SPARKABELLA13   18,884
15,000-19,999 SparkPoints
SPARKABELLA13's Recent Blog Entries

The Importance of Working With Resistance Training (Thanks again, Coach Nicole!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I've been very pleased with my commitment to exercise since the first week of June. It really started with walking (I tricked myself with the 10 minutes a day pledge) and transformed into an 8 week program at my local Y. Now I have memberships at 2 gyms (both at $10/month) and I always have a backup. Take this week for example, the fitness center at the college where I work is closed for the installation of all new cardio equipment. Wait, the fitness center isn't closed, the cardio room is closed. But I also have Planet Fitness to back it up! I'm one of those people who does better with exercise when I'm doing it at the gym -- and with incorporating more activity into my every day life.

After viewing Coach Nicole's SparkCoach video this morning, I believe I need to put more focus on resistance training while increasing the intensity of my cardio workouts. Note that I said intensity, not time.

It's hard to know exactly what to be doing. I've read books and magazines, plenty of articles on SP, and I've been watching videos as well. I'm going to keep it simple and try to incorporate 2 exercises per major muscle group per session and I'm going to aim for 2 sessions per week. When that feels "too easy," I'll change it up. How does that sound? I'll be posting my plan tomorrow and as always, look forward to your feedback. I'm convinced that's what keeps me sparking!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 8/17/2012 5:02PM

  love your blog great inspiration

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MIRAGE727 8/16/2012 8:46PM

    I've always been a firm believer in resistance training. I burn so good on the negatives and am strict on form. It's one thing I truly love. Bella, you are doing so well and embracing it all! You are inspiring me and this makes me so happy! Rock on, Sister!

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IACTA_ALEA_EST 8/16/2012 10:14AM

    Great way to promote a new lifestyle - by immersing yourself in learning!


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DEBBYFROMMT 8/16/2012 8:40AM

    YOu are doing so well! Keep it up!!

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LADYJNAR 8/15/2012 11:36PM

    That sounds like a great way to start. I've worked up to doing cardio most days of the week and resistance training with weights 3 times a week. I have Coach Nicoles 28 day bootcamp DVD and love it. Good mix of workouts with and without weights. emoticon

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BOOKLADYFDL 8/15/2012 11:11PM

    That's exactly the way I did it - one step at a time. Now I have two different routines (one free weights, one machines) that I alternate while I'm at the gym. I've been doing it since early May, and I feel so ucky if I don't do it. I even feel the need to get in a walk in the evenings, even if I did work out earlier in the day. It feels so good!

Keep track of what you are doing. I look back at my tracking sheets from when I first started strength training, and I'm amazed at how much stronger I've gotten in that short period of time. It's a good motivator when things seems stalled.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NATALIEGENZ 8/15/2012 11:03PM

    Well, I'm no expert, but I think that sounds like a great plan! It's great to push yourself a little and make some progress that way. Just don't go overboard and hurt yourself!


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Zucchini Casserole Recipe (Chef Meg, can you help?)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

6 c. cubed zucchini (I peel mine into 3/4" cubes - approximate)
1 c. grated carrot
c. chopped onion
1 lb. browned ground chuck (well drained)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use Healthy Request)
8 oz. sour cream (I use light or fat free)
7 oz. of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (blue bag)
1 c. melted butter or margarine

Bring zucchini, carrot & onion to a boil and cook over medium heat (not a hard boil) for about 10 mins., drain well. After draining, add (I usually do this in the pot I cooked the veggies in):
browned ground chuck, cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Mix and season to taste if desired (salt & pepper).

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (blue bag) with 1 c. melted butter or margarine and stir with spatula. Turn half of the stuffing mixture into the prepared baking dish, pour zucchini mixture on top, and top with remainder of stuffing mix.

Bake at 350 degrees until it bubbles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKABELLA13 8/14/2012 3:18PM

    Thanks so much! Two and a half months on SP and I'm still learning about the features!!!


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WEBEZE 8/14/2012 2:12PM

    Spark Recipes has a recipe calculator which lets you enter all the ingredients and number of servings and calculates all the nutritional information for you. You can even post and share the recipes. I have already done this with some of my recipes. Hope this helps.

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DRAGONCHILDE 8/14/2012 1:07PM

    Post it in Diet & Nutrition! The folks there are very helpful, and they really helped me trim down some recipes myself.

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VTRICIA 8/14/2012 1:00PM

    We ran out of butter last week and while I was gone to the store the kids made mac and cheese using cream cheese instead of butter. I'm not sure if that would work with this application, though. Maybe swap most of the butter for chicken broth? Like, just butter the pan and then used chicken broth in the stuffing mix. It's going to have quite a bit of sodium though, either way.

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DEBBYFROMMT 8/14/2012 11:23AM

    Thanks, printed it!

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SPARKABELLA13 8/14/2012 11:19AM

    I'm working on the nutritional information and will repost it here when I have it. When I subscribed to WW online, there was a recipe builder where you could enter all of your ingredients and the number of servings and it would figure it out. Manually, that will take some work, but I think it can be done.

I was going to email the recipe to Chef Meg to see if she could find any ways to make it even healthier. I can tell you the original recipe did not use the meat, so you can eliminate that or subsitute crumbles.

You can't tell it's zucchini, especially with it being peeled. I have never come across anyone who didn't like this ... even the naysayers!


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GERIKRAGH 8/14/2012 11:16AM

    Sounds good but I would need the stats. Might be too much fat.

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KSCRAP363 8/14/2012 11:13AM

    Sounds yummy! Do you by any chance have any nutritional info on that? emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 8/14/2012 11:11AM

    That sounds delicious!

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BOOKLADYFDL 8/14/2012 11:10AM

    Can your family tell that it's zucchini in there?

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The AB ROLLER Guy Noticed !!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I was leaving at lunch time (on my way out to take a close friend to lunch to celebrate her birthday) when I ran into the AB GUY (this is the guy who actually invented the Ab Roller -- no lie)! He said, "Wow, you're either losing weight or you're getting taller!"

Now I have to tell you, when someone notices, it makes me care even LESS about what the stupid scale says. This guy is into fitness and it just sparked me silly that he would notice! It totally made my day.

Had a lovely lunch and made EXCELLENT choices ... and felt great doing it!!!

Too bad I threw my ab roller away years ago ...


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAHUDSONCHEF 8/15/2012 1:14AM

    That's pretty sweet! It feels great when someone notices! And the AB GUY himself! emoticon

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KSCRAP363 8/14/2012 11:14AM

    yeh, if the guy only knew that you had dissed his machine! LOL! But, TOTALLY cool that he noticed! I try to keep visualizing how it is gonna feel when that happens to me and I know that I will be sparked too! Thanks for sharing!!!

Keep up the GREAT job that you are doing!!! You ROCK!!!

Comment edited on: 8/14/2012 11:16:10 AM

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WEBEZE 8/14/2012 1:23AM

    emoticon It is so nice when someone notices.

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LADYJAKE1 8/13/2012 8:36PM

    Lol.....glad he noticed.....

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DEBBYFROMMT 8/13/2012 6:48PM

    Sparked you silly, LOVE IT!

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SCARJOWANNABE 8/13/2012 4:32PM


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BOOKLADYFDL 8/13/2012 4:10PM

    Isn't it awesome when someone notices? Good for you! Glad you had such affirmation today!

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CATHYJR73 8/13/2012 4:05PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Mid-Month Review of August Goals (thanks Coach Nicole!)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In the SparkCoach program today, Coach Nicole talked about goal setting, which prompted me to revisit my Aug 1 blog and revisit and contemplate on the goals I set for myself almost two weeks ago. It's not that I think I'm doing poorly...I just got to thinking that I've only referred back to them once, so how can I possibly have the resolve to really work at them if they're not in front of my face. So this morning, as I've been drinking coffee (and doing laundry), I've been giving it all a great deal of thought.

Here are the goals I set on Aug 1st:

#1 ... WEIGHT & MEASUREMENTS: It's official. I have stored my scale in the bathroom closet. I will be weighing myself on the 1st and 15th of the month and at doctor appointments (little choice there)! I will also take measurements on the 1st of every other month.

I've actually done very well with this goal. I will say I have stepped on the scale once since Aug. 1, but that's it. I believe it's helping me to rely less on the scale and more on how I feel (most important) and the way my clothes fit (I'm proud to announce I can take my denim shorts completely off without unbuttoning/unzipping)! I highly recommend this strategy for anyone who becomes easily frustrated by the scale and lack of movement. Afterall, I have decided this is all about lifestyle and not a diet, so there's really no need to weigh in excessively. It's a check to make sure I'm staying on track. I did not measure on Aug 1 (mainly because I forgot, but I will measure on Sept. 1 and have marked the calendar on my refrigerator accordingly for every other month and the bi-monthly weigh-in's!

#2 ... TRACKING: I've done a decent job of tracking my food and exercise but will focus great attention here, finishing out my evening meal & evening snack (when applicable) and running my daily nutrition report each day. Knowledge is power and if I'm not completing my tracking 100%, then I don't have an accurate picture. That will make analysis difficult when I'm trying to figure out when I hit a plateau (seriously, I feel like I LIVE on a plateau).

I'm doing much better with tracking, but I'm still not at 100% completion every day, which means I could be overeating, or worse yet, cheating myself out of fuel that my body needs. I will make an extra effort with completing my tracking this week, even if I have to go back the next morning and complete my dinner (which is what I'll do after I finish this blog for last night)!

#3 ... EXERCISE: I will continue to strive for cardio (minimum of 30 minutes) 5-6 times per week and strength training 2-3 times per week. In addition, I will make every effort to get extra steps in every day and take the stairs whenever possible. I'll also park further. Every extra steps helps! I will also continue looking for ways to monitor my workouts so I'm working at 80-85% during my workouts and will continue to add variety (for example, I'm taking a "Bootcamp for Beginners" class tomorrow on my lunch hour and will be starting Tai Chi later this month.

I accomplished this during the first week of the month, however, I feel short by one day this week (worked out 4 instead of my minimum 5 due to not feeling well on Monday). Not a good excuse -- I could have pushed myself to get there yesterday and I didn't. I took the day off, knowing full well I was setting myself up for failure for this goal. My new strategy is to get the minimum 5 days in BEFORE I take a day off. I don't ever feel guilty for taking a day off, but I feel better if I get my 5 days in!

#4 ... GLYCEMIC INDEX: I enjoyed my class this week and try to incorporate at least one low GI food to each meal (at the suggestion of my dietician). I believe I'm already doing this, but I'll pay particular attention. This will help with controlling my blood glucose in addition to helping to make sure I'm feeling satisfied.

I have achieved great success here -- because I've been doing it all along!

#5 ... VARIETY: I will work to incorporate one new food or recipe each week. It's easy to fall into a rut and eat the same foods over and over and over. That's boring and monotonous!

This past week I tried something new ... canary melon. The week prior I made up the zucchini Stew recipe (which was amazing)!

#6 .. SP: I will continue to be active with SP and supportive to my team members and SparkFriends.

I am definitely SPARKING and had perfect attendance for July. This past week, due to schedule at work and not feeling well, I don't think I was as supportive to others as I can be, which ultimately helps me. I'll be putting forth some extra effort this week to read others' blogs and give out some Spark Goodies and shout outs to others.

#7 ... FITNESS: My fitness goal for August is 1,300 minutes.

I need to pump up the volume a little bit here. I have 321 minutes this month to date and that's just not going to cut it. It's a challenge, but I believe I can hit this goal and will make every effort to do so. I am committed!!!

#8 (NEW GOAL) ... SPARKCOACH: I've been active every day and find that it is helpful to me. If I am inspired by one thing through SparkCoach each day, then it's completely worth it for me. I especially like the program videos. In fact, the video today is what inspired me to revisit my goals!

#8 (NEW GOAL) ... REVIEWING GOALS: I will be reviewing my goals each weekend and posting a review blog (just like I did right here). I will adjust/add/delete/revise goals as needed. I will also look to anyone who reads my review blogs to provide input and/or suggestions. It is very much appreciated!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KTIERNAN09 8/15/2012 11:11PM

    Wonderful goals post! The part about the scale was especially awesome. I personally am focusing on short term goals right now about 2 weeks at a time but perhaps I should take some time to think long term other than the general "be healthy" goal.

Keep up the awesome work!

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SUSANS706 8/14/2012 11:15AM

    Great goals and ideas, especially the scale, I have such a love/hate relationship with the scale. I need to put it out of sight, because I sometimes cannot resist, and am usually disappointed. I too am going to revisit my goals, track realistically, and try to stay away from that scale!!! I am enjoying Spark Coach too, it has gotten be back on track!!!

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ASTALANYA 8/13/2012 11:16AM

    I love your honest appraisal of how the program is working with you. I am considering doing this myself and I look forward to reading your approach and feedback!

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COACH_NICOLE 8/13/2012 10:09AM

    WooHoo! Glad you are enjoying SparkCoach so far, too!

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MIRAGE727 8/12/2012 5:22PM

    This is exactly why I will recommend SparkCoach to those in their first six months and maybe those having an issue with maintaining. Good habit forming! The reason being you have to embrace some form of structure. Slipping can lead to bad habit. I'll support to a point and when I recognize habit to slip, watch the tough love come out!
Bella, you're rocking it and I know you will achieve your goals. Stay strong, and keep sharing SparkCoach with us. I will probably stop after my trial, but who knows. I have to take it to another level now that I believe I will be adding more Half Marathons in 2013.
(Where's the GULP emoticon when you need it!)

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DEBBYFROMMT 8/12/2012 12:55PM

    Great goals! I haven't written my goals really since I started a year ago. Time to do it again! (I need to lose a few pounds again). Thank you!

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KSCRAP363 8/12/2012 12:46PM

    Great blog!!! I think you are definitely on the right track with goal-setting and what Coach Nicole's video this a.m. was calling S.M.A.R.T goals!!! I feel like you are always very supportive of your SparkFriends!!! It is so appreciative too!!

Keep up the good work! I think you are the BOMB!!!

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IACTA_ALEA_EST 8/12/2012 12:23PM

    Bella, you INSPIRE me!

What a fantastic job you are doing to keep the focus on progress! I'm in AWE emoticon emoticon emoticon

So many things I learn from my friends ! THANK YOU!

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Happy and Content for a Good Spark Day

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Today was a just a normal day ... a good day.

I made healthy choices. I exercised. I drank plenty of water, took my vitamin and my meds. I was productive at work. I made a delicious and healthy dinner. And I accomplished some things at home this evening.

I'm content with my day ... nothing earth shattering ... nothing disappointing.

Just a darn good day!!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KSCRAP363 8/10/2012 9:55PM

    Those days are wonderful!!! Glad you had one friend! emoticon

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LISA1SPARK 8/9/2012 6:45PM

    I'd say that was a great day! Way to go. emoticon

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LADYJNAR 8/9/2012 5:12PM

    emoticon Keep on sparking.

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DEBBYFROMMT 8/9/2012 12:11PM

    It sounds like if this was a "normal" day, you've made healthy living a way of life! emoticon emoticon

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WEBEZE 8/9/2012 3:09AM

    Here's to many more. emoticon

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KICK-SS 8/9/2012 1:27AM

    It's always nice when we have days like that! emoticon

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