Thursday, November 17, 2011

Intensity of Intention

I joined our little local gym here back at the end of August. I have to say it is nice to have a place to GO to in order to work out. Let's face it, trying to do a cardio session in the bedroom isn't easy. For one thing it is like Grand Central Station. Everyone knows that when Mom is working out, to leave her be. But somehow there is always that "one quick question" that can't wait until I'm done, or at least in cool down, when I can actually talk again.

We have a decent area downstairs in what we call the Rec Area, but it is even worse than Grand Central Station, and in order for me to work out, I would have to move everyone from playing Wii, doing schoolwork, or whatever. Sometimes I do herd them out, but usually I opt to let them be occupied while I work out upstairs, which, as I have already stated, is met with limited success.

In a pinch, it will do. I like to do different things anyway, and spent the first 8 or 9 months of this healthier living style working out 45 to 65 minutes in my room, so I don't mind having something else to do in a different location.

When I joined the gym, I met with the trainer/owner, of course, and she set up a nice little strength training circuit, that I do two to three times a week, and I do all cardio on the other days.

Let me just say now that the trainer/owner (Barb) is a wonderfully qualified person, knows her stuff, and is very personable. I don't really "train" with her, but I meet with her when it is time to change up the strength training routine, and I get 4 meets per year with her to update my stats, so to speak. Of course if I ever have any questions or concerns, I can always call, email, or talk with her if she is there. It is a very small town gym, but I have to say, it suits me. There is a ladies' side, and a men's side. In the upstairs there is a large area and a T.V. with a DVD and a VCR player, and a some equipment, a punching bag, and a speed bag, and gloves of all sizes. I think they have done very well in the set up, and oh, it is always clean and maintained, which is a big plus in my book.

Anyway, back to my story here.

Barb was instructing me on the use of the Elliptical machine when I first joined. I love it, by the way! It is a wonderful workout, and gentle on the joints. I used that alot in the first several weeks. However, Barb was showing me a nice poster they have, and it talks about intensity level for working out. She said I want to be in the 75% zone for my weight and age, for most of the workout, except warm up and cool down.

I tried. I really did. But honestly, I don't work like that. Everything I have learned from the beginning was to workout with intention and intensity. That is courtesy of Jillian Michael's by the way. I am a Biggest Loser Fan. America is FAT people, and though it is a Hollywood production, I like the premise of making it a major factor in our culture now to lose weight and get healthy. That is what started me on this journey almost two years ago. I wanted to be healthy. I want to have energy. I want to play, run, wrestle, bike, play football, kickball, swim with my kids. I want to do that with my grand kids too, as far as that goes.

I can say I have met that goal, even if my weight isn't down all the way where I want it. I could easily lose another 30 to 40lbs. However, being on the healthy path I am now, I can't complain! It is indeed a life long journey.

I digress yet again... sorry about that. I haven't had enough coffee yet to organize my thoughts, and now I see what was intended to be a quick little post has turned into a soapbox. Maybe you better get some coffee too, eh?

So, Barb explained about the intensity thing and I didn't agree, but hey, she is the one with all the experience and degrees, so I gave it a try.

Well, pffffft. I didn't like that at all. You see, I am an "all or nothing" type of person. I think that is my first problem. I don't go to the gym to socialize or play, but to WORK and WORK HARD. There is limited amount of time to sweat and burn as many calories as possible, so why should I do 75%, when I can go all out or more? What is wrong with that? What if I want to do 7.0 on the treadmill instead of a 5.0, just to see what I am capable of now that I'm getting stronger? What if I want to hold it there as long as I can?

I wondered if I was a little loopy. But on The Biggest Loser the contestants are always being pushed, and pushed hard, and they have lost so much weight, and survived to tell about it. Bob Harper and Jillian Michael's are both at the top of their professions and they say to give it your all, all the time.

This morning I got this email from the Jillian Michaels free newsletter I signed up for. Everyday I get a little snippet of helpful info, or recipe, or inspiration. I like it. It is like 2 minutes with a pro. Some days she says to plan a day to pamper yourself and let your body recover. Yes, Jillian Michaels, folks! She doesn't like to admit it, but there is a soft side to her. Some days, like today, she says to kill it in the gym. Here is what I read, and what spurred this whole post.

The Rule of the Game: Intensity
If you're looking to shed stubborn pounds, the rule of the game is to increase the intensity of your workouts. I want you to be working out at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). However, you may have heard the "fat-burning zone" theory that encourages you to work out at just 70 to 75 percent of your MHR. The outdated assumption is that your body is drawing predominately on fat calories for energy — WRONG! It's completely misleading and it's time to lay the "fat-burning zone" myth to rest.

During physical training, your body has three possible sources of energy: carbs, fat, and protein. Protein is a last resort — of the three energy sources, your body is the most reluctant to draw on your protein stores.

Whether your body takes energy from glucose, which it gets from the breakdown of carbs, or fat depends on the intensity of your workout. Training at a high level of intensity forces your body to draw on carb calories for energy — they are a more efficient source of energy, and your body goes for its premium fuel when you're working hard. If you are training at a low level of intensity, your body doesn't need to be as efficient, so it will draw on a higher percentage of fat calories for fuel.

Sounds like low-intensity training would be more effective when it comes to losing fat, right? Wrong. These physiological facts are the ones that spawned the mistaken belief that low-intensity activity is better than high-intensity activity when it comes to burning fat and losing weight. These days we know that even though the ratio of fat-to-carb calories might be higher during low-intensity exercise, fewer calories are used up overall. High-intensity exercise burns the biggest number of calories.

Barb isn't exactly "MY" trainer. I can't afford to hire a trainer full time, though I would like to for about 6 months to really learn more. Barb is sweet, full of info, but I don't think I agree with her about the intensity guidelines. Now, it could be that because there are several older ladies that work out there, she keeps the intensity level a bit lower than I like. I don't know. But the above snippet just vindicates what I think is right for me, and I'm happy to know that my instincts were right on. Of course if you are injured or not feeling well, you should modify your routines, but if all is copacetic, then let her rip!

My favorite quote by Jillian Michaels is "You have three choices: Puke, pass out, or keep working out." and... "Beatings, beatings, beatings.... and more beatings."

She's my kind of gal.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Still Writing... and writing... and writing....

I can't believe November is half over! It has totally flown by so far for me.

The NaNoWriMo Challenge is going very well for me. I am loving the good excuse to ignore as much of the housework as I can to write. Just kidding... maybe. :P I have hit and gone a little beyond the 25K mark. My story has been read by my resident literary critic (Elizabeth), and by Dale and Esther. They all give it a thumbs up so far. Elizabeth gave me a few suggestions that were helpful, and added a little depth to the plot.

Meanwhile, we are plugging along with school. I have been working on Quarterly reports, and if I have never said it before, I'll say it now officially:


I'd rather be writing.
I'd rather be knitting.
I'd rather be sewing.
I'd rather be biking.
I'd rather be having a tooth pulled.

Paperwork and I don't get along. And for some reason, this year, this quarter, has been the worst ever. Despite my efforts to organize everything at the beginning of the year, the book keeping, so to speak, has been terrible. I made up and printed Semester Schedules for everyone to have in their binders. It says what days we do what subjects. I have weekly logs for them. They fill in what they did that day, and their grades, every day, so that when it is time to do the Quarterly reports, it shouldn't be any more than finding averages and filling in the spots in my end of the paperwork.



One child didn't take one test this quarter, because... I don't know why. His correcting partner never even mentioned it to him. One child took a Bible test two weeks into the start of the year, totally bombed it. We allow retesting. This child, after 8 weeks, still hasn't taken the retest because they are "studying". There were other sundry details that slipped through the cracks and has left me totally frustrated to the point where I just might consider putting them all in public school.

Okay, maybe not.

But clearly my nicely organized logs and schedule weren't paid any attention to, and now I'm paying the price with tears, high blood pressure, and hissy fits at every turn.

Not too pleasant.

That has been my week so far.

Oh, and to top it off, after working out yesterday at the gym, I think I pulled a muscle in my hip flexor, and am limping a bit. It hurts to be sitting too long. Everything I've read points to that injury. I know I didn't stretch last night. Bad girl! My fault. I was chatting with Elizabeth, and just plain forgot, which is strange because usually I am very religious about stretching, especially after jogging. From what I have read, I can still exercise, just modified, and for pity's sake, stretch, woman!

The weather has turned rainy and it is beginning to get cooler, so we are appreciating our woodstove. I always forget how much it warms everything up, and have been trying to retrain myself not to cook us all out. That effort has been met with little success, if you could see the windows that are opened a bit here and there throughout the house.

So, my whining is over, and I'm going back to those awful, nassy, terrible, should-be-shredded-and-boiled-in-hot-oil quarterly reports. Ugh.

Please, if you drop by unannounced, be kind enough not to count the pencils sticking out of the wall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

15K Goodie Goodie Dance

I'm so excited to have it the 15k milestone yesterday in the NaNoWriMo Challenge.At this rate, so I'm told by the graph on my "Stats" tab on my NaNo account, I will be done by November 26th. Well, it is early in the month yet, and who knows what can happen!

I know of a couple things that are going to intterupt this wonderful flow of literary outpour. One is going through our winter stuff, and getting rid of a bunch of unneeded items (a.k.a. - JUNK) and getting whatever the gremlins need for winter. I think for the most part, we are in good shape, but there are a few odds and ends like a pair of boots for me and I think one other child (wait, "Other"? child???? )and we need to get some waterproof gloves, and maybe a pair of snowpants for one or two of them. Not too bad, all in all! We always check the thrift stores first, and thus the clearing/cleaning/decluttering/throwing out first of our overflowing pile of winter wear in the rec area.

I was thinking back to last year, and I had already had this done by this time of year because we left for a vacation in Maine, and I made sure everyone had winter coats, etc, because well, hey, we were going to Maine in November for crying out loud. You just never know! This year we ended up not going, but had we gone when we usually do, we would have witnessed first hand, up close and personal, that North Easter that went through about a week ago. Pity we missed it! I love New England weather. Call me crazy, but there it is!

It has been gorgeous here this week. In the high 60's, even hitting a low 70 one day. Sunshine! It has felt like spring. But I know our weather can turn on a dime with nine cents left over, so it is time to get organized.

Thus, this morning, I have told myself to get moving (so why am I on here???? ) and get a start downstairs. I'll work for a while, then reward myself with writing time later today.

Of course, the other half to today's distraction, is going to the thrift stores this weekend which cuts into my "free" writing time. Saturdays are my days this month to just write, write, write, without any concept of the time. I couldn't have done this a few years ago. But now, I have older children to help out, and watch Isaac (Just because I'm at the kitchen table, in the middle of everything doesn't mean I know what is going on. When I'm writing, consider me not there at all!) and take care of whatever laundry needs to be folded or dishes to be washed, etc. Saturdays are traditionally our pizza nights, and Benjamin is our resident expert pizza maker, so that is his job. Thus, basically after the morning cleaning, I have "free" writing time. Gimme a cup of tea, and I'm off and running, er, writing.

Hey, it's only one month out of the year! Dale has given up to being a literary widower, and is good naturedly helping a alot. For example, yesterday was busy with school, laundry, and it was SO nice out we went out for a few hours in the afternoon. We play two hand touch football, tag, ball freeze tag, walked, biked, and just enjoyed ourselves. After Dale got home from work he reminded me it was voting night (Yup... I totally forgot! Good thing supper was spaghetti- quick and easy!) and after he touched up the side of the house with paint (Ummm... that is a whole different story which involves the grill and a lot of flames... nevermind about that now..) we went down to vote.

After we got back, Dale, who knew I hadn't written a single syllable yet, said "Go ahead and do some writing, I can handle dinner."

My hero!

I did, though didn't get much writing done before supper was ready. I got all tied up in some research for a very minute point of reference in my story. I don't know why I was so obsessed with it. I could have just winged it and no one would be the wiser, but it bothered me not to understand that one little detail. It isn't like anyone is going to read this tale of mine, and 99% of anyone who did read it wouldn't care probably. But, once I got that one little fixation studied out to my satisfaction, the words flew out of my fingertips and onto the computer screen quickly and I soon had more than my quota for the day.

I know what is happening next so today's quota shouldn't be too hard to fill, if I can find the time. It is shaping up to be another gorgeous day, and I may totally forget to write until after church tonight, as we will be outside again. I can't resist these gorgeous days!

So, I'm off to hoe out, clean up, declutter, throw out, whatever it takes to get a good start downstairs. I hope you enjoyed this little update as I come up from the NaNo Challenge for air.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Healthy Pumpkin and Cream Bread - 46 calories a slice!

You could even reduce calories further by substituting the sugar for stevia/splenda

Pumpkin and Cream Bread

Yield: 2 loaves (14 slices each) (46 CALORIES PER SLICE!!!!)

1-1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. Stevia Cup For Cup sweetener
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Cream filling
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract

1. For the Batter: With an electric mixer, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, and egg whites on medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, Stevia, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

2. For the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, egg whites and flour until creamy and smooth.

3. Grease 2 8x4x2" loaf pans. Divide half of the batter between the two pans. Pour half of the filling in one pan and the other half in the second pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't overbake or your bread will be dry on the edges. Cool and remove from pans. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

One serving (2 slices) = about 100 calories

Found here:

(Yet another disclaimer: I haven't tried this recipe yet, but am going to very soon. It looks sooooo good! If you try it, let me know what you think!)

Low Fat Vegetable Lasagna

You'll Love This Lasagna

Pasta doesn't have to be unhealthy — this low-fat lasagna recipe brings a whole lot of flavor for very little calorie count. Don't worry, it's still cheesy, delicious, and filled with onions, spinach, and mushrooms. Think of it as restaurant style, without all of the fat! If you can, use whole-wheat pasta to make this healthy recipe even healthier!

Low-Fat Vegetable Lasagna


9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained thoroughly
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups meatless tomato sauce
15 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and cover with cool water until ready to use.

While pasta is cooking, combine onions and oil in a skillet over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Spoon out half the onions and reserve for later. Add the mushrooms (if using) to the onions in the skillet. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until the mushrooms are tender and slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the parsley and a pinch of salt; transfer to a bowl.

Add the reserved cooked onion and the spinach to the skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat to evaporate any excess moisture, about 1 minute. Season with a pinch of salt.

Heat oven to 350° F. Drain the lasagna and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the oregano and basil with the tomato sauce. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 3-inch pan. Arrange 3 lasagna pieces, slightly overlapping, in the pan. Spoon the spinach mixture on top in an even layer. Spread with half of the ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Arrange a layer of 3 more lasagna pieces. Spread with the mushrooms, the remaining ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining 3 pieces of lasagna, 1 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Nutrition Facts
Number of Servings: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 243
Total Fat: 7.7 g
Cholesterol: 23.7 mg
Sodium: 228 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 29.9 g
Protein: 15.1 g

Recipes Source: National Pasta Association

(Disclaimer: I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks almost exactly like what I normally do for healthy lasagne. I love lots of veggies! I do put in some browned sausage to appease the meat lovers in the family, so that would up the calories and fat a bit. I serve this with a hearty salad, normally. Bon Apetit!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

10K Shout Out

I'm very happy to report that last night I hit the 10K word count mark on my story.

(This message was brought to you by the letter N, and the number 10,046. Now back to your regularly scheduled gorgeous fall day.)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Note Of Warning....

I've decided, probably foolishly, to tentatively dip my toe into the inkwell and join the NaNoWriMo Challenge.

Aw, forget it. That's a lie.

I'm jumping in with both feet, wildly exclaiming with exuberance.

So, if you need me before the end of the month I'll be in a writing vortex.

You have been duly warned.