Monday, May 29, 2017

Getting It Back (and Loving It)!

Since my last post, I have been committed to working out. I haven't been going daily, but have gotten into a habit of going three times per week. Truth be told, I'm a sucker for leg days, so they are always in the rotation. Leg days are great in that they quickly show progress, and most of the exercises are based on things we do all day long (sit, climb stairs). Plus, working big muscle groups grows those bigger muscles, and muscle burns fat. So getting my quads and butt working help me burn calories all day long... even while I sleep.

You've got 'em, work 'em!

On the flip side, cardio is not my thang. I like cardio, but I don't get excited for it. I don't crave the hill climb or the elliptical, until I'm about 7 minutes into my workout. I actually used to talk myself into (or out of, depending on the day) cardio, but now I just decide to do it. I tell myself what I am doing and then commit to it. As a former trainer, I know that people are willing to pay a lot of money to have someone whip their butt into shape. So if I do it myself, I get the payday {wink}, right?

However, all this is sort of a moot point if I'm rolling up to the McDonald's drive-thru though. The quality of what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on the quality of the return. This is evident by looking at people on the treadmills at the gym. Some people work so hard but their hard work doesn't seem to show. Are you one of those people?

There are answers out there. Answers to why you aren't seeing the results you desire. Answers to why all those hours at the gym aren't amounting to killer abs. Maybe it's not about what you're eating, but if it is, that's a pretty easy fix.

When I made the choice to hop aboard a nutrition program that I watched my friend do, successfully, for two years, I was excited but nervous. I had hopes and expectations, but no idea about how I would feel once I got started. I learned that having a plan in place takes away the guess work and makes life easier. I learned that I was in control of what I ate, and I was in control of my health. It was freeing and empowering.

I am excited when I wake up every morning. I no longer dread getting dressed and looking in the mirror. I am happy. I have hope. And I want you to feel that way too. Everyone deserves to feel amazing and proud of themselves. If you aren't there yet, but you're ready to take control of your life, I can help you. I'd love to talk to you about all the possibilities that lie ahead for you!

Friday, April 7, 2017

It's Friday (Fri Yay!) and I'm Doing...

... nothing!

I have to tell you, my abs are still sore. The last time I did anything was the plank I did in the video (that I added to the last blog) earlier this week. Tonight, I was going to go to the gym. I was. Seriously. But then this happened...

My three wild pups are so quiet right now.
Truthfully, it was super chilly today, I worked and had lots to do. I was running all day, and since I'm completely out of my daily adaptogens (they keep me rollin'), I'm moving a tad bit slower. I recognized that right now my body needs rest, so I made the choice to wait until tomorrow to go to the gym.* I had some yummy black bean pasta (which is an awesome thing to eat when gluten isn't an option) with a sliver of goat's milk butter and black truffle salt.

It's so important to honor our bodies and respect the way that we feel. If we aren't in the mood to workout, pushing ourselves to do so is usually rewarding. But if we feel tired, if our body is asking for rest, I think we need to allow ourselves the space to slow down. And truthfully, the reward of a pack of warm dogs snuggled up into each other and pressed against my lap is worth everything.

*I got a bunch of new LuLaRoe pants today, so I'm really looking forward to doing leg presses in them (will take pics of the awesome designs).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Talk About Checking Your Ego at the Door (My Lord!)

It's been a long time since I last posted.

The years between when I started this blog and today's post have been quite eventful. I spent most of those years living in an incredibly stressful state. In eight years, I dated three men, one worse than the next. I didn't value myself, so I didn't know that I was worthy of love. In fact, I didn't feel worthy of much. Because of that theme vibing in my life, I had high levels of anxiety, ate too much, drank too much, and was always feeling dramatic.

I went from being a certified personal trainer to spending most of my free time throwing back burgers and beer, laughing at the thought of the gym. In my mind, I'd been there, done that. I found people who were like me, who cheered me on by saying that we weren't getting any younger, may as well eat and drink whatever we want. Misery, my friends, does truly love company. What I found was that those years of throwing caution to the wind ended me up fat and unhappy, looking at myself in the mirror and not recognizing the face before me. My jeans kept sizing up, up, up.

I met my husband, the most wonderful man in the world, at a time when I was kinda finding my stride. I was on the upswing, in a way, but still unsure of how I wanted my life to be. I'd worked really hard at seeing myself for who I was and how I contributed to all that had happened in my life. I made choices that got me to the place I was at, and I had the power to fix them. I started running and doing yoga, I became more mindful about how I ate. I paid attention. I read a lot.

My husband was, and still is, my greatest supporter. He is always there for me, helping me stay focused and reminding me to love myself. But I do know that self-love is an inside job, and only I can make that happen.

Self-love + puppy love = happiness

About six months before we got married, my friend Kelly (who was studying to be a nutritionist), helped us with a food plan to help get our bodies wedding ready. It was a practical plan and it worked. We went back to the gym, to boot camp, yoga, and started running once again. It was a strong time in our lives. I lost about thirty pounds. Since then, I have gained back about ten pounds. It's not the worst thing, but it's not the direction I intended to go. I just couldn't figure out what to do. I had developed hallux rigidus which made yoga very difficult to do. Some days, even walking is painful. I remember going into a downward facing dog and out of nowhere came the most awful pain in my big toe. I had no idea what had even caused it. Brutal. Following that, I had some weird symptoms that lead to lots of doctor's visits, testing and bloodwork, and at the end of it all, an elevated RA Factor. They weren't sure if it was from my pre-existing Hashimoto's Disease or if it was something else (rheumatoid arthritis? fibromyalgia?). There is more, but I am already boring myself with the details, so I must get to the point...

Life is what you make it. At 47, I had two options: to decide that I'm just not getting any younger and just throw in the towel, or get my life back. I chose the second option. I changed the way that I ate, reprioritized my life, and started to turn towards healthy things and people. That was in January. As of now, I am down over 10 lbs., my stiff joints are less painful (and not stopping me), and I am focusing on the positive and finding new paths to health.

Today, taking a page from my husband's television world, I made a video of myself planking. (Okay, I made three but the first two stunk so three time's a charm! P.S. the first plank I did was 2 minutes long, I SWEAR). I did this video for accountability and honesty. Maybe if someone sees a real post-menopausal woman, curvy and struggling but giving it her best shot, they will be motivated to do it, too.

Don't laugh, but DO share positive vibes!

Video! Eeeek!



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chicken in the Crock

I have no idea why I've got such an urge to cook, but it's happening. The scallion and corn chowder got me started, and now I'm whipping up soups nightly (keep posted for my carrot and apple soup recipe).

A friend of mine was telling me that she puts her chicken in the crock pot with hot sauce and leaves it until it falls apart. Then she shreds it and uses it as a form of buffalo chicken. I thought it was a great idea, but by the time I got to King's, I decided to make something different entirely. I love when chicken is draped in peppers and onions, and other wonderful things (to make me forget I'm eating chicken). So I decided to do that.



This recipe prep took about 5 minutes, and it needs 6 - 8 hours in the crock pot on low, or 4 hours on high.

Everything but the chicken and stock. I put the chicken in last and then mixed it with my hands, covering the chicken. Last, I added the stock.


What you'll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, smushed
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
  • 6 oz. your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced 
  • 6 jalapeño wheels
  • 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 3 slices of lime
  • cilantro for topping

Pour everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Serve over brown jasmati rice (or your choice of rice) with black beans.

Mexican Chicken in the Crock

I have no idea why I've got such an urge to cook, but it's happening. The scallion and corn chowder got me started, and now I'm whipping up soups nightly (keep posted for my carrot and apple soup recipe).

A friend of mine was telling me that she puts her chicken in the crock pot with hot sauce and leaves it until it falls apart. Then she shreds it and uses it as a form of buffalo chicken. I thought it was a great idea, but by the time I got to King's, I decided to make something different entirely. I love when chicken is draped in peppers and onions, and other wonderful things (to make me forget I'm eating chicken). So I decided to do that.



This recipe prep took about 5 minutes, and it needs 6 - 8 hours in the crock pot on low, or 4 hours on high.

Everything but the chicken and stock. I put the chicken in last and then mixed it with my hands, covering the chicken. Last, I added the stock.


What you'll need:
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
  • 6 oz. your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced 
  • 6 jalapeño wheels
  • 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 3 slices of lime
  • cilantro for topping
Pour everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Serve over brown jasmati rice (or your choice of rice) with black beans.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stolen Scallion and Corn Chowder Recipe by Tiffany Curren

I've recently had the joy of being humbled by a soup so amazing that I'd travel three hours to experience it again. It was a special at the Oyster Club in Mystic, CT, where all the food is farm to table. In fact, during the summer, the menu changes daily, based solely on what is freshest and available. The chef even butchers his own meat. When I saw scallion and corn chowder on the menu, it sounded so interesting... but for a summer soup, it also sounded heavy. I asked about the base of the chowder, and our waitress, Drew, told me that it was mostly the pureed vegetable, and just a tiny bit of cream. It sounded lovely, and since it was vegetable (not cream) based, I gave it a try. Suffice it to say, I might have embarrassed myself with all the gushing I did over this appetizer. 

After returning home, I sent a message to the restaurant asking to please share the recipe. It's been two weeks and I haven't heard back, so I decided to attempt it myself. I remembered what Drew told me and tried to replicate it.

To make the soup a little looser than the uber-thick pureed vegetables, I used some of the water from the boiled the corn (bought frozen corn -- I'm sure fresh would be much better) as a base. I added cream, but in such a small about, it's almost negligible. My seat-of-my-pants recipe was so easy and so tasty, I can hardly believe I created it. I am no chef, but I'll say that this recipe makes a sweet, and slightly spicy soup (the spice comes at the tail end of the flavor, and might go unnoticed -- feel free to add more). I'll note that I didn't add salt to the recipe, but I added it to my bowl and definitely think it enhances the flavor, so feel free to salt to taste.

Stolen Scallion and Corn Chowder

This is a simple recipe. I made enough to feed an army, I'd say 12 bowls worth, and I did it so that I could put the remaining soup in jars in the freezer (I love convenience). Feel free to split the recipe in half. To make this, you will need two pots and a blender (I used my Nutribullet, and blended in three batches).

In one pot, combine the water and the frozen corn and cook until it's hot. Add freshly grated nutmeg. 

Water, corn and freshly grated nutmeg.
The freshly grated nutmeg is far and away better than the pre-grated. If you don't use fresh grated, I'd omit it entirely.



While the corn is boiling, put the butter in the other pot on low to medium heat and sauté the white part of the scallions (and a few green stems, for color) until soft. It's not too important how well it's cut, because it's all going to blend into a puree. Add the jalapeños and the cilantro and allow to sit and cool.

I did this in batches, because I didn't know how much I'd need. Your pot should be three times fuller.

Blend the butter pot with the corn, adding the half and half and some water from the pot. That's it. Simple!

What you'll need:
  • 32 oz. (2 lbs.) frozen corn (or fresh equivalent)
  • 9 thick scallions
  • 8 jalapeño slices/wheels
  • 6 T butter
  • 3 T half and half
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt, to taste

And if you are planning a trip to Mystic, be sure to reserve a table at the Oyster Club. You will not be disappointed. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aging Isn't a Four Letter Word

Tomorrow, I will be 46 years old. I've been easing myself into the idea for the past few weeks stating, often at the beginning of sentences, that I'm 46. To some degree, this is a comfort to say, knowing that I am really not there yet, toes in the water without the full plunge. It's just another day. But truly, it marks the last year of me being in my mid-40s and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Things change as we get older. Already, I've noticed that my skin is less elastic, wrinkles are starting to seep from the outer corners of my eyes, and when I look in the mirror, I really see a middle aged woman. I'm not fighting that, but accepting it isn't something that I've learned to do, either. I notice changes in actresses who I've watched through the years, those whose ages hovers around mine; Christina Applegate the young tart from the t.v. show Married with Children, took me by surprise in the movie, Vacation, presenting with crow's feet and aging skin. She is definitely beautiful, but looks her age, and she is younger than I am. So, where exactly does that put me?

This photo, from the Laney Gossip site, shows Applegate at the Vacation premiere.
She's gorgeous, and she is also showing signs of getting older naturally.

In the same movie, Beverly D'Angelo made a cameo appearance and was hardly recognizable. The amount of work she has had done to her face made me feel so sad, and truthfully, she was tough to look at. She didn't look younger, she just looked like an older woman who'd had a lot of work done.

These side by side photos of Beverly D'Angelo, regardless of the years between the time they were taken, show a different woman. It's not the age that's gotten me, it's that she doesn't even have the same face.

I've never been under the knife, for anything other than skin cancer, and I cannot imagine spending the money, or taking the risk to do so, electively. While I would like firmer skin, or to erase the lines that are beginning to creep up, I won't be doing it by way of plastic surgery.

The biggest thing, for me, is to get to a place of acceptance. I'm taking care of myself, eating healthy, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. I've started using a line of skincare to cleanse, moisturize, repair and protect my skin. I'm doing all that I can to put my best face forward. Beyond that, all I really need to do is be okay with the face that I see in the mirror. My husband always says that he wishes I could see myself the way that he sees me. I wish for that, too.

Inside, I have a fear that if I am too accepting of myself, I won't see all the bad things that other people see in me, and will be unprepared when someone makes a snide remark. I worry that if I am too self-accepting, I will let myself go, fall apart, and be an embarrassment to both myself and my family. On the flip side, the more that I worry, the more I have to worry about. I start to improve on how I look and then I think, just a little more and I'll be happy. But there is no end to that way of thinking. There will always be someone younger, fitter, prettier. Happiness will always elude me, if I base it on matching someone else's ideal of beauty.

The only way around all this, in my opinion, is to live in the spirit of gratitude. Instead of thinking about what I don't like, I have to start being grateful for what I do have. Rather than hate parts of my body, I will be grateful that I am healthy. I will focus on what's good and whole, and less on the things that I cannot change. And instead of looking in the mirror and judging myself, I will look at the faces of those that I love and be thankful.