Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peppermint Experiment Results

The results are in on my peppermint experiment. (Drum roll please).  My conclusion is that it did not curb my appetite at all and although I did lose weight it had nothing to do with sniffing peppermint oil.  Actually, at times I felt like that peppermint made me feel hungry.  It was like it activated my senses and made my body feel the urge to eat. 

The oil is not easy to find but I did end up locating a small bottle at a local health store.  It cost me $8.99.  I would place a small dab on my wrist and occasionally sniff it.  Let me just say that people were giving me weird looks when I kept putting my wrist to my nose.....wonder what they were thinking.  More than anything I think I am officially sick of the smell of peppermint.

Overall, I think that the peppermint oil theory is a big FLOP!!!!  It was definitely fun to experiment with what to do with all that peppermint oil?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pepperment: Helps with Weight Loss?

I found an article from my local paper about the benefits of sniffing (yes, I said sniffing) peppermint.  Psychologist Bryan Raudenbush says that peppermint, when sniffed, can reduce the urge to eat. 

When the participants in his study sniffed peppermint every 2 hours they were not as hungry as non-sniffers.  The best part was in one week they consumed 2,800 less calories then their counterparts.  (That's almost a pound)!

Raudenbush study also showed that athletes performed better.  They worked out at the gym longer, pushed themselves harder, were more motivated and less fatigued.

The participants used peppermint inhalers that can be purchased at health stores but peppermint oil can also be used.  An easy way would be putting a small amount on a wristband. 

So how well does peppermint work?  I don't know......yet.  I think that I will be a test dummy and give it a try.  I figure there are three things that could happen:

1.  I could lose weight.  (Yah)

2.  I could gain weight because the smell will make me want peppermint icecream or other peppermint desserts.  

3.  I could get sick from constantly smelling it.

There is only one way to find out, so you'll be hearing my results in a couple of weeks.  If you decide to become a test dummy too, let me know how well you did.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homemade Tomato Soup

I, personally, do not like any kind of soup.  I don't know exactly why but maybe because I don't like my food combined together.  Maybe I am weird, who really knows?  Anyways, this is a recipe my friend emailed me and she says it great.  I'm taking her word on it so give it a try.  
Total Time: 2 hr 50 min.
Prep Time:  20 min.
Cook Time: 2 hr 30 min.
Yields:         4 servings

8 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise ( I use 10)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried herbs de provence
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock ( I buy the organic low sodium and only chicken stock so far)
Sour cream or olive oil, for garnish, (This is optional, I use 1 Tsp of the low-fat sour cream.  It presents nicely and slightly thickens the soup- creamy)
Side Note
If you do not have pre-made herbs de provence you can make your owe combine the following:

            2 tablespoons dried savory
            2 tablespoons dried rosemary
            2 tablespoons dried thyme
            2 tablespoons dried oregano
            2 tablespoons dried basil
            2 tablespoons dried marjoram
            2 tablespoons dried fennel seed
            put in airtight container


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon water over the tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven. Carefully peel off the skins and discard. Flip tomatoes over, cut side up, and place back in the oven until the tomatoes are shriveled but not dry, another 30 to 60 minutes. 
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and herbes de provence and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the stock and remaining 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
In a blender, puree the tomatoes (including any cooking liquid on the baking sheet) and the stock mixture until very smooth. You may need to work in batches. Strain through a fine sieve if a very smooth texture is desired. ( I prefer it to have tiny chunks so I blend a bit less)  Pour the soup back into the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and heat gently.

To serve, ladle into cups or bowls and top with either a swirl of olive oil or a little sour cream, if desired.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Partner Training

As I am sitting here sore and sipping my shake made of frozen strawberries, yogurt and orange juice I was thinking about my workout tonight.  What a difference having a friend to work out with makes. 

The other day I did interval training on the treadmill for 30 minutes by myself.  Let me tell you that was the longest 30 minutes that I can remember.  It dragged on and was way beyond boring; it was just me, the treadmill and a TV on mute (with my vision there was no way I was reading the caption).  I made it but it was torture.     

Tonight made a huge difference working out with my friend.  Not only did time fly by but I pushed myself so much harder than I would alone.  I'm sure that she felt the same way too.  I even got that one more rep in that I probably would not have done by myself.  We even had a few laughs along the way. 

A friend to work out with also keeps you committed to going.  I know that I can easily talk myself out of anything but I refuse to cancel on a friend if I do not have a valid reason.  We went at 6:00pm and believe me the last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym.  If I was going alone there is no doubt I would of thrown in the towel and told myself, "forget it you are too tired."  But I knew that I was meeting someone at the gym so I put it in my mindset that I was going to do this and know that I would not regret the choice.

And..........I definitely do not regret the choice.  My body might not like it but it is well worth the sacrifice.

So, grab a partner and hit the gym.  And if you can't do it for yourself, do it for them.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza

This is hands down one of my favorite lunch meals by Bill Phillips (Eating for Life).  Instead of tomato sauce it is made with BBQ.  It is easy and quick to make and to top it off it is very delicious.  

Serves 1 person and takes approximately 15 minutes to make.


1 Whole-wheat pita pocket
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 Portion cooked chicken (about 4 oz)   
1 Slice red onion, diced
2 Tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/4 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Hint: I use the pre-cooked and pre-cut chicken to make it easier


Preheat oven to 425F

Place pita on a baking sheet and spread BBQ sauce evenly on pita.  Top with the chicken, onions, rosemary and cheese.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted, the pizza is heated through and the pita is crisp.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

Am I the only one that turned into a turkey on Thanksgiving?  I highly doubt it, but I am OK with it.  I want to make it clear that I am not on a diet.  I want to point this out.  To me (as I stated before I am not a professional) a diet is the most pointless thing unless you want to lose weight for a quick fix, like fitting into your favorite dress for a special event.  Diets never last and if you don't know what you are doing they can be bad.  Our body needs some foods that some diets leave out, so do your research before you jump into any diet.  

My goal is to create a healthier lifestyle than the one I have been living the past 3 years.  I do this by exercising and choosing better foods to eat.  The reality is that I am not going to never eat ice cream again, but how much and what kind is what matters now.  So, did I eat turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, stuffing and dessert during Thanksgiving?  YOU GOT IT!!!  Did I eat so much that my stomach was shouting at me and my body went into a sleep state?  NO WAY!!!  Did I want to eat more turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, stuffing and dessert?  YES, YES, YES!!! But, I've learned and my body is finally learning that I don't need to shove in that last bite because it's there and available.  It's all about portion control and choosing your battles.  I enjoyed my Thanksgiving without having to think about what was in being put into my mouth because my body knew my limits.  I am just finally listening to it.  I think I'm starting to get this down pat.........but I definitely have a ways to go.  Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to get back on track and keep pushing forward.  10 lbs down 20 lbs to go.  So close to my next belt notch.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Challenge Yourself & Be Kind

First, I apologize for not posting lately.  I have had a sick 2 yr old at home and I'm on the last stretch of school classes for this semester. 

So, I am one of those people that is very competitive when it comes to sports and physical activities.  I always want to do the best I can and push to that next level.  I guess I always think that I can do better than the time before.  Of course this has positives and negatives but I feel that overall it is healthy to be competitive with yourself as long as you set limits.  As they say, "baby steps."  Take it one day at a time, a little at a time.  They make 1 lb weights for a reason.  Are there days when I can't take that next step?  ABSOLUTELY!  Your body is constantly changing and adjusting and some days it screams, "NO" even though you know you could do it, and have done it before.  Relax, don't be mad at yourself.  Take a step back and look at how much you have changed and grown since the beginning of your training.  Some days are just better than others.  Yes, I do get upset when I can't do something but I just say to myself, "Next time I will own you."  This is my coping method when working out is a struggle, and next time I come back with a vengeance.   In the end, its about getting off your butt and moving your body. 

When my teammates and I started this Y weight loss program we were only able to walk 1.5 miles with a time of at a time of 30:11 minutes.  In 2 weeks we were up to 3 miles with a time of 1:06:00.  Each walk we have cut our time down (even if only 1 minute).  Now, only 1 month into our walking, we are doing 3 miles in 54:09 minutes.  In just a couple short weeks we cut our time by 12 minutes!  Just by pushing a little more each time.  Anyone, can do this too with just putting in the time and effort.

So the long and short of it is; challenge yourself with your workout, even in the smallest form and remember that some days are going to be better than others but something is ALWAYS better than nothing. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Military Workout

I thought that since it was Veterans Day I would share this 20 minute military circuit workout with everyone.  I found this workout at by Stew Smith.  Stew Smith is a former Navy Seal and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  Thanks for serving our country Steve.

20 Minutes Circuit Workout
(*choose light weights for max reps)

1) Bench press* or pushups - max in 1:00
2) Squats - max in 1:00
3) Pullups or pulldowns - 1:00
4) Bike or jog - 3:00
5) Military press* - 1:00
6) Lunges - 1:00 each leg
7) Bicep curls - 1:00
8) Bike or jog - 3:00
9) Tricep extensions.- 1:00
10) Leg ext - 1:00 (requires leg machines - or repeat squats with weights)
11) Leg curls - 1:00 (requires leg machines - or repeat lunges with weights)
12) Situps - 2:00
13) Crunches - 2:00
14) Stretch

I am looking forward to attempting this workout and sharing my experience with you.  I think it will be very challenging but rewarding if I can push through it.   

Veterans Day

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank all the men and women that are currently serving, have served and those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to make this country what it is today.  I appreciate all you do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Caribbean Pork Tenderloin

I got this recipe from "Eating for Life" by Bill Phillips.  It is really good and I changed 2 things about this meal.  I cooked the spinach longer and I used regular sesame oil, toasted is too hot for me.  This is great served with rice. 


3/4 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup water
1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 halapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp lime peel, grated
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
4 portions port tenderloin (about 1 lb) trim fat
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp five-spice powder (found in Asian food section)
3 tbsp hoisin sauce (found in Asian food section)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil


1.  Preheat oven to 450F

2.  Place large saucepan over medium heat.  Add barley and stir until barley is toasted, about 5 minutes.

3. Add vegetable broth and water; bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to med-low, cover and simmer until barley is tender and liquid absorbed, approx. 35 min.

4.  Combine mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, lime peel, lime juice, cilantro and salt in medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.

5.  Lightly coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.  Season port with pepper and five-spice powder.  Place pork in oven and bake 10 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce and sesame oil.  Coat pork with sauce and bake until juices run clear, about 15 more minutes.  Remove pork from oven, let sit for 5 minutes and then cut into 1/4 inch slices.

6.  Divide spinach and top with a portion of sliced pork and spoonful of salsa.  Add a portion of barley. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Benefits of Water

While on my three mile walk this morning, with my friends from the gym, the "Water" discussion came up.  So I thought that this would be a great topic for today's blog.  The question: "Is it more beneficial to drink room temperature water or is it better to drink it ice cold?"  Well, I said that room temperature water was better because your body does not have to warm the water up.  The other two women said that if it is ice cold then the body works harder to warm it up, thus burning more calories.  So who is right?  I just couldn't get this question off my mind so as soon as I got home I did a little research.  The results...............all three of us!!!!!  Although cold water does burn more calories the amount is so minute that it doesn't have a big effect on weight loss.  The real answer is DRINK, DRINK, DRINK water; no matter what the temperature.  Here is some other water fast facts from several different resources.

1.  Over 75% of our bodies are water.  

2.  Cold water is absorbed through the lining of the stomach much faster than warm water.  This helps when someone is dehydrated.

3.  Cold water after exercise will cool the body quicker.

4.  When consumed in the morning warm water can help with digestion, bowel movements and constipation.

5.  Drinking 8oz of water a day for a long period of time can help with weight loss.

6.  Drinking water reduces hunger.

7.  Water helps maintain healthier skin.

And my favorite......

8.  It reduces the chances of you getting sick.

Lastly, how do you know if you are drinking enough water each day?  I learned a trick from when I was in Civil Air Patrol.  Our Lieutenant said, "If your urine looks like Mountain Dew shame on you, if it looks like Sprite you did all right!"  So go out there and drink some water (warm or cold).   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Change and Walking

Like many others I woke up this morning HATING the time change.  Yesterday I had my son take a late nap and go to bed later hoping that some miracle would happen and he would sleep later thus being on schedule.  Boy was I wrong!  5:00 am came way too early.  This did not help with my motivation of going walking but (and this is a big but) I knew that if I didn't I would feel guilty about it all day and it would set the tone for the rest of the day.  I sucked it up and met up with a couple women from the gym. 

Although, it was cold we pushed through it and I am very happy we did.  We walked on the Canalside Bike Path.  It is beautiful and free of cars which makes it so nice.  We all pushed through the 3 mile walk and in the end we ended up beating our over time by 6 minutes.  Great accomplished for all of us.  Now that 5:00 am wake up doesn't seem all that bad and I think I will have no problem sleeping tonight!

If you were wondering I use an application called, "Endomondo" for my phone to determine time and distance.  I find it accurate and easy to use.  When hitting pause it shows your split time and you can save each time so you can compare your progress.  It runs on GPS as well, so it will map where you walked.  I really love this app.  I recommend it.      

Even though we were able to do 3 miles, don't feel that you have to do that too.  Experts say (no I am not an expert) that even breaking up your exercise into three 10 minute walks it is still healthy and beneficial.  So I encourage everyone to get up and get moving.  I promise you won't regret it.  And you too will be able to improve your distance and time. 

My next goal: Add hand weights.

Canalside Bike Path

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weight Loss Program & Interval Training

This morning I headed off to the Y for an Interval Training class that I signed up for.  For those of you who may not know, I am on a team weight loss program at my local Y called, "Dashing all the Weigh" (Love the title by the way).  It is a great program and I actually got part of my blog idea from it because I am on a team.  Not only is it beneficial to work with each other on our fitness goals but I get to meet some really cool people.  In many ways, I am more happy about my teammates accomplishments than my own.  It makes me consider (once I have my weight under control) getting my personal training certification again, out of the joy of helping others and seeing their changes.  When I was at my best I was a certified trainer but I was unable to renew my certificate due to financial problems and having a child, so unfortunately it expired.  Definitely something to reconsider.

Anyways, back to this interval training.  Let me explain what it is.  You get on a treadmill (but really you can do this on any cardiovascular machine or outside) and start walking at a pace that is on the edge of uncomfortable.  You want your heart rate to begin to increase.  Do this for about 3 minutes.  If you are new to interval training then start off with longer "rest" periods.  At the 3 minute mark bump your speed up to something faster, now you heart rate should increase and be working harder.  Push it for one minute, then go back to your "resting" speed. (I call it resting but you are definitely not resting!)  That is one cycle.  Today we did this for 30 minutes.  Again, as you get better at this and as your cardiovascular abilities increase you can increase speed and even the incline of the machine for a more challenging workout.  Interval training is a great way to lose weight and it requires less time, so if you are time crunched than this is what I suggest you do. 

Why is interval training better?  Well, my understanding of it (thinking back to my anatomy class) is that you are almost confusing your heart.  You are working it hard than slowing down, working it hard than slowing down.  This makes it difficult for the heart to get into a "comfort zone", so it has to work harder.  Hopefully, that makes sense but if it doesn't just take my word for it.  I felt great doing it today and it set the pace for the rest of my day.  Looking forward to taking it on again, and I want to bump it up.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

I found this delicious Hawaiian Chicken recipe on  I tried it out last week and I loved the marinade.  I changed two things about this recipe.  I didn't add as much garlic as it called for and I recommend starting the heat at a lower temperature.  Other than that it was great.  Only 247 calories per serving.  Try it and let me know what you think.


  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice 
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup 
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 2 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 


  • 1. Combine first 5 ingredients. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade; place remaining marinade in a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Chill 4 hours.
  • 2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade in bag. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes. Turn chicken over; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes.
  • 3. Combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cilantro.


As the subtitle states I created this blog to get together with people that have a lifetime goal of creating or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I personally have let myself go these past couple of years.  Between having a child and other circumstances it just wasn't on my list (mistakenly, might I add).  I know what it feels like to be in top shape and let me tell you, its a GREAT feeling.  I slept better, had way more energy, and overall felt better about myself.  I have learned recently that in order to help others you must help yourself so...........

Here we are.  Time to kick it up a notch and getting back to feeling great.  So far I have lost 8lbs in a little over a month.  Not too bad, I am proud of that.  Then I thought, how do I make this journey easier and more fun.  Let's get as many people as I can involved.  So I am creating this blog.

My idea is to share (express) my progress and knowledge and in the hopes people share theirs.  Together we can do it and it is 100% easier with the support from others.  I want to try to add one healthy meal a week on my blog and everyone to share theirs.  Also, any exercises that are fun (fun?) or different and anything else we want to discuss.  I really hope this takes off.

Good luck to all!!!!