Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Break From Blogging

This isn’t an easy post for me to write, so I’m just going to come out and say it. As you’ve probably noticed by my large reduction in blogging frequency, my heart just hasn’t been into blogging lately. I keep thinking that I just need to get back in the habit and my passion will come back full force, but it’s just not happening. Blogging has never felt like a chore before and lately it has. After being in college for six years, it’s so nice to just go to work and then come home and relax like a normal person without having to think about what I’m going to blog about. If you’re a blogger then I’m sure you already know this, but keeping up with a blog is a huge time commitment. It takes me about an hour to write quality posts and sort through pictures to include in them, and I just haven’t felt like doing that. Blogging used to be something I looked forward to and I used to love taking pictures all day long, but recently that hasn’t been the case.

Another reason I think my motivation behind blogging is wallowing is because my motivation behind healthy living and weight loss has been dwindling as well. This isn’t something I’m proud of because that’s not the kind of person I want to be and I’m trying really hard to find my inner fire again, but it’s been really tough. I’ll do good for a few days or week or something, but then I’ll completely derail my progress over a weekend and then just won’t get back on track. Similarly, I’ll go to the gym every day one week, and then the next I’m lucky if I get there twice. I’m not sure if this kind of rut is normal, but I’m pretty sure that this is how people who’ve lost weight gain it back and let’s be honest, I’ve definitely put on a few pounds this year. While I’m still down 90-95 pounds, it’s not as impressive as my previous 115 that I was down a year and half ago and that makes me sad.

All this being said, I’ve decided to take some official time off from blogging over the next month or so with the intention of bringing it back no later than October 1st, if I decide that’s what I want to keep doing. I know I’m going to lose some of my readership – some of it will probably even be permanent and I don’t blame you – but I hope ya’ll will check back and keep following me when I decide to come back to the blog world. I’m hoping to use this time to do a little “soul searching” and figure out my priorities in life, and hope I’ll come back in a few weeks feeling refreshed with a new attitude and lots of new things to talk about – both health related and personal.

Thanks again for following me on this journey and if there’s any one thing I’ll miss the most over the next month, it’s reading your sweet and wonderful comments each and every day <3.

- Krista

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sister Bonding

Good morning!

No blog post yesterday because all I did this past weekend was work. It was a busy one too – I was short a tech for half the day Saturday and all day on Sunday. Not fun! After work on Saturday I grabbed dinner and drinks with a friend, and last night I went grocery shopping, cleaned up around the apartment, and got ready for the week.

As you know, Monday is my “cook dinner for the week” night and last night was no exception. On the menu for this week is something that I’ve been wanting to try for a while: spaghetti squash!

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To prepare the squash I sliced it in half, removed the “innards” and the seeds, and then baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When I removed it from the oven, I simply flaked the sides of it with a fork and then scooped it in a bowl.

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I won’t lie and say that it tasted like spaghetti, but it sure did look like it! While it may not have been the same as the carb-loaded pasta, it was still very good when topped with meatballs and sauce. I prepared some turkey meatballs using this recipe, which I followed for the most part with a few exceptions: I subbed ground turkey for beef, omitted the cheese and used 1/3 cup of Italian bread crumbs instead of 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs.

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Just like spaghetti and meatballs!

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My sister joined me for dinner and she was also a fan of the meal, but she suggested that I season the squash next time because it was kind of bland. Any suggestions?

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When we were done eating I packed up the leftovers for dinner for Tuesday and Thursday (on Wednesday I’m going out with my family and on Friday I’m heading down to Lansing for the weekend).

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I really liked subbing in spaghetti squash for regular pasta. I still felt like I was eating a huge bowl of spaghetti, but didn’t feel guilty at all about it. I can’t wait to try more recipes with this unique squash!

After dinner we had some play time with Mikey, which is the real reason Courtney actually came over. She’s leaving on Saturday to move to Marquette for school (the same town that Eric lived in last spring) and is trying to get in as much quality time with my little guy as she can while she’s still here. Yes, it’s true: she likes my cat more than me.

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Of course, I can’t blame her since he’s basically the cutest thing in the entire world.

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He loves those little mice toys. He likes to carry them around the house and play fetch – yes, fetch!

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Are you sick of cat pictures yet?

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I can’t help it; he’s my baby Open-mouthed smile.

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When Mikey was tired out, we headed to my club house’s hot tub to relax for a bit.

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It was a fun night!

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Before I take off, the winner of my 21 Days to Change Your Body book giveaway is Lori!

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Congratulations, Lori! Please email me at healthyberg [at] gmail [dot] com with your full mailing address and I’ll get your book mailed out right away! Thanks to everyone who entered – I loved reading your healthy tips Smile.

 

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review, Giveaway, and Q & A with Helen Ryan

Good morning!

I’m really excited about today’s post! A couple of months ago, I was sent a copy of 21 Days to Change Your Body by Helen M. Ryan to read and review on the blog.

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21 Days to Change Your Body is not like your typical diet book. Helen lost 82 pounds while running a business and raising two small children and is a certified personal trainer, spinning and pilates instructor. While this is impressive all in its own, what’s even more amazing is that she did it the old fashioned way – with healthy eating and exercise.

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Helen’s book is written in a very unique way. Since it takes 21 days to make a habit, the first 21 chapters each provide a different piece of advice and a suggested way to “take action,” all geared toward losing weight and creating healthy new habits. Some of the topics she covers include portion sizes, will power, getting started with exercise, quick breakfast recipes, calorie cycling, battling cravings, and plateaus. I think that Helen’s initial intention was for the book to be read in 21 days, but I’ll be honest and say that I read all 21 chapters in about two days because I’m not that patient Winking smile.

The “Days” portion of the book only take up about two-thirds of the book, and the last third contains resources and Helen’s daily journal that she kept while losing the weight. I really enjoyed reading this book because Helen is funny and easy to relate to. She clearly encounters the same struggles that most of us do while trying to lose weight, but she has an amazing attitude and great advice to help you get through the tough times. One of the little things I love about the book is that there are tons of great quotes scattered through out each chapter. Some of my favorites include:

  • “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” –Vidal Sassoon
  • “Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake.” –Author Unknown
  • “Rich, fatty foods are like destiny: they too, shape our ends.” –Author Unknown
  • “Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.” –Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “Diets, like clothes, should be tailored to you.” –Joan Rivers


I’m pretty stoked because in addition to being sent a copy of her book, I was also given the opportunity to do a Q&A session with Helen. I thought of lots of things I wanted to ask her as I was reading along, and I think many of you guys may find her answers helpful as well. Hope you enjoy it!


Q&A with Helen M. Ryan

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Q: I really enjoyed reading your book, "21 Days to Change Your Body." It was different than any other weight loss book or memoir that I've read before in the sense that it's a three week step-by-step approach with a new tip, suggestion, and action plan each day. What made you decide to take this direction when writing the book?

A: When I was struggling to lose weight I picked up book after book on weight loss and didn’t finish any of them. They were too long, too overwhelming, and didn’t give me any good starting point. When I finally lost weight by myself, I did it with the “baby step” method (changing one thing at a time) and since that worked so well for me I decided to structure my book in that same way. Plus it takes 21 days to cement a new habit, and I felt that creating a new healthy habit every day for 21 days could really change someone’s life (and body). And it’s easy to do.

Q: One of the tips that you mention for strengthening your will power is to "never tell yourself 'no' when you want a certain food, but tell yourself 'later' instead." Do you find that this tip often works for you? I have tried this trick many times, but usually end up just giving in and eating the food I wanted whenever "later" comes around. Any other suggestions about how to improve your will power and be successful with the "don't tell yourself 'no'" trick?

A: That’s hard for all of us, I think. Sometimes I still give in (especially when I have PMS he, he). But strong cravings usually go away within 15 to 20 minutes and if you can ride it out, then you are probably golden. Another way is to just eat half of the thing you want later and throw the rest out (and brush your teeth – my favorite trick). What works for me (usually) is that I sit for a moment and feel my “aliveness,” which also means I feel that one day I won’t be alive and that this is not some sort of “practice run” for my life. This is my actual life and my actual health. I am here only a limited time, and I can’t keep feeding my body nutritionally useless things just because I want them.

Q: Along the same line, you also talk about how no food should be forbidden, and you should never say no completely to something since deprivation can often lead to binging. However, it's extremely difficult for me to just have a "little bit" of something - it's easier for me to just say no! Any tips for not going overboard?

A: Great question! Sometimes we aren’t ready to have just a “little bit” and the little bit can throw us completely off course. In the beginning, until we are stronger, we might not be able to have any at all, and that’s OK because some day we will. When a cookie was just a cookie for me, I was able to eat half and then not want anymore. But when a cookie becomes all-consuming I can’t even have a half. It depends where I am at in my mind. Some days are better than others. The bad days are a challenge to get through.

Q: On page 46 of your book, you state that were tired of battling food for your entire life and decided one day that you were going to "stop dieting and start living." You go on to say that you "gave up trying to lose weight...and suddenly [you] were 82 pounds lighter." What exactly did you mean by that? What did you do to "start living" that sparked your significant weight loss?

A: I decided to stop obsessing about food and to stop obsessing about weight loss. When I was obsessed, that one cookie became a three-day binge. When I allowed myself to just not even think about dieting or calories or weight, my thought patterns changed. I freed myself from trying to “lose x amount per week,” or “don’t eat that” and once I did, food started to lose it’s magical powers and I began to focus on other things, which helped me make healthier choices.

Q: You talk about the importance of calorie cycling to keep your body guessing and avoid plateaus, but have you ever tried carb cycling before? I hear a lot about it and I know that a lot of bodybuilders and fitness competitors do it, but I'd love your personal opinion on the topic. Would you recommend it to your clients?

A: I think I naturally do “carb cycling” in an unofficial way. If I am going out for dinner in a few days and I know I won’t be able to resist the fresh baked bread, I tighten up on my other carbs a few days before so I can enjoy it. I would advocate carb cycling on a “loose” basis for clients, but not to be overly strict with it. I think “cycling” of any kind works into most people’s lives.

Q: What does a typical day of eating look like for you, both now and when you were losing weight?

A: I try to eat a high protein breakfast now. When I was actively losing weight I would usually eat oatmeal for breakfast. Now I make protein pancakes (with peanut butter and berries), so I am actually eating more protein. I still have about 7 pounds to go until I reach my goal, but it’s slow going at this weight. I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years(!), but last year I started to incorporate chicken and turkey into my diet to get more protein, so my diet has definitely changed (though I am thinking of going vegetarian again). I have low fat string cheese usually as a snack, and then some sort of salad with a lean protein (or an egg-white omelet) for lunch. Sometimes I will eat a high fiber sandwich half with peanut butter in between. Then I will have more string cheese (ha ha) or a piece of fruit with more peanut butter (I see a pattern) for snack, then some veggies with some sort of lean protein for dinner. I usually have a snack later in the evening (probably more string cheese). I also have coffee with almond milk in the late mornings, and sometimes a “coffee protein smoothie.” Overall, my diet before consisted of more (yes even more!) dairy and more carbs because I had a hard time eating vegetarian without being too hungry.

Q: I love how not only did you lose a tremendous amount of weight, but you decided to take it to the next level by becoming a certified personal trainer as well as a spinning and pilates instructor. What was the certification process like for that? I love going to spin classes and think that it would be so much fun to become an instructor some day. Any specific certification programs you recommend?

A: You should do it! Teaching is amazing. Spinning is my true love. I got certified through Mad Dogg Athletics, which is holds the Spinning brand license (and the only actual Spinning certification). Anything else is not Spinning – they have their own indoor cycling certifications (Schwinn, Reebok, etc.) The Spinning certification was an in-person 9-hour training course (where you study in advance). I am also certified as a trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), which was incredibly difficult. Back when I did it I had to study for three to five months, then take a 2-day course, then I drove to UCLA to take a proctored test (where I had to show my driver’s license again and again whenever I went to the bathroom). There was no cheating there! I guess that’s why it’s such a respected. My Pilates certification was through Peak Pilates, which is the only certification I actually didn’t like to take. The instructor was so, shall we say, “mean” that she made someone cry. It was not a good experience.

Overall, certifications just credential your passion. You are either a good instructor or trainer on your own or not. Certifications don’t make you great. You have to have it inside of you. I simply love to teach, share and watch someone’s happy expression when they start accomplishing something they never thought they could.

Thanks for the great interview, Helen!

For those who are curious, Helen also writes a blog. Be sure to check it out!

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Alright, now for the fun part! Helen’s publicist was generous enough to send me an extra copy of the book to send to one of you folks! To enter, just leave a comment telling me the best piece of health/weight loss advice that someone ever told you. For extra entries, you may “like” my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (@healthyberg) and tweet about the giveaway – just be sure to leave me a separate comment letting me know that you did! I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday morning. Good luck!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet My New Roommate

Hello! I’m pumped today because I have the day off! It is so nice to have a day off in the middle of the week for once. I have my first weekend as a pharmacist coming up this weekend so I get a day off during the week instead. I actually am kind of looking forward to working the weekend – I only have to work one per month so it’s really not bad! I feel like I’m finally getting into the swing of this whole pharmacist thing. I can’t say enough how nice it is to be done with school and studying and just go to work every day like a normal person!

So with all the wedding posts lately, I haven’t had a chance to talk about my big news! If you like my Facebook page, then you’ve already seen that I decided to get a roommate.

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Everyone, meet Mikey! He’s a four month old domestic short hair and I adopted him on Sunday. The decision to get a cat was one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I made the final one on Sunday as Eric was getting ready to leave town and head back to Lansing. I always get sad when he leaves because I get used to having him around, and then I’m left by myself again for a week or two until I see him next. It does get lonely around here and I wanted someone around to keep me company.

I’ve always said I wanted a male, orange tabby cat since they are so cute and sweet and when I arrived at Petsmart on Sunday, low and behold Mikey was right there waiting for me. I knew immediately that I wanted him and got right to work filling out the adoption paperwork.

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It’s been an adjustment having him around, but he’s just about the cutest kitty I’ve ever seen in my life and I love having a little side kick.

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He’s still kind of spooked and mostly sleeps under the bed when I’m gone, but he’s getting a lot more comfortable around the apartment now and comes out to play when I’m home.

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Every time I walk in the door, I just start calling out his name and it isn’t long before he pops out from under the bed to say hello.

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I have a feeling you’ll be seeing lots of random Mikey pictures in the future, so get psyched Winking smile.


In other news, I’ve been sticking to my plan of prepping a meal on Sunday or Monday to eat for dinner all week. This week’s meal was stuffed chicken that I made by following The Fitnessista's recipe. I had leftover ribs for dinner from my parents on Monday, so I actually ended up just prepping the chicken on Monday night so it was ready to pop in the over when I got home from work on Tuesday. When I walked in the door, this was waiting for me in the fridge:

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And after 30 minutes in the oven, it was ready to eat!

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My mom also left me a bunch of wild rice salad that I’ve been pairing with the chicken as a side dish, although on Tuesday it was more of an appetizer while I waited for the chicken to cook.

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I need to get this recipe from her because it was delicious! Wild rice, chopped bell pepper, cashews, and some kind of sauce. Yum.

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And here’s the main course: the chicken!

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It looks pretty, but unfortunately this was not my favorite. I’m not sure that I’ll make it again.

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(For those who were wondering, it’s stuffed with fresh spinach, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese and is seasoned with sea salt, oregano, and thyme.)


Breakfasts around here have been quick and easy. Think eggs, cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt. This morning’s meal was a perfect example.

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Two slices of locally made whole grain toast + pineapple Greek yogurt.

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Fast, healthy, tasty.


Alright, time to really get going with the rest of my day – starting with a trip to the gym! Catch ya’ll later!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Melissa’s Wedding: The Ceremony and Reception

I’m back with the final post in the “Melissa’s Wedding” series – the ceremony and reception!!

Previous posts revolving around the big event:

As I mentioned yesterday, the ceremony took place on the beach along West Bay and was absolutely gorgeous. Having a beach wedding meant a lot to both Nick and Melissa because Melissa grew up in Traverse City and Nick grew up on Gun Lake.

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While us girls were getting our hair and make-up done on Saturday morning, the boys were busy setting up the beach for the beautiful ceremony. It was a small wedding with only 80 or so guests in attendance, so they were able to comfortably seat everyone in the shade.

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Melissa is extremely crafty and made almost all of the decorations for both the ceremony and the reception all by herself. One of my favorite things were these chalkboard signs that were hung and displayed around the trees at the ceremony site.

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It was a really fun way to personalize the decorations.

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That sign was probably my favorite Winking smile.

The ceremony itself began at 5:00 pm. While I was honored to be a part of the wedding, I must say that I missed being able to take pictures of the big event due to the fact that I was standing at the front the entire time. Luckily there were plenty to steal from friends and family Open-mouthed smile.

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Melissa’s brother, J., who is an actor and an agent living in Los Angeles, got ordained just for this event so he could marry his sister. It meant a lot to her for him to be able to do that and I know their parents were so proud watching both of them up there. After the vows, unity sand, and exchanging of the rings

 

they had the big kiss…

and then J officially pronounced them husband and wife!

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(See me behind Melissa adjusting her train as she walked away? I took my MOH duties very seriously Winking smile.)

When there ceremony was over we spent about an hour taking photos, and then it was time to head over to the Park Place hotel for my favorite part of weddings: the reception!

After we were seated Melissa and I chit chatted about the big day and sipped on champagne punch.

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(and I look like a total creeper in that picture…)

Here’s all of us girls at the head table!

We were all starving and luckily dinner was served was quickly. We had salad and rolls

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and stuffed chicken for the main course.

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The chicken was very good! I ate most of it, but didn’t touch the potatoes or green beans because I started to get nervous as the time for my big MOH speech got closer and closer. After everyone had a plate of food in front of them, Nick and I decided it was time!

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It went really well and everyone seemed to like it, especially Melissa. I broke the ice by joking about her huge expectations from me for a good speech, then reminisced about some of our fun times in high school before getting serious and talking about how quickly Nick passed the “best friend test” and how happy I was that she found him.

After the speech I finally got to go see my family for the first time all day and more importantly, spend some quality time with my handsome date!

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Eric was so helpful all weekend and he turned into the bridesmaids’ personal bartender at the reception when we couldn’t leave the table to get drinks ourselves. I was so happy to finally get to hang out with him!

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It was also fun to see my sister and her boyfriend, Miles, who drove up from Grosse Point, MI for the event.

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She had the brilliant idea to take a “funny” photo, which turns out beautifully, if I do say so myself.

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Soon the bride joined our little group!

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We had a blast catching up with old friends from high school, including Curtis (who I’ve actually hung out with a couple of times this summer) and Julianne, who made the drive up from Ann Arbor.

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The rest of the evening included cupcakes…

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I die.

And dancing!

Melissa and her dad chose “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5 for their father daughter dance, and it was perfect.

After the traditional dances, the rest of us got out there and busted a move. It was a great time!


I was so honored to be a part of Melissa’s special day. She was such a beautiful, calm, confident bride and I can only hope to be just like her on my wedding day. Congratulations, Melissa and Nick! I wish you many, many years of happiness!

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