Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fruit Salad with Key Lime Greek Whip

Hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas. Mine was pretty awesome. Lots of time with family, always nice.

My sweet husband surprised me with fitness equipment! It was a tad early, but much appreciated none the less.

Treadmill and power rack! He loves me ;)

Our home gym is coming along quite nicely. He even made me a little office space!

The best part of having a home gym is that you can train on Christmas eve...

And Christmas day!

So onto the recipe! This is a good one :) a keeper

A make again recipe, the kind you have memorized.

I am so tired of making this, but I will still happily eat it! Literally, we had SIX Christmas parties this year- and I was asked to bring this to FOUR of them. The other two must not know about it yet, or else I would have probably been making it for them too!

I think the reason this dish is such a hit is that it is super healthy but still perceived as being a delicious treat by everyone. I like to bring it because I know there is something highly filling there and on plan for me. Always a win. Take a look at the nutritional stats at the bottom too. This delicious concoction is pretty impressive!

P.S. Do not skip out on the key lime Greek whip- it is what makes it special, k?

Fruit Salad with Key Lime Greek Whip

Serves 16

Fruit Salad

Choose from the following, try to choose at least from each color of the rainbow.

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Ruby Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Clementine Oranges
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Grapes (Green, Red, or Purple)
  • Kiwi
  • Blackberries
  • Lime
  • 1 tsp honey

Rinse and combine, cut fruit into bite size pieces as needed. To keep fruit fresh longer, I like to squeeze one fresh lime over the fruit and toss with honey, it also gives the fruit a pretty gloss.

Key Lime Greek Whip

  • 8 oz container of Cool Whip Lite
  • 32 oz container of 0% Fat plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer Fage)
  • 1 box Sugar Free Jello Cheesecake Pudding Mix
  • 6 key limes or 2 regular limes, zest reserved

In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt with box of pudding mix and zest of 1 lime. Add the juice of 2 limes. Mix well. Fold in container of Cool Whip. Garnish with remaining zest.


Nutritional Stats

Per 1 cup of fruit salad and 1/2 cup of  key lime Greek whip

  • Calories- 134 kcal
  • Carbs- 27g
  • Fat- 0g
  • Protein- 6g

Monday, December 23, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Brownies

From October to January, I get obsessed with pumpkin. It is an annual thing, I suppose.

Pumpkin even makes its way into my coffee. Have you tried this yet? I am addicted. I need to stockpile it.

Anyway, last year (yeah, I have been holding out on you guys) I came across this recipe on one of my fave fitness blogger's site- Fit Foodie Le. She is awesome, check her out!

I have been making these pumpkin brownies every since then. And the nutritional stats are not too shabby either, especially compared to traditional brownies!

Spiced Pumpkin Brownies

  • 1 box of brownie mix (for 9x13 pans)
  • 1 can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix (or just cinnamon, up to you!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (dark or semi sweet milk)

What you do-

Set oven to 350*F. Mix batter just until no big lumps but not too much! I reserved about a TBSP of chocolate chips for the top. Spread into a 9x13 dish (or you can use whatever pan really) and cook until toothpick comes out of the center clean. It is close to the cooking times on the box. Cut into 15 bars.

I made double for a party!

Enjoy, with some sparkly water :)

Nutritional Stats

(per 1/15th of recipe)
  • Cals 141
  • Fat 6g
  • Carbs 23g
  • Protein 2g
compared to a traditional brownie
(per 1/15th of recipe)
  • Cals 356
  • Fat 20 g
  • Carbs 43 g
  • Protein 4 g

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Flaw of Pictures

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting several of my dear Venus friends in person, actually it's my third time meeting different friends in person. 

We have developed relationships over the past year or two. As crazy as this sounds, I feel like I know them as well as a friend who lives in my own city- I know about their families, jobs, struggles, and victories. I have seen their pictures- selfies to professional photos. So you would think meeting them would mean no surprises. 

You can recognize everyone, almost instantly. Some take a bit longer to process than others, and women's hair is usually the most recognizable feature.

Everyone looks smaller in person. (I hear this about celebrities too, which makes sense). But I am not just talking about height. I am talking about the perception of circumference. In 3D- the bodies' circumferences look smaller. The rippling muscles are there- but you do not study them like you do a still picture. Also, muscles just do not look as pronounced as the camera lens sees, and part of that is because we do not walk around water depleted in daily life. 

Everyone looks younger. They are not just an image. There are people in there with heart and humor and brains. The personality behind the look just makes it even better. They are not just a body, void and meaningless. 

So this is the flaw with pictures: Everyone looks better in 3D. Everyone I have ever met. 

We know that the scale can not tell the whole story at times. Especially the closer you get to golden or "the look". We know, that at a certain point close to goal, that even metrics are meaningless. 

I will tell you that there is a point where the mirror is even an issue. It's actually mostly your very own head that is the real problem.  We all are our biggest critics. What we focus on once we are "there"- nobody else sees.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a point where pictures are useless too. The human eye in real life (looking at another physique, not your own) can detect minutia. Details that just go unseen in pictures.  Finding someone with a trained eye, whose opinion you trust and who understands your goals, can be invaluable to your personal journey. I know it is in mine. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Last 10 Pounds

Or the last 2" inches of waist for my girls who are focusing on metrics... 1" of waist is equal to approx. 5 lbs for most women. How do I get to the goal? I am almost there! This is one of the questions I get asked the most frequently.

In theory, you are almost there. It should be easy. But it is not always.
  • You look good enough in clothes- self sabotage, anyone?
  • People do not understand why you are still trying to change, so you get blowback. (Hint, keep it to yourself!)
  • The smaller amount of fat reserves on your body limits the amount of fat you can burn.

Here is my take on it. In the past, I have jumped up an inch to an inch and a half in waist after cutting for pictures. So I have been where you are several times. I am happy to say this time is different. I have not rebounded whatsoever.

5 tips to get the last 10 pounds off

1. If you were cutting pretty intensely- you may consider doing a Reverse Taper with your calories.
As you approach your goal weight/metrics, your calories slowly increase to maintenance. You arrive at goal eating almost maintenance.
  • So at 2" from waist (or +10 pounds)- you are approx. -500 cals a day from maintenance.
  • Then when you get to -1.5" (or +7.5 lbs) you are -400 cal a day from maintenance.
  • At -1" from waist (or + 5 lbs) you are -300 cals a day from M.
  • Finally at 0.5" (or +2.5 lbs) you are -200 cals a day from M.
Then you just will tweak up to M cals. Doing this instead of frantically cutting leads to less of a "bingey" feeling and less likely to rebound hard. It will take a bit longer, so plan accordingly. But it is worth it.

2. Do not overkill with the cardio. I say no more than 3 hours a week of anything moderate to intense. That is my personal limit. I prefer 1-2 hours. Your threshold may be different, you will have to play with it. Around 2-3 hours per week is where most everyone that I know falls. What happens when I go past this? I just get crazy in the head hungry. I make poor food choices and am hungry/cranky- HANGRY! Not worth the little extra burn. I am better off watching my cals more tightly.

3. Add in more lifting days if your lifestyle allows it. Those of you only doing 3 days a week should strongly consider adding a 4th. Those of you lifting 4 days a week should consider 5 days. The key is to add it in slowly. You do not want to risk injury by over-stressing yourself. Make sure to take rest days as needed. I tend to need one every 7-14 days.

4. Focus on the inputs. There is little to no output at this point in the game. Your weight and metrics are only going to change veeerrrry slooowwwlllyy from now on. Do not expect to rack up inches and pound losses each week. So instead focus on hitting your workout and calorie goals.

5. Take pictures. The scale is basically useless at this point. Do not let it dictate your emotions. Once you get within the last inch, the measuring tape becomes useless. Pictures will tell the story. They do not lie. I take them weekly. And front-back-side selfies in the mirror are just fine.

One of my new pictures from the recent shoot

The last 2 inches of waist are what divides average from great in physiques. You can see it in a bikini. You are capable of it, do not sell yourself short from your goal.