Memorial Day Weekend – Lisa

I’ll be up front and honest.  I cheated this weekend.

I know, I know.

I had an iced coffee from Starbucks on Friday and Monday I had a strawberry and a little bit of angel food cake.  And then I decided I needed Banana Nut Cheerios for a snack, which was a huge mistake.  It hurt my stomach so bad.  I don’t know if it was the mix of that and the crabs we ate for dinner or what, but I was happy to sleep that off.

Anyway, Friday I spent time with friends.  My roommate from college was back in town, so we made dinner, drank some wine, pretended to workout, and went to see a movie.  My friend, Alexia, made these awesome spinach noodles with pesto, arugula, and prosciutto.  At first I didn’t want them because I didn’t want noodles again that week, but they were really delicious.  I sauteed some asparagus and we had bruschetta for an appetizer.

I’ve gotten pretty bad about working out on the weekend.  I did workout Monday evening, however, thanks to another friend.  I’ve been thinking about joining a pool close to home since it’s gotten so hot outside to run in the evening.  I’m not sure which I would like better.  Swimming is a whole other beast.

But I do want to talk a little bit about my cheating.  None of it really made sense.  I had a ton of choices for food, I just wanted these things at those times and I decided to eat them.  And that’s how a lot of people think.  I want it, so I’m going to eat it.  Not:  I want that, but how is it going to make me feel (mentally or physically).

I honestly hate the bloated, over-stuffed feeling after eating out.  So I don’t eat out as much anymore.  And if I do, I pick something that’s not going to fill me up all the way.  And I especially hate the guilt.  I wonder:  When is that going to make it’s way to my thighs.  I remind myself:  NEVER.  Because I’m not going to give it the chance.  If I want to treat myself, I will, but I have to balance any indulgences with the proper exercise.  And sometimes that’s just taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  You don’t have to spend 2 hours on the treadmill.  Give yourself a break.


Emily’s Week

I’ve been having a weird week, both with food and exercise.

For whatever reason, I haven’t had much of an appetite. Pretty much every day this week I’ve had the same thing for breakfast and lunch:

Breakfast: organic oatmeal with pure maple syrup and some watermelon (yay summer!)

Lunch: Triscuits (only like 2 ingredients for all of you clean eaters out there), white cheddar cheese cubes, and a handful of grapes (the big ones with seeds).

That’s it. No snacks or anything. My dinner throughout the week has been varied. On Monday my husband made chicken breasts stuffed with provolone and broccoli with mashed potatoes that also had broccoli in it (I don’t know where he found that mashed potato recipe but broccoli in mashed potatoes is pure genius).

Tuesday’s dinner was courtesy of my husband once again (I swear I know how to cook). Delicious cheeseburger soup from his Betty Crocker cookbook. He modifies the recipe so that it’s clean but not many modifications are required and of course the ground beef he uses comes from Chesapeake’s Bounty so we know it’s not full of pink slime!

Wednesday we just had leftovers and yesterday I wasn’t even hungry until 7:00 and I just made myself a grilled cheese. I consider myself a pretty big grilled cheese enthusiast and usually I like to experiment with fun combinations but I wasn’t up for that last night so I just had 2 pieces of whole grain bread, with olive oil spread on one side of each and then a mixture of Italian herbs spread on the olive oil. My cheese of choice last night was mozzarella.

My typical workout schedule involves 2-3.1 miles of running on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and then various workouts at the gym that focus on different parts of the body.  HOWEVER…I did the Warrior Dash on Saturday, and my precious Brooks Ghost 3’s were sacrificed to the charity shoe pile. Never in my life have I wanted to go for a run so bad when I can’t (those were the only pair of shoes I have).

Happily though, I will be going to Charm City Run in Annapolis today with my Mom to get new running shoes! Yay! That always gets me pumped up to run, and I need to be pumped if I’m going to be doing this 10k at the end of the summer!

Strength/Cardio Workout – Lisa

So, I promised to upload my workout from yesterday.   I got this one from a trainer at the gym.  For me, it’s pretty difficult.  My arms are killing me this morning.

Warm-UP Complete some form of aerobic movement prior to exercise, i.e. treadmill, archtrainer, etc.
A1 Inverted Row n/a 4 x 8 Use smith machine, pull body towards bar, underhanded, adjust height for different difficulty levels.
A2 Scaption Raise Blue RB or 5 lbs 3 x 10 Lift using weights or resistance band forming V with arms
B1 Push-up n/a 3 x 10 Use smith machine, lower mid-chest down to bar and return to start.  Engage glutes to keep body lined up
B2 Front Squat 18+ lbs bodybar 3 x 12 Focus on form, bend at hips and use bench to ensure full range of motion.  Hold body bar under chin hands on your shoulders
B3 Ankle Mobility n/a 3 x 8/side
C1 Side Plank Abduction n/a 2 x 8/side Get into side plank, drive hips forward to ensure optimal alignment, lift top leg and keep controlled
C2 Single-leg Bridge n/a 2 x 10/side Pull one knee tight to chest.  Lift hips off ground using glutes only.
D1 Kneeling Heel to Butt Stretch n/a 2 x :20/side Same as hip flexor mob, just hold
D2 Lat Stretch n/a 2 x :20/side Grab onto object and let self fall backwards feeling slight pull in back

In case you’re wondering, this is what a Smith Machine looks like:
Smith Machine

This doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re lifting your own body weight you get tired pretty quick.  At least, I get tired pretty quick.

You should do this workout two or three times through.  I workout on my lunch break mostly, so I only have enough time to go through it twice.  I’m pretty slow when I workout.

Don’t forget to stretch before!  I’m notorious for just jumping into things without a good stretch.  If anyone knows any good hamstring stretches please let me know!

First Signs of Success – Lisa

I’ve lost 4 pounds!

As easy as it sounds to lose 4 pounds, you don’t know how hard it is until you try to lose those few pounds and keep them off.  One of my biggest fears is to put back on the weight after this challenge. 

It’s week 3.  I’ve had zero sugar.  It’s difficult, but since the program allows you to ease into it, it wasn’t as big of a shock as it was in the first week.  Just keep with it.  Every little bit counts.  And just because you indulge one day that doesn’t mean that you have to ruin the whole thing.  You just had a little slip up.  You’ll catch yourself next time.

Tomorrow I will post the workout that I did today.

This is why I love Friday’s off – Lisa

This post was meant for Friday.  I gave up trying to post pictures because my internet was giving me a hard time.  Then the rest of the weekend got super busy with the newest addition of our family being born!  I have another niece and she is absolutely precious.  It’s weird to think that we’re starting all over again with another baby in the family.  It’s been almost 3 years since we’ve had a new one!

Anyway… the beginning of this was written on Friday and the rest on Monday.

When I woke up a little after 9 this morning I wasn’t hungry.  That was surprising, but since I was at my boyfriend’s house I decided not to eat before I left for home.

This is what I envision for my days off:  going to the grocery store and a lot of cooking and trying new things.  I can’t wait for dinner tonight.  We’re having ribs on the Big Green Egg (they’re expensive but worth the money, food tastes so much better off of it) and I picked up fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market earlier this week.

I made for lunch black beans and rice.

black beans and rice

It’s incredibly easy to make.  I use my dutch oven because I can saute the veggies in it first and the lid is really tight.

Black Beans and Rice

olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I didn’t have this)
small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can black beans (don’t drain)
15 oz can diced tomatoes with zesty peppers or jalapenos
1 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Heat oil on medium.  Add onions, peppers, and garlic and saute until soft.  Add rice, beans, tomatoes, cumin, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.  Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice absorbs most of the water and just barely skims the top of the rice (I’m sometimes too hasty with this step and everything turns out fine if you just put the top on and let it go).  Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  My stove isn’t that great and it takes about 30 minutes for the rice to steam.  After the 20-30 minutes are done, leave the cover on for another 5 minutes.

I love to use the leftovers for breakfast.  I heat it up in a skillet with some eggs.  It’s really delicious.

And I decided to give myself one last treat this weekend, since it’s now the 3rd week of the No Sugar Challenge and I’m eating ZERO sugar.  Okay, so some of the foods I’ve eaten have a little bit of sugar in them.  Like 1 gram.  I’m not counting that, but I’m not letting that add up either.

My treat:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Hummus Dip Horrible name.  Let’s call it:  Faux Cookie Dough

Faux Cookie Dough

2 cups chickpeas (from can, rinsed and peeled)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbl maple syrup (it calls for 1/4 cup and 2 tbl but that’s too sweet for me)
1/2 tbl vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Put everything but the chocolate chips in a food processor (a blender might work too, the ingredients aren’t too dry).  Process until smooth (or chunky if that’s your thing) and fold in the chocolate chips.  Easy!  You can eat them with apples, or with those graham cracker Scooby snacks.  I prefer the Scooby Snacks.

So far I’ve had great success with this No Sugar Challenge.  It’s been rough.  The first couple of days, Emily and I were talking like addicts.  We couldn’t stop thinking about sweets.  Now it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.  I can easily say “no.”  And I’ve lost a few pounds!

Later this week I’ll post a workout routine.  So far I’ve been doing a lot of cardio.  I’m ready to mix it up with some weight lifting.

Emily’s Food Journal 5/17 

I got to work at 6:30am this morning and I. Was. HANGRY. Which is weird, usually I’m not THAT hungry when I get to work, and I typically try to just have some hot tea so I can have breakfast a little later. When I got to work I had 1/2 cup of 4% whole milk cottage cheese and then moved onto the sweet potato biscuit from Magnolia Bread Company that I brought with me. I took a few delicious bites before realizing there was a tiny bit of mold on it.

NOTE: This wasn’t purchased moldy. I don’t want anyone thinking poorly about this amazing company. I bought my biscuits a week ago, and sometimes I don’t eat them fast enough and they get moldy and it’s a shame. That’s what happens when  you eat real food with no preservatives.

Anyway, I wasn’t really hungry anymore after that, so I just decided to get myself some water and get to work.

8:50 – I got yet another critical assignment tossed my way at work. I needed a pick-me-up so I had an organic pear that I picked up on my last shopping trip to Chesapeake’s Bounty.

12:30 – A group of us went to a nice restaurant for lunch. To start I had a cup of the soup of the day, this amazing Spicy Hot soup that I need to find out how to make. My main dish was the Spring Shrimp Wrap which was a flatbread wrap with shrimp, ranch dressing, avocado, mango, tomato, and lettuce. What I really loved about it, other than the fact that it was delicious, was that it was really light. It wasn’t stuffed with ingredients. It didn’t weigh 5 lbs. and wasn’t slathered with ranch dressing. This was paired with a small salad of mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. They also serve complimentary rosemary bread that you dip on olive oil and this carb lover managed to only have 3 tiny pieces.


Later in the afternoon I needed another pick-me-up. Out of home brought snacks, I may or may not have had 2 tablespoons of M&Ms. (The scooper in the candy jar at the reception desk is a tablespoon which is how I can be so exact).

Afterwork I went for a 3.1 mile run with my running buddy and then grabbed Panera for dinner. I had half of a Strawberry Poppyseed Salad and a cup of Broccoli Cheddar Soup with a whole grain baguette on the side.

*I also drink 2 liters of water every (week) day. I’m a little lax on that during the weekend.

Emily’s Bold Move

I need to be accountable to someone. It’s just how it works with me. I plan on running a 10k in August, but if it was left up to me…I’d show up completely unprepared. Luckily I have a great running coach and she is literally what keeps me going. Knowing how proud she is of me when I e-mail her and tell her of my next great running accomplishment always makes me feel great. And when I skip a day running because I “don’t feel like it” or I stop short of my goal, I always feel guilty because I feel like I’m letting her down.

I started a food journal a couple of weeks ago to try and see if there’s a relationship between what I’m eating/drinking and the migraines I get. For some people, red wine, aged cheese, beer, and caffeine are major triggers. I’m starting to think that beer might be a big one for me. Anyway, another reason for starting the food journal was simply because it’s a good idea. Whenever you’re starting out on some knew eating healthy venture, it’s always good to see where you stand first. 

Now, I stopped the No Sugar Challenge because it wasn’t making me feel well, but as I’ve said before, I eat pretty well in general. My problem of course is that sweet tooth. And I’ve found out, since starting the food journal, that I have no problem lying to myself. It’s oh sooo easy to say “Why no, Emily. No you did not just eat your sixth chocolate chip cookie…” (That’s a true story from Tuesday. Some mystery coworker brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies aka My Kryptonite. That and ice cream. The receptionist and I ate them all). Granted, I was in total Beast Mode at the gym later that afternoon, but still…

Not okay.

SOOOO…food journaling in my little notebook isn’t going so well. As in I’m not being truly honest and therefore not really learning anything about myself. Other than I’m a liar. 

I need to be accountable to someone. Well, good thing we happen to have this blog. I’ve decided to use this blog as my food journal. I do solemnly swear to post after dinner every night, an account of what I ate/drank the entire day.  Just knowing that at any moment Lisa could send the link to this blog to everyone I know will be enough to keep me in check I think. 

And that’s exactly what I need.

Week 2 update – Lisa

The weekend was very busy and I admit I was a bit derailed.  Thankfully it was only the first week and I’m ready to stick with this.

Friday, a friend and I went to Fogo de Chao to celebrate her getting into law school and me getting a new job.  We’ve been planning this reward for a little while.  Of course, I ate everything.  How couldn’t I?  But this set me up for the rest of the weekend, which I failed.  I admit to sneaking a few pieces of brownie.  I had a few drinks Saturday night with friends.  I, overall, just didn’t pay attention to what I was eating.  Sunday I promised to get myself back on track and I did, for the most part.

I’ve been trying to eat cleaner and healthier.  I HAVE to stop eating bacon every weekend.  Once in a while is okay, but I eat it every weekend.  And I eat about 4 pieces at every sitting.  The worst part about it is that I feel guilty.  And I don’t want to feel guilty about eating something.  You should never feel guilty about food.  I think only major problems can come from that.

So, week 2 of the no sugar challenge is all about eating healthy fats.  Yesterday I didn’t get any, but today I ate avocado with my eggs and I’m having fish for dinner and probably making guacamole (without tomatoes) with my left over avocado.

I’m hoping to have some recipes up soon.  This blog needs pictures!

For now, please go to the University of California’s site and watch their series The Skinny on Obesity.  It’s a real eye opener.


Emily – This is making me eat worse

Snacks. I need help coming up with snacks or I’m going to go crazy. I feel like I eat nothing but cheese and almonds. I now can’t stand the smell of either of them. This whole thing is actually starting to make me eat worse. I didn’t eat poorly to begin with. I have a sweet tooth. That’s it. It’s not an everyday thing. I could go a week without touching chocolate. If we had just said, “Okay, we’re going to give up sweets and sugary drinks (I don’t even drink soda so this isn’t a problem except for the occasional sweet tea I treat myself to)” I could do this challenge no problem. I’ve had absolutely no desire to go to the vending machines at work or stick my hand in the candy bar and have myself a free for all.


It’s the regular eating that’s killing me. I don’t know what to eat.


Here’s a typical day of eating for me BEFORE this challenge:


Breakfast: cottage cheese, 6 or 7 large (with seeds) grapes, and an organic sweet potato biscuit picked up from the farmer’s market I go to.


Lunch: Salad topped with feta, veggies, and a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar


Lunch: a number of different things, all “clean” aka not processed.


In between those meals whenever I’d get hungry I’d have a Lara Bar or some kind of fruit.


Know what I’m eating right now? A bag of Goldfish. Fact: there’s less than 1g of sugar per serving of Goldfish (and before someone goes “Hey wait…there’s sugar in that. Aren’t you supposed to be giving it up? Impossible. It’s everywhere. The idea is to be low sugar. A medium cucumber has 4 grams of sugar.)


I feel like I’m eating worse than I normally would. I literally can’t tell you the last time I had a bag of Goldfish. My desire to not eat them came from reading the ingredient label:

Unbleached enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), cheddar cheese, vegetable oils, salt, yeast, sugar, spices, autolyzed yeast, leavening, onion powder.


Way too many ingredients. Not to mention the first ingredient being the horrible Unbleached Enriched flour. Doesn’t matter that it’s wheat. It’s still unbleached and enriched.


Yeah, those grapes I used to have for breakfast were loaded with sugar since they’re fruit. But at least I knew where all of the ingredients came from.

What am I doing? – A rant from Emily

I’ve lost three pounds since Monday.


But I don’t know if I’m ready to attribute that to my elimination of sugar. Unlike Lisa, I’ve been having 5-6 small meals a day. But for the life of me I can’t tell you everything I ate because it seems like I’m just constantly snacking all day. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s different from my normal routine. Typically, I get to work at 6:30am and I have some tea or something small to eat. Then I have my “real” breakfast around 8. 

I love breakfast. I love eating a delicious 400 calories in the morning so I’m ready to take on the work day. There’s that saying, something about how in the morning you should eat like a king, then eat like a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner (?) Something like that. Totally my kind of eating. I love me a huge breakfast.

My problem with the constant snacking all day is that I’m not enjoying my food. I LOVE to eat. I love to sit there and look at my beautiful meal and contemplate all of it’s parts and how each of the flavors are going to taste soooooo unbelievably good going down. 

It may be that this no sugar  thing is so foreign to me that I’m not creative enough, but I feel like I’m eating the same thing over and over again. Eggs, almonds, spinach, chicken, etc. It’s killing me. It’s not enjoyable. And going back to what I said about not being ready to attribute the three pound weight loss to the no sugar challenge – I feel like I’m not eating enough. I mean, I eat when I’m hungry and I eat until I’m full. Yet last night I woke up at 12:45am with terrible hunger pains.

And another thing (why yes, yes this is going to be a post about how much I’m hating life right now), I feel so tired. Which I know is to be expected but I don’t have to like it. I WILL stick with this challenge but I could NEVER make this my lifestyle. Kudos to Sarah Wilson and whoever else does this. I understand the necessity of reducing sugar, but this is insanity. I typically run 3 miles when I exercise. Granted, I haven’t been able to run consistently over the last week because of a busy schedule, but I should still be running almost 3 miles. 

I was dying yesterday at a mile and a half. 

I know this isn’t a “diet,” it’s a lifestyle change that many people need, but it still reminds me of why I don’t diet. I eat what I want, when I want (which luckily I typically make good choices about because that’s just me), and then I work hard at the gym. I’m able to work hard at the gym because I have the strength to do so because I’ve fed myself well throughout the day.

I’m sticking with this challenge because I’ve got a honeymoon coming up and I need to shed a few lbs that I acquired during a girls trip to NYC, but in the end, on a regular day, losing a few pounds is not worth how terrible this no sugar challenge is making my body feel.