Saturday, March 23, 2013

Good diet and exercise regimen!

So I’ve tried and failed to lose fat so many times, my resolve deflating faster than a balloon let loose in the air. I didn’t even lose the weight after posting a blog article almost a year ago stating that I was “sure to do it this time”. I started out strong (too strong), adhering to a really strict diet and rigorous exercise routine, loosing 10 pounds the first two weeks. But I got burned out and quit. Over the following months, I gained the weight back and then some. I didn’t get my resolve back to try again until the end of January 2013.

My new approach was to try eating healthy FIRST (always the hardest part for me) and then add a daily exercise routine. I knew that no amount of exercise could truly compensate for unhealthy and over eating. I didn’t do any crazy diet or take pills. I just made healthy choices with veggies, high anti-oxidant fruits, healthy fats, oatmeal and cutting down on my glutinous grains. I kept the toasted English muffin and tortilla in my diet, however. They filled my stomach, helping me feel satisfied. They gave substance to my proteins and veggies, like when I made a fat-free turkey or black bean, stewed tomato and leafy veggie tortilla wrap. 

And guess what happened when I chose water instead of other drinks and ate healthy, keeping my daily caloric intake between 1,300 and 1,500? Combined with my usual daily chores, running the kids around, laundry, dishes and cleaning, I lost 3 pounds the first week and 3 the next – JUST by eating healthier. After two weeks of this, I felt confident enough to incorporate an exercise routine without the risk of sabotaging my efforts through bad eating.

I did 45 minutes to an hour of sweating exercise 6 days a week (taking every Sunday off). I jogged on a Planet Fitness treadmill or outside as weather permitted or I did aerobics in my home. I did all my exercising in the morning after dropping my first-grader off at school and before the younger ones got up for the day. It was sometimes hard when I felt like I needed more sleep, but I forced myself to stay up and just do it.
Back to my diet, the reason I’ve failed in the past is because I’ve always felt lacking in a full tummy and satisfied taste buds. I actually DON’T enjoy green salads. Eating large salads as a meal take time to prepare and even longer to consume. I thought, if I could only drink my salad, that would be something. Well, green smoothies were the answer to that. I mixed frozen berries and other fruits, a banana to add creaminess, a large handful of raw spinach leaves (you don’t even taste the spinach when it’s all mixed in), and a little water or almond milk for desired viscosity. The result was an enjoyable drink that went down fast and smooth.  

I also rediscovered the avocado. Some people shy away from this fruit because they either dislike the taste or know that one avocado contains 30 grams of fat, albeit good fat. Well I LOVE the avocado with a little salt and pepper, but only allow myself a quarter each day because of the fat content. I actually spread it on my toasted English muffin. Finding foods that I like, and are healthy, have made all the difference in sticking to healthy eating. I don’t have to JUST eat salads or raw nuts (nuts give me canker sores) or tofu (never cared much for tofu). There are SO MANY good foods out there that I can eat and enjoy that help me stick to a healthy diet, have energy to workout and still lose weight and not feel deprived at the end of the day.

HOWEVER, not being perfect by any means, once in a while, if I’m having a rough day and the thought of sweets won’t leave, I’ll grab either a fun size Three Musketeers candy bar (regular or mint), a mini peppermint patty, or I pop about 15 M&Ms into my mouth. As long as I have the restraint to stop there (and I do), my craving is satisfied and my diet is still on track (but I’m sure to jot down the calories and fat from the extra treat). I write down ALL my calories.

So there you go. This is what presently works for me. I’ve lost 20 pounds in the two months since I began, and I am working on the next 10. I have my brother’s wedding coming up as well as publicity pictures in preparation for the release of my debut novel, Shadows of Valor. I want to feel and look good for those occasions.

I’d love to hear what works for you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

YA Horror/Suspense by The Brothers Washburn

PITCH GREEN is the first installment in the Dimensions in Death series and is set for release March 16th, 2013. This impressive novel successfully reinvigorates the horror genre for YA and Adult readers. With a pinch of humor and dash of romance, the Brothers Washburn's impressive writing styles have combined to create a magnificently fresh, and horrifying, debut novel.

Trona is a small, smoggy, mostly insignificant town in California. Besides a booming chemical plant, the only thing that characterizes this dismal town is dirt, sagebrush, and an enormous abandoned mansion. The mansion is, admittedly, the only notable addition to Trona, but it's something everyone tries to avoid due to its creepy facade. Everyone except for Camm Smith, who is obsessed with the need to get inside. Seven years earlier, as Camm herded a pack of little trick-or-treaters past the mansion, her young neighbor, Hughie, disappeared, becoming one of the many children who have vanished from Trona over the years without a trace. Now a senior in high school, Camm is still haunted by the old tragedy, and is sure the answer to the mysterious disappearances lies hidden somewhere in the decaying mansion. Joining forces with her best friend, Cal, who also happens to be Hughie's older brother, Camm naively begins a perilous search for the truth. As things spiral quickly out of control, and others die, Camm and Cal discover it will take all their combined ingenuity to stay alive. An unseen evil lurking deep within the bowels of the mansion is now hunting them. To make matters worse, they become entangled with hostile federal agents, who will do all they can to keep old secrets permanently hidden. Left with only their wit and seemingly ineffective firearms, Camm and Cal know time is running out. Unless they can make sense of the few pieces of the puzzle they manage to unearth, their lives are in danger, and like so many others before them, they may also disappear without a trace.

Synopsis by Jolly Fish Press -

Berk and Andy Washburn are lawyers by profession, writers at heart. They are the co-authors of Pitch Green.

Twitter – @BrosWashburn

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Computer up and running and BACKED UP!
Okay, HAPPY DAY everyone! In a nutshell, after my computer wouldn't boot up yesterday, claiming to have a ton of corrupt files, my computer is up and running again and nothing was lost. Chris spent seven hours working on my computer. He hooked my hard drive into his computer and transferred all my files onto his computer. He then put the hard drive back into mine and after working out quite a few bugs, trip-ups and launch failures he was able to reformat and reinstall Windows (which was the main problem with corrupt files - still don't know if I had a virus or if it was just a fluke) - scared the CRAP out of me, though, I can tell you. I bought a 16-GB thumb drive and backed up ALL my files onto that before copying them onto my reformatted computer. All seems to be well again. I owe my husband BIG!!! He's my hero!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Balancing Writing and Social Media

I had planned on posting a few paragraphs on this subject, but this morning my computer decided to crash, taking with it my post files, my journal entries, my musical compositions, all the pages I'd typed in my new novel, my research notes, contact information for friends, family, fellow authors and so much more. And nothing was backed up because I had no available thumb drive and my floppy disk drive was broken on my hand-me-down computer.

So, that being said, I had previously sent a paragraph of my thoughts on writing and social media to my fellow author, Ann Marie Meyers, who is posting hers, mine and several other authors' paragraphs on the subject. I'm just going to send you to Ann Marie's blog address and let you read my words there.

I'm still hoping to extract my computer files from my hard drive somehow, but this may take days to figure out.