Exceed Your Limits!

One Step and One Day at a Time!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great and VERY QUICK AND EASY Chicken Recipe

A friend forwarded this recipe to me which I made last night:  Lemon-Apricot Chicken.  This was so simple, I made it in about a half hour with a side of rice and vegetables.  I did not use the curry powder as we don't keep that as a regular item in our pantry and I am trying to live by my pantry this week!  But this was so good and so easy and enjoyed by my four year old and my 18 month old.  I also pounded the chicken breasts a bit so it took less time to cook them and used very little salt.  I was concerned by the sodium in the dish, but overall the nutrition information was not bad when paired with high fiber rice and a vegetable.

I have a piece of chicken left over, so I may try this on Wednesday:  Chicken Taco Pizza.  I just need to locate either a healthy premade crust or find some alternative.  I will try to play with this to reduce sodium as well.

Do you have a quick and easy recipe you would like to share?  Please post it in comments or email me and I will be happy to share it.  One easy way to deal with the Money limit (it is cheaper to cook at home), the Knowledge limit (you know EXACTLY what is going into your meals), and the Time Limit (we need something quick and easy and, for me, that provides some sort of left overs to keep up with life at home!) is to cook healthy meals at home!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Truth Behind my TEMPORARY Slow Down!

So, it seems like years since I have written.  In relation to the life of this blog, it has been I guess.  I have had to slow my training to almost, well, less than, a crawl.  Shortly before my hiatus, I wrote of lack of energy, blaming it on my nutrition.  Well, nutrition was definitely partially to blame, but even then, I didn't realize how important it was to fuel my body.  I have come to learn that at about that time I was four weeks pregnant with my third child.  I am currently just exiting the first trimester and hoping to find more energy and less nausea in the second trimester. 

While I have been extremely exhausted these past weeks and barely find the energy to chase after my two young children much less exercise, I will say I have felt better this time than either of my earlier pregnancies.  I credit that to the shape I was in at the time I got pregnant.  I was 13 lbs less and much more fit than I was when I got pregnant with my second, and a whopping 23 lbs lighter and much much more fit and active than when I got pregnant with my first. 

Also, a bit of a even more personal note, I can't believe the difference a healthy body makes for the conception of a baby!  This third pregnancy was a very very BIG surprise.  Even more surprising given the extraordinary efforts we put in to have our first child and still the constant monitoring we needed to have our second child.  I remember when trying for over 6 years to conceive my first child how the Dr told me if I lost some weight and became healthier we might have more success.  I just got angry, but I did lose 25 lbs, then got pregnant with my oldest.  Apparently if I had perhaps lost 50 lbs at the outset all the treatments and heartache may not have been necessary.

So, a lot of friends have asked if this will change my blog.  I sincerely hope not - while I may not run miles a day and will surely not compete in my first triathlon this summer, I will have many of the same stumbling blocks trying to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level throughout the pregnancy.  I am also constantly trying to improve my family's nutrition and keep within a budget while doing it (gone are the days for me of buying all organic without even a blink of an eye as to the cost).  I will be talking about other things, but it still remains the same.....although perhaps I should rename the blog "From the Glider Rocker to Being Able to Visualize the Finish Line, Back to the Glider Rocker with Hopes of Crossing that Finish Line for the First Time in 2011!"  No, that is just too long - I like the name of my blog as it is!

Friday, March 12, 2010

This looks like a GREAT recipe site!

A friend shared this great recipe site with me Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

I have not yet tried any recipes from here, but some of my friends have and say it is GREAT!  The site calculates weight watchers points for you.  I am not on weight watchers, although I have been in the past.  I can't speak to the points calculations.  For me, I judge by the ingredients if it is healthy - if I am looking for a particular focus (i.e. high protein, high fiber, etc) I would take the time to break it out by the ingredients.  So, I have heard the recipes are great - I only wish the actual nutritional information was included, but that is something I can also calculate.

I plan to start on Sunday with the chicken chili.  Let me know what you make and how you like it!!!

Getting Back on that Horse!

So, it has been quite a while since my last post.  A myriad of health issues (nothing major) with my two children and then myself has caused my writing time to dwindle.  It also caused, for almost two weeks, my workout time to dwindle.  However, the workouts picked back up way before the writing.  So, to fill you in on what I learned, even though it took a long time to share it with you, I am finally back!

First, you are always going to have setbacks.  It is how you deal with those setbacks that defines your level of success.  Whether it be children, a large project at work, a planned vacation, or perhaps an unexpected need to travel, your routine will inevitably be disturbed.  The key is getting back to it!  I was proud this time around that my workouts faded for about a week and a half, but I got back to it. 

Second, you have to be willing to adjust your goals.  This admittedly has been the hardest part for me.  I am typically all or nothing - and so often end up with nothing.  I have had some health issues that have caused my goals to shift.  Nothing life threatening - but just enough to curtail my running and force me to either slow it down or walk.  That has been hardest for me - I was finally beginning to ALMOST like running.  And now I need to slow it down.  Honestly, it took about 4 or 5 days for me to just mentally get past that and get out there and walk - and walk really hard!  And, frankly, it is still challenging.

I may also need to forego a triathlon this year, and that really hit me hard.  Finally I felt like I was on the road to DO IT!!!  And, wham, now I may need to wait a year.  That was a big mental block for me.  But, I decided that in that year, I will develop healthy eating habits, become more physically fit, and strengthen my body to be ready to truly TRAIN and train HARD in about a year. 

So, the biggest lesson I have learned is be flexible - and flexible does NOT include giving up.

Now, let's get back to exceeding those Limits!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hurry - free 200 caloroie portion DiGiorno Pizza

While not the healthiest by any means, if you need for pizza fix, DiGiorno is now packaging a product in a 200 Calorie portion.  Better yet they are giving away coupons to try it for FREE!

Go here to get your free coupon - this will go fast so hurry, hurry, hurry!

Thanks, For the Mommas!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

As If The Olympics Weren't Inspiring Enough .......

As those who know me in real life can attest to, running is not my favorite sport. I keep striving to "find the love" because I know it can be a fantastic activity for health, fitness, and overall wellness (I have to admit, my time running is my "therapy" time). However, it sometimes frustrates me beyond belief that I can't "love it more." So, imagine the sense of camaraderie I felt when I learned that Apollo Ohno at one time had similar feelings regarding running!

First, I am not a devoted Apollo fan. I definitely respect him, but early on I felt he had this young arrogance, in spite of his athletic ability, that, well, just turned me off. Over the years I think he has matured and, well, maybe I have softened, and I find myself more of a “fan.” You can’t deny his athletic abilities and superb sense and execution in most races (did you see him in the qualifying race on Saturday? That blew me away!).

Anyway, Apollo, in an article in March’s Runners World, describes his early struggles with running. I was surprised to learn that early in his career he was known as “Chunky” and had a hard time finding both success and joy with running. But, like I also know in my own head, running proved invaluable in his training and he has learned to love running (I am still working on this part!). I also found it interesting that he does his best thinking while running. That does parallel my own feelings, running is a time I sort most of the most complicated life, professional, or training dilemmas. I usually write most of my posts that I publish here in my head first while, you guessed it, running. My time running, for the most part, is the only time no one demands anything of me other than me, which is, in some ways, extremely liberating.

Even more inspiring was Apollo’s discussion of how running was so different than his skating fundamentals but it was an integral part of his training success. I have to say, it was also a relief to hear how, in the beginning, he was a horrible runner even after elevating to a high enough level to train at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. While I don’t ever think I will reach any sort of Olympic Athlete status, perhaps there is hope for me and running yet! I have to admit, I can honestly say when finished with a run I feel like I can conquer the world, so that is probably a pretty good start!

If you are interested in reading the entire article, it can be found here.

On a more general note, I LOVE the Olympics and find them extremely inspiring. Every athlete had their challenges and following their stories of surmounting their own personal demons always pushes me to do more. I also firmly believe that my preschool age child is getting a tremendous life lesson from watching the Olympics. During last the last Summer Olympics she was glued to the coverage of swimming. She was just over two years old and kept asking about the stroke styles, the races, and even wanted to hang the Michael Phelps photo of him swimming that was published in our local newspaper on her wall. The Winter Olympics this year has proven to be a slightly different experience. She is very focused on the win or lose aspect of the Games, but is beginning to understand what a tremendous accomplishment it is to actually get to participate in the Olympics and that even if an athlete loses (or gets silver or bronze) that they are very fortunate, very talented, and, most importantly, worked extremely hard to get there. She keeps describing how this athlete or that athlete had to practice and practice to get there. That little mental connection alone has been priceless.

Admittedly, while sitting in front of the television isn’t exactly the healthiest activity, the Olympics can provide tremendous inspiration and learning experience for both adults and children.

What has been your favorite Olympic moment either thus far this year, or in the past?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Unintended Experiement on How NOT to Fuel Your Body.

For those of you that are Facebook Fans you may have seen that my run Friday morning was less than stellar! I started my normal warm up (stretching, then walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes at 3.5 - 3.8 mph). Then I started jogging at just under 5 mph. Within minutes I was just spent, and annoyed, and discouraged. I thought just push through it; it will ease as you get going. Just not the case. By 8 minutes into the run, I was kind of panicking by how horrible I felt. Two minutes later, I was back down to a walk.

I was discouraged and already thinking "If this happens, how on earth am I going to finish that 5K at the end of a sprint triathlon!" Oh, the power of negative thinking, right? Then I started to wonder why this was happening. I turned immediately to what had I eaten that previous day.

On Thursday I was extremely busy and on the run. I had those dreaded errands to run during lunch, my fridge and pantry were showing the signs of just not having the time to effectively shop for the week. I was late for work in the morning, so I grabbed a couple of bananas, and apple, and made myself a sandwich with two tablespoons of peanut butter and two slices of low calorie whole grain bread. I never ate breakfast, per se, but I had eaten half a banana before my run and shoved the rest in my mouth on my way out the door.

At 11 am I was hungry, so I decided to eat half my sandwich, but finished the whole thing (I was seriously hungry after running that morning and failing to eat any "real" breakfast). I ran my lunch time errands and, I was so proud of myself for not throwing a candy bar in with the Valentine's I needed to get for my child's preschool party the next day! I returned to work and ate a banana. That was it for the day before dinner.

We had planned on plain old baked chicken (we throw it in the oven with a sprinkling of bread crumbs), baked potatoes, and a vegetable. When I got home, it was more of the same craziness. My spouse, while trying to make my life easier, ordered a pizza. I didn't even know it until it arrived at the door. So, I ate two pieces of pizza. I love pizza, but know it is far from a nutritious meal, and I can usually always predict scale results after eating pizza the night before, and those results aren't results you hope to see (yes, I am using the pound goal, but perhaps this is a good thing in this circumstance!).

That was my day. I can't even recall, but I don't even think I had a glass of milk. I drank sufficient water, but that was about all that was sufficient about Thursday's diet!

It became clear why, 16 minutes into my run, I was spent. Now I had eaten a small pre run snack, but even that wasn't my usual snack. I usually eat half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter on it about 20 minutes before I run. Friday morning I skipped the peanut butter! So, even after eating very little protein the day before (a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, maybe some negligible protein in my pizza in the cheese and ham) I further deprived my body of protein by skipping it in my usual pre-run "snack!" And, right after that epiphany, my stomach gave a little confirmation by growling out of hunger.

So, some things I have taken away from my unintentional experiment:

1. Plan my week better, recognize deficiencies in my nutritional supplies, and try to stock up so I don't find myself hungry for lack of variety of nutritious foods.

2. Be creative if you find yourself depleted in time, money, or just sanity, to think about nutrition. I was so excited I passed up on the candy bar, but couldn't I have found myself something suitable to eat? I passed three grocery stores on my errands, and I could have simply even stopped and gotten some deli meat for a snack (and eaten it with the uneaten apple I had brought from home) and perhaps added a small container of low fat milk, and given my body more of what it requires to just operate!

3. Communicate more effectively. If I had been better at communicating my need to eat a well balanced healthy dinner I could have avoided the unnecessary purchase of a pizza by a well meaning spouse. Our chicken dinner for four may have cost $5-$7 but instead we spend $14.00 on a pizza (and that was with a 50% off coupon!).

4. Have a plan to execute the healthy dinner as I walk in the door. I was seriously stressed. If I had communicated my needs as discussed in (3) and then had a plan to get it started as soon as I walked in the door, it would have been cooking and ready as I dealt with all the other insanity while it was cooking. All it would have taken would have been thinking about the plan for less than 5 minutes of my 30 minute commute.

Many of the things I learned are subjects I have a million ideas and confirmed tricks to deal with, but even I have crazy days where they are not so second nature as to kick in when things get a little nutty.

Now, in my Facebook post I also mentioned how my horrific run turned into something positive. I am not forgetting that part, believe me! When I hit the treadmill on January 4, 2010, I noticed and committed to memory my distance at thirty-five minutes. Even with walking more than usual on Friday, and admittedly struggling and feeling horrible, questioning my abilities, and then being frustrated with my lack of attention to nutrition for the previous 24 hours, I reached that distance 3.5 minutes sooner than I had January 4. And, here I thought how my workout was such a failure - but really, that failure was still so much better than my "best" had been not even a month and a half before! That was inspiring! So much so, although I had planned to quit, I added another run interval and kept moving for 10 minutes more than I had planned as my run began to fall apart!

So, here is the question for you, my readers - When you have a crazy day, what is one thing you can have readily on hand to provide adequate nutrition to fuel your body? And, can you make it a priority to make sure this weekend, as you hit some store, you be sure you pick some up to have it on hand? Let me know what you decide on and how it works out for you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Could $50 off a $100 purchase at Old Navy help you exceed the Money Limit?

Old Navy has a website Old Navy Weekly which usually updates every Thursday.  On that website, when it updates, there is a loyal following that hunt for coupons that could be as good at $50 off a $100 purchase!  In the past, they even had $75 off $100 coupons, although those haven't been released since before the holidays.  It is not always easy to find these coupons, and it takes some searching and clicking, not to mention an agonizing wait throughout the day because they never update it at the same time (and, on occasion, it doesn't happen until Friday).

However, there are some ways to make it easier.  A fellow blogger at Dealseekingsource maintains a chat room where a loyal following sit, chat, and frankly share a whole host of deals waiting for the update.  They have very specific rules and procedures but when the site updates, the room guests share when they find the high value coupons and how to get them.  Most days, many of the participants score a high value coupon!  You can read about the "rules" here. 

So, head on over to Dealseekingsource and see if you can score yourself a great deal.  Old Navy has some really cute workout clothes, some very good deals on kids clothes, and I love their jeans and fleece (the fleece are perfect for layering on the colder outdoor workout days!).

Good Luck tomorrow!

Your Goal - A Means or a Limit?

So, I will let you in on a little secret. Before launching this blog, I spent months developing a topic list I thought I could cover here effectively based on my experience and perhaps some additional follow up research to give authoritative references. On that list in my scrawled handwriting sits “Goals.” What is it about goals that make them so hard to discuss and give advice on? Well, for one, everyone’s goals are so personal, so individual, how can I pretend to understand everyone’s struggles with goals. Furthermore, the individuality of goals makes me apprehensive to try to suggest what others’ goals should be. Well, frankly, one FANTASTIC reader gave me some insight, and here I am, discussing goals. See this reader’s comment to my question “what are YOUR Limits?”

Here are the ultimate questions: Do your goals act as a means to exceed the Motivation Limit and Confidence Limit, or, do your goals BECOME your Limit? Drilling down further, how can you prevent your goals from becoming your Limit? This seemed to be the reader’s dilemma. I can only offer what I have learned from my own experience.

My goal, this year, is to finish a sprint triathlon. I have to admit, this was my goal in 1997, when I was single, childless, and had nothing to do but go to graduate school and train. I was training with two goals in mind really, do the sprint triathlon and ride the STP (Seattle to Portland bike ride) in one day. Two great goals, right? Well, sort of. They were such huge goals, even with three hours a day of training and a ridiculously low body fat percentage, it fizzled. The goals were MONTHS away, and there was nothing to sustain my motivation. So, my goal this year is to do a sprint triathlon. I bet you are asking yourself, what is different (besides dropping the STP goal)? Well, my January goal was to run a 5K three times a week consistently, do a core workout four times a week, upper body strength training three times a week, and an extended stretch workout five times a week. I was moderately successful at reaching my goals. Candidly, I wasn’t 100% successful, but I came close, which is about 400% more than what I was doing in November and December to reach my ultimate goals.

My goals for February? Run a 5K three times a week consistently (can you guess which goal I let slip in January?), shave three minutes off my 5K time (I am REALLY slow so that isn’t all that aggressive), get on my bike at least five times for a 10 mi ride at whatever pace I can muster, and continue the stretching, upper body, and core workouts. My goals that perhaps slip, I carry over. I may not be as fit as I was in 1997, but mentally I am many moons closer to reaching my triathlon goals! And, even if some goals carry over, I am excited about my March goal to begin my swim technique training offered by my FAVORITE triathlon team! Looking ahead to the next month helps keep me motivated.

Now, for my reader’s goal, which she calls her Limit. Pounds, pounds, pounds. First, for me a pounds goal is tough because, frankly, my “pounds number” will always be high. I am big – both in structure and muscle. So even when I shaved my body fat percentage down to under 10% (and, by the way, the jury is out for me on whether that was healthy for me or not!) I weighed over 150lbs. It is a mental struggle for me. Not to mention, you can work really hard, improve your physical fitness level, and reach a better health status, and lose very little in pounds, particularly if you haven’t done a lot of exercise in your past or even the recent past. Let’s face it, most of us know muscle weighs more than fat, and, when you train, you will build muscle. As an example, since early November I have lost about 12 lbs. I went, however, from a size 14 to a size 10 (and, really, almost an 8 except I am too lazy and financially challenged to go buy new pants!). Honestly, I don’t think 12 lbs reflects that. I am tremendously more flexible, I sleep better, I walk taller, I am overall 100% happier, and my confidence (even for me) soars more and more with every workout! Those are things that just cannot, in my mind, be measured by a scale.

In addition to pounds in general being a tough goal, when you have a lot to lose, when they don’t drop as fast as you see contestants on the “Biggest Loser” drop them (really, it is ok to admit you watch it, it is inspiring, isn’t it?) sometimes it can’t help but be discouraging. First, those contestants, while admirable, are so concentrated on training, their food, health, and lifestyle, of course they can lose massive amounts of weight in a week. They aren’t running the kids to school, practice, doing laundry for four people, cleaning their house, working their job, just trying to get by in today’s hectic world. And, for them, that is great, and I am sincerely jealous. But we are dealing with all those things and, usually, more!

So, what can we do about goals then, if not pounds? Well, first and foremost, how about break it up into small amounts. I like the 10 lb increment if you have more than 25 lbs to lose. Or, if you really could stand to lose more than 10% of your current weight (generally if you fall into the obese category), then the 10% mark is a good one too. Losing 10% of your current weight significantly lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity related diseases. What better goal is that?

Or, how about some athletic goal? I neglected to mention, one of my first “mini” goals is to run our St. Patrick’s Day Dash, which is a 5K. Of course, I haven’t registered for it yet, but I need to! I have NEVER run a 5K race (I have run 5K but never an official race). I would be so happy to finish! Maybe you aren’t ready to do a 5K (I have NO doubt I couldn’t have done it in August of last year!), but how about a 1 mile fun run? Or how about even a charity walk? As spring approaches, there are many such events, just Google them for your city! (or email me, I will find you one if you need me to!) Or, maybe running/walking isn’t your thing – I only do it to bike and swim, in all honesty! How about a charity bike ride? I have to say, my all time favorite ride is Ride for the Children in Phoenix!

Other goals could just be to walk for a half hour or an hour three times a week. Honestly, if that is more than what you are doing now, it is a FANTASTIC goal. Any additional movement is a goal worth making. And, reward yourself when you reach your goal – no matter how small!

If your goal is your Limit rather than a means to exceed the Motivation and Confidence Limit, then it is time to change, or at least segment, the goal!

Please share your ideas for either changing your goal from a Limit to a means, or, keeping your means from becoming your Limit! Or if you are struggling, share your goal, and maybe why it is a Limit, and perhaps a fresh perspective can be given by another reader or myself! Sometimes it just takes someone else to look at the goal and they can help turn it into a means rather than let it linger as a Limit!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So, in thinking about the Motivation Limit, let's talk about Childhood Obesity!

Today I was thinking, on my way into the office, why was I TOTALLY unmotivated to get up for a 5 am run?  I couldn't come up with a reason for being unmotivated....other than I wanted to sleep.  But I kept thinking, what is it that motivates me?  The answer I kept coming back to?  My kids.  I have struggled with health and fitness (read WEIGHT here) for most of my life.  I don't want my children to struggle as well.  My preschooler's excitement when she sees me exercise is so inspiring.  I kept thinking about this and one of my main goals is that my children escape the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.  I feel strongly about this on many fronts, from breastfeeding to meal planning to developing my childrens' tastes for healthy food.  I firmly believe that you begin to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity by getting parents to set the example of how to live a healthy lifestyle.  You can remove every snack and pop vending machine from every public school, but frankly if children are not learning a healthy lifestyle at home, well, then, someday they are still going to fall on bad habits and bad health.  Anyway, in drilling down my motivations, I considered changing the mission of this blog - well, not changing, but adding to it.  So, I added the mission "Reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity, one parent at a time!" - And, what timing it was.  I just saw a clip of First Lady Michelle Obama's plan to address childhood obesity.  First Lady Obama remarks truly hit home with me.  A portion of her remarks, as written for presentation, are below:

"Like many of you, when I was young, we walked to school every day, rain or shine - and in Chicago, we did it in wind, sleet, hail and snow too. Remember how, at school, we had recess twice a day and gym class twice a week, and we spent hours running around outside when school got out. You didn't go inside until dinner was ready - and when it was, we would gather around the table for dinner as a family. And there was one simple rule: you ate what Mom fixed - good, bad, or ugly. Kids had absolutely no say in what they felt like eating. If you didn't like it, you were welcome to go to bed hungry. Back then, fast food was a treat, and dessert was mainly a Sunday affair.

In my home, we weren't rich. The foods we ate weren't fancy. But there was always a vegetable on the plate. And we managed to lead a pretty healthy life.

Many kids today aren't so fortunate. Urban sprawl and fears about safety often mean the only walking they do is out their front door to a bus or a car. Cuts in recess and gym mean a lot less running around during the school day, and lunchtime may mean a school lunch heavy on calories and fat. For many kids, those afternoons spent riding bikes and playing ball until dusk have been replaced by afternoons inside with TV, the Internet, and video games.

And these days, with parents working longer hours, working two jobs, they don't have time for those family dinners. Or with the price of fresh fruits and vegetables rising 50 percent higher than overall food costs these past two decades, they don't have the money. Or they don't have a supermarket in their community, so their best option for dinner is something from the shelf of the local convenience store or gas station.

So many parents desperately want to do the right thing, but they feel like the deck is stacked against them. They know their kids' health is their responsibility - but they feel like it's out of their control. They're being bombarded by contradictory information at every turn, and they don't know who or what to believe. The result is a lot of guilt and anxiety - and a sense that no matter what they do, it won't be right, and it won't be enough.

I know what that feels like. I've been there. While today I'm blessed with more help and support than I ever dreamed of, I didn't always live in the White House.

It wasn't that long ago that I was a working Mom, struggling to balance meetings and deadlines with soccer and ballet. And there were some nights when everyone was tired and hungry, and we just went to the drive-thru because it was quick and cheap, or went with one of the less healthy microwave options, because it was easy. And one day, my pediatrician pulled me aside and told me, 'You might want to think about doing things a little bit differently.' "

For the full written remarks, go here.

So, with the best of intentions on setting the mission out in its entirety on the Blog's initial launch, I am taking the creative license to get to the heart of the matter - well, the heart of MY matter - in a slightly tardy fashion.  No matter what your political beliefs, I don't think ANYONE can ignore the growing obesity problems with our nation's children (and adults for that matter).  It is sincerely my hope that not only can my journey shape my childrens' health future, but other childrens' health future as well.  And, I will be paying attention to First Lady Obama's efforts, hoping to see them soar past even her expectations.

Your thoughts? 


Where did YOU go for lunch today?

I know some of you are cringing at that question because perhaps your answer was "I hit the drivethrough on my way to run an errand during my lunch hour!"  Or maybe your answer is "What lunch? I had two screaming kids wanting to be fed and I ate cold spaghetti out of the fridge in between serving them!"  Hey, it happens right? 

I had an exceptional lunch today.  I am allowed an hour for lunch.  I don't always take an hour because I can shave off time at the beginning or end of my day by working through lunch, and sometimes that is necessary to care for my two children.  But today I ran the emergency stairwell in my building for 20 minutes (and, my quads don't like me very much right now!).  I can't do this every day, but every day I can is definitely ONE STEP (or several steps) in the right direction.  It is hard to find the time to workout, but if you think about it, I just made the time.  I brought my lunch (and many healthy snacks, but I will describe what works for me on eating at a later time).  I ate a healthy light snack about an hour before my "lunch."  Then I exercised, and followed that with a more substantial lunch.  In just roughly 40 minutes I exceeded my Time Limit AND my Money Limit.  The Time Limit is fairly straight forward - I fit in exercise, but instead of heading out to lunch, I also used the time I would take to go and get that lunch (drive time) and turned it into quality exercise time. 

I also saved a TON of money.  I typically, if I went out to lunch, would spend anywhere from $5 - $7 on a lunch.  If I make lunch and bring it from home I typically spend $2-$4.  So, I save anywhere from $1-$5 a day by bringing lunch.  Do that one time a week and you save roughly $4-$20 a month.  Or even $52 to $260 a year!  Do that two times a week and you save $104 to $520 a year!  And so on, you can do the math.  the numbers are staggering.  I almost NEVER go out to lunch, so I figure I save over $1000 a year!  And, when you bring your lunch, YOU control what you eat.  Furthermore, my workout was FREE!  I didn't need to go to a gym to hit the stairs in my building, both saving on a gym membership fee AND gas money!

Now if you don't work during the day and typically don't hit the drive through on a regular basis, your savings will obviously be less.  But planning a healthy lunch for yourself at the beginning of the day, maybe before the kids get up, to fit in between the "I want" and "I need" from your kids can help you be sure you are fueling yourself as well as you fuel your kids.  And, if the weather permits, maybe you can all go for a walk AFTER lunch.  I know my pre-schooler has a hard time sitting still long enough to eat a meal - but when I promise a walk if she eats a good lunch, well, it is amazing what that motivation can do! 

So, what is a healthy lunch?  I hope to bring you more ideas on that this week, but don't let that Knowledge Limit hold you back, I am sure you have some basic ideas of your own you can draw upon.  So, where are YOU going for lunch TOMORROW?  Leave a comment if you wish, it will help you feel motivated to do something other than the drive through if you post it for yourself, and others, to read!  (Hey, that is exceeding that Motivation Limit too!)

For now, my lunch break is over!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Eat Better America Coupon Book! Save AND Hit the Knowledge Limit Right on the Head!

I read about this on another blogs Facebook fan page, but thought I would pass it on - I registered for it tonight.  This web site looks interesting.  Perhaps one of the most valuable tools I found on it is healthier recipes with nutrition information.  I can't tell you it is 100% accurate, but to get the coupon booklet you have to sign up for the site.  I will keep you posted on what I learn from the site and update you on the results of my spot checks for accurate nutrition information!

You can go here to register and receive your $10.00 worth of coupons.

A BIG THANK YOU to a Facebook Fan of Thriftynorthwestmom.

Speaking of Facebook Fan Pages.....head on over to our Facebook Fan page to be up to date on all the best Healthy Deals!

For the LOVE of Chocolate!

Did you know that eating a 1.5 oz bar of dark chocolate over the course of a week is about the right amount to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease -1/3 for women and ¼ for men? I knew there was something good about chocolate.....now to master the 1.5 oz bar part!  (Source:  GNC's living well magazine, Well Bella, you can read the premiere issue here!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fred Meyer Healthy Deals this week

I happened to notice some healthy deals at Fred Meyer this week.  For my more national readers, Fred Meyer is a Kroger store here in the Northwest.  I can't say for sure, but you may find the same deals at a Kroger near you!

Here is some of the list.  Please note I am trying to stay with healthy savings.  Many of my favorite blogs will carry a full list of deals for stores I cover, I just really try to stick with the healthier side - this week I will describe some of my reasoning and why I limit my deals when I discuss the Perils of Couponing - keep your eyes out for some sobering thoughts!

However, Fred Meyer has some particularly good deals this week on the healthy side:

Fruits and Vegetables
Braeburn, Fuji or Gala apples 68¢ per lb
Broccoli Crowns or Cauliflower 98¢ per lb
California Strawberries 1 lb containers 2/$6
Fred Meyer Mini Peeled Carrots 2 lb bag 98¢ w/in ad coupon from the Sunday Paper
Hot House Tomatoes 98¢ per lb
Leaf Lettuce 4/$5
Mangos 10/$10 [BTW, I love to puree ripe mangos and freeze in ice cube trays, store in plastic bags, and defrost to add to plain yogurt for a healthy treat or to jazz up a smoothie!]
Minneola Tangelos, Royal Mandarins or Honey Tangerines 98¢ per lb
Packaged Mushrooms 2/$3
Yams or Sweet Potatoes 79 cents per pound
Organic Anjou Pears 98 cents per pound
Healthy Choice Meals [better than fast food in a pinch!]: 6/$10
Use in ad coupon, first 6
Final Price: $1.66 each

Fred Meyer Yogurt: 10/$3
Use in ad coupon, first 10
Final Price: 30¢ each

Fred Meyer Extra Large Eggs: 2 for $3
Use in ad coupon, first 4
Final Price: 1.50 each
(I love to stock up on eggs for a low fat crustless quiche that we all can eat all week for a high protein start to our day!)

Silk Soy Milk: 2 for $5

Emerald Nuts: 2/$7
Use $1/1 printable here or from the 1/31 Smart Source
Final Price: $2.50 each

Fred Meyer Frozen Vegetables: 79¢
Use in ad coupon, first 4

Thanks Puget Sound Prudence, if you want to see all the GREAT Fred Meyer Deals, see a full listing developed by Puget Sound Prudence at 1/7 - 1/13 Fred Meyer Deals

Free Kashi Sample!

Kashi is offering a free sample of some great snack ideas!  Just go here Kashi free sample site and register to receive a sample of either cereal or a bar!  And, from my experience, many times these samples are sent with some FANTASTIC coupons!  Enjoy - perhaps you will find a healthier snack alternative for you and your family!

Let's Kick it Off with a Way to Save or Even Get FREE Gear!

One of the easiest ways I have found to get some of the little extras to make training more fun or more comfortable is by using Swagbucks to search the internet!  By registering for Swagbucks, you can earn, well, Swagbucks that you can trade in for gift cards (or other prizes if those prizes interest you!).  My personal favorite way to earn is to use my Swagbucks to get Amazon gift cards.  Over about 4 months with just searching the web through the Swagbucks site, I have earned over 50.00 in Amazon gift cards to put towards books, dvds, beauty products, music downloads, and now I am saving them to put towards an indoor bike trainer!  I was very skeptical at first, but this site is legitimate!

The search engine is a combination of google and ask.com - it has proven time and time again accurate.  You can also download a toolbar to add to your regular internet toolbar that can provide additional ways to earn Swagbucks!

If you are interested in learning more, I have put the Swagbucks' button on the side of my blog - just click on it and check it out and start earning to do the internet searches you would perform anyway!  And, save on things you need, or maybe those little extras you couldn't otherwise afford! 

So, what would you buy with your Amazon gift cards that might keep you motivated or give you knowledge to take another step towards success?

What are your LIMITS?

Frequently what stops me from succeeding at a goal are what I like to think of as my Limits. I don't mean my physical limits, but the more practical, mostly mental, Limits that allow me have excuses or allow me to rationalize why I didn't take that first step towards success. We all have them, and they are very personal. But at the same time, I have found them to be very common, in a general sense, to every person. You can't move forward until you recognize what has held you where you are for however long you have been stationary in that one place. My theme has become "Exceed your Limits, one step at a time and one day at a time!" I want to start by sharing my Limits, and ask that you share yours.

1. Time. I am a mom of two kids under 5. I also work full time. My time is limited for finding time to work out, time to plan meals, time to think about choices (whether it be food, type of workout, or just how to spend the little time I have that is not accounted for by kids or work).

2. Money. Let's face it, times have changed for almost all Americans. I am no exception. Gone are the days of reckless spending. Gone are the days of not worrying about where the money will come from for next week's groceries, next month's mortgage, or that random purchase of some luxury item, big or small. Gone are the days of purchasing something without a small thought of whether your paycheck will be deposited next month. Now, I plan every purchase, from food to clothes, to the occasional fitness gear purchase, to a penny. I use coupons, I read money saving blogs, and, I forego a lot of things or find perhaps a less expensive, and usually a compromise in quality, alternative.

3. Motivation. This is always an issue. Sometimes it is about being selfish, because I can usually find a reason to avoid taking that first step because it takes away time or effort from my children, from my job, from managing the family finances, from whatever someone else needs from me. Other times it is just a plain inability to realize that even one little step (e.g. going for a walk even if it isn't a 5K run) is a step in the right direction. Motivation is also inextricably linked to accountability for me. If I am not accountable for taking those steps, day by day, to someone other than myself, I can rationalize letting myself down (perhaps another Limit is self respect?). I need to be accountable.

4. Confidence. This is perhaps, for me, where my current physical limitations factor in the most. I can't run 8 miles on a group run, so, I don't go. I am SLOW.....so I am embarrassed to let others see how slow I am. When I can overcome my own lack of confidence, though, and actually SHOW UP I find it was NOTHING to be worried about. There is usually someone I can maintain with, and even if there isn't, pushing to do what I can usually reveals I can do a lot more than I thought! It is a daily struggle, one step at a time, one day at a time.

5. Knowledge. Sometimes I examine my choices and I just don't know enough about each choice to make an informed decision. For example, I need to get out on my bike to train. I want to explore purchasing a used bike since my current bike is really undersized. I am paralyzed because I don't know where to start. I struggled and struggled, and actually avoided the issue because, well, I just didn't know how to even take the first step. I then had the opportunity to speak to a bike rep recently who, in 15 minutes, answered some questions and sent me in the right direction. I don't have a new bike, but just knowing the direction I want to head, has moved me past paralyzed and has me looking forward to getting out there on my current bike until I can find what I want (of course, I still need to exceed my money limitation, but that is the next step!)

It is from these Limits that this blog was born. I have learned many ways of dealing with these Limits that I believe, if shared with others, will be helpful to promote success in healthy living for others and, honestly, our children. I can predict that every post on this blog will somehow be related to how I exceed my Limits that I shared above. This blog is, itself, a way I deal with a Limit. By sharing and putting a burden on myself to share and help others with the same struggles in everyday life, I have added motivation to keep me moving forward and accountability to fuel that motivation. In addition, if we share money saving ideas, we can all exceed the Money Limit. I plan to share healthy deals on this blog either from my readers or from my own research.

So, here is where YOU come in. I need to know YOUR Limits. Why, you ask? I truly do want this to be a resource for my readers, not a personal story of my journey. Everyone has different Limits and I want to know yours so I can perhaps add to our collective community Limits and become a resource for exceeding Limits that perhaps are not on my main list.

So, Welcome! And Please Join In- leave a comment with your Limits and briefly describe them so I can see what Limits you, my readers, are facing. This is an open invitation to leave these comments at any time, it is an ongoing process. Not able to exceed the Confidence Limit yet and post a public comment, email me at brickstrainingmomma@gmail.com. I can't wait to hear from you and learn more about what Limits you will exceed, one step at a time one day at a time! 

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