Friday, July 31, 2009

Nuts to You!

So I really enjoy eating nuts, probably so much so that you'd think I was some variety of squirrel or chipmunk....

back away 'Munk and no one gets hurt!

So nuts have a pretty bad rap for being a high calorie snack. But nuts have a lot of nutrients that other snacks... lets say... potato chips for example, severely lack. This article from spark people helps clear the air: Feeling Nutty?

ATTENTION: Please bear in mind when reading this post that I am talking about raw or roasted unsalted plain nuts! Nothing salted sugar coated, honey coated or what ever kind of coated nuts are out there... those should be avoided or eaten in much smaller quantities. It's unnecessary empty calories!

Fact: Nuts get more than half of their calories from fat.

But that's not all!

1. Nuts are Healthy for Your Heart
Nuts are rich in an amino acid that could be linked to heart benefits. This amino acid, called arginine, helps relax blood vessels, which can reduce the danger of coronary artery disease. A Harvard School of Public Health study showed that women who ate nuts regularly had a 32% lower risk of having a non-fatal heart attack compared to women who avoided nuts.

How can a high fat food such as nuts be good for the heart? The biggest danger to the heart and arteries comes from
saturated fats, found mostly in meat and high-fat dairy products. The fat in most nuts is unsaturated, the "friendlier" kind of fat that lowers LDLs, the so-called bad cholesterol. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are full of monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats similar to oils found in fish such as salmon.

2.Nuts are Nutritious!
Nuts are nutritious too. In the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, nuts are included with the protein-rich foods in the meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans category. A one-third cup of nuts provides about five grams of protein and is equivalent to one ounce of lean meat. Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts are particularly high in protein.

Nuts are also packed with essential vitamins such as A and E, and minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. And their high fiber content helps lower cholesterol, too.

3. Nuts for a Healthy Weight
People who eat nuts regularly do not typically gain weight. Some even lose weight! The nutrients and fat in nuts tend to make you feel fuller longer. When you feel full from a small snack of nuts between meals, you are less likely to have the urge to pig out at your next meal. Nuts seem to satisfy appetites without causing weight gain, unlike high carb, low fat snacks such as pretzels, which don’t seem to be very filling. The people who lose weight while eating daily controlled portions of nuts seem to naturally self adjust their calorie intake. This means they naturally eat fewer calories in later meals as a result of feeling satisfied from nuts.

But remember as with all things in life moderation is key!!!

**About 1 to 1-1/2 ounces of nuts are recommended per day to fall into the healthy category. This is approximately one handful.**

If you eat much beyond that, you’re eating a lot of calories (about 170 calories per handful of peanuts). Since it’s hard to practice restraint with the whole jar or bag nearby, get in the habit of taking your one handful in a special nut bowl, or use a recycled mint tin for a portable container.

If you're not a huge fan of nuts don't worry the article has recommendations for other ways you can include them in your diet...

Nut Add-ons

  • Toss a handful of nuts into a salad, stir-fry, pasta, or rice dish.
  • Sprinkle chopped nuts on yogurt or cereal.
  • Add nuts into the batter of breads, muffins, or other baked goods.
  • Top softened cheeses such as brie or camembert with chopped pistachios or walnuts.
  • Sprinkle chopped pecans on potato soup or hazelnuts on split pea soup.
  • Toss pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts with bleu cheese or gorgonzola on spinach salad.
  • Add toasted almonds or pine nuts to steamed vegetables and pasta dishes.
  • Mix ground nuts into breading for fish or chicken.
  • If you're counting calories though there are some nuts that are lower in calories than others...

    Lets take Almonds vs. Walnuts as an example
    - Almonds are a healthy source of calcium and make a great snack alone or in your favorite salad.

    - Walnuts are an excellent source of magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B6.

    But which one is lower in fat and calories????

    The Answer is ALMONDS!!! YAY ALMONDS!!!

    Almonds contain about 182 calories and 19 grams of fat per 1/3-cup, making them a good option when trying to add nuts to your diet.

    At 261 calories and 26 grams of fat, the same serving of walnuts is a little harder to handle. Of course, moderation is important.

    So there you have it my bloggy friends, the SKINNY on nuts!

    Star wars chipmunk from

    All nutrition information provided by

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Happy Fuzzy Moments!

    I got a message a few days ago from a fellow Jane Addict that made me clap my hand over my mouth and squeal before a huge smile was plastered on my face. Here's the message:

    Thank-you so much for your blog - I've read through all your posts since you posted the link on here and am signing up for SparkPeople right now!!
    I've been needing to make a change cause things are getting out-of-control and your blog has given me the hope that I can do it too

    I think your latest post is what has 'pushed me over the edge' - your list of activities (pre-new you) is me now and is a huge wake-up call

    I know something needs to happen but was a bit overwhelmed with everything

    Thank-you so much for your blog!

    This is why I blog! Thank you for your message! It was an incredible "aww shucks" moment for me... now come on... I have google analytics, I know people are reading this blog, and I know you're spending more than two seconds reading it too :) So basically I know you're reading not just groaning and leaving in less than 10 seconds as you realize this blog isn't loaded with sexy twi-guys.
    So I want to see someone else come out from lurking and tell us if you're going to try and make a change as well!!

    I've got nothing but love here for my fellow average Janes... nothing but love, good vibes and sunshine!

    Jane believes in you!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    I Survived A Three Week Vacation and Maintained my Weight

    It's Summer time which equals vacation time for a lot of us. I took my vacation early this year. I saved up and took my dream vacation to Europe for three weeks this past spring.

    3 Weeks

    4 Countries

    7 Cities

    I was panicking about my diet and how I would stay fit while I was over there. My biggest fear was that I would come back with an additional 5- 10 pounds of weight on me.

    However, I was happy to discover after the vacation that my weight was exactly the same as before I left for vacation. My vacation was loaded with gelato, pastries, chocolates, cakes, rich creamy soups, pastas, wine... and I was able to maintain my weight through the trip.

    So looking back I guess this is what I did to maintain:

    1. WALK!!!

    I walked very long distances every day. Before you think about hoping on the subway or hailing a cab, maybe think of the things you will discover if you walked the distance between subway stops... you won't see all the cute shops when riding on a subway, and you'll blow by them in an expensive cab ride.

    In one particular instance after over indulging in delicious ice cream at a shop in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin...
    Caffe e Gellato in Berlin

    we took a long enjoyable walk through the Tiergarten, a large foresty park in Berlin that is shady and very relaxing to stroll through....

    2. Take bike tours!

    Biking in Paris

    The Sis and I did bike tours in every city. She's huge into cycling, I'm an occasional bike rider, but definitely a spinning junkie (before I changed up my routine). Being stuck in a fish tank of a tour bus on a beautiful day was not my ideal way of exploring a new place. The bike tours were the best way to see all the major sites of the city and learn the history. We booked tours with Fat tire bike tours. If you're not big into cycling don't worry! You ride on beach cruisers, the routes are safe and bike friendly, and the biking is not strenuous - you move at a relaxed pace. But the point is you're still moving!

    3. Remember Not to Over Eat at Every Meal

    I can't recall a moment where I over ate to the point that I felt too full to move. I think European restaurants on a whole do not serve extremely large portions. Multiple courses were usually the norm and being that the sister and I were kind of trying to get by on the cheep we survived off an Entree usually. We rarely ever ordered an appetizer. You'll spend enough on water and other drinks anyway.

    4. Try your best to stay hydrated. I'm spoiled where I live. Our tap water is drinkable. The tap water doesn't always taste very good in Europe (in Rome it was the worst), and if it tastes strange I stay away. Keeping myself hydrated was a bit of a problem, buy some bottles of water to keep in your hotel room. But don't drink too much because public restrooms are not readily available.

    So here's an over view of my vacation....

    Barcelona! -

    In Barcelona Tapas were a fun meal to share, the portions were small so an order of three or four is enough for a light lunch the split with friends.

    Coffee's are not the "grande" portions we get over here at Starbucks. Just a small tea sized cup, but it's perfect. That means less sugar and less cream...less calories and less caffeine to upset my stomach. I could actually enjoy coffee because it wasn't in a big gulp sized cup.

    Sandwiches were on long narrow pieces of french style bread, however most of them were loaded with salty hams, which I'm not a big fan of, so I just went with a cheese sandwich usually.

    The Catalan style bread, which is offered at most restaurants is delicious too. It's a simple recipe of ripe tomatoes and olive oil spread on toast like butter.

    And the sangria... oh the sangria. So tasty!!! One pitcher is never enough. I also enjoyed the local beer, Estrella Damm (the star of Barcelona!) try it with Schweppes lemon they call it a Clara, I drank those all night long...mmm so refreshing! Also don't forget to order a few glasses of Cava it's a Spanish sparkling wine made in Catalonia.

    So after all that delicious eating and drinking, take a nice long walk in the Barri Gòtic (the Gothic Quarter). There's winding rambling narrow streets loaded with beautiful architecture, Gothic churches and shops, you'll discover something new at every corner.

    Or perhaps you prefer the modern and bizarre architecture of Gaudi (I think he was on drugs :))
    Park Güell sits atop a hill. We took the subway to the closest stop but then it was still a nice long walk up a hill to get to the park. Once you get there enjoy a nice relaxed stroll through this architectural fantasy land garden over looking the city.

    If you'd like to check out another view of the city, there are cable cars that run out over the Mediterranean Sea. All the pick up locations are located on the water front. However one of them is located at a park atop a step hill, Montjuïc, which is worth the steep walk up for the view alone.

    Paris -In Paris there is so much to see! After a meal you will have plenty of sites to walk to.

    If you're standing in line for the Eiffel Tower, make sure you get in the line for the stairs not for the elevator. If you don't have a bad heart or bad knees or some other medical condition that prevents your from breaking a sweat then you should be climbing those stairs! I know it feels like it will never end, but by the time you get to the second level the view will be worth it! And you just got a good work out!

    We went to the Eiffel Tower just as it was beginning to get dark. The lines were much shorter than during the day, but the views were spectacular. We saw Paris as the sun set and the lights came on.

    I LOVE ART, so my trip to the Louvre was like a comic book nerds trip to comic con. Every where I looked was another master piece. I flipped out every time I spotted a painting I studied in Art History...which was pretty often. The Louvre houses a collection of 35,000 works of art. I could have spent my entire stay in Paris and still not have gotten my fill there!

    I even dragged the Sis through all the European paintings in search of ONE Vermeer painting...I had to wander through several galleries, but when I got there all that was on the wall was a plaque that said the painting was being restored. So I have a picture of me pointing to the plaque with a big pout on my face. Vermeer Fail!  The point I'm trying to make though is that we spent all day constantly moving around during our trip to the Louvre.

    A little advice, order your tickets to the Louvre in advance, and take the Metro to the entrance underground the lines are shorter. But there will always be a line unless you show up on May 1st like we did one morning and the Museum is closed because that is the French "labor day". Be prepared for a huge crowd if you're looking to get close to the Mona Lisa.

    Do the Eiffel tower in the evening, lines are shorter and you get the see the city as the sun sets.

    And if the view at the Eiffel Tower wasn't enough...if you'd like to see another spectacular view of the city check out the area of Montmartre. Guess what it's on a hill, so that means more steps to climb!

    Make sure you take a trip outside the city to Versailles. We booked a bike tour of the Chateau. The grounds are huge so you see a lot more of them if you bike. We took our bikes on public trains out to the town to explore the market at Versailles which is definitely worth checking out. You can get anything you crave at the market. Fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bread, wine, a delicious hot seasoned potato dish mixed with ham and lets not forget the pastries. Then we biked over to the Chateau for a tour of the grounds and various little summer palaces. We took a break for a picnic of the goodies we got at the market over looking the Chateau before biking back to the main palace to explore the inside.

    ^-- Biking in the town of Versailles.

    Our picnic spread: baguette and a loaf of bread, strawberries, raspberries, 3 different cheeses, lunch meats of ham and salami, potatoes, 4 different types of pastries, and oh the wine. We ate like royalty (pre-revolution of course ;)) it was probably the largest and most delicious meal we ate in Paris.

    Yeah I know what you're thinking... that's a whole lot of food, but hell we were on vacation! We were eating lunch while looking at the Palace where Marie Antoinette lived! You have to live a little sometimes! Plus the food was all fresh, not fried or processed and we biked/walked it off afterward.

    Ich bin ein Berliner! -

    In Berlin the food was delicious and the prices were even better. Heavy creamy potato or asparagus soup, wiener schnitzel, sausages, chocolates, cakes, gourmet ice cream... you name it I probably ate it. I liked the food there best as you can see.

    Oh and can we talk about the beer for a hot minute. Hefeweizen is simply the name for wheat beer... I love wheat beer, it's delicious (it's whole wheat does that make it more nutritious too?? ;)) and we drank a lot of it. If you're drinking a lighter beer you're probably gonna end up having a piss race at some point in the evening reminiscent of your college days.

    So we worked all those heavy meals off by long walks around the city, walks through the tiergarten, dancing at clubs, and our hostel provided jogging maps and ipods so I even went for a jog one morning. I ended up doing a three mile route that took me around museum island... what a beautiful view!

    Ciao Bella! -

    In Italy portions of pasta are not huge. The American version of Italian food serves the large portions of pasta smothered in spaghetti sauce. In Italy the Primi Plati (first course) is usually pasta and is a not a large dish. They also don't cover the dish with tomato sauce, the sauces are usually light and mixed in with the pasta instead of slathered on top.

    The second course on a menu is typically a meat dish. Salads are good in Italy as well (better than Barcelona less frill than Paris, just good ol veggies!), however NONE of the restaurants in Europe served us a salad with a heavy creamy dressing like Ranch or Caesar. The waiters placed a bottle of olive oil and a bottle of red wine vinegar on the table with some salt and pepper and that was your dressing. Consider passing on creamy dressings even when you're not on vacation! They're added wasted calories to your diet!

    Typically I was filled with just ordering a first course and a salad.

    Warnings about Italian Restaurants!

    **A lot of times bread is NOT FREE but they will throw it on the table as if it were. Like at a lot of restaurants in America bread will just appear on your table... you don't ask for it, they just provide it to you. However at the end of the meal there might be a charge for bread per basket on your bill. Ask the server if the bread is included before you dig in to the basket. (Or skip it all together to save on the calories).

    **Also many restaurants in Italy will try to sneak in a cover charge simply to sit at the table. Most will have a note about the charge on the menu, but you should ask if there is one before you sit, we were also sidelined with that one as well at the end of an underwhelming over priced meal.

    **Tip is included! At the same restaurant that sneak in the cover charge, the server also tried to tell us that tip was not included. Servers in Europe are paid regular wages so tip is NOT necessary. Only a euro or two extra is necessary if the service is good, and in most cases I guarantee that it won't be good.

    So watch out when you're in Italy, they know you're tourists and try to take advantage. The dining experience in Italy left a pretty sour taste in my mouth. We did not encounter this problem in any other country though.

    Anyway, after that long winded side note. We also spend a night with our relatives who live on the Adriatic coast, and we learned how the regular locals eat.

    • The big meal is at lunch. Bread, a medium size pasta dish with a light tomato sauce with meat and peas, fresh asparagus with lemon and olive oil, and cheeses and lunch meats.
    • Diner was a meal of fresh lettuce, lunch meats, cheeses and a thin pita like bread.
    • Dessert was fresh strawberries drizzled with sugar and lemon juice, topped with fresh whipping cream (no extra sugar added). Even after dessert they scooped out gelato and said it was for digestion.
    Then of course there is the fresh wine they get by the barrel load from a local farm... Delicious!

    Keeping active in Italy was not hard to do! There is so much to see and the traffic that you will be doing a LOT of walking. The Colosseum, the Forum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the'll be doing a lot of walking around to find all of these locations.

    Word of advice! Tickets for the Vatican museum can be ordered in advance, we went on a Sunday morning with our advanced tickets.

    Passes for the Colosseum and the Forum can also be purchased in advance. We did not encounter a line at the Forum, however there was one we went right by at the Colosseum because we had a Roma Pass.

    When we left Rome we spend a day in Sienna which is a small town, and everything is walkable there's not point in hailing a cab. After that we were in Florence. You want to walk around Florence there's so much to see and lots of little shops to stumble upon and it's not a huge city. Make sure you take a trip to the Uffizi Gallery to see their incredible collection of Italian renaissance masterpieces (Botticelli, Titian, Da Vinci, Caravaggio... oh my!) and the Academia to see the David. You can do both in a day and you can walk the distance between the two museums.

    To get this view we had to climb 414 narrow steps to the very top. You want to do this!! You'll get that fantastic view of the terracotta tiled roof tops of Florence.

    So that was my vacation. My weight before I left was exactly the same as when I got back, despite not tracking my calories or going to the gym. Since I've been back I've dropped 15lbs.

    My point is that if you go on vacation for one week, two weeks, three weeks, do something to keep yourself active while you're away from home and your routine! Go for a hike in a near by park, rent a bike for an afternoon instead of renting a car, walk instead of taking a cab, take a stroll on the beach, play sand football with the kids, whatever it takes...stay active and do your best not to over eat at every meal! But remember you're still on vacation, it's not the end of the world or your diet if you enjoy a little dessert or a lavish meal!

    Dieting does not equal the death of all fun!

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Current Status

    And here is yet another segment on this blog where I rant/ramble:

    Current Mood: Elated!

    Current Weight: 199.5 (down 9lbs since I started the blog a couple weeks ago!!!)

    Currently Thinking about: How this is the first time in my entire adult life that I've been under 200lbs. I don't care if it's only half a pound under. I wanted to cry and jump up and down and scream for joy at the same time.

    I'm also thinking I'm going to splurge for once in my life and buy a Diane Von Furstenberg dress when I reach my goal weight! How fabulous would that look with my sunglasses!! Seriously look at this dress

    Look. At. That. Dress!!

    Currently NOT thinking about: That the number on the scale might be a fluke

    Currently looking forward to: Seeing Neko Case tonight!

    Currently wishing that: I wasn't at work!

    Currently listening to: Nothing actually... how boring.

    Currently Realized: Once I finish focusing on this life style change and that I can step back and take a slight breather... I need to make a career change.

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Men Do Push Ups - You can do them too!

    Push ups, the bane of my existence.  I'm always jealous when I see someone who can not only do a full push up, but also several in a row, and keep their form proper.  One day.  One day that will be me!  In the mean time I just keep chugging away at them, one at a time before switching to modified.

    Here's a little info about the importance of being able to do a push up from an article in the New York Times:
    The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.
    “You are just using your own body and your body’s weight,” said Steven G. Estes, a physical education professor and dean of the college of professional studies at Missouri Western State University. “If you’re going to demonstrate any kind of physical strength and power, that’s the easiest, simplest, fastest way to do it.”
    But many people simply can’t do push-ups. Health and fitness experts, including the American College of Sports Medicine, have urged more focus on upper-body fitness. The aerobics movement has emphasized cardiovascular fitness but has also shifted attention from strength training exercises.

    Let's look at proper form for a push up (thanks for for the details!):

    Regular Pushup:

    Starting Position

    Ending Position

    Starting Position

    Start with hands shoulder width apart on the floor and up on your toes, so that your body is supported, keeping your body as straight as possible.


    EXHALE: Bend your elbows and lower chest to 90 degrees at the elbows.

    INHALE: Push up so that your arms are straight, making sure your elbows aren’t completely locked.

    Try doing 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

    Special Instructions

    Don't lock elbows out completely. Look straight ahead and keep spine in a neutral position.

    Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders

    If that looks too tricky for you ladies it probably will be if you're just starting out. Right now I can do a push up but I can't get my elbows to a 90 degree angle yet. I'm still working on improving my upper body strength. According to the same New York Times article:

    Women are at a particular disadvantage because they start off with about 20 percent less muscle than men. Many women bend their knees to lower the amount of weight they must support. And while anybody can do a push-up, the exercise has typically been part of the male fitness culture. “It’s sort of a gender-specific symbol of vitality,” said R. Scott Kretchmar, a professor of exercise and sports science at Penn State. “I don’t see women saying: ‘I’m in good health. Watch me drop down and do some push-ups.’ ”
    So ladies, here's how you can modify your push up the proper way but still get an upper body work out:

    Starting Position

    Ending Position

    Starting Position

    Begin by getting down on yours hands and knees with your hands just outside shoulder width and slightly forward of your shoulders. Your knees should be directly aligned with your hips. Keep your abdomen tight and your spine in a neutral position.


    EXHALE: Bend your elbows and lower chest to 90 degrees at the elbows.

    INHALE: Push up so that your arms are straight, making sure your elbows aren’t completely locked. Try doing 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

    Special Instructions

    If you can’t go to 90 degrees at the elbow, just go to a comfortable position until you can work up to 90 degrees.

    Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders

    It's VERY important to note that when doing a modified push up you do NOT bend at the hips and "bow" your torso towards the floor. You need to keep your back and hips on a straight angle and lower to the floor bending at the elbows.

    Ok so now we can get down to the work out using push ups!

    I'll keep it simple so you can do this in your living room.

    Warm up:

    • High Knees in place for 1 minute (kind of like jogging in place but lift your knees as high as you can!)
    • 20 jumping jacks
    • 20 pile drivers (start standing feet shoulder width apart, place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side, twist and lower the body so that your opposite elbow meets your opposite knee then do same for the other side -- this is similar to doing a bicycle sit up but you're standing).
    • Rinse, lather and repeat at least 3 times. Your heart rate should be up a little and your muscles should be warmed up at this point

    Stretch your legs and arms after the warm up and we're ready to get started:

    • 10 Push ups (regular or modified)

    • After 10, hold in the plank position. A "Plank" is essentially the starting position of a regular push up. It's important to keep your back flat your hips low and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and your abdominal's (stomach muscles) toward your spine keeping the core tight hold this for 15 seconds work yourself up to 30 seconds.

    This is how a plank should look.
    Notice the body alignment is in a straight line.

    If you have a bad shoulder try a modified version of a plank like this:

    Now look at the video notice at one point Kellan raises a foot off the ground as he's doing push ups, that's going to be pretty hard to do starting out and takes a lot of strength in the core and legs so we're going to do something different but it will still work your back, arms, leg and stomach muscles if you remember to keep your abs tight instead of letting everything hang loosey goosey.

    • Opposite Arm/Leg Raises: Start on all fours knees and palms on the floor, suck that stomach in just like you did for the planks! Raise your left arm and right leg, remember to keep your back flat, spine in a neutral position. You want your body in a perfect line so do not over extend by reaching your arms or legs too high, keep them level with your back. Reach your arm and leg towards opposite ends of the room hold for 2 counts and switch to right arm left leg, reach, hold for 2 counts. Switch 5 times on each side.

    Now Look at the video again! At one point Kellan does a push up then raises an arm off the floor and twists to the side.

    • Back to Push Ups, but with a twist! Do a push up (which ever way you can, regular or modified) when you return to the starting position lift your left arm off the floor, twist your torso and reach your left arm towards the ceiling. -- At this point your shoulders should be in line with your arm that is reaching towards the ceiling your chest should be facing the wall to your left (if you raised your left arm). You don't want to just flop your arm up, you want to twist the entire upper body. -- Place the arm back down. That's 1! Lower your body into another push up, return to starting position now reach your right arm towards the ceiling twisting your torso as you go. That's 2! Do this for 10 counts, 5 on each side.

    Repeat the work out 3 times! Try save water breaks for in between each set of exercises, and make sure you stretch again when you're finished!

    So in a short list here's the work out!

    Warm up:

    High Knees for 1 minute
    20 Jumping Jacks
    20 Pile Drivers
    (repeat warm up 3 times)


    Work out:

    10 push ups
    Planks - hold for 15 seconds work yourself up to a longer hold time
    10 Opposite Arm/Leg Raises
    10 Push ups with a twist
    (repeat work out 3 times)


    Remember if you're just starting out do the best you can, take breaks when needed if you feel yourself start to fatigue. You need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but forget the "no pain, no gain" motto. Pain is not a good thing!! discomfort on the other hand means you're working up a good sweat! And DRINK plenty of water before during and after the work out so you stay hydrated. Wear clothes you can move in. If you have hard floors use a yoga mat or some towels for cushion on your knees and wrists.

    P.S. I just did the work out (minus the warm up, I was running around after a soccer ball for close to two hours as my warm up) and it's definitely going to get you sweating or maybe I was already sweaty and this made it worse! :) I would LOVE to know if you've tried it and how it felt! I'll update again on Saturday... I'll do the entire work out and see how I feel afterwords.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Current Status

    And this is the segment on this blog where I rant/ramble:

    Current Mood: Scatter-brained

    Current Weight: 203 (down 6lbs since I started the blog a couple weeks ago)

    Currently Thinking about: Getting this tattoo (on my fore arm?)

    I always think about tattoos but never actually get them. I'm chicken. Maybe it says something deeper about me having a fear of commitment, whoah there Dr. Freud. I am committed... to fitness baby! I'm in a committed relationship with myself right now. Maybe when I reach my goal I'll get this.

    Currently NOT thinking about: the cake in the office kitchen.

    Currently looking online at: Cupcakes (damn you "evil cupcake" google search)...look how awesome these are though, I am not craving a cupcake (don't even try to imply that I am!) I just thought these were cute and I love creative people:

    hello, who doesn't love super mario bros!

    apparently now the cookie monster has to eat vegetables too??

    Currently looking forward to: the prospect of playing perhaps two back to back soccer games tonight! :D

    Currently wishing that: I didn't guzzle a 1000ml sports bottle of water hydration is important!... whoah brb.

    Currently listening to: Song #990 on my ipod "Everything in it's Right Place" - Radiohead, I might be wrong live recordings.

    Currently Realized: I need to make sure I remember to keep tracking ALL my calories or else how in the world am I going to know if I'm meeting my goals!

    and now I am currently done rambling...time to get productive at work!


    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    When Dessert Attacks!!!

    Run for your lives! The Cupcakes are coming!!!

    I was a bad bad girl Saturday. I ate too much dessert. My parents had me over for dinner and my mom (love her but) still prepares enough food as if she has a ravenous pack teenagers still living at the house.

    I was ravenous though. I stupidly skipped lunch that afternoon. I had a boot camp session for one hour in the morning then a soccer training session in the afternoon for an hour and half. I ate a breakfast of three eggs and two pieces of wheat toast, but I skipped lunch because I can't work out on a full stomach. It makes me feel sick. I didn't eat anything after the soccer training because I was just flat BEAT and didn't feel like preparing food. So by the time dinner rolled around at the folk's house I was running on empty with nothing but a big bottle of pellegrino in my system.

    So at dinner, I probably had too much chicken but I needs me protein so I grow big and strong! I also had about a little more than a cup of rice and a good sized salad with fresh greens from Mom's garden, YUM! The food I can handle though, it's the dessert that's thrown in my face that always tempts me.

    My mom started making smores...Since I'm off chocolate it's not a terrible dessert choice. One sheet of graham crackers (that can be broken into 4 small crackers) is 68 calories one regular marshmallow runs about 25 calories. So that's a dessert for under 100 calories.

    However I didn't stop there....There was also fisher's popcorn in the house. For those of you uninitiated, fishers popcorn is a treat that you can only get in one place. Ocean City, Maryland (might I add my least favorite place, however it's worth it for the popcorn and thrashers french fries). So since we only get it at the beach that means it's a treat we only have around once a year. Aaaaannnd I had two handfuls of it. Yikes!!!!! Two cups of caramel popcorn runs you about 340 calories! WHOAH THERE!

    I could have stopped there, I should have stopped there...but then my mom was like "Who wants some ice cream?" Everyone else in the family was sitting around me enjoying ice cream, and I caved.

    Yeah I know I posted before about how to eat a proper portion of ice cream, but I had three scoops of vanilla Saturday night with a waffle cone. Waffle cone - 120 calories, ice cream 200 calories.

    For a grand total of 753 Empty calories consumed on dessert!!

    That's half my daily in-take! so even though I didn't eat lunch yesterday I still went over my daily allowance by about 250 calories! ouch!

    So I had a bad day, I fell off the wagon. What do I do now?

    Get the freak back on the wagon!

    I gotta pick myself up, dust myself off and hop back on the wagon!

    Even though I feel bad when I go over my diet limits I can't mope around and beat myself up about it! I'm human I've made many mistakes in my life I'll continue to make mistakes as a work my way through this life style change odyssey, but I can't let it get to me. I have to roll with the punches. Because other wise if I sit around and obsesses over that ice cream I ate last night, that would just be a downward spiral of eating more and laying around. A very bad combination.

    So what did I do Sunday? I went out for a run. I jogged a mile, stretched, did some lunges and then some sprint intervals around the track until the blazing mid-day sun made me call it quits.

    My meals Sunday were: A bowl of cereal for breakfast

    Lunch: A chicken breast sandwich (30z) one two slices of wheat bread with lettuce and a dab of ketchup and mustard.

    Dinner: Two pieces of chicken (thigh & leg, no skin) grapes and cheddar cheese.

    No dessert!

    And today I got up again and went to boot camp. So I guess my point is you just have to keep moving forward. If you slip get back on track the next day and the next day and so on and so forth.

    Another lesson I've learned thinking back on this weekend is that I need to stop skipping meals because it only makes me binge when my next meal rolls around since I'm so hungry by that point! I need to not fall into that trap of being too tired and lazy to cook and at least have a peanut butter sandwich or some bananas handy if I'm not in the mood to prepare something that takes more time.

    (Evil Cupcake from

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    If the Clothes Make the Man...Do They Make the Workout Too?

    The answer is no of course not, but you can't go working out in cut off jeans and boots. Some grunting lifter at my gym would probably disagree...or Simon Pegg in Run, Fat Boy, Run!

     Seriously this movie is hilarious... rent it!

    But what should you look for in work out clothes?

    Wear clothes that allow you to move.

    Comfort is key when it comes to work out clothes. My biggest problem starting out was finding work out clothes that looked nice and fit well but didn't cling and make me feel self conscious about my size. I went to my local sports authority and looked around the racks, feeling more and more self conscious at the size selection the big name brands had to offer. Adidas, Nike and Under Armour obviously weren't concerned with making clothes to fit bigger women. When I was about to give up hope and return home to my old ugly sweat pants, I walked further back in the store and success! Russel Athletic Apparel. They had a larger cut XL-2XL bottoms. All the other brands ran smaller for what was considered an XL.

    Another bonus, I didn't break the bank buying their products. Here's a Price comparison of 3 brands of moisture-wicking capri pants:

    Women's UA Form Loose Capri $54.99 (whoah there! over priced much?)
    - Armour®Stretch improves mobility and accelerates dry time with lightweight fabrics built in a 4-way stretch.
    - Strategic vent zones built into key points where the body dumps heat, keeping you cool, dry, and comfortable.
    - Loose fit that flows with your body movement.

    Women's Core Power Capris $45 (that's a little better)
    Fitted workout capris made for comfort and performance. The adidas Core Power Capris feature a wide waistband that won't bind as you move, and mesh inserts to boost breathability. The soft CLIMALITE® fabric sweeps perspiration away as you work out.

    Russel Athletic Dri Power Transport Capri $24.99 (ding ding ding!! we have a winner!)
    Ideal for the gym, outdoor training, and athletic activies, the Russell Athletic® women's TranSport Capri features Dri-Power® fabric, lightweight and breathable polyester with moisture management and a wicking finish. The covered elastic waistband with outside drawcord provides a comfortable, custom fit.

    And if you think the cheaper brand won't last as long, trust me, my gym clothes get PLENTY of use and I have yet to wear a hole in a single pair of the "cheap" brand pants. If you're losing weight you'll be spending plenty of money replacing all your regular clothes so you don't need to break the bank of your work out clothes.

    Here's some more tips that I found on for shopping for the right work out clothes:

    You don't want to choose loose-fitting or short shorts, and then not be able to use the machines or do floor exercises that require a straddle position...Long shirts with loose sleeves will also get in the way, and could even be dangerous if they get caught in the equipment. Loose-fitting tops are also not appropriate for yoga or Pilates because they can ride up during some of the moves

    High-impact activities require more form-fitting tops -- especially for larger-breasted women -- to minimize movement and promote comfort and support.

    Look for clothing that moves moisture away from the body as quickly as possible, a 100% cotton T-shirt will get soaking wet quickly and will stay wet... As a result, you'll be uncomfortable and may be tempted to cut your workout short.

    Take care not to overdress. A good rule of thumb is to keep cool by wearing as little clothing as you feel comfortable in (and is appropriate to the setting) because people exercise more vigorously when they are not overheated.

    For the Ladies (I know I have this problem)...
    Larger-breasted women can carry as much as five pounds per breast, making participating in high-impact activities like running difficult because of severe breast discomfort, says Elizabeth Goeke, executive vice president of Moving Comfort.

    These women should look for workout bras made specifically for their figures, with such features as adjustable straps for a custom fit and breathable fabrics to minimize chafing. Smaller-busted women will benefit from sports bras in their sizes.

    Wear proper shoes.
    Sure these shoes are hip, but they're NOT right for an extensive work out.

    When I got serious about working out I decided I needed new tennis shoes. My worn out pumas (that had no tread left) probably weren't the best for me to exercise in. So I went to a sports store that was a little more knowledgeable about shoes than say customer service folks at a dicks (not knocking them, but know how is important for finding the right shoe).

    There are shoes made for every type of sport out there, and there are also shoes for every type of foot!

    The folks at the store didn't tell me anything new or ground breaking about my foot that I didn't already know. I have a high arch, a wide foot, and I walk on the outside of my feet, but they saw that when they watched me walk barefoot. So, what they were able to do was match me with a shoe that will support my arch, was wide enough for my toes, and helped correct the outward rotation by having extra support on that side of the shoe. And it wasn't a pair of pumas. Once they convinced me that I needed to give up the labels and get the best shoe I was very happy with my purchase.

    I walked out with a pair of brooks (a brand I have never heard of before) but I have worn them down and they are in serious need of replacement. So I'll go back to the same place for my next pair.

    If you don't have a store in the area that can give you the same advice, remember these tips from

    Measure your foot frequently. "It's a myth that foot size doesn't change in adults," says Steven Raiken, MD. "It does change as we get older, so have your feet measured twice a year. Sizes also vary between brands, so go by what fits, not by what size the shoe is." Raiken is director of the foot and ankle service at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

    Shop toward the end of the day. Feet swell over the course of the day; they also expand while you run or walk, so shoes should fit your feet when they're at their largest.

    Bring your own socks -- the ones you wear while running or walking. If you wear orthotics, bring those, too. Shoes need to fit with the orthotic inside.

    Don't believe in breaking in. Running and walking shoes should feel comfortable right away, Raiken tells WebMD. Walk or run around the store a bit to make sure they feel good in action.

    Use the rule of thumb. There should be about 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe -- about a thumb's width. The heel should fit relatively tightly; your heel should not slip out when you walk. The upper part of the shoe -- which goes over the top of your foot -- should be snug and secure, and not too tight anywhere. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons writes that when fitting in to an athletic shoe you should be able to freely wiggly all of your toes when the shoe is on.

    Understand the bells and whistles. Some models of running shoes look better suited to a space mission than a run in the park, but some of those groovy-looking features actually serve a purpose. Clear inserts, filled with gel, Freon, or air, provide extra shock absorption, as do those springy-looking things. These features are especially good for people who tend to get heel pain, says Raiken, and not so good for people whose ankles twist easily, as shoes with extra cushioning tend to provide less traction.

    Some shoes allow you to pump up the tongue, which lets people with difficult-to-fit feet achieve a more customized fit.

    Don't over- or underpay. Good-quality running and walking shoes are fairly pricey -- and usually worth it. "A $15-shoe will not be as good as an $80-shoe," says Raiken. But you'll pay a premium for super-fashionable styles or those associated with a celebrity -- and they won't be any better for your feet.

    Know when to replace them. The average pair of running shoes should be replaced after about 350-400 miles of use, says Clifford Jeng, MD, a foot and ankle surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. Better yet, go by how your shoes look and feel. Once the back of the sole is worn out or the shoe feels uncomfortable or less supportive, it's time to take those tootsies shopping again.

    And here's another tip that really helped me several months ago:

    You don't have to wait until you're fit to look good while working out. In fact, experts say, what you wear to the gym can go a long way toward helping you stay motivated and confident -- and can even improve your workout performance.
    "Putting on a flattering outfit motivates people to actually go to the gym or to exercise outdoors in public," says performance coach Larina Kase, PsyD, MBA, president of Performance and Success Coaching LLC in Philadelphia.
    This, of course, raises the question: Just what is flattering? That depends on your individual body shape and size, says Kase.
    As a general rule, though, she suggests that black shorts, a sports bra, and a colored top -- lime green, soft pink, and shades of blue are in style right now -- are a flattering choice for most women.

    When I first started working out I had some new gym clothes, but then I started shedding weight and I looked just as shabby as ever. Every time I looked in the mirror at the gym there was one word that I said in my head "fat". I know I was being self defeating, but my ulta baggy clothes weren't doing me any favors in the self esteem department.

    I went out and bought new tops, bottoms, and sports bras that fit better (because guess what, your boobs will shrink...) I added a few colors as well. Suddenly I felt 100 times better when I looked in the mirror because my clothes weren't hiding my weight loss results!

    So make sure you update your work out wardrobe every once in a while with some better fitting clothes, you'll be glad you did! Since I'm all stocked up on work out clothes that fit better, I recently got some accessories water bottles and a new gym bag.

    My old gym bag was a worn out canvas beach bag. I actually found sand in one of the pockets when I went to take everything out of it. I found an addidas bag, and the selling point for me was a mesh compartment on the side that could fit a soccer ball... or my smelly shoes :)

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Less than 1% Point to GO!

    I weighed myself today and depending on which scale I got on I was at 203.5-205lbs (with breakfast and lunch in me--that's how I know the scale has definitely gone down!). I checked my BMI after that and I am less than 1 percentage point to go from moving out of the "obese" category and into the "over weight" category! This also brings my total weight loss to about 70lbs!! I am so freakin' excited!

    Not only am I excited that I have dropped 4lbs since starting boot camp two weeks ago but I have overcome another plateau in my weight loss and I am getting closer to my goal every day!!

    I am back on a 1300-1500 calorie a day meal plan (free on in case you haven't seen my post below about the site) Anyway, I just wanted to share what I ate today was so you can get an idea of what kind of foods you can eat for 1300-1500 calories a day diet:

    Trader Joe's Multi grain waffles x2 - 230 calories <- plain no butter or syrup Trader Joe's Yogurt (mixed berry) 6oz. cup - 130


    Romaine lettuce Salad 2 cups - 16
    Oil, herb & apple cider vinegar dressing 1tbs - 70
    Carrots, raw .25 cup - 16
    Cucumber (with peel) slices .25 cup - 3
    Amy's Kitchen Potato Leek Soup 2 cups - 360
    Peach 1 large (2-3/4" diameter) - 68

    Hot brewed tea w/ 1tsp of sugar - 19

    Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage 2 links - 200
    Whole Grain Spaghetti 1.5 cup - 260
    Spaghetti Sauce .5 cup - 71
    Strawberry's (medium 1-1/4" diameter) x 7 - 25

    Total calories: 1468 (right with-in my daily range)
    Total Fat: 53 (I went a little over my daily limit here)
    Total Carbs: 203 (I had about double my daily limit, but every thing I ate was whole grain)
    Total Protein: 55 (about double my suggested intake... don't think that's a bad thing tho :))

    So obviously there's some room for improvement. I ate too much fat today, and way to many carbs. I'm supposed to stay with in 30% or so of my daily intake. I have to think of other things to eat and try and stay in my range. But at least I'm carbed up and will be full of energy for my soccer game tomorrow!

    Also, can you tell that trader joe's obviously keeps me alive and functioning? I love that store!

    So I am also one step closer to earning these:

    the tortiose shell wayfarers, just like Audrey Hepburn wore in breakfast at tiffany's


    I promised myself I would buy them once I reached my goal. It might take another half year, but one day I'll own a pair. They're like the classic 1950's style sun glasses.

    It's a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
    Hit it.

    I Have to Give Up a Diet Vice for 30 Days

    This morning at boot camp one of the girls announced that she was giving up alcohol for thirty days. So our instructor very quickly suggested that we should all try to give something up in our diets for 30 days.

    I'm a fairly moderate person. I can still count the number of drinks I had this past week (yes even including 4th of July), and that's 6. If I can remember how much I've had to drink, I don't necessarily consider that a drinking problem. I can't throw down like I used to when I was in college, and with weight loss I definitely can't hold my liquor like I used to so I have learned to just take it easy.

    So... I don't have a drinking problem, I don't smoke, I don't drink soda and I don't drink coffee except on the rare rare occasion because caffeine hates me. (A vanilla latte a night will keep me up with the shakes and the worst stomach ache ever till 5 am, so yeah just the thought of coffee makes me pretty ill). I eat ice cream rarely, I hardly ever eat fast/fried food... I know what you're probably thinking I'm dull as a box of rocks. Yep :) I kind of enjoy my bland life style now....just because I tend to remember what I did on the weekends doesn't mean I don't have fun. To me fun is a good book, good music, a good full body work out or some soccer!

    But I'm not patty freakin' perfect. I do have my diet vices. I sneak chocolate at work. There's chocolate all over our office. I can count four bags of miniature assortments that I know of lying around here... and I know exactly where they are. Two are sitting in a file drawer behind my desk. No, they're not mine I never buy chocolate for myself. The office manager buys them for everyone. I'm pretty convinced they want us to be so fat we can't get up from our desks.

    I'm usually pretty good about staying away, but every so often I glance in the direction of the supply closet and a snickers or twix mini calls out to me. Especially if I'm pissed or stressed when I see the chocolate I don't say no. So I grab 1-2 pieces and quickly get rid of the evidence. Then I also try to convince myself that I can just let that one slip and don't count it in my calorie tracker. It's like a drive by chocolating.... no body saw nothin! It didn't happen right? Yea, who am I kidding...only myself.

    Obviously 1-2 might not hurt me but if I have 1-2 a day that adds up to a lot of calories through out the week. I don't know how many I grab through out the week because I don't keep track it's like my dirty little secret.

    My other vice... Cheese or pepperoni pizza... I don't eat pizza very often, and I NEVER order pizza even as a last resort I'll try to make due with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead. However pizza enters my household secretly at night by way of the sister and my other roommate. Both of them have metabolisms to die for and are fit. Jerkfaces! So once pizza is in front of me I can't say no, even if I try.

    Here's an example:

    I'm trying to catch up on True Blood and my sister comes into the living room and says: "I just ordered some pizza."

    If steam could come out of my ears it would. HOW COULD SHE??!!!!! Trust me the sister KNOWS I have a weakness. I have discussed this with her before and begged her to help me out by keeping it out of the house. Didn't work. All I'm thinking is if I can just get through this episode before it arrives then I'll go up stairs and get away from the pizza. But the episodes are an hour long and pizza arrives foiling my well laid out plans. I also hadn't eaten dinner, so I paused the show and rummage through our fridge (aka where food goes to die) for the remnants of my latest trader joes shopping trip. I have some sharp cheddar cheese and whole wheat bread. Ta-da! Grilled cheese sandwich, no butter...

    And it tastes like boring bland crap.

    And... there's still a ton of pizza in the living room

    And... all I want to do is finish watching true blood.

    And... my sister offers me pizza.

    And I want to kill her!

    I caved and had two slices, they were both on the small side, but this is what I'm dealing with here. I. can. not. say. no. to. pizza.

    So I know what I have to do now. I have to give up pizza and chocolate... two small occasional vices add up to one BIG vice. So that's it! For the next thirty days NO MORE PIZZA OR CHOCOLATE!!!! I'll keep you posed on how well I do. So far today I've had a 6 oz yogurt and 2 multi-grain waffles. I have a peach lying in wait for snack time.

    Perhaps I will develop a much more healthy habit as a result of this.  So if you have to give up one of your diet vices for thirty days what would you choose??

    Friday, July 3, 2009

    What Motivates You?

    What makes you get up and go? A good song? The drive to go that extra step, run that mile a little faster? Whatever it is there's something that makes you get up and go. Looking back there is definitely one thing that inspires me to get out there and work extra hard....

    Soccer, Football, the Beautiful Game!

    Why Soccer? (Or Football if you insist)

    To me soccer is passion, skill, beauty, frustration, pain, anguish, elation and glory! The game is inspiring, and the work out is amazing!

    Here's how I got into soccer...

    This image of Brandi Chastain is forever burned into my memory...

    In 1999 I was 17 and my only exposure to soccer was that it was a sport cliquey blonds played at my high school. Beyond that I didn't have a clue and certainly never had an opportunity to play it (plus I was a band dork and an art freak in high school, definitely NOT an athlete).

    July 10, 1999. Brandi Chastain scores the 5th game winning penalty kick in the FIFA Women's World Cup Final against China in California, she immediately falls to her knees and rips off her jersey in celebration. On the other side of the country I'm watching, jumping up and down screaming at the tv!!

    It was a major moment for me because for once in my life I was excited about a sport. I not only wanted to watch, I wanted to go out there and play! It was inspiring to see women playing a sport professionally, but also to see them get make that world wide....attention was just unheard of to me. If those women could play, maybe I could too??

    I love the sport because Women bask in the glory as well. Go US Ladies GO!
    USA Women take the gold in the 2008 Olympics. (I'm a bit disappointed that there seemed to be little news coverage of this state side from what I noticed. I think perhaps we were all a bit obsessed with our Golden Boy Phelps at the time?)

    Anyway, that image of Brandi was huge. It made it on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. That was huge for women's soccer, it was huge for soccer in America in general, because let's face it... it's not the most popular sport in our country. And now I think we have finally proven ourselves on the international stage -- Thanks to US Men's victory over top ranked Spain. One rule to remember in soccer is never under estimate your opponent because the moment you do let your guard down, the ball is in the back of your net.

    See those guys in the red, on the left I believe is Carles Puyol Saforcada, he's a defender and plays for FC Barcelona (that's right the FC Barcelona that won this years Champions League -- a team I'm also a fan of [read below] but hey, all's fair in love and war on the international stage.) In the center in the blue is the keeper and captain Iker Casillas who also plays for Real Madrid (yes he was captain when Spain won the Euro Cup in 2008) and on the right I'm pretty sure is Fernando Torres who plays for Liverpool in England's Premier League (Torres scored the winning goal in the Euro 2008 against Germany).

    And on the ground scoring a goal is Clint Dempsey, who used to play for MLS with the New England Revolution before being transferred to the bigger stomping grounds of Fulham in the Premier League.

    So we're not talking some second team that the US Men played against. We're talking about Spain's best. In fact the entire team is top ranked and had not been defeated in 35 matches -- 15 of which were played in this tournament. Ultimately the US lost to Brazil 3-2, but our perseverance in this tournament looks promising for the world cup next summer! And I think the rest of the world won't under estimate us now.

    Let's talk for a second about FC Barcelona shall we (cause it's my blog and I can talk about what ever I want :))

    If I had the opportunity to meet a celebrity like say Robert Pattinson...or the opportunity to meet Lionel Messi fell on the same day... I'm 99% positive I'd tell Rob to pack his bags for a flight to Barcelona because there's someone we have to see.

    Would I meet Robert Pattinson...

    Lionel Messi?

    I realize right now there was probably a collective cry of blasphemy by fangirls reading my little blog and you pointed at the screen and went... "him?" Oh yes, HIM! Messi is a God amongst footballers. He is considered perhaps the greatest player in the world. He is a force to be reckoned with.

    Messi gets some air and makes a header goal in the Champions League Final against Manchester United. Look at the panic on Van der Sar's (keeper in yellow) can't stop it! Let's see that from another angle...

    Still not convinced of just how amazing this man's talent is?

    Maybe you just need to see it to believe it? I did just that April 28, 2009.

    A photo from my trip to Camp Nou

    Being able to go to Europe was a dream come true for me, but being able to go to a game over there and witness the level of skill in the European arena was like I died and went to soccer heaven. I couldn't take my eyes off of Messi, he was jaw dropping. He's like a rocket with the ball. I fell in love with FC Barcelona that night. Barca is mes que un club (more than a club), they're a religion in Barcelona.

    I'm also a huge DC United supporter. Trash talk the MLS all you want, but we've got some good players over here (and I'm not talking about Beckham). I love this game and I want to see the sport succeed in the US so I will continue to support our league. Now if DC United and FC Barcelona played an exhibition match against each other then I might be in trouble. Maybe I'll just switch out of my screaming eagles jersey at half time into my barca shirt so I show equal love.

    Ok, Team Six Pack we get it you're obsessed with Soccer. What does that have to do with your fitness?

    Fall of 2000 I was away at college and joined the intramural soccer club. Keep in mind I had never really touched a soccer ball before at this point, but it was pretty low key. It was also the first time I started losing weight in my entire life. I made sure I went to every practice. Unfortunately, the team didn't get the college to officially sponsor us so we were never able to play formal games, just pick up games in the park...but that's the beauty of soccer, you only need a ball to play.

    Fast forward a few years. I had to give up playing while I finished college living in a big city. So I finished college, had a job...I finally had free time again. I was sitting on my butt watching the 2006 world cup when I realized, Hey, I should get back out there and play again.

    So after some searching online I found a local women's rec league. SCORE! but my work schedule only only permitted me to play on their summer session... fail! So I waited eagerly for the following summer and then I was back out there, over weight as hell, but nothing made me happier! I also knew that I was going to keep soccer as part of my work out from now on.

    My frustration with my skill and slowness on the field was another factor in wanting to become more fit. One of my biggest goals (aside from the weight loss) is to become the best soccer player I can be! Now that I'm serious about improving my fitness I've been spinning, doing sprint intervals, lifting, and after playing that first summer season, I found a job whose schedule allows me to play year round. I've been playing non stop since summer of 2007, and I played on two leagues last fall, women's and co-ed which was a bit more rough and fast, but that still = FUN in my book!

    I'm a defender, sometimes I play mid. My height has definitely been an advantage on defense, but my weight has not. I'm working on building up my speed so I can keep up with those little forwards and toning my muscles so I can improve my kick.

    This past week I started fitness boot camp, that's right my ass is getting up at 4:45 in the morning (but that's another blog entry). And starting soon I'm going to be working one on one with a personal trainer who conditions athletes to improve my skill with the ball. I want to do what ever it takes to be the best at my game! With hard work, I will reach my "GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL!"

    If you ever feel you can't reach your goals, take Messi's advice, Impossible is nothing!

    Lionel Messi - Free videos are just a click away

    Aww look at little Lionel! So adorable!

    So I want to hear from you, what motivates you to reach your goals? Soccer gets me running, how about you?