Friday, May 29, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Recipe

It's Fitness Friday ya'll. I hope you are all having great weeks. I didn't do any research this week, so when I saw that Sandy over at God Speaks Today was sharing recipes I thought it would be great to share one of mine.

I, like Sandy, do not do a lot of beef. I haven't made hamburgers since last summer. It's not that I'm a vegetarian, I just don't like the taste of beef unless the taste is hidden in something like Taco seasoning! I have been this way since I was a little girl, and I'm the same exact way with a steak. I HATE steak. I feel like I chew and chew and chew all of the mere taste of leather! My husband LOVES steak, but you won't catch me cooking it - I don't even know how. So, needless to say, we eat of ton of chicken in this house. Here is one of my favorite recipes and I can't stress how EASY this recipe is.


4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (I thaw mine, but you don't have to)

1 Jar of Salsa (15.5 oz)

1/2 Packet of Taco Seasoning

1/2 Cup of Water or Beer (I use water)

Throw it all in your crockpot and let it cook for 4-6 hours. When it's done the chicken will shred. I shred all the chicken and pour some of the liquid over the top of it. Put that on a tortilla and top it with Cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato or whatever suits your taste.

Hope you all enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Banana Tidbits...

I received this email from my mother the other day. I found it very interesting since I'm a banana lover and all. I LOVE bananas with a little natural peanut butter - YUMMY!

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!! This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure
: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham ( Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites
: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control
: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature. Seasonal

Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use
: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it’s time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Metabolisms...

I’m posting about something a bit different today. Hope that’s alright with ya’ll! Instead of beating you over the head about working out (which I will most likely resume again next week) I am going to talk about our lovely metabolisms and some things that can effect them.

Well the fact that we are women is already one strike against us. Men naturally have higher metabolisms which is why they can just think about losing weight and drop 10 lbs! Well, my husband can anyway.

Age can also work against us. All throughout my weight loss journey I have compared myself to what I was in high school or in college. All while not taking into consideration that back then I played sports year around: competitive softball and basketball, and then the major facts that I have given birth to two of the most amazing children! So why again can’t I look like I did when I was 18??? Because not only does everything start to gravitate down, it also slows down!

My metabolism right now at the age of 29 is not what it was 10 years ago, nor will it be the same 10 years from now. There are SO many people out there (my very parents are some of them) that don’t understand why they can’t eat the way they used to. I tend to get the, “I have been eating this way my whole life and now I’m just packing on the weight. What on earth can I do?” Well, stop eating that way is one thing they can do! They can start cutting portions in half, OR try eating the same way with added exercise. Now by doing this they will only “maintain”, in order to lose weight they will need to cut portion sizes, choose healthier options, and add exercise. It’s all about the calories taken in Versus the calories going out!

It just so happened that when I was thinking about posting on metabolism I got an email from Jillian Michaels’ Newsletter which I signed up for a while back. Here is what she had to say about how Stress affects the metabolism:

Stress Got Your Metabolism Down?

I'm sure you've heard of the fight-or-flight response, and you probably know that it's the way your body reacts to danger or stress. But do you know what the fight-or-flight response is? You guessed it: It has to do with hormones.

When you're faced with a danger, your adrenal glands release three hormones: norepinephrine, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), and cortisol. Norepinephrine and epinephrine cause several changes to help you survive the danger, including a pause in insulin release so you have lots of blood sugar available for energy, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and a suspension of your appetite. After the danger has passed, cortisol tells the body to stop producing norepinephrine and epinephrine and stimulates your appetite again.

This response evolved to help people deal with short-term survival situations, like an attack by a predator. The trouble is, it occurs in response to all stressors, including the deadlines pummeling you at work and the traffic that drives you crazy. When stress is always present, your body can't get rid of the excess cortisol built up in the blood. That cortisol just hangs around, causing lots of trouble: It turns young fat cells into mature fat cells that stick with you forever, and increases your cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods.

When you give in to those cravings, your body releases a cascade of rewarding brain chemicals that can set up an addictive relationship with food — you stress, you eat. If you don't consciously control the pattern, you can become physically and psychologically dependent on that release to manage stress. In fact, people who self-medicate with food tend have hair-trigger epinephrine reactions and chronic high levels of cortisol.

You can help yourself keep cortisol in check by limiting caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day; avoiding simple carbs, processed foods, and refined grains; and getting plenty of high-quality protein. It's also crucial that you find stress-relief techniques that work for you. If you can tame your stress response and lower cortisol levels, you'll have a much easier time losing weight.

(Michaels 2009)

A factor on metabolism that I have had to personally deal with has been my Thyroid. Hypothyroidism (and under active thyroid) is very common among women, especially as we get older. I started having problems after the birth of my son. I struggled to lose weight even with running 4 miles a day, and then just gave up because when he was 12 months old I got pregnant with my daughter. I was put on Synthroid (75mg) throughout my whole pregnancy. It wasn’t until my daughter was about 2 months old that they slowly had to start increasing the dosage. I stayed at the same dosage of 125 mg for about 6 months and this is when I started really working out hard (June of 2008), then jumped up to 150 mg. It wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I started feeling flat out exhausted and irritable. I even feel asleep for an hour with my kids unsupervised which scares the living daylights out of me (and I only woke up because my son started playing his drums in the basement). So, I went to have my thyroid rechecked.

For those of you who don’t know much about thyroid ranges, they are backwards. The ranges are .3 to 5 (.3 meaning you have an OVER active thyroid and 5 meaning you have an UNDER active thyroid). They have recently been wanting to change these ranges to .3 to 3. With this being said, my came back a whopping 9 – which explained why I have been feeling so stinking dreadful! I am now on 200 mg of Synthroid and praying that it takes effect soon! This is the highest dose that I have ever had to take.

With hypothyroidism there are many different symptoms. Click
HERE to go to a website to view all symptoms. They symptoms that I have had have been fatigue, weakness, sensitivity to cold, difficulty losing weight, joint pain, and brittle fingernails.

Now back to the stress thing… I personally feel that either my Thyroid is slowly going kaput or the stress that I’ve been under lately with selling our house is beginning to get to me (I get stressed out pretty easily). Of course everything that I’ve been reading has been saying, “In order to distress try exercising.” – CHECK! “Try eating healthy.” – CHECK! “Try getting more sleep.” Well, can I technically say CHECK when I’m sleeping for an hour while my 3 ½ year old and 20 month old are running loose around my house??? And finally “Eliminate the stress.” - Well shoot… if I could only sell my house it would be eliminated!!!

Our metabolisms are being hit at all different angles. The best way to keep it revved up is by fueling it with the proper nutrition and by staying active with exercise!

I am planning on reading Jillian Michaels’ Master Your Metabolism over my summer vacation. As you all probably know by now I’m a HUGE fan of hers. Sandy over at God Speak’s Today is currently reading it and has only had good things to say.

Speaking of Sandy, hop on over to read her Fitness Friday post. She is now having anyone join who wants to right about health and fitness through using Mr. Linking. I KNOW… It’s just great!

Monday, May 18, 2009

And The Winner Is.....

I am proud to announce the winner of the Gettin' Fine in '09 12 Week Challenge. Her name is Dani Joy and I couldn't be more proud of all the hard work that she has done. As you will be able to tell, her hard work has paid off. Here is her story - straight from her.

Well, since my babies were born ( the last one in 2001), I have tried to get all the baby fat and weight off. Back in 2004, I lost a lot of weight but, not that many really noticed. I just felt better. Went totally natural for about six months. Then we went back to the USA for our first furlough. Basically, all the eating out and sedentary lifestyle for 6 months put almost all the weight back on. I would say maybe 15 pounds. I didn´t have accurate scales at the time.

This past year we took another furlough. I hadn´t been able to get the weight off since that last furlough. I got to thinking, "Oh, no what if I put on another 15 pounds!" So, we made a plan to get active even though we would be traveling so much. We got a membership at the YMCA and went every opportunity we could in many different cities. We still ate at all our favorite spots and then some, but I didn´t gain weight! I even had the added bonus that I started to tone up some.

When we got back to Spain in July, I really tried to keep it up. Jogging on the beach, early morning swims, and biking, but then we started home school. From the end of August to January, I sat on my sofa in the evenings studying for the next day or just vegging. This routine got me frustrated and wanting to do something about it.

We had purchased a stationary bike last year and I hardly got to use it because I was so exhausted all the time. My hubby even asked me if we should sell it. That upset me. I knew I was going to use it. Just didn´t know when or how.

January and resolutions. Well, I really am not one for making and sticking with resolutions because I know that by February they are moot. I just would rather quietly start something between me and the Lord, maybe even write it down. This is how my Fitness Journey began. It was a prayer at the time. Then right at that time I found some friends who were starting to lose weight too. Some of them were bloggy friends I had never met. Like
Nina, a fellow missionary in Portugal. I asked her one day if she wanted to sort of be like unofficial accountability partners. That´s when I realized I needed this encouragement.

I found a couple of Fitness blogs kind of on accident.
Melissa´s was one of them. She had some easy steps to follow. Not a diet just a plan. I loved it and started doing what I could. I cut out all white sugar and added more veggies and fruits. Started eating whole wheat breads and lot less empty carbohydrates. This alone started the weight loss on a roll.

By March when I found Sarah´s blog, All Pain ~ No Gain, I had lost 10 pounds and was on a roll. I wanted to keep going. Wanted to encourage others and needed the encouragement myself too. Sarah, had so many great ideas. I loved how encouraging she was. When I saw how many calories she was burning, I upped my work out. (I am still by far not burning that many calories) It was an other bench mark in my weight loss.
{* This is Sarah speaking now, and I don't ALWAYS burn that many calories!}

But the hardest part has been when I don´t see any change, whether inches or weight. It was so good to learn how to change up my workouts and trick my body into letting go of some more fat! This came in April on spring break.

I was so nervous about taking a trip. I always gain weight on trips! But I came up with a plan. I would eat no bread and no empty carbohydrates (pastas etc.) I would walk and exercise when I could. I even did half hour workouts in the van. (leg lifts and what ever I could do to get my heart rate up) It worked. I actually lost 2 pounds on the trip!

Now, the twelve week accountability challenge has come to an end. I reached 145 pounds. Which is a total loss of 18 pounds since January and 11 pounds since February 12, the beginning of Gettin´ Fine in 09.

Lord willing and with His strength and all my sister´s in Christ´s encouraging, I would love to see a healthy active body again. I have my sights set on a picture of myself playing soccer my junior year of college. Why not? Why not shoot for my best? That was the best I had ever felt in my whole adult life.

Let us honor God in every area of our lives!

Thanks Sarah for allowing me to be a part of this! What a huge blessing it has been for me!

God bless you! Phil. 4:17
Dani Joy

Now, my plan was to post pictures of her but I'm just going to send you her way. Click HERE to see her before and after pictures. Or just go check out her whole Site HERE.

Dani, can I just say that it was a pleasure having you in this challenge. I love the accountability and dedication that you bring. I love how open and honest you are with things, whether it be with your struggles or with your success. You truly are an inspiration! Keep up the good work - I look forward to continuing "working out & getting fit" with you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Working Out When Traveling... Or just something New.

Hey ladies. Well, we just put our house on the market, so please pray that everything goes smoothly! But now that the house is finally up, now I have family coming into town all while preparing for a garage sale on Saturday. So, this is going to be short and sweet!

I am one to literally FREAK out about going on vacation and not be able to work out. I know, go figure, it’s supposed to be a vacation – right??? Anyway, this doesn’t mean that you have to pick up on my freakish ways. This post is also for the traveling career women, or anyone who likes to remain active while taking some vacation time. I’m not meaning hit the gym wherever you go. I’m meaning, MAKE IT FUN!

When I leave for vacation in June I’m planning on packing a few things to take with me. Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD (they are 20 minute workouts), my resistance band, and a deck of cards. Yep, I said that right… a deck of cards.

Here is a fun workout that I picked up from the Biggest Loser:

Grab a deck of cards and get busy. Here’s how:

Face Cards = 10 Reps
Ace’s = 1 minutes break
Diamonds = Push Ups
Hearts = Lunges
Spades = Crunches
Clubs = Reverse Crunches

Shuffle the deck, flip over the first card and do what you see. For example say I flip over an 8 of diamonds. I would then drop and do 8 pushups. Take minimal breaks if possible between cards.

My husband and I have done this while watching American Idol. We love it. Give it a whirl!

Don't forget to check out Debbie at Heart Choices and Sandy at God Speak's Today. Sandy is starting something new so that other women can participate in our Fitness Friday. Go see what they all have to say!

Also, I will be announcing the Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge Winner this Monday. She has worked her tail off, so look to read more about her!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Working Out From Home

I have had a TON going on this week, so I am doing a re-run for all of you.
This re-run is about working out from home. I know that right now times are tough for people and gym memberships are sometimes the first to go. So, I wanted you all to know that I got almost ALL of my results from working out from home. I talk more about it in a previous post. It's doable - trust me! Take a look HERE.
Hop on over to see Sandy at God Speak's Today and Debbie at Heart Choices. I love reading their info.

Gettin' Fine in '09 Week 12 - The FINALE!

Hey to all you ladies who stuck with it! I couldn't be more proud!

I have had a pretty stressful week, but have still managed to workout. Here is what I did this week.

Monday: Making the Cut Day 1 (Yep, I'm doing it AGAIN!)
Tuesday: Making the Cut Day 2
Wednesday: 1 hour spin class
Thursday: Making the Cut Day 4
Friday: I'm planning on doing Making the Cut Day 5 if I have the time

I have chosen to do Making the Cut again because this is what started my whole weight loss journey in the first place. In 7 weeks I will be headed back to Phoenix, AZ which is where I saw the pictures that pushed me over the edge! Click HERE to see those pics.

NOW... as for the challenge. I am NOT going to go and heckle those that have not been posting. I know things come up in our everyday lives (like this week for me), but I'm not about to track you down to see what you've been up to. So, with this being said, it is up to you to post about the past 12 weeks. One thing that I definitely need to know is how much weight you have lost. You don't have to post pictures (which I do like) and you don't have to post your weight. Just your weight loss.

The person who has lost the most weight in the past 12 weeks wins the gift card.

I look forward to reading about them! Be sure and leave a comment!

Best wishes