Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

Good morning!

Thank you for the comments on my last post. I’m glad that many of you can understand what I’m going through right now. Not that I want any of us to be having a hard time, but it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.

On another note, how about a little Christmas recap?! I can’t believe how quickly it flew by this year, but the past few weeks have been a ton of fun. A couple of weeks ago while Eric went to Iron Mountain to see his family, I made a TON of Christmas cookies.

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I made six different kinds and sent some to Eric’s parent’s, my best friend Melissa, my work, and my mom’s work; and I brought the leftovers on a platter to Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt’s house.

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Here’s what I made:

The cookie trays were a huge hit, and an annual bake-a-thon is a tradition I’d like to keep around the holidays. The most popular cookies were the Andes mint cookies, the white chocolate cranberry cookies, and the Oreo truffles so those will definitely be kept in the rotation, but we’ll see what else is looking good next year.

The Saturday before Christmas, Eric and I met some friends in Grand Haven and spent the day walking around downtown checking out local shops before grabbing a bite to eat. We walked down to the pier for a couple of photos as well. Here Eric and I are with our friend Erin:

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We met Erin in college but she and her husband moved to North Carolina last year so we only get to see them once or twice a year. Guess that’s what happens when you get older!

After spending the day in Grand Haven, Eric and I drove back to Traverse City where we spent the evening hanging out at my apartment. A couple of my friends from high school joined us and we had a great time catching up. On Sunday night we had another get together at a local bar downtown, and it ended up turning into a mini high school reunion! There was a quite a group of us, and I had such a blast seeing so many old friends. Here’s a cell phone photo of myself with my friends Hannah and Leah:

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Such a good time!

After spending lots of time with friends, the next day was Christmas Eve and we were ready to spend it with family!

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I epically failed at getting food pictures, but everything was delicious. Christmas Eve dinner included ham, cheesy potatoes, sweet potato casserole (courtesy of moi), green bean casserole, jello salad, and LOTS of cookies and pie. Yum! After dinner, we gathered in the living room for a little white elephant gift exchange, only my grandma provided all the presents Winking smile.

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Eric made a new friend while we were playing – everyone meet Jake!

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After the gift opening we took some family pictures in front of the tree. We were long overdue for some, that’s for sure.

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<3

On Christmas morning, Eric and I headed over to my parent’s house bright and early for Christmas breakfast.

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Like most families, we eat the same thing every year – for us, that’s stuffed French toast (with an orange marmalade filling), cheesy eggs, bacon, and crockpot oatmeal. Usually we are too full to eat the oatmeal, so we just end up snacking on it all day Winking smile.

The plan after breakfast was to open presents, but one of m parent’s kitties, Charlie, all of the sudden started having some breathing problems. We ended up having to rush him to the emergency vet, where he was put in an oxygen chamber and temporarily diagnosed with pneumonia. Unfortunately, the diagnosis has now been confirmed as heart failure, and we’re not sure how much longer he has. It’s really sad because the poor guy is only three years old, and he’s like my dad’s best friend. Here’s a picture of the little guy:

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Beautiful cat, right?

It was a bummer to go through all of this on Christmas morning, but my dad and sister returned from the vet after a few hours and we all kept our chins up and proceeded with the Christmas festivities.

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We all made out pretty well this year in the gift department!

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Some of my favorite gifts from my parents are my KitchenAid blender, toaster, and crockpot; but one of my favorite gifts of all was from Eric. He got me this beautiful open hearts necklace, and I’ve hardly taken it off since he gave it to me.

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As much as I love the necklace though, I just might love my birthday present from him even more. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but lately Eric’s really been getting into painting in his spare time and for my birthday, he painted me this beauty.

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Isn’t it amazing?! I was speechless when I opened it. It’s proudly hanging up in my living room right now so I can show it off to all of my guests Open-mouthed smile.

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After we were done with presents, Eric and I headed out to see Les Mis (amazing, btw), and then he hit the road to head back to Lansing. Just like that, another Christmas had come and gone! I was a bit down after the holiday because Eric was gone and I had to get back to the whole work routine, but today I’m in a great mood because tonight I’m going downstate and I’ll be spending New Years Eve in Grand Rapids with Eric and a great group of our friends! I’ve never actually gone out on NYE before (I usually have low key nights inside), so I am especially excited about this year.

Have a great day everyone and I’ll see ya in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Twenty-Four

I’ve sat down to write this post a number of times, but I always come down with a serious case of writer’s block and can never figure out how to put into words what I feel. Then I saw this post on Ben’s blog and realized that he could not have put it better.

“You don’t start down the road to health hoping you’ll eventually lose your way.”

“You don’t think ‘man, I sure hope I lose a bunch of weight and then gain a bunch of it back.’”

“You don’t make fitness plans with the intention of backing out on those plans, losing motivation, binge eating, and skipping workouts.”

When I first started down my own journey to health nearly four years ago, I was so caught up in the rush of losing weight, the good feeling I had about myself, the smaller clothes, and all of the compliments that I thought there was no way I would ever lose my motivation. I used to be perplexed as to how someone could lose a significant amount of weight and then gain any of it back. I used to wonder how anyone could just return to their old habits, undo all of their hard work, and feel bad about themselves again.

It’s hard to admit, but I was sort of arrogant. I thought I was better than other people because I was losing all the weight and I was going to keep it off. How could I not keep it off? After all, my blog had taken off and I was even featured on MSN (you may read the article here). I thought the fact that I had all of these readers who followed me and people who were expecting me to succeed would keep me accountable and on track.

Well, I was wrong. It’s been a rough year, a humbling year, and an emotional rollercoaster of sorts. A lot of things have changed in my life, and while many of them have been good changes, the change in my weight has not been one that I’m proud about. No one wants to sign on to their blog after being absent for a month and write a post about how they have been failing, especially when they have wrote this post too many times before. However, I’ve always been straight with you guys and I’d like to think that my honesty and realness is what keeps you coming back.

Yesterday was my 24th birthday. 23 was a great year – I graduated from pharmacy school, started dating Eric, and got my own apartment – but here’s to hoping 24 is even better. All I can do is start over, write new goals, and keep on trying. Am I back to where I started four years ago? Not even close. But I am extremely disappointed in myself and I want to fix it.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that nothing and no one can motivate you to succeed but yourself. If you’re not doing this for yourself, you’re going to keep starting over again and again, and you’ll never get it right.

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Workouts As of Late

Hello!

I promised you guys an update on my workout regimen lately, and I’m here to deliver! I haven’t really been following a specific schedule, but I have been trying to incorporate a couple days of running, a couple days of strength training, and a day on my new favorite exercise bike every week. I’ve also been alternating between using my regular gym and the one at my apartment complex. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that the leasing office got a bunch of new treadmills and gym equipment, and it really is quite nice. I’m easily able to get in a great workout, including strength training, by just walking down the road to the community building.

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There is a decent selection of dumbbells, as well as one of those multi-functional Bowflex-like machines.

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The other day I got in a hilly 8 mile ride on the bike (I always work up such a sweat with those hills, it’s hard work!) and followed it up with an upper body workout at my apartment gym. It was nice because there were only a couple other people there, so I practically had the whole place to myself.

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(apologies for the glare..it was early and the sun was still rising)

I tried to target every muscle group, so here’s the workout that I did:

  • Dumbbell chest press: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Pulldowns: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Lateral raises: 3 sets x 15 reps superset with front raises: 3 sets x 15 reps (this move killed my shoulders!! I could really feel the burn after putting two exercises together)
  • Triceps pressdowns: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Bicep curls: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Bent-over-rows: 3 sets x 15 reps (each arm)

I also did this workout earlier this week after a run on the treadmill, and I was super sore the next day both times.

Speaking of the treadmill, I’ve gotten in two really great runs this week. I’ve been trying a little something different and doing my runs in run/walk intervals. I’ve been doing this for a couple of reasons: for one, I’ve been trying to increase my pace so I’ve been doing my running portions at a faster pace; and secondly, interval training is a great way to burn fat and increase after burn (calories burned after you’re done exercising). I normally do my runs at about a 5.3 on the treadmill, but this week I’ve been walking 0.25 miles at 3.7 and then running 0.25 miles at a 6.0. On Tuesday I did this for 3 miles, and this morning I did 4. It took me about 53 minutes to finish the run this morning and I was dripping sweat by the end. I know I’m slow, but running at a 6.0 for two and a half minutes is pretty challenging for me and my legs felt like Jello by the end!


I haven’t taken two many food pictures this week, but I did get a few of this stir-fry that I made on Monday night.

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I marinated a couple chicken breasts in a garlic marinade for a few hours, then sliced them and cooked them in a large skillet with about one-third of a chopped onion. While they were cooking, I roasted some chopped green beans in the oven (20 minutes at 400 degrees) and heated some instant brown rice in the microwave. When everything was done, I added the rice and green beans to the skillet, cracked two eggs into the mixture, added some soy sauce, and stirred until the eggs were done. It took me about 30 or 35 minutes to throw it all together, but it turned out well and made a ton of stir-fry for the week.

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I would have liked it better with more veggies (i.e., bell pepper and broccoli), but it was still tasty.

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No major plans for this weekend, as unfortunately it’s my weekend to work. I work the next five days in a row and then I actually get a long weekend next week because I’m using up some vacation I have left. I’ll have Wednesday through Sunday off and I am stoked! The only thing I’m not excited about it is that Eric will be going to Iron Mountain next weekend to visit his family so he won’t be around, but I am going to head down to Lansing on Wednesday night so we can hang out for a night before he leaves.


Well, I’m going to go hang out with this little rascal for a bit before heading into work for the night.

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(Why waste money on toys when I can just give him cardboard?)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Griffins Game and Kretschmer Giveaway Winner

Good evening!

I had such a fantastic weekend, but I am so tired! I had to be up at 5 am for work both yesterday and today, and let’s just say I am more than ready to catch up on some Zzz’s tonight. Even though I’ve come home from work and collapsed on the couch for the last two nights, I’ve still miraculously mustered up the motivation to work out both days. This is quite an accomplishment for me because usually when I work the early shift at work, I am so tired when I come home that I sit on the couch all day and never end up going to the gym (or getting anything done, for that matter).

I’ll post more about my workouts later this week, but for now let’s get back to my weekend! On Friday after work, I drove down to Grand Rapids to meet up with Eric and our friend Gina. Gina and her boyfriend had two extra tickets to the Griffins hockey game and they invited us to join them. Gina lives with her boyfriend, and we met at his house to chill out and eat some dinner before leaving for the game.

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Gina heated up some homemade turkey soup, and her boyfriend, Ryan, made us some killer ham sandwiches.

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The sandwich had turkey, tomato, bell pepper, some sort of sandwich sauce, and was served warm with melty cheddar cheese. It was quite a sandwich!

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When we were finished eating it was time to head to Van Andel arena for the game!

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We found our seats and then got in line for some beers. It was “Dollar Dog, Dollar Beer” night, and there was no way we were missing out on that!

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We had great seats, but unfortunately the battery in my good camera died shortly after the game started Sad smile. I got a couple of shots, but then I had to switch to my phone.

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I’m not much of a hockey person, but I had so much fun catching up with Gina. We don’t see each other very often so it was great to have a night of girl talk with her. After the game, we hit up a couple of the local bars in downtown Grand Rapids and finished off the night with a late night snack at the SpeakEZ Lounge. I didn’t get any pictures, but I will say that we had the most amazing spinach and goat cheese dip, and Eric and I shared a fantastic Panko breaded grilled cheese sandwich. He actually said that it was the best grilled cheese he had ever had in his life. That is saying something!

We stayed the night at Ryan’s, and then Eric and I drove to Lansing early on Saturday where we had quite a relaxing day. Breakfast at IHOP, a long nap, errands, and finally: dinner at Maru sushi!

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(Eric’s eyes were really bothering him and we couldn’t manage to get a shot without him blinking..No big though, I still think he looks good Open-mouthed smile)

We had a long wait at the restaurant so we walked next store to get some frozen yogurt before dinner.

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Best. appetizer. ever.

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When we were finally seated at Maru, I ordered my favorite mango martini..

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And the two of us shared four giant specialty rolls.

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We were actually not very hungry after our fro yo, so we ended up taking half of the sushi home.

After dinner, we came back to Eric’s and watched Gremlins while he wrapped Christmas presents. It was such a fun night! On Sunday, Eric left for Las Vegas for a pharmacy conference and he won’t be coming  back until Saturday. I have to work this upcoming weekend, but I’m hoping to sneak in a quick overnight trip to Lansing next week so I can see him again before Christmas. LDR = lots and lots of driving…


I’m going to wrap this post up so I can catch up on some emails and enjoy the rest of my evening, but before I go here is the winner of my Kretschmer Wheat Germ giveaway:

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Congrats, Chrissy! Please email me at healthyberg [at] gmail [dot] come with your full name and mailing address and I’ll be sure you get your coupons. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kretschmer Wheat Germ Review and Giveaway

My favorite meal of the day, without a doubt, is breakfast. It’s one meal that I always enjoy, even when I am trying to watch my calories. I feel like I can always find satisfying things to eat without depriving myself, and it always tastes good! I typically eat the same types of things for breakfasts, and if I find a new one that I like I’ll eat it every day for weeks before switching to something different. One of my latest kicks has been this:

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I found this pumpkin streusel bread at Target last week and I’ve been eating it almost every day. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to make it last a week already and I still have some left! That’s definitely an accomplishment.

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I’ve been eating it with two scrambled eggs and a piece of fruit.

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(so excited that pears are finally in season again – I’m obsessed!)

Another breakfast favorite of mine as of late is a new overnight oats recipe that I threw together one night and turned out to be the best batch of overnight oats I’ve ever made!

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The oats were inspired by a couple of new products I was given the opportunity to review. A few weeks ago I received an email from Kelsey at 360 PR asking if I’d be interested in sampling some Kretschmer Wheat Germ.

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(source)

In her email, Kelsey stated that wheat germ is a “versatile and often overlooked ingredient that gives recipes a nutritional boost.” I had never tried wheat germ before and didn’t know much about it, so I checked out the website for some more information. Here are some facts about this superfood:

  • Wheat germ is derived from the most nutrient-rich part of the wheat kernel and is loaded with B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc
  • Even though it’s the most nutritious part of the wheat kernel, it is left out when wheat is processed to white flour
  • The germ makes up only 2.5% of the wheat grain. It takes 50 pounds of wheat to produce one pound of wheat germ!
  • Wheat germ has a unique crunch and a slightly nutty flavor, and it makes a healthy addition to tons of recipes

Kelsey sent me a couple of coupons to sample the wheat germ for myself (although I couldn’t find the honey crunch flavor – bummer!), as well as some coupons for some Stonyfield Oikos Greek yogurt. I picked up a couple of traditional fruit flavors, but got excited when I saw this one:

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Chocolate yogurt?! Sign me up!

The chocolate yogurt is what inspired me to whip together some chocolate peanut butter overnight oats.

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I mixed 1/2 cup oats, the yogurt, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a splash of milk and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I topped it with two tablespoons of wheat germ and stirred it all up.

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It was very good! I like a little crunch in my yogurt bowls and overnight oats, and the wheat germ added the perfect amount. The taste was mild, but slightly nutty, and blended well with the other flavors. Like I said, this has become one of my new favorite breakfasts!


I also tried the wheat germ while cooking dinner on Monday night. I prepared some Panko breaded chicken and added a few tablespoons of wheat germ to the bread crumb mixture.

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I pan fried the chicken for a couple of minutes before baking it in the oven.

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To be honest, I couldn’t really taste the wheat germ in this recipe but I liked that it added an extra nutritional boost. It really is quite versatile and I’ve found myself using it a lot more often than I thought I would. I still have one more coupon to use, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some of the honey crunch flavored wheat germ!

For those who are interested, here are the nutrition stats on the wheat germ:

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Curious to try some for yourself? Well, you can! Kelsey offered to send a reader a coupon for a free jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ, as well as a Stonyfield Oikos coupon as well. To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to eat for breakfast. For an extra entry, you can like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway! Be sure to leave an extra comment on this post letting me know that you did. I’ll pick a random winner on Monday, December 2nd. Good luck!

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