Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Fast Food Break-Up

Fast food is like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend. No matter how much you try to justify to yourself and the world around you that it's SOOO GOOOD.... it still leaves you unhappy, out of shape, exhausted and broke. Not to mention that you're certainly not the only one in town allowed to drive-thru, if you get my drift ;)
For as long as I can remember, I've had an unhealthy relationship with fast food. I love french fries, cheeseburgers, Jack in the Box breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, chicken nuggets, and so much more.... but you know what, fast food is a bitch that doesn't love me back.
Why? Because... You're just not that tight and you're definitely NOT the best I've ever had!
Also like any bad boyfriend/girlfriend though, it's hard to just walk away happy as a clam and move on. Thus, I've been putting together a game plan that goes something like this:
Be Prepared
The first step in my fast food break-up process is putting some serious thought into when I hit the drive-thru and why. My main reasons?
(1) I feel too hungry and too busy for any alternatives.
(2) I've been drinking alcohol and greasy food sounds so damn delicious.
(3) I'm emotional and feel like stuffing my face to smother my feelings. 
Well, that's all fine and dandy, except, oh wait... it's NOT! Here are some solutions I've been working on to address the 3 main reason I figured out for myself:
Keep something quick and easy on hand at all times - when I'm on the road, that could be one of my 5 On-The-Go Food Favorites or when I'm home (or heading home) with no desire to cook, that could be one of my favorite Lean Cuisines or Smart Ones frozen dinners that takes a whole 4 minutes to microwave. For all the Captain Obviouses (yes, I probably made up the word obviouses) out there who are about to tell me frozen meals aren't a healthy choice... YES, you are right that they are not the ideal healthy choice. However, my point is to ease my fast food break-up and making the decision to eat a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones is definitely better and more health conscious than the drive-thru.

The obvious remedy would be don't drink as much alcohol.... but let's not get crazy... I'm a 20-something single lady which means I shall continue sipping cocktails as I so please. Thus, my alternative remedies include eating a substantial meal before drinking, consistently drinking water while I consume alcohol, and having a buddy on-call to help remind me that I don't really want fast food at the end of the night.

Emotional eating and dealing with stress in unhealthy ways is such a bigger issue than I can address in a few sentences. My personal experience has taught me that acknowledging how I feel and that it's OK is a huge part of dealing with things. I've also tried to spend a lot of time finding ways to release this emotional energy in more effective ways, like exercising, writing in a journal, talking to family & friends, trying something new that will take my mind off of it (i.e. crafting, gardening, visiting a new place, cooking a healthy meal, etc...), and reflecting on the origin of my emotional issues. The more I stay away from emotional unhealthy eating, the better I feel too, which helps me build a stronger and stronger case to say no when I want to give in!
Break-Up Reminders
By reminding myself WHY I broke up with fast food in the first place, I can more effectively stop and really discourage myself from going back.




Saturday, October 20, 2012

5 On-The-Go Food Favorites

Yah, me too bro... it happens, but we can get through it together. For me, that feeling typically leads to unhealthy habits, eating out and feeling yucky. Keeping good snacks in mind and on hand have proven to be successful tools for me to be healthy on the go and under pressure. 

Snacking is a good thing too - it helps prevent overeating, stabilizes our blood sugar levels throughout the day and keeps our metabolism up. The trick is snacking on the right foods. The more we snack on unhealthy processed foods, the less likely we are to stay energized and fit. Here are 5 of my on-the-go favorites:

Hard boil these protein packed little suckers and you're ready for any snooze morning or otherwise! Not quite sure how to make them? It's cool, they're super easy to do and they perfectly accompany a night watching T.V. or working on your computer. Here's how you do it:

Put as many eggs as you want in the bottom of a saucepan. I like to make a full single layer on the bottom of the pan - it's usually about 8-9 eggs.

Fill the saucepan with water - fill it just about half and inch above the eggs. Add a bit of salt (to help the water boil faster) and put the filled saucepan on the stove at medium/high heat.

Go do your thing while keeping an eye on the pan - you're waiting for it to boil. 

After the water boils for about 2 minutes, turn off the heat and cover it with a top... and don't even give me those dumb excuses about not having a saucepan lid that fits - use your head dude, grab a plate, a baking sheet, a larger lid if you have it, etc... Anything that will trap the heat as much possible.

Set your phone timer for 15 minutes and go back to doing your thing. Timer goes off, you carefully pour the water out, run your little egg friends through cold water for a minute before drying and putting them into the fridge. 

Not sure what kind of container to store them in? I like to boil an even number of eggs so I can just cut the carton in 2 pieces (1 that will be labeled as "hard boiled" and the other that will continue holding the raw eggs).

Muscle Milk Light Chocolate
I like grabbing these 4 packs of protein shakes at the grocery store because they're perfect on the way out the door and give me a great boost before or after a workout. Plus, they don't taste nearly as bad compared to most protein shakes (in my opinion).

Cheese Single Portion Squares
I love these little portion sized cheese squares that are sold at most grocery stores. They usually come in a bag with lots of individually wrapped squares and are available in several varieties. The creamy texture of the cheese really helps me feel full and energized too - into it.

Apples & Bananas
We all know we're supposed to eat more fruits and veggies, but that can be challenging sometimes. Luckily, apples and bananas are among the bunch that are perfect snack buddies. The thing I love about apples and bananas is that they're always available, filling and fantastic for taking on the road. Even better, they're typically the only fruit or veggie option available at places that make healthy eating very difficult, like MacDonalds, gas station & convenience stores, hotels, etc...  

Campbell's Classic Tomato Soup on the Go
As we start cozying up to fall and winter, soup is a must for me. While I prefer making it from scratch at home, these classic tomato soup cups are awesome. They're perfect for lunch or dinner on the go when I have less than 5 minutes to find food and eat! 

 Get It?
Got It?
Go Snacking!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 12 Best Foods for Your Abs

One of my favorite fit life tools is easy to read go to guides for healthy eating and fitness, like this one on the 12 Best Foods For Your Abs by Women's Health Magazine! Just because summer is ending doesn't mean we need to build up our bulges... The year is 2012, people, put a sweater on or turn up the heater instead of packing on the blubber this coming fall & winter!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Positive Minds Lead to Powerful Places

This year has been one of many triumphs and challenges in my life. I've learned more about myself than ever before and I've started blossoming into the grown woman that I want to be and am proud to present to the world. Not surprisingly, a huge part of that has been redefining my outlook and attitude. This week, my new and improved state of mind was really tested... to the max. After waking up to incredibly undeserving, unwelcome and berating drunk text messages early in the week to getting my parked car crashed into at the end of the week, I am exhausted and totally warn out, to say the least! What once would have been a "WHAT THE F*CK GOD" response was an odd sense of calm and appreciation for all the wonderful things in my life aside from the not so ideal obstacles.
We must constantly bear in mind that we all have bad days and shit is always bound to happen... Unfortunately, we can't control these things. The real question is, what CAN we control? The answer is simple and it's something I'm sure you already know deep down inside...

We control our own outlook.
We control our own attitude.

The way we choose to react and respond to our surroundings and situations is incredibly powerful and can often lead you in the right or wrong direction in life. Far too often we bury ourselves in a pile of complaints, catastrophe and victimization rather than standing atop our mountain of adversity with the mindset designed to conquer.
People get sick.
People we love pass away.
Jobs are lost.
Days become unrealistically overwhelming.
Kids don't behave.
Friends fail us.
We fall off the wagon.
The wagon breaks altogether. 
Cars crash.
Catastrophe happens.
Things are stolen.
Things get lost.
We say the wrong things.
We date the wrong people.
We make bad choices.

These things will never change.
Regardless of what's thrown our way, we must rise above and remember the good things that bless us and our lives each and everyday. We must take a deep breath and process the facts, consequences and path that should be travelled to move forward. We must not ruminate in the depths of sorrow and darkness. There is a light, but your eyes most be open to see it shining.

Next time you feel a sad face approaching, remind yourself to smile. Tell yourself three things that make you wonderful and reasons why should feel thankful. Above all, proceed with a positive mind so you may be lead to powerful places.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gladiator Training Part 3: THE RACE!

Yesterday, on Saturday, October 6, 2012 I crossed the Gladiator Rock'n Run finish line. A goal I once thought to be impossible is now an accomplishment I'm immensely proud of and look forward to tackling again!

I could go on and on about the total insanity of the run and all 14 obstacles, and how most of it was surprisingly fun... I could tell you all about how my fellow Gladiator Goddess, Chanel and I made all the macho men look like sissy girls... I could tell you how I am SOOOO PROUD OF MYSELF I CAN HARDLY STAND IT.... but Chanel already took all the words out of my mouth!

Check out Chanel's incredible recap of the big event and our outstanding accomplishments in Officially a Gladiator on Photography + Science = Chanel.


Anxiously waiting...


Almost to the end and still going strong!

Pumping ourselves up after freezing to death in the Polar Plunge.

Barbed wire mud pit?? Piece of cake... piece of crumb cake!

Mud Pit Masters!

Just doing a little dumpster diving...

Turns out hay really helps with slippery hands... who knew?!

Cargo net wall - this was the obstacle I was looking forward to the most and it was all I hoped it would be and more!

Pink Flamingo Chanel handling major business on the slippery wall!

Black Swan Rachel reaching the top on try #1 - like a BOSS!
Gladiator Goddesses enjoying our free cold beers after crossing the finish line!
Gladiator Training Team Nicole, Chanel, Rachel & Nick - WE ROCK!


I ran, I climbed, I crawled, I conquered.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gladiator Training Part 2

With less than a week to go until the Gladiator Rock'n Run, things are really heating up....
No really, it's freaking HOT outside, right?!
Since I last brought you up to speed in Gladiator Training Part 1, training has been fun filled and dripping with sweat. While the intense workouts with the Pasadena Fire Department (pictured above) have continued, I've also been focused on completing group training sessions at the South Pasadena High School stadium/track. These group training sessions are developed to prepare our bodies and minds for what the actual race will entail, and they're a great opportunity for friends (old and new) to come together for free fitness!

The group training course, which utilizes the track, stadium bleachers, our own body weight and various resources around the area was created for fun using the actual obstacles at Gladiator Rock'n Run. The main objective? Preparing ourselves to go from running to obstacles and back again, over and over and over for a total of 3.1 miles and 14 obstacles. Although we can't replicate the exact race or course, we can condition our bodies and minds to be ready for what lies ahead, which is exactly the point of training.
Gladiator in Training Chanel Hason putting in some serious work and getting energized to cross the finish line!
Here's what one of our group training session routes looked like:
1 warm up (walk) lap around the track
2 jogging/running laps around the track
Tire High Knees through "ladders" on the field (like high knees but more out to the sides like you're jumping through tires)
30-40 crunches
2 jogging/running laps around the track
Bleachers (full set - one way through stands to chin-up bars)
3-5 Chin-Ups & Monkey Bars (across chin-up bars)
Bleachers (full set - one way back through stands to track again)
2 jogging/running laps around the track
Bear Crawl (track to goal post)
Side Shuffle (goal post back to track)
2 jogging/running laps around the track
Wall Jump/Pull Up onto Bleachers
Bleachers (2 steps at a time - full set - one way through stands)
Grapevine (back to track from end of bleachers)
20 Push ups

2 jogging/running laps around the track
High Knees through "ladders" on the field
1 jogging/running laps around the track
40 Calf Raises
1 cool down (walk) lap around the track
Gladiator in Training Nicole Salazar going strong and getting ready for the big race!
The more I planned training sessions and actively completed intense sweat sessions, the more I realized something...

 The better the music is that's blasting through my headphones, the faster my feet will go and the farther my body will take me. I need that goooooood shit that will drop phat beats and send me sprinting without even thinking about it. The solution? I asked my awesome friend and incredible DJ, Ross Potter (aka: BossRoss) to make me a mix! To my shrieking excitement, HE DID and IT'S PERFECT! Of course, I think you should all download it too and try it out for an ultra impressive work out that will leave you fired up and fiercely in shape...
Limitless by BossRoss
(download here by clicking "click here to start download from sendspace")

...See you next time for the 3rd and final segment of GLADIATOR TRAINING...