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Archive for June, 2021

May is Zombie Awareness Month! However, both Kelsi and I had some unfinished zombie business, so our zombie fun spilled over into the beginning half of June. We both completed our movie marathons, and I enjoyed several zombie-related activities on my Zombie Fun List. I love zombies as you can see from my t-shirt, dear reader.

The bulk of our month was spent watching Zombie Horror Movies. While Kelsi chose seven movies to watch (zombies has seven letters), I chose to watch ten. Overall, I enjoyed all of them, and the zombies looked awesome. Interestingly, five of them are foreign films (Shaun of the Dead, Ravenous, #Alive, The Girl With All the Gifts, KL Zombie) and four of them are American films (Slither, I Am Legend, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Army of the Dead) with Little Monsters being a mix of the two (Australia, UK, USA).

Out of the 10 films, three were rewatches, Shaun of the Dead, Slither, and I Am Legend. Five of the films are considered comedy/horror. Five of them have slow zombies (which I generally prefer) while the other five have fast zombies. Shaun of the Dead made the top of my list. It is a cult classic and one of my favorite zombie movies. KL Zombie ended up in last place. It is a super silly, low-budget film, but worth watching at least once. Not all zombie movies are created the same just like not all zombies are created the same.

Kelsi and I had two chats to discuss zombies. Our first chat was midway through the month of May to discuss Shaun of the Dead and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse along with zombie survival tips. Both movies are comedy/horror and have terrific casts, plots, lots of laughs, and plenty of gore .

In addition to movies, I watched three television shows, Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), Betaal (Netflix) and Deadset (Netflix). I would recommend all three shows to anyone who enjoys the zombie genre. Originally, I chose six zombie shows to watch, but I clearly did not have enough time to watch them all. There is always next year.

I was also a little too enthusiastic about the amount of reading I wanted to throughout the month. I originally chose four books and an article. I read the article and two books, Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith (prequel to Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies) and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks (graphic novel).

My hubby and I invited friends over to eat boiled crawfish and enjoy a refreshing Zombie Apocalypse Cocktail. I give this cocktail two thumbs up. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

For this fun-filled month, I offered my readers an opportunity to receive a free book. Since we should all know how to survive a zombie apocalypse, I chose one lucky reader to receive a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks. The lucky recipient was Dave Pozefsky. Dave also loves zombies, and one of his top five favorite zombie films is Shaun of the Dead. His other faves are Train to Busan, Pontypool, 28 Days Later, and Night of the Living Dead. He also likes the zombie anime Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. Congrats Dave!

As you can tell, dear reader, I had a delightful month immersing myself in the fascinating world of the undead. Check out the second chat that Kelsi and I had to discuss the remaining movies on our lists as well as my other zombie-related activities. What kind of bread do zombies prefer? Whole brain! Happiness!

“Elizabeth dropped her dagger, sprang toward the unmentionable, and tried to pry the flintlock from its grip. She quickly got the gun — and the hand wrapped around it, as well. It snapped off at the wrist with a dry crackle.” ~ Steve Hockensmith, Dawn of the Dreadfuls

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Greetings on this fantastic Friday afternoon, dear reader! I officially completed the Fast Burn Challenge on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 148.5 pounds, losing 2 pounds in Week #9 and ending the nine-week challenge with a total weight loss of 13 pounds. I also lost 3″ in my waist, 2″ in my hips, 2″ in both thighs, and 1″ in my left arm (weird, I know).

I learned a great deal about myself on this challenge, and I’m pleased with my overall results. I surpassed my goal of losing 10 pounds, ramped up my exercise, tried new recipes, planned and prepped meals (most weeks), increased my water intake, ate lots of fruits and vegetables, and incorporated intermittent fasting. At the beginning of the challenge, I chose a TRF schedule of 12:12. Midway through the challenge I increased my TRF schedule to 14:10. I finished the challenge with a TRF schedule of 16:8.

What are my takeaways?

First of all, the Fast Burn nine-week program is NOT a diet, but a roadmap to a healthier way of eating. It is a lifestyle that incorporates clean eating, intermittent fasting, and regular exercise. Second, it is an effective plan IF I put in the work. I will get out of it what I put into it. Third, making good choices through planning is the key to successfully becoming a healthier version of myself. Fourth, it helps to have people in my life who support my healthy lifestyle changes. My hubby is supportive and even helped prep and prepare many of my meals during the challenge. Being a member of the Fast Burn Challenge Facebook group has been beneficial. Also, blogging weekly about my journey on this challenge held me accountable, and quite a few of my dear readers cheered me on each week.

For me personally, starting a journey to better health requires the right mindset. And, my mindset is naturally affected by external factors. I am an emotional eater. Sugar, junk food, fried food, and processed food are what I reach for when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, or unhappy. I have been down this weight-loss road numerous times as an adult and have tried many plans and programs to lose weight and get physically fit. I am successful for a little bit, but at some point I fall back into my bad eating habits and abandon regular exercise. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed me this last time. I had adopted clean eating habits and lost 13 pounds back in September 2019 after reading Dr. Ian K. Smith’s book, The Clean 20. He had been a guest on Molly Kimball’s podcast, Fueled: Wellness + Nutrition with Molly Kimball, and they were talking about the benefits of intermittent fasting and his Clean & Lean program. Weeks after listening to that podcast episode (“Intermittent Fasting, Explained: 18 July 2019), I bought his book Clean & Lean and joined the Cleaner Get Leaner Facebook group. Instead of starting that program, I opted to read The Clean 20 first to develop better eating habits with the intention of adding intermittent fasting at the beginning of 2020. Then, the pandemic hit, the world shut down, and I ate my feelings. I gained back my 13 pounds plus some.

On 23 March, I started walking daily for at least 20 minutes per day. Many days it was longer because there just wasn’t much to do with everything shut down. In April 2020, Dr. Ian published another book called Mind Over Weight which I read in May and completed the written exercises with the intention to start my weight loss journey using the Clean & Lean program on the first of June 2020. June came and went, as well as the rest of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, and I never started my journey. I did NOT have the right mindset. Try intermittent fasting using the Clean & Lean book found its way on my 21 for 2021 List. I was determined to try it during the second quarter of this year; however, Dr. Ian published Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance in April, so I bought it, joined the Fast Burn Challenge on Facebook, and started my journey to better health on 19 April 2021. And, here I am now, 13 pounds lighter with the desire to lose more. My mindset has shifted, and I’m determined to stay on this path to better health. It is a choice, and my future self will thank me.

There are so many benefits to eating clean. I have more energy and no longer feel sluggish throughout the day. I do not crave sugary, fried, or processed foods. There are days now that I crave a veggie plate with a cup of brown rice. That’s not to say that I will not indulge from time to time. However, planning for that occasional “treat” works best for me.

I have proven to myself that I can make good choices when dining in a restaurant. If I want to eat chili cheese fries once in awhile, I will eat them and enjoy them. Dr. Ian states on page 250 of Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance, “It’s completely fine to have a good steak and French fries and even a slice of double chocolate cake (my mouth is watering just writing that!), but it’s important that you add these foods back in moderation, not just in their frequency but also their quantities.” Basically, make good choices the majority of the time, so you can periodically enjoy your favorites without guilt or negative consequences.

What’s next?

I have decided to complete another nine-week round of Fast Burn. I love this program! I love the variety it offers as well as its flexibility. Currently, I am on Week #1 and doing the 16:8 TRF schedule. That schedule may change the week in July when I am in Utah and possibly when I return to school in August. I will continue biking a couple of days a week and walking daily (at least 20 minutes). I would also like to add a day or two of strength training each week.

I’m excited about my new goals for this leg of the journey. My weight loss goal is to lose another ten pounds which I hope I can exceed again this round. My fitness goal is to start running again when I return from my trip to Utah. I follow a run/walk schedule for about 10-12 weeks that eventually allows me to run for 30 minutes. I bought a running magazine for additional motivation. When I can run for 30 minutes, I can run a 5K race. If my 52-year-old body can handle it and with more COVID restrictions dissapating, there may be a 5K road race in my future.

Well, that’s a wrap, dear reader! I won’t be writing every Friday about the second round of Fast Burn; however, I’ll update my progress every so often. Once I start my run/walk schedule, I’ll include that information for anyone who may be interested in starting a running habit of their own. In the meantime, many thanks to everyone who has cheered me on during my journey to better health. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happiness!

“You now know what it takes to win. Take the lessons learned, keep your mind focused, and be confident as you stay in the fight!” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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Happy Father’s Day to my daddy and ALL the magnificent men in the universe that take on the role of fathering. Even though it can be a tough job at times, fathers step up to protect and provide for their families. I am grateful for the gift of my Daddy, who I think is absolutely AWESOME. He is a fantastic father, a good-natured grandfather, and a hard-working husband. Without fail, I can count on my father to be there when I need him. He is smart, creative, and has a terrific sense of humor. He is always game for trying new activities and foods, going on adventures, and taking selfies.

Yesterday morning, my hubby and I drove to the south shore to visit my parents. We all went to eat lunch together to celebrate my daddy. Since he was the guest of honor, we asked him to choose the restaurant. He selected Desi Vega’s Prime Burgers & Shakes located on Hickory Avenue in Harahan. I was excited because I have only eaten there once with my fabulous friend Michelle, and this restaurant serves delicious burgers, chili cheese fries, and shakes.

We arrived at the restaurant at the perfect time because there was no wait. Both of my parents ordered The Soprano burger. My daddy ordered it with cheese and my momma ordered it without cheese. My hubby ordered Desi’s Turkey Burger, and I built my own burger. I chose a veggie burger on a wheat bun with a slice of pepperjack cheese, tomato, pickles, and mayo on the side. I also added a squirt of ketchup. All of our burgers came with fries; however, I had to order chili cheese fries since I didn’t eat at Bud’s Broiler during my scrapbooking weekend. Everyone enjoyed their meals. I only ate half of my mine and took the other half home.

Even though the restaurant makes yummy handmade shakes, we did not order any this visit. Instead we headed over to PJ’s in River Ridge for some coffee and more conversation. We had a pleasant day, and I am so grateful for the time I spent with my hubby and my parents, expecially my father. He is one of the good guys, and I am blessed to have him in my life. We have made many wonderful memories together, and I hope we have many more years to make new ones.

Today, dear reader, my boys and I will celebrate my hubby and their father. Son #1’s girlfriend Kayla and her son Landon will also join us for the day. My hubby will grill ribs, burgers, and hotdogs for lunch. It will be a laid-back day at home with the focus on family. A shout out to all the fathers out there who provide care, love, and protection for others and remembering all those who are watching over us from heaven. Happiness!

Milton (aka Daddy) and Baby Kat

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” ~ Psalm 103:13

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Happy Fast Burn Friday, dear reader! I am currently in Week #9 of the Fast Burn Challenge. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 150.5 pounds. I lost .5 of a pound in Week #8 with a total loss of 11 pounds since 19 April. I attended a scrapbooking event last weekend and did very well with both my eating and exercise goals. My friends and I did not go to Bud’s Broiler, so I did not splurge on chili cheese fries. I am only a couple of days away from completing this challenge, and I could not be more excited about my progress.

This week has been much easier than the past two weeks. I can eat three meals and three snacks (100 calories or less) per day. Last week was tough with only two meals. Thankfully, my hotel room had a refrigerator, so I packed healthy foods for my scrapbooking weekend.

My friends and I ate at a restaurant together only once while at the scrapbooking event. We went to Mano’s where I ordered grilled fish with veggies and a side salad. The meal also came with french fries, rice, or mashed potatoes, but I did NOT get any of the three sides. Honestly, I didn’t miss the additional side.

Drinking one cup of lemon water per day has been added back to the guidelines for this week. I drink my cup of lemon water in the morning. My IF schedule has also changed to 16:8, and surprisingly, it has not been hard adjusting from 14:10. Frankly, I kind of prefer it.

Now, I will be totally transparent. I did splurge this week, and I do NOT feel one ounce of guilt. It is the first and ONLY time that I have splurged on the Fast Burn Challenge. Two of my fabulous friends, Michelle and Maria, drove to Hammond on Wednesday to visit with me. We went to Streetside Market for lunch, and I ordered the Sautéed Beef with Broccoli (sautéed beef stir-fried, mushrooms, broccoli, onion) on a bed of Golden Rice along with an eggroll. IT WAS SCRUMPTIOUS! And, I ate every bite.

Sautéed Beef with Broccoli

Needless to say, I did not need to eat a third meal or two of my snacks on Wednesday. I felt totally content with my decision because I knew that one “treat” would not derail all of my hard work on this fast burn journey. It was a conscious choice that I had planned for ahead of time. I think it is perfectly fine to indulge from time to time. Key words, “from time to time.”

Kudos to Me for…

  • meeting my daily water intake goal.
  • meeting my TRF 16:8 goal.
  • continuing to eat more veggies.
  • meeting my daily exercise goals.
  • planning my meals and snacks for the week.

Challenges

Well, this week I made a poor decision concerning dinner on Tuesday night. I had planned to eat black bean soup for dinner, but did not have time to consume it before leaving for my improv class. Since my class is an hour away, I packed two Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts with half a pint of milk and ate my dinner on the way. My meal was planned; however, my time was not planned very well. This also happened to me once during Week #3. As I have mentioned before, planning is the key, not only the meals and exercise, but also my time. I woke up late on Tuesday morning and fiddle-faddled for a couple of hours even though I had plenty of tasks to complete on my to-do list. When I have a scheduled evening activity in the future, I need to get up on time and not procrastinate or postpone a task until the next day. Another solution could have been to pack a turkey and cheese sandwich to eat on the way to my class.

It is hard to believe, dear reader, that my nine-week journey participating in the Fast Burn Challenge is coming to an end. While the challenge may be ending, my journey to better health is really just beginning. I’m eager to see my total weight loss when I weigh-in on Monday morning. I’ll publish a post next week revealing my total weight-loss, any changes in my body measurements, my overall thoughts about this plan, and my future goals concerning my health and wellness journey. Happiness!

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

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Fast Burn Friday: Week #8

It’s another Fast Burn Friday, dear reader, and there is terrific news to share this week! I am currently in Week #8 of the Fast Burn Challenge. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 151 pounds. I lost more pound in Week #7 with a total loss of 10.5 pounds. I have surpassed my first fast burn challenge goal by .5 of a pound. I am excited! I have been consistent with both my eating and exercising which has paid off. I am in the final two weeks of the challenge with this week being particularly challenging.

I am in the midst of the second-to-last week of the challenge, and the guidelines have significantly changed for this week. Instead of three meals each day, I’m eating two meals with four snacks. Three of those snacks are eaten in between my two meals with the fourth one eaten after my second meal. I am also following a 5:2 IF schedule which means that on five of the days, I’ll be eating almost double the calories I’ll be eating on the two low-calorie days.

Kudos to Me for…

  • meeting my daily water intake goal.
  • meeting my TRF 14:10 goal.
  • continuing to eat more veggies.
  • meeting my daily exercise goals.
  • planning my meals and snacks for the week.
  • choosing wisely when eating at a restaurant.

Planning meals for this week is very important. I had family come in from out of town, and I went to eat lunch with them on Monday. I ordered a Garden Salad which consisted of romaine lettuce, a couple of grape tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, and croutons. I requested NO cheese or croutons and added grilled shrimp (about 10) with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing on the side. I did not consume all of the lettuce and dipped my fork in the dressing in between bites. This counted as my second snack for the day because of the caloric intake of the salad.

Challenges

I did great Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. On Monday, I did not need my fourth snack. On Tuesday, I did not need either my third or fourth snack. You better believe that I ate all four of my snacks on Wednesday. So far, Wednesday has been the most challenging day of this week. It was the first of the two low-calorie days. For my second meal, I ate a veggie plate (spinach with mushrooms, sweet potatoes chunks (air-fried) with a cup of brown rice and a bowl of Knockout Brussels Sprouts. My second meal was much more than the choices provided; however, I was not feeling too great and definitely needed the extra calories. I relished every bite without one ounce of guilt, especially the Brussels sprouts. On Thursday, I did not need my fourth snack.

The week is not over, yet, dear reader. I still have the weekend to navigate through which will be another challenge. I am currently at a scrapbooking event at the Hilton in Kenner with my girlfriends (Shelly, Donna, and Heather). I’ve been here since yesterday evening. I have my meals and snacks planned and brought along plenty of healthy snacks. However, today and tomorrow will test my willpower depending on if and where we decide to eat lunch/dinner. Tomorrow (Saturday) is also the second low-calorie day for this week. I’ll be fine with any restaurant, except one. If we decide to eat at Bud’s Broiler, I will unapolegetically be eating a hamburger with a side of chili cheese fries and enjoying every bite. Happiness!

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” ~ Jenna Wolfe

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It’s Friday, dear reader, and we know what that means! I am currently in Week #7 of the Fast Burn Challenge. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 152 pounds. I lost more pounds in Week #6 with a total loss of 9.5 pounds. I am literally .5 of a pound away from reaching my weight loss goal of 10 pounds which I realistically set when I started down this path to better health. Of course, I will certainly be happy with losing more by the end of the nine week challenge.

To be sure, my weight loss journey will NOT end when the Fast Burn Challenge ends. This challenge is just the beginning of a healthier me. Truthfully, I would like to lose 30-35 pounds by the end of the year which I feel is doable if I continue following Dr. Ian’s guidelines. His programs are effective, easy to follow, and focus on choosing a healthier lifestyle that emphasizes clean eating, intermittent fasting, and daily exercise.

Even though Week #7 is proving to be a challenging week, I am still managing to have some success in most areas of the program.

Kudos to Me for…

  • meeting my daily water intake goal.
  • meeting my TRF 14:10 goal.
  • continuing to eat more veggies.
  • meeting my daily exercise goals.
  • choosing wisely (Vegetable Sandwich) when eating at a restaurant.

Despite not planning and prepping my meals on Sunday evening, I am doing pretty well overall with my food choices. Actually, on Tuesday morning I made Sumptuous Strawberry Shakes for Andrew and me for breakfast and prepped Burner Smoothies for me for the remainder of the week.

Since I’ve been out of school, meeting my TRF 14:10 goal has been much easier. And, I’m having no problems following the guideline of waiting two hours after waking up to eat breakfast.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friend Kimberly at Brady’s in Hammond. She recommended the Vegetable Sandwich which consists of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, red cabbage, and cheddar/swiss cheese with mayo on a special oat wheat bread. I decided to try it minus the alfalfa sprouts, light on the mayo, and added avocado. It was perfect!

Challenges

My biggest challenge this week is having NO snacks. Unfortunately, I cannot make it through the day without snacks. Now, with that being said, I do not need to consume three snacks per day. For the most part, I am choosing healthy snacks and keeping them between 100 and 150 calories. It is too hard for me to skip them, especially on the days I need to reach 12,000 or 14,000 steps.

My other challenge this week is not getting enough sleep. I am going through menapause which makes it difficult to sleep through the night in general; however, my geriatric dog Sophie (13 years old) and my cat Puar have also contributed to disrupting my sleep this week. Since Monday night, Sophie has woken me up at least once during the night to use the bathroom, and Puar keeps waking me up 1-2 hours before my alarm. They have both done this in the past, but not the two of them consistently in one week. Naturally, I know they are not being nefarious. Needless to say, I am dragging this morning. Today will definitely be a REST day (20 minute stroll after dinner). Thankfully, I am on summer break, and I can always take a nap.

Well, dear reader, another week of the Fast Burn Challenge is wrapping up. Only two more weeks to go until this part of my health and wellness journey is complete. Every week, I have learned new health and fitness related information, have tried new recipes or foods, and have gotten plenty of inspiration from the Fast Burn Challenge community. Happiness!

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~ Arthur Ashe

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