Tip of the Week

Roll with the punches! Life is gonna smack you right in the face when you don't expect it. If you're head's on straight, you're certainly gonna handle it just fine. Roll with it. Complain a little bit, and let it go.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Soapbox Sunday: Tuning in to a Diet

I had forgotten how hard it was to be on a diet.
I weighed myself last Tuesday, clocking in at 151 lbs.

Believe it or not, it's taken me months and months of working on this blog and reading constant fitness info to come to terms with the fact that I do need to diet if I want to lose weight. Diet = hard core paying attention to what I put into my body, NOT depriving myself. I watch my portions, I watch my breads, as in--none.

So now that I've found my focus, sharp and intense, once again on my what I want in my life, I'm over sitting around and wasting my own time. So. OH. MY. GOD.

Day 1-3, I was great. I edged in slowly, eating the rest of my breads slowly so that I didn't waste my groceries. And by Day 2, I stopped filling so bloated. The Ex-Hot Girl recently emailed about how every 1 gram of carb holds 4 grams of water, and frankly, by cutting out all those breads I love, I could fill myself slimming down.
But, Jesus Louiseus.
Day 4 was rough. I hit my first "test o' the carbs!" A client I baby-sat for had a box of pizza waiting for me and his son when I arrived, and I slipped ever so slightly and had a slice. One slice, pfff, big deal, right? But I know me, and I know that it starts with these ever so small things. Good habits turn into sorta-good habits turn into okay habits turn into occasional habits turn into no habits. Yikes!
Day 5 was completely blown when my schedule of the day was completely thrown out of plan--I was suddenly having a party! And so, I futzed my "diet" and had a handful of m&ms and a cherry bite-sized pastry. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. So, sure, that maybe wouldn't be so terrible, except that I also didn't slow down my calorie intake for the entire day. Sure, I ate healthy and fine--a bowl of cereal in the morning, fat-free milk, an orange, a banana, a few grapes, and a mixture of veggies and beans--but I know I'm past the limit my body needs.
And there we have it folks, the biggest frame of mind I'm learning to recognize and control. The "I know I don't need it, and, actually, I don't really want it."

So blow-out party day was GREAT, and I wouldn't trade it. But it has certainly taken me that one time to realize that I only need one glass of wine. Not only that, but the day after wasn't so great, body-wise. I wasn't feeling sick or hung-over, but my body felt bloated, huge, and I thanked the sweet Lord Jesus that I had three days to set my body back on track without all these carbohydrates in it before I do a weekly weigh-in. I've stuck twenty small post-it notes on my mirror, and I'm working on one post-it note a week. :) This is a great way for me to actually SEE what it is I'm achieving, and when I can pysically SEE it, I can physically ACHIEVE it. What kind of weird things work for you?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Success Story!: Shelley Stafford from Women's Health

Shelley Stafford, 38, Scottsdale, AZ
Occupation Webmaster

Height 5'3"
Time Required to Reach Goal 1 year, 10 months

Lesson Learned "Find someone to challenge and encourage you, even if it's just by e-mail."

Secret Weapon An Igloo Playmate cooler. "I cook healthy meals on Sundays and pack one each weekday so there's no excuse to hit the drive-thru."

Weight before 178

Weight after 123

The Gain
Chelle Stafford's weight had seesawed with her mood since college. In 2000, after her divorce, she dropped to a dangerous 98 pounds; six months later, she was fudging her weight on her driver's license as 145, knowing it was closer to 155 or 160. In December 2006, she hit 178, her highest non-pregnancy weight.

The Change
In 2006, Stafford was shopping for a New Year's Eve outfit, but nothing in her current size 16 fit. She called her new husband (she'd remarried earlier that year) from the dressing room, sobbing, but he couldn't console her. "My husband always found me attractive, but every so often I'd look in the mirror and think, 'This is not attractive; this is not OK.'"

The Lifestyle
Stafford went to her local Bally Total Fitness on January 2, 2007, and signed up with personal trainer Tabitha Citro. At first, she struggled through two minutes on an elliptical machine, but with Citro's help, she worked up to regular 20-minute cardio sessions five times a week. She started strength training and kept a food diary. "My salt intake was the biggest shock," Stafford says. "I wondered why I hadn't had a heart attack yet." She kicked a fast-food habit by preparing healthy foods at home. In five months, Stafford dropped three sizes and was even too slim for her "skinny clothes." She hit her goal weight of 130 by March 2008 and had shed another seven pounds by November.

The Reward
Stafford can breathe easier, literally. An asthma sufferer who used to puff from an inhaler daily, she says, "Now I use it so rarely that half the time I don't even know where it is."

Stafford's Tips
Don't let injuries sideline you "When I tore my patellar tendon, I used a rowing machine, which didn't strain my knee, rather than quit exercising."

Chocolate is a right "I keep a bag of Godiva dark chocolate pearls to handle cravings."

Keep records "I'll look at my logs and photos and see how my attitude has changed along with my body."

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Friday Find: January 30, 2010

Do you like French words?

Do you like quaint, European streets?

Do you like spectacle in the form of three french women stripping and power walking to music?

How about humorously modern, well-placed censor bars?

I'm not gonna lie--this video is pretty shocking, if you're my 46-year old dad that also follows the blog. Other than that, be surprised and amazed at how the European world is still classy. Oh Europe, I want to go to you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watson Wednesday: Wardrobe, Appetite, and the Insatiable Sugar-Craving

No, no, no. Another shirt drops over the back of my bed, joining the jeans, skirts, and dozens of other shirts already resting there. I pull a new sweater off the hanger and slip it over my head. Sizing myself up in the mirror, I turn this way and that, purse my lips, and finally decide it makes my head look to big. Off it comes, joining it's fallen comrades on my duvet cover.

Ever experience this? The frustration of a fashion emergency, trying to put an outfit together when nothing feels right, and you needed to be at dinner five minutes ago? These are the times that I would rather drive a nail through my foot than try on another top.

But there's more to this story ladies. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. These clothing emergencies don't occur every once in awhile, the truth is...it's a chronic condition. I'm one of millions in this country who are "fashionably challenged." Though I have not been professionally diagnosed, an analysis of Facebook photos and an hour on the Style network have confirmed my worst fears. When I examine my "fashion history", I find an endless array of various fashion offenses and missteps. In elementary school it was the same two pairs of overalls alternating endlessly day after day. In middle school I made a trendy transition into soccer shorts, long tee shirts, and the always fashionable Limited Too short-suit. In 9th grade I discovered the hair straightener and effectively fried my hair within an inch of its ever loving life. During that same year I also had the good fortune of discovering "booty shorts", which lead to a whole host of booty flashing debacles. As I progressed through high school I fumbled my way out of the hooker shorts and into every other piece of clothing that I owned. Literally. The "layering phase," where my one goal in life was to wear the entirety of my wardrobe each and every day. Suffice it to say I also neglected basic hygiene during, the wishes of my parents, and the general confusion of many of my peers.

Today I've managed to wrestle myself back from the edge and reclaim a more flattering and sanitary personal style. Most days I sport leggings, an off the shoulder tee or long sleeve shirt, and some ballet flats. Simple and cute, if I do say so myself. But what about those days when you have to make an impression and nothing seems to feel right? How does the average lady find the fashions that will flatter her figure?

Now on to the appetite emphasis this week. Food, food, food. *sigh* I just started college, again. Enough said? Pizza, coffee, trying to cram in meals at odd hours and wondering how I'm going to get it all under control. Erratic eating habits make me feel like a crusty booger and I'm way too busy to bum around all day comparing my general mood to something that you pick out of your nose. Christmas, New Years, and starting school have put me way behind my curve as far as healthy habits and the necessary balance of nutrition and exercise. It's just the hard truth, you can't expect to make real strides in your overall fitness unless you are balancing your exercise with healthy and moderate eating.

My greatest downfall? Sugar. I'm a sucker for the stuff and if it didn't induce the crusty booger sensation, I would gobble it down breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pasta, bread, and dairy make up the next few items on the list, all of which tantalize my taste buds and leave me feeling slightly plumper than I began. None of these foods are bad in moderation, but when they form the entirety of your diet, no amount of interval training will make a dent in what they leave behind. So what's a girl to do? More importantly, what's a healthy girl to eat? Well, in an effort to start the New Year with some sort of dramatic flair, I have decided to eliminate candy, pizza, and baked goods from my diet. WHOA!! I almost regret saying that in a public forum. Almost. But as I sit here now, devouring a handful of Thin Mints, I swear to you that I'm going to try this fruit, vegetable, moderation thing that Oprah is always hassling us about.

Well Oprah, as I spiral in and out of sugar withdrawal over these next few weeks I will have only the solace of mandatory shopping and my dear reader to keep me along the straight and narrow path. But, as Abraham Lincoln so wisely stated "This too shall pass." Yes indeed Abe, yes indeed. But I doubt he ever tried to kick sugar...

Your Wicked (and somewhat wired) Work Out Partner,


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Truth Tuesday: January 26, 2010

cont. from 1/19/2010
Revving and (Sorta) Willing 6:35 a.m.
The starting gun goes off in 10 minutes. Even though prerace jitters make me want to hurl, I suck down an energy gel, sip some water, and wade into the lake for a quick warmup. What's going onThe blood can hold about 100 calories' worth of easy-to-access glycogen, and I want my tank at full capacity. Eating a simple carb, like a banana or an energy gel, within 30 minutes of a tough workout tops it off.
As for that pukey feeling: Anticipation has my heart beating fast--my nervous system is primed for action. "It's like waving a leash in front of a dog," says Matt Fitzgerald, author of Brain Training for Runners. "The dog knows it's going for a walk and gets excited." A 10-minute warmup gets blood flowing to my muscles and away from other organs, revs my heart rate, starts working my lungs, lubes my joints, and reacquaints my nervous system with how my muscles fire. In a race, skipping a warmup means a breathless, achy start.
Knowledge is power
To make a tough workout seem easier before you even start, "break it into manageable parts: Warm up, then set an easy goal: five minutes, one mile, or something similarly doable," says Abby Ruby, Ph.D., a senior coach at Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado Springs. "Don't worry about minute 45 at minute 10."
High Gear 6:45 a.m.
The starting gun fires. I dive in for the 1,500-meter swim. Breathing is a struggle, and my arms and legs protest. What's going onAs picky as a diesel-powered Jetta, my body runs on only one fuel: ATP. At the beginning of a hard effort, the body makes this muscle food using creatine, an acid it produces naturally. "This ATP is created in a flash," Katz says, "and is gone just as quickly." At the start of a workout, my cells have just under 10 seconds' worth of this fuel. Then a process called anaerobic glycolysis kicks in. For the next one to three minutes, I can produce ATP without oxygen (right now I'm using all I've got to breathe).
The trade-off: I cringe as my muscles start to burn. Now my system switches to the lowest-maintenance way of making ATP: aerobic glycolysis. Here, a combo of oxygen, glycogen (from my breakfast and last night's linguine), lactic acid, and fat stores feed my muscles. The body can run this way for hours; in fact, it uses this form of ATP for 99 percent of all activity. Meanwhile, my adrenal glands release epinephrine (aka adrenaline), raising my heart rate and lowering my perception of pain. "Epinephrine is the cavalry swooping in for a fight, which is how your body sees this race," says Tommy Boone, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. My nervous system doesn't know if I'm being chased by competitors or a great white shark. Either way, its message is the same: Go fast and hard.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Momentary Monday: January 25, 2010

This is Kristen. She likes to eat people in her sleep.
Wait a minute! Doesn't she look like Stephanie from previous weeks? Well, gosh golly gee, she sure does!

No, dear Blogoworld, you're not hallucinating from all your well-timed crunches, sit-ups, and Charlie's Angels--they ARE two different people. They're twins!

Kristen was nice enough to lay down in our upstairs hallway with bad lighting and do some push-ups for me. Know why she was nice enough to do it? Because she just can. These things come easy to girls who participate in a Texas high school athletics program. Yes, I am impressed.
So here we go! Time for a push-up!

Make sure the spacing of your hands is supportive enough for your body (especially if you're doing beginning push-ups.) As time goes by, you can increase or decrease the distance of your hands from each other and make the push-up more or less difficult (depending on your muscle strength.) But for now, make sure your hands rest just outside of your shoulders.
Also--look at this photo! Kristen held herself there for many, many moments, until I finally stopped being amazed and just took the photo.

I was even more impressed when I looked at her feet and realized she was supporting herself UP on her toes. Way to go, Kristen! Difficult is the new push-up.

As for the rest, just lift your body weight up and down until your face starts to look like this.

Or this. Her facial muscles are working for a reason. It's hard. But with practice, you can only get better!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Soapbox Sunday: Three Days of Dinner


This is all I have to say about weekends: why cannot it be this way every day? I love the weekends. I sleep, I work, I get to have dinner with people I love. It is all so wonderful. That dinner. That delicious dinner. This past week, dear Blogoworld, I went to THREE DINNERS. How many dinners do I normally go to, per month, per say? NONE. Zero. Nada.

But I went on three. And three my body does not know how to take. Here’s the truth of the matter—I did prepare for each dinner throughout the day. I ate no grain breakfast and lunch, fruit snacks, got off my lonely little butt and went to the gym. And yet, I still feel exploded.

Dinner One was Thursday night. A woman I volunteer with, Saloni, is being relocated with her hubbie to San Francisco. There was a small going-away party complete with Dewey’s pizza and Graeter’s Ice Cream. It was delightful. I even had a beer.

Dinner Two was a celebratory friend gathering. My college pal and general rock n’ roller, Mikayla, had two friends from her long past high-schoolhood in Cincinnati. We went out to appetizers and then home to Graeter’s. Again. Wow.

Dinner Three was a work party. Oh my Dear Lord, please bless the work party. This is a poor college-girls DREAM of food. If I was every hungry in my life, I was never more aware of it then when I see platters of baked chicken, carrots, broccoli, wild rice, cheesecake, and appetizers galore. What a night.

And by Day Four, after all of these dinners, I’m only mildly disappointed in myself. I ate small portions of everything, which is something I never did. But I had small seconds of many things, and I did not really want to. And so, again, I come to realize that I am, what I love to call, a serial social eater. I pattern my habits on those around me. I splurge when I’m gathered with others. It all means something deeper to me, psychologically.

But it does not mean I am hungry. So with every great downfall comes another great learning opportunity. Three days of Dinner, one enlightenment. Next time, I’m going to remember how I feel right now, after all these carbs. I’m going to remind myself that eating tasty cookies is not the way to fill up, and if I’m going to splurge on anything, I certainly can load up on extra helpings of veggies, not carbs. Tame those cravings, make good choices.

And maybe I don't like the weekends so much, food-wise. My schedule is free, my eating is free. It's hard to reign in those Saturday/Sunday combos and make them as productive and precise as my Monday-Friday.
But one can only work for improvement. Here's to another good week.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Friday Find: January 22, 2010

Ohhhh maaaaan, what's today?
January 22nd?
Man, there's not much going on in January this time o' year.

Maybe it's time for a party. Maybe. At least a party idea.
This is cool.
It's orange.
Lots o' orange. There's even a classy paper plate. Can you find it? Can you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Things Thin Girls Know: Mechelle Collins, January 21, 2010

Today's Thin Girl is the patient, witty, and ever-giving Mechelle Collins, a Kindergarten teacher currently in Farmersville, Texas. Mechelle dates my brother, hoo ha ha. Not only is she sassy with her comments at all times (even to the most vulgar of relatives), but she does it effortlessy and somehow always remains a lady. Way to be, Mechelle, way to be.
As a thin girl, what advice would you give to anyone losing weight?
Do not diet! I do not even like to use the term diet. You can achieve better results by actually eating six small meals a day {the term "diet" stresses withholding food}. Most diets that I have personally used are not realistic, or healthy. You are not getting all the nutrients your body needs. By eating six (healthy) small meals a day, you are not only getting all the nutrition you need, you are also keeping your metabolism going.
Also another extremely important factor in losing weight would be exercise. And by exercise, I do not mean running six miles a day. Walking for thirty minutes a day is just as effective at stimulating your body, and is actually eaiser on your joints.
How do you feel about your body?
I honeslty cannot think of a person, man or woman, who is happy with the way they look. There is always going to be something that could be improved. My biggest issue that I struggle with is I want to be more toned. In my mind, I always think that I could look better in an outfit, not if I were thinner, but if I had more muscle tone.
What is the one habit you swear by?
I believe in MODERATION and PROPORTIONS! The most important thing that my mother taught me about eating is to start with a small serving on your plate, and then if you are still hungry, you can go back and get more. Also, she always stressed moderation. You can eat a bowl of ice cream, just not everyday.

What are you fascinated by?
We live in a society that places such an emphasis on bigger and better, especially in Texas. That belief even goes into our food consumption. I am fascinated by all you can eat buffets. People go into restaurants and eat as much as they can, borderline gorging themselves. You do not need to eat that much! Who cares that you can get as much food as you could ever want for seven dollars-- you do not need that much food.

The most valuable advice that I have ever heard is that the size of your clothes is not important...it is how you look and feel in them. I heard this on the tv show "What Not to Wear."
This is incredibly true! It is not important to squeeze yourself into a smaller size, but get the size that fits your body. You can accentuate curves that you never knew you had with the fitting of clothes. And when you know you look good in something, your confidence boosts and you are able to be yourself...and being confident in yourself is the most beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Watson Wednesday: January 20, 2010

Watson's Work Out MIx! (with an emphasis on Abs)

I have two serious addictions.

Chapstick is the first.

Music is the second.

However enervating and extremely inconvenient my chapstick addiction is, it is currently not the least bit important.

My addiction to music is, however.

I pump tunes when I'm at home, when I'm driving, when I'm sad, when I'm happy, and most importantly when I'm at the gym.
Some songs work better than others on the motivational spectrum, it’s just a fact. So here we go! *CRINKLE OF THE ENVELOPE* The booty-motivating, super sassy songs of this week are "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry and "Burn It To The Ground" by Nickelback. *AND THE CROWD GOES WILD*

Disclaimer: While the first song is extremely insulting to the feminist in me, and the second heartily promotes rowdy behavior and excessive drinking, they are darn handy songs to have in those last few minutes of cardio when I feel as if I'm going to puke. So download, load, and listen, ladies!

On to the more important business of the day: Abs, abs, abs. The source of core strength and one of the single most challenging areas for me to tone. From what I've heard, I'm not alone. We women seem to struggle with the love handles and the dreaded pooch more than our male counterparts or the 1% of women who walk the runways. I watch T.V or I flip open a magazine and I wonder, "How the heck does Heidi do it?"

When I started working with Renee I mentioned this very quandary. “What's the best way to strengthen my core and tone my stomach?” Well ladies, forget the hassle and endless repetitions of "conventional" crunches, here's what I got. It requires a little floor space and a small squishy exercise ball. If one isn't available go to your local Target and grab a kids ball of the same size. Not only is it funnier, but it will work just as well.

The goal with this exercise is slow, controlled movements that engage your core and tone the whole stomach--NOT endless repetitions. Prepare yourself, take it slow, and you'll feel it.

1. Place the ball behind your back (I usually place it at the base of my ribcage), engaging your core so that the ball is not supporting your full weight. Inhale.
2. On the exhale, pull your bellybutton to your spine and crunch those abs, pulling yourself up, towards the wall in front of you. Think about engaging every muscle in that stomach. Physically thinking about it will actively work the muscles.

3. Inhale, and lower back down. Keep those muscles engaged so you aren't relying on the ball.

(Aim for 10-12 reps)

To increase the difficulty, try this:

1. Place the ball behind your back and engage that core. Inhale.
2. Exhale. As you pull your bellybutton to your spine and crunch up, keep your knee bent in a 90*angle and lift your leg.
3. As you inhale and lower your core back towards the floor, lower your leg back to the floor.
4. Repeat with the other leg.

(Aim for 10-12 reps)

Take it slow and really think about the muscles you want to tone in the lower stomach. Take it easy the first time around and readjust if it feels as if it's putting too much stress on your lower back.

So, next time you're at the gym pop those iPOD buds in, grab your squishy ball, and work those core muscles! You'll be well on your way to a stronger, toned, Heidi stomach in no time!

Your Wicked Workout Partner,
L. Watson

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Truth Tuesday: January 19th, 2010

Exercise: What your workout plan does to your brain. From the wiring in your brain to the blood rushing through your veins, Women's Health explains its effects
Dimity McDowell
Ready? Set! Know! Putting your body through its paces is like driving a stick: It's much easier to master if you understand exactly how a car zips from zero to 60. I know how my body feels when I'm gunning hard during a workout plan or a race (can you say "Shoot me now!"?), but I have no clue what's really making it go. So I dialed up the nation's leading fitness experts to find out, blow by painful blow, exactly what was happening to my body during my most recent race, the Boulder Peak Triathlon, this past July.
Apply their tips to your next workout, whether it's a killer strength training session, a spin class, or a day on the slopes, and you'll get a new appreciation for what your hardworking body can do--and a killer performance boost to go with it. And find out what to eat before your day's biggest tasks in WH's "Your Secret Power Foods."
Fueling Up
4:45 a.m. It's two hours before the race starts. I force down two slices of whole-wheat toast with a thin layer of peanut butter and a sliced banana on top. What's going onEating is the last thing I want to do, but I have to nosh now because my stomach needs time--two hours, to be exact--to digest complex carbs. Once I'm in motion, digestion will all but stop, so my belly will get no love from my body's oxygen-rich blood, which it needs for digestion.
"The nervous system directs blood to where it's needed most," says Carol L. Otis, M.D., co-author of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide. During a hard physical effort, the muscles that move my body crave oxygen and demand nearly 85 percent of my blood flow. The O2 combines with glycogen (a byproduct of carbs) to produce adenosine triphosphate, aka ATP. That's the fuel that makes the body go. Knowledge is power At least 80 percent of your pre-workout meal should be carbs. Try cereal with milk and a banana, or an English muffin with almond butter and honey.
Prone to stomach issues? "Drink a carb-rich sports drink like Gatorade or a smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt--they're easier to digest," says Ilana Katz, M.S., R.D., a sports nutritionist in Atlanta.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Momentary Mondays: January 18, 2010

This is Stephanie. Again.
Remember last week when she reminded us that sit-ups and crunches exist? Well, hopefully you've been inspired to do them for an entire week. Way to be! Well, this week, Stephanie is going to teach us how to be better and go harder. Way to be, Stephanie!

Whoa! Did Stephanie do a variation of a sit-up? She sure did! What is that she's doing? Well, if you'll look closely, you can see the wild beast has lifted her feet off the floor. Her weight is now being distributed and working on her balancing abilities.

The Wild Beast now has her hands on the other side of her body! Wow! It's true, dear Blogoworld, Stephanie is doing what she refers to as "Charlie's Angels." In effect, with her feet lifted off of the ground, she's twisting her abdomen and moving her "Charlie's Angel" Finger Gun from hip to hip. It makes it more difficult.
And makes you more improved. Let's do it!

Oh--and if you have a twin sister, don't forget to have her keep you entertained while you work out for your older sister's photoshoot. It just makes it all worth it. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Success Story: January 16, 2010

Autumn Mastroianni
Before: 183 lbs
After: 120 lbs
Autumn Mastroianni, 28, a registered dietitian in Danville, Kentucky, wasn't always so healthy. Her meals once consisted of carbs and fats, and few fruits or veggies. At 183 pounds, when she couldn't find non-plus-size clothes to fit her 5'5" frame, she overhauled her diet...and her life.
Throughout her freshman and sophomore years of college, Autumn watched the number on the scale skyrocket. A semester abroad in Germany was the final straw. "I enjoyed everything too much— sausage, cheese, chocolate, and beer," she says. “I’d always been heavy, but I never felt out of place. Then I went to Europe and saw that no one was as big as I was,” Autumn recalls.
When she returned home in September 2002 and had to buy plus-size clothing, she vowed to slim down. Swapping extra helpings of carbs for veggies and whole grains, banishing caloric beverages, and halving meat portions all helped Autumn shed 25 pounds. Then she started doing regular cardio and strength-training workouts, and she changed her major to nutrition sciences and dietetics. By September 2003, Autumn was down to 120 pounds.
She hasn't gained an ounce since graduation, and now counsels others about proper diet. "My job motivates me to stay healthy," she says.
Autumn's Tips
Know your limits. "I can't eat half a candy bar, so I buy snack-size versions instead."
Get a good start. "Breakfast revs up your metabolism."
Use the 90/10 rule. "If you're healthy 90 percent of the time, it's OK to cheat the other 10 percent!"

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Friday Find: January 15, 2010

Here are two interesting and humorous combinations today for the Friday Find. Would you like to be the pudgy, depressed woman bumped off quickly at the end of the world? :) Neither would I. I mean, if you wanted to, you could make 2010-2011 the time of preparation for the end of the world. You've still got time. :D

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Things Thin Girls Know: Abby Cox, January 14, 2010

Today's Thin Girl is the unbelievably glorious Abby Cox, a ground-breaking singer currently in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was so kind with this interview, offering a coffee date and giving all the lovely information she could. Please take a moment and check out her vintage clothing shop on etsy: ValiantVintage. You're sure to love it.

As a thin girl, what advice would you give to anyone losing weight?

The key to losing weight is maintaining a balanced diet. Too much of one thing or not enough of another throws the body off balance. The body craves fat because fat is good for the body, it just needs to be balanced with everything else the body needs like protein, grains, veggies, fruit, and dairy. I think I look and feel my best when everything is in proportion. My other piece of advice for someone who's trying to lose weight is exercise. It seems like such a simple and cliche answer but it makes sense. If someone is truly using up the calories they are consuming, they will lose weight. I believe that the hardest part about diet and exercise is making it part of one's routine. If you can just get a balanced diet and exercise to be part of a daily routine, a healthy body can be achieved.

How do you feel about your body?

Like most people, I sometimes worry about the way my body looks. It's hard to constantly see tiny women on pedestals in the media. You begin to think that is the way we are "supposed" to look. But I try to remind myself that these images are not the definition of perfection, and that truly there is no such thing as perfection! I like to look back and see that at one time, curvy, full-bodied women were the ones on the pedestal. Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 after all! Each body, no matter how many curves or how few, is beautiful in its own way. I am happy with the body I have because its the only one I've got; so why not cherish it!

What is the one habit you swear by?
My habit to swear by is simple. If I am trying to shed a couple of extra pounds, I cut out alcohol, chips (other similar snacks), and sweets. All the extra calories that I consume, not out of need, but out of pleasure. It's amazing how much just that reduces one's daily caloric intake!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by strength. I think that most people are very vulnerable and it is easy for us to follow a leader or hide from the world because it feels safe. But someone who can hold their own, be true to themselves, and still have compassion for others is a person that I admire. I strive everyday to push myself to be stronger, to be kinder, to be braver, and to be more accepting than the day I was before.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Watson Wednesday: January 13, 2010

New York. The city of dreams, skyscrapers, the most fashionable people on the planet.
Me. 5'1", 115 lbs. Sorely in need of new jeans.
Walking down Broadway one fine October day, I saw an advertisement for the new 1969 Premium Gap Jeans. I ventured inside to have a little look-see, determined to more-than-investigate new fashions for my stay in the city.
My own jeans (size four) were hanging from my little bum in a fairly precarious manner and after much deliberation and over-the-shoulder booty checking, I downsized to a much snuggier, much sassier, size two.
TA DA!! My Gap Jeans. Size Two. These jeans are no ordinary jeans. Nay, fair Ladies, These are THE JEANS. THE JEANS I purchased to accentuate my fine and firm buttocks, AND to blend into the much more style-conscious city of New York.
But that was October.
This is now.
I'm sitting on my bed and they are hanging in the closet.
Bagels, beer, and basically, no exercise. New York was a chock full of those three things. This lovely combinationi equals love handles and stomach pooch, neither of which are comfortable when you're out and about in tight jeans. What's a girl to do?!
Enter Renee.
The personal trainer.
My Christmas present from the parents.
Renee is a blonde ball of sunshine with a million-watt smile and the work out routines of a Spartan.
But I don't know any of this just yet. Now, she is sitting across from me with her clipboard and pen. She asks me to make specific fitness goals. Goals with DEADLINES. February. I want to fit into those jeans by the end of February. That's my first goal.
Renee and I have thirty minute sessions. It is vitally important, then, to cram them chock-full of sweaty, heart-pumping work outs. Running, weights, exercise ball crunches are the order of the day. Renee is taking no sass. Her method? Interval training.
Start with 2 minutes of a medium jog (for me, 5.0)
Increase the speed .5 for 1 minute (5.5)
Increase the speed .5 for 1 minute (6.0)
Increase the speed .5 for 1 minute (6.5)
Increase the speed .5 for 1 minute (7.0)
Drop back to the Medium Jog speed (5.0)
Aim to repeat the cycle 4 times
You will keep your heart rate up in your Target Heart Rate Zone for a solid 24 minutes, strengthening your heart and burning more calories than at a steady pace for 30 minutes. I swear to the Sweet Virgin Mary that you will feel the difference in a few days.
With Renee by my side, smiling oh so happily from the next treadmill, it was never too difficult to push the envelope and run faster than I ever really thought I could. (I didn't even have to think about my jeans since I had a PT watching my every stride.) The challenge, of course, is pushing my endurance and working my body when I'm the only one around to motivate me. When I'm sprinting on that treadmill and the only thing I want to do is stop, I can't help but remember those Size Two Gap Jeans, hanging listlessly in my closet, and I pull out and put on my big girl face.
...If that doesn't quite work, I can always pretend zombies are chasing me. There's nothing like a good zombie chase to motivate a good-spirited sprint. :)
So--cheers, ladies! Here's to some empty hangers and tight-fitting jeans!
Your Wicked Work-Out Partner,
L. Watson

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Truth Tuesday: January 12, 2010

Salt binges can lead you to retain more water than the Hoover Dam. This one should be obvious. With parmesan cheese, fried croutons, salty dressing and anchovies, chicken Caesar salad is one of the most sodium-packed foods out there. (Versions at certain sit-down chains can contain more than 1,900 mg of sodium!) But it's not just the salt; Caesar ranks right up there with taco salads as one of the most misbegotten "health" foods out there. Some versions at sit-down chain restaurants have more than 1,000 calories, 75 grams of fat and nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Chicken can be a great option, though, because it's a lean meat with protein that fills you up and helps you fight belly fat. Grilled chicken sandwiches can give you the same full feeling as the Caesar salad, without the huge caloric load and bulging belly. Add a side salad with vinaigrette dressing, and you've got a more complete meal with only about 200 extra milligrams of sodium.
Eat This!
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Side Salad and Vinaigrette
390 calories
10 g fat
950 mg sodium

Not That!
Chicken Caesar Salad
800 calories
45 g fat
1,700 mg sodium

Monday, January 11, 2010

Momentary Monday: January 11, 2009

This is Stephanie.
She's a bad-ass because I say she is, and a lady because she deserves that title.
Stephanie is sixteen. And related to me. I admire her, and today she's going to draw our attention to sit-ups and crunches.
I went home for the winter holidays, and began to think, "When was the last time I did a crunch? I know my abs are strong, but can they be stronger?" Yes, they can. They always can.
This year is about doing the things I already know I should be doing. Following my own advice. Following my "motherly" advice. Ya know--the "be safe and make good choices" advice.
If I hear it enough times, I'll do it. That's what this blog is about, blogoworld!
So, today, re-teach yourself how to do a crunch, a sit-up. See this kick-ass sixteen-year-old doing it, and do it for yourself. Do twenty of them. It's good for you. :)

Support your neck, do not strain it. Place your fingertips along your hairline. Use your abdomen to pull your body up, not your neck muscles. That's just painful.

Pull your stomach down to the floor, begin to pull yourself up.

Whoa! Way to go! You pulled yourself all the way up! You're such a big girl now!

Don't forget to make this face. It says, "Ugggghhhh."
P.S. Want to make your sissy girl crunches harder? On the Up, twist your body to the right. Return to the ground, pull yourself up, and twist yourself to the left. Your working the various muscle groups in your abdomens. It hurts, but it's good for you.
This Monday, do twenty crunches!
A small beginning is still a beginning!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Soapbox Sunday: January 10, 2010

Diets, from their intrinsic nature are restrictive. Duh. And frankly, restrictions suck.
So get rid of them.
Figure out what you can do with your body when you give it free reign. Figure out what your body does when you give yourself permission to make good decisions. Figure out what potentional your body has to be as kick ass as you know it is.
If you're out grocery shopping--go ahead and stock up your fridge. Stuff it full with food! Since you're so interested in health, it's probably going to be all good food, right? YES. Make the choice to fill it to the brim with fruits, veggies, healthy carbs, a box of mac n cheese (if you so desire)--eerything that you would LIKE to be able to eat. And eat it. Discover how easy it is to make good decisions when you give yourself the opportunity. You'll find that you're full faster. You'll find that you have the means to prepare yourself the healthy meal you've been craving.
You'll find that you DO have control, once you GIVE yourself control.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Success Story: January 9, 2010

Sweta Srivastava

Before: 230 lbs
After: 135 lbs

Growing up, Sweta Srivastava always wanted to participate in team sports, but her weight kept her stuck on the sidelines. Thanks to a friend's support and a newfound passion for martial arts, the 23-year-old benefits administrator from Toronto took 95 pounds off her 5'5 1/2" frame.

As a teen, Sweta regularly indulged in late-night "snacks" of Chinese takeout. By high school, she was 200 pounds; in college, 24-hour buffet-style dining halls tacked on 30 more.

After she graduated in May 2007, a pre-med pal warned Sweta that her weight put her at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and possibly an early death. It shocked her into action. Eating small, healthy meals throughout the day curbed Sweta's urge to snack at night. Suddenly, she had more energy. "Big meals made me feel lethargic," she says. Spinning and kickboxing classes helped her shed 50 pounds. Then she took up Muay Thai, a form of martial arts, and dropped 20 more. In January 2009, she began working with a personal trainer, and she reached her goal weight of 135 pounds seven months later. Sweta scored her first pair of jeans—she'd always been too heavy for them—and tons of confidence. "Now I'm looking forward to the next challenge," she says.

Sweta's Tips
Read labels. "I don't buy any food that has 15 grams of fat or more.

"Keep gym clothes in your car. "I never have an excuse not to exercise."

Try a class. "Instructors will push you harder than you might push yourself."

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Friday Find: January 8, 2010

Hey Guys! Look at this website I found!
Real Women, Real Advice
It's not amazing, or the most adorable thing since sliced bread, but it's simple. Simple is easy, and I'm all about making my life as easy as possible. Efficient layout, efficient sorting of subjects, and maybe something will just reach out and smack you right in the balls.
I've found a few inspirational stories on here for the blog, and I think it may be able to help some of you. As usual, email me your questions or comments, and I'd be happy to talk to you about anything. :) west.allyson@gmail.com

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday Things Thin Girls Know: Alison Vodnoy, January 7, 2010

Today's Thin Girl is the brilliantly superb Alison Vodnoy, an actor from Cincinnati, Ohio. Alison is the best way to start off the new year here at SmellyGirl. Listen to her words of love, common sense, wisdom, and start redefining your sense of body and health. Happy New Year Week!

As a thin girl, what advice would you give to anyone losing weight?
I don't know that I would call myself a thin girl. I'm just a girl, living in this gorgeous world, surrounded by gorgeous people. And that's the advice I would give. Let go of your perceptions of yourself, let go of the labels you've heard or created or internalized as the definition of You. Release the ideas of "skinny" or "fat," "good" and "bad," "attractive" or "unattractive"; someone else made them up, so they have nothing to do with the truth of your body.
Letting go of what people told you to do with your body, and moving past what they defined it as, will help you find the purest form of what you are. Then you can lose the weight of the heavy definitions and expectations that are placed upon women from external, inauthentic sources.

How do you feel about your body?

When I listen to my body, and respect its needs, I love my body. During the times when I allow my self-perception to be altered by external notions of what my body "should" be, or what it "should" do, I am at odds with it. Frankly, that doesn't make either one of us happy. Women are so inundated with expectations for their bodies - what to wear, what not to wear in order to avoid the dreaded skankiness, how many people to sleep with, how much to eat, how much to exercise, what is being a "good" or "bad" girl. We're caught between chastisements for going too far or not far enough in every single one of those aspects, and if you ask me, it's all bunk. When I stop asking other people those questions and I ask myself, I find the answer that vibrates the truest in my body, and my cells. That's when I'm happy, that's when I'm full, that's when I can shed the pounds of guilt, that's when I can love my body.

What is the one habit you swear by?

Yoga and Veganism. That's two habits, but for me, they're connected. In both ways I feel that I'm honoring my body, and creating a better awareness of it. Why? First of all, both make me feel f-ing spectacular! Second, both promote peace and openness in the world, and putting that energy out, I also feel it within. Everyone has a different path to feeling that same thing, but for me, in becoming vegan I felt more free because I was no longer putting things into my body that had suffered. When I stopped consuming pain and violence, it was no longer in my body.

What inspires you?
The strength of the human heart. We experience so many things, and we go on. And we try again with the potential that anything could happen. The human heart has the potential to be a bottomless source of trust and love. When it breaks, it grows back stronger. When it's burned, it comes back cleaner with things we didn't need to begin with burned away. The strength of the human heart, and the power it has both alone and united with others, inspires me.

I recently got sick and was faced with a lot of challenges in continuing to rehearse and perform a very physical play, and teach yoga during the days. I found myself constantly frustrated and disappointed with my body. In my mind, my body was failing me and keeping me from being able to do everything I wanted to do. What I realized was that, my body, and all of the things it went through during that time, was a miracle. It didn't let me down - rather it tried to tell me what it needed, and I let it down by not listening. A body is like a lover - if you ignore it, or deny it when it speaks, eventually it will fight back. Or even worse - it will stop speaking all together. But if you are dedicated to an open communication with your body, and to giving it what it asks for - whether it's food, rest, activity, sex, or stillness - you can find that elusive and complete union where you're both happy. When I practice that, I find the purest form of me. And that form is not my body - it is my heart. It is my ability to love.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Watson Wednesday: January 6, 2010

A dear friend of mine and equal ass-kicker is the ever lovely Leah Watson. She's my newest feature writer! I give you WATSON WEDNESDAYS!

5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5. The numbers are going up and up and up. My little feet are pounding the rotating tread on the treadmill and I know I'm going to die. I don't think I'm going to die, I know. My heart is pounding out of my chest, I'm sucking air like my life depends on it, and Renee the personal trainer is smiling at me from the next treadmill. My eyes are narrowing, my brain function is slowing, and my life is flashing before my eyes. How much more of this can I take!?

This is exactly the question that I am setting out to answer.
If you have kept up with "Sugar (Cookie), Don't Waste My Time" my name and persona may sound a bit familiar. My dear friend and inspiration, Ms. Allyson West, once featured me on Thursdays Things Thin Girls Know and I was lucky enough to be invited back to the blog as a writer. My topic? How you kick your own butt. Welcome to Watson Wednesdays a mid-week check in for ladies who want to push the envelope and become their own source of inspiration. Each week I will share my experiences in pushing the envelope and changing my own life. Exercise is my most personal journey and I want to share it with you.

So, how do you kick your own butt? Let's find out.

Your Wicked Work Out Partner,
L. Watson

I have included my own personal fitness goals and a starting picture of myself to map my own goals.

Fitness Goals

1. Fit comfortably into Gap Jeans (size 2). This means no flabby stomach or love handles hanging over top.

2. Take classes in something I have never tried before.

3. Lose 6 pounds by April 12th.

4. Snowboard 6 times this season.

5. Build upper body strength. Do 40 consecutive pushups (man style).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Truth Tuesday: January 5, 2010

Buttered Popcorn
(medium: 10-12 cups)

600 calories

39 g fat (12 g saturated)
1,120 mg sodium

Popcorn can be a great, fiber-rich snack, as long as you stay away from the dreaded butter pump. Besides tripling the calories of a page of popcorn, many movie theater “butters” are teeming with trans fat. Instead, seek flavor from the spice mixes many theaters carry now. Or grab a pretzel: As long as you’re not dipping it into molten cheese, a large soft pretzel makes a reasonable movie theater snack. Be really good and ask them to skip the salt—mustard packs plenty of sodium as it is.
Try eating this instead!
Soft pretzel with mustard
290 calories
0 g fat

850 mg sodium

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Moments: January 4, 2010

To do Today:
Learn to freaking read a nutritional label

Yes, I do this, and yes, it took me two years of getting through it to figure it out. But did I have a handy resource to direct me on how to understand that I can actually know exactly what is going into my body every time I put something into it? I did not. But you, dear Blogoworld, you certainly sure do.
Real-life story: Upon grocery shopping with the ever brilliant Mikayla Stanley, she was given the timely opportunity to educate a third party friend of ours on the benefits of reading labels. This lovely third party friend of ours is 21 years old, and very very fit and beautiful. Did she understand that the unpronounceable words on the back of her candy yogurt were going to wreak havoc on her body in ways she did not even understand? She did not. But now she does. Way to be, Mikayla. Way to be. And third-party friend? Way to learn!

So use me. Follow these links, wake up or catch up to Health 2010, and decide that today is THE day to educate yourself. GO.

The FDA want to teach you!

Your FamilyDoctor wants to gently take your hand and lead you into a knowledgeable world of wonders.

Even WikiHow has it's steps for achieving nutritional know-how. Ooh, alliteration.

WebMD has a mouthful of details and delights for those of you already all-knowing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Soapbox Sunday

I go home about three times a year.

And by "home," I mean a sort of mental institution filled with nine other human beings (and four dogs of various owners) that almost look exactly like me in different ways. These humans often jump on me. They often feed me. They often hug me and kiss me and we all play around with each other. They sit at the kitchen table and watch me act out whatever song is playing on the radio. They ask if they can help me make cookies and then make a point of getting flour all over my clothes. They pin me down and tickle my feet, before pulling off my neon sock and shoe and throwing them away.

They remind me what it feels like when I am loved. I realize, once again, what it feels like to be me. I once again find what I like about myself, what my dreams are, what goals I set up for myself, and what path of life I am marching down at the moment.

So YAY for being given the time to find yourself again. YAY for the fact that, for me, it happens to be around family. YAY for the next time I get to come back.

I can't wait to see who I've become, again.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Success Story: January 2, 2010

Today is a running story. I love these running stories. Know why? Because I absolutely do not consider myself a runner. But everyone does it differently, and the differences can be enjoyable. So learn about Amy. Maybe you'll learn something about yourself.

Amy's Story

My dad has been a runner his whole life. He has run about ten marathons, and he was the one who taught me about running. Not everyone is born a natural runner, and a lot of people don't like running. They only know running as, "Try to run as fast as you can for as long as you can." Well, that is miserable. The one thing that I learned from my dad is to take it slow. You have to start slow and build up. Run at a pace that you feel you can hang on to, and take walk breaks. Run at a pace that is comfortable, and move forward from there.

I started running my sophomore year in college, and I wasn't a good runner at all. I would basically walk one block and then run one block. Then the next day I would run two blocks and walk two blocks, then three blocks, then a year later I was running six miles.

I definitely don't think that I am an amazing natural runner. I don't have the body type for it, and I am not very fast. For me it is less about the speed and more about the distance, the discipline and the goal. I work hard at it, and I do the best I can, and I feel good that I can go long distances and run marathons.

I chose the Long Beach Marathon for my first marathon because it was a nice, flat path down by the beach. I didn't care at all about my time. I didn't care if I walked the whole thing. I just wanted to get it done and cross the finish line - that was my main goal.

Training for marathons is a grueling and tedious task, but I am such a goal-oriented person that knowing that two, three, or four months down the road I have got a race to do really keeps me going. It is important to give yourself time to train for a marathon; you can't rush it. Every week on Saturdays I do a long run, and it gets longer and longer each week as I get closer to the marathon. I know for six months I am not going to have any plans on Friday nights except to run.

For the first hour after an 18-mile run, I feel like death and need a shower and eat everything I can find. But two hours afterwards, I feel like a model and I feel like the coolest, most amazing person alive because I just did an 18-mile run. I think it has to do with the sense of accomplishment, but also physically your body feels good. It's all worth it.

The health benefits of running have been amazing. When I first started I probably lost 20 pounds. I haven't had a cold or gotten sick in what feels like years. Running is one way you can take care of your body. Physically it has kept me strong and my cardiovascular system is strong, but emotionally it also has all kinds of benefits.

Running is an incredible emotional release. A few minutes into a run, my mind just starts wandering and I forget that I am running. I start sorting through issues I have had at work or stuff going on in my personal life. It is such a great way for me to work through things. It is like a therapy session, something I really look forward to.