I Love Peanut Butter

June 25, 2015 5 comments

I guess I’m on a food kick this week – I feel like talking about products that might assist in weight management efforts, which makes a nice break from my recent exercise posts.

I’m probably the last person to find out about this, but in case I’m not, I thought I’d mention a peanut butter alternative I just discovered. Man, I love peanut butter but it is NOT diet food by any stretch! My friend Allison recently told me about powdered peanut butter, and I finally picked some up – they only seem to sell it at Target and I don’t go there very often. But I did last week, and I grabbed some chocolate PB2 (it was all they had – hey I’m not picky!). You mix it up with water, 2 to 1 (2 tablespoons of PB2 powder and 2 tablespoon of water).pb2

Basically, it’s peanut butter that’s been reduced to powder, most of the fat and oil has been pressed out.

This stuff is amazing. In a 2 tablespoon serving there are 45 calories. For 2 tablespoons of plain old regular peanut butter there are 190(!). That’s a huge win! You can mix it up with any liquid to reconstitute it, however I tend to use boring old water. Then you can eat it straight (uhh, guilty), you can smear it on a banana for an afternoon snack (also guilty), make a sandwich, or you can put the powder in a shake or pudding (mmm…so delicious and peanut buttery!). Whatever you like to do with peanut butter!

I’m a fan!

 

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Sunshine Raspberries

June 24, 2015 3 comments

I saw something new today in the produce section – Sunshine Raspberries.They appear to be a hybrid of regular red raspberries, and yellow raspberries. And beautiful to look at – gold with a shimmer of red around the edges!sunshineraspberries

I grabbed a box and when I got home I wolfed them down. I have to tell you, I find them to be the Holy Grail raspberry, based on my single taste experience. They are milder and less tart than red raspberries (the tartness is something that often leads me to avoid the red ones), and more flavorful and less bland than the yellow ones. In a word, perfection! I had to go looking online for an image though, because I ate mine too fast to get a picture.

I’m not sure if they’re widely available yet, apparently they’re a new item on the market, but I found mine at my local Safeway, so that’s a good sign for them being generally available.

Have you tried them yet? What did you think?

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I Am Prime

June 19, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s my birfday! Today I turn a prime number! In celebration of still being alive and healthy, I did my workout this morning and every time my body tried the old, “Come on, it’s my birthday, I’ll just take it a little easy” trick, I pushed a little harder. If the beads of sweat rolling off my body in waves during the cooldown are any indication, Mission Accomplished!

And today I’m off to a reenactment event with costumes, a little birthday party for me, and lots of friends and fun. Tonight to celebrate I’m planning to have some champagne and a cupcake with edible glitter on the frosting (sparkly!). I’m old enough now to know that anything else wouldn’t feel good anyway.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Irony and Balance

June 17, 2015 Leave a comment

I had to skip my regular workout this morning to go into the office for an all-day training session on work-life balance. I found this more than a little amusingly ironic.

Anyway, they can’t stop me, I’m on a roll! So I did my workout when I got home this afternoon. I noticed that I struggled a little more today than the last two days. Either morning is my most rested, best time to attack exercise, or my body is tired out and recovering from the last two days. Might be a bit of both, but I suspect that I’m more of a morning person where exercise is concerned, than an afternoon/evening person. Getting it out of the way early is how I prefer to operate, and apparently my body does too.

Something I’ve been mulling on lately is that I feel better physically when I exercise every day. As I’ve gotten older I have the regular aches and pains, and usually one part of me or another is giving me lots of trouble at a time. A few years ago it was my lower back. I finally got that squared away (spinal steroid injections FTW), and now it’s my left shoulder. The problem with the left shoulder issue is that often if I don’t do something about it, the pain will spread up my neck and trigger a migraine. You guys know I struggle with migraines already WAY TOO MUCH. I don’t really need this extra trigger. Fortunately exercising every day seems to keep the pain down, getting the blood and muscles moving really helps. Extra motivation for sure!!

Food has been great lately too. Even today – though I was in a training session all day, and they brought in lunch, it was something pretty darned healthy – salad, steamed veggies, rice, and chicken breast in mushroom sauce (I skipped the rice – to me that’s empty calories). Nice surprise to find such healthy options from a catered meal! My company has (finally) started moving away from pizza and burritos as default meal options for working lunches, and I really applaud the move!

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Focus, Focus

June 16, 2015 Leave a comment

This week I’ve started the Ripped in 30 DVD over again at Week 1. However, because I understand that if you do the same thing for exercise over and over your body will adapt and stop improving, I upped my hand weights from 5 pounds each to 10 pounds each on most of the moves. There are some moves where I have to switch to the 5 pounders (rows, front arm lifts – those are small shoulder muscles), but everything else I’m using 10 pounds in each hand.

I’m doing knees-down pushups, and modifying the side-plank hip lifts with the bottom leg bent and on the floor, but I’m still building muscle nonetheless, if my soreness this morning from yesterday is any indication.

I’ve decided I’ll spend the next 4 weeks doing this DVD again with higher weights and see where I go from there. I still enjoy the other workout DVDs I have, but I’m using them as a palate-cleanser lately – when I get bored with this workout I’ll pop one of those in to switch it up a little. Overall I think these Jillian 3-2-1 program DVDs are the best way for me to pack a full-body workout into a quick 20-30 minute session. That’s a workout that I can find time for every day, and still feel my whole body has been worked over by the end.

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Glamming it up!

I plan to do this kind of workout 4 to 5 mornings per week. This week I’ve done two already and it’s only Tuesday! The best motivator is getting results, and I’m definitely seeing them. My arms, chest, shoulders, legs – let’s just say everywhere. I’m seeing better muscle mass and definition all over.

I’ve also recommitted to tracking my intake on MyFitnessPal. I tend to fall on and off that wagon. Sometimes my food intake is so repetitive and predictable that it’s not really worth noting. Other times I want to get a window into what’s really going on if I’ve let things get a bit lax. I’m putting my workouts in as “Circuit training,” I’m not really sure how else to categorize them.

This weekend my husband and I had a glam evening out with some friends. I was very happy to find that I can still wear my fanciest evening gown – I hadn’t put it on for about a year and a half so I was worried a little! I definitely credit my regular workouts and food tracking to keeping everything in check! It may be boring, it may be repetitive, but it’s effective and it beats the alternative.

AI for Calorie Counting is Coming!

June 15, 2015 Leave a comment

A friend in Sweden just directed me at this story about Google’s research engineers working on an app that can count the calories and nutritional values in your food based on a  photo of your plate.

There’s no word yet on when it might be available (*sigh*), but this Popular Science article gives a little more info about the science behind it and the process that goes into developing the program logic. There will definitely be a ramp-up period while the algorithm gathers data and starts learning and building intelligence, so we may need to allow a burn-in grace period once it’s released before it’s really ready for showtime.

I’m excited about the potential for this new tool, how ’bout you? It seems we’re really living in the future now – bending technology to our real-world needs!

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Business Trips, Treadmills, and Kettlebells, Oh My!

June 12, 2015 1 comment

Last night I got home from a business trip to Portland, OR. I manged to get in a workout both nights I was there, even though I had to go pretty late for me – after dinner and other work obligations I didn’t get to the gym until 9:30pm or so both nights. I don’t mind though – I feel better when I work out and I like a deserted gym. If I don’t work out my body starts aching and reminding me I’m getting old. Better to just get it done! Anyway, I didn’t feel like making up my own weights or circuit training routine after long days of meetings so I just ran on the treadmill for a half hour each night and called it good.

Food on business trips can be tricky, and this trip was no different, but I managed my morning oatmeal each day, avoided the meeting-room donuts (they used to be cryptonite for me but now I just remind myself how gross I feel physically when I eat that much sugar and it’s easy to pass), did my best to limit my portions at lunch since the catered lunch was always sandwiches and chips and cookies (passed on the last two, obviously), and worked on only eating until I was satisfied – not full – for dinner.

This morning at home again I did the kettlebell workout for the second time and upped my handweight to 10 lbs (I would have gone to 8 but I didn’t have an 8 lb weight on hand). Most of the swings and presses were no problem, but I expect to be sore in both my legs AND my arms tomorrow. I worked more on form today so I am really feeling it in my hips and quads already – they’re a little shaky right now. Sign of a good workout!

Maintenance – just one long journal entry about exercise and diet. I’d like to come up with some kind of useful insight or inspiration occasionally but I think this is it – it’s a long slog, and staying the course can be made easier with variation and shooting for small improvements.

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