Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Round 2 of Boot Camp, Pie Confession and What I've Lost

The first session of boot camp ended last week but I missed it due to work and Thanksgiving travels. I did well sticking to the nutrition plan and exercising but last week, I caved in to fast food (had coupons for free things) and ate, and ate, and ate all weekend.

That's Right. I Ate the Whole Thing.
I confessed to my trainer I ate a whole pie over the weekend - bourbon, chocolate and pecan. I don't want to know how many calories were in it. I know it was bad - I'm feeling the sugar crash this week. At least I confessed and can move forward.

So today was the weigh-in for the new session. I've lost half a pound since the last weigh in! I'm not using an exclamation point because it's good, I'm using it because it sucks! Granted, I lost 9 pounds before the last weigh in.

What I've Lost
The up side, I've lost 3% in body fat meaning 6 pounds of fat have converted to muscle. This, I'm happy about and so was my trainer.

What I've Gained
As for today's training session, I've discovered I hate something more than the boxing session - the hanging-by-my-arms-from-a-bar-doing-100-knee-tuck exercise. Seems easy but after 30 knee lifts, feels as though my body is lifting cement. Surprisingly, I did it and for that I'm proud.

I'm also finding my confidence in the gym - conversing with the gym rats. I know what free weights are and I know how to use 'em. Sort of. I'm getting there.

We also worked on abs and arms tonight and it's taking everything in me to type this blog post - my arms and hands feel like jello. Can't wait for the next session.

Bring it on.

Oh, don't forget to check out what I've been doing over on SoloTravelGirl.com.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maximizing Opportunities on MyPoints.com for Gift Cards

I've been a member of MyPoints.com for a few years and it's only been the last two years where I've gotten smart about the program to earn points to redeem for gift cards. Once I figured it out, I was kicking myself because it's so easy to earn points which is why I'm sharing what I learned. It can be easy for you, too!

I've earned enough to receive gift cards for movies, fuel and shopping.

There's no gimmick and you don’t hand over your credit card number or any money. As I recall there are lengthy surveys but don’t get sucked in to purchase anything. It’s not necessary.

MyPoints.com Rewards Users with Points By:
  • Reading emails.
  • Taking surveys. If you don't qualify you usually earn some points but earn more when you qualify and take the survey. There's also a free daily spin option with an opportunity to earn more points.
  • Printing and redeeming grocery coupons offered off the site. (I've used the coupons at CVS, Publix and Wal-mart)
  • Making purchases through merchants. MyPoints.com acts a portal so if you want to purchase something from your favorite online retailer, first search for them on MyPoints.com then click through to place your order.
Earning points takes patience but they add up quickly. Currently, it takes 1,650 points for a $10 Wal-mart gift card, 3,850 for a $25 Shell gift card and 6,750 for a $50 Regal (movies) gift card. I don’t have the patience to rack up thousands of points but friends of mine have.

These days, MyPoints.com saves on my overall budget and daily time I invest is minimal.

Interested? Register here. (And yes, I earn points when you register through this link.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Orange Zesty Twist to Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

I know the real reason coworkers at my previous employer loved me. It wasn't my free-spirit, work ethic or sense of humor. No. It was my Kentucky bourbon chocolate pecan pie at Thanksgiving. I discovered that when I announced I was leaving a few fans asked for me to bake the pie for my farewell party.

I'm heading to my cousin's for this Thanksgiving and last night while baking a regular pecan pie and a Kentucky bourbon chocolate pecan pie, I experimented with Florida oranges. I always have left over mixture - guess it's because I pie regular pie crusts vs. deep dish and wasn't sure what to do with it. I planned to make a cranberry and orange mixture (chutney???) to keep at home and decided to use the orange as a shell to cook left over pie mixture.

I sliced off the top of the orange and hallowed out the interior to place in the food processor with the cranberries. I poured the mixture in and baked it at 350 degrees for about 25 minute.

The verdict? DELISH! Juice from the orange infused the mixture for a nice balance of flavors. It wasn't overly orange and I was surprised how good it tasted with the chocolate.

A little bonus: the oranges were FREE from a friend's yard. The joys of living in Florida.

Here's my Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 Frozen Pie Shell (I used Pillsbury last night, any will do. If you're adventurous, feel free to make your own but why make things difficult?)

Pie Filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, melted
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup pecan halves
1 cup chopped chocolate (I used chopped Hershey Kisses I had in the freezer; chocolate chips work well)

1. Beat eggs in mixing bowl with hand mixer 'til blended (about 30 seconds)
2. Stir in sugar, margarine, corn syrup, bourbon and vanilla.
3. Stir in pecans and chocolate.
4. Pour in frozen pie shell.
5. Cover pie shell edges with aluminum foil, place in oven for 20 minutes.
6. Remove foil and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes until inserted knife (I use a wood chopstick) comes out clean.
7. Cool on rack.
8. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out SoloTravelGirl.com to read up on my adventures.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

"You Want Me to Do What?"

"You want me to do what?" I said to my fitness trainer tonight when he told me to lift my legs and touch my ears with my feet. Mind you, I was already on the floor resting comfortably on a mat after doing lunges, squats and rock climbers, among other sweat-pouring drills.

Fitness trainers are meant to push people's comfort zones and realize your potential. That's how you get fit. When I was asked to do what I thought was impossible, lift my legs and touch my ears with my feet, I thought he was crazy. Amazingly, I did it without breaking my neck.

So how is boot camp going? This started week 4 and so far, so good. Each workout has been getting progressively difficult and each day is different. Last Thursday my thighs hurt so bad from Tuesday's and Thursday's workouts, I limped around as if I had a real injury. It was the kind of pain when you walk down the stairs you feel as though your leg muscles are going to split because they feel so tight.

The sessions have been a mix of strength training, boxing, yoga and other activities I'm not sure what you call them. I can't remember sweating so much so quickly. Not even with roller derby, but I guess wearing a helmet soaks things up.

Have I lost weight? I think so. I've avoided the official scale but will have a weigh-in Thursday along with a check of my body mass index. Clothing is beginning to loosen and the other boot camp participants and the trainer said they could tell I've lost some.

I certainly hope so. I've been doing my best to stick to a high-protein, low carb diet eating 6 small meals a day including drinking Myoplex Light after workouts - which I quite like. I know my friends McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, and CiCi's Pizza miss me. I've been either bringing in my own meals or visiting Subway and Wendy's for my protein fix.

I've been doing so well I'm perplexed about Thursday. I have the day off and was considering a trip to Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival but worry I'll over do it. Sunday I may join a tour of a Fort Myers farmers market, one that is traditionally Hispanic. I'm learning to rethink what I put in my body, just hope I have the strength to resist temptation which is difficult for a foodie.