Wednesday, December 28, 2011

That's What Friends Are For

....Facebook friends that is.  The following is a list of Facebook friends (or pages) that I have connected with and I feel I REALLY benefit from their posts.  Their posts are inspirational, motivational and sometimes just informative.

Jen Jewell
Fit Foodies.  Healthy Life.
Skinny Fat Fitness
Living Kell (local KC gal!)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless astress turned author)
I Got Tired of Being Fat and Got in Shape!
Fitness Model Amanda Adams
Amanda Adams
Fitness Model Ashley Katz
Melissa Morris
Tone It Up
The Dirtie Duckie (adorable local KC couple)
Fitness Model/Writer Jamie Eason

This is a picture that Jamie Eason (last link) posted where she's talking about condiments.  She, and the others, have great information for living a healthier lifestyle.  Check em out!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have been completely blown away by the support from friends and family during my journey.  Even people that I hardly know have contacted me and expressed how they are enjoying my blog.  I had an instant message from someone the other day that just reiterated that what I am doing is EXACTLY what I SHOULD be doing.  The instant message went on to say some pretty powerful things and it left me in tears...tears of pure joy and disbelief that I am doing it!  I really am doing this!!  Even as I type this, I'm getting a little teary eyed.

I have always been someone that likes to express their feelings on paper (or 'virtual' paper).  I kept a diary, which later became my journal, from almost the time I could write a sentence to the the age of 26 years old.  It really puts things into perspective when you go back in time and read what was on your mind, what you were worried about or even happy about.  So when I started this blog, it was just for me to go back reflect.  I had no intentions of anyone reading it... let alone liking it or even loving it. 

From my last post of  Eating Good CAN Be Easy! to the one before that of I ♥ Kale Chips - my audience has increased OVER 100%.  I think that's pretty cool considering I'm no one special, I'm just an average working mom, with an average income with an average family (okay, so my family IS pretty darn awesome) but you get the idea; I am feelin' your love and it's amazing!

Thank you all for your support!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eating Good CAN be Easy!

A few posts back when I talked about Being Organized someone asked that I post my list of healthy eating options.  I thought with the Christmas potlucks being hot and heavy now would be a great time to share it.

Please keep in mind this list represents things that my family and I will eat; certainly not every single option out there AND as with almost all food PORTION CONTROL is essential.

Hummus with pita chips or veggies
Plain vanilla yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
Cheese sticks
Eggs - boiled eggs, poached or scrambled
Grilled chicken
Peas - I sometimes grab a handful of frozen peas and throw into a container for lunch.  By lunch time, they are thawed and yummy-licious!
Steamed veggies - personal favorites: cauliflower, broccoli & carrots
Bran flakes and rice milk
Brown rice with sauteed veggies - personal favorites: zucchini, squash & onions
Small greek salad
Small black and blue salad - standard salad but topped with a few thin slices of steak and sprinkled with blue cheese
Fresh spinach - put in a salad or with your scrambled eggs; great way to boast your protein intake.
Cottage cheese
Apple slices with peanut butter
Bowl of grapes
Kale chips
Sweet potatoes - pop it in the microwave for about 6 minutes....PURE HEAVEN!
Steamed green beans
Sauteed asparagus
Celery sticks
Grilled eggplant - eat it just like a hamburger
Grilled portabella mushroom - eat it just like a hamburger
Cherry tomatoes
English cucumber slices - waaaaay better than the standard cucumber
Pears - try it sprinkled with blue cheese - OMGOSH!
Handful of almonds
Hot sauce - did you know that every time you eat something hot it immediately speeds up you metabolism!

If you can learn to eat healthy and control your portions you wont need a diet; it will become second nature!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I ♥ Kale Chips!

One of my most favorite go-to snack is kale chips.  They usually do the job when my craving for something crunchy kicks in.  Kale is incredibly healthy and has tons of beneficial factors; one being the promotion of  weigh loss (oh yeah!). Just google 'benefits of kale" and you will be amazed! 

I've made many variations of kale chips and how found the perfect one for me.  Maybe it will be the perfect one for you too!

Organic Kale (always go organic when you can)
Olive Oil
Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

Rinse and dry the kale
Tear the kale into bite size pieces - don't use the stems, they are tough and not very yummy.

Put all the kale pieces into a large zip lock back (I use the gallon size)
Put a drizzle of the olive oil in the bag with the kale - a little goes a long way
Then shake the bag to make sure all the kale is coated with the olive oil.

Dump the kale on to a baking sheet, try not to have the kale pieces sitting on top of one another.

Then shake the seasoning on the kale - I use alot, probably more than I should.  The seasoning tastes terrible on popcorn but delish on kale chips!

Bake at 325 degrees for about 8-9 minutes.  Adjust your temp and time to suite YOU.  I originally use to bake them at 350 for 9 minutes and they always came out really crispy.  I actually like them a little tender versus 100% crispy.

Place them on a plate and enjoy the super food kale - YUM!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whoa - It's December!?!?

I can't believe that we are now in the last month of 2011 - this year has for sure had it's ups and downs for me, my family and my friends.  I came across this December Promise a few days ago and thought it was a great way to end 2011 with a bang! 

Can you keep this promise?  I'm going to certainly try :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Being Organized

I have found over the last several months that being highly organized has been very very helpful for me.  I am a working mom with 2 kiddos and I commute about 78 miles per day.  My commute can mean anywhere to 40 to 60 minutes one way.  One of the very first things I did when I decided to change my lifestyle was to sit down with the hubby and figure out a workout schedule.  This schedule had to coordinate with the hubby's workouts too since my kiddo's refuse to go to the daycare provided at the YMCA I attend. 

The next thing that I did was to purchase a workout bag and I put some essentials items (deodorant, extra sports bra, socks, ponytail holder, ear buds, etc) in there that always stay in there. I made sure that I would have almost no excuse to miss getting some exercise in for the day.  Sounds pretty lame, right?  Well, for me it made a world of difference.

I also stepped up my weekly menu planning ALOT!  In addition to just purchasing the items that I need to have a weeks worth of dinners I started posting them in the kitchen so when I am in the middle of working out and preparing dinner was up to the hubby he would have no excuses (pretty sneaky, huh?).

I began planning my weekly snacks (2 a day) and breakfasts for the week.  The hubby and I sat down and wrote out an entire notebook sheet of paper ideas for snacks, breakfast, lunch and even dinner.  So on those days that I just don't have the energy to put my thinking cap on and try to figure out what I'm going to eat I can always fall back on 'the list' for some healthy ideas.

I bought a cute pink water cup with a built in straw to keep me in the habit of drinking water instead of soda pop, tea or coffee.  That pink cup goes everywhere with me!  Again, probably sounds pretty ridiculous - but hey, it's working for me!

Housework....omgosh, housework!  We all know it's never ending but for me and my new lifestyle it's IMPERATIVE that I keep up on the dishes and laundry - regardless if I am dog tired I know if I leave it for the next day, it will be twice as much the next day and COULD give me an excuse to forgo my workout to do housework.  So I suck it up and wash all the dishes every night and usually do a load of laundry about every other night. 

So there ya go, my thoughts on how being ubber organized helps with getting you on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

And with that, to date I have rid myself of 33 freakin' pounds - see ya sucker!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Goal Setting

For me setting a long term goal is just too lofty and seems unobtainable.  Instead of giving myself one big whopping goal I use the concept of min-goals or milestones.  Here are mine and where I currently stand with them…

Feel comfortable enough with myself to stop wearing frumpy, big & boxy t-shirts and shorts to the gym and wear cute work out clothes instead. DONE!

Lose 15 pounds.  DONE!

Fit into my shorty shorts that I have been hanging on to for almost 4 years.  I RARELY wear shorts and they are never any shorter than just above my knees.  DONE!

Get into my pre-pregnancies jean size (11 years ago).

Fit into my wedding dress.

Get into a size SMALLER than what I was when I graduated high school (20 years ago).

Dash up the stairs at work without huffing, puffing and feeling like my legs were about to burst into flames.  DONE!

Begin drinking water, LOTS of water.  DONE!

Limit my coffee to one or none per day.  DONE!  I've even packed away the coffee maker in my home

Build definition in my biceps and triceps

Replace at least two meals a week with a vegetarian option.  DONE!

Get a bike and go on rides with my kids

Buy clothes that do not have the letter 'L' in the size

Run in a 5K

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Gets Me Everytime!

On those days that I don't feel like going to the gym (or anywhere for that matter), I plug in my iPod and go right to my girl Brit Brit and then find this song!  It gets me everytime!  The words, the video (specifically Brit's abs & tight lil booty), the lyrics...I sure do love me some Brit Brit!  What songs get YOU everytime?   

And with that, I'm gonna have to agree with Brit - I AM stronger than I ever thought that I could be!


Friday, October 7, 2011

What 25 Means to Me!

25 could be a silver anniversary or
25 could be a quarter of a dollar or
25 could be a speed limit in a neighborhood

But to me it means disclipline, hard work, sweatscarifice and the half way point to MY after.

Can I get a hell yeah?  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Being Challenged in Life is Inevitable, Being Defeated is Optional

For the last 10 weeks, I have been taking part in the KC Slimdown Community Challenge with my fellow Taking It All team mates.  I was already a few weeks into my journey to my ‘after’ when I was approached to join this challenge.  With over 1,350 teams and 6,939 players competing in the KC Slimdown Community Challenge, I realistically never expected my team to come out on top but rather took on the challenge as a motivator more than anything else.  I LOVED the fact that the YMCA that I attend was an official weigh-in location and I was able to weigh myself every time I was at the Y and it would calculate all the percentage of my weight loss.  I still have a few days until I have to do my final weigh-in and regardless of what my ending percentage will be I am proud of what I have done and where I intend to go.
Where are you going?  Is it where you want to be?  Are you challenging yourself? 

Friday, September 30, 2011

My First 5K Walk and More

Last week-end I was able to exercise my mind, body and soul...and it was fabulous!

Friday night my daughter and I participated in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's, Light the Night 5K Walk.  We walked with other family members to honor Karen Schaberg who we lost to lymphoma earlier this year. 

Seeing all the people there to honor loved ones was pretty overwhelming at times.  At the end of the walk my feet and back were sore but I think that's a tiny price to pay to bring awareness to leukemia and lymphoma.  Below is a picture of the walkers winding through the wooded areas on the walk - it was really a sight to see!  Several other walkers had to stop to snap a picture of it too.

On Saturday we had the privilege of attending the Take Defense course provided by the Ali Kemp Foundation.  My daughter and I attended this event with our neighbors and I am SO thankful they asked us to join them.  It was a great event and wonderful to see so many women, young and old, empowering themselves!  Here's a picture of Lexi going crazy on the practice dummy - she was REALLY good at going crazy, haha!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Can't Never Could, Won't Never Would

I am starting to get frustrated with the BodyPump class I have been taking.  I am doing great with my arms and all of my upper body, but it's the lower body that KILLS me!  As the teacher leads us through our workout she will advise "Ok, we're going to do legs so you'll probably need to take the weight on your bar up"  Or " arms are next so lose about half of the weight on your bar".  I apparently, am opposite of everyone else in the world.  My arms are WAY stronger than my legs. Even though I have been taking this BodyPump class for nearly a month @ twice a week....I still rarely am able to finish a complete set on my legs.  Ugh, so frustrating!  This has been on my mind a lot lately.  I've been racking my brain on how I can complete each set of everything without even pausing for a quick rest.

Yesterday as I was driving home I call the hubby and the conversation went a little something like this

Me:  Hi honey, I'm not sure what to do about BodyPump
Hubby: What do you mean?
Me:  My legs are so weak; I think I need to do something different
Hubby:  Everytime you go to BodyPump you are strengthing your legs; it takes time
Me: But..but...I can't
Hubby:  Can't never could and won't never would
Me: I don't want to go, there I said it I dont want to go
Hubby:  You should go, don't stop - you have the perfect weekly work out schedule.  If you don't go it will mess the schedule up.
Me:  Ugh, I don't know...maybe, well see.

I continue on with my drive to the Y and once I am there, I sit in my car for a few mintutes trying to convince myself that I can do this.  Just do it and get it over with, Shannon!  Next thing I know I'm in class and that silly phrase, Can't Never Could, Won't Never Would, that the hubby likes to use is bouncing around in my head.  Oh crap, warm up is done...time...for....legs.  UGH!!!  I repeated that phrase over and over in my head the whole time I did the dreaded legs and you know what?  I did all my sets - no pausing or anything.

With all that being said, I will continue to do the BodyPump classes and try my best to always have a positive attitude becuase it DOES help!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Triathlon Thoughts

Had to share with you a great post from another KC-based blog, The Magic Brush, that I follow.  She participated in her 2nd triathlon and decided to jot down what went through her head during it.  It's a great read and brought some needed inspiration and motivation to me.  I hope it does to you also - enjoy!

What Goes Thru My Head During My 2nd Triathlon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wow, What a Wacky Week it Was!

This week has really gotten me out of wack!  Here's the run down.

Tuesday - Went to my Turbo Kick at the YMCA; which I really love and always look forward to.  The teacher asked everyone if they mind if class went outside since it was such a beautiful night.  Most everyone said sure.  Well let me tell you, it SUCKED!!  We did the class in the "side yard", which consisted of a steep hill and a tiny strip of sidewalk.  She lined us all up on the sidewalk and then stood in front (facing us) and gave the directions.  I didn't realize how much I depended on the mirrors in the classroom to confirm my form was correct and how much I HAD TO HAVE music pumping to get me amped up.  I barely even broke a sweat in class, which normally I am sweating profusely.

Wednesday - Found out the Dr discovered a "spot" on Dad's head AND a dear friends' mother unexpectedly passed away.  Talk about bringing you down.  By the way, the "spot" turned out to be nothing - YAY!

Thursday - Went to my Zumba class at the YMCA; this is another class that I adore!  And lately I have been getting really good at rockin' the moves and burning a ton of calories! Well, our normal teacher was out this week (and will be out next week too) and we had a sub from another Y.  Totally new routine, totally new moves and I SWEAR this teacher has some stripper experience under her belt.  Every move was so suggestive and sexy, I felt a little naughty just watching her.  I have never seen a grown women whip her hair and stare lustfully lovingly at herself in the mirror. Needless to say, I was not able to get the best work out.  Entertaining = yes, Effective = no
I still have a few more days before this wacky week is over ~ and I am ready for a new week; a new start. Even with the distractions and wackiness this week, I am still determined more than ever to keep it up.  I am a freaking WONDER WOMEN and WONT WAIVER!

Happy Friday!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good Morning!

As a part of my lifestyle change, I now pack my breakfast, lunch and 1-2 snacks to eat during the work week. In the beginning the thought of all this planning and packing seemed impossible.  Now, it's pretty normal and I often do a little (easy) cooking after the kids are in the bed.  Today, I'll share with you a typical breakfast for me.

Greek yogurt with a few blueberries, pineapple chunks and a couple sliced strawberries topped with some granola. 

It tastes so good I have to pay particular attention to my portions when I am packing it up.  With that being said, I went out and purchased these little containers.  They are small but not too small - so it helps me keep my portions in check.

P.S. - These other 2 containers hold part of my lunch; steamed sweet potatoes and steamed cauliflower.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What 15 Feels Like

Neck is slimmer, not such a pronounced double chin

My mid-section has shrank the most so far, waistbands are WAY looser
I can wear tight fitting T’s and feel ok J

I ate a ½ salad with ½ veggie soup the other day for lunch and was SO full!  This used to be just the start of my lunch. 

Mad that I was not able to tell myself to stop eating before I was SO full L

Rings are starting to get loose

I swear my thighs appear smoother, less ugly dents.

The little chub above my knees has dissappeared

One End of the Spectrum to Another

There I was delighting in the fact that I had not only hit my #2 mini goal but was wearing my new smaller sized jeans and look pretty darn good in them; then BAM I get a text from my brother "Call Mom 911".  My stomach in knots, I already know something must be wrong with my dad.  My Dad...the one that had so many heart attacks from the '90-'00's that I lost count...the one that had open heart surgery and made it...the one that has a pacemaker...the one that stopped smoking after 30+ years....the one that would literally do ANYTHING for his grandkids and his kids.

Then I heard the dreaded phrase, "Your dad has cancer".   My heart sank, my happiness dropped to sorrow "DAMN IT" I scream.  My mom is not able to make any sense and just hands the phone to my awesome Dad - he's crying on the phone to me.  Tells me a few bits of information and then interrupts himself and says, "I just want to be around for my grandkids".  At that point I loose it.  I have to leave work and must be with my folks; which means driving almost an hour to their house from work.  An hour to sob, yell, cry and curse.

I spent a few hours with them looking over all the doctors orders and trying to understand what's going to happen over the next few months.  After I left I picked up my 10 year Lexi (who adores her grandpa) and had to tell her the news.  Unfortunately, she knows all to well what cancer means.  That was hard, REALLY hard.

And finally, the remainder of my family comes home - we are all hugging one another in silence.  I mean really what can you say about this type of news??? 

Please pray, send good vibes or do whatever you do to help my Dad overcome this obstacle just like he has with others over and over again. 

I love you Dad, we'll get through this together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

No More Excuses!

I try to tell myself this everyday....sometimes many times a day. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My New Work Out Buddy

Last night was yet another emotional night for me in my journey.  After months of trying to convince my 10 year old daughter, Lexi, to join me in one of the classes I take at the Y instead of her typical hour long leisurely stroll on the treadmill or stationary bike she DID IT!   She went with me to my Turbo Kick class - worked hard, burned calories and had FUN!!  I was so proud of her during class - she kept up with the other students and I even think the instructor enjoyed having a new dynamic to class.

As we were walking on our way to the car, she mentioned that she wanted to do it again and even join me in some of my other classes - yay!  She also that she really wanted some cute workout clothes "like everyone else wears".  I made a deal with her that if she loses 5 pounds I would buy a super cute workout outfit for her.  I have been VERY delicately trying to bring up the subject of fitness with her and the timing with 100% perfect!  We had the conversation and she got it, she understood that if she doesn't begin taking care of her body now - she will be in the same boat I am.  Talk about being SO PROUD of her!  I love that girl so much!
Happy hump day, ya'll  - have a greeeeat day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Things are Changing!

I have reached my mini-goal of 10 pounds and things are starting to fit differently (and some not at all).  The most surprising things are my bra's - none are fitting anymore.  It's a shame too, I had just falled in love with a $50 Victoria Secret bra and now it doesn't fit AT ALL {insert frown}.  Oh well, I guess that means I will need to buck up and by a couple new ones {insert smile}.

I sure wish I would have taken my measurements when I started this journey, I think it would be very interesting to see the inches being lost and where they are dropping from.  I did, however, take my 'before' picture in my honeymoon (12 years ago) bikini aaaaand I will not be posting that until I am well into my 'after'.  Let's just say it wasn't a pretty site, not one little bit!