Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rocktober Challenge - Week 4 and more

The last week of the Rocktober Challenge is done!!! This challenge tested me not only physically, but mentally. I did things I never thought I would be able to do. I did miss 2 days though. So for the 31 days of October I worked out 29 days. I personally think that is amazing. Yes, I will toot my own horn. There were so many days when I did not want to workout. There were so many days when I thought I could not do another day, another sit-up, or take another step on the treadmill. But I did it. WOW!

10/22 - 20 minutes on treadmill and strength training
10/23 - went to the pumpkin patch and ran around with a bunch of 5-year olds (most tiring exercise of the whole month)
10/24 - arms, back, and abs
10/25 - NOTHING. (but I got myself back together. I did not want to fall apart at the end.)
10/26 - circuits of jumping jacks, abs, and legs while watching The View
10/27 - w7d2 of c25k
10/28 - Total Body Pilates and abs
10/29 - w7d3 of c25k and abs. I think I may need to do this week of c25k again, or at least one more day of it. It was a struggle and I don't see how I can add to it in the condition I am in now.
10/30 - level 2 of the 30 day Shred
THE LAST DAY 10/31 - repeated w7d3 of c25k.

I still have room from improvement though. I think I have hit a mental roadblock with running. I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to get past 2.5 miles continuously. This may not be a long distance for all, but for a non-runner like me I am impressed I can even do that. But I have to figure out a way to push myself.

I also need to work on my diet. For the most part I would say I eat pretty healthy, especially during the week when I am at work. It is when I am off that I am concerned. I enjoy waffles, but I think I am having them to frequently. And then there is the occasional Oreo (but that is only when I go to VA for work). I think I am "treating" myself for having to go out there. But no excuses...I have to do better.

The real results will be seen tomorrow when I finally weigh myself. I have seen changes in my body and my jeans are too big, but I would like to see changes on the scale. I have not weighed myself all October. The only way I accomplished this was having the Hubs hide the scale. So tomorrow I will see. Hoping the results are indicative of the work I put in.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Battle with "Being Green"

It is not emotional, spiritual, or even financial (and that is usually the issue for me). So what is the's immunological. That's right, my own freakin body is fighting my quest to be green.

A little backstory: Sometime in my early 20's I started developing food allergies. I don't know why or what happened, but there they were. It started with bananas, i think. But in that list of food allergies are sunflower seed/oil/etc. and almond nut/oil/etc.

So what does food allergies have to do with being green? Well, sunflower oil and/or almond oil are in probably 90% of organic products for your hair and skin. Why? Because they are so great.

Benefits of sunflower oil: It is very high in essential fatty acids; helps moisturize, regenerate, and condition skin. Good for sensitive skin (just not mine).

Benefits of almond oil: It is a great emollient for softening and conditioning skin; rich in essential fatty acids.

Therefore, it is used for lots of stuff; lotions, lip balm, soap, conditioners, etc.

That means I have to read the ingredients of everything. It can be very annoying. So I finally found chapstick that does not contain either of these oils from Dr. Bronner's. This is great because I can buy it at target. And soap Shea Moisture (also can be bought at Target). Conditioner: Giovanni (also at Target). Does anyone else see how much I love Target. And yes as I am writing this I am pronouncing it Tar-jay because it is where I get all my fancy products, so its better. Duh.

But other items are not so easy. It took me months to find a facial moisturizer with SPF that was "green" and did not contain sunflower and/or almond oil. But, with persistence I finally found it. The issue is I have to buy if off the internet and I don't really know how great it will work. But I am optimistic. Keys Solar Rx Moisturizing Sunblock SPF 30 was voted the number 1 Moisturizing Sunscreen by the Environmental Working Group for 2009. That means it is the best green product in the category. AND it does not have sunflower or almond oil. So I am off to order this product.

Review to follow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Fail

So this week I tried something new. Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto that I got from here. I have never had or made risotto before so I was not sure how it would taste, but it looked good and I was willing to try it. All I knew was that it was similar to rice and they made it on every episode of Hell's Kitchen this year.

Now I think I cooked it the appropriate amount of time, but it was a little firm. I cooked it longer, but it was still firm. That is what is in the directions (tender, but firm), but the Hubs said it tasted like it was not done. To me it was the same texture and firmness as rice you get at Chinese restaurants.

As you can see from the title, it was a fail. I personally did not think it was bad (believe me I have no issue saying something I made was nasty). On the other hand, the Hubs did not even give it a try. Well ok, he took a bite out of what was in the pan and decided he was going to eat something else for dinner.

I will admit, I was a little pissed. It is fine with me if he does not like something, but he did not even try it. He has never had risotto either, so I told him it was similar to rice, but I guess he wanted it to taste like rice. Whatever. So from now on I will stick to ingredients he has had before because obviously he is not into experimenting. Guess there is no point in me trying quinoa or bulgur. Guess I will stick to making pasta dishes.

Recipe of the Week- FAIL. Better luck next week.

Winter Hair Routine

I have been developing a routine for my hair. Trying to make the amount of time I spend on it shorter and more efficient. I am also trying to protect my delicate strands from the harsh winter weather.


Co-Wash with Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Conditioner (this can be bought a Target)

Detangle with the same conditioner - To do this I divide my hair into 4 sections. Put a good amount of conditioner one the section. Comb the conditioner through with my fingers. Then detangle with a large tooth comb under the shower stream. The twist the section. Repeat for all sections.

Then I completely rinse the conditioner out of my hair with lukewarm water while still in the twists.

Once out of the shower I use Curls Coconut Sublime Moisturizing Conditioner as my leave-in and then sytle my hair. My hairstyle of choice for this winter is 2-strand twists. I do this on wet hair and style with my homeade shea butter concoction.


I clarify my hair with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with conditioner. I have been using Aussie Moist Conditioner (this can be bought at any grocery store). It is pretty cheap and doesn't have bad products for my hair. Then I follow my weekly routine from above.
Note: I am clarifying my hair so frequently because I work out a lot. Therefore, I get a lot of sweat build-up and I need to clarify.

I am hoping that by doing this routine I can keep my hair from breaking and improve growth during the winter months.

I know I need to add some deep conditioning treatments in the mix. Maybe I will try to do them on the weeks I do not clarify. And while my hair seems to be sensitive to proteins, I think it might benefit from a protein treatment every once in a while. I am going to try it out and see what the results are.

You may have noticed there is no shampoo in this routine. That is because I follow the No-Poo Method. Find out more about it here. I personally believe it is the best method for curly hair whether you are black, white, or somewhere in between. If you have curly hair I would definitely recommend you try it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recipe of the Week

Well this week I did not make anything special, but I wanted to make sure that I cooked something this week. So I made some baked salmon, baked potatoes, and asparagus. Yes, I know not exciting in any way. Not as good as what I made last week in any way. But I am going to find something good for next week. Then we will see if the Hubs like it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rocktober Challenge - Week 3

Three weeks down of the Rocktober Challenge. This is such a mental and physical challenge, but it is so rewarding. I know I cannot keep this up forever, but from doing this challenge I know that I can work out 5-6 days a week with no problem. OK, probably 5 days. It is very hard for me to work out on my days off. And I have realized this even more doing this challenge. When I am off, I like to be OFF. But I digress, here is what I did this week. I did miss a day, so bad. It was because of work and not planning well. My body did enjoy the day off and unlike how I would have done in the past, I jumped right back into my workout the next day.

10/15 - P90X Yoga
10/16 - 30 min Boot Camp Cardio
10/17 - NOTHING! so bad
10/18 - W6D3 of C25K
10/19 - elliptical and strength training
10/20 - W7D1 of C25K
10/21 - elliptical and strength training

I also realized something yesterday. I need a smaller pair of jeans. I was able to take off my jeans while they were still buttoned and zipped. This is a huge deal for me. Since I am not weighing myself this month, and because I am my own worst critic, I have not really noticed if I have lost any weight. I know that I am stronger and have greater endurance and I have started to change my mental outlook on working out, but I have not really been able to tell if I have lost weight. Well, I guess I have since I need new jeans. But I will be waiting a while before I do that. Good to know though.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bad Hair Day!

OMG. I am having such a bad hair day. I must admit I have not had many since reading the Curly Nikki blog. I mean my hair is nowhere near as fabulous as hers, and there are good days and OK days. But it has been a while since I have had a bad hair day. I wish I could just stay in the house and worry about it tomorrow. So what did I do to try to help this situation...Pulled my hair into a high pony puff and keep it moving.

What is sad is this is how I used to wear my hair all the time. I mean every day. I knew it was bad then and I felt like i was having a bad hair day everyday for like a year.

Hopefully I will have a better day tomorrow. But it is funny how your hair can ruin your entire day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Recipe of the Week

This is my first week of "Make a New Recipe a Week". Today I made Evelyn's Favorite Pasta. I got it from here. Apparently it is a take on a recipe from the Cheesecake Factory. I have never had it there, but this recipe is very good. And on top of that it is healthy. The real test is whether or not the Hubs likes it. He is not that picky so if I like it he should. And the verdict is...YES! Now the quest to look for the recipe for next week.

Rocktober Challenge - Week 2

Week 2 of the Rocktober Challenge is done and I am on to week 3. I will admit it is getting hard. I am trying to mix up the workout so I am not doing the same thing all the time. And the weather is getting cold fast so just doing outdoor activities that could count as 30 minutes of physical activity is not happening. So here is what I did for week 2:

10/8 - w6d1 of C25K
10/9 - total body resistance band exercises and abs - 1 hour
10/10 - w6d2 of C25K and arms
10/11 - elliptical for 30 min. and legs
10/12 - 30 min. arms
10/13 - walked the US Capitol and the Capitol Visitor Center - 1 hour
10/14 - repeated w6d2 of C25K. I did so much better this time

So that is what I have done. I am really trying to do this every day. It will be a huge accomplishment for me to have done all 31 days at the end of the month. I know the Hubs is proud of me and that make me want to keep going. I am proud of myself too and I do not want to let myself down.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going Green: Laundry Detergent

As I have to replace my traditional products I am buying "green" ones. I personally think it is a waste to throw all the old stuff away and I have been using it my whole life so using it for a little longer is not going to have any more detrimental of an effect on my health than it already has. So I am getting "green" laundry detergent. In fact, I am going to start to make my own. I am a chemist at heart, so this is right up my alley...and it is like 10x cheaper than the free and sensitive products i was buying before.

There are several recipes for DIY detergents here. I was going to do the powdered detergent...easier, but the Hubs says he would rather have liquid so I will give it a try.

The recipe I am going to use is:
  • 1 quart water (boiling)

  • 2 cups of bar soap (grated) I am going to use Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Organic Bar Soap

  • 2 cups Borax (found in the laundry aisle)

  • 2 cups Washing Soda (found in the laundry aisle)

Very basic and if I don't like the results, I haven't wasted much money. And there are several recipes so I will just try another...maybe powder.

I will show my results when I have them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can you force yourself to enjoy something? I really don't know. I have been trying to force myself to enjoy working out and I have been working out every day this October as part of the Rocktober Challenge. But, I must admit I still do not LIKE working out. I am hoping at the end of the month I will see big changes in the way my clothes fit and this will give me more motivation. I am not going to lie, I want to see the changes on the scale too.

Another thing that I do not enjoy is cooking. I do not understand this. I come from a family that cooks, my mom caters, my grandmother bakes cakes that people fight over. But still, I do not like cooking. So I have decided that I am going to make myself do it. I am going to pick a recipe from one of the several cookbooks we have in or house and once a week I am going to make that recipe. Once a week may not sound like a lot, but this is going to be a challenge for me. Because if I don't enjoy something I just chose to not do it. Ask my husband. He always asks "What did you make for dinner tonight?" Um, nothing. I know I am a bad wife. Trust me I do feel bad, but still. So I am going to move my way over to the cabinet with the cookbooks and pick one. Keep you posted.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rocktober Challenge - Week 1

Week 1 of the Rocktober Challenge is done. Woo hoo! I did 30+ minutes of physical activity every day. That is not something I ever thought I would say. I used to say, how do those people go to the gym 6-7 times a week. All I can do is 3. Well obviously that is not true. I went to the gym 6 of the 7 days and every day I did over the 30 minutes. It was very hard for me to get my activity time in on day 7. I worked some unexpected overtime and because of that I did not get to go to the gym. But I found a way to get in so physical activity and I am very proud of myself. I was doing leg lifts and heel touchers in my chair at work and I walked for about 15 minutes earlier in the day and broke a sweat.

So here is the breakdown:
10/1 - walked Annapolis Mall 2x (broke a sweat)
10/2 - elliptical, strength training, and abs
10/3 - on the dance floor til 2am and w5d2 of c25k program (2x in one day, WHAT?!)
10/4 - 30 min. elliptical and 10 min. treadmill
10/5 - w5d3 of c25k program
10/6 - elliptical, strength training, and abs
10/7 - 15 minute walk, leg exercises in the chair

I will admit, getting in the 30+ minutes a day is not easy. But it is great having others to be accountable to. If I have learned anything this week it is that I am stronger than I think I am and I need group support. So now I am on to week 2.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rocktober Challenge!

So one of the girls on TN started the Rocktober Challenge and in my quest to be healthier I decided to join. So I am dedicating myself to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day in October. It is already day 3 and I have been doing it. This is more than just taking the steps to the office or parking in the back of the parking lot. This is actual physical activity.

Day 1 - Week 5 Day 1 of C25K

Day 2 - 10 min warmup on elliptical and strength training

Day 3 - dancing in the club (hey, I was sweating so it's working out)

I think about 25 people are doing this challenge, so we have each other to hold each person accountable. I think I have been needing this. I usually do all my working out alone, which can get boring and I don't think I push myself as much.

So I will be keeping a log of my daily activity and remember, I am also Scale free October. So I am hoping that at the end of the month when I finally step on the scale I will be pleasantly surprised. We shall see.