise with port stops in Spain and France.  I think that these types of experiences are invaluable to us today because we live in a global society and function within a global economy.  Without global experiences and the 21st Century skills afforded by these experiences, students will not be prepared to be successful in adulthood.  So, my final thread will focus on this time of mobility - travel :)

My goal is to post once a week from this point forward on one of these threads.  I plan to post my first entry next week so please stay tuned!