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Thursday, February 20, 2014

100 Miles

February 1, 2014
Huntsville, Texas
Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail Run

Zach and his friend Mark ran a 100-mile ultra marathon through the piney woods of the Davy Crockett National Forest a few weeks ago.

- 100 miles.
- Must finish in 30 hours or less.
- Five 20-mile loops.
- Start at 6am in the morning, finish sometime early the next day.

I cannot pretend to understand or explain what motivates my husband to run 100 miles. In fact, Mark's wife and I were conspiring to hire Tonya Harding to go to our husbands' school and bust some knees prior to the race, as we were considerably worried about their health (and sanity).

However, it was a pretty cool experience to witness, and I would imagine you have a few questions about how one goes about training and completing a 100-mile run. I will answer a few questions that I hear a lot and share some of the pictures from that very long day. 

Waiting for Dad to come through the Park Road aid station.
Do they run the whole thing? Yes and no. They are constantly moving forward, but often times they are walking up hills and running downhills and flats. Mark and their friend Brian, who was so kind as to pace them for the last 40 miles of the race, were forced to walk the last lap due to Mark's blisters.

Do they eat? Yes! You must refuel your body. On an ordinary day Zach eats around 1800 calories. A rough estimate of calories burned per mile is 100, so 100 miles run = 10,000 calories burned. During the race the runners come to an aid station roughly every 3-6 miles and are able to refuel with food (peanut butter and jelly, bananas, pretzels, trail mix, quesadillas, sausage, chicken soup, mashed potatoes, etc. See the overall salt theme? Salt is important during an ultra). They also have energy/sports drinks, salt tablets, water, and coke.

Despite a very harsh winter, race day was quite warm and humid -- 65 degrees.
Until the front came through around 3am.
How many people sign up? More than 600 people signed up this year.

How many people finish? This year, less than half completed the race.

Drew was able to run a 3-mile section with Zach. He only fell once!
How do you train for an ultra marathon? A runner cannot go out and run 50-100 miles for training; it's just too hard on your body. The way Mark and Zach trained was to do back-to-back long (14-25 miles) runs on the weekends. During the week they did one fast (7-minutes per mile) 5-7 mile run, and during the rest of the week they trained using P90X, Insanity: The Asylum, and other Beachbody workouts in our library.

If Zach were writing this post he'd also give a shout-out to Shakeology, which he used once as a snack during the race and as post-run fuel, as well. He said the shake during the race was among the better-digested items he ate that day, and he felt like it gave him a pick-me-up when he finished, as well.

A screen shot from the live feed of the race. Zach is on the left.
Did Zach have any trouble during the race? There was surprisingly little trouble on the course. His feet were mostly fine, with the exception of stubbing both his right and left 2nd toes so often that the toenails are going to fall off. He didn't have trouble with blisters like Mark did, but that is because his feet are freakishly soft and baby-like at all times. No calluses, no blisters, no nothing, no matter what he does.Weird!

He did have stomach issues on the 4th lap that caused him to visit a few trees (that he told me were most likely going to be dead by spring). A nice Irish worker at the aid station gave him some crystallized ginger to suck on and a cup of soup and told him to get on his way. On the 5th lap he mostly stopped eating which calmed his stomach down.

On the 5th lap he began to have trouble with his knee, which caused him to have to walk a considerable amount of the last seven miles (and was the cause of him missing the 24-hour mark).

Last bit of trouble? His personal aid worker (me) neglected to give him his jacket on the last lap. When the cold front came in at 3am he was c-o-l-d, as he was in a T-shirt and shorts.

In his research prior to the event Zach read (and we have heard) that ultra marathons are emotional events, with the runners' emotions running the gambit from high to low to wanting to quit. Both Mark and Zach were very narrowly focused on completing the race, and I never once saw them do anything that indicated they wanted to quit. They were very even keeled the whole time.

Park Road aid station, 4th lap. 6 miles to the start of the 5th lap.
Head lamps help them see in the dark.
What did you and the kids do while you waited for him? The race is at a state park, and we brought the camper down. Zach's mom, the kids, and I walked the runners to the starting line before dawn on Saturday. Throughout the day we calculated where and when we could see them on the course, then made sure we were there to see them go by. It's a relatively small race, so when someone goes by you can see and talk to them. At the main start, the runners linger for a little bit to change gear (shirts, shoes, etc.), and Zach had a detailed list of supplements and supplies that I was to have ready at each lap.

In the middle of the night the kids slept in the camper while I went around the corner and waited at the starting line. I saw them at 12:30am before the start of the 5th lap, then went back to get a few hours of sleep before the expected finish time of around 5:30am. I needed to drive us home that day so it was important that I get at least a little sleep.

We started waiting for Zach to come across the finish line at about 5:30. It was cold and had started to drizzle. He didn't come and didn't come. We went inside the tent and waited by the heat lamp. Finally at 6:30am he slipped into the corner of the tent with a dazed look on his face and sat down. It was over! Rather anti-climactically, I might add.

Mark and Brian were still on the course; Zach told us he had left them shortly after the first mile of lap five because Mark was unable to run with the blisters on his feet.

"I just ran 100 miles! Thanks for the belt buckle."
After we got him warm(er) and fed him some soup, it was time to get Zach into the shower and into the camper to sleep. I didn't want to leave him alone in the men's shower, so I peeked into the ladies' room to see if it was occupied. One lady was taking a shower. "Ma'am? Ma'am in the shower?" I asked. "My husband just ran a hundred miles and I need to help him shower. You mind if I bring him in here?" "Nope! Bring him in."

The lukewarm shower wasn't all Zach was hoping it to be, but it got the grime washed off. Then he huddled over the sink for about 10 minutes and brushed his teeth. I kept wondering if maybe he was sleep brushing, but he seemed to be at least slightly coherent, so I just let him do his thing.

As we stepped out of the bathrooms we saw that the bottom had dropped out: it was pouring rain. I felt so bad for Mark and Brian. I got Zach into the camper, fixed the kids a snack and set them up with a movie, then headed back up to the start to wait for Mark and Brian with Zach's mom. At around 8:30, they finally made it.

Thank goodness for those trash bags.
They were freezing cold, but they made it all in one piece.

Yup, a belt buckle.
Mark and Brian had slept in tents the night before, and with the rain and cold I couldn't imagine that they would get any rest before trying to go home. It was a sloppy mess at the campground and there was a lot to pick up.

Not fun. Even when you hadn't run 100 miles.

So we pretty much threw everything into the camper and the back of the truck, slammed the doors, and took off down the road to downtown Huntsville where the biggest, thickest, most delicious pecan pancakes awaited us. Along with eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage, and biscuits.

And then we drove home!

Zach got out of bed the next day unassisted, and even went to work. The sleep deprivation was pretty brutal, and we both went to bed really early the whole following week. And the following weekend there was a snow day that allowed us to have three consecutive nights of 10 hour sleeps. Felt so good.

Zach's knee continues to bother him; it appears to be a fairly severe case of patellar tendonitis (runners knee, don't ya know).

As I told several people after the race, it was amazing. And awful. I didn't like seeing him in pain, but at the same time I was amazed at the perseverance both he and all of the runners showed. Will they do it again? I honestly hope not.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Selfishness: The Greatest Gift

“You take care of you for me and I’ll take care of me for you.” - Jim Rohn

Lately the reality of my age is setting in. Not that I am feeling old, mind you...I turn 36 next week and feel stronger and younger than ever. In fact, a few months ago when my niece was preparing to go to college and I was thinking about a gift to get her, my exact thought was: "I will come up with the perfect gift because I JUST LEFT college...uh...13 years ago." Wha? When did that happen?

I guess what I mean by age setting in is that I see things happening around me in friends and family that show that we are aging. That the seeds that we have sown are coming to fruition (how about those $5 English major words?). Some marriages are striving, others are failing. Some have successful careers, others are searching for new ones. Some are vigorous and healthy, others are succumbing to illness or disease. Many friends are having to take care of their aging, ailing parents.

Zach and I spend a lot of time and money on "self care." We work out every day. I spend many hours per week planning, preparing, and cooking our family's meals. We get out of bed before dawn and head to sleep before 10pm most nights. I bet people think we are missing out on a lot of stuff. 

But here is the deal: taking care of yourself and your health is the absolute best gift you can give your spouse, your kids, and your extended family. 

These people love you. They are invested in you. When something happens to you, they are grieved and stressed. They put their lives aside so that they can care for you.

In theory, eating crappy food and sitting on your duff is a victimless crime. You're the one who gains weight, develops Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Combine those lifestyle diseases with aging and stress, and the next thing you know you are in the hospital because a wound won't heal. Or you have a heart attack. Then it's not so "victimless" anymore. Your family, friends, and co-workers are not only worried and scared, they also have to cover for you. Someone has to pay the bills. Someone has to meet with the client and deliver the report.

When people think about trying to lose weight, it's a trap to think that it's just about how you look. "I want to look good in those jeans," or "I want my spouse to think I'm attractive." Sure, those are nice byproducts of a healthy lifestyle. But investing time and money in your health is ultimately about living in a way that gives your loved ones the gift of YOU for as long as possible. 

I don't want to spend the last 15 years of our marriage managing a chronic disease. I don't want to have to say no to a retirement trip because I'm in no shape to walk or haul bags to the airplane. I understand that there are no guarantees, and no amount of exercise and carrot eating will ensure that something bad doesn't happen to one of us. But if there is any way I can tip the scale in my favor, you know I'm going to do it. 

You take care of YOU for ME, and I'll take care of ME for YOU. Sounds like a good plan.


Workout of the Day
P90X3 - The Challenge

Shakeology of the Day
Pumpkin Pie:
1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
1/2 a banana
2 TB canned pumpkin
dash of cinnamon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Life Hack: Natural Peanut Butter

Did you guys used to watch "Everybody Loves Raymond"?

Remember that episode where Ray and Deborah refused to acknowledge the suitcase on the stairs because neither one wanted to take it upstairs, and it became a battle of wills?

Here, refresh your memory:

That, my friends, is how Zach and I deal with natural peanut butter in our house.

OK, so maybe there isn't any actual wrestling going on, but it is a battle of wills to determine who will get stuck with the crappy job of stirring the oil into the peanut-flavored cement sludge that is the hallmark of natural peanut butter. I'll forgo the peanut butter in favor of PB2 for a day or so....he'll dip celery into hummus instead of peanut butter...then finally I give in and mix up the dang peanut butter.

I guess I should back up a bit. You ARE eating natural peanut butter, right? Right?
So many of us grew up on the JIF and the Skippy, but it turns out that that stuff is chalk-full of things that are unnecessary in peanut butter, like hydrogenated (a word to avoid like the plague when you are looking at labels) oils, sugar, and extra salt.

Natural peanut butter contains (drum roll, please): peanuts! Peanuts ground up into a paste, and that's it. The main differences you'll notice when you switch from processed to natural peanut butter are that it's not as sweet or as smooth. At first I missed the sweetness, but after awhile I came to like the natural peanut butter even more than the processed.

So, back to the oil issue.

When you buy natural peanut butter, the first thing you'll notice is the accumulation of oil on the top of the jar.

Pop open the lid and start trying to stir that oil into the peanut butter and what you get is a grade "A" mess. Oil running down the side of the jar, a knife or spoon that is just covered in gooey peanut butter...yuck. It takes a strong forearm and about 10 minutes of stirring to get it incorporated well, and even then if you don't get the oil mixed in at the bottom, when the jar is almost empty you have unspreadable peanut butter that is more like fudge that butter (which, now that I think about it, ain't half bad...).

Before you throw in the towel completely and start welcoming the hydrogenated, non-stir peanut butter back into your house, I've found a handy way around the stirring conundrum. Here's what you do:

When you buy natural peanut butter, turn it upside down as soon as you get home. Let it sit there for several hours, or until all that oil rises to the top...er...the bottom, which is the new top.

Here is how it looks once the oil has settled to the bottom and you open up the jar:

And after a mere minute of stirring:

It's ready to go, and my arm doesn't feel like it wants to fall off or anything! Smear some on some celery and top it with raisins, and then stick the jar of peanut butter in the fridge (where natural peanut butter should be stored).

This topsy turvy trick also works for Tahini, which is made of ground up sesame seeds and is a crucial ingredient in my hummus.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Workout of the Day
P90X3 - Total Synergistics

Week one of P90X3 is in the books, and I am AMAZED at how sore we are from 30-minute workouts. Tony has put together a hum-dinger of a program (that's a technical term), and I am excited to see what three months of this is going to do! Hear our reviews and keep up with our P90X3 journey on our YouTube channel.

Want to join us? We've got a great accountability group going on Facebook, and it's not too late to join. The P90X3 Challenge Pack is on sale until the end of January -- get yours and let me know when you plan to start. I'll add you to the group!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A rapid-fire update

Another month has slipped by since the last time I posted, and I have the standard excuses:
- Busy shopping for Christmas gifts.
- Busy doing homework with the kids.
- Busy shoveling poop out of the chicken coop.

As the last few weeks of 2013 come to an end, I can't help but want to kick this truly awful year to the curb. I'm usually not a pessimist, but this year it seemed that if something could go wrong, it did -- in both big things and small. While there is nothing magical about leaving one year for the next, I'm sincerely hoping that 2014 brings more good than bad our family's way.

With that, here's an (upbeat) update on what's been going on lately:

The Chickens
No news is good news with our four strong girls! These biddies survived an extreme cold snap a few weeks ago like champs. Three of the four lay eggs daily, and when I step out the back door they come a'runnin for me like they have something to tell me. We have a well-stocked egg carton with big, brown eggs.

See how bright red her comb is? In the mornings chickens get a
surge of hormone prior to laying their egg that makes their combs
and waddles very red. In late afternoon the color fades.
I still have no explanation for my love of these birds. My only complaint is that they are turning the beautiful deck that Zach built several years ago into a true "Poop Deck".

Gross, dude.
In the summer they hung out under the deck for shade, but now that it's cold they like to hang out under the patio table for warmth and protection. Pooping ensues. Yuck.

From June to November Zach and I primarily used Focus T25 for our workouts.

We went through the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma phases of this program, and it's my opinion that T25 is one of the smartest, most efficient programs ever produced. Beachbody is on the cutting-edge when it comes to workout design, and the research has shown that the most benefits from a workout come within the first 30 minutes or so. This program takes that concept to heart and works you for 25 minutes straight. You do not waste one second! It's a program that will always be in our rotation thanks to the 25-minute time frame and the intensity of the workouts.

We're anxiously awaiting the delivery of P90X3, a program that is also going the 30-minute route.

P90X was our "first love" Beachbody program, so I'm excited to see what's up with X3. My guess is that it is going to be a more well-rounded program than T25, since Tony is all about diversity: strength training, cardio, yoga, there is even a Pilates workout in this program. It should arrive today; we will spend the next two weeks nerdily previewing the workouts and will start an accountability test group at the first of the year.

If you want to join the group, holler at me! X3 is NOT a graduate program -- it's for anyone who wants to commit to exercising 30 minutes a day. (Get your copy: www.SmellsLikeFitness.com)

Three recipes that have rocked my world recently

The Thanksgiving Champion Side Dish
Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake

Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake Recipe | Simply Recipes

A Chile to Beat All Other Chiles
Pioneer Woman's Chipotle Chicken Chile

A Homemade Granola Worth Gifting
Andy's Fairfield Granola from "Buttered Up"

The kids
They are a delight.

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!


Workout of the Day
We created our own mish-mash schedule to follow while we wait for X3. Today we did Insanity: The Asylum Speed & Agility. It hurt. I don't like that one very much!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Would you visit a dentist who has rotten teeth?

Would you?

If you laid back in the chair and saw that the guy approaching you with the plaque scraper had a grill full of rotting, brown, smelly teeth, would you question his ability and knowledge in the field of dentistry?

I hesitated to write this post because I don't like controversy and I don't want to offend anyone. (Insert the "but" that negates the statement just made right....here.)

But I get so annoyed sometimes.

Before I get into this, let me state that being "healthy" doesn't necessarily mean "skinny." I know plenty of people who eat healthy and exercise daily who might not be considered skinny. And I know plenty of "skinny" people who are far from healthy. You can't judge a book by its cover, but we also can't sit here and deny that probably 90% of the time you can tell by looking at someone whether they are taking care of business when it comes to eating and exercise.


A couple of months ago a few of my fellow boot camp trainers and I set up a booth at a local health and fitness expo. We had the (mis)fortune of being placed next to a booth of ladies who sell a certain "wrap" product. This wrap product raises my ire like few other products on this planet. From what I can tell, you use this product by slathering a concoction all over yourself and then wrapping yourself up like a mummy with some cellophane.

And then you get "smaller."

I must confess I have not wasted spent a lot of time researching said wrap product, and I don't know if it is supposed to just squeeze some water out of you or if it claims to squeeze out some fat...I truly don't know.

I do know that even if it does somehow make you smaller, the solution is temporary at best.

The boot camp instructors at our booth were trim, healthy, energetic, and ate various items from home that they had packed for lunch...you know, obnoxious healthy stuff like raw veggies, shakes, and protein bars. The wrap girls were significantly overweight, sat around at their table all day, and, not to be judgmental (I'm TOTALLY being judgmental): ate Whataburger for lunch.

That weekend I saw woman after woman rush right by our table hardly giving it a glance, only to stop for long, in-depth chats with the wrap girls.

Yesterday at the grocery store I overheard a customer chatting up a worker about how wrapping works. Same deal...a pretty overweight person chatting with another pretty overweight person about how to be "smaller" for a few days.

Oh, my.

Why, why, WHY? So many quick fixes. So many tricks, pills, potions. Sold by people who are clearly not making progress themselves in getting "smaller."

I guess one of the main issues is that the only thing people seem to want to do is get "smaller" one day. There isn't a lot of consideration for what is happening on the inside of your body as far as clogged arteries, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. and the shortened lifespan that often accompanies these things.

Now I realize that I'm selling something, too. I'm a peddler of exercise and nutrition products. I want people to visit www.SmellsLikeFitness.com and buy Focus T25 and Shakeology. I want girls to join my boot camp and work out with me three times a week. But I feel like the things I'm selling have merit in that the products I sell only work if YOU work. No quick fixes here: you have to commit to doing the work. And it is work. Even if it's only for 25 minutes, Shaun T works you in Focus T25.

I'm first to admit even Shakeology is not a wonder-shake. If you drink Shakeology for breakfast and chase it with a Whopper for lunch and a T-bone for dinner, it's not going to do squat for you. It's PART of a healthy meal plan. You've still got to watch your portions and eat your veggies if you want to see results.

I guess all I'm saying is that if you see someone who hops from quick fix pill, to cellophane mummification, to crash diet, to crazy cleanse, all the while never able to maintain a healthy weight for more than six months at a time, it's just as bad as a dentist with bad teeth. And probably not someone you want to take advice from.


Workout of the Day
Focus T25 GAMMA (Phase 3) Speed 3.0, AKA death by burpees.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

I'm wondering if you can do me a favor this Tuesday morning. It's a small favor, even though it's going to sound big. Here it is:

Can you commit to never, ever, ever buying salad dressing again?

I know, I know. Half of you have a scrunched up look on your face because you're wondering what you're going to put on your salads from now on, and the other half thought, "That's cool. I just won't eat salads anymore."

Here's the thing: you can make your own very delicious salad dressing in a matter of minutes that is free of preservatives, dyes, and yucky stuff you can't pronounce. Will it taste like the artery-clogging Hidden Valley Ranch that you love so much? No. Will it be just as good, plus about 14,000 times healthier for you? Yes.

You don't even need any special equipment. Do you have a bowl? You can mix dressing. If you want to get fancy, you can get a shaker cup designed for dressings, but if not, no biggie. You have a mason jar or something else with a lid? You're in business.

I learned about making salad dressing when we did the Ultimate Reset cleanse a year ago. Talk about some delicious dressings! I had no idea how simple it was to whip up your own salad dressing until then, and I've spent the last year experimenting and simplifying until I broke it down to this:

Simple Salad Dressing for the Laziest of Lazies (this means me about four times a week!)
Make your salad
Spray some olive oil on it (you can buy some very nifty spray olive oils at the store nowadays, or purchase your own mister and put olive oil)
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar on it

VOILA! Surprisingly good dressing and it took about 1 minute.

Say hello to your new best friends!
BUT: Say it's Saturday night and you've got some friends coming over. You need something a little fancier than the old oil and vinegar concoction:

Creamy Garlic Dressing (from the Ultimate Reset)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 TB honey or agave nectar

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Makes 8-10 servings.

Basic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (you can also use balsamic vinegar here)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
2 TB lemon juice
(optional) 2 tsp fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, or dill

Mix all ingredients together in shaker cup or blender.

Worried about the extra fat in olive oil? Here's an oil-free, vegan dressing from Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet:

Beam Me Up, Scottie Dressing
3 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB any mustard
1 TB agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
Smidge of water.

Mix all ingredients together in a shaker cup or blender.

There you go! Four simple dressings that will keep you out of the fatty dressing aisle at the store. Try these out and let me know what you think!

Workout of the Day
Asylum 2: Upper Elite

Ah...60 minutes of crushing the upper body. Asylum 2 is one of my all-time favorite programs. I've been struggling with my lower back for the past few weeks, but I think I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to give this workout a very good effort -- probably 85-90%, which is better than I've been able to do for the past few weeks. Felt great! (May not feel so great tomorrow...)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fun containers make life...funner

We are four weeks into the school year, and I'm pleased to announce that school lunch making hasn't broken me yet!

It's probably not a hard guess that I don't let my kids buy school lunch, even though my foray into lunch duty a couple years ago showed me that sometimes school lunches might not be so bad. I don't get crazy with my kids' lunches; I just make sure that their PB&J is made of natural peanut butter and non-high fructose corn syrup jelly on their whole wheat bread, is all. Most of the time it's pretty tame.

Last year, I utilized a wide assortment of plastic ware to fill their lunchboxes with tasty vittles. And at the end of the day, here is what my counter looked like:

Ay yay yay...By the end of the year I just wanted to burn those stupid containers. They wore me out with the washing and the drying and the putting away, over and over and OVER again. ("Why don't you just send plastic bags?" many of you are wondering. My inner hippie won't let me, that's why.)

So this summer I hunted for a new storage solution for lunches, and here is what I found. At Garden Ridge. For five bucks.

So cute! So colorful!
These dumb containers make my day every time I make school lunches. Why? Why does it please me so to fit the little muffin in the side container? With the old containers, I felt stuck in a rut. I made the same lunch over and over.

But these containers make me feel like creating lunch masterpieces! Earlier this week I sent Drew with a turkey breast sandwich (nitrate free, from Zaycon Foods...shameless plug alert: use this link to register at Zaycon to find a meat event in your area. This meat is the bomb-diggety, and I get credits when you register and order some fantastic meat for yourself!) https://www.zayconfoods.com/refer/zf11780

Anyway...The turkey sandwich was on whole wheat rounds, spread with low-fat cream cheese and topped with some homemade cranberry sauce. Holla! It was so awesome I had to make my own for lunch that day.

Up there in the picture you've got turkey wraps on wheat tortillas with grapes, dried apples, pretzels, and a homemade banana pumpkin muffin.

That little lid snaps over the tortilla/sandwich section, then the whole thing folds again and snaps into a box.

When the kids get home they unload their lunch sack and I've got TWO things to wash. That's it.

The other day I was glad to see I'm not the only one who takes delight in random containers and uses it for motivation to eat healthy. My friend Lauren (check out her fabulous blog Salt & Sequins) posted this photo to her Instagram the other day saying that these cute little containers make her more likely to reach for fresh fruit and veggies:
"When I first started my weight loss journey, I was reading a book called 'PUSH' by Chalene Johnson, she had a really great tip, make healthy stuff front and center in your refrigerator. Display it ready to eat, cleaned, in cute bowls. I did have bowls, but they were too high and hid my fruit, so last night, I found these little beauties on sale. And if you know me, my Interior Designer side flipping loves the way this looks in my refrigerator. And yes, my refrigerator is chalk board. It got pretty beat up on the way to Cali, so Tim painted it for me. Best husband award right there."

Lauren, did you know that we also have a chalkboard paint fridge? How come you live in California? You could live in Texas and we could make special trips to IKEA to buy containers and chalk for our refrigerators, then swing by Central Market to ogle and buy overpriced organic produce. It would be fun!

Another mind trick I use for myself and the kids is cute water bottles to promote more water drinking. Spend a few bucks on a water bottle that you think is so cool and you'll probably use it more often.

Try it and see if it works! And send me pictures in case I need to get the same container as you.

Workout of the Day
Les Mills Combat 30 Minute Kick Start. Oh y'all, this workout is so fun. I almost forgot what it's like to be a super cool fighter chick, but it only took a second of punching with those gloves for me to remember. I pumped up the music and punched and kicked my way to an awesome workout. You should try it. Seriously. www.SmellsLikeFitness.com