31st Jan2010

Mamavation Monday

by Daenel

A new week and a new month full of new beginnings, but first let’s reflect on last week’s challenges and successes…

I ended last week on bad note exercise wise, I didn’t do a full workout for 2 days, instead I did 15 minutes on the Weider Step Machine and I walked around my neighborhood (which is mostly up hill). I don’t count these as full workouts because they weren’t regimented or formal type deals like with the EA Sports Active or a DVD. But I will go back to following the 30 Day Challenge (high intensity) this week.

As far as eating goes, I used a meal plan and cooked just about everything from scratch. My family loved it because they got to eat wholesome meals every night that were both nutritious and delicious and I liked it because I knew what we were going to eat every day. I’ll be making another meal plan later tonight (have to take inventory and see what I have).

My challenges for this week were:

~ getting in 10,000 steps (It seems like no matter how much walking I do, I can only hit a certain point over 5000, incredibly frustrating)
~ drinking water (I hit the over 64 oz per day only twice this week, so I definitely need to work on that)
~ eating slowly (maybe if I weren’t multi-tasking, I’d be able to enjoy my meals but I’m usually working on several different things at once while eating)
~ eating vegetables (this is a big bone of contention in this household – I love fresh, the family loves canned)

My goals for this week are to start training for a 5K. I haven’t found a race in my area or anything so this may end up just being my own personal goal which is fine with me. However, having something to look forward to would make things more fun. I will also work on water intake (especially since I plan to start running, have to stay hydrated). Pete Cohen suggested setting down the fork or spoon as we chew in order to slow things down when we eat, so I’m going to give that a try. I’m also going to focus on getting the right amount of sleep. I’m a bit of an insomniac (vicious cycle of sleepiness, coffee, sleeplessness).

If you’re looking to lose weight or make some healthy lifestyle changes, I would recommend that you find a support system of like-minded people. Trying to do this on your own can get frustrating and lead to feelings of failure. Having people send you emails or tweet out support helps a lot.

30th Jan2010

Gold Star for Daenel

by Daenel

If you can’t acknowledge your own accomplishments, how can you expect others to do so? I think that’s probably the biggest lesson that I took away from Pete Cohen’s session today. He asked us if we’re proud of ourselves for making it as far into the program as we have and I have to say, yes, I am pretty darned proud of me. The last 30 days have been so full of win that I can barely stand it!

So far these are my accomplishments:

~ Started an exercise program and stuck with it for longer than a couple of days
~ Lost a total of 8 lbs (gained back 2 lbs)
~ Adjusted my cooking and my eating habits
~ Formed a circle of friends who share my goals and concerns
~ Learned to accept that I will have bad days but that doesn’t make me a bad person

I’ve also learned a few things:

~ I really do enjoy working out
~ I’m capable of doing more than I thought
~ My family is much more supportive than I ever thought they’d be
~ Having a network of people with the same goals is incredibly important

30th Jan2010

Mom, We Love What’s for Dinner

by Daenel

I am happy to report that my experiment with menu planning went really well! For the most part, I stuck to the menu as stated (you can see pictures of the meals here). The only two times I veered off course were Monday (forgot to make the steamed broccoli but no one even noticed, they were so busy sucking down the shrimp piccata) and Friday (ended up not cooking because I had a large lunch with my husband and the kids were perfectly happy making sandwiches).

I was incredibly surprised that things went so well. I thought it’d be a chore to make a full meal every day but it wasn’t. In fact, it was nice knowing at the beginning of each day what that night’s dinner was going to be. And the fact that I had done the grocery shopping based on the week’s meals meant that I wasn’t running to the grocery store to pick up missing supplies (no wasted gas and no money spent on useless items ~ I can never bypass the trail mix without picking some up). Furthermore, it meant no mindless snacking at night because I was hungry (incredibly helpful since my goal is to lose weight and become healthier). It also felt good knowing that my family was eating a healthy meal made, for the most part, from unprocessed foods.

Another exciting benefit was that I tried foods I have never had before (lamb, anyone?) and recipes that challenged me (yes, I substituted red wine for white wine!). I’ll definitely continue with menu planning and shopping according to the meal plan (Saturdays and Sundays will be free days). Overall, it simply made life easier and tastier. I’ll also try to incorporate something new and different into the menu so that we can expand our culinary horizons. Naturally, I’ll be posting my menus here, so be on the look out.

What about you? Do you plan your meals ahead of time? Tell me your family faves. And please, please, please share some recipes with me, I love trying new things.

27th Jan2010

Weigh~In Wednesday

by Daenel

Today is Weigh In Wednesday so I’m gonna keep things simple in this post:

Bust ~ 38 in
Waist ~ 34 in
Abdomen ~ 37 1/2 in
Hips ~ 42 in
Thigh ~ 25 1/2 in
Weight ~ 157.4 lbs

Well, I gained 1.4 lbs but I did lose some inches so I’m not complaining…

EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge: Day 2
Minutes ~ 26.48
Calories ~ 158

Minutes ~ 20

Steps ~ 4016 (I know I did more but my pedometer didn’t register them so…)
Miles ~ 2.598
KCal ~ 178.8

Coffee with 1 tsp of sugar and 3 tsps of cream
Oatmeal with 1 tsp of sugar and 2 tsps of raisins

Leftover Harvest Pot Pie

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts
Apple Raisin Baked Pork Chops

33.8 oz

PS I will update this at the end of the night….

26th Jan2010

I Want to Run a 5k

by Daenel

Yes, I said it. I want to run a 5K. That may not seem like a lot but to someone who has not run in over 13 years, that’s a big deal. I like having a challenge or a goal to accomplish. For the past 30 days it’s been completing the EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge, now I need something to feel the void. Yes, I’m going to redo the challenge at the high level of intensity but I need more.

Part of me thinks I’m feeding off some endorphins but the other part of me knows this is a sincere desire. I’ve always admired women who run marathons or speak in the “language of K.” To me they always represented something that I could never be ~ athletic, fit, healthy, beautiful, graceful, coordinated…. But I can be those things. Finishing the 30 Day Challenge helped me to realize that I can be the person that I want to be.

In order to become that person, I’m going to have to make some nutritional, physical and behavioral adjustments. Pete Cohen asked us to make a list of the “tools” that we plan to use to move towards being a better version of ourselves, so here are the tools I intend to use:

Nutritional Tools
~ Eat natural Foods – I have been cooking just about everything from scratch this week and relying as little as possible on processed foods. My goal is to slowly phase out as many processed foods from our diets as possible. Remember, I’m cooking for a family, I don’t want to shock them.
~ Drink 64 oz of water – This has been one of my biggest issues. For some reason, when I drink water from a bottle I don’t have a problem getting the proper amount but when I drink from a glass…issues. So now I have a water bottle. Yeah, I’m weird.

Exercise and Activity Tools
~ Walk for 30 minutes every day – This’ll be tough because I’m a “weather wimp” (thank you, Holly). If it even looks like it’s gonna rain, I’m in the house. I must overcome my fear of the cold, rain, snow, sun, fog, wind, etc.
~ Do 2 to 3 activity sessions per week – Well, I’m continuing the 30 Day Challenge (high intensity) and next week I plan to start training for the 5K. I don’t think this will be a problem. Unless the weather gets involved

Behavioral Tools
~ Eat slowly – I was in the Army and I live with 4 teenagers, I’m used to having to wolf down my food if I want to eat. I will stop and chew, stop and chew, stop and chew
~ Eat only when hungry – I eat when I’m bored, tired, upset, happy, excited… I just eat. Pete says one of the best ways to determine if it’s true hunger or thirst that I’m feeling is to do one of two things: 1. rate my hunger (1 being not really hungry and 10 being starving) or 2. take a drink of water and seeing if the hunger pains abate. I have to drink water anyway so….

EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge: Day 1
Minutes ~ 50
Calories ~ 302.4

Steps ~ 4575
Miles ~ 2.96
KCal~ 203.7

Coffee with 1 tsp of sugar and 3 tsps of cream
Bowl of Cheerios

Mango Coconut Soy Joy Bar

Rice Piccata

Trail Mix

Harvest Pot Pie

67.6 oz

Disclosure: I received membership to the Pete Cohen 21 Day Challenge courtesy of Mamavation

26th Jan2010

I Did It!

by Daenel

I finished the EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge this morning and I am so proud of myself. The last time I stuck with an exercise program for longer than a week was when I joined the Army (and that was a long time ago).

When I started this challenge, I couldn’t even exercise longer than 5 minutes without getting totally winded. Gosh, I remember for the first week afterwards my body was so sore that I thought I’d never walk straight again. And that was on the easy intensity level. After the second week, I was able to push myself to the medium intensity level and cycle through the workout two times. Sometimes I would even go for a full hour…

Now I can run up and down a flight a stairs without keeling over. I have more energy than I know what to do with and I genuinely feel better about myself.

So how did I celebrate my accomplishment? By beginning the 30 Day Challenge again, only this time I’m doing it at the high intensity level. As I stated before, I will start recording my stats again. Between this and the 21 Day Challenge with Pete Cohen, I know that I will meet my goal of being healthier.

25th Jan2010

Product Review: Kashi TLC Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bar

by Daenel

At the beginning of the month I started an exercise program in an effort to lose a little weight. As part of that program, I’m always on the look out for healthy snacks that I can munch on during the day ~ gotta stay away from the candy bars and all that other fattening stuff, know what I mean? As far as snack foods go, I really only have two requirements:

~ Nothing too high in calories
~ It cannot taste like cardboard

So when I received my Kashi TLC Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bar, I was a little skeptical… I mean, I like trail mix. No, scratch that, I love trail mix but this bar looked a little, um, “grainy.”

I was in for a tasty surprise! Made of 7 whole grains, ripe cranberries, plump raisins, toasty almonds and sweetened with a touch of honey, that little bar was both delicious and filling. Yum! Furthermore, it’s only a 140 calories with 3g of fiber and 6g of protein.

I like that I can just pop it in my purse and go, no grabbing unhealthy snacks from the vending machines or buying a candy bar at the check out line. If you’d like to try a free sample, just click here and pick the Kashi product you’d like to try.

Disclosure: I received the Kashi TLC Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bar as part of Kashi’s free trial program

25th Jan2010

Day 1: Pete Cohen’s 28 Day Challenge

by Daenel

Today is the first “official” day of Pete Cohen’s 28 Day Challenge for the Mamavation Mom applicants. I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this…. I’ve never had a personal weight loss/life coach before so I’m totally feeling like a celebrity. I consider Pete a life coach because he’s helping us to not only lose weight but make life changes that will keep the weight off. He’s helping us to change the way we relate to food and how it relates to us on an emotional and physical level. That is huge!

Last night we had our first meeting and it was so fun. Technology is crazy cool! Anyway, during that meeting, Pete extended several challenges to us:
1. Find time for ourselves and just relax
2. Give ourselves permission to have a bad day
3. Reduce sugar intake
4. Live like the person we want to be
As part of the program, I’m going to start tracking my food and exercise again. I had stopped because it became a tad bit tedious (and probably boring for those who were reading it) but I really need the accountability.
So here goes…
EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge: Day 29
Minutes ~ 16.27
Calories ~ 120.6
Step ~ 1703
Miles ~ 1.102
KCal ~ 75.8
Coffee with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cream
Nuts and fruit trailmix
Kashi Trail Mix Bar
Shrimp Piccata and Rice
8 oz (Notice how I’m drinking water in the picture, yet I still didn’t get the full 64 oz?)

Disclosure: I received free membership to the Pete Cohen 21 Day Challenge courtesy of Mamavation
25th Jan2010

Mom, What’s for Dinner?

by Daenel

That’s the first thing my kids ask me when they walk through the door at the end of a long school day. Sometimes they even ask me that question as I’m driving them to the bus stop in the morning. I used to just mutter something along the lines of not knowing and not caring. Really, who’s thinking about dinner at 6:30 AM? I’m not. Usually I’m thinking that education is highly overrated and my kids really don’t need to learn reading, writing and ‘rithmetic….

Well, this time I’m staying one step (or maybe it’s seven steps) ahead of the game. When they ask me what’s for dinner, I’ll just point them to my blog (I could use more readers anyway). I’m creating this meal plan in the hopes that it will help me to stave off the munchies and I won’t sabotage my weightloss goal. Naturally, I’ll let everyone know how this goes this weekend. Until then, here’s the menu…

Shrimp Piccata
Steamed Broccoli

Harvest Pot Pie

Cavatelli with Brussels Sprouts
Baked Pork Chops

Braised Lamb with Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Cheese

Fish Chowder

Chicken Parmesan
Mixed Vegetables


I’ll be going to the grocery store later this morning to pick up all the ingrediens so, hopefull, I will find everything I need. If not, I’ll make some changes but, for right now, that’s the plan. Naturally, I will post pictures and recipes.

24th Jan2010

Mamavation Monday

by Daenel

This is a big week for me…. Tonight I have my first “official” meeting with the Mamavation Sistas who will be participating in Pete Cohen’s 28 Day Challenge and on Tuesday I’ll be finishing the EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge. I also feel like giving up. I seriously feel like throwing up my hands and just scarfing down everything in sight.

Isn’t that funny? I’ve made it this far and I’ve lost about 10 lbs since I started this program at the beginning of the month, yet I feel like quitting. I’ve had two really bad days eating wise:
Saturday ~ I had a Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich, medium fry and medium Cherry Coke for dinner. I’ve gone all month without any fast food, but last night I was so hungry and I really needed to eat. Yes, I could have gone to the grocery store and bought some “real” food but it was just easier to throw on my slippers and go to the drive~thru.
Sunday ~ I ate a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, bowl of Cheerios, apple, macaroni and cheese, ribs, half a pork chop and a bowl of Raisin Bran. I’m almost certain I ate more than that but for the life of me I can’t remember what. How insane is that?
I feel like I’m purposely sabotaging all of my success and I’m not certain why I’d do that.
I’m also feeling a little bit frustrated that I’m not seeing any changes in my body. I mean, I can see the numbers on the scale going down but my jeans are still snug and my belly is still sitting in my lap. I want to see some changes.
Don’t worry though, I’m not gonna give up. I’m going to make some more adjustments and see how things go from there.
To avoid days like Saturday and Sunday I’ve decided to make a menu plan for the week and do the grocery shopping around the meal plans. My hope is that I’ll have dinner made every night and I’ll avoid the munchies and the drive~thru window.

22nd Jan2010

Small Talk Six Ways I Came ThisClose to Losing It

by Daenel

I love my children. I love my children. I love my children. Do you know how many times I repeat that phrase? More times than I care to count. Why? Because on a daily basis my children push me until I’m on just this side of sane. So Karen C. at Momdot.com wants to know how they tested me this week? Well, I’ll tell you…

1. My son, the light of my life, the source of most of my frustration. Every semester we have the same problem, the boy refuses to do his homework. It’s not that it’s hard. The kid is absolutely brilliant (his science group won some sort of NASA contest). His teachers say that he participates in class and that he’s a smart kid, he just doesn’t want to do his homework. When I ask him why, he simply shrugs his shoulders. Sigh. Needless to say, my son is now without all of his electronic toys.
2. My children have a few chores that they absolutely must do around the house because, well, I said so. The one chore they seem to have the hardest problem with is cleaning the kitchen. This is especially true of my youngest child. They have to load and unload the dishwasher, put the leftovers into storage containers and refrigerate, wash the sink, table, counters, stove and refrigerator. They also have to sweep and mop the floor. Now this may seem like a lot, but you have to figure 95% of the mess comes from them, so they’re really only just cleaning up after themselves. Now for whatever reason, my youngest can only seem to wash half the dishes and never wash, sweep or mop. They don’t realize how lucky they are. My mother didn’t let us use the dishwasher. And when we were invited to people’s homes for dinner, my mother “volunteered” us to clean up the kitchen. Seriously. My daughter now has dishes until she cleans it to my standards without me telling her. We are on day 4.
3. My oldest daughter has an incredibly active social life. In fact, it’s way too active for someone who has neither a job nor a driver’s license. How unfair is that? She has all the fun and I supply the wheels and the money. So what’s the real problem? It’s 9 PM, I’m in my warm and cozies watching television when all of a sudden I remember that I have to get up, put on my coat, run out to my freezing cold car to pick her up from her latest social engagement.
4. Thinking….
5. ThinkingOh, I know
6. My middle daughter really doesn’t do anything to get in trouble. In fact, she’s almost perfect. A little too perfect, which has me suspicious. What has she done that we haven’t found out about? What is she going to do that’s going to totally floor us? We’ve already told our children not to ever expect bail money from us. So what? For the love of all that is good, do something wrong and end my anxiety!
Tell me, are your children as frustrating as mine? Get it off your chest, then go here and link up so we can all commiserate together. For more Small Talk Six topics, go here.

22nd Jan2010

Hand Me the Envelope, Please

by Daenel

And the winners are… @FrugalFemina and @lisasamples!

Last night the Mamavation Moms were announced at a Twitter Party hosted by Earth Footwear, EA Sports Active and Smooth Fitness. These moms will be our group leaders ~ the ladies we look to for support and encouragement when we’re feeling like we just can’t go on in this weight~loss~get~healthy~so~we~can~live~longer~and~feel~better lives. But don’t think that support goes one way. We, the ladies of the sistahood, will be cheering them on in their journey towards becoming healthier and happier moms.

To help them reach their goals of becoming healthier moms, the Mamavation Moms will be put through a seven week healthy living bootcamp which they will chronicle on their blogs and on Mom TV. They will also receive:

~ a professional nutritional plan created by Dr. Renna
~ a fitness program designed by Tracey Mallett
~ two pairs of Earth Footwear
~ treadmill by Smooth Fitness
~ an EA Sports Active
~ Tracey Mallett and Tae Bo DVDs

To say that they are being set up for success is an understatement.

But don’t feel bad for the other Mamavation Mom applicants. We are not walking away empty handed. Thanks to the generosity of the Mamavation sponsors and @bookieboo, we are being given the opportunity to work together through the 28 Day Challenge with @pete_cohen. Pete Cohen is a life coach, human behavior expert, author, business coach and motivational speaker who specializes in health and fitness. Bringing his unique brand of humor and inspiration to us via podcast, twitter and email, Pete will help us to change our way of thinking and how we relate to food in an effort to help us not only lose weight but become healthier and more fit versions of ourselves.

I look forward to working with Pete and the other ladies of the sistahood. To the new Mamavation Moms, I say good luck and know that I believe in you and together we can and we will do this!

22nd Jan2010

I’m Rocking the Red Pump

by Daenel

I heart shoes. In fact, I’d say there’s nothing better than a great pair shoes except maybe a stunning handbag or a funky piece jewelry. But what good is all of that if you don’t have your health? Did you know that every 35 minutes a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States? That means roughly 1 in 4 Americans living with HIV are women. These are our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, daughters, friends…. One of those four could be you or me.

For the next 50 days I will be “Rocking the Red Pump” on my sidebar to promote The Red Pump Project. The goal of the project is to have 500 bloggers Rock the Red Pump on their blogs in the days leading up to National Women and Girls HIV/AIDs Awareness Day on 10 March. On that day, bloggers are asked to write a post highlighting the issues surrounding HIV/AIDs and how it affects the lives of women and girls.

I’ll be doing more than writing a post, I will actually be rocking my most fierce pair of red pumps… I will be celebrating my birthday on 10 March and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to improve the lives of my sisters everywhere. If you’d like to do your part to bring awareness to this very important issue, you can do a number of things:

1. Go get tested
2. Use protection all the time, every time
3. Teach your daughters to protect themselves
4. Go here and sign up to Rock the Red Pumps on your blog
5. Wear your red pumps or shoes on 10 March and let me know about it
20th Jan2010

Day 20: New Year, New Me ~ Weigh In Wednesday

by Daenel

Wow! I cannot believe I have been doing this for twenty days now. Honestly, I have never stuck with anything this long because I have a short attention…. Oh look, people in capes….

Where was I again? Oh, yeah, I’ve never stuck with a weight loss program this long before because I usually never saw results. I would wake up on Monday morning with the intention of exercising but I’d never do it. Then I’d take the easy way and use diet pills but then I’d forget to take them three days later so…. I need to see results or I lose heart. Nevermind that I wasn’t doing anything to see those results.

So what made me decide to really get going this time? I think hearing the nurse tell me that I weighed 166 lbs at my last doctor’s appointment. That was a mind blowing moment for me. I didn’t weight that much when I was pregnant with my twins. Granted, I was 14 years younger and in the Army, but still… Hearing that number and realizing that my grandmother, uncle and father had all died at very young ages (before the age of 60) and looking at the incredible amount of obesity in my family made me snap. I needed to do something.

This time I knew that I needed more than good intentions. I needed to put some action behind my words and I needed some form of accountability. That’s why I joined Mamavation and the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. I needed people to support and encourage me to move even when I felt like vegging on the sofa.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle or feel like giving up. I do. But I push through it and move my butt. In fact, I’ve noticed that on days when I don’t exercise I feel sluggish and foggy brained. Who knew all those endorphin junkies were right? I certainly didn’t. I really just thought they were crazy people who were trying to suck me over into the dark side.

Anyway, today is Weigh In Wednesday so it’s time to throw out those numbers:

Bust ~ 38 in
Waist ~ 34 1/2 in
Abdomen ~ 38 3/4 in
Hips ~ 42 1/4 in
Thigh ~ 25 1/2 in
Arm ~ 13 in

Weight ~ 156 lbs

So what does that all mean? It means that I’m down 2 lbs since last week. Oh, yeah! I’m burning more calories right now just by doing the Happy Dance!

19th Jan2010

It’s Been Six Months

by Daenel

18th Jan2010

Product Review: Carol’s Daughter "Magical Beauty Collection"

by Daenel

I remember when I was a little girl and I’d watch the Disney movies and wonder why none of the princesses looked like me or my sisters ~ brown-skinned with full lips, dark eyes and curly hair. I wondered if only the fair skinned girls deserved the fairytale endings…

In 2009, Disney produced the movie The Princess and the Frog, the story of a young, African American girl whose single-minded determination helps her to fulfill her dreams. Tiana, is the newest Disney princess in ten years and the first African American princess to hit the big screen. Celebrated for her universal appeal, natural beauty, hard work and determination, it seemed only fitting that Disney would partner with Carol’s Daughter founder, Lisa Price, to create a natural product line to represent the movie.

Lisa Price began her company by mixing beauty products in the kitchen of her Brooklyn home. And, like Tiana, her single-minded determination, skill and hardwork were rewarded with the attentions of A-listers and a loyal following of people who believed in her product. With her products now available for worldwide distribution, Lisa Price is proof that dreams can come true.

I have been transitioning from relaxed to natural hair since July so I’ve been looking for natural products to use during and after the transitioning process. I wanted something that moisturizes and strengthens without smelling too medicinal. So I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to review the “Magical Beauty Collection” by Carol’s Daughter. At first I thought the product would be a little too girly. Afterall, it is geared towards the school~aged set but I’m happy to report it works just as well for the queen of the house as it does for the little princess!

When I first opened the box, I was immediately surprised by the aroma. I was expecting something “precious” and perfumey, instead I was enveloped with the warm, earthy aroma of lemon peel and cranberry. Yum! And when I poured the shampoo (“The Beauty Within”) into my hand….can you say creamy? Infused with aloe leaf juice, the shampoo cleans without stripping hair of its natural oils. The conditioner (“Inner Shine”) is just as rich as the shampoo. Enriched with sunflower seed oil and olive fruit oil, it leaves the hair soft and manageable. Don’t you just love the names of the products?

I can’t forget the bubble bath (“Sharing Means Caring”)! It’s just as rich and luxurious as the shampoo and conditioner. Any little princess would be happy to soak away the troubles of her day in a tub of lemon scented water.

Now I’ll pass my little treasures on to my daughters who have been dying to try the products for themselves.

You can purchase the “Magical Beauty Collection” through Carol’s Daughter, Sephora, HSN and department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s.

Disclosure: I received the “Magical Beauty” Set from The BlogRollers Media in exchange for a review. This did not influence my review of the product.


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