Monday, January 30, 2012

Grocery Shopping

What do you think of Whole Foods?  Today, Alexander and I went to WF to stock up on ground turkey, ground bison, agave nectar, organic whole wheat pancake mix (with no eggs), fresh cut veggies, veggie wash and organic ginger/garlic (in jars).  As soon as I walk in that store, the neatness and fresh smell excites me to shop!  But .. we all know that you can quickly drop major bucks at WF.  To set it straight, I do not buy majority of my groceries there simply because I can still make clean foods for myself and my family without breaking the bank.  There are a few items I need to purchase at WF; the whole wheat pancake mix has no eggs in the ingredients, therefore, I buy this for my husband who is unfortunately allergic to eggs; agave nectar for husband and I's greek yogurt and homecooked oatmeal; ground bison and turkey simply because I cannot find this at the local Walmart here; and fresh organic ginger/garlic (if you've ever tried peeling and cutting ginger, you known it's a pain the @$$) so I do not mind paying a little extra to save me on time and a few cuts :-/ ...  I am actually going to try to see if my local Tom Thumb carries the ground bison/buffalo to save me a drive.  It's an acquired taste this meat, but it's very lean. I try to incorporate in my diet at least once a month .. depending on when/where I can get it and if I have time. I'll keep you posted! ...

The past month, a couple of questions arose.  How do you cook your bokchoy?  What is in your typical grocery list?

1.)  How do I cook bokchoy? - Simple and probably the best way to keep the nutrients in tact.  I steam the bokchoy for about 20 minutes making sure it does not get overly done, then sautee for a few minutes in fresh ginger/garlic.  Then I tupperware for the rest of the work week.  Goes great with brown rice or boiled quinoa.  If you decide to try, make sure you memorize the code 4545.  It is the weight code at the grocery store (trust me, it will save you time at the checkout counter and your cashier will thank you ... lol) .. something I learned over the years.

2.)  What is in your typical grocery list? - Ok, every Sunday morning, I sit down and plan mine and my family's meals for the week.  The staples every week are brocolli, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, 1% milk, whole wheat bread, chicken breasts, pork chops, tilapia, berries of all sorts, greek yogurt, crisco cooking spray, stevia, zuchini/squash, grape tomatoes, spring mix, green onions, apples, bananas.  These items (I'm sure I've left off a few things) are our must haves for the week.  Every Monday is grill night where the night before (Sunday), I marinate 6 chicken breasts with sea salt and paprika and marinate 2 porkchops with bbq sauce (for hubby and Alexander).  Monday has to be grill night because we need the grilled chicken breasts for the work week.  Hubby prefers grilled chicken in his sandwiches vs deli meats because it is much healthier and less sodium intake.  He calls it his homemade "chick-fil-a" spicy chicken sandwich :-) ...  he adds a few slices of jalapenos in there to give it a kick!  It tastes so good! ...  Thus, Monday night is also porkchop night for the boys where I sautee zuchini and squash to go with the porkchops.  I normally would eat one of the chicken breasts hubby grills w/ a salad or with just the zuchini I sautee.

The steamed brocolli and sweet potatoes hubby brings to work and eats at 3pm-ish.  Alexander also loves brocolli and sweet potatoes and pair both with grilled chicken.  He picked this up from me when I was training for my fitness competition and I love it when he asks me for brocolli.  Music to Mama's ears! :-) ...

For the work week, I pack 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of veggies and 4-6 oz of lean meat (tilapia, chx breast, ground turkey, shrimp, ground bison, etc.).  I eat it as meal 3 which is normally at 1pm.  I lift at 11am which I then drink a protein shake right after so that keeps me pretty full until 1-1:30pm.

Back to the grocery list, it truly does help to have your meals planned for the week.  After you list down each meal, then start listing the ingredients you will need.  I'm not perfect by no means and I definitely forget things so I just go back to the store after work.  Also a tip, if you have items you know you buy each week, check the grocery ads that come in the mail (Tuesday nights for me) and circle items you buy and bring with you the ad to the store.  I know Walmart matches competitor prices and I'm pretty sure others do as well.  I keep a look out definitely for savings in brocolli and sweet potatoes because I buy about 3-4lbs a week.  A few of hubby and Alexander's meals for the week:  tacos with 96/4 ground beef; chicken fajitas; potroast; tuna melts; fishsticks (not clean, but I don't deprive Alexander) ... I think as long as I've introduced him to clean eating, but allow him choices then I'm content on how he eats.  He also has cheat meals on the weekends and love, love, love his homemade belgian waffle made by his Daddy on Sunday mornings :-) ...  He also has on occasion a McDonalds chicken nugget happy meal.  For the week though, we strive for mainly clean foods.

Have you tried quinoa?  Today, I cooked a batch for the work week to change it up from brown rice.  Quinoa is a cross between brown rice and oatmeal. 
  It's fluffy, creamy, crunchy and somewhat nutty, all rolled into one.  It's a complete source of protein, great for cardiovascular health, provides antioxidant support and reduces risk of gallstones (source: ... If you read Oxygen Magazine, you often see quinoa as a staple with all the athletes.  Sometimes I get bored with just brown rice and will change it up with quinoa.  I simply just boil mine and add to my ground bison (see picture).  If you want to know more, just google and there are recipes in Oxygen as well.

Ground turkey and ground bison:  1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of ginger and garlic (I buy mine in jars already from WF), chopped yellow or red onions, add lean meat, season with dash of sea salt, black pepper and parsley.  For my ground bison, I like to use chopped red onions and chopped red/orange bell peppers.  I also like to add crushed red pepper to both because I love spicey!

I hope this helps!  My ground turkey is dedicated to my friend Cyndi Sarmiento-Rios :-) ... Let me know if you try any of these.  Be adventurous and try the many different kinds of vegetables at your market.  Just a week ago, my cashier said, "Ma'am, you buy a lot of veggies!"  Darn right I do! :-) ...

Happy shopping -
Mrs. Chilly

P.S. - I do not buy organic; I believe you can still eat clean without having to.  However, if you can afford it and chooses to (for health reasons, etc.), then I support you and say go for it :-) ...  Make sure you still get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day!! ...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Setting Short-Term Goals

I know I said that I would take a break from blogging again until post April 15th, but I couldn't help but feel ecstatic hearing and seeing how so many of my family and friends have started their very own fitness journeys (or simply reconnecting with old high school classmates who are into fitness too):  Tita Edith, Laquanda, Emily, Judy, Justin, Lindsey, Jasmine, Cyndi, Liz, Michelle, Jennifer etc ... you all know who you are.  I follow your gym check-ins, read about your nutrition or what you have changed on your diet ... or simply just reading your status of how awesome you feel after your workout.

We are now past mid-January and I want to tell you all a tip that I used when I first started on my own journey.  I started at 170lbs with a 5'1 frame (there's the picture to prove it!) and I remember setting a SHORT-term of goal of losing 5-8lbs for the month, cleaning up my diet and starting a gym routine.  Do not look at the entire year of 2012 and say you want to lose 50lbs.  Cut it up in chunks and be more realistic:  for example, for the rest of January, you can set a goal that you will try eggwhites and/or oatmeal for breakfast daily; or for the month of February, you will make time to attend a turbokick and/or weight class twice a week while bringing your lunches to work.  You will be surprise how the little changes here and there can add up to one big and effective change.  Then after that change you want more and continue heading down the right direction.  I have a confession to make when I was pregnant w/ Alexander.  I made up the excuse of not having time to make breakfast in the morning.  Well, I know now that is no excuse because if I have time to "check-in," or facebook or watch tv, I have time to cook oatmeal (c'mon it takes less than 5 minutes!)... Instead, I chose to start my day off with a sausage/egg biscuit and a fried hashbrown :-/ .... awful, awful, awful. 

The month I started my journey (June of 2010), not only did I change my breakfast and lunch choices, but I also started going to LA Fitness' group exercise classes.  And in just two weeks, I noticed a lot of difference in my energy levels, my outlook on life, how I was with people, but most especially how my clothes fit! ...  Try it out.  Change a few things first in your daily habits for two weeks and see how good it feels to take care of you. 
Now this doesn't mean you have to give up on the fun (and yummy) things in life.  Clean-eating is not a diet as I have said before; it is just a change in lifestyle.  Personally, my husband and I enjoy fine dining and vacations ... we just choose to eat clean most of the time and enjoy a night out a week.  I used to call it a "cheat" meal, but think now it is more of a "treat" meal.  Unless you are competing and getting ready for a show, that is another level of challenge.  But for everyday living, why not try eating clean for the week and reward yourself on the weekends?  Try not to have a "treat" meal the entire weekend now.  For example, my Saturday meals are still clean, but that evening hubby and I go out and enjoy a date night.  Sunday morning, hubby makes Alexander homemade, whole grain waffles with sausage.  This is the only morning I do not eat my normal eggwhites and oatmeal and enjoy my husband's breakfast cooking.  But for the rest of that day, I make clean and healthy choices and cook batches of sweet potatoes, brown rice, grilled chicken, shrimp and steamed brocolli for our work week.  It's now become routine every Sunday and it helps during the week when hubby and I have less time due to work and taking care of Alexander.
Another tip: when I was overweight, it was so important that I find the closest parking space at the mall, grocery store, wherever.  Nowadays, I am totally alright with just walking.  It drives me nuts to see people at my office take the elevator to go up or down ONE flight of stairs :-/ ...  One day that this happened, the person had a salad in her hand.  It was so hard to keep my mouth shut!  I knew right then and there I had to blog about what I saw.  My rule is if less than 4-5 flights of stairs, then suck it up and walk!  I don't care if you have Jimmy Choos on either ;) ....
Point being ... do not overwhelm yourself with BIG goals.  Yes, set your main goal, but also set a short-term goal.  Joining a gym is a goal itself; now set another goal and plan what you want to get out of that membership for the next month ... whether it is exploring the group exercise classes (which I highly recommend as a start) and meeting new friends or accomplishing doing cardio 3-4 times a week.  Change is change no matter how big or small.

Being fit I can't stress enough is awesome.  Life is so much more fulfilling, exciting, rewarding and just plain fun when you make time for your health.  And I understand completely that everyone is busy with their own lives, careers and kiddos ... trust me, I have all 3; I just choose to FIND and MAKE time for me.  A fit and re-charged Mommy not only benefits me, but my son as well.  I have more energy to play with him, chase him around and do the things he wants to do.  The days of sluggishness and negative energy are long gone and I don't ever want to go back there again.  I stay accountable and check-in each time because I know it reaches one of you following me and I hope that it somewhat motivates you too.  Your check-ins also motivate me too btw :) ....
      So are you ready for change??  It has gotta start with you! ...  Looking forward to seeing more of your future check-ins and go ahead; post how awesome you feel and let the whole wideworld know :)) - you just never know who you might inspire next.

Happy training,
Mrs. Chilly

1st pic: 170lbs in Cincinnati (w/ Alexander)
2nd pic:  155lbs Dallas (with Heineken)
3rd pic:  145lbs (blue jeggings and boots)
4th pic:  125lbs Dallas at Bebe Store (this was a short-term goal that one day I'll be able to shop at Bebe again) ...
5th pic:  114lbs Dallas Europa (first fitness competition) w/ my good friend, Tracy Payne.
6th pic:  Current at 126lbs at the Dallas Mavericks Game!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all!  I hope everyone had a nice relaxing break.  The dreaded New Year's Resolutions is upon us once again; lose weight, find a meaningful career, spend more time with family, less stress, etc. .... whatever you want to accomplish this year, it has to start with you.  There is no rule that resolutions has to be "dreaded."  It is only dreaded because you already know that you will fail.  I am thankful that my 2011 resolutions came to fruition because I decided to finally change and realize that being overweight, grumpy, depressed and energy-less was not the way I wanted to live.  Change doesn't happen unless you decide to change.  This will be the first year for me where weightloss is not #1 on my resolutions list.  Among a few that I have jotted down:  1.)  less stress  2.)  more sleep  3.)  work/life balance  4.)  fitness for two (hoping to have another lil chilly baby this year ;) ....

The last quarter of my 2011 was an amazing time ... I competed in my first fitness competition just 14 months after losing 52lbs; post competition I achieved a healthy and maintanable body and weight; this blog came to life!; received wonderful news from family and friends of their own weightloss success; was offered a rewarding job position in my career and along the journey met new friends and co-workers.  Fitness is still on top of my list, however, with my full-time job, mommy and wifey duties, it's all about staying positive and keeping a fair balance.  There are of course the good and bad days and on bad days especially, I like to take a deep breath and count my blessings and consider what I have vs what I don't have.  I express thanks, play with my strengths, find meaning in my work and look on the bright side.  Negative energy is such a waste of my time.  Instead I focus on what I do love and realize that when I do something I enjoy, I naturally drift into a satisfying sense of flow.   I think you get the point.  2012 is get sh** done (right Laura Lam Ortiz? ;) ....

Most of you know that I am a full-time tax accountant.  With January also comes the start of tax busy season where I put in 55-65 hours a week of work along with my neverending duties at home.  If you have been following my fitness blog, you know that hubby and I have purchased a home elliptical back in November, which we have loved since day one!  Instant cardio anytime of the day!  As you see with my check-ins, I get up at 6am and do 40-45 minutes of cardio and lift during my lunchbreak at my office gym.  My motto:  "Where there's a will, there's a way!" ....

I have been a tax accountant ever since I graduated college back in 2004.  Every busy season, we get spoiled with delicious buffets of food (one of the perks with working for a reputable accounting firm) ... however, every year, I find myself gaining 5-10lbs from it ....  well, 2011 was my first year to NOT gain and for 2012, I definitely have more awareness of my choices.  I still plan to pack my meals ... and my hubby is a big help when it comes to our Sunday cooking sessions.  He steams our sweet potatoes and brocolli while I boil brown rice and grill chicken breasts.  Come April 15th, I want to find myself in the same place where I started 8 weeks ago (or maybe even better!).  No excuses! ...

So with the work hours that is demanded of me ... I will most likely blog again in April and will be temporarily signing off.  I am envisioning the next blog to be how I survived tax season!  Lol! ...  For now, continue your goals and don't hesitate to email/text/fb me for your questions :)) (it may take a few days, but you know I'll get back to you ;) ... 

I have friends who are competing this 1st quarter of the year (Tracy Payne and Kristin Crabb!) and I am so excited for the both of them!  This will be Kristin's first bikini competition and Tracy's 3rd figure competition.  Best of luck to these beautiful ladies! ...

I will be following you all when I have the time to sneak away for a few minutes from my work.  Fitness is still very much alive in me and can't wait to compete again.  My goal for my next show is to compete in figure.  Which brings me to another question I've been receiving lately is when I plan to compete again.  To add from what I said above, hubby and I are discussing adding to the chilly clan, therefore from advice from my doctor, I have been maintaining free of any supplements and continuing clean eating with vitamins.  The plan is to start up competing again after I dedicate some time to motherhood and my career (becoming an Enrolled Agent by February 2012).  Being mommy to Alexander is priceless and I want to dedicate more time to him as he grows.  I do love seeing him eat his steamed brocolli, sweet potatoes and zuchinni!  I feel good knowing he has absorbed mommy's way of eating.

Have a great 1st quarter of 2012!!  Best of luck to everyone's New Year's Resolutions!  You can do it; believe.

Mrs. Chilly

P.S. - Go MAVS! :)) ...