SIMPLE Beginner’s Stregth Routine

Today I woke up feeling unwell. I am hoping against hope it’s just a cold and not the flu my niece contracted just a few days after spending the night at our house. I decided to take it easy and let my body rest, so no workouts today; not even dog walks (I took her to her favorite day care where she got to play with her friends all day long).

My meals and snacks today consisted of the same thing I had on Monday, which you can find here (with the exception of the extra wine ;)). When I make my meal plan I just rotate the same thing every other day so I’m not eating the same thing 2 days in a row but still keep things simple and grocery shopping minimal.

Yesterday I completed a strength training routine I came up with and wanted to share that with you today. As always, I like to keep thing simple so I researched the best moves for each body part, picked the ones that didn’t require special training, fancy equipment, or for you to be a Cirque-De-Solei performer. There are 3-4 moves for arms, abs, and lower body. These can be done with or without light (or heavy if you feel like it) dumbbells.


Bicep curls (15 reps)

1104-biceps-curlOverhead Extensions (15 reps)

overhead-extensionModified Push-ups (10 reps)

Modified_Pushup1Triceps Dips (15 reps)



Bicycle Crunches (15 reps)

bicycle_crunchSuperman (15 reps)

Superman1Elbow Plank (60 seconds)

Plank1Side Planks (30 seconds each side)



Squat with Leg Raise (16 reps total, 8 reps each side)

20120624200514-100-low-squat-lateral-leg-liftsLateral Lunges (15 reps each side)

Side_LungeDeadlifts with Upright Row (15 reps)


To complete one round takes me about 10 minutes. My goals is to be able to complete 3 rounds but right now I am only able to finish 2 rounds (but I am sweaty and out of breath by the end). I use 5 pound dumbbells but would like to work my way up to heavier weights. For the tricep dips I use my fireplace, but in the past I have used my coffee table and chairs. I have even seen pictures of people using their toilets. See? No fancy equipment needed!

Try this routine out and let me know what you think. In the meantime I’d love to know what your favorite strength moves are.


Vitamins, Baneggcakes and a Deconstructed Sandwich

Today was another busy day, and I am running low on energy. At yesterday’s doctor’s appointment I was told another doctor had discovered I was low in iron, B12 and D (which was disappointing because yet another doctor had told me a few months ago my vitamin D levels were normal, though most people are actually deficient there- I was so proud) and recommended vitamin supplementation. This morning I had my first dose of said vitamins so hopefully they help restore some of my missing energy.

My stomach is sensitive to medicines so I always take them with food. This morning my medicines and vitamins were taken with one of my favorite healthy breakfasts ever: BANEGGCAKES! I gave these little beauties this name because they are made with 1 banana and 2 eggs, but are like a pancake. Get it? Ban-egg-cakes! Genius! Actually, whoever created this recipe is the true genius. I also like to add in a sprinkle of cinnamon (which I also do to my coffee). You could also add vanilla or stevia for extra sweetness, or anything else you fancy. I don’t like to add blueberries when cooking because it makes them unmanageable, so I just have them on the side.  Today’s breakfast totaled about 280 calories. (1 banana- 105, 2 eggs- 140, 1/4 c. blueberries- 20, and 1/4 c. almond milk with coffee- 15.)

IMG_3383_2I love sandwiches and my favorite is turkey, bacon, and avocado, but when you’re being conscious of you calorie intake it’s hard to keep things reasonable with the bacon, avocado, and bread. However, if you throw all your favorite sandwich fillings into a salad, well…you get something that looks like this and totals about 290 calories! This is 2 c. salad greens (I used a spinach and arugula mix), 2 oz. turkey, 2 pieces turkey bacon, 1/4 avocado, 10 cherry tomatoes, and 1 Tbsp. dressing (I used this kind). (Greens- 14, turkey- 60, turkey bacon- 70, avocado- 80, cherry tomatoes- 31, dressing- 35.) IMG_3384_2

I always  need a small snack to sustain me between lunch and dinner, don’t you? I like to keep things simple and try to pick things I can throw in my purse and eat on the go if necessary. Today I had an apple and 10 almonds, plus a full glass of ice water (I was incredibly thirsty). This snack came in at 150 calories. (Apple- 80, almonds- 70). IMG_3390_1I try to eat salmon at least twice a week. I thought that was why the one doctor commented on my vitamin D levels being normal, but I guess not 😦 Regardless, it’s so healthy (also a wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids) and delicious, in my opinion (I’m aware LOTS of people don’t like it).

Tonight for dinner I tried a new salmon recipe from Frugality Gal, which you can find here. Instead of baking in the oven I used my grill. We grill a lot around here because it doesn’t heat up the house, is easy, and my husband believes, TRULY believes, everything tastes better when grilled. I used the same baking time but that didn’t work out well. The salmon was over-cooked and the asparagus were very limp (I like a little crunch). Next time I will either turn the heat down or cook it for significantly less time.

The only other thing I did differently was add lemon zest to the asparagus, which I highly recommend because it made it taste so fresh and delicious. I baked a sweet potato (using both the microwave and grill) and had half with dinner. I’m saving the other half to have later in the week. According to Frugality Gal’s website, the entire foil package totaled 240 calories, and with half the baked sweet potato the meal clocked in at about 315 calories.

IMG_3394_1I’ve already had a piece of dark chocolate, but can still have either ice cream or a glass of wine tonight, according to my meal plan. As of right now, without either of those yet digesting in my belly, my day’s calories totaled 1077. Since I try to never ever eat less than 1200 calories in a day, I will definitely be indulging in some ice cream and maybe an extra piece of chocolate (or two)!

*UPDATE: I did have ice cream and a piece of chocolate which brought my daily total to 1222 calories!

In addition to eating healthy and sticking to my meal plan, I also took my dog on 2 walks (which is not an activity that gets my heart rate up, unfortunately) and completed 2 rounds of my strength routine, which can be found here.

Do any of these meals inspire you to eat a little healthier, or convince you eating healthy can actually be delicious? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Meal Planning Success

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I am trying to lose about 10 pounds. In effort to do that I have been working out at least 3 times a week and trying (keyword trying) to eat healthy. I made a little progress in January but feel like this first week of February has set me back a bit due to extenuating circumstances. Therefore, I entered week two of February (the new January) with renewed determination and a very specific meal plan. With the exception of an extra glass of wine in lieu of a piece of dark chocolate, I stuck to my meal plan today, even though it was an incredibly busy one. Yay me! Here is what my day of healthy eating looked like:

This is my meal plan. I printed this menu planner from Home Life Weekly. You can print a copy by clicking here and downloading the PDF file. This worked for now but I think I will soon create my own meal planner. I left my weekend open because I have learned from experience that being too strict is very unhealthy. Plus, my hubby is coming home Sunday and I always make something special when he comes home from a work trip!

IMG_3359_1For breakfast I had blueberry oatmeal with almonds and coffee with almond milk. This was 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats (cooked in the microwave with 1 c. water for 1 minute), 1/2 c. fresh blueberries (cooked with the cooked oatmeal for an additional 30 seconds then smashed with the back of my spoon), with some added water, cinnamon, and stevia, 14 almonds, coffee and almond milk (1/4 c. divided between 2 cups of coffee). This meal came to about 300 calories. (Oatmeal- 150, blueberries- 40, almonds- 97, coffee- I don’t count, almond milk- 15.)


For lunch I had one of my favorite wraps. I’ve been making these for years and never get sick of them. I used a low-carb sun-dried tomato flavored tortilla, 1 Tbsp. light cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. mashed avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado), 2 Tbsp. salsa, 1/2 c. rinsed black beans, some cilantro, and 10 baby carrots (which happen to be my dog’s favorite treat). It’s extremely flavorful and extremely filling. This meal also clocked in at around 300 calories. (Wrap- 60, cream cheese- 35, avocado- 45, salsa- 10, beans- 120, carrots- 35.) Yes, I can add, but I can also round.


I was running around all day going to doctor appointments, waiting at the pharmacy, running errands, taking my dog for walks, doing laundry, etc. I didn’t start feeling hungry until around 4 in the afternoon. Luckily I had planned for snacks. I had a braeburn apple (my favorite kind) and a piece of Dove dark chocolate for a grand total of 120 calories. (Apple- 80, chocolate- 42.)


Dinner was a new recipe: skinny lasagna rolls courtesy of Skinny Ms. You can find the recipe here.  My husband was pretty mad when he found out I was making these, but it makes 10 servings and I am the only one eating them this week so I’m planning on freezing the leftovers (haven’t quite figured out how yet) so we can have them when he comes home. Hopefully he’ll enjoy them as much as I did. He tends to not get as excited about delicious healthy food as I do. This took about an hour to make, which is a lot longer than I typically spend on a meal, but it was worth it! (I drank a glass of wine and listened to music while preparing it so that helped ;)) I had an entire head of steamed broccoli on the side, which was a little more than I planned for but I doubt an extra 1/2 cup of broccoli has ever made anyone fat. I also poured myself another glass of wine to have with dinner. A glass of wine with a piece of chocolate was an option for dessert on my meal plan so I just skipped the chocolate to make up for the extra glass of wine. This yummy meal totaled about 540 (including the extra broccoli and wine). (Lasagna roll- 240, 1 1/2 c. broccoli- 80, and 2 small glasses of red wine- 220.)IMG_3375_1

My total calorie intake for the day was 1260; only 60 over planned! I also took my dog on 2 20-30 minute walks (depending on distractions) and spent about 35 minutes on an elliptical machine. I planned on doing some bodyweight exercises too but…that just didn’t happen. (There’s always tomorrow!)  All in all I feel like today was a successful step in the right direction. Now, if only I could finish my laundry…

February is the New January

Did you join the rest of the world in making New Year resolutions? Me too: Eat less sugar. Eat more vegetables. Get back into a daily workout routine. Loose 5 pounds by the end of January and another 5 by the end of February. How well have you been sticking to yours? For the past few weeks I have managed to workout at least three times a week and lost a few pounds but other than that my attainable goals have been not so attainable. My year got off to a rough start though. The very first weekend my nieces stayed with us and those girls get everything they want, even if it includes pancakes for breakfast and a pizza buffet for dinner. Then my husband got sick and therefore I got sick and we spent the first two weeks of the year being sick and miserable and glued to the couch so all the healthy meals I had planned did not get made. Once we were finally well my grandma went to the hospital and had to have surgery, so I ate a lot of cafeteria food that week which did not include salads because, come on, who eats salads when they’re stressed? (She is well and recovering from her surgery now.) I then spent another weekend sick and now here we are, on the last day of January with only two of my goals even partially met.


I have officially decided to make February the new January! Exciting, right? It’s perfect timing too because my husband went out of town this morning for work and will be gone for about two weeks. It is A LOT easier to eat healthy when he is not around because that man is the pickiest eater I have ever known. He only likes a handful of vegetables, will not eat low fat or whole grain anything, refuses to even try a sweet potato or brown rice or quinoa, (there is a lot more to his pickiness but the rest doesn’t really affect the health factor of our meals) and he HAS to eat out at least twice a week. So I’m pretty optimistic that, without him around to make things more difficult than they already are, I will make some headway with my health goals. I plan to keep you updated on my progress (or lack thereof) and share any tips I find helpful along the way. Wish me luck!

P.S. I’d love to hear about your own resolutions and how it’s been going for you thus far!