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Thursday, November 24, 2016

12 Weeks to New Year: WEEK EIGHT

This is a big week. All we have to do is hear the word, "Thanksgiving," we think of LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOD. Well, you keep at all those other things we've been doing in the previous weeks. Remember what you've learned about portion sizes and keep it real. But enjoy the day with your family. But here is your goal.

WEEK EIGHT: Learn one new recipe for dinner that is a little healthier. Any dinner, not just Thanksgiving.

WHY: Sometimes we don't know that the recipes in our cookbooks are really recipes for disaster! Or maybe you don't cook much at all. Going out to eat can really pack on the calories. Restaurants aren't concerned with your health, they just make sure your mouth is happy!  Learn to cook yourself. Just start with one recipe. New recipes take longer the first time you do it. So just take this one step. Maybe you'll find a new family favorite.

HOW: It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving food, but if you'd like a lighter version of some of the traditional foods for Thanksgiving, check my Pinterest board. I also have a lot of recipes on my recipe tab at the top of this page. I especially like my guilt-free version of chicken enchiladas. I also LOVE Cranberry-Turkey Enchiladas. Find something a little lighter. (Hint: avoid your neighbor's favorite casserole or pretty much anything that calls for a container of sour cream and a can of cream of chicken soup!)

EVEN BETTER: Find one of your favorite recipes and make it healthier. Maybe you can reduce the butter or sour cream. Google the name of your recipe and "makeover" to see if someone else out there has already figured out how to make it healthier. Find out where most of the calories in your recipe are coming from and see if you can cut that ingredient in half. Check my pinterest board for ideas.

WEEK NINE will post December 2.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

12 Weeks to New Year: WEEK SEVEN

The past few goals have been small changes in habits that will pay off big. Keep going. This week should be easy, easy. But you'll notice a big difference with all the treats that will be flooding your house over the next several weeks. TRUST ME!

WEEK SEVEN: Keep all treat foods out of sight (or out of house).

WHY: Don't make it so easy to grab those snacks quick. Out of sight is out of mind. You won't be tempted by them every time you walk by. On the flip side: Keep healthy, low calorie snacks in clear containers.

HOW: You've got lots of options here. Cover the pan with foil (not plastic wrap). Don't leave the knife in the pan so you can easily cut another piece. Put the leftovers in opaque containers and put the container in the cupboard. When I make a batch of brownies or cookies, I quickly put them all in individual portions bags. That alone stops me from constant nibbling, but you can also freeze these portions. Your kids can grab one serving for lunch in the morning. It will be defrosted by lunchtime. If you want a single portion sometime for a dessert, you can easily defrost in the microwave, or let it sit out while you have dinner.

Cut up carrots in advance so they are easy to grab. Pop air-popped popcorn and keep it in a bag so you can grab it instead of chips or cookies. I like to nibble on cold-steamed broccoli. Weird? I don't know, but if it's ready to go in the fridge I'll opt for it instead of something less nutritious.

If your neighbors bring you goodies, put them away or freeze in portions and you can enjoy them over a long period of time instead of indulging too much too often.

CUE: When you see it sitting out and you want a bite--CUE THE FOIL! When you open the fridge and can't see something you like, you gotta get some healthy snacks ready to go.

EVEN BETTER: Don't have treats in your house. If your neighbors bring you a treat, save/freeze it for guests, give it away, or just throw it away! Say thank you, but eating something you don't want or need will just set you back on your goals and give you more work. If you have a craving for a treat, go buy one single serving from a store. Leave them with the cookie dough and the rest of the batch.

WEEK EIGHT will be posted November 25.

Inside scoop on choreography

I thought I'd tell you what it's like trying to choreography new songs.

First thing you should know is that for a 3 minute song, it's not uncommon to spend 3-6 hours coming up with choreography that works. The movements need to be fun, easy to follow, and really fit the style and mood of the song. They also need to be safe and give a good workout. And I try to make the movements not exactly like all the other songs, so I try to give each one something unique about it. Some instructors can do this in less time, but not me! Some songs go well beyond 6 hours. And this doesn't include the time spent trying to FIND a good song to start with.

Several weeks ago I was trying to make my life easier by using someone else's choreography.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fabulous Fall Cookies, Sugar-free!

Anytime I have ripe bananas I make these cookies! I alter the ingredients a little every time based on what I'm in the mood for. This batch turned out so delicious I had to share them with you. I have tweaked the basic three ingredient cookie recipe using ripe bananas to make it even better, but no less easy and no less healthy. I keep extras in the freezer so I can have some when I need an afternoon snack or would like a little dessert in the evening. My little boy likes them too. They are great for taking on errands so he doesn't get hangry while I'm doing all that boring stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

12 Weeks to New Year: WEEK SIX

Week One started the day with water to get your day moving right. Keep focused on water, portion size, exercise, and making good food choices (Week FOUR and FIVE). Now we'll add just a little physical effort to also get you going in the right direction.

WEEK SIX: Do 12 squats or push-ups before breakfast.

WHY: Just to get you thinking about it. Waking up those major muscles will remind you about your body all day and you'll take better care of yourself all day.

HOW: For squats, keep your weight in your heels, push your tailbone back, and make sure you keep your knees over your feet. Do not let them extend past your toes. For pushups, get into proper plank position with your hands wider than your shoulders. Pull your belly button toward your spine, tuck your tailbone under and squeeze your glute muscles together. Make certain your hips don't sag. Keep your face pointed in the same direction as your hands. If you need, you can perform push-ups on your knees, against a wall, or on a bench or stair step.

Even better: Do three sets

WEEK SEVEN will post here on November 18!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

12 Weeks to New Year: Week FIVE

The changes you've already made with weeks 1-4 are some of the most important things you can do! Congratulations! We're going to keep fine-tuning by giving you something we all need and want: an afternoon snack! YUM!

WEEK FIVE: Know what your afternoon snack will be. You need one. Make it ahead. Plan it ahead.

WHY: If you are tired and grumpy at 4pm you will not care about your stupid goals and just eat whatever you can find.

HOW: Make a list of all the things you can have for an afternoon snack. Pick something IN THE MORNING and prepare it so you'll be able to grab it quick when the munchies hit. Here is a great shake that really is yummy and you won't believe what it's made with! You can try it will all kinds of flavors and berries. Or go with a good old-fashioned green smoothie. It's easy to make: layer 1 cup water, a banana, frozen berries, and 2-3 cups of spinach. The spinach on top will prevent the bottom ingredients from splashing all over. Blend it up! Don't make the mistake of trying to snack on 25 calories of carrots. That won't sustain you during a low-energy slump when you tend to get a little grumpy. You've still got a lot of things to do today! Give yourself a good protein rich snack with some day-brightening nutrients. Have a cheese stick and a small smoothie. Or some cottage cheese and fruit. Maybe you only have time for some whole grain chips and salsa.

EVEN BETTER: No sugary treats (candy, cookies, etc) between lunch and dinner. Sugary snacks create a craving for even more of them, especially at this vulnerable time of day when you are tired and need some energy for everything you still need to do.

WEEK SIX will be posted November 11.