Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Faith and Fajitas

So it has been 29 days since I decided to reboot the weight loss/health kick. It's been 29 days and I have lost 0 pounds. Yes you heard me. Zero. Are you freaking kidding me? I weighed myself at personal training this morning and I almost started crying. I have been getting up at the crack of dawn to get myself back in shape. I've been eating pretty well. In truth there have been a couple weekend slip ups but for the most part I've been good. I am really frustrated. Like I sabotaged myself and didn't do my best this morning because I was so upset and ashamed and felt like giving up frustrated. I spent the entire session trying not to cry cause I had a feeling it would be one of those ugly cries. You know what I mean. All those negative nelly voices started creeping in. We had to do cross body mountain climbers and my giant bloated stomach was in the way and I couldn't even get my knee across my body. I had to fight with all of my very sleepy mental power to keep from dropping off the self depreciation cliff. I try to be as sunny and positive as I can but for any of you that are currently on the weight loss journey or have been here before you know that those negative thoughts sometimes sneak in. Those voices of the girls in my girl scout troop that compared me to a horses ass. The ones in middle school that would call me beached whale in the summer because I wore a black and white one piece to the beach. The ones in high school that said a barrage of insults and slurs and made fun of me in our high school year book. The boy I had a crush on and my best friend my senior year telling me I'd be so pretty if I just lost 20lbs. (Granted I was 5'6 and 130 at the time.) The people in my family who told me to lose weight because no one wants to marry a fat girl. Jokes on them I've been married for over 10 years now to a pretty great guy btw. Usually I can squash those voices and tell them to bugger off. Usually my "I'm super freaking awesome" power kicks in and kicks those thoughts butts. But not today. This morning the negative thoughts won. But I chalked today up to a draw. You see this morning was a total loss. Defeated and emotionally drained I was ready to quit. But I didn't. I didn't stress eat. I resolved not to quit. I didn't allow the negative thoughts to win and take me completely down. I was down for the count but never tapped out. I had my morning smoothie. I had a salad and chicken breast for lunch and I'm making Paleo Fajitas for dinner. They are super easy and a great lowfat quick meal for weekdays. Here is the recipe for all you out there in the blogosphere...

(Image borrowed from healthyseasonalrecipes.com)

Chicken Fajitas
Serves 4

4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into slices or cubes
1 Onion
1 Yellow bell pepper 
1 Red bell pepper
1 Green bell pepper
2 Garlic cloves minced
3 tsp. Chili powder
2 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tbs. Oil (I prefer coconut or canola)

Side Options: Tortillas, guacamole, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, salsa, lettuce. I like to put my fajita mix on salad with lime and homemade guacamole.

*Note: If you are in a hurry a store package of taco or fajita seasoning works, just go for the low sodium.

1. Peel the onion and slice in half. Then slice into 1/4 inch rings. Slice the peppers in half, core and remove the seeds. Cut them into slices. 
2. Mix all of the spices together in a bowl and put aside till needed. 
3. Heat oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. You want to make sure it's nice and hot to get a good sear.  Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until slightly brown around 3 minutes.
4. Add the spices and stir until the chicken is coated. Add the onion and peppers and cook for an additional 8-9 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through. (It's cooked when there is no more pink)
5. While the fajitas are cooking prepare tortillas or salad.
6. To serve place a few scoops of the lettuce or tortillas, garnish and serve.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Down But Not Out For The Count

So tragedy has struck my fellow sweat-a-holics. I managed to injure my foot 2 weeks into my new training regime. While I have fought hard to not quit it has limited my training schedule and the amount of movements that I can do in boot camp. Booo. And on top of that I have gained 3 pounds. While I am frustrated, I refuse to lose my resolve and give up on myself. Like I always seem to. Every time. My brain is like lets do it now and my body is like hold up wait a minute. When there is that huge disconnect between wanting it all now and healthy and for the love of Pete SLOW weight loss staying focused and motivated can become extremely hard. It's hard when you feel trapped inside your own skin. So I did something different this time. I took some time this weekend and did some research on recipes and came up with a meal plan for the week. You will only be successful in your weight loss journey if you are prepared. You can't out run bad eating. Trust me I've tried. Sort of. Here's a super simple recipe I got off PaleOMG http://paleomg.com/5-ingredient-monday-seared-chicken-thighs-over-cauliflower-puree/ that I modified a little bit and it was super easy to make and the family loved it. It's gluten and dairy free, high in protein and really filling. Also because there's only 3 of us I have leftovers for a quick lunch if I need it!
(Photo from PaleOMG)

Seared Chicken Thighs With Cauliflower Puree
4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs pounded to 1/4 inch thick
4 tbs. Coconut oil. You can use any healthy oil you prefer
1 Carton pre-slice crimini mushrooms
1/4 Large onion diced
3 Minced garlic cloves
1 Head of Cauliflower
1/4 c. Light coconut milk
2 tbs. Mediterranean seasoning (or whatever you have on hand)
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut cauliflower into florets and steam until fork tender. (I did mine in a bowl with a little water and 6 minutes in the microwave. I also let them steam in there until I was ready to puree.)
2. Heat 2 tbs. coconut oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. While pan is heating salt, pepper and season chicken breasts. When pan is hot toss in 1/3 of the garlic for about 20 seconds then place the chicken in the pan. Cook on each side 5-7 minutes.
3. While chicken is cooking heat remaining 2 tbs of coconut oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook till slightly translucent. Add 1/3 of the garlic and the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms become soft.
4. Take steamed cauliflower and put it in your food processor with remaining garlic, coconut milk and salt and pepper. Puree cauliflower until it looks like mashed potatoes. (Depending on the size of your head of cauliflower you may have to add and extra tablespoon or two of coconut milk.)
5. Layer the cauliflower, mushrooms and chicken and serve.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eat Good Not Bad

 You are what you eat...

We all know the basics of good health. Eat right, plenty of exercise and lots of sleep. Most people understand the concept of exercise and pretty much everyone gets the whole sleep thing. It's the whole eating right thing that seems to have everyone all mixed up. We all know that eating a whole pizza is bad and an organic kale salad with fresh veggies and homemade organic dressing is good. But what about everything else in between. I feel like there are so many experts with so many expert opinions. What is the right answer? Is it even possible to be a gluten free paleo lacto-ovo juice fasting vegan flexitarian who lives in South Beach? I feel like every time I go buy an organic apple because Dr. Oz says they are full of phytochemicals that can help reduce cancer, improve bone density and can help regulate blood sugar (all true) by the time I get back from the store there's a new article about how apples really aren't that good for you and stay away from the fruit carbs or whatever else. Eat this, no don't eat that eat this, no no wait! Eat this instead! It's so bloody confusing! I was a vegan for 4 years. Although inconvenient at times it wasn't hard, I ate lots of delicious food and no I didn't join the Peace Corps. I did Atkins for a month once when I was 20. I think I still have the bacon grease in my heart. I tried the juicing, Hollywood and the cabbage soup. I tried Paleo for a little while. After all of my diet trial and errors here's what I found. It's all crap. Diets, especially fad ones (I'm looking at you Hollywood) will inevitably fail. Diets never work and here's why. It's because they are made to be temporary. What we need is to redefine how and what we eat by creating an eating lifestyle for ourselves. It's seriously as simple as eat good not bad. Here in America we have access to so much crap food that's full of preservatives and empty calories and like zombies we mindlessly consume it. We buy the Costco size boxes of sugar laden cereals and fat filled mini pizzas all while justifying it by telling ourselves it's such a great deal. I've heard all of the complaints about clean eating. It's boring. It costs too much. I don't have the time. Much like when you board an airplane and they give you the demo on the oxygen masks, you have to take care of yourself first. You are an example to your kids. To your husband. To your friends. Later on down the road I'll give you guys some helpful tips to eating better on a budget. For right now here's a great way to start. When you're at the grocery store shop outside then in. That means do the perimeter of the store first with the veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean meats (or non-meats respectively.) Then work your way to the interior getting as little out of the aisles as possible. Easy peasy. Another reason we fail is because we don't bother to educate ourselves about what we are eating or why. I have a lot friends who when I ask them why they are eating what they are eating they just shrug their shoulders and say "because Oprah or whomever said I should." Knowing what the health benefits are of the foods you eat will help you make better choices. But Beyonce lost 20lbs on the XYZ Diet. Beyonce has access to a personal trainer, a dietician and a personal chef. It's our jobs to be smarter about the food we're eating. The more educated you are the more control you have over the fuel you use to feed your body. Unless of course you too have a personal trainer and chef and dietician. Then by all means carry on.

One of the best gifts I bought myself this year was my Nutribullet Pro. I mean this thing is awesome.

It's super easy to use. It's quick cleanup. It's kind of a no-brainer. I make myself a tall smoothie every morning for breakfast. It has a to go lid if I'm in a hurry. I like the fact that it uses the whole fruit or vegetable unlike juicing where there's so much waste. Here's what my typical morning smoothie looks like.

It takes maybe 2 minutes to put together. Since I'm a mom and business woman on the go I buy pre-chopped up everything when I can but feel free to buy fruits and veggies in whole and chop it yourself. (It's a little cheaper that way). I keep everything but the bananas in the freezer or fridge. Here's a breakdown of what I put in my smoothie this morning:
Spinach-Full of vitamins A, C and K. It's also an anti-aging and antioxident vegetable that can help stabilize blood sugar.
Kale-The antioxident superstar of the green leafy vegetables. Full of over 45 flavonoids and carotenoids this powerhouse helps fight cancer and free radicals. Full of vitamins A, C and K it's also an anti-inflammatory (fighting arthritis, asthma and auto-immune issues,) great for cardiovascular support and because of it's high sulfur content great for detoxing.
Blueberries-One of the most health beneficial fruits you can eat. Here's just some of the reasons to eat our lovely super antioxident friend the blueberry. It's good for anti-aging, cancer prevention, urinary tract infections (move over cranberry), brain function and Alzheimers, eye care and macular degeneration, constipation and digestion, heart disease prevention, immunity and they are great mood elevators.
Mango-This antioxident fruit is high in iron, great for your skin, helps with digestion and heart disease and is been said to boost your hormones including those needed for adult time.
Banana-More than just potassium bananas provide support for your kidneys, heart, nerves, bones and blood. They are a good source of vitamin B6 and tryptophan. They are a good source of dietary fiber and of course potassium.
Acai-What are the benefits of Acai? Let me count the ways. From antioxident to anti-inflammatory this super berry does just about it all. Here's a great article on why they are so great. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-acai/
Flax Seeds-These tiny little seeds do it all. Immune function, weight management, anti-cancer, hormone management, they help prevent bone loss, cardiovascular support and they are rich in fiber. They even work as a great flavor enhancer.
Pepitas or Pumpkin Seeds-These little guys are full of Magnesium and are full of phytosterols that will lower your cholesterol,  provide bladder, kidney stone and prostate protection, they are a natural anti-inflammatory, can help fight depression and the same phytosterols that help lower your cholesterol also help with cancer prevention.

I also add Vega Sport protein powder in Vanilla

And a powdered super food to make sure I get that extra boost in the morning

I get a lot of my supplements and beauty products from Vitacost. They have everything and they are super inexpensive.

So here's my morning smoothie recipe. Feel free to modify add or subtract to your liking.

Super Mom Super Smoothie

1 large handful of baby spinach
1 large handful of kale
1 handful of fresh blueberries (Buy them on sale at Sprouts and freeze them)
1 small handful frozen mangos
1 small to medium banana
1 small palm full of flax seeds
1 small palm full of pepitas
1 packet of Acai frozen smoothie (I use Sambazon. They sell it in bulk at Costco)
1 scoop of protein powder
1 scoop super food
Almond milk. You fill it to the line on the cup so I'm not sure there's a legit measurement. You could use water, soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk/coconut water.

Put everything in the cup and blend for 45 seconds.

Yup it's that easy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results. #Fitness Matters

So I'd like to start off by saying that my motivation for doing this blog is to give a real perspective of how weight loss and the struggle there of is. I feel like too often we see the beginning and the end results and no one really explains what the middle is like. Things like how good even the smallest victories are and how devastating the bad days can be. It's my real life guide to all the things I've found that help me and hurt me and maybe just maybe they might help someone else too.

So I made it to see Jeff again this morning! Small victory! Believe me when I say I'm really not kidding about the not getting out of bed thing. As I sit here typing this I can tell you I am sore. Like so sore that I bent down to scratch my foot and I almost started crying. But it's a good sore. It's the sore that tells me today I was victorious and that I am one day closer to my goals. Speaking of goals, It's hard to stay on track if you don't set goals. Too often I find that I only set one goal and that is to look like Kate Upton. Given the fact that A. I will never look like Kate Upton and B. I will never look like Kate Upton I am just setting myself up for failure. But Lesli! Aim for the stars! Dream big! When it comes to weight loss and the way our bodies look there has to be a sense of practicality to our goals. So I am re-defining my goals. I am going to set mini goals along the way to my super successful self. So here they are in chronological order:

1. I am setting a goal of working out a total of 5 days a week. 3 days with a personal trainer and 2 days walking/jogging (which has to do with goal number 6.) The number of days may change in respect to what or who I spend more time with but it will be 5 days. Fingers crossed!

2. I am going to Las Vegas in May for Memorial Day weekend for Punk Rock Bowling. My goal is to feel good enough about myself that I will actually go in the pool at the pool parties in only my bathing suit. Deep breath...and trying not to hyperventilate. It's an immediate goal as it is only 2 months away. I keep my bathing suit next to my alarm so whenever I go to hit that snooze button I see the suit and it forces me to get my butt outta bed.

3. I would like to wear summer clothes comfortably. Now granted it's the beach and tank tops and flip flops are a staple, but I would like to wear a sundress without having to keep my arms propped up and away from my sides so the fat doesn't squish. I mean after a couple hours into a Sunday funday my arms get ti-erd.

4. Halloween! I love playing dress up and there is a whole section in my closet reserved for costumes. Oh you're having a 1980's pirate movie themed party? Got it! I am sick of paying more and of having limited options because I have to get "plus size" costumes. I want to be able to be whatever I want this year.

5. The holidays. It's the most difficult time of the year...the cocktails are flowing and my stomach is growing and I'm too stuffed with cheeeeeer...I refuse to have another fluffy holiday season.

6. I want to run the Los Angeles Marathon for my birthday next year. (It always falls on or right around my birthday.) I don't run, I'm not a runner, just watching Forrest Gump makes me exhausted. There are a lot of reason I want to do this but we'll get into those at another time.

7. My ultimate goal. I want to be able to look in the mirror and be able to look myself in the eye and not feel ashamed. I hate being somewhere and seeing myself in a reflection whether it be a mirror or a glass window or whatever. I can't look at myself. It's too painful. It's a really heartbreaking place to be in.

So these outline my biggest and close future goals. If you notice I'm not adding weight goals. While it is important to weigh yourself in all the years I've been warring in the battle of the bulge I've found that for me personally, the scale is my enemy. It is because our weight fluctuates from all sorts of things and when it goes up even 2 lbs I get frustrated and want to give up. There are times where I've gained 5 lbs but my BMI went down 1pt. It's absolutely maddening. So instead of saying I want to lose 50lbs, I have set real life goals. Goals that I want to obtain both mentally, emotionally and physically. This time, failure is not an option.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Year From Now You Will Wish You Had Started Today

I'm back! It's been a while and I've missed you all. So I find it incredibly interesting that my last blog post was titled Exercise vs. Lesli's Lazy Butt. Because well, I fell of the wagon. Big time. There have been spurts of exercise here and there over the past 1 and 1/2 years (OMG! and Yikes!!!) Here's the truth and where I've been, briefly, for the last year-ish. I got back from the cruise, fell off the wagon, went through the holidays, birthday month, lost about 30 lbs, went to Vegas, fell of the wagon again, did a gym challenge, lost 20lbs, broke up with the gym, FELL OFF THE WAGON AGAIN, got super busy with work, another round of holidays, went through a mild depression, birthday month (again) and now we are here. A year and a half later and I am no where near the goals that I set out to accomplish. In fact I've actually gained almost 20lbs at this point. We've all been here. (Well not alll, but a lot of us have been here.) We start out with the best intentions to lose weight and get healthy but the truth is that only something like 29% of people (don't quote me) are successful on their first or even second attempt for serious weight loss. That's one of the reason's why I take issue with the show The Biggest Loser. It gives a lot of people a false sense of hope as to what real work and dedication it takes to achieve your goals. Don't get me wrong. It's absolutely inspiring to see these people success but it's television and I'm sorry to inform you that unfortunately there is no Santa Claus. In real life you don't get to work out for 4-6 hours a day with professional trainers. You don't get nutritionist's and people to cook for you and who constantly tell you what to eat. There is no stress of everyday life, no working a 14 hour day with no time to stop because of a deadline and the only thing to eat comes from a vending machine or food cart in the parking lot. The show is about entertainment people. When you go home from the show there's no one there holding your hand. No one to yell at your fat butt when you slack on the treadmill. No $250,000 prize. So many people get inspired, get motivated and then they get disappointed when they don't see these incredible results so they give up. Like many of you this is also my story. I see all these blogs on Pinterest and the interwebs about THE BEST SUCCESS STORY EVER! And of course we read it because we're looking for that motivation to do the same for ourselves. We get inspired! We're going to do it this time! She was 400lbs and now she's a swimsuit model! I can do this! Then after a week or two or three we (or at least I) lose focus and it's back to square one. Much like an alcoholic or a smoker you can't get clean until your ready. The same is true of a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. I weighed myself last week. I was disappointed and upset and immediately ashamed that I'd let myself get to this point. Sometimes we stumble and sometimes we fall flat on our face. You only fail of you stay down and play dead. I have made the conscious decision to finally get off my tush and reach for those fitness and weight loss goals that deep down I so desperately want to achieve. I don't know what's different this time. I just feel different. Something has clicked and I am resolved to get into shape. So I am here to tell you that I fell. Hard. I let myself down because I gave up on myself. So this morning I picked myself up and dusted myself off. I got up at 6am and went to go see my good friend Jeffrey Patch at JP Athletics in Huntington Beach. He weighed me and took my measurements and I tried hard not to cry although lets be honest, I knew what was coming. Jeff is awesome and he's my real life trainer and motivator and with his help and support I am ready. I am in it for the long haul this time. I just have to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are my abs. 
Im one step closer to getting in shape.   Year from Now You Will Wish You had Started Today