Archives for the month of: September, 2011

Today Trainer Paul asked me about my cardio routine, and it got me thinking about how I keep it fresh, and what I do for fun. Because if I don’t have fun, nothing gets me moving. And if I don’t move, I don’t lose.

Here’s my secret: music.

Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. I’m only sharing this with you.

Now, most important is you have an iPod or other mp3 player that shuffles. You never want to listen to your music in the same order. It’s like changing up your weight routine to avoid muscle complacency. Avoid ennui. Because boredom is bad.

Next, find music you really like. Make playlists. Make sure that you have a good mix of slow and fast and very fast. Make your playlist at least five songs longer than your longest workout, so you don’t hear the same songs every time, and if you’re not in the mood for a song, you can skip it. And for heaven’s sake, freshen up your playlist every now and then.

Finally, here’s what you do. Match your pace to the rhythm of the song. Starting out with a slower song is often a good idea, just to help you warm up. If you want to get your heart beating harder but the pace isn’t very fast, pump your arms, take big strides, maybe do some lunge-walking.

If you walk outside, bring hand weights if you’re up to it, and really get your arms moving when the music gets going.

If you treadmill it, use the incline. Always have the incline at at least .5 (but 1.0 is, of course better). If a song is slower, your incline can be much higher. And work hard to keep your hands of the rails–use them to pump it!

As many of you know, I love my Polar Heart Rate Monitor watch. I do not stay in one zone all the time–for example, I will be in the 135-140 zone for one song, then in the upper 150s, then in the low 130s, then I’ll be in the low 170s. Push, recovery. Push, recovery.

I am the person who is doing dorky little steps along with my music. I am the crazy woman smiling on the treadmill next to the man running full-tilt at a speed of 8. He’s grunting, sweating buckets, pounding, and I’m swinging my arms, singing, and grinning like a maniac. It brings joy to my workout.

And, it gets me moving.

Here’s my Getting to 120 (as in pounds lost) playlist (which, of course, plays randomly):

1901 (Phoenix)
Waking Up in Vegas (Katy Perry)
Uprising (Muse)
Animal (Neon Trees)
I Don’t Know (The Replacements)
Cold Day in the Sun (Foo Fighters)
Great Expectations ( The Gaslight Anthem)
Anesthesia (Bad Religion)
Flat Earth Society (Bad Religion)
Boy (Ra Ra Riot)
Holiday (Vampire Weekend)
Dashboard (Modest Mouse)
1983 (Neon Trees)
Funhouse (Pink)
Love Song (Sara Barilles)
You Got Your Cherry Bomb (Spoon)
Out Here All Night (Damone)
California Gurls (Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg)
Take Away (Big Drill Car)
No Way Back (Foo Fighters)
Tik Tok (Ke$ha)
Snake Oil Tanker (Alkaline Trio)
Say Hey (I Love You)  (Michael Franti)


Extra lean ground turkey (99/1) was two 20-oz packages for $7.99 at Safeway today. I don’t especially like ground turkey–it has that funny poultry smell. It’s bland. And it can get dry so quickly.

But I am trying to find new forms of lean protein that the whole family will eat–meaning teenage son and husband, since the little one only seems to eat about five things (peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, soup, bananas, and pizza).

But meatballs in marinara sauce with a nice polenta with garlicky greens seemed quite wonderful. And it was, teenage Jake had two helpings two nights in a row, and I’m still craving more.

Turkey Meatballs in Marinara with Polenta
Polenta is a comfort food treat that takes on the robust flavors of the healthy turkey meatballs & marinara sauce. You won’t miss the fat with this delicious dish!

Meatballs based on “Every Day is a Meatball Day” from
Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

Serves: 10


2  lbs. extra lean ground turkey (99/1)
1/2 cup very finely chopped onion–a food processor is great for this
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oat bran
2 T. fresh parsley,very  finely chopped
2 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 T. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, place egg and oat bran.  Add remaining ingredients except for turkey meat and mix well.  Add turkey meat and mix gently, do not overwork mixture.  Wrap a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray. Shape meatballs to approximately 1.5 inches and place on sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes; transfer to simmering sauce and finish cooking to 165 degrees in sauce.

Quick Marinara Sauce


1 T. olive oil
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
2 stalks finely chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 T. chopped fresh basil
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Spray saute pan with cooking spray; heat to medium, add olive oil. Cook for 30 seconds, add onion, carrot & celery. Cook until fragrant, add garlic, cook another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and wine. Lower heat to medium low; simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil.
If you prefer to purchase pre-cooked polenta in a “log”, slice it and heat in the oven on the cookie sheet while meatballs finish in the sauce.

Or, cook your own:

1 cup yellow corn meal (the type that states that it’s for polenta is what I get)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 T olive oil

Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Heat at medium, stirring frequently, until the mixture shows a slight thickening. Lower the heat to low, continue to stir frequently, until the mixture is quite thick. It will “set up” as it cools.

Serve the meatballs ontop of the polenta with lots of sauce. Accompany with quick-cooking “Cooking With Powergreens!” 3-minute stove-top greens, with sliced garlic.

Today I ran the Napa Rock & Stroll 6k Run. I was really nervous before I started. I wanted to do well for me. I wanted to run the whole 3.72 miles (I didn’t). I wanted to finish in under 50 minutes (I did).

I finished around the 39:40 mark. I finished well and fast. My husband and kids were there to cheer me in which was wonderful, and really helped–they got me to sprint to the finish line.

Tonight was trainer workout #4. I didn’t pass out or throw up, but there were moments all I could do was laugh, and wonder if I would pass out soon.

After the stretches we started with planks with a leg raise. I thought we were doing 15 of them, and when we go to 15, while the sweat started to bead on my forehead I thought, well, that’s tough. And that’s when Trainer Paul said, “Halfway done!” It was 15 each leg. And we did two @$#*&@! sets of these.  It was not my shining moment.

There were all sorts of other fun things, involving balancing and weights, and presses, and my puny muscles. We ended with these:

They were “turning step ups” or something like that. Seemed easy enough, and was, with 10 pounds weights. But Trainer Paul decided I could handle more…so I ended up with 20 pound weights. I was hauling an extra 40 pounds as I stepped up. I was STUNNED at how much it was in my hands, and that that’s how much more I want to lose.

That was my incentive to keep stepping up, even when I wanted to stop. Feeling all that weight, wanting to stop because of it, I knew that I had to keep going so that one day 20 pounds doesn’t feel like anchors pulling me down.

It didn’t matter that there were 87 young, lithe, healthy 20-somethings all exercising together around me in concert, like a bunch of gazelles. It didn’t matter that I lumbered like a hippopotamus. That when I did my bent over rows I saw a 40-year old gorilla in the mirror. Every time doubt and self-consciousness tried to sabotage me, I thought, “What would Sydney Bristow do?”

She’d just push herself. And so did I.


It was exceptionally hot today in Northern California. I had an event that I I normally wear a suit to, but it was too hot for it, so I thought I’d look for a new outfit. Above you see pictures of some of the clothes I tried on. To be honest, I thought it would be much, much worse. I am now a true 16, not a 16 W. The clothes I picked all fit me–the question was, what fit me best, what suited me, and what suited the situation? The only thing I didn’t photograph was a pair of what turned out to be skinny jeans, which looked ridiculous.

Care to guess what I picked to wear? (Hint, it was a semi-casual dinner…)

This weekend we celebrated my husband’s birthday. I celebrated by consuming. I had gotten within half a pound of having lost 80 pounds, and instead of staying on track, I decided I didn’t need to. What I had wasn’t a lot for what I used to eat, but it was a lot of the wrong things for what I eat now. Over two days I consumed:

8-oz NY Strip Steak
1/2 pound of asparagus
Apple pie with real vanilla ice cream
French fries with two chicken McNuggets
Two plates of not-great buffet food (we were at the racetrack, all day and I got a little restless)
Two plates of very decadent buffet pies and cake
Two bloody marys and too much wine

As I was consuming I was thinking only of the moment. Only of what was in front of me. Steak and asparagus is healthy! Two chicken nuggets won’t tip the scale! A bloody mary is mostly tomato juice and I’ll eat the celery too! But add it all up, and it was the equivalent of five days’ worth of calories…in just two.

The results showed on the scale. And now, instead of getting to celebrate losing 80 pounds this week, I’m learning my lesson about building my willpower muscle.

I hadn’t thought about willpower being a muscle I need to build and strengthen like my biceps or glutes. But now I realize it’s my biggest, weakest muscle, and it needs extra attention.

What exercises do you perform to build your willpower muscle?

When I met with the gym’s fitness manager a few weeks ago her laid out how simple it was going to be to lose these last 40+ pounds in six months. Just exercise and eat no more than 1200 calories a day.



Simple, yes. Easy, no.

I didn’t get here because I enjoy little bits of low-calorie food. No. I got here because I loved large servings of french fries, big bowls of ice cream, and bacon and eggs three times a week. Red meat. Movie popcorn with butter. Beer.

And oftentimes, a workout for me was a 25-minute mile-long walk, one that left my legs humming from the blood pumping through my veins. And then, I’d lay up on the couch, cruising the web or watching something stupid on TV, like Suddenly Susan.

I want to be the woman who wakes up at 5am to go for a run. I want to be the woman who eats half a tomato on whole wheat sandwich and is stuffed. Who goes to the movies and doesn’t eat anything. Who is excited for workout class and at the end of a long day says, wow, I forgot to eat!

Will I ever be that woman?

A few days ago  I began training for next week’s 6k. I got on the treadmill and ran as fast as my thick legs could go for 30 minutes, without slowing down to walk or throw up.

I pushed myself to hit milestones–1 mile, 2 miles–and ran 2.5 miles in just under 30 minutes.

This is very impressive.

Well, it is for me.

On Friday, I completed the full 6k  (3.72 miles)  in under 50 minutes. This includes slowing down from a run to a walk so I could talked to the assistant fitness manager, Angelo, who wanted to tell me they are always available to show me machines.

Hey–Angelo–you were super-sweet, but don’t engage the sweaty fat lady lumbering on the treadmill in hope of a new client. Either way, shes’ not going to appreciate it. And, it will give her excuses to not finish her run, not go as fast, as hard, etc. I mean, wasn’t it fate that someone stopped her from her run?

Do you know the head games fat women play?

I signed up for a 6k. It’s next Saturday.

The only problem is, I haven’t been training for it. I’ve been walking, I’ve been wogging. But I haven’t gotten to 3.72 miles.

I know people do the “Couch to 5k” thing over six weeks. Is this something I can do in ten days?

Sydney Bristow can run a 6k without breaking a sweat. Can I run one without killing myself?

Tonight I wandered through the grocery store craving something. I didn’t know what. I’d had a full, healthy dinner of brown rice, broccoli and pork loin chop in a teriyaki-style sauce. All yummy. All filling. I couldn’t figure out what the emptiness in my belly and the gnawing in my brain was for.

I picked up a “personal” watermelon, but the voice kept whispering. I talked myself out of chocolate chip cookies, eclairs, peppermint ice cream, chocolate dipped cream puffs, sugar-free chocolate pudding (pre-made), cook & serve chocolate pudding, Ghiradelli brownie mix and pastrami. Yeah, I know.

I ended up with Glenny’s Chocolate Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats. $5.49 for a box of five. Pricey, but I figured if they satisfied the craving, one a day would be worth it.

They are not very big, but they are crispy and chewy at the same time. Unfortunately, they don’t have that marshmallowy stickiness that make rice krispie treats TREATS. They were sweet but not overly, and had a subtle chocolate flavor. Did they satisfy the craving? No. 80 grams of “Lite Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream” did that trick. They are organic, gluten & dairy free, and when you eat one, your angel halo might light up.

Another new, organic item for today: Dave’s Killer 21 Whole Grain Bread. I found this at WinCo and threw it in the freezer for those days when I’m craving a sandwich. Today I toasted a slice, had a bit of avocado, honey mustard, and an ounce of grilled chicken. I had it for breakfast in the car on my drive to work. The bread was dense, chewy, and delicious. It toasted well and had great flavor. I’m looking forward to having the same thing, tomorrow.

What would Sydney eat (WWSE): Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats or Dave’s Killer Bread?

Definitely the bread.