Sense of Purpose

This past week during our spring transformation instead of posting our week 4 goal – we were asked what is our purpose (The ask of us is in bold from our BodyProject Fitness Spring Transformation).

When things get tough…when you want to give up…when you don’t feel like waking up or just want to go home after a long day instead of taking time to exercise…when you feel too tired to prepare for the next day…WHAT WILL KEEP YOU GOING?

  • Is it your kids?
  • Your husband? A loved one who inspires you?
  • Feeling like the most amazing version of yourself?
  • Is it happiness? A sense of accomplishment?

Of course, as I was thinking of what to write – this song popped into my head…so I had to find it on youtube – enjoy!  Anyone else remember this or did I just clearly show my age?

Back to the question and my answer (and I’ve expanded it):

What a great way to change it up on us in week 4.  I started this journey (quite a few years ago) as a way to get in shape and lose weight.  And then my body revolted and I gained weight.  And quite frankly everything went wrong.  Maybe – just maybe it was supposed to happen this way as I had to deal with the very controlling muscle that sits on my shoulders.  There were many moments of frustration but I kept coming back.  

In May 2012, I started seeing a nutritionist – which turned out to be my X factor in the weight management area.  I still have a ways to go – but I’m heading in the right direction.  We just made some adjustments this passed week and I’m seeing some positive results already (and I really needed that as I’ve been struggling since December and was losing my patience :-))/

I finally had my ‘aha’ moment in the fall – finally finding that balance between eating and my workouts (that I actually missed my workouts when I didn’t go).  This has always been about me and I find that if I don’t make it to BP – it not only impacts me but it impacts everyone around me.  A perfect example, I’d had an extremely stressful week at work awhile back – I’d missed 3 days of workouts to boot – and finally on Thursday morning I decided to take an early lunch and get in a yoga class.  It was the best decision I had made all week – I was back in balance!

I’ve become an advocate for my friends and co-workers that it is OK to take care of ourselves (get rid of the guilt) – if we do that – the rest kind of takes care of itself – becoming the best version of me (that continues to evolve through this journey)!


When you least expect it.

The spring 6 week transformation started last week. We were asked to set our week 1 goals. I kept my simple and achievable (with a bit of a stretch). Drink 60 – 80 ozs of water a day and 3 sessions. The week started off great. I had my 3 workouts in by Wednesday – I was looking forward to my two other planned workouts to have a super first week.

Well you know how the saying goes – ‘the best laid plans’!  Early Thursday morning, my plans went to hell and a hand basket.  Woke up with what would turn into the worst stomach virus I’ve had since salmonella poisoning!  I won’ bore you with the gory details – I hope none of you have to deal with it this year (or ever for that matter).

I felt pretty good day – best day since last week (still not 100%).  I decided it was ok to have some coffee this morning.  I hadn’t had any since the few sips I had on Saturday morning.  My coffee is accompanied by light cream.  I was really looking forward to it, but it didn’t taste that great.  I drank one cup – I normally drink up to 4 (and sometimes have one in the afternoon).  In addition, yesterday and today I indulged in some comfort food – Cozy Shack’s Rice Pudding.  It is bland enough but tastes good (I was sick of rice, chicken broth and saltines).  I think I ‘ODed’ on it today though!  It is the first time I’ve noticed how dairy has a negative effect on how I feel.  It was eye opening.  I had gone 21 days without it when I did the Clean program, but I think because I had more than normal today – I really noticed the difference even though I had only been off of it for 4 days.

I had already planned on experimenting with going Dairy Free during the 6 week transformation based on a post from a fellow transformation member, but this really sealed the deal.  I’ve already ordered my chef service food for next week – dairy free.  And I’m going to gradually eliminate the remainder of the week.

I’m really curious to see how I feel over the next week and a half as well as how I will feel when I gradually add the dairy back.  It will be an interesting decision point for me – so it is interesting what you discover when you least expect it.  I’ll keep you posted.

Challenge Workout Results

On our second workout of our Spring Transformation there was a challenge workout. The purpose of the challenge is to set your baseline and to see how you’ve improved over the 6 weeks. I’ve done the challenges before and knew it was coming, but I can tell you I was kind of nervous for the challenge (4/17).

The challenge exercises were as follows:

  1. Push-ups to exhaustion on toes and knees – with a requirement to go down to a weight on the mat
  2. Wall Sit
  3. Burpees (the full body workout – I used to despise – now not so much) (timed 2 minutes)

April 17, 2013 Results

  1. Push-ups:  17 (toes)
  2. Wall Sit:  1:14 minutes (with a massive headache that lasted for about 2 days)
  3. Burpees:  28

May 15, 2013 Results (not as nervous – just anticipation)

  1. Push-ups:  25 (toes) and 13 (knees)
  2. Wall Sit:  1:41 minutes (no headache – yeah!!)
  3. Burpees:  27 (bummer)

Overall Results

  1. Push-ups:  32% improvement on toes; overall 124% improvement 🙂
  2. Wall Sit:  24% improvement
  3. Burpees:  3.5% decline
  4. Overall Results:  48% Improvement – wahoo!!!

I’m very pleased with my results.  Wish I had at least gotten to my baseline on my burpees – but it isn’t the end of the world.

The energy in our class was a little blah at the beginning on May 15th – post warm up we had a visit in our class – a squirrel – I think he helped get our adrenaline up.  Everyone had great results and were cheering everyone one – particularly our last two standing (more like sitting) on the wall sits.

Really happy and proud of my results!!

In the Kitchen with Kate

Last Saturday, I took my Aunt out for her birthday. I invited my other Aunt to join us as well. We had a fabulous time as always. My Mom and her two sisters are great – our Angels!

Anyway, one of my Aunt’s saw on Dr. Oz about the Paleo diet and she wanted to try it.  I looked up a couple of websites and sent her some links.  And I also sent her a link to Elana’s Pantry –

I was invited to my Aunt’s to celebrate Mother’s Day.  I promised her I would bring Paleo friendly food.   Had a great visit with my parents, Aunts, Uncle and my cousins and their kids – a great day!!

Here is what I brought:  Paleo friendly Pesto (used as a dip) and Salad including homemade dressing.  They were both really easy to make too.  Here are the recipes (I forgot to take pictures) (sorry)


  • 1 – 2 Handfuls of Basil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Dry Roasted / Salted Pistachios

Put all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth.  Makes a fabulous dip with Rice Crisps (gluten free).  If you don’t want to make it Paleo just add some freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese.


  • Spinach
  • Organic Cranberries
  • Chopped Figs
  • Organic Mushrooms
  • Organic Yellow Peppers
  • Toasted Pecans

Homemade Dressing:  I bought a Good Seasoning’s Cruet to make the dressing.  It has lines on the cruet to show where to fill with Vinegar (V), Water (W) and Oil (O).  I ignored the W line.  I added Fig Balsamic Vinegar to the W line (the W line is higher than the Vinegar line), then I added Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the Oil line.  I then added 1 tablespoon of Honey Dijon Mustard.  I forgot some additional seasonings like oregano – so you can add additional seasonings.  Shake up and you have a fabulous, homemade dressing!

Everyone enjoyed the Pesto dip and Salad with the homemade dressing.  Enjoy!!

PS:  My Aunt has decided Paleo just isn’t for her – she likes her dairy too much.  However, I left her some recipes to try some new and healthy things.


Last April I made the best phone call I’ve made in a long time.  I made an appointment to see a Nutritionist.  I was at my whits end – I was at one of the best fitness levels in my life (except when I was played sports in HS and College) and not losing any weight – and in fact I was gaining weight – something had to be done!!

If I’m honest with myself – the weight gain started in 2001 – 2003 when I was traveling quite a bit for work and had no real workout routine – I was working crazy, crazy hours and just not eating right.  I had a short stint where I lost some weight and I was in NYC at least twice a week for work where I walked everywhere – which helped.  Then in 2005, I bought a condo, moved further south (so my NYC trips declined) and my job changed (not that I haven’t gone through a lot of job changes at work) – there was just less and less time for ME.  I think I finally had enough and started BP in 2007  / 2008 (not sure of the timing).  I loved the workouts and all the great people I met.  I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of the timing – 6 am workouts (wake-ups at 5:15 am) and I’m not really a morning person.  I’d do really well during the transformations but then they would be over and I’d get bored or just talk myself out of getting up in the morning (I was pretty good at it too).  I stopped eating many processed foods, eating fast food and not going out to dinner as much but I still wasn’t losing weight.

Now fast forward to last spring during the Spring transformation and there was a special guest speaker – a nutritionist set to speak to all of us.  I was traveling for work and wasn’t sure I was going to make it – my trainer – really encouraged me to go (she thought it would really help me – Thank You Anna!!).  I made changes the next day after the seminar – I went from 3 meals and two snacks to 3 meals a day (with that 3 pm craving still there).  I finally got around to making an appointment in April – the date was set for early May 2012.

I got on the scale and I was the heaviest I’ve even been in my life (and I will never see that # again) at that first appointment.  Quite honestly, I’m too embarrassed that I let it get so out of control that I still can’t even put that number on this blog! (and probably never will!)

After that first meeting in May 2012 – my nutritionist started treating me as pre-diabetic so no more than 30 grams of carbs per meal, protein and veggies at every meal.  No salads as a meal and NO FRUIT (due to the sugar).  The first month I lost 6 lbs.  I did start having energy issues – I don’t recall if it was in June or later in the summer (as I reflect back – it was probably the start of my Lyme disease symptoms and I thought it was my body adapting to my new eating pattern).  I’ve gone every month for the last year – most months I’ve lost weight – had a little bit of a hiccup in December/January and got back on track.  We’ve adjusted what I’ve been eating so 1.  I don’t feel like I’m missing out (i.e. I went to 5 of 6 PSU home games this past fall and I tailgated – ironically the fall had some good weight loss mths) 2. Removed carbs from breakfast as I’m very carb sensitive (this was the past 2 mths). 3.  Eat when I’m hungry – so I don’t eat breakfast when I first get up and today I just had coffee and ate an early lunch.  Everyone is different and you have to find out what works best for you.

So why this really long blog entry and what is the deal with the title of this post??  Well I went last Thursday and I hit a milestone – I’ve lost 20 pounds!!!  I know some are reading this and thinking really – 20 lbs in a year that really isn’t that much – a year or so ago I would’ve said the same thing (heck I bet even 6 mths ago I would’ve said that).  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past year – to be PATIENT, that this isn’t a diet and I’m making changes that will be permanent.  I actually haven’t told a lot of people – I shared my success with a few people I worked out with last Thursday over lunch and I got a little emotional.

No on to my next milestone – it is a small one, but I think a really big one for me – it is the #6!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race – I’ve posted this before and this will continue to be my mantra (although I’m not opposed to a couple of windfalls either)!  In the end this post is for me – just an opportunity to see in a year what else I’ve been able to accomplish.

Thanks for reading and remember you can do anything if you put your mind to it (oh and a little patience always helps)!!

Sleeping with my iPhone – it isn’t what you think!:-)

I’ve had my iPhone for over a year now and one of the first apps that I downloaded (based on another blogger’s recommendation) was Sleep Cycle.

Sleep Cycle icon on my phone - next to the SFDC Chatter icon - yes I had a lot of unopened email! :-)

Sleep Cycle icon on my phone – next to the SFDC Chatter icon – yes I had a lot of unopened email! 🙂

Sleep Cycle (per the app intro) – used a wake up phase (30 minutes by default) that ends at your desired alarm time. During the phase Sleep Cycle will monitor your body to wake you softly when you are in the lightest possible sleep state. Sleep Cycle uses the iPhone accelerometer to sense your movement as you sleep. You place your iPhone upside down on your mattress. Mine is always on airplane mode when I use it – not text or email alerts when I’m trying to sleep.

I had a great night sleep Tuesday night – 100% quality!  I’ve only had one other 100% night sleep and both times they were days when I did YOGA!

100% Sleep Quality Night!

100% Sleep Quality Night!

You can notes based on some of your daily habits to see how they impact your sleep pattern. I only added this in the last 6 – 8 months.  Here is a view of what the graphs look like – stress (dah) negatively impacts my sleep pattern.

Yoga and Eating Late have a positive impact on my sleep pattern - stressful day - not so much!

Yoga and Eating Late have a positive impact on my sleep pattern – stressful day – not so much!

Hardbody/Worked are the same activity, tea is herbal and good hydration has a slight advantage over low.

Hardbody/Worked are the same activity, tea is herbal and good hydration has a slight advantage over low.

At first I was skeptical about this app, however, I can tell you I see how it changes and when I work up Wednesday morning I really felt refreshed.  Just wish I had a lot more 100% night sleeps – most of mine nights hover around the 80% + /- area.

3 month sleep quality %

3 month sleep quality %

You can check out lots of trends.  I also found out I really need 7 1/2 – 8 hours of quality sleep – good news is I’m really close to that goal on average.

Average Hours per night and other interesting data points.

Average Hours per night and other interesting data points.

I think this is very insightful as I continue to learn more and more about myself and how sleep impacts my ability to function and lose weight.  Sleep it does the body good! (or in my case – GREAT)!!

Week 3 – Accountability

Week 3 is in the books.  It was a much tougher week than I expected even though I achieved a score (that I calculated) of 87%.

My week 3 goals were to limit my daily coffee to 2 K cups per day and add 2-3 green smoothies (for the week).  In addition, to continue my week 2 goal (salad at every meal) and week 1 goal (80 ozs of water per day).  I achieved 100% of the week 3 goals and I missed 1 salad (I think it was Tuesday – that was my blur day) and 1 day of water (Tuesday as well).

My observations on the past week:

  1. A tough week – everything felt a little harder this week. I don’t know if was incorporating all 3 goals in a cumulative fashion or just that this was ‘hump’ week of the transformation.
  2. A bit of upset stomach on Tuesday into Wednesday.  
  3. Low energy pre-Wednesday workout – felt much better after the workout.
  4. Green Smoothies — I’m not a fan!  – I’m sure part of it is I’m not eating fruit (under the guidance of a nutritionist) and I did put avocado (1/2 in it – which I love) – it was just too think – even after I re-blended it. I had my last one for lunch on Friday – and I found out I enjoy eating lunch over drinking it. I will leave the smoothies for now for my in a pinch breakfast. Just not for me on a regular basis.

Celebrate my Success: Not limiting my coffee this weekend – I won’t go crazy – but I’ll enjoy my morning cup of Joe even more!

Easy – Yummy – Healthy Dessert

As part of the 6 week Spring Transformation, we’ve been able to participate in evening workshops. The most recent one was a Greek cooking workshop focusing on 3 easy but different salads and a dessert. I plan on making the salads (I’ll post about them later). I enjoyed all of the items, but was really amazed at how easy, yummy and healthy you can make a dessert (I have a major sweet tooth).

The dessert was Baklava Fillo Cups by Viva! Mangia! Opa! by Thekla Mazzella (Facebook page link: (Thekla will be posting vegan recipes on her FB page this week)

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 Cups of toasted almond slices (I bought mine at BJs)
  • 1/2 Cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened from Black Forest Acres)
  • 2 T of sesame seeds
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 3 T honey (I used organic raw honey) (I ended up using about 4T – you’ll see why later).
  • Box of mini fillo cups (you can fined them in the frozen food desserts section in the grocery store – there were 15 in the box)

Toast your almonds first (I did mine on the stove)

Toasting Almonds on the Stove - med/high heat for a few minutes - I did about 1/2 a cup at a time.

Toasting Almonds on the Stove – med/high heat for a few minutes – I did about 1/2 a cup at a time.

Let almonds cool (this is what I didn’t do and why I think I needed another T of honey).  Mix almonds, coconut, sesame seeds, cinnamon and honey together until all ingredients are coated well.  Place mixture into fillo cups.

Mini Fillo Cups - aren't they just adorable!

Mini Fillo Cups – aren’t they just adorable?

Here is the finished product –

Baklava Fillo Cup

Baklava Fillo Cup

These are so delicious.  You can even drizzle chocolate on them – can you imagine? 🙂

I have some extra mixture and it tastes fabulous by itself.  I figure it will be good in yogurt, ricotta cheese and I might even try it in some cottage cheese!


PS:  Thanks Thekla – they were a huge hit!!

You are Responsible for the Energy…

My fitness studio ( just started Open Studio days. I had the opportunity to go during lunch last week and check it out. This was my first time trying this out. I was a little nervous as I didn’t know how many people would be there. When I got there was one other member working out – she was almost done with the first circuit.  By the time the workout was explained to me and I was heading to my second circuit – I was the only working out.  I kept my focus and remembered this saying that is posted in the studio – ‘You are responsible for the energy you bring into this space’.  I kept my focus.  It was like I had my own personal gym! 🙂

One of the many inspirational / motivational pictures I see every workout!

One of the many inspirational / motivational pictures I see every workout!

Here’s the workout:

There were 3 circuits with 3 exercises – complete 3 times:

Circuit #1:  High Skips (3xs up and back), 10 Renegade push-ups, 10/side alt. leg v-up (abs)

Circuit #2:  Grapevines (3xs up and back), 20 oblique squats (these were killers) (and I felt them the next day for sure), 15 bosu crunches

Circuit #3:  Slides (3xs up and back), 15 Frog squats, 15 DB toe touches

There was a finisher workout that I didn’t do as I had to get back home for a quick shower and back to work.  I felt energized and ready to tackle my afternoon.

I was feeling so great that I went back in the evening for Yoga!  We used blocks for the entire practice.  This was a first for me.  The highlight of the evening for me was doing a standing balancing triangle!  I’m always afraid of standing on one leg/any balancing type poses – so this was a big balance accomplishment for me!

Hump Day Workout

Not only is today Hump Day – but this is “Hump” week for the 6 week Spring Transformation  – week 3!  I started feeling kind of crappy yesterday morning – felt better today but still not feeling great when I made it to my evening workout.  It was interesting to see everyone tonight sort of in the same boat – not a lot of pep in the room.

So tonight’s workout was perfect for our little ‘pepless’ group! 🙂  Workout at your own pace!

Here was tonight’s workout – 5 rounds or 25 minutes:

  • 15 High Knees
  • 10 Tricep Crusher (each side) (10 lbs)
  • 10 Deadlifts (12 lbs)
  • 10 Back Rows (12 lbs)
  • 10 Mountain Climbers (each side)
  • 10 reverse lunges (each side)
  • 5 helicopters (each side)
  • 10 Squats with a Plie

I completed all 5 rounds with a minute or so to spare.  We finished the night up with some abs and stretching.  Everyone (including me) left with a lot more energy and glad we all made it tonight!

Have a great evening!