We Need to Eat More Beans

Tonight, Scott sent me an email that said “We need to eat more beans.” – hmm, speak for your gassy self honey. This statement was followed by a link to a Men’s Health article about the Top Weight Loss Foods for 2010. I don’t normally read Men’s Health articles, but I was intrigued to see what foods made the list. Of the nine foods listed, there were a few regulars, but also a few surprises.

Take a look at these top weight loss foods and see how you measure up…

Top Foods for Weight Loss in 2010

  1. √ Full-fat cheese – This is a great source of the muscle-building casein protein and protein helps you feel full, which will, hopefully, lead you to eat less. I’ve got this one covered – hands down!
  2. Pork Chops – Helps preserve muscle during weight loss. Sorry, not a big fan of these and never have been – not even with applesauce. 
  3. √ Iced Coffee = This cold beverage may help reduce your appetite while also increasing metabolism. I wonder if Starbucks’ mocha fraps count? Ice, coffee – it’s the same thing -it’s just blended. That’s it, I’m counting them.
  4. Grapefruit – Researchers speculate that the acidic nature of this potent fruit may help slow digestion, which keeps you feeling full longer. Again, not a fan, but I love the scent of grapefruit. Too bad the scent alone can’t help with weight loss.
  5. Apple – The forbidden fruit is loaded with fiber which keeps you feeling full. This is definitely on my list to eat more of.
  6. Eggs – Studies show that those who high protein foods, like eggs, for breakfast felt fuller longer and were less likely to overeat during the day than those who didn’t eat a high protein breakfast. I do like eggs, but I don’t eat them very often. Probably because I feel that they are more of a breakfast food, and during the work week, I don’t have time to make them in the morning.
  7. Beans – Legumes may help fight hypertension, but this fiber-rich food also keeps your belly full.  I do like beans but choose not to comment on the after effects.
  8. Salmon – Foods high in Omega-3s, like salmon, may have a satiating effect on our appetites. No deal – I don’t care how pretty it looks on a plate, I’m not eating salmon.
  9. √ Milk – We all know milk is a great source for vitamin D, but it’s also rich in protein, which keeps you feeling full. Milk is good – now, if I could just stop eating cookies with it!

See a pattern yet? Almost all of these foods are linked to keeping you full longer, which helps you eat less and lose weight. So, how many of these weight loss foods are you eating?

Toes Are Free To Run

Hi All! Glad to see you’re all intrigued by the concept of barefoot running. One reader, Neal, mentioned a very unique type of running shoe/sock that is supposed to allow the foot to move in a more natural way but still gives you protection from the road/trail and related elements. Neal wrote…

I’m a big proponent of the Vibram Five Fingers. You should give them a try if you are serious about exploring the barefoot running thing. 

I have to admit, when I saw this “shoe” it kind of creeped me out a bit. But then it also reminded me of the toesie socks that were so popular a few years back! It really makes sense though – having all of your toes “free” allows them to flex and grab the ground, hence making it easier to balance and putting less stress on the ankle and legs.

I’m sure we could talk for hours and hours about this, but let’s move on for now. My morning started off with a quick treadmill run. Wednesday is usually my day off, but after last weekend’s indulgences, I felt like I needed an extra day of calorie burning! Running was following by a little Cheerios for breakfast…

1.13.10 Cheerios and blueberries

Ahh…so healthy and colorful! On my way to work, I was really wanting a Starbucks but resisted the urge and temptation (after all, I am into Week #2 of the restaurant diet!). Instead, I tried out my office’s coffee/hot chocolate machine for a little frothy, chocolaty milk…

1.13.10 Hot Chocolate

Adequate, but not Starbucks quality. I had back-to-back meetings this morning (you haven’t heard me say that in a while!) so, on a break, I managed to snack on a lemon Luna bar…

1.13.10 Lemon Luna bar

I LOVE lemon cookies, cakes, etc, so I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of this bar. It’s also a nice change from chocolate and peanut butter – whoaa, did I just say that?

Lunch happened to be an unpictured bowl of Trader Joe’s shells and white cheddar followed by TJ’s vanilla Greek yogurt in the late afternoon…

1.13.10 Greek Yogur and Tazo Tea

I mixed in some homemade granola and blueberries for an tasty and protein-filled treat. Plus, a little Tazo Awake tea to keep me going. I’ve discovered another new feature of my office’s gourmet coffee maker. It has a frothed milk option! So, I fill up a mug about 1/4 way with frothy milk then fill up the rest with hot water. I add my Tazo and voila – instant Tazo Awake Latte – not bad for spending no cashola!

Dinner was quickie because I was not in the mood to cook…

1.13.10 Minestrone soup

I’m so thankful we had minestrone soup still left in the freezer, otherwise I would have probably resorted to peanuts.

We are nearly out of all things chocolate in our house, except for the chocolate/peanut butter Cliff bar that I put in Scott’s Christmas stocking. He was not very willing to share his treats, even though he ate most of the chocolate truffles from my stocking – blah! He needs to go back to kindergarten. 

Ok friends, I must be off to bed. I have a date with the treadmill in the AM as well as a yoga session at noon. Have a great night!

Barefoot Running Debate

Hey everyone!

I had server/host issues last night so I was MIA. I’d like to start this post with a question for all runners… 

Have you ever run barefoot or thought about running barefoot? And not just running barefoot across a pool deck or while playing on the beach – I mean, truly running barefoot? No? Me either…until now.

barefoot running: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14922165@N00/150800432

The New Facts

A new study from PM&R: The Journal of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, shows that shoeless running may actually be better for you than running with shoes. The study showed that the force placed on the joints caused by running is greater than when walking in high heels.

The Big Debate

Although the study is new, the idea of barefoot running being good for you is far from novel. There has been a long-standing debate over the benefits of barefoot running, with advocates saying it encourages a more natural style of running, placing less stress on the joints. On the flip-side, running with shoes was shown to increase the torque (twisting force) at the hip, knee, and ankle, compared with barefoot running. Furthermore, the researched showed that the padding under the heel and arch may cause increased stress on the leg joints. 

But, just as there are runners claiming barefoot is best, there are equal numbers of runners who say barefoot running is not a wise option. I agree with the latter and whole-heartedly admit that I do NOT embrace this barefoot running. Who really wants to run on the road or trails with rocks, sticks, glass, and other potential hazards? I’d rather have a little more stress on my legs than a hundred tiny (and not so tiny) cuts on my feet. Besides, can you imagine what your feet would look like after years of barefoot running – like one huge callus! Eeeww!!! Not even a pedicure could help you with that!

How do all of you feel about barefoot running?

If you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of barefoot running, Runner’s World has a great article in the February 2010 issue. The magazine also published a very humorous opposing view of barefoot running last year. 

I can’t say whether barefoot running is good or bad, but I’m not ready to give up my shoes just yet.

Dreaming of Palm Trees

Hey all! Is anyone else out there cold to the bone! After a taste of warmer weather in Phoenix (and I say that cautiously because it really wasn’t that warm there) it was hard to come back to gloomy, cloudy, and cold Chicago. But I hear it’s supposed to get better this week – 40 degrees on Wednesday – yeah! You know you live in the North when you consider 40 degrees a warming trend.

I am sooo looking forward to Chicago’s BIG THAW! That’s when I start to run outside on a consistent basis. The treadmill does a nice job keeping me conditioned over the winter months, but there’s nothing like running outdoors. The next time will probably be when we head to Disney World next month – yes I DO run on my vacations! And, speaking of Florida…

Scottsdale palm tree

To prepare for my upcoming trip, I’ve started to add two days of lower body strength exercises – lunges, squats, etc. and upper body exercises to my weekly routine. I’m always surprised at how toned I look after a few weeks of weight training. I really does do the body good! In addition, I’ve slowly been adding to my cardio each week – 5 minutes here, higher intensity there, intervals, etc. Now, if I could just find time to sleep 😉

Next week, I’ll be in Washington for a couple days for a meeting (trip #2 out of 6). I’ll be staying in the Penn Quarter area and am looking for a good place to eat…

Capitol Hill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86338841@N00/3311016810

I’ve been to Washington, DC, nearly a dozen times, but usually don’t have the time to venture off to non-hotel restaurants. But, in keeping with my New Year’s goals, I am determined to do something fun on my business trips – like walk around the city a bit and eat at a nice restaurant. If you have any suggestions for DC restaurants, let me know! 

You’ll have to excuse my randomness. After working over the weekend, I’m exhausted today! OK, I’m off to study for a little before bed. See you all tomorrow!

A MUFA-licious New Year

Afternoon everyone!

Yesterday, Scott and I spent most of the afternoon taking down all of the inside Christmas decorations. I didn’t put out as many as I normally do, so it wasn’t as bad as last year taking them down. I will miss how pretty my house looked, but I am glad to have it back to normal.

This morning, Scott left early to attend an Illinois v. Gonzaga basketball game in downtown Chicago. But, I managed to convince him to take a picture of me in my new Lucy shirt before he left…

1.2 Jen Breathe shirt 10.1

Thanks shman.

Blah, I just saw that Illinois lost. I didn’t go to U of I and, frankly, college basketball is NOT my thing. But I still want the Illini to win. Scott usually goes to the big game every year and hangs with all of his old college buddies. You think I would like basketball, even a little, after playing 4 years of b-ball in high school. Thanks, but I’ll pass. 

I didn’t end up going to yoga this morning like I planned (too cold to venture outside at just 6 degrees of bed separation). Instead, I started the morning with a few lunges, squats, and leg extensions. I usually start doing these in March to gear up for bikini season. But, seeing as I’m headed to Florida at the end of February then twice again in April, I figured I should get a head start! I also munched on some super nummy yogurt…

1.2 Trader Joe Greek Yogurt 2

Instead of buying individual 5.3 oz of Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, I bought the big carton. I’m trying to really watch portion sizes this year, and I feel that the individual yogurts are a little too much for me. With the full-size carton, and a handy dandy 6 oz ramekin, I can fill up the ramekin 1/2 way, then add granola and blueberries. Honestly, this is ALL I need to get me started on most mornings.

1.2 Trader Joe Greek Yogurt 1

As for watching portion sizes, I’m not really trying to lose weight – I don’t have much to lose at just 107 pounds. I’m also not really the type to do New Year’s resolutions. But, every year, I try to start the new year off right with some of the basic principles of healthy eating…

  • Watching calorie intake
  • Loading up on fruits and veggies
  • Eating more fiber-rich foods
  • Cutting back on junk food
  • Saying “yes” to MUFA (monounsaturated fats)
  • Reducing diet coke
  • Kicking my Starbucks habit (I wonder if there’s a Starbucks support group I could join?)
  • Opting for all-natural foods, when possible
  • Limiting snacks

For instance, for lunch, I knew I’d be satisfied with a 1/2 reduced-fat salami sandwich, so that’s what I had (reduce portions – check). I made the sandwich on Brownberry double fiber bread (add fiber – check), and plus I threw in a few cherry tomatoes for the huge vitamin C but also because they are fruit (add fruits/veggies – check)

1.2 Salami Sandwich with olives 2

It’s a little strange eating lunch without Scott on a Saturday, considering we are almost always together on the weekends. No matter though, I had olive eyes watching me…

1.2 Salami Sandwich with Olives 1

Not to mention a beautiful a bird sitting in my tree who kept his hawk eye on me and my food…

1.2 Wild Hawk

I named him Nicholas Nickleby – Nick for short. Don’t ask me why, I was just in a Charles Dickens kind of a mood today. 

Tonight, I plan to do some major studying at Barnes and Noble and then tomorrow starts our 30-day restaurant diet – more details to follow 😉

So, what’s your healthy eating goal for the year?

Christmas Goodies

Happy Day After Christmas Everyone!

From the looks of your posts (or lack of them 😉 ) I gather that all of you were doing quite a bit of merry making and rightly so. I, of course, did quite a bit of celebrating myself. Instead of giving you every detail about the last three days, I’ll just give you the highlights starting with Christmas.

I can hardly believe it, but it ended up being 45 degrees and sunny on Christmas morning in Chicago!! I was absolutely thrilled to be able to run outside on Christmas. It felt awesome to breathe in the cool, crisp air, and see the glistening snow in the trees. After my run, I enjoyed a fantastic breakfast – a 3-egg omelette (1 egg and 2 egg whites) courtesy of my egg-loving husband…

12.25 Christmas omelette 2

He put all sorts of goodies in it too, like broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and cheddar cheese – I’m such a lucky girl!

12.25 Christmas omelette

Then it was PRESENT time!! Most of the gifts I gave to Scott came from JCrew, that’s what he likes, so that’s what he gets. In turn, most of MY gifts came from Anthropologie. I LOVE Anthropologie but rarely buy anything there because their items are so expensive. I think that’s why Scott shops there for my birthday and Christmas because he knows that I won’t spend the money on myself.

For starters, I received some cool European-esque dish towels…

12.25 Anthropologie towels

I feel like we go through a ton of dish towels each week so these were a very welcome gift. Next up were some cute little bejeweled hair clips…

12.25 Anthropologie hair pins

He knows me so well and knew that I would fall in love with these little darlings. He also gave me a very trendy cupcake book…

12.25 Anthropologie cupcake book2

Surprisingly, there was no red velvet cupcake recipe to speak of. I find that very odd – how can you do a gourmet cupcake cookbook and NOT include a red velvet cupcake? It is still a very sweet book though! I can’t wait to make some of these cupcakes, especially because I can put them on my brand new Anthropologie plates…

12.25 Anthropologie plate 1

12.25 Anthropologie plate 2

Oh my, was I ever having fun opening these presents! And, last but not least, came my favorite gift of all…

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 1

A new tea cup! Scott knows that I’ve been wanting a new tea cup for work and for home. I kept saying how I needed to find just the right cup, not too big, not too small, and just the right design. I definitely won the lottery with this little cutie!

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 3 The detail around the cup is fantastic – especially the cute little flower by the handle as well as the inside design…

12.25 Anthropologie teacup 2

Ok, how lucky am I to have a guy who can go into Anthropologie and buy frilly things for his wife!

I also received a very pretty top from Anthropologie although it’s too big 🙁 

After presents we hustled over to my in-laws for the rest of the day. We were having so much fun opening presents and eating that I really didn’t take many pictures. But, let’s just say I ate my fair share of dip, cheese, and cookies. I am SO feeling that today too!

Moving on to today….Saturday is normally my day to take off from running. But instead, Scott and I headed to the sledding hill for a little outdoor fun. Unfortunately, I became cold really fast (only went down the hill twice) and had to take a rain check.

I warmed up with some hot Tazo Awake tea and a few little walnut cookies…

12.26 Walnut cookie and Awake Tea

These walnut cookies, courtesy of my Father-in-law, are so yummy! They taste a LOT like mini coffee cakes, so it’s no wonder why I love them!

12.26 Walnut cookie

Lunch was warmed-up turkey chili from the freezer – perfect for a very snowy and cold day…

12.26 Turkey Chili

Then it was time for a much-needed nap. I am usually not the napping sort of gal, but I do love a good nap when I’m on vacation.

Dinner was my own creation tonight – mesquite grilled chicken with spinach risotto and sweet carrots…

12.26 Spinach Risotto 2

The risotto was especially good, although Scott thought it had a little too much spinach it it.

12.26 Spinach Risotto

Now, were eating a little popcorn and watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – another Christmas present.

Ok friends, that’s all for now. I want to want the rest of my movie then it’s off to bed! Have a great night everyone!

Not Your Hello Kitty Yoga

Happy Christmas Eve²!

I can’t believe Christmas is nearly here – time sure flies when you’re busy. Although Wednesday is usually my day off for running, I decided to do a fast 30 minutes on the treadmill (Yes, my name is Jennifer and I’m a running addict) knowing that I may not run on Friday. About an hour after running, I headed to the gym for a much-needed 60-minute yoga session.

12.23 hello kitty yoga

Don’t let this picture fool you. There was nothing cute and cuddly about this yoga class. I have to admit, this class kicked my A-S today! Of course, I haven’t been to yoga since October, so the a-kickin’ was to be expected. Every pose seemed harder than the next. I had to really concentrate the whole time, when I can usually relax and just go with the flow. The only person that seemed to be having as much trouble was the 60-year old guy next to me – not a good sign on my part. I really think I overdid it between running and then yoga (and barely eating breakfast). I actually felt sick during shavasana but tried to lay there calmly to let the nausea pass. 

Anyway, I did get to show off my new yoga shirt from Lucy…

12.23 Lucy bag

Each year about this time, Lucy comes out with its limited edition Breathe t-shirts. I don’t know why I haven’t seen these shirts until this year, but as soon as I saw them I just had to buy one…

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 1

Merry Christmas to me! How perfect is this for yoga, running, or really any sport! In addition to having “breathe” written on the front, the shirt sleeves also were creatively detailed. Too bad the shirts only come in white and black, otherwise I think I would have bought more (maybe that’s a blessing to my bank account!).

12.23 Lucy breathe shirt 4

After yoga, I spent the rest of the day wrapping gifts – save for an hour or two getting my hair cut (finally, time to relax!). I think I counted 35 gifts that I wrapped just today! I wrapped about 10 over the weekend, and that doesn’t even count the gifts that I already gave to my family members in Michigan over Thanksgiving. I really think we went way overboard on Christmas this year. Did anyone else overdo it on presents this year?

Gotta run to prepare for all of the festive fun for tomorrow. Have a wonderful night! 

You Know You're a Runner When…

This morning, I woke up at 3 AM unable to sleep. When my alarm finally went off for my 5:45 run, I contemplated going back to bed due to lack of sleep. As I lay there, thoughts raced through my head. I anticipated my long day of being tired and in a foul mood because of my decision not to run. This thought, combined with the fact that I still could not go back to sleep, was enough for me to get up and running, literally.


This is not the first time I’ve experienced this runner’s anxiety. And, I’m sure I’m not the only runner that has felt this way. I truly think that runners are a special breed of people. Some people are born to be skaters, bikers, dancers, etc. While others are born to run – that is me. Runners share a special bond – we know what each other goes through, whether it’s the challenge of finding time to run or feeling depressed because you can’t run due to injury or some other obstacle. No matter what group or club you belong to, when you’re a runner, you automatically become part of a worldwide team – a family – of runners. But how do you truly know if you’re a part of this running family? Let’s find out…

You Know You’re a Runner When…

  1. You plan your whole week (and everyone else’s) around your runs.
  2. You wake up for your morning run after 5 hours of sleep, decide not to run, lay there thinking about why you’re not running, then get up and run anyway.
  3. The highlight of the year is either a big race  you’ve been waiting for or when the new running shoes are unveiled.
  4. On your “off” day, you feel like everyone is running but you.
  5. When going to a new city, the first thing you find out is the best place to run.
  6. At any given moment, you can recite all of the cities/countries you’ve run in and you remember those places based your running experience
  7. You are giddy when your favorite running magazine arrives in the mail.
  8. While attending a business function or party, you can easily spot the other runners in the room.
  9. You wave or nod at everyone when you’re running – it’s a runner thing.
  10. You can’t understand why people walk, when they can run.

How would you finish this sentence?You know you’re a runner when...

And so, to all my fellow runners out there – Happy Holidays and may the New Year take you back to all of your favorite running spots –  and introduce you to a few new ones too!

Stay Fit During the Holidays and All Year Long

As most of you know, I have just begun the process for earning my certification in personal training. While in my class this weekend, I had a chance to socialize with the other students. We were all different ages and came from all walks of life. Some were changing careers, others were working at gyms and needed advanced training, etc.

Although there were different reasons why we were in training, it became apparent that we were all similar in one main way – we were all very fit and very health conscious. It was great being around others who really enjoy fitness and overall wellness as much as I do – it just confirmed that I am not the only health nut!


But also, it was very interesting to hear what others did to stay fit and how they cope with setbacks, like injuries, overeating, etc. This made me think of my own health and fitness habits. To keep my weight down (average 107 at 5′ 1”) and to maintain a high level of fitness, I engage in several fit behaviors and have for many years. By now, some of these behaviors are done unconsciously, but some of them I make a very conscious effort to follow. 

So, what are my fitness secrets? Let’s take a look…

  • Water, Water, Everywhere: I drink tons of water. Not flavored water, not sparkling water, just plain old water. I drink about 8 glasses (8 oz) a day, but more when it’s

    hot or when I’ve been exercising more than normal. Water helps keep me stay hydrated, of course, but it also helps me stay full.

  • Run, Baby, Run: As most of you know, I run anywhere from 20-25 miles a week, about 4-6 miles 5 days a week. I try to do other things, like walk, yoga, stretching. But running seems to be the one thing that keeps my weight down the most.
  • Give Me Strength: Aside from running, I also do strengthening exercises for my abs and legs, such as a variety of crunches and lunges. Strength training helps me build muscle and strong bones, which is definitely something I need now and will need later in life.
  • Breakfast Break: I eat breakfast every day. Yes, like everyone else, this can be a challenge, especially when I’m prone to running late in the AM. But, I find that by eating breakfast every day, I eat less calories throughout the day, especially in the morning.
  • Snack Attack: I try my best NOT to snack but sometimes it’s inevitable. When I do snack, I try to eat healthy things, like nuts, whole-grain crackers and cheese, yogurt, etc. The key word here is try!
  • Calories Count: Although I do not write down everything that I eat each day, I mentally add up my calories throughout the day. I know that if I hit a certain amount by lunchtime, that I need to take it easy in the afternoon and evening.
  • Make Adjustments: Even though I watch what I eat and exercise, there are still times of the year when I may gain a pound or two, like when I’m stressed about work or when I’m on vacation and let things slide a little. When this happens, I do a recovery effort by writing down everything that I eat for a week to see how many calories I’m really eating. Then, I make adjustments to my food intake by swapping in healthier foods, or eliminating unnecessary snacks. If this doesn’t seem to be working, I modify my exercise routine for the week by adding an extra day of running or adding 5-10 minutes more each day. By making these small adjustments, I’m usually back at my normal weight within a week.
  • Treat Yourself Good: It’s true! I eat a dessert every day! Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or a piece of cake, if I want it, I eat it. But, that also means that I plan to eat it every day. Having treats is a part of life, so when you plan for it on a daily basis, you can cut a few calories in other places (no chips at lunch, no bread at dinner, etc.), to allow for your treat calories.
  • Healthy Happy Holidays: During the holidays, when there’s more than enough food to go around, I pick and choose my indulgences carefully. I try not to eat things that I could eat every day, like chips, cookies, etc., but save my calories for more festive appetizers that only come once a year.

So there you go! These are the basic strategies I use every day, all year round to stay healthy and fit. They may not work for everyone, but they definitely work for me!

Have a great night everyone!


Flexing My Runner Muscles

Only one more day to enter my Crabtree & Evelyn giveaway! Find all of the details at Bistro Chic!

Hello Everyone – 

Hey All! I’ve got to make this quick, because I have another early class tomorrow.

I had to be at class (45 minutes from my house) at 8 AM today. Ugh, getting up that early on a Saturday is NOT fun unless you are on vacation in Hawaii or Europe. I attempted to go to Starbucks for a pick me up, but after driving around for 15 minutes, I couldn’t find ANY! What’s up with that – I thought they were on every corner! All that work and I was 20 minutes late for class with no coffee to show for my efforts. Bah – humbug.

12.12 starbucks: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66208256@N00/2092989435

Well, I realized today that I really need to get back into my yoga routine. At class today, we learned all about resistance training and flexibility. I actually did the testing and was tested on. When the flexibility portion came around, I could barely reach past my feet – yikes! Granted, I am only 5′ 1” and have a very short torso, but I really think I should be more flexible than that 🙁 It kind of makes sense though – I read somewhere that distance runners are some of the most inflexible athletes. Hmm…I guess i would fall into that category – although I’m not proud of that factoid.

12.12 Yoga

But I really kicked a-s on the crunches test – I did the max you can do – sweet! 

I was soo exhausted by the time class ended. I am really thankful that Scott had a little stir-fry action going when I arrived  home…

12.11 Chicken Stir Fry

I didn’t think I was that hungry, but I just couldn’t stop eating tonight! I had two servings of stir-fry plus a bunch of ice cream (not pictured). I guess talking about exercise all day can actually increase your appetite – he he!

OK, gotta run. My class goes from 9 AM to 4 PM tomorrow, then it’s time to clean house – my big sister, her husband, and my nephew are arriving on Thursday night to stay with us for the weekend. Woo hoo! We have so much planned – I’ll share details later in the week 😉

Have a great night everyone.