Wednesday, August 18, 2010



My friend gave me this marinade recipe and I was inspired. I am eating this sandwich as I type this and all I have to say is... if this sandwich is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Citrus Juice (Grapefruit is best, I used lime)
Lite Soy Sauce
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Sandwich Ingredients:
-Organic Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast, marinated (see above)
-Toasted Bread, Cheese and toppings of your choice
-Hummus (optional)

I marinated the chicken last night for about 30 minutes, then removed it from the marinade and put it in the baggie and in the fridge overnight.

Spray a nonstick pan with olive oil spray and cook chicken on med-hi heat for about 3-4 min on each side

While that is cooking, toast your bread.

When they are done, make your sandwich exactly like you like it!

Prep Time (With Chicken already Marinated): Approx. 10-15 Minutes

Pair it with some veggies and you have a meal! It's that easy, so healthy and delicious!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Six Weeks on JJ's Plan...

Toward the end of Greg's Summer Challenge I found a book that I really like.  It's called "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy" by JJ Virgin.  (I hate the title, but I love the plan.)  I read the book all the way through the same night I got it.

The book focuses on toning arms, but it goes much deeper than that.  It makes leading a healthy lifestyle seem so much less overwhelming.  It breaks down food, workouts and other health tips in such a way that you actually find yourself thinking: I can DO this!

Just like I like to do, it focuses on certain main aspects to a healthy lifestyle: Food, Cardio, Toning and Rest/De-stress.  (I'm telling you, it's right up my alley.)  So far, I love it.  I feel great.  I love the workouts.  I love the food.  I wasn't focused on weight, but I lost 1.2 pounds the first week. (Watch my video HERE)

Greg's Challenge was so successful, I decided to keep up my motivation with another challenge to myself. Consider my results video for Greg's Challenge as my starting point for this one. I am going to follow the plan for six weeks and let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Countdown to Summer Challenge Results

Summer's here! How did I do on Greg's Countdown to Summer Challenge?

Check out my results video here.

If I had to grade myself on my effort these past 9 weeks, I'd say that I deserve a B-... 

I did tweet EVERYTHING I ate these 9 weeks.  Thanks to everyone on my twitter account for keeping me accountable.  It really did help me to see what I was eating and when.  I realized that I was doing things I wasn't when I first started losing weight, which probably had a lot to do with my weight loss plateau.

I did not do all my Couch to 5K runs.  I made it up to Week 6 day 3! But was never able to get past that and I got bored and discouraged and started doing alternate workouts.  You know me, I gotta keep it fresh or I'll fall off the wagon.  When I went back to regular workouts I realized that the Couch to 5K had made me a little complacent.  I was only working out 30 minutes, 3 times per week, instead of 45 min to 1 hour 4 times per weeks as I had been before.  So I decided to step things up a bit.
(I will be putting a hold on the endurance training for a while, but more on that later...)

I was very haphazard with my toning goal.  I would sometimes do all 30 minutes, sometimes only 15, sometimes none. And I have really outgrown those 5 pound hand weights, so what I was doing wasn't even a challenge anymore.

I did keep myself accountable and make a video to check in every week as I had planned to do.

I learned a lot about the way I was eating and the amount of effort that I had been putting into my workouts.  I plan to step things up a bit, since I am coming up on my one year anniversary on youtube! Thanks to this challenge I am fired up to set new goals and challenge myself again!  Stay tuned...

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Keepin it Fresh" with a Countdown to Summer Challenge

I cannot believe it has been 2 MONTHS since my last blog entry!  Between work and being out of town, I have had an extremely packed (and exhausting) schedule since the beginning of March.  Finally, I am back to my regular schedule, doing my healthy grocery shopping, working out, getting my rest.

Unfortuantely, these last 2 months of craziness have been detrimental to my weight loss goals.  I stepped on the scale this morning and weighed in at a whopping 211.2!!!  I gained 9 pounds in 2 months!  Of course it is my own fault.  I have been eating on the run instead of preparing healthy meals.  I have not been working out, or getting enough sleep.  (I also got diagnosed with endometriosis and I've noticed that I have big gains on the weeks I take the meds.)

But enough is enough! It's gone too far!  I gotta to what I gotta do to follow my own advice and "keep it fresh"!  So I have joined a challenge on Youtube!

Greg Siegel, THESIEGSTER on YouTube, has a challenge that starts today, Monday April 19th.  It is  9 week challenge that ends the first day of summer! It is not a competition, it is a challenge to yourself, so YOU make up the rules! The object is to make a commitment to yourself, NO EXCUSES, for 9 weeks straight.

Here are my commitments*:
1- Weigh-in and Upload a Video weekly
2- Three "Couch to 5K" runs per week
3- At least 30 minutes of toning per week
4- Tweet everything I eat daily

(*See my Entry Video and my Starting Point video.)
I have already tweeted all my food for today. I will also be tweeting my workouts and video uploads. (Follow me and hold me accountable: @gozosa1980)

Let me know if you join the challenge!  Let's start the summer off right!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What I have learned so far...

One of my subscribers asked me for some weight loss tips.  I told her that I am still learning myself, but here are a few things I have learned so far....

- Start slow. If you try to make too many changes at once, you'll get overwhelmed and burn out. After awhile, things will become second nature and you can add other things to it.

- Don't expect fast results. Be in it for the long haul. The slower the loss more permanent it usually is. I aim for 1-2 pounds a week, but between menstrual gains and occasional falling off the wagon, it could be even less than that.

- Don't get overly discouraged by scale gains.  Between water weight, muscle gain, a full colon and other factors, the number on the scale isn't really the most accurate measurement of progress on a week-to-week basis.

- I set simple, attainable short-term goals in 4 main categories every week to stay motivated: water, food, rest, exercise. (These are key to weight loss and good health).
Weekly Goal Example: 80 oz water a day, one salad and 2 fruits a day, 7 hours of sleep, 3 30-min workouts a week. That way, I am focusing on things I can control; I feel in control, not overwhelmed and not a slave to the scale. (I do weigh in once a week and measure myself every 5-10 weeks to track my progress.) If the goals become too easy, increase them. For example- increase daily water intake and leave everything else the same.
- Have a way to be held accountable. I do weekly update videos on youtube (there's a great supportive weight loss community there, and it's free!) and sometimes post my workouts and pictures of my meals to twitter. Tell somebody. Keep a journal. Anything to track your progress or where you are going wrong.

- Look for motivation and tips. There is so much free support out there if you know where to look for it. You Tube has a ton of workout videos, cooking recipes and other people like me who are documenting their weight loss journey. They have different ways of losing it; some do grocery hauls and have blogs too. Here are a few other resources out there.

- Include toning and cardio in your workouts. Even if you don't have weights, use your ody weight for situps, push ups, etc. No gym membership is needed; dance, walk, do circuit training. Tone up, it helps burn fat faster and you want to have to muscles there waiting when the fat comes off! :)

- Of course, workouts are useless for weight loss (still good for your heart and other functions) if you don't make healthier food choices. Do a healthy grocery shop and pack your lunch more often than eating out. Cook healthier versions of your favorite foods. Don't eliminate entire food groups or make them "off limits" or "bad". (Sure, there are some foods that you should eat in smaller portions or more rarely, but when you feel deprived of certain foods you make yourself crazy. I have lost almost 20 pounds without counting a calorie or a "point", without weighing or measuring my food, without eliminating food groups. I still eat out a few times a week, and have dessert almost every day.)

- Very important- DON'T STRESS, JUST KEEP IT FRESH. Don;t allow yourself to get bored with your healthy living plan. Do what it takes to keep it fun and interesting. challenge yourself to drink only water for a week, try a new exercise, try a new recipe or vegetable, blog, take pictures of everything you eat and tweet it, track calories for a week. whatever it takes to keep it fun and fresh and doesn't make it seem like a miserable chore. if you hate doing it, it won;t be a lifestyle change.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blogging the Jogging: Entry #3


Well, I didn't exactly finish the whole thing in one week due to inclement weather and lack of access to a treadmill, but I did complete week one's three days.  It was one day a week for the last three weeks, but they are done nonetheless. 

I was able to get in an outdoor run before the first snow.  Then it wouldn't stop! Good thing my friend has a fitness center in her building, so when I went to visit her last week, I took my workout clothes and took advantage of one of the treadmills in her building to get in my second week one run.  As I mentioned in last week's update video, I ended up getting a 1 month pass to the local gym in the hopes that the weather will be better by the time a month is over, so I can do my jog/walks outdoors.  Yesterday I was finally able to do my last Couch to 5k week one run at the gym. 

I have to say, I am loving Carli's "Running into Shape" Couch to 5K podcasts so far.  They really help to take your mind off the stopwatch and focus on more important things, like breathing, pace and stride.  Plus, it's MY kinda music.  It keeps me motivated, keeps it fun.

I am feeling surprisingly good about the jogging.  Doing the Couch to 5k program actually makes training for a 5k seem realistic and fun. But I have to admit that I am very apprehensive about moving on to week 2.  During each walk/jog period I will be losing a minute of walking recovery time and gaining 30 seconds of jogging when compared to week one.  The program does say that you can take as many weeks as you need to complete a "week" on the program. I have a feeling I will be taking them up on that offer....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fresh Foodie's Easy Low Fat Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I'm snowed in again. I knew the snow was coming this time, so I was prepared. Since I was craving something pumpkin, I got a can and some evaporated milk to see if I could come up with a low fat pumpkin recipe.

I went online and saw several recipes for pumpkin bread pudding. It sounded delicious, but most were complicated to make and full of rich ingredients. So I decided to try and make a easier, healthier version with the ingredients I had in my cupboards. After a long distance phone call to Mom for ideas about how to prepare bread pudding, this is what I came up with.  (I'm not much of a measuring cook, so there aren't many measurements.  But you can prepare according to your tastes and dietary needs.)

Enjoy! :)

Easy Low Fat Pumpkin Bread Pudding

5-6 slices of Bread of your choice, 2-3 days old (I used cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread from the freezer, defrosted and toasted)
I can't believe it's not butter spray
3 eggs
1/2 can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
Pumpkin pie spice
agave nectar
1 can fat free evaporated milk
dried fruit and/or nuts of your choice (I used dried cranberries)**
coconut flakes **
cinnamon sugar**
Caramel syrup **


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast bread in toaster or toaster oven.

While bread is toasting, mix eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, evaporated milk, agave, spices and coconut in a bowl.

Spray Glass baking dish with ICBINB spray.

Cube toasted bread and spread evenly in pan.

Spray bread with a generous layer of ICBINB Spray.

Top with nuts and raisins.

Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture.

Make sure bread mixture is completely saturated with egg mixture in the pan and soak for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick entered into center comes out clean.

Cool at least 5-10 minutes.

Serve warm or cold and drizzled with caramel sauce.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fresh Foodie Finds: Whole Foods Faves and a $1 Workout

Need something new to spice up your workouts? Can't afford the gym? Weather not cooperating? Try an inexpensive workout DVD from a local discount store. This one is from Dollar General. It was $1. And boy does it work!

I love shopping at Whole Foods.  But buying groceries there is a rare treat for me, not only because they tend to be more pricey, but also because the closest Whole Foods is an hour away from my house (all you Trader Joes fans, the closest TJ is about 2 hours away). 

Below are a few of my favorite things to get when I shop Whole Foods.  I've included pictures of the front label so you can recognize it in the store.  I have also included the "Nutrition Facts" labels.  All of us look for different things when we look at the nutrition facts.  Some are watching their sodium, others their carbs, others their fat or calories.  This way, you can find out exactly what you want to know about the product.  

I hope these "finds" can help you "keep it fresh" by adding variety to your healthy diet. Let me know if you have any questions!

Fresh Foodie :)

Also comes in Blueberry, Strawberry, Plain and Honey flavors.

I mix it with granola, nuts and dried cranberries for a quick and easy breakfast.

These Pretzel Crisps are "Everything" flavored. They also come in Plain, Garlic and other flavors. Tastes great with Hummus and other dips.

Also comes in Mango Green Tea and various Black Tea Flavors.
I sometimes put lime juice in the Mint and Honey for a Mojito flavor.

Whole Foods has a great variety of Organic and All Natural Salad Dressings.
This is cilantro and Mild Green Chile Flavor. Comes in Tomatillo, Chipotle, and other flavors.
See other flavors under "Try 'Em All" in the photo at left.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogging the Jogging ~ Entry #2

THE Shoes

Notice the emphasis on "THE".  These shoes are the perfect shoes for my feet.  How do I know?  I was fitted by Rich, a fit expert at my local Fleet Feet Sports.

Fleet Feet isn't a regular athletic shoe store. They are a store that specifically caters to runners of all levels. They have shoes, clothes and other items for people who run marathons and do triathalons. Or, somebody like me: an overweight, out-of-shape beginner of beginners.

The first thing Rich asked me to do was take off my shoes and socks so that he could see my bare feet. (Yikes! Good thing I'd just given myself a pedicure a couple of days before!) He said they looked very good, no protruding bones, blisters, corns or callouses to be concerned about. He then asked me if I had any concerns; I did: I sprained my left ankle last year while getting off (ok, falling off) a ski lift and I was on crutches for six weeks. He assured me I'd get a shoe with the best support possible for my foot.

He then proceeded to reach for the foot measure that we use on a regular basis as children with growing feet, and not so much after we're "sure" of our adult shoe size (see picture at left). Surprisingly, he told me he'd measure both feet while I was still seated.  He explained that this was so that he can mark the difference between a seated measurement and a standing one, so as to tell how much each foot stretched when I stood.  He grabbed a pen and made a marking on both feet. Then he asked me to stand so that he could do it again.  There wasn't too much of a difference.

Rich asked me to walk to the far rack and back in my normal stride, "Like you're in your kitchen; nobody's watching." But, in fact, he was. Very carefully, in fact.  Head turned sideways, cheek close to the ground, watching every move my feet made. "OK, have a seat", he said as he went into the stock room and emerged with three pairs of shoes.

He handed me some synthetic, fitted socks to put on while he explained something to me about the shoes. (See picture for the benefits of synthetic vs. cotton sports socks.) All three pairs of shoes were right for me according to the preliminary assessment he had just done.  The rest was up to me and my personal preference- how I like for my foot to feel in my shoe.  They welcome you to go outside, walk (or run) around in the shoes and see how they feel on.  But first he put a support insole in one shoe and not the other. 

The first pair felt a little funny.  There was slippage in the back and the subtlest of rubbing on the side. On to pair number two, this time with the insoles in both shoes now that I could tell the difference that extra support brings.  Way better. I felt good on my short-lived, brisk outside jog.  I was sure these were the ones.  Until Rich told me to at least try on the last shoe and compare.  So I did.  Each shoe had it's pros and cons. After trying different ways of lacing and "test jogging" a different shoe on each foot, I came to a conclusion: Shoe 3 was the winner.

I was informed that the shoes had a life expectancy of 300 miles, a lot for a beginner like me.  The insoles would last even longer: 3 pairs of shoes! "Don't forget to take them out and put them in the next pair," Rich kept reminding me.  Apparently it's a common mistake; people donate the used shoes to Goodwill and forget their perfectly good insoles inside them.  Some Goodwill shopper gets a great bargain! (See chart at left for benefits of support insoles)

After deciding to buy the insoles and a pair of synthetic socks, I made my purchase and waited to talk with Stacie.  Her business card says "Running Coach and Motivator" and I was hoping she'd be willing to do an interview for my blog.  She was!

Fleet Feet was very busy that night, customers waiting patiently to get their custom fit. The store was hosting a 5K training program that would start soon, so people were coming in to sign up for it and to get fitted for running shoes.  I looked around the store while I waited for Stacie to finish tending to customers.  I didn't mind at all.  I found the store fascinating.  It was a whole new world to me.  There were energy bars, sports bras, reflective clothing, books, magnets, mp3 holders, fancy watches that record calorie burn and heart rate and much more. 

When the last customer had made their purchase, the front door was locked and as the rest of the staff closed the cash register and put away shoe boxes, Stacie was kind enough to sit down for a few minutes for my interview.  I was nervous; I had scribbled a few questions on the back of a piece of paper and I'd forgotten to bring my tripod, but she was nore than happy to oblige.  She is so friendly personable, she put me at ease almost immediately. It's obvious that she is very enthusiastic about running.  And it's contagious.

(At left: Karlyn, who custom fit my insoles to my new shoes and Rich, who helped me find my perfect fit)

Final review: I love Fleet Feet sports!  Their personal attention and customer service is amazing. They take time with each customer to assure that they are properly fitted and comfortable with their purchase.  (Even those who were waiting to be attended to were not neglected. They were apologized to and asked to please be patient, and they understood- it was worth the wait.) Even though they and many of their customers are veteran runners, they explain the basics to a beginner with the utmost respect and cheer them on in their new endeavour. They sell high quality products, and offer training classes for runners of all levels.  I definitely recommend Fleet Feet Sports to runners of all ages and levels of experience. Even aspiring runners, like me.  The trip to Fleet Feet may just be what you need to hit the ground running.

To find a Fleet Feet Sports near you:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Progress Report- Week 25

My editing software hasn't been working for several weeks now, and so I haven't been making progress report videos.  I really think I need them to help keep me on track. So I've decided to put my progress stats and pictures here on my blog every few weeks.

Here are comparisons of my intro video from YouTube and today's stats:

August 4, 2009           January 18, 2010


 Body Composition                    Aug 2009     Jan 2010       Difference
Weight (in pounds)                         220.6               206.4              14.2
Fat %                                                   45.4                  43.8               1.6
Water (Hydration level)                   39.8                  41                  1.1

Measurements (in inches)
Bust                                                47                    44.5                 2.5 
Waist                                              39.5                 36.5                   3
Lower abs                                       45                   43.5                  1.5
Hips                                                48                     45                    3
Right Arm                                       17                     14.5                2.5
Right Thigh                                      28                     27                    1

Although I feel that the progress is very slow and sometimes get discouraged, I do see progress.  I have to keep a positive outlook and remember why I am doing this: fighting back against obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression.  I usually gain a lot this time of year and the fact that I am maintaining or even losing a little keeps me optimistic about the months ahead. 

I will meet my health and fitness goals. "Slow and steady wins the race"...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blogging the Jogging ~ Entry #1

Jogging: My Memory...

I gotta admit, I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love the idea of being a runner but I hate doing it. It all goes back to my elementary school days and the dreaded "mile". It was something we had to do every year and was always at the top of the list of my absolute least favorite gym-class activities. I had a horrible experience of it every year, huffing and puffing my way thru so as not to get a low grade and bring down my all "A" average. I was the overweight, outta-breath kid that always came in last. Usually the coach would have pity on me and grade me on my sincere effort and not my pathetic results. They could see that I really did try.

The culmination of my aversion to running came in high school. My coach despised overweight kids and punished us for our excessive girth. She knew I was an "A" student and would threaten me with a fail grade if I did not meet minimum standards for the "Presidential" testing we had to do that year. We had to run the mile in 12 minutes or less to pass gym exams that semester and passing meant a "D" grade on my final. The shorter the time, the closer to the "A" bracket, the longer, the closer to the "F". Until that day, my best time for the mile was a 15 minute mile I had done in the 4th grade.

We could repeat the test as many times as we wanted to that week in order to get our best time, but we must complete it in 12 minutes or less to be able to accept the grade and go do archery with the rest of the class. I was determined to do my very best. The first day, when I ran with the entire class, I came in last, with a time of 16 minutes and 50 seconds. I was exhausted, frustrated and devastated. It seemed like it was gonna be impossible. I stopped several times to walk and catch my breath. My coach insisted that I hadn't even tried and I would need put forth more effort the next day if I was going to get a passing grade and be able to participate in the archery segment of class.

I got some rest and tried again the next day with about 5 other people that had failed or wanted to retake the test. I ran my heart out. Literally. OK, not literally, but I pushed myself until I felt like I had. Once again, I came in last. But as I crossed the finish line, my coach yelled out my time: 12 minutes and 20 seconds. I dropped to the ground as soon as I finished and proceeded to have my first and only exercise-induced asthma attack. While I was lying there on the ground, in pain and unable to breathe, my entire class was standing over me with fear in their eyes, and I had tears in mine. Not because of the pain, not even because of the humiliation. It was pure joy. I was so proud of myself. I had pushed myself to the limit and I had triumphed. It had just gotten the best time on the mile in my life. I had just beat the previous day's time by over 4 minutes. As I was lying there, struggling for air, I saw my coach push her way through the gathered, hovering group of my concerned classmates...

'I knew you could do better than what I've been seeing from you. You were only 20 seconds away from a passing grade. You were so close, I'm positive you'll be able to do it tomorrow.'

She proceeded to tell everyone that I'd be fine if they gave me time to catch my breath and they should leave me alone and hit the showers. I was crushed. I was the only one that continued to do the mile the next 2 days of school. I was so physically weak and in pain from my exertion the previous days, that my times got higher and higher as my morale got lower and lower. I finally told my coach that I had reached my physical and emotional limit and I would just accept the failing grade. She begrudgingly agreed, but added that if I was too weak to complete my running test, that I was too weak to carry the bow and arrow for archery, so she insisted that I sit on the sidelines and watch.

The fact that I remember that event in such detail over a decade later shows how much of an effect it had on me. I haven't done much running since. I can do spinning, kickboxing, or boot camp classes for an hour or more, but can't jog for more than a minute without feeling that awful tightening in my chest. Maybe the reaction is psychosomatic; I'm almost positive that it is.

In order to reach my goal of completing a 5K this year (3.1 miles! Am I crazy?!), I'll need to start my training soon. I have already started looking for the proper running shoes and sports bra for an overweight beginner. I have "favorited" my online Couch to 5K training program and I've chosen a race. I watched a documentary on running recommended by my brother (Spirit of the Marathon--- and I am inspired.

My goals are simple:
1) to complete the "Couch to 5K" training program;
2) to volunteer at a 5K race;
3) to complete a 5K race in 35-40 minutes (about 12 min. per mile); and
4) to NOT come in last place! (OK, so maybe that'd just be a bonus.)

I am determined to win this lifelong battle with running once and for all, kick my weight loss into high gear and be the fittest, healthiest version of myself that I have ever been. I am fighting back against diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. This isn't gonna be easy.

I've got a long, hard road ahead of me. And I'm taking you all along with me. Step by step.