Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nutrition 101

As of this morning, I have a lost 83 lbs. (+/- 80 lbs.) and everyone who knows or ever met me in real life asks me how I did it.  The truth is simple.  I follow flexible dieting, tracking calories and macronutrients and I exercise.  This post gives you an inside look at what I eat and several recipes to try.

In July, I posted, "Foods to Try," where I wrote about several foods that have made it to my grocery list.  I added some recipes and some healthy tips.

In "Wonder Woman," I give a basic explanation of flexible dieting and macros.

I have two other posts about nutrition:
Protein and "A Calorie is Not a Calorie"

Here I am going to share with you what I eat in a typical week...

Meal Prep

I am MOST successful when I plan my meals.  (I don't do anything like what I've heard of the 21 Day Fix.)  At night, I plan my meals for the next day.  I do actually prepare my breakfast, snacks and lunch.  In the morning, I put it in my lunchbox and off to work I go.  I try to take something out of the freezer in the morning so dinner is easy when I get home.  If I'm really motivated, I'll make dinner the night before or in the morning.

Here's an idea of what I eat from day to day...
Breakfast:  Protein smoothie.  a.m. snack:  Chobani yogurt and flaxseed.  Lunch:  Salad with grilled chicken and feta cheese, with an apple and Ken's Light Balsamic.  p.m. snack:  Protein bar.

Next day:  Breakfast:  3 egg frittata.  a.m. snack:  yogurt and flaxseed.  Lunch:  Pretty much the same thing, except I added cottage cheese to increase my protein.  p.m. snack:  almonds.

Day three:  Breakfast:  Protein shake.  a.m. snack:  yogurt with flaxseed.  Lunch:  turkey sandwich on gluten free bread with an apple and cottage cheese.  p.m. snack:  almonds.

So, you get the idea for breakfast, lunch and snacks...  

Sometimes I mix things up.

You can always add variety with your protein:
4 1/2 oz. shrimp has 27 grams of protein!!!
Watermelon!!!!!  Yummy!
Salad dressing here:  1 tbsp. light Catalina with 2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

Here's my mini-version of taco salad.
Ground turkey, seasoned with taco seasoning.
Shredded Mexican cheese instead of feta.
I really was craving avocado when I ate this, so the next day I threw in 1/2 an avocado and a serving of Tostitos Scoops.
Salad dressing here:  1 tbsp. light Catalina, 1 tbsp. light Italian, 1 tbsp. Taco Sauce.  (I use 1/2 that mixture)


I am not crazy about making dinner.  I don't like to put in a lot of work for one meal.  I will try a few different things and mix it up here and there.  I took the above photos for my Wonder Women Fitness for Life group on Facebook...it feels kind of weird taking pictures of my meals.  I have pictures here, where available.


I will buy a 10 lb. bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into meal size portions (5 -6 oz.), marinade them in Italian dressing for a couple hours and cook them all at once.  When they cool off, I wrap them up and freeze them individually.  It's a major hassle the first time you do it, but it lasts for a long time!  You can eat the chicken breasts for lunch or dinner.  For lunch, I have the chicken with a salad.  I will defrost them for dinner and serve with steam fresh vegetables and a sweet potato.
No sweet potato, just veggies and a garden fresh tomato, sliced into wedges.

I also am in love with split chicken breasts that are still on the bone.  They are so amazingly moist!

Method One:
I will cook the chicken right on the grill and load it up with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.  I remove the skin and cut the chicken off the bone.  It tastes entirely different from the marinaded chicken!  Sometimes I will microwave the chicken breasts for a little bit so they don't take as long to cook on the grill.
I could eat this every single night for dinner!!!!  Add either a salad or steamed vegetables and BAM!
(Remove skin and take chicken off the bone.)

Method Two:
I put the chicken breasts into the oven and pour prepared salsa over them and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until they are done.  I serve over brown rice.  (I remove the skin after baking and the chicken from the bone.)  I pour a little of the salsa sauce over the chicken and rice.  You have to add some fat grams to your macros for this because the chicken skins cook off fat into the sauce.

Method Three:
This is an extremely fattening way of eating the chicken breasts and I have only made it this way twice since I started trying to lose weight.  I will bake the chicken breasts, remove from the bone and skin.  Then I make my own Alfredo sauce (the fattening part) and serve with pasta and steamed broccoli.  It's impossible to track macros with this because I don't have a recipe for the sauce.  I make it with chicken broth, sour cream, butter, parmesan cheese and gorgonzola cheese.  I'm sure I could figure out what the macros are and it would be mostly fat, which really isn't that bad for you (although we are talking dairy fat, which is different).  I could look for healthier ways to prepare this.  If I do, I'll post the recipe and results here.

Ground Turkey

I'm sorry, but I don't think turkey is the most amazing substitute for ground beef.  I try, but I really don't feel it most days.  There are a few things I can substitute turkey for the beef.

-Turkey (or Ground Chicken) Burgers 
I posted the recipe for the chicken burgers on Foods to Try.  They taste nothing like a hamburger, but they aren't really meant to sub for a juicy hamburger.  They are amazing, though!  Especially with lettuce and tomato.

-Turkey Chili
1 medium onion, diced  
1 medium red pepper, diced (optional)
1 lb. ground turkey, browned with the onion (and pepper)
1 can crushed tomatoes 
2 cans diced tomatoes (I buy the zesty ones with jalapenos or chiles)
1 can of fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed well
Assorted chili seasonings to taste.  I use chili powder, garlic and onion powders, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, and ground cumin.  I throw in some salt and ground black pepper to taste.  You can cheat and buy the chili seasonings pre-packaged, but they are super high in sodium.

Directions:  Dice the onion (and pepper).  Brown the turkey with the onion (and pepper).  Drain and rinse in a collander once fully browned.  Add tomatoes, broth, beans and seasonings.  Cook on medium heat until flavors fully blend.  Typically I will brown the meat and throw the rest into a crock pot to cook on low heat for the day.  The chili tastes better when the seasonings have time to blend well.

-Turkey Shepherd's Pie
This makes three servings for me and will last me three meals.  My family will NOT eat this, so make them regular shepherd's pie with ground beef, corn and white mashed potatoes.

1 lbs. ground turkey, browned
1 lbs. baby carrots, steamed and cut into small pieces
1 large sweet potato, cooked

Put the turkey in the bottom of a bread loaf pan.  I put a dash of salt and pepper on top of the meat. Put the sliced carrots on top.  Remove the cooked sweet potato from the skin and mash it up.  (Sometimes I will use a tiny bit of 1% milk, but usually the sweet potatoes are so soft that they don't need the milk.)  Place the mashed sweet potato on top of the carrots.

I will make this in advance and put it in the fridge.  The next day, I bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, sometimes less.

-Unstuffed Cabbage
I cook this a little longer until the cabbage wilts more.  It's really delicious!
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground turkey (or ground chicken), browned with onion
1 29 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 head cabbage, cut into 1" pieces
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Combine ground meat and onions in a deep skillet.  Cook over medium heat until browned.  Add cabbage to meat mixture; cover and cook over medium heat until cabbage wilts, about 5 - 8 minute, stirring occasionally.  Add in tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and salt & pepper.  Bring mixture to a boil; then reduce heat and cover.  Cook at least 10 minute.  Serve with brown rice.

-Marinara Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 lbs. ground turkey, browned with the onion
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cans diced tomatoes (no chiles for marinara sauce)
sometimes I throw in 1 tbsp. olive oil to blend the sauce a little nicer
Basil, oregano, parsley and garlic powder to taste

Throw all this together in a pan and simmer until the flavors fully cook.  Serve over pasta or squash.  I will eat spaghetti squash sometimes or I'll steam zucchini and summer squash and serve it over that.  To add more protein, I'll add a chicken sausage.

-Butternut Squash Soup
I went to Panera this weekend and had their Autumn Squash Soup.  It was so amazing.  Oh, my goodness!!!  I can't even begin to tell you!  When I came home, I decided I HAD to make some.
So I did!
This is 1 1/2 cups, which was too much for me. 
I input the ingredients into MyFitness Pal, which gave me this nutritional information.

• 4 cup , Butternut Squash, Steamed and Mashed  (this is pretty much what one good sized squash yields)
• 1 med. apple, raw, cored and without skin
• 2 tbsp, Coconut Oil
• 1 can, chicken broth, fat free, low sodium
• 3 stalk, Celery Stalk
• 1 Medium Onion
• nutmeg (to taste)
• Cinnamon (to taste)
• Salt (to taste), a couple dashes

I HATE to cut and peel butternut squash, so I cut it in half, put it upside down in an 9 x 13 glass pan, put 1/2" water in the bottom of the pan and roast it until it is soft. I add the apple about 1/2 way through the cooking so it softens up.

Finely chop the onion and celery and saute in the coconut oil until translucent or soft.

After the squash is cooked, spoon it out of the skin. Place it with the apple, onions and celery mixture into a blender. Blend until pureed. Place this mixture into a pot with the chicken broth. Add salt, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. I just sprinkled a couple of dashes. It was amazing.

This made three 1 1/2 cup servings. I couldn't eat an entire 1 1/2 cups, so I ate 3/4 cup, reducing the calories and macros in half.

There's other foods, too...

Salmon with 1/2 sweet potato and steamed green beans

On Thursdays when I have class, I will get a sub or a rice bowl from the student dining room.  On Fridays, sometimes we have pizza - and I get whatever the family wants.

And I'm not always this good!  

The thing about flexible dieting is that you can eat pretty much whatever you want, as long as you fit it into your calories and macros.  When training for the Ride to Remember, I ate a LOT of carbs!!! 
This was a CARB loading day right before my 100 mile bike ride.

Sometimes for breakfast, I will have a couple fried eggs with Kashi wafflles and a little syrup.  (Not sugar free syrup.)  I fry the eggs with cooking spray, so there's no extra fat.

I made zucchini bread this summer and tried to make it healthy. But with all the sugar, umm, yea, not so healthy.  But it sure did taste good!  Problem?  I can't eat just one slice.

This is what I had a bridal shower recently.  I can't tell you how long I was craving that Belgian waffle with strawberries and whip cream.  To die for!

Sometimes I just need a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Fro-Yo!!!  I am a sucker for ice cream.  This was amazing!

Flexible dieting encourages you to learn how to eat.  The key is to track what you eat - EVERYTHING!  It has really helped me to see the nutritional values of the foods I eat, how one slice of bread affects my carb count for the day...and if I'm having taco salad - what a difference 1/2 oz. of shredded cheddar makes instead of 1 oz.  Tonight for dessert I had Bryer's vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.  Why?  I was low on calories for the day and I had plenty of carbs left over.  After trying every diet, flexible dieting has been the smartest choice for me.

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Follow me on Instagram:  @tracoleman99

Questions for you:  Answer in the comment section below.
What nutritional plan do you follow?  How does that work for you? 
Have you tried any great new healthy recipes lately?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rugged Super Heroes

This is a photo blog entry.  Pictures only, not much commentary.  Yesterday I posted Feeling Rugged, where I told you all about the difference a year makes.  So, if you missed that, make sure you check it out.

Super Heroes BEFORE
Maria and I striking a rocker pose.  I think I look ridiculously stupid.  Maria can pull it off.  Me, not so much.
Before you even get to the starting line, you have to climb over this 4' wall.  
Getting ready...Billy is smart.  He's stretching.  Maria and I are posing.  See my arms?  I have cut off tube socks on.  I look pretty ridiculous right now, but I have no scrapes or bruises on my arms this year, so score one for me!
Maria, me, Mitch, Brian, Billy (Mike is behind Billy, but you can't really see him).
The balancing beam was the first obstacle we caught up with our spectators.  This was just about near mile 2.
Lots of climbing through mud...You can see most of my team entering the tubes here.
My team is either climbing through the mud or in the tube...I am the one with the orange shirt just getting out of the tube.
Pardon my back showing...here I am cheering my team on...Brian is just getting out of the tube.
Yes, that's me jumping over fire into a bath of muddy water.  It may sound crazy, but this was so much fun!
The Warped Wall
Probably the most challenging obstacle of all.  We all made it!  
(I didn't get a picture of Billy on the wall)
Joey getting ready....
Up, up, up, and up!  He was a rock star!
We are all standing there, thinking, "HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?"
Mitch did it like it was nothing.
I did it!!!!  Last year I couldn't do it.  This year I wouldn't take no for an answer!!!
Mike (on the right)
Almost to the finish line...
When you get over the warped wall, you have to climb across the cargo ropes to the other side.
If you are afraid of heights, do NOT look down!!!
Made it!!!  Water and orange wedge in hand!
Everyone on our Super Heroes team survived!  All a little dirtier for the wear, but in one piece.
Want to join our team next year?  You can register now and get the discounted rate of $39.  It's next year, September 24 - 25.  Not sure how long this price will hold.  I'll let you know what our team name is and which heat we plan to go out on, in case you want to go out with us.  We'd LOVE to have more people on our team.  For more information, go to Rugged Maniac.

New:  Subscribe to new posts!  When a new post is added, you will receive an email notice so you can check it out.  I promise:  no SPAM and I won't share your email address with anyone.  Look at the top right side of the page to subscribe.

Follow me on Instagram:  @tracoleman99.

Questions for you...  (answer in the comment section below)
1.  Are you rugged enough to do this?
2.  How crazy am I for loving this?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Feeling Rugged

What a difference one year makes!

Yesterday was the Rugged Maniac.  I did it for the first time in 2014 and had a blast.  It was a HUGE boost for my self-confidence and my first fitness goal accomplished.  We signed up to do it again this year and got a team together to do it with us.  Our team was Super Heroes.
Hulk, the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spiderman, SuperGirl, Batman & The Flash
Both of my kids did it too, which made it that more special.  In fact, Joey ditched us towards the beginning of the race.  He finished 45 minutes before most of us on the team.  He crushed it!  I am so proud of him!
Joey totally crushed Rugged!!!
Since it's a mud run, you can't really bring your camera with you.  I did just get a Go-Pro, but I'd need a body mount to bring it on something like this.  I did see one guy with his Go-Pro, I have to admit, I was a little jealous.

Here's the difference a year makes...there are only five, so be patient:

1.  Running
I have strict orders from my doctor to not run at all because of my knee.  This year?  I ran a lot more than I did last year (and I wasn't even tired).  I would have kept running too, but most our team decided to walk it, making it an obstacle only race.  My left hamstring felt really tight and I think I'd might have injured it if I ran, so I'm okay with that.  (As far as the doctor's orders go...I will listen to him with his suggestions, but I will listen to my body more than to him.  If I listened to the orthopedic surgeon I would still be fat and I would never have done anything that I set out to do this past year.  I know doctors are conservative and I know doctors supposedly know best.  But I know I've learned a lot about my health and how to take care of my knee.  So I won't set out to run as a hobby, but I'm not letting him hold me back either.)

2.  Wonder Woman lends a hand
I was coaching and helping other people throughout the entire race.  There are a few obstacles you have to climb over - very tall walls - and that transition from one side to the next is very scary.  Looking down can really make you NOT be able to do it.  So I would stand on the other side and say, "Don't look down, just figure out where you are going to put your foot.  There you go, you got this!"  At one of the first walls, a lady said, "You are awesome.  Can I stay with you the whole race?"  Her friend said, "Don't you see her shirt?  She's Wonder Woman!"  Maria said, "She is Wonder Woman!"

3.  The Ringer
I totally killed this obstacle this year.  Last year, I tried it.  I gave it an honest go, but I fell into the water immediately.  As part of my training this year, I've been doing pull-ups and hanging leg raises, so I was a lot more prepared for this one obstacle and I made it across.  Mitch made it most of the way, too.  I was the only one from our team that tried the obstacle without falling into the water.
Obviously, this is NOT me!!!  This is a picture from the Rugged Maniac.  It shows what I'm talking about with the rings.  
4.  The Warped Wall.  
The last obstacle is a huge warped wall you have to climb up and over, praying someone on the other side will help boost you over. Last year I was self-conscious about my weight and I said, "I'll give it one go, and if I don't get it, I'm going up the ladder."  And that's exactly what happened.  This year, I was like, "No, way!  I'm doing this."  Before we started, Erica kept saying, "This is what you need to do.  Run and run and keep running even when you think you can't run anymore.  Don't reach for the people at the top of the wall, just throw your arms up and let them grab your wrist.  Don't lean forward."  Okay, mental note to self taken.  So when we got to the end, I was rehearsing her message over and over in my head.  I let Mitch and his friend John go first so they could grab my arms.  I ran and ran as fast as I could and I did it!  I got over the wall successfully.  It wasn't a pretty climb over, but I did it!!  I was super pumped and so excited.
Run up, up, up and go over!  
5.  Pretty good for a girl! 
So, back last spring Dmitriy wanted me to do pull-ups.  I didn't really feel the desire to do pull-ups, but he wanted me to work on them.  I can do five, which I guess is pretty good for a girl.  There's this one guy in the gym who stared at me and made a comment about me doing them.  (That's a little bit creepy, but my confidence is increasing, so...)  After you are done with the Rugged Maniac race, there is a big party.  Everyone over 21 gets a free beer ticket, there is a DJ playing, and there are games and prizes.  It's a lot of fun.  I decided to do the Marines Challenge, which was to do pull-ups.  I was aiming for seven, which would have been two more than I normally do.  I did 5 1/2.  I think that's pretty good for a girl.  Especially after being tired from doing Rugged.

6.  I lied, there are six!
I was soooo cold after the race.  It was sunny and about 70 degrees out, but my clothes were wet and I was shivering.  Brian says, "Don't you have on a sports bra?  Just take your shirt off and you'll warm up."  And that's what I did.  I NEVER would have done that last year!
It's a great feeling to be comfortable enough in your own skin to take your shirt off because you're cold.  I supposed my sports bra covers more than my bathing suit, so...
Jenna, Erica and Joe came to take pictures.  I'll post more pictures in a separate post.  Next year, I hope they all do it with us!!!  It was soooooo much fun!  I think next year's team should be Wonder Women and Super Men.  Yeah, I'll work on that.  (I saw one girl was dressed up AS Wonder Woman.  She had on a Wonder Woman shirt, with coordinating shorts, socks and a cape.  I was jealous.  Definitely jealous.)

Mitch, Brian, me and Joey.  A great family fun day!
Follow me on Instagram:  @tracoleman99.

Check out the rest of the pictures here:  Rugged Super Heroes

If you haven't read it yet, make sure you read about my journey doing the Ride to Remember last week.  The Girl Picked Last.

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Questions for you:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy is it that I enjoy this kind of thing?
What crazy and adventurous things have you done lately?
Leave your answers in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Three things I learned

It's Tuesday.  It's been three days since the Ride to Remember.  

Before I start, make sure to read these posts if you missed any of them:

Wonder Women Fitness for Life
Ride to Remember posts (these tell the story about the Ride to Remember):
Feeling Loved
Sneak Peek
The Girl Picked Last

Since I am really tired, but I can't sleep, I thought I'd share with you three things I learned on the road to accomplish my goals.  I shared these with my Wonder Women Facebook group, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

1. Set your fitness goals for yourself and no one else. Others will let you down if you hinge the goal on them.  
I did this for me and no one else.  I had a lot of people I wanted to do it for, but the bottom line is that I did it for me.
2. Believe in yourself. You have more strength than you realize.  I shouldn't have, but I doubted myself every step of the way.  

3. Set your goal, do what you can to train for it, and know you have given it your all. When the day comes and you accomplish your goal. All the training will have paid off.  
I averaged between 60 - 100 (or more) miles per week this summer, training for the Ride to Remember.  I made sure to include climbing in almost every ride.  All my training paid off!
I've probably learned more but these three ring true today.  

To sum it up...

Dream it.  

Set a plan to accomplish it.

This is on the wall in the gym where I work out.  I had to take a picture of it.  It rings true for so many things, whether it's fitness, work, school work, or relationships.  If it's important, you'll make it happen.  If not, ...
Work towards it.

Achieve it.

You are a star!!!

Here's a REALLY cool YouTube video of this year's ride by Jeff Jo (I think I saw myself a couple of times in this, but it's hard to tell):

Follow me on Instagram:  tracoleman99

New:  Subscribe to new posts!  When a new post is added, you will receive an email notice so you can check it out.  I promise:  no SPAM and I won't share your email address with anyone.  Look at the top right side of the page to subscribe.